2017-04-12 / Columns

Making a smooth move from home to retirement living

ENRICHING SENIOR LIVES
SUSAN LOVE
CEO/ Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service

Anyone who has ever moved knows what a stressful experience it can be. Moving is particularly challenging for seniors. When thinking about moving to a new home or retirement living community, questions inevitably arise. Can I sell my house? Is my home ready? Is now the right time? Can I afford it? How do I begin to downsize?

Making a move at any age is difficult, but packing up a home of 30, 40 or 50 years to start over again, in what is usually a much smaller living environment, can take a big emotional toll on seniors. For most seniors, the thought of selling a home and the process of moving and downsizing is truly overwhelming.

Recognizing that nearly 52% of all moves nationwide are for people over the age of 50—a percentage expected to increase substantially as the Baby Boomers continue to age—local businesses offering services designed to make moving and transitions easier for seniors are available all over the country, including right here in South Jersey.

For area seniors and their families, that is very good news. Senior moving and relocation companies recognize that they are moving people, not boxes. They help guide seniors and their families through a journey that is more about sorting through a lifetime’s worth of memories than just about possessions.

Senior moving companies specialize in assisting older adults and their families with the physical and emotional aspects of relocation. They are a great solution when a senior can’t or doesn’t want to downsize alone; when the sorting and moving process becomes too contentious; or when adult children live hundreds of miles away or are otherwise unavailable.

From helping to sort through generations of belongings to helping seniors decide what constitutes a treasure versus what is better for donation, senior moving companies understand the importance of keeping the move as simple and efficient as possible. These companies offer a variety of services designed to do just that. Examples of such services include arranging for consignment, donations and gifts; collaboration with movers; arranging for storage when necessary; assisting with space planning and setting up the new household; and ensuring the old house is clean and ready for sale or for a new owner.

Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, said when it comes to moving seniors, unexpected issues often arise—issues that in most cases can be solved by a senior moving organization. “When downsizing, clashes between couples or between parents and their adult children are quite common. It can get messy, so having an objective expert or organization involved can play a very useful role in helping to smooth the process.”

The National Association of REALTORS also offers a specialized designation for those REALTORS who are qualified to address the needs of homebuyers and sellers who are over the age of 50. Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES) designation means that these individuals have demonstrated the critical knowledge and expertise required to assist clients age 50+ through relocation transitions, refinancing and more.

At Lions Gate, we know from experience how helpful these organizations and individuals can be. Residents tell us all the time how helpful it was to have an organization come in and help them figure out not only what to get rid of—but how to get rid of it. Seniors and their families tell us that by hiring a company with people trained to help older adults through the emotional part of moving, they avoided “getting in their own way” of a successful transition.

If you or a senior you know is thinking about moving and could benefit from the services of a senior moving manager or senior relocation organization, it is important to thoroughly research your options. At Lions Gate, we suggest asking questions such as:

• How long have you been providing senior move management services?

• What are your professional credentials?

• Have your employees participated in any formal training programs?

• Are you fully insured for liability and workers’ compensation?

• How do you charge? (Fees should be provided in writing to the consumer or responsible party prior to providing services.)

• Will you provide a written contract?

• Can you provide references?

Lions Gate is always available as a resource to area seniors.

For more information, contact Edward Toy, director of sales and marketing, at (856) 782-1200.

slove@lionsgateccrc.org

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