Monday, November 30, 2015

Packing Up Mom (or Dad) For A Smaller Apartment: Describing Types of Parents

Helping Mom and Dad Live Safely in A Smaller Apartment  
The art of moving forward lies in understanding what to leave behind.-Seth Godin

I can really weigh in on the topic of packing up mom (or dad) for a smaller apartment because as they say, "been there, done that". My experience with family members and parents of friends is that
you can divide older parents into three categories: (1) Absolute Clutterbugs (2) Minimalists (3) Flexible Flyers (don't know too many in this group).  Those in the Clutterbug category of course present the most challenge because these folks generally have great difficulty with what I'll call spacial matters. These overzealous collectors want to take everything they have previously owned and cram their stuff into smaller quarters. They have no concept of SPACE. They stack tables on top of tables, have six lamps in a room, shove boxes under tables etc. No amount of reasoning is going to help to convince a borderline hoarder to give up their belongings.

So How Do You Help Convince A Parent to Downsize 

You can try to suggest to an older parent that they have too much stuff and that they need to thin out their load....but those words generally do not penetrate. Many parents in their eighties and nineties want to be surrounded by the objects and furnishings they built a lifetime around. You can try to liquidate items behind their back, but that will backfire if your parent(s) are still quite alert and engaged in the world around them.

Use SAFETY As A Way To Encourage De-Cluttering

What sometimes works is to frame the conversation around
SAFETY.  Try saying..."the doctor (nurse, social worker, aide) is worried that your living room has too many pieces of furniture and that your walker (wheel chair, cane, etc.) will not have an easy path to the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom etc." Or you might say... "many people trip over rugs, boxes, clutter and your doctor (nurse, aide etc) wants to be sure you do not break a hip, so lets clear this room out a bit. Rooms cluttered with lots small ineffective lights, fragile items, suitcases etc. can be all be viewed in terms of safety risks. You may have a little luck getting through to a stubborn parent by playing the catastrophe card. Good luc

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 comment:

  1. My mom fell in the parking lot of an antique mall a few days ago. Maybe I'll need to try this one on her.