The Future of Senior Housing

Ā It’s hardly surprising that a recent American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) report found that 83 percent of those aged 55 to 64 want to remain in their own home as long as possible.

The American population is aging. By 2030, nearly one in five U.S. residents will be over 65. With the cost of homes, condominiums and apartments rising, the question becomes where do seniors live? Fortunately, there are viable options.

One in-vogue option is the creation of “In-law Suites.” This could include the installation of railings, soft flooring, medication reminders and various alert systems in an existing dwelling; or the space could be completely detached from the primary residence by its own bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Another developing trend is Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORC). Members can join for an annual fee, typically around $1,000. In turn they are provided a range of services and activities from discount health care services, handy men, computer technicians, and money managers, to grocery shopping and a host of other services. A volunteer on-call labor force is often available in these communities.

There is also Collaborative Housing or “Co-Housing,” which is a small clustered community of either attached units or single-family homes with common facilities and outdoor space. Not only is self-reliance reinforced, collaborative housing encourages interaction with neighbors and the building of social relationships.

Sorting Through Personal Effects

The death of a loved one is the most heart-wrenching and difficult time any person can endure.

There is no more emotionally draining and time-consuming task than sorting through a lifetime of belongings of a recently deceased family member or friend. Not only is the process painful, there is no way to make the perfect decision. No matter the choices, there will always be second-guessing, regrets and what-ifs.

Professional organizers may be helpful in settling upon some choices, and input from family members can lessen the strain. It is important to make the process of ultimately locating legal and monetary records, insurance papers and work-related documents a priority to be resolved as soon as possible.

Open and frank family communication is crucial during this time. An agenda which had already been set and agreed upon will also help facilitate the delicate process.

There is, of course, a sentimental and emotional aspect to this process which should be taken into consideration by family members. At the same time, the future cannot be forsaken. And it can be made less difficult by planning.

Courts Want to Eliminate Paper Filing

TheĀ springtime ritual of shuffling through papers to file a tax return may be reaching an end.

Many United States federal courts have already instituted e-filing, a system which includes the ability to access court records via the internet. E-filing could soon become commonplace in Michigan, as governor Rick Snyder signed legislation in December of 2013 that allows courts to do away with paper and begin processing files electronically. At present, individual courts may implement e-filing as they see fit.

E-filing is becoming increasingly popular with taxpayers. According to IRS.gov, 120 million taxpayers filed taxes electronically last year. Since 1990, taxpayers have filed more than one billion Form 1040 series tax returns.

The IRS reports that refunds are issued twice as fast for e-filed returns, 93 percent of which are issued in under 30 days.

Unfortunately, a lack of funding and uniformity will slow the local trend. But with further advancements in the digital age, e-filing will likely continue to change in the legal system.