Guest Author: Sue Vipond
As our world is beginning to open up and you are thinking about your relocation plans, you may often wonder what you can do to get ready to move and how to start the process. The following are some helpful tips from TLC Relocation Services (specializing in seniors) on how to Downsize and “De-stress”!
When Do I Start?
Start early! It’s never too early to begin the downsizing process. You don’t have to wait for a crisis… give yourself 6 months or longer as you have lots to do. You are in the perfect situation because you have the time to get a jumpstart.
Where Do I Start?
Begin by concentrating on typical problem areas, such as the garage, closets, and file cabinets. “Once begun, half done” you will feel like you have accomplished something, then choose and focus on one room at a time.
How Do I Prepare to Sort and Declutter?
Collect an assortment of boxes in different sizes and separate and label them by category. Designate different areas of the room you are sorting and divide the boxes according to the items that you are keeping, passing on, donating, selling, throwing away and recycling. This alleviates confusion as to what your plans are for each piece, and speeds up the process as you can identify what goes where and put it in the appropriate container.
How Do I Determine What to Keep or Get Rid Of?
Ask yourself “What do I need if I am downsizing? Will I be entertaining? Do I have enough space for my books, personal collections, and photo albums? Do I have room to bring my linens, towels, winter items? If I can’t decide now, will it be costly to move it and get rid of it on the other side? Have I worn or used this in the last couple of years?”…if the answer is “No” then you probably don’t need it.
Ask yourself “Why am I keeping this? Do I love it or is it just a fond reminder of someone or something?” Consider hiring a personal historian to write the story behind your treasures and bind them in a book so that you can relive the memories without the actual keepsake.
Consider family members, friends, neighbors, favorite organizations, affiliations and then do an inventory of what you want to give to each of them. Put the names of who is getting what on the appropriate boxes. Remember that your kids probably don’t want much but your grandchildren might!
What Do I do with My Valuables?
There are various ways that you can monetize your move by selling or consigning your collections, but don’t expect to get what you paid for them. Times have changed and the next generation doesn’t seem interested in china, silver, flatware, crystal or linens.
Promotion via estate sales (check to see if allowed in your community) and auction houses (typically for specific high-end items) have become increasingly popular. Used furniture sales and buy-out companies will give you pennies on the dollar and will arrange to pick things up. And if you go the consignment shop route, make sure that you do it in season when there are more buyers in town.
What else will I need?
Lots of boxes, in all sizes, (don’t use liquor store boxes), packing paper (no newspaper), bubble wrap for fragile pieces. Mark shipping labels (use a Sharpie) with room contents and indicate “top load” or “fragile” as necessary.
Ask yourself if this is a job that you can do yourself? Are there family members or friends that you can engage in the process? Moving is not easy, is physically taxing and time consuming. You don’t need to do it alone.
Consider hiring a move expert or relocation specialist like TLC Senior Move Experts to facilitate with all the pieces involved in orchestrating your move. They can help you with developing an overall move plan; sorting and downsizing; packing, unpacking, and setting up your new home; interviewing, scheduling and overseeing both local and long-distance moves; arranging for shipments and storage; coordinating with estate sale, consignment, auction, buy out, donation and final clean-out sources. They can also supply all the necessary packing materials so that you do not have to purchase your own.
Allow for 3-6 months from start to finish and don’t get overwhelmed. This can be an exciting adventure if you take it in pieces and know where to begin.
About the Author: Sue Vipond of TLC Senior Move Experts helps clients from start-to-finish through the downsizing and moving process. TLC specializes in helping Seniors through the transition to their new home or apartment. For more info, reach out directly:
www.tlcseniormoveexperts.com ; (941)554-4746
Researching, choosing and moving a loved one into an Assisted Living community or long term care facility is often times an overwhelming process. We know because we saw Mark’s Mom have to navigate through it after his Grandmother’s stroke. After seeing how stressful it is on Caregivers and family members, we set out to create the service we wish we had so that families had the information, resources and most importantly, SUPPORT, they needed to make the best decision.
