The Wink family leaned on Let’s Move for support during two difficult transitions.
Donna has always been a fiercely independent soul. Near the end of World War II, she left her hometown in Minnesota and ventured to the Washington D.C. area on her own to start working. She was just 17. But she found a job, made a life for herself, fell in love, got married, had five children. Even after her husband passed away, Donna’s independent spirit lived on. She stayed in the townhome they had lived in for decades, and continued to travel, both by herself and with her grown children.
Her children always knew: Mom could take care of herself.
Then, one day, she said something odd to one of her sons.
“You know. I can’t remember exactly how to drive the car,” she said. “But I just prayed that I would and it went fine.”
It was a moment that changed everything. Her children, a tight-knit group of siblings, came together to help give their mom what she needed.
“It was really tough for us all to watch that decline,” said her daughter Ramona.
Together, they decided, with Donna’s reluctant blessing, that it was time for her to transition to Riderwood, a nearby independent living community. It was a solution that satisfied her independent spirit, allowing her to live on her own in a community that could provide her with the support and health care she needed on a day-to-day basis.
At first, Ramona and her siblings thought they would handle the transition themselves. They had heard about Let’s Move through Riderwood, but they didn’t need that type of service.
“I didn’t understand the concept initially,” Ramona said. “I thought, ‘We already have a team that can handle it.’ We were pretty used to moving ourselves.”
But as their mother’s decline continued to take a physical and emotional toll on the entire family, Ramona realized they needed help. Help getting Donna to let go of certain belongings. Help understanding what belongings would fit in her new two-bedroom apartment. And help easing this stressful transition for everyone involved.
“The move is traumatizing as is,” Ramona said. “You’re having to take keys away from your parents. They’re being uprooted from a place where they were comfortable and functioning, and they’re no longer able to function there. It’s emotionally very trying.”
Yes, they had a team in place. But they needed a different team for this particular task. A team that understood these kinds of transitions inside out and could handle the day-to-day logistics while they focused on their family. They decided to engage Let’s Move. And looking back, Ramona can’t imagine having done it without them.
They worked with account manager Yvonne Quade to create a timeline, floor plan and a plan for moving day.
“We take on the burden of the logistics, planning and the physical labor of packing and unpacking,” Yvonne said.
Together, Yvonne, and Donna and her children made decisions regarding what would go into the new apartment.
“They made everything more doable,” Ramona said. “The whole process from start to finish was so much better because they carried it on their shoulders. The fact that they know every single Riderwood apartment makes it immediately easier.”
In order to make Donna’s new apartment feel like home, they worked with the Let’s Move team to recreate their mom’s favorite space. They brought in her large dining room table, complete with the chandelier, where she would sit for hours and play cards. It was logistically challenging, but Let’s Move made it happen. On moving day, Let’s Move set up the card-playing area first. While Donna played cards with one of her children, project manager Connie Iampieri and her team hung up family photos and made the new apartment feel as close to home as it possibly could. By the time Let’s Move was finished for the day, Riderwood felt like home.
That was nearly three years ago. Then, just recently, it became clear that Donna would need to take the next step and transition to assisted living. Not only was the new apartment significantly smaller, presenting logistical challenges, but the circumstances were even more trying as Donna’s health continued to decline. It would be another difficult transition, physically and emotionally for Donna and her children. But this time, Ramona and her siblings didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone. This time it was project manager Bonnie Uebersax who helped make move day possible, hanging wall hangings while Ramona and her siblings put together furniture and played cards with Mom.
“I couldn’t imagine trying to go through it without the help of Let’s Move,” Ramona said. “It’s nice to let go and say, ‘Let’s Move can do that.’”
The Wink family leaned on Let’s Move for support during two difficult transitions. Donna has always been a fiercely independent soul. Near the end of World War II, she left her hometown in Minnesota and ventured to the Washington D.C. area on her own to start working. She was just 17. But she found a […]