A combination of careful planning and tough decisions make all the difference.
There is, understandably, an emphasis on lessening the physical demands of people as they advance in age. Reducing stair climbs and removing unwieldy furniture are certainly necessary steps, but they shouldn't overshadow the need to reduce their mental strain as well.
Helping your aging parents sort through important files, streamline access to vital information, and cut down on intangible clutter that can accumulate amid a swirl of bills, membership dues, and other paperwork, is equally important. Here's our guide to some of the key steps you can take to get this process started.
Mental Health Note: If your parent has a problem with hoarding or letting anything go, which then leads to arguments and fights, it could be signs of a much more serious problem that requires outside assistance. You should look into hiring a professional organizer to help act as a buffer and make this a positive (or at least productive) experience.
Figuring out where the biggest potential for cleaning up and organizing exists is always step one.
Tip: Keep all of your judgments to yourself. You might want to start throwing stuff away or use tough love to force your parent into making decisions they don't want to make. Instead, you need to be as helpful and accommodating as possible. Yes, even if your parent is driving you absolutely insane.
It's one thing to move a trip-hazard coffee table out of the way or balance a teetering armoire, but you also have to think about all the Acts of God-type things that could potentially befall your parents during their less spry years. The American Red Cross has put together an entire Disaster Preparedness Guide aimed solely at seniors, and it's worth a read. Some of the vital tips include:
Make arrangements, prior to an emergency, for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
Try The “Four Box” Method:
The PBS-affiliated Next Avenue proposed a system that can help make the process of de-cluttering and re-assessing much less daunting. They call it the “Four Box” system and it essentially boils down to creating four spaces (or literal boxes) in which you can divide up whatever's been keeping your parents from using the guest bedroom since 1965. Next Avenue suggests the boxes be:
Unless you're working against a tight deadline -- a grave illness or moving residences -- this shouldn't happen in one day or over a long weekend. It should be an ongoing process where you tackle specific areas, rooms, or even boxes over the course of weeks or months.
Cleaning and sorting a lifetime's worth of stuff can be an emotional endeavor. The last thing you want is for it to be overwhelming for any of you. Instead, treat it like an opportunity to get to know your parents better and unlock the secrets and mysteries of their past.
Call in our firm. We are here to advise you on all elements of Estate Planning.
This article is brought to you by the Ronald J. Fichera Law Firm, where our mission is to provide trusted, professional legal services and strategic advice to assist our clients in their personal and business matters. Our firm is committed to delivering efficient and cost-effective legal services focusing on communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail.
For A Free Consultation, Please Call 610-768-9255.
As a reminder, this Blog Post is for informational purposes only and is