Freedom Friday: Baby Boomers Gain Freedom Through Technology

Baby Boomer Couple Look at Content on Their Hand-Held Tablet

A 2017 report released by Pew Internet Research Project notes that older adults are steadily increasing their use of the Internet.

“Around four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the internet – a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.”

In her article Baby Boomers Gain Freedom Through Technology, author H. E. James notes that Baby Boomers are quickly adopting and adapting to the technologies which are native to their grandchildren, the Millennials. This trend is necessary, as technology will help Baby Boomers communicate with those caring for them — nurses, doctors, and caregivers.

Read the rest of Baby Boomers Gain Freedom Through Technology

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Transition Thursday: Helping the Elderly Downsize

In her long career as a psychiatrist, Dr. Phyllis Harrison-Ross has been described by friends and colleagues as practical and calm. But two other traits, humor and patience, went right out the window when she decided to downsize.

“You ask yourself what you want to keep, and the answer is ‘everything,’ ” said Dr. Harrison-Ross, who turns 80 next month. “It’s an emotional roller coaster that takes a toll on you. It’s very tiring.

“I thought I could get down to the bare essence of things myself,” she said. “But that proved to be very difficult, much more than I had expected.”

Her solution: Dr. Harrison-Ross hired a senior move manager.

Read the rest at The New York Times

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Wellness Wednesday – 10 Essential Health Tips For Seniors

In the last census baby boomers, those 65+, accounted for 13% of the population. This age group grew at a faster rate than the population under age 45, and it’s clear that the US is an aging population. Happily, aging is different now than it was for our parents and grandparents. Today, there are more people living longer than at any other time in history. In fact, boomers will number 78 million by 2030. “This generation, associated with social change including the civil rights and anti-war movements in the 1960s, has another important cause—staying healthy,” says soon-to-be 65-year-old Arthur Hayward, MD, a geriatrician and clinical lead physician for Kaiser Permanente. “We need to become activists in promoting healthful behaviors and try our best to remain active and healthy the rest of our lives.”

How to do it? Dr. Hayward recommends these 10 easy health tips for seniors to help baby boomers live longer and thrive:

1. Quit smoking. Take this critical step to improve your health and combat aging. Smoking kills by causing cancer, strokes and heart failure. Smoking leads to erectile dysfunction in men due to atherosclerosis and to excessive wrinkling by attacking skin elasticity. Many resources are available to help you quit.

2. Keep active. Do something to keep fit each day—something you enjoy that maintains strength, balance and flexibility and promotes cardiovascular health. Physical activity helps you stay at a healthy weight, prevent or control illness, sleep better, reduce stress, avoid falls and look and feel better, too.

3. Eat well. Combined with physical activity, eating nutritious foods in the right amounts can help keep you healthy. Many illnesses, such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, can be prevented or controlled with dietary changes and exercise. Calcium and vitamin D supplements can help women prevent osteoporosis.

4. Maintain a healthy weight. Extra weight increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Use the Kaiser Permanente BMI (body mass index) calculator to find out what you should weigh for your height. Get to your healthy weight and stay there by eating right and keeping active. Replace sugary drinks with water—water is calorie free!

5. Prevent falls. We become vulnerable to falls as we age. Prevent falls and injury by removing loose carpet or throw rugs. Keep paths clear of electrical cords and clutter, and use night-lights in hallways and bathrooms. Did you know that people who walk barefoot fall more frequently? Wear shoes with good support to reduce the risk of falling.

6. Stay up-to-date on immunizations and other health screenings. By age 50, women should begin mammography screening for breast cancer. Men can be checked for prostate cancer. Many preventive screenings are available. Those who are new to Medicare are entitled to a “Welcome to Medicare” visit and all Medicare members to an annual wellness visit. Use these visits to discuss which preventative screenings and vaccinations are due.

7. Prevent skin cancer. As we age, our skin grows thinner; it becomes drier and less elastic. Wrinkles appear, and cuts and bruises take longer to heal. Be sure to protect your skin from the sun. Too much sun and ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer.

