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


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!

Introduction November 23, 2021

Introduction to my BLOG

Hello! My blog focuses on providing resource information for individuals and families who are preparing for or who are currently experiencing the stress of family transitions. Read on and you will see you are not alone!

So… your children are transitioning into an independent life and/or you are realizing your parents are transitioning into a more dependent life.  Each comes with a specific set of challenges and some of us are right in the middle of both!

Life is an interesting circle of changes and transitions. Perhaps you are entering the time when your children begin moving out of your homes to purchase their first house. Likewise, as our parents get older and needing to evaluate where they are, the time arrives to explore the many options available to them and you. We are in a unique position of being privy to both, and finding the balance between them.

It can be very overwhelming and difficult.

Our personal struggles begin to blend with our responsibility to those around us. More and more, we find ourselves discussing with our friends our new aches and pains, our struggles with less energy, and the ever popular forgetting everything. The extra contribution of supporting our children and parents in their adjustments to life’s circumstances can seem daunting. But is there a way for us to be prepared?

We need to get a handle on this! All of this responsibility is challenging and we need answers – quick.

You probably find yourself asking friends, family, google, where do I find help?

How do I help my children leave their family home and become independent?

How do my adult children get qualified for a mortgage without a work history?

Who can I trust to work in my child’s best interest and take the time to help them understand how the process of buying a home works?

Who will take the time to educate and prepare them for the responsibilities that come with home ownership?

How do we help them with down payments, monetary gifts etc. to help them qualify to buy a house?

What do we do with all their stuff?

Do we get rid of all the lovely and sweet gifts we have treasured all these years; all the pottery, artwork, cuteness, that at the time was our world and is now clutter?

Are their ways to preserve all that stuff without throwing it out?

How can my parents afford the astronomical prices of assisted living, private pay nursing, medical bills, medical equipment, and all the things we need as we age?

This can quickly become overwhelming! But what can we do about it?

The resources are out there.

But how do you pay for them? What if you don’t have time to be on the phone for hours, to drive elderly parents to doctor’s appointments, to visit every house your child wants to look at while still working full time? Is there a simpler way?

I created this blog because many of my friends are going through similar experiences with their newly adult children and their aging parents. Navigating the system can be overwhelming and very frustrating and I want to help.

This is the purpose of Family Resource Page with Tracy Heller

My goal is to use my background as a social worker, individual, couples,  and family therapist, researcher, and my knowledge as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist to create a place where you can go to find answers, learn something new, explore resources, ask questions, and find shared experiences with many others in the same position as you.

For more information on my background and experience, click the link below.

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels






Senior Living November 23, 2021

Senior Services in Greater Cincinnati

Start with yourself and your location and how you notice that many people need the resources to get support when they are aging.


List of services and links to websites.

Clermont Senior Services

2085 James E. Sauls Sr. Dr,
Batavia, OH 45103,
United States

Main Number         513-724-1255

Intake Line-             513-536-4033

Transportation-      513-536-4115

Call to set up a case manager evaluation

 Clermont Senior Services provide:

  • Transportation to Doctor appointments
  • Personal Care 1-3 times per week for 1 hour (includes help with bathing) You can ask for skilled services.
  • Homemaking services 2 hours every other week
  • Home delivered meals- 5 frozen 1 time a week that you can heat in oven or microwave
  • Adult day services 1-3 times per week for 6 hours
  • Respite for errands or breaks 4 hours per week


  • Sliding scale based on monthly income
  • Suggested amounts-
  • $4 per round trip of transportation
  • $7.50 an hour for personal care

Clermont Senior Services Adult Day Care

Adult Day Care Services are housed at the Lois Brown Dale Welcome Center, located next to the agency’s administrative offices.

 The center provides a safe, comfortable, and

nurturing environment for older adults with physical and cognitive impairments.

The majority of the adults who attend the center each day have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related disorders.

Others have physical limitations from the effects of a stroke, Parkinson’s disease, or other chronic disabilities. LBD Welcome Center staff provides activities for the participants that are mentally and physically engaging and fun.

The LBD Welcome Center supports the responsibility of family caregivers, offering relief from the stress of providing care around the clock seven days per week. Without the LBD Welcome Center, many caregivers would be overwhelmed and faced with the difficult choice of placing their loved ones in a nursing home.

 Transportation to the center, as well as caregiver support, are also available.

Click here for more information

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


Introduction November 23, 2021


My Background

As many of you know, I graduated from Xavier University with a Bachelors of Science in Social work and Ohio State University with a Masters Degree in Psychiatric Social Work.

My resume includes work at Bethesda Oak Hospital, Millcreek Psychiatric Center for Children, and Children’s Hospital at (CCDD) Cincinnati Center for Developmental Disorders. I established a private practice at Bethesda Counseling Services, Bridgepoint Psychological Services and finally at Westwood Psychological Services working with individuals, couples, and families as a psychotherapist.

Following my work in counseling and social work, I pursued my real estate license and have been a licensed Realtor since 2007 and earned the Seniors Real Estate Specialist Designation from the National Association of Realtors in 2017.

I have developed my Blog to provide useful information and resources for those going through life transitions from First Time Homebuyers to Seniors.

My goal is to use my background as a social worker, individual, couples,  and family therapist, researcher, and my knowledge as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist to create a place where you can go to find answers, learn something new, explore resources, ask questions, and find shared experiences with many others in the same position as you.