6 Tips To Guarantee Your Aging Parents a Healthy (and Happy!) Retirement

mother and daughter

One in 10 people in the US who have their own family and children are also caring for their older parents. While we all tend to think about retirement as the “golden years” to enjoy in a balanced financial situation, in our home, and surrounded by our loved ones, this isn’t always the case. 

Luckily, there is a lot you can do to ensure that your aging parents can make the most of their upcoming years. In the sections below, you can find some useful tips to introduce today and enhance the quality of life of your older parents. After all, this is the time to give back to them!

Create a More Accessible Home

Loss of mobility is a natural condition that happens as a result of aging and affects 35% of people older than 70 and most people over 85 years. As we age, it is normal to experience a loss of strength and balance. And, of course, diseases that are common in older people – such as arthritis – can reduce mobility even more. 

In turn, a loss of mobility can have many physical and psychological consequences, especially if your aging parent is now struggling to move freely in their own house. You can ensure they regain their freedom of movement by adapting their living spaces to their needs. For example, you might consider installing a lift, swapping the shower for a walk-in bathtub, and adding rails. 

Provide With the Health Support They Need

Aging is a condition that affects everyone, and its consequences are to be expected. However, over the past years, life expectancy standards have increased, also thanks to the better quality of life, improvements in healthcare, and advancements in technology. 

Since, today, life-improving devices are available, you should not think twice about using them to enhance the quality of life of your aging parents. For example, you could start by learning more about the benefits of hearing aids, walking aids, prescription glasses, and memory and communication aids. You can also increase their level of safety by using GPS and personal alarm devices. 

Discuss Living Arrangements With Them

While you might be tempted to make a decision for your aging parents, keeping the conversation open with your aging parents is a great way to safeguard their happiness. After all, this is their retirement, and it is only fair for them to be involved in the decision. 

If you have been considering opting for the services of assisted living facilities or nursing homes – and you truly believe that this is the best solution for them – present your idea to your parents. However, make sure you are doing so while keeping a compassionate tone and open mind! 

After all, they might not be of your same opinion and ask for their current home to be changed – so they can live near you and the rest of their family. 

Ensure They Can Spend Plenty of Time Outdoors and in Nature

Spending time outdoors and in nature is essential for everyone’s health – especially for older adults. When outdoors, the healing power of nature can help us feel less stressed, isolated, bored, or anxious. In the case of older people, having the opportunity of spending time outdoors is essential to break the routine and remain active. 

Whether your aging parent is now living with you, moved to assisted living facilities, or is still enjoying the comfort of their own home, ensure that they can spend at least 120 minutes outdoors a week.

Encourage Them To Find Purpose

One of the main issues aging people go through is a loss of purpose as they age. Indeed, going from their working life, daily responsibilities, and caring for others to the life of a retiree can be hard on the mind and body. 

However, they also deserve to make the most of their golden years! So, encourage your parents to find new daily activities and purpose for their lives. For example, they could take on a new hobby – such as gardening or swimming – or find purpose in humanitarian goals. For example, you might encourage them to dedicate a few hours a week volunteering for a cause that is close to their heart. 

Make Sure They Are Surrounded by a Loving Community

It is important for aging people to not feel lonely and bored. Whether your parents are still living at home or have moved to a nursing home, ensure they are surrounded by a thriving community of people that can help them make the most of their days. If you have noticed them being often home alone, consider encouraging them to join a club or take on a new hobby – these simple lifestyle choices can help them meet many new people. 

Signs That Your Aging Parents Needs More Help

There are lots of signs that can suggest that an aging parent needs more help now, from spoiled food sitting in the fridge to living in the same pair of pajamas all the time. Always pay attention to any changes that seem out of character to you, as they could suggest that more help is needed.

older people

Remember that nobody knows your parents or loved ones like you do. Something that strikes you as unusual might be commonplace for someone elses’ parents. It is helpful to know some common warning signs that may signal trouble ahead. If you notice these signs, it may be worth starting to reach nursing homes, assisted living, in-home help, and help available from a Nursing Home Law Center LLC

Whether you’re visiting in person or catching up through a video chat, look out for these signs. 

