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AIP Bulletin August 2012

Quote of the Month

"Living is easy with eyes closed."

The Beatles

Where Does Your City Rank?

Retirement living and aging in place are almost synonymous with Arizona and Florida. So, how many of their cities made it into the recently released Best Cities for Successful Aging Index from the Miliken Institute? Just one.

Looking at 78 factors that most affect seniors' quality of life, including health care, crime rates and weather as well as economic and job conditions, housing, transportation, and social engagement factors that help create a safe, affordable and connected community for seniors Provo, Utah earned the number one spot for large metro areas.

Provo scored high in a wealth of factors: its active, healthy lifestyle (the fewest fast-food outlets per capita); a No. 1 ranking in growth of small businesses; seven medical centers in the area, three of them magnet hospitals; and one of the highest numbers of volunteers per capita.

The top-ranking smaller city, Sioux Falls, S.D., has hospitals that specialize in geriatric services, and its booming economy provides a strong financial base, with the highest employment rate among seniors among the 259 small cities. (Full list at end of article.)


Tomco Company Inc.

Tomco Company  

"Cities need to be thinking about how best to make quality of life improvements for our rapidly-growing senior populations and such improvements benefit all age groups," says the Honorable Henry Cisneros, a member of the index's advisory committee, and the former Secretary U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the former mayor of San Antonio, Tex. "What the Milken Institute's index does for the first time is measure communities on the dimensions that matter most for seniors. It is a real breakthrough that will be vitally helpful for leaders in making policies, creating programs, and reshaping communities."

One common attribute of many of the top-performing cities: the presence of a university. "These communities not only offer intellectual stimulation for seniors," explains Milken Institute Economist Anusuya Chatterjee, co-author of the report with Ross DeVol, chief research officer. "Many also have top-notch university-affiliated hospitals that provide cutting-edge health care."

The goal of the index is to encourage and promote best practices in how U.S. communities serve aging Americans.

The Top 10 large and small metropolitan areas are:

Ranking: 100 largest metros

  1. Provo, Utah

  2. Madison, Wis.

  3. Omaha, Neb.

  4. Boston, Mass.

  5. New York, N.Y.

  6. Des Moines, Iowa (tie)

  7. Salt Lake City, Utah (tie)

  8. Toledo, Ohio

  9. Washington, D.C.

  10. Pittsburgh, Pa.

Ranking: 259 smaller metros

  1. Sioux Falls, S.D.

  2. Iowa City, Iowa

  3. Bismarck, N.D.

  4. Columbia, Mo.

  5. Rochester, Minn.

  6. Gainesville, Fla.

  7. Ann Arbor, Mich.

  8. Missoula, Mont.

  9. Durham, N.C.

  10. Rapid City, S.D.

did you know...

The Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Global Livability Survey ranks Melbourne, Australia as the most livable city in the World.

Home Modification: The Accessible In-Law Suite

Tom Schiebout, President of Tomco Company, Inc. located in Andover, MN, takes us through his process of assessing, recommending and creating a barrier free in-law suite:

I remember when Jon and Candace first called me. Candace's parents in Kenosha were not physically capable of taking care of themselves and the Before: small, all season they had hired to check in on them and bring them food everyday were not reliable. Jon  and Candace felt helpless.

Their parents health was rapidly deteriorating and they believed their only options were to move them to a nursing home or to have them move in with them in St. Paul.

Not wanting to "shuffle them off to another unknown care situation" they decided to look into their second option. They knew that some kind of modification would have to be done on their home to make it work. All the bedrooms were on the 2nd level and they only had a small 1/4 bath on the main level.

We did a walk-through assessment of their home identifying all the ways it could (or could not) be modified to accommodate everyone's needs. Stair lifts to the second level or basement in the house were ruled out because of the narrow stairs and hallway. The living room was regularly used by the household so to turn it into a temporary bedroom was out. One last possible area was an existing narrow three season porch that bumped right up to the side boundary setback. We all agreed this was our best option.

Next, we needed to figure out how to make it safe, provide independence to their parents and imagine how it would fit everyone's needs five or ten years later. After: accessible in-law suite with barrier free entry.Look at how this new space would integrate with the rest of the household. And what could be done in the amount of space available and their budget.

We re-designed the existing porch and added only a small addition to the footprint. We ably created an accessible bath, bedroom and sitting area. Adding a convenient main floor laundry center and a full basement -- giving them extra space for their teenagers to hangout. An accessible patio and entry gave their parents independence. 

Jon and Candace are thrilled with their addition especially since it "fits" the house and their neighborhood.

Click here to see more pictures.

Tomco Company, Inc. located in Andover, Minnesota serves the Minneapolis - St. Paul region. AIP Bulletin readers located in their service area are eligible for a complimentary consultation ($200 value). Call them at 763-434-1522 to schedule an assessment.

did you know...

Four out of ten people don't have a safe way to poop? That's 2.6 billion people. ~ Bill Gates

Lowe's Lives Its Slogan

"Never stop improving" is what Lowes says and does. They have turned their attention to accessibility and now feature the "Lowes Accessible Home" on their site. Congratulations!

LAH goes beyond a selection of products that help people live independently they also provide useful tips about how to make your home more accessible and related articles.

We will be working with the LAH team to share content and other resources related to our "Get HomeSmart" campaign and their accessible home initiative. We look forward to working with them to help people get the information they need to live independently in their own home for as long as they can safely do it.

did you know...

In January a man in Elmira, NY tried to board an airplane with a chainsaw in his possession - the thing even had gas in it. ~ Top 15 TSA has seized

AIP Pro Tip: Lowe's Mobility Checklist

With a few modifications, you can make your home easier to navigate for you or a loved one.

  • Accessible routes and pathways should have a minimum width of 36 inches, especially for those using wheelchairs or walkers.

  • All doorways should have a minimum clear opening of 32 inches.

  • At least one entrance to your home should be accessible for wheelchair users.

  • When choosing an entry door, avoid selecting one with a significant threshold or surface height change, which may be inconvenient for wheelchair users.

  • Doors in a series should either swing in the same direction or away from the space between the doors.

  • Floors should be level and clear.

  • Ramps are essential to connect different levels and to provide easier access.

  • The maximum slope for a ramp should be no more than a 1:12 ratio (1-inch rise for every 12 inches).

  • If modifying the entryway to your home, consider creating a sloped walkway instead of stairs.

  • Where possible, sinks should be wall-mounted with the rim no higher than 34 inches above the floor.

  • Nineteen inches of clear floor space should extend underneath a wall-mounted sink

did you know...

Ebay has banned the sale of magic spells, potions and other witchcraft?

Campaign: Get Home Smart

Support the Campaign For Indpendent Living

Check out its google earth location:

If you want to live independently then you better "Get Home Smart"

We invite you to join our campaign to help people "Get Home Smart" featuring the Chairs & Cares Model Accessible Home a 4600 square foot demonstration center for independent living. As our film set for the Get Home Smart program we will film episodes about home construction, furniture and furnishings and medical equipment that make independent living possible. And look good!  Join us. to

Sponsored in part by:



MidState Independent Living Consultants




Lifeline Coordinating Services, Inc.

Midstate Independent Living Consultants


did you know...

Just over 1 in 4 of today's 20 years olds will become disabled before they retire. ~ Council for Disability Awareness

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