Low Cost Options for Aging in Place

2439_aging_in_placeMany seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course, your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation, including:

SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS

Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.

Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.

Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers or socks.

Non-skid safety strips: adhered to the floor of a tub/ shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.

Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.

Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.

Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

CONVENIENCE FACTORS

Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with a flexible hose.

Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.

Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may
be easier to retrieve than from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick mail off the floor.

Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. Likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.

Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.

Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.

Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to- access locations.

Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
ON HOW TO PREVENT A FALL

  • Use night lights
  • Keep flashlight next to bed
  • Remove all area rugs in the house
  • Be clutter free in every room
  • Remove furniture that may be in high traffic areas
  • Move more carefully
  • Wear sensible shoes
  • Have your eyes checked yearly
  • Read medication labels carefully
  • Exercise to strengthen legs and arms

Part 2 of How to Choose the Right Independent Living Community

Now that you have decided an independent living community is right for you, here are some things to consider when you visit different communities:

The People
You should get an understanding for the people who live there and what they are like. Talk to the residents and staff and see if they are friendly. Do the residents seem truly independent and do you share some of their same hobbies and interests? You want to know if these potential neighbors are people you will want over for dinner!

The Place
Decide if you prefer a small, quiet community or a large, bustling one. There are some communities in large apartment-like buildings and some in quaint gated communities. If you’ve only ever lived in a house, will an apartment on the 10th floor make you feel confined? Make sure to take note of the space residents have in their unit. Notice if there is adequate room for guests, storage, stairs, ramps, etc. Also, is it pet friendly? What are the restrictions, if any, for little things like displaying the American flag on holidays? Parking a motor home in the drive way?

The Location
Prioritize what is important to near you. Are you close to friends and family? Do you feel safe in the neighborhood? How far are your doctors and/or hospital? If you like to go out on the town or enjoy nature, where are the nearest shopping centers, restaurants, parks, or theater? Are you within walking distance to any grocery stores or pharmacies? Is there a gym in the community or one close by?

The Things to Do
Since you will be spending a majority of your time in this community, make sure there are plenty of activities or people who want to do activities! Is there a recreational center? A common area? Is there a reading group? Are there clubs or leagues to join? A golf group? Are there residents who like to ride bikes? Go to the beach? Travel? Bird watch?

The Costs
Check to see if costs are in line with the market prices of similar housing in that region. Sometimes there can be shared costs like common utilities, taxes, and community services, while other services like housekeeping are usually additional.

Low income seniors can find subsidized programs through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Here are some costs to consider when researching independent living communities. Ask if they’re included:

  • Waiting list deposit
  • Move-in fee
  • Initial assessment fee
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Meals
  • Cable TV
  • Utilities
  • Private phone
  • Transportation
  • Internet access
  • Parking
  • Field trips
  • Wellness program

Additional questions to ask:

  • Is there a pet deposit?
  • What are the billing and payment options?
  • What is the policy for fee increases?
  • Is personal property insurance required?

Moving can be a daunting experience, but my team and I can help you through this process. We walk you through every step of the process from helping you pick a community to packing your stuff to moving you in! If needed, we even will help sell your home! We know that any transition can be difficult, but we are here for you!

IMPORTANT: If you live an area we don’t serve, we will help you find a company that does just what we do. Also, if you need to SELL your home, we will find you a “Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist” to help in that area as well. You don’t want to work with just any agent, make sure they know how to deal with your specific needs. It is nice to know that you are working with an agent who is adverse in the needs of our senior community. We will do the interviewing for you should you need service outside of our area. 

Feel free to contact me at julie1simplesolution@gmail.com or (888) 436-1286 to find out how I can help you!

Julie Cosgrove

Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Member of National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) Certified Luxury Home Specialist. 

 

How to Choose the Right Independent Living Community

So you are at a point in your life where the home you raised your children in has become harder and harder for you to maintain and it no longer brings you the joy it once did when it was filled with laughter, family and many friends.  More than that you no longer have the desire to weed the flowerbeds, lug the vacuum upstairs, have the dinner parties that you once used to have.  Most of all your old neighbors have moved on and the new ones don’t even know who you are or that you were one of the first owners in that neighborhood.

But you keep saying to yourself that memories of this place stretch your entire adult life. Your kids took their first steps in the living room. You took their high school graduation pictures in the front yard. Your grand kids love playing in the oak-shaded back yard.

To make a decision to move into something more manageable is not easy at first.  It is a lot of mental anguish but you know in your heart that a new life in something smaller could be a big weight lifted off your shoulders.  It is a very freeing experience.

Knowing that the first step is making the decision to move, the 2nd step is equally as important because it could affect the rest of your life.  I will try to help you make the selecting process to move to an independent living community a little clearer and a guide to help you in that process.

First of all, what is an Independent Living Community? 
Simply put, it’s a community for active, healthy seniors who are able to live on their own. You can live in a home, townhouse, condo, and even a mobile home or motor home. You can own or rent or live as part of a cooperative. Think of it like living in your old neighborhood except these communities have age restrictions—usually over 55—and many offer amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security.

Independent living communities also typically offer transportation, laundry service, group meals, and social and cultural activities.

Is Independent Living Right for Me?
You can’t read the future, but you’re healthy right now. You’d like to be around your peers. You value security. You like your independence but don’t want to bother with some tasks like yard work and housekeeping. This is a start. Let’s look at some other things to consider when selecting an independent living community.

