Thursday, June 29, 2017

Here's an email address where you can contact me.

Here's an email address where you can contact me with questions or suggestions.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Mail, Paper Work, Bills

Mail, Paper Work, Bills

Computer’s Incoming Mail

Create folders for mail you want to keep
Check spam
        Move real mail to inbox
        Trash spam
Vet the incoming mail
Respond to mail requiring response
Move mail you want to keep to appropriate folder
Unsubscribe to unwanted
Trash mail you don’t want to keep
Clear spam and trash can each day

Household US Postal Mail

Establish home office area somewhere in home
        Computer Paper
        R/W CD
        Flash drives
        Bulletin Board
        Memo Board
        Index Card Holder
        Index Cards
        Staple Remover
        Ink Pens
        Magic Markers
        Note Pads
        Note Books
        Card holder for checkbook, bank book, stamps            
        Recycle basket/can
        Donate basket/can
        Filing Drawer/Cabinet-Long term
        Filing Drawer/Cabinet-3 years
        Filing Drawer/Current
        File Folders
        File Hangers
        Tray system for incoming US Postal mail
        Plastic binder sleeves
        Binder Clips
         Strapping Tape
Filing System
        Create filing system
                Long-term-Large file cabinet for yearly” hold                         onto” storage after income tax is filed
                Yearly-keep current and 2 past years handy
                 Current Year Monthly File Box 

Sorting Mail
        Recycling Bin/Trash Can
        Magazines/Catalogs/Sales Flyers-sort
                Display current or special
                [Permanent space for magazines]
                [Maintain defined “home” space for
                                Magazines & catalogs]
                  [Donate Box available for older publications 
        Postal Mail Station    - 4 trays
                In-box [anything not sorted]
                Reply/Pay/Outstanding Bills

Organize Files

Use broad categories
Create subcategories
Color folder can create separation of file types

Home Phone
Cell Phone
Bank statements
Credit card statements
Home owners insurance
Car Insurance
Motorcycle Insurance
Medical-2 files for each person
        1 for statements/bills/claims
        1 for policy, policy letter
Taxes-property tax information
Large ticket purchases-proof of purchase
Loan agreements

Create a binder for tax auditor [My auditor loves this.]
        Use tabs to divide the binder into sections.
        Use plastic sleeves to hold information
Proof of who you are
        Copy Driver’s Licenses
            Mailing Address
            Phone Number
Cancelled Check for payment or refund destination
     □ Social Security Benefit Statement
          Investment Financial Statements
          Retirement Funds Statements
Medical Insurance Coverage
     □ Employer Provided Health Insurance 
             Offer & Coverage
     □ Payment record of Supplemental Health Insurance
     □ Payment record of Prescription & Dental Coverage
Medical Summary- out of pocket each person
           Deductible-out of pocket
           Prescription out of pocket
           Glasses & eye exam out of pocket
           Dental out of pocket
  Hospital & Physician out of pocket
        Primary Care
Life Insurance
        Premium payments
        Policy amounts
Property tax payments
Bank Accounts
        Interest Income Statements
                Interest accrued
                Copy of December last year Statement
                Copy of January following year Statement
                Interest accrued
                Copy of December tax year Statement
                Copy of January current year Statement
        Credit Cards
                Interest charges paid
                Copy of December tax  year Statement
                Copy of January current year Statement
IRA Statements
Investment Statements

Labeled manila envelopes
        Tax year bank records
        Tax year credit card statements
        Medical payment
        Prescription payments
        Summary Sheet in binder

Note: Unsubscribe to magazines you no longer want to keep. Donate unused portions of subscription to library or senior center or friend. Short term, drop them off. Long term--change destination/mailing address.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your Ideal Home Checklist Start to Finish

Your Ideal Home

What do you consider your ideal home? Do you have a check list? You need to know what works or doesn’t work for you.  Most homes standing today weren’t built with frailties or disabilities in mind. Adapting a home can be expensive unless you can do the work yourself. 
So, what are the initial essential wants for a lifetime home?  Almost no home will have them all. You’ll probably need to adapt your home if it is your lifetime home.  If you are going to do some remodeling in the future, plan changes with projected future needs in mind.  

