Senior Living August 4, 2022

Exploring Medicare

Medicare and Medicaid have been a mystery to many. Until we begin to reach the age where it matters to us or our family members, most of us don’t take the time to research and explore the program and it’s options. Recently, I was contacted by a representative from RetireGuide. When I explored RetireGuide, I found a lot of useful information about retirement planning and Medicare. This sparked my interest.  For those curious about Medicare, this blog post was created.  I have also included a link to information on Medicaid which will also apply to many. I’d like to start with a little bit of history. The History of Medicare– The Medicare program was signed into law in 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the bill that led to Medicare and Medicaid. The original Medicare program included the Part A (Hospital insurance) and Part B (Health insurance). This was the original Medicare. Over the years Congress has many changes made to Medicare including who is eligible, expanding benefits, and adding the prescription coverage benefit known as Part D. In addition, The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 to give health insurance and preventive care to nearly 11 million, or 1 in 7, uninsured American children and the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought the Health Insurance Marketplace, a single place where consumers can apply for and enroll in private health insurance plans.  If you are interested in a brief video describing the system please see the video below provided by CMS– The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
For more information on Medicaid, please see Medicaid
My goal is to educate my readers. I am always on the lookout for interesting information that will make us better informed and prepared for the future. I hope you found this information useful.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your real estate needs.

I am a Licensed Realtor in both Ohio and Kentucky. I work with buyers and sellers of all ages. In addition, I have earned the Designation of Seniors Real Estate Specialist and have a Masters Degree in Social Work.

I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents or websites that were prepared by other people.
Photo by Rodnae Productions


Helpful Home InformationSenior Living May 18, 2022

How Healthy is your Home?

As I was thinking about potential new blog posts, I explored the SRES Blog for ideas. I was intrigued with their post about healthy homes. The topics of eating right, simplifying, organizing, purging unnecessary stuff and making our homes more healthy seem to come up on a daily basis within my family, friend and coworker groups. It is so important to take a break from the fast paced, crazy world we live in and focus on things that can improve our lives. This post focuses on creating a healthy home.

SRES pointed it’s readers to a website that scores your home health. If you go to this website:

They ask you to answer a series of questions about your home. It only took about 5-6 minutes to go through all the questions. 

I took the quiz and received the results.  As a side note, the email with my Hayward Score went into my spam. I downloaded the report and received my score and the report that gives you general suggestions on how to make my home healthier. I personally found it helpful. It definitely motivated me to take a closer examination of my home and the areas that I could improve and positively improve my family’s health.

The information I am sharing with you was found on
If you are interested in related articles, please see another one of my blog articles below and subscribe.

To access to more helpful information go to:

Photo provided by Ron Lach 

I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents or websites that were prepared by other people.




Senior Living April 27, 2022

Caregiver Stress

Caregiver Stress 

This blog post is for all the people going through life stresses associated with caregiving.

As a CABR Seniors Real Estate designee, I am trained to help my clients prepare for housing transitions for their senior loved ones. My background as a Masters Level Individual, Couples and Family Therapist coupled with my SRES designation lends itself to this specialty in the world of real estate.

I find that the clients that seek me out for this type of work are dealing with many types of stress. They are often faced with very busy schedules, care of children young and old, and the stress of caring for loved ones that are beginning to make decisions about their future living situations. Clients often reach out because they need help developing a plan to address these issues. My expertise is helping them navigate their particular situations, beginning the work of starting conversations with their loved ones, preparing their loved ones current homes for the marketplace-downsizing-organizing-donating, looking through the many housing options available in their communities and providing valuable resources to help with the process.

You can find many articles related to Seniors in my blog, A Real Estate Guide, that address each of these steps.


Caregiver stress is real

This quote from the Caregiver Assistance Network is a window into the stress of caregiving.

“Nearly one out of every three people in the United States are caring for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend. Many of them need resources to learn how to take care of their family members, as well as themselves, in order to avoid isolation, burnout or illness.”

Please see the following resources available for caregivers

Do you frequently help an older loved-one with housekeeping, grocery shopping, errands, meal preparation, transportation, paperwork, or personal care (bathing, getting dressed)? If so, you are one of more than 65 million Americans who provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend.

