Boomer’s Blog

Boomer’s Blog2018-05-18T08:58:16-05:00

Dr. Mauk’s Boomer Blog

Each week, Dr. Kristen Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.

Dr. Kristen L. Mauk, PhD, DNP, RN, CRRN, GCNS-BC, GNP-BC, FAAN

Guest Blog: Budgeting for Seniors and Those on Fixed Incomes

Most seniors have a fixed, limited income. Even though it may not seem like a whole lot, there are ways to budget and make the fixed income work to your advantage. After all, you know exactly how much money you are going to get each month. You don’t have to worry about losing a job, or not getting a paycheck. Most of the time the money comes in on a predictable date and this is very advantageous because you know exactly when the money is going to get replenished.

Now to the budgeting. Most seniors have essentials such as paying for medications, food, rent and mortgage, transportation and of course incidentals. Figure out how much you have available after your rent/mortgage expense, medication expense, transportation expense and this is the amount you have for food and incidentals. Going out to eat can be a major expense so staying in might be a good idea for some.
Additionally, if you have money left over at the end of the month, you can save up for a vacation, or a one off purchase.

If you have debt, negotiating the interest rate with the bank or credit card company can save a lot of money. Monitoring utility usage and minimizing utility usage can also lead to a big savings. Leaving on the air conditioning or heat during the day when you aren’t home tends to add up over time. Even though this may amount to 50-100.00 per month, over the course of the year this equates to thousands of dollars.

It’s also worth mentioning that not all insurance premiums are created equal. Some people are unknowingly paying for services outside of Medicare that they may not need. Likewise, for those on an extremely reduced fixed income, it could be worth looking into Medicaid in your state. Each state has different rules, but here is a nationwide guide to Medicaid, which can help pay for regular medical expenses and long term care.

The last piece of advice is to track your not-so-necessary purchases. Write down each time you purchase something that is not essential and you will most likely be surprised. If you are not careful, a large amount of your budget could be going to non-essentials. Whether you use a pen and paper, or are using budgeting software, it is a good idea to keep track of all expenses. Click the lick to see a handy budget sheet created by AARP. This minimizes surprises and will lead to a much easier time getting to the next month’s income check.

Jacob Edward is the manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix Arizona. Jacob founded Senior Planning in 2007 and has helped many Arizona seniors and their families navigate the process of long-term care planning.

By |June 14th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Budgeting for Seniors and Those on Fixed Incomes

Guest Blog: Three key ways architecture benefits the elderly

Most people don’t realize just how big of an impact architecture can have on the lives and well being of elderly individuals. For many years, innovative designs for care homes and retirement living have gone a long way in helping to both support and reassure elderly residents so they feel comfortable in their surroundings, and will do for many years to come. Here are three key ways in which architecture benefits the elderly.

Exposure to sunlight

One of the first architectural considerations for any residential project is ‘how does the building sit in relation to the sun?’ This can influence many factors such as the garden, conservatories and large windows, all because we want residents to have the best exposure to natural light as possible. Designs for many care homes ensure that there are no rooms that face exclusively north, so all residents receive direct, natural sunlight into their room at some point during the day. Not only are there psychological benefits of enjoying the sunshine, but exposure to the sun in moderation provides a healthy dose of Vitamin D, absorbed into the body to help strengthen bones which is a huge boost for the elderly to starve off the effects of frailty with age.

Green space

Residential architecture is not just about the building, but landscaping the garden area too. Retaining some green outdoor space is important for elderly residents for whom it may not be possible to venture to the nearest public park whenever they wish, so they can relax outdoors without completely leaving their home. For more mobile elderly residents, gardens also provide the opportunity to continue with a relaxing gardening hobby, or to even take it up. In care homes, gardens are kept in pristine condition all year round by qualified gardeners, and when the months begin to get warmer, residents can enjoy the various plants and colorful flowerbeds – some of which they may have helped to plant themselves.

Built to adapt

When it comes to care home facilities and retirement housing, architectural designs must cater for the ever-changing needs of the residents. Therefore, it has to be built to adapt. Many elderly who use wheelchairs will require spacious rooms with height adjustable surfaces, particularly in the kitchen, and ramps fitted on all entrances and exits. These features take even more prominence in care homes with more residents present, with designs also incorporating wide corridors to allow residents in wheelchairs or on mobility scooters to pass one another with ease, and interior walls within a resident’s living space fitted as panels that can be easily knocked out to create a larger open plan floor space if necessary.

