Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Episode 12: Wanda Gozdz, Interior Designer and Master Instructor for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) talks about how older adults can age in place successfully

May 12, 2022 Janet Engel, OT/L, CAPS Season 1 Episode 13
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Episode 12: Wanda Gozdz, Interior Designer and Master Instructor for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) talks about how older adults can age in place successfully
Show Notes Transcript

Wanda Gozdz, Allied ASID, CAPS, CLIPP, CHAMP;  is the President and CEO of Golden Age Living, LLC. She is a home modification expert and is herself aging-in-place successfully. Wanda dives deep into what "aging-in-place" is and how we can successfully modify our homes with accessibility and universal design in mind. Wanda also educates us on how we can create an aesthetically beautiful design that is also functional and promotes independence. Please listen and learn about how you too, can create a home for life!

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Janet: [00:00:00] And today we have Wanda Gozdz. She is the founder and CEO of golden age living. She is also a residential interior designer. She is a certified aging in place specialist, and she is a master instructor for the national association of home builders. Wanda, thank you so much for being with

Janet: us today. 

Janet: Yes, I am so excited to have you here because, we're going to get the information straight from the horse's mouth.

Janet: And I want to tell people that you were my instructor. When I took the cap certification courses, I took all three of them with you, and I just really enjoyed your classes. I also took the course for universal design essentials, which I thought was just so important and expanding my knowledge about how to create,, a holistic aging in place design and also make it beautiful.

Janet: , so I'm just so excited that you agreed to be on 

Wanda: my show. My pleasure, of course. 

Janet: And I also want to mention to our listeners [00:01:00] that Wanda has written several articles pertaining to aging in place. And her last article was featured in the Washington post. It was published on April 7th, 2022. The title of the article is aging in place can be so much easier with smart home technology, which

Janet: also want to bring up that article a little bit later in our interview, because I think home technology really is the future 

Wanda: of successful aging in 

Janet: place. So, Wanda, I want to start the interview with asking you, , from your perspective, , what 

Wanda: is aging in place? Well, Janet, we have many definitions of aging in place, but aging in place really just means the ability to remain in your home as your lifestyle changes over time.

Wanda: So [00:02:00] an example would be my parents bought our house in 1954. My parents were in their thirties. My mom lived there till she died in her late seventies. So the house as our bodies change, as things happen to us, needs to be able to adapt to those changing needs. The example was our home was a duplex home and it had two floors.

Wanda: And, , my mom got cancer later on in life. And then, , the bathroom and her bedroom were upstairs. So the issue was that mom had to walk up and down the stairs. Week, and it was difficult for her to go up and down the stairs. So we had to make modifications, , so that she could adapt, , to her lifestyle.

Wanda: And so we moved the bedroom downstairs. We had to make a bathroom accessible so that mom could then be, , on one level and be able to, , [00:03:00] function. Perform her activities of daily living, which is basically being able to feed ourselves, being able to close those cells take care of our personal needs. , so that's, , what the ability to age in place, really means.

Wanda: Okay, well, great. 

Janet: Thank you. That's a great explanation. Now, there are generally three different groups of people that are looking for aging in place services. Can you describe those 

Wanda: three different groups to us? Sure. We, 2025, which is just around the corner. And we're going to have more than 78 million people that will be over the age of 65.

Wanda: So aging really starts at the age of 40 when. All of a sudden, you realize one day that you now need eyeglasses. Why? Because our eyes are now changing. So our bodies start to change from 40 [00:04:00] on and we have different, categories of what we call people. So the people that are just normally aging, meaning, okay, I'm going to wear, you know, I'm going to wear now I have to wear my reading glasses.

Wanda: So I guess get a pair of reading glasses and I can adapt. So those people. Really, , are, still aging, but they are perfectly healthy and their environment is adaptable to them. Because again, they want to be, to have features that provide ease of use comfort and safety and security. Our environment for them is the overall scope of the, what their needs are, is again, women prefer number one feature is security.

Wanda: We want to feel secure. So what are we looking for? The products that help us feel secure in our environment. And that could be something simple as of ring [00:05:00] doorbell, when someone approaches our door and we can see who's on the other side of the door without opening the door. So, as you mentioned earlier, technology is going to play a critical role.

Wanda: And that's one of the features that we have. So as we're changing, Our needs change and our environment adapts to those changing needs. So those people want universal features. They want ease of use. They want comfort and they want safety. The number one feature that really, helps us and safety is going to be lighting.

Wanda: Lighting is going to be the critical factor that is overall going to improve safety. And that would be just by changing a light bulb. We can change someone's life. Right. 

Janet: Yes. I still agree. I've done several shows where I have talked about lighting and I like to really drive the point to our listeners.

