The Most Popular Home Improvements Among Seniors and Retirees

According to a 2012 AARP report, nearly 90% of people aged 65 and older wish to remain in their own homes as long as they are able. The report also showed that 80% of older Americans are committed to staying in place while they age. Finally, about 25% of the respondents plan to make modifications to their homes to make it easier for them to age in place. This information led us to investigate which home improvements and modifications are the most popular among seniors and retirees to make aging in place more comfortable and convenient for them. Some home improvements are much more costly than others, but they all make it easier for seniors and retirees to age in place.

Stair Lifts

One of the most popular home improvements for seniors and retirees is installing a stair lift. the stairs to upper floors often becomes difficult for older Americans, as they may develop muscle weakness and instability. Seniors also find it easier to carry laundry up and down the stairs when riding on a stair lift. Stair lifts carry a hefty price tag, but they are a less expensive option than installing elevators, which can cost as much as $30,000. Most stair lifts require custom-fit tracks for staircases, so it is a good idea to have them professionally installed.

Walk-In Bathtubs

Seniors and retirees may find it difficult to climb in and out of the bathtub. One of the more popular home improvements to solve this challenge is installing a walk-in bathtub. Over the years, walk-in tubs have become more convenient or luxurious, with some featuring quick drains and others featuring air massage systems with therapeutic jets. Another option is to install a walk-in shower and tub combination.

Bathroom Grab Bars and Safety Rails

There are a number of grab bars and safety rails available that can make the bathroom safer for seniors and retirees. Grab bars may be located on the bathtub and next to the toilet, and safety rails and safety frames may be installed on the commode to give seniors something to hold on to while transferring to and from the bathtub and toilet. Bathroom grab bars and safety rails are especially helpful for seniors who have trouble with balance or who are unsteady on their feet. Retirees who worry about slipping in the shower appreciate the added peace of mind that shower handles provide.

Lever-Style Door Handles

As seniors and retirees develop arthritis and lose some grip strength, they choose to replace their round doorknobs with lever-style door handles. Lever-style door handles do not require the same level of grip that traditional round doorknobs do, so they ease the level of difficulty seniors and retirees face when opening doors in their homes. Lever-style door handles are available for interior and exterior doors, and some feature unique push-pull mechanisms to make them even easier and more convenient for seniors.

Motorized or Automated Blinds

It can be difficult for seniors and retirees to operate blinds. An increasingly popular home improvement is installing motorized or automated blinds, complete with remote controls. These window treatments allow seniors and retirees to control their blinds without standing up, reaching across furniture, and reaching up high or bending low to make adjustments. Because of their custom nature, motorized or automated blinds should be measured and installed by a professional.

Many seniors and retirees invest in home improvements because they prefer to remain in their own homes and age in place as long as possible. While home improvements may seem costly at first, seniors and retirees soon realize that making some improvements to their homes for added safety, convenience, and comfort is well worth the investment.

About the Author

Angela Stringfellow is an author from Snappy Services. Snappy is an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services company in Georgia. You can learn more about the services offered by Snappy in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:

Kitchen Remodeling Ideas That Make Cooking and Dining Safe and Easy for Aging Adults

Aging adults intend to enjoy their retirement years, and for many of them that includes cooking and dining at home. Retirement allows seniors to have more time to spend on preparing healthy meals and entertaining family and friends, but as they grow older, safety and ease of food preparation can become a concern for seniors with mobility or cognitive difficulties, such as memory impairment from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Because the kitchen often is the hub of family life, it is a room worthy of investment in modifications to keep it at the center of aging adults’ lives as well. There are several remodeling options that make cooking and dining safe and easy for aging adults, and we offer our top choices below.

First Floor Location

For older adults who struggle with mobility or who may develop mobility issues over time, the kitchen should be on the main level of the home. Food preparation is an activity that takes place several times a day, but it may be difficult for aging adults to climb the stairs so many times in one day. Moving the kitchen to the main level of the home is one of the best decisions aging adults can make for their homes, and it should be a top priority for any remodeling effort aimed at improving safety and access for older adults.


Consider the cabinets in the kitchen. If a senior has to over and reach to the back of the lower cabinets, we suggest adding pull-out shelves to reduce the strain associated with those movements. Pull-out shelves also tend to maximize the storage space in cabinets, so they also may enable the aging adult to store more items within easy access in the kitchen rather than in a separate pantry or closet.

As for upper cabinets, they may be mounted very high on the wall, making it difficult for seniors to reach items stored inside without making use of a stool or step ladder. If the homeowner does not want to go to the expense of hiring a contractor to lower the cabinet height, one option is to install pull-down shelves in the upper cabinets. These kitchen remodeling ideas may prevent falls and strains for the independent senior who may try to reach these high areas with the use of a stool, chair, or stepladder.

Cabinet and Drawer Knobs and Pulls

If the knobs and pulls on the kitchen cabinets and drawers are small, round knobs, consider replacing them with pulls and handles shaped like the letter “D” or those that are cup-shaped. Knobs and pulls with these distinct shapes are often easier for older adults to grip than traditional round knobs.


Of course, appliances play a crucial role in the kitchen. It is important that aging adults feel comfortable using their appliances safely. Additionally, ensure that the existing appliances are not faulty or pose a hazard. An older gas range may not be the best choice for an aging adult because older models lack an automatic pilot light, while updated gas ranges feature automatic pilot lights. Newer gas range models also have sealed burners, added safety. Moreover, newer appliances have several features that allow for ease of use, such as multiple timers, alarms, and large LED displays. They also are extremely energy efficient, which saves on utility bills — particularly helpful for seniors who are living on fixed incomes. Finally, some refrigerators offer handles designed for easy opening, which make them a perfect choice for aging adults.

