Jennifer & Julie write a monthly article "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot. This article was featured in the November 23, 2019 edition.
According to a recent AARP study, three out of four adults age 50 or older want to stay in their homes as they age. What exactly does it mean to “age in place?”
“Aging in place” doesn’t necessarily mean staying in your current home. It means staying in the right home. The options are wide open; the home you live in now could be modified to meet your current and future physical needs, or it may be best to find a new home that fits the bill completely.
Condominiums can be a great choice for aging in place as they are most often low maintenance, and many communities offer amenities such as workout rooms, pools and activities. As we grow older, it is important to remain active and socially engaged.
Both high-rise condominiums and 55-plus communities offer many social opportunities for those wishing to keep their independence while avoiding becoming socially isolated.
Here are examples:
• In a high-rise setting, conversation with other residents and building staff present themselves throughout the course of any day while picking up your mail, taking your dog out for a walk, etc.
• Front desk and building staff often get to know their residents and their habits, recognizing if something is off.
• Resident events are a common occurrence in high-rise settings as well as 55+ communities. You’ll most likely have plenty of chances to join your neighbors at a movie night, ice cream social, or holiday event.
• Many communities will have a pool and fitness center offering ways for you to keep active.
• Join a club or group. If there isn’t already a club or group that matches your interests, perhaps you could be the one to get it started. Whether it’s a book club or Bunco group, there’s a good chance there’s someone else with the same interests.
Today’s fraudsters have many tricks up their sleeve. Their methods rely on deception and frequently entail manipulating strong human emotions, like fear and love.
Scammers make extensive use of all types of technology tools, including false email messages, fake pop-up windows, malicious website links, and fraudulent phone calls on both landlines and mobile devices. Whether they’re hoping to score a little quick cash or are engaged in a bigger scheme, like stealing your medical identity, it’s essential to realize that most scams involve a sense of urgency. Urgent situations that require financial solutions should raise suspicion. If a phone call (or an email message) requires you to act now to collect a prize, avoid a fine or jail, or save someone from a dire situation—always step back before taking action. If a pressing need involves money, chances are it’s a scam.
On your phone, how can you fight back?
DO register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry at donotcall.gov or 888-382-1222. This service will not block scammers, but legitimate telemarketers will stop calling within a month.
DON’T answer unrecognized calls unless you’re expecting a call from an unknown number. Let the call go to voicemail, then review the message. Most con artists will hang up before leaving a message.
DO independently verify facts from any callers asking for money or sensitive personal information.
DON’T share private information in social media posts that may be useful for imposter scams, including phone numbers, home addresses, and names of relatives. (Also, don’t accept unknown friend requests and keep your account settings private.)
DO be wary of government imposters. Officials from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Medicare, and other government agencies will never call you unless you contact them first or they’ve sent mail correspondence explaining a situation that requires your attention.
DON’T say “yes” to an unknown caller. Scammers may be trying to obtain a recording of your voice, which can be used to verify approval of charges to your phone, cable, or internet bill or a credit card. If you sense something sketchy, hang up quickly.
Read more about scams on the Virginia Attorney General's website.
The National Association of Senior Move Managers® is proud to award the NASMM@Home Specialist credential to Julie Ulrich of TimeWise, Inc., servicing the South Hampton Roads area of Virginia.
The NASMM@Home Specialist designation is awarded to individuals demonstrating an advanced understanding of Aging In Place concepts and services as they relate to
the Senior Move Management® profession.
“NASMM@HOME Specialists provide guidance, encouragement, and hands-on help. They understand the physical and emotional stresses associated with later lifestyle changes, as well as the ethical, safety and communication issues that accompany working with older adults, said Mary Kay Buysse, Executive Director of NASMM.” Later in life, or at any age, our homes often become cluttered with our "stuff." Our homes don't work as well for us as they did a few years ago, or maybe decades ago. Most of us are overwhelmed by the daunting prospect of downsizing, de-cluttering, organizing, and discarding. We may need a lot of help, or just a little encouragement and assistance. Either way, a NASMM@HOME Specialist can provide you with services to allow you to stay in your current home.
TimeWise, Inc. has specialized in providing custom tailored lifestyle management solutions for corporate clients, entire condominium communities, busy individuals, and Seniors since 2002. Most recently the company has launched a division based in Chesapeake, VA, dedicated to serving older adults and their families by offering Senior Move Management and Concierge Services.
