Stay Safe, Stay Home A Senior's Guide to Easy Home Maintenance
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Stay Safe, Stay Home: A Senior’s Guide to Easy Home Maintenance

As you age, maintaining your home can become more challenging. However, keeping your home well-maintained, safe, and in good working order is essential for your safety, comfort, and independence.

 Let's explore the goals and desires, challenges and pain points, limiting beliefs, and objections you might face—and how to overcome them.

Goals and Desires: What's In It For Me?

  • Increased safety and reduced risk of falls, allowing you to move around your home with confidence and peace of mind.
  • Enhanced accessibility, making it easier to navigate your living spaces, especially if you use mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs.
  • Improved comfort, with modifications that ensure your home remains a pleasant and inviting place, regardless of changing physical abilities.
  • Greater independence, enabling you to perform daily tasks more easily without relying as much on assistance from others.
  • Peace of mind for both you and your loved ones, knowing that your home environment is safe, supportive, and well-suited to your needs.

These goals are achievable, but there are often significant obstacles to overcome along the way.

Challenges and Pain Points: Here's the Problem

  • I feel overwhelmed by the thought of making significant changes to a place I’ve lived in for so long and have grown attached to.
  • I worry about the financial burden these updates will place on me, especially since I’m on a fixed income and have limited resources.
  • I’m concerned that the disruptions and construction will be too stressful and difficult for me to manage at my age.
  • I feel like my independence is being threatened, and I’m being forced to make changes that I’m not ready or willing to accept.
  • I’m afraid that these updates will make my home feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable, taking away the sense of comfort and security I’ve always known.

These problems can make it difficult to take the necessary steps, but addressing them is crucial for your well-being.

My feelings:

  • I’m afraid that making these changes will make my home feel less like my own and more like a medical facility.
  •  worry that the cost of these updates will deplete my savings and leave me financially insecure.
  • I don’t believe I can handle the physical and emotional stress of going through renovations and adjustments at my age.
  • I feel like admitting I need these changes means I’m losing my independence and capability.
  • I’m concerned that my friends and neighbors will see me differently if I make these modifications, thinking I’m less capable than I am.

Limiting beliefs can hold you back, but recognizing and challenging these thoughts can help you move forward.

Why We Don't Even Get Started:

  • I don’t have the energy or physical strength to manage home maintenance tasks anymore.
  • I can’t afford the cost of hiring professionals to make the necessary repairs and updates.
  • I don’t know where to begin or who to trust for reliable and quality work.
  • I’m resistant to change and don’t want to disrupt my familiar routine and surroundings.
  • I feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that needs to be done, and it’s easier to just ignore it.

Overcoming these objections requires a proactive approach and the willingness to seek out help and resources.

6 Tips to Overcoming Challenges and Moving Forward

To overcome these challenges and objections, start by breaking down the tasks into manageable steps. Here are some strategies to help you:

  1. Assess Your Needs: Take a careful look at your home and identify the areas that need attention. This could include fixing safety hazards, improving accessibility, or updating outdated systems. Prioritize the most critical areas to address first.
  2. Seek Financial Assistance: There are various programs and grants available to help seniors with home modifications and maintenance. Look into local, state, and federal resources that can provide financial support.
  3. Hire Trusted Professionals: Finding reliable contractors can be daunting, but you can ask for recommendations from friends, family, or community organizations. Check online reviews and verify credentials to ensure you’re hiring trustworthy professionals.
  4. Embrace Small Changes: Start with small, impactful modifications that can significantly improve your comfort and safety. For example, installing grab bars in the bathroom, improving lighting, and removing tripping hazards can make a big difference without extensive renovations.
  5. Communicate with Loved Ones: Discuss your concerns and feelings with your adult children and loved ones. Open communication can help them understand your perspective and work with you to find solutions that respect your needs and desires.
  6. Take Care of Yourself: Managing home updates can be stressful, so it’s important to take care of your physical and emotional well-being. Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it and take breaks to rest and recharge.

Maintaining your home as you age involves setting goals and addressing challenges, limiting beliefs, and objections. By focusing on what’s in it for you, acknowledging your problems, and working through your objections, you can create a living environment that meets your needs and enhances your well-being.

We've all been here.  You're not alone in your thinking. 

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Uncategorized, Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Embracing Minimalism: The Liberation of an Empty Closet

My daughter came in to visit from across the country...

She saw that I had purposely lost 40 pounds but was still wearing old clothes that were falling off me. She told me we were going to spend a morning cleaning out my walk-in closet.

Who Cleans out a Closet When Her Daughter's Visiting?

The thought of clearing out clothes was the last thing I wanted to do. Why couldn't we just go boating or kayaking or lie on the beach? Who wants to spend time cleaning out a closet.

Well, she's a chip off the old block so I knew better than to argue with her...

First, she said, "Mom, you're going to be trying on clothes so off with everything but your bra and underpants." [Yes, dear.]

Then, we started at one end of the closet...(I wish I had taken a picture of what it looked like before we started.)

She gave me 2 choices...donate or keep.