Author bio: Mick Goode is a co-founder and co-director of Croft Goode Architects, based in Lancashire, UK. As a BIM-focused practice of chartered architects, we have a vast range of experience designing for all kinds of projects, including those for retirement living and healthcare buildings for the elderly and disabled.

By |June 12th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Three key ways architecture benefits the elderly

Guest Blog: Lasik Surgery – Do You Need It?

Often called the windows to our soul, eyes are the first thing that almost everyone notices when they meet someone. Whether you are meeting for the first time or have known them for years, your eyes will meet theirs while having a conversation. Besides that, they are one of the basic senses that you need to function properly. This is why the majority of the people take great care of their eyes to maintain their health.

While corrective lenses and glasses have been the norm of treating near or far-sightedness, a more permanent solution has become popular globally. Lasik eye surgery has seen a surge since many doctors and professionals have reported the great success of the procedure.

LASIK Surgery
LASIK or Laser-Assisted in-Situ Keratomileusis is a corrective eye procedure that uses a laser to treat vision problems such as astigmatism, nearsightedness and/or farsightedness. It is administered by ophthalmologists to reduce the patient’s dependency on prescription lenses or glasses.

It involves the surgeon creating a flap in the cornea with a laser to raise and then fix it through reshaping. There are different techniques and detailed procedures that are used to treat specific vision problems.

It is one of the most famous eye surgeries performed across the world among the various types of refractive surgeries. Its popularity is credited to its list of accolades and successful cases. In fact, the majority of the patients who receive the surgery have successfully achieved a 20/25 or better vision.

While it is a famous treatment choice among many patients with vision-related problems, it is still not applicable to everyone. There are certain requirements that make you eligible for the surgery. As for the ones who can’t get the procedure, there are only very few exceptional cases who are rejected for the LASIK procedure.

The following few points will help you decide if you are a candidate for the surgery and if you should start asking about how much LASIK surgery costs.

AGE
Your age is an important consideration when determining your eligibility for the LASIK procedure. Usually, if you have a good ocular health overall and are in the age range of 18-65, you are eligible for the corrective eye surgery. But remember that the case for you might be different depending on various other factors. For example, there are certain instances where kids under 18 can receive the surgery. It is better that you ask a surgeon to evaluate your ocular health and make a more informed decision.

Your Ocular Health
Ocular health or general state of your eyes will greatly impact the decision of your eligibility for LASIK. According to Mayo Clinic, patients with low to moderate level of refractive vision problems with no other vision errors are best suited for LASIK. Any disease that holds the potential to get worse as a result of the surgery will eliminate your chances of getting LASIK. These diseases include cataracts, large pupils, glaucoma, lid disorders, keratitis, uveitis and a few others.

Your Overall Health
Besides particularly ocular health, your overall health also impacts your chances of being eligible for LASIK. There are certain medical conditions that might have negative impacts on your eyes if you get LASIK. These diseases include diabetes, severe depression, certain chronic pain conditions and disorders related to the immune system that makes you prone to infections like lupus, HIV, arthritis among other autoimmune diseases.

While these might be able to give you a general idea about what you need to be eligible for the LASIK surgery, but it is better that you get a professional evaluation.

By |June 11th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Lasik Surgery – Do You Need It?

Guest Blog: A Solid Rehab Approach for the Elderly

Unfortunately, addiction doesn’t just stop in one place and stay there. It can affect many people across all walks of life. It happens to any person, of any age, in any area, in any place of their life. This is why it is important to note those rehabs that specialize in rehab care for the elderly.

With over 40 million seniors aged 65 or older living in the country, it is no wonder that some of them do have an addiction issue. With so many seniors, many of them have taken prescription pills for one health issue or another. As a leading cause of substance abuse in the country, seniors are not exempt from this addiction.

In fact, seniors are more likely to be prescribed these medications and more likely to abuse them than any other age group. This is because they are oftentimes forgetful, may feel like they haven’t taken enough, do not realize they are taking too much, or any number of other reasons.

Rehab for these seniors addicted to these medications will be needed.

Addiction in Seniors
Many find it surprising that so many seniors are addicted to medications. Isolation and loneliness tend to be the most common issues for addiction in older adults, especially those abusing alcohol or other drugs.

This type of addiction needs to be addressed in a specific setting and in a specific way. Not only should the root of the problem, such as the loneliness, be addressed, but the specific person should understand that they have a problem. Even though they are older, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t get help.

