Archive for the ‘Full Concierge Service’ Category

Do you have an accident waiting to happen at your parents house?

Are your parents climbing ladders and step stools because they feel they can do things themselves? Climbing the ladder to clean out the gutters or touching up the paint is something they always did and still feel capable still doing. Years ago that wasn’t a problem; they were a lot younger and much more agile and steady. But things are changing.

How can you stop them from doing this before they have that accident which could put them out of commission permanently?  Whether it is fixing the dripping kitchen faucet, changing a filter or light bulb, putting in the screens, or anything else that needs fixing.  What peace of mind would you have knowing that Dad and Mom are not climbing ladders or step stools, crawling under sinks, or make many trips down the basement stairs which are all possibilities for accidents.

There are plenty of small businesses that can help you help your parents.   Some of them you and set them up on a monthly retainer, and they will stop by your parents home on a regular basis throughout the month and take care of things that need fixing.  You know all the little (and not so little) do it yourself projects that you don’t have time to do for your parents. Arrange to have everything done without anyone in the family climbing a ladder and taking unnecessary risks.

All you need to do is keep a perpetual “honey do” list and once a month, as regular as clock work; this company would come in and do what is on the list. If the job was too big or more involved then they may need to schedule more time, but for the most part routine maintenance and repair projects that Dad or Mom want or need done are finished and scratched off the list.

Consider this type of service as a gift for the entire family!

 

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Some Times I Wonder!

There are times when I really have to stop, think, and rethink what I am about to say.   I really wonder at times what people think about when they hand out advice, and get paid to do it.

Case in point is an 85 year old woman who just moved into a very nice, but expensive, retirement community.   I was called in to do a complete unpack and set up in the new apartment.   However when I arrived the morning after the move I walked into to a wall of boxes and furniture, and the woman I came to help was so confused and disoriented it was sad.

The community where she moved to employs a ‘move in coordinator’, who visited my client prior to the moving.   The purpose of the visit was to make sure that the items that were being moved would fit into her new apartment.  My client was moving from approximately 2000 sq ft to about 1400 sq ft.   Six hundred square feet makes a big difference.  However my client was told she could bring everything, and she did!

The bigger pieces of furniture fit, and were placed in the new apartment according to the floor plan produced by the move in coordinator.  What wasn’t taken into consideration and should have been were the closet and storage spaces between the old and the new apartment and no downsizing and decluttering took place prior to moving.  As a result, when the movers were told to pack everything, they did.

After 4 days of working to find appropriate ‘homes’ for all the items it was necessary to sit down and really have a focused (as much as possible) heart to heart discussion with my client.  I explained that there just was no more room for my team to put anything else.   There were still several cartons of ‘stuff’ that we needed to decide where to put them.     Eventually, with my client sitting on a folding chair in the storage room area, we pulled out several cartons that she had absolutely no idea what was in them.  They were old greeting cards, letter, etc., that had not been unpacked from a previous move years ago.

I cannot understand how someone could tell my client that she could bring everything and it would fit.  Of course my client relied on this advice.   I only wish that I could have been with the client on both ends of the move.   Because decluttering and downsizing prior to the move, would have saved time and money, because time is money.    But it also would have saved unnecessary stress and aggravation for the client.

My advice to Retirement Community move in coordinators, think about what you are telling your future residents about what they should and should not bring, and offer to find them some assistance.   This will be less frustrating on everyone involved in the move, from the mover, the family, and most importantly your new resident.

Now That The Funeral Is Over, Now What?

The funeral is over and finally the last person has left the house, the last of the food  stored in the refrigerator, and everyone sits down around the dining room table and looked at each other and said, “Now what?”

For the past several days, actually several months, this family the moment on the moment and that was just dealing with todays problems, situations, and concerns.  With the death of their parent their primary focus then shifted to just getting through the funeral.

This family has several Now What questions to deal with immediately, because there is a surviving parent that has some concerns and issues that need consideration.  So before all the family members start to scatter back to their ‘normal’ life; work, family, soccer games, PTA, etc., it is time to focus on the ‘Now What?’ questions.

Everyone needs some down time, particularly after what they have dealt with, but first question and most pressing one now is:  Can Mom (or Dad) stay in the family home alone, or would it be better for her to go home with someone?  Once decided then you can move on from their.   Whether Mom stays at home or temporarily goes with one of the children the rest of the Now What’s will wait for another day.

In Her Easter Bonnet

My first client was at one time a very fashionable woman.  She had clothing that would make most women very jealous.  Designer dresses and suits with matching shoes, handbags and  most importantly a hat.  Most of these beautiful clothes had not been in style for at least 30 years.

When it came time to sort through her clothes and decide what she could keep, it was a very traumatic experience for her.  My client, I’ll call her “Ms Daisy”, wanted to keep everything.  Even though she was not able to wear any of the outfits. 

After much discussion and a few tears “Ms Daisy” reluctantly agreed that to donate the clothes, shoes, and handbags.  However, “Ms Daisy” said that she wanted the hats!  Most of them had been beautiful at one time, but their beauty was long gone.  Again after much discussion and a great deal of compromise on both “Ms Daisy” and me. So we packed up one small box of hats that moved with ” Ms Daisy”.
“Ms Daisy” really loved her hats, every time I visited with her she had one of her hats on.  It didn’t matter how bad it might have looked, it made her feel dressed up!  She never stopped admiring hats. One of my last visits with her, I took her to an appointment, and she was all dressed up with her mink pill box hat. 

On our way to her appointment we had a conversation about the hat the Aretha Franklin wore at the 2009 Inauguration.  She loved that hat!  

I believe wearing her hats made her feel physically better than she actually felt.  So compromising a bit and taking a few of her favorite hats made her happy. Ms Daisy felt more in control of her life even though she new she really was not. 

“Ms Daisy”, if she could, would strutting her stuff wearing her best Easter Bonnet!

Tea Calms The Soul!

Nana's teapot

Nana's Teapot

As a child when I was sick, upset, or generally out of sorts; my Irish Nana would brew a fresh pot of tea.  Then she would fix me a special cup, load with sugar and milk.  Whatever was wrong was quickly fixed and I always felt much better with my milky, sweet, Irish Tea!

As I grew older, the tea had much less sugar and milk, but Nana’s special tea was the best tea I ever had.  I still have Nana’s tea pot and on special occasions I make a pot of tea, but it is not the same!   Problems and solutions are not resolved as quickly these days, but a refreshing cup of tea always calms the soul and things do not seem so bad while sipping a nice cup of tea.

I knew Nana used a tea pot, but I really wasn’t too sure what made her tea so special.  When I looked on the Web, I found 189,000 links on how: To Make The Perfect Pot of Irish Tea.  Here is one I found on LollySmith.com.  Not sure if it will be like my Nana’s tea but I will give it a try.  Here is what they say to do:

  • Fill a kettle with freshly drawn water; reheating water already in the kettle will affect the taste.
  • Heat an earthenware or china tea pot. Put hot water in the pot for a few minutes this is called warming the pot.
  • Use 1 teaspoonful of tea per person plus 1 for the pot.
  • Take the pot to the kettle and pour freshly boiling water over the leaves.
  • Leave tea pot steep for a few minutes and stir, after another 2 minutes tea is ready to pour, but no more than 5 minutes after adding boiling water.

If you don’t have loose tea, you can use tea bags in place of loose tea; it is your choice.

Now to really move you from FRAZZLED TO DAZZLED, my tag line, I found a different variation of the tea above; by replacing milk and add Bailey’s® Irish Cream liquor!   I really feel that my Nana would have probably enjoyed this version for a special occassion.   

I tried making a pot of tea with the recipe above, without the Bailey’s® Irish Cream liquor, and it was good but not quite like Nana’s.  Why?  It’s hard to say but it is probably because I made it and not Nana!  She was the magic ingrediant that made the tea so special and it calmed my soul.

So if you are uptight and need to have a little calming of your soul brew yourself a cup of tea and just relax and enjoy!

Organizing Lessons From Ernest and Frank

Frank & Ernest

How many times have we written things down on small scraps of paper and never remember where we put it.  

This is a common complaint as we get older; we have to write things down to remember and then we forget where it is and what we wrote.  How does anyone expect to get organized?

Three tips not to become like Ernest and Frank:

  1. Carry a small note pad and a pen at all time; leave one on the night stand, and  next to all telephones
  2. Only write notes in this note pad; put the date you write the note and put down all important information like: date, time, address and phone number.
  3. When you have time transfer information from note pad to your calendar.

Ernest and Frank’s cartoon is funny but the message is not.  Too many important things are forgotten because we do not take the time to properly write things down in order to remember.

Snow Daze!

As a child I really looked forward to having no school because of snow.    However, growing up in an old New England town it really needed to be a huge blizzard before our schools were canceled because of snow.   I cannot tell you how many times I was disappointed to find we were the only town in miles that was going to school on a very snowy day.  

 Even the Boston news media would comment on the fact that our town was the only one having school.  I believe it was a challenge for the towns DPW to plow, salt and sand all the roads because they liked to distinction of having the schools open.   Our town even had a horse-drawn plow for our sidewalks.  Mr. K and his horse would often be photographed plowing all the sidewalks in town.

These days the news media whip up such a frenzy for days before the storm that schools around here were cancelled by 8 o’clock last night, and many businesses and state government agencies were telling their non-essential personnel not to come in.   

