Moving Questions for the Sandwich Generation

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The joys and woes of moving! For various and sundry reasons, my mom and I are moving into an apartment from a house. Talk about downsizing! Of course, we’re not the only ones! There are plenty of us Sandwich Generation families with elderly parents moving into retirement communities, senior apartments, or care facilities. Not to mention empty-nesters whose last child has headed off to an apartment of their own. This is a common life-change occurrence for Baby Boomers. It’s even more prevalent now, with the economic woes hitting so many people. House loans are causing sleepless nights. Layoffs are hitting every neighborhood. We definitely have plenty of company in this whole downsizing process, so I thought it’d be a good idea to share with you the questions I SHOULD have asked but didn’t know to. Now you’ll know the questions and the answers.

Question 1 – Where can I hook my connections up at? If you are moving into any kind of a rental, be it apartment, senior complex, or even assisted living, make sure you ask about your favorite connections! We are moving into a lovely, relatively modern, apartment complex. When the cable/internet/telephone company serviceman came to help with the phone, I mentioned I would be having him back in a couple of days to install internet/tv connections in at least one more bedroom. No problem, right? WRONG! It turns out that this apartment complex, like most I’m sure, doesn’t allow any wiring on the outside of the building. Unless I want to try to talk the two apartments above me into letting them cut holes and work in each of their apartments, I am fresh out of luck. Of course, I can have wireless internet anywhere, but I really like having a wired connection in my office. Looks like my main office will now have to be the living room. It’s not the end of the world, but if I’d thought to ask about it, it might have led us to choose a different apartment. It’s too late for me, but hopefully it will help some of you.

Question 2 – How will technology changes impact my special seniors? If it’s an elderly parent who is moving, make sure you think through the consequences if you make a change in the technology they use. I really wanted to switch providers as one company offers quite a bit more at a lower  price. I did plenty of phone calling and websurfing research and was all set to switch when this thought occurred to me and I’m so glad it did! Further research on that particular subject helped me realize my mom would have to learn a whole new setup for using her TV and VCR. Knowing that this would be extremely frustrating for her helped me to make the right choice to stick with the current provider.

Question 3 – If I am moving locally, keeping the same company for cable and internet, and even overlapping the services for a week, will it be a snap? Not necessarily. If you have a DVR or TIVO and you move it to a new house, it may very well stop working. You would probably be wise to call the cable company as soon as you do it and ask them to make sure it is set to work at the new address. I’m not sure if that is true with a simple box, but I’m betting it is true with the digital box. This is useful to know if you are helping your parent move in, as they might not understand how to deal with the problem. It’s also important to realize fixing one problem can inadvertently trigger another problem. After fixing the cable situation at the new apartment, I went home to the old house and discovered that my internet connection had gone away into LaLa land. Another half hour spent on the phone, crawling on my stomach to read the VERY TINY letters on the modems, eventually led to a restored internet connection. None of these problems were major and they were all fairly simple fixes – for me. For an elderly parent who is not tech-savvy, they could have made an already difficult move much worse. If that’s your situation, I would suggest that you plan ahead to be there so you can personally help them through it or have someone else available to assist them.

Well, that’s it for tonight. Tomorrow is more moving, with more questions to answer for you before you have to ask them. And if you have any questions to add, please send them my way via the comments or an email to SandwichINK @ Gmail.com (typed normally).

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