May 16, 2018
Courtesy of Janet Campbell
It’s never too late to become financially literate. Statistics show that 65 percent of Americans do not have a budget, which suggests that many enter their elderly years uninformed about personal finances. Taking good care of your finances at this stage of your life is essential – your financial stability, health and personal happiness are at stake, so consider carefully these tips that financial advisors consider crucial for older adults.
Set a budget
Establishing a budget helps you keep track of where your money is going and makes it considerably easier to plan for the future. Most advisors contend that setting up and sticking to a budget is the most important building block in maintaining one’s financial health. It’s especially important for seniors because it ensures that you’ll have enough money to pay for the things you need and want. If you’ve never lived according to a formal budget, once you’ve got it down and incorporated it into your routine you can predetermine what months you’re likely to be tight on money and when you’ll be in the black. A budget helps you plan for unexpected expenses, those times when life bites you and forces you to dig deep into your funds.
Sidestep the scams
Beware of fast-talking salespeople and telemarketers looking to take advantage of confused and vulnerable elderly people. They’re usually the first ones to be targeted, so watch out for “deals” that involve a lot of complex detail, evasive answers or an unwillingness to answer questions, a lack of documentation (i.e. no paper trail), and pressure to sign a contract right away. This is always a red flag, no matter who’s involved or what stage of life they’re in.
Be skeptical about investments
If you retired with investments, they can give you a real advantage in your senior years but it’s dangerous to rely on them too heavily. A budget can help you forecast but it can’t help you where the market’s concerned. An over-reliance on the returns it can bring is a dangerous way to approach your finances, especially if you’re working with limited funds to begin with. Unscrupulous salespeople are especially dangerous when it comes to stock market investing, which can be arcane and intimidating to someone with limited experience. A good rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Remember, savings, a good budget and careful money management are the building blocks of a solid financial foundation.
Many people nearing or having reached retirement age tend to see Social Security as a nest egg or financial magic bullet. Yes, you can begin drawing on your social security benefits beginning at age 62, but it can be well worth your while to wait a bit. Nevertheless, it’s estimated that 75 percent of Americans start going through their benefits early, which means they’re not maximizing what they could be getting from Social Security. Timing is a big part of doing Social Security right. Put simply, the longer you wait to draw Social Security, the more you’ll get each month. Taking Social Security before official retirement age (between 66 and 67) results in an unnecessary reduction of your benefits, whereas your benefit increases as much as 8 percent a year if you wait until you reach 70.
Follow the basics
The old rule that says you should have three months of expenses ready to go still stands once you reach old age. If you’ve ignored that rule during your working lifetime, make a good stab at it. Set aside what you can in case the unexpected happens when you’re at your most vulnerable. Some people age 65 or older are able to sell their life insurance policy, which may be an option to consider if you can’t afford the premiums or don’t need one anymore. Just be sure to do your research first so you understand the ins and outs of the process.
Keep following the same good financial advice you’ve gotten throughout your life once you reach retirement age. Budget, save, and stay away from “can’t miss” investment offers. Much of what’s served you well all those years won’t go wrong once you hit 67.
Courtesy of Pixabay.com.
May 10, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
You know that Mom can no longer live alone, but does she really need to move? It’s time to decide between moving her to a skilled nursing facility, assisted living, or is Home Health Care an option? Yes, it should be considered. As there are many options available to consider including transitioning to a senior living community that best benefits their needs, but often the option of Home Healthcare may be missed in the equation. This is unfortunate as this may be the best option for “mom” and should clearly be explored when weighing all your options.
There are many variables that may make up this decision-making process. Some of these factors may be based on financial, location, convenience, current state and future health of a loved one.
Home Health Care can be used to support a family that is caring for their loved one and needs the extra support. They can be there when you can’t be.
But there are many great reasons why Home Health Care might be the right choice for your loved one!
If your family member is still living in their own home, they may get to stay in their own home for a little while longer, transitioning out of a home that they have either lived in most of their adult lives and raised their children or even a home where they have all their personal possessions will be a stressful transition. When they move to a facility, they will be saying a final “goodbye” to most of their personal possessions and understanding how distraught this may make them and the emotional toll may want to be considered.
With today’s portable medical technology, physicians who make home visits can do as much or more for patients than primary care clinicians in offices, says Dr. Alan Kronhau, co-founder and CEO of Doctors Making Housecalls, based in Durham, North Carolina. When a visiting physician or nurse, or caregiver is in the home, they can better asses the medications, safety of the home environment, even the types of food that their patient may be eating based on their recommended diet. A Home Healthcare environment may provide a better overall patient assessment. Home health care often has skilled medical care available delivered at home by certified and licensed nurses. They have access to the highly technical medical equipment needed, it just happens to be portable and can meet complex medical needs that are not uncommon in the elderly.
