senior services

How to Help Seniors With Technology

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We live in an incredible time. Being able to connect with someone face-to-face through the touch of a button, instantly sending messages using the sound of our voice and the feeling of being together when we're far apart make the benefits of technology hard to beat. With all of the new devices and programs in the industry today, it can be difficult to keep up, especially if you're not used to this new world. For seniors, technology can be an idea that's foreign and seemingly impossible to embrace. Here are our tips on how to help seniors with technology.

Step-By-Step Guidance

Since much of the technology that we use today wasn't available for most of a senior's life, the whole concept can appear alien, but with a little guidance, you can show them that technology is pretty remarkable. An effective way to help seniors grasp various aspects of technology is to lead them through it step-by-step. Introduce them to the different tech tools and programs, such as:

·       Laptops & computers

·       Smartphones

·       Tablets & iPads

·       Apps

·       Cameras

 

Let them see these tools in action. Take a moment to show them that there's nothing to be afraid of, starting slowly and building their knowledge as you go. Most of all, be there to answer any questions. Knowing that there's a resource there to teach them can mean a world of difference.

Tailoring Technology to Seniors

Often times, technology needs to be tailored to our individual needs at any age. Some seniors may have difficulty seeing or hearing and when it comes to tech devices, this can pose a problem. This can be fixed by changing the font size to a bigger option or the ringer to a louder volume. Making these simple fixes can help seniors adapt to technology with ease. There are also devices and resources on the market that are designed with seniors in mind. Taking a look into these options can be beneficial.

Keeping a Positive Outlook

Technology can be frustrating for anyone, not just seniors. As a whole, we're all learning new things as technology constantly evolves. Stay positive if you're helping someone who's not too familiar with technology as they figure it out. Remember, you had to learn it all once too. Take breaks, have fun and learn together. Find an app that you're both interested in and learn how to use it or try out your new camera together.

Technology is Important

As we continue to rely more and more on technology, it ends up being a big part of our everyday lives. Technology helps us stay connected and safe. It's important for seniors to be able to learn about technology and become more comfortable with it. You never know when it will come in handy. Take time together to learn and grow with the ever-changing trends in the world of technology. Not only will you become more knowledgeable, you'll have fun too.

 

 

 

Should You Talk to Your Parents About Downsizing Over the Holidays?

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Having the downsizing conversation is never easy for anyone involved. For both children and parents, it’s one more sign that the parents are aging, which is difficult to accept. One way to make it easier is to talk about it before the move becomes necessary. Ask your parents if they have thought about where they would go or what type of place they would like to live in next. Would it be a one-story condo near the water? Or a manageable apartment closer to you or one of your siblings? Laying this groundwork ahead of time gives everyone a chance to consider the options available before they have to become a reality.

Another way to make the talk go better is to be prepared. If you have siblings, ask them if they think it’s time. If not, really listen to their reasoning and see whether it changes your mind or not. If all of you aren’t on the same page, it may be best to wait and approach the subject later. Having one or more family members not on board before you even talk to your parent is not a good start.

Not only may you potentially be trying to convince your siblings and parents this is the right thing to do, you may be trying to convince yourself as well. People often feel guilty about bringing up the subject, even though they believe it will be better for their parents’ well-being. It also makes them face the fact that their parents are getting older and may soon be the ones needing help instead of the other way around. Take some time to deal with your own feelings so that you are ready to help your parent with theirs when you talk to them.

While you shouldn’t try to decide exactly where your parent should live before talking to them, you should think about some of the options that make the most sense to you. Do some research on several possibilities and even visit them if possible to make sure you still think they would be a good fit. There are so many choices when it comes to senior living nowadays that you’ll want to know what’s available and what they have to offer.

When you decide to talk with your parent, make sure you are completely vested in the conversation. Block out some time, go to your parents’ house, leave the kids at home, and focus entirely on the discussion. According to an article on caring.com,

      “One of the greatest challenges people in midlife face in their dealings with the elderly is to slow down       and find the time to be fully present. It's a mistake to discuss important issues on the fly, when you're         rushed and preoccupied. If you need to talk about something crucial with your parents, make a                     conscious effort to put your personal agenda aside -- along with your cell phone.”

Once you have given your full attention to the conversation, listen carefully to their responses. Remember that you are still the child and they are the parent. Don’t tell them what you think they have to do, talk about the options you have researched and answer their questions as best as you can. Talk about the benefits of a new place – if it’s smaller it’ll be easier to clean and maintain; in a condo there are fewer utility bills to worry about paying; in a 55-and-older community everyone is around the same age, making socializing easier; they provide transportation to the grocery store, doctor, and other outings so driving isn’t an issue. Offer to go see a few different places together, but respect your parents’ wishes if they don’t want to yet.

Being respectful of your parent’s feelings and offering to work together with them to find the right solution is a better approach than trying to take charge. Through open communication, you may both discover they’ve been wanting to move closer to you, or the upkeep of the current home is a burden, or staying in the place where a spouse or several neighbors no longer live is actually depressing. Then it’s time to take the next step. However, if that isn’t the case, don’t continue to push the subject until it becomes an argument. Allow some time for everyone to think it over and try again later to work together toward the right solution.

 

 

 

 

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.

reSettling Life's Treasures- Jewelry Markings

Even if you aren’t a collector, there is a strong chance you own some jewelry. During our senior moves, we often come across pieces with marks on them. These markings can actually tell you quite a bit about the piece if you know how to decipher them.

Any type of mark on a piece of jewelry is called a “hallmark,” and they are generally found in the same place on similar pieces. Rings will be stamped on the inside of the band, marks on necklaces and bracelets are generally on the clasp, and pins, earrings and brooches will be marked on the back. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find any marks at all. While jewelers are required to disclose the type of metal used, it does not have to be marked on the jewelry itself. This information can be included on a receipt, appraisal or even the price tag, all of which easily become separated from the jewelry or lost.

The mark most commonly found on jewelry is the purity mark, which tells what type of metal is in it. Gold is often expressed in karats and other metals are measured in percentages. The purest gold is 24 karat gold. It is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Lesser karats mean the gold has been combined with other types of metals. For example, 22 karat gold is about 92% gold and 8% something else such as copper, silver or palladium. As the karats go down, so does the value of the gold. If you have a piece of gold jewelry stamped “carat,” that doesn’t mean it’s misprinted or counterfeit, the piece was made somewhere other than the U.S. or Canada.

Sterling silver (SS) is the name of the purest silver used in jewelry. To be sterling, a piece must be over 90% silver. Other designations used on silver pieces are “silver-plated” and “EPNS” (electro-plated nickel silver). Jewelry designated as “nickel silver” does not contain any actual silver, it is just silver in color. A three-digit number on silver jewelry tells how much silver is in it. For example, “925” means the piece is 92.5% silver, so it is sterling. These three-digit numbers are also sometimes used on gold jewelry in place of karats.

Other purity marks you may find on jewelry include:

·       GF or GP – gold-filled or gold-plated

·       Vermeil – sterling silver with gold plating

·       Plat or PT – at least 95% platinum

·       Pall – at least 95% palladium

Your piece of jewelry may be able to tell you more than what it’s made of. A signature mark tells you who the manufacturer of the piece was. Just as the logos of well-known brands like Coke or KFC change over the years, jewelry makers often change the style of their signatures, so these marks can also give you an idea of when the piece was made. If the piece was made as part of a limited series for a retailer, a mark may signify that as well.

Very unique jewelry designs are often patented, and the patent number can appear right on the piece. U.S. patent numbers can be searched through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website and can provide a wealth of information, including the designer and when and where the piece was created.

If a piece of jewelry has gems in it, the weight of the gems may be stamped on it. If two numbers appear, the first number is likely the size of the largest gem (the solitaire) in carats, and the second number is the combined weight of all the others. “TDW” stands for the total diamond weight found on a piece with multiple gems. The gem weight may just be a number or it can be followed by “ct” or “cw.”

Deciphering the marks on jewelry is quite interesting, especially with pieces you have inherited or purchased from an auction or estate sale. Spend some time looking at your necklaces, rings, bracelets and pins—you may find a hidden treasure in your jewelry box!

Why Using a Senior Move Manager Makes Sense

In our previous article, The Difference Between Downsizing and Moving, we discussed how downsizing can be more challenging than a regular move. Using a senior move manager who, unlike a traditional mover, is trained and equipped to deal with these challenges can make a difficult transition easier.

With the gentle and expert guidance of an experienced SMM, older adults and families make the tough decisions without the emotional and physical distress that can follow. As a result, older adults and their families avoid the costly mistakes and disputes that often accompany such major life transitions.

