Monday, September 24, 2012

7 Habits of Highly Successful Aging in Place People

I came across a very interesting and well written blog by Patrick Roden, PhD.  He took Stephen Coveys concepts on how to create a better human being titled “The 7 habits of highly effective people” and applied it to Aging In Place. Read Patrick’s version below of “The 7 habits of highly effective people Aging  In Place.”  If we all could follow these “Habits” we would all be in a better place. Enjoy!

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Synopsis: Take initiative in life by realizing your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factors for effectiveness in your life. Taking responsibility for your choices and the subsequent consequences that follow.
Aging in Place: Be Proactive; day-in-and-day-out you are faced with “choice points” that will have a cumulative effect on your independence. If you choose what’s easy now (not take that walk and stay on the couch—or not install that light on the stairs and put up with the dark steps); life will be hard later. 
Many people wait until a crisis to begin the aging-in-place remodeling projects; and crisis-driven interventions are seldom as effective as proactive ones. 
Proactivity is being anticipatory and taking charge of situations; adaptivity is about responding to change, proactivity is about initiating change. 

 Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Synopsis: Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envisioning the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.
Aging in Place: Begin With the End in Mind is making the future a part of your current philosophy. According to the Aging in America study of several years ago, seniors fear nursing homes over death; so for most, independence is a deeply held value and goal.
Think seriously about how much you value the rituals and natural rhythms of your simple daily living at home that you’ve cultivated over the years. Coffee in the morning and reading the paper in your favorite chair perched in the front window; after you let the cat out. Or shopping at the grocer where the clerk knows you by first name—then imagine life without them.
Look around the house and determine what is going to potentially be a challenge in the coming years. Do an aging-in-place assessment and make a priority list of action items.
Is adding a bathroom on the first floor, installing a lift on the stairs, or an access ramp, something I can do now that will keep me in my home 5-10 years from now?
Hosting family over for traditional life events; and being able to have grand kids stay whenever you choose. Does being a grandparent mean having a home where grand kids can find refuge and a place to stay?

 Habit 3: Put First Things First

Synopsis: Planning, prioritizing, and executing your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluating if your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you towards goals, and enrich the roles and relationships elaborated in Habit 2.
Aging in Place: Prioritizing remodeling goals with budget in mind. What are the “biggest-bang-for-the-buck” aging-in-place remodeling items?
Consult a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS);  Architect specializing in Universal design; or Ocupational Therapist trained in aging-in-place design.

 Habit 4: Think Win-Win or No Deal

Synopsis: Genuinely striving for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Valuing and respecting people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten their way.
Aging in Place: Win-win means considering the concerns of spouses as well as adult children. Staying in one’s home may not be the best solution for all parties. Sometimes aging in place is not possible.

 Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

Synopsis: Using empathetic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening, take an open mind to being influenced by you, which creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.
Aging in Place: Listen to partner/spouse and understand their wants and needs for aging-in-place remodeling; as well as to CAPS remodeling professionals for suggestions prior to making decisions.

 Habit 6: Synergize

Synopsis: Combining the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. How to yield the most prolific performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.
Aging in Place: Synergize with other family members by sharing aging-in-place goals; ask for feedback and input; form a team-work approach with CAPS professionals.
Make the community part of your aging in place team strategy; employ senior services like meals-on-wheels; the local area agency on aging; AARP chapters; churches; See Aging in Place HELP for more resources.

 Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Synopsis: The balancing and renewal of your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable long-term effective lifestyle.
Aging in Place: Keep up on new technologies for aging-in-place; visit web sites for developments in universal design; and educate yourself about what’s available in the aging in place market. Aging in Place Technology Watch will Keep you up on the fast changing home telemetry sector.
Keep physically and mentally fit (your body and mind need to be available to you) for successfully aging in place. 

These 7 habits applied to aging-in-place can be a guide to independence and a more rich-fuller expression of who you are in the years to come.

Now get started…


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Where to start when remodeling your kitchen

Thinking of remodeling your kitchen? It’s quite an experience with the dust, the noise, and all the workers coming into the house. And of course, you have to live without a kitchen for a few months. But when it is all done it is worth it. People tend to spend most of their time in the kitchen with family and friends.

You can’t do anything until you figure out how much you’re able or willing to spend. That means doing your homework — read magazines, visit showrooms, talk to friends and neighbors who recently remodeled. It takes a lot of time to do all this. But I can tell you, it’s worth the investment.

Pretty much anything you dream up can be executed with the help of a contractor or design professional with a creative eye. Whether your space is large or small, you'll do best if you stick close to the following basic recommendations:

  • Try to keep the work triangle length between the sink, fridge, and cooktop between 12 and 23 feet.

  • Position the sink between the other two appliances, since it's used most often. (The sink's location may depend on pre-existing plumbing lines.)

  • Allow for 36 inches of counterspace to the right and 30 inches to the left of the range and sink if at all possible; if not, allow a minimum of 24 inches and 18 inches.

  • It's tempting to place a tall fridge and built-in wall oven next to each other, but try not to; the refrigerator needs its own landing space on both sides of the appliance for safety.

  • Try to include a minimum of 10 linear feet of both base cabinets and upper cabinets.

  • Utilize lazy Susans to make potentially wasted corners fully functional. Blind cabinets are not very functional.

  • Use pull-out drawers rather than reach-in, conventional cabinets for greatest convenience. If you're retro-fitting existing cabinets, have pull-out trays installed.

  • Consider barrier-free design and products. They make life easier for you, your children, pregnant women, and seniors as well as individuals with disabilities. They'll also add to the longevity of your kitchen.
  • Trash, dishwasher open and sink have to be accessible at the same time.

  • Improve lighting – General lighting, task lighting and accent and ambient lighting should all be used.

  • What are (or will be) your traffic patterns.

  • Child safety consideration: Avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height—3 inches below the shoulder of the primary user but not more than 54 inches from the floor.

  • Over powered exhaust fans can cause serious health and safety risks to your family including back drafting of your fireplace snuffing out pilot lights. 300 - 400 cfm is suitable for most decent size kitchens. Over 500 cfm requires a fresh air replacement intake device.

  • Outside access consideration: If you want easy access to entertaining areas, such as a deck or patio, factor a new exterior door into your plans.

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