My Own Objections

Now I was feeling some things:

Attachment to Items: Letting go of clothing can be difficult, especially if certain pieces hold sentimental value or memories. I might feel emotionally attached to certain items, making it hard to part with them, even if I haven't worn them in years.

Fear of Regret: There's always the fear that I might regret getting rid of certain items once they're gone. I worry that I'll miss something later or that I'll wish I had kept it for sentimental reasons.

Conflict with Personal Style: My daughter's idea of what should stay or go might not align with my own personal style preferences. I might feel resistant to getting rid of items that I still love and enjoy wearing, even if they're not to her taste.

Doubt About the Outcome: I questioned whether decluttering my closet might actually make a difference in my life. Perhaps it will lead to a more organized space I'll just fill up again or if it will just create more chaos, making me want to shop more.

Flash Mobbing My Closet

But once we started, we didn't stop. At first, she started folding the items as we would be giving them to our local Teen Challenge Donation Center. Many of my clothes were of good value and I had had them for years.

Eventually, I noticed she stopped folding them but just threw them in a bag. If I liked them, we hung them back up.

Finally, Sarah was pulling things off the hangers and just saying, "Ugly, nope" and so the process sped up a little bit more. I didn't even have to try it on.

Then came the clothes that had a broken zipper or a missing button. "Would I repair it?", she asked. And her second question, "How long had it been hanging in my closet needing repair?' Noting my hesitancy to answer her meant it was going in the TRASH pile. Oh dear!!

But we laughed and had a good time cleaning out this closet.

Then she didn't stop there. Knowing I might leave the bags in the house, she said, "Where's your keys? I'll load these bags up and take them to Teen Challenge right now for you!" How could I resist? She took 4 50-gallon lawn size plastic bags of clothes to the donation center!

Friends

When my friends can over for dinner, I beamed like a peacock and had to show them my "new" closet. They were impressed. Even one husband said, "Geez, I have more clothes than her." Someone else said, "Are we going shopping?" To which I replied, "No." (I hate shopping for anything and that's probably why I still had clothes from the 1980s hanging in my closet.)

So, now it's been several weeks since my daughter and I cleared the clutter.

I can't tell you the relief I feel!

There are so many benefits to this and it's hard to explain how silly I feel wanting to visit my closet just to see how good it makes me feel. I mean, who goes to their closet to feel good?

But here's what has happened next...

  • I now feel a sense of clarity and lightness wash over me every day. Gone were the days of sifting through clutter to find something to wear. Now, each garment hanging in my closet fits me perfectly and makes me feel so good. The sense of freedom and empowerment that comes from having a closet full of only the clothes that looked good on me and that I could wear is unparalleled.
  • Rediscovering Hidden Gems: As we went through my wardrobe, we came across items I forgot I had. It was like Christmas in May all over again! I found pieces I loved buried under other items. I found clothes I hesitated to try on because I was afraid they wouldn't fit, but they did!
  • Less Stress: There's less feelings of stress and anxiety. By clearing the clutter, I have created a more peaceful environment in my home. Plus, I know where everything is and it saves me so much time. I don't have to "guess" anymore.
  • Simplified Decision Making: With fewer items to choose from, deciding what to wear becomes simpler and quicker. I spend less time agonizing over outfit choices and more time enjoying my day.
  • Helping Others: Donating my clothing to charity gives me a good feeling of doing something nice for someone else. I know my clothes will be appreciated by someone in need and this makes me feel good.
  • Improved Self-Image: Wearing clothes that fit well and make me feel confident positively impact my self-esteem and how I present myself to the world. In fact, I told my friends I'm ready to get back out on the "circuit" again with workshops and speaking engagements because "I now have something to wear."

Most importantly, I couldn't do this on my own. I had to have help. Sarah was unattached to my clothes. She could make those quick decisions. I trusted her not to dress me like a 20-year-old or to take me out to get tattoos. No, all the things in my closet I once loved, but knew they weren't right for me anymore. So we simply found the things I still loved and actually fit! 

No shopping needed!

P.S.  Many of you members have asked me how I've lost this weight in 6 months and still losing. It is truly the easiest thing I've ever done. No drugs. My dad was an old country doctor and in the 1960s he had a diet plan for his 50-year-old plus patients who wanted to lose weight. He, himself, lost 40 pounds in 6 months and my mom lost her extra unneeded 30 pounds. He was a family practice doctor but so many people loved his plan they came to him just to lose weight. 

I am writing out what the simple plan involves and will put it in your Senior Freedom Club™ membership FREE for you when I get it done. If you're not yet a member, then click below to join the waitlist so you'll get notified when I open up membership again.

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Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

How to Avoid Power Outages and Other Disasters

“I don’t have time to do it now.”  I'm with ya!!

Boy, if they were every truer words. When disaster strikes we wish we were better prepared, had the money, and the time to take action ahead of time.

Whether you live in an area that has fires earthquakes snow storms or hurricanes or tornadoes, many of us are free from natural disasters.

As seniors, we have unique needs and considerations when it comes to disaster preparedness. we want safety and security and we want to remain independent.

