Moving Mom and DadJan 25, 2023 12:19PM ● By Chris Hatch
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
One certainty with most aging parents is that at some point in time, living independently will become too difficult, requiring mom or dad be moved into a residential care facility or the home of a relative to look after them.
In making that transition, family members are often tasked with packing their things, while also dramatically paring down the senior’s furniture, furnishings, and a lifetime worth of possessions to accommodate the new living quarters.
These days, more adult children—strapped for time with busy careers and other demands, living long distances from their parent, or wanting to avoid the emotional fallout that often comes with sorting and discarding their loved one’s things—are hiring outside help to assist with the major undertaking.
Two Omaha companies capitalizing on this outsourcing trend are Senior Moving Services, founded by Denise Ruby; and Forever Yesterday Exchange, owned by Anna and Patrick Kinchler.
For Ruby, a 12-year Navy veteran who felt called back to some kind of service after finding herself adrift in a job she didn’t love, it’s about having a detailed plan so that her clients don’t have to.
“We provide a full range of services that we believe reduces the stress and anxiety related to this type of move,” Ruby said. “We are the one-stop shop when it comes time.” Her services include everything from sorting, packing, and moving items to the new home, to identifying family heirlooms to ship to relatives, to organizing an estate sale, to coordinating donations to charities. The business also has an estate liquidation warehouse where it houses and sells discarded items.
While Ruby has been in business for 15 years, it’s been within the past few years that her moving team has grown from three employees to eight as the senior relocation market has ramped up; instead of a client every few weeks, she now has a couple jobs booked each week.
The Kinchlers, a dynamic husband-wife duo who found themselves on the treadmill of corporate America, said their faith and love of working side-by-side led them to start Forever Yesterday Exchange in October 2018. The company, which has grown to a staff of 10 (plus the owners), provides clean-out and moving services for all types of households, from hoarding situations to sprawling high-end estates.
Their move teams sort, discard, pack, and move furniture, decor, and miscellaneous items when a homeowner is vacating a property; or in some instances, after the homeowner has passed away. Unwanted items are donated or sold at one of Forever Yesterday’s two resale stores in the metro. Kinchler said the company does clean-outs on three to four homes per week.
While having different beginnings, the two businesses share a similar ideology: they care about the process, so families can care about the people.
“Taking care of a loved one during this time is a challenge,” Ruby said. “The key is understanding your client. Taking the time learn about them, their situation, their family, their needs…be part of their support system. While we are executing the plan and performing the physical move, this frees up the family to take care of the more important matters, such as spending time [with their elderly family members]…or taking care of their medical or legal needs.”
The Kinchlers, too, believe in being more than just the hands lifting furniture. “In offering this unique type of service, […] we have been given an opportunity to bring peace to families in a time when they need to focus their efforts elsewhere,” Anna Kinchler said. “We are able to assist in carrying the emotional burden of emptying and finalizing of an estate, by taking the overwhelmed feeling off of their shoulders.”
Of course, the businesses aim to make a profit as well. Fees for clean-outs and moves can vary greatly, depending on the household and time and work involved in the job.
Ruby and her team were instrumental in helping Jennifer O’Dell and her mother in spring 2022, when it was time to move the latter out of her nearly 10,000-square-foot home.
“We interviewed a few different local moving companies and [Senior Moving Services] just seemed like they were going to be super-efficient, good with her,” O’Dell said about her mother’s move. “They were on-task. It was a pretty big move and our first time using a senior moving company, but they were the best organizers also.”
Forever Yesterday Exchange also takes pride in the reverence with which they treat households. They are undaunted by even some of the most packed-to-the-rafters homes.
“‘There is only one way to eat an elephant: one bite at a time.’ That’s a quote [my husband] Patrick often uses,” Kinchler said. “Some estates do have a hoarder-type amount of stuff. We have a system for homes of this nature that allows us to still approach the estate with sensitivity to the families [...] a game plan that helps our crew organize the removal.”
Neither company stops with merely helping with the physical move.
“They literally did everything,” O’Dell said of Senior Moving Services. “They were very patient and kind and understanding that moving somewhere new after 35 years is pretty hard. You can tell that they’re pretty well connected and that they knew who to call for everything.”