8. Get regular dental, vision and hearing checkups. Your teeth and gums will last a lifetime if you care for them properly—that means daily brushing and flossing and getting regular dental checkups. By age 50, most people notice changes to their vision, including a gradual decline in the ability to see small print or focus on close objects. Common eye problems that can impair vision include cataracts and glaucoma. Hearing loss occurs commonly with aging, often due to exposure to loud noise.

9. Manage stress. Try exercise or relaxation techniques—perhaps meditation or yoga—as a means of coping. Make time for friends and social contacts and fun. Successful coping can affect our health and how we feel. Learn the role of positive thinking.

10. Fan the flame. When it comes to sexual intimacy and aging, age is no reason to limit your sexual enjoyment. Learn about physical changes that come with aging and get suggestions to help you adjust to them, if necessary.

 

SOURCE

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday: Senior-Friendly Guide to Downsizing

Boomer Senior Couple Moving Boxes

Most seniors know that there will come a day when they’ll have to downsize, either to simplify their lifestyle, to cut costs, to be closer to grandchildren, or to address medical needs.

It’s often a stressful and tolling process – both emotionally and physically. But it doesn’t have to get overwhelming. Here are some tips from GoodCall to make your downsize easier.

1. Start early. Give yourself plenty of time for this process, because it will inevitably take longer than you expect. Take your time, and don’t try to sort through your entire house in one day or weekend. A couple of weeks to a month is a more realistic timeline. Take it one room at a time, and take breaks throughout.

“Go through each item one by one,” says Alison Kero, CEO of ACK Organizing in Brooklyn. “It’s important to give everything you own your attention for at least a second or two. It will also help you develop a great decision making system because you’re learning how to focus and then choose, if even for a second or two.”

If you aren’t rushed, you’ll find downsizing to be much less stressful.

2. Start small. You probably already have a couple of things in mind to toss out in the kitchen or garage, but avoid diving into such a big room at the very beginning. You have years and years of things to sort through. Start in an area with little emotional attachment. The laundry room or linen closet are good options. Understand your needs. If you’re moving into a two-bedroom house, four sets of sheets should be plenty. The rest can go.

“Garages/attics/basements are notorious for being the hardest rooms to tackle,” says Debra Blue, co-founder and CEO of Blue Moon Estate Sales. “These rooms tend to accumulate all the old hobbies, boxes, old holiday decorations, and clutter. They’re also known to be rather uncomfortable spaces. In the summer it’s too hot, winter it’s too cold, and in the springtime it can be too humid.”

3. Eliminate rooms you won’t have in your new home. If you’re moving to an apartment or townhome, you might not have a garage or office space. Nearly everything in those spaces will need to be sold, donated, tossed, or relocated to other rooms. These areas might also be good items for consignment or Craigslist sales; nice office furniture and outdoor tools are more valuable than old sofas or mattresses.

“Organize backwards,” suggests Jamie Novak, author of ‘Keep This Toss That.’ “A common suggestion is to pick out the stuff you don’t want and pack the rest. Try the opposite – pack the keepers. What’s left can be looked at and most can be shared or donated.”

4. Get rid of duplicates. You’ll find this is especially true in your kitchen. You have two or three spatulas and ladles; a couple of oversized stock pots; four different sized cookie sheets; a blender, a food processor, a coffee grinder, and a nut chopper. Now’s the time to reduce the clutter. If you’re feeling wary of handing off that second roasting pan because you use it every Christmas (but at no other time during the year), consider giving it to a child or grandchild who can bring it over for the holiday and take it home when they leave.

5. Only make Yes or No piles – no Maybes. When you’re going through years of belongings, some things are going to tug at your heartstrings, and you’ll be tempted to make a third pile of things to keep if you have space. Don’t fall for it. You’ll end up with a Maybe pile that’s bigger than either of the other two, and you haven’t really made any progress in sorting, just moved it across the room. Take a hard look at every item you pick up. If you use it regularly or expect to in your new home, keep it. If it’s been sitting in a closet or on a shelf for a year or more, it’s time to let it go.

