“I have been offered a job in a neighboring state, making visits to Dad’s place a five-hour drive. My father is 84 years old and is becoming less able each year. For now, however, he lives independently and manages his own affairs without a problem. I have noticed he jobs-out more of his yard work and household chores than he did in the past, saying it is too much work for him.
I feel that if I don't take this job I will be losing out on a great opportunity, but I'm worried about who will support Dad. I have two siblings in the area who travel quite a bit and do very little to help him.”
Leaving family is very tough, even if it is for a good reason such as yours. Whatever youdecide, you will always wonder what the other choice would have been like. It is the human condition. With that said, onward!
I recommend that you make the old-fashioned list of pros and cons. First look at the job. Is it for a few years, or is it likely to be for a decade? Is this an area you want to settle in? Is it good for your immediate family, wife, and children? If it is the right choice for you and your family, it is time to visit Dad.
Have a conversation with your father. Try not to assume what his wishes are until you discuss them with him. He may be open to relocating also. It is not unheard of for children to move their parents closer to them, so consider all possibilities. Realize that moving your father every time you wish to make a change may not work down the road, so consider the opportunity carefully. Think as long-term as you are able. A move could be more difficult for him than you.
If your father is considering a move to a location near your new job, you will need to think of ways to help him acclimate to the new area. Yes, you need to do this for yourself and your family. Your father will have different needs and not have the built-in social networks of work and schools.
If Dad is going to stay in his current setting, you will be less available and your siblings may need to step up. “Travelling quite a bit”, is sometimes a convenient excuse to leave all of the projects to the sibling whose job does not include travel. It is going to be time for the three of you to spread the load a bit more evenly. It will be time to work out visiting and task schedules with the siblings.
Whatever you chose to do, there will be misgivings and challenges. So, make the best choice you can and move forward. Try not to second-guess your decision. Give your father all the support you can, and help arrange for the rest. Lean on the siblings, as it is time.
I wish you the best with your situation.
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