Journey with Mom

  • Well May has ended and I meant to do a post but here we are at June 1st, my monthly post is late.

This month I would like to talk about my mother. Stella is 95 years old as of last week. She has been a great example for me about aging.

Since this month I’d like to talk about aging and safety, I’d like to give you a few tips. She has Macular Degeneration, central vision problems.

She just had eye surgery for blood in her left eye that obstructed her vision. Now we will wait and see if it helped.

When you are dealing with safety here are some suggestions:P1040284

  • Clear all floors of rugs and loose items that could cause falls
  • Make sure the clocks, phones and TV’s are simple and easy to use and operate, backlighting is good
  • If balance is a problem have them use a cane, walker or wheelchair
  • Educate them on the correct use of the assistive device
  • Openings to doorways should be wide enough for a walker/wheelchair to enter
  • Thresholds should be as low as possible
  • Use grab bars and easy to use door handles and faucets
  • Be aware of safety in cooking areas
  • Explain the “who, what, why and how” of treatments and procedures you expect them to participate in. Repeat as necessary
  • Make their tasks of daily living as simple as possible to encourage independance
  • Allow plenty of time for rest as fatigue exacerbates falls
  • Expect confusion in the night time hours and plan for safety
  • Have a friend or family member accompany them during tasks. In a retirement home there are always willing friends
  • Make staff and caregivers aware of any changes in health

Good luck with your loved ones and if you need any help making their home safe for aging in place call me for a consult.

Ready To Sell- Staging Tips

Ready To Sell- Staging Tips

When you are ready to sell here are 10 tips to help you sell quickly as possible and get your asking price. You can do many of  things on your own, consult with your realtor or get professional help.

 1.  Curb appeal is important as people will drive by first and decide if they want to tour the insidefall-curb-appeal-03-highlight-the-front-door-2011-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-966-12081

  • Power wash driveways, sidewalks, siding and roofs
  • House numbers that are easy to read, painted or clean and attached straight
  • Lawns that are well edged and mowed, reseed if necessary
  • The porch or entrance is clean and stained or painted with a nice matt
  • The FRONT DOOR- painted or stained, dusted and clean, everything fresh
  • Plant pots of flowers or greenery, porch furniture if large enough
  • Good lighting, leave the porch light on at nightCreate an inviting entrance; everything here should say “Welcome Home, Please Come In”
  • 2. This step is Key! Clean everything, all surfaces– carpets, floors, windows, counters, walls, grout, cabinets… You may want to hire a pro to help with the tough stuff. You may need to refinish hardwoods or strategically place area rugs. This is a good time to do minor repairs too.                                                                                                                                gettyimages-608163079-57a0eb0d3df78c3276e6076c1
  1.  3. Furniture placement is important
  • Create open walkways, pull furniture off walls and create inviting conversation areas
  • Symmetry and pairs is a more formal space but can be inviting
  • Use your existing furniture but edit what you have for a more spacious feeling
  • Replace worn or soiled pieces or eliminate all together, even one chair and table can suggest a nice reading area4. Clear away the Clutter. Your style is not their style and you want to appeal to all who tour your home
  • Pack away unnecessary items, if you have collections- leave just 3 pieces or none
  • EDIT- EDIT-EDIT! Leave only a few nice accessories to stage tabletops and surfaces
  • Clear cupboards and closets to look as if there is more space
  • Clear personal effects, such as papers and books, most photos, and store valuables
  • Clean all the furniture and items left behind
  • Rent storage if you need to get boxes and furniture offsite 5. Strike a balance between clean and lived in- I know I just made you clear clutter but try and stage the home so it looks lived in and comfortable.
  • Add a few design accessories, elements that are appealing; a bowl of apples or lemons
  • Style your dining room table with a nice centerpiece or place settings
  • Rehang some artwork, be careful to use the appropriate size
  • Add cut flowers or potted plants in 2 or 3 areas, kitchen/bathroom/bedroom
  • Be careful with items that smell, not everyone likes fragrance 6. Bedrooms
  • Use some fresh crisp bedding in neutral colors, this is not the place to show your personality
  • Create a comfortable seating area with table and lamp
  • Remove personal items, hang nice artwork, add accent pillows or a throw at the end of the bed
  • Don’t forget to clear the closets of excess shoes, clothes, clutter. It has been suggested to have 20-30% of open closet space to give the impression of spaciousness
  • Define what the room is: a child’s room, a guest room, a library, an office 7. Bathrooms
  • Apart from cleaning everything in sight, if it’s outdated just stage it to feel “serene or spa like”
  • Fresh towels and soap and dish, these can be in colors to accent your tile, soft beige, pale blue, spa green. When in doubt white works the best.
  • Hide bath scales, garbage/or empty, toilet paper, an unnecessary items
  • Clear of bathroom furniture if it needs to look more spacious
  • If faucets are worn consider new plumbing fixtures 8. Store Your Stuff
  • Put children’s toys, excess books, unused office equipment, boxes of “stuff” away
  • Organize the garage tools and clutter neatly, make room for a car 9. Beware of pet odors and cooking odors
  • Be diligent about cleaning these spaces, steam rugs, vacuum often, wash surfaces
  • Keep the pet dish and food stored in another area than the kitchen or bath
  • Arrange to have the pet away from buyers
  • Perhaps edit your cooking choices while on the market 10.Outdoor Spaces
  • Create a patio table or seating area that says “how nice it is to sit and eat here”
  • Use colorful pillows, table settings or dishes, rugs, pots, flowers
  • Play up your outdoor area with garden art, a porch swing, a firepit, any extra features
  • Spruce up your garden, weed, plant , bark, whatever it needs to feel beautiful

