By Pat Larsen
For Capital Region Independent Media
THIS can be a very touchy subject for some. Well, I think for most of us.
According to a national statistic, Baby Boomers don’t spend a heck of a lot of time focusing on knowing when to make some pretty important decisions that relate to living arrangements and downsizing and the like.
Typically, if the actions of our earlier predecessors are to be considered, the scenario is that one spouse/partner passes away and it becomes imperative for the survivor to figure out a whole host of things on their own.
This came up in our household recently when our eldest child began the conversation. Suddenly, we were the ones doing the listening and it really rattled us. We always had a pretty good five-year plan, but apparently that isn’t enough in this ever-changing, complex world.
So I began researching this topic and found some interesting things to help smooth the way to considering this topic… “knowing when.”
There’s a really interesting book that I found on Amazon entitled, “Peace of Mind Planner.” It’s an organizational notebook with spaces to include all the important information about belongings, business affairs and wishes.
It is a great organization resource tool with a predetermined outline that you fill in with all your pertinent and important personal information that the kids or family members just might not know. There’s a medical section and another area to fill in key contacts as well. This book then outlines business matters, insurance, where you’ve put your important papers, the names of accounts to pay and which ones to cancel. Email addresses make up another section, along with a miscellaneous area to explain subjects not previously discussed.
I purchased one for myself and my spouse to fill out. It’s interesting that the title, “Peace of Mind,” is exactly what it created within us.
Last fall, I hosted a program where funeral director Bob Gaus spoke of the lighter side of death at The Shamrock House in East Durham. He shared his many years of insight into the pre-planning process to a very well-attended group who were eager to learn all they could about final arrangements in advance. He extended an invitation to sit with anyone who wants to chat further. He is available at Millspaugh Funeral home in Jefferson Heights. He’s a great resource and font of information. If you hadn’t considered talking with someone like Bob, you might want to look into it.
Finally, for the purposes of this column, I researched the subject of knowing when it’s time to downsize your home.
Here’s some of the facts I found that might be of interest.
You know when to consider redefining your living arrangements when you can’t keep up with the maintenance and repairs of your present home. If things in and around your home are becoming more and more costly to repair and you are unable to afford to do what needs to be done, it’s time to reconsider making a change.
If the home you’re living in was your “family” home and you no longer need those two to three extra bedrooms or the living space is just too much to heat, then it’s time to consider downsizing.
If you’ve spent some time with a realtor and you find that your home has appreciated considerably, then it might be time to sell and find a more appropriately sized home for your needs and just think of the money you’ll save in taxes, heat, etc.
As we found out, and you may too, downsizing and considering all of these life-changing issues is both a financial and an emotional decision. But taking the time to evaluate your situation calmly and with a sense of true purpose for not wanting to be caught in a situation where you’re “stuck” having to manage all of these plates in the air at the “11th” hour” of your life will be much easier for you and your family overall than ignoring the inevitable facts.
Pat Larsen lives in Greene County with her husband, Chris and two pups, Gabbey and Lily. She teaches fitness and educational programs for Baby Boomers and seniors at The Shamrock House in East Durham, mornings. Pat also is certified in clinical therapy, helping those who get stuck and just need some help getting back on track. Please contact Pat at 518-275-8686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.