Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Relocation Resources for Seniors

Hassle-free Custom Moving Service for Seniors
          You're a senior who's lived in one spot for years, perhaps decades, and now you are moving to a new space.  What would you wish for?  A "surrogate daughter/genie" who would help you decide on which furniture to move, measure your new space to provide a plan to best utilize the new digs, pack everything expertly, be on the other end when you move with a detailed list of all of your belongings in numbered boxes, unpack them, place the furniture, and hang the pictures? 
        All your wishes would be granted by Ellen C. Stern of Little Rock.  Her Relocation Resources for Seniors helps seniors who are moving to smaller homes or apartments, retirement communities, or assisted living facilities.
        Ms. Stern is in the business of eliminating stress for "seniors on the move."  
        Ellen will help as much or as little as you need it; each move is different. 
        If you haven't decided where to move, she will explore local housing options.  When you've decided what to keep and what to leave behind, Ellen will even help hold an estate sale, or if you prefer, bundle items for donation to charity.
       In addition, she will handle pesky items such as the cut off or transfer of utilities, change of address notices, and notifying banks and other institutions of your move. 
       "I recycle almost everything I can.  It saves my clients' money.  I reuse cardboard boxes.  I tell clients to start saving their newspapers for packing to keep the cost as low as possible. 
       Sometimes daughters want to help her pack.  "I really welcome that when a family member wants to work with me.  It saves them money.  I am all for saving money and keeping families happy with one another.  This is a stressful time."
       Ellen creates a packing list, so she has a list of everything in every box when she arrives at the new living space. 
        Jane M. Cazort said that was especially helpful during the two moves that Ellen helped her with, the first two years ago, and, then recently, a move into her sister's home.  -    "I am physically unable to do very much.  She just did everything.  She packed everything and marked what they held and kept a record of it.  So, I knew, for example, what box #6 held.  That was just invaluable.  I think we had 26 boxes," Ms. Cazort said. 
     Jane said Ellen removed her pictures from the walls and packed them professionally.
     "I am a picture person.  I have about 25 pictures, some of them quite large. She rehung the pictures.  She is just a great packer.  Nothing was broken.
     "It was a hassle-free move. She took all the responsibility.  She hired the movers. She was there when I moved out and there when I moved in.  She placed the furniture.  
     "She is just a great person for detail.  I'm rather slap-dash, so it made it easy for me. And she is reasonable.  She gave me her bill, and I added more to it.  I thought it wasn't enough.  She's very pleasant and articulate, and, of course, honest.  I would think people are very fortunate if they get her to do their move."
     Ellen charges $20 an hour.  Most of the moves she's completed are done in two days or less.  She makes a custom plan and provides an estimate before the job. 
     Sue Buffalo of Little Rock said Ellen helped ease her mother's move from an apartment into a retirement community.
     "Ellen is extremely organized.  She had all the boxes and the papers and packed it all up, so when the movers came, it was ready.  What looked like a monumental task, she whittled down to a few hours," Mrs. Buffalo said.
     "She seemed to know when things would fit.  When we were sorting through things, she would say, 'She'll want to take this.  This will look good.'  She helped make the process so much easier.  She is very pleasant and easy to get along with.  I would highly recommend her." 
     Ellen decided to open her business after she couldn't find a job.  
     "It's kind of funny.  I am by profession an adult educator.  I was a museum curator and educator.  I have specialized in adult programs.  I found myself with no job."
     Ellen had come to Arkansas to care for aging, ailing relatives.  But, when she was ready to get back into the job market, she couldn't find work.
     "I spent 10 years helping all the old folks around me die.  When that was over, I was 63 or 64.  When I applied for jobs ... I was overeducated, overqualified, and overaged."
     She decided to take some classes at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
     "I ended up in a class about aging issues, and I was really interested in it.  I found that the university offered a gerontology program, and now I am a graduate student in it."
     When her new studies spurred her thinking about services for the aging population, Ellen decided that she could create her own employment opportunity.
      "It seemed to me that the senior market is where it's at.  And it is going to get bigger.  Us Baby Boomers, we like our services."
      "In addition to helping people move, Ellen will help them "age in place" by such means a adding ramps or enlarging bathroom doors and adding hold bars.
      "I work as a go-between.  I find contractors to do the work to bring homes up to a safe place."
       She also moves people from one room to another in retirement communities.
       Relocation Resources operates in Pulaski County and occasionally in nearby towns such as Conway.
       Ellen enjoys her new career.
       "I miss having older people in my life.  They are so interesting.  They have such good perspectives on things.  And moving is such an overwhelming process, even when you are younger."

This story was written by Bobbi Nesbitt and appeared in the August 2012 issue of Shoppe Talk. 
You may call Ellen at 663-2515.