Three Experiences: 85-year-old male bachelor, moving without help
Widow/aging-in-place advocate, 80+ with bad back and helpful children
Older dad, early dementia, when to give up “being boss”?
“Getting rid of things is like peeling layers of an onion,” to quote a friend, who moved 2 months ago. You know what you’re going to keep. You know what you absolutely don’t want. Everything in the middle is looked at over and over before parting with it. This is no doubt true when competent people in their 50’s-early 70’s move. But what about others?
1st. A former colleague in his mid-80’s, never married, is contemplating a major move back to his birthplace where family still lives. Little by little, he says, he’s taking things there (a 4-5 hour drive). He said the advice he has received is “don’t get discouraged, do a bit at a time.”
Well, yes….but. One person doing all the moving him/herself seems–to me at least– next to impossible. I told him my husband and I fantasized about instant adoption of several grown children who were muscular and would follow directions to help move stuff and get rid of things quickly–before we changed our minds. But of course we didn’t have that luxury. We had to make the decisions, then follow through which took organization, energy, strength, and activated some feelings of loss.
I–in a weak or empathic moment–volunteered to help this former colleague in the spring or early summer if he wants. Bottom line: I don’t think one person of advanced age can do all the moving by him/herself.
2nd. At a holiday open house recently, a respected woman in the community, with a good mind and a bad back, told me she made the decision and recently moved to assisted living because of her worsening back. A widow in her 80’s, who has been an active “aging in place” advocate and still drives, said she knew it was time for her to sell her 2-story home and make it easier on herself.
She raved about how her adult children and teenage grandchildren “took care of every aspect of the move.” Thought they did “a wonderful job of moving everything.” Said she never could have even attempted the move on her own.
A grateful mother who so appreciates her children and grandchildren helping with the move can be attributed–clearly in part–to the fact she initiated the move–well aware of the limitations caused by her back problem.