When you’re getting ready to move to a retirement community, one of the greatest challenges you’ll face is downsizing your current home. While you already know where you are going, you’ll face decisions in the coming months on what to keep and what to bring along with you. Today, the Mayo Clinic’s Charter House shares a bit of insight that may help you streamline the moving process.
What to Do With Your Home
The first decision that you’ll have to make when downsizing, is what to do with your current home. Your options here include:
- Selling. Selling your home may be a smart move if you want to cash out a large sum all at once or if you no longer desire the burden of homeownership.
- Giving to the family. You can give your property to your children in a few different ways. However, if you want them to avoid major tax backlash, consider leaving it in a will or adding it as an asset to a trust.
- Renting it. Becoming a landlord gives you an opportunity to maintain your home in your name, gain equity, and have a revolving income. There are many pros and cons to this, so make sure that you partner with a property management firm that can handle the day-to-day operations.
How to Downsize Your Belongings
Once you have made a decision on what to do with your home, you’ll have to evaluate your personal property. While you know that you will likely need to get rid of most of your furniture, there are other steps you can take to avoid bringing too much to your continuing care community home. Tips here are to:
- Digitize your paper records. Don’t let the term “digitized” scare you off. This is a fairly simple process. If you have access to a camera or scanner, you can quickly and easily create files to go into a PDF. It’s not difficult to learn how to edit a PDF, and doing so will help you organize and merge receipts, photos, and other important paperwork.
- Get to know your future amenities. Depending on where you plan to move, you may not need to bring along things like your dartboard, woodworking tools, or exercise equipment. Charter House offers you access to these and more.
- Cash out your valuables. Something you may not be prepared for is that your children probably don’t want your belongings. NOLA explains that most adult children these days no longer want the collectibles you held onto over the years. A better option is to have potential valuables appraised so that you can cash out and enjoy the benefits of a little extra cash.
Address the Emotions
Although you may be excited about living an independent and hassle-free life moving forward, it is still an emotional process. This is especially true when your children don’t understand why you hold such sentiment for your home or family heirlooms. This is not the time to push your feelings down. Be open to accepting that this is a journey and that there will be emotional highs and lows. You might wish to schedule frequent visits with your children and grandchildren until you get settled.
Downsizing is never an easy task. And, although this is an exciting time, it’s very easy to overlook certain steps, which can make the process that much more daunting. The tips above, from digitizing your paper documents to choosing what to do with your home, can help you make your move seamless and stress-free.
The decision to move into a life-assisted community can be both an exciting yet difficult experience for both the retiree and their family. The perfect place can be found, it will just take a little bit of looking around.
For more than 30 years, Mayo Clinic’s Charter House has been the choice for those who value an active and independent lifestyle, as well as the convenience of maintenance-free living. Get in touch today!
Levels of Care and Lifestyle
Before you move to any life-assisted community, you’ll need to conduct extensive research about your options. There are several types of retirement communities available:
Active Adult is for older adults who are seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle but don’t require access to senior care services. It’s geared for adults who are capable of managing daily household and personal care tasks on their own without any support from an aide or trained healthcare professional.
Independent living residential communities offer an active lifestyle and freedom from the hassles of home maintenance. Options include apartments, freestanding cottages or villas, duplexes, and townhomes. At Charter House, we have several floor plans available.
Assisted Living Communities
Assisted living communities help residents maintain their independence while providing assistance with the activities of daily living. This can mean help with eating, bathing, dressing, and maintaining good hygiene. People in assisted living typically pay monthly rent for a private apartment or room and an additional fee for the level of care needed. At Charter House, those accessing Assisted Living are moving from our Independent Living.
Group homes are residential homes that provide a homelike environment for usually under 10 seniors to reside. Some are licensed assisted living, while others do not provide personal care assistance but do provide support. The homes have round-the-clock care and provide activities and homemade cooking.
Memory Care & Nursing Homes
Both memory care and nursing homes provide 24-hour care, supervision, and meals. Staff members also help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. Memory care — sometimes called dementia care — is specialized for people with memory loss. This focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with dementia in a secure environment to minimize confusion and the dangers of wandering.