The job of a regular moving company is to get everything from Point A to Point B, and reputable movers do a great job of accomplishing this quickly and safely. Senior move managers (SMMs) don’t just move a person’s belongings from one place to another. They provide a multi-faceted approach to the move process, from space planning in the beginning to post-move support and advocacy. Their oversight minimizes the chaos and stress associated with moving by addressing all aspects of the move process. SMMs are responsible for creating and executing a seamless action plan, customized to the client’s wishes. 

 

When a senior move manager is tasked with packing up a home, they do not pack just pack everything in sight and relocate them to the new residence. They ensure items are packed and distributed according to the family’s wishes. Each item in the home is designated to be moved with the older adult, distributed to a family member, sold at auction, donated or discarded. The person who is relocating will find themselves in their new location only with the belongings they wanted to take, not whatever was in the house. The previous home is cleaned and ready to be sold or occupied by another family member.

Because most senior moves involve downsizing, SMMs assess the new space before any items are moved to ensure everything that is moved will fit and be functional. They generally do not move their clients’ possessions themselves, but they contract with movers they trust and have worked with before, and they oversee the entire move. Once everything has been relocated, senior move managers do not simply leave it all or just empty the boxes the regular moving company has transported, they do a full unpack and resettle, paying close attention to detail to make the new residence feel as much like home as possible, creating a better environment for the older adult’s physical and cognitive health. 

Estate sale or auction services offered by many senior move managers turn unwanted items into income that can offset the cost of the move. This additional service prevents family members from having to sell items online or at garage sales and gives them more time to spend with their loved ones. SMMs handle the sale and distribution of the items as well as the collection of the proceeds when the sale is complete.

Senior move managers become extended family to the older adult and their families as they help navigate the unfamiliar territory of downsizing and moving. They advocate on behalf of their clients when others can’t or won’t. As members of the business community, SMMs have a network of trusted experts they share with their clients, including realtors and elder care attorneys. They can also offer insight on local senior living options such as 55-and-older communities and assisted living facilities.

Using a senior move manager who is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers ensures not only that your belongings will be relocated, but that your move is being overseen by a qualified, caring, ethical individual who understands your situation and will make the best decisions for you and your family.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Depression Glass

In our line of work, we come across many personal collections. Items range from toys and coins to dolls and holiday decorations. Each of these collections has a story, both personal and historical. We would like to share some of those stories with you, starting with Depression glass.

Up through the early 1900s, glass items were made by hand. Each piece was individually poured, cut and polished, making glass time-consuming – and costly – to make. To own a piece of glass was a sign of privilege. When the Depression hit in the 1920s, glassmakers were forced to either find another way to manufacture glass or risk going out of business.

One such company was the Hocking Glass Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Named for its proximity to the Hocking River, the company was founded in 1905. According to the Anchor Hocking Glass Museum, the company could manufacture one piece of glass per minute when it started. Shortly before the Depression, they began using a machine that streamlined the process and allowed them to make up to 30 pieces per minute. The stock market crash forced them to create glass at an even cheaper rate, so they invented a machine that could make 90 pieces per minute. The glass made on this machine, and others like it in the area, came to be known as Depression glass.

In an effort to encourage people to spend what money they had in their establishments, business owners started giving away depression glass with qualifying purchases. Filling up your tank at a gas station could earn you a dinner plate, a trip to the movies on “Dish Night” could net a coffee cup. Some pieces, particularly drinking glasses, were included in packages of Quaker Oats and boxes of laundry detergent, and families would collect a complete set, one glass at a time. For larger pieces, like a platter or punch bowl, frugal housewives would collect multiple coupons or proofs of sale to send in at the same time.

Depression glass came in a variety of clear colors, including green, red, pink, amber, yellow and blue. Opaque glass was also available in white, jade green and black. The patterns printed in the glass often mimicked those used in the handmade glass only the truly wealthy could afford. For those with a little bit more cash, elegant glass was still machine-made, but had some finishing work done by hand after it was removed from the mold to smooth out edges or remove unsightly seams.

The reasons people start collecting Depression glass are as numerous as the collectors themselves. Many older collectors remember using it as children, while others fell in love with it while visiting their grandparents’ homes. Some simply enjoy the hunt and finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or consignment shop. The value of Depression glass varies widely, depending on your location and the rarity of the pieces.

