02 Mar RELOCATING SENIORS
The challenge of relocating as a senior can be daunting. The reasons for moving are numerous. We, as seniors considering a move, may feel the challenge of maintaining a yard and providing upkeep for the current home has become too great. Perhaps our beloved neighborhood has deteriorated, and safety is a concern. Then there is one of the ‘biggies,’ a desire to be near our children or grandchildren (70% of those now 65+ live within 1 hour of a child). Economics certainly plays a role as assets may be tied up in the home, and cash is needed through liquidation of the property. For many seniors, health is also a primary concern. What if there is a need for long term care that can’t be handled in the home or the current home cannot accommodate disability needs. Some of my favorite reasons for considering relocation is the desire for a warmer climate, a yearning for new vistas, or a need for challenging new experiences. If you, or a loved one, fit into any of the categories above – relocation may be, literally, ‘just what the doctors ordered.’
Because many seniors face such a daunting task with moving, a growing number of seniors’ relocation specialists are providing and arranging many moving services. These individuals and companies offer a wide range of assistance from simple advice and counseling to help with finding new accommodations. They can assist in the actual downsizing of possessions and selling the existing property, as well as provide practical help with organizing and scheduling the move, unpacking at the new location, even removing boxes and other packing materials.
According to the National Care Planning Council (a comprehensive resource for eldercare, senior services, and care planning), Seniors Real Estate Specialists include real estate agents who concentrate in helping seniors transition to a new location. Each specialist has been trained to recognize the unique needs of 65+ and understand the various living accommodations available.
Another option involves Senior Move Managers (SMM), who are members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. NASMM members are reviewed for insurance and are required to take courses that focus on core competencies in senior move management, including ethics & accountability, safety, understanding of the moving industry, plus understanding contracts and liability issues. SMM usually have a background in social work or senior case management and can assist older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation and/or “aging in place.” They can provide needed services from counseling and advice, selling property, downsizing, even the actual relocation of clients.
Many independent moving companies now recognize the distinctive needs of seniors and will provide moving services, storage, and other specialized programs for this unique group of customers.
Professional Organizers have found a unique niche in helping people reduce clutter in their homes or provide a more efficient living environment, especially for seniors. Because of extensive experience in reducing personal possessions, a professional organizer can be particularly useful in helping to downsize in anticipation of a move. Look to see if the professional organizer you are considering is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. This group has over 3,500 members worldwide.
Professional or Geriatric Care Managers (PGCM) are a natural outgrowth of the need to help people like seniors (needing long term care) to find appropriate living arrangements. Most PGCM specialize in relocation services as part of what they do.
Finally, senior community developers, senior residences, as well as care facilities have recognized that providing relocation services will help their clients or residents transition more quickly into the new living arrangements. Once you’ve decided what assistance you or your senior family member needs, if any, it is time to ‘plan your work and work your plan.