New Business Provides Missing Link in Senior Services Segment
August 14, 2008 // Franchising.com // CINCINNATI – John F. Buckles spent the better half of his 20s struggling on his own to cope with the needs of two ailing parents while traveling the world as a successful business consultant. Eventually, he made the heart-wrenching decision to sell their belongings and move them into a nursing home – a painful and emotional experience that ultimately led him to pioneer an entirely new segment in franchising – senior relocation and transition services.
Today, Caring Transitions, the first national franchise to specialize in helping families transition their loved ones from home to retirement or care facilities, is rapidly growing around the country with more than 30 locations. With 2.5 million estates requiring settlement each year and the number of seniors expected to double by 2030, Buckles, now 47 and the president of Caring Transitions, sees the franchise concept as the "next big wave in the senior services segment."
"When the time comes to move your parents or loved ones out of their longtime home, you're surrounded by years and years of accumulated 'stuff.' You feel a sense of panic, which can lead you to make bad decisions that result in feelings of regret and guilt even years later," Buckles said. "My parents had thousands of books that I thought I could just throw in boxes and donate. But then I started to find hidden documents, stories and personal inscriptions in many of the books, and I agonized over what to do with them. That was just the start of going through all the 'stuff' in a house they had been in 40+ years. The whole process was overwhelming. But I had to get their house on the market."
Caring Transitions works closely with families who need to sell or liquidate the belongings of their loved ones in a timely manner. Franchise owners help the family assess what is in the house and assist them in making critical decisions about those items. Caring Transitions also arranges for the shipment or storage of cherished items staying in the family, runs errands and meets with contractors to keep the process on schedule. When a Realtor® is engaged by the family to sell the house, they arrange for the home to be prepared, cleaned and put on the market as quickly as possible. Caring Transitions' full range of transition and relocation services is tailored to the needs of each individual and family.
"Without the guidance of a professional to help them make the right decisions about what do to with the vast amounts of both valuable and questionable belongings, what often happens is that it all winds up in a large dumpster in the driveway. It's a terrible shame, and it doesn't have to be that way," Buckles said. "Our mission at Caring Transitions is to let the world know that there are experienced people out there to help them."
It's common today for family members to live in different cities and states from their parents. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, there are between 5.1 and 7 million family members providing long distance care to an aging relative. With a Caring Transitions franchise acting as an on-site advocate for families, it eliminates the need for loved ones to make numerous, unnecessary trips away from work and families.
With 76 million Baby Boomers expected to enter retirement over the next two decades, many are finding it necessary to help their aging parents downsize and move to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. In many cases, the cost for Caring Transitions' services is covered by the sale of items – there are no up-front fees for the initial consultation.
"This is not an 'auction company' that focuses on just selling items. Caring Transitions works with families to assess the belongings in the home, declutter the residence, facilitate the distribution of items to other family members, conduct sales of remaining items to the public, and then clean out the entire home in preparation for sale. We also assist the family with every step of the relocation and transition process of their loved ones," Buckles said.
Founded in 2006, Cincinnati-based Caring Transitions is the country's first national franchising concept specializing in senior relocation and transition services and providing a total solution for families facing a sometimes difficult situation. With more than 30 locations throughout the U.S., Caring Transitions works with clients and their families who are selling a home, downsizing and liquidating household items by offering transition, relocation and estate sale services. For more information, visit www.CaringTransitions.net.