Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Bring Dad (Mom) Home from the Hospital or Rehabilitation

Bringing Dad (Mom) Home from the Hospital or Rehabilitation
Bathroom safety is a major concern as most fall at home happen in this room
We can almost predict what some customers will say when they come into the store. The worried, tense expressions as they look at the variety of home care items on display can be overwhelming to many.  When asked how we can be of help the response is often “Well I am bringing dad home this weekend and they told me that I need to get the house ready”. “What do I need to get???”   The fear, confusion and concern in the “kids” voice and face shows as they are confronted with this new dilemma. All are frustrated as what looks like a mountain of decisions to be made within a few hours or just days.
Seldom has a list of items been given to them by the hospital or doctor’s office that can be used as a guideline for the medical care and safety items the parent* will be using at home.  Don’t panic, in most cases there is time to find the right products for the home rehab of the patient/parent. Once we find the what if any, limitations they have such as mobility and or incontinence issues, a  variety of solutions can be offered to meet the needs of both the parent and caregiver in the home. 

Will they be using a tub or shower?  A shower bench or transfer bench may be best for safety and comfort. Some tubs have sliding doors which can make the use of transfer benches difficult. Removal of the doors may be the best solution then replace with a curtain. This gives more leg room to step in or swing the legs around to gain entry. Plus doors on the tub can make it difficult for a caregiver to be of help. Please do not fall for the false cost saving idea of using a plastic yard chair in the tub/shower.  The heat of the water will weaken the frame which can bend, they do not have nonskid leg tips, they are not adjustable in height, to name a few reasons they can be a hazard.

A shower head that is removable from the wall can be of help, one that has a long hose such as 84” with an on and off switch at the shower head adds to the safety and comfort so reaching for the wall valve is not an issue.
A toilet seat riser and or a commode may be needed. New styles of commodes and benches that do not look institutional that fit into the home d├ęcor are available.

Mirrors in many bathrooms may need to be tilted so when you are sitting in a wheelchair the view is angled to the face. Care needs to be taken so the mirror is secure, a handyman should be consulted if you are in doubt about adjusting it.

Rugs (smaller or movable) just get rid of them or secure them to the floor. Rugs that have a thick rubber base that prevents them from moving may work out in some cases. Look for a non-slip floor mat: They can still cause a trip hazard if not completely flat.

Grab bars come in various lengths and colors, they can be mounted at any angle as long as both ends are anchored to the wall. It is best if at least one is anchored into a stud behind the surface.  Try different positions prior to installing any bars. You can sit and stand acting as the patient to see what the best position is. Placing bars on the walls in the bathroom as well as in the hallway should be considered for support.  There are grab bars that clamp onto the wall of the tub to help getting into/ out of the tub.

Risers and safety bars are often needed for the toilet if sitting too low will be difficult after surgery. The first question we ask is what is the shape of the toilet? Is it standard round or elongated? Many seat risers will fit only one shape securely. Risers come in 3 ½ and 5 inch heights this means be sure of the height of the one who will use it all the time. Feet need to be touching the floor for comfort and safety. Safety bars help support the arms when sitting down and getting up. Some risers do come with arm rails as part of the riser then separate safety rails are not needed. Often customers will have taken a photo of the toilet to be sure of the shape when buying a riser.

Doors can be a problem if they get locked which many people do even at home, why is hard to answer. If you cannot disable the lock then try taping the latch so it will not engage the wall jam. This way the door can be opened in any emergency or a simple call for help. Some homes have removed the door then replaced it with a curtain.

Knowing you have done all you can for the safety of your loved one lets you sleep better while keeping them safer at home.  There are many options for bathroom safety these are just a few to think about.  For more ideas and to see many of the products mentioned stop by our showroom and also visit our website

Other items to make the home safer as well as comfortable will be posted in the future.
If you have come up with unique ways to make the home safer, please tell us!

Visit us online today @

1740 E. Fort Lowell Road
Tucson, AZ 85719

Call us today and say "I saw you in SPOTLIGHT!"  

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Millennials & Boomers Are Changing The Real Estate Market

Toby Parks REALTOR  Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage520-310-0122

Millennials and Boomers Are Changing the Real Estate Market

Despite moving into different life stages, the two generations converge on similar homes in defiance of generational stereotypes.

