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Your Guide to Long-Distance Grandparenting

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Being a grandparent can be such a rewarding and fulfilling experience for any senior. Grandchildren can bring such joy and laughter to anyone’s life. However, being a grandparent can be difficult and at times heart wrenching when you live long-distance.

Long-distance grandparenting can be hard, especially when you want to be there for every little moment of your grandchild’s life. While many times, there is nothing you can do to make the distance shorter, there are things that you can do as a grandparent to help make the distance easier.

Especially around this time of year, being a long distant grandparent can seem tougher than normal, so take a look at this simple guide to maintaining a strong grandparent/grandchild dynamic, no matter where you may live.

Plan Regular Visits Throughout the Year

While this may take a little organizing with Mom and Dad, a great way to keep the bond close is to make sure that you plan regular visits throughout the year. Children often find it more comforting when they know exactly when their grandparent will be back for a visit.

These regular visits can keep the bond close and make sure that you have worked in plenty of time to spend with your grandchildren throughout the year. However, there a few things to keep in mind as you schedule these visits.

  • While it’s great to have both parties visit each other, it can be difficult to schedule for older children during the school year.
  • The right amount of time for a visit is important, while long trips can be fun they can be very tiring for both kids and grandparents.
  • Make sure the visiting party has the right accommodations during their visit.

Help Your Grandchildren Feel at Home When They Visit

It can be a lot of fun for a grandparent to have their grandchild come and visit them. However, it is important to remember that kids are kids and they have certain needs. Kids also can get homesick easily, no matter how excited they are to visit Grandma and Grandpa.

Make sure that you have some toys stored away in your home and a few special touches throughout the space to help them feel at home. Maybe it’s a night light, or a favorite book or a new stuffed animal of their favorite character.

Little touches like this will help your grandchild feel special when they visit and feel more “at home” when they’re at their grandparents.

Send Them Letters or Packages

It is such a novelty for most kids to get anything in the mail, so sending them mail is a great way to help grandchildren feel special. Something as simple as a handwritten letter will do, or you can get creative around certain holidays and send them things like Halloween gift boxes in the mail.

This is just another easy way to remind your grandchildren that even though you aren’t there in person, you are still thinking of them.

Have Mom and Dad Send You the Big Video Moments

Whether it was your grandchild’s Holiday Recital at school, the first time riding the bike or their big soccer game, there are a lot of big moments that you unfortunately won’t be able to be there for. Make sure that Mom and Dad are not only recording these big moments but sending them to you.

After you watch these videos, you can have a quick chat with your grandchild and let them know that you saw their big moment, so the two of you can go through the entire experience together.

Video Chatting is Key!

While new technologies can sometimes be hard to adapt to—they can be a great asset if you are a long distance parent. This is especially true when it comes to using video chatting. FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Skype are all great options for grandparents to help stay in touch with their grandkids.

While video chatting may not be the same as being there in person, it is much more personal than a phone call or text. You cannot only engage in meaningful conversations with your grandchild, but this is also a time where they can show you art work, games and new toys they have…making it almost seem like you are there.

Try to set up regular times for video calls so that you can make it a normal part of your routine. It is also a fun time to see your adult children as well!

Be Prepared for Disappointments

It can be hard to be a grandparent from far away and there are going to be times when you feel disappointed. Maybe the other set of grandparents visit more often, or your children aren’t sending you as many photo updates as you want, or even your grandchild picks going to a friend’s birthday party over coming to see you—disappointments are going to happen.

Be prepared for them and be willing to go with the punches. And try not to worry that your grandchild won’t know who you are. Just because you are far away it doesn’t mean that they won’t have a relationship with you and that you won’t always hold a special place in your heart.

Remember, You Can’t Be There for Everything

Grandparent guilt is a real thing. However, you need to remember that you can’t be there for everything, and you need to maintain your own interests and your own life. Finding a balance is hard, especially when you want to be there for everything. However, the more you can do to make the most of the time you do have together the better you all will be.

While being a long-distance grandparent can be difficult no matter where you live, keep these tips in mind as you work to keep a close bond with your grandchildren even from afar.

If you have a senior loved one in your life who struggles with their eyesight—then they are not alone. There are many seniors who just can’t see quite as well as they once did, and sometimes it can make even the simplest of everyday activities a challenge. If these seniors are living at home and on their own—then it is important that their space works with their visual limitations to help make life a little easier.

While many people think of interior design simply as being all about the aesthetics—there are many ways to use interior design in order to help make life easier for seniors who struggle with their eyesight. A lot of these changes may seem minimal—but they can completely change the way in which your loved one navigates their home and how long they are able to live safely at home.

Keep these easy tips in mind to help design your loved one’s living space in a way that will really help them function at home.

Use Contrast to Your Advantage

When things in the home are high-contrast, they are much easier to see. Plain and simple. Color can help seniors identify different rooms and help make it easier for them to see obstacles that may be in their way. Using high contrast furniture against light walls (and keeping the space clean and organized) is a great way to prevent trip and fall issues in the home.

Falls are the number one reason that seniors end up in the hospital and most falls happen right in the home—so think high contrast when you think about decorating. Here are a few places you can add contrast to the home to make it safer and easier to navigate:

  • High contrast furniture
  • High contrast doors and doorways
  • High contrast light switches and sockets
  • High contrast railings and handrails

Many seniors feel like colors are washed out as their sight goes, and when you use a lot of same colored hues in a space, it can make it very difficult for seniors to differentiate one object from the next.

Color the Doors

It may seem like a bold design choice from an aesthetic viewpoint—but if you want to make sure that your senior loved one can easily spot important doors (like the bathroom doors) a different color. This will make the doors easy to spot when seniors are in a hurry or potentially confused in the middle of the night trying to find the bathroom.

This can also be very helpful for seniors who have dementia and who may get easily confused in the middle of the night.

Adding Lighting for Safety

Lighting can make all of the difference in the look of a home—but it can also help make a home much safer for someone with sight loss as well. Good lighting can help make up for poor eyesight. This means seniors won’t have to squint and they will be able to clearly see what is in front of them.

Lighting can make a huge difference for someone who can’t sleep. First, make sure that you swap out all of the light bulbs in the house for brighter bulbs. Then consider adding larger, more illuminating light fixtures where necessary in the home. Night lights are also a great safety addition to any space in the home—consider adding night lights on the path from the senior’s bed to their bathroom and their bed to the kitchen.

Motion-censored night lights are also a smart addition to any senior’s space, especially for those who have sight limitations and who get up a lot in the middle of the night.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

In addition to adding lighting throughout the home, it is important to maximize the natural light throughout the home to make the house safer and more comfortable for seniors. Allowing natural light to flow through the windows is also important for helping seniors to stay on a normal sleep cycle as they get more exposure to natural sunlight patterns.

Add Signage

Even if your senior loved one understands what certain things are, it can still be helpful to add signage and labeling to things around the home if they can’t always see what they are looking for. It can be an easy way to find objects in the home, especially if you add labels to things like storage canisters that can be hard to see from afar.

If you are worried about the decor aspect, go ahead and make the signs decorative enough to seem less like an aid for your loved one and more like a design addition.

Make Glasses Really Accessible

This is less of a design tip and more of an accessibility tip—but it’s one that can make life easier for any senior. Get a few extra pairs of durable glasses for around the house and leave them in locations where your senior loved one tends to need their glasses. This can be in the kitchen by the sink, next to their reading chair, by the sofa, near the television or on their bedside table.

Consider leaving them out or putting them in decorative containers or boxes that are easily accessible. If you make glasses part of your loved one’s everyday decor and make it simple for them to grab a pair wherever they are in the house, it will cause much less confusion and will be a great way to make sure that they always have their visual aids when they need them.

Little changes to a senior’s home can help completely change their space for the better and can help make any senior stay independent at home even with certain visual impairments. Having poor eyesight doesn’t have to hinder a senior’s ability to stay independent or live on their own. A few simple tweaks can help make everything easier to navigate.

 

Spring Cleaning Tips for Seniors

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Warmer weather and longer days are here, which means spring is right around the corner. While this brings a promise of brighter days after a long and gloomy winter, it also means it is the perfect time to start spring cleaning. Seniors especially should make sure that they do some spring cleaning this time of year to make sure that their home is safe, healthy and ready for the fun that warmer weather brings.