Janet: That [00:06:00] lighting makes such a huge difference. And when we talk about lighting, we're talking about daylighting and we're also talking about artificial lighting and today. Led light bulbs and led strip lighting. It has just completely revolutionized how we can light our homes make it inexpensive. It lasts for a long time.

Janet: In fact, most people will probably change their led light bulbs and they won't have to change it again before. 

Wanda: They die, that's it. It's pretty 

Janet: incredible. And it's a huge energy saver. So I thank you for bringing that point up now. What about the two other groups of people, for example people that are involved in a catastrophic event, you know, maybe they had a car accident or they're newly diagnosed with a debilitating disease.

Janet: Parkinson's or Ms. And and they're 

Wanda: aging in place. So we have other categories, so we have [00:07:00] people that we would term that have a disability. So that could be something again, simple disabilities can be I have a hearing disability because I never took that from my dad. I have a visual impairment because I wear glasses, but a disability that's a progressive disability, which could be M S it could be Parkinson's.

Wanda: It could be Alzheimer's, we have all of these because our population has got a longer lifespan. So again, with longer lifespans, we are going to have more health issues associated with that. So again, People with progressive conditions. They're looking to make sure that their home is adaptable. An example could just be a person that has Ms.

Wanda: That's a progressive condition that changes over time. So in the beginning, the person. Is can walk, well, maybe they're going to have a little bit of a mobility impairment. So we might look at making sure that [00:08:00] they have rails going down their hallway or in the bathroom. They've got grab bars that help them to stabilize themselves.

Wanda: So we've got all of these kinds and it depends on the type of. Progressive condition, the person has, we want to adapt and make sure that their environment is adaptable as they change over time. So if we do something like use universal design principles, which is to make sure that we have a 36 inch door entry into the home.

Wanda: Interior doors at 32 inches, a travel path. Meaning the way that we have to navigate through the home, most homes are open space plants. So we can use furniture as the demarcation to create a travel pack. We would want that to be 42 or 48 inches, depending on the size that a house that allows the person to be able to navigate through their house, whether they're using a Walker, whether they're using a wheelchair or they're using.

Wanda: A cane. [00:09:00] So the ability to have our home adaptable, meaning it's accessible allows us to be able to function within that environment. As as we change over time, then you've got the client. That basically has a traumatic injury, a traumatic injury can be something so simple as maybe riding my bicycle.

Wanda: And I just rode 72 miles on the, on the curb and I'm going to make a left-hand turn. My pedal gets stuck and I fall and I crush on into the into the pavement. Luckily I injured. I And most falls are side impacts. So I had a site impact hall, and most falls then create a traumatic injury, like a head injury because we would crash it.

Wanda: Luckily I was wearing my helmet, so nothing happened to my head, but I did get bruised and I did hurt my tinny. So I had an initial. It was traumatic. However, we can heal from our traumatic [00:10:00] injury and then be healthy again. So we're temporarily incapacitated. So again, we want our home to be adaptable to the changing need.

Wanda: It could be somebody that again, my neighbor next door was writing her electric brand new electric bike. She didn't have a helmet on. And she fell. Now. She, the motor stove, bicycle electric bike was heavy and it fell on her body and it crushed her leg. And again, she had a traumatic injury. She had to be fresh to the hospital.

Wanda: She needed surgery. She had to be in a wheelchair for three months. So. Her home had to be adaptable to her changing lifestyle, which was, she couldn't put any weight bearing on that leg for three months and she was in a wheelchair. So that means she needed to be able to get into her home. She needed to be able to navigate down her hallway.

Wanda: She needed to be able to get into her basket. So she had, they had just modified their bathroom and they did put in [00:11:00] grab bars. So her home was adaptable to her changing need, which was that she had a traumatic injury. And again, Then I was able to recover from that traumatic injury and she's healthy now.

Wanda: Now we have the person that's had a car crash and now they have a spinal cord injury. That person has a permanent disability in which they're paralyzed. Now their home has to be adaptable because now. They don't have the mobility functionality. So that would be making sure that they have, what's known as a lift a transporter.

Wanda: So it's almost like a railing system that goes throughout the house and it allows the person to be navigated or moved from one room to the other one. Being a burden to the caregiver. That's taking care of them. So we have those kinds of products. The other simple product is just an elevator. If we have an elevator in our [00:12:00] home, then the elevator is both universal and accessible because the elevator allows us to be able to go into it.

Wanda: Into it with a wheelchair or a Walker or transported, it allows mom and dad, or allows anyone else to be able to access that and use it. So the difference between a universal product and a assessable product is the universal product that is for everyone. So I could take my granddaughter, put her in a, in a stroller and then take the stroller, put it in a wheelchair, excuse me, in the elevator.

