Aging in Place: Ways to Update a House for Staying Long Term

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Aging in Place: Ways to Update a House for Staying Long Term
By Sherry Daniel

No one likes to bring up the dreaded move that many of us fear will face us in the future. What am I referring to? Retirement homes.

No matter how improved and comfortable retirement homes may be, there’s nothing quite like living in a home in which you’ve made memories and crafted to suit your personality and needs.

With this in mind, many of our elderly neighbors are choosing to remain in their family homes rather than move to a retirement facility. To make that work smoothly, however, renovations are needed to adjust for an aging individual’s changing needs.

As the CEO and owner of Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah, I notice different trends when we see an influx of specific requests. Lately, we’ve had more and more of our older customers ask for services such as height adjustments, mobility assistance installations and easier methods of accessibility in bathrooms and kitchens.

If you’re considering selling your home and moving to a retirement community, you might want to think about repairs or renovations that could make your home accessible. Below are 10 home plumbing renovations that will improve the accessibility of different parts of your house and allow you to postpone or avoid moving to a retirement home altogether.

1. Install pressure-balanced valves to provide water at steady temperatures regardless of pressure fluctuations in your kitchen and bathrooms.

2. Install grips around the shower, the toilet and your bed. Strategically located grab bars can prevent life-threatening falls. Slip-prevention flooring can help you feel secure as well.

3. Install hand-held, adjustable height, shower heads with a six-foot hose to direct the water where it’s needed.

4. Add a fold-down seat or bench in the shower. Some come with padded backs for extra comfort. Others will have a structure that extends outside the tub for easy entrance and exit.

5. Keep your spaces wide. Keep entryways, hallways and bathroom spaces clear of obstacles and wide enough for a wheelchair or other assistance device.

6. Install a toilet with the necessary height. Having the toilet at the proper height can make an incredible difference in the comfort and safety of your bathroom. A toilet paper holder designed for one-handed changing might be an added bonus.

7. Depending on your needs, a toilet/bidet combination can significantly improve hygiene.

8. Walk-in tubs and roll-in showers are imperative for those with mobility inhibitors. A roll-in shower is a shower stall that has a curb-less entrance and the door (or opening) is a minimum of 36 inches wide.

9. Consider a wheelchair accessible sink that is hung on the wall to leave space for your knees (or wheelchair) beneath a pipe-covering panel to protect your legs. You can also install lever handle faucets or faucets that are pedal controlled.

10. Install adjustable height (or varying height) counter tops with provisions for roll-under access in front of the sink and main counter top.

Taking advantage of these 10 tips can make your bathrooms wheelchair or simply “aging” accessible. Making these renovations can extend the amount of time you can live safely in your family home.

Sherry Daniel is the owner and CEO of Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah. Roto-Rooter Plumbers of Savannah is headquartered at 2016 E Broad St, Savannah, GA 31401. The main office line is 912-355-1287 and you may contact Sherry Daniel directly at 912-629-1646. The local website is http://www.rotosavannah.com/

Sherry Daniel, Roto Rooter Plumbers of Savannah

Sherry Daniel, Roto Rooter Plumbers of Savannah

 

 

National Physical Fitness and Sports Month

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National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
By Dr. Ian McLeod

Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. It’s believed that 1 in 4 Americans aged 65 and older falls each year. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.

Just one fall can result in a serious health decline or even death. Therefore, it’s important for older adults and their families to become aware of ways to prevent these detrimental accidents before they happen.

While there are a number of factors that could lead to a fall – such as poor eyesight, physical surroundings and underlying health conditions – one of the most common is lack of balance. As they age, most people become less active and begin losing coordination, flexibility and the ability to balance, making it easier to fall.

There are a number of exercise-based programs that can help improve balance, but it’s important to first understand the underlying cause. And that’s where CDP comes in.

This new technology, short for computerized digital posturography, has shown great promise in helping determine why patients may fall from balance-related issues. During the CDP test, patients wear a safety harness that ensures they won’t fall or be injured during the test. The specialist then administers a series of trials that examine how well patients can maintain their balance under changing conditions.

