June 16, 2021
How To Ease The Transition From Home Living to Senior Community Living with Tracy Wick
Tracy Wick, a Senior Real Estate Specialist, joins Attorney and Financial Advisor Chris Berry in this episode of Daily Wisdom.
Today they discuss the idea of a senior loved one transitioning from living at home to moving to a senior community. What are the things that we should be thinking about from a legal standpoint as well as from a real estate standpoint?
From a real estate standpoint, first of all, we are thinking about the house that they are living in currently. Basically identifying what items from their home that they may want to take with them to their new place. One thing that adult children can do to ease the transition is to help their parents identify those favorite furnishing and family reminders that they may want to take with them to their new place. And then to measure all of those things and lay them out to check if they will fit in their new place.
With the transition, should come something new that adds freshness to the parent’s life, something that they can look forward to. One thing that we could do is to make their environment beautiful. A hot trend right now is adding greenery and plants to their new place. It can really make their place beautiful and comforting.
Aside from beauty, the other thing that really helps parents to settle in and feel comfortable and excited is to identify certain clubs that might be in the senior community.
Lastly, it would be great if you can have photos of the grandkids and the children. You can have a mural wall of photos or a slideshow that they can play on their flat-screen TV.
From a legal standpoint, it is making sure that we have the right legal documents in place. Having the Financial Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, having the HIPAA authorization. Those things are going to help in terms of the legal and financial transition into independent and assisted living.
Estate Attorney and Advisor Chris Berry of Castle Wealth Group answers questions on retirement and estate planning every Wednesday at 1pm. Register via this link or give our office a call at 844-885-4200.
Castle Wealth Group and Christopher Berry help families with estate planning, elder law, retirement planning, and tax planning from their offices in Brighton, Ann Arbor, Livonia, Bloomfield Hills, and Novi.
Castle Wealth Group helps families with their legal, financial, and tax planning for their retirement and legacy.
With the use of legal structures like revocable living trusts, Castle Trusts (asset protection trusts), Chris Berry and Castle Wealth Group can help your family plan, protect, and preserve what is important through their Retirement and Legacy Blueprint Process.
Transitioning From Living at Home to Now Moving Into a Community
With the transition should come something new that adds freshness to the parent’s life, and that they can look forward to. One thing I like to do is I like to obviously make their environment beautiful.
Christopher Berry is a leading estate attorney and advisor in the area of retirement and legacy planning. He has been featured in publications, such as Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Crain’s Detroit and more. He’s the host of the weekly radio show and podcast, The Chris Berry Show. He’s a national thought leader as it relates to retirement and legacy planning and has authored the Amazon bestselling book, The Caregiver’s Legal Guide.
This is Chris Berry with Castle Wealth Group. I’m very excited to have Tracy Wick, who’s a senior real estate specialist, and we’re going to have a short conversation just talking about the idea of a loved one or a senior transitioning from living at home to now moving into a community. What are the things that we should be thinking about from a legal standpoint, as well as from a real estate standpoint and just a quality of life standpoint. So Tracy, when you hear that someone’s going to be leaving their house or moving out of their house to move to a new community, what are the things that you’re thinking about as a senior real estate specialist?
Well, first of all, of course, we’re thinking about the house that they’re living in currently and basically identifying what items from that home that they may want to take with them to their new place. So one thing that adult children can do to really ease that transition is to help their parents identify those favorite furnishings and usually photographs and family reminders that they’re going to want to take with them to the new place. And then to measure all of those things, I know it sounds very practical and unromantic, but I just helped my mother-in-law and father-in-law move into a senior community and I measured everything, their bed, their dresser, their love seat, and then I laid it out in their new place and it just really helped give them comfort that they knew what their place was going to look like for the most part.
That’s something I never would’ve thought of. That’s a great tip to actually measure everything versus just trying to wing it when you get in there.
Yes. I have done this for a while, so I know winging it is not a good idea. The couch that they wanted to bring was a beautiful three cushion sectional with the chaise at the end, and I measured that and when I laid it on the dimensional drawing, they wouldn’t have even been able to pass by it. So good thing we measured.
