The Beginner’s Guide to Remaining in Your Home While Aging

That day is coming. The day when our Peter Pan philosophy can carry on no more. Others age but we don’t, right? It is time to face the reality that aging is something happening to us all and we must plan accordingly. Some people associate getting older with retirement communities and loss of independence.  But do we really need to leave our homes? The answer is no. Not if you take time to familiarize yourself with the tools and concepts available to you today.

“Universal design” is a concept quickly becoming embraced among homeowners of varying ages. The idea is to start making simple modifications now to your home, enabling you to remain in your home when your daily lifestyle needs and routines change. The article “Universal Design for Every Age and Stage of Life” states the best time to think about integrating universal design principles and features..is “before a life change or emergency happens.”

UD #2

Statements like this make it all the more important to start being proactive with your future home modifications. SimplyHome is taking steps by participating in the Livable Homes Project with AARP and the Universal Design Institute. Richard Duncan, Executive Director of UDI says the concept is more than adding custom features to a home. The changes need to be packed to look good and work well. He took the time to answer our questions about universal design and explain a few things we should know.

 UD #2

5 Things You Should Know about Universal Design

  1. Where do you start? Before making any changes to your home, the absolute first place to start is with an honest assessment of your home and your needs. Ask yourself, Is this the right home for me to age in? For example, should the need arise, would you be able to move your bedroom from the second floor to the first floor in this particular house?

  2. The Three Main Areas.  The three main areas to focus on in your home are the entrance, bathrooms and kitchen. Making entrance changes are the most simple and the best first move. You can start by adding handrails to the stair cases and improving lighting. A good question to ask yourself with the entrance is, Are the hallways and doorways wide enough to fit equipment through?  After the entrance, some basic bathroom changes could include having  curbless showers, adding a bench for a place to sit and having a handheld showerhead.

  3. Common Misconception. When you think of an added shower handrail to help accessibility, it’s easy to imagine it as an eyesore, a bulky feature completely out of place with the interior of your home. But universal design is more than custom features. It’s the entire package of adding an element that helps your daily needs, but also fits the style of your home. For example, a handrail can also double as a towel rack.

  4. Get the right advice. The first mistake many individuals make when implementing universal design is hiring someone with expertise in one room, rather than understanding the functionality of the house altogether. For example, advice should come from someone with an architectural or interior design background. Someone with home-design experience, who can understand your needs as they will change and envision how your home can grow with you.

  5. There’s Higher Functionality with Technology.  SimplyHome technology is, “A wonderful addition to keeping people safe and  independent in their homes,” says Richard. The higher functionality you have to begin with, the more effective the custom changes. Using SimplyHome technology helps you to avoid limitations with the changes you implement down the road. You want as many options as possible. SimplyHome environmental controls help you to adjust lighting in various locations of your home from a single location – a tablet. SimplyHome door, window and stove sensors, medication management, fall detection, and telehealth services, cover all your needs to remain in your home.

 

Want to learn specific ways customized solutions can help you? Get A Free Assessment From SimplyHome

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Will baby boomers save the world?

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 11.51.45 AMLinda and Richard Eyre write “We can save them directly when they are our children and grandchildren, and we can save them indirectly when we use the last third of our lives to positively impact some aspect of their world.”

Spending time with grandchildren has been shown to fight against Alzheimers (read here), but can it save the world? Linda and Richard Eyre say that it sure can and it might be the best way to use the years after retirement.

Will baby boomers save the world? 

By Linda and Richard Eyre- For the Deseret News

As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago in this column, the baby-boom generation numbers over 80 million Americans who are all now in their 50s and 60s. What responsibility does this generation have to the rest of the world? It’s a question all of us in that generation should ask ourselves.

Our parents and grandparents were called “the greatest generation” because they fought and won World War II and then built the industrialized world. They were the builders and the givers while we, their children, are often thought of as the inheritors and the takers.

And there is no question about it — we baby boomers were the recipients of the post-war prosperity and were raised with more privilege, possibility and potential than any previous generation.

The question is, after being the 50- and 60-year beneficiaries of the opportunities and options we inherited, what will we give back to the world? And what will we do with the 20 or 30 extra years that no previous generation has had?

Read more here about the potential baby boomers have to save the world.

Alzheimer’s Warning Signs

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All of us here at SimplyHome have been impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease one way or another. We know that Alzheimer’s is a nasty disease that changes the people we love in ways we never thought were possible. We walk to support Alzheimer’s Disease research each year.

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia. Causing problems with thinking, memory and behavior, Alzheimer’s typically develops slowly and worsens over time. As the most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s is not a normal sign of aging.