But have you ever felt like this?

We want to get a lot done to get our homes ready and closed up and then we have to consider travel, where will we go, and what we will need. Do we have some mobility issues, transportation issues and maybe even limited financial resources?

And then, if we do live independently, we don't want to become dependent on our family members to take care of us throughout the disaster.

So what holds us back?

I know for me it's always a cost concern and it disrupts my routine. no matter how that hurricane is barreling down on the Gulf Coast, I just really don't have time to get all the things done that has to be done before I can leave my home.

And on top of this, I have to worry and the fear of uncertainty. What if I come back to no home? Or what if the home has damage? We all pretty much agree that insurance does not pay for the cost. We saw this fact emerged in Hurricanes Ian and Andrew where insurance companies just up and left Florida and canceled our policies. So our big concern is what will we have when we return.

For some of my friends that live up north they worry about the power going out, the pipes freezing and then bursting, or how long they're going to be without heat in a blizzard.

You are not alone. We all go through this. Raise your hand if you've ever had to deal with a power outage or getting out of your house in a hurry.

Our own successes down here in Florida

Most of us seniors know that if we live in a senior facility we are at the beck and call of that senior facility. While you will not see it in the news most of these facilities fail drastically in terms of generators and keeping their people well fed and safe. Most of their employees leave town during a hurricane and the skeleton crew that's left is not sufficient to provide the food the water. Even the best facilities in our area resorted to cots in the gymnasium for 3 months before they could get their seniors back to their homes. They ate off paper plates sitting on their laps and had to use the gymnasium bathrooms for showers.

So let's get prepared, shall we?

First thing our seniors do, is put up the hurricane shutters and yes, they always have a handyman or a neighbor who helps them with this. We know who this person is and we call on them to help us, and they are always there. This is good preparedness.

For those of us who are in senior facilities, we have pre-planned or exit strategies with our family to get us out of town and we do not return until we know the power is back on, and the employees have returned to the area.

You see, while we don't know what's going to happen, we do know what to do. And we do it, not ignore it. it's just common sense that the weather channels are not predictable or accurate, and when hurricane season hits every June 1st to November 1st we are ready to go.

It is such a great feeling of relief to know that we've got the plans in place and the right people ready to help us.

So here are three quick tips and strategies for you to think about.

#1 - Always keep your medications a month ahead. In other words, always have an extra supply on hand. If this is a medication that you take over the counter or a prescription, keep this bag handy. When you get your new bottle of medication take your old one out of this prepare-for-disaster bag and replace it with the new one. This way you never have expired medications. 

#2 -  Where will you go?  Because we do not know how long we're going to be without power, or when the storm hurricane, or blizzard is going to hit, we don't want to wait until the last minute. So where will you go to find power? How will you get there?  For most of us here in Florida, we head inland. and we reserve a hotel immediately upon notification that the hurricane is coming.  If we have a relative within 12 hours of driving distance we will get out of town sooner so we won't get stuck in a traffic jam.

#3 -  For seniors who have dementia or cognitive decline, preparing for disaster takes more effort. I have a whole guidebook on how to work with and prepare a senior who has to be moved and cannot move themselves in my Senior Freedom Club.  It's a checklist and a packing list of clothes, personal items, and activities a senior may need for as many days as I have to be out of their home.

When Hurricane Ian hit, it was such a relief to know that I had prepared ahead of time. My car was filled with gas and I was not waiting in gas lines all the way around blocks for hours. Those who got out of town were blessed not to come back in until they knew the power was on and grocery stores were open again.

Water and food became plentiful,  waiting in gas lines were getting smaller,  and most importantly they hadn't lost their cars to the hurricane. It was such a relief for these people to know they had prepared well.

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social isolation
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Social Isolation: Is It Wrong?

First off, let's tackle the elephant in the room: what exactly is social isolation? It's not just about being physically alone; it's about feeling disconnected from the world around you. 

It's a problem that affects more people than you might think. Or is it?

Everyone has their own degree of socialization. Some folks love being alone and take other people with a grain of salt and can only spend a few hours with them.

And then there are others who have socialized all their lives and this is what they Thrive for and they have to keep socialization going. a perfect example of this is The Villages in Florida which have a very Lively social program.

The key here is not black and white.  there is a gray sliding scale. if you have always been a social butterfly then you must continue because this is something you know and love. and if you've been the person that likes your downtime and to be alone for the most part, this is what you know and love.

So how do we judge how much is good for one person versus another?

If your isolation affects any of your any of the following, then it's time to readjust the amount of activity you have with others.

Also what you need to look at is the quality of those relationships with others. in other words do you like one-on-one or do you like to be in a crowd with people?

Is being out with couples fun for you or do you prefer to be out only with the same sex?

Here are some things to look for

Mental Health: Social isolation has been linked to numerous mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. Regular social interaction helps stimulate the mind, ward off feelings of loneliness, and maintain mental acuity.

Physical Health: Social isolation can also take a toll on your physical health. Studies have shown that individuals who are socially isolated are at higher risk for a variety of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and even a weakened immune system.

