As part of our dedication to providing our clients with resources beyond their legal needs, we offer outside experts the ability to submit articles that would be of interest to South Florida's older adult population and their caregivers. Today's guest article was written by Elaine Terner, a residential interior designer. My elder law clients generally want to remain in their own home for as long as possible - and we strive to make that possible while allowing them to receive the care that they need. As an interior designer who is certified in Assistive Technologies, Elaine is able to provide valuable advice and guidance for my clients to both improve their psychological and physical well being for as long as they are able to remain in their home. Also, when my clients are over-resourced for Medicaid, services such as this can be part of an overall spend-down strategy. 

Elaine Terner Biography

Elaine Terner, Residential Designer, ATP and Parent Advocate

Elaine Terner, the mother of a 36 year old son with Autism and the widow of a husband who had Parkinson’s Disease for many years, is expert in the areas of behavioral, cognitive and physical challenges. She uses this expertise as a Residential Interior Designer and founder of Exceptional Designs. She has a Degree in Residential Design from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and is Certified in Assistive Technology, the equipment used to help people perform their daily living tasks. She sits on the Broward County Advisory Board for Individuals with Disabilities (ABID) and the Board of the Broward Coalition on Aging, is a member of the Special Needs Advisory Coalition of Children’s Services Council of Broward and is a member of the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Enjoy this guest post by Elaine Terner:

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Creating "Home Sweet Home" While Facing Challenges

Your home décor can be adapted to fit your needs in order for you to optimize the performance of your daily living tasks in spite of any developmental, cognitive, or physical challenges that you may have.

Impact of Color Scheme

One of the key elements is color scheme which directly affects mood and behavior. A human being’s reaction to color is automatic and cannot be controlled. The use of calming colors produce the best results such as the earth tones of blues, browns/beiges and greens. Certain colors can produce a negative effect such as yellow. If a person with a physical challenge is in a yellow room, movement will be difficult because his muscles will feel heavier. If yellow is used in the bedroom, it may disrupt sleep pattern because your brain thinks it is daytime, especially with an infant. The color red raises blood pressure and stimulates the appetite which is why Italian Restaurants paint their walls red. Baskin Robbins use pink and white as their color scheme because food tastes sweeter when you see pink. McDonald’s arches are painted an orange yellow which represents inexpensive.

Other modifications may be necessary to allow you easy entry to and exit from your home, to move about from room to room safely and to perform better in each one. In some cases, carpet may need to be replaced with flooring like tile or laminate because the use of devices like walkers may be inhibited with carpet.

Preventing Accidents and Injuries

The most critical room in the home where the most accidents occur, is in the bathroom. Removal of a tub or the curb in the shower may be necessary plus the installation of grab bars both in the shower and behind the toilet. Also, replacing the toilet with an ADA compliant one makes using the toilet much easier. The kitchen is the second most important area and can be adjusted as needed. The other room needing possible changes in the bedroom with the type of bed and the elimination of extra furniture to make clearer pathways.

Finally, the incorporation of sensory accessories such as artwork, soft appealing fabric, plants or certain music has an uplifting effect. Depression is very common in the elderly population.

All of this adds up to when a person is content in his home environment, he is more receptive to educational and therapeutic interventions necessary for him to progress and perform in his life at the highest level. The family and caregivers will be able to keep things running smoothly.

Contact Elaine Terner

You may contact Elaine for a consultation to assess what your needs are and what design solutions would suit you best. Her cell phone number is (954) 232-1679 or email her at elaine@exceptionaldesigns.com.  Visit the website http://exceptionaldesigns.com/ to view photos of work done and video testimonials of clients.