Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, February 9, 2020
In our youth, moving is simply a matter of lining up a few friends, a pickup truck and trailer, and praying the weather will hold while we load and unload our things over the weekend. Hauling sofas up two flights of stairs, maneuvering appliances through tight doorways, and reorganizing the belongings of a mere 20-something years is fairly straightforward. In fact, friends helping with our move were happy with pizza and beer as remuneration for the time and effort.
Fast forward a few decades, and instead of just moving, we are looking at what it means to right-size. For many of us rightsizing could mean aging in place in our current home and letting go of belongings that no longer serve us so that adult children aren’t unnecessarily burdened should something happen to us. For others this could be moving from a two-story home to a single level home of similar size so we no longer have the burden of stairs. Or perhaps we have a home with a large yard that we no longer have the energy or desire to maintain.
Rightsizing for some is choosing simplicity, convenience and social opportunities that come with being part of a senior living community. The joy of no longer having to cook and instead having wonderful meals provided. No longer having to deal with the repairs and maintenance that go along with owning a home. And perhaps most importantly, being in an environment that fosters social interaction with others that leads to a healthier and more fulfilling life.
If a move is part of the rightsizing plan, this once simple task becomes a monumental chore. Generations worth of belongings have been collected and tucked away in the closets, cupboards, attics, and garages. Memories are everywhere, along with the remnants of a career having spanned some forty-plus years. Even the idea of moving is exhausting.
This is the reality many seniors face today. The National Association of REALTORS® reports that one in four home sales involves someone over 65. Challenges associated with late-life moves have become so commonplace that an entire industry has emerged around it. The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is made up of people and organizations committed to lessening the burden of late-life moves.
“Senior move management isn’t new, but few people are familiar with it,” said Annette Junell, M.S., CSHP, owner of Junell Moves Made Easy, a Reno based move management company. “We integrated move management services into our real estate practice in the mid 2000’s when we began specializing in retirement community and rightsizing moves. The industry has grown over the years because there is such a need.”
“Move management support made my life so much easier. You did all sorts of things that I suppose I could’ve done, but it would have been an awful ordeal for me to have done it. You basically took a humongous burden off my back and I more than appreciate that,” said Robert Culbertson age 89.
With families no longer living nearby, taking time away from busy lives becomes much more difficult. Even those living locally struggle to commit the number of hours necessary to coordinate and manage all the details. Historically this task would have been the responsibility of daughters, but with more women having careers, fewer are able to get away during the work week.
“Many of our clients are searching for support in moving a parent or other relative. They want to help, but they aren’t sure how to juggle the complexity of the rightsizing, relocation, and liquidation process,” said Jon Pettengill, a senior move manager with Junell Moves Made Easy. “Trying to do it from afar is even more difficult.”
Not all seniors want their children involved in helping them move. For many, the idea of asking for help undermines their sense of independence and creates feelings of vulnerability and neediness.
“Our clients are typically very capable of making decisions and managing their households. Where they run into challenges is the physical labor of move-related tasks. They just aren’t as strong and may not have the energy they did before,” added Jon Pettengill,
Downsizing Expert with Junell Moves Made Easy. “We do the heavy lifting so they can get moved and begin enjoying their new home without a lingering injury or illness,” adds Pettengill.
Senior move management organizations each have unique areas of expertise. Some companies employ organizers and decorators as part of their team, while others may include estate liquidation or real estate brokerage in their service offering. Costs vary widely as well and depend upon the size, location, and complexity of the move.
“It’s hard to put a dollar value on the services associated with move management because so much of what we do is intangible,” Junell said. “Our clients often comment after the project is complete that we didn’t charge enough, however try telling that to someone who hasn’t even begun the journey. No one knows just how much goes into the job until it’s over.”
For those interested in learning more about senior move management and the process of simplifying after retirement, register for the upcoming Retired Living Truth Series program: “The Truth about Rightsizing in 10 Easy Steps” seminar to be held on February 20 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminar is free for seniors and their guests. Pre-registration is required because seating is limited.
Seat reservations can be made online
at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
This article is sponsored by Annette & Brett Junell in conjunction with the above sponsors.