Archive for independent living

Talking to Your Parents about Their Housing Needs

Last month, we shared some tips for talking to your parents when you can see they need help with their activities of daily living.

Although most seniors would ideally like to stay in their own home (sometimes referred to as “aging in place”), sometimes in-home care just isn’t enough.

Today, we hear first hand from someone who went through this with his own mother, in this video from the Family Caregivers’ Network in BC.

Does his situation sound similar to yours? Feel free to share your story in the Comments section below.

If you’d prefer to discuss it privately, we invite you and your parents to take our free questionnaire. We’ll help you evaluate your situation and prepare for the next phase in your lives.

Choosing a Phone That’s Right for Older Users

cell phone for seniorsMobile phones are an essential part of modern life. Everyone, from teens to the elderly people, requires a mobile phone.

The needs of elderly people are very different compared to other people. Handset developers such as Dora Phones have taken this in to consideration and they have come up with a range of handsets specially designed for the elderly people.

They have understood that while elderly people have needs to communicate, it is very difficult for them to do so using the regular phones which are used by younger people. The sleek yet complex design and operating system which is highly desired by the young population may be the reason elderly people are not able to use the phone.  They may resent such phones because with age many people start to have health issues, their eyes are not as sharp as it used to be, they may develop hearing problems or they may be suffering from amnesia.


Regular mobile phones are tiny and have a small keypad. With weakened eyesight and clumsy fingers, these phones are very difficult to make calls and use by the older generation. Phones made for the elderly are designed keeping the functionality in mind and not the looks.

Mobile phones with a large display and big keypad with buttons that are separated from each other have been developed specially for them. This increases the convenience for older people as they can easily read the numbers on the screen and can type the numbers easily using the keypad.


For elderly people suffering from hearing problems, phones equipped with loud speakers with high decibels that are easier to hear are now available in the mobile phone market. These phones are simple and easy to use and can be used with hearing aids in place.

Other Handy Features

Other features that are incorporated in a mobile phone for elderly people are a torch light and long lasting battery. Features such as quick dial buttons are extremely useful for elderly people suffering from dementia or during an emergency.

Previously stored numbers can be automatically dialled on the press of a button using the quick dial feature.

The flaps on the back of the phone also contain a notepad where people can write down important numbers, so that they can easily access them.

Apart from mobile phones, there are fixed line telephones which are specifically developed for elderly people. These fixed line telephones have similar features. While the disadvantage of a fixed line phone is that it does not offer portability. However, these can be useful for elderly people who have a habit of losing their phones. Also, elderly people prefer to stay at home most of the time rather than going out and to use their fixed line telephone more than a mobile.

The Future

With the number of elderly people rising, this market segment is expected to gain popularity. It is expected that new designs will come up in the future which will further simplify communication for elderly people or those with memory or dexterity problems.

Phil Turner has spent many hours looking for mobile phone deals rel=”nofollow”. He did find some good ones, but it took a while.

Helping a Hoarder so she can remain living in her home

So far, this blog has focused on general topics related to senior downsizing, senior living adaptation, and senior home services.

This time I’d like to tell you about one of the clients we’ve worked with recently.

Mary (not her real name) is a 90-year old woman who lives on her own in the Niagara Region. She owns a duplex and rented out one side while living in the other.

Mary is a hoarder. Over time, her floors became covered with accumulated clutter as well as dog and cat urine and feces. By the time the situation became unbearable, she no longer had a tenant, so she moved to the other side of the duplex, which was in the same state before long.

For years people tried to help Mary, but she wouldn’t let anyone inside.

In addition to the unsanitary conditions described above, there were issues with the utilities and the pipes had burst due to insufficient heat. Mary had no water in her home for 3 years. The hydro in the kitchen was not working; therefore the food in the fridge had rotted, and she was unable to cook.

kitchen afterkitchen before









Circumstances unfolded in such a way that Mary was removed from her home and hospitalized. With much pain it was discovered that Mary had a fractured hip; she then had surgery and went to rehab.

Mary had been sleeping sitting up in a lazy boy chair for years, so a bed was purchased and placed on the main floor until such time as she is strong enough to do the stairs.

Several organizations were involved in this case, including Gate Keepers, Public Health, the Fire Marshall, a plumber, and an electrician.  Mary was not allowed to return home until health and safety standards were met.

That’s when Be Clutter Free was called in. Our team of five spent seven days in Mary’s home, during which time we removed three bins of soiled and contaminated items.  We were also careful to arrange the  furniture in such a way that everything was easily accessible for her when she returned to her home.

living room before & after

It was very rewarding to restore Mary’s home to a clean and safe environment where she continues to live independently. Mary is very happy to be home.

