Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Changing perceptions

In the past, when I heard the word "hospice" (usually in a whisper), I immediately thought, "Oh no, this person only has a short amount of time."

However, I recently attended a meeting where I learned about many wonderful services our local Hospice offers for those who have been diagnosed with a terminal/life-threatening illness.  In some cases, Hospice services can span several years, in addition to the end of life comfort and care they are known for.

A new term Palliative Care was also discussed.   Palliative Care?  What's that?  It's a tough word to pronounce, what with all the "ll's" and double vowels! 

 The World Health Organization defines Palliative Care as:

An approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Palliative care:

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
  • affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
  • intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
  • offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • offers a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;
  • will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
  • is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.
In short, Palliative Care = Comfort Care.

Integrative (Complementary) Medicine was introduced.  Here's the WHO definition of Traditional and Complementary Medicine:

*  Traditional medicine

Traditional medicine is the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.

*  Complementary/alternative medicine (CAM)

The terms "complementary medicine" or "alternative medicine" are used inter-changeably with traditional medicine in some countries. They refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country's own tradition and are not integrated into the dominant health care system.
IM/CAM combines a variety of complementary principles and practices with conventional medicine.  It employs the best of all medical modalities, focusing on mind, body, spirit and emotions.  Integrative Medicine treats the whole person and reaffirms the practitioner-patient relationship and caring presence.   Such methods include:
*  Acupuncture              *  Aromatherapy              *  Biofeedback              *  Cupping
*  Energy Medicine (Therapeutic Touch, Healing Touch & Reiki, Trigger Point Therapy, Conscious Breathwork, Guided Imagery, Mind/Body Practices for Relaxation)
The speakers told several patient success stories, not that the person was cured of their illness, but that they experienced less pain and were able to enjoy their time to the fullest.
A Reiki Master shared what she does to help patients that she sees in the clinic or their homes and also told us about The Five Reiki Principles:

Perhaps with more education, people's perceptions of Hospice will change, and the care and  services each organization offers will be welcomed sooner.

For more information on how A Stress-Less Transition, LLC can help you or an older adult, please visit our website.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Super Hero!

                       Look!  Up in the sky! 
                             “It’s a bird!”
                             “It’s a plane!”
                             “No, it’s a Senior Move Manager!”
                             “A what??”
                             “A Senior Move Manager!”

Disguised as a mild-mannered business owner, a Senior Move Manager can:

  • Move mom into Memory Care in a single day!
  • Disperse 30 years of Dad’s accumulations!
  • Calm the most overwhelmed adult child!
  • Fight the never-ending battle for TRUTH, JUSTICE and Older Adults!
  • And boldly go where no other dare …  Granny’s underwear drawer!

Senior Move Managers are professionals that assist older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of a later-in-life transition  (i.e. aging in place, downsizing, moving to an assisted living facility or when a loved one passes away).

But in real life, we are more like SUPER HEROES and come to the rescue when:

  *  Older adults & family are overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin
  *  Family lives out of the area and doesn't know the local resources.  
  *  A crisis situation has occured like being discharged from the hospital or rehab earlier than expected. 
  *  Dementia has progressed to the point where a person can't live at home anymore.  
  *  There is no family to help.

A Senior Move Manager can do as much or as little as needed such as:
  • Organize, sort and downsize to prepare for a move
  • Creating customized floor plans – recommending just what will fit
  • Disperse unwanted items (to family, to sell, to donate and yes, to the trash)
  • Discover forgotten things that might have sentimental or monetary value
  • Pack, Move, Set-up new residence
  • De-clutter existing space for safer and easier access
  • Clear out a home to be sold or renovated
  • Recommend related services such as cleaning, junk removal, shredding, home health, attorneys, realtors, estate sale and appraisal professionals, etc
  • Facilitate into/out of state move

Why work with Senior Move Manager:
  • Can help reduce the stress for the older adult & family by taking care of all the details and knowing who to call
  • Neutral third party who guides older adults through the decision-making process about their things. 
  • Can have difficult conversation about value of things
  • Is patient, compassionate, and respectful when helping older adults and families
  • Does what the older adult can’t do, doesn’t want to do or doesn’t have time to do
  • Have vetted service providers to ensure licensed, bonded, good track record

Most importantly….by adding a Senior Move Manager to the team, the family can focus on needs of their loved one.

To find a Super Hero in your area, visit the 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Nobody's buying. Can't donate it. Now what?

One of the most difficult parts of being a Senior Move Manager is telling a client (or their family) that their isn't much interest in their old furniture and heirlooms. 

A dining room set may have been the first pieces of 'good' furniture a couple purchased when they got married.  And they paid a lot of money for it.  

In today's world, big box furniture stores offer whole houses of furniture for mere pennies.  And people don't want to pay a lot of money for second hand furniture.

Current generations are more casual and people don't want to handwash china or polish silver.  Smaller homes don't accommodate china hutches, pianos or grandfather clocks.

Trying to sell items on consignment is challenging.  Many shops only want newer items.  Charitable organizations have become very selective about the items they will take.  

A recent article about the market for used furniture and collectibles offers some additional insight.    

For more information on how A Stress-Less Transition, LLC can help you or an older adult, please visit our website.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Estate Planning - it's not just for the old or rich!!

The term "Estate Planning" is often times synonymous with parents, grandparents, families and rich people. 

Below is a great article that explains the importance of three estate planning documents young adults should have when they turn 18.



