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Senior Living
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Married 70 years:
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Transportation
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Getting a move on: there's always more than you think

Medicare Part D coverage is a
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Tea Party at
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placeholder November 7, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 19   •   Oakland, CA
Senior Living & Resources

Courtesy photo

Getting a move on: there's always more than you think

Almost everybody says, "I don't have very much."

But the practiced eyes of Sondra Jensen and Caryle Wells, who specialize in senior moves, see it differently.

"When you look at it all the time, you don't see it," Wells said. There's always more than you think there is.

"There's nothing like a deadline to set panic in motion," she said.

 
Moving tips

• Plan as far ahead as possible.

• Keep it simple. Make it easy. Do things in small increments — maybe an hour a day — so it doesn't become overwhelming.

• Get help if you need it.

• Think about moving before you have to, or your choices may be limited.
 
It doesn't have to be that way, Jensen said.

"The more time, the better," she said. Start with downsizing and making decisions.

At Smooth Moves, the pair, who have worked together for the past 13 years, have shepherded many an East Bay move. They've helped close down estates, three-story households and apartments. They've assisted people moving to assisted living, apartments or moving away to be closer to family.

Smooth Moves has also handled calls from those who are closing an estate long distance, or from real estate agents who have a new listing full of old stuff.

Jensen and Wells know what to do with it.

There are choices to be made: take, donate or trash.

"The joyful part for us is to work with clients," Jensen said. "We do a lot of hugging."

Downsizing can be daunting, as well as intensely personal.

People are not just disposing of their lifetime possessions, but those from the previous generation and beyond. They inherited something and stored it and never used it. The next generation may not find great-grandma's gold-rimmed china suits a microwave-and- dishwasher lifestyle.

Smooth Moves might help a client navigate where to donate treasures, considering a person's previous charitable donations.

There's sadness in parting, and it can also be paralyzing.

Smooth Moves works with some clients for months. A recent client is working on a three-week deadline. Jensen said Smooth Moves guarantees the client will be ready by moving day, providing emotional support and decreasing the stress of the move.

They are not movers. "We plan, we coordinate, we schedule," Jensen said.

Sondra Jensen's career in the University of California Housing ended with her retirement before the office moved to its new building on Channing Way.

Then Jensen was contracted to coordinate the move. Then she coordinated an additional 10 moves on the UC campus.

Wells, her best friend, had been a travel agent. Jensen asked her, "Want to start a business?"

The first phone call they received asked for help packing.

They have also carried the contents of a household, piece by piece, to a client seated in a living room to pass judgment on each one.

They've told a client with two closets full of clothes that her new residence has an 18-inch rod on which to hang her wardrobe.

Smooth Moves works from floor plans for the next residence. Some senior living centers send a move coordinator to measure furniture to determine what will fit in the new place.

Some people have already put things in storage, which the pair sees as one step away from being able to let go.

Clients have called them angels, one in their 80s referred to them as "her mother."

Some have called them Lucy and Ethel; even Thelma and Louise.

"We'll do as much or as little as you need us to do," Jensen said.

They can unpack at the other end, on move day, making the new place feel like home before the resident turns the key.

 
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