Who helps Mom through the sorting, packing and moving process? Everyone is well-meaning. Some Moms expect that their adult children will take four months’ leave from work to go through every box, glass, and cross-stitch, remembering back to when family did that for each other. Many of today’s adult children can’t imagine how they’d be able to take leave from their job, travel out of state, and pay for a flight to sort through decades of household items – they’re overwhelmed by that idea, and it causes tension in the relationship. Their perspective is that a professional downsizer could do that, as they’re often already handing their loved one’s paperwork and finances. Mom is stressed and feels she needs her children by her side during this challenging time and advocate for her – “what else could be more important than helping me through this major life event?” They feel hurt and abandoned when their child isn’t the one helping.
Some adult children want to help. Rebecca Bomann, the CEO of SASH Services, and Suzanne Newman provide their best advice: Don’t do it. Outsource it. Only do it if you want to throw a grenade into family relationships. Let professionals be the bad guy. Let them say you can’t take seven lamps to your new apartment, let them say your couch won’t fit in the new space, let them bring their strong backs and haul that china cabinet down the stairs.
This is an investment in the sale of the house, as an uncluttered house will sell for more money, and you’ll recoup the cost. Or the items could be sold to pay for movers and professionals.
How do you choose professionals for this process? Mom sees this as an overwhelming, scary, unknown process, so she wants people who will be nice to her, won’t judge her for the house’s condition, won’t scold her for not having kept up on the back yard maintenance, who are going to be kind and compassionate. So she decides based on comfort and familiarity, on how polite they are, even if those people are incompetent and don’t know how to pack glassware.
The pragmatic adult child — already the caregiver, bookkeeper, and overall emotional supporter — has a system. They ask friends for recommendations, get Google reviews, read websites, check social media, might call and ask prospective clients a list of questions. They take a clinical and systematic approach to finding someone competent and affordable to do the task.
Neither perspective is wrong – they’re both right. Rebecca recommends that adult children select a number of professionals, all of whom they’d be comfortable with hiring. Let Mom interview them and choose the one she likes best. This gives Mom dignity and agency — lets her own the decision — while helping her choosing from among the best candidates.
Rebecca founded SASH Services (Sell a Senior Home) 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 back to answers for elder’s radio network. And we are here again with Rebecca Bowman from Sash Services, and that is www dots servicescom. And Rebecca, welcome back. We’ve had a amazing conversation in our first two segments about really how do you do right by your loved one when it’s time to make that transition? And certainly perspectives are everything and I loved our first two segments so I can hardly wait to what we’re going to talk about this next one. So where we at now? Let’s dive in. We want to help, help both sides understand where the other one is coming from. So this next one we’re going to talk about who helps mom and dad through the sorting and packing and moving process. And, okay, gosh, everybody is well meaning. I just want to say that from the GETTO. Everybody is well meaning. Mom or dad sometimes do expect their adult child to take four months of leave from work and to help them go through every box, every photo album, every cross sticked, every glass in the home they’re remembering decades back, the time when family always did that for each other. There weren’t professional downsizor’s back then, and today the adult child can hardly imagine how they will be able to take leave from their job, come from another city or state, use their vacation time, pay for flight to come and sort through decades of household items. They’re overwhelmed by it. There they’re stressed out and this causes tension in the relationship. Their perspective is that anyone can do this, especially professionals, and they’re already handling mom or DAD’s finances or care management, keeping up with paperwork and so forth. I know a lot of senior homeowners and I’ve sat in the living rooms while they’ve talked about this. They’re thinking, this is the most stressful event of this decade. I need you here at my side through all of it. Who else will advocate for me and and make sure that I’m okay through the process? What else could be more important than helping me through this major life event? And they feel hurt and abandoned at their adult child isn’t the one helping. And then we have some adult children who want to help and Suzanne what is our advice to adult children or any family members about the sorting, packing and moving process? Outsource it, outsource it, don’t go there. You know it. I always laugh, because do you have any idea, rebecca, how many emails or phone calls that I get about families that are in this process and how many like I see things like Oh, my family, oh, they all get along really well. And I was stunned because now you know, Julie’s not speaking to marry, and you know and and John Threw his back out and he can’t do it and my husband has to go back to work and it’s his mother, and now I’m stuck with this and it’s not even my parent. And the next thing we know it’s just this vicious cycle of what did I get myself into? Every and and the sad part is is they take it out on the senior loved one, like mom, I didn’t realize how much junk you have, quote unquote, right. And there we go, no, and out it’s all of our sing. Only do it if you want to throw a grenade into your family relationships. That’s the only, the only instance in which it makes sense for you to do the sorting and packing and moving, because let the professionals, let the professionals be the bad guy who says you can’t take seven lamps to your new apartment. Professionals say this couch won’t fit in your new space, we need to get you a new love seat. Let the professionals come in with their strong backs and their professional gear and haul that China cabinet down the stairs for your mom. Yeah, outsource it, and a lot of people it’s sticker shock when they when they see you know the price per hour that it is for moving or downsizing assistance. And I always say you’re investing in the outcome of the Homesale, because an empty house will sell for more, an uncluttered house will sell for more. So if you do pay the money to have those things move, then the house is going to get a better price and you’ll get