Tomorrow is the day we move to Cape Charles VA. I am excited, and nervous which surprises me. Moving is how I grew up. I know the drill. Even when I was little I had moving responsibilities. I carried my own suitcase when I was old enough to life one. Now I see those little ones with their little baggage on rollers. Oh, no, I had to be able to lift my belongs back in the day. Now I have the rollers too, I must admit.
Because I help seniors and now I almost am one (in denial….I am one ;D) I want to focus on what it is like for them (us–still working in the denial thing).
Moving can be a very big deal when you have lived in one place a long time. Downsizing because you can no longer maintain a lifestyle is not easy. It may mean giving up some treasured possessions and memories. Then there are more moves, more downsizing.
Dad & Mom went from their lovely big home to Independent Senior Living* in a small senior high-rise one-bedroom apartment, to Assisted Living*, to the Nursing Home*: separation and sharing a room with a stranger. Each change was harder and they lost living space and personal freedom with each transition. During one of the harder moves, when Dad went to full nursing after Mom died, I asked my daughter to wheel him to the piano and play for him, while I took care of the actual transition of his belongs to the new smaller space. She came to me with “Papa knows something’s up,” He knew something distressful was happening, but the music calmed him. I so appreciated her kind care of her Papa that day, because it was emotional for me too.
Flashback to a younger move: 30+ years ago we moved our family with young kids from Maryland to Virginia. The children’s babysitter, Miss Karen, made them a memory album. It was a collection of pictures, artwork and notes from the other children. Such a thoughtful way to handle a big move.
Flashback for me: I left a longterm job. My boss took a group of us to lunch. During the meal he passed around an address book so each person could write in their name, address and a personal note in their own hand. I would be able to keep in touch and remember my work friends. Thoughtfulness I have not forgotten.
If you know a senior who is moving, here is a website link with some helpful hints. As you help with logistics remember too, the emotion that goes with moving day.
SENIOR LIVING TERMS:
Independent Senior Living – a senior place where you look after yourself, but may have neighbor/community support. May be low maintenance with some housekeeping and lawn care staff for a fee.
Assisted Living – a facility with some monitoring by staff with things like appointment reminders and medications (less space, more expensive)
Full Nursing – 24 hour care; often sharing a room with others (very little space and very expensive).
SPECIAL NOTE: Not all senior places offer all levels of care. So when preparing for long-term transition be sure to ask. Visiting several facilities can be very enlightening.
QA: Does it smell clean? Are the staff friendly to strangers? …..more about this in a future blog.