When Kathleen Key of Los Gatos, Ca. helped her parents move from Florida to California five years ago, she faced a daunting task. “They had lived in the same house since 1957,” says Key, now 59. Her father has since died, but Key’s mother recently broke her hip, has had mini strokes and is showing signs of dementia. She anticipates having to move her to an assisted living facility and this time she’s planning to hire a senior move manager.
If you’ll need to help your elderly parents move soon, bringing on this kind of a pro can be a huge time saver and stress reliever. “Think of a senior move manager like a project manager or a general contractor,” says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) in Hinsdale, Ill. “If you were putting an addition on your house, you would hire a general contractor to oversee the project. He might be a carpenter himself, but he’s the guy who gets and oversees the electrician, the plumber, and others.”
What a Senior Move Manager Can Do
While not all senior move managers are moving companies, they may recommend and then oversee them, plus help with the packing, unpacking and furnishing of your parents’ new home. Some companies employing senior move managers specialize in estate sales; others might be professional organizers. And these pros can handle everything from decluttering to taking junk to the trash to donating unwanted goods to your parents’ favorite charity. Senior move companies often work primarily on relocations within a four-hour radius. If a client is moving long distance, they will partner with another senior move manager on the other end.
It’s a common dynamic that independent adults want to push back when their children are trying to parent them.
Another benefit of using a senior move manager: You’ll get a buffer who’ll persuade your parents to do what’s necessary to downsize — the same advice they might not take from you.
A senior move manager isn’t just about the day of. Most start working with clients weeks, if not months, before the actual move.”
A Big Challenge: Accumulation of Stuff
One of the biggest challenges when moving people who have lived in the same place for 30, 40 or 50 years is the accumulation of stuff. They often don’t know where to start, and that’s where a senior move manager can step in, with step-by-step instructions.
Help After the Move
Senior move managers are also critical during the first few days after the move, “to make sure the client is completely set up and has everything as she wants it,” explains Buysse.
This can be especially important for a move to an assisted living facility. “People think that assisted living does this for you but they don’t, so the senior move manager will handle things like hanging drapes and hooking up cable,” says Buysse.
Senior move managers tend to take personal pride in that last part of the process. It’s important to get everything they need on a daily basis on the first or second shelf in their new home so they never need to get up on a step stool to reach something.
Colleen Trotter is a NASMM member and senior move manager. Visit our website at http://sunnysidests.com