Q: My dear 63-year-old husband died of a heart attack two years ago. I still live in the same town where we lived for our entire married life. We raised our kids there. But now I have three different families living in different states.
As I am not in good health myself, my children want me to move to one of their homes so they can take care of me.
Over the years here, I have made wonderful friends and had great neighbors, and I am hesitant to move where I would not know anyone. I feel I am too old to make new friends.
What are my options?
A: Your dilemma is not uncommon. The great news is your family loves you and wants to participate in your caretaking. If you choose to move, there are a few questions you should consider:
—Which family has the better housing setup for privacy, which we all often need?
—Of your three families, which appears to be the best for you?
—Could you rotate locations comfortably?
—Who will take care of selling your existing home?
Only you can answer these questions, and rarely is there a perfect answer. There will be trade-offs, regardless of whether you move now or later. It is easier to make plans and move forward while you are in reasonably good health. Moving forward and establishing a new lifestyle may be your best option. — Doug
Q: I have been happily married for 40 years to a wonderful woman. However, she hasn't been acting like herself for the past several months or so, and I'm concerned.
She's been very melancholy and not so outgoing as usual. I've been struggling to stay positive when she's around.
How can I get things back to normal?
A: As I'm sure you're aware, relationships go through cycles. Although sometimes you may fall out of sync with your partner, you will most likely find an equilibrium again.
Additionally, marriages can become more complicated when you both reach retirement age. Because you probably spend more time together, you can be more attuned to fluctuations in your partner's mood. Practice patience and understanding.
When someone is feeling melancholy, avoid aggressive confrontation. As she seems to be withdrawing into herself, don't spur her into going on the defensive.
Instead, come from a place of support. Try to understand where she's coming from, and provide her with resources to improve her outlook. Think about what is prompting the changes in her attitude. Is she reacting to a recent event? Is something bothering her?
Try to break up your routine and trying something new — perhaps an adventure, a class or a game of some sort.
Try looking for the positives in your own life. You want to avoid the pitfall of falling into a negative emotional feedback loop. Focus on improving your own mood and you won't feel so affected by hers. — Emma
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.