Senior Transitions: Questions to ask when touring Facilities

This is not an all-inclusive list of questions; but rather a great place to start when touring a new continuing or assisted living facility.  Keep in mind that different municipalities have different laws and requirements for senior facilities, so some questions may not be applicable.

For more in-depth information, visit the Washington State human services website to learn about requirements and laws regulating senior facilities and about the differences between retirement communities, assisted living facilities, adult family homes, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities.

Note: It is highly recommended to call the facility beforehand to schedule a tour of the facility.

General:

  • Is the residence licensed?  What credentials do staff members hold?
  • Is there an ombudsman or an organization of residence that can help raise issues with the staff and management?
  • Are there ample conveniences in and around the residence? (ex. grocery store, cleaners, shops, restaurants, library, theaters).
  • Is there a hospital nearby?
  • Is there a waiting list? If so, how long may it take to be accepted and admitted?
  • Is the staff professional and happy to help? Do residents seem happy and well cared for?
  • Are there special programs for residents with disabilities? For residents that have dementia or memory impairments?
  • What makes this residence unique from other communities?
  • Is there an on-site clinic or 24 hour nurse?
  • Can residents hire outside caregivers or assistance?

Services & Activities:

  • Is transportation provided for medical appointments and recreational purposes? Is there a fee?
  • Are there any types of housekeeping, laundry, or linen service offered? Are these services included in the entry or monthly fees or at an additional cost?
  • What healthcare services are available for each level of care?
  • Is there a gym on campus? Are there organized exercise classes?
  • What kinds of social events are planned? Is there a monthly schedule of events?
  • Does the residence accommodate special diets?
  • What meal options does the residence offer? Does the residence offer group meals or in-room programs?

Housing:

  • What sizes and types of living options are offered? Are residences furnished?
  • Is a resident required to move into independent living before moving to assisted living apartments?
  • What amenities does the residence have?
  • Are layouts in all types of housing wheelchair and walker friendly?
  • Is parking available to residents? Is there guest parking?
  • Are their guest accommodations?
  • Are the residence’s grounds well maintained, manicured, and easy to navigate?
  • Is this a smoke-free facility? Are there designated spots for smokers?
  • How is security addressed in each type of residence?
  • Are pets allowed?

Cost & Fees:

  • What are the contract options?
  • Are residences owned or rented?
  • What is the breakdown of fees for basic housing and additional services? Monthly fees? Are fees raised on a yearly basis?
  • Does Medicaid, Medicare, or other long-term care insurance cover any on the costs?
  • What are the income requirements for a particular unit?

Posted on August 25, 2015 at 12:23 am
Blue Team | Category: Home Tips for Seniors, Real Estate Transitions | Tagged ,

Downsize & Simplify

Whether you want to move to a smaller home, smaller property, or you just want to simplify your life and reduce clutter, here are some tips and great local resources to help you achieve your goal.

Where to start? Don’t try to do all of the rooms at once, it can be overwhelming and you might stop before you start. Select a single room, one that you don’t use often, or maybe even start with a junk drawer to begin.  Remember two rules to keep the process moving and successful: (1) never handle an item more than once and (2) categorize and sort each item based upon 4 categories: 

Trash – you don’t need it and it no longer has value, throw it away into a garbage bag. 

Donate/Sell – you don’t need it but it has value, designate a spot for these items.  

Relocate – you rarely use or just don’t need any more but these items may be important to someone else in your family or a friend, designate a spot for these items and put a name on them.  

Essential – these items are essential to you on a daily/weekly basis, pack them in a box if you are moving, or put them back if you aren’t.

Local Resources/Tips

Trash:
If you have more trash than what fits in your regular garbage service (and it isn’t toxic, flammable, reactive or corrosive),  you or a friend with a truck can haul it to the Houghton Transfer Station in Kirkland (11724 NE 60th St.) or get some help from Ray’s Hauling (425-844-2509) or 1-800GotJunk.  

  • Household Hazardous waste (toxic items such as paint thinner, fluorescent lights, pesticides & car batteries) can be dropped off at the Factoria Transfer Station (13800 SE 32nd St., Bellevue) or check the King County Waste Mobile website schedule to see when they will be in a community near you.  
  • Unused or Expired Prescription Drugs, Household batteries, and CFL light bulbs can be taken to the Woodinville City Hall and placed in the drop boxes for each of those items.

