As se­niors down­size, pack­ing up fam­ily home can be daunt­ing

Daily Press (Sunday) - - Success - By Mary Kane

Paul Me­sard faced a tough sit­u­a­tion last spring when his 90-year-old cousin, Sid­ney, needed to move from her New Jer­sey home into a nearby in­de­pen­dent-liv­ing com­mu­nity.

Me­sard, 62, lives in Den­ver, and tak­ing off enough time to pack up a house that Sid­ney had lived in for 35 years and re­lo­cate her seemed nearly im­pos­si­ble.

But Me­sard stum­bled onto a so­lu­tion: Hire a se­nior move man­ager, a pro­fes­sional who spe­cial­izes in help­ing older adults move from their homes and re­set­tle else­where. A move man­ager and her team guided Sid­ney through ev­ery room, closet and drawer, quizzing her gen­tly on what to keep or give away. Af­ter the move, they un­packed and set up her new apart­ment. The en­tire process took just two days. “They were re­ally fo­cused, so it wasn’t a trip down mem­ory lane,” Me­sard says. “You’re pay­ing them by the hour, so it’s just about busi­ness.”

Se­niors mov­ing for the first time in decades can be over­whelmed by the task of emp­ty­ing out an at­tic or base­ment full of boxes. Some se­niors also face a ma­jor liv­ing tran­si­tion, of­ten into a smaller apart­ment in a care fa­cil­ity or to an adult child’s house in an­other part of the coun­try.

Se­nior move man­agers, some of whom have so­cial work back­grounds or spe­cial train­ing, ad­dress the emo­tional mine­fields of leav­ing a fam­ily home. Some serve as neu­tral third par­ties divvy­ing up fam­ily pos­ses­sions. Oth­ers ac­knowl­edge the pain of say­ing good­bye to trea­sured items.

Clients al­ways have fi­nal say, but some man­agers find ways to help ease the


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