There are several things to look for when buying Depression glass to ensure you don’t buy a less valuable reproduction piece. True Depression glass is lighter and thinner than replicated glass and it often has small bubbles within the glass. Scratches on a piece often means it’s authentic because these pieces were used in everyday life, not just put on display. Seams on lids from molds and straw marks on the bottom of the glass where it would have been set to cool are also signs that the glass is truly from the Depression era.

Whether you display it in a china cabinet or use it on a daily basis, Depression glass can bring a beautiful piece of history to your home.

 

Why Auctions Are the Best Way to Sell Unwanted Estate Items

Losing a loved one or moving them into a long-term care facility or senior living community can not only leave you emotionally drained, it can also leave you with a home full of belongings to deal with. While you and your family may want to keep some things for financial or sentimental reasons, chances are the majority of the belongings will need to be either sold or donated. Out of the numerous ways to sell unwanted items, the safest, easiest and most profitable is an auction.

Auctions are more profitable – As we discussed in a previous post "Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?", items tend to sell for a higher price at an auction than an estate sale because bidders start low and drive the price higher instead of seeing a set price and potentially haggling for a lower one. Auctions are also more profitable than yard sales because they reach a larger market and people have several days to bid on items. With a yard sale, you are limited to the people who are available to come during the hours you are open, and when a customer offers you a price, you either have to take it right away or risk not having anyone stopping by who is interested in it.

Auctions are safer – Craigslist is a popular way to sell things and it casts a further net than a yard sale while still staying local enough for you to avoid paying shipping costs in most instances. However, there is the issue of getting the item to the buyer, which involves either them coming to your home to see or purchase what you’re selling, or you meeting them in a neutral place to make the exchange. Both of these options create a potentially dangerous situation. People have posed as potential buyers to gain access to a home, then come back to break in and steal things. This can also occur at yard sales if you have large items that are for sale but are still in your home. With an auction, only the people who have already bid and won items will be coming to the home, and the pickup is staffed by the auction company who is fully insured and bonded. Some auctioneers offer a two-hour or by-appointment-only preview time, which is also fully staffed.

Auction payments are more secure – Unless you sell things on a regular basis, you are probably not set up to accept credit cards, leaving cash or check as the only methods of payment. If you accept a check for a large purchase at a yard sale and it bounces, getting your money will be extremely challenging. And chances are a buyer will not be willing to wait until the check clears to come back to pick up a purchase. Mobile payments like Venmo allow you to take electronic payments, but buyers can cancel the fund transfer after they receive the item and before the money is deposited into your account. Buyers at an auction or online auction use credit cards to pay, making it more likely you will receive the money. Even if they do not pick up their purchases, per the terms and conditions of the auction the auction company can still charge their credit card and you receive the proceeds. The paid-for but unclaimed items are given to charity or you can choose to keep them.

Auctions are easier – Wouldn’t it be nice if someone came in and sorted everything you had to sell, made it available to buyers, handled the payments and purchase pick-up, and gave you the proceeds? That’s how auctions work. No more sorting, pricing, praying for good weather, lugging things outside, haggling over prices, or dealing with strangers. This doesn’t mean you have no control over the sale. You and your family members will decide what you want to keep before anything is put into the auction.

You’re dealing with enough already. Let a licensed auctioneer handle the unwanted items of the estate.

Should You Talk to Your Parents About Downsizing Over the Holidays?

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Having the downsizing conversation is never easy for anyone involved. For both children and parents, it’s one more sign that the parents are aging, which is difficult to accept. One way to make it easier is to talk about it before the move becomes necessary. Ask your parents if they have thought about where they would go or what type of place they would like to live in next. Would it be a one-story condo near the water? Or a manageable apartment closer to you or one of your siblings? Laying this groundwork ahead of time gives everyone a chance to consider the options available before they have to become a reality.

Another way to make the talk go better is to be prepared. If you have siblings, ask them if they think it’s time. If not, really listen to their reasoning and see whether it changes your mind or not. If all of you aren’t on the same page, it may be best to wait and approach the subject later. Having one or more family members not on board before you even talk to your parent is not a good start.

Not only may you potentially be trying to convince your siblings and parents this is the right thing to do, you may be trying to convince yourself as well. People often feel guilty about bringing up the subject, even though they believe it will be better for their parents’ well-being. It also makes them face the fact that their parents are getting older and may soon be the ones needing help instead of the other way around. Take some time to deal with your own feelings so that you are ready to help your parent with theirs when you talk to them.

