later life move

Later Life Move: Why? When? Where?

There are advantages to ‘aging in place’ and more services are available to help you stay in your home longer. But it may not be the best solution for you. You may want to consider a later life move.

Why Make a Later Life Move?


Are you retired, or soon to retire? This usually means a change in income. A later life move could have financial advantages for you. If you don’t have a financial advisor, finding one may be the first step in your investigation process. For quick financial calculations, including how a move could change your finances, try this online tool from Boston College.

Tired of Home Maintenance

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the expenses and the responsibilities of maintaining a home? As there is less you can do yourself, expenses of hiring work done increase. You may not have reliable people to hire for landscaping, snow removal, repairs and updates. And you may dread having to deal with getting estimates and dealing with the issues that come up during the contract. It might be time to consider a later life move to a rented apartment or downsizing to a condo.

Want to Travel

Are you ready to travel? Many seniors prefer to spend their winters in a better climate. A move could lessen the worries of property at home and it could also free up some money to make travel possible.

Be Closer to The Action

Would you like to be closer to something or someone? Maybe you would like to be able to walk to a grocery or a restaurant. Perhaps you would like to live closer to your grandchildren. Would you like to be closer to friends and activities you enjoy. Are you tired of driving everywhere? Maybe a new location could allow you to give up driving. Most of the reasons for a later life move have financial implications. But, this one is about a choice of lifestyle.

Unused Rooms

Do you have unused rooms? Those extra rooms are costing you money. Sure it’s nice to have them if the kids come home to visit, but it is no doubt less costly and better for the environment to put them up in a hotel than to maintain those empty rooms.

Cash In On Home Equity

Can you make big money by selling your home now? If your home has appreciated a lot since you purchased it, now might be a good time to cash in on that appreciation by selling and putting the money towards your retirement income.

When Is the Right Time to Move?

Sooner Rather Than Later

If you have been thinking you will eventually move, sooner may be better than later. Moving doesn’t get any easier with time. The sooner you make the move, the more in control you will be, the more adaptable you will be to your new lifestyle, and the more time you will have to enjoy the benefits of the move.

Middle of the Month

If you are wondering what time of the month is best, movers are less busy between about the 12th and 20th of the month.

If you would like to organize your move, including your timeline, on your i-pad or smart phone, consider the 5 apps reviewed in this article.

Where will I move?

You probably have a lot of choices and that makes it even harder to decide. It’s important to have some idea of how you would like to live, what sort of activities you want to pursue, and who you would like to be close to. Plus, how much can you afford?

And then you have to think about the future. Will the location still work if you decline with age? Will you still be easily able to get to essential services? Will you have some people around for support? If you need care, can it be provided without another move? There will always be compromises and trade-offs when choosing a new location.

Information about homes of various styles for sale or rent can be provided by a good realtor. If you are looking into retirement residences in Ontario, the Ontario Retirement Communities Association ORCA website is a great source of information.


Downsizing; What Will I Do With My Stuff

Many Seniors have a lifetime worth of possessions in their homes. Deciding what to do about these is a major concern when downsizing to a smaller residence. In fact, it may feel so overwhelming that a move which could improve quality of life is delayed.

When we work with you, Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services will help you with downsizing. We will coach you through the decisions and help you deal with the items you no longer need. Even if you are not planning to move for quite some time, doing some downsizing of your ‘stuff’ may take a weight of your mind. If you worry about saddling your family with an unpleasant task, you might want to start downsizing your items now. It is also easier to maintain a home with fewer items. And, if you ever need a walker you will appreciate some extra open space to get around.

Ready to start working with us?

Check out Services and Rates OR Contact us. If you aren’t ready to hire helpers, we have provided some tips to help you downsize on your own.

Tips for Downsizing

Set a Goal

The starting point of downsizing is to set a goal. How will you know you are done? For example, you could decide to downsize a collection to only as many as will fit onto one shelf unit, and have it done before you get the room painted. Or, you could decide to deal with all the extra items stored in your guest room so you can have guests stay over this summer. These downsizing goals are fairly ambitious but still achievable. They are specific and they have an approximate time frame for completion.