Starting from the beginning

General Location or Community
Located near friends or family
Public transportation in some form is available
    Taxi, bus, shuttle, disability van route, etc
Nearby shopping available for those last minute purchases
Designated NORC community?
Easy access to doctors, dentist, hospitals, etc
Parks, recreation area
Safe crime rate area
Law enforcement presence
Entertainment venues available
Like minded hobby, special interest, religious group nearby

Your Home’s Location
Can you be found easily?
House number is clearly marked and is visible from both directions, during the day and night.
Driveway entrance is clearly visible from both directions from the highway. Makes it easier for emergency units, family and friends to find you.

Vehicle Access & Curb Appeal
Driveway is wide enough for 2 vehicles to enter or exit
Driveway entrance and continuing surface in good repair
A garage or carport for vehicles
     (easier frost/snow removal from vehicles)
Automatic gate or fence
Automatic garage doors
Low-maintenance home materials
Low-Maintenance Grounds Design
Low-Maintenance Plants
Windows and doors visible from the outside of the home

Garden & Lawn

(Difficulty bending, walker, wheelchair, or cane user)
Raised beds for flowers or produce
Curved beds for easier mowing
Pathways between planting beds wheelchair accessible
Easy, non- invasive, hardy plantings

Lawn Pathways & Lighting

Easy barrier-free, well-maintained walkway
 (walker and wheel chair friendly)
 from the car to the home entrance

Automatic dawn-to-dusk lighting illuminates walk area
     from garage or driveway to entrance of home

Ramps, Steps, Handrails

Covered entrance and/or ramp [if necessary]
[Frost, rain, freezing rain will render the home owner housebound during bad weather if entrance is not weather protected.]

Stairs/ramps meet ADA slope guidelines

Slip resistant stairs/ramps with slip resistant handrails on both sides

Handrails extend beyond first/ last step to make balance easier          once you reach level ground or the entrance

All steps should have a backer board so feet cannot go through       and cause injury

Stairs or ramps should have edges with color contrast

Glow-strips or step lighting
    (will help with night time use on the stairs)

Automatic motion sensor lights
     are at all step and ramp locations

Home Entrances
Covered Entrance
Entrance areas and doors well lit
Automatic motion sensor entrance lights
Porch/entrance areas free of obstructions and in good repair
Barrier-free Ground Floor entrance
Adequate, unencumbered area beside door entrances
Landing zone both outside and inside the entrance door
Lever handles on doors
Accessible Door bell that is both audio and visual
Keyed deadbolt locks
One or more peepholes at varying heights
Reduce multiple door lock keys at entrances.
     (Only use one key for all locks.
      Buy locks that can be keyed to be the same.)
Security latch or chain on doors
Additional strobe or flashing outside light
     that can be turned on letting emergency personnel
     locate home easily
Doorways need to have at least a 32 inch clearance,
     34 to 36 inches is better.
Slip-resistant Entrance area inside home

The House Itself or Rooms, Rooms and More Rooms
One accessible barrier-free level
Living Room
Master Bedroom
Barrier-free Bathroom
         ADA Compliant or large enough to transform
Laundry Room
Dining Room
2nd Bedroom
        2nd Bathroom
Home Office or Hobby Room
ADA Access to 2nd or 3rd Floor or Basement

