Category Archives: Aging in Place

Drink Coffee, Live Longer

As many as four cups a day could provide a health boost

by Austin O’Connor, AARP, July 11, 2017

A pair of new studies show drinking more coffee offers life-extending benefits.

Good news (in a venti cup!) for those who love coffee: Two new studies show that drinking more java could help you live a longer life.

The health effects of drinking coffee have been a point of debate over the years, with some studies showing negative effects and others positive. These just-released studies should calm the jitters for those who rely on their daily jolt — or jolts — of caffeine to get through the day. The first study, conducted by researchers from the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Imperial College London, surveyed more than 520,000 people in 10 European countries, making it the largest study on the correlation between coffee and mortality ever conducted in a European population. Its finding: Drinking more coffee significantly reduces the risk of death.

A second, separate study funded by the National Cancer Institute included a diverse set of subjects, surveying more than 185,000 adults from a range of  ethnicities, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Japanese Americans, Latinos and whites. It found that the mortality boost provided by coffee extended across all races included.

Both studies were published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. The European study found that drinking coffee lowered people’s risk of liver, digestive and circulatory disease, and also lessened the rate of suicide in men and cancer in women. The survey also found that the more coffee you drink, the bigger the health boost. Subjects who drank three cups had a lower risk of all-cause death than those who did not drink coffee.

By focusing on various European countries, where coffee is prepared in many different ways, the study aimed to prove that positive health effects of coffee endure, regardless of preparation and serving style.

“The fact that we saw the same relationships in different countries is kind of the implication that it’s something about coffee, rather than something about the way that coffee is prepared or the way it’s drunk,” said Marc Gunter, a principal investigator with the international research agency.

The second study echoed those findings, revealing that those who drank two to four cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death than those who did not drink coffee.

“Given these very diverse populations, all these people have different lifestyles. They have very different dietary habits and different susceptibilities — and we still find similar patterns,” said study leader Veronica Wendy Setiawan, associate professor of preventative medicine at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

Not to drop a cloud in your coffee, but doctors caution that people should still practice moderation when it comes to their daily indulgence, and nutritionists warn that adding flavorings such as heavy cream and sugar can increase your caloric intake and nullify many of the health benefits of black coffee.

*This article was taken from the July issue of AARP magazine.

HomeFree Home Modification can help you live longer in your home by providing things like #grab bars, #wider doors, #ramps, & #walk in showers, etc., just to name a few. These things will also make your home safer and give you more #independence. To get a FREE home assessment, you can reach us at 770-939-0747, or info@homefreemods.com

 

My mom is going to be moving in with me. How can I make my house safe for her?

 

It’s so important to think about safety and comfort when having your parent join your household. Everything you do for her will make your home better for everyone in the family. You can go room by room to determine how safe it is using the AARP home safety checklist.

Don’t get too overwhelmed by all the suggestions. Pay special attention to the bathroom, where, unfortunately, most falls occur. Some of the ideas are pretty easy to do, such as having lever door handles instead of doorknobs. If you decide you need to do some more substantial changes that require a professional, find a contractor who is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS). The National Association of Home Builders lists builders and contractors with this certification on its website.

  • This article was written by Elinor Ginzler, a member of the AARP Caregiving Advisory Panel, is senior director of the Center for Supportive Services at the Jewish Council for the Aging. She is also coauthor of Caring for Your Parents: The Complete Family Guide.

Dennis Lippy with HomeFree Home Modification, has had his Certified Aging in Place Specialist designation since 2003, and will come out to your home to provide a NO COST home assessment to help you determine the best modifications to make to your home to accommodate your mother’s needs. You can reach Dennis by calling 770-939-0747, or at info@homefreemods.com.

Why bother with home modification?

Why make home modifications? Because they improve your life at home.

Home modifications are small or large changes to a home that improve a home to meet the needs of the person or family who lives there. The changes are customized to the individual needs.  They improve living at home by making daily activities and routines easier and safer.

