Moving is stressful no matter how old you are, and it gets even harder with years of memories and possessions collected in one home. In fact, more than half of seniors say that avoiding the hassle of moving is a reason why they want to age at home, according to a survey by the National Council on Aging.
Specialized senior move coordinators relieve this burden, specializing in helping the elderly downsize and transition to assisted living communities or other housing.
- Senior move managers are experienced and vetted:
Specialized companies have general liability insurance, take classes in ethics and safety, and provide a signed contract to protect the manager, the family, and their senior loved one. They also have a code of ethics and standard of practice.
Many move coordinators have found move management as a fulfilling and rewarding career. Some have backgrounds in nursing, social work, and psychology while others worked in marketing, project management, or even information technology. Often, the combination of their professional background, life experience, and desire to connect with seniors prepares them for this unique role.
2. Managers help seniors downsize with dignity:
When a senior lives in one home for their entire adult life, they fill it with reminders of the people and places they love. The art of senior move management is helping older adults part with their possessions without parting with their memories.
It can be hard for younger generations to understand the emotional difficulties of downsizing. Members of Gen X have moved 40% more than their parents’ generation, and millennials are increasingly choosing experiences over objects. This disconnect can leave adult children frustrated at their aging parent’s reluctance to let things go.
Move managers encounter this situation often, and they can empathize with elderly adults struggling to downsize. They’re able to provide creative solutions family members may not have thought to consider.
A woman in her 80s, a passionate traveler who had visited countries across the globe. Throughout their travels, she and her husband acquired 85 unique teapots. She was absolutely despondent over the fact that this move to a 500-square-foot apartment could mean, for the first time in 50 years, that those teapots would not be with her. The move manager suggested the woman select her three favorite teapots to display in the dinette cabinet in her new assisted living apartment. She took photos of the other 82 teapots, had a poster professionally printed and framed, and presented it to the woman as a gift. This thoughtful, professional gesture is one example of how senior move managers can find creative solutions to help loved ones cope with the difficulties of downsizing.
3. Move managers allow seniors to feel in charge of difficult transitions:
It’s important to involve seniors in the moving process, so that they don’t see the transition as something happening “to” them. This may mean organizing clothing and books or sorting through a box of Christmas ornaments — it all depends on the senior’s physical and cognitive condition. If the aging relative is able to make some decisions, they will be more likely to accept the move.
Often, a change in health or the loss of a spouse prompts a move to a senior living community. There’s so much loss associated with aging, unfortunately, most of the time when seniors decide to move, something has happened, and they’re not necessarily in the position where they’re in total control.” An impartial third party can bring order to the moving process, reducing stress for both the senior and their adult children. That way the family can focus on the physical and emotional needs of their loved one.
4. Move managers can emotionally prepare older adults for assisted living:
One of the biggest hesitations seniors have about transitioning to assisted living is a desire to age at home, surrounded by familiar memories and possessions. Sometimes communities will recommend reaching out to a move manager if families are making the difficult decision to move a loved one to senior living.
One of the best skills a move coordinator brings to the table is their ability to listen.
There’s the physical side of moving, but there’s also the emotional side of leaving what they’ve known and starting a new normal. During a consultation with a senior and their family, a senior move manager can listen to concerns and offer solutions based on their experience with others in similar situations. They can help reduce the fear of downsizing and make a seemingly overwhelming process less daunting.
Once the decision to move to assisted living has been made, move managers help set an older adult up for a successful transition. It’s so important to make a senior move seamless and stress-free, if a move goes poorly, the stress that’s associated can really send an adult into a downward spiral.
5. Moving managers can prevent family conflict:
The stress of moving, coupled with conflicting personalities, can lead to arguments among family members. Often, one sibling will try to move the process along. “They may say something like, ‘Mom, you don’t really need this.’ But it isn’t their decision — it’s her decision”. A moving manager can de-escalate the situation and put the argument into perspective.
Move managers can calmly provide an objective perspective and guide families through the process of deciding which things to keep, sell, and donate. There are a lot of memories and emotions wrapped up for the adult children as well. Senior move managers are valuable because they help take that emotion out.
6. Senior moving services can save time and money:
The average cost of a senior move manager is between $40 and $80 an hour, depending on the location and type of move. Often, managers will also offer package options based on client needs. Some families will hire a move manager months in advance to begin de-cluttering the seniors home room by room to space out their investment. Others will go all-in for a weekend.
Especially for geographically distant families, move managers can save considerable time and resources. Instead of adult children making multiple flights for organizing, moving, open houses, and estate sales, the coordinator can manage many of these tasks.
Technology is also a tool move managers use to support families while conserving resources. If you’re in a long-distance situation, a lot of the downsizing and selling can be done virtually. Move managers have that technology at their fingertips, from inventory to virtual organizing tools.
7. Senior relocation specialists know how to sell and donate:
A move manager has a streamlined process for the aging adult’s possessions. They may start by taking photos of the entire house and sharing them with family members to determine what should be kept. Once that’s decided, the planner will work to find the best homes for the senior’s remaining items. There are a lot of options, and the dumpster is the last resort.
- They’ll organize donations to charities like Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill and ensure that all donations are documented for tax-deduction purposes.
- Move managers may also have resources to sell unique treasures like antique books, Civil War memorabilia, or entire collections.
- If your family decides to have an estate sale, the move manager can connect you with an estate expert or sometimes conduct the sale themselves.
Move coordinators have connections; real estate agents, cleaning services, appraisers, staging experts. A large network for all the relocation needs.
Some senior living communities partner with local senior move managers. If you’re considering hiring one, ask prospective communities if they have any incentives to help lower costs.