Thursday, September 20, 2012

Packing Up Elderly Parents

Lessons Learned When Packing Up Aging Parents For a Move 

I started writing about caring for aging parents a few years ago when I was smack in the middle of these issues myself.  As the editor of I Antique, I receive many emails from adult children who want help in transitioning mom and or dad to a smaller apartment or Assisted will Living facility.

Letting Go Of Stuff

First let me begin by telling you that I made a lot of mistakes when it was my turn to move dad from Florida to New England (I'm smarter now).  Dad had a great deal of trouble letting go of his STUFF and insisted on bringing a lot of his "Asian inspired collectibles"  (all reproductions I found out) and decor with him.

What Would It Cost To Bring Along The Knick Knacks ?

Truthfully, I had no idea if any of the tchotchkes he wanted to bring to his new apartment had any significant monetary value. I knew he liked his Mud Men figurines and his giant ceramic tiger which sits on the floor and scares the daylights out of me, but how much of it did he need to bring?   And what would it cost to bring these knick knacks and living room decor with him?

Consulting With Movers, Shipping Services Etc.

After consulting with movers, senior care managers, shipping services etc., I decided  that since we were NOT bringing furniture and only smalls, we would use the local shipping service and  have his aide help with the packing. She would then bring the boxes to the neighborhood shipping service.

Sounds good right? was a disaster. I assumed that my dad's aide would be able to pack up ceramic frogs,  Chinese bowls (inexpensive), figurines etc. and bring these boxes to the Post office. We had privately agreed that she was to pick out his favorite objects (with his say) and send only a few boxes (we were downsizing) to his new apartment.

Sneaking In Objects Into Boxes

She tried to be helpful,  but my father kept sneaking other objects into the boxes when she wasn't looking. Let me just say that my dad now has four staplers, an assortment of radio parts, broken tools, rocks, old telephones etc. in his new place.

Invest in Bubble Wrap And Sturdy Boxes 

As far as the packing is concerned, either she didn't know how to pack or my dad took over. Breakables were not carefully wrapped in bubble wrap. Boxes were  too loosely packed. Instead of receiving 6 well packed boxes, I received 12 flimsy boxes, poorly packed.  Half of the items came  broken (a blessing in disguise).

Moral of the story: Don't pack in front of a parent and use a professional packer if you can't do it yourself.  Consider using the U.S. Post Office.

For more information visit;

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro café. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists


  1. All great tips for helping our parents move to the next stage! My mom wanted to take everything with her when she move in with us! We even had a storage unit for ahwile! I'm sure it is hard to give up things you have loved for years!

  2. A great initiative from you guys! We love the sharing of knowledge!

  3. I'm adding you to my blogroll because your blog is fabulous! I love vintage kitchen stuff! Keep blogging!


  4. I'm adding you to my blogroll because your blog is fabulous! Keep blogging!


  5. Hi Dianne! I'm adding you to my blogroll because your blog is fabulous! I love vintage kitchen stuff! Keep blogging!

  6. Hi Dianne,
    I'm adding you to my blogroll because your blog is fabulous! I love vintage kitchen stuff. Keep blogging!


  7. Your blog is absolutely phenomenal ! I could read it all day!

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