Juli Anne Gibson with Real Estate 55 Plus talks about developing a plan for being proactive about aging, particularly in handling our loved one’s stuff, their heirlooms.
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This is a special presentation of Answers for Elders with Real Estate Fifty Five Plus. Happy Saturday everyone. We’re here for Answers for Elders radio and I have a very special guest from Real Estate Fifty Five Plus, our sponsors of today’s program, Juli Anne Gibson. Thank you for being here. Thanks, Suzanne. I’m happy to be here again. It’s, you know, this summertime out right now and obviously there’s a lot of changes happening and one of the things that I love about your company as you kind of hold the hand of seniors as they’re going through some major life events, specifically the sale of their home, all the different aspects that are going on, and you have this wonderful program called aging with choice that you help everyone with. Is, first of all, before we kind of get into it, to give us an overview of aging with choice. Aging with choice was created as a workshop and a resource for Seniors and their adult children to answer questions and be proactive about housing and aging M and we created three different workshops and one is the first one is what’s the right size home for my life, which is where we explore all the different housing options and take into mind what’s going to work for you physically, emotionally, spiritual and fine. Actually, the second one is, once you’ve made a decision to move, is what do I do with all all my stuff? Lots of stuff, lots of stuff, and sometimes all that stuff prohibits people from making choices and moving forward. And number three, once a decision has been made in your making that change, is how do you embrace it, which is really more about a mindset, and when you’re proactive you have a better chance of embracing that change in a positive outlook. Absolutely great. And and Julian, you know we’ve talked about you know there’s a million options out there, but I would have to say probably one of the biggest hurdles for seniors is that stuff piece, isn’t it? Absolutely you know, it’s it’s all of these heirlooms that I’ve had all of my life. I’ve got China, I have crystal, I have antiques and and I’ve also heard things have gone through that sometimes kids don’t want that stuff. They don’t, they really don’t. And the saying in our workshop is you spend the first thirty years of your life deciding what’s important to you and the next thirty years collecting at all, and then you’re the last partition of your life. You’re deciding what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to donate, what you’re going to leave as a legacy, and those are important things that you want to consider. It’s really true. It is true and it’s and it’s also what I learned with as I was taking care of my own mom, that the older she got, the less important things stuff was to her. As she got older, which was amazing. She was very free to give things to people that I was kind of stunned, you know, somebody would come to the house or whatever, she would hand them something that was really precious and I went wow, mom, you know, it’s like it. She wanted to share that that stuff. So I think that’s really a cool thing that we’re talking about the stuff. Yeah, it’s interesting. People either fill that way or that their complete opposite and they don’t want to get rid of anything. So, you know, everybody approaches it from a different, you know, perspective, and this is what we liken. The process is, if I were to walk into anyone’s home and the person wasn’t there, I didn’t know anything about them, I would be able to gather clues about the type of person they were based on the stuff that was in their home. Yeah, for example, if you came into my house, you would find a lot of books, a lot of cooking utensils, you would find a lot of fabric. It would tell you a little bit about the type of person that I was. Same with anybody else. So when I walk into somebody’s home, your stuff gives definition to who you are. Very true. And for a lot of people stuff has not necessarily the item itself. It’s a memory that’s attached to it and that’s where people halt in the process. So the very first thing that we do in the workshop is I say, if tomorrow we’re your last day, what are the things that you would want to make sure that your family knew about your stuff? And that really is priority number one. And deciding what to do. Wow. So whether you have heirlooms or a lot of times it’s hadn’t written letters that you want to make sure that you have something written out on who that’s going to or how you want that item to be disposed, potentially, ever donated to. And we say that, how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time, right. And what do you do with your stuff? It’s really a process, and so it becomes overwhelming, and so in our workshop we break it down and simplify it based on categories. Sure, sure, and it’s interesting to even with my life, and I’m in my early S, so you know, it’s kind of fascinating to me. But when my mom passed away I had also recently gotten married. Talk about graduation. Well, it would, it was. It was six years ago now, but still it’s like I had the my husband stuff, I had my stuff and I had my mom stuff. Yep, and I emotionally, you know, talking about what do you do with your stuff? Even when my mom passed away, I couldn’t really look at getting rid of any of my mom’s things, you know, or downsizing all that stuff. It was in boxes. I couldn’t even deal with it for a long time. It is an emotional process and of course my husband and used to tease me all the time this, like walking on our garage was like walking in an episode hord or so, but you know, I mean it. Finally, it’s so freeing when you can just let go of it. It is I remember you know, he kind of forced my hand saying, you know, we got to do this, and I’m really glad he did. Sometimes it takes that that drill sergeant a little bit to say, you know, come on, I’m going to support you through this and we’re going to go through it absolutely. So, once you break down the categories of your