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Managing Your Move to Senior Housing

 Posted by Celia Ahn on June 16, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Once you’ve made a decision to take charge of your own health, safety or social needs by moving to a Senior Living Community,

1. Prepare in advance

Whether choosing to move now or later, you should start putting your home in order today. Begin by evaluating what you really need to keep and then start to downsize, clear out clutter, plan an Estate Sale or make major home repairs. It is a proven fact that homes will sell for a higher price if they are “market ready”, or “Staged”, at the time of listing. (See more about Home Staging) link to BLOG

2. Establish a plan

A good plan can save time and but a professional, well structured plan can help alleviate stress and save money. Establish a relocation timetable as best you can and gather advice from qualified professionals such as movers, realtors, financial advisors and estate sale professionals. You may consider hiring a move manager such as Caring Transitions, who will establish a team approach to ensure a successful senior home transition.

3. Establish a timeline

Start with the date of your intended move and then schedule everything from that time back to present day.  Set some realistic steps and goals for moving forward and don’t try to do everything at once. It can be overwhelming. Establish definitive dates for having meetings, hiring resources or completing projects.

4. Space Plan

Very few moves can be successful without an accurate space plan, especially when moving to late life housing, which is typically much smaller than traditional family homes.  Those who chose to move without a plan are often distraught by the end of a move when they realize their new apartment is cramped and uncomfortable due to too much furniture or poorly planned storage. Professional organizations such as Caring Transitions work closely with clients to understand what is meaningful and important among their possessions. They utilize accurate 3-D space planning tools that help create ideal new environments   and help clients feel at home while saving them the expense of moving unnecessary items.

5. Downsize

Downsizing goes hand-in-hand with space planning for a smaller home, yet it is sometimes the most difficult part of “senior move”.  Many people find it daunting to sort through a lifetime of possessions in order to narrow down the selection of items they will move to a new home.  To help older adults who struggle with those decisions, Industry expert Nan Hayes has spent years teaching companies such as Caring Transitions how to help clients “rightsize” their possessions. Rightsizing helps individuals focus on what is necessary and important to their daily, care, comfort and personal identity and places less importance on sheer “volume” of possessions. In other words, helping clients identify what is personally, but not necessarily materially, valuable.

Many items fall by the wayside  during this rightsizing process  and those that  hold sentimental value are best  given to other as legacy gifts and those that hold material value are best  awarded as inheritances or liquidated through  auction, estate sale or online auction.

6.  Seek support

There can be no doubt that late life home transitions are complex and stressful. You should always seek both personal and professional support throughout the process. Be sure and discuss plans with trusted friends and relatives who have a history of supporting your decisions. The right personal support system can help you evaluate information gathered from professional advisors and create a good sounding board for reviewing choices and making decisions.

Above all, remain focused on what is important for your health, welfare and safety. As long as your medical and financial circumstances allow time to plan, seek the advice and support needed so you can remain in control of this next step in your life.

©Caring Transitions 2000-2014

Just For Seniors: Moving vs. Aging in Place

 Posted by Celia Ahn on May 15, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Establishing short term and long term housing goals can help families plan ahead for large moving or remodeling projects. It is best to consider changes to home and housing as early as possible in order to avoid situations where last minute decisions may wreak havoc on financial and emotional stability.

Today, individuals are fortunate to have many housing choices, including independent living, assisted living, active adult communities and the ability to continuing living at home with assistance and safety modifications. Reorganizing, remodeling and redesign may also serve to make existing home environments comfortable for years to come.

Moving

While a change in an individual’s functionality often initiates a senior move, many folks simply decide they no longer want to stay in a home that is too large or requires  a great deal of maintenance. Increasingly, older adults choose to move to a residential setting designed exclusively for seniors. This lifestyle choice provides a number of benefits such as safety, security, meal plans and health care services.

Regardless of these benefits, many individuals are overwhelmed at the thought of moving in late life. Fortunately, companies such as Caring Transitions work with closely with Senior Living Communities to help manage the entire move process from start to finish.  A wide range of services are available including space planning, sorting, downsizing, packing, unpacking, plus van line and real estate referrals, as well as liquidation of personal property through professional estate sale and online auction.

Staying at Home

According to AARP, over 85% of older adults prefer to age in their own homes. Today, there are more agencies and tools available that can make your “stay at home” choice a safer and more achievable reality.

Just as with our moving options, older adults need to evaluate their real needs, finances and community/caregiving resources and then formulate a “stay at home” plan.

