Dear Jan: My mom is going to be moving to a smaller, assisted living-type home. As a family, this move is overwhelming. Do you have any helpful hints to help us in this situation?
Dear DDG: I am knowledgeable about seniors on the move. First of all, I have a family member that was an administrator of a convalescent hospital. Therefore, I was raised around aging seniors and love being with them. We have so much to learn from them.
You might find it interesting that there is actually a National Association of Realtors designation for Senior Real Estate Specialists. I happen to hold a SRES designation. The classes dealt with so many issues that seniors face today. (Oh, and guess what? “Senior” doesn’t mean what it used to mean. It now includes the Baby Boom Generation, which includes those as young as 50. Who knew?!)
I learned that there are companies that come in and retrofit a home to meet the physical challenges of the aging so that one can stay in one’s home longer. Items like designer safety bars, lower cabinets and higher commodes can be helpful to many seniors.
SRES designees are encouraged to build a solid referral network — like plumbers, electricians, landscapers, stagers and movers — to help seniors with problems that arise. They also have a networking list of attorneys, 1031 Exchange specialists, accountants and mortgage brokers to help with day to day financial affairs.
Back to moving, though. I just read about another group that helps seniors. They are called Senior Move Managers. I think the idea is brilliant because this can be a very emotional time for the seniors and their often younger family members. This third-party person helps a senior choose what and how to part with items they own. They are not movers, therefore, they don’t do the packing, and instead they help with the sorting. SRES designees are also taught to approach clients and their family members with patience and empathy.
My suggestion is to talk to your favorite real estate broker and see if they have resources of people who can help your Mom with the difficult days ahead. You might also visit the SRES website. Your local broker can also find a competent real estate broker with out-of-state moves. Just ask!
— Jan Zufelt is an agent with John L. Scott Real Estate in Kingston.