Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults

Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults

Many older adults are afraid that yoga is dangerous or convinced they can’t perform the moves, but research shows that yoga is a great choice for Baby Boomers and beyond.

The current yoga craze started two decades or so ago, and everyone wanted to participate. Something about the blending of the mind, spirit, and body was especially appealing to many adults who are stressed out and concerned about their health. As it turns out, yoga is more than just a fad.

Yoga comes in a variety of types, and nearly all of them have been proven to have some health benefit. And, you don’t have to be a young, hard-body to participate. More Baby Boomers and older adults now take yoga ever have in the past.

The Benefits of Yoga for Older Adults

It may seem counterintuitive that an exercise regime that requires balance and stamina is suitable for older adults, who often suffer from balance, stamina, and breathing difficulties. It is. One of the things that makes yoga a smart choice for older adults is that there are modifications to most yoga moves that allow participants to build up over time. You perform at the level that’s most comfortable for you.

That means even if you’re experiencing mobility or other health issues, you can still participate in yoga exercise. More than that, you can benefit from those exercises. Many studies have been done on the effectiveness of yoga and what’s been found is:

  • Yoga helps strengthen muscles and can help reduce arthritis and the pain associated with it;

  • People who have difficulty sleeping have reported that yoga helps them to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer;

  • Those who suffer from mood disorders such as depression and anxiety report that yoga helps them to balance not only their body, but also their mind;

  • Yoga has also been shown to reduce medical conditions such as hypertension and diabetes;

  • The focused breathing exercises practiced as part of yoga have been proven to increase lung function and reduce breathing difficulties;

  • And yoga is a gentle way to help reduce muscle loss and increase weight loss.

The purpose of yoga is to create a balance and harmony between the two sides of your body without straining either side. This contributes to the gentle nature of yoga and explains why there are modifications for all ability levels.

Choosing the Right Yoga Class

With all the different varieties of yoga, finding the right class could seem a little overwhelming. If you’ve never taken a yoga class before, start with a basic class. In the basic class, you’ll learn basic poses – like: the Tree Pose, the Warrior (I or II) Pose, and the Bridge Pose. Despite the tough-sounding names, all are easy, basic poses that can be modified to work for you.

Another thing to consider when looking for a class is who will be attending. A yoga class for older adults will be different - and probably more comfortable – than a boutique yoga class where there are miniature goats running around the yoga room or the class is conducted suspended from bungee cords.

Finally, find a class where you are comfortable. You may have to try several classes first to find the right one, but most yoga studios offer a limited number of free classes so you can meet the instructor and other participants. In most studios, the instructor will take a few minutes with new students before the class begins to learn more about what they hope to achieve with the class and any limitations they may have. The instructor – also called a yogi – may also move around the room during the class to adjust poses and help participants achieve the most from the class.

Once you have the right class, here are some of the basic yoga poses that you’ll likely learn, and that are beneficial to older adults:

  • Warrior (I & II) – Warrior poses open your chest and stretch muscles in your legs and shoulders.

  • Tree Pose – the Tree Pose helps you to gain balance. It’s a one-legged pose, but can be modified to keep both feet on the ground if needed.

  • Plank – Planks help strengthen your core muscles, which in turn improve you balance as well as digestion.

  • Cobra Pose – The Cobra Pose is an extension of a plank that helps to open the chest and work the muscles in the back, which is also useful in gaining balance.

  • Bridge Pose – The Bridge Pose helps to tighten the buttocks, strengthen core muscles in the abdomen, and to tighten back muscles – all important elements of maintaining your balance.

These are just a few of the poses and their benefits. When taken together, as a full class, classes can have help improve your whole body, your mind, and even your spirit. So, you see, yoga isn’t just for the younger crowd. Older adults are turning to yoga in large numbers as a means of gentle, effective exercise and as a way to improve other aspects of both physical and mental health. Give yoga a try. You might be surprised at how much you love it, too.


6 Yoga Poses that Age Well,” Katherine Tweed, June 2014, WebMD.

Yoga for Seniors,” Sara Cooperman, Lisa Ackerman, 2005, Senior Fitness Association.

Yoga for Seniors: Yes You Can Start Doing Yoga in Your Golden Years,” Ann Pizer, November 2016, Very Well.

Yoga Poses for Your 50s, 60s, 70s, and Beyond,” Amy Paturel, November 2016, AARP The Magazine.