Research Resources

Do some research as to what you can do with unneeded items. Consider who might appreciated getting them as gifts. Determine if the items have enough value to be worthwhile selling them. Find out if charities will accept them as donations. For example, musty smelling books and old National Geographic Magazines are not accepted. Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services can help you with this information. We can also recommend people who can appraise and sell your more valuable items for a commission fee.

Assemble Supplies

The next step is to assemble any supplies you will need. If you will be packing up some items you will need suitable boxes, paper, tape, markers and some labels.

Schedule Short Sessions

Now it’s time to start sorting. Break your job into blocks of time. Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated. Also break the task into smaller areas. Start in the less used rooms. Make decisions about big items first to give yourself an instant sense of accomplishment. If there are some items that will bring up strong emotions, tackle this part of downsizing when you are feeling strong.

Decide What to Keep

The first decision is whether to keep the item. Try to limit keepers to items which are frequently used or bring you great joy. One organizer recommends holding each item in turn and considering how it makes you feel. My recommendation is to first try to make a decision without touching the item. As soon as you pick it up you are more likely to keep it. But if it’s still a maybe, perhaps picking it up and feeling the associated emotions will get you to the final decision.

Don’t be paralyzed by a fear of making the mistake of getting rid of something you should have kept. There will be mistakes. What you must consider is the risk. Can the piece be easily replaced if it turns out to be a mistake?

Remember the item itself is not the memory. Maybe a photograph of the item would be just as precious. Instead of having a bulky item stored away, you could take a picture of the item and display it so as to bring you happy memories every time you glance at it.

Decide What To Do With Unwanted Items

Once you have decided that you don’t need to keep an item, decide what you want to do with it. Do you want to give it as a gift and to whom? Do you want to donate it and where? Do you want to sell it and how? You can either separate the items physically into piles according to their destination. Or you can use colour coded labels for each destination.

Get Help

Perhaps having a friend or family member with you work on downsizing might help you keep on track. We find when working with our clients on sorting belongings, when they reminisce and tell us about the item, it sometimes helps them decide to let it go. Don’t pick a partner who can’t appreciate the sentimental value for you or one who is impatient with the time it may take for you to let some items go. The process is naturally stressful at first, but as you get into it, your anxiety should decrease. If the process is getting more painful, maybe you have picked the wrong sorting partner.

Time’s Up, Clean Up

When you have had enough don’t push it. A couple of hours is often plenty. Clean up, take out the trash, pat yourself on the back and continue again another day. Also, sending items on to their destinations on a regular basis helps you stick to your decisions and starts to free up space sooner.

How We Work With You

When we work with you, it will be in short sessions. At the start of a session we will discuss what we want to accomplish with you. At the end of the session, we may leave you with a few items you can do for homework before we meet again. We may also talk about what we would like to do in our next session together. We like to alternate between hard to decide and easier areas.

If you are sorting before a move, and time is short, we have some shortcuts to help you get finished in time. For example, paperwork and pictures are very time consuming to sort. We may decide that we have to move them to the new home and allow you to sort them out at your leisure after the move.

Pulling everything out to sort can make your home very messy and downright dangerous. When we work with you we try to break the work into projects within each room. We aim to finish one project and clean up before going to the next. During the process we are very conscious about avoiding hazards such as tripping or allergic reactions. If you are doing a sort for yourself, try to break it up this way. Do one thing at a time and the process won’t be so disruptive, stressful and dangerous.

Sorry, We Don’t Work With Hoarders

Unfortunately, Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services does not work with hoarders at this time. The issues are all magnified when a person suffers from hoarding. The problem is often compounded by health and safety issues in the home. A lasting solution requires professional treatment of the disease, as well as special techniques for working with the client throughout the clean up. We do not currently have adequate resources and training to serve hoarders properly.

See a list of our services and rates.

moving tips

Moving Tips, Ensuring a Smooth Move

You may have been planning a move for years and can take a couple of months to get organized, prepared and packed for the big day. Or, maybe a sudden change of circumstances mean you only have a couple of weeks or less. The better organized you can be, the smoother your move will be. Here are some moving tips. These are things we do for our clients at Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services.

