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Before You Move, Make Sure It's Right for You : Guidance: A booklet is available that can be helpful in making a decision and gives tips on how to arrange a move.


The kids have left the nest. You no longer need the space, or the financial and physical headaches of maintaining that large family home.

But when mature homeowners trade down to smaller households, giving up reassuring sights, sounds and smells, and memories, there can be trauma ahead.

For people who are ready for retirement, a move to an apartment or condominium nearby or thousands of miles away may sound logical.

But they should be prepared for some tough decisions about scaling down, from divorcing themselves from the furniture to leaving friends and family.

"Moving does mean you are forced to give up something that is so familiar to you," says Marjory Marvel of the American Assn. of Retired Persons.

"You wonder if you're going to be sorry later that you've gotten rid of the house. When you move, you are really going into the unknown, which is easier when you are younger. You may well be giving up close relationships with neighbors and friends.

One moving company has developed a booklet designed to help older Americans decide the safest and least expensive way to transport their belongings.

Paul Arpin Van Lines Inc., of East Greenwich, R.I., offers a six-page pamphlet, "Preparing for the Move of a Lifetime: A Guide to Moving for Mature Americans."

It is part questionnaire, part guidebook, covering a range of topics.

"First, start thinking about relocation as soon as you decide to sell your house," the guide suggests. "Your personal situation will determine how you will move."

The four moving options are doing it yourself with a rented truck and the help of family or friends; packing everything and moving as much as you can on your own, leaving the furniture for a professional mover; packing everything yourself and let a mover take it to your new home, or letting a professional mover pack and move everything.

A checklist covers day-to-day items one could forget in the rush of moving, such as prescription drugs, recommending that all prescriptions be filled before moving.

If special equipment is needed, such as wheelchair ramps, it should be installed in the new home before the move. Information about the new house and the new city or town should be secured in advance.

You should also also arrange for utilities to be disconnected at the old house after the move and connected at the new house before the move. And a change of address should be made at the post office at least one week before the move.

The most valuable recommendation is saved for last:

"Whatever estimate you get, get it in writing!"

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