that money back. Or the items can be sold and then you can pay for the movers in the professionals by what you get from selling some of those valuable items. Out source it. Over and over I have seen so many family relationships go sideways over the years. Just like you, Suzanne, and I beg families not to do this, and that’s what leads us into our next one, which is how to choose professionals that are going to help the senior homeowner through the present way. And so again we’ve got two different perspectives here. Mom’s perspective is this is an emotional journey. I’m scared, I’m overwhelmed, there’s a lot of unknowns out there. I want professionals, or not even professionals, I just want people to come and help me who are going to be nice to me, who won’t judge me for the the condition my home is in, who aren’t going to scold me for not keeping up on the back yard, who are just going to be kind and compassionate. So I see seniors choosing people to help them based on relationship, based on comfort, based on familiarity, even if those people are completely uncompetent and don’t know how to pack the last where or ripple or exactly right. Mom, I’ll never forget she had a some guy come knock on our door and said I’ll wash your windows, for all of your windows, for seven hundred dollars, and my mom went, Oh, well, where, you’re such an I mean he was really nice, quote unquote, and I said, and so she says, yeah, but I paid him and it’s been like two weeks and he has a come. Oh See, yeah, but he was such a nice man. I go, mom, you got ripped up. Oh No, he was such a nice young man. I’m going, that is it. That’s exactly it. That’s what they’re looking for. Is yps Nice, who’s kind, who calls them by polite terms. And then the adult child comes in, who is the pragmatist in this situation? The adult child comes in. They already have the role of caregiver, bookkeeper, overall emotional support, and so they come in more with a system of choosing people to help. They’re young enough, and I say young enough all the way into their S S, where they’re going to ask friends for recommendations. Yeah, Google reviews, they’re going to read the websites of these companies, they’re going to look at the social media pages and they might call an interview. The list of questions, and so the adult children are more clinical and systematic. They’re coming from a place of WHO’s competent and affordable to do this job, whereas mom says, but the but the neighbor has a son who’s a realtor. So I should just know. I is so true. And and so the adult child is saying, mom, he’s had his license for a month and a half, like this is not a person we want trusting with your homesale. And so this understandably the parent, the aging parent, is looking for what I’ll just say compassion comfort, whereas the adult child is looking at competence. And so in no way is either perspective wrong. That’s what’s so important about our discussion today is that both the adult child and the aging parents perspectives are right and valid. They does have to see each other’s and so what I recommend to adult children is choose a number of competent professionals that you would be comfortable with, any of their qualifications. Let mom talk to them, bring them into interview, and then mom can choose the one who is the nicest to her. Yeah, yeah, and you’re comfortable with any of them. Give Mom or dad agency, give them a voice, let them have ownership, the dignity of saying I choose you to sell my home, I choose you to pack my precious belongings. Don’t take that decision many, you know, away from mom and Dad. It is airs. But if you are worried about them choosing people who aren’t qualified, who aren’t competent, who are going to maybe take advantage. Then you say, mom, I’m going to bring you X, Y and Z candidates and you decide which one you want exactly, and I’m comfortable with all of them. I just consider it such an honor, when I mean I’m selling a client’s home right now that he has owned since one thousand nine hundred and fifty seven. One thousand nine hundred and fifty seven, amazing, has owned this home for sixty five years and they chose me sell their home. What an honor that I am chosen. And so it’s this is a huge decision, as citing it is will represent this important step, gives them the dignity of letting them decide, but you throw in your system of filtering out the ones that are incompetent. Well, I think too, it’s always good to say, you know, before we hire someone, mom, I want you to be involved in the selection process. So let’s agree on how we’re going to do that so that she feels like she’s part of this. So say you know what I’ve obviously these are the things that are most important to me. And so how can we work together? I tell you what and then go with your system. I’ll interview like for people that I think are really capable and then the decisions yours on who you select. Then then it. I think that’s a really good way of coming together. And certainly I’m always one that says don’t spring something on on your parent you know, tell them you’re going to have a conversation about it and and then set up a process. Yeah, that they know, that they can know what to expect. There isn’t this throwing something down on them without right give heads up. Give a calendar. Yeah, this a calendar out it. Give them agency, give them choice, give them dignity. And whenever I’m working with the client, if I bringing a downsizer, MMM, and they just don’t match chemically, they’re just not a good match, I always tell my client, if you’re not driving, well, they’re not going to work here anymore. No, it’s so important to me that they have that comfort and come passion and that they have the right to say I don’t like the way this person’s talking to me because of distress involved with this whole situation. They should at least be around by a surrounded by kindness. Right, absolutely, I love that. And so, Rebecca, how do we read to? Our website is Servicescom and we’re located here in Seattle area, but we do have a toll free number, triplelate four hundred sash that to seven four and wherever you are, please give Rebecca a call if you’re even thinking about this process. We are very excited to obviously feature her on answers for elders, but you know, if you’re in another area that maybe busas doesn’t serve, it’s okay. You can still refer to someone that is qualified to do what we’re talking about today. And we have one more segment everyone. We do and we’re coming right back 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. Learn about our radio show, receive promotional discounts and meet our experts by clicking on the banner to join the Senior Advocate Network at answers for elders. RADIOCOM. Now there is one place to find the answers for elders
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Originally published May 12, 2022