Transition Thursday: Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers

Baby Boomer Woman Executive

In the Inc. Magazine article Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers, writer Samuel Bacharach explains that the aging Boomer may be hesitant to discuss their retirement plans because the organization may have a culture of “once you’re out, you’re out”:

“What do you want from the best of the Baby Boomers? You want to make sure that they are able to share their experience and accumulated knowledge, and have an opportunity to mentor others, rather than abruptly disassociate. Clearly, there are those whom you’d be happy to see leave, but smart leaders understand the importance of giving the best and brightest of the Boomers the space to transition.

Creating the capacity to transition with grace, partnering with them, and allowing them to continue their involvement is a win-win for everyone. In doing so, keep the following in mind:

1. Talk about transition into retirement, not simply retirement. The word “transition” gives the potential retiree a sense of value and the impression that this is a stepped process, rather than a quick push out the door.

2. Give them an opportunity to make suggestions as how they see the transition unfolding. A stepped process with gradual disengagement creates a sharing opportunity rather a conflict.”

Read more advice at Transition or Retirement? Words Matter to Boomers.

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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 – 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn her article 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk, author Paula Spencer Scott knows how difficult it can be to help a parent downsize for a move. “Where you see a houseful of stuff to sort and toss, your parent is apt to see treasures, essentials, and a lifetime of memories,” she writes.

Here are some expert-tested ideas to avoid the ‘junk wars’ and make downsizing less stressful — for all of you.

1. Avoid tackling the whole house in one go. Though it’s more efficient for you to plow full steam ahead, your parent is apt to be stressed emotionally, if not also physically. When organizing a parent’s move, it’s better to think in terms of months, not days. Tackle one room or area at a time. About two hours at a stretch is ideal for many older adults, says Margit Novack, president of MovingSolutions in Philadelphia and founding president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

2. Frame decisions as yes-no questions. Open-ended choices put a reluctant mover on the spot, raising stress. Avoid asking, ‘Which pots and pans do you want to keep?’ Winnow them down yourself first, then present a more manageable yes-no option: ‘I’ve got your best frying pan, a large pot, and a small sauce pot. Does that sound good?’ ‘Couching questions for yes-no answers provides the opportunity for the parent to feel successful so you can move on to the next thing,’ Novack says. Items that exist in abundance work especially well to presort: clothing, kitchenware, tools, and anything else you know the person has way more of than he or she will have space for.

3. Use the new space as a guide. Measure exactly how much closet or cabinet space the new place has (assisted living communities will provide this information if you ask), and fill an equivalent amount of space as you sort. Mark off the comparable space so your parent has a visual guide. Beware of excessive multiples. In assisted living, your parent only needs one frying pan, one or two sets of sheets, one coffeemaker, one or two coats, and so on.

4. Banish the “maybe” pile. Relocation experts call it the OHIO rule: Only handle it once. The less decisive you are about what to do with an item, the more attached you (or your parent) risk becoming to it, Hayes says. Moving things in and out of ‘maybe’ piles is also takes time. Tempting as it is to set aside tough sorts for later, unless there’s room to ‘hold’ them at a relative’s house, it’s not generally worth paying storage-rental fees (unless it’s a very large estate and time is tight). That’s because once they’re boxed, your parent isn’t likely to look at the items ever again. (Out of sight, out of mind.) Exception: Save time by boxing piles of paperwork, which doesn’t take much room. Papers are time-consuming to go through and present an unpleasant task for many disorganized people, casting a pall on your packing.”

Find more ideas: 20 Tips to Help You Get Rid of Junk.

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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: Advice From 7 Baby Boomers Who Reinvented Their Careers

Baby Boomer Entrepreneur

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of people 55 and older in the work force in 2013 was 40.3%, up from 29% in 1993.

In the MONEY Magazine article Advice From 7 Baby Boomers Who Reinvented Their Careers, writer Alicia Adamczyk explains that Baby Boomers continue to reinvent themselves:

“While the rise in older workers can be attributed in part to stagnating wages and insufficient retirement savings, those factors don’t tell the whole story. More and more baby boomers are switching careers later in life not out of financial necessity, but rather for the intellectual rigor and the chance to finally pursue their life’s passion. In fact, a report from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement found that ‘Boomers are just as likely or more likely to be engaged in their work than are the younger Generation X or Millennial generations.’

Another report, New Careers for Older Workers, from the American Institute for Economic Research, looked at people who changed or tried to change jobs after age 45 and found that 82% of people 47 and older who took up new careers in the last two years were successful, and 50% saw a salary increase.”