While you shouldn’t try to decide exactly where your parent should live before talking to them, you should think about some of the options that make the most sense to you. Do some research on several possibilities and even visit them if possible to make sure you still think they would be a good fit. There are so many choices when it comes to senior living nowadays that you’ll want to know what’s available and what they have to offer.

When you decide to talk with your parent, make sure you are completely vested in the conversation. Block out some time, go to your parents’ house, leave the kids at home, and focus entirely on the discussion. According to an article on caring.com,

      “One of the greatest challenges people in midlife face in their dealings with the elderly is to slow down       and find the time to be fully present. It's a mistake to discuss important issues on the fly, when you're         rushed and preoccupied. If you need to talk about something crucial with your parents, make a                     conscious effort to put your personal agenda aside -- along with your cell phone.”

Once you have given your full attention to the conversation, listen carefully to their responses. Remember that you are still the child and they are the parent. Don’t tell them what you think they have to do, talk about the options you have researched and answer their questions as best as you can. Talk about the benefits of a new place – if it’s smaller it’ll be easier to clean and maintain; in a condo there are fewer utility bills to worry about paying; in a 55-and-older community everyone is around the same age, making socializing easier; they provide transportation to the grocery store, doctor, and other outings so driving isn’t an issue. Offer to go see a few different places together, but respect your parents’ wishes if they don’t want to yet.

Being respectful of your parent’s feelings and offering to work together with them to find the right solution is a better approach than trying to take charge. Through open communication, you may both discover they’ve been wanting to move closer to you, or the upkeep of the current home is a burden, or staying in the place where a spouse or several neighbors no longer live is actually depressing. Then it’s time to take the next step. However, if that isn’t the case, don’t continue to push the subject until it becomes an argument. Allow some time for everyone to think it over and try again later to work together toward the right solution.

 

 

 

 

Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?

When it’s time to downsize a home, people often turn to the professionals to sell their belongings rather than holding yard sales or trying to sell things on eBay or Craigslist. Auctions and estate sales (also called tag sales) are both ways to eliminate household goods and make a profit, and may seem very similar. But they are actually quite different.

Auctioneers are more accountable because they must be licensed in Kentucky to run live or online auctions and are held to a Code of Ethics. Their license number has to be readily available at any auction, and an address for complaints must be included in their contracts. Before a Kentucky auctioneer can be licensed, they must apprentice under a sponsoring auctioneer for one year, take 96 hours of classes, and pass two exams. All of this training benefits you because your sale is being handled by an educated, trustworthy person, This means they will help you get the most income for the items you are selling, and that you have a clear path to resolving an issue should one arise.

Estate sale companies aren’t licensed or regulated in any way, which means anyone can market themselves as an estate sale professional, even if they have had no training. Does that mean all estate companies are run by inexperienced people? Of course not. But they are out there, and if you have a complaint it can be much more difficult to get a resolution.

Another difference is the way your items will be priced. At tag sales, a price is marked on each item before the sale begins, which leaves nowhere for the price to go but down. Most people view estate sales as organized garage sales and haggle over the prices marked. Buyers will also often wait until the second or third day of the sale to buy because prices are reduced after the first day.

Prices start low at auctions and continue to climb based on demand. Some items that may not have seemed valuable can end up selling at a higher price if two or more bidders are interested. This means that as the auction progresses, your profit on each item increases, while with an estate sale, your profit on items decreases as day two and three approach.

At an auction, items that aren’t selling individually can be grouped together to make them more attractive to buyers. Estate sale items have already been priced and can’t be regrouped to increase their chances of being sold. Also, leftover items at estate sales often become the property of the company, so they can sell them at their next sale and not owe you any proceeds. This gives estate sales managers less incentive to get everything sold for you. If you are signing up to do an estate sale and don’t want them to take the leftover items, make sure you read the contract carefully.

A benefit to buyers at an auction is the ability to preview items for at least 12 hours before it starts. At a tag sale the selling starts as soon as people walk through the door, so buyers have to make quick decisions before someone else buys what they want. This may not seem important to you as a seller, but it actually is because your buyers won’t be rushing through your items to make sure they don’t miss out. Instead, they’ll have time to think about each one and may end up buying more.

The most important thing when hiring someone to help you sell your belongings is to find someone you are comfortable with and that you can trust. Ask friends or family members for referrals, take the time to get to know the people you’ll be working with, and understand exactly how your belongings will be sold.

