Your Computer Is Only as Good as What You Can Make It Do: Choosing and Using Your Computer or Cell Phone

 

We Have the Power of a Mainframe

Computer at Our Fingertips

Today’s computers and even your cell phone are very fast and very powerful.  What you can now hold in your hand, has the same computer power as computers that used to fill several rooms.  Suffice it to say, that today’s computers and cell phones can perform any task you need.

 

What computer should I choose?

 

How and where are you going to use your computer?

Is portability important?

Do you need a large screen or is a hand held device what you need?

 

 

Computers Have Gotten Easier to Use

If you are patient enough, you can set up your computer to do most things by following your voice commands.  It will even type what you say.  If you can type with two fingers, you can master your computer.

Computer Basics Are Quick and Easy to Learn

Did you know you can learn all the basic skills you need to be the master of your computer system in one hour?  You will quickly begin to feel comfortable with your computer.  In less than 15 minutes, you will send your first email.

 

Imagine being able to initiate a video call with your favorite grandchild.

 

You Are NOT Going to Break Your Computer

 

 

 

So, with a bit of patience, you can learn to playfully try new things on your computer.  If you don’t get the result you want the first time, simply try again.  You will soon have a friendly assistant.Short of spilling your coffee or smashing your computer in frustration, you cannot break your computer.  No matter how lost you become, starting over is as easy as powering your system off and on.

 

 

 

 

 

Solitaire for Health and Well-Being

 

Benefits of Playing Regular Solitaire

Mental Health

How would you define good mental health in old age? 

 

 

The list could go on forever.  But let’s talk about old age mental health in more scientific and medical terms.

 

Focus

We can all agree, that having a good ability to focus our attention and thought on one thing at a time, is a healthy sign in old age.  To play solitaire well, one needs to be able to focus on one task or assessment at a time.

 

 

Concentration

Concentration is an important aspect of focus. Solitaire requires one to be able to concentrate on multiple forcing at one time. Many simultaneous decisions must be made to get good at solitaire.

 

 

 

Problem Solving

The game of solitaire requires one to hone one's problem solving skills.  These multiple problems must be looked at individually,and also in the context of the whole game.  Solitaire provides a fun way to get daily mental exercise, thus helping to keep our minds functioning and sound as we age.

 

We can recommend trying your favorite game of solitaire against your computer.

 

Double solitaire, doubles the Benefits

The innovations of the World Wide Web and the computing power of our handheld devices have enabled us to play any card game with any number of other folks.  If you have never tried this, please accept this invitation to google, interactive card games.

You will be benefiting your own health and well being and that of your friends, old and new.

Home Away From Home

Assisted Living Facilities may become an alternative as we age.  It isn’t easy to find a place suitable for the needs of your family or loved one when they become unable to totally care for themselves. These facilities offer many advantages for a person who feels depressed or needs help with daily activities.  Several different types of homes exist, but you would want to check out the needs of the patient and the advantages of each facility before signing a contract for your loved ones.  Not all are alike, so let’s examine how to find the right one.  It depends on how healthy or active the person is.  Are they active and over 55?  It’s important to consider if you have dementia/Alzheimer’s or any other condition that might require special attention. Or, you may just be looking for an amazing place to live?

There are several different facilities, according to the needs of the resident, which offer activities to suit their needs.  Activities consist of daily exercises, shopping trips, music performance, cooking demos, manicures, bowling, volley ball and golf.  Activities and special events are normally planned on a week to week basis.   There are movie nights and trips to the store.  Their vehicles are equipped for wheel chair patients and supervised by attendants who assist with physically challenged residents.

If you are able to cook and do things for yourself, you may want an Active 55 or independent living facility.   Some places offer 1 and 2 bedroom suites.   These come with many amenities, and are often fully equipped with washer and dryer, granite countertops, central air, walk-in closets, and covered parking.   Residents can enjoy an amenity package that includes a barbeque area, beautiful courtyard and fountain, fire place, resident lounge. Some have a café, full service hair and nail salon, library and genealogy center, game room, fitness center and more.

