Helping your parents declutter

Caring for your family can bring joy to your life. If you are caring for your parents and children, this can become complex. As your parents age, their needs and abilities change. If you’ve started to consider the next best move for Mom, Dad or another senior loved one, we have guidance on trigger moments that signify it may be time to talk about a plan.

Here’s a list of significant changes that could indicate your parents may currently or soon need additional support such as home care, decluttering help, financial advising, or assisted living: 

  • Difficulty keeping up with finances. Observe stacks of unpaid bills or late notices.
  • Changes in personal hygiene or housekeeping that indicate parents are having trouble with personal grooming or housework.
  • Your parent repeats themselves often in the same conversation, seems confused, highly emotional or exhibits unusual paranoia. This could be caused by medications or other more serious cognitive issues.
  • Excessive shopping through TV or online outlets, or an unusual interest in online sweepstakes that require their personal information, phone numbers, addresses, social security or banking information.
  • Your parent is extremely isolated due to loss of a spouse or loss of personal mobility.
  • Numerous safety concerns in the home, such as heat, air conditioning, leaks, crumbling plaster, trip and fall hazards, steep stairways, loose carpeting and outdated electrical.
  • Health concerns: disorganized medications, spoiled food in the home, lack of healthy food items, infestations or mold
  • Recent diagnosis of a chronic health condition that requires a variety of care services provided by multiple practitioners.

If you noticed any of the trigger moment changes above, it may be time for your loved one to consider rightsizing or a move that benefits their health condition. Here are 5 tips to help you prepare them to “Rightsize” for whatever comes next.

Help your loved one get rid of items that belong to other people. Quite often, the first place you can begin to clear is where other people’s items gather. Have they held on to your childhood furniture and keepsakes or stored items for family and friends? If your answer is yes, start clearing those items. Contact family members and friends to find out if they want their items back or no longer have use for them.

Dispose of broken and outdated items. In most cases, broken items are no longer useful or functional, but a hazard. Items like chipped or broken decorative items can be especially harmful depending on the material the item is made of, the paint used to decorate it, or if the item has sharp or jagged edges. Be sure to discard these items to clear room as well as for safety. Also consider discarding well worn, old, holey, or torn clothing, bed linens, and towels as well as chipped or broken dinnerware.

Start the process by identifying items your loved one absolutely loves and needs. After deciding what items are needed to live safely and comfortably, such as a bed, place for clothes or eating utensils, you can then consider which items they love most that are not essential to daily life or comfort.

Be patient and prioritize the well-being of everyone involved. In a world driven by immediacy, we often want instant results. Remember that Rightsizing is a process that works best with a plan and lots of patience. This is a conscious decision to set the next phase of your life for comfort and healthy living. If the process exceeds what your family can do comfortable, consider hiring experts like Caring Transitions.

For every milestone in our lives, we use space differently. Quite often, embarking on new territory can be both exciting, and in some cases frightening. Having open and honest conversations with your loved ones about the next steps in their life can ease some of the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding this topic.

Published with permission of Lisa Haskell at Caring Transitions of Central Gwinnett.

Choosing the right senior living option.

Choosing the right long-term care option is an important decision many older adults face daily. If a late-life move is part of your healthy aging plan, the next step is choosing a new place and preparing for what’s next. The hardest part for many people is getting started on choosing the right residence and planning for the move.Understand Your Situation

If you are still undecided about your move that’s okay. Moving somewhere new can be a difficult decision at any age. If you are an older adult moving may have improve your quality of life, here are a few ways to tell it’s time:

  • You have health complications that are not suited for the current layout of your residence
  • The thought of caring for or paying for landscaping, cleaning multiple bedrooms, or other general upkeep tasks and costs seems stressful
  • Moving could save you money in retirement
  • Your home has lots of space that is never used

Understand Your Health

Before embarking on this journey, there are three important areas you will want to factor into any senior living decision with the support of your doctor or care team:

  • Medical Concerns
  • Cognitive Concerns
  • Assessment of functional abilities or “Activities of Daily Living”