Living Room
Lever handles on doors
Automatic motion sensor lights in case your hands are full when you enter the room at night
Adequate, unencumbered area beside door entrances in the                  event you are entering using a walker or wheel chair
        (Doorways need to have at least a 32 inch clearance,
         34 to 36 inches is better)
Landing areas in case you’re carrying something,
        (Both beside doors & next to seating)
Clear, wide, walk-space furniture arrangement
Natural daytime lighting
Remove throw rugs or secure any rugs to floor
Install highest allowed daylight light bulbs in fixtures
Rocker style light switches
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector
Easy access telephone
Easy access emergency flashlight or wall lighting
Automatic lighting if necessary
Electrical cords out of the way to prevent tripping hazard
Furniture that “fits” you
Chairs with correct depth, height, arm and back support
        (Varies according to body type and physical imitations,                     material texture must not irritate)
Consider a side table for both sides of chair
Extra pillows to raise seat height or add back support
Consider leaving space for a lift chair
Any “rolling” furniture needs to have a “lock” feature
Note--lighter walls and floor covering colors in addition to  
     better lighting improves vision perception
Convenient trash can
Remove any obstacles or hazards
Furniture that fits your life, room, & style
Movable cart-based on needs
Corral for electronic controls
Book/magazine rack
Reading lamp

Examples of my personal adaptations—
Decreased clutter
Added open space for walking
Removed a queen hide-a-bed sofa
Removed recliner love seat
Removed a heavy, deep-depth love seat
Acquired lighter, easier-moved chairs
        (Sturdy arms, good back support)
Converted heavy coffee table to bench
        Added a fitted seat cushion
        (Now placed against wall-good spot to remove shoes)
Replaced foot stool with small bean-bag chair—
        allows extra seating, soft, easier to move
Added Side tables (shelf underneath)
Removed runner from front door to hall entrance to use walker
Added cushion to one chair to raise seat height

Bedroom Oasis for Resting
(Yes, repeats many of same things that living room information advocates)
Lever handles on doors
Automatic motion sensor lights in case your hands are    full when you enter the room at night
Adequate, unencumbered area beside door entrances in the
    event you are entering using a walker or wheelchair
        (Doorways need to have at least a 32 inch clearance,
         34 to 36 inches is better)
Landing areas in case you’re carrying something,
        (Both beside door & next to bed)
Clear, wide, walk-space furniture arrangement
Natural daytime lighting
Remove throw rugs or secure any rugs to floor
Install highest allowed daylight light bulbs in fixtures
Rocker style light switches
Smoke and carbon monoxide detector
Easy access telephone
Easy access emergency flashlight or wall lighting
Automatic lighting if necessary
Electrical cords out of the way to prevent tripping hazard
Furniture that “fits” you
Chairs with correct depth, height, arm and back support
        (Varies according to body type and physical         limitations)
Consider a side table or movable cart on both sides of bed
Wall mounted fire extinguisher
Consider a movable cart for clothing addition
        and removal
Any “rolling” furniture needs to have a “lock” feature
Darker walls and light-blocking window treatments
        help induce better sleep
Convenient trash can
Remove any obstacles or hazards
Furniture that fits your life, room, & style
Dresser drawers at waist height hold the most used items
Chair valet with seat
Alarm Clock with overhead time projection
D or bar handles on all drawers in furniture
Headboard/Footboard with grab posts or rails
Adjustable height bed frame
Adequate space around bed area
Reading light beside bed
Step stool
Remove any cardboard or “dust catchers”
Sitting/reading area, opt.
Full length Mirror
Dressing table
Jewelry chest/safe

Note: if you have difficulty turning over or getting in or out of bed, having a headboard that has spokes or rails that you can grab to assist your movement is better than having a solid or padded headboard that you cannot use to help you. You might consider lowering the height of the bed if you must use a step stool to climb into bed. Finally, medical grab rails can be purchased to assist you in getting yourself in or out of bed.

Every threshold height or joinery can be a barrier to someone using a cane, walker, crutches, or wheel chair.

