Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Helping Seniors Move on ; Move: Emotional Support Key

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Helping Seniors Move on ; Move: Emotional Support Key

Article excerpt

A new service business is becoming more mainstream as an aging population needs help with downsizing and moving.

Senior move managers are people who specialize in moving the elderly, working with them to get rid of possessions they may no longer need, sell their current home and move into a smaller home or a retirement home, said Sherri Reamer, co-owner of Total Home Prep & Transitions. Reamer, who owns the business with her sister, Lori Hewitt, said they began two years ago as a home-staging business that also would do repairs to get a home ready to sell.

But over time, Reamer said, they noticed they were working a lot with the elderly, many of whom needed help downsizing and moving into a new space. They researched, educated themselves and became members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

"Now we've got a few jobs going where we not only get the house ready for market, but we help them declutter, downsize and move into their assisted living home," Reamer said. "We don't actually do the move, but we do the packing."

Their new service is part of a growing nationwide trend in businesses that offer services to seniors. As the Baby Boomers age, the U.S. population aged 65 and over will jump about 80 percent from now until 2030, according to NASMM.

Hewitt said their typical senior client has been in his or her house for 30 to 40 years.

"They have a lot of stuff they need to sort through and get organized," she said.

As part of the down-sizing process, Total Home will sort, drop items off for donation, consult with estate services and set up an estate sale, if appropriate, and help the client determine what will fit in the new home.

Both women said the job involves significant attention to the client's emotions, as the process of cleaning out things that have been in their homes for years can be distressing.

"We really treat them with compassion and respect and try to help them through that and talk them into doing the things that they need to do," said Reamer. "Sometimes, they don't want to listen to their kids, and they'll listen to the professional. …

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