Joyce tells her story
My husband passed away last year in November. Although we had planned for many possible scenarios, I simply didn’t think this particular one would ever come true. But it did. Having no children or other family members to lean on, I wasn’t sure what to do or where to turn.
My husband was my rock. Despite his physical challenges, he was the one who kept things going. He handled the finances, paid the bills, filed our tax returns, and made sure our home maintenance was kept up. He was my everything.
Feeling a little lost and not sure where to begin, I decided to go meet with my financial advisor. I wanted to know more about our financial situation and to find out if I may be able to afford to move to an assisted living community where I could be around people. The thought of living alone, especially through the winter, was scary for me.
Thank goodness for my financial advisor and his staff!
My financial advisor knew I didn’t have any family to help me move and was kind enough to help me make arrangements. He and his assistant even loaded a few things in their cars and took them over to my new place. They helped me order a new twin bed that would fit better in the small apartment.
I am very grateful to my advisor and his staff. But after they moved me, I was still unsure how I would get through the rest of my things and arrange to sell the house. I didn’t expect my advisor and his staff to do this. It did weigh heavily on me, however, because it was sitting there in my old home with no one to check in on it. My car was still in the garage and I figured the battery was probably drained. I was still paying utility bills, insurance, association fees, and other expenses in addition to the large rent payment at my new apartment.
A miracle moment
A couple of months after moving, a friend asked me to lunch. There were a few other women there I didn’t know. One of the women said that she specialized in assisting seniors like me with downsizing. She told me about their complete process including everything from start to finish. It was a miracle moment for sure and I talked her ear off for the entire meal. We made plans to meet again to discuss how to get the rest of my personal items to my new apartment and then get the home sold.
We had no more gotten started when the unexpected happened. COVID-19 became a global pandemic. This required communities like mine to restrict visitors. I was also told I couldn’t go out because I might get the virus and bring it back to others. I felt defeated. In fact, I wondered how or when I would ever be able to take care of the things left at my old home. I also worried about the financial situation.
As time went on, I really needed the funds from the sale of my home to continue paying my rent. It is rather expensive to live in assisted living. But even more than the money, I felt alone. Other people had their personal things to look at and books to read or hobbies to do. I had nothing of my own. It was all still at my home.
It felt a bit like living in a hotel – except with no pictures on the walls.
Zoom… zoom… zoom
One day, out of the blue, the woman from OKC Mature Moves whom I had met at lunch called. She said she may have an idea about how to help get my things to me and get the house sold. She told me we could do a Zoom call. I had no idea what a Zoom call was, but I was happy to do it if she could teach me. She called my community and asked if they could provide me with a computer or tablet so we could talk. They did it!
Next thing I knew, I was looking at my new friend on a monitor and we were creating a plan. The next time we talked (Zoomed) she was standing in the living room of my old house.
Over the next several weeks we did three or four Zoom calls. Each time she walked me about my house so I could pick out what I wanted to keep and what I no longer needed. I was so blessed. Each call was two or three hours long and it was a lot of work – more for her and her assistants than for me, but making decisions was no easy task either. She told me it was normal to have what she called “decision fatigue.”
So much stuff
Once we had finished with the deciding, they boxed many things to be shipped to my sister out of state. They also boxed things to deliver to me. We still weren’t sure how I would get them, but this was a good first step. We marked the furniture I wanted delivered to my new apartment and made a list of things that could be sold or donated.
My new friends at OKC Mature Moves (even though I was paying them, they seemed more like friends) arranged a meeting with an estate sale person. They told me all about how online sales work, but they really weren’t sure if there was enough left to sell for a profit. I had collections from many years that I really didn’t want to just give away, so they found a liquidator who would take on the sale. This process took a while. They finished it a few weeks later and I was so excited to get a check – not a lot, but it was something.
Time to sell the home
Then the house was to be sold. I was worried that it would take a long time or that I would have to do a lot of repairs, but my move manager assured me that the agents she worked with were very efficient. She was right. The house was on the market for only one week! We even had two offers. Since I don’t use a computer, she had to print things off and bring them to me at my community. The staff would take the papers at the front door and deliver them to my room. When I got the papers, I would call my agent and she would explain the papers. I signed things and then left them for her to pick up at the front desk.
It was quite a process. Lot’s of delivering, explaining, and signing.
My move manager also made arrangements with the maintenance people here to get my things. She personally delivered several boxes to the front door in her car. She charged my car battery and had it driven here too. She arranged for movers to bring my furniture and negotiated with the director at my community to help me get things in order. I’m sure there were several people involved in all of this, but I can’t be sure how many!
Everyone was so very kind and helpful
I know this is a long story, but it was a long process and not easy to abbreviate. I’m not sure what I would have done without my financial advisor and his assistant, my friend and her friends, OKC Mature Moves, my realtor, and the staff at my community. Oh, I can’t forget the estate sale people, but I never really met them in person because my move manager handled all those details.
I wish my advisor had known about move managers
I just wish that my financial advisor had known about this group of people who help seniors earlier. It would have saved him a lot of time and me a lot of worry. Now I feel so much more at home with my personal things. I still miss Jerry, but at least I have his photos, some of his artwork, and his old sweatshirt that still smells like him.