Jami Shapiro helps seniors transition from homes with her company Silver Linings Transitions. Learn why she is so passionate about this work and how she can help you or your loved ones.
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Jami Shapiro: Thanks for having me.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. It’s great to have you here.
Jami Shapiro: This is exciting. I was really looking forward to this conversation, so I’m glad to be here.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Why is that?
Jami Shapiro: Well, death and what you do, it has just really become … I guess I should describe what it is that I do so that it can set the stage for people.
Dr. Bob: Sounds good.
Jami Shapiro: Okay. I own a company, as you mentioned, called Silver Linings Transitions and we started as a senior move management company, which is actually part of a National Association called The National Association of Senior Move Management, and I have to step it back a little bit because about 13 years ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and I was 34 years old, and it was life-changing for me to have to wait on the diagnosis and at the same time, one of my closest friends died of ovarian cancer. When you look at cancer as a 34-year old, you realized, “Oh, this is borrowed time.” A friend of mine who had cancer as a freshman college said that getting cancer was like getting a front row seat to life.
Dr. Bob: Wow.
Jami Shapiro: Right. I started to look at my own life, and I knew that what I was doing wasn’t fulfilling for me. I ended up moving to San Diego from Florida with my now ex-husband, when he took a dean position out here, and it was an opportunity for me to explore what it was that I wanted to do and the first job that I had was actually working at a cancer foundation started by a family who had lost their daughter at 39 to gastroesophageal cancer stage four, and no one knew because we weren’t talking about it or what the symptoms were. I loved that they took their tragedy and they turned it into something, which was really very close to who I was. Around the time that I needed to put my daughter into private school, a friend of mine approached me about starting a business selling things for seniors on eBay. That was how we were going to start.
Then while she was researching that, we found out about The National Association and they were going to be having their conference in San Diego two months later, and went to that conference, and that was that light bulb that everybody hopes to get, and it was like, “This is what I’m meant to do,” and the people that do the work that I do, which is helping seniors when they’re transitioning from their homes. It can be the home they’ve been in for 60 years. It can be the condo that they’ve moved into, but going into a senior community typically or sometimes into a smaller space is actually very … It’s a tough transition. It’s medically identified as relocation stress syndrome, and they say that it is the most difficult transition a person will make in their lifetime. I don’t know compared to what you’re helping them transition through, but it’s tough.
Dr. Bob: It’s significant.
Jami Shapiro: It’s significant.
Dr. Bob: It’s significant, and it’s probably under-addressed and under-recognized in general.
Jami Shapiro: Absolutely. Right. Then, what their staff represents to them. That’s what we’re doing is we’re helping them go through the mementos of their lives, so I started it that way with a partner. Then, things happen the way life does, and my partner ended up going to work with her husband because he had actually started a business as well. Then, I had to look at how am I going to do this business by myself because I planned on having a partner. I’ve got three children. Anyway, I ended up shortly after that, putting something on Facebook that I was looking for help because I’m actually as great as my company is, and you have to be very organized to do the work that we do, but I’m not organized. I knew I had to find somebody that was. Initially, I was looking for a partner, couldn’t find the right partner.
Then, I put something on Facebook in a group of women that I, in San Elijo Hills, we have a little women’s site. I posted something, and the first person that responded to me was a woman who had been a stay at home mom for 18 years, and she couldn’t find anyone that would hire her. That was when the second epiphany happened, and that was women when they’re transitioning back into the workforce whether they’re going through a divorce or their kids are going to school, it’s tough for women to compete with the younger women and then to have the flexibility, so that became my team and that was women transitioning back into the workforce. Then, right after that, I started, my marriage ended. It was like I’m starting a business simultaneously and going through a divorce. Then, I realized that women including me, if we walk away from careers and even though I worked, we didn’t find my retirement. We find it his, and even though I’m getting half of his retirement, I’m starting at a lower level than he is. Then, you’ve got the issue of benefits.
