Senior Downsizing – Part 3 of 3


Article by Alison Starkey, Assistant Manager, Take Care Move Assistance, Lake Oswego, Oregon Website:  Email: [email protected]  (Used with permission)

I encourage you to get to know more about Senior Move Managers (SMM’s) and meet with one in your area.  You may have decided to take care of the downsizing process on your own, but there may be things you never thought about that come out of your initial consultation (usually free) and you may discover that senior downsizing and moving can be a lot more involved than it appears on the surface.

A valuable insight SMM’s can bring is in the area of sorting out the household goods that will go to the new home versus the goods that will need to be left behind to be given to family, donated or sold. Sorting through a lifetime of possessions can be a daunting task and through experience, SMM’s have learned how to negotiate around the pitfalls that cause problems and delays for their elderly clients. As you may have already discovered there is a wide range of emotions involved when going through this process and it might be helpful to have an experienced professional who knows how to keep the momentum going in the right direction.

Another area where you may want to consider incorporating some aspects of a professional is in packing up of items for the new residence, as family members are often slower than a professional and experienced packer.  This is especially the case if the senior and/or the adult children have mobility issues; or there is limited time on the part of the “volunteer” helpers.

Here’s some useful information from Senior Move Manager Bill Smith, Owner of “Take Care Move Assistance:”   “One of the keys to a successful move is to have a well thought out floor plan. It gets you to think about how you will live in your new space and what furniture is truly important to have around you.  Also, it will speed up the ‘move in’ process for the movers, saving time and money. Floor planning empowers the senior in the decision making process allowing them to assert their preferences and visualize the importance of making the right furniture choices for their new living space.”  As you can imagine it can be very frustrating to discover too late that you have taken too much – or even too little; regrets can be minimized with a little planning.

Helping a senior downsize their home always takes longer than people anticipate.  It is helpful for the family to be involved, but consider the benefit of involving a professional outsider that brings a third party perspective and will enable the family to have a more relaxing time together.  This not only can save you money in the long run but also can provide more quality time with your family and parents.

One final recommendation, as these are interesting times and for peace of mind, as well as safe keeping of your assets, you want to be sure you work with people that are bonded and insured; be it Senior Move Managers, movers, packers, Estate Sale Professionals, contractors, etc.  Don’t hesitate to ask for proof of insurance and if possible, get referrals and call them!

FYI:  National Association of Senior Move Managers:

“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?” Sidney J. Harris