Your offer is my mulch


I don’t use a lot of paper these days but I still use some. There are actually people living among us who do not use the internet or have email accounts or even a smartphone.

That makes my job a little harder. Instead of using electronic signatures and email, I print paper documents deliver them for signature, and then scan the signed documents and email them to Realtors, title companies, and lenders.

After the documents have been scanned I need to dispose of the paper documents. There are people who keep paper records forever but I am not one of those people. For me everything is digital and everything is automatically backed up.

If you made it this far this is where the mulch happens. I run the paper documents through my paper shredder. The resulting pieces are small and the recyclers do not want them. I hate throwing anything that is reusable or recyclable in the trash which is why I use it as mulch. I have also experimented with composting it.

I don’t use it to mulch vegetables. I use a layer of it around ornamental plants and I add a layer of dead leaves on top.

If you have a neighbor or friend or loved one who doesn’t use the internet or have a cell phone or email or uses some technology but not much and if they live within the city limits of St Paul or nearby. I am happy to help and I can always use more mulch for my hostas.

Multi-generation housing made more popular during the pandemic

According to the National Association of Realtors buyers purchasing multi-generational homes during the pandemic rose to a new high of 15%, The number has been tracked for less than a decade.

Pre-pandemic there was an even split between buyers who purchased a multi-generational home for aging parents and for adult children boomeranging back or never leaving. Now the top reason to purchase a multi-generational home is for aging parents to move into the home.

During the great recession, we saw an uptick in young people moving back home this trend is more about giving the older generations a place to live.

Multi-generational housing is pretty scarce but existing housing can be modified. I grew up in a multi-generational household. My parents had an addition put on the back of the house so that my grandmother could live with us. She had her own entrance bed, bath, and sitting room just off the kitchen.

When my mother was growing up her grandmother lived with them in a spare bedroom.


graph of multi-gen housing gorwth
Multi-geneational housing

5 star senior living?

When my parents needed more care than I could get for them at home I started exploring “senior living” options. I toured several assisted living communities with my parents.

During our tours, I quickly learned that I was actually the target audience and the “social workers” I talked to were salespeople.

My parents did not like any of the options. Neither would ever admit they needed help with anything.

Assisted living with memory care is even more complicated especially when the elder just wants to stay home but won’t tolerate anyone coming into the home to help.


When seniors end up in the hospital as they are prone to do there are social workers there who have housing ‘resources”. Those resources are printed from web sites that everyone has access too. The social workers do not know anything about senior housing except to print pages from websites advertising senior housing.

There are services online that offer assistance with senior housing. What they don’t tell you is that they are paid by the companies that own the senior housing. I don’t have a problem with that except for the fact that it isn’t disclosed and those housing experts don’t share any actual credentials.

It isn’t hard to find senior housing with 5-star ratings. Ratings for all things real estate tend to be 5 star.

There is one free service that offers help with finding senior housing and that is the Senior Linkage Line. They are run by the Minnesota Board of Aging. The services are free. As a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

I have found that most REALTORS have never heard of the service including those who are senior specialists, probably because the courses for certification are through the national association, not the state.

All Minnesota seniors need to call the linkage line (1-800-333-2433) before signing a lease or contract for senior housing for free counceling.  The Linkage line Specialist will ask some basic questions and discuss options. At the end of the call the caller recieves a verification number.

They also provide help in other areas.

Also, see:

SRES Designation; Senior Specialist

Aging in place

SRES Designation

I am a Senior Real Estate Specialist. I also work with families who need to sell their parent’s real estate. 

We don’t really want to move

Antique Teapot

This is the time of year when I start getting emails and phone calls from the adult children of elderly homeowners. Sometimes they ask for an appointment and I make an appointment to meet with them at their parents home.

It doesn’t take me long to figure out that the elder is just going along with the whole thing because the son or daughter talked them into it. Sometimes they think their parents should move but the parents don’t want to.

Where we live is a personal choice and as adults, even the oldest among us have the right to choose.

We even have the right to make bad choices, or choices that our children don’t fully support.

As adults most of us value freedom. Even moving to a senior apartment or downsizing to a condo causes the loss of some freedom.

You can lead your parents to senior housing but generally, you can not and should not make them move.

I don’t have a problem meeting with people who have no interest in selling their house. I learn something new just about everytime I meet with a potential home seller or buyer and I empathize with the sons and daughters who set up the meetings, they probably learn something new too.

According to a study conducted by AARP, 90% of older adults nationwide want to remain living in their homes for as long as possible and we all know that anything is possible if we are up to the challenge.

Stairs and old age

Aging doesn’t have to mean moving. Some older Americans choose to age in place.  A home with stairs in it isn’t a bad thing. Walking up and down stairs is great exercise. In fact, some people go to the gym and use a stair stepper and climber equipment to strengthen their legs.

Stairways can be kept safe with lighting, and railings. No-slip strips can be put on indoor or outdoor stairways.

I read an article that states that 66% of ninety-year-olds have trouble with stairs. That means that 34% of 90-year-olds can handle the stairs. Taking the stairs whenever possible at home or work is a great way to keep legs strong for those who want to be in the 34%.


cat on the stairs

Fewer seniors live in senior housing

Senior housing survey

The survey was conducted by the Minnesota Board on Aging.  Considering the age range of  “seniors” is more than 50 years this isn’t surprising. People are living longer and healthier and retiring later. If 65 is the new 50 the data could be a bit skewed.

One of the issues with housing is that we are usually building or not building for the needs of the last decade because it takes so long to plan and build.  Rent now it seems like there are far more vacancies in assisted living apartments than there are in nursing homes.

When my parents were house hunting at the age of 78 my father made it clear that he did not want to live with a bunch of old people.