Karen Smith shares her powerful story of midlife transformation which includes taking over the guardianship of her sister Eileen after their parents’ death.
Eileen lived her life at home with her parent’s until the age of 25. Her permanent functional age is that of a 2 or 3-year-old. When Eileen and Karen’s mother suffered a heart attack, it was necessary to have Eileen move into a group adult home.
After their parents’ deaths, Karen became her sister’s guardian. Eileen flourishes at her group home, where she receives expert care, trips to Walmart and amusement parks, ice skating outings and enjoys the company of her housemates.
In addition to hearing Karen’s story of her own Experience 50, she speaks to others who may be caring for family members in their own homes rather than a group home or other a more institutionalized setting.
Keeping loved ones at home, which does seem the most loving answer, may in fact NOT be the most enriching environment after all.
Aging parents, adult children or siblings with emotional, developmental, physical or psychiatric challenges can benefit tremendously from residential care, away from family.
Guilt or fear of what others may think could be preventing you from giving your loved one the fullest life possible.
Update: This episode inspired this next episode!
About my guest, Karen Smith, 59:
She divorced in her 50s, bought a house, began a new career, and has a new man in her life. She visits her sister Eileen at least once a month and is in frequent contact with the group home staff and director.