to replicate the old environment as much as possible.
will be experiencing a lot of change; it will be comforting
to have some things stay the same. Photograph each shelf in the
china closet, the arrangement of pictures on walls and items on
bureaus. The photographs will help you recreate the feel of the
former residence with amazing accuracy and speed.
and physical comfort guide the process.
Your parents’ priorities
may be different from yours. If books were very special to them,
they may need to determine what will happen to the volumes not
going with them before they are willing to focus on other issues.
Attempting to force your parents to proceed in a sequence that
doesn’t address their priorities may result in your winning
the battle but losing the war.
Your parents’ perspective
may differ from yours. They may prefer old and worn objects to
newer items that are in much better condition. Seemingly insignificant
items may be loaded with personal meaning and memories, while objects
of great material value may be less important. Allow them to make
Your parents may want to give you items, including some you may
not be happy to receive. Take them anyway. Store the items in your
basement if you must, but accept them graciously. Knowing that
cherished objects are with family can bring comfort and peace of
mind to your parents.
Often poor health and failing
eyesight result in housekeeping practices that are less stringent
than they once were. Tactfully offer to clean things as you sort
through or pack. Avoid making your parents feel badly about the
home they are leaving.
Focus on sorting, not packing.
for a senior move is a major organizational challenge. It’s
not uncommon to have items going to your parents’ new home,
to an adult son in Maine, a daughter in Illinois, a granddaughter
in Arizona, a niece in Texas, the church bazaar, the Salvation
Army, the neighborhood consignment shop, and the township dump.
Attics, basements, garages, closets and cupboards.... there may
be forty years of belongings to sort through. Many people feel
It’s here more than anywhere else that you are needed. Helping
your parents sort and organize their belongings is the single most
important thing you can do to reduce the stress of moving, ensure
move, and save money in the long run.
parents say good-bye.
When you work with your parents,
keep sorting sessions brief (2-3 hours at most). Constant decision-making
is emotionally exhausting. Accept that some days you will accomplish
less than you had hoped. The sorting process brings up lots of
memories. Stories and reminiscing are natural. It’s all right
to be directed in your goal, but let your parents enjoy their recollections.
It’s part of saying good-bye.
about how much time you can devote to the project.
Allow 40-60 hours for the
packing and unpacking (once you have acquired all the packing materials),
and at least that much time for the sorting process, spread out
over several months if possible. If your time is limited, use
to help your parents prepare for their move, and obtain professional
help for the pack and unpack.
Concentrate on the big picture.
Senior moves are stressful
for the entire family, as adult children assume new responsibilities
in addition to their own homes, jobs and families. Conflicts sometimes
develop between siblings over who bears which portion of the burden,
or over the disposition of material items. As you work with your
parents and siblings, keep three objectives equally in mind — caring
for your parents, taking care of yourself, and keeping the family
The Last Word for Adult Children
Your mission is to get all this done...while at the same time
being supportive of your parent...and somehow keeping your job,
your own family, and your other responsibilities under control.
live very near your parent, it'll be difficult. If you don't, it
may be impossible.
As with most big jobs, delegation is the
secret to getting the job done and staying sane during your parent's
move. Caring Transitions does all the tasks that can be delegated
so that you can concentrate on those things that really can't be
delegated. You won't spend a lot of your time explaining basic
tasks or trying to cajole us into doing them. And you won't think
they're taken care of only to find out later they're not. You tell
us. It's done. Simple.
You'll also find that having an "outsider" involved
has definite advantages. In addition to the knowledge we have,
we also give you an objective point of view. Sometimes, we may
be the "bad cop," which means of course that you get
to be the "good cop." For example, we move the process
along to keep the move on schedule when it threatens to take months
or years. As one daughter told us, "I'm so
glad Mother's mad at you and not me."
Most importantly, we'll get the job done efficiently and affordably
but always with caring and compassion. We'll
provide you with frequent e-mail or phone updates if you're not
involved in the move.
Please contact us to find out more about how we can take care
of the details of the move so that you can take care of your loved
one and yourself.