Easy access opening
Inside lighting
Adjustable shelves, racks, rods, hooks
Special adaptive shelving
Clear or labeled baskets/container—
        corrals small items
Shoe containers or rack
Removal bin
Place for seasonal items
Place for special events/sporting apparel

Located on main level
Located close to master bedroom
Entry into bathroom has a flush threshold
No rug zone on floors
Windows easy to reach and open or close
Wide shower, curb-less if possible
Shower has adjustable shower head with 6 foot hose
        (Additional lower holder for shower head a plus)
Walls can accommodate grab-bars in multiple heights
        And locations as needed, both inside and outside the   shower
Seat available for shower use
Flooring is slip-resistant
Good lighting in room and shower stall
Grab bars where needed
Long handled bathing sponge
Rubber mat or nonskid adhesive on floor of tub or shower
Raised height oval toilet seat
Space around seat area adequate to add raised medical
        assistive toilet seat and handles
Space for personal wipes near toilet
Counters heights that work safely for family members
Base of any cabinet can accommodate wheelchair-accessibility
Pedestal Sink or ADA Sink
Counter tops have contrasting-color edges
D-ring or bar handles on any cabinet doors or drawers
Lever handle faucet
Open shelves/glass front doors on cabinets
Toilet paper rolls can be changed with use of one hand
One movable toilet paper stand
Emergency call button/baby monitor
Upgrade any wiring to include GFI features
Timed Auxiliary exhaust/heating in ceiling
Easy access to extra supplies
Phone or emergency call access in room
Hamper(s) available
Covered trash can available
Liquid pump hand soap
Liquid pump sanitizer available
Disposable towels available after hand washing
No scald features on shower and faucets
Any supplies checked regularly for expiration dates
No storage of medications in bathroom
Space to turn wheel chair around within boundaries of the room       —usually a 5 foot square area

Laundry Room or Area
Located on main floor
Wide doorway
Easy walk space in and out of room
        and in front of appliances
Front loading washer on a pedestal
Front loading dryer on a pedestal
Easy to read button controls on front of appliances
        (Think vision impaired & easy to reach when seated)
Cabinets with D or bar handles
Adjustable or varied height counters
Contrasting edge on counter tops
Adjustable, open shelving without doors
Wall mounted sink(s)
Pull out drying rack
Rod for hangers (can use tension rod inside a shelf)
Rod to hang clothing to air dry
Rod to hang clothing to take to dry cleaner
Plenty of lighting
Non-slip flooring surface
Supplies reachable from seated position
Wall mounted, adjustable ironing board
Rolling hamper(s)
Folding clothing basket or hamper
Small cart or rolling table to help transfer clean clothing
Adjustable height surface on which to fold clothing
Posted washing instructions for operation of appliances,         
     & stain treatments
Container for items left in pockets
Lint removal tool
Trash can
Container for donation items
Small basic sewing kit (buttons, hems, seams)

And now I digress, as some of my friends were talking at a meeting, the subject of attic storage came up.

Attic Storage-Don’t

Many people store things in their attic spaces. My advice is (unless the area is part of your living space with both heat and air conditioning)--don’t.  

No to using pull down steps for attic access
No to using a small access panel in the hall or a room
No to using a space adjacent to properly converted
        attic storage space

Climate controlled-heating & air conditioning
Sturdy shelving or storage system
Easy access—regular size doors
Converted for bonus space usage

A few years ago, we had our attic “wrapped,” that’s where a company comes in and installs insulation foil rolls to the roof area to keep the outside heat out. [We live in the South, the attic was insulated, had end vents and an exhaust fan.] Access is available through a pull down set of attic stairs. Needless to say we removed all of the accumulated stuff that had been placed in the attic over the years. More than 75 to 80 percent of the “stuff” was now trash, and had to be put to the curb for pickup. Cardboard, paper, foam, plastic were all brittle, discolored, and fell apart…not to mention dusty.

About the only things that survived were glass and a few metal things.

As the years have progressed, we have found that navigation on these attic stairs have become more difficult.

