Guilt vs. Gratitude

Which is Winning in Your Life?

Happy 2021!

Never before has “Happy New Year” meant more.

2020 will go down in my lifetime as one of the most challenging years ever. I don’t need to list the reasons. We all know why.

Regardless of what we are bringing into 2021, we get to start anew.

Let’s approach 2021 with a renewed spirit-one of gratitude.

Let’s leave the guilt and grief behind.

You With Me?


Guilt is a harsh and powerful emotion.

We see it almost daily on the faces of clients, family members and the caretakers. We often hear it in the stories they share, many filled with regret.

Among other ways, guilt shows up as anxiety, frustration, humiliation, anger, depression and low self-esteem and self-worth. 

It has consequences on our bodies and our minds.

Ask Yourself

  • Are you beating yourself up?
  • Do you expect too much from yourself and others?
  • Are you afraid to say, “No”?
  • Do you feel regretful about how you’ve used your time, especially “family time?”
  • Have you caused divisiveness in the family?
  • Have you allowed your family to become fractured?
  • Are you struggling to shake off ‘mistakes’ or unpopular decisions from younger years?
  • Did you plan special events and intentionally omit certain family members? Have you explained yourself, or apologized?
  • Are you still allowing others to shame you for yesterday’s choices?
  • Do you do things today simply because you still feel guilty?
  • Are you guilt ridden?

Now is the time to honestly answer these questions and own up to the responses.

Acknowledge any wrongdoing.

Make amends, if possible, and move on from one G word-GUILT- to living a life in 2021 of another G word- GRATITUDE.


Simply put, gratitude means being thankful or grateful.

Gratitude is a much healthier approach to your life and your interaction with others, including your family.

Choosing to live a life of daily gratitude also affects our minds and bodies, but in positive ways.

Researchers have found living a life of gratitude improves our physical and mental health. It even allows us to get a better night’s sleep. Who doesn’t want this?

7 Scientifically Proven Benefits of Gratitude | Psychology Today

In 2021, I encourage you to think about gratitude and its place in your daily life.

Here are 5 simple ways to start practicing gratitude in your life

  • Awaken each day acknowledging one thing you are thankful for. Write it down in a journal. If you’re not a writer, doodle or draw it. Let the journal be a source of comfort on tough days as you reread your entries.
  • Write notes of appreciation to those who’ve made a real positive impact on your life.
  • Volunteer. Making time to help others is a wonderful thing. NOTE: Keep in mind that sometimes we need to help ourselves too without feeling guilty. Self-care is okay.
  • Make a list of people who really matter in your life. Renew friendships. Commit to spending time with them. NOTE: This is truly one of my favorite things. An hour with friends you haven’t seen in a long time is a wonderful recharge. Sharing what life has given us, helps. Humor also helps. There’s no guilt in laughter!
  • Go outdoors. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Awaken your senses. Live in the moment and take it all in! Maybe even capture a few photographs to remember the awesomeness of your outdoor adventure.

Denise’s Insight

My career at Craft LifeStyle Management has allowed me to work with untold numbers of clients and their families as they transition from one stage of life to the other.

If we’ve done our jobs right, we are sort of extended family when our role is completed.

We hear the stories. See the interactions. We feel the sorrow and the joy, and always, the loss.

Those who thrive through transition approach it with a deep sense of gratitude for reaching this milestone. They acknowledge and appreciate their support system, be that family members or others.

They awaken daily recognizing what a gift it is to be present and to share in the joys of the day.

This is what I wish for you in 2021-a year of living with gratitude, peace and joy.

If Craft LifeStyle Management can assist you or a family member with a life transition, contact them. Contact – Craft Lifestyle Management (

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© January 2021. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.

2020: A Year End Review Like None Other

5 Lessons Learned in a Pandemic Year

I was hesitant to commit my annual year end review in writing because, well, it’s just been a year like none other that I recall. But as I was recently walking in the December crisp air, I easily clipped off a list of really great things that happened in 2020 despite, or maybe because of, the pandemic.

Most of them are lessons.

Here they are:

1. Real Heroes Celebrated

Even before the pandemic hit I was becoming restless with our nation’s worship of professional athletes and Hollywood actors. It’s true. Most individuals in these groups are immensely talented. Some even significantly give back to their communities with time and money. But, are they heroes? Not often in my way of thinking.

The real heroes in our country were finally, rightfully, spotlighted as the pandemic exploded. You know, the people who silently and routinely make daily life-changing impacts on our lives without recognition. Heroes like teachers, nurses, researchers, doctors, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, etc.

I’m forever grateful for their tireless, ongoing efforts. I hope and pray they will remain in their heroic status long after the pandemic is an afterthought.

2. Eyes Spoke

Much has been said about eyes being the window to one’s soul. This has probably never been truer than in 2020. Masks covered faces most of the year, often distorting or muting words. However, if one really wanted to know what the speaker was saying, (h)she only had to observe the eyes above the mask.

Fear and uncertainty. That is what the eyes often communicated in early 2020. As time wore on, a hint of optimism and even joy could be heard from eyes.

Let’s be honest. On certain days, exhaustion and impatience, and even frustration, shone brightly in our eyes.

Mask or no mask. Pandemic or none. Listen to the eyes of the person near you. Their silence is often screaming.

3. Goodness of Neighbors Shone Through

I’ve said it before. Most people are genuinely good and want to do well. All communities and neighborhoods have bad eggs, including ours. However, I will always remember in early pandemic days the neighbors who texted asking for our grocery list to combine with theirs-saving us a trip to the store that week. Or, the doorbell ringing and neighbors sneaking away after leaving baked treats and other goodies on our front porch. And, the socially distanced chats while each party was out enjoying fresh air on daily walks.

All over our community, state and nation people showed kindness for one another.

It’s a pandemic outcome I wish to be everlasting.

4. Priorities & Values in Order

I’d long ago given up the corporate rat race. Our child is a married working adult. We no longer juggle an action-packed schedule. In other words, we were already conditioned for often being at home together before the pandemic.

But nothing makes one assess priorities and values more than the real threat of a life-ending virus and stay at home orders-lockdown.

Ken, my husband, a Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, has been working downstairs for over half of the year. Never before did I think our experience of owning and working in multiple businesses together for over two decades would serve a purpose later in our lives. After selling the businesses, we thought that chapter was closed. Wrong.

