Excerpt from Sun-Sentinel, July 4, 2003

A moving moment spawned business to help seniors

By Diane C. Lade
Staff writer

Nancy Ackerman will pack the dishes and ship the furniture, but she’s not a mover.

She’ll help sell the old home and find a new one  —  but she’s not in real estate.

She is part of an emerging industry, as South Florida’s elderly population continues to grow. They’re senior move managers, the new term for professionals who help older adults and their families make difficult housing transitions.

“I love it because I’m dealing with people, and I feel I’m providing a valuable service,” said Ackerman, teacher and business owner from Fort Lauderdale.

Her business is relocation, relocation, relocation.

She works with seniors who are trading in their single-family homes for assisted-living facilities, helping them sort through their possessions and spruce up their homes in order to get better sale prices. Adult children living in other states call Transitioning Lifestyles and Changes when their aging parents need to move back North, or have died, and the family needs someone to clean out the house and ship the heirlooms.

In the course of a month, Ackerman can coordinate with movers, cleaning crews, construction companies, consignment shops and attorneys.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” says a training coordinator who lives in Dayton, NJ. She called Transitioning Lifestyles and Changes in October when she realized coordinating the move of her 90-year-old father from his apartment to a retirement home near her in New Jersey was going to be more than she could handle long distance.

“There was no way I could have stayed down there to take care of everything. His place needed some work,” Greenfleld said.

Ackerman may be the first senior move manager in South Florida, but she probably won’t be alone for long. There were only a handful of these professionals six years ago when Margit Novack quit her health care managerial job to start Moving Solutions in the Philadelphia area.

Excerpt from The Miami Herald, July 13, 2004

New business helps seniors in sickness and in death

By Diana Moskovitz
Herald writer

A new business is blossoming in South Florida to help families move seniors into assisted-living facilities or clean out and sell their homes after they’ve died.

Nancy Ackerman Transitioning Lifestyles and Changes about a year ago to do the jobs no one else was doing.

If someone needs help finding an assisted-living home, Ackerman helps them shop around. When moving day arrives, they coordinate the movers, then help prepare the home for sale.

“Each person is so unique in their own wants and needs, there is nothing etched in stone. It’s just a question of how do you need us and what can we do to make your lives easier.”

Clients begin with a phone call and a free appointment to discuss what the family needs and how to get it done.

After a death, they’ll record everything in the home and send belongings to each assigned family member. They’ll attempt to sell or donate to charity whatever remains.

“We take the burden from the family,” Ackerman said.

This type of service is so new, few regulations or oversight exist, said Cheryl S. Wilson, director of the Area Agency on Aging in Broward County’s elderly help line.

Her advice is to shop around for the help you need. Some seniors are on a fixed income and can’t afford to hire help for a move, she said. “It’s not something you can make a snap decision on,” Wilson said. It’s just like anything else. You have to get the right fit.” Ackerman says the demand for their services is fueled by distance and time.

Most of South Florida’s elderly have children living in other states who don’t have the time to come down and take care of all the details of liquidating a home, or helping their parents move, Ackerman said. “Unfortunately, it is a two-person working society in the family today, so they cannot devote the time and energy to be down here,” Ackerman said.

Seniors also may forgo help from their family because they fear being a burden to their children, Wilson said. “A lot of it has to do with being independent,” Wilson said. “A senior individual wants to feel that they can make those decisions and choices on their own.”

Ackerman recently opened a warehouse to sell property their clients don’t want shipped to them, Ackerman said. What goes unsold is donated to local charities, and the families receive the tax credit, she said.

They may eventually open a consignment store for items clients have given up hope of selling.

“We are having fun with it,” Ackerman said. “We enjoy meeting people and being of help.”

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