Res and Rec: Pet Care

Here’s a Sneak Peak on Pet Care from my upcoming eBook, Two Step Solutions:  Making Life Easier for Everyone.

Reservations

We love our pets and they provide comfort when no one else is around.  Remember that for your pets to be loved well, you and your health must come first!  Pets cannot live without your assistance at some level so you gotta be first, they are second.  Now ask yourself how many do you really need right now and can you adequately care for them?  If your answer is “well, maybe not,” can your loved ones adequately care for them and you too?  Is there any risk that their presence (for example severe allergies) poses to your health?  Can you train them to obey you to avoid behaviors that might be increasing a risk to for you to fall?

Recommendations

If all of these factors are not o.k. then making their care as convenient and safe as possible is important.  For example, consider keeping the food and water bowls near the area where food is stored and water is easily accessible.  Can an automatic feeder or fresh water bowl save you time and energy?  Is there any way to simplify their clean-up such as an automatic pooper scooper in the cat box to a large tray underneath the bird cage to catch the seed shells?

For dogs, many cities now have pooper scooper services available for outside of the home.  Long-handled scoopers are available in larger pet stores that eliminate the need to bend over to clean things up.  Further, is there a groomer who will pick up and deliver your best friend?  Ask your local pet store staff for ideas or check online forums with a “Google” search.  Sometimes rubbing your furry friend with a damp towel sprayed with a very weak solution of pet shampoo provides a nice touch up, extending time between grooming appointments.

One of the biggest helps at our home with a beloved, larger pup was to simply place the food and water bowls in an area with a ceramic tile floor.  No matter what method I tried, I could not stay ahead of the water and mess on the kitchen floor:  a large plastic tray, large plastic mat, rubber-backed rug, or big towel either became soaked over the course of the day or wicked the water underneath it.  When I was sick for a few years, I simply could not keep up with cleaning the floor multiple times per day.  And the risk for either mold growth or damage to the floor as water seeped near the baseboards was of concern as well.  Yes, I know that most dogs don’t eat and drink in the bathroom!  Well  in our situation we are grateful that the floor is tiled in our bathroom and Elle didn’t seem to mind after that first treat that lured her in there to make the change.  My hubby and I just keep a small dog towel hung out of the way for quick clean ups as needed when using the bathroom.  Done!

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Our German shepherd Elle as a pup!

For more tips on pet care, chat with the owner of your local pet store or ask in pet-specific groups in your favorite social media.  People love to talk about what works for them and share resources on Facebook, Yahoo Groups, breeder websites, etc.

Before you go, Gentle Reader, hit the “FOLLOW” button for more Active Tips and a special offer when the full book is released later this Spring.  In the meantime,

Take care, Julie, O.T.

A ramp NOT to love

It’s Springtime in the western world and more people are heading outside in the northern climates.  We get busy enjoying the outdoors, working on projects around our living environments, and moving stuff from here to there with greater frequency than in the colder months.  Let’s get specific and take a closer look at the ingenuity of some folks when it comes to one particular place we navigate our outdoor environment . . .

Ramp not to love

Here’s a wheelchair, wheelbarrow, or people ramp NOT to love!  I post it here only because it is very common to use what materials are lurking in our garage or shed to temporarily solve a problem.  As an Occupational Therapist, I have seen wacky ramp designs from my home health care patients more often that you would imagine!  A ramp that ends in the middle of the lawn?  A ramp so steep that no one could use it safely and the plywood slipped during use?  A slanted platform in the middle of a sunken living room without a railing or markings to increase visibility (color contrast) of the platform edges?  Check, check, and check!  Oh my!

Please don’t do it!  Secure your ramp and use a 1:12 rise-to-length ratio in your ramping configuration.  The material needs to be sturdy enough to bear user weight under all intended uses and endure all kinds of weather conditions.  It must not collect water too.  Perhaps a better option in the picture above would be to install a curb cut!

Here’s one helpful guide from The Center for Universal Design at the NC University College of Design.  The gold standard in ramp design comes from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and revised version in 2009.  The guidelines are summarized nicely by Stepless by Guldman in the following summary:  ADA Ramp Codes.

Inside the home, we are often constrained by space, furniture or belongings, traffic patterns, personal habits, and needs of other members within the household.  In my upcoming eBook, Caring for the Sandwich Generation at Home, I will discuss ramps both inside and outside the home.  In the meantime, check out this blog post for more tips on getting into/getting out of your home.

Be sure to “FOLLOW” this blog for more information on this topic.

Take care,

Julie, O.T.

Transitional spaces in the home

Hallways, entryways, breezeways, oh my!  While these transitional spaces within a home environment rarely register on a Top 10 List for much of anything, they are worth paying attention to when talking safety in our living environment.  This applies to everyone!  And if we were to add stairways, then we would have hit the number two place for deaths from injuries, slips-and-trips within the home.  Yes, this is serious!

Specifically, take a look at this excerpt from our upcoming eBook, Caring for the Sandwich Generation at Home, on considerations for preventing falls and injuries in these areas of your home.  Be sure to “FOLLOW” this blog for more information on this topic.

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Transitional spaces:  Hallways, Entries, Breezeways, Stairways 

Try as best as you can to objectively evaluate the points of transition in your living spaces as if you were a guest in your own home.  Do you have a clear, wide, and logical path to get from one area to another without clutter, loose rugs, furniture, or poorly behaved pets to trip over?  Remove rugs where possible; a small rug by an exit door might be acceptable if it is well off to the side of a walkway.

Next, examine the lighting and consider either photosensitive nightlights or illuminated light switches along the entire hallway on each floor of the home.  A motion-sensor light switch can help each of us avoid walking through any area of the home at any time that is dimly lit!  (And that could be in the middle of the day during the summer!)  Lastly, if the flooring is smooth or slippery, consider replacing it or develop the habit today of always wearing securely fitted foot coverings inside your home.  Actually that is a great idea everyday, especially when travelling or staying in the home of others.

Steps and stairwells.  While most falls occur in the bathroom, according to the National Safety Council, deaths around the home rank second for steps and stairs.  Check out the steps and stairwells of your residence.  It’s best to have handrails on both sides of the walls or steps when going up and down the stairs.  Make sure these railings are available all the way from the bottom to the top of the stairwell including any turns or corners.

In the eBook we will discuss lighting extensively.  Briefly for now, how about checking the location of the light switch?  You don’t want to have to reach around a corner of a stairwell to turn a light on or off; one moment of loss of balance reaching for the switch may create a potential disaster!  Adding a photosensitive nightlight or wall-mounted press-on light fixture might provide the needed illumination.  If the floor is shiny, be careful not to add too much lighting so as to create glare which can blind a person to slip-and-trip hazards.

In another blog post we will discuss similar principles as it applies to getting into and out of your home.  Find it now in our Active Tips or clicking on this link:  Getting In and Out of Your Home.

Take care, Julie O.T.