The patients look at panoramic scenes presented on a wrap-around screen while a test operator tilts or slides the platform on which they are standing to evaluate how their balance adjusts to different situations.

The CDP results help physicians determine the scope of their patients’ balance-related issues, as well as the best course of action. In many cases, the treatment could be something as non-invasive as vestibular therapy, an exercise-based regimen that helps prevent falls in those experiencing balance problems, dizziness or vertigo.

Seniors and their family members should be aware that there is so much they can do to deter and potentially prevent falls. By acting to ensure they and their loved ones are aware of the options available to them, they can possibly avoid the lengthy, costly and painful consequences of a fall.

How to Get into the Film Industry By Charles “Bo” Bowen

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How to Get into the Film Industry
By Charles “Bo” Bowen

So you want to be in pictures? Considering that Savannah is transforming into a thriving entry point for film and television careers, you are definitely in the right place.

Until fairly recently, almost all roads leading to the film and television screen started in Los Angeles or New York City. Over the past decade, however, advances in technology and financial incentives like those the state of Georgia adopted in 2008 have expanded the industry far beyond California and New York. Georgia has been the primary beneficiary of this expansion with Atlanta topping the list of current filming locations and significantly-smaller Savannah coming in second.

If you are interested in becoming a part of Georgia’s film industry, you should know one thing up front: no one starts at the top. The movie and television industry rewards experience and is merit-based. Anyone willing to work hard and maintain a positive attitude in the high-paced and stressful world of film production, however, will likely find themselves progressing quickly.

Granted, experience is crucial to success in almost all professions, but it is especially true in the entertainment industry. When a production begins filming, hundreds of strangers come together to work intensely on a single project — often for months at a time — and then immediately move on to the next opportunity. There may be a few stories of overnight success, but for the most part, those individuals worked hard for 20 years to earn that “overnight” success.

If you believe a career in movies might be a good fit, it is always a good idea to give your interests a thorough test drive. A great place to start is to work as an extra on one of the numerous productions in and around Savannah.

Working as an extra largely consists of waiting around for hours for a few minutes of work as a background player with no lines and minimal pay. But it is a prime opportunity to watch what film professionals are doing. Does it look interesting? Can you cope with the rigid top-down management and stressful environment? Does the reality look as appealing in person as it did in your imagination?

Casting calls are typically well covered in local media, thus finding an opportunity to work as an extra can be as simple as searching “casting in Savannah GA” on the internet. Casting calls are also often listed on the Savannah Regional Film Commission’s website, savannahfilm.org, or you can send a request to join www.facebook.com/groups/savannahextras.

If you still feel drawn to invest in a film-related future after being on a set, Savannah has you covered. Thanks to Savannah Technical College, our city hosts one of the 12 campuses of the Georgia Film Academy. This unique partnership of the University System of Georgiaand the Technical College System of Georgiaprovides a certification program of 18 credit hours, complete with internship opportunities.

Georgia Film Academystudents study a curriculum of on-set production, set construction and scenic painting, lighting and electric, grip and rigging, introduction to special makeup effects, post-production effects and, in the future, production accounting.

At $89.00 per credit hour (plus fees) at the technical college level, you can complete the entire course of study in just two semesters for a very affordable price. This can be a worthy investment to help break into a field where the Georgia Film Academyestimates an average salary is $84,000.00 a year (not to mention retirement benefits and health insurance coverage).

The required introductory course is currently on the schedule for Savannah Tech’s summer semester.

These types of jobs are on the production crew. There is a tremendous need for local crew in Savannah and once you receive the requisite training and experience, work should be easy to find. If you are more interested in the creative side of the process (directors, screenwriters, actors, etc.), there is still far more than just luck involved.

Savannah has a number of successful theater groups where you can audition for local productions to help you explore whether acting may be for you. There are also quite a few acting classes and workshops taught locally to help you hone your skills. Savannah offers college and university resources for those careers, as well. You can pursue theatrical performance degree programs at Georgia Southern University’s Armstrong and Statesboro campuses as well as Savannah State University. Savannah College of Art and Designoffers programs in almost every spectrum of the creative side of the entertainment industry from highly-skilled and respected professionals.

Most importantly, do not give up.

