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What to Do With Your Home After Transitioning to Assisted Living

Our thanks to Jim Vogel for this contribution to our blog. 

When seniors transition into an assisted living facility, there are many questions raised about the home they’re leaving behind. After spending years of their life in their house, it can be difficult to determine the best option. Generally speaking, there are three choices seniors are faced with: selling their home, renting it out, or giving it to a family member. Each option comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. It would behoove seniors and their loved ones to consider their financial and overall life circumstances before deciding on one of these options.

Sell the house to pad your savings.

The traditional step to take when moving out of a home is to list it on the market and put the proceeds toward a new property. Even though you’re not going to purchase a new home, you can still use the money to help cover the cost of the assisted living facility (assisted living in California averages $3,750 a month) or to pay off prior debts.

Before listing your home on the market, it’s important to take note of the average price of similar properties in your area to help determine what to do with your own (Alameda homes have been selling for an average of $979,000 over the last month). You want to avoid missing out on potential earnings from underpricing and prolonging a sale due to asking for too much. If you have the resources, hiring a real estate agent can also be a great way to sell your house smoothly.

Entrust it to a family member.

If you don’t like the idea of losing your home or renting it out to tenants, you can always entrust it to a family member for safekeeping. You’ll be able to maintain ownership of the property without having to worry about maintenance or upkeep. You might even find a relative willing to live in the home while paying a small fee. You’ll have the benefit of monthly income without the hassle and responsibility of dealing with renters.

Some seniors may want to go a step further and legally transfer ownership of their old home to a family member. This can be done immediately following your transition into an assisted living home or set up for a posthumous transfer of ownership. Either way, you can be sure that the home is taken care of and stays in the family.

Find tenants for a monthly income.

It’s a sad fact that millions of seniors in the United States are struggling financially, but if you’re willing to put in a little effort, your old home can be an excellent source of passive income.

The first step to turning your home into a rental property is making any necessary updates and renovations to make it livable and appealing. Next, you’ll need to find reliable tenants with good credit scores, little to no debt, and no criminal history. You may also have to hire a property manager to care for the property while you’re away. It can be a small yet necessary cost for seniors who don’t have the physical ability and time to keep a rental property up and running.

Moving into assisted living raises many questions about what to do with the home you’re leaving behind. When you have such an emotional connection to your home, it can be difficult to make the right choice. Before making the final call, make sure to consider your current circumstances and think about which option is most suitable.

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Destination Singapore: Restoring the Joy of Eating

By Ani Grigorian, with Jeff Rosenfeld

In a single century, we have extended human lifespan by 35+ years. At the same time, technology has evolved to the point where we can now communicate instantaneously across oceans, benefit from software which coordinates care and manages health.

We have even created robots which sense emotion and even lead group exercises.   Not only are we living longer.  We are living better!

It’s no wonder that technology and innovations that serve our aging communities are such a hot-topic. The Ageing Asia Innovation Forum, hosted this year in Singapore, brings-together professionals, inventors, and problem solvers from all over the world.  During this meeting, they had the opportunity to sample a new line of food products: Health Food Matters. The founder, Grace Gan, calls it a functional food product because it is intended for people who have feeding issues.

Gregorian was one of the few environmental gerontologists in attendance at these meetings. By and large, the Forum brings designers, inventors, and product-developers together.

On exhibit was a plethora of products and designs meant to make life more comfortable, and nutritious for people with feeding issues.  In other words, people who need help feeding themselves, or who need to be fed.

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-11-06-07-pmGrace Gan, a native Singaporean, developed this line of functional food products in response to the older people in her own family. The product line is called Health Food Matters, with the subtitle, “Restoring the Joy of Eating.” It is steadily gaining popularity across Singapore, perhaps because it does make eating a more joyous and dignified experience for consumers – and their caregivers.

The original market for Health Food Matters  was older adults, and people living with a disability.  Gan at first marketed exclusively to care centers and retirement residences across Singapore.

Gan, a speech therapist by training, had spent a lot of time working with patients in Singapore’s care-centers.  She was frequently present when meals were served, and she noticed that food-preparation, serving and eating were fraught with stress and tension.

Even more important, Gan noticed that feeding was as stressful for the caregivers and wait staff, as it was for patients who were being fed.

It is familiar that the sense of taste begins to dull as people grow older, affecting the ability to taste, smell and savor food.  This is true even for people aging-in-place at home, where there is more control over what is on the menu, and how it has been prepared.   In care settings, the dulling of taste buds is compounded by loss of control over menu, and dining conditions.

To compound matters, many older adults in institutional care live with neurocognitive disorders that cause dysphagia, a nutritional disorder characterized by difficulty swallowing, malnutrition and dehydration. Malnutrition and dehydration, in turn, contributes to other conditions such as bed sores, infection and hypoglycemia.

