Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Aging in place and pets

I don't normally read the lifestyle and advice columns in the newspaper. But while looking for the crossword puzzle, Deborah Wood's Pet Talk column caught my eye today and got me thinking. She writes about a choice of a dog for an 85 year old who lives independently and has recently had knee replacement surgery (read it here).

Her article reminded me that pet care can become a bit more of a demand as we age, but the companionship pets offer is a great contributor to healthy aging and well-being. At In Your Home we regularly do small projects that help older homeowners take care of their pets more easily. Some examples:

  • Pet doors. Giving Fido a little freedom to come and go without mom having to get up and let him out can be a good thing. You want to ensure the doors are properly installed to minimize heat loss and security risks. They now offer doors that unlock and relock automatically, triggered by a sensor the pet wears.
  • Pet runs. Having a secure run complements the pet door--we often install paver stones to create a cleanable, non-muddy surface for a pet run, keeping the dog from wandering into trouble and reducing housekeeping and gardening chores. And the pavers are easily removed by the next homeowner if desired.
  • Handheld showers. Not just good for mom or dad, good for washing the dog as well.
  • Food storage and dispensers. Keep quantities of food on hand but away from vermin, and they can minimize the amount of bending/reaching required.
  • Flooring choices. Commonly we are looking to make flooring smoother and more durable to handle walkers or scooters. Laminate flooring can be tough as (dog) nails, but is not so good for under a cat box or with a pet that has "accidents." This sort of standing moisture will penetrate the seams of most laminate and not only be hard to clean, but will swell and damage the laminate itself.
  • How about some hooks by the door to keep leashes handy and easy to grab? Or making sure Fido's bed is not located where it will be a tripping hazard? Simple steps like these can really help keep the joy of pet ownership strong.

I guess I'll have to read these columns more often if they make me think--after all, brain exercise is why I wanted the crossword puzzle.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The cost of falls

CBS News reported yesterday on new survey findings from the CDC on the prevalence and risk of falls. According the report, 1.8 million report falling in the prior three month period--up from prior numbers of 5.8 million per year. Costs of these non-fatal falls is estimated at $19 billion. The CBS report notes that many senior adults may not take wise precautions because of "embarrassment"--but don't really touch on the fact that many safety modifications do not need to look institutional nor signify frailty.

Watch the news report here: