Elder law is a fairly new legal field. It differs from most other areas of practice, which are typically based on a type of law (civil vs. criminal cases, for example) instead of a particular type of client (usually elderly, but also younger people with special needs). Elder law attorneys work with a number of legal areas, including:
- Long-term care planning
- Government benefit programs (Medicare/ Medicaid/Veteran’s benefits)
- Advance health care directives • Powers of attorney
- Competency and mental health Issues
- Estate planning
- Elder abuse (physical, emotional and financial)
- Asset protection
- Tax law
- Age discrimination
- Retirement and/or pensions
- Trust planning (including special needs trusts)
- Contract law (for example, reviewing a continuing care retirement community’s contract)
If you think you need more information on Elder Law Attorneys, you may want to consider the following websites:
For your FREE ADVICE on
“The 10 Questions you Should Ask an Elder Law Attorney”,
Select this link:
10 Questions to Ask An Elder Law Attorney
Do You or Your Parent Need a
Senior Real Estate Specialist?
Contact your SRES, Anne Rossley, TODAY!
Chicago Seniors –
February 3 is the deadline
for saving on your 2015 Property Tax Bills!
Perhaps the greatest obstacle in seniors taking the step to downsize, or “right-size” is being overwhelmed with the vision of organizing/moving their lifetime of treasures.
This week, the New York Times wrote an article about this problem, and the use of organizers and senior move managers was discussed. (read entire article here).
There have been professional organizers around for a while. Using one can be a lifesaver! We hired one when we moved from the Gold Coast to Ravenswood (I was in Paraguay at the time- Tom was working his full time job AND managing the move AND our 1 year old Thomas!). She was terrific – we were very grateful for her help.
If you’re interested in finding a great home organizer, I can refer you to one, or you can look at the website for the National Association of Professional Organizers – NAPO (see website here).
Association of Senior Move Managers
The article also talked about the Association of Senior Move Managers. I knew very little about this group, but was immediately intrigued.
I read a terrific article (read it here) which described what they do and why you should hire one:
1. Eliminate the potential for exploitation of seniors.
2. Downsize your aging parent’s home in an organized and dignified manner.
3. The aging parent feels in control of the moving process.
4. Move managers are often like a general contractor.
5. Eliminate stress on the family.
6. Move managers have useful tricks-of-the-trade up their sleeves.
Chicago Senior Move Managers
I immediately searched for a local Senior Move Manager, and behold! One lives just around the corner!
I met Marnie Dawson for coffee, and we had a great chat. I learned that she’s been in the business since 2006, and has helped many people with their moves.
Marnie’s business, Dawson Relocation, incorporates the best of home organization with tips and tricks for an efficient, well-priced move. Marnie helps with estate moves, as well as seniors who are “right-sizing”. She works with both the seniors AND their adult children, helping everyone make the move as stress-free as possible.
Marnie is delightful to be around, and she has a great command of this real estate niche. After spending an hour with Marnie, learning about her business, her mission, and her past experiences, I am going to recommend her to families looking for help with moving. She is a great asset to your Senior Moving Team!
First Steps in Moving
If you (or your parents) are considering downsizing, or “right-sizing”, the first step should be to call your Senior Real Estate Specialist, Anne Rossley. We’ll develop a plan for making the next step a stress-free and enjoyable transition!
Happy Senior Citizens Day!
I became a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) several years ago, and I’m finding this designation to be very helpful in my real estate practice.
As I became older, and as my mother began making choices about where to live after age 75, I saw the importance of incorporating the specialized training and resources necessary to help clients of 50 and older with their real estate choices.
I’m finding the expertise beneficial all the time – for friends who are trying to help their aging parents. and as they, themselves, are beginning to plan for their retirement.
Whether aging in place, downsizing, or moving to an active senior community- an SRES Realtor is best equipped to help clients make a smooth and successful real estate transaction.
The SRES Website describes the benefits this way:
A Seniors Real Estate Specialist® is experienced and knowledgeable in meeting your specific needs and that can make all the difference in the world.
As we age, we demand specialists in our health needs, so why not in our housing and equity needs as well? An SRES® brings:
- A customized approach to your situation, working to fit your living situation in with your overall life plan
- Expertise and patience throughout the transaction
- An awareness of options and a network of solid, reliable referrals to help you in the process
- A variety of choices to reduce out of pocket expenses, gain cash, or create or defer income streams to either stay independent or obtain financial assistance
A recent New York Times Article explains the specialty in their recent article, “Real Estate Agents for Older Adults are Part Broker, Part Therapist.” (an aside- I believe this is true for all real estate transactions, not just for older citizens!) Mentioned in the article are the following points:
- The huge emotional experience of selling one’s lifetime home (this often creates an identity crisis of sorts),
- The senior’s denial of the need for supervision/health care, due to illness, memory challenges, and/or frailty,
- Today’s popular desire for “aging in place,” where seniors live in their own residences independently, and
- Family relationship stresses – adult children wanting to help, often from miles away- with senior parents unwilling to take the “suggested” next steps.