My long-term objective is actually to help the seniors and the other clients because we now help divorcing clients. We help when there’s a death, and we go into the home, but it’s also to provide meaningful work for women, a platform that will give them to get the confidence to get back up into the workforce, but I see this really … In my vision, it’s national. That’s where I’m going.
Dr. Bob: That’s awesome. That’s really great. It’s like a trifecta. You’re helping several populations that clearly have needs. Many of those needs are unmet, and you’re doing it from a place not … It sounds like, not necessarily because you want to be a billionaire, but because you want to have meaningful work. You want your life to mean something, and you were fortunate to have that wake-up call at 34 when you realized that, “Wow. There really is a limit to all of this,” and you needed to do something now. That’s awesome.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah.
Dr. Bob: That’s pretty wonderful.
Jami Shapiro: Well, that’s actually why I called the company Silver Linings Transitions because I would never have gotten to that place if I haven’t had that experience.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Well, I love that. It really resonates with me because for me, I’ve been accused of being an eternal optimist and even in the phase of situations where it really seems like it wouldn’t be the appropriate response, I just have this sense of optimism that things are going to work out and I always look for the silver linings, and I talked about that because there always is one.
Jami Shapiro: You’re absolutely right. There’s always a lesson to be learned.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. No question about it because we can’t control what happens in life.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. That’s exactly right.
Dr. Bob: What we can control is our response to it.Jami Shapiro: I just wrote a blog about that yesterday actually, and it ended exactly that same way. Absolutely.
Dr. Bob: Good for you.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah.
Dr. Bob: I love the fact that … We talked about this before we started recording that there’s definitely some similarities and alignment in our … Not just our chosen, I guess career path.
Jami Shapiro: And who we’re serving, right?
Dr. Bob: And who we’re serving, but I think what we’re trying to accomplish.
Jami Shapiro: Our why? I think we both talked about the fact that we both feel like this is a calling. Yeah. I’m also an eternal optimist and I’m so grateful actually that I am because I have a lot of family members with depression, and I know that it’s really difficult, and I feel like if I can talk about God because that’s really helped me with everything that’s gone on is to know that He’s given me these talents and there’s some reason that I have them, and there’s something I’m supposed to do with them.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. If you didn’t, well, then you wouldn’t be fulfilling your reason for being here.
Jami Shapiro: That’s exactly right. That’s right.
Dr. Bob: Right? It’s so cool because there’s … In your work as well and in mine, we come across people who are in really difficult circumstances often, and they’re going through challenges, and it’s fascinating to see how people respond to those challenges because I can be talking with a person who’s in their 80s, 90s or over 100 who’s struggling, and looking at uncertain future, but likely challenging, but they don’t feel victimized. They still see the positives in life, and they still feel grateful for what they’ve had and what life has been for them, and even what’s coming.
Jami Shapiro: That’s right. What they can do. Right. We need to identify what it is we still can do.
Dr. Bob: There’s such an opportunity, I think, we’re not a psychologist. We’re not a psychiatrist. We’re not the therapist, but in everything that we do, I think there’s an opportunity to help to share this sense of the possibilities.
Jami Shapiro: Absolutely. Yeah.
Dr. Bob: Right? That there is a silver lining to everything. Sometimes people don’t want to hear that in the moment, but I think representing that, living it by example is very important, and it sounds to me like you’re doing that.
Jami Shapiro: Right. It’s interesting because I do get to work with seniors when they’re going through the mementos of their life as I mentioned, and so we actually … I have a partner, Bryan Devore, he’s a realtor, and we worked together now. He does his own Silver Linings Transitions, but most people who are selling a home … Well, everyone selling a home will have to move, and a lot of the clients that we come across are seniors who will also need to sell their homes, so we offer that as a bundled service, but we ended up working with four clients together last year. Two of them embraced moving into a senior community.