The best thing about spring cleaning is that it doesn’t have to be difficult or taxing—even for seniors with limited mobility. There are several easy things that any senior can do to not only keep their home looking and feeling cleaner, but to make sure it is safer as well.

  1. Keep Safety in Mind

If you are planning on spring cleaning on your own, make sure that you are keeping safety in mind—especially if you have physical challenges or limited mobility. The good news is, there are several cleaning tools that can help make your daily cleaning efforts easier and less dangerous. This includes:

  • Using a squeegee for cleaning your windows (it will help you reach higher places).
  • Getting a vacuum with a cord retractor
  • Investing in vacuums with a longer hose to vacuum with
  • Getting a standing dustpan so you don’t have to reach over
  • Using sturdy step stools to clean high areas instead of trying to reach

If you are worried about your safety while cleaning, always ask a friend or family member to help.

  1. Hire Some Professionals

There are certain spring cleaning things you will want to do on your own, and other tasks you will want to leave to the professionals. Spring is a great time to clean out your gutters, swap out filters and make sure your exterior windows are clean and looking their best. It is also a great time to power wash your home and outdoor areas.

However, these tasks are big undertakings and it is best if they are left to professionals. Hire experts for big projects like this!

  1. Check Your Smoke Detectors and Fire Extinguishers

Spring cleaning isn’t just about removing dust bunnies, it is also about making sure that the home is safe. This means checking your batteries on your smoke detectors. Many experts suggest that you check your smoke detector batteries whenever you change your clocks for day light savings times. During this time, you should also check your fire extinguishers. They have an expiration date on them and don’t last forever! Having an expired fire extinguisher in your home can be a major safety hazard.

  1. Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet

If your medicine cabinet is overstuffed and crowded, it can make it really difficult to find the right items you need when you need them. While you organize your medicine cabinet, you should also make sure that you are checking the labels on any medications (including over-the-counter medications) that you have. If anything is expired make sure that you dispose of it properly.

This is also a great time to check your first aid kit to make sure it is fully stocked and has everything that you need in it.

  1. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

A lot of people have the bad habit of collecting clutter, and spring cleaning is a great time to make sure that the clutter gets put away. This will not only help your home look and feel cleaner, but it will make sure you aren’t living with any trip and fall hazards in the home.

Did you know that most senior falls happen in their own home?

Clutter that is sitting around like this can really get in the way and could be a potential fall hazard.

  1. Clean Out the Closet

When your closet is well-organized, it will make everything in the morning easier and it will help you feel more organized and less chaotic. Go through your closet and think about what you really wear and what you really need. If you haven’t worn it in the past year—get rid of it. This will give you more space for the things that you actually use and wear.

  1. Get Some Storage Bins

If you want your home to be more organized, then consider getting some small storage bins to help you with your efforts. Small storage bins are great for storing things that aren’t on display and keeping them organized—and they are safer than large storage bins which can be difficult for seniors to move.

  1. Do Some Deep Cleaning

There are many people who clean casually throughout the year to keep their home looking clean, but when was the last time you did a deep clean? This means swapping out air filters, cleaning baseboards and on top of door frames and dusting the fan blades in your rooms.

These are all areas that dust mites can grow and hide and these dusty and dirty areas of the home may actually be making allergies worse (if you have them) and keeping your home looking and feeling less clean.

  1. Clean Out the Pantry

Take the time to really clean out your pantry. Check all of the expiration dates on everything (including your spices) and make sure you throw away anything that is expired. This is a great way to make sure that you aren’t accidentally using or eating anything that has gone bad and could be potentially harmful to your health.

Plus, it is a great way to get your pantry looking and feeling cleaner and more organized!

Spring is all about new beginnings and spring cleaning is a great time to get a fresh start with those new beginnings and begin with a clean slate. No matter what your goals are with your spring cleaning, a concerted effort to make your space safer is a great place to start!

 

Spring is almost here and most seniors know what that means—warmer weather, longer days and the chance to finally get back outside and enjoy some sunshine. There is a lot to love about the spring and during this time of year you can spend more time outdoors soaking up fresh air and getting some much-needed vitamin D.

However, it isn’t just fun to sit outside when the warm weather comes, it is also a great opportunity for seniors to bring their exercise outdoors as well and to get active while they’re outdoors.