Many caregivers do not identify themselves as such. They tend to see themselves as just doing what they are supposed to do as a spouse or child. However, they are more inclined to seek help and become more skilled if they identify themselves as a caregiver.

Council on Aging’s Caregiver Support Program can help. The program provides one-on-one support for family or volunteer caregivers.

The program works to:

  • Reduce caregiver stress, burden and injuries
  • Increase caregiver confidence and knowledge
  • Improve the quality of care
  • Help caregivers balance their lives and caregiving responsibilities
  • Provide respite care (time off/away for the caregiver) in an appropriate, safe environment (not available in Clermont County)

Program qualifications

To qualify, the caregiver or care recipient must be at least 60 years old and the caregiver must live in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton or Warren counties. There is no age requirement for family caregivers who provide care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders with neurological and organic brain dysfunction.

For more information, review the Caregiver Support fact sheet or

Call Council on Aging at (513) 721-1025 or (800) 252-0155, Option 2.


AARP provides helpful information in the link below

*For information on Caregiver Burnout and Ways to Cope with Stress- See link below provided by AARP.


Cleveland Clinic Resources are also available on their website


As I discussed above, caring for our loved ones can be challenging but there are resources out there to help. 

If you are feeling the effects of caregiver stress and want to seek help, you can also seek out a counselor or join a caregiver support group. You don’t need to feel alone. There are so many people that would love to connect. 

  • CAREline (513) 869-4483 – a helpline providing resource information, referrals and support.

Please feel free to reach out to me any time.



Senior Living March 28, 2022

Top 10 Rightsizing Tips for Seniors

Decluttering and Rightsizing!

Many of us seem to be having the same conversations about simplifying our lives, decluttering our homes and getting rid of “stuff”.  The “stuff” just simply bogs us down.  It is amazing how it all accumulates.  From large homes to more modest homes, we all seem to have one shared experience, Clutter!  We love shows like Marie Kondo’s Tidying up with Marie Kondo on Netflix and magazines like Simplify Magazine, always looking for new ideas and strategies to face the accumulation.

As I explore resources on this topic, I realize that there is a wealth of information out there and lots of tips to begin this process. I think the tips in the SRES article below will help you get a good start. Please feel free to contact me anytime to discuss the process.  I certainly have helped many clients work through the journey of rightsizing!

Top 10 Rightsizing Tips for Seniors

Top 10 Rightsizing Tips for Seniors

1. Start with the easy stuff.

Eliminate anything that’s broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Then, go to the out-of-the-way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Progress in these “easier” parts of your home will help you build momentum and tackle the harder-to-decide areas.

2. Ask yourself,  “If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?”

If you wouldn’t miss it or need to replace it, it’s probably not worth keeping.

3. Don’t be a storage unit for others.

If friends or relatives have left things for you to store, it’s time to ask them to pick up their possessions—or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to be tough and set a firm deadline, after which you will donate the items.

4. Ask for help.

Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professional organizer can help make the job more manageable.

5. Decide what’s important.

Pretend you are moving overseas, but you can only take a severely limited number of items because it costs a small fortune to ship them. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter most to you!

6. Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want?

For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, it’s reasonable to eliminate a few plastic sets—and dishes, pots, and pans.

7. Schedule a regular time each week—or several days a week—to work on rightsizing.

Realize that rightsizing is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn’t accumulate everything overnight, and you won’t sort it all out overnight, either.

8. Value what you keep.

The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking items away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the select, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.

9. Prevent new collections from forming.

Instead of material gifts, ask people to spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and helping you indulge in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other theatre production, gift certificates for dinner out, etc.). In other words, ask for special treats that you love and want, but don’t always buy for yourself.

10. Use age to your advantage.

Now is a great time to give items to family members that you eventually want them to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of your recipients holding their treasured gifts and create a scrapbook of “next generation” memories. These images can serve as powerful reminders of your most cherished items moving forward into posterity with the most special people in your life.

This information is provided by
If you are interested in related articles, please see another one of my blog articles below and subscribe.

Photo by Julia M Cameron

Additional resources:

New Life Furniture Bank

Everything But The House

For more information please feel free to contact me:
Senior Living February 16, 2022

Helping our Senior Loved Ones Prepare their Homes for Sale

At some point our senior loved ones will be making decisions around their housing needs. Sometimes this involves staying in place, looking for a home with a first floor bedroom, exploring assisted living options and in some cases looking at nursing homes. As family members, our seniors may ask for advice when considering getting their homes ready for sale.

