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Christmas in Thailand 2018


Christmas in ThailandHey Everyone, RB40Jr and I are heading off to Thailand for 5 weeks! We’ll spend Christmas and New Year there.  It’s been very cold in Portland and I’m so ready for warmer weather. The temperature is just in the 40s here, but I’m a wimp when it comes to cold weather. Unfortunately, this trip isn’t a vacation. We’re taking my mom to Thailand to find a better living arrangement for her. Also, it will be a good opportunity to reconnect with my extended families and eat lots of great Thai food. Mrs. RB40 (my wife) will stay in Portland this trip. She already used up her vacation days and she needs a break from us.

Living arrangement

The main purpose of this trip is to find a better living arrangement for my mom. She was diagnosed with dementia earlier this year and it’s been a difficult adjustment for all of us. For now, we could take care of her, but it will be extremely difficult as the disease progresses.

Currently, she’s having hallucinations and they are causing a lot of anxiety. She hears voices and sees people occasionally. Now, she thinks they’re ghosts and she’s scared. Someone needs to be with her all the time. That’s me because I’m the one she trusts. These days, I can’t go to the gym or leave for long. I also have to sleep in her room because she’d be scared when she wakes up at night. Then she’ll come into our room to wake me up.

Here is an example of the hallucination when she was alone for about 30 minutes. Last month, she thought she heard someone yelling there’s a fire. She panicked and tried to get out of our home. However, she doesn’t function very well when she’s in that panicky state. She couldn’t unlock the front door to get out of our condo (it’s just a regular deadbolt). So she called 911 and told them there is a fire and someone locked her inside. I got back home a few minutes later and was able to calm her down. I explained the situation to the police and they didn’t have to send someone over. Anyway, she can’t be left alone anymore. She can’t tell the difference between hallucination and reality.

Tension at home

Another big problem is that she blames my wife for these problems. She thinks Mrs. RB40 dislikes her and is playing tricks on her. Occasionally, she’d yell at my wife for no reason. The paranoia is causing a lot of tension at home. My mom doesn’t quite believe that it’s dementia that is making her this way. She wants to blame someone and my wife is a convenient target. My mom wants to go to Thailand because she thinks it will be better there. In Portland, she’s stressed out and anxious all the time.

Lastly, she is losing her English. She used to be able to speak English well. But now, she would speak Thai to my wife and son. They can’t understand her. This is the biggest obstacle to staying in the US. There aren’t many Thai people in Portland. It’ll be very difficult to find help as the dementia progresses. Eventually, she’ll probably have to go to a nursing home and I don’t see how she can stay there without the ability to communicate. That’s why we’re taking this trip to figure out a better living arrangement in Thailand. At least, she’ll be able to communicate.

Alright, on to the trip schedule.

Trip schedule

This trip will be pretty complicated because we want to go visit my mom’s siblings. Also, I want to check out a few nursing homes along the way to see if they’re any good.

Part 1 – visit my mom’s family (10 days)

This first part of the trip will be pretty quick. I think it’ll take about 10 days to visit all my mom’s siblings.

  • Our first stop is in Bangkok. We’ll be there just a day or two to see my uncle and visit a nursing home near his home.
  • Next stop will be Nonthaburi. We’ll visit 2 of my mom’s siblings and check out another nursing home. We also need to do some legal paperwork for RB40Jr. In case he ever wants to live in Thailand in the future, he can do so without any issue.
  • Rayong is next. We’ll visit my aunt here and relax at the beach for a few days. This province has beaches, but there aren’t many foreign tourists. I guess it’s not as nice as further south. Lots of Thai tourists come here to get away from Bangkok because Rayong is within driving distance.
  • We’ll head to Chonburi after Rayong. My mom grew up there and one of her brothers still lives in the area. He runs the shop that they were all born in. There is a shop downstairs and a living area upstairs. They have been renting that shop space for more than 70 years! My mom said the owner refuses to sell. Wow, talk about long-term investment.

