Parents Moving? Help Them Do It Wrong.
Your parents have finally decided to move after 20, 30 or 40 years in their home. For some this was not an easy decision to come to as they move forward at times with trepidation, questioning if this was the right decision for them at this time of their lives. As the child of an aging parent in transition many want to jump in and take control offering their assistance with the move. For others it is very difficult with the demands of a busy schedule and the distance involved when living out of town. Now that the decisions around the move have started there are several things to consider as your parents start in on their journey to their new home.
As people age, they find that they may slowly lose control over certain aspects of their lives. Their dependence on others increases as their mobility and health decline. During the move process it is wonderful when family support is available to provide assistance with the move. Many children of parents in transition step in making decisions on how and what they think would be best for their parents. Conflicts can arise when a parent and child working together through the process disagree on what will fit, what they can take, the value of things and how to discard certain items. Take the time to listen to what your parents want and what their needs are in relation to the move and their new home.
Have a Plan
If you live in or out of town and have the time and opportunity to work together with your parents there are some things to consider as you go through the downsizing process. First, have a plan and discuss this plan together so that there are clear expectations on what help your parents are looking for from you and realistically what time you have available to help. Assess your relationship and determine if you physically can provide the manpower needed to clean out the attic and haul things to the dump or if you will need to hire professionals to assist with this. Your health as well as your parents is important to consider. If you pull your back out you will be of no assistance to them come move day so try not to promise or take on more than you are capable of.
As you assist your parents going through the house help them to make decisions realistically based on the size of the new space they are moving to. Help them focus on what they will be taking and not to worry about what is left behind. If they offer you something say thank you and if it is of reasonable size take it out of the house with you that day. If you decide to keep it, sell it or donate it, it is then yours to do with what you want but know you have assisted them in the decision to let go and move on to the next item or room in the house. If tension develops or you find progress is slow going you may want to consider bringing in a professional to assist with sorting through the house as you prepare for the move. If you are not able to give the time needed, a professional like TAD Relocation can assist. A wonderful house gift, birthday or mother’s day gift could be a few hours of downsizing from TAD for you parents knowing they will be prepared come move day. Provide the support that you are most comfortable with, that will not create additional stress or strain for you or your parents. This is about them, do what you can to make this time as easy as possible. Keep in mind their house did not collect everything over a week’s period but over many years and it can take time to go through things. Start early to go through things before the decision to move has been made so when they have decided to move the task does not seem as overwhelming. And if you still have some things in your parent’s house since childhood it is time to move them out.
Help Them to Feel at Home
In the end this move is about your parents and what is best for them. They need to feel at home in their new place and with the decisions they have made. If they prefer their worn but comfortable furniture to something new, respect this decision and agree with it as long as it is safe and not overcrowded.
When move day approaches, when you need the most energy you and your parents could most likely have the least! You and your parents may be exhausted due to health issues, the sale of the house and preparing for all that needs to happen before move day. Encourage packing and unpacking assistance on move in day. When moving to a smaller space it is important to get out of box the best you can from day one. Your parents will not have an extra room or basement to store the overflow and boxes left in the middle of the room or pictures that have not been placed on the wall can present a potential hazard in their new smaller space. How wonderful it would be for them (and you) to walk in and have all their boxes unpacked, pictures hung, beds made and the TV on! It will truly feel like home the moment they walk through the door.
A professional move manager will provide both you and your parents support from the beginning though the entire move process or any part of it. They can help those in transition feel more confident in their decision by assisting in the evaluation of their current home, planning the move, moving their belongings and unpacking and decorating their entire home. A move manager can be the added support that is needed in such an emotional transition for you and your parent’s life.
If you would like to learn more about how a professional move manager can help your parents do it right, contact us.