The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is the leading membership organization for Senior Move Managers in the United States, Canada and abroad. NASMM is recognized for its innovative programs and expertise related to Senior Move Management, transition and relocation issues affecting older adults. NASMM members represent the most qualified and capable Senior Move Managers in this growing profession. For more information contact NASMM at 877-606-2766 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the NASMM website at www.nasmm.org.
Are you “tidying up?” Decluttering feels great, but what will you do with all the stuff you decide to get rid of? If selling your cast-offs isn’t your cup of tea, consider passing them along to others in need.
Where to turn for help? If you’re donating many different types of items, your easiest option may be donationtown.org, a nationwide directory of charitable organizations that accept clothing, furniture, shoes, toys, household items, and more. Just enter your zip code, select a group, and schedule a pickup.
When donating specific types of items, consider these options:
A few charities in Hampton Roads that offer pick-ups...
CHKD Thrift Stores
Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Disabled American Veterans
If the thought of doing your own decluttering gives you anxiety, contact us! We may sound crazy, but we LOVE a good challenge. Nothing makes us happier than knowing we made someone else's life a little less stressful. :)
-Jenn & Julie
Expiration Date vs. Shelf Life
Shelf life usually refers to the time between a medication’s manufacture date and its expiration date. But a drug’s shelf life can be altered by storage conditions—temperature, humidity, light, and even whether or not the medication is stored in its original container.
While the expiration date indicates how long a manufacturer guarantees safety and full potency of a medication, some drugs are more stable than others. Ask your pharmacist before using any medicine past its listed expiration date. Some medications lose potency, while others can become dangerous or even toxic past the expiration date.
Good Safety Habits
Keep a list of all of your medications, along with potential side effects and drug interactions. (Let your doctor know if you are experiencing any side effects.) This should include any over-the-counter (OTC) medications as well as vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements.
Take this list with you on doctor visits and to your pharmacist so it can be reviewed any time you are prescribed any additional medications or supplements. Also be sure to ask about any potential food interactions with any new or existing medications.
Always check to be sure the medication the doctor ordered is the Rx you received.
Use the alarm on your phone to remind you to take your medications on schedule, or use a pill box that organizes your medicines along with a time schedule taped to the back of the organizer.
Disposing Old Medications
It’s important to carefully and properly discard any old medications, both prescribed and OTC varieties. Never “flush” medications (unless specifically directed to do so) to prevent them from entering the general water supply.
Saturday, April 27th is National Prescription Take-Back Day. In the City of Chesapeake, from 10am-2pm you can bring your old pills and patches to the police departments in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th precinct, the Sheriff's Office, the Walmart in Edinburgh or the Sam's Club in Western Branch, for free, no questions asked. Find more locations throughout Hampton Roads here.
If your only option is to dispose of medicines in regular household trash, you should add pills (left whole) to unseemly waste, such as kitchen slop, used cat litter, used coffee grounds, etc.
When disposing of empty medicine bottles, be sure to eliminate your personal information, as well as the type of medication, to prevent bottles from being used to obtain medication illegally.
1. Start with the easy stuff. Eliminate anything that’s broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Then, go to the out-of-the-way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Making progress in “easier” areas will build momentum to go through the harder-to-decide areas.
2. Ask yourself, “If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?” If you wouldn’t miss it or need to replace it, it’s probably not worth keeping.
3. Don’t be a storage unit for others. If friends or relatives have left things for you to store, it’s time to ask them to pick them up—or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to be tough and set a firm deadline, after which you will donate the items.
4. Ask for help. Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professional organizer can help make the job more manageable.
5. Decide what’s really important. Pretend you are moving overseas, and the number of items you can take will be severely limited and it will cost a small fortune to ship things. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter most to you!
6. Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want? For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, you probably can lose a few plastic sets—and dishes, pots and pans, etc.
7. Schedule a regular time each week—or several days per week—to work on rightsizing. Realize that rightsizing is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it all out overnight either.
8. Value what you keep. The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking them away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the few, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.
9. Prevent new collections from forming. Instead of material gifts, ask people to spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and indulging in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other theatre production, gift certificates for dinner out, etc.)—the things you love and want, but don’t always buy for yourself.
10. Use age to your advantage. Now is a great time to “gift” items you “eventually” want family members to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of them holding the special item and create a digital scrapbook of “next generation” memories...making your special people happy and freeing yourself of extra “stuff” that you have been charged with keeping for posterity.
