The answer is assessment, examine solutions, declutter and have a written plan. Can you guess the question?
In reality, it’s a question that all of us will one day ponder: When does life require a move to a smaller, safer living space?
Whether that question is being asked by you or a loved one, at some point we all have to stop and look at our long-term comfort and safety and figure out if it’s time to right-size our home. While some people may look forward to the concept of downsizing as they age, others find it extremely difficult to give up the old homestead. Following are four areas to consider in the decision-making process:
• Assessment: Take an honest look at your home and how much of it you actually use. Are you living in a six-room house but only use the kitchen, living room and bedroom on a regular basis? Are the stairs becoming difficult to navigate? Is your home somewhat isolated from family and friends? Assess your living situation honestly by recording your daily activities over an extended period of time. The results may surprise you!
• Examine solutions: If remaining in your home is no longer the best choice, what are your alternatives? There are many options such as a retirement community, condo, apartment or just a smaller house. At this point, it’s crucial to consider your finances and think long term.
• Declutter: Removing possessions that you no longer use can make any home feel free of obstructions and easier to manage on a daily basis. Go through a different room each week and decide if there’s anything that can be sold, donated or disposed of.
• Written plan: Keep a notebook and have a written action plan that helps serve as a timeline for your future. Set some simple goals, such as clean out the garage, interview Realtors or visit apartments. Writing things down can help ease fears and create energy.
By following these four steps, you can take a lot of the stress out of downsizing!
One of the greatest problems faced by senior citizens today is isolation. Far too often we hear and see examples of seniors living alone, with no nearby family members and no close friends. It’s a tough life to live.
Thankfully, more and more seniors are also becoming computer literate. While it will never fully take the place of a real visit or a handshake, social networking gives seniors an outlet to connect with others using technology that’s right at their fingertips.
Facebook, for example, now has millions of users age 65 or older. Using Facebook, they can keep in touch with everyone from out-of-town relatives to old friends who may now find it difficult to get out and about as much as they did in the past. The simple act of connecting with others, even over the internet, can help maintain a positive attitude and good health.
Additionally, some healthcare providers and senior advocacy groups have established “virtual villages” where seniors are offered exclusive access to discussion forums, educational and wellness programs, services for seniors and even scheduled social activities.
There is no age limit when using social media, and while it will never replace a hug, it can sure help some of our seniors feel like they’re connected, useful and part of a larger community.
Halloween may be over, but here’s a scary statistic for you: Did you know that one-third of seniors over the age of 65 suffer a fall each year, causing injury, disability, placement in nursing homes and even death?
Therefore, it’s very important that we remain vigilant in our attempt to maintain a safe household. Here are some tips to help keep your home free of falls!
• Do a room-by-room review to eliminate potential tripping hazards such as floor clutter and inadequate lighting.
• Add grab bars where needed, such as on steep staircases.
• Remove throw rugs that could result in slip and falls and run any extension cords behind furnishings.
• Paint the bottom stair a different color so that the last step is easier to see.
• If your home needs modifications that are beyond your area of expertise, contact your local senior center or Department of Senior Services and ask if they could recommend reputable and insured service providers to make the repairs for you.
Staying safe, upright and out of the hospital is always a good idea. And with a little preparation, you’ll greatly improve your odds of doing so!
Real estate expert Michael Olear of The Olear Team/MJ Peterson, will be among the speakers at a seminar titled “Planning Ahead for Your Future” scheduled from 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight and again on Oct. 4.
Presented by Elderwood, the events will take place at Elderwood at Amherst, 4459 Bailey Ave., Amherst. A variety of issues facing older adults will be discussed, including:
• “How to Maximize Value and Reduce Stress When Selling Your Home,” presented by Michael Olear, licensed associate real estate broker, Olear Team/MJ Peterson.
• “Protecting Your Most Important Asset: Your Family,” presented by long-term care specialist Richard Lash, CLTC, LUTCF.
• “The Importance of Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney,” presented by Elder Law Attorney Lisa J. Allen. Learn what Medicare and Medicaid provide toward long-term care needs.
For more information and reservations, please contact Mike Ford at 835-2543 or [email protected].