Tips for making your home safe for your elderly parent to move in

Home modifications tips for elderly parents moving in with caregivers

With Americans living longer and longer, with the baby boomer retirement population exploding and expecting to almost double in the next few years, one option that families are taking is having elderly parents move in with their caregiver children.

One must consider home modifications to accommodate elderly loved ones moving back home.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

Some general safety and room-by-room details to consider include:
• Make sure to have study handrails on all indoor and outdoor steps.
• Install nonskid strips on or near steps and near the edges. For those with visual impairments, the strips should be a color that contrasts with the color of the steps.
• Light switches should be located near all entrances to each room, at each end of hallways, and at the top and bottom of stairwells.
• Lighting should be sufficiently throughout the home.
• Consider replacing traditional door knobs with lever handles which are easier to operate than doorknobs.
• Interior doors should have locks that can be opened from either side.
• Hallways and doorways should be wide enough to accommodate a walker or wheelchair.
• The water heater should be set at 120 degrees to reduce the risk of scalding.
• Solid color carpeting with dense pile will lower fall risks. Deep pile carpeting can be more difficult to walk on, and patterned carpeting may cause optical illusions for those who have difficulty with depth perception.
• To lower fall risks with hardwood floors, avoid wax or high gloss polishes or throw rugs.
• Avoid room entrances with raised door thresholds.
• Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be present near all sleeping areas.
• Check that kitchen cabinets and countertops are a comfortable height, and that there is space to roll a wheelchair under a counter, if needed.
• A side-by-side refrigerator/freezer will be easier to use than a top-bottom model.
• Electric or gas stoves should not be positioned under a window because the presence of curtains will increase the risk of fire.
• Sinks should have a single-lever mixing faucet.
• The touch pad of a microwave should be large and easy to read, and the device should be in a convenient location.
• There should be one bathroom located on the main floor of the home, as well as near the bedroom (if the home is multi-level).
• Grab bars should be present or can be installed near the toilet and tub/shower.
• Check that the toilet is a comfortable height.
• It is recommended that the tub/shower has a hand-held spray unit, and a built-in seat or space to utilize a shower chair (chairs are available which extend over the side of a tub if a stall shower is not present, however you will need a curtain instead of shower doors to minimize water escaping from the shower.)
• A pedestal sink may be needed if a wheelchair or regular chair will be used in front of the sink.
• The size of the bathroom should be adequate for wheelchair maneuverability.
• Avoid throw rugs and bathmats. The floor should be carpeted (low pile), or matte-finished, textured tile instead of a smooth, potentially slippery surface.
• Towel racks and built-in soap dishes should be secure and not located where they might be used as a grab bar.
• One Bedroom should be available on the main floor of the home.

We have learned that these modifications can make a world of difference.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

How to prevent Caregiver burnout when caring for elderly loved ones

How to prevent Caregiver burnout when caring for elderly loved ones

We often work with families where adult children are caregivers for their aging parents. This is an extremely stressful time. In many cases it may require virtually 24 hour care. There is a huge role reversal and in many cases it is emotionally draining and overwhelming for the adult caregivers.

Keeping a balance and maintaining good mental help is extremely important during these difficult times. These helpful tips and insights may prove beneficial for adult caregivers.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean-out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sales as well as moving services.

Here are some helpful tips that will relieve stress and boost your health:
1. Take care of yourself by getting regular checkups and eating healthy.
2. Combine two things that are good for you: exercise and companionship. While someone else watches over Dad, go for a bike ride with a friend or play ball with your kids.
3. Get a good night’s sleep. If possible, share nighttime responsibilities with someone else so you can get yourself to bed at a decent hour.
4. Laughter helps relieve stress and release positive emotions.
5. Keep a journal. Recording your thoughts and feelings helps put things in a better perspective and can help release pent-up emotions.
6. Combine a stress reliever with care giving tasks such as listening to music or watching videos while cooking dinner for Mom, doing laundry or paying her bills.

Tips for preventing caregiver burnout:
1. Ask others to help. Don’t think you’re the only one capable of helping your loved one. Ask around for help. Find out if a friend, neighbor or relative will chip in on the chores.
2. Take time for yourself each day by indulging in a good book for a half hour or taking a short nap. Or do something special for yourself each week, like a movie or shopping with a friend, or taking a long walk.
3. Take advantage of the many formal or informal services you can find.
4. Set limits on how much time and effort you can physically and mentally devote to caregiving.
5. Let it all out….share your feelings of sadness or grief with a good friend, family member, spiritual advisor, professional counselor or anyone you can trust.

Keep hassles and small details in perspective. If the carpet doesn’t get vacuumed today, dinner is served later than usual or the laundry waits until tomorrow, that’s OK. Need time for personal affairs, to get rest or to simply take a break?

Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for you and those you care for, so take it seriously.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

When to have a discussion about finances with your parents

We often work with families where children are caregivers for their parents. Inevitably, the conversation of finances comes up. This is often a difficult and awkward discussion.

Recent studies by a variety of financial institutions showed that almost two-thirds of parents and their adult children1 are at odds as to when detailed conversations on key financial topics, including retirement preparedness, eldercare and estate planning, should take place.

Even more concerning, is the gap between parents concern and their adult children’s concern about finances. Studies show that about 55% of adult children worry about their parents finances vs. only about 25% of their parents. The rising cost of health care and senior care is now a cause for major concern. It is a fact that we are living longer but more often than not, our elderly loved ones will require long term senior care which can cost up to $100,000 per year.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but there can be real emotional and financial consequences when they don’t happen. It’s important that families take the time to sort through important matters related to retirement preparedness, care giving responsibilities, estate planning and the tax implications of an inheritance.

Census figures and recent studies indicate that in the next 11 years, our elderly population will double. This means that caregivers and children of elderly loved ones will be dealing with a situation that for many, is something that we are totally unprepared for.

How to Build a Better Discussion
• Start the conversation and ask as many detailed questions as you can. 93 % of parents who had detailed discussions with their children about wills and estate planning say it brought greater peace of mind; 73 percent said it would help their children’s emotional state of mind, too.
• Parents should have final say. While family members should have a role in the planning process, make sure the ultimate decisions made are consistent with the wishes of the parents, who are charting the course of their retirement.
• The right people and the right topics. Advanced planning can help you define roles, determine what conversations to have, and choose when and how different people will be involved. For example who will have the power of attorney or be the executor of the estate? It is important to consider the personalities of each child, their proximity and their relationship with their parents.
• Follow-up and keep the dialogue going. These conversations are not “one and done.” Keep the momentum going and schedule as many get-togethers as you need—and revisit the plans you make at least annually, to make sure they still make sense.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

Planning to have an aging parent move in with you

Planning to have an aging parent move in with you

We often work with families where children are caregivers for their aging parents. Often time medical conditions and sometimes financial decisions necessitate change. This change may mean that your elderly loved one may need to move in to their children’s home.

This is a decision that adult children and caregivers should think though carefully. There’s so much that’s involved. If you move mom or dad in and don’t have discussions it’s going to be chaos. If you make a plan and if you have conversations up front and define your boundaries, it can be a very pleasant and very productive addition to your life.

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

No matter how prepared you are to have an elderly loved one move in to your home and no matter how pleasant your relationship is, expect the unexpected. You need to be prepared for the role reversal. You need to be prepared for the things that are going to happen so that you don’t blow up so you don’t have an incident that you can’t take back. The only way that this new relationship works is if you find a way to have a real relationship with mom or dad and get rid of those old parent to child roles.

Lastly, if mom or dad are moving in, getting their finances together is the first and most important thing. In addition, plan in advance for absentee care giving when you go on vacation. Having ‘alone’ time with your spouse is important. There are services [and] people you can pay hourly, but the one thing a lot of people miss is that there may be members of your own family who are actually out looking for employment while you’re struggling trying to figure out who’s going to watch mom or dad. One thing that’s worked out very well is having family members come in and have them get compensated instead of paying an outside professional. You want to get creative with your solutions.

We have learned that these discussions [between parent and adult children] aren’t always easy, but they are extremely important at many levels.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

 

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

Are you the close friend, son, daughter or caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you begun to notice signs that your elderly loved one is having difficulty processing routing daily chores; conversations, and having trouble remembering name?  

If the answer to any of these questions is yes…then this may mean that your elderly loved one may now need help, and may no longer be able to live independently.

Census figures and recent studies indicate that in the next 11 years, our elderly population will double. This means that caregivers and children of elderly loved ones will be dealing with a situation that for many, is something that we are prepared for. .

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com )  Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

Here are ten signs that your parents may need help right now — and who you can reach out to for that help.

  1.  Memory loss and Forgetfulness
    Have your parents have begun forgetting appointments or bills that need to be paid? Have they been getting lost more regularly? Maybe they have begun repeating themselves or putting common objects in illogical places. Perhaps they forget the dosage for their medicine, or don’t take it altogether.

If this is the case you might want to suggest a formal assessment to help determine your options. Once you know what is going on with your parent, such as is the issue a medical condition or dementia, you will better know how to help them. 

  1. Mobility issues
    Are your parents having trouble walking or getting up from a chair? Take a look around  your parents’ home. Is the staircase awkward to navigate, are there slippery tiles, does the furniture create obstacles or are they having trouble getting in and out of the shower? Muscle, joint pain or trouble with knees might indicate that a cane or walker is necessary.

