Senior Living, No Longer a Stint at the Shady Pines

 If you’re a fan of The Golden Girls, you may remember the ongoing reference to Sophia’s dreaded nursing home, “Shady Pines.” Vinni Cavallaro Torrisi, the creator, and owner of a business dedicated to helping seniors transition from large to smaller living spaces says that things are different today: “The options that senior adults have today is nothing like the ‘Shady Pines’ of yesteryear.”

Vinni’s trademarked, educational downsizing process, including her 44-page workbook, NowSizing, Making Room for Life!, guides senior citizens and their family members on accomplishing the difficult task of moving from a large family home into a more suitable sized living environment. In 2013, the NowSizing™ guidebook won an international Mature Online Marketing Business Award.

Entrepreneurs often start businesses because of a personal goal. They produce a product or service which makes a difference. Vinni’s passion for creating NowSizing™ is due to her loving relationship with her mother. The more time she spent with her mom, age 85, she understood the psychology behind “saving the good china for later,” and the difficulties experienced by seniors being gently forced from their homes and familiar surroundings. Her goal is to assist seniors and help them understand that they are moving memories, not things. In many cases, older adults equate the distress of a later life move with the emotional stress of losing their spouse. In 1991, the symptoms associated with the stress of seniors moving was officially identified as Relocation Stress Syndrome.

Because of Vinni’s passion, she was chosen as the 2016 FastPitch Competition winner of the Dale Falconer, “Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award.” The Falconer Award recognizes a FastPitch participant who passionately goes above and beyond. While there is often a healthy debate about who should win this award, FastPitch leaders and judges were quick to agree that Vinni should take the honor last year.   

“Developing a personal relationship with the NowSizing client is essential to the successful and dignified relocation of that older adult,” Vinni explained. “Working with NIU EIGERlab in conjunction with the ‘FastPitch,’ competition helped me to succinctly define and convey this message which is experiential in nature, into a tangible message, with strong deliverables. The Rockford area is so fortunate to have NIU EIGERlab as a go-to incubator resource for business.”

One of the many tools in Vinni’s toolkit is providing her clients with a 2D rendering of their new space, illustrating how their personal belongings will fit. “If my clients have input and can visualize the space before leaving their homes, it significantly reduces their anxiety, which helps both my clients and their family members,” she said. “With this global economy, my client’s children or closest relatives often live either out of state or even outside the U.S. These tools can be shared long-distance which assists in less overall stress. We show our clients that independence is not dictated by life space, but rather by lifestyle.”

Many of Vinni’s clients keep in touch with her long after their business relationship has been concluded, a testament to the value she is providing and the sensitivity and respect she shows during the downsizing process. To learn more about Vinni and her services, visit

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