Moving Mom Monday: Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help

In the Forbes article Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help, author Carolyn L. Rosenblatt, RN, BSN, PHN reports that, “Pride, fear, unwillingness to accept the realities of aging, and extreme discomfort with change are some of the reasons aging parents refuse help when they really need it.”

What can adult children do to convince their parents to accept help? Here are some ideas:

If feasible, we always encourage a family meeting, including not only adult children, but caring others as well. A best friend may hold more sway in convincing a stubborn parent to think about safety than “the kids.” (What do they know anyway?) Clergy, or someone the aging parent looks up to and respects, can be invaluable in persuading a change of heart.

A doctor’s input can be quite helpful. Our elders may trust and believe their doctors and take their direction seriously. We encourage asking the doctor to see the aging parent and to strongly advise a move or other step the parent can take to reduce the risk of living alone.

As responsible adult children, we can check out suitable alternative living situations in advance and ask the aging parent to visit with us. ‘Just have lunch and see the place’ is a first step. Most such facilities will gladly serve you lunch and show you around, introducing an aging parent to other residents.

Marketing directors at assisted living facilities can be useful in helping an aging parent with the often difficult transition. However, beware of the sales pitch. They want to match the facility to the prospect, but there can be tremendous pressure on them to fill empty apartments. It is important to understand the legal limits of assisted living. Know them if you are considering it as an option for your parent.”

Read more at Helping Aging Parents Who Don’t Want Help.

===

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 – 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Boomers and Seniors

Senior couple packing a miving boxIn the article 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens, the Gentle Giant Moving Company offers helpful downsizing and moving tips for boomers and seniors:

1. Start with a floor plan of your new space. A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have. It will tell you how much furniture you can fit and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.

2. Reduce the amount of belongings you have to move. Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. Take some time to sort through your belongings and give special items to friends and family. You can also have a yard sale or donate some items to charity. For certain items you’re not ready to part with but cannot bring to your new place, consider using a storage facility.

3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use. This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home.

4. Have a sorting system. Use colored stickers to identify which items you want to donate, which you want to give to family and which ones you need to keep. Make a list of potential recipients and match up the items, instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.

5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones. Sorting through large furniture first will create a sense of progress for senior citizens. This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, as it will be clear what storage will be available in the new home.

Find more ideas: 10 Moving and Downsizing Tips for Senior Citizens.

===

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: Benefits of Living Smaller

Senior Couple with Moving Box

In the article Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers, author Jeff LaBombard offers advice on some of the recent housing trends as well as general guidelines for beginning the downsizing process:

“Some retirees still opt for Senior Living Communities or smaller spaces like apartments and condos. No matter what form downsizing takes, there are some key points to consider. Jeff Reeves outlined these points in an article for USA Today. He encourages the following:

Consider the taxes. Income and property taxes vary widely depending on where you live. Do some research before moving. For those on a budget, it is wise to choose an area with lower tax rates.

Public Transportation. Is there housing available in an area that also provides public transportation? This can eliminate the need for multiple – or even any – car payments and maintenance services.

Health Care. It is important to choose an area that offers access to doctors and other health services within the network of your insurance.

Overhead. When choosing a smaller place to live, consider the overhead. While this new place mows the grass and shovels the snow for you, is the cost of those services budget friendly?

Look Beyond the Price Tag. While cost is a major factor for those on a reduced or limited income, it’s not the only factor. It is important to maintain social and community ties – be it friends and family, familiar stores, or a regular doctor.

Check With A Local Realtor. One of the road blocks today is the housing market itself. The Baby Boomer generation matured in a time when building equity in a home came easily and they “traded-up” from their starter homes to something bigger and better. However, the current housing market might not be in their favor if they choose to sell. Forbes.com reports that the Gen-Xers are not ‘trading up’ like their predecessors. Changes to the financial landscape created a plateau in their careers, forcing them to shoulder the brunt of the recent economic downturn. They are working to maintain what they have, not invest in something bigger. As for the Millennials, home ownership in general a possibility, but not a probability. Burdened with school loan debt and a poor job market, they don’t want or can’t afford home ownership. This ripple effect through the generations can have a direct impact on Seniors and Baby Boomers as they hope to sell their large home for top dollar while searching for an affordable smaller home.”

