Make Your Home Safe Again!

By Maggie Drag

As we age, we often forget that our homes should age with us! As more and more people aged 65 and older (90 percent according to AARP to be exact), choose to stay in their homes, many don’t follow the proper steps to make their homes safer.

Just a few updates will prevent falls and tragic accidents down the road, so take a look at our list of tips on how to make your living space safer, comfortable and convenient for life!

Stop trips for good

Place a non-slip pad under throw rugs.

  • The number one cause of trips in homes are slippery throw rugs, so make sure to make each rug slip proof with sticky pads or slip-proof tape.
  • If you have hardwood or tile floors, make sure that the surface isn’t too slippery. Either use slip-proof flooring or apply slip-proof coatings.
  • Try installing longer power cords for your electronics, lamps and appliances that you can tuck along a wall to avoid trips in the future.
  • Many homes have thresholds, a small raised edge, between two doors. This can cause trips and make it difficult for those in wheelchairs and walkers. Remove barriers like this with automatic door bottoms that act like special bridges that move across a difficult edge or barrier between doors, different rooms and other surfaces.

Read More …

Aging at Home: Common Problems-Solutions

Here at Modern Health Talk, you’ll find hundreds of solutions for safe & independent aging-in-place, including dozens of articles about the principles of Universal Design, and numerous photo examples on our Pinterest boards. But today’s guest post brings together many solutions in one article.

Aging at Home: Common Problems & Solutions

For wheelchair accessibility, this home had a ramp installed. It's a removable model, but more permanent designs are available.

By Jessica Hoefer (Here’s the original.)

The most common problems as you age in your home:

As we get older, many of our homes no longer work as well for us. But most of us want to remain in the homes we love.

Fortunately, there are many solutions, and there are trained experts in home modification all over the country. There are also new tools to address the specific issues of aging.

Home Advisor has joined with the National Aging in Place Council® to create this guide to making your home work for you. Here you will find: Read More …

The Smart Home Mess

The networking Tower of Babel contributes to the Smart Home Mess.

I often write about Smart Home technologies that can help seniors or people with disabilities live independently and safely at home, but I also criticize the media and marketers for their excessive hype and for ignoring the smart home mess.

The Smart Home Mess

Today’s posting is my response to, an excellent article by Stacey Higginbotham, published yesterday in FORBES.

The most insightful quote from this article is, “The smart home, for better or worse, is an ecosystem. And so far, most companies are trying to make it a platform.”

MY COMMENT: Even a SMART Home ecosystem, if it targets DIY consumers, is not very smart and will likely fail to reach mass market adoption. That’s because it puts Consumer’s in the role of systems integrator, in a complex ecosystem with competing standards and retail confusion. Read More …

80-20 Rule for Aging in Place

80-20 Rule

By Patrick Joseph Roden, PhD (original at aginginplace.com)

It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things. (Henry David Thoreau)

Aging in Place

Thoreau’s quote on wisdom reminds us that wisdom seldom leads to doing desperate things. When it comes to aging in place so often it is a “crisis buy,” that is, remodeling for age-friendly living is neglected until a crisis (often a fall) forces the issue. One of my favorite Buddhist sayings is: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear…The “student” in this case is the aging home-owner, and they have to be ready before any information on home modification is sought out. But so few are…For those of us in the industry–much of our efforts go into educating the public with the intent of preventing home remodeling decisions fueled by crisis. Which in the long-run are more expensive, stress-provoking, and potentially, too late. Read More …

Smart Elder Orphans Prepare for Aging Stages

Asian woman is an Elderly Orphan living alone but with a plan for future care needs. She's an example of how to prepare for aging stages.

Image source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

This article about “Elder Orphans” is the second in a series, describing how to prepare for aging stages by first knowing what they are. If you missed the first article, here’s your chance.

I got interested in creating and sharing my own plan with Huffington Post readers after reading umpteen studies of senior isolation and how the harmful effects devastate our mental and physical health. Living alone suits me but isolation certainly does not. That’s why at age 64, I think a lot about my latter years. But doing that is a challenge, and even the renown geriatrician, Dr. Bill Thomas, admits to the misconceptions of aging.

Humans have a limited ability to predict accurately or even imagine the needs of their future self. That’s especially true when the future has scary possibilities.[EDITOR: See my collection of Famous False Predictions.]

However, if I don’t want to be stuck in suburbia away from social connections, an amped-up imagination is needed, with helpful tips from readers like you.  Read More …

Elder Orphans living alone need to avoid social isolation

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans.

Source: Huffington Post

By Carol Marak, Aging Advocate and Senior Care Contributor (original at Huffington Post)

Seniors living alone and socially isolated are Elder Orphans. The deeper my age propels into my senior years, long-term care planning cannot delay. This is the first of a series on how I plan to avoid the problems of elder orphans. Like most over 60 years of age, we haven’t planned well, and adults like me who live without a spouse or children cannot afford to put it off. Even my parents delayed making arrangements. But they had four children they could rely on for care. I don’t, nor does my sister or many of my friends. But since I work with aging experts at SeniorCare.com, there’s no excuse to let the loose ends dangle. Read More …

A Bathroom Accessibility Remodel

My 3/23/11 article, You Can’t be too Careful, introduced steps I took getting ready for Grandma to move in. This article follows up with details about changes that were needed for bathroom accessiblity.  The objective of these two articles is to encourage you to prepare BEFORE there’s a need when it’s cheaper.

