Moving Pieces: Silver Linings Transitions Helps Get Seniors Where They’re Goingby Brie Stimson April 25, 2018
Seniors are living longer and longer and with that comes the realities of aging. Often living in a big home by oneself just isn’t an option anymore.
That’s where Jami Shapiro’s team comes in. Jami is the founder and owner of Silver Linings Transitions, which isn’t a retirement community; it’s more like a conduit to the community.
“We basically help when seniors are downsizing from their home, physically moving into a senior community sometimes a smaller space and they’re overwhelmed with their belongings,” Jami told me during our interview. She started the company around five years ago, and has watched it grow exponentially over that time.
“We help figure out what they’re going to take with them,” she said. “We do a … plan based on where they’re going to go and then we help them pare down and sort through their things … We do the physical packing and unpacking and we can usually get them completely unpacked in one day and then they spend the night in their bed that night and then the next day they wake up, make their coffee, leave their bed unmade and they meet us in their new home where we’ve decorated their home, recreated their night stand, the food in their fridge, hung their pictures made the bed, all of that stuff.”
Jami said her company is part of an emerging industry in a time when there are more seniors than ever before.
“I find that when people know what the business is – that it even exists –they’re like ‘I wish I had known about that for my mom.’ It’s such a tough time, it’s new – I think the industry itself; it’s definitely less than 20 years old.”
Jami still tries to visit every job, but as the business has grown she’s hired a team of experts to work with her clients.
“I do almost every consultation and I will usually stop by at some point in the process, … and of course I’m always available to the client if they have any concerns.”
In the case of real estate clients, she works with licensed realtor Bryan Devore of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, helping pack and stage the home, and when he sells the home most if not all of the moving services are included at no additional cost.
Jami told me one of the best parts of the job is when the client sees their new home for the first time.
“I will say every time a client sees their home it’s just an overwhelming – it’s just the best part of the job. A lot of seniors especially are really nervous. They don’t want to give up control. They never think we can do it and I always tell them you’re not going to believe me, but you’ll believe me and then that’s what happens.”
She said her company works with a lot of Jewish clients. “I don’t know if it’s because I’m Jewish,” she admitted. She remembered a recent client who had come from Nazi Germany when he was eight years old. “One of the things we found when we were going through his belongings was his kindergarten report card that was handwritten in German,” she said. She said many of their clients have led interesting lives, including a Hollywood producer who had worked with Dustin Hoffman.
“It’s just amazing, you really get to know the lives of these people and one of the things we do as a society is sort of discard seniors – and they’ve lived lives equivalent or better than the ones we’re living and they have stories and they want to talk and also they feel like they’re going to be forgotten. They want to give their belongings away, the subsequent generations don’t want the belongings because we’re becoming minimalist and we go to Ikea rather than buying good stuff, and so it’s eye opening,” she said.
Jami told me she decided to start the company when she found out she had thyroid cancer. “I didn’t want to continue the work that I was doing and I sort of began my own journey figuring out what I wanted to do with my life and so I called it Silver Linings Transitions for me, but also for the client because we try to focus on the good things that are going to come from the move that they’re making and the fact that they’re even alive to make the move; because I lost a friend at 40 to ovarian cancer and she didn’t get to be a senior.”
Silver Linings Transitions’ motto is “moving you toward a brighter tomorrow,” and for both Jami and her clients that will no doubt be true.
Jami is also working on a show for channel 4 called “Senior Savers” which is set to air in June. Information about the show can be found at SeniorSavers.tv and information about Silver Linings Transitions can be found at SilverLiningsTransitions.com.