Let the Barbecues Begin

Despite what the school calendars say, Pacific Northwest summers actually start in late July and continue into September. It’s an excellent time for outdoor entertaining, picnics, and grilling. Barbecues have been the foundation of many good parties and meals at home. While grilling is easy and adds delicious flavor to meats and vegetables, there are safety measures to remember. Here are a few to keep in mind the next time you start the flames.

Location, location, location, and other grill safety measures.

Keep the barbecue at least 10’ away from nearby houses or structures and clear from low
hanging branches. Make sure that the barbecue is stable and won’t tip to one side or topple
over.

Set up somewhere where children and pets can’t get to the grill. Besides the concerns with an open flame, the grill will stay hot for an hour after it’s turned off. Never leave the barbecue unattended – enough said. Keep a fire extinguisher, a pail of sand or a bucket of water nearby in case of fire. Do not turn on a gas grill with the top closed. Gases can build up inside and cause a fire when opened.

Clean the grill regularly, preferably after each use. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning, and remove charred food and debris before using. Coals can take up to 48 hours to burn out and can be added to compost as long as they are made from wood, free from chemicals or additives.

Keep it clean and avoid cross-contamination. Wash hands and utensils with warm soapy water regularly. It’s an easy step to forget, but bacteria can grow on uncooked meats and fish and you don’t want them to spread. This includes serving dishes, cutting boards, and dish towels.

Keep raw meats, chicken, and fish on separate and clean surfaces. Raw food and cooked foods should be kept on different plates/platters. Make sure all surfaces are clean, particularly if you plan on re-using them. Marinate food in the refrigerator and not on the counter. Don’t reuse the sauce – if using some marinade on the cooked food, reserve some uncontaminated sauce for later use.

Make sure to cook food thoroughly. Here are some interior temperature guidelines:
– Hamburgers should have no pink and be 160°
– Chicken, also no pink, 165°
– Salmon, 125° to 130° for a medium finish
– Steak is considered medium-rare at 135°

Let meats sit after taking them off the grill:
– Salmon for 5 minutes
– Steak and other meat for 15 minutes.

Food should not sit out for long, 90 minutes to 2 hours is the maximum time. Better to follow these guidelines:
– Hot food should stay hot. Wrap hot food in foil or put in an insulated container.
– Cold food can be kept on a shallow container on top of ice in a cooler, or stored in the
refrigerator.

When possible, keep beverages in one cooler and food in a different one. The beverage cooler will be opened more regularly, reducing it’s cooling ability faster than one that stays closed.

Environmentally conscientious – every bit helps.

Reduce waste and save money with reusable containers for storage and leftovers. Consider using re-useable plates and silverware.
Eco-friendly plates and utensils are available and can be tossed into compost containers after the meal. Buy local. Our local farmers offer great grilling vegetables, meats, and fruits. These products are fresh and full of flavor. Besides reducing the plastic packaging and mileage that comes with store-bought food, you are supporting our farmers and local economy.

Barbecuing is fun and a great way to enjoy summer. Grilling safety is important to avoid accidents and illness. At your next outdoor event, remember to keep hands, dishes, the grill clean and cook foods thoroughly. Enjoy!

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.

New Flooring

Summer can be a good time for home renovations and a great time to replace old flooring, as doors can be kept open to keep dust and odors down to a minimum.

Kitchens and bathrooms are the high traffic areas in our homes. Replacing the flooring can make a room look fresh and contemporary. Here are some helpful considerations to keep in mind when shopping for new flooring. Overall, your new floors should be easy to clean, durable, comfortable to stand on and fit your price point. Slip resistance is an important component to keep in mind, particularly in these rooms where spills and overflows can happen.

Wood floors are good-looking and can be cleaned with a broom, vacuum or light mopping. They are soft and can be scratched or dented. Generally, refinishing wood floors requires a professional. When dry, wood offers good slip resistance and is not recommended for bathrooms. Depending on the variety, wood will be the most expensive choice for flooring.