Remodeling a bathroom for a disabled grandmaDecisions

There are lots of choices to make when remodeling a home. We wanted to make things easier for Grandma but without degrading the value of the home, and hopefully increasing its value if possible.

Changing the master bath would not have fit in with our future plans, so we only considered the other two bathrooms. They were virtually mirrored twins, with standard tub, commode, counter and sink configurations. We weighed several options, including going with a special handicap shower set up, or using a general contractor and our own design ideas.

We chose a local contractor that specialized in baths and kitchens and went with a simplified plan that would make the bathroom accessible without making it permanently “handicapped.” For better or worse, we made the design decisions ourselves.

I hoped the remodel would be complete in a couple of weeks. Yeah, right! There was much more to remodeling than I considered.

Is the door to the bath wide enough? Is there room to make it wider?  How can we make the sink accessible for someone in a wheel chair? Do we want a handicap accessible shower floor, like the ones you see in some hotel rooms? How high should the toilet be? How much room does Grandma’s bathroom stuff take up? Can she access everything? Will she need to?

Read More …

A Guide for Disabled Homebuyers

Fulfilling the American Dream: A Guide for Disabled Homebuyers

Your future as a homeowner is knocking.

by Christin Camacho, PR & Content Manager, REDFIN, a next-gen real estate brokerage

Having a home to call one’s own is a giant milestone millions of Americans strive to achieve. Becoming a homeowner brings with it a sense of pride and accomplishment, but the process of becoming one can be intimidating. This is especially true for those with physical or emotional disabilities wishing to attain homeownership. Read More …

The Trouble with Home Automation at Retail

I’m sharing a link to a detailed article on home automation because of how this technology can simplify aging-in-place. It has some good analysis of the different product platforms and the retailers promoting them.

Target, Sears and the Trouble with Home Automation at Retail

Sears Connected Solutions: flagship home automation experience center in San Bruno, Calif. (CLICK IMAGE to view slide show)

By Julie Jacobson, CE Pro Magazine

Target and Sears build impressive showcases for home automation, but the breadth of offerings and confusion around ‘smart home hubs’ expose inherent flaws of retail IoT channel.

… It seems every major brick-and-mortar retailer has gotten into the IoT business in the past year or two, usually with flagship home automation launch partners – Home Depot (Revolv and Wink), Best Buy (Peq), Staples (Connect), Lowe’s (Iris) and to a sad degree Walmart.

Amazon established its online home automation shop in 2013, which brings us to the Sears smart-home initiative. … (MORE)

My Comment (directed at industry professionals)

I’ve known Julie Jacobson for years, think of her as a true expert in this field, and loved her in-depth analysis in this article. I’ll be sure to link to it in comments on some of my own articles, including http://www.mhealthtalk.com/elusive-smart-home/. Read More …

Designing Homes for Older Adults

The Accessible Home

 

Designing Homes for Older Adults

There’s a housing crisis looming for seniors. With baby boomers entering their retirement years at a rapid rate, most housing is not keeping up with their needs. Most older adults say they want to stay in their homes as they age, but most homes are not designed for older bodies that have a hard time with stairs, slippery shower surfaces or hard-to-turn door knobs. Read More …

Apple and The Future of Homebuilding

Apple announces HomeKit

Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi speaks about the Apple HomeKit at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Can Apple influence the future of homebuilding? 

I’ve long been critical of SmartHome marketing hype, and I’ve not been a fan of using speech commands to control home devices, but a Forbes article last week got me thinking and inspired today’s posting. (See Here’s How Apple’s Siri Will Control Your House Under HomeKit Program.)

Apple Understands Accessibility

Homebuilders can learn a lot from Apple when it comes to making homes more accessible and easier to live in. For the most part builders still focus too much on what potential buyers can see in the model home, such as marble entries, granite countertops, textured walls with rounded corners, and Moën faucets with lever handles. They don’t focus enough on foundations, insulation, infrastructure, and design elements for aging-in-place, although this is starting to change. Read More …

Checklist for Extended Travel – Preparation & Protection

Travel Rome

From communicating in a foreign language to finding your way around in a new city, exploring abroad is full of daily challenges. Minimize any travel-related stress by controlling what you can by keeping your finances and health in order while abroad. Avoid trouble by doing your homework ahead of time so you can be prepared to navigate any speed bumps on your trip so that they don’t prevent you from thoroughly enjoying your journey.

