The Challenges of a Senior Move
A senior move can be one of the most complicated, challenging and frustrating experiences of a lifetime, especially if the seniors are moving from a home they have lived in for decades . . . a home that has collected treasures, memories, books and paperwork for years.
What folks are facing
A couple years ago, some dear friends, Mary and Ben (not their real names), were preparing to move from their Bellevue, Washington home of 50 years into a smaller space. They were excited to make this transition, and looked forward to not having to deal with yard work and house repairs. The thought of living on a single level also appealed to Mary, who had undergone a recent knee replacement. What they were not prepared for was facing the amount of stuff they had collected over the years.
They were not hoarders and one afternoon, as Mary and I were beginning the process, she commented that they really didn’t have that much stuff to deal with. Every spring she had filled up several donation bags for charity and had always found plenty to donate to the church rummage sale. She had always willingly disposed of broken items. However, over the years they had managed to fill every closet, cupboard, and piece of furniture with treasures. Filing cabinets were full of travel brochures and memorabilia. Tax forms and receipts for the last 50 years were carefully filed in other cabinets. Drawers of the children’s treasures filled their now abandoned bedrooms.
This is a fairly typical senior move.
Boxes of very usable things reached the ceilings in each closet. Mary had always been a careful shopper, purchasing items only when they were on sale and she had a collection of lovely items that were intended as future gifts; well-cared for clothing filled the closets. It was great stuff,but the problem was that through the years she and Ben had accumulated way too much!
It took months for their committed family and friends to go through these possessions and help them decide what to take, donate, discard, and pass on to family. When the job was finished, they hosted a little party for the loyal workers. Ben thanked everyone, and got a bit teary when he concluded that he just didn’t know what they would have done without these wonderful people.
We all want to think that we can handle this sort of project. After all, it is “our stuff” to deal with. In reality, a senior move is usually more than they can handle alone. Mary and Ben were fortunate to have a large number of family and friends to help them sort, move and dispose of their things. Not everyone is so lucky. Families are scattered over the country these days, and friends are often already spread too thin.
That’s where Moving Forward comes in.
Call us to learn how we can help you and/or your family cope with a senior move anywhere in the Seattle metro area.
Katie Munoz, Owner and President of Moving Forward also holds great, free events that will give you great insights for organizing, decluttering, and completing a downsizing move. Check our Events page frequently to see when and where the next one will be hosted.
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(contributed by Colleen Squier)
**originally posted 2/8/12