Monthly Archives: June 2018

Creating an Outdoor Space Everyone Can Enjoy

As our population ages, more and more people begin looking at expanding their living area to accommodate people with mobility issues. Last year, the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability/UCED released their Disability Statistics Annual Report. In it, they reported that 12.8% of the American civilian population was disabled. Just over half of these (51%) fell into the 18 to 64 age group, with 41.4% in the 65+ age range. Therefore, it seems appropriate to make your living area as accommodating as possible for family, friends, and inhabitants. This includes creating an outdoor space that everyone can enjoy. But how do you do that? It’s easier than you may think.

Make your outdoor space accessible to all of your guests, including children and people with physical limitations by using these simple suggestions.

Making Your Outdoor Space More Mobile-Friendly

Ramps

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Sometimes, even one step provides an unwelcome obstacle for people with limited mobility. One way to make your home more mobile-friendly is by installing ramps. A slowly sloping walkway makes it easier for people with walkers or wheelchairs to maneuver around both the interior and exterior of your Naples home. While private homes aren’t required by law to be handicapped accessible, following official recommendations by the ADA helps you assess how your home fits these guidelines. Arch Daily provides a simple breakdown of making your home’s design more handicapped accessible.

Walkways

Speaking of walkways, your outdoor space should provide clear, wide pathways for everyone to move through. Yes, pavers, cobblestones, and mulch are pretty accents. However, they make it harder for anyone with a limited range of motion to navigate. This includes anyone on crutches or using a cane. Crushed limestone provides an attractive alternative that is also mobile-friendly. And don’t forget to keep weeds and brush trimmed back from all walkways. Rambunctious children fall prey to errant weeds as much as anyone else. It’s very easy to snag a foot or be hit in the face by overgrowth.

Gardens

Do you enjoy gardening? It’s a great way to stimulate your mind. Some studies show that gardening helps reduce dementia in seniors by as much as 36%. It’s also a wonderful way to teach children where their food comes from. And it looks pretty, too. But it wreaks havoc with your hands, knees, and back. One solution to this is to raise your gardens. Another is to plant vegetables or flowers using a trellis (peas, beans, star jasmine, and wisteria are great for this). Talk to your local garden center or home improvement store for tips on raising your gardens in your outdoor space.

Even if your physical health is excellent at the moment, that could change as you age. You may even know friends and family with physical limitations. A good Naples homeowner wants all their guests to enjoy themselves. With summer in full swing, that means many backyard barbecues. Make your outdoor space easy for all abilities to maneuver by concentrating on the three areas listed above.

Do you or someone you love have a physical limitation? What would you suggest Naples homeowners install to make it easier for guests with physical limitations to relax and enjoy themselves when visiting their home? Please share your ideas and stories in the comments below. Thank you.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf 2018

The Gulf of Mexico provides a romantic backdrop for one of Southwest Florida’s most popular annual traditions: Naples SummerJazz. Yes, it’s back again for its 32nd year. Naples Beach Hotel hosts their annual celebration of summer with smooth jazz, warm ocean breezes, and a sunset to die for.

On one glorious Saturday night each month this summer, guests enjoy a free Naples SummerJazz concert on the gulf at the Naples Beach Hotel.

What: Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf 2018
Where: Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club (851 Gulf Shore Blvd N)
When: June 23rd, July 14th, August 18th & September 15th, 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm
Admission: FREE
Contact: Naples Beach Hotel (239) 261-2222

Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf 2018

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On one Saturday each month between June and September, the Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf 2018 heats things up. Each month, a different act performs relaxing tunes in front of a live audience. And it’s absolutely free to the public. The open-air venue allows guests to bring lawn chairs for their comfort. With no assigned seating available, it might be a good idea to get there a little early to scout out your favorite spot. Just keep in mind, there really are no bad spots at the Naples Beach Hotel. However, thousands of people show up on the Watkins Lawn each year just to listen to this free concert. Early arrival is definitely encouraged.

While guests may bring their own lawn chairs or blankets from home, outside food and beverages are strictly prohibited. Since the Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf concerts take place during dinner time, the hotel bars provide burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and beverages for purchase by concert guests. All food is fresh and made to order by the hotel’s talented chefs. Please keep your area neat and clean by throwing away any trash in the designated containers located throughout the venue.

Naples SummerJazz on the Gulf 2018 Schedule

June 23rd – Show Biz Kids
July 14th – Late Night Brass
August 18th – TBone Hamilton’s Big Easy Revue
September 15th – Pocket Change

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Hurricane Preparedness for Marco Island and Naples Residents

Many Floridians like to say that hurricanes rarely hit our portion of the state. However, anyone who lived through last year’s Category 3 Hurricane Irma would correct them. Since hurricane season officially began on June 1st, it would be a good idea for Marco Island and Naples residents to take create or update their hurricane preparedness program at home.

Hurricane season lasts from June 1st to November 30th. Hurricane preparedness is important for anyone living in Naples or Marco Island.

Hurricane Preparedness

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Follow the Boy Scout’s motto to always be prepared. The sooner you create a hurricane preparedness plan, the better. First of all, sign up for an alert system (CodeRed, for example). Download the FEMA mobile app for easy access on your phone.

Then, put together a getaway bag: one per family member. Backpacks probably make the best getaway bags because they can be quickly identified by each member of the household and are easy to transport. Inside each bag, include at least three days worth of clothes, toiletries, food, water, medicines, and cash money (small bills). Include a flashlight, extra batteries and at least one radio per each adult and teen. You may want to prepare a separate bag for your pets, too, that includes food and water for them. Inside each bag, write the name of the person the bag belongs to, the name and phone number for their emergency contact, that person’s relationship to the emergency contact, and your home address.

