A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Two
You have probably heard from several sources to plan ahead when moving. It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack and how it will get to the new facility. This past November, I was faced with three moves at the same time. I will call my clients Lucy 1, Lucy 2 and Lucy 3.
Lucy 1 lived in an apartment on the 15th floor. The view was wonderful, the space was large. But there was this pesky little issue of persistent leaks that the property manager shrugged off as a small problem. But mold growing under the carpet for years, and several trips to the hospital were hardly small issues for my client, retired from her teaching position. It was time for a move.
Lucy 2 lived in a maintenance-free townhouse. At 89 years old, her memory was failing and she had caregivers coming every day to help her dress and eat. As her disease progressed, it became clear to the daughter that her mother needed someone watching her 24 hours/day.
Lucy 3 lived in development specifically for residents over 55 years of age. The homes were single family, but maintenance-free. A widow, she lived there alone, but had children and grandchildren in the area to help. She was able to drive, but when her multiple sclerosis and the weather got worse, she was unable to go outside. She had to rely more and more on others, and began falling more frequently. When she fell, she couldn’t get up on her own. She decided to move to assisted living.
Over the next few posts, I will tell the stories of each of my clients and the unique challenges each faced.
Here is the story of Lucy 2:
Lucy Two lived in a maintenance-free townhouse. Her daughter had recently taken her car keys away from her because her memory was failing and it wasn’t safe to have her on the roads. She was 88 years old when I started visiting her a few times a week to take her to the grocery store, to get her hair done, etc. All those things she couldn’t do herself because she wasn’t driving any more.
|Dining Room Before Staging|
Over the next few months, her health remained stable, but her memory was fading fast. She would forget to eat. She didn’t know night from day. She thought her bedroom was her house, and the rest of her house was the office where she worked. She soon needed assistance 7 days/week, and someone to visit her every night to make dinner.
This went on with a bevy of caretakers over several months. Lucy began getting more confused. She didn’t understand why people were coming over when she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. She thought we were only visiting, and became belligerent when we tried to help. After some serious episodes, her daughter, Lynn (the only child living in the area), decided to put her into Memory Care.
That decision was difficult enough for Lynn. But then came the task of selling the townhouse. It was full to the brim with family memories and loving knick-knacks – most of which Lucy couldn’t even remember how
|Parlor Before Staging|
she’d acquired. The day of the move, November 1, Lynn and I took Lucy to her new rooms, stayed for lunch with her, then went home to pack up some belongings while Lucy attended mass at the facility. We packed enough clothes for the winter months, and some personal effects, like photographs of the great-granddaughters she loved so much.
The next step was to allow the family to claim what they wanted from the house. Children came from out of state to pack up/claim what they wanted. Then, with the help of the real estate agent, we selected those items that would stay in the house for staging. I marked those items with painter’s tape.
|Dining Room After Staging|
A junk removal company, Ease Services, came to pick up the furniture we didn’t need for staging. They took items in good condition to a charity. Once the belongings were pared down, the entire house was painted and new carpet was installed. Lynn had a handyman come and do some small cosmetic repairs.
I packed up the small items that we didn’t need for the showing, and with the help of Lucy’s daughter and grandson, the boxes got loaded and dropped off at a local donation center. I used what was left to stage the house. I brought in some accent pieces and colorful towels, and set the dining room table. It looked like a warm, loving home.
The house was listed on a Thursday. By Saturday, it sold! Yes, that quickly! What did that mean? The rest of the cabinets had to be emptied, and the furniture removed. No rest here! So the phone calls started again.
Lynn had friends/family come in to take what they wanted/needed for themselves or children who were moving into their own apartments. Lynn got estimates from moving companies for shipping her sibling’s items to her in Idaho. Their brother drove up from Florida with a van to get his things. Once we knew what was unclaimed, I finished emptying all the cabinets, garage, laundry room, etc., and boxed everything up for
|Parlor After Staging|
Ease Services came for a second load, taking the items we knew wouldn’t sell. Then I called an auction house, who loaded up their truck the same day as Lucy Three's load, and paid Lucy Two for what they took away. I finished cleaning out the garage, taking the garbage to the dumpster, and the last of the donations to Goodwill.
The house was empty!! The closing took place on March 28. It was a real whirlwind of activity. Thank goodness Lynn worked close to her mom’s house, so between the two of us, we were able to meet with drivers, repairmen, etc.. And although there were a few glitches, it all worked out in the end. My final task was to mail some mementos we found in Lucy’s drawers to her daughter in Idaho and her grandson in Oregon.
Lynn and I are going to dinner to celebrate!
Click here to see Lucy Three's Story