Author: Deirdre Dolan Nesline

You know, the one with your spouse and household family members about bringing your aging parent to live in your/their home.  Take a deep breath before you do this then understand as much as you can about what you are agreeing to.

This should not be a quick decision.  Talk to your family to get their opinion.  A lot of times family members will allow you to do what you want because it takes the burden off them.  Perhaps think about why they are allowing you to do this (and not them) and clearly understand their reasons because they are valid and perhaps you should consider them before making your decision as well.

This should not be done alone. You need support and will need to take breaks so set that up now.  Hire someone to relieve you daily.  There are many resources available both for free and pay.  Don’t wait until you are at the breaking point to get help, set that up at before your loved one comes to your home.

Talk to healthcare professionals treating your loved one.  Healthcare professionals have a clear understanding of your loved one’s health and what is required to attend to their needs.  These needs might not be something you ever anticipated as health deteriorates.  Physical and mental status changes come with their own challenges.

Preparation is essential.  Look at your home with an eye to the future.  Is there a 3-foot radius between furniture that a wheelchair could maneuver around?  Do you have stairs that will require a chair lift, budget for this now?  What about getting into the home, are there stairs, do you need to get a ramp?  Are there grab bars strategically placed in the bathroom? Are weapons accessible? and I don’t just mean guns, I mean items that can be used as weapons against you or someone else.

Communication is key.  Not only between you, your spouse, siblings, and family members but their extended network as well.  A quick conversation to the extended family will go a long way when your spouses’ family understands your spouse agreed to this arrangement and there’s no need for judgment.

Draw a line in the sand. Plan now as to when you will hand over care to someone else.  When the caregiving affects your family, your work, your mental and/or physical health.  When certain traits begin to show in your loved one. When certain equipment needs to be used for care. When friends and family tell you it’s time to make changes, you agree to listen to them.

This is doable!

Make it as easy as possible as soon as possible so your time together is pleasant and as stress reduced as it can be.

You won’t regret taking care of your loved one.

 

Imagine this…you recently purchased a new home and are moving out of your 5th-floor apartment.  You are excited to move to your new home because it means you have rightsized for your current life and it’s a little bit easier for you to see family and friends.

You’ve already washed all your new-to-you cabinets, drawers and bathrooms.  You’ve washed and polished the floors and had someone come in to professionally clean the rugs.  You’ve put your dishes, glasses, towels in their proper place.  You’ve got a small chair that fit in your car for you to sit on and you’ve taken all of the manageable pieces already.  You see your signature style popping through in your new dwelling.

You contact a “mover” to take everything out of your 5th-floor dwelling to your new home.  The “movers” arrive on time, 9 am sharp!  They hang the wall protectors on the elevator walls and head up to take your items to the truck.  This is the first time they’ve been to your home to see what you will be moving.  First up, the sleeper sofa.  They carry the sleeper to the elevator, remove the drop ceiling so it fits and…it doesn’t fit.  Now what?  The only way it’s getting downstairs to the truck is if they carry it.  Well, they decide there is no way they are going to carry it down 5 flights of stairs, so they leave.  No “goodbye”, no “we are sorry”, no “we will send someone else to handle it”.

This happened to someone my husband spoke to last week.  The person who was moving looked up help for moving, got a name, chatted on the phone, got a “good” price and set up a move date.  No one came to preview the job.  No contract, no deposit, no guarantee.  Therefore, the “movers” were able to walk away without a word or second glance when moving the furniture presented the slightest challenge.

Look out for yourself, especially during a high-stress time in your life (regardless if you are happy or not about your move).  Find out if the company is registered in your state.  Get a contract that lays out all of the rules, what you are obligated to do and what the mover is obligated to do.  Movers are highly regulated and if the price you get is significantly lower than a legitimate company, investigate the reason why.  Do not leave things to chance and take their word, I’m sorry to say that doesn’t work anymore.  Believe me, I know things happen and vendors might not be able to help you with what you need to accomplish in the end but at least they would tell you they were leaving and explain how they couldn’t fulfill their agreement.

