8 Ways You Can Help Your Elderly Parent BEFORE Crisis

Here are 8 ways that you can be proactive and and take action now to help de-clutter your parents’ home.  Do this now for their sake, and for your own sake.  I can tell you from personal experience: you do not want to have to do this in “crisis mode.”

  1. Have the important conversations with your parents.  Approach them with love and ask them about their wishes.  Try to gain an understanding of their financial situation.  Be sure to know where all the important legal documents are kept. 
  2. Start to de-clutter your parents’ home.  Since they won’t likely appreciate this, suggest that you are helping them avoid both a fire and a tripping hazard.  Start by removing expired food, unused things, piles of newspapers, etc.
  3. Discuss and document allocation of personal property and heirlooms.  Create a wish list and ask an appraiser to assess the values.  Suggest “gifting” of special items while your parents are still alive.
  4. Every time you leave their house, take a few bags of donation items with you.  Dress the less fortunate.  Tell your parents you are helping them to “thin out” the house.
  5. If your parents have already moved out or passed away, begin the process of clearing out the house by using three piles to sort belongings: donate, sell, keep.
  6. When in doubt, always have a personal property appraiser evaluate antiques, collectibles, and anything you are not sure about.
  7. Continue to keep in touch with siblings and keep everyone on the same page.  This is the only way that whole family will maintain close and healthy relationships through this process.
  8. Always come from a place of love.  In the end, life is about MUCH more than the stuff.  It’s about the wonderful, deep, and abiding relationships within our families.

That’s my thoughts for this week.  Click on the “leave a comment” line below, and let’s discuss this together.

© 2010 Julie Hall

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