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Aging in Place Service for her Mother

Are you in the “Spring Cleaning” mode yet?  If not, you may want to stroll through your home or apartment and size up the job before the daffodils start blooming!  As for myself, I am still in a daze after a crazy, busy holiday season.  Add to that mix a mother who arrived before Thanksgiving for a 6 day visit and ended up staying 3 months!  Great story….let me share a few of the highlights….

After a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner, my family was totally shocked when a Pennsylvania State Trooper tracked our mother down on my personal cell phone…they have  their databases we were told!

We were informed that the local EMS, fire department and Sheriff were on site at mother’s senior living condo ready to break down the door.  It seems a leak had sprung from her water heater and was flooding her condo and the condo next door.

After a late night frantic packing exercise, my sister and her husband made the trip home to face the destruction.  It was decided that mother would be safer and more comfortable staying with me through the holidays until the renovation work was complete.  Needless to say, she worried herself sick , but with a lot of patience and love the months passed with very little drama.  I have to admit it gave me a 24-7 opportunity to observe my mother‘s general physical and mental well being, including her eating habits and self medication.  That is a story for another issue!

After several months of total demolition and replacement, the condo was finally ready to occupy.  We planned our 14 hour 2-day drive and set off with myself, husband and a still confused  mother.

Upon arrival we were greeted with an empty pod in the garage and total chaos.  All the furniture had been placed back in the condo, but all of our mother’s personal items were in total disarray.  I turned around in a wide circle, viewed the job and with a straight back and determined mind, shouted “game on”…this is my profession, my job….I CAN DO THIS!

Little did I know that over time a “hoarder” had taken over my mother’s body and we were faced with the results of 6 years of random accumulation!  I developed a plan of attack and proceeded with the will of a drill sergeant barking out orders and instructions.

Six days and many trips to the Goodwill donation drop-off later we had mother settled in her “new condo”.  All closets, cupboards, drawers and secret hiding locations had been sorted, de-cluttered and organized.  Every minute invested was well worth the effort when mother turned to my sister and me and admitted that she did not know “how bad it had gotten”, vowing to never go down that “hoarding road” again.

That remains to be seen, my next visit is scheduled for early April…”spring cleaning” time!!

Enjoy the before and after photographs of a job well done, if I do say so myself J

If you are faced with a similar problem, the following tips will serve you well:

  1. Assess the problem, room by room.
  2. Tackle one room at a time.  I start with the most difficult project and work toward the simply one last.
  3. Allow plenty of time if your senior is helping with the project.  4- 5 Hours per day is  about all a senior can mentally and physically handle.
  4. Keep your organization plans simple and label everything for easy location of items.  Make a booklet with locations of main items.
  5. Keep a copy of that booklet so you can answer their questions when they call you “looking for” something.