Marty and I discuss all aspects of a senior move whether managing the move for themselves or for aging parents. We talk about the psychological and physical moving process including downsizing, organizing and the actual move itself. We discuss the additional problems involved when a member of the move has dementia or a physical infirmity. Marty clarifies the role or a move management company.
For those who are wishing to age-in-place, Marty presents tips on how to safety-proof and organize for convenience.
Whether you planning a move yourself or helping another in their move, this podcast will make things easier.
Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are available on Specifically for Seniors. To inquire about details, please contact us at https://www.specificallyforseniors.com/contact/ .
Disclaimer: Unedited AI Transcription
You are connected and you are listening to specifically for seniors, the podcast for those in the Remember When Generation. Today's podcast is available everywhere you listen to podcasts and with video at specifically for seniors YouTube channel. Now here's your host, Dr. Larry Barsh.
If you are, if you are helping an older adult plan a move to a new residence or trying to make your current home safe as you age in place, then you do not wanna miss today's podcast. Our guest is Marty Stevens Hener Marty is an author, podcast host and c e o of Clear Home Solutions, a senior move management company. And more, I was told Marty was the first certified move manager in the United States and president of the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers with certifications in senior and specialty move management, professional organizing and aging in place. Welcome to specifically for seniors Marty.
Marty Steves-Heebner (01:36):
Thank you so much Larry, for having me. It's really an honor to meet with you today.
Oh, I'm glad you could come on. So many of people in my generation are planning a move or trying to plan a move and going through all the machinations that that involves.
Marty Steves-Heebner (01:55):
Yes, yes. It's, it's one of the biggest disruptors in life.
Speaker 4 (02:00):
Did you get into this field? Into senior move management?
Marty Steves-Heebner (02:06):
It, it, well honestly, it's like a, how a lot of us actually get into my field. We have our own personal experience doing it, going through it with our parents. And for me, my, I lived in Los Angeles now, but I was born, bred and built rugged in Buffalo and my dad lived there and, you know, up till he less this earth, the age of 90. And we like to say we work with the DA in the family, that would be the designated adult. And I was that and I'm sure you were too, Larry, and I'm sure a lot of your at one time. Yeah, exactly. And a lot of your listeners cuz that's why they listened to you to learn. And so I was flying back and forth and I had a, a handbag business at that time that was my own, but for obvious reasons, going back and forth and taking care of my dad, it took a big hit.
Marty Steves-Heebner (02:54):
Not that I would change anything. I was very glad to be there and be present for my dad. And so it became time, do I resurrect the handbag business and it's really a cutthroat of business, or do I find something else that is, that feels good to me and is really worthwhile doing? And I love what I was learning about later life, both, you know, with my dad and then also with my aunt who had dementia. And I also realized from a business perspective how huge the market was and how much it was gonna grow. And so I was finding this niche and I found this amazing niche of basically dealing with people's stuff, their treasures of lifetime and everything else that goes with those treasures with compassion and with respect as well as efficiency, obviously. And so I launched Clear Home Solutions 10 years ago. Never looked back.
Oh. There seemed to be two parts to this. You, you sort of alluded to that there are the older adults who decide to move on their own and make the move. And then there are the children of older adults. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, I say children advisedly because they're advise they're adults as well. Yeah. But they're trying to help their parents make the move. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> what difference is there between these two types of move? Is one harder, more difficult than the other?
Marty Steves-Heebner (04:30):
Well Larry one involves a lot more family dynamics, as we call them. <Laugh>, there tends to, you know, when you're a kid, you're always a kid to your parent. No matter how old you get, no matter how much experience you have, you're always the kid. And so families, just so everybody knows, no matter how well your family gets along, this is when people butt heads. And also in the case of the older adults, if it's spouses together moving, they're gonna butt heads too. I mean, moving is so challenging and so filled with emotion. You know, people call it relocation, I call it dislocation cuz you're gonna feel at a joint until you're settled in your know, home for about a month. And so the idea, really the best thing you can start doing is planning as much as you can. It's gonna take longer than you think, and it's gonna involve so many logistics. So if you are even thinking about moving, even if it's a ne the next year or two start going through the downsizing process, you will be your, your future self will be very grateful to se current self who's downsizing, trust me, <laugh>. And so will your adult children.
