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Senior Move Managers

By Jennifer Bradley, Staff Writer

(Page 3 of 4)

Running Interference

With the previous in mind, one of the biggest obstacles an elderly loved one may face during downsizing is the dreaded division of belongings among family members. With the increasing number of family feuds being caused by hurt feelings over a deceased relative’s possessions, there is even a niche industry developing to keep the peace.

“Who Gets Grandma’s Pie Plate?” is an initiative aiding seniors in making just those tough decisions, while keeping everyone happy along the way. A group at the University of Minnesota Extension wrestled with the questions families face and with research, developed educational resources to help keep families connected and not in court. The name actually came from a researcher’s family baking dish which was handed down from her great-grandmother and is still used today at family gatherings. The next generation hopes to inherit it someday.

The Wall Street Journal has sung praises for these tools, saying, “It's harder to determine what's fair when dividing personal items, because it's tough to pin a value on a tattered Winnie the Pooh book, for example, that three siblings all treasure…. The decisions about dividing up objects are often more emotional, because they have more sentimental meaning.”

These worksheets offer a way for seniors to gather family members and discuss what items may have value to them. Certain belongings have significant personal attachment for one relative because of a specific memory, and mean nothing to another.

Barbara H. Morris, of Smooth Transitions, has developed a workbook entitled “Moving for Seniors” which walks a person through each step of the process. The 55-page guide helps seniors evaluate their options, whether its time to downsize, how to keep it simple and accomplish the move successfully.

“Most families only go through this process once or twice in their lives and by the time they 'figure it' all out, they will never do it again,” she says. “Don't be afraid to ask for help from the experts. This process is hard enough on all parties when everyone lives in the same area, but when distances add another level of anguish to the mix, it becomes even harder.”


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