After I wrote the recont post on "Medical Care and Retirement Choices: I had a very thoughtful e-mail from a woman physician. She had had a bad experience caring for her elderly parent who was several hundred miles away. She said how difficult was to travel long distances when she wa working full-time and also had a child and a husband.
I had said in my post that I thought was probably wrong in telling the woman I was speaking with how much I loved Northern California where her daughter and son-in-law lived. Afer painting such a glowing picture, I worried that the woman would be lonely away from her friends. After reading the physician's e-mail I decided the best answer woud have been to say that when the woman felt she was no longer able to cope living alone and needed a caretaker, it was probably time to move form southern California to northern California. This is always a very hard decision to make. The woman M.D. gave me permission to quote some of the remarks in her e-mail. She described that even with her parent in an assisted lving facility "it was impossible to supervise my mother's care effectively from a distance." She also said that the "medical care was fragmented and there were many medical errors. The caregivers in the assisted living facility were unprofessional in many ways and almost killed my mother several different times. Even though I visited a lot, it took a while to figure this all out and get her out of there. She did not want to leave, but once I moved her near to our house things got much better for all of us. Then I could visit once or twice a day." She went on to say that any medical errors were caught before they were made. I think the answer about how to best care for an elderly parent is one that must be carefully considered and the caretaker daughter or son's health, time, and stess level must be major considerations.