I’m grateful we didn’t have to learn how to work and live together like so many couples and families did, and are still doing. We seemed to ease right into familiar routines, allowing both of us to be productive professionals and compatible mates.

We did put the business part of our lives in order. Our wills and other legal papers were updated. Over and over news stories reported families devastated by not only the loss of a loved one but the stress and strife of managing legal issues post death.

Supporting small businesses and craftsmen remained a top priority for us. Our dining out dollars and other funds were devoted to businesses we knew needed our money most.

I’ve always believed small businesses are the engines that run the community.

Keeping them afloat is always a priority, more so now than ever.

5. Not all Screen Time is Bad

I’m guilty. Raising our son, I preached, “Watching too much TV will pollute your mind,” or “TV dumbs you down.” I encouraged reading, creating and getting outdoors. You know, the old-fashioned way of raising a child.

However, I will admit, during this pandemic, I’ve engaged in a fair amount of screen time.

Today, the choices are endless.

Yes, I obliged my husband and binge watched “The Sopranos”. I can’t believe I hadn’t watched this outstanding series before. The writing, acting and production were each remarkable and deserving of every accolade ever received.

I also watched a ton of documentaries, biographies and other educational programming.

Okay, according to Ken, I’ve overwatched Hallmark movies near the end of this year. But, again, the choices are endless.

I’ve had a mind shift. I no longer think TV dumbs one down or pollutes one’s mind. It can, if done in excess, I guess. Like anything, choosing well matters and so does balancing screen time with other activities like actual conversation, outdoor activities, and yes, book reading too.

So, while 2020 was sadly a remarkable year for loss and fear, it also taught some tremendous lessons.

I trust as I continue to reflect on this year, other lessons will come to me.

Share Your Learning from This Year

What has 2020 taught you? Share in the comment section below.


Ken and I wish you a hopeful 2021 filled with wonder, joy and peace.

©December 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature?

Share below.

Creating Holiday Joy for Family Members with Dementia

2020 has been difficult for everyone.

COVID Pandemic. Isolation. Quarantines. Presidential Election. Job Loss. Business Closures. The list of challenges continues, for many.

Maybe your tradition has always been to celebrate with family and friends. This year it’s strongly suggested you limit those interactions due to COVID.

So, are you feeling the excitement of the upcoming Christmas season or are you more of a Ba Humbug personality? 

Whichever way you lean, when it comes to the Christmas holiday, putting others before yourself most often results in good for everyone-the giver and the receiver.

This is especially important if your loved family member has Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Here are some suggestions to create holiday joy for those you love suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Show Up as Your Best. Be Forgiving & Patient. Avoid Correcting.

As simple as it sounds, sometimes just showing up with your best behavior is the finest gift you can give anyone, especially an aging relative with dementia.

Have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to carry on an in-depth conversation. Certainly, don’t bring up past wrongdoings. Let those go during your visit, if not forever.

The person you’re visiting is not whom he or she once was. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys the memory.

Instead, patiently listen to them. They likely will mess up historical facts and maybe even refer to many by the wrong name. Don’t push them to remember. Avoid correcting them. It only frustrates and upsets them, and you.

Try to solicit memories that seem like reality to them. Listen to the time in their life they seem to be living in at the moment.

What a tremendous gift you will give by allowing your loved one with dementia to recall favorable past memories and speak aloud about them, factual or not.

Be Inclusive

Depending on the stage of dementia your loved one has, include them in activities, especially safe annual traditions.

Did your family always attend the annual town Christmas tree lighting or have breakfast with Santa Claus? Continue these traditions and take your loved one along. Again, only if it is safe to do so. Watch your loved one. Wandering is common for those with Alzheimer’s.

NOTE: Never force your loved one to leave comfortable surroundings. Once their memory is to the point of being unable to follow conversations or if they can’t comprehend what is going on around them, changing their environment can be very upsetting. Your intention of creating a joint memory is commendable but they are unlikely to recall it. Always error on the side of staying inside and being safe and content rather than experiencing outside noises they are no longer used to.

Instead of rolling out the cookie dough or putting the cookie pans in the oven, maybe your loved one with dementia can help ice or sprinkle colored sugar on the baked cookies. Or, pack cookies in tins and boxes or help wipe the countertops and sweep the floor.

NOTE: For those loved ones with more advanced dementia, give them one tin and a bunch of cookies. When it is full, empty the tin and restack the cookies. We have to have humor! Watch how many times they lick their fingers, touch everything else around them, etc. Note their merriment and joy. This one can be their tin of cookies to take with them.

Find ways to include them based on safety and their level of dementia.

Maybe create new traditions like watching holiday movies snuggled together on the sofa or driving the neighborhood to see holiday yard decorations.

Don’t overdo activities. Try to stick to their normal routines as much as possible to avoid confusion and stress. Quality time trumps quantity.

And, always include them in conversation even if your patience is tested.

Allow them to reminisce about the holiday traditions. You may hear the same story repeatedly. Listen anyway.

Gift Giving by Stage of Dementia

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends you gift by stage of dementia.

Early Stage

  • Activity books like crossword puzzles, word searches, Jumble words or Sudoku.
  • Coloring books or color by number books with larger crayons that are easier to grasp
  • Homemade photo books including happy memory images
    • HINT: Choose a 4×6 book so it fits onto a lap easily
    • Wall hanging picture board with large images and names under each photo
    • HINT: Labeling photos also helps caregivers initiate conversation with your loved one
    • HINT: Include pet and animal photographs. A dementia client once “found herself back on the family farm” whenever she looked out her room window.  The family helped created a photo book with images of her parents, farm animals and the family pet. She had this book with her at all times.
  • Music and movies from your loved one’s era to stimulate past memories
  • Hair brush
  • Gift certificate to hair salon in facility, if that is their home.

Middle Stage

  • Large clock that shows time and date
  • Automatic medicine dispenser
  • Automatic night lights set on a timer
  • Simple crafts they once enjoyed
  • Identification bracelet
  • Membership in wandering response service
  • Location tracking device
  • Service gift cards like lawn, handyman, restaurant, food delivery, etc.
  • Easy to remove clothing

Later Stage

HINT: Focus on sensory stimulating gifts like

  • Soft, fluffy bathrobe in a favorite color
  • Cozy lap blanket
  • Stuffed Animal
  • Hand lotion in favorite scent
  • Favorite food treats
  • Comfortable clothing and shoes with Velcro straps

Wishing you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

Contact Us Link from CLM page. 

