Moving house with ME/CFS

mermaid

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After a very stressful/turbulent 2 years (mother's death, husband's sudden death, lockdown, Covid (mild dose but with difficult after effects), and a year of supporting my son, (schizophrenia/Tourette Syndrome) through a horrendous time with his PIP benefits renewal), I am really struggling with the effects of all of this, both mental and physical, and I am ageing now at nearly 70, with symptoms of older age as well as those of ME. I now live alone on a very steep hill, with a large garden with no transport, and no relatives nearby, and the stress on me is beginning to tell in many ways.

I am in the UK by the way so systems may be different in other countries. I have 3 sons but all a long way off as I am in the far west of Cornwall, with a lovely view of the sea, so thinking of leaving this lovely place is hard, but I am trying to use my head as well as my heart here. My youngest son lives in Greater London (previously Surrey), and wants me to move nearer to him, and after some thought I have put my house on the market and am buying a retirement flat only about 5/10 mins from him, which is all I can afford as prices are dearer there. I am looking at one bedroomed ones as the two bedroomed ones are a lot dearer it seems, and there are hidden costs to consider with these leasehold flats, so I also have to get rid of some things before I go. Luckily my house is only 2 bedrooms, and the rooms are small, so it could be worse, but I also have a garden to clear - possibly (am hoping that the new people will take some of the items).

I am now in anxiety mode and don't know how I will cope with the practical details of all of this and wonder if anyone else here has tackled this and has any advice. I am OK enough financially to buy help, but not sure how to do some of that or who to ask, as people advertising down here have a habit of not turning up or saying they will come 'dreckly' ie not at all......

e.g. I will pay for someone to pack everything rather than try myself, but how am I to tackle the issues of moving to a smaller place with no garden? How will I dispose of those extra things with no transport? How will I find someone to climb into my loft to get things down to sort? How will I get rid of things at the very last minute that I may need to use, if the people who move in don't want them (I am thinking of the fridge/freezer, washing machine and tumble dryer in particular here)?

The anxiety is affecting my sleep and my digestion already!! I am thinking of buying some CBD oil to help with this. I am hoping that my son/daughter in law (she is the only one who drives in the family, none of my sons do!!) may be able to do at least one trip down here to help with some of the practical stuff, but not sure if it's possible yet, though they will help at the other end for sure.
 
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How will I dispose of those extra things with no transport?
Your local Council probably has a service for collecting that sort of stuff.
How will I get rid of things at the very last minute that I may need to use, if the people who move in don't want them (I am thinking of the fridge/freezer, washing machine and tumble dryer in particular here)?
Well the first step is to ask them if they want those items left for them.
 

BrightCandle

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Definitely a moving service that will pack and unpack is a good idea.

There are house clearing services too that come and junk or sell/recycle the contents of houses. They are usually used for clearing a house after the occupant has died but if you speak to one of them you may be able to have them go through and remove things you don't wish to take and they will scrap it appropriately. This is about the best idea I have on how to have someone to help assess the junk and deal with it.
 

Treeman

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I moved in June this year.

Start packing/getting ready asap so you can spread all the tasks out over a long period of time.

Good forward planning is the best way with achievable daily targets, e.g. "today I will clean that cupboard in the kitchen."

Lots of people said they would come and see my house and didn't. Just accept that's how its going to be and it's easier.

Charities will take house hold items too, give them a call when the time is right and they come and collect. Explain you have ME/CFS and need help moving it out the house.



Hope it helps, good luck.
 

Learner1

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@mermaid I'm in the US and can't help with any practical advice like the others have given, but did want to say that you are very brave and wise to be taking such a step. Just take things one step at a time and you can be successful! I moved all the way across the United States last year, in slow motion due to many of the covid challenges, but we are very glad that we made the long move which has had a few bumps along the way, but in the end it's been better.

Good luck to you, and please reach out as you need moral support. As for sleep, have you tried things like melatonin, theanine, magnesium, or low dose naltrexone. Likely you don't need all of them, but something might help. Lavender scent in your room or your linens might help too.
 

lenora

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I can't believe that one of your sons can't help you with such a big task. If they have to take the train, then so be it. I'm sorry if their vacation time is spent helping their mother with this specific task, but it's not beyond reasonable thinking. We spend so much time thinking of others...and often that's not necessary.