There are many different groups of people interested in learning about home modifications, each with their own motivation to increase their knowledge and skills.

Read more about Who Benefits from Home Modifications.

  • Contractors– Home modifications means better business by increasing knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing market.
  • Home-owners- It means being able to stay living in your home longer and safer. Easier living at home through using ideas that are specific to your health conditions or concerns.
  • People with Activity Limitations (and disabilities)- Many people experience a limitation in daily activities related to a health condition or even “just getting older.”  Home modifications are great for people with “disabilities,” but also for people with any level of limitation in daily activities.
  • Parents of Children with Disabilities– It means creating the best environment for your children to thrive while the grow.  Making smart changes to benefit your family now and in the future.

Research confirms that home modifications can…

  1. Increase safety, such as decrease falls at home
  2. Improve independence and decrease need for caregiver assistance
  3. Prevent decline in functioning related to aging and delay the need to move to higher levels of care

References:

Aplin, T. (2013). Understanding the dimensions of home that impact on home modification decision making. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 60, 101-109.
Stark, S. et al. (2009). Client-centered home modifications improve daily activity performance of older adults.  Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 76, 235-245.
Stark, S. et al. (2017).  Effects of home modification interventions on the participation of community dwelling adults with health conditions: A systematic review.  The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71 (2).
Tse, T. (2005).  The environment and falls prevention: Do environmental modification make a difference?  Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 52, 271-281.
Wilson, D. J. et al. (2009).  Effects of assistive technology on functional decline in people aging with a disability.  Journal of Assistive Technology, 21, 208-217.

*This article was taken from www.beyondaccessibility.com posted on February 28, 2017

Whatever your home modification needs are, we can provide them. We have been doing just that for over ten years, and would be happy to give you a FREE home assessment. You can reach us by calling 770-939-0747, or emailing us at info@homefreemods.com . We look forward to serving you.

 

5 ways to reduce bathroom falls

More than 230,000 people are sent to the ER each year because of an injury sustained while bathing, showering, or using the bathroom facilities. To reduce bathroom falls, follow these simple steps:

  1. Install grab bars. Installing grab bars in easy-to-reach places provide support and balance for entering and exiting the shower or tub. Also consider adding grab bars near the toilet for additional support and safety.
  2. Add shower seats. A shower seat can provide stability and a place to rest for those who have difficulty standing for long periods of time.
  3. Add an adjustable (and hand-held) shower head. An adjustable hand held shower head, allows the person to direct the water where it’s most needed without having to contort their body into awkward positions.
  4. Fix slippery surfaces. A non-slip mat (or decals) on the floor of the shower or tub — along with a non-slip rug on the floor — provides additional stability and can reduce slipping. A non-slip rug in front of the toilet and by the sink area also helps to prevent slipping.
  5. Install taller toilets. Over time, one may experience increased difficulty lowering themselves onto a low toilet seat and returning to a standing position. A raised toilet (typically 3 to 4 inches) reduces the amount of squatting and the distance covered to sit on the toilet.

*Adapted from November 2016 Best Bath Newsletter at www.bestbath.com

We can help with making your bathroom safer. Keeping you safe and giving you more independence in the bath is our specialty. We would be happy to give you a FREE home assessment. You can reach us by calling 770-939-0747, or emailing us at info@homefreemods.com . We look forward to serving you.

Cost Versus Value for Home Modification

It’s an age old question as to what something costs versus the value it adds to our life to have that product or service. This is also true when considering home modification. When making improvements to your home that make it safer, allowing you to remain living there, and at the same time, giving you additional independence, in each and every situation, the value far exceeds the cost.

For example

The cost of having two grab bars installed into a tub/shower is approximately $290 (depending on the length & style chosen).

The value? Well, when considering that the grab bars could prevent you from falling upon entering/exiting the tub/shower, and possibly breaking an arm, leg, or GOD forbid a hip, what value would you place on this? Statistics show that 1/3 of seniors fall in a calendar year, requiring a hospital stay, and often times, rehabilitation. With this fact in mind, has the value of the grab bars just gone up like a gazillion times?

