The Right Moves

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No matter one’s age, moving and downsizing are two of life’s most arduous processes. Just ask Carmen Cullen and Marion Goldstein: these two caring and active women, as well as their loved ones, knew that a transition was necessary. However, what they also realized was enlisting the help of Charna Kinneberg with Senior Transitions, Inc. would not only make their move stress-free but it would ensure a comforting future in their new homes.

Carmen grew up in Baltimore and has maintained friendships dating back to her childhood, some of whom are now her neighbors. After attending Towson State, she taught elementary school for a number of years. “What I found most rewarding was to witness the growth of each child, not only academically but also in maturity and independence,” she said.

It was during her teaching years that Carmen was introduced to her future husband. They raised two daughters, enjoyed entertaining and eventually became well-rounded travelers.

Similar to Carmen’s career, Marion took pride in helping others, working until age 73 as an operating supervisor at a children’s hospital. Outside of work, her life centered around others, as she took care of her husband, two daughters and her dog.

Both women are extremely active in their like pursuits. While Marion was an avid swimmer in the backyard pool of her former home, Carmen has been a champion bowler and remains a dancer to this day. When kicking back and relaxing, these ladies have enjoyed showing off their talents in bridge.

It was only a matter of time, though, before these women who had spent their lives helping others needed some extra assistance themselves.

Marion and her husband had been planning to move into Glen Meadows of Glen Arm in October 2003 when he passed away only a month before. “We had a lot to deal with,” said Marion’s daughter, Debbie Drimer. “We were grieving, but we had to plan the move and clean out Dad’s stuff.”

Carmen had also endured this experience when her husband passed away shortly after their 50th wedding anniversary. Soon, alternating her time between Baltimore and the apartment they had purchased in Florida became burdensome, and she decided to move south full time. Her daughters, however, became increasingly concerned about Carmen’s well-being. They felt that North Oaks in Pikesville held the promise of a secure environment among many lifelong friends.

Carmen’s daughter, Beth Kay, did the research that led her to the community. While at North Oaks, Beth voiced a desire for someone to magically make Carmen’s move happen. That is when she learned about move managers and specifically Senior Transitions, Inc. It was a huge leap – Carmen was moving back to Baltimore to North Oaks sight unseen!

As many adult children find, the effort needed to coordinate a major move for their parents was more than Debbie and Beth could handle alone. They knew they needed help as the time demands put incredible stress on their already busy lives.

Debbie had been evaluating all of the options for various services for seniors when she came across Charna’s information. Once she learned the service existed, Debbie knew this was exactly what they needed. Charna could coordinate the move process from drafting the floor plan to unpacking.

“We were downsizing from a huge 3-acre property with a pool, to basically a one-bedroom unit,” said Debbie. “And we had a lot of stuff in the basement and attic.”

Aside from Charna’s ability to help sort through items and have them placed in the apartment prior to Marion’s move, Debbie greatly appreciated their chosen moving manager’s sincere attitude. “She understood what we were going through and just gave us so much advice,” said Debbie.

Once Carmen’s apartment was sold, Senior Transitions, Inc. referred the family to a Florida company named A Move Made Easy, headed by Sharon Cofar. Both companies are members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Charna, a founder of the organization, had met Sharon at one of the meetings and knew she would do a great job helping Carmen.

“Sharon and Charna interfaced seamlessly,” said Beth. “Senior Transitions, Inc. anticipated my mother’s every need, and throughout the process, Charna remained in close communication with both Sharon and our family.”

Every detail was attended to diligently. Sharon worked on the front end organizing the movers and packing everything. In Baltimore, Charna and her crew met the mover at North Oaks and unpacked the items while setting up the apartment. Clothing and accessories were neatly organized into closets and drawers, and all household goods were properly stored. Treasured objects were artfully arranged and pictures were hung according to Carmen’s wishes.

Her well-loved furniture was placed as had been requested in Carmen’s forwarded floor plan and Senior Transitions, Inc. stocked the apartment with basic grocery staples. “It was truly an amazing sight for Mom to enter her new apartment for the very first time. We all breathed a sigh of both relief and wonder,” said Beth. Instead of spending weeks unpacking, Carmen immediately began socializing with old friends.

Her initial move to Glen Meadows was not the only time Marion and Debbie enlisted Charna’s services. Four years later, Marion needed to move to the community’s assisted living unit. Debbie made the call and within a week, they were receiving the great help they previously experienced. “The second time was very emotional although I had more experience,” she said. “Charna was just wonderful.”

Everything was unpacked from the clothes to the candy dish. The unit was smaller; however, Debbie was grateful for how ‘homey’ her mother’s place looked and that Marion was able to keep her decorative ceramic statues. Although unnecessary in her new home, Charna and her crew understood how much she wanted them to be there.

“She really cares about the people she’s doing this for and loves it,” said Debbie. “It was just such a relief to meet people who were so kind, knowledgeable and very affordable.” When Marion needed to move a third time, Debbie called Charna again for a job that was done as quickly and efficiently as the previous two.

And as for Marion and Carmen’s lives today? Both have immersed themselves into the social environments of their communities. Marion enjoys having her hair done weekly and is involved in various activities. Carmen is a part of her community’s social committee and plans to be a regular volunteer at its health facility.

It is inevitable that seniors face life changes, and Carmen and Marion were no different. Moves often spark a crisis for the senior and their loved ones, but these two women who have devoted their lives to others were able to move gracefully thanks to the extra help of a trusted and caring expert.

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