DYING, SURVIVING, AND AGING WITH GRACE


Not in that order
Resources on illness, death and dying, loss, grief, and positive aging

Selected Works

Enjoying the golden years
Including suicide and assisted suicide
Plus memorials and requiems
(resources for specific diseases, conditions, syndromes)
Narrative medicine (or medical narrative) Memoirs of illness, crisis, disability, differentness, and survival
Assisted living, nursing homes, cohousing, or living in place (with or without caregivers)

Downsizing, decluttering, moving, and other hard-to-face realities



Downsizing and decluttering


One weekend my friend Steve and I went shopping for a bookcase, so I could get a couple hundred books off the floor. A few hours later (!!!) Ikea delivered three long boxes of parts. I forgot the boxes were there and tripped over them on my way to the kitchen, nearly breaking my leg. Decluttering is not for sissies! I shall never be a minimalist, but we have to start somewhere. What to do when your home contains your stuff, your parents' stuff, and your kids' stuff and you're having trouble sitting down or finding things.
• The Burdens of Stuff (Sophia Dembling on why not to leave your children thousands of dusty, crumbling books)
• The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents' Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff by Julie Hall
• Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash-A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move by Vickie Dellaquila
• When Possessions Lead to Paralysis (Paula Span, The New Old Age, NY Times 9-16-10, on how family members can help family seniors deal with, and get rid of, the lifetime over-accumulation of "stuff")
• What Are Your “Broken Windows?" Here’s a List of Mine (Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project, Psychology Today, 2-21-13). “'Broken windows' are the particular signs of disorder that make me feel out of control and overwhelmed." Examples include unsorted mail, messy stacks of newspapers, shoes in odd places, cluttered counters, dirty dishes scattered around the apartment...." Gulp.
• Miss Minimalist (living a beautiful life with less stuff).
• How to Downsize Your Home Without Losing Your Mind (Alan Henry, Lifehacker 6-21-13)

• Run to the Roundhouse, Nellie and Clutter (Melissa Shook hires a decluttering expert to help her get her house in order. Here's the part I fear, as I start my own decluttering: "However, it takes two and a half days to recover from three hours of de-cluttering supervision."
• Learning and decluttering (Melissa Block, part 2.) Her posts on aging generally are delightful.
• The Best Decluttering Exercise (Tony, on We Only Do This Once)
• 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home (Joshua Becker, Becoming Minimalist). I especially liked this one: "Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. A simple task of locating 12 items to throw away, 12 items to donate, and 12 items to be returned to their proper home can be a really fun and exciting way to quickly organize 36 things in your house." This entry links to several other useful pages of organizing-and-tossing tips.
• 18 Five-Minute Decluttering Tips to Start Conquering Your Mess (Leo Babauta. Zen Habits)
• Be More with Less (Courtney Carver). Many, many entries, ranging from How to Delete Clutter from Your Email Inbox
• Out of Spite: Fifty Ways to Leave Your Clutter (Meg Wolfe, The Minimalist Woman). See also Project 333: Minimalist Wardrobe Challenge
• 365 Less Things. Here's a one-bite-at-a-time way to get started: Mini Mission Monday ~ Little Places A to-do list for one small project a day, such as "Declutter and tidy your medicine cabinet or similar storage" and "Declutter a bookshelf."
• Craigslist (Marilynne Rudick, WebOver50) "Craigslist has its lovers and haters. First the lovers: among them, my cousin who sold almost the entire contents of her house–even the junk–when she moved from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo."
• Decluttering advice from some 'experts' (Pat McNees)
• How to Declutter Your Home Fast
• Distractions from Decluttering (Melissa Shook)
• Why You Keep Abundance Clutter and How to Get Rid of It (About.com)

• Selling a Hoarder’s Home: The Trouble With Stuff (Constance Rosenblum, NY Times, 10-11-13) "Selling the home of a hoarder can be a challenge. You can't, for instance, stage it. But in a tight market, such places often sell quickly anyway."
"Hoarding is a complex emotional disorder defined as a fierce need to acquire combined with a paralyzing inability to get rid of things....An estimated 3 to 5 percent of Americans suffer from the condition, which in May was listed for the first time as a distinct disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Although not confined to the elderly, the problems associated with hoarding intensify with age."
• 10 Things You Should Know About Compulsive Hoarding ( Therese Borchard, PsychCentral)
• Hoarding disorder (Mayo Clinic). See Symptoms and Risk factors (including indecisiveness and social isolation).

If that is not enough, you will find more helpful materials through the blogrolls of the sites above.

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Organizing and dealing with
things and information


• The Senior Organizer: Personal, Medical, Legal, Financial by Debby S. Bitticks, Lynn Benson, and Dorothy Breininger
• The Things They Left Behind by Peggy Burds, owner of Emerald Estate Sales, First Personal Singular Column in Washington Post Magazine (10-17-10). She concludes: "If I keep something, it has to be extremely sentimental. Everything I own has a story: It may not have started out as my story, but when I chose to bring it into my life, it became part of it. We all write our own history, and our stuff is often the only thing left to tell that story. I don't want my story to be a bunch of junk that doesn't mean anything."
• The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents' Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff by Julie Hall
• Don't Toss My Memories in the Trash-A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move by Vickie Dellaquila
• Storage Solutions for Every Little Thing. Thanks to Linda Anderson (Getting Organized) on Pinterest for leads to several house-organizing suggestions.
• 33 Meticulous Cleaning Tricks For The OCD Person Inside You (Peggy Wang, BuzzFeed)
• 31 Ways To Seriously Deep Clean Your Home (Natalie Brown, BuzzFeed)
• 40 Days of Home Organization (Becky, Your Modern Family, 2-13-13). Start with the refrigerator.

• Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won't Have To by Melanie Cullen and Shae Irving
• If Something Happens to Me by Joseph R. Hearn and Niel Nielsen (a workbook to organize legal, financial, and insurance information)
• The Senior Organizer: Personal, Medical, Legal, Financial by Debby S. Bitticks, Lynn Benson, and Dorothy Breininger
• Documents you need to protect your own and your survivors' rights and wishes
• Document and information you should have available in an easy-to-find place
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Senior move managers and other specialists


• Emotions can swell as seniors pare down (Mary Ellen Podmolik, Chicago Tribune 11-22-12) Specialized movers ease the stress of downsizing
• This Is a Job for ‘Senior Move’ Managers (Bonnie DeSimone, NY Times, 10-24-06)
• Downsizing in Retirement
(Stan Hinden, from: AARP Bulletin Today, 4-20-11) The high cost of moving, both in money and angst.
• Finding Help in a Crisis Downsizing (Sid Kirchheimer, AARP Bulletin, 8-24-11) Senior move managers can help you unclutter a home and relocate, but you'll pay $40-$125 an hour
• As population grays, senior moving managers cater to relocation needs
• National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) People who use such services can spend $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the selections and nature of the move.
• Gentle Transitions (specializing in senior relocation)
• CRTS Certification The Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist (CRTS)® designation was founded in 2004 by industry members concerned with the lack of education and standards across the disciplines that support late life home transition, such as moving, downsizing or aging in place.® In 2011 CRTS came under the auspices of The National Certification Board for Alzheimer Care (NCBAC).
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• National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) People who use such services can spend $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the selections and nature of the move.
• Gentle Transitions (specializing in senior relocation)
• CRTS Certification The National Certification Board for Alzheimer Care (NCBAC) is the governing board for CRTS® and is committed to upholding the terms and conditions stated in the CRTS® Code of Conduct, Ethics and Professional Policies. NCBAC does not offer insurance for loss or damage, nor does it provide recommendations for any one Certificant.