Tag Archives: loss

Baby House Syndrome

Are your parent’s selling your childhood home?

Do you think about the house of your childhood you can no longer visit?

Are you sad and depressed, that you have been forced by your parent’s recent move to leave the “old neighborhood”?”

You may be suffering Baby House Syndrome. This is when your loved ones sell the house you identified as your childhood home.

This syndrome can hit you at any time,  between the age’s of 9 to your late 70’s. It is a big change in your “home” identity and where you believe your childhood memories are stored.

Symptoms

  • Extreme sadness after hearing your parents are moving
  • Anger towards the changes your parents are making in their lives
  • The real estate listing or sign brings you to tears
  • You no longer feel you have a “real home”
  • The guest room in your parent’s new home seems to have no traces of you
  • Candidates – 10 to 80 years of age.

Strategies to help you process through this time

  • Accept that the change is going to be difficult for you
  • Have parents or family members take photos of all rooms before the move-out and pack out actually begins.
  • Hold a “farewell to the house” party for family members and close friends (with your parent’s permission of course)
  • Write a letter to the new owners telling them how much you hope they will enjoy the home
  • Take photos of special memories spots – the measurement chart on the inside of the closet door, the swing set in the yard, the tree you planted as a child

Regardless of your age, Baby House Syndrome can cause you to feel a great loss. Using the strategies mentioned above can help you, or your loved ones deal with the transitional process.

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The Hospital Visit Scale

Dear Readers:

Because of my many  trips to the hospital to visit family member or other loved ones,  I started to think about my variety of stress levels I experienced upon making an entry  or upon departing the hospital. One (1 ) being least stressful of visits, five (5) being most. My perspective is from being the primary caregiver of the hospitalized patient. General visitors are likely to be less stressed, except when they have first time entry into specialized units such as Burn Centers, Cancer Units, Pediatric NIC units.

 

I created The Hospital Visit Scale by Terry Prince 2016© to help visualize this.

 

hospital-visit-scale-v1

 

 

I am calling myself a Covert Hidden Hero. Covert because end stage caretakers of military disabled veterans are not necessarily the ones at the onset of a military disability.  From 2002 to 2013,  I served as my father’s primary caregiver. My father was a WWII veteran who lost his leg at age 20  (as well as hearing ability in one ear) in military service in 1944 from a V2Rocket while in Belgium.  He was British and in the RAF and deemed 80 percent disabled but was able to live a full life (marrying, pursuing a career in aerospace engineering, having 3 children, sailing and motorcycling). However in his late 70’s  his medical care became much more complex when his meniscus in his only “real” leg tore and he had to have surgery. In his later years he had stage 4 kidney disease with dialysis for 2 years (likely caused by high use of over- the- counter pain medication for his osteoarthritis in his remaining leg and normal use of prescription medicine when he had phantom pains in his missing leg), neuropathy, steroid induced type II diabetes and heart issues. My father in his last 4 years of life had an annual average of 2 major hospital visits (all exceeding 1 week), with follow on transitional care in rehabilitation facilities and follow on skilled nursing either in home or in a facility.  He had at least 12 doctors or specialist services  (primary PPO Doctor, Cardiologist, Neurologist, Nephrologist(kidney)  Pulmonary, Orthopedist, eye doctor, audiologist, dermatologist, US Veteran System Primary Doctor, Sleep Apnea Specialist, Wound Care Clinician, Anticoagulation Clinic)  as well as many revolving hospitalists each time he was hospitalized.  

Having experienced hospitalization exceeding 10 months of a loved one in many ways, in many different times and hospital settings, I feel confident that this scale reflects most of the instances of hospitalization. But I am open to suggestions, any thoughts out there?

 

 

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The Three Losses in Five Years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization. These are individuals who are serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates. Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this, more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able, consider the services of a skilled professional organizer. A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate. A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses. For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

 

This is a best of post

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Curator Vs. Caretaker

Are you a caretaker or curator of your special materials? I am talking about your private or personal family collections. What is the difference you ask?

When we first inherit or start to collect material we may be just caretaking. And that is Okay. Curating before we are ready can be a big mistake.

Do you let the special material sit in the box and wait to deal with it later? If this is the case, then you are a caretaker.  Or do you sort, label, arrange or classify and make some sort of arrangement of the material?  Curators do that.

Good caretakers pack and store material carefully, in safe spaces free free from harm. Inquisitive little children or pets,  pests or rodents can be an issue. Water or humidity or excessive heat or even excessive temperature changes within a short period of time can be a safety factor. Bright lighting or direct sunlight can also be damaging to your collection.

Are you ready to go from caretaking to curating your collection? The time has to be right. Maybe you are too tired of caretaking the collection so perhaps the time is right to pass the collection along to someone else to curate. After all not all caretakers have to curate.

Wise curators are deliberate with their plan. They think it out before they proceed. They seek advise if they need it. They don’t have to go it alone. Books, associations, organizations and solo practitioners are out there to provide assistance and advice to the curator. Remember seek help and guidance and think it through.

 

Books 

An Ounce of Preservation – A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs by Craig A. Tuttle

How to Archive Family Keepsakes: Learn How to Preserve Family Photos, Memorabilia and Genealogy Records by Denise May Levenick

How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff by Denise May Levenick 

Saving Stuff: How to Care for and Preserve Your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions by Don Williams, Louisa Jaggar

The Unofficial Family Archivist: A Guide to Creating and Maintaining Family Papers, Photographs, and Memorabilia by Melissa Mannon 

Consultants

Terri Blanchette   http://timesorters.com

 

Website/Blogs

The ArmChair Genealogist  written by Lynn Palermo*     lynn@thearmchairgenealogist.com

The Family Curator written by Denise May Levenick

Family History Secrets written by Wendy Percival. This British site is more about writing and creating – but done in an interesting way.