To see more photos of this project, please check out our Facebook page.  And while you’re there, be sure to “Like” us or leave a comment!

Get to Know Your Community Care Access Centre

Community Care Access CentreIf you’re a senior, or are caring for a senior parent or other family member, there will probably come a day when you need some extra help. Talk to your doctor, and he or she will make a referral to your local CCAC, or Community Care Access Centre.

The CCAC staff has access to a wide range of community services to help you or your loved one continue living independently or explore other options such as retirement homes, long-term care homes, or supportive housing.

When you contact their office, you’ll be introduced to a case manager, who will talk with you about your needs, conduct a health care assessment, and answer any questions you may have. They’ll then develop a plan that’s customized to meet your specific needs.

That’s where we come in.

If the case manager believes that you can stay in your home, we can assist by making the recommended home modifications and providing or arranging for any additional support services you may require.

If it’s not practical for you to remain at home, we can help you through the entire downsizing process, from deciding what belongings to take with you to coordinating your move to helping you settle into your new residence.

If you’re not ready to contact the CCAC, take our free questionnaire and we’ll be happy to help you evaluate your situation.

What Are Active Adult Living Communities?

Seniors in the Hot tubWhen it comes to downsizing your home, there are many options and it can be confusing to figure out which one is right for you. My guest blogger today will shed some light on one of those options.

When you hear the term ”retirement community,” what comes to mind? I think of a place that isn’t exactly what I would call exciting unless you like to be able to hear a pin drop.  I think retirement communities have a stigma attached to them.  However, when you hear the term “active adult living communities,” how does that sound?  Probably a lot better huh?  Now before you start thinking that it is merely a matter of semantics and that “retirement communities” and “active adult living communities” are the same thing, think again.  They are vastly different.

What Are Active Adult Communities?

I think one of the main stigmas associated with retirement communities is the reality that you need assistance and are in some way dependent on someone else’s care.  With that being said, that is primarily what distinguishes active adult communities from retirement communities.  The residents are independent of anyone else’s care.

So, the real question is, “Why would someone want to live in an active adult community?”  The answer is simple: lifestyle.  These communities offer a resort-style lifestyle.  First of all, you own your own property just like you would normally, but these “resorts” offer certain amenities that you would certainly not see in your average neighborhood.  Everything from mini golf, to private movie theatres, to dancing, private gyms, swimming pools, etc. can be found in these communities.  You name it, and you can probably find it at these communities.  Also, they are typically located near medical facilities.

Who Are These Communities Designed For?

Typically you must be 55 years of age or older to “get in” to one of these communities.  Also, given that the residents are expected to be independent, you want to make sure that “independent living” is something that is of interest.  Also, because of the many amenities that are included in these resort-style communities, they are very well suited for children.  So, if you have grandchildren, they will certainly love coming to visit.  So, remember, when you imagine these communities, it’s not about giving up your dependence, it’s about entering into the retirement lifestyle that you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Added Benefits to Living in an Active Adult Community

I realize that selling the home you raised your kids in to move into a foreign community may seem like a difficult choice to make, but here are some added benefits to doing so:

Sense of Community

It becomes more difficult to meet and make friends as we get older, however, since most people in these communities will be of a similar age as you, socializing becomes all that much easier.

Smaller Homes

Let’s face it.  If it is just you and your spouse, you don’t need as much space as you did when you were raising your kids.  The home styles offered at these communities will be a perfect fit for just the two of you.

Less Yard Maintenance

Many of these communities provide, via their Home Owners Association, lawn service, snow and ice removal, garden upkeep, etc.

Brandon enjoys writing about active adult living communities like

Photo ©Amy Muschi / Depositphotos

How Will You Spend Your Last 3 Decades?

Today we can expect to live at least 30 years longer than our great-grandparents. That’s another half a lifetime!

In a presentation she gave at TEDxWomen in 2011, Jane Fonda referred to these years as “life’s third act” and described them as a time to rediscover and reinvent ourselves. Watch this video to see the entire presentation (it will take approx. 11 minutes):

Fortunately, today there are a lot of resources available to help you spend those last three decades just the way you’d like. Some builders are even designing houses that adapt to your changing needs as you age!

Although a new custom-built house is probably beyond the reach of most of us, many adaptations can be made to your current home to allow you to continue living safely and independently. This includes items such as built-up toilet seats, grab bars, tub chairs, and much more.

And if you’re having trouble climbing stairs, like Jane Fonda – we can help you with that too.

For your free, no obligation consultation, please email us or call 905-971-9568.

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 –