Home Improvements for Your Aging Parents

If your parents are getting up there in age, you may have had – or are – considering having a discussion about their living situation; should they stay or should they go? For many aging adults, the thought of leaving their beloved home and their independence for senior care, is not appealing; especially if they are healthy and mobile. According to a 2011 AARP research report, almost 90 percent of people over age 65 would rather remain at home as long as they’re able, and 80 percent of older Americans have firm plans to stay put1. Fortunately, for all, there are several home renovations that can not only let mom and dad stay put, but also make their independent living the safest it can be!

When you hear the words ‘home improvement’ you may think, construction, time, and a disruption in daily life, but there are home improvements you can make for your parents that require little to no alterations but are high in gains! Take Life Alert Protection’s smoke detection monitors, for instance. Simply installed, Life Alert’s smoke detection units react to the presence of smoke or fire by sending a signal to a team of dispatchers, who monitor the detector 24/7. Life Alert dispatchers can then communicate with the subscriber and send appropriate help; in addition, they can send help even if there is no response from the subscriber. Likewise, Life Alert’s CO Gas Alarm works the same way. Since Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas, it can build up to dangerous levels in a home without anyone knowing. But with Life Alert’s monitored CO Gas Alarm, a siren will warn of dangerous levels and Life Alert’s dispatchers will send help. So, it is possible for your aging parents to live independently, under the safety of Life Alert Protection.

But if internal home alternations are needed, check out this article, courtesy of USNews , for the pros and cons of various home safety ideas for your parents.

Elevator. Installing an elevator will be a challenge and costly. “Elevators are highly regulated. The structural work required to create a proper, isolated channel can run up a hefty carpentry bill alone,” says Sabine Schoenberg, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based home improvement blogger. The cost, Schoenberg says, depends on the length of the elevator and how many floors it goes to – just the second floor, or the attic and basement as well? As a general rule, she says, expect to pay $30,000 and possibly quitechair lift a bit more.

Stair lift. These are also expensive. “They often require a custom fitting to the staircase. The track is the most costly element of stair lift systems,” Schoenberg says. Still, as prices go, it’s no elevator. You can find quite a few stair lifts online for less than $3,000, but they also run $10,000 and up. And don’t forget installation, since this is a project you probably don’t want to do yourself. According to Mr. Handyman, the national handyman service, the estimated labor to install a stair lift using its franchise averages between $400 and $500.

Walk-in bathtub. These can be helpful for seniors who have trouble climbing in and out of the bathtub. But think it through before you rush out and buy one. Since you have to get in the tub and shut the door and then turn on the water, your parent may not enjoy sitting or standing in the buff, waiting for the water to fill the bathtub. According to the home improvement and contractor review site Angie’s List, these tubs run $2,500 to $10,000.

Widen doors. This may be necessary if your parent is traveling throughout the house in a wheelchair. Cost depends on too many factors to throw out a number with much confidence. But expect to pay at least a couple hundred per doorway – and possibly quite a bit more. Why so much? It depends on the door. “It requires reframing and sometimes moving electrical switches, re-insulating, sheet rocking and painting finishes,” Schoenberg says.

Remote-controlled blinds. A bad set of blinds can be problematic for some seniors, especially if they aren’t very mobile to begin with. That’s why Kim Rush, a design expert at Decorview.com, a custom window treatment website, suggests buying motorized or automated window treatments. “Using a remote control or mobile device, you’re able to set your window coverings without having to stand up and reach across furniture,” she says. Remote-controlled blinds aren’t cheap. According to CostOwl.com, an average 36-inch by 48-inch motorized window shade or blind costs between $300 and $600. And on average, you can expect to pay 10 percent more per foot you add or subtract to the width and height. Installation costs tend to be $20 to $50 per blind.

Disability ramp. If either of your parents is wheelchair-bound, or you think tharamp_woodt day is coming, this is a must. According to HomeAdvisor.com, which provides information about licensed home contractors, the national average price for a disability ramp ranges from $1,408 to $2,012.

