Help My Parents Can Not Take Care of Each Other

by francy Dickinson                

Dear Francy; My dad is 82 with mild dementia and osteoporosis and my mother is 80 with heart problems and weakness. They simply can no longer care for their own needs without my help. I have increased my time with them up to 2 hrs a day but I am at the end of my ability to care for them. We have no money for a retirement home and I do not know what to do? I have three siblings, all male and unable to give care and so I am on my own here.

OK, if there is simply no money (I understand they are in a smaller and older home) Here are some steps to help you out:

  1. Make sure you have your name on the Health Care Directive for both of them. This is a form that is filled out and it then goes to the notary so you can make decisions legally for your parents.
  2. Remove your attachment to your parent’s home and look at it with an eye if you were going to sell the home tomorrow. Walk through the house and mark down what has to be done to ready for sale. Heavy cleaning with older folks living there unable to see dirt or move furniture or refrigerators to get things cleaned. Walls need paint, wall paper needs to be removed, bathrooms need painting and new faucets, updating and kitchen needs declutter? Write it all down in a notebook. Edit down their things no longer used as much as you can and still keep your parents feeling safe and cozy in their home. Changes are hard for elders so make them with ease and in a quiet manner.
  3. Now, think about getting a reverse mortgage, that’s a way a lot of families are dealing with monthly income. Call a reverse mortgage place and have them come and look at the home and explain all the benefits and downfalls. That is what they will do. They will make a flat fee for doing the paperwork on the mortgage and it is done through the government, so you can feel free to take their time and ask questions. It means it is a way for your parents to get the money they have invested in their home out each month. Then when they pass the home is sold and if there is anything left it goes to their heirs on their will.
  4. Call a local real estate person and ask them to simply come and view the home and evaluate it for you. They will do this with the hope that you will use them as an agent when you choose to see the home. Also ask them if the home is rentable as an income instead of selling, they will know the area and give you guidance.
  5. Call the Veterans Association, if one of your parents has served in the military and see where they are on the health care coverage. You will find it’s a sliding scale according to the time and type of service they served. If the Vets will help with care you can enjoy their services and save some money on care.
  6. Call their Medicare supplement insurance company and tell them you need them to send you a booklet on the outline of what care their plans are providing. Then you know where you stand with money for services for your parents. Twice a year you can change Medicare supplement insurance companies, you may find that now that your parents are in a higher need of care, there is other insurance policies that will cover more of the costs. Make some calls and study the Internet on this issue, it can make a big difference in money spent.
  7. If they have attended a faith center call and ask what type of community care they provide. Often large faith centers have seniors that will give you an hour or two a week, a dinner program, or in home visiting program. It all helps.
  8. Ask about Meals on Wheels in your parent’s area, this program is delightful for seniors that no longer cook. You can supplement the extra pie or cookies, take them extras on the bigger meals you cook at home and still have the meals in the freezer for your parents to microwave. If they no longer can cook or reheat, then that option will not be there for you.
  9. Call the state welfare and ask for a booklet on what type of care they provide for seniors with small incomes and they will send you information on that form of help. This is really important, because once you know what money you have to work with you can then move on and hire help accordingly. Lets say the state will only give you food coupons, that means a couple hundred a month on their income that can be spent on care givers not food. It is a good thing to ask for help, it is there for elders and it has been paid for by your parents in their taxes for years. The state may also pay you to care for your parents so your own time with them could be increased with an income or other care services could be added.

Now that you know about their money income it is time to add to your in home care assistance or to a more traditional adult care home, or assisted living facility.

