Kaye Swain REALTOR® and senior mom love this Pierce County Washington rhodie for gardeningRhododendrons are bursting out ALL OVER Pierce County Washington. I see them everywhere I go including our home, and they are so lovely! The first time I ever saw a Rhododendron was at the home of a relative. It never bloomed so I thought it was just a green shrub. And easy to grow and easy to care for shrubt that looked lovely in the landscaping. Turns out it was much more than that! Come spring, they burst out with magnificent floral beauty!

According to Dictionary.com, these plants are "any evergreen or deciduous shrub or tree belonging to the genus Rhododendron,  of the heath family, having rounded clusters of showy, pink, purple, or white flowers and oval or oblong leaves." AND they are related to another family fave – the Azalea

They are the Washington state flower (the Coastal Rhododendron, to be specific) and there is even a botanical garden dedicated to these flowers right next door to Pierce County in Federal Way, Washington which is open Tuesday – Sunday and they do charge an admission fee that helps to maintain the lovely garden. While the gift shop and restrooms are fully accessible, the 22 acre garden is only partially accessible. The main paths to the Rutherford Conservatory and Gazebo are level and covered with fine, compacted gravel, however you may find that a good portion, including the gravel paths, make the use of wheelshairs somewhat difficult." 

Kaye Swain REALTOR® and senior mom love this Pierce County Washington rhodie  for gardening also

These flowers are truly lovely but they do come with some caveats. 

While the Pollen Library lists the California Rhododendron as "Allergenicity: No allergy has been reported for California Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum) species." and the Allergy Care site recommends it for a low-allergy garden, the plant is poisonous.

According to the Veterinary Medicine Library in Illinois, "All parts of this plant contain toxic resins (andromedotoxins, now commonly referred to as grayanotoxin) with the leaves being the most potent." And the ASPCA warns that they are, "Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses." (goats too as a good friend found out while goat-sitting!) "If your pet ingested this plant, contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.*

Yes, sadly, these lovely flowers can also be a danger to children. Most of my grandkids are old enough to know better, but still, it would be wise for me (and you) to let them know NEVER to play games with the leaves or flowers from these delightful flowers.  And, of course, it's always wise to keep the Washington Poison Control phone number handy - For emergencies and information: toll free 1-800-222-1222

Kaye Swain Real Estate Broker Agent in Pierce County Washington is enjoying these beautiful Rhododendrons

All in all, though, these flowers are a true delight to those of us here in Pierce County in the evergreen State of Washington, and beyond. And my senior mom and I will continue to enjoy the lovely sights we see in our yard and around our neighborhood. What's your favorite spring site this sweet spring-ly week?



Welcome to SandwichINK Real Estate Info for Boomers and Seniors on a Wordless Wednesday.


Encouraging and comforting Bible verses to help aging parents on down to grandkids


The background for this comforting Bible verse is a photo of the lovely blue skies with billowly clouds here in Pierce County, Washington! I shot it while out showing houses to a real estate client. 


Kaye Swain REALTOR® visiting Wordless Wednesday at Create Wth Joy


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I love this cute home at 9319 E B St Tacoma 98445 in Pierce County Washington  MLS 612692Multigenerational families can come in a variety of sizes and combinations. My senior mom and I are a small "multigenerational family" always looking for ways to ensure we have plenty of aging in place options for my mom. At one point, right after my grand-twins were born with health issues, their family moved in with us. Then we were a BIG "multigenerational family" of four generations. A "multigenerational family" could mean a grandchild and a grandparent…or a nephew and aunt…or a niece and great-aunt…or two friends of different generations who are helping care for one or for each other….and the list goes on. 

When I lived in one home for 17 years, my kids had FOUR sets of "adopted grandparents" in the wonderful neighbors who lived there. And those sweet senior neighbors gained extra eyes and hands when they needed help along with tons of hugs from my kids and us. It was a great extended "family." Yesterday, we listened to a class on "thinking outside the box" at my real estate brokerage and boy, multigenerational caregiving and helping is such a great example of that, isn't it?

Of course, with those different extended family and caregiver scenarios come a variety of different needs in a home and yard. You might think  "get a single-story home. That will solve the whole problem." But I looked at two single story homes today. One would not be very practical for a multigenerational family with an elderly relative. It was gorgeous. But it had a sunken living room. I know ME! I'm sure I'd manage to forget and trip on that at least once….maybe even once a month! :) I'd get busy, focus on my paperwork or sending a text, and whap. Most likely I'd just end up with a bit of an embarrassed smile. But if my senior mom lived there and forgot, which she easily could, she could end up in the hospital like a good friend of ours is right now. As much as I love the concept of sunken living rooms – they're really cute – I would probably not recommend them to boomers and seniors, especially with elderly relatives visiting or living with them.

The second house I looked at offered great possiblities for an extended family situation. It has been beautifully updated with a gorgeous, restful decor. One of the bathrooms has my favorite kind of shower for anyone and especially for elderly seniors – easy access and benches to sit on. 

Kaye Swain REALTOR recommends showers with benches to help elderly senior parents.jpg

There are three bedrooms and a den that could easily be another good-sized bedroom with the addition of an armoir. More "thinking outside the box" that is quite handy for flexible living arrangements.

An armoire can be a big help for those caring for elderly parents and needing to turn a room into a bedroom

And there's a laundry room that should be able to handle whatever size washer and dryer you might have. Always a good thing for an extended family with lots of laundry. In our home in Kentucky, we had to keep the laundry area's folding doors open all the time because the extra large washer was a bit too big for the space. On those occasions when all the grandkids were visiting or my senior mom was recuperating from a surgery, that big washing machine was worth its weight in gold. It definitely was great to have – even with the open door in the midst of the living room/dining room area. Still a laundry room with this kind of space would definitely be handy for oversized and much needed laundry appliances.

A nice size laundry room that can hold a large washer dryer is a big help for a multigenerational family

And, of course, I always give the back yard a good check out – if you have kids or grandkids, you really appreciate a nice play area like this one – with plenty of room for a nice big swing set. 

A wonderful play yard for your kids or grandkids here in Tacoma Washington

These are some of the vital things I look for in a home for my own multigenerational family to provide us with plenty of aging in place options for my senior mom, as well as recommend to my real estate clients. How about you? Can you add anything to my list? We'd love to hear.

University Place Washington REALTOR Kaye Swain loves to visit The Dedicated House for Anything Blue Friday

P.S.  Click here for help with your real estate search for homes in Pierce County WA by Kaye Swain REALTOR®


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