Quality of Life: Simply put, life is better when it's shared with others. Whether it's sharing a laugh with friends, enjoying a meal with family, or simply having someone to talk to when times get tough, social connections enrich our lives in countless ways and add meaning and purpose to our days.

Support System: For caregivers, maintaining a strong support system is essential for preventing burnout and maintaining overall well-being. Whether it's leaning on friends and family for emotional support or seeking out resources and services to lighten the caregiving load, having a strong social network can make all the difference.

Sense of Belonging: We all crave a sense of belonging and connection, and social interaction is key to fulfilling that need. Whether it's feeling like part of a community, being surrounded by loved ones, or simply knowing that there are people who care about us, social connections provide a sense of belonging that is vital for our overall happiness and well-being.

Embrace Technology: Let's face it, technology can be intimidating, but it's also a powerful tool for staying connected. Whether it's video calls with loved ones, joining online communities, or even exploring social media, the digital world offers endless opportunities to forge meaningful connections from the comfort of your own home.

Get Out and About. Yes, I know, sometimes leaving the house can feel like a Herculean task, but it's worth it. Whether it's joining a local senior center, attending community events, or simply taking a stroll in the park, getting out and about can do wonders for your mood and your social life.

Volunteer: Nothing beats that warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping others. Volunteering not only gives you a sense of purpose but also provides ample opportunities to meet new people and form lasting friendships. Whether it's tutoring kids at the local school or lending a hand at a soup kitchen, there's no shortage of ways to give back to your community.

Stay Active: Exercise isn't just good for your body; it's also a great way to stay socially engaged. Whether it's joining a fitness class, going for a group walk, or even just meeting up with friends for a game of tennis, staying active can help you stay connected with others while also boosting your physical and mental well-being.

Explore Your Hobbies: Remember all those hobbies you never had time for when you were younger? Well, now's the perfect time to dust them off and give them another go. Whether it's painting, gardening, knitting, or playing the ukulele, pursuing your passions is a great way to meet like-minded individuals and form meaningful connections.

Reach Out for Support: Remember, you're not in this alone. Whether you're a senior struggling with loneliness or a caregiver feeling overwhelmed, there are plenty of resources and support networks available to help you navigate these challenges. Whether it's joining a support group, seeking counseling, or simply reaching out to friends and family for a chat, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Stay Positive: Last but certainly not least, don't forget to stay positive! It's easy to get bogged down by feelings of loneliness and isolation, but maintaining a positive outlook can make all the difference. Remember, every day is a new opportunity to connect with others and make meaningful memories.

Whether you're a senior looking to expand your social circle or a caregiver hoping to support your loved one on their journey, remember that you have the power to make a difference. 

So go ahead, reach out, and embrace the world around you. After all, life's too short to spend it alone!

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Home care
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Home Care Agency vs Private Home Care Service

As the population ages, the demand for home care services continues to grow. For seniors and their families, navigating the myriad of options available can be overwhelming. Two common choices are home care agencies and private home care services. While they both offer assistance and support for seniors in their homes, there are significant differences between the two. Let's delve into what sets them apart to help you make the best decision for your loved one's care.

Home Care Agencies

Home care agencies are organizations that employ and manage caregivers who provide in-home assistance to seniors. These agencies typically have a team of caregivers who are trained, certified, and insured to offer various services, including personal care, companionship, medication reminders, and light housekeeping.

Pros of Home Care Agencies:

  • Professionalism and Oversight: Home care agencies often have stringent hiring processes, background checks, and training programs for their caregivers. They also provide supervision and support to ensure quality care delivery.
  • Backup Support: In case a caregiver is unavailable due to illness or other reasons, home care agencies can usually provide a replacement quickly, ensuring uninterrupted care for the senior.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Agencies are required to adhere to state regulations and licensing requirements, providing an additional layer of assurance regarding the quality and safety of care.
  • Background Checks: All employees must have training and background checks in order to work. All must have passed certain regulations by state, federal, and the company’s demands. 

Cons of Home Care Agencies:

  • Cost: Due to overhead costs associated with managing caregivers and administrative expenses, home care agency services can be more expensive compared to private home care services.
  • Less Personalized Care: While agencies strive to match caregivers with clients based on their needs and preferences, the rotation of caregivers can lead to less continuity of care and a reduced sense of familiarity for the senior.
  • Hired help:  Because of the drastic shortage of home help to fill busy schedules, many employees are exhausted by the time they reach their next shift. They do not have a legal limit as to how much they can work and mistakes can begin to happen. 
  • Language barriers:  Employees who are willing to do this kind of work often speak English as a second language.  This creates a problem for the senior who is already hard of hearing and now must overcome language barriers. 

Private Home Care Services

Private home care services, on the other hand, involve hiring an individual caregiver directly, often referred to as independent caregivers or private-duty caregivers. These caregivers may be certified nursing assistants (CNAs), home health aides (HHAs), or personal care aides (PCAs).

