I found out a few weeks ago that my dad's funds are getting low, and soon he will have to apply for assistance. My dad is 82 so he's been living on retirement income for quite a while.
I enquired at his senior apartment building if they accepted financial assistance and, to my relief, found out that they did. However, the housing director explained that it is only accepted for one bedroom and studio apartments. My dad has a two bedroom apartment.
Last week when I visited him I brought up the issue. We talked, and he agreed that it was time to downsize. He didn't think he'd run out of money, but he was okay with moving. He only had one request: He wanted to stay on the main floor of the building. I went and got the housing director, who showed us a one bedroom apartment right next door to his and it was available immediately. Dad and I talked some more and then we told Deb, the housing director, that we would take it. She said we could start moving in any time, but it would be best to be out of the old apartment by August 1.
So, today after work I headed in to my dad's place to begin the move. After all, it would be easy, right? All I had to do was move things right next door- AND eliminate all the stuff from one bedroom and a walk in storage area. No problem.
First problem- when I got there Dad told me that he had decided he wasn't going to move. He thought he could stay in his current place and pay for it for quite a while still. I explained again about his lack of funds, and about how the main floor apartment might not be available in a couple of months. He finally agreed that my reasoning was probable better than his, so it was okay to move.
Second problem - all the stuff! I told him that he should go out and play Bingo with the other residents and I would start sorting and moving. I didn't realize how hard it must be for my dad to throw anything away! There were all kinds of empty boxes, stuff left over from each hospital stay, stuff left over from my mom (and she's been in heaven for a couple of years already.) In addition, if he has one of something he has 5 of them. 4 bandaid boxes filled with paper clips and rubber bands. 4 grocery bags of bandages. Pictures of me and my brother and our families. Knick knacks and pottery. And clothes - two closets of clothes.
I got out some garbage bags and filled them with the stuff to throw away. I started sorting: keep, give away, keep , give, give, give.
After three hours I had made a good dent in things, but I was so tired I couldn't make another decision. Dad came back from Bingo - he'd won a candy bar :)
We talked for a bit, and he admitted that the job of moving was overwhelming to him and he couldn't make any decisions. I asked, "Do you want me to decide what you should keep and what you should give away?" and he said yes.
So next week I will be heading in to his apartment to continue the move. I need to ask my boys to come and help move furniture. I need to call a thrift shop and arrange for them to pick up the things we have decided to give away. My husband will come and hang pictures. And together we will get my dad settled into a new apartment where he can stay for a long time.
One more thing: coming home I decided that I need to start getting rid of my own things NOW. I don't want my kids to be overwhelmed with trying to figure out what to do with all the stuff I've accumulated.
I think I'll finish moving my dad first.