  1. Bounced checks, calls from collections, and late payment notices. Are they paying bills late or not paying them at all? Are they getting calls from collection companies? 
  2. Broken or damaged fixtures and appliances. Have they stopped cooking or keeping a regular meal schedule because their kitchen appliances aren’t working? Are important things, like light bulks, not being replaced? 
  3. Changes in mood or extreme mood swings. Do they act differently towards your, friends, or strangers? 
  4. Cluttered, dirty, or disorganized home. Is their home looking different to you?
  5. Confusion and uncertainty when performing tasks. Have they become unsure about everyday tasks like laundry, washing the dishes, or vacuuming?
  6. Feeling depressed or having little energy. Has their manner changed in a noticeable way? Do they seem as cheerful as they did before?
  7. Wearing disheveled or tattered clothing. Are your parents starting to neglect their appearance? Are their clothes often dirty or look worn out? 
  8. Keeping expired groceries. Is food growing mold on the counter or in the fridge? Does the kitchen smell?
  9. Forgetfulness. Do they often misplace their keys, wallets, or other personal items? 
  10. Improper medication management. Are there full bottles of prescription pills in their medicine cabinet? Are they forgetting to take their medication?
  11. Leaving the house or yard maintenance unattended. Are the weeds out of control? Is there trash piling up?
  12. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies. Have they stopped taking part in things they previously enjoyed?
  13. Missing appointments. Are they having to rearrange doctor’s appointments, or just not showing up at all. 
  14. Weight loss or poor diet habits. Are they eating a lot less or only eating prepackaged snacks? 
  15. Poor personal hygiene. Is their breath bad or do they have body odor? 
  16. Trouble getting up from a seated position. Are they finding it hard to sit or stand?
  17. Frequent injuries or bruising. Unexplained injuries could indicate falls or other accidents in the home. 
  18. Unexplained dents or damage on their car. Are they having more accidents? Are they not paying attention to their safety when they drive?

If you notice these signs, it might be helpful to write down your worries. Talk with your siblings and other relatives, or plan an elder care family meeting to start helping.

One Year Since Goodbye

One year.

This is the last photo I ever took of you. Not a great photo- I couldn’t get you all to look in the same direction at the same time.  I knew, I just knew I was never going to see you again- you weren’t acting like yourself, you were too keen to have us go (it was such a quick visit, it made me frantic), you had been physically dragging, and talking about everyone who was already gone. Not to mention, you actually let us within 6 feet of you, and you hadn’t done that since the pandemic started. All our in person visits were outside, and across the lawn.

All the recent phone calls we had had, you seemed sad. Well, more tired then sad- but tired in a way you’d never been. Just before I got “the” phone call, I was talking to John, and I told him that I thought you were about to leave us. I wish I had been wrong, but you just seemed like you were done.

 

I’m not going to talk about your transition, which was complicated and sad and not the way you would have liked it to be. I AM going to say how much I miss you- and that I realize this is wildly self indulgent, you won’t read it because you can’t, and there isn’t really a “reason” as it were to write it. But, it’s been a year, and I want to memorialize it, even if it’s just here.

I love you and miss you terribly.  You were so many things to so many people- and you were so many things to me. That’s not for here, though, that’s for us.

Your hutch sits in my living room now, like you wanted it to. It smells like you when I open it’s doors. I wear your white sweater around the house most days. I’m not a person who really wears white, but hey- it doesn’t really show any dog fur, so I tell myself it’s a doublegood reason.  😉

Reunited with your husband of so many years, I hope it’s everything you wanted it to be. I miss you both so much. Love forever.

2021’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family

best places

With families looking for a fresh start once the COVID-19 pandemic dies down and moving becomes practical, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2021’s Best & Worst States to Raise a Family, as well as accompanying videos.

To determine the best states in which to put down family roots, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 52 key indicators of family-friendliness. The data set ranges from the median annual family income to housing affordability to the unemployment rate.

Best States for Families Worst States for Families
1. Massachusetts 41. Nevada
2. Minnesota 42. Arizona
3. North Dakota 43. South Carolina
4. New York 44. Alabama
5. Vermont 45. Arkansas
6. New Hampshire 46. Oklahoma
7. New Jersey 47. Louisiana
8. Washington 48. West Virginia
9. Connecticut 49. Mississippi
10. Utah 50. New Mexico

Best vs. Worst

  • Minnesota has the highest median annual family income (adjusted for cost of living), $85,473, which is 1.5 times higher than in New York, where it is lowest at $57,450.
  • Utah has the lowest separation & divorce rate, 15.74 percent, which is 1.7 times lower than in Nevada, where it is highest at 26.07 percent.
  • New Hampshire has the lowest share of families living in poverty, 4.60 percent, which is 3.4 times lower than in Mississippi, where it is highest at 15.50 percent.
  • South Dakota has the lowest average annual cost of early childcare (as a share of median family income), 7.22 percent, which is 1.8 times lower than in Nebraska, where it is highest at 13.19 percent.
  • Maine has the fewest violent crimes (per 1,000 residents), 1.15, which is 7.5 times fewer than in Alaska, the state with the most at 8.67.

To view the full report and your state’s rank, please visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-states-to-raise-a-family/31065

4 Simple Ways to Eliminate Stress When Traveling as a Family

Vacations are planned with hope and optimistic anticipation. Unfortunately, sometimes vacations can cause more stress than they can relieve. Because of this, we listed a few simple ways to alleviate a great deal of unnecessary stress that can be brought on by a family vacation. 

 

Rent a Car

When you rent a car, you are on your own timeline. You can relax at the restaurant because you do not need to worry about the last public transportation bus leaving at a certain time. You can stay out as long as you like, or if the kids are getting fussy, you can leave as early as you like. Public transportation with kids is more stressful than it is worth. 

 

But sometimes car hire can be very stressful, too. Because of this, be sure to plan your rental in advance, so you get a car that is roomy enough for your family. Renting the car online well in advance will also save you money. Plan a little ahead as to what will benefit your family the most.

 

It is also nice to rent a car even for road trips so that there is less of a chance for the car breaking down. Since rental cars are almost always new and boast low mileage, they are less likely to fall apart in the middle of a road trip. Or if heaven forbid a car accident occurred, you can return the car and swap it for a new one on the road as opposed to waiting for your vehicle to get fixed.

 

Plan Relaxation for Yourself and Fun for the Kids

Whether it is a ski trip or beach getaway, be sure to have activities planned for the kids. These trips are simple because a day of skiing easily wears kids out while you can go and get a massage or shop. The beach or pool also wears kids out, but you can still keep a close eye on them as you work on your tan. 

 

Smart planning for the activities you and your kids can enjoy will keep everyone happy. The kids will stay entertained and have fun while you get to sit back and relax. If you plan on taking on the task of entertaining your kids the whole trip, you will likely be more exhausted from the trip than you were before the vacation. So plan your relaxation beforehand and keep the kids busy during that time so the whole family can get the most out of the vacation.

 

Pack Games and Distractions for Travel Times

The travel itself is the hardest part of vacations with the family. Whether it is a long road trip in a crammed car or a flight with limited leg room, it is never fun to manage children in compact spaces for long periods of time. 

 

In order to combat this, be sure to pack many distractions. It can be in the form of handheld video games or movies. It can also be word games, card games, or coloring. Just be sure to have distractions available for your kids to stay entertained. 

 

Snacks

Hanger has no mercy when it seeks victims. Both young and old are not immune to their mood being affected by an empty belly. Pack or buy plenty of snacks along the way so there is always something to keep the family satisfied. A great deal of drama can be avoided with simple snacks.

 

You can make the snacking fun as well by trying local small bites or favorites from home.

 

Vacations are always planned with good intentions but sometimes they can be a nightmare. To avoid any extra stress, keep these tips in mind so you can enjoy your time away with your family.

5 Point Checklist for Mountain Adventures with Your Kids

Heading to the mountains with your kiddos in tow can provide a lot of fun adventures. Whether you’re looking to go during the winter months for some skiing excitement or you prefer to head out with nicer weather for a fun hike, there are plenty of options to choose from. However, no matter which option you decide to choose, it’s important that you take all necessary precautions. After all, mountainsides can provide additional challenges for those little ones, so be sure to follow this five point checklist for mountain adventures with your kids.

 

  1. Food and Drink

Your child requires sustenance and hydration, and whether you’re on the mountain in cold or warm weather conditions, it’s important you have plenty of food and drink on hand. You know your child best, so you should plan your schedule and food/drink supply accordingly. For instance, if you know your child needs snacks throughout the day, you should prepare to bring plenty of snacks along for the trip. In addition, you may also want to consider keeping your mountainside adventures shorter in duration so you have time to head back to the hotel/cabin for a rest. When you can plan food and drink ahead of time, you can help alleviate any instances where your child has a temper tantrum on the edge of a mountain because they’re hungry.