When Grace Gan visited Singapore’s care centers, she noticed that it was common practice to thicken food with milk supplements.  The idea was that this would make institutional food more nutritious and more palatable.  But, in fact, Gan believed that the result was neither nutritious, nor palatable.  Milk supplements did not typically enhance appetite, or contribute to better health.

Gan developed Health Food Matters as a way to enhance appetite by making its functional food line taste more like familiar food, and have what professionals call, the “Mouth Feel” of eating familiar food.  In taste and texture, Health Food Matters has the taste and “Mouth Feel” of familiar food, but is much softer, and easier to eat.

Products range from porridges, side dishes, snacks and desserts to condiments and thickeners with a variety of flavors that serve different  functions. As an alternative to thickened fluids, apple ENA-charge fruit jelly for instance, supplement fiber while apricot fruit jelly supplement zinc and iron. Calcium sprinkles can be added to porridges or side dishes providing flavor, color, and extra vitamins which combat low appetite and malnutrition.

In addition to keeping patients in mind when developing functional food products, Health Food Matters has benefits for caregivers. Most important, it relieves them of many meal-related burdens: chopping and cutting food, feeding patients or assisting them when they feed themselves, and the perpetual chore of cleaning-up.

Portions tend to be small, but are densely packed with extra nutrients, proteins and calories. This achieves nutritional goals for patients, and gives caregivers an unexpected bonus. The Health Food Matters philosophy  also harmonizes with Singapore’s efficiency-driven culture:  Mealtime becomes more “Efficient.”  Less food is wasted, and less time is spent coaxing patients to eat. This resonates with local nutritionists and caregivers because Singapore is a culture which strives for efficiency.

One reason for the efficiency, is that this product-line is easily prepared. Caregivers simply submerge prepackaged food bundles in heated water. Nurses and care staff can focus on caring for residents rather than worrying about the viscosity and portion-size.

Products range from porridges, side dishes,  snacks and desserts, to condiments and thickeners with a variety of flavors that serve different functions. As an alternative to thickened fluids, apple ENA-charge fruit jelly for instance,  supplement fiber while apricot fruit jelly supplement zinc and iron.

Calcium Sprinkles, another of Gan’s innovative products, can be sprinkled over porridges or side dishes to enhance flavor, color, and nutritional value.   Caregivers tell Gan that the Calcium Sprinkles also make food look more festive and inviting.

Grace Gan believes that Health Food Matters will eventually be a welcome alternative to forced-feeding.  Thanks to this Singapore-based product, older people all over the world can one day look forward to enjoyable dining, in the company of family or friends.

Even now, local care facilities in Singapore residents report improved health outcomes  when they serve Health Care Matters, Inc. to patients and/or residents.   Caregivers also report minimal food wastage and easier clean up.  Residents enjoy Health Food Matters, Inc. that they often clean their plates.

Above all, Health Food Matters  makes mealtime into dining once again.  Health Food Matters restores dignity to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in long-term care facilities.  Eating can and should be a social experience, something which is true everywhere from Singapore to Seattle.

Singapore is considered to be a leader in applying cutting-edge, sustainable, technology to geriatrics. Technology-based interventions, such as robotics, are already making long-term care facilities more efficient.  Health Food Matters may be doing this for meals and mealtime in long-term care.

Singapore is a world leader in developing and applying technology to geriatrics. Health Food Matters has been proven to make mealtime a more efficient experience.  It may well be that this product-line can also make mealtime a more spiritual and social experience. For older people and people with disabilities. That would be the proverbial icing on the cake!

Contact:  Ani Gregorian:    animgrig@umich.edu

Jeff Rosenfeld:    Rosenfej@newschool.edu

 

 

Reaching the New Assisted Living Decision Maker at CALA Fall Conference, Oct.24-26, Orange County, CA

I hope you’ll join me at the California Assisted Living Association’s (CALA) Fall Conference, Oct. 24-26 in Orange County, CA where I will be speaking in the session Reaching the New Assisted Living Decision Maker.

Date: Tuesday, October 25
Time: 3:45 – 5:15 p.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency, Orange County, CA

This session will provide key strategies to effectively communicate with strong influencers in the decision making process – the adult children/caregivers, integral to the selection and sales process. Learn how understanding the values of decision makers and trends and differences in sentiment towards Assisted Living communities can help drive your marketing strategy. Discover a messaging framework needed to engage and increase your prospect base.

The Business of…Ageless Homes for Later in Life

Jeff RosenfeldFor our second show of the season we spoke with guest Jeff Rosenfeld, co-author of the new book Unassisted Living: Ageless Homes for Later Life.

Jeff is a PhD and director of the Gerontology program and the Gerontology Center at Hofstra University. He has a long-time interest in the interplay between aging and home design.Unassisted Living: Ageless Homes for Later Life Unassisted Living is his second book in collaboration with Wid Chapman, the interior design program chair at Parsons School of Design. The book is a visual feast! I don’t think I’ve seen any book that acknowledges the spirit of t baby boomer generation and how we actually want to live as we age. On our program Jeff explains the concept.

Learn More →