My elderly parents haved lived in the same home for over 50 years. It’s huge! It’s stuffed to the gills with all the things they have aquired over the years, and I’m dreading the day they have to move to an apartment or to assisted living. How can we help them start going through their belongings and making decisions about what to keep and what to give away, donate, etc?
What would happen if they unexpectedly had to make a move? I don’t want the responsibility of packing up their things and deciding how to dispose of everything.
Sally- a loving daughter
You are wise to be planning ahead. Many elderly people never dream of leaving their home until they have an accident or a change in their health. Most wish they could have had more control over what happened to all the treasures in their home. Sometimes their children feel as if they made rushed decisions or made decisions under too much stress when they assisted in the dispersing of belongings.
Start the process with a healthy conversation. Ask your parent or parents if they have considered what they would want done with their treasures if they had to move to a smaller home or apartment. Ask them to consider making a list, or even marking items with the names of people that are to receive them. It’s much more enjoyable to recieve Grandma’s cookie jar when your name is marked on the bottom, or Grandma has made a note somewhere that she wanted you to have it.
After that, ask your parents if they would consider going through one closet or cupboard at a time and put things in boxes that they are ready to donate or sell. Offer to take the box to the thrift store or the consignment store as it fills.
You will be so relieved when you help get this process underway!