With my involvement in the Long Island Chapter of the National Aging In Place Council (NAIPC) I have the opportunity to meet many successful people who assist seniors and their caregivers in dealing with situations in their life that come with an aging population.
One of the areas I wasn’t aware of was a “Senior Move Manager”. You might think, “What’s the difference between a younger couple and senior?” The answer…ALOT.
Recently I have the chance to sit down with Diane Landau, the owner of Memories On The Move and a fellow member of the NAIPC and she was gracious enough to shed some light on the topic for me.
Tell Me About Yourself
I have Bachelors degree in Organizational Management. I first got the idea for Memories On The Move as a result of my own experiences dealing with my mother’s physical decline. She developed frontal lobe dementia and it became necessary for me and my husband to take her in.
Mom was declining to the point where she stayed with me and I would spend my weekends traveling to upstate NY and work on the disposing of and cleaning of the house, which was an enormous job for a house on 7 acres of property.
Back then, the only thing I did was started picking people out of the phone book to help with the clean out…and there problems aplenty.
The property once had a gas station on it so there were environmental problems. And then you have to deal with the “dumpster divers”, people who will show up at all hours of the night rummaging through the dumpster for perceived valuables.
It look many weekend trips and one very long week up there to finally get it all done. And to top this off, I had to try and sell the property while living 180 miles away.
Throughout the entire process I just kept thinking to myself…no one should ever have to do this alone. It has a huge job physically and I had no idea of the emotional side of it either. It was really tough as someone who was so close to the situation to make an objective decision as to whether or not we should get rid of some of the family heirlooms or not.
That’s one of the things I specialize in now, being that neutral voice to assist the clients I serve in making these decisions.
What Is Your Education In The Elder Care Field?
In addition to being a Licensed Real Estate Agent and a Senior Real Estate Specialist, I also am a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).
I had to go to Boston to get my certification, pass the test and take mandatory continuing education classes to keep my certifications.
What prompted you to start MemoriesOnTheMove.com?
I saw a unique niche as a result of the experiences that I had with my mother.
I like to move their memories but not their stuff. And I could see the value in what I was doing.
For example, floor plans become very important when moving from your home to a condo or apartment. You are going to a smaller place, so you can’t take it all with you.
You can’t have the dining room table AND the kitchen table. Your new place will be too small.
Same thing with your old bed in many instances. Most of my clients realize that the king or queen size bed is out. More likely would be a twin bed…or two twins put together.
But what is unique about what I do is I understand how emotionally tough this could be…for a widow to go from a queen size to a twin size bed.
Another important aspect is timing. Sometimes, if the downsize is because one of the spouses has passed away, it can be too soon for some people emotionally. So I also can provide guidance on when the surviving spouse will be ready for a move like this to their children.
Can Anything Else Necessitate A Move?
The make up of the existing home, especially stairs, which can cut off the senior from half of their house.
The other thing to think of is that alot of seniors don’t necessarily take especially good care of their house. Their “Mr. Fix It” days are over. So this contributes to the possibility of a fall or an injury which could require a move at that point.
How is an NASMM Member Different Than A Regular Mover?
We are different than a moving company because they will pack everything…including the garbage. I work one-on-one with people so they can choose the important stuff and help them choose the stuff they have to get rid of it they can’t, which happens far more than you could imagine.
And most NASMM members can handle any size job…I have a crew of 6-7 people to help pack the house if needed.
I will also call a dealer I know if there are heirlooms that need to be sold. If it can’t be sold then I try to donate it to charity or to low income housing…anything to keep it out of the landfill.
Next, I have a cleaning service come in to scour the house to make it perfect for resale or rental. And as a realtor now because I know the house I am in the best position to sell the house.
And finally, I take pictures before anything moves so that I can put stuff back as close to possible the way that it was in their house. I set the coffee table up this way, the furniture up this way, the bookshelves up this way…it helps to add a sense that their memories are going with them.
To hire a senior move manager…the initial consultation is free. But the total cost could vary, especially if the client is one of the “hoarders”. They normally dont let you complete the job.
About Diane Landau:
If you are in the NY Metro area and need the advice of a Senior Move Manager, contact Diane Landau at 516-357-9820. I am called in by elder law attorneys and realtors when there is an estate too. Many of these homes are still full of clothing, housewares and furniture. It is my job to not only clean out the house, but to maintain it until sale too.
That means watching the amount of oil in the tank, having the walk shoveled in winter, the lawn maintained in the summer, and making sure everything is in working order. I become the property manager. I sometimes replace appliances and have floors polished as well. My job is very diversified.
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