I have helped several seniors as they sort through belongings, sell their lifetime home, and move into the next phase. It’s an honor to help my friends’ parents, my neighbors, and new senior clients as they navigate this transition.
If you have any questions about your own situation, or your parents’ future move, please call me and let’s talk!
Social Security Anniversary – August 14, 1936
In a time when we wonder if Social Security benefits will be available for our children, I find it interesting to review the historic documents and “sales pitch” made to get Americans to take advantage of the Social Security benefits. Sometimes we forget that the depression/soup kitchen environment of our parents made the Social Security Administration a popular notion for supporting our aging Americans.
I strongly believe that we should act courageously to update the system for today’s economic times — this is NOT the America of 1936. The Act needs to be updated for the 2020’s and beyond!
This anniversary special is brought to you by your Seniors Real Estate Specialist,
“On August 14, 1935, the Social Security Act established a system of old-age benefits for workers, benefits for victims of industrial accidents, unemployment insurance, aid for dependent mothers and children, the blind, and the physically handicapped.”
Taken from the National Archives
Historic Social Security Facts – 1965
Historic Chicago Soup Kitchen
“During the Great Depression preceding the passage of the Social Security Act, “soup kitchens” provided the only meals some unemployed Americans had. This particular soup kitchen was sponsored by the Chicago gangster Al Capone.”
First Social Security Poster – 1936
This is a picture of a few of the hundreds of cardpunch operators SSA employed throughout the late 1930s and into the 1950s to maintain Social Security records in the days before the advent of computers.
Historic Photo – Signing the Social Security Act
August 14, 1936
1. Rep. Jere Cooper (D-TN). Cooper was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and would go on in subsequent years to become something of an expert on Social Security topics and he was a major force in Social Security legislative developments during the 1940s to the mid-1950s. Mr. Cooper also rose to the position of Chairman of the Ways & Means Committee during the Eighty-fourth and Eighty-fifth Congresses.
2. Rep. Claude Fuller (D-AR). Fuller was a member of the Ways & Means Committee and was generally opposed to the Administration’s bill. During Committee consideration he made motions seeking to strike key provisions of the legislation. But when his efforts failed, he compromised with the Administration and joined in voting for passage of the bill.
3 . Rep. Robert Doughton (D-NC) was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. As such he was the principal official sponsor of the legislation in the House.
4. Rep. Frank Buck (D-CA) was a second-generation industrialist and fruit grower from California. He was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, which had jurisdiction of the bill in the House. He graduated from Harvard Law School and served five terms in Congress, from 1933 until his death in 1942. (Representative Buck has often been misidentified in photos of the signing as being Edwin Witte. Witte, in fact, was not in the signing photographs.)
5. Rep. John Boehne, Jr.(D-IN) succeeded his father as a representative from Indiana. He was first swept into office in the 1932 elections with President Roosevelt and strongly supported FDR’s programs. At first, he was against the Social Security bill and wanted to exempt industrial employers with their own pension systems.
6 . Sen. Robert Wagner (D-NY) was born in Germany, immigrated to New York City, attended law school and was elected to the Senate in 1926. He served four terms. He was a close associate of Frances Perkins and helped draft several early New Deal measures. Wagner introduced the bill into the Senate. His son, Robert F. Wagner, was mayor of New York City for 16 years.
7 . Sen. Alben Barkley (D-KY) was a seven-term Congressman before being elected to the Senate in 1926. By 1937, he was Senate Majority Leader and a decade later, Vice President of the United States. He was an ardent New Dealer and helped shepherd the Social Security Act through the Senate. He argued for “a universal and uniform program in general.” He didn’t want to exempt certain private groups merely because they already had pension systems, as was proposed by some conservatives in the Congress.
8 . This individual is presently unknown.
9 . Sen. Robert LaFollette, Jr., (PROG-WI) was the eldest son of Robert LaFollette, a progressive Senator from Wisconsin and one-time presidential candidate. When his father died in 1925, Robert Jr., then only 30 years old, was appointed to succeed him. Initially elected as a Republican, LaFollette changed his party affiliation to the Progressive Party in 1934. LaFollette served on the House-Senate conference committee that drafted the final version of the Social Security bill. He served in the Senate until 1946, when he was defeated by Joseph McCarthy. In 1953, LaFollette committed suicide in Washington, D.C.