If you suspect a family member or friend is developing Alzheimer’s, take a look at these 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s Disease, put together by the Alzheimer’s Association:

1.Memory changes that disrupt daily life

2.Challenges in planning or solving problems

3.Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work, or at leisure

4.Confusion with time or place

5.Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

6.New problems with words in speaking or writing

7.Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps

8.Decreased or poor judgment

9.Withdrawal from work or social activities

10.Changes in mood and personality

If you detect any of these signs or symptoms in a loved one, it is important that you talk to your doctor. Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this point, there are ways to treat symptoms and create an environment so that your loved one can be comfortable and slow the impact of dementia. Improving quality of life can only be done if your loved one is diagnosed properly. Be on the look out for these signs and symptoms.

 

New Product Offerings: Telehealth Suite & Fall Pendant

SimplyHome is pleased to announce that we are expanding our product offerings to now include a Telehealth Suite and a fall detection pendant that is compatible with our Personal Emergency Response Systems.

Telehealth 

SimplyHome’s suite of wellness tools is designed to offer an improved quality of life that encourages independence and compliance. Now, families and caregivers can access reliable health data to assist loved ones to lower the risk of costly rehospitalizations while supporting chronic disease management.

Easy-to-use wireless Bluetooth technology sends each reading to a confidential and personalized website. Data may be monitored by call center staff comprised of highly trained personnel who are able to call and triage medical needs with a customer if the data triggers an alert notification. Call center staff documents each encounter and then begins notifying responders in priority order.

For a full list of features and pricing, please visit our website at http://www.simply-home.com/Products.html.

Hospital Readmissions

By utilizing some of the telehealth tools we offer, we can reduce readmissions and associated costs while elevating patient outcomes— especially during the critical 30-day discharge window.

So what are some things that might cause a readmission?

- Complications like infections

- Inadequate follow up care; poor AND UA-767PBT-Ci_EC1communication between hospitals, providers and patients; limited physician accessibility due to a growing doctor shortage; and patient constraints such as mobility, finances, time and transportation

 Fall Pendant

This device is a Personal Emergency Response Pendant that monitors falls more accurately by reducing the amount of false alarms. The LED light on the device begins to flash slowly when a fall is detected, speeds up as it becomes more sure a fall has been detected and then sends a signal to the PERS. This product ensures keeping your loved one safe and is able to get help to them after a fall occurs.

Why monitor falls?

The Center for Disease Control says that each year 2.5 million elderly people are treated in the emergency department for fall injuries.  Since falling once more than doubles the odds of falling again, it is vital that falls are being monitored in the home.

Our new products address concerns such as falls and chronic disease management. We encourage you to take a proactive approach to enhance independence for years to come. 

For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

Aging in place is an ever growing idea throughout the baby boomer generation. As Dorothy said, “there is not place like home.” This rings true for people of all ages, but baby boomers are clinging tight to this thought.

See what people are saying about aging in place in this article by USA Today and Newsmax.

For Today’s Retirees, There’s No Place Like Home

(photo: Thinkstock)

(photo: Thinkstock)

American retirees these days are gravitating toward the notion of staying put and “aging in place” rather than moving to sunnier climes, new data show.

USA Today reported an AARP study found the overwhelming majority of people 50 years of age and over want to remain in their home and community “for as long as possible.”

Separately, a Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded 65 percent of retirees say they are living in the best homes of their lives right where they are.

“There is something deeply nourishing about our homes, and people become increasingly appreciative of that emotional connection as they get older,” says gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, CEO of Age Wave. “It’s a rich emotional nest.”

Many retirees want to remain in their home “because they are most comfortable with what is most familiar,” psychologist Mary Languirand, co-author of How to Age in Place, told USA Today. “People are going to do whatever they can to maintain that sense of comfort. That is the ideal place in a lot of people’s minds.”

The Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey concluded a majority – 58 percent – are interested in new technologies such as cleaning robots, 80 percent are interested in tech-enabled efficiencies such as smart thermostats and 76 percent are interested in technologies to maintain their health, such as sensors, alerts and air purification devices.

Dychtwald says 52 percent of people over the age of 75 live alone.

“Technology can help people keep an eye on mom or dad,” he said. “The good news is that all of these breakthroughs are on the drawing board or already available, but they are waiting for the market to take more full advantage of them.”

USA Today noted AARP offers a guide aimed at helping consumers stay in their homes as long as possible.

The guide offers tips and suggesting ranging from simple do-it-yourself fixes to more expensive improvements, and also includes worksheets.

See the original article about what people are saying about aging in place here.

Planning cities for boomers will benefit millennials, too

This article provides a unique approach to the growing need to accommodate baby boomers. Millennials are defined as anyone born in the 1980s and 1990s. Millennials are often children of baby boomers. Many millennials are going to see the economic impact and familial impact of baby boomers. Richard Carlisle sees things a little differently than how millennials may be seeing the aging of the baby boomer generation. See the article below or click here to read more about Planning cities for boomers will benefit millennials, too.

