Author Topic: Helping Mom  (Read 5085 times)

hybrid

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Helping Mom
« on: May 13, 2014, 03:01:23 PM »
My mother is 73 and not in the best of health and finally decided to move out of her old tri-level house to an apartment with no stairs at all. This has been no simple feat. Mom lived in her home for the last 35 years, and the house isn't in great shape (euphemistically written) although the bones are solid. I think the reality was the place just overwhelmed her over the years, and she was stuck in a bad rut. I had been encouraging her to move for a long while, but it took a nasty fall to (literally) knock some sense into her. Getting an older person to make a really big change can be very difficult.

As far as projects go, this has been huge. MrsHybrid has been awesome, her first piece of awesomeness was finding just the right apartment for Mom to move into. I have played the role of project manager. When we moved Mom to her new place she downsized from 1800 SF to 1000, and brought perhaps 1/4 of her stuff, tops, with her. Mom and I spent days and days dividing rooms into keep-trash-Goodwill piles. It's not hard to clutter up a house in 35 years, and although Mom was far from a pack rat the simple reality was she had wayyyy too much stuff for one person to manage.

Downsizing has been very therapeutic for her. She feels liberated. Instead of having a house she felt she could barely maintain, now she has a comfy apartment that isn't cluttered. And she's been doing a great job of keeping it that way so far, I think she is really embracing her simpler lifestyle and seems much more at ease.

As for that old house.... To say it needed a lot of work is an understatement. The whole family has been pitching in ripping out old carpets, pulling up tack strip and staples, making numerous runs to Goodwill and the landfill, caulking and painting, etc. We have put a lot of sweat equity into the place and are now ready to turn much of it over to pros who can get it ready for the market on the hurry-up (our trusted realtor has said we'll fetch top dollar in the summer months and lose perhaps 10% in the winter months, so time is a factor). I'd say we've saved Mom several thousand dollars on contracting costs but more importantly she is in a better place - physically and mentally - now. She has been watching the changes we have made over the past year and has gotten more and more on board with the idea that less is often in fact more.

 

 
 

Argyle

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2014, 03:20:22 PM »
Excellent!

Greg

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2014, 03:38:24 PM »
Good job everyone involved.  I dread/anticipate a similar process for my folks.

hybrid

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2014, 07:02:26 PM »
Good job everyone involved.  I dread/anticipate a similar process for my folks.

It's one reason I started this thread. Something I've been stressing to Mom over the past few years is that it would be much better for everyone if we could make proactive instead of reactive choices, and fortunately that's the way it turned out. If you see yourself in that situation Greg, try to get in front of it as quick as possible. My nightmare scenario has been dealing with this when Mom was no longer capable of being involved in the process. I have POA and such should it ever come to it, but so much better not to have to make decisions for her when I don't have to. That day may come yet, but if and when it comes we'll be better prepared for it.

Also, be prepared for it to take a toll on you mentally. It's a great big stress pit, and it will just plain wear you out.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2014, 09:04:56 PM »
All of my surviving siblings are dreading cleaning out my parent's house - and this is AFTER a major purge!

Hopefully it's many years in the future still.

homeymomma

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2014, 10:18:14 AM »
As for that old house.... To say it needed a lot of work is an understatement. The whole family has been pitching in ripping out old carpets, pulling up tack strip and staples, making numerous runs to Goodwill and the landfill, caulking and painting, etc. We have put a lot of sweat equity into the place and are now ready to turn much of it over to pros who can get it ready for the market on the hurry-up (our trusted realtor has said we'll fetch top dollar in the summer months and lose perhaps 10% in the winter months, so time is a factor). I'd say we've saved Mom several thousand dollars on contracting costs but more importantly she is in a better place - physically and mentally - now. She has been watching the changes we have made over the past year and has gotten more and more on board with the idea that less is often in fact more.

I'm so impressed by your attitude. There are three kids in my family and the consensus is that we'll just have to light a match when the house is finally vacant. Hoarding... Yikes. On the plus side it has made me and my husband very minimalist, which fits nicely with Mustachianism.

hybrid

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2014, 01:51:00 PM »
As for that old house.... To say it needed a lot of work is an understatement. The whole family has been pitching in ripping out old carpets, pulling up tack strip and staples, making numerous runs to Goodwill and the landfill, caulking and painting, etc. We have put a lot of sweat equity into the place and are now ready to turn much of it over to pros who can get it ready for the market on the hurry-up (our trusted realtor has said we'll fetch top dollar in the summer months and lose perhaps 10% in the winter months, so time is a factor). I'd say we've saved Mom several thousand dollars on contracting costs but more importantly she is in a better place - physically and mentally - now. She has been watching the changes we have made over the past year and has gotten more and more on board with the idea that less is often in fact more.