“If you already weren’t using it, or didn’t like it, why on earth would you want to pack it up and schlep it to your next house?” says Hazel Thornton, of New Mexico-based Organized for Life. “I know it sounds silly, but people do it all the time. Moving isn’t cheap, either; do you really want to pay extra to move stuff you don’t even want? Don’t delude yourself by telling yourself you’ll deal with it at your next destination. No, you won’t.”

6. Reduce collections creatively. It can be hard to let go of a lifetime collection of porcelain dolls or snow globes from all your vacations, but they will eat up a lot of space or else end up stored in a box where you’ll never see them. Instead, pick a couple to keep and take high-resolution photos of the rest, then have them made into a photo book that can sit on your coffee table or mantle. You and guests will be able to enjoy them without the clutter. There are also tech tools or websites such as Fotobridge.com that will convert those boxes of photo negatives to digital.

Blue, of Blue Moon Estate Sales, says when you’re trying to reduce a collection, ask yourself, “Which one is your favorite?”

“This is a great way to thin out big collections and focus on the one that really brings joy. When it comes to the rest of your collections or newer ephemera, take pictures with your smartphone! You’ll enjoy it more when it comes up in your digital photos than it being stashed in a drawer or box. The memories will continue to live on through photos and conversations with loved ones.”

7. Don’t be afraid to sell things yourself. With Craigslist, Ebay, numerous smartphone apps, yard sales, and an abundance of consignment shops, selling your belongings has never been easier. You probably won’t make a ton of money on most items, so consider how much time you want to invest. Yard sales are usually faster, but items won’t sell for as much. Craigslist has its drawbacks, but you’ll have a much wider audience and can probably get more for your stuff. Consignment is a good option for high-end furniture, handbags and other accessories; prices are reasonable, and they’ll sometimes pick up heavy furniture for you. If you aren’t handy with a computer, your grandchildren can probably help. But if that all sounds like more than you care to deal with, hiring a firm to run an estate sale might be your best bet.

8. Consider legacy gifts early. Is there an antique clock in your foyer that you plan to one day leave to your son? Maybe a china collection your granddaughter adores? If there are certain heirlooms or pieces you plan to leave to your family in your will, consider instead giving those gifts now. This has two benefits: you’ll get the items out of our way, and you’ll be able to enjoy the feeling of giving those items to your loved ones now. While you’re at it, find out if there are any items your children want that you don’t know about – you might find an easy way to make them happy and lighten your load.

9. Allow some time to reminisce. While you’re cleaning and sorting, there will be some days when you want to stop emptying the kids’ bedrooms and just look through the kindergarten drawings, soccer trophies, and once-prized stuffed animals. It’s OK to pause and let the nostalgia take over for a bit. Cry if you need to, or move on to another room and come back. This is why you started early – just don’t let it prevent you from eventually getting the job done.

“I always ask my clients how the item at hand makes them feel,” says Morgan Ovens, of Haven Home in Los Angeles. “If it brings up any negative feelings, let it go. If it brings happiness of course it stays! The idea here is to only be surrounded by things you absolutely love. Isn’t that a great goal?”

10. Use this as a chance to bond. Invite the kids and grandkids over for the weekend. Talk to the young ones about where you bought your favorite trinkets. Tell them about your family’s heirlooms. Let them help pack, ask questions, and spend time with you. Get help posting items for sale online. It can be one more moment your family shares together in the house you’ve loved – before you start making those memories together in your next home. Remember that it’s your family that’s important for the memories you cherish, not the stuff around you.

Read the rest here.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: 6 Tips for Touring Skilled Nursing Communities

Registered nurse comforts elderly woman patient

Skilled nursing communities (also referred to as “long-term care communities”) attract residents who are no longer able to live independently and need consistent medical assistance.

