Archive for the ‘senior living’ Category

A Universal Design Creates Accessible Housing for Seniors

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Most senior home owners want to continue living in their homes as they grow older, but their homes may not be suited to the needs of an aging senior. Due to physical limitations that can arise with age, a senior might eventually find it too difficult to go up and down stairs or turn on/off a faucet. That’s why in an effort to ensure continued accessibility, architects, builders, and senior care professionals recommend renovating or building housing units using the universal design model.

The universal design model calls for:

  • All rooms to be on a single level
  • No-step entryways
  • Extra-wide doorways and hallway
  • Switches and outlets reachable from any height
  • Lever-style handles on doors and faucets

By removing the need to navigate stairs, providing room to maneuver wheelchairs, walkers and medical equipment, and making doors, faucets and switches easily accessible, the universal design model, in theory, allows people of all ages and physical abilities (especially those who have limited mobility and trouble turning knobs) to live in the same residence. According to a recent report from The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard, only 57% of housing units today have more than one of these features.

Rather than remodel their homes to be more accessible, some seniors find it more practical to move. The same report notes that more than 90% of seniors who move in their 80s relocate to homes with single floor living, 63% move to homes with no-step entries and 35% to homes with extra-wide doors and hallways.

In some cases, other modifications (roll-in showers, slip resistant floors, additional lighting, etc.) are needed to make a home more accessible, but for many seniors incorporating universal design features will keep their homes comfortable and safe for years.


See if SNAP Can Help You

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Did you know the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is not only for families with children? Each day SNAP helps 4 million seniors buy healthy food. The average senior using SNAP receives $119 each month on a special debit card to buy nutritious foods. The SNAP debit card is accepted at over 250,000 grocery stores, farmers markets and neighborhood stores across the country.

Depending on where you live, you can apply online, by mail, or in person. Visit to see if SNAP can help you save money on groceries.

These Seniors Still Have All the Right Moves

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Our guess is that this couple has been working on their dance routine since Whitney Houston first released the song in 1986.

How to tell when your parent needs help at home

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 has an excellent article today entitled “19 Warning Signs Your Parent Needs Help at Home“. Personal grooming as well as the appearance of the home are key indicators. For instance, unpleasant body odor may indicate that the person is not bathing frequently, and a dirty house and clutter can also be signs of a problem.

If you notice bills piling up, that could be because your parent is becoming forgetful or feeling overwhelmed. The article also presents other signs that could indicate memory problems or depression.

AgingCare points out that providing non-medical care assistance can be very helpful and stave off a move to assisted living or a nursing home. In-home care services range from simple companionship and conversation to help with cleaning, shopping and bills. Since Medicare and Medicaid don’t pay for home care, the article presents other possible sources to defray costs.

Many of the warning signs cited can be an indication that your parent is afraid of falling or wary of overexerting, especially for people living alone. Discuss getting a medical alert system with your parent. The medical alert can provide your parent confidence because they’ll know that they only need to press a button that’s always with them in order to summon help.

MetLife releases valuable free aging-in-place assessment

Friday, November 19th, 2010

MetLife Aging in Place WorkbookMetLife, the insurance giant, has a very helpful new downloadable workbook that helps seniors and their caregivers assess what types of adjustments and assistance are needed so that seniors can age in place in their own homes. The company’s Aging in Place Workbook covers several important areas including:

  • Care needs
  • Home safety as a care setting
  • Home modifications considerations
  • Developing a care plan
  • Deciding if your home is a suitable care setting
  • Alternative care settings
  • Making necessary adjustments

The document discusses important assistive technologies including medical alert systems (also known as Personal Emergency Response Systems):

“If you live alone or are alone much of the time you may want to think about a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) so that you can call for help in the event of an emergency.”

The workbook is available now on MetLife’s Mature Market Institute web site.

Solutions for seniors who don’t cook

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

It’s very important that seniors eat right, but at some point, many seniors decide that they don’t want to or can’t cook anymore. Jim Miller, a syndicated columnist from The Savvy Senior, recently published a useful article detailing alternatives for seniors who want to live independently at home but who no longer prepare their own meals.

Miller’s suggestions start with community meal-delivery programs such as Meals on Wheels. These organizations can often provide meals for people with special needs, such as those who need a low-sodium or kosher diet. Many communities also offer hot meals in group settings.

For those who can afford it, Miller also suggest looking into personal chefs. Pricing for personal chefs can vary widely. Finally, there are companies like that delivers frozen meals ordered online. This can be useful for caregivers who don’t live close to the people they help.

Video Gives Helpful Tips to Prevent Falls at Home

Friday, November 5th, 2010

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York has posted several very useful videos for staying seniors and their loved ones. Their video, How to Prevent Trips and Falls in the Home is packed with great tips, all very clearly presented and demonstrated. It’s well worth watching.

A medical alert system is invaluable for summoning help in the event of a fall, it’s important to take all steps to prevents fall from occurring in the first place. A recent study highlighted the significant risks that seniors face from even simple falls.

Seniors volunteer to help nursing students

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We like the idea of this program at Carroll College in Helena, Montana where nursing students are learning how to interact with patients by working with seniors in the community. The students meet with their “Healthy Partners” several times to check eye and respiratory health and assess their homes to make sure that there are no tripping hazards.

Original story on web site.

Pickleball making a racquet in senior communities

Monday, October 18th, 2010

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a story about Pickleball, a new game that’s rapidly gaining popularity in senior communities. Played on an outdoor court that’s a fraction of the size of a tennis court, the game combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. Games are fast moving, but short–about 15 minutes each–and the smaller court reduces the amount of movement necessary which should cut down on injuries.

Some have complained that Pickleball games are too noisy, but other counter that it’s just a different noise. Pickleball games were measured at 60 decibels compared to tennis (58 decibels). However, because of the smaller court, the ball is hit more frequently and it produces a different sound. This may be what detractors object to. Despite the complaints, the game is catching on.

Med Students Move In with Seniors

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

A class at University of Minnesota Medical School matches med students with isolated seniors at local senior living apartments. The students get affordable housing, the seniors get someone with medical training keeping an eye on them. In an article on, med school professor, Ed Ratner, who piloted the program is quoted as saying:

Part of the idea is to change the general feeling of the apartment building by having some younger people the tenants can interact with so it can create a more useful and energetic environment for everybody.

Read the whole story at