Travel Alerts and Warnings

These are easy to find by country through the U.S. Department of State. They cover everything from extreme weather alerts to country-specific travel precautions. Be sure to check for any alerts or warnings in your destination country on a weekly basis in the months preceding your departure. Read More …

Caretakers harness the Internet of Things

What Caretakers Can Do RIGHT NOW to Harness the Power of the Internet of Things

By Beth Kelly

SThe Internet of Thingsocial technology and home automation have moved upstream. According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, nearly one-third of seniors own a tablet or e-book reader. Almost 50 percent of seniors own high-speed Internet access and browse the Web at least 3-5 times per week.

These typing, Skyping, texting seniors are the next beneficiaries of the Internet of things (IoT), the growing network of WiFi-enabled appliances, wearable sensors, automated security systems and other connected devices. For instance, researchers at UCLA are investigating how to use WearSens, a piezoelectric necklace, to remotely monitor breathing patterns of recovering surgery patients. BrainAid offers the PEAT smartphone app to help seniors with memory loss live independently with scheduling assistance.

The revolution is now. Here’s how to get involved. Read More …

Is your House making you Sick?

AlergiesIdeally, your home is a calm and quiet place of refuge, where you can seek solace and relax from the real world and just enjoy its tranquil beauty. Of course, it might be hard to enjoy a peaceful home when every few minutes you are sneezing, wheezing or coughing.

While you might initially attribute these symptoms to whatever bug happens to be going around; however, if they persist despite medical intervention and plenty of chicken soup — or if you feel better once you are at work or out running errands — it might be time to take a hard look at your house as the culprit. The following home issues might be the cause of your troubling symptoms: Read More …

On Legacy Writing & The Gift of Remembering

memory tattooby: Jess Hagemann

Everyone has a story to share; not just presidents and kings. Preserving your memories is a gift to yourself and everyone who knows you, a gift to which I can personally testify. — Jess

EDITOR: I urge you to read this article and preserve your story while you can, because it will mean a lot to your family after you’re gone. This article reminds me of the memories my mom left in a hand-written book, Grandma was Quite a Girl.” And it reminds me to mention other articles on this site about preserving your legacy.

Why One Man Tattooed His Memories on His Body.

When director Christopher Nolan released Memento in 2000, the National Institute of Mental Health hailed the film as “a perfect exploration of the neurobiology of memory.” In Memento, protagonist Leonard Shelby suffers from anterograde amnesia, or the inability to create new memories following a trauma. (That is, Leonard’s short-term memory is completely shot, while his long-term memory remains intact). To make up for the fact that he can no longer mentally record the day-to-day events of his life, Leonard begins tattooing ‘clues’ onto his body at the end of each day, so that when he wakes in the morning the tattoos might trigger or reinform his daily experiences. Tattoos! A permanent, physical manipulation of the human body, just to remember something—that’s how urgently important memories are to the human race! Read More …

Senior Housing Options Compared

Senior Housing Options from HelpGuide.orgarticle by Perry Hua with edits by Wayne Caswell

The goal when choosing housing is to pick an option that best matches your financial, physical, medical, and social needs. The earlier you assess your current and future needs, and the more you know about the options available, the easier it is to make a decision. Here’s a list of options showing their advantages and costs, starting with the most expensive first. Read More …

How to Create a Safe and Stylish Home

How to Create a Safe and Stylish Home

With age comes wisdom, and thankfully, retirement. As you move from the hectic life of work and obligations to a home-centric life of leisure, you may need to take a look at the details of your home, particularly safety. Look to create a safer haven for you to age in, but don’t forget about style. There are several interior design tricks you can add to make sure you are protected without feeling like you’re restricted. Here are just a few areas to think about:  Read More …

The Elusive Smart Home

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show starting next week, the news media is filled with marketing hype about the elusive Smart Home market, which is nearly as misdirected today as it was in 1957. Watch this video of the RCA-Whirlpool® Miracle Kitchen and ask how many of those products you can buy today.

Whirlpool was wrong 58 years ago when it introduced its Miracle Kitchen, and I think it’s wrong about home automation today too. All the company did was offer a Smart Home vision that never crossed the chasm to mass-market adoption. The problem wasn’t a lack of sensors, actuators, electronics, or network standards, but marketing and the inability to understand consumer needs and wants, or the ability to show a value proposition or deliver a solution with ease of use and affordability.

I still have seen no company that “gets it” or knows how to deliver the smart home vision — not Whirlpool and not Apple or Microsoft or Google or Philips or BestBuy. A lot of innovation has occurred in the last 50-some years that is getting us closer to that vision, including smartphones and the Internet of Things, but there are still many marketing barriers that these companies don’t seem to understand. Read More …

Caring for Elderly Parents from Afar

Caring for MomFamilies used to stay in the same general location. This made it convenient for grown children to keep tabs on their elderly parents and make sure that they were doing well and receiving proper care. Now that so many families are scattered across the country, it can be a bit more challenging to care for our aging loved ones. If your parents live in Phoenix but you are up in Portland, rest assured there are still plenty of ways to be an effective long-distance caregiver. Consider the following tips and ideas for caring for elderly parents from afar: Read More …