  1. It is not easy to keep a couple together in assisted living if they have different types of care required. Dementia has a staff trained to handle emotional problems and health side problems. Health care for mom takes care givers that are trained for challenging medications- those are two different care giving situations and it may take time and extra looking to find a facility or home that will fulfill both care issues. So start to call today, if you think your parents will need a spot to go to in the next few months. There are waiting lists in many facilities and you want to be prepared not stunned when the time comes to take that step. Even if you think it will be another year, talk and get on waiting lists.( This is what I do for my income, I help families find those facilities and make their senior’s transition into them. I do not charge the family a fee.)
  2. If you are going to be staying on as their care giver you have to know it will be a more time consuming effort than what you are giving now. You will sit down with your brothers and have a talk. It is no joke, this has to be an adult conversation about your parents, without your parents in the room. So you can be free to speak of their health challenges and let them all know that things are heating up and growing out of control for you personally to care for them. Many family members respond to money rather than time. So explain it will take a min of $10 up to $25 dollars an hour for in home care. If they need only 4-5 hrs a day that is $100 a day…that can add up fast and then show them your parent’s income. This is how people look at problems. To sit down and say, I need help is not enough —  show them, the needs, the time,and the money needed — that is what will shake them into understanding the problem.
  3. Tell them your options, you have now done your home work so show them the different ways that care can be given and afforded. Then ask for their support, not their help. If they have not helped in the past, they will not help now. But ask them to support you with additional money each month, even if they give you $35 a month that could buy the Ensure that your parents drink everyday, or the Depends they use, or help with a bath lady each week. Every small amount is appreciated and the commitment has to be long term. The bath lady has to be paid each week if they give the money or not. Make decisions on reality not promises.
  4. If the house is going to be sold to pay for your parents care, then you ask the family to help you ready it for sale. You may not be able to remodel or update, but you can clean. Just take one room at a time, clean out closets, give things to family and good will, do not put yourself through big yard sales, they are to hard on you. Giving time and care is overwhelming, do it with thought about your own health.
  5. Paint as many rooms as you can to give it a low key color update. Use colors that are popular in your area. Update little things like lite fixtures in the bathroom and new faucets in the kitchen. Use the inexpensive vinyl tiles that you can easily put down over old vinyl floors, remove carpets if the house has wood floors and polish the floors. If you plan your actions over the next two months with help from your brothers on room by room, the house will look fresh and clean and update the yard to make it have nothing junky outside and just a clean lawn and some bark on the flower beds. Then you will be able to get the most for the house without remodel prices.
  6. You will need to keep your parents calm while you are doing this so if the project is big ask a brother to take one or both of your parents for a weekend so you can do the work without them worrying over it all.
  7. If you are not going to sell the home right away, still do as much of work as you can as you go along. The day of selling the home will be close in the future and work has to be done now or then.
  8. You will need to call an in home health care service. They have trained nurses, PT, OT, nutrition and bath ladies. They also handle the care giving with light housekeeping, cooking and tending care givers. All trained, bonded and ready to help you with chores for your parents. What you can not do, they fill in. This is easiest way to get help. You can add a few hours a week at first, a bath lady is my favorite pick and then increase as the need and finances are there for extra help. They are also ready to be your back up if you are unwell and unable to attend to your parents needs. They will come to your home and do a review and then you set up a plan of needs.
  9. If you choose to directly hire someone to cover for you each day, make sure you do a background check and call the references, you want a quality person to care for people you love. Horror stories can be avoided with doing a good check on the person’s prior job abilities and people skills. No smoking, drinking or drugs are allowed by any care giver so let them know that from the get go. Ask your Tax Person how to make the payment to the person you hire on your own. A service takes care of all taxes and pays your caregiver for you. I you hire a person on your own, payment for the person is up to you. Remember to ask if the care givers are a tax deduction for your parent’s taxes too. Remember if your parent or parents are in your home, they can be your own tax deduction for their care.

Now, I have a workbook that was designed for family members to read and use if they have never had any training in caring for a seniors. You will find my book under Products page of my website Its called Care Giving 101 Workbook and you can download it as an E-book or as a printed workbook sent to you via mail. That will detail the basic care giving needs and how to handle them for you as time goes on. I have both health and Alzheimer’s tips in the workbook. Its been a great help for many who are facing giving care to parents and or spouses.

Hope this all helped you – you can find me on Twitter @seniorcaretips and this wordpress site has many older blog entries that you will find helpful as you add giving care to an already busy life with your own family and job. I also have a talk radio site that is fun to give a listen – its an easy click from my website…thank you for your time and blessings on your giving care.