Pros of Private Home Care Services:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Private home care services tend to be more affordable since there are no agency fees or overhead costs involved. This can make it a more budget-friendly option for seniors with limited financial resources.
  • Consistency and Continuity: By working directly with a private caregiver, seniors can enjoy a more consistent and personalized level of care. They develop a strong rapport with their caregiver, promoting trust and companionship.
  • Flexibility: Seniors and their families have greater flexibility in customizing the care schedule and services provided when working directly with a private caregiver. They can negotiate rates and tailor the care plan to meet specific needs.

Cons of Private Home Care Services:

  • Limited Oversight: Unlike home care agencies, private caregivers may not be subject to the same level of oversight and regulation. Families bear the responsibility of vetting and supervising the caregiver to ensure quality and safety. The liability lies with the family and not with an agency. 
  • No Backup Support: If a private caregiver becomes unavailable unexpectedly, finding a replacement can be challenging and may result in gaps in care.

Making the Right Choice:

When deciding between a home care agency and a private home care service, it's essential to consider the unique needs and preferences of the senior. Factors such as budget, level of care required, and the importance of consistency should guide your decision-making process.

Most of our Senior Freedom Club™ members choose a combination of Agency and Private Home Care. We recommend at least three agencies that have been vetted in the area and then at least three private Home Care people. Yes, a total of SIX resources!

The reason we do this is because we have seen agencies scramble for an employee when one gets sick and it may be easier for a family member to just call another agency or may want to first call a private person.

Why have at least three private home care people?  These schedules seem to be more flexible and also these folks are needed on demand.  So if one person cannot make it, they can call in another to cover for them.  Many private home care people know and recommend those folks they know are good people and will do a nice job.  They are often the best resources when needing at least three people. Vetting and liability insurance still have to be pursued.

If professionalism, regulatory compliance, and backup support are top priorities, a home care agency may be the preferred option. On the other hand, if cost-effectiveness, personalized care, knowing the individual, and flexibility are paramount, private home care services may better suit your needs.

Ultimately, whether you choose a home care agency or a private home care service, the most crucial aspect is ensuring that the senior receives compassionate, reliable care that enhances their quality of life and enables them to remain safely and comfortably in their own home.

By understanding the differences between these two types of services, you can make an informed decision that best meets the needs of your loved one and provides peace of mind for the entire family.

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Traveling with seniors
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

A Joyful Journey: Easter Travel Tips for Seniors and Family Caregivers

Planning a trip for Easter can be an exciting adventure, especially when we are all traveling with seniors. We are especially looking forward to those who do not show up very often, but alas, here they come. 

With careful preparation and consideration, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey for everyone involved. Let's explore some tips and tricks to make this Easter travel experience one to remember!

Meet Jane and her Family

Jane is a vibrant senior who loves spending time with her family, especially during special occasions like Easter. Jane's family consists of her two adult children, Sarah and Michael, and her loving husband, John. They live in California, while Jane's sister, Mary, resides in New York. This Easter, Jane and her family decided to travel to New York to celebrate the holiday with Mary and her family.

Preparation is Key

Jane and her family understand the importance of careful planning when it comes to traveling with seniors. They started by researching the best travel options, considering factors such as convenience, comfort, and accessibility. After weighing their options, they decided to book a direct flight to New York, as it would minimize travel time and reduce the stress of multiple layovers.

Jane's family also made sure to pack essential items for the trip, including medications, comfortable clothing, and any necessary medical equipment. They double-checked their travel documents, ensuring that Jane's mobility aids were properly registered with the airline to guarantee a hassle-free boarding process.

Jane’s daughter speaks up and makes sure everyone understands that this is her vacation, too. She asks that Michael and her Dad pitch in to help Jane with very specific tasks. This way they know what to do and when. She also calls her Aunt Mary privately and asks about accommodations and who will help when they all get there and with what. Again, Jane is very specific. See the Senior Freedom Club on how to be direct and specific when recruiting people to help.

During the Journey

While Jane does not have dementia, she does have some memory loss and mobility issues. When Jane boarded the plane, she told the flight attendant about this so everyone would be aware. She is not easily agitated which is good. 

Jane's family also made sure to inform the flight attendants about Jane's needs. They requested assistance with boarding and deplaning, as well as priority seating to accommodate Jane's limited mobility. Throughout the flight, Sarah and Michael took turns sitting next to Jane, providing her with companionship and support.

To keep Jane comfortable during the journey, her family brought along a travel pillow and blanket, as well as snacks and water to stay hydrated. They encouraged Jane to move around the cabin periodically to prevent stiffness and promote circulation, and they made sure to notify the flight crew if Jane needed any assistance.

Arriving at Their Destination

Upon arrival in New York, Jane and her family were greeted by Mary and her family with warm hugs and smiles. They had arranged for a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to transport Jane and her family to their accommodations, ensuring a smooth transition from the airport to their destination.

Throughout their stay in New York, Jane's family made sure to pace their activities and prioritize rest and relaxation. They realized with the time change, Jane would need time to rest. They planned outings that were accessible and enjoyable for Jane, such as scenic drives, visits to local parks, and leisurely meals at family-friendly restaurants.

