People tell me all the time that one of the big hurdles holding them back from making a move to a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, or life plan community)—or really any retirement community—is not wanting to deal with all of their “stuff.” The thought of having to sort through a lifetime’s worth of furniture, clothes, papers, and mementos in order to pack it up and move can seem ominous.
Add to that the fact that most people would be downsizing from their current home when they move to a CCRC condo or patio-style residence, thus requiring them to make sometimes difficult choices about what to keep and what simply won’t fit in their new home. It’s completely understandable that people would feel anxiety or apprehension about taking on what feels like such a daunting task.
So, how can seniors overcome the obstacles they associate with actually packing up all of their worldly possessions and moving to a CCRC?
Leverage available resources
If in fact you have decided that you think moving to a CCRC is a good idea, many CCRCs provide enormous levels of resources and support so that the whole move process is much, much easier on the senior.
As I’ve written about before, one extremely valuable service provided by many CCRCs is access to a move-in coordinator. Move-in coordinators take on a variety of tasks previously left to the senior and their family members. I asked Shannon Finley, the marketing communications specialist at John Knox Village of Central Florida, to share, as an example, what services their move-in coordinator provides. Here’s what Shannon had to say:
“Our move-in coordinator begins working with new residents from the day they sign their contract up to 30 days after they move in. In addition to coordinating décor selections like paint, window treatments, cabinetry, and flooring, our move-in coordinator works closely with a local professional relocation company [for new residents who live within 100 miles of the John Knox community], which specializes in relocating seniors.”
Shannon explains that the move-in coordinator and relocation company meet with the prospective resident to discuss what current belongings and furniture will work best with their new home at John Knox Village. The relocation services include packing up the senior’s current home, moving their possessions, and unpacking into their new home at the CCRC.
If you have ever moved before, you know that move-in day can elicit a range of emotions: excitement, sadness, stress, happiness…and potentially lots of other feelings…not to mention headaches and sore muscles! But with the type of assistance provided by a CCRC’s expert move-in team, you instead will be able to relax and enjoy your new home on move-in day.
Thanks to the planning and pre-work commonly handled by the community’s on-staff move-in coordinator, you should expect your new residence will be clean, freshly painted, and window treatments will be hung. The fridge may even be stocked with snacks and beverages. You know exactly where each piece of your furniture will go in your residence, and you can be sure it will fit in its designated spot. The team will even unpack and remove the boxes and packing material. You’ll be comfortably sleeping in your own bed in your new home that night.
Beyond the move
But oftentimes, the move-in coordinator’s work isn’t done once you are unpacked, as Shannon explains:
“Once the senior has moved into their new residence at John Knox Village, the move-in coordinator continues to provide transitional services for the first month. She coordinates with security, housekeeping, facilities, resident services, and the community nurse to synchronize introducing the new community member to resident life. Since the move-in coordinator has an opportunity to work closely with the new resident for several months leading up to their move-in date, she is able to assist in the transition to their new community, new home, and the all-important introduction to new neighbors.”
A surmountable hurdle
In our 2019 myLifeSite Consumer Survey, one of the top reasons people gave for wanting to move to a CCRC was to downsize and reduce the amount of home maintenance they had to shoulder. Yet, somewhat ironically, over one-third of survey respondents said the reason they are delaying their CCRC move is because they are putting off having to deal with all of their “stuff” and actually make the move.
When the survey responses where broken out by age, the numbers were even more striking. Of the 270 respondents who were age 80 and under, 34 percent said their stuff was a roadblock to making the move, but of the 160 respondents who were 81+ years old, “putting off dealing with my stuff/hassle of moving” was the TOP reason (over 53 percent of respondents) for delaying there CCRC move.
Depending on the person and their unique situation, sorting through, packing, and moving all of your possessions can be a BIG issue to confront. But thankfully, CCRCs understand that this is an obstacle for a lot of seniors, and they have devised some extremely helpful and valuable resources that swing into action once a soon-to-be resident signs a contract and submits their deposit.
So, if you otherwise feel confident about your CCRC decision, don’t let worries about packing up all of your “stuff” be the thing that is holding you back from making your CCRC move.