Simplifying Your Holiday Season

Today 70 percent of moms are working outside of the home, however there is more cultural pressure today to have the “picture perfect” Christmas. Family photographs in coordinated outfits for your Instagram followers.  Pinterest worthy, beautifully wrapped gifts arranged “just-so” under the gorgeously decorated tree.  And family fun for all to see on your Facebook page.   If we can’t do it that way, we begin to feel inadequate, frustrated and guilty. All of this adds to the stress that so many people feel around the holidays.

People often confuse organizing and simplifying. The difference is when you organize, you’re just reshuffling the same list of things that you’ve always done and what you expect you should do. However, when you simplify, you’re actually eliminating a lot of things you feel you have to do. Simplifying is not about being more efficient and learning to do more in less time. The whole idea of simplifying is about DOING LESS, so that you have the time to enjoy your family and friends more.  People want to do less. Yet, they feel guilty if they cut back.

I am here to give you permission to stop doing things and start enjoying the upcoming holiday season. 

Here is one way I SIMPLIFY my Thanksgiving meal.  I make my mashed potatoes ahead of time- up to a month before the big meal. 

How To Choose Between Primary Care Vs. Hospital System in Appleton

Primary care vs. Hospital system for wellness

Being part of the 55+ demographic, finding ways to stay healthy, and active, while enjoying our free time is high on our priority list. This can be challenging when health issues arise, and we don’t know where to turn. 

In talking with other people in our age group, if they don’t have an ongoing health issue, they rarely visit the Doctor at all. While this may seem like a good thing, it can be harder for medical professionals to help you with you are ill. It’s helpful if there was a baseline established when you were well. When you are healthy, you should visit a doctor for a routine check-up to get your health baseline on file. 

But where do you turn? Should you visit Primary Care Doctors or consider a hospital system for your wellness needs? 

This could depend on a few factors like:

  • Insurance coverage
  • Location
  • Expertise

It would be helpful first to explain the difference between the two. A Primary Care Doctor often has his or her clinic. You can visit them for emergency and non-emergency medical issues. When you choose a Primary Care Doctor, people are usually in their care for an extended period. 

There are three main types of Primary Care Doctors. 

  • A Family Practice Doctor examines and treats the whole family, from infants to seniors. They are generalists and help people with a wide variety of conditions from sports injuries, women’s health issues to more complicated chronic conditions.
  • An Internal Medicine Doctor typically treat adults with chronic conditions. They help with prevention, diagnosis, and illness or disease management.
  • A General Practice Doctor treats all ages and genders. They also see a variety of people from common ailments to chronic conditions. They may also focus on alternative medicine. 

When you work with a hospital system, not only will you find the Primary Care Doctors, you also find Specialists and Hospitalists. 

The Specialists are specific to the type of ailments they examine and treat. For example, an Otolaryngologists or ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat Doctor), works with patients with those specific ailments. There are a wide variety of specialists in a hospital system. 

The Hospitalist works with any patient admitted to the hospital who does not have a Primary Care Doctor they currently see. They focus on overall wellness, patient education, patient self-care, and general care of hospitalized patients. 

So how do you choose?

  • What are your current needs? 
  • Are you looking for general care? 
  • Someone, to go to when ailments arise? 
  • Or are you looking for someone to help with a specific issue? 
  • Can you afford the subscriptions some charge to be in their network? 

In the end, it can come down to insurance or doctors who accept self-pay if you are in that category. The location could be a factor for you. If your illness prohibits your ability to travel a long distance, a Doctor in a closer place is more attractive.

Depending on which type of Doctor you choose, be sure to visit a few for a consultation. You may find you like the bedside manner of one over another before you spend a lot of time in their care. 

To see more about senior living visit my Senior Series blog at

Seniors Find Increased Health and Wellness When They Volunteer

Staying involved in the community helps people as they age. They are less likely to feel alone or develop depression. According to Help Guide International, volunteering has been proven to help seniors make new friends, lessen the symptoms of chronic diseases and gives seniors a sense of purpose.