With Jane’s approval, Sarah set up a schedule as to who would help her mom with bathroom, eating, and bedtime requirements. Jane refused outside help so everyone agreed to follow through on their assignments so all could celebrate and have a good time. 

Celebrating Together

On Easter Sunday, Jane and her family attended a special church service with Mary and her family, followed by a festive Easter brunch at a nearby restaurant. They exchanged Easter eggs and shared stories and laughter, creating cherished memories that would last a lifetime.

As the day drew to a close, Jane and her family reflected on their Easter travel experience with gratitude and joy. Despite the challenges of traveling with a senior, they had managed to create a memorable and meaningful holiday celebration that brought their families closer together.

The Unexpected

Traveling with seniors requires careful planning, patience, and flexibility, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Before you even begin to travel with seniors who need extra time and help, please ask them what they need. While most of us will say, “Nothing.”, rethink all the things you do for that person and delegate those duties to others so you can enjoy your trip, too. 

Remember flights are often delayed, so don’t be on a time schedule. Prepare for the unexpected and make rest and relaxation a part of the delays. Bring along a set of cards to play while you wait for reservations and plane delays. 

By following these tips and sharing the journey with loved ones, you can create unforgettable memories and celebrate special occasions like Easter in a meaningful and memorable way. Safe travels!

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affordable senior housing
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

6 Signs You May Not Be Able to Afford Senior Housing: What to Look Out For

Are you or a loved one considering senior housing options but feeling uncertain about the affordability? It's a common concern among seniors and their families. 

As we navigate this important decision, it's crucial to recognize the signs that indicate senior housing may not be financially feasible.

Six Key Indicators You Can’t Afford A Senior Facility

Limited Retirement Savings: One of the primary considerations when evaluating senior housing affordability is your retirement savings. If you find that your savings are insufficient to cover the costs associated with senior living communities or assisted living facilities, it's a clear sign that you may need to reassess your options. First, find out what it costs to live in the senior facility of your choice. See my Ultimate Seniors Guide for the questions you need to ask. 

Take a close look at your retirement accounts, pension, and other sources of income to determine if they can adequately support the expenses of senior housing. And don’t forget, they will go up as you age. But not necessarily at the same rate!

Fixed Income Constraints: Many seniors rely on fixed incomes, such as Social Security benefits or pensions, to cover their living expenses. However, fixed incomes can pose challenges when it comes to affording senior housing, especially if the costs exceed your monthly budget. What is it you will go without? As we age we will need more services, not less. 

If you're struggling to meet your current financial obligations on a fixed income, it's essential to carefully evaluate whether you can afford the additional expenses associated with senior housing, including rent, utilities, and healthcare services.

High Healthcare Costs: As we age, healthcare expenses often increase, adding another layer of financial strain. If you or your loved one require extensive medical care or assistance with daily activities, such as medication management or mobility support, these costs can quickly accumulate. Ask yourself if you have good insurance. Medicare Advantage is not the same as Medicare Original. And by now, yo must know that Medicare does not pay for everything and more or more healthcare facilities are adding on excess costs. 

Before committing to senior housing, consider the potential healthcare expenses and whether your budget can accommodate them. Many seniors move into a lovely senior facility only to be kicked out six months later because unexpected medical bills come along. 

Limited Access to Financial Assistance: While there are various financial assistance programs available for seniors, not everyone qualifies for these resources. If you're relying solely on personal savings and income to cover senior housing costs, without access to government subsidies or assistance from family members, it may indicate financial challenges ahead. 

There are amazing programs to assist you but it depends on your state. You will need to talk with a Board-certified Elder Law Attorney who lives and breathes this information every day. The reason this is so important is because laws are constantly changing in your state. 

As one Board-certified attorney told me, “Suzanne, I see all my clients every  4 years because it depends who got elected to office. Laws change. "

Debt Obligations: Mounting debt can significantly impact your ability to afford senior housing. Whether it's credit card debt, mortgage payments, or outstanding medical bills, carrying substantial debt can strain your finances and make it difficult to cover the expenses associated with senior living. 

Are you in debt because of a family member?  I've seen many seniors who are still paying on their child's college education. 

Limited Savings for Emergencies: Planning for unexpected expenses is essential, especially in retirement. If you don't have adequate savings set aside for emergencies, such as home repairs, medical emergencies, or unexpected financial setbacks, it can jeopardize your ability to afford senior housing in the long run. 

This is a biggie. Many of the seniors we work with admit they give too much to their adult children or grandchildren. There are too many fundraisers at the kid’s schools, sports are ridiculously expensive, and they can’t say ‘No’. 

On top of this, if you buy into a senior facility, they tend to have “Assessment fees” based on their updates or hurricanes, floods, and other weather-related disasters which call or an assessment in the thousands. Be ready for these. 

Protect what you have, getting what you deserve

In conclusion, see out where you want to live, and then find a Board-certified Elder Law Attorney to help you get the program(s) that will protect your money and find you some more. 