Study Finds Yoga can Help Back Pain, But Keep It Gentle With These Poses,” Allison Aubrey, June 2017, NPR.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Roommates Aren’t Just for College Students

Baby Boomer roommates

When you think of roommates, you probably think of people in their 20s and 30s, but there’s a growing trend among Baby Boomers and beyond to find roommates for their golden years.

What do the Odd Couple and Golden Girls have in common? You may say they were good comedy, but there’s more. Both sitcoms featured older adults sharing a living space. It’s a trend that’s gaining in popularity outside the television world. According to the AARP, sharing a house is one of the fastest growing housing options for people over the age of 65.

Many people think of roommates and house sharing as being options for adults in their 20s and 30s, but as 8,000-10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day, many are looking to the future. How will they manage their homes in retirement? What if they lose a spouse? Or, one of the fastest growing age groups for divorce is 65 and older. How do you manage alone?

The Benefits of Sharing a House

Whatever the reason might be, more and more older adults are looking at ways to share their home, with good reason. There are many benefits of having a roommate:

  • Financial Help: Finances are perhaps the biggest reason that older adults consider roommates. Finding a roommate is a good way to supplement retirement dollars that just don’t stretch far enough, or to have some extra money for the fun parts of life.

  • Companionship: Many circumstances can leave an older adult unexpectedly facing their golden years alone. Finding the right roommate can ensure you have companionship – a friend to talk to and spend time with.

  • Safety & Assistance: Some older adults may find that they don’t have the mobility they used to have. Maybe you have health issues that make it necessary to have someone around to help. Having someone that can help you with day-to-day life is one reason many older adults choose the roommate option, especially those whose children live far away and have no one else to check on them. For some, a roommate is the difference between living independently and living in an assisted care facility.

Whatever your reasoning for considering a roommate, know that you’re not alone. Thousands of seniors are turning to this option so they can remain in their home, or not have to live alone. In fact, the AARP estimates that nearly 4 million woman over the age of 50 live with roommates who are also over the age of 50.

Finding the Right Roommate

Knowing that many people are living with roommates in their older years doesn’t necessary make it any less frightening for some people. After all, there are many variables. How do you find a roommate? How do you find someone that you like? How do you determine what to charge or if you should barter the services of an individual in exchange for them living in your spare room?

Probably the first place that most older adults look when considering a roommate is their immediate circle of friends and family. Is there someone that is in the same situation you’re in that you would be willing to share a house with? In many cases, however, the reason that a person is looking for a roommate is because they do not have friends and family nearby.

Fortunately, there are roommate finder services popping up all over the Internet these days. Some of them, like Silvernest, are designed specifically for empty nesters and Baby Boomers. Services like this ask you to complete a questionnaire and answer questions related to the roommate that you seek. Then they connect you with your matches and you find the person that suits your personality the best.

Even with a roommate service helping to match you up with someone who has similar interests and needs, you’ll still need to spend some time getting to know this person. It’s always good to meet a few times for coffee or drinks before scheduling a suitcase visit. This is when your potential new roommate comes to stay with you for a few days before the final decision is made. It’s a way to try out the relationship before you commit to it.

Making it Official

Once you’ve found a roommate, then you need to put an agreement in place. Some people believe a handshake deal is enough, but in truth, you need to protect your biggest asset – your home. To do that, it’s wise to have a clear understanding of what both parties can expect from your newly formed relationship.

In the agreement, be sure to outline what each party’s responsibilities are, and what is required from each party to sever the relationship. Take into consideration things like failing health family needs. For example, what happens to your roommate if you have a health issue that requires long-term care? What if another member of your family needs your long-term help, and they live in another state?

If necessary, obtain legal assistance to draw up the documents you might need. It’s well worth the expense to ensure your assets are properly protected.

Older adults are finding independence and happiness in the roommates they’re choosing. A roommate situation is an excellent option for allowing you to age in place, but not alone, even if your family lives far away. Just be sure to use reputable services to find your roommate, and outline expectations for both sides of the relationship. Then, you can enjoy sharing day-to-day life again.

Disclaimer: The Society of Certified Senior Advisors does not dispense legal advice and nothing in this article should be construed as such. If you have legal questions, please contact an attorney in your area.


Home Sharing: A Powerful Option to Help Older Americans Stay In their Home,” November 2016, AARP.

Over 50 and Need a Roommate? A New Site Has You Covered,” Starre Vartan, April 2014, Mother Nature Network.

Retired, with Roommate: Seniors Share the Rent,” National Shared Housing Resource Center.

New Trend: Senior Roommates,” Terri Yablonsky Statt, January 2014, my.SilverAge.