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© December 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.
Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Turn Back Time on Toxic Aging Parents

Our world is full of regret.


There’s a whole catalog of music focusing on forgiveness, including one of my personal favorite Cher songs-the 1989 hit, “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

What if We Could Turn Back Time?

Think about it for a minute.

What would you do differently?

What actions or choices would you seek to be forgiven for?

Start Today

In a Utopian or dream world, our parents would read this and, oh my goodness, we’d receive a call or a visit and everything would be right with our world. That is not likely to happen. Read this knowing change can happen and often does happen when all parties commit to healing and working on interactions and relationships. The key word is “work”. What are you willing to do?

If you’re a parent, especially an aging parent, with unspoken words in a fractured family with brokenhearted children, time is slipping away.

Or, if you’re the child of a toxic parent who will never find a reason to apologize, what can you start today to break the chain of toxicity?


Every day you wake up you have a choice.

You can choose to clean up your toxicity, seek understanding, ask for forgiveness and begin the healing.

Or, you can remain stubborn and self-righteous, maybe like generations before you, and pass the blame onto others, including your children.

As a parent, consider that today may be the moment for you to find the courage to mend the fractured family. Or, as a child of this type of parent to find the courage to say, “I’m done.”

What if everyone could admit their shortcomings and wrongdoings?

How about we attempt to begin the much-needed, admittedly difficult, conversations.

Why leave this world with so much heartbreak?


Accepting one’s own family dynamics and breaking the chain of heartbreak is the BEST possible example for one’s own children.

Know that you can never change anyone’s emotions, thoughts, behaviors or actions.

Instead, focus on doing your best and accepting and owning up to your own actions and behaviors.

Toxic Parents Defined

No parent is perfect, including me.

Before labeling your parents as “toxic” try to fully understand where they come from. Ask yourself, or better yet, ask them:

  • What was their childhood like?
  • How did their parents show or express love?
  • Did they live through the Great Depression?
  • If so, how did this affect their upbringing?
  • Were they allowed to finish high school or did they have to leave to help on the farm or the family business?
  • Did they ever say they didn’t want to raise their children the way they were raised?
  • Do they believe they did their best as parents?

Those who study human behavior describe toxic parenting behaviors as:

  • Physical, verbal and sex abuse
  • Alcohol and drug addiction(s)
  • Controllers who guilt and manipulate their children’s lives
  • Inadequate and often emotionally immature parents who require their children to be “mini-adults” asked to take on parenting responsibilities
  • Neglectful and unsupportive

No one expects that a parent engaging in decades long toxic parenting is going to somehow remarkably change as (s)he ages.

Their abusive name calling and belittling and/or abandonment may indeed actually worsen, as they age, especially if dementia is involved.

Protect Yourself

There are ways to protect yourself when being asked to step up and care for a parent you don’t like due to their historical toxicity.

You Can

Hire care-temporarily or permanently. This is especially important if a caregiving schedule created by siblings is not being adhered to. Yes, it happens. A sibling commits to a certain shift and then never shows up, especially at the last moment. Figure out what will be best for the parents, your siblings and you.

Place an invisible shield around yourself. Be proud of the fact that you are “doing the right thing” by providing care. Ignore what at any other time would be an unforgiveable or hurtful remark and focus on the caregiving.

Before entering their home, sit in the driveway and tell yourself over and over that you’ve had to deal with difficult personalities before in your life and career and that your parents are just two more of this type of person. Repeat, “I can be kind because they are becoming frail and weak and this is the right way to treat any human being.”

Use humor to stay sane. Many times, it’s the best tool. If your parent is verbally abusive and demeaning, agree with their remark and repeat it back.

At Craft LifeStyle Management, we call it the Mirror Game.

For instance, after being insulted, say, “You’re right! I don’t know what I am doing. Dang it! I wish I had the smarts to get out of a paper bag.”

Your parents may look at you like you are nuts. They are not used to your agreeing with them, especially as they age and their mind is less alert. Surprising them with humor stops the cycle of arguing and causing upset.

Seek emotional support from a loved one. But understand that at some point they may tire of hearing the same thing over and over with no change.

Remember, the change must come from you. Your parents are not realistically going to change much, if at all.

If needed, seek support from a mental health professional. Caregiving is difficult even when not caring for a toxic parent.

One way to avoid feeling resentful while caretaking is to continue to place priority on your own immediate family like adult children and grandchildren. Do not miss anything that is important to you and them, like birthdays or other special occasions.

Assume a support role for a brother or sister who may have a healthier relationship with your parent and is the primary caregiver.

Sibling interactions around parental care can cause tremendous disagreement and even severing of relationships.

If you are not the primary caregiver and you’ve turned over the care to a brother and/or sister, you have NO say in the care they are giving to your parents.

Do not be a seagull or a dictator or say, “What you should do is…”

Avoid ‘flying in to make a big mess and flying back out’ leaving it for your caretaking siblings to clean up.

Give the siblings who are doing the day-to-day care the grace and respect for what they are doing, and have done.

Get another legal guardian appointed for them. This may be an ideal option if you have the resources and know someone who will serve. Craft LifeStyle Management often coaches clients with this matter.

Detach. Choose not to care for them without guilt. This is very freeing. Let your siblings know you will support them in any way you can. You will not tell them what to do. You thank them for everything they are doing and you appreciate them. But you cannot help until, perhaps, the parent is further into their memory loss or health issue: when they are done fighting. Then, you will step back in and help.

Establish boundaries. Know what is and is not emotionally healthy for you. Protect your own physical and mental health.


Always avoid being toxic yourself. It’s hard not to want to retaliate but it’s never right to be abusive, even to an aging toxic parent.

My Observations

I’m amazed when someone is surprised to know not all parents like their children and not all children like their parents.

I’ve been in the family transition business for over three decades.

I see long-standing family dysfunction and toxicity daily. It breaks my heart to see unhealed family trauma and drama.  As painful as it is to witness on an ongoing basis it escalates when parents age and require care from those whom the world believes should love them most-their children.

What happens in reality is that ignored family pain creates a world of hurt and chaos when Mom and Dad now require care.