Part 2 – Chiang Mai (15 days)

After that, we’ll head up to Chiang Mai. My dad will come to meet us in Bangkok and we’ll take a road trip up to Chiang Mai. He wants to visit a few places along the way, but we’ll see how my mom is doing by then. If she’s okay, then we can take a slow road trip up north. If not, we’ll hustle up to Chiang Mai quickly.

Once we arrive in Chiang Mai, we’ll focus on my mom’s health. We’ll need to find her a new primary care physician, neurologist, dentist, and glaucoma specialist. I got a 90-day vacation prescription for her so she doesn’t have to worry about medication for a while. My mom will stay with my dad in Chiang Mai. I’m not sure if this will work out because my dad isn’t a patient person. We’ll try and see how it goes. I’ll come back to Thailand in the summer and figure something else out if this doesn’t work.

My dad and my mom’s siblings are all against sending her to a nursing home. The culture doesn’t accept it. Traditionally, the kids take care of the parent no matter how difficult it is. However, the times they are a-changin’. There are more nursing homes in Thailand now. People live longer and they have more health problems. Sometimes, the kids just can’t care for their parents. Also, I don’t think they understand how stressful dementia can be.

We’ll be in Chiang Mai for about 15 days. There are quite a few festivals going on around New Year so RB40Jr should have plenty of things to do.

Part 3 – Phuket and Bangkok (7 days)

After Chiang Mai, RB40Jr and I are going on a little adventure.

First, we’ll take the overnight sleeper train to Bangkok. We’ll fly out to Phuket the same morning we arrive in Bangkok. This is a bit of a snafu. It would have been easier to fly straight to Phuket from Chiang Mai. However, my dad already got us the nonrefundable train tickets. I’m fine with that, though. I used to take the overnight train between Chiang Mai and Bangkok when I was a kid. It’s always a lot of fun to go on those trips. RB40Jr took the train on our previous trip and he enjoyed it.

In Phuket, we’ll stay at Kata beach for 4 nights. This is the quiet part of Phuket so we won’t have to deal with the party scene. The last time I visited Phuket was in 2004. It was already built up then, but now it seems to be completely overrun by tourists. We’ll see how it goes.

After Phuket, we’ll fly back to Bangkok and spend a few nights there. My main goal is to eat as much delicious Thai food as I can. We’ll stay in the Bang Rak area and there are a bunch of awesome local eateries in the area. Here are some of the restaurants I plan to try.

  • 100 Mahaseth – Upscale Isan restaurant.
  • Baan Pad Thai – Upscale Pad Thai restaurant.
  • Tealicious – Thai food.
  • Chareon Saeng Silom – Braised pig leg.
  • Prachak Pet Yang – Roast duck.

Part 4 – Hong Kong (20 hours)

Lastly, we have a 20-hour layover in Hong Kong. I booked us a room in a small hostel in Tsim Sha Tsui. We’ll try to visit a few sights nearby but probably won’t make it to Hong Kong island this trip. RB40Jr’s favorite food is dim sum so we’ll try to find a good place to eat. I read that Tim Ho Wan is a good dim sum place. It’s also one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world! Mmm… delicious and cheap, I can’t wait. Let me know if you have a good recommendation for dim sum near Tsim Sha Tsui.

Blog schedule

That’s it for the trip. We’ll be back in Portland in 5 weeks. I’ll try to post once per week while we’re overseas, but I might not be able to do it. Let me know if you have any questions about Thailand and I’ll try to answer them.

Happy Holidays!

Alright, thanks for listening. This is one good thing about having a blog. I can write about my adversity rather than talking to a psychologist about it. We’ll try to stay positive and make the best of it.

