Fylde business aims to make the elderly feel at home

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A Fylde coast woman is hoping to be at the forefront of a new UK sector seeing a surge in growth in the USA.

You may have heard of wedding planners, popular across the Atlantic, but Margaret Wilson, who originally hails from Canada, is hoping to make her mark in senior move management – helping older people plan downsizing moves.

Margaret, who has years of experience in mental health nursing, said moving to a nursing home or bungalow can be a difficult and traumatic time.

She said in the US, people commonly use planners to assist in the move and the disposal of excess household goods and possessions.

She said she has been also called on to help hoarders break the habit and get rid of the possessions they have stored up over the years, a role where she finds her mental health skills handy.

She said: “I came over from Canada in 1980 to work at the Parkwood Unit at Blackpool Victoria and worked for the mental health charity Mind for 23 years.

“But I took redundancy because I was fed up with management and wanted to get back working one to one with people. That’s where I think my strengths lie and that’s why I set up Supported Moves in 2012.

“The recent publicity about hoarding with various television shows has raised the profile of the issue which has been good for Supported Moves.

“A lot of my work comes from working with people who have been hoarding. There is usually a psychological reason for their behaviour and my nursing background is very useful. Helping elderly people make a move is relatively unknown in this country, but it is huge in the US. People have heard of wedding or party planners but not this.

“But there is a great need for it, when you talk to the charities and agencies.

“The weight of people’s possession accumulated over a lifetime can be a big barrier to them making the move they need to make.

“The prospect of packing up a beloved home can seem overwhelming. For many elderly people, this becomes a reason to delay or defer a move that would really help their health and quite possibly their finances.

“My job is to work directly with them, sorting through their possessions to decide which to keep which to give away to charity or, if they are worth something, to sell.

“I also organise the removal firm and supervise the move and even drive the person to the new home and make sure it is set up for the, with beds made and kitchen arranged, so it is like walking back into their own home.

“I even take photographs of how they have their pictures arranged on the wall so I can reproduce that at their new home.”