Check your smoke alarms. And don’t ever hesitate to call 911. Better to be safe than sorry.
Debi Lynes (00:03): Hi and welcome to Aging in Place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at Aging in Place. Why me? Because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces in health and wellness. Also, I love designing with intent at any age. Why now? Because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully and we want our families around us as much as we can and why you the audience? Because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing, and that you can live in at any age with any ability at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life. Hi and welcome to Aging in Place for any stage in life. I am here with Randy Hunter. He is a firefighter and I am thrilled to talk with you. Today we’re going to talk about all kinds of safety, but before we get started, Oh, you grandfather of a six-month-old. Tell us a little bit about your background and what you do now.
Randy Hunter (01:24): So I’ve been in the fire service for 26 years now. I started off as a volunteer rod on the coattails with my dad in a small world department in South Western Pennsylvania.
Debi Lynes (01:36): Oh did you, okay.
Randy Hunter (01:36): So just about an hour South of Pittsburgh. And I knew I wanted to be a firefighter forever since a little kid. Joined the Marine Corps, was a firefighter for the Marine Corps and crash fire rescue. I did that for a short period of time. I got out. I was fortunate enough to get hired in Morgantown, West Virginia, where I spent 10 years as a firefighter there, which is pretty close to where I grew up. So it was a nice working, I just got tired of the winters at times, you know what I mean? So I came down here on vacation one year.
Debi Lynes (02:04): And here is Hilton Head [Island], South Carolina.
Randy Hunter (02:06): Absolutely yes. And here’s the Hilton Head. And I’m loved being down here. I applied for a job with the Bluffton Township Fire District, July 31st of 2008 and I was hired August 7th of 2008 and moved August 9th.
Debi Lynes (02:22): Well, tell me what your role is down here now.
Randy Hunter (02:25): So I was with the training division for the last 11 years. I’ve been recently reassigned to community risk reduction
Debi Lynes (02:31): What is that mean “community risk reduction”?
Randy Hunter (02:33): Well, I mean it is just what it says. We’re here re reducing the risk in the community. But many years ago where I shop until just recently, it’s always been known as fire prevention and that’s what the fire promise that we’ve been there to prevent fires. And we realize now that our overall goal is to reduce any kind of danger to our community, to our citizens. So it’s not community risks. So that goes anywhere from, you know, fire safety to our hurricane to trigger treating, making sure that people have the proper costumes on a barbecue, grilling fireworks, even though we’re not supposed to use them down here in South Carolina killers. Yeah. But that’s what we realize now that we have an ultimate goal of trying to protect our community.
Debi Lynes (03:13): It does seem like the overarching role of the fire department now is just really broad and generalized. I mean, you’re here today talking about Aging in Place and I think the fun part for me is talking about safety in and around your home is what we’re going to focus on today. And even though the podcast is Aging in Place, we’re talking about any stage in life. And that’s what you said when I said, when I said that you had the best comment.
Randy Hunter (03:38): Yeah, we have program. We did, we shouldn’t be looking at it. I don’t exactly know how it’s, I wish I could remember what I said earlier, because I believe.
Debi Lynes (03:44): No that’s exactly what you said.
Randy Hunter (03:44): But we need to be, we have programs from you know, small children to very elderly people. We look at all these different aspects of what they need to learn. Captain Lee Levesque, he’s great at public education. He’s also in the community risk reduction and he is out in schools all the time. Even when he meets with kids all the time about, you know, fire safety don’t be afraid of firefighters. But now we’re broadening that to where we’re going around talking about like we’re going to talk about today, slips and falls and how to talk, how to protect yourself around the home. But I think that’s what makes it so this position now is so interesting is because we are literally out there and when we go places it doesn’t take very long for someone to find out, Oh you at the fire farm. I have a question for you. And then there they are asking this question and how to make things better.
Debi Lynes (04:32): Well, let me ask you a question about how to position this. Initially I was going, do we position this with, again, let’s talk about little kids in the home to older kids or is it better to do sort of a tour of a home, let’s say for you. In other words, when you pull in to a, you get a call, what would be one of the first safety issues going to that call?
Randy Hunter (04:58): When you look at us coming in to some or you know, other organizations maybe like up in Fairfax, Virginia, for example, they have codes that say that you’re building, if it’s a commercial structure, the numbers had to be such and such size. They gotta be contrast. And it’s the same thing for our residents. We want to make sure that when the fire apparatus or EMS or police pull up in front of your house, that it’s clearly marked that what your dresses, you know I knew I put in here, I saw the one.
Debi Lynes (05:24): Right.
Randy Hunter (05:24): Yeah. If it was nighttime, that one outside here is a little bit difficult to see and we just want to make sure that it’s visible.
Debi Lynes (05:31): So you said contrast. What does that mean?
Randy Hunter (05:33): Like if you have a white house, do you want black letters.
Debi Lynes (05:35): Oh, got it.
Randy Hunter (05:36): Yeah. So pretty simple. You know, we just, I didn’t know, maybe I didn’t explain it. He shaking his head, she’s laughing. So maybe, but you want to make sure that if you stand in a road that your house is easily identified from the road when the apparatus in the front boom. They know exactly where they’re at. It
Debi Lynes (05:52): Was funny that you’re talking about that contrast. We had someone talking about new appliances and some of the appliances are actually paying attention to the contrast between the let’s say on the stove between being able to read it with a bigger font and then color contrast so that people can actually see it more clearly and easily. Right. I mean, it was pretty interesting.
Randy Hunter (06:13): And I think no matter what we’re doing. I mean, I just taught a class for fire instructors. We’re talking about making PowerPoints and it’s gonna be contrast, you know what I mean? Just you gotta make it, everything’s gotta be visible. Plant number what we want. We are very visual people and didn’t want to see, know what we’re looking at.
Debi Lynes (06:27): So when you drive in, walk again walking into a home, what do you think of when you think of safety? What are you looking for?
Randy Hunter (06:35): Well I’ve coming from the fire department, our main thing is we hope that every house has working smoke detectors. That’s, you know, captain leave in the back when he’s out there. That’s his smoke detector. Smoke the type of smoke detectors. That’s what you know, we want to see every home have a smoke detector.
Debi Lynes (06:50): How many were, how often do we check them and why? Smoke detector.
Randy Hunter (06:54): Oh well. So after I said repeat it, smoke alarms, it’s allowing us to that they’re smoking house, what we recommend it. So before we get into fall, we want to make sure that, because this can lead down a whole rabbit hole of a thousand different things. So if we want to stick to certain things, we might not want to go down smoke detector or smoke alarms, but we’ll get down a little bit. So what we recommend in houses now, we recommend that people sleep with their bedroom door closed.
Debi Lynes (07:17): Oh.
Randy Hunter (07:17): It’s practically pretty amazing. A fire in a hallway. How much did that door will stop and protect this bedroom? This room right here, for example. Now it’s easy for me to preach that, but I don’t practice that because we have animals and we are not going to lock, my wife’s locked the cats out of the bedroom. Okay. So what we say is if you’ll sleep with, you know, you should have one in the bedroom with your door shut.