An addiction rehab with specialists that are trained in senior rehab is required. This is a rehab center that can speak with the senior, understand why they are using or abusing the substance, and then find the best course of action to take regarding their treatment plan.

Seniors, just like the rest of us, are susceptible to addiction. Due to this, it is important to check in on those that are close to you to make sure that they do not feel the need to use. You want to help them when it is needed, visit with them, and let them know you are there. Rehabs for seniors, and others that have drug abuse issues are out there, but it shouldn’t have to get this far.

By |June 10th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: A Solid Rehab Approach for the Elderly

8 Fun Activities for Seniors with Mobility Issues

Do mobility issues have your aging parent down in the dumps? Losing the ability to get around independently can definitely strike a blow to confidence and wellbeing levels. Mobility issues don’t need to stifle a senior’s sense of purpose or enjoyment of life though. Don’t miss these 8 fun activity ideas for seniors with mobility issues:

Board games – bring on the board games and give your loved one a cognitive boost. Everything from cards to Scrabble to Monopoly, Dominos, and Checkers is a great place to start. Stock up on gently used board games from local re-stores like Goodwill and invite friends and family to join in on the fun.

Puzzles – putting puzzles together stimulates critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as engages spatial awareness and concentration. Don’t reserve your fun to jigsaw puzzles either; games like Sudoku and Jenga have similar brain-boosting effects too!

Cooking – maybe standing at the stove to stir a big pot isn’t feasible, but mixing a green salad at a lower table is. Or helping scoop cookie dough onto a baking sheet. Cooking with your aging parent not only gives them something fun to do but helps them feel like a productive contributor in the home too.

Chair exercises – routine workouts are critical for all older adults, even people who are limited to canes, walkers or wheelchairs. Physical fitness helps prevent unwanted weight gain and lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Guides to chair exercises and exercises for those recovering from injuries like fractured hips can be found online.

Art project – get the creative juices flowing and find an art project geared towards your loved one’s interests. Perhaps it is painting on a canvas, collaging, knitting, coloring, making jewelry, or even simply framing family photos – the act of creating something can is truly invigorating.

Planting – potting plants is easy and accessible when your loved one can sit in a chair at a table. Mixing soil, placing plants inside pots, and even snipping dead leaves or picking herbs are monthly activities that your loved one can do with minor assistance.

Reading – Nothing beats a good book. If your loved one is unable to hold a book or see words on a page, audiobooks are a great alternative (and can be borrowed for free at your local library).

Video chatting – for seniors with mobility limitations, social isolation is a very prevalent and dangerous reality. Technology makes it easy, however, to connect with friends and family near and far via free services like Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime. You simply need a smartphone or webcam with speakers for your computer.

By |June 7th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on 8 Fun Activities for Seniors with Mobility Issues

Guest Blog: Choose Your Laptop For Music Production


Musicians use laptops in different ways. Many employ a traditional approach, recording tracks from microphones and instruments and then mixing them to create the final product. Hip-hop, pop and electronic musicians often use the laptop to produce most of the real sounds – programming the sounds in a sequencer or playing them on a MIDI keyboard or touchpads connected to the laptop. But they still record vocals and other sounds using microphones and mix them with computer-generated audio and often with footage from other artists’ recordings. DJs usually do all of the above and also use the top music production laptops as a presentation device, often triggering everything with a controller that has touchpads and some scratch-like platters. Get more ideas about choosing the best laptops for your music production here Music Production Laptop Reviews.

All of these applications use software packages called digital audio workstations or DAWs. Some DAWs are more focused on recordings, others more for the generation of music in the laptop itself. Here is an excellent guide to selecting a DAW.

The folk singer / songwriter who wants to take her laptop with her on the subway to record concerts in Brooklyn has different needs from the producer who wants to bring hip hop hits to the studio set up in her home in Atlanta. So the first step should be to decide what your job requires. Is portability important? Will your productions be simple or complex? Will your laptop be used in a live music presentation?

Screen size

The screen is important because it determines the size of your visual workspace. The more complex your productions are, the more work space you need. Almost any laptop screen will allow you to monitor 6 to 10 music tracks comfortably, but it is almost impossible to manage 30 tracks on a small screen.

• Smaller screens (10-13 inches diagonally) can be accommodated easily in backpacks. For recordings and basic mixes, a small monitor is fine.
• Mid-size laptops (14-16 inches) typically represent the balance between portability and performance.
• Large laptops (17-18 inches) are great for music producers who need to monitor dozens of tracks at once, which is the norm in hip-hop, pop and electronic music.

