Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry NetCast where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care market share their advice. So let’s get to it. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Cindy Greer: https://www.transitionwithcare.net/

Hi, Valerie. Thanks for having me. My name is Cindy Greer, and I am the owner and founder of Transition With Care. We are a senior move management firm located in Charlotte, North Carolina, and we are helping adults 55 and older, who are overwhelmed by planning to move to a smaller home setting. That could be an adult neighborhoods, 55 and older adult neighborhood or it could be an independent living retirement community, a continuous care retirement community where assisted living or memory support might be needed. And then, we’re also helping folks that are interested in staying in their homes for as long as possible by helping them with decluttering and organizing their possessions in their homes.

Cindy Greer:

So we are part of the National Association of Senior Move Managers and have been since 2009. Our core services are helping adults with downsizing, decluttering, custom floor plans, showing them where their furniture will fit in their new space. We provide move management where we are securing a professional embedded moving [inaudible 00:01:47] belongings. Not all moving companies are created equal, so that’s very important. We are providing the packing and unpacking service and that business where we are unpacking everything and putting it away in an organized fashion, putting their kitchens away, making their beds, hanging their pictures, connecting their computers so they could just walk into their homes and it just feels like a smaller version of the house that they just left.

Cindy Greer:

And then after we have relocated our clients and got them resettled, we are back at the original house and we are cleaning out that house so it can go on the market. So any unwanted items that didn’t move may need to go to family members or they may need to be sold, donated. Whatever our client’s wishes are we manage and execute all of that. And we just recently added move in and move out cleaning services to our core of services. So, our client’s homes are going to be sparkling when they leave or when they move in.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. That is a lot of stuff. My goodness. There is nothing-

Cindy Greer:

Yeah, it’s a lot.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

There’s nothing I, I guess, despise more than moving. Moving is horrible.

Cindy Greer:

It’s one of the biggest stressors in life. It really is.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes. Weddings, babies, death and moving, right? So those are all big life changes.

Cindy Greer:

Yep, you nailed it.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And so having moved into our new house a couple of years ago, of course, everybody says this, I will never do that again. And it’s so easy to accumulate junk over the course of a year or two years. You clean out, you feel like you’ve decluttered when you move. And then I know we were just down in the basement yesterday, my husband and I, working on some stuff. And I was like, “How do we accumulate this amount of junk in such a short amount of time?” Now, there are five of … There’s three children in the house. So that kind of helps, but … so having somebody to help you move, clean, coordinate, set it up on one end, set it up on the other end, do the whole thing is like a miracle. This is so-

Cindy Greer:

Well, and a lot of our clients have said that too. They like to call when they open up the door to their new apartment, the big reveal.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Ah, yes. Fun. Very fun. Yeah. It is a big reveal, and it’s [inaudible 00:04:44] Oh my God. Oh goodness. Moving is such a painful experience. And so, folks like you who take this on, organize it, find people to help, and you know what? You’re right about this too. I heard you say not all movers are created equal. Oh, lordy, lordy, they are not. It is a rough way to go to figure out if a mover is going to take you seriously, if they’re going to take care of your stuff, depends on how far, how much. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is it … Oh. So having said all of that, absolutely. A valuable service is anything that helps a senior transition to a new living situation. Absolutely. So thank you for doing this, because I think it’s something that we don’t think much about until it’s our turn and then we’re scrambling.

Cindy Greer:

That’s right. That’s so right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

What is the best thing about serving aging adults?

Cindy Greer:

The best thing I think about serving older adults is their stories. And we’re working with them in their homes during a stressful time and lots of stories come out. And I love to hear about their careers, about their families, about their travels, about their pets. And it has just really enriched my life professionally and personally, I have gleaned lots of nuggets of wisdom along the way that have benefited me immeasurably. So, I just love working with the older adults. It’s really my passion.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. I would imagine that when this process starts, there’s a lot of reminiscing that happens as you pull out different pieces of furniture or pictures or things that you’re packing away, awards they’ve won. I’m sure there’s a lot of reminiscing that goes on is as you start to go through their stuff. And the stories are amazing.

