From our 15 years of real estate experience we have helped many empty nesters and seniors with their transactions. Being able to service their real estate needs involves working with so many local professionals in such areas as estate planning and medicare to senior living facilities and home organization. We wanted to have our referral network available to those seeking qualified professionals in all of these areas and we put this together as an online resource at www.kupunawiki.com. Secondly, we noticed that many senior resources did not provide local information. For this reason we have local vendors provide information which is pertinent to our local kupuna community. Lastly, we realized that not many seniors know how to get information to help in their decision making process and therefore we have monthly classes which are accessible for them to come and learn so that they are in a safe environment hearing from qualified vendors.
Today we pride ourselves in calling KupunaWiki, The Hawaii Senior Resource.
Now in order to help explain what we do here at Kupunawiki, we would like to share the story of Popo Lee.
Popo Lee is 83 years old and she has been living in her Liliha home for 40 years. Her husband passed away about 20 years ago. More recently, her health was not doing so well and she required assistance with care and administering medications. The family had to decide what to do with her home. It was necessary to consider selling her home so that her proceeds could be used for her medical expenses. No one in the family was going to assume ownership of the home so the family decided to sell.
The first step was to meet with a Kupunawiki consultant to determine the best course of action and what resources were available.
Avoid putting the “cart before the horse” – Before making any “moves”, it is important to: [A] – identify and assess the current/existing situation (looking at both the pro’s vs. con’s) and then, [B] – determine the Kupuna’s desired situation == we call this the “GAP analysis”. In this initial analysis, it is extremely important to help Popo Lee articulate and express her personal preferences as to her desired/future state. This is the most critical step in any planning and transition process. What/where is “B” if we are trying to get from “A to B”…?
Examples of various matters to consider in the GAP analysis are: health, independence, range of physical mobility, extent of mental and legal capacity, physical condition of the existing residence, ability to modify/improve the existing residence, availability/involvement of family members, along with overall financial resources and needs.
Once the “GAP” has been identified, a plan and team can be put together to implement and achieve the desired transition/move, if any. Don’t forget that the “right move” may be “no move” at all depending on the Kupuna’s desired result, wishes and attitude.
Our KupunaWiki Senior Concierge Service – is just that, as Hawaii’s Senior Resource, we can assist Seniors (and their families) to identify and navigate the GAP — we have identified and compiled various Service Partners/Contributors who are trusted professionals and specialist in the area of Estate Planning, Senior Housing, Finance, Health and Real Estate.
Continuing with our case study, for Popo Lee == although she has enjoyed living independently for many years since her husband died, she has determined that it is best and safest for her to have assistance and help with her day-to-day living and activities. This is primarily due to her declining range of physical mobility and additional medical needs and oversight required for her daily medications. Popo Lee’s family has expressed that they are both able and wanting to be involved in her well being and housing. At the same time, Popo Lee has expressed her personal wishes not to relocate into a senior house facility at this time.
In this case, for Popo Lee, her plan is to move into and with her family. The KupunaWiki Senior Concierge Service is offered in the area of Real Estate with a Choice HI Team REALTOR to help Popo Lee sell her home and use the proceeds to cover her future living costs and medical expenses.
In connection with the area of Real Estate, other KupunaWiki Service Partners offered and available to Popo Lee include moving and cleaning services, as well as, general contractors and handymen to help her get her home ready for sale in order to obtain the highest and best price in today’s real estate market.
The typical real estate consultation is usually a means of understanding the needs and desires of the client and then finding a means of meeting those needs and desires. In the case of a kupuna like Popo Lee there are a few extra steps involved to ensure that her needs are met.
The first is to understand who is involved in the decision making process. It is likely the case that Popo Lee has other family members who need to assist with her care, planning and finances which means that these family members or guardian need to be a part of the conversation. It may also require involving her estate planner and tax preparer to make sure that the proper questions are asked so that they doesn’t find herself in a financial predicament. By involving those parties who can assist Popo Lee in making the proper decisions, there is an assurance that her interests are being met.
