"To be too certain of anything is the beginning of bigotry." -- Novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Thumbs Up . . .

     One thumb up is for Bob Lowry over at Satisfying Retirement who's now published his second book Living a Satisfying Retirement. It is based on a plethora of questions he asked fellow bloggers regarding various aspects of the retired life. The questions range from: What financial planning have you done to prepare for retirement? to: How do you fill up your day now that you're not working?

     So if you're looking for some answers to those thorny retirement questions, check out his book on amazon. Can't go too wrong for $2.99!

     The second thumbs up goes to Rachel Adelson who's written a book called Staying Power: Age-Proof Your Home for Comfort, Safety and Style. The science writer (and former IBMer) points out that over 90 percent of seniors live in conventional housing, as opposed to a senior-citizen facility. Some of the benefits of staying in your own home, or "aging in place" as it's sometimes called:  It costs less, keeps you in familiar surroundings, and offers greater independence.

     She reminds people to research the services available in your communtity for aging in place. Often there is more than meets the eye, including support for transportation, nutrition, fitness and entertainment.

     Then her book offers all kinds of advice for age-proofing our homes -- in the same way we baby-proofed our homes when we had small children. A few of her suggestions:

     * Improve lighting in the bathroom and the kitchen, and especially on the stairs.

     * Affix traction tape along the front edge of your stairs, in contrasting colors, to help prevent falls.

     * Outfit your kitchen with easy-to-use tools and utensils.

     * Get rid of scatter rugs throughout the house.

     * Install grab bars in the bathroom, as well as a raised toilet seat to help people with bad knees or a bad back.

     I myself enthusiastically support her suggestions, especially the last one since I recently took a spill in my shower. I slipped as I was getting out, grabbed for the soap dish, and pulled it right out of the wall. I tumbled over the side of the bathtub onto the floor and gave myself a big bruise -- this was several weeks ago and I still have an ugly brownish splotch as big as a basketball from waist to armpit.

     So (he said, with a wink and knowing cough) you don't have to be old to want to get yourself a proper grab bar. You only have to be my age.


Linda Myers said...

I've downloaded Bob's book on my Kindle and will read it when we're in Kenya later this month.

We're considering aging in place. Do you think the book is worth a read or is it padded and general and stuff we could find in multiple other places?

Bob Lowry said...

Thanks for the nice words, Tom. For $2.99 I trust everyone will find some value.

And, to Linda, have a safe trip to Africa. I know it has been a dream of yours for years.

Rachel's book sounds interesting. My wife and I have started talking seriously where we want to be when the time comes that we need more help. Neither of us are wild about the typical retirement community but we don't want to burden our kids either.

Aging in place is a viable option, but only to a point. There comes a time when that won't work no matter how many grab bars are installed and in-home health workers one can afford.

It is a tough question.

Olga said...

I have a good friend who built a beautiful lake home with her husband. It has a second story for the kids' bedrooms, but it was also designed so that they could live on the first floor, which is completely accessible--including an accessible, oversized shower in the bath, wide doorways, etc. The walk out basement is completely equipped for a caretaker to live there. They did all this while in their 30's and in vigorously good health. Some people really plan ahead.

stephen Hayes said...

I does pay to plan ahead. i wish our home didn't have so many stairs, which will probably be the reason we move someday.

Lorna said...

I could *really* use grab bars in my shower, but it is that plastic, fiber glass kind of surface that will not hold grab bats. I would have to re-do my shower stall in tile.

DJan said...

Thanks for the links and all the information, Tom. I'm only seventy and hope it will be a while before I need to think about moving into a retirement community. I'll know when it's time, I suspect. Good tips for seniors, thank you! :-)

schmidleysscribblins.wordpress.com said...

We have stairs and they are a form of exercise. I would have preferred a one story place, but we're here now and aging in place until there is only one of us which good lord willing will be many years yet. Dianne

Rachel Adelson said...

Thanks Tom for the kind words (and noting the IBM connection - still keep a white shirt handy). Hope you iced that bruise and got at least one grab bar put up. That tub-to-floor transition is a doozy, so a vertical bar to provide stability for that phase is a big help. As for installations on non-tile surfaces, don't give up prematurely! Call an experienced contractor who might have special tools and techniques for installation. If they're also Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS), they might have work-arounds. You might also be able to mount a vertical bar just outside for getting in and out. And use proper shower mats (cut down to size if need be). Clean that surface to keep soap from leaving a slippery film. As for tile, a special diamond-tipped drill bit makes the job neat and clean. And we're all worth diamonds, right?

Finally, figuring out how and where to live in old age isn't a binary or one-time decision. You can do a lot in your own home for a long time, even if it has stairs, but if and when things change you can re-assess your options. Like a lot of people in this field, I wrote about when aging at home works and doesn't work ... my thoughts are on my blog at Huff/Post50.

For those who'd like to learn more what's inside my book, it has a website with details about the contents -- you can decide if it might be helpful in your situation (www.stayingpowerbook.com).

I'm a Baby Boomer born at the peak -- so many of us pondering this question. Our answers will be as individual as we are, but we could all use some grab bars. Good luck!