The Upside of Downsizing

What is “downsizing? Webster defines it as “to make smaller.” The term is most familiar when related to business layoffs and making a company smaller. For the purpose of this discussion, it means engaging in a number of tasks, such as: Reducing household good via gifts to family and friends, sales, donations, etc. Organizing, sorting household items. Preparing for developing an overall moving and/or “aging in place plan.” Are you ready to boldly sail into your future, but are still clinging to all your cherished things? Downsizing is an opportunity to create a new life in a new space. Many of our clients tell us, “Getting rid of stuff was so liberating.” 20 Tips to Declutter Your Home It’s only worth what people will pay for it. When deciding what to get rid of, make three piles: toss; donate; and sell. 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. Love letters Keep them if they’re yours. But if they’re …

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Downsizing Offers a Fresh Start for Older Adults

Kaye Appleman and her husband at the home they have owned for more than 30 years in Bethesda, Md. They are moving to a condominium nearby. The New York Times By Harriet Edleson For Dianne Welsh, 63, downsizing from her 3,400-square-foot home to a nearby two-bedroom bungalow did not happen instantly. It was at least 30 months from start to finish. “I’m a very organized person,” said Ms. Welsh, a long-divorced government contractor who still works part time in health communications. She started going through closets and drawers, getting rid of “quite a bit,” she said. But there was more. “Where did all this come from? It was way more than I thought.” Like others at or near traditional retirement age — either retired or thinking about it — Ms. Welsh wanted to simplify her life. An estimated 4.2 million retirees moved to a new home in 2014, according to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices.” Over all, 64 percent of retirees expect to move at least once during retirement. But after living in the same house for 35 years — the home where she had raised three sons — downsizing, she …

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7 Things You Should Know About Downsizing

An estimated 4.2 million retirees move to a new home each year, according to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave report, “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices.” Over all, 64% of retirees expect to move at least once during retirement. Most older adults downsizing needs are considerable because we have lived in our current residence 30, 40 or more years. As such, we’ve accumulated vast quantities of furnishings and treasured belongings. Organizational and physical tasks associated with planning and effecting relocating are complicated and, too often, daunting for our entire family. When we decide to relocate from the comfort and familiarity of our longtime home to smaller and safer quarters, the path is generally kinda foggy. Evaluation requires a cool head and a clear unblinking look at a host of real life issues that transform to an easier and more enjoyable life. The right choice and the easy choice might not be the same.   1. Health: Neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s, failing eyesight, deteriorating balance, forgetfulness, low stamina and/or a combination of other health issues are signals that a change in residence might be beneficial to our comfort and well-being. 2. Finances: Reduced costs and less …

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Real Estate Relief for Older Adults

By Joanne B. Simms Selling a primary residence, whether downsizing or otherwise, can be a daunting experience, especially for folks who haven’t done it in a long while. This is typically the situation with older adults, who have been in the “family home” for 40 or 50 years. Carolyn Ambrose is a Certified Seniors Real Estate Specialist focusing on transactions that involve seniors, their children and their families. Approximately 75 per cent of her clientele are over 50 years of age. She understands the needs of seniors and draws upon the expertise of CPAs, estate planners and lawyers. “It’s all about understanding the features of each generation,” she says. Each has to be treated with a different type of marketing and communication.” She says younger seniors tend to be comfortable with cellphones and messaging, while older ones tend to be technologically challenged. “They don’t text. They prefer to communicate by speaking on the phone or face-to-face. My job is to simplify the process as best I can, so I ask them how they’d like to communicate.” Next, she evaluates the nature of the transaction. Downsizing and moving into a smaller less demanding residence is oftentimes the case. Maintaining the old …

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Joys of Grandparenting

Like many of you, I have very fond memories of my grandparents, especially grandad. I was the first of several grandchildren and we bonded immediately. He was my favorite grownup. Grandparents and their grandchildren have unique and rewarding relationships. Fulfilling grandkids sense of security, prospering deep familial relationships and heightening their sense of family unit togetherness are compelling elements to healthy living. Grandparents relish interacting with grandkids on a level that is removed from the day-to-day responsibilities of parenting. Periodic weekends together, afternoon play dates, an evening babysitting, summer vacations, phone chats and occasional email exchanges are enormously pleasurable. Mary Bounds’ article Grandparents: Planning a Simpler, Grand Summer, highlights the joys grandparents have experienced for generations. Three out of four grandparents report their grandchildren are the most important, satisfying thing in their life. Not surprisingly, most Nanas and Papas look forward to spending time with their grandkids, and what better time than summer vacation! Whether it’s the entire summer or a weekend with the grands, the goal is to make meaningful, lasting memories, but here’s an important news flash: A hefty bankroll is not required! What devoted grandparent doesn’t delight in an enjoyable summer visit from their precious grandchildren? Theme parks …

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The Economic Pitfalls of Caregiving

