Sudden realisation and acceptance that we are losing our independence, mobility, and the ability to cope
The sudden realisation and acceptance that we are losing our independence, mobility, and the ability to cope can be hard to come to terms with, especially when we have lived a full life and been very active and independent. Asking for help can also be difficult when you have never relied on anyone but yourself. So, the sudden realisation that the property is too much to maintain comes as a mighty shock, as too can the fact that we require care.
De-cluttering a person’s home is always different for everyone, but the one recurring and challenging aspect of this work is how they will react to the change that inevitably arises from a necessary cull of one’s possessions, be it from moving and downsizing a home or dealing with the overzealous accumulation of objects and possessions over the years.
We all become attached to possessions to varying degrees and for various reasons, and none, it would seem, are stronger than sentimentality. Many older individuals, however, not only find it hard to part with possessions for this reason but also because of their personal circumstances and experiences. Some individuals hoard various items because of a ‘make do and mend ‘mentality, drilled into them during and after WWII.
Others cannot bring themselves to let go of things because they feel that they have a monetary value that may be of benefit in the future. Some simply cannot let go of stuff because it has always been there… and for a long time!
To help our clients we make sure that they are fully supported by professionals, including their GP, signposting them to organisations, and social services. It is essential that the client’s needs are met and taken into consideration when searching for a new property or care provision.
We always aim to provide the best options available, and if required will refer them to independent, SOLLA-appointed, financial advisers and independent care consultants.
Where domiciliary or live-in care provision are required, it is essential to find the right organisation, as many of them are unregulated and in my opinion, are only in it for the money. Some organisations fly in their live-in carers from abroad, many of whom can only speak basic English and cannot drive – which is not of any help to someone who is living in isolation and housebound.
What is required is companionship, reassurance, a kind empathic approach and someone to accompany or encourage and organise the interaction with the outside world.
Many clients have mentioned that suddenly being faced with cohabitation, with a stranger can feel like an intrusion of your home and can also be quite scary. It should be noted that when instructing a care agency make sure the carers are police checked, fully trained (including dementia), and are paid directly by the agency.
One of our clients instructed a large national care provider and when terminating the carer, was handed a handwritten piece of paper by the carer which was apparently the invoice requesting £1700 (no shopping receipts provided!). Along with this, she was handed another piece of paper with the carer’s bank details. The care demanded the money be transferred, but my client who thank goodness has her full wits about her questioned the care agency as she had signed a direct debit. The care agency then said that they were only instructed to find a carer and that my client would need to pay the carer directly!!
Having a live-in carer can be difficult for many especially if there are no common interests, humour, culture, interests, or basic knowledge of the community and organisations to support interaction.
One thing we must all remember this has been a home for many years and holds a life full of treasures. Many people suggest that elderly people should sell up and downsize. This is easier said than done – we all know that making friends and socialising is easy if we have the social skills, mobility, health and motivation to do so, so moving too somewhere new, especially if you are on your own. Some clients say that this emphasises the last stage of their life!!!
Having worked as an estate agent for nearly thirty years within South London and North Surrey, I witnessed many clients having to move due to illness, disability, or age-related issues. Many clients described having the process of moving overwhelming, especially if they have no family of friends to support them.
So having someone facilitate the move and help them find suitable accommodation and carry out any adaptations relieved them of any further stress.
Disposing of their possession ethically and professionally and providing room planners so establish what could be retained came as a further relief. Completion day would be project managed so the unpacking is taken care of. We like our clients to step out whilst we step in!