Co-housing: Consider Having a Senior Roommate,” May 2016, Seniorly.

Seniors Seeking Roommates: ‘Golden Girls’ Please Apply,” Clare Trapasso, June 2016,

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Aging Alone Will Make You Plan for the Future and Connect Socially

Aging Alone Will Make You Plan for the Future and Connect Socially

How one woman is planning for a future as an elder orphan.

As my age increases, long-term care planning and setting up my life to age comfortably can no longer delay.

Like many of us 55 years of age (and over) most have not planned. But for the adults who live without a spouse or adult children - we cannot afford to put it off. Even my parents delayed making arrangements. But they had offspring to rely on. I don’t. And since I work with aging experts at, they encourage me not to ignore my situation.

The Matters of Aging Alone

  • How do I understand my health care challenges and plan for them?

  • Will exercise be enough to maintain physical fitness?

  • How do I keep my brain sharp?

  • Can I sustain good health through eating healthy foods?

  • How should I invest and save money?

  • When should I take Social Security benefits?

  • Will I be able to afford health care?

  • Can I retire?

  • Will I have to work the rest of my life?

  • What are my long-term care needs?

  • Does aging-in-place make sense?

  • How do I stay connected and avoid isolation?

"Concerns about my elder care started after my parents' death. You see I helped care for them and once they were gone, it hit me, 'who will do that for me?'"

Since the topic affects me intimately, I'm constantly thinking through the issues but found that I have few people to bounce off ideas and solutions with, so, I created a Facebook group to help me build instant support. The group is called Elder Orphans and we're close to 5,000 members. The discussions are very lively and what I love most about the members is that we're in the same circumstance.

According to research on the elder orphans, the penalties for not having a plan can be extensive. According to Dr. Maria Carney, the geriatrician and research scientist, older adults have a higher risk of experiencing cognitive decline, developing coronary heart disease, falling, and even dying early.

These risks increase for people living alone and who are socially isolated. They have higher incidences of medical complications, mental illness, mobility issues and health care access problems.

This is not good news for us, the single without offspring or partners. As Baby Boomers turn 65, the aging alone segment will increase (Census 210).

Who Are Elder Orphans?

  • We are the socially and physically isolated living in local communities.

  • We live without a family member or a designated surrogate.

  • We have a higher vulnerability to losing the decision-making capacity.

  • We use only a few community resources.

  • We have a high risk of losing independence and safety.

  • We aren’t acknowledged (as a group) that will need more attention and care.

What Needs to Happen?

The geriatrician says, “The medical and social community must actively screen for elder orphans before they lose function or admitted to a healthcare facility.” Read more about her elder orphan research for more details.

Here's What I'm Doing

  • I've moved to a walkable/livable community, so I'm not car dependent.

  • Eat lots of fresh veggies, fish, legumes, and avoid red meat and sugar.

  • Work and pay off my bills.

  • Saving money.

  • Started an aging alone group in Dallas - to build face to face connections with folks like me.

  • Have put my legal docs in place.

  • Have a good health care insurance plan.

Please join us on Facebook if you're 50 and older, and living alone without the support of a spouse, partner, or nearby family.

Author -  Carol Marak

- By Carol Marak

Carol Marak, aging advocate, syndicated columnist, and editor at She earned a Certificate in the Fundamentals of Gerontology from UC Davis, School of Gerontology. Carol ages alone and shares her experiences with followers via Next Avenue, Huffington Post, and over 40 newspapers nationwide.


An Aging Nation: The Older Population in the United States,” U.S. Census Bureau.

Aging America: The U.S. Cities Going Gray The Fastest,” Forbes.

The Growth of the U.S. Aging Population”

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Understanding a Senior's Changing Relationship with Alcohol

alcohol drinking guidelines seniors

A majority of Americans ages 65 and older drink alcohol, and those who do are drinking more than older Americans in previous years, according to a study published this past spring in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The same study reported that binge drinking is also on the rise among seniors.

What many of these older Americans don’t know, however, is how the biologics of drinking change as they age. What constitutes a safe daily intake for a younger person could pose a risk to someone in their golden years, who may eat less, weigh less, drink less water and take more medications. Below are details of this unique relationship between alcohol and older adults, along with tips for helping seniors with alcohol dependence problems.

Alcohol and Aging

It has been said that “aging is not for sissies”. Growing older can often come with new life challenges and living constraints: the onset of chronic health issues that can bring with them loss of mobility and independence; the stress of caring for an ailing spouse or the grief of losing them to old age; a sense of boredom, loneliness or lack of purpose upon retirement; financial hardships.