Avoid stress, make sure they are legitimate so you don’t get caught in a debacle, create a peaceful life and contact me for tips on moving.

 

Decide on a housing budget based on the least amount of money you can afford

Get a map and narrow down the area of the country where you think you want to live.

Narrow that area to 100 square miles

Take a look at amenities in each town and how much they align with your interests

Explore areas of 3 towns that fit into your housing budget and interests

Visit the top 3 choice towns once every quarter to understand it’s seasons

Choose one town

Start Early, Good Luck, Contact Me if you Need Help!

You’re moving.  And, you’re moving far from your comfortable 5-mile radius.  In that 5-mile (or less) radius is your grocery store and you know exactly where they keep the brand of ice cream you love.

Your pharmacy where the pharmacist knows all your ailments for the past 20 years and which medicines work best for your ailment.

Your house of worship, why that religious leader knows what you’ve been through as your children we entering young adulthood.

Your mechanic, the one you trust to fix your car, just by listening to it, the proper way and not overcharge you.

Your favorite meeting spot where, as soon as you walk in the door, they are preparing your favorite drink for you without asking.

And your friends, the people you call when you need a ride, someone to chat with, someone to come over and decide which color you should paint the walls to go with your new furniture.

All of a sudden it hits you, you will be without your support system.

Where will you shop?

Where will you meet up with friends?

Where will you find friends?

Holy cow, that can be very scary!

Guess what?  You can fulfill all of these needs at your new home with deliberate social connections.  Get out of the house and start creating new social connections the first day!

Make it your mission to immediately find a new coffee shop that brings a smile to your face when you walk in.

Seek out a grocery store with exceptional service.

Drive by a couple of auto mechanic workshops and have a little chat.

Join a club where you can pursue social connections.

Finally, ReConnect Live with friends and neighbors from your former home, call them.

Moving changes an address, not a relationship.

Sign up for my newsletter.

Are you storing obsolete technology equipment in your attic or basement?  If yes, you could be holding onto treasure or space grabbing junk!

It’s so funny to hear that saying that everything comes into vogue again in relationship to technology and it’s hard to believe in our fast-paced world of technology that it would apply but it sometimes does.  There are some people who like and miss the sound of the keyboards from the 80’s and they will pay for those keyboards, not many, but they are there if you wait.

There are also people who would like to own the colorful Macintosh’s so if you have that type of technology, pull it out and try to sell it or donate to a theater or local group who put on plays.  Let them store it and you will have the knowledge you helped someone out.

My guess is most of the technology you have stored are stored for a reason because it’s obsolete and you cannot use it so, recycle it.

Have your older storage drives, discs, tapes moved onto new technology if professionals can accomplish that for you.

The original faxes seemed to have disappearing ink so if you have very old faxed documents that you will need in the future have them saved onto a different technology before the ink fades.   Recycle the used fax paper that you no longer need but check about the shiny coated paper.

Continuously update all the data you have stored on technology as you replace it with new technology that way when you purchase new equipment, you’ll be prepared to recycle it instead of store it, saving you from a later headache.

Sign up for my newsletter on my homepage http://www.declutterbydeirdre.com/

See that yellow bowl?  It means a lot to me!

The yellow coating is gone from the rim, it’s got some chips, and silver scrapes on the inside left behind from utensils.  Every time I reach for it to use for vegetables, salad, popcorn, fruit, I smile a BIG smile and feel a sense of joy.  The reason I smile so big is that it reminds me of family, friends and good times at the lake.   I think it was used at almost every supper at the lake!

Not long ago my brother was visiting and when I took it out, he asked if that was the bowl from the lake and my immediate thought was “Oh no, he’s not going to ask me for it is he?”.  I said “Yes”, and he said “Great”!  PHEW!  It was triggering happy memories for him as well.