Grab bars for the bathroom. These are bars located in the bathtub and next to the toilet, which may make someone unsteady feel more confident, says Ashita Patel, outreach coordinator for Modernize.com, which covers home improvements. “These can be purchased for as little as $20, or a simpler solution is a special commode unit with handles that fits right over your existing toilet. The cost is around $40,” she says.

Lever-style doorknobs. Patel says one of the easiest and cheapest retrofits is to switch traditional round doorknobs with lever-style doorknob handles. “That can simplify a senior’s life considerably,” she says, adding that you can expect to pay $10 to $20 per handle.

Although it may seem that some of these home improvements could be costly, according to Genworth Financial’s 2014 Cost of Care Survey, which was released in April, the national median monthly rate for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility is $3,5001. That’s $42,000 a year! When considering a large cost such as senior care, the thought of installing a few simple home improvements may start to look a bit better, for both your wallet and your parents!

But perhaps the easiest, most inexpensive way to ensure your parents can get help fast is with Life Alert. The lightweight help button can be worn on the wrist or as a pendant. Since a majority of home accidents occur in the bathroom, Life Alert’s medical alert button is waterproof allowing your elderly parents to bath with it on. Just one press of the button will send the help needed fast. Life Alert knows that in order to provide the best in personal protection, it is important to offer 24/7 service! So no matter when or where your parents may encounter a life threatening emergency, Life Alert has got their backs! To learn more about the many lifesaving services offered by Life Alert, call 1-800-513-2934 for a free brochure.

Works Cited:
1. Williams, Geoff. “9 Home Improvements for Your Aging Parents.” USNews. 15 October 2014.
<http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/10/15/9-home-improvements-for-your-aging-parents >.


Have You’ve Been Using Your Eye Drops All Wrong?

If you are suffering from dry eyes, allergies, eye infections or even glaucoma, then you are probably no stranger to eye drops. Being one of the most common drugs found in medicine cabinets around the world, eye drops are popular, but they are also more popularly, misused! Believe it or not, even over-the-counter drops may pose a risk if they are applied wrongly1.elderly-woman-eye-drops

When it comes to your personal protection, you don’t want to wonder if you are using it correctly, do you? With Life Alert Protection, you never have to worry over if, what, when or how. By simply wearing their emergency pendant around your neck or wrist, you can summon an emergency medical response fast with one touch of a button! No matter what life threatening emergency you may face, Life Alert can guarantee quick, 24/7, service.

Your eyes are not deceiving you; independent living can be made simple and safe with Life Alert Protection! However, when trying to manage an eye condition or irritation, it is important to use your eye drops properly to maintain optimal eye health. Everyday Health[1] has all your eye drop do’s and don’ts below.

1. Not All at Once

According to Stephanie Marioneaux, MD, clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, one of the most common mistakes people make is applying drops too quickly. “The eye really only has the capacity to hold on to one eye drop, so the others are just rolling down your face and you’re wasting them,” she says. Remember that an instruction to apply, say, four drops every six hours doesn’t mean applying four drops all at once. It’s “a costly mistake,” according to Marioneaux, and one that could compromise your eye health. “You’re running through the drops too frequently, and you’ll need a second prescription which your insurance may not cover,” she says. When applying multiple drops of the same medicine, take your time.

2. Don’t Mix and Match

If you’re using different eye drops simultaneously, space them out. “I tell patients to maintain a 30-minute window between their prescription and non-prescription drops,” Marioneaux says. Drops may interact to cause burning and watery eyes, which reduces their effectiveness. “If your prescription drop is [to be used] only once a day, you have the entire day to put the rest of the drops in,” Marioneaux says. Talk to your eye doctor about the best way to juggle different drops.

3. Keep Track of Dosages

As with any medication, it’s important that eye drops be taken as directed. Missing doses or overuse can affect treatment. Marioneaux suggests timing doses to an existing routine, such as when you take other medications, or setting an alarm on a smart phone or other device as a reminder. You may want to move an eye drop bottle from one location to another once it has been used. If you prefer, keep a log or draw up a chart and check off whenever a drop is applied. If a patient with a potentially serious condition like glaucoma can’t remember whether they used their eye medicine, Marioneaux advises putting in a drop to be safe. “If they’re not sure and their pressure is really poorly controlled, I’d rather have them do an extra one if they haven’t done it than to not do it,” she said. But Marioneaux emphasizes, “I do not routinely want them putting an extra drop in.”

4. Don’t Skip Drops When You Have an Appointment

“Always use the medicine on the day of your exam unless it’s directed otherwise,” Marioneaux says. “The purpose of the appointment is to see if the drops are working.” Don’t worry about your prescribed eye drops interfering with the appointment, unless you have specific instructions from your eye doctor to stop using them.

5. Mind the Expiration Date

When having a prescription filled, check the expiration date to make sure it won’t lapse during your treatment. If an eye drop does expire, speak to your doctor about whether it’s safe to continue using or if you need a new prescription. If you have drops left over after stopping treatment, “just keep it in a safe place,” Marioneaux says. “But if you’re feeling like you’re having a problem, please don’t just indiscriminately use it. Come in, let me check it and see if what you have at home would be appropriate.”

6. Don’t Self-Diagnose

“Don’t treat yourself for red eyes,” Marioneaux says, or for other eye conditions you’re self-diagnosing. For minor concerns, if a condition does not improve in 24 to 48 hours, “then you should absolutely follow up with the [doctor] to make sure and identify what you have.” If you have more severe symptoms like vision loss, consult a doctor immediately.

7. Know What You’re Taking

Always double-check the bottle in your hand before putting drops in your eye. “The worst mistake is actually confusing the eye drop with the ear drop, and vice versa,” Marioneaux says. “Some people will put ear drops in their eyes and sometimes that can be disastrous.”

8. There’s a Right Way to Put Drops in

“What I tell patients is if they put the drop in and they look on their face and there’s a drop that looks just like the drop they put in – that is the drop – so they should go ahead and put another one in so that they actually have the medicine in,” Marioneaux says. You should aim the drop in the outer – not inner – corner of the eye. “I tell [patients] if you put it in close to the nose, that’s where it goes,” she said. Rather than dabbing your eye with a tissue, place a clean finger gently where the eye meets the nose to keep drops from draining. Contacts can interfere with absorption so, artificial tears aside, it’s usually a good idea to take them out before using drops. Read the instructions on medications carefully, and speak to your doctor if you have any questions. Once the drop is in the eye, don’t blink excessively or rapidly. “Some people feel if they blink and move the eye around they’ll get better absorption. That’s false,” Marioneaux says. “You will pump the medication out of the eye, as opposed to moving it around.” Just blink normally; and if you can’t help blinking a lot, just close the eye for a minute or two.

Eye care is something you don’t want to mess with because your sight is oh so important! Protect your eyes with the proper use of eyes drops and protect the rest of your body with Life Alert Protection! If you are a senior citizen looking to ditch senior care and embrace independent living, then Life Alert is for you. While wearing their lightweight, waterproof medical alert pendant you can summon an emergency medical response fast with one touch of a button. Simply push the button on your pendant, any time, 24/7, and Life Alert’s dispatch team will see to it that the proper authorities are notified fast; no matter what life threating emergency you may face! Personal protection should be all things simple, so focus your sights on the best, with Life Alert Protection!

Becoming insightful of all the lifesaving services Life Alert offers is easy, just call 1-800-513-2934 for a free brochure.

Works Cited:

  1. Gupta, Sanjay Dr. “8 Dos and Don’ts When Using Eyedrops.” Everyday Health. 13 November 2015. <http://www.everydayhealth.com/news/dos-and-donts-when-using-eyedrops/ >.