As Downsizing Specialists, we “wear lots of hats” when working with Seniors and their families. It is not uncommon to switch roles from project manager, consultant, or organizer to counselor and sometimes mediator. But because my company’s mission is to empower Seniors and their families, my favorite “hat” is that of coaching.
Coaching is not just for athletes anymore. People today are utilizing coaches to help them improve their business performance, personal life, job hunting skills, and a host of other endeavors. While it’s true that the term “coaching” has become a bit of a catch-all description, engaging an objective professional to offer direction, resources and accountability can have real benefits.
David Rock, owner of Results Coaching Systems, defines coaching as “improving the way people apply themselves to any situation.” With that in mind, it’s easy to see how coaching can have significant benefits for many older adults, especially those going through major life transitions such as moving to a smaller home or retirement community.
I recently was hired to help Betty and Jim downsize from a 3 bedroom home to a 2 bedroom apartment in an active adult community. They knew what they needed to do and when they wanted to have the move completed. They just didn’t know how or where to begin, and the overwhelm was creating lots of stress for them. Since they could do many of the tasks involved on their own or with help from family, my role as a Downsizing Coach was to create a step by step plan for the couple , help them stay focused on one area at a time, and provide resources for the things they needed assistance with, such as hauling off unwanted items, packing and home repairs. At times Betty was overcome by fear and uncertainty. This is a normal emotion for anyone going through a move, but it feels magnified for Seniors. During those times, I reinforced the progress they were making and quickly made adjustments to bring in additional help. As part of the planning process, they wrote down all of their compelling reasons for wanting to make this move and the benefits they would reap. This came in handy when things became overwhelming. Ultimately, with help from the downsizing team and their friends and family, Jim and Betty kept the momentum going to make the move within their timeframe.
Seniors are no different than anyone else on the inside. We all need someone who can objectively access our situation, shorten the path to our goals, and follow up to keep us moving forward. That’s what empowering and encouraging are all about, and it’s what I love the most about my work!
The following quote highlighted by Elizabeth Swider in her article empowering senior citizens sums it up beautifully:
“We don’t want caregivers, we want support staff…partnerships with professionals to help us stay connected with community and engaged in life!”
Dawn Schulz, senior volunteer from Charlottesville, VA
Kim Stanley is president and founder of Downsize My Home LLC. She offers both in-person and remote coaching plus a Downsize Toolkit Seniors, active adults and their families to move forward positively to a home that reflects their lifestyle and needs. www.DownsizeMyHome.Biz