In this article, I will discuss the emotional impact on our seniors as well as offer practical suggestions for helping our senior loved ones prepare their homes for sale in the current real estate market.

To seniors, their homes are significant both financially and emotionally.”… home is more than just a place they live. It represents their journey, their accomplishments, their family, and the life they have created,” says the American Advisors Group’s “Importance of Home Survey.

Starting the conversation…

When working with seniors we need to take into consideration that design trends have significantly changed since most older people went through the buying process many years ago. Wallpaper, flooring, colors, patterns have all gone through transformations over the years. As an example you can see this article from House Beautiful on design trends of 2022.

The sale of a childhood home can trigger many emotions. It is bittersweet saying goodbye to a house full of memories. There will be time to grieve. You have to help them separate the home with the memories.

We need to be very sensitive when discussing how the current interior design of their home will fit into the current marketplace. With all of the home improvement and design shows out there, our seniors need to know that buyers tend to frame their taste based on what they see online or on the latest shows. These design features often conflict with styles that our seniors have grown to love. For those seniors that have lived in their homes a long time with emotional ties to their home it is very important to be cognizant of their feelings when broaching the subject of making any changes to the homes.  Seniors often see their homes through a lens that incorporates the milestones of their lives. Change is often difficult. Their homes may feel like an extension of themselves. When we tread carefully and respectfully, we will more than likely find success in helping our seniors understand how to get the highest and best price for their homes.

I always try to focus on the positive features of their home and gently discuss facts about what is currently selling and the impact on price. When the facts are presented including statistics, people tend to be more receptive to change.

According to National Association of Realtors in a 2021 publication,

  • “Forty-seven percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home.”
  • “Eighty-two percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.”
  • “Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46%), followed by staging the master bedroom (43%), and staging the kitchen (35%)”.

Seniors can consider many options including doing nothing, doing light cosmetic changes such as changing paint colors and lighting, doing light renovations, to doing a full staging of the home. There is always a choice to be made.

Making sure our seniors understand the options and are informed on how the market has changed over time is an important step in the process.

We can start the discussion with suggesting potential changes to the home that could make an impact on time on the market and price. Suggestions could include:

*Deep cleaning

*Painting the front door and exterior

*Cleaning up landscaping

*Updating paint colors

*Updating light fixtures

*Replacing flooring

*Putting in new appliances

*Updating hardware

*Changing out countertops

Of Note- “Always check with local building codes if a repair requires a licensed professional”

If you are at a point of deciding that you want to help your senior begin this process, please feel free to reach out to me. I can connect you with Sibcy Cline Home Services, a resource for contractors etc.

Additional resources:

For more information on downsizing, please see my blog post: Tips to Help You Downsize.

There are also service providers such as a provider in Cincinnati – “Home Stretch” that can help with getting the home ready for the market. They can help with various stages of home preparation.

If after discussion, your senior would consider hiring a staging company, there are many to choose from in Cincinnati. As an example, Design to Market in Cincinnati offers full staging services.

A wonderful way to donate furnishings to help those in need: New Life Furniture Bank 

Photo by Blue Bird from Pexels

If you find yourself in the position of starting these conversations with a senior close to you, please feel free to reach out to me. I am here to help!

First Time Homebuyers January 13, 2022

More First-time Buyers are Obtaining Conventional Instead of FHA Financing

More First-time Buyers are Obtaining Conventional Instead of FHA Financing

FHA-insured financing used to be the go-to for first-time buyers who need a lower down payment, but that has changed: more first-time buyers are going with conventional rather than FHA-insured loans. According to the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey,1  59% of first-time buyers obtained conventional, conforming loans in January 2021, while only 24% of first-time buyers obtained FHA-insured mortgages. In 2020, 57% of first-time buyers obtained conventional financing, up from 52% in the prior year. Meanwhile, the fraction of first-time buyers obtaining FHA-insured financing slightly fell to 29%.
Line graph: Fraction of First-Time Buyers Obtaining Conventional Conforming Mortgages, 2018 through January 2021

