Industry Zeros in on Senior Concerns

You could have knocked me over with a feather recently when I discovered a new elders-oriented industry and its recently formed national association.

Everyone wants in on the graying of America, but this may be a good idea. I’ll let you decide. Calling themselves senior move managers, they are edging aside moving companies and real estate agents by creating a special niche relocating elders from lifelong homes to retirement communities or care facilities.

I spoke with Margit Novack, a founding member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Senior move managers do more than pack and count cartons, Novack said. Understanding the complexity of moving from a large home of 50 years into a small apartment is their expertise, she added.

Senior move managers pride themselves on understanding seniors’ unique illnesses as well as the personal struggles that accompany giving away or selling lifelong treasures.

They help seniors plan every step of the move. “We know the room and kitchen sizes of our local facilities, and so can advise which furniture fits a narrow hallway or kitchenette,” Novack said.

Move managers are especially helpful when downsizing includes sending items all over the country to various family members. And if a senior has entered an assisted living facility straight from the hospital, they visit his home, photograph the contents and help pick the most appropriate furniture and mementos for the new apartment.

Fees vary from $35–$80 an hour, depending on the part of the country. The association’s Web site, www.nasmm.org has a map to help locate movers.

Here is a sampling of what senior move managers offer:

These services seem to be a good idea for families or seniors overwhelmed by the details of downsizing. But remember this is a new, unregulated industry with apparently easy entry, so check references and ask many questions.