This article was featured in the November 23, 2019 edition of "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot..
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.
Jennifer & Julie write a monthly article "Condo Conversations" in the Virginian-Pilot. This article was written by Julie Ulrich, featured in the March 23 edition.
I often hear people say it’s time to downsize their lives. Sometimes that means minimizing what they own and moving into a smaller home. Other times it may mean downsizing of their responsibilities and financial obligations.
Single-family detached homes almost always come with upkeep, including cutting the grass, caring for a pool, exterior maintenance and shoveling snow. If you are ready to make a change in lifestyle, many options are available. Could it be time for you to “condo-size” your life?
A condo or townhome can be a great choice for someone looking to “downsize,” or as I like to say, “rightsize.” There are many benefits to this style of living, but there are cons as well. Let’s first explore the positive sides along with some thoughts to ponder.
Lock-and-go lifestyle: If you like to travel, a condo makes it easier to lock up and go, as the exterior and grounds maintenance is almost always performed by the association.
If you travel often, or use your condo as a second home, be sure you have a neighbor or friend look after it while you are away. You wouldn’t want a leaky pipe to go unnoticed causing a major amount of damage.
Thermostats in the unit should be kept at reasonable temperatures year round. Faucets should be run at least every couple of weeks. Most condominium governing documents will address specific requirements for absentee owners.
Condo assessments: I know, you are probably thinking, “Condo assessments are a positive? Yeah, right.”
The truth is they actually can be a positive in a healthy condo association. If the board has managed the maintenance, budget and reserves properly, you shouldn’t have any surprises down the line. Therefore, your monthly assessments will ensure your property is well-maintained, which ultimately helps protect your investment.
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!
Over the next few weeks we'll take a closer look at Reverse Mortgages and share some valuable insight from Reverse Mortgage Consultant, Mike Poole with TowneBank Mortgage.
HECM-FIXED RATE MORTGAGE
Single Disbursement Lump Sum Payment ONLY. (One-time withdraw at the time of closing, and future draws are not permitted).
HECM-ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE*
While adjustable rate HECM loans have various payout options, this may have limits during the first twelve months of the loan. It will be common for the line of credit to be restricted during the initial disbursement period.
In addition, there may be times where funds available will be reduced for the first year to prevent the borrower from exceeding the 60% principle limit usage threshold. Rest assured, the remaining funds will be available on day 366.
*All HECM - Adjustable rate mortgage payout options are made to the homeowner, regardless of verbiage. Rates adjust monthly based on the index plus margin.
This is initial cash drawn from your equity at the time of closing. This is called an "Initial Draw" because the adjustable rate mortgage product and allows for future draws.
LINE OF CREDIT (LOC)
The line of credit is the most popular payout option for multiple reasons. An open line allows a borrower to draw a portion of their loan balance, pay it back, and borrow it back again as needed for future expenses, such as healthcare costs. It does not accumulate interest and mortgage insurance on the amount that is left in the line.
The HECM LOC provides many advantages that are not common to traditional lines of credit...
One advantage is that the available funds are secured. The HECM line of credit is not capped, restricted, frozen, or eliminated if property values decline.
Another advantage is the available funds will grow. The available LOC will grow to reduce the unpaid principle balance. In addition, the available LOC grows at the compounding rate.
The word "TENURE" means "Permanent." In this payout structure, the borrower's net principle limit may be converted to a monthly draw that endures. Even if the loan balance exceeds the value of the home, the borrower will still receive the same monthly payment. These payments will continue as long as one or more borrowers occupy the home and follow the program guidelines.
HomeAdvisor’s 2017 Aging-in-place Report talked to two sets of homeowners—those aged 55 to 75 and those over the age of 75—to assess their motives for making home upgrades.
It’s hard to know exactly what disabilities you’re going to face and what modifications will be needed down the line, so one strategy is taking a holistic look at a home and choosing home upgrades with an eye toward making life easier now and in the future.
That may mean ensuring that a home is in good condition and simplifying landscaping, organizing closets and storage spaces, replacing door knobs with door handles, and making repairs that affect safety.
Respondents’ comments about how watching loved ones struggle with aging motivated them to improve their homes makes the report compelling. And remarks by older respondents about the projects they wish they’d done earlier are equally motivating.
After all, many aging homeowners now face tremendous challenges functioning at home, and more than one-third said that they can no longer access some parts of their homes.
Read the report here.
Are you ready to retire and downsize your home? Here are some ways to prepare for the move and make the process easier.