Advice for your transition
When working with new clients I give them two pieces of information. In almost every instance though, the stress associated with the move takes over and these two important things are forgotten.
The first is that it doesn’t matter what you paid for something. It is only worth what someone is willing to spend. You can read more by clicking on this link.
The second is, this move is going to be stressful. We are going to tell you not to worry and assure you repeatedly that we can do it but you won’t believe us. BELIEVE US!! This is what we do and why the senior move industry exists.
So since we know you won’t believe us, let’s talk about things you can do to minimize the stress rather than worrying.
A note to my daughters on the occasion of my 48th birthday.
On January 29, 2015, I celebrated my 45th birthday, my 10 year "cancerversary" and “officially” launching Silver Linings Transitions. - Though I’d truly worked on the business the year before, I wanted a good date for the press release. A week after this trifecta celebration, your father and I separated.
I never expected to be starting a business and simultaneously going through a divorce but John Lennon said “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”
Mark Twain said the two most important days in a person’s life are they day they are born and the day they find out why.
I always knew I wanted to be a mother. Having three daughters - beautiful, strong, talented and kind and most importantly watching me as an example for what you can and can not accept out of life was my first purpose. In these last three years, there were countless times I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide away from the world and my troubles. At one point on an airplane I remember thinking, “well, if it goes down, I won’t have to deal with all of this”.
I have learned and grown more over the last three years than at any other point in my lifetime. I am glad you saw it. Others told me I was making a mistake showing my emotions but I’m about as good at hiding my emotions as I am at singing. Had you not been watching, you may never have believed when me if I merely told you even when life knocks you down, you stand back up and at the very least take one tiny step forward.
The only way to get through the pain is to be “in” the pain. A wise friend (OK Bryan) told me, you can’t go around the pain, you can’t go over the pain, you have to go through it. If you don’t allow yourself to truly wallow and sit in it, it will find it’s way to make sure you pay attention. Thirteen years ago I was doing work I didn’t believe in. Earning money I didn’t feel I deserved. Jealous of what my friends had (or didn’t have). And I was so resentful.
Another wise friend who’d been diagnosed with cancer in his freshman year of college and since had two children and became one of the most successful business owners/entrepreneurs I know, told me cancer was like getting a "front row seat" to life.
It was certainly my wake up call and what drove me to my other purpose and the reason I used the name Silver Linings Transitions.
Though we may not always have choices when life is hard, we do have choices about the way we react. When something bad happens, look for the lesson or the “silver lining”. What can you learn from the experience? And remember, this too shall pass.
Remember when my computer was stolen from my trunk? I learned a lot of lessons. I have also learned to pause and ask myself if whatever just happened is going to really matter in five years. If it doesn’t, I have learned to let it go. It’s not worth the stress and aggravation.
Persistence in life will get you farther than anything else.
In the book the Alchemist, there is a line that says if you are clear about what you want, the universe will conspire to give it to you. The pictures above represent this. The first one, taken in September 2014, was the very first senior community I visited when I began door knocking. Today, I stood close to that very same spot heading in to host the Silver Linings Transitions third anniversary party in that same community.
Yesterday while getting things for the party, I had an epiphany. I was putting stuff in the car and a wrapper was on the ground. Since the car door was opened, I examined the wrapper since two of you three (I'll give you a hint, it's not Ali) just sort of toss things at will. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t “our” wrapper. It wasn’t a candy I recognized and I went on loading the car until I realized, it WAS our wrapper. Not in real life, but metaphorically. We are each responsible for one another. We are all connected. My neighbor’s behavior impacts me just as mine impacts theirs.
Today I had two more epiphanies (one of my favorite words - I think the other is synchronicity).. It really is true the way people treat you is a reflection of how they feel about themselves. If a person is happy, they have no reason to mess with you. If they are happy they likely want to “be love” ;) and spread kindness. Which leads me to the second one (epiphany). I spent years trying to get other people to like me. I was constantly in trouble and never felt “good”. My ADHD kept me in perpetual trouble and so my “way of being” was about winning people over. You know what I realized? It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. I am the person I am intrinsically because this is the way God made me.
