Aging Well iin the Gorge July 19th 2016

Your current house is no longer working for you and you’ve decided to move. But you also know moving is no easy chore, and you would like this move to be your last. So what should you look for in a house that would be suitable for the rest of your life?
That is the question Sharon Johnson, associate professor emeritus at Oregon State University, and her husband asked themselves when they decided to move from their two story Victorian house in southern Oregon.
She knew from her work in the field of healthy aging, as well as personally, that most adults over fifty want to remain in their home for as long as possible. But she found it difficult to find a house that would accommodate the challenges they may experience as they grow older. So they decided to build.
But before they built, they wanted to know what to consider when building the house for the rest of their lives. To that end, Sharon assisted in the collaboration between the Rogue Valley Council of Governments and AARP Oregon to create a voluntary evaluation program called the “Lifelong Housing Certification Project”.
The certification program includes a comprehensive checklist of features as a way to assess the “age-friendliness” and accessibility of rental apartments, new construction and existing houses. It benefits the buyer by setting a standard to make it easier to identify lifelong homes; and it helps guide the builder on how to construct a house that will be livable for a lifetime.
To give you an idea of what should be included in a lifelong house, the following are some of the features on the checklist.
No step entrance from sidewalk, rear patio and garage; all doors (interior and exterior) are 36” wide (allowing wheelchair access); open, spacious floor plan; hallways 45-52” wide; ADA compliant appliances in kitchen; electrical outlets 22” from the floor; light switches 42-48” from the floor; rocker-style light switches; all doors and faucets are lever or hands free; raised washer and dryer in utility room; walk-in, roll-in, no door shower in master bath; easy-open windows; low maintenance yard; and raised flower beds. Most of these changes can occur without adding significantly to building costs.
If you want to learn more or view the complete Lifelong Housing Certification Checklist, go to the Rogue Valley Council of Governments’ website at and click on the link for Lifelong Housing.
Even though I can’t remember what I write from week to week, especially if there is a long holiday weekend in between, Pat Davenport can as she reminded me that last week I had forgotten the answers to the Brain Rattlers from the week before. So if you were wondering, (or maybe you’re one of those smarty pants who knew all the answers), here are the answers: 3 ducks, Mt. Everest, Melissa, the match, and triplets. Now if you can’t remember the questions, you can go back through your old Chronicles or go to the Center’s web site at and find the post for July 5th, 2016.
Next Tuesday, July 26th, at the Center, Country Road will be playing for your dancing and listening pleasure. Doors open at 6:00, music starts at 7:00, and donations are appreciated.
The name of the Walt Kelley comic strip that included various animal characters living in the Okefenokee Swamp was POGO. (The winner of a quilt raffle ticket is Bill Van Nice.)
I’m sticking with comic strips for another week, but I hope this question will be a little easier. Li’l Abner is a satirical American comic strip written and drawn by Al Capp that ran from 1934 to 1977. For this week’s “Remember When” question what was the name of the voluptuous character often wearing a polka-dot peasant blouse and cropped skirt who was hopelessly in love with Lil’ Abner? And for bonus points, what was the name of the town where they lived – described by Al Capp as “an average stone-age community nestled in a bleak valley, between two cheap and uninteresting hills somewhere”? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a family portrait of the Yokum family.
Well, it’s been another week taking nothing for granted. Until we meet again, enjoying the good life isn’t about sitting back and resting, but getting up and doing what you can.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about dancing in the rain.” Vivian Greene

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