Click here to read the stories of seven boomers who are pursuing second acts.

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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 – 10 Tips for Downsizing Baby Boomers

Senior couple moving boxesAs Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, the thought of downsizing a lifetime of belongings can feel overwhelming.

Here are a few tips that can help, as described in the Chicago Tribune article 10 tips for downsizing Baby Boomers:

Have a plan. Think about what kind of lifestyle you want. Do you prefer an urban setting? Or do you need a yard? Do you want to be part of a community that offers lots of activities and amenities such as golf courses and swimming pools? Or are you a more independent type who seeks out opportunities on your own? ‘Investigate a lot of different options,’ suggests Renee Funk, president at the Relocation Company, a Chicago-based firm that helps move empty nesters. If you’ve raised your family in the suburbs and don’t want to leave, Funk recommends looking at the newer condominium buildings now commonly found in many suburban downtowns, near shops and restaurants. ‘These buildings can provide a similar lifestyle to the city while staying in the suburbs,’ says Funk.

Consider a short distance move. Not everyone wants to move to a warm-weather destination, such as Florida. Many downsizing Boomers would rather stay here. Take Ruth and Don Mattison. They sold their 4,400-sqaure-foot house in south suburban Mokena and bought a house at the active adult community Shorewood Glen in Shorewood. Their son, a firefighter, and daughter-in-law and their three children live nearby. The Mattisons like to help out with the kids when their son is on duty. So they stayed near their family, but got rid of the big house and all the chores. At the new house, the landscape work and snow shoveling is taken care of for them.

Age restricted? Before they moved, the Mattisons decided their new home would probably be their last move. So they thought carefully about whether or not they wanted to live in a neighborhood with young families. The Mattisons decided that they’d rather live at Shorewood Glen where residents must be age 55 or older. Ruth Mattison says, ;We wanted to move into a neighborhood with people our own age who shared our interests. We all have lots in common.'”

Read seven additional tips in 10 tips for downsizing Baby Boomers.

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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: How to Evaluate Emergency Preparedness in Assisted Living

Elserly Man in Wheelchair Sitting Next to Caregiver

Will you, or someone you love, be safe in an emergency?

As explained in the Daily Caring article How to Evaluate Emergency Preparedness in Assisted Living: Questions to Ask, “emergency preparedness is essential for seniors, especially those who are very ill, have limited mobility, or have a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s or dementia.”

There are key questions to ask that can help you evaluate if the care community has detailed emergency plans, is ready for power outages, knows what to do during a fire or flood, and protects residents from theft or intruders.

4 Areas to Evaluate for Emergency Preparedness

1. Emergency plans

  • What are the detailed emergency plans?
  • How is the staff trained and kept up-to-date on those plans?
  • How will they provide the necessary food, water, medication, and shelter for the residents (including food and beverages for special health needs)?
  • Is there always someone available to be in charge of emergency situations? Is there always a backup person available?
  • What’s the plan if none of the leaders are available to take charge?

 2. Power outages

  • Are generators available to restore power? Is there a backup in case one generator fails?
  • Are the generators located in a safe, well-ventilated area away from the residents?
  • How much extra food is kept on hand? Federal emergency recommendations call for a minimum of 3 days worth.
  • How much drinking water is kept on hand? Federal guidelines recommend at least 1 week’s worth per person.
  • If food or water runs out, what’s the plan to get more?
  • If a high-risk storm or natural disaster is approaching, would food and water reserves be increased?
  • Does the community set aside freezers containing frozen bags of water? Federal guidelines say they can be used to keep food and medications cold, cool overheated residents, and be used as drinking water once melted.

Read more at How to Evaluate Emergency Preparedness in Assisted Living: Questions to Ask.

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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

READ NOW: Backyard Deal-Breakers Sellers Should Know

California Backyard with PoolEvery time a prospective buyer walks on to your property, they are looking for the things they want in their next home. These deal breakers can be anywhere in the home, but don’t forget about: the backyard.

The backyard is very important to family life.

After all, this is the place where children will enjoy their childhood and play in a safe and secure environment. Most home buyers are looking for usable outdoor space. Take some time to update your backyard without spending a lot of money.

Pool in the Backyard: To many buyers, a pool can be seen as an expensive maintenance fee that they will have to pay for on top of the mortgage. Once they see a pool, they’re going to start doing some calculations in their head, thinking, “Now how much is this going to cost me?” A pool can raise a flood of concerns over child safety, so ensure you have a child-safety fence surrounding the pool.

