Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation.

Safety Improvements:

  • Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
  • Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.
  • Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers of socks.
  • Non-skid safety strips:adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.
  • Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.
  • Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.
  • Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

Convenience Factors:

  • Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with flexible hose.
  • Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
  • Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick up mail off the floor.
  • Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
  • Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
  • Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.
  • Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to-access locations.
  • Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle, and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

Lynn Mattecheck is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) with RE/MAX. You can count on her to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. (503) 495-3258.

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit SRES.org

Estate Sales

Preparing for Estate Sales

When you are downsizing, there is always the question: What do you do with belongings you are not taking with you? With everything else you need to consider, this is not what you will want to be focusing on.

Consult an estate sale company for help.  Left over furniture, housewares, tools, clothing, collectibles, and knick-knacks can all be sold after you’ve moved.  Your old home will be left empty – and ready for “move-in” or home sale preparation.

Leaving items behind to be sold at a moving sale is not the same as giving them away or throwing them out!  The professional will conduct a sale for you and manage the disposition of your items in a professional manner.

That professional manner includes a number of services prior to, during, and after the sale.  The company staff will:

  • Prepare items for sale – which may involve some cleaning, polishing and even minor repairs
  • Set up, arrange, and display items to maximize their appeal for the buyer.
  • Research items to assure proper pricing.
  • Conduct the sale – which may be by invitation only or open to the public.
  • Hire sufficient, trained staff to assure security as well as the safety of customers.
  • Provide effective marketing and advertising for the sale – from newspaper ads to email notices to personal calls.
  • Dispose of the items that didn’t sell in accordance with the client’s wishes

These are the basic services offered.  Some items in a sale may be best sold through other methods such as eBay ® or other auction venues.  In those cases, the estate sale company will provide those services as well.

Additionally, the estate sale company can provide a menu of services to assist those customers who want to conduct their own sale.  They can give guidance on pricing and display.  They can write advertising copy and consult on the important matters of security during a sale.

Estate sale companies charge a commission on the gross sales.  The company will provide a free consultation, references, and a service agreement or contract that spells out their services.  The best part about the moving sale is that you will receive a check for the sale of your items.

This article was contributed by Sandra Millius from Millius Estate Services, who have been providing these services for over 11 years.  Their principals are trained personal property appraisers.  They have experienced set-up and sales staff and are licensed, bonded and insured.  They are dedicated to putting their client’s needs first.

Millius Estate Services, Inc.  –  503.282.3838  –  sandramillius@comcast.net  –  www.milliusestatesservice.com

Outside the box

When we think of downsizing or moving, one of the first images that usually come to mind is boxes, cardboard boxes, in many shapes and sizes. They are a huge part of any move. These boxes are great to put things in, but there is one box you need to break out of – your mind box.

What is a mind box? It is the boundaries and restrictions we apply in thinking about the things around us.  In this case, it refers to the patterns of how we relate to our possessions. We find ourselves thinking that certain things have to be stored in specific pieces of furniture, that a particular item was needed in the past so we will always need to have it, or that the lovely gift we received years ago is still our responsibility to keep. These are just a few of the walls that “box” in our thinking.

We need to think outside that box when downsizing or moving. We need to think about our possessions and the narratives that come with them from a different perspective. Continue reading