How to Avoid 3 Common Senior Moving Scams

It’s hard to believe there are people low enough to prey on seniors who are moving from their family home out of necessity, but there are. In addition to dealing with the stress of sorting through belongings and moving to a new place, seniors also need to stay alert for those trying to take advantage of or steal from them. Here are a few of the most frequent scams:

Mover Scam

There are two very common moving scams today. The first involves a moving company giving you a quote, picking up your items, then refusing to deliver your items until you pay a lot more than you were told. The second involves the moving company requiring an up-front deposit, then not showing up for the move.

How to avoid it – Do your homework to make sure the company you are hiring is reputable. The easiest way to find someone you can trust is to get referrals from friends and family members who have used them. If this isn’t an option, ask companies for their business license numbers and confirm they are still active. Check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government body that oversees moving companies, for complaints against the company. Not wanting to take inventory in person before giving you a quote, not being willing to give you anything in writing, or requiring you to pay in cash are all red flags, and you should continue your search.

Senior Transition Scam

It’s no secret that the U.S. population is getting older, making senior services a popular business. And while the majority of senior transition companies are legit, there are some that aren’t. Fraudulent companies may try to overcharge you, may steal items while they are packing, or offer to buy your belongings at a fraction of their value.

How to avoid it – The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is a professional group dedicated to making senior transitions easier for everyone involved. Make sure the companies you are considering are members. Ask for proof of their liability insurance and workers compensation coverage, and get estimates and contracts in writing. As with movers, senior transition companies will also have a business license, so check to make sure they are still active. Just because a company has a website does not mean they are legit.

Home Repair Scam

Home repair scams can happen at any time, even when you are selling a home or buying a new one. Scammers may see the for sale sign in your yard and try to convince you to hire them for repairs that supposedly will make your house sell faster or for a higher price. They may tell you that you need unnecessary repairs or appliances, like a water softener, when you move into your new place. Or they may ask to look inside your home to give you home repair suggestions when they are actually looking to see if you have anything worth coming back to steal.

How to avoid it – If your home does require repairs, ask for referrals from friends or family members. Never hire someone who knocks on your door and suggests repairs without getting a second opinion or doing an extensive background check on them. Don’t ever let anyone into your home, even if they are wearing a company uniform, unless you have made an appointment and are expecting them. And never pay up front for the entire cost of a repair, because chances are you will never see them again.

No one needs one more thing on their to-do list when they’re in the process of relocating, but taking these few precautions could protect you from scammers and save you money in the long run.

Downsizing and Getting reSettled Presentation

Getting ready to downsize or move and don't know where to start? Come listen to our owner, Amy Wright, speak about the steps you need to take to make the process easier. Her tips and suggestions will help you #getbacktowhatreallymatters. Presentation will take place on Wednesday September 14th from 6-8pm at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Library. Call 859-962-4071 to register.

The Difference Between Downsizing and Moving

Your parents moved you when you were a kid. You moved into a dorm and various apartments during college. You moved when you graduated, when you got married, and when you took an out-of-town job transfer. Throughout the years, you have become a moving machine. Surely your next move – downsizing – will be the same as all the others.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. No matter how many moves you have made throughout your lifetime, downsizing is different. Here’s why:

It may not be happening for a happy reason – In our business, the majority of people that we’re helping downsize are doing it because they need to. Maybe they’ve lost a spouse and can’t take care of the home by themselves, maybe they can no longer manage the stairs to the bedroom or bathroom, or maybe they’ve become unable to live alone. Whatever the reason, feeling like you’re moving because you have to not because you want to is very different and can be a very emotional experience.

You can’t take everything – Oftentimes, you move from one size place to a similar sized or even larger one, so you can take everything with you.  When you downsize, you move to a smaller space than you currently have, which means you will need to downsize your belongings as well. Parting with items that you have owned for decades or have sentimental value can be difficult.

It’s hard to get rid of everything you aren’t taking – Rather than finding a new spot for everything in your new home, you’ll need to find places for those items you decided not to keep. Your family members may want some items, but don’t count on them to take everything. (see Making Your Memorabilia a Gift, Not a Burden blog ). Selling items through yard sales or online can be time-consuming and cause you to deal with strangers trying to talk you down on prices, which can be uncomfortable and less profitable. Donating is always a good way to rid yourself of unwanted items because they will be going to someone else who can use them, but some organizations won’t take certain things or will not come pick anything up.