Debi Lynes (07:38): In the bedroom.
Randy Hunter (07:38): Yup and then one outside the bedroom cause it’s bad because if a fire starts in here and that door’s closed, you want the smoke alarm to detect it inside this room.
Debi Lynes (07:46): Good point.
Randy Hunter (07:46): If the door’s closed, you want one outside that way for something in the hallway that the smoke is detected out there as well.
Debi Lynes (07:55): Is there a rule of thumb for how many smoke detectors you can have? And I know on Hilton head this house was built in 58 and it’s considered a really old house. But in Pennsylvania and other places relatively.
Randy Hunter (08:06): Well. And you know in Bluffton, yeah, this is [a, I mean ]I’m not saying, but.
Debi Lynes (08:09): It’s an old house, yeah.
Randy Hunter (08:09): A lot of the new smoke alarms are hardwired into them with a battery backup and those batteries are coming based on building code. But what they recommend is, and you kind of caught me off guard with this, but we’re rolling one per bedroom and then they want one outside per floor. Yup.
Debi Lynes (08:28): Okay, that makes a lot of sense.
Randy Hunter (08:29): And where you don’t want a smoke alarm is in your kitchen, whatever. Butter stove. I mean, that’s, you know, I know it’s a joke with the kids about it because even when you’re talking to kids, you make them laugh. And I’m like, well, my wife thinks that’s the foods. But you know, you gotta think about them. We had a hotel built in Morgantown and they installed all the smoke alone right next to the showers. So if someone would have a hot shower, I’m going to open up the shower door. It says the larva every single time. So they had to go back and re on it, you know, and install these, reinstall them. Sometimes people just don’t know, thinking they think smoke, they don’t think
Debi Lynes (09:05): Exactly. What about carbon monoxide? I hear more and more about that.
Randy Hunter (09:10): Very, very important, especially is your house well, well, here’s what we recommend it. My house for example, is all electric. Right? So I have less of a chance from getting carbon monoxide. It doesn’t mean I don’t need one cause it’s amazing. We had a call the other day, A gentleman went in and put into his garage and has a car with a push button, push the button, thought it turned off, got out, was my somewhere else in a car, kept running. So if you wouldn’t have had a carbon monoxide alarm in his house, then he would’ve been in trouble.
Debi Lynes (09:42): Who would have ever thought that? We’re going to have to take a quick break.
Randy Hunter (09:44): Absolutely.
Debi Lynes (09:44): We’re going to come right back. We have a lot more to talk about here with safety and fire and all of those good things. We’re here again with Randy Hunter on the Aging in Place Podcast. Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what lines on design can do for you for more information on certified Aging in Place and facilitative and supportive design, look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L-YN-E-S on design dot com.
Debi Lynes (10:22): We are back here on Aging in Place. We are here with Randy Hunter and we are talking about safety. We’re getting ready to talk about your personal favorite thing.
Randy Hunter (10:31): Slips and falls.
Debi Lynes (10:32): Slips and falls at any age, but you said it’s one of the things you deal with older people all the time. Probably your biggest call.
Randy Hunter (10:40): Yeah, a lot of times, you know, I think when we, as we get older, a lot of people don’t want to admit that they need some help. Are they going to have to look? I bought gloves or gloves. I bought glasses the other day and I really was, I pride myself on never needing glasses and all of a sudden I’m like, I buy new glasses. So we look at things like this. I think some of our, the community, we really want to say, look, it’s okay if you start to have a little bit of issues with getting around. We just want to make it safer for you. Everyone wants to live independently. So when we started talking about slips and falls, we want to make sure that you can go around the house and they can kind of look at our home and say, you know what? This is a potential trip hazard. If you have hardwood floors like in here and you have loose rugs, loose rugs are going to make people slip and fall. It’s kind of simple. So we go around and we look and make sure we can move those things around and we don’t want them around anyways.
Debi Lynes (11:29): So wait a minute, you will come in and walk my house with me?
Randy Hunter (11:32): We can absolutely.
Debi Lynes (11:33): Because that would be amazing. I’ve got a one-year-old grandchild, my 91-year-old dad who’s here. It would be so helpful because I think oftentimes I see my house so often, I don’t pay attention. So what, so what are some of the things you said loose rugs that makes sense.
Randy Hunter (11:48): Loose rugs, you want to make sure. So as we get, then you can use this to, for someone to say someone breaks a leg. Okay. And so it’s not just always looking at the elderly. We’re looking at things that are going to make that person get through that house easier. So open concept, make sure that they have an open area to walk there. They’re not going to be bumping into things. I don’t know how many times I get up in the middle of the night and you know, you do something, you pump in, I’ve got a new watch and I don’t know, it feels like it’s 4,000 times bigger. I bump it on every door, you know? But those are things that we look at as we’re going through. Do we have a lamp in a certain area where you really want in here, but the cord sticks out, you know?
Restrooms, excuse me. Restrooms. You know, when you go in and you’re getting in and out of the showers, slips and falls. We should have rubber [matt], you know, some grippy things on the bottom of the shower, the tub, handrails, you know, I mean, those are the little things that we would love to come in. And you know, not necessarily tell people what they need but make those recommendations.
Debi Lynes (12:44): Well, I think that’s what I mean, Aging in Place. I think I would love to have it at any age. I’d love to have somebody come in and share with me areas that were safe and areas that probably could use a little a safety update if you want.
Randy Hunter (12:57): Absolutely. And 90% actually probably 100% of fire departments in our nation. If someone was to call their local fire department, they would be able to come out and do a walkthrough and we do home inspections for fire. We can do home inspectors for safety. When it comes to residents, it’s one of the things where we don’t go around and really, Hey, can we come in? Can we come in here? Because that’s not really that a man’s home is his castle, for example. So that’s all. We can’t really enforce far coats.
Debi Lynes (13:22): But if we could invite you.
Randy Hunter (13:23): Absolutely 100% we will encourage it you know.
Debi Lynes (13:26): When you get calls, do you find that most of the time the slips and falls or in the bathroom or where? Bedroom, bathroom.
Randy Hunter (13:34): We [man] I don’t have those exact numbers, but bathroom, bedroom, that’s where two main.
Debi Lynes (13:39): Oh is it really?
Randy Hunter (13:39): Yeah. And a lot of times someone gets into a, maybe goes to the restroom or something and getting up and saying down based on how they are still have anything to hold onto. So all of a sudden, you know, lowering down, they kind of lose grip. They don’t, some people don’t like that cold floor, so they put that rug there. So now we have two things. Now we’re trying to study ourselves, but then our rug slips out and then all of a sudden they fall down. You know, talking about that again, not trying to get too far off the track here, then stay in and eventually hit a certain point.
Debi Lynes (14:07): I don’t know it’s kind of fun getting off track. It’s really interesting.
Randy Hunter (14:10): But we have, we got to make sure when someone slips and falls we need to make sure that, that we’re checking on our neighbors. Okay making sure that we know our neighbors and make sure you have somewhere to call. If someone falls down, let’s say I fought on the floor and just can’t get up, it actually after so long it actually becomes pre dangerous for them. Yeah, Because the way they lay their it depending on, it can be a very serious health risk. So what we recommend is obviously having some way maybe.
