Keep your PET, Keep your GARDEN, Keep your SMILE!

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We had a great podcast interview today with a bright and passionate man named Ronny Wiskin.  He’s the Co-Founder of and he’s just opening a new showroom and teaching facility in the Toronto, Ontario area in Canada.  Our conversation was exciting, passionate, and we clearly share thedesire to spread the word on “Aging In Place”.  He’s showing us, and allowing us in his brand new showroom to touch, taste, smell, feel, and EXPERIENCE the products that are exploding onto the marketplace that will allow our clients to stay safer, happier, and longer in their own homes.  Congratulations to Mr. Wiskin, Founder & President of Reliable Independent Living Services®.

The most fascinating part of the 40 minute conversation for me, was his own personal story (it appears everyone has one to tell) about how his passion for the demographic was born.  His story was unique to me, and I’ve heard many, in that his grandmother actually WAS PRO-ACTIVE, and after 40 years in their family home, she made the choice ahead of an acute accident or injury, to move to an “Independent Living” facility (“Condo” style development), which is the highest / first level of facility in the “continuum of care”, before “assisted living” and “skilled nursing / nursing home” type facilities.

Fairly immediately after his grandmother moved in, the family noticed changes in her.  She was becoming more reclusive, and less social.  She didn’t want her family and friends to come visit as often.  Ronny let me know that in this type of facility, it’s primarily the responsibility of the CLIENT (his grandmother) to “stay active” and “stay social”.  Now mind you, this was a state of the art facility.  It was brand new (in 2001), and yet her ability to BATHE HERSELF was DIMINISHED by the layout of the condo unit’s bathroom.  With a 21″ tub height in her unit, she was fearful that she might fall and hurt herself due to her osteoporosis (brittle and frail bones). She was making a SMART decision in her fear, choosing to bathe less often.  But the unexpected side effect of that, was that she didn’t feel as good about herself, and didn’t feel comfortable having visitors or being out in public due to what she felt was a lack of cleanliness.  WOW, who would have thought of this possibility?  A wonderful, happy, and independent person in your family, making a PRO-ACTIVE decision (that alone is rare), and having the end result be that the FACILITY DESIGN was CAUSING her to become less happy, less active, less social, and ending up DEPRESSED and ISOLATED in a facility touted as “state of the art” INDEPENDENT LIVING.  Yikes!

Mr. Wiskin and I both realize (as people that have been in the design and building industries for decades), the developer’s goal for a Senior Living project is PROFITABILITY,  PERIOD.  Therefore, they adhere to the “code”, but in this scenario (and most) it’s a “baseline minimum” of adherence to requirements.  A facility with HUNDREDS of rooms or units, can NOT POSSIBLY meet the needs of each individual client when designing a product that will make money for the investors in the project.  Their goals in unit layout are efficiency, and a repeat-able module system (just like a hotel room layout on a floor) with a small number of different unit sizes and types, modified just slightly, with mirror-imaged floor plans re-used over and over, and MINIMUM requirements to meet “the code”.  The real goal?  Start selling units, getting occupancy, and making money!

So… Why do 89% of those polled by the AARP say that they’d like to remain in the own home?  Psychology.  It’s THAT SIMPLE.  

We don’t like change as much as we get older.

We LOVE our HOME.  It feels SAFE, and FAMILIAR.

We want the feeling of HOME wherever we LIVE.

A sense of home is crucial to our HAPPINESS.

Our Happiness is a KEY ingredient to our HEALTH.

Our Health is a KEY ingredient to our LONGEVITY of LIFE.

Now… What is HOME vs. “a house”?  That is “psychology” based as well. 

HOME is a feeling… sights, sounds, smells… familiarity, comfort, some sense of routine.

HOME includes your PET, your GARDEN, your YARD, your NEIGHBORS, your habits, your daily activities…

So if you could STAY HOME, and live a LONGER, HEALTHIER, SAFER, HAPPIER life, why wouldn’t you?

You can.  And you should, for as long as possible.

Listen Now:

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