One of them had his name tag on when we met him, and he was excited about going, and he was going to have his meals there, and the other woman put herself on a waiting list and brought my company in, so we could get her ready for that transition, and those two are thriving. Then, there were two situations where we were called in, and they were kicking and screaming going there, both had put deposits down, but neither one of them wanted to be there. Both of them pass within a month of moving, and it just shows like you’re right. You don’t have a choice in a matter. The only choice you have is your response to it.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. It’s powerful.
Jami Shapiro: We started a TV show actually that we’re going to start filming in March, and I’m really excited about showing people what senior community really is and following people who are transitioning into those changes.
Dr. Bob: The communities that you’re helping people transition to, is it any size? It can be a large assisted living or independent living or small residential care homes?Jami Shapiro: Sure. We’ve even done an 8,500 square foot ranch in Santa Fe home into a smaller three bedroom house. Anytime there’s a downsize and we actually … I don’t want to plug the business because that’s something the conversation is about.
Dr. Bob: Please do. You’re plugging something that’s needed, and valuable.
Jami Shapiro: We’re working with a family now, and there’s a little bit of health stuff going on and they are needing to move out of their son’s school because there are some issues going on and there are some boundary changes, and so my team is going in and getting the home organized and helping them move because people would say, “Well, do you have to be a senior?” I said, “No. We don’t discriminate based on age.” We really help, and Bryan is selling the home for them, and as I mentioned, if he sells their home, then he provides Silver Linings Transitions free for our clients. We actually have a website called packedforfree.com, and we actually created a little thing that looks like a Reese’s because what’s the best combination in the world? Chocolate and peanut butter and next is selling your home and moving.
Dr. Bob: Right. Helping someone transition.
Jami Shapiro: Right? Move services. Exactly.
Dr. Bob: Well, I just moved a little over a month ago, and we’re pretty good at moving. We moved a number of times. I think we just changed.
Jami Shapiro: Me, too. Me, too.
Dr. Bob: …When I was looking at the website, and the idea that really appealed to me is you get up in the morning, you leave your bed unmade, you go out, you enjoy your day, you go back to your new place, and everything’s in place. The idea of that was just like incredibly overwhelming to me.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. For us …
Dr. Bob: I wish I would have known about you.
Jami Shapiro: You know what? I wish that every time somebody said that, I got a dollar because I’d be a wealthy woman.
Dr. Bob: I know. Me too. Yeah. No doubt about it.Jami Shapiro: Yeah, exactly.
Dr. Bob: For me, and probably for you too, it really makes me sad when I hear somebody say, “I wish we had known about you when my mom was ill, or a few months ago when we were going through these challenges.”
Jami Shapiro: Right. I think one of the things that also we are different than a moving company because the women that I’m hiring are so compassionate, and it’s funny. Most of them have found Silver Linings Transitions. One of them when I was first starting the business, and I wanted to take credit cards, I had to have my … My home was where I was going to work out of the company or work, and she came in to look at my home and make sure I was legitimate, and we’ve got into a conversation and her father had just passed away, and she was helping her mother go through all of his belongings, and she’s actually my head manager now. That’s how she found me coming into my kitchen, and then I have another woman whose husband was on jury duty, and he happened to hear somebody talking about the company, and she approached me. People are coming because I think they feel that calling too, and I think it’s so evident when our clients work with us that we are just really compassionate and …
Dr. Bob: That’s what they want. That’s what people want.
Jami Shapiro: Yes.
Dr. Bob: They don’t want someone who is just going to come in and handle the transaction.
Jami Shapiro: Right. They would be heard.
Dr. Bob: At this day, for some people, yes, it’s about cost, and they have to be conscientious about that, but I think for more people at that stage of life, it’s about trust, knowing that they and their things are in good hands and that it goes smoothly. Similarly, I think there’s alignment there as well that there’s such a … The norm is that things don’t go smoothly. The typical situation is people struggle. They try to find the resources, and they’re searching, and they’re getting recommendations and they piecemeal it together. To be able to say that anxiety, time, frustration by having a teen that they can really trust and feel good about working makes all the difference in the world.
