A tradition for many years, our annual family beach vacation is anticipated almost as much as Christmas. We’ve been renting the same beach house for over 10 years. Spending time with my three brothers, their families and our Mom in such a lovely, familiar location just seems to get better each year.

Last year, however, we noticed something new. Yes, the children were taller, but it was the changes in Mom that were most noticeable. We “kids” brought food and other necessities with us to the beach house — with our growing children the cost of food can be shocking. So, was that why Mom brought her entire spice drawer collection? To help save money? We laughed but then noticed mom had packed the top to her electric blender in her suitcase. When we jokingly asked her about it, she said that someone might enjoy a smoothie. OK, but why not bring the blender too? Suddenly, the situation was no longer funny and we became concerned. Mom had also packed a number of long-sleeved button-down shirts and dress pants — not normal beach attire.

We did make some wonderful memories on the vacation, but my brothers and I realized the next chapter in our lives was unfolding. We decided to become proactive for Mom’s sake. My brother who lives the closest to Mom and his wife agreed to visit her daily to and monitor the situation. Looking to the future, we researched memory care facilities in Mom’s town, looking for one that had everything we thought she’d want.

When the time came, my brothers and I were pleasantly surprised that Mom was agreeable to moving. It was as if she knew, despite her memory issues, the time had come to leave the house she’d raised us in. We were able to secure her an apartment quickly in the memory care facility we’d chosen — another nice surprise. The next step was selling the family home. We’d found a real estate agent we really liked but the contents of the house were an issue. A few items would be going with Mom and a few items my brothers and I wanted, but most of the home’s contents needed to be sold or donated.

With families and jobs, none of us had the time to deal with a house full of belongings. Our real estate agent suggested using a senior move manager. Once hired, the senior move manager moved quickly. Items family wanted were identified, packed and delivered directly to our homes. Next, the senior move manager prepared an estate sale and arranged the follow-up steps. Items were sorted, grouped, priced and attractively arranged. Photos were taken, advertisements placed and emails sent to a large list of estate sale followers collected by the senior mover manager. After the estate sale, a clear-out company took the few remaining items to chosen donation sites and cleaning crew came to the house. Then the senior move manager contacted our real estate agent to let her know the house was ready for sale.

Considering the big changes involved, my brothers and I were pleased with how smoothly this major life transition went. By being proactive and working together, Mom is now living where she feels comfortable and we know she’s safe. We were lucky to have a caring real estate agent who directed us to a senior move manager she trusted. We’ll still have our family vacation at the beach house and more wonderful memories will be made, just a bit differently.

The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek is a Certified Senior Move Manager® who has been providing support and guidance for Maryland seniors and their families for over a decade.

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