Helping seniors make the big move

Jack Armitage and his wife, Joan, stand outside

Jack Armitage and his wife, Joan, stand outside their new home at the "Knolls" senior housing community in East Meadow. (Sept. 12, 2013) (Credit: Heather Walsh )

Aging adults face unique and often overwhelming emotional and physical challenges when it's time to make adjustments to their living arrangements. Senior move managers are specialists who can help with chores such as downsizing and relocating or modifying a home for aging in place -- and they may do lots of hand-holding, too.

"My job description changes daily," says Diane Landau, owner of Memories on the Move in East Meadow. She recently helped Jack Armitage, 83, and his wife, Joan, 80, to reduce 10 rooms' and nearly six decades' worth of family history and accumulated household stuff to fit comfortably into a three-room co-op she'd helped them find.

Their family was just as grateful for the emotional support as they were for the help with the move. "I can't say enough about this woman," says the Armitages' daughter, Michelle Procida, 54. "She's been so patient, so kind, so helpful, through probably the most difficult time in my parents' life. There's so much change."


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Indeed, even seemingly small changes can present big challenges for the aged, says Barbara Feldman, owner of A Nu Start in Manhasset, a senior relocation service. "Older people have a hard time making a lot of the changes -- the cable and the TV and the electronics. They don't understand, so we help them."

The National Association of Senior Move Managers quotes a general price range of $40 to $125 per hour for services such as downsizing, packing, moving and space planning for the new residence. But that doesn't tell the whole story. Landau says she has helped clients with needs as varied as personal shopping, applying for veteran's benefits, arranging for handyman services, shredding documents and staging their homes for sale.

"That is why I do a free initial consultation. Every residence is different. Some jobs are priced per job, others hourly," she says.

For instance, the price to create a space plan for the new home would start at $275, depending on the complexity of the layout and the size of the home, Landau says.

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