More than just a move

Leaving the family home

Meeting clients for the first time often requires tissues. No matter who made the decision, it is while sitting in the lounge room with a cup of tea in front of us, that it becomes real for the first time.   The process of leaving the family home after many years of memories of celebrations and struggles is an incredibly difficult and confronting one. It is no surprise that many older people struggle emotionally with this final move from the family home.

The needs of older people who are making their final move from the family home are often similar, requiring liaison, planning, organising, packing, and coordinating but most of all they need emotional support. With family increasingly scattered geographically and being time poor, we often find we are the substitute son or daughter offering practical support and reassurance.

Unlike the well-regulated Senior Move Management industry in the United States, assistance to move out of the family home for older people has been a neglected area in Australia, with many older people falling through the gaps and struggling to cope with the complexities and logistics of downsizing, selling, and moving. Since 2012, Golden Years Home Transitions has helped hundreds of seniors to move from their homes into residential aged care or retirement living.  Sometimes we work side by side with sons, daughters, social workers, placement agents and hospital staff, and sometimes our Transition Manager is the only one assisting in the entire process.

The emotional move often means that details are forgotten, so we assist to coordinate and manage the right real estate agent, organise quotes, plan moving day, coordinate with the aged care facility or retirement village, call utility companies, rehome pets, cancel the newspapers etc. But most of all, we find that what older people need is to be listened to and reassured through this complex and stressful transition as it has a great impact on their health and future wellbeing.

It might take a little bit of hand holding and a cuddle, but it can often make a measurable difference.

[Source: Cameron Early, Managing Director of Golden Years Home Transitions and University of Melbourne Master of Ageing student (07) 3233 3888]