When it’s time for a senior loved one’s downsizing, their adult children may not quite understand or relate to the parents’ perspective earned from living 50 years in their home as they see more pragmatic concerns about home repairs and time-consuming chores, and want to schedule moving deadlines based on available free time.
Rebecca Bomann, the CEO of SASH Services, and Suzanne Newman talk about how to do right by our parents while helping them transition from a long-standing residence in their home to senior living. Adult children have a much different perspective than their parents, and it often causes painful conflicts. Rebecca encourages each party to use empathy, compassion and understanding, take time to listen to each other’s perspectives so families can remain healthy after the stressful transition. Remember the big goal: it’s not about who gets the spoon collection.
Household items are a good example. Mom’s sees every item as having valuable memories, happy times, a reflection of the events in her life, and when she leaves, she wants to bequeath each item to a specific family member who will enthusiastically take it and appreciate it. Adult children see older items that they don’t have room for.
Use kind words to describe the belongings. These are collections, belongings, household items that are going to a new home, not “stuff” or “junk.” Encourage Mom to give items to displaced families, immigrants who have fled their countries, or women who have fled abusive situations — people who could really use Tupperware sets and lamps; donate these items to Habitat for Humanity, for example. Or maybe sell a few items to help buy new ones for the new apartment. Let senior loved ones talk about these items of significance.
This is not the time to say that we’ve heard the story before; we don’t have time to hear it again. Let them share — listen to the story — because it’s part of letting go.
Rebecca founded SASH Services (Sell a Senior Home) founded in 2005 as a blend of real estate, senior care, and social work to provide seniors and their families with home-sale options that are not typical, that are designed around their needs. SASH provides specialized services that lift the selling burden off the senior homeowner and their family while maximizing what can be earned from the home. SASH serves most of western Washington in the Pacific Northwest. If you’re out of state, they can steer you to a qualified professional in your area. Find more at the SASH Services website or call 888-400-SASH.
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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 is a podcast from a qualified senior care provider, hurt, on the answers for elders radio show, and welcome everyone to answer for elder’s radio. And we are here on a wonderful start to the month of May and Mother’s Day here in the greater puget sound region and if you’re listening throughout the United States on our podcast network, we would wish each and every one of you likely a happy belated mother’s Day. And it’s interesting as we were thinking about I was thinking about this program this weekend. Of You know, the best thing we can do as adult children is learn to do right by our parents, and oftentimes MOMS specially have a real attachment to their home, to their traditions. They carry the the torch of, you know, ethnic diversity or cultures or traditions or anything like that, and when it’s time to make a major transition, there’s a lot of things that we as maybe as adult children, may not quite understand or may not quite understand really relate to their perspective of where they may have been staying fifty years in a house. They’ve accumulated a life, every single possession that is in their home is certainly one that is attached to a memory, it’s attached to an experience, and so I want to honor MOMS this weekend by inviting back our wonderful Rebecca bombing from sash senior helm sales and is based here in Washington state, but she again is going to come forward and give us some tips on how do we do right by our loved ones and help basically understand the process of a major transition like like moving into a new place after a long standing residency in a home. Rebecca, welcome and to you happy Mother’s Day. Thank you, Susanne. Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for having me on the show again. Absolutely absolutely so. I started out this segment. Obviously you heard what I had to say. Did I get that right? Yes. In all the years that I have been serving senior homeowners and their families, I have sat in hundreds of living rooms, I have been on thousands of phone calls and I hear the senior homeowners perspective on their home, the big decisions ahead, the stresses, their fears, and then I hear the adult children, in a different conversation, their perspective, their fears, the things that are stressing them out and I often see that these two perspectives are so different from each other. They out when mom is going through this big transition from her home into senior living. Conflict happens, tension happens, relationships the bruised and sometimes they take years to men and so on this podcast. I’m really excited to be here with you and to shed some light on the different perspectives through topics. So we can tackle a couple topics here and talk about how does mom see this and how does the adult child see this and really encourage empathy incompassion and understanding so that they can still be a family at the end of a very big, stressful lifestop absolutely thank you for that and and certainly it is stressful. I know my family went through it, so many of you know. I my age group. People my age group just in the last few years have been going through it like crazy with their parents, and so I find myself kind of in that no man’s land because I was a caregiver for my mom. I understand that perspective, but I’m so now entrenched in the care of our seniors and their needs and it really changes your perspective of their history their values are different, their generational values or difference. Yes, so, Rebecca, I’m really interested. How would would we start? I know you have a lot of tips and I love how you bring tips, but how do we start this program today? So, yes, so, in general, you know, as mom is sitting in her living room and she’s looking around her home, she is looking around and saying, I love every room of this house, I love every Trinket, I love every frame photo, I love every cross stitch, and leaving all of this is, to me, the worst thing that I could ever do. It is the hardest thing. Whereas the adult child says, okay, MOM, you’ve been living in your home for too long, it’s too much house to take care of. I can’t keep coming over and repairing everything and taking new grocery chopping. Please can we start to make a chain so that you can get the care that