items, the next step is the decided what you’re going to do with those, and having help and support from family or friends is great, but not everybody has that no support system. So we do have resources that are available. And what happens when you hire someone to come in and help you with that process? The emotional attachment is taken away. For example, if you came to my house and I was going to go through my closet with you, it would take us all day because I would pull out items and tell you a story. Right, you hire professional. They’re going to move you in the direction of our goal today is to empty out your closet. We have three hours to do that. So we’re going to toss, donate or keep and they’re going to help you with that and kind of speed along the story. And you know that’s so important to be able to just keep you on task. It’s like, I know when I was packing up my mother’s house to move her, I was going, I was going through the you know, throw, throw, throw, throw, throw away, and then at the end of the day, when I was done with all of that, throwing away memories, you know, because things that I was attached to. Yep, you know, I would find myself sitting there at dinner with a cocktail going, you know, I just would cry. Yeah, it was like this. It was hard for me, as her daughter, to see me, I mean the guilt that I felt when I saw love letters from my dad that had written to my mom. You know, my parents were divorced, but they’re still my parents. Sure they know, and I would just go through that letter and I would say, my gosh, you know, this was a time when they were dating, but I skimmed over it. And then I’m sitting there going do I keep this letter? It’s like no, there’s no reason to keep it. I’m not going to keep it. It’s not going to be something I’m going to hang into. So that was that was interesting and that’s a personal choice that after a parents passed away, you look at things a little bit differently, and we also don’t have the person necessary to ask additional questions to sure. So having some of those conversations with mom or dad before there’s a crisis can make the process a lot easier for a child. The other piece about being proactive about housing and aging is understanding what your parents wishes are. And often times, often times, when someone’s force with the crisis and we have to sell a home quickly, people dispose of things that they wish that they hadn’t because time was, you know, fast and approaching, and I would suggest to that as get a storage locker, put items in a tough of were and then bring those over, you know, once a week, once a month, to mom or dad, where ever they’re living at, and kind of go through them together, so you don’t feel like you’re tossing things and our hurried manner and that you’re not making the best decisions. So we are talking with Julianne Gibson from Real Estate Fifty five plus, and Julianne is talking about what do you do with your stuff when you’re downsizing, which is so important, and you know, Julianne, one of the things that we did with my mom, and I think that this was this is kind of going along the line. But when I moved my mom out of her home into retirement living, I handed her a legal pad and I told her, mom, we’ve rented the guest apartment in the retirement living community. We’re going to move you, but your job in the next thirty days. I she had thirty days. I want you to list everything you want to bring great to the retirement community. That was a huge tour for her, but it was also she had stuff on her list that wasn’t reasonable. Sure you know you’re moving downsize and yeah, from, you know, two thousand square feet to six hundred. You clearly can’t take everything with you. Or do you need everything? Well, and there’s things like when she doesn’t think about she was still cooking in her house. So certain wanted all of her dishes and she wanted all it’s like, mom, you’re going to be eating in the dining hall, you know, in the restaurant, you know, every day. So there’s obviously a mine shift where it will talk about in the next step of how obviously we you know, we embrace that change and what does that look like? So I’m sure that there’s an element of education with all there is. We actually use that. We have a process. It’s really called the DOT system. So Green Dot, we actually take the circles their shape a penny and the green dot means that’s going with me. Wonderful. And then we have the yellow dot is for legacy that you’re living, for your family, a rel a red dot is things that are trash, because there are things that are surely nobody’s going to want, and the blue dot is donation. Either you’re donating it to goodwill or possibly it’s getting donated for an estates. I mean, there’s all these different process and putting those dots on on actual physical items is like I’m done with that, I’ve made a decision about it. I could move on and people. I go into people’s House and we’re getting ready to have that first conversation about listing the property. They’ve been to one of my workshops and there’s dots everywhere. So I know they’ve done their homework and they’re prepared. Love that. That’s really great process and in this world with Ebay and craigslist, you probably might even want to do a purple dot for selling Craig’s absolute something. Yeah, that Blue Dot hast subcategories to arise and alphabetical sequence on those awesome so, Juli Anne, how do we read to you can reach us on our one hundred eight hundred line, which is one eight hundred, nine hundred and six four, one hundred and five, five three, or you can visit our website, which is realestatefiveplus.net. Juli Anne, it’s so great to have you on the program and you know you’ve inspired me. I want to go and start cleaning out my own closets. Yeah, well, invite me, because you have beautiful things deal. Thanks, Suzanne. Thanks for being here. Juli Anne, happy to be here again. This has been a special presentation of Answers for Elders with real estate fifty five plus. For more information for real estate fifty five plus, go to age withchoice.com. That’s agewithchoice.com.
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Originally published June 17, 2017