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Senior Move Manager.

relocationguide contributerBy Laura Feauto
Place to Place, Inc. A Moving Company for Seniors


A Senior Move Manager (SMM) is a professional who specializes in assisting seniors and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation. Therefore, move managers are more than "packers and movers." The services offered by SMM may vary; however, anyone who chooses to use services from a SMM will receive much more than a move. While packing and unpacking are critical components of our work, the focus is on moving the individual; rather than the boxes.

There are many things to be taken into consideration when assisting a senior with a move, here are just a few of those;

An Individual's Feelings

There are many unknowns when a senior makes the decision to move into smaller living arrangements or into a retirement community. Will their house sell, will they like their new home, will they be able to make new friends, will they run out of money, will they lose their independence? Many times we serve as surrogate family; listening to these their fears and concerns. Family members are not always able to be there due to work schedules and obligations. The ability to help the individual cope with the emotional aspect of moving is another reason why SMM's are more than just movers.

State of Mind

The mere thought of moving can create a high level of anxiety. Relocation Stress Syndrome also called Transfer Trauma is a formal nursing diagnosis defined as "physiologic and/or psychosocial disturbances as a result of transfer from one environment to another."It is also defined as "the combination of medical and psychological reactions to abrupt physical transfer that may increase the risk of grave illness or death." We experience this traumatic reaction quite often in our line of work. We do a lot of listening and assuring the individual we are there to help them through all aspects of their moving process.

Health Limitations

When we assist our customers with their floor plans, we take their health limitations into consideration. Issues to keep in mind - will they need a walker, wheelchair - are they using a hospital bed, etc. These needs play a major part in creating a floor plan. If a customer is suffering from a form of dementia, we look at how we can mirror the layout of their current home not just for their furniture but their closets, kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, etc.

Current Environment

As we age, attention to detail is not always what it was when we were younger. As some individuals age, they may have a tendency to become a pack rat or they simply don't see things as they once did. Whatever the case, helping them sort through what they actually need to refrain requires patience and understanding.

Items to be Moved

I have often times told my customers that after they have taken me through their home, that I can almost tell them what items they will want to take with them. We listen to their stories, (which is the part of the job that I love), and you become connected to your customer on a different level. It does not matter if that piece of furniture is scarred with scratches or has red fingernail polish on the corner, because it's the memory of how those scratches happened and how the polish was spilled that matters. Saying good-bye to their possessions is like saying good bye to a part of their life.

Immediate Family

Families often times want to help, but at time there are issues that prevent them from being there. Adult children are caught between helping their parents, managing their careers, as well as attending to other obligations. Seniors are staying in their homes much longer than before, and many times their children are seniors themselves. As children of elderly parents, it is sometimes very hard to remember that this is about your parents and what they want to take and what will make them happy.

I am a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). I currently serve on the NASMM Accreditation Committee and have served on the Marketing Committee. I personally believe in the association and feel it is important to my business to be an active member. The NASMM mission is to facilitate the physical and emotional aspects of relocation for older adults, to increase industry awareness, to establish a national referral network, to enhance the professional competence of members, and to promote the delivery of our services with compassion and integrity. Being a member of the national network of NASMM enables us to coordinate moves for individuals all over the United States.

Laura can be reached by calling 317-422-4218
or email her at: