Monthly Archives: July 2014

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 EveryHome Realty 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 Every Home Realty 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 Every Home Realty 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 Every Home Realty to help sell homes with proceeds going towards paying for the long term care of elderly loved ones and moving services