“My daughter and son-in-law want me to move in with them, but I don’t want to.”
If you have a chronic disease process, or even a temporary (but debilitating) one, it’s wise not to live alone.
Barring the fact that they might be smokers, think about why you would not want to do this. Often the answer comes up as, “I don’t want to be a burden in any way”. We’ll address that in a second. But first, seriously, take out a sheet of paper and put a line down the middle. Pros on the left, cons on the right. Put the notion of you being a burden aside for a minute.
Do they keep a clean house? Will you be expected to babysit all the time? Will you be able to do the things you like to do in their home? Do they have pets?
As much as you don’t want to be a burden on them, it is likely easier for them to keep tabs on you right where they are, rather than having to go across town once a week, or rely on phone conversations to make sure you are OK. But, it’s important to make sure you will not be exposed to things that could make your breathing worse.
It’s likely that your daily habits will not be a surprise to your family. If they are, it is better that they know about them now, to determine your baseline. For example, do you sleep most of the day? While that may not be generally considered ‘normal’, if you have COPD or any other chronic process, you may find that you fatigue easily. Take an honest assessment. Do you sleep or rest most of the day because of fatigue? Or boredom? Or depression? If it’s the latter, make sure you seek professional help. There are many resources available to help determine if a medical condition (such as anemia) is making you tired, or if you need to find new interests and like-minded friends.
Another change for you may be that you stopped preparing fresh food for meals. A freezer full of frozen processed food, and a pantry full of sodium-laden soups may be easy, but not healthy. Moving in with family, and helping prepare some of a meal may allow you to have healthier, fresher food choices, without having to shop, prepare, wash, cut, cook, and clean the whole project yourself. Using energy conservation techniques, you can learn to wash produce, let it drip dry, and peel or chop it later, sitting down while using a barstool or counter-height chair. Put it back in the refrigerator, and your children are happy that you just cut the dinner work in half.
What are some hobbies that you have, things that might help your family? If you knit or sew, you could offer to patch or hem clothing. If there is a lot of laundry, you can fold and sort clothes if someone brings it to you on the sofa. If your family struggles with the same menu over and over, you could research new recipes on Pinterest or Epicurious.com for them. Going through magazines and the Sunday paper and cutting out usable coupons is always helpful.
Is there a hobby that you haven’t been able to do for a while? Maybe backyard gardening is out of the question for the moment, but planting a small herb garden in a waist-high outdoor planter box might be do-able.
Do you like to read? Offer your services to a first-grader who may be struggling to learn to read. I promise, you will find it very rewarding. If you can’t go to the local elementary school, see if the child can come to you after school, but before your family gets home.
If you’ve decided to go ahead and make the move, don’t feel obligated to take on too much, in order to feel ‘like you are doing something’.