Life & Family Transitions

senior_transition LIFE THROWS CURVE-BALLS; an unexpected death, a forced move, health issues, nursing homes, assisted living… We don’t know when or where they’ll land or how we will deal with them until circumstances arise.

Transitioning is difficult and stressful – it’s wrestling with the unknown.  Some of us are fortunate to have families that can assist, but sometimes they live far away. Some of us don’t have families and we feel alone.  Having an advocate or being an advocate for a loved one is the key.

I have worked with quite a few families including my own, and have worked with individuals that have gone through expected and unexpected loss.  Whether you are the one in transition or you are assisting in the transition of another, here are some tips.

THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE IS THIS:  Have plans in advance – don’t wait until a crisis hits for the thought process to begin.  Start talking to your Spouse, Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Close Friends etc. now – confront the discomfort sooner than later and have those talks.  There are so many details, so many things that you don’t think of, so many things that you cannot possibly foresee unless you start TALKING.

Aunt Joyce and Dad

My Aunt Joyce and Dad at Saunders House

Latin Casino Aunt Joyce

My Aunt Joyce – Left, second in. Beautiful

Start purging documents and items that you don’t need anymore.  We hang on to documents and stuff for decades; things we’ll never look at again – it’s not unusual. Go through your files and start to shred and throw out items. Get your paperwork in order.  This is not a pleasant task or something that has to happen overnight but start now.  Doing this kind of prep work in advance will keep your family unencumbered; having papers and clutter cleared will help to relieve some of the sadness, burden and stress.  An organizer can help with these things.

Ask for help from an estate management professional, attorney, fiduciary* when needed.Aunt Joyce matches

In advance, think about and identify people that can be there to help in these times of loneliness and despair to make sure there is food, nutrition, and company to talk to and walk with.  Get outside and breathe fresh air.  I visited my Aunt Joyce last week at her nursing home.  I wheeled her outside and saw a complete transformation on her face, and she said to me “… look, the Pansies are all smiling…”  That was the worth the price of admission.

Paralysis can be deadly and is often the state of mind of a person in life crisis such as the death of a spouse or family member.

If you have lost a spouse, are needing help with the aging process, or have aging family members or friends that live in Santa Barbara County and need assistance, you have arrived at your destination.

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* A California Licensed Fiduciary is a person or institution given the power to act on behalf of another in situations that require great trust, honesty and loyalty. Fiduciaries you may already be familiar with include accountants, attorneys, bankers, business advisors, financial advisors, mortgage brokers and real estate agents. These individuals are hired to act in a clients best interest and must set aside their own personal motives in favor of your goals.