Wanda: And then. Navigate to the floor that I need. Mom, if she's in a wheelchair again, she can go in the elevator so everyone can use it. And it blends into the environment, meaning that the elevator is part of the home and part of the environment. And it doesn't detract from the physical, physical aesthetic feature of the environment versus a ramp.

Wanda: [00:13:00] So a ramp is, again, is assessable meaning someone in a wheelchair or someone taking a baby up the ramp again. But that one is, is is. And assessable product because it's used for the person with the wheelchair and not everyone gets to use the ramp because it's, for that person's specific needs. It might be at the back of the house, or it might be at the side of the house.

Wanda: We don't want them in front of the house because again, it, it allows or makes the peel, people feel more vulnerable because again, that gives a. Visual effect of somebody immediately. You associate that with someone, with a disability, versus if you have an elevator then again, a person with a disability can easily get in.

Wanda: The other one is a ramp that is one to 20 grade where meaning that the ramp is sloped from the curb all the way to the front of the home. And it's graduated. So it's a [00:14:00] walking ramp and therefore it blends in with the environment. It's both universal and accessible. So when we're trying to design or we're trying to make modification, we want them to blend in as much as possible.

Wanda: And therefore it's used by everyone, regardless of whether they're disabled or abled to function. That's a great 

Janet: explanation. Thank you for explaining to us how aging in place design and, and then universal design can come together and just create a beautiful space. So you mentioned using a ramp using a lift.

Janet: Can you briefly talk to us about. Zero step entries as an occupational therapist, I can tell you that one of the most common issues that I had when I went to someone's home, was that something had happened either. You know, they had broken their leg or you know, they had some kind [00:15:00] of new condition, perhaps a heart condition or cancer, and now they were in a wheelchair or using a Walker and they could no longer.

Janet: In and out of their house safely because every entrance had steps. So tell us about how, how can we fix that problem? 

Wanda: Well you know, eagerness, meaning if we want to get to our, into our home, really, it starts at the curb from our property lines. So when we're trying to assess or we're trying to help and look at them, we have to be able to get.

Wanda: Into our home first. So it starts at the curb. And usually if we have a driveway or we have a garage that is already slope from the curb, because that car has to be able to go again on an incline and into the car. So the entry door is usually furthest away from the garage because the garage is. And usually then we might've have at our front door [00:16:00] one or two steps with a patio.

Wanda: So again, it becomes difficult to be able to get in our home if we have to get upstairs, because stairs are usually narrow and they don't give us that stability that we need to put our whole. So again, how do we do that? There's many ways in which we can cue create a zero step entry. And it depends on what the property line is creative way is if we do have two steps, which might be 14 inches or or higher we can.

Wanda: Again, from the curb, we can create a travel path or the sidewalk that might be an S shape, or it might be a semicircle. So that it's slow to the front door and then it create, and then create a step free entrance, which is a quarter inch or happened bevel. At the entry door, but again, that starts at the property line.

Wanda: And again, it creates a need, some creativity to [00:17:00] figure out how to do that. We can also, if we have a backdoor, look at what that backdoor is. So if we then have a back a backyard in which we come in through the back sometimes. The 25 feet from the curb, or it might be a shorter distance. So again, they're in the back, you can use something like a lift, which again can go up to any level and can, and it takes a smaller footprint.

Wanda: So you could put a lift in the backyard, which again is usually not conspicuous or visual visually visible from from the street. Okay. 

Janet: Great. Thank you. And when someone wants to hire a certified aging in place specialist or an occupational therapist, or let's say a contractor with a cap certification.

Janet: Oh, exactly. What should they be looking for? And can you also speak to the different roles [00:18:00] that different professions. We'll play in contributing to an aging in place design. 

Wanda: Well, again, I'm aging in places about the ability to remain in your home as your lifestyle changes over time. So again, what modifications are you making to the home?

Wanda: If the person I'm an interior designer. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to create a team for my. Because my expertise is in designing the space, but I'm going to need a contractor, someone that's going to take that design that I made and then implement it. So I'm going to hire those people that have a CAPS designation, because we all talk on the same page.

Wanda: Now, if. If I'm, my mom now is disabled and I, as an interior designer can only assess her to a certain degree, meaning I could look at her livable environment and make recommendations, but if mom has having a mobility impairment such as he [00:19:00] now has a much more. Her her body is weak or so she can't travel as fast.

