Angie's List: Moving services for seniors

There are problems that can crop up during any residential move, but moving an elderly loved one can pose additional challenges. That's why certain companies are now specializing in moving seniors and helping to ease that transition.

These companies help relocate seniors to another home, retirement community, or assisted living facility. The consumer review website Angie's List says that senior move managers can help with all aspects of the senior move, or just a portion of it.

Jan Tienhaara is a senior move manager who says that her first step in working with an elderly customer is to go to their home.

"Most of the time they are living in a very large home, been there many, many years and haven't moved and have all of these belongings, and have to downsize to a very small, maybe one or two bedroom apartment. We start helping them make decisions on what they want to take," Tienhaara says. "We make a floor plan so they can see exactly, we measure their furniture, measure the new apartment, so they can see exactly where it's going to be placed in the new home."

If you're in the market for a senior moving service, Angie's List has some tips to help you find the best company to work with.

  • Don't skip your research: Whether you're looking for a senior move manager or a traditional mover, it's important to research the company before you hire, and get cost details in writing. A common complaint from customers is being quoted one price before the move and being charged a higher price at the time of the move.

  • Ask about costs: Most local movers charge by the hour, while longer distance moves are based on weight and distance. Fees vary depending on the services needed. Avoid movers who require large deposits. Request an in-home estimate. Most senior moving companies will offer a free consultation.

  • Check qualifications: Always interview more than one company and ask about their service moving seniors. Check for membership in professional organizations, such as the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

  • Ask about your insurance options: Most companies will offer free limited coverage, with additional insurance available for purchase. Check with your private home insurer to see if your policy covers damages incurred during a move.

  • Ask about a written contract: Details and costs of the services should be clear in a contract. Don't sign anything you don't understand. Never sign off on the job until you're sure there's nothing missing or damaged. If you notice that a box is damaged at delivery, open it in the movers' presence to confirm the condition of the articles in the box.