Managing a Move for a Senior

A Move Manager Serves Many Roles:

  • Project manager. We make a personalized plan for each relocation that outlines the days, times, resources, and team members our clients will be working with. This ensures that the move will be seamless and completed on time and with great care. We also know all the local retirement communities and work well with their move-in coordinators so all the details are covered and there are no surprises.
  • Social worker. We know the best local resources from moving companies, estate sale professionals and charitable organizations for donations, to realtors, care managers, and elder law attorneys. It is our commitment to help our clients cope and smooth out any problems that come up during their transition.
  • Decorator. We create a scaled floorplan showing where our client’s furniture will work best while planning for safety and decorative appeal of each room. We carefully hang pictures, arrange your accessories, make your beds and more!
  • Compassionate confidant. We understand how difficult it is for our clients to let go of a lifetime of possessions. We never judge a client’s reasons for wanting to hold onto certain items or for the condition of their home. We also understand the concerns of adult children who may be living out of the area or are raising families of their own, and need to move quickly through this process so the house can sell as rapidly as possible.

Check out our services and then read these stories to see how a move manager could make your relocation much easier:

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Moving Into a Continuing Care Retirement Community?
Meet Harry and Sylvia.

Harry and Sylvia are a classic example of using a move manager to the best effect. Harry was retired from the military, so he and Sylvia were very organized people. They wanted to downsize from the family home and move into one of the many beautiful continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) in metro Charlotte. They had a son, Jake, and daughter-in-law in town, but Jake was in the military and was often away on assignment. Much as he wanted to, Jake was not going to be able to help.

Custom floorplan and downsizing
We met with Harry and Sylvia and brought the floorplan of their new, two-bedroom apartment with us. They were both quite engaged and eager to participate in the moving process. They appreciated the scale drawing and were able to quickly see what furniture was likely to fit and what was not. We provided resources they could contact regarding the sale or donation of the items that would not be moving. They were thrilled.

Sylvia was keen on marking what would move with them and what would not. We took a detailed inventory and took photographs of key belongings to send to Jake for input, along with the custom floorplan. Jake appreciated being included and kept in the loop.

Packing and moving
Sylvia began packing with a lot of energy. She thought she could do the lion’s share of it, especially in the kitchen and bedroom. We brought her the packing supplies that she would need, but it turned out she didn’t have as much energy as she thought. This happens often. She did not realize how fatiguing it is to assemble boxes, reach way up or way down, and lift and remove items from cupboards, wrap each item, and place items carefully in boxes. Not a problem! We build into our schedules time to check in with our clients to see how they are managing tasks. Sylvia confided that it was more time consuming than she thought it would be. Plus, all the decision making was exhausting. She asked if we could finish up what she could not get to. Absolutely! We were able to step in and complete the packing before the morning of the move, and everything still went according to plan.

Unpacking and settling in
After the movers had finished placing the furniture according to the floorplan and bringing the boxes in, Harry and Sylvia came by to check on things. Sylvia was so relieved she had asked us to unpack for her, because she was absolutely exhausted. She was happy to sit in a comfy chair and talk to us while we worked. After everything was unpacked and put away, we took pictures of Sylvia and Harry sitting in their beautiful living room, smiling from ear to ear, and texted it to Jake.

Liquidation, home cleanout, and cleaning
The next day we worked at the house they had moved from. Jake’s wife came over to pick up the mementos we boxed up for them. We supervised when the auctioneer picked up the items that were to go for sale, and a local charity picked up the items that were to be donated. Harry came by with the realtor we had recommended just as we were clearing out the last of the belongings and beginning our cleaning service (windows, floors, kitchen counters, bathrooms, garage, etc.). The realtor could see that we would be done by late afternoon, so she was confident she could get the house staged and on the market in a few days.

Harry proclaimed the move “top notch” and was very appreciative that we had provided the stress-free, on-time move they had hoped for. Sylvia was relieved we were able to be flexible when her energy gave out. And she was delighted that things were set up so completely that she could have Jake and her daughter-in-law over for dinner that weekend. She and Harry were quickly on their way to enjoying life in their new community.

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Downsizing Because You Love to Travel?
Meet Richard and Brenda.

Some people call us for a “soup-to-nuts” relocation—handling everything, that is. Others prefer to do most of it themselves. Richard and Brenda took the latter approach. They were newly retired and wanted to shed the maintenance of a single-family home in favor of a small apartment, since they had plans for extensive traveling in the coming years.

Downsizing assistance
Brenda loved decorating and had a good eye for space planning. She was quickly able to determine what would work in the apartment and what she wanted to let go. All they asked of us in this phase was help with specialized packing (kitchen, artwork, clothing). Richard wanted referrals to a good moving company and resources for selling and hauling items.

