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Everything You Need to Know About Downsizing

MSenior man and woman packing books into a moving boxBy: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com

Everyone knows that moving is no easy feat, and it only becomes more difficult as we age. For seniors looking to downsize, moving can feel overwhelming– even impossible.

On our SeniorLivingGuide.com podcast, we are joined by Janeen Salzgeber and Renée Brunelle Matthews, co-founders of Pathfinders Downsizing Solutions and NASSM (National Association of Senior Move SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast BannerManager) accredited, Senior Move Manager experts, who help provide a solution to the daunting task of downsizing.

When beginning the process of moving, seniors and their families may think: How are we going to do this alone?

The simple answer is: You don’t have to. That’s where Senior Move Managers come in!

Brunelle Matthews explained that Senior Move Managers offer a variety of options to someone moving from a larger home to a smaller home. These options include services ranging from finding seniors a new home, sifting through items, packing items, coordinating the move, designing the new home, and more.

Another question may quickly arise: Where do we even begin?

When working with Senior Care Managers, most will start with a complimentary consultation to get to know a little bit about the seniors, like who they are and what is important to them. What gives them a sense of home? What are they looking for in their new place? Do they have any items they definitely do or don’t want to keep? The key to this process is to set clear boundaries and expectations from the very beginning and remain open to changing or editing the plan as the moving process continues.

Armed with measurements, pictures, and a library containing floorplans of nearby senior communities, Senior Care Managers aim to make the moving process simple and less stressful. Both Managers also emphasized that it’s truly up to the client whether they want the Senior Care Manager to be in the driver or passenger’s seat. In other words, the client can ask Senior Care Managers to handle every detail, or just refer to them whenever they need some advice or guidance. Each move is tailored specifically to the client’s needs.

One of the most difficult aspects of moving is that a lifetime accumulates a lot of stuff, from valuables to an overstock of items. The benefit of working with a Senior Care Manager is that they are equipped with the training to recognize and safely store a valuable or find a place where the extra items can be more useful.

Before every move, Salzgeber and Brunelle Matthews give each client a “special box” where any personal items that seniors want to pack themselves can be placed; privacy and respect during this very personal process is top of mind for Senior Care Managers.

But when the valuables, personal items, and things for family members have been sorted through, where does all the extra stuff go?

Through their business, Salzgeber and Brunelle Matthews have been able to build a network of local, small nonprofits that are looking for donations to help causes such as veteran care, homelessness, and foster care. They describe touching stories of donating a dining room table to a foster home, golf balls to youth centers, etc., and how happy seniors feel when they know their items are being put to good use in a new home.

Salzgeber said one of the most important parts of downsizing, or “the secret sauce,” is to just love on the seniors because it will really help them get through the moving process.

But the most important step is to find an NASSM accredited, professional Senior Care Manager. When a Senior Care Manager is a member of this professional organization, it means they have accreditation, insurance, an ethics code, and other tools that take their caregiving to the next level.

The best way to find a NASSM accredited Senior Care Manager is to visit the National Association of Senior Move Manager’s website (www.nasmm.org) where users can find listings based on their zip code. To make the search even easier, Brunelle Matthews and Salzgeber recommend composing a list of questions to ask the Senior Care Manager, such as:

  • Can I select a mover?
  • Do they move medication?
  • Do they move valuables?
  • What happens to my items that I don’t use anymore?
  • Do you have a checklist?
  • Do you show floorplans?

Downsizing is a huge challenge in a senior’s life, but equipped with Senior Care Managers by their side, it can be a breeze!

For more senior and caregiver resource podcasts, visit SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcasts or find them most anywhere you enjoy music or podcasts such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Podchaser and more!

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