Some of you may be reading this for the sole purpose of finding out what a senior move manager (SMM) does. After all, not many people are familiar with the term, and are especially unfamiliar with what we do.
In a nutshell, to better understand what we do, let's modify the words of our title -- "senior move manager". Rearrange them to read "manage the moves of seniors". Better, right? If you are a senior and you are planning a move, head right over to NASMM to find the senior move manager (SMM) closest to your or your loved one's home.
To go a bit deeper, you may be interested in what a day in the life of a senior move manager consists of. The following interview was conducted with the founder of Organize Senior Moves, Michelle Kavanaugh, and covers everything from her background to the "ups" and the "downs" of the job.
FM: Your background is in what field? What have been your past jobs, and how have they helped you with what you currently do?
MK: My background is in graphic design. I have never been one to let life pass me by, and have always been a "people person". When my children were younger I owned a children's clothing store. Soon after that I started a senior companion service. I have always enjoyed working in my community and helping others. When I came upon the idea of becoming a senior move manager, it was a great way for me to combine everything from my past -- design experience, customer service and working with seniors and their families. I am so very fortunate!
FM: When did you first become interested in working with seniors?
MK: After my children began school, I wanted to fill in the free time. Caring for others is a part of who I am. I found that the same patience, attention and care needed to raise children can be translated to working with the senior community. After beginning the senior companion service I was able to more fully understand their their needs.
FM: Tell me about your "Aha moment" when you decided that the senior move management was something that you wanted to do.
MK: My "Aha moment" occurred when I went to meet with a new client for my companionship service. When I walked in her door there were boxes everywhere in her new apartment, to the point where it was not safe for her. I noticed that her mental state was also not well. After interviewing her and finding out what she needed from me, I came to the conclusion that her mental state was being caused by the disarray in the home. My first day working with her consisted of unpacking and setting up her new home. At the time, I was unaware of the industry, but I could not help but wonder if there were other seniors who could use the similar help.
FM: How did you find out about the senior move management industry?
MK: It was really from my first senior companion client. I realized that this client needed more than a ride to the store and light housework -- she needed to be unpacked and her new apartment be made into her new home. I began to research the possibility of doing this as a job. After a while, I came across the senior move management industry.
FM: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started?
MK: Even though my knowledge of the senior move management industry has grown, I find that I am always adjusting my approach to each client. While I have found that clients handle this transition in more or less the same way, each day on the job is different. Clients' personalities, background and expectations all contribute to the success of the job.
FM: What have you found to be the most rewarding aspect of this job?
MK: Hands down -- our clients. They have such varied backgrounds; I find that I learn more from working with them than I would ever learn in a classroom! There is also a tremendous reward at the end of each job,when we show the client their new home. To see their obvious satisfaction is an incredible feeling.
FM: How do you feel that you have grown, personally, since becoming a senior move manager?
MK: I have come to accept that not everything will always be perfect. That is very hard for the perfectionist in me.
FM: What has been the most valuable lesson that you have learned since you started the business?
MK: To be patient with others.
FM: What has been the most difficult thing about entering the industry?
MK: Spreading the word about senior move managers. It is such a new industry that not many people know that we exist.
FM: Tell me your best client story. The most challenging?
MK: All of our clients are unique and come to us with their own set of requirements and considerations. My favorite story was working with a client that was blind. The job forced us to look at things from an entirely new perspective. Things that we normally take for granted had to be re-assessed. The most challenging experience was with a client whom we never seemed to be able to satisfy. It was upsetting to work as hard as we did and not have it appreciated.
FM: What would you like people to know about the senior move management industry?
MK: We are here to help them transition from one home to another, easing the stress that accompanies any move. Senior move managers (SMM) are trained to handle a variety of potential scenarios that may present themselved during a job. Most importantly, I want readers to know that we will hold our clients' hands, offering the reassurance needed during the move.