Debi Lynes (14:37): Communicate.
Randy Hunter (14:37): To communicate or just know your neighbors and say, Hey, you know, I haven’t seen Mr. and Mrs. Smith in a while. My wife and I did it the other day. We are a neighbor of ours who we see summer front porch and day in and day out had a little sticky note on his door from a package delivery and my wife combined and she’s like, man, you know, I dunno, so-and-so’s huh. We’ve got packages such been there the next day. It was still in there. So we called our, his, one of his good friends. Do you know where [inaudible] is? And they’re like, Oh yeah, he’s been in Vegas for a month. And we’re like, Ooh, but we, but we pay attention to our neighbors and what they’re kind of doing now because we’re nosy. We’re friendly. Maybe a little nosy too, but you want to know. But you know, if you haven’t seen someone stop in just checking them. You know, everybody wants to see that. And it’s good being a neighbor too.
Debi Lynes (15:27): Do you teach people how to get up if they fall? Do you talk to people about it? Like you come in and someone’s slipped or fallen on the floor and you’re like, Ooh, cause I know because my dad lives with me at 91 that’s, you know that a six foot tall gentleman that weighs 195 pounds, who falls is dead weight.
Randy Hunter (15:47): Oh that’s [an, and ]it is very tough for me to go out, but that’s why when we go, we send the whole engine company because we are going to have three guys and girls to help pick somebody up. Now, the other reason too is if someone falls down, we are going to go and make sure that they’re just not getting need back in a chair. So that makes sense. So make sure they’re not hurt. We’re going to kind of, Hey, you know, and as our firefighters render and they are looking for those types of things, Hey Mr. Smith, we noticed you found this rug again today. Maybe we can just go ahead and take this rug up for you or you know, along those lines. Because but our firefighters are trained to always be vigilant of being able to help.
Debi Lynes (16:23): In other words, not just looking at what’s presenting, but sort of the periphery, what’s going on. Do you find that you enjoy the education and prevention piece of all this? In other words, going in, if you could have seen that rug and had been invited in to kind of take a walkthrough,
Randy Hunter (16:38): Oh, I love doing, I love doing the critical community risk reduction. You know, as a young firefighter, I wanted to go fight fires, which I still do. I still love doing that stuff. I don’t do it anymore. I want the trucks now, but I absolutely 100% love coming and doing something like this. Being able to educate our community. We go into our local retirement community here. I went in the other day and taught a CPR class, the security that runs a committee that oversees the community. But when I was in there, all of the residents saw my department vehicle saw me in uniform and had a thousand questions about everything and I could have sat there all day and talk to him just because I enjoy interacting with the community and to being able to help.
Debi Lynes (17:16): What kind of questions did you find that they were asking you? Which I think is really interesting.
Randy Hunter (17:21): Well, right now a [lot of question] we’re getting is smoke alarms and changing batteries. And when can we help them replace their smoke detectors. So we do a program where we can go out, we’ll help change batteries, but we’re looking for someone that’s not physically. Again, we’re looking at someone from their home by themselves that can’t physically get up on a ladder. So we’ll go out and help and change her batteries. Help replace your smoke alarms. Again, the fire services, one of the things awesome about who we’re talking about. It’s a broad scope, but someone calls us. We never tell them no. You know I mean we have a policy that says we don’t rescue cats out of trees anymore. But sure enough, if someone calls and says, my cat’s in a tree, guess what? We’re going to send an engine company over there and a truck company and they’re going to do what they can. They get that cow tree because we’re the fire department does not tell anybody. No. And we get called for maybe an elderly lady to them by herself or colors overflowing. She does nine one, one. There’s no one else a sense of fire-prone. It’s going to go, but luckily we’re going to go shut the water off. And more than likely we have a plumber or somebody is handy on the engine and they’re like, well, wait a second man. Let’s go ahead, here’s your problem. And they see another fix the problem. And you kind of hear stories about that all through the fire service. And I think that’s one of the things that drives people to be a firefighter.
Debi Lynes (18:37): Oh, I think it’s amazing. I want to talk about two things. I know we have to take a quick break here in just a minute. I’d like to talk about electrical wiring.
Randy Hunter (18:44): Okay.
Debi Lynes (18:44): And just because that for some reason that spooks me a little bit.
Randy Hunter (18:48): Me too.
Debi Lynes (18:48): Right. And then I’d love to talk about fire hazards in the house rooms so they are most likely. I guess my assumption is a kitchen, but let’s talk briefly if we can about electrical wiring.
Randy Hunter (19:04): Right now?
Debi Lynes (19:04): Sure.
Randy Hunter (19:04): Okay. So, well first off, there’s three things that I’m afraid of. Spiders, snakes, electricity, and not mastering any of those three snakes. I’m going a little better with. So if anyone has any questions at all about electricity, first of all, they need to look and see if it’s something with wiring, get a professional, don’t look at it. But when we’re looking to extension cords, we don’t want to overload outlets. We don’t want to have those. You know, my wife actually come home the other day and she’s like, Hey, I bought an extension cord for our new lamp. I’m like, no, we’re not putting [inaudible]. I mean only because it’s a $3 extension cord. It’s not will it catch fire? You never know, but you don’t want to take the chance. You want to get something that’s actually, you know, you want to get an outlet plug directly into the outlet. Those extension cords get really hot, especially if they’re kinked.
Debi Lynes (19:52): That was the point of having an extension cord was to not do that.
Randy Hunter (19:56): Well they have some that are rated better than others and you’re going to have to look on, they have a UL slip on and everything, but those are things. Ideally, you want to use a surge protector and they make them at all lengths. Now that way, if something happens in that quarter is short, it’s going to cut the power and not continue to do it. That’s one of the main things that we want to look at.
Debi Lynes (20:13): We’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to come back and we’re still going to talk about electricity because you’re afraid of it and we can’t talk about dividers or snakes and we’ll go back to that. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
Henrik de Gyor (20:23): For more podcast episodes, links, information and media inquiries, please visit our website at aginginplacepodcast.com as we transition through life with the comfort and ease you deserve, discover how you can create a home that will adapt to you as you journey through life and the changes it will bring. Please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as our host Debi Lynes and her expert guests discuss relevant topics to creating a home for all decades in life. Don’t miss our weekly episodes of Aging in Place. Podcast for every stage in life.
Debi Lynes (21:00): We are back here on Aging in Place. We’re talking to Randy Hunter. We’re talking about electricity in your home. And I would think around the holidays and probably 4th of July are pretty sketchy and dangerous when it comes to house fires on electricity.
Randy Hunter (21:19): Well, especially at Christmas, we have all the what’s called Rizwan say, you know, he’s an expert interior illumination or however, but he look at this stuff and people do, they’re going to run a long extension cords during the holidays and we just got to make sure that we’re, the main thing with learning chords is getting a chord that’s actually rated for what you’re looking. I just purchased myself a surge protector that’s extra long for that reason because our surge protectors are normally that long. You don’t reach my needs your side about a longer one so that if something does happen, it actually has a switch. It’ll [self Oh].