Ready to start working with us?

Check out Services and Rates OR Contact us. Otherwise, we hope you will find the following moving tips useful.

Moving Tips

1. Start with a time line.

Right from our first meeting with you as a client we begin to establish time frames. When will you get possession of your new home? Do you have a possession date when you will have to have cleared out the current home? When will move day be? Ideally you will have 8 weeks to get ready, but often there will only be a couple of weeks to do everything.

2. Keep a complete Moving To Do List.

List everything which must be done. Decide who will do it and when. Tick off items as they are competed. Review this list often and try to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

3. A move binder is a great tool.

Besides your Moving To Do List you will have Mover’s Estimates, Contracts, Service Providers’ contact information, your Time Line, Change of Address lists, travel plans. You may also add a list of boxes and their contents as you pack. Keep anything and everything in binder. Keep it with you on move day – don’t pack it.

4. Label your boxes by room.

That is, label them according to which room they go into in the new home. You can also colour code each box with a different colour for each room. Post a legend of the meaning of your colours for the movers. You may also want to post a coloured label at the door of each room, corresponding to your system.

5. Hire Expert Movers

You want a company of competent and reliable movers where your belongings will be insured. Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services recommends movers who meet these criteria.
Here is a video from Government of Ontario about your rights when hiring a mover in Ontario.

6. Call Ahead

Book elevators, moving rooms, etc. early. And follow up a day or two before the move with a confirmation call to everyone involved.

7. Keep important papers and valuables with you.

Set them aside in a safe place ahead of the movers loading the truck so they don’t get swept up and loaded on.

8. Take a Basic Survival Kit

On a long distance move consider that you may arrive at your new home before the moving truck does. Also, it takes longer than you think to unload the whole truck and get set up. You may want to take a basic survival kit of any supplies you may need while waiting.

One nice feature of having Rearrangements Relocation and Transitions services supervising on your move day is that you are not stuck waiting while the movers unload. You are encouraged NOT to be in attendance during loading and unloading because it is hectic and somewhat hazardous. You will be able to go to a store or a restaurant or a hotel, anywhere you can stay to be as comfortable as possible during unloading, unpacking and setup time.

See a list of our services and rates.

new home floor plan

Making Your New Home Feel Like Home

Making your new home feel like home right away will help you adapt to your new environment. The sooner you adjust, the less stress you will feel.

Not all stress is bad. You might be excited about making a move. Moving to your new home should have some benefits, even if the move wasn’t something you planned.

However, changing everything all at once could be too much. We think it is better to start off in your new home with as many similarities as possible. Then, when it truly feels like home to you, you can consider phasing in a few changes if you wish.

Ready to start working with us?

Check out Services and Rates OR Contact us. If you are confident that you have the support you need to unpack and set up on your own, then please accept the following tips. We hope they will help get you settled in with ease.

Plan thoroughly for your new home.

If space is tight in the new home, measure and draw a scale plan. Measure the furniture you would like to take and plot it onto the scale plan. Rearrangements Relocation and Transition Services uses computer software to create plans. The software can also give you a 3D view. making it easier to visualize how things will look. A detailed plan is helpful in making tough choices about which furniture to bring. Have the plan available for the movers on move day to so the movers can set up without having to ask you about everything.

How do you go about making your new home feel like home?

1. Arrange things in the same order.

If the cups were always on the the right side of your sink, put them in the same place in your new kitchen. Was the nightstand always on the left side of your bed? Put it in the same place in your new bedroom. Having things in the same spatial relationship will keep you from feeling totally disoriented.

This tactic is extremely important for those who are suffering from some memory loss or dementia. If you are helping a person move who has these problems, take plenty of pictures of how things were laid out and use those to recreate the layout as closely as possible in the new home.

