Do you have a chocolate problem or an oxygen problem?

That’s the title of Seth Godin’s January 19 blog:

“Run out of chocolate, and that’s a shame. Run out of oxygen and you’re doomed. […]

If your day or your project or your organization focuses too much on finding the next piece of chocolate, you might forget to focus on the oxygen you actually need.”

Which pushes me to riff:


Chocolate is GREAT– it comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms from hot fudge to frozen Snickers, from gourmet Godiva to Hershey’s kisses.  Not only is it delicious, sweet, and yummy, it’s a good pick-me-up and may even lower your cholesterol. It’s even sexy.

But oxygen!  We take it for granted, it’s in the air we breathe.  We assume that it will always be there and we can always use it — until we can’t. Beijing, China or Paradise, CA residents have no choice when smoke, soot and noxious fumes turn the air into poison.  COPD, heart failure or lung cancer patients struggle to breathe even through tubes supplying pure O2.

Similarly, there’s a lot of technology for the senior market and more being developed every day. There’s everything from the old-fashioned call button (“Help me, I’ve fallen and can’t get up”), to sensors indicating whether mom opened the front door to get the paper, then the refrigerator to get her orange juice, and alerts if she’s off her routine or forgotten her pills.  Caregiving robots are in the movies. (Will they tickle when giving a bath??) Technology comes in every variety of chocolate you can think of, and some of it is sexy, too. (“Alexa, play us a love song.”)

But what’s the point if there’s no oxygen?  Why have the greatest gizmo when your home becomes your prison or forces your move to a higher level of care facility than you actually need?  What use is a remote monitoring camera for interior rooms if you can’t get in and out of your house? What’s the point of having an automated thermostat or blind-openers if you can’t use the bathroom safely?  The technology is not bad, it might even be more practical than chocolate, but it presumes you have the basics. The home should support your needs of daily living and make you as safe, comfortable and happy as can be provided by the physical environment.

HomesRenewed Coalition lobbies for financial incentives to motivate folks to update their homes when they are remodeling regardless of their health or age so they can enjoy every bite, lick and slurp of that chocolate.

This riff is from Susan Kimmel, VP, HomesRenewed

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