While indoor yoga classes and walking on the treadmill are great in the winter, when the weather is nice, why not move your exercise efforts outdoors? Exercising outdoors can lift the spirit, get you some sun exposure, and many people find that when they exercise outdoors they are actually able to workout longer when they are enjoying nice weather.

If you are a senior who is looking to get more active this year, spend more time outdoors and stay healthy all year long—here are some great spring outdoor exercises you can start enjoying.

  1. Go on after-dinner or after-school walks with your grandchildren. If you are close enough to visit them in the afternoons, a walk together is a great way to get some exercise and to hear all about their day.
  2. Ride your bike along a scenic path. Challenge yourself by trying a new bike path you’ve never tried before. It can be a beautiful way to explore a new area of your community.
  3. Sign up for an outdoor yoga class. You may be surprised by how many there are in your community during the spring and summer. Yoga is great for seniors as it helps build muscle strength and flexibility and it can be quite relaxing. Plus, yoga is great for people of all ages.
  4. Walk the dog through a park. If you don’t have a dog of your own, but still want to spend time with animals, consider offering to walk dogs in the neighborhood, or volunteering at your local animal shelter.
  5. Go to a park with guided hikes. There are many parks, including national parks that offer guided hikes that will bring you through nature. These hikes are not only a great form of exercise, but educational as well.
  6. Go to an outdoor pool to swim laps or take a water aerobics class. There are many public pools that have senior-friendly classes as well as open swim options available for when the weather gets morning.
  7. Start your mornings with a brisk walk. This will get you up and ready to take on the day and is a great way to get some cardio in in the morning. Plus, if you want to really challenge yourself, you can add light hand weights to get a full-body workout.
  8. Play a game of tennis. Find a tennis buddy or sign up for lessons—it is never too late to try something new.
  9. Go birdwatching. If you love bird watching, then challenge yourself to get out and go to new locations for all of your bird watching adventures. Typically, getting to the perfect spots requires a bit of hiking and walking and can be a leisurely form of exercise that has a great reward at the end!
  10. Take care of your garden. Gardening can be fun and rewarding, but it can also be a great form of exercise as well!
  11. Play a game with your grandchildren. If you want to get some exercise, have some fun and make some memories, then consider playing games with your grandchildren. A game of tag can quickly turn into a fun cardio session!
  12. Take a walking tour of a city. It can even be your own city! Walking tours are a fun activity for history-buffs and a great way to learn something about a city near you. They are also a great time of exercise as well.
  13. Go metal detecting. Live near a beach? Why not get out a metal detector and see what you can find buried in the sand? This is a fun way to act as an explorer and to get some exercise while you do it. Plus, you never know what you will find.
  14. Play outdoor yard games with the family. Horseshoes, bags, ring toss, volleyball and badminton are all fun yard games that you can play with the whole family. Get everyone together for some healthy competition and a little exercise when the weather is nice.
  15. Go apple picking. If you have never been apple picking before, you may be surprised by how much of a workout it can be! Plus, apple picking is a fun activity that will help you make lasting memories, and leave you with some delicious fresh fruit as well.
  16. Go to the driving range. Even if you don’t have the time or energy for a full round of golf—going to the driving range is a great way to get outdoors and to make sure that you are getting some exercise. Plus, many seniors find that it is an excellent stress reliever as well!

Exercising outdoors doesn’t just mean jogging or running. There are a lot of ways to stay fit and be outside. Seniors should focus on getting at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to help keep their muscles and their hearts healthy. Working out alone is always great, but working out with a friend, family member or loved one is also a wonderful option.

Most people find that working out with a “buddy” makes exercising more enjoyable and it keeps them accountable for staying active every day. No matter how you choose to exercise, this spring, motivate yourself to bring your exercise outdoors. There are only great benefits that can come with it!

There are so many pieces of new technology out there—and so many “smart home” features that have helped completely change the way in which we run (and protect) our homes. This of course, includes home security systems. While the idea of home security systems have been around for a long time, recently developments in technology have made these systems even more advanced and even more common in homes today.

However, while some people are looking to these advanced security systems to work with their smart home features, and others are looking to keep intruders at bay—there are many seniors who are wondering if they should be considering these home security systems. This is a particularly common question among seniors who already live in assisted living communities or nursing homes that have some type of front desk security already in place.