In-home services also allow elderly adults to receive:
- Help with their personal care; such as bathing, grooming and even medication reminders.
- Help with the home environment, such as light housework and helping fold laundry. This helps to maintains a clean and safe living environment.
- Meal preparation-elderly can be at risk nutritionally, especially if they have been hospitalized. In general, aging, illness, and bed rest can contribute to the loss of lean body mass.
- Companionship-never underestimate the importance of this factor. Having someone that they enjoy their company to play cards with, walk around the block, watch Jeopardy with is equally as important.
- Personal Relationship-building a relationship with skilled care and professionals and the patient typically provides better care as there is complete knowledge of their patient with this one on one relationship.
Sometimes, it gets down to the nuts and bolts of cost for Home Health Care. According to the National Association of Home Care, the average cost of care from a skilled nursing facility is $544 dollars per day, while the average cost of home health care is $132 dollars per day. Insurance may often be the hurdle, patients who are not housebound may not be covered. Doing your research on coverage for what services and for how long could be mitigating factors in choosing Home Health Care.
If you are considering Home Health Care as an option for a few days a week or full time, please visit our website, SeniorLivingGuide.com for a variety of Home Health Care options. Visit their website, their social media, and make an appointment to talk to them about their services that they provide to make sure that they are a good fit for your family, lifestyle, and your loved one.
May 4, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Do you remember the days with the house and the yard and the upkeep? There are days that it seems like yesterday and it was very rewarding, but it was also a lot of work and commitment! You spent your Saturday’s mowing the yard, edging, weed eating, and tending to the garden. You may have really loved the garden most, but all of the work had to be done.
Now you are retired! It’s time to do more of what you enjoy! You’ve moved into a smaller space to fit your retirement lifestyle; to give you more time to yourself, to play golf, to travel, to spend more time with your family, and less time on home maintenance. What you miss the most is the relaxation and satisfaction that you received from gardening. Don’t despair, there are a lot of options for gardening in a small space. Spring is here! Spend some time outdoors tending to a garden and be able to enjoy it!
Here are some fun ideas on how to plant a garden in a small space:
- A Container garden – Containers of different sizes and shapes, including galvanized tubs, in a small outdoor space with various flowers and even vegetables and herbs can create a tranquil setting for anyone to entertain, relax, and enjoy a good book.
- Vertical Planters – Maximize your space by planting vertically! Visit your local nursery or hardware store. Tip: repurposed shutters can be used as a vertical planter.
- Hanging planters – If you have the ability to hang your plants from the ceiling or a wall post, they can be a fun asset as you can also include plants and flowers that will trail down adding a different dimension to your patio or small space.
- Ivy fence – Growing ivy on a small fence around an outdoor space can add a lot of depth to your space and easily provide the garden look and feel you might be looking for.
- Herbs – Mixing and matching herbs in small pots and planters is not only eye-catching, but edible!
- Window boxes – If your space is very limited, a window box may be your best option. Succulents do very well in these and are fairly low maintenance with good drainage.
- Birdbath – How great is this idea? Repurpose a birdbath and pack with hardy succulents and pebbles to hold in the moisture.
If you enjoy gardening, downsizing into a senior living or retirement community may not mean that you must give up that part of your life! There are so many options available to consider. The key is appropriate lighting for your plants and soil, the rest you can get very creative with and create a beautiful and functioning gardening.
Another great article on gardening in small spaces:
April 25, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
Typically, as people age and it becomes increasingly clear that they are unable to care for themselves, their adult children are left to decide on how to care for them and what those next steps look like, especially for those whose parents are living alone.
You may notice that Dad is forgetting where the car keys are or he is misplacing his phone. Maybe he is not as interested in social interaction with family and more resigned to spending time alone. You recognize that these are signs that he should not be living alone. You find yourself saying to your siblings and family members, “What are we going to do about Dad?”. You know that you need to look at the different options available. You may opt to move them in with a capable family member, choose a home care provider, or move him into a senior living community.
To help make these decisions and form a plan that works for everyone, it can be helpful to have a family meeting with your siblings, other relatives, and/or friends. The family meeting should begin by working out any conflicting care option opinions. Ideally, you will be able to compromise and end with a plan. If you do not feel the meeting will be generally agreeable and emotions have the potential to run high, you can involve a social worker, a family counselor, or a mutually agreed upon mediator to help ensure that the meeting is successful.
