Tag Archives: Families

Senior Hoarding – Signs and Game Plan

Senior Hoarding – Game Plan

Recognizing its signs and developing a game plan to address it

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJWe wanted to share with you an often confounding yet common situation when dealing with transitioning an elderly loved one from their home of many years into a senior care community, or perhaps your home or even settling their estate. We are specifically referring to senior hoarding. This is real and the condition is known as Diogenes syndrome, and it is more common than most people realize.

This is part of a continuing series of helpful articles from Joe Santoro and Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers to assist you in home downsizing, content liquidation and full service discount real estate services. Personal Property Managers services clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Our senior loved ones are certainly part of the ‘greatest generation’ for sure. They have sacrificed for our nation, fought our wars, defended our freedom, were hard working Americans who put in long hours at work, saved and accumulated things over their lifetime. Now, as their caregiver, you may be faced with dealing with the task of trying to clean-up or sort through what they have accumulated over their lifetime. In many cases, the mass accumulation of things turns out to be senior hoarding. We often find homes with 4 or 5 blenders, toasters, lawnmowers, ladders, boxes of things that have never been opened or things never used and the list goes on and on…

Times have changed. Items that were valuable years ago are no longer desirable. Family members often have no use or desire to bring Grandma’s things to their home. Change can be hard, and sorting through a lifetime accumulation of possessions can be overwhelming to a senior who is already struggling with a loss of independence and to family members who are stressed out.

It is perfectly normal for an individual who has lived for many years in one location to acquire a lot of stuff, and for some individuals, letting go of the things they no longer need can be extremely difficult. Experts say seniors are prone to cluttering for a variety of reasons, including fear of loss, anxiety, and depression. Research also suggests that pre-Alzheimer’s personalities may trigger hoarding behavior, further complicating the issue for those already pre-disposed to this obsessive habit.

For families dealing with loved ones and parents who have slipped into a pattern of hoarding, it can be difficult to develop strategies for the kind of downsizing that is necessary to accommodate a move to senior housing. The individual may be ashamed of their living conditions, and reluctant to accept the help they need. They also may be fearful of being forced to let go of the items to which they have become attached and resist their family’s attempts at getting the clutter under control.

Of course, securing the homeowner’s consent and cooperation is only half the battle. Once you have the go-ahead to begin sorting through the collection, it is important to have a strategy for completing the task at hand. Here are a few suggestions for getting through the cleanup:

Call a professional. At Personal Property Managers, we specialize in helping families take stock of what they have, what is valuable or not and how to declutter. Often, going through an entire household after years of accumulation is simply too much for one person to undertake. Far better to work as a team with a common goal.

Set a date to start the project. Block off a section of your calendar when you can truly focus on the task at hand. Determine how long you will work, and then stick to the plan. You may not make it through the process entirely, but knowing you have a starting time, and a plan to wrap up the day’s work at a specific time, can help keep you on track.

Do it in chunks. Work room by room. Although you may have an entire house to wade through, you will do your best work by focusing on one room at a time. Besides, any large project is easier to complete if you divide it into smaller, more manageable tasks.

Use a system. Focus on the most used items. As you go through each room, set aside a place for each of the following: donations, keepsakes, items to be organized and put away, and trash. At the end of each workday, take time to put away the items you have chosen to keep. Be selective. Remember that you are downsizing, so make your selections carefully. You may actually need to go through this process twice as it is often difficult to make emotional decisions the first pass through.

Think about digitizing boxes and boxes of photos and photo albums.

Have donations and trash picked up promptly to prevent second guessing your selections. The sooner you have temptation removed, the better.

Once the cleanup is complete, check in often to make sure that day-to-day clutter is not getting out of control. Staying on top of the problem is far easier than wading through a year’s worth of accumulation, and maintaining a tidy living space will relieve stress for you and your loved one, as well as make the home safer for its inhabitants.

The good news is that we can help clean-out your house, help downsize family’s homes and liquidate your contents for items that are saleable and in demand. We offer on-site estate sale services and can remove contents and sell them via our array of proprietary resources. With Personal Property Managers…one call 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 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 EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.
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How to begin your home downsizing project and cleanout

How to Begin Downsizing Your Home

Home Staging Tips PA NJThe vast majority of the clients who contact us are simply overwhelmed trying to tackle downsizing their home or the home of a loved one. It is physically and mentally draining. Often it entails going through possessions that have been in the house for 40 plus years. Where do you begin?

This is part of a continuing series of articles and helpful tips and insights into helping you move forward and sell your home and clean out your contents by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers. Personal Property Managers specializes in real estate sales and marketing, home downsizing, content clean out and removal and estate sales, and services Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Moving from your home of 20, 30 or 40 years is a daunting task. Often our client tell us it’s an “oh my gosh moment” – where do I begin? This is where we can help you.

Did you know that downsizing and moving ranks as one of lifes most difficult events, along with loss of a spouse, divorce and job change. People feel overwhelmed, and wonder; where do they even start?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Eliminating duplicate items or items that are the wrong size. Chances are, you only need three sets of towels, not six. If clothing does not fit, do not bring it with you.

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

Taking measurements of available space is also important. Virginia, a recent client said, “We had large paintings that we really loved, but did not think we could bring with us. Nick had our floor plan and measurements and said, “Oh, yes we can. I know just where those paintings can go!’”

