Tim Murray of Aware Senior Care responds to an article in the News & Observer about the downsizing of senior homes and what difficulties we face in the process.
Original article on News & Observer by John Drescher.
This article written by John Drescher on Mother’s Day really resonates with me. The article is about his mother’s experience of moving out of her condo, selling her furniture, and moving into a 24/7 retirement community in Raleigh.
As part of this process, John and family took some items from his mother’s house, but some items were donated to the Green Chair Project, a nonprofit that restores and sells furniture.
John didn’t brief or tell his mother about selling the furniture until she was relocated into the facility. His mother asked about what happened to all her furniture and became upset because she felt he was moving so fast. The story had a very heartwarming ending where John felt he needed to follow-up on some special pieces of furniture donated to the Green Chair Project, in particular a secretary desk that was donated.
He found out the secretary was purchased by a man, Manneh, who recently immigrated to the United States from Gambia. John spoke with him and was very happy that Manneh loved the secretary.
This all resonated with me because I went through a similar experience managing the move out of my Mom’s long time house in New York. I had already moved Mom into an assisted living facility in Glens Falls. Mom suffers from Dementia and it was difficult to explain why we needed to move her and why we needed to sell the house. I explained to her we needed to sell the house to use funds to help my brothers and have money to help with her care. She sort of understood, but I could see she was struggling. When it came time to have the Estate Sale, I did not tell Mom about it. Just like John did with his mother, I only told her afterwards.
She suddenly asked one day, “What happened to all the furniture?” I told her some pieces went to my brothers and some were donated. I wished I’d have told her beforehand how donating the items would greatly help my brothers and that the other items would be gifts to the people who need them. She still might not have understood fully, but I think it’s better than not telling her at all.
If/when someone is faced with moving Mom and Dad out of their homes and into a facility, they should look into hiring a senior move manager. Senior move managers are certified and they specialize in managing and overseeing the downsizing. I’m lucky enough to know a few and they helped me find a SMM in New York that was a godsend. I blogged about our SMM, Neil Bindleglass, in parts Six and Seven in my blog. Neil expertly worked with me to identify personal pieces of furniture and photos to decorate Mom’s single bedroom apartment so it looks like home. When Mom moved in, she commented how nice and familiar it looked. Neil also helped manage the estate sale and donations.
I highly recommend families get the help of a senior move manager when going through a move process like John and I went through.