If you have a parent who needs this type of care, here are some suggestions that can help you appraise a skilled nursing community:

1. Visit the community on different days and at various times, including mealtimes. Take note of staff morale, resident activities and nursing staff levels.

2. Talk to members of the nursing staff about how long they have worked there.

3. Ask the nursing community administrators about staff-to-resident levels.

4. Obtain a copy of the most recent state survey to learn whether the community has been cited for deficiencies.

5. Ask if they have a plan of care for each resident, and if it is revised continually. Ask to see a sample copy of such plans.

6. Contact the local ombudsman organization and ask about the specific long-term care communities in the area.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Buying a Fixer-Upper – 5 Facts to Consider

Fixer Upper House That Needs a Lot of WorkMost buyers are lured by the low asking prices and the opportunity to buy a property they can afford in a good neighborhood, school district or with a larger lot to expand. However, it’s often less costly to buy the more expensive house.

Here are some reasons why:

#1 Fundamental repairs to foundation, structure, plumbing, electrical, roof, etc.can be huge ticket items. These issues need to be addressed first. Meanwhile buyers are really dreaming about on the granite counters, designer paint colors and creating their spa bathroom retreat with all the luxury bells and whistles they see on HGTV.

#2 I work with excellent contractors who really know the costs of remodeling; however, even so they cannot predict all unforeseen ‘surprises.’ Unanticipated costs of 10%-25% are more the norm than the exception. For instance, Houselogic.com states a middle-of-the-road bathroom remodel runs from $100-$200 per sf. An average kitchen costs approx. $60,000. and HGTV estimates a gourmet kitchen over $80,000. Buyer frankly can run out of money.

#3 Yes, there is the FHA 203K loan. But, there are specific time lines, approvals, appraisal required to utilize this loan program. mortgage company guidelines restrict how much money a buyer qualifies to receive. Also, good contractors are busy in summer making it hard to coordinate the FHA required estimates and deadlines.

#4 Fixers tend to be older homes. And with older homes come potential health and safety risks such as lead based paint or asbestos. Remediation can be costly and your contractors must have the appropriate EPA certification.

#5 Sellers would often rather find a buyer using all cash that can close quickly with no contingencies rather than working with a 203K loan scenario.

After major renovations are complete buyers will have a custom home, exactly to their liking and tastes, but it won’t come cheap. And, I always caution clients about over improving. An option to consider might be a more ‘cosmetic’ fixer as old appliances, fixtures, faucets, wallpaper, shag carpet and linoleum are easier and cheaper to renovate!

Ready to go “bargain” hunting?

Transition Thursday: 10 Best Retirement Steps to Take Right Now

Chalk drawing of house and dollar sign on blackboard1. Have a discovery phase
Call it an assessment, checkup or discovery, but a key part of planning for retirement is taking an overall look at what’s going on. See where your money is invested, check the performance and scrutinize your contributions. Online tools, such as Bankrate’s best retirement calculator or retirement income calculator, can help you to see if you are on track to accumulate enough money to meet your expenses and the live you want to live in retirement.

2. Learn the rules
The rules of retirement financing are complicated, but you don’t have to be Einstein to learn them. Get the lowdown on a couple of specifics. Should you be in a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA? One has tax-deductible contributions, the other has tax-free withdrawals.

Social Security has different claiming strategies, and one notable loophole — “file-and-suspend” — is over. As you prepare for retirement, check your Social Security account to see how you might claim a bigger benefit by waiting until your full retirement age. At the very least, you should know that for every year past 62 you delay benefits, your monthly check increases.

Read more tips at Bankrate.com

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Wellness Wednesday – Heat Stroke vs. Heat Exhaustion – What is the Difference?

Thermometer and Sun Depicintg Summer HeatHeat Stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related illness. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body`s temperature rises rapidly, the body loses its ability to sweat, and it is unable to cool down. Body temperatures rise to 106F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not provided.