Another appliance to consider for a kitchen remodel to make cooking and dining safe and easy for aging adults is a dishwasher. It may be difficult for aging adults to stand for long periods of time to wash dishes, so remodeling a kitchen to allow space for dishwasher installation is a smart idea. If the kitchen already has a dishwasher, consider relocating it so that it sits directly next to the sink for easier access. Another kitchen remodeling idea is to raise the height of the dishwasher, if possible, to reduce the chances of an aging adult straining to load and unload it. If these dishwasher options are too costly, one final suggestion is to consider purchasing a countertop dishwasher. These dishwashers fit between most countertops and cabinetry and are economical.

Aging adults who choose to remain in their own homes want to be as independent as possible, so remodeling the kitchen to make cooking and dining safe and easy for them should be a priority. From modifying cabinetry to updating appliances, there are several options for kitchen remodeling that allow seniors to make use of their kitchens and continue to enjoy cooking and dining experiences in their homes.

About the Author

Angela Stringfellow writes on behalf of Solvit Connecticut, an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services provider from CT. You can learn more about the services offered by Solvit in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:

The Best Bathroom Modifications for Senior Independence and Safety

Even the most independent seniors can struggle with bathroom safety. Slippery floors, tubs, and showers are dangerous for people of any age, and seniors especially need to be cautious when they are in the bathroom. One of the best ways to ensure senior independence and safety in the bathroom is to make modifications so that the bathroom is better suited to the seniors’ needs and abilities. Modifications actually promote senior independence and prevent accidents. We recommend a few of the most helpful modifications to improve accessibility and adaptability.

Preventing Slips in the Tub

Stepping in and out of the tub can be a daunting task for seniors. To make transitioning into the tub a little easier, consider installing a product that would help to prevent slips and falls. Rubber suction grip mats, adhesive strips, or an anti-slip surface material are three popular products for the bottom of the tub. Installing grab bars on the side of the tub or shower is one safety option for seniors who have mobility issues or who are at risk of slips and falls in the bathroom. Coupling grab bars with an anti-slip product can greatly reduce the risk of falls for your aging loved ones.

A bathtub or shower seat is another bathroom modification for seniors who have a difficult time standing for long periods of time or who have poor balance or general weakness. Most shower seats are constructed of durable plastic, while some include padded vinyl for extra comfort. Shower seats come in several options, including those with and without backs, those that are adjustable for height, and those that feature slip-resistant rubber feet. Heavy-duty shower seats also are available for seniors who need a seat that can accommodate more weight.

Adding Convenience to the Shower

If you’ve modified the shower with a shower seat or bench, another modification is to install a handheld shower for convenience. Handheld showers are within a senior’s reach, and they allow older adults to control the flow of water more easily than a traditional shower head, which generally is mounted near the top of the shower. Most handheld showers attach to an existing shower arm for easy installation, and others can be more permanently installed with a diverter valve. Handheld showers that are installed with diverter valves allow for other family members to use the traditional shower head. Another option is to install a shower head/handheld shower combination so that you do not have to incur the expense of installing a diverter valve.

Modifying the Toilet

If the bathroom has a standard toilet, the seat may be too low for seniors who have difficulty bending, sitting, or standing up from a low seat. Raised toilet seats are available as a modification to help seniors be more independent and safe in the bathroom. Raised toilets are available for both standard round toilets and elongated toilets. Many include handles to aid seniors in standing and sitting to prevent sliding, slips, and falls.

Medline Toilet Safety RailsSome seniors do not require raised seats, but do require toilet safety rails or grab bars for added security and stability when sitting down on or standing up from the commode. Most toilet safety rails easily attach to the toilet, and some are adjustable for height and width. Seniors have more confidence when transferring to and from the toilet when they can hold on to and push down on a toilet safety rail.

Preventing accidents for seniors in the bathroom is not as difficult as it may seem, if you make a few simple modifications to meet their needs. Consider their weaknesses and the bathroom areas that pose problems for them, and then make modifications to prevent serious accidents. You’ll likely increase their confidence and sense of security at the same time.




About the Author

Angela Stringfellow is an author from Snappy Services, an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services provider based out of Marietta, Georgia. You can learn more about the services offered by Snappy in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:

5 Must-Have Home Modifications for Seniors Aging in Place

As reported by AARP, 80% of seniors have a firm plan to age in place. There are some home modifications that should be completed to make aging in place more possible for older adults, though. These modifications are a proactive approach to increasing the level of safety in the home, and they often add convenience and comfort for seniors as well. While there are sometimes high costs associated with modifying homes to enable seniors to age in place, many older adults are happy to incur these expenses to fulfill their wish to remain in their own homes.

Widen Doorways

If a senior relies on mobility aids, such as a walker or wheelchair, to navigate through her home, widening doorways is a must-have home modification. Depending on the insulation and placement of electrical switches and outlets in the home, costs vary greatly for widening doorways.

Install Ramps

Exterior stairs may be a challenge for seniors who are unsteady on stairs or who have balance issues, so installing ramps is a necessary home modification that is well worth the cost to provide greater independence. contractors are trained in building and installing ramps of the correct height and rise for seniors.

Indoor threshold ramps are also necessary home modifications for older adults who use wheelchairs. These indoor ramps provide smooth transitions from one surface to another, making it safer to navigate throughout the home. The threshold ramps often are constructed of rubber, so they’re easily adjustable to accommodate the step or door jamb height that is involved in the transition.