As these options are weighed, a clear vision of what success looks like is very important. Consider their mental and physical conditions and how they may progress and the kind of care and assistance they will require in the future. Benefiting your parents’ well-being and health, while maintaining a peaceful and balanced family life should be considered the primary objective.
If you choose to move your family member into your home, please be aware that there are some considerations to make before committing to this role, including a large amount of time. You need to take be honest with yourself and your other family members. Make sure you fully understand the commitment and demands of caring for an aging person and ask yourself if you have the ability to take those on. There will be disruption in your life and relationships, frustration, and a large amount of additional stress that you will be adding to your home.
You may want to look into options of in-home providers, they provide a myriad of services that can be very helpful and free up your time while providing different social interaction for your parent. Understanding the pros and cons – such as how comfortable your family member will need to be with their in-home provider – should be considered before relying on them for specific tasks.
Caring for an aging parent and making decisions regarding their on-going care can be overwhelming. Take the time to consider all of your options, use your support system as a resource, and keep your parents’ best interests at heart – you will find a care option that works for everyone.
http://dailycaring.com/7-things-you-must-do-when-hiring-an-in-home-caregiver/ -Tips for Hiring In Home Care Provider
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April 19, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
The more and more that I work in this industry, I think back to the times that made the older folks that mean so much to me the happiest. They are mostly “a-ha” moments, not anything that I could have bought and shipped through Amazon, texted, or even the quick drop in just to say “hi”. It was the time that was spent visiting with them. It was time sharing a meal, going to CVS to help them pick out a birthday card, sharing the stories of my life, reminiscing about the past, and the times that they themselves were an integral part of my family and daily life. I remember how proud they would be to introduce me and my children to complete strangers. It was like being introduced for a “lifetime achievement” Award at the Golden Globes. That is what we are to our elderly loved ones. We are their lifetime achievements.
When my son was little, his school adopted a Senior retirement community at Christmas time. He was in Kindergarten and they took a field trip to the community, each child “wrote” a book and colored it, we all made Christmas cookies, and the kids sang carols. My son sat in a complete stranger’s lap reading his story with such pride as she intently listened, holding him on her lap so happy with the biggest smile on her face. She was so entrenched in his story and hung on to every word that he said. It meant the world to him because he knew she loved his story, and I know it meant the world to her because you could see the visible joy on her face. I sat there and realized I was holding back tears because it made me happy to see this connection between two strangers vastly different in years. I regret that he never saw her again, I truly believe that it would have been really good for them both.
Buckner Parkway Place, a senior living community in Houston, Texas hosted a group of young people who volunteered at their community through their local high school. “This partnership with Westside High is what Buckner is all about,” said Susan Phelps, executive director of Parkway Place. “Buckner exists to serve both vulnerable children and senior adults, and what better way to do that than by engaging a multi-generation partnership with students who otherwise might not have these opportunities? Plus, seeing the way Parkway Place residents light up around these students is a joy. I feel more confident than ever about the future of senior living because of their eagerness to serve.” http://www.buckner.org/blog/learning-to-serve
Family life is changing. Unlike in the past, when extended families lived close to each other, older folks are living longer and more self-sufficiently, but they are also living alone. With the change in lifestyle and the growing distances from family members, even though their adult children have healthier and more active parents, they are less likely to visit them, and their grandchildren are less likely to know and visit their grandparents as often as in the past.
Developing connections between young and old generations can help both groups. Visit your local Senior Center, Senior Community and ask how you can volunteer by spending time with their residents. You can also visit http://www.servingseniors.org/get-involved/advocacy/ , include children in advocacy, they too are your future. #payitforward
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April 13, 2018
April 10, 2018
Date: Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Contact: John Rijos, President and CEO, Chicago Pacific Founders (312) 273-4750, email@example.com
Guy Geller, President, Grace Management, Inc. (312) 273-4750, firstname.lastname@example.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chicago Pacific Founders Acquires The Willows of Easley in Easley, South Carolina
Chicago, IL – April 4, 2018 — Chicago Pacific Founders (CPF) and its subsidiaries, CPF Living Communities and Grace Management, Inc., announce the acquisition of The Willows of Easley, a 100-unit senior living community in Easley, South Carolina.
