Saluda River Club
For many seniors, moving or downsizing to a smaller home can be emotionally challenging.  After raising a family or spending a good portion of their adult lives in one home, it is often difficult to think about putting it on the market.
Yet, the process does not have to be as stressful as you might imagine. In fact, a growing new industry of “senior move managers” was created to help baby boomers transition to the next phase of their lives.
 “Senior move managers handle many aspects of a senior move,” said Erin Martinko, managing director of Wise Moves, based in suburban Washington, D.C. “We do floor plans, we figure out what furniture to take, we do the packing for them, and we help with liquidation if they want to sell or donate things.  Basically, we get them from point A to point B.”
The National Association of Senior Move Managers, nasmm.org, provides senior move resources and a directory of senior move managers across the country.
Martinko points out that there are a lot of memories associated with a home and its belongings collected over a lifetime. This makes it difficult for seniors—and often their family members and loved ones—to make decisions about what to keep and what to give away. 
Here are the three key things seniors should consider before they begin the downsizing process:

·         It takes time. It is hard to imagine moving out of a home you have lived in for so long. Likewise, organizing all of the steps involved in a move can be overwhelming. Be sure to give yourself enough time to process the changes that will be taking place.
·         It is important to have support. Downsizing can be physically and emotionally draining for both you and your family. Make sure you have a support system in place before you begin the process. This task is too arduous to take on alone.  If family or friends are not available, senior move managers can be a great option to consider.
“This is what we do every day,” Martinko said. “We understand that it is an emotional process, and we always honor that. We help seniors go through their belongings, and listen to stories about not only the items, but the memories that are being pulled out.”
·         Don’t let your belongings hold you back. It can be challenging to decide what to keep and what to part with, but you should not let that process be a burden. You can take the most important items with you, and your support system can help you decide what should be sold, donated or given to another family member. And remember, it is very possible to recreate your favorite living space in your new home.
Plus, many new senior communities offer amenities that will make moving a little more enticing.
These communities often feature swimming pools, fitness centers, movie theaters and social events. And, the floor plans are designed to accommodate seniors’ changing needs. Check out award-winning senior communities at nahb.org/50PlusAwards.    
To learn more about senior living options in NW Arkansas, contact NWA HBA or visit nahb.org.