Taking the Packing out of Moving: Move Management for Elders

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elder couple in richmond VA moving to CCRCRussell and Katherine Tearney knew they wanted to move, but they had no idea how they were going to complete the task-until they found a moving coordinator.

Dr. Russell Tearney and his wife, Katherine, met while attending Virginia Union University in Richmond. The couple has spent their whole lives in education-either as students or as teachers. Dr. Tearney obtained a Ph.D. from Howard University and went on to teach cardiovascular physiology at the University until his retirement. Mrs. Tearney received a degree in elementary education and taught in the D.C. public school system for 43 years. After so many years in the same school, Mrs. Tearney had the pleasure of teaching parents and their children

Being a part of the D.C. school system’s Embassy Adoption Program was one of the highlights of Mrs. Tearney’s long career. She recalls, “I worked with children from France, Germany, China, and Thailand.” Throughout the course of the program, Mrs. Tearney’s students were “adopted” by a country. They studied the country’s history and culture in detail and received student visitors who spoke about their native land. The program, which continues today, culminated with a visit to the respective embassy.

The Tearneys had been living in their family home in Silver Spring for 30 years when Dr. Tearney got ill. His illness resulted in a long hospitalization and recovery process. The couple realized that their house was quickly becoming more than they could manage. After a visit to nearby Riderwood, a continuing care retirement community, they decided it was time for a move.

However, moving seemed like a daunting task to Dr. and Mrs. Tearney. She recalls, “I thought, ‘How in the world are we going to do this?'” When their Long & Foster Realtor, Brad Brown, recommended the services of Scott Swingler with Executor Assistance to help with moving and downsizing, the Tearneys were hopeful. Scott and his staff came over and went through the house with the couple. “They told us that all we would have to do was say “Yeah” or “Nah” for whether or not we wanted to take something, and they would help with everything else,” says Mrs. Tearney.

Executor Assistance associates, Peggy and Daphne, helped the Tearneys through every step of the moving process. They helped them decide what items to donate to charity and what to throw away. The couple composed a diagram of how they wanted their furniture placed, and they set up the new home to those specifications.

“It really was a lifesaver,” Mrs. Tearney says. Just a few months after moving in, the couple is completely settled. She says, “Since we moved, I have talked to people who have been living here for two years and haven’t finished unpacking. We are really lucky in that all we really had to do was walk in on moving day and almost everything was already done.”

Without stacks of boxes to contend with, the Tearneys are focusing on enjoying all the amenities at their new community. Mrs. Tearney lists the activities they are considering participating in: “My husband is interested in wood modeling, and he wants to go fishing in the pond. We are both going to take physical fitness classes, and I’m thinking about taking a computer class.”

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