There are other community resources and people who volunteer to consult  residents about elderly challenges and issues such as Medicare, Social Security, Wills and Insurance.  Some volunteer organizations ask permission for their members to visit with residents and read to them or write letters for them.  .

 

MEMORY UNITS – These units have Caregivers to be with the residents and watch over them.  These facilities offer many advantages for a person who needs help with daily activities.  Special meals are prepared and brought into the Unit.   Aids (CNAs) are with the residents at all times and assist with bathing, comforting, and checking on them often to see that their daily needs are met.  They even play games and help with small tasks for the mentally impaired.  The nurses check vital signs and administer medication, and there is usually a doctor who comes in when needed.

Everyone Has a Story, What’s Yours?

Moving into an assisted living or a nursing home is a big change for everybody. Sometimes it can be hard to deal with that change. A lot of elderly struggle with feeling like they no longer have a purpose in life. Boredom, anxiety, and stress can all contribute to health issues. There is a lot of down time that can accompany moving into an assisted living home. And it is during down time that we often reflect on if our life had any meaning. We look back on good times, and on our regrets.

 

This is why it is imperative for the elderly to share their stories. Research shows that those who actually write down their stories are able to process their lives better. Writing down their stories can give them a feeling of control over their lives and help raise their self-esteem. It can also help those struggling with depression, improve their cognition and improve their behavioral functioning. Having seniors write down their stories is also a great way for these stories to be preserved for the next generation! It can help families come together and sort out issues between family members, by helping them see things from the other person’s perspective.

 

Storytelling is even a great way to help people who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. If your family member has this, don’t just disregard them if they are constantly rambling about something. A lot of times, the things that are talking about have to do with something in their past. And you might find that they still have lots of memories from a long ago.

 

Reminiscing is therapeutic. And there are ways that we can help the elderly go through the journey of writing down their lives. Here are some ways that you can help your aging family member:

 

  1. Create a list of questions before meeting with them that will ask them about different areas in their life.
  2. Use a recorder/tape to record the conversation. Nowadays this is even easier because most people have some sort of recording app right on their phones!
  3. Let them know why you want to know the stories of their lives, who will get to see it, and how it will be used. A great way to use their stories is by making them some sort of scrapbook about their lives with the stories placed in it!
  4. Be gentle and make sure to have your listening ears on.
  5. If there is a subject that they don’t feel comfortable sharing, don’t push it. You want this experience to be enjoyable for both of you!
  6. Make sure you are in an area that is quiet and free from distractions.
  7. If something isn’t clear, ask questions that will bring clarity.
  8. Nowadays, there are amazing resources that help seniors write down their stories! Resources on the internet are great! There are free websites that can help people go through the process!

Not only will taking your elderly family through the stories of their lives be beneficial for them and you, it will also be beneficial for their caregivers at their new home. For CNA’s and other healthcare workers, knowing about their client’s stories can help them connect and know how to best take care of your family members. Finding out the elderly’s stories just takes time, patience, and a decision let things slowdown in life. Even if it’s just for a few hours! And that is beneficial for everyone!

 

 

 

7 Simple Ways to Help Your Aging Loved One with Diabetes

Let’s talk diabetes. For many, that is a big scary word that most people never want to hear from their doctor. Usually when a diagnosis like this comes, it means that there has to be some dramatic changes in our lives. Most people do not like change, especially people who have gone through many seasons of life. If you have an aging loved one who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, you might be feeling overwhelmed about how to best care for them. Especially if they are living alone or in an assisted living home. How can you help them when you aren’t constantly there to check up on them? Here are 7 ways that you can:

 

 

