Doctor’s Diary November 17, 2017: Home, your comfort zone

(Snippets from the frontline)

Home, your comfort zone

The majority of elders seniors pass away in a hospital or nursing home.  My patients want to die at home.

Home is your comfort zone:  A familiar place with memories of holidays, celebrations, and joy.  As failing physical and mental health sets in, seniors are suddenly removed from their castle to an unfamiliar environment.

In the future, technology will aid us with robots and autonomous computer cars to sustain our independence.

What about now?  Making homes senior friendly is multifactorial including emotional and medical components, but here are structural considerations:

Single story homes with no steps inside or out (if already present, adaptable for ramps);

Wheelchair accessible with oversize doorways, floor lighting strips, roll-in closets and showers, or walk-in tubs;

Emphasis on fall prevention with gym-foam flooring (to absorb impact), bathroom grab bars and safety handles, pull cord emergency alarms, strategic furniture and rug placement without exposed phone or extension cords;

WiFi allowing off-ground camera surveillance, motion detectors vigilant for prolonged inactivity, voice activated lights and appliances, and the proverbial “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” alert button.


It takes a village.

Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.


  • Kathryn Meyer says:

    Right on, Doctor D — I live in just such a place where I am able to remain in my own home though I am at risk to fall, and need some help with showering and other daily routines. My children (4) and grandchildren (13) are in touch with me by phone and personal visits almost every day. I also have a caregiver, and live where there is a 24/7 nursing program for those of us who want it. The “I’ve fallen pendant” and my “Alexis” Echo Dot voice-activated communicator gives me instant contact with nursing and other services which are so helpful. Here, where I am able to continue living, I am also able to keep my much-loved companion pet.

  • Yes, this is a great idea most Americans will prefer, whether young or old. Write an online book which you can update as good ideas are sent in? H

  • Yvonne Meyer says:

    Such a true commentary, as I am in the elderly senior catagory now and know first hand what the good doctor is talking about. I live in my own apartment, on the first floor with no steps, but still have a falling problem. A caregiver and 24-7 nursing on site along with an Alexis Echo Dot device and an emergency pendant give me the ability to live independently as much as possible. Recently I had to spend two weeks in a rehabilitation facilty following hip surgery, and I want nothing more to do with this type of facility, though they were terrific at getting me back on my feet. I am not a candidate for a skilled nursing facility because I have placed myself where I can remain in my home, even with my pet.

  • Anonymous says:

    That is a good suggestion! With my 5 children and 10 grands I will have the whole week busy and will not be “idle” at all! If each has a schedule!!

  • Pavla Hoyer says:

    One family I know has a schedule when the daughters (3) and son (1) routinely phone their elderly parent (mother) on different days of the week, as most of them live far away from their mother. These connections seem to be beneficial to all parties but especially the failing-in-health parent.

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