How, how do you start? I'm asking this question sort of in retrospect because my wife and I just moved and I know what a difficult process it is going from a home to a different type of residence.
Marty Steves-Heebner (06:07):
Yes. And kudos to you and wife, your wife, Larry, that you're still together after coming through this and you made it. Congratulations. Yeah. Especially in later life. It's an even bigger shift. I mean, frankly, it affects all generations of a family. I've had grandchildren crying in my arms. I mean, depend, again, it depends too clearly, Larry, you and your wife are very active and healthy, but there often is a precipitating event, like a broken hip or a heart attack or a, a diagnosis of some sort of disease, including dementia. And so there's all those other emotions involved as well. And so where do you start? Well, as I said, as soon as possible. And the best thing you can start doing is making a list of all the things you need to do and just start and just brainstorm. Just spew out into a computer or in a pad of paper.
Marty Steves-Heebner (07:02):
And it, you know, if you're working with somebody to move like you and your wife or with the adult child, write down everything and don't worry about the order, just write it all down, everything you can think of. And then think about chronologically what makes sense. If you have plenty of time, start downsizing. Pick one room at a time and don't do that room all in one bite unless it's a very tiny area. If so long as you give yourself time and start, as soon as you have an inkling you wanna move, it isn't a labor, it doesn't feel like a laborious process. Set yourself an hour every few days to start tackling that first room bit by bit. Pick a bookshelf or even three shelves on a bookshelf. Take your time, play some fun music. Have something lovely that you like to eat.
Marty Steves-Heebner (07:56):
I'm always for chocolate personally, always for chocolate. And then reward yourself afterwards with something fun to do so that you start thinking of it as a fun thing to do. Now if you don't have a lot of time, because as I said, sometimes something happens and it has to happen quickly, then what I would say is simply pick out the things that need to move with you. And especially if you're moving to assisted living from a home, like you're moving to a one bedroom and assisted living and they're, you're living a house of three bedrooms with a garage and an attic and a cell. Just focus on what, what your favorite and most useful items are. If you're not gonna have a kitchen in your assisted living apartment, then just take a couple of plates and a couple of mugs. You don't need a lot cuz they're gonna do all the cooking for you, which as far as I'm concerned is wonderful <laugh>.
Marty Steves-Heebner (08:51):
I want that now. And so just focus on those sorts of things. Make a floor plan. Make a floor plan especially in terms of furniture measure, measure accurately because the especially and also go to the new apartment and measure it yourself. They'll give you a floor plan, but everything, every place differs a little bit even by six inches. You'd be surprised what a difference that can make and know where the overhead lighting is. So then you'll know what lamps to place, things like that. So like I say, if you have plenty of time, months, then start downsizing first and do start making a list. Absolutely. If it's a sudden move, then first make that list, put it in chronological order and start picking what you want to take and what will fit. Cuz you've made a floor plan and start booking the movers too as soon as possible. Cuz frequently, especially if it's in the summer, movers are completely booked. So you want to make sure that you have you, you get on their schedule as soon as possible.
So where does your company come in?
Marty Steves-Heebner (10:04):
Well, we can, when
Do I, when do I start with a move management company?
Marty Steves-Heebner (10:10):
Well, we, you can, we can start in both scenarios as soon as you begin. Because especially if you lived in your home for 40 years and you're starting the downsizing process, it helps to work professionals who know what questions to ask. So if you have 10 red sweaters, we'll help you narrow it down to two or three by looking at, you know, are there holes and tares and some do they fit you still cuz they may not. That kind of thing. And help you make those choices. And also helping to figure out what you can do with those things that you're not gonna take. We have those of us who are in senior move management, we have deep resources list if we've been doing this for any amount of time. And like I say, I've been doing this for 10 years and LA Vent Ventura counties and we have such a deep resource list.
Marty Steves-Heebner (11:00):
So we know the good movers. Trust me, I saved a couple of friends of mine from going with movers who were not trustworthy cause I gave them a list of questions to ask. And actually I, since we're talking about it, I'll, I'll tell you in your audience so the questions, especially with movers, but any professionals including my profession that you wanna ask is are they a member of their industry trade association? So obviously for my, my my profession, it's the National Association of Senior and Specialty Luth Managers. Yes, I know it's mouthful. N A s m m.org. That's where you can go plug in your zip code and look for people there. And look for certifications, how long they've been as business, et cetera. And then with the movers, make sure they have their Department of Transportation license. Are they, are they a member of the American Trucking Association or some other move oriented organiz trade organization?