This downsize is permanent – You may have temporarily downsized before in your lifetime, either from your parents’ home to a dorm room, or maybe to live in a downtown apartment or overseas for a year. But your belongings were waiting for you when you returned. This type of downsize is normally permanent, so unless you have family members willing to house your overflow, whatever doesn’t fit in your smaller space will no longer be yours.

Fortunately, there is someone who can help make downsizing at least a little easier. Here’s how:

Inventory and Sorting– Our team inventories and sorts homes to be downsized to help make the decision on what you want to take and what you don’t. Sometimes just having someone to help you figure out what you can live without and what you can’t will enable you to not feel so overwhelmed with the downsize and move.

Floorplan Comparison – When we’re helping someone downsize, we use the floorplan of the new space to determine what can be kept and what won’t fit. We can show you different layouts that include certain things in one layout, and different things in another, allowing you to choose which will work best for you.

Unwanted Items – After you have decided what you’re keeping and what your friends and family members want, we can take care of the rest. We hold online auctions for clients on a regular basis. We handle all aspects of the process from cataloging and photographing, taking care of payments, and handling the pick-ups. We’ll also arrange for items that aren’t sold to be donated or removed.

Downsizing can be much more stressful than a regular move, but it doesn’t have to be. Let reSettled Life help you get from Point A to a smaller and more manageable Point B.

 

 

 

Making Your Memorabilia a Gift, Not a Burden

When it comes to downsizing, either through want or necessity, the most challenging part is deciding what to do with all of the “belongings,” like furniture, knick-knacks, kitchenware, pictures (both those that hang on the walls and those that go in albums), and papers. And if these items belong to you, you probably want them to stay in the family.  While your relatives may never want all of your belongings, there are things you can do to make the transition out of your house and potentially into theirs go more smoothly.

1.     Don’t expect them to take everything of yours – Different people have different tastes, even if they are closely related. What may be incredibly valuable to you may hold no sentimental value to your relatives. No matter how many times you tell the story about a particular item, or how much they enjoy hearing the story, they still may not want it. Sometimes it’s a matter of physical space. If your only child has bought himself one of those tiny homes that are currently so popular, he won’t even take your teacup collection, let alone your baby grand piano. And that’s okay, it doesn’t mean he loves the story, the teacups, the piano, or you, any less.

2.     Don’t expect them to take what is theirs – My friend’s mom has boxes full of things that once belonged to her and her siblings. Several of them hold a comic book collection that has yet to be moved in with its rightful owner, despite the fact he hasn’t lived at home for 25 years. Others hold stuffed animals and games their mother kept from their childhood.  Contrary to what she thinks, the children are not going to take these items to their respective homes, even though they may have owned them at one point. If you are holding on to your children’s belongings with the assumption they will want them, don’t. Tell them what you have and on what date you will be getting rid of it. If they don’t come get it before then, they will never take it.

3.     Pare down your belongings to what matters most to you – More than one child has heard the dreaded phrase, “I’m just going to leave this all for you to sort through.” When someone is faced with a home that is full from top to bottom, everything loses its value, financial or sentimental. They just want everything gone. If you want your loved ones to keep items that are valuable and special to you, clear out the rest of the clutter so they can focus on the important things and appreciate their worth.

4.     Provide information about your mementos – Keeping a record of your special belongings may seem morbid, but it really isn’t. Writing down the sentimental or monetary values of certain items will ensure that they are appreciated to their fullest by others. Consider creating a book of your most valuable items with photos and information about each piece.

5.     Keep track of who wants what – One of your kids may have expressed particular interest in something of yours even when they were still a child or young adult. Maybe it conjures up memories for them, or they just always found it unique. If you have verbally promised it to them, make it official by putting it in writing or including it in your will. That way they will be free to enjoy it without having potentially uncomfortable discussions with their siblings or other relatives.

Hopefully some of these tips will help your loved ones appreciate some of your belongings as much as you do, and help you realize that their love for you is not diminished if they don’t welcome everything you cherish into their homes.

The Cats Are Moving Too

Not all of our senior moves are for our senior residents, sometimes they also involve their favorite four-legged companions and those can come with some challenges of their own. We had the privilege of helping Ms. W make a transition from one independent senior community to another across town and needed to make sure we also included her two furry friends that would be making the move with her. 