Porcelain tile floors are easily cleaned with a broom and mop and have a hard protective surface that makes them impervious to water and stain resistant. They are durable, won’t scuff or scratch, and can be texturized for slip resistance. Tile comes in many colors, patterns and easily worked into any decor. On the flip side, tile floors can be cold to walk on, and noisy if walking in heels or hard soled shoes. There are tile products made specifically with slip-resistant materials. Smaller tiles, 2” x 2” are recommended for showers and bathrooms. Tile is in the mid-range price point of flooring materials.

People like to use small rugs and runners on tile and wood to make them more comfortable to stand on. Unfortunately, both of these can be tripping hazards and not recommended in these areas.

Vinyl floors are easy to clean, durable and the most water resistant flooring choice. Vinyl flooring can be damaged by sharp objects, but there are repair systems that work well. It’s economical and there are slip-resistant options available. The drawback to vinyl is that it is made of synthetic material and can not be recycled. A similar product, linoleum, is made from natural materials which makes it a more sustainable product. It is, however, more expensive and less water-resistant than vinyl.

These are the most popular choices of flooring, but this is not a comprehensive list. I recommend consulting with a flooring expert to determine what will work best for you. If your priority is traction and safety, I recommend non-slip vinyl flooring. There are many choices at every price point that will be easy to clean, long-lasting and lovely to look at.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.

Are you getting enough sleep?

We are increasingly aware of how good sleep affects our well being. It’s not just the hours spent in bed, it’s also the quality of sleep that is critical for good health. Here are some of the benefits of consistent good nights rest:

  • Helps maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves memory
  • Lowers risk for serious health issues
  • Reduces inflammation

There are several things to do that will help you get a good night’s sleep.

Get ready for bed.

  • Finish eating 2 hours before you go to sleep.
  • Exercise daily (at least 3 hours before bed).
  • Turn off the screens, including phones, tablets, computers, and the t.v.
  • Go to sleep close to the same time every night.
  • Make a rest ritual before bed. Try reading, stretching or taking a leisurely stroll to relax from the day’s stress.

Create a sanctuary.
Your bedroom’s environment can have a big impact on the quality of your sleep. Design your surroundings for peace and calm.

  • Make sure you have a good bed. If your mattress is over 8 years old, you might want to consider getting a new one. They lose their integrity over time.
  • Color your room calm. Muted shades of blues, grays, and greens create a restful tone. If you love color, use accents like colorful pillows and throws that can be removed at bedtime.
  • Keep it dark. Light can make it hard to fall asleep, or stay asleep. Look for culprits like digital clocks, cable boxes, computers, and phones. Put them away or cover them up to prevent getting disturbed by them. Dark out shades are great for keeping all of the natural, neighbors and street lights out of your bedroom at night.
  • Keep it quiet. Noises can interrupt your rest. Try closing the windows to keep outside noise belongs. There are lots of options for white noise machines that provide soothing sound and block out annoying sounds.
  • Cool rooms are the best for a good night’s sleep. 67° to 70° is optimal.

Bedroom safety is important.
With the lights turned off, it’s easy to bump into dressers and chairs or trip over rugs and clutter. Keeping a tidy room is a good start to safety and adds to the peaceful zone you’ve created in your sanctuary.

  • Stacked books, baskets or anything else left on the floor should be picked up and stored away.
  • Make sure there are clear paths to doors, the closet, and bathroom.
  • Remove small rugs in the bedroom, bathroom, and halls.
  • dd sensor lights low on the walls and halls, 18” high or so, to light your way to the bathroom.
  • Organize cords and keep them out of walking paths. When possible, it’s best to tack cords down along the base of walls so they are out of the way.

Getting enough quality sleep is important to good health. Improving your nightly rituals, and creating a calm and safe atmosphere in the bedroom will help you get the rest you need. Wake up bright and re-charged to enjoy your day.

Susie Landsem
Aging in Place by Design
Susie is a consultant for Aging in Place. Contact her if you have questions about adding safety and comfort solutions to your home.

