Phil Lyons sat with four other inmates, shackled and handcuffed inside a dark blue windowless van with no air conditioning. It was 2010, New York’s hottest summer in history. While they roasted in the van, according to the story that Lyons told his…
It’s not hard to find inspiration on the web, a few minutes spent on youtube or facebook is all it usually takes to make us tear up. The waterworks get turned on when we see inspiration and seniors in the same story. This delightful video has it all- smiles, humor, sweetness, and tears. Tinney Davidson is a widow who has impacted kids in a big way, with a small wave. This year, the kids decided they would show her how much her small daily act meant to them. If this doesn’t melt your heart, you should probably see a doctor. And speaking of your heart, did you know that February is American Heart Month?
Are the doors in your home sticky, narrow or just plain unwieldy? For most of us, this can be a big annoyance. However, for seniors, it can be a significant impediment to mobility in the home.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to improve the situation and make daily life a little easier.
Here are some ideas:
Door Knobs - Consider replacing door knobs with door levers. These are simply easier for seniors to open than a traditional round door knob. Internal door hardware is affordable and relatively easy to replace. Entry door locksets are more expensive, but won’t necessarily break the bank if you shop around.
Misaligned Doors - When doors are out of alignment, they can rub on the frame and become difficult to open and close. There are a few quick tricks you can try before you resort to re-framing the door.
- If the problem is very minor, you can sometimes just sand the edge of the door that is rubbing. This is permanent and is not recommended if the problem is seasonal or if too much material must be removed.
- Use shims to move the upper or lower hinge out from the door frame slightly. While you may be able to use cardboard or washers to accomplish this, it’s probably better to purchase door shims that are specifically designed for this purpose.
- Another trick is to slightly bend one or both of the door hinge knuckles. Crescent wrenches are frequently used for this, but there are now knuckle bender tools to make it easier.
Narrow Doorways - Some doorways are too narrow to provide access for a walker or wheelchair. You have a few options:
- ‘Swing clear’ hinges are a great way to improve access. As the name implies, these hinges allow the door to swing completely out of the door opening. In some cases, this can add a couple inches of badly needed clearance.
- If you don’t need to close that particular door, consider removing the door and hinge altogether. You can also remove the innermost strip of trim that functions as a door stop. If the doorway needs to be even wider, you can try removing the entire door frame and trimming out the opening with thin sheet-rock.
- Depending on the location in your home and the wall framing surrounding the door, you may be able to replace the existing door with a wider pre-hung door. While this may not be a DIY job, a good contractor can probably do it for a reasonable price.
Garage Doors - Not only can garage doors be difficult to open and close, they can be downright hazardous for some seniors. While most problems with garage doors can be easily fixed, it is recommended that you hire a licensed contractor for significant improvements. Garage door springs are dangerous to work with and some municipalities may even require building permits.
- If you have a slab garage door, check into getting a roll-up door. These should be much safer and easier for seniors to manage.
- Remove dirt and debris from the garage door and the areas around it.
- Lubricate your door hardware. If you are unsure of the best type, look for a lubricant specifically labeled for garage door hardware.
- Replace your garage door springs. If the springs are old, they may not be functioning as well as they should. They could also be dangerous in the event of a failure.
- If you don’t have one already, consider purchasing an automatic garage door opener. The quality of these continues to improve and they are more affordable than ever.
Sliding Doors - Sliding doors are inherently more difficult to open than swinging doors and can be even more of a challenge for seniors. These generally require more ongoing maintenance to function smoothly.
- Clean out the tracks regularly.
- Lubricate moving parts.
- Although it can be tricky, many sliding doors have screws to adjust alignment. If needed, replacement parts are generally available as well.
- Consider replacing a sliding door with a pair of swinging French doors. Because the sliding door opening is typically wide, replacement with French doors is generally easier than many other installations.
Keyless Entry Systems - Some seniors have difficulties when using keys. Door locks with combination buttons and remote key fobs are now available. Some of these can even be activated by other remote devices such as cell phones or security systems.
While these are all great improvements for the doors themselves, don’t forget to address the lighting near your doorways. For example, motion detectors can automatically turn on the lights when approaching the door. This will free up both hands for opening the door, carrying groceries or even stability. Now all you need is a friendly welcome mat!
On this day, Veteran’s Day 2013 The Senior List would like to salute all those that lay their lives on the line to protect our freedom, AND to defend those that cannot defend themselves.
Kathe (Kate) Gehrke was my husband’s great grandmother. In 1923 she left Northern Germany and came to America by boat with her husband Franz and 3 year old daughter (Magdalene). Kate was only 23 at the time. Like so many before her (and so many after) they arrived at Ellis Island in search of a better life. At the time, inflation was rocking Germany following WWI. After boarding the Mount Carroll she would wave goodbye to her parents and a sister… Never to see them again. By the time Kate was able to return to Germany 50 years later, all had died.
