Savvy Seniors Living Seminars – Rightsizing 101 – Part 1

Need to downsize? Rightsize? View this Rightsizing 101 video (Part 1 of a 9-part series) to discover the top downsizing professionals serving seniors in the Bay Area: Katherine Fogelman of Senior Sorters and Estate Liquidators, Tammy Jo Borosky of Clear Organizing, Karl Anderson of Anderson Bros. Movers, Mary Lynne Murray of It’s About Time Organizing. This Rightsizing 101 seminar is part of the Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series hosted by Dayna Wilson, Senior Real Estate Specialist with Keller Williams Realty-East Bay. These 90-minute monthly educational seminars are presented at the Lafayette Library Community Hall, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette. Adults 55+, seniors, and caregivers are invited to attend the free seminars to learn the actual facts about issues related to home ownership and post-retirement downsizing in the S.F. Bay Area. See the full seminar schedule at http://savvyseniorsliving.com/schedule/

2018 Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series Schedule Announced

Savvy Seniors Living Seminar SeriesThe facts. It’s what East Bay homeowners want concerning late-in-life housing issues like reverse mortgages, 55+ senior living options, selling a house in today’s market, and preparing to “stay put” in your own home as you age-in-place.

These topics, along with others, will be presented in the upcoming Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series as 90-minute monthly educational seminars beginning in January at the Lafayette Library Arts & Sciences Community Hall, 3491 Mt Diablo Blvd in Lafayette.

Adults 55+, seniors, and caregivers are invited to attend the free Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series to learn the actual facts about issues related to home ownership and post-retirement downsizing in the S.F. Bay area.

This series of candid conversations and expert panel discussions about the unique and often complex issues facing long-time homeowners is to be moderated by Dayna Wilson, Seniors Real Estate Specialist® [SRES]® of Keller Williams Real Estate-East Bay, who has a team that provides comprehensive “senior friendly” transition services related to downsizing, late-life relocation, and (55+) senior living solutions.

“Emotions get in the way, and fear often sets in,” said Wilson. “Seniors often have to deal with the prospect of leaving the family home, of losing their independence, and sorting through all the stuff they’ve accumulated over the course of their lifetimes. This is where our expertise and experience in dealing with these types of moves comes in.”

Increasing numbers of 55+ active adults in the East Bay and beyond have many questions. “Many seniors have no idea what is available to them, how much it will cost, or the process for making all the pieces fit together,” Wilson continued. “We want to give them helpful information, introduce them to trusted local resources, and answer their questions. Beyond helping with immediate needs, our intention is give individuals and families both direction and confidence so they feel empowered when the time comes to make a major life decision.”

The 2018 Savvy Seniors Living Seminar Series debuts with “55+ Senior Living Options” on January 17th at 10 AM. “You will learn the facts about the many types of retirement communities available in the area and the questions you should be asking when considering your options. This is the perfect place to educate yourself so that you can make the right decisions for you and your family,” said Wilson.

Here is the full seminar schedule for 2018:

January 17th – 55+ Senior Living Options
February 7th – Tax, Legal & Financial Issues
March 7th – Senior Scams
April 4th – Aging in Place-AKA Stayin’ Put
May 2nd – Selling your Home in Today’s Market
June 6th – How to Pay for Senior Living
July 11th – Assisting Living Options
August 15th – Understanding Continuing Care Retirement Communities
September 5th – The New Reverse Mortgages-Fact vs. Myth
October 3rd – Independent Living Options
November 7th – Estate Liquidation Strategies
December 5th – Downsizing Lessons from People Who’ve Done It

The seminars are open to all individuals who want to learn the facts about local senior living options from some of the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals in the senior living industry. Admission is free. All seminars start at 10 AM and finish at 11:30 AM. Please call 925-788-6582 to register or sign up online at http://savvyseniorsliving.com. Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

More about the host and moderator: Dayna Wilson has been serving clients in the East Bay communities of Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Clayton and Martinez and beyond since 2009. As a certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist® Dayna helps Boomers, Zoomers and Savvy Seniors explore housing options, ensuring that their next home best serves their current and future needs.

Moving Mom Monday: How to Plan for a Manageable Move

Baby Boomer Couple with Moving Professionals

According to the advice in the AARP article How to Plan for a Manageable Move, the first step is to decide what to take and what to leave:

Here’s how to start:

Step 1. Ask your loved one to name the six possessions that are dearest — not most needed or most valuable. Jewelry and anything smaller doesn’t count. Perhaps it’s the blanket your mom wrapped around her newborn babies, or the bureau handhewn by your dad’s grandfather. The chosen items are keepers.

Step 2. You’ll need six sticky-note pads in different colors, a marker and at least six boxes per room and per closet. Label them Move, Sell, Toss, Donate, Up for Grabs and Pass Along.

Step 3. Start with the least-used rooms — that’s where most of us stash the stuff we like the least.

– Before going in, try to agree to get rid of anything that is broken, cracked or worn out, unless it is an heirloom.

Read the rest of the steps at How to Plan for a Manageable Move.

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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 – More Tips on How to Declutter Your Home…from AARP

Cluttered RoomIn the AARP article 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home, author Marni Jameson suggests you start with your attic.

“When you’re up against your memories, remember: You’re simplifying your life, not erasing your past:

Your kids’ stuff. It’s not your job to save everything from your children’s lives. Box up what belongs to the kids, and send it to them. Or tell them to claim it now — with the date you plan to have the house cleared out — or never.

Books. If you’re going to read it, or it just feels too much like family (The Cat in the Hat), put it on your bookshelf. If not, give it away. You can drop books off at a library or donation center. Or call around for a charity that will pick up.

Luggage. That graduation gift from your grandparents? If it’s in decent shape, sell it at your own or a neighborhood garage sale, and tell stories of where you’ve been. If not, donate it to a charity such as a women’s homeless shelter.

Hand-me-down furniture. Consignment stores can be a godsend for a chair or sofa in good condition that worked for someone else — but not for you. They sell it and usually split it 30/70 (30 percent to you), but sometimes 40/60.

Clothes. Can you answer yes to “Do I love it?” “Do I need it?” or “Will I use it?” If not, then out it goes. It doesn’t matter whether “I only wore it once,” “It’s in good condition” or “It was expensive.” Then make three piles: toss, donate, sell.

Read more at: 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home.

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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 – 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home…from AARP

Post It Note with Message Declutter Your LifeIn the AARP article 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home, author Marni Jameson suggests you start with your attic.

“When you’re up against your memories, remember: You’re simplifying your life, not erasing your past:

1. Wedding dress. If no one is going to wear it again, have some nice pillows made out of it. Or save it to wrap bouquets in your daughter’s wedding. Or clip off a piece of fabric and display it in a frame with a photo of your wedding day.

2. Love letters. Keep them if they’re yours. But if they’re your parents’, they’re not really yours: They’re part of a romance between your parents, never meant for you. Burn them ceremonially and send the love back into the universe.

3. Boxes of photos. Throw out landscape shots. Pick three with people in them from each vacation or holiday. With the rest, pull out the great shots. Send the keepers to an online scanning service to store in the cloud, or make albums.

4. China set. If you like it, use it. If you don’t, sell it through eBay. Be realistic, though. Not long ago, fine china commanded a nice price. But today’s consumers want fine tableware that’s safe in the microwave and the dishwasher.

5. Antiques. Take high-end antiques to a local antiques dealer, who can take them to an auction house. Find out what the house’s take is upfront (typically 10 to 15 percent) as well as where it will place the starting bid.

6. Greeting cards. Their job is to greet you over the holidays. They did that. Now you throw them away. Or put them in the recycle bin. If you saved the envelopes, you can go through them to update your address book.”

Read more at: 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home.

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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 – How to Deal With Inherited Clutter

Senior couple packing a miving boxWhen reading the article 6 Steps In Dealing With Inherited Clutter, you will learn that “Decluttering can cause a lot of stress. This stress is magnified when it’s inherited clutter. Pressure can mount when you are faced with the decluttering task of things that are not yours or are left to your care. Why? Because simply, this isn’t your mess! Yet you have to clean it up!”

