How to Make 2017 the Best Year Ever

As we welcome the new year, many of us wish to make it the best year ever. But how can we have a great year without putting some effort into it? There is one thing that we all can do — that many of us haven’t done in a long while — that will improve the quality of your life and the life of others around you.

It’s volunteering.

Let’s be honest. Volunteering sounds like a lot of work, especially for those who have full-time job.  But for those who are retired, it turns into a tremendous blessing. With any lifestyle you may have, consider the following benefits and values of volunteering:

  • The feeling of accomplishment: Giving up your time to do something for others can make you feel wonderful. Knowing that you chose to help others instead of sleeping in on the weekends will make you feel accomplished and productive. Helping kids with their homework at the local libraries or in your mobile home park club house instead of spending time watching television shows will make you feel like you make a difference.
  • Meet new people, make new connections: In any place that you volunteer, you will definitely meet new people. Depending on the type of the organization, you can even make new friends and new connections. Volunteering in your mobile home community will help expend your friendships. Talk with your park manager about starting a home work club and tutoring for children in your park, or ask about residents who are unable to get out much. Stopping by for a visit would mean a lot to them.
  • Learn something new: A great thing about volunteering with non-profit community organizations is that you can choose an organization that interests you, or you can choose one that is completely different and challenge yourself to something new. And through volunteering you can acquire new skills, new ideas, new hobby, or even a new perspective.
  • Get a new perspective: As long as you keep an open mind while volunteering, you will definitely gain some new perspectives. You will be humbled by your experiences of helping others. Perhaps you will realize how much you have rather than how much you don’t have.
  • Help save a life: There are many places that you can volunteer to help save a life other than hospitals. You can volunteer at a youth center or local Boys and Girls clubs to inspire young minds to stay above the influence and to stay in school. You can also volunteer at your local animal shelter to help improve the quality of life of the animals until they are adopted.

These are only some of the values and benefits of volunteering. But you can make your 2017 the best year ever if you can spare some time to volunteer. Many organizations are very flexible and will coordinate with your schedule so that you can make a difference. You can search for volunteer opportunities by reading your local newspaper or visiting your city website.  If you are a senior, contact your local Office on Aging.

If you live in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino Counties, you can use the links below to your county’s Office on Aging website.

Orange County:

Riverside County:

San Bernardino County: 

Home for the Holidays

happyholidaysAs we embark upon another busy holiday season anticipating spending special times with family and friends it is also a time to reflect upon our many blessings.  Living in a close- knit manufactured housing community with neighbors and friends next door is one of life’s best blessings.  The mobile home park lifestyle is a wonderful choice for seniors and families alike.  Homes on smaller lots require less time to upkeep and allow more time for travel, hobbies, and time to spend with children and grandchildren.  Perhaps you will host family members in your home this holiday or perhaps you will travel to spend time with loved ones.  Maybe your community is having special holiday celebrations in the clubhouse.  Whatever your plans, you are wished a most joyful season.

Frequently Asked Mobile Home Question: Value

How does the county assessor determine the value of my manufactured home?

Manufactured homes are subject to Proposition 13 under which the county assessor determines the base year value of a manufactured home, which is generally the market value at the time of purchase. After the first assessment annual increases to the base year value are limited to the inflation rate, as measured by the California Consumer Price Index, or 2 percent, whichever is less. Any new construction will have its own separate base year value. When the manufactured home is sold, it will be reassessed at its current fair market value and a new base year value will be established. If your manufactured home is located on land that you own, the land will be assessed separately. If you live in a tenant-owned mobilehome park, a different rule may apply.

The basic structure is assessable as well as all accessories, including, but not limited to: awnings, fences, windbreakers, storage cabinets, heaters, carport, water coolers, cabanas, porches, and skirting.

Section 5803(b) of the Revenue and Taxation Code specifically provides that the assessed value of a manufactured home on leased or rental land is not to include any value attributable to the land where the home is located. This means that the county assessor must not increase the value of your mobile home because of positive location nor decrease the value because of negative location.

