Caring for Aging Parents — Breaking Point

Kathi Wells Macomber
5 min readApr 11, 2022
My Sister and My Niece

After years in the planning, we were finally in NYC lined up to enter the Richard Rodgers Theater to see Hamilton. I’ve always loved musicals, and I helped to influence my niece and nephew to love them too. They introduced me to Hamilton when it first hit the theaters and turned me into a fan. I would sit at the computer every time the new lottery of tickets came available in hopes of winning a chance to purchase tickets. Miraculously, I was able to buy our whole family tickets for July of the next year.

I immediately started planning a trip to NYC. It was going to be me, my husband, my sister, her kids, and my dad. We had wonderful family trips before, there was no reason this couldn’t be another. It didn’t take long before my family started questioning my desire to take my dad. He was already having a hard time following directions, so it might be difficult for him to travel. However, I felt like he had enough of his faculties to enjoy the trip. As time went by, I was shown evidence to the contrary.

A few months before the trip, I asked dad if he thought he was up for it. He was hesitant. I know he didn’t want to say no, but I could tell he was worried. We did a little dance of a discussion; by the end of it, we decided he would not go. I finished planning the trip for five instead of six. I was not happy about this decision, but I agreed it was for the best. It was weird to think of a family trip without dad.

My dad called me about five times a day during the week we were gone. Mostly, he was just checking in on us, but sometimes he was asking me questions about little things he had to know right then. At this point, dad was in an assisted living facility. It was a beautiful place, and dad was doing well there. I visited pretty much every day. Sometimes, my visit included taking him somewhere: a doctor’s office, boxing, Rotary. Sometimes, it was just to make sure he knew we were still paying attention, and that the staff knew that too.

The night we got back from our trip, a nurse called me from dad’s facility. He was acting erratically and trying to leave the building. I rushed over and couldn’t believe my eyes. My dad was standing at the top of the entryway stairs yelling at the staff that he needed to get to the police. “Someone has taken Kathi!” He was sure of it. Dad…

Kathi Wells Macomber

We are full time RVing. We hope to see 49 state in the next few years. I am writing about our adventures as well as my time as a caregiver for my father.