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • An extremely high body temperature (above 103F)
  • Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids.

Warning signs vary but may include the following:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Paleness
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Skin: may be cool and moist
  • Pulse rate: fast and weak
  • Breathing: fast and shallow

 

Read more Summer Safety Tips for Seniors

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Toss It Tuesday – Downsizing with Estate Sales – Part Two

estate sale shopping cart signIn Part One of this series, we learned that most estate sales occur when the homeowner is downsizing.

Now you will learn more of the important things to know when considering using an estate company to conduct your downsizing sale.

What do estate sales companies charge? Estate companies generally charge 30% to 35% commission on the sale’s gross proceeds. Additional fees may also be charged for transferring some items off-site for sale. Even with the commission charged, an estate sale will almost always net more than a garage sale you hold on your own (and you don’t have to do as much work!)

What are estate auctions? Estate auctions, which can be held on-site or off-site, work a little differently, although generally cost the same. On-site auctions are similar to estate sales, except items are not priced in advance. Instead, items are placed strategically and auctioned in an order pre-determined by the auctioneer. When liquidating a large estate, it is more practical and efficient to have an estate sale or an on-site estate auction.

Off-site sales can be advantageous when the sale is not extensive and items can be easily transported to the auction house. The auctioneer will come to your home to evaluate your belongings, and then arrange for your items to be to be boxed and transported to their site. You will most likely need to gather together the items for auction. Your auction will be scheduled and the date advertised, just like an estate sale.

What do estate auction companies charge? Estate auctions typically charge between 25% and 35% of the gross proceeds, comparable to estate sale fees. You can also expect a transportation fee for removing items from your home, depending on the location and the amount of items being transported.

What is right for me – sale or auction? Time is the biggest deciding factor – if you are planning on staying in your home right up to closing, there will probably not be enough time for an estate sale, which can take from a week to a month to prepare for and hold. If you can move out of your home (including packing and taking the belongings you want, and leaving the rest) a few weeks before the new owners take possession, an estate sale is viable. Your time frame will help you determine whether an estate sale or auction makes sense for you.

Will I really get market value for my “stuff”? There is a big difference between “market value” and “resale value.” Often we expect the price we paid for the item to determine its re-sale value. while in fact, most items depreciate in value, with the exception of some antiques and collectibles.

Your 20-year-old refrigerator may not bring $20, if it sells at all. Your old sleeper sofa might yield an end-of-year tax deduction if donated to charity. The old pot you’ve been using in your garden for years, could sell for $50. This illustrates why using professional and reputable estate sale companies or auctioneers to value and sell your belongings, rather than doing it on your own, will generally maximize the proceeds resulting from the sale.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582

Moving Mom Monday: Housing Needs Checklist

Helping your aging parents simplify their lives?

Here are the questions to ask when planning your parents’ housing needs:

1. Do they need an apartment on a ground floor?

2. Do they need special accommodations for accessibility?

3. Do they need assistance with daily living activities? (Bathing, dressing, medications, toileting?)

4. Do they need help with meal preparation? Do they need some meals provided?

5. Do they need a place for their car(s)?

6. Will they be bringing pets to their new location?

7. Do they need a place that offers social activities?

8. Do they need housekeeping help?

9. Do they need a yard, patio or porch?

10. Do they need to be close to their current neighborhood?

11. Do they need to own?

12. Do they need to rent?

13. If buying, how much can they afford for monthly house payments?

14. If renting, how much can they afford for monthly rental payments?

15. What other factors are important to your parents when considering a move?

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DAYNA WILSON: As a Certified Senior Housing Professional (CSHP) , I have special knowledge about everything from reverse mortgages to the importance of universal design. I can tap into my network and put you in touch with my team of qualified home inspectors, movers, attorneys, CPAs, organizers and other experts. I have all the resources and knowledge to simplify the transaction and eliminate the anxiety of selling your home.

Call me today to talk about your real estate concerns. I’m here to listen: 925.788.6582