Nov 30

Read the story illustrates how computer learning centers across the country are helping older people gain computer skills needed to return to work.

Nov 28

Melinda Shrum Alexander, a friend of Marty’s for the last 25 years, tends a gorgeous garden in Massachusetts with her husband, Mark. Here, she writes about using old pillows when she gardens:

I was told that Christina, seen above, was “Gimpy,” that she had crawled her way into this picture! So it seems appropriate to use her for the “Garden Pillow” post. Wouldn’t Christina be more comfortable if she was set upon a beautiful pillow, rich with the tapestries of the 1940s?
Using a garden pillow came to me when I could no longer bend, when my flat ass provide little cushion, when my knobby knees hit every pebble or rock and my long legs and aching back needed a rest. 

Oh to be reclined, set on a pillow in my garden, lazily plucking weeds, watching bees, planting seedlings or just taking in the glorious smell of my rich soil.

The perfect pose for a Lazy Girl in her garden basking in the sun. I have used old couch pillows, chair cushions from the sixties, goose down and store bought.

No matter the type, a garden pillow will set you above the rest and be the envy of your neighbors. It is the kind of gesture that if you saw me on my pillow you would knock your head and say “Why didn’t I think of that!”

Nov 14

We’ve shown other videos of the Fit House in Portland, Oregon, but this is the first to demonstrate these cool windows up close.

Nov 13

Designed by an occupational therapist, the Buckingham Bra Angel aids women with upper arm restrictions who find it difficult putting on a bra.

The Bra Angel holds one end of the bra securely while the other end is brought around the body for fastening.

Its makers says the Bra Angel works with most types of brassieres and is easily adjusted for size.

It’s latex free and can be shortened for storage and travel. The packaging contains directions for use.

Nov 12

Marty got these USB slippers about a year ago and now depends on them to keep her feet warm when she’s working at her computer.

They come with only one heat setting, but it’s not too hot and just perfectly takes the chill off the tootsies.

Marty, whose feet are usually cold, tried several different species of space heaters, but found it annoying to heat up the space around her legs when it was just her tootsies that needed the heat.

These slippers, which are safer than a space heater and cost much less, did the trick.

The only drawback is the length of the USB cable. The manufacturers could have been a bit more generous in supplying a longer cable to reach the USB port in the back of Marty’s computer. She tried plugging the cable into an open USB port on her keyboard but it sucked too much power and the computer kept shutting down that port and, therefore, the slippers.

Nov 8

If we can live long enough and not go bankrupt, the world is going to have some very interesting things for us to play with as we age.

Honda, for example, has developed a motor-driven assisted-walking device designed to reduce stress on people’s knees and help them up stairs. The device, which supports your body weight, is being tested in Japan, where it’s proving helpful to factory workers on assembly lines.

The video above demonstrates the 14-pound device, but is annoying because the video has no sound. What it should tell you is that to use the device, a person places the seat between her legs, slips on the gadget’s shoes, and then pushes a button to turn it on.

Between the seat and shoes are motor-driven metal legs to assist the person in walking. The battery-powered device also has a computer and sensors that respond to the person’s movements.

Honda is among a number of companies developing robotics for factory workers, the elderly, the Gimpy - and let us not forget the Lazy - who need assistance in walking.

Click here to learn more from the Canadian Broadcasting story - or above to watch the annoyingly silent video.

Nov 8


Its maker calls Wordlock the next generation of friendly, easy to use security devices for everyday life with thousands of possible combinations.

We’re not saying the Wordlock is going to improve our memory, but it’s got to be less confusing to remember a familiar word rather than a set of code numbers - at least for us!

We wouldn’t recommend Wordlock for a bank vault, but they’re sturdy for myriad other uses such as your travel luggage or the locker at your water aerobics class.

Eds. Note: Marty has two locks with numbers she hasn’t been able to open for more than a year. Periodically she retrieves them from her May-Be-Useful-Someday-But-Junk-Right-Now Drawer and plays with them hoping the code numbers will magically pop back into her brain. Fat chance.


Nov 7

Fred Gratzon has a sweet 5-minute movie called

The movie stars humanity’s greatest thinkers “stingingly rebuking the concept of hard work and embracing the power of laziness.” Fred believes people who work hard don’t have the time, the energy or the inclination to find an easier, more efficient way.

Can you hear Marty’s heart beating faster? Someone who adores laziness as much as Marty?! to learn more about Fred and his book, “The Lazy Way to Success: How to do Nothing and Accomplish Everything.”

Click here to learn more about The Gimpy Girls’ view of lazy.

Nov 3

Earlier this year, the on-line magazine Slate did a The Senior-Citizen Cookbook: How your food needs change as you age.”

The writers at Slate put a lot of effort into this series and parts of it are very good. But a lot of it feels condescending and written by people who see the elderly as caricatures.

We haven’t linked to it until now because we felt so ambivalent about the writing. But there are empathetic nuggets within, especially for people caring for elderly parents who want a better sense of what it’s like to be in their parents’ shoes.

Nov 1

A deeply damaged urban neighborhood on Cleveland’s East side has been targeted as future housing for inter-generational families.

The non-profit Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. is sponsoring a national competition to design the nation’s first Universal Design housing complex tailored for grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren.

There’s an enormous need for such housing in Cleveland and elsewhere, said Jay Gardner, a Fairfax spokesman who sees the project as a model for other urban centers.

The complex will include roughly 35 to 40 apartments and/or single family houses, with each house costing $85,000 to $120,000 to build.

The design competition, being coordinated by the Kent State University Urban Design Collaborative specifies the housing should be comfortable for aging people and safe for children as young as infants.

“We want to see shovels in the ground in 2009 and an opening in 2010,” Gardner said.

(via The Cleveland Plain Dealer)