Marty Steves-Heebner (11:58):
And if they're in good standing, and then here are key questions I want you to ask. Are they insured liability insurance? Are they bonded? And bonding has to do with theft. You know, for example, we do background checks and that sort of thing. And those are important because we're gonna be in your home handling all kinds of things. You'll be surprised what we find <laugh>, trust me, <laugh>. And then also is anyone from the company who's gonna be in your home? Are they an employee as opposed to a subcontractor? Are they an employee? And are they covered by worker's compensation? Because if somebody isn't part of a company, like for example, I what they call private caregivers, in other words, somebody you just hire and pay some often under the table they can slip and fall in your home. And rather than the company's workers' comp insurance covering them cuz they're not an employee, they're gonna sue you.
Marty Steves-Heebner (13:02):
So that's something very important to make sure of. Make sure there's worker con conversation. I know for the example of with the in-home care companies, it's a lot more expensive to hire from a company, but it's so much safer for you if you're hiring or your parents. So that's, those are things you wanna ask of the moving company and just make sure, and like I say, we have all those logistics the, the resource and we handle the logistics of the list of movers that we know and trust, that sort of thing. So we have all those wonderful resources. And with this is just, this is our metier, this is what we do coming in. And think of it as a project manager for your move and you can work with us. And this is generally, I think this is true of mo almost all senior and especially move managers.
Marty Steves-Heebner (13:46):
You work with us as much or as little as you want and need to, we'll put together an estimate for you. And I, we do a project plan too. So you see how it's broken down and if a family member comes to help you and a few other things get done, then you don't pay us for that. And we don't, you don't need us. You're gonna do that with your adult daughter or granddaughter. Or if say they were supposed to come and Ted out and help you and they don't, then we'll kick into high gear and do what they were supposed to do. So the idea is it's flexible and our clients are very much in control of of the project, how much we're there for them, how much they're spending, that sort of thing.
How often do you run into the problem that the kids don't want anything?
Marty Steves-Heebner (14:41):
<Laugh>? how long have you got? I mean, frequently. So, and I and I get it because we, we do have so much stuff in our own homes. Here's what I would recommend to not just keep the peace, but to also show your parents respect. I mean, they aren't giving you a gift, they really think it's something useful for you or for your child or something like that. Say thank you and accept the gift and now that it's yours, you can do anything you want with it, including donate it, give it away, it, you know, if you think it's trash, you can throw it down. And then now some people are afraid, well, they'll comment on it and you can just say it's like, look, you gave it to me and it wa you know, it was mine now. And I just, I realized I wouldn't really use it or it doesn't fit in the house or something like that.
Marty Steves-Heebner (15:38):
And I wanted it to be as useful for as useful to someone else as it was useful to you. And we found a great home for it. And that's, I think, the best way to do it. It keeps the peace and, and it's so much less awkward. And it just the key thing is to as much as you can during this process, and this is when you're working with a professional, like what we do at Clear Home Solutions can help because you get more rest. You're not stressed out by handling all these logistics that you're not familiar with. And you can be, you can care for one another more, especially when it's the older adult the older adult and their adult chi child. But even if it, it's two adult older adult spouses, it just keeps the peace more. And especially with that wanting to give things to people.
Marty Steves-Heebner (16:29):
We could also, another thing that often happens with us, if it's a local move or even if it's a long distance move, there can be two drop points. So if you are, if you, if you are having things delivered to you or another sibling or something like that, they can deliver there first or, or afterward they can deliver wherever they go first. Either the new place, the older Douglass living, or to the adult child, they can go to one place first and they do a second drop off. That's not a problem. So don't forget that
Our kids argued about who had to take something <laugh> <laugh>. Neither of them wanted any of this stuff. One of the problems we ran into was with consignment shops.