Three Vital Estate Planning Strategies for Your College-Aged Child

estate planning for college studentsGraduating from high school and preparing for college is a very exciting time in a young adult’s life. With all the preparation that is necessary, most young adults overlook one of the most important things they should do upon turning age 18: estate planning. While most 18-year-olds do not have large estates or families to plan for, there are three estate planning documents that every 18-year-old needs.
1. Springing Power of Attorney
The first necessary part of a young adult’s plan is a springing power of attorney. Through a springing power of attorney, a person designates someone to make business and financial decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated. Importantly, the power of attorney does not “spring” into action until the person who drafted it becomes incapacitated.
2. Health Care Power of Attorney
Also necessary to a young person’s estate plan is a Health Care Power of Attorney. This document names a person to make medical decisions if the individual is unable to make these decisions. It will be the agent’s responsibility to work with doctors and various other health care providers to try to provide the incapacitated with the care that he or she would have wanted
3. HIPPA Release
A third vital part of your adult child’s estate plan should be a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPPA”) release. By signing a HIPPA release, a patient agrees that, in the event medical care is needed, medical personal may release information about his or her location and condition to specified individuals. Without such a release, parents may face obstacles to even determine whether their child has been admitted to the hospital.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

End of the Year Resolution

As we wind down from 2013 and gear up for 2014, using the week between Christmas and the New Year is a great time to give those Resolutions a try!  

Wishing everyone near and far a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year!

For more information on how A Stress-Less Transition, LLC can help you or an older adult, please visit our website.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Condo Cleanout - A before and after pictorial

This is a before and after pictorial of what is becoming a common situation for many of the families that contact A Stress-Less Transition, LLC for help**.

This is the story of an 89 year old woman who had been widowed for nearly 25 years and lived in this condo for 30+ years.  She surrounded herself with many fine things (art, decor, and furniture) and based on the clothes in her closet, would "dress to the nines" even if she was going to the grocery store.  Her only living relatives were out of state so she didn't seem them that often.  In recent years, she began to isolate herself from them.  During that time, "life happened" and her dementia progressed dramatically.  

After a stay in the hospital, the family decided she would be safer and would get the assistance she needed in a memory care community.  A Stress-Less Transition, LLC put a plan in place.  Upon departing the hospital, she went right to her new home where it was was ready and waiting with many of the lovely things she was used to having around her.   

Working with a senior move management company like A Stress-Less Transition, LLC to handle all the details of a loved one's move, reduces the stress that naturally comes with a later in life transition not only for the older adult but their family.  In addition, we are able to connect families with resources they might need (financial planner, care manager, realtor, CPA, etc.)

** How did A Stress-Less Transition, LLC help?  (Well, a good magician never reveals their secret and neither do we.)  But we got her things packed-up, moved and set up in her new space and found good homes for all the accumulations left behind.  :o)

For more information on how A Stress-Less Transition, LLC can help you or an older adult, please visit our website.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Her words said "No". Her voice said, "Yes".

A few weeks ago, I started working with a lovely woman who was moving out of state to live with one of her daughters.  As I'm helping clients with their decisions about what to move, what to give to family, what to sell and what to donate, I learn a lot about them....Their life history, things they like, items that are important to them, etc.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend a lot of time with her before she left as decisions were made and things happened very quickly.

But before her departure, we walked through every room of her home, including the garage and I asked her about some things that were in view.  We came to several trophies sitting on a shelf in the garage.  With the dust on them, it appeared they had been there for a few years.  I asked if she wanted them to move with her.  Her response was "No" (because she knew she wouldn't have space for them in her new room), but the look in her eye and the tone in her voice said, "Yes".

She and her daughters left a few days later and my job was to sort through the things in the garage and see what the family might want to have included when the movers came to pack.  While working through the boxes, I came across a box of costumes and tap dance shoes.  Putting two-and-two together (including the 1st Place blue ribbons on the trophies), I concluded she had been a part of a dance troupe and won several awards.  The wheels started turning and I had (what I thought) the perfect idea!  Set up a display and take a picture.

I framed it and shipped it off with her moving paperwork and donation receipts.  (If she didn't want it, she could easily replace the picture and use the frame.)  But a little voice told me she would probably like it.  And I had found a good home for the trophies and shoes.  

In the meantime, I had been invited by one of our local Memory Care Communities to re-do a couple of their rooms - transforming them from a fancy decorated model to a room that mom or dad would feel comfortable in.  I wanted to give the rooms some personality, a backstory if you will.

The 'fancy' model.
I told the family about my project and asked if Mom would be willing to let me use her items.  I got the thumbs up and was so excited to start putting things together!

In one room, the story of that resident was that she was a talented performer, played the clarinet, enjoyed plants and flowers as well as collecting fine things.

In the other room, the resident was an accomplished artist, amateur photographer and enjoyed golf.

While the rooms are awaiting a few final touches, the Marketing Director is over the moon with how a few changes made such a big difference, using many things they had available as well as giving a personality to each room!

Today I receive the most heartwarming message from one of the daughters.  Mom got the package and was so touched.  The shoes represented a time in her life when she and her husband moved to Florida.  New area, new people, new everything!  She joined a group of tap dancing ladies...without knowing anything about tap and hadn't made many friends at that point.  (Pretty brave lady in my book!)  She learned to tap.  Became quite good and competed in several big events. And met some wonderful ladies along the way!

Being a Move Manager is more than just packing/unpacking boxes, sorting and donating things.  It's about listening and really hearing what a client is saying, to determine what is meaningful to them.  It is an honor to help families and so rewarding!

For more information on how A Stress-Less Transition, LLC can help you or an older adult, please visit our website.