January is “Get Organized Month”

time to organize

Time to Organize

All over the country professional organizers are writing posts and conducting workshops on getting organized because the new year provides a clean slate for planning and the momentum for making changes.

For the pro-active senior citizen…there aren’t very many of you, but your children and community will be glad you are pro-active. One of the thoughts you are likely to entertain is the concept of the “you are here” point. For instance:

  • We are all “short-timers”. If we face the facts that we likely have years and not decades ahead of us we would make plans around:
    o I don’t want to be a burden on my children.
    o I want to be in control of the decisions made about my stuff.
    o I want my life and my possessions to be a blessing to as many people as possible.
  • The demographics of age 85 show that this is the fastest growing segment of the population, enjoying better health than previous generations, thus living longer. The flip side of this statistic is age 85 also marks a general decline in cognitive ability. This doesn’t have to happen, but it does mean we have to work harder at maintaining our cognitive skills. Studies in neuroplasticity are revealing that the aging brain is not doomed to shed brain cells left and right, but we can develop new neural pathways in our brain-body by continually learning new skills. Even if we don’t become adept at a skill the process of learning through trial and error is keeping your cognitive functions awake and alive.
  • The stress and recovery cycle – gone are the days when we could party-hearty and still function the next day. Even though the early sixties still feels youthful, relatively speaking, after age 65 you really understand the need for rest and recovery to balance a large expenditure of energy. This can mean mental or emotional energy such as relatives visiting.
  • More stuff –less energy. One big drain on energy is the amount of stuff accumulated in your home and the difficulty of making decisions about what to do with it. The next generation is not apt to offer much help because they have this problem themselves!
  • Distractibility- forgetfulness. For most of my life I never bothered with lists. I did quite well keeping everything in my head. Then I began to realize this no longer worked. These days I have back-up systems galore, using everything from sticky-notes to computerized reminders. I use timers, date books, and filing systems to manage my day-to-day and long-range affairs. I call these ‘hacks’. A hack is generally a way to bypass a barrier or a glitch. Computer hackers are trying to bypass a barrier created by passwords and/or encryption. I am trying to bypass a glitch in my short term memory.


Harriet Vaughan

About Harriet Vaughan

I am a Senior Move Manager, working with Senior Citizens and their families when it is time to downsize or just make the home safer and more comfortable for aging in place. I help these people make decisions about what to keep, throw out, donate, or sell. I also offer workshops on "Getting Things Done When You Are Over 60". I write about how to overcome memory lapses and how to use your physical energy well. I have a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine. I live in Coopers Mills, about 14 miles east of Augusta. I have been married for almost 50 years to my husband, Chuck Vaughan. Our business is called Legacy Years Transition Services.