Planning cities for boomers will benefit millennials, too

Will your community thrive or fail in the next 30 years? The answer, in part, is in how it deals with baby boomers.

The U.S. census tells us that the number of people 65 and older will increase by 50% in the next 30 years. In 2010, 13.8% of the state’s population was older than 65. By 2040, it will be 21%, and in southeast Michigan, it will be 24% — a quarter of the entire region, according to the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG).

This generation of Americans will be well-educated, diverse and fit. Many will be single. They’ll have fewer children and more living parents than their predecessors.

The characteristic that will shape our communities most, though is this: They want to age in place. An AARP survey reported that more than 80% of Americans age 45 and older want to remain in their current home as long as possible, even if they need help caring for themselves. Perhaps more important, if they cannot or choose not to remain in their own home, they’d like to live in an attached or small-lot home, ideally with a first-floor master bedroom.

Read more on Planning cities for boomers will benefit millennials, too

What happens when I call SimplyHome?

We welcome any and all inquiries about how technology can be used to promote independence. Our process starts with a comprehensive assessment over the phone or in a home, followed by a detailed system recommendation. All complimentary!!

Who do we consider?

  • Individuals who are being considered or advocating for independent living, supported community settings, or transitional homes.
  • Individuals who have 24/7 staffing for “just in case” situations but do not necessarily need around the clock supervision.
  • Individuals who will be in an apartment setting with a staff apartment onsite.

 What are our goals?

            Our goals are the same as yours. We are looking to create an environment where everyone is comfortable, safe and independent. We will also achieve:

  • Enhanced safety features that promote peace of mind for the family and individual
  • Proactive rather than reactive staff response
  • Reduction of on-site staffing for “just in case” situations such as during night hours
  • Reports of trends in data demonstrating the technology’s effectiveness; can be shared with funders, state agencies, legislators, etc.

 Using the SimplyHome Butler System as the base, your system could also use: 

  • Door sensors on external doors
  • Motion sensors (if trying to determine whether someone is entering vs. exiting)
  • 1 Panic pendant
  • 1 Medication dispenser (if applicable)

When using a SimplyHome System, unique features and rules are set to accommodate the needs and wants of individuals and their families. Those rules can include:

1. When paging pendant is activated to request help

2. When medicine dispenser door is/is not opened

3. If a person has/has not left the home during a certain period of time

4. If a caregiver, staff person or community person has entered the home during a certain period of time (such as after a paging pendant has been pressed or when services are supposed to take place)

 

8 Smart Ideas People Have Had About Aging In Place

Staying healthy at all ages is important. As people age, it becomes more vital to keep an active mind and an active heart. Sometimes it is as easy as sitting down and having a conversation with someone. Take a look at the 8 things Huffington Post say are important in order for people to age in place.

8 Smart Ideas People Have Had About Aging In Place

The Huffington Post  |  By
HAPPY SENIOR CITIZENS

Baby boomers have long proclaimed their desire to stay in their homes post-retirement, a practice known as aging in place. They want to stay in the communities where they have friends, know their way around and have a support network. Cities and communities have “heard” them and many places are preparing for the groundswell of what happens when their residents creep up in years. Building a senior citizen center is nice, but clearly there’s more to it than having a place to play Bingo. Here are a few of the programs and trends that are making a difference in the lives of the nation’s aging population.

1. Solve the “driving is my independence” problem once and for all.
Older drivers have slower reaction times and more vision issues. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But the ability to drive is synonymous with independence and independent living, so many older people are reluctant to give up their automobiles.

Twenty years ago, inspired by a desire to keep unsafe drivers off the road after an 84-year-old motorist struck and seriously injured her toddler son, Katherine Freund started the Independent Transportation Network. ITN was launched in Portland Maine and has now spread to 25 cities. People who are 65 or older (or visually impaired), pay a modest fee and are provided a ride to where they need to go, a door-to-door escort and assistance. Forty-six percent of ITN customers have an annual income of less than $25,000 and only 2 percent found the service too expensive.

Best of all, seniors can trade in their cars and earn ride credits. Rides are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose.

2. Acknowledge the need to sit down.
Age-Friendly NYC wants to encourage older adults to get out to walk, shop and socialize. So the goal of this program is to install 1,500 park benches throughout the city for people to sit on. Before you scoff, remember that New York is the city that doesn’t sleep. It also doesn’t stop and rest much. There are 1 million people over 65 living in NYC, and by 2030 this number is expected to increase by 50 percent, according to the program’s website. Age-Friendly NYC also connects older New Yorkers to opportunities at NYC-area colleges and universities.