For moreinormation on what you need as a super aggingg senior, see my Free Super-Ager's Starter Guide. Chapter 6 is all about Senior Finances. 

Super Ager's starter guide
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home safety for seniors
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Unveiling Hidden Gems: 12 Home Tweaks Ensuring Senior Safety

Savvy seniors and caring caregivers know all about home safety. Or do they?

Whether you're a senior enjoying the comforts of your own space or a dedicated caregiver ensuring the well-being of your loved one, creating a safe haven is paramount. Let's dive into some top-notch tips to keep your home sweet home both secure and cozy.

Can you say "Yes!" to all these?

Light the Way: Good lighting is your best friend. Ensure that all areas of your home, especially hallways, staircases, and entrances, are well-lit to prevent trips and falls. Consider installing motion-sensor lights for added convenience and energy efficiency.

Slip-Proof Surfaces: Slippery floors can be a major hazard, especially in areas like the kitchen and bathroom. Invest in non-slip mats or rugs with rubber backing to provide traction and stability.

Declutter with Care: Keep pathways clear of clutter, electrical cords, and loose rugs to prevent tripping hazards. It's also a good idea to secure any loose carpet edges to the floor to avoid slips.

Bathroom Safety: The bathroom can be a hotspot for accidents. Install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower or tub to provide support and assistance. Consider a shower chair or bench for added comfort and stability during bathing.

Caregiver Starter Guide

See Chapter 3 in this FREE Caregiver's Starter Guide for more about keeping your senior's home safe. 

Fire Safety: Be prepared for emergencies by installing smoke detectors in key areas of your home, particularly near bedrooms. Test them regularly and replace batteries as needed. Additionally, have a fire extinguisher readily accessible in the kitchen and know how to use it.

Medication Management: Keep medications organized and stored safely out of reach of children and pets. Consider using a pill organizer to keep track of doses and schedules, and dispose of expired medications properly.

Secure Staircases: If your home has stairs, make sure handrails are sturdy and securely anchored. Consider adding non-slip treads to steps for added traction, especially if they are wooden or slippery.

Kitchen Caution: Take precautions in the kitchen to prevent burns and accidents. Use oven mitts when handling hot pots and pans, and never leave cooking food unattended. Keep sharp objects like knives stored safely and use caution when using small kitchen appliances.

Emergency Plan: Prepare for the unexpected by creating an emergency plan and sharing it with family members or caregivers. Include important contact numbers, medical information, and a designated meeting place in case of evacuation.

Stay Connected: Consider investing in a medical alert system for added peace of mind. These systems allow seniors to call for help at the touch of a button, providing a sense of security and independence.

Regular Maintenance: Stay on top of home maintenance tasks to prevent accidents. Check and replace any loose or worn-out handrails, light bulbs, or flooring materials. Keep outdoor pathways clear of debris and well-maintained.

Fall Detection Technology: For added safety, consider utilizing fall detection technology. These devices can automatically detect falls and alert caregivers or emergency services, providing an extra layer of security for seniors living alone.

Remember, home safety is an ongoing process. Stay proactive and regularly assess your living environment for potential hazards. By implementing these tips, you can create a safe and comfortable home where seniors can thrive and caregivers can have peace of mind.

Here's to happy and safe living!

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aging in place
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

Aging in Place or Assisted Living? A Guide to Senior Housing Choices

Fact: Seniors age in place! I like to think of senior housing as wherever we live!

According to the National Institutes of Health, over 93% of seniors over 65 live in the community. This leaves the rest of the population in a senior facility.

Almost half of all seniors age 85 and above live with family. Then 40% live alone. The average American is living longer and the quality of life is much improved from 20 years ago. 

So, whether you decide to age in place or seek out a senior community, there are several things you should know about each one. 

Aging in Place or With A Family Member:

Pros:

  • Familiar Environment:  Seniors can remain in a familiar and comfortable environment, which can contribute to emotional well-being.
  • Independence: Allows for a high level of independence and autonomy in daily living activities.
  • Community Connection: Maintains connections with neighbors, friends, and the local community.
  • Cost Savings: Depending on the situation, it may be more cost-effective than moving to senior housing.
  • Personalized Care: Customized care plans can be implemented to address specific needs.
  • Sense of Control: Seniors can have more control over their daily routines and lifestyle choices.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Familiar surroundings and independence can positively impact mental health.
  • Employee Selection: Hiring home care is totally up to the individual.

Cons:

  • Safety Concerns: Aging in place may pose safety risks, especially if the home is not modified for accessibility.
  • Isolation: Seniors may experience social isolation, particularly if they live alone and have limited mobility.
  • Limited Care Services: Access to certain healthcare and support services may be limited compared to senior housing.
  • Home Maintenance: Homeownership comes with ongoing maintenance responsibilities, which may become challenging.
  • Lack of Social Activities: Limited organized social activities compared to senior living communities.
  • Potential Loneliness: Without regular social interactions, seniors may face feelings of loneliness and depression.
  • Healthcare Access: Proximity to healthcare facilities and ease of access to medical services can be a concern.

