Moving Alice. The Transition is Real: From Apartment to Assisted Living Part 1

She didn’t think she was ready. Who is ever ready to move to assisted living? 

It was early August, when mom’s fall would become a game changer. 

After one night in ER, followed by two weeks in skilled nursing, followed by two weeks of 24/7 care at home, reality made its way into all our lives. 

Yet this is a story of respite and resilience. Caregiving, community, camaraderie. A story dotted with hope, the thoughtfulness of family – love at its core, with a smattering of humor in unexpected places. 

Please join me with my mom-in-law, as Alice paves a new kind of landscape for her life. She graciously gave me the honor to share with those who might need some encouragement

Humanity in Real Estate

IMG_3834

Upon closing the last several listings, It never ceases to amaze, the human connection in real estate. Houses are houses are houses. They entail a living area, bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, a patio, a doorbell. All of which stand upright on a foundation from a parcel, wherein humans gathered together. Turns out, the construct of building a house begins with humans.

Each listing, different. Different homes, neighborhoods, zip codes, elementary schools, landscapes. Each listing, a different story. Each person; buyer, seller, agent, escrow officer, different. Yet, all the same, wrapped up in each transaction: humanity.

Sitting at open house, humans wander in and out. Some are more open than others, light chatting, ask a few questions, share their son’s winning run at his baseball game.  Some prefer to turn away, not make much eye contact, saunter throughout, quietly slither away before barely saying ‘hello.’ Which is why browsing for housing on line is so attractive: incognito and anonymous, albeit the websites that require one sign away their DNA. On line or real life, each party, couple, family, all want the same things: safety, security, community, a home. 

My recent listing stories run the gamut:

  • Senior moving from a condo to a senior community.
  • Adult children selling their parents’ home through a trust after their dear mom passed away.
  • Sellers no longer needing a rental property they cherished for years.
  • Selling a residential home in Orange County CA in order to begin a new chapter in Texas. 

What’s most important to think about is the house is somewhat incidental. My mom used to tell me this often. “It’s the people who count the most in real estate.” The variances of selling and buying a home can not be underestimated. It’s because of all the human interaction, real estate is no piece of pie. Anxiety, trepidation and frustration are all part of the fun! Unbeknown to many, there are a few of us Realtors who care deeply about you humans. Humanity is the biggest asset in every transaction. 

Clients like Kimmy keep real estate real. 

Cheesy Appreciation Box

I’d like to personally thank the following for entrusting me over the past few months:

Peggy
Clair
Geoffrey
Quin
Cindy
Kimmy
Carlos
Frankie the Pooch

 
Thank you for bringing it, working together and being the awesome humans you are. (Frankie, in her own way)
 

The Aging Parent

We all have a story of our aging parents. To be a baby boomer today, is to face our own mortality as we navigate our relationships with our adult children and aging parents.

Boomers, as a whole, are criticized for selfish behavior and self-absorbed character. We weren’t dubbed the “me generation” for naught.

Yet, my purpose is to share what it’s like to cope with aging parents. It’s a journey no generation before has quite mastered, as our parents are not only living longer lives, our culture is now affixed to a quality of life that didn’t quite exist previous.

When it comes to our parents’ home, that’s a doozy in itself.

How long are they able to live by themselves? Perhaps a spouse has passed and mom now lives alone. Up until recent, she’s been doing fairly well and able to care for herself. Her cognitive behaviors, however, have waned and she seems a bit more confused about her daily routine. Maybe she forgets to take all her medication or no longer uses the microwave for those meals that were once easy to prepare.

When to step in?

There are no exact timetables. Families, while a blessing, are a human bunch. The chasm lies within certain family members, who may love one another, though have different thoughts about what to do with the living situation of mom, dad or both parents. One might be adamant to step in and tell dad he must start pondering the thought of moving out of his home. The happened years ago with my dad-in-law. My husband (at the time) told his father, “I’d rather live with your anger dad, than live with the guilt if something were to happen at home and you get hurt.”

The decisions are dynamic.

Selling an aging parents home is not a slam-dunk reaction or resolution. Unlike younger generations thinking of selling a home, seniors need extra time, patience, encouragement, education and above all, empathetic care and concern for what it’s like for the senior. The process varies for all. It’s important to recognize this, as the options may be more than one realizes.