Size of the Lot: The appraisal of your home is typically made in two elements: the lot size and the actual value of the physical home. Getting rid of clutter, piles of bricks on the side yard and opening up the yard to make your lot feel larger will help you when it comes time to sell.

Pets: We love our furry friends! But, please… hide dishes, play toys and especially the kitty-litter box! Remember, some buyers won’t like the idea of having pets inside the house. This can be a deal breaker if the buyer is allergic to cats and/or dogs. Please have your pets in a safe place when buyers come to preview your home and yard.

Landscaping: With the price of water rising rapidly and recent droughts in California, grass isn’t as appealing as it once was. When frugal buyers see grass, they see a sky-high water bill that will eventually lead to a dead yard and a new project to be undertaken. Think about landscaping trends like using native plants, and other low maintenance options.

So What Are Home Buyers Looking For: A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that new home buyers are looking for exterior lighting, lots of trees, a deck or patio, and a fenced-in yard. Another popular outdoor amenity is the outdoor fireplace/fire pit, outdoor kitchens, and the outdoor living room. Think comfy outdoor furniture, rugs, colorful pillows. Make an inviting space for folks to imagine relaxing, entertaining and dining al fresco under the stars.

Investing in the backyard can net you some of the highest returns. Knowing what home buyers are looking for will help you sell your property faster. That said, the exterior of your home is just as important as the interior of your home. Many people assume that the front and backyard aren’t crucial to the buying process so they overlook these pitfalls. Make sure that your backyard does not have any hidden deal breakers that could steer away new and possibly multiple bids!

Toss It Tuesday – Think Small: Downsizing Tips for Seniors

Elderly Couple Sitting on a CouchAs Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, downsizing their belongings can feel overwhelming.

In her article 5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think “Resizing” Not “Downsizing”, Janice DiPerna, Hebrew SeniorLife Project Move Manager at Orchard Cove in Canton MA, offers some tips for folks who need to “resize” to a smaller space. Here are a few:

Start early. Give yourself plenty of time to go through your possessions so you can gently let go of those items that you will no longer need or have room for.

Start with the living areas, including the living room, dining room, kitchen and bedrooms. (Attics and basements can wait.)

Decide what belongings you want and which ones you need. Those possessions in the ‘need’ category will obviously take priority over those you want.”

Read the other tips discovered in 5 Tips for Seniors Planning a Move: Think “Resizing” Not “Downsizing”.

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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: Less Means More for Baby Boomers Who Downsize in Retirement

Section of U.S. Dollar Bill

According to writer Jeff Reeves, “A comfortable retirement is not just the money you have, but also the expenses you’re tallying up, too.” In the article “Less means more for Baby Boomers who downsize in retirement,” Reeves shares advice from experts who suggest that the cost of downsizing can add up.

“A variety of items can add up to a pretty big difference in the monthly budget of Boomers who are willing to downsize. Those items can include:

Taxes. ‘It’s really dramatic, where you have Florida on one extreme that has no income tax, to states like New York or New Jersey or Connecticut that have very high income taxes,’ said Chris Blunt, president of the investments group at insurance giant New York Life. ‘A 7% swing in income tax, if you’re on a tight budget that matters.’ Property taxes can also vary widely even within a few hours’ drive from your current home, and could result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars saved per year.

Access to public transit. Being able to downsize from two vehicles in your household to one – or even none – can save you on car payments, insurance and maintenance. However, a move like that requires Baby Boomers to downsize to an area that can keep them mobile even without a vehicle of their own.

Health care. Many factors influence health care costs, including location and access to good doctors and specialists who are responsive and within your coverage network. ‘There are parts of the country with more cost-effective health care systems than others,’ Blunt said. For instance, a 2015 study by HealthView Services estimated supplemental medical insurance can vary widely – with a 65-year-old in Maryland paying 72% more than one in Hawaii.

Electricity and overhead. ‘With moving to a smaller home, you would expect to see lower utilities and you might see a difference in maintenance costs,’ said Lori Trawinski, director of banking and finance with AARP’s Public Policy Institute. And generally speaking, a smaller and less valuable home will also carry smaller insurance costs than a larger home in a similar area, she said.

Read additional tips at Less means more for Baby Boomers who downsize in retirement.

