“Marjorie, what is this and how would you use it?” I asked while holding a shiny, slightly heavy and obviously well made, never-used, name brand garlic press. Then came the blank stare. You know the one where the eyes are not registering any level of understanding or comprehension and the brain is no longer even trying. She replied with “not sure” and I placed it in the donation box.
Marjorie’s daughter had requested someone sort through and clean out her mother’s belongings, one room at a time. She lacked the time and felt that a third party might allow for a more balanced response from Marjorie at this stage of her mother’s declining mental status. She knew that in very short order she would be moved to a care facility and the house had to be cleared. It was a first sweep, leaving the necessities essential to day-to-day living for Marjorie at the current state of mobility and understanding.
So often I am asked “what does a personal assistance do,” and the answer is a long one and never a pat one. It is best to describe the situation and then count on the PA to figure out what can be done to help. In this instance, the household was in the first stage of clearing in preparation for the eventual estate sale that was not too long in the future.
Very often adult children either can’t abide by breaking down a beloved parents’ home. If the parent is still living, it can be painful for both to see the last vestiges of their former life being disposed of no matter how beneficial that may be. Then there are the cases of adult children (or the lack of) who don’t care about the household and the relative or custodian just want it handled. Whatever the way, at whatever level, the personal assistant can handle all the arrangements.