The Elder Law Report: The job no one wants to do.

I’m Greg McIntyre and this is the elder law report. I’m here with Hayden Soloway and Keith Hawkins of Caring Transition of Western North Carolina. We’re talking about, if someone in your family needs care and has let things pile up in the house, what can you do?

Well, that’s why Keith is here. His operation can help with that. They also specialize in moving seniors to another house, senior community or care facility, or anything like that.

So, how do you take care of all this stuff that’s been accumulated over the years, how do you downsize, remove clutter or deal with hoarding issues? This is what we will be talking about in a minute. We are going to get in to all that with Keith, but before we do, do you have a happy place for us today Hayden?

HS: First, I created a new word, not a new word but using a word for what I do. I’m not a hoarder, I’m not a collector, I am an accumulator.

GM: An accumulator?

HS: Yes, I can’t throw away a magazine with good recipes, decorating tips or stuff like that, so, I collect them, but I accumulate things that I believe I’m going to use.

I want to tell you something. Facebook periodically sends you pictures from a year ago, or a few years ago. The day before yesterday I got sent a picture of my mum when she was very young and very pretty and it made me smile and tear at the same time. I showed it to my dad and he got all emotional about it. I got to thinking, my mum was a legend in Shelby as a Bridge player. She was a very smart woman. Her studies were concentrated in certain areas so she wasn’t as my father would say, well read. My dad and I would talk about Aborigines and crazy stuff like that and she would say, I don’t understand what you’re talking about, I’m so stupid, and my dad would say, no, you’re not stupid, you’re just uniformed.

Anyway, I saw that picture and got to thinking about women and how they achieve and I looked up famous women who achieved something.

GM: I think you’re famous Hayden.

HS: I’m famous in my mind. So, what I found was, number one was Marie Curie who died from what she discovered, which was radiation. There were people like her. There was Sojourner Truth who gained fame in civil rights. She won a landmark case where a black woman successfully sued a white man in court. She went on to become a Christian preacher in New York. She was very strong in women’s suffrage. There was Abigail Adams who was the wife of John Adams and she worked and ran their farm while he was the president. They described her in this article as, ‘the personification of female virtue, piety, charity, over-active,’ so she wasn’t out-standing for having invented something, she was a strong woman able to take the place of the man in a time when women wouldn’t do that.

GM: I don’t think you have to found Apple to have a really successful life.

HS: Oh, of course.

GM: Just the way you conduct yourself. I would love for my boys to get themselves up in the morning, let’s just start there. Just conduct yourself and be an example to others in your community.

HS: There is discipline involved in that. J.K Rowling I have listed as number six. She founded and served as president of Ginger Bread and works with single parents and their children with resources and programs to help them succeed. Coming in at number nine is Waris Dirie. She was a victim of female mutilation and has stood up and fought against that. The article listed twenty-five women. Some of these women accomplished really great things. Any mother in their children’s eyes has accomplished the world by raising a wonderful child.

GM: Thank you for that Hayden. So, let’s get in to it and talk about Caring Transitions in Western North Carolina. What is caring transitions?

KH: We primarily work with seniors and senior communities through the entire transition process. We come in to a person’s home, and for example, if a senior is moving into a senior community, we will come in and lay out a plan for how we’re going to do this. How we’re going to take care of the home, and how we will get them in to the community. We will pack them up, move them, resettle them, take care of the estate, the house, everything that needs to be done.

This is a big change in their lives, going in to a new community can be over-whelming to the family. Many families are disconnected, and not living in the same area. My parents are in the villages in Florida. That’s one of the biggest things we deal with is families from out of state.

GM: I have heard of the villages in Florida and that they are absolutely awesome.

KH: It is. My parents love it down there but again, we are dislocated from each other but they love it. It’s really their own town.

GM: Everything is right there?

KH: Yes, and that is what you are seeing more of in all these senior communities nowadays, everything from Givens Estates, to Sun City.

GM: There are great retirement communities in North Carolina.

KH: Yes there are. There is Givens estates in Asheville, there’s Grace Ridge in Morganton, there is Kingston Residence in Hickory, then all the Brookdale communities and Tryon estates.

HS: If I was going to live in these or any other community, I know you are online but if I called you, what should I ask? What would you suggest, and what would you do?

KH: We would really need to see your home and what the situation is there. So, let’s use Givens Estates as an example. Let’s say, we’re moving you in to a community there, we know how big the apartment is going to be, so we’re going to identify the key pieces that you want to take with you, then pick those up. We set up the floor plans, we do 3-D floor plans so they know exactly how things are going to look and be set up. People want to take their prime stuff and stories are what really explains this. We moved a gentleman just a few months ago and he wanted to take his older furniture. He had some beautiful oriental furniture, stone inlays, coffee tables, all that stuff, and so we set that up and he’s got the best apartment in the place now. He collected all his life. He was in the Airforce so he collected from other countries.

GM: He gets to feel right at home with minimal effort.

KH: Yes, he feels right at home. One of things we encourage is, take your good china, use your good china, use your good stuff, this is your time. That’s how we basically set things up.

GM: So, how are you different from two guys and a truck, or U-haul, what can you give me that they don’t?

KH: We are transition people, we do the whole transition. When we come in, everything is set up, again the example of the person in Morganton. He is ninety two years old, he woke up in his home and went to sleep in his new home.

GM: So you know what you’re doing in that area? You identify the important things and pack it up the right way.

KH: That’s right.

GM: We started talking about clutter earlier, what do you do with that stuff?

KH: We recycle so many things. For example, we work with someone who ships stuff to Africa. She has big containers. There is a lot of accumulation over the years of course but there are a lot of things in a home that can be used to help pay for the whole transition process.

HS: There is something you told me that I really liked hearing was, you don’t auction it off. I think it is a very sad day when people in your community, family and yourself know that all their personal things are going for fifty cents or a dollar for all the world to see. Tell us a bit about how you do that?

KH: So, we do have auctions but it’s not at garage sale prices. What we do is, Caring Transitions is at two hundred locations, there is a list of all our stores on our website and we have people who follow our sales all the time, such as collectors and re-salers. Antiques for example are a lot stronger up in New England than they are down here, and we own the websites and handle everything ourselves. There is a bidding process.

GM: Do I have to write you a big check when you come in?

KH: Not necessarily.

GM: So, if I want to be re-located to Hawaii how does that happen?

KH: I would take care of everything on this end and my cohort in Hawaii is going to settle you and take care of you down there. We are all over the place, if you’re going to California, I would handle things here and California would handle things there. We also do corporate moves and many other things.

HS: So, when you sell these items, that goes towards the cost?

KH: That’s right.

GM: And any overflow, what happens to that?

KH: That goes back to the estate.

HS: And the kids fit bills as well once they’ve divided up what belongs to whom?

KH: We get extended family all the time. Again, I’m using the example from Morganton. He had extended family in Florida and they bid on stuff in the auction and came up from Florida to pick up the stuff.  That’s very common, it happens all the time.  

GM: That’s a great business.

KH: It is, it’s very open and very clean. An example of some of the things we do, just last night at a house we’ve been working at, we found the mother’s high school diploma buried down in the basement. These kinds of things happen all the time. At another house in Hendersonville we were working in the basement and came across a bunch of 8mm film and it was of the sons wrestling matches and Christmases, and we got that put on an electronic file so it’s now available to the whole family. Another place in Hendersonville they had slides and slides and we’re getting that put on an electronic file for the family. These are the things we do.

GM: You uncover the hidden history of the family.

KH: It may seem like very trivial things but for instance, their father’s footlocker from when he was in the Navy, well they can’t take everything with them so we will create picture collages that they can put in their hallway because that is the stuff they want to have memories of.

HS: I was just thinking, if grandma and grandpa are not living in the conditions that they should, you mentioned that you could go in there and get the house cleaned out and get them back in to a safe environment where they can move around, and move their walkers, that just seemed like a great service to me.

GM: You can take a house that has become inhospitable because of neglect and make it livable again?

KH: Yes we can, and we do that constantly. When we do the floorplans, we take in to consideration walkers and tight spaces so they can get around.

HS: Do you have someone who can get in and install handicap ramps and bars and things like that?

KH: Yes, that’s no problem, and we do it correctly because it has to be secured. Otherwise bars get ripped right out of the wall. A lot of the churches we work with need ramps and so when we work with places we organize getting the place handicap accessible.

HS: So, you are like a pivot point, they can go to you for repairs, for moving, cleaning and selling their house?

KH: That’s correct. We work with a lot of communities as well, for example, Kingston in Hickory North Carolina, where we’re doing an antique roadshow, or an antique car show and a bottle and ceramic show. We do events with Brookdale’s and others, this draws people in to these communities.

GM: So, if you are a care facility or a senior community out there, it would be wise to call you for any event, including an antique roadshow.

If somebody needs to contact you, they can call you at 828-233-5739, or they can go to your website at, which stands for the area you cover. This is where people can go and learn all about your business and the services you provide.

KH: If you call the 828 number, there is always a live person and they will always know exactly what they are doing. Our head office is in Cincinnati Ohio, so we have operators on 24 hours, and they know what needs to be done.

GM: Caring Transitions can line you up with anything you need as far as transitioning, whether for a family member or yourself wherever you or they are going. Thank you for coming on the show today.

If you need to call us on any of the issues that we’re talking about here, I am an elder law attorney and this blog post is one of the ways I put out information to the community about senior issues.

You can call me if you are in the Tryon to Charlotte area on 704-343-6933. Our main office is located in Shelby at 123 W. Marion St, and we have other meeting places by appointment only in Charlotte and Asheville. I will go along to your home just like the doctor on Little house on the prairie. Our other number for the Asheville area is 828-398-0181 and schedule your appointment in-home or in Asheville by appointment only.

Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!

Greg McIntyre

Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street

Shelby, NC 28150


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Meet Greg McIntyre

Greg McIntyre, founder of McIntyre Elder Law, is more than just an attorney. As a Navy Veteran, father to six kids, and a loving husband, he values family deeply. This drives his commitment to helping clients safeguard their futures and pass down legacies.

Greg has a passion to help people. Beyond just legal advice, he loves having conversations and strives to build a long-term relationship with every clients that comes through his door.

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