Failing that, then I would call one of the well-know large moving cos. and ask them who they use for packing. Arrange for the company to do the move. I agree that you're smart to move at this time in your life as you're making life easier for yourself and your son. Bear in mind that it will be easier for your son, so he should be prepared (and perhaps he is) to offer some time for you.

Make a list, so that you don't forget different details. Glad that you're able to financially afford London...that's a big help right there.

I don't know how I'd manage to see everything off or even move it if we went into an apartment, leading to a nursing home, etc. Yes, there are companies all over that will come in and settle and sell off estates. If you can't trust the local people to keep their word, then go to a larger company with a good reputation. Check online and read the comments.

We have two daughters, one will sell the property and it will need painting and other small repairs, the other will take the financial load. An estate company will come in to see our goods off. We've been slowly cutting back on new items and getting rid of older ones over the past no. of years.

We settled my mother-in-law's estate in England (Bath) and did the clearing out and selling of furniture ourselves. The house sold in no time and we handed legal problems over to a lawyer and even though it took more than 2 years, was well worth it. Our primary concern was taking care of her and making certain she was in a nice place....always. We visited (my husband especially) as often as possible, which he managed to squeeze in while working. Bear in mind that we were in the U.S. and she was in the U.K. I called her each day. These things can be done, but it does take the entire family to make it work. My husband was the only child left, so it was more difficult for us.

All extra furniture was donated to the Salvation Army and garden tools were sold along with household goods. A huge help would be to have important papers all together, including anything you think they'd want. Things worked out...don't worry, you'll just make yourself sick. Yours, Lenora.
 

Wishful

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One suggestion: when considering stuff to move, really consider whether you are ever going to use whatever it is. It's hard to get rid of something 'that might come in handy someday', but stuff is a burden to move, to stress about, etc. When I had to move last, I had to admit to myself that I wasn't likely to do much in the way of projects ever again. I still moved lots of stuff that I really should have gotten rid of, and now I have to store it, sort it, maybe move it again...
 

lenora

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Another thought....and one I've had myself. Depending on how much the moving company charges, it may be worth your while to have the estate sold (by a company) and buy new furniture for your place in London.

Pictures can make it seem more like home to you....things that can be moved more easily. Moving costs can be expensive and it's worth thinking about beforehand.

A friend recently moved into an apartment, nursing home attached, etc., and found that her furniture wouldn't fit anyway. She did sell her items off and with the proceeds furnished her new place. Luckily she wasn't sentimental....I am, but I'll have to work on that. Lamps can be moved, some chairs, collections that mean something....but I'm getting more and more away from an attachment to things these days. I really have to do something about all my books even though they're regularly given away. I think some stores offer free decorating services if you buy from them. At least here one can find that. Yours, Lenora.
 

mermaid

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Thank you so much for all of your kind replies. It really is appreciated that you have taken the trouble to write back to me on this subject.

I think that I developed a bad case of adrenaline issues over the weekend over something else I was doing that was new and a bit stressful (on top of a move!), and that it wouldn't turn off. Thankfully I woke up yesterday morning and a switch had gone off and I was a lot calmer. Every now and then I feel my body crank up again, but so far I am not so bad.

However, next week, I have the 'world and his wife' - hmm not sure of that expression - sounds a bit dodgy maybe, coming to view my house!! I have a fabulous estate agent, who took many good photos on Tues, plus video, plus drone film, (my avatar picture is a photo I took out of my window on a stormy day, but you can imagine what it looks like on a sunny one!). Despite that amazing view, my little house is ex social housing - on an estate of them, but some are private like mine, so low priced. The house went live on Tues and so far I have 11 people viewing it on Monday one after the other, and 2 more on Wednesday! I am not dealing with any of that thankfully and will not be in for it.
 

mermaid

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Your local Council probably has a service for collecting that sort of stuff.
Well the first step is to ask them if they want those items left for them.
@andyguitar yes, I am hoping that they will want the white goods like the fridge freezer and the washing machine and tumble drier as they will be tricky to get rid of, as I will need them right up until the last minute. I am hopeful on this front as I suspect most people buying this will be first home buyers and therefore will be renting with white goods not their own.

