For Jami Shapiro, our elder citizens are treasures. Wise and long-lived, they have stories to tell — if only we would take the time to sit and listen to them.
In general, Shapiro believes seniors are neglected in the United States, and are not given their due respect. But she is changing that view by example.
Through Silver Linings Transitions, a licensed and bonded senior move management company, seniors will be celebrated.
From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. March 31, Silver Linings Transitions and a team of volunteers will be at Temple Solel at 3575 Manchester Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea, decorating wheelchairs, canes and walkers in exchange for a donation of any amount.
Proceeds from the “Put a Spring in Your Step” event will be distributed to nondenominational charities Interfaith Community Services and Jewish Family Services to support their programs for underprivileged seniors.
A second event is planned from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 1 at Temple Adat Shalom, 15905 Pomerado Road, Poway.
Shapiro — who until a year ago was a Realtor — worked before that for a large corporation and was pregnant with her first child when she requested job sharing or part-time work. The request was refused, said Shapiro. But that setback eventually led to the concept for this new service, which she founded in January this year.
Today she hires moms who are in a similar situation and offers them training, a collaborative working environment, flexible work schedules, profit sharing and bonuses.
“Some of the women on my team have not worked the whole time they’ve been stay-at-home moms,” said Shapiro. Stepping off the career track made it almost impossible to get work. Silver Linings Transitions gave them opportunity with fulfilling and meaningful work for seniors.
Shapiro’s compassion for senior citizens stemmed from being a 10-year cancer survivor. She was so thankful to be alive, that from her perspective, anyone who lives a long life should be celebrated and respected, not looked down on.
“When we look at a senior, we don’t look past the shell and don’t realize the lives that they have led. That’s one of the reasons I was drawn to seniors is that their stories are unbelievable,” Shapiro said.
Silver Lining Transitions helps seniors move into assisted living facilities or downsize to smaller homes. Services include floor planning and space design for a new residence or, for clients who remain in their homes, it helps organize and de-clutter the home to improve safety.
Surplus items from these moves may be donated by the client and used to create “moving kits.” Items like sheets, towels, pots and pans and other necessities are gathered, then donated to a person or family who is transitioning from a shelter into their own home, said Shapiro.
Facilitated by Interfaith Community Services and Jewish Family Services, the partnership in turn helps raise funds for needy seniors who may then be able to afford Silver Linings Transitions services. “It’s a win-win arrangement,” said Shapiro.
Every day for the next 16 years, 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 years old, and many of them will need to transition into new housing, according to Shapiro.
“The reality is, we are very fortunate that we are living longer lives and we need to celebrate the fact that we are doing that — and rather than being ashamed of our limitations, we need to celebrate our survivorship,” she said.
Seniors with limited mobility, who would like to have their walking aids decorated, may call ahead to guarantee that they will secure a place in line.
Community volunteers who want to assist with the decorating are welcome. Go to Silver Lining Transitions website and click the link “more.” Donations of decorative items like silk flowers and ribbons are also welcome.
Visit www.silverliningstransitions.com for details on the event or services offered by Silver Linings Transitions. Call 858-522-9518 to reserve a space.