Please do send me emails if you have a question on care, I am happy to help. francy


Seniors in Care Facilities – Tips for Visits and Safety

By francy Dickinson

Dear Francy: Mom in-law is in care facility and we’re visiting twice a week. It’s clean and she seems well fed but angry. Her dementia is still raging and she took a fall out of her bed and hit her head two days ago. How can I help keep her safe and sound in the care facility?

Here are a few tips:

  • Visiting twice a week is very good. Change your days and your times, so you’re there, but not on a routine. That way you can see the progression of the daily care staff, as the weeks go by.
  • Check the facility for being clean, the patient room, the eating facility and the public rooms are easy to see. But a walk down the hall will show you how the storage closets are kept orderly, the shower area clean, how the kitchen is run and the pill dispensing cart is being used. You just observe, even if you know nothing about care giving – you will see that organization is the key to good care, and cleanliness is right behind. If you have a question – ask the management about the staff, not the staff. It keeps the resentment from the questioning from reflecting on your senior’s care.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for a review of a fall. It should be logged in and reviewed by the staff. If it’s a staff problem you need them to make adjustments to the procedures in the facility and make sure they adjust the monthly payment to reflect any incident that caused harm to the patient. If it’s the patient that is being unwise in their movements or manners, then review how the care staff can make changes to avoid a repeat of the problem.
  • Take treats into the staff. This is open to what you like to do yourself. But once a month, I would bake brownies or cookies, or stop off at a special candy store and gather together some treats. You could buy some expensive coffee beans for the lounge or bring root beer and ice cream for a treat in the summer. Be creative, but be smart. Drop them off at the nursing lounge with a thank you card that has the patient’s name and your name. This goes along way for the staff to know you care about them and in turn they will care about you and your senior patient.
  • If the patient has dementia/Alzheimer’s let the staff know the real patient as you do. Take in pictures of the patient when they were young and first married, have a little label with names of spouse and family in the picture. Make a copy of a college degree or service certificate, so others visiting for the first time see that a very valuable person is inside of that patient. Honoring who a person is, inside, makes the current situation more understandable to strangers.
  • See if you can surround the senior with things that bring a feeling of home. A favored piece of art on the wall and a small shelf with bits and bobs from their collection. A throw that was crocheted by the senior or a book that has always been a favorite. Things from the past will surround a person and give them a feeling of safety. Ask about the rules of the facility and then make the creative side of you bring just the right stuff in to the room to perk it up!
  • Always ask the senior what they did yesterday?? Have them tell you what ever they remember. It’s important to take note. If they are abused or do not like things, it will come up in one of these conversations if you keep asking. You can hear what is bubbling inside of them, what bothers them or makes them happy. You do not need to worry about the details; just the feelings you get from the senior.
  • Food treats for seniors. If a senior does not have a food restriction, then do bring along something special for them. They may love some chocolate, cracker jacks, or a dinner of food from your family heritage. Heritage food is lost in care centers and still is so important to the senior.
  • A small covered jar of wrapped hard candy for visitors or care staff is always a nice lure to get them into the room to check up on the senior
  • Take a container of those cleaning wipes and each time you visit. Take them out and go over public surfaces around the senior’s room. A double protection against germs is always good.
  • Make sure the senior has a way to call home. If you need to put a large printed sign with your phone number taped to their room phone, do it. If they want a cell phone and are able to use it wisely, do it. They need to have a way to feel connected, not dumped. If that is hard to do, then make a quiet evening time call each night. Set a time that is good for you both and just make it an evening call each evening. The repeat of the calls is what the senior will feel – they can count on you is what they will think. Those are good things.
  • Check the senior for signs of red marks on their skin and ask each week if any skin irradiation has shown itself during the week. That is a very important point. Hot spots on older skin are hard to heal, if you catch them before they happen it makes life easier. The skin will show if the staff is not moving the patient around, bathing them carefully, or changing their bladder control products on time. Each time they do a bath, they will make note of the skin problems, you can ask to see that chart and take note that there are none. If they have them, then ask how they are being treated and stay on top of it until it is healed. If it repeats often, there is a care giving problem to be addressed.
  • Bladder infections or UTI’s are very common in seniors in care. You want to make sure they have cranberry pills added to their daily intake and you want to know that the infection is being treated, but the cause is researched and addressed.
  • Just because the senior is in care, does not mean they cannot add supplements. You can talk to their doctor and supply the supplements for daily dispensing. Turmeric is very popular for dementia and infection treatment…our doctor just added it to the OK list and mom was able to enjoy the supplement each day.
  • Remember, the facility wants to have you in charge and up to date, they want you to be involved, so do speak up. Read about your senior’s care and bring up the ideas you gather during the family meetings at the care center. You can have a monthly meeting at the care center if you like. I love them, you keep up with their ideas and how things are going – good stuff.

Hope these ideas help you with your care for your senior in a care center. It is always a hard choice to make when you place them in care. I have a free service for families called Loving Memories it helps family place seniors in good care facilities. We review the senior and their needs and then find a care facility that meets those needs. I also have care tips, workbooks, on demand talk show information and just all around good stuff on my website. Please do visit

Thanks, francy

Visiting the Alzheimer’s Parent-Reluctantly!

by francy Dickinson

Dear Francy; Mother just called and she has been visiting my dad, daily in his new Alzheimer’s care place. She needs a day off and wants me to go over. I know I’m suppose to want to help her and attend to him, but I do not want to go. How can I tell her I am not going?

You Don’t! You re-focus your thoughts about the situation and you come to your mother’s aid. Now, do not think I do not understand your feelings. I have a husband with Alzheimer’s and I have many a day that I just want to go out the door, get in the car and drive as far away as I can drive. But I am his wife of 27 years and he deserves to be cared for so I re-focus my mind and move through those sad and helpless feelings.

Your mother is really your concern now. Your father is in a care facility and they will care for him. But your mother is suffering from a loss of her husband that will feel like he has died, but he is still there in front of her and she has to still be concerned with his well being. The loss one feels, as a spouse of a person with dementia, comes on in different degrees from the first signs and certainly the formal diagnosis. You feel like the person you married has changed. Then you feel like you have to help them, but it soon becomes clear that you can not make them well. Women make people they love well – like their children over colds and broken legs and husbands over the flu. But dementia/Alzheimer’s does not have a cure, it has a progressive change of behavior and memory loss. Your mom would find that little things effect your dad in strange ways, he may be short tempered or confused over things he did well all his life. She would start to slowly take on his chores and tasks in their home life. Then the money responsibilities, then the main repair responsibilities, then the decisions made for family events, where to go to dinner and if to take a family holiday. Then there are dietary changes, more medications, more doctor appointments and more intensive care and overseeing her husband. Slowly she is the one with all the power in the home and your father would feel that change and fight against it. She would find her feelings hurt one minute and guilt over her feelings the next. She would feel the small intimacy’s leaving their relationship and the little jokes between them would be forgotten. Their favorite music, movies and friends then leave his mind and she is left alone. All alone- but still standing next to her husband. The feelings of loss begin in small steps and then escalate into sorrow and grief. Now, she’s made a decision to place him in a place away from their home. She is absorbed in worry over her decision and she goes home to a house that is totally empty. The worry does not stop. She may have to sell the house for his care, or go through their retirement money that she would need for her own care. She has been going to the center to see him each day for one reason. She does not want him to forget her. Then all of a sudden, she’s exhausted and has to rest and yet she needs someone to check on him in these early days. She turns to her daughter and that is YOU. No matter how you personally feel and I know you have all of your own reactions to his condition and what has happened the last few years – you are her only hope of rest. So, you need to re-focus on her for now and just walk through a few things with me.

  • Call your mother and tell her you will go over and see your dad for the next two days, not just today. Tonight you will bring her dinner and a bottle of wine for you both to share. You’ll be there by six and she can rest and have an early dinner and then sleep. Do not take no for any answers, you need to start to be assertive with your mother now, she needs your care.
  • You will make up your mind that this is a duty, I know you have love for your parents, but this is a moral duty. I know you understand those things and you will make it through with my help.
  • You will shower and get nice and clean with no fragrance and then dress in a down manner of everyday clothes without bright colors or patterns. Colors and patterns are hard for your father to process with his mind and his senses may be put in a spin with a fragrance.
  • You will stop by a good bakery and get one of those large cookies, or a package of ding dongs or something special to take with you. Sugar treats are good for men anytime.
  • You will also get yourself a small spiral notebook and stick it in your purse with a pen. When you are done with your visit you will write down the date and time and then make a note of anything that upset you. Only one upset allowed per visit. Then you write down one thing you personally feel went well. This is your journal to help you through this process. Tuck it in your bag or the car for use after each visit.
  • Then you will go and find one of your favorite pictures with you as a young girl. With or without your parents in the pic and then you will take it to the drug store and blow it up to a large size and print it off. You will pick up a package of those thumb tacks and then print your name and “daughter” on the bottom. Or Emily with Dad or some such thing. So anyone entering the room and not knowing your family will understand who you are in the picture.
  • You will then drive over to the care center and as you enter the door you will look up at the clock and take note of the time. Because you will be there only 20 minutes. No less, no more.
  • You will smile at the staff and ask to be directed to your Dad’s room and then you will take a deep breath and walk in with a smile. You will ask the nurse to turn down the TV, NOT OFF -just down so his attention is at you not trying to focus in all directions. You will say; “Dad you are looking great, it’s Emily, your daughter and I have a cookie for you.” You hand him the cookie.
  • You do not look to see if he sees you as his daughter and knows your name. You just smile a loving smile at the man that is your Dad.
  • You resist asking him how he is. You’re there to talk and you do the talking. You start with a slow and informed pattern of speech. You talk to him as though he is able to understand you. DO NOT talk to him as a child, even if you think he does not understand. Your job is to have a one sided conversation with him.
  • Show him the photo. Say,”Dad, I brought you my favorite photo from when I was little. When you see this remember I love you.” Then go over to the wall opposite his bed and thumb tack it up. Get yourself situated in a chair or somewhere comfortable and then begin in a good tone so he can hear you. Talk to his head and as he moves around, just ignore the moving, keep your rhythm up and just talk.
  • Now, you talk as you would any friend you have not seen in a couple of weeks. Tell him how you are, your house, the kids and your husband, or friends. Let him know about your job and what is happening there. Each time you talk, you re-introduce the details to him. “Joey and Mary, your grand kids are doing so well. You remember how Joey loves to swim – well he is doing so well, he just won an award. I guess he gets that from you and all your time golfing.”  take little breaks and keep your voice calm and pleasant. “Work is good, you know how I work as a bookkeeper for the insurance company and I have had a lot of extra things to do. My boss has taken another job and the office has been very busy. I know you understand since you were always busy with your work, too!” That sort of thing. When you run out of things to say. You just smile and sit and just relax. This is not a performance, it’s just another way of talking to someone that cares about you, but their mind is so confused that they find it hard to put their thoughts together. You see what you do after a few minutes is relax him, he hears and remembers your voice tones and he may fight to make the connection of who you are and what you are telling him – but it all goes in his mind. It may come out in clarity after you have left, or never. But he will know he likes your voice and he likes that you are there. It just takes his mind so long to process that his reaction is not in normal time mode.
  • You inspire him to an upbeat mode. You make sure you stay in control and you just talk. “I worked in the garden today, the sun was so warm on my face, it felt good.” That is that, make it an easy way to talk.
  • If he asks you something you answer, if it’s a subject you do not want to talk about, move your answer to another thought pattern. “Oh, dad my car is working well. I drove over here just fine. I was worried about the brakes last week, but they seem fine now.” Keep the words simple and easy for you and easy for him.
  • When the 20- minutes is up. You stand and say goodbye. It is good to try to touch him, either in a hug or just pat his hand or shoulder. Smile and tell him you will be here tomorrow and then turn and leave. That is that. Nothing big, nothing hard, nothing sad, just a visit.
  • On your way out, you stop by the nursing desk and you thank them for caring for your father. You tell them you will be here each week when your mother takes a break and give them your home phone for an alternate number in case of emergency.
  • Now, when you return you can bring your computer, or bills to pay, or needlework to do – if your dad is really quiet. Just sitting there and talking a little and then doing something simple in front of him will bring his mind to place of quiet and ease. If he is having a hard time that day, let the nurses care for him and you just sit and relax. It may be a warm day and walk around their exercise area would be good, too. Always take a deep breath and keep working on your project or the task at hand and let him “feel” your peace.

