Senior Life: Retirement home helps seniors downsize

March 1, 2013
By

Drive around Boston on Sept. 1 and you’ll witness plenty of misery on the faces of college students moving. And moving only gets harder once you start cashing Social Security checks.

But the Springhouse Retirement Community is attempting to ease that process for seniors with a program that has coordinators help them transition from private homes into its retirement community. Springhouse is located at 44 Allandale St. on the border of Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury.

“We hear from a lot of people that moving is too overwhelming,” said Springhouse spokesperson Karen Pollack. “It’s overwhelming when you’re 20 or 50, let alone 80 or 90.”

Pollack said the biggest hindrance to seniors moving is “too much stuff.” She said that after living at their homes for 50 or 60 years, many seniors have accumulated many possessions, which they sometimes object to parting with.

Pollack gave one anecdote involving a senior who was reluctant to give up some of her possessions, which included her two daughters’ wedding dresses. One of her daughters stepped in and said she would gladly take the dress to help facilitate the move.

The coordinators are move managers and real estate professionals from a company in Newton. They measure the new space, develop a floor plan and go to the existing home to determine what goes and what can stay behind. The possessions that stay sometimes are thrown away, donated or given to adult children to keep.

Pollack said the motto is, “Downsize the home, not your wallet.”

Asked if the seniors ever have psychological qualms about moving, Pollack responded that Springhouse tries to build up what they are going to get at the facility. She said Springhouse offers activities, such as trips to the theater and museum, and transportation to medical appointments and supermarkets.

“It’s a big social piece,” said Pollack, who noted some seniors suffer from depression because of isolation.

Pollack stressed that seniors need to be proactive about their living arrangements or else others will be left to make the decision for them.

“If they are determined to make their next move, they should empower themselves to make it happen,” she said.

The program to help facilitate moving will hold an information session March 6. For more information, call 617-522-0043 or visit springhouseboston.org.

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