In home injuries and how to prevent them

If your parent or loved one is living at home, it is important to take steps to ensure that their surroundings are safe. In home falls are a leading cause of injuries among seniors living alone. As adults age, we start to see an overall decline in vision, balance, and memory. Fortunately, we can make changes to help prevent accidents within the home by creating a safe environment.

As our vision declines with age the risk of tripping and falling rises. Take note of furniture around the home. Are there smaller pieces that can be removed or placed elsewhere within the home? Are there rugs that can easily be tripped on? Clearing obstacles and potential hazards from around the house can help decrease the chances of an accident.

It is also important to check in with seniors about their medications. What are they taking? Are they taking the right dosage and at the right time? If not, one could experience dizziness and loss of balance among other side effects, leading to a fall or accident.

After experiencing a fall in their home, seniors may feel scared and uneasy to start being active again. This inactivity creates other issues such as lack of muscle strength, balance, and at times depression. It is important to encourage seniors to stay active to help prevent other issues from surfacing.

By taking a few of these steps and asking a few questions we can help to lessen the chances of falls in the home for our older loved ones.

Diane Delaney

Golden Placement Services

503-723-7145

Transitions

Although you may not frequently move from one home to another, you may go through mini-moves within your living spaces. Perhaps a better term to describe it would be a transitioning.

There are a variety of housing transitions that can occur throughout our lives. There might be a time when you have to change the way your home is set up to accommodate a baby arriving, a young adult returning from college or an aging parent coming to live with you. Another transition might be the blending of two households and the struggle of knowing how to combine everything that is important without having too much. Maybe someone in your home is limited to living only on the first floor due to a short term or long term physical ailment. These transitions require us to rethink the use of our homes, to move and reorganize our possessions to meet our current needs. How do you transition your present space to fit your new specific needs?

Create a list – Begin by writing down the specific new needs for your space. This list may take some time to compile and will require repeated communication with everyone involved in the transition. Often when someone states a need, such as a first floor bathroom, they are making the assumption that you will see other parts of that need that are connected. In this example, it really means a full bath with shower because they aren’t able to climb stairs. Take time to talk through each need, discussing what is involved, why it is important and how it can be addressed.
Think outside the box – Sometimes it is hard to do this in our own homes. When the living room has always been the living room, it can be a challenge to be view the space differently. However, transitioning may require some creative repurposing. You may have always had the dining room where it is now, but perhaps the room could be changed into an office, a bedroom or a family room to fit your needs better. A fresh set of eyes or a new perspective may be needed to see the different possibilities for your space and furniture. In addition, you may find that one change may create a shuffling effect of other rooms or items. This is a part of the transition process, and though it may require some extra effort, working through this cascade of changes will help to make life run much more smoothly.
Stay flexible – Although you may have put a lot of thought into this space transition, you may find there is an aspect of it that doesn’t work well. Take note of this and be ready to adapt. Perhaps your transition was that someone is in a wheel chair and cannot reach the upper cabinets. You shuffled everything to the countertop and lower cabinets, only to find out that the things at the back of the countertops are still out of reach. Be willing to continue to make changes to optimize your space, and remember: transitioning is a process not just a one-time event.

No transition is easy, but with a little bit of planning and work, you can make your home transition so that it is able to meet your new needs.

© Beth Giles

Senior Move Manager/ Professional Organizer – NWOrganizingSolutions.com

Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation.

Safety Improvements:

  • Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
  • Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.
  • Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers of socks.
  • Non-skid safety strips:adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.
  • Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.
  • Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.
  • Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

Convenience Factors:

  • Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with flexible hose.
  • Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
  • Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick up mail off the floor.
  • Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
  • Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
  • Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.
  • Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to-access locations.
  • Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle, and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

Lynn Mattecheck is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) with RE/MAX. You can count on her to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. (503) 495-3258.

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit SRES.org

Aging in Place

Stay Put (Age in Place) or Head Out?

The following article was contributed by Claudia Rumwell of Senior Care Organizer. The Senior Care Organizer is a winning combination of resource material, care giving information and organizational insights.

It’s not to say we shouldn’t think about the future. We need to because we don’t know what our needs will be when we’re in our 70’s or 80’s. We may be fairly healthy at the moment, but we also know that things can change. If you’re caring for your parents right now, you’ve already learned that. If, like me, your parents have already gone on to Heaven, you could be thinking about what your own future may be like with respect to care needs. Do I stay put? (“Age in Place”) OR do I move?

This article is to discuss “staying put.” And if that choice is made, there are definitely ways to make our home safe and more senior-friendly, as we move through our ‘day to day” activities. In fact if needed, these ideas can also apply to our aging parents as well. It’s not to say that everyone can “age in place” for the rest of their lives; but certainly whatever time we add to staying in our own homes is a ‘plus’ in so many ways.