The Council scheme is no good for me unless I can find 2 strong men to take them to the area where they have to be left (have done it in the past when my husband was alive). It all has to be taken up a very steep hill which is my back path, and then out along a footpath to a community area. I think a man and van or similar might have to be engaged maybe.
 

mermaid

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Definitely a moving service that will pack and unpack is a good idea.

There are house clearing services too that come and junk or sell/recycle the contents of houses. They are usually used for clearing a house after the occupant has died but if you speak to one of them you may be able to have them go through and remove things you don't wish to take and they will scrap it appropriately. This is about the best idea I have on how to have someone to help assess the junk and deal with it.
Thank you @BrightCandle
I do have one cunning plan up my sleeve that may work on the house clearing front....it seems that there is a well recommended removal firm locally that also does house clearing and storage so I am hoping that if I engage them that they can then clear anything at the end that I am stuck with or work out a plan for me on it. Fingers crossed!
 

mermaid

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I moved in June this year.

Start packing/getting ready asap so you can spread all the tasks out over a long period of time.

Good forward planning is the best way with achievable daily targets, e.g. "today I will clean that cupboard in the kitchen."

Lots of people said they would come and see my house and didn't. Just accept that's how its going to be and it's easier.

Charities will take house hold items too, give them a call when the time is right and they come and collect. Explain you have ME/CFS and need help moving it out the house.

Hope it helps, good luck.
Thank you @Treeman
Normally I would pack and always have done so in the past, but this time I do not feel I can cope with the stress and the energy loss it will take. However, I am better off than I was in the past, and can afford to pay someone to do this bit and I feel it will stop me having anxiety over it too.

Not sure where you are Treeman, but house selling is a bit frantic here in Cornwall, Uk (and possibly elsewhere) right now. I seem to have a very good estate agent as her promotion on Tues has brought in 11 viewings one after another, for this Monday, and 2 more on Wednesday, and there will probably be more I suspect by Monday. It is a low priced house with an amazing view. Also I don't have to be there for the viewings as the agent will take over that bit.

Yes, indeed, I have already got in contact with a local charity which helps low income households, about a sofa in my garden room and that is going very soon with them. They will also take a bed. Luckily most of the furniture will go with me as this is a small house, with similar sized rooms. Just some in the 2nd bedroom will need to go...
 

mermaid

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@mermaid I'm in the US and can't help with any practical advice like the others have given, but did want to say that you are very brave and wise to be taking such a step. Just take things one step at a time and you can be successful! I moved all the way across the United States last year, in slow motion due to many of the covid challenges, but we are very glad that we made the long move which has had a few bumps along the way, but in the end it's been better.

Good luck to you, and please reach out as you need moral support. As for sleep, have you tried things like melatonin, theanine, magnesium, or low dose naltrexone. Likely you don't need all of them, but something might help. Lavender scent in your room or your linens might help too.
Thank you @Learner1 for your kind words. It really helps, and I am sure I will come back to the thread as this process goes on to update you all. I am glad to hear that your move has worked out well - it must have been very tricky doing it when you did,

Funnily enough the sleep thing I think for me is partly a matter of discipline in getting to bed earlier, and partly has fallen apart a bit due to our change in the clocks which we do twice a year. I do take magnesium. I have recommended and bought theanine and melatonin for my son in the past but never needed it for me. I tried LDN several times, but had some very bad reactions to it sadly. Lavender I do use, and thank you for reminding me as I must renew the oil I have in an amphora pot! My sleep is usually very good for someone with ME so hopefully it will calm down a bit soon again. I do use herbal meds, and can take valerian with good effect on a bad night.
 

mermaid

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One suggestion: when considering stuff to move, really consider whether you are ever going to use whatever it is. It's hard to get rid of something 'that might come in handy someday', but stuff is a burden to move, to stress about, etc. When I had to move last, I had to admit to myself that I wasn't likely to do much in the way of projects ever again. I still moved lots of stuff that I really should have gotten rid of, and now I have to store it, sort it, maybe move it again...
Thank you @Wishful - ah now you have me!! I am trying hard to do some more energetic culling of 'stuff' but it will be hard for me. I plan to take nearly all my books as most of them I think can be accommodated when I get there by buying more bookcases, or putting up bookshelves, and many will fit OK on furniture that I have.