In such circumstances, alcohol can become a mechanism for coping. Consequently, someone who at most could be described as a “social drinker” all of their life can begin to drink routinely and in excess of the recommended daily drinking guidelines for Americans ages 65 and older.

Rates of Excess Alcohol Consumption Among Older Americans

Drinking guidelines, as defined by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, are stringent for older Americans: no more than one standard drink per day for men ages 65 and older and less than one standard drink per day for women ages 65 and older. (According to the same guidelines, a “standard drink” would equate to a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5-ounce shot of hard liquor.)

Just how prevalent is this phenomenon of later-life drinking and drinking in excess of healthy guidelines? Quite prevalent, researchers found in a 2009 study published in the journal Addiction. The researchers found that 49 percent of older women and 65 percent of older men engaged in excess alcohol consumption. More conservative estimates from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have put the number at 15 percent of men over the age of 60 and 20 percent of women over the age of 60. Multiply these numbers by the massive wave of baby boomers nearing retirement age, and the problem approaches epidemic levels. Health care providers, therefore, need to be prepared for the number of alcohol-related medical issues coming their way.

The Medical Risks of Alcohol Use in Older Adults

NIH research has shown that combining even moderate alcohol use with old age can increase risk of stroke, and heavy consumption can:

  • Make common health problems worse, such as liver problems, diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, impaired memory, depression and osteoporosis

  • Predict cognitive dysfunction, depression and dementia in older adults

  • Increase the chance of falls, and the severity of fall-related injuries, according to this 2004 study

Alcohol consumption at any level raised the risks of incurring an injury caused by others, and caused harmful effects when combined with medication.

The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Medication

Mixing alcohol with medication can expose anyone to the physical effects and harm of an adverse drug reaction. With seniors, 90 percent of whom take multiple medications, the negative effects can be more harmful, for reasons detailed by researchers in the American Journal of Geriatric Pharmacotherapy:

  • Older adults are already more susceptible to the sedating effects of alcohol, which in combination with other sedating drugs can cause severe motor and cognitive impairment

  • Combined alcohol-medication use only raises blood alcohol levels, which are already higher for older adults when alcohol alone is present

  • When combined with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or aspirin, alcohol can cause internal bleeding

  • Alcohol use can reduce the effectiveness of certain medications, or be used instead of medical care in an effort to self-medicate

  • Combining alcohol with medication can make older adults more susceptible to overdose, liver or gastrointestinal disease, dizziness and coordination problems, breast cancer, insomnia and gout flare-ups

How Alcohol Sensitivity and Tolerance Change with Age

Changes in alcohol sensitivity and alcohol tolerance are other catalysts in an older adult’s evolving relationship with alcohol. As people age, the percentage of their body weight that consists of water decreases, and the percentage of body fat increases, with the result that alcohol intoxication happens more quickly.

The rates of alcohol metabolism and excretion also decrease as an individual grows older, due to a slowdown in activity of a particular digestive enzyme in the stomach known as ADH. Lower ADH activity translates to higher levels of alcohol in the blood.

The overall result, then, is heightened alcohol sensitivity and a lower tolerance level. What was once a moderate amount of alcohol, now can cause intoxication and related health risks.

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse and How to Get Help

For older Americans who binge drink or routinely over-indulge with alcohol, the effects of alcohol abuse can be nothing short of deadly. A mind and body that are already more fragile from normal wear and tear will be quicker to succumb to these damaging effects—especially when an addiction goes untreated.

It’s also the case that alcohol abuse is harder to detect within this population, precisely because many of the same symptoms can also be attributed to aging, including:

  • A loss of coordination

  • Cognitive impairment or confusion

  • Memory problems

  • Depression or changes in mood

The good news is that treatment can help. Contact a trusted doctor or the National Helpline, a free, 24/7 service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for a treatment referral: 1-800-662-HELP.

Author -  Anna Ciulla

- By Anna Ciulla, LMHC, RD, LD

Anna Ciulla is the Clinical Director at Beach House Center for Recovery where she is responsible for designing, implementing and supervising the delivery of the latest evidence-based therapies for treating substance use disorders. Anna has a passion for helping clients with substance use and co-occurring disorders achieve successful long-term recovery.


Trends in Alcohol Consumption Among Older Americans: National Health Interview Surveys, 1997 to 2014,” Wiley Online Library.