Cindy Greer:

Yeah. And some of the stories, just to share a little bit. They’re not always happy stories too. A lot of our clients are going through very difficult times. They’re experiencing loss and sometimes things that you’re going through, as far as their stuff, it can create a lot of positive as well as negative emotions. And so we really do see them all the way through that, and we’re there to listen and to honor their stories. So, I like to say it’s a combination of social work and project management and also decorating skills. It’s all of that rolled up into one.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

And who couldn’t use that on a daily basis anyway? I could use that and I’m not even … I don’t know if I qualify. That [inaudible 00:08:01] social work, a little organization, a little … I’m decorating on a daily basis. So, okay. So, well, let me get to my next question. I would imagine there are other leaders or people or organizations in your life that have really meant a lot to you, been inspirational. And who would you like to give a shout out to?

Cindy Greer:

Well, first and foremost, I would have to give a shout out to my mom. She really set the stage for how to really look after people. And I witnessed her in caring for her parents during their aging process. She was an only child. And then I witnessed and supported her in caring for my father. And all of this set the tone for me to support her through her aging journey and that was a real honor for me to do that, to be so involved and helpful. I’d love to give a shout out to Carolyn Picton who’s the marketing director of The Pines up at Davidson. I’ll never forget probably about 11 years ago when I first started the company. She was the first marketing director of a retirement community in our area that understood what senior move manager did because the profession has really been organized since 2002. It’s a really relatively young niche organization, but Carolyn knew.

Cindy Greer:

And then I’d want to give a shout out to Jennifer Szakaly, who was the owner and founder of Caregiving Corner, which is a geriatric care management firm. And over the years, we’ve known each other for a long time. She is a person of excellence, and we have collaborated and helped many of our clients through our respective services. And certainly, really all of the retirement communities, Marlene Victorine with the Barclay at SouthPark, and Carrie Dunlap with Waltonwood Providence, and lots of the senior real estate specialists because we do get referrals from realtors. Rob Walter with the Walter Group. So very fortunate to have a lot of supportive leaders in the senior care industry that support us. And I’m so grateful for that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very nice. It sounds like you have a great set of marketing partners, a great set of collaborators there, and it really does take a village. So that is lovely that you all are able to work together and get these folks to their new place or the place where they need to be, or they want to be so that they’re not struggling alone at home in a big house. I mean, anybody who’s been in the business long enough has seen it all. And it is a challenge for folks to move. But what I always … what strikes me when a senior, maybe it’s a widow or widower moves into either independent or assisted living, usually after a couple of weeks of being there takes a little time to adjust, but they’ll say, “I should have done this 20 years ago.”

Cindy Greer:

Oh my gosh. I’ve heard that so many times. And just to reiterate what you just said, it does take a village to care for our older adult population, and we need all of these service providers, home care companies, just everybody has to do their part, I guess.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Absolutely. Yeah. It’s definitely something we all work together for the same common goal.

Cindy Greer:

That’s right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

To help those seniors. All right. Let’s talk about online marketing. So I know that it’s been really challenging to get together with networking in the last year, and we’re going on almost exactly one year since it really hit the fan with everybody. And so, we’ve all had to dial it in and reel back a little bit on being able to see each other face to face a lot. So how have you approached online marketing and what have you been doing? What is your experience or thoughts there?

Cindy Greer:

Yeah, that’s a really great question. And certainly, this last year has been so challenging to stay connected, which is really the bottom line is we all want to stay connected. First of all, I am definitely not a technologically savvy person. I mean, I’ve had to learn and I wasn’t born with it. So online marketing was a lot for me to wrap my head around. I really say get a couple of platforms that you feel comfortable with, that reach your demographic and just stick with that. Don’t try to get so distracted by everything that everybody else is doing.

Cindy Greer:

Try to get something that interesting to you. I’ve chosen to use Facebook, which is social media, and I’m definitely still not the best at it. I tend to be a private person, and I think that’s probably why, because it’s just like everything out there, but it is a good platform to reach our demographic. And then, online MailChimp, where we have done a really good job of securing email addresses for our partners, our providers, previous clients in place, they need additional help in the future. A good way to just send them a hi, how you doing or a tip and just to stay in front of them that way. Zoom has been great. I mean, where would we be without Zoom?