Pilates

Pilates class is designed to work your powerhouse muscles – abs, lower back, thighs, and buttocks. The discipline emphasizes correct form to help develop strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, coordination, balance, & good posture. Designed for all levels, this class is offered Tuesdays and Thursdays at Cordata and Wednesdays at our downtown location.

Muscle-Strengthening for Active Aging

Need some ideas for muscle-strengthening?

  • Strengthening exercises using exercise bands, weight machines, or hand-
    held weights.
  • Body-weight exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, planks, squats, lunges)
  • Digging, lifting, and carrying as part of gardening
  • Carrying groceries
  • Some Yoga postures
  • Some forms of Tai Chi

*US Dept. of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans 2nd edition

Aqua Zumba

Aqua Zumba brings new meaning to the idea of an invigorating workout. It combines the South American Zumba rhythm and dance steps with a pool party! There is less impact on your joints during an Aqua Zumba® class so you can really let loose. Water creates natural resistance, which means every step is more challenging and helps tone your muscles. If you like to dance and have fun, come join us! Wednesdays @ 10:30.

Aqua Aerobics

Come experience all the benefits the water can provide in this guided 45-minute music filled balance, cardiovascular, and muscle strength building class. Low impact so it’s easy on the joints but provides resistance to the working muscle for an overall body benefit. Because it’s water, you can work as hard or as easy as you are able so it is appropriate for people of all physical abilities and levels. Check Pool Schedule for days/times.

Normal Aging

The aging process happens during an individual’s lifespan. The changes aging individuals experience are not necessarily harmful. With age, hair thins and turns gray. Skin thins, becomes less elastic, and sags. There is a slowing down of functions which goes forward throughout adulthood – loss of function of bodily organs. In the gastrointestinal system, for example, production of digestive
enzymes diminishes, reducing the body’s ability to break down and absorb the nutrition from food.

Scientists theorize that aging likely results from a combination of many factors. Genes, lifestyle, and disease can all affect the rate of aging. Studies have indicated that people age at different rates and in different ways.

Normal aging brings about the following changes:

  • Eyesight – loss of peripheral vision and decreased ability to judge depth.
    Decreased clarity of colors (for example, pastels and blues).
  • Hearing – loss of hearing acuity, especially sounds at the higher end of the spectrum. Also, decreasing ability to distinguish sounds when there is background noise.
  • Taste – decreased taste buds and saliva.
  • Touch and Smell – decreased sensitivity to touch and ability to smell.
  • Arteries – stiffen with age. Additionally, fatty deposits build up in your blood vessels over time, eventually causing arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
  • Bladder – increased frequency in urination.
  • Body Fat – increases until middle age, stabilizes until later in life, then decreases. Distribution of fat shifts – moving from just beneath the skin to surround deeper organs.
  • Bones – somewhere around age 35, bones lose minerals faster than they are replaced.
  • Brain – loses some of the structures that connect nerve cells, and the function of the cells themselves is diminished. “Senior moments” increase.
  • Heart – is a muscle that thickens with age. Maximum pumping rate and the body’s ability to extract oxygen from the blood both diminish with age.
  • Kidneys – shrink and become less efficient.
  • Lungs – somewhere around age 20, lung tissue begins to lose its elasticity, and rib cage muscles shrink progressively. Maximum
    breathing capacity diminishes with each decade of life.
  • Metabolism – medicines and alcohol are not processed as quickly. Prescription medication requires adjustment. Reflexes are also
    slowed while driving, therefore an individual might want to lengthen the distance between him and the car in front and drive more cautiously.
  • Muscles – muscle mass decline, especially with lack of exercise.
  • Skin – nails grow more slowly. Skin is more dry and wrinkled. It also heals more slowly.
  • Sexual Health – Women go through menopause, vaginal lubrication decreases and sexual tissues atrophy. In men, sperm production decreases and the prostate enlarges. Hormone levels decrease.