Wanda: I do not know the capacity or I cannot assess properly. What's my mother's ability to be able to perform that function from going from one end of her house all the way to the other end of the house safely. So I would bring in an occupational therapist because that person. Assesses that person's livable environment and looks at what their capabilities are and how long it takes them to be able to travel from one place and what a system, they might need.

Wanda: So you, Janet might be, I'm going to call you in and you might be able to determine. Where, where rails would be need to be installed in the home. So mom can safely navigate from the kitchen to the bathroom, down the hallway and to the backyard. So again, [00:20:00] we're bringing those people in, whether it's an occupation and mom might need special exercise equipment in order to strengthen her body.

Wanda: So you, as the expertise expert, And as an OT would then recommend equipment that would help mom to strengthen to build up her muscles so that she can either stay stand longer on her legs or make her leg stronger so that she could navigate safely down the hallway. So this is the team that we're bringing together because one person doesn't have.

Wanda: Well, always have all the expertise on what it takes to make the environment, a livable environment for the for the client. 

Janet: Yes. And I think that's such an important point to bring up because one thing that I've also seen as an OT is where someone with a handicap or a disability has made changes to their home already 

Wanda: most 

Janet: [00:21:00] commonly the bathroom.

Janet: And then. Their abilities change over time, either as they age or perhaps it's a progressive disease like Ms or Parkinson's and then five years down the road that modification no longer works for them and their bathroom is again inaccessible. And so that's the. You know, one big thing that people have to watch out for that don't completely trust.

Janet: You know what one person specifically, the contractor says that you need, because like you said, there are people with other expertise and they know much more about, let's say the disease process or an interior designer would know what the living arrangement should look like. In order to create the best design for that person.

Janet: And so you don't have to spend money twice on a modification. 

Wanda: Well, if we make the bathroom, I'm going to let, just go to the bathroom. If we make the bathroom [00:22:00] universal, which might mean that we have a steps step free entry into the bathroom, and that we have a 67 inch diameter in the bathroom. If the person needs.

Wanda: To have to be needs to be in a wheelchair. They can easily get into the bathroom. They have a multilevel counter at which they can stand, or they can sit, they have in the shower, a shower head that is moveable so that whether they could, so a caregiver consider. The client can sit on a chair and the caregiver can give them a shot, give them a shower and spray them so, and walk around them.

Wanda: So the bathroom is already adaptable to the person's changing need. So if we do that in design phase, then when those additional impairments show up the environment already is adaptable to it. So if I have that 67 inch. Turning radius in the bathroom. That means right now mom can [00:23:00] basically go in the shower and she could shower herself and she's got a handheld shower, but in the future, if mom needs to be no longer can stand that long.

Wanda: A, a chair can be put in there. It could be a bench. It could be a chair, a caregiver can then use the handheld shower. In order to help in order to help mom and the reason we're making the bathrooms larger is because we are going to have two people in the, in the bathroom now at the same time, because we now have an older population and as we age our bodies change over time.

Wanda: So we want that inviting. To be adaptable to that change that, you know, the other features that we might include then in the design phase, I would include something like a rain shower. Because again, if someone's sitting on a chair, then they can basically just have, they have body sprays. They have blow dryers.

Wanda: I mean, everything [00:24:00] today, we. Walks talks and chews gum, meaning whatever the client needs, it will perform. And this is really wonderful. One of the critical factors is when we're doing away with doors and a bathroom, a because we need the space, we need the elbow room to have two people in that shower.

Wanda: So we're creating a step free shower when we remove the shower curtain, or we remove the shower doors. What happens. Those functions of the shower door is to be able to retain the heat that the warm shower produces. Now, if we removed that door, we're going to have to make up for the heat. So what are we going to use?

Wanda: We're going to use radiant heat. We can use a heat lamp we can use for 80 and heat the floor. But because again, Now that moisture is now dissipating into the whole entire bathroom. And of course the client is going to be cool or so you're going to have to compensate for the loss of the doors, [00:25:00] but it's really critical because glass is really not safe in the bathroom.

Wanda: Four o'clock. It is number one, we wind up having depth perception issues, and and glass is very difficult to be able to see that it has depth in it. So I would recommend in the designing phases to create, again, step free showers that are. That are open and open plan and the bathroom. If you do that, then you're going to have to make sure that the walls, of course, we put plasterboard and paint.

Wanda: So now you're going to have moisture in the entire bathroom. So you're going to have to change what you're applying onto the walls, meaning you would want to have some kind of tile versus just having plastic. 

Janet: And what do you say to people who may say, well, I don't need any of these changes right now.

Janet: I I'm, I can make, do with. The way [00:26:00] my home looks currently. What 

Wanda: do you say to them? Well and I always say that we should be proactive in our lifestyles because I always say, where are you going to be 10 years from now? And what is your lifestyle going to look like? We usually remodel our homes every seven to 10 years.

