Planning a move for your mom into a retirement community can be a difficult process for everyone involved. Approaching the topic with understanding and sensitivity is key to helping them make a decision that works best for them.
Below are some tips that can help make the transition easier.
Involve the Whole Family
If you want to prevent emotional distress and maintain a smooth transition, it is best to involve the whole family and discuss changes together. Encourage your mom to make the decisions about the retirement community she wants to live in, how soon she would like to move, and the possessions she will want to keep. If she wants to take the old furniture with her then let her, it will give her comfort and make her feel at home.
Plan Ahead and Take Your Time When Packing
Parent’s homes are often filled with many memories, and it can be a long process of evaluating what should stay and what should go. You should plan well in advance so that your mom doesn’t feel rushed by any decisions regarding her sentimental items. Let your mom sort through her things at her own pace and avoid rushing. This may come off as insensitive during a time that is already emotional and full of change.
Be Realistic About The Space in Her New Home
Your mom will probably be living in a smaller space than where she is living now, so be honest with her about that limitation without making her feel at a loss for the things that won’t fit. Before you start packing, evaluate the square feet of the new space and communicate with your mom about what items are necessary to take, and develop a plan for storage, donation, or yard sale for the rest of her valuables. Remember, let her guide this process.
While Organizing the Move, Work Room By Room
Sort things out room by room, while envisioning where her belongings will be in her new space. As she decides what she will take with her, what other family members may want to take with them, and what she can sell, donate or get rid of, organize those items by what you plan on doing with them. If your mom does not want to throw anything away, then communicate with her on what the best course of action should be as her new space will likely not be able to accommodate all of her things.
Be Understanding of Her Decisions
You might not understand why your mom wants to take certain belongings, but moving can be an emotional challenge, and items from her past that have sentimental value to her should be respected with sensitivity. Change is hard, especially when it’s a change from so many years of stability and great memories. Of course, there will be hard choices to make, but try making this experience enjoyable by joining in on the positive memories and focusing on the exciting future ahead, let her know that you want to provide comfort and support for the journey.