Be Considerate and Smart Protecting Your Own Money by Jean Chatzky, January 2018 A caregiver is responsible for attending to the specific requirements of, in this discussion, an elderly person. Often primary caregiving becomes the responsibility of one or more family members. Their responsibilities can range from companionship to a host of activities in maintaining the health and well-being of a love one. Examples are preparing a medical plan, housekeeping, accessing medical services and monitoring medications, as well as assisting with other life basics. Though daunting, it’s a necessary task faced by many families. In her article, Jean Chatzky addresses several financial aspects in caregiving. When you fly as much as I do, you can recite the safety briefing by heart, especially the part about putting on your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else. The same sort of warning should be given to the 43 million American adults who are family or friend caregivers, particularly when it comes to their own finances. According to a 2011 study, the average lifetime cost to caregivers is $304,000 in lost wages, pensions and Social Security. That doesn’t count the $7,000 in cash that 7 out of 10 caregivers pay each year (on …

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How to Check On Elderly Parents During Holiday Visits

By Laura Berrios for the Atlanta Journal Constitution If you’re planning a holiday trip home to aging parents, you might want to do a little snooping while there. Elderly parents aren’t always forthcoming about their health and activities of daily living when talking with their adult children over the phone. And for good reason, says Lisa Kaufman, owner of SeniorCare Options, an Aging Life Care Management service in metro Atlanta. “They are fearful of being put away in a home, so they keep things private. They don’t want someone finding out they’re not functioning.” If you want to know what’s really going on with your loved ones as they age in place, here are a few places to poke your nose where (your parents think) it doesn’t belong. The garage: Fender benders, and nicks and scrapes on the sides of the car could indicate there’s a problem with driving. This could indicate that visual and spatial skills have diminished, Kaufman said. If driving is a concern, AARP’s free online seminar “We Need to Talk” can help prepare you for that conversation, says Hillary W. Thomas, senior program specialist with AARP Georgia. The kitchen: Check out the refrigerator. Are there lots …

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7 Government Programs You Can Access For Your Elderly Parents

When my wife’s and my elderly parents reached the point of needing extended medical guidance and financial assistance as they grew older and less able to care for themselves, we struggled through a quagmire of resources to find proper the pathways to assistance. At the time, it resulted in expensive and often agonizing courses of events. According to the Georgia’s Governor’s Office of Planning, Georgia has one of the nation’s fastest growing 85+ age populations. It is expected to increase 306% over the next three decades. The 60+ population is expected to grow by 65% during the next 13 years. We wish we’d had the benefit of Marlo Sollitto’s advice to point the way. Her article below, published in Aging Care, clearly ambles us through the confusing process of financial and medical caregiving assistance for our seniors. Caregiving for an aging parent may stretch your budget as well as your endurance. That is, if you aren’t aware of scores of federal, state, and even local government programs that can help you make ends meet. Access to assistance is as close as your computer, and, in most cases, you can apply online. Start by visiting two sites: www.benefites.gov : Gather all …

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Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection: Georgia’s One-Stop Network

Caregiving for aging parents may stretch one’s budget as well as one’s endurance. That is, if we aren’t aware of scores of federal, state and local government programs that can help make ends meet. Access to assistance is as close as our computer and, in most cases, we can apply online. In today’s blog, Laura Berrios details a valuable resource for the State of Georgia. (From 8/21/17 Atlanta Journal and Constitution) Where do we go when we need services for an elderly loved one? Mom needs transportation; dad needs help with his meds. They both should move out of that big house, but where are they going to go? It’s enough to send siblings scrambling for answers and resources. In Georgia, the Aging and Disabilities Resource Connection is the one-stop information network for all those questions. Since 2004 it has been the main referral source to all services provided through the Area Agencies on Aging, and now has a database of more than 26,000 resources for individuals or family members who are aging or living with a disability. The network is staffed by trained counselors who can assess the need, answer questions, and point we to resources in your area. …

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Getting Organized

Did you know that an estimated 4.2 million retirees move to a new home each year? Merrill Lynch and Age Wave reports that fact in “Home in Retirement: More Freedom, New Choices.” Over all, 64 percent of retirees expect to move at least once during retirement. As such, getting organized for downsizing for a new home is crucial. Having lived in our current residence 30, 40 or more years, we’ve accumulated vast quantities of furnishings, keepsakes and treasured belongings. Most of which have emotional attachments. Deciding how and to whom to distribute them is, in all likelihood, a logistical nightmare for the entire family. In “Getting Organized,” Barb Gustafson says downsizing is the perfect opportunity to shed ourselves of much of the clutter we’ve amassed over decades. The proven step-by-step process starts by having a purpose in mind that fits your needs for each room in your new home. This should help you decide what you truly don’t need and what to bring forward. Take measurements or have the square footage of each room to create floor plans and furniture arrangements. Carry a copy for handy reference, if you’re out shopping, especially when selecting larger pieces. Start sorting and downsizing …

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