Archive for the ‘caregiving’ Tag

Some Times I Wonder!

There are times when I really have to stop, think, and rethink what I am about to say.   I really wonder at times what people think about when they hand out advice, and get paid to do it.

Case in point is an 85 year old woman who just moved into a very nice, but expensive, retirement community.   I was called in to do a complete unpack and set up in the new apartment.   However when I arrived the morning after the move I walked into to a wall of boxes and furniture, and the woman I came to help was so confused and disoriented it was sad.

The community where she moved to employs a ‘move in coordinator’, who visited my client prior to the moving.   The purpose of the visit was to make sure that the items that were being moved would fit into her new apartment.  My client was moving from approximately 2000 sq ft to about 1400 sq ft.   Six hundred square feet makes a big difference.  However my client was told she could bring everything, and she did!

The bigger pieces of furniture fit, and were placed in the new apartment according to the floor plan produced by the move in coordinator.  What wasn’t taken into consideration and should have been were the closet and storage spaces between the old and the new apartment and no downsizing and decluttering took place prior to moving.  As a result, when the movers were told to pack everything, they did.

After 4 days of working to find appropriate ‘homes’ for all the items it was necessary to sit down and really have a focused (as much as possible) heart to heart discussion with my client.  I explained that there just was no more room for my team to put anything else.   There were still several cartons of ‘stuff’ that we needed to decide where to put them.     Eventually, with my client sitting on a folding chair in the storage room area, we pulled out several cartons that she had absolutely no idea what was in them.  They were old greeting cards, letter, etc., that had not been unpacked from a previous move years ago.

I cannot understand how someone could tell my client that she could bring everything and it would fit.  Of course my client relied on this advice.   I only wish that I could have been with the client on both ends of the move.   Because decluttering and downsizing prior to the move, would have saved time and money, because time is money.    But it also would have saved unnecessary stress and aggravation for the client.

My advice to Retirement Community move in coordinators, think about what you are telling your future residents about what they should and should not bring, and offer to find them some assistance.   This will be less frustrating on everyone involved in the move, from the mover, the family, and most importantly your new resident.

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Preparing to Downsize When it Triple HHH Outside

Summer is here and so are the triple HHH’s — Hot, Hazy and Humid, and you are in the middle of preparing to downsize, declutter, and move.   You need to keep moving along with this project so when your home is sold you are on target to finish everything and move without going into total panic and melt down mode.   So what can you do and not become too hot and sticky?

Okay, crank the A/C and put on the ceiling fan in your bedroom.   Pull up a comfortable chair, and pull out and empty a dresser drawer onto your bed.    All you need for supplies are;

  • Trash bags,
  • Dust cloth, and
  • Various size baggies.

One drawer at a time, sort through all the items in the drawer.   Throw out everything that you don’t need or have not used in past 6 months.  Especially the old cosmetics that have been opened and starting to dry out, as well as the gardenia scented talcum powder, and the bobby pins.   For the smaller items that you want and need to keep, use the baggies for the cuff links, the costume jewelry, and other smaller easy to misplace items.  As you empty the drawer, take your dust cloth and clean the drawer.  If you have tissue paper and want to, reline the drawer.  Then you can put back the items you plan on keeping.

If you do this for 60-90 minutes at a time, you will probably be able to cleanout and organize 2 drawers a day.   It’s a great way to sort through all the ‘unmentionables’ that are worn out and should be tossed. However, you keep on wearing them just because!   Only keep the good items that you will use and toss the others.   Donate only good serviceable items, it’s  not a donation if the charity spends money to throw them away.

Again this is a job that you can do in the heat of the summer, sitting comfortably on a chair, and never really become hot and sticky.   Take advantage of this time, and don’t lose your momentum.   Turn the hot, hazy, and humid days of summer to your advantage!

Next Chapter

Two years ago I helped a family move their Mom from the family home out-of-state, to a very lovely Assisted Living.   They wanted to have their Mother living closer to them because health issues were causing more and more of a problems.   Mom and I hit it off great, and we had several nice moments during our time together.

Fast forward to two years, and I received a call from the same family and things are not going well.   Mom is having increasing amounts of issues and they are having to move her again, to a completely new and different environment.

I am happy that they thought of me to help them begin this next chapter in their Mother’s life.   I am sad that in just two years she declined so much, but I know that I am helping the family cope with the stress as they move into what could be the last chapter.

Sandwich Generation; Do Want To Be a Regular “OLD” Sandwich or The Special Club Sandwich?

Owner, WITTZ ENDMany Baby Boomers are finding ourselves stuck in the middle of a very tasteless sandwich.   No matter which way you butter or slice it, the sandwich is very hard to swallow!   Bread is dry and tasteless, the meat is old and seen better days, and the lettuce and tomato is lifeless.   This usually sums up how the sandwich generation/Baby Boomers are feeling when they are faced with adding the care of their aging parents to their everyday life and responsibilities.

Aging baby boomers are now finding themselves sandwiched between all the responsibilities that go with the life style they have created – spouse, children, careers, and financial obligations and their parents or parent that is aging and requiring more of your time and assistance.

Thus you are the “stuffing” between both factions, trying to accommodate everyone’s needs and expectations.   As much as you want to be everything to everyone in your life, it becomes extremely difficult as time goes on.   So, is there an answer to the original question; Sandwich Generation, do want to be a regular old sandwich or the Special Club Sandwich?    It might be difficult but if you and the family work at it I think the Special Club Sandwich is possible!

Nothing is perfect, as much as we try.   Be prepared to have the regular sandwich opened up by the different people in your life.  They may try to pull off the tomatoes, add cheese and pickles, scrape off the mayo, smother with mustard, or even cut the crust off the bread!    Yes there will be times when you feel that you are being pulled from both directions.    You just need to stop, step back, and decide what the right decision is right now!

I do believe, however, that with some planning and testing, the Special Club Sandwich can be created, instead of a regular old sandwich!   It will take effort on everyone’s part to make it happen and although it might not be perfect.  You, the person in the middle, will hopefully be less beat up and more appealing in the end than expected.

To come up with the perfect recipe:

  • Be brutally honest with yourself, your family, employer and parents about what is going on right now with your life and what you want to do.
  • Come up with a plan of action and meet with everyone involved.    Ask for their help and support and be willing to compromise and be flexible.
  • Remember there will be times when an emergency comes up and you will need to disappoint someone and they will need to understand – not criticize.
  • Accept help wherever you find it.

You want to create the perfect “club sandwich” that will allow you to mix your immediate family, parents, financial, and career.  A beautiful, satisfying club sandwich that can be very carefully cut into quarters and arranged neatly on a plate for everyone to share.   This will be far more appealing and satisfactory to everyone involved.  You will be able to spend quality time and effort on everything that needs your attention and not be pulled apart and thrown away.   A perfect, tasty club sandwich is far more appealing that a regular, dry sandwich – ENJOY!

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