This is just one example. Although most seniors need grab bars, many need other things like ramps, wider doorways, or a walk-in shower, to make their home safer and more user friendly.

Whatever your home modification needs are we can provide them. We have been doing just that for over ten years, and would be happy to give you a FREE home assessment. You can reach us by calling 770-939-0747, or emailing us at info@homefreemods.com . We look forward to serving you.

Baby Boomers Lead by Example in Knowing What’s Important

Steve Charnes works out at a senior center in Columbia, S.C., in 2014. Experts say that baby boomers want to stay in their own homes as long as possible. A way to do that is with the “village concept,” which is catching on in South Carolina. Virtual villages are member-run associations set up to help members with transportation, home repairs, and social connections. (Bruce Smith/AP).

What is in the hearts and souls of baby boomers in 2017?

Many boomers are looking for the path forward; it’s a generation with a rich history; most of them today are looking for health and happiness — in the here and now.

There are three things at play for those born between 1946 and 1964:

  1. The way we were
  2. The events of our time
  3. The vision, mission, goals, and objectives of our future

As part of their fund raising efforts, PBS recently aired a documentary on The Mamas and the Papas. The music was rich, the songs still wonderful, and the memories of the times were pronounced.

Baby boomers viewing this documentary must have felt as if they had been temporarily transported back to a different time.

The schedule of daily life as a typical baby boomer today may begin with getting up early to exercise, followed by calling one’s elderly mother to see how she is doing. This is just part of the care giving mode of operation for many boomers today.

Yet, something is missing from this snapshot of modern day life for baby boomers; where the main focus is on the present with an occasional glance back to the past.

What is missing are the hopes and dreams of baby boomers’ ever elusive bucket list.

Once upon a time, boomers got up, went to work, and thought to themselves, “When I retire or work less, or maybe even after a second career, I will be outlining all the places I want to go. I will then travel and see the world.”

You realized that maybe it won’t be in a Chevrolet, as the advertising slogan once recited, but you thought that you’d find a way to see all the places that were in your dreams.

However, a new culprit in the lineup for baby boomers seems to be interfering with the fulfillment of these dreams, it’s . . . being overwhelmed.

The inability to relax and the continued measures of responsibility are making life less about “Trivago,” and more about “A Place for Mom.”

Of course, baby boomers are not defined by one size fit all.

As an example, there is the woman from Ohio — who is not just the typical grandmother — she is actually raising her 3 year old granddaughter as if she were the mother.

And then there is the molecular biologist from California who is no longer doing ground breaking research or trying to plan out a dream trip to Patagonia, because she is now caregiver in chief.

This brilliant scientist is a wonderful researcher, and her hiking passion remains fierce, but her love for her elderly mother makes this boomer’s life about one key priority: the well-being of her mother, the woman who is responsible for making this baby boomer the woman she is today.

As baby boomer couples look at the map of life (or perhaps more accurately, life with GPS), they wonder, “Will I be able to go on that special fall trip this year?” “Will we be able to stay in our home?” These questions do not result from financial difficulty, but from the need to move in with and take care of that elderly parent.

Many between the ages of 53 and 71 are in the battle for the heart and soul of their generation. It is a battle for the way they want to live versus what they simply feel they need to do.

Baby boomers dispel rumors that they are selfish. In fact, many baby boomers are more accurately defined as selfless.

Baby boomers clearly show that they don’t run away from responsibility.

They are focused on the need to do the right thing for elderly parents, for their children, for their grandchildren — and for all of their loved ones.

Somehow baby boomers will find the fabric of their generation.

Once upon a time, it was about the Mama’s and the Papa’s “California Dreaming.”

These days, “Monday, Monday” is in play. Whether it is the song, or simply getting up every Monday for the greater good.

As baby boomers read this column, they know that whatever issue they are facing; whatever responsibility they are involved with — they are not alone.

