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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Meet CSA Spotlight, Marilyn Clancey

Like many other professionals in their 50’s and 60’s, I have had a number of careers that has kept me excited and passionate about what I do. After the down-turn in the economy in 2008, it was hinted that I was a little ‘over the hill’ and my high paying corporate job was eliminated. It was obvious to me that I wasn’t 'old' so I decided to reinvent myself with a new career helping seniors. The nice thing about working with older people is that I’m considered ‘the kid’.

About four and a half years ago, in Southern California, I started a company helping older adults through the move process. Then, after being gone for many decades, I moved back to my home town of Windsor, Ontario Canada and re-started the senior relocation business, Moving In Harmony in January 2012.

After the layoff, I created a wonderful business that resulted from assisting my Mother with the decision that it was time to move to a retirement community after living in her home for 56 years.

Many of our clients, like my Mother, are older adults who have decided to move because they realize it’s very difficult to deal with grocery shopping, cooking, home repairs, arranging for gardening services and snow removal as well as needing some help in regards to daily care for themselves.

Most people, when faced with a pending move, immediately think “Oh I have to contact a moving company”. But unfortunately the moving company arrives and says ‘When do you want to move and here is an estimate’. They don’t help with the larger aspects of moving such as downsizing, liquidating household contents and sometimes they don’t even offer packing services. They arrive on move day and just move furniture and boxes from point A to point B.

Moving In Harmony makes all the arrangements for the soon-to-move older adult(s). We help with assessing the new residence to determine what furniture will fit, then we help with downsizing, packing, arranging for the move, selecting the moving company, organizing the contents of the house, handling shipping and distributing heirlooms to family members, liquidating personal property and anything that needs to be handled.

We transition many who either do not have children or their adult children cannot help much due to time and geographical restraints. Our clients know that there is a level of caring that sometimes characterizes our role as a ‘surrogate daughter’ or ‘surrogate son’ or ‘surrogate grandchild’.

Moving In Harmony also specializes in estate sales for those who have significant personal property that will be left behind and not moved to the new home. The income from the estate sale helps offset moving costs.

When we are dealing with people who are so anxious about getting themselves through this difficult transition, we keep our motto in mind, ‘We take our clients from overwhelmed to overjoyed’. Our system includes a lot of kindness, empathy and respect during the move process so that our client(s) stay calm and in control.

Let me take this opportunity, though, to tell you about my learning curve during my four and half years. Personally visiting over 50 independent retirement and assisted living communities in Southern California and in Canada, helps me to truly understand the complexity of the move process that many people in their 70’s and 80’ sand 90’s experience.

After working a short while with older adults, we came to realize the danger of assuming all those we call 'senior citizens’ belong to one group. Each move that we do is unique because people are unique. Each circumstance is unique with a variety of motivating factors and sources of anxiety.

I formed an advisory board of various kinds of experts (mostly people in their 80’s) which has given us invaluable insights for understanding how to better serve our aging clients.

And of course, the CSA certification provided me with a ‘bigger picture’ and useful information that I could implement in my business (and life). Learning about different age group’s attitudes, motivators, wants and needs gives me a confidence to work and reach out to older adults with understanding, empathy, kindness and respect. The Society of Certified Senior Advisors has helped me and my team to enhance our services while learning the importance of connecting our clients with a network of industry-wide providers.

Marilyn Clancey
Owner/Relocation Specialist
Moving In Harmony

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors