As the number of retirees selling their houses and moving to senior living increases exponentially, so does the number of senior move managers and other moving specialists on the market.
According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers, the number of companies helping seniors move has grown from a mere 22 in 2002 to over 1,000 today.
This trend is mirrored at Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Senior Living community in Ashburn, Va.
Last year, 90% of all new residents moving to the continuing care retirement community elected to work with WayForth, a senior transition company. As a longtime trusted partner of Erickson Senior Living, WayForth provides downsizing, packing, and moving services designed to make moving as stress-free as possible.
Recently, the Tribune sat down with Victoria Willett, WayForth's Northern Virginia operations manager, to discuss the important topic of decluttering - something which, in Willett's words, "is never too early to start."
Q: How are prospective residents introduced to you and the services that WayForth provides?
A: Often, our first interaction with prospective residents is at an Ashby Ponds sales event. For people interested in our services, we will meet with them again, accompanied by an Ashby Ponds sales associate, during a home visit. It is during this visit that we help create a floor plan layout, which is crucial in deciding what to bring to a new apartment home.
We really enjoy these opportunities to meet with prospective residents! Not only do we get a feel for how they use their living spaces, but we also get to know them on a deeper level.
These home visits are all about attention to detail, as we try to recreate the spaces that prospective residents currently have. Setting up china hutches or filling kitchen cabinets a certain way can make a new residence feel like home from the moment you walk through the door. This is a real point of pride for our team!
Q: What are some tips to consider when beginning to downsize?
A: Start by envisioning what you want your lifestyle to look like in your new apartment home. With that in mind, focus on bringing items that will be conducive to your new lifestyle. I always tell people to ask themselves, "Do you really love it, or is it just familiar?" for each item.
For instance, will you be preparing meals every day, or will you be enjoying meals at the many restaurants on Ashby Ponds' campus? If you decide you want to cook less, then you can begin by downsizing cookware, storage containers, utensils, and so on.
I also suggest beginning with the low-hanging fruit, quite literally. You can start by getting rid of expired food and medicines, or products you aren't using. This is much easier than starting with items to which you are emotionally attached.
Decluttering can be easier and more productive when you do it with someone else, whether it be a spouse, family member, or friend. Other people will most likely ask questions you wouldn't have thought of yourself. As I like to say, if we could all do it by ourselves, we would have done it already!
Q: What type of help do you provide in finding a place for items that are no longer needed or wanted?
A: Most people want to find a "place" for their things, even when they choose not to keep the items for themselves. If a family member or friend isn't interested in adopting some of your well-loved belongings, there are a couple options to consider.
We maintain partnerships with several local auction houses, and our team is knowledgeable on the types of items people are interested in purchasing. We'll help you get your money's worth!
We also partner with donation centers that are open to taking a wide variety of items. In addition, we organize the pickup of these items, so it's one less thing for you to worry about when preparing for your move.
Q: People are often overwhelmed by the number of decorations they own, some of which possess sentimental value. With the holidays approaching, what advice do you have for handling these treasures?
A: It's important to think about what will fit comfortably in your new apartment home. Christmas items are highly desirable at auction, especially this time of year. For sentimental holiday items you wish to keep, but no longer fit your space or aesthetic, I recommend using storage.
In addition to the storage offered at Ashby Ponds, WayForth offers concierge storage to residents for a small monthly fee. And, with two days' advance notice, we can deliver and pick up holiday items when they are no longer needed. Some people also use this storage service for off-season clothing and travel accessories.
To learn more about affordable, independent senior living at Ashby Ponds, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.