Here are some tips to make things easier:

4. Re-gift or Pass On. Passing much-loved items on to people who will make good use of them is rewarding for the giver.

For example: Think of times someone has admired something in the home

Family, friends, or even neighbours may have admired or commented on something over the years. Perhaps return a gift that was received from a special someone.

Considering others who may love the opportunity to have the item and continue to cherish and care for it will be easier for the owner to let it go.

5. Toss Or Donate. The decision to toss or donate can be made simply if you follow some basic steps. Follow our special Declutter Clinic: Should I Sell, Donate, Or Throw It Out? here.

For example: Sell, Keep or Donate

Sell it if:

– It’s worth more than the cost of selling and
– You’re motivated enough to organize the sale.

Donate it if:

– It’s in good condition and
– The question of donating versing tossing won’t immobilize you.

6. Sell Items Online. If you have the time and the motivation, you can try selling items online.

Some people find a lot of success in selling online. Other’s find it a compete headache! If you are inclined to give it a try, start small to avoid feeling overwhelmed. There can be a lot of questions and upload work getting the item ready to sell.

For example: Selling good, unwanted items online

Sell it if:

– You’re motivated enough to organize the sale
– The owner is happy to pass the item on to someone else
– The owner genuinely feels the item can be used or enjoyed by someone else

As the person charged with the task of decluttering someone else’s belongings, try to remember that relinquishing much-loved items can be overwhelming. Be patient. Be understanding. Be kind!”

Read more at: 6 Steps In Dealing With Inherited Clutter.

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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 – More 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.”

Here are strategies to keep in mind as you make the transition:

Allow yourself to feel discomfort. Speaking of home, know that when your parent says they want to go home, they may not necessarily mean their last address. It’s incredibly difficult to hear your parent say they want to go home. But know this: they may not be referring to their last address – especially if they have dementia; they may be referring to a childhood home. Home is both a place and a feeling. Sit with them in the discomfort of that statement and talk to them about what they miss. You can’t promise to change their situation, but you can hear them as they express their feelings. And that will help.

Acknowledge the difficult parts.Yes you want to paint the new move in a positive light, but don’t talk at your parents about all the wonderful new activities and people and opportunities. Listen to their fears and concerns and acknowledge them. Then help them get through it. They will be more likely to listen to what you have to say if they feel like you’ve listened to what they had to say.

Surround your parent with their personal belongings. Moving to assisted living usually means downsizing. The dining room table with two extension leaves and coordinating hutch may not fit in the new apartment. But what does fit, are photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a familiar piece of artwork. If you need to downsize the bedroom set, you can still bring a familiar blanket and pillows. The kitchen may be new, but you can pack your mother’s favorite teacup. Leaving a home shouldn’t mean leaving behind the comforts of that home.

Limit new things. You may be tempted to furnish your parent’s new place with the latest and greatest in hopes they love their fancy new home. But limit new items. Moving into an assisted living facility is a major adjustment where everything is new – the people, the food, the routines. Don’t overwhelm your parents with a new phone or remote control for the television, or a fancy new coffee maker. Limit the amount of new things they need to learn.

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 – More Tips to Help You Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need

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.

Encourage your parent to focus on most-used items (and let the rest go). Be patient and follow your parent’s lead — what seems old and useless to you may be a source of great comfort and joy and therefore worth moving. “Don’t go by the newest and best; go by what they use,” Margit Novack, president of MovingSolutions in Philadelphia and founding president of the National Association of Senior Move Managers, says. ‘You may think Mom should pack her pretty cut-glass tumblers for assisted living, but the reality is that those ugly stained plastic ones are what she uses every day.’

When facing especially hard choices, ask for the story behind a dubious object — where it came from, when it was last used, whether a young family might put it to good use. This takes time, but the payoff is that once your parent starts talking, he or she may have a clearer perspective and feel more able to let go, Novack says.