Understand Your Options

After gathering all the information you need about you or a loved one’s medical condition, start the selection process by making sure everyone helping you make a decision understands the difference between each senior living option. Here are simple definitions to share for some of the senior living options you and your loved ones may be considering:

  • Retirement Communities: A housing option where community residence is specifically for people in a retirement age range and may include single-family homes, condos, townhomes or apartments modified for older adults needs.
  • Continuing-Care Retirement Communities: A campus-like community that offers different levels of care like independent living housing, assisted living, and skilled nursing care in one location. 
  • Skilled Nursing: A facility that provides a wide range of health and personal care services that typically includes medical and nursing care, social and mental health care, and rehabilitation services. 
  • Respite Care: An assisted living or skilled nursing facility that caters to short-term medical care for older adults and others recovering from surgery or a serious illness.
  • Assisted Living:  A housing option that provides support for Activities of Daily Living that typically includes transportation, meals or meal preparation, housekeeping, laundry, recreational and exercise activities. In some cases, these communities will help with care tasks like bathing, washing hair, or dressing if they become harder for a resident to do on their own.
  • Memory Care Facilities: A skilled nursing or assisted living community with larger staff that offers more supervision and security features designed specifically for people living with memory impairment.

Compare Your Options

Once you have a firm understanding of your options, asking the right questions can help you make an informed thoughtful decision. Use the questions below to help pinpoint what senior living option will be a good fit.

Do I have health conditions that require extensive care or minimal care?

If you or your family member has health complications that require a specific care plan or accessibility accommodations, it is important to factor this into your senior living selection process. This could be something as simple as moving to a space with a simpler layout or a wheelchair friendly entrance. Remember it’s better to understand what you need to make a decision you will enjoy.

Do I still have the ability to drive or would I prefer transportation is provided?

Driving is often associated with independence for some seniors. If you have physical limitations or take medications that make it unsafe or uncomfortable to drive, you will want to consider how that makes an impact on where you decide to live. Depending on the option you choose you will want to know the proximity to the grocery store, family members and friends, a community’s walkability, and transportation options.

Which option is the best choice for my social life?

Social interaction has been associated with health benefits like a sharper memory, increased physical and emotional health, and longevity for older adults. An integral part of quality of life is maintaining connections to those you love as well as maintaining friendships. As we age, it is easy to feel disconnected or out of touch. Strong social connections and interactions with family, neighbors, or other people you see regularly can help you or a loved one maintain quality of life while aging.  

Which option best fits into my financial plan and will accommodate future changes to my health?

Being realistic about your finances and creating a budget is a great step towards planning long-term care for your future. In many cases, budgets and savings have a limit for what is covered. It is important to include the possibility of being a resident in more than one senior living facility in your healthy aging plan. Making solid financial plans or creating a new financial plan could help you decide which move is the right decision for you now and how to prepare financially for health changes that may occur in the future. The National Institute on aging has detailed information on covering the costs of long-term care, you can read about here.

Consider Hiring a Move Manager

Moving can be both a physical and psychological process. From furniture pieces and photos that hold memories, to deciding what to purge, to the labor it takes to move each item, a plan can help simplify the moving process for anyone. Once you’ve decided on the right senior living option, it may be helpful to get expertise from an expert that specializes in late-life moves. Caring Transitions has Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist with specialty training in move management, senior relocation and senior transition services ready to help you. 

This article is shared with permission of Lisa Haskell at Caring Transitions of Central Gwinnett.

SRES Mission 1,000 takes shape

HilarySRES logo

Hilary, the Seniors Real Estate Specialist is on a mission to help get the word out to senior homeowners who are planning to sell or buy a home. She and her team have come across many older adults who have felt forced to sell their homes without the proper guidance to ensure a number of issues are addressed before and during the process. We do much more than work to sell the house. For example: constructing a short to long-term action plan for the transition, being sure they have their next home lined up in time, not leaving money on the table, protecting the equity received, ensuring medicare/medicaid is not affected, suggesting services to protect and manage their estate, insurance, the packing and the move – all of these to make moving easier as we remember…

“Real Estate is more than property – it’s about the people” ` Hilary Walker

The ‘SRES Mission 1,000’ is a project to raise awareness to 1,000+ adults, over the age of 50, about the services of a Seniors Real Estate Specialist who can provide a customized plan for their late in life real estate needs. Read more here…

SRES Mission 1000
Aiming to help seniors know they can choose a Seniors Real Estate Specialist for their real estate needs.