  1. Open up communication with the staff of the assisted living home and your loved one’s doctor. When you keep communication lines open, it will make you feel reassured that your loved one is getting well looked after, even when you aren’t there.
  2. Go along to their appointments and take notes about anything that the doctor says. Research the disease beforehand, that way you know which questions to ask. If you can’t make it to an appointment find someone that they can trust to take them instead.
  3. Make sure to talk to the nurses at the assisted living home about your loved one’s medication regimen, any diet changes that are needed, and about the level of exercise that the doctor says your loved one should be getting.
  4. Encourage your aging family member in any changes that need to be made to help improve their overall health. This could be as simple as learning how to use a daily glucose test and showing them how to do it. Or helping them understand which medications they need to take and when.
  5. Ask their doctor about which exercise regimen is good for them and either drive them to their exercise classes or PARTICIPATE in it with them. Exercise will help lower stress levels and in turn bring down blood sugar levels.
  6. Another way to help is to get creative with them in the kitchen. With diabetes, doctors usually recommend that they have a good diet full of a variety of vegetables and proteins. Sugary foods and lots of carbohydrates can really hurt a diabetic. This can be a hard one to change, especially if your loved one has spent most of their lives eating processed food. Share the journey of getting healthier with them so they don’t feel like they are all alone in it. Make new recipes together or help them modify some of their old favorites to make them healthier. Another way to help with food is to help stock their kitchen with good healthy snack choices for them to eat throughout the day.
  7. For diabetics having wounds or blisters can really be a cause for concern, especially on the feet. Because their nerve endings are damaged it could be hard for them notice if there is any damage to their feet. If it goes on for a while without treatment, this could lead to serious problems like infection, gangrene or amputations. So please teach your loved one how to regularly check their feet. Also encourage them to wear shoes or slippers that will prevent them from stubbing their toes or falling.

Overall, just try to be there for your loved one. They might not show you that they appreciate it, in fact they might show you the opposite. But try to keep encouraging them that you are only trying to help them keep their independence longer so that they can live the rest of their lives to the fullest.

Change of the Seasons

We are currently in the depths of winter. For some, that might be more noticeable than for others.  The days are getting longer, the sun is coming out more, the temperature is starting to be above the 30s at least a couple times a week. It’s all so exciting!  New life and springtime are just around the corner. The change of the seasons always makes me reflect about life and how we are always going through different seasons throughout our lives. We go through seasons of joy, depression, loss, hurt, forgiveness, disappointment, death, and seasons of contentment, peace and new life. Transition, transition, transition, it’s a part of what makes life, life.

Maybe you or a family member are in a season of major transition. The older we get, the transition to a life of less mobility looms closer. Some of you may have already gone through the transition or some of you might be thinking about it for yourself or for a loved one. The transition could involve moving into an assisted living home, nursing home or maybe into a relative’s home, because you just can’t do the things that you used to be able to do. These transitions can be scary. A lot of people do not like change. This is especially common for the elderly. I think one of the important things to remember when you are going through a season of change, is to give yourself grace.

When you transition, it means that something in your life is coming to an end. There is often a grieving process that we need to go through in our hearts when something in our lives is completed. First, we go through denial, trying to put off the inevitable, and not fully accepting the change that needs to happen. Then we go through times of disappointment, sadness, anger and bitterness, and can even sometimes place the blame on loved ones around us, who are just trying to help. Remember, it’s okay to feel these things. It is a normal part of the grieving process. And a lot of times it feels like that season of feeling down is never going to end. But there is hope!

Even on your worst days, try to remember that you are going through the stages of grief because of the changes in your life, and give yourself grace. It may not feel like it at the time, but soon you will reach the final stage of the grieving process, which is acceptance. Accepting the fact that you had a different life before, reflecting on those memories with joy, and now being able to accept any new moments of joy that will come your way. Be on the lookout for them. There are many things that you can enjoy, even in this new stage of your life.

