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Archive for January, 2013

Subject: Downsizing: When Home Alone Is No Longer a Good Idea

Subject: How to Know When Home Alone Is No Longer a Good Idea.NY Times  12/25/12
LETTER TO EDITOR . Edited and  published in the NY Times 1/1/13 p.D4

Much emphasis has been awarded to “aging in place” in single family homes which, more often than not, fail to accommodate the needs of their elderly occupants. In many cases they foster day-to-day isolation, false security and harbor inherent physical dangers. The majority of these homes are badly lit, multi-level tripping traps with dangerously neglected interiors and exteriors. By and large, expensive alterations handrails, etc. fail to provide the safety their installation implies.
Many of the virtues of independent living can be found in “down-sizing”. Moving from single family homes to high-rise apartments which are single level in managed buildings where there are inherent features such as smoke alarms, building managers and desk clerks and alert neighbors. The informal “social” environment of apartment buildings is a valuable asset to the aging. More emphasis should be placed by “aging in place” activists on promoting “downsizing” and enhancing the neighbor-to-neighbor” systems popularized by the “aging in place” movement.
“Downsizing” may bridge the gap between “aging in place” to more supportive accommodations. Paula Spencer Scott’s excellent questionnaire provides clear guideline s for families and caregivers to realize “when the time has come”.

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