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Business helps senior citizens relocate _ smoothly

Coral Price saw a need, found a market and fine-tuned the service she wanted to offer.

Now she has a niche _ helping elderly people relocate _ and a new company, Smooth Transitions Inc. in Crystal River.

Price spent 28 years in the medical field, 15 of them as a registered nurse, before beginning her new venture: helping senior citizens through one of the most difficult transitions in their lives.

"The move itself is traumatic enough," Price said. "It's a really sensitive decision, and we try to help them in a way that helps them make their decision with compassion."

Price's business, based in the Plantation Pointe office complex in Crystal River, is not affiliated with any real estate agency, moving company, nursing home or other firm. Instead, Price acts as a consultant and helps coordinate a move from beginning to end.

The move itself might be from a large home, where an elderly person has spent much of his or her life but no longer can keep up with the housework. It might be into an assisted living center or nursing home, where a lack of space would force people to place many belongings in storage.

Smooth Transitions also will help with a move into a relative's home. The move is stressful on older people and their families, Price said. Her job is to ease the burden by taking care of details.

Her company offers a variety of services, from packing belongings to measuring window frames in a new home. Price, who was still establishing a fee schedule, plans to charge not by the service, but by the hour, so the fee depends on the size of the move.

Transition consultants also will help elderly people meet with real estate agents or movers if necessary, Price said.

"They can select as much or as little as they want," she said. "If the senior citizen wants us there, then that's fine."

Dr. Bruce Robinson, chief of the geriatric medicine division at the University of South Florida, said a late-in-life move is stressful for the elderly.

"It's a necessary and important service for old people," he said. "But it really isn't given much attention."

Simply deciding to move _ to a smaller home, a relative's home, an assisted-care facility or standard nursing home _ is difficult enough, he said. Managing the details can be overwhelming.

"They're likely to choose whatever option presents itself without necessarily knowing the range of possibilities," Robinson said.

Price said she and Smooth Transitions enter the picture after the decision to move has been made. She will coordinate where needed, but the clients must make their own decisions.

"The more I thought about it, I realized there was a need for this," Price said. "I want to make it a little less difficult."