Donate:

  • General item donations can be taken to Goodwill (Woodinville Park & Ride Lot), Northwest Center (Safeway parking lot on weekends) or you can schedule to have items picked up by Salvation Army (www.Seattle.SATruck.org). Northwest Center (www.donate.bigbluetruck.org), Google “Buy Nothing Woodinville” (or your city) – a great way to share your treasures with others in the community that would like to have them and Value Village (Woodinville/Redmond).
     
  • Specific items such as: (1) Books can be donated to Friends of the Library for fundraising sales (most King County libraries) or www.booksForAmerical.org; (2) Beds, Mattresses, Couches– Salvation Army will pick up!; and (3) Cell Phones can be donated to www.CellPhonesForSoldiers.com, or Eastside Domestic Violence Program send by mail or drop off with the Woodinville Police Department.  Tip: Every September Windermere Woodinville hosts a free electronics recycling event (pcs, tvs, appliances and more) – call or email us if you want to know the next date.

Sell: 

  • Garage/yard sales at your home, sell limited items locally via ads on Craigslist, or for shippable items try eBay, or get professional help by using an Estate & Moving sale company such as Flotsam & Jetsam (206-818-2428), Caring Transitions Seattle (206-330-0878), Girlfriend Estate Sales (425-829-3848).

Relocate:

  • Family & Friends. Contact everyone who has an item with their name on it and schedule them to come pick it up.  Often our clients have “moving parties” where they invite friends and family to come see what they are looking to relocate to them and when they leave the party they take those items. Anything leftover can be donated.

 

Make sure you evaluate everything – don’t skip something merely because it doesn’t take up much room because you will just have to deal with it/move it later.  Celebrate your successes as you clear out each drawer, room, and your home, and enjoy all of your new space!

 

Posted on July 3, 2015 at 7:22 pm
Blue Team | Category: Home Tips for Seniors, Real Estate Transitions, Tips for Home Selling | Tagged , , , ,

Using a Reverse Mortgage to Stay or Move

Many people have heard about reverse mortgages but don’t really know what they are. To put it simply, a reverse mortgage is where the payment stream is “reversed” and instead of making monthly payments to a lender, the lender makes payments to you.  If you, or a loved one, is 62 or older, a reverse mortgage can help convert 50-66% of the appraised value into cash without having to sell the home, give up title, or take on a new monthly mortgage payment.  It can also be a way to purchase a new home without having to make monthly mortgage payments.

What does that really mean?

  • Stay in your home and be able to access part of the equity you have built in order to consolidate debt, eliminate mortgage payments, cover unplanned medical expenses, pay for in-home care, remodel home for current needs, avoid foreclosure, supplement retirement income, or any other need you may have for cash.
     
  • Purchase a new home that provides more affordable living, is smaller and easier to care for, is on a single level or more accessible, is closer to friends or family, or even is the dream home have always wanted.
     
  • Features of Loan Program: FHA Insured, No monthly mortgage payments (must continue to pay home insurance, property taxes, and home maintenance as needed), Retain title to home, Non-recourse loan (no recourse to borrower/estate/heirs if loan balance exceeds the home’s value at maturity as long as the home is sold to pay off the debt or balance is paid in full if borrower/estate wants to retain property), Right to Remaining Equity (any equity that remains in the property after the reverse mortgage is retired, belongs to borrower/estate/heirs), No time limit on length of time staying in home, Mandatory Mortgage Insurance Premium (insures that the mortgage balance will be paid in full, if the home sells for less than owed), a Single set of Closing Costs when purchasing a home, and funds are available as a line of credit or monthly payment.
     
  • Qualifications: Homeowner must be 62+, home in name of homeowner and is primary residence, must have at least 50% equity in home or ability to make a monetary investment at closing from an allowable funding source, must occupy property within 60 days, mandatory counseling session required, and must be able to and continue to pay taxes & home insurance.
     
  • Eligible Properties: Single Family, 1-4 unit, FHA approved Condos & Town homes, meets minimum FHA property standards, within maximum FHA loan limit ($625K currently), no other 1st or 2nd liens against property and any existing mortgages must be paid off with the loan proceeds.

 

We are not lenders, but can recommend a fabulous Reverse Mortgage Loan Officer if you’d like to explore this further. The Blue Team – working twice as hard for you and providing a team of experts to guide you in all your real estate transitions! 

Posted on May 4, 2015 at 4:47 pm
Blue Team | Category: Home Tips for Seniors, Real Estate Transitions, Tips for Home Buying | Tagged , ,