FHA mortgage insurance is more expensive than private mortgage insurance

One reason why first-time buyers are obtaining conventional financing and not FHA financing is the higher payment due to mortgage insurance. Borrowers who are first-time buyers and who meet income guidelines (income is no more than 80% of area median income) could also obtain a 97% loan-to-value conventional conforming mortgage where the payment to investors who purchase the mortgage backed securities are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

In the case of mortgages that meet Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac guidelines, the borrower does not have to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) when the equity reaches 80%. In the case of a FHA-insured mortgage, a borrower obtaining a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with 96.5% LTV will continue paying a monthly mortgage insurance premium (MIP) for the life of the loan. In addition, the borrower pays an upfront mortgage insurance premium (UPMIP) at the time the mortgage is obtained, although the UPMIP can be rolled into the loan.

I calculated the cost difference on a $300,000 home financed with a 2.7% 30-year fixed rate mortgage and assuming a PMI of 1.5%. The cost difference is $15,270. A borrower obtaining an FHA-insured mortgage pays $43,797 over the life of the loan in mortgage insurance (MIP) compared to only $31,908 in the case of loan backed by Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac where the borrower stops paying the monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) on year 9 when equity reaches 20% the prior year. In addition, the borrower obtaining an FHA-insured mortgage pays an interest of $3,380 by rolling into the loan the upfront mortgage insurance payment (UPMIP) of $5,356 (0.85% of the base loan amount of $289,500).

Bar chart: First-Time Buyer Savings, Conventional Conforming Loan vs. FHA-Insured Loan

Increasing role of GSEs in providing 3% down payment mortgages

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac started offering financing for mortgages with a 3% down payment in December 2014, to increase homeownership among households who can afford to pay the monthly mortgage but lack the 20% down payment. The programs serve low income households with income of up to 80% of the area median income.

Fannie Mae’s Home Ready program(link is external) is limited to borrowers with an income of up to 80% of the area median income. Fannie Mae’s HomeReady mortgage requires 25% mortgage insurance coverage on 90.01 to 97% LTV loans. The loan level price adjustments that increase the cost of a loan (based on a combination of down payment and credit score) are also waived for buyers with credit scores of at least 680. However, no income eligibility limits are required in its Standard 97% LTV Loan program.

Freddie Mac’s Home Possible(link is external) program also provides 97% LTV loans, and the program is limited to borrowers whose income is up to 80% of the area median income.  Also, even non-first-time buyers can take advantage of this program as long as they meet the income eligibility requirement. At least one of the borrowers must also occupy the property as a primary residence.

1 The REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey asks Realtors® about the characteristics of their last closed transaction for the month, which can be considered a random same of closed transaction. The RCI survey asks “Was the buyer a first-time buyer?” and “What was the type of financing” among respondents who reported that the buyer used mortgage financing. The tabulations on the type of financing obtained by first-time buyers has about 500 responses each month.

Senior Living January 13, 2022

What Type of Home Matches Your Vision of Retirement

As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist designee, I help people develop a real estate plan. More and more adults now care for their parents or loved ones while supporting children of their own. Many decisions need to be made around housing options. I am here to discuss the many possibilities and help families with housing transitions. There are many resources available that can help make the process go smoothly. Always feel free to reach out to me. I am here to help. The article below posted by SRES provides useful information as you begin to prepare.

What Type of Home Matches Your Vision of Retirement?

Often, retirement is a time for significant life transitions. For example, does your current home match your future dreams? Many people use this time to upsize, downsize, or move to a new destination.
A real estate professional who has earned the SRES® designation, like myself, can be a valuable partner on your journey. They understand clients’ unique perspectives over the age of 50 and can help you find the right fit, depending on your priorities.

Which category best describes your interests?

1. Focus on Family

If family plays an extensive role in your life, you’ll probably need space to accommodate them. That might mean an extra bedroom or a play area for weekly grandchild visits. Or a multi-generational floor plan that carves out a living suite for an adult child’s family—or yourself.

2. Travel and Taking it Easy

Perhaps home is where relaxation is the name of the game, and it’s easy
to travel because the property “takes care of itself.” In this case, look for a home that minimizes maintenance and landscaping chores, perhaps focusing on townhomes or condos with homeowners’ associations.