Here are some other ways that can help you go through seasons of transition. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you. People you can trust and who can verbally process all the changes in your life with. Don’t pick people that will join you down in the gutter. Pick people who will genuinely listen to you, and then encourage you as you go through it. And don’t be afraid to share your feelings with them. So many times, we try to hold our feelings in, to prove that we are resilient, but that can make this season of transition way harder. If you have a family member who is transitioning to an assisted living home, try to be that supportive, listening ear to them. And give them grace to go through the process that they need to. Another way to help them is by making sure that they are getting adequate sleep, exercise, and encouraging them to join into any activities going on at their new home. Being active is a great way to help the elderly take their minds off of the negative.

Exercise for the Elderly

 

Exercise… Is it important? Or is it one of those things that only the extremely athletic and fit people should do? You know, the ones that run marathons or try out for the Olympics. That’s the view that a lot of people have about the word exercise. I’m not going to ever be an athlete, so why even try? Unfortunately, that kind of mindset can really harm your physical and emotional wellbeing and outlook on life, especially as you age. Exercise is extremely important for everyone, especially the elderly. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

 

Improves Bone Density and Prevents Muscle Deterioration

As we age, our bone density and muscle mass decreases. This can cause us to become less mobile and also affects our balance. Exercise can help change that. It can help your muscles stay strong and flexible. And can help your balance be more stable as well. Falls are a big risk for the elderly. Nobody wants that! So, having a good exercise regimen can help prevent them. It can also help prevent diseases like osteoporosis.

Prevent or Delay Disease

Regular exercise is a good preventative for many chronic conditions. Studies show that people who have diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease would all benefit from exercise. It can prevent high cholesterol and stroke. And can also help with getting a good night’s sleep and regulating the bowels.

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

Endorphins is the magical word here! When we exercise our body releases endorphins into the brain, which causes the feeling of happiness! The release of endorphins helps prevent depression, which is something that many people who transition into an assisted living or nursing home frequently struggle with. Exercise can help you feel accomplished and have a positive outlook on your day. And give your day some meaning. Overall, it can help improve your quality of life as you grow older! And don’t forget about also exercising the mind! Doing things like puzzles, sudoku, crosswords, participating in music and playing games are all ways to keep the mind sharp! This will better your focus and help prevent diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

So, how do we motivate ourselves to exercise as we get older?

Switching things up can be one way. Going on walks, stretching, and doing a water aerobics class are all ways that help seniors stay fit, but are also easy on the joints. If you are living in an assisted living home or nursing home, participate in the activities! Joining in with others who are in the same stage of life as you can really motivate you. Activities in the homes can also bring out your inner competition. I didn’t realize that my grandma had a competitive streak until she started participating in the activities in the nursing home. And if the assisted living or nursing home that you live in has therapy, I would like to encourage you to go to it. The therapy workers can help you build/maintain your strength in a safe and healthy way. Overall, just remember that staying active can help provide you with a better quality of life. And I think that is something that deep down everybody wants.

 

5 Things Do Well Before Entering Assisted Living

 

Going into an assisted living facility is a big decision, and one that should not, (and often cannot) be made on the spur of the moment.   Many people will want to stay independent for as long as possible without being a burden on their families, so it makes assisted living a great alternative to traditional nursing home care.   But are there things that should be prepared far in advance of entering a facility like this?  The short answer is yes.  For the long answer, read below!

 

 

 