Jami Shapiro: Right. I noticed that about your team as well, and it’s having a comprehensive solution. I know when I had thyroid cancer actually, I was very fortunate that I lived in Jacksonville, Florida and there was a Mayo Clinic, and the leading person who dealt with thyroid cancer endocrinologist happened to be in Jacksonville. Then, it ended up that we couldn’t go because the insurance have that goes. Dealing with Mayo where everything was in one place, and as a patient, it was so comforting versus them having to leave that system and then have to exactly piecemeal it together. There’s nothing worse than going through something really tough, and then having to manage all the pieces too.
Dr. Bob: Right. The situation itself is stressful, and then to add on top of that all the frustration that comes with trying to get the right support.
Jami Shapiro: Right.
Dr. Bob: The healthcare system is the prime example of that, which is why we exist. I would be very happy if there was no need for us.
Jami Shapiro: Oh, no death. I say [crosstalk 00:15:34].
Dr. Bob: Well, I would be wonder … People were going to die, right?
Jami Shapiro: Yes. [crosstalk 00:15:39].
Dr. Bob: We’re not going to stop that, but if everybody has the right support and the right guidance.
Jami Shapiro: Absolutely.
Dr. Bob: Because the medical system acts like death is not going to happen. They don’t talk about death.
Jami Shapiro: Right. I’m not supposed to talk about it either. I was telling you we go out and we give talks. The talk that I’ve done lately is, “Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you?” Because so many people are prisoners to these rooms, they’re not even living in because their stuff is there. They’re not even enjoying their stuff, and that’s a whole conversation that I still want to address, but when I talked about it, and we’re talking about downsizing and going through the mementos of their life, I’ve been told not to talk about death. We want to bury our heads in the sand. I actually went to … An attorney was giving a talk on advance directives, and he said that only 10% of people even have a discussion with their spouse about what their wishes are. It’s just like we just want to bury our head in the sand.
Dr. Bob: Yes, we do, but we’re trying to do something about that. Right?
Jami Shapiro: Yes, absolutely.
Dr. Bob: And people like us, which is why we’re having this conversation, which is why people like us who, for some reason, somehow had become comfortable with the concept. It’s so important for us to be out there leading by example and encouraging the conversations. I think that there’s a shift happening. There’s a movement underway, the death cap phase, and maybe I have a warped sense of things just because I’m so immersed in that.
Jami Shapiro: Yes.
Dr. Bob: But I do get the sense that when I’m out speaking with people, and they learn what I do, it opens up this flood sometimes of wanting to talk about the experiences they’ve had. You and your team find yourselves in situations where you’re having intimate conversations, and people are in a vulnerable time, so you’re probably experiencing some of this as well.
Jami Shapiro: Absolutely.
Dr. Bob: I’m amazed how freely people talk about the experiences that they’ve had in their life around death of a relative or a friend, and I would say it’s probably equally divided between people who talk about how difficult and challenging it was and their frustration with the system and fear about what might happen next time, somebody that they love or they become ill, but there’s another group of people who want to share what an incredibly transformational experience it was because they somehow found the resources they needed. They had a great hospice team. They have advocates, and so it seems so … The goal really seems to be to try to get those people who have had those scary, challenging, frustrating, horrific experiences to not have to deal with that but to be able to be in that other camp where it is a beautiful, peaceful transformational experience.