Kate Gehrke loved The United States, and following WWII she wrote this heartfelt Ode To America titled: MEMOIRE. We were told this tribute was framed and hung on a courthouse wall in Spokane Washington following her naturalization (to US citizenship) . We’re not sure if it still hangs there today… In case it doesn’t, we’ll hang it here for you.
By: Kate M. Gehrke
I stood on the shore of the Baltic Sea
Watching its mighty waves,
And visited St. Petersburg
In its Imperial Days.
From the Rhein River steamboat I had a look
At the Lorelei and the Tower at Bingen.
The Bohemian Forest, I remember so well
With its gypsies melodiously singing.
But most of all I think about the crossing of the ocean
To a new world – I had always known -
But only by its name.
A world so different from the old,
And still so much the same.
For here I met the people from Russia
And the Baltic Sea,
From Bohemia, the Rheinland
And from Saxony.
They talk about the good old days,
And sing their happy songs.
They disagree on many things,
And argue rights and wrongs.
But, let an enemy attack this country
Land or sea -
They proudly rise to its defense,
Regardless of nationality.
Shoulder to shoulder and man to man
Ready to give their all
To fight, to die, if it must be
As true Americans.
For those who died for you, for me,
To keep this country safe and free,
Wherever their eternal sleep,
We pray, the Lord
Their soul to keep.
Kate Gehrke (born Kathe Marta Helene Dittmann)
1899 – 1971
A Computer School For Seniors
We have written about cell phones for seniors, and the best apps for seniors, but we may have gotten a little ahead of ourselves. As hard as it is to imagine, there are still plenty of folks who are not yet comfortable with computers. We are thrilled to help introduce to our readers a company that has been working to help seniors become more computer savvy.
Online Computer School for Seniors
Computer School for Boomers & Seniors (CS4Seniors.com) is on a mission to help Grandma and Grandpa become more computer literate. “I have a grandson who knows more about computers at six than I did when I was fifty,” said Mimi Witcher, Founder of CS4Seniors. “My grandchildren are growing up with technology. They have computers, iPads, Smartphones and iPods. They text, surf and click all day long. We missed out on all that,” said Mimi. “But our generation needs to get with the program. We need to become computer savvy.” Computer School for Boomers & Seniors is a virtual campus with a mission to empower their students by providing encouragement, lifelong learning opportunities and new worlds to explore via the Internet. “I’m very serious when I say there is a need. Just look at what is happening all around us,” said Mimi.
- Perhaps no group of people was hurt more during the global economic “downturn” in 2009 than Boomers and Seniors. Many can’t afford to retire and many were laid off and can’t find another job. According to the GAO, as of July nearly two million older workers, 6.2 %, were seeking a job.
- When the GAO looked into senior unemployment, it found that employers assumed older workers would demand higher salaries, they would be uncomfortable reporting to younger bosses and they would lack computer skills.
- AARP reports that older workers need to become more computer savvy just to apply for a job since more companies are requiring applicants to apply online.
- South Carolina’s unemployment agency is yanking benefits from thousands of people who are not searching for work through the agency’s website as a way to verify they are looking for work as required. This is a double whammy for seniors without computer skills. They can’t apply for a job online and they can’t collect unemployment because they don’t know how to get online.
- By March 2, 2013 all Social Security checks will be deposited electronically.
- Recipients are encouraged to check on their benefits online. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, announced last June that in less than two months’ time, one million people had gone online, created a My Social Security account and viewed their Social Security Statement.
Mimi taught seniors for eight years in the classroom in the Emeritus Program at Richland College in Dallas, TX. She went from taking classes…to teaching classes…to Teacher of the Year. Now she’s teaching Boomers and Seniors online from all over the world. “Why? Because having computer skills can connect you to your friends, family and the world while not having computer skills can disconnect you,” encouraged Mimi. Computer School for Boomers & Seniors has the largest selection of online computer Lesson Plans created specifically for Boomers and Seniors.
A sample of topics and lessons plans include; Travel, Google Earth, Publisher, Excel, ClipArt, and even Pinterest! The tuition is very reasonable at $79 per year or $39 for one semester (three months). Find out more at http://www.cs4seniors.com.
Costco is one of our favorite members-only retail outlets. They stock everything from detergents to computers and so much more! They have buyer programs for cars and trucks, and even host a Costco Travel Agency. Need an outdoor building? No problem… Looking for a car battery? Right this way madam… Just walk past the high-end DSLR cameras, the camping supplies, and the leather theater seating! It’s simply nirvana for all you shopaholics out there.