The important thing to remember is that while many seniors may not understand why home security systems are so important, especially if they have never had them before, this technology can be a must have addition to any senior’s living space. Here are some of the top benefits of adding a home security system to your senior loved one’s home.

It’s About More Than Break-Ins

There are so many people who think that home security systems are only about avoiding break ins. After all, the initial home security systems were basically just an alarm that alerted you if someone burst through the front door. Today’s security systems are so much more advanced than this, and can do so much more.

If you have a senior loved one who doesn’t think that they need a home security system because they don’t have a front door that leads to the outside, remember that these security systems can also alert you if you the windows are opened or compromised as well. Video systems can also catch if someone is stealing from your loved one’s living space or in there when they shouldn’t be—even if they aren’t “breaking in” the front door.

Home Security Systems Can Give Off Important Warning Signs

The right home security system can also alert a senior, or alert you as your senior’s loved one, if there is smoke, carbon monoxide or even frozen pipes compromising your loved one’s home. In fact, you can live very far away and have the home security system alert you of undetectable issues like this developing in your loved one’s home—so you can take action.

These environmental hazards can be silent killers and very dangerous, and the right security system can detect these early. You can even have the detectors alert both the senior when they are in their home, and your computer or cell phone, so you can stay on top of these issues, even if you aren’t nearby.

Many Home Security Cameras Come With Panic Buttons

In addition to providing video surveillance on seniors—many advanced home security systems now also come with built-in panic buttons that can help alert authorities should your loved one need medical assistance. This is something that you may have to add in to your home security package, but it is one that will help you and your senior loved one sleep better at night.

This is especially important if a senior experiences a medical emergency that prevents them from being able to speak on the phone. These built in panic buttons can be a real life saver and will immediately alert authorities for you.

Video Cameras Can Help Keep Seniors Safe When You’re Not There

If you wish you could help keep an eye on your senior loved one 24/7 but physically can’t be there—the right home security system can help you keep a watchful eye on them. Home cameras can be discreetly placed anywhere in the home—even on the doorbell, so you can keep an eye on who is coming and going from your loved one’s house, but also if something dangerous is happening in their home.

Say your senior leaves the stove on, falls in the home or leaves without locking the door—you can keep an eye on their apartment and help keep it safe. You can also turn off lights, alert authorities and even lock the door for them from afar—so your senior can stay safe in their own space. This is also a great way to allow any senior to stay independent longer without putting themselves at risk.

While getting used to the idea of a video camera monitoring your home may take a little bit for some seniors, video surveillance can really make all of the difference when it comes to the safety and well-being of any senior who is primarily living alone.

Another great thing about today’s more advanced security systems? They can be easily moved. Most security systems today do not have to be hard wired into the home like security systems of the past did—which makes them easy to move and makes it easy for your senior to take their security system with them should they be moving between homes, apartments, assisted living communities or anywhere else they may need to live.

While having a home security system can help prevent burglaries in the home—there are so many other great perks that can come with having a home security system in your senior’s place. The great news is, there are so many affordable, functional and powerful home security systems out there right now and so many great systems that can work in any senior’s home. All you need to do is determine which system is the right system for your loved one’s home.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and while many people may already be focused on their romantic date nights, chocolates and thoughtful cards—not everyone is ready to get in the romantic mood when February 14th rolls around the corner. If you have a special senior in your life, then there are a few things that you can do in order to help your loved one feel included in this holiday. After all, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for young couples—it is a holiday for everyone to celebrate!

In the real spirit of Valentine’s Day, there is nothing better than showing love and affection to your senior loved ones and other family and friends, so you can honor everyone in your life, not just those who you are romantically tied to. If you are looking for some fun activities to do with your senior loved one this Valentine’s Day, take a look at a few fun suggestions below. They may just inspire you to try something new when this holiday rolls around.

Make Valentine’s Day an Opportunity to Get Everyone Together

There are so many great holidays that encourage friends and family to get together. However, it doesn’t have to be Easter, Thanksgiving or Fourth of July. Valentine’s Day can be a great time to organize getting everyone together. You can have a potluck, dinner or even a brunch. Host this get together on the weekend of Valentine’s Day and invite the whole family—especially your senior loved one.