Then you leave and go to your mother. She has to be cared for during her time of grief and this is grief. She has lost your dad. Even though he is still alive, he is gone to her and she is all alone. You need to understand this and let her friends and family understand it too. She may need some dinners for a few weeks, she may need some lunches with friends. Things to keep her mind filled as she works through the different things she is facing. If she needs you to go to her doctor, or bank, or lawyer, or her minister…offer to be there. You will make it through this together.

I am very sorry, this has happened to your family. I’m sorry it has happened to me. You and I both have to remember; this is a progressive condition we cannot fix it, but we can support the process. And in the process we have to ask others to help us, too. You have to tell your children, husband, and friends that you are going through a nasty time and you would appreciate their love and kindness. You have eat well, sleep well and stay strong for your mother. You will have to have an eye open for her health now. The key issue is none of us need to lose our health over the care of our loved ones. So, it takes work and together is how we can cope and get through to the other side of this time with your dad.

I know you are strong enough to do this. I know your mother will make it through this time, too. But I hope you will go to my website and read some of my tips for dementia and Alzheimer’s care . Thank you for understanding love is sometimes duty – and we all face it at certain times in our lives. It’s just a matter of time and then life will renew itself.

Please go and enjoy the rest of the Alzheimer blogs on my Dear Francy blogs and visit my website www.seniorcarewithspirit.comto get more information. Don’t forget, when you get to the stage that you need  care facility help for your loved one, please contact me and let me help you through that process with our Loving MemoriesSenior Care Facility Placement Service that is FREE for you to use.

Thank you, francy

Senior is Ready for a Move, Yeah!

Dear Francy; Mother just told me she was ready to sell the house and move. She is on such a budget that she wants out. I live out of town and she wants me to do the house move. Now what?

OK, a couple of things to note. Do not say, no…just tell her you need to budget your time. You will give her every other weekend for the next two months and then the house will go up for sale. She has to get her name on a listing for a new home and tell them she will actually be ready to move in 90 days. Yes, the house may not be sold, but she will be tucked in her new place and on her way to her new life. Make the time frame larger if you like, but set a time frame.

Keep these ideas on your list:

*  There are companies, usually run by women – that actually take the things that you do not want to move and sort through them for sale and for donation. So that means that you can sort over your mother’s things and have a keep, give and dump pile and stick to it.
* Do not try to have a garage sale. If you find things that have real value, put them on eBay and enjoy the proceeds or gift them to family.
* Take a young person with you each weekend. If you have a teen great, if not – take a teen you know who wants to earn some money. $20 dollars a day is $40 a weekend and add $10 to make it fifty as a bonus- if they do a great job. You need to have a younger back and someone to diffuse the emotions that come with a big move out of the family home.
*  Your mother will want everything given to family. Family will not want hardly anything from her. So, prepare her. for If you need to just tell your niece to take the item and drop it off at the thrift store, do so. You don’t want your mom to think her life of things has no value.  
* Get in mind where your mother is moving and only take the things she needs. No way is she going to rent a storage locker. That is not in the plan. She takes what she needs and will fit into the next part of her life, the rest is given, sold or dumped.
* Do not allow her to take your Dad’s tools or your Dad’s lawn mower, even if he loved it. She has to keep on plan. If she is insisting, then put it in a pile, of Think if Overs after a few weeks of sorting she will gladly go back to the pile and give it all away. Things just have to be processed through.
*  No towels can go, no old sheets and blankets can go, no clothes from the ’80-’90’s are on the go pile. All of her clothes to take have to be re-washed or cleaned for the move. Buy new hangers for them. Go ahead and get the Huggable Hangers from HSN, the whole world loves those hangers and they allow for more clothes per foot of hanging space.
*  Downsize her bed to a Queen or Double size and be prepared for a good mattress. Then when she gets to her new place, new towels and bed linens can be purchased so she feels all new.
*  Take all of the family pictures and give the job of scanning them into digital format to a younger family member and pay them for the process. What you can then do is put her favorites in a couple of the new pictures frames that load up with digital pictures and have a rotating feature so she can view them all! All the rest get saved on drives that the family can enjoy, too!
* Do not take dishes that are old and pans that she got for her wedding. There are newer things that she can buy that will fit a smaller home or apartment. Just because it still works, does not mean she keeps it. She needs to have a fresh start.
* All the tools for the garden should be given to a garden club or local pea patch. All the workshop tools should go to a charity. All the old computers can be donated without the hard drives.
*  Have her pick out about six pieces of art work for the walls of her new place and the rest goes to he sorting piles. Have her pick out one box of books that she loves, the rest goes to the sorting pile. Have her decide if she really wants to do the hobby she always wanted, has she done anything on the hobby since she retired? If not…off it goes to the sorting pile.
*  The quicker you sort and go through the house the easier it is for her. Start with the rooms she does not use often, then come down to the last four, living, kitchen, bedroom and bath. Those stay to the end, they will be the hardest ones for her.
*  Keep telling her how well she is doing. With every thing she puts in the sorting pile, say – “Yeah, good job mom!” and mean it. This move is the hardest thing she will have done in ages. Do not push her over items. They just go into the “Wait and see”
* Get an air cleaner, sorting can cause lots of dust. Save the paperwork and office stuff till the end. She only needs tax info for a few years depending on her situation. Ask her CPA for a time frame for keeping her files.
*  When she gets a new place in her mind, the furniture and other things she wants to take will be so much easier. Get her a picture of where she is going. Start to look and get on the waiting list in the retirement center, apartments, village or center.
*  Take only a couple of coats. Raincoat, shopping coat, winter coat. Take only shoes that will fit her “now” lifestyle. Take only purses she uses and jewelry she wears. All the rest are gifted to the family members.
*  Bank boxes need to be sorted and closed if there is nothing important in them, or relocated closer to you or her new home.
*  Have her gift her old TVs and buy a new flat screen one to fit her new home. Records, Cd’s and anything else in that vein should be given away unless she really uses them. You can buy her a small MP3 player and put her favorite tunes on the player for her to have and enjoy and the actual original can be given away.
*  Get her a laptop and a small printer and have her get used to using the Internet and simple tasks online. So she can enjoy time on her own, looking up recipes and keeping in touch with family. Keep her in the NOW not in the past.
*  Her garden furniture can be placed in the driveway with FREE signs on it and the neighbors will enjoy using them. The plants she enjoys can be gifted to families for their yards with little notes of where to plant them and where she got them.
*  Have her write notes on family pieces like jewelry, art, object of art and so on, telling a story of where it came from and when so they can enjoy the history of the family as well as the object.
*  Keep a small recorder with you and while she goes through things, she can tell you about their history and you can just record the conversation. This is a good way for her to work out her pain of leaving years of living behind her.
*  Mentally moving is hard and you need to encourage her to keep going, keep her eye on the goal of a smaller home all clean with new things and her favorite older things all happy together. Encourage her to move closer to you so you can care for her in the years to come. Give her memories of the move by taking pics on your cell phone and sending them to your family. She will get a kick out of the whole adventure.
NO moving is not fun. NO she is not going to be a nice person to be around. YES, you can do this if you take it easy, stick to it like a job over a period of a couple of months or less and then be strong. Your upbeat personality will make the move so much easier for your mom. When in doubt just laugh. Laughing and teasing will get you farther than arguments. So smile and get this done. New changes are always for the best…old times were great but today is the important day. She gets to spend lots of days with her daughter in the process and that will be her best gift from the move.
Thank you for giving your mom your love and time. Even if you do not give it with the biggest open heart. You are still giving it. Tell your family, this too will past. Get in the car and go for it girl!
Please do stop by my website and review all the other tips I have there. Remember if your mother needs special care I have a FREE Senior Care Placement Service that will review the situation and find a place where she can be cared for with kindness. PS just finished my Care Givers Workbook 101…it is a great review to help you will the steps of care in the future with your mom!