Toss It Tuesday – From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art

Abstract Fine Art PaintingGot art? According to the New York Times article From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art, author John Hance writes about the upsurge in art donations, due to baby boomers downsizing:

“According to Brian Szott, head of collections and curator of art for the Minnesota Historical Society, there has been ‘a striking surge in the number of works that have been donated to the society over the last five years, from 22 in fiscal 2012 to 77 in the fiscal year that ended in June.’ Why the big increase? Mr. Szott says that works donated over the last five years have tended to come from older adults in the process of downsizing or decluttering. ‘It’s a huge shift in possession going on, and it’s going to affect the whole art world,’ he said.”

According to David J. Ekerdt, a sociologist and gerontologist at the University of Kansas, the trend is real.

“‘It makes perfect sense,’ said Dr. Ekerdt, who has studied the downsizing movement. ‘Baby boomers are offloading all kinds of things.’

While only 4 to 5 percent of people over 60 move to a smaller dwelling in a given year, about a third of the over-60 population will move over a 10-year interval, Dr. Ekerdt said. And that number is expected to increase over the next decade as the rest of the baby boom cohort moves into prime retirement age — now a quintessential time for decluttering and giving things away.

Donating to an institution is one of the easiest offloading strategies for possessions, he said. ‘You can, No. 1, give it to a family member or friend; 2, sell it; No. 3, donate; or No. 4 or 5, store it or trash it,” he said.'”

Read more here: From Downsizing Boomers, a Flood of Donated Art.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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: Should You Move To Be Closer To Your Aging Parents?

Elderly Man with Nurse in Assisted Living Setting

In the Next Avenue article Should You Move to Be Closer to Your Aging Parents?, author Deb Hipp offers the advice that long-distance caregiving is tough, but moving to be near parents is a big step. Consider these realities:

Aging Parents and Unrealistic Expectations. Caregivers who provide unpaid care for at least 21 hours per week report the highest stress of all caregiving groups, according to a 2015 report by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. The typical high-hour caregiver provides care ‘for an average of five years and expects to continue care for another five years,’ the report found.

Moving Won’t Heal Old Wounds. Moving may be acceptable if you have a good relationship with your parents and time and resources to spend with your mom and dad – as long as they’re in favor of the move. However, don’t expect to heal a lifetime of conflict by swooping in to save the day.

You Give Up Your Whole Self. Even though Sara Tapscott knows that she didn’t have the resources and physical ability to move and take on full-time care giving for her parents, she’ll always struggle with her decision.
‘If I had a dollar for every tear I shed in guilt, I could have hired 15 caregivers,’ says Tapscott. She and her sister alternated visits to Des Moines until her mother Mary died in 2004. Tapscott even bought a handicapped-accessible van to transport her dad when she visited. In 2006, she moved Leo into a nursing home in Kansas City near her home. ‘He only lasted three weeks,’ says Tapscott. ‘There’s so much guilt if you don’t do it. But you also realize you give up your whole self to move, and in the long run, I didn’t think my parents would have wanted that. I went back and forth about it until they died,’ says Tapscott. ‘I still do.’”

Read more at Should You Move to Be Closer to Your Aging Parents?.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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 – 3 Reasons Why Downsizing Isn’t Just for Empty-Nesters

Large Home Downsized to Small HomeIn the USA Today article 3 reasons why downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters, author Deborah Kearn writes:

“Downsizing into a smaller home has been a rite of passage almost exclusively for empty-nesters and retirees. But as home prices and mortgage rates rise and the inventory of homes for sale shrinks, younger generations might find upsides to downsizing earlier in life. If you don’t need a bigger home, downsizing earlier could work in your favor.”

Here’s why:

1. You’ll free up money for other financial goals. If you have a bigger home, much of your income is tied up in monthly mortgage payments. By getting a smaller, more affordable place, you could free up cash to put to work toward other goals such as college savings or retirement, says Tyler Whitman, a real estate agent with TripleMint in New York City.

2. You could move into a better neighborhood. Most homeowners (whether they have kids or not) want to live in a desirable neighborhood where they can put down roots, says Jessica Lautz, managing director of survey research and communications with the National Association of Realtors based in Washington, D.C. Choosing a smaller place in a sought-after area over more space elsewhere is a trade-off with a lot of potential upside: better schools, increased walkability, more charm or lower crime, Lautz says.”

Read the third reason here: 3 reasons why downsizing isn’t just for empty-nesters.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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: Moving a Parent to Assisted Living – 12 Strategies to Ease the Transition

Mother and Daughter at Assisted Living Facility

In the article Moving a Parent to Assisted Living: 12 Strategies to Ease the Transition, author Liz O’Donnell writes that moving a parent, even a willing one, into assisted living, or any senior living facility, is fraught with emotion:

“Your parents may mourn the loss of their younger years, their independence, the home they built. They could be scared about aging, making new friends, finding their way in a new place.

You may be mourning all of those things too. You may second-guess your decision. Did we act too quickly? Overreact? Wait too long? And you will feel guilt. Guilt is inevitable. Know that all of these feelings are normal and don’t need to last forever.”

