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Move-In Coordinators: Easing the Stress of Moving to a Retirement Community

By | 2017-10-31T16:32:35+00:00 February 9th, 2016|

What is stopping you from making the move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC, also known at Life Plan Community)?

For some seniors, the reason is fear of losing autonomy. For others, the reasons are financial in nature. But for a large portion of prospective CCRC residents, the answer is “logistics.”

The mere thought of selling their beloved home, sorting through all of their worldly possessions, amassed over six-plus decades, deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, and then packing it all up, is truly overwhelming to many seniors and their families. And often, aside from the seniors themselves, this burden typically lands on the shoulders of adult children (according to statistics, most often, oldest daughters)–people who have their own children, lives, and careers to juggle. It's not a particularly appealing proposition for many.

A helping hand at the CCRC

Enter the move-in coordinator (the superheroes of the CCRC world). More and more CCRCs and Life Plan Communities are recognizing that the logistics of moving are a huge roadblock for their prospects and are thus finding new ways to alleviate some of this stress. These retirement communities are hiring move-in coordinators who take on a variety of tasks previously left to the senior and their family members. After residents-to-be make their deposit, the move-in coordinators go to work…

Related: A Concise Guide to Downsizing in Retirement

What to bring

Will this sofa be too big for the condo in the retirement community? Which coffee table should I keep? Possibly the number one conundrum when it comes to moving into a CCRC revolves around the specifics of what new residents can bring from their old home to their new one. Move-in coordinators can visit the soon-to-be residents' current home to assess their belongings and, if needed, assist with downsizing decisions.  

According to Madeleine Socia, Move-in Coordinator for Friendship Village in Kalamazoo, MI, the move-in coordinator is the go-to person for answers. “We support buyers and their families through the challenges of the transition process by providing an informed and unbiased perspective, along with referrals to the quality resources needed to turn their new apartment or house into a home.”

Realtor & mover referrals

Like a concierge for the moving process, the move-in coordinator can help CCRC depositors find an experienced realtor in their area as well as a moving company. Some move-in coordinators will even offer complimentary home staging services to help incoming residents sell their existing homes quicker and more efficiently, which of course also benefits the CCRC by getting the new residents into their senior community faster.

Interior space planning

Along with evaluating the scale and dimensions of furniture, move-in coordinators can also provide guidance with space planning and interior design to ensure that the things future residents want to bring with them will fit in their new home. They can help plan out the floor plan of new space, down to the exact place to hang that beloved family portrait. This exercise will be especially helpful on moving day when a detailed space plan is hung in the entryway of the new home, allowing the movers to see exactly where each piece of furniture and box should go.

Moving day

It's the big day at last! And the move-in coordinator will be there to lend a hand in a variety of ways.

It can be an emotional time for new residents, leaving a home they have lived in, raised children in, celebrated holidays in for decades. To ease the transition and make for a positive experience, many move-in coordinators will have residents' new home stocked with essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, and bottles of water, and some will even go the extra mile of having a welcome bouquet, a bottle of champagne, and a few favorite snacks already in the fridge.

The previously created space plan will be posted for the movers, but the move-in coordinator will give additional direction if needed, allowing the new residents to relax a bit or even begin nesting.

A mutually beneficial service

CCRCs have figured out that it is to their advantage to make the move to their retirement community as simple and stress-free as possible for new residents and their families. When seniors arrive happy, they will acclimate to the Life Plan Community more quickly and stay happier, resulting in higher satisfaction among the CCRC's residents. Move-in coordinators truly create a win-win for the community and the new senior resident. And those oldest daughters love it! 

About the Author:

Brad Breeding is president and co-founder of myLifeSite, a North Carolina company that develops web-based resources designed to help families make better-informed decisions when considering a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) or lifecare community.