Debi Lynes (21:55): Turn off.
Randy Hunter (21:55): It’ll, yeah,
Debi Lynes (21:57): So if I get a surge protector, I can put my $3 extension cord in it [and then.]
Randy Hunter (22:04): No, I mean the idea would be in theory it should protect it so that that $3 extension cord shorts out the surge protectors should stop that. But the idea would be like my surge protector, I bought a six foot one that kind of extends backwards and no one can see it. And we can plug our lamps into it.
Debi Lynes (22:22): What’s so funny, when we do the podcast at the end, we do takeaways and the takeaway from this is already do not buy a $3. I mean, I didn’t know that. I thought
Randy Hunter (22:31): A lot of people don’t, and I’m not going to, don’t get me wrong, if you look at my garage, there’s probably a $3 corn hanging up there. We try and do the best we can as firefighters to really represent and do practice what we preach. But every once in a while you get somewhere where you just really want that lamp to turn on and all of a sudden. But the idea is that we don’t want to be, we want to try to avoid something like that.
Debi Lynes (22:52): What is the biggest cause of fires in homes in general?
Randy Hunter (22:55): [ are between] cooking and heating. That’s the two biggest fires, right or causes of fires right there. Now actually in the low country here we have a lot of lightning strikes and a summertime we run a ton of lightning strikes. It’s just because of the Pines and all that stuff here. But a lot of our nationwide heating and cooking fires seem to be the main cause of home fires.
Debi Lynes (23:19): What about dryers?
Randy Hunter (23:19): While dryers, the main thing that it causes fires and dryers is going to be the vents being cleaned out, making sure.
Debi Lynes (23:26): What vents being cleaned out?
Randy Hunter (23:28): Yeah you know where the lint traps are or anything like that. You’re a clean nose notice I’m asking where all your podcast, we’re going to turn the ties now. But yeah, so that heats up in there and then when that air can’t flow as it restricts it, then it can’t do what it needs. It doesn’t operate properly and it catches fire. So, you know, when you look at your overall, and like I said, we can talk for four months on safety, but when you’re looking at, you want to follow the manufacturer’s instruction, do you want to stay Virgin on keeping things maintained, clean watching for slips and fall, you know, so there’s a ton of stuff that can be done.
Debi Lynes (24:08): I’ll tell you what scares me the most for myself is you’re gonna flip it is I have a tendency of popping popcorn or doing something and getting distracted. And I’ve burned pot on the stove, which is really embarrassing because I, you know, you don’t think that that’s the deal.
Randy Hunter (24:22): So things happen like that. We were cooking and one time w you know, a lot of people have done that. Again, you get attached track. We were cooking one time at the house and we had a wooden cooking cutting board and I was doing something and needed to counter space and set it off. We have a flat top stove. The stove didn’t even think anything about it. My wife’s like, something’s burning and I didn’t realize that the burners were on and I sitting around on top of the burners. And so people do make mistakes. You know, the idea is that w we all are human. We’re going to do that, but to try and prevent those as much as possible. Now I would not want to come to your house if you were cooking in some, yeah, it’s on the stove.
Debi Lynes (24:59): That would not be good.
Randy Hunter (24:59): You know, but that’s something that we can, you know, again, just trying to stay vigilant.
Debi Lynes (25:05): We had a situation, I, and I would be curious as to how you would handle this. We were in the kitchen about a year ago. You would love this. We were in the kitchen about a year ago and I had was having a meeting and I, and I looked and there were literally swear to you flame shooting out of my dishwasher, my dishwasher.
Randy Hunter (25:23): What was on fire?
Debi Lynes (25:23): The[ top panel. It had been.] I had someone out to fix it the day before and I guess something just so I went to my laundry room and I got my fire extinguisher that was dated 1987 and I went, Ooh, I’m scared to touch it because of all the spider webs. And now that I’ve touched it, I don’t know what to do with it. And the reason I bring that up is fire extinguishers. I mean, it was, there were flames. I, you know, I think you’re going to be wise in what you’re doing, how you handle these situations.
Randy Hunter (25:57): Yeah, absolutely. And you know, so all of these things we’re talking about, you can find them through the nfta.org the national fire protection association. Look, your local fire department, whatever it may be. But like I said, there’s so much stuff we could talk about how a fire extinguisher, make sure it’s dated, make sure you know where it’s at.
Debi Lynes (26:14): Make sure you know how to use?
Randy Hunter (26:16): Yeah, we go into a lot of businesses and everyone’s all excited being, Oh man, we have an AED. And I’m like, Oh, that’s great. Where is it?
Debi Lynes (26:25): And an add for the people.
Randy Hunter (26:26): Oh, an automatic external defibrillator, which is great. They have one, but sometimes other employees don’t know where it’s at, you know? So these safety tips can go into your home, into your place of employment. If you go to a restaurant, there’s are things that just be vigilant and know, you know, what you can do to be safe.
Debi Lynes (26:42): And again, fire extinguishers I think are intuitive to you. You don’t even think about them. But I think too many of us, and I, it’s funny because my kids have no idea and I mean they’re adults, they’re young adults, but I think that they’ve just always been used to growing up with them but not really ever see them.
Randy Hunter (26:58): Yeah. And I, and that’s the way the fire service is going out with the community risk reduction. A lot of our programs, you know, 10 years ago were strictly based a kid stopped op roll, don’t play with fire, whatever it may be. Now we’re realizing that we do have older kids, adolescents and young adults that don’t know how to operate a fire extinguisher. So we, you know, we try to encourage them to come out and learn CPR, first aid, just you name it. We try and educate people in it with the star, anything.
Debi Lynes (27:28): It’s amazing. So people can call no matter where you are in the US or our standards or codes. Pretty, pretty much the same. In other words, are firefighters all trained in CPR?
Randy Hunter (27:39): No. Well, yes, that’s there. I want to say how to say it. So broad question. Yes. All firefighters are trained a certain level of medical. Some fire departments are just the very basic of first aid or what they call an emergency first responder. Then we have EMT, EMT advanced, paramedics, and then we even have some…
Debi Lynes (27:59): Like paramedics who are a helicopter pilot.
Randy Hunter (28:01): Yeah. We have flight medics and stuff like that actually to a part-time. So when we have all that stuff, so we are trained in all that. All firefighters are trained in basic fire prevention. Like we know how they give you come to our youngest firefighter and say, Hey, I would like to have a, can you tell me he’s a fire extinguisher? They shouldn’t be able to because that’s in recruit school, they’re required to do some pub[lic] ed[ucation] during recruit school. But yes, 90%. And if they don’t know the answer to it, they know exactly where to go and help you find it.
Debi Lynes (28:26): And you know, we’ve only got a couple of minutes to go, but before we go, I think I’d be remiss in not asking what is an emergency when something happens. How do I know when to actually call nine one one? I think that’s, there’s a big misconception.
Randy Hunter (28:41): Well, my biggest thing is don’t ever, if you have to question it, call number one. We would rather come to your house, come to your place of employment and the canceled en route or get, they’re like, Oh, everything’s okay. As opposed to sitting in the station and like, you know, they called us 10 minutes earlier, so don’t ever, if you have to question whether or not it’s an emergency AppSumo herbs and call nine one one.
