Moving to an assisted living community
Without family or the desire for many social connections, it was a while before someone understood that Helen was becoming too frail to live independently. Periodically she received calls from her trust officer and her attorney, checking in on her. But they could not see the problems she had with balance and walking. She now was sitting for long periods of time. They also could not see that her house had become cluttered. After one check-in call, her trust officer heard something in her voice that concerned him. He arranged for a care manager to visit Helen and assess her current living situation.
The care manager came to visit and immediately recognized that Helen was a very high fall risk. In fact, she had come to the point where the demands of living independently were more than she could realistically and safely manage. She seemed weak from poor nutrition. She just didn’t have the strength and stamina to run a household and needed some hands-on help and structure in her day.
The trust officer called us to engage our services, and the care manager toured several communities with Helen. They decided on an assisted living community where she could still live with some autonomy but would be spared housekeeping and house and yard maintenance. She would have the option of preparing her own meals or eating in the dining hall if she was too tired or simply preferred what was on the menu that day!
Custom floor plan
We started with a custom floor plan so we could work with Helen to design her new space. She enjoyed the attention and being in charge again. The custom floor plan also helped her become realistic about what would work best and what items would not. This didn’t seem to bother her at all.
Downsizing and liquidation
As we went through the process of decluttering and downsizing with her, it became clear that she had been a decorated pilot in the military and was also a collector of art, pottery, costume jewelry, and air force memorabilia. Her collections were extensive, so we had a reputable estate sale owner come to evaluate items for a sale. Helen liked the idea that some of her collections and treasures from all her travels could be sold and appreciated by others.
Packing, moving, and unpacking
Helen was able to actively choose what she wanted to take with her. In the process, our team learned about different chapters in her life and what they meant to her. In her new apartment, we suggested hanging pictures that represented important and happy moments in her life and travels.
As with all our clients, we developed a transition schedule for Helen that outlined our packing schedule, set the move date, and booked the moving company. We were there on move day to oversee the movers while the care manager took Helen out to lunch. After making sure all the furniture was correctly placed in the new apartment, we unpacked everything and decorated her apartment with her art and travel memorabilia. When she walked in, she stopped short, smiled, and thanked us. Most telling was the look of joy, recognition, and relief that showed in her eyes. She could see that it was possible to feel at home here.
Putting her house on the market
Working with her trust officer and attorney, we arranged for the estate sale to take place and then made arrangements with charitable organizations to pick up what was not sold. After we cleaned the house, we referred a realtor to handle the sale of the house.
After the move, the care manager appreciated our detailed attention to how we had worked with Helen and how we had gained insights into Helen’s history as we got to know her and her belongings. Part of our job as senior move managers, whether there is family available or not, is to help the client retain their dignity and keep their history with them.
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