Baby boomers have heart and a soul. And they fully know what’s important in life!

By Rick Bava ,Thursday, 06 Apr 2017. Bava founded and was CEO of the Bava Group, which became the premier communications consulting firm serving the Fortune 500 community. Bava became known for his popular blog columns “Rick Bava on the Baby Boomer Generation.” He is the author of “In Search of the Baby Boomer Generation.”

HomeFree Home Modification has been helping “baby boomers” to remain at home with more safety and independence since 2010. We will come out to your home and provide a FREE home assessment to determine how to tailor your home with modifications to suit your specific needs. Please call us at 770-939-0747, or email at info@homefreemods.com .

 

Georgia Tech researchers to test effectiveness of senior services

By Laura Berrios – For the AJC

The National Aging in Place Council is looking to Atlanta to help change the way people think about growing old.

First of all, members want to put some weight behind the buzz phrase: aging in place. It’s used often when speaking of the elderly, but it is rarely understood, council leaders say.

“People say, ‘What is it?’ Well, to us, it’s more than a cliche. It’s a system,” says National Aging in Place Council Executive Director Marty Bell.

Proving this system is where Atlanta comes in.

The national council, based in Washington, D.C., is partnering with Georgia Tech Research Institute’s HomeLab for a pilot program here that will track outcomes from older adults who use services and information available to help them remain independent as they age. These seniors will be compared with those who choose not to access services.

Georgia Tech researchers will follow the seniors for at least a year initially, and then longer, to see if older adults who utilize services and information have better outcomes than those who make do on their own.

“Most people want to ignore that they are aging. We believe, and want to prove, that if you plan, you can have a better outcome,” Bell said.

The pilot program is expected to start sometime in 2016, but donations are still needed to fund the research and subsequent marketing efforts. Bell said he will meet with “a lot of companies” during the first quarter of the year to raise money to get the program underway.

The National Aging in Place Council of Greater Atlanta will take the lead role in overseeing the project, with the Atlanta Regional Commission and other area aging advocates joining in the efforts. Bell said he wanted to get the whole city involved and hopes the pilot will become a model program that can be replicated around the country.

Georgia Tech’s HomeLab takes on projects that track older adults to help evaluate perceptions of aging. Researchers frequently test products to determine what adults 50 years of age and older want or need. HomeLab has a volunteer network of more than 600 seniors across a 10-county region in Georgia, and these participants will be engaged in the pilot study.

Showing positive outcomes of age planning leads to the organization’s other focus: getting people to talk about the subject much earlier than they ever thought they needed to.

In short, the aging conversation should be as natural and non-threatening as talking about retirement. In fact, said Bell, it should be part of the same conversation. And, like retirement, aging in place also should be planned.

“Traditionally, retirement planning has focused on finances and funding, but it has to be much broader than that,” Bell said. Retirement plans should also include housing, health care, transportation, personal finances and social interaction, among others.

MaryLea Quinn, chair of the National Aging in Place Council’s Greater Atlanta chapter, agreed the organization has to do a better job of getting the information out so that people can plan earlier for what they want their lifestyle to be as they get older.

“These are decisions you need to make ahead of time, and not in a crisis,” she said.

One problem is the generational divide in how adults view aging. According to research by the Georgia Tech School of Psychology, the Depression-era seniors believe aging is inevitable, and they feel fortunate to have lived so long. Their boomer children are likely to be in age denial. They want to stay healthy and keep growing, and don’t want to look or act old.

Because their expectations are different, the approach to aging in place also has to be different, Quinn said.

“Boomers are more open to technological advances and won’t be afraid to use innovative methods when aging in place. But at the same time, we still have to meet the needs of the Depression-era seniors,” she said.

GENERATION INFLUENCES: Silent Generation (1922-1945), Formative influences: WWII, GI Bill, civil rights movement, Core values: respect for authority, conformity, discipline, Key value: family/community, Work: livelihood, Money: save, Attitude toward own aging: fortunate; inevitable, Baby boomers (1946-1964)

We can help you to “age in place”. For a FREE home assessment, call 770-939-0747, or email info@homefreemods.com

 

Is Your Television The Future of Healthcare Innovation?