Photo: Courtesy Brown Harris Stevens
When Bobby West, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, recently held open houses in Pittsburgh, he noticed a trend: both millennials and baby boomers flocked to the properties, attracted by the square footage and price. While he found that millennials searched for a home to turn into a family nest, baby boomers looked for a place to downsize. These two dynamics are starting to play out at both the low- and high-end of the real estate market.
Millennials (commonly defined as those currently between the ages of 22 and 37) used to prefer urban apartment living, while baby boomers (those born in the mid-20th century) owned sprawling suburban edifices. While many may still do, preferences are steadily shifting.
“I think it has a lot to do with the natural cycle of life,” says Santiago Arana, a Los Angeles-based real estate agent with the Agency. Millennial households spiked to 28 million in 2016, a steeper increase than any other age group, according to the Pew Research Center. In the same year, over one million millennial women become first-time mothers, and over half of their peers ranked “being a good parent” a top priority.
“The moment they start having children and family needs, they want to go to more residential, family-oriented areas,” says Arana.
The majority of millennials expect to purchase a home in the next five years, Nationwide Mortgages, an online mortgage aggregate, reported. Over half of 20- and 30-something home seekers are in the market for the first time.

Los Angeles estate Photo: Courtesy of Coldwell Banker
Baby boomers, on the other hand, occupy the opposite gradient of life’s trajectory, where retirement creeps in and children move out. Currently, boomers own nearly $13 trillion of U.S. real estate—or two out of every five homes in the country, according to a Fannie Mae report. The authors, however, predict a swooping exodus due to the pull of rentals and senior facilities.
While buying smaller properties may sustain the high rate of baby boomers’ home ownership, the altogether departure from it might already be underway. U.S. Census information from 2016 indicates that baby boomers are the fastest growing segment of renters. Data from the Integrated Public Microdata Series – Current Population Survey (IPUMS – CPS) shows that baby boomers’ homeownership has slumped in 34 of the nation’s 50 top markets from 2010 to 2017. Cities like Denver, Tampa, Memphis, and Pittsburgh are seeing decreases. West, the agent from Pittsburgh, can attest.
“Pittsburgh has a really nice stock of condos, and the baby boomers that I have been working with most recently owned a large home, where they have raised their family,” he says. “All the kids have moved to college and graduated and it’s time to downsize, and they are looking at condos in the North Oakland neighborhood.”
Conversations with realtors across the country reveal that in-demand features stay consistent regardless of the location. Whether in New York City or Los Angeles, millennials lean toward modern, open-floor concepts with a vibe of informality—either ingrained in the design or quickly attained.
“Someone said to me last week that they are turning the dining room into a playroom, because they were not at the stage where they would ever have people over or use the dining room,” says Danielle Wiedemann, a realtor with Sotheby’s International Realty in New York, of a millennial client.

Some millennials are transforming dining rooms into separate spaces to meet their needs. Photo Credit: Jacob Elliott Photography
While they may be eager to slightly tweak a home to match their taste, millennials are shying away from overwhelming renovation projects. They prefer new-construction, move-in residences, says David Parnes, a celebrity realtor starring in Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. Reasons given for this preference include working long hours (millennial tech entrepreneurs power the Los Angles market, Parnes says) to having young children to even, in some cases, the 21st-century desire for instant satisfaction.
“I think that in the age of HGTV, as fun as it is to watch other people tear a house apart, it is eye-opening to realize that there is a lot more work than meets the eye,” says West. “So a lot of young folks that I work with are very conscious of what needs to be done and what is already done.”
Even though baby boomers may not mind a revamp as much as millennials do, they also seem attracted to recently built abodes. In that way, the market is converging, says Frank D. Isoldi, a real estate agent affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in New Jersey. “They are trending toward the new(er), not the megamansion any longer, and they want super convenient locations,” Isoldi says.
Baby boomers often look for a walkable lifestyle and entertainment options. Many are ready to revive old pursuits now that their children have flown the coop, and that often includes frequent and hassle-free visits to restaurants, museums, shops, and theatres. Manhattan is a case in point. Wiedemann says that many baby boomers are drawn to the neighborhood because it’s convenient and easy—and because they can ditch the car.
But well-to-do baby boomers are not just craving a New York state of mind. They want homes with character, like proximity to and views of Central Park or a townhouse with a hidden back garden. “Baby boomers mostly look for something special that would make them feel like that it is okay that they got rid of their large house,” says Wiedemann, adding that many move to high-end rentals with one-of-a-kind traits.

