Tag Archives: caregivers

The cost for caring for our aging loved ones

Caring for our Aging Population

Who will care for our aging loved ones in our new society

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJThe fact that we are all living much longer is no secret. With our extended longer life come new challenges. In years past, when lifestyles were less complicated, family units were more defined, and marriages and families with children dominated the landscape. Caring for our aging loved ones was easier with more defined roles by spouses and children.

Times have certainly changed. Studies indicate that people over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care help. Genworth, a leading US company that studies our aging population says that 66% of people over 65 will need extra care. In fact, they say that 70% of this age group will need some form of long-term care for at least three years. It the past, most aging loved ones relied on a family member, a spouse or a partner for help. But what happens today with family and demographic changes, when an individual has none of the above? Who can they count on for help in an emergency or when they get sick?

This is part of a continuing series of articles and tips into elder care and how to address topics such as downsizing, estate sale, content removal, home clean-out, property sale, moving and other real estate transition insights by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Many aging Americans who have children don’t want to be a burden to them, but at least they are lucky enough to have a choice. They may not want to, but older adults rely on family caregivers most of their help. Today, there are over 43 million family members providing some form of elder care for a person 50+ years of age. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that 11 million people over the age of 65 live alone, and that number will likely increase. Even more alarming is that 11.6% of women (ages 80 to 84) are childless, so who will care for them?

Today, society has a totally different view of people without children verses 25 years ago. Many of today’s adults no longer believe that those without children lead empty lives. Recent surveys found that children are less significant to a thriving marriage. In 2007, a Pew Research survey unveiled 41% of adults said that having children was crucial for a successful marriage. This is a huge decline from 65% who said so in 1990.

Since the supply of family caregivers diminish as families get smaller or without children, it’s important to get organized around ones long-term care preferences.

PPM Insights into Elder Care

We at Personal Property Managers, often work within the Senior Community and with Adult Care Givers. We specialize in senior transition services, helping our elderly loved ones transition from their home of many years into senior care communities or to move in with caregivers or other family members. This process if often very overwhelming and our one stop services are valued by those going through a major move and transition. We have learned that there are significant facts about aging care that every person should know and wanted to share them with you. First, what we have learned is that elder care is more expensive than you think. And most of the costs of long-term care come out of your pocket and not through some government or state program. To help you plan for senior care later on, you should understand the details about the services that are and are not covered.

1. Medicare (controlled by each state) does not pay for long-term custodial care services. This is the kind that help you with everyday activities of living needs. Medicare only pays for the medically necessary care like acute medical care, doctor visits, drugs, and a hospital stay.

2. Medicaid is a combined program offered by the federal and state governments. It helps individuals living with low income and assets, and it pays for some of the health care expenses. Medicaid has stringent regulations on who are eligible for the benefits and the services covered.

3. Paying for long-term care out-of-pocket is your option if you have enough money and savings.

4. Health insurance covers the restricted and particular types of long-term care. Disability insurance replaces income and does not include long-term care services and supports.

5. Long-term care insurance pays for long-term supports and services. But before you buy a policy, know the daily amount it will pay to assist you with the activities of daily living requirements.

While we are certainly not insurance agents or elder care attorneys, we do, a large portion of our business assisting adult caregivers in the transition of their elderly loved ones from their home of many years into a senior care communities via our home downsizing, cleanouts, estate sales, and full service discount real estate services. We would like to share with you some tips that we have learned along the way that may help you in your long term care plan. They are:

• Draw up legal documents: a will, a living will, a healthcare proxy and a power of attorney.

• Share a home with like-minded friends and siblings. Create a “share the care” approach that serves each resident equally. Draw up legal papers outlining each person’s responsibilities; one that makes each party accountable.

• Live nearby mass transportation if you don’t drive.

• Choose a walk-able neighborhood.

• Find a trustworthy person or family you can depend on for support and care. Work out a payment strategy and put it in writing. Get legal advice prior to implementing a plan. An elder law attorney can steer you in the right direction.

• Hire a chronic care advocate if you live with a prolonged medical condition, preferably an attorney specializing in elder law.

• Make friends with the supportive type.

• Eat fresh, healthy foods.

• Stay fit.

• Keep your brain sharp by getting involved.

• Volunteer and help those in need.

• Take up hobbies that fulfill your curiosity.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Challenges in working with aging parents

How to Work with Your Aging Parents – 5 Insights

Dealing with challenges involved with our aging parents.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJOf all the fine lines we have to walk in our lifetime, one of the most challenging, yet most important, is how we deal with the challenges that inevitably crop up when working with our aging parents.

Everyone’s circumstances and family dynamics are different, of course, but there are certain commonalities. Chief among them is how to provide help, support and comfort while respecting our parents’ intellect and abilities. Even as the roles shift, they’re still our parents, and no matter how wise or experienced we are, to them, we’ll always be “the kids.”

We specialize in working with families and adult children who are managing the transition of thier elderly parents. We have learned a thing or two over the years and wanted to share these insights with you. We have put together list of the top 5 tips you may want to consider when working with your agents parents. These helpful tips are part of a continuing series of articles by Nick and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales, real estate transition services, property management and content clean-out services in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

As our parents age and need more and more help, it’s natural to want to lend a hand, but when you get involved, you need to make sure that you don’t become domineering.

Seniors who feel like their children are trying to take over their lives get resentful and angry – and as a result often disregard their help just to spite them or assert their independence.

This is why it’s important that as our parents age and do start to lose some of their abilities, we stay aware of how we’re communicating with them. Nothing presses our buttons more than family.