Daily Money Managers Help Seniors Remain Independent

If you are an older retiree and have been overwhelmed lately with managing your financial accounts, it might be time to consider hiring a Daily Money Manager (DMM). A DMM is a cost-effective way to help keep your financial life in order by hiring a professional to help you keep track of paying your bills on time, balancing your check book, handling insurance matters and providing tax documents to your accountant. Depending on where you live, costs can range between $75 to $150 an hour and some even charge a monthly retainer instead of an hourly fee.

Atlanta Seniors Real Estate caught up with Barbara Scurry, founder of Senior Partners. Barbara has been a DMM for 6 years and 10 years in geriatric health care/ marketing.

“I’ll share with you the story of Dorothy, a client of mine for almost four years. Dorothy was 79 years old when I started working with her. She never married, had no children, siblings, or other relatives with which she associated and she lived in an assisted-living facility (ALF).She was highly educated and detail-oriented but had stopped paying her bills and was showing early signs of cognitive decline. When I started working with Dorothy, I had great concern that she would run out of money within 12 to 18 months.”

Saving and finding money

Scurry said, “I began basic daily money management services, including opening and sorting her mail, making calls to outside vendors on her behalf, and organizing her files. But I got involved with her life issues as well and quickly realized she was not getting the care she needed (and was paying for) at the ALF where she was living. I helped her find a new ALF that saved her $2,500 per month in living expenses.”

Dorothy was also missing stock certificates that were about to be turned over to the state of Georgia, “one evening, as I was going through some old papers I finally found them! When we deposited those certificates, they ended up being worth more than $125,000! That money helped take care of her needs for the next three and a half years!”

Help with moving

Scurry even advised Dorothy on moving, a service perfectly aligned with the real estate transition services provided by Atlanta Seniors Real Estate Team.

“I referred her to a professional move management company and coordinated their services to get her packed, moved, and unpacked at her new location.”

If you need the services of a Daily Money Manager, a great place to learn more about this unique service and find a professional is with the American Association of Daily Money Managers.

If you or your senior parent(s) are ready to buy or sell real estate in Georgia, be sure to contact Atlanta Seniors Real Estate team of certified and personable Seniors Real Estate Specialists to help make the transition as smooth as possible.

Resources

Senior Partners. Main page  AARP. Daily Money Manager Helps Control Finances
American Association of Daily Money Managers. Main page

Will You Downsize or Rightsize?

Is it time to move to a larger or smaller space? Whether choosing to move now or later, you should start asking the right questions today.

Here’s how to tell if you should move to a larger space:

  • You need to make room for aging parents or relatives who cannot afford to age in place or an elder care facility
  • You must make room for returning children
  • Your home is overflowing with furniture and miscellaneous items that have no place to go
  • You are running out of storage space

How to tell if you should move to a smaller space:

  • You or your partner has health complications that are not suited for the current layout of your residence
  • The thought of caring for your yard, multiple bedrooms, or general upkeep seems stressful
  • Moving could save you money in retirement
  • Your home has lots of space that is never used

A few other factors to consider before deciding to rightsize:

  • You’ve decided to move closer to children or grandchildren to make new memories with family
  • As your wants and wishes change, your neighborhood may no longer provide what you need
  • Your home no longer appeals to you and you are not in the position to nor desire to remodel
  • Selling your home could yield exponential financial benefits

Rightsizing can be new, exciting, and in some cases frightening. Considering the tips on this list can give you a great head start. Your next best option is to contact a Seniors Real Estate Specialist who will help you work out a plan of action and time frame best suited to your needs.

For Full Article of questions and video to help you when it comes to relocating Click Here
Source: Lisa Haskell, Owner of Caring Transitions of Central Gwinnett  Click here to contact them.

