Moving at any stage of life can be exhausting, and it’s especially so for seniors leaving a family home after years spent out of the real estate market. And while only about 5 percent of people age 55 and up move to a new home, as the U.S. senior population explodes, an entire cottage industry of senior moving services is springing up around them. While specialized services can be pricier than your standard realtors and movers, they come with a comprehensive and compassionate approach that many seniors will appreciate.
Help Buying and Selling Your Home
Two new certifications have appeared in the real estate industry in recent years: Senior Real Estate Specialists and Certified Senior Housing Professionals. Both designations are for realtors trained in helping seniors navigate real estate decisions. These realtors can be used for buying, selling, renting, or even moving into a care facility. Realtors with SRES and CSHP credentials understand senior-specific funding options like reverse mortgages and utilizing retirement funds for home buying. They can also help seniors locate home inspectors, movers, and aging-in-place specialists.
Help Making the Big Move
When the houses have been bought and sold, there’s another group of senior specialists for the next stage of relocation: the move. Senior move managers, also known as senior move specialists, are professionals who market their organizational and planning services to aging adults who are relocating but can’t — or don’t care to — manage the workload on their own.
While many seniors would love to have their children help them move, it’s not always a possibility or even the best choice. Moving out of a home that’s been lived in for decades in a safe neighborhood is a physically and emotionally challenging task, and many people are well-served by a neutral third party who can help make decisions about what belongings to cull. Even if adult children are nearby and able to take time off work, they may have the same emotional attachments that make the move so challenging for their parents. A senior move manager can help keep the emotional aspects of a big move in check, streamlining decision making while also remaining sensitive to a senior’s desire to reminisce.
In addition to organizational services, a senior move manager can help decide what furnishings will fit in a new home, arrange for the donation and sale of unwanted items, supervise professional packers, and coordinate movers. However, their services don’t come cheap: Most senior move managers charge between $41 and $60 per hour, and you’ll still need to pay for the packers and moving trucks.
Despite the cost, hiring a senior move manager is well worth it for many seniors. The comprehensive services can shorten a months-long process into a couple of weeks, and take the burden of off seniors who don’t have the energy for a big move. You can find a senior move manager at the National Association of Senior Move Managers, a membership organization that promises experienced professionals who will move you “expertly, compassionately, and affordably.”
Whether a senior has chosen to move into a smaller home for retirement or ill health requires a sudden move into a care facility, professional help can be a godsend. The emotional, organizational, and physical demands of moving can be burdensome for older adults, and navigating the particulars of the real estate market can be more than a little confusing. By putting the reins in the hands of specially-trained professionals, seniors can take the stress out a late-life move and focus on enjoying their retirement.
Jim Vogel created ElderAction.org along with his wife after they became caregivers for their aging parents. The site is dedicated to promoting senior health and providing valuable information to seniors and their caregivers to help ensure our nation’s seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years.