Being Green And Breathing Easier In Your Home For A Sustainable Interior, Keep These Quick Tips In Mind
The interior is a highly complex environmental system and keeping the air inside as clean as possible is a goal for anyone who might have breathing problems, asthma or other lung diseases. We put together some tips that might be of help when you are ready for clearing ( and cleaning ) out the air. Check these out.
Avoid all scented soaps, shampoos, cologne, candles and sprays from the interior
Showers and showerheads can harbor loads of germs and bacteria so clean often or replace
Fireplaces give off irritating gases and sooty particulate matter so stay clear of all smoke
Avoid newly dry-cleaned garments and take them out of the plastic to let them air out
Seek out dry cleaners that use “green” environmentally sensitive cleaning agents
Pet are great but their dander has been shown to be a significant irritant
Cleaning products that contain bleach or ammonia are major irritants to breathing
Carpeting and area rugs can be a major source of dirt and dust so have them cleaned regularly
Regularly replace HVAC filters as forced air conditioning systems blow dust around 24/7
In the HVAC system, inspect the coils, duct and vents and keep them free of dust and bacteria
Consider a HVAC ultra-violet light (use a UV-C type only) in the system to kill air-born bacteria
Install HVAC high-merv filters of at least 9-12 but be sure the system is designed for the higher static pressure of better filtration
Install a dehumidifier to rid the environment of air-borne bacteria that comes with humdity
Use only paint and finishes that are free of VOCs – volatile organic compounds
Remove shoes when entering a home as they carry dirt and soil into the residence
Avoid brooms that “whisk” up the dirt into the air & consider using HEPA-style vacuum cleaners
Clean bathroom vent fans and the ventilation systems in the kitchen like above the cook-top
Certain kinds of plants are excellent being gas-absorbing and sucking up microbial particulates
Avoid whole-house interior fumigation for bug control. Consider natural repellants
We are always on the search for articles about "staying in place" or as others have called it... "aging in place." And we are amazed at the number of magazines and newspapers that are writing about this concept,... particularly in the last 60 days or so.
Perhaps the media is seeing that same things that our own DAASE members are seeing and that is the upcoming senior tsunami is rapidly approaching with the Baby Boomers now contemplating their future.
So when we stumbled upon a video interview, we thought we should share that with you, our blog readers. But first... here is a quote from the interview....
“She has this independent spirit and she’s really smart. I can see that she’s at this place in her life now where her independence means even more to her because she can feel she’s being physically challenged every day,”
----Actress Susan Sarandon.
That quote reflects the conversations we see going on among many of our members and their clients. And just like Susan... groups of families are now beginning to think about having to care for a mother or father, uncle, best friend or colleague as they age. And planning to "stay in place" is the best plan for an independent future for these folks.
Check out the video by clicking HERE !
It is doubtful that many people like the idea that one day they may have to be in some type of extended care facility, a nursing home or other institutional setting. Circumstances however do occur, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, that force some to give up their own home and move into a place that will provide some measure of specialized care. And it is not cheap to do that.
Recent studies show that it costs between $5,000 and 7,000 a month for nursing home care, a bit less if one selects a group home environment. But it can a whole lot more if the choice is to live in an independent living center with lots of amenities. Much depends of course on the type of care one needs and how much one can afford. But consider this,... spending $60K to 84K or more a year for five or ten years and we're talking significant dollars and cents.... upwards of a half a million dollars if you do the math.
Now consider these steps to make your home the home of a lifetime:
• Be thoughtful. What will you need to do to stay in place?
• Plan for your future. Think short term and long term as you plan your dream.
• And work the plan. Decide to make changes to your home - now - and ones that could allow you the option to "stay in place" should that decision have to be made by you for yourself, a family member or friend.
• And finally set a budget for this year to make even the most basic of changes,... then start working the plan.
• Here are ten cost effective things to do:
(1) Change all the knobs on your doors to handles. It just makes sense for so many reasons.
And in some cities, like Vancouver Canada, it is required by their building codes.
(2) Choose finishes, paints, lighting, building materials and flooring that reduce maintenance.
