November 4, 2009

Why you should not let the “fear” of moving delay your senior housing decision.


…And what we can do to help.

By Dan Dolan
Dan Dolan Homes

What will we do with all our stuff?” That is often the first expression of concern that I hear when a potential buyer of one of our senior-friendly homes thinks they may want to make the move. And the feeling of apprehension is real. And it can be a barrier to taking action in a timely manner. We see it often. All-too-often.

But it shouldn’t be THE reason why the decision to move is delayed. For instance, the visitors I meet at my weekly open houses have generally been thinking about the real need to move for a long time. Maybe it’s the inability to navigate stairs in their current two-story home. Or to maintain the once stately yard and its now mature plantings. Or perhaps the current home is way too large—or too far from family. The reasons can be many. And varied. And well thought out. But I will admit that the thought of moving can be daunting. Decisions of what to do with Uncle Albert’s antique bedroom set or the boxes of “stuff” the now adult children left behind while they moved about the country. One recent buyer of one of our new homes had to clear out a basement full of her late husband’s antique model trains and automobiles. The process took days.

Now vs. next year

What many of my relatives and friends who have made the decision tell me is that “last year” is when they really should have made the move. But since that didn’t happen, the next best time is now. Today. This week. This month.

An “incident” is often the final straw that dictates the action. Perhaps it’s a sudden bad medical report. Or a broken hip. Or a deteriorating knee condition.. Situations that now make it harder to move than it would have been “last year”

For those who cannot bear to part with anything, I reassure them that the two-car garage and the full basement in all our homes will allow them to store as many of their possessions as they elect to keep. I do, however, remind them that moving represents the perfect opportunity (excuse?) to lighten up on the cherished collections of dishes, furniture, and the gifts that may still remain in their original cartons. That decision can be emotional but what the family chooses not to keep, the Discovery Shop, Cinderella’s Cellar, Salvation Army, Goodwill and a range of resale shops are always delighted to redistribute.

Excellent moving help available locally

Many seniors have family members in the area who can help. Children, grand children, nieces and nephews can all be helpful and reassuring in a move. However, when it comes to the need to pack and stack and load the truck then unpack it all at the new location, we are very fortunate in the area to have excellent, honest and reliable moving services that can do it all for you. Some services have been doing it for years and their success is based on the word of mouth of enthusiastic prior users who are all-too-happy to refer their favorite mover for your use. We often help in that process. And surprisingly, local family-owned moving companies can be very cost effective in getting you packed and moved reliably and well.

If there’s a need to dispose of “collections” be it books, trains, stamps, coins or antique furniture we likewise have access to services who can appraise and liquidate those collections fairly and honestly. Many have been doing it for years and have earned the respect and confidence of the community.

Many other reasons for “now”

As I have said many times previously in these columns, I see no evidence of new construction costs declining suggesting that a delay can save money for a home buyer. Conversely, I see no evidence that an ageing roof or heating system in an existing home will be worth more “next year” than it is today. And while we continue to see Quad City homes appreciate over time, the gap between the rising cost of new construction and the growth of appreciation in existing homes seems to widen every year.

In the final analysis….

The more critical question for ageing homeowners is whether the current home will allow the family to “age in place.” And if so, at what cost? Few homes built 20, 30 or 40 years ago were ever designed with that issue in mind. Three and four (or more) entry steps; narrow doorways; crooked staircases; multi living levels; basement laundries; small, high-maintenance showers or tubs without safety grab bars are all among the factors that limit mobility in older homes. Outside the home, high maintenance lawns/yards; annual leaves in the gutters; lack of sidewalks; maintenance of septic systems and wells and the inconvenience of a detached garage are some of the factors that contribute further to reduced quality of living and possible increased operating costs. One recent visitor to our homes cited a yearly quote of $840 to mow her lawn plus the additional cost of snow removal. For $65 a month we handle both lawn maintenance and snow removal. And how energy efficient is the current home?

Let us help

If your own thoughts about your future housing needs has led you to give serious thought about those next steps but the thought of doing it seems scary, visit one of our open houses this weekend. Talk to me in Blue Grass or Muscatine or to Don Gibeault at our Davenport location and see what we can do to help. I think you’ll be impressed with our homes and our ability to make the whole process a lot easier than perhaps you thought possible. And our advice continues to suggest that now is a lot better than next year. I can be reached at 570-1460 and Don’s mobile number is 650-8007.

Filed Under: Community, Health & Wellness, Retirement

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