You can decorate with fun red and pink Valentine’s Day themed decor and just enjoy spending quality time together—it may just be a new favorite addition that you love keeping.

Do Valentine’s Day Activities With the Grandkids

Valentine’s Day can be fun for little kids and there are so many different activities involved with this holiday. If your little kids are making Valentine’s Day cards or decorating boxes for their classroom party, or even making heart shaped cookies—it can be a really fun thing for little ones to do. And grandparents can join in on the fun!

This is a great way to get the whole family involved and to make sure both grandparents and kids are having fun getting in the spirit of the holiday.

Watch a Classic Romantic Movie

Want to take a trip down memory lane and get in the Valentine’s Day spirit at the same time? Why not watch a classic romantic movie together. This is a fun way to relax with and have a fun movie night together.

Settle in, and pop in an old classic and enjoying spending quality time together. Whether you prefer Casablanca or Singin’ in the Rain or a newer film like Love Actually or the Notebook, this is a fun time to put in a classic romantic film for everyone to enjoy.

Give Back

Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love—so why not spread the love to others in your community? There are so many ways to volunteer and give back and to literally spread the love. You can donate clothes (or even make clothes and blankets) to local homeless shelters, go spend time at an animal shelter, volunteer at a soup kitchen or find other ways to spend your time giving back to those in need. Meals on Wheels is another great organization that seniors can help with. Just find something that your senior loved one is physically able to do and an organization that they care about supporting.

Send Thoughtful Valentine’s Gifts

Sending thoughtful gifts to your senior love one is a great way to get them in the Valentine’s Day spirit. The gift doesn’t have to be extravagant or overly romantic, but it can be a great way to show your senior loved one that you care about them and have been thinking about them.

Here are some great ideas to consider:

  • Flowers or a plant for their home or assisted living room
  • Sweets like candies, chocolates or cookies
  • Stuffed animals or something cute and cuddly to snuggle with (this is a great gift for seniors with Alzheimer’s who want something more comforting)
  • A thoughtful card and note—you can also include old pictures in this thoughtful note
  • Valentine’s Day themed balloons make a great surprise

Something small can really make a big difference in your senior loved one’s Valentine’s Day.

Decorate Your Senior Loved One’s Space

If your senior loved one loves getting in the spirit for holidays—why not decorate your loved one’s space in Valentine’s Day themed? Heart shaped decor, candles, floral, paper chain garlands or anything red and pink can make great Valentine’s Day decorations. Little things like this can go a long way in helping to brighten your loved one’s day.

Not in to decorations? Why not just bring them over a sweet treat like a cookie or a cupcake to help brighten your loved one’s day? You would be surprised by how much of a difference a frosted heart-shaped cookie or a pink and red cupcake will make in a senior’s day.

Take Your Loved One Out to Dinner

Valentine’s Day dinner doesn’t have to be a big romantic outing—it can just be a great opportunity to spend time together. Take your loved one out to dinner somewhere new or special. It can be a great opportunity for the two of you to spend quality time together and enjoy a fun night out. Just think of Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to push yourself to do something with someone you care about. It can be a fun night that both of you will cherish and remember.

When Valentine’s Day finally gets here, keep these activities and tips in mind—they can help you create fun and lasting memories for you and your senior loved one to share.

Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

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As we age, it is only common to start slowing down and to stop doing as many activities as we once did. However, when we reach senior age, it is important that we don’t slow down too much and that we still get out and engage with others in our community.

There are many ways that seniors can do this—and one of the most productive and inspiring things that seniors can do when they reach this age is to give back and volunteer. Volunteering is a great way for seniors to stay active and get out of the house, which can help with common issues such as loneliness, isolation and depression. It can also help seniors feel good about themselves and what they are doing for others.

Volunteering is also a great social activity as it gives seniors a chance to spend time with others who have like-minded interests. The great thing about volunteer work is there are so many different ways to give back and so many different types of volunteer opportunities out there. Take a look at some of the most common options that seniors can explore.