It’s important to plan early for the anticipated costs of living in older age. The rise in costs is mainly due to the increase in demand for communities that provide services. More people are opting for these types of facilities because they offer a good quality of life with reliable services and a better standard of living.
A long-term care insurance policy can be a responsible way to offset the costs of long term care. It can provide you with peace of mind as you age knowing that part or all of your care costs will be covered for a period of time.
Selling your home can be a viable option for helping you cover the cost of assisted living. When calculating how much you can make from a sale, you’ll need to take into account realtor fees, your outstanding mortgage balance, and average sale prices in your area.
Medicare will pay for twenty days of care at 100% of the cost for Skilled Nursing Facilities. For the eighty days following, Medicare requires care recipients to pay a portion of the daily cost. If you subscribe to a Medicare Supplemental Insurance plan, the secondary insurance will pay the remaining cost for the last eighty days of coverage. Neither Medicare nor Medicare Supplemental Insurance will pay for skilled nursing care after the 100-day maximum is reached.
With the proper research into the levels of care available, you’ll be able to find the community that best suits your needs. Calculating the cost of the sale of your home can also help you decide on the facility you can choose.
The benefits of life-assisted communities are many – they can provide you with the independence you desire while still having the safety net provided by caretakers
Healthy aging doesn’t happen by accident, it’s a conscious choice. Fortunately, when you have decades of life experience under your belt, you have many of the tools you need to drive your retirement in whatever direction you choose. If you are an active senior looking for tips on how to improve your quality of life, today’s post is for you.
Where You Live Matters
One of the most important decisions that you’ll make as a senior is where to live. When you choose Charter House, you’ll have access to a wellness center, full-service salon and spa, multiple dining venues, games and recreation, and, on the days you choose to slow down, a full library with more than 4000 books. Where you hang your proverbial hat is so important that the American Senior Housing Association even has a website full of nothing but senior living resources.
Do You Want To Work?
You’ve retired, but that doesn’t mean that you have to exit the workforce completely. If you want to stay busy and fulfilled, consider starting your own business. The benefits of doing so now are that you can start small, focus on your passion, and, potentially, leave a financial legacy for your children and grandchildren. If you have never been an entrepreneur before, spend some time researching the process. This includes forming a tax-advantageous business structure, such as an LLC. Depending on where you live, you may have different steps to take before LLC formation in Minnesota, so do your research. Then, look for a recruiter that can help you hire the exact right people to turn your post-career endeavors into a long-term success.
One of the best things about retirement is that you have the time to enjoy all the things you didn’t when you were busy raising your kids and supporting your family. As 60+Me explains, there are many things you can do now, including volunteering, sports, mentoring, and exercising to keep you busy and mentally and physically engaged. You can even start a hobby, like woodworking, drawing, cooking, or weightlifting. The possibilities are endless, and you are only bound by whatever limitations you impose on yourself.
Know Your Nutrition
Your senior years come with visible changes, like gray hair and wrinkles; however, there are a few more subtle ways your body changes. One, in particular, is your dietary needs. Your body may not be able to absorb nutrients as effectively, and, if you are a woman, you’ll likely experience bone loss. Now’s a great time to re-evaluate how you eat and focus on high-quality proteins and high-fiber foods.
Do you remember when your children were little, and you made friends with their friends’ parents? Or when you were in high school, you likely navigated toward the students that liked the same things as you did. No matter what season of life you were in, you’ve likely had friends that complemented it. Don’t change that now. Although, as Salmon Health acknowledges, opportunities to socialize are fewer these days, you need people now more than ever. Don’t be afraid to make friends with everyone you see. You never know who you might spark up a relationship with that will enhance your life in ways you could not imagine. Plus, you’ll have more people who can go on a last-minute road trip when you’re ready for an adventure.
Your entire life has built you up to this moment. Everything you’ve learned can help you make better decisions today so that you can truly enjoy your senior years. Take this wisdom to choose where you live well, start a business or hobby, or just make friends. Remember, it’s your life, and you are in full control to live it your way.
When you value your independence but no longer want the burden of maintaining a home, consider Charter House. As a full-service Continuing Care Community, you’ll have access to a full suite of lifestyle amenities that will help you live your best years on your terms.
