Preparing to Downsize

Today I welcome Moreen Torpy, one of my colleagues from Professional Organizers in Canada, as my first guest blogger.

a journey down memory laneSo you’re thinking of downsizing your home. That can be a frightening concept, especially if you’ve lived in the same place for many years. But there’s a solution to banish that fear.

Why are you downsizing? If it’s to spend more time enjoying life rather than maintaining a large house with lots of empty rooms, that’s a good place to begin planning. What are you most looking forward to doing? Travelling, taking up a new hobby, spending more time with family and friends? Maybe volunteering?

Where will you begin? The best place to start is in a room you seldom use. You will have the least attachment here, so you can work more quickly.

One caveat though—don’t overdo the time you spend on this. It will be very tiring both physically and emotionally. Empty this room as much as possible so you have a place to pack and store the items you’ll be taking with you to your new place.

Basic organizing rules apply to downsizing too. With each item, ask yourself whether you really love it, if you’ve used it in the recent past, if it still fits both you and your lifestyle. Consider how much storage you’ll have in your new place as well. There’s no point trying to move a 3-bedroom home with basement and attic into a one-bedroom condo or apartment. It simply won’t work.

Be ruthless with your decision-making. If any family member wishes to have certain articles, if you can give them now, do so and this will reduce what you need to pack. And they can enjoy using your gifts right away.

The journey down memory lane may be a long one, so take this into account. The whole downsizing process will probably take much longer than you expect, especially when you begin going through memorabilia.

Decide what you will definitely use in your new place first. If you don’t already use your best china, now is the time to begin and leave the everyday dishes behind. Or, you might give that china to a family member and purchase new, more practical replacements. This is the time to enjoy your things so keep only those that you love around you.

Enjoy the journey! The destination will be a whole new world of experiences ready for you to enjoy and embrace. Happy landings!

What can you do today to begin downsizing?

© Moreen Torpy

We would be honored for you to reprint this article. If you do, please include the resource box below with the hyperlinks intact.

Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See for more about the book including where to purchase it, and to learn about her organizing services.

Financial Assistance for Home Modifications

money for home modificationsIt’s not surprising that most seniors value the independence of remaining in their own homes. Fortunately, this can often be made possible by implementing minor or major home modifications.

If money is an issue, you’ll be glad to know that there are a number of programs available to help low-income households undertake home adaptation projects. These include:

Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence Program (HASI)

Funding for minor home adaptations, like adding handrails and bathroom grab bars

Contact Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for information.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP)

Financial assistance to low-income households who own and occupy substandard housing to enable them to repair their dwellings to a minimum level of health and safety, and to persons with disabilities who require special modifications to improve accessibility to their residence.

Contact your local municipality for information.

The RRAP program even offers financial assistance for the creation of a Secondary or Garden Suite to allow a low-income senior to live independently in their community, close to family and friends.

Contact Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for information about this program.

To evaluate how your home can be adapted to meet your current needs, we’re here to help.

Give us a call at 905-971-9568 or email us to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

6 Healthy Tips for Caregivers

woman with walkerCaring for an elderly parent can take a lot out of you, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

As a caregiver, you may be more concerned with your parent’s health and well-being than you are of your own. It’s very easy to overlook your health because of the responsibilities you have, whether you’re handling their finances, taking them to appointments, or assisting with their daily personal care. And all of this is on top of everything you do to manage your own household: keeping the house clean, doing laundry, paying bills, and so on.

Please understand that it’s important for you to stay healthy. After all, if you get sick then who is going to get everything done? Below are some tips that you need to follow to ensure your good health.

Tip #1 – Eat

Obviously, you don’t have a lot of time to eat, but this is essential to staying healthy. Most of us know that we need to eat three meals a day, but do you also know that you should be eating at least two snacks a day as well? This will keep your metabolism going and your energy levels up – so don’t skimp on your food. You should be eating healthy foods too. Things like yogurt, fruit, granola bars and nuts are quick, easy and healthy!

Tip #2 – Drink

Water that is. In addition to eating healthy foods, you need to be drinking water throughout your day. We’ve all heard the “8 glasses a day” speech so I’m not going to give it to you again. Just stay properly hydrated. It will keep your energy levels up as well as flush the impurities out of your body and ward off urinary tract infections and much more.

Tip #3 – Exercise

Your body needs exercise each day and it doesn’t care whether you’re a caregiver or not. Although you may find yourself busy during the day and exhausted at night, it’s important that you squeeze in at least 20-30 minutes of exercise each day. There are several ways you can do this. For instance, you can go for a walk after dinner, play Xbox Kinect or Nintendo Wii games with your family, or enroll in a yoga class at a fitness club.

Tip #4 – Be Happy

We women tend to overload ourselves with work, family and worries. There isn’t much time to focus on being happy. However, this is important too. Studies have shown that, generally, happy people are healthier people. In order to become happier, consider setting aside a little time for yourself every day – or week – to do something you like doing. This time will help you feel refreshed and become happier.

Tip #5 – Sleep

Getting a good night of sleep is critical to your overall health. Sleep is when your body recharges itself. So, naturally, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you aren’t operating on a “full battery,” which means you’ll wear out quicker. It also means your body will too, which depletes your immune system. So, get the sleep you need at night.

Tip #6 – Get Help

There’s no rule that says you have to do it all yourself! If caring for your aging parent is affecting your health, email us or call 905-971-9568 to find out how we can help.

Photo © Joann Cooper –

Helping Seniors to Stay at Home

an older woman at home with her pet dogAccording to Stats Canada, persons over 65 are the fastest growing population in the country. Over a third of Canadians who have lived past the age of 65 are alive today – and the Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1965 have only just begun to enter this age bracket!

Many new retirement residences and long-term care facilities have been built to accommodate the increasing senior population, but some are rather expensive, and someone who is used to living independently may find it difficult to adjust to a major change in living arrangements.

Remaining in your own home may be a viable option, even if you’re among the one-in-four Canadian seniors living with a long-term disability or health issue. Difficult challenges can often be overcome, with the proper support.

Would any of the following make it possible for you (or your parent) to stay at home?

  • Lifeline Medical Alert Service
  • Wider doorways to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter
  • Walk-in bathtub
  • Ongoing assistance with house and yard work
  • Grocery delivery service

These are just a few of the many products and services available to seniors today.

If you need help deciding whether or not it’s time for you to downsize, fill out our short questionnaire. We’ll be happy review your answers with you.

Photo © Peter Baxter –

5 Ways to Prevent Falls at Home

senior falls and unable to get up

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, falls account for 85% of injury-related hospitalizations for seniors age 65 and over. Nearly half of seniors who fall sustain a minor injury, and 5% to 25% experience a a fracture, sprain or other serious injury.

If those stats aren’t alarming enough, consider that falls cause over 90% of hip fractures in seniors, and that 20% will die within a year of the fracture!

Even seniors who are not injured after a fall may experience a decrease in confidence and activities, which can lead to a decline in health and function and increase the likelihood that they’ll fall again. Next time they may not be so lucky!

Clearly, reducing the risk of falls is an important health and safety concern. Here are five things you should check right now to make sure your home is a safe environment for seniors and family members of all ages.

  1. Do mats and other loose rugs have non-skid backing?
  2. Is a sturdy step stool available for accessing items in overhead cabinets?
  3. Are stairways and halls well lit?
  4. Are grab bars installed near the toilet and bathtub?
  5. Are handrails sturdy and securely fastened?

For help assessing these or other aspects of your home, please email us or call 905-971-9568 for your free, no obligation consultation.

Photo © rudybaby –