Almost everyone enters the film industry slowly for little pay to learn firsthand what the entertainment world is all about while gaining practical skills and making all-important contacts prior to finding success. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, Savannah’s film production boom ensures the opportunity is there for the taking.

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Business and entertainment attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen is the founder of Southern Gateway Production Services. He started the production services company with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing them connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Bowen is also recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliancein 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Georgia’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. http://www.thebowenlawgroup.com

 

Creating Good Dental Habits at an Early Age by Angela C. Canfield, DDS

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Creating Good Dental Habits at an Early Age
by Angela C. Canfield, DDS

It’s always a good time to think about the health of your children’s teeth. The routines you set in stone now will carry your children into adulthood and set the stage for healthy teeth.

When it comes to those teeth, a tried-and-true parental friend comes in handy: routine. Brushing and flossing should be a part of your child’s daily routine in the morning and before bed.

But additional routines are needed too. I’m talking about a twice-a-year dental checkup. You don’t want a dental visit to become a time of trauma and dread because of a dental emergency. A positive, cheerful visit with a dentist who understands children’s needs and is experienced in dealing with them should be as much a part of a child’s life as checkups with a pediatrician, back-to-school supply shopping or a photo with Santa.

For parents who want to build dental care into their children’s lifelong habits, the American Dental Association’s consumer website, mouthhealthy.org, can be a useful tool. It isn’t a preachy site full of boring demands to brush, brush, brush. It has helpful, real-world advice that parents can put to good use. The section with suggestions on tooth fairy visits almost reminds me of a sort of Pinterestfor teeth.

Someday, your child will be a senior, not just a high school senior, but much, much later, a senior as in “senior citizen.” Whether that future senior citizen is eating with his or her own teeth 75 years from now has a lot to do with what you are teaching your child right now.

You wouldn’t take any aspect of your child’s health for granted, but some parents overlook the fact that dental health is health. Sometimes, a special promotion like National Children’s Dental Health Month is a good reminder to make sure your children have a healthy dental routine.

Angela Canfield DDS

Angela Canfield DDS

Dr. Angela Canfield is licensed by the Georgia Board of Dentistry and the National Board of Dentist. She owns and practices at two dental offices: Premier Dental Designs (www.premierdentaldesigns.com/located in Rincon, GA, and Sandfly Family Dental (https://www.sandflyfamilydental.com/) in Savannah, GA. Contact Dr. Canfield at molar799@yahoo.comor 912-826-4037

The Greatest Year Ever for Savannah’s Film and Television Industry

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The Greatest Year Ever for Savannah’s Film and Television Industry
By Charles J. Bowen

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

What do an aging assassin hunting his clone, a football-playing private investigator trying to exonerate his daughter, an escaped slave interacting with famous historical figures, and an upper-class cocker spaniel falling in love with a street smart mutt all have in common? They are all leading characters in movies filmed in Savannah in 2018.

These films do not even begin to demonstrate the breadth of last year’s film and television industry in Savannah. From film noir in John Travolta’s “The Poison Rose” to the science fiction action thriller “Gemini Man” starring Will Smith to Disney’s live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” Savannah has played host to almost every possible genre of production.

Over 200 professional film and television productions were filmed in the Savannah area in 2018 with another 147 student productions on top of that. Whether large or small, each and every production served as an economic engine pumping cash into every corner of the local economy.

According to the Savannah Regional Film Commission, these productions accounted for $120 million in direct spending locally and had a total economic impact of well over $250 million in 2018 alone. These figures shattered the record set in 2017 of $65 million in direct spending with $138 million in total local economic impact.

As founder of the Savannah Film Alliance, I see the tremendous financial impact these productions have daily on a diverse range of local businesses. In addition to food and lodging, film crews utilize dry cleaners, pet sitters, massage therapists, and countless other local professionals. Small businesses across the city are finding a windfall in income from these productions, and every month, more and more businesses that service the entertainment industry are moving to town.

One of the major reasons for this boom in the local film and television industry is the Savannah Entertainment Production Incentive offered by the Savannah Economic Development Authority. This program provides cash rebates to qualified film and television productions that schedule a majority of their shooting days within 60 miles of Savannah City Hall. Since this rebate applies to local spending only, it encourages productions to hire local crew and utilize local businesses and service providers.