Debi Lynes (29:02): Is, it really is the way, whether it’s, whether it’s physical fire.
Randy Hunter (29:08): Yeah. Well, because an emergency to me may not be an emergency to you and vice versa. So I’m not going to sit here and dictate, but I will, if somebody feels that they need help, we never, ever want them to discourage them from calling nine one one. We want them to call, have us come out, have law enforcement, EMS, whoever, come out, assess the situation and we’d rather go back home and making sure you’re safe as opposed to not being calling them out.
Debi Lynes (29:31): Then on that note, what information do I need to be armed with to help you expedite this and that you can do your job and can be more efficient with the information,
Randy Hunter (29:43): Current current location, what their problem is, where it calling from. And with cell phones nowadays, we need to make sure that when the dispatcher answered the phone that you tell them where you’re actually calling from. Sometimes like the fuss gallon, maybe not a great sample. It may actually, it may go the fussy Island right now as a Hilton head dispatch. [inaudible] May ping on you for counting. So where are you calling from.
Debi Lynes (30:06): And so that means no matter where we are in the US, that same situation.
Randy Hunter (30:10): They could have asked you. 100%.
Debi Lynes (30:10): Do you find that people don’t know where they’re calling sure on?
Randy Hunter (30:14): Oh, absolutely. We have a lot of students are down here. We have a lot of tourists. Hey, I see a lot of, there’s a house on fire where I’m not sure where, but I think it’s I it all, I’m on [Route] 278 and I see dark black smoke somewhere down there, so we got send an apparatus [a fire engine] to try and pinpoint where this, you know, and people don’t usually stay where they’re at.
Debi Lynes (30:33): I tell you what, the more we talked, the more questions I have, I can think of outside and gardening and all kinds of questions. Will you come back and talk to us?
Randy Hunter (30:41): Oh actually I love this, please.
Debi Lynes (30:41): Randy, thank you so much. We want to thank all of you for joining us here on aging in place for any stage in life. I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tracy. Tracy is naturally curious and always creative and when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand. My response, who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip and to hint that is a practical application.
Tracy Snelling (31:17): Thanks Debi. Love thy neighbor. They come in handy one day. If you’re friends with your neighbors, the ones right next door, or even just a few houses down, come up with a system that lets them know you’re okay. I used to watch over an elderly woman who lived alone and I had her call me every morning at 8:00 AM and she let my phone ring twice. That way it doesn’t disturb what I’m doing. And if she didn’t call me by 8:15 AM, I would call her to make sure she was okay. Also, she would turn on her porch light every night. So without disturbing her, I knew always well when I did my drive by and her neighbors kept a watchful eye for the light too and they had my phone number just in case. So devise a plan. Let your neighbors know that you’re good at baking or shopping for cookies, at least for an exchange for a watchful eye. Who knew your safety could be right next door.
Debi Lynes (32:15): Randy, what an amazing interview today and talk about a takeaway. Here’s the bottom line. Please, please, please check your smoke alarms. And don’t ever hesitate to call 911. Better to be safe than sorry. Thank you all for joining us here on aging in place for any stage in life.
Henrik de Gyor (32:36): Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to email@example.com we would love to hear from you if you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us that firstname.lastname@example.org
When it comes to aging in place at any stage in life, it’s about safety, security, ease of use, comfort, and beauty.
Debi Lynes: 00:03 Hi and welcome to Aging in Place for every stage in life. What if you could visit or have a home that would accommodate anyone, at any age, any physical ability at any time? How cool would that be? That’s what we’re doing here at aging in place. Why me? Because I’m a doctor of psychology and I specialize in physical spaces and health and wellness. Also, I love designing with intent at any age. Why now? Because we the baby boomers want to age in place gracefully and we want our families around us as much as we can and why you the audience? Because we want you to experience what it’s like to have a home that’s safe, aesthetically pleasing and that you can live in at any age, with any ability, at any time. I’d like to introduce you now to Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.
Debi Lynes: 01:05 Hi and welcome to Aging in Place Podcast. We are so excited to have as our guest today, Wanda Gozdz. Thank you so much for joining us. I’m really excited to talk to you, Wanda. Today you had been a teacher and a mentor to me. And what I’d like to do is ask you a little bit about CAPS certification and what a CAPS designer, architect, occupational therapist, physical therapist does?
Wanda Gozdz: 01:34 Well, a person that’s a certified aging in place specialist really helps people with home modifications. They basically do an assessment to determine is the home adaptable to a person’s need as they change over time and then they provide design solutions and they also implement those design solutions to create an environment that provides ease of use, comfort, safety and beauty.
Debi Lynes: 02:03 Things that you and I talked about and that you taught me early on was that when we talk about aging in place is really creating a home for anyone at any age, in any stage of life. And that it doesn’t serve any of us well if we limit what we talk about in certified aging in place, if we just put the seniors as a group. It’s really about anyone. Can you talk a little bit about what CAPS is? You sort of gave us a broad spectrum. Specifically from the course, what are we going to learn?
Wanda Gozdz: 02:39 Well, we’re going to learn specifically that there are three segments of the market. There’s those people that are just aging and they’re perfectly healthy. I’m 70 years old. I’m aging. I have no immediate needs, but my environment is such that should something happen to me in the future, I can adapt, my environment adapts to my need. An example would be, for example, I have arthritis and I have arthritis in my right hand. I broke my hand. So now it’s a little harder for me to open my door knob. So what I did do is I adapted my environment by changing it to a lever handle, which allows me to use my forearm instead of my hand and it provides me still ease of use and I still can get into my home comfortably. So that is what I’m coming to the table to be able to assess that that’s what you need in your home.
Wanda Gozdz: 03:35 So therefore, regardless of who comes to your home, whether it’s your grandma or your children or your grandchildren, they can easily get into your home regardless of their condition, their age, or their ability.
Debi Lynes: 03:50 You know, when I remember sitting in a class and being very familiar with ADA and universal design, but not realizing how all encompassing it is for living any place at any time. Can you talk to me a little bit about universal design?
Wanda Gozdz: 04:07 So universal design is basically the fundamental principles that allow comfort, safety, ease of use, and accessibility regardless of what the person’s ability to do that. An example of that would be, I want something that is assessable to everyone. If I have a 36 inch door, it is assessable, meaning everyone can walk through that door. If I’m walking with a walker, I can get through the door. If I have a scooter, I can get through the door. If I have a stroller, I can get through the door. So it’s equitable and it provides access to everyone. So if I put the door in there, the door is equitable, it’s universal and it’s accessible. Regardless of my ability, my age or what I’m doing, it allows me through the doorway. So that’s a principle. Another principle would be, for example, ease of use or perceptible information. So something that does the task for you. If I have a touch faucet, then that does the task for me. It’s automatically is intuitive and it does the task for me. So whether I do the task or the task is done for me, it allows me to have my way regardless of what my ability is, it allows me to still perform the task of washing my hands.
