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Moving managers help seniors make transitions

It's as painful as a root canal, but it lasts much longer. Moving: Just the word alone brings up images of a house in turmoil, stacks upon stacks of boxes and strangers coming in and out.

For seniors, it can be especially painful, uprooting from a place they have called home for decades. It's where they raised their children, where they spoiled their grandchildren and where they grew old together. It's home.

But as traumatic as it can be, moving often can't be avoided. Perhaps it's because a senior is no longer able to care for himself. Perhaps it's because she can no longer navigate the steps up to the second floor. Perhaps it's because one spouse has died and the big old house no longer makes sense.

Even without family around to help, however, the elderly don't have to move alone thanks to senior move managers. And in Dallas-Fort Worth, Senior Focused Relocations has been in business since 2005.

Heartstrings

Moving can be emotional. Senior move managers, as the name implies, help seniors move. But it's much more than just helping tote things from one place to another. It's about, as the Dallas Morning News explains, helping seniors downsize and de-clutter without parting with their memories. http://tinyurl.com/q7fp8t4

The options can be full-service moving, such as Senior Focused Relocations, which not only helps seniors move, it also sets up everything once the move is made. Other companies, such as nationwide Caring Transitions, provide as little or as much help as the senior wants. Prices range from the thousands of dollars on a full-move contract to $40 to $60 or more for hourly help.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers is a membership organization that provides training and certification and has more than 800 members, according to its website.http://tinyurl.com/qfn9g5c

For many seniors, moving means transitioning into a smaller place, whether into a senior community or assisted living facility. Either way, their place is going to be much smaller than what they're used to, and there's simply no way to take all their belongings. Senior move managers help their clients decide what is important to keep and what can be parted with.

Sort it all out

One thing most senior move managers do is help their clients separate their belongings with an eye to preserving what is most important. The move managers take the time to listen to their clients, get to know them and are, as one Senior Focused Relocations user said, "totally involved in what the client wants."

After having that heart-to-hear talk, making piles - literal or simply on paper - is a way to organize the senior's move and make it less traumatic.

One pile can be for irreplaceable items, whether family heirlooms, a treasured collection or simply family photos. Knowing the size of the new place is key in what to take and what to get rid of. Moving from a 2,500-square-foot house to a 900-square-foot apartment means much has to go.

The AARP suggests seniors keep their memories without the clutter, and it says making DVDs of photographs is a space-saving way to keep them without hauling boxes and boxes of pictures. Seniors also can take photos of a prized collection of curios that they won't have room for.http://tinyurl.com/motx9yl

Another pile can be items for the kids. But the AARP says seniors shouldn't assume their children will want what is left for them. Having a frank discussion about the items' emotional and monetary value is a necessary step.

The senior move manager can help with the next pile, which could be items to sell on Craigslist or eBay. Selling things piecemeal takes time, however, so it might be best to hold an estate sale, which the move manager can help arrange.

The final pile is for items to donate to Goodwill, The Salvation Army or the senior's church of choice.

Although moving can be a pain, moving managers can help seniors take control of their lives - and their moves.

If you have questions about this topic or related issues, contact our office for a consultation.

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