Jami Shapiro: Right. You said something that you’re noticing, and you think it’s because of the work that you’re doing, but I also am … I’ve sort of become, I would say more spiritual, and sort of realizing a collective soul now. I actually had read back in my 20s the book, “Many Lives, Many Masters,” by Brian Weiss, and ended up having a conversation with somebody about Akashic records, which is probably something I can’t even interest, but I reread the book now in my 40s, and so, now I see this time on earth, they call it earth school, which ties back into the whole silver linings thing, which is what lessons is my soul supposed to learn? That has given me some peace because I’m actually one of those people whose always been really afraid of death too and it was one of the reasons I wanted to talk to you because it’s really addressing something that I myself not wanted to talk about.
As I’m starting this business and realizing that for me anyway, and I would say most people, we are going to leave this earth. There’s no debate. We both know, and we’re on the same side of the coin, that’s going to happen, but what’s your legacy going to be? What is it that you’re going to have done? What’s your imprint? I think when you are … [inaudible 00:20:03] the word “aligned,” but it is, when you are aligned, when you are listening to that voice or however comes to you, meditation or the light bulb moment, then you realize you’re part of something bigger.
Dr. Bob: That has brought you more peace?Jami Shapiro: It has. It has. Now, I’m reading “Journey of Souls,” and that one’s a little bit more challenging for me. I read the Brian Weiss one in a day, and this one, I’ve been struggling with, but it talks about our souls and the way that our souls evolve and that some souls don’t even come back to earth, and that they are so … They love where they are, so that gives me peace. Actually, when I was in my 20s, I worked with a couple … I was in a different line of work, but they lost their adult sons, both of them within a period of two years, and I told them about this book. Then actually, recently, I was in yoga, and I was really getting frustrated because I wanted to get into the class and there was a woman, and she was talking to the woman that was checking everybody in, and, “Come on, come on, come on.”
Then, the one woman said, “I’ve been thinking about you. My daughter passed away last week.” Then, it was just like … That changed where I was at completely, and I told her about the book because for me, just thinking that this isn’t a final conversation, that this isn’t a final place and I remember too like that whole class, I felt called to hug her. I just needed to hug her. That’s not something I’m just going to like, “Hey yo.” Then, I walked up, and I said, “I just have to. Is it okay?” It just was such a … That collectiveness that we are this one thing.Dr. Bob: You could sense that there was a bond of some sort or you wanted to bring her some comfort?
Jami Shapiro: Right. Right. Yeah.
Dr. Bob: It’s fascinating, and I love where you’re going. I love this path that you’re on. Do you bring this into … Obviously, it influences everything in your life and your work. Do you incorporate this into the relationships with your clients and your team?
Jami Shapiro: Yes. That is a great question. Actually, when we have had clients and the tears start to come because they do, and I’ll say to them, “I was diagnosed with cancer at 34.” The idea of being a senior when you’re 34 years old, and you don’t know … At that point, I didn’t know that I have thyroid cancer. Actually, they call it “the good cancer,” but I had to wait 10 days for my pathology to come back to even know that that’s what it was, so I had that opportunity to look at my life and my mortality. I say to my clients, “You’re so lucky because whatever life threw at you, you get to be here making these decisions. Let’s own it.” Kind of embracing going into a senior community like starting a new school or I remember we had a client, and she had a ton of hats.
Some of these hats had never been worn. They still have the tags on them, and we’re going through her belongings and trying to figure out what’s going to fit. I said, “Why don’t you take the hat? Somebody known as the crazy hat lady? You can change it.” It is just like you said back in the beginning; it’s attitude. I think when I can say to them, “I faced it, and you’re so lucky to be here.” That really turns it around for them. Yeah.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Well, we have a shared experience there as well. Yours was a little bit more intensive, but the day before my 50th birthday, which was a little over five years ago, I got a phone call from a doctor telling me that I have prostate cancer because I’ve been having issues and MRI was done. A month later, it turned out that we found out that that was not correct, but I spent a month with this belief that I have a fairly aggressive form of cancer, and it changed things for me. I already felt like I had a fairly healthy outlook on life, but at that point, I just saw things differently.
