Each week, Dr. Mauk shares thoughts relevant to Baby Boomers that are aimed to educate and amuse.
Whether you’ve recently retired, are planning to retire soon or are facing an unknown future where retirement seems virtually impossible, when you’re living on a fixed or tight income, you’re always looking for ways to save money. Plus, since one of the first areas to get cut when the budget is tight is entertainment, you may wonder how can you still have fun, without spending a fortune. To answer that question, here’s a list of inexpensive activities that could be perfect for you!
Attend Free Events. From free nights at the museum to local art gallery showings in town, keep your radar on for free activities in the area that you might enjoy. Most cities will host free lectures, concerts, movie nights and other activities from time to time.
Start a Club or Discussion Group.
- Start a book club, movie group or discussion group with a handful of friends, hosted either at your home or rotating homes month to month. Getting together will cost little more than making some snacks — and it will still be a fun night for everyone.
Take Advantage of Community Centers and Libraries. Rent movies or check out books at the library, and go for walks at the local community center track. Within your specific city or town, find what other amenities are available to you and decide to make the most of them, either on your own or with a friend.
Volunteer in the Community. Volunteering not only makes you feel good about helping others, but it also connects you with people in the community and often qualifies you for some cool, cash-saving perks. Whether it’s free food when you’re volunteering at the local school district or a place to socialize when you’re serving as a greeter at the hospital, volunteering helps you reach outside yourself and have fun in the process.
Host Potlucks. Rather than always going out to eat with friends, try hosting potlucks where everyone brings a dish to pass. You’ll only need to make one dish, still have the fun of socializing with friends or loved ones, and save a bundle in the process.
Enjoy the Outdoors. Go to the park, take walks on trails at the forest preserve, plan a picnic or watch a local Little League game. Getting outside is not only good for your spirits, it’s usually inexpensive too!
Mark Westerman is the Chief Marketing Officer for CareOne, Inc., a provider of debt relief services nationwide.
If you or someone you care for has Parkinson’s disease, you may encounter a wide array of symptoms on a day to day basis from tremors to muscle rigidity to slowed movements, balance problems, and speech changes. Non-physical symptoms can accompany the disease as well including trouble sleeping, mood changes, urinary urgency, constipation, even loss of smell.
When it comes to managing this type of chronic autoimmune condition, in addition to a comprehensive treatment planned laid out by your doctor, assistive equipment can go a long way in simplifying daily life:
Advancements in science and technology have made their way into the kitchen market providing relief to people who may otherwise have difficulty feeding themselves. Adaptive utensils are specially designed to help counteract tremors someone with Parkinson’s may have in their hand when holding a fork or spoon, for example.
Other helpful dining aids may include weighted cups and bowls (that are less likely to tip over), and plate guards or high-rimmed plates that prevent food from falling out.
People with Parkinson’s are at increased risk of falling so supportive equipment around the bed can definitely make this fall-prone environment safer. Install bed rails to aid seniors with limited mobility or try a super pole that stands fixed beside the bed or a pull strap that connects to the end of the bed and makes it easier to sit up.
Bedside commodes can also simplify the task of night time toileting, especially for Parkinson’s sufferers with incontinence issues.
As dexterity and finger nimbleness falls prey to the contracture of muscles and joints in the hands, getting dressed on your own can become difficult. This key marker of independence may be retained in some respects with dressing aids that allows a person with Parkinson’s to dress themselves. Tools like button hooks, zipper pulls, one-handed belts, dressing sticks, and shoe horns can all go a long way to promoting self-reliance even as the disease progresses.
Maintaining personal hygiene has the ability to improve your sense of confidence and your mood, no matter what Parkinson’s brings your way. Equipment that makes bathing safer and reduces the risk of falling includes shower transfer chairs, grab bars (inside and outside the shower), and non-slip bath mats. Additional bathroom tools may include weighted holders for toothbrushes, razors, etc. as well as removable shower heads and long-handled bath sponges and scrubbers.
Older adults are at high risk of developing depression. As we age, the brain becomes less active and we often begin to experience mild memory losses. Even though many seniors choose to get treatment as soon as they realize their mental health begins to decline, they don’t want to become pariahs to their families. As a consequence, they refuse to get further help and end up in depression. How can we help our older parents overcome depression when they refuse to accept our assistance?
Depression – a real health concern we shouldn’t leave unattended
Depression is a proven health concern that manifests differently from individual to individual. The symptoms are real, and if they’re not treat in advance, the condition may lead to even greater health issues, including sleep deprivation, lack of interest in performing daily activities, isolation, lack of appetite, and more.
