How to help your parents downsize.

Helping your parents downsize is an emotional process for you and for them. With some compassion, tact, preparation, and possibly some outside help, it can be a smooth experience for everyone involved.

Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta offers some wonderful tips to help you begin and go through the downsizing process with older loved ones.

Before helping your parents, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. Sometimes the emotional aspect of downsizing goes overlooked as you focus on the more practical aspects. Checking in with yourself and setting your perspective goes a long way in creating a more positive experience.

Recognize that this won’t be easy. Even with a plan, downsizing can bring up some tough emotions. Expect the process to be a little messy and stressful and be compassionate towards your parents and yourself.

Be patient. Downsizing can be especially difficult if your parents are leaving the family home, or if an upsetting circumstance triggered the downsize. On top of that, it often takes longer than expected, depending on how many possessions must be decluttered. Put yourself in your parents’ shoes as best you can. A little patience goes a long way.

Don’t try to take over. Unless there is an issue of impaired cognitive function, know that your parents are ultimately the decision makers. Trying to force them into anything will only be counterproductive. If your parents are losing cognitive functioning, still be respectful and involve them as much as you reasonably can, so they feel they still have some control.

>>Click here to read the remainder of this important article on how to help your parents and loved ones downsize with many more tips to help you.

Decluttering – Keep the Memories & Lose the Stuff

Everyone needs a little help with decluttering a home — a little outside perspective is helpful as you look at items such as collectibles you’ve had for years, perhaps decades. Check out this episode of Free Thinking with Montel. He interviews Matt Paxton who is a featured cleaner on the television show “Hoarders” and “Legacy List”. The leading downsizing and cleaning expert discusses how to simplify your life by decluttering.

Want to see more from Matt Paxton? He has a show called Legacy List all about downsizing, relocating, and discovering your family’s legacy.

>>Click here to select and view episodes of Legacy List online.

>>Click here to see a sample episode of Legacy List featuring Shirley Macon who packed up her home of 50 years and moved from New Jersey to Atlanta.

Finding an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Long Term Care Community

Moving into a long-term care community is a significant life change and requires someone to consider several factors when deciding where to live. When the time comes for extra support while aging, everyone deserves to feel welcome and safe accessing long-term care.

Welcoming policies, practices and culture are all factors which should be considered when trying to find an inclusive and welcoming long-term care facility for LGBTQ+ elders. Learn how to properly screen facilities for these and other factors in a resource created by HRC Foundation and SAGE.

>>Click here to learn more by visiting the SAGE website where you can download a PDF guide to finding an LGBTQ+ Long Term Care Community.

Russian Invasion May Impact Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates in the U.S. have risen this year and are expected to continue doing so, but the conflict between Russia and Ukraine could throw a wild card into those projections.
A picture of a 2D wooden house miniature with question marks painted on small wood squares surrounding it.

© takasuu – iStock / Getty Images Plus

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage climbed by 37 basis points over the first two full weeks of February, according to Freddie Mac. But last week, as Russia invaded Ukraine, rates dropped to 3.89% for the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.
“When global investors sense increased uncertainty, there is a ‘flight to safety’ in the U.S. Treasury bonds, which causes their prices to go up, and their yield to go down,” says Odeta Kushi, deputy chief economist at First American. “Consequently, amidst heightened uncertainty due to the worsening events in Ukraine, there is a possibility that investors flock to U.S. Treasury bonds, which may result in a temporary, short-term decline in mortgage rates.”
The Federal Reserve has announced it would be raising the funds rate multiple times this year and says it will address this more at its next meeting, March 15 and 16. But how aggressive the Fed is with rates could change, predicts The Mortgage Reports. The Fed’s key rate does not directly affect mortgage rates but can influence them.

Published by the National Association of Realtors.  Source: How Russia Invading Ukraine Could Impact U.S. Interest Rates,” The Mortgage Reports (March 1, 2022)

Signs It’s Time to Get Organized

(Posted with permission from Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta)

Has your “stuff” taken over your space?

The items that fill our homes can be cherished, but when those items start to get in the way, it may be time to clear clutter. If you care for your home and an aging loved one too, this can become even more complex.

We have signs to help you decide if your possessions are holding you or a loved one back from being organized. In both cases, we can easily become blind to the number of items we accumulate over time and grow accustomed to clutter being there. If you’re not sure you need to remove excess “stuff” from your living environment here are signs clutter has taken over and it’s time to get organized.

