Moving an Aging Parent from Long-Distance – Part IX


by Joy Loverde

Knowing that Mom is coming to town to shop for furniture two months before the actual move in date, I rally up my sisters for a day of cleaning the apartment. The goal is for Mom to walk in the door of her new home self-assured that she has made the right decision to move back to Chicago from Florida.  I know my Mom all too well and I can predict that she will open drawers and peek into closets and cabinets, and my having everything sparkling clean will appeal to all of her senses.

I put a call into both of my sisters and my eldest sister, Carol comes to my aid and volunteers to help clean Mom’s apartment.  When we were young, Carol and I were required to spend every Saturday morning cleaning the house while our brothers were allowed to go off and do their own thing. As was the tradition in most Italian families years ago, only the daughters were required to clean and cook. Hmmmmm.  That’s another blog for another day.

It took us five hours to clean the one-bedroom apartment, and we had a lot of fun doing it. With the radio basting in the background playing oldies-but-goodies tunes, we laughed and joked about the good old days. And we talked a lot about Mom and how things were way back when. Spending time with Carol, cleaning and reminiscing is one of those magical moments that I will never forget. That day I imagined cleaning Mom’s house just like we did when we were eight and ten years old. Oh happy days. The caregiving process offers abundant opportunities to capture precious memories. Stay awake to the possibilities.

The day finally arrives for Mom to see her new home. I can’t believe how nervous I am. Will she change her mind and stay in Florida? So in she walks. Upon seeing her apartment for the very first time she starts giggling and laughing and soaks it all in. Ooooing and ahhhhhing every little thing – the closet space, the breath-taking view of Lake Michigan from her twenty-fourth floor balcony, the newly renovated kitchen, and of course the clean cabinets and spotless floors. I breathe a sigh of relief.

Mom is in town for a week to shop for furniture for the apartment. This caregiving task is enormously time-consuming. Plus, I have little time and patience for this process. I’m not a fan of shopping in stores and prefer to make purchases online. In order to get this task done efficiently, once again I make a request and delegate shop