Trying to heal as a family when this moment ‘suddenly’ happens is quite unrealistic.

Sadly, many families never experience the blessings of healing.

It’s not unusual for the family unit to completely disintegrate after both parents have passed.

Positive Outcomes

Conversely, and our favorite outcome at Craft LifeStyle Management, is when the siblings become closer after the parents have passed and are no longer a wedge between the children.

We see first-hand the friendships being formed between siblings who do their best caring for their toxic parents. We also celebrate when we see these children parenting differently than the way they were parented.

Remember, no one is perfect-parent or child. And no child needs to live up to trying to be perfect in the parents’ eyes.

You do not need to keep going back into the lion’s den for approval. Please know that if you’ve never had their approval or acceptance, you will not likely get it now when they need care.

If you are the child of parents who played one child against another, now is the time to work on creating your own healthier relationship with your brother(s) and/or sister(s).

Real Conversations

Start real conversations. Avoid recalling painful historical actions that start with, “You did this or that…” Instead, ask questions on specific situations that have never felt right after your parents said something about a specific sibling. Often, you are clearing up misconceptions and misunderstandings from decades ago.

Healing with your siblings helps heal and/or not feeling guilty about your relationship with your parents.

Our parents make their own life choices.

You do not have to agree with them, or even accept them.

You can truly say and understand that is their choice.

And, if it means stepping back, that is your choice.

Be okay with it.

What Would You Do “If You Could Turn Back Time?”

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© November 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.
Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

Win a Visit to Clear Lake, IA

Congratulations Diane Kapalis!

Name drawn by Clear Lake Tourism Staff.

Stay at the Shore & Explore

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of Clear Lake, Iowa?

If you’re a certain age, maybe you associate Clear Lake with a plane crash.

In fact, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper,” J. P. Richardson, were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson on February 3, 1959.

The tragedy was later known as “The Day the Music Died”, after singer-songwriter Don McLean referred to it this way in his 1971 song “American Pie”. 

While this unfortunate event is associated with Clear Lake and the community continues to pay proper reverence to those who lost their lives in this accident, Clear Lake is a vibrant, progressive lakeside community you should visit.

Plan Your Clear Lake Visit

Order your travel guide in advance at and follow them on Facebook ClearLakeIowa, Twitter @VisitClearLake and Instagram @ClearLakeIowa for the latest updates.

Stop in and visit the Visitor Center at the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce at 205 Main Avenue  or call them at 641.357.2159 or 800.285.5338.

Where is Clear Lake?

Travel Time to Clear Lake by vehicle from

Omaha: 3.5 hours             Des Moines: 2 hours

Minneapolis: 2 hours        Sioux Falls: 3 hours

Chicago: 6 hours              St. Louis: 6.5 hours

We visited in early September 2020-during COVID times. Check all websites for current COVID restrictions, if any.

Top 8 Overall Impressions

1. Cleanliness. Everywhere we went was spotless-from city parks to public restrooms to highways. Litter and graffiti seemed non-existent. Community pride prevails and visitors, like us, notice and appreciate it.

2. Non-Clogged Roadways. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is not appealing to us, especially when doing a leisurely lakeside drive. The roadways, in and around the area, seem to be designed for great traffic flow.

3. Appreciative Merchants. 2020 has been a tough year for restaurants and retailers. Each business we visited expressed heartfelt gratitude for our visit and purchase. Support small, always.

4. Diversity of Lodging Options. Not only is the variety of architecture appealing, so are the many lodging options. Read below.

5. Plenty of Excellent Dining Choices. Plan ahead. There are so many excellent dining options in this community. We can’t wait to return to try more of them.

6. Ease of Access to the water and a very walkable downtown. There is plenty of parking, making it convenient to stop and walk the downtown area and the shoreline.

7. Availability of Amenities to Encourage Tourism, like clean, modern public restrooms in the downtown shopping area and by the Clear Lake City public beach. Enjoy the splash pad and water rainbow for children of all ages near a public restroom. Sit in the shaded city park. Use the well-maintained walking and bicycling pathways along the shoreline. Depart from, or tie up at, the public access docks.

8. Goodwill Offering Attractions. There is plenty to see and do in the community, in addition to water activities like fishing, kayaking, boating, swimming, paddle boarding, etc. See below.

Activities & Attractions

It rained during our entire three-day stay. Yet, we got out and explored the area rich in attractions.

There’s a great mix of indoor/outdoor activities in Clear Lake-perfect for all types of weather conditions during your visit.

Here’s a sample of what we visited.

Visit to personalize your visit.

Plane Crash Memorial Site

A small memorial is located at the place the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, “The Big Bopper” and pilot Roger Peterson crashed. It is on private property between corn fields. If you visit, please be respectful of the land and the crash site.

Directions to Memorial Site

From US Hwy 18 in Clear Lake, go north on N 8th Street for 4.7 miles.

When the paved road curves to the west, take the gravel road to the east (310th Street), then immediately north again on gravel (Gull Avenue).

At the t-intersection of Gull Avenue and 315th Street, you will see a set of large “Buddy Holly” glasses. You may park along the side of the road and walk along the south side of the fence to the west for approximately one quarter mile.

Surf Ballroom & Museum

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

460 North Shore Drive       641.357.6151

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

Check the website for upcoming events and operating hours.

Goodwill offering/donations encouraged.

Take a self-guided tour or arrange in advance for a guided tour.

Marvel at the ballroom (1933). Stroll the museum. Purchase at the gift shop.

HINT: Notice the pineapple wallpaper in the entrance. See the phone booth where Buddy Holly called his wife and Ritchie Valens his manager the evening of February 2, 1959.

Lady of the Lake

101 North Lakeview Drive       641.357.2243

Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

Lady of the Lake is an authentic paddle wheel excursion boat offering scenic tours of Clear Lake. Contact them for boarding and departure times.  Times are also posted at the City Seawall.

Cash only. No debit or credit cards accepted.

Central Gardens of North Iowa

200 Block N 8th Street    641.357.0700

Visit the website for scheduled activities.

Goodwill donations encouraged.

Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring a camera to capture the magnificently maintained three acres of themed flower beds, ponds, stream beds and art.

HINT: The restroom here was closed due to COVID during our September 2020 visit.

Nearby State Parks

McIntosh Woods State Park Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

We visited both Clear Lake State Park and McIntosh Woods State Park during our stay.

Beautiful natural settings offering great outdoor activities. Visit the websites for more information on camping, events and activities.


Choices are abundant. What’s your preference?

  • Hotels
  • Motels
  • Cottages
  • Camping
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Bed and Breakfasts
3rd & Surf VRBO Home…Ideal Vacation Stay Photo Credit: Linda Leier Thomason

We thoroughly enjoyed our overnight stay at the vacation rental 3rd and Surf.

It was a perfect location for our desire to explore the downtown area and have easy walking access to the beach and city park.

The property is well furnished in a quiet neighborhood.

The owners have thought of virtually everything a traveler would need for a fantastic get-away to Clear Lake, Iowa. There’s even a screened outdoor gazebo and a fire pit to enjoy on cool fall evenings and bicycles to explore the charming community.

Notable Clear Lake Events

There is always something to do and experience in Clear Lake, Iowa

Confirm event schedules prior to traveling.

COVID restrictions may alter the event and schedule.

Visit for more events, festivals and information.

Here are just 2 notable annual events.

Winter Dance Party

World renowned Winter Dance Party held annually featuring performers influenced by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper’s musical era.

3-Day event at the Surf Ballroom. More information at or Surf’s box office 641.357.6151.

Color the Wind

The Color the Wind kite festival features serious kite flyers from multiple states displaying their collections of unique kites, banners and ground displays over the lake in front of the downtown sea wall.

Contest Now Closed: Win 2-Night Stay

What’s Included:

Fine Print

  • Complete and return entry form below.
  • Trip must be completed by May 31, 2021.
  • Entrants must be age 25 or older. USA Citizens only.
  • Winner is responsible for making reservation through provided VRBO website and agrees to all conditions of rental property stated on site.
  • Transportation to & from Clear Lake, IA isn’t provided.
  • Winner agrees to forward three (3) photographs taken during the trip and five (5) sentences about their experience to www.lindaleierthomason within seven (7) days of completing their trip. Images may be used on social media outlets and on this website.
  • Winner Notification: Winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Winner will be notified via email. Response must be received in 24 hours. If none, another winner will be randomly chosen.
  • Prize is non-transferable. No cash redemption or substitution will be allowed.
  • Winner assumes all responsibility and releases and all prize donors and sponsors from all liability.
  • By accepting prize, winner understands and agrees to all contest rules.
  • Immediate family members (spouse/partner, children, grandchildren and parents) of prize sponsors, Clear Lake, Iowa Chamber of Commerce and/or are not eligible to enter.

This contest is done in cooperation with the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce whose members and staff welcome you to stay at the shore and explore.

Enter & Win 2-Night Stay

Your information will not be used for any marketing campaigns nor given to any other organization to use.

November 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Gallery Sale

Just in Time for Holidays.

Home. Office. Gift Giving.

Buy One. Or a Set.

First Come. First Get.

Originals. No Reproductions.


  • $25/for one
  • $40/for two
  • $65/for three
  • $75/for four


All Sales Final.

Once a tile is sold, it will be removed.

If you experience any payment difficulties. Send a message and we’ll be glad to get in touch with you.

Product Details

Images photographed and copyrighted by Linda Leier Thomason are placed on 8×8 lightweight tiles that are just under an inch thick.

There’s a sticky strip on the back of the tile. Peel off the protective paper and stick them on the wall. Does not damage walls and easy to re-group and move around.


Linda's Gallery Tiles
Your Mailing Address:

In the message section below, indicate which tiles by tile # and tile name (below each tile) you’d like to proudly display or gift.

Include your shipping information in the message section as well.

Thank you for your purchase.

#1 Dainty White
#2 Butterfly
#3 Carolina Color
#4 Crossing Into Fall 1
#5 Crossing Into Fall 2
#6 Unique Bloom
SOLD#7 Speckled
#8 Orange
#9 Hawaiian Bloom
#10 Pretty Peach
#11 Zinnia
SOLD #12 Rose
#13 Fragile
#14 Floral Grouping Sample-You Choose the 4 You Love & Arrange As You Prefer

SOLD #15 Happiness
SOLD #16 Fall Leaves
SOLD #17 Golden Fall
#18 Pines
#19 Fall Sample Grouping 1-You Choose the 4 You Love & Arrange As You Prefer.
#20 Fall Sample Grouping 2-You Choose the 4 You Love & Arrange As You Prefer.

Simplifying the Transition to a New Home for Seniors

Decluttering & Downsizing

Have all of your children left the family home?

Are healthcare issues preventing you from keeping up your house and yard?

Do you want to spend more time relaxing?

Do you require some care as you age?

Has your spouse passed away?

If so, it might be time to downsize from your existing home to your next home.

Here are some tried and true tips to make this process smoother and less painful.

Craft LifeStyle Management has been helping clients transition from one home to another for over 30 years.

Please let us know how we can help you.

Contact Us Link from CLM page. 

Where is Your Next Home?

In a perfect world, you know where you are moving to and answers to these questions are a great way to begin downsizing and decluttering:

  • What is the floor plan?
  • How much space will you have?  
  • How many closets? What size?
  • What is the square footage of the living space and the bedroom?
  • Is there a garage? Are there shelves in it?
  • Are there rules for what items you can bring into your next home?
  • Will your furniture fit the living space? Measure everything with a tape measure. Avoid eyeballing and estimating.
  • Does your furniture fit through the doorways?
  • Is the kitchen much smaller? How many cabinets are there and how many drawers?

Sentimental Items

Try to appreciate the sentimental value of items as you sort. For example, fondly recall the memories of your wedding dress and/or your military uniform. Ask yourself if you can release these items now.

Can you take a photo of them as a keepsake memory? If so, upload photos, videos and irreplaceable mementos to a hard drive or cloud storage.

Seriously ask yourself what your children will do with these sentimental items after you are gone? Keep in mind what is sentimental to you may not be to them.

It’s okay to be disappointed if they do not want your “treasures.”  However, try not to let this disappointment affect your relationship with them, adding stress to an already challenging time.

HINT: The more sentimental an item is to you, the higher value you will place on it.


Here’s an idea that makes sorting and downsizing less painful.

Take a video or photo of each room in your home before you start. This way you have a record of everything, especially anything you have a tough time releasing.

