Jaden and Valicia Zugel graciously joined me to discuss several aspects of realty as it relates to aging and caregiving. Married for more than 10 years, they have two delightful children and live down the road from each set of parents. Jaden has been in realty since 2003, while Valicia joined more recently. Jaden and Valicia have a passion for working with families to help make real estate decisions. This passion is deeply personal for them both, as they each experienced a grandparent who needed care. I sat down with them to discuss some trends and issues in realty and senior living, including multi-generational living, aging in place, and transitioning our senior loved ones effectively and efficiently.
Valicia’s grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s. To honor him, and the sacrifices made both in her family and in Jaden watching his mother invite her own mother into their home to live and care for, Team Zugel donates $100 from every house they sell to the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Multi-generational living, aging parents co-habitating with adult children and their families, is a relatively new trend in America, increasing by a whopping 30% from 2007-2014. What started as a financial necessity is now a choice many families are making. And people in the real estate business are taking notice. Some builders are now, essentially, building two homes in one. Features may include dual master suites, doorways and hallways already widened to code for wheelchairs and walkers, ground floor master rooms for the older generation, easy accessibility, and fewer stairs. Assets like this from the beginning make staying or returning home easier as it becomes necessary down the road. Asked when the right time to move into a multi-generational home, Jaden replied, “Before you have to.” Benefits to this living arrangement can include grandparents helping with children, cleaning, or cooking, while adult children are able to manage their parents’ health, go to doctor’s appointments and provide safe transportation. This lifestyle shift, common in other parts of the world, can also bring deeper appreciation for one another.
Aging in Place, staying in your home in your twilight years, is another aspect with which Team Zugel can help. Instead of considering selling the family home as “downsizing,” Jaden prefers to think of it as “right sizing.” Reducing the amount of time and money maintenance takes, lowering property taxes and limiting the square footage to what is actually used makes sense for a lot of families and allows loved ones to live out their remaining years at home instead of in a facility. There are senior communities which provide single family homes (as opposed to retirement center apartments) but offer therapists, doctors, and transportation all within a small radius. Other ways to age in place include using smart technologies such as monitors, fall sensors, water temperature controls and automatic shut-offs on appliances.
Moving your parent to or from a home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Selecting the right realtor can help manage tricky aspects of transitioning seniors such as evaluating multiple offers (with the current housing climate.) Determining the buyer with the right financing and the right offer (i.e. making sure the home will appraise) is important. A realtor that can assess and recommend low-cost changes to maximize profits, such as updating fixtures, painting, or replacing worn or dated carpet is so useful. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or feel that an entire gut job is necessary when it may not be needed.
Valicia and Jaden have many excellent tips and ideas. For more, listen to their Answers for Elders podcasts.
To reach them for you or your senior loved one’s realty needs, contact them at
For more information and resources for caregiving, go to