Mobility

If you plan to use your laptop for recordings or live performances, a smaller model is in gral a better option because it is easier to load and takes up less space on the stage. Another consideration in these applications is battery life. It is not important in homes or clubs where there is a nearby outlet, but it can be critical for mobile recording. Also, if you plan to use your laptop for a presentation or recording in clubs, it’s a good idea to choose a model with a backlit keyboard.

Mac or Windows?

MacBooks are fast and reliable, although there are equally powerful Windows laptops, usually for more affordable prices. This choice depends primarily on two factors: your budget and the software you prefer to use. Note that professional music studios tend to use Macs, so if you plan to work alongside professional studios – recording a few tracks in a large room or hiring a professional to mix your recording – a Mac may be a safer option, though audio files from Windows machines can be transferred to the Mac operating system and vice versa.

Processor

Music production can put a heavy load on a CPU or processor, which is the heart of any computer. Get the best and most powerful processor within your budget because it can rarely be updated later. The more complicated your productions, the more important the CPU. Mixing a song with 30 tracks, multiple instruments and many digital audio effects requires a powerful computer.

There are two measures of processor performance to keep in mind. One is the number of cores. Each core can process data independently, so the addition of cores dramatically increases processing power. A quad-core processor is the best choice for music production. The other measure is the clock speed, which generally ranges from 2.4 to 4.2 GHz. The faster, the better.

In general, a more compact laptop will have a less powerful processor, but this is not always true.

RAM

RAM, or random access memory, temporarily stores programs and data when your computer is on. The more complex the program, the more RAM it requires.

For music production you need at least 8 GB and preferably 16 GB of RAM, especially if you are working with many recorded tracks and / or virtual instruments, or employing multiple effects on your tracks. Fortunately, RAM is one of the easiest components to upgrade on a computer, but every laptop has its limits. It is best to choose one that can accommodate at least 16 GB of RAM.

Storage: HDD or SSD?

Audio files spend a lot of storage space: only a complicated song can easily occupy 1 GB. That’s why it’s a good idea to have at least 1TB of storage space available.

How this storage is organized is another matter. Its options are a conventional hard disk (HDD), which uses one or more internal rotating disks, a solid state drive (SSD) without moving parts or an external HDD, which connects to your laptop via USB.

An SSD is able to read and write data much faster than an HDD and is quieter and more reliable. However, the price of an SSD is usually five times higher per GB than that of an HDD. One solution, if your laptop allows, is to have a 128GB or 256GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. That way, bootstrapping and loading programs from the SSD are ultrafast and you have plenty of storage space for music files on the HDD.

Another solution is to save your music files – or at least archived ones – to an external hard drive. This method increases complexity, but lets you add more storage space when you need it, and lets you opt for a smaller, thinner computer.

Doors

To interface a laptop with microphones, instruments, and other audio devices, you will need an audio interface that will connect to the laptop through a USB port. If you’re producing music directly from your laptop, you’ll also use USB to connect to a keyboard, MIDI pads (to play beats), and DJ controllers. Many music professionals like to use control surfaces, which offer a very similar physical interface to a mixing desk, instead of using the mouse to control their recordings and audio mixes.

laptops come with at least two USB ports, but obviously you may want more, especially if you want to connect peripherals such as a wired keyboard or mouse or an external hard drive. The USB ports of any computer can be extended by connecting a USB hub, but for the portable users, this will be another device to charge.

Connectors for Speakers / Headphones

Surprisingly, these features do not matter much in a laptop used for music production. The laptop-integrated speakers are very low-quality devices, which are only there in case you do not have anything else to listen to. Nothing will sound good through them, and if you try to adjust your mixes to sound good for them, the song will probably sound strange when played on good-quality speakers. You can use the headphone connector integrated into the laptop, however, in most laptops. the amplifier connected to the headphone connector has poor quality and can take some of the sound out of your headphone.

Fortunately, most audio interfaces have headphone connectors as well as connections that allow you to attach a set of high quality monitor speakers that will allow you to mix with high quality sound. Why is not it crazy to invest hours in choosing the right laptop and hundreds of hours in producing a piece of music and then listening to it on low-quality speakers?

Final tracks

Once you have chosen the laptop, audio interface and DAW software that are best for your needs, you are ready to create studio-quality music productions. In fact, most of the songs you hear on the radio are created using nothing more than that. You just need to add your own creativity and imagination.

By |June 6th, 2019|Categories: Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog|Tags: |Comments Off on Guest Blog: Choose Your Laptop For Music Production