  1. Make sure to have your financial situation thoroughly checked   Hire a financial advisor who can advise you about your estate.  If you are planning on selling it to a family member or someone else in order to help pay for your twilight years, find out from them when would be the best time to do this. If you do not take care of your financial issues, and tell your money and assets where to go, you can rest assured that the state will one day do it for you, but you may not like where it all ends up.
  2. Stay up to date on the insurances that you will still need. If you sell your home & vehicle, you'll no longer need home insurance or car insurance, but you still have to have some form of health insurance.  If you are on medicare, make sure you'll have everything covered that you need to have covered before making your moves, not after.  Insurance can get very confusing, and if you feel in over your head, do not hesitate to ask for help so that you can understand the huge tangled mess that it weaves.  Also look at your life insurance policy to make sure it's all up-to-date.  Find out if there are any changes you need to make to either of these.
  3. Update your will. No one likes to think about death, yet it is not something that anyone escapes.  Make sure your will is updated with any new information that it needs, and that it is done in front of an attorney to make it legally binding.  Even if your family is clear on your wishes, this is necessary to protect your assets from the state, should there come any discrepancies regarding your property or belongings.
  4. Give permissions to whomever needs permissions to handle business for you. If you are planning to go into assisted living, it means that you'll no longer be out and about on your own to do your business.  Even if you can still visit the bank, insurance/investment company along with this person, it is a good idea to make sure they have permission to act on your behalf in case you are not well enough to accompany them.  Be sure it is someone you trust implicitly, obviously, but then get everything taken care of ahead of a move so that you do not need to worry about it once you're moved in.
  5. Get things boxed, labeled and donated. The best plan of attack with larger items is to place post -it notes on the furniture to tell where it is going or to whom.  Put ideas on pieces that you're unsure of and ask if someone would like it or could use it.  If they cannot, do not be offended. They have their own things, after all.  If no one that you know can use it, call a local charity shop and ask if they offer pick up service.  They should come and get it and give you a tax deductible receipt.     This also eliminates the extra stress on family members who are helping you move, if everything is labeled.  It's a good idea to start this process at least a year before you think you may move, as it is an exhausting prospect, especially if you've lived in the same place for over 20 years.  Think about what you'd like to do with extra sheets/towels, disposable dishes & silverware, laundry detergent, etc.  Find out what is offered at the home you're moving to and try to use up or give away anything that is consumable so that you're not left with strange odds and ends on moving day.

 

This decision is a major life choice.  It should not be undertaken lightly or at the last minute, though there are times when unexpected events occur.  If you think that there might be a time  when you'll enter an assisted living home, start planning now so that the transition is as seamless as possible.  You'll feel so much better about it, and your family will thank you!

Purpose

Purpose is an important part of living a fulfilled life.  Having a sense of purpose can help us through the bumpy patches and give us a reason to get out of bed on the days that it seems impossible to talk ourselves into that simple act.   As human beings living on this planet, however, it can sometimes be difficult to find what our purpose is here.  Are you supposed to help children in poverty?  Are you supposed to help your neighbor that has trouble with house repairs?  What about fighting against injustice?  As people age, and particularly once they've reached the age where they're in assisted living facilities, the question of purpose seems to get lost.  It  is at those times, however, that it may be the most important piece to a larger puzzle.  Without purpose, people tend toward self-absorption and even depression.

Recently I was talking with someone who worked in a nursing care facility.  She said that she'd been working with some older ladies to make bags for young girls in Africa to enable them to go to school.  The particular village they were sending them to had a large population of girls who were skipping school each month during their menstrual cycle because they didn't have the materials or means to make the sanitary items they needed.  It is a common problem in areas of poverty around the world  It is also one that can be easily solved.  The women in this group (some of which have dementia), are happy to work on sewing up the needed items.  Those who have hands that are not able to sew can fit strings through the bags in which they send the items.  It has been a great time of bonding for all involved, and has given them a purpose and a way to help in the world that they hadn't been aware of before.  It also gives them something to talk about among themselves and a topic of conversation with others.

Purpose can be a tricky thing, but I've always been taught that the easiest way to find it is to practice starting at home.  Be sure that you're showing love through your actions to those who are closest to you.  Look around in your daily life for other things you can lend a hand to.  Ask around if you are still coming up short on ideas.  Some people look for something very specific, thinking that their purpose might be to paint portraits of specific people who have lived in the rain forest and learned to adapt in all ways to nature.  For most of us, purpose might not be that specific, but rather a good fit while working to help solve a problem that we see around us.