Not only does volunteering have great personal benefits, but it’s also a great way to stay involved and help others in the community. Depending on your likes and dislikes, there are a wide variety of volunteering opportunities right here in Appleton.

Volunteering in your assisted living facility or nursing home

As assisted living facilities and nursing homes increase their focus on the quality of life, new volunteer opportunities open up to residents. Consider leading seniors in a friendly game of bingo, exercise, or a craft project. Are you musically inclined? Ask if you could play the piano during the day to help entertain residents and staff. 

Don’t limit yourself to art, music, or games. Check with the facility director to see if you can start a gardening club or book club. 

Outdoor volunteering opportunities

Local animal shelters are always willing to let volunteers walk and play with the animals. The Fox Valley Humane Association has hands on and behind the scenes opportunites to care for the animals or serve at events to raise awareness. You can find a list of openings here.

If you want a hands-on experience, check with the local parks and nature preserves like High Cliff or Heckrodt Wetland Preserve. 

The Friends of High Cliff offer many ways to get involved from splitting firewood and food concessions at fundraising events; you can also help answer questions on their social media channels or join a committee. Check out the website at

Heckrodt has a wide variety of activities for volunteers. They are always looking for teachers or naturalists, people to set up exhibits, spring and fall clean up crews, individuals who like to weed, mowing, raking, painting and other grounds maintenance, support at special events, photography and much more. Visit their website for more information.

Habitat for Humanity has active builds going on in our community. If you can swing a hammer, paint or help transport supplies, you can bet involved.  They have more information on their website at

Volunteering for children’s events

The local libraries in the fox cities are always looking for volunteers to shelve books, greet patrons, drop off and pick up checked out books from homebound patrons, do landscaping and gardening projects and have opportunities to read to children. 

Visit any of the local libraries online and search for volunteer opportunities. They will all have a list of items they’d like help with and requirements for volunteering.

Many hospitals and care facilities in the fox valley offer volunteer opportunities to read to children in the hospital. To find a local reading program, you can visit and enter your address to find the closest opportunity.

Volunteer for the county

Through Outagamie County, you can become an adult or youth mentor. Helping children in the system, become successful and independent adults.

There are also other opportunities to prepare or provide meals to homebound individuals.

You can check out these options at:

Volunteer Fox Cities is a local non-profit who partners with local agencies and organizations to help with volunteering needs in our area. They work currently have over 450 volunteers opportunities for all ages. Whether you want to work with children, older adults, outside or at events, there are opportunities to get involved.

Volunteering from home

If you would like to get involved but don’t have the mobility you once used to, there are many other ways you can help others. Through the United Nations, you can volunteer online. You can teach or lead online courses in art, design, write, and edit for UN programs. They have 12,000 online volunteers a year and work in 187 countries around the world. Check out their programs at

Volunteering allows seniors of all ages and abilities to share their time and talents with others. Helping others brings a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment to both those volunteering and those served by the program. 

You can feel good about helping others and making positive changes in someone’s life.

Consider volunteering with local or national groups today. 

Nine Easy Ways to Practice Senior Self-Care and Get the Most Out of Life!

Aging can be a kick in the pants. It happens so gradually most of us don’t realize we’ve become “old,” until someone younger starts calling us “Sir” or “Mam” and it’s not out of respect.

It’s true, even if you are healthy, fit and in shape, a 55-year-old is going to have a tough time keeping up with a 20 something. 

But that doesn’t mean life is over, or we need to accept aging as a determent to living a full life…heck no!  It means we need to practice better self-care to stay healthy, fit, and in shape for a 55+-year-old. 

Let’s take a look at nine easy ways to practice self-care and get the most out of life! 

Find a Hobby


Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind and body moving. If you had a hobby but quit, examine why. 

Was it due to lack of time or effort? 

Could you learn a skill to help you improve what you were doing? 

Hobbies are enjoyable. They can help you de-stress, and you can often share the process or results with other people. Sharing the gift of time or an actual item will make you happy and is guaranteed to bring a smile to your friend’s face. 


Yes, as we get older sleep may be allusive. However, the cause may be something different than what you think it is. Try to turn down the lights and turn off the TV an hour before you plan to go to sleep. Maybe that coffee at lunch was not the best idea? Food choices can also affect your sleep.  

You may be taking medication or dealing with aches and pains that are causing night time disruptions. You could find a supplement like melatonin to add to your nightly routine to help you sleep. You could also research over-the-counter sleep aids. 

Sleep is necessary for healing, memory, and overall wellness. If you’re not getting enough, take the time to find out why and how to fix it. 

Good Food

Even as a fully mature adult, it may not be the best thing to have dessert for dinner.  Just saying…rules of proper nutrition not only apply to you when you are over 55, but it’s also more critical than before.

High-quality protein, fats, and vegetables with fruit as a dessert are the most manageable changes you can make to improve your diet. 


Now that you’re fully rested and nourished try adding a little more activity to your day. Exercise does not need to be overwhelming. A stroll through a local park or walking the trails through High Cliff cannot only bring the benefits of exercise but being in nature.

You may enjoy long bike rides, dancing, or lifting weights to keep up your strength and that’s great! However, know there is extensive proof that a brisk 30 minute walk every day can add to your well being. 

Natural Remedies

Quite a few people in the 55+ category are on more than one medication. While Doctors are doing the best they can to treat illness and disease to improve your health, not everything needs a prescription.

Even a necessary dose of antibiotics can turn your digestive system on its head and cause a few issues. 

Unless specified, you may want to start looking into alternative treatments for common illnesses and ailments. A good massage can help stiff and sore muscles feel better instead of taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Essential oils can help alleviate symptoms from headaches, allergies, and other minor illnesses. 

Pamper Yourself

You’ve done a great job so far, now relax. Seriously, find a masseuse, take a long shower or bath, try acupressure or acupuncture, talk a long walk in the woods.

Spend time with family or friends. Do something you enjoy to pamper yourself. 


According to  Michael Ashworth, Ph.D., Stress is linked to six different leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.

Along with pampering yourself, you may want to take breaks for you and do something you enjoy. If you don’t know what to do here is a shortlist from Good Therapy.

  • Take warm, relaxing baths.
  • Go for a walk in the park.
  • Water and admire your plants.
  • Fill the room with a lovely scent.
  • Take a yoga class, or give yourself one.
  • Meditate.
  • Read.
  • Listen to music.
  • Have a pleasant visit with someone.
  • Watch television.
  • Go swimming.
  • Breathe.
  • Give yourself enough time to do things, so you’re not always rushing.
  • Laugh. This is very important. Among other things, laughter opens up the airways and pumps fresh air into your lungs. Also, it’s fun.
  • Dance.
  • Jog.
  • Pet the cat, dog, or other pets.

Join a Church

If you are a religious person, staying connected or reconnecting with your faith is essential. You are connecting with God and other people.

At church, you can find help and support for problems you might have.

You can give up worldly worries at church and be yourself. There are many more benefits to being a church-goer. You can check out a few on Health Fitness Revolution.

Find Some Good Friends

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine.” When you laugh, you produce endorphins, which naturally make you feel better.

Being with your friends and enjoying their support and laugher will improve your mood and health. If you’ve lost touch with close friends, invite them back into your life. Find a common activity you can participate in together and watch how your life will improve. 

For more articles in my senior series visit

5 Ways Seniors Can Make Money in Appleton

Ahhh…Retirement. We all want to get there. The point in our life when we don’t have to punch a clock, we can roll out of bed when we feel like it…if we feel like it. We can do what we want when we’d like to do it. At least that’s the dream. 

The reality is usually much harsher unless you plan. And sadly it has been found over and over not to be the case. A 2018 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis, found that only 27 percent of households have a defined benefit plan (a pension), while only 33 percent have a defined contribution plan (usually a 401(k)). 

So where does that leave the rest of us?

The good thing is, there are options.

5 Ways to Earn an income during retirement and stay “retired.”

Once retired, we want to stay retired, right? If we fell into the didn’t plan camp or life threw us some curve balls camp, we want to be able to work on our terms and stay retired. 

