EP 007 | Karen Shinn & Gail Sheilds on Downsizing & Working With Seniors


About this Episode

Working with seniors and the elderly can be a rewarding way to build a niche, but to do this work successfully, the design professional requires a distinct set of skills. Downsizing Diva can coordinate a move from start-to-finish, get a house ready to be staged, clear estates or drop in for a WOW session (Work on Whatever it takes) to begin the task of downsizing and organizing.
In this episode we learn:
– what downsizing is, and when it occurs
– why it can feel great to downsize
– how language can impact varied age groups differently
– most important factor when decorating or designing for a client over the age of 70
– specific tips for working with seniors

Legal Disclosure | This podcast is for educational purposes only and should not be used for any legal decisions. Kimberley Seldon Design Group, Kimberley Seldon Productions Inc., Kimberley Seldon Design and Media, Inc., Business of Design™, or any of its affiliated companies or staff is not responsible for any errors or omissions effecting accuracy in any content, and they will not be held liable for the use or misuse of information, facts, details or any other aspects should there arise any defects, errors, omissions or perhaps inaccuracies. Extensive research has been conducted to put this podcast together for the purpose of educating our industry in order to better serve the public. Care has been taken to acknowledge ownership of copyrighted material. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is offered with the understanding that we do not render any legal, accounting or other professional advice. Seek the advice of a lawyer and/or other competent professional person in all matters of law. Further, listeners should be aware that internet websites mentioned may change or disappear between when this was recorded and when it was listened to.

About Downsizing Diva

Karen Shinn and Gail Sheilds are co-founders of Downsizing Diva, the FIRST Canadian company to be accredited NASMM A+ by the National Association of Senior Move Managers. They are Certified Senior Move Managers, Certified Professional Consultants on Aging (CPCA), Gold Leaf Member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) and Alzheimer Society Trained.

The pair are also international speakers and co-producers of The Toronto Caregiver Show—Ontario Science Centre, June 9, 2017.

When it comes to downsizing and moving, these Divas have been there and done that!

Downsizing Diva can coordinate a move from start-to-finish, get a house ready to be staged, clear estates or drop in for a WOW session and Work on Whatever it takes to begin downsizing and organizing.

When you are ready to go from overwhelmed to overjoyed, you’re ready for Downsizing Diva.

[email protected]

Take Aways

Design Tips for working with seniors

  1. Use high contrast colors, especially at transitions such as stairways and thresholds.
  2. Light every area well. This works for everyone!
  3. Avoid shiny surfaces for floors, which lead the elderly to think there is water spilt or a slick surface.
  4. Choose colors only after the client sees them, as older eyes see color differently sometimes.

The Diva’s book, GO! The Essential Guide to Organizing and Moving

To learn more about specializing in senior design and downsizing: NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers).

Recommended Learnings:

COURSE: Getting The Job Done Right: Taking Inventory

COURSE: Expanding The Client Relationship

COURSE: Mission Statement The Heart of Your Interior Design Company



  • Faith Sheridan

    Good podcast and very timely. I’m curious how this team approaches marketing. Ideas and direction appreciated. I too find myself in this activity and see it as a niche to pursue more strategically.
    Thanks, Faith

    • Kimberley Seldon

      Hi Faith, thanks for your question. It’s a great one. I think your best bet is to reach out to Karen Shinn and Gail Shields directly. Perhaps they can share some of their experience with you. I know they franchise Downsizing Divas (and that may not be how you want to move forward) but I’m sure they would have some suggestions for you. Reach out to Karen at: [email protected]

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