Wanda: So again, we might now be 70, I'm perfectly healthy. I'm 72 years old, however when I'm redesigning my bathroom I'm going to make sure that I have a step free shower in my bathroom. I'm going to make sure that I have a comfort, a high toilet in my bathroom. I'm going to make sure that I have read in heat in the floor.

Wanda: Our ambient temperature of our bodies as we age is 78 degrees. So that's what normal field. I want to go to see my children, my son, he keeps his house on 60. So I have to wear sweats when I'm there, because I'm a little chilly. However again, who's in that [00:27:00] environment who are the people that are in that livable environment and how do we adapt to that?

Wanda: So you might have to have a separate heating, a heating element in the bathroom of that will compensate again for the temperature that you have in the room okay. Element that would produce additional heat would either be a heat lamp, or it would be radiant heat in the design phase of remodeling the bathroom.

Janet: And what can you say about aging in place? In areas that we don't commonly think of when it comes to aging in place design. I think when, whenever we think about home modifications, we think about the bathroom. You know, we think about door width, but another aspect of aging in place is for example, the air quality in your home.

Janet: Or like you said earlier, lighting security, safety and security. So D tell us a little bit about air quality, because I think that's a huge [00:28:00] area. One of the most common diseases in older people is 

Wanda: COPD, 

Janet: which stands for. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. And if it's severe enough, you have to use supplemental oxygen.

Janet: Really affects your quality of life and may even determine where you live in the country, depending on how dry or humid a climate is. So tell us about air 

Wanda: quality. Well, I think that era, we probably learned it from COVID because again, we went to work every day, so we. We all are only in our homes for a few hours.

Wanda: We come from work at six or seven o'clock. We cook dinner by nine o'clock. So three hours we might spend in our environment and out the door we call when COVID happened. We are now in our home 24 7. So the quality of air really makes a difference because again, we're in the same environment or circulating that air.

Wanda: Air filters. [00:29:00] So we would probably, again, if I live in Florida, so in Florida I have an air conditioner, so I have filters on my on my on my air conditioning unit. And when I had a new one installed, I had a blue light installed on it, too, which purifies the air as it's coming out of the vents.

Wanda: It makes. Difference. I went and I kind of noticed, oh, my nose was like a little bit running and I thought, wow, I wonder why. And it's because again, the quality of the air, we should have a filters that are Merv 14. So that's the filter, right? Of which your air filters should be on your air conditioning unit.

Wanda: But what I also noticed is in the winter time, I shut my air conditioner off because I didn't need it to run. And then I noticed, oh, you know what? My air quality changed because my nose it's running well, I have. Portable air a portable HEPA filter, so you can [00:30:00] get a portable helper filter. Again that I use.

Wanda: So I put the portable HEPA filter on during the winter time, which again, purifies the air and keeps the quality of the air. And again, our air is contaminated, you know, when we cook, we go to the bathroom and we use hairspray and we put on perfume. You know, Cool. So again, we have all this type of air changing, all the end we inhale and we exhale carbon monoxide.

Wanda: So again, we need something that's going to filter that. And again, opening the windows, having a fan blowing having a HEPA filter you can buy them portable and there's there on the market and then have it running. I usually run my HEPA filter also at nighttime, including having my air conditioner so that it purifies my my air quality and that I feel again, sometimes my head feels a little foggy and then I know, oh, must be something in the air.

Wanda: So I'm going to [00:31:00] run my HEPA filter on high in order to purify the air so we can have whole house. Air filtration systems we can have. If you live in a condo or a single apartment, you can have a portable, or if you've got air conditioning, you can have it again, coming through your air conditioning system.

Wanda: The biggest again, culprit of pollutants is also going to be from cooking. Again, I have an electric stove because in Florida, we only, I only have electric, but gas. Pollutant. And if you don't have something that's recerculating a called adequate makeup air. Again, coming in through the kitchen. If you turn on your gas stove and you don't turn on your, your filters, your air circulation above your stove.

Wanda: When you turn on the guests. It looks out the oxygen in the room because gas needs oxygen in order to be fueled. So it's sucking it out from there and it creates [00:32:00] a by-product that by-product, if you don't have that fan on, you're sucking that stuff into your lungs. So again, that causes again, health issues.

Wanda: So again, quality of air is really, really. Having a filtration system. Again, if you've got gas stoves, you want to make sure that you've got adequate makeup air coming out, coming out. That's taking out the pollutants as well as fresh air. That's basically coming into them. Can you speak 

Janet: to us about safety and security 

Wanda: in the home?

