An even dozen – that’s how many senior moves Home Solutions has handled for clients so far this year. This includes services such as creating a floor plan, hiring movers, packing, overseeing the moves, unpacking and settling things in the new space, as well as packing items for shipping to family members living out of state. It also includes handling the disposal of hazardous waste materials and outdated or unused medications, delivering boxes of papers for shredding, and taking loads of items to donation sites. All in a day’s work for Home Solutions.
In addition to handling these projects and other organizing and decluttering jobs, one stands out as more personal than any other. In March, I moved my mom into assisted living. This was a difficult, but necessary decision expedited by Mom’s declining memory issues and her inability to continue living independently and safely in her own home. The plan had been to begin the process slowly in the spring. But you know what they say about the best laid plans…
On February 7th, I visited the site I felt would be the best fit for Mom, and I was right. It had everything she’d need, and it was less than five minutes from my front door. On February 13th, I took Mom to tour the site. On March 5th, I moved her in. In the meantime, she and I sorted through personal belongings, and after trying on clothes that no longer fit, we shopped for a new wardrobe. I purchased furniture and other necessities for her new, downsized space.
Once she moved out of her home, there were carloads of items donated, bag loads of trash disposed of, and boxes of contents for family members, as well as photos and photo albums moved to our house for future sorting. Once that was done, I set up, cleaned, and priced the remaining contents for a small estate sale. The house was emptied and sold in a month’s time.
The biggest reason I was able to accomplish so much in such a short period of time was because I faithfully wore the hat of a senior move manager throughout the process. I heeded my own advice and put blinders on so as not to become overwhelmed looking at the big picture, or distracted by too many tasks at once. Instead, I focused on taking daily steps – baby steps – towards the finish line.
I’m happy to report that Mom is quite content and happy in her new place. She’s always been a very social person and hadn’t realized how isolated she’d become at home, despite having friends and activities in her life. She’s eating much healthier now, three “home-cooked” healthy meals every day. Her medications are managed for her, no more mixups or missed doses. She goes to exercise class each day, attends movie night, participates in the daily social circles, and even played Wii bowling last week!
This was not an easy decision, nor one we, as a family, entered into lightly. My out-of-town brothers were very involved in and supportive of my efforts throughout the transition.
If you’re wondering if it’s time to “have the talk” with a loved one, here are some suggestions:
- Take a peek “behind the scenes” at home, looking in closets, cupboards, and drawers:
- Are clothes kept clean and somewhat tidy?
- Is there expired food in the freezer, refrigerator, or pantry?
- Are medications up to date and being taken as prescribed?
- Is the daily mail being opened and processed?
- Talk to friends and neighbors about their observations. I was surprised at the number of people from her community who attended the estate sale and expressed relief to know she’d moved to assisted living.
- What’s the status of finances? Many seniors are taken advantage of by charities seeking multiple donations per year; observe the number of return address labels, free notepads and calendars lying around.
Sometimes, a family member is emotionally and physically able to participate in the downsizing process. Other times it’s too overwhelming and I recommend getting them situated in their new space before dealing with the house and its contents.
If it’s time to tackle the task of moving a loved one to independent or assisted senior living, you don’t have to put your own life on hold and do it yourself. Visit www.nasmm.org and enter your zip code to find help in your area. Senior Move Managers are skilled and experienced with all aspects of the job, and hiring one can be a real lifesaver.