Tag: advice

Safety Renovations for Seniors’ Homes

Feeling safe and secure at home is a priority for any homeowner. But safety is of particular concern for aging men and women who are at greater risk of being involved in accidents at home than younger men and women.

Harvard Health Publishing says that accidents at home are among the leading causes of injury and death in the United States. The chances for fatalities increases as one ages, and by age 75 and older, men and women are almost four times as likely to die in a home accident as people a decade younger.

As people age, their balance, eyesight and general physical abilities can begin to diminish. Furthermore, a fall or incident that may only bruise a younger individual can cause more serious breaks or damage for seniors, resulting in potentially lengthy recovery times.

The Home Care Assistance organization says that one million elderly people are admitted to the emergency room for injuries every year. People concerned about the safety of their homes or the homes of their aging loved ones can retrofit such properties to make them safer.

Falls

According to The Senior Social Club, which offers care and community services to seniors, falls are the most common accidents affecting seniors. One out of every three seniors aged 65 and older falls at least once a year.

In addition to working with doctors to improve mobility and modify medications that may cause unsteadiness, changes around the home can help. Grab bars placed in bathrooms and high-traffic areas can help seniors get stay more stable when changing from sitting to standing positions.

Potential tripping hazards should be assessed. Area rugs without nonskid backings, clutter on floors, extension cords that extend into walking areas, and uneven flooring pose tripping hazards. Anti-slip coatings can be added to floors to reduce the risk of tripping.

Poorly lit staircases and entryways also can contribute to falls. Consider the installation of motion-activated lighting so that dim areas can be automatically brightened when necessary. A nightlight or LED lights placed near molding can help guide seniors to the bathroom during midnight visits.

Physical limitations

Arthritis can impede seniors’ ability to turn on and off appliances, water faucets or handle certain kitchen tools. Kitchen and bathroom modifications can include the installation of ergonomic and user-friendly handles and spigots.

Task lighting can make it easier to prepare meals, and appliances that automatically turn off after a certain period of time can be a safety feature for forgetful individuals. Reorganize kitchen cabinets to make commonly used items as accessible as possible.

Smart Homes

Friends or family members can have greater control over seniors’ homes by installing smart home systems. This way they can remotely adjust thermostats, control lights, view cameras, engage locks or alarm systems, and much more without having to be at the home. This can seniors allow seniors to maintain their independence while offering peace of mind to their loved ones.

Certain home modifications can reduce seniors’ injury risk.

8 Tips for Maximizing Garage Storage

Most people are pressed for garage space, regardless of the size of their house, from DIYers overwhelmed with tools to moms searching for places to store holiday decorations.

Toter, a leading manufacturer of carts, cans and containers for use in a wide range of home and work waste management and storage solutions, is offering the following tips for making more of precious garage space.

Keep trash in its place.

To keep trash and odors contained, select a mobile trash cart with a tight-fitting lid that’s compatible with your haulers’ pickup requirements and comes with a warranty. Some manufacturers also offer cart and can liners and deodorizers to keep your garage smelling fresh.

Invest in a multi-purpose job box.

Most people tend to have the wrong size toolbox for their needs. Consider the shape, capacity and compartments needed for your tools. Rolling options are great for work done only at home, while a job box may be better for those who do work elsewhere. If portability is important, look at lighter-weight options. New plastic job boxes, such as the Toter HardHead, combine the strength, durability and security of a large metal box with enhanced maneuverability.

Build up, not out.

Ceiling storage racks are an excellent way to use what would otherwise be dead space. Many racks are designed to fit directly above the area where an automatic door goes up and down. Peg boards for tools and stackable totes are also good choices.

Choose multipurpose storage.

Needs can change over time, so invest in storage that can be used for a variety of items in multiple ways. For example, large, durable totes can hold lawn gear, tools or camping equipment.

Think mobility.

Being able to move containers within the garage is important. However, the ability to move them into your vehicle and hit the road quickly also makes life a lot easier.

According to Jeniffer Coates, director of product development and warranty for Toter, “Heavy metal containers are difficult to move, and cheap plastic bins are often too flimsy to stand up to long-term or outdoor use. Consumers will get the most mileage from durable, impact-resistant plastic containers.” These can cost a bit more upfront, but will stand the test of time.

Protect items.

Moisture and pests cause problems in even the cleanest garage. Look for durable storage containers with tight-fitting, critter-resistant lids.

Categorize.

Assign and color-code dedicated areas for each type of item — tools, decorations, lawn equipment, etc. — to avoid the hassle of searching.

Allow room to grow.

While it can be tempting to stuff every square inch, try to leave room for future additions. To ensure everything deserves the space it’s occupying, do a yearly purge of unneeded or unused items.

For more information on finding the right storage solutions for your needs, visit toter.com/storage-solutions.

Keeping the garage in order is a necessary evil, but with a solid game plan and the right equipment, it’s easier than you think. (StatePoint)

Get Organized to Improve Productivity

Many working professionals aspire to be as productive as possible. In working environments where employees are forced to wear many hats, efficiency can help workers meet their deadlines and get tasks accomplished. Organization can help professionals keep track of their work assignments and stay on schedule. Staying organized does not come naturally to everyone, and those finding it difficult to juggle various assignments at once can try the following strategies to stay organized and increase their productivity.

