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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Bell

A Tale of Two Families - Senior Move

Other people tell me how stressful moves are and I smile – simply because I know that they don’t have to be. Sure change is scary and no one wants to regret their decision but honestly, the process itself doesn’t have to be stressful.

Many of my clients have, of course, moved in the past.  They may have experienced corporate relocations or they have done things themselves. Everyone was younger then and had the energy to put in full days to get it done.  Packing can take weeks, unpacking seems to take longer and lost or damaged items seemed to be an expected part of the experience … .

In these moves folks were often moving to bigger space too – not wondering what they were going to do with everything that wouldn’t fit. So what to do with all the stuff that has been accumulating for decades? In addition to their own belongings, many of my clients have become reluctant curators of generations of family memorabilia. It also seems their kids don’t have any desire to make room for it in their homes… .  What to do with it all?

I have a couple of examples to share with you in A Tale of Two Families.

I was referred to a couple who had been in their home for thirty-nine years.  I initially met with Ed and Jeanette and learned that they had two sons and one daughter.  The daughter was the only one of the three who lived locally.  She was a married professional and had two teenagers.  She was also becoming increasingly needed by Mom and Dad to assist with their emerging health care needs.  Laura was, to say the least, busy.

When I met with this family a spacious two bedroom suite had just come up in their retirement residence of choice and, for a number of reasons, things needed to happen fast.  

Ed and Jeanette had lived independently for years but now, in their eighties, did not have the energy to face a major move without assistance. The expectation was that their family would help and, in fairness, I heard later that one of the sons did come in from his home out of province to assist. It seemed though that the daughter, Laura, was expected to take on the lion’s share of this move.  

When she joined us about a half hour into our complimentary consultation, she was delighted to have a knowledgeable re-location specialist to help her family and frankly, she was also willing to assume the costs.  But her parents would have none of it.  According to Ed and Jeanette, their grandchildren should be recruited to help and that an inexpensive mover could be found.  After all, their new home was practically down the street. Why would they need a Senior Move Manager?

I normally would never know what happened in this situation but my client who made the referral knew their story. She shared with me later that the move had been a disaster. Jeanette had to be hospitalized in the process.  Any downsizing decisions had stopped and now the closets and one wall were filled with boxes, still unpacked, in the new retirement residence suite.  The budget mover was scheduled for 9:00 am but showed up at 3:30 in the afternoon. They charged more than quoted and damaged a display cabinet.  Two small lamps were never found.  The retirement residence was not happy as they had taken an elevator out of service for the afternoon slot that had been booked but the movers had shown up with their load during the dinner hour so everyone in the residence was inconvenienced.

This kind of fiasco puts fear in the hearts of anyone facing a move.  Our clients can and do avoid these issues.  

I am happy to share that the second family’s move went much smoother. I got the ball rolling with Bruce and Margaret’s transition early. We scheduled five decision-making sessions over a few weeks and everything felt manageable.

Bruce and Margaret did not want to burden their busy adult children.  They made their own choices about which items their family members were going to be able to use, what things to donate, and what items could be sold. Of course my clients’ favourites – those things that make them smile – would be going with them to their new condo.  I also assisted them with some space planning just to ensure that these things would not only fit but would accommodate their new lifestyle.

Then our team professionally packed Bruce and Margaret’s things in one day. I oversaw the move to their condo with a small drop at their son’s house and it was carried out by reputable, experienced and insured movers. The next day we unpacked every box and set things up. Their bed was made, towels were hanging in the bathrooms and Bruce and Margaret’s art was installed on the walls. Yes even the heavy mirror was hanging in its usual spot over their much loved credenza.   Everything felt like home right away.

Three days later our team organized items into lots for Bruce and Margaret’s on-line auction and everything was catalogued and photographed.  My clients meanwhile, already enjoying their new home, were entertaining another couple over cocktails.   Two weeks later I oversaw the auction pick-up for them at their house well before the closing date on their house and my clients received a cheque for the proceeds within a couple of weeks.

While I often work with junk removal specialists none were needed in this case as virtually everything went in the auction.  Smooth sailing from beginning to end without any safety concerns for Bruce and Margaret and with all reliable service providers vetted by me.

Now that you have read A Tale of Two Families, which kind of moving experience would you choose for yourself or your elderly parents?

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