you need. So the adult children are feeling forward. Let’s go, let’s push forward, let’s Anik decisions, let’s have the steps, and mom or dad is going, hold on, just one more Christmas, one more summer, let me just see my roadie’s bloom one more time next year. And so there’s this push pull happening in general. That oversees all of our individual topics that will talk about today. So imagine mom going way, way, we hold on, and the kid going, my Mama was do this by October. We can do this. Let’s do this before my next, you know, vacation. Hey, Um, I’m I got some time and I can take vacation off work. We got to do it this month, this week. Yeah, exactly. So this is sort of the okay, yeah, this is the pervasive conflict happeness in general. I almost never see the opposite where mom is saying I really want to move out in the kids are saying no, no, we want to, you know, keep caring for you the rest of our lives. And so as we go through these topics, what we’re going to be encouraging is that each party, both the aging parents and their adult children, really have compassion and empathy. They take time to really listen to each other and they remember what are the big goals here. Let’s not get caught up and who gets the spoon collection. What is our big goal and how can we get there? So I wanted to start with the two perspectives of the household items and all of the collections that have filled the home after forty or fifty or sixty years. And so mom’s perspective is what Suzanne in this looking at all of her belongings. Mom’s perspective is every single thing has a memory, it has meaning to me. Every time I look at it I think of Happy Times. I think if times that I shared with maybe my husband, that man passed, or my family or my children. Or there’s boxes in my garage that I saved over the years of my children’s piano recital programs and, yes, senior pictures and and and all the things that I was a good mom that that that was my life right. This is my life, life, my life is filling this house and she says, I have carefully curated every item in this home, from events in my life to core spoon collections, China Cabinets, photos, serving dishes, China. Every item has a story and out of my love for you and I leave this home, I would like to be queet each specific item to someone in the family who will enthusiastically take it and appreciate R to have it and take it into their home and and be grateful for it and remember me forever after I’m gone because they have this thing I gave them. Yeah, or as the son or daughter, is looking at the household items and the collections and they’re saying, mom, your home is full of, and I don’t like this word, stuff that is worn or in not good condition. None of it will fit into my house. It’s already full of my own furniture. I don’t want the heavy dining table and chairs, I don’t need China for entertaining, I don’t want any more housebands. Let’s just get rid of it. And this these are the two conflicting perspectives. Yeah, and mom or Dad’s feelings get hurt because they really want, though, you know, the tool set or all these different things to be taken, the sewing machine from nineteen forty seven. And the adult children talk to me and they’re frustrated because they feel like they’re being built it into taking things that they’re only going to put in a storage unit and pay monthly expenses on just so mom feels like somebody in the family got it. And so this is where the tension is is growing, and so we have some suggestions about bringing these two perspectives together. Can’t wait to hear this. The the first one is use kind words to describe the belongings. Never say junk stuff, garbage dump, don’t use those words. You don’t have to say collections, household items, belongings, and instead of saying we’re taking it to the dump, say we’re taking it to a new home. That’s all. It’s very simple. It’s a lot kinder. Also, you can encourage mom to give the things to people that really need them. So we’re talking about displaced families, immigrants, women who are fleeing abuse, of situations where they leave with just the shirt on their back, people that need the pepperware sets in the bowls and the lamps and all the things that a tame for humanity, Abotat race humanity organization exactly. Maybe you can encourage them to sell some items to help buy new ones for their new place, Yep, which can be tons of fun to outfit the new apartment with the new bed, new recliner, new TV. But in general, give mom or dad the opportunity to talk about these items of significance. Listen to the story, let them talk about it. It’s part of letting go. It’s part of the grieving process of letting go of all these items that meant so much. Well, and you know, Rebecca, what you said. You just lost over it, but I think that is key, key, key. Listen, listen. You know, this is not the time to say, mom, I’ve heard this story before. No, this is not the time to say I don’t have time, we don’t have time to do this. Yes, we do. This is the time. This is the most important piece, in my opinion, that we need to think about when you’re going through this process. Let Mom tell the story, let dad share his you know, about the fishing trip, of the cabin that they’re going to sell, you know, or in anything like that. Those aren’t very important items. And you know, I am so grateful that you’re talking about this because it’s very true. I am right now. I have my mom’s China. I have no clue. I love having it, but I have no clue where it’s going to go. Yeah, nobody it below me wants it. So who knows where it’ll go exactly, and it’s good for the senior to know. This is not a measure of your adult child’s love for you. Whether they take the things or not. Right, right, that’s wonderful. They’re going to, Rebecca, I know that we already know how to reach you here, but I want to make sure that our listeners all know how to reach you because to each and every one of you this is an important topic. Rebecca is a very important asset for all of you that are going through the transition of mom and dad. On Rebecca, how do we reach you? Our website is very extensive at Sash Servicescom and we have a toll free number eight hundred four hundred, or one hundred and eighty eight four hundred. Sash wonderful, and Rebecca and I are going to be here this entire hour, so I hope you’ll stay with us and we’ve got a lot more tips on how to make the right next steps right after this answers for elders radio show with Suzanne Newman. Hopes you found this podcast useful in your journey of navigating senior care. Check out more podcasts like this to help you find qualified senior care experts and areas of financial, legal, health and wellness and living options. 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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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