The word ‘moving’ is often followed by a sigh, especially when you are the one responsible to move someone other than yourself. No matter what the circumstances, moving is a monumental task. Although seemingly challenging to most people, when someone is required to relocate a family member an additional layer of issues arise.
Frequently, when I speak to family members who are planning to move a parent or a sibling, I am told that there are other siblings in the family who can’t pitch in. Many times a sibling can’t offer on-site help because the physical labor may be too much for them, or they have jobs that they can’t get leave from, or they simply don’t want to help and know that someone else will handle the job. The lion’s share of the work then falls on the shoulders of one or two siblings.
Thanks to increased health intervention, seniors are living longer lives. Parents can be well into their 90’s when they make a move, although later life moves tend to occur earlier in a person’s life. The adult child(ren) are often in their 60’s when their parents move and they themselves may not be able to taking on this daunting task.
For approximately 16 years, companies like Uncluttered Domain Inc., have been offering both organization and move management services. You might see initials after our names such as ‘cSMM’ or ‘PO’. My clients usually smile when I mention that there are established organizations in these fields that offer classes that lead to certificates. Although this isn’t rocket science and most anyone knows what it takes to make a move, it is the making it happen, the logistics, that becomes the challenge.
After my father died, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. My family wanted to let her ‘Age In Place’ (stay at home as she aged) for as long as possible, but after some time we recognized that this plan wasn’t going to work. When we realized that we had to move Mom from her home of 35 years into an assisted living, we had few resources to turn to. My friends and family had not yet reached the stage of relocating a senior and my family and I felt that we had no one to turn to for help.
Soon after I choose to make a career of helping seniors relocate, I learned of NASMM, the National Association of Senior Move Managers, a professional group that brings people of like mind together, from across the States and Canada, under one portal.
When I mention to my clients that I am a certified senior move manager, or ‘csmm’ they are pleasantly surprised. They are surprised that there is a true ‘industry’ in this field and that to be considered serious a senior move manager takes courses to increase their knowledge of the field. We are taught important lessons about ethics, safety, working with seniors, etc. There is another organization that offers specialized educational courses on how to work with people who have chronic challenging disorganization. It takes education to learn the proper methodology when working with people with ADD, physical and emotional challenges and people who suffer from hoarding issues. Although we are not therapists and we never diagnose, we work closely with health care professionals. We work closely with Psychiatrists and mental health organizations that don’t extend their services into the home. We are the ones that Home Care Agencies call when the need of the client goes beyond the scope of what they provide.
There are companies that will either specialize in professional organization of a residence and/or a commercial entity only, and other companies that specialize in just senior move management. There are a few companies like Uncluttered Domain Inc. that are educated and experienced in both professional organizing and all relocation, with a focus on senior move management. Although the ‘niche’ is senior move management, many of us service clients of all ages.
How can cSMM’s help you when you are moving yourself or a family member? We coordinate the entire move, from negotiating a good rate with a mover, to filling out the change of address forms, to document management, downsizing, packing and unpacking when settling a client into their new location. It’s not only what we know, but who we know that helps alleviate the stress of a move. Our vendors list is full of reliable people who provide additional help to the person moving.
When the adult child(ren) deal with the sorting, downsizing, distributing, donating and discarding of belongings, they are faced with a huge time investment, but also an emotional investment. Whether the relationship between the senior and adult child was a good one, trying to make decisions on behalf of someone else is most challenging. Each item may conjure up a memory, whether a happy one or sad one. When choosing what to keep or part with when working with your parents’ ‘treasures’ makes the task very arduous. These choices are made easier with the help of a senior move manager who possesses the tools to help you make choices that are comfortable for you.
Move managers are educated and trained to deal with the emotional upheaval that adult children and seniors face when moving. We are very sensitive to our senior clients and very much aware of the tension felt by both the adult child(ren) and the seniors involved. It is our role to alleviate the stress often associated with a move.