Several years ago, I remember going through our parents’ home and making several safety-based changes to allow them to safely “stay put” longer. Now, however, there is a profession that specializes in helping people stay safely in their homes. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) will come in and review your home room by room, ask questions about your conditions and habits, provide an evaluation report and go over it with you. Most will recommend providers who can do the work for you, but basically, you will make the choice of who the contractor will be. For you in the Portland area, I recently met a Certified Aging in Place Specialist.

So, to get you started, the following ideas are offered from The Senior Care Organizer, along with The Complete Eldercare Planner (chapter 10), by Joy Loverde.

General safety

  • Replace door knobs with door handles. [Arthritic hands make it difficult to turn a knob].
  • Remove throw rugs and any clutter on the floors to reduce/prevent falls
  • Be sure there is easy access to doorways and windows
  • Make sure the front door has a “peephole” for checking on who is at the door
  • Make electrical outlets accessible. Check that appliance and electric cords are safe to use.
  • Install nightlights in the bathrooms, hallway, kitchen.
  • Make sure any stairs are non-slippery, well lit, and have a handrail.
  • Check that smoke detectors are present and in working condition. Consider having a carbon monoxide detector.

Outside

  • Check outdoor steps. There should be a handrail. Determine if steps are difficult to maneuver. Consider placing a ramp for accessibility.
  • Employ a family member or other individual to mow the lawn, weed, etc.when it becomes more difficult to take care of the yard to reduce the possibility of injury.
  • Secure windows so as not to allow easy entrance for intruders.Consider adding motion sensor lighting.

It’s a fact… we’re all going to be older and our lives will change in various ways. Many of us will be able to stay in our homes late into our senior years, but some will not. However for the time being, we can make a concerted effort to prepare our home to be as safe as possible for us to live in.

To Keep or Not to Keep?


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The thought of going through all of your possessions may sound daunting but it is often a necessary step in preparing for a move. It is the process of thinking through what you own and then making decisions about whether to take them with you to your new home or whether they are items you no longer need and they should be shared with others.

 

This process is important whether you are moving to a similar sized home and need to update your possessions to meet your current lifestyle or whether you are downsizing to a smaller space and need to adjust what you own to fit comfortably into your new space.  Taking the time to make wise decisions about your belongings before you move can make the transition and the adjustment to your new place much less stressful.

 

Sorting through and editing your things does not have to be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to lighten the burden and anxiety of this process:

  • Start with small steps. Accomplishing a large task like this can be intimidating if you view it as a whole. When the job is broken down into smaller pieces it becomes more manageable.  It took years to accumulate what you have, so it will take some time to work through it all. Continue reading

Organizing Important Documents

Whether you anticipate moving or downsizing in the future or not, having your important documents together and accessible is so important. Here is a great article by Claudia Rumwell, RN, Senior Care Consultant; Author, Senior Care Organizer to help you make sure you have them ready.

Are Your Ducks in a Row? 

You may or may not be someone who likes to organize; or can find the time to organize even if you wanted to.  You could be helping aging parents, or thinking that at some point you will need to provide assistance.  You may be a healthy senior.  You eat right, exercise, and follow your doctor’s advice with respect to any medical conditions you have.  But you know things are changing… you can’t do some of the things you did when you were in your 40’s.  Continue reading

What is a Senior Move Manager?

What is a Senior Mover Manager®?

I am often asked what exactly it means to be a Senior Move Manager®.  Simply put, a Senior Move Manager aids people in the moving and downsizing (reduction) of their possessions.  Moving or downsizing is a huge task. It can be stressful both emotionally and physically. There are so many decisions to consider and tasks to do. Often older adults making this transition have not moved in 30 or 40 years and need to downsize a considerable amount before they can even think about moving. It can seem so overwhelming that they don’t know where to begin. Family members can provide assistance, but sometimes they are not available to help with this process due to their other obligations or living a distance away. Yet the older adults still need help. This is where a senior move manager can come alongside them and help facilitate a smooth transition for everyone involved.

A Senior Move Manager is a professional who specializes in assisting older adults and their families with the emotional and physical aspects of relocation or simplifying their existing home. Senior Move Managers can help with:

  • Developing an overall move plan
  • Organizing, sorting and downsizing possessions
  • Developing customized floor plans
  • Arranging for the disposal of unwanted items through sales, donations, or recycling
  • Interview movers and coordinate moving schedule
  • Oversee the packing and moving days
  • Unpack and set up the new home

Professional move managers normally do not transport the household goods, but they coordinate and ease the whole moving process.  They can be involved from start to finish or for any segment of it. Senior Move Managers minimize the chaos and stress associated with moving by addressing all aspects of the move process.

Senior Move Managers have significant expertise in resources and approaches that save money, reduce stress and produce quality results. Their services are centered on the client and are personalized to meet their needs and desires, helping them and their families.  Older adults, family members, and senior living communities rely on these services to take the worry out of the move.  Attorneys, physicians and even realtors call for assistance from these move managers.

I am a Senior Move Manager® and a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).  If you’d like to locate a senior move manager in your area or want more information about how we can help, please contact me at 503-709-0791 or beth@nworganizingsolutions.com