by Lorri Ashe
I never know what’s on the other side of a door when I enter a client’s home. As founder of Transition Guardians, my move management team and I have worked with many interesting people and handle a variety of late life move problems.
But my hardest and most fulfilling project was for a sick woman with advanced macular degeneration. We were called in by her geriatric care manager.
When I first met Naomi she was sitting in the chair she slept in and all of the things she needed were on the counters and tables around her. Her volunteer aide and the care manager were with her that day. I learned that she had refused to let anyone help with cleaning because they would have to move her things and she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to find them.
Naomi was determined to stay in the apartment where she had lived for thirty years. She wanted to keep everything just as it was. I thought, the only way this woman is going to leave this apartment is on a stretcher. I couldn’t help her that day.
Then four months later, I got the call. Naomi was in the hospital and would have to move to a senior community that offered support. Her 85-year-old cousin was the only person available to help with Naomi’s move and met me at the apartment.
We learned quickly that the entire apartment building was working for Naomi. Someone shopped for her, another brought her mail, and a neighbor helped her with her laundry. She was a great manager. Many neighbors saw us and came to find out how she was doing and were relieved that she was recovering.
Then it was up to my team and I, with the help of her cousin, to sort out what Naomi was going to take with her.
Because Naomi had been losing her vision, she created a brilliant system that allowed her to find things relatively easily. Every flat surface was covered with objects that she used regularly. For us, it was a little overwhelming.
We had a floor plan of Naomi’s new apartment and we began to make decisions. But I had only met her once and wanted to be careful about keeping meaningful things for her. Her cousin helped and understood that it was impossible to take everything.
We wanted what she did keep to fit properly in her new space. We talked with Naomi first and many items were sold, donated and given as gifts to neighbors. Naomi was generous with all those who cared for her. The remaining belongings were packed and delivered to her new apartment.
There was a dicey moment when we learned that she was still in the hospital and might not be able to move in. But it turned out well for her. One week later we unpacked and set up her new safe space.
I realize this is an extreme situation. But it is also somewhat typical because many of my clients wait too long to start the process. Many are overwhelmed by their homes, the things they possess, or illness, and I often wish they were able to have made this decision to make the late life move earlier.
HOW WE HELP
The people who ask us to help them move are pretty varied. Some are moving to senior communities and they call us because they don’t have relatives, or relatives close by. Others plan moves to live near their children and their grown children are busy professionals who want a professional to help juggle the move.
I love all of the work and appreciate families that hand me the keys and tell me to do what is best with the contents.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
There are many things for people to consider about the way they are living, regardless of their age. It’s the time to ask questions about whether you need help for the late life move.
- Does this lifestyle or space work for me at this time of my life
- Do I need to do something about it?
- Can I physically and mentally handle all of the logistics of my move?
- Should I hire a professional who can help me with all of the decisions that I will need to make?
- Should I hire someone to control my move like a project because I cannot give it the time that is needed since life is still going on at the same time?
- Where do I start?
- Do I want the same thing to happen to me, where others are asked to make my decisions?
And here’s my question to you, or your family member: Are you ready to answer those questions?
For more about Lorrie Ashe visit About Us.
You may also like Downsizing Baby Boomers Chose City Life