Expert Help Available for Seniors on the Move

As presented by Marco D. Chayet, Esq.1

Cheryl was in a panic trying to get her parents home sold in Florida and move them near her in Idaho. Seven years ago Max and Clara purchased their retirement home in Florida and moved there from Idaho. Max had a stroke recently and Clara can no longer care for him herself, so in order for Cheryl to help out they need to move back to Idaho.

As is often the case, when elderly parents have health problems, the children are called on for help and support in major decisions. Unfortunately, Cheryl is not able to leave her job and family in Idaho to spend time selling the home in Florida or find living arrangements for her parents in Idaho.

"More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. Population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one." (Caregiving in the United States; National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP)

The AARP estimates that over 25 million Americans struggle to balance work responsibilities with caring for a relative aged 50 or older.

The National Association of Realtors recognized the specialized need of seniors and their families to sell an established home quickly and effectively. They have established a designation for realtors called Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES). To earn designation a realtor goes through a comprehensive program which qualifies them to know how to work with seniors in the 50+ real estate market.

Specialties characteristic to an SRES designated agent would include:

  • Knowledge of senior communities and housing restrictions
  • Ability to work with seniors on sensitive issues when selling their property
  • Understanding how real estate impacts Medicare and Medicaid laws
  • Knowledge of retirement accounts such as 401k and IRA Accounts in relationship to real estate purchases
  • Expertise in bringing in help with downsizing, packing, moving and relocation
  • Resources to work as a team of realtors throughout the United States for relocation purposes.

With more of the Senior population downsizing or moving there has been a growing need for moving companies to specialize in the needs of seniors and their families. Some moving companies have added a department just for moving seniors.

Senior Moving services may include:

  • Organizing and packing items and unpacking at the new home
  • Downsizing by disposing of unneeded items
  • Disconnecting electronics and reconnecting after the move
  • Placing furniture, rugs and household items
  • Personnel skilled to help with the emotional transition of seniors

The past few years have seen new specialized companies developed that work directly with seniors in downsizing, moving or reorganizing their current home for "aging in place."

The National Association of Senior Move Manager (NASMM) is an organization of "move managers" whose mission is "to facilitate the physical and emotional aspects of relocation for older adults." A move manager may oversee the complete move or reorganizing for seniors making the senior transition less stressful from beginning to end.

Placement services are another specialized business that has developed to fill the need of seniors to find appropriate living conditions. With many options available from independent living apartments, retirement communities, care communities such as assisted living, residential care homes and nursing homes the decision can be overwhelming. Those who do placements services have the expertise to assess the clinical needs, financial resources and family preferences to help seniors find the living situation that will meet their lifestyle and future needs.

The National Care Planning Council promotes many services for seniors. Find relocation experts in your area or obtain helpful information from articles and books.

1 Marco D. Chayet is an Elder Law attorney with the office of Chayet & Danzo, LLC. Marco's practice emphasizes elder law, guardianships, conservatorships, public benefits, probate, estate planning, and long-term care planning. He can be reached online at www.ColoradoElderLaw.com, by e-mail at [email protected] or you can call the office at 303-872-5980.