3. Social Butterfly

If you thrive on social interactions, an age-restricted community may be an excellent fit. Often, they offer a full schedule of activities and events where residents can easily make new acquaintances and build

4. Staying Put Moving is hard work!

If you want to minimize moves, focus on finding a “forever” home that will continue serving your needs if your health and mobility falter. Many buyers age 50+prioritize one-floor living and aging in place amenities.

5. Eating and Entertaining

Maybe you love cooking or hosting gatherings. In this case, prioritize a home with adequate entertaining
space indoors and outside. And if you view retirement as a time to let your culinary skills shine, make sure your next home also includes the kitchen of your dreams.

6. Still Working

If you aren’t ready to relax into full retirement or need to continue working for financial reasons, make sure your next home can accommodate remote work (a dedicated office, quiet location, etc.) or is near appealing, in-person job opportunities.

7. Happy Hobbyist
Will retirement provide more time to devote to a favorite hobby—or to tackle new skills? Make sure your
home includes space for your pursuits, such as a woodworking shop, a painting studio, or a crafts room.
Outdoor enthusiasts may need room to store large equipment, like a fishing boat.

This information is provided by
Discuss these and other housing preferences with me, your SRES® designee.

I can help you make the
most successful transition to your next home!

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents that were prepared by other people.
Senior Living January 12, 2022

Exercise and seniors

As a spouse to a former college athlete, I am reminded of the importance of physical activity in keeping us all young. My husband grew up in a very active family. Exercise is a very important part of his life. His parents prioritize exercise and have found it to be an important tool in my father-in-laws battle with Parkinson’s Disease. They make it a daily habit. The article below posted on the NCOA site is a good reminder for us all. Please share this post with those in your life that could benefit from resources on exercise.
*As always, seniors should check with their doctors before beginning any new exercise routine.
In general our aging parents should be engaged in a balanced physical fitness program that includes moderate aerobic activity
strength training
balance & flexibility exercises.
Excellent article about exercise for our aging parents from
National Council on Aging

Key Takeaways

Experts say older adults should engage in moderate exercise and strength training each week, however less than one-third meet this recommendation.

The best exercise for seniors to prevent health problems and stay independent are aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening.

NCOA helps community organizations offer fun and evidence-based exercise and training programs to keep seniors active.

Regular exercise can help older adults stay independent and prevent many health problems that come with age. NCOA helps community organizations offer fun and proven programs that keep seniors moving.
The CDC 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends two types of physical activity each week to improve health—aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Experts recommend that older adults engage in:
Moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week.
Muscle-strengthening activities for two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups.

Statistics show that less than one-third of Americans aged 65+ meet this recommendation. However, there are many proven programs that can help keep seniors active. NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging connects community organizations to proven programs that empower older adults to engage in regular exercise. Explore these evidence-based physical activity programs, which have been proven to produce measurable health benefits for older adults.

Active Choices

Active Choices is a six-month physical activity program that helps individuals incorporate preferred physical activities in their daily lives. The program is individualized for each person. Staff or volunteers are trained to provide regular, brief telephone-based guidance and support, and mail follow-up is delivered to participants’ homes.

Active Living Every Day

Active Living Every Day (ALED) uses facilitated group-based problem-solving methods to integrate physical activity for seniors into everyday living. The program utilizes the ALED book and offers optional online support resources for participants and facilitators. ALED can be offered independently or with existing community-based physical activity programs.

AEA Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program

AEA Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program is a recreational group exercise program conducted in warm water that consists of two levels, Basic and Plus, to accommodate different ability levels. Programs offer multiple components to help reduce pain and stiffness, and to maintain or improve mobility, muscle strength and functional ability.

AEA Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program

AEA Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program (Land-based) is a recreational group exercise program on land that includes a variety of exercises that can be performed sitting, standing or lying on the floor.   Programs offer multiple components to help reduce pain and stiffness, and to maintain or improve mobility, muscle strength and functional ability.


Bingocize® strategically combines the game of bingo, exercise, and/or health education. Trained lay leaders may select between three separate 10-week units that focus on exercise-onlyexercise and falls prevention, or exercise and nutrition.

Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less

Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less is a 15-week online weight management program that uses evidence-based strategies proven to work to help participants achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Each lesson informs, empowers and motivates participants to live mindfully as they make choices about eating and physical activity.