After all the angst generated by the Affordable Care Act, and all the punditry, noise, and debate that accompanied its rollout, you might conclude that there are no practical solutions to our healthcare challenges. But, of course, there are new answers and solutions and new, creative approaches to solving healthcare problems. You just have to look at innovative, private sector enterprises. And if you do, you might find one of the more innovative answers to eldercare right there in your old-fashioned television set. Just ask Kian Saneii, CEO of Independa.

But first, a little background. One of the more troubling and difficult areas of healthcare is the growing needs of the elderly, including both preventive care and the management of long-term, chronic illnesses. This has been a well-understood fact for quite some time. Saneii and the Independa team he began assembling in 2009 set out to find practical real-world solutions to these challenges. How they did this is an instructive case study in innovation, pragmatism and common sense.
The challenge that Saneii and Independa faced was grounded in four observations:

 The U. S. population is aging . . . fast. The 65+ age group is the largest population in the United States, and this segment will double by 2040.  Overwhelmingly – and hardly surprising – the elderly want to stay in their own home, in their own communities, as long as possible.  Long-term care costs have increased dramatically. In California, for example, nearly two thirds of the elderly could not afford three months of nursing home care; over forty percent couldn’t afford one month.  But, technology is converging in the growing area of telecare in such a way as to offer affordable, life-enhancing, and practical approaches to at-home care for at-risk populations.

“One of the things that struck me as we began thinking about this challenge,” Saneii says, “was this: There were (and still are) lots of point solutions in the area of telecare and eldercare, but no one was addressing the whole person. No one was looking to figure out how you put together multiple information streams, multiple data points and multiple inputs to monitor, treat and care for the individual. Point solutions were all aimed at individual symptoms, not individuals. The result was a partial, disconnected and incomplete system that neglected the human being who was being treated.

“For me, it just seemed that given twenty-first century technology, there had to be a better way to take care of my grandma living at home, and a better way to ensure she could continue living at home for as long as possible.”
At the heart of Independa’s strategy for eldercare is a simple assumption: The longer those who are aging or who have a chronic illness can stay at their current residence, be it their home or senior living community, the better. This is both a humane approach to healthcare delivery, and a key driver of reducing costs. Today, over 25.0% of the entire Medicare budget is spent in the last year of life, and 30.0% of those dollars are concentrated in the last month prior to death. And over 80.0% of that expenditure is in the hospital. The total costs – in dollars, in family stress, in unnecessary hospitalizations, in reduced quality of life – are staggering. A significant portion of these costs is driven by inefficient delivery and the absence of simple information flows, which in turn lead to missed medications, unnecessary hospitalizations and significant strain on care givers.

This is not where the elderly and chronically ill want to spend their time.

Saneii saw the opportunity to address the needs of the individual and the individual’s family. He recognized the positive upside of social engagement for the elderly as a means of ameliorating the costs and complexities that loneliness and isolation bring to the individual and their loved ones. And he saw telecare as an opportunity to improve the entire healthcare system, while dramatically increasing quality of life. So he and his team set out to create an experience, rather than a set of treatments, and a holistic approach to delivering care that takes into account the whole person.

“Although things are never as simple as we want,” Saneii says, “they might be simpler than we think. What we deliver is a total person-centric, not patient-centric, experience that reduces isolation and loneliness and improves quality of life for the elderly and chronically ill. In doing that, we also reduce family stress, family expense and wear and tear on family caregivers. The way to do that is to acquire high-quality information about the person’s status and make that available to family and caregivers: Things like medication and appointment reminders, activity monitoring, social engagement, and physical monitoring of health and wellness indicators.”

The Independa approach links the elderly person to their caregiver network, personal and professional, and provides the critical information flows necessary to preserve and extend independence, as well as to ease the day-to-day worries of the caregiver. The results of even the most basic information sharing can be surprising.