Sadly, too many seniors can’t or won’t want to admit that they feel depressed. They refuse to get help because they don’t want to be a burden to their loved ones. As their parent, you have to be more aware of the signs, so that you can help them get back on their feet. Depression shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness. Everyone can become depressed at any age, and regardless of any accomplishments of background.
Have a chat with your parents and talk about their feelings
Stress or bereavement are not the sole cause of depression in older adults. If you’ve noticed that your loved ones are not eating anymore or that they’ve lost interest in performing daily activities that once made them feel good, then they might be depressed. It’s very important to talk to your parents about their feelings.
Have a friendly conversation and ask them if they’re doing ok. Older adults become depressed when their health is in jeopardy; or when they begin losing their friends due to old age. If you can’t afford to hire a specialized caregiver, you can be their caregiver. All you have to do is listen to what they have to say. Be there to comfort them and find a way to lift their spirit by doing activities together.
The link between sadness and depression
There’s a very tight connection between sadness and depression. However many older adults claims they’re not sad, making you believe they’re not depressed. But deep down something’s off. Their depression might kick in and develop in a totally different way. Pay close attention to the signs, and if you notice that mom doesn’t talk as much or doesn’t want to do anything, then she might be depressed.
In older adults, depression can be observed physically. Your parent may suffer from insomnia, acute arthritis, lack of appetite, or lack of energy. Migraines and headaches can also be a predominant symptom. As we age, we begin losing some of the people we care most about. Loss is excruciating, and older seniors don’t know how to cope with it. Many grieve differently, and even though it’s normal, some adults end up depressed.
It’s tough to make the difference between depression and grief because oftentimes the symptoms are very similar. Nonetheless, there are ways to tell them apart. Grief involves a wealth of emotions; some are good, others are not so good. Sometimes, the person grieving a loved one may experience feelings of joy and happiness. When you’re depressed, positive feelings are completely eradicated, and you feel totally empty.
Helping a loved one cope with depression
Beating depression is hard, but not impossible. It demands a lot of hard work and determination. Support matters the most, they key often being to be there for your aging parent and engage in activities that make them feel positive and upbeat. Note that digital communication doesn’t help; talking to your mom every week over the phone is not enough to raise her spirit. You have to do it in person.
Make time to visit every week. Bring the kids over, go out for coffee, and find a way to have a good time and remember the good times. Residential care may not be the first thing that comes to mind when aiming to overcome depression. But it might be a good idea because it allows older adults to make new friendships and build relationships.
Guest Blog: How to Find the Right Senior Housing Community
By: Derek Hobson
First let’s tackle the basics. Many people are wary of senior care homes because there’s a stigma that surrounds them; people see them as gloomy, dreary, end-of-life communities. While certainly there was a time when this was the case (several decades ago), most communities have worked hard to battle this stereotype and they have succeeded.
Many communities have done away with “institution” or “hospital” –like settings. Even more have become increasingly lenient on policies regarding residents’ possessions; some facilities have been known to permit pets and even furniture to help it feel like home. So, when the time comes to transition into one of these senior care homes, the question becomes, “How do I find the right one?”
1. Find out About Affordability
This is usually at the top of everyone’s list and for good reason. Today, people are having children later in life. This isn’t a bad thing, but it means that around the same time their kids are going off to college, their parents are starting to need extra care. This can put a lot of stress on adult children, but some senior homes provide help.
Some Assisted Living Facilities will accept private pay for a period of time and then accept the rest through Medicaid. This way, your senior does not need to move and they won’t need to fear outliving their assets.
2. Visit the Community (Often)
If you think a community looks good for your loved one, then you should visit and revisit. You should tour the facility on different days of the week at different times. This way, you’ll get a much broader view of the day-to-day.
See if people are out and about, if engaging activities are going on, and if there’s a general feeling of community. If you show up to an elder care home that looks more like a ghost town, then it’s probably not the one for your loved one.
3. Talk to the Residents & Staff
This one is critical, as nothing quite beats a first-hand view into the establishment. Ask residents if they enjoy the community, what they do on a daily basis, and if they’re happy.
When asking the staff, of course they’re not going to disparage against the home, but one of the most important things to take notice of is how they interact with the residents. If they refer to them by name and have clearly established relationships with them, then this can be a huge indicator of the level of personal care your loved one will receive.
These are the three most important criteria to face when choosing an elder care community and they should give you a well-rounded idea of the facility you’ve chosen.