Tag Archives: signs

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 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.

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.

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

Recognizing signs of decline in our elderly loved ones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

    .

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

 

  1.  Change in personal hygiene
    Is your dad’s hair uncombed and teeth not brushed? Is he no longer going to the barber with usual regularity? Is he wearing the same clothing or inappropriate clothing? Lack of awareness about his personal appearance might be a sign of physical problems, depression or Alzheimer’s. Talk to your parents what you noticed and ask them about it.
  2.  Change in Personality
    Do you notice a change in your parents’ personalities, especially in the evening? Are they talking too loudly or too softly? Are they accusing people of doing or saying things against them, wanting to check on children or displaying other odd behaviors? These may be common signs of sun downing or late-day confusion. You may want to plan activities during the day that include exposure to sunlight and keeping a nightlight on to reduce agitation. Changes in personality can result from other things aside from Alzheimer’s or dementia, which looks different in every individual. You may have to be creative and try multiple strategies to address changes in personality and meet your loved one’s needs. 
  3.   Illness or Physical Disability
    If your parents suffer from advanced diabetes or have visual difficulties, such as Parkinson’s or severe or recurring strokes, they may need you to step in. 

 

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

.

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

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

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