10 . Rep. John Dingell, Sr. (D-MI). Rep. Dingell was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He was a prominent leader in Congress in sponsoring social insurance legislation and teamed with Senator Wagner he authored a couple of important precursor bills to the Social Security Act. (Several authors have identified Dingell as “unidentified man” in some versions of the signing photo.)
11. Sen. Augustine Lonergan (D-CT) was a native of Connecticut and a graduate of Yale University. Although he was a four-term Congressman, he served only one term in the Senate. During the discussions on the Social Security bill, Lonergan gave information about various private insurance annuities to show how they compared to the social insurance program that was being proposed.
12 . Frances Perkins was appointed Secretary of Labor in 1933, making her the first woman to hold a cabinet-level position. Like FDR, she was a child of privilege, but became a strong advocate for the poor and working class. She began her career in New York City as a social worker and held several responsible State government jobs. She served as head of Roosevelt’s Committee on Economic Security, set up in 1934. The Social Security legislation sprang from this committee.
13. Rep. Frank Crowther (R-NY) was a Republican member of the House Ways & Means Committee;
14. Sen. William H. King (D-UT). King was a conservative Democrat and member of the Senate Finance Committee. King expressed persistent opposition to many features of the bill as it was being considered, and his support of the legislation was in doubt until the last possible minute. In the end, he voted for passage of the Social Security Act. (Senators King and Harrison have often been confused in the signing photos, including,we are embarrassed to admit, in SSA’s own OASIS magazine. Clue: King has a bowtie, Harrison has a regular long tie.)
15. Rep. David J. Lewis (D-MD) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and was probably the leading expert on social insurance legislation on the Committee. It was Lewis, a former coal miner and self-taught lawyer, who introduced the Social Security bill into the House on January 17, 1935. However, Chairman Doughton, exercising what he took to be the Chairman’s privileges, made a copy of Lewis’ bill and submitted it himself. Then he persuaded the House clerk to give him a lower number than Lewis’ copy. Newspapers then began calling the bill “The Wagner-Doughton bill.” When Lewis found out, he sputtered and swore, then went to work to understand every sentence and master the arguments in favor of the bill. And when David Lewis walked down the aisle of the House to debate on the bill’s behalf, he received a standing ovation–a subtle rebuke to Chairman Doughton’s high-handed treatment.
16 . Sen. Byron Patton “Pat” Harrison (D-MS) was a Congressman for 8 years before being elected to the Senate in 1918. In his book “The Development of the Social Security Act,” Edwin Witte gives Harrison credit for his “adroit” handling of the Social Security bill in the Senate Finance Committee. According to Witte, Title II would not have been approved by the Committee without Sen. Harrison’s help. Harrison went on to serve in the Senate for the rest of his life and was elected President pro tempore 6 months before his death in June 1941. (In other versions of the signing photo, Sen. Harrison can be more clearly seen wearing a white suit and tie and holding his trademark cigar.)
17. Sen. Joseph Guffey (D-PA) was 65 years old at the time the Social Security Act was passed, although he was only a first-term Senator. From Pennsylvania, he served two terms before being defeated in 1946. His vote on the Social Security bill was in doubt until the final roll call.
18. Senator Edward Costigan (D-CO), a member of the Finance Committee.
19. Rep. Samuel B. Hill (D-WA) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee.
20. Rep. Fred Vinson (D-KY) was a member of the House Ways & Means Committee. He would go on to serve as Secretary of the Treasury and as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
21 . President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
NOTE: For more biographical information on any of the members of Congress see the U. S. Senate Biographical Directory of the United States Congress on the Senate website
Top 10 Things to Consider
when Choosing Senior Living Facilities
For those who are considering retirement communities instead of aging in place, Elizabeth O’Brien, in her NextAvenue article, recommends you do significant research, and beware the 10 things that these communities won’t tell you:
1. They’re hard to tell apart – there are “want-driven” active communities, and then there are the need-based facilities, with independent, assisted, and nursing care step-up programs.
2. There’s no “doctor in the house”.
3. Look beyond the fresh facade- e.g. what’s staff turnover like, what do the halls look like when it’s not “tour day?”,
4. Prepare for price increases and add-on services,
5. Realize that you may not be the ultimate decision-maker about when it’s time to move on – when you’re too frail to stay, they’ll give YOU notice!
6. Be careful not to become responsible for your parent’s bills (unless you’ve decided to take this on),
7. They prefer NOT to take Medicaid,
8. It’s hard to find TRUE quality ratings on these facilities- there’s not a great “Consumer Reports” or “Yelp!” for seniors (perhaps a new business venture?!)