Kitchen Modifications

As seniors age, they may find that their appliances are no longer in ideal locations and that their countertops and cabinetry are too high, especially if they are in a wheelchair. Professional contractors may need to come in and adjust the counter height and lower the sink, to allow for easier access from a seated position. Additionally, seniors aging in place often find it easier when microwaves are placed in microwave stands, as opposed to being at the back of the counter or in raised microwave cabinets.

Shower and Bathtub Modifications

A senior opting to age in place also should consider home modifications for the bathroom, particularly the bathtub. One option is to replace the bathtub with a walk-in shower, which provides much easier (and safer) entry and exit than a bathtub. A second bathroom modification option is to replace a traditional bathtub with a walk-in tub.

If a senior wants to keep his existing bathtub, or cannot afford to replace it, there are less expensive modifications that can be made to prevent slips and falls in the bathtub. One modification is to add a safety bar to the tub, while another is to install safety strips. Both of these simple modifications can help prevent slips and falls in the bathtub.

Yet another modification for the bathtub, which is less expensive than replacing the or shower, is to purchase a bathtub transfer bench. Transfer benches straddle the side of the bathtub, enabling seniors to sit safely on the bench while getting into the tub by lifting each leg, one at a time, over the bathtub wall. Getting into the tub while seated greatly reduces the risk of dangerous slips and falls for seniors. Some seniors who cannot spare the required bathroom floor space for bathtub transfer bench legs opt for bathtub chairs, which sit completely inside the bathtub. Seniors may be able to turn around and sit on the chair with both legs outside of the tub and then lift one leg at a time over the tub wall while seated.

Flooring Modifications

Flooring is another consideration for older adults making home modifications with the goal of aging in place. The first step is to evaluate the home’s existing floors. If the carpet is older and shaggy, you may want to consider replacing it with new carpeting that has a shorter nap. Seniors are less likely to trip on shorter-nap carpeting, and it’s also more suitable for seniors who navigate through the home with the use of a walker or wheelchair.

Hardwood, tile, laminate, and vinyl floors are smooth and may allow for easier wheelchair maneuvering, but they also tend to be more slippery than carpeting. People often use throw rugs on these types of flooring, so be sure that you either get rid of them or securely tape them down to prevent trips and falls.

The best course of action to take when making home modifications for seniors aging in place is to consider all of the areas of the home that present the most trouble or concern. If there are things that are especially difficult for seniors, like reaching the countertops or light switches, modify them. If there are potential tripping or falling hazards, eliminate them or modify them accordingly. Taking a proactive approach to modifying the home means that seniors can age in place independently while their loved ones have peace of mind knowing that their aging loved ones are safer in their homes.

About the Author

This post was a contribution from Angela Stringfellow, who writes on behalf of Solvit Home Services, an electrical, heating and air (HVAC), & plumbing services provider from Connecticut. You can learn more about the services offered by Solvit in some of their most popular areas by following the links below:

Senior Gift Ideas: 14 Tech & Gadget Experts Recommend the Best Gift Ideas for Seniors

Are you running out of gift ideas for your older loved ones? No need to fret. We here at Assisted Living Today pride ourselves on providing valuable information for seniors or those who need assisted living.

With that, we’ve interviewed a panel of technology and gadget experts who may be able to help. Technology or gadgets don’t necessarily have to be complicated for an older crowd. That’s why we chose the best experts who are happy to share their recommended gifts suitable to a senior. We asked them:

What’s the #1 gift you’d recommend for seniors?

Take a look at this comprehensive guide on tech senior-friendly gift ideas. See what our experts say below:

Meet Our Panel of Experts for Senior Products:

Ferdinand PoonFerdinand Poon

Ferdinand Poon is the Founder of earlSpeak and a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Moving to New York, he earned his CPA designation while working for Deloitte. In order to be closer to his family, he returned to his native Canada, became an attorney and clerked for the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver.  Then in 2000, Ferd’s father passed away suddenly. He decided it was time to do something that was (and still is) deeply meaningful to him – working to Bridge the Digital Divide.  Thus, earlSpeak was born and since then Ferd and his staff have instructed thousands of older adults and computer novices as they took their first steps into the world wide web.

When it comes to the best tech gift ideas for seniors, my idea is to gift them…

An online lesson with one of our Technology Guides to help them make the most of their existing computer/Internet connection. Teaching a senior (especially a techno-phobic one) how to successfully integrate the hardware into their daily life.

David InnsDavid Inns


David Inns is the President and CEO of GreatCall, Inc., the leader in creating mobile health and safety solutions for active aging. Since the launch of the Jitterbug cell phone platform in 2006, GreatCall has been innovating health & safety services, including mobile personal emergency response, telehealth, caregiver tools, medication adherence and wellness coaching. GreatCall’s services are available on proprietary devices designed for simplicity as well as on iOS and Android platforms. David holds a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario. He has an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and is also a licensed member of the Association of Professional Engineers.

The perfect gift for older adults this holiday season – especially if they are not comfortable with technology is…

The Touch3 smartphone.

The large screen and the easy-to-use interface are just two of the factors that help reduce the intimidation factor. Not only does the Touch3 keep older adults connected to friends and family, but with built-in health and safety apps, the device is able to connect them with the health resources that they need, when they need them. So it’s not just a smartphone with a convenient plan – it’s a health network in the palm of their hand.

Derek MikulskiDerek Mikulski


Derek Mikulski is a NASM and NPTI Certified Personal Trainer and the Inventor of ActivMotion Bar Disruptive Training™. He also is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA and holds a B.S. in health education and promotion from Central Michigan University. Curious and inventive his whole life, Derek has always followed the road less traveled. Derek started taking an interest in fitness at the age of 18 when, through self- education and hard work, he lost 80 pounds! Derek now looks to inspire and help as many people – of all ages -to lose weight and better their fitness with his engaging personality and new ActivMotion Bar Disruptive Training™.