Gillian has never been good about schedules or cleanliness. As a child, she refused schedules. She could sleep anywhere. Once she was tired, she slept…period. Ali, on the other hand, HAD to be in her crib at a certain time. For someone who was never good at schedules, I think it may have been the only time in my life I stuck to somewhat of a schedule because Ali demanded it of me. I remember traveling to see Safta in Miami. She’d gone out of her way to get a crib for us. I don’t remember how old Ali was but she would not sleep. She screamed and screamed until we were forced to load up the car and head five hours back home in the middle of the night.
As an infant, Adyson would scream bloody murder in the car. This was pretty inconvenient and gut wrenching since older girls were enrolled in a school thirty minutes away. To this day, she complains in the car about her neck hurting or feeling nauseous.
I know you all vary on the way you feel about spirituality. I can tell you that my God now is not the God of my childhood or adolescence. My God is the voice that directs me to do the right thing. It’s opening my eyes and paying attention to the messages that come. It’s figuring out the lessons I’m meant to learn even when they aren’t convenient or fun. It’s doing something inconvenient or uncomfortable because I know it’s the right thing to do. It’s the decision to live from love and trust and not from fear and worry. It is freeing.
Lastly, life will deliver exactly what you expect of it. In the book “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, she shares an exercise where you look for one minute and count everything that is red. After the exercise, she asks you to recall what was yellow. Only you won’t be able to, because you were too busy looking for red.
Another story I love from Jen Sincero’s book is the story of a bird who is in her home and keeps flying into her window. The bird is so fixed on getting out it never stops to notice she’s opened another window. As you know there have been several things in my life that weren’t going the way I planned or weren’t meeting my expectations. So, I beat my head against a wall or kept flying into the window just like the bird. This has possibly been the biggest lesson for me. If you are frustrated, pause and assess the situation. An if the door doesn’t open, it’s not your door. Another one will open, though, it might not be on your timeline or the one you expected.
I wish my 48 years of experience would be enough to shelter you from the rough parts of life and that you could skip over them softly landing to the place I’ve discovered. It only took 48 years but I have learned to “Let go and let God”. I know the reality is, at your age, I would have ignored these words and learned these lessons the hard way and on my own.. Still, I’m going to share them. Maybe for you, maybe for your children. Maybe as a reminder for me when I am not feeling as certain.
Three years ago I knew Silver Linings Transitions was the work I was meant to be doing. The whole business "came to me". I was working part time at a cancer foundation when my good friend, Heidi Loren, told me about a friend of hers running an eBay business helping seniors sell belongings online. We opened an eBay business and started learning all we could. Heidi stumbled on an organization, the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) who only a few months later would be holding their national conference in San Diego.
During the conference, I had that "a-ha" moment many hope for and knew I found the work I was meant to be doing. While I knew this was the right work, the timing was hard as both Heidi and I had busy lives and bar/bat mitzvahs to plan. We agreed to put the business on hold.
Once summer and the bar/bat mitzvahs were behind us, we reconvened only Heidi had to step out from the business because her husband had started his own consulting business and it had taken off and he needed her help. Heidi and her husband were both the financial backers and her husband Stefan, was helping with the logistics of starting a business. Starting a business with two people I liked and trusted very much, in an industry that felt "right" was an easy decision but when
Heidi stepped aside, I had to reevaluate my plan.
I'd run my real estate business while living in Florida but that was in an established industry and I always worked under a broker. Now I was starting in an industry, senior move management, that even as.a Realtor working with seniors, I had never heard of.
First, I looked for a new partner hoping to find someone who was organized and would balance my skill set. After months of searching, I changed my approach and began looking for a team of women rather than a partner. What better vehicle than Facebook to get the word out?
The picture above was my first post and another step on the path towards creating Silver Linings Transitions. As these things "happen", the first person who contacted me was a woman who had stepped off the career path when she had her daughter (18 years earlier). She shared how difficult it was to find work when there was a gap on a resume. Additionally most women who raise children can not resume their careers because there are now family responsibilities to consider.