Stop multitasking.

While it can seem counterintuitive for people with a lot on their plates to stop multitasking, researchers at the University of Utah found that performance suffers when people try to do more than one thing at a time. While researchers discovered that a small percentage of people they dubbed “supertaskers” were capable of multitasking without adversely affecting their performance, the vast majority of people should avoid trying to tackle more than one task at a time. Professionals can work on different projects throughout the day, but allot time for each project rather than trying to work on several at once.

Schedule each day.

Establishing a schedule and making it as accessible as possible is another way to stay organized and increase productivity. Professionals can make use of scheduling apps on their tablets or smartphones, even setting alerts so they do not forget about projects or meetings. Routinely check the schedule throughout the day, marking off tasks as they’re completed. • Cut back on time spent in meetings. A 2014 survey from AtTask conducted by Harris Poll reported that American workers at companies with 1,000 employees or more spend just 45 percent of their workdays tending to their primary job duties. Survey participants reported spending 40 percent of their time in meetings, tending to administrative tasks and dealing with interruptions. In lieu of in-person meetings, professionals can discuss projects via mass emails, which can be a much more efficient means to organizing and discussing a project than sitting in a room several times per week.

Take breaks throughout the workday.

Busy professionals may feel as though they don’t have time for breaks during a typical workday. But such breaks can benefit workers in ways they might be unaware. For example, the Association for Psychological Science notes that research has shown that building breaks into a workday helps professionals stay sharp and productive. And when workers take their breaks matters, too. Researchers at Baylor University discovered that mid-morning breaks were more beneficial than late afternoon breaks. Staying organized and increasing productivity at work go hand in hand. Professionals tasked with juggling multiple responsibilities can employ various strategies to be better organized and get more done in less time.

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Foods that Cats and Dogs Should Never Eat

Nutritious diets are essential to long-term pet health. Many well-intentioned pet owners feed their pets foods they believe are nutritious, only to learn that certain foods, even those deemed healthy for humans, can be quite dangerous to dogs and cats.

Cats and dogs metabolize foods and other substances differently from humans. WebMD reports that each year, there are more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the United States. Many of these instances were caused by household substances that may seem perfectly harmless. Medications, cleaning products and certain foods can poison pets. Dogs tend to be at higher risk for food poisoning, particularly because they are less discriminatory with regard to food.

Before caving into the temptation to share snacks with their pets, pet owners should recognize the common foods the ASPCA and other pet welfare organizations list as the most likely to contribute to pet poisonings worldwide.

· Chocolate: Chocolate is accountable for roughly one-quarter of all toxic exposures. Chocolate contains methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause excessive thirst and urination, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythm, and seizures. Serious cases can be fatal. Dark chocolate and baking chocolate are especially dangerous for pets.

· Grapes/raisins: Grapes, raisins, sultanas, and currants, whether raw or cooked, can cause kidney failure in dogs. Not all dogs are affected. However, these fruits should be avoided. Symptoms include lethargy, diarrhea and vomiting within 24 hours of consumption.

· Hops: Commonly used for brewing beer, hops have become a greater risk for pets now that home brewing as a hobby or side business has become popular. When ingested, hops can cause a rapid heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, and other abdominal symptoms. Essential oils and tannins in hops also can cause high fever when pets ingest them.

· Macadamia nuts: These nuts can cause depression, vomiting, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs.

· Milk and dairy: Do not give dogs and cats milk to lap up, and avoid giving them high amounts of cheese and other dairy foods. Pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Therefore, diarrhea and digestive upset is likely to occur when pets consume dairy.

· Onions/garlic: These aromatic ingredients are not a good idea for pets, particularly cats. Onions contain an ingredient called thiosulphate, which is toxic to cats and dogs. The ingestion of onions and onion-related foods can cause a condition called hemolytic anemia. This is damage to red blood cells that causes the cells circulating throughout the pet’s body to burst.

· Xylitol: Keep pets away from sugarless gums and candies that contain Xylitol, which also may be used in toothpaste. The substance causes insulin to release in most species, which can lead to liver failure.

Pet owners should be aware that the foods they eat regularly may not be safe for their pets. Always consult with a veterinarian before giving pets foods commonly eaten by humans.

How to Streamline Household Cleaning

Travel down the cleaning aisle of a neighborhood store and you will be met with product after product designed for specialized cleaning. There are sprays for windows, cleansers for electronics, carpet-cleaning foams, and scouring solutions for tubs and showers. Although many of these are effective, the average person can rely on just one cleaning aid for a wide variety of tasks: vinegar.

Vinegar is a versatile product that can be used in everything from cooking to pickling to preserving foods to household cleaning. Vinegar is made by two distinct biological processes, offers The Vinegar Institute. Via fermentation, yeast will first change the natural sugars in the vinegar-to-be material solution into alcohol. The second process involves a group of bacteria called “acetobacter,” which convert the alcohol into an acid.

Vinegar can be made from any fruit or natural material containing sugar. For the purpose of generalized cleaning, white vinegar is the most common type used and is typically made from corn.Utilizing vinegar around the house is quite simple, and can be used in various ways around the house.

· Remove lime buildup. Vinegar is good for cleaning faucets and showerheads. Make