Monday, February 8, 2010

Move from ALF complicated even with lots of calls...

Moving Mom into assisted living took a lot of work, I don't know why I expected her moving out to be less stressful.   All-in-all, it went fine but I still had a few frustrating moments.   Given that I had to coordinate things from a distance, things went pretty well.   People WANT to be helpful in situations like this and, since it's a small town and I know people, no one tried to take advantage. 

My sister in law was really good about going to Mom's apartment for clothes, shoes and a few personal items that Mom would need immediately.  She also packed up a few precious things like photo albums, pictures and an antique quilt and put them in storage at Mom's.  All of us, Mom especially, would feel bad if these were not well cared for.  I contacted a moving company to pack up the simple furniture,  appliances and other belongings. They had it packed in an hour and spent another hour loading up and storing it in the garage at Mom's house.  It was easy enough, until the ALF called about a table left in the apartment.  

The table became a bone of contention; the ALF Executive Director called to tell me the movers left it.  The movers said the Marketing Director told them it was ALF property.  The Marketing Director told me my brothers said it was ALF property.  My brothers told me the ALF maintenance man said it was ALF property...   That's 5 calls already all over a cheapie table!  I probably spent more in long-distance calls than I did on the table.    Long story short, I told the ALF Director that I had receipts for it and that someone would get it; she ended up having their van driver take it to Moms - another advantage of a small town -it was not far nor time consuming to do this.    But!  the frustration it caused was maddening - people don't like to be given in accurate information and everyone felt bad over one piece of furniture.  

I think things like this could be avoided if the ALF had better move-in and move-out procedures.    They are very eager to promise a lot of help and organization before move-in but their follow through seems lame.  It's not because they are bad people, it's simply because they have too many residents and not enough staff.   Looking back, I would keep a detailed inventory of everything moved into Mom's apartment, anything I added over time and anything broken or removed and WHO removed it.  (As I write this I'm wondering about pictures on the walls, towels - anything I purchased that my family didn't know about; they might have told the ALF it's not Mom's because they didn't know or didn't recognize it.)  I would provide a copy of this inventory to the ALF for Mom's file, to family members and to the movers.  I'd also try to keep it updated when family members bring items or take things home.  This is an easy way to ensure that all of Mom's belongings don't get left and the ALF staff doesn't get blamed for something outside their control.