Thursday, August 28, 2014

Helping Those Who Can't Help Themselves

I was recently put in touch with a woman who will be moving soon.  Moves are stressful for most of us, but for those with physical challenges, it's even more so.

This woman, I'll call her Helen, has Multiple Sclerosis.  Daily tasks like getting your mail from the mailbox, are simple for us, but near impossible for her.  Her current home is a maintenance-free townhouse with two bedrooms, two baths, a den, a living room, dining room and kitchen.  It's not too big for her.  But even though it is on the first floor, it's inconvenient.

Her garage access is through two heavy doors and down a hallway.  Her mailbox is down the driveway and across the street.  Her closets were full of clothes she no longer wears, because of job and health situations. The clothes she wears are in piles on the spare bed, difficult to find.

She made the decision to move to a home in a senior community with the option of assisted living should she need it in the future.  She will have one less bedroom and one less bathroom, but the garage is attached to her house. And she is having a contractor build her a railing to help her down the one step to her car.

When she called me in to help, she was overwhelmed.  She didn't know how she would sort and get rid of the items she wouldn't be bringing to her new home.  The stress was beginning to consume her.

I assured her that not only would I be able to help sort her belongings, I could take all the donations with me to a charity.

We started on her main closet.  Her decisions were easy to make.  Most of the clothes were from her work days.  They were dressier and smaller than anything she wore now.  And the 50 boxes of shoes on her shelf? They could all go!  They were all heels she could no longer wear.  I dropped the first load off at Goodwill.

At our second session, we went through her spare closet.  Half of these clothes could go also.  And we sorted through the items on the floor.  Christmas decorations stayed.  But we parted with a painting and a briefcase.  Again, I dropped these donations off at Goodwill.  And since we don't have another session scheduled for a while, I mailed her the receipts.

Once the remodeling is close to being done at her new home, I will meet her there and look at her new space.  We will measure closets, count kitchen cabinets, and determine whether or not what is left will fit into her new space.  If not, there will be more sorting to do.   We will also talk about closet re-design, and possibly make the rods more accessible for her.  She is unsteady on her feet, so reaching up can cause her to lose her balance.

This is just one client I've helped who has the will and the time to do this all on her own, but not the physical ability.  While still overwhelmed at the thought of moving, she is relieved to know that I will be there along the way to help.