Archive for the ‘aging in place’ Tag

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!

 

Condominium Living 101

Condominium living is wonderful, in my opinion.   You pay the money and someone else does the work!  No mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, or shoveling snow, etc.  However, you need to be somewhat flexible with your expectations and not become angry or bitter when things are not done exactly the way you think it should or when it is done.

I have lived the condominium life for over twenty years and most of it has been a wonderful experience.  I am currently the chair person of our board of trustees and it has been an education and a challenge.    Everyone wants to have platinum or gold services but they only want to pay for Bronze, and sometimes they feel that Bronze service costs too much and we don’t receive the service.    I have to say that my board is extremely diligent in overseeing and counting our pennies, but there are always people who are not and will not be happy with anything.

Now that we are in landscaping season we are spending 90% of our time dealing with landscaping issues.  Spring in New England started early and the trees, shrubs, and other plantings really have had a growth spurt.  People are unhappy with the way the place is looking and they want it fixed and fixed immediately.   The board is in agreement, and is working on getting things resolved, but this is one of those situations that we are not going to please everyone all the time.   The board has the task of defining and implementing standards to guide the contractors in performing their jobs; for instance,

  • Keep the shrubs to window sill height and at least 6-8 inches away from the side of the building.
  • Ornamental trees should be trimmed and not be touching the siding or roof

It is difficult for many of the condo owners to adjust to condo living.  Because everyone has an opinion on how things need to be maintained, and when we owned our own home we did what we wanted.  If we wanted the shrubs to grow taller and cover the windows for privacy it was okay.  A condominium is much different than owning your own home.   Everything needs to be standardized, and just because you prefer it one way and your neighbor wants it another way, it all needs to be done uniformly in order to maintain a consistent look within the allotted budget constraints.  The contractors do not work for the individual condo owners, whey work for the total good of the association, and owners stopping the landscapers for trimming or cutting the lawns only disrupts the scheduling, uniformity, and costs everyone more money.   Yes, it is frustrating at times, and not everything can or will be done the way everyone would like.   The process is not instantaneous or perfect.   The board members are dealing with a management company, who works on our behalf, who is dealing with the individual contractors and vendors and it can (is) frustrating at times.  

Life in a condo will never be the same as owning and caring for your own home.  My advice to people thinking of purchasing a condo is to really determine why you think you may be happy in a condo.  Once you have the plusses then really think about any of the negatives that you have heard or can think of then weigh them.     If the plusses outweigh the minuses then a Condominium may be a great fit for you.  If not, then opt for a smaller home and arrange to have the services you need provided for you when and how you want them.   

What Your Mom is Not Telling You About Your Father.

When we live busy lives with spouse and children to care for we are often caught not spending enough time with our aging parents. If we are fortunate enough to live close to them, we might drop over quickly to see if they need something but often than not we will phone to check in.

The phone call is quick and expediant. A quick hello, how are you, the kids are fine, and then you say goodbye because you need to get dinner or something. Mom said everything is fine, so you take her at her word. Even if you stop by periodically you run in for a few minutes, chat about the weather and things, then you are off again.

Unfortunately, that is life these days. However you might be missing some vital signals and warning signs that unless you see first hand and ask the questions you will never know. Why? Because Mom, doesn’t want to bother you, and your Father told her not to tell you. Whatever it is, is their little secret. This happens quite frequently.

As the folks age and continue to live alone and are independent, we become comfortable not having to worry about them. It is important that we periodically take some quality time with your parents to see how they are actually doing. Develop a base line measure of their life, activities, and physical abilities. Then as time proceeds do it again, just to stay tuned in to the subtle changes that may be occurring.

Life is funny, we think we will have the folks forever, then without warning — or was there some warnings and signs — they are old and sick. We didn’t see it coming.

Good Old DAZE

Over the past few months I have worked on creating the family tree and it is like working on a very large and complex jigsaw puzzle.   It is amazing what we think we know about our family and their families only to find out that we have very little knowledge at all.

In the good of days, it was not polite to air your family’s dirty linen for all to see, so unless you knew for sure your family was rich, socially acceptable, educated, etc., people often chose not to discuss family history.