Yes, we have a hand rail, and yes, we have available lighting; however, our bodies just don’t care for the physical act of climbing these stairs with various sized boxes and stuff in our arms. Just putting stuff up there and taking it down became a 2 or 3 person job. Therefore, my advice on using attic storage is simply, “don’t.’ You’ll lose most of the stuff to fluxing heat and moisture changes in the attic. Thankfully, we never stored our pictures up there.

Basement Usage Optional for Storage

Many people store things in their basements, can you?

Climate controlled-heating & air conditioning
Sturdy shelving or storage system
Easy access—regular size doors
Converted for bonus space usage
Moisture proof
No need for sump pump
Good lighting
Adequate stair width and rise
Hand rails both sides of staircase
Proper shelving or racks
Nothing directly on floor
        Always keep items off of the floor
        (Minimum suggested = 6 inches)
Use proper storage containers.
Do not use cardboard boxes;
        Remember cardboard and paper can draw bugs
Leather clothing and shoes need special treatment for storage        under any conditions
Keep chemicals below other items away from food supplies
Poisons in a locked secured place
Flammables in a well-vented locked place away from the home

Crawl Space Storage—Don’t

Although some people store outdoor tools in a crawl space under the house if the space is tall enough, invest in a small outdoor storage building.

When you use a crawl space you have a certain amount of bugs, moisture, rust, and rot and possibly a few critters such as mice, worms, and (yes) even snakes.

Make sure your crawl space is secured against critters being trapped beneath your house. If you don’t know they are there and they die, they’ll stink up the house and draw varmints.

Storage Buildings

A few personal notes about storage buildings

Secure access from unwanted guests or visitors
Maintain adequate ventilation
Maintain a sound roof, walls, doors, windows, etc
Plan storage system and racks
Use correct storage containers
Maintain an inventory list
      --you will forget what’s out there
        and where it’s located
Build in a removal date for stuff in your inventory list
Have a sign out and sign in sheet so you’ll know where  
        your stuff is located if you “loan out” stuff
Purge stuff every once and awhile
Saving stuff in your building for family and friends  
     —you don’t need the legal hassle if something happens
    to it and if it’s stuff you are going to give them, go ahead
    and gift it now instead of later

 Renting Storage Space

Unless it’s short term, you’d probably be better off gifting or selling it. Why pay for your stuff again by renting a place for keeping it? 

Exceptions might include
        Staging a house for sale
        Boat storage
        Vehicle storage
        Remodeling removal
        Home sale
        Moving out of State
        Overseas Working
        Military Assignments
        Temporary medical needs


Kitchens are the hardest rooms about which to make a generalization of for an Aging in Place population and perhaps any other segment of home owners. Cooks and their expectations vary widely.  

You’ve cooks who can barely boil water and only need a coffee pot, toaster, can opener, electric skillet/burner and microwave. A simple base cabinet set up as simple as a dorm room kitchen will work for them. Add a sink, fridge and two burners and they are set.

Most home owners want at least sink, 4-6 burner stove, oven, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and maybe a freezer.
Add base cabinets and wall cabinets, possibly a counter bar seating arrangement and they are all set.

However, planning ahead for the future can be challenging. I live in a mill house built in the 1920’s. For the most part the kitchen has worked well for my family. When the kitchen was modernized well before I acquired the house, it was designed for someone active, at least 6 inches taller than I and for someone far more agile than I have ever been. There are at least 2 blind corners in the setup and absolutely no place for an installed dishwasher. I’ve always had to climb a 2-step step stool to reach the overhead cabinets and had to use a step stool to knead bread or candy at the bar height counters.  I’m practically head over heels reaching/crawling into the blind corners to remove rarely used stored items. I like the wood finish, the D handles, the easy clean counter tops. There is sufficient room to turn a wheel chair around in the cooking area and in a pinch 2 people could work in the area together if they dance in harmony as if they were ballet dancers. Mostly it is an active one person kitchen that is taller than my 5’ 2” height.

