Relocating to a Nursing Home? A Senior Move Manager Can Help

Many residents have shared with me the experience of leaving their homes suddenly because of a medical emergency, only to find themselves unable to return. Now living in the nursing home, it’s difficult for them to wrap up their affairs in their former home, causing depression, anxiety, and a loss of control. In this post, guest blogger Katie Hustead of Paper Moon Moves describes how Senior Move Managers can assist residents and their families with the move to a nursing home. — Dr. El

Katie Hustead, on right

Downsizing and transitioning into a nursing home

By: Katie Hustead

Owner and Senior Move Manager, Paper Moon Moves

Their stories are unique but share a common thread:

  • A woman in her eighties finds she suddenly can no longer live independently after she falls and breaks a bone; she can’t manage with an aide in her walk-up apartment.
  • An elderly gentleman has been in rehab for a few weeks, planning to return home to his house in the suburbs. But his doctors advise him to enter a nursing home instead, and he agrees this is the best decision. He hasn’t even begun to think about how to pack up all his belongings.
  • A woman in her early nineties comes down with pneumonia and is hospitalized. Her doctor will not release her unless she moves somewhere where she will have care around the clock, and there are no relatives to supervise home care.

Each one has thought about moving – perhaps for years – but has put it off until now. “Now” has come and they realize that the vast majority of their belongings won’t fit in their new home. They can’t imagine how to start the process of figuring out what to move and what to do with all the things that won’t come with them.

Because these stories are being played out more and more often, an industry has evolved to provide the solution. Members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers – a countrywide organization with more than 500 members – fill in when there are no adult children or friends available to help with the stressful process of disbanding a home and moving a senior.

Most senior move managers start with a floor plan of the new residence or room. They work with the senior to decide which of their things can fit comfortably and they help decide what to do with the remaining possessions – selling, donating, recycling or shipping to the senior’s family and friends.

When a senior can’t be physically present to coordinate their own move, a senior move manager can find creative ways of helping them maintain control over the process. In some cases a senior will entrust the senior move manager to work in their home without them. In other situations, a senior will prefer to have a neighbor or relative supervise the senior move manager. All senior move managers are insured and bonded.

In either scenario, the senior move manager involves the senior as much as possible – keeping them updated on progress and helping them make decisions. For most of us, the best part of a job is making the seniors’ new home as comfortable and warm as the home they left. It can be as simple as hanging a favorite family photo or painting on the wall across from the seniors’ new bed so it is the first thing they see in the morning. And the reason we all love what we do is that when we walk out the door, the senior is comfortable and relaxed, surrounded by his or her favorite things.

Paper Moon Moves, a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, is a senior move management company serving seniors in the New York City area. To find a senior move manager in your location, go to

6 thoughts on “Relocating to a Nursing Home? A Senior Move Manager Can Help”

  1. Dr. El,
    What a great service! I bet it is way under utilized, I have been working in a nursing home for 25 years and I have never heard of a resident using this service.

  2. Sue,

    Thanks for your comment. Those of us in this line of work are accustomed to explaining "what is a senior move manager" over and over again. We all love to help seniors and are hoping that more people will become aware of ways we can help.


  3. Sue and Katie, I did some investigating, and the services of a senior move manager are considered an eligible expense for residents who are "spending down" to qualify for Medicaid. If a resident has to spend their money, it seems worthwhile to do so on a service that helps ease a difficult transition and honors the need to sort through the belongings of a lifetime.

  4. This is a brilliant idea. Even if a resident has family who can help, it would be nice to have someone with experience who can coordinate making donations and shipping and anything else that can be done to get rid of the stuff they've "hated to throw away" for the last 40 years or more.

  5. Thanks, K. Tree, I think it's a great idea too. It's easier for people to let go of their belongings if they know they'll be going to good use, and it can help them feel more in control of the process if they have a proxy who will donate items to the charities and family members they choose.

    You're right, Sue, Senior Move Managers can be a great resource for Social Service and Admissions departments, and Geriatric Care Managers too.


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