Monthly Archives: September 2019

A careful plan can help you to ‘right-size’ your living space

In my work as a certified relocation and transition specialist, I come in contact with many people who have lived in the same home for 20 or 30 years or even longer and who have found their accumulation of things to be overwhelming.

In fact, because of all their “stuff,” they often can’t face the idea of moving into smaller accommodations to begin retirement, as a result of health changes or to reduce home costs.

Moreover, the issue of dealing with too much stuff can affect anyone, regardless of age, even though I typically work with older adults transitioning to a smaller home or a senior living community.

Armed with a few strategic tips and guidelines, however, most people can tackle even the most difficult home-organization project with confidence.

The key is about “right-sizing” your living space.

A good place to start is by categorizing possessions into groups: items you need, love and want. A good space will contain only what we need and love and a little bit of what we want.

A great space will have only what we need and love.

A common stumbling block clients describe to me is hesitance to get rid of their children’s old belongings or items they have stored for friends and family.

I tell them not to let this hold them back from taking the first step toward getting organized. Contact children and friends to find out if they want their items back or no longer have use for them. If not, there are many ways to dispose of them, including donation to a nonprofit or selling them online.

The old adage that one person’s “trash” is another’s treasure is true!

Of course, letting go of items collected over the years is tough. Sometimes, though, it can help to take a last look at an item and share your memories about it with a family member or friend—and then pack it away for good.

Depending on your ultimate goal for reorganizing, it’s important to ask yourself if you really do need an item. As just one example, instead of keeping a dinner service for 12, reduce it to four.

I often provide these tips in seminars at senior living communities or work directly with individuals and families contemplating a move.

But whether you plan to right-size your living space with the help of family members or with a professional, the best way to approach what can often be an emotional situation is with the benefit of a good plan.

—Carolyn Doerr owns Caring Transitions of Mechanicsburg

Personal care: A blend of support and independence

Several Diakon Senior Living Services staff members recently discussed the fact most people call what we offer in our personal care communities assisted living.

Because of varying licensures in Pennsylvania (Maryland is different—what we offer there is called assisted living), what Diakon’s senior living communities provide is technically called personal care.

Yet the term simply means we are providing assistance to people with the activities of daily living.

As we grow older, there may come a time it becomes harder to live on our own, yet we still want an independent lifestyle.

Personal care is helpful when it’s not possible for us to remain in our own homes any longer. Personal care allows people to continue to enjoy an active lifestyle, programs, activities, social opportunities—along with daily care.

People who receive personal care typically live the same lifestyle as before, except with the benefit of a little added care when it’s needed.

Click here to learn how personal care can help with daily tasks.

Banding together to make a difference

Alan Lane is the father of a young entrepreneur who wanted to share his idea for coping with anxiety disorders in the hopes of helping others. Joshua enlisted his family to take his idea from concept to online business. And he’s just 7 years old! Alan shares more about the genesis of Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls.

Joshua has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder—or OCD—and anxiety. A friend from church suggested that he try putting rubber bands together and taking them apart to help control fidgeting. That helped—and so he took the rubber band ball everywhere.

One day earlier this year, Josh and I were waiting for his mom at a medical appointment. He had the ball with him and I said, “I bet you could sell those.” He responded right away.

“Sissy can take pictures and Bubba can make a website. You can mail them and Mommy can help, too.”

Sissy is Joshua’s 14-year-old sister, Rachel, and Bubba is his 19-year-old brother, Tyler.

When his mom came out after her appointment, Joshua said to me, “Are you going to tell her about my business plan?”

And that’s how it started. We’ve been selling them since February of this year, online and through Facebook.

It’s great to hear from the people who buy them. A grandmother in Georgia got one for her granddaughter, who has anxiety. A teacher in California purchased one to use in her classroom. We recently established a partnership with the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey for children with cancer to use the balls.

Joshua also has had seizures since he was very young; they are controlled with medicine. He has a service dog, Spot, who sleeps with him and is a source of comfort. So he wanted some of the money from the sale of Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls to help train service dogs for other kids.

Now, we donate 10 percent of proceeds to Merlin’s KIDS, which provides trained service dogs for children. Through a friend, we just had the chance to meet the New Jersey woman who founded Merlin’s KIDS.

We helped Joshua start this business because we want to give back and help people. And one of the most rewarding parts has been the way our whole family became involved. But we never forget who’s the boss. When it’s time to discuss business, Joshua calls the meeting to order and it’s not over until he says so!

—Alan Lane

You can meet Alan and Joshua and purchase Joshua’s Rubber Band Balls at the Diakon Outdoor Adventure Challenge at the Diakon Wilderness Center Sept. 14. Also visit https://joshuasrubberbandballs.com/