Wanda Gozdz: 05:27 Perfect example is we all know that we go, Commercially, we go to the bathroom in a public bathroom. When you go to the bathroom, you sit on the toilet, it automatically flushes, you stand up, you go to the faucet, you stick your hands underneath it, the faucet automatically comes on and washes your hands. Then I go to the dryer and it blow dries my hands and it dries it. So that allows me the ability, regardless of who is using it, it’s universal because everyone can use it. But if I have a disability, I still can use that product. Meaning I still can get my hands washed because something is helping me in order to do that. And those kinds of products that are intuitive are going to be the things that are going to allow people to remain in their home.
Wanda Gozdz: 06:16 An example would be the lights automatically come on in my house. That’s a safety and security issue. That’s a universal design feature because that’s intuitive. The lights automatically come on. So regardless if I have macular degeneration or I can’t see or I can’t hear, the task is being basically performed for me. So if we use those principles in designing or creating our environment, that way it doesn’t matter who comes to see me. It doesn’t matter how old they are, it doesn’t matter what their limitations are. They still can be able to be functional and get the job done, which means our activities of daily living, which are going to the bathroom and eating ourselves, those are the activities of daily living. So we want that to be safe, secure, functional, and assessable.
Debi Lynes: 07:11 Do you think, since you’ve started the CAPS course and just known more and more about universal design and accessibility, things have changed? Is the whole industry broadening? And since now there are many of us who are aging, we want to age in place, we and we all have grandchildren. We want our grandkids to be able to come and visit. Have things changed over time?
Wanda Gozdz: 07:37 No. Well, what happens is now we’re designing. The clear distinction is our bodies are changing over time. Are we, is our environment changing? So we have to adapt to our environment so that as we change over time, we can still be able to function in it. So what’s happening? So right now the reason we’re modifying homes is because our bodies are changing. And so we want the environment to be able to do that. So if I’m doing a modification, I’m going to look at those things that allow me to do that. I need to get into the bathroom. So I need a wide enough doorway. The trend right now is for a wet room. We want as much space in the bathroom as possible for accessibility regardless of whether or walking in there, whether we’re on wheelchair, whether we’re in a walker or we’re bringing the dog in for a bath or we’re bringing our grandchild in. We want as much space as possible. So we’re creating a bathroom that has no walls in it. It just has the basic structure and the whole room is assessable to me. So I have a shower head that moves up and down. I have a faucet that I can easily touch and be able to stick my hands under. I have grab bars that give me stability and security while I’m navigating in that shower. So all of that is changing. What is changing and the products, they’re becoming a lot more friendly and a lot more aesthetically pleasing. So what is changing is the products are there and they have been there. We’re moving them from institutional life to what? To aesthetically pleasing because it’s now our home and we want our environment to be beautiful.
Debi Lynes: 09:25 One of the things that you pride yourself on. And one of the things that I think you’re internationally known for is being able to walk into a home and really help people assess ways that they can make their home more visitable, if that’s the right word for that. When you walk through a home, can you give us just an example of you walk in or you drive into the driveway? What kinds of things are you looking for?
Wanda Gozdz: 09:51 We start at the curb. I’m looking for access. I need to be able to get into my home. So it starts at the curb. Egress starts at the curb. I’m looking at what obstacles. How am I getting in? Am I traveling? Am I getting in here through the garage? Am I getting in there from the front stairs. And what are the travel paths? So my travel path is important. Do I have to step up, you know, from the garage into the house. So that is an obstacle. So what do I have to do there? If I am in the house and now I have to walk up a flight of stairs, that is an obstacle because now I have something in my travel path that’s stopping me, so I’m looking at that travel path. Do I have a 42 inch width that allows me a travel pack that allows me? Now since we have an open space plan and most people’s homes are open, we use furniture for that travel path. So do I have enough space between the couch and the counter so that I could pass forward safely?
Wanda Gozdz: 10:52 So that’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking how am I walking through that environment easily with a minimal amount of effort.
Debi Lynes: 11:02 All right. I tell you what, you’re amazing and this is why she’s so fascinating to listen to. She’s such a wealth of information. Wanda, we’re going to take a quick break. We’re going to come right back. I just talk a little about more about aging in place. Stay with us.
Debi Lynes: 11:14 Hi, I’m Dr. Debi Lynes. Design elements are psychologically and physically supportive and conducive to health and wellness. To learn more about what lines on design can do for you for more information, certified aging in place and facilitative and supportive design. Look for us at lynesondesign.com. That’s L Y N E S on design.com
Henrik de Gyor: 11:39 Hi, I’m Henrik, the producer of Aging in Place Podcast. If you’d like more information and transcripts of this podcast, visit aginginplacepodcast.com and now back to Debi Lynes with the next segment of Aging in Place Podcast for every stage in life.
Debi Lynes: 11:59 We are back here on aging in place. We are again here with Wanda Gozdz. Good to see you again. It’s amazing to talk with you. You are such a fountain of knowledge and you make it really user-friendly, which is great for many of us. You know, I’ve got a 91-year-old dad and a two-year-old granddaughter and I think when they can visit the house and everybody’s safe, I feel much more comfortable. You were taking us a walk through a home and really showing us some things that we can pay attention to. The takeaway or what I really heard from you was from the beginning. Okay. When you drive up to a house, that’s where you really start paying attention to aging in place and making your home universally designed.
Wanda Gozdz: 12:45 So what I’m going to say is the other issue is our population is going to be basically the female because we outlive men by 10 years. And so what women want is security and so that starts at the outside of the house to approach you. Somebody comes to my front door. I live in Florida. Code basically requires that our doors open out to deal with the hurricane. So when the door out and someone knocks on my door, I have to step outside and then look behind the door to see who’s there. Well, that’s a security issue and a safety issue. If I live by myself, I want to be able to be safe. I want to know who’s on that other side of the door before I answer the door, not after I opened the door.
Debi Lynes: 13:33 I never thought about that.
Wanda Gozdz: 13:33 Yeah. And that’s a big issue. One, and I do it every day because somebody knocks on my door, I have to step out the door and I have to look behind the door. So to me that’s a safety issue. So what I want to do is what is going to enhance security and safety. For me, a perfectly example Ring phone. Ring phone is the ability to be able to have communication directly through. So I apply it on. If I have an iPhone or a [smart] phone, it’s an application and it’s a product you put outside. You do not have to have an electrical connection. You put it on the outside and it’s a camera. So it has 180-degree view in front of me around my environment. So it looks down my corridor and up my corridor. Ring, R-I-N-G, Ring. I mount it to the outside of my house and there’s a camera inside. And that camera when somebody approaches, it automatically is on and being able to see from a range back here. And the security issue is that you can add a light on top.
Wanda Gozdz: 14:37 So lighting is a security issue. If I have a light above my doorway and someone approaches me. Immediately, I can see who’s coming to my home. Now with Ring phone, somebody knocks on my door. I automatically see them on my phone and I don’t have to open the door because I’m looking in my phone to communicate. “Hi, how are you, Debi?” Oh, you can say, “Oh, I’m, hi Wanda. How are you?” “Oh, hi Debi. Thank you for coming over. Let me open the door for you.” If I don’t know who’s at the door. “I can say, may I help you?”