The second is taking more time to understand the physical and mental condition of Popo Lee to ascertain what type of living situation is most appropriate. It might be the case that Popo Lee feels fine about living on her own, however understanding that her health and cognition may require extra care, would necessitate living with family or in an assisted living community. Or perhaps Popo Lee is still willing and able to care for her own needs, in which case it might be better to have her remodel her existing home to accommodate features that allow her to age safely in place. In any decision, the property service professionals can be recommended to make sure the new living arrangement accounts for her physical and mental needs.
A third additional step is taking into account Popo Lee’s physical limitations for making this transition. Whether Popo Lee can still live on her own by modifying her home or whether she needs to move into a living arrangement that supports her care, things like cleaning, organizing and packing can be daunting tasks. What was once easy can be difficult and dangerous which is why there might be the need for additional organizing, moving and cleaning services to help. Having the ability to assist in organizing these services is part of our KupunaWiki Concierge Service.
Once Popo Lee’s needs are ascertained and if there is consensus that her best option is to move in with family or into an assisted living community, then the next step for a Realtor is to prepare and market her property.
In preparing a home for the market, we would first come by and take a look at the property. We will make recommendations to get the home ready for market such as decluttering, cleaning, possibly a fresh coat of paint and minor cosmetic work. Should the home need some work and/or cleaning, we can coordinate with contractors/handymen and cleaners to have the work completed. Once the home is ready for the market, we’ll coordinate showing of the property and contract negotiations to get you the best price.
Some things that we typically encounter with a home that has been lived in for a while is that there is a lot of deferred maintenance. This could mean that the roof is due to be changed, the exterior of the home is dilapidated and needs to be painted, and perhaps there has been an excessive accumulation of personal belongings over the years. Again, some of this overdue maintenance could be due to not having the physical ability to maintain a property or perhaps the finances to make it happen. In either case, we can assist with both making recommendations as well as involving the right professionals to help. In Popo Lee’s case, we did have to bring in a couple of contractors to provide proposals and to perform the work required to get her home into a safe and marketable condition.
Before we begin marketing the property we will sit down with all decision making parties to set the right marketing plan and price. To avoid confusion it is always best to have all parties review the marketing calendar, the price analysis and the marketing contract before proceeding. A net proceeds sheet showing the proceeds from the sale is also good to review for estate planning purposes.
Communication is key when going through the sale. Even though there might be a sense of trust that everything is being handled properly, it is always good to have the Realtor keep all parties informed on the progress of the sale. This will help everyone maintain a sense of comfort that all the details of their loved one is being handled properly.
Thus far in the concierge service process, Mr. Lee has met with a Kupunawiki consultant, expressed his needs and goals, been introduced to a Realtor and prepared his property for sale. Now that Mr. Lee’s property has been listed to the market, we may begin his transition to more simple living arrangements. Typically, this includes one of the following: Moving into a senior living community, moving in with family, or downsizing.
Fortunately, with an increase of senior citizens on Oahu, the number of assisted living and independent living facilities has also increased. Assisted living is a service provided where a resident can receive support for everyday life activities. Typically, to qualify for assisted living, seniors must be require assistance in performing certain everyday tasks such as bathing or taking medications. On the other hand, independent living allows seniors to reside in senior living communities without the added assistance for everyday activities. There is usually a cost difference involved based on how much assistance is needed.
Senior living communities on Oahu include: The Plaza at Waikiki, The Plaza at Punchbowl, Hawaii Kai Retirement Center, Olaloa 1, Arcadia and more. Some of these communities provide both independent as well as assisted living.
Moving in with Family
Although senior living facilities often provide favorable living arrangements and a wide range of amenities to its residents, many persons prefer the option of living with family. This is a cost effective alternative because the senior does not need to pay for any additional expenses, can use the proceeds of their home sale for other things, and does not need to worry about paying for monthly fees.
There is also the option of having in-home care provided when a family member is unable to assist in certain areas or is not available to help. In-home care services can be found with such local companies as Wilson Home Care or Hookele Health.
Of course, many seniors are still able bodied and do not wish to move in with family or to a senior living community. If the property that they currently live in is too large to maintain, it may be preferable to move to a smaller property. This allows seniors to maintain their independence while also minimizing monthly costs.
Our KupunaWiki Concierge Service is the best way for you to care for your Kupuna while they are in the midst of a significant life transition. We strive to make sure that they are both informed and supported every step of the way.