It’s extremely helpful to use a placement service to find the right community or facility fit no matter what stage of the process you find yourself in. Why? So glad you asked! Here’s a few great reasons:
1. Its free. Yep, our service is 100% free to families. Placement services get a referral fee from the community if your loved one moves into one they referred you to. Because it’s free to you, there’s no risk to getting insight and information to help you along in your search to finding the right fit.
2. We’re unbiased. Because it’s pretty standard in the industry to use placement services, it allows us to work with almost all communities. We don’t have motives to have you move into one community over another; our goal is just that you find the best match for your loved one.
3. We save you time. There are a lot of options and choices to consider when you’re looking for the right senior housing community, especially in the SunCoast. You don’t want to waste time researching or touring communities that don’t fit your criteria. We help narrow the list down right off the bat to make sure you’re only comparing viable options.
4. You’ll have someone to accompany you on community tours. Heck, we’ll even pick you up and take you! Don’t worry about knowing what to ask or look out for, because having us join you on tours allows us to serve as your advocate to get all questions answered and make sure you have all the info you need to make the best decision.
5. You’ll have one point person. You won’t need to manage communicating with all the different communities separately and keeping all the information straight…we do that for you. This is even more valuable when there are non-local or multiple family members, as we can keep all updated and in the loop.
6. You get inside information from an industry expert. Working with someone who is tapped into the industry and has their ear to the ground about reputation, care and staff is critical to making the right choice.
7. We Project Manage the entire process. Identifying the right community is just the first step. We help you anticipate and complete all steps until move in including scheduling assessments and tracking down all documentation needed, etc. We also can refer you to other vetted resources to help along the journey like Elder Care Lawyers, downsizers, movers, etc.
So, wouldn’t you say it’s a no-brainer?? There’s no reason you should walk this journey alone. Whether you’re at the very early planning and information gathering stage, or need to make an immediate decision, we’re here to hold your hand every step of the way.
Reach out to us today and let us know how we can help!
Guest Author: Carisa Campanella
Finding new ways to improve your health-related fitness while under quarantine can be quite an undertaking for most people. It can be hard to know where to begin and what exercises to choose! In my role as Exercise Coordinator for Grand Living at Lakewood Ranch, it is my mission to find fun and purposeful movement to help our Residents feel their best. My aim is to help participants improve their mood, enhance their cognitive abilities, and most of all, feel strong! Daily movement is the key to improving your blood circulation, bolstering your immune system, and keeping your muscles, bones and joints in good working order. Here is a fun and easy program anyone can do at home in either a seated or standing position. This program will help strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles, improve flexibility, and will help you to feel calm and relaxed. Find a space in your home where you have room to move. If you have trouble with balance, make sure you are seated in a strong and sturdy chair. Have some fun and upbeat music playing in the background. And remember, if a certain position or movement does not feel comfortable for you, do not do it!
Warm-Up with Deep Breathing: Sitting up straight and tall in a chair, take a long breath in through your nose and a long breath out through your mouth. On the 5th breath in raise your arms out to the sides and over your head, and on the long breath out bring them down with a big flapping motion like you are a pelican flapping your wings! Continue raising your arms and flapping your wings gently for four more breaths. You make find that this type of breathing can help you feel relaxed when you are anxious.
Jazzy Joints: Now that you have conditioned your heart and lungs, it is time to focus on loosening up your joints. A great way to lubricate and strengthen your shoulder joint is to reach your arm up in the air and pretend you are screwing in a lightbulb. This will rotate your shoulder, elbow and wrist. Do one arm at a time. Another way to loosen up your shoulders is to pretend you are holding oars in each hand and “row the boat.” You can row your oars forwards and backwards. To loosen up your hip joint, sit up straight in your chair and lift your right knee up and then move your right leg to the side, as if you are trying to step over a hot flame. Repeat this move several times and then do the left side. This will open up your hips and help you walk with greater ease.
Rockin’ Rollers: Now that you have warmed up your joints, you are ready to dance! Find some upbeat 50s and 60s music (I like Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry) and turn up the volume. While seated in your chair, you can do the twist, move your arms and pretend you are playing the guitar and piano, do some alternating leg kicks and toe taps, or whatever movement feels good to you!