Solarium Penthouse at 555 West End Avenue Photo Credit: Hayes Davidson
On the West Coast, baby boomers are also reducing their residential footprints—but without giving up home attributes like wine cellars, secluded master suites, and several additional bedrooms. They may be empty nesters, but “they want the kids and grandkids to come visit, so they want to make sure that they have enough space,” says Ricardo Santa Cruz, president and CEO of RSC.
Santa Cruz kept family reunions in mind when working on Mandarina, a Mexico-based, One&Only-branded resort and residential community. The development appears to present a case study for how to advertise to both generations. It speaks to baby boomers who want a memorable and easily accessible destination to gather with their offspring—and it offers amenities that cater to millennials. A second home may not be on the radar for most millennials, but, Santa Cruz says, a focus on travel and unique pastimes tugs at some.
“When they hear about a development like ours, they go, ‘Wait a minute, there is no golf,’” he says. “Instead of golf, you have horseback riding and a kids’ farm and zip-lining. Suddenly, all of these different activities that break the traditional mold really draw their attention.”
Nonetheless, marketing to millennials—who are known for doing extensive research online before visiting a property—is no easy task. They are more erudite and prepared, says Todd Peter, agent with Sotheby’s International Realty in Palm Beach, Fla. “Our job [as realtors] is to add further value about each neighborhood by having local knowledge and off-market properties—things they cannot see by going online,” he says.
Developers and sales agents of projects like Mandarina have a higher bar to surmount—anticipating the zeitgeist yet to dawn. Millennials and baby boomers, which together comprise a vast portion of real estate clients, dictate the industry, but their changing lifestyles make it hard to predict what will appeal to them in two or three years. And a new condominium may take even longer than that to come to the market. “Developers tend to try to stay with what has been tried and proven in the past,” says Santa Cruz. “These developments take years to come online, so a lot of times, once they come online, they realize ‘We totally missed the trend.’”
Though it can be hard to gauge the ever-changing real estate market, developers and agents alike remain committed to building and showing properties that appeal to both millennials and baby boomers. Increasingly, those properties are one and the same.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Empowering Your Move to Tucson Arizona with Su Swanne, Long Realty

Su Swanne, Realtor GRI, CSHP, SRES
Graduate, Realtor Institute
Certified Senior Housing Professional
Senior Real Estate Specialist


Empower Your Move!

I recently ordered new business cards that reflect the focus of my business - Empowering Seniors to take the steps to fulfilling their lifestyle needs. Whether that be downsizing, moving into a Senior Living Community, or letting go of material things that no longer serve them, my goal is to provide information that can help them with decision-making. While I still want folks to “Make Yourself at Home in Tucson”, I also want them to be empowered to step into a new life situation.

A Word About Real Estate in Tucson
It’s fair to say that the majority of people researching for a new home do it online;, Zillow, Trulia, and other websites offer lots of information about what to look for, tips of all sorts, and potential home values. I want to offer a word of caution. The information about the estimated value of a home, yours or one you’d like to buy, is just that - estimated.

I offer a complimentary consult about your home to understand your needs and concerns about either selling your current home or buying a new one. And I provide current local real estate market information. You can trust me to provide you with a realistic picture of what you can expect.

Did you know that MOST sellers initially feel that their home is worth a lot more than the market will support? Generally, if a home is priced right it will sell reasonably soon. It’s when the price is not in line with the existing market that it may take longer, perhaps requiring a reduction in price. Then, people wonder what’s wrong with it. When you work with a knowledgeable Realtor you have a better chance of receiving full offers at the right price.

You can find information about the market in your area by going to my website. Then when you’re ready for that consult, Contact Me!

A Word About Seniors
  • This week the HOPE class about hoarding began. It’s a class for recovery from hoarding. Registration for the class was on Feb. 5; the class itself began for 10 weeks on Feb 12. In the future the subject of Hoarding will be one of the seminars I’m creating. Stay tuned.

  • The newly-published Winter-Spring edition of the SPOTLIGHT guide for Seniors is being distributed throughout Tucson in various locations; doctor offices, hospitals, places where Seniors hangout. This hard-copy guide offers information about home care services, senior living communities, elder law, placement services, hearing, Alzheimer’s and memory resources, and many more. It is also available online and by mobile app. See my ad on page 49!

  • A “Granny Flat” by any other name - They can be called “guest cottages”, accessory apartments, in-law suites, caregiver dwellings, or tiny houses. With the growth of the Senior population needing affordable, independent housing, close to their families, there is once again pressure on municipalities around the country to change regulations for “ADUs” (Accessory Dwelling Units). For more information about this type of housing for Seniors, read this article on the Senior Real Estate Specialist website. Or watch this video on YouTube. And to see what’s happening in Arizona check out this blog.

A Word About Me
I have been busy listing properties - two duplexes, a home in Rita Ranch and coming soon, the counterpart of the 6 acres for sale in Sahuarita that I included in last month’s update. The property is a three bedroom, three bath house on three acres. It also has a one-car garage and a 4-car garage.The two properties can be sold separately or together. If you are looking for a home with acreage in the country, and a place to work on your special projects, this might be for you - a total of 9 acres with house and several large outbuildings suitable for hobbies, an artist studio, and possible income potential, all for $209,000.