Independent Living Communities: 

These senior housing communities offer housing options for seniors who are still active and prefer a maintenance-free lifestyle. 

Pros:

  • Maintenance-free lifestyle.
  • Social activities and amenities.
  • Sense of community.

Cons:

  • Limited healthcare services.
  • Will not provide assistance with daily tasks 
  • Will not pick up someone if they fall. Calls 911 instead

Assisted Living Facilities: 

Assisted living is suitable for seniors who need some assistance with daily activities but still want to maintain a level of independence. 

Pros:

  • Assistance with daily activities.
  • Social engagement opportunities.
  • 24/7 staff availability.

Cons:

  • Costs may be higher than independent living.
  • Limited medical services compared to skilled nursing.
  • Huge waiting lists for the better facilities.
  • May assist with falls.

Memory Care Communities: 

Designed for seniors with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, memory care communities provide specialized care and support to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

Pros:

  • Specialized care for those with dementia.
  • Secure environment.
  • Trained staff for specific needs.

Cons:

  • Higher costs due to specialized care.
  • Limited independence for residents.
  • Residents may be placed with others who are not in the same stage of dementia.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): 

CCRCs offer a range of housing options, from independent living to skilled nursing care, allowing seniors to transition seamlessly as their needs change over time.

Pros:

  • Seamless transitions between care levels.
  • Variety of amenities, including workshops
  • Long-term planning for changing needs.
  • Often has rehab services

Cons:

  • Potentially high entrance fees.
  • Monthly fees may be expensive.

55+ Communities: 

These age-restricted communities cater exclusively to individuals aged 55 and older. They often provide amenities, social activities, and a sense of community for active retirees.

Pros:

  • Age-specific community.
  • Social and recreational activities.
  • Maintenance-free living.

Cons:

  • Limited diversity in age groups.
  • Restrictions on younger visitors, however guests are allowed.
  • The choice of how money is spent to increase value is limited.

Skilled Nursing Facilities: 

For seniors with complex medical needs or those requiring around-the-clock care, skilled nursing facilities provide comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation services.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive medical care.
  • Rehabilitation services.
  • 24/7 nursing care.

Cons:

  • Reduced independence.
  • Higher level of institutionalization.
  • Potentially higher costs.

Overall, any of these choices are good alternatives to asking family members to step up.  It takes an average of 32 people a week to take care of a resident. This is one of the reasons the cost is so high. And a bigger reason why family members burn out no matter how hard they try not to. 

Facilities also must pay legal fees, insurance, and maintenance on large properties. 

Super Ager Starter Guide

If you are seriously thinking about aging in place, get the Super-Ager's Starter Guide here and look at Chapter 2 on mobility because this truly determines where and how you will live. 

If you’re thinking of moving this year, do your homework first.  See this blog, When is The Right Time to Move in 2024.

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moving seniors
Senior Housing: Home Preferences & Safety: Loving Where We Live

When is the Right Time to Move in 2024?

As we evaluate ourselves as seniors, or if we are taking care of our senior, did anyone see changes and felt the concern to speak up?

Most families think about moving for a multiptude of reasons. Liz Kennedy offers the option of living in your home, just change a few things. 

Others want to unload a lot of stuff and move to a smaller convenient place.  While others want to move in with their adult child.  Some will even venture to a senior facility that housing independently living and continues all the way to rehab and nursing care. 

caregivers starter guide

What’s best for us?

The decision to move depends on various factors, and it's essential to consider the health, safety, finanaces, and overall well-being. Here are some common situations when seniors might consider moving:

  • Health concerns: If a senior is facing health issues that make it difficult for them to live independently, moving to a place where they can receive appropriate care may be necessary. As a caregiver, check out The Caregiver’s Starter Guide, 6 questions to ask yourself.
  • Home maintenance: If maintaining a home becomes too challenging due to physical limitations or financial constraints, moving to a more manageable living situation could be beneficial.
  • Social isolation: Seniors may consider moving if they feel isolated and want to be closer to family, friends, or a community where they can engage in social activities.
  • Financial considerations: If the cost of maintaining a current living situation becomes a burden, downsizing or moving to a more affordable place may be a practical choice.
  • Proximity to support services: Moving closer to medical facilities, shopping centers, and other essential services can be crucial for seniors who may require assistance.
  • Safety concerns: If a senior's current living situation poses safety risks, such as inaccessible bathrooms or stairs, moving to a safer environment may be necessary. (see this free guide on safety: The Caregiver’s Starter Guide, Chapter 4)

Biggest Mistake Seniors and Family Members Wished They Avoided 

I have seen too many seniors and their families wait until the last minute to find appropriate housing. Many of the best places are very expensive or have a 10-month waiting list. Don’t wait, start now.

It is always best to look now, at the beginning of the year, for what is out there.  Technology, facilities, and personnel are constantly improving. Compare other places to your current housing situation and then evaluate the costs and time it will take you to move.

Remember, if your ideal place becomes available and you still aren’t ready to make the change, then just go back on the waiting list until you are ready to move.

Articles you might like: Let's Get Honest About Boundaries

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