EnhanceFitness (formerly Lifetime Fitness Program) is a low-cost, highly adaptable exercise program offering levels that are challenging enough for active older adults and levels that are safe enough for the unfit or near frail. One-hour group classes include stretching, flexibility, balance, low-impact aerobics, and strength training.

Fit and Strong!

Fit and Strong! combines flexibility, strength training, and aerobic walking with health education for sustained behavior change among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis. Fit and Strong! works with providers across the country to deliver an eight-week program that improves lower extremity stiffness, pain, and strength, aerobic capacity, participation in exercise and caloric expenditure, and self-efficacy for exercise.


Geri-Fit® is a progressive resistance strength training exercise program designed to increase strength, flexibility, range of motion, mobility, gait, and balance. Exercises are performed seated in chairs (optional standing) in a group setting class. Ongoing classes are held twice-weekly for 45 minutes.

Healthy Moves for Aging Well

Healthy Moves for Aging Well is a simple and safe in-home physical activity intervention developed and tested by Partners in Care to enhance the activity level of frail, high-risk sedentary seniors living at home. The model was developed for community-based care management programs arranging and delivering services to seniors in the home.

On the Move

On the Move (OTM) is a group-based exercise program for older adults, designed to target key principles of the biomechanics and motor control of walking. The program contains a warm-up, stepping patterns, walking patterns, strengthening exercises, and cool-down exercises.

Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL)

The core feature of a SAIL Program is a community-based fitness class that meets 3 times weekly for one hour. The fitness class includes warm-up, aerobics, balance, strength training and stretching exercises that can be done in a seated or standing position. Periodic Fitness Checks track general mobility, arm strength and leg strength.

Tai Chi for Arthritis for Fall Prevention

The goals of Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (also known as Tai Chi for Arthritis) are to: 1) Improve movement, balance, strength, flexibility, immunity and relaxation; 2) Decrease pain and falls; 3) socialization and sustainability.

Tai Chi Prime

Tai Chi Prime is a six-week class series proven to reduce the risk of falling. Classes feature instruction in tai chi and qi gong basics, home practice coaching, home practice, and exercises to embed into activities of daily living.

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® is an evidence-based fall prevention program derived from a contemporary routine known as Simplified 24-Form Tai Ji Quan (pronounced tye gee chuwan). TJQMBB consists of an 8-form core with built-in practice variations and a subroutine of Tai Ji Quan – Mini Therapeutic Movements®, which, collectively, comprise a set of functional Tai Ji Quan exercises.

Walk with Ease

The Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease program helps participants develop a walking plan that meets their particular needs, stay motivated, manage pain, and exercise safely. The Walk with Ease materials are based on programs that have been successfully implemented in research settings and have resulted in such benefits as increased physical activity, increased walking distance and speed, decreased pain, and decreased depression.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

For more information for Senior Living…

I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents that were prepared by other people.
First Time Homebuyers January 1, 2022

10 first-time homebuyer tips

I am always searching for helpful information that my clients and their families can use to educate themselves on the home buying process. Having been in the real estate business for over a decade, I find that more and more my client’s are asking me to help their children purchase their first homes.  My clients know that I enjoy working with first time homebuyers and trust that I will always work in my clients best interest. I feel that education is extremely important and always meet with my new buyers to help them understand the home buying process before we even begin to search.  In doing research, I found the tips in the article below to be helpful for my new buyers.  Please see the article below posted by Always feel free to contact me with any questions about the home buying process.

*As home prices continue to climb, buying a home for the first time might seem like an unattainable goal. With planning and discipline, though, that goal might not be as unreachable as you think. Here are some smart money moves and home-buying tips you can make today to put you on the path to homeownership.*

First-time home-buying tips

12+ months out

1. Check your credit (and work on it)

As a first-time homebuyer, your first step is to pull your credit reports and scores to see where you stand, says Ralph DiBugnara, president of New York City-based Home Qualified, an online resource for homebuyers.

“Look for any errors or past-due accounts that might have gone to collections,” DiBugnara says. “These liabilities can create roadblocks when you apply for a home loan. If anything is amiss, contact the creditor to see if you can sort it out.”

You can use Bankrate to keep tabs on your credit for free. You also can get a free copy of your credit report by visiting Some banks also have tools to help customers (or anyone) track and improve their credit. Chase, for example, has a program called My Credit Journey that is available to any user, not just banking customers.