Wanda: Well, what is the difference between safety and security? So security is, again, our feeling protected from criminality. So that really deals with like our outside. Well, number one feature that women want to security. So that's the mental ability to feel that you're safe. And what adds to security is going to be lighting.

Wanda: Lighting is again, and the outside of our house. We want to be able to [00:33:00] get into our home as quickly as possible. So if we have a light that points on our socket, where we have to, again, unlock our home, whether we're doing it with a fob, whether we're doing it with a key, whether we're doing with a keypad, we still have to get into our home.

Wanda: So we want to get in as quickly. We want a light that shining on us. There for women that live alone and Florida are we're doors are required to open out that's due to a hurricane. So we have to have our hurricane impact doors. So our doors have to open out. When the summer, and I have frosted wind up for us too.

Wanda: When someone, again, knocks on my door, I have to open the door, step out and look behind the door to see who's there. That for me is a big security issue. So how did I solve that problem? I went and got ring phone because what that is just sitting on the outside of my door. I now can look through my F my phone through my computer, [00:34:00] and I could see at the door and long distance.

Wanda: And the other feature is that I can give it to my son or I can give it to my neighbor. I give it to my neighbors in my house when I'm away, they can see who's approaching my door. So that gives me a sense of security, meaning I'm protected or someone else's watching my home. When I go see my son, he goes, mom, just let me know when you're at the house and I'll open the garage for you.

Wanda: So we wanted at the garage so that we can quickly, we want to be able to get. in and out of our home as quickly as possible. So having those kinds of features that are a lever handle or a a fob or a key pad that lets us get in that makes us feel again, safe and secure lighting gives us safety and again the features of the camera or the features of the handheld, so that we can easily get in the door add to that sense of security.

Wanda: Yeah, 

Janet: great points. Now, the [00:35:00] demographics and how we're living in the United States is, is changing. And what I mean by that is that. An increasing number of people are living in what's called a multi-generational household, which is at least two adults of, you know, different ages living in the same house.

Janet: So, or perhaps three generations living in this under the same roof. Educate us about. That this new trend and how can we create a multi-generational living arrangement that is 

Wanda: successful? Well, multi-generational again, COVID accelerated multi-generational living because what happened was parents now.

Wanda: Came to live with their children to take care of their children. So I have, you know, my son has five children again. Now they're, they're [00:36:00] older, but again grandparents can be in their seventies and they're coming in to take care of children that are much younger. They can be school, age, children, anywhere from.

Wanda: You know, five years old up. So again, parents were moving in with their children to help care with the activities of daily living for their children while their parents have to go in another room in order to, in order to work. So again, dad, Be it, my dad might have cataracts. And so therefore his vision is blurry.

Wanda: A mom again might have arthritis in her hands, so it might be harder for her to pull a draw open. So we adjust that livable and environment. If it's universal, meaning. If we have lever handles in our, in our homes, inside our, inside our interior doors, if we have touch cabinets that you can use your arm, or you can use your, your [00:37:00] filter in order to open it, that again just for the person that has a D you know, some kind of some kind of a disability.

Wanda: And if we have small children, meaning, okay, maybe. Just children that are in five years old and just starting to go to school again, we have to worry about safety for them. So now we might have cabinets that have security locks on them. So therefore again, the child can't get in, we do want step free showers, because what if I need to take if grandma needs to give a shower to, you know, to a five-year-old.

Wanda: Be able to give the five-year-old going in a step free shower, go in with the child and give the child a shower or be there while, and supervise the child while they're showering, if that's necessary. So we created, and again, If we have mom and dad that have some kind of a disability, we want to make sure, again, we [00:38:00] have a step free entrance into the home.

Wanda: We have a travel path that's 48, 42 inches down the, down the hallway. So again, the house blends in for all the people that are in that in that environment. And, and again, the millennial. And we might have the millennial that loves to play video games. So now they, or they like to play guitar and they like to play their music.

Wanda: So we want to give them an environment that allows them to do that. So we might take something and make a room and we might insulate the room with. Proofing so that that child, again, can play video games out, you know, at a a level in which a they're going to play it much louder. So again, walls sound is, is transference, meaning sound travels.

Wanda: Through air. So we need to take something that absorbs the sound. So that would be again, if I'm [00:39:00] making a room for a teenager or I'm bringing in a millennial that's in their thirties and they like to listen to music I'm going to make sure that their walls. Are a lot more insulated, then the thin, the thin sheet rock that we have on our walls here.

Wanda: So multi-generational, we're adapting the environment to the people that are basically coming into, stay with us. If we have a basement. So my son took the base. And it's his entire basement of a footprint of his house. He insulated it. He made sure that he had insulation because this is where his kids were going to play in the winter time.

