For more than 16 years, Home Sweet Home has helped seniors successfully settle into assisted living communities across the metro area. However, it’s safe to say that its team members are more than just movers.
“I tell people my company does whatever a client needs before, during and after a move,” says Kristen Lund, owner for more than 10 years of Home Sweet Home. “Because for seniors, it’s not really just about the move. A lot of that is prep.”
Lund says the Home Sweet Home process starts as a conversation with clients.
“A lot of times it’s just talking to them, telling them, ‘This is what we do, this is what we provide,’ and then listening to them about what makes it feel like home to them or what they need help with,” Lund says. “We can help measure, do a floor plan, lay it out to scale. We can help them with wardrobes – how many clothes are going to fit, how many other linens they’ll need – and what they should take furniturewise. Maybe repurposing something that they have attachment to that is sentimental, but maybe isn’t really practical.”
For example, Lund, who has an interior design background, had a client who was torn about taking his belated wife’s beloved china cabinet into assisted living.
“He told me, ‘She loved her china cabinet, but I can only take like five pieces, so how can I justify taking this huge cabinet?’” Lund remembers. “But when I met him, he had this huge antique train and car collection he wanted to bring. I said, ‘Well, what if we take the doors off and display your cars and trains in there?’ He was so ecstatic because we found another way to use it. We were able to make it both practical and keep something that was sentimental.”
Matching functionality with sentimentality is something Lund says is very important for seniors.
“Sometimes, they’ve been in their homes more than 65 years,” Lund says. “They are emotionally attached, and they’re losing so much control. It’s [a situation where] you can’t stay home anymore, and you can’t drive anymore. They feel lost that everybody’s telling them what to do. It’s really important when we come in and work with them that we let them know we’re doing this with them, not to them.”
That is also why Lund says that once a plan is in place and a move is set, her team packs and unpacks with precision.
“We have one person in each room, and they will photograph that room, pack it up, and once my movers move it over there, we place it in the floor plan, and that person will unpack the same room and put things back how the client had it,” Lund says. “Sometimes, in an assisted living situation, people have a little bit of memory issues, but also people are just habitual. We really try as part of our services to duplicate things or kind of set things up the way the client wants it.”
According to community caregivers, that attention to detail makes a difference.
“The communities just say people feel more at ease [with this transition process],” Lund says. “They’re able to maneuver and work through the community and figure out where to go to eat and worry about some of that stuff. They’re not so worried about their apartment and where things are because everything is where it was to begin with.”
And if families still need assistance after maneuvering a move, Home Sweet Home is happy to help.
“Whatever the family needs to not feel overwhelmed,” Lund says. “Sometimes they’ve moved, and they’ve still got three-fourths of their stuff in a big house. We’ll help refer them to an estate sale, getting things to consignment, helping take things to family.
“I’ve been there, and I know how difficult it is because you feel like you’re being pulled in so many directions. And it’s hard to put your trust into someone taking your stuff, putting it in a truck, leaving it and setting you up. But we do it because we care about the seniors and their families and making them feel comfortable.”
Home Sweet Home, 636-288-2431, homesweethomestl.com