Don’t just check one credit bureau’s report; you could get a false sense of confidence. Instead, get information from all three agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), and keep periodic tabs on your activity, DiBugnara advises.

“If you’re not already signed up for a credit monitoring service, this is a good time to do it,” DiBugnara says. “You’ll get notified if your credit score changes, or if there’s suspicious activity on your report.”

The higher your credit score, the better the interest rate on your mortgage. If your score has room for improvement, now’s the time to work on it. Ideally, your credit utilization ratio should be 30 percent or less, says Lindsey Shores, assistant manager of Real Estate Originations with SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union in Sacramento.

“This includes your credit cards, overdraft protection and any other lines of credit you have,” says Shores. “For many people, this is something they have to plan for and work to pay down to achieve that 30 percent number.”

In the same vein, you should also work to pay down or pay off any debt.

6 to 8 months out

2. Nail down your budget

When you’re buying a home for the first time, setting a realistic budget is key, says Lauren Lindsay, a Houston-based independent financial planner.

“Look at your monthly spending to see what you can afford for principal, interest, taxes and insurance,” Lindsay says. “One lesson from the [housing] crash: Just because the bank approves you for a certain amount, it doesn’t mean you can afford it.”

Factor in the cost of home maintenance and emergency savings for repairs, too.

“As a rule of thumb, I tell clients to prepare to spend 1 percent to 3 percent of the value of their homes each year on house [expenses],” says Steve Sivak, a certified financial planner and managing partner of Innovate Wealth in Pittsburgh. You might need to set aside more if the home you end up buying is older, bigger or has maintenance-heavy amenities, like a pool.

In addition to household expenses, consider other financial obligations that lenders won’t see on your credit report. Costs like your cell phone, utility, daycare/tuition, grocery and car insurance bills also affect how much house you can afford.

Consider your income, debt and savings, as well — these tie into how much mortgage you could potentially qualify for. Regardless of level of income, you should be able to document that you have a stable source of earnings.

“Your income and how much you earn monthly will be scrutinized by lenders, who will look for a two-year employment history and want to see consistent income — whether you’re receiving a salary, hourly pay or are self-employed,” explains Tom Hecker, a loan officer with Cherry Creek Mortgage in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Depending on your goals, you might also want to look into ways to bump up your earnings (check out these best side hustles). You can use the extra cash to build up your down payment or create more room in your budget.

3. Consider your needs and wants

Finding the ideal location and address can take a lot more time than you expect, so begin scouting neighborhoods early in the process.

“Drive and walk around that area at different times of the day and night,” says Bill Golden, a Realtor and associate broker with RE/MAX Around Atlanta. “This will help you get a feel for what you like and don’t like.”

Along with pinpointing the neighborhood, now is a good time to narrow down your preferences for the home itself. What type of house are you looking for? What can you compromise on? What are the dealbreakers? Think about what you like about where you currently live — that can help inform your list of needs and wants.

3 to 4 months out

4. Get assets in place

When assessing your application, mortgage lenders typically look at your bank statements from the last two months, in addition to other documents. If you plan to make any deposits into your checking or savings accounts from other assets — such as a down payment gift — do it before that 60-day window. This gives the funds time to “season.”

“At three to four months out, you want to deposit your needed funds into your account so they can age appropriately,” says Shores. “Ideally, you want these funds in place in your account for 90 days or longer.”

Additionally, it’s best to avoid opening new credit accounts or loans, or racking up debt, from this point on, DiBugnara adds.

2 months out

5. Shop multiple lenders

Things are getting real. At this point, you should know what monthly payment you’re comfortable with, what areas you can afford and how much you can put down. Now it’s time to shop for a mortgage.

Compare mortgage rates from different types of lenders, as well as different types of mortgages, to help you decide whether this is a good time to lock in your rate. Consider your experience with the lender, as well.

“In this market, you can find competitive rates and service, but you want to pay close attention to lenders’ responsiveness and communication,” DiBugnara says.

It’s also a good idea to focus not just on the rates you’re being quoted, but all the terms of the mortgage. What are the late fees? What are the estimated closing costs? Is there a prepayment penalty? If you’re able to get a mortgage with the bank where you already have accounts, will you get a better deal? Sometimes it makes sense to choose a loan with a slightly higher rate if the other terms are more favorable overall.