With the aid of todays computer and internet access, families can find a tons of information on-line.   There are many popular websites to aid us in this quest.   However, the best source of information is by learning and speaking with our older relatives and their friends.

It is amazing at how much I really do not know about my ancestors, and how very little my grandparents and parents did not share with us.    I am finding that great-grandparents divorced and remarried and had a slew of children from the second marriage.   My Grandmother never divulged these ‘secrets’ there were on a need to know basis, and no one needed to know.

So my advice to everyone is to try to document what you know about the family history.  Gather the photo’s, memorabilia, and important documents in one central file and write your recollections.

This is important information for the family and it will make it easier to compile into a concise and exact history of the family.   It is a great starting place for us as well as for future generations to continue.

Winter Is Coming, Is It Time To Close The Window?

NO!  I’m not ready yet! All summer and even through the cool fall nights I keep the  window open. You never know what fresh and invigorating thoughts and ideas will  come floating through the open window and I want them to have a clear pathway to me.

We are preparing to button down for the winter. We have always been able to do
these things and we just take them for granted. However some of us have older
relatives who are becoming or are frail and may not be able to do the usual
fall preparations. Like outside the:

  • leaves need to be raked
  • the gutters need to be cleaned, and
  • The garden needs to be prepared to with stand a killing frost.

Inside the house there are also plenty of things that need to be done before winter
sets in:

  • Pull out the winter clothes; and put away clean summer clothing
  • Donate old, but in good condition, winter coats and other clothing
  • Clear away items that may be blocking the heat ducts, and dust and clean the ceiling fans

Ladders and step stools are not something our older friends and relatives should be
using. They will argue and insist that they are fine, but deep down they are
probably looking for someone to come and give them a hand with these items.

If you cannot help, maybe there is a scout troop or a youth service group at a
local church that would be willing to take on a community service project. I am
willing to wager that the young people will benefit from such a project as the
older people they are helping.

Let’s keep an eye out for our older neighbors, friends and relatives this fall and
winter and give them a helping hand whenever possible.

Are You Ready To Move To A Smaller Home?

  Yeah, my new e-booklet is ready!  ARE YOU READY TO MOVE TO A SMALLER HOME? is just the first of a series of e-booklets. My friend,Fran Fahey of Fran’s Fine Editing my favorite and only copy editor, worked on the booklet and turned it around in “jig” time.

ARE YOU READY TO MOVE TO A SMALLER HOME? is for families with seniors or baby boomers who might be starting to think about downsizing or may have some doubts and concerns if they are ready.  If they are not sure what to  do, there is a quiz and seven helpful tips to get them thinking and started with the process. It is also a great tool and resource for all sales and marketing people in Assisted Living or Home Health Care.

I would like to send you a complimentary copy of this e-booklet for your review and information.   PIease email me at; Claire@AtWittzEnd.com and I will forward the link to you.  If you would like to purchase a print version, which can be customized; i.e.: “Compliments of: XYZ Assisted Living ” please let me know and will forward pricing information.

Is It Time To Hold or Fold?

Just like playing cards, there are times in your life when you need to either hold on or fold when deciding to ‘age in place’ or downsize and move.   Making these decisions are often difficult and can cause people, particular older or elderly people, stress and anxiety.   There are reasons on post sides of the pro and con list to either hold or fold.

One way to decide is to find the pain.  Are you:

  • Overwhelmed doing your everyday tasks?
  • Are you tired going up and down the stairs several times a day?
  • Have you fallen and hurt yourself?
  • Do you need help taking care of personal and household needs?

These and other issues are things older people are dealing with.

Some or all of these situations can handled to allow the family member to stay in the family home with a few changes.  Such as:

  1. Make one of the downstairs rooms into a bedroom.
  2. Renovate or modify the downstairs bathroom.
  3. Hire a homemaker, aide, or a companion to help with routine non-medical household and personal tasks.

However these or other solutions may not take care of the situation or the cost and management of the services may far exceed the peace of mind of moving a loved one to a safe and smaller home situation.   One where they will received the amenities and services they need now.

There is not right or wrong answers, only whatever is correct for the person and their family.   Whether you are holding or folding, be sure to research and educate yourself to make sound and thoughtful decisions.

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