I started seeing things through a little bit of a different lens, and I realized it’s okay. That was a big piece for me. I realized that no matter what happens, no matter what life threw at me, it was going to be okay. I was prepared. I had pretty much said to those I love and those in my life what I want them to know. I didn’t feel like I had any relationships that needed to be fixed, which was wonderful. I think it was a gift, but I would love for people to be able to have that gift without having to have that diagnosis or that fear of the diagnosis.
Jami Shapiro: Absolutely, right.
Dr. Bob: To be able to have something that allows them to do … Just to check in to do a big-time check in with where they are, and essentially answer the question, “Are you ready?” If you’re not, what do you need to do to be ready?Jami Shapiro: Right.
Dr. Bob: Get on it.
Jami Shapiro: Right. Absolutely. I also see that too as the brick that was turning your path because you’re dealing with people when they’re going through this time, and when you’re in that space, I think it gives you … I think you’re already an amazingly empathetic and compassionate, but now maybe a little more empathetic because you sat there.
Dr. Bob: Then, subsequently in the last few years, both my parents going through terminal lung cancer and dying in my presence and my family’s presence has added to that. We don’t want everyone to have to go through these personal experiences in order to get the lessons, which is I think partly why we’re putting ourselves out there and creating opportunities for other like-minded folks to come in and provide support and guidance.
Jami Shapiro: Right. Yeah. Sure.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. You’ve had a number of experiences that have influenced your journey and your path and kind of the attribute. I know that you’ve also experienced death in your life.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. Yeah. Actually, my grandmother was, I think the person that I was closest to in the entire world, and I’m actually wearing her pin today because I’m going to be starting filming on this show and I wanted to have her a part of her with me, and I will sense her sometimes, not necessarily like feeling her, but finding a letter that she wrote that was exactly what I needed to read in that moment or on my 47th birthday, I was going through a divorce. I just had a breakup with the boyfriend, and I was not expecting much of the day because no one to throw a party for me, and I was an only child. My birthday is a big deal. When you have cancer too, you need to celebrate birthdays, but I ended up totally by fluke, I had my three daughters. It was my birthday, so nobody could say no. I’m going to sit in my bed with me, and we’re going to look through this box and mementos.
I have had this box and some of the things in it for years, but there was a jewelry pouch that had been my grandmother’s, and she had these pins that I knew about, and I knew that her wedding ring was there, but there was a little brown pouch, and it was flat. It was a felt pouch and had I not been a senior move manager, I would have tossed the pouch, but something made me put my finger inside, and I found a diamond earring. Then, I couldn’t find the other one, and I was searching the whole box, and then I put my finger back in and found the other earring. I’m wearing them. It was funny too because I had gotten this second holes when I was 16 years old and didn’t want to wear them, and I was thinking, “Maybe I should get a small earring.” Really, this is so true. Then, I found my grandmother’s earrings and have been wearing them every day since because I think she meant for me to find them.
Dr. Bob: Yes, absolutely.
Jami Shapiro: That’s my experience with death. I wasn’t there when she passed, but it’s interesting because she ended up dying from a pulmonary embolism, and I got a call that she had passed, and my husband at the time was going to drive me to the hospital, and my daughter was two months old at the time, and we got stuck in traffic. I needed to get there, and so I got out of the car, and I ran into her room, and she was still there. That was the only time I’ve ever been close to anybody who had died, and part of me wishes that I had been there to hear that last breath that I hear so peaceful. I’ve not experienced that, so it’s just me seeing this woman that I loved laying there, and I couldn’t touch her. Still, it scared me.