12 strategies to keep in mind as you make the transition:

1. Give it time. Senior living experts say it typically takes between three and six months for someone to adjust to assisted living. That’s an average. It might be quicker; it may take longer. Stay focused on the reasons you made the decision (safety, health, security, sanity). Keeping the big picture in mind will help you through the rough patches.

2. Visit often, or not for two weeks. Only you know your parent, so only you can decide how best to assist them through the early weeks of the move. Many experts will tell you to visit as often as possible. Frequent visits can ease any stress your parent may have that they will be abandoned or lonely. It might be easier for them to meet people at activities or in the dining room if they have a companion with them. But if your parent is calling you several times a day, staying in their room, and waiting for you to show up and keep them company, you may need to give them some space in order to encourage them to branch out. When I went to college my parents wouldn’t let me come home to visit for the first few weeks. By forcing me to stay at school on the weekends, they forced me to make friends. Tough love – it can work both ways.

3. It takes a village. Mobilize yours. When we first moved my mother into assisted living, my sisters and I could not visit for a week or two. We had been staying with her before the move and needed to get back to work. Plus, our father was in the hospital. So I called my relatives and asked them to visit in our absence. Just as parenting takes a village, so does daughtering.

4. Expect setbacks. Just when you think you are over the hump and your parent is settling in, things will change. They will tell you they are lonely. They will decide they don’t like their new dining hall friends. They will ask to go home. These moments are heart wrenching but knowing that they are normal and that they will pass, can help get you through them.

Read more strategies at Moving a Parent to Assisted Living: 12 Strategies to Ease the Transition.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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 – Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff

Heirloom teacup on black backgroundIn the Next Avenue article Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff, author Richard Eisenberg writes about the reality of dealing with his father’s possessions after his father passed away:

“After my father died at 94 in September, leaving my sister and me to empty his one-bedroom, independent living New Jersey apartment, we learned the hard truth that others in their 50s and 60s need to know: Nobody wants the prized possessions of your parents — not even you or your kids.

So please forgive the morbidity, but if you’re lucky enough to still have one or more parents or stepparents alive, it would be wise to start figuring out what you’ll do with their furniture, china, crystal, flatware, jewelry, artwork and tchotchkes when the mournful time comes. (I wish I had. My sister and I, forced to act quickly to avoid owing an extra months’ rent on dad’s apartment, hired a hauler to cart away nearly everything we didn’t want or wouldn’t be donating, some of which he said he’d give to charity.)”

Eisenberg offers eight tips for home unfurnishing:

1. Start mobilizing while your parents are around. ‘Every single person, if their parents are still alive, needs to go back and collect the stories of their stuff,’ says financial adviser Holly Kylen. ‘That will help sell the stuff.’ Or it might help you decide to hold onto it. One of Kylen’s clients inherited a set of beautiful gold-trimmed teacups, saucers and plates. Her mother had told her she’d received them as a gift from the DuPonts because she had nursed for the legendary wealthy family. Turns out, the plates were made for the DuPonts. The client decided to keep them due to the fantastic story.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to find takers, if you can. ‘We tell people: The longer you have to sell something, the more money you’re going to make,’ says Chris Fultz, co-owner of Nova Liquidation. Of course, this could mean cluttering up your basement, attic or living room with tables, lamps and the like until you finally locate interested parties.

3. Do an online search to see whether there’s a market for your parents’ art, furniture, china or crystal. If there is, see if an auction house might be interested in trying to sell things for you on consignment. ‘It’s a little bit of a wing and a prayer,’ says Mary Kay Buysse, executive director of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

That’s true. But you might get lucky. I did. My sister and I were pleasantly surprised — no, flabbergasted — when the auctioneer we hired sold our parents’ enormous, turn-of-the-20th-century portrait of an unknown woman by an obscure painter to a Florida art dealer for a tidy sum. (We expected to get a dim sum, if anything.) Apparently, the Newcomb-Macklin frame was part of the attraction. Go figure. Our parents’ tabletop marble bust went bust at the auction, however, and now sits in my den, owing to the kindness of my wife.”

Read more tips: Sorry, Nobody Wants Your Parents’ Stuff.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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: Why More Baby Boomers Are Moving Back to the Cities

In the article Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living, author Clare Trapasso writes about how baby boomers are choosing to move back to city living:

“Instead of migrating south en masse to retirement communities in the Sunshine State or the wilds of Arizona, more and more baby boomers—a particularly urban-savvy group of Americans—are moving back to the metro areas they abandoned when they began raising families. And in leaving their suburban homesteads, these empty nesters are redefining the urban centers they now call home. Again.”

Reasons why boomers are choosing city living include:

  • Sick of the suburbs. Tired of maintaining a big house in the boonies.
  • Want convenient transportation
  • Want to be in close proximity to health care providers
  • Want condos with concierge services
  • Want to be close to restaurants, shops, and cultural venues such as museums and theaters

Read the rest at Reverse Migration: How Baby Boomers Are Transforming City Living.

