Housing counseling for seniors

As of October 1, 2011, all Minnesotans interested in entering a registered housing with services setting, such as assisted living, must be offered a long-term care consultation before signing a lease.

The consultation is free through the Senior linkage line. I have had their logo and a link on the right sidebar of this site for several years. The Senior Linkage line and the Minnesota Board on Aging are some of the best senior resources that most have never heard of.

They also have a program where they help seniors who are in nursing homes move back into the community. The initiative expanded in 2018 because most seniors do not want to live in nursing homes. It would be hard to find someone who wants to be in a nursing home.

Moving into assisted living isn’t for everyone and it is very expensive. There are other options for those who need help at home, like in-home care. I have read a few articles that suggest middle-income seniors will not be able to afford any kind of assisted living in 2029 an beyond.

Last year I had a problem regarding my mother’s medical assistance that I was unable to resolve without help. I called the senior linkage line and they got on the phone with me as I talked to a third party.

They along with me advocated for my mother and the problem was quickly resolved. They knew what to say, how to say it and who to say it to.


Living with old people

Senior housing isn’t for everyone. In fact, most of the seniors I meet want to stay where they are. Several years my parents rejected any kind of senior housing

Swallowtail butterfly

because they did not want to live with old people. They were used to living in neighborhoods and condo complexes where there is a mix of young and old.

Senior housing comes in a couple of varieties. There is 55+ housing and there is 62+ housing. There could easily be a thirty or even forty year age range in 55+ housing but for some people living in a community like that isn’t a good fit.

Something to consider when contemplating a move to a senior community.

Not enough space?

I see the inside of maybe 300 homes a year. Many if not most homes do not have enough storage space, possibly because the occupants have too much stuff. That is why rental storage spaces have become so popular.

Storage lockers can be very handy for home sellers who can remove excess furniture and possessions from their house and store them.

When I needed to move my parents I rented storage space because it gave us some flexibility and time to figure out what to do with excess stuff. I just couldn’t make decisions fast enough as I prepared their home for sale.

Rented storage space is also nice for people who move often.

Personally, I think having less is best but that isn’t always easy to achieve.

storage lockers


Metro area in the top 20 for elder orphans

The term “elder orphan” keeps cropping up in information about senior housing. According to SeniorLiving.org, the Twin Cities are number 14 in the top 20

Swallowtail butterfly

larger cities that are “elder orphan” friendly.

I am sure you have seen the senior housing ads that feature two old people, one man and one woman smiling at each other as they enjoy some activity in senior housing.

The future doesn’t look that way for 25% of baby boomers who are single and childless.

Cities that are elder orphan friendly have affordable safe housing and an excellent transportation system and residents have access to health care. I would think that living close to siblings and friends might be helpful too.

Senior housing is still a vague term. It can mean 55+ condos or apartments or assisted living apartments or even skilled nursing facilities. For many baby boomers, senior housing means living in the same home they lived in when they were younger.

For many moving isn’t an attractive option which means it is unlikely that orphan elders will flock to the metro area to take advantage of the orphan elder friendliness.

Downsizing – getting started

A few years ago we decided it was time to downsize even though we don’t plan on moving. Getting started can be the hardest part. I have friends who have been getting rid of one item a day for years.

Deep cleaning and reorganizing one room or area at a time worked for me. Getting rid of one item a day did not work. Trying to do it all at once made it look overwhelming.

I got out a notebook and divided the entire house into areas and each area into sections. Each area was a single room and the sections in it were closets, drawers, chests of drawers or shelves.


Upstairs bathroom

  • Cabinet under sink
  • Medicine cabinet
  • Linen closet
  • Storage Closet

I scheduled some of the work for each month and then checked it off as I completed each section. In the process, I donated, recycled or sold about a third of our possessions. Items removed ranged from old clothing to extra sets of dishes, and cookware. My children took some of the furniture that belonged to their grandparents.

There were a few things that I was able to “upcycle” and give to friends and family members as gifts. My son has grandma’s old wooden folding chairs sanded and painted and now sitting on his front porch.

Part of the reason for getting rid of the excess is that I didn’t want my family to have to deal with it at some later date.  I feel strongly that each of us should be responsible for his or her own stuff but I know it mostly doesn’t work that way. People die and their heirs have to figure out what to do with the house and the stuff in it.

There is still some stuff in the basement that is being stored for various family members. My goal is to get the excess out of the basement before the end of the year.

Even though my house is smallish I now have plenty of storage space and some empty shelves and drawers.

I have clients who have started the downsizing process two or three years before their planned move. Downsizing is easier when it isn’t an emergency and we can do it on our own terms.

With each item, I remove from my house I have a little more space and feel a little bit freer.

Also, see get your Adult children leave stuff behind

Clean, declutter and eliminate

my socks don’t spark joy

Closure at the closing

In Minnesota, we close at the table.  Money is exchanged for keys and garage door openers and it often happens in a conference room with the sellers on one side of the table and the buyers on the other. There are other options for closings but they are not as fun.

Yesterday I attended a closing where first time home buyers bought a house from a couple who had owned the home for 43 years. They left the house immaculately clean and in good repair. They left a gift along with hoses, cleaning supplies, manuals, instructions, and warranties.

Buyers and sellers exchanged phone numbers and the sellers gave the buyers the names of nearby neighbors.

Even though the home buyers had to sign piles of papers promising to make payments on the 30-year mortgage and take care of the property it was a joyous occasion.

It was lovely to see one generation hand the keys to the next.


living room
Move in ready