My other sister, the one who has experience of caring for elderly relatives, has saved the day… and her in the middle of a disaster too (Her husband had just accidentally sawn through a radiator pipe in the upstairs bathroom and caused an inadvertant downpour through the kitchen ceiling and all over the new carpets!). She is going to ring J and talk the whole situation through with her to set up an ongoing long-term agreement. Either that she and J between them can guarantee me regular breaks including my holidays away and times at home without having to worry about Dad, and including cover for emergencies (such as, if they’ve arranged for Dad to go there while I’m away because they’re working that week, that they can guarantee to be able to come here to him if something happens that he is unable to travel) – this being a long term situation and not just for this year alone. If they are unable to agree this as a definite way of working – and their husbands have to agree to it too – then we will proceed with the respite at the retirement home and Dad will have to lump the fact of spending the money. Whichever the situation, it should be arranged so that I don’t have to make all the arrangements and do all the running about.
I am so lucky that we’re such a close family and we can work things out together. They’re brilliant, my siblings. And we’re getting the chance of another family reunion in August when my nephew gets married in Scotland (his wedding in their home in the Caribbean was washed out in the hurricane and they have decided to relocate the venue to bonnie Scotland and bring the bride’s family with them. Hooray!)