Hailing from the Midwest, Karen Monsen and Susan Kent, Owners and Founders of Safe Senior Transitions LLC, have known each other since 1991. They worked together in a hospital where Karen was a nurse and Susan served as a social worker. In addition to sharing a love and passion for helping others, both women helped take care of their aging fathers. Karen shared the story behind their journey and how their experience as caregivers led to the formation of Safe Senior Transitions.
"I quit work as a Nurse Practitioner in 2015 to take care of my dad," Karen said. "Susan took care of her father until he was placed into a veterans nursing home. Both of our fathers are World War II Veterans. I spent three years taking care of my father. One night, I was wide awake in the middle of the night when a thought came to me. We needed a service for seniors that were either transitioning out of their homes or desired to stay in their homes. I called Susan the next day and said, 'This is it. This is how we're going to help people'. From there, we connected with the National Association of Senior Move Managers and put together a plan."
Safe Senior Transitions was officially launched in August 2018. The business is best described as a move management company. Karen and Susan offer assistance to elders who are downsizing their homes as well as those who are transitioning to assisted living facilities, nursing homes, independent living facilities or moving to a relative's home. Their goal is to make moving easier and stress free by handling the logistics of the move.
According to Karen, the business has been somewhat slow to gain traction, but they're committed to the business and they're both excited about the possibilities of helping seniors in need. "It's been a slow start. We pretty much spent the first year learning the business and getting things up and running. Now that I'm full-time, I'm going full force with advertising and getting the word out. We just want people to know that we're here to help."
Safe Senior Transitions provides services to Citrus and the surrounding counties. They offer free consultations and are willing to help wherever they can. According to Karen, it's been a challenge, but also something that's been extremely rewarding.
"We love helping people connect with their families," Karen said. "It is fantastic to see when families come together to assist their elders as they move to a different location. If they have no family, it is our pleasure to help them get to where they need to be to live safely and comfortably in their older age. If they prefer to stay home, we'll arrange the house to make it safe for them. We call it an ‘Aging in Place’ plan.
Karen continued, "Soon, I'll get certified as an ‘Aging in Place’ Specialist through the National Association of Senior Move Managers. Home Specialists help clients 'determine your future needs to simplify ones lifestyle and gain freedom to live the life you want'. For example, the things you use daily must be in easy-to-access places. Home Specialists also explore home care maintenance concerns and reduce home safety concerns. By eliminating common in-home hazards, one can stay in ones own home.”
Looking ahead, Karen and Susan will continue to expand their services throughout Citrus and the surrounding counties. They'd also like to eventually increase the number of employees they have on staff.
What advice does Karen have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Get out into the public and spread the news about the services that you have to offer," she said. "Advertising can be costly, but it is needed to expand your business."