Making Your Loved One Comfortable in a New Place
As we age, we oftentimes have to make adjustments to our living situations. Big, old houses require quite a bit in terms of maintenance, lawns need mowing, driveways need shoveling, & other things can compete for dwindling resources of strength & money as the years wear thin. Living alone or caring for a spouse can be lonely & exhausting. Many aging folks opt for moving into senior citizen only apartment buildings, then perhaps into assisted living facilities & finally nursing homes. But, with all of this moving from place to place, is there a way to make the environment feel a little more comfortable for them? Is there a way to make it feel more like home so that one can relax & maintain a positive mental attitude despite the myriad of changes assaulting them at this fragile time in their lives? We think so. Here are a few tips to help.
- Keep family close. Make sure that the places your loved ones are moving to are close by family members to make it easy to visit. If they are 5 hours away, let's be honest, most people will not make the trip once a month, let alone a few times a week to go and see them.
- Meaningful photos. Many people stop displaying family photos when they move into smaller quarters. There is definitely smaller amounts of space, but there are also often rules against putting many nails or tacks into the walls. I recently heard of a solution. Many photo printing shoppes will now print photos on photo paper that has the same removable adhesive backing that they use for other wall decals. You just need to bring in the photos or send them digital files & your family member can have a wall full of memories without the extra hassle of frames or nails.
- Cozy clothing, but stylish, too. Remember while packing up their clothing to get their input on what they find comfortable. Pack plenty of those types of clothing, but include at least 2 really nice dress up outfits. There will be many special occasions left to celebrate & you want them to feel free to look forward to the events without worrying about what to wear.
- Special collections. Some men collect pipes, some women collect books. Whatever the case is, be sure to pick out the most prized parts of a collection & find a prominent place to display them in their new quarters. It will remind them of home, but it will serve a greater purpose as a conversation started when they have guests that don't know them well. It will ease talk into areas with which they are familiar & help them to make friends in their new quarters.
- Whichever holidays items are most valued should be put into storage so that they can be taken out & displayed during that time period. We're all a little nostalgic around our favorite holidays & they can be the most lonely of times if you cannot celebrate them in the way that you'd prefer. Try to smooth the transition by surrounding them with the familiar.
- Do your best to help them organize their schedule similarly to what it was before they moved, but include other things to look forward to. Perhaps tea or coffee with you on one afternoon a week, or a date to go out for a sandwich or soup with a good friend or grandchild.
Just because there are major changes happening in their lives does not mean that they won't appreciate them. Give them time to talk about the new people they've met, about their curious ways & how different & difficult it can be. Help them to see the positives in their situation & work through the negatives in a healthy way. All of us feel most comfortable when we feel truly loved & looked after, so create that tone in your relationship & enjoy all of the amazing years that are left with your loved one!
Moving to Assisted Living? How to Downsize
Downsizing is one of the most popular trends around the nation right now. There are as many motivations to downsize our lives as there are lives. Some downsize in order to move into tiny houses, some downsize in order to simplify their lives, or to allow them more time to travel. Today we're going to talk about downsizing our possessions in preparation for a move into an assisted living situation.
How many of us are living with entirely too many items in our possession? If we're honest, probably nearly every person in our country could stand to shed some excess in this area. We've all got excess. If you raised a larger family, especially on a homestead or farm, you most definitely have excess. We're not here to examine how we find ourselves in such a situation, however, but rather how to deal with getting rid of some of the excess so that we can move forward into a healthier atmosphere for us!
The house. What to do with the house? It's a hugely daunting question if you've never considered how to make a transition from owning your own home to living somewhere else. There is a proverb that says, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” This is precisely how you'll need to deal with getting rid of your house & possessions, one small step at a time. First, know that you will not be able to do this alone, or quickly. It will take time. The first step would be to get an assessment on the value of your home/property. Check with a local realtor with whom you can list it if you will be needing the income in order to fund your move into an #assistedlivingfacility. If you do not need that extra income, consider giving it as an inheritance to someone you love, or preparing to sell it in order to gift the profit for those you love. When you begin discussing the process with your family, be prepared for all kinds of emotional responses. People have a number of emotions that are connected with places and memories & it is natural to see a full spectrum. If there is a smooth way to pass it on or sell it to a family member without causing resentment, do so, otherwise you should feel no guilt at selling it on the market to avoid resentment between family members.
Once you've answered the largest question, you'll more than likely have an easier time with the smaller things you need to deal with. It will also help you in other areas. If you're selling or gifting the house, you'll have a time frame within which to work in order to have your things taken care of. You can decide whether your large appliances or farm tools will convey with the house or property. The smaller items will become much easier to handle.
Beginning with the more valuable furniture and possessions, decide which things give you joy & those that you'd like to have around you for the remainder of your life. Do not feel guilt about having them moved. Do you enjoy playing an instrument? Will you have room in the place you're moving to? Bring it along & you'll find that after you've downsized, you'll have more time to practice. Do you have a favorite hobby? Bring the items along that will enable you to participate in the hobby as long as possible. Downsizing does not mean getting rid of everything you enjoy, but rather narrowing your scope to keep only those things that you DO enjoy and ridding yourself of the rest.
If you can, try to go through your home in categories & move as quickly as you can from one category to the next. Discard those things that have no value to you or others. Donate those items that have use to a charity. Goodwill is working together with USPS to accept items that you ship free of charge.
You'll have obvious needs where you're going. If you need kitchen items, consider which ones are the most pertinent to your situation. Now is a good time to get rid of the excessive kitchen gadgets, pan collections, tea sets, silver service, etc. If you're moving to a smaller location, you'll more than likely not be the one hosting large family gatherings & will, therefore, need fewer kitchen items. Keep basic linens & clothing items. Keep photos that are meaningful to you, distribute the rest that may hold more meaning for others in your family.
Above all, keep the lines of communication open with all of the people who will be affected by the decisions you're making. You want this move to be a positive one for you and for your family, so don't allow petty miscommunications and misunderstanding to ruin the good things that can come from this time of transition. Moving is always stressful, but taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, you'll be able to accomplish the huge task of downs