Life is about transitions and how we navigate them can have a dramatic impact on our health and wellbeing moving forward. This is a tale of two moves. Two life transitions with entirely different results.
Allan and Rosalyn Ganz lived in the same house in Massachusetts for 56 years, and as they approached their mid-80s their daughter, Lisa, convinced them that it was time to downsize.
Sorting through a lifetime of possessions and deciding what to keep, donate, or throw away isn’t easy. It can be a physically and emotionally draining process — especially with limited support.
“It was a nightmare,” Lisa says. “It was a big challenge and very stressful, to say the least. My sister, my brother and I tried to clean out the house and sort through all their stuff on our own.”
The Ganzes moved into a condo in South Florida but within a couple of years wanted to be closer to family in Central Florida who could help when needed. They joined a waiting list for an assisted living community near Lisa’s home. When a unit became available, they only had one week to move in.
The family was not ready to repeat the stress and strain of their previous move, especially on such short notice. “It was going to be too much for my husband and I,” Lisa says.
Overwhelmed by the daunting task, Lisa reached out for help from Caring Transitions, a total solutions provider that specializes in relocations, downsizing, estate sales and more.
“For me, it was a peace of mind,” Lisa adds. “I didn’t have to worry about anything. They packed and unpacked everything. Everything was done in one day. Mom and dad were ready to go to bed and not have to think about unpacking any boxes.”
“The team members at Caring Transitions all have hearts,” Rosalyn, 82 said. “They know that moving at our age can be heart-wrenching.”
“On a scale of one to 10, my stress level during this move with Caring Transitions help was only about a two,” Lisa revealed.
And without their help? “An 11!”
Rosalyn and Allan are now close to their kids, grandkids, and great grands. “I’m very happy to be with my family, to see our grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up and be in their lives constantly,” says Rosalyn.
“The move has been the best thing for them, I’ve never seen them so busy,” says Lisa. “It was such a relief to know that they were in good hands, and Caring Transitions helped make that happen.”
Keys To Navigating Parent-Child Relationships During A Life Transition
Enduring two major life transitions with her parents was an eye-opening experience for Lisa. She believes the experience taught her valuable insight on navigating the parent-child relationship during a move.
“It’s a major role reversal,” Lisa, 60 says. “You become the parent saying, ‘You need to get rid of this. You don’t need this anymore. But you need to be compassionate.’”
“It’s difficult leaving your home. To know that this is it after all those decades,” Rosalyn reflects. “But I knew I had Lisa. She is such a great listener. She was priceless, as far as daughters go.”
Compassion and attentive listening are two great qualities that go a long way in successfully experiencing a transition for an adult child and their parent.
“No one wrote the book on dealing with our individual parents,” says Carrie Coumbs, Caring Transitions Senior Strategic Advisor. “When changing roles, remember they’re still your parent and they deserve to be honored, loved and cared for.”
Coumbs Offers 3 Key Pieces Of Advice
1. Be Positive About What’s Ahead
“Embrace the fact that there is still a lot of life and activity and wonderful experiences that can still be had,” Coumbs says. “We’re all moving towards something new, a new experience, a new span of life, and at Caring Transitions, we embrace it.”
2. Develop A Plan
“The worst thing I have seen is when chaos starts running the show. Plans can always be modified,” Carrie says. “A plan lets the professionals do the packing, sorting, downsizing and cleaning while I go and be a supportive daughter.”
3. Open and Transparent Communication
“I talk to my family from a first-person perspective. Believe it or not, it opens up a lot of conversations when I say, ‘I don’t plan on living in this location all my life.” Then people can say, ‘You don’t? Well, I do.’ Oh, a truth moment! Now I can ask questions and learn about their plan.”
“It’s a conversation built on respect and listening. But I start with me, and that way it’s okay for us all to talk about it together.”
By bringing in professional help like the experts at Caring Transitions and following these three keys to communication, Coumbs feels confident more families will experience successful life changes just as Lisa did with her parents.
This article was created in partnership with our friends at Caring Transitions. To learn more about their total solution services visit CaringTransitions.com.