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Question Any suggestions on resources or lists for how to make a home easier to move around/cook/bathe in and also safer as one gets older? Answer AARP has a terrific Homefit Guide -- Click on that and you'll find the landing page where there are numerous other links, resources, and worksheets you can download. You can download a copy of the Homefit Guide (or order a print copy to be mailed to you. You might want to do both, as the print copy has some great illustrations of options to make a home better and safer). The guide has super-simple things that you can do in each room of the house, including steps and stairways, bathrooms, laundry room, living room, bedroom, garage, outside, etc.    Just make your motto "safety first" and you'll do great!  But comfort and quality of life are also very important. For example, make sure you can comfortably put clothes in the washer and dryer. Front-loading appliances that raise up might be helpful.   I also included an entire chapter about caring for loved ones at home in my book, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving, and that chapter also includes info on who can help you assess the home in person. There is also a checklist for home modifications and "smart" (or universal) design.   Fall prevention is the first step -- and it's important to remember that means home modifications from simple things like clearing clutter and removing throw rugs, to increasing lighting, adding handrails, moving the laundry to the main floor, looking out for stray electric cords or other tripping hazards, changing the type of chair you sit in (one with arms and not too low is easier to get up out of. At some point a lift chair may be helpful too.), and also using technology like monitors and alerts and motion sensors.    A medical alert system (to detect falls or call for help), and one that includes GPS if going outdoors, is usually the first step for home safety. Here is my column about how to choose one: How Caregivers Choose a Medical Alert System.    A few other suggestions: First, we have a Care Guide just for this -- Help Caring for a Loved One at Home. This free guide that you can download can help you step-by-step with this transition.    We also have a document and video on how to prepare your home for safe mobility. And here's another great article on how to make your home safe.    Some other resources include:    
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Question We are selling my mom's house and I am not sure what to change her address to—the assisted living facility where she resides, or my address so I am sure to receive anything important. Thoughts? Answers It depends on a bunch of factors. A couple questions to ask include: Do you live near the assisted living facility and will be visiting her regularly to bring her "social mail"? Who takes care of her "business mail"—Does she handle her own checkbook, or do you take care of all of that?   You may decide to have important mail sent to your house to make sure it isn't lost and you can handle it promptly. But have social mail sent to her—greeting cards, newspapers, magazines, etc., if you don't visit her often.   If you have financial power of attorney (POA) or an agreement with your mom to help her pay the bills, I'd have the mail sent to you and then you can hand deliver personal mail when you visit (at least weekly).     If you have POA, like the others have said, make your address her legal address so all bills, tax documents, bank statements, brokerage statements, Medicare EOB, and anything from Social Security, etc., come to your address. This will be the address that you will use for her for tax document and anything legal.   You could give her Assisted Living address to friends and family who might want to write to her. Many assisted living places do not have a secured mailbox for the residents, so keep that in mind. Sometimes a resident may pick up the mail of others by mistake or because they have a mental impairment.     You probably need to change her address officially to your address on Medicare and Social Security. Sometimes this is a problem when picking a Medicare plan since they are by area. But if you are not very far from her, this is no big deal.   If there is a need, now or later on, she needs to add your name to the Medicare and Social Security file so that you can talk to them about any matter. If she becomes mentally incapacitated, you will have to become a Representative Payee on Social Security. This only means that you are authorized to spend this money for her benefit and will have to account for such with them. 
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Question My sister and I are struggling with juggling the caregiving schedule.  We both live an hour away from our mom and are looking for a way to share a calendar and a To Do List. It seems like there should be an easy-to-use tool for this. I'm not looking to recruit volunteers, etc. We just need to be able to look at the caregiver schedule and check in on our To Do List.   Any suggestions?  I haven't found anything online that looks user friendly.   Answer I wrote a column about this! "Apps to Help Caregivers Stay Organized" here on the AARP Family Caregiving website. Lotsa Helping Hands focuses more on coordinating a lot of volunteers, and CaringBridge has an emphasis on providing updates to a wide number of people who are following the care journey—but also has shared calendar and task options. Carezone is a bit more focused on managing various aspects of caregiving and includes a shared calendar and task list, as well as medication lists, automatic reminders, and many other features but you can choose to use just the features you want to use.   I'm partial to apps and sites that I can use both on my computer and on my phone and tablet. There are many "to do list" apps—I use Wunderlist for a task list, and you can create lists that you do then invite other people to, so they can also add tasks and also check off tasks. You can assign tasks to people as well. I use it for my personal, work and caregiving. For a calendar I primarily just use my iCal on my Apple products and send my sister mtg invitations and vice versa. Then we both have the appointments in our personal devices that we also use for the rest of our life. I have color coded so that I can easily see which appts are for me, those I'm caring for, work etc. Google calendar is very similar.   I provide more tips in my column, "6 Tips for Choosing Family Caregiving Technology"!  
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