Senior Living Alone to a Retirement Community - The steps to take
There comes a time when loved ones have to make a decision to help a parent sell a home and move into an assisted living or retirement community. Also, taking the keys to the car is another dreaded milestone a child must do for a parent. I've done both in the past year.
Taking your 86 year old Mother's car keys is really a tough thing to do. As I was thinking this through, I had to imagine how I would feel if I had to give up my independence like this. No more spur of the moment joy rides or trips to the grocery to pick up a thing or two. Plus, she wouldn't be able to just jump into the car on a whim to drive over to see me. The last part , I would truly miss. It was time though. We got through it and she often worried that the car was no longer in the garage at her condo. I made sure to visit more often and run errands for her.
Life for her at the condo became lonely. She would go for a walk or watch TV. I would worry that it might create a decline in her health. I started researching the next step to get her around more people. I toured three retirement comminities that also had assisted living. Mom had turned 87 and I knew she might benifit having new friends. At her age, most friends and a husband had passed away. I was on a mission to find just the right thing for her.
I started making my To Do List.
1. Tour and make a deposit on a retirement community. I wanted one with lots of activities and happy people. I picked out the exact apartment w/ balcony and took measurements to make a floorplan of how her furniture might fit. I also, let Mom see the apartment and approve.
2. Start helping Mom get rid of things no longer needed.
a. Sell furniture and whatnots at consignment or on Facebook.
b. Clean out closets and drawers. Take clothes to Goodwill.
3. Buy Mom a new mix and math wardrobe with her favorite colors. Black, grey, white and pinks. Suitable shoes, 2 pair of Sketchers for walking. Everything would match and no matter what she pulled out of the closet, it all went together. I really wanted her to feel like she fit in at the new place.
4. Buy new towels and things for the bath and kitchen.
5. Start packing what would be moved like wall pictures and mirrors. These would be unpacked first.
6. Hire movers and arrange help for a specific move in day.
7. Go the night before the move and set up kitchen and bath at the apartment.
8. Have Sister-in -law take Mom to breakfast the day of the move. She will be leaving her condo and walking into the new apartment.
9. Move in day. Everything was completely unpacked, pictures on the wall, bed made, closets neatly done, groceries in the kitchen. It looked like she had already lived here. Beautiful with all her pretty things.
10. Mom walked in and was fine with all of it. My brother slept there the first night on the couch to be sure she was ok. Everything was.
11. Put condo up FOR SALE. Clean and do repairs. I listed it on the MLS and syndicated websites, did weekly open house/ showings and found a buyer. (Sold in a month)
Now, Mom has made it from February to August 2018. The picture was taken at their Valentine cake walk three days after she moved in. No problems at all. Mom has made loads of friends, travels out weekly for lunches and events, she does all the exercise programs, makes awesome pottery in ceramics class, has won a cornhole competition and Derby Hat contest. Life is sweet. She is so happy. That makes me happy too.