Current Listings

Open House 7722 S Trumpet Vine Avenue - Rita Ranch - This Sunday, February 17 between 1 and 4 p.m. during Long Realty’s “Open House Blitz” for listings in Rita Ranch.

  • 6446 W Pinto Rd, Sahuarita - 6 acres with several large outbuildings and liveable trailers
  • 13231 W Snyder Hill Rd - 41 acres vacant land near Three Points
  • 1505  N Yavapai Rd - Duplex - Two three bedroom, two bath units on West Side

A Word About Reverse Mortgages
Again this month I have invited mortgage lender and expert on Reverse Mortgages, Cindy McKearney, to offer information on this often misunderstood mortgage option for Seniors over 62 years old.

In the early 1960s, when reverse mortgage loans were first introduced, they did not have any government programs backing it. It wasn’t until 1983 when the Senate approved the proposal of having the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to insure reverse mortgages. The Federal Housing Administration has been guaranteeing HECM mortgages ever since it was passed into law in 1988 by President Reagan. Since then FHA and HUD have made many amendments to the program to improve consumer protections. It is my job to give you the best education available with the most up-to-date facts so you can make a well-informed decision. Here are some of the most common myths I have heard:

MYTH: Reverse mortgages are too expensive.
FACT: There have been changes in FHA’s HECM reverse mortgage program in recent years that reduced a borrower’s costs. While any reverse mortgage is still more expensive than a traditional mortgage, they may provide you with more options than a traditional mortgage, such as no mortgage payments and a growth option (growth applies to the credit line’s unused funds). You must still continue to pay home expenses such as taxes and insurance, and maintain the home.

MYTH:  Your home will be taken away when you pass away and the family loses the rights to the property.
FACT: Because the house is in your name, you or your heirs make the decision to sell or pay off the mortgage balance. If the mortgage balance is too high, the payoff is limited to the value of the house, and the remaining amount is paid by the FHA mortgage insurance fund.  Remember that your heirs can always purchase the home for 95% of the appraised value or the mortgage balance, whichever is lower.

MYTH: I could lose my home and be forced to move.
FACT: As long as all loan terms are met, you cannot be forced to sell the home and/or move. Terms include living in the home as your primary residence, maintaining the home, and paying home expenses such as taxes and insurance.

MYTH: I will be giving up the deed to my home and I won’t own it anymore.
FACT: The deed always stays in your name and you have all the rights that you do now. You can sell it, remodel it, and keep any equity that is left when you move.

MYTH: A reverse mortgage loan should only be considered as a loan of last resort.
FACT: Many folks think a reverse mortgage can only be used when all other accounts and options are exhausted.  While it is a great loan to add cash flow for a borrower 62 and better that has fallen on hard times (including potentially a foreclosure situation*), it should also be used earlier in retirement to avoid future problems by keeping the home safe with the retiree “aging in place.”  *This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult an attorney for your specific situation..

MYTH: The safest thing is a house “free and clear.”
FACT: In the event of an extended nursing home stay or a lawsuit, all your home equity can be lost that you spent your whole life to create. A reverse mortgage can unlock that equity and allow you to manage it properly for the benefit of your family. Talk to your financial advisor about how a reverse mortgage can help you do this, including helping you pay for longer-term expenses such as medical and/or nursing home expenses.

MYTH: My children could get stuck with a big mortgage debt if I live too long.
FACT: Your children can never be liable for any amount over the value of the home because the loan is guaranteed by the FHA Mortgage Insurance Fund (FHA/HUD).
MYTH:  Your house must be debt-free to qualify for a reverse mortgage.
FACT: You can use a reverse mortgage to pay off a current mortgage provided the available FHA borrowing limit is high enough to cover your balance.

A Word About Events in Tucson
  • Don’t forget about the annual La Fiesta de los Vaqueros® that begins this Saturday, February 16, and runs through February 24. Check the website for the Schedule of Events.
  • The annual Tucson Festival of Books event at the University of Arizona is March 2 and 3. Head on out to shop for books, meet authors, and enjoy the Tucson weather. Don’t forget to stop by the Toastmasters District 3 Booth 132 to learn about communication and leadership through Toastmasters International.
  • February 22-24, Tucson Quilter’s Guild 41st Annual Quilt Fiesta - Tucson Convention Center - Over 300 quilters’ creations, demonstrations, and quilt auctions. $10 at the door each day, $20 for all three days.