Sorting takes time. It can take countless hours to thoughtfully go through items you’ve been accumulating for decades.

Pace yourself.

Start early.

Enlist help, if needed. Keep in mind family will often suggest ‘you don’t need this’ or ‘throw that in the trash.’

HINT: Do not ask the family or friends whom you know will give their thoughts before you have your own moment to decide.

Know what you value and stand your ground. If you truly treasure something, keep it.

By room, place items one-by-one into one of five piles:

1. Keep-take to my next home. A good rule of thumb is one of each item. This rule is especially helpful when sorting a kitchen. For instance, one water pitcher, one cake knife and server, one corkscrew, etc.

HINT: Craft LifeStyle Management places emphasis on the “Keep.” This will be opposite of many helpers, including family.

We believe focusing on the Keep will help you quickly see what’s important to you-what you value.

HINT: Bulk items like laundry detergent and shampoo may no longer be a good fit for your smaller, downsized space.

2. Donate to one of many local charities happy to pick up your items. Or, ask family members if they need an extra bedroom set or kitchen appliance. Again, try not to be upset if they are not interested in your ‘discards.’

Do you have a collection of, for example, musical instruments or books? Find an organization that will make good use of these items. It makes the releasing less painful knowing your items will be deeply appreciated.

HINT: Over time, Craft LifeStyle Management has developed many creative ways to release to organizations. Let us share those with you.

3. Trash. Craft LifeStyle Management can recommend ways to downsize and prepare for a move without the obvious driveway dumpster.

4. Sell. Some items, including vintage clothing, might be worthy of selling online. Also consider selling items at a local consignment or antique shop.

HINT: We suggest “testing the market.” If your children, extended family, friends and neighbors are not interested in the items you are not taking to your next home, then it’s not likely they are worth the time it takes to try to sell them. Instead, donate or discard the items.

5. Maybe. If the “Maybe” pile is almost everything, then it is time to enlist professionals to help you walk through this challenging journey. Finding out “why” you are not releasing items will help you get going again.

Comfortable Peace

Downsizing involves making tough decisions. Each item goes into one of these five piles.

The goal is to touch each item only once as you place it into one of these categories and then release it.

If you can see the things you want right in front of you and feel at peace, then you are on the right track.

Craft LifeStyle Management likes to call it “comfortable peace.”

If, instead, you are anxious or feeling upset, it is time to ask for a little help. Craft LifeStyle Management is glad to work through this process with you.

HINT: Plan to take breaks. Downsizing can be emotionally and physically overwhelming. If your ‘helpers’ are planning to show up early and stay late, this may not be the most productive plan for you. Once we are tired, we can’t make clear choices. You don’t want to regret a release because ‘you couldn’t think straight any longer that day.’

Craft LifeStyle Management can help guide you during this process and ensure you aren’t throwing away or donating valuables and that you are at peace with all of your transitioning decisions.

Paper & Storage Units

You may have storage tubs or file cabinets in your home full of paper. Paper like utility bills, bank statements and/or tax filings from decades ago.

You don’t need to move all of this to your next home.

Before you shred everything, reach out to an accountant or financial advisor and ask how long you are required to keep certain documents.

Keep those and shred all others.

HINT: Today most statements can be found online, making the accumulation of paper unnecessary.

If you have “treasures” in a storage unit. Go through these items as you would the possessions in your home. Keep, Donate, Trash or Sell.

How Can We Help You?

Transitioning to your next home requires decluttering and downsizing.

Yes, it can be difficult. It is also exciting.

Let us know how we can help you as you prepare for this transition.

Contact Us Link from CLM page. 

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© October 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.
Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Do You Know Your Spouse?

$5 Answers for You

Let’s just say you’ve been married for more than a decade. Maybe 26 years.

You profess your greatest strength as a married couple is “communication.”

You’ve weathered and remained intact through multiple life challenges, including job changes, relocations and medical issues.

Most often you will claim your spouse as your “best friend.”

Then the world abruptly changes in early 2020 and you’re spending 24-hours a day, seven days a week for months on end with this person.

Are your claims and proclamations the same? How well do you really know the person you are living with? Can you stand being around one another all the time?

Do you know how they’d answer questions like this?

  • Who or what challenges you?
  • Would you ever set up a nanny cam to spy on someone watching your kids?
  • What is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for you?
  • Who’s someone you’d like to trade places with for a day?
  • How long do you think you’ll live?
  • Has anyone, or anything specific, ever made you feel inferior, if so what?
  • What opportunity do you wish you would have taken?

It’s downright alarming how one can “know” someone for decades and not really know with certainty how they’d answers questions like these.

Priceless Clearance Book

I stopped at a bookstore in early 2020 and without much thought bought this $5 clearance book. I randomly flipped through the pages thinking this could be fun answering some of these questions and headed to the cash register.

Instead, this $5 book has proven priceless to our marriage.

It’s offered me rich, deep insight into a man I’ve known for over 30 years.

Wednesday Nights

When I introduced the book to Ken, I framed it as a COVID Wednesday night activity. Sort of like a “date night”-something we always professed to do but never seemed to get around to actually doing.

Admittedly, we were both a bit tepid when we started this exercise. Each Wednesday, we’d take turns randomly choosing a number between 1-2000 and start asking each other the questions on the two pages, dating the pages and recording our responses in writing.

Some weeks we’d sit on the back porch after work completing this exercise, others on the sofa. As time went on, answers seemed more thoughtful and insightful and the awkwardness lessened. And, I, in particular, looked forward to seeing what questions would be asked and how we’d each respond.


Here’s a few things I’ve discovered.

