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By Max Greenberg

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About this blog: I developed a special interest in helping seniors with their challenges and transitions when my dad had a stroke and I helped him through all the various stages of downsizing, packing, moving and finding an assisted living communi...  (More)

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Senior Focus: Working with a downsizer/move manager to achieve your goals

Uploaded: Nov 13, 2015
When it comes to their personal lives and houses, most folks like to go it alone as much as they can. As we age, “going it alone” can become more of a challenge, physically as well as mentally. One area where it can often make sense to “work with a pro” is when it comes to preparing to move and trying to figure out what to do with all your stuff. After living in your home for decades, there's a lot of "stuff" that needs to be carefully sorted through in preparing to move to what is usually a smaller condo or apartment home in a senior retirement community. Delaying the move until you've had the time to do it yourself or with the help of well-intentioned family or friends can be the difference between getting to the new community while you are still independent enough to pass the health qualifiers, or not. Over the past 5 years when I was working in retirement communities, there were a number of folks who were ready to move in physically and mentally, but were not open to the idea of hiring someone to help them with the downsizing, and move planning part of the transition. There were a few folks who had serious accidents trying to do it all themselves. There were others who by the time, in some cases a couple of years later, that they were finally ready to make the actual move, one of the couple was no longer health-qualified to move into independent living. Those were very sad outcomes of not accepting help with a very demanding task. (In some cases I suspected that choosing to “do it by myself” was actually a way to unconsciously delay the move until it was too late to make the move.)

Even if you are preparing to “age in place” which I prefer to call “remaining independent in your own or a smaller home”, there are tremendous benefits to have someone come in to help you de-clutter and lighten-the-load of a home sometimes stuffed to the gills with stuff.

I’ve worked with and referred a number of downsizing companies over the years and there are some wonderful, gentle, sensitive professionals out there that can take the load off both you and your kids. It is often an emotional process to go through and having someone there with your interests top-of-mind can make all the difference. Professional move managers can help you sort, sell, donate, and decide exactly what will fit in the new home (based on your new needs and the floor plan.) These move managers can also provide referrals to reliable packing and moving companies they have coordinated with for a smooth transition. The move managers can meet the movers at your new home, unpack, arrange the furniture, and set up your home for you.

Most move management companies offer a free in-home consultation and can give you an estimate, usually based on an hourly rate, to do the entire job for you, with you, or one part of the job. They are generally very flexible. Of course make sure they have the right insurance and ask for references you can call yourself. (Tip: Some retirement communities will offer to reimburse you or give you a credit towards the use of a downsizing company. Never hurts to ask…)
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Member Emeritus, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 13, 2015 at 10:34 am

"Working with a downsizer/move manager to achieve your goals"

Do people handle any aspect of their life without a manager/advisor/coach these days?

PS: The true goal of a manager/advisor/coach is to relieve their client of money. If you doubt this, ask for their service for no fee.

Posted by Old Steve, a resident of St. Claire Gardens,
on Nov 13, 2015 at 1:46 pm

@Member Emeritus,

I'm curious as to how you think folks in their 70's should handle all the packing that moving involves. Movers can pack some things, and move the big stuff. Who helps hang art in the new place? Remember, if you answer "the kids", if they live close enough to be useful, they might have jobs worth more than what the move manager charges. My Mom left PA in 2011 after more than forty years. Both grandkids pitched in, so did we, but the move manager kept us organized, and really helped in the new place. Please don't pan 'em 'til you try 'em. Thanks for spreading the word Max!

Posted by Thanks for the blog!, a resident of another community,
on Nov 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Thanks Max for the information about how to help seniors actually move from their house, if appropriate. Moving when they are still healthy is a smart idea so they can get used to the people who live in their new community. They can make friends in their new spot and enjoy the activities. Then they will be in a familiar and enjoyable place if they are in need of more care.

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