  • Keep mom and dad in their house and age in place. Install grab bars in baths, bathrooms. Remove small area rugs and make sure they have a way to alert an ambulance at a moments notice.
  • If aging in place, consider some in-home care. Have someone come a few days a week to look after mom. Have a caregiver cook meals, take her to the doctor, be a caring companion while you’re busy living your own life.
  • Consider leasing dad’s house, as the asset can be used for assisted living or board and care living.
  • Sell the home.

img_0182

We, as families, are going through our own specific journeys. I want to hear the whole story. Not to gain detailed and needless information, rather, to understand the bigger picture; who your family is, how they relate to each other, how their specific roles intertwine with their parent(s). It is then I’m able to serve my greatest capacity. 

To you and your aging parents, I applaud your efforts to care for one another. Take deep breaths and know you’re not alone. 

Real Estate Referrals of the Lasting Kind

When my dad told me he and his wife were thinking of putting their Cottage Grove, Oregon house on the market many years ago, first immediate thought: I have NO idea of a real estate agent within the Eugene area. That was two real estate brokerages ago, a time when I didn’t quite understand the importance of referrals, let alone where to look. As it happened, I found this cool dude of a real estate agent online. Long hippyish hair, kind smile, his profile mentioned how he saw his clients as people, not merely part of hitting a high volume of business. Bingo.

Enter the beginning of a virtual professional relationship with Bobby Stevens, agent of ALL agents in the state of Oregon.

This story rocks on a number of levels. Let’s begin with two dedicated real estate agents who uphold humanity above all the regular details of a transaction. Right from the beginning of our correspondence, Bobby demonstrated the key to any great agent: attentive listener who puts a clients’ needs way before what he deemed important; an advocate with keen knowledge of his given neighborhoods and the kind of compassion not easily found in other agents. Pretty fine start, I’d say. 

Our story involves such issues as quick claim deeds, attempted refinance, horrific tenants, property management, city ordinances and two agents who deeply cared about a seller. 

Without delving into the particulars, which would make an interesting tale of its own, the point of this post is a reminder of all that is right with real estate. 

Just last April, years after our virtual relationship started, I finally met the man who would bring closure and comfort to my dad. We met for lunch, I saw the exterior of house (I’d never seen it and tenants were still residing at the time), and toured a bit of downtown Cottage Grove. Bobby and I left each other, a whole new appreciation for what we do for a living.  Thanks, rock n’ roll man. {Side note. He plays in a band, too. Married to an awesome woman with two beautiful girls they adopted from China. The coolest of cool.}

The house closed this month. Dad is breathing more easily. I developed a friendship with a Realtor from Eugene. Try as one might think otherwise, as my mom used to say, “The house is incidental. It’s the people who matter in real estate.” 

IMG_2606
Carin and Rock n’ Roll Realtor Bobby Stevens, Cottage Grove Oregon – April 2015

 

In a Seller’s Senior Shoes

There are many times in this business I am the fortunate one. 

One can learn a lot more from a client than any formative real estate class. Want to learn more about Alzheimer’s? Work with clients who must cope with their parents who live with 24/7 at home care, while dealing with an aging mom who is losing her ability to recognize her children. Wonder what it’s like to care for aging parents when living thousands of miles away? Or, how does one pay for the extraordinary cost of home health care? These questions are becoming too common in the realm of advocacy in selling real estate for seniors and their families.

First thing, first: selling doesn’t always need be an only option. Consider leasing your loved one’s home.

Second: resources exist. Whatever county you live in, google senior home health care, senior resources or senior services. Some counties offer more resources than others. If you’re not able to find help in the county you live in, look at nearby counties.

Here, I share a recent example of what it’s like to be in a seller’s shoes. 

Not all sellers are alike. Not all real estate agents are alike. Sometimes they connect, sometimes not. With Doug and Ellen and sister, Nancie, our professional bond focuses on one thing: their parents. Living with 24 hour care in their home, mom has Alzheimer’s. Dad’s around too. The adult kids needed to sell mom and dad’s rental homes in Orange to help offset the cost of 24 hour home health care. Three years ago, we sold one home. Just last month, the other. A privilege to be a part of their story.

IMG_7264

The stories continue. I am the fortunate one.