“Moving Mom” Phase II, consisted of flying to Pennsylvania to finish packing Mother’s items, load the truck and set up Mom’s new room.
When I arrived with my son in Pennsylvania, it was very cold however snow was not in the forecast. I had plans to complete the process in five days.
My Mom could only work in spurts; otherwise she was “fit to be tied” by going too long. She experienced great emotional anxiety in moving years’ worth of collected items.
She was staying at my sister’s so when she was to be brought back, we would get an hour’s advanced notice to turn up the heat. Due to taking blood thinners, a temperature less than 80 degrees was unsuitable.
- When you are planning a move “for Mom”, account for time, manpower and weather, and if you need to work in your underwear!
- Process the items furthest from the central load location. Typically the front door is first choice, so that loaders have a shorter distance to walk. However, in our case it was the back shed.
- Try to mentally prepare yourself for inordinate quantities of certain items. My Mother had enough string, tacks and hooks sufficient for an apartment complex.
More than anything else, you will need patience. Most conversations with my mother during this week went as follows:
Me: Mom, do you want this necklace?
Mom: My friend Carol gave that to me on my 73rd birthday.
Me: Oh, that’s nice, Mom. Do you like it?
Mom: I have had it in my jewelry box for 10 years.
Me: Yes, I know. That’s where I found it”. Do you like it?
Mom: No. it’s hideous.
Me: Oh, would you like to sell or donate it?
Mom: But I don’t want to hurt Carol’s feelings…
Me: I know Mom. Would you like to keep it?
Mom: No, I’ll sell it …
Me: Ok, let’s do that.
This nonstop dialog would continue on indefinitely.
Don’t tackle more than you can handle. My son has fond memories of his mother trying to wrestle a piano out the side door, taking the molding along with it only to concede after 45 minutes. It takes more than two people to carry a piano (even a wheeled one) out of a house and up a slope to the curb. The piano is still in the home, awaiting its fate as the home is now up for sale.
It took three weeks between mom’s arrival and transporting her items.
- If you are unwilling or unable to conduct the move yourself with the help of friends and family consider hiring senior move managers.
- Allow your parents to weed out as many individual items as possible.
- If you spot an item you want for yourself, be sure to make a big deal of acknowledging that and praising your parent for the item.
- Build up as much excitement as possible for your parent for the new place. I brought pictures from as many angles as possible and asked for her input regarding how she wanted to decorate her space.
Once I left, my sister took her to a series of medical appointments and visits with friends in the following weeks. I think this time spent was very special and beneficial to mom.
In the meantime, I was busy unpacking and setting up appointments with mom’s future doctors. I transferred her Social Security, pension and opened a joint bank account. I was also busy contracting with an online estate sale company to sell the items she did not want.
- When you set up your parent’s future space, be cognizant of your parent’s range of motion.
- Avoid putting frequently used items on high shelves and low drawers.
- Try to replicate their former home space as much as possible. In my mother’s case, she likes a large work surface where she can do her administrative work. I set this up in front of a window, just like she had at home.
- Get a clear understanding in regards to what the facility will do for their clients so you can prepare for alternatives.
- Ask about cleaning/laundry frequency, transportation, access to religious services, and the amount of work the facility will provide in regards to shelf and picture hanging (And all the other rules that apply).
While awaiting her arrival, I assisted with processing her items that she wanted to sell. It made me smile when I discovered that mom was fond of decorative plates, scissors and cat-themed decor.
I wonder…thirty or so years from now… what will my children discover when they open my stored boxes?
In Phase III, I will cover flying to PA to pick up mom and establishing her new life in Charleston, South Carolina.
Please be sure to comment about your experience. I’d love to hear your stories!
Latest posts by Nancy (see all)
- “Honor Your Parents”……..Always? - June 20, 2017
- James Island, SC Businesses offering Veteran Discounts - June 6, 2017
- Planning For Digital Assets After Death - March 20, 2017