Reed and Jenn Need A Fresh Start



Two years ago, my husband and I moved cross-country to this small and remote coastal Massachusetts town to become caregivers to my elderly parents. Due to a long illness, my mother passed away at the end of 2015. My parents were married over 64 years, and this precipitated my 88 year old father's slide in to progressive dementia.  

My father was unable to live alone in his home of 50 years. It became very evident to my brother, Reed and myself that the 100 year old home was both financially and physically unmanageable for Dad. In addition, my father had become a hoarder and collector, and a massive clean-out of the house was required. There was no way that Dad could stay in the house with his dementia while the house was being cleaned out. We also needed to get the house ready for the market.

Our parents did no financial or future planning for their home or any of its contents, including my mother's 50+ year collection of art that she had created. Everything has been left to my brother, my husband and I to figure out.

In February, we moved my Dad cross-country to Seattle to live with my brother, so that we could begin the long, intensive process of selling, donating and otherwise emptying the house out. My husband and I have remained in the house as caretakers, and cannot relocate until it is sold. Due to circumstances and responsibilities, I have only been able to work part-time as a local substitute teacher, and my husband is disabled. 

Our Current Situation:

My father is now living on his fixed Social Security income and a meager V.A. pension that I helped him get. My small income and my husband's disability income, with my Dad's income are being used to maintain the family home, keeping the lights and heat on. It has not been enough to cover everything, including the local property taxes, which are in arrears to the tune of almost $4000. The town has given public notice that they will put a lien on Dad's home for back taxes by December 5. I don't want to jeopardize our living situation, as we do not have funds to move yet.

What We Need:

At this time, *anything* will help, even $5. Every bit of income goes right back in to house expenses, or possibly a little toward future rent. We are facing significant housing uncertainty, because we don't know where we will live or what we can afford. We don't anticipate much profit in the sale of the home, because most will go toward paying the reverse mortgage my parents had, or paying off taxes, etc. Rents around here are very expensive, and ideally we require a place big enough, with either a garage or basement, so that I can store my mother's art collection safely.

Also, if we can move out of the house soon, it will should sell more quickly.  Additionally, if we move closer to public transportation and other amenities, I can begin hunting in earnest for full-time, permanent employment.

We have sold almost everything we can in the house to keep us going, and I am also now trying to sell my mother's art at reduced prices to support our move, as well as providing additional financial support to my father. My brother has been a huge help to us, however, he is now primary caregiver to my father, and his resources are not unlimited. 

As I mentioned, this is both very difficult, painful, and not what we wanted at all. We do our best to be problem-solvers and self-sufficient, but in this case we are up against a wall. We have had to start over here in Massachusetts, and our circumstances have made it very difficult to build our social and support networks. Most of our closest friends are in the Pacific Northwest where I lived for 20 years.

Whatever financial (even moral) support offered will be most humbly appreciated. In the future, I hope that our circumstances are much improved, and that we can pay it forward.

This has been my loving debt of gratitude to my parents, and everything they have offered to me over many years. I hope that I can declare this debt paid in full very soon.
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Jennifer L. Allen 
Scituate, MA
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