Tips for Cleaning a Relative’s Home, Downsizing for a Move, or Decluttering to Help Your Family

CleaningHouse

Have you ever faced the overwhelming challenge of cleaning out a loved one’s home for a move to a smaller place or a nursing home, or felt rushed to do this after their death?

It can seem insurmountable, especially if you are grieving their death or juggling their healthcare needs, as well as your own family and work life. Several recent articles provide suggestions and resources for these situations, as well as tips for decluttering your own home so that this burden does not fall on your own children.

  • Cleaning out a relatives home: Many people have heard of Marie Kondo, or the KonMari Method, where you go through all of your items and consider whether they “spark joy.” This is a helpful method for going through someone else’s items to make hard decisions. Check out this article for suggestions on how to follow this approach.
  • Cleaning out your own home:
    • Marie Kondo also promotes her method to encourage people to clean up their homes before someone else has to do it for them. Tips for going through the process with your own items using this approach can be found in this article.
    • Another approach comes from a book titled “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning,” which some people find less daunting than the KonMari Method. It may sound like an odd title, but it is a straight-forward and often funny book by Margareta Magnusson that provides encouragement and tips for people who may be downsizing. It is also beneficial to those who are point in their life where they want to reevaluate their possessions and how they want to ease the burden on their own children. This article talks about her approach, which involves taking your time to gently regard the objects in your home, consider their value to you and your family beyond just their nostalgic value, and make decisions based on that.
  • Paperwork: One other suggestion for cleaning up that Sol Levinson & Bros. can be of assistance with is tackling paperwork. We have experienced firsthand the dread in people’s voices when they realize they have to go through someone’s whole office – or even just a file cabinet – to find important details about wills, birth certificates, insurance policies, and bank accounts. That’s why when you come in to discuss Advance Planning with us we provide you with a personalized resource called the Levinson’s Advance Planning Guide. This guide contains a simple, easy-to-find space to write down all the important information for your family. It’s kind of like a summary of your personal affairs. The added benefit is that we also gather important information ahead of time, and ask you the questions we need to so that your family does not have to also be burdened with those tasks at the time of your death. There is no charge for our time to meet with you and there is no obligation to pre-pay (though that is yet another thing you could do for your family ahead of time to make things easier on them).

Whichever cleaning method you choose, be sure to let family know in case they want a particular item you may not have been aware of. If you would like to make an appointment to meet with us and get your personalized Levinson’s Advance Planning Guide, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 410-653-8900 or use our Online Appointment Scheduler to pick a time that works for you.

Who Typically Serves as a Pallbearer?

In Jewish tradition, immediate mourners (spouse, children, siblings) typically do not serve as pallbearers, but in-laws, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, cousins, close family friends, et cetera, may serve. Your level of observance will determine whether men and women, or just men, can serve as pallbearers. Please ask your rabbi if you have questions.
For services in our chapel, we will call pallbearers by name and give them instructions at the end of the service (at graveside services they are not called by name, they meet at the hearse to receive instructions).
Active pallbearers (5-10 people) physically lift and carry the casket at the funeral home and again at the cemetery, and must be able to lift. For services in our chapel you may also have honorary pallbearers. If you have more than 10 people to be pallbearers, or people unable to physically lift, you may make them honorary pallbearers and they will stand in the aisle of the chapel at the end of the service in the funeral home. Fraternal groups or charitable guilds should be acknowledged as honorary pallbearers.

2018 Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces

TWP_Baltimore_2018_AWFor the 5th year in a row, Sol Levinson & Bros. is thrilled to have been nominated as one of Baltimore’s Top Workplaces! This honor is always especially meaningful to us, as it is a result of a survey of our employees.

 

You can check out the list of this year’s Top Workplaces here, but we thought we’d also share a few things our great team members have to say about working at Levinson’s:

 

• “Sol Levinson & Bros. has taken the time to get to know me, encouraging my creativity and involving me in projects where I can use my talents, learn and grow. I feel good about working for a company that not only provides an incredibly important service to the community, but also provides an atmosphere for employees to develop their skills and derive meaning from their work.”

“Even though I’m not a part of the Levinson family, I feel like I am. This is a wonderful place to work.”

• “I love the opportunity to help people get through a difficult time, and it’s nice to be a part of something bigger than yourself.”

• “At Levinson Bros, I work with great people, I’m listened to, and I make a good living doing a fascinating array of things on a daily basis.”

• “I have the chance to work with great, caring people, and we all genuinely care about the jobs we do. We are a tight-knit group, and we all do our best to deliver the highest level of service and professionalism to our families. I think it is our own strong support system that enables us to give the very best service to the community.”

• “The greatest thing about working here is being able to interact with and help families at a difficult time. And I love my co-workers.”

“What I love most about my job is that I work with people who share my passion for service, and compassion for the families we serve.”

• “I feel appreciated being a source of comfort and a friend to families during a difficult time.”

• “I find a great deal of fulfillment helping people make one of the most difficult times of their life a little easier.”

• “I love that my work allows me to help grieving families by treating them with compassion.”

• “I find satisfaction in being able to help families through a difficult time, especially since I have long-lasting relationships with many families from my upbringing in Pikesville.”

• “I enjoy the people I work with, and the feeling of being part of a business that gives back to the community.”

• “I am honored by the trust that people place in me to take care of their precious loved ones.”

“Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way. I can help these people who are going through a terrible time right now, and it’s one less thing they have to worry about. It may not be much for me, but for them, it can mean a lot.”

• “I really enjoy taking care of the families we serve. I also like working for the Levinson Family because they take care of us and I find it enjoyable to come to work.”

• “I appreciate being able to help families at a difficult time in their lives, and I am grateful to the Levinsons for giving us the freedom to help families to the best of our ability.”

Are you a compassionate, service-oriented, detail-oriented and team-oriented individual, even if you come from a completely different background? We would love to hear more about you. Send a resume to humanresources@sollevinson.com and, if we don’t currently have an opening, we will be in touch when we find a fit.

Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against otherwise qualified applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender, marital status, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected under federal, state or local law.

Medicare Supplement: Ask the Expert Luncheon in Ellicott City

Tim Barnaba photo

Tuesday, January 15
12pm
Eggspectation, Ellicott City

Join us to learn about Medicare Supplement from Tim Barnaba, adjunct professor and teacher of “Understanding Medicare and Social Security” at CCBC, and Founder and President of Barnaba Insurance & Financial Services.

Eliza Feller, Levinson’s Director of Advance Planning, will briefly discuss the benefits of the Levinson’s Advance Planning Guide.

A vegetarian/fish meal will be served. No fee to attend. Attendance by reservation only. Space is limited.

Registration is required by January 7 to AskTheExpert@sollevinson.com or 410-653-8900.

Caregiver Challenges & Resources Luncheon

Join us for this informative presentation by Jewish Community Services, to cover the challenges facing those who care for aging family members and learn about helpful resources to ease this burden.

Eliza Feller, Levinson’s Director of Advance Planning, will briefly discuss the benefits of the Levinson’s Pre-Planning Guide.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018
12pm
Tark’s Grill, 2360 W Joppa Rd #116, Lutherville-Timonium

A vegetarian/fish meal will be served. No fee to attend. Attendance by reservation only. Space is limited.

RSVP by November 23 to Levinson’s via:
410-653-8900 or AskTheExpert@sollevinson.com

Healthy Living for Your Brain & Body: Columbia Luncheon

Physical health & exercise, diet & nutrition, cognitive activity, and social engagement – join us to hear from a representative of the Alzheimer’s Association who will provide the latest research on how to live a full, vibrant, healthy life.

Eliza Feller, Levinson’s Director of Advance Planning, will briefly discuss the benefits of the Levinson’s Pre-Planning Guide.

Thursday, November 8, 2018
12pm
Victoria Gastro Pub
8201 Snowden River Pkwy, Columbia, MD

A vegetarian/fish meal will be served. No fee to attend. Attendance by reservation only. Space is limited.

RSVP by October 23 to Levinson’s via:
410-730-7230 or AskTheExpert@sollevinson.com

Life Happens: Jewish Perspectives on Aging and Planning for the Future

Life HappensThe Gordon Center for the Performing Arts
3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD, 21117
Tuesday, Oct. 30
6:30-8:30 p.m.

SPEAKERS:

Rabbi Dana Saroken, Beth El Congregation
Deborah Hamburger, Esq., Volunteer Coordinator, Jewish Community Services

THE DISCUSSION WILL COVER:
Jewish perspectives on aging and end of life.
Planning for financial, medical and end-of-life matters with loved ones.

Learn how to create a comprehensive binder for your family members that will provide them with all the useful information they will need in the event of your death or other emergency.

Attendance is free and open to the community. To register for this session, visit lifebridgehealth.org/lifehappens or call 410-601-WELL.

This event is co-sponsored by Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., Jewish Community Services, the Jewish Community Center of Baltimore, Lifebridge Health, Edward A. Myerberg Center, and North Oaks.

Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s: Early Detection Matters

Know the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s: Early Detection Matters

StockSnap_28QNKCAHLMAsk the Expert Luncheon

Tuesday, October 16, 12pm

Linwoods, 25 Crossroads Dr, Owings Mills

Join us for this informative presentation by the Alzheimer’s Association. We will also briefly review the benefits of Levinson’s Advance Planning Guide. A vegetarian/fish meal will be served.

 

This program is designed to:

  • Provide compelling information about Alzheimer’s disease
  • Provide testimonies from families living with the disease
  • Encourage early detection, early diagnosis and early intervention
  • Provide information on knowing the difference between age-related memory loss and dementia
  • Provide answers on what to do when you or someone you know exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s disease

 

Lunch is free but registration is required by October 9 to AskTheExpert@sollevinson.com or 410-653-8900

Understanding Addiction and Recovery – Free 2-Part Series

stonesinwaterPart 1: The Disease of Addiction

Weinberg Park Heights JCC
5700 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21215
Tuesday, October 9

7:00 – 9:00pm

What causes addiction? Why is the battle so much tougher for some than for others?

 

Keynote: Understanding the Disease of Addiction
Richard Haber, MD, Medical Director
Jewish Community Services Outpatient Mental Health Center
Breakout Sessions:

  • Increasing Resiliency in Our Children
    Larry Ziffer, MSW, Charles Crane Family Foundation and Susan Kurlander, MEd, Jewish Community Services
  • The Unique Challenges of the Orthodox Family
    Aviva Weisbord, PhD, Shemesh and Howard Reznick, LCSW-C, Jewish Community Services
  • How Can We Help the Addict We Love?
    James Ryan, MA
    Ashley Addiction Treatment

Narcan overdose response training to follow presentation.

Free and open to the community. Attend one or both programs (part 2 on October 23). Registration preferred at jcsbalt.org/AddictionPrograms or to 410-466-9200.

Co-sponsors: Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., Jewish Community Services – Baltimore, Baltimore Board of Rabbis, Edward A. Myerberg Center, Jmore.

______________________________________________________________

Part 2: Addiction Treatment Options

Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
3506 Gwynnbrook Avenue, Owings Mills, MD, 21117
Tuesday, October 23

7:00 – 9:00pm

 

Keynote: “The Range of Treatment Options and Who Does Best Where”
Marc Fishman, M.D.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Panel: Individuals discuss their paths to recovery.

Narcan overdose response training to follow presentation.

Free and open to the community. Attend one or both programs (part 2 on October 23). Registration preferred at jcsbalt.org/AddictionPrograms or to 410-466-9200.

Co-sponsors: Sol Levinson & Bros., Inc., Jewish Community Services – Baltimore, Baltimore Board of Rabbis, Edward A. Myerberg Center, Jmore.

Why do We Place Earth in the Grave?

Have you ever wondered why it is Jewish tradition to fill in the graves of our loved ones? To some it may seem like a painful process and, truthfully, it is. But our Jewish faith teaches us to care for one another, and that doesn’t stop after death. In fact, the guiding Jewish principal after someone dies is “Kavod HaMet” or honoring the dead. According to chabad.org, “Burial is the last physical act of kindness that we do for our departed loved ones. We have cared for them in their lifetimes, and now we care for them in their passing by ensuring they have a proper Jewish burial.”  Many rabbis even say that it is the highest mitzvah that you can do, as it is truly selfless, since you know that the deceased will never be able to repay you for this act of kindness.

The more traditional Jewish burials involve filling the grave entirely with large shovels, while Reform or Conservative burials may involve ceremonial earth with small hand shovels. Some families have a tradition somewhere in between that requires ensuring the top of the casket is covered before departing the cemetery. You may have noticed some people using the back of the shovel for at least one of the scoops. Using the back of the shovel shows our reluctance in burying our loved one, that we are differentiating the act from a standard use of a shovel, and that it is not an easy task. Finally, as we place the earth into the grave, we might hear the rabbi recite the words Al mekomo yavo veshalom (for a man) or Al mekomah tavo veshalom (for a woman). This translates to may ________ go to his/her place in peace.

It is so important to care for each other in death as we care for each other in life. The tradition of burying our own is one of healing, and the beginning of a long process of mourning our loved ones. It symbolizes closure, allowing us to move forward into the shiva period and navigate a new world without the deceased. Knowing that we did everything we could to help our loved one transition on to what is next hopefully brings at least a small feeling of comfort.