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Meet Our Resident ~ Shirley (Harmony Court Estate)

Shirley McLeod loves life at Harmony Court Estate, in fact in her own words, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” At 82 Shirley is Chair of the Resident’s Council, a position that allows her to consult with fellow residents and weigh in on decisions related to activities and practices in the warm, vibrant retirement community. “It’s just a really nice place to call home,” said Shirley, in an interview in August. “The people and staff here are really great. Everybody gets along. And there’s no shortage of activities to get involved in,” she says, citing exercise, crossword and cards as some of her favourite pastimes. Shirley was born in a small hamlet in Central Alberta called Red Willow. Some 80 Read More...

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Meet Our Resident ~ Shirley (Harmony Court Estate)

Shirley McLeod loves life at Harmony Court Estate, in fact in her own words, “I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” At 82 Shirley is Chair of the Resident’s Council, a position that allows her to consult with fellow residents and weigh in on decisions related to activities and practices in the warm, vibrant retirement community. “It’s just a really nice place to call home,” said Shirley, in an interview in August. “The people and staff here are really great. Everybody gets along. And there’s no shortage of activities to get involved in,” she says, citing exercise, crossword and cards as some of her favourite pastimes. Shirley was born in a small hamlet in Central Alberta called Red Willow. Some 80 years ago there were around 100 people in the small town but a more recent census shows that now just  Read More...

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Grandparents by any Name … are SPECIAL!

Grandparents are special. This sentiment was echoed repeatedly across the wide and varied sample of people I interviewed, asking them to share a grandparent story, a special tradition, or a treasured memory. The names people attach to their grandparents vary extensively, sometimes according to heritage - sometimes by favour. But the feelings of nostalgia, love and belonging were unmistakably universal. Here are just a few of the sentiments people shared:   Sydney’s Baba Baba has always played a huge role in my life, teaching me to bake and cook, to embrace nature (fields of canola, butterflies, ladybugs, worms even!), to appreciate the arts (music and live theatre), and to connect with people. She taught me the importance of believing in myself, being open and honest, laughing at myself, and diving deep for the pleasures and joys life has to offer.  Read More...

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Blended Families — The Importance of Cooperative Decision-Making

Recently at a celebration of a friend’s 50th birthday, I was surprised to learn that three of us at the gathering were in blended families and are experiencing tension related to family decision-making. Specifically, 10 per cent of us in the room had aging parents in second marriages, forcing a need for collaborative decision-making between adult kids and step kids. This, we agreed, can be tricky business. We also surmised that this business of merged family decision-making is on the rise, since a 2011 survey by Statistic Canada found that 43 per cent of marriages in Canada end in divorce. The agency stopped tracking marriage stats six years ago, and there are no real numbers on second or third marriages, but based on the trend, stepfamilies are now commonplace. Most of us agreed that while there can be many challenges  Read More...

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10 Little-Known Perks of Getting Old

It’s no secret, aging often comes with a heaping helping of grief, frustrations, and annoying limitations. But the truth is, getting old also comes with a fair number of benefits. Here are the Top 10 Perks I uncovered when I set out to discover what seniors like most about being exactly where they are in life.    1. “I no longer care what people think of me.” At 76, Marnie from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia offered this sentiment as her number one perk of aging. She went on to explain that for the first seven decades of her life she cared deeply what everyone thought of her. And now… well she really doesn’t care what anyone thinks – she only seeks the approval of her faithful old dog.   2. “I don’t need to know everything.” Ed from High River, Alberta was a  Read More...

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Estate Planning Part ll: What You Need to Know

In Part-One of this series we discussed the steps of creating an estate plan, the importance of having a will, and the practice of gifting assets while living. In this second part of the series on estate planning we will discuss the merits of life Insurance and what you can expect in terms of taxes when a loved one dies.   Life Insurance Most people understand the importance of having life insurance, but haven’t fully considered the important role it plays when it comes to estate planning. When a person dies, their life insurance can be used to:   Pay for final costs: Life insurance can be used to cover funeral costs and estate administration fees, pay medical bills not covered by insurance, offset taxes, and compensate for other expenses associated with death and dying. Pay off debt or replace income: Life  Read More...

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Estate Planning Part l: What You Need to Know

Let’s face it… estate planning is no one’s favourite topic. It takes time and thoughtful consideration, and there are costs associated with implementing an estate plan. However, this process is a critical part of protecting one’s life savings and assets and of paramount importance to people, especially as they age.   In this two-part blog series on estate planning we will discuss some of the pertinent aspects of estate planning, including: Creating an Estate Plan The Importance of Wills Gifting assets before death Life Insurance Taxes at Death    Creating an Estate Plan Over the course of a lifetime, most people amass a certain amount of wealth and assets, some more than others. Whether or not you consider your estate to be sizeable, it is yours, and you will no doubt want to ensure that in the event of your death,  Read More...

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How to Move Aging Parents: Packing and Preparing for the Sale

A move can create a great deal of stress for anyone at any age, but it’s especially challenging for aging people. If you have made the decision to relocate your elderly parents and this step involves selling their home, read on.   The following helpful tips are shared by a realtor who has many years of experience helping seniors prepare and sell their properties.   Packing up Treasures   If possible, give your parent(s) enough time to sort through their cherished possessions. This is an important part of the transition. Often it is not practical to take all the treasures they have been collecting, but these items may be important because they have memories associated with them. A good way to preserve the memories is to photograph their special items and either print the pictures and put them in a  Read More...

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How to Move Aging Parents: Engaging a Realtor

It can be a difficult process for families when the time comes to sell your aging parents’ home and transition them to a new living situation. If there are several family members involved in this process, there will likely be varied opinions and this may lead to family conflict.   Some realtors are particularly attuned to these challenges and can offer some advice to help pave the way for a smoother transition.   “When I meet with a family to discuss listing their parents’ home, I first ask to have a discussion with all relevant family members present, so I can get a sense for who is invested and what their feelings and expectations are,” says Bonnie Wilke, a 25-year CIR realtor. “This tends to mitigate the chances of misunderstandings and heartaches later.”   Bonnie encourages families to engage in  Read More...

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Appointments and Outings: Planning Ahead for Seniors

As your senior loved one ages, you may find that taking them out for appointments and outings can be a stressful ordeal for them, and for you, if you are not properly prepared.   Are Conditions Optimal? In some instances, your best course of action may be to cancel an appointment or outing if the conditions before you are not optimal. Consider that while it may not be common practice for you to alter your plans for reasons such as ominous weather, poor road conditions or ill-health, seniors are a different story. They can be fragile and easily flustered and something as basic as a blustery day or the onset of a cold can be just enough reason to justify a change in plans.   All Systems a Go If you do plan to venture out, consider the following: Ensure  Read More...

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Managing Finances: Appointing your Powers of Attorney

As people age, giving up power over important life decisions can be a struggle. Often this transition is tied to denial that a person is experiencing confusion, or noticing a diminished ability to handle their own affairs. Ideally, before this happens, when a loved one is reaching later senior years, it is wise to begin having conversations with them about who they feel they can trust to handle their affairs should they become unable. Without pressing or persuading a loved one to act outside of their comfort zone, discussing the need to appoint a Power of Attorney is highly recommended. ‘I hated the thought of other people having control over my finances – I’ve always been very capable of handling things on my own.”  -Irene Classes (Age 80)   What is Powers of Attorney? A Power of Attorney is a  Read More...

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