Thoughts on Florida and Aging

A few weeks ago, my mom announced that she and my dad were going to head down to Florida. She wanted to visit her sister, who lost her husband and her short term memory during the pandemic, and is now living in a nursing home. My folks are in their mid-80s, and are in mostly good shape, but I don’t entirely trust my dad’s driving. I also thought my mom needed some emotional support; she lost her older brother last month, and she feels like dementia stole her younger sister. Two of my cousins and their families live nearby, but they are extremely busy with work, so they would be unable to entertain my folks for the five days. I had an airplane voucher to use up, so I decided to join them.

Everybody needed a lot more support than I expected. Driving was a big issue (Dad didn’t want to drive, but also didn’t want to relinquish the car keys), so we didn’t go too far from the hotel by the side of the highway. I wasn’t really traveling, as much as caretaking. Which was fine. That’s why I went.

At some point, we should talk about nursing homes.

On Sunday night, I watched the Oscars from the hotel room. Yes, I saw that weird slap, but I was most taken by the kind way that Lady Gaga treated Liza Minelli. I was in a caretaking mental space that weekend, so I was touched.

Beyond the spectacle of aging, there were other interesting bits to the weekend. My cousins told me about how Florida is being completely overrun with New Yorkers and New Jersey people. One cousin said that he’s been getting random offers for his house, which isn’t even on the market. He said the Goldman Sacks has relocated down there; and those traders are desperate for premium properties. There was so much traffic in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, that my 20 minute trip to the airport took 70 minutes.

And the weather was lovely. 80s down there, and 20s up here. Took some nice jogs around a baseball field surrounded by palm trees. Had one nice meal in a restaurant in the fancy part of town with really good people-watching. I reconnected with my extended family. And, last night, after Steve picked me up from Newark airport, we drove through our green suburbs to our little home and was very, very happy.