Older Adults’ Alcohol Consumption and Late-Life Drinking Problems: A 20-Year Perspective,” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Older Adults and Alcohol Problems,” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Substance Abuse Among Older Adults: An Invisible Epidemic,” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Older Adults,” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Self-reported alcohol consumption and falls in older adults: cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses of the cardiovascular health study,” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Risks of Combined Alcohol-Medication Use in Older Adults” National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Grandparents Impacting Grands

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

There is a special bond from the moment of birth grandparents have for their kid’s kids. They have your heart from the beginning to the end. Sometimes beyond that. I still dream about my granny and grandpa and it’s so good to see them. In my drowsy waking moments I think, I have to go see them today, it’s been awhile. Then as I fully wake, I’m sad because I remember they have passed on many years ago. Their effect on my life still resonates.

The impact you have on your grandkids is incredible. Whether you are raising them or not. You have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in the next generation. You can do it! To keep these kids safe, healthy, happy and productive is awesome. You can enable them to live in victory. Grandparents can save the United States of America, one child at a time.

There is an epidemic or grandparents raising grandchildren. “About 2.7 million are totally responsible to raise their grandchildren.” In Indiana alone “54,174 children live in homes with grandparent householders where grandparents are responsible...” and it is estimated that these stats have significantly risen since those numbers were establish in the last national census.

I am part of those numbers. In April 2014 my son died in an auto accident and my husband and I became guardians of his 18 month old son, Anthony. Zachary, our son, asked us two weeks before the accident if anything happened to them, would we take care of Anthony. We said yes, never dreaming it would really happen. It has been quite a journey, being parents again in our early sixties. We feel it is an honor to raise him to be a godly young man and a productive member of society. I retired from nursing and found a new passion, grandparents raising grandchildren. I began a blog called to support and encourage anyone raising children, especially grandparents.

We also shared our story in a book. It’s about losing a son and gaining a grandson, finding hope and healing through whatever difficulty you find yourself in. The book is titled, The Summer of Paintless Toenails. When your son dies and the flip-flops come out, you don’t feel like getting a pedicure with polish on your toes. There are insights on parenting, coping, grief, connecting with others, and finding help and healing. We have had people say,” “It’s one in the morning, I have to go to work in the morning and I can’t put your book down!”

So how do you face this challenging journey? Besides getting our book on Amazon here are a few things you can do to survive and thrive in this life journey, no matter how many crazy twists and turns:

  1. Pray daily for wisdom for you and your family. It is fantastic that you are not alone! Your grandchildren can conquer the past and live in freedom.

  2. Advance one foot in front of the other. Do what needs to be done, one step or one minute at a time. Press through the haze or the pain. The kids need to be fed or the baby’s diaper needs changed. What needs done will often spur you forward.

  3. Connect with friends, family, support group or counseling. This connection is like an electric cord that energizes and keeps you going. Get coffee and chat with a friend, it will help you process what is going on in your life. Connect with yourself and journal, this gets your thoughts and feelings out there and helps you sort through them. Reading a good book can be like a counselor. I read “Parents in Pain,” by John White multiple times when my son was acting out.

  4. Maintain a positive demeanor. Speak words of affirmation over these kids who may be broken. Do it with excitement and enthusiasm! I sing “Good Morning Sunshine” loudly and with animation to Anthony every morning with hugs and kisses. My husband Sam says to Anthony, “Who is my favorite boy in the whole wide world?” He says with giggles,”I am!” It may take time, but the seeds you sow into the kids will grow into an abundant harvest, transforming and validating their lives.

  5. Take a walk. Do it whether you feel like it or not, your emotions will follow. If you put green grass, blue skies, red flowers and laughing people in front of your eyes, they will bring you a refreshing moment in the midst of your pain. Exercise releases chemicals in your body called endorphins that make you feel better.

  6. Care for yourself or you won’t be any good to anyone; kids, grandkids, spouse or friends. Build yourself up so you have strength and stamina for the journey. In an airplane you put your oxygen mask on first so you will be clearheaded to help your kids put their mask on and save their lives. Do what brings refreshment for you daily, even if just briefly!

You have a tremendous opportunity before you to make a difference in the world around you. I have heard many grandparents raising grandchildren say they would not have it any other way despite the challenges. There is a joy that cannot be expressed as you tackle this passion. These grandparents are heroes that are saving the next generation. Their reward is seeing the little ones blossom and receiving their love and appreciation as they become productive, respectful and caring people . We know, we have been there, done that and got the T-shirt, the whole wardrobe of reward! It makes life and everyday exciting and fantastic.