 

  1.   Eating issues and loss of appetite
    Are your parents losing weight, becoming dehydrated, not cooking, forgetting to eat or eating unhealthy? They might be having trouble cooking, reading a recipe, holding utensils or operating a stove, or they may have difficulty with the senses of taste and smell. You may want to check the refrigerator for out of date food. Make sure your parents are drinking and not becoming dehydrated, especially during the heat of the summer.

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  2.   Detachment and overall lack of involvement
    Is your parent social and active, visiting friends, participating in faith, civic or community activities? Or are they listless with low spirits and a lack of energy? If you’re not sure why, why not simply ask them about it. It may mean eyes should be checked or a hearing aid might be in order.

 

  1.  Change in personal hygiene
    Is your dad’s hair uncombed and teeth not brushed? Is he no longer going to the barber with usual regularity? Is he wearing the same clothing or inappropriate clothing? Lack of awareness about his personal appearance might be a sign of physical problems, depression or Alzheimer’s. Talk to your parents what you noticed and ask them about it.

  2.  Change in Personality
    Do you notice a change in your parents’ personalities, especially in the evening? Are they talking too loudly or too softly? Are they accusing people of doing or saying things against them, wanting to check on children or displaying other odd behaviors? These may be common signs of sun downing or late-day confusion. You may want to plan activities during the day that include exposure to sunlight and keeping a nightlight on to reduce agitation. Changes in personality can result from other things aside from Alzheimer’s or dementia, which looks different in every individual. You may have to be creative and try multiple strategies to address changes in personality and meet your loved one’s needs. 
  3.   Illness or Physical Disability
    If your parents suffer from advanced diabetes or have visual difficulties, such as Parkinson’s or severe or recurring strokes, they may need you to step in. 

 

  1.   Unusual Amount of Clutter
    Is there dirty laundry or unopened mail? Is the house unkempt, especially in the kitchen and bathroom? Does the lawn need mowing? Maybe maintaining the home is becoming too much for your parents to handle.

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  1.   Bruises, Scratches and Burns
    Have you noticed unexplained bruises, bumps, scratches or burns? These may be signs your loved one is having difficulty taking care of themselves.

After being independent and self-sufficient for so long, it’s difficult for parents to admit they need help. But it’s important to communicate with your parents, letting them know why you are worried and that you want to help. Then come up with solutions together.

For more information on helping seniors in transition or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services

10 Tips on How to Conduct an Estate Sale

10 Tips on How to Conduct an Estate Sale

The spring season is upon us. This is a time of new beginnings and a time for change. For many homeowners this is the start of the spring home selling season. For seniors this may be a time of transition. This may also mean a transition from your home of many years into an active adult community or a senior care facility.

This often raises the question of what to do with your home contents. Do you want to keep them and bring them with you to your new home or do you want a change as you transition into your new home? If you want a change, and want to look into buying new furniture, then this presents another challenge; what to do with your current furniture and your other household contents?

Exploring an Estate Sale is one option.

This is part of a continuing series of article and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com )  Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

Selling the house, de-cluttering, cleaning-up and clearing-out your house and its contents can be both an exciting and daunting challenge. With the cost of senior care and perhaps moving into an active adult community being extremely expensive, the desire to maximize the value of a lifetime of memories becomes especially important.

With the help of an Estate Sale professional such as Personal Property Managers (http://www.personalpropertymanagers.com/estate_sale_liquidation_services.htm ) the desire to convert a lifetime of possessions into cash can become a reality.

One of the first steps in downsizing is to recognize that not all the belongings you have in your current home can fit into your new home. Often parents would like to pass their belongings to their children. This presents  another challenge, because their  grown kids are often very busy or have totally different tastes. As a result, many parents will simply throw away, give away or donate everything in a belief that these items have no real value to others.  Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers, a certified Estate Sale specialist says that you’ll be surprised as to what people will actually buy at an Estate Sale if it is conducted properly and advertised and promoted professionally. Nick says that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  

Nick Santoro advises his Personal Property Managers Estate Sale clients that to get the most of out of your Estate Sale, clients should consider his 10 Estate Sale tips:

  1. When client are trying to sell something, they should think like a buyer. Make believe that the shoe is on the other foot, and set up your sale accordingly.
  2. The success of an Estate Sale will depend on three things – 1) marketing; to create awareness, 2) selection of items for sale with lots and lots of pictures (to be included in your advertising) and 3) realistic and attractive prices to get people to buy; remembering that what one paid for an item and what it will sell for at an Estate Sale are often two very different price points.
  3. Selection – an estate sale should encompass a household of different items (furniture, appliances, tools and more), placed in an attractive and clean display, and staged to bring focus to the items that are most likely to catch people’s eye.
  4. Pricing Estate Sale items at reasonable and realistic price points is critical. As a general rule of thumb, this usually means items may sell for about 20% of original cost…but this is a very general rule and depends on many conditions such as its condition, its uniqueness, its value and so on. Although many items will have great sentimental value or may have cost a lot originally, they will most likely not be worth as much to potential buyers as they are to you. Take the time to research various websites to make educated and professional price comparisons.
  5. Understand that an estate sale is really a full house version of a garage sale. Things are spread throughout the entire home, not just the driveway. It is important to have professionals cover the entire home as salespeople and for security to avoid theft.  
  6. Be prepared to negotiate. Negotiating prices is the foundation of every garage sale and estate sale.  
  7. Valuables like gold, precious stones or signed artwork should be tested and appraised, or left out of the sale. Estate sale buyers may not be the right buyers for true valuables. You may need to find more specialized sources to sell these.
  8. Proper Estate Sale promotion, marketing and advertising is critical to an Estate Sales success. Personal Property Managers designs special web pages dedicated to each of their client’s individual estate sale and then promotes them on a host of Estate Sale Websites and other proprietary venues. You’ll want to draw as much attention to the sale as possible by using signs along public roads. We have found that 40-50% of your buyers will come from the signs, so large noticeable signs with proper messaging and strategic placement is very important.  
  9. Prepare a fanny pack for each staff member with sales materials to keep the sale running efficiently and smoothly.
  10. Hand out tickets starting an hour or so prior to the sale to allow access on a first come, first serve basis. Make sure to only allow enough people in at a time to follow fire department regulations.

Personal Property Managers, LLC (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) can help you in the process of asset liquidation, Estate Sales and moving. At Personal Property Managers we specialize in downsizing, content removal and liquidation, Real Estate / property sales and moving. With one call, Personal Property Managers does it all.

For more information please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes and their contents.

The Cost of Senior Care and Your Options

The Cost of Senior Care and Your Options

Are you the caregiver of a senior loved one? Have you ever wondered how expensive the cost of long term senior care is for your elderly loved is as they may need care in a nursing home or an assisted living community or perhaps need in-home care services?

This is part of a continuing series of article and helpful tips and insights into senior care and senior transition services by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com )  Personal Property Managers specializes in senior transition services such as downsizing, content clean out and removal, estate sales, full service real estate and property sale and moving.

We’d like to share with you some recent information conducted by Genworth Financial about the cost of caring for our seniors. We think this will not only be informative but a real eye opener.

This year’s annual cost-of-care survey shows that the national, median annual cost for care in an assisted-living facility is about $42,000.

The average cost of an assisted-living facility nationwide has increased 4.29 percent annually over the past five years, according to the study.

Nationwide, the cost for a private nursing home room rose about 4.2 percent annually over the past five years to $87,600.

This is part of an 11 year study surveying about 15,000 providers of long-term care services nationwide.

About 70 % of people older than 65 will need some form of long-term care services, but costs for those services have been rising for years. The average length of a long-term care claim is about three years.

The median cost of a private bedroom in an assisted living facility now stands at about $47,880. The cost of a private room in a nursing home has increased 3 percent to $84,315.

Costs for adult day care and home care have grown at slower pace of about 1 percent to 2 percent. The median cost for in-home health aide services now runs about $43,472 a year, while the cost of adult day care services cost about $15,860.

Nationally, the 2014 median hourly cost for the services of a homemaker or in-home health aide hired from a home care agency is $19 and $19.75, respectively.

The real challenge is how to pay for the long term care of our elderly.

There are several options. One is to secure a long term care insurance policy. However, the cost for this type of insurance is often very expensive and will depend on the age of the client. The older the client is the more costly it is on an annualized basis.

Often times families are forced to pay for the cost of their loved ones long term care by liquidating their assets. This means selling the home of their loved one and liquidating their financial assets such as stocks and bonds and other holdings. Then depending upon the state you live in, Medicaid will step in, but they use a 5 year look back to determine eligibility and need. In other words, virtually all assets must be exhausted before the state Medicaid system will step in…again, this depends upon the state in which you live in.

Personal Property Managers, LLC (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) can help you in the process of asset liquidation and moving. At Personal Property Managers we specialize in downsizing, content removal and liquidation, Real Estate / property sales and moving. With one call, Personal Property Managers does it all.

For more information on helping your senior loved one who may be in need of transitioning from their home of many years into a senior care community, please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at www.personalpropertymanagers.com  or simply give us a call at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping to transition elderly ones from their home of many years into senior care communities. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, full service real estate services via its association with Coldwell Banker to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services