Just last year, AARP again reported that "... 90% of older adults want to remain in their own homes as long as possible." They often live, however, in homes with design features (such as second floor bedrooms and bathrooms and multi-step entries) that that challenge the reality of that dream. The National Association of Home Builders has been working to resolve this mismatch, creating specialized training for builders, called CAPS (Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist). Though I'm not a contractor, I've been "CAPS certified" for over ten years, using what I've learned to help people make their homes more "User Friendly."
"User-Friendly" homes are designed to meet the current and future needs of the people who live in them. They are safe and easy places to live. When possible, they include universal design features such as
Fortunately, even if our homes weren't designed to accommodate our needs across the lifespan, there is still plenty that we can do to make them more "user-friendly"... or what AARP calls "HomeFit." Visit AARP's HomeFit page to access a guidebook, brochure, and video that offer design and safety strategies that help us adapt to changes in vision, hearing, strength, mobility, balance, and flexibility. For example,
Consumer's Home Repair Guide from the Illinois Attorney General's office.
If finances are limited, click here to visit CareSmart's Home Modification/Repair Assistance List of helpful local resources.
The smartest approach is to anticipate and prioritize your needs, then to start making changes today... before you really need them. Your home is your castle. Make it work for YOU!
Researchers say that laughter is universal, occurring across ages and cultures. It's social, it's contagious, and it helps to creates bonds with others around us.
Laughter is also good for our health (Laughter is the Best Medicine). A good laugh
So... in celebration of St. Patrick's, it seems appropriate to offer a few Irish jokes to tickle your funny bone ... or make you groan. Just remember that laughter is social and contagious... it comes not from keeping the joke to yourself but in the sharing with others.
From Boy's Life:
Tom: What do you get when you cross a four-leaf clover with poison ivy?
Pee Wee: I don't know.
Tom: A rash of good luck on St. Patrick's Day.
Joke submitted by Tommy F., Aberdeen, Md.
Seth: What do you call a fake Irish stone?
Seth: A shamrock!
Joke submitted by Seth F., Frederick, Colo.
David: Mom, I met an Irish boy on St. Patrick's Day.
Mom: Oh, really?
David: No, O'Reilly!
Joke submitted by David K., Shelby Township, Mich.
Keenan: What do you call leprechauns who collect aluminum cans, used newspapers and plastic bottles?
Joke submitted by Jacqueline S., Moline, Ill.
Evan: What's Irish and stays out all night?
Evan: Paddy O'Furniture.
Joke submitted by Evan R., Wylie, Tex.
And from Jokes4Us.com:
Why can't you borrow money from a leprechaun? Because they're always a little short.
When is an Irish Potato not an Irish Potato? When it's a FRENCH fry!
What does a leprechaun call a happy man wearing green? A Jolly Green Giant
GUEST COLUMNIST NOTE: Tony Dearing, the Director of News Operations for NJ Advance Media, contacted me after last year's "Talk Brain Health" webinar. Tony writes a column on brain health, dementia prevention and successful aging. What follows is an abbreviated version of a related article by Tony that grew out of our conversation. Thank you, Tony, for your informative article!
It can be one of the most difficult conversations you'll ever have.
And one of the most important.
When a loved one begins to struggle with memory loss, you can't help but worry. Soon, others notice, too. Everyone can see mom is struggling, but no one wants to talk about it. Especially to her.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America knows how tough it can be for families to talk about memory loss. "It's a sensitive issue," Amanda Secor, AFA director of communications, said in a recent webinar. "You don't want to offend someone. If they're starting to have memory issues, they might be defensive about being approached about it."
But there are gentle, non-threatening ways to broach the subject, and the AFA wants to show you how. So it teamed with the National Alliance for Caregiving
to create a free tool kit to help families start the conversation with a loved one, so he or she can get the treatment they need for their memory loss -- and perhaps even reverse it.
Why early detection of dementia is crucial. People ask, what's the point of getting a diagnosis if there's no cure? But experts say early diagnosis is crucial in helping to slow the cognitive decline, improve quality of life for the patient, and give help to a family overwhelmed by the demands of caring for someone with dementia.
The "Let's Talk Brain Health!" tool kit [in English & Spanish] takes you step-by-step through the process of involving family members, comparing notes, getting yourself prepared and then choosing the right time and setting to sit down with a parent or spouse and open a discussion.
Christine Damon, founder of the Illinois-based CareSmart program, says that process begins by documenting the behavior changes you've noticed.
"The first thing has to do with observations, taking some notes," says Damon, who helped present the tool kit at a series of national webinars last fall. "One thing you really want to pay attention to is, has there been change? Something that people used to be very familiar with and do easily? Are you seeing new behavior?"
Once you have your own notes, the tool kit suggests the following steps:
Click here to read Tony's article in it's entirety or here to download as a PDF file.