Consider the simple act of ensuring that medications are taken on schedule. One of the most frustrating challenges in caring for the elderly is prescription regimen. The AARP estimates that nearly 1 in 4 adults sixty-five or older will skip a medication or fail to refill a prescription, with serious consequences. For example, failure to follow the prescribed regimen and dosage for medication leads to a 50% increase in falls. The simple act of creating easy to use programs to ensure prescriptions are filled and taken on schedule reduces falls, reduces hospitalizations and doctor visits and prolongs independence.

“What we set out to do was a lot more than just develop a healthcare technology,” Saneii says. “We wanted to do something that would result in happier, more independent care recipients, and provide peace of mind for family caregivers. That’s really our measure of success.”

And now, enter the television set. Saneii and his team recognized that the elderly may very well be less likely to adopt new technologies, and prefer working with technology they already know. So, they partnered with an industry leader in commercial TVs to embed their solution directly into their TVs, a service seniors can access, no training needed, through the most recognizable of tools, their remote control. There it is: innovation in a television set.

As the U. S. population continues to age, and as healthcare becomes more available, there is an ever-increasing need to do things better, to provide smart approaches that both improve quality and reduce cost. Care of the elderly and chronically ill presents the most difficult challenges, but at the same time has the most potential upside for improving care. “In this world of elderly and chronically ill care delivery,” Saneii says, “just providing a technology, or a device, or a point solution is not enough. You have to think about the individual and that individual’s family. More than anything else we want to support independence, individual dignity and peace of mind. Why else would you be in this business?”

*This article was written by Henry Doss is a venture capitalist with T2VC, a volunteer in higher education, and a student and musician.

This article stresses the importance of seniors remaining at home to effectively receive better health care and reduce the cost. HomeFree Home Modification can help you to remain at home with more independence and safety. To receive a NO COST home assessment, please call us at 770-939-0747, or email at info@homefreemods.com

How to grow old in your own home

Five success factors for you and your loved ones or caregivers to keep in mind.

When Marguerite Sullivan’s spouse passed away, the 78-year-old had no interest in moving. She’s healthy, has many friends, and her two sons live nearby. Plus, she’s a confident driver and gets herself to doctor’s appointments and the grocery store.

Those are all important prerequisites for people who want to stay in their homes as they grow older, or “age in place.”

According to an AARP survey, nearly 90% of those over age 65 want to stay in their homes for as long as possible. But Sullivan and others, who want to stay put as they grow older, “need to have a plan—and a support system—in place that allows them to stay in their community, ideally in their home, as long as possible, and to ensure that they’re living safely and independently,” explains Suzanne Schmitt, vice president for family engagement at Fidelity.

Here are five things that aging singles or couples—and their children, other family members, or caregivers—should keep in mind when assessing the living situation. For more detail, read our new “Aging well: A planning, conversation, and resource guide.”

1. Explore the benefits of staying put.

There are many reasons why aging in place can be a win. For starters, “it may be financially advantageous,” Schmitt says. For instance, depending on the situation, staying in a home can be less expensive than moving to an assisted-living community. There are the upfront costs of moving, an often steep entrance fee, and monthly payments for room and board, which can easily top $3,000 a month.

Even more important are the psychological payoffs of not moving away from one’s established community of friends, medical professionals, and faith community. Though these factors are hard to place a financial value on, they are a vital component of healthy aging.

“The single most predictive factor of whether you’re going to age well—meaning be able to be independent and live a long and healthy life—isn’t money,” says Schmitt. “And it isn’t even necessarily your health. It’s your social connections, which may get lost [if you move], because many people focus more on their finances.”

2. Do a home safety check.

The first step in an “aging in place” plan is to run a complete safety check of your home. “Many people don’t know what to look for,” says Schmitt. “There are some hazards that you might take for granted—for example, furniture obstructing pathways or stairs.”

