A NO-STRESS CHECKLIST FOR SENIOR DOWNSIZING

If you’re like a lot of seniors, you’re probably struggling with deciding which items to keep and which items to let go of as you transition into this new time in your life.

If you’re like a lot of seniors, you’re probably struggling with deciding which items to keep and which items to let go of as you transition into this new time in your life.

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HOW TO CHOOSE SOLAR PANEL CLEANING COMPANIES

If you’ve purchased solar panels for your home or business, you’ve made an important investment that conserves energy and saves you money on your utility bills.

If you’ve purchased solar panels for your home or business, you’ve made an important investment that conserves energy and saves you money on your utility bills.

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HOW SENIOR DOWNSIZING EXPERTS HELP YOUR LOVED ONE

If you have family members who are entering retirement, you can see first hand how your loved ones’ needs and wants are changing.

If you have family members who are entering retirement, you can see first hand how your loved ones’ needs and wants are changing.

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THE BEST HOARDER CLEANING TIPS

If your loved one has hoarding tendencies, it can be an emotional and challenging time for everyone involved. Cleaning can seem like an impossible task, especially when discarding items can turn into a highly emotional situation for the hoarder.

If your loved one has hoarding tendencies, it can be an emotional and challenging time for everyone involved. Cleaning can seem like an impossible task, especially when discarding items can turn into a highly emotional situation for the hoarder.

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THE RIGHT WAY TO DO HOARDER CLEANING

Hoarding has become a major problem in our materialistic society. It is easy to gather possessions and easier to find places to store them. With the massive basements, sheds and storage units to which we now have access, many people find themselves …

Hoarding has become a major problem in our materialistic society. It is easy to gather possessions and easier to find places to store them. With the massive basements, sheds and storage units to which we now have access, many people find themselves nearly helpless in the face of their natural instinct to collect and keep.

While this magpie-like tendency may affect lots of people, however, the propensity to let useless possessions pile up to the point of blocking the living area and dramatically reducing quality of life is less common. This characterizes a person with full hoarding disorder.

As the Mayo Clinic explains, compulsive hoarding or hoarding disorder “is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with a hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.”

If you’re reading this post, then you most likely know exactly what that looks like … and would love to find an answer. The good news is, there’s a right way to do hoarder cleaning. The bad news is, the cleaning process won’t address the anxieties and neuroses that led to hoarding in the first place, so you must also make a plan to help the affected individual change their life.

That said, cleaning is the first step. Here’s how it’s done.

 

Assess the Scope of the Cleaning to Be Done

Magnifying glass showing assessment word on grey backgroundEach hoarding situation is different, depending on the state of the home and how long the hoarder has spent collecting possessions, the house may need a light removal of excess clutter or full repairs to undo the damage. Here are some questions to ask:

Is there just excess clutter, or is it more than that?
Are walkways in the home impacted by the clutter?
Is stacked clutter a safety hazard to people in the home?
Is the lack of cleanliness creating health issues in the home?
Are there pest or animal control issues in the home, either live or dead? 
Is the bio-hazardous material, such as blood, feces, needles, etc?
Is there damage to the house, such as contaminated carpeting, damaged flooring, broken pipes, etc?

A thorough assessment, with the help of a consultant or on your own, will help you understand what level the hoarder’s home is at. Then, you can determine what type of cleaning plan is needed.

 

Create And Implement A Cleaning Plan

Your cleaning plan, whatever level it’s at, will require the following steps:

Remove and Dispose of Clutter and Debris – This includes arranging for dumpsters, trucks and/ or  other disposal needs.
Locate and Deliver Valuables – This includes cash, jewelry, and other valuables.
Coordinate Recycling and Shredding – Outdated documents with personal information need to be properly shredded and anything that is recyclable sent to the proper recycling center.
Distribute Donations – Determine which organizations donations will be sent to or picked up by.
Address Pest control – Pest control companies or animal control might need to be called in to deal with this issue if necessary.
Coordinate Bio-hazard Removal – Hypodermic needles, blood, and other bodily fluids will need to be handled by a disposal company that specializes in this type of work.
Deep Clean the House – Proper cleaning needs to be done, depending on the condition of the house.
Disinfect Areas of Contamination, Mold, or Mildew  – These can be a health hazard and need to be dealt with appropriately.

While you can do most of the above steps yourself, it’s a good idea to call in a professional for pest control and bio-hazard removal. Neither is safe for a layperson because of the dangerous chemicals involved. Besides, with the time you’ll save, it’s worth the money right there.

 

Complete Repairs

Sometimes it’s not enough simply to remove the junk; it’s also critical to replace damaged systems and surfaces in the house. This might include: hoarder cleaning

Carpet and flooring replacement – Sometimes the buildup of newspapers, junk, mold and other nasty substances can damage carpet and flooring, and you’ll need to replace it.
Drywall repair – Drywall is a durable substance, but its not indestructible. Water damage, mold and mildew, and pest infestation can all damage drywall.
Paint – Paint is easily scratched, scraped or otherwise damaged, but a fresh coat can make all the difference to a room.
Electrical, water faucet and other damage – In severe cases, home systems may suffer severe breakdown. If some rooms or systems haven’t been used for a long time, or they’ve gotten damaged from other factors, you’ll need to replace them as well.