Liquidation and home cleanout
They handled the move and unpacking themselves. They were coming close to a planned trip to Italy, so they asked us to coordinate with the estate sale professionals and the haulers. Brenda and Richard decided to move up their trip to Italy because they trusted our abilities to get the job done. They were out of the country when we handled the dispersal of their remaining items! Upon their return six weeks later, we returned their house key, and they were able to meet with the realtor and take it from there.

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Ready to Move Away from Charlotte to be Close to Family?
Meet Sheila.

Sheila lived alone in a single-family home in Charlotte. It was simply becoming too much for her to maintain. Her youngest daughter, a realtor named Beth, lived nearby. But Sheila had determined it would be better to move to Santa Rosa, California, where her older daughter, Margaret, lived. Sheila had a better rapport with Margaret, and Margaret was a nurse, which would be helpful as Sheila aged. There was an assisted living community near Margaret’s home that would make it easy for Margaret to help her mother as needed.

It was Beth who first called us very frustrated as she had tried to help her mother with downsizing, but it had not gone well.

Custom floorplan
We contacted the move-in coordinator at the assisted living community in California and secured a scale floorplan for Sheila’s apartment. We brought that with us to our first visit with Sheila and could see why Beth had been frustrated.

Downsizing assistance
Sheila had COPD that required the use of inhalers and periodic use of oxygen when she needed it. She tired easily. She did not drive anymore, so she ordered items (lots of them) and had them shipped to her. Opening and then breaking down boxes and getting them out to the trash was just too tiring, given her condition. Over time her house had become cramped with belongings and boxes, and getting from one room to the next had become a fall hazard.

Like most older adults, Sheila was attached to her possessions. They held sentimental meaning for her that Beth found difficult to understand. Beth just wanted Sheila to get rid of things that wouldn’t fit in the new apartment. She didn’t understand that even when Sheila agreed to let go of her belongings, there were some she wanted to be sure went to a good home where they would be appreciated. (Her salt and pepper shaker collection, for instance, wasn’t worth anything. But she also didn’t want it dumped in the trash. We were able to donate the collection to a charity that helped refugees who had nothing. Sheila was thrilled.)

Sheila found it easier to work with us to downsize than with her daughter. And Beth, too, was much relieved. We were able to do the heavy lifting and get the trash out and go up to the attic to pull down long-forgotten items. And as with the salt and pepper shakers, we were able to get special belongings rehomed.

Packing and shipping
With Sheila’s COPD, we definitely did all the packing. In fact, she left for Margaret’s three days before the movers arrived. We were able to carefully pack and label everything and oversee the movers as they loaded her items onto the truck.

One very tender moment was when we arranged with the airlines to have Sheila’s kitty travel with her. Sheila had been quite distressed about how to get Missie to California. We were able to get the appropriate pet carrier and tickets for the same flight. Sheila was overjoyed!

During our initial consultation, we recommended that Sheila use a senior move manager to oversee and unpack everything when the truck arrived in California. She agreed, and we arranged for Margaret and Shelia to work with a move manager in Santa Rosa. We documented and tagged Sheila’s belongings and sent an inventory that matched her possessions with the custom floorplan. Our Santa Rosa move management colleague connected with the move-in coordinator at the assisted living community and arranged the furnishings as planned. Margaret couldn’t believe how easy it was having professionals at both ends to help them. When she and her mother arrived to see her new apartment, Margaret told us she cried tears of relief, knowing that her mother and her beloved kitty would be happy and well cared for now.

Liquidation and house cleanout
We arranged for all the possessions Sheila didn’t take to be disbursed as planned. Beth was very grateful that we were able to take on the downsizing, packing, and moving so she and her mom were spared that tension. Their goodbye had been very sweet, and Beth was happy to contribute in the area in which she shined, getting the house ready for sale.

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Moving to Charlotte to be Close to Family?
Meet Janet.

Janet had lived in Cincinnati all her life but wanted to move to Charlotte to be closer to her daughter, Barbara. She figured it was better to move while she was still healthy and could get out and do things. This past month Janet made a visit to Charlotte, and she and her daughter toured several independent-living communities. She found one she really liked that had a pool, dog park, and several dining areas on site. She promptly went back home to sell her house and pack up her things.

Custom floorplan
We secured the 1,600-square-foot villa plan that Janet had selected in Charlotte. We then made an appointment with the move-in coordinator to gain access to Janet’s villa and take photos and measurements. Afterwards, Janet emailed us pictures and measurements of her furniture so we could create her custom floorplan. It helped her to have the scaled layout of her furniture so she could see what was likely to fit and what wouldn’t. We could also show her with great detail how each walk-in closet was laid out and how many wardrobe boxes could be packed and unpacked into each closet.

This process revealed that Janet was going to need two counter-height barstools and a dining set smaller than the one she had in Cincinnati. She relied on our interior decorating skills and had us send her photos of our suggestions based on what would coordinate with her other furniture and also fit in the space—and in her budget! She loved our suggestions and was easily able to order items online and have them delivered. When they arrived, we had them assembled and ready for her. No problem.