Here are five ways you can earn what you need and more to stay retired.

Take a gig job. 

In the online world of freelancing, you can be and do anything you’d like to be. Do you have a marketable skill and a few hours a day to put toward that skill? Consider signing up at one of the online talent platforms such as,, or look on job boards such as to find part-time positions you can work from home. 

Like to socialize?

You may want to consider a part-time job out of the house. 

Many companies are moving to at home delivery as part of their services. For example, Uber, the call a cab company, is adding on Uber Eats. This food delivery service is much like their call a cab service, where restaurants call drivers to deliver their food to at home customers.  It doesn’t stop there. You could consider being an Uber or Lyft driver or Speedee delivery or another local delivery service.  

Are you handy? 

You could spend a few hours a day putting your hands to work helping others. connects people with handy people who can help put together furniture or need help installing a washer and dryer. The sky is the limit as to what you could help someone do. 

Want to be outside? 

There are never-ending possibilities. Think of yourself as a roving landscaper. You could mow lawns, help plant gardens and flowers, maintain the current landscaping. 

Love animals? 

How about being a pet sitter and spending some time with lonely animals while their owners are at work or on vacation? Or a dog walker. You get some exercise, and the pet owner is happy because their pet isn’t cooped up all day, and the burden of taking them for a walk is now off their shoulders. 

Are you looking to work on you while you work? is a company that pays you to get healthy. You read that correctly. They pay you to follow a plan and reach a weight-loss goal.  Now if that isn’t the most honest work from home and stay retired job, I don’t know what is.  Well, unless you like cake, then you may want to consider the dog walking route. 

A quick search on Indeed, a job posting site, for part-time positions in Appleton, WI on June 11, 2019, returned 855 jobs available. You can easily find a position you like for a few hours a day and still stay retired. 

Retirement is supposed to be fun, and about enjoying all the money, you earned in full-time employment. Take these five tips on making more in retirement and put them to good use. You may find you’ll enjoy your retirement even more by staying active and connected to your community and others. 

For more tips about senior living and making the best of it, visit my blog Senior Series on my website.

8 Best Waterfront Restaurants From Lake Winnebago to Partridge Lake

What fun would living on the water be, if you couldn’t take advantage of some exceptional dining spots?

The Little House has created a unique opportunity to visit restaurants with a special dock or boat access. In the two years living on the water, we’ve explored some of these fantastic places.

Here is my personal top 8 waterfront restaurants on Lake Winnebago, Lake Butte Des Morts, and Lake Poygan.

Lake Winnebago is nestled between Fond Du Lac and Appleton, Oshkosh and many small Wisconsin towns between Winnebago Park and High Cliff State Park. This freshwater lake is beautiful and with 88 miles of shoreline to enjoy.

Because Lake Winnebago is a shallow lake with 21 feet being its deepest measurement, it’s a smooth lake to take the boat out on and fish or tour. While boating, we have a few favorite restaurants we like to visit.

The first is TJ’s Harbor.

This one is special to us because my oldest son had his wedding at TJ’s. The views of the lake are great. The food is even better.

They serve a rotisserie-inspired menu.  All of the meat for their sandwiches, salads, and plates of pasta are slow roasted in their rotisserie oven to provide a healthy dining alternative on Lake Winneconne.

You can check them out here.

The second favorite restaurant on Lake Winnebago is Cedar Lodge.

While technically it’s not waterfront, they do offer complimentary boater pick-up. We like to visit on Sundays during their fabulous Sunday brunch.

They serve homemade bread and soups, juicy steaks, and delicious shellfish. Some of their choices include slow roasted prime rib and perfectly seared filets to tenderloin tips and bone‐in ribeyes. Fish entrees include Salmon, Gulf Shrimp, South African Lobster Tails, Jumbo Scallops and Sea Bass to “Friday Night “Lake Perch. Don’t forget the Pork, Chicken, and their famous Fritters for dessert.

You can check them out here. 

Lake Butte Des Morts has excellent summer fishing, boating and ice fishing in the winter. A sportsman’s dream connected to Lake Winnebago. When we want more of a scenic ride before dinner, we’ll head out to the restaurants on Lake Butte Des Morts.

The first favorite is the Butte Des Morts Supper Club.

They have chicken wings that are to die for as their Thursday Night special! Their homemade sauce is what sets them apart from other restaurants.

They serve a traditional supper club fare with steaks, pork, fish, seafood, and pasta entrees. All of the entrees include the soup and salad bar which features homemade salad dressings and a variety of salads, cheeses, fruits, and vegetables.  The supper club is known for its open flame chargrilled steaks, the famous “house” potatoes and the homemade soups prepared daily. 

You can check them out here.

The second stop on Lake Butte Des Morts is Jimmie’s White House INN.

On Wednesday night they have burger night! The best burgers on the lake! There is nothing better than pulling up to ramp, and a two block walk to enjoy a juicy burger at Jimmie’s.

They serve a mix of Italian and American cuisine. You’ll find Chicken, Steak, Pasta and seafood entrees, fabulous desserts, and the best burgers at the White House Inn.

You can check them out here. 

With a beautiful ride through Lake Butte Des Morts, our next stop is on Lake Winneconne.

The Fin N Feather almost needs no introduction.

With a boat dock right out the back door, it’s hard not to want to stop for a drink, a tasty pizza, and the fantastic wolf river view. They have a classic riverboat renovated for parties, weddings, and other special occasions.

They serve a famously fresh salad bar leads you to their delicious prepared salads and dishes, their soup bar, and onto their extensive, diverse buffet.

You can check them out here. 

Are you looking for a fun hideaway between Lake Winneconne and Lake Poygan? We love boating up to the Boom Bay Bar and Grill dock and enjoying a good fish fry!

Boom Bay Bar  and Grill.

With a Fish fry on Friday and an outdoor Tiki bar opens at four on Fridays and noon on Saturday and Sunday, you can always find a good burger and a good time at Boom Bay Bar and Grill. 

They have plenty of docking space if you’re out by boat.

You can check them out here.

Another one of our favorite spots is just between Lake Poygan and Partridge Lake in Fremont. We especially like their burgers!

The Bridge Bar in Fremont is directly on the wolf river.

It has a great dock and back deck for live music and events. Their Friday night fish fry and burger specials are great! Visit them out on your next ride.

You can check them out here

North of Lake Poygan off of Partridge Lake you’ll find a friendly resort to visit whether you’re heading up or down the Wolf River.

At the Red Banks Resort, you can enjoy a hearty, home-cooked bite to eat while you watch the fishermen off the back porch or enjoying a cold drink inside.

You can check them out here. 

You better be hungry the next time you head out on the water because there are some fantastic lakefront restaurants you need to try!

5 Ways Seniors Can Save Money in Appleton

Retirement should be a time to enjoy the fruits of your full-time labor. So how can you ensure that next egg goes a little farther year after year? Here are some money saving tips to pinch those pennies but enjoy your retirement at the same time. 

Make your meals

While you were working full-time, you may not have had time to plan and prep and cook a meal for yourself or your family. Now is the perfect time to start. There are some online resources you can access to help you plan your weekly meals. Cooking Light gives you a full 31-days of meal ideas. is one of them. They give you a list of ingredients you need to make the meals and recipe options.  


When a meal out costs at least $12.75 a day, according to Why not save that by buying groceries and brushing off or practicing your cooking skills. After all, unless you have a family of 5 living with you, you’ll be spending less than the $395.25 you would be spending eating out daily. 

Think differently about gift giving

Yes, we all love a good celebration. Whether it’s a Birthday, Anniversary, or family or business milestone, giving and receiving gifts is a cultural norm. Why not save the money on another “thing” someone may or may not use and plan an activity instead? 

Fox Cities PAC

Say you know your friend loves old airplanes and airplane history, consider touring the EAA Museum in Oshkosh or buying tickets to an event during the AirVenture air show each July. With all the local activities like the Trout Museum of Art and the PAC bringing in theatrical performances, you are sure to find entertainment everyone will love as a present. 