You don't want to be up on a tall ladder or down on the floor unless you can't help it.
(3) Plan to use balance bars not only in the shower but all thru the house.
They can add safety and security and if you choose those that are stylish, you'll add beauty.
(4) Weather strip and insulate doors and windows to save on energy costs.
This is a no brainier for any one at any age but especially for those with declining incomes.
(5) Consider sharing your home with someone else to save money and have companionship.
Multi-generational homes lower living expenses and can keep families together.
(6) Swap out toilets for dual-flush to reduce water usage & choose a seat height that is appropriate.
It is easier on the knees,...plus people are different sizes so pick a "chair height" toilet that 'fits best."
(7) Steps and stairs are challenging so now is the time to plan for at least one no-step entry.
Eliminate thresholds at the doorways. And gardens & berms can integrate ramps into the yard.
(8) Make sure the residence has a house number that can be easily seen from the street.
And light it up. Imagine what emergency people go thru to find a house at night.
(9) Getting doorways to be wider can be costly so as a first step, use off-set hinges.
They increase the jamb-to-jamb dimension by nearly 2" and just enough to make it easy to pass.
(10) And for those visitors who might be impaired, plan for a first floor accessible bathroom.
They will appreciate it and who knows, you might need to use it some day as well.
So there you go. Ten ideas for making a home a place for a lifetime. We added up the individual costs for making all of these changes and guess-timated the totals at just under $19,000. .. .. the largest cost being the accessible bathroom. Now consider that if you can stay in your home for the next 12 months by making many of these changes, you'll still be better off than spending $5,000 a month in someplace other than your own home. It is certainly cheaper if you can stay in place.
Your thoughts? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
A small informal group of members of DAASE ( The Design Alliance For Accessible Sustainable Environments ) were recently discussing the benefits of creating an ideal home environment that would provide an individual with an opportunity to stay in their own home as they age, despite a temporary or permanent disability, or perhaps as a result of an accident or an unexpected health issue.
How might members of DAASE help them sustain their quality of life?
We considered the many ways our members already help people secure their independence by creating safe, healthy environments. But we thought it would be just as important to also suggest simple changes – and recommend choices - that would be easy and cost effective for anyone to do.
• Changing knobs on doors to handles to make access easier
• Increasing light levels and reducing energy consumption by swapping out traditional light bulbs for bright and efficient LEDs
• Gaining additional width in doorways without changing the door frames by installing off-set door hinges which provide up to an additional 2” of door width between jambs
• Using paints and finishes that have little or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) thereby creating environmentally healthy interior spaces
• Reducing indoor air pollution and the resulting allergic or asthmatic reactions to pollen, dust and smoke by installing “HEPA” air filters in air conditioning systems, keeping windows closed and choosing tile, stone or wood flooring over carpeting
But then the conversation moved onward and upward.
The groups was then tasked how we might extend the benefits of universal and green design away the home and into our urban areas, …benefits that would help sustain the quality of life as we move thru the aging process.
It did not take very long for a list of ideals (and ideas) that would make the towns and cities we live in safe, secure, healthy, accessible to all no matter age or ability and a great way to stay in place in a town or city of your choosing.
• There would be well marked and well lit, fully paved sidewalks that extend from neighborhood to neighborhood to encourage social interaction between residents; and from neighborhoods to areas of commerce, retail, medical services and transportation.
• There would be open green spaces positioned between areas of high density housing to serve as places to meet and mingle. And not just basic parks but landscaped gardens that create “outdoor rooms” for residents to enjoy and commune with others. Community vegetable gardens, many with raised planter beds, would provide fresh, home-grown foods, irrigated with recycled or with “gray” water systems.
• There would be signage to help residents navigate less frequented areas that would be distinct, clear and quite visible. Way-finding is an important design element that can encourage people to get out and use the areas but is frequently overlooked or under-budgeted.
• There would be transportation hubs at the center of communities that reach out to the neighborhoods and network them together. And not just the mass transit-style of transportation that takes years and billions to construct. There would be well designed attractive bicycle racks and charging stations for smaller electric vehicles.