I am just starting on a drastic sort through of my clothes. I am a bit of a hoarder of certain items like padded bags which I like to reuse again so as not to be wasteful, and I even keep large bagfuls of plastic bags to recycle in various ways, as there is not much plastic about, and soon they won't exist at all. Not sure what I will do with my plastic bag collection!!

Hardest of all is my craft supplies as I cannot bear to part with them all. However I have sorted them out and someone is going to take away 6 bagfuls of material and wool, and my spare sewing machine, and I have given bagfuls of wool away! I will have a hard think about the rest of it....
 

mermaid

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Another thought....and one I've had myself. Depending on how much the moving company charges, it may be worth your while to have the estate sold (by a company) and buy new furniture for your place in London.

Pictures can make it seem more like home to you....things that can be moved more easily. Moving costs can be expensive and it's worth thinking about beforehand.

A friend recently moved into an apartment, nursing home attached, etc., and found that her furniture wouldn't fit anyway. She did sell her items off and with the proceeds furnished her new place. Luckily she wasn't sentimental....I am, but I'll have to work on that. Lamps can be moved, some chairs, collections that mean something....but I'm getting more and more away from an attachment to things these days. I really have to do something about all my books even though they're regularly given away. I think some stores offer free decorating services if you buy from them. At least here one can find that. Yours, Lenora.
Thank you for both of your posts @lenora
I think that one of my sons would help with the packing if I asked them down, but it could be a tricky time of year when travelling by train can be hazardous. Ideally I could do with a son who could drive as the car is the most useful thing right now and none of the 3 can (unbelievable I know!). My daughter in law has said something about hiring a van, and maybe that might be useful if she wants the plastic sheds which she has indicated she would like for their allotment. As I am planning to help them with it, I will be delighted if the sheds plus contents can be used.

Also if she does this, she might be able to take a load then to the tip while she is down here - being the only driver in the whole family (only one son married, and another son who does have a partner, neither of them drive).

Yes, you are right about that list. I think I will have to have parallel lists actually on various related subjects eg who to contact when I move. I have started a folder, but it's been a very busy week and I haven't properly got my head round it all.

That's amazing that you were able to be so supportive of your mother in law in a different country while she was alive. How wonderful of you really given the distance. So many elderly people have no one at the end and I am grateful to my son for offering to support me if I move nearer to him (moving nearer to me wasn't really an option for him re his work). I know Bath, as I have stayed there several times, and went there with my husband a few years ago, before he died. I remember we talked about retiring there at one time!

I must say that although I can see it makes some sense to buy new furniture, and not to pay such high costs in moving, that I don't feel drawn to do that at all. I feel that I am going to lose some things emotionally when I move, and many of my bits of furniture are old and a bit vintage, but I feel like they are old friends that have memories and I want them to come with me. Not all of them, of course, but luckily my 2 bedroomed house is tiny, and the rooms I will end up in, are a similar size, so the furniture should fit in OK on the whole (other than that there is only one bedroom).

What I really need to do though is empty the storage cupboards here, as there is very little storage space where I am going to and many of the things I have stuffed into these cupboards are the kinds of things I will need to ruthlessly cull, as they won't fit into my new rooms. I hope I am up to that job at least!

Fortunately, I was left some money unexpectedly by a cousin just before my husband died, and so I can spare to use some of that money for the moving costs.
 

Treeman

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Not sure where you are Treeman, but house selling is a bit frantic here in Cornwall,
I'm in York. We started selling our house early 2020, then covid hit. Lots of interest and when we did get an offer we was in the middle of covid and the hold on stamp duty. Due to everyone going mad the agents where over run and held the process up. It took a year after the offer to actually move.

I don't suffer with stress and anxiety often so was able to stay calm. My wife suffered with the stress of it all, and as she had long covid it made her symptoms worse.

Do your best to accept all that comes your way with calm and I hope it is smooth for you.
 

lenora

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Hello @mermaid.....you surely will miss your home when you move, but then London will provide excitement right outside your door, won't it?

If you'll miss your furniture, then you should by all means keep it. I know what you mean - as the years pass some things are always a part of our "home." Actually we did that with Rod's mother...she had a large suite all to herself, en suite bathroom, but we took in personal items and furniture that we know would mean more to her and perhaps she wouldn't feel as alienated.

Your daughter-in-law sounds very kind and helpful and I'm sure she'll be happy to take a trip to the tip with things you don't want. I hope COVID doesn't make things difficult like it did for @Treeman and his wife. It's hard enough to make such a large move when older, let alone outside problems interfering.

Do you have grandchildren in London? My mother-in-law joined a lot of local activities after her second husband died. It sounds like your son and his wife will take good care of you and I'm sure you'll make friends within the first year.

Yes, I would hate to leave Devon also....there are so many wonderful towns and villages in the area, and so much to do. We liked it there, but they asked us which place would be easiest....and of course it was Bath. My father-in-law was from Bath, so that made it helped immensely. They had lived there off and on for many years.

But London....so much to do on any day of the week! Be careful and don't tire yourself out too much. Wishing you a good experience. Yours, Lenora.
 
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Wishful

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Hardest of all is my craft supplies as I cannot bear to part with them all
I had collected a lot of metal items, for possible projects, such as ones using engines and axles, etc. Here we have guys who will pick up scrap metal for selling to a scrap dealer, so I managed to dispose of all those wonderful potential treasures without having to haul it all away myself. It turned out to be ~13 tons worth. I'm so glad I didn't have to haul it all away myself. He also bought my woodworking machines and I gave him my collection of hardwood stock as a gift, happy knowing that someone will enjoy it.

I had a really nice metal lathe that I bought at an auction. I used it a few times, but ME made it hard to concentrate (important for safety), and my ageing eyes could no longer focus properly without getting my face too near the whirling lathe chuck, so I had to give it up. Luckily the guy who bought my place wanted it, so again a convenient solution.

I had a lot of fun collecting all that stuff, and plenty of pleasure of imagining the projects I'd make with them, but there was also a great sense of relief in clearing it all out. I was finding that all those projects that I wasn't able to do were a stressful burden.
 

mermaid

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I'm in York. We started selling our house early 2020, then covid hit. Lots of interest and when we did get an offer we was in the middle of covid and the hold on stamp duty. Due to everyone going mad the agents where over run and held the process up. It took a year after the offer to actually move.

I don't suffer with stress and anxiety often so was able to stay calm. My wife suffered with the stress of it all, and as she had long covid it made her symptoms worse.

Do your best to accept all that comes your way with calm and I hope it is smooth for you.
Thank you @Treeman Yes, indeed, house moving can be an unpredictable business. I recall on my first ever house purchase receiving some aggression from a person in the chain who I happened to encounter in my child's mother and toddler group. It was all out of my hands but she had a go at me about it anyway. With our 2nd move, we were inside our new house in just under 3 months. Obviously Covid was an unexpected issue for everyone, and affected so much.

In some ways, I don't want the process to be too hurried as I have a lot of things to shift here to enable me to move as I am downsizing, and that is going to be challenging for me with no car. I have started on it , but am moving out of my physical comfort zone to do this. I may end up being the person holding things up, but all I can do is plead age and disability, and they will have to live with that while I do my best with sorting things!! If it takes longer for other reasons, then I will have more time in Cornwall to enjoy this lovely place and even if my flat fell through in Surrey it's not the end of the world - there are many more in the place I am going to. It's not quite like finding your perfect house.
 

Wishful

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While I did manage to get rid of a lot of my 'stuff for projects that I was never actually going to get around to doing', I'm still having trouble getting rid of yet more stuff in that category. "But it could be useful..." :nervous:

Discarding that stuff is an ongoing project.