Moving and downsizing can be stress-free
With professional help, many seniors relocating to a retirement community find relief in the moving process
By Lauren Glendenning
Brought to you by Casey’s Pond
Moving into a senior living community often means downsizing from a multiple-bedroom home into a one-bedroom apartment, however the professionals who help with these transitions have a better term for it: Rightsizing.
Leaving a home that you’ve lived in for 30 or 40 years, and in some cases even longer than that, can be a daunting experience. Many fear that leaving the home also means leaving the memories that were created there, and the team at Casey’s Pond understands this. That is why they do everything possible to make moving easier by connecting residents with the professionals.
Many of the residents at Casey’s Pond, in Steamboat Springs, use companies that are part of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. These companies provide relocation, downsizing and estate sale services to help older adults and their families transition into new living arrangements with ease and comfort.
“Leaving that physical space where they’ve created those memories, is hard,” said Stacy Davis, sales and marketing manager for Caring Transitions of the Grand Valley, a relocation company that serves the Western Slope. “We don’t rush them through anything. We work with them, and the team at Casey’s Pond to make sure we’re taking care of them during this process.”
‘Relief and reward’
Many Casey’s Pond residents have felt a sense of relief after this process of rightsizing. Gamber Tegtmeyer, an independent living resident at Casey’s Pond, remembers the challenge of deciding what to take with him when he moved. There were family heirlooms he didn’t have room for that his sons didn’t want.
He also always lived with a dining room but just couldn’t fit it into his new living space, which was an adjustment.
“The relief and reward of getting rid of things and downsizing outweighs the challenges of doing so,” he said. “Keep in mind of what happens when you pass on, what will you leave for your children to go through? I have downsized a few times and it feels good not to have so much around.”
Davis said this sense of relief is a common feeling among older adults after they’ve gone through the process. The team at Casey’s Pond and the professional relocation services help new residents understand where to begin and how to make a move with the right items.
At Casey’s Pond, the most common questions new residents ask is whether their furniture is going to fit into their new living space, said Melissa Lahay, marketing director at Casey’s Pond.
New residents get a floor plan of their space prior to moving in. Lahay said many family members help their relatives plan for the move.
“Just recently, a family member made a to scale drawing of the apartment and cut out to scale shapes for the bed, and other furniture,” she said. “She even made a cut out of her mother’s walker to make sure she would be able to move around safely in her apartment.”
Lahay said Casey’s Pond often recommends using senior moving experts, though, because they can really help reduce the anxiety and stress of moving.
Davis said experts provide guidelines for residents that help them prioritize: what do they need, what do they love and what do they want.
Needs are things like beds, couches, clothing and other personal items. Loves include passions such as knitting materials, books or puzzles. The wants are typically the items that can be more easily cut from the must-haves — things like that big credenza that displays fancy dining room crystals.
Sometimes a solution for folks who aren’t able to take many of their items from home is to take photographs of those items and create a photo album — a service the professional relocation specialists can provide.
Familiar, welcoming spaces
For older adults who are having a tough time with the change, senior relocation services might bring in a life coach to help work through those emotions, Davis said. And Casey’s Pond works hard to ensure all new residents feel welcome as they transition into the community.
For the move itself, relocation specialist companies provide everything. They take photographs of the home before packing up items for the resident. That way, if the resident wants, the relocation specialists can set up certain things as they were in the previous home such as pictures on the wall, or the layout of the living room furniture. This can help residents feel more comfortable in their new surroundings, Davis said.
“We pack, move everything into the new community, unpack and resettle them,” she said. “It’s a great relief for the family when we’ve created a space that is safe, workable and right for the resident.”
Lahay said the outcome is often positive. There’s a good feeling that comes with downsizing that reassures residents they have actually gone through rightsizing.
“I think we can all say this at any age,” Lahay said, quipping that residents at Casey’s Pond have some general advice based on their experiences: “Your children don’t want it.”
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