– Millie Jones, SeniorWellnessInfo.com
As we have been living through the uncertainty of this pandemic for the last many months, one thing remains clear – At Charter House, the health and safety of our residents always comes first.
Here are a few updates regarding our current practices at Charter House.
- Visits: Charter House has a restricted visitor policy aligning with Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines.
- Residents within Independent Living can choose to visit with loved ones outside of Charter House (such as on our patio space, walking around the building, going to a child’s home). We highly encourage them to maintain social distance and keep their face masks on during visits.
- Residents living within our care areas can visit with family via patio visits, window visits, and Zoom visits.
- In September, we conducted a successful pilot of indoor visits in accordance with the MDH Level 2 Visitation guidelines.
- On October 12th, MDH released new guidance for indoor visits. Charter House is ready to implement indoor visits after we have gone 14 days without any new positive cases of COVID in staff or residents.
- COVID-19 testing: One of our newest and most exciting developments is our testing processes instituted as part of a routine surveillance for COVID.
- On September 29 & 30 we tested nearly 700 individuals – residents who consented to participate and all staff. We are thrilled to report all tested were negative.
- In addition, we have been testing all Charter House staff for the past several weeks and plan to continue through at least the end of October. Testing frequency for staff is dependent on several factors such as the COVID positivity rate within Olmsted County.
- Per MDH guidance, we test residents living within our care areas for COVID on a weekly basis until we reach 14 days with no new positive cases. Any new case in a resident or staff restarts our testing cycle.
- Daily staff health-screening: Since April, each Charter House employee has undergone screening before start of each work shift.
- Staff is instructed take their temperature and monitor for any symptoms twice daily while at home.
- Now all who enter Charter House have their temperature taken and are asked questions regarding symptoms and potential exposure to COVID.
- The screening is conducted by a new, specially-trained Mayo Clinic screening team.
At Charter House the health and safety of our residents comes first. Knowing that these are uncertain times, we have changed much of what we do on a daily basis, as many have, to be sure that our residents and staff remain healthy and safe. We create procedures and change them as needed based on the most up-to-date information from the CDC, CMS, MN Department of Health, and the procedures set forth by Mayo Clinic. This often means that we make daily changes in how we both live and work. The following is a list of what Charter House has done and is currently doing to ensure the best possible care to our community:
- We have instituted a daily health screening process for staff. Our staff monitor themselves at home and take their temperatures twice daily. Thermometers have been provided to staff. When we arrive at work, we stand in line, 6 feet apart, to be screened by nursing staff, answering questions about symptoms and receiving another temperature check. This information is recorded for tracking.
- All staff now wear face masks while working. We have been given specified training on fit and proper mask usage.
- No visitors are permitted in Charter House; special circumstances may be considered such as a resident in an active stage of passing away.
- Elevator usage has been limited to 2 passengers per trip.
- Our dining areas are closed to residents and we are delivering meals to their doors. Our residents are given the opportunity to order a light breakfast, a light lunch, or a hot lunch from our formal dining venue, and a hot dinner from our formal dining venue.
- Grocery delivery has been instituted from our in-house convenience store. Residents are given an order form with available items and their order is delivered to their doors.
- We have a newly formed Wellness Connection program that offers residents the chance to receive a phone call daily from staff to check on their well being, and to report any items or services they need.
- Our Charter House Chaplain, Reverend Rachel Hanson, is prerecording and streaming Sunday Vespers. Vespers services can be viewed on the new YouTube channel that Charter House has set up to show snippets of life inside Charter House.
- Our fitness instructors conduct exercises on the floors twice per week at a safe social distance with residents stepping just outside of their apartment doors.
- To limit outsiders in our building, all mail, package, and newspaper delivery has been taken on by Charter House staff. It is sorted and delivered directly to the residents in the mail holder outside their doors.
- Coffee remains an important part of our residents’ lives and we’re providing a “coffee trolley” that comes around twice per day with hot beverages and snacks. Residents are given a card to place outside their door indicating their choice to have a visit from the trolley or to have the trolley move on without stopping.
- A library cart is available to our residents to check out books and magazines and even request specific titles. We have hundreds of books to choose from and a significant selection of large print books as well.
