There comes a time when an elderly person can no longer manage their home or live alone, and the grown children begin to realize that their parents or aging loved ones need to either move to an assisted living residence, or downsize, remodel, and modify the design of the current home to age-in-place.
The aging parents have most likely lived in the home for 30 years or more, and with that have collected a lifetime full of memories and stuff. Furniture, china, silver, collectibles, family heirlooms, art work precious photo albums, clothing, holiday decorations, the entire contents of the kitchen, medicines, hazardous household chemicals, gasoline cans, the lawn mower, snow thrower………the list goes on.
Someone needs to go through all of these items and prepare the home either for sale or remodeling, but where to start? What do we keep? Is this painting an original? How much is that figurine collection really worth? Do we sell, donate, or throw it all away? Who keeps the money from the proceeds of the sale of valuable items? In most cases, the responsibility falls to the children. It is up to them to make these decisions, which are always the most difficult because of the memories and emotional attachment to the home and its contents, and what it represents to the aging loved one. The elderly parents don’t want to get rid of all of their things and possessions, let alone move from the only home they know to a one-bedroom apartment with a bathroom and a small kitchen.
It is a very complicated process, and the roller coaster of emotions and feelings that one goes through during such a dramatic life change can be extremely overwhelming for everyone involved. Often times, old grudges or disappointments that were experienced by siblings when they were growing up come to light, which adds to the stress of completing the project at hand. But it has to be done, and the process of determining what goes to the new residence and what is sold, given away or donated can be emotionally draining and time consuming. Combine all of this with the fact that most adult children of aging parents live out of state and are busy with their own careers and families and cannot dedicate the time and energy that is necessary to cleaning out a home.
This is where a trained professional comes in to help with all of these difficult decisions and tasks. There are so many different companies and organizations to choose from that the task of finding the right one to manage the transition and relocation can alone be overwhelming.
There are many factors to consider when making the decision to hire someone to manage the most intimate details of your family’s lives. Because you are putting your faith and trust in this person or company to do the right thing and work in your family’s best interest, you have to ask a lot of questions and find out as much information as possible during the initial interview and consultation.
Ask them what their role is, and whether they will be on-site during the project. Inquire about their liability insurance – a must for any project, large or small. What are their fees and the payment structure? Request a written contract before any work can begin. Do your homework and research – find out everything you can about a company or individual before signing on the dotted line. And always ask for references. References should be readily provided, and be sure to contact those people and ask them about their experience with the company and whether they recommend working with them.
Finally, the most important question to ask is whether they are CRTS® Certified. The Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist® credential, otherwise known as CRTS®, was the first to establish industry standards for Late Life Home Transitions™, going one step further to support and maintain these standards through examination and evaluation of core competencies.
It is also important to note that a CRTS® isn’t limited to assisting the elderly and aging population. Many projects are contracted with those who are 50+, not yet retired, “empty nesters” who are looking to downsize their current home and move to a condo, apartment, or single-level home. They want to make a lifestyle change that involves making difficult decisions about what to take with them, and they see the value in hiring a professional who is trained and specializes in helping their clients make the right decision, not just based on emotional attachments.
In the important but unregulated field of senior relocation and home transition services, it is important to define a body of individuals who truly understand and support the social, medical and emotional struggles faced by older adults and their families as they navigate late life changes to their home environment. Certification is proof of competency in a particular field.
The Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist (CRTS)® designation is the ONLY CERTIFICATION that encompasses the “Senior Home Transition,” “Senior Relocation,” and “Senior Move” fields. Members of the CRTS® Professional Registry support older adults and their families as they move, organize, downsize, sell and remodel their homes.
Disciplines within the industry include, but are not limited to, realty, care giving, senior housing, professional organizing, home staging, design, contract work, moving, move management, estate sale and auction.
If you have any questions or for more information on hiring a Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist, please fill out the form below or contact us directly at 623-337-8277.