May 30

One of the problems facing wheelchair users is scraping the walls and doorways when wheeling through the house, not to mention scraping fingers and knuckles. Offset hinges widen doorways a few inches by expanding the door opening at the hinge. These are an easy and cost effective way to solve the problem.

But sometimes there is a door opening in a hallway that doesn’t have a door to expand – it’s just a narrow opening. While it’s wide enough to fit through, it’s a snug fit.

These narrow openings are easy to spot, as the wheel marks are evident on the walls and doors where the paint has scraped off. It’s bad enough when you own the home you live in, but it’s worse if you’re a renter and have to pay to fix the walls when you move out.

We recently helped a wheelchair user by attaching clear, plexiglas wheelchair wall protectors to a narrow door opening. The plexi sheets are thin enough that they don’t impede movement through the opening but save the paint and wood from being scraped away.

Wheelchair Wall Protectors

We’ve seen commercial wall protectors in parking garages and even offices where furniture is constantly being moved, but we haven’t found a commercial solution for homes yet. So we fabricated our own wheelchair wall guard.

It’s a fairly simple procedure to install them, and until somebody comes out with a pre-made protector, take a look around your own home and see if it might help save your paint and wood.

May 16

With Baby Boomers now hitting their stride into retirement age at record numbers (10,000 per day), many consider where to retire as a key consideration.

An AARP study concludes that most people want to remain in their own home for the rest of their lives, or at least as long as possible. That leaves a few people to consider moving to someplace a little warmer and sunnier. So we did a little digging and found 6 Lists from different sources that discuss the Best Places to Retire.

Best Places to Retire

Here are a few things to consider when thinking about where to retire:

  • Can you financially afford to sustain your ideal lifestyle for many years to come?
  • Will you need a car where you live?
  • Is there good public transportation in the area?
  • How close will you be to family and friends?
  • Does the area offer good amenities such as shopping and restaurants?
  • Are there plenty of options for recreation and exercise?

While these are just a sampling of things to consider, make a list of what’s important to ensure that the area where you choose to retire will meet your important needs.

There’s no shortage of retirement ideas on the internet and we’ve found a few that looked interesting.

Yahoo Finance recently ran a story, “The Best Place to Retire Overseas on a Budget,” that discusses the attributes of Ecuador.

U.S. News Money had an article called, “The 18 Best Places to Retire Overseas,” with a short summary about why each place made the list.

The Huffington Post weighs in with, “Best Places To Retire: 10 Most Relaxing U.S. Cities To Enjoy Your Golden Years,” that has a photo slideshow with descriptions.

CNN Money offers a list of the “25 Best Places to Retire” with a focus on reasonably priced homes, low crime and tax rates, and quality health care.

AARP writes about “10 Great Sunny Places to Retire” from their Best Places to Retire in 2012 list.

We also found a Pinterest Board called, “Best Places to Retire” that has plenty of photos and links to resources. If you don’t know about Pinterest, it’s one of the hottest things on the web today and is certainly worth a look.

You may not be planning to retire just yet, but it is highly recommended to begin planning in advance to be sure you can afford it and find the best deals before they get too expensive. Eventually, others find the hidden gems and the prices always go up in due time.

May 9

Summer is always a great time for exercise because the weather is nice and most of us would rather be outside soaking up some of the sun’s Vitamin D energy than staying indoors. With the high temps we’ve had across the country in previous years, being in a pool makes it all that much better.

Pools are a great way for seniors to get low impact exercise that is easy on the joints but still gives a pretty good workout. Not only does the exercise release feel-good endorphins, it’s a refreshing way to stay active outside and beat the heat.

Pool safety is imperative though, and it’s always advised to not swim alone – and that goes for all age groups. Just as children should always have a parent with them, seniors should also be accompanied by a caregiver, friend, or other family member when using a pool. As kids at camp learn every summer, it’s called the buddy system and it’s a lesson that should be followed all through life.

Every pool should have a secure pool rail adjacent to the steps for getting in and out of the pool. Public swimming pools are required to have at least one at every entrance and the same should be followed by private residential pools. In fact, public pools over a certain size are now also required to have an ADA Pool Lift. While a pool lift may be overkill for your home pool, many styles and sizes are available should one be needed.

We recently installed a pool rail at the home of an elderly couple in Los Angeles. We do quite a few pool rail installations every summer. As you can see in the first photo, both the pool and jacuzzi were without any railings to aid in getting in or out.

Pool Rail before Installation

The next photo shows the pool rails we installed that extend out across the length of the steps. They take up very little space and do not impede the walkway area around the pool. They help ensure the safety of the person using the pool, as well as allowing a caregiver to get into the pool to help with exercise routines.

Pool Rail after Installion

Also notice in the second photo, the pool area is free from any obstacles that may cause somebody to trip and fall into the pool. Inside the home we’re always careful to keep cords out of the way and carpets tacked down to prevent tripping and falling. The same care should be taken outside around the pool.

If you have a pool, but haven’t been using it because of safety issues, it might be worth it to have a backyard assessment. It usually doesn’t take much to get a pool in shape to begin enjoying it again.

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