Darlene Agag, CEO of Hesstia Group, concierge and relocation services, joins us again to discuss some of the challenges she sees as people make the move to a senior living community. She shares tips on how to avoid the stress and anxiety that comes along with such a big move.

Video Transcript

- Hello everybody, and welcome into Senior Living Live, my name is Melissa. I hope you are having a fantastic day today. We are going to dive into some of the challenges that we see when moving into the different types of senior living communities and how you can avoid the stress and anxiety, of course, that goes along with such a big move. Darlene Agag of the Hesstia Group, she is with us here today. She has a lot of experience in helping you push that easy button, so to speak, when it comes to arming yourself with all the correct and right information to make that leap into a senior living community. Darlene, thank you so much for being with us today.

- Thanks for having me, appreciate it.

- Yeah, absolutely. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company.

- So my background is I worked for Fox Television for over 20 years, lived in Manhattan, made the move out to Northern New Jersey and found it just completely overwhelming. And I moved back to my hometown actually, thinking it would be easier, but it was still really challenging. So I decided that I think I could help make people's transitions a little bit easier, so I started this company, the Hesstia Group. And while we do handle all of the logistics of the move, getting you from point A to point B, I think what differentiates us and what we've really learned is that the empathy and understanding that we bring into this process for our clients is as important as getting their belongings moved. So we really customize everything we do and everything is individual. There's no one-size-fits-all because every person's different and everybody's needs are unique. So we really try and work with our clients on an individualized basis to help them make what can be a challenging transition for them.

- Yeah, and I mean, I don't know anybody who likes moving, period. I just don't. It really hits another level, another couple levels, actually, when you're talking about a senior making a move out of a home perhaps that they've been in for 30, 40 years. So tell us some of the factors that make moving from a home to a senior living community the right move, so to speak.

- Right, well, I think people have a hard time with change in general. So they have a hard time, seniors in many cases, seeing what the good things could be for them in a senior community. So they sit isolated in their homes not realizing that maybe there is something better for them. Senior living has so many advantages that can be given to the people that move in. They offer a lot of things that a house or being in an apartment can't do. For example, it's maintenance-free, like low maintenance, worry-free living. Household responsibilities like cooking and cleaning and maintaining the home is a lot of work. And also we talked about the isolation, there's a built-in social life there. I mean, I get excited sometimes when I walk into these communities and I see the list of activities that they have during the day. This lecture, this movie, you know, there's always something to do, there's always someone around, and there's something nice about that type of built-in community that you have that you don't have to go and start over again trying to make friends in a place that could be very isolating, like living in a home or moving to an apartment. And also life is really expensive. So at least at senior living communities the expenses are consolidated, more fixed, you know what you have to spend a month or whatnot. And that takes, in my opinion, relieves a lot of stress as well. So I really see so many advantages of living in a senior living community.

- Yeah, and I'm glad you mentioned just the financial part of it, especially now with the way inflation is at this point, it's just, it's crazy. And so knowing that you're at a place that it's fixed and everything's included, it's really nice, and you don't have to worry about what's what is that gonna cost me next month, because it's gonna stay the same.

- Exactly.

- Great point. So we never really discussed in these videos, until today, the differences in moving from a house to independent living and then you have assisted living and then you have memory care and all the nuances that go along with each one of those. So what challenges do you see seniors facing, maybe their families, when making these moves into these different types of senior living neighborhoods, and how do you tailor your services to match that?

- Yeah, I mean, moving into any type of these communities can be overwhelming. Most people have moved in their lives but never taken their belongings, all their belongings, and had to fit into one or two rooms. And that can be the challenge of like, how do you figure out what you take with you? And depending on the ability of the senior, whether or not, like you're saying, moving into memory care versus moving into independent living, it's very different in a lot of cases. In independent living, the people are in power, they live on their own, they have their mind, so they're capable of figuring out what it is that they need and they can help identify the things that they might need to move in. When you're moving into something like memory care, consistency is very important. And how that move goes from moving from the house into the facility is extremely important. We just worked with a woman a couple months ago who did move into the memory care unit, and we worked really hard at having as much of her familiar things around. Pictures of family, her bed, her comforter, everything. Like we brought her furniture, her dressing table that she loved sitting at so that when she walked into the room, and she walked in and it was ready for her, and her kids brought her in, at least the surroundings were familiar. So not that we don't do that for everybody, but I think especially in memory care, that would be like to me the top thing that you would have to do. Buying new furniture, some children wanna come in and redecorate the whole room and make it look beautiful. I would recommend always bringing familiar things from home, no matter what level of care you have to have, because it's important to have things that you love and you've had for a long time with you.

- 100%, and like you said, in memory care especially, it's huge. I mean, it's the difference between making that loved one of yours comfortable and then maybe nervous or scared being in such new surroundings that they know nothing about. So great advice there.

- And in a lot of cases, I think we also work very closely with the facility, because there's certain things that you might not realize, like putting a bed up against a wall, or having blackout shades or not having blackout shades, like based off of medical reasons or necessities that we might not know. I think it's very important to understand what each individual needs, because you might say I don't want them to have bed rails or we do need them to have these certain things. So I think it's also important to be in lockstep with the facility and understand from your perspective what do they need from a safety perspective, from a sundowning perspective, whatever is going on with the senior. We don't wanna make it more difficult because we're trying to make the room look pretty, you know?

- Of course, yeah. And it goes to show, you have your independent living, assisted living, and memory care, it's not a broad stroke here, right? It's completely super individualized, and we love that so much about your group and that you're able to do that at all of those levels. Because that is senior living in a nutshell, everybody's different, their journey's different. It's individualized and it all looks just a little bit different for each person. So what advice do you offer individuals making a move to senior living that you find really helps make that process smooth and efficient?

- Yep. I mean, it's pretty simple. Take it slow, don't get overwhelmed, one day at a time. Everything does not have to get done at once. Keep the things that are most important to you, ask for help. And again, whether you use our company or another company like ours, if you can get the emotion out of it, which I know is really difficult which is why companies like mine come into play, it helps to take the emotion out of it a little bit. So, yeah. I mean, it can be an overwhelming process, but it can also be made enjoyable if you just process it slowly. But sometimes people also don't have time, and that's the other thing to keep in mind, sometimes the move has to be done fairly quickly, but just try and put it into perspective.

- Yeah, great advice. Now, Darlene, if somebody does wanna get in touch with you or they wanna use your services or they have additional questions, how can they do that?

- Sure. So I appreciate that. I can be reached at 201 632 3991. My email is D-A-G-A-G at the Hesstia, H-E-S-S-T-I-A Group dot com, and our website is thehesstiagroup.com.

- Perfect, thank you. Taking notes, that's right. And we're here to help pretty much everybody. So tips that you can use whether you use Hesstia or not, but we do certainly recommend that you use them for the services that they're able to provide. Darlene, thank you so much for being with us today.

- Thank you, appreciate it.

- Yeah, thank you. Now, if you enjoyed this video with Darlene, you wanna head on over to our website, www.seniorlivinglive.com. There we have a vault full of videos just like this one all about senior living. It's available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thank you so much for being a part of Senior Living Live. Have a great day, everybody!

Get Senior Living LIVE! Updates

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community