By Mary Holmes
Professional Move Management is a relatively new industry in the US. It started in the late 1990’s by a few caring people in various parts of the country that saw that seniors needed assistance transitioning from their life-long homes into a downsized living situation, e.g. a condominium, retirement community, or assisted living. After 30, 40, or 50 years in one home, possessions and memories tend to accumulate and it is an overwhelming process to sort through these possessions and determine the best way to disperse of those items that can’t be taken to the new home. Additionally, the physicality of moving (packing and unpacking) is often quite challenging, if not impossible, for a senior to accomplish. This grass roots effort eventually did organize itself in 2002, when the National Association of Senior Move Mangers was founded. Today this organization has 900 members all around the world, including Integrated Move Management. Here is how a Professional Move Manager can help:
The Changing Family
Back in the “good ole days”, families and their children tended to live within close proximity of one another. It was common for someone to be born, attend school, raise kids, retire and pass away all in one state. This is no longer the case. Our society is very mobile and quite often children do not live near their parents. And even if they do, they are often part of a two working parent household, have their own children, and many other obligations. Also, since seniors are living longer, by the time they are ready to make a downsizing transition, their children may be seniors themselves. Given all these factors, the nuclear family might not be available to help aging parents with the daunting and physical task of moving. One of our recent clients had six children, not one of which lives in the state of Maine.
Transitioning to a smaller home can be a very emotional experience for seniors and their families. Often, a move to a retirement community occurs after a serious illness is diagnosed or a spouse has passed away. Also, it can be difficult for a senior to “let go” of all the wonderful memories that live in their cherished possessions. As a neutral third party, a Professional Move Manager can be a valuable resource to help with strategies that can keep the stressful, but necessary, process on track. For example, we often discuss with seniors what they are passionate about, which will help us choose a charity that can benefit from the items they can’t take with them. Good feelings may come from helping those in need.
Not Just Packing Boxes
A senior downsizing is much more than packing boxes. The process can be quite complex and have many moving parts and pieces. Developing a timeline and an overall strategy to meet deadlines is a first and important step. From planning what furniture and other possessions will fit in the new space and are appropriate to bring, to dispersing the rest of the items via gifting, sales, and donations, to taking care of recycling and trash, to packing and contacting a mover, to unpacking and settling in to a new home – having assistance from a professional with proven processes and strategies can make a positive difference. Here is a complete list of services we offer to make the process less overwhelming: Services
Getting Started . . . The Hardest Part
It is a daunting undertaking to sort through a household full of items that have been collected over so many years. It is no wonder that it is commonplace to put the process off until the last possible minute. With the help of a Professional Move Manager breaking the project down into manageable steps, starting will not be as hard. Quite often, once the project is underway and some progress is made, good feelings will come and move the senior forward to continue. Starting the process early is a key component to successful completion and stress minimization. Even if a move isn’t planned until a year or two from now, it is not too early to begin sorting and organizing in preparation for downsizing.
Trained, Insured, Experienced and Ethical
As mentioned above, the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) was founded in 2002 to create standards in the industry of Professional Move Management. To become a member of this organization, you must complete training coursework on senior downsizing and moving, be fully bonded and insured, sign and follow a strict code of ethics, and provide reference as proof of experience with transitioning seniors. Although many individuals and companies offer services to assist seniors, hiring a NASMM member insures that you will get a true professional who is working in the best interest of their clients.