One of the more interesting trends that The Senior List has been tracking is Costco’s move into the lucrative boomer and senior spaces. This has been a market where traditional (specialty-retailers) have reigned supreme. A targeted focus on aging Americans can payoff in many ways. First, the boomer/senior market is already contributing to America’s bottom line and we’re only scratching the surface here folks. Second, Costco’s entry into these spaces will force transparency into markets that have (in some cases) fleeced consumers for years. Costco’s big-box-approach AND focus on service is bound to make traditional retailers for; hearing aids, durable goods (walkers, canes, etc.), eye-wear (glasses, etc.), prescriptions, medical alert systems, nutritional supplements, adult briefs (incontinence products) and travel… shake in their proverbial boots.
If you research the medical alert industry for example, you’ll find that there are a number players, big and small. What’s not so easy to find is information on the quality of medical alert systems, where to purchase them, how much they cost, and the dependability of the call centers themselves. The Senior List has been following the medical alert industry for quite some time, and there are some great companies out there. Did you know that you can now purchase a medical alert system at Costco? They’re for sale at certain stores, (call for availability) and available now at Costco online. These big box sellers will end up putting pressure on specialty, (and online) retailers to provide more transparency to the solutions they provide. The big box stores will also force manufacturers and retailers to provide better services in support of their solutions. Finally Costco will force these competitors to sharpen their pencils and lower their prices (if they wish to compete).
If you take a look at the hearing aid market, you’ll note that this is another market that Costco has targeted. With resounding success they have set up prescription eye glass centers, Costco is now selling hearing aids via their Costco Hearing Aid Centers. According to the New York Times, “About 37 million people suffer from some form of hearing loss — from minor impairment to total deafness — in the United States. But less than a quarter of the people who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them.” Keep in mind that this is the number cited today. The future will be mind-boggling for the hearing loss industry. Walkmans (boomers will know what I’m talking about), iPods, iPhones, and specialty head phones are turning this market upside down. Newer, cost-effective solutions will be required, and Costco sees the writing on the wall.
The new big box focus on boomers/seniors is a win-win-win for everybody. It’s good for Costco (and other big box retailers), it’s good for industry (makes them better) and it’s great for consumers. Specialty retail must adapt or they’ll be forced out. For small business, a focus on service, value adds, personal care, expertise, and buy-local initiatives is the only way some will survive. The silver lining is in the numbers however… with 79 million aging boomers in the U.S. there’s plenty of business to go around. The first wave of boomers just started turning 65, so this trend is just the beginning.
November 11 is the day we set aside to honor the many veterans of military service who have served our country. Are you caring for someone who is a veteran of military service? Many of the vets of World War II are in their 90s or older. The “forgotten vets,” the men and women who served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts—and a few of the other military incursions that the U.S. made during the Cold War—are aging as well.
What Is Veterans Day?
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” – US Department of Veterans Affairs
Military service, and especially combat experience, can have an enormous impact on a young man or woman, so it makes sense to encourage your loved one to reflect on his or her experiences, something they may not have done before now. One way to help start the process would be to help them visit a web site like the U. S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA). Another online resource is Make the Connection.net. Here you’ll find a wide range of short videos, made by veterans of all the major conflicts of this and the last century. Those videos may help open a door to your loved one’s ability to talk about his or her experiences. By listening to what they have to say, you honor them for what they did to serve all of us.
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” – US Department of Veterans Affairs
There’s also quite a bit more information on benefits and resources for veterans at va.gov. IF your loved one is a wounded vet, please go to The Wounded Warrior Project, there there is a great deal of support and resources for the wounded vet (and his or her family) to be found there.
More On The History Of Veterans Day
An Act approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. – US Department of Veterans Affairs
Blessings, and thanks to those of you who served our country,
*Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
JWT might be one of the best-known marketing communications brands you never heard of… Their blog JWT Intelligence is a “center for provocative thinking”, and is indeed an intelligence hub for brands looking to find their way. On January 18th, author Will Palley interviewed Ken Dychtwald, founder of AgeWave (and boomer marketer extraordinaire) to discuss aging and how aging is different today than it was a generation ago.
Do you think there are fewer prescriptions about how one should act at a certain age?
Absolutely. One of my favorite examples of that changing was when John Glenn announced he was going back up into space at 77. People said, “Wait, 77? He’s supposed to be in a rocking chair.” -Excerpt from Will Palley’s interview with Ken Dychtwald
To learn more about what drives Boomers and Seniors AND about future trends, we highly recommend reading Will Palley’s interview thoroughly. You’ll be glad you did!