Marty Steves-Heebner (17:21):
What kind of problems did you run into? I'm curious
You, your expression sort of told me that this is not uncommon. It's not number one we're not gonna take that. Well, you're a consignment shop, don't you take it. Number two, I have to pay for moving the stuff to your store so you can sell it. It turned out that there were some items that it was cheaper to move than they give to a consignment shop. Do you find that very often
Marty Steves-Heebner (17:57):
It, those are not unusual stor? That those are not unusual problems? It, it's really hard, especially if it's furniture. It is really hard to sell. There's a term in the trade called black and brown furniture. So that would be black or brown leather or cloth. There's just a glut of it on the market. Because you have to realize millennials and gen Zers tend to be minimalists or if not minimalists, then they don't have a lot of stuff. They don't need the old royal top desks as beautiful as they are. Excuse me. So sometimes it's, it's easier and less expensive. So you're not paying for the transportation, the movers to move something for you that you're not necessarily going to use. That you'll you can use the buy nothing or there buy nothing groups or someone will come up and come and pick it up.
Marty Steves-Heebner (18:51):
Also Facebook marketplace, they'll come pick it up because there, there are donation places too. Won't take any of that furniture if there's any little scratches on it or anything. So especially when it's large furniture. Yeah, they do have you pay to come get it now. I get it. They need to stay in business somehow or other it's easier to consign clothes because in small objects, cuz they're easy to transport there with large pieces of furniture, like I'd say sometimes it's better to donate or find a way to give away. So one of the great things you can do is have a giveaway party where you invite your friends, your neighbors family, what have you, and mark the items that are giveaway. And then you, you have a party, which is always fun. And then oftentimes a lot of stuff leaves your house that you wanna give away and at least, and the people who can thank you, granted you don't, you aren't paid for it and you don't get a donation receipt.
Marty Steves-Heebner (19:50):
But all those things that there's no market for them. And donation shops don't want them. It's a great way to get them outta your house without having to pay, God forbid a Holloway company or something like that. But yet it's tough for your average household full of contents. There is a great way to sell things. There's a company called Max Sold, M a x s o l d Max sold. It's not everywhere, but if it's in your area, it's a, it's an online auction site. And they've grown tremendously in the cities that it's in. Like in Los Angeles there's a great, they have a great marketing list and it's amazing how many things will get sold on the auction. Everything starts at a dollar and then it bits bit bits. The fun thing is to watch the auction for the last half hour. Cuz that's when every jump, everybody's going on to outbid one another. It's very amusing to watch interesting too. So that's an outlet. If max old is in your area, sometimes it's more effective than an estate sale and they'll run the whole thing for you. And I'll set up schedule the pickups. It's, it's a very easy way to work with them.
I found that one of the hardest parts of this whole thing was, as you mentioned before, the logistics of coordinating, selling the house, hiring and scheduling cleanup, scheduling the move, the change of address canceling services, all that. Does your company help with that as well?
Marty Steves-Heebner (21:30):
We can do as many of those things as you, we can do it all or as many of those things as you'll want us to. It, it really is a lot of juggling, especially when you haven't moved in 40 years or even two years ago. You don't know who to trust what vendors you can trust. I am we, like I say, we, especially with a company of like mind, we've been around for 10 years. We, we have, again, it's that day re resource list and we just know who our clients have been happy with and who we know will show up when they say they will. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and they'll work efficiently. Not, especially with movers, not dragging out the hours, especially if it's local. That's when they can drag out the hours. It, it is a juggling match. What, what gave you the most trouble? I'm really curious.
Pretty much everything.
Marty Steves-Heebner (22:19):
<Laugh>. Yeah. Yeah.
Try trying to coordinate selling the house with being out of the house with trying to keep the house clean during a sale mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and yet start getting stuff in order to get rid of stuff and trying to coordinate this whole process.
Marty Steves-Heebner (22:46):
And, you know, here's the thing too. It's your home and you, when we are working with clients, we wanna keep it feeling like your home for as long as possible. So doing the downsizing is great because then things that you don't want are getting, are getting either set aside for sale or donated or something like that. And it's really just a couple of days beforehand where we do, where we're pulling all the pictures off the wall and everything. They've, we know which ones are moving with you and again, which ones are not. And so it's only those last couple of days where your home really feels like it's being not, I don't wanna say torn apart, but, but pulled apart. And I won't say one thing too, especially if you're mo working with a move manager, you don't want to, you don't have to be there on move day.
Marty Steves-Heebner (23:37):
So sometimes, especially now, if you're an adult child with, with a parent who may have dementia, you definitely want them out of the house because it doesn't feel like chaos to us. We know exactly what's going on, but it will feel like chaos to you. And so getting them out of the home, doing something fun and then giving us time to set up the home or or another family member to set up their new assisted living apartment and, and then they can just walk in and it feels familiar. Cause one of our goals when we're creating these new homes for people is to make a reflection of the home they've left behind. Which is especially important when someone has dementia giving, surrounding them with familiar things and photos especially makes a difference in terms of how settled they feel. Because a move with someone with dementia, if it's not done compassionately and carefully and thoughtfully, it can really exacerbate the dementia cuz it's such a huge shift.
Marty Steves-Heebner (24:39):
And so those things that are familiar, I mean, one of the things I think is key is what's across from the bed. Sometimes it's just a TV and that's fine. But remember that what is across from your bed is the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. And it's the last thing you see before you go to bed at night. And so if it's, again, someone with dementia or just you know yourself or something where you wanna feel comforted or you wanna feel good when you wake up in the morning, but something across from the bed that they will love or you or they will love seeing, that's important. And like I say, making it feel like a reflection of the home they've left behind. One of the things I learned early on in doing what I do is that what really makes it feel like home is what's on the walls. Because think about it, we're not staring down at the furniture, we're sitting in it or eating, you know, off of it, but we're looking at the walls. And so those things that are your favorite thing, those are the ones that you wanna take. If you have a ton of family photos, figure out which ones really speak to you. If you had a hundred of them, narrow it down to 20 and then those photos will pop and will really matter to you and delight your eye when you're walking around your apartment.
Speaking of dementia mm-hmm. <Affirmative> the person moving is going to be moving to someplace in the neighborhood close by. But the big problem will come up with a long distance move. Moving an firm member of the household with a physical or mental limitation and pets. How do you manage that?
Marty Steves-Heebner (26:39):
Very carefully. If you're moving long distance, especially across the country, the movers are gonna give you a window of when they will arrive. I mentioned the nasm n a smm.org site where you can find senior move managers, not only where your parents live, but also where they're going to. And especially if they're moving close to you and you're thinking, oh, I can handle it. You may wanna think again because especially with a parent that has dementia who's being dislocated, as I mentioned, it's gonna be very confusing for them. And they will, there will be conflict, you'll have to deal with that. Right? And if you can just be there as kind of the centering force for your parent with dementia or your spouse with dementia, that really helps because they feel safe because they know you. And maybe, and plan on keeping them in your home probably for a few days during the sh the while it's, everything's in transit, or actually some, some places, some assisted living places and memory care facil communities, pardon me, communities, they have respite stay where people can stay there to either try out the community or in this case waiting for things to arrive that can help.
Marty Steves-Heebner (28:07):
Although again, if it's someone with dementia, they're gonna feel very dislocated, very confused. So it is, it's tricky. There's no denying it. And that's why I, we always think the su, once somebody gets a diagnosis of dementia, it's better to move them as soon as you can. I know they may fight you on that and it's, it can be very difficult to get an official diagnosis of dementia from a doctor cuz they're concerned about giving that diagnosis for different reasons. But that's dealing with people with dementia. Those are things you have to keep in mind. And while you're taking care of the person with dementia, a move manager can be setting everything up in the room. So again, when they walk in, it feels like home pets. Well if you can take them on the plane, that's great, especially if they're smaller and you can kind of tuck 'em under a plane seat.
Marty Steves-Heebner (29:05):
But if you're dealing with a great Dane or something like that, so, so a creature, like a wonderful creature like that, then there are actually pet transport companies that could do it. You can put them onto the plane. You may wanna give them a little something from your vet beforehand to calm them down cuz it's very difficult. So transporting, you have to figure out those logistics and check with the airline as soon as you know that you're gonna, whenever you're going to be flying there. And and like I say, there are pet transportation companies, again, ask them the same questions. Questions, insurance bonded, make sure they have some sort of either license or, or organization that they're a part of. And you asked me one other thing, it was dementia pets and was it something else? I'm trying to remember. No.