Paying For Senior Care

Aging Americans are struggling to pay for assisted living, home care and other forms of long term care. The mission of Paying For Senior Care is to solve this puzzle by providing tools, information and creative ideas which help families and caregivers discover the means to care for their elderly loved ones. I came across the site while in search of a service for one of my clients and wondered how many of you know about it. Whether you are an older adult yourself, if you are a care provider for a senior citizen or if you are a service provider like myself, this might be a very helpful source for you to save and return to as often as need.

Disclaimer: I do not endorse the website, nor do I know the validity of their sources. I may have some experience with one or more of the services mentioned, however, I am in no way benefiting from anything you choose to use on the site.

This information is provided as awareness to my clients and contacts as I often need services in my work as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist assisting older adults with their real estate needs.

Independence from Mortgage Payments!

Did you know you can purchase a home, even new construction, with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage? It’s a reverse mortgage that doesn’t require you to make a monthly payment.

I’ve had many conversations about this very issue with numerous senior clients who are concerned with having a mortgage in their 80’s and 90’s. Especially now, when the cost of living just seems to keep on rising for them.

In this time, most people are realizing the power of cash – accessible cash that is.  As we age, it is important to have access to the money we have earned over the years in order to help us manage our chosen lifestyle and our health in the retirement years. A forward mortgage, such as a conventional home loan, a VA or FHA loan requires you to spend every month by paying back principle and interest, which puts pressure on your bank balance. Whereas a reverse mortgage allows you to keep your money in your pocket to use how you wish, with an option to pay or not to pay a monthly amount toward principle or interest.

Beware, not all reverse mortgages are equal. Be sure to speak to a professional who is willing to sit with you at your kitchen table (or their office) to explain the details. Online services are unlikely to do that, and may lead you into signing documents without explaining everything you need to know.

Consider this information as a tool you can use for your financial wealth.

3 Ways to Buy a Home

Presented in partnership with Genie McGee a Reverse Mortgage Planner with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation.

If you need to know how much equity you have in your home, contact me for a complimentary real estate market analysis.

 

The Best Tips On Modifying And Preparing A Home For A Visual Impairment

Bedroom
Photo via Pixabay by Pexels

 

If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with a visual impairment, you’re probably thinking about ways to improve and modify a living space to make a home safe and comfortable. It can be overwhelming at first, but the key is to start small and work your way up. Sit down and make a list of any daily activities and how they’ll need to change; for instance, voice software that will aid with working on a computer.

You’ll need to do your best to add up all the expenses you expect to incur. You might find that moving will end up being the best option. At least add up the potential costs of moving, and compare. It’s important to think about function and safety over anything else. Here are a few tips on how to create a safe living space that will work well for you or your loved one.

Look at your lighting

The lighting in your home is extremely important. Natural light is usually preferable to individuals who have a visual impairment, but it will be necessary to have another means of lighting dark corners, closets, stairways, and the places you spend the most time.

Be careful about lighting that creates glare as certain types of flooring can become very shiny under bright lights and might create a fall hazard.

Make important things easier to find

It will be very helpful to mark important things–such as the thermostat, the knobs on the oven, and the edges of stairs–with brightly colored tape. Color and texture are extremely useful for people living with a visual impairment, so wrapping your toothbrush with a rubber band might help you differentiate between yours and the ones belonging to your spouse or other family member.

Clear clutter

Your home needs to be safe first and foremost, so clear out any clutter in the main living and walking areas. Don’t forget to either remove throw rugs or tack them down to the floor so the corners don’t turn up and create trip hazards.

Use color 

Contrasting colors are extremely helpful for the vision impaired, so consider painting the walls behind appliances and around light switches a bright color to make things easier. This is an especially helpful tip for the bathroom, where walls and appliances are likely to be white and blend in with one another.

Get organized

Organize the pantry, closets, and cupboards and use a braille label maker to make small or similar items easy to find. Group like items together in a way that will make sense to you and memorize the groupings.

Think about safety

Disabilities of any kind require a new way of thinking about safety, so it’s important to think ahead and make sure smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in proper working order and in every room. It might also provide you with a bigger sense of safety to have a security system installed with a loud alarm.

