R.A.Koyama

Live Well, Live Happy, Live Long

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Dealing with Family treasures

Make sure Family Treasures are more than just STUFF

 

well loved but the need has faded

Dying is the last thing most of want to think of let alone talk about, but there are just somethings that need considering.  Some of those things are what I wrote about in my newest book A guide to dealing with family treasures so your kids won’t have to – Clean your house before you go.

 

No, the book isn’t all doom and gloom about dying and who gets what.  Well, there is a little of that but mostly is it about getting rid of all the baggage and stuff we accumulate over a hopefully long life.  The younger we are, and when I say younger I’m thinking under 70, when we do this the easier it is and will be for everyone.  Just to give you and idea on what need looking after here is a short chapter from the book:

Your beloved, treasured Antiques are now just old stuff

Older isn’t necessarily Better

 

Now on to the wonderful days of garage sales, where you found a once coveted lace table cloth.  If you were once one of those happy individuals, it’s time to give up old habits.  I have on our property a Sea Can full of antiques and garage sale finds that an old friend asked us to keep when she moved out of the country.  What she hoped would be her stash for cash when she needed it has become an albatross around her neck.  She finds there is no longer a market for it.  In addition, where we live out in cow country with nary a neighbor for miles nor a place where garage sales are held, she has little hope for making a killing on it.  As we are now making plans to move to a smaller house closer to the city, she is challenged to find a way of getting rid of it from afar.

 

Another thing for you to remember is that if the desire for antiques is declining, and I know in some places it is not, but in general they are, what will the kids who may not have room for them do?  There comes that guilt again. They will have already gone through whatever guilt comes with losing a loved one, and now those feelings will return.  It is far easier for us to think that someone will want and cherish the family heirlooms.  In some place, they most definitely still do; the question is, will they have a place for it?

Minimalism Is In

 

Look at some of the designer magazines or even some of the house flipping shows.  Most have clean, sleek lines with no oversized bulging china cabinets.  Showcases have been replaced with stylish display shelves that won’t hold a collection of heavy vases or porcelain dolls.  Some looks don’t include dressers, as they opt for closets with built-ins and sliding doors behind which are rods and drawers all neatly placed.

 

Perhaps, it is the time to rethink our way of living.  Minimalism doesn’t mean doing without, and since we do less of what we used to do, regarding entertaining, minimizing just a little shouldn’t be too much of a burden.

 

Home sized matters

 

If you or your family live in a big city, where homes are small and condos are even tinier, space is at a premium.  Most of the furniture we had is now way too big to fit in these places.

For storage, there simply is none.  When you think about what you are saving for the kids, keep these things in mind.  There is a lot more to leave behind than just stuff.  Check out my article on Leavings.

 

 

 

Staying Home in your 70s, 80s, and Beyond – Free Chapter

Defining “Staying Home”

 

Home is where you choose it

Home is where you want to be.

“Staying Home” in the context of this book, means staying in your home. Be it a house, condo, apartment, or mobile home (which was my mother’s chosen home until her 90’s) or whatever place it is that you choose to call “home”.

 

As we get older many people, friends, family consider that we are, or will quickly become infirmed, and be incapable of looking after ourselves and remaining in our home.  This becomes even truer if we have lost our partner and are now alone.

 

I am not saying these people are being mean spirited.  They have love and, concern for our well-being and, us but they see things from their perspective, not ours. They don’t live in our bodies and they don’t have our thoughts or our desires. They do, however, think they know what our limitations are.  Now in some circumstances, they may well know more than we do or we are willing to admit, but if that is the case then this book may not be for you. If your judgment is impaired in any way then I would suggest you read this book in consultation with someone who can explain what needs to be explained about the suggestions and, how they fit or do not fit your circumstance.  You need to be the judge.  If nothing else I hope you will be empowered by what you read to make an informed decision.

So what exactly does “Staying Home” mean to me?

Well when I think of really “Staying Home”, I think of living exactly where I am now.  I think of taking care of myself the way I do now.  I think of sleeping in my own bed, taking a shower when I want, eating when and what I want.  I also think of being aware of what I need to do in the areas of hygiene, eating, and safety. These days I also think of what I need to do to keep my life the ways it is now, and what changes I need to do to ensure I can stay here for a long time.  I don’t think I am alone in having the wish to also die in my home.  I often joke with my children, who sometimes don’t see the humor in it, that, my wish is to go to bed one night and wake up dead.  Their perception is a little different and they think I am wishing to die soon.  Of course,  at is not what I am saying at all, really what I mean is that when the time comes, and I hope that time is a long time in coming, I hope I can just go to bed in my home and of course die in my sleep.  I don’t think that is a death wish or unreasonable request.

The alternatives may not be the best choice

The alternative to “staying home” is to live either in someone’s home, a senior home or nursing home and living by someone else’s rules.  This is precisely what I do not what and I don’t really think many others do either. I also have not desire to live with any of my children and I would hazard a guess that is not what they would want either, not that we do love and care about each and if they had to would accept it.  I am just not yet and hope never to be prepared to accept a reversal of roles.

 

You can get the complete book by clicking HERE

The Hardest Conversation – Free Chapter

Wishes, Wants, and Reality

Parents and children often disagree, but they should not prevent giving and getting help when needed.

 

Choices

Different people, different wishes

All people no matter what their age or situation has wishes and wants and many of them are not based on reality.  Heck, I’m in my 70’s and while I wish I was younger and want to keep my youth, know that in reality, I need to just get on with living with what I have.  Your parents I’m guessing would be no different.