When the truck arrived from Ohio, we met the movers at her villa and showed them exactly where the furniture needed to be placed. The new furniture was incorporated, the artwork hung, and accessories placed. It all came together really nicely. The independent living community had smart-home features, so we contracted with an IT company to not only get her TV and computer hooked up to the Internet, but also set up a smart doorbell and connect Alexa to the lights, music, and window shades.

As we said our goodbyes to Janet, she told us that she had actually been a little scared to be making this move on her own, but that our support gave her a lot of confidence and helped her view it as an adventure she actually enjoyed. We made moving fun for Janet!

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Moving Because of a Huge Life Transition?
Meet Dan.

Dan’s wife had died four months before. When we met him, he was grieving the loss and was very lonely. They had been married for 55 years! His son, Bob, worked in Charlotte and recently received a promotion that would take him to Raleigh. Bob was concerned about his father’s welfare and leaving him behind, so he hired an Aging Life Care™ Manager to shed some light on their situation.

The care manager thought it would be a good idea for Bob’s dad to move to Raleigh too. She suggested she find an assisted living community for Dan to move to that would provide social activities, meals, and more daily support and structure to his days. The care manager also suggested they contact us to manage his father’s move while Bob handled his own affairs. Bob was thrilled when his dad agreed to this arrangement!

Custom floorplan and downsizing
Once the Raleigh assisted living community was chosen, we contacted the move-in coordinator to let them know we were overseeing the move and to get a floorplan of Dan’s one-bedroom-with-den apartment.

Because Dan’s wife had always handled household affairs, he really wasn’t sure what he would need to take. Understanding the ways that assisted living communities are different from living in a single-family home, we were able to advise him about the things he could leave behind—for instance, most of the kitchen gadgetry, as well as lawn and gardening tools.

Packing and moving
We took an inventory and measurements of Dan’s belongings and created a detailed floorplan so the move manager Dan contracted with in Raleigh could meet the movers and know where everything needed to be placed in the apartment. Bob had twin sons in their twenties who lived in Charlotte, so Dan made a deal to pay them to do the hauling and cleanout.

We called Bob a month later just to see how everyone was doing. Dan was settling in nicely to his new environment. He had already made some friends and was able to get together regularly with Bob for church and Sunday dinners. Bob told us he actually thought living in Raleigh was helping Dan get over the loss of Bob’s mom since he wasn’t always reminded of her absence in this new setting.

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Moving for Health Reasons?
Meet Sam.

Ruth called us because her brother, Sam, had fallen and broken his hip. He had had health problems before, but they were mild. He lived across town, and she was able to see him every week or so to be sure he was okay. Now he had significant challenges getting around and could no longer live alone. She needed him to move closer to her, so they found a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) nearby that recommended us to help manage the move.

Downsizing and custom floorplan
Sam was a lifelong bachelor and lived in a relatively small home to begin with, so he did not need a lot of paring down of his household goods. The biggest issue for Sam was his garage full of tools and his ’39 Chevy coup, “Betty,” that he loved to work on. This was his baby, and much of his social life revolved around car shows and his hotrod buddies.

Sam was very unhappy about this move. As we talked, it became clear that one of the bigger issues was that he could no longer drive or go out to the garage and admire Betty. Although he had understood the need for the CCRC and agreed with the move, he was clearly having trouble coming to terms with what he was going to have to give up because of his mobility challenges.

We contacted several car clubs in our area and found a retired car enthusiast who was very interested in the car. We explained Sam’s situation. We connected the two, and when the buyer met with Sam, he not only offered to buy the Chevy, but offered to drive Betty over to the CCRC whenever Sam wanted to kick the tires and take a spin. That was a big “Yay!” for everyone.

For all his tools and lawn and garden equipment in the shed, we recommended an auctioneer. Outdoor equipment in working order and garden tools always sell well at auctions.

Packing, moving, unpacking
Sam preferred to supervise as we packed everything up, including the cataloging of the tools for the auctioneer. This worked fine for us. We are happy to have clients participate in whatever way helps them feel better about the move.

Liquidation and home cleanout
We connected with the auctioneer to let Sam know when the auction of his items would take place. The auctioneer sent him an itemized list of what sold, and Sam received a check in the mail soon after. Items that weren’t sold were donated. After everything was out, we had haulers come in to take away the rest. Sam’s nephew was a realtor and offered to provide the cleaning, staging, and listing of the house for free, so that was all taken care of by the family.

A few months later a member of our team went to an antique car show with her family. She ran into Sam there, with a group of residents from his CCRC. They were gathered around Betty as she was displayed by the new owner. Dan beamed with pride and chuckled as he told everyone that Betty was his first! Sam said he was very happy in his new situation and greatly enjoyed the car club he had started at the community.

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