“It’s the sentimental items that make a house a home,” Nick reminds our clients. “Those are just as important as packing up your sensible shoes and kitchenware.”

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 recognize signs of delcine in our aging loved one

Recognizing signs of decline and the need for help of our elderly loved ones

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJAre 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 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.

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 Alzheimers. 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 Alzheimers 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 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 Simplify your Life by Downsizing

How to Simplify your life by Downsizing – How to begin the process

Five Important Family Tips for Helping Seniors Clean, Organize and Downsizing their Home

Bucks County Home Downsizing

Helping Seniors Move in PA NJSimplify your life by downsizing – what you may be missing and beginning the process

Moving from your home often represents an emotional time in one’s life. Each room in the house and all its contents are associated with memories, which makes packing especially bittersweet. However, for those who are craving a more relaxed lifestyle, downsizing offers a variety of benefits.

This is part of a continuing series of articles by Nick Santoro and Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers, who service Pennsylvania and New Jersey and specialize in real estate, property management, home content downsizing and estate sale services.

First, remind yourself why you’re considering to downsize and move. The upkeep on a large home can become quite expensive, even after the mortgage is paid in full. When big-ticket items like new windows or a roof are needed, these repairs can quickly add up. Additionally, you realize that you have more space than you can possibly use and easily maintain. After children move out, there are often rooms that are used strictly as storage space, hardly ever to be set foot in again. Plus, it’s important to consider that the upkeep of a large home can easily become overwhelming in later years when tasks like raking leaves in the fall, cleaning a home top to bottom, and shoveling snow can become challenging or even dangerous.

After downsizing from your large home into a more suitable size to meet your current needs or moving into a senior living community or retirement neighborhood, most folks report a decrease in their stress levels. Many now have peace of mind knowing that they have less space to clean or living quarters all on one level. For those who move into a senior community this may include home maintenance which may now be the responsibility of someone else. For others who move into an assisted living community there is also comfort knowing that their future health care needs will also be met. Better yet…for many senior a downsizing move can lead to an opportunity to enjoy life-long learning and social networking where they can continue to grow relationships with others who share their interests is often a major perk

Joe Santoro shares that his parents who recently moved into an active adult community says that, “..every time I visited my parents I got the sense that my parents are having the time of their lives. There are so many activities within the community that even simple tasks like going to get their mail was an excuse to check in with their neighbors and hear all the latest news.”

Knowing When the Time is Right for Downsizing a Home
Considering a move to a senior living community before it becomes medically necessary is a smart decision that can help keep individuals as they continue down the path of aging. Joe points out that his parents did not realize all they are missing out on until they visited the community that they now live in.

5 Downsizing Tips for Seniors
After making the decision that it’s time to downsize and enjoy all that a retirement or senior care community has to offer, Joe points out that you must start preparing for moving day. It’s important to keep in mind that downsizing means not all belongings may be able to be brought to the new home. That’s where Personal Property Managers with its single source solution can help. PPM provides home cleanout, de-cluttering, estate sales and full service real estate services. For families considering downsizing, Joe says that you should keep the following tips in mind:

1. Ask for assistance. Start the process by asking family and friends for help. This may not be possible for many due to the mobile society we live in and the physical demands that a downsize can take. That’s were Personal Property Managers can help. Remember, moving can take a toll on even those in the most optimal health. You may also be surprised to learn the emotional attachment your adult children or grandchildren may have to certain items. Enjoy sharing memories with them as you go through the house together.

2. Keep the memories, not the items. Parting with belongings can be difficult due to the memories associated with them. You’ll need to make decisions about what to keep, what to donate to charity, what items to designate to family members, and what can simply be tossed.

3. Take your time. Packing up a home for a move is a challenging task for even the most able-bodied person. Therefore, keep in mind that it is probably not possible to go through the entire household in a single day – or even a week! As soon as the decision to downsize has been made, start sorting through smaller areas, like closets, drawers and storage spaces to quickly weed out items.

4. Write out lists. Lists are a great way to create a timeline and stay organized throughout the downsizing process. Make lists of rooms to go through and lists of items to pack, as well as lists for tasks like cancelling utilities and transferring mail.

5. Create a plan. Having a plan for moving day helps eliminate a lot of the stress of the day, so if possible, get a floorplan of the new living space. Knowing the exact dimension of the rooms helps map out what furniture can go where, as well as how much storage space is available.

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.

Semper Fi to US Troops and their Families

I was deeply saddened to learn this week that Fallujah and Ramadi, two major center in the Anbar province of Iraq, sites of the bloodiest battles of the war for freedom, fell back into the hands of terrorists backed by al-Qaeda.   

Of the over 4,500 US troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq, over a third gave their lives in the Anbar province.  

The cost of the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated to be over $2.0 trillion, with over 6,800 deaths and over 52,000 wounded US troops.

I ask that you keep in your prayers our fallen hero’s and the families of the fallen. My own son, Marine Sgt. Nick Santoro of Bucks County, Pennsylvania fought in both of these battles and was wounded in combat there. I am in awe of the men and woman who fought for us and struggle daily with their wounds seen and unseen.  I hope that in the future, the US government and governments around the world think deeply before committing America’s finest men and woman to war and think about the end game. We can certainly win any war, but much better plans need to be put into place to win the peace.

Semper Fi to all US Troops and their Families

Joe Santoro

Proud Marine Parent