If your hoarder’s home needs any of these, it’s smart to hire a professional who can do both the cleaning and the repairs. That way, they can transition seamlessly from the one to the other. There are a few other reasons to bring in an expert as well.

 

Bringing in an Expert

It’s not always necessary to bring in an expert. If you catch the disorder in its early stages or have a number of family members willing to pitch in with the cleanup, then you may not need to hire an expert. However, if the mess is dangerous, a health hazard, or just plain overwhelming, there’s hoarding cleanup services that are available for help. Professionals who have experience with cleaning will possess the right tools and mindset to complete the task most efficiently.

You should also bring in an expert if you or someone else has brought a legal injunction that requires the individual to clean the home or allow someone else to clean it. Legal orders can result from child or elder abuse, public health or fire safety issues, mistreatment of animals, and incipient condemnation. In this case, a professional can get the job done immediately and help sidestep further consequences, so don’t wait.

WHAT IS A HOARDING DISORDER?

We all have a slight tendency to hoard. We love keeping those college papers that brought such accolades from a favorite professor or the trophies from sports camp in middle school. And let’s be honest, most of us are guilty of keeping aspirational …

We all have a slight tendency to hoard. We love keeping those college papers that brought such accolades from a favorite professor or the trophies from sports camp in middle school. And let’s be honest, most of us are guilty of keeping aspirational items around, even though we’re not using them…the rowing machine, the pasta maker, the jeans that will never fit again – but we think they might!

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WHEN IS IT TIME TO DOWNSIZE FOR SENIORS?

When The Beatles released the whimsical “When I’m 64” in 1967 the average American 13-year-old listening to the song must have felt the idea of being 64 was a lifetime away. Fast forward to 2018 and those 13-year-old’s are indeed turning 64, and …

When The Beatles released the whimsical “When I’m 64” in 1967 the average American 13-year-old listening to the song must have felt the idea of being 64 was a lifetime away. Fast forward to 2018 and those 13-year-old’s are indeed turning 64, and they are looking at how their flip side will play out.

Unlike the generations before them that took pride in “aging in place” and living their remaining years in the homes where they raised families, this Baby Boom generation has different ideas. These seniors are more likely to downsize in retirement by moving to a smaller residence so the question becomes for these Empty Nesters…when is it the right time to fly the coop?

Maybe the Fab Four knew what they were singing about because, the perfect age to downsize, according to a study from the United Kingdom, is … you guessed it … age 64!

The study found that 64 was the sweet spot as seniors were still young enough to handle the physical and mental aspects of downsizing and had enough years left to reap the benefits of their new arrangements.

Still, downsizing is not a “one-size-fits-all” decision, so lets look at four factors that can provide a clue as to when it is time for you to make the move.

 

When Your Fixed Income Can’t Cover Expenses

 

when is it time to downsize for seniorsWe talked about how earlier generations wanted to “age in place”, but those places were smaller in the past with less upkeep. Since the 1950s, the average American home size has doubled and with that comes increased expenses.

In retirement, your income is likely to be fixed, based mostly on Social Security and any pension. The expenses of a home, especially the upkeep above your mortgage, insurance and taxes, can eat into fixed income.

Senior.com says when upkeep is figured into the equation, seniors renting apartments with a higher monthly rent than their previous mortgage and property taxes still saved money in the long run because of less expenses.

Frankly, as you age your fixed income dollars will be put to the stress test when it comes to medical issues, so downsizing to a condo or apartment can take the worry from unexpected expensive repairs such as replacing a roof or an HVAC system.

 

When You Are Having Difficulty Maintaining Your Home

 

When you are in your spry 30’s or 40’s, doing simple home repairs or cleaning the leaves out of the gutters in the fall are tasks easily completed.

As you get older, however, just trying to get under the sink to look at a suspect pipe may make you feel like you need a hip placement. And, getting up on a ladder can become dangerous if you have balance issues.

Even mundane household chores such as weeding or changing air filters can become difficult.

For those forever young at heart, it can become a liability to maintain your home if you don’t know when it is time to quit certain activities … just ask the 102-year British man who recently spent 3 days on the roof of his home after going up to fix his television antenna.

 

When You Are No Longer Using All Of The Space

 

when is it time to downsize for seniorsWhen you get to the “empty nest” phase of your life, there is no doubt that you won’t be using the space in your home like you used to.

Even when the nest was full, the space may not have been utilized.  A UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families study tracked 32 middle-class families over four years and found that the majority of their lives spent inside the home were in 68 percent of the space, mostly in the kitchen, eating area,  family room where the main TV was located and, naturally, the bathroom.

The upkeep and expenses to your home is tied to the size of your place, so downsizing to a smaller place will free up funds for you to spend on travel, entertainment and medical expenses.

 

When You Need Help Physically

 

When you are younger you might think about how “baby proof” your home is, but you don’t buy it with how “senior proof” it is.

As we age things like steps and stairs become mobility and safety issues.

Downsizing allows you to find a place that meets your current and future mobility needs. If you require more hands-on care,  you can downsize to a living arrangement with other family members or caregivers or even into a continuing care retirement community.

 

Final Thought

 

The Beatles lyrics from”When I’m 64″ included the line “Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?” but today’s seniors are humming a different tune, they are asking for more, and downsizing is just the start.