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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 – 8 Lessons Learned from the Decluttering Bible

Messy Pile of ClothesYou’ve probably heard about Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, who wrote the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

Kondo has a radical, two-pronged approach to tidying. First, put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it. Second, once only your most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back. Only then, Kondo says, will you have reached the nirvana of housekeeping, and never have to clean again.

So, as Baby Boomers and Seniors face life transitions, what can they learn from Marie Kondo? In her article, 8 Lessons Our Editor Learned from the Decluttering Bible, writer Cate La Farge Summers discovered eight lessons from Kondo’s book. Here are a few:

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms

I’d always tackled clutter by room – take on the office first, the bedroom next. Instead, Kondo’s first rule is to tidy by category – deal with every single one of your books at once, for example, otherwise they’ll continue to creep from room to room, and you’ll never rein in the clutter. She advises beginning with clothing, since it’s the least emotionally loaded of one’s things (books come next, old photographs are much later), so as soon as I found a free afternoon, that’s exactly what I did.

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend

As I started emptying the closets, I opened boxes filled with letters and old photographs. Serious mistake. Kondo knows what she’s talking about when she insists you put blinders on and focus only on the category of stuff at hand. Read one old letter, and suddenly you’re down a rabbit hole of nostalgia.

To be honest, I was probably procrastinating. In theory, I was sold on the idea of living exclusively with clothing that gives me joy, but I still had hang-ups: What will I be left with? Will I have anything to wear to work? Will I have to sacrifice beloved things, all for the sake of decluttering?

Then my 18-month-old son, Henry, wandered in, and there’s nothing he loves more than recluttering. The afternoon was basically lost. If you do this, don’t waste time like I did (and maybe book a babysitter for this project).

Lesson #4: Purging Feels SO Good

From then on, I followed Kondo’s advice to a T. I gathered every piece of my clothing and put it in one giant pile. While I normally tidy my clothes only when I’m on a long phone call – distracted from the task at hand – today I wasn’t even supposed to listen to music. Channeling Kondo, who says a prayer upon entering a client’s home, I lit a candle, said a little prayer, and started digging through the mountain of clothes.

Once I got to work, it was so much easier and more fun than I’d thought. This question of joy gives you permission to let go of off-color shirts bought on sale, dresses past their prime, skirts that always clung uncomfortably. I realized I had many things that seemed great in theory but weren’t actually my style – they’d be better on someone else’s body or in someone else’s life.

Six hours later, I’d filled 12 bags with non-joy-giving clothes. Instead of panic, I felt relief – 12 times lighter. It also felt like good karma: The best stuff went to a consignment shop, and the decent stuff went to a charity thrift store, off to see a new, hopefully better life.”

Read the other lessons discovered in 8 Lessons Our Editor Learned from the Decluttering Bible.

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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: 4 Expert Tips for Seniors Moving to Assisted Living

Elderly Man with Nurse in Assisted Living Setting

Moving to assisted living can be an overwhelming experience for both you and your older adult. In the article “4 Expert Tips for Seniors Moving to Assisted Living,” Arthur Bretschneider, founder and CEO of Seniorly, a company that makes it easier for families to find local senior housing options, provides advice on four common issues related to moving into and living in assisted living:

Question 1: Seniors who refuse to move
What should families do if their older adult needs to move to assisted living for their own health and safety, but they refuse to go?

Answer:
This is a very difficult situation. The first thing to do is get their primary care physician involved. Sometimes it’s also good to get a Geriatric Care Manager or some other care advocate to help you in this situation. They’re professionals who understand how to get control of the crisis.

Many times, getting a third party involved is not an option. In this case, families need to present this as an option that their senior is going to rather than from. Meaning, frame the move in a way that it’s better than where the individual is now.

They aren’t moving away from their home, they are moving to a community that will give them more control of their days and remove the need to worry about other things.

Question 2: Ease the transition to assisted living
Moving to assisted living is a big change for most older adults. What can families do to make the transition easier?

Answer:
Every family is unique and there is no straight answer to this question. In fact, some transitions are not difficult at all.

For the ones that do have difficulty transitioning, things that could help include:

  • Making their new room or apartment feel as homelike as possible
  • Being around to assist in the transition (or sometimes the opposite depending on the individual)
  • Keeping the individual connected with a phone, tablet, or computer
  • Visiting during meals or activities to help make connections

Or it could be as simple as making sure you find a community that allows them to keep their pet.

Read additional tips at 4 Expert Tips for Seniors Moving to Assisted Living.

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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