Once an older loved one decides to move to a senior living community, there are many decisions to make. One is when to list the senior’s house. For many people, a home is their biggest asset. The proceeds from its sale are needed to help finance this transition.
There’s no doubt about it, however, that moving can be stressful at any age. It’s especially true when it comes to an older person who has lived in their home for decades. They may have an emotional attachment to it that dates back to raising a family there.
So, how can you tell when the best time to sell a senior’s home is? We have some tips that might be helpful in making this decision.
Questions to Consider When Selling a Senior’s Home
- Are the proceeds from the home’s sale needed to finance this move?
For most people, a house is their largest asset. The equity in the home might be needed to finance this next chapter in life. If moving to senior living before the house is sold seems like the best choice, bridge loans might help.
These special types of loans will allow the older adult to use the equity in their house to pay for the monthly fees and expenses associated with moving. They essentially bridge the gap in financing. Once the house is sold, the senior can pay off the loan. Bridge loans are available from a variety of banks and lenders, as well as companies like Elder Life Financial and Second Act Financial Services.
- Can the senior keep the house show ready while living there?
Living in a house while it is on the market can be challenging. Buyers often have high expectations. A clean, clutter-free home gives buyers the impression that the home is well maintained. If you are in the process of downsizing and packing, keeping the house show ready at all times can be tough.
If it seems unrealistic for the senior to keep their home ready on short notice, selling after the move may be better. A professional home stager can be utilized afterward to help ensure the home looks warm and welcoming.
- Are your schedules flexible enough to accommodate multiple showings?
Potential buyers often have busy work schedules or come from out-of-town to find a house. This can translate to showings at odd hours. In a hot real estate market like the current one, a senior seller might also have multiple showings a day with many short notice requests.
Most times, the real estate agent will ask that homeowners leave the house for showings. This can be another inconvenience, especially for older adults who have mobility challenges. It is important to consider whether these interruptions will present a hardship.
- Will the senior’s budget accommodate paying for their house and monthly fees at a senior living community?
If an aging loved one moves before listing their home and it doesn’t sell as quickly as expected, will their budget accommodate the cost of two homes? Or will it cause too much stress? The housing market can be unpredictable. It’s important that you are realistic about how long the senior will be able to pay expenses in two locations.
Senior Move Managers and Certified Real Estate Agents
As you work your way through the decision-making process with your family member, there are two groups of professionals you may want to contact. One is a senior move manager®, and the other is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®). Both are expert at handling the unique needs of seniors who are transitioning from a private residence to a retirement community or simply to a smaller space.
Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan and Indiana
Heritage has senior living communities throughout Michigan and one in Indiana. Every day we work with adult children trying to find a community that is a good fit for their family members’ needs. We can also help create a transition plan for moving. Call the Heritage community nearest you to learn more!
After the COVID-19 pandemic kept some families separated the last few years, many are looking forward to summer. It might be a great time to take an intergenerational vacation. With thoughtful planning, you can make it a memorable experience for everyone.
Car travel is often easiest when multiple generations are vacationing together. If the youngest generation gets restless, you can stop to have a snack or run around a roadside park. Seniors will also appreciate being able to stop and stretch their legs or use the restroom.
Depending upon where you live, a state or national park is likely within a day’s drive. Michigan residents are especially fortunate. There is a wide range of parks, campgrounds, and hiking trails throughout the Great Lake state.
Consider a Trip to a State or National Park
Both federal and state parks have accessible solutions for people with mobility challenges. They also offer a variety of intergenerational activities.
Depending upon how long your vacation is and how far you are willing to drive, here are a few parks to consider:
- Great Smoky Mountain National Park: Located along the North Carolina and Tennessee border, this popular park offers activities ranging from hiking to bird-watching. Children between the ages of 5 and 12 can complete activities and earn a patch through the Junior Ranger program. Families will find a variety of cabins, campgrounds, and value-priced motels close to the park.
- Acadia National Park: If your family members enjoy sailing, whale watching, or kayaking, head north to the Maine coast and Acadia National Park. Nature hikes, boat cruises, and carriage tours are also popular. While there is no lodging available at the park, campgrounds and other accommodations are nearby.
- Sleeping Bear Dunes: This Michigan park has consistently won awards ranging from most beautiful beaches to Good Morning America’s Most Beautiful Place in America. Touring lighthouses, hiking trails, canoeing, sailing, and biking are just a few adventures you’ll find. Restaurants, lodges, and campgrounds are available near the park.
Explore Train Travel This Summer
Another idea for an intergenerational getaway is to travel by train.
- Grand Canyon Railway: This flexible and popular train adventure allows families to choose everything from the length of their trip to what car they travel in. There are fun onboard acts travelers of all ages will enjoy, such as staged cattle-rustling and robberies. There’s even a Wild West Shootout on the train platform before the trip begins.
- Niagara Falls Train: Families can enjoy many options for train travel from both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls. Both day trips and longer getaways are available. Great Rail Journeys also offers other rail and cruise vacations.
Wherever you decide to go, be mindful of summer safety issues that impact older adults. Review “Keeping a Senior Outdoorsman Safe in the Summer” for tips before you head off on your vacation!
