It’s More Than Just a Move – Part II

In Part I, Alison Starkey of Take Care Move Assistance, Lake Oswego, Oregon, described several reasons why senior adults downsize, including the challenges that adult children face in helping with “the move.”  The end of the article then described what may be a new profession to many of us – the Senior Move Manager.  Please read further about this special group of professionals who are responding to the demand of senior transitioning.  My appreciation goes to Alison for allowing me to post the remainder of her presentation.

Questions to ask when hiring a Senior Move Manager:

  • Formally trained?
  • Do you organize, sort and downsize?
  • Are you fully insured for liability; worker’s compensation?  Are you bonded?  Note:  Currently there is no regulated oversight for people who perform Senior Move Management services.  It’s up to the consumer to do their own due diligence to determine their exposure to liability.
  • How long have you been in this business?
  • Do you provide customized floor plans?
  • Do you help with beneficial disposal of items through estates sate, charity, etc.?
  • What about waste management and disposal?
  • Do you work with State licensed “senior-friendly” movers?
  • Do you unpack and set up the new home?
  • Do you take away all boxes and packing material?
  • Can you help packing and shipping items to family members/friends?
  • Current references?
  • Do you charge by the hour or project?
  • Do you provide a written contract?

The Senior Move Manager’s “Moving Plan:”

  • Works with the senior and/or family members to set up a schedule, making sure to achieve a successful move at the right pace
  • Helps design a custom floor plan for the new place, deciding what furniture will fit
  • Helps decide what to pack, what to downsize; provides the packing materials
  • Helps coordinate the services of a State licensed mover
  • Helps coordinates out of state “moves.”  There are contacts available nationwide through the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)
  • Unpacks and sets up the new home (which usually takes a day)
  • Provides communication with distant caregivers and family (e.g., emails, photos of progress)

How much does this cost?

  • In the Portland, Oregon area costs range from $40 – $75 per hour and most times this includes packing material, boxes, etc.
  • Find out if the charge begins when they leave their office, or arrive at your door.
  • In many cases, Senior Move Managers provide initial consultations free of charge.
  • Consultations typically take 45-60 minutes to perform, and usually includes an estimate of the cost to provide the services requested.

Tips to downsize and “de-stress” the move!   

  1. Communicate, communicate.  (Did I say communicate?)
  2. Don’t wait to get started.  Do a little when you have the time.
  3. Treat the one who is downsizing with respect and keep them engaged in process.
  4. Not everyone can work at the same pace.  As we age, we lose stamina.
  5. Designate a project manager.
  6. Keep a centralized notebook of contacts, vendors, contractors, etc.
  7. Before moving anything, take photos of rooms, furniture, important items.
  8. Determine a fair way to divide items not going to the new home.
  9. Make a floor plan of the new space.  What items are the most important to take?
  10. Clearly identify items that go to the new home.  (Very helpful on move day)
  11. Avoid having to use storage services, as this adds additional costs.
  12. Ask for references for any services you hire.
  13. If there’s a lot of paper to shred – consider hiring an outside service.
  14. Definitely meet with someone who specializes in estate sales
  15. Did we say have a sense of humor?

As you read in #14 above, this ties in perfectly with Part III which will focus on hiring an Estate Sale Company.   As previously stated in Part I, Sandra Millius of Millius Estate Services, will provide information about topics such as:  services provided by an Estate Sales Company, tips for selecting an Estate Sales Professional; what an estate sales company can do for you.   So please tune in again….. for Part III, the final article in this series.

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else”  Booker T. Washington