Retrofitting in housing is the practice of adding features in the design of the home that were not included during the initial construction. Retrofitting is necessary because much of our existing housing stock is missing universal and accessible design. Incorporating these features may require us to make significant changes to the home to fully implement universal design.
At its core universal design seeks to create products and environments that can be used comfortably by all people with minimal adaptation or specialization. What this means is that a home can accommodate changes we experience over time or a disability that is the result of an accident or disease. In contrast, homes that are not designed for all people often require expensive modifications to accommodate the needs of ourselves or loved ones with disabilities.
We all have that person we trust most when we don’t feel well. Whether a spouse, parent, or friend, this person knows us better than anyone. They know our preferences and wants. If we were not able to speak for ourselves, how would emergency responders know how to contact the person we trust most? A great solution is to display this information from the lock screen on our phones. It is important that the information is accessible when the phone is locked so that emergency responders can see it without having to unlock the phone.
In “Change in Public Discourse on Aging Recommended” we discussed a report released by the FrameWorks Institute. We learned that much of the public discourse on aging is fragmented and incomplete. To reduce the gap between public discourse and scientific knowledge on aging, national aging organizations and funders set out to explore the narrative on aging issues and provide strategies to bridge the gap. The report from their efforts was released in February.
We take mundane tasks such as laundry for granted. We sort, wash, and fold our clothing each week. Perhaps we even dread the task. However, the ability to do laundry is an important component of our independence. The laundry room is arguably one of the most difficult rooms to modify for accessibility, particularly if stairs are required to access the space. Relocating a laundry room can be quite costly because of the need to move plumbing and/or make additions to the home.
Our relationship with food extends beyond the need to eat, the art of preparing and serving food is how we connect with others and pass down family traditions. While many services exists to ensure people with disabilities are able to have nutritious foods, little thought is given to how losing the ability to prepare and serve food to the people we love effects are emotional well-being. What’s more, we tend to equate disability to the inability to prepare food.
During the 20th Century, indicators existed that various groups were concerned about the content of motion pictures. We can speculate that intervention through the legal system was coming. The motion picture industry took action to meet public demands. As a result, they now have a rating system that is responsive to consumer demands.
Our bathroom is both the most critical and the most dangerous room in our home. When it comes to remaining in the home, our bathroom is often the deciding factor. Imagine while recovering from surgery that you or a loved one need to use a wheel chair. What would it be like to wash your hands? What about more complex tasks such as using the toilet or bathing?
A cataract is a change in the lens of the eye that causes it to cloud. Most cataracts are simply the result of time. Research suggested that more than half of people over the age of 80 have a cataract or surgery to remove a cataract. In fact, surgery to remove cataracts is the most common type of operation performed in the United States.
Accessibility refers to considering the needs of people with disabilities during the design process. Often we think of ramps and automatic door buttons for people who use wheelchairs. While important, these items are only two examples of accessibility. Accessibility includes features that enhance a person’s ability to interact with the home, community, and technology. For example, people with visual impairments may use a screen reader when interacting with technology. A screen reader converts text on the screen to audio.
The following article contains information on housing options for disabled adults including links, resources, and other information.
Caregiving is one of the most challenges and rewarding roles a person will ever have. There are steps a person can take to reduce some of the challenges of being a caregiver. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help.
The number of adults with dementia is projected to increase by 25% over the next decade. Providing care to a person with dementia can be very challenging. SDSU Extension created this page to help caregivers. Our goal is to make tools available to caregivers so they can spend less time worrying about caregiving and more time with their loved one.
Providing care to a friend or family member who is disabled is both rewarding and challenging at the same time. SDSU Extension has compiled these resources about caring for oneself as you provide care to a friend or loved on who is disabled.
The following article contains a number of links to resources for caregivers.
When a friend or loved one becomes disabled, we want to continue to provide care to them. Providing care to an adult who is disabled requires special consideration and skills. SDSU Extension has compiled these resources as a guide.
We want to remain in our home indefinitely. This is commonly called “aging in place”. As we envision making this dream a reality, we may think of remodeling our home by updating the bathroom for accessibility or moving a bedroom to the main floor. While all of these changes can help us remain in the home, additional factors outside the home may influence our ability to age in place.
Do you want to remain in your home and community, even when facing chronic disease, disability or short term injury? If you said yes, you are like many people across our great state. Our homes, communities, and technology are significant barriers to remaining independent.
Indicators suggest that population aging is the new normal. Boomers (born 1946-1964) and other older generations have meaningful buying power. Ensuring businesses are conscious of the needs and wants of this large segment of the population is critical to remaining viable.
Population aging refers to an increase in the average age of a population and an increase in the proportion of adults over the age of 65. The Babyboom generation began joining the ranks of adults over the age of 65 in 2011.
A crisis is looming: the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age. Fears of their mass exodus from the workforce paints the headlines of many media outlets across the country. Many of these stories are missing a significant historical event underlying challenges our businesses and organizations are experiencing: the demographic transition. The image below shows the different phases of the demographic transition.
We have a wide range of housing options as we age. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help us understand what is available to us.
There are a lot of misconceptions about older adults and aging. Take this quiz to test your aging IQ.
How many of you sit around during the holidays and listen to stories shared by your loved ones, such as grandparents or parents? Have you witnessed the emotions expressed by your loved ones? Listened to the details of the story? Even if you have heard the story before, it is important for you to be an attentive listener, because reminiscing serves a purpose in older adulthood.
Since people are living longer than ever, retirement savings need to last longer and work harder. It is more important than ever to make smart financial decisions. There are four standard sources of retirement income, Social Security, retirement plans and/or employer sponsored pensions, investment income, and earned income from part time employment.
No matter what your age or when you plan to retire, now is the time to begin saving for retirement. Saving becomes secondary when we prioritize other demands, such as marriage, buying a house, and/or raising children. Each month you delay impacts the total savings you will have when you begin retirement.
Communication skills are crucial all across the life course. Effective communication skills may help avoid confusion and misunderstanding. Effective communication is especially important when discussing sensitive topics such as a move to an assisted living facility. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help sharpen your communication skills.
People often have a smaller income when they retire than they did during their working years. These resources may help make your dollar go a little further.
As the population gets older, it will be beneficial to develop affinity between the generations. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help.
The difference between estate planning and retirement planning is subtle, but important. Retirement planning involves planning a person’s financial future once they are no longer employed full time. Estate planning involves determining what will happen to a person’s property and financial resources in the event of death or incapacitation.
Difficult conversations are a part of life that we will all have to face at some point. For example, it may be necessary to take the keys away when it is no longer safe for an older person to drive. SDSU Extension has compiled some resources to help provide some insight before you approach a person on a sensitive topic.
As loved ones age, we may have concerns about their safety of our older loved ones behind the wheel. SDSU Extension has pulled together a wide array of resources on the subject to help you determine the safety of your loved one to drive.
Have you ever had a hard time making a decision? Most of us can agree that decision-making can be difficult –even simple, everyday decisions like deciding what to eat for lunch! But what about making medical decisions? What feelings come up when thinking about making decisions about medical care? We often feel uncertain, overwhelmed, or even avoidant. These feelings are valid. Understanding and “owning” our feelings can help us move forward in feeling more comfortable starting a conversation about medical decision making.
It’s safe to say that most of us have experienced a visit to the doctor. We may go to the doctor to get treated for a health condition, to manage a chronic health condition, or to get a yearly physical. Some of us have experienced a surgery or hospitalization. Interaction with the Healthcare system is a common human experience—we need it and use it to stay healthy. Yet, sometimes navigating the system can be a challenge.
Chronic disease or medications can increase our risk of falling. We can reduce the risk. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help.
As a person ages, there are common health concerns. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to provide more information about common health concerns among people of an advanced age.
Food is a cornerstone of our lives. Not only is food necessary for keeping us alive, sharing a meal with other people is one way we connect and build relationships. Understanding how our nutrition needs change over time is critical to staying healthy.
Most of us can agree that constipation is not the most pleasant topic to discuss. Yet, if you are one of the many who suffer from the symptoms of constipation on an ongoing basis, is very important to discuss this with your healthcare team. Successfully managing the symptoms of chronic constipation is critical because the long term effects can have a profound impact on your well-being and ability to function.
South Dakotans express a desire to remain in their own home or the home of a family member for as long as they can. With special planning at the initial purchase of a home or modification of an existing home, a person can remain in the home safer for a longer period of time as they age. SDSU Extension compiled these resources to help.
What are advanced directives? They are legal documents that we can create to provide instructions about medical care we receive, if we are ever not able to communicate our wishes. There are two kinds of legal documents used to communicate these wishes: living wills or medical power of attorney.
Our eyes need certain nutrients, just like the rest of the organs in our body, to be healthy and serve their specific purpose of helping us see! Here are some foods that contain a good source of these nutrients that will help to prevent certain eye problems like cataracts, macular degenerations, and glaucoma.