Moving Is a Monumental Task for Many Older Americans. These Organizers Can Help.

The four-bedroom house that Ray and Beth Nygren had lived in for 20 years in Auburn, Wash., measured about 2,400 square feet. The two-bedroom apartment that awaited them in a nearby independent- and assisted-living complex was less than half that size.

They were moving — “maybe a little reluctantly,” said their daughter, Bonnie Rae Nygren — because each had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last year, and Beth Nygren had suffered complications. The single step from living room to dining room, or down to the family room, had become difficult for her to manage using a walker.

She’d already taken a fall. “They considered it a very minor thing, but it was really eye-opening for us,” said Bonnie Rae. “One more fall could make a huge difference in their lives.”

The couple’s three children suggested that with Beth, 85, coping with multiple sclerosis and Ray, 87, contending with heart failure, “maybe it was time to downsize and move to a retirement community,”…

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This article was written by Paula Span and originally published on