transitioning

Leaving the familiar

Why is it so hard to let go of the familiar?  What is it about our favourite jumper, top, slippers or Ugg boots that we find hard to let go of even when they have holes in them?  Is it that there is a certain comfort…we have worn them in?  They fit us and we can relax in them, we can step away from the stresses of the day in them and can curl up and feel at home.

Flowers - garden.jpg

Is that the same with our home, the family home that we have lived in for years?  Can it be like a well worn jumper or pair of slippers?  We feel comfortable there, we know every part of it, the way the sunshine streaming in the window in the morning bathes the porcelain vase that has been in the family for generations.  The plant in the corner that throws shadows on the wall, the creak of the floorboards as we walk down the hall and the measurements pencilled on the wall marking the height of the children and in some cases grandchildren as they grow.  This is our comfort zone, it is familiar, it is where we can relax, this is our home.  Is that why it is so hard to leave?  

Stepping away from the familiar is often hard to do.  Moving away from the view from the kitchen window of the garden beyond, the old swing hanging from the bough of the tree, the garden shed with its creaky door which has been opened many times and the old gum tree with its gnarly trunk and strips of bark hanging from it.  These are all things we love.  It could be the well maintained, lovingly tendered garden that has different plants on display throughout the seasons.  Watching the daffodils and iris, the camellias, roses, ferns, boronia and many other treasured plants grow.  Seeing the wisteria and hardenbergia bloom or glory vine change colour each year and cover more of the fence or pergola.  These experiences are all a part of our lives. These are some of the reasons it is so hard to say goodbye but there are many more. 

Some of us hate change and find it confronting.  So, it is no wonder that when our older folk are ready to leave their treasured home and memories of times past it is one of the hardest things they have to do in their lives.  It seems to be harder still when they are moving into aged care, retirement villages or nursing homes.  Many feel they are losing their dignity, the ability to make choices and sometimes they feel like it is a prison sentence.  

Luckily in some instances aged care is improving and they are making more of an effort to cater for their residents’ diverse interests and are acknowledging their lives before care.  In more recent time there has been a subtle change and some people are finding it not so daunting once they have settled in.  They start to enjoy making new friends to talk about times past, share photos of their loved ones, discuss political events and their other varied interests.  This is what we hope for our loved ones and how we handle the transition goes a long way towards settling family members into the retirement village, nursing home or assisting them downsize into a more manageable home.

Letting go of the familiar is often also hard for the adult children who sometimes have the task of organising and making the final decision to move their parent/s from the family home.  They go through many emotions as they too will be losing the family home and they feel guilty for taking their parent/s away from what they love.

Sorting out and letting go of accumulated possessions is one of the hardest things to do when moving.  There are rooms filled with furnishings, furniture and often things belonging to their children with many memories attached.  Clothes that have hardly been worn, precious and not so precious pieces handed down through generations, linen, paperwork, a shed full of tools and the list goes on.  Working through all these things to decide what happens with them is important.  Often this is overwhelming and a daunting task and needs patience and understanding and an action plan developed.  Once that is done the decision has to be made what to do with the excess.  It is important to work out what pieces can be handed to the children, grandchildren or friends and what can be sold or donated.  Once that happens it is time to take the next step.

Until next time, Susan.

Susan Ashby is the principal of Ashby Interiors specialising in creating heart filled spaces, property styling for sale and providing guidance and support for those downsizing or transitioning to aged care.  She loves to be able to use some of your treasured possessions and add pre loved, locally sourced and unique pieces to create a home that is both warm, inviting and stylish.  Susan loves to create spaces that you will fall in love with.