Starting a blog is a great way to save money on your therapy bill, build your brand, and generate some extra income. Check out my tutorial if you’re thinking about blogging – How to Start A Blog and Why You Should 

Image by Alexandr Padvalny

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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{ 74 comments… add one }
  • Mayan Queen December 23, 2018, 4:19 pm

    My mom has dementia but her symptoms are different. She is able to open doors and to prevent her from scraping I have a little alarm. It is a cheap over the counter alarm and simple to install. I also made her a bracelet for her yo wear at all times. It has her name and my phone number. She often takes it off but we try to write phone number on the reverse of her clothes, shoes, etc
    She also wears a disposable diapers for emergency. I recommend that you keep all sharp objects in safe child proof drawers. I remember my mom bring a bit depressed at the beginning of his illness but the doctor gave her some meds for that and to lower the anxiety level. If you call the alzhymer association…they also offer free classes for care givers and in addition provide support. She should have a social worker from her hospital to provide support for the family. They have tons of resources about day care, etc
    She has better benefits if she is a USA citizen. There is also In Home Service Support (IHSS) which provides a home caregiver for a certain amount of hours. We have to be very proactive and find mentioned resources. My mom is now 92 and her sister will turn 101 in March. They both live in their own apartment. There are 3 care givers, some expenses come out of pocket and others are covered by their senior benefits. I am really glad that we have been able to keep them living independently this long! It is not easy but we all take turns sleeping over sometimes so that the care givers can have some time off. It hasn’t been easy but doable. Yeah, our culture does not allow us either to place them in a home. Oh. my aunt is on a wheel chair due to an accident when she was younger. My last recommendation, don’t try to do it alone…and ask fir meds to diminish anxiety and depression. Happy Holidays to all!

  • David @iretiredyoung December 19, 2018, 10:06 am

    I understand how difficult the decisions are with your mother. Quite a while ago, my mother had Alzheimer’s and it got to the stage where it just wasn’t possible for her to be cared for at home. Her husband found the best possible residential care facility for her, and although the transition was quite difficult, it really was the best thing. I know from living in Asia that it is viewed as a strange thing to do, but I knew that it was in the best interest of my mother, and it didn’t mean that we loved her any less.

    On your trip, I see you’re hoping to eat some good Thai food – that’s not exactly a challenge, we loved the food in Thailand, it was all fantastic. And in Hong Kong, even though you’re only there for a short time, I would recommend going on the Star Ferry. It costs almost nothing, and gives great views of both sides of the Harbour.

  • Jim December 16, 2018, 6:45 pm

    Hey Joe, hope you can have some relaxation on your trip. Dealing with ailing parents is immensely stressful, I am currently dealing with my father’s terminal cancer, so I feel your pain. Make great memories with your mother and children while you’re there, and perhaps without the stress at home your mother will be in a better mental state. I hope so!

  • WTK December 14, 2018, 7:56 pm

    Hi Joe,

    Have a great trip to you and your family.


  • Crispy Doc December 14, 2018, 6:06 am

    This is an incredibly difficult time for any child, and you seem to be handling it with tremendous grace. I’m glad you are making the choice that is right for you and your marriage instead of meeting the unreasonable expectations of others. Wishing you luck in finding the right place for your mom’s needs,


  • Abby H. December 14, 2018, 4:10 am

    What an exciting itinerary, for such a sad reason! I am so glad you’ve built in some fun time.
    I live in China now but spent time in Thailand years ago and especially loved Chiang Mai. Enjoy the positive aspects of your trip, and I hope that the tougher parts go smoothly, and your mom finds a better life in her new digs.

  • Eric @ Flip n' Finances December 11, 2018, 10:42 am

    It sounds like a busy 5 week trip to me! I’m glad that you’re figuring out the best arrangements for your Mom and your family. I’m sure she will be much more comfortable in her homeland like you said. Take care and eat lots of good Thai food 🙂

  • David Michael December 11, 2018, 9:31 am

    Wishing you a safe trip to Thailand and success with finding a caring home for your mother.

    And, an early Merry Christmas Season.

  • steve @ familyonfire.org December 11, 2018, 9:20 am

    Have a safe trip Joe. Cold, wet Portland will still be here when you get back.

  • Dr. McFrugal December 11, 2018, 8:45 am

    Sounds like you are making the best decision for your mom and family. It’s tough, frustrating, and challenging to take care of elderly parents (especially ones with dementia). And I cant imagine how hard it is at home with your mom blaming your wife. Really tough.