2. Keep the furniture you use the most.

As we age our world tends to shrink. Do you sit in one favourite chair? You likely have a bed you are used to – it could even be a sofa. If it is possible to take the pieces you actually use to your new home, you will be more comfortable. A time may come for their replacement, but doing it now just increases the magnitude of disruption caused by a move.

3. Surround yourself with the things that bring the most joy and comfort.

If you are downsizing, keep only things you use frequently and things which have happy memories. When you are keeping something because you love it, find a way to use it. You may have to seek some creative solutions if you end up with more pictures than walls. But, if you are keeping them you should be able to see them.

4. Don’t feel obligated to keep things.

Don’t feel obligated to keep things you inherited or were given as gifts if they don’t meet the useful or joyful criteria. Perhaps you can hand down the family heirlooms to the next generation and give the gifts to someone who will appreciate them more. If you find it impossible to part with them, even though they don’t suit you, perhaps you can repaint or recover or re-purpose them so they will meet your criteria. Think of this as adding your own chapter to the item’s story.

5. Get unpacked and set up quickly.

Don’t live in a pile of boxes because you don’t have the strength or the will to unpack. It’s unsafe and unhealthy. Ask for help. One of the things people like most about using a our service is that we do the hard work of unpacking and setting up so that our clients can walk in to a new home that already feels like home.

See a list of our services and rates.

Selling a Home

Selling a Home – Seniors’ Needs and Priorities

Selling a Home Requires Preparation

Selling a home has changed a lot in the past decade. You may not realize how many things are different.

Selling a home ‘as is’ used to make sense. Why invest in a property you are leaving? The buyer will want to put his own stamp on it anyway, right? Actually studies have shown that now buyers prefer move-in ready homes over those which need some work. Selling a home which needs fix-ups attracts wholesale buyers. They will offer substantially less for your property. Having the work done yourself keeps you in control of the costs. If you leave it for the buyer he will reduce his offer by ten times your repair cost to protect himself.

Put your home into proper condition so it will sell quickly and for top dollar. If repairs and maintenance have been deferred, bring it up to date before you put your home up for sale.

It is also a good idea to make sure your home decor is up to date and not too taste specific. After about ten years much of your decor will be out of style. For example, drapes with tie backs and swag valences are now out of style. Even though they were expensive, they are not an asset now. Wallpaper borders are dated and wallpaper of any kind is not likely to impress today’s buyers. The exception is if you have an historical or period home, in which case you can reflect some of the styles of the period in your decor.

Preparations for Selling a Home Cause Stress

There is a downside to making updates. Even minor renovations and rearrangements in your home add to your relocation stress. Coupled with a move the stress of change and renovations may prove intolerable. The ideal way to minimize your stress level is to move FIRST, and then prepare the home for sale.

Can’t Avoid Change? Phase It In

If it is impossible to move before selling a home, consider taking more time for your preparations and phase in the changes gradually. There also may be some trade-offs in how many changes can be made. Rearrangements Home Staging can help you create a plan of action which will get you the most bang for the buck with the least disruption. We are not only experts at preparing homes to sell, we are also mindful of Senior clients’ requirements. Find out more about real estate staging on Rearrangements Home Staging website.

Use a Project Manager

Do you dislike finding and dealing with contractors? Do you think you will get ripped off? Rearrangements Home Staging has experienced residential renovation project managers who will deal with contractors on your behalf. They make sure needed work will be done efficiently and effectively. This will help a lot with your stress when selling a home.

Get a Pre-Sale Inspection Before Selling a Home

We recommend getting a pre-sale home inspection before you put your home on the market. You might wonder why, when the buyer is likely to hire their own inspector anyway. Simply put, knowledge is power. Being in control reduces stress. The information from your pre-sale inspection enables you to address any issues pro-actively. You won’t be blind sided when the buyer’s home inspector finds something and, as a result, buyers either withdraw their offer or drop their price.

Hire a Real Estate Agent Who Understands Needs of Seniors

You need a real estate agent who has experience in your neighbourhood and your type of home. He or she must also recognize the special needs of Seniors. You need someone flexible in the way they work with you. If you need more explanation, they should provide it freely. Need more time; they should not rush. If you must make some compromise between extensive redecoration and price reductions, they should explain the possible impact of your decision, but, acknowledge that it is YOUR decision.