The best tech gift idea I would recommend for seniors is…

The ActivMotion Bar.

ActivMotion Bar Disruptive Training™ improves your core strength, balance and flexibility in a fun and dynamic way. The workouts it provides help you stay functionally fit, mentally sharp, lean, toned and active leading to life-long longevity. Appropriate for any fitness level, this innovative fitness tool keeps you moving and ready for any activity. Multiple weight options to match your fitness level. Flexible workout programs that fit your lifestyle and schedule. Burn calories, build lean muscles and tone your entire body.

Ricky BuchananRicky Buchanan


Ricky Buchanan is the Founder and Writer for ATMac, a blog about using Apple products to empower users with any type of special needs, including seniors.

My top gift ideas, especially for seniors who have an iDevice, is…

A quality iPhone/iPad dock, such as Belkin’s Express Dock for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch, which is a great investment.

Plugging a cable into an iPhone or iPad to charge it can become tricky or painful as bodies age. A good dock allows the user to just sit the device on it and it will charge automatically, with no need for fiddling with cables. Extra suggestion: Set the dock up beside the senior’s bed or favorite comfortable chair so they’ll see it and be reminded to charge their device!

Marco PelusoMarco Peluso

Marco Peluso is the Founder and CEO of Qardio Inc. Prior to founding Qardio, Marco’s career spanned fourteen years in London’s financial industry. He graduated from Bocconi University and by age 28, became a partner at a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Marco left the finance industry to start Qardio after his father suffered a stroke that’s origin was difficult to determine due to a lack of continuous monitoring devices. Marco Peluso founded Qardio with the determination to improve heart centered healthcare by developing a line of revolutionary, personal monitoring devices.

Since the holiday season is known for a spike in heart attacks and heart related issues, the perfect gift for any loved one is…


It’s a sleek, portable blood pressure monitor that makes the perfect gift for any loved one who suffers from high blood pressure or is tasked with monitoring it. QardioArm allows users to check their blood pressure anywhere, anytime, and works by wirelessly connecting to the user’s smartphone or tablet to sync information to the QardioApp, where concerned family members, friends or doctors can access results.

Greg EdsonGreg Edson


Greg Edson has always had a passion for coming up with ideas and acting on them so he created Brolly. From starting soda and candy businesses when he was 10 years old to running online marketing companies in his 20’s and 30’s, passion has continued to strengthen over time. Greg build the Brolly brand to reflect his passions and values; affinity for simple design, appreciation of quality-made products and a belief that you can make a difference in the lives of others.

For seniors, I think the perfect gift for this holiday season is…

The Brolly.

It features a unique finger hole grip that enables seniors’ thumbs to remain free for safely texting / e-mailing in the rain (something no other umbrella can claim). It’s the perfect umbrella for a tech savvy senior, as well as the everyday senior that is on the go and enjoys texting no matter how wet and windy it is outside. Additionally, the Brolly provides a secure and comfortable hold that is second to none. Because of its unique grip, it relieves pressure on seniors’ hands and is very useful for those that suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

Aaron_blockAaron Block


Aaron Block is an Inventor of mobile innovations and has had a long and diverse entrepreneurial history. At the age of 82, he is the Inventor of the HandAble Wearable Holder.

I believe the perfect gift for a senior who has an iDevice this year is…

The HandAble Wearable Holder

More and more seniors are using smartphones and tablets these days. Many seniors have health issues that affect hand strength and find difficulty in using their devices. HandAble gives a comfortable hold without the need to grip the device. it works with any size hand, and just about every device. HandAble is an accessory that easily attaches to cell phones and tablets to give a more comfortable hold, and to keep you from dropping them.

Seth BaileySeth Bailey


Seth Baily is the Chief Executive Officer, Founding Member and Co-Owner of iTOK and has more than 18 years of entrepreneurial and leadership experience. He has played an integral part in helping the company become one of the fastest-growing businesses in the Midwest. Prior to iTOK, Bailey served as Vice President of DirectPointe’s Consumer Division and as Vice President of National Services Group. Bailey graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. In Business Management. In 2009, he received the Utah Business 40 Under 40 award.

My recommendation on the perfect gift for a senior who is suspicious of technology is…

The RealPad.

The RealPad is aimed at older people who are still suspicious of using technology. The $189 touchscreen tablet computer is 7.85 and has a simplified Android operating system with big homescreen icons and easy video chatting options. The device even includes built-in tutorial videos and troubleshooting guide.

Leor GreblerLeor Grebler


Leor Grebler is a co-founder and CEO of Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation (UCIC), a company dedicated to The Internet of  Things (IoT) market space. UCIC’s initial IoT product offering is the Ubi – The Ubiquitous Computer – a voice activated computing device that offers instant access to information and control of home automation devices. Leor steers UCIC towards its goal of making interaction with technology more human and natural.

For seniors who find technology complicated, I would happily recommend...


Ubi is a hands-free device that connects through Wi-Fi, allows people of any age to seamlessly interact with technology without needing to lift a finger. Devices are just plain complicated today. I want to put a new device on your radar that makes managing all your devices through Ubi. You can send emails, text messages, and set reminders all with just your voice. Ask Ubi any question or play any music for free and it will return an answer to you. Some might consider it Siri for your home.

