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As a caregiver or family member of an aging parent or friend, many times we can sort out changes in the house, their schedule, their eating habits, shopping patterns and many other daily life activities, BUT, never make any changes without having a discussion and permission from the loved one first.
As we mature we want to stay independent. Don't take away the independence from the loved one without sorting out proper dialogue that makes sense to them.
For example, an adult child may come into their parents home having discussions on downsizing or moving. The parent is backing off because all they see is dollar signs on how much will the move cost and where would I live? In addition, being in a home of 10 to 40 years, the overwhelming burden and sleepless nights thinking how would they move everything.When adult children come to visit they might start mentioning to their parents how they don't need certain items like: china dishes from Great Great Aunt Mary or dining room set they no longer use for dining, but to put papers on.
Having discussions with the entire family which items in the home do the siblings want? Or, what items in the home are to be sold, like a collection of knives, paper weights, or art? Conducting a household inventory digital and written documentation will set a record of items for the estate. In addition, gathering life documents in one binder in case of any emergency the caregiver and/or family member know where to go.
Our parents might be aging, but they still have a heart and a mind, and they defintely want their independence. I do!
So have a family gathering and get permission first on how they think you can help them.
Rita Woll, Senior Move Manager & Professional Organizer
In my job as a Senior Move Manager and professional organizer in Indianapolis - one who specializes in working with senior clients or their caregiver families - I often get the honor of helping seniors with diminished memory. I see the heartache that family members experience as they struggle to deal with a parent who seems to be slowly slipping away.