We were introduced to Jan McCreary – Allen while speaking and exhibiting at the National Association of Senior Move Managers Conference (NASMM). Jan became a professional client of HomeZada’s and her continued commitment of the solution led us to ask her how and why she chose HomeZada to use within her business. What we found was the value of Jan’s business, Smooth Transitions of West Texas and how her services provided so much value to her clients. HomeZada was a mere tool to use to help her with her goals of helping others around her and leveraging her skills to help families in need of her services. Here is what we learned about Jan and her business Smooth Transitions of West Texas.
HomeZada: What inspires you?
Jan McCreary-Allen: My passion is making a positive difference in someone’s life. I get my energy from being around people and love to help them by making their lives better.
HZ: What is the first thing you notice when you walk into a home?
Jan: I notice my client’s personality and how comfortable they are with me being there. I quickly look around the room so I can adjust my communication to their personality and communication style. Time is spent getting to know each other so they will feel at ease. If they are overwhelmed, which most are, I assure them this is a process that I will help them get through.
HZ: What is the first thing you would tell someone who is looking to move or create an estate plan?
Professional: You should move or make plans while you’re in charge of the decisions. If you’re not ready to move yet, start now to make plans for later and let your family know what your wishes are so everyone is on the same page. Waiting until a health issue forces you to move is always harder and most of the decisions will not be made by you.
HZ: What do you think is the most challenging project or situation that people seek your help for? Why?
Jan: The most challenging move is seniors waiting until they are forced to move out of their home, either by a health issue or loss of income, and trying to quickly make that move. Moving is stressful at any age. When you’ve lived in your home 30, 40 or 50 years, downsizing is monumental and it’s an emotional and physical process of letting go. Most of my clients have lost their spouse and they feel obligated to stay in the home they had together out of loyalty. However, it becomes a huge burden to keep up with the home by themselves. I validate their decision to move by giving them permission to let go, then see the burden lifted from them. I encourage them by saying they will always have the good memories no matter where they live. A second challenging situation is family dynamics. Sometimes children don’t want parents to move from their childhood home or there are too many opinions so the parent is torn trying to please everyone except themselves. Being neutral and diplomatic is key when I work with families.
HZ: What if a client does not want to move but wants to set up their home for different stages of life, how can you help?
Jan: I assess the home to see what modifications need to be made to make their life safer and easier. Sometimes it’s simply removing a large coffee table and throw rugs so they won’t be trip hazards. Bathrooms need to have grab bars, especially in the tub and shower. Decluttering closets and cupboards so my client can see and get to the things they actually use is important. Rearranging or having less furniture for more walk space is also key. I also encourage my clients to pass on family heirlooms now or at the very least marking them with family member names so later on there is less stress and controversy of who gets what.
HZ: What are some valuable and good reasons that make moving better for some homeowners?
Jan: The upkeep of homes and yards consume a lot of time, energy and money. Most seniors live in three rooms: living room, bedroom and kitchen, especially if they live alone. Having a larger home with space that is not regularly used isn’t a good use of their resources. As most family gatherings are spent at one of the children’s homes, the need for a larger home diminishes for seniors.
HZ: If a homeowner needs to downsize, what is a result of downsizing?
Jan: Peace of mind and less stress are the biggest results of downsizing. A senior in charge of the decisions is always a happier senior. They will have more time and energy to pursue their interests instead of spending time trying to keep up with their larger home.
HZ: What is your one quick tip that any homeowner can do to get the process of moving or estate planning started to make the experience easier?
Jan: Start now! You can start decluttering and passing on things today that you don’t need or want anymore.
HZ: What’s one thing in your home you couldn’t live without and why?
Jan: My bible. I’ve had the same bible for over 35 years and have made a lot of notes in the margins.
HZ: Tell us about your business and yourself.
Jan: Smooth Transitions West Texas provides individuals and families the emotional and physical assistance needed in making a change in living arrangements. I can help with as little or as much of the move as someone needs. For out-of-town family members, I provide peace of mind that someone is coordinating their family member’s affairs with the personal attention they would give.
Smooth Transitions West Texas is designed to fill in on the things that seniors and their family members can’t or don’t want to do. It can mean a consulting session for those who can do some of the things themselves or doing each step of the move from start to finish such as deciding what to take, finding a mover, packing, unpacking, and getting rid of the leftovers through donations or finding an estate sale company.
I also work with estate attorneys and bank trust officers inventorying estates. Using HomeZada Professional has enhanced and expanded the services I offer to my clients.
I enjoy working with and helping people. I am an expert in project management and organization. Putting my passion for seniors and my management skills to use as a senior move manager is the best of both worlds. I received my training with Smooth Transitions, the largest senior move management company in the country and a member of NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers). I am the mother of three great sons who have wonderful wives, plus I am “Grammy” to six fun grandchildren and look forward to having more!