Grandma’s Kitchen. My grandmother who was vertically challenged (really short) had a Hoosier baking cabinet, a small dish cabinet, a kitchen table, a cook stove which also supplied the home’s heat, and a separate walk in pantry. She had the legs cut off of everything, the cabinets, the table and the chairs. She washed dishes in pans on the kitchen table with water heated upon the stove; then after using them, stored the pans in the pantry. The rafters were open and extra seating was hung upside down in the rafters to leave walking space clear. Not one modern convenience such as a washer, dryer, running water. Toward the end of her life (98 years), her church installed electric lighting so that she wouldn’t have to continue using kerosene lamps.

Mom and dad’s last home was in a trailer. Mom and dad both had increasingly restrictive physical disabilities. They had custom movable 12 inch deep pantries with doors standing along a wall in the kitchen for their food storage. The installed trailer upper cabinets were used for various “paper” product storage and dishes for when company came to visit. Large pots and pans were stored in the installed trailer lower cabinets. Four or five shallow drawers held the utensils, prep utensils, lids and etc. The microwave sat in a corner on the counter top. A dish rack sat atop the counter in the blind corner behind the double sink. The only thing mom stored in the blind corner was cleaning supplies and that was mostly at the front 12 inches behind the door. Mom used her kitchen table for food prep. Dad had a large lazy-Susan on which he kept his meds and food snacks. Easy to reach and he knew where everything was located. Mom used her dishwasher to wash and store her most frequently used dishes.

Then there are very high end kitchens, none of which I’ve actually entered but I have seen pictures.  Special ADA kitchens for those in wheel chairs have counters where a person in a wheel chair can roll their chair under the sink, the stove top, a prep area or two. There is ample space on either side of those areas to maneuver. There is space either side of a side-by-side fridge/freezer, there is space to maneuver next to a microwave and the oven. There might be under-counter dishwasher drawers and under- counter refrigerators or freezers that open at the front.

Having prefaced the following list with a few notes, you should pick and choose features for your kitchen that best suits you.

Easy clean and easy upkeep kitchen counters
Contrasting colors on the edges of kitchen counters for better 
     visual separation
Most used items at counter or waist height
Task lighting where needed 
Natural lighting from windows
Sip-resistant flooring
Adequate open floor space between counters
Lockable storage cabinet for kitchen cleaners
Single-lever faucet at sink
Sprayer at sink
Farmer’s sink
Double sink
Prep sink
Bar sink
Pot filler faucet at stove
Stove burners with controls at the front
Side door opening microwave located in base cabinet
Wall mounted oven with side door opening
Pull out shelves or drawers
Mix and match open shelving and glass door cabinets
Adjustable or varied counter heights
Movable kitchen island with drawer storage
“D” or bar handles on cabinets and soft-close drawers
Elevated dishwasher or dishwasher drawer
Space available beneath sink and stove top
Space available beneath prep areas
Space beside oven and refrigerator
Side by side refrigerator/freezer
Pull out work surface at various heights
Pantry with adjustable spaces/shelves/bins
Under counter refrigerator
Refrigerated drawers
Specialized task areas
Rolling or movable base cabinet
Butler’s Pantry
Bakers Rack
Pot Stand
Pie Safe
Dish Display Cabinet
Adjustable height kitchen table
Adjustable height work station
Adjustable height seating
Specialized work stations
Wall outlets with on/off switches
Garbage Disposal
Recycle Bins
Pet food serving station
Wall mounted electric can opener
Wall mounted manual can opener
Specialized drawers or roll-out shelves in cabinets
Rolling cart
Wall mounted or hanging pot rack
Lockable knife storage
Wall mounted fire extinguisher

This is just a starting point. The ending is up to you. Your physical needs can and will change, sometimes day to day. Make certain that your home is ready for those needs when you plan an update or make over.

And no, my home doesn’t have all of the things listed. I don't want or need everything listed. However; you might find some things on the list you've never thought about doing to your home.

I’m still evolving. God’s not done with me yet!