Seniors transitioning to an independent-living facility face a daunting series of tasks: selling their homes, packing a lifetime’s worth of possessions, moving, unpacking and setting up their new environment.
Enter Chateau Cupertino and its pilot Easy Move In Program, designed to support seniors as they downsize. The retirement community, located at 10150 Torre Ave. since 1988, boasts 178 residents, many former and Los Altos and Los Altos Hills residents.
Chateau Cupertino administrator John Gray is the third generation in his family involved in the senior-living business.
“It’s very rewarding,” he said. “It’s a business I’m naturally drawn to.”
When Gray began working at Chateau Cupertino 26 years ago, things were different – slower paced, and society had a different mindset, he said. But after economic downturns in the past few years, seniors watched their properties – and retirement funds – depreciate, prompting them to stay in their homes. Now that the market has bounced back, Gray added, people are more apt to sell their homes and move to a retirement facility. But the process can be overwhelming.
The Easy Move In Program offers both psychological and physical advantages.
“The first thing that happens is that, for the price of selling their home, the senior gets a total psychological relief,” Gray said. “Then there are the physical benefits of not having to move themselves and transitioning to a retirement setting.”
No more heavy lifting
As they age, many seniors find upkeep of their homes difficult – too much space, too many expenses – but the prospect of moving is often unnerving. The Easy Move In Program aims to mitigate the fear of change and the heavy lifting a move entails.
Chateau Cupertino partnered with Tailored Transitions on the Easy Move In Program. Tailored Transitions offers a full menu of services, from selling the home to sorting through possessions, packing, moving and unpacking. Staff even take pictures of the rooms in the senior’s home and then put the items in familiar places in the Chateau Cupertino apartment. All services are included in the cost of selling the home.
“Many seniors think, “I want to move into Chateau Cupertino, but I don’t know how to make it happen,’” said Stacy Mardesich, CEO of Tailored Transitions and realtor with Intero Real Estate Services. “Our average client has been in his or her home for 36 years and typically raised a family there.”
According to Mardesich, whose work focuses exclusively on seniors, her average client is downsizing from a 1,500- to 1,800-square-foot house to a 500- to 700-foot independent-living apartment.
“That involves a lot of work,” she said. “There’s a lot of stuff in drawers and closets. We go through every nook and cranny and help them decide what to take with them.”
Tailored Transitions staff sort the seniors’ possessions, distributing some items to family and friends and reselling, recycling and donating others. Then the moving team does its job.
“Then we unpack in the new place – pictures hung, beds made,” Mardesich said. “Their whole home is set up like they’ve lived at Chateau Cupertino for years.”
A win-win proposition
Another benefit of the Easy Move In Program? Eliminating the stressful parent-child dynamic that can result from a major life change. Chateau Cupertino marketing and branding manager Allan Hayes called the program a “win-win,” helping seniors to overcome the hurdle of moving and relieving their children of the lion’s share of the work.
“We do everything,” he said. “They don’t lift a finger.”
Mardesich added that the senior is the “ultimate decision maker, but we involve the family.”
Gray said he understands that seniors are leaving their homes for a reason – the death of a spouse, loneliness or problems with transportation – and the Easy Move In Program offers a soft landing.
“It’s time to make that transition before something happens that can change that on a dime – a major illness, a fall,” he said.
“John Gray’s an amazing man with an amazing community,” Mardesich said. “He creates a warm community and is all about his residents.”
For more information, call (408) 446-4300 or visit chateau-cupertino.com.