As younger family members, it is often our age group that becomes a major part of moving older relatives from a house to an apartment. This is not as easy as you might think and often carries an unexpected emotional penalty for the older relative. However, we can guide the process so that it ensures continuation of family identity, is emotionally uplifting, and makes our relatives a little money on the side.
Since When Did We Have Active Seniors?
As relatives age, at some point, they make a couple of location changes. One hundred years ago, there weren’t many people living over the age of 70. Today, being 70 and older is just as much about fun and independence as younger days.
In other words, there aren’t many rules and points of wisdom out there for a huge transition like moving from a house to an apartment. However excited they are about the next 30+ years of life still left remaining, many 70 year olds have a hard time giving up their home for sentimental reasons.
How To Get Hoarders To Move From A House To An Apartment
Although hording is the word we use for those that pack their homes full of stuff, this isn’t exactly the attitude you should use with your elderly relatives. This house packed full of “junk” is actually a mini-museum of their entire life. Even if you just kept a few things from each year of your life, after 70 years, you have a house full of things.
Even worse, you are the eldest relative and now have mini-collections of other relative’s precious things. Being the patriarch or patriarch of the family often means keeping archives. Moving from a house to an apartment means that these archives need to be dealt with.
Turning A Bunch Of Junk Into Money
Let’s face it, Ebay exists and it is there to help with moving a relative from a house to an apartment. Plus, if you aren’t good at dealing with Ebay, an estate sale person can certainly be there to assist. This way, the first layer of precious things from your elderly relatives home can be dealt with by them.
The remaining items, especially those that were of great value, can be donated to places that covet nicer items. A good example is a bookshelf or sofa. Those items are too heavy to send through Ebay and disappear into the ether with Craigslist. However, a library, university, or academy might be a better choice. This way, you know that the bookshelf isn’t going to turn into kindling and that future generations can enjoy the $1,000 dollar couch your aunt bought in Paris on her honeymoon 40 years ago.
Making Scraps And Memories Into Treasured Gifts And Archives
There is always one member of the family that is great at creativity and art. This person needs to be involved at some point to help compile family archives. Scrapbooks are a great way to do this. Making diorama style wall displays can also facilitate this process.
For example, printed things and photos can go in a scrap book that includes details about those items from the elderly relative that donated them. Stories and other family history can be turned into several volumes. These volumes are then distributed to remaining family members during the holidays or other sentimental times of year.
Bulkier items, like military medals of honor, figurines, thimbles, or baseballs can be preserved with the diorama display cases. While they are a bit expensive, it is definitely worth it for the preservation of family history. Plus, they are easily permanent wall hangings and therefore worth the investment.
When Relatives Can Not Decide What Goes And What Stays
For a minimal fee, most heavy furniture and other items can be put in a storage unit. If you think this is too expensive, try looking at storage units in rural places. Often, you can find one within driving distance that is three times as large and half the cost.
A Brick Of Gold From House To Apartment And Beyond
When I moved across country, my friends thought it was hysterical that I was taking a brick with me. However, when we moved my elderly Great Great Aunt from her home of 80 years and into her new home 1,000 miles away in Florida, she took that brick with her. The brick was from a big pile in her back yard that had been there since before her birth.
That big heavy brick followed her from Florida and into the nursing home that was her final place of residence. She always used it to keep her door open a crack because she hated using door knobs. She would even have other residents crochet a cozy for her brick so she didn’t bang the door on it.
It’s A Shrine And Not A Brick
As my twice Great Aunt would always say, that brick was the best family archive item we had. Fires might burn other things into faded memories, but a brick is here to stay. For this reason, when you are moving your relatives from a house to an apartment, be sure to get them to take a piece of the house with them.
After all, their memories and energy are infused in the materials of their home. A small stone or piece of window trim can easily be worth their emotional and spiritual weight in gold. Later, when our relatives go to the great hereafter, our remaining family will be deciding between artwork and jewelery.
You, on the other hand, will know to take the insignificant looking brick. It’s moments like this that make the experience of moving your elderly relatives from home to apartment one that you will cherish in new ways for years to come.