    I was wondering if you considered moving your entire family to Thailand and living with among a community with family there. The geoarbitrage and cost of living would be cheaper and it would seem like your passive income streams will more than cover the cost of living. Maybe you’ve covered this in a previous post that I haven’t read yet (and if you did, please feel free to link it so I can read). I was just curious.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:36 pm

      I would like to live in Thailand for a while, but not right now. I like the US schooling system better. Kids study way too much in Thailand. It’s crazy. Once RB40Jr goes off to college, then it will be easier to move. Happy holidays!

  • Tigermom December 11, 2018, 8:16 am

    Good luck Joe, I completely get it. Mom and dad are in a nursing home, and I am still responsible and must manage their care and many regulations require a lot of involvement from me even for minor things. I am glad your siblings are supportive – that is not my situation and it is sad and quite draining for us. I am looking forward to taking more time from work next year in FIRE within five years so I can prioritize more for everyone and even some for myself! I hope you and your son have an awesome time, you deserve it : )

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:35 pm

      Thanks. I hope this move works out. Going to a nursing home in Thailand would be tough. I’ll have to help manage the situation from afar. Take care of yourself. Happy holidays!

  • Kevin December 11, 2018, 7:15 am

    Thanks for sharing about your mom. It’s a tough spot to be in, one my wife and I might find ourselves in as well.

    On a happy note, I have very fond memories of the overnight train from Bangkok to ChiangMai/Udon Thani when I was a kid. Sounds like you do too and RBJR will have fun hopefully too.

  • Lazy Man and Money December 10, 2018, 6:41 pm

    Wow, things were worse than I had thought. That must be super stressful. I hope the trip goes well and you get to have fun on the side stuff like the overnight train and cool restaurants.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Yeah, it’s been stressful. We’ll take lots of pictures.

  • Helen December 10, 2018, 6:24 pm

    Hi Joe, I hope you find a good place for your mom in Thailand. Yeah, the nursing home in US is way too expensive. As you mentioned, the language could also be a challenge for your mom. Hopefully, your mom feels the environment in Thailand more familiar and easier to get adjusted to. Aging is hard.

    Enjoy the time and great food in Thailand. Yeah, the food in Hong Kong is very good, too.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:33 pm

      Thanks. I hope the environment will help. She is too stressed out here.

  • Randy @ Emusements December 10, 2018, 2:47 pm

    Best of luck settling in your mom. Hope that works out well. Sounds like a busy trip but with some time baked in for fun with Jr. Has he been to the Krabi area? That was my favorite coastal area when I went to Thailand in 1994, due to the dramatic geography.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:32 pm

      Thanks. I’ve been to Krabi, but he hasn’t. At this point, any beach is the same to him as long as it is relatively nice. I don’t think he cares about the geography. 🙂

  • mary w December 10, 2018, 1:56 pm

    As I read this, I’m so glad you decided to take her to Thailand at Christmas rather than trying to wait for summer. Alzheimer’s can sometimes progress quickly. Aside from the toll on you and your family if you waited, there’s the possibility that the disease could progress in 6 months such that it would be impossible for her to fly.

    So sorry you’re having to deal with this.

    • retirebyforty December 11, 2018, 1:31 pm

      Thanks. I had to evaluate our options again after the last post. You’re right that 6 months is a long time.

  • Adrian December 10, 2018, 12:09 pm

    Just started reading your blog a few months ago. Thank you so much for talking about the personal challenges your family is facing – being FIRE must have helped a lot in terms of freeing up your mental space.

    My parents are also elderly and their physical/mental capabilities are declining rapidly. Dementia is not in the picture (and hopefully will never be), but the mental decline is still difficult for us.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:49 pm

      Right. Not having to work full-time helps a lot. If I was working full-time, I wouldn’t have time to deal with this.
      Aging is not for sissies.
      Happy holidays.

  • Justin December 10, 2018, 11:40 am

    That’s rough, Joe. Hopefully your mom settles in a good situation in CM. It’s good that you have Thailand as an option since it’s probably a lot cheaper vs the same thing in the US.

