I recommend that anyone helping a senior to deal with their stuff should take lots of photos. This is especially needed if there is going to be some downsizing. When I work with a client, I begin by taking digital photos of the four walls in each room. It doesn’t matter if the room is pristine or messy. The purpose is to track the disposition of the items in the room. In the course of weeding out, and especially if a move is to take place, there is a fog that sets in regarding the whereabouts of various items. In addition to taking photos of the rooms, I also take photos of specific items. This photographic inventory is useful for:
- Sending the photos as email attachments to provide descriptions for family members who can’t be present so that they can understand which item is being considered for donation or sale, and decide whether they want the item.
- Emailing to auctioneers to see if the items are suitable for their auctions.
- In case of accusations of theft or damage. This can be especially important if the elderly person is confused. It is easier for them to believe an item was stolen than that they decided to sell or donate it. In case there is actual theft, the photo is proof of what was lost.
- Memory keepsakes – sometimes the senior is willing to let the item go for sale or donation as long as they have the photo of it as a memento. The digital photos can be printed and placed in an album as a gift.