Author -  Debra Susan Bowman

- By Debra Susan Bowman

Debbie Bowman is mother of five, grandmother to seven and great-grandmother to four. Now retired from a forty year career as a nurse in intensive care Debbie is taking her intensive care to awesome Grandmothers who are raising their grandchildren.


Households and Families 2010:U.S. ,” US Census Bureau, April 2012.

GrandFacts - Indiana,” AARP.

Parents In Pain: Overcoming the Hurt & Frustration of Problem Children, by Dr. John White, Publisher: InterVarsity Press; 1st edition (January 24, 1979).

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Famous & 65

Look Who’s Turning 65

August 18—Elayne Boosler

August 18—Elayne Boosler

Sixty-five year old comedienne Elayne Boosler has accomplished more than her fair share of achievements in the world, it would seem. She is famous for her feisty political humor but perhaps even more famous for her love of animals. Her tenacity and fearlessness led to her becoming the first-ever comedienne to finance her own comedy special in 1985, a time when cable networks would not allow females to host specials.

Her career began when she worked as doorperson at The Improvisation Comedy Club in New York City. Comedian Andy Kaufman, a performer at the club, convinced her she should get into standup comedy. She has always used her money and connections, however, to help animals around the world.

Elayne is an animal rescuer and advocate who founded an all-species animal advocacy and rescue organization called Tails of Joy.

“I never minded flying cheap,” she says. “I always said to myself, ‘Taking this flight saves enough money to rescue four dogs, or six cats, or will let me make a difference to the one woman saving chimps in Cameroon.’ ”

August 20 —Rudy Gatlin

August 20 —Rudy Gatlin

“And Best Country Song goes to … The Gatlin Brothers!” Who hasn’t heard the magnificent harmony of these three brothers? Rudy Gatlin, the youngest of the trio, began singing with big brothers Larry and Steve when he was just 2-and-a-half years old. This year, he’s turning 65.

The boys won a talent show in Abilene, Texas, and have never looked back. From guesting on the local “Slim Willet Show” in Abilene to performing for Presidents Carter, Reagan and (W.) Bush, Rudy has traveled the world and performed in so many television shows that he can’t remember them all. His musical career has been mixed with church, sports and school; the only time Rudy has been away from his brothers was during his college years. The first Grammy Rudy won with his brothers was for ‘Broken Lady.’

Aside from music, his passion is golf. He has organized and hosted, with his brothers, the ‘Gatlin Brothers Metro-PGA Assistants Celebrity Golf Tournament for MDA” for more than 20 years and raised over $2 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association as a result. He has also been involved in other charity golf events, including raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Association.

"I've enjoyed playing with some of the greatest golfers ever!” he says. “Between watching their every move and the fine instruction of my long-time friend Randy Smith, some of it finally sunk in!"

August 19—Jonathan Frakes

August 19—Jonathan Frakes

Jonathan Frakes is turning 65 this month, much to the delight of Star Trek: The Next Generation fans. Most famous for his role as Number One (Commander Riker) to the captain on the 1980s reboot of the popular Star Trek television series, Jonathan has been married nearly 30 years to actress Genie Francis and has two children.

His career, however, began on Broadway after he attained his Masters degree from Harvard University in 1976. Jonathan’s first role on film came from an episode of Charlie’s Angels in 1978.

A little known fact about Jonathan is his love of the music. He played the trombone several times as Commander Riker and was a member of a vocal backup group for fellow castmate Brent Spiner’s 1991 album Ol’ Yellow Eyes Is Back.

Star Trek has been a double-edged sword for him, he admits. But he also admits that to deny the franchise would just be foolish. And, in some ways, he is a believer in the virtues the show espoused.

“If the prime directives were followed a little more accurately here on earth – I mean, it sounds Pollyanna – but I think people would certainly get along better.”

Source: Wikipedia

FAMOUS & 65 is a featured article in the Senior Spirit newsletter.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Creating the Ideal Home for Retirement

Creating the Ideal Home for Retirement
Universal Design Living Kitchen and Great Room

[Excepts from the Universal Design Toolkit by Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.]

People expect “home” to provide independence, accessibility, safety and peace of mind – regardless of disabilities, limitations or health challenges. Many are choosing to stay in their homes for as long as possible to avoid moving to independent living and senior-care communities.

This movement isn’t restricted to people who are aging. It applies, as well, to patients with sudden health changes – due to accidents, stroke, spinal cord injury – as well as to those with degenerative conditions such as arthritis, amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS), dementia, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease.

