This month is Moving Month and I wanted to have a conversation with a colleauge of mine who does home and office moves. Debbie Keller does a lot of downsizing of seniors in addition to helping people move and relocate. I wanted to get her expert opinion and tips about downsizing seniors so I asked her a series of questions about downsizing. If you are thinking of downsizing after retirement or are a family member who has noticed their parents need a smaller home the insight that Debbie shares will be of great use to you. Below is our conversation.
A Conversation About Downsizing Seniors
Samantha Pointer (Samantha): What are the top things to consider when downsizing seniors?
Debbie Keller (Debbie):
Health and ability of the senior to guide the process.
Attachment to present household’s contents & the memories attached to the home.
Size of new home.
Disposition/Distribution of contents that will not be moved to new home.
Samantha: How do you know its time to downsize as a senior? For example, what are the usual signs that people have when they call you.
Driving is becoming a problem.
Becoming isolated in present home.
Declining health of one or both if married.
Samantha: What are the biggest obstacles people run into when downsizing seniors?
Letting go of things.
Family wanting to control when client is capable of guiding the process.
Samantha: What should seniors and/or their caretakers look for when hiring a professional to downsize them?
Someone who will really listen to and validate the senior’s concerns and wishes.
Someone they feel comfortable with and with good communication skills.
Someone who is full service and can resource and guide the process from beginning to end.
Someone flexible who can tailor the services to meet the client’s needs.
Someone with good references.
Samantha: What would be your top 5 most important things to know when downsizing seniors?
Family dynamics do not always provide support to process or to the senior.
Pace of the process needs to adjust to accommodate their needs.
There will be sticker shock. Many have not moved in years.
Patience, listening and good communication is important.
They would love to keep everything; their first pass at purging will need to be revisited. Patience!
Samantha: Is there anything else you want to add or give advice about?
I find working with seniors to be such a pleasure and very rewarding. They are so grateful for the assistance. When I leave I feel like I have been adopted into the family.
Samantha: Thank you Debbie for sharing your insight and years of experience in this area.