New Independent Living Community Coming to Traverse City
For active seniors interested in an affordable option for independent living in northern Michigan, The Village at LaFranier Woods could be a solution. Scheduled to open in early 2023, this Traverse City community will offer one- and two-bedroom apartments and two-bedroom cottages. Contact us today to request more information on the newest Heritage Senior Community!
I’m the primary caregiver for my husband, who has Alzheimer’s. Among the many challenges the disease presents is eating. He struggles to manipulate utensils but gets upset if I try to help him. I need to come up with some foods that are nutritious but easy for my husband to eat independently. Do you have any suggestions for healthy foods to serve adults with Alzheimer’s?
The other challenge I’m trying to overcome is how to encourage my husband to eat. I just can’t get him to sit down and eat at mealtimes. Because of it, he continues to lose weight.
I’m in need of some good advice, so any tips you can share would be much appreciated!
Alice in Williamsport, MI
Menu Planning When a Loved One Has Alzheimer’s
What great questions! We often hear these from family caregivers. Because Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, nutrition challenges continue to worsen as time goes by.
First, let’s tackle why your husband might not be eating. In addition to being frustrated by his lack of manual dexterity like you mentioned, your husband might be experiencing vision changes.
Adults with Alzheimer’s often develop problems with depth perception and color discrimination. That can make it tough to see food served on a plate or bowl of similar color. Diced peaches served in a pale pink or yellow bowl, for example, can be tough to see.
Other common reasons adults with Alzheimer’s disease might not seem interested in eating include:
- A distracting dining environment, such as one that is cluttered or has background noise
- A loss of sense of smell or taste
- A lack of interest in food due to medication side effects or undiagnosed depression
- Dentures that no longer fit properly or a problem with a tooth that makes chewing painful
A few steps you can take to encourage your husband’s interest in food might be:
- Changing the dining environment: Create a peaceful, clutter-free place for him to eat. If he responds positively to music, play it softly in the background. It also helps to use brightly colored dishes that make food easier to distinguish. The Red Plate Study at Boston University found people with Alzheimer’s ate 25 percent more food if it was presented on red dinnerware.
- Using adaptive dinnerware: Talk with your husband’s primary care physician or an occupational therapist about adaptive dinnerware. Plate guards and food bumpers, for example, make it easier for food to be scooped up with a utensil. Large utensils with grips also help.
- Utilizing aromatherapy: Since taste can fade with Alzheimer’s, serving more flavorful foods may help. Going a little heavier on seasonings might offer an aromatherapeutic value that pumps up appetite. While it might taste like too much seasoning to you, someone with Alzheimer’s might find it just right.
- Encouraging exercise: Engaging in some form of exercise each day may help stimulate your husband’s appetite. Talk with his primary care doctor for advice on what types of fitness activities might be safest.
- Scheduling a dental appointment: If your husband hasn’t seen the dentist in a while, it’s probably a good idea to schedule an appointment. The dentist can check for any issues that might impact eating.
As far as easy-to-eat foods to serve your husband, “Healthy Finger Foods for Seniors with Dementia” is a great resource to read and bookmark. It has a variety of ideas ranging from French toast sticks to smoothies.
I hope this information is helpful to you and your husband!
Last weekend, my brother and I talked with our mother about moving to an assisted living community. It was just a preliminary conversation to gauge how receptive she would—or wouldn’t—be to this idea.
Mom gave up driving a few months ago and we feel like she is spending too much time alone. We also worry that something might happen to her while she’s by herself, and she won’t be able to call for help.
Much to our surprise, mom was amenable to learning more about assisted living communities and visiting a few. My brother and I created a list of nearby communities and researched them online. Our next step is to call those that seem like a good fit for our mom. We’d like to narrow our list down to four communities to visit in person.
What questions should we ask on our first call to these communities? I want to make sure we don’t forget something important!
Denise in Midland, MI
Questions to Ask to Learn More About Assisted Living
How great that your mother is interested in moving! Adult children are often surprised when things go this way. It sounds like you and your brother are very organized and off to a great start. I’m happy to suggest some questions that will help you and your brother make an informed choice.
If I were calling assisted living communities on behalf of a senior loved one, here are a few questions I would make sure to ask:
- What is the ratio of team members to residents?
- How long has the average team member worked at the community?
- Is there a wait list? If so, how long is the anticipated wait?
- How much is the monthly fee?
- What services and amenities are included in the base fee? What additional fees should you expect to pay each month?
- Is the resident required to sign a long-term contract?
- Can the community’s dining staff accommodate special diets?
- What types of activities are there for residents to participate in and how often do they occur?
- Are transportation services available for doctor’s appointments and other outings? Is there a cost involved for utilizing it?
- Where/how can you access the assisted living community’s most recent state survey? (Note: these are often viewable on the state Department of Health or Department of Aging website.)
- Are residents able to decorate their apartments with their own belongings?
- Do apartments have safety features (grab bars, fire suppression system) and an emergency call system?
- Does the community offer medication assistance under the supervision of a nurse?
- Are there on-site fitness activities and wellness programs?
While you will likely have your own questions specific to your mother, this should give you a baseline understanding of a community.
Best of luck to your family! I hope this transition goes smoothly.
Visit a Heritage Senior Community in Michigan
With assisted living communities throughout Michigan, families are sure to find a Heritage location to meet their needs. Call us today with any questions or to schedule a private tour!