 

My Wishes may not be Your Wishes

 

What you need to realize is that many of their wishes may not be what you think they are or should be.  Everyone has deferent wishes but as we age we also recognize that our wishes are often just that “wishes”.  But these wishes at times often help keep our spirits up, they are like dreams.  We dream of what could have been and what may still be, but most of us are aware that dreams don’t always come true and sometimes that’s for the bests.

 

What I want may not be what You Want

 

Aside from the wishes, your parents have that may seem absurd to you, but you need to do your best to see things from their perspective and not yours.  For example, let’s just say the decision for your parents to downsize has been made and your parents want to take something with them. You now that this item is just too big for the new place, remember to let them figure that out.  Sure they may need your help to figure that out, but don’t just come out and tell them so. Even if they have to move it in and discover they have no room to move, the decision to remove it must be theirs.  You may share that fact that you think it may not fit and that if it doesn’t then they will need to be prepared for what they will then need to do.

Another example that comes to mind is when my sister wanted to move from the lovely condo she was living into a very small and old apartment building.  I certainly didn’t want her to do this, I couldn’t imagine why, the condo was big, new and very well kept.  Bottom line was she wanted to move because didn’t feel comfortable in the spacious condo because she and her husband had always lived in a quaint but small house up until he died. The condo felt empty and made her feel even more lonely.

What either of us wants may not fit with Reality, find out how to deal with this in the book – The Hardest Conversation.

 

 

 

Helping Aging Parents Make Difficult Decisions – Free Chapter

My Health is my concern, not yours

 

Aging Parents

Aging Parent

If that is not the case, it brings us back to that conversation being best served by having an understanding of your parent’s temperament.  If the conversation is started by suggesting it take place at the doctor’s office, you have already lost half if not all of the battle when it comes to talking about what the future should, could or will hold.  A conversation in this company will have already put the parent on edge and have them thinking you feel they are incompetent and that you need and support of the doctor to talk them into something they don’t want.  If you do in fact, need that support you will need to have a different conversation.  A conversation with the goal of getting your parents permission for you to discuss their health.

Ask for permission for Doctor Input

Doctors, as we age, become either our best friends or our biggest fear.  Sadly, too many of us as we age increasingly rely on medication to alleviate any and all aches and pains, both physical and physiological.   You will need to know what your parents’ feelings are with respect to their doctor and how that doctor is assisting them with their health care.

 

Once again temperament plays a big role in how all conversations will go. When it comes to health, the conversation should start with how they feel their health will be in the future and how it is now. Your goal here is to gain an understanding in a non-threating manner what your parent’s thoughts are when it come to their health.  This is not about the doctor’s opinion or your feelings. It is setting the stage for a conversation that may be the topic of a future conversation.

Speak of Now Not Tomorrow

 

When the conversation takes place, it is best started on what is happening now rather than just throwing out the doom and gloom of the future. It’s the age old question; which do you want first, the good news or the bad?  In this case always start with the good—how good your parents look, how something they are currently doing is a good idea.  To bring up the future, you need to tie it to the present.  For example: “Wow, Mom, you are looking pretty spry, those walks must be working.  How do you feel, do the walks make you feel more energetic?   Good, they say that is key to staying healthy.”  If your parents disagree that this has been helping them, they have opened the door for a talk about what they think could help them now and how they think it will change, for better or worse, as time goes on.

 

Keep the conversation focused on the now and let the parent direct it towards tomorrow and the future.  Doing so will help bring the true nature of the needed talk more easily into the conversation with much less stress for all parties.

 

In a nutshell, you talk about the good of today and let your parents introduce the potential changes of the future.  Use that introduction to speak of how things may change or need to change down the road, even if that road is just around the corner.

Do You Remember When Living required Less?

Do you remember when losing a family member seemed less complicated?

 

I would think many of us who have lived past the age of 60 has had to face the death of at least one or more loved ones.  These may have been our grandparents, or even aunts and uncles, but someone for whom we had great affection.  And even if we were not tasked with handling any of their affairs, we felt the pain of their loss.  Do you remember when an aunt, uncle or possibly one of your parents was standing there stoically accepting the heartfelt condolences of the people who had come to the funeral or as the call it these days “The Celebration of Life.”

Why was it that what was left when they were gone seemed much less that what is left from those we lose today.  Life in the times of our parents and grandparents seem to be lived with much less baggage.  Baggage in this context is stuff that we now seem to amass in greater quantities.

Having said all that, do you remember when the last time was that you considered what you could do to lessen the effect the loss of you might have on your children, family, and friends?

As we are blessed with living longer and the possibility of living in our homes until the end. Which one of my earlier books covered in details, the title of that book is Staying Home in Your 70s, 80s, and Beyond.

 

 

Cover-1

 

 

You can get a copy of that book by clicking HERE.

 

And while this is the wish we all have there is a downside.  We are also living with a lot more stuff.  Stuff that others will have to deal with.

 

 

Now may be better than later

 

For times like these, we often do our best to think of doing something later.  Well, later may not be that far away, so perhaps, now is a better time to consider what needs to be done.  When later arrives, we may not be capable of doing what we know should be done.  These should not be depressing thoughts.  We need to view them as something good we are doing for our families.  If we have negative thoughts about the things we should do and we are just downright disheartened to do, we should remember why we are doing them.    Our goal is to take care of things now, so they do not become a hardship for our families after we are gone.

 

Part of this post is an excerpt from my latest book – Clean Your House Before You Go.

Clean Your House Before You Go

New Book

Like it or not we are all going to leave one day.  When that time comes do we really want our kids to have to say good-bye over and over while they have to deal what we leave behind.

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