Dynamic Drumming: A fun way to keep your heart pumping is to do some drumming! You can make your own “drum” by turning a wastepaper basket upside down or using a big pot. “Drumsticks” can be paper towel tubes, wooden spoons, or sticks from outside. You can drum along to any song you like. My favorites are “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” by the Beatles. When you drum, you sit up straight and tall in your chair and bring both “drumsticks” down together on your wastepaper basket or alternate arms. The higher you lift your arms the better it is for your heart. You can also drum on the sides of your “drum” or even bend forward in your chair and tap your “drumsticks” on the floor.
Sunshine Stretching: To cool down after your “party with movement,” put on some relaxing music. Sit up straight and tall in your chair and take a deep breath in through your nose and blow out through your mouth. On your next breath in arch your back, stick out your chest and bring your arms out to the sides. As you exhale, round your shoulders and bring your arms in front of you as though you were hugging a tree. This movement will stretch your chest and your back. From your seated position, the next stretch you can do is to extend your right leg, so your heel is touching the floor. Gently bend forward at the waist to stretch the muscles behind your right leg. When you are done stretch the left leg. Finish your stretching by wrapping your arms around your shoulders like you are giving yourself a hug.
How do you feel? Hopefully you are energized! Remember any type of movement that you can enjoy safely will have great benefits. Try to schedule your “party with movement” at the same time every day, and have fun!
About the Author: Carisa Campanella is the Fitness Coordinator at Grand Living at Lakewood Ranch. In addition to degrees in Communications and Fitness Technology, Carisa holds four national certifications in Health Coaching, Personal Training, Group Exercise Instruction and Spinning including ACSM and ACE. She also specializes in Functional Aging, Senior Fitness, and Parkinson’s Disease.
Our immune systems diminish as we age. Our bodies slow down production of immune cells like white blood cells which weaken our defenses and ability to heal. Couple that with new strains of viruses and our Seniors are left extremely susceptible to illness.
As Caregivers, we can be proactive about helping our loved ones boost their immune systems to avoid getting sick. Using some of the natural tools listed below can make a big impact on our health, but the trick is consistency over time. Start with one or two that are easy for you to integrate and create a routine so you can reap the benefits!
1. Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals…in other words, they keep our cells healthy, functioning well and decrease inflammation. All of that is critical to a strong immune system. The good news is that there are a ton of foods high in antioxidants, and most are delicious! Some foods with the highest levels are: Berries, Kale, Spinach, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Artichokes, Pecans and Ginger. Integrating one or two of these foods daily will have a great effect on boosting immunity.
2. Get Your Daily Dose of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is necessary for growth, development and repair of body tissue and is an important component to the function of our immune systems. Studies show that it not only prevents illness, but also shortens the duration of healing from viruses. There are a few ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin C. Foods like Bell Peppers, Strawberries, Oranges, Broccoli and Tomatoes have some of the highest levels. There are also a lot of supplements available over the counter if that is easier to work into your routine.
3. Use Essential Oils
Essential Oils have been used for thousands of years to boost immunity and treat illness. Diffusing essential oils can be a great way to clean the air of airborne germs, and allow our loved ones to get the therapeutic effects of breathing them in. Oils like Cinnamon, Clove, Rosemary and Lemon have all been shown to have these great effects. Note: not all essential oils are created equal so make sure they are therapeutic grade and you trust the source they come from.
4. Get Some Sleep
Studies show that sleep deprivation suppresses our immune systems. Without the right amount of REM sleep, our bodies aren’t able to rebuild on a cellular level. We should be getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep a night. Creating a routine can help with this like having a tea, reading and not using devices within 45 minutes of going to bed.
5. Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps flush toxins and caries oxygen to our cells which supports our immune system. Wondering if you’re drinking enough? You should be drinking ½ your body weight in ounces a day. (Ex: if you are 150 lbs, drink 75oz/day)
There are currently, over 50 million Americans age 65 or older. Many are at home during the day and are prime targets for scammers and unscrupulous businesses who use the phone or internet to find their next victim. According to the Senate Committee on Aging, adults over the age 65 lose over 2.9 Billion dollars to scams and fraud annually. Studies suggest that 1 in 10 older adults has been a victim of financial scams or exploitation. However, only 1 in 24 cases of financial exploitation in older adults is ever reported.
