Healthy Hearing Can Balance Your Life

Senior having hearing and balance checked.

Understanding the connection between hearing and balance.

De-cluttering and downsizing a home can be a dizzying process.  The overwhelming stress can even throw us off-balance.  However, if you are reorganizing and notice you are clumsier than usual; your body could be signaling something more.

Our balance system, also known as the vestibular system, helps us stay upright and allows us to move without falling. Our balance and equilibrium are controlled through signals from the eyes, inner ear and sensory systems to the brain.

Research by Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging revealed that hearing loss can alter our balance and increase the likelihood of falls.   Hurting yourself in a fall can prevent you from simplifying your life.  Before tackling any laborious projects, especially those on a ladder, make sure you are protected.   Here are a few ways you can reduce the risk. Continue reading

Don’t Live out of Boxes!

Seniors unpacking after a move

Practical Tips for Unpacking Your New Space.

For the last couple of weeks, we have been discussing the best ways to pack up your belongings and get them to their new destination after making the decision to downsize. This week, we want to provide some practical tips for unpacking the moving van and organizing your new space so you aren’t living out of boxes for months.

While it is true that the decluttering and packing up of the belongings that will be making the move with you is a difficult and time-consuming process, unpacking and arranging your new space can be just as challenging without a little forethought.

Unpacking Rule #1 – Visualize and Assign a Purpose to the Space

Before moving day, visit your new home and make a list of every room and space in it. Don’t forget to include rooms like the bathroom, hallways, the basement and all storage areas (closets, pantries). After you record each space in your new home, write the purpose for each of those spaces next to it on the list. If you are moving into a studio-style apartment, this process is going to look a bit different. Instead of assigning a purpose to each room, assign a purpose to each area of the studio. Continue reading

Don’t Get Dragged Down by Moving Day!

Two movers

Top 5 Tips for Self Movers.

In our blog last week, we discussed strategies for moving day – one of the key parts of the downsizing process. When executed poorly, moving can cause unnecessary and unwanted stress for seniors and boomers.

It can be difficult enough if using professional movers and move managers to assist during this phase of downsizing; but for those who choose to be self movers, there are added challenges if a solid plan is not in place. We are not big fans of trying to move yourself for many reasons, but we do realize that for some seniors and boomers, budgetary constraints may make moving themselves necessary.

If your moving budget is limited, or you simply feel confident in your own ability to get your things moved to your new retirement destination on your own, we’ll discuss the top five ways to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Tip #1 – Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More

Would you leave for a weeklong vacation in some far-off tropical paradise without planning in advance? The answer is most likely no, especially if you want to have plane tickets and hotels in which to stay when you arrive. Moving day should be no different, especially when doing the work yourself. Continue reading

Moving Day 101

Professional a moving company

Three Steps for Surviving the Moving Process.

Over the years, while interacting with attendees at our Upside of Downsizing conferences, we have been told that the process of de-cluttering and organizing a home can be the most stressful and time-consuming part of downsizing.  Sorting, donating and eliminating a lifetime worth of possessions can be overwhelming for individuals downsizing for the first time. It is why the Eight-Step Checklist we created at the Upside of Downsizing is so important to follow.

Once the de-cluttering phase is over, and individuals have placed their homes on the market and identified where they will be moving, the home stretch of downsizing is finally in sight. Moving day is next on the agenda, and we have some tips to help make moving day a success.

Step #1 – Hire a Professional

Seniors who are on a budget may be concerned that hiring professionals to help in the downsizing process will be a budget buster for them. But failing to get the help of a professional when it is warranted can end up costing downsizers a lot more money in the long run. Continue reading

Maximize Your Home-Selling Profits

Benefits of a home stager

Top Reasons to Hire a Professional Home Stager.

One of the most important steps in downsizing for seniors and boomers is the ability to sell their existing property – at the highest profit possible – to help fund their retirement years.

While most homeowners know it’s important to declutter their home and keep it clean during its time on the market, some may not realize the benefits of another home-selling strategy: home staging.

Home staging is the process of preparing a home for sale in the real estate marketplace with the goal of making it appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Home staging can involve everything from arranging furniture and belongings in a specific way to enhancing curb appeal to attract the attention of potential buyers.

According to the National Association of Realtors®, 49 percent of realtors surveyed said they believe home staging has a positive effect on a buyer’s view of a property. Of those Realtors® strictly representing buyers, 81 percent said home staging helped their clients to visualize the property as a future home.

There are other reasons to stage your home during the selling process. Let’s discuss a few of the highlights. Continue reading

Aging the Right Way

A will is part of estate planning

Top Four Estate Planning Tips.

When it comes time to consider downsizing, many seniors and boomers focus on the obvious tasks at hand, including decluttering their home, making preparations necessary to place their home on the market and deciding whether to live in a retirement community or elsewhere.

But what some of them may overlook is one of the most crucial parts of the downsizing process: estate-planning. Estate planning involves officially recording one’s wishes for their end-of-life plans, which includes naming heirs and distributing their estate.

Seniors who forget this task may come to regret it later. Let’s take the example of a senior couple who sells their estate and decides to use the profits to help fund their retirement in a retirement community. One of them passes away soon after, and the inheritance ends up in the hands of a child from a previous marriage. This could cause an unnecessary hardship for the surviving spouse. Continue reading

Facing the Inevitable Head On

Senior couple dealing with inevitable illness

How to Stay Positive in the Face of Death.

Comedian Joe E. Lewis once quipped that “you only live once – but if you work it right, once is enough.”

As we grow older, we tend to reflect on our lives and question whether we’ve lived them to the fullest. This can be especially true as we begin to lose long-time friends or family members. When those who are closest to us pass away, it is inevitable for us to think about our own mortality in a way we may not have previously done. It also can lead to depression, which in turn can cause other health issues.

Does that mean we shouldn’t think about death, even when we’re confronted with it more frequently? Not at all. In fact, coming to terms with death is a necessary developmental challenge for seniors; however, it doesn’t mean we should dwell on it.

So how do we stay positive during a time when we may be losing beloved friends and family members? Continue reading

The Online Senior Connection

Couple exploring websites

Top Websites for the Over 50 Crowd.

As many seniors and boomers can attest, getting online can be a rewarding experience. You can meet new friends on websites made just for our age group, reconnect with old friends and family members on social media and find resources for planning a winter getaway to some place tropical.

But using the Internet also can be bit frustrating for seniors and boomers who aren’t as experienced in using it and are trying to sort out credible sites from those that may rip them off. Unfortunately, there is a lot of cyber crime, and it can be very easy to get taken advantage of at any age.

To help our readers navigate – and enjoy – the Internet, we have grouped reliable, reputable websites into categories most important to seniors and boomers as they  navigate through the golden years. Continue reading

Don’t Ruin Relationships With Great Expectations

Mother frustrated with expectations of children

Learning to Manage Your Own Needs in the Senior Years.

We’ve all heard some variation of the idea that you can never be truly disappointed if you don’t expect more than you deserve.

As we get older, that saying can take on an entirely new meaning.

Nearly 90 percent of seniors and boomers who participated in an AARP survey indicated they wanted to “age in place,” remaining in their own homes versus downsizing and moving to a retirement community or other housing designed specifically for seniors. When seniors insist on this particular scenario, it can become easy to expect others to help us manage our day-to-day lives in order to make it happen.

Even seniors who have made the decision to downsize and are enjoying their retirement to the fullest still can have some unhealthy expectations where their friends and family members are concerned that can put a damper on those relationships.

Let’s talk about some of the most common expectations and how to not fall into the trap of becoming one of those seniors who demands more than they deserve. Continue reading

Don’t Wait Until it’s too Late

Senior couple making end-of-life plans

Tips for Communicating End-of-Life Wishes.

American science fiction author Frank Herbert once said, “There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Death is not a pleasant topic to discuss, and the ability to do so does not improve with age. In fact, the older we get, the more uncomfortable it can be to talk openly and honestly about what is inevitably waiting for each and every one of us.

However, the failure to communicate end-of-life wishes can be a costly one. According to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people would prefer to die at home – yet only a third of adults have an advance directive expressing that desire.

What is an Advance Directive?

An advance care directive, also known as an end-of-life plan, is a legal document which details provisions for an individual’s future healthcare decisions should they become mentally or physically incapacitated. There are two main types of directives: a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Continue reading