In my last newsletter, I described my recent project to help my parents sell their home of 50 years and to identify an alternative living arrangement that would meet their needs and desires. It was a lot of work, but thankfully, the move is complete and they are now all settled in.
What I didn’t mention last month, however, is the support I called upon – from other professionals – in getting this done. As one of over 35 million Americans who support at least one older loved one while simultaneously working full time, I could never have handled this project on my own.
Which is why today I want to introduce you to two professionals – people I have come to rely onwhen it comes to relocating older adults from one home to another. As with any other major project, having trusted professionals that you can call on as needed can be invaluable.
Karen Dempsey Carney is founder and owner-broker at Alliance Relocation. She’s worked with numerous older clients over the years, and I depended on her to help us manage the sale of the house (in a very challenging real estate market).
Specifically, here’s how Karen helped:
- She met with us to educate us regarding the overall process of selling a home and, in particular, to understand pricing (this was invaluable with my parents, considering that they hadn’t sold any real estate in 50+ years!).
- She guided us in the selection of a broker, matching our needs with the most appropriate of the three brokers whom she brought in to make presentations.
- She acted as “background consultant” throughout the process, helping us evaluate and negotiate offers.
- She was “on site” with my parents – I live at a distance and could not have managed this on my own from so far away.
In the end, my parents sold their home at a fair price. In addition, Karen reduced the stress and effort involved, while leading us to a better outcome than we could have achieved on our own.
You don’t have to live in one home for 50 years to accumulate a lot of things – we Americans tend to hold onto possessions, particularly when there are elements of sentimentality involved.
But, as my mom said one day after she decided it was time to move, “What are we going to do with all of this stuff?!”
That’s where Laura Moore from ClutterClarity came in. Here’s how she got involved:
- She met with my parents to help them develop a clear process and criteria for deciding what to keep, what to sell, what to donate and what to dispose of. With just a little bit of coaching, they were quickly off and running doing things they’d never done before, such as selling items on Craig’s List and through consignment stores, organizing a yard sale, making meaningful donations, and disposing of the rest.
- She identified moving companies, evaluated their proposals, and helped my parents select a mover and negotiate the contract.
- She supervised the packing process, handled issues with the movers, and was physically present as my parents officially “moved out.”
As with Karen, Laura’s involvement served to reduce the sense of overwhelment for my parents, both prior to and during the move. And, again, because I don’t live locally, she was on site in a way that I was unable to be.
For all of us, it’s important to remember that managing the needs of older loved ones can extend well beyond the boundaries of what we may think of as “healthcare related.” When a move is in the works – whether voluntarily or due to a health issue – relocation and decluttering services such as those provided by Karen and Laura can be a life-saver.
Moral of the story: If, like me, you’re part of the support system for an older loved one, don’t hesitate to enlist the support of professionals who can help smooth the path during important life transitions.