Preparing for the challenge of moving as an older adult


By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

Preparing to move in your later years can feel overwhelming, but with proper planning you can save both time and reduce the stress of such a major life change.
Preparing to move in your later years can feel overwhelming, but with proper planning you can save both time and reduce the stress of such a major life change.

REGION –  Trying to clean out an entire home to prepare for a move in your fifties, sixties and beyond can feel like an insurmountable task. It is stressful, emotional and in some cases, simply overwhelming. 

Once the decision has been made to move, there are many things that need to be considered, including deciding where you want to move to and what that will look like. Will you be downsizing and moving to an apartment type of setup? Will you be going closer to a family member or an assisted living type of situation? What items will you want to bring that will realistically fit into this new space? 


Finding people who can help

If you own your home, finding a realtor to help sell it can be instrumental in this process. Many agents have great contacts and can direct you to the appropriate people and businesses that can be very helpful. It’s great to ask around and get recommendations from friends and neighbors and meet with a few different realtors to see if you are both on the same page and what types of services they can offer to make this move as seamless as possible.

Kate McCaw, a real estate agent with Compass Realty in Concord shared her thoughts. “Some of this may seem cliché, but I try to remind people that their memories go with them,” she said. “Leaving a physical space, especially one that holds a lot of wonderful memories, is just that, a physical space. Finding the courage to move is difficult but it can clear the way for new memories to be made,” McCaw added. “I help my clients declutter and find new homes for lots of their things. By helping others, it also makes them feel good.” 


Packing and paring down possessions

There are many sites online to share items that you might want to get rid of. Some of these include Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, MaxSold and more. It’s important to take clear photos of the items you are trying to sell and create concise but detailed information about each item like measurements, age, material, manufacturer, etc. It is also important, for safety reasons, to have someone home with you if the item is being picked up in person. In addition, cash should always be the preferred method of payment. Be aware that there are many scammers out there trying to take advantage, especially if you are older and new to this method of selling things. 

Since preparing for a move is a big job, it’s wise to tackle one area at a time. For example, set a scheduled timeline and clean out and pack one room or closet at a time. This makes it a bit more manageable instead of looking at the whole space at once. 

Fran Taylor of Westborough is currently preparing to move from her current home that she has lived in for quite some time. She has found searching for a home in today’s market quite challenging. 

“The process is pretty much a roller coaster,” she explained. “You get very enthusiastic about making a life change and then discouraged when the process gets interrupted by things out of your control.”

There are also many local charities, community-run food pantries, consignment stores and more that are always looking for donations to share with their clients. Some organizations even help set up entire apartments for those in need. Think of how good it will feel to know that your donated items helped someone else. 

“To get ready to list our home we sought suggestions from a local realtor about how best to position our house,” said Taylor. “We also cleaned out things we knew we wouldn’t take with us.”

 Not only do you have to address the inside of your home with all your personal belongings, but if you are a homeowner, you want to make sure to tackle any repairs needed. This might include appliances, worn carpeting, painting, cabinet repairs and more. This is when your real estate agent can guide you. 

“I think one of the difficult things these days with seniors that are downsizing is that their children and grandchildren don’t want family items like crystal and fine china, silverware or furniture,” said McCaw. “Historically, these were cherished items that were passed down. The fact that they end up in consignment stores or charity shops is difficult to digest.”

“It’s hard to think of these items as ‘just things,’” she continued. “The upside is that once chosen, they go to a new family. Last year I purchased a Lenox Holiday china service for twelve at Gallery 56 in Clinton for a bargain,” McCaw noted. “It was something that I always wanted but could not afford at full price. I am thrilled to have it.” 


Shop around for a mover

Start by reading online reviews of different movers to assess their reputation. Ask friends and family for recommendations as well. Then call a few reputable moving companies and request estimates. The cost of a move can be very expensive and you want to make sure that whoever you hire to handle this task is licensed and insured. Make sure you get a written, detailed estimate. It’s important to get all costs associated with the move documented clearly so that there are no surprises in the end. 

Change is hard and moving can be scary. Taking steps to ensure that it goes smoothly can save you a lot of time and energy and make the transition easier.   



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