- We have pulled together a DVD library at our Resident Service Center. Residents have a list of over 220 titles which they can request and have delivered to them.
- We are encouraging our residents to stay inside their apartments, connect virtually with friends and family, and stay at least 6 feet apart in any distantly social situation.
- Charter House has set up two important phone lines. The first gives daily recorded announcements for residents, family, and staff. The second is the Silver Line which any resident can call to be able to simply chat with another resident or volunteer should they want to reach out while isolating.
For the latest information, check back to our Charter House blog, find our Charter House page on Mayo Clinic Connect, or find us on Facebook by searching for Charter House – Mayo Clinic Retirement Living.
As Charter House celebrates 35 years of helping people age healthily, it has another reason to celebrate, having received several local and national awards and recognitions over the past year!
The eight awards and recognitions received in the past year are:
KTTC Fan Favorite for Senior Living Community for 2020
This is the third consecutive year that Charter House has won this award. Charter House is the only senior living community that has won the award since the award was created.
Post-Bulletin Best of the Best for 2019: Senior Community
Charter House won this award for the third consecutive year in 2019.
U.S. News & World Report Best Nursing Home: Short-Term Rehabilitation for 2019–2020
This award is given to nursing homes that were evaluated by U.S. News & World Report and achieved a certain level within the rankings. Charter House ranked in the top 20% for short-term rehabilitation
Minnesota Health Strategy and Communication Network Award of Merit for “Charter House Magazine Campaign”
An Award of Merit was presented to the “Charter House Magazine Campaign,” which was created to build awareness of what contributes to healthy aging and showcase how this healthy aging lifestyle is deeply embedded within the Charter House community.
Mature Media Award
The Charter House received the Mature Media Award for its 12 Strategies for Healthy Aging, a monthly newsletter created in collaboration with the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. This national award recognizes the best marketing, communications, educational materials and programs for adults 50 and older.
Holleran Corporation’s Choice Community Award
The Charter House received the Holleran Corporation Choice Community Award for being in the top 15% of all senior living communities surveyed in 2019. Holleran is a leading research firm specializing in senior living and community engagement. The Charter House was one of 327 senior living communities in the U.S. surveyed.
Hearthstone Institute’s “I’m Still Here Center of Excellence” certification
Charter House was named a Center of Excellence for its practice of “I’m Still Here” — a philosophy of Alzheimer’s care that advocates the Hearthstone Institute’s belief that people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia can have a high quality of life, regardless of the severity of their memory loss.
LeadingAge Minnesota Excellence in Practice: Community Collaboration Award
Charter House received LeadingAge Minnesota’s Excellence in Practice: Community Collaboration Award for the successful execution of its annual Sidewalk Sale over the past 31 years. Since the sale’s inception, more than $310,000 has been raised for 48 local nonprofit organizations. LeadingAge Minnesota is a network of more than 1,100 organizations providing senior housing, assisted living, adult day care, skilled nursing, home care and other services for older adults.
“I am extremely excited and proud of my team, and the residents, for all that was accomplished and recognized this past year,” says Tony Enquist, Administrator of Charter House. “When I see it all of the awards together on one page, to me, it is staggering.”
(This article is re-posted from the Mayo Clinic News Center)
If you’re considering senior living or other long-term care options for yourself or a family member, start the discussion early. Research options now, rather than waiting for an imminent need. The following questions and responses may be helpful in your decision-making process.
“We don’t need senior living. We’re healthy, can take care of ourselves, and can take care of our home.”
- Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC), such as Charter House, are usually set up for folks to join before they “need it.” CCRC’s provide a continuum of care for residents from independent living to assisted living and skilled care. You can continue to travel and enjoy the same activities while having the benefit of knowing your new home will be taken care of while you’re away. It’s a fact that a majority of individuals will need some type of assistance as they age. Whether you’re considering options such as senior living or in-home care, have a plan in place to avoid a crisis situation resulting from an illness or injury. If you wait, your options are likely to be limited and someone else may have to make a decision for you.