Anyone who has spent the day at home has most likely received multiple calls from solicitors and salespeople. At best, these calls are annoying. At worst, the calls come from professional thieves who seek to find ways to get your money or gain access to your personal information. You do not have to have memory problems or compromised health to be a victim. Many intelligent, educated people have been fooled. Despite media attempts to educate the public about these scams, they continue to happen.
Calls or emails promising winnings from contests you never entered, or inheritances from relatives you’ve never heard of should not be believed. Even calls from relatives in urgent need of money to get them “out of jail” or to “keep the utilities on” are often made by impersonators who play on your generous nature. You will never receive a legitimate call from the local Sheriff, the IRS or the court system demanding money or payment, and none of these organizations accept gift cards for payment.
E-mails can be just as deceiving. Scammers are adept at copying letterhead and logos, so don’t automatically assume that an email from your bank or local business is legitimate. If the email looks like it is from a trusted source, send a separate email or call to investigate. Never click on the links embedded in an email you receive. These can lead you to fake websites and collect important information from you like account numbers and passwords.
It is important to be alert and skeptical anytime you receive a call or email. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself.
If you do get scammed, tell someone immediately. If you act quickly, it may be possible to get all or some of your money back. Start with the local police. This is essential if you want to make an insurance claim for stolen property. Next call your bank and/or credit card companies. They will advise you on whether your accounts can be frozen or if the accounts should be closed for your protection. The AARP Fraud Watch Network also has a hotline available (877-908-3360) where volunteers can advise you on the next best steps, including which government agencies might be able to help.
Telling someone can be embarrassing but remember, even smart people are fooled by professional scammers. If these scams did not work, they would not be so common. This can truly happen to anyone and the only way to stop it is by reporting it so that these scammers can be put out of business!
About the Author:
Kathleen Houseweart, MBA is the former Manager of Geriatric Service at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and currently chairs the Sarasota Community Alliance Sub-'Committee on Aging.
So many responsibilities fall onto the shoulders of Caregivers. Usually this includes grocery shopping and making sure there are food options for the week. It can seem to be a never-ending battle to stay ahead of it, and the daily “what do we have to eat” can feel like you’re on a hamster wheel. Add in dietary restrictions, picky eaters or special needs and it can all become overwhelming!
Meal planning is something I am personally VERY passionate about! I have a routine where I do mine every Sunday morning. Often people tell me: “I’m just too busy to meal plan.” And to that I say: “I am too busy NOT to meal plan!”. It helps me avoid stress and time wasted on unnecessary prep, grocery store runs and last minute changes.
Here are some of my meal planning tips to get you started:
1. Look at your calendar. Take a look at the calendar for you and your loved one to see what the next week has in store. Certain days will be busier than others and offer less prep time or maybe you already have a dinner scheduled. This helps you choose the right types of meals and also guarantee that you don’t purchase too little or too much food for your needs.
2. Write it down. Even though it may seem tedious, take a piece of paper and write down each day of the week and the meals you need to plan…just dinners? Or breakfasts and lunches too? Then jot down the meal you plan on having. Not only does this force you to make a decision, but if you’re like me, it gives you a reference point for later in the week when you forget what’s on the menu!
3. Make Your List. While you’re at it, take the menu that you just created and quickly make a list by writing down the ingredients you need for each meal. That way you can be sure you have everything on hand that you need for the week and save you from having to do all those last minute trips to the grocery store!
4. Get your groceries delivered. There are so many grocery delivery services to choose from! Shipt and Instacart are two well known ones, but many grocery stores have in house shoppers and delivery staff on hand that can help do some of the leg work and save you time! Usually they will do free deliveries over $35. Now that you have your list (Tip #3), you can easily go on the app or website and add everything to your cart and have it delivered same day.
5. Make double. Do yourself a favor and prepare double of the meals you make throughout the week. It doesn’t add any prep, cooking time or effort to the work you’re already doing. This way you can get more bang for your buck by eating leftovers for meals later in the week or freeze for a later time when you’re in a time crunch.