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know. I know. Yes. So yeah, I think we’ve all fumbled through this a little bit and you’re right in that Facebook is our demographic. Facebook gets older by the day. Facebook probably doesn’t want to admit that, but I have 14 year olds. And yeah, they may look at Facebook once in a while, but it’s really not their gig.

Cindy Greer:

It’s not.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No. And on the other hand, we have TikTok and all these other crazy things. Snapchat. There is no way … I mean, although I will say TikTok is very interesting in the age ranges that it has on it. I would say that is not probably the best use of our time at this point. It’s fun to watch, but I don’t know. Uh-oh. Edit. Hold on a second. I have no idea how that happened, but anyway, let me see what we’re … We’ll have our … Kyle will edit that out. Sorry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Okay. So back to what we were saying. Yes, Facebook is definitely our demographic and LinkedIn and email marketing is fabulous. It is not dead. It is fabulous. And if people are interested in what you have to say, and you’re providing valuable information, they will open your emails. So, yeah [crosstalk 00:15:33]

Cindy Greer:

Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned LinkedIn, because that’s the one platform that I feel much more comfortable on I think because it’s purely professional.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. It’s a good one. It has its limitation just like they all do. But I think if you’re willing to get on there even once a week and just flip through your messages and make some new friend requests or whatever you call it, there … then it’s definitely worth keeping up with. And you don’t have to be on it all the time. But, yeah, I like LinkedIn for professional to professional networking for sure.

Cindy Greer:

Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers?

Cindy Greer:

That’s a good question. I would say first and foremost, always put the wellbeing of your clients first and foremost. And as you grow, if that is your desire, I would always be looking out to hire people that share your passion and your vision for the company and the services that you’re providing. I’ve been really fortunate to have a wonderful team. I have a team of eight, and I think it’s also very important to stay very connected to your team and also reward team members where they’re going above and beyond, which we always strive to do. And that could be a financial reward.

Cindy Greer:

It could be words of appreciation. It could be a small gift that I think making sure that you’re staying connected with your clients, even if it’s through somebody else that is working for you. But always have meetings and understand what’s going on with your clients, how they’re feeling, how they’re doing, and then support your team that is supporting you. And I think that’s probably the best advice I could give. Don’t lose touch.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s right. And that’s great advice. Yes. I call it avoiding follow-up failure.

Cindy Greer:

Right.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It’s so easy to let folks slip through the cracks. And when you have a team around you, it’s much easier to keep up with everybody and just a little hello or are you doing okay. And then our employees or our team members, the folks that are out there on the front line. And right now, it’s getting better. I’d say the lights at the end of the tunnel there, we can all see a glimmer of hope in the distance with all of our pandemic stuff that we’ve been through in the last year, but our team is … those are the folks that are on the frontline, those caregivers, those people that are in the house, in the assisted living facility, in the independent living … They’re in around a lot of people. And so it’s nice to give back to them because they’ve been …

Cindy Greer:

Absolutely.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

[inaudible 00:18:41]

Cindy Greer:

Yeah, I agree.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. My last question is supposed to be a fun one. When you have a win in life or in business, how do you like to celebrate?

Cindy Greer:

Well, probably I like to just tell everybody what’s going on.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Pretty good.

Cindy Greer:

With just a recent example. We just received our accreditation from the National Association of Senior Move Managers, which I’m very proud of. And so, yeah, I probably saw that out on LinkedIn and our Facebook page. So, I do like to share the wins with people that helped with the win and for people that would appreciate knowing about the win. If it’s a personal win, again, I share it with family and friends and maybe … myself to if you’re going horseback riding or some kind of fun, but yeah, I’d like to share it with people.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very nice. That is awesome. Sharing our successes with others that are supportive of us, that’s probably the best way to celebrate. Maybe a good meal. Did you say horseback riding?

Cindy Greer:

Yeah. Yeah.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s cool.

Cindy Greer:

I’m a horseback rider. Well, I’d love to have a horse one day, but yeah, I’m all about having a good meal too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. Yeah. Most of us won’t give that up. So yeah, absolutely. Well, I want to thank you for being on the show, for sharing your business with us, for sharing your wisdom and for helping us understand more about what you do and the value that it brings to seniors. So thank you very much.

Cindy Greer:

Thanks, Valerie. I appreciate the opportunity and I appreciate what you’re doing to connect people.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Thank you.