Wanda: And again, he's got carpeting down era. He's got he's got air filters in there that, again, clean it, he's got a step free shower in the basement. So therefore he's adapted the environment and it doesn't. I go, when I go visit, I would sleep the, as a bedroom down in the basement, I could sleep down in the basement too.

Wanda: So again, the environment adapt to [00:40:00] the people that are that are going to use it. Yeah, great 

Janet: points. And thank you for bringing that up with the soundproofing walls, because I think that there are a lot of us out there that, you know, may not be aware that that's a change that you can make to your home.

Janet: And probably not, not very expensive 

Wanda: either. I'm going to say, I forgot to say one thing that. Way to soundproof a wall is to put cork on the walls. Cork absorb sound. So you see core comes in different colors. Again, core can be used. You can use it to put pictures on. It could be used for many, it could be used multipurpose.

Wanda: So if you have a child's room, you might want to take one wall and you might. so it would absorb the sound. The child then can use the wall as an art gallery or to hang his pictures or to put his games up or whatever it is. So there's many functionalities or you can get acoustical paint. You also have a.

Wanda: Paint that absorb sound. So again, [00:41:00] there's many different products that are out there. If you have to modify a, if you're doing new construction, again, you're going to do that inside the walls. But if you're just modifying it because someone's moving in without having to take down the walls, you can do it very easily by finding by putting cork up on the walls or acoustical paint.

Wanda: That absorbs sound that way too, if you live next to the railroad trays net train station. You're going to know you're going to want that you want to have soundproof. You want to have a hurricane impact windows. That will be, that will be a soundproof. And and you want some cork on the wall that's facing the tutor drain so that I traveled, I lived in Fort Pierce and the old side of town, the railroad train train is like, 10 feet from the people's house.

Wanda: And I'm like, oh my gosh, I'm, I'm hoping that it, and that there are the little old historical homes that are there that were the, you know, that are a hundred years old. So I'm hoping that they're insulated. And [00:42:00] then if we train the brain, we don't hear the sound of the train anymore. So it doesn't really matter, but it's still, you know, it's still there.

Wanda: So that helps because loud sounds interfere with our hearing and then create, I will tell you that we are going to have a massive, massive. Of young people that are going to have massive hearing loss that is going to be the next big crisis that we're going to have of the younger generation that play their music so loud.

Wanda: And then you hear their cars vibrate. That's how loud the music are. Same thing on the boats that pass. When I, when I live on the water here. And the music vibrates my window. So imagine they're sitting in that they're ruining their ears. So we are definitely going to be seeing another generation with massive with massive hearing loss.

Wanda: So I hope new technology is going to come out there. I don't know what it's going to look like, but it has to be something that's going to be able to take care of that. That is going to be a big crisis. 

Janet: And I would add to that [00:43:00] arthritis, 

Wanda: arthritis, texting. Yes. Yes. The number one disabling disease is again is going to be again arthritis because we're using our thumbs or using our fingers.

Wanda: And we also have some kind, you know, I fell and broke my hand when I was 55 years old. And I see that my right hand is a little bit more difficult for me to turn the. So we usually are going to have at least three disabilities. No, I wear glasses. So that's a disability. I have hearing loss because I inherited from my dad and I broke my hand.

Wanda: So I have a little arthritis, so we aren't going to have some form of disability. And our job is to create that environment that adapt to that form of what that disability might look like. 

Janet: Right. Yes. And. I also want to bring up why it's worthwhile for people to invest in their homes.[00:44:00] And we can also compare and contrast investing in your home by making modifications versus saying I'm just gonna sell my home, move to an independent living facility move to an assisted living facility.

Janet: What's your take on that? 

Wanda: Well I'm going to say that there's both needs. It is to look at where we are. So again, as our lifestyle, so we want to be proactive and have our environment adaptable for us rather than being reactive when we are having. And then we have to hurry up and make some kinds of modifications.

Wanda: So again, planning for the future and making our environment ready for any type of change. So if we're going to remodel. So the important thing is for everyone to look at what is the cost of a nursing home in your government nursing? From the government. Medicare [00:45:00] is like $92,000 a year. They're taking your money or what does it cost to go into an assisted living facility?

Wanda: If we look at what that cost is and what is the cost of a caregiver average cost of a caregiver's like $55,000 a year to go into an assisted living facility. Again, what does it cost in your area? And if you make modifications, you can stay in your home. Additional seven to 10 years before you have to go, or you have to, again, I want my home to be adaptable so that I can have someone come and care for me.