While this kind of behavior feels most inappropriate with our parents, being respectful and mindful of boundaries are actually the cornerstones of all healthy relationships.

Stepping Up vs. Overstepping Boundaries

So where exactly is the line between being “helpful” and turning into a bully? Sometimes when you do what you feel is needed – arrange a doctor appointment, suggest grab bars – your parents will resent your good advice. People have a fierce desire to remain independent, often even though they really do need assistance.

Add to that the difficulty of accepting the shifting reality of who is now caring for whom. This can be more difficult for our parents to accept because they often view it as “losing power” to their children.

A big part of striking the right balance has to do with how we speak and act. It’s imperative that we show respect, not attempt to force our will, and to make everything a negotiation (or at least offer options).

5 Things Adult Children and Parents Fight About

It boils down to this, if you think your parents can do something by themselves, let them. But if they – or someone else – could be harmed, don’t feel guilty about getting involved. Most seniors who are slipping a bit are lucid enough to recognize their new limitations. they’re looking for someone they trust to make things easier for them.

Here are five of the big issues that are likely to come up, plus suggestions for avoiding conflict.

1. Driving

Nothing gives people a greater sense of independence than driving. A car gets them where they want to go when they want to go. Yet in the hands of someone with physical or cognitive limitations, an automobile can become a lethal weapon.

One must be extremely sensitive when you come to the point where you insist that your parent hand over the keys. Consider trying initially to negotiate ways they can drive their car less frequently – perhaps only locally and in the daylight. Elderly people who have become nervous drivers and don’t feel they have to put up a fight often discover they actually prefer not being in the driver’s seat.

2. Finances

This is a very sensitive subject and is often met with great resistance. Unfortunatley there are many stories of financial abuse of our elderly loved ones.

The best way to approach this is to suggest that our elderly loved ones open their checkbooks and show us their credit card statements and all their bills. But if they’re unwilling and you try to force the issue, they might accuse you of meddling. When there’s no evidence of a problem, it’s better to just offer help – like balancing a checkbook. Keep your antennae up for hints of trouble.

If you suspect they are mismanaging their resources and they resist your involvement, tell them you need to call in a social worker. It might be easier for your parents to listen to a neutral third party, and a trained professional might have communication or coping strategies that you don’t.

3. Home Safety

People can be slow to accept their physical limitations. If they’ve always gotten in and out of the shower OK, why worry now? The answer is that we all have a problem projecting in the future, yet for people over 65, falls are the leading cause of injury and death. When a parent is having problems with gait or limb strength or has recently started using a walker or cane, it’s time to start the conversation.

So how should you handle this? Often scare tactics go a long way. The image of lying alone, in grave pain, injured (or possibly dying) alone in the living room might be enough to “put the fear of God” into a parent who perfers not to discuss such issues. Often times elderly loved ones wouldn’t wear their life-alert pendant until they hear about someone who fell and waited several hours for the ambulance to arrive.

Most people will accept minor fixes, like rug tape or bathtub no-slip strips, so if you start with the little things (and build up to the larger ones), you won’t come off as oppressive.

4. Doctors, Treatments and Medication

Seniors are not always forthcoming about their medical reports. Sometimes they haven’t completely understood what a doctor has said, or they could be deliberately withholding information they think will make them seem enfeebled or cause you to worry.

If your parent seems healthy you may want to consider backing off (but keep a watchful eye). If, however, you observe any symptoms or notice your parent is missing doctor appointments, getting confused with his medications and won’t let you help, call in a social worker or nurse. Tell your parent you are doing so. In a life-or-death matter, there’s no such thing as a bossy pants.

5. End-of-Life Planning

No one likes to think about this heaviest of all topics – and yet if people want their wishes heeded, important documents need to be in place: a power of attorney, a last will and testament, a living will, organ donation papers, funeral preferences and more.

How to handle You cannot force your parents to do any of these things or tell you where they keep the safety deposit box key.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

How to modify your home for an elderly loved one moving in

Home Modifications When Moving In an Elderly Loved One

Home modifications tips for elderly parents moving in with caregivers

Bucks County Home Downsizing

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

We have found that it’s very important to consider certain home modifications so you can accommodate elderly loved ones moving in with you.

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. 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 and services PA and NJ.

  • 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 over the years that these modifications can make a world of difference for your elderly loved one.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Top 7 tips to help you sell your home

Top seven tips and insights to help you successfully sell your home by Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Click here to view.

Joean NickNov2011

Having an Aging Loved one move in

Planning on Having an Aging Parent Move In With You

Have conversations up front and define your boundaries to make it a very pleasant addition to your life.

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJWe 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 on ground rules and space then 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. 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 and services PA and NJ.

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 real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Modify your home for Aging Loved One

Home Modifications When Moving In an Elderly Loved One

Bucks County Home Downsizing

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

We have found that it’s very important to consider certain home modifications so you can accommodate elderly loved ones moving in with you.

Team - small size

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. 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 and services PA and NJ.

  • 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 over the years that these modifications can make a world of difference for your elderly loved one.

For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.

Recognizing signs of decline

Recognizing Signs of Decline in your Aging Loved One

Recognizing signs of decline and the need for help of our elderly loved ones 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 routine daily chores; conversations, and or 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 often not 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. 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.

Joean NickNov2011

While we are certainly not medical or health care professionals we often work with adult children and caregivers of elderly loved ones who are going through so form of lifestyle transition. We’ve put together a list of the top 9 signs that your elderly loved one may need some assistance, and whom 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

. 4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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 real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.