Tag Archives: Elder Care

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.

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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.

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.

Cost for caring for our Elderly

The Cost of Senior Care and Your Options

Eye-opening information about the cost of caring for our seniors.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? Do you have any idea how much the average cost is for a nursing home or an assisted living community or the cost of in-home care services?

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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. 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% annually over the past five years, according to the study.

Nationwide, the cost for a private nursing home room rose about 4.2% 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 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.

Downsizing? What to do with your stuff

Insights into what to do with your home contents when you are downsize and move

If you are downsizing or helping a loved onTeam - small sizee who has lived in their home for many years to transition, move, relocate or settling an estate, then you know how overwhelming this process can be. It can be extremely emotional. It can be physically demanding. It can be very time consuming. That’s just the start of it. Now the next challenge in downsizing is what to do with all of your home content? If you are moving from a larger home into a smaller more efficient home, then you will be faced with where do you put all your old stuff in your new setting? Naturally, you can’t physically put 40 years of your life’s possessions, complete with stuffed attics, basements, garages, and multiple bedrooms into a smaller home, active adult community, condo or senior care community. So now what? You may ask yourself questions like, can I sell my things? What are they worth? Will anyone want them? Will my grandchildren want anything?

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into helping you with your home and downsizing by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers (www.personalpropertymanagers.com ) Personal Property Managers specializes in providing a one-stop solution for your full service real estate needs, marketing, home downsizing, content clean-out and removal and estate sales. We services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Did you know that downsizing and moving ranks as one of life’s most difficult events, along with loss of a spouse, divorce and job change?

When your needs change, your home may need to change with them.

Homeowners are constantly living through change. From empty nesters who just don’t need their large home anymore, to seniors moving into retirement facilities; downsizing can be a new and often overwhelming and humbling reality.

Nick Santoro says that….“Most of our clients are adult children in their 60’s who are working with elderly loved ones who are in their 80’s; who are downsizing from a big home where they raised their kids, into a condo, a senior care community, or moving in with a relative.” Nick points out that, “… we are often downsizing a family with a home from over 3,000 or more square feet to between 400 to 700 square feet, so a lot has to go.”

Joe Santoro, co-founder of Personal Property Managers says that the first place to start is the space you have in your new place. Joe encourages people to think about their current lifestyle, and in that respect, some items that have been accumulated will naturally eliminate themselves, based on usage or lack thereof.

Santoro points out that many downsizers choose not to keep a formal dining room set anymore; there’s just not enough room in the new space, so the big dining room table and hutch are often among the first big items to go.

Nick says, “the next step is deciding if any family members might want a dining room set or other household contents you no longer want and can no longer fit in your new home. If family doesn’t want it, you may be able to sell it.” However, Joe Santoro points out that the market is flooded with items like older more formal dining room sets, pool tables and pianos, so you won’t get as much value as when it was initially purchased. Joe points out that the style today is what is described as contemporary / transition furniture. It’s well made but less formal and much smaller in size. Personal Property Managers assists clients in helping them liquidate their home contents, to clean out their homes, sell their home / property at the best price and even move residents. This is accomplished through hosting an estate sale if the contents warrant it, or helping to liquidate it though its vast array of resources. It some cases, items may be donated. Personal Property Managers is a service disabled Veteran owned business, so it’s priorities are working with Veterans in need or veteran groups. Of course, some items must be disposed of.

Joe points out that people often make the mistake of thinking a charity is going to clean out their house for nothing and just take everything the owners no longer want. This is far from reality.

When it comes to selling items, Joe Santoro points out that people often have an over inflated opinion of the value of their contents. Just because you paid $2,000 for a sofa and love seat 10 years ago, you should be prepared to accept less than 10% of that today, and that depends upon its condition. Rips, tears, pet odors or smoking odors will totally eliminate any potential for items to be sold. Joe often starts off by asking people, “how much would you pay for a 12 year old couch?” Often the answer is “I wouldn’t.” Joe, points out that something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it at a given point in time.

Lastly, on this subject, Joe and Nick Santoro are often asked about moving items to storage units. While this is strictly a personal decision of the clients, often driven by emotion, the Santoro’s point out that the cost of a storage unit, kept over time, is often more costly than the actual contents are worth.

At Personal Property Managers, we understand the emotional toll downsizing and moving can take on our clients and their families. If you are moving from your home of many years into a senior care community or just relocating, our goal is to help you transition seamlessly to this exciting new chapter in life.

Nick Santoro says that of the many challenges of moving, downsizing is the most difficult. Nick says the reason for this is that you have to make decisions about every personal possession in your home. Personal Property Managers is at your side helping you every step of the way.

Santoro suggests viewing downsizing as a process. We suggest that you start with small goals, and plan on sorting for just a few hours at a time.

  • Sorting through the easiest and obvious first. Choose a room where what needs to go or stay is the most obvious – like your bedroom or a room that’s rarely used.
  • Using colored stickers, labels or Post-It notes to identify where items will go. More efficient than writing out a list, movers and family members can use the stickers as guidance on moving day.
  • Assessing practicality and sentimentality. Items that are both practical and sentimental should move with you. Items that are neither should be left for family, sale or charity.
  • Eliminating duplicate items or items that are the wrong size. Chances are, you only need three sets of towels, not six. If clothing doesn’t fit, don’t bring it with you.

Before the move, Santoro recommends creating a floor plan and determining the practicality of existing furniture. Nick says, “Don’t go out and buy new furniture. Instead, be open to using furniture in new ways.”

For more information on real estate 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 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, and discount full service real estate services via its association with Every Home Realty.

How to prevent Caregiver Burnout

How to prevent Caregiver Burnout

We often work with families where adult children are caregivers of 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 health is extremely important during these difficult times. While we are not health care or medical professionals, we often work with adult children and caregivers and have developed keen insights and tips that you may find helpful.

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. 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 care giving.

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