This, along with challenges middle age women face, competing against younger women, sparked my passion to make Silver Linings Transitions both a company who could manage the transition for our clients but also become a place where women could "transition" back into the work force.
When we pay attention, life unfolds exactly as it should. It's usually not what you expect but as John Lennon says, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
Before and afters show how we recreate the feeling of home
Almost anyone working in the senior industry has a fondness and respect from our own experience with beloved grandparents We see past their age and recognize they were and many still are, significant contributors to our society. One of the great frustrations of the American culture in general is the way we discard older adults. One of the things I love about our work is hearing the stories and seeing the pictures of our clients lives. The wisdom they impart contributes greatly to the way I now live.
Silver Linings Transitions has had the opportunity to work with judges, attorneys, retired service men, Ice Capade dancers, Hollywood directors and models. Last week I cohosted Bryan Devore's Facebook Live show promoting our upcoming event , Moving Towards Tomorrow, helping people gather the information they need to make decisions about their "Golden Years". One of the guests, a 92-year-old Las Villas de Carlsbad resident, was an original cast member from the Little Rascals. She was a total hoot and went on and on about how much she loved community living.
She clearly embraced it and took advantage of the many opportunities it affords. For many though, the fear of the unknown and the perceived loss of independence keeps them trapped in a home they can no longer maintain and often living in isolation.
The last client we worked with is a clear example of waiting too long. .
The Carlsbad community reached out about a 30 year retired Navy Captain who's wife was in skilled nursing while he was on dialysis and rapidly declining.
After meeting with him the next day, it was clear he needed to be moved into assisted living as soon as possible When we walked out of our appointment, I knew we were about to eat an elephant in one big bite but I also knew it was absolutely essential. He was very frail and struggled for breath yet insisted on climbing stairs.. He was unkempt wearing dirty clothes and the home smelled from rotten food, urine and poor hygiene.
Our team was already on a big job including unpacking in Tarzana and our regular mover was booked. Having recently disappointed a past community whose client need to be moved the next day, I admit I was trepidatious about doing another quick turnaround. But, I've learned sometimes you say yes because it's the right thing and then do whatever you have to do to make it happen. In the absence of proper preparation, we met with the client for only two very short floor planning and sorting sessions. It was clear he was overwhelmed so I asked if he would allow us to make decisions based on our experience moving other clients.
We carefully went through couples belongings selecting beautiful mementoes, photographs and personal items we thought were most important and/or loved. We also contacted the son who lived across country and identified the items most important to him.
The day of the move, the client was supposed to meet us in the lobby for an update since he didn't have a cell phone. He never showed. I'd left him a detailed note realizing he had some cognitive impairment but by 8 p.m that evening, he had still not arrived. At that point, I called the police and they told me neighbors were with him in his home which he believed had been robbed. (This man has been living independently and is still driving.)
He finally arrived at 12:25 a.m.
In the end, it's comforting to know the client is safe in his new community and we've created a new home that is clean, organized and closely resembles his old home. Had the move been made proactively, he might have enjoyed the perks of community living and the freedom from household responsibilities.
As the owner of a senior move management company, I have the opportunity to work with a person when they go through what will likely be the most difficult transition they’ll face in their lifetime. In fact, the transition into senior communities is medically identified as Relocation Stress Syndrome. I have seen healthy clients require hospital visits, experience cognitive impairment and it goes without saying visible stress.
As a society, we try and gloss over or pretend we don’t know what the weight of this transition means. But, I’m going to write this as life actually occurs. We do pass on and our belongings represent the life we’ve lead, the dreams we’ve had and our desire to be remembered.
We need to address the fears and concerns of the person moving. We all need to be heard and sometimes talking about it, really does help everyone.
For “The Greatest Generation” seniors, there is even more tied to to letting go of their belongings because their generation lived in different times. They grew up in a time of scarcity and furniture was built to last. I remember moving a couple who’d been together 60+ years and the couch they brought to their senior community had been a wedding gift.
