Try to replicate the old environment as much as possible. Your senior 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.
Let your seniors emotional and physical comfort guide the process. Their 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 them to proceed in a sequence that doesn't address their priorities may result in your winning the battle but losing the war. Their perspective may be different 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 the decisions. The senior may want to give you items, including some you may not be happy to receive. Take them anyway. Store the items in your attic if you must, but accept them graciously. Knowing that cherished objects are with family can bring comfort and peace of mind to the senior.
Be tactful. Often poor health and failing eyesight result in housekeeping practices that are less stringent than they once were. Tactfully offer to clean things are you sort through or pack. Avoid making them feel badly about the home they are leaving.
Focus on sorting, not packing. Preparing for a senior move is a major organizational challenge. It's not uncommon to have items going to the new home, to a son in Illinois, a daughter in Tennessee, a granddaughter in Arizona, the local consignment shop or to the dump. Attics, garages, closets and cupboards...there may be forty years of belongings to sort through. Many people feel overwhelmed. It's here more than anywhere else that you are needed. Helping sort and organize belongings is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the stress of moving, ensure a smooth move and save money.
Let the senior say good-bye. When you work with the senior, keep sorting sessions brief. Constant decision-making is emotionally exhausting. Accept that some days you will accomplish less than you had hoped. The sorting process brings up a lot of memories. Stories and reminiscing are natural. It's all right to be directed in your goal, but let your senior enjoy their recollections. It's part of saying good-bye.
Be realistic about how much time you can devote to the project. Allow 40-60 hours for the packing and unpacking and at least that much time for the sorting process, spread out over several months if possible. If your time is limited, use it to help the senior 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 senior and siblings, keep three objects equally in mind - caring for the senior, taking care of yourself, and keeping the family intact.
The last word for adult children. Your mission is to get all this done...while at the same time being supportive of your senior...and somehow keeping your job, your own family, and your other responsibilities under control. If you live very near the senior, it will 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 the senior's move. New Beginnings 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 and "outsider" involved has definite advantages. In addition to the knowledge we have, we also give you an object 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.
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 able to be 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!