Dr. Bob: Did you feel like she was no longer there? Did you feel like her spirit, her soul had left the body at that point?Jami Shapiro: Yeah, I didn’t sense her. I will say my mom would feel her presence a lot because my mom was actually there when she was dying, and it was a very traumatic death because she was gasping for air, and it really was with my mom and still is. I’m sure I don’t even like to talk about it with her because it brings up that for her, but I didn’t. I don’t feel her the way people talk about feeling energy or I don’t feel her, but I know that she’s looking out for me because of these little things that keep happening. There are so many synchronicities in my life that are just … I have no other way to describe them. Part of this is her, but just also I don’t know. God is just leading this path.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. I think many people feel that. They feel the synchronicities. They feel the signs, messages, but you need to be looking for them, right?
Jami Shapiro: Oh, you absolutely have to be open to it.Dr. Bob: I think if you’re not, you can just keep blinders on and if that’s the case, I guess you could still be hit over the side of the head with a two by four sign.
Jami Shapiro: Or cancer diagnosis.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. Exactly. Maybe being aware and receptive and looking for those things, maybe that’s a health benefit.
Jami Shapiro: Sure.
Dr. Bob: If you’re getting what you need, maybe you’re not going to get the things that you don’t want because you’re not paying attention.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. That’s another interesting thing that you brought up. There’s another book. I do a lot of reading a lot, and there was a book by Jen Sincero called, “You Are a Badass,” and just very inspired by … I see on your bookshelf, “Think and Grow Rich,” but she has an exercise where she says, “For the next minutes spend, look at everything you can find that’s right. Count as many things that you can find that are red.” You spend a minute counting red, and then she says, “What do you see that was yellow?” Right? We are going to see what we’re looking for.
Dr. Bob: What we’re paying attention to.Jami Shapiro: Absolutely.
Dr. Bob: Right. If you look at my bookshelf, when I moved, I took some of the books from home and brought them here. “Think and Grow Rich” could be next to “Many Lives, Many Masters.” I have a whole array. I guess I want people to know how to find … I want people who are potentially going through these transitions or know people who are going through transitions and looking for support. Tell me who are the people who are your ideal clients who really need you, and what’s the best way for them to get a hold of you?
Jami Shapiro: I feel like my answer is going to make me sound like a transition queen, but as I mentioned …
Dr. Bob: I think you are becoming the transition queen.Jami Shapiro: As I mentioned, Silver Linings Transitions is my company that we started as a senior move management company, and then going through my own divorce and I don’t know if I shared it in the interview, but I was having a consultation because my ex and I … Really, it was a pretty amicable divorce as these things go, but we got to a point where we didn’t agree on the house and the attorney that I consulted with said that if we couldn’t come to an agreement, that we were going to go before a judge and the judge was going to make us put our house on the market in 60 days, and I looked at her and I was like a deer caught in headlights and like I said, “You’re going through one of the most difficult transitions in your life, and now you have to sell your house?” In the middle of my own consultation, I looked at her, and I said, “Do you think divorcing couples would benefit from the services we’re providing for seniors?”
We started an offshoot, even though it’s still Silver Linings Transitions that goes in, but it’s called Divorce Home Solutions because I don’t think someone going through a divorce is quite ready to hear Silver Linings. You know what I mean? Then, actually my grandmother passed unexpectedly, and my family and they say weddings and funerals bring out the worst in people, descended on her home, but also had to deal with clearing it out when we were grieving. We were having to deal with the physical part of that while we’re planning a funeral and grieving this amazing woman. I tear every time I talk about her. I do. I just love … Anyway, sorry. I remember the items that I didn’t get. You know what I mean? One of the things that we do also is we’ll go into a home, and we will do a sentimental auction, and we will help the families rather than fight with each other, you come to an amicable solution and then if Bryan Devore who I worked with sells their home, we’ll come and we’ll clear the whole thing.
We can bring the appraiser in to figure out if there’s anything of value. We can help divide the belongings. We ship things to people. We just make that another easy transition, and we started meeting with funeral home directors, and a lot of them will keep our brochure and again, that doesn’t say Silver Linings Transitions either, but it’s really just us going in, and I’m helping anybody and people say, “Do you have to be a senior?” “No.” Moving is one of life’s top five stressors. If somebody wanted to find me, they could go to my website, Silver Linings Transitions, not just me because I would not be where I am if I haven’t had this amazing team of people who found their calling too, but silverliningstransitions.com, and that would give them an opportunity to reach out.
