In this day and age nearly everyone is concerned with protecting the environment. Every living and working space can be made more green. Assisting living quarters are no exception. In fact, making grandparents’ homes more eco-friendly not only safeguards the environment, but their health and that of everyone who spends time with them, especially small children. Below are some tips on how to make and keep assisted living spaces green.
1. Monitor temperature. More energy efficiency can be easily accomplished by regulating the home temperature. It is often assumed that seniors enjoy much warmer environments. However, that may not always be the case. Ensure that the temperature is actually comfortable for grandparents. Environments that are too warm are actually unsafe as they provide a welcoming place for viruses and insects to thrive.
Close off rooms that are not used regularly. Then also use other ways to increase warmth by using tree shading (which also works to help with cooling), blankets and warmer clothing. A thermostat that is merely kept a few degrees lower can make a huge difference in energy consumption and costs.
2. Change to CFL light bulbs. Because these bulbs cost more, they are still overlooked by many people as a source of positive environmental impact. The lighting quality is better which makes it easier for elder grandparents to see and puts less stress on their eyes. Many are surprised to learn that electricity is conserved with the newer bulbs so that bills are reduced as much as 90 percent.
3. Install an air purification system. EPA studies have concluded that clean air ducts will naturally contribute to energy savings, as well as improve the indoor air quality. Also, clean air enhances heating and cooling efficiency. This is better for overall health and the environment while reducing energy costs.
4. Use Eco safe cleaning products. The first advantage of using environmentally-friendly products for cleaning is that natural cleaners contain almost no irritants. This makes it far more comfortable for anyone who is sensitive or has allergies or an illness. They are also designed to be just as effective, if not more so at removing dirt, germs and odors as traditional products.
Also, natural cleaning products are disposed of much more safely, making them additionally beneficial for the environment. All of these aspects make them a better choice for the residents in assisted living quarters, the people using them and, in keeping with guidelines followed by popular senior living communities like Atlanta-based Dogwood Forest, the health of visitors too.
5. Recycle. Waste is not only costly, but clearing it away helps make a cleaner environment. When glass, plastic and paper is compartmentalized for disposal, it is easier to keep the space cleaner since other items containing germs can be discarded more easily.
Also, many of the recycled items are used in making other products, further reducing the amount of waste in landfills. If there is not a common recycling program at the assisted living facility already, it could be easily instituted and made available for everyone to use.
6. Discard old electronics. Many people enjoy keeping older equipment such as stereos, radios and sewing machines for sentimental reasons. However, these relics often use a great deal of energy. In addition, most of them were not designed with safety in mind, so they could be a hazard to have around smaller, visiting grandchildren. Having them donated to a conservatory of some kind, or taking them to a proper recycling center, will go a long way to adding green value.
Adjusting grandparents’ assisted living spaces to be more green not only helps the environment and saves on costs, but is a great way to teach everyone involved by example. Keeping the home clean and safe for them also insures it will be clean and safe for visiting grandchildren.
About the Author
Ann Bailey is a green-home enthusiast and contributes this post on better environments for homes for the assisted living environments of Dogwood Forest. Based around Atlanta, Georgia, the senior communities provide clean, comfortable and secure housing for long-term, short-term, and memory-care family members and grandparents.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/natapics/2313888476/