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Helping Aging Parents Relocate

"The decision to move may be a choice, or it may be a necessity...Relocation services can take on the planning, organizing, co-ordination and supervision."

Leaving and disposing of the family home is among the most highly charged decisions that face families who are in age-related transitions. Often it's the most tangible symbol of another loss - of health or mobility, or loss of a loved one.

It's hard to prepare for the emotional upheaval of moving a parent to a retirement residence or care facility. It's also difficult to dispose of the family home and contents while grieving the loss of a parent.

These moves and house clearings may involve family members, executors or persons exercising powers of attorney. The decision to move may be a choice, or it may be a necessity.

Families in this situation can turn to the special services provided by relocation managers. These businesses often specialize in "senior moves", as well as house clearing and estate services. 

"We're definitely dealing with a grieving process," says Dawn Rennie, President of Transitions Inc., which operates throughout Western Canada. "Often, people haven't anticipated the emotions that come with a loss or with moving on after change."

Dealing with the family home adds another burden at a difficult time. Belongings need to be divided between family and friends. Valuables need to be appraised, sometimes disposed of. After that, it's packing, supervising the move and preparing the home for sale. All these tasks are time-consuming and can involve complex decisions.
The fact that many families are scattered geographically complicates things further. Others simply don't have the time or physical ability to do the job. Seniors may have no family close by. One elderly spouse may be managing a move for the other. All face physical and emotional challenges when moving house. 

"One of the hardest things can be dealing with the paperwork," says Rennie. "Some clients feel overwhelmed because the other spouse always looked after it. They're quite relieved when we tell them we're used to dealing with computers and call centres for all the arrangements that need to be made!"

Our aging population means seniors' relocation and house clearing services are becoming in ever greater demand. For families at a distance, both the logistical help and local support are plusses. An outside party may bring an objective view to the many decisions that must be made. They can be the extra pair(s) of hands that help with the preparation and coordination. Sometimes, the cost of family travel and taking time off work can be greater than the cost of hiring outside help.

"When the move is finally completed, clients are often pleased and relieved to walk into a new place where they're still surrounded by many of their favorite things," Rennie explains. "That can make it easier to let go of the past and start anew."
Relocation services take on the planning, organizing, co-ordination and supervision. For more information on what's involved, visit

Vol. 4, No. 13
� ElderWise Publishing 2008.
You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical direction to Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter.



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