  • Working at an animal shelter. Seniors can walk dogs or sit and socialize with cats, depending on their preference. If seniors aren’t comfortable with handling the animals but still want to give back, most of these shelters typically always need volunteers even to greet people or do office work.
  • Spending time with children. There are many ways that seniors can volunteer their time with kids in need. Most seniors love spending time with children, and would love the opportunity to help, or read to, kids in need, especially when they can’t always spend time with their own grandchildren.
  • Volunteering at a soup kitchen. Homeless shelters and soup kitchens are always in need of helpers, particularly around the holiday season and would love to welcome in friendly seniors who want to give back. They can cook, clean, green people or just spend time with veterans looking for companionship.
  • Veteran programs. Whether it is volunteering on an honor flight or at the VA hospital, there are so many different ways to give back to those who have served their country. You can find veteran programs around the country and all types of programs that can help give back.

There are so many organizations out there that will help people find volunteer organizations and determine who they should partner with when they want to give back. Of course, nearly all non-profit organizations are always out there and willing to accept new volunteers who want to do what they can to help. All seniors need to do to take advantage of these volunteer opportunities is reach out to an organization that they care about, in order to get started.

Everyone knows how important it is to get enough sleep each and every night. The average person needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and senior adults need even more sleep in order to stay their healthiest. Part of getting enough sleep isn’t just sleeping at night, but making sure that you are taking restorative naps, when needed during the day.

Many seniors take naps on a regular basis, especially if they aren’t getting enough sleep at night. Naps can help any senior feel more focused, more aware and more productive during the day. However, not all naps are created equal—there are keys to enjoying a truly great nap, and it isn’t just about napping longer. There are many things that seniors, or any adult, can do in order to nap smarter.

Here are a few tips for seniors who want to make the most of their naps:

  • Keep naps short. The average adult gets the most out of naps that are between 10-20 minutes. Naps shouldn’t last longer than 30 minutes.
  • Seniors who struggle to wake up from their naps should consider drinking some caffeine right before laying down. It takes about 20 minutes for the caffeine to kick in, which can help seniors wake up feeling more awake and rejuvenated.
  • The right environment is important for any successful nap—seniors should nap in a cool dark place. Typically, between 68-70 degrees.
  • If seniors are particularly sensitive to noise, they should consider a white noise machine as part of their nap routine. A white noise machine can help block out distracting noises that prevent many seniors from getting the rest they need—these are particularly helpful for seniors who are living in an assisted living community or nursing home that is noisy.
  • Naps should be taken in the early afternoon. Napping after 3 PM can impact any senior’s ability to fall asleep at night, and while naps are important—they shouldn’t interfere with evening rest.
  • Consider meditation. Seniors who struggle to fall asleep because they have a wandering mind (as many people do) can benefit from regular mediation. This can help them ease their minds and find a sense of peace so they can drift off easily when it is time to go to sleep.

In addition to keeping these nap tips in mind, it is important for seniors to make sure they are carving out time in their day to actually take naps. Most seniors benefit from naps the most when they take a short nap at the same time every day as part of their regular routine. Seniors who find they are irritated, unable to focus or who are struggling with memory can benefit from these regular naps and all of the benefits that they can bring.

We are honored to have chosen Brynn Browning as the SeniorAdvice.com Senior Caregiver Scholarship Winner for Spring 2020. Brynn has been helping care for her father, who was diagnosed with ALS, since 2017.  She worked three jobs while in college and also came home on weekends to help her Dad. Since graduating from college, she’s taken on an even more supportive role for her father.

The situation has helped her learn the value of resilience.  There are people that depend on Brynn and she knows if she’s knocked down, nothing will keep her there.  Helping her father daily is a driving force in her life, not a weight on her shoulders.  Her Dad has taught her to laugh at herself and others, not take herself so seriously, and to take time to relax.  Everyone is nicer when they relax!

In the Spring of 2020, Brynn will be taking online courses through the University of Virginia to receive her Master’s degree in Materials Science Engineering.  She wants to protect life on this planet by going into biodegradable and sustainable plastics.  She even created her own biodegradable plastic!

 

If you are one of the many seniors who hasn’t been able to retreat to the heat or escape the cold for winter—this time of year can be really frustrating. The winter can be downright miserable in most areas of the country and for seniors it can actually be dangerous.

