As people age, they often become overly attached to their homes and even though there may be compelling reasons to find other living arrangements, these folks will go to extreme lengths to remain in their homes.
Notwithstanding the affection for their dwellings, there is oftentimes undeniable pressure for seniors to move out and into different living arrangements. Consider the following:
- The challenge of maintaining a yard and providing upkeep has become too great.
- There is a need for long term care that can't be handled in the home.
- The older person needs supervision that can't be provided in the home.
- The neighborhood has deteriorated and safety is a concern.
- There is a desire to be near children or grandchildren (70% of those 65+ live within 1 hour of a child).
- The home cannot accommodate disability needs.
- There is a need to avoid climbing stairs.
- Assets are tied up in the home and cash is needed through selling the property.
- Driving is no longer possible and available local transportation is not adequate.
- There is a desire for a warmer climate, a yearning for new vistas or a need for challenging new experiences.
Typically, the thought of giving up their residences, finding new accommodations, downsizing personal possessions and executing the move can seem overwhelming to many older people.
Perhaps another obstacle for many seniors, contemplating a move, is the lack of support or help from family members. In fact, some seniors have no children. For others, the children are living far away or are extremely busy with their jobs or their own families. And in some cases--because people are living so long--the children are elderly as well and find it difficult to help with the move.
This overwhelming pressure and stress relating to moving can often result in gridlock--a failure to make any decision at all.
Because many elderly people face such a daunting task with moving, a growing number of seniors' relocation specialists are stepping forward to provide assistance. These individuals or companies provide or arrange for the following services:
- advice and counseling,
- help with finding new accommodations,
- downsizing possessions through personal, caring assistance with discarding, donating or arranging estate sales,
- selling the existing property,
- organizing, arranging and scheduling the move,
- unpacking at the new location and removing boxes and other debris,
- setting up and arranging furniture.
And it isn't just the elderly person, contemplating a move, who is hiring these specialists. Active senior communities, independent living facilities, nursing homes and assisted living often retain a relocation specialist to provide advice and arrange services to help seniors with a move. Family members of seniors have also found it more convenient to hire a specialist to help their loved ones with relocation.
So who are these companies or individuals who provide seniors relocation and real estate services?
Seniors Real Estate Specialists
A Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is a real estate agent who specializes in helping the elderly transition to a new location. The specialist has been trained to recognize the special needs of seniors and understand the various living arrangements available to older people. Most of these specialists concentrate on selling the property and do not directly provide relocation services but they will arrange for companies or individuals or advisors who can provide these other services.
Senior Move Managers
A Senior Move Manager is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. These people often have a background in social work or case management and have experience working with the elderly. As such, they understand the needs and desires of seniors. Senior Move Managers can provide or arrange for any needed service such as counseling and advice, selling property, downsizing or relocating their clients.
Many independent moving companies recognize the special needs of seniors and they will provide moving services, storage and other specialized programs for this unique group of customers. These companies will often work together with senior advisors and relocation specialists.
Specialists with Developers or Senior Communities
Active senior community developers, senior residences and care facilities have recognized that providing relocation services will help their clients or residents transition more quickly into the new living arrangements. This not only relieves the stress on the seniors but also results in less cost to the providers who might be holding open properties or rooms for a long period of time due to the difficulty of selling the old residence and relocating.
Professional organizers--many of whom are members of the National Association of Professional Organizers--have found a unique niche in helping people reduce clutter in their homes or provide a more efficient office or living environment. Because of extensive experience in reducing personal possessions, a professional organizer can be particularly useful in helping to downsize in anticipation of a move.
Professional or Geriatric Care Managers
Most care managers help people, needing long term care, to find appropriate living arrangements. A natural outgrowth of finding new accommodations has resulted in many care managers specializing in relocation services as part of what they do.
Reprinted with permission from the National Care Planning Council.