    We’ll be in Thailand mid-July to mid-August including in CM for a week or two, so maybe our travels will overlap if you end up there.

    We’re dealing with some of the same things with my grandma, though she’s settled into a pretty decent Medicaid nursing home in the NC mountains. My uncle lives nearby so he’s on hand to help watch out for her.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:47 pm

      We’ll be back in CM in the summer. We’ll see how it goes. I might need to move my mom into a nursing home then. I’m not too optimistic about her staying with my dad.
      Best wishes to your family. Happy holidays!

  • Katrin December 10, 2018, 11:29 am

    Have a safe trip and all the best for your mum. Maybe there’s a chance she gets better in the culture/environment she grew up in. Or at least she’ll be able to feel part of the local community with all your relatives around.

    Must not be easy for you and Mrs RB40 to spend Christmas so many miles apart from each other but it sounds like you’re doing the exactly right thing…Happy holidays to you and your family, make the most of it anyway!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:46 pm

      I really hope so. She’s too stressed out right now. Hopefully, she will relax a bit when she’s back in a familiar environment.
      Christmas apart is going to be tough for Junior. We’ll video call her often so that should help. Happy holidays!

  • Tawcan December 10, 2018, 10:39 am

    Have fun Joe! Hope this trip will help with your mom’s condition. That’s a tough situation to get through. 🙁

    Maybe you can meet up with Jason from MrFreeAt33 while in Thailand!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:44 pm

      Yes, I’m going to meet up with Jason after New Year. It should be good.

  • FIRECracker December 10, 2018, 9:20 am

    Safe travels, Joe! Hope your mom gets the help she needs. I totally understand where you’re coming from in terms of your family not wanting to send your mom to a nursing home. We had to struggle with the same thing, and my uncle eventually hired a nurse to care for my grandmother at home. Maybe that could be an alternative if the nursing home idea is too challenging to accept.

    Your description of your mom’s paranoia and blaming your wife sounds very much like the issue we struggle with my mom back when I was in college. She also had hallucinations and kept calling 911, accusing the neighbours of spying on her. It started because she got let go from work and was also dealing with major health issues. We couldn’t get her the help she needed because she just flat out refused to acknowledge her paranoia. She also refused to trust any doctor’s or anyone who didn’t speak mandarin, so language barrier was a big issue too. Now that my Dad’s retired and can stay home with her, she’s gotten much better. So I really feel for you and know where you are coming from. It’s tough.

    Hang in there and hope you find the answers and help you need in Thailand!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:44 pm

      Yes, we’ll hire a caretaker. My dad can’t take care of her by himself. A caretaker should help a lot.
      The paranoia is bad. It’s stressful for everyone. I’m all worn out from dealing with this.
      Best wishes and happy holidays.

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life December 10, 2018, 9:11 am

    This is a LOT like what we went through with both my mom and my grandma. We took care of both of them at home but it was a pretty bad solution considering we weren’t that good at it and it was constantly challenging (memory lapses, fear, confusion, blackouts, wandering out of the house and getting lost multiple times). We were lucky enough that if she lost English, we all still spoke her native language at least but it was incredibly hard because I was the one she blamed a lot, she’d accuse me of hating her to my face and to anyone who would come talk to her. I think it came from feeling lonely and resentment that I “didn’t need her” anymore. It was so far from the truth, but unfortunately I was too busy supporting the family to keep the rent paid to realize that I still needed her. I still feel bad that she felt that I didn’t need her – what a horrible feeling for a mother who gave her kids everything she had.

    I was the youngest child (21) so we didn’t have the added challenge you’ve got of a young child in the home for whom safety would be a concern in this situation.

