by Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC
Moving from your home is rightfully included on the list of life’s most stressful events. It’s stressful even when you’re young, but overwhelmingly so when you’re older. Leaving the “ancestral home” where you may have lived for 30 or 40 years, where your children grew up, is tremendously difficult, fraught with anxiety and a combination of dread and grief. For some, it may be exciting to locate and create a new home but for many elders, the attendant changes in residence, social network, recreation patterns and sense of community can cause a deep feeling of disconnection.
Just the thought of cleaning out years of accumulated stuff is burdensome: outgrown toys, old clothes and other childhood artifacts, broken tools, boxes of tax returns and other out-of-date papers, old bicycles and chairs that someone meant to repair but didn’t, skis, ice skates, tennis racquets, sports equipment that hasn’t been touched in decades, odds and ends of the family’s history and overflowing collections of just plain old household junk, all piled high in attics and basements.
The seemingly endless list of decisions to be made can be paralyzing: what to take, what to leave, what to give away, what to throw away, what to sell . . . And sometimes there is troubling internecine warfare over which children get to take what family treasures and heirlooms.
Many adult children want to help with this huge move, but can’t because they either live far away or are involved full-time with their own families and careers. Enter the Senior Move Manager! Senior Move Managers are professionals who know how to calm the chaos, sort through everything in the house from cups to couches, and compassionately help the home owner make the necessary decisions. Senior Move Managers organize the move so that there is minimal conflict and confusion and maximum efficiency and comfort.
Three years ago, when I made the big move from the eight-room house I had lived in for 46 years to a lovely two-bedroom apartment, I sought the help of Senior Move Manager extraordinaire Pinny Randall, the Settler from Darien, Connecticut.
To begin, Pinny came in and toured the house with me from top to bottom. We discussed each item, from the furnishings to the books to the contents of the kitchen cupboards. With some guidance from Pinny, I decided what to take with me and what to sell, donate, put in the dumpster or give to my children. Each item was marked with a color-coded sticker so the packers and movers would know exactly where every item was headed.
When moving day finally came, I sat like a queen and watched the goings-on. Pinny’s team of smoothly operating women packed everything carefully — nothing broke! — and according to the color code. When they were finished, the brawny moving men came and took everything that was appropriately designated to my new digs.
Pinny’s team followed and began the unpacking and settling-in process. By the time they left at the end of the day,
- the furniture was in place
- the lamps were plugged in
- my bed was made
- my clothes were in the closet
- the dishes were in the cupboards
- the food was in the refrigerator
- my house was broom clean and ready for the new owners
In other words, I was home!
And a move that would have been enormously stressful, both physically and mentally, was accomplished with an absolute minimum of disruption to my life.
Pearl of wisdom: Move Managers make moving manageable! A Senior Move Manager can be costly, but for those who can afford it, they provide an expert service. To locate a Senior Move Manager near you, visit the National Association of Senior Move Managers at www.nasmm.org.
Joan Blumenfeld, MS, LPC, is a Geriatric Care Manager practicing in Fairfield County, CT. For information, visit www.joanblumenfeld.com. © Joan Blumenfeld 2013.