The realization the house you’ve called home for years is now too big, too much to handle or simply too lonely can affect people in very different ways.
For middle-aged empty nesters, it may be an exciting prospect — the opportunity to focus on themselves after years of tending to children.
For older adults, moving can be a daunting, emotional decision as they face loss of independence, downsizing a lifetime of “stuff” into a smaller space and answering the question of “what next?”
To guide individuals and family members through the moving process, Kaye Ginsberg founded Peace of Mind Transitions in 2016, (www.peaceofmindtransitions.com). Since then, her company has helped hundreds of people with everything from creating a realistic moving plan and sorting through a lifetime of collected items to packing and moving on the big day.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are — moving is one of the most stressful experiences,” said Ginsberg, a longtime resident of Johns Creek who recently moved to Brookhaven. “My father was in the Air Force, so I spent my childhood moving every few years.”
She founded Peace of Mind Transitions after going through the moving process with her mother, who lived out of state. Recently widowed and facing health issues, Ginsberg’s mother had to leave her home of 30 years and move into an assisted living environment.
“The process was overwhelming,” said Ginsberg, who recalled the months spent shuttling between Atlanta and Washington, D.C., during the move.
She was referred to a senior move manager in the D.C. area, who walked her through the move, put together a plan, attended to the details and allowed her mother to continue living in the area she called home.
Back in Atlanta, Ginsberg found herself at a crossroads. After years as an advertising executive and raising three children, she was ready for something new.
She recognized a need in the metro Atlanta area for a senior move management service. From her own experience, she knew it was a great business model.
“All you need to do is drive [around the region] and see the number of developments that serve the senior population,” said Ginsberg. “I see a lot of different options and there are many very successful (55-plus communities) in the area.”
She began by joining the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), the industry leader for the profession, and went through the extensive training program. There, she gained the skills and knowledge to manage the physical details of the move, in addition to the emotional aspects of relocation.
Peace of Mind Transitions opened in fall 2016, with a full slate of services to help older adults and family members navigate all aspects of a move.
The process begins with a consultation to get know the client, their home and their belongings, and to start developing a custom move plan. Because each situation is unique, Peace of Mind Transitions offers an “a la carte” range of services. For some, Ginsberg said, a client may only need help with sorting or packing. For others, the need will be every aspect of the move, from start to finish.
Nearly every client is referred to her by another organization, and Ginsberg describes it as a “senior eco-system” of agencies working together to take care of the full spectrum of need. Clients run the spectrum of need, with the only common factor being the need to move.
“There really is not a ‘typical’ client,” she said. “We move people from big homes to smaller homes, into traditional developments and assisted living communities. Every day is different, and every situation is different.”
Often, Ginsberg’s role is two-fold. She is both a move manager and a counselor to help clients through the emotions of change, which can be overwhelming. When dealing with parents who are moving, and their children who are trying to assist, having a neutral third party in the mix can be helpful.
She does recommend older adults and their children start thinking about the future and the “next steps” well before the need arises.
“Often, a move is preceded by another stressful event, such as slip or fall, an illness or death, and if you have not thought about where you want to go, or your next steps, you’ll feel under the gun and panicked,” said Ginsberg.
Her best piece of advice: start the decluttering process early. Go through closets, cupboards, attics, basements and all the nooks and crannies where accumulated “stuff” has gathered over the years.
“Clear it out, pass it on, donate or sell it before you even start thinking about downsizing,” said Ginsberg, who went through barrels of items in her mother’s home during her move. “If you don’t, someone else has to — and it’s usually your children.”
Looking to the future, Ginsberg said she has a plan of managed growth.
“I want to continue to grow, but stay focused on personalized caring,” she said. “I never want to get so big that we lose our connection with our clients.”
Ginsberg ends each day knowing she made a difference in someone’s life — whether it’s the client that had a successful move, or the family members she helped in the transition.
“I tell people all the time that this is the only job I’ve ever had that always ends in a hug,” she said.