Consider these factors and how you can either incorporate them into your current living environment. If moving might be a better option, try to see what you can find on the market that covers at least some of this. Chances are, you’ll still need to adjust, but investigate all your options, because doing so can make a huge difference when it comes to how much it’s all going to cost.

Guest writer, Jim Vogel, at Elderaction

 

If your senior parent or other loved-one needs to find a residence better suited for them, a SRES®-designated REALTOR is best trained to handle their real estate needs. PEMCO Realty has a team of Senior Real Estate Specialists ready to assist you or your parents to make this a smooth process.

 

 

 

3 Questions for Seniors Looking to Buy a New Home

Homes in the Autumn
 Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

 

 

When we think about purchasing a new home, we often think about young families looking to expand or people looking to move to a different part of their city (or even across the country). Once a person hits retirement age, we don’t think about them purchasing a new home.

Seniors have plenty of reasons to purchase a new home. There’s no rule that says you’re locked into the house you’re living in once you hit a certain age. If you’re a senior in the market for a new home, there are three basic questions you need to answer before you get started.

Why am I purchasing a new home?

The reason why you’re purchasing a new home should drive the type and location of the house you choose. Many seniors choose to move in their later years to downsize. Maybe you’re living in the house you’ve lived in for decades and it’s simply too much room for you now that the kids are gone. If so, you need to look for a low-maintenance home. Maybe you’re moving because of mobility reasons. If so, you need to make sure that the new home you buy is set up for prime accessibility. Maybe location is what matters most, as you’re moving to be closer to family. Figure out your prime motivation for moving and tailor your home search around it.

How am I going to finance it?

For some seniors, this usually is not a tricky subject. If you’re financially stable, you may choose to finance your new home in the same way you financed your last home – with a standard mortgage.

But for some seniors on fixed incomes, the question of paying for their new home is a little more complicated. It is worrisome to think about paying a large monthly mortgage payment on a fixed income, and worse yet, dipping too heavily into retirement savings.

One popular way to finance a new home if you’re over 62 is with a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), a type of reverse mortgage. Here’s how the American Advisors Group describes it:

“With the HECM for Purchase reverse mortgage, the borrower provides a down payment using the sale of the previous home or other savings.  The equity earned through the down payment and the new home’s value is used to calculate the reverse mortgage loan amount.  During this process, borrowers may need to meet the loan-to-value ratio requirements with a significant down payment and provide verification of personal income and funds.  All or part of the reverse mortgage funds then cover the remaining cost of the home, just like with a traditional mortgage.

The benefit to financing with a reverse mortgage is that instead of paying the loan back every month over time like a traditional mortgage, reverse mortgage repayment is deferred to when the loan matures.”

This means no monthly mortgage payment – payment is due when the house is sold or the inhabitant dies. Keep in mind that you’re not building up equity in that second home, and there could be very little left in equity once the reverse mortgage is paid off.

When you’re thinking about financing, you should also consider what repairs or improvements will be needed in the home for it to be a safe and comfortable place for you to live as you get older. For example, what will the cost be if the bathroom needs a remodeling for it to be more accessible for you or your spouse? Or are there outdated appliances in the home that will need to be replaced soon? It’s important that you’re clear on all the home’s needs before making a buying decision as repair costs can add up quickly.

Remember, you do not have to make these tough financial decisions on your own. It’s best that you talk to a financial advisor to come up with a budget for your new home and to figure out the best way for you to finance your new home.

How am I going to handle the move?

Moving is tough on anyone – regardless of age – but it can be especially taxing on seniors. You need to plan. Don’t be afraid to de-clutter. Hold yard sales and distribute meaningful items to friends and family. Slowly pack boxes as to avoid injury and strain. For most seniors, it may be best to hire professional movers if you don’t have family members that can help you move.

See How Seniors (and Their Families) Benefit from a Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)

 

 

Guest writer: Jim Vogel, at Elderaction

 

If your senior parent or other loved-one needs to downsize or find a residence better suited for them, a SRES®-designated REALTOR is best trained to handle your loved-one’s real estate needs. PEMCO Realty has a team of Senior Real Estate Specialists ready to assist you or your parents to make this a smooth process.