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Brokers must learn to serve seniors in new millennium.

The New York area population aged 75 or older will balloon 20 percent in the next five years. The largest providers of senior living facilities plan on boosting capacity by 23 percent in the same period. Countless families have already gone through the difficult process of helping aged relatives move from their long-time homes into facilities that offer the them both community and care.

Despite the importance of this dramatic trend, few residential real estate brokerage companies have begun to address the issue of how to serve the elderly and their families in the transition from independent to group or assisted living.

There are few missions more important over the next decade than learning to do so. Our response at Goodstein Realty is the Senior Lifestyles Division, a free service and a model that other brokerages may wish to follow.

What is Senior Lifestyles?

When a senior or family member contacts Goodstein Realty's Senior Lifestyles, a trained specialist is assigned to personally work with the client on a one-on-one basis, guiding them through the many phases of the process, including needs assessment, budgeting, community comparisons, negotiations and - finally - the move.

We have compiled information that helps clients evaluate competing seniors facilities by price, services, location, design and ambience. Goodstein's Senior Lifestyles Division also include assisting with real estate attorneys, furniture dealers and art appraisers, needs and inventory assessments, home decorators, transportation to closing, new social arrangements, and other important services.

By providing our services without fee, Goodstein is using an unusual business model. Our expectation is that the high quality services that our trained staff provide will so satisfy our Senior Lifestyles' clients that they will want our help when the time comes to sell their present home.

Senior living facilities themselves acknowledge that the elderly need help negotiating the transfer to a senior lifestyle community. The task of researching, visiting and deciding on senior facilities is formidable and even scary. That's why facilities that account for nearly 1,300 units in the New York area have affiliated themselves with Goodstein, expecting Senior Lifestyles to help potential residents overcome the many challenges of finding the right residence and moving.

Jewish Home & Hospital

To make services targeting seniors more comprehensive, we recommend brokerage companies form alliances with appropriate non-profits. We have done so with Jewish Home & Hospital (JHH). JHH has been at the forefront of serving seniors since 1848. So that our customers can benefit from their tremendous knowledge, we have formed a strategic alliance with JHH's Senior Care options of the Jewish Home & Hospital. Senior Care is a professional geriatric care management service that helps families define their needs and alternatives, and arranges services and other changes to best meet those needs.

Now, with Senior Care Options and Senior Lifestyles coordinating their services, housing changes for seniors have been made easier. Diedre Downs, director of Senior Care Options at JHH, summed up how the alliance will work: "Our team of geriatric professionals can evaluate seniors so they can find situations which best suit their individual needs," she said. "When assisted or independent living makes sense, the experts at Goodstein Realty can help us choose the best match for the family, and can help families with the stressful and sometimes overwhelming tasks of relocating."
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Article Details
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Author:Bayer, Leonard
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jan 26, 2000
Previous Article:Using technology to create a better management team.
Next Article:Manhattan poses challenges to assisted living development.

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