    I think you’re right that your family has to experience trying to care for her before they’ll accept a nursing home situation, I do hope that they all want the best for her more than they want to stick with the traditional set-up, or at the very least you can get two backup caretakers if staying in the home could work for her, one for day and one for night. We couldn’t afford that here in the US and it was dangerous because I was working all the time and couldn’t do much on the night shift too, and Dad was covering her all day while I was working so we were exhausted all the time.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry to hear about your mom and grandma. Dementia is very challenging. I guess you just have to deal with it if you don’t have the resources to hire helpers. That’s tough.
      We’ll get one caretaker first and then see. It’s not too expensive to hire helpers in Thailand.

      • Jolee December 22, 2018, 1:43 pm

        I hope the trip goes as well as you hope. Do please read everything you can about traveling with someone with dementia and ask for all the help and accommodations she needs. And ask her doctor if she should wear compression hose on the flights to reduce the risk of clotting/stroke.

        I would advise having a minimum of 2-3 caretakers that you split the hours between. That’s what we did with my mother. That way if one caregiver gets sick or has another issue, you can ask if the other two would be willing to increase their hours to cover until the first one can come back or you can find someone new. It would also mean that you have a group of caregivers who already know your mom and her current issues and can split increased hours between them if your mom needs more hours of coverage because something happens with her that increases her needs—like a fall resulting in a fracture.

  • Lucy December 10, 2018, 8:53 am

    Sounds like things are rough. It seems like you guys have a plan for it though! Predicting the cost for care for elderly parents is tough. Anyway enjoy your time in Thailand! And when you stop in Hong Kong, make sure to go to the Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po. It’s the best one. You might get crammed in there with other people at your table with rude service but it’s part of the experience! Make sure to get the BBQ pork bun!!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 12:41 pm

      Yeap, our hostel is near the Jordon stop so we’ll head to Sham Shui Po. I’m looking forward to it. Jr will be in heaven. 😀

  • Cynthia December 10, 2018, 7:52 am

    My mother inlaw lived 12 years after my husband’s dad passed away. My husband was a pilot & only child so her care was mine.
    We moved her to a condo just a few blocks away while she could still manage but she was hearing voices & left water running etc. we had to move her to a living place where for a year she was ok. Then the last 6 months was brutal & costly. No medicine helped. She disliked her own son at the end because he had to work. I had my own business which allowed me great flexibility. I spent time with her everyday. You can only change the subject not argue with someone who suffers from this disease. The language issue would be a real challenge. YOur doing the best thing. Good luck.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:52 am

      Thanks for sharing. That sounds like a very difficult situation for you. It’s even more difficult to take care of your in-laws. My mom doesn’t trust my wife so it wouldn’t work out well. Happy holidays.

  • Susan @ FI Ideas December 10, 2018, 7:25 am

    Dementia has got to be the most challenging family situation. Having hallucinations and showing anger to your wife makes your own lives so difficult. I really feel for you.

    My mom was assisting her older sister in a similar situation until my aunt became so combative that it was time to have professionals take over, so a nursing home was selected. What really was sad was that they ended up drugging her in order to keep the staff from getting beat up. I really don’t know what the solution is. I’m so sorry for your Mom and your family. Take care. At least you are able to have an interesting travel adventure and your son will have an amazing time that will probably stick with him for life. Best of luck to you.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:50 am

      My wife is trying to be calm, but that’s hard too. When you get blamed for things that aren’t your fault, you want to argue back. It’s hard to just ignore it and change the subject.
      SOrry to hear about your aunt. My mom isn’t physically combative yet and I hope she won’t. That sounds bad. Thank you. Happy holidays!

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance December 10, 2018, 6:46 am

    I am so sorry to hear about the issues your mom is facing and the tension at home. It is already hard enough to live with parents when they are healthy. It might be really challenging when they can’t differentiate between imagination and reality. I used to live with a girl who had hallucinations, and it was tough for all of us roommates living with her. It must be really tough for Mrs. RB40. And it can affect your marriage too.

    I think you are doing the best you can as a dutiful son. I hope everything will work out for you and your family. Have a great trip!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:44 am

      Thanks. Hopefully, the hallucination will improve in Thailand. But I don’t know. It’ll be tough.