Helping to solve a problem that we find can be as easy as creating a waterproof, cushioned barrier between the ground and someone who has to sleep on the ground.  Some groups of people have learned how to use plastic yarn or “plarn” to crochet mats for those without homes who are sleeping out in the elements.  It is easily rolled, lightweight, and can add a bit of comfort and even though it is not solving the homelessness problem, it is doing SOMETHING rather than the nothing that is often done.

Solving problems that we see around us can be addictive.  Once we see how much little things can help, it makes us want to get involved in many ways.  For elderly people, there may be ways that they can contribute items that they've made for door prizes for fundraisers for charities that they support.  They may be able to give of their time in helping in other various ways.  Perhaps they can't stand for long periods of time, but they may be able to tag clothing for a community thrift store.  Perhaps they could help serve food at a breakfast fundraiser.  Perhaps they might be able to write thank  you cards for an organization that has received donations, or make calls to ask for donations.

Purpose is a funny thing.  We spend so much time wondering what our purpose might be when it could be that it is really a very simple activity in our daily lives.  The best way to look is to find something that has a positive impact on our immediate sphere of influence or in the wider world.  If you're able to pinpoint it, you may find a little more contentment in knowing that you're making a difference, and a little more excitement upon waking in the morning!

Is It Time For Dentures?

 

Most people do not ever think that they will need false teeth.  Dentures may bring back memories of elderly people in  by-gone eras, perhaps teeth on a bedside table with bubbles floating around them.  No one wants to admit to needing teeth other than the ones they were born with and it can be very difficult to come around to making a major decision like this.  Besides the general stigma of dentures only being for “old” people, they can be quite expensive and sometimes uncomfortable to wear.  So how do you make the decision to move forward?

First, consider your current pain levels.  Are you constantly having tooth aches or abscesses?  Are your teeth so worn down that you're almost chewing with your gums already?  Do you frequently have sores in  your mouth because your teeth are hitting gums or not coming together properly?  Do you suffer from cuts on the inside of your cheek because your teeth are out of alignment and causing problems?  If the problems are severe enough, you might want to consider dentures. The pain after a surgery to remove your teeth and place dentures will at least be toward a goal of better bite and of less pain, whereas your current pain will only get worse with time.  Think about how you want to spend you waning years, with pain or without?

Next, consider eating.  If you are having trouble with chewing right now, can you expect that that will improve?  Perhaps you only need a partial in order to re-gain your bite and make it easier to chew the foods that you want.  If you already have a partial or two, however, you may not have enough solid teeth to hook a third one onto.  You'll then have to make a decision about whether you want to significantly reduce the variety of foods you eat, switch to pureeing everything, or go to dentures.  It can be a scary decision, but if you focus on the outcomes of each choice, it can help to alleviate the stress of it.

Another consideration is, of course, cost.  The cost of dentures can be very overwhelming, especially to someone on a fixed income.  However, if another partial will cost $1200-$1500 and dentures would cost $6000, it may be a smart move. Talk with your dentist about time frames that you might be able to keep your current teeth.  Look at the real-time numbers and make your decision with both eyes open.  You could potentially live with your real teeth for longer and incur less expense, but it might also be at the expense of more time spent in office for fittings for partials and trying to keep up the other teeth that are quickly deteriorating.  Maybe dentures would not be right for you, but if they are, do not shy away because the cost is more.  It might end up being less in the long run.

Finally, consider your smile.  Some people stop smiling altogether because the look of their teeth bothers them, especially if they've lost a significant number of them or if they're yellowed with age and worn.  If this is you, know that you should never stop smiling, even if you're without teeth.  If it bothers you greatly, you should go ahead and get teeth.  Life is far too short to stop smiling and laughing because you're worried about how it will look.  Teeth hold the shape of your face and give you structure.

So eat, smile, laugh and be without pain.  If it takes dentures to do those things, so be it!

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