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DAYNA WILSON: As a real estate agent I have been working with homebuyers and sellers throughout the East Bay communities of Layfayette, Moraga, Orinda and Walnut Creek since 2009. 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 – Should I Downsize My Home?

Large Home Downsized to Small HomeHow do you know when it is time to transition to a smaller living space?

Discover the questions to ask yourself in the HGTV article Should I Downsize My Home?:

Does size matter to me?
Think about how much your identity is wrapped up in your house.
“For most of us, where we live not only fulfills our needs for shelter but also tells the world who we are. “More than any other possession, a house is used by our family, friends and neighbors as a barometer of our status and importance within the community,” says Genevieve Ferraro, who knows what it’s like to move from a large home to a smaller one: her 1,800-square-foot house in Chicago is next to one twice that size and the only one in her neighborhood that hasn’t added additional rooms.
“Moving to a smaller home goes against ingrained conventional thinking that ‘bigger is better,'” she says.
Meaning that your psyche may feel like ‘smaller is worse.’
Will I miss some important things about a more spacious home? 

Ask yourself: Will moving into smaller digs feel like a step forward, because I’m living more environmentally friendly and simplifying my life? Or will it feel like a step backward?
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, 45, blogs about her experiences after moving from a 1,100-square-foot house in Kansas City, Kansas, to a 480-square-foot home in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
She says there are some things she misses about her larger house (it was more centrally located, for example), and she kind of wishes her small house had cathedral-style ceilings to make the rooms look a little more spacious. But she loves that it takes her only two hours to clean her entire house. “And that includes cleaning out the refrigerator,” she says.
Karen Scott, 55, echoes the sentiment, saying that moving into a smaller house can be “amazingly freeing.” She and her husband moved from a large house in southern Florida to a smaller one in Stuart, on the Treasure Coast. With her other, bigger house, says Scott, “Every weekend, I spent from four to eight hours a weekend, just doing yard work in the summer. Plus, the house was twice as large, and even though I had help, it was still a lot of responsibility. My husband doesn’t have to worry about cleaning the pool and mowing the grass, either. It’s great how much more time you have to do what you want to do. I loved puttering in my yard, and I still do, but on my terms now.”

Read the rest: Should I Downsize My Home?.

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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: Should Your Parents Consider Moving to Independent Living?

Some seniors feel that moving out of a home they’ve lived in for decades automatically means they’re losing their independence.

But independent living is almost the opposite of that. It’s about making it easier and more fun to live on their own.

What is independent living?

Independent living is housing that’s designed exclusively for people over age 55. It can range from apartments to houses, but they’re all designed to be senior-friendly. This usually means they’re smaller, easier to get around in, and don’t require maintenance or yard work.

Many independent living communities also offer extras, like:

  • Group meals
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping and laundry service
  • Security and staff available 24/7
  • Recreational centers or clubhouses
  • Organized activities like arts & crafts, holiday parties, classes, movie nights
  • Facilities like a pool, fitness center, tennis court, golf course

Who is independent living right for?

Independent living is a good choice for active, healthy older adults who can get around on their own and don’t need help with activities of daily living.

Most people living in independent living still drive, may be employed, have active lifestyles, and participate in the greater city community.

Seniors might consider independent living because they:

  • Feel that maintaining their house is getting more and more difficult.
  • Have shrinking social circles and are getting lonely.
  • Are having a more difficult time with driving, which limits activities.
  • Have lost a spouse and feel that joining a community of people their own age would help them stay engaged in life and prevent loneliness.
  • Want to move to be closer to their kids, but don’t want to live with them, don’t want the upkeep of a house, and do want to make new friends in their new city.

Read more about the advantages of independent living at DailyCaring.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

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

Moving Mom Monday: Moving Tips for Seniors

Baby Boomer Couple with Moving Professionals

More than 12 percent of the American population is over the age of 65 and an estimated 1.5 million “senior” Americans will move into new residences this year.

Mayflower has been moving household goods across the country since 1927. The company offers some Moving Tips for Seniors that can help you execute a smooth move:

Take inventory. As soon as you decide to move (even before you put your house on the market), begin taking inventory of everything in your home. Start with the most remote corner of the basement and work your way through the entire house until you reach the peak of the attic.

Will it fit? You will most likely need to scale down the number of belongings you take to your new home. Compare the size of your new space with your old space. Will all of the belongings you plan to take fit? Visualize where your current possessions will go and then decide what to do with those pieces that probably will not fit.

Declutter your curio. Inevitably, many of us gather considerable collections over the years, some of which can be distributed among family or sold for supplemental moving funds. Ask family and friends about taking sentimental pieces and then consider selling or donating additional items to cut moving costs.

Keep emotions in check. The emotional impact of changing one’s lifestyle, parting with objects from the past and going through a house full of belongings — and memories — is hard work, both mentally and physically. Make sure there is enough time allotted to review possessions and to adjust to the idea of moving. Realistic decisions also need to be made regarding how much packing and moving should be done without the help of a professional.”

Read more Moving 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