National Association of Senior Move Managers:
“Circle of Service Award Winner” – Simplified Lives, January 2017
While creating my move management company, Simplified Lives, I discovered and joined an organization I knew would help reassure our clients and give us access to the best, most-cutting edge ideas and techniques available.
The National Association of Senior Move Managers is the leading national association of those in my profession. Members of NASMM are required to take safety and ethics training, and all members must be insured as move managers and provide references. “NASMM is recognized for its innovative programs and expertise related to Senior Move Management, transition and relocation issues affecting older adults,” it notes on its website, www.nasmm.org.
In 2016, I had the opportunity of interview Jennifer Pickett, Associate Executive Director of NASMM, tapping into her thoughts about this special profession.
The move of an older person or couple is often precipitated by “a triggering event,” she noted, something I have frequently seen. One common example: A couple stays in the home where they have lived for decades by reducing their living space to the first floor and hiring some in-home services. One of the two has dementia, and the other has become the caregiver. One day the caregiver trips and breaks a hip. The caregiver needs surgery, followed by months in a rehab facility. A crisis ensues because the partner with dementia cannot be left alone at home.
Another typical “triggering event” happens when one partner dies and the spouse, living alone, gradually becomes overwhelmed managing the entire household while his or her own medical problems increase. After a medical crisis, that person cannot return to his or her own home.
It is much less stressful to downsize, move and make decisions, Jennifer and I agree, while the individual or couple moving is in control – both mentally and physically!
When a family has lived in a home for 30 or 40 years, it is impossible to downsize with any dignity when adult children “swoop in” over a weekend for a clean-out of the family home. Adult children end up frustrated that their parents are not making fast enough decisions, and the parents often become angry because of their sense they are losing control. Downsizing can be hard in the best of circumstances, but under the pressure of time and medical challenges it can create painful family dynamics.
After five years of working with families, the staff at Simplified Lives concurs with Jennifer’s observations, people in their 80s and 90s are members of a very self-sufficient generation. The men mowed their own lawns and fixed their own cars, while women managed their households. They do not readily hire help to downsize and they feel frustrated to be losing their strength, their memory and control of their homes.
Both Jennifer and I have noticed that adult children in their 50s, 60s and 70s are much more open to hiring help because they hail from a generation accustomed to obtaining services on a day-to-day basis.
A senior move manager will provide professional guidance and creative services. As Ms. Pickett puts it, “senior move managers are experts in the art of moving.”