Our team took a Friday afternoon to pack up Ms. W's belongings, leaving out items she would need over the weekend. We wanted to get as many of her personal items carefully packed to ensure that her new residence would feel like home right away. On Monday morning we arrived to meet the movers and oversee the move day. The decision was made that Ms. W's daughter would transport her beloved felines, following along with a reSettled Life policy, and we would make sure everything else was loaded on the moving truck and delivered to her new senior community. Although the cats ended up being a little more difficult to wrangle than we had originally thought, they were eventually secured and made their way to their new home ahead of Ms. W. 

Our reSettling process was a smooth one, as we loaded Ms. W new home with all of her favorite things, making sure to place those items in the same location they were at her previous residence and hanging every family picture and heirloom that she had on her walls around her room. Her furry friends stayed put in the bathroom, to become more acclimated with their new surroundings, and were ready to roam freely by the time we had finished up. When we had every box unpacked and removed from the room, every picture hung and cabinet filled, we said our goodbyes. We left Ms. W with a huge smile on her face and a sense of relief that the overwhelming move was complete and had not been as stressful as she thought it would be. Knowing we had a happy senior client, already settled in her brand new home, gave us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which meant we were able to leave with a smile! 

A Little of This and A Little of That

The month of April brought along a busy time for our team and the first project on the calendar was a full house sort/purge/donation pack/auction. I was contacted by the adult daughter, whose mother had recently passed away, and she was left with the home and all the personal content. She needed the house, which her family had lived in for well over 50 years, to be sorted through and cleaned out so she could then get it listed to sell. She wanted to sell, at auction, anything that we could and the purge or donate the rest at our discretion. We had our plan and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Tracy, one of my Team Leads, and myself spent a solid week sorting through this home that held decades of items, some that had not been unearthed in quite some time. We identified the pieces that we could clean up and catalog for the upcoming online auction and we bagged over 30 42-gallon contractor trash bags of items to be purged. We also were able to salvage some of the items that weren't quite auction quality but would still make a good charitable donation. We coordinated with our local charity contacts to get them the items that they could find new homes for and worked with another local service to arrange the garbage pick up. Check out just a few photos of the dramatic before and afters from several areas of the house!

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom after our work and before auction! 

Bedroom after our work and before auction! 

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement After! We cleared everything out, digging through items that had been boxed for decades!

Basement After! We cleared everything out, digging through items that had been boxed for decades!

After the home was completely cleaned out, other than the items to be sold at auction, we started our cataloging and photographing process to prepare for the online auction. We carefully tagged and inventoried all items and ran the online auction, complete with a preview day and staffed pick up dates. The client was able to make some profit from items in the house, that were no longer needed or wanted, and was also able to have the house completely emptied and ready to be placed up for sale. And all this was done in only a 4 week time period! We had a happy client and were so glad that we were able to help her in what seemed like a very large and overwhelming task, which is our goal with every transition no matter how big or small! 

A few items displayed for the online auction. 

A few items displayed for the online auction. 

 

 

Conference Time

Last month I had the opportunity to head south, to the beautiful city of San Antonio, for a four day event sponsored by the national association that I belong to. NASMM, the National Association of Senior Move Managers, is the only nationally accredited association for Senior Move Managers and I am so fortunate to be a part of such a great organization. 

The four day event was the association's national conference, meaning that there were over 400 Senior Move Managers that were in attendance from all over the country and even a few from overseas. It was a long weekend packed with seminars and training classes, all specifically designed for the SMM. I was blown away by the vast amount of knowledge that I was able to gain as well as listening to seasoned SMM's and their advice and best business practices. There were breakout sessions on everything from packing techniques to how to give a presentation to how to handle the financials of the business. I came away with notebook pages full of insights, tips and strategies, all things that make this hard-working mompreneur very happy!

What I found even more exciting than the conference speakers and classes, was the chance to mix and mingle with hundreds of SMMs that have been doing this for years and listening to their stories of successes and failures. I met one SMM in particular who lives in Indy and was so gracious with his advice and encouragement. Not only did he take time to speak to me at the conference, but extended the offer to continue the conversation with emails and phone calls. That kind of mentorship is priceless!

When you are a small business owner, you wear many hats on a daily basis. You are the one running the day in and day out activities of your business and the idea of going away for any amount of time can be a little terrifying. However, I am so happy that I didn't let that stop me from attending this conference, because it was a great investment of both my time and finances. And I am already looking forward to next year's conference!  

No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the beautiful Riverwalk!

No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the beautiful Riverwalk!