Ho YinHo Yin Cheung

Ho Yin and his team brought to life the iMagnet Mount which helps commuters use their phones safely while driving. Ho Yin struggled to find a car mount that allowed him and his family to easily mount their phones to a car easily without fiddling and any mechanical complexity. A great product for the elderly as it requires little strength and effort to mount a phone, but also small enough to maintain a wide view of the road.

For older adults who drive a lot, I believe the perfect gift for the holidays is…

iMagnet Mount.

iMagnet Mount is a great tech gift for a senior who drives so they can read GPS directions while driving. No more fiddling complex plastic machinery, or clamps to hold your phone, just effortlessly pop your phone onto the magnet pad and it grips your phone. The first magnetic car phone mount that fits any phone, from a small Blackberry to a large iPhone 6 Plus. Great as a gift for someone who commutes and can multitask safely while driving, or just needs a phone stand at work.

Wei Shin

Dr. Wei-Shin Lai


Wei-Shin Lai, a family doctor, is the Inventor and Chief Executive Officer of SleepPhones. She was inspired to design SleepPhones when she was on call for the emergency room. She had a hard time falling back to sleep after being awoken in the night by a phone call. With SleepPhones, she was able to relax her mind and drift back to sleep. She is the organizing and methodical mind behind SleepPhones.

The perfect holiday gift for a senior who has trouble sleeping is…


If seniors are having trouble sleeping, and are thinking about taking medications for better sleep, I generally advise against that as a doctor. One of the major safety issues facing seniors today is medication side effects. Sleep medications increase risk of falls, mental confusion, and drug to drug interactions. Instead, try listening to relaxing music that helps them sleep. Binaural beat technology is a sound technology that gently eases the brain to a more relaxed, state for example. Our SleepPhones Simple are designed specifically for seniors. Relaxing music with binaural beats is built in to our patented and ultra-comfortable headband headphones. With the touch of just one button, you can turn on the SleepPhone Simple to play your favorite sleep track and then automatically shut off when done.

Peter Chin

Peter Chin


Peter Chin is a Product Designer and his latest creation is the NEET Cable Keeper, which he describes as the world’s simplest cable management solution, offering a guarantee of no more tangles. Chin has been designing and creating products for over 20 years.  By understanding production and manufacturing, he specializes in providing the best or most efficient solutions.  He works with several Billion Dollar Corporations such as Met Life, Blizzard/ Activision, Bacardi, and Disney to name a few.  With several US and World patents, his passion is to create simple products that make people’s lives easier.

I think the perfect hassle-free gift for a senior is…

NEET Cable Keeper.

The NEET Cable Keeper is the perfect gift for seniors because it eliminates the tangle cable frustration for good and the full zipper makes it simple for anyone to use.

Colin AngleColin Angle


Colin Angle is Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of iRobot (Nasdaq: IRBT). Angle’s leadership has transformed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology spin-off into a global leader of practical robots. One of the world’s leading authorities on mobile robots, Angle is an industry pioneer with more than two decades of experience. Under his guidance, iRobot is at the forefront of the growing robot industry, delivering home and military robots that are making a difference.

A perfect gift to alleviate housework for a senior is…

Roomba Robot Vacuum.

iRobot was founded on the notion that robotics can provide practical solutions to real world problems that are impacting people around the globe. As people age, daily tasks become more challenging such as light housework, transportation and meal preparation. Robots like our Roomba robot vacuum help senior citizens maintain a clean and sanitary home with little or no involvement. We believe robots will continue to improve and extend the ability of our senior population, to age happily, live independently and connect with the outside world.

Colin AngleSteve Basta

Steve Basta is the CEO of AlterG Inc., a leadership role that he has served since 2011. Steve has led AlterG through the evolution from a premier sports rehab business to a leader in Medical Rehabilitation, establishing the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill and more recently the AlterG Bionic Leg as a core part of the rehab program at over 2000 medical rehabilitation facilities. Steve has led emerging biopharmaceutical and medical device companies for over 20 years in a range of healthcare fields. From 2002 through 2010, Steve served as CEO of BioForm Medical, Inc, leading the company through the successful commercialization of Radiesse, the #3 worldwide dermal filler, and the creation of a worldwide direct commercial aesthetics organization with operations in 16 countries.

A perfect gift for a senior who wants to stay fit is… 

AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill uses NASA-based technology and has been revolutionary in allowing seniors to get back on the feet and work on their fitness. Mobility problems, injuries, assisted walking dependency; none of these are an issue with the AlterG, which helps people to walk and run safely and comfortably. Found in many senior communities and physical therapy clinics, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is extremely affordable and accessible, at only $25 per 30 minute session or just $50 for 3 sessions. Get your independence and fitness back with the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill today.

Functional Kitchens to Facilitate Fuller Living

Wouldn’t it be great if our increased age had no effect on the ease of living and performing simple tasks? In other words, coping with getting older is enough to handle without the added stresses of having to adapt to physical changes and limitations at the same time.0_9211116156.jpg

The truth is that although things become more difficult for us, there are ways to make them easier and ease the transition of aging. After all, the goal is to live life to the fullest, no matter how old you are or your physical condition, right?

Here are a few of the simple ways you can tailor your kitchen – or some things to look for when selecting an assisted living facility – that are not only senior-friendly, but that can also facilitate functioning at full capacity even if you have a physical disability or other limitations.

Handi-Capable Kitchen Cabinets

This wheelchair-accessible cooking station is just one of the ways you can tailor a kitchen to suit your needs when you or a loved one living in your home uses a wheelchair.