The reason this incentive is so effective is that it is offered on top of the very generous production incentives offered statewide by the State of Georgia. But all this government support would mean nothing without the many local crew members, small business owners, industry leaders, and educators, such as the Georgia Film Academyat Savannah Tech, that have worked tirelessly to transform Savannah into one of the most popular filming destinations in the world.

While these statistics are certainly reasons to celebrate, it is crucial to remember that all of this progress can be instantly destroyed by one ill-informed swipe of our new governor’s pen. As North Carolina discovered after its infamous “bathroom bill,” any effort to roll back the civil rights gains of the last 60-plus years under the guise of “religious liberty” could decimate Georgia’s film and television industry. Just last year, a bill that would have allowed private adoption agencies to legally discriminate based on “sincerely-held religious beliefs” made it all the way through the Georgia Senate before failing. Thus, it is important to remain vigilant lest any such efforts resurface.

Looking forward to 2019, Savannah looks well-positioned to hold onto its status as the second most filmed city in Georgia behind Atlanta. Numerous productions have either committed to or expressed interest in filming in Savannah this year. Remember, there is a lot more at stake than simply the chance to spot a movie star at a local restaurant or to recognize a familiar site on the screen. Entire livelihoods and real money supporting real families are being built by the local film and television industry and you never know where the flow of that money will ultimately land.

While recently browsing a local antique mall, well-removed from the lights-camera-action world, a friend ran across a prop master buying rotary phones for the 2019 local filming of “The Glorias: A Life on the Road,” a Gloria Steinem biopic. The film dollar travels far and wide. The pocket in which it winds up may well be yours.

 

Charles Bowen is an entertainment attorney and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

National Study Confirms Horizons Savannah’s Long-Term Approach to Student Success

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National Study Confirms Horizons Savannah’s Long-Term Approach to Student Success

(SAVANNAH, GA) A recent national study confirms that students who participate in Horizonsprograms have better school attendance, higher academic outcomes, fewer disciplinary referrals and fewer grade retentions.

Horizons Savannah

The new study, conducted by Concentric Research & Evaluation (CRE) and funded by The New York Life Foundation and the Scripps Family Fund for Education and the Arts, validates that Horizonsprograms that focus on long-term engagement with children from low-income families produce strong academic outcomes.

“We know the impact this program has on Savannah’s youth. We see it each summer, as we watch our kids progress year after year,” said Christy Edwards, executive director of Horizons Savannah. “To have a national study confirm that this program makes tangible differences in the lives of our program’s children is awe inspiring. Over the long term, Horizonsis having a positive impact in our city and I praise the vision and leadership of our host schools, board of directors and donors that have always believed in our mission.”

When compared to their peers, students who have participated in the Horizonsprogram for at least four summers had the following in common:

Higher attendance rates and lower rates of chronic absenteeism
Higher scores on standardized assessments of elementary math and science
Higher GPAs in 9th grade, a critical transition year
More course credit earned in 9th and 10th grades
Fewer times repeating a grade
Fewer disciplinary referrals
Most research on summer learning has found that students from low-income families fall behind their wealthier peers over the course of the summer, either because they are losing knowledge and skills or gaining them at a slower pace.

“These summer learning student outcomes reflect Horizons’ long-standing commitment to quality data collection and offer a significant contribution to the growing body of evidence on the long-term effects of summer learning,” said Matthew Boulay, founder and CEO of the National Summer Learning Association. “Horizons’ exemplary standards in programming not only inspire a joy of learning during the critical summer months but, most importantly, set students up to thrive in the school year ahead.”

The study looked at fifteen Horizonsprogram sites in seven states, and, because it focused on long-term participants in the program, included only sites in operation for at least four years. Horizons Savannahhas been in operation since 2002. Each Horizonsstudent in the study was paired with a student who did not participate in Horizonsbut attended the same school or a school with similar demographics and achievement scores. Researchers used a variety of characteristics to match students, including gender, race and ethnicity.

