we made a flying trip down O'Donnell way this past weekend. my sister and cousin made the trip up from down south to check on our aunt lu, the way i figure it, any time my sis is that close I should make the effort to meet her. in truth, i've been needing to get down there to check on lu for a while but needing to and going are 153 miles apart.
the deal is, we worry about our aunt who lives alone in a town whose population was 831 at the last census. that number dropped by 6 or 8 in the last two months. no grocery store, one café, one service station and an allsup's, a beauty shop, a few cotton gins (in season), the school store open for lunch and??-- you get the idea. there's not much going on in little o-town.
her closest relative, another niece, lives almost an hour away. to her credit, she does check on lu often, at least by phone, but face to face response to a crisis is gonna take time. we've provided a life alert but, personally, I have my doubts as to whether she would actually push the button if the need arose. she locked herself out of the house this past summer for four hours in 90+ degree heat. did she push the button to at least ask if it was something they could help with? that would be a-- NO!!
we've been after her for years to make a move somewhere-- anywhere. a number of options have been met with the same response. "i'm not ready". i get how hard it is to contemplate giving up ones home of umpteen years, of surrendering ones independence. but is she really independent? not so much, having to depend on friends to take her to the grocery store, etc. stubborn, does not even begin to describe her.
i truly believe lu's current situation is a disaster waiting to happen. but what can we, her nieces and nephews, do? when it was my mom in a similar situation, i simply gave her no choice. we made a move. she didn't like it at first but it was the right thing for her well being and her last years were happy.
i don't see an ultimatum as an option with lu. surely she knows we love her but as it is telling her she has to do anything is not gonna happen. thinking of her in her current situation is more than worrisome. what can we do short of calling adult protective services-- which, i'm a bit ashamed to say, is a thought that has crossed my mind.
waiting for her to make up her mind or for the phone call to tell me it's too late is torture.