I'm so impressed by your attitude. There are three kids in my family and the consensus is that we'll just have to light a match when the house is finally vacant. Hoarding... Yikes. On the plus side it has made me and my husband very minimalist, which fits nicely with Mustachianism.

I really hate clutter. 15 years ago we had a lot of clutter. My DW is a new age type of person, and one day while looking in the self-help section at Barnes and Noble I found a book called Clear your clutter with Feng Shui. I was instantly hooked, though for me the title could have read Clear your clutter with (anything that gets DW buy-in). It's been a long road for us, much longer for the missus, and she has slowly but surely gotten there. People get so attached to things, or can't bear to part with things they "might need someday". Mom had lots of stuff that had either been in the same place so long it had become white noise or was stuff she thought she might need. In 2004.

For the first time in years and years my mother has a clutter-free place to live and she is much happier these days it seems. Her old house had become this giant boat anchor she thought she could never fully get under control or away from. This is a big problem for people who live by themselves and don't seek advice from others. Sometimes they need a fresh set of eyes, and Mom couldn't see herself leaning on her family for help. Ahhhh, well.

TrMama

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2014, 02:57:17 PM »
it would be much better for everyone if we could make proactive instead of reactive choices, and fortunately that's the way it turned out. If you see yourself in that situation Greg, try to get in front of it as quick as possible. My nightmare scenario has been dealing with this when Mom was no longer capable of being involved in the process. I have POA and such should it ever come to it, but so much better not to have to make decisions for her when I don't have to. That day may come yet, but if and when it comes we'll be better prepared for it.

^^^ This is why I'm so glad we got MIL moved into our in-law suite while she was still well enough to handle the change relatively easily. Plus, it wasn't a move + a catastrophic event.

Frankies Girl

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2014, 03:11:45 PM »
I wish we'd been able to convince my dad to let us attempt to clean his house years ago. I would offer at least once a year and also hit him with all the reasons why (tried so many different tactics to get him to see reason) but even after he finally moved out to a senior living apartment, he forbade us from touching the house and continued to pay for all the utilities and property tax... and even paid to have a $20K garage installed in the back yard with the misguided idea that he would clean out the house himself as soon as he was "feeling better" (he was terminal, knew it, and yet still avoided the idea of actual death being imminent). Such a waste, and we know for a fact that the state of his house contributed to his decline. He robbed himself of years', possibly even a decade's worth of being able to get around and enjoy life. And joy of joys, we're facing the same type of thing with my mother as well. Added bonus is that she has collected too many cats and they are out of control and the state of her house is approaching our father's at this point, and she is not really open to the idea of anyone helping or getting rid of the massive amounts of trash and junk...


I know you're in the weeds right now dealing with the house fix up, but good for you and your wife AND your mother too for getting her a better and easier to manage place to live. At least she'll be happy and safe and able to enjoy herself much better where she is now.

aj_yooper

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2014, 03:16:23 PM »
Good work, hybrid!  When our friends downsized from a big house to a condo, they felt very free.  They love the simplicity.

avonlea

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2014, 03:18:06 PM »
I know you're in the weeds right now dealing with the house fix up, but good for you and your wife AND your mother too for getting her a better and easier to manage place to live. At least she'll be happy and safe and able to enjoy herself much better where she is now.
+1

I've been following your thread, hybrid.  I think what you and your wife are doing for your mom is great. 

Kaminoge

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2014, 05:21:37 AM »
That's a great outcome! I'm so glad your mother was able to see sense and make the move while she was able to. My grandparents recently passed away (within a few months of each other) and one thing that made it so much easier was that towards the end my grandmother became completely ruthless about getting rid of EVERYTHING. She threw away nearly all her old photos saying no-one else knew who they were and she didn't want us to have to do it, she gave away all of her jewelry - none of it was worth money but the stuff with sentimental value she gave to me and the junk stuff she offered around and then gave to the charity shop what no-one wanted.


brooklynmoney

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Re: Helping Mom
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2014, 09:55:02 AM »
It's really impressive that your mom was able to come around. My grandmother just passed. She was in her home for 60 years and refused to leave, even though she was very lonely because everyone in her neighborhood worked all day and she had no one to socialize with. If she had been able to "let go" of the house and the stuff  and move somewhere closer to family or to other seniors she might have been happier. So I do give your mom a lot of credit for taking what probably seemed like a big risk.  Now my aunt is looking like she'll be in the same position as my grandmother -- house falling down, no money/energy for repairs, refusing to leave to somewhere smaller, more manageable. It makes me very happy that I live in a one bedroom apartment.