3. Make it easy to keep the brain active.
The Bernard Osher Foundation has established Lifelong Learning Institutes for adults 50 and older on 119 college and university campuses. Many community campuses allow those 65 or older to audit free uncredited courses.

Publications are printing more large print books too. Large-print crossword puzzles and word-solving games are also available.

4. Understand that eating healthy food keeps people healthier.
While everyone knows about Meals On Wheels, which delivers already prepared meals to shut-ins, not everybody wants to stop cooking for themselves. Buying groceries though can involve the need to drive and/or carry heavy bags home. In 2014, the Food For Free programs in Cambridge Massachusetts distributed 1.5 million pounds of food. It began its home delivery program in 2001, serving 12 clients that first year. Now it’s up to about 100 housebound elders. It gives seniors and people with disabilities more control over their meals, while providing a supportive service that helps them to stay in their own homes, says the group’s website. Two 40- to 45-pound food deliveries are made each month to clients and half the food delivered is fresh produce.

And there’s Mom’s Meals, which for less than $7 a meal will deliver freshly made meals that just need to be heated up and can keep up to 14 days. Mom’s Meals ships by FedEx and offer menus for diabetics and heart patients, vegans and those who are gluten-free.

5. Doctors who make house calls.
While doctors making house calls used to be a common practice a few decades ago, it’s practically unheard of now. But it’s enjoying a second life in North Carolina. Doctors Making Housecalls is a medical group of 52 clinicians who make more than 75,000 home visits a year in private residences, retirement communities, apartments and assisted living facilities in North Carolina. This is an idea that’s bound to spread, along with some routine medical procedures being handled online.

6. Encourage the building of more lifelong housing.
Rogue Valley, Oregon, has a “lifelong housing” certification program whereby home builders and sellers can have their homes certified as such. The checklist of desirable housing features includes a no-step entry, a first floor full bath, etc. The certification levels are noted in MLS listings so homebuyers seeking age-friendly/multi-generational housing can more easily find appropriate housing and housing creators will hopefully be more encouraged to create age-friendly housing, says AARP.

7. Build a park and they will come.
A vacant field in Wichita, Kansas, was turned into a grandparents park — an outdoor space that children and grandparent (caregivers) could enjoy together.http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/info-2014/grandparents-park-wichita-kansas.html

8. Help keep people active.
Brownsville, Texas, has a very poor, overweight population with high diabetes rates. One in four residents is age 50 or older. The city hosts several “CycloBias” a year in which streets are closed off to cars so that people can walk, bicycle and participate in health-targeted activities.

Have you heard about any programs helping people age in place? Let us know about them in comments.

 

 

See the original article here.

Give Technology A Try

With 97% of seniors wanting to reside in their own home for as long as possible, it is crucial that proper steps are taken in order for that to happen. Though this is a desire for almost the entire aging population, less than half of them have done research in order to find ways to make this dream a reality. On account of the lack of research done, it often does not turn out favoring the aging. Often families turn to traditional ways of caring for the aging; that being assisted living or nursing home.

Though the traditional route is not a bad option, it is often not what the person it is affecting the most wanted. It does, however, make sense as to why people would want their aging parents to be in a facility that is assisted living or a nursing home. They take a sigh of relief because they are assured that their loved one is getting the care they need. However, not all people thrive in such an environment. Often, the person does not want to be in a place like that, but would rather prefer to be at home where they are comfortable.

Technology for aging is often overlooked on account of lack of knowledge and the fear of being watched over all the time. Trying something new can be intimidating, but in the case of assistive technology, it almost always proves fruitful.  No matter if the technology is needed for medication monitoring cooking safety such as a stove or oven monitor or if it is a bit more extensive like a system that monitors daily living sequences, there are options that are totally user friendly and provide personalized outcomes.

Knowing that is only step one. Step two is doing some research on what you or your loved one actually needs. Are you afraid of falling and not having the ability to call someone? Are you worried about taking medicine on time? Is wandering of concern? With the help of family and professionals, it is crucial to decide what your priorities look like.

Step three is giving it a try. Technology can be for everyone just so long as everyone is on board with it. Often is it a challenge if not everyone is committed to the technology because then it either goes unused or is misused in which case it is not assistive technology because it loses its assistive aspect.

Be encouraged that this technology is not in an effort to be “Big Brother,” but rather to be an attentive caretaker, even from a distance.

Former First Lady Discusses Aging

LauraBush

 

Listen to what Former First Lady Laura Bush has to say about aging gracefully, her worries of aging and what she is doing to keep her mind sharp.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/07/15/aging-survey-research/11921043/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories&utm_reader=feedly