“The lake” represents our family’s childhood in summer. It was a place our family, extended family and friends gathered every weekend. We would power boat, sunfish sail, swim, jet-ski, suntan, fish, flirt, nap, develop long-lasting friendships, understand each other more and what made us tick through conversations, sneak out to our friends’ houses, play ping pong in the clubhouse and create truly lifelong memories of joy.

I don’t remember ever using a key to open the door during the summer because it was always unlocked and open to whoever wanted to stop by. And, everyone knew they just had to walk in, no knocking, no ringing of the doorbell, that’s the kind of place it was and that long-ago happiness is what I re-experience every time I use that yellow bowl.

Of course, I talk a lot about DeCluttering but I don’t want you to get rid of everything in your home: whether you are aging in place or moving to a new home.  Do you have a treasure in your possession that brings you an overabundance of happiness and joy, but most others wouldn’t appreciate it because it’s not tied to anything emotionally triggering in their minds? I want you to keep 1 or 2 treasures that bring you deep happiness and joy to look at and use.

Write down the memories and feelings those one or two items create for you then use them, love them, relive the feeling of happiness they give you. This might also help you pass along other treasures of yours that might not have the same importance and make your DeCluttering a little bit easier.

Tell me, did you pick out an item?  What does it represent to you?

If you are lucky enough to be present while your loved one is in the process of dying, have the conversation you always wanted to have.  This is your chance, do it, there will never be another time.

Now, I’m not necessarily saying choose this moment to confess all your sins and how horrible they treated you but turn that around and have a conversation about the positive impact they have had on your life.  Talk about the positive effects they have had on their community, their workplace, where they volunteer, with their family and friends.

It’s hard to know what you can do to support your loved one who is dying however, one gift you can give is to share how loved they made you feel.  Share how much you appreciated them coaching you, defending you, paying for your dinner, letters of encouragement, etc.  Showing up for you, even if just once in your life, is a gift to be cherished.  Showing up for someone else, in whatever capacity you are able, is a gift to them and frankly, to you as well.

Write down some ways you can show up for those you love and those who are actively dying, this will be extremely helpful when you’re in an emotional state before, during or after your conversations.

Give them a quick call, even if they are unable to hold the phone because of lack of strength or where they are in the process or someone who is with them can hold it up to their ear.  It doesn’t need to be a long conversation just, “I’m thinking about you and wanted to call”.

Put together soothing music or some fun songs to take their mind to another place, dying is scary on all sides.

Read a book to them, conscious or not, they can hear you.

Take a puzzle to do together, you don’t even have to talk, concentrating on something besides the inevitable provides some relief.  Here are some great puzzles: https://maddcappgames.com/collections/puzzles

Give them a hand or foot massage, except if they are in pain. You know how great it is to get your hair washed by someone else when you go to the salon, they might love a gentle scalp massage.

Comedy shows are great, watch a couple of those, laughter is the best medicine.

Put headsets on them, turn on YouTube to favorite bands from their era.  The headsets help them focus on the music and what’s in front of them, not what’s going on with them providing a little break from the stress.

Hold their hand, whether they are able to hold yours back or not. The warmth of connection is powerful.

Let me know if you have other suggestions.

Sending you courage to connect and have the conversation

Self-care is the latest buzzword but it is oh, so much more than a buzzword! It is really important to focus on yourself first, this is not selfish, it is lifesaving. Apply the longtime airline preparation phrase to your own life “Put your oxygen mask on before helping anyone else.”.  “You can’t help anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.” If you have heard these phrases a lot lately it’s time to act.

How can you focus on self-care in your own life, especially if you are new to self-care?

Self-care starts with taking care of you, becoming ultra-aware of situations that upset you, understanding you have choices and then choosing the less stressful path for you.  Conduct your life in a way that will provide you with the most peace; good “time-choices” and planning ahead will help you.   Let’s say you want to start DeCluttering your home for a move. Imagine if you started DeCluttering today and that today was 3 months before your scheduled move.  Your stress level should be much lower than if you chose to, instead, wait until the week of your move.  That’s taking care of yourself.  You reduce your stress in an already high-stress-level event by utilizing the extra time you have given yourself to prepare for your move.  An hour here and 4 hours there, months in advance, will impact your move in a positive manner.