Wanda: So therefore my overhead or my costs is going to be cheaper than it is to go into. Place where someone is, you know, I'm in a one bedroom. Again, some people need to go there because they have no one to help them. It depends on the situation and it's best to assess. I head of time. What is your [00:46:00] environment look like and how are you going to adapt it?

Wanda: I made sure that I had a long-term care policy. My home is again assessable so that again, I can live in it as my lifestyle changes. And there might come a point where again, I'm may no longer be able to care for myself, but I better to be proactive that I prepared my environment. So again, I might have another additional bathroom in my house that I know that I'm going to have a room for a caregiver.

Wanda: I want a multi, a multi flexible room. So I took my office and I have a Murphy bed in there. So therefore, if I have to have. Occupational therapist come and do exercise with me again. I can take that and I have that room available so that that person could come and again, take care of me in my environment, rather than me having to leave my environment.

Wanda: Someone can come to my environment. And and assist me. So [00:47:00] I want to have choices. That's the reason I'm making modifications and making my home ready, because I want to have a choice of what I'm going to do in my environment and not have to do it out of reaction because now I've got hip surgery and I'm in the hospital and I'm in rehab for four weeks.

Wanda: And then I've got to get home. And now I can't get into my shower because because I again, only have a bathtub and I can't climb into my bathtub. So we want to be proactive rather than being reactive. And usually it costs you more money to be reactive because you've got a timeline. So it's going to wind up costing you more money, because again, someone's going to have to rush and maybe.

Wanda: It's going to be much more stressful because you're not going to be able to have those products on a timely basis. Right now we're in a critical shortage of material where we're waiting six months or nine months just to get product so better, to [00:48:00] be proactive and do it in a place where again, you've got the time.

Wanda: My sister is remodeling our home. She has to wait until September to get her store. Again. So what are the products that we need to put in there? And then how quickly are we going to able to get them? So doing it from a space where we're not stressed out about it. And and that we're able to look at and be able to go shopping to see the different products that are available out there rather than being reactive and saying, oh, so this is the only thing I'm going to get.

Wanda: So I'm going to put X, Y, Z in my house. Exactly. Yeah. You brought up 

Janet: so many great points. And before we end the show, I want to tell our listeners that you are an example of someone who is successfully aging in place. And you are making your own choices about where you want to live, how you want to live.

Janet: You're looking at what you may need in the future. And not ignoring that [00:49:00] perhaps you may need to go to an independent living facility or an assisted living facility, but for now you don't have to do that. And that gives you the ability to save so much money and really live your life where you want to live in.

Wanda: And I think that's powerful. Yeah. Yeah. And it's making your choices now again, you know, in the future, I now live in Florida. I have a son that lives in Denver and I have a son that lives in New Jersey and my siblings live in New Jersey. Probably in the future. I probably am going to want to move closer to my family right now.

Wanda: I ran away from home when I was 29 years old and moved to Florida. And I've been here for 40 years, but I see that in the future, I probably are going to want to be closer to my family, because again, I want that interaction. I want to be able to socialize. I want to be able to have, you know, my family care for me if I [00:50:00] need that.

Wanda: And be able to be comfortable and that's what I'm looking for. Comfort, ease of use and safety. And then I'm already looking at again are there apartments or spaces that are near my siblings or near my sister? On her block, she has apartment. That are there that are just one block from our house.

Wanda: So maybe I don't want to live with my sister, but I want to live near my sister. So I am preparing to say, oh, so what spaces are out there? I'm going to look at it. Is this step free? Does it have a garage? Does it have security? Does it have the features that I need that will allow me to age in place? Over time.

Janet: Yeah, that's great advice, Wanda, thank you so much for being with us today. I, we learned so much from you every time I talked to you, I learned something new and, and you're just such a wealth of knowledge and Wanda, where can people find you if they want to you know, get more information? [00:51:00] 

Wanda: You can go to my website, golden age, living dot com and on my website they will be able to look at the classes that I have.

Wanda: If you're looking at aging in place, or you want to learn more information about aging in place, or you want to become a caps designee then. You could look at my schedule of calendar of courses that are offered virtually. So the good thing is that classes are now offered virtually. I am actually teaching an in-person class in may.

Wanda: That will be the first time in two years. But again, classes can be taught in person or classes can be taught virtually and the, and at a pace. The person you could take them all at one time, or you could take one at a time until you fulfill the requirements. And for the caps for the caps designation, and B usually classes are two times a month, but I usually put my classes up for an entire year on my calendar.[00:52:00] 

Wanda: Okay, great. Thank 

Janet: you so much for being with us today. It was a pleasure 

Wanda: to speak with. Thank you. Thank you. It was my pleasure, Janet, to share knowledge because the more that we can share the better our society or people will be able to remain in their home for as long as possible