By Cameron Early, Managing Director at Golden Years Home Transitions, our Lead Home Transition Professionals at Heather Hill Pathways.
Meeting clients for the first time often requires tissues. No matter who made the decision, it is while sitting in the lounge room with a cup of tea in front of us, that it becomes real for the first time. The process of leaving the family home after many years of memories of celebrations and struggles is an incredibly difficult and confronting one. It is no surprise that many older people struggle emotionally with this final move from the family home.
Our clients’ needs are often similar, requiring liaison, planning, organising, packing, and coordinating but most of all we are hand holders. With family increasingly scattered geographically and being time poor, we often find we are the substitute son or daughter offering practical and emotional support.
Unlike the well-regulated Senior Move Management industry in the United States, assistance to move out of the family home for older people has been a neglected area in Australia, with many falling through the gaps and struggling to cope with the complexities and logistics of downsizing, selling, and moving. Since 2012, Golden Years Home Transitions has helped hundreds of seniors to move from their homes into residential aged care or retirement living. Sometimes we work side by side with sons, daughters, social workers, placement agents and hospital staff, and sometimes our Transition Manager is the only one assisting in the entire process.
The emotional move often means that details are forgotten, so we assist to coordinate and manage the right real estate agent, organise quotes, plan moving day, coordinate with the age care facility or retirement village, call utility companies, rehome pets, cancel the newspapers etc. But most of all, we find that what older people need is to be listened to and reassured through this complex and stressful transition as it has a great impact on their health and future wellbeing.
It might take a little bit of hand holding and a cuddle, but it can often make a measurable difference.