Debi Lynes: 15:11 Got it.
Wanda Gozdz: 15:11 So I don’t have to open the door in order to see who’s at my door. So that’s a security and safety issue and for under 100 bucks, maybe it costs 100 bucks to get the combination of the phone and the light. Immediately. Safety and security is addressed. And I feel much more comfortable, whether it’s nighttime or daytime, when somebody is at my door. One feature is now if you’re dad… You’re away. I go to my son’s house, he says, “mom, let me know when you come to my house. I’ll open the door” or you can give this feature to someone else and then when, so your dad, if he lived in another house, he can give you access so whoever comes to the door you can see who’s coming to Dad’s door.
Debi Lynes: 15:54 What’s interesting is I was thinking about my daughter who has a two-year-old and is pregnant with another one and I think, I mean we’re saying security, but it’s just convenience too. It would be a wonderful feature for her to be able to know again, if she needed to really come to the door or not.
Wanda Gozdz: 16:10 That’s right. And if she’s in another room feeding the baby, she can keep the phone there and she doesn’t have to get up to go see the door. Somebody’s right there. She’s has the access to it, so convenience, ease of use, comfort and safety are the features. Security and safety is what the Ring phone basically provides. And I recommend that to everyone, especially to women.
Debi Lynes: 16:31 Well, it’s so much fun to talk about product because I think at the end of every one of our podcasts, what we try to do is we do takeaways, practical things that people can actually do when they finish and this is exactly what we’re looking for. I’m surprised when you consider or when you share lighting as an area of safety and security until you mentioned the light at the front door. Are there other things that are safety and security we really wouldn’t think about?
Wanda Gozdz: 16:57 The number one feature for safety is lighting. I say that what we have to do is change our lighting. Lighting provides safety and security. Right now, we grew up on Thomas Edison created the yellow light bulb. It is yellow light. As we age, our eyes turn yellow. So what we need is we need blue light. LED light is the light that we need that provides security and safety. If we increase lighting, automatically we increase security and safety. So where do you need that additional light?
Debi Lynes: 17:30 Right, exactly.
Wanda Gozdz: 17:30 In transition areas and places, so we need direct light for thing. We need task light. So I’m working at the counter. I want that light there and then I need lighting that’s going to provide me the ability to be able to see what I’m doing in that particular task.
Debi Lynes: 17:48 Let me ask you another question about lighting. Oftentimes turning on lamps, turning off lamps. I know for my dad, it’s oftentimes a hassle to move around and turn off all of these individual things. Are there products out there to make that easier also? Yes.
Wanda Gozdz: 18:07 You can have an app from your phone. You got Alexa, you talk to Alexa. Say “Alexa, turn on the lights.” “Alexa, shut off the lights.” “Alexa, tell me what time it is.” So you can use that as a feature or component that helps you with those features.
Debi Lynes: 18:22 So from a certified aging in place point of view, tell me who would actually do that for you? Do you look for people who are certified in that?
Wanda Gozdz: 18:34 You’re gonna look for an interior designer. You’re going to look for a contractor that’s got CAPS certified and you can check National Home Builders Association to their website and to put in CAPS and then you can find the people in your local area that are certified. You need to understand what you really need to have in your home.
Debi Lynes: 18:54 What about things like bars, Counters? How do I determine the height of counters? And how do I, again, be proactive when I’m either renovating my house or building a new house to prepare for aging in place?
Wanda Gozdz: 19:14 Well, you’re going to have to have a professional. Then, you would want an interior designer that understands what the differences and/or you want a contractor that’s CAPS certified because they understand how to be able to determine what kind of counter you need, what’s your reach, how far you can be reach, how far you can lift, so they’re trained in basically doing that.
Debi Lynes: 19:34 You know, when cost is no object, I think, “Oh, I’d like to put an elevator in” or I’d like to do things like that. Are there cost-effective ways to begin to retrofit, if you will, my home or when I’m building, are there ways to just develop a master plan and I can do it over time?
Wanda Gozdz: 19:54 Yeah. And that would be again, meeting with interior designer or CAPS certified professional because they are going to plan that space for you and how to best economize to get all of that. You know, for an elevator, you require certain things, for a lift you require certain things and they’re the experts that know all of the things. So I would probably say they need to do an assessment. So when they do an assessment, that’s where they evaluate what you can do in that space.
Debi Lynes: 20:20 And so that’s what you were basically telling us when we went into the front and then we went in and furniture was something that we talked about travel. What about going into the kitchen? Talk a little bit about the kitchen.
Wanda Gozdz: 20:30 Well, the kitchen is the same way. Activity of daily living. What are you doing in the kitchen? You have to feed yourself, you have to wash the dishes, you have the cook and you have to clean up after yourself. So, you’re looking at the activity that the person is doing and how are they basically doing it and everybody’s different.
Debi Lynes: 20:46 Well, from an accessibility point of view, what are some tips that you could give us about what we need to pay attention to within the kitchen area.
Wanda Gozdz: 20:56 Well when the kitchen, again access cooking, the stovetop, you need to make sure that the stovetop is safe and secure. So the big thing is induction stovetops are really good, worth for aging in place because it runs on magnetic energy so if something is removed, if you cooking in the pot and the water boils out, the stovetop automatically shuts itself off. Take the top pot off and you touch the stovetop. The stovetop is immediately cold. So for aging in place, that’s a perfect stovetop because I already have to lift my stovetop on twice while I was cooking and I’m thinking I could burn down the building.
Debi Lynes: 21:36 I did the same thing. I popped popcorn and walked out of the room. Oops. Yes, very right. Not good.
Wanda Gozdz: 21:43 So you can basically do that. Yes.
Debi Lynes: 21:46 What about if I do have my dad or someone in a wheelchair if a cousin just recently broke her leg and we were trying to figure out how to get her in and sit at, you know, come into the kitchen and sit at the counter…
Wanda Gozdz: 22:00 You’d want a high-level counter. So what she needs is access. So if you had a multilevel counter of two different heights, she can easily come with her chair and sit at the counter. So the design, right now, everybody wants an Island. Everybody wants an Island. That’s the trend. Well, an island you want to put multilevel in it because regardless of whether your granddaughter’s going to come and stand at it or somebody’s going to come in a chair and sit at it in a wheelchair, they’re going to have access to what? To be able to eat at the counter. So that multilevel counter gives you the ability to do that.
Debi Lynes: 22:38 It makes so much sense. What is the difference between a lift and an elevator and if I’m not ready for an elevator or it’s cost-prohibitive right now, is there anything in preplanning that I can do to be able to put an elevator in it at some point?
Wanda Gozdz: 22:52 Well, the issue is that we have a lot of types of elevators. Elevator is known as a pneumatic elevator. It’s a vacuum elevator. So you know like you go to the bank and you put your money in, it goes up the tube that’s called vacuum, that’s called the pneumatic vacuum. So that doesn’t require anything other than plug and play. But you have to have someplace to put it. That would be great in front of a stairwell. If you had a winding stairwell or a loft elevator because it could go from a level to the other. The issue is it only requires electrical outlet. It requires a battery backup and cost you $16,000 $17,000, that’s the fastest one that you can get overnight to your house. If you had an issue. It has some requirements. Some of them are not wheelchair accessible. They’re creating them so they’re wheelchair accessible, but you can get one to another. The elevator is a little bit more complicated because that requires planning and that requires where is the space that you have in order to basically do that.