Other kitchen cabinet re-vamps include:

  • Raising the toe kicks from the standard 4″ up to 6″-8″ to allow better wheelchair accessibility; and
  • Installing pull-out drawers in the cabinets and slide-out inserts behind the doors give easier access to items located in the back without having to reach in or empty the entire cabinet each time you need something.

In fact, cabinets that consist of open shelving can eliminate the need for doors entirely. This is an especially handy feature if there are issues with pulling doors open (due to muscular difficulties or issues like arthritis) or maneuvering a wheelchair around a space that accommodates the wheels but not the wheels plus space for swinging open kitchen cabinet doors.

Do-able Doors and Drawers

And speaking of pulling open doors (and drawers), there are styles of handles that are easier than others, and a single type can address all sorts of issues.

  • For cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom: “pulls” that are long and slender or even door-knocker-style rings are a better option than tiny (albeit attractive) little knobs that are difficult to grasp.

*A trick with either type of these cabinet pulls is to attach a length of rope or thick cording and tie knots on both ends – now there is more surface area to grab as well as additional leverage provided by pulling on a rope.

  • For interior and exterior doors: handle-style doorknobs or lever-shaped dummy pulls (that you need not manipulate up or down) are preferable to round knobs that must be twisted or latches that require little bits and pieces fitting together in order to lock/unlock the door.

Other Kitchen Guidelines and Good Ideas

In terms of ADA-compliance and otherwise overall good ideas to make living easier, consider the following:

  • Dishwashers: The maximum high forward reach is 48″ and maximum low forward reach is 15″ for controls and operating mechanisms.
  • Top-Freezer Refrigerators: Controls must be below 54″ and be operable with one hand without requiring twisting, pinching or grasping. 100% of the fresh food space, as well as 50% of the freezer space must be below 54″.
  • Side-by-Side Refrigerators: These must be fully-operable with one hand and allow parallel approach by a person in a wheelchair with maximum high side reach of 54″.
  • Range: Same reach requirements as the dishwashers for controls but they may not be located in a place that requires reaching across burners to access them.
  • Cooktops: If they have spaces underneath to allow for wheelchairs, they must be insulated or otherwise covered to prevent burns, abrasions or electrical shock on the exposed surfaces.
  • Make sure blankets and other comforts and necessities (toilet paper, paper towels, soap, toiletries, etc.) are placed on sturdy shelves that do not require a person to extend their reach all the way to the back or lift their arms over their heads.
  • Soft-close and self-closing doors and drawers on kitchen cabinets and in bathrooms are a nice touch that will prevent injured fingers and will minimize the startling effect that slamming doors can have.

What other areas in the kitchen can you think of that could be more geared toward the sensational senior-plus crowd?

Chris Long has been working at Home Depot since 2000. Chris is a store associate in the Chicago suburbs, and also writes on kitchen design ideas for the Home Depot website. He provides advice to Home Depot customers on cabinets, islands, and other kitchen fixtures.

Exercise for the Elderly: Good for the Body, Good for the Soul

As we age, few things become more apparent than how much slower we move or more forgetful we are than we were 20 years ago.  Unless, of course, you’re Demi Moore and your body is literally incapable of aging past the age of 21.  If you are fortunate enough to have no genetic predispositions to disease or chronic health conditions, you have my congratulations. (Just don’t gloat to the rest of us, okay?)

Let’s face it: We’re not going to be in the same physical condition at 75 as we are at 45. People are living longer thanks to advances in medications, treatments and technology, but that’s also leading to an increase in health problems. The number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, is growing at a rapid pace—and a big reason for that is a longer life expectancy.

While genetic factors play a significant role in how we age, there are some key proactive approaches that can help our bodies and minds age gracefully. Exercise is one of the most important influential lifestyle factors that we can control, and it boosts the health of not only our bodies, but our minds as well.

Exercise is Key

Someone once asked me, “As you age, would you rather have your body give out or your mind go?”

I recall my answer vividly. I immediately blurted out, “I would rather my mind go so that I’m not aware of what’s going on with my body!”

Exercise for the mind and the body is imperative to the aging process. It increases our quality of life both now and in the future. Hoping to get out of it by saying it’s too late; you’re past middle age and any exercise you do now won’t do any good? Not so fast: Research proves that it’s never too late to start.

Why is Muscle Mass So Important?

Inevitably, muscle mass deteriorates as we age. According to, we lose three to five percent of our muscle density per decade, beginning in the fourth decade of life. It continues to decline one to two percent every year after the age of 50. Muscle is vital to keeping bodies strong and balanced.  Muscle mass reduces the risks from major injuries, such as a hip fracture and also aids in mobility.

Muscles can–and do–react to low-intensity activities such as walking, dancing and gardening as well as light weight lifting.  These activities reduce the deterioration of muscle mass and aid in rebuilding muscle mass that has already been lost. Exercising can also reduce the risk of broken bones, which can become increasingly common with age. Women, for instance, may be affected by osteoporosis after menopause which leads to easily fractured bones; exercise can help improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures.

Does Exercise Help Cognitive Function?

Brain tissue density also deteriorates as we age. A substantial decline in brain tissue occurs after age 55 and involves the tissue responsible for thinking and memory. The decline in brain tissue has also been linked to cardiovascular health or fitness.

Brain neurons are the cells responsible for thought, movement and basic bodily functions, and they’re also involved in memory. So far research has shown that these neurons actually increase in number after just a few days or weeks of regular activity. Studies indicate that the fittest individuals have higher scores on tasks like coordination, scheduling, planning and memory, according to article on Senior Exercise on Simply put, the more physically fit you are, the more brain tissue you may have.

What Type of Exercise Should I Do?