10 Steps for Healthy Aging
There are so many factors that go into healthy aging. It’s easy to wish there was an “easy answer”, but really it comes down to an overall lifestyle that prioritizes wellness.
The Roskamp Neurology Clinic, located in Sarasota Florida, is a world leader in research about brain health and how to make preventive actions to improve healthy aging. Not only are they searching for cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, they are also committed to providing the best care in terms of diagnosis, treatment and support for patients and their Caregivers.
Here are 10 steps they suggest for healthy aging:
1. Eat Well
Adopt a low-fat diet high on fruits and veggies, like strawberries, blueberries and broccoli. Take daily vitamins. Limit intake of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar.
2. Stay Active
Brisk walking benefits brain health, aerobics can boost your heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
3. Learn New Things
Pick up a new hobby like playing tennis, learn to speak a foreign language, try a cooking class, or do something you haven’t done before.
4. Get Enough Sleep
At least 7 to 9 hours is a good night’s rest. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.
5. Mind Your Meds
Medication can affect everyone differently, especially as you age. A medication that didn’t trigger side effects in the past can suddenly cause an abnormal reaction. Talk to your doctor about all medications, whether over-the-counter or prescriptions.
6. Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol
Smoking can increase the risk of other serious illnesses, while too much alcohol can impair judgment and cause accidents, including falls, broken bones, and car crashes.
7. Stay Connected
Invite friends and family over for a meal, board games, or just to hang out. Maintaining an active social life is important for mental health and keeping a positive attitude.
8. Know Your Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is high, get it under control under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
9. See Your Doctor
Maintain checkups. Health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Speak with your physician about any concerns or questions you have about your health.
10. Get a Memory Screening
Our brains need regular checkups, just as other parts of our bodies do. A memory screening is a quick, easy, non-invasive exam for our brains. Talk to your doctor about getting a screening as part of your annual wellness exam or call the Roskamp Neurology Clinic today for your free screening (55 and over) 941-256-8018.
To get more information about the Roskamp Neurology Clinic and healthy aging, check out their website at https://www.roskampclinic.org/
The process of finding the right Senior Community, and all the other resources that are needed during that transition can be very overwhelming. We know, because we’ve navigated it ourselves. When Mark’s Grandmother had a stroke, his Mom was the main Caregiver and as a family we had no idea what options and resources were available. We saw firsthand the impact of Caregiver Stress and we knew there had to be a better way. That’s why we created SUNWAYS…it’s the service we wish our family had.
When we started, we were looking for an opportunity to not only make a difference the Senior community, but to also provide a service that would make a positive impact on Caregivers of all ages during an extremely stressful time. We’ve been able to apply our experience in recruiting as “information brokers” to help someone go through a major transition in their life and become a shoulder to lean on for support and guidance.
Generally speaking, SUNWAYS is a "Placement Service", as senior housing communities pay us a referral fee when we refer a client to them and they move in. That said, it’s been important to us from Day 1 that we were much more than that. When we were going through this process as a family, we needed more than just a community and we know we aren’t the only ones.
We pride ourselves on meeting our Seniors and Caregivers “where they’re at” in the journey…and honestly, a community may not be what’s needed at this time or it may just be a small piece of the puzzle. We still can, and want to help. That’s why we also refer clients to in-home care providers and resources like move managers, elder care lawyers, support groups, adult day cares and the countless other things needed during this time. Our highly vetted network of partners are able to serve our clients and the SUNWAYS concierge service helps “project manage” it the whole time.
Because of our business model, we are able to stay 100% FREE for families. It has become our mission to be the link that connects Seniors and their Caregivers to the care and resources they need. Since starting on this journey to create SUNWAYS, we have seen firsthand how important this work is and how impactful it can be. It’s made us extremely passionate about getting our message out and making sure everyone possible knows that our service is here to help because we know the difference it can make.
So if you or a loved one is on this journey and interested in finding out more information about care options and resources, please reach out to us. And if you’re not, we can guarantee you know someone who could use our services! Please share any way you can…forward one of our emails, text the link to this blog post, share one of our social media posts. Let them know that they are supported. It takes a village and we are more than happy to be part of yours!