You don’t have to AirBnB, but you could rent a room

If you find yourself rambling around in a big empty house in retirement, consider renting out a room or two. You’ll want to vet your possible roommates carefully, but utilizing a service such as or The AARP has a great article about the dos and don’ts of home sharing, be sure to research all the pros and cons.

Nix the impulse buying

When you were bringing in a steady paycheck, you may have been able to buy that new item without a care, knowing you have the money to pay for it. When you’re trying to save, impulse buying can be a budget killer. So how can you avoid overspending? The first thing you’ll want to do is NOTHING. That’s right; do not buy the item. 


Instead, think about it for a couple of days. I’ve written about this in my Little House article when we purchased our lake house. Make sure you need the item. Consider whether it will bring you happiness, and it is useful. Then think about actually spending the money. If all signs point to “yes,” go ahead and make the purchase. If you’re fine without the item, consider passing for now. 

Think about quality over quantity 

When you’re trying to meet the needs of a family, there are probably items you purchased in bulk to save on costs. Now it might be time to consider the longevity of a purchase. Say you need a new refrigerator. This is not a low ticket item. The average refrigerator costs between $350 and $1200 depending on the model, according to  

You may be leaning towards the $350 version to save money, as you’ve always done. Be sure to check the reviews, common repair issues, and if there are any recalls on that model of appliance. It might surprise you after doing some homework, that even though you may spend more up front, the $600 model will last longer and have fewer repair issues, saving you money in the long term. 

Along with retirement comes the wisdom to know how to research areas in your life where you can save a little more and where you should spend a little more. For more tips about senior living and making the best of it, visit my blog Senior Series on my website. 

No Joanna Not Everything Needs ShipLap!

As a Realtor I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with HGTV.  LOVE the ideas, HATE the pressure it puts on home owners trying to sell.

Move this wall, paint everything white and add shiplap!!  If you have heard this or have wanted to do this I know you have watched a few episodes of Fixer Upper on HGTV.  As a Realtor I have a love/hate relationship with this show and many others that deal with real estate and fixing up homes.

I LOVE all of the ideas you can gather from these shows.  They have some great design tips, creative and inexpensive DIY ideas and great examples of staging homes for sale.  They usually make the homes look very warm and inviting.  I imagine myself having people over for dinner on those long Farm Tables with the perfectly placed fun flower display in the middle. 

But I must point out that these “Realty TV Shows” are anything but real life.  If you are thinking about buying a fixer upper consider my thoughts in my previous blog: Do You Want a Fixer Upper?


I HATE what these shows have done to the process of looking at homes with potential buyers.  Since these shows have become such a success I have seen a difference in what buyers expect.  A large majority of buyers expect homes to look like the “after” picture on these shows.  The perfect wall colors with updated kitchen and baths- MOVE IN READY! 

Buyers cringe when we walk into a home that has paint colors they don’t like, over stuffed closets and clutter.  I understand walls can be painted and all of the seller’s belongings will be gone, but a large number of buyers can’t actually look at a space and “See” it differently than how it currently looks.

I can’t blame HGTV for the buyer’s inability to see the space differently.  But I can be unhappy that the beautiful clutter free homes (probably not realistic) they portray on their shows has increased the pressure on my sellers.  

What is my point with all of this?

To sell your home you must de-clutter, clean the closets and most likely paint out bold, bright or odd colors.  You must Stage it.  I don’t mean you have to drag in different furniture but you may have to use your current furniture in a different way.  For A complete list of ideas on how to get your home HGTV ready check out my website here:

Enjoy the shows on HGTV, glean ideas from them, put in some hard work and you will be surprised at how “Show Ready” you can make your home. 

Senior Series- How to Play and Share Nicely With Family

Supporting aging parents and making decisions regarding their changing housing and independence needs can challenge the closest of families.  Here are some tips that can help make your families stronger and avoid stress.

It’s their Life

If your parent is still considered legally competent it is still their life and their decision.  Your role is to assist them in achieving their goals while keeping them safe.

