Courtesy of the New York Times. To read the full article, please click here.
Patricia Wendler had been trying to sell her Southport, N.C., home for four years. Just before Thanksgiving, she finally got an offer, with one major contingency: Mrs. Wendler, 80, had less than three weeks to move, or no deal.
She and her husband, who died in 2008, had retired to Southport 16 years ago from New Hartford, N.Y. In that time, the Wendlers had accumulated furniture that wouldn’t fit in her new apartment, tools she wouldn’t need and years upon years of paperwork. “I kind of stored everything,” she said.
Her daughter-in-law, June Wendler, described the task of relocation as a “tornado.” She called Jane Roberts, a senior move manager in Wilmington, N.C., for help.
Initially, Patricia Wendler was not thrilled.
“I was a little resentful,” she said. “Why would I need someone like that? I’m not used to having people do things for me.”
The Wendlers are among more than 50,000 families to hire a certified senior move manager this year, up from 30,000 just two years ago, according to the National Association of Senior Move Managers. These services don’t come cheap: Most move managers charge $25 to $60 per hour. A top-to-bottom move can require several days of planning, packing and unpacking, running $1,500 to $4,000 or more — not including the cost of the actual movers.
Despite the expense, many families are finding senior move managers indispensable, and not just because they handle the logistics. Tensions can spill over when an elderly parent must relocate. Hundreds of necessary decisions and actions can swallow time the family may not have; the inevitable negotiations and concessions can trouble even the best parent-child relationships.