In Your Home

Streamlining in your home to save space will help you stop clutter from taking over your space. Each room should have designated spaces for everything that belongs in the room.

Signs you may have too much “stuff” in your home:

  • You planned to clear clutter and get organized for a while, but haven’t had time.
  • You have more clothing and shoes in your home than can be worn in a specific season and laundry has become overwhelming.
  • You have trouble finding items like keys or other daily essentials frequently.
  • You have multiple spaces where “stuff” consistently continues to accumulate.
  • You have a large amount of items connected to memories or emotions that have taken up too much space.

3 Tips to Start Getting Organized

  1. Create a plan. Start the process by deciding which items are most meaningful to you and what you need for your family’s daily routine. Then identify heirlooms and keepsakes you are certain you want to keep.
  2. Know your space. Understand the layout, limitations, and organization wishes for your home. Decide what you believe should comfortably be in each room.
  3. Sort your items. Decide which items you want to donate or consider selling. Evaluate the best options to help you with that task.

In Your Loved One’s Home

Here’s a list of significant changes that could indicate your parents may currently or soon need additional support streamlining or professional decluttering help:

  • You observe stacks of unpaid bills or late notices.
  • Your loved one has trouble finding important or daily use items.
  • Changes in housekeeping that indicate parents are having trouble with clutter.
  • Clutter is causing numerous safety concerns in the home, such as covering heat and air conditioning ducts or trip and fall hazards.
  • Clutter is leading to issues with disorganized medications, spoiled food in the fridge, lack of healthy food items, infestations or mold.

3 Tips to Help Loved One’s Streamline

  1. Help your loved one get rid of items that belong to other people. 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.
  2. Dispose of broken and outdated items. In most cases, broken items are no longer useful or functional, but a hazard. Be sure to discard these items to clear room as well as for safety.
  3. Be patient and prioritize the well-being of everyone involved. In a world driven by immediacy, we often want instant results. Remember this is a process that works best with a plan and lots of patience. If the task exceeds what you comfortably do, experts like those at Caring Transitions can help.

If these signs describe your home or your loved one’s home, it’s time to reclaim your space and get organized! This can be an overwhelming task, but you don’t have to do it alone. Experts at Caring Transitions can help you clear space. Learn more by contacting Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions of Northeast Atlanta – mdeleon@caringtransitions.com.

Helping Older Adults Through the Moving Process

(Posted with permission from Mike DeLeon at Caring Transitions)

Here are a few tips from the experts to help you create a plan that can help you manage a move for an older adult.

  1. Don’t make seniors feel guilty. Avoid saying things like “Why did you hold on to this for so many years?” while sorting through belongings. Statements like this can cause stress and make seniors feel like a burden.
  2. Save photo albums for LAST. They can surface too many memories at once, which slows the process and triggers waves of emotions.
  3. Set a timer. Grab a kitchen timer or your phone and set it for one hour. Take a break once that hour is up.
  4. Color-code with Post-It Notes. Seniors have a tough time reading small writing. Color-code with post-it notes so PINK is pack, GREEN is sell, and BLUE is give away.
  5. Bring a door stopper. Doors get in the way, especially for older folks. Bring door stoppers to prop doors open to allow for easy room access for Grandma, and for large boxes and furniture.
  6. Consider online platforms for estate sales. Most seniors are not internet savvy, but their children/grandchildren usually are. There are many online estate platforms like CTBIDS.com, that sell everything online as buyers bid.  No in-person estate sales with strangers walking through the home and haggling over prices. The online estate sale platform handles it all, allowing the family to make money from hidden treasures around the home. 
    Best Sellers:  Electronics, jewelry, collectibles, and durable medical equipment.
    Items That May Not Sell Well: Large off-trend furniture, off-trend or well-worn clothes and kitchen utensils.
  7. Keep a schedule. Many seniors like a routine and stress if it’s altered. If the senior goes to bed at 10pm every night, don’t try to keep packing late at night.

Caring Transitions® takes steps to train and screen every employee and has developed estate sale standards that uphold the values of integrity and honesty for over 10 years. Since many of our clients are older adults, each of our offices are independently certified to support a “senior move” and help mitigate the effects of stress, health and common cognitive issues which are frequently challenges for late life relocations. In Atlanta, contact Caring Transitions’ Mike DeLeon – mdeleon@caringtransitions.com.

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.

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.