“We enjoy our outdoor space at home, our garden, our workshop, etc…”
- Great! You can continue to enjoy those at many senior communities, such as Charter House. Charter House has a greenhouse, woodworking shop, fitness center, salon & spa, and extensive patio space. But the difference at Charter House is that you’re not responsible for maintaining those areas, replacing tools if they’re worn or broken, or paying for snow removal and yard maintenance. Visit our website to learn more about our amenities.
“We have children who can help take care of us if we ever need it.”
- That’s great that you have children willing to help you if needed, but wouldn’t it be better if they didn’t have to? Maybe they’re raising their own families and busy with their careers. Make the decision about your long-term care now, and you will be in control of your own future. Your children will not have to worry about what to do; what a gift to them! Plus, when they come to visit you, you can focus on enjoying your time together rather than completing a list of tasks and chores.
Making a decision about long-term care and senior living can be distressing. So start planning now and learn about your options.
Don’t Wait Too Long
Many older adults wait too long to incorporate resources into their lives that will help them remain independent. Planning ahead is essential to considering the options available to you if your health or circumstances change. You will have more control when you make time to carefully explore your options and do your research. You will take a lot of pressure off your family if you plan ahead and seek out the resources you need to remain healthy, active, and safe.
Benefits of a Plan
Sarah J. Crane, M.D., Mayo Clinic Geriatrician and member of the Board of Directors at Charter House, describes the importance of planning ahead:
By acknowledging the need for additional support, you will likely be able to continue to live more independently for a longer period of time. If you wait until you are in a crisis, you may have less control and much more limited options. Pay attention to emerging resources that you can take advantage of to maintain your independence. New technologies such as smart phone apps are creating options to address the challenges ranging from medication management to transportation. Be open to incorporating these new resources into your life.
What You Can Do Now
- Develop a Plan. Find resources offering you flexibility as your needs change, don’t wait until you are in the middle of a crisis. For some, this may mean joining the waiting list for a senior community in anticipation of a future move. For others, this may mean establishing in-home care resources for assistance with daily needs.
- Document Your Wishes. Review Mayo Clinic Advance Health Care Planning and familiarize yourself with documents such as a POLST, advanced directive, and living will. You can consult with an attorney who is specialized in elder law. Provide your health care provider and health care agents (if applicable) with a copy of your finalized documents. Keep these documents accessible and updated.
- Connect with Resources. Contact 2-1-1; this three-digit number connects you to a free and confidential referral service through United Way to find community services, resources, and volunteer opportunities.
Click here for more information from Mayo Clinic on future health care planning!
The Difficulty of Downsizing.
Do you cringe whenever you hear the word “downsize?” If so, you’re not alone! We often hear from our incoming Charter House residents that the downsizing process was the most difficult aspect of moving.
We have an emotional connection to our belongings for several reasons. Maybe we have family heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation. Or maybe we have items that remind us of special life events such as the birth of a child. Some of us have prized collections that took years to accumulate. Our treasures can feel as if they hold a lifetime of sentiment and it can be emotionally challenging to part with them.
We downsize for various reasons. Are you moving into a home with half the space as your current home? Maybe you’re moving into a senior community. Or maybe you’ve just determined that you have too much “stuff” and no longer want to feel burdened. Whatever the reason, start early and have a strategy. You don’t have to wait until you’re moving into a senior community to downsize and purge items you no longer need or use!
In this post, we’ll provide you with personal experiences from our current and incoming Charter House residents. You’ll also find a list of tips and strategies we’ve created that you may find helpful in your own “right-sizing” journey.
Downsizing Experience. Words From Our Residents.
“While downsizing, we asked ourselves for each item ‘do we need this,’ or ‘can we live without this?’ This was a great strategy for us because we realized how many things we would no longer need after living at Charter House. This included tools, cleaning supplies, fitness equipment, and our large dining table.” – Amita H.
“Some people have lived in a house their entire lives and are surrounded by family antiques and have a difficult time separating. I think it can be hard on those who have workshops, offices, and craft rooms. When they move from their homes, they feel a loss of personal space.” – Norma S.
“When leaving my home of 30 years, I started by giving my kids what they wanted. Then I hired an auctioneer to sell my valuable items. The rest I gave away to my church. In the end, our children will get rid of what we don’t, so this makes it easier for them.” – William J.
