Bob Burg headshot
Bob Burg

For most people, aging brings a new set of challenges. Health problems may make living independently problematic, financial constraints may make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and distance from family can cause loneliness and isolation.

The additional stressors of the pandemic over the past two years called to light the role that service providers for seniors can and should play in addressing the challenge of safety. Those charged with senior care have the responsibility to proactively identify and implement safety initiatives that ease stress, such as minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19.

At Moves for Seniors, safety always has been a top priority during moves — for seniors, their belongings and the communities to which they are moving. But in spring of 2020, we realized that we had to add a dedicated focus on keeping all of our stakeholders healthy. We were able to immediately rely on strong relationships across our business to change the way we operate. Our efforts were and continue to be focused in three key areas:

Communicating proactively

From day one of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have worked very closely with all our senior living operator partners, as well as individual communities, to understand their needs and requirements. As Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines shift and evolve, Moves for Seniors views them largely as a baseline for safety measures, but we ensure that we can meet more aggressive guidelines from communities related to the safety of residents and employees. Even now, we reach out before a move-in to make sure no policies have changed and that our moving crews (and inbound seniors) have all the information they need to be in full compliance.

The key here is communication in both directions. Our operations team needs to understand community expectations, share them with our vendors and clients, and communicate back to communities our approach so that all parties feel comfortable. Because of our long-standing focus on emergency response and preparedness planning with communities, we already have strong communications channels in place with our partners, which has streamlined the COVID-19 response.

We strongly recommend to all communities, whether or not they work with us, to have proactive discussions with service providers to make sure those providers have a viable plan in place to ensure health and safety for all stakeholders.

Taking safety seriously

Our nationwide network of movers and related providers has been critical to successful execution of the Moves for Seniors plan. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve ensured that all moving teams had access to full personal protective equipment and were following every CDC guideline as well as requirements of specific communities.

More recently, we’ve vetted our entire network and identified fully vaccinated moving crews in more than 50 major markets across the country that we can access as needed. This effort distinguishes us in the industry and is an invaluable option for customers who desire it, whether they are community customers using us for internal moves or senior customers downsizing and transitioning to new homes.

But don’t take it from me. Read the words of one customer.

“They were wonderful, every aspect of [the move] was totally 100% wonderful,” said Ann Blustein, who worked with Moves for Seniors to move her elderly parents into a senior living community. “They always had masks on, so I was never worried about it. We take COVID protocols extremely seriously, but I never felt at any time that they didn’t [take it seriously],” she added when we asked about how safe she felt throughout the process.

Collaborating with top providers

We collaborate with and learn from other top providers of senior support services. We discuss shared best practices and ensure that we are outspoken thought leaders for appropriate responses to the pandemic and overall senior safety. For instance, our network providers interact significantly with the Accushield screening technology nationwide, and we prepare our providers to comply with this system as they work with us to service seniors moving into senior housing.

For senior-centric businesses, it’s likely that logistics partners and other vendors will have direct contact with residents (or clients) and staff. It is imperative to feel comfortable with those partners and the efforts they have taken to protect the safety and health of everyone involved.

We want partners and customers who use Moves for Seniors’ services to have peace of mind. One of our top goals every single day is to decrease the stress associated with senior moves, whether it’s a more general aging-related concern or specifically related to spread of a pandemic (or any illness).  

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Bob Burg is executive vice president of Moves for Seniors.

The opinions expressed in each McKnight’s Senior Living marketplace column are those of the author and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Senior Living.

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