Suzanne Newman joins Kelley Smith at CarePartners Senior Living to provide a plan for starting the decluttering process. This segment focuses on beginning stages, and putting the plan in action.
First: we’re downsizing for a reason, whether Mom is moving in with an adult child, moving into an assisted living facility. Look at the space she’s moving into and assess how much space is available. Visit model units to get an idea of what would work in the space, to see if Mom’s couch will actually fit. You could have a closet organizer installed, which significantly improves the storage space. Some units have an extra pantry or linen closet. You don’t need a lot of space for brooms and mops and cleaning supplies because your community will take care of that for you, so perhaps add shelves in there. You can also put a shelf on top of kitchen cabinets, and fill wicker baskets up there with Mom’s things that she wants to keep but doesn’t use very often.
Sometimes their maintenance folks will do that for you. If you have a studio apartment, use book shelves to separate spaces and provide extra storage in the middle. Most places will let you add shelves. There may be situations where a resident’s china hutch wouldn’t fit in the apartment, but they asked if it could be placed in a common area for everyone to enjoy, and they may find room for it. Being creative with your space will help them bring more things that matter to them.
To begin organizing, clean out a room in your house and set it up as a station. Sort items into boxes for assisted living, for charitable donations, to toss, and to sell. If you have two floors, have a room on each floor. A lot of us have extra stuff in our homes to get rid of.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
The following podcast is provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio, and welcome back everyone to the answers for Elvis Radio Network with our wonderful Kelly Smith, vice president of care partner senior living, and Kelly and I are talking today about getting the plan going. It’s springtime, we’re all looking at our methods, especially from the two years of quarantine. How do we get started? We have a plan for each and every one of you that are listening today and Kelly, welcome back, because we’re going to talk a little bit this segment about the beginning stages and I think that’s one of the things that that you know, we talk a little bit about how you put the plan in action. And I how do we start? Tell well, the first thing is always going to be a conversation. But we don’t says you, we’re down, saysing for a reason, because mom coming to live with you, if she’s going into an assistant living community, we’re look shopping. The first thing you have to do is go look at the space she’s moving into. So you got a very clear idea of what can even fit, what’s going to work, what’s not going to work is their room for some of the items she really wanted to keep. You got to know the spatier moving into first well, I think to Kelly is look at the model unit, because if you’re going to a senior living, I know each and every one of your communities have a wonderful model unit that will give people and I idea of how you know what fits right now. What that this kind of fit again, actually what? What actually kind of works in here? Of course the model is it designed, you know, to show people only what they can bring, but to give them an idea of mom stuff will work in this room correct in this particular space, and people are always surprised how much room a love these communities have a blank you know, just walking into an empty room. You don’t always give an idea. Most of these places out floor plans that have, you know, measurements at all that, so you can take them back to make sure that that couch mom will not live without is actually going to fit in there. I even hear people say, well, just buy mom all new stuff. I made that mistake. Bring her ad bring her things, because you want it. You wanted to get acclimated to the new community as quick as you can, and the more the more the apartment is hurt apartment and not something that everybody thought a bunch of new stuff worn’t you moved in thinking about how uncomfortable that would be. Yeah, you know, I gss of what she wants and that’s one thing, but if it hasn’t been discussed, see exact and that’s why going through her things and what I always recommend to families they get several boxes. Clean Out, clean out one room. Just find one room that you can you can work in, even if the garage, and I do this at home too when we get little overwhelmed with things. Put everything in one room. We take things out of box. Of the time you start with a box. You have your boxes labeled assisted living, and then another one saying donation, another one saying this is just garbage stuff, we’re hitting it, we’re just going to throw this away. What’s you know what’s for sale. It’s for packing things. But once you, like I said before, what you get hurt things out of there, it’s going to be a lot easier. Yeah, if you got and I think I think putting those starting boxes on every floor so you don’t you’re not upstairs in a bedroom and you saying, oh, I guess I need to take this downstairs, and so then it never gets taken downstairs because we don’t have it. And you know, this is where it really I think a great is take a spare bedroom or whatever and set up a station, you know, where you can have a a a sorting area there, where you can have a box for keep, you can have a box for sell things if you have, you know, jewelry that you want to sell, if you have special specific things, anything that you’re going to donate to a charity or anything like that. That’s where you want to think about. You know, if nobody wants to China, maybe there’s some ethnic groups or charitable organizations that would take your China and utilize it or sell it in their own mess, you know way, or anything like that. So those are some things. And then finally, obviously there’s going to be things you’re going to throw away. It’s amazing how much every time we have I have moved. It’s been a while now, because keep the nyeven lived here for a long time. But but you know, when you think about how much junk accumulates, and here’s the thing that reality it’s even worse now because we’ve been locked down from pandemic. So a lot of us have extra stuff in our homes that we need to find, you know, a way to get rid of and I think a lot of that is to throw away and and so we’ll talk a little bit about how to do that and all those things. So, Kelly, when you talk about keeping something and and sorting areas, one of the things that you talked about was was you know, take a look at the space. I know when I moved my mother into senior living it was there was a nice walking closet but it just had one rod at the top right. I right away went in and had a closet organizer system put in. That was super easy. I had a handyman friend of mine do it and he did it out of the kindness of his heart because you loved my mom, and he did for for free. But that was amazing that she could get that much more stuff in and I think it’s the whole things cost me like ninety bucks from tire. It wasn’t bad at all, but it was something that we could use in, you know, in this process right in thinking about how to organize your space. The other thing that I think of looking at your space is a lot of these spaces they have an extra like a linen closet or a little pantry closet or something like that. You know, there’s a way to put in you know, you don’t need as much in the way of brooms and mops and all that stuff and cleaning supplies because, guess what, your community is going to do that for you. So maybe you want to put shelves in there. Maybe you want to do some extra, you know, storage options there. I know for my mom I was able to put an extra shelf at the top of her kitchen cupboards and then I got these wonderful white liquor baskets that that for that we’re online nice, and I was able to put a lot of her things on top of her tap kitchen cabinets with baskets, you know, on top of basket. So those are the things she didn’t use very often, but she wanted to keep them and they were things like they were there, you know, easily. So those were some things that we did for her that I remember. What are some kind of things that you’ve seen families do in your communities? I’ve seen a lot of a lot of communities do that. Are Our communities. Depending on how busy my maintenance schedule is. Sometimes I’m making this guys will do it for them it. You know, that’s thought rate. Depending on the circumstances. Budge families, community bring in things that just kind of slide into the bringing some shelving unit. Were okay with that. We want the lot one to be comfortable. We won’t have absolutely most places are pretty cool without the things that I’ve seen or people that maybe you have a smaller apartment, maybe a studio, and they’ve got bookshells that they’ve gotten that actually separate the rooms. Yeah, the rooms, bed rooms on one side, living areas on the other, and then they have all the extra storage in the middle. That’s one our thoughts, another really good idea. But most places will let you put shelves up. Most places will let you. We even have people that have brought their China hutches because there’s all the stuff in it they had to bring in. The found room port made to work. Yeah, so don’t assume that there’s things you can’t bring, are you can’t do until you actually even talk to the community there, maybe even even the place, like we had one situation where a residents particular belonging to to fit in their room and they ask if they could put it in a common area where everybody could enjoy it. We’ve gone hand for it. Yeah, you can’t do that with a hundred people. Yell. There are some exceptions to certain things where you know you they can also, which will find into the last part of our conversation today. But there are there are also ways that people can can they can bring the things they want to bring. Yeah, a lot of I wouldn’t go in and modify an apartment too much because that’s not what this is. Living is for. It room now for a reason. So, but being creative with your space. Yeah, actually allow your mom, you know, your loved one, to bring more things that matter to them without feeling like what you got this little Chinese space and I can’t do anything, as you can’t. And a lot of them still have a lot of these system living communities still have the cupboards, you know, and all of that where they can still keep things that matter. You know what I mean, exactly, exactly, and I think that’s the thing. I think the other thing, and now I just thinking about out loud here, but one of the things we did from my mom is she was first moved into a two bedroom apartment at assist a living or see, she was in independent living to start. We took the second bathroom and it was just a plain shower, you know, a small shower, and we actually put a little rebuilt a little shelving system. We didn’t drill into the shower, but we actually put some shelving in there and we did some extra storage for her in that and that was kind of interesting and and it was really important for her at the time because she had a big, lively social life and everything like that. And so what we did is we had a little pull down table the way that was set out, and we set it up as a bar and so she actually had her you know, her liquor up above. She had little area for snacks. You this was my mom’s you know, it was important to her. Of course that had to go away. It’s she got older. But what I’m saying is there’s a lot of ways to get creative in a small space. Just to think about, you know, how can you best utilize the you know, the square footage and and those are things that are important. So yeah, and there are and, if you really come down to it, you’re ever having. You get so overwhelmed. So you’ve got a family, you got you work, so to take care of this weekend. They’re also company help. Is What kind of to do? What was for you to pay for it? They’re not. They’re not free. What what you examples? You know, there’s there’s like mixtup transitions. There’s a lot of good companies out there. So people can always took that in their pocket too, if they feel like they’re will be whelm. There’s companies that can hire to come going to do this for them. But you got to remember they’re going to work with your loved one on what they’re bringing and up bringing some Wa you would. So you might go into bomb’s apartment later and she thinks you’re like, oh, I didn’t think she’s bringing that exactly exactly, and you know, we’re going to talk about that in our next segment of you know, what do you keep? Really what are the things as you’re going to be experiencing a lifestyle change when you move into senior living, and what does that lifestyle kind of look like? It’s very different than what if you were taking care of a home it’s like we talked about the cleaning you know, the linen closet or the cleaning closet. It’s like thinking about all the different pieces of the puzzle that you had to deal with, and I think that’s one of the things that Kelly and I are going to go into. What did the things you bring? How can you make your mark on the community? There’s different ways you can do that and maybe contributing in some way, and also think about what has special meaning to you, what makes you happy when you’re sitting around your house and saying I look at my Suarroski Crystal Animal and I love those and I want to bring in those the things we want to talk about and Kelly and I will be right back to everyone right after that. The preceding podcast was provided by care partners living and answers for elders radio. To contact care partners living, go to care partners livingcom
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Founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., Suzanne Newman proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne Newman found herself on a 6-year journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. In 2009, she became the founder and CEO of Answers for Elders, Inc., subsequently hosting hundreds of radio segments and podcasts, as well as authoring her first book. Suzanne and Answers for Elders, Inc. have spent 14 years, and counting, committed to helping families and seniors along their caregiving journeys by providing education, resources, and support. Each week on the Answers for Elders podcast, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including Health & Wellness, Life Changes, Living Options, Money, Law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.
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