  • Pennypincher December 10, 2018, 5:57 am

    Your timing could not have been better.
    The relatives will find out fast, she’s better off surrounded by support 24/7, in a retirement place.
    Let us know the scoop on Phuket, and send those food pics! Tons.
    You’ll see, everything will turn out for the best, for everyone.
    Your free therapy will be here waiting for you! Stay positive!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:43 am

      Thanks. I hope she’s okay after the long travel day. We’ll see how it goes.
      This free therapy is the best. Happy holidays!

      • Pennypincher December 10, 2018, 3:03 pm

        Joe, see if her doctor has a mild sedative maybe to take along just in case?? Does she have an object that comforts her? Blanket, scarf, pillow?? Maybe let the plane crew know the scoop. They have seen it many times before. Keep her hydrated!! Even if it has to be Hawaiian Punch fruit drink. Whatever she wants! Keep the peace!

  • Financial Samurai December 10, 2018, 5:42 am

    Best to you and your mom! I hope Thailand does her well. Please let us know how Chiang Mai is. It seems like the lifestyle design HQ and I’d love to get your opinion on whether it really is as great as folks make it seem.

    Phuket too!


    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:43 am

      I’ll look around more in CM. There are a lot more things to do now, I think. I’ll meet up with Jason (Mr. Free at 33) and maybe some other people.
      Phuket seems overrun with tourists. I don’t think we have enough time there anyway. Next time…

  • Tom @ Dividends Diversify December 10, 2018, 5:30 am

    Good luck and safe travels on the trip Joe. Thanks for the note about the blog. As I read, I wondered how you could do all that travel, assist your mother and keep the blog alive twice a week. Tom

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:41 am

      Thank you. I’ll try my best to post once a week, but I’ll probably miss one or two. Travel is tough on people with dementia.
      Happy holidays.

  • Mrs. Groovy December 10, 2018, 5:28 am

    Safe travels and good luck finding a suitable home for your mom. I hope you can block out the family opinions. You tried to keep your mom living with you but you’re not professionally equipped to handle her dementia. They don’t walk in your shoes.

    Great idea on getting JR’s paperwork taken care of and providing him with more options.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:40 am

      Thank you. People without personal experience don’t realize how stressful it is. The paranoia and anxiety make life very tense for us. Hopefully, it’ll work out with my dad. If not, we’ll try to find a good nursing home.

  • Angela @ Tread Lightly Retire Early December 10, 2018, 4:59 am

    Oh Joe. I am so sorry things are so rough with your mom right now. Glad you can take this time to try and make a better situation for her. Good luck it Thailand. And oh man does that food sound good.

  • Nicoleandmaggie December 10, 2018, 4:39 am

    I wanna see pictures of food!

  • Lily December 10, 2018, 3:08 am

    Sounds like stellar plans Joe! Good luck! You are doing right by your mom. It sounds like she is having a tough time, had no idea she’s picking fights with Mrs RB40 over nothing. Must be painful to deal with 🙁 aging parents are hard. Are there no nursing or care facilities in Portland that’s low or no fee? My parents never made much money so they qualify for some senior assistance (I didn’t know about it until a few days ago.)

    Nevertheless I’m still really excited about your trip! Stay safe and have tons of fun visiting your family! Very excited for the photos and tales 8)

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:38 am

      It’s tough. Dementia really screws with your mind.
      There are facilities in Portland, but the language is a big problem. She is unhappy in Portland anyway so might as well go back to Thailand. It’ll be a better environment for her.

  • Dave @ Accidental FIRE December 10, 2018, 3:04 am

    Good luck Joe, dementia is hard to deal with. Try to make the best of the trip and have a great holiday season!

  • Steps To Early Retirement December 10, 2018, 2:20 am

    Hi Joe,

    Good luck on your trip!! I know you must be in a difficult position balancing everyone’s needs. It probably feels like you’re stuck in the middle. It sounds like you’re managing the situation extremely well. Keep it up!

