When Your Senior Loved One Lives Far Away


By: Marie Villeza http://www.elderimpact.org/

Living far away from a senior loved one is difficult, especially if the senior suffers from Alzheimer’s or other serious medical conditions. You worry that your loved one may fall and break a hip. You wonder if the elderly family member is taking his or her medication.

At times, you may feel helpless because you want to do more to ensure an aging relative’s well being but you live too far away. If this describes your situation, consider helping your elderly loved one move into an apartment or assisted living facility so that he or she stays safe even when living far away from you.


Benefits of Downsizing When You’re a Senior

One of the best ways to ensure your senior loved one is staying safe and healthy is to help them move to a smaller home or assisted living facility. Older people with health problems often can’t care for large, rambling houses where they raised their children. They may not be able to go up and down steps anymore because of achy knees or feet.

If your loved one moves to a smaller home or assisted living facility, he or she doesn’t have to worry about extensive upkeep for a large house. Senior citizen apartments or condos provide lawn care and often housekeeping services. There may be medical professionals that check on the residents at assisted living facilities, ensuring that senior citizens take their medications.

These facilities cook all meals for residents and often provide social activities for them too.

If your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, assisted living facilities that cater to these kinds of residents offer close supervision and medical care as well.


Preparing to Move by Decluttering

It isn’t easy to sort through your belongings when you’ve lived in your home for decades. Cherished heirlooms, well loved furniture, knickknacks, photos and other assorted items provide countless memories to those who own them. They remind senior citizens of family and friends that passed away or significant achievements in their lives. In order to prevent your senior loved one from feeling overwhelmed, help him or her organize belongings to determine which to keep, donate or give away.

Of course this requires that you travel to your loved one’s home in order to help them. You may need to take a couple of weeks vacation to help your family member with the decluttering process. Visit the new home where your loved one will live so you can create a floor plan of the rooms. This will help you determine how much your senior family member can take to the new home.

The best way to accomplish this monumental task is to go room by room. Start with rooms that are rarely used, such as basements, attics or bonus rooms. Create three piles: a pile to take to the new home, a pile to donate to charity and a pile to give away to friends and family. By systematically going through each room, you and your loved one will stay focused on your decluttering task.

What if your loved one is having trouble making a decision about a certain item? Simply place the item in storage so your loved one can make a decision at a later time.

When you live far away from your aging family member, tough decisions have to be made. Should your family member move into a small apartment? Should your loved one reside in an assisted living facility? The answers differ depending on your loved one’s health and specific needs. Whatever you and your family member decide, by helping with the decluttering process  and locating a home perfect for his or her needs, you will ensure that the loved one enjoys a higher quality of life while passing through the Golden Years.


Social and Environmental Investing Impact

Social Investing 2Impact Investing is a growing trend for a number of reasons. One of them is to increase awareness of the environmental movement. TreeHugger, Grist, Dot Earth, EcoGeek, AutoblogGreen, Mother Nature Network – these are just a handful of the top green websites that have million of readers altogether. Today people are more informed about environmental and social issues than ever and many of them are committed to being careful about their consumer decisions to reduce negative impact and to do some good in the world.

Impact investing is exactly what these more-informed investors are doing, because as the term indicates, this investment approach focuses on supporting companies that are trying to respect the natural world and help workers be safe and healthy. In environmental terms, the effects of climate change are one of the main concerns. For an impact investor, certain breakthrough or disruptive technologies that are not fossil-fuel based would be obvious places to look for investment opportunities.

The first supporters of the electric car manufacturer Tesla would be examples of green impact investors, though some of them were probably looking first at return on investment. (Double Bottom Line was an early investor in Tesla.) Another example of this kind of investing is venture capital leader Khosla Ventures supporting energy storage start-up Liquid Metal Battery Corp.

So, what does this information have to do with individual investors who want to be impactful with their investments?  It gets a little confusing because there is a new financial tool that is being touted as a potential strategy for solving societal problems called the social impact bond. The idea is that investors with very large amounts of money – like Goldman Sachs – will invest in socially beneficial programs, and if these programs are successful, an entity like a city government that started the program will pay back the investment capital and a small return. Then all parties that participated in the social experiment will be satisfied, at least in theory.

So this type of impact investing is for very large institutions with potentially huge amounts of capital, but what is the individual investor to do? First, simply starting searching online and finding out about all the different opportunities can provide a great foundation. For example, there are peer-to-peer lending platforms – also called social loans – where you can loan someone in need a specific amount of money with an agreed upon interest rate. In this case, you would be functioning like a one-person lending institution. To make your loan socially impactful, you would choose to make the loan based on funding someone whose life would benefit most from it.

Secondly, there are investment opportunities like mutual funds like those offered by Green Century Funds. These funds invest only in companies with environmentally aware policies. Companies participating in weapons manufacturing, tobacco processing, paper pulping companies or ones that chop down huge swaths of forest are not included in these types of mutual funds.

Another example of such a mutual fund is managed by Calvert Investments. You can find them by Googling socially responsible mutual funds. There is also a website called SocialFunds.com, for more examples.

The Parnassus Workplace Fund is another example, because it only invests in companies that take care of their employees. The result of treating their employees well typically is less turnover, better employee performance and steady profits.

Impact investing can take a number of different forms. Capital is often thought as a single, large source of money usually owned by a bank, investment firm or government agency. However, each individual in society has a relatively small amount of her or his own capital, that when applied together, can produce large-scale results.