Dear Coleen: 'I'm 84 and desperate to move after husband's death, but my daughters are against it'

-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Dear Coleen

I read your advice to others every day and now I’m hoping you may be able to advise me on what to do with the rest of my life.

I’m 84 years old and became a widow at Christmas after 64 years of marriage. I’m now faced with the job of selling my home for something smaller and more affordable.

I desperately want to move to a seaside place to enjoy however long I have left on this planet, but the sticking point is the attitude of my daughters.

I hardly ever see my girls, even though they currently live only 10 minutes away, yet they are really against me moving to the coast as it’s “too far away”. The thing is, I couldn’t be any lonelier living two hours from them than I am at the moment.

To complicate matters, my doctor is also against me moving somewhere so far away from family (I felt like laughing and saying: “What family?”).

I’d welcome your opinion, Coleen, on how to manage this tricky situation because I know for sure that I don’t want to stay where I am.

Coleen says

Well, first of all, I totally admire you for being determined to make this dream happen and not seeing age as a barrier.

You deserve to spend the rest of your life doing what makes you happy, especially after spending most of it thinking about other people.

I think your daughters and your doctor are trying to be practical, which I know sounds extremely dull! They’re probably thinking: “What if something happens and we’re not on the spot?” I get it, but I also think your daughters owe it to you to carefully consider the options and try to come up with a plan that all of you can be happy with.

If you feel well enough, then maybe the answer is some kind of sheltered housing where you buy or rent your own place and live an independent life, but there are also emergency alarms, staff on hand and social activities if you want to join in with them.

My ex-hubby Ray’s mum has lived in her own flat in sheltered accommodation for years – she is 99 now and has always been very independent. But Ray also has peace of mind because he knows there’s a system in place if his mum needs help.

An option like this might make your daughters feel better.

For you, there would be a community and lots of ­potential to make friends and get involved in things.

You’ll find information at ageuk.org.uk or call the advice line on 0800 678 1602.

I also think you should use this discussion around relocating to explain to your daughters that you’ve felt lonely and that you’d like to see more of them.

I’m sure they have busy lives, but maybe they need a little reminder that you’re on your own now, which is hard after 64 years of marriage. Good luck.

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