The Willows of Easley is an Independent and Assisted Living community located in the heart of Easley, South Carolina, a short 15-minute drive from downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Despite its small-town feel, Easley’s quaint and thriving downtown has many conveniences including popular department stores for shopping, fine dining restaurants, and quality medical facilities. The Willows of Easley, highly regarded for providing quality care and programming, will continue its full spectrum of independent living and assisted living services to its residents.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but investments in the campus will serve to enhance the quality of life for all stakeholders – including residents, families, associates and prospective residents across the region.
The Willows of Easley is now managed by Grace Management, Inc., a nationally recognized leader in the delivery of senior living management services.
“We are thrilled to have found The Willows of Easley and to be in the Easley, South Carolina market. We are committed to providing the highest quality of life possible to all of our residents,” said John Rijos, CPF Living’s President and CEO.
About Chicago Pacific Founders
Chicago Pacific Founders is a Chicago and San Francisco-based healthcare private equity investment firm. The fund is targeting investments in healthcare verticals including senior living and innovative healthcare service-based platforms.
About Grace Management, Inc.
Grace Management, Inc. was established in 1984 to develop, market, and manage residential communities for seniors. While the core of the business is third-party senior housing management, Grace Management, Inc. also offers marketing and operational consulting services, receivership and loan workout services, due diligence review for pending sale or purchase considerations and third-party reviews for various types of senior housing communities. For more information, please visit www.gracemanagement.com.
April 4, 2018
By: Darleen Mahoney
In honor of the month that can be very tax focused if you are the last minute, down to the wire, can’t find all of your receipts, but are determined to get all the deductibles allowed by law like me. I am going to share one tax deduction that you may not know is available! Its an important one, as you know assisted living costs continue to rise every year. These costs can be very stressful on you or your family members. Did you know that some of these costs may be tax deductible?
The criteria for the tax deduction is that the resident in assisted living must be considered “chronically ill”, meaning a doctor or nurse has certified that the resident either:
- Is unable to perform on their own two daily activities. Ex: eating, bathing, dressing, etc.
- Diagnosed with a cognitive impairment, (Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc) and requires supervision
You may ask what do you mean, “certified”? To qualify for the deduction, a doctor, a nurse, or social worker must prescribe a plan of care and certify the plan. Luckily, most assisted living facilities offer and can prepare this for their residents within the guidelines required.
How these costs are determined to be tax deductible are based on medical expenses and long-term care expenses. Typically, only the medical expenses of assisted living are deductible and living costs are not. However, there are exceptions. The exception to this may if the resident is chronically ill and the facility is primarily for their medical care and is part of the residents certified care plan, then it may be tax deductive, much like a hospital vs. a home environment. The tax deduction is calculated based if expenses are more than 7.5 percent of the adjusted gross income.
There is also an opportunity for Adult children to receive a tax deduction if their parents or other family members live at an assisted living facility and qualify as their dependents. The adult child may be eligible for this deduction even if it is less than half of the total support according to a “multiple support agreement.” The adult child is required to pay more than 10 percent of the total support for the year. There are variables to this agreement and I would recommend speaking to professional counsel such as, a Elder Law Attorney/Tax Consultant to make sure that you are meeting all legal obligations before taking the tax deduction as there may be multiple parties on this agreement.
I always recommend if you have complicated tax planning have questions about your taxes, seek professional advice. Asking for a reference from a trusted family member or friend is a great start to a Elder Law Attorney or Tax Advisor, www.superlawyers.com have highly rated lawyers to refer online.
If you have uncomplicated quick question about tax deductions, you may want to visit online resources such as Intuit.com https://ttlc.intuit.com/questions/3612566-how-do-you-determine-what-portion-of-assisted-living-is-deductible-and-what-is-not-is-this-provided-by-the-facility
Getting the most out of your tax deductions doesn’t have to be complicated if you know what you qualify for and you utilize your resources.
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March 28, 2018
By Janet Campbell [email@example.com]
As a senior, there may be several reasons for wanting to downsize your home. You may want to move closer to loved ones, to a warmer area, or because of financial reasons. Whatever the case may be, there are certain steps that can ensure that a smooth and easy transition.
Finding the Right Home
Deciding on the right home for your golden years can take a bit of reflection and research. Before attempting to downsize your current home, make sure that it is a financially viable solution. Typically, if you can’t cut your living expenses by 25 percent, it may not be a suitable option in the long run.
If you know that it makes sense financially to downsize your home, there are many other things to consider; your lifestyle is an easy place to start. For example, perhaps you are still working and need a dedicated office space. Or perhaps you intend on having family or other guests visit, and need extra living space. Other factors to consider are purely practical: How easy is it to move around? Can you access all of the appliances? Is it in the right location for your needs? Is a condo or single family home more practical? Try to brainstorm everything you are going to require, and see to it that your new living situation meets those needs.