    You’re right regarding the great food in Thailand. My wife and I have been in Chiang Mai for almost 2 months. We’ve mostly been eating local food with the occasional ‘western food’. We just found a great pizza place in our last week here. It’s called By Hand Pizza in the old city. We had a meat lover pizza for 275 Bhat ($8.37 USD, $11.15 Cdn). You definitely can eat well at a reasonable price here!


    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:36 am

      Is Chiang Mai your current base? I hope you enjoy it.
      I’m going to avoid western food when I’m in Thailand. 🙂

      • Steps To Early Retirement December 11, 2018, 3:39 am

        Chiang Mai was our base for two months. We’ll be in Vietnam and Malaysia for a couple of months before checking out Indonesia, Austrailia and New Zealand before hopping on a cruise back through Hawaii to Vancouver. We’ll be back in Toronto some-time in the spring/summer. Then we’ll leave Canada before winter comes but we haven’t decided where we’ll be going then.

  • Michael @ Financially Alert December 10, 2018, 1:07 am

    Hi Joe, wishing you all the best as you find a better living situation for your Mom. Taking care of ailing parents is a tough job, and I can only imagine the dementia part makes it worse.

    Thanks for all the great food advice as we make our way over to Thailand as well. We’ll be in Macau for Christmas, then spending a few days in Koh Samui before visiting Bangkok. We’ll finish up the trip in Hong Kong a the last week.

    It’s funny, my wife and I were just watching a youtube review of Tim Ho Wan this weekend. We may have to try that was well! 😉

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:35 am

      I’ve been wasting a lot of time browsing the internet for good restaurants. There are so many eateries in Bangkok. Check these out if you’re in the area. Have fun!

  • Ms ZiYou December 9, 2018, 11:37 pm

    Best of luck for your trip Joe, you really are in that sandwich situation with both your mum and son needing you.

    Hope you find somewhere that works for your mum in Thailand, it sounds really hard for you as her health deteriorates and takes a toll on you and your marriage.

    And are you going to teach Jnr RB40 Thai? He must Be around the right age to pick it up easily.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:34 am

      We’ll try to teach him some. But 5 weeks is too short. I’ll enroll him in class this summer when we visit for 2-3 months. Happy holidays!

  • Dan December 9, 2018, 11:29 pm

    Sorry to hear about the family struggle.
    I actually did the opposite than you are planning, and brought my parents from abroad to the USA to ensure they are well taken care of. Medicine is advanced the most in the USA.
    There is some treatment for her symptoms, which definitely need medication management. There is a concern that symptoms may get worse due to the being in a new place.
    I wish you the best of luck, and stay strong.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:33 am

      I’m happy with my mom’s doctors, but they really can’t do much for dementia. It seems like a chemistry experiment. You just keep trying different drugs and the combination. It helps for a while, then it slides again. From my research, there really isn’t a cure. The meds just help with maintenance for a while.
      I read that there might be some new meds in Japan, though. Hopefully, they’ll be able to access that in Thailand. Thank you.

  • Mr. Tako December 9, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Hope you have a good trip Joe. I really hope this works better for your Mom. Are your parents separated? I don’t know if you’ve ever mentioned why they don’t live together.

    Anyway, your mom seeing ghosts and hallucinating fires must be keeping you on edge all the time. A nursing home would feel like a godsend.

    Safe travels, and try to take lots of pictures of all that yummy Thai food for me. 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:30 am

      Their relationship is complicated. We’ll see how it works out.
      I’ll take lots of pictures this time. Happy holidays!

  • Lily December 9, 2018, 10:41 pm

    Take care, Joe. Best wishes to you and your mom in Thailand. Really hoping your mom can find a good place in Thailand so you two can have some much deserved rest and peace of mind. I’m a bit surprised that your dad will be the one taking care your mom for a while since dementia patients demand a lot of patience and energy. Hope your dad has a backup person to help out so he can take a break from day to day. Happy holidays!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2018, 8:30 am

      Thank you. I’m not sure if it’s going to work out with my dad. We plan to hire a caretaker so that should help a lot.
      I think they’ll have experience taking care of her before they accept the nursing home solution.
      Happy holidays!

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