Veterans are Being Targeted by Money Hungry Senior Living Facilities

Not all scams are preformed by people in the shadows, there are some people that will lie to your face in order to profit from your misfortune. This is what is happening to many of our countries veterans. Senior living facilities with incredibly high rents are luring in our nations veterans by promising to get them much needed VA benefits.

In one instance a WWII Veteran was told by a facility that he must move in in order to qualify for assistance. The manager of the facility paired him with a VA claim-filling “advocacy group” and he was guaranteed the acquisition of benefits. In this case the veterans income was far too high to qualify for benefits but not high enough to keep up with the cost of living in the facility. After a year and no awarded benefits he was broke and evicted from the facility.

To prevent this from happening to you, your friend or someone in your family keep an eye out for red flags. If a facility promises that you or your loved one WILL receive benefits use caution. No facility can promise this as each VA program is different. Generally these are the things they are looking for in order for you to qualify for benefits:

  1. Income guidelines. Often times other government benefits end up pushing you over the income limit.
  2. You must have served within certain years or be a certain age.
  3. For some programs, you must prove that the Veteran needs daily assistance with tasks such as bathing and dressing.

Also be on the look out for facilities that claim any of the following regarding benefits.

  1. Moving into a facility is required to qualify – This is not true a veteran can live with a family member or on their own and still qualify for benefits.
  2. Guaranteed Benefits upon move in. – This is also not true. There is no guarantee of benefits. You must qualify based on the criteria set forth by your specified VA program.
  3. VA “Advocacy Group” will fill out your benefit request for a small fee- THIS IS ILLIGAL. No fee can be collected to complete and submit claims on behalf of a veteran.

How to prepare your home for an Earthquake and what to do after one occurs.

California has experienced quite a few earthquakes in the last few months and it is suspected that there are more to come. Most people have prepared plans with their families on what to do to protect themselves during an earthquake. You know to take cover away from all windows and large pieces of furniture but what should you do to prepare your home?

The first step is to make sure all large pieces of furniture and hot water heaters are secured to the walls. You also want to make sure that you do not have any heavy objects over your bed such as large framed pictures or mirrors, although these may look great the risk of them falling off the wall in a large quake are great. If the quake struck at night the risk of you getting crushed by these objects is even greater.

Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Many times a large earthquake will disrupt gas connections. The carbon monoxide detector will warn you if there are unsafe levels in your home and you will have time to leave safely. You can also call the gas company and have them come out to do an inspection of your home to make sure that there are not any leaks and that all connections are still secure.

If the power is out try to use only battery-powered lanterns. If there is a gas leak lighting candles can ignite a fire. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Open all cabinets carefully, especially if there are heavy or potentially harmful martials inside. The earthquake might have shifted the objects around and they may fall on you so be cautious.

Fair Housing: Definition of Disability

Mobile Home Park Owners are proud to be advocates of the Fair Housing Act, which provides protection to tenants against discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, handicap (disability), familial status or national origin. Park Owners across California take great pride in following all of these statues.

What does fair housing define as a disability?

It is a physical or mental impairment, which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This includes: mental illness, AIDS, blindness, hearing impairment, mental retardation, and mobility impairment. Note that Transvestites are expressly excluded from the definition (According to the Fair Housing Authority) unless they experience one of the impairments listed above.

4 Steps to take if you think your Identity has been stolen or compromised

1) Call and Place a Fraud Alert with one of the three consumer reporting companies.

These are the companies that deal with your credit score. Placing a Fraud alert with one of these companies will allow you to be notified before a new account is opened or the status of an existing account in your name is changed.  If you contact ONE of these three companies they are required to contact the other two. A Fraud Alert also entitles you to FREE copies of your credit reports.  You may click on any of the following links for the contact information for: Equifax, Experian, Transunion.

2) Close/Cancel Open Accounts

Close all accounts you fear might be tampered with. If you suspect any tampering has occurred before you had the opportunity to close the account use the ID Theft Affidavit to dispute any new unauthorized accounts or transactions.