  • I cheat. Ken takes longer to answer the questions than I do. I give top-of-mind answers knowing that if the same question was asked on another day, my answer could quite likely be different. But, at that moment in time, this is my response. So, while he’s pondering and reflecting, I skip ahead and answer the questions he’s supposed to ask me when I’m done asking him. I need to refrain from turning everything into “cycle time management.” Yup. This exercise isn’t only about partner-discovery but also self-discovery.
  • Ken likes chocolate. One can imagine with 2000 questions that there’d be some repetitive answers throughout the book. However, he answers a lot of questions with “chocolate.” For instance, “What food describes your personality?” Ken’s response is chocolate. Mine is watermelon. Or, “If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?” Ken’s response was chocolate. Mine was a Grammy’s Award Show producer. Ken admittedly and consistently likes chocolate. This is not new learning for me but it’s nice to see he’s consistent.
  • Memories are resurrected. Many of the questions uncover buried childhood activities or memories. Listening to one another share these stories has been enlightening and fun. Stories and answers offer a lot of insight into the way one another responds to events and issues today.  We grew up in very different environments; Ken in Louisville, Kentucky in a family of four and me on a North Dakota diversified farm in a family of 11. Imagine the stories being shared through these questions we may have never thought to ask one another.
  • People have many layers. In the business world peeling back the multiple layers of an onion to get to the core is used as an example of how to understand a problem. This same principle applies, only it’s not a problem, it’s a person. What this exercise has clearly proven is that there is a lot of joy in going beyond the superficial and peeling back the layers and getting to know the core of the person you love, perhaps the longest.
  • Men also like sharing deeply. The stereotype about men being emotionally closed off and too manly to answer questions like those in this book is repeatedly proven wrong. Ken could have very easily stopped this weekly activity. He could have used sarcasm and humor to answer the questions, not giving it serious attention. He didn’t. About the third week in, I got it. He actually enjoyed sharing, recalling and being listened to. It doesn’t make him less of a man. It makes him more of a human and more known to me.

Wednesday nights now are sacred. We purposely avoid scheduling other activities at this time and do our best to avoid distractions like phones, the Internet and TV. The book is an adjunct to the date-one week planned by Ken, the other by me.

It’s taken us quite a while to reach this point in our marriage.

Good Choices & Happiness

But when question #1212 was asked: Do you think happiness is a choice? Ken responded, “Yes” on June 3, 2020 and I, “Certainly. Work at making good choices.”

Buying 2000 Questions About Me was a wonderful choice leading to much discovery and happiness in our marriage in 2020.

September 2020. Linda Leier Thomason All Rights Reserved.

This means seek permission before using copy or images from this site. Images are available for purchase.

Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.

Do you have a story idea or interesting person who’d be a great feature?

Share below.

What Happens to Special Needs Adults When Parents Die?

Do you know a special needs adult living with elderly parents? Is this person your brother or sister? If so, has your family openly and frequently discussed plans for the special needs adult who may outlive Mom and Dad, and maybe you?

 If so, your family is ahead of most.


  • Special needs is a term used to describe those who require extra support because of a medical, emotional, behavioral or learning disability or impairment.
  • The number of adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) is projected to nearly double from 641,860 in 2000 to 1.2 million by 2030 1/
  • As of 2006, more than 716,00 adults with developmental disabilities were living with caregivers over the age of 60 in the United States.
  • Whether it’s medical, financial understanding or living arrangements, Craft LifeStyle Management can help guide families with special needs adults, especially those living with aging parents or those whose parents have deceased. We have years of experience helping families get the resources needed during this transition.

Living with You

You love your sibling with disabilities. In fact, the plan is that he or she will live with you after Mom and Dad die. Have you considered:

  • Has your disabled sibling been to your home many times so that he or she is familiar with the surroundings, or do you live in another geographical location?
  • How your existing family routine will be altered as you fit in the tasks and responsibilities of care for your disabled sibling? Are you fully aware of what Mom and Dad have been doing all these years to care for your brother or sister? What was their routine? Was it completely transparent and now understood by you?
  • What happens to your sibling if you become ill, disabled or lose your life?
  • How will care be provided and paid for?
  • Who will attend medical appointments and manage the financial and legal aspects of care?

Again, Craft LifeStyle Management can assist you in fully understanding the complexities of what’s involved in caring for your loved one with special needs.

In the meantime, set up a time as soon as possible to talk to your parents so that you are not left without critical information after a crisis.

The smallest details matter while caring for those with special needs.

This link provides an excellent list of questions and conversations so that you and your family are prepared for the well-being of your sister or brother. Record these conversations on paper or a computer file. Let other loved ones know where this information is since you may not be the only one that needs to access it.

Loving Choice

Everyone needs to be realistic about caring for your loved one with special needs. As parents age, they may have ongoing health challenges making it difficult to consistently care for your special needs brother or sister.

Perhaps, now, the most loving thing your family can do is find a group, assisted living or nursing home for your brother or sister.

If this is the decision, please consider transitioning your special needs sibling to this home before a parent dies. It will help ease the transition to a new home environment, which makes for one less loss after death.

Legal Protections & Financial Implications

Craft LifeStyle Management ensures you have formal legal documents and protection in place for caring for your brother or sister. We help you understand the financial implications of this care.

We surround ourselves with highly qualified and trained professionals who specialize in special needs life-care planning.

We will sit side-by-side with you while subjects like this are discussed with you:

  • Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts
  • Pour-Over Will
  • Last-to-Die Life Insurance Policies
  • Powers of Attorney for Healthcare and Property
  • Power of Attorney for Advocacy
  • Medicaid Gifting Powers
  • Guardianship Documents
  • Letter of Intent or Direction

Please contact Craft LifeStyle Management for assistance with making informed decisions regarding the special needs adults in your life.

1. Heller T. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities growing old: an overview. Impact. 2010;23(1).

More Information

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© September 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.

Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to the end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Home Modifications to Age in Place

More seniors are choosing to age in place than ever before. This is partly due to long-term care costs. In addition, the Baby Boomer generation has been privileged to have a more active lifestyle than generations before them, allowing greater health in older years.

Technology and availability of more services, like home care, are also making it easier for older adults to independently remain in their own homes.


Home modification means materially changing a senior’s home to make it easier for them to safely move around. It also involves removing potential hazards to support independent living.

Falls, often resulting in broken bones, are the #1 reason seniors lose their mobility, thus their independence.

To avoid this, home modifications, supporting aging in place, typically address three areas.

• Safety

• Accessibility

• Convenience

Help is Available

Craft Lifestyle Management and Craft Homes, supported by a team of professionals like occupational therapists, have years of experience with home modifications.

We can assist you, or a family member, in creating a safe space for those choosing to age in place.

We will walk through the home with you and make suggested modifications.

We’ll also introduce you to products and services that will make you and your loved ones feel safer in the home while aging in place.

Our Craft Homes team can make the physical upgrades on your schedule and within your budget.

