senior moves

Having the right help during a move minimizes stress and ensures a successful outcome. “Psychologists will tell us that second to losing a spouse, moving is one of life’s greatest stressors,” says Jill Duffey Kearney, president of Senior Moves by Design.  “but it doesn’t have to be!  We’ve helped hundreds of people navigate the waters of moving to a new home, by expertly managing a million little details and being cheerleaders for our clients through the process.”

Senior Moves by Design has partnered with clients, ranging in age from 55 to 95, helping them prepare for a move and successfully transition into their new home.  Mary Kay Busse, Executive Director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), says “Senior Move Management companies like Senior Moves by Design, encourage families not to go it alone, but to engage the assistance of experts who do this every day.  It’s an investment that pays off in many ways.”

Compassion
Senior Move Managers empathize with those facing a big move and understand that a lot of emotions are involved. Many seniors look forward with great anticipation, to moving into a brand new home that will alleviate the chores of home ownership and counter the isolation that many experience in their family home.  Others need to move, despite the desire to stay put. They are happy with their home full of memories and are anxious about closing that chapter and starting something new.  Many Senior Move Managers, like Kearney, got into the business because of a personal experience or connection with others who have moved.  “I helped my own parents move, from 2,000 miles away, and know the stress of flying back and forth and wanting to be there, but having to care for my own family as well. This thought is always in the forefront of my mind when I meet new families facing this situation,” Kearney says.  “We’ve helped hundreds of people successfully get from Point A to Point B, with humor, excellent organizational skills, and often a bit of family and marriage counseling thrown in.  We want a win-win for all.  Understanding, respect and compassion are the keystones of our service to these families.”  

Organization
“Most Americans suffer under the burden of too much “stuff.”  Our seniors, many of whom have lived in the same home for 40-50 years, have often amassed a lifetime of possessions, many they don’t want or care about anymore,” says Kearney.  The trick to dealing with the stuff, is to not deal with it, first! Instead, we search only for the treasures and design the new home around them, using good design and functionality to create a new place that still feels like home.  Once that’s done, our clients have a clear goal of where they’re going - and what’s not going, too!”

These items now need a new home. Kearney and her team identify what family members want first, and then using a network of trusted partners, find outlets for selling as much as possible, donating to charities where it makes sense and then disposing of the balance.  “We try to avoid throwing things out,” says Kearney.  “So many people make good use of them that we think it’s a sin to toss them in a dumpster. Besides, who wouldn’t love knowing that they can make a little money off the things that they’ve owned?”  

Auxiliary Services - Staging to Sell
Most people have to sell one home in order to buy another.  For many seniors, it’s not just a real estate transaction, but a major financial transaction, as well, if their current home is the sole means of paying for a new home. Kearney has been a professional Real Estate Stager for over a decade and her stagers uses this extra ability to help their clients maximize the return they get for their homes.  “We create a strategic plan for the home, partnering with trusted realtors to help us see what our competition looks like. We then partner with local contractors to do everything from repairing walls and repainting with contemporary colors, to a total removal of carpeting, making modest updates to kitchens and baths, correcting issues with roofs and basements and cleaning up landscaping. We can then stage the home to sell, making it appeal to target buyers. We use subtle changes such as fresh artwork, lighting and decor to make buyers fall in love. Our seniors love to see their homes freshened up and are proud to pass on a good home to a new family. It’s also nice to know that their old home, which may have been suffering from their inability to keep up with repairs, will now add to the value of the neighborhood they are  leaving behind.”

Pride in a New Home
After getting a new resident unpacked and set up in a senior community, Kearney often hears other residents say that they wish they had had help in their own moves. Many say that their homes still have unpacked boxes and don’t feel as nicely decorated as they would like. As experienced Redesigners, Kearney and her staff can not only move her seniors to a new home, but in the process, use design to make it pop.  “How a new home looks is a reflection on the one who lives there. Designing a new home or apartment so that it feels spacious and functional is good for the homeowner.  It also makes a good first impression when new friends come to visit. Families who see parents and grandparents living in beautiful new surroundings often remark that they can’t wait until they can rightsize to something as lovely and manageable as this!”

Jill Duffey Kearney is the Founder and Owner of Senior Moves by Design, a team of  Senior Move Managers, Real Estate Stagers, and Redesigners, who serve clients from the Easton to Reading and down to Phoenixville. They specialize in “joyful transitions,” an oxymoron in most people’s minds.  They also partner with senior communities grateful to find helpers to assist new residents in the physical and mental process of moving. New residents settle in quickly and engage in all the benefits of their new lifestyle. Senior Moves By Design is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM). For more information call their office at 610-295-0036 or visit SeniorMovesByDesign.com.