Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place Improvements

RemodelAAccording to the SRES Council (Seniors Real Estate Specialist), here are some low-cost options for your current home for aging in place.

Safety Improvements

Flooring: carpeting is better than area rugs because it is continuous and reduces tripping hazards. It also provides a cushion if a fall occurs.

Handrails: many stairways have a handrail on only one side. Adding a second handrail on the opposite wall improves stability.

Footwear: non-slip shoes, as opposed to slippers or socks, help prevent falls.

Non-skid safety strips: non-skid strips that are adhered to the floor of a tub / shower are preferred to removable bath mats.

Bathroom grab bars: locating them in places where bending and sitting occur (i.e. by a toilet; on a tub wall) provides stability. It’s best to anchor them into the wall.

Quality step ladder: a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder for items stored out of reach. A hand-hold bar across the top improves stability and safety.

Lighting: better lighting helps prevent falls.  Motion-activated lights improve visibility in pass-thru areas such as hallways. Brighter lighting makes reading or doing tasks more enjoyable.

Convenience Factors

Hand shower: install a hand-held system with a flexible hose where a fixed shower head currently exists.

Raised toilet seats: a removable seat fits most toilets. No need to replace that expensive toilet with a taller one.

Knobs: lever-style handles are easier to turn than round handles.

Cooking utensils: many light-weight and ergonomically designed utensils are now available. Many have non-slip handles, some are even oven-proof..

Often-used items: keep them handy in easy to access locations.

Eliminate excess: having fewer items to store and sort through makes most-often items easy to find and retrieve.



If He Knew He Would Live This Long…….


This gallery contains 2 photos.

A friend recently told me; “If I knew I would live this long I would have taken better care of my body.” I agree with him because of my own experiences. Viet Nam injuries along with a motorcycle wreck while riding … Continue reading

A Subject We Usually Don’t Talk About

Last month I had my right shoulder joint replaced. A serious but a somewhat routine surgery,  except for a complication I faced, I am right handed and additional arthritis prevents me from reaching behind myself with my left arm. Toileting becomes difficult when the only arm I can use is locked in an immobilizer sling tied to my body.UltraSlingII3

I made test trials with various options prior to surgery and was unhappy with the results.  There simply had to be a better, cleaner way. My travels throughout the world proved that there is more than one way to skin a cat….or clean a behind!

Homes and hotels in most countries in Europe, Latin America and Japan have bathrooms equipped with either a bidet, or in Japan, specially equipped toilets and seats.%UseBidetaByCountry

Bidets are hardly used at all in the U.S. while most hotel rooms in Europe had a bidet and commode like this:Bidet and CommodeSome hotel bathrooms even post instructions for use:BidetCorrectUse

My visits to Japan surprised me with the many variations of toilet equipment which allowed cleaning with a water stream and even air drying after a water cleanse, they include electronic controls….. BidetJapanControls

So….I was left with the question; what can I do to retain my dignity and take care of my own toileting? I discussed this problem with an Occupational Therapist. The Occupational Therapist equipped me with two choices, both required I attach toilet paper to a stick to poke between my legs and wipe with a scrubbing motion. Each device held the toilet paper differently but both had a release mechanism to drop the soiled paper into the toilet. The routine was; attach clean paper, scrub, release, attach fresh paper, etc. etc. etc…no better choices were offered.



I was not happy with any of these options. Unfortunately there was not enough room to install an additional bidet unit, or time and money enough to buy and have a plumber install a Japanese Deluxe toilet.

Just what could I do?

After a great deal of searching on the internet I found a number of portable products, most attached to the cold water supply to the toilet tank, all had spray attachments suitable for female hygiene use but not good for use for toileting. Finally I found something  that looked like it would do the job….it is called HydraWand.



I ordered it, installed it in five minutes. It was a portable device that worked as well as any bidet I used in hotels throughout Europe, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong. The faucet attachment allows me to control the water temperature for total comfort. I will use this even after my arm is out of the sling because it is far superior to toilet paper and every bit as good, if not better, than the bidets found outside the United States.

I sure wish we had something like this in the outhouses we used in Vietnam.BidetOuthouseVietNam