For later generations, we have IKEA and other discount furniture stores. We dispose of couches every couple of years because they don’t cost as much and aren’t as durable. Not to mention we don’t share the experience of having had to ration.
Another difficulty is the realization that things treasured and collected, aren’t wanted. As an only grandchild, I declined my grandmother’s wedding china. I loved my grandmother dearly and took a favorite lamp but I simply didn’t have use or space for it but it didn’t mean I didn’t love or wouldn’t remember her.
Adding on another layer, when adult children get involved in the process, often times feelings get hurt and the person being moved resents being “parented” by adult children. When a professional comes in and uses a floorplan to show a senior they won’t be able to fit something, it seems to carry more weight. Most importantly though, working with a third party, like a senior move manager, allows the parent/child relationship to remain in tact while they support one another through the transition. (This is often a tough transition for both the parent and the adult children.)
My own transition as a divorcing woman gave me an empathy for our clients. I threw away the beautiful collage I made as a wedding gift for my ex and the sign that hung on the construction site of our first home. They represented things I’d envisioned for my life. Throwing those things away was admitting that those dreams would not be realized and that this part of my life was over.
Every ending has a beginning and this is the impetus behind our company name Silver Linings Transitions. In all situations adjusting our attitude and looking at something from a different perspective really does make all the difference.
By the way, the photos at the top...one is a senior community and one is a resort ;)
One of the most difficult things our clients face is having to part with cherished mementoes and souvenirs they've collected from a lifetime of experiences. Whether it's artwork from their children, a collection they prized or a parent's belongings, saying goodbye is never easy. It represents the loss of a time gone by, an unfulfilled dream or a loved one who is no longer here. More than that though, it marks the end of a chapter.
What I've discovered is that so many times, seniors are reluctant to let go of their belongings and this "stuff" keeps them stuck in their homes and the old chapters rather than enjoying life and making new chapters. Like seniors who are making a major life transition and shedding their belongings, as someone who is divorcing, I am facing the same thing.
My garage was filled with lots of stuff- some very easy to part with and some, much more difficult.
When I was first engaged, my ex-husband and I began construction on our first home. The sign "Future Home of Goldfarb Shapiro" was placed on our lot and then hung in our garage for 15 years.
There were tears in my eyes when I put it in the garbage. I could NEVER have parted with the sign without the gentle guidance of two fabulous women, both team leads, who took on the task of helping me with the sorting and organization of my garage, Lisa Gerardo and Kim Witt.
I am happy to say that one week later, my garage is still clean and organized and I feel very happy about being there. I have no regret about throwing out the sign. In fact, it empowered me and I've since shed several other mementoes and tokens from my married life.
Here are a few statistics about STUFF that might make you think differently about holding onto it:
1.There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
2. The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
3. And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
4. While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
6. Women will spend more than eight years of their lives shopping (The Daily Mail).
If you are getting ready for a move, going through a life transition or you are overwhelmed by your own STUFF, we have a great team that can help.
When working with our senior clients, the process of moving is COMPLETELY overwhelming. While we work with clients facing cognitive impairment, even clients who have no issues with it experience some memory loss due to the stress. There is actually a medical term identified as "Relocation Stress Syndrome". For seniors, making this transition from their homes to senior communities, they will experience both physical and emotional tolls including memory loss. We always let our clients know before the move starts that this is normal and that they shouldn't panic.
"Forewarned is forearmed."
Moving takes an emotional toll on clients who aren't seniors too and stress can cause memory loss for anyone.
Because of this, and because it's always helpful to have lots of pockets when packing and unpacking, we wear "mango" aprons so our clients can easily identify the Silver Linings Transitions team members.
Some of our team members will do some jobs like sorting on days when we aren't packing for the move. Our clients appreciate the consistency when having new people come into their home and the mango makes us easily identifiable.
The mango also represents "bright" and we try and help our clients focus on the "Silver Lining" or what positive things are coming with their move. Perhaps it's less cooking and cleaning. Perhaps it's organized activities.