Your family members are not your enemies

You may have a strained relationship with certain family members.  Remember, just like you, they are trying to do what they feel is right for the parent/s.  Even if you don’t agree with their position you must learn to come to an understanding that is best for your parent.

Love and Respect

Speak to and treat each other respectfully.  It is easy to fall into old family roles, behaviors and communicating styles.  Remember to be attentive, listen for understanding, don’t interrupt and tone of voice does matter.   Opening a productive dialog is the goal…not being right.

They are not Crazy Because They React Differently

Stress causes people to react differently.  Some people withdraw, some become angry, other become sad while others will try to take charge and “fix” it.  Acknowledge the stress and agree to work together.

Save the Drama for the Stage

Gossiping or complaining about family that is not present will usually end up causing more stress and family drama.   Go back to number 3- speak respectfully about that person and to that person.  If you have an issue address it with that person in person.  NO TEXTS PLEASE

Who’s in Charge?

Someone should be in charge if mom and dad aren’t capable of making their own decisions.  The best-case scenario is the senior chooses that person before they become incapable.  If not as a group you may need to choose a leader.  Once designated that person has the final say.  You can express your opinion, but realize this is an incredibly difficult role and respect their willingness to accept it.  

Late To The Party?

If you come after the process has started due to personal or geographical reasons don’t come ready to “save the world”.  Those who have already put in the work, have seen the situation unfold and made difficult decisions need your support not the list of what they have done wrong according to you.   If you feel guilty for your lack of participation, own it and work out those issues on your own time, privately.  

Pick Your Battles

Ask yourself is it really a hill to die on?  99% is most likely not. Determine what’s really important to you and support your family member’s decisions on those things that aren’t extremely important to you.

Who are the players?

Numerous people may have ideas, but who are the players in this situation?  If you are a family member by marriage, realize your primary role (usually) is to support and comfort your spouse and other family members, not to participate in decisions.  

Keep Your Eye on the Ball

This is not an easy process.  Keep your focus on the end goal, what is best for your mom and/or dad.

If you do need to sell you parents home please give me a call. A Market analysis of a home is a free service.

Senior Series- Warning Signs That Independent Living is no Longer Safe

Watching your mom & dad age can be difficult. The realization that living independently may no longer be a choice for them can be heartbreaking for all involved.  What are some warning signs that they may need assistance?


  1. Bruising

       Your parent may not be telling they are experiencing more falls, but their  skin may show signs of it.  Older skin bruises more easily and may show signs that they are bumping into things, becoming increasingly unsteady or falling.

  1. Food Crisis

Is there outdated food in the fridge or on the pantry shelf?  Or is there not enough food on the shelves to sustain life? The elder person may not be able to shop or cook or clean like they once did.

  1. Unpaid bills

Are you noticing stacks of mail where there was once complete organization? Your parents may not be able to tend to paperwork and bills due to a multitude of reasons- poor vision, declining memory or depression.

  1. Odor

Is your parent having difficulty with hygiene or a health issue that is causing an odor?  Remember that decrease in the ability to smell is part of the aging process.  Or is it that they are unable to keep up with cleaning of their home?

  1. Overall Messiness in Home

Are you noticing more piles?  Piles of magazines, clothes, undone laundry?  Maybe your parent is having more difficulty moving around and therefore regular household chores become difficult.  


What should you do if you are noticing these signs?  

  1. Have someone other than you assess the situation.  A medical check up may be necessary.  A physician can do both a physical and mental examination.  Don’t forget to have eyes and ears checked as well.  
  2. In Wisconsin every county has an Aging and Disability Resource Center-ADRC.  They are a wealth of information.  They can do a general assessment of the senior and their needs and then make recommendations for services.  Keep in mind not all services come with a cost.
  3. Let your parent know that you don’t want to intrude but you are genuinely concerned for their health and safety and want to help them fInd solutions that help them stay in their home longer and remain safe.  
  4. Start the discussion EARLY of what the future may look like. Discuss what their wishes are when it is necessary for them to move into a different living situation.