Posts Tagged ‘Living Well at home’

Aging in Place: Safety Tips for Your Kitchen

March 3rd, 2016 by Doris Bersing

Aging in Place: Safety TipsBecause 90% of us do not want to leave our homes but to age in place, we need to pay attention to places like the kitchen that can be unsafe for us as we grow older. The kitchen is the heart of your home—and it’s also one of the most important spaces to remodel when it comes to aging in place. You’ll need to be able to make regular use of your kitchen, and the harder it is to access important appliances, locate your cookware, or even walk across the floor, the more dangerous it can be. Your kitchen can remain inviting and stylish while being loaded with accessibility features and convenience that will make it ideal for your senior years.

The Floor 

When it comes to your kitchen floor, you have to start with the floor plan. Make sure that it’s wheelchair accessible, with plenty of room to maneuver. Place cabinets conveniently, so that they’re close to the counters and stoves where they’ll be needed, but keep them out of the pathway so that it’s easy to move around them. Next, look at your food preparation areas. You’ll want to be sure that countertops are at the right height for use from a wheelchair. Adjustable countertops can make it easier for you to keep using them as usual until you need a wheelchair and make it more comfortable for others who might share in food preparation responsibilities.

Next, look at your seating. While you don’t want to clutter up your kitchen or make it impossible to get around, you do need to have readily-accessible seating to make food preparation easier. Make sure that you have comfortable, sturdy seats: you don’t want to have to rely on a bar stool if your legs get shaky! Leave plenty of room around the table for a wheelchair, but don’t skimp on comfortable seating, either. You can always move a chair away to make it more easily accessible later.

Your kitchen flooring is almost as important as the floor plan. First, accept that the cute rugs that you enjoyed in your earlier years are a thing of the past: they can lead to trips, slips, and falls. Next, begin your search for a kitchen floor that will be durable and slip-resistant while still looking great. Cork, rubber, and linoleum are all excellent choices for seniors, as are smaller tile that have more grout lines—see here for some ideas.

Lighting

 While aging eyes can be exceptionally sensitive to bright lights, you still want to be sure that you can see clearly enough to accomplish all the necessary tasks in your kitchen. Make the most of natural light: big windows that are free of curtains and blinds are ideal for the brightest possible room. Next, install ambient lighting that will illuminate the room at a comfortable level. A dimmer switch can help make it easier to reduce lighting if your eyes are feeling sensitive. You should, however, make sure there’s plenty of task lighting over the stove and in food preparation areas so that it will be easier to focus on your current task.

It’s also important to ensure that you’ll have the light you need when you’re navigating the room at night. Make sure that light switches are available at every entrance to the room. Consider installing motion sensors on the lights so that it will kick on automatically if you walk into the room in the middle of the night. If this is impractical, you can also put in nightlights to help provide some light if you’re just taking a quick trip to the kitchen.

Appliances 

The appliances you choose for your kitchen should reflect your changing needs as you get older. Your microwave, for example, should be simple to operate, with big, visible buttons that are easy to press. An electric stove with large dials and simple operating instructions is best, but if you do have a gas range, make sure that it has a pilot light and auto-shutoff feature. Your dishwasher should be positioned conveniently next to the sink. Consider installing one that’s higher off the ground to make it easier to load and unload as your mobility decreases. Senior-friendly sinks are shallow and easy to reach from a wheelchair. Choose a refrigerator that reflects your needs: large enough to hold several days of pre-prepped meals if necessary. Think about the layout of your refrigerator and where the doors will open as well as the shelves that will be accessible from a wheelchair.

Cabinets

 Organize your cabinets carefully so that they will remain fully accessible. Place items that you use most frequently in cabinets that are easiest to reach. Consider drawer pull-outs in cabinets that may be difficult to access from a wheelchair or as your mobility decreases. You should also make sure that your cabinets are shallow enough that you can easily reach to the back.

Accessories

 Knobs, switches, and faucets can be some of the most frustrating items in your kitchen when your fingers aren’t as nimble as they once were. Look for knobs that are large and easy to hold, switches that can be operated simply, and faucets that use one lever to switch between hot and cold to make it easier to adjust the water to the right temperature. Make sure that any labels on levers and switches are in clear, large fonts that you’ll be able to read even after your eyesight begins to decrease.