Understanding “Assisted Living” Options (Independent Living vs. Assisted Living vs. Memory Care vs. Skilled Nursing)
The term “Assisted Living” tends to mean different things to different people. Many times it’s used as an umbrella term to describe any senior housing community no matter what the level of care is. Heck, we even used it that way when we created the name of our Company: Sunways Assisted Living Concierge!
Depending on someone’s experience, they may envision what used to be referred to as a “nursing home” in a hospital type setting when they think of “Assisted Living”. But today’s “Assisted Living” options are so much more than that! Let’s dive a bit deeper into the 4 main types available so you and your loved one can know what’s best.
These are 55+ communities that offer great amenities to foster socialization. They can come in many shapes and sizes, but creating a sense of community, fun and engagement is usually at the forefront Independent Living is perfect for those who are focused more on activities, flexibility and convenience. They’ll usually have dining options on site and the ability to easily add on cleaning and laundry services. However, they usually won’t include any levels of care, so if a resident needs medication management or any assistance with daily tasks, they’ll need to pay for an outside In-Home Care service to do that. Cost and payment structure can vary greatly. Some are set-up as an Equity/Ownership community and others as a rental where you just pay monthly for your rent/amenities.
Assisted Living communities are designed specifically for residents that need various levels of daily personal care. They can range from a larger “resort” environment, to a condo/apartment building feel, or even to smaller residential homes with a handful of residents. There are different kinds of assisted living licenses that dictate what kind of care they can offer and if they require a nurse to be on site. All that said, Assisted Living communities are a good fit for someone who is still active enough that they can engage and gain from social activities, but need daily care. You will usually only pay for the level of care needed and that can range from basic medication management, all the way up to assisting with all activities of daily life like bathing, dressing and toileting. Assisted Living communities are usually a monthly rental with base cost including an apartment, 3 daily meals and weekly housekeeping and laundry services. They will also have transportation services, a variety of activities daily and exercise/PT/OT options on site.
Memory Care communities are very similar to Assisted Living, with the only real difference being that they are in a secured building/unit. They are created specifically for residents with varying levels of dementia who are a risk to wander. Usually cost is all-inclusive (not broken into levels like Assisted Living) set up as a monthly rental and will include an apartment, any/all levels of care, 3 meals a day, housekeeping, laundry services, social activities and transportation.
Skilled Nursing facilities are usually what one would refer to as a “nursing home”. They are created specifically to care for those that need daily medical services. The environment is typically similar to a hospital setting and offers 24/7 care that is typically appropriate for someone with more complex health needs that require assistance from a skilled nurse. Residents will usually pay a daily rate, versus the monthly cost in the previous options above.
Hopefully this breakdown not only helps you better understand the services available, but also the appropriate term to describe it! At Sunways, we specialize in working with you and/or your loved one to identify the perfect community with the appropriate level of care to serve both short and long term goals. Our services are always free to families, so reach out to us with questions!
We can all agree that at times, its hard to focus on being grateful. Especially as a Caregiver, daily tasks and realities can weigh heavy on your heart and mind. However, being grateful doesn’t mean you are ignoring negative feelings. It’s a way to make a shift and put the focus on some of the positive things that you have in your life and helps to get a different perspective.
The human mind can only experience one emotion at a time, so studies have shown that when you’re in a true state of being grateful, you can’t be focusing on anger, sadness, resentment or stress.
When we refer to a “gratitude practice” we just mean, a daily habit of being grateful. Anytime you make a change, physical or mental, you need to put routines in place to hold yourself to it. Just like going to the gym is a “daily practice” to get fit, a daily practice of being grateful will re-wire the way your brain looks at the world in a more positive way.
Having a daily gratitude practice can:
So now, HOW do we implement this daily gratitude practice? If it was easy, we wouldn’t have to do a blog post on it!...Lets go through some ideas:
We hope this inspires you to create a gratitude practice of your own. At Sunways, we’re grateful for YOU and our community of Caregivers who are sharing their heart daily with the ones they love.
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Elli is the President of Sunways and loves spending time outside with her family, and is passionate about cooking and holistic health.