A customer of Gero Solutions, senior move management from Lutheran Life Communities, stated it simply, “I am living in a gallon and I am moving to a pint. I need your help!”
Mary Jo Zeller, co-founder of Gero Solutions over a decade ago, says “most older adults making a transition have not moved in 30, 40 or 50 years and have normal accumulation that has quietly built up over time. Knowing where to begin can be overwhelming for the entire family. The thought of moving, deciding what to keep, and cleaning out the basement, garage, and attic can be a daunting task regardless of age. Often times this move is coupled with other major life events such as the death of a spouse or a medical emergency. Such combination creates a lot of stress and emotion. The organizational and physical tasks associated with planning and implementing such a move are critical to achieving a successful relocation. It’s so much more than just a move when you are helping older adults transition to a new home. We work to reduce the stress and trauma that can accompany this type of move. We like to say we are in the business of ‘Moving A Lifetime.’ It is all about honoring the person, their possessions, and their lifestyle, and setting them up for success. We are helping people ‘rightsize,’ making their new home right for this time of their life.”
The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), formed in 2002 as the professional trade association for Senior Move Management Companies, has declared May 9-15, 2010, National Senior Move Managers Week. Gero Solutions is a Founding Member of the Association and has served on the board for seven years. NASMM is a national network of over 500 members to assist older adults with local and long-distance relocations.
According to Mary Kay Buysse, Executive Director of NASMM, “Family and friends often want to help, but there may be barriers. Adult children may be sandwiched between their parents, their careers and their own family obligations. For family members living far away, the barriers may be geographic. Some seniors have no surviving children, or their children are seniors themselves. Senior Move Management has emerged to fill the gaps and to make transitions easier for everyone involved.”
Gero Solutons of Lutheran Life Communities has a wealth of resources for older adults across the continuum from independent living to skilled nursing care, even hospice. Having in-depth working knowledge of the aging network provides valuable insight to the living environments where older adults are moving. In addition, putting together a personalized moving plan with the right resources and approach saves time, money, and energy in getting the job done right.
The moving industry is geared to moves where people can take all of their possessions; most of the time they are going to a larger home. It is often a very different move when, for seniors, successful moves include condensing their treasures, their life, and moving only a percentage of what they own. Gero Solutions is sensitive to, and understand, the emotions around this special move. The fear of making the wrong decision is likely to stop forward progress. A Senior Move Manager brings a wealth of knowledge regarding space planning and can assess what will fit and support the older person in making good decisions regarding what to keep. Most popular services include creating a personalized moving plan, sorting, packing, and un-packing and setting up the new home.
“It is much more than a move,” commented Mary Jo Zeller, “it is helping an older person transition to a new chapter of their life, surrounded by the things that bring them joy and comfort.”