One of the biggest challenges that can confront home caregivers is when it becomes time to move a loved one from the home in which they have lived for many years. Whether moving them into the caregivers’ own home or into an assisted living situation, it is a big job that requires a lot of preparation.
For home caregivers facing this prospect, the following hints may prove beneficial.
- Be sensitive. In almost every case, this move is fraught with emotions for the persons leaving their home. Home caregivers are likely to meet with resistance, anger, sorrow, and refusal. There is no right way to deal with this, as every individual is different. But it helps for home caregivers to allow the loved ones to express their feelings about the move. It can also be helpful to work with a therapist or a social worker to help plan how to make the move easier from an emotional and psychological point of view.
- Be realistic. In an ideal situation, a person could move into a new home without getting rid of any possessions — but that rarely happens in a move such as this. Figure out how much can realistically be taken and then plan accordingly.
- Get input at the start. Before starting to plan the move, go over things with the loved one and determine what are the “must have” items that need to be moved. Make a list — it will probably be quite long. If it is too long, go over the items again and ask the patient to categorize them — say, which are the ten items that are a number one priority, which ten are next in importance, and so on.
- Load up on boxes. Get plenty of boxes and label them by what is to happen to their contents: Keep, Sell, Donate, Give to Friends/Relatives, Toss, Still to Be Determined.
- Start with the easy stuff. Most people have a room or area where they store things that they don’t use that often. Start here, as many of these items won’t be kept. From there, move on to the rooms where more time and thought will be needed.
- Clear out along the way. Don’t wait until everything is sorted to move out the “Toss” and “Donate” boxes. Taking care of those items along the way will make the house less cluttered.
- Talk to gift recipients ahead of time. If Sister is going to be gifted Mother’s precious apron collection, let her know in advance and ask her to please accept it, even if she doesn’t place the same value on it that Mother does. If someone simply cannot take something that is being offered, talk to them about turning it down gently.
Home caregivers organizing a loved one’s move are going to feel extra stressed. Be sure to build in at least a little “me time” to keep from getting drained.