Six Key Tips For Cleaning Out Your Elder’s Home When They Move to a Nursing Home
The entire process of getting your elder ready to move into a long term care facility is generally a very emotional one. Dealing with their home – which in many cases has been their home for many, many years, can really be difficult. Deciding what to keep and what to throw away can be an awful process to go through. But, sadly, it’s one that has to be done.
Here are six tips based on my personal experiences that you’ll want to consider when going through this process yourself:
1. Get plenty of boxes, tape, heavy duty 35 or even 50 gallon trash or leaf bags as well as newspapers
You can order boxes and tape online and have them shipped directly to your elder’s home, or if you live nearby, you can go to local businesses and ask for boxes. Liquor stores, grocery stores and your local fast food restaurant are all good places to ask.
2. Empty the refrigerator
Don’t get caught in the trap of wanting to take everything back to your place so as not to waste it. It’s not worth it, believe me. Donate any unopened food to your local food pantry.
3. Get ready to see all of your relatives
Before everyone piles into the house to see what they can grab, be sure to take a video of the home and all the contents. While you’d like to think all of your relatives are honest folks, a home that’s being vacated, either due to a move to a long term care facility or death can really bring out the worst in people. From family history items to items of real value, you’ve got to be very careful. Check to be sure that people who came with an empty car aren’t leaving with it fully loaded!
4. Scour the home for lock boxes, books and old clothing
These areas, including several others – such as an attic, the basement or hidden closets are areas where there could be cash, insurance papers, jewelry, prescriptions or just about anything else of value. Don’t forget about those cans of nails or behind desks or drawers, either!
5. Bring all the items relating to family history such as photos and scrap books to your home for further review by the family
This will allow everyone to see them all together and will allow you to put them online for all that can’t make it to the house to see them. Be on the lookout for one or two family members trying to take the items for themselves.
6. Invite the neighborhood over for a “house cooling”
Have friends and neighbors come over and bid on furniture you want to get rid of. Donate the proceeds to your elder’s favorite charity. Resist the urge to keep everything! Get rid of it! Junk can be put in a box out by the curb marked free.