Once you have established where your new home is going to be, it’s time for the hard part: deciding on what to keep and what to get rid of. The floor plan of your new home is key: if you know what furniture and other possessions will fit and what won’t, it will make the decision process much easier.
An article published in the New York Times outlined some of the benefits of hiring a professional moving manager for seniors. These moving managers specialize in helping seniors make the tough decisions, such as what to store with relatives, what to sell at auctions or liquidate, and what to throw away. They also take the brunt of heavy lifting, which can be extremely hazardous for elderly people to take on. Furthermore, they allow you to separate yourself from the moving process, which can be a daunting and potentially traumatic experience.
Making the Move
A moving checklist can help make your move as organized and smooth as possible. This checklist includes creating a division of assets—a who gets what—among your family, friends and loved ones. This should be done well in advance of the move date to avoid any contention in what can already be a stressful time. Be assertive about re-homing your items, and don’t focus on what you’re losing, but on what you’re giving to someone else. Keep the belongings that are most sentimental to you, and be willing to settle for photos of anything you simply don’t have the room to keep.
Pack one room at a time and be strategic — put clothing, linens, and small accessories in suitcases instead of boxes, for example. Use small boxes for heavier items and large boxes for lighter items to make for easier transport. Labeling boxes for what goes where can also save time and improve efficiency.
The most important thing to remember when downsizing and moving to a new home is to be patient with yourself. Make extra time for you throughout this process by eliminating tasks you may not necessarily have to do. For example, consider a grocery service, dog walking service or dog boarding service. By employing such services, you will save yourself both time and hassle so that you can focus on the somewhat difficult process of moving.
Because moving from a beloved home into an unfamiliar one can be an emotionally trying time, so allow yourself space to grieve and don’t hesitate to reach out to family, friends, religious leaders, or a counselor for support. Once you’ve had time to heal, you’ll see the beauty in living a simplified life and be glad you made the change.
March 27, 2018
Older Posts »
By: Darleen Mahoney
The baby boomer generation is no longer the generation of shuffleboard, craft nights, and pot roast for dinner in the dining hall. They want more, they are demanding a different lifestyle.
Now that we have that in the open, what do baby boomers want in their retirement homes? How do you go about getting not only what you want, but what you need?
The best advice: do copious amounts of research on what is available in the location that is ideal for you – including additional support nearby and social opportunities available – and be realistic about your long-term physical needs, your financial resources. “It’s important to align the emotional, social and financial parts of retiring,” says Denise Leish, a financial adviser in Silver Spring, Maryland.
The basic foundations in a retirement community that you should look for:
- Transportation – Senior transportation programs
- Parks nearby and walkable neighborhoods
- Safe neighborhoods-check the crime rates
- Health care- Available health care nearby with doctors that accept Medicare, specialists, and hospitals
- Other services – Meals on Wheels and other Senior focused services
- Shopping, Grocery Stores and Restaurants – Close enough that you will be able to get out and enjoy the community and social activities without a long drive.
- Social Integration – Neighborhood activities, programs, travel opportunities, etc.
Sara Little, 68, and Barbara Shaver, 69, offer a few pieces of advice on making a move into retirement especially if you decide to relocate to a new area, make sure you like the area before you buy and do it while your still young and can enjoy it. They moved to an over-55 community in Sarasota, Florida, they rented nearby to make sure they’d like the area. At the core of their decision: They had “some grounding” there, Little says.
“We had friends who already lived here, and more were moving here,” Little says. “We also got involved in church right away and in activities like swimming and sailing” https://www.cnbc.com/id/100549801.
In response to baby boomers’ demands for a different kind of retirement lifestyle, many developers are designing communities with a village feel to them to include shopping, dining, professional services and community programs. One good example is The Villages in Central Florida, which calls itself the “premier active adult community”. It is quite large, with an estimated 157,000 retirees, it touts its own zip code and daily newspaper. Another example, The Classic at Hillcrest Greens, is built on the site of a former golf course in the western Wisconsin community of Altoona. Its amenities include a restaurant, yoga and fitness studio, game room, library and a salon.
Its fair to say that there is something for everyone if you are entering the age of retirement and a 55+ community is an option. You no longer must settle for a retirement community whose only activities are shuffleboard and golf, there is so much more! Spend some time and do your research. Know what is available and don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit these locations and get to know your future neighbors.