Now that I am older snow days are just another day that I am limited on where and when I can leave my house.  The happiness I felt as a child with a Snow Day off, has now changed to a Snow Daze whenever it snows.  I am lucky to live in a condo where I only need to clean off my car.

At 3:30 am this morning I was pleased to see that the plow had been by at least once or twice, and other than having to brush off my car I could have left my driveway.    But I have no intention of leaving my driveway today.   I quickly brushed off the car, and came in for a hot coffee.

It is nice to muse about the “old daze”, going to school in a blizzard, because we could, and having all our sidewalks cleaned by a horse-drawn plow.   I wasn’t happy about it then, but now I feel that we didn’t have it too bad!  At least I have some very fond memories as I look out my office window in a snow daze.

3 Tips To Keep Healthy Food in Freezers For Older Relatives

Have you looked into your freezer and it is full, but you don’t know what is in there?   You end up taking out a package of “mystery” meat thinking it is steak only it is really a pork chop!  In our day-to-day running around trying to get everything done we forget the obvious things — like marking the freezer bags listing the contents and date. 

You do not need to be old to answer yes to this scenario.   Young vibrant people, who have great eyesight and memories do it as well as  more and more to older adults.   However with older adults it can be more serious, because their generation tend not throw things out.   It is a sin to waste perfectly good food!   Just because it has been in the freezer for a undetermined length of time and is badly freezer burned it is still perfectly okay.

This is what many family members and caregivers are finding when they look in freezers (and refrigerators) of their older relatives.   Keeping the freezers filled with good, healthy, and edible food is a problem.
Here are three simple tips, that most of us will say is just common sense.   

  1. Ignore the complaints and go through the freezer (and refrigerator) and throw out all food that is: old and freezer burned; old packages of frozen food products (veggies, ice cream, etc.) old expiration dates; little packages of food items with no indication of content or date.  In refrigerators: do the same thing – if in doubt throw it out!  Once you have these items cleared out and know that there is no harmful food left you can start from scratch.
  2. Slowly replenish the freezer and refrigerator with good fresh meat and frozen food products.  Before freezing, get a permanent marker, sturdy freezer bags, good plastic wrap.   Re-wrap meat in individual servings in plastic wrap and place in freezer bags (you can put multiple pieces of  the meat in the bag); put the label from the store in the bag so you can see the product name; then seal the bag and write the date on the bag or food container. 
  3. When you add meat and food products to the freezer place the new items (prepared the same as described in 2 above) behind the previous items.  In other words; use the FIFO method – FIRST IN FIRST OUT– to rotate the food out of the freezer.  Only have 3 rotations of food in the cycle.

These tips will help your relative or caregiver know what they are taking out for dinner and it is going to be good and healthy for them.

3 Tips For De-cluttering Old Christmas Cards

One of the fastest ways to de-clutter your Christmas supplies is to cull through Christmas cards that you received.   I am not suggesting that you throw out this years cards.   However, you do not need to keep every card you have received during your adult life!  Here is my suggestions. 

  • Take all the envelopes with the return addresses on them and make sure your address book is updated.   Things happen from year to year and you need to keep up with these changes.  Once you have them all updated throw out the envelopes.  
  • Now take the cards and envelopes from last year and throw them out.  Also take any cards from all prior years and throw those out as well!  
  • Take this years cards and put them in a file folder or envelope and pack them away until next year to refresh your memory on who sent you a card.

Now I have to tell you that the idea for this blog came from my sister.   I just hope that she is following her own tip!

Tip On How To Handle Glut of Winter Coats

Empty HangersDo you have winter coats in hall closets, hanging on hooks in the garage, or in garment bags in attics?   Of course you do!  Once a coat is in the house we hate to part with it.  This is very common among Baby Boomers and Seniors because many of us are accustomed to going out every year and buying a new coat.   Every year, usually right after the holidays, the stores have some marvelous sales, and you know we cannot miss a great bargain!  

My tip to Baby Boomers, seniors, and anyone else who finds their closet, attics, or garages too full to hang up one more coat, start purging.   You can only wear one coat at a time, and often we keep going back to the same “old” coat that makes us comfortable.    Start with any coat you have hanging in the closet and ask the following questions; What condition is it in?  Is it clean? Does it fit?  When was the last time you wore it? Is it clean? Does the zipper work or are there any missing buttons?  Do not stop until the coat is not clean; sew on the missing buttons; have the zipper fixed; donate them to a homeless shelter!   Do this for each and every coat and jacket in the house. 

This project could take a few days, but do not give up!  It is much easier to do this ‘as you go’, because waiting only puts it off and you know that someday this needs to be done.   Do it now, you will feel good, and you will be helping people who desperately needs a coat, and now you have so much more closet space.

After it is finished, from now on when you shop at the after holiday sales and purchase a new coat, take the old coat and make sure everything is in good shape and make that donation.

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