See a list of our services and rates.

Relocation stress syndrome

Avoid Relocation Stress Syndrome (RSS)

What is Relocation Stress Syndrome?

Relocation Stress Syndrome or RSS, an official nursing diagnosis, is brought on by a move from one home to another. Symptoms, which can last for a year or more, are dependency, confusion, anxiety, depression and withdrawal. Moving changes circumstances and brings a new environment. It can take a long time for us to adjust. Researchers found that older individuals can take longer to adjust than younger people and are more likely to suffer symptoms of RSS.

RSS Is Worsened By Sudden Moves and Considerable Loss

Relocation Stress Syndrome becomes worse when a move comes suddenly and losses are considerable. Both circumstances are often the case for seniors. Seniors’ moves are often made necessary by a sudden illness, loss of mobility or loss of a partner. These losses are stressful in themselves without adding a move. A move may also change usual routines and lifestyle. Sometimes moves include loss of proximity to family, friends and giving up pets.

Downsizing to a smaller space usually requires giving up many of the possessions collected over a lifetime. Often these are reminders of precious memories. Losing some ‘defining’ possessions may even feel like a loss of identity. This identity loss may not seem rational to some, but it is real and increases relocation stress.

Physical Demands of Moving May Cause Health Problems

Going through everything in the home to get ready for a move is physically demanding too. Reaching, climbing, lifting, bending as well as extra walking and standing are required. There may be exposure to allergens like dust and other health hazards. Without adequate help, these conditions could cause a catastrophe for a Senior and add to the emotional challenges they are facing.

Risks for Seniors in Preparing Home for Sale

For Seniors, preparing the current home for sale is another challenge. Circumstances before the move may have lead to deferred maintenance and repairs. Usually decor has not been updated to suit tastes of current home buyers. Besides the emotional loss of selling their home, Seniors risk financial loss from reduced offers if they are unable to make the necessary repairs and updates. A poorly prepared home will attract lower offers and will take longer to sell. However, if they are still living in the home, the change and disruption necessary to put it in sale condition can make RSS more likely.

Lessen Severity of Relocation Stress Syndrome

Move First, Sell After

To avoid compounding the severity of relocation stress brought on by the changes associated with a move, it is the ideal situation to make the move first. Then the repairs and redecoration necessary to get the most equity out of the home can take place with less impact on the Senior.

Maintain a Sense of Control

The severity of Relocation Stress Syndrome can be lessened by regaining a sense of control. The person being moved should participate in the decision making according to their capability. Minimizing the amount of change helps. If surroundings and routine remain familiar, the transition will be easier.

Break Down the Job and Get Help

Careful preparation and adequate, appropriate support before, during and after a move helps lessen RSS. Downsizing requires many tough decisions and is often overwhelming for seniors. It is best broken into small chunks and done with help.

Don’t Rely Entirely on Family and Friends

Even if there are family and friends who want to help, the time commitment may be too great. Since they probaby don’t handle this sort of undertaking every day, they may lack some expertise and resources. For Seniors, having to rely on family and friends is another blow to their sense of independence and control. It may seem too big a favour to ask. They might be dreading the family squabbles this sort of project often causes.

Hire a Specialist to Coordinate the Move

A team approach is best. Each situation is different, but assistance may be required from a variety of medical, social services, financial and legal experts, movers, contractors, cleaners, executors, powers of attorney, family members and friends. A professional who can pull together a good team and co-ordinate their efforts throughout the move process will be invaluable. This is the role of a Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS).

Certified Relocation and Transitions Specialists find the necessary resources to fill in the gaps in their client’s support team. They use their expertise to co-ordinate the move plan and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. They are trained to help Senior clients retain a sense of control and choice, along with their personal identity, independence and dignity. They want to help their senior clients capture their legacy to share with future generations. CRTS have the ultimate goal of helping their clients avoid Relocation Stress Syndrome and all its symptoms.