Whatever the benefit and regardless of age, we'd love to wear our mango aprons and help you "MOVE TOWARD A BRIGHTER TOMORROW'.
Moving is stressful - Let us take away the worry and work
Getting a home ready to sell, properly marketed and successfully closed at a worthy price is certainly a big part of the process but so much more is involved and it can really make the move stressful.
In the time span of 10 years, I sold 3 of my personal homes, bought another one and lived in 2 rentals. I know first hand moving is not easy!!
The last move my family made was across the country from Florida. This was the only time movers did the packing. Every other time, I did it juggling work and small children.
This is why we offer FREE PACKING services for any home we sell. If moving is regarded as one of life's top five stressors, we want to do what we can to make it a bit easier.
Movers are typically hourly laborers who come in, pack by zone and utilize more packing paper then should be environmentally legal. There is no mindfulness involved like sorting and grouping. For my cross country move, the Wii remotes didn't make it but the garbage pale from my kitchen (packed with my garbage!!!) DID!!!
Prior to packing for our clients, we spend time sorting and getting organized. When we pack, like items are together and boxes are labeled/color coded so you'll know exactly where they belong. We'll also prioritize the boxes so you'll know which should be opened first..like the coffee pot!!
Most importantly, if you've worked with Jami Shapiro to sell your home, you won't have to pay any money for this service.
If you'd like to reduce the stress from your move, never have to look at box and focus on getting acclimated and settled as soon as possible, for an additional fee, we can unpack your home, get the pantry and linen closets organized, hang your pictures and take all the boxes and packing paper with us when we leave you.
One of the most difficult parts of the move is living in boxes and feeling unsettled. Let us take the "WORRY and WORK" out of your next move.
TA DA!! We created a comfy home in ONE DAY!!
It is estimated by 2025, 7.1 million American seniors over the age of 65 will have dementia. This will be a 40% increase in the next 10 years. Having a family connection to this disease allows me to see the toll in takes on caregivers. At some point, these seniors will require round the clock care which is why many senior communities are adding memory care residences.
We were approached by Brenda Martinson, owner of San Diego Personal Business Services, a Financial Organizing/Business Consulting company to implement a move for her senior client from Carlsbad by the Sea to a memory care residence. (Learn more about Brenda by clicking here to visit her website.)
Brenda's client, affected with dementia, was unable to make decisions so Brenda reached out to the family and hired us to handle the move provided we could do it in one day as it would be the least traumatic approach for the client.
Brenda treated her client like family and wanted what was in the her client's best interest so putting her reputation at stake to work with us was a BIG DEAL!!
Prior to the move, we worked with Brenda and identified what resources and strategic partners would be necessary to implement the move. On moving day, we were able to pack and unpack while the family kept our client at the beach enjoying San Diego. In addition to packing and unpacking, our team carefully put together pictures and displayed mementoes from her life so she would have familiarity with her new environment. By packing and unpacking, we were able to get to know the client and create a space close to the one she was leaving.
Here are a few pictures of what our team did to make her room feel like "home".
For the client, the day started like any other. Sleeping in her own bed, getting ready for the day and leaving everything just as it was. While she spent the day at the beach visiting family, we packed up her home, worked with the movers.
At the end of the day, she came home to a freshly made bed, toothbrush by the sink and her belongings put away and decorated. We even laid her blanket out the way she liked it and kept her bed in the same position. One of my favorite touches was a butterfly pin that we hung on her headboard to cover a stain.
The client was able to get ready for her day just as she would on a normal day out. We took pictures and did our best to keep the things out on the counter the way she was used to.
We organized all the clients toiletries and created a nice neat environment (although the new bathroom was MUCH smaller with significantly less space and the client went from two bathrooms down to one.
"Just so very pleased with what you and your team did for my client...you took a small drab room and turned it into a delightful home...well decorated with thoughtful touches.
Thank you for making the process so smooth."
San Diego Personal Business Services
Jami Shapiro is a seasoned Realtor and Owner of Silver Linings Transitions. As a cancer survivor, she embraces aging and the challenges it presents.