If help is what you need, we're here for you! Give us a call at (757) 389-8864 or send us an email and we'll sit down with you for a complimentary consultation to develop a customized plan just for you.
Do you have a little time on your hands and are looking for something to do? Or do you live alone and it's becoming hard for you to shop & cook for yourself? We'd like to introduce you to Meals on Wheels! Jenn and I are volunteer drivers for Meals on Wheels of Chesapeake, Inc. We love every single minute of it. We've made some awesome friends like Ms. Emma, and we see firsthand the difference Meals on Wheels makes. Watch our video to learn a little more about how to sign up to receive meals or to volunteer to deliver.
If you're looking for Meals on Wheels in Hampton Roads, click here to find your local provider by city. Or reach out to either one of us and we'll connect you to the right people.
"The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest membership organization supporting the national network of more than 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs that operate in all 50 states and U.S. territories. The tireless work of these programs – supported by a dedicated army of 2 million volunteers – delivers a nutritious meal, a warm smile and a safety check that helps keep 2.5 million seniors healthy, safe and living independently in their own homes each year."
Living well on a fixed budget can be challenging. Here are five tips to make it easier to keep your budget in check while enjoying life a little more.
Planning meals and doing a little prep work can save a bundle over eating out (and improve your health). Take time to enjoy creativity in the kitchen, perhaps inviting a friend over to make cooking even more fun. Revitalize rusty skills or learn some new ones! Find new recipes on sites such as AllRecipes.com. Visit MyFridgeFood.com to click off what you have on hand and get a list of recipe options.
Experiences are the Best Gifts
It often costs less to plan a day with someone special, doing something out of the ordinary, instead of exchanging gifts. Consider a trip to a museum, a picnic in the park, a matinee movie, or just a stroll around a favorite neighborhood. Making memories will last longer and can cost less than purchasing something you—or your special someone—may never use.
Rent Out a Room… or Two!
If your current house is a little big for your needs, consider renting out a room to bring in extra cash to help with the bills and maintenance. This works best in areas where the cost of living is high, or the available rental inventory is low. Select your housemate carefully, and you may also discover a great companion!
Observe a “Cooling Off” Period
Before you buy that “thing” you really want, step away and wait for 48 hours. You may be surprised how much your interest dissipates in two days. This trick alone will save BIG money. Online retailers, in particular, have made “clicking” easier than thinking. Resist the temptation and wait a bit before you buy.
Buy Higher Quality
It may cost more, initially, to purchase better clothing, electronics, and appliances, but doing so may dramatically reduce your “cost per use.” Do your research on how to determine the best quality, then shop for retailers that offer lower prices or sales on these items. Thrift stores are another source for higher-quality items at bargainbasement prices if you have time and the desire to search for treasures.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “all real estate is local.” It’s a truism that refers to the unique qualities of neighborhoods and properties—and the importance of working with a real estate professional who intimately understands a local market.
The same claim can be made for real estate CLIENTS. Everyone who buys or sells property has unique needs. This is especially true for later-in-life real estate transactions, which may include distinct challenges (floor plans that accommodate aging in place, estate planning considerations, special financing requirements, etc.). If you’re a buyer or seller over the age of 50—or are assisting someone who is—there are several reasons to choose a real estate specialist who focuses exclusively seniors:
1. THEY MADE THE CHOICE An agent who has earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) designation, and only works with seniors, made this choice because they enjoy working with mature adults and helping people “of a certain age” navigate life’s transitions. Many of them have either made similar transitions themselves, or have helped parents and relatives. There’s a reason they chose this focus for their business, and it’s all about helping people.
2. THEY’LL OFFER OPTIONS Newly retired? Empty nester? Widow/widower? Any of these transitions can precipitate a huge change in lifestyle, with many adjustments and decisions—only one of which is where to live. A senior specialist will listen to your concerns and share potential solutions and resources to help make your decisions. By focusing only on seniors, they already understand which properties come closest to meeting your needs—and where to find many other valuable resources.
3. THEY ARE EMPATHETIC An exclusive senior specialist understands that major life changes are never easy, but they don’t shy away from the difficult topics or the difficult emotions that often accompany these decisions. They know your priorities change when your life changes. They’ll help you find solutions to make a smoother transition.
4. THEY ARE ENGAGED These agents don’t just talk about senior issues, they get involved, whether it’s volunteering or developing relationships with senior-centric agencies and individuals. They’re able to help seniors throughout their community—not just their clients. (And they’ll remain a resource long after your business relationship is over.) Helping people is their passion!