This Old House

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of my move from New England to the West. My parents, long-divorced, still live on the East Coast. As they come to need more help, for the past three years I’ve shuttled between family life in the desert and back east where I grew up.

My caregiving horizon goes beyond taking care of people. Its broad tentacles encompass houses and pets, too.

As household manager of multiple households, my resume skills have expanded: family caregiver, Power of Attorney, financial expert, property maintenance. I handle new generators, furnaces, and plumbing systems, not to mention leaky roofs and a mouse infestation for two century-plus houses. Mercifully, my husband oversees the house in the West.

Like my first exposure to dementia, I knew nothing about old houses. And, like dementia, nothing is certain with an old house.