Believe it or not, I’m not writing this in some sort of emotional state of mind. As a spouse of a dementia person, the financial responsibility rests on your shoulders. There is no one to bounce ideas off of accept those who are solicited to advise. At 58 and 62, Jerry and I should be approaching our retirement years having done a lot of planning. Jerry, being taken out of the game at the early age of 50, has not been able to bring in an income nor have I been able to, since I stay home to take care of him. We didn’t fund our IRA’s for early, early, early retirement. Plus, the economy didn’t help much with that either.
My entire life, I moved all over the world, having been raised as an Air Force brat. When I married Jerry, I had no qualms about being the corporate wife, moving around to support him in climbing the corporate ladder. I didn’t know any different. After many years of marriage, however, I felt I never really had a place to call “home”. “Home” was where ever we hung our hats. I never became attached to any house...and never really invested a lot of money in furnishing them. They were always “a place to keep nice until it was time to sell.”
The dream of living at the beach was an unimaginable dream. My heart and soul loves open skies and I am a kindred spirit with natural beauty. I’ve never been a “groupie” or a "keep up the the Jone’s" type, nor really cared about excessive material things. When Jerry became ill, we purged almost everything excessive and kept only the things that were necessities and things that had sentimental value. We sold the house we were in and moved to a smaller one. We had put all of our kids through college and gotten them all married off. Once I quite my job, we were able to move to the beach. No one cares what kind of house they live in. It can be a mansion or a trailer, just as long as it’s in this beautiful carefree environment. We’ve been here almost four years now and it finally is a place I love and can call home. We both love this place.
As you’ve read, however, this house has become a money pit. A home at the beach takes a beating from the elements. The maintenance is quite costly and Jerry cannot help...so it requires hiring someone. We are hemorrhaging dollars. Dollars that were planned for a long future or for the looming possibility of Jerry’s costly future care. Now.....to sell this house in a bad economy is not such a good idea. If I could just hold out 5 more years. Or, maybe I should consider alternative financing plans; a reverse mortgage or something. Or, maybe I should sell and take the cash....but then, where would we live? Should that cash be saved for a facility someday? Should I rent? I always planned to keep Jerry with me and use hospice services. But, this guy is probably going to outlive me. What if that happens? Everything we own is in my name. Oh, if only I had a crystal ball.
Seriously, I am totally blessed to be where I am right now...healthy, a cool house, and I’m able to care for my hubby. I decided a long time ago not to worry about what may never happen. Peace only comes when I know I am where God wants me to be, abiding in HIM. He loves Jerry even more than I do....and God has much more patience, too. Hmm. I’m not going to panic but will pray for wisdom and a listening ear.