Calling all creative minds- I am worried that Dad will refuse to hang out with the folks at the new place while I try to get the rest of his things moved.

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As I prepare for "the grand Exodus" from Dad's current ALF to the one near my apartment, I am still trying to look for ways to keep Dad out of the way.

Dad is rather ambivalent about moving (he's dropped some tears...so have I), and I am worried that he will dig in his heels and refuse to hang out with the folks at the new place while I try to get the rest of his things moved (thankfully, the maintenance staff at my part time job agreed to help with the furniture in exchange for a $25 gas card and a couple of pizzas!!)

Quite honestly, Dad will just be in the way. He will want to try to help me and get upset when I tell him I can take care of things myself. Dad doesn't go to any activities at his current ALF, nor does he have any "friends" he could visit while I'm moving things. He takes all meals except breakfast in his room, and I need to move the only thing that may keep him occupied (the TV).

I don't think he would sit in the sunroom and watch TV. I thought about getting him to fold some items, but I'm not sure if that will work either.

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So... I found a solution. The veteran's center (about a mile away from Dad's current ALF) has an all-day event for disabled veterans happenin on the day I'm moving Dad with lunch! YIPPEEEE!!!

I can drop Dad off by 8:30 AM and pick him up by 4:00 PM. That will give me plenty of time to meet the guys and move Dad's furniture while he's at the event.

I've been smuggling things he won't notice are moved into my car already (under bed storage, top shelf clothing, etc), so this should go pretty smoothly (I hope so). I'll bring Dad to the new place around 5 PM for dinner, and they want him to have dinner in the dining room. I'll pretend to leave but come back in and set up more things.

Oh... and I'm getting the keys the afternoon before the furniture move, so I can set up his bathroom, etc. Fingers crossed that this goes off without a hitch. This has taken more planning than I expected
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Reply to Tinyblu
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Tiny, those two guys must know other guys, have friends - present it to them as a challenge, with a beer and a Good Deed (and maybe a modest tip?) to feel all warm and fuzzy about after. ASK!
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Reply to Countrymouse
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These are all great answers. Unfortunately, the smallest tasks leave Dad ridiculously short of breath, then he becomes agitated (been there / done that). I find that I spend more time trying to calm Dad down or helping him catch his breath.

Dad doesn't see well enough or stay awake/quiet enough for a movie, and he says the speakers are too loud, so that's not an option. He most likely won't sit in the family / sun room alone to watch their TV. He's going to WANT to be involved.

I really like the idea of the maintenance staff "tag teaming" and hanging out with him, but there are only two guys, and I need them to be moving the furniture, and I have to show them where the facilities are, etc. which would mean that we would need a third guy which may not be an option.

I will ask hospice to help, but since Dad will be moving to another county, his team is going to change. I have to do this move on an unscheduled visit day, so I am not sure if I can coordinate that. I can definitely ask.

My goal is to get this done in a day with hopes that doing things quickly would ease the trauma. Besides, I can only "afford" to take one day off work to get this done.

In the past, I have everything moved already (mostly myself and bribed a teenager to help with the lifting) and just brought Dad to his new place. Back then I could pay movers and did the move while he was at ADC, and it was a "local" move. This is a bit more involved and I have no family support, no significant other (although my last BF showed up 6 hours late for my Dad's last move), and no friends. It's going to be interesting, for sure.
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Reply to Tinyblu
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Here is another thought about the "get him out of the way" portion of the day.

"Dad, it is going to be really confusing and chaotic to start with, as these young guys empty the truck. While that is going on, would you like to stay in my apartment and watch television? Or Nephew would like to come over and play cards with you. As soon as the truck is unloaded and things settle down, I'll come and get you and I will help you with the unpacking."
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Both of the above - great advice. Let him help.
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Reply to BuzzyBee
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Most of my moves have involved children, who also tend to be underfoot. For the older kids it is helpful to unload the things for their rooms first, and let them stay in the rooms hanging their clothes or putting books on the shelves or whatever they are able to do. And if they are too excited to get much done, that is OK, as long as they stay mostly in their rooms. For the younger children it is wonderful to get them off the premises. An older, responsible cousin takes them to the movies. They stay with a favorite aunt. Whatever works at their ages. Older kids = "help" in a location out of the main stream of the movers. Younger kids = do something fun elsewhere.

You dad is on hospice, right? Is his attitude and understanding more like an older kid or a younger one? I agree that in most cases elders need to feel useful and they also need to have their limitations respected. If he doesn't have the stamina to lift books onto a shelf, could he organize the books in the order he prefers, on a card table or his bed, etc. so someone else can lift them onto the shelf?

If he still has the "big kid" mentality, don't tell him you can handle it yourself. Of course you can, and it would be easier for you to do it yourself. Tell him you want the moving guys to handle the furniture, but as soon as they bring in his bedside table he can unpack and arrange things in it. 

If he is willing to "take a break" and go watch a movie in the community room, tell him there is going to be a lot for him to do when the big things are moved in and he can rest up now so he'll be ready then.

Have you asked for ideas from the hospice team, and the staff at the new facility?

When you have to move with a passel of kids underfoot, no matter how well you have it planned, you simply have to expect it is going to take longer than if you had the luxury of doing it alone. I suspect this is the same kind of situation. What is easiest for you may not be what is best for Dad. You might have to just build some extra time into this activity.

If you can balance some "get him out of the way" with some "ask for his help" that is probably the best you can do, for both of you.
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Reply to jeannegibbs
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Tiny, I would FIND some way to let him help; he NEEDS to feel useful.

Sometimes I think we caregivers take on too much because we perceive that our parents are too fragile or unwilling to help. But being creative, as you suggest, we need to find ways they can help, even if it's something that doesn't need to be done.

Even if he is "in the way", don't make him feel that he is. Can he unpack boxes? Hang up clothes? Put away linens or silverware? Unpack books or magazines?

List if you have to all the things you're moving and think what he could do. Allow extra time and take a break to sit down with him (and perhaps the movers to help bring him into the conversation) and ensure that he's comfortable about the move. He's probably unsettled as it is, given the drastic change, and may need reassurance.


This isn't a criticism, but I think it would be hard if not cruel to expect him to meet new people on his own. If you can't squeeze some social activity in on moving day, come the next day and take him to activities, perhaps just one per day, to help him get acquainted.

Is this a one day move?

You're still his daughter, perhaps his "little girl", and he may still have some need to take care of you, even though the situation has been reversed. Help him feel that he's still useful.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Well, I recommend you get the helpful maintenance chaps to rotate half- to one-hour stints keeping your Dad company in the sunroom.

No, actually - get one of them to drive Dad to the new facility and wait with him there. Then you start a relay, one person at a time keeps him occupied - maybe by helping him break the ice with the new people - in the communal areas while the move carries on.

This is quite a sudden move, isn't it? - Did you post about it?
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