Okay. No. physical limitations, but that
Marty Steves-Heebner (30:02):
Well, and yeah, that's important because again, ca if someone is in a wheelchair or has other physical limitations, contact the airline. As soon as you know you're going to be traveling, you don't even have to ever have a reservation yet. Just contact them and I know it's a pain cuz you're gonna be on hold forever. Complete. Or, or just Google, you know, search for what their policies are and, and notify them that you have a dear one, a loved one who's going to be traveling, who's in a wheelchair or who is or, or needs a walker or something like that. And ask them how they can best ha how, how to best handle that. Both, both when you're embarking and also when you're disembarking.
I traveled with a dog who
Marty Steves-Heebner (30:49):
Was, how how'd that go?
<Laugh>. I, I sort of trained him to be a service animal so I could get him on the plane because I didn't want to ship him.
Marty Steves-Heebner (31:03):
We got into the airport and he started to bark.
Marty Steves-Heebner (31:08):
The guy behind the desk, you know, at at in the front said, yeah, service dogs are are trained not to bark. I said, he wasn't barking. The guy said, what do you mean? I heard him bark. That wasn't barking. He's coughing. He has a cold.
Marty Steves-Heebner (31:28):
<Laugh>, <laugh>. It's very smart, Larry.
I, it wa it was, it was an experience that I do not want to replicate because training my dog who's asleep, thank goodness here can be a real nuisance <laugh>. And he sort of laughed off the medication that the vet prescribed. He said, you really think that's gonna bother me?
Marty Steves-Heebner (31:54):
Anyhow, getting back, getting back to everybody else's problems. <Laugh>.
Marty Steves-Heebner (32:01):
But but often that those are, that is somebody else's problem. So I'm sure they're glad they're glad to get you
That they no, they no longer allow emotional support animals on a plane. I
Marty Steves-Heebner (32:13):
Felt that. Oh, interesting.
It's okay. Service trained psychiatric service, Alex. Anyway we talked about move you also provide some help with people who want to age in place. Yes. Safety procedures.
Marty Steves-Heebner (32:33):
Yes. Can we talk about that for a little while?
Marty Steves-Heebner (32:35):
You, you bet. So when you're considering having a company or a person come in to help make your place safe and comfortable for later years check to make sure their caps certified. It's from the National Association of Home Builders and CAPS stands for a certified aging in place specialist. And, and I'm, I'm one of those, I have too many certifications. I'm too nerdy. I need to get more of a social life, I think. But the idea is to go, we're not contractors. What we do is we go in, assess the home, we figure out how much furniture can stay safely. Because remember, most fir especially tables have a point and you wanna make sure there's plenty of room to ambulate because if you're starting out with a cane, you may end up with a walker or being in a wheelchair and you want to make the home safe from the get-go so you don't have to be doing additional readjusting later. And so making everything very open, easy to see. Cause when you open it up and take superfluous items out, the light can stream in even more. And that also also helps older eyes. And trust me, I need that too. More light helps you see.
Marty Steves-Heebner (33:55):
<Laugh>. Oh, I'm 61. So yes. I I need my readers. Absolutely. And I need a lot of light. There we go.
Yes. 60. Yes. 61. Can I ask you a question? Do you wanna share the name of, do you wanna share the name of your pediatrician?
Marty Steves-Heebner (34:12):
<Laugh>? My pediatrician <laugh>. It was Dr. Doll back in Buffalo when I was a little girl.
Marty Steves-Heebner (34:20):
<Laugh>. But in terms of eyes, that's what we were talking about. I need, I used to have perfect vision, now I need readers. You, you know, in their fifties and sixties, that's when you start to need some glasses. What
Were they talking? We were talking, we, we were talking about making the house safe.
Marty Steves-Heebner (34:38):
Oh, thank you. Thank you for people.
Marty Steves-Heebner (34:40):
Thank you. So it's like, I, so as I say, opening it up so there's plenty of room to ambulate and then also eliminating trip hazards. Throw rugs are notorious trip hazards. It's easy to trip on them. It's easy if you have a walker or a cane to get caught for it to slip under, catch on it. And then you trip and fall and god forbid you break your hip. So we try to get people to eliminate all throw rugs. If they, if they really wanna keep one, then we fo put a mat underneath that will keep it in place so it won't slide. There's also tape that you can use that. So secure them to the floor if you're going to have them. All those cords that we have everywhere, we, we arrange them in a way that they're comp and we secure them in a way so that they're completely out of the way.