Read more at Downsizing Tips For Seniors & Boomers.

===

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 – Time for You to Get Rid of All That Extra Stuff

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.

===

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: How to Talk to Your Parents About Moving Out of Their Big, Beautiful House

Elderly Couple Sitting on a Couch

In the Time article How to Talk to Your Parents About Moving Out of Their Big, Beautiful House, author Penelope Wang offers advice on how to have a tricky family conversation that has real financial impact:

“As your parents get older, chances are they’re going to want to stay in their own homes, rather than move to a condo or retirement community — most people do. But aging in place may not be a realistic option. What if one, or both, can no longer get up the stairs — or drive to the store? If finances are tight, an expensive remodeling job, or a move closer to town, may not be possible.

It’s an awkward subject to bring up. But if you’re starting to worry about your parents, open the conversation now. The best time to make changes is well before a crisis happens.

OPENING LINE

‘I’ve always loved this house, and I know you do too. Is there anything I can help you with to keep it in good shape?’

Start by acknowledging your parents’ feelings about their home. Take the time to reminisce about family gatherings and shared history before segueing into the physical and financial challenges of maintaining their home. ‘It will help to have suggestions about how you can make things easier for them,’ says Rodney Harrell, director of livable communities at AARP — whether tasks that you take over or simple modifications that will make their home safer.

TALKING POINTS

‘You’re spending a lot of money to keep up your house, and you have a lot of equity in it. Have you thought about selling and using that cash to move somewhere more comfortable?’

Older adults with paid off mortgages, especially those living in high-cost areas, may have a lot of equity built up in their homes, says Vince DiLeva, a financial advisor in Redondo Beach, Calif. Many seniors could tap that equity by downsizing, perhaps to an easier-to-maintain condo or a continuing care retirement community that offers services they need.

If the notion of moving may not appeal to your mom and dad at first, offer to take them on a tour of retirement communities — there may be one nearby where they already have friends. Look for options that feature activities that your parent enjoys — communities that boast movies or restaurants within walking distance, for instance, or that make regular excursions to the theater.

‘One major advantage of a retirement community is the ease of socializing,’ says McGraw. ‘Seniors can make new friends and try out new activities, while they may end up isolated at home.'”

Read more at How to Talk to Your Parents About Moving Out of Their Big, Beautiful House.

===

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.

===

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: When and How to Coax Your Parent to Move Closer

Elserly Man in Wheelchair Sitting Next to Caregiver

In the Next Avenue article When and How to Coax Your Parent to Move Closer, author MP Dunleavey writes about her experience of being a long-distance caregiver to her elderly father:

“Eight years ago, my dad moved to a tiny town in New Mexico after nearly four decades in New York City. Then an active 73-year-old retiree, he yearned for a taste of mythic Southwest living, four acres and a dog.

But what seemed like an almost exotic locale when my husband and I first visited him (‘Look, a tumbleweed!’) is now a growing source of worry and expense for my family as well as for my brother and his wife.

There are no direct flights to my father’s area from our homes in New York and Connecticut, so it’s an 11-hour schlep. It costs about $1,200 for my husband, son and me to fly there, so it’s not like we can afford to just pop in whenever Dad needs us.

Last fall, Dad was hospitalized with abdominal pains that turned out to be related to old scar tissue. The discomfort quickly passed. But those 24 hours that my family and I were in emergency mode provoked a freight train of angst and impulsive ‘solutions’ and drove home the strains of long-distance caregiving: the hastily booked flights, the need to schedule time off from work, lost sleep, phone calls to nearby assisted living centers and on and on.”

What the Experts Recommend

Here are four tips from caregiving pros:

1. Do a cost-benefit analysis of the move (one that’s not wholly financial). While long-distance caregiving can be expensive and stressful, in some cases, it might be wiser for your mom or dad not to relocate. The quality of medical care may be better where they are and their social life might be richer, compared with moving to a new area.

2. Factor in the personal and economic cost to you of having a parent nearby. Yes, you may spend less on travel after your mom or dad relocates, but you’re likely to devote a lot more time assisting him or her. Caregivers who live near their relatives spend an average of almost 40 hours a week looking after them. That’s like holding down a second job.”

Read more tips at When and How to Coax Your Parent to Move Closer.

===

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 – 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.

===

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?.

===

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.

===

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