3) Contact Law Enforcement

File a report with your local police in the community the theft took place. Make sure they provide you with a copy of the report or the number of your report. This is important when dealing with your creditors. It will show proof that the transactions being disputed have been reported to authorities.

4) Contact the Trade Commission

File your complaint with the FTC. They maintain a database of Identity Theft cases that us used by law enforcement agencies for investigation. The Toll-free Hotline is 1 877-ID THEFT or 1 877-438-4338

How to Prevent Foodborne illness

  1. Clean: Wash produce. Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables in running tap water to remove visible dirt and grime. Remove and discard the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage. Because bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of fruit or vegetable, be careful not to contaminate these foods while slicing them up on the cutting board, and avoid leaving cut produce at room temperature for many hours.
  2.  SEPARATE: Don’t cross-contaminate one food with another. Avoid cross-contaminating foods by washing hands, utensils, and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food. Put cooked meat on a clean platter, rather than back on one that held the raw meat.
  3. COOK: meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly. Using a thermometer to measure the internal temperature of meat is a good way to be sure that it is cooked sufficiently to kill bacteria: 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or consuming), 158°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
  4. CHILL: Refrigerate leftovers promptly. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature, so refrigerate leftover foods if they are not going to be eaten within 4 hours. Large volumes of food will cool more quickly if they are divided into several shallow containers for refrigeration.

Carefully Consider Who You Allow To Move-in, Your Heart May be in The Right Place but It Could Cost You Your Home.

It is a growing trend for seniors living in 55 and over parks to allow their troubled children or grandchildren to move into their mobile home, which is allowable under civil code Section 798.3(c)(d). They want to help set them on the right path, or give them a place to start over. All too often this kind-hearted gesture ends up getting them evicted from their home.

On occasion it is not the family member that causes the issues but the friends of the family member. Get to know everyone who comes into and out of your home, and if you suspect anything tell them they are not allowed to return. It is your home; you are allowed to regulate the situation. If they return you may consider calling the police and having them removed if they are unwilling to leave. If you do not take control of the situation your neighbors might. Once enough complaints are submitted to the park manager/owners you may start receiving notices. Since your family member is residing in your home you are responsible for their actions and the actions of those they are inviting into the park.

One Can Never Be Too Prepared

It is important for everyone to be prepared for a disaster but it is particularly important for seniors. Many seniors live alone. If this is the case you need to add an extra step to your disaster planning and establish a personal support network. This is a group of individuals that agree to check on one another should a disaster strike.

There are seven things that you must discuss and implement with your network in order to be prepared:

  1. Make arrangements for your support network to immediately check on you after a disaster and, if needed, offer assistance.
  2. Exchange keys they may need to enter your home incase you are incapacitated and unable to let them in.
  3. Show them where you keep all emergency supplies in your home.
  4. Make and keep copies of your relevant emergency documents and make sure your network knows where these are located.
  5. Agree on methods other than phones to contact one another in an emergency. Phone lines and Internet could be down.
  6. Always notify one another when you are out of town. This will help them if a disaster strikes to know where you are.
  7. Know that the relationship is mutual and you are all responsible for one another.

Aside from your support network the American Red Cross advises everyone to Store these items in easy to carry containers near the exit of your home.

-Three-day supply of food (non-perishable, canned or boxed)

– Manual can opener

-Three-day supply of water (They recommend 1 gallon per person per day)

– Flashlight and extra batteries

– First aid kit

– Hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, toilet paper and other hygiene items

– Matches in a waterproof container

– Whistle (for communication: 1 blow for “Yes”, 2 for “ No”, and 3 for “Help”)

– Extra cloths and blankets

-Photocopies of identification cards and other important documents

– Cash and Coins

– Medical Supplies

– Garbage bags and duct tape

– Tools

– Pet supplies (if you have one)

They recommend that you update your kit once a year and as your needs change. Water needs to be replaced every 6 months.