Company eases the stress of moving for seniors

Posted at 6:00 AM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-23 10:53:21-05

ERLANGER, Ky. -- Hildegard Jones was in a bind. The 81-year-old’s husband, James Jones, 87, was leaving their home at Baptist Village in Erlanger, and needed to move into Brookdale, an assisted-living facility in Edgewood. They didn’t have any family members who could help.

Staff at Brookdale told her about reSettled Life, a new Northern Kentucky business created by Amy Wright, which plans moves for, packs up, unpacks and generally eases transitions to new homes for senior citizens. She hired Wright, and within a few days, she had James moved into his new home. 

“She saved me a lot of stress and work,” Hildegard said. “I would recommend this for any elderly person who has no one to help them.”

A Transition For Owner And Client

When Wright’s youngest daughter started kindergarten, Wright, who had been a stay-at-home mother of three for 10 years, began looking for a new vocation. She remembered how it was two years ago when her grandmother died, how difficult it was for her mother and her mother’s siblings to handle their grief and all the things grandma had left behind, she said.

She concluded that “someone like me who is unbiased and trained would help people be able to make those decisions,” she said. “We don’t have to get angry with each other in the process.”

The Walton resident was encouraged to start her own business by Fran Long, wife of Barry Long, former pastor of Vineyard Christian Church in Florence, where Wright is a member. 

She incorporated the company in August, and spend the next few months working with a branding company to create her brand and website. She also joined the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), and obtained her auctioneer’s license from the state of Kentucky so she can do estate auctions.

So far, Jones has been the only customer. Wright is the only investor, and she has spent about $5,000 on her website, business cards and the like. However, she does have two employees, retired friends who have agreed to work part-time as needed for packing and other jobs.

Her husband, Steve, a financial advisor, has been a “silent partner” in the business, she said, helping her create it and figure out how to grow it.

Building The Business

Wright is focusing her marketing on senior networking groups and making calls “to anyone connected with the senior industry,” she said. That includes attorneys, financial advisors -- anyone in a position of trust with a senior citizen. 

She is also pursuing certification as a senior move manager with NASMM. That requires passing nine courses and doing a minimum of 40 invoiced senior moves. Managers also have to have liability insurance, NASMM associate executive director Jennifer Pickett said.

Almost every zip code in Northern Kentucky has a significant percentage of senior citizens, Wright said. The fact that a huge wave of Baby Boomers is preparing to retire in the coming years also bodes well for her business, she said.

Service Still New In Midwest

The NASMM website lists just three other senior movers within a 50-mile radius of downtown Cincinnati: Queen City Transitions LLC in Covington, Smooth Transitions of Cincinnati North LLC in Hamilton and Smooth Transitions of Dayton. 

The association began 15 years ago with 20 members, Pickett said, and it now has 900. Most of them, however, are on the East Coast or the West Coast – the industry has just begun to pick up steam in the Midwest, she said. 

Being a good senior mover takes two skills that don’t often go together, she said: “It takes an inordinate amount of patience, and also you have to be a savvy small business owner.” 

“It feels like I’m having another baby,” Wright said. “It’s been really fulfilling and a lot of fun.”