In my last post I shared what happened to me when I let my ‘caring for the caregiver’ habits slide … back pain stopped me cold. It happened at a critical time during my parents’ move from their senior living apartment back into the house with me.
As I mentioned then, it forced me to go with Plan B, which usually involves:
- changing dates,
- asking for help, and
- spending more money.
It turned out that adjusting my parents’ move date was not an option. But I was able to push the secondary move – the transfer of my home office into a rented space – back a day.
As for asking for help, even though I don’t know many people here in Phoenix, the few I do know have been wonderful.
Kim, our friend, volunteered to help pack Mom and Dad’s apartment. My friend, Robin, rolled in with a burst of energy and in an hour did more than we could have done in three. Another friend brought us lunch on moving day and pitched in as we ate.
And the troops who shipped in from out of town were invaluable. My boyfriend, Bill, came from Baltimore and had to shoulder much more weight (pun intended) than planned. He was amazing at preparing the house as the needs arose. My sister, Susie, came from California for a few days as scheduled, bringing energy for the final push that was especially helpful. She had to help with last-minute packing that we had hoped to have done by the time she arrived. My sister, Linda, came from Ohio and planned to stay two weeks – primarily to save on care for my parents. But, due to my injury, she had to do more packing and de-cluttering.
So we had to switch to paid caregivers for our parents for several days instead, thus increasing expenses. Our dear Dee, who has cleaned my parents’ house for more than 20 years also stepped in. She was tireless and put in many hours packing up rooms and then cleaning them as they were emptied. My incredible concierge, Debbie, also vigorously helped more with packing and emptying closets and the like than I had originally planned.
In one week, the garage was totally reorganized for better storage space; every room in the house was rearranged to prepare for Mom and Dad’s furniture; the movers arrived and got to work … and we kept packing the entire time they were loading.
Somehow, we managed to pull it off. Mom, Dad and Jackson are settling in despite the inevitable chaos.
A friend asked me, “What happens when all the helpers leave?” Unpacking and organizing will be slow. My back is still on the mend. But I have faith. As the old saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This experience (and those who pitched in) has taught me to ask for help … and the helpers will somehow appear.