Next, create a plan of evacuation. Designate one person (such as an aunt, grandparent, cousin, close friend, etc.) who lives outside of your immediate area as your emergency contact. If you get separated during an emergency, make sure everyone knows who to contact.

Finally, practice your plan regularly. Keep your getaway bags close to an exit point in your home (front door, mud room, garage door, etc). Once a month, put your plan into practice. The more often you practice, the easier it will be to implement when a real emergency arises. Include calling and checking in with your emergency contact so that younger children know what to do. For more tips and information, please visit Ready.gov’s website.

Hurricane Preparedness – Alert Systems

The Cities of Marco Island and Naples want residents to receive up-to-date information as soon as it’s available. When it comes to hurricanes, the more warning you have, the better. Sign up for the free CodeRed alert system. Whenever an emergency arises in the Marco Island/Naples area, CodeRed sends an alert via text, email, landline and even social media. In addition to hurricane warnings, CodeRed alerts you about evacuations, utility outages, floods, chemical spills, and any other emergency situation that may come up. Marco Island residents can sign up for CodeRed here. You can also sign up for e-notifications from the City by visiting the City of Marco Island’s website here. Just keep in mind that the CodeRed system is completely different than the City’s e-notification system. So, you may want to sign up for both. Naples residents must sign up for CodeRed online here.

Do you and your family have a hurricane preparedness plan in place for your home? Please share any tips you think are important in the comments below.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Keep Your Naples Home Safe While You’re on Vacation

Last Monday was Memorial Day. This signals that summer is close at hand. Our local schools let out soon. Many people choose the summer to take long family vacations, intimate getaways with their significant other or a fun jaunt somewhere with their friends. The last thing you want to do is come home to find that someone has broken into your home. Keep your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation. Utilize these helpful hints to lessen your risk of a burglary while you enjoy a much-deserved time away.

Going away this summer? Make would-be thieves think twice about targeting your home by using these vacation tips to keep your Naples home safe while you're gone.

Naples Home Safety Tips

Social Media Blackout

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First and foremost, the biggest Naples home safety tip I can give you is to keep off social media while you’re away. Enjoy your time. Take pictures to mark the occasion. But delay posting anything about your trip until after you return. You don’t need to advertise to would-be thieves that your house sits empty while you’re hundreds of miles away. This extends to email, as well. Some of us set automatic responses when we’re out of the office. Instead of saying “I’m on vacation between this date and this date”, a simple, “I’m currently out of the office. Please contact so-and-so if you need immediate help.” Don’t get into specifics of the why or when. Of course, you could forget about the “out of office” auto-reply altogether and have someone in your office monitor your emails while you’re away.

Set Your Timers

Next, use timers for your lights. Many thieves watch homes for days…even weeks before they actually strike. They learn the daily habits of its residents. If you don’t already own one, consider purchasing a timer for your lights. They’re available online or in home improvement stores. Some allow you to set up timers for various rooms at different times while you’re away. This helps keep up the appearance that someone is home. FabatHome.com provides a list of the best outlet timers on the market right now based on user-friendliness, type, and design. Check them out to learn more before you head out to buy a system of your own.

Unplug Unnecessary Appliances

How would you feel if you came back from vacation to find that your Naples home burned down due to an electrical fire? Avoid this by unplugging any unnecessary appliances. Coffee pot, TV, computer, toaster, you name it. If you don’t use it while you’re gone, unplug it. Depending on the amount of time you’ll be gone, you may even want to unplug your refrigerator. Just make sure all perishable food items are not left inside and leave the door open to avoid mildew. Set your water heater to vacation mode by lowering the temperature. You can even turn off your thermostat as long as you don’t have plants or animals inside to worry about. If you do, you can still set the thermostat to a higher temperature than you normally would.

Keep Up Appearances

Nothing says “no one’s home” like a pile of mail or a lawn that looks like it hasn’t been mowed for a while. Put a hold on your mail with the post office for the time you’re away. It’s a quick form you can fill out at the post office. They won’t deliver your mail during the time frame you indicate. Regular delivery starts up again when you say. You can do the same for your daily or weekly newspaper delivery. Do you already have a landscaping service? Then, you won’t need to worry about your lawn. However, if you don’t, you might want to hire someone to take care of it while you’re gone.

House Sitter

Another way to keep your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation is to hire a house sitter. This can be costly but ultimately worth it if their presence thwarts a robbery. Or, instead of boarding your dog while you’re gone, have a pet sitter come by once or twice a day to check on them. The pet sitter feeds, waters and walks your dog. They can also bring in your mail and packages. But, the best thing they do is provide the appearance that someone is at your Naples home every day.

Tell Your Neighbors

If you’re friendly with your neighbors, let them know you’ll be away. They can keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it to authorities when they see it. Of course, if you plan on having a house or pet sitter drop by, let them know that, too. The more eyes, the better.

Lock it Up

Finally, this may sound obvious, but lock your Naples home up tight. Check all windows and exterior doors to make sure they are locked before you leave. This includes the sliding glass door and french doors. Oftentimes, burglaries happen due simply to opportunity. An unlocked car or home allows easy entry. Thieves take advantage. You lose out. This could have been avoided simply by making sure everything was locked up.

These small, simple tips make your Naples home safe while you’re on vacation. They can be very effective in making thieves think twice about targeting your property while you’re away. Then, you can enjoy your vacation without the worry of your home’s security.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos