Monthly Archives: February 2017

Tips for Creating a Home for Aging Owners

Easy

Add grab bars. There are many stylish models for the bathroom that look like a towel or shampoo rack but are sturdy enough to support 500 pounds of weight if properly installed, says Chrysanne Eichner, a senior occupational therapist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. You can also add grab bars by the top or foot of the stairs.

Replace doorknobs with lever handles that are easier to open.

Increase lighting and replace toggle switches with either a dimmer or a rocker switch.

Think about color contrast. If you have stairs, place reflective tape at the edge of steps so you can see where each one ends. Use a brightly colored bath mat so you can see where you’ll be stepping down after bathing.

Make a decision about your throw rug, which can present a trip hazard. Secure the rug to the floor with double-sided tape, throw it out, or hang it on the wall as a tapestry, Ms. Eichner suggests.

Select light fixtures with two bulbs. If one goes out, you’ll still have light from the other bulb.

Add a lazy susan to corner shelves to make it easier to reach items at the back of a cupboard.

Rearrange items in your kitchen seasonally. Crockpots, for example, can be stored on a higher shelf over the summer, says Barbara Roth, an interior designer in Manhattan.

Moderate

Replace a standard toilet, usually between 14 and 15 inches high, with a comfort-height toilet, which is 17 to 19 inches high.

Custom-build a movable kitchen island.

Widen doorways for walker and wheelchair access.

Complex

A major kitchen overhaul could include lowering counters and installing sinks that have space underneath to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. Alternatively, if you are tall and have back problems, consider increasing the counter height. Install shelves that slide out.

Remove the bathtub and install a walk-in shower with a seat. Get a hand-held shower head.

Build a ramp or install a chairlift wherever you have steps.

Other Tips

Useful guides include the city’s Aging in Place Guide for Building Ownersreport and AARP’s online HomeFit Guide.

Consult an occupational therapist, an interior designer, an architect and/or a contractor who has age-in-place certifications.

For low-income households needing modifications, there is help. Individuals or families making less than 80 percent of an area’s median income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can fill out an application at Rebuilding Together NYC, a nonprofit organization that makes free repairs and modifications. Lending services can be found through nonprofit organizations, includingNeighborhood Housing Services of New York City and the Parodneck Foundation.

Home Renovation for the Golden Years

Home renovations often center on upgrading the kitchen cabinets or selecting a new paint color for the bedroom, but as long as you are at it, a well-thought-out redesign might also include modifications to help you stay in your home as you grow older.

These alterations can start with simple things, like installing a grab bar in the bathroom or replacing doorknobs with lever handles. But if your budget allows for an entire kitchen or bathroom overhaul, it’s best to think about how you physically may change in the years to come and plan accordingly, said Heather Brin, the principal architect of Aging in Place Architecture in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

“These renovations are all about maintaining independence,” Ms. Brin said. “So if you have back pain now, then it’s smart to think about getting pullout shelves to minimize bending.”

Take Chandrakant Sheth of Woodside, Queens, a retired engineer and television repairman. At age 81, he has kept healthy with daily walks and is proud that he moves along at a faster clip than his 50-year-old son. He suddenly found himself less mobile, however, after he fell and fractured his right arm in September when a hurried passenger knocked into him as he stepped off a subway escalator.

Buttoning a shirt or taking a shower is now difficult and time consuming, he said. But he is able to navigate the bathroom well enough, since he had installed a grab bar in the bathroom several years ago for his wife, who has since died.

“I never had to use the bar until now, but I’m grateful it was already there,” he said.

More than one out of four Americans age 65 and older fall each year and one in five falls cause serious injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The city Department for the Aging said there were nearly one million adults age 65 and older living in the five boroughs of New York in 2010, but that number is expected to rise to about 1.35 million in 2030. As the city’s population ages, officials are urging homeowners and landlords to make age-in-place fixes.

“Something as simple and cost-effective as installing a grab bar can prevent debilitating falls and literally save lives,” said Donna M. Corrado, the commissioner of the Department for the Aging.

More than 85 percent of older Americans want to stay in their current home rather than move elsewhere, a 2010 survey by AARP found.

Iraida Gonzalez, 68, is one of them. She wants to live for as long as she can in Northern Manhattan in a building that is part of the Fort George Vistas NORC, an acronym for Naturally Occurring Retirement Community.

Ms. Gonzalez and her husband, Serafin Baldera, 73, have had numerous health problems, including temporary sight loss, diabetes, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. She used to grab the towel rack in the bathroom to help her get around. “It was scary because I knew it wasn’t the best thing to use,” she said.

Ms. Gonzalez recently received three free grab bars, a sturdy bathmat with suction cups to prevent it from moving, and some night lights, thanks to a grant secured by Isabella Geriatric Center, the nonprofit group that operates the NORC program in her building.

The organization worked with students from the Columbia University School of Nursing to conduct home assessments to identify residents at risk for falls based on their medications, medical history, level of activity and fall history. Then Charles Morano, a physical therapist and the owner ofMorano Rehabilitation Home Services in Manhattan, conducted home safety assessments for the individuals found to be in danger.

Workers installed grab bars for Iris Boteler, 99, who said she had difficulty walking because of arthritis and other ailments. “You need things to support you,” said Ms. Boteler, who has lived in her building, also a part of the Fort George Vistas NORC, for about 45 years.

Depending on the items used, minor modifications can cost from several hundred to about $2,000. But if you have more money to spend, customization is key, said Barbara S. Roth, an interior designer and a founder of Camille Rossy, a design firm in Manhattan.

Ms. Roth described a client — a woman in her early 50s with multiple sclerosis — who wanted more cabinet space for her small, dated Murray Hill kitchen. But a place for a stool near the stove and counter was deemed as important as storage because it was getting harder for the woman to stand for long periods.

Although no one likes to talk about age, health and physical disabilities, Ms. Roth said it is important to discuss these issues so an expensive renovation doesn’t become obsolete in a few years.

Because the client’s illness can lead to blurred or double vision, Ms. Roth also talked about installing extra lights and the importance of color contrast in the kitchen so the client could easily determine where the stovetop ended and the counter began. Her client chose ivory and white for the kitchen cabinets and backsplash, and black for the stove top.

“The goal was to not make the new kitchen look institutional,” she said.

For large or open kitchens, installing a movable island, either on wheels or with legs that have felt on the bottom, can be an easy addition, said Victor A. Mirontschuk, an architect and chairman of EDI International, an architectural firm with an office in Manhattan.

“Movable islands give people flexibility because you can push it out of the way,” to provide space when needed, he said, if a walker or wheelchair becomes necessary.

Tips to Repaint Stained Walls

Paint is an interesting design tool. It adds color and depth to indoor environments and can help create optical illusions that make rooms look larger, smaller, wider or narrower. Paint can make dingy rooms look clean and brighten dull corners. Paint can even mimic the look of stone and other textured materials.

Painting is one of the least expensive and most effective updates you can make before putting your home on the market. It’s also an easy do-it-yourself project. If you’ve seen rooms with really poor paint jobs, you’ve discovered one thing that paint can’t do. It can’t prep a surface to make it paint-ready in one easy step. Yes, there are paint-and-primer-in-one products that make the process easier, but if a wall is badly stained, grimy, greasy or slick, paint either won’t adhere or won’t provide good coverage. That doesn’t mean stains can’t be painted, they just have to be carefully prepped first.

Once the smell and most of the yellow are gone and the wall has had time to dry thoroughly over a day or two, prime and paint as you would normally. Enamel paints and primers (oil based) can be a hassle to work with, but offer great coverage. They also create a barrier between the old and new paint, eliminating much of the potential for bleed through. If there’s still a smoker present in the home, oil based paint is washable, too.

When dealing with water stains, there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed before painting. The first is mold growth. Mold doesn’t always develop on damp walls. It doesn’t take much moisture to leave a stain, though. When mold does develop, it can be a health issue, so painting over it isn’t an option until you know the mold is dead. For small areas, kill mold colonies with chlorine bleach. If the discolored area is larger than 3feet by 3 feet and you see black, gray, white, yellow or green discoloration that smells moldy and looks rough, cottony or velvety, don’t try to deal with the problem yourself. Call a mold inspection expert. If the spot is small, smells clean (not moldy) and looks discolored but only by water, make sure it’s dry before trying to paint over it. It’s also a good idea to find and deal with the source of the leak before trying to repaint [source: Florida Department of Health].

Because water spots are dark, they need heavy coverage. There are specialty paints and primers on the market that offer the dense coverage necessary to keep water stains from ghosting through reapplied paint layers. If the spot is small, you can also try multiple layers of conventional primer and paint. When applying paint to water stains, bits of old paint and plaster will typically flake off. If you aren’t dealing with a textured surface, brush off as much loose material as possible and replaster if necessary before repainting.

Stained wood walls and doors are typically dark and can be so smooth (or varnished, lacquered or enameled) that paint won’t adhere. To prep wood stained walls, sand the surface lightly with fine grit sandpaper (80 to 100 level). Once sanded and thoroughly cleaned (the process creates a lot of dust), the surface can be primed and painted relatively easily with oil based as well as some latex paints. Depending on the color of the wood stain, the process may take multiple coats of paint.

Tips How To Keep Your Floors Shining

You might have dreams of adding some hot tub like comforts and remodeling the toilet. A garden bath with fixtures that are cozy, luxury tile and pulsating jets come to mind. And perhaps even a heated flooring. Many individuals are considering radiant-heated floors due to that additional degree of spa-like relaxation. You should understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of these kinds of heating systems, prior to making a decision about a heated flooring OKC expert. Here is a brief run down on the principal kinds of systems and the advantages and disadvantages for using such a heating system.

You will find two primary kinds of radiant-heated floors. The first is electrical, which supplies heat. The second is hydronic, which supplies heat through water. The tubes can be warmed in various ways using kerosene, petroleum, gasoline or solar power. Unsure which to pick? Request your local HVAC professional for his or her guidance. If you’re adding the entire house and heated floors, there are some definite positives to radiant-heated flooring. There’s nothing like placing your feet on hardwood floors that are warm and waking up on a chilly morning. Radiant-heated floors additionally take up no additional space. Use price is a pro at the same time. Durability can be an excellent variable with radiant heated floors. And on the plus side, the setup time is pretty brief. Allergy sufferers gain from these systems also!

There are a few drawbacks to adding an electrical heated flooring. One is the heated flooring system can not be retrofitted under your present floors. Additionally, you might need new wiring in the main electric circuit panel as a way to sufficiently power your heating system. And finally, beaming flooring does not heat up as fast as a space heater. You may need to await an hour or so before your floors are not cool. You’ll locate the positives that are same as you did with the electric system along with some fuel-cost economies. Whether you go with petroleum or solar, these electrical options will save you cash. Request your HVAC specialist why and which system he advocates.

Add the disadvantages that are same as the electrical counterpart plus. You’ve got the opportunity for experiencing water damage while electric systems are long-lasting, with a hydronic heated flooring. With a flow that is significant there could be damage to your house, your furniture and your floors. You have dreams of adding some hot tub like comforts and remodeling the toilet. A garden bath with fixtures that are cozy, luxury tile and pulsating jets come to mind. And perhaps even a heated flooring. Many individuals are considering radiant-heated floors due to that additional degree of spa-like relaxation. You should understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of these kinds of heating systems, prior to making a decision about a heated flooring. Here is a brief run down on the principal kinds of systems and the advantages and disadvantages for using such a heating system.

You will find two primary kinds of radiant-heated floors. The first is electrical, which supplies heat. The second is hydronic, which supplies heat through water. The tubes can be warmed in various ways using kerosene, petroleum, gasoline or solar power. Unsure which to pick? Request your local HVAC professional for his or her guidance.

If you’re adding the entire house and heated floors, there are some definite positives to radiant-heated flooring. There’s nothing like placing your feet on hardwood floors that are warm and waking up on a chilly morning. Radiant-heated floors additionally take up no additional space. Use price is an advantage at the same time. Durability can be an excellent variable with radiant heated floors. And on the plus sideFeature Articles, the setup time is pretty brief. Allergy sufferers gain from these systems also! They provide cozy warmth without blowing lots of dust around.