For people who desire to remain at home, will the house where they are living sustain their independence for years to come? Could they come home after a hospital visit to recover from surgery or illness, or would they need to go to a rehabilitation or nursing facility? As mobility diminishes, what home modifications and changes would be essential to ensure accessibility and safety?

The Aging of Americans

The American population is graying. One in three Americans is now 50 or older — by 2030, one in five will be 65+. The number of people 65 and older in the United States is expected to increase to 55 million in 2020; to some 70 million by 2030, and to 88.5 million — or 20 percent of the population — in 2050. (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that one in five Americans—about 53 million people has a disability of some kind. The American Community Survey in 2014 indicated that 36% of the U.S. population 65 or older has a disability. Additionally, 23% had difficulty walking or climbing stairs.

September CSA Webinar

Register for an upcoming webinar on universal design for aging in place, Homes That Make Life Easier: A look inside the Universal Design Living Laboratory, hosted by Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

  • 33 million Americans have a disability that makes it difficult for them to carry out daily activities.

  • 2.2 million people in the United States depend on a wheelchair for day-to-day tasks and mobility.

  • 6.5 million people use a cane, a walker, or crutches to assist with their mobility.

An AARP study in 2014 indicated 87 percent of adults age 65+ want to stay in their current home and community as they age. Among people age 50 to 64, 71 percent of people want to age in place. The United States of Aging survey in 2012 showed that approximately 90 percent of seniors intend to continue living in their current homes for the next five to 10 years.

People of all ages and abilities need to live in a home safely, independently and comfortably.

A First-Hand Understanding

On June 13, 1998, my husband, Mark Leder, and I went for a bicycle ride on a rural wooded trail in Granville, Ohio. After riding for a few minutes, Mark thought he heard a gunshot and slowed down to investigate. As he scanned the scene he saw a large tree falling. He shouted, “Stop!” But the warning was too late. I was crushed by a 7,000-pound tree and paralyzed from the waist down.

Coming home from the hospital in a manual wheelchair after my spinal cord injury, I realized how my two-story home intensified my disability. My husband and I knew that we had to sell our home and find something more suitable.

In September 2004, we hired an architect to draw the house plans for our new home in Columbus, Ohio. There was a steep learning curve for me in ramping up to build our home. We assembled a team of interior designers and over 200 corporate contributors to assist us. Serving as the general contractors, my husband and I spent 32 months building our home.

This home, named the “Universal Design Living Laboratory,” is the top-rated universal design home in North America, earning three national universal design certifications (view the virtual tour at

Having lived in the Universal Design Living Laboratory using a wheelchair for the past five years gives me a unique perspective. I have learned the importance of space planning and that small differences in the width of a door, height of a threshold or slope of a ramp can impact a person’s independence. I have experienced the joy of rolling on hardwood and tile flooring. No longer do I have sore shoulders as I did when rolling on the carpet in my previous home. Safety features like grab bars in the toileting area and shower have kept me from falling, and they make transfers easier.

Universal Design and Aging in Place

There are many terms people read about and use when communicating about homes that enable families to live in their homes during their retirement. The terms include: universal design, accessible design, aging in place, living in place, age friendly, and forever home.

Aging in place is the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level.

The concept of universal design has been embraced by architects, interior designers, and other design and building professionals since the 1980s. The definition of universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Universal design should be transparent design. Universal design is an approach to planning that embraces diversity and inclusion by providing for equitable use while promoting efficiency, flexibility and sustainability. Universal design is human-centered design, accommodating people of all sizes, ages and abilities.

Universal design takes as many needs as possible into consideration in the design process. The broadest spectrum of users is considered. It traditionally focuses on creating non-stigmatizing, equitable designs. Based on the premise that the environment can level the playing field for people with disabilities, it provides a broader, yet complementary approach to design. It is age and content appropriate, aesthetically pleasing, affordable, and has a broad market appeal.

Environmental factors in homes can be disabling or enabling. People need to design to human strengths, while accommodating for individual weaknesses and limitations. Design to work with, support, and enhance human functioning.

Life is easier when a home includes universal design features and products.

Improved Quality of Life Beyond Independence With Universal Design Features

By following universal design guidelines, a home will provide an improved quality of life for all occupants, not only those with disabilities. In addition to having more freedom in a home due to universal design, a home may also provide improved accessibility, convenience, safety, restore human dignity and provide peace of mind.

As people plan to remodel or build a new home usability features need to be top of mind in the design phase. These suggested guidelines, features and products help create homes that make life easier, especially for those who use a wheelchair.