 

  1. Clothing

It’s very important to put your child in the right type of clothing when you are taking a mountain adventure. Before you pack for your child or get them dressed for the day, it’s very important you take into consideration the following:

  • Weather
  • Outdoor pests
  • Temperature changes based on incline

The outside temperature and weather at the time of your adventure will make a difference in how you dress your child. Be sure to have items on hand like wool socks to keep their feet warm (especially in colder conditions). If it’s raining, you’ll want to ensure they have waterproof clothing on, and if it’s hot, make sure they’re not overheating.

 

In addition to the weather, you also need to consider the outdoor pests. For instance, will you be hiking in an area that is prone to poison ivy, ticks, or other hazardous animals, plants, or pests? You need to know this information to ensure your child is dressed appropriately to keep them from coming into contact with something that’s potentially dangerous.

 

Finally, your child’s clothing should also accommodate changes in temperature based on incline. For instance, you may start out in an 80-degree location, but as you continue to climb, the temperature may drop significantly. If your child is dressed only for that 80-degree weather, you could put them at risk for hypothermia without the proper attire.

 

  1. First Aid Kit

Whenever you are doing anything adventurous with children, it’s very important for you to have a first aid kit on hand. While you hope to never need it, it’s always better to have this on hand just in case of a fall or scrape. Covering a small scrape with a bandage and some ointment could be the difference between your child continuing on the adventure or screaming to go home.

 

  1. Safety Gear

The type of safety gear you will need for your mountain adventure will depend on the age of your child, their behavior, and your actual adventure. For instance, you’ll likely need more safety gear for a young child who is prone to walking away while hiking on a steep mountainside. Consider having items where you can strap your child to your chest (if they’re young enough) or having a tether that connects you to your child. You’ll also want to make sure your child has the right footwear, as it’s important to have climbing boots or snow boots to handle the different weather and terrains. Before you take your adventure, it’s a good idea to head to a local outdoors retailer to ensure you’re getting all the right items.

 

  1. Education

Before you head out on your mountain adventure with a child, it’s important you get all the education you possibly can—for both you and your child. Be sure you have a solid understanding of the area you’re visiting and what exactly you’ll be doing while there. You should also have an understanding of any possible risks or threats to you and your family too. Once you have the basics, be sure to educate your child as best as you can. Make sure they understand how they need to wear certain clothes/gear or that they cannot walk away from you. The more you talk to your child about the adventure, the safer they will be.

 

When it comes to taking mountain adventures with your kids, be sure you have this checklist in place before you go.

 

Want More Time to Spend With Your Family? Try Working From Home

Cities like Boston, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta have some of the worst traffic in the country. Depending on where you live, you can spend up to 10 hours a week or more commuting to and from work. But what if there was a way to get those 10-plus hours back? Imagine being able to spend that time with your kids, helping them with their homework, sitting down with them to a nice breakfast or lunch, or just talking with them about their day. An extra 10 hours a week would also give you more time to work out, spend quality time with your spouse, work on hobbies or even get more sleep.

 

One way you can convert your commuting time into family time is by working from home. More Americans than ever before are ditching their commutes and working at jobs that can be done from the comfort of their home offices, kitchen tables or living room sofas. And you can be one of them. Below, you’ll find some ideas for finding full or part time work that will allow you more freedom to travel with your kids, save your car some wear and tear, and maybe even help you find some time for yourself.

 

Working from home also has the added benefit of being better for the environment because of the decrease in the use of fossil fuels, and it can help keep you from having to miss work because of bad weather or when one of your kids gets sick.

 

Do a search for remote job openings.

 

Job listing sites like Indeed, LinkedIn and Zip Recruiter make searching for work-at-home jobs simple. Once you know what you’d like to do, type the type of job you are looking for into the site’s search bar followed by the word “remote.” Make sure you set your search’s geographic area to “anywhere” so your search results won’t be limited to jobs in your area. (After all, you’ll be working remotely so the location of the company isn’t that important.) Once you find a job you’re interested in, these sites also make it easy to upload your resume and fill out an application online.

 

Some job listing sites, like FlexJobs.com, SkipTheDrive.com and Remote.co only list remote job opportunities, so make sure to check those out as well.

 

Update your LinkedIn page.

 

Change the settings on your LinkedIn page to let recruiters know you’re open to being contacted about job openings. In the summary field at the top of your profile page, make sure to write a description of your background and skills, specifying that you are looking for remote opportunities.

 

Talk to your current employer.

 

Believe it or not, many employers these days are open to allowing their onsite employees to switch to working in a home office. Technologies like Skype and GoToMeeting make planning virtual meetings simple. And since many people are happier working from home, companies with a lot of employees working remotely often find that they have a lower turnover rate than companies employing only on-site workers. Many businesses also find that remote employees are more productive than those they have working in-house.

 

Think about starting your own business.

 

Are you a writer? A graphic designer? Do you have experience working as a software engineer or social media whiz? Maybe your background is in accounting? All of these skills and more translate well to a work-at-home lifestyle and can be the basis of a successful at-home business. Think about your experience and what you’d like to do for work, and how you would manage working in a home environment, then start developing a business plan.

 

There are several websites out there that can help you figure out what you need to do get your home-based business going. Many high schools and community colleges also offer free or low-cost adult learning courses aimed toward people who want to launch their own at-home business. Other resources can include state-funded job training centers, free courses at your local library, and classes offered by nonprofit organizations.

 

The best part about starting your own business, besides being able to make your own hours and no longer having to commute, is that there are usually very few up-front costs.

 

Don’t give up.

 

Finding the right at-home job, or starting an at-home business from scratch can take some time, but don’t be discouraged. According to 2018 U.S. Census data, more than 8 million people worked from home in 2017, more than 5 percent of the U.S. workforce, and that number is increasing every day.

 

Managing a Major Move with Young Children

A major move can be really stressful for anyone. If you’d like to make it even more challenging, add a few young children to the equation. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to successfully complete a move, keep your children entertained and maintain a sense of peace. There are a few tips you’ll want to employ as you move forward. Consider these four.

1. Plan ahead.
You don’t need to hire someone to help you clean out boxes if you do it in advance. If you decide that you’d like to move in the next year, begin to declutter. Don’t wait until you’re two months away. Take time to go through boxes to throw items away and sell things. If you’re able to put yourself in a position to tackle one box a day, you’ll be in great shape. Wait until the kids go down to bed. Spend thirty minutes to an hour on one box, closet or area. You’d be surprised how much you can tackle within a few months when you dedicate a little bit of time each day. Plus, you would’ve done all of this while the children were asleep. Use your phone or a calendar to keep yourself on track.

2. Create an organized schedule.
When things begin to get a little hectic in the days before the move, find ways to create a schedule for the children. Most children (and adults) thrive on routines. Knowing this, create a schedule for them. Once they get out of school, give them different activities to work on each hour. If they decide that they’d like to spend more time on a particular task, this is fine. After all, the goal is to keep them occupied. Activities like painting, coloring and other arts projects are great for creativity. If your children love puzzles, set up a station for puzzles and popcorn. As dinnertime gets closer, they can enjoy dinner and a good movie. As you’re able to finish up your moving tasks, you can join them.

3. Consider hiring a babysitter.
A babysitter is a godsend when you’re trying to get the children out of the house while you manage errands and more. Sometimes, it can be stressful to stay on top of everyone’s schedule and a move. If you know that your children are in the care of someone you trust, you’ll be fine. Plus, a babysitter isn’t just helpful for the times when you’re taking care of moving details. A babysitter is helpful when you’d like to get away from all of the chaos to take a break. At least once a week, make sure you’re doing something to pour back into yourself. Meet up with a friend to enjoy a delicious lunch. Head over to the salon to get your nails done. Go to the spa to receive a nice massage. Whatever helps you to unwind and maintain a sense of calm is good to include. Once you incorporate the elements of self-care with a major move, you’ll be able to approach the situation with a clear and peaceful perspective.

4. Hire movers for the big day.
When you have to do a lot of heavy lifting, it’s very easy to get exhausted, flustered and frustrated. This is why it’s best to hire a great moving company to take care of the heavy lifting. When you’re moving local, many people assume that you don’t necessarily need the help of professional movers. Though you might not be driving across the country, your furniture still needs to get from Point A to Point B. Plus, movers are really beneficial because they lift heavy items for a living. They understand how to properly manage and lift without causing damage to their bodies. If you try to lift the couch and load it onto a moving truck, you could pull a muscle or put too much pressure on your back if you don’t do it properly. Don’t put yourself in a position to harm yourself. Plus, while the professional movers are taking care of the heavy items, you can spend time with your children in the other room.

If you don’t make a plan, you’re asking for a chaotic experience. If the move is unexpected and you have no choice but to make things happen quickly, consider getting help from people you trust. Close family members and friends can either babysit or take over parts of the move so that you’re not as stressed. Before long, you’ll be settled in your new place with the kids in tow.