senior_transitionLIFE THROWS CURVE-BALLS; an unexpected death, a forced move, health issues. 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 for you and your loved ones is the first step.

I have worked with quite a few families and individuals that have gone through expected and unexpected loss. Here are a couple of tips to help with difficult transitions:

1) 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.

2) Start thinking of purging documents and items that are not needed any longer. So many people hang on to documents and things for 20+ years; things they’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 it should be an ongoing process. Doing this kind of work in advance will keep you and the 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.

3) Ask for help from an estate management professional and fiduciary* when needed.

4) Paralysis can be deadly and is often the state of mind of a person in life crisis such as death of a spouse or family member; make sure your plans include identifying people that can be there to help in these times of loneliness to make sure there is food, nutrition, and company to talk and walk with.

If you have lost a spouse or have aging family members (siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins) 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.