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How to Help a Senior Downsize

March 06, 2015

Downsizing from a multi-story home to a condo or apartment can be a challenging transition. After spending decades gathering memories, records, photos, and "stuff," downsizing by a significant amount is a daunting task.  

Seniors Moving Cardboard BoxesMarni Jameson of features an organization that can help, the National Association of Senior Move Managers. The Senior Move Managers Association can put you in contact with one of their 1,000 members  throughout North America. Lee Switz of Richmond, VA used the Association to find a loyal Move Manager Door to Door Solutions. "They were very, very helpful," she said "They helped us figure out what to get rid of and got rid of it. Our children wanted very little... You learn that no matter what you have, nobody wants it anymore." Mary Kay Buysse, executive director for the National Association of Senior Move Managers, has seen the association from 66 members in 2006.

Now with over 1,000 members, Buysse has extensive experience with Senior downsizing and offers these tips: 

-  Bring in an Outsider

Parents will always treat and see their children as their children. With the grown child managing the move, this relationship can become quickly strained. Having an unbiased third party can significantly reduce this strain.

-  It Gets Easier

First start with the home's easiest places. Whether this their basement, kid's bedrooms, or garage, downsizing will become easier and easier.

-  Attitude is Everything

Voluntary downsizing is of course less stressful than being forced. 

-  Find the Silver Lining

Buysee: " At first glance, moving into a smaller home or into assisted living may seem to seniors like their independence is shrinking, but it's actually expanding..... Going to the right level of care can expand independence and quality of life and extend life."

-  For A Fee

Senior move managers typically charge between $25 and $60 per hour. From a recent Association survey, 82 percent of managers spend between 17 and 33 hours per client.

-  Allow Time

For many it took decades to build a home. Just because they are moving does not mean you need to have everything gone within two weekends. "Give the process the dignity it deserves. But do keep moving".  

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