The American Heart Association regularly publishes guidelines for the recommended amount and frequency of physical activity in older adults. Here are some of the current recommendations:

  • Aerobic exercise which includes walking, jogging, dancing, biking and swimming. To promote and maintain health, older adults need moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes, five days each week, or vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days each week.
  • Resistance exercise which includes weight lifting and calisthenics. To promote and maintain health and physical independence, older adults will benefit from activities that maintain or increase muscular strength and endurance. This can include brisk walks, water aerobics or similar activities at least two days per week.
  • Flexibility exercises, such as Pilates. To maintain the flexibility necessary for regular physical activity and daily life, older adults should perform activities that maintain or increase flexibility at least two days each week for at least 10 minutes per session.
  • Balance exercises to reduce risk of injury from falls.  Older adults with a substantial risk of falls, such as those with frequent falls or mobility problems, should perform exercises that maintain or improve balance. One simple activity is to use the back of a chair to balance your body, then balancing on one leg at a time without using the chair for support. Or do some dynamic walking in your living room; simply walk in a straight line while slowly turning your head from right to left simultaneously.

Exercise is tremendously beneficial for both the body and mind, and it’s never too late to start. All it takes are some simple exercises and workouts a few times each week to start building muscle mass, slim down your frame, improve your balance and even boost your brain function. Don’t like to exercise? Find yourself an exercise buddy so you can motivate each other. It only takes 21 days to form a new habit, and you may be surprised by how much you actually enjoy it.

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Home Help for the Elderly: Is it Right for Your Loved One?

Many older adults desire to stay in their homes as long as possible, avoiding placement into an assisted living or senior living setting. This can be a viable option as long as an elderly parent or loved on has adequate help in the home as additional care and support becomes necessary.  It is important however, to research the range of options available to maintain this desired lifestyle. There are different levels and types of care which can be offered in the home depending on your loved one’s needs.

Make Decisions Early

All too often, families don’t have discussions or make these decisions until  a catastrophic event occurs and it becomes absolutely necessary. Other family members (in cooperation with physicians and other healthcare providers) are then faced with determining whether arrangements can be made for their loved one to remain in her home or whether an alternative living arrangement, such as nursing home placement, will be necessary.

Home care can be more affordable than residential senior living settings, depending on how much care your loved one requires. But home help providers can’t provide more complex services, and non-medical in-home care is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid in most cases.

Evaluating Your Options

There are a few questions you should ask yourself if you’re considering hiring at-home care for an aging loved one. These questions will help guide you in making the right decisions for your family.

  • What support do you have available? Do you have family, friends or neighbors, and how willing are they to become involved? Are there people in your life who can and will step in when needed to help with the lighter aspects, such as house cleaning, errand running, or providing a respite for the caregiver?
  • Do you have the financial ability to pay for care? Obtaining help now or in the future is something you should budget for. Also, look into what the financial obligations are when using a home health or private agency so you can create a financial plan in advance. Call your local office of aging and inquire about what services they provide and about income guidelines.
  • What are your loved ones medical needs? Does your elderly loved one have chronic medical conditions that will inevitably worsen over time? This is specific area of concern when evaluating your options. Consider mobility and health concerns,  possible future complications and how you might handle them.

Finding the Right Home Care Services

Once you have determined your needs, it’s time to evaluate what services your loved one will require to help maintain her independence. It’s time to look for outside providers. Ask among your network of friends and family to find out what local services might be available. Sometimes the best referrals come from your personal network.

Older adult resources such as the Area Agencies on Aging, eldercare specialists such as geriatric care managers, and senior centers can also be great places to start. When it comes to home health care, your physician will also be able to help with the referral process and may have recommendations or advice.  . Insurance providers will sometimes cover a portion of the costs associated with homecare services, if the care is necessary due to a medical condition.

Full-Service Agencies  vs. Independent Providers

There are two main types of in home care available to seniors: Full-service agencies and independent providers.

  • Full Service agencies typically range from companion services to complete nursing services. They can be more expensive but the trade-off is their caregivers have often been carefully screened with extensive background checks. This provides a little peace of mind and helps you feel comfortable with the caregiver in your home. Most states require these caregivers to be certified according to specific state standards, such as taking an examination to become a CNA.  And if a caregiver is unable to work due to illness or emergency, a replacement is typically sent to the home when using the full-service option.
  • Independent Providers are often less expensive.  However, you’ll want to do the legwork to carefully screen your employee. It’s also a good idea to check backgrounds and verify identities. The other downside is not having a readily available replacement should your employee is unable to work on any given day.

Home care can be a viable option for helping your loved one remain independent and in her own home. It’s not right for everyone, however; some seniors prefer the socialization and activities available in senior living settings, and not all families can afford the costs associated with in-home care. Finally, your loved one’s needs may eventually exceed what the agency is able to provide, making a move to a residential senior care facility necessary.

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Legal Services for the Elderly: Where and When to Start

Older adults will eventually encounter age-specific issues which can require legal services. But at what point should you seek legal advice, and for which situations? Is it to make end-of-life decisions or for income-related advice and support? Perhaps it is due to hardships related to consumer-related problems because unfortunately, many seniors fall prey to scams such as fraud, identity theft and other crimes. Seniors are faced with important and often vital end-of-life decisions that require the expertise of a professional.

When is it time?

Older people occasionally, sometimes more often, have to rely on others for things related to their daily activities. This can make the elderly more susceptible to things such as elder abuse, which can be in the form of physical abuse, neglect, or even telephone scams designed to take advantage of vulnerable older adults. Fortunately, there are laws that protect the elderly from such abuse, and if you or a loved one ends up in a situation like this, it’s time to call a lawyer.

Maybe its time to think about end-of-life arrangements such as an advanced directive, a living will, power of attorney, funeral planning, or estate planning. Whether it’s a living will, which specifies what healthcare-related actions you want taken if you’re unable to make decisions due to  temporary or permanent incapacitation, or whether you want to plan for the future financially, an attorney who specializes in elder law should be contacted.

Living wills and advance planning for the elderly

It’s wise to protect your property and assets by having a will even if you don’t have a large estate or a lot of money. The main reason is to ensure that your property and valuables go to the person or persons that you choose. If a will has not been drafted, the property can be distributed according to their state’s laws.

Preplanning for a funeral can take a huge burden off of family members; it offers emotional and financial security for seniors and their loved ones. Since 2000, The National Funeral Directors Association now follow a Bill of Rights for funeral contracts, which serves as a resource to understand what to expect from preplanning your funeral. However, before signing any funeral arrangement contracts it is important to have a legal professional look over the documents.

Where do I Look for Legal Advice?

Where are the experts that can help a senior with end-of life-concerns? In the early 2000’s the specialty of Elder Law surfaced, which is devoted to the issues that seniors face. Elder law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness and incapacity such as:

  • Health and personal care planning, which includes powers of attorney and living wills, lifetime planning and family issues.
  • Fiduciary (financial) representation, financial planning, housing opportunities and financing, income, estate, and gift tax matters.
  • Planning for a well spouse when the other spouse requires long term care, asset protection, public benefits such as Medicaid and insurance, and Veterans’ benefits.
  • Capacity, guardianship and guardianship avoidance.
  • Resident rights in long-term care facilities and nursing home claims.
  • Employment and retirement matters, age or disability discrimination and grandparents’ rights.
  • Will and trust planning, planning for minor or adult special needs children.

There are a number of situations in which you may find yourself in need of an elder law attorney. In general, however, the sooner the better is the rule when it comes to making plans for the future. It’s wise to sit down with an attorney even in mid-life or sooner to discuss things such as advance directives and wills in case of unforeseen events. The better prepared you are now, the more you can enjoy your golden years knowing all your end-of-life decisions will be carried out.

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Role Reversal: Cohabitating with an Elderly Parent

As the population continues to age, few things become more apparent than seniors’ desire for independence coupled with wanting to stay in their own homes. It’s a comfort thing: Most people want to grow old in their home, surrounded by their personal belongings and memories. Not to mention, the exorbitant costs associated with care outside of the home either in a long-term setting or assisted living facilities seems far out of reach for many of today’s families.

Nowadays, there are more and more adult children who end up cohabitating with their aging parents, whether that means the child returns home to get back on his feet or an elderly parent moves in with a child’s family to downsize or when it becomes unsafe for them to live alone. In the last 15 years, the number of seniors living with an adult child has skyrocketed, thanks in part to the high costs associated with getting outside help.

Living with elderly parents
Families provide the bulk of long-term care

It’s estimated that over 10 million adults over the age of 50 are responsible for the care of an aging parent. That’s about one in five Americans taking over the responsibility of a parent either in their home or paying for their care, according to the most recent statistics from the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA).

What’s more, Focus on the Family reports that families–not institutions–are providing 80 percent of long term care, meaning there are a lot of family caregivers out there providing the bulk of caregiving services for today’s elderly population. . As baby boomers are living longer and having healthier lives, any care that is needed for the aging parents typically becomes the children’s responsibility.

As people grow older, there are many ailments and conditions which may lead to the need for outside help. Cohabitating with aging parents can take the place of some, if not much, of the need for this assistance. A cohabitating arrangement can prove beneficial and rewarding, but it could also create plenty of complications.

Talk out the details first

Most children have good intentions when they decide living with an elderly parent is the best option. However, these situations can go south very rapidly if all the details weren’t given much thought before the decision was made.

Addressing every topic beforehand, such as finances, and evaluating how to establish unity among everyone involved can ease much of the tension associated with living with aging parents. Here are a few topics that should be considered prior to cohabitating with mom or dad:

  • Who will pay the bills? Will your parent be expected to contribute financially?
  • Are there young children involved, and how can they be prepared for this change? Be sure to discuss the situation and explain, even to very young children, why Grandma or Grandpa is moving in and what it means for them.
  • Do you need ground rules for young children? The roles can get mixed when multiple generations live under the same roof; be upfront about disciplinary roles and expectations to avoid hurtful confrontations.
  • What medical needs does your elderly parent have? Who will be responsible for taking care of any care needs, appointments and supplies?
  • Is it safe for your aging parent to be alone during the day? If not, who will be caring for her while your family is away? Look into options such as adult day care if needed.

Living with mom or dad

Share responsibilities with siblings

If your aging loved one requires a great deal of care, enlisting other siblings to help can be a good idea. If you have adult siblings who live close enough to help with daily activities or transportation to doctor appointments, it can alleviate the amount of stress placed on the child with whom the aging parent resides.

Make plans in advance and discuss these options with your elderly parent and any siblings who will be participating in care. Again, advance planning goes a long way in avoiding unpleasant disputes down the road.

Check into community resources

Researching all the options available in your community, such as respite care can also help alleviate some of the burden. It’s important for families entering into a cohabitating arrangement with an elderly loved one to know all their options and have ample support. Ancillary resources that can help include:

Living with elderly parents can and does work, provided there is sufficient space, privacy and boundaries for everyone involved. Mutual respect and a place to go when one has had enough family time are also crucial to a successful cohabitating arrangement.  Cooperation, advance planning and flexibility are all critical to the family’s happiness.

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