Saturday, May 14, 2016

"We're Halfway Through A Very Important Month For Aging-In-Place'

Two weeks ago, as the month of May began, we noted all of the important distinctions and observances this month has and how that resonates with us as aging-in-place professionals and providers.

So far this month, and for the remainder of it, we are observing "National Home Remodeling Month." Aging-in-place frequently involves remodeling of some sort to help people adapt and modify their living space to make it safer, more comfortable, and more accessible for the people living in the home and for those who might be visiting them.

There are several strategies for aging-in-place, but remodeling is a huge part of the overall process. We recognize this specific activity during May, regardless of the type or scope of the remodeling that is undertaken. We certainly encourage people to remain in their homes, and reconfiguring, modernizing, and renovating their living space or certain aspects of it is key to this effort.

May is notable for other aging-in-place related observances also. It is the "National Mobility Awareness Month," "National Older Americans Month," and "Building Safety Month Week One: 'Building Solutions for All Ages'." Mobility and accessibility are central areas of focus in aging-in-place because we recognize that many people will be relying upon mobility assistance such as walkers and wheelchairs as they age, and the access into the home and freedom of movement throughout it needs to be there for them. People as generally less able to perform the activities later in life that they were capable of in earlier years - whether they are mobility related or more of a sensory nature, dealing with weaker vision, hearing, balance, coordination, or stamina.

The entire month of May has also been designated as the "Better Hearing & Speech Month," "National Stroke Awareness Month," "ALS Awareness Month," "Arthritis Awareness Month," and "Healthy Vision Month" - issues that focus on sensory and mobility concerns.

We just completed the annual observance of "National Nurses Week" (May 6-12), and "National Emergency Medical Services Week" is kicking off tomorrow (May 15-21). "National Senior Health & Fitness Day" is May 25th.

A few other dates that are observed this month include Mother's Day which was last Sunday (May 8th), Peace Officers Memorial Day which also is tomorrow (May 15th), Armed Forces Day is next Saturday (May 21st), and Memorial Day - both the traditional day it has been observed as well as the Monday on which we currently observe it - falls on May 30th.

May also signals the time when we prepare to wrap up spring and head into summer. Of course, temperatures and the outward appearances of spring vary tremendously around the country, but Memorial Day weekend traditionally marks the beginning of summer - even when it may not look or feel like it. This means that "spring cleaning" needs be wrapping up as well even though it's always in fashion to be cleaning, organizing, minimizing what we keep, and making our homes and those of our clients safer and easier to move about within.

While not connected to aging-in-place in a direct way - just as people may want to follow or be a spectator of it - May is a busy racing month. It starts off with the Kentucky Derby which was last Saturday. Next Saturday is the Preakness (the second race in the Triple Crown). Memorial Day weekend (Sunday the 29th) is the annual Indianapolis 500 auto race and the Coca-Cola 600 auto race (the longest race in NASCAR).

May is an eventful month!

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.