We’re sure a mobile population these days…
A generation ago, it was a big deal for my parents to leave their home town of Belleville, and trek up Highway 2 with all their worldly possessions in a 1947 Chev and set up housekeeping in Orangeville.
Visits home took forever and were virtually impossible for a two-day weekend. Highway 2 took endless hours with wee voices whining away about how much longer and would there be a bathroom soon.
And now, split-second expectations have grandparents in Barrie, their children living out west and their grandchildren in New Zealand, England and Spain. Or wherever.
And with grandparents becoming the population bulge during the next decade, Liz Edwards has identified a real need and is setting out to solve it. She’s helping seniors downsize. She’s helping them sort, select, dispose, retain, pack, re-address, move, unpack, and do the hundreds of address changes, telephone changes etc that come with any move.
Because their kids aren’t here to do it.
Liz has an interesting background herself. She sold real estate for Sandy Cove Acres for several years and then spent her last formal “working” years as executive secretary to the president of Kolmar. During that time, her husband passed away and Liz was overwhelmed with decisions… downsizing is a complex activity fraught with sentiment and can literally freeze a person into immobility.
One day the adult children of a senior in Liz’ community called Liz to help their mother move into a retirement home. The adult children were committed to go to England to help their own daughter with her new baby and the senior parent’s move coincided… four generations were on the go! As Liz was helping her new ‘friend’ get ready for the next phase of her life, it occurred to her that advocating for and helping seniors downsize was actually a useful service.
She sorted and delivered estate items to auction houses and selected garage sale things for Good Will. She addressed change of address cards, notified gas, oil, bank, social insurance, income tax, and on and on and on… She listened to the sentiment of the stories behind each item and helped her “client” figure out which items needed to move with her.
And when the lady’s adult children, new grandparents themselves, returned from England, there was “great grandma” packed up, and ready to go.
It’s funny how a door closes and the fresh air from a window breezes right through. When Liz found her Kolmar job at its end, she mustered up her courage, took some courses, wrote a business plan and successfully applied to the Self Employment Assistance Program. And now, Liz Edwards is setting out to start a new phase of her life, as Edwards Senior Services. Operating out of her home at Sandy Cove Acres, Liz expects to be busy and has developed the slogan that says it so fittingly… “caring for those who cared for us.”