By: James Watson
These are not your typical moving solutions; disproportionably top-heavy men toting tattoos and smoking cigars, wearing flannel shirts, loading up flat-beds and dropping pianos from precarious lifting contraptions 20 stories up above a dumbfounded cartoon duck cruising along the city street below. Rather, the moving solutions I wish to touch on in this article are ones more specialized, ones more personalized and ones more meticulous than normally understood of moving and organization.
I asked a few questions of Vicky Riley Keyes, owner and operator of Red Coats Moving Solutions and I believe that her responses will do best to explain exactly what I am talking about. The Q & A goes as follows:
Q: What kind of people will wish to use your services and under which circumstances?
A: Our client base is primarily seniors, their children (boomers) and busy families. When someone has lived in a home for many years the thought of moving is overwhelming; there is so much to do and organise it is often too much to do on your own. If you live in a different city or even country to your parents it is difficult to offer them the support they need helping them downsize to a smaller home. The boomers have often experienced our services with their parents. Now that they themselves are starting to downsize from a family home to a condo, they have called on us to help. We help them get the home ready for sale (decluttering, staging) and then co-ordinate all aspects of their relocation.
Q: Are there typical cases?
A: Most often seniors whose children don’t live close by, seniors who are on their own and sometimes people who are too busy with their own lives and need help.
Q: What precisely is it that you will do?
A: We have two companies, move management and home staging. With Red Coats Moving Solutions we manage all aspects of the move starting with designing the floor plan of the new home and helping with sorting through things in the home, to finding solutions for possessions people don’t need any more (such as selling antiques and collectibles, arranging for donations to needy charities and help with recycling.) Our Red Coats team packs, hires a reputable mover, oversees the move, unpacks and sets up the new home, including making the beds, hooking up the computer and hanging the artwork. With Red Coats Home Staging we help the client prepare their home to sell in the best possible manner to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers. We start with helping them sort through things, oftentimes packing things up to get ready for their move. We use the principals of ReDesign, working with the client’s existing furniture and fixtures to stage the home. We usually bring in accessories for the final touches.
Q: Is it just moving or could it be simply the decluttering of somebody’s existing home?
A: Decluttering is an important part of what we do and is recommended to be done on an on-going basis whether you are moving or not. If you declutter on a regular basis, you will be much more ready to move when the time comes.
Q: What kind of questions should somebody ask when comparing companies?
A: How long they have been in business, references, are they properly insured, are the people they hire bonded and criminal reference checked? Are the movers and other subcontractors WSIB approved? How the employees are compensated. Red Coats has been in business for five years, we carry $2 million commercial general liability insurance, our team is bonded and criminal reference checked, our sub- contractors are WSIB certified, our employees are on payroll and are professionally trained.
Q: Are you liable for damages?
A: If anything is broken during a move, we either repair or replace it. We provide our clients with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
By: James Watson
I am not going to get into too much detail and reinvent the wheel on retirement home advice with this blog post. I was directed by a colleague in the industry toward a source that already provides some good information on considering a move into a retirement home. I have provided the information and link and the bottom of this article.
Let me begin with the very important distinction of what a retirement home is (or is not): A retirement home is not a “long-term care facility” (which is also called a “nursing home”). The Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) website explains that long-term care facilities “…are mostly for seniors who have significant health care issues and require a great deal of care.” Retirement homes, on the other hand, offer “…a flexible lifestyle option for older adults who want to make their own choices. Retirement residence living lets you choose – how much to do for yourself; how much to have done for you; how to spend your time; and with whom to spend it.” You may even employ additional services in your residence – homecare, homemakers, therapy services, etc. – from external providers if you so wish to do so. Retirement homes emphasize your independence.
There are many different factors to consider when comparing retirement homes. Retirement homes come in all shapes and sizes. From large, multi-storey, luxurious buildings to much smaller, more modest one-floor homes. Their physical design can cater to different needs. A large establishment may be great for socially active individuals who wish to be involved in something new every day, while a smaller, one-floor home may be more desirable to individuals who enjoy a more subdued atmosphere or individuals that have mobility difficulties.
Beyond that, retirement homes can vary in many other aspects too. Some may generally cater toward a specific ethnic group, culture or language. Some may be in energy-charged city centers while others sit against a peaceful nature backdrop by the rural fringes of a city. Many provide options for different levels of assisted living, or Alzheimer’s and dementia support too. And finally there is the cost of it all. From location to location, even from room to room, retirement homes vary greatly in their prices. The best way to compare prices is to phone and speak to a marketing or sales representative at the retirement home. The ORCA website offers a directory of “ORCA Approved” homes (click here). You may also conduct a search through online service directories (I included some links to some of these in my My parents need help. Where do I begin? article) or any other methods or sources you may find. When comparing retirement homes, all of these factors combine to make each residence unique.
By doing some preparation and research up front – online, by asking friends, whatever – it will help you to ask the right questions and get all the information you need when you pick up the phone or visit a retirement home. Decide upon the factors that will most influence your decision – size, layout, design, location, culture, language, assisted living, price, etc. You may eliminate some retirement homes immediately based on upon these preferences. Highlight the most promising ones then look into them further. Take notes when you are speaking to representatives via the phone or visiting the locations in person. Record your thoughts and feelings. By taking good notes you enable yourself to look back on your experiences in a few days and form new opinions. Prepare, research, and prepare some more. This is a big decision so do not dare give it half an effort!
The final thing I will touch on is the fact that once you make the final decision to move into the home, you must actually move into the home! This can be daunting for many people who have lived in their private homes for half a lifetime and may have accumulated a “thing or two”. Fortunately, there are services available for you to help you with your move. Down-sizing, de-cluttering, organizing and moving; there are service providers for each. Your liaison at the retirement home you are moving into should be able to refer you to the appropriate services. In a future blog post too, I will write more about these types of services.
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In addition to other helpful pages, the ORCA website has a page that offers you tips on choosing a retirement residence – things to looks for when touring facilities and wise questions to ask representatives. The view the page, click here.