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What would you do? Death, Parenting, & Special Needs


You are in your mid-sixties and for the last thirty years, you have taken care of your child daily. When the child was young you held out hope that they would be able to live on their own once they turned 18 or maybe as late as 24. Your other children have moved out of state and now your lone homebound child is driving you mad. Twice a year your child goes to resident camp and for those blessed few weeks, you get to be an adult.

During the last camp, you fell and broke a bone. You were lucky you broke the bone while your child was away at camp otherwise he would have had to go to the ER with you. Now you have to go to physical therapy once a week, and your child has to go with you because there is no one to watch him and keep him out of trouble.

These last few months have been very trying. Your mortality is looming on the horizon and you wonder what will happen once you can no longer care for your child. You start researching and find that many kids like your child die shortly after their parents' deaths because of broken hearts and broken routines.

Neither of your child’s siblings will talk with you about their sibling or your inevitable death, they are living their own lives. They say you are being silly and they are too busy. Obviously, the topic has been made taboo and again for the umpteenth time in thirty years you are alone to figure this out.

You have looked at residential facilities but they all felt sterile and would leave you in a nursing home too far away to help if needed during the transition. Besides that the facilities have waiting lists that are years long, if you had thought about this fifteen years ago it might be different.

Now you are left wondering: what will you do to prepare your child? How will you help them understand that you will die and they will be alone? Do you have enough resources to help your child live separately from you or will you have to take care of their needs until the day you are hospitalized and there are no other options?


I think about this kind of thing because; two of my siblings will never be able to live on their own, my mom and stepdad both have health problems and are in their late fifties, finally, I have a special needs child.


What would you think about if you were in this situation?

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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