ABOUT HORIZONS SAVANNAH
Recognized as one of America’s best summer learning programs, Horizons Savannahat Savannah Country Day School, Savannah Christian Preparatory School, Bethesda Academy and St. Andrew’s School welcomes over 250 low-income students each summer to a six-week summer enrichment program that helps prevent “summer slide”: the loss-of-learning that occurs during the summer. By providing a safe and nurturing environment, recreational and cultural activities, nutritious meals and snacks, caring professional teachers and creative, challenging instruction, we unlock a student’s potential to achieve. During the program, students gain an average of two months’ growth in reading and three months’ growth in math. For more information, please contact Horizons SavannahExecutive Director Christy Edwards at 912-961-8854 or info@horizonssavannah.org. You can also visit our website at http://horizonssavannah.org/, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/horizonssav/.

ABOUT HORIZONSNATIONAL
HorizonsNational is a growing, community-centered network of more than 50 affiliate sites nationwide that provides high-quality academic enrichment programs to children in need, from Pre-K through high school. Located on the campuses of independent schools, charter schools, colleges, and universities, Horizonsprograms offer a project-based curriculum, focused on reading, STEM, the arts, fitness, nutrition, and field trips.

Contact:
Christy Edwards, Executive Director
912-961-8854
info@horizonssavannah.org

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Poole
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912.695.4791.
savannahpublicrelations@gmail.com

The Greatest Legacy of President George H.W. Bush

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The Greatest Legacy of President George H.W. Bush
By Kayla Johnson

Over the past several days, Americans have paused to remember our 41st U.S. president, George H.W. Bush.

Kayla Johnson, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Following his death on November 30, the news was filled with reminders of his dedication as a public servant. As vice president and president, he helped guide our country out of the cold war. During World War II, he was an aviator in the Pacific theater and survived being shot down by Japanese gunners.

Plus, all of us have seen the many photos portraying his humanity as a devoted husband, father and grandfather to a large and loving family.

While I honor and remember him for all of these things, it was the union of the two great loves of his life – service to his country and love of family – that became his greatest legacy. That occurred when he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law on July 26, 1990. He had supported the monumental legislation as it made its way through Congress and is credited with ensuring its eventual passage.

Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation designed to prohibit discrimination and guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life. It opened doors to employment opportunities, requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

This legislation changed everything, not just for those with disabilities, but for all of us.

When President Bush signed the ADA into law on that third week after Independence Day nearly 30 years ago, he did so with a great sense of enthusiasm and ceremony. While I’m sure he was confident it would be an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities, I also believe his passion was genuine as he shared these words at the bill’s signing:

“I now lift my pen to sign this Americans with Disabilities Act and say: Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

President Bush went on to champion, and then sign the IDEA Act in October 1990, which provides children with disabilities the same opportunities for education as those students who do not have a disability. His actions directly influenced the passage of the ABLE Act in 2014, which created tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities; and H.R. 188, also known as the TIME Act, which was introduced in 2015. This legislation proposes phasing out a section of the Fair Labor Standards Act which allows “sub-minimum wage” compensation for work by people with different abilities.

While our work is ongoing, the lawful beginnings are notably attributed to President George H. W. Bush and for him, we are thankful.

Certainly, the ADA declared new opportunities for the differently-abled to be independent, but could we have imagined how it would benefit everyone? From that day forward, the word “inclusion” would become part of our vocabulary, our building codes, our hiring practices and our general thoughts.

The often unspoken rift that had long kept those with disabilities from sharing spaces, workplaces and experiences that everyone else takes for granted was dissolving. It would not be an immediate transition or an easy one for some, but little by little the ADA changed our culture and our mindsets. People who had been considered invisible or hindered by convention and physical obstacles were now recognized as the productive, enthusiastic, capable individuals that they are and were finally given the full rights of citizenship afforded to every other American.

As executive director of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, I see the fruits of the ADA each day in the eyes and on the faces of those whose lives have been changed for the better because of President George H.W. Bush’s act love.

With the deepest appreciation now and always,

Kayla Johnson
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-436-3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org
10701 Abercorn St., #60786
Savannah, GA 31420