Helping Others Move

Assisting others in a move? Moving someone else, helping him or her to downsize or preparing another’s home for sale can be difficult. Most typically this occurs when you are assisting elderly family/friends. And often it is during sad times.

I feel it necessary to give my own definitions so that we are on the same page for who I am talking about:

  • MOVEE: the person who needs to be moved from their current situation and/or who is unable to move themselves due to age, illness or death.
  • MOVERS: the person/people responsible or feel responsible (I can not help you with unresolved guilt at this point) to assist MOVEE change living arrangements.
  • FOM: Family of Origin- Original children/step children of the MOVEE

The need for a move often times happen when nothing is going well. People are in the hospital; decisions have to be made quickly and emotions are almost always over stimulated. I am fortunate to have been able to assist my mom move, from a home she built with my dad, to a lovely apartment when she was healthy and agreeable.

No matter what the circumstances, I believe there are ways to make the process less eventful:

  1. As much as possible try to play and share nicely with the other MOVERS involved. Remember ultimately you are on the same team- you are trying to get the MOVEE to a different living situation or get the MOVEE’s home sold.
  2. Who has the final say? This can be tricky and very sticky depending on who the players/MOVERS are and what the needs/capabilities of the MOVEE is. As much as possible try to decide up front who will make what decisions regarding the home sale, price, etc.
  3. What will fit in new place? Most likely if they are going from a home to a smaller living space therefore everything is not going to fit. Find out what the MOVEE really would like to bring to the new place. A good way to determine what can come is to make a footprint of items. When we moved my mom we used newspaper print and labeled them couch, curio cabinet, etc. Took her to her new apartment and showed how they could be arranged. Consider a storage unit for some of the items that won’t fit but MOVEE cannot part with yet. You can always revisit what is living in the storage unit in 6 months. By then the MOVEE may be okay with getting rid of them.
  4. Take photos of the home and possessions and put them in an album. Remind the MOVEE and yourself that you get to take the memories with you.
  5. If MOVEE is ready to get rid of things or you are removing the contents from a home after someone has passed away it can be difficult to determine who gets what. I suggest if possible discuss with your elderly loved ones to label items they feel strongly should go to a certain individual. I recommend they do this before they become a MOVEE. We literally taped names to the bottom of items so we knew whom mom would like those items to go. Some of these she brought with her to her new place, others were given at the time of the first move.
  6. After determining what was coming with her and getting rid of the junk we put the remainder of the things she was getting rid of on tables in the garage. Then we allowed each FOM to go through and pick X amount of items. After the first round the FOM went through again but this time they chose X amount of items for their children. After that we opened it up to the grandchildren, etc.
  7. There are also moving companies that specialize in moving seniors. Please call me if you would like recommendations.
  8. This is a very emotional time…if the MOVEE is physically and cognitively involved – the change can be very hard. Remember to treat them with respect and care, but stay firm if the move is in the best interest of their safety and health.
  9. Take a look at getting your home market ready so the home can yield top dollar. In the case of a home that may need a few updates or if it is difficult for occupant to leave for showings consider making the move first and then list the home.

Change is hard, moving can be difficult. Remember to keep the end goal in mind, play and share nicely with others and get professional assistance where needed.

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