You are creating a lifestyle for a new owner in your home and neighborhood to love.



P1040255 P1040284For the last three months I have been helping my mother move into a lovely retirement home. This was my focus rather than business other than my current clients. I thought I would share the experience as it might help some of you with your parents. I firmly believe that you can make your home prepared for “Aging in Place” by a few extra measures or a small remodel. But when is it time to leave your home? In mom’s case it would not have taken much to prepare the bathroom and add a small ramp to the outside, we already had added handrails in the garage. However she felt that she would not be able to continue to maintain her home or her large yard, which she dearly loved to work in. This concern about getting outside to do her gardens caused her stress and from my standpoint she needed more social interaction. We had talked about this move for years and now at age 93 when a room become available she took it.

My first hint would be to get on a waiting list at the location you prefer, sometimes they are long. And if something happens medically you will need to move fast to secure a room.

I believe the parent or owner needs to go through their own belongings and choose what is important to take. Your job is to be patient in this process, encourage letting go but allow their memories. To do this I removed everything (small items) that we didn’t need to the garage, or you could use an extra room. Her favorite saying was “somebody might want this or give this to… My response was ok I’ll just put this in the garage.” These items were available for the family to see and go through and take what they wanted. Next my sister helped clean her closet and drawers. My daughters and I packed up kitchen items, xmas and photos. We were scaling down from about 1600 sq ft to 600 sq ft.

We had purchased her family room furniture in preparation of scaling down some day so I knew which items were going. When we accepted the room I measured it and drew the layout of the space, then measured and placed her furniture. We were able to take the family room pieces and all of her bedroom furniture. I put her tall dresser in the closet and doubled the closet rods as a space saver. I also took her large desk which she uses all the time instead of purchasing a small table since she eats her meals in the dining hall. I also used a small desk and put it in the bedroom for her sewing machine which was one of the required “memory” items. I tagged which artwork was going. All this was important for her to know what she was taking and how it would fit. Since I knew which furniture was going I added 2 paint colors for accent walls in her new home. I also utilized one set of custom drapes for her bedroom.

This knowledge also allowed me to explain on the walk through of the home with the Realtor how I planned on staging the home so she knew what condition it would be in to show.

We first made the move in one day into her new home and installed and put everything away so that when she came it felt as comfortable as her “owned” home. We hung artwork, made beds the whole works! While we were packing up her existing home I had the helpers move the remaining furniture in place for staging, then we added some artwork. I basically removed everything from an upstairs and merged it downstairs and rearranged art and furniture. We left items for her to be able to live there a few days and her comments were “how beautiful everything looked” but it was still all hers just rearranged! I have to thank my family and the crew who helped us move as I couldn’t have done it without them. So gather your family and friends so you can make it a smooth transition.

Next my girls and sister helped with the cleaning. Then my husband helped update the bathroom with plumbing, we painted it and I add a new mirror and accessories. I did the final stages of staging, mostly her pieces a few of mine and it looked fresh and new. Now we were ready to put it on the market. At this point I had moved mom over to her new home and she was getting used to it.

Now that the home was sold I could move on to the estate sale. I hired a great lady, Darlene, who helped sort, tag and price the items remaining such as household items, linens, yard, tools and more. Then we tagged furniture and art inside. For 3 days Darlene who ran the sale and my 2 sisters and I sold belongings. Some of it was fun as some people were so excited about their new purchase, some of it was sad to see mom’s things sold. At the end of the sale I called 2 neighbors who volunteer for Children’s thrift store and they took some items, a truck from NWC came and we made a trip to Goodwill. Then we took the remaining furniture to a consignment shop for resale and also donated some last pieces. I mention all this because it is not always that easy to dispose of all the belongings in one place, so do some research.

My best advice to someone going through this experience is to take your time and enjoy the process. It is tedious and time consuming. Remember that an elder person isn’t as fast at thinking or remembering as you are, you need to repeat things often. In mom’s case she hadn’t moved for 46 years so this was a new experience for her. It is hard for them to let go of their home and belongings, have compassion. I explained everything I was doing, repeatedly. We laughed a lot, find humor in the process. Mostly enjoy this experience with your loved one, she was so appreciative and I was so glad she was living. And it goes without saying, get good helpers and support from your loved ones. I wish you luck.