I had no idea that there are a host of companies out there that specialize in helping senior citizens (and boomers) move.
They have comforting names like Gentle Transitions. There’s even a National Association of Senior Move Management. Who knew?
No one likes packing and unpacking an apartment or a home. It’s a stressful business, said to be life’s third biggest stressor behind divorce and death.
Okay, I can buy that . . . though I think I might add illness ahead of death and continue on with severe financial problems, parenting, and job change.
Whatever the order, there’s no doubt that moving is a pain for anyone, no matter how young or how old.
Take my 41-year-old son, for example. His girlfriend moved out (A good thing!), but he was stuck with a larger apartment than he needed and a hefty monthly rent. My son lives in Chicago where rents are sky high. A decent one-bedroom apartment in one of the many convenient and sought after neighborhoods can run upwards of $3000/month. That’s more than our mortgage payment, and we own a beautiful home.
Finding an affordable one-bedroom apartment was stressful enough. Then downsizing was another. Sell the excess furniture or pay more money to rent a storage space? Pay extra for a parking space or struggle with finding on-street parking every day? Oh, and snagging an apartment whose landlord accepts pets. The one thing my son’s ex-girlfriend left was her 16-year-old dog.
Men living alone seem to be overwhelmed by the process of packing. Even though my son thought he’d given himself plenty of time, he ended up throwing dirty clothes, piles of shirts and pants, mismatched pairs of socks, coats, ties, and shoes willy nilly into unmarked boxes, gym bags and on the back seat of his car.
Unpacking required that his mother (That would be me) practically holding his hand as he tried to make sense of all his stuff and where to put it.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that older boomers, many of whom are already seniors, see moving as a Herculean task that they must shoulder through and complete before it’s “too late.” The stress and hassle convinces many to stay put. Others enlist the help of their children, when available and willing. Apparently, still others hire the services of one of those companies that focus on helping older folks move.
My challenge is different. I actually relish the chance to get rid of stuff, to simplify. And letting go of items like the oak dining room table we picked up at an auction in North Carolina and lugged home in a UHaul some 22 years ago is something I’ve been looking forward to for years.
Beyond decluttering, my biggest hurdle is my husband: he doesn’t want to move. Oh, he was gun ho many years ago and applied for jobs in northern California. He ended up the number 2 choice, and we stayed put. But I crave more temperate climes, a country setting away from the noise of young kids and views of hills, trees, even mountains. I want to garden all year long. I want to travel any any time during the year, not only during the winter when I HAVE to vacate the north and the horrors of winter.
Sure, it will be sad leaving a handful of dear friends. Finding a good internist, a funky hairstylist, the best health food restaurant and grocery store (though with the ubiquitous Whole Foods, I doubt that will be a problem), alternative cinema, a book club, etc. may be challenging but achievable. And we won’t be without initial contacts out there on the West Coast. Both of us know interesting people. I’ve already planned the guest list for our first party.
“Involve him in the process,” my son suggested. “Make him feel an integral part of the potential move. Have your realtor copy him on all the new listings.”
Not bad advice. I emailed the agent this morning. Though I’m nervous about my husband seeing the asking prices, the abundance of one-story homes (“I’ll never live in a ranch”), and some of those northern California stone fireplaces that remind one of a ski lodge, I’m hopeful that he’ll come around.
In the meantime, I roam the house and envision how it can be “staged.”
And I’m bookmarking all of those senior moving companies just in case.