Your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your home. You need to be able to prepare food, eat, and host guests with ease. Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market that are designed with an aging population’s needs in mind. Take the time to think through your future needs now to ensure that when the day comes, you have a kitchen that will allow you to maintain your independence and age in place, at home where you want to be.

Aging In Place: New Initiatives Around the Country

October 24th, 2012 by Doris Bersing

Aging in PlaeRobin Stone, Researcher and Former Assistant Secretary for Aging wrote that “…Aging in place isn’t as easy as it sounds … she continues…Of course, we can’t yet guarantee that aging in place won’t be an exhausting struggle for older adults and their families. We have a lot more work to do before every older American can grow old easily wherever they choose…”

What Ms. Stone refers to has also to do with new initiatives that around the country are growing to pay more attention to the physical environment of our seniors to help them age gracefully, in place. Most important, she says,  “…we want to make sure that older adults … can look forward to living their later years exactly the way they want to live, in the place they want to call home.Read the article

The Importance of Early Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

April 8th, 2011 by Doris Bersing
watercolor-62983_640While a cure for Parkinson’s disease has not yet been found, thanks to research conducted in recent decades, many treatments are available to help manage the condition. And because Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Working together, you and your medical team will select the best treatment approach for you based on your symptoms and needs. Parkinson’s disease treatment options include: medications and surgical treatment. There are a number of different kinds of medications available to treat the symptoms of PD. Most medications for Parkinson’s disease treat dopamine deficiency by either helping to replace dopamine, preventing its breakdown, or mimicking its effects (e.g Levodopa).
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the most common surgical procedure used to treat the symptoms of PD. In DBS, neurosurgeons implant an electrode into an area of the brain that affects movement. The electrode delivers a continuous high-frequency electrical stimulation, helping control the movement center in the brain. DBS frequently leads to a dramatic improvement in Parkinson’s disease symptoms and may allow for a reduced dose of levodopa, which may improve levodopa-related side effects and complications. However, DBS is generally considered only if currently available medications are not effective or if your symptoms have progressed to the point that prescription medications no longer offer benefit.
People with Parkinson’s disease should always consult with a movement disorder specialist before considering this option.
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Brain Wellness À la Wii

August 3rd, 2010 by Doris Bersing

The Wii is a home video game console released by Nintendo on November 19, 2006. As of August 2010, the Wii leads the generation over the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in worldwide sales and in December 2009 broke the record for best-selling console in a single month in the United States.

Nintendo hoped to target a wider demographic with its console. The productions are Nintendo’s first broad-based advertising strategy and include a two-minute video clip showing a varied assortment of people enjoying the Wii system, such as urban apartment-dwellers, country ranchers, grandparents, and parents with their children.The marketing campaign has proved to be successful: pensioners,  as old as 103 have been reported to be playing the Wii in the United Kingdom.. A report by the British newspaper The People also stated that Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has played using the Wii console!

Now,  we have data that the Wii games have brought back feelings of being young again as the participants flex their mental muscles and improve their physical fitness. The Wii is improving the quality of life of many aging seniors.

Diane Carbo, in an article written for Senior Advice, states that “…Healthy aging and a brain fitness program along with the Wii promotes the development of new skills, and helps aging seniors learn from their mistakes. The best part of using the Wii as part of a healthy aging program is the laughter and excitement you see in the faces of the participants. The environment is electric as the aging seniors enjoy familiar interests in a new format. For many seniors it feels like old times again…”

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Exercise and Physical Activity: Tips For Older Adults

April 20th, 2010 by Doris Bersing

Older adults who are interested in becoming physically active, restarting a lapsed exercise regimen or getting more benefit from their current exercise program can check out the updated Exercise and Physical Activity for Older Adults topic on the National Institute of Senior Health. Click here to visit their site.

Try one of their exercise routine. Click here to see the video

The site has an extensive list of videos on wellness, exercises, eating right and more. To see a complete list of their videos, click here.