aging in place

Sean Kirkham grew up in the home building industry, watching his grandfather build custom homes. The time and detail his grandfather put into his strenuous work didn’t go unnoticed by the impressionable young man. But years later when his grandfather was fighting a battle with cancer, Sean felt the strain of watching his once-active loved one struggle to get around his own house while aging-in-place.

“Working in the industry, there’s a lot of wear and tear on your body,” Sean says. “Knee and hip replacements, and that sort of thing. But he was fine at home. It wasn’t until my grandfather’s diagnosis and getting further along in treatment that his muscles became weak. He just couldn’t get around the house very well.”

Sean’s mother Deborah stepped up to help her own mom, who was already struggling with Parkinson’s, take care of her ailing father. But Deborah and her son Sean were suddenly thrust into the unfamiliar world of caretaking.

“We felt so uninformed about it,” Sean says. He and the family started looking into possible solutions, evaluating whether the elderly duo would have to move out of their home to somewhere that’s easier to navigate with limited mobility.

“We’re all thinking we gotta do something, move them, or do something around the house because we’re worried sick about them injuring themselves,” he says. “But they weren’t ready to move to assisted living. They wanted to live in the home their children grew up and where they built their lives.” (more…)

Hurricane disaster preparedness

Marines patrol past a flooded house in Houston last year.  Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damage to your home. Credit: Marine Corps

We hate to sound all public service announcement-y, but now that this year’s hurricane season is off to an active start, FEMA wants to remind you during September’s National Preparedness Month that “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

How do you prepare for any multitude of disasters? FEMA and ready.gov offers these four steps to disaster preparedness:

  • Make and practice your plan.
  • Learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid.
  • Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards you may face.
  • Consider the costs associated with disasters and save for an emergency.

There are countless online resources for emergency preparedness, so we’ve assembled a basic outline of what to do, plus links to helpful resources. There’s plenty you can do now to be prepared in case a disaster strikes locally. (more…)

Tim Rogers over at D Magazine breaks the story that former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller and her husband, Steve Wolens, are being sued by a former girlfriend of Mr. Wolen’s brother, who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in a guest suite above their garage on Dentwood.

Tim says he has so many questions.

I do, too.

Apparently Miller and Wolens were not able to work out a settlement with their houseguests. Well, one of them: the girlfriend. She and the brother were found unconscious in an over-the-garage guest room or guest house, when one of Miller/Wolen’s Mercedes was accidentally left running in the garage all night. Keyless Mercedes (and BMW, including Mini; Fiat Chrysler; Ford ; General Motors; and Honda, including Acura) apparently do not turn off when left unattended for a certain period of time. The lawsuit says the guest was taken to the hospital unconscious. (What about the brother?) From the lawsuit:

Unknown to Plaintiff Tebaldi, Defendants, Steve Wolens and/or Laura Miller had left their car running in the garage of their home below the bedroom where Plaintiff Tebaldi was sleeping. The next morning, July 12, 2016, Plaintiff Tebaldi had not awoken and had missed her dental appointment. Defendant Steve Wolens asked the housekeeper to check on Mr. Gary Wolens and Plaintiff Tebaldi, and she found them in the bedroom above the garage unconscious and unresponsive. Plaintiff Tebaldi was not breathing and an ambulance was called. Plaintiff Tebaldi was transported to Dallas Presbyterian Hospital where she was admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning. Plaintiff Tebaldi suffered serious injuries as a result of prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide. When medical professionals concluded that it was medically safe for Plaintiff Tebaldi to travel, she was transported back to the United Kingdom by air ambulance where Plaintiff Tebaldi was hospitalized to continue her treatment and care.

Aside from what the conversation will be this Sunday on Father’s Day, we should all wonder why houses are not built with carbon monoxide detectors in critical areas, especially when there is living space above. The Miller/Wolens home is vintage 1952, has about 9,000 square feet, and was totally renovated in the mid 2000’s. If it were up to me, I’d have carbon monoxide detectors in almost every room. In fact, I do.

For those who do not, you can buy carbon monoxide detectors at Walmart for less than $30.

Maybe the City of Dallas should require these in all homes or in living spaces above the garage? What are your thoughts?