It is not uncommon for those downsizing to feel a bit depressed during the process. Downsizing by definition means becoming “less” in terms of space and objects which for some is as difficult as the aging process itself.

Possessions are reminders of our past and shore up our feeling of continuity. They help us maintain a sense of connection with our lives and those who have gone before us. Having someone to tell the story of why an object is important, why it should be taken to a new home or gifted to a family member can help someone downsizing feel they and their lives have mattered. Often, the best person to help with downsizing is not a family member. For example, parents and their adult children often see the same objects quite differently. The parent might say, “That’s the Christmas stocking I made for you when you were 4.” The adult child says “Mom, you don’t need that anymore.” To the parent, the cherished object is an identification with other times while the child sees “stuff” that needs to be discarded. Downsizing with an adult child can also flip the basic parent/child relationship leading to a process that can become contentious. For senior couples, downsizing can lead to assigning blame for “excess stuff.” The need for a “life review” while sorting through objects can trigger strong emotions in all family members leading to frustration and stress for everyone involved. That’s why having an unrelated, outside party to help with downsizing can be so beneficial for those downsizing and their families. A senior move specialist understands possessions have meaning and can listen compassionately to “life reviews” during the downsizing process. At the same time, they have the objectivity to ensure the transition is completed as a stress-free manneras possible for everyone.

Senior Move Managers assist families throughout the downsizing and moving process. From developing an overall plan to sorting/dispersing possessions to setting up the new living space, Senior Move Managers have the knowledge and expertise to handle the transition compassionately and efficiently. They understand moving an aging adult involves much more than just packing boxes—it’s relocating a life. A Senior Move Manager accredited by the National Association of Senior Move Managers has received specialized, formal training and is required to carry liability insurance.

Most offer a menu of services to choose from including:

•Developing a detailed action plan and timetable

•Creating a floor plan for the new home

•Organizing and sorting

•Dispersing unwanted items through consignment, donation or estate sale

•Identifying and hiring needed services such as cleaning, waste removal, etc.

• Interviewing, scheduling and overseeing movers

•Managing day-of move

•Unpacking and setting up the new home

When the time comes to downsize and move, hire a Senior Move Manager to reduce the stress for everyone involved.

The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek, is a Certified Senior Move Manager. Her company has been providing downsizing, day-of-move and estate sale services for Maryland seniors and their families for over a decade.

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