Recently I’ve heard of several situations where lonely seniors have reached out to people who were their teen aged sweethearts. They had parted ways many years ago, gotten jobs, gotten married, had families then lost their partner. For a while they survived on their own then they reconnected with someone from their past. For some it was a chance meeting, while with others they reconnected through mutual friendships, organizations, the yellow pages and yes social media.
They reached out, communicated by phone, by email or met to “catch up” over a cup of coffee. In time many of them developed more of a permanent relationship. For many it was companionship to help fill a void in their lives. They had been accustomed to eating alone and even watching television on their own and they now had a person to talk with, enjoy a walk or a drive, a meal in a restaurant or a game of cards!
Some adult children are happy for their parent while many are unhappy. They can be suspicious of the newcomer. They can be upset that dad is buying gifts for someone and he never bought gifts for the mom. They can be concerned about finances being given to a “stranger.” They see a parent as old and don’t comprehend that their loved one may still have some unfulfilled dreams and excitement about a future. We have often noticed that people in encore relationships are more attentive and more caring and thoughtful and children can be unsettled by what they are seeing.
Things I’ve heard: “Mom bought some new clothes…mom is wearing makeup…mom got her hair done…I haven’t seen her look this good in years…mom’s back baking goodies…I asked mom to come for dinner and SHE IS BUSY…..Is our inheritance in danger…?”
“Dad bought that new friend some jewelry and he never bought some for mom…dad’s out buying flowers…he got his hair cut…he’s talking about taking that new friend on a holiday with him…I think she’s after his money…”
So what do you do? Each situation is different but if you refuse to see them or talk to them you could see the situation get worse.
A while after my mom died her widower discovered he had prostate cancer. With his encouragement we flew to California to help him. We upset his normal routine and he yelled at us to get out of his house! Quietly I replied that I appreciated all he had done for my mom, that we had flown all the way there to say thank you for what he had done and we weren’t leaving. (Things did work out.)
He was so lonely and vulnerable and through a friend met a “caring” young widow. He was hooked! Quickly plans were in place for them to get married. They planned to sell everything and move to her southern state. He was a business man and wouldn’t put her name on any of his bank accounts before they were married. He then put four china tea cups aside to give to mom’s daughters. The widow lost her cool and yelled, “You can’t give those away! They are mine!” His eyes were opened and the relationship ended. He later discovered that her son in law was part of a gang and my step dad probably would have disappeared in a gator infested swamp once everything had been transferred to her. (We had kept the relationship open and were there to help put the pieces back together.)
If you or a loved one is thinking of downsizing, let’s talk about making the next phase of your life just as comfortable. Contact Us For A Consultation.