I'd like to share an article on downsizing by Brenda Richardson published in the Chicago Tribune. You can read the article in it's entirety by clicking on the lick below at the bottom of my excerpted sections.
By Brenda Richardson
Chicago Tribune, February 1, 2017
For 22 years, Sandy Zedella enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle at her spacious three-level townhouse in Lake Bellington. Then one day last March, the avid golfer bent down to put on her house slippers and broke her back, which had deteriorated from a pre-existing condition. Two months later, she broke her arm after the kitchen chair she was leaning on tipped over, sending her crashing to the floor.
Those random mishaps proved to be a turning point for the 79-year-old widowed mother of four.
"My children said they thought maybe it was time for me to be on one level," Zedella said.
Still, it took some gentle coaxing to persuade her to move. "I kind of wanted to stay until March of this year when the housing market would be more active," she said. "My children felt I would be safer with winter coming to avoid ice patches. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense for a lot of reasons. It was a pretty big decision."
Zedella's situation highlights the many issues facing older adults who downsize and relocate, whether by choice or necessity. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, about 3.3 million individuals in the state were 55 or older in 2015. Planning future housing needs can be daunting, but for many aging adults, top motivating factors include a health change, the inability to maintain their home, a desire to move closer to family members, and a need for a safer living environment and simpler lifestyle.
"This is the first demographic that has routinely outsourced yard service, snow removal, taking laundry to the cleaners and not solely relying on family members to do this. Hiring a senior move manager is not outside their wheelhouse," said Pickett. "When you are 75 and you have a 45- or 50-year-old son or daughter, they may have a 15- or 16-year-old child. They are busy with their weekends and their children. It's very difficult for them to take the time to effectively handle this type of transition."
Culling through a lifetime of possessions can be emotionally and physically wrenching for elderly homeowners. If family members overseeing a move are short on time or empathy, that can make matters worse.
"If older adults are in transition, it's important that they are treated with respect and dignity," said Pickett. "If the move is handled poorly, and the older adult is under a lot of stress because of that, the stress can really send an older adult into a downward spiral, especially if they have memory loss or a chronic illness."
Most senior move managers in the Chicago area charge $65 to $75 an hour, however, the national average is $40 to $60 an hour, according to the move managers group.
Zedella's sons and caregivers helped her sort through her belongings as she decided what to keep, toss, sell or donate.
"I had certain things I wanted to take that had sentimental value," she said. "Some things I knew wouldn't fit in my new place, and some things I didn't care whether I took them or not."
Senior move manager Jennifer Prell, owner of Paxem in Cary, helps clients downsize, pack, move and coordinate all other aspects of their relocation.
To read the entire article click here.