Sullivan’s children did just that. They walked around her house with an eye for any potential hazards that might cause trouble should her vision or mobility begin to deteriorate. Then they hired a home modification professional to help make needed changes.

The good news is that many of the improvements that may make it easier to stay in your house—such as raising electrical outlets to make them more accessible, and installing brighter outdoor lighting—aren’t expensive.

Sullivan’s home was retrofitted by installing secure handrails alongside the stairs to the front door, switching doorknobs to levers, adding automatic lights to hallways, removing rugs that might become tripping hazards, and placing grab bars in the shower.

“There are plenty of easy options to modify a home,” says Schmitt. “The sooner you start preparing, the better.”

3. Assess transportation.

“Driving may be your lifeline and independence,” Schmitt points out. “Coming to the ‘I don’t think I can drive’ moment is tough, but it can’t be avoided.”

And, although driving might not be a concern now, it may ultimately become one.

If you are at the point that you can no longer drive or walk to the grocery store or reach other important services, consider other transportation options. “If you have public transit, great, but it doesn’t exist in a lot of places,” explains Schmitt. In that case, you may need to make other arrangements, such as ride sharing with friends and neighbors, or transportation assistance that many companion-care services may offer. When it comes to groceries and getting things like prescriptions filled, automatic delivery or online delivery can be a great option. A family or friend can help manage orders and accounts and can track order history to help make sure you are getting what you need.

4. Ensure a supportive community or network.

This is a linchpin: Communications—social connectivity. Think about how supportive the community is where you live.

Isolation can be a stumbling block to aging well. And it can creep up slowly. No matter how safe the inside of a home is, if there isn’t enough interaction with a community, a plan can fall apart.

Are you lonely? Part of aging in place successfully is being able to stay connected, and not fall into the depression that many people experience because they are isolated,” says Schmitt.

Are you comfortable on a computer? Can you connect online with your children, grandkids, and others?

You might also investigate some of the companionship services available in the community, through websites such as Caregiving.org.

Start to pull together a list of people and professionals who can step in and help if you need someone to go along to a doctor’s appointment, or someone to help with errands, or for lunch or dinner dates. If your family doesn’t live nearby, you may want to have a pipeline to neighbors you can call for periodic checkups.

A growing number of communities use the “village” concept for services and support to seniors. The idea, originating in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, is to create a nonprofit organization that arranges for services—including transportation, home repair, and social activities—for a fee.

5. Make it an ongoing process.

“One of the myths is that people think they can make a plan once, and they’re done,” says Schmitt. “This is something that needs to be reviewed regularly by you and your family member or caregiver.”

Once the home is retrofitted, keep an eye open to see if you are having trouble. Friends and family members may want to look out for any unexplained bruising on the aging person’s arms or legs. “It can be an indicator that they may be having trouble moving around,” Schmitt notes. Also, look around the home when you visit. Is there a pile of mail? Are things in disarray? Check the refrigerator. Is it bare? Is food spoiling?

What if you experience a health event, such as a bout of pneumonia that requires a lengthy hospital stay, or a fall that affects your cognitive ability or mobility. These are going to be very important points when you have to take a look at whether the plan you put in place is still going to work going forward.

“In ideal world, we will age gracefully in place, but that doesn’t happen very often without careful preparation,” says Schmitt. “Take the time to sit down and get the aging-in-place conversation going.”

HomeFree Home Modification can help you to “Grow Old in Your Own Home” with greater independence and safety. We provide a FREE home evaluation. You can call us at 770-939-0747, or email at info@homefreemods.com .

Better Living by NewsTalk1160

Safety & Independence Benefits in the Home, Offered by Home Modification

I was recently a guest on the radio show, “Better Living” on News Talk 1160, which airs at 10:00 AM on Sunday mornings. Hosted by Lin Tatum of Homestead Hospice, we discussed “the safety & independence benefits in the home, offered by home modification.”

If you have any questions regarding home modification or if you would like to benefit from our “free ideas,” contact us at 770-939-0747, or email info@homefreemods.com.