Angie's List: Hire a company that specializes in downsizing and moving senior citizens

Ease the transition with a senior move specialist

TAMPA - Problems can crop up during any residential move, but moving an elderly loved one can pose additional challenges. Factor in a lifetime of accumulated belongings, and the move can be overwhelming. "We are seeing an increasing trend in services to help care for the elderly and moving is no different," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks. "There are actually companies today that specialize in helping make the move for the elderly very efficient and smooth."

Senior move managers can help with all aspects of the senior move, or just a portion of it. Service range from packing and unpacking, to moving, organizing and sorting, to decorating the new home to match the old. "One of the things that is often overlooked is helping you set up the home of the elderly person to look just like their old home so they feel comfortable and familiar right away," Hicks said.

While trying to move an out-of-state relative - and finding the process difficult - Sean and Jan Tienhaara decided to start a full service moving company that focuses on senior citizens. "You think of your grandmother," said Sean. "You walk into her home and you see all those little things, maybe things you made for her and it's set in one place. We want to be able to recreate that at their new place because even though they might be going to a small place many of them are afraid 'is it going to be home?' We want to make it home for them." Jan adds, "I go out to the home to meet them and see what their needs are. Most of the time they are living in a very large home, been there many, many years, and haven't moved and have all of these belongings, and have to downsize to a very small, maybe one or two bedroom apartment. We start helping them make decisions on what they want to take, what they don't want to take. We make a floor plan, we measure their furniture, measure the new apartment, so they can see exactly where it's going to be placed in the new home."

When hiring a senior move manager, Hicks advises you do the same research you would for any moving company - only more. "Find movers that have had experience with these types of moves and also expect an in home estimate so you can discuss any particular concerns in regard to the move. Also, see if they are a member of the National Association of Senior Move Mangers as well."

Angie's List Tips: Hiring a moving service for seniors

  • Don't skip your research: Whether you're looking for a senior move manager or a traditional mover, it's important to research the company before you hire and get cost details in writing. A common complaint from consumers is being quoted one price before the move and being charged a higher price at the time of the move.
  • Ask about costs: Most local movers charge by the hour, while longer distance moves are based on weight and distance. Fees vary depending on the services needed. Avoid movers who require large deposits. Request an in-home estimate. Most senior moving companies will offer a free consultation.
  • Check qualifications: Always interview more than one company and ask about their service moving seniors. Check for membership in professional organizations, such as the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).
  • Ask about your insurance options: Most companies will offer free limited coverage, with additional insurance available for purchase. Check with your private home insurer to see if your policy covers damages incurred during a move.
  • Ask about a written contract: Details and costs of the services should be clear in a contract. Don't sign anything you don't understand. Never sign off on the job until you're sure there's nothing missing or damaged. If you notice that a box is damaged at delivery, open it in the movers' presence to confirm the condition of the articles in the box.
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