A Difficult Move to a Retirement Community Made Simple
When Kathleen and Richard McCarty retired, they took the path less travelled by choosing to upsize. Therefore, when the time came to move to a retirement community years later, the process seemed especially daunting. With the help of Charna Kinneberg and her team at Senior Transitions Inc., however, the couple was able to experience a seamless move from the large family home to their new apartment.
Kathleen and Richard met in Baltimore while he was a student at Johns Hopkins University and she was attending Mount St. Agnes, now a part of Loyola University. Married a year later, the couple had two children as Richard pursued his Masters degree at Hopkins.
The family then moved to Ithaca, NY where Richard became part of the faculty at Cornell University and Kathleen helped with library and development work for the school. With the birth of their third child, the couple remained in the area for 24 years before returning to Baltimore in 1990 where Richard served as Chair of the Department of Biology at Hopkins.
“We had moved to Timonium, but the suburbs just weren’t for me, so we downsized to a condo in the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood,” said Kathleen. At the time, the McCartys had also bought a weekend place in the mountains of Virginia.
“Two years later, the house right up the street became available and the first time we looked at it, we were filling out a contract,” said Richard. “It had five bedrooms, so we were upsizing again, which isn’t necessarily a good idea.”
Although the couple loved their home, they were there for a decade before the maintenance became too much to handle. Additionally, they had sold their weekend home and were therefore combining the belongings of two households.
Despite the overwhelming aspects of downsizing, there was one base the McCartys fortunately had covered. They had always known where they would spend their later years.
“Our lawyer looked at our housing agreement and said everything looked fine but asked if we had shopped around,” said Kathleen. “We said we have not shopped around, we don’t want to live in the county, we want to stay in our neighborhood, and we want to be a part of Roland Park Place.”
The continuing care retirement community was a mere two blocks from where the couple had already been living, and for them, Roland Park Place’s reputation set it apart from any other option.
“It was also the peace of mind we could give our children,” said Richard. “This is a place you walk in at your own power and they carry you up and you don’t have to worry about a thing; it’s wonderful.”
Among these perks, however, the couple still knew they faced the hurdle of clearing out their large home and giving whatever items they could to their three children or Goodwill.
Fortunately, upon signing their agreement to be residents, the McCartys received a packet from the community that included a brochure for Charna Kinneberg and her professional senior move management service, Senior Transitions, Inc.
“I looked at it and immediately told Richard we were going with this organization,” said Kathleen. “Charna seemed to do everything, and she certainly did.”
Senior Transitions, Inc. helps with various parts of the moving process including automated floor plan designs, packing, supervising movers, preparing for home sales and disposing of unneeded items. Charna Kinneberg, RN, MBA, started the company in 2001 and is a founding member of the National Association of Senior Move Mangers (NASMM). She also serves on the board of two geriatric care provider groups.
And with this expertise, the couple said she was fully prepared from the start. “From the moment Charna walked in the door, it was peace, serenity, efficiency and organization,” said Kathleen. “A lot of people have jobs that they’re really good at, and she is really good at senior transitions.”
With the help of the Senior Transitions staff, the McCartys were connected with reliable movers and were able to donate several items, including 17 boxes of books that went to a charitable organization.
“When we got here, it was shocking to discover how they could unpack and find places for everything, and exactly where I would’ve put them!” said Kathleen. “They knew our house and they took the time to do all that.”
As avid gardeners, the McCartys were especially delighted to know their beloved flowers were also accommodated. “Our sunroom was filled with at least 20 orchids and all kinds of paraphernalia, and we had no place for them here,” said Richard. “Charna put them on Craigslist for us and got several phone calls. A woman came and took everything in a half hour period and our worry was off the deck completely.”
The couple not only appreciated Charna’s dedication throughout the process, but that of each of her employees. “They were the best we’ve encountered. All wonderful, lovely, charming people who came prepared every day to calm me down,” Kathleen said with a smile.
While many of the McCartys’ peers have utilized Senior Transitions and were just as thrilled with their services, the couple still does not hesitate to spread the word about the move management company whenever possible. “I couldn’t recommend Charna and her employees more highly to anybody,” said Kathleen.
With the stress-free move behind them, the couple could not be happier with their new apartment and surroundings at Roland Park Place. As they take advantage of the community’s fitness center and scheduled daytrips, the McCartys have enjoyed getting to know their neighbors and continuing their favorite pastime by reserving a plot in the gardening areas.
“I think it’s important to move when both of you are able to do so physically and mentally,” said Richard. “We are younger than most people here, but we were actually able to make the right decisions and enjoy the move and get it done. It made our adjustment to living here very easy.”