Dr. Bob: Are you looking at … Thank you. Hopefully, that will bring some peace to folks knowing that this exists. I know that when we have patients who die, this is a very common need that everyone is left with so many things that they have to be worrying about and thinking about, and one of them is, “What do we do with all this stuff? What do we do at the house? What do we do with all these things?” It’s really the last thing in the world that they really want to be focusing on.
Jami Shapiro: Right, or should be.
Dr. Bob: Having a compassionate team of people that come in and support that is phenomenal. Are there other companies that you know of that have the same breath of service that you do?
Jami Shapiro: Well, as I mentioned, I am part of the national association, The National Association of Senior Move Managers, and people can find it. It’s nasmm.org, and they could find other people who do the work that I do and honestly, anybody who chooses to join an association where we’re not regulated is already … As far as I’m concerned, having to learn how to work with seniors and taking that level of commitment to the work that we do. There are other senior move management companies, but I don’t think there are any other Silver Linings Transitions, and again, one of my callings is also to help the women who are transitioning back into the workforce. Yeah.
Dr. Bob: Are you looking for additional team members?Jami Shapiro: It’s a great question. Yes, I am. We’re growing, and we’re getting to the point where we don’t have enough hands.
Dr. Bob: Okay. We’ll keep that in mind.
Jami Shapiro: Yes. Absolutely. In fact, when I go and talk to divorcing people, especially these women who’ve been at home and are still getting support, I said, “This is the time to start building your resume in that platform,” but of course, my vision is to grow and to not just be in San Diego, and rather than doing franchises where you’ve got to come up with money to pay for a franchise, I want to build this business where we could go in and train people in different cities and give them the tools that they need to run Silver Linings Transitions out of their cities. That’s when I think of the whole “Think and Grow Rich,” that’s the picture of it that’s in my head, and not because I want to grow rich but because I just feel like it has to be done.
Dr. Bob: Well, you want to grow, and you want to make sure that your life has meaning, that you want to be the example of creating a legacy and doing something that is clearly going to bring value to people. Like us, the need is huge. The gaps are immense, and we want to try to fill that need in the most, I guess, organic and beautiful way possible.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. I can see, by the way, why you coming into someone’s home when they’re at this point because there’s very calming presence about you, and I love the people I have met in your office and that you have this team that can go in and supports them with massage or acupuncture or … I saw the aromatherapy, I see have been going right now during the interview. Yeah. If it’s going to happen, let’s make it as gentle as possible.
Dr. Bob: Let’s make it beautiful. Right.
Jami Shapiro: Exactly.
Dr. Bob: Because I think back to your grandmother and that struggle, and I don’t know how long that went on for those circumstances, but truly I believe that there is a way aside from a very sudden traumatic type death or an incident that is just unanticipated or unexpected, the vast majority of death’s cannon should be peaceful and beautiful, and that’s not happening routinely, which means that we’re doing something wrong, and we have opportunities to make a huge impact because your mom shouldn’t have to live with that, right?
Jami Shapiro: Oh, no. No.
Dr. Bob: That’s my why. People shouldn’t have to live with fear when we could be there making sure that every last breath is peaceful.
Jami Shapiro: Yeah. I just got chills. Just beautiful work that you’re doing.
Dr. Bob: Yeah. You as well.
Jami Shapiro: Thank you.
Dr. Bob: I have a feeling that we’re going to be collaborating more and this will not be our last conversation.
Jami Shapiro: I have a feeling that might be the case.
Dr. Bob: Thank you so much for being here. It’s a pleasure.
Jami Shapiro: Thank you so much.
Weak adjective: difficult
, I→; I
Repetitive word: home
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