When you think of the growing number of businesses emerging to service the aging population, a glut of assisted living centers and home health agencies tops the list.
But four years ago, when Suzanne Lipps became the primary caretaker for her 95-year-old aunt, she found few resources that assist the elderly in making retirement transitions. Since her aunt lives in Florida, she found herself on the road several times a year.
Armed with experience in finance, real estate and health insurance, Lipps launched Smooth Transitions in Kent to help other senior citizens. Serving as a liaison and coordinator, Lipps says she provides services that protect the interests of the elderly so they (and their families) dont have to worry about anything.
Anything runs the gamut from arranging for the sale of a home to cataloguing possessions, overseeing a tag sale or estate auction, coordinating every aspect of a move and ensuring former and new homes are readied for occupancy.
She also helps keep a clients financial affairs in order and provides services such as paying bills, processing insurance claims, expediting paperwork and providing business decision counseling.
Although Lipps is bonded, she emphasizes, I dont make financial decisions for a client Im a facilitator. I provide all the information and coordinate everything thats involved.
Lipps tackles endless details with real estate brokers, auctioneers, accountants, attorneys, physicians, home health specialists, maintenance and home service workers. She says shes become somewhat overprotective of her clients because she sees so many senior citizens taken advantage of.
For example, at estate auctions, one of the major problems you see is antique dealers coming in and taking advantage of them, she says. I have a network of people I call in first to give a fair price estimate. And when I process my clients insurance claims, Ive found in many cases theyve paid a bill that insurance would have covered, but the doctors office or insurance company didnt reimburse them.
So I recover the money for them.
If clients chooses to move to an assisted living center, Lipps helps them select a facility that fits their needs.
I try to be familiar with all the facilities in the area, and what I look for is really the personnel, the continuity of how long theyve been there and how they treat the clients, she says.
The services of Smooth Transitions have become so much in demand that Lipps has enough work to fill a 60-80 hour week, even with an assistant.
Im finding that since so many people work full time and time is at a premium, many people boomers in particular are willing to pay someone to come in and do this for their older family members, especially when they live out of state, she says, pointing out that she makes herself available to accompany clients to their new homes, whether across town or across the continent.
So much comes at them and overwhelms them, and many of them have no one they can rely on to take care of all their needs, Lipps says. I love to tell my clients, If you have something youre worried about, put it in that pile for me and dont worry about it.
How to reach: Smooth Transitions, (330) 626-5414