If you or an older relative decides to stay in his/her own home or apartment but finds household tasks too overwhelming, or needs assistance with personal or health care issues, an array of home care support services are available in most communities. Contacting your local Area Agency on Aging or home health care agencies can help you obtain access to these services.

©Caring Transitions 2000-2014

Five Tips for Family Caregiving

 Posted by Celia Ahn on May 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM

As the Baby Boomer generation moves into their 60’s and their parents move into their 80’s and 90’s,   more attention has been given to the role of the family caregiver.  An increased number of resources are available in communities and online and within that data, it is evident most experts agree on the basic tools adult child require to help them gain control over stressful family situations.

1. Assess the Situation: You can find out how your parents feel about their changing health and household needs by asking simple, open-ended and non-threatening questions. “How was your last visit to the doctor?”  Parent Conversations are important and you adult children should listen to what parents have to say and gauge their response carefully, so not to patronize or antagonize the older adult.

As you learn more about the situation, consider these three primary areas which may require third-party professional assessment: 1. medical concerns, 2. cognitive concerns and, 3. assessment of functional abilities or “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL’s). This last group includes items such as socialization, personal hygiene and the ability to prepare meals, take medications and manage finances.

2. Organize Information: Family members should discuss the location of important medical, legal and financial documents with parents and determine if they willing to release copies of information. If the older adults prefer to keep paperwork in the hands of legal or financial representatives, that is their prerogative.

3. Gather Support: Long Distance Caregiving often involves a team approach. Resources will vary for every family, and may involve medical professionals, social services, care managers, home care providers, attorneys, financial advisors and more. Additional support for parents is available in the form of relatives, close friends, neighbors, religious leaders and other associates.

4. Establish a Plan: As the conversation progresses, you may discuss short and long term options with your parents. Take into account the advice of professionals along with your parents’ personal wishes. Once areas of necessary support have been identified, communicate with local care givers and/or other family members to make sure things are progressing as planned.

5. Recognize Your Limitations: Frequent travel to visit parents can be stressful and creates difficult situations for jobs and immediate family. Budget your travel funds and set up a network of support through family, friends and child care services to help support your new role. Don’t overlook signs of stress, which are quite common for care givers.

As our parents live longer, many of us will need to develop an entire new caregiving skill set. Fortunately, supportive technology, services and professional resources are developing at rapid pace.

©Caring Transitions 2000-2014

More Things to Consider When Closing the Family Estate

 Posted by Celia Ahn on April 22, 2014 at 4:47 PM

In the event a homeowner has died, the family often has many more things to consider beyond preparation and sale of the home.

Typically, a family member or family friend has been named Personal Representative of the decedent.  This role is may be referred to as Executor or Administrator and is the fiduciary put in charge of settling the estate. If there is a Last Will and Testament, a probate judge will typically appoint the Personal Representative named in the will as the Executor.

In general, the decedent’s estate planning documents such as the Last Will, funeral plans and living trust, should be organized for the estate attorney. In most cases, set aside three years of tax returns and locate a 3 month inventory of all account statements, such as checking, savings, cd’s, retirement accounts and brokerage accounts. Stock and bond certificates are required, as well as life insurance policies  and the beneficiary designations for payable on death accounts such as insurance and IRAs, real estate deeds,  titles for automobiles and other recreational vehicles, corporate records, household and utility bills, medical bill and funeral bills.  The Executor must also try and identify all creditors and outstanding debts.

The next step is determining the value of the estate at the time of death.  For all items listed on the inventory, this is typically the fair market value of the asset at the time of death. Bank and retirement accounts are listed per the most recent statements.  Real estate may be listed at its value as assessed for real estate taxes. For other property, fair market value is normally “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller in the retail market.” Appraisals are often required and the cost of appraisal or advice of accountant in these matters is usually allowable as an administrative cost of the estate.

An account is typically set up for the estate and used to pay estate management expenses and pay the decedent’s outstanding debts. Careful records of all transactions must be kept.

Typically, estate taxes must be filed within a specific time frame. Estate taxes can be very complicated and can have a significant impact on the value of the estate, as well as heirs and beneficiaries.   It is advisable to seek the experience of an estate tax attorney or CPA, who can help determine state and federal liability.

After all else is done,  the executor will distribute the decedent’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the  Last Will, or if there was no will, according to decedent’s heirs at law. The estate is closed by filing a “final accounting” with the court. The Executor also files a “closing statement,” that indicates all taxes and debts have also been paid and all property distributed.

©Caring Transitions

You may also be interested in

  • Home Downsizing to Sell
  • Five Reason to Stage Your Home
  • Ten Steps to Home Staging
  • Caring Transitions Blog Series
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