Simply being too cold alone can make anyone (particularly seniors) very sick. Being indoors most of the time also makes it more likely you will breathe in air that will get you sick—causing you to be more likely to catch a cold or flu.

And there is also simply dealing with the old itself. As we age, we start to lost the ability to maintain as much body heat. In fact, we lose that body heat much faster than we did when we were young. This can make cold temperatures seem even more devastating as a senior.

This also puts seniors at a higher risk of getting hypothermia, even in situations where younger adults may not fall victim to this condition. Hypothermia happens in seniors when they reach a body temperature of 95 degree or lower and it can come with major health issues.

Simply put, seniors and winter don’t go hand-in-hand. However, it doesn’t mean that this time of year can’t be fun, and that there aren’t things you can do to help “weather the storm” of winter if you will.

Take a look at these suggestions below!

Don’t Be Afraid to Keep The Heat in Your House Higher Than Normal

We are all conscious of our energy bills, especially in the middle of summer and winter when they can get quite high. During the winter, don’t spend too much time focusing on how to keep your bills low. Keep the heat at a comfortable temperature. It is typically recommended that you put the heat settings anywhere from 68-70 degrees during the winter.

If you are worried about your bills getting too high, consider a smart thermostat that can control the temperatures when you aren’t there and close off the rooms that you don’t need heat in so you aren’t spending money heating them. You can even put a towel under the door to keep your warm air out!

Add Little Cozy Touches to Help You Feel Warm

Whether you are looking for a small space heater, or a plug-in fire place, sometimes little touches like this in the house can not only make your space feel warm, but more cozy as well. There are other things you can do as well to help keep your home warm, such as making sure you aren’t losing heat through your windows, adding heated blankets to your beds and consider heated socks or slippers to war around the house.

Don’t Forget About Staying Warm While You Sleep

Most people like to sleep in slightly cooler temperatures. However, be careful with this during the winter. You don’t want to get too cold!

Make sure you sleep with socks and long underwear on and consider sleeping with a cap on your head (especially if you have thinning hair). Extra covers and heated blankets and mattress pads can also help keep you warm in the middle of the night.

Heading Out in the Cold

You can’t stay indoors forever in the winter, so when you do need to head out in the cold, keep these tips in mind that will help you stay warm and safe when you head out.

  • Always wear a hat. Seniors already struggle to keep in body heat and this is the first place you lose body heat. This is especially important for those with thinning hair.
  • Wear gloves, extra layers (instead of just one warm layer) and warm socks whenever you leave the house.
  • Consider wearing long underwear under your clothes if you are going to be outside for more than a few minutes
  • Don’t forget warm, flat shoes with anti-slip bottoms that will prevent you from falling if it is slick and icy out.

Remember, sometimes the cold can wreak havoc on you, even if it doesn’t feel all that cold in the moment. So it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Find Ways Around Going Out in the Cold

Sometimes, it’s just too cold, too snowy or too miserable to go outside. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things that you can do in order to bring the things you need to you. There are so many companies that are now offering same day or next day delivery on their products and services.

For example, Amazon offers free one day and two day shipping for virtually any products you need. There is GrubHub, UberEats and Postmates that can deliver food from your favorite restaurants to you and companies like InstaCart that will do your grocery shopping for you and bring it right to your door.

Even Target is now offering same day delivery on many of their essentials, which means you don’t have to go out in the cold to run errands if you don’t want to.

Get Ready For Some Fun Indoor Activities

Your best bet in the winter is just to stay inside and stay out of the cold when you don’t absolutely need to be out there. It can cause a little bit of cabin fever if you aren’t careful, but here are some fun indoor activities that can help keep you busy during those cold winter months.

  • Playing cards
  • Inviting friends and family over to you
  • Hosting dinner parties (in your house)
  • Puzzles
  • Knitting
  • Dancing
  • At-Home Exercise Tapes
  • Redecorating the home
  • Arts and crafts
  • Skyping in with the grandkids
  • Reading
  • Crosswords
  • Playing in online card groups
  • Joining a virtual book club

These are all things you can do to have fun, exercise and even have some social interactions—that don’t require you going out in the cold.

While these tips an tricks may not be as fun as say, hoping on a plane to Florida every winter, they are a great ways to make winter more enjoyable no matter how low the temperatures go.

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