How to Select the Right Community?
What are some things you just won’t compromise on? E.g. size of home, location of community, distance to family, etc. Make a list.

Watch for Part 2 of How to Choose the right Independent Living Community

If you are ready to get started and want more information on how I can help you. Feel free to fill out the form below or directly contact me at julie1SimpleSolution@gmail.com or (209) 298-0252.

Julie Cosgrove

Senior Certified Real Estate Specialist (SRES), Member of National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM)

Why We Are NOT Just A Moving Company

What makes One Simple Solution different?

  • We minimize the overwhelming stress involved in moving.
  • We help declutter and downsize our client’s home.
  • Each move is handled with care and dignity.
  • Our staff will execute a plan that is customized to each
    individual.
  • Client and family members make decisions without the
    physical distress that can follow a move.
  • One Simple Solution will do so much more than sort , pack and
    move boxes.
  • The experience will be one that our clients will enjoy, be
    thankful for the gentle touch and be able to live life to it’s fullest.

Is getting a Reverse Mortgage the best idea for your aging parent?

This could be a great way for your aging parent to stay in their home. It has many pros and cons. To be eligible for this type of loan (HECM reverse mortgage), the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) says that you only need to be age 62 or older. The home must be owned free and clear or all existing liens must be satisfied with proceeds from the reverse mortgage. If there is an existing mortgage balance, it can be paid off completely with the proceeds of the reverse mortgage loan at closing. Generally, there are no credit score requirements for a reverse mortgage. With all that being said, is staying in the home the best idea for your aging parent?  Some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. If they stay, will they be able to take care of themselves or will they need some assistance?
  2. Is their home free and clear of clutter to make for a safe environment?
  3. Should their home need to be made handicap accessible?
  4. Who can will you get to come in and help them with assistance?
  5. Would they be safer in a retirement community with other senior’s?
  6. Is their home in need of maintenance or upkeep that will be difficult for them to maintain?
  7. Would they be better off selling and taking their equity out now?

If you would like to talk more about your aging parent’s options feel free to call or email me.

Julie Cosgrove

(209) 298-0252

 

5 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help At Home

There comes a time where you start to notice your parents start to decline. Maybe you’ve seen your dad spending less time outside. Or your mom seems to always forget if she’s taken her medicine.  Perhaps there are bruises on your aging parent’s arms. When you try to talk to them about it, they say “I’m fine. There’s nothing to worry about. I don’t need help.” It can be agonizing for family members to watch a senior loved one struggle with daily activities they used to find easy, and the situation becomes even more challenging when a parent is unwilling to discuss his or her difficulties.

Admitting they need help would mean they can’t take care of themselves anymore, and no one wants to lose their independence. “Denial is the unrealistic hope that a problem is not really happening and will go away by itself. Admitting they need help and accepting assistance is not easy for people as they age. It represents a loss of independence. Denial plays a major role – and signs get ignored,” says Paul Hogan, Founder and Chairman of Home Instead Senior Care.

The signs that an aging parent might need help with daily living tasks does not necessarily mean that your loved one has to go to assisted living or a nursing home, but they may need some extra help around their home. But how do you know if your elderly parent needs home care?

Here are a few things to look out for:

·        Missing important appointments

·        Difficulty with walking, balance and mobility

·        Infrequent showering and bathing

·        Dirty house, extreme clutter and dirty laundry piling up

·        Late payment notices, bounced checks and calls from bill collectors

Once you know that there is a problem, how do you know if home care is right for your parent?

This is a 1 in 4 part series on Senior Home Care. Look for the next segment next week!

Will Interest Rates Rise in the Near Future?

If you have been putting off buying a home or even planning to scale up in your home, NOW may be the best time to do it.  If interest rates do rise as expected then what you can qualify for today may not be what you will qualify for in the future.  This increase could not only effect interest rates but it will also effect home prices.  Take time to read the article from Chair Janet Yellen.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen confirmed in speech held today at the Providence Chamber of Commerce in Providence, Rhode Island, that interest rates will likely increase later this year due to the gradual improvement in the economy.

In her speech, Yellen discusses the condition of the improving, but still wavering, economy and says that if the it improves as expected, she believes it will be a good time for the Fed to raise the Federal Funds Rate this year, which in turn, would affect mortgage interest rates.

“For this reason, if the economy continues to improve as I expect, I think it will be appropriate at some point this year to take the initial step to raise the federal funds rate target and begin the process of normalizing monetary policy,” Yellen said. “To support taking this step, however, I will need to see continued improvement in labor market conditions, and I will need to be reasonably confident that inflation will move back to 2% over the medium term.”

 

Essential Documents for Seniors

As Professional real estate agents our team, The Julie Cosgrove Real Estate Professionals, takes pride in working with our seniors. We have specialized in being supportive for our mature adults and their families during difficult times. There may come a time when you as an adult child will have to make some difficult decisions for your aging parent. We have found over the years with those who have worked with their parents to make sure important documents and decisions are in order, go through this difficult process with a little more ease. You will find an article here from “A Place for Mom” it shares all the essential documentation you may need to better assist your parent and those you chose to hire to help work with you and your family.

Read more… “Essential Documents for Seniors”