6. Get preapproved

Once you settle on a lender, get preapproved for a mortgage. Preapprovals usually expire after 90 days, DiBugnara says — ask your lender how long yours will be good for. If you’re a first-time homebuyer with significant debt or so-so credit, you might want to apply for a preapproval as soon as possible to zero in on issues to fix.

“Once you have a preapproval in place, keep sticking to your budget and savings plan and continue to pay all debts on time,” Hecker says. “Try not to make any extraordinary purchases or take on extra debt, either.”

7. Look for down payment assistance

There are many first-time homebuyer and down payment assistance programs, including at the local, regional and national level, that can help cover your down payment or closing costs. These programs are typically limited to borrowers with an income below a certain level (based on location), and can impose a cap on the home’s price, too. Talk to your loan officer and explore your options to see what you might be able to pair with your mortgage:

8. Work with a real estate agent

After you have your financing squared away and a preapproval letter in hand, your next step as a first-time homebuyer is to hire a real estate agent.

An experienced real estate agent who knows the area you’re looking to buy in especially well can advise you on market conditions and whether homes you want to make offers on are priced properly. Your agent can also identify potential issues with a home or neighborhood you’re unaware of, and go to bat for you to negotiate pricing and terms.

“As a buyer, it costs you nothing to work with a Realtor, but they can save a lot of time and hassle [in your search],” Lindsay says.

You can start by asking friends, relatives or co-workers for referrals.

“Don’t just pick [an agent] blindly — make sure it’s someone who works in the general area you’re looking in and whom you feel comfortable with,” Golden says, adding that, despite the competitive market, “new listings come up every day, and a good Realtor will be on top of that and get you to see new listings as soon as they become available.”

1 month out

9. Put contingencies in writing

When you find a contender and prepare to make an offer, be clear about any contingencies that’ll allow you to walk away from the deal. These can include the home inspection revealing costly issues or your mortgage approval falling through. If these terms are spelled out in writing with deadlines, you’ll have an out if the transaction doesn’t go as planned — and get your earnest deposit back, too.

If there is a problem with the home, get estimates from contractors on any repairs or upgrades it might need before you close, DiBugnara says. Doing this research can help you plan for those expenses and buy you time to have the work done before moving in.

It’s also a good idea at this stage of the game to enlist a real estate attorney to review your purchase contract and protect your interests.

10. Keep the status quo

A mortgage preapproval doesn’t mean things are set. Lenders recheck your credit, bank statements, income and employment just before closing to make sure you’re still able to handle the repayment. Making big purchases, taking out new loans or lines of credit or even closing accounts can delay the closing or kill your loan altogether, DiBugnara says.

“Any skeletons you have in your financial closet will be found, so it’s best to be as honest and upfront as you can,” DiBugnara says.

“You don’t want to risk having your loan declined at the last minute,” agrees Shores, “so don’t make any large purchases, like a new car, before closing on your loan, don’t get talked into applying for new retail store credit cards and avoid making any new charges once you have been preapproved for your mortgage.”

With additional reporting by Erik J. Martin

For more helpful information for first time homebuyers click on the link below.


Senior Living December 4, 2021

Long-term Care: The Retirement Wildcard

The end of the year is always a good time to take stock of your finances and make sure your savings and investments align with your long- and short-term goals. Even when you’ve been a diligent saver and invested wisely, the wildcard for nearly everyone is how to finance long-term care.

It’s impossible to know whether you’ll need minimal care and be able to age at home or if you’ll need hands-on care in a nursing home. Given the conditions in many nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have lost their appetite for long-term care in institutional settings. If you’re over age 50, it’s worth considering what you may need for living expenses, exploring the funding options, and factoring them into your 2022 financial plan and beyond. After all, it’s always a nagging worry that no matter how well you save, long-term care could wipe out your resources. And quickly.

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has been looking at aging care in a three-part series of briefs on the topic. In the first two, CRR explored ( how likely it would be that retirees would need support and the intensity and duration of that support and the second ( looked at what’s available in terms of caregivers and financial resources. The briefs may bring both comfort and alarm.


This information is from the December 2021 Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES) Newsletter:

December 2021_SRES Newsletter_12-1-2021_US

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

I have not verified any of the information contained in those documents that were prepared by other people.