Self-care includes having awareness of your stressors. Become aware and look out for your stressors and minimize them as much as you can.  Your stressors might be very different from someone else’s stressors.  Events that don’t bother you at all could be huge triggers for someone else and vice versa, the secret here is being able to identify your own triggers and limit your exposure to them.

My best piece of stress reducing advice is to look at your time-choices, plan out as much of your calendar as you are able, to include hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly planning.  Make time-choices your friend. Create awareness of your stressors and triggers and avoid or deal with them without delay.

Let me know how these work for you.

Winter storm season is in full swing!  Oftentimes, when a damaging storm hits we are not fully prepared but what we’re really not prepared for is the emotional aftermath: feelings of loss, of fear, where do we go, where do we turn, do we have enough cash on hand because the banks are closed, do we have the basics such as water and shelter or can we easily get those?

Think about how you would cope with no electricity: how do you charge your phone, do you keep the appointment you had in the next city over that wasn’t affected by the storm, what do you do if you need to get in touch with someone, do you need electricity for medical devices? No television is very disruptive for many who can’t sleep at night because perhaps that’s the only way they can fall asleep and now that’s not available.  No coffee in the morning because there’s no electricity and there’s no water to make that coffee. What would you do in that case if you didn’t have a generator?  You could get trapped in your home by the weather because trees have fallen, and you can’t get out of your driveway.

And, if you can get out of your driveway you might not have the cash to go to the grocery store. Let’s say you can buy the groceries but then you need to carry them into your home, perhaps up your stairs? What if the stairs have an electric glider that’s your only way upstairs and the battery has drained? This would be stressful for any of us but it’s especially stressful for people who are physically challenged.

It all just becomes too much stress on stress on stress.

The same can happen if you don’t prepare and plan for a move to a new home.  Planning for the physical and emotional changes you will experience needs to happen earlier rather than later.  Move dates sneak up on people and take them by surprise because there was not enough planning and preparation at the very earliest stages.  I know there can be emergency situations where you have no control but, if you have control take advantage of it.  Plan for your next move in life, let your family and friends know what your next move will be and what is the criteria that will signal it’s time to happen.

I suggest you plan a year ahead of your move and make choices and changes as you go.  For example: if you live up north and this will be your last winter in the snow, donate your winter coats, skis, hats, gloves, etc. once you’re at the end of the season.  Do that with each season but keep the items that coincide with your new climate.

I’ve created a 7 Tip Sheet to help you decide where to move in a year.  Take a look.

7 Basic, Initial Tips to Help Decide Where to Move in a Year

Contact me if you need help.

OMGosh!  Are you over all the paper that gets sent to your home?  I am!

I really don’t need offers of maintenance contracts on vehicles I’ve sold.  I don’t need to see all the types of cars I can purchase.  I don’t need catalogs filled with clothing that does not suit my lifestyle or where I am in this stage of my life.  But I still get these mailed to me and that’s an indication to me that it’s time to renew my no more unsolicited mail request online.

I really don’t mind getting bills: electric usage bills, homeowner’s association bills, cable tv bills.  These types of paper mail are reminders that I have a roof over my head, I enjoy all the comforts electricity provides and I have time to watch television instead of having to work 3 jobs during every waking moment. I don’t mind these mailings!

Recycling the unwanted bills reduces items going to the landfill, yes, but what about not cutting down that tree to begin with? Here’s the way to reduce unwanted mail:  go to this website https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email and follow the directions for each of the items you no longer want.  It’s easy, fairly inexpensive and it will take but minutes today to reduce a lot of stress.  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email

Let me know how you feel about your reduced mail in about a month.  And, sign up for my newsletter, no paper involved!