Throughout the Home

Universal Design Floorplan for Aging
Universal Design Living Laboratory Doorway
  • Door thresholds should be one-half inch or less, and exterior and interior doors 36 inches wide.

  • Elevators or stair lifts may be necessary for multiple-story homes.

  • Hardwood, tile, composite materials and linoleum are easier to navigate when using wheelchairs or walkers.

  • Natural and artificial lighting increases safety for all.

  • Electrical outlets and light switches should be located where a seated person can reach them.


In the Kitchen

Universal design features in the kitchen include the overall design of the circulation pattern, cabinet design, countertop height and appliance selection.

Universal Design Kitchen for Aging
Universal Design Living Laboratory Kitchen

  • A minimum 5-foot turning radius throughout the kitchen allows a person who uses a wheelchair the ability to do a 360-degree turnaround. Power wheelchairs and scooters may need additional space.

  • Side-hinged ovens are preferable to those hinged at the bottom, installed at a height that is easy to reach from a wheelchair.

  • Cooktop controls and ventilation control panel at the front and at waist height make them accessible by all.

  • Multiple countertop heights, such as 40, 34 and 30 inches, accommodate a diverse population. A 30-inch countertop with knee space underneath works well for someone who remains seated during meal preparation.

  • At least half of the storage space should be accessible from a seated position, including drawers and cabinet shelves.

  • Cooktops and sinks with knee space beneath make for user-friendly work areas. This space can be hidden by removable or retractable doors.

  • A dishwasher raised 16 inches off the floor eliminates the need to bend down low.

  • Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer provide easier access from a seated position.


In the Bathroom

Accessible bathrooms meet needs for convenience, safety, privacy and independence.

  • Curbless showers with channel drains are a must-have feature.

  • Showers must be large enough to transfer a person and allow for an assistant when needed.

  • Shower chairs or benches can be mounted on the wall or used in portable form.
Universal Design Shower and Bath for Aging
Universal Design Living Laboratory Shower
Universal Design Bathroom for Aging
Universal Design Living Laboratory Bathroom
  • Handheld shower nozzles and an adjustable height vertical bar make showering easier.

  • Grab bars need to be accessible to toilets and showers.

  • Toilets seats should be 17 inches off the floor.


In the Laundry Room

Universal Design Closet for Aging
Universal Design Living Laboratory Wardrobe Room

  • Space to accommodate a 5-foot turning radius makes navigation easier.

  • Front-loading washers and dryers on pedestal drawers position these appliances to be accessible for a standing or a seated person.

  • A sink with knee space underneath allows all users to wash clothes by hand.


Insightful Discussion With Clients

How do you talk about aging when you are meeting with a client about their plans to stay in their home during retirement?

In a recent interview with Stephanie Loucka, Director of the Ohio Department of Aging, she said, “People just don’t like talking about aging. People need to have a conversation with their clients to explain the value proposition of making an investment now in their homes to enable them to live in their own homes longer.”

When planning for retirement, a client’s home should be a topic of discussion. Does the client believe that they can stay in the current home for the next 10-20 years? Will the home need to be modified or remodeled in order for the client to maintain independence as they age? What would be the cost to remodel? How soon should action be taken? What are the risks of falling given the current condition of the home?

When discussing a home remodeling project, point out that according to research by Genworth in 2016, the average cost for independent living is $43,536 per year. Then compare that cost to the investment they can make to remodel their home to enable them to stay in their home longer.

To get a more accurate assessment of the true costs, factor in tangibles like the costs of selling a home and moving expenses. Emphasize that there are also intangible downsides to moving, such as the hassle of clearing out clutter, selling furniture, and the disruption of social networks in the neighborhood.

Then compare that cost to the investment they can make to remodel their home to enable them to stay in their home longer.

Clients need to plan now for home renovations or a move into a different home. They need to make a wise decision and be proactive before realizing that the configuration of their house is limiting their ability to function in their home.

Author -  JRosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

- By Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D. consults with remodelers, builders, architects, designers, and consumers that want to create inspired and livable homes. She is an internationally known speaker, consultant, and author ( Her newest resource, the Universal Design Toolkit, is an illustrated 200-page e-book with online videos and webinars (


Universal Design Toolkit,” Rosemarie Rossetti, Ph.D.

The United States of Aging Survey," 2012, AARP.

The United States of Aging Survey” 2016, Genworth.

AARP Livable Communities Baby Boomer Facts and Figures” AARP.