What other things can someone do to make that new transition, that new place of living more like home because transitions are hard and if someone’s been in their house for 20, 30 years, how do we recreate that home feeling in some of these communities?
Well, what I like to say is with the transition should come something new that adds freshness to the parent’s life and that they can look forward to. So one thing I like to do is I like to obviously make their environment beautiful. So whether that means incorporating some current trends, maybe some new throw pillows for the couch, some new artwork for a certain niche of the place, and a hot trend right now, adding greenery and plants to the place. It can really just make it feel so beautiful and comforting. So beauty is one thing, but the other thing that really helps parents to settle in and feel comfortable and excited is to identify certain clubs that might be at the senior community. My mother-in-law loves to garden and there’s a gardening club there and they are planning the gardening plot, and the chef at the community is working with them so that the tomatoes that they harvest are going to be put into a caprese salad and they’re really having fun with it.
Creating a New Environment
And so it’s this idea of trying to create a new environment, but keep some of the old as well.
Exactly. Layer everything. And just one last tip would be photography. What a great reminder when your parents are in their apartment and they can see pictures of the grandkids and of the children. A few different ways to do that are either the old school way of creating a mural wall of photos, but the newer way is to do a rotating slide show that they can play on their flat screen TV when they might be reading but it’s in the background.
I think photos are really important and whether we go high-tech with the rotating background, I have even in my own house just a picture frame that rotates pictures from my iPhone. But I also like the old school classic. And what I have is basically every month I get a little picture book of the pictures that I’ve taken, and so I think there’s something to be said about just even that classic side. And even if you’re just taking pictures and putting them up, that’s not something super expensive or fancy. That could be done at the high level independent or assisted livings or some of the more cost effective ones as well. So I think the idea of pictures, incorporating faces and family is really important.
It is. And even the most low tech, almost like when you were a little kid and you’re playing telephone with the Dixie cups. If you take the little clothesline and little clothes pins, then you can take pictures that you’ve taken of your kids or whatever and when you visit your parents, you can give them those printouts and they can have fresh pictures up.
Oh, that’s great. So we’ve talked about what happens when you’re in that new community. I think some things from a transition standpoint, at least on my end of things is making sure that we have the right legal documents in place. Almost like a checklist of having the financial power of attorney, the medical power of attorney, being able to make decisions if that person were to need assistance, having a HIPAA authorization or release of medical information, those are things that are going to help in terms of the legal and financial transition into that independent and assisted living.
And then maybe you could offer some tips on as we’re moving out or transitioning out, what are some just quick easy tips to make sure that that house sells, if we are selling a house for as much as possible. So we’ve covered them landing in this new community, we’ve covered the transition, the things that we need for that transition, moving out, making sure we’re measuring everything before we try to stuff it into that new community. So what are some tips as we’re moving out to make sure that we get the most value possible for that house?
Good First Impression
Well, you need to start with the exterior of the property and make sure that you have created some curb appeal so that when buyers pull up, they see the possibilities of the home. Maybe it’s not to five-star level at this point, but it’s neat, it’s tidy. You have some fresh mulch down, you have some fresh beautiful blooming plants in front, and try to create a kind of a layered effect on the front porch or that outdoor area, utilizing layered rubs is a big thing. So kind of a larger pattern and then the cycle on top.
It’s that first impression, right? It’s hard to beat a good first impression.
It is. And any people will say to me, well, why would I bother with that? Well, because the Michigan State study proved that increasing the exterior curb appeal can boost a property value five to 11%. So for a $500,000 home, conservatively 10%, that’s $50,000. So I would definitely recommend it.
Well, thank you so much. I think we’ve done a great job of talking about what we can do when we do have a loved one going into that new community to make it as nice and homey as possible. Talking about the things from our transition, and I love the idea of measuring everything. I love the idea of having photos in that new community and then what we can do in terms of making sure that we get the most bang for our buck. And first impressions are super important.
It is. And thank you Chris for mentioning the checklist. I know that all of my clients would love a copy of the checklist and I will be giving it to them so that they can be holistically prepared.
Sure. Great. Thank you so much, Tracy
Castle Wealth Group has clients across the nation and helps families plan, protect and preserve what is important by creating a retirement and legacy blueprint.