Marty Steves-Heebner (35:33):
And then also for just organizing cabinets and things. And this is good for any age, if you're listening and you're 23, this is still good for you. What you wanna do is really organize the stuff that you use on a daily basis and even a weekly basis so that it's just slightly above shoulder height and to about mid thigh. Make those things accessible that way so much easier. And then things that you use once or twice a year or even more rarely, those are the things that go on the top shelf and the bottom shelves. So organizing your home that way for any age just makes great sense. So we, that's what we do. Now, sometimes you need a contractor cause you need a stair lift. My dad had one. It was really cool. It's fun to ride. Or grab bars, frankly Larry, every home needs grab bars because there are just some, I just got over Covid for the first time and I really could have used grab bars in my <laugh>, you know, just frankly everywhere in the house, even on my couch.
Marty Steves-Heebner (36:37):
Grandpa are great and so they're, they have been quite industrial looking there, there are some nicer looking ones that you can get. But yes, grab bars no threshold shower, things like that. So we know contractors that are wonderful that we will bring in to manage those those constru that remodeling, that construction. So it's really just being very practical and thinking about being able to move around. Easy access to items and then being realistic. If, if you need a stair lift, it's amazing what a difference it can make in your life. People are just dreaded. But then what, like my father's like, oh, I don't want a stair lift. Then what? When it was in, he loved it. That was, that's John Hener for you. That's what he would like <laugh>. So it was really helpful.
I always wanted a stair lift. Unfortunately in, in the last house we didn't have a second floor, which made the pro <laugh>. I'm sorry.
Marty Steves-Heebner (37:36):
That's hilarious. That's so funny. So that's great. It's like I wanted it, it's like a rollercoaster ride. Come on.
I sort of wanted a horizontal one. Oh,
Marty Steves-Heebner (37:47):
<Laugh>. Just to take your around the house. That one be
Great. Anyhow, this has been great. What did we miss? What didn't we talk about?
Marty Steves-Heebner (37:57):
Let's talk about a home inventory, cuz those are things we've been doing since we launched the company. They're great if you ha great for insurance purposes so you know everything you have and the value. So if you have some valuable art and or jewelry, you wanna do that. Primarily we do it when there are battling beneficiaries or simply far flung or if there's a divorce, it's about, and there's a lot of gray and silver divorce going on. So that's why I bring it up. And the idea is the crucial property, the items need to be distributed Fairly ideal. Yeah, ideally. And so we go in and we, we are with the neutral third party and we document everything. It can just be photos and we'll just organize them by room or if it's getting legal we will put in all the details and such.
Marty Steves-Heebner (38:49):
And I think the biggest report we've kicked out was 430 plus pages. So it just depends on how detailed it needs to be and how well people are getting along. And for insurance, obviously there's nothing to, you don't have to divide anything. I live in southern California. We are overdue for an earthquake, Larry don't tell anybody. And it's important to have a home inventory because if or flooding, we're dealing with flooding now we're dealing with fires. Theft. you know how people love to play on sea prey on seniors. It's awful. If you have a home inventory, especially with a catastrophic event every, you can imagine thousands if not millions of claims are go all going into insurance companies at once. If you have a home inventory and you can, you have the photos of what has been damaged, your claim goes to the front of the line cuz you've got the evidence to prove it.
Marty Steves-Heebner (39:45):
And it makes your insurance broker very happy cuz your insurance broker wants to make you happy. But they have to deal with the behemoth behind them, which is the insurance company who doesn't wanna pay. So this way you can make it ver much easier for you and your insurance broker. And chances are you will definitely get your insurance insurance payment much more quickly when you're dealing with things like photos. Because you know, you and I grew up with the slides and, and paper well not paper, but you know, printed photos. And there are usually some that we have that really document family history. I've got a bunch from my grandfather's w time in World War I overseas and you wanna docu preserve those images and also make it possible to share with the whole family. So you can find photo organizers and digitizers. And we're one of those companies that do it.