BONUS: Peace of Mind-Family members who cannot be with their aging loved ones all the time can have peace of mind knowing these modifications will create a safer place for their aging family member.

Basic Modifications

You Can Do

Clear Excess In Rooms

Remember, falling is the #1 reason seniors lose their independence.

Ensure each room, including the front door entryway, has plenty of space to maneuver around, especially if your loved one relies on a mobility aid like a cane, walker or wheelchair.

Remove unnecessary furniture. Clear pathways and hallways. Leave plenty of space to move around without bumping into anything.

Remove or Fix Trip Hazards

Rugs beautify space; however, they often are trip hazards. Remove area and other floor rugs or secure them to the floor to avoid slips and falls.

Are there extension cords running across floors? Find another way. Cords are definite trip hazards.

Level uneven areas of flooring throughout the home. Minimize height differences between flooring types to avoid tripping hazards. NOTE:1/8” or more is a trip hazard.

Assess Lighting

Not enough light can increase tripping, thus falls. Too much light creates glare. Make sure the home is well lit, always.

By age 75, most people require twice as much light as the normal recommended standard, and nearly four times as much as a 20-year-old, to see satisfactorily (Dementia Services Development Center – The Importance of Lighting).

Consider putting nightlights in hallways and in bathrooms. Use table or floor lamps in sitting areas and put adhesive countertop lights under cabinets.

NOTE: Changing light bulbs is often risky for seniors. To avoid having to change lights frequently, switch all lights to LED bulbs. Most are rated up to 50,000 hours.  

Raise the Toilet Seat

Low toilet seats are a major hazard for falls. Install a raised toilet seat with handles and/or grab bars next to the toilet.

Change the Shower Head

Install a handheld shower head. These are easier to use while seated or while holding on to a grab bar.

NOTE: Craft Homes can help you install grab bars and other safety equipment and tools to avoid slips and falls.  If someone in your family does the installation, for your safety, make sure the grab bar holds up to 250 pounds or more and that it is installed by screwing it into wall studs, not just the sheetrock.

Replace Door Knobs

Arthritis or other conditions that limit motion make using round doorknobs challenging. Replace these with lever-style ones, which are much easier to grip since they don’t require a twisting motion.

More Involved Modifications

Contact Craft LifeStyle Management for an In-Home Assessment

Remember any modification that ensures safety and helps you or your loved one live independently for as long as possible is well worth considering.

Craft LifeStyle Management will work with your time schedule and budget. We will schedule a convenient in-home assessment and begin any modification work when you are ready.

Contact Us.

Widen Doorways

Doorways must be at least 32” wide for a wheelchair to move easily through it but 36” wide to accommodate a turn, like from a hallway into a room.

In addition to the actual widening construction, sometimes light switches and electric wires must be moved.

Pocket doors may be recommended instead. Using pocket doors has two advantages: doors are no longer in the way when open and wheelchairs don’t get caught on hinges.

NOTE: Sometimes just flipping a door to open to the other side is all that’s needed. Every option to create accessibility and contain cost will be explored with you.

Adjust Kitchen Countertops

Regular countertops stand about 34 inches off the floor. Adjusting countertops to 30 inches makes it easier for someone in a wheelchair or scooter to enjoy daily activities like cooking.

Cabinetry with pull out drawers is a real bonus for those wanting to enjoy working in their kitchen longer.

NOTE: Simply lowering a microwave makes a huge difference for independence.

Install Slip-Resistant Flooring

Choose flooring that is soft so bones are less likely to be broken if a fall happens. Also consider installing flooring that is easy to clean and stays clean.

While hard surfaces like wood and stone floors are easier to clean and more sanitary, they have less traction and are just that-hard. Carpet is softer and warmer and provides more cushion if there’s a fall. Yet carpet is more challenging for mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs.

Engineered vinyl planks may be an ideal option for those wanting a hard surface. They are both easy to clean and hold up well to liquid spills. This flooring looks and feels like hardwood floors. They also have texture so they’re less slippery than real hardwood floors.

NOTE: If you don’t want to replace bathroom tile that’s in great shape, buy ADA approved anti-slip coating and roll it on with a paint roller.

Build a Wheelchair Ramp

If the home is not zero entry, meaning it has zero steps and a minimal threshold, you may need to have a wheelchair ramp built and installed.

The most obvious use of the ramp is for wheelchair accessibility but ramps also eliminate the need to navigate steps, which is often difficult for those with balance issues.

If the home is zero entry, ensure there is a covered entryway to protect you from snow and rain. Regularly have your drainage systems checked. Don’t allow rain to puddle or ice to form by the entryway.

Change Faucets

Replace twist faucet handles with levers. Or, install touchless faucets on the kitchen and bathroom sinks for those with arthritis or other grip issues.

Install anti-scald faucets in the bathtub or shower. These prevent sudden bursts of hot water when cold water is diverted due to a toilet being flushed or the washing machine being filled.

NOTE: A simpler way to avoid scalding is to lower the water heater temperature to 120 degrees or less. 

Replace the Bathtub

A walk-in shower provides much easier and a safer entry than a bathtub. It makes showering independently possible.

If space or budget don’t allow for a walk-in shower, definitely have a safety bar added to the tub and install safety strips.

You can also purchase a bathtub transfer bench. or use a bathtub chair. Transfer benches are safe and affordable and highly recommended.

A walk-in or siting tub option is also available, though much more costly. These serve as a stand-up or sit-down shower as well as a deep soaking tub.

Move the Bedroom

The bedroom should be on the main floor of the house.

Craft Homes can definitely help you redesign your space to make this happen.

Contact Us.

NOTE: Alternatively, you may want to install a chair lift or elevator.

More Information

Written by Linda Leier Thomason for Craft LifeStyle Management.

© August 2020. Craft LifeStyle Management. All Rights Reserved.

Denise Craft founded Craft Lifestyle Management in 1988 to ease the burden for families of aging, veterans, special needs adults and those in rehab during times of transition. She understands what’s involved in transitioning any individual from their personal home to their next home and to the end of life. Her seasoned knowledge of available placement services, housing options, eligible benefits and payor sources, and community resources is endless. 

Please contact Craft LifeStyle Management for all of your transitional needs.

Greg Craft founded Craft Homes in 1980. Since then, he’s been involved in home building, redesign and modification.

Contact Craft Homes at PHONE: 402.578.5911 or or