Debi Lynes: 24:01 So let’s say I’m building a new house and I want to plan for an elevator because I’m going to have little kids and I’m also going to have aging parents. Is there anything I can do to plan for it?
Wanda Gozdz: 24:12 If you’re planning in a new house, you would want to put double stack closets next to the stairwell. Those double-stacked closets are for future shafts that you’re going to put the elevator in. Then you have to really know what kind of elevator you’re going to put in. Do you need an elevator pit? You need to have your electrical. You have to have your battery backup. You have to have your telephone. You have to have your walls reinforced. So there’s certain things that the designer or the builder can help you in that planning. When you can decide what kind of money you want to spend on that elevator and how much is it going to cost you.
Debi Lynes: 24:44 What’s a lift?
Wanda Gozdz: 24:48 A lift is basically the same thing, but it’s used for short distances. It’s shorter. It only takes one person at a time, and it has a limitation of 500 pounds. So it requires a flat surface. So you’ll see lifts basically in older buildings where they had garages and they had transitions. It was only used for one person, but it will fit. It’s used instead of a ramp, a lift can be used in a garage because you can put it where the stoop is and then the person can transfer, but it has limitations. It only holds up the 500 pounds including the equipment and the person. It requires that you have somebody who’s holding a button to move from place to place. But so it’s a mini-elevator, mini-elevator that’s short, but it serves a purpose and it replaces a ramp very, very economically.
Debi Lynes: 25:40 Talk to me a few. I was just going to say talk to me a little bit about ramps if you will. Can anyone build a ramp anywhere at any time? Are there specs or are there things we really have to pay attention to? You talk to me about that.
Wanda Gozdz: 25:55 Well, a ramp has got an issue because the ramp has to comply with local code… Building code. A ramp has to be able to be assessable. It has to be at least 36 inches high. You have to have a travel path and you have to have a surface and you have to show transition, so a lot of people make mistakes on ramps. I would say that you would want to talk to a professional to make sure that you’re compliant when doing a ramp. You can also buy a portable ramp. 101 Mobility is a big manufacturer. They sell portable products. You could buy a portable ramp to use it for a short term basis. That would probably be sometimes more economical than building a ramp. And ramps can also be built. Like I see a ramp down my street that’s on the side of a garage and it goes from the street to the garage so ramp can be very simple. If it’s at the ratio of one to 20, it means it’s pretty flat and pretty slowly sloped, so you don’t have to have rails on the side of it. So those are accessible. So that ramp doesn’t require that it has railing on because it’s sloped gradually. So you’re not going to fall off of anything.
Debi Lynes: 27:08 Wow. There’s just so much know our ramps pretty much standard in most commercial buildings now. Are they required?
Wanda Gozdz: 27:15 Yes. Under American Disabilities Act, any commercial building requires to have a ramp.
Debi Lynes: 27:21 You know, we’re talking about wheelchairs and we’re talking about children and we’re talking about those kinds of disabilities. I’m just now thinking…blind, lack of vision, hearing, some of those senses are there. Is there anything specifically or interesting about aging in place when your site goes? Oh yeah. Well I see that with myself as I get older.
Wanda Gozdz: 27:49 Then we use other tacticals. So if we can’t see, we need to hear. If we can’t hear, we need to see. So we have to use all the other senses. So we bring all the other senses to the table when we’re designing.
Debi Lynes: 28:03 Give me examples of that, of what that would look like.
Wanda Gozdz: 28:07 So if I can’t hear, I need to see. So I would need color contrast, which would help me with what? With the showing where the differential. At the end of the hallway it’s going to say, Oh, something’s happening. If I can’t see, I need audio, so something to tell me. So that could be a command or it could be a tone or it could be a voice coming from an Intercom is the thing that people use. If they can’t hear, they can see. So you can have a camera that’s there and they can visually see who’s on the other side of the door or who’s going through the door. So that would be a way to accommodate them.
Debi Lynes: 28:48 What about color? Do you find that as we get older we need softer color? brighter color?
Wanda Gozdz: 28:54 Color is the biggest thing that we need. Color contrast. As we lose, we lose the ability for depth perception and we need color contrast. So the darker colors are harder for the eye to see. Lighter colors are better, but we need contrast between a surface on the floor or the surface and product. So surface that we need immediately.
Debi Lynes: 29:15 We’ve only got about a minute or so. And you, you pretty much have a mantra about what certified aging in place certification really looks like.
Wanda Gozdz: 29:26 It’s safety, security, ease of use and comfort.
Debi Lynes: 29:32 Safety, security, ease of use and comfort.
Wanda Gozdz: 29:37 And then I add beauty because everyone wants their environment that’s beautiful. That’s the design.
Debi Lynes: 29:42 Safety, security, ease of use and comfort. That makes so much sense. Again, I keep saying it but I can’t say it enough. You’re a wealth of knowledge and I think what we did today on this podcast is really just scratch the surface of what and how I certified aging in place specialist can really enhance your living space and again it’s all about health and wellness. So I am very, very grateful to you and I want to thank all of our listeners too and Wanda, we will definitely have you back here on aging in place.
Wanda Gozdz: 30:22 And if anybody’s interested in classes they can just go to my website, goldenageliving.com and go under course schedule and they can find out where the courses are listed and available.
Debi Lynes: 30:35 You are amazing. Again, thank you so much for joining us.
Debi Lynes: 30:38 I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Tracy. Tracy is naturally curious and always creative and when we were doing the Aging in Place Podcast, she said there are so many quick tips that I can think of offhand my response. Who knew she’s going to be with us every week, giving us a quick tip and to hint that is a practical application.
Tracy Snelling: 31:07 Thanks Debi. Time for 60 second make-over. Thanks to online shopping, you now can do a little makeover for your home with just a couple of clicks. Have that doorway that has a little step up to cross with someone using a walker. Those door jams can be a fall waiting to happen. What to do? A popular online shopping website sells rubber thresholds in many sizes. A rubber threshold will prevent walkers or wheelchairs for hitting that bump in the road. Prices usually start around $30 it’s an easy fix for a big problem. Who knew?
Debi Lynes: 31:42 Wow, Wanda Gozdz, a certified aging in place specialist. She gave us so many takeaways. The entire podcast is a takeaway to tell you the truth because there’s so many practical tips, but here’s the bottom line and the takeaway I hope you all get, and that is when it comes to aging in place at any stage in life, it’s about safety. It’s about security, it’s about ease and it’s about comfort. Thank you all for joining us here on aging in place.
Henrik de Gyor: 32:16 Aging in Place Podcast is hosted by Debi Lynes and produced by Henrik de Gyor. If you have any comments or questions, send an email to email@example.com. We would love to hear from you. If you’re interested in advertising or sponsoring this podcast, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for listening to Aging in Place Podcast.