“I had difficulty parting from my coin collection and antique collection. Collections have always been an interest of mine and I’ve spent the better part of my life collecting. I was able to sell a portion of my collections, but the rest didn’t sell. Even though my collections were meaningful to me, it didn’t mean they were meaningful to others.” – Ron T.
“I think we put off downsizing because we don’t want to face it, but it won’t get easier as we age. It was time consuming, but I now feel a sense of freedom that I’m no longer tied down by my stuff!” – Rebecca C.
“It was a difficult realization that my children either didn’t want, didn’t need, or couldn’t take items I had always planned on gifting to them. My daughter’s house is already fully-furnished and my son lives in a small apartment in Chicago and doesn’t have room for anything else. Though my kids didn’t take many items, they took small mementos which made me very happy.” – Shirley A.
Tips and Strategies.
- Start Early
Take the time you need to go through your items mindfully rather than scrambling to go through them at the last minute before your move.
- Know the dimensions of your new space
This is an excellent way not only to determine how much you can bring, but to pre-arrange your furniture. This will come in useful on move-in day.
- Determine Your Items’ Actual Usage – Bring Only the Essentials
Ask yourself these key questions for each item you plan to bring: What value will it add to my household? Will it make my life easier? Am I going to have a place for it? Will I want to keep it for a very long time? How difficult will it be to get rid of?
After you’ve answered these key questions, categorize items into keep, sell, donate, or recycle/toss. You can sell items through a neighborhood app or social media. You can bring items to consignment shops and antique stores. If you have a large-scale downsize consider having an estate sale or an auction.
- Enlist the Help of Others
Whether it is from family, friends, or neighbors, it can be helpful to have someone put items in the categories above after you’ve gone through them.
- Get Digital
You can eliminate several items by going digital. Instead of requiring space for hundreds of books, consider using an e-reader. If you have photo albums, you can scan your hard copy photos so you have them in digital format. You can keep your music on your computer rather than hard copy CD’s that require storing.
Charter House “Best” Senior Community in Rochester
We are thrilled to announce that Charter House has been named as “Best of the Best” Senior Community in Rochester, MN! Charter House was the recipient of this award in 2018 and 2017 and named as a finalist in 2016. We are honored to be acknowledged by our community and feel it’s indicative of our wonderful residents and hardworking and caring staff. This award was given by the Post Bulletin and winners were announced at their annual banquet. See photos from the event and watch a recording of the event!
History of the Post Bulletin’s Awards
The Post Bulletin started this contest seven years ago as a way for our community to recognize their favorite businesses. The contest began as “Readers Choice” and in 2018 changed to “Best of the Best.” The community had a choice to nominate their favorite businesses from the end of May through the middle of June. Businesses needed to be nominated at least 20 times to be included on the final ballot. Once the final ballot was compiled, community members were able to vote a second time. From that final round of voting, winners and finalists were determined. The Post Bulletin celebrates the winners and finalists at their annual banquet. This provides an opportunity for businesses to recognize their employees for the good work they do throughout the year with an award ceremony. The Post Bulletin is proud to showcase some of the best businesses Rochester has to offer!
Additional Charter House Awards
- 2019 – KTTC Fan Favorite Senior Living Award
- 2018 – Post Bulletin Best of the Best Senior Living Award
- 2018 – KTTC Fan Favorite Senior Living Award
- 2017 – Post Bulletin Readers Choice Senior Living Award
- 2017 – Health Promotion/Disease and Injury Prevention Info Award, National Health Information Awards
- 2017 – Health Promotion & Wellness Award, National Mature Media Awards
- 2017 – Health & Wellness Campaign Award finalist, Minnesota Business Magazine
- 2017 – Best in Print honorable mention, MN Health Strategy and Communications Network
- 2016 – Best in Print winner, MN Health Strategy and Communications Network
- 2016 – Finalist for Non-Profit of the Year Award, Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce
- 2016 – Finalist for Readers Choice Award, Post Bulletin
- 2015 – Finalist for Readers Choice Award, Post Bulletin
- 2013 – US News and World Report, Top Nursing Facility
- 2011-present – Confident Choices Award, LeadingAge MN
- 2004-present – Code of Ethics Designee, LeadingAge MN