The Practical Archivist written by Sally Jacobs

 

 

If you enjoyed this you might also enjoy an article I wrote about ephemera many year’s back called Don’t Throw That Away!

 

* This blog was inspired by a post a few months ago by Lynn Palermo regarding curating and creating. If you read my last blog post and book review you would know I am showing my work. Denise May Levenick’s book, How to Organize Inherited Items: A Step-by-Step Guide for Dealing with Boxes of your Parent’s Stuff, also uses the three concepts of Curator, Creator and Caretaker.

 

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Three Losses in Five Years

The Three Losses in 5 years Syndrome

Over the past 10 years, I have come across a subset of individuals who begin a sudden onset of chronic disorganization.  These are individuals who are  serving as family caretakers who have experienced at least three significant losses in their life over the span of 5 years. This subset has usually served as primary caretaker for either parent(s), spouse or sibling(s). Many of them also serve as the executor of one or more of these estates.   Many of these individuals seem to take about 7 to 12 years after the final loss  to come to terms with this in their life.

What I would like to see is a more active approach to treating this,  more on the onset prevention than as an after effect treatment.

It would be beneficial to have physicians and their staffs work to identify caretakers who are already at two losses in five years, and encourage them to get additional support through grief counseling, caretaker support group participation and for those financially able,  consider the services of a skilled professional organizer.  A skilled professional organizer can do wonders to help the “primary caretaker client ” in terms of time management, goal setting, project planning and management. Many professional organizers can help establish bill paying and document management systems to handle the growing paperwork that complex and long-term medical conditions usually entail as well as documents for estates probate.  A professional organizer can help the client simplify his or her life and environment as well as serve as a body double for difficult and often procrastinated tasks.

While a professional organizers services are not inexpensive, they are a valuable tool that may help the primary caretaker live a more vibrant and fulfilling life while and after experiencing heavy losses in their life.

The Three Losses in 5 Years are primarily death losses.  For some, however, one of those losses can be the loss of a pet, divorce or significant job loss.

I believe more research and education is needed in this area. Let’s hope that this syndrome can be more clearly understood and helpful strategies for success developed and promoted to the general public.

 

This is a best of post from 2010.

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Possession Usage – Intentional versus Unintentional

Here is the second installment of the residential possession cycle. Today I’d like to focus on another small element, intentional versus unintentional usage of possessions.

Intentional usage is when our clients make a concerted effort to utilize or use a product. Unintentional usage is when an accident or incident causes the product to be used without their (or a household member’s) specific intent.

How do your clients use their possessions? Is their usage intentional or unintentional? Here are some examples:

Intentional Usage

Example 1 – Your client has a substantial collection of seasonal decorative vases. You suggest the client review all the vases and select a reasonable amount of vases for each of the identified seasons. Off-season storage is selected and located in a less accessible space. Excess vases can be donated to the charity of her choice.   You can also help her set some size limits for her collection and establish some storage and rotation practices.

Skills Transferred – Selecting favorites,  Set storage size limits, Develop rotation practices.

Example 2 – Your client has many product bottles of shampoo. Many of which seem to not have been used in quite a while.  You help your client by having her identify her current shampoo.  Most of the other shampoo products do not seem to work well for her or her family members. A discussion follows regarding the other brands, where the client realized she had made some attempts in finding a great shampoo, but did not have to live with the “mistakes all lined up on the bathroom counter”. You and your client talk about setting and maintaining a small inventory of the “working” shampoo, with the understanding that product lines as well as hair needs change over time and shampoo trials may have to occur in the future.

Skills Transferred: Insight into understanding that trial and error is sometimes necessary in finding certain products. Some products are ineffective for certain hair types and do not improve over time,  Shampoo bottles are usually recyclable and excess shampoo can be poured safely down a sink drain. Establishing a reasonable inventory level of shampoo.

Unintentional Usage

Example 1 – A surprise storm floods a client’s basement destroying some boxes of vintage baby clothes. The incident is considered an accident, however the basement was known to have some earlier flooding.

Skills Transferred – Acknowledging Loss, Preventing future loss by raising boxes off the floor and storing valuable memorabilia in non flood prone area of home.

Example 2 – Your client stores glass containers of pickles, and other condiments on a high shelf in her pantry. She has had a weak shoulder and uses a grabber to bring down the jars. Recently she has broken 4 glass containers due to the slipping of the grabber tool. Working together you relocate the glass containers to a waist-high shelf and put non breakable plastic containers on the higher shelf.

Skills Transferred – Storage recommendation and practices of breakable versus non breakable products, Limitations of grabber tools. Benefits of creating safer kitchen storage in alignment with physical capabilities.

My earlier segment on Possession Acquisition can be found here. In a few weeks, I will write on Possession Disposal – Intentional versus Unintentional.  Check back for the link.

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It’s That Time Again – Seasonal Slowdown

There are certain times of year that seem to reduce our daily productivity. In my opinion there are four big times. They are the late November and the traditional December Holidays, early July and the first two weeks of August.

Don’t let others make you slow. Accept that this is going to be a less productive time when especially when working with colleagues.   Let their delay and dallying be your occasion to work on past and future projects. These times are great for working on organization of past material, future planning, back burner projects and future planning.

This is the perfect time to use my “project hand” to list out the projects that are perfect for the next seasonal delay time.

You may also want to check out my website for monthly tips on organizing ideas for home and work.

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