Pack representative bits of favored items (not the whole kit and kaboodle). Photos, memorabilia, and collections typically take up far more space than the average assisted-living quarters can accommodate. Many services digitize images and papers for you for reasonable prices — sell the idea to your parent that every family member will get a copy, too.

Pick key prints to display on the walls; large tabletop displays take up too much precious space.

If it’s meant to be a gift or legacy, encourage giving it now. Urge your parent not to wait for the next holiday, birthday, or other milestone to bestow; remind him that there’s no space for storage. Ask, ‘Why not enjoy the feeling of giving right now?’ (And if you’re the recipient — just take it, and encourage your relatives to do the same. You can lose it later, if you don’t want it, but the immediate need is to empty your parent’s house.)”

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

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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: When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations

Elderly Lady

In the article When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations, author Elizabeth Pope suggests that combining households affects every member of today’s family: from toddlers to great-grandparents. Pre-planning, clear boundaries and open communication can help preserve harmony even under difficult circumstances. Here is some advice that can help:

Expectations and Communication. Moving a parent in with you changes the family dynamic and requires planning ahead and honest communication about ground rules and boundaries, says David Horgan, co-author of ‘When Your Parent Moves In’. ‘You can’t treat an elder like a house guest, always putting on ‘company manners’,’ Horgan says. ‘At the same time, you’ve got to preserve the core family’s unity while not making your parent feel useless or invisible. It’s a delicate balancing act, but have those hard conversations as soon as problems arise.’ Example: ‘Mom, sorry but we’re not having sit-down dinners every night.’

Horgan, whose late mother-in-law lived with his family for six years, says many adult children expect Grandma will be a live-in babysitter — only later realizing she needs care as her health declines. “If your parent has any medical or mental conditions, talk to doctors, visit local care facilities and find out everything you can about the prognosis of the disease,” he says. Before making the big move, consider moving in with your parent for a week or two to make sure you can manage his or her care on your own.

Getting the Help You Need. Home health care aides can help relieve over-taxed caregivers, but some aging parents resist outside help, warns Jody Gastfriend, vice president of Care Management at Care.com and LICSW (Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker). ‘Your mother may resist having a home health aide so you can go shopping’ she says. ‘Parents have the right to make bad decisions, but we don’t have to enable them. Be careful about sacrificing your own needs, because that often leads to resentment and burnout.” Family caregivers should also beware making a frail elder the focus of attention, ignoring a spouse or children.'”

Read more at When Mom Moves In: Creating Boundaries and Expectations.

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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 – Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind

Donation Box Full of Household GoodsIn the Realtor.com article Moving? Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind, author Jamie Wiebe offers tips you might not have considered when downsizing your possessions before you move:

How to downsize your electronics. We all have a few skeletons in the closet. For most of us, those skeletons are broken electronics. Whether they’re old laptops, cracked cellphones, or numerous micro-USB chargers, those suckers need to head to the slaughterhouse. (Don’t just toss these guys in the dumpster, though; there are electronics recycling programs you can use instead.)

There’s one exception, says Michelle Hale, the co-owner of New York City’s home organization service Henry & Higby: Unique chargers or cables whose pair you can’t identify. Maybe they’re for your kid’s 3DS game console or that old digital camera.

‘Put it in a box for the duration of the packing process,’ Hale says. ‘Better [to be] safe than sorry should you find a match for it in another part of the house.’

Create an ‘open first box.’ Hale’s last rule of downsizing keeps things smooth when it comes time to unpack: Create an ‘open first box,’ complete with toilet paper, lightbulbs, toiletries, basic cleaning supplies, and bed sheets. This genius idea keeps you from having to dig through every box to fill your basic needs on your first night in your new place—just open, kick back, and relax. Just make sure to label it clearly and instruct your movers to leave it somewhere obvious. ‘It will help you get through that first night with a little less stress,’ Hale says.”

Read more at: Moving? Here’s How to Downsize Your Stuff Without Losing Your Mind.

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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