Marty Steves-Heebner (40:44):
And we can do it for anybody. It makes such a difference to have those photos and also to organize them. Cause often you have duplicates, you got blurry photos. And then also please, when you're going through your own photos and determining which ones you wanna keep, if you don't know who's in the photo and especially if there's nothing written on the back to indicate who it is, let it go <laugh>. The people who are in the photo will not object I, whoever they may be. I promise, I promise I beca I have all the family photos and yeah, just, just let them go. Liberate them. Liberate them. And what was the third thing I was gonna talk about? Home inventory is photos. Jewelry jewel. Oh, okay. Jewelry is, yeah, that's good. When, and speaking of home inventories and jewelry document, it also take photos of if there's a maker's mark, take a photo of that, secure it in a locked drawer.
Marty Steves-Heebner (41:47):
Although sadly, I will tell you there have been a number of times when we've been to clients' homes and there's a lot a lock drawer that is torn apart. And I remember one person saying there was $60,000 of <inaudible> jewelry in there. And in that case it was the care caregiver who took it and fled. It's often, it's a family member. I call them qns Larry, questionable family members. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And that's another great time to do a home inventory. And mind you, you can do it yourself. Just take photos. That's yeah, I meant to mention that you don't have to pay us or any other company to do a home inventory. Usually you can just go run or take photos and if you get something new, take a photo of it, take a photo of the model number and save them in the cloud.
Marty Steves-Heebner (42:35):
Not just on your computer but out in the cloud. Cuz what if your CU computer gets destroyed or stolen or something like that? Then you documented all of that. And especially with jewelry, it's documented when caregivers and or qms are moving to the house to take care of people and caregivers of any kind. It's good to document everything that's there. What inspired this? It was my own aunt babe. She had dementia and she had a really trustworthy caregiver during the day, but at night it varied. And the caregiver during the day discovered one day that for whatever reason, my aunt had stored two silver platters underneath the bed and the stair bedroom and her name was Pat. She discovered that they were missing. Well, they could have been stolen or she could have given them away. There's no knowing. So that's why it's good to document what's there.
Marty Steves-Heebner (43:33):
And especially if you come across valuables like jewelry and if they're really not being worn anymore, put them in a safe deposit box and again, document what's in there. It's just a way to keep those items safe. Plus get any financial documentation under lock and key so no one else can go looking at it. And sometimes it's best at that time too, to get a either an adult child or someone you trust to be a second signer on the checking account just in case something can happen. And you can go into a coma, you may come out of the coma, but while you're in the coma, you can't make any decisions for yourself. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And that's another reason, and I say this all the time and I'm sure you do to Larry, please get your estate plan and your healthcare directive taken care of. It makes such a difference. And if you have a, if you can create a, a trust, if there's enough there that you wanna create a trust, that's great too. I'm sure you've talked to estate planning attorneys and they can explain that far better than I, but please, just like I'm pleading with you to plan your move, get your estate plan in place, the sooner the better. And also your healthcare directive so important because who will care for you if you wind up in a coma?
I'm, I'm exhausted again,
Marty Steves-Heebner (45:02):
<Laugh>. No. Okay. That happens. I know. I'm quite the talker. On and on and on. Sorry.
No, this has been a very big help. I'm sure the people who are listening who are planning a move or thinking about a move will really appreciate your input. Marty, thank you. Thank you so much
Marty Steves-Heebner (45:25):
Larry. Thank you. You've been delightful. Thank
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Founder & CEO
An award-winning entrepreneur, author and podcast host, Clear Home Solutions’ CEO Marty Stevens-Heebner was the first Certified Senior Move Manager in the country.
When it comes to later life and all the treasures (and other stuff) that go with it, Marty’s staff of experts manage moves, tackle downsizing, home inventories and photo digitizing and organizing – handling all the logistics and stress so their clients don’t have to.
In 2013, Marty was inspired to launch this endeavor by her experiences helping her father, who made it to 90, and her aunt, who struggled with dementia. She’s the President of the National Association of Senior and Specialty Move Managers (NASMM), with certifications in Senior and Specialty Move Management, Professional Organizing, and Aging in Place. Clear Home Solutions was the first nationally accredited firm in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.
Marty hosts How to Move Your Mom (and still be on speaking terms afterward), a podcast dedicated to later life and all its idiosyncrasies. She’s also in the process of launching her next endeavor Later Life Living, an online community where older adults and their families go to find the trusted and vetted professionals they need to guide them through their later years.