• Building codes would encourage “visitability” in the neighborhoods and require at least some homes have one clear, uninterrupted path from the street to the front door, a level or no-step entry into the home, an accessible bath on the first level along and wider doors and halls.
• Create venues, plan programs, and develop spaces that bring together people of all ages and backgrounds. Successful social integration is one of the most important aspects of a community.
Our DAASE members are always thinking of new ways and contemplating innovations that help people sustain their own independence…. something that will be important to everyone at some stage of their lives. But we should also be contemplating –and advocating- how to make our towns and cities just as “accessible” and just as “green” as possible.
We don’t have all the ideas however in our discussions we think we got a good handle on the task at hand. So if you have an idea or a thought, we welcome and encourage you to make a comment.
We've all read articles about baby boomers living older, longer and enriched lives,... so much so that some reports say they are living lives at least ten years younger... hence... 60 is the new 50 and so forth.
And in an article written by Bart Astor, an expert in life transitions and elder care, he is of the opinion that there are two groups of boomers, an older group born between 1946 and 1954 and a younger born in the second half of the boomer generation years called the Jonesers.
And the older group has a few lessons for the young pups. Check out this article....
I’m not too sure what older and younger boomers have in common other than being lumped together by demographers.
By the time the Jonesers were 18, the war in Vietnam was over and young men didn’t have to worry about being drafted. And the Civil Rights, Free Speech and women’s movements were all at least a decade old. Jonesers were just kids when our heroes were assassinated, both shocking and motivating us.
You Jonesers joined with us in our battles, certainly, and together we moved some mountains. But as we older boomers have gotten grayer, we have experienced some lessons we can pass on to you, our younger brothers and sisters.
The transition from being in your 50s to being in your 60s is about as radical as any I’ve experienced, including when I entered and left my teen years. Chances are, like me, when you get into your 60s, you’ll find yourself facing many issues you feel totally unprepared for.
(MORE: 25 Things I Know Now That I'm 60)
We saw our parents go through these stages and now we are our parents. For many of us, we are the oldest generation in our families. There’s no one in front of us as we go up the escalator. That’s scary.
An Older Boomer's 8 Tips for Younger Boomers
But I have good news for younger boomers, starting with the hackneyed cliché: It keeps getting better. With that in mind, here are eight of my best pieces of advice for you:
1. Don’t try to hold on to your youth. Embrace your age. Teach your kids and the rest of the world to value age. And look forward to getting older (forget about the joke that it beats the alternative). Only when you’re proud of being older will others realize that experience is valuable. Age really does bring wisdom.
2. Give back. You can use the wisdom you’ve gained through experience to great benefit. With more free or discretionary time, we early boomers rediscovered our idealism. For a time, we were like you are now — too busy raising families and working to become involved in issues that concerned us. Now we can. You were always more cynical, but I encourage you to embrace activism. You’ll be able to take a leadership position in an area that affects the quality of your life and can actually affect change.
3. Accept help graciously. When you go over to your parents' house, you probably help them with some chores they struggle with: changing a light bulb that’s out of reach, carrying or moving something heavy or fixing something broken. Your parents needed to learn to accept your help. Soon, you’ll have the pleasure of doing the same with your kids. You loved giving to your parents; some time in the not too distant future, let your adult children have the same joy of helping you.
4. Keep fit. There’s no denying that physical changes happen as we advance a decade. You'll switch from an attitude of “no pain, no gain” to “don’t overdo it.” Accept some of this — but not all of it. Don’t stop exercising. Do accept that your body is just that little bit more fragile and your healing powers slightly diminished. Be more careful about what you do.
5. Find some new goals. In our 50s, we accomplished many of our goals or gave up on those that were out of reach. We had families and got to the top of our career paths. Then we realized we didn’t have any more goals. That left us rudderless. By starting now to think about life after work, you will be in a much better position to find those new and realistic goals for your later years.
6. Pay attention. Most of what happens to us is not a surprise. Sure, sometimes life brings the unexpected — an injury or, much better, lottery winnings. But more often than not, we see the ball coming at us. By anticipating, planning, budgeting,and paying attention, you won’t have to rely on luck to reach your goals or enjoy life. That includes all the financial, legal, health and work choices you make.
7. Choose your lifestyle. Budgeting is not a diet to get you to live within your means. It's not even about making your money last. It’s about figuring out how you can maintain the lifestyle you want for the rest of your life. The quality of your life is about choosing the most appropriate lifestyle for you.
8. Don’t judge yourself. You’ve already made lifestyle decisions, including your goals and interests. What you do now in your free time is what you want to do. Don’t judge whether it’s good or bad. It’s a choice you made. But also keep in mind that you’re not stuck with it forever — it can and will likely change.
Article Published by: Nextave.org
Bart Astor iis the author of the book AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices About Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle and Pursuing Your Dreams and Baby Boomer’s Guide to Caring for Aging Parents. His website is BartAstor.com and he can be reached at Bart@BartAstor.com.
Want to read the entire article, Click On This LINK
By: Jason Oliva
Senior households in the U.S. will see an “explosion” in the coming years, in turn making the need for more aging in place options and policies greater than ever before, a recent report suggests.
The U.S. is due for dramatic growth in the number of senior households over the coming years, with more than half of that growth driven by households over age-65, according to a recent report from the Urban Institute.
And much of this growth is projected to occur within the next 15 years, as the Urban Institute notes that by 2030 aging Baby Boomers will expand the number of senior households in the U.S. to 46 million.
The growth of senior-headed households is huge and has been on the rise for quite some time. In 1990, there were 20 million households age-65 and up, according to the Institute. By 2010, this number grew to 25.8 million.
Most of this dramatic growth will occur among both senior homeowners and renters. From 2010 to 2030, the Urban Institute’s research suggests that senior homeowners will increase from 20 million to nearly 34 million, while senior renters will increase from 5.8 million to 12.2 million.
More Aging-in-Place Supports Needed
Countless studies on population trends have long foreshadowed the impact that a swelling graying demographic can have on the nation’s healthcare and housing industries, the sharp rise in senior households heightens the urgency of developing policies that allow older adults to stay in their homes.
“The aging of the baby boomers means that senior housing issues are becoming much more pressing, just because of the sheer number of boomers,” the authors write. “In particular, a growing body of research shows the link between housing and health. Moving forward, policy should emphasize home modification so houses are safe, healthy, and efficient for seniors to live in.”
Such policies may include encouraging more support for ways to enable seniors to age in place, the Institute says, whether that means simply making home modifications to help prevent against the risk of falls, or broadening the approach toward driving community support to give seniors a higher quality of life.
One thing is certain: the aging of the baby boomers means that senior housing issues are becoming much more pressing, write the Urban Institute’s Laurie Goodman, Rolf Pendall and Jun Zhu in an analysis on the report’s findings.
“The sheer number of baby boomers will force policymakers and communities to confront these challenges,” they write. “With the right incentives and models, this challenge may emerge as a transformative opportunity for cities and suburbs across the U.S. to reinvigorate both the bricks and mortar and the community ties in our neighborhoods.”
Jason Oliva is a writer for Reverse Mortgage Daily and this article was originally published on www.reversemortgagedaily.com
The holidays are upon us and let’s say your 85 year old Uncle Bob is coming to stay for a few days. Like it is with many families, getting families together to celebrate is both a chore and a blessing.
" When Uncle Bob comes to visit, it is just never-ending "fun"....a barrel of non-stop laughs when he is our house."
Even though you know your hands will be full just keeping an eye on this spry and comical elder, making sure he doesn't get on your son's skateboard like he did last year and free-wheel it down the street, you will still be glad to have him in your home even for just a few days.
But you also realize your home may not be entirely "older-generation" friendly. To help enhance the safety and comfort of this important family member, especially one who may have some of the physical challenges that come with aging, here are a few quick and inexpensive things you can do to make the time less stressful for you and more comfortable for your guest:
Consider pathways in the house. Clear obstacles, and maybe even move furniture that a person usually has to maneuver around. Move any electrical cords that are where a person might walk – perhaps taping them to a wall or using a hook. Clear stairs of any objects—shoes, books, and other personal items that tend to collect on the lower treads. Also check that railings on stairs inside and out are secure, and make repairs where needed.
Lighting is crucial. Put night lights in bathrooms, the guest bedroom, any hallways near the guest bedroom, and perhaps in the kitchen. Make sure there is a lamp or light switch within easy reach of the guest bed so that your visitor can keep a light on until safely tucked in. Well-lit outdoor walkways and entrances are also key for coming or going when it is dark.
Keep spaces safe and secure. Be sure the shower your guest will use has a non-slip floor. To enhance the traction, apply non-slip strips or a suction-attached non-slip mat, both readily available at home improvement stores.
Secure or, preferably, remove any throw rugs, including bathroom mats. Edges of rugs can be a tripping hazard, and even a slight scoot can affect a person’s balance. If there are rugs you want to secure rather than remove, non-slip pads can help, but safer still would be to apply double-sided carpet tape or even caulk to attach the rug to the floor. If you choose one of these methods, be mindful that you don't mar the floor underneath.
Identify seating in your gathering rooms that is appropriately firm, high in the seat, and preferably that has arms to help a person easily sit down and get up. A chair that is too soft or too low to the ground can strand a person awkwardly. If in doubt about the available seating in the room, bring a dining chair with arms into the room as an alternative.
• Thanks to the NAHB for offering these tips. And thanks to the DAASE member who is always worried about their Uncle Bob. Now go and celebrate the Holidays safely !
Visitability ~ An Evolving Trend For Aging In Place
An issue facing many aging baby boomers is ensuring their homes can pass the “visitability” test — that is whether they are easy to visit by friends or relatives in wheelchairs or with other mobility problems. Some cities, such as Tucson, have passed visitability ordinances, requiring new homes to incorporate several features, such as entrances with no steps, wide doorways and light switches no higher than 48 inches from the floor.
Homes, whether new or existing, should be designed to have at least these three design elements...
■ One entrance with no steps and a clear route from the sidewalk or driveway.
■ Doorways at least 32 inches wide.
■ A half-bathroom on the ground floor that is wheelchair accessible.
And Visibility Benefits Everyone . .
The young mother with a baby in a stroller, who doesn’t have to hump it up and down steps when she visits her friends. And consider these others who would appreciate such features. . .
For more information.... visit: http://www.visitability.org
For the some 76 million Baby Boomers, many who are still trying to figure out what their lives will be as they live longer, healthier and productive lives, they now have some competition.
This year, the “Millennial” generation is projected to surpass the outsized Baby Boom generation as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the population projections released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month. Millennials (defined as between ages 18 to 34 in 2015) are projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing the projected 74.9 million Boomers (ages 51 to 69). The Gen X population (ages 35 to 50 in 2015) is projected to outnumber the Boomers by 2028.
The Millennial generation continues to grow as young immigrants expand their ranks. Boomers – a generation defined by the boom in U.S. births following World War II — are older and shrinking in size as the number of deaths exceed the number of older immigrants arriving in the country.
Will this affect the aging baby boomer? Maybe.
In the short term, the thinking is that the boomers who still control the wealth and influence in the United States will be just fine. But with political challenges opposing Social Security by those who believe it is an entitlement, the Millennials may feel that Social Security is being placed squarely on their backs, supporting a social system that is already in debt.
According to Pew Research,... "Generations are analytical constructs and it takes time for popular and expert consensus to develop as to the precise boundaries demarcating one generation from another."
In the coming years, Boomers will feel the pressure to maintain their lives as they desire,...to "sustain" their well being,... and continue to work well beyond the traditional age of retirement. Many boomer surveys have indicated that Boomers have an interest in a second or even third career AND that they may need to do so financially. Fewer and fewer jobs will be open to this aging population as the Millennials take over the workforce from both the Boomers and the Gen-X generations.
We are a passionate group of people who believe that staying in place, in a home of one's own choosing is the best place to be.