Transition services do the lifting at moving time

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Moving is often a long and stressful process. For seniors transitioning from a home they’ve lived in for many years to a small apartment or retirement center, moving can be an even heavier burden.

“When someone has lived in a home for 30 or 40 years, it’s a big task,” says Amie Havlik, a senior move manager and owner of the Ely-based

. “When people even think about making that transition, it’s overwhelming.”

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Eastern Iowa businesses like the one owned by Havlik can help make the process much easier.

“I work to alleviate my client’s stress by going through the process in a methodical way,” says Havlik, who works with clients to sort through possessions in two or three hour increments, one room at a time. “I encourage clients to make several decisions, such as what they want and need to come with them; if the item has sentimental value and should be kept or given to a family member or friend; or if they should sell, donate or recycle/throw items away.”

She is quick to point out that her clients are the ones making the decisions.

“I strive to make sure my clients are in control to make the transition easier,” Havlik says. “I do remind them that their memories go with them where ever they go and that the item is not the memory.”

Simplified Transitions also offers space planning, sorting of possessions, and execution of the move itself.

“I have a design background, so I measure and create a floor plan so my clients know what will fit in their new space to help make the move smoother,” Havlik says.

Mark Thomsen, owner of Senior Transitioning Services in Cedar Rapids, specializes in working with seniors with special needs and their families.

“It’s a very emotional thing,” he says.

Thomsen, who offers many of the same services as Havlik, says the best part of his job is setting up the new residence: “We make the beds, hang the pictures and set the alarm clocks. We get it looking as much like home as it can be.”

Havlik agrees. “It’s amazing to see my client’s reaction when they walk in the door. You can just see a weight lifted off their shoulders,” she says.

For many seniors, moving help often comes from their adult children, who lead busy lives themselves, or may live out-of-town. Senior transition services can be particularly helpful in these circumstances as well.

“Plus a lot of parents don’t want to ‘bother’ their children with the task,” Thomsen says. “Having someone come in and help them through it is extremely important to them. We can create peace of mind for all involved.”


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