Lifestyle Transition Questions & Answers

By Moira Quinn Leite,

President, M. Quinn Designs, Inc.

By “lifestyle transition” do you just mean retirement living?
No. Lifestyle transitions can happen at any time. It can be caused by a move to accept a new job, a serious illness in the family, or just the desire to have a new environment. It may not even include accessibility modifications in the new residence. Regardless, lifestyle transitions are stressful and emotional. They represent significant changes in environment, associations and routines. Part of the transition process is mental and emotional preparation. The prospect of change can seem overwhelming. The use of professionals—designers, move managers, movers, cleaners and contractors—can make the tasks more manageable. And, friends and associates can provide emotional support. While the desire to “do it by one’s self” is noble and perhaps possible, obtaining as much help as possible can reduce the stress, speed the process and minimize the loose ends. For older clients, this is measures in many added years of useful, productive life.
Does accessible design mean extensive remodeling of our residence?
Probably not. Accessibility modifications should be tailored to the specific needs of the client. A good accessible design and installation will blend into the space and look like it was always supposed to be that way. In many cases the accessibility modifications can be as simple as changing fixtures, rearranging furniture and removing hazards. The key design considerations are function and safety. It is also important to ensure that modifications and equipment are properly installed and meet all building code requirements. Where extensive remodeling may be required, consideration may be given to selection of a new residence that may be more easily modified. The key to cost-effective accessibility remodeling is to cost-out and compare all of the options.
What about lighting for accessibility?

Lighting is a key element in accessibility design. Even for clients with normal vision, proper lighting cues them to the accessibility features and warns them of potential hazards. For clients with visual limitations, proper lighting is essential. Each individual manifests his visual limitations in a different manner; and the lighting must be customized to his specific needs. Items to be addressed include spectral characteristics of the light sources, illumination levels, light distribution patterns, contrast and glare.

Do I really need a move manager?
This is really determined by the complexity of the move—how far, how much, how heavy, how delicate and how valuable. Generally, the move manager can optimize the selection of movers and service providers; this can result in the most cost-effective move. The move manager can coordinate the schedule for packing, pick-up and delivery; takes a lot of stress from the client. The use of a move management service is a personal choice; however, for those who have not had a lot of moving experience, it can be a good choice.
If I’m going to move, what can I look forward to?

Change is the biggest thing that you must face.  It can produce stress above and beyond the move itself.  It will manifest itself with mixed emotions and, perhaps, some non-specific health problems.  Recognizing that stress is a normal reaction to change and taking active steps to manage it and direct it to coping with the change can reduce the effect of stress.  If the move is necessitated by the loss of a loved one or a health problem, seeking support from friends and family is very beneficial.  On the positive side, if you have selected a good team to handle your move, your move will go smoothly, and you can look forward to entering your new residence as comfortably as your old one.


We are very interested in your specific questions.  Please feel free to contact Moira at www.mquinndesigns.com and we will review these and respond.  Our goal is to help you in this transition process.  We want to always bring royal service to your door! 


Moira Quinn Leite is the President of M. Quinn Designs, Incorporated, a full service interior design firm specializing in accessibility design and transition for seniors.  The firm also has its Pack-N-Move™ service which handles the entire move process for both seniors and executive relocations.  She is a member of the International Furnishings and Design Association,  Illuminating Engineering Society,  and an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers.  M.Quinn Designs is celebrating its 30th year in business.