9. Since “every night is “Saturday night”, STD rates are climbing at active senior developments- there’s more to do than just golf and bridge- just make sure to get regular health screenings!
10. Some of the fees may be tax-deductible – if they’re legitimate medical expenses, be sure to claim them on your tax returns.
This is not, of course, a comprehensive list. I think it’s a great article, however.
If you have other revelations to help find the perfect home for your aging parent, please leave your comments here.
For all issues relating to
senior real estate, aging in place, or
finding your empty-nester dream home, contact
Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as they age.
Of course, in order to do this, the home safety factors need to be address. One fall, for example, could result in a total loss of independence and force a love-one OUT of their home. Here are some ideas for making aging in place a safe option for your seniors:
for aging in place:
Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs, because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. If area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability. Footwear: to preent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers or socks. Non-skid safety strips: adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats. Bathroom grab bars: ideally, these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible, opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub. Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach. Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.
for aging in place:
Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with a flexible hose.
Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet- a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
Mail catcher: mail delivered via a mail slot ay be easier to retrieve than from a mailbox, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick mail off the floor.
Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn Likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
Eating: specially-designed ups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, may offering non-slip bright handles and bright, attractive colors.
Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to access locations
Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.
You can count on your SRES
to guide you through the process of buying and/or selling your home,
making the transaction less stressfull and more successful!
Links for more tips and products for aging in place:
Today was an empty-nester real estate day.
Empty Nester Buyers
I took clients out to look at condos — they’re thinking of selling their historic home to move into a vintage condo on Lake Shore Drive – probably in Lakeview. Here’s what we saw…
2920 N Commonwealth
1. 2920 Commonwealth – 3 bedroom right behind St Joseph’s –
- Lovely east view of Lake Michigan, if you don’t mind looking at the hospital parking lot
- Great condition, if you like the fake stone around the doorways- added to remind you of the original stone in the building
- Parking garage in the building, however it will be at least one year until the new owner gets to park in the building, since there aren’t as many parking spots as total units
2. 433 W Briar — Just south of Belmont and east of Sheridan Road — 2550 square feet
- Front of the building, but north facing unit can feel dark, especially on the 2nd floor
- Again, parking not available in the building
- Doesn’t have the grand feel of the Lake Shore Drive condos
3. 3500 N Lake Shore Drive 9D – co-op building 4 blocks north of Belmont
- East facing 3 bedroom unit- lovely views of Belmont Harbor
- Totally renovated with painstaking detail – to the point of removing, stripping, and replating hardware!
- Gracious unit – 2400 square feet, but one bedroom short for my clients
We’re going out again tomorrow — stay tuned!
Want to see what’s available in vintage condos and co-ops near Lake Michigan in Lakeview?
Empty Nester Sellers
At Mariano’s, I ran into one of my favorite clients, who sold her home to move into The Admiral.
She’s been there 2 years now, and reported that she’s thrilled that she made the move. This was particularly good to hear, given she’s one of those people who’s spry and young at heart – some might think she jumped the gun a bit.
The only thing she said she misses a bit is her kitchen – she did have a glorious Crown Point-high end kitchen!
Her advice to all – “Don’t die in your house! This is way too much fun!”
I truly enjoy seeing clients who are happy with the moves that they’ve made!!
Check out your choices for being an empty nester!
Get advice in helping your parents decide where to go next!
Baird & Warner
When we Chicago Seniors (and as I’m over 50, I have to include myself in this group!) enjoy a winter such as this one, when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow (as he did yesterday), and when I see Facebook posts from far away Shangri-La destinations,
then the old question rings in my head…
Where are the best places to retire?
And how soon can I go there?!?!
Twenty years ago, when we were adopting Thomas from Costa Rica, Everyone was touting Costa Rica as THE place to go – no taxes on unearned income, tropical paradise, eco-adventures, great fishing and surfing…
La Paz Waterfall
We checked out a few places, but raising a family (and saving for college) was more important than purchasing land in a far away land.
We visited Costa Rica whenever we could, and we dreamed of the time when we’d launch our kids and move near beaches with Mojitos and Cabanas.
Retire Outside the U.S.
A recent article by Kathleen Peddicord in US News listed the best places to retire outside the United States – based on what’s most comfortable, affordable, convenient and rewarding for seniors.
Her top 5 Retirement Spots for Seniors:
5. Chiang Mai, Thailand
4. Cuenca, Ecuador
3. Ambergris Caye, Belize
2. Languedoc, France
1. Coronado, Panama
Costa Rica was NOT one of them… Hmmm…
Read the entire article here – select this link
Follow Kathleen’s blog – Live and Invest Overseas for more on senior retirement outside the U.S.
