Getting life into order, especially during the tough times
by Mary Lynne Murray, It’s About Time Organizing
As an organizer for seniors and their families, I’m often called to help when a loved one dies. A difficult time for any person at any age, the senior finds themselves facing new tasks. The day to day things that their partner handled, now fall smack-dab into their lap, adding stress to their grief.
I think of Dana (not her real name), who after losing her husband, called when faced with the overwhelming task of filing taxes. Tax day was barreling down, right on schedule. Tax time didn’t care that Dana’s life had been altered with the death of her husband, as well as changes in her health and abilities. Dana had a sense that things had fallen through the cracks and wanted to meet the deadline and get better prepared for future.
Though I don’t give tax advice, I’ve had years of experience getting clients like Dana ready for their tax appointment with a CPA or tax preparer. My clients don’t show up at their CPA’s office with a bulging shoebox that may or may not contain important tax documents. They do show up with supporting tax documents (1099’s, K-1’s, etc), receipts, categorized and totaled, and other pertinent information a tax professional will need to prepare their tax return. No longer daunted by tax time, the client is prepared and confident.
After supporting Dana through getting organized for tax time, she saw the benefit of getting better organized for the future. We’ve sorted, purged and updated her file system so she’s in a secure, organized spot for future tax years. Sensitive papers are shredded in the process. I maintain the system for her in a few hours each month. It’s a pleasant time of productivity, and a wellness check, as I complete the work at her place of residence. Dana and her family rest a little easier knowing things are in order. Loss can occur at any season of life, but for seniors, it unfortunately comes with the territory. Contrary as it may seem, asking for assistance is a strong step toward maintaining one’s independence.