The New Year always seems to sneak up on us. We barely get the wood stacked before we are hit with the rapid succession of the Holidays and the rush to prepare for winter. Snow tires, turkey, Black Friday, shopping, presents, too much eggnog. There’s barely time to reflect on the year racing to conclude, let alone plan to make the new year even better.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves, put on our happy face, and make some serious plans to make 2022 fantastic.
Here are my top 4 New Year’s Resolutions for 2022:
- Eat more Ben & Jerry’s – Because, why not?
- Rebuild Your Advocacy Network. Let’s face it, if you’re like the rest of us, it’s in shambles.
- Organize your home in 12 easy steps. Keep reading, it’s not impossible.
- Assess your Aging In Place Plan. Not as fun as ice cream, but likely more important.
Eat more Ben & Jerry’s
Let’s start with a little sugar coating to help the medicine go down. The truth is, I eat a little Ben & Jerry’s every day. Life is short, and it’s good to make sure you don’t deny yourself simple pleasures that build happiness. I am a happy guy and the Ben & Jerry’s definitely helps. Of course, there’s a catch. Ben & Jerry’s is the reward for a little hard work. My suggested resolution is to eat a ramekin of Ben & Jerry’s (I recommend Pistachio for it’s simple goodness) for every day you exercise for 30 or more minutes. Trust me, you’ll love getting in shape and the ice cream will never taste so good.
Rebuild your Advocacy Network
Let’s not fool ourselves; Covid 19 has taken a toll in countless of ways, not the least of which for many is the decimation of our personal networks. Covid has been scary, and it forced most of us inside our homes and got inside our own heads. We’re not getting out and we’ve lost contact.
For many older Vermonters, our networks have been our own group of trusted advisors. These are the friends, colleagues, and professionals that help us moving forward in a positive direction and away from trouble. This might consist of the gang at the bake shop, your bridge group, or the regulars at hockey night. Whoever your people are, we’re all seeing our people a lot less these days. This does us harm by breaking these important connections. How many of our neighbors only talk to those people on the phone whose sole job is to remind us that our car warranty is expired? It’s hard to imagine someone falling for this old scam now, but if we stop to think about that, those robo-callers’ prey on the most vulnerable Vermonters, and they only continue to call because of their past success. This scam works on those of us who are isolated, and we’ve all become a little more isolated recently. I trust you’re not going to fall for the car warranty business, but what about the next scam, or the one after that?
Our personal advocacy networks combat this by raising our collective awareness and giving the vulnerable and isolated a trusted person they can turn to and discuss things that may not seem right – that may well be predatory. So, make a resolution to reach out to at least 5 people every week. Stay connected and be informed and rebuild your network. You might help someone with the phrase, “That’s doesn’t seem right,” or “You should have that looked at.” Your network might well save you too someday, so stay connected.
Organize your Home in Just 12 Easy Steps
For many of us, organizing our home will never be easy. If that’s you, take solace, because I’m right there with you. But it’s doable – all you need is some colored stickers and a calendar. Start by making a list of the top 12 worst disorganization zones in your home. Next, with your new 2022 calendar, plug in your worst 12 zones and tackle one zone per month. Now with your stickers, tag items:
- throw away,
- or pass along to family and friends.
The trick is to get started in January and push to continue in February. If you’ve gotten to March and you haven’t started, contact me and I can help build your personal advocacy network with a referral for a good home organizer.
Assess your Aging-In-Place Plan
As a housing advocate for older Vermonters, this is my favorite resolution, even if it doesn’t have the appeal of eating Ben & Jerry’s for some.
If you’re like most of your peers, you don’t want to move – ever. Aging in Place is a great concept and I recommend it, if it’s means you’re aging in the right place. The key question is: Will your home take care of you as well as you’ve taken care of it? In 2022, vow to realistically assess your home for accessibility, safety, and mobility. High level parameters to consider include:
- Will stairs affect mobility within your home? If so, could you install a stair lift?
- How difficult will it be to enter your home if your mobility becomes compromised?
- Do you have a first-floor bedroom, or could one be easily retrofitted?
- How accessible is your bathroom? Could you roll through the door in a wheelchair? Could you use the sink, toilet, and shower?
- Do your floor surfaces present tripping hazards?
- What else in your home could be unsafe for an older you or spouse?
- What would it be like living in your home if you can no longer drive?
- How close are you to medical care, shopping, and your pharmacy?
- How close are you to family and loved ones that can help?
Many times, these issues have simple solutions and can be remedied inexpensively. However, more and more Vermonters are pulling up roots, packing up, and relocating into homes that will better serve them over the long haul. Make a resolution this year to take stock of your home and determine if it fits your aging in place plan.
Happy New Year to you all and I hope these resolutions can make your 2022 a wonderful year.
Ben Durant is a leading Senior Real Estate Specialist in the State of Vermont and has a passion for supporting and defending his clients through the process of downsizing, right-sizing, and relocating in Vermont. Ben lives with his wife, Amy, and three children in Williston VT. He can be reached at Ben@TransitionsVT.com or by calling directly at 802-355-6688. Visit his website at TransitionsVT.com.