Like Winter? Invest in a Ski Resort!
A recent article by Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine lists the top ski resort investment opportunities. Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish, Montana leads the list.
The Top 5 Resorts:
5. Jackson, WY
4. Avon, CO
3. Vail, CO
2. Truckee, CA
1. Whitefish, MT
My Chicago Senior neighbor (and I mean senior – 76 years old!) – spends as much time in Steamboat Springs as he can, skiing away. When in Chicago, he teaches skiing at Wilmot. He was smart- he bought his ski retirement property a long time ago — when he was young. He’ll be skiing at least another 15 years, knowing him. Way to go, Joe — you’re my idol!!!
Not interested in owning, but an inexpensive vacation in a reasonably priced condo is appealing? Check out my brother’s condo in Winter Park, Colorado — ask for the “sister discount!”
See the entire list of ski resort investment recommendation by selecting this link.
Regardless of where,
Regardless of why,
Invest in Real Estate for Retirement!
1. Gain more leverage
2. Grow Tax-Free
3. Tax Free Cash-Flow
4. Tax Write-offs against other income
5. Rental Real Estate is a forced retirement plan
These 5 benefits are described in the recent article by Mark Kohler in Entrepeneur.
Where do Foreigners Invest?
Interestingly enough, of the top 6 places FOREIGN INVESTORS choose to purchase real estate, 5 are in the United States –
See the CNBC video and read the article here: Select this link
Other links of interest for Chicago Seniors thinking of retirement:
Where famous expert recommend you invest
Milken Institute’s Best Cities for Successful Aging
10 Best Small Cities to Retire In
10 Low-Cost Cities for Retirement
Top 10 REITs for 2014 — Select this link
Whatever stage of life you’re in,
when you need to evaluate your real estate holdings,
when you want to learn how much equity you have in your home(s),
your Chicago Senior Real Estate Specialist!
What are the latest technological innovations that help seniors?
What are the best gifts we can give our Senior Parents?
While looking online for gifts for my mom, searching for top technology for seniors, I stumbled across some interesting articles …
Useful Gifts for Seniors
- OXO Kitchen and consumer products company whose products are created with Universal Design in mind – for young and old, righties and lefties, as well as those with disabilities. I always knew I liked these products, but I didn’t realize their design mission.
Technology for Seniors – Best Gifts
HomeCare, the leading magazine or home care professionals, lists the following products in their recent online article (see article in its entirely by selecting this link):
BeClose – sensors in home help you make sure your loved one is moving around easily, and alerts you when they may need help.
Fitbit lets us all see our activity levels, motivating us all to stay active!
The GrandCare System also includes wireless transmitters, but it provides opportunities for socializing, media, and entertainment systems.
GreatCall – This is a personal 911 system like OnStar — it can also be used with the Jitterbug phone (an easy to use phone for seniors, particularly those with vision or hearing problems).
Independa augments traditional caregiving by providing fully integrated, cloud-based solutions including a caregiver web application, a rich set of telephony-based solutions, comprehensive solutions for social engagement and health, environmental and activity monitoring.
MobileHelp, the Anywhere Help Button, is a GPS mobile personal emergency response system.
TabSafe is an online medication helper
Telikin is a large table device, pre-loaded with apps forvideo chat, photo sharing, e-mail and other popular features.
TV Ears helps people with hearing loss hear the television clearly without turning up the volume.
telyHD delivers high-definition (HD) Skype video calls directly to an HDMI-compatible TV.
Technology for Seniors – Another Top 10 List
Money Magazine lists its top 10 Favorite Technology Items for Seniors, but based on my experience, these are, for the most part, too techo-forward for my 81 year old mom:
- Windows7 — mom doesn’t know she has Windows 7 — we install it for her
- Goggles from Google –– really? who’s 80+ year old parent is playing with this?
- Mindflex from Mattel — really really?
- Ion — who cares?
- Roku — great device, but she forgets how to work it
- Silhouette — I don’t understandthe purpose of this one!
- Wii — perhaps if the grandkids brought it and set it up for them…can’t see mom bowling – she’d break a hip!
- Flip — she’d much rather GET videos than create them
- I-Tunes — we load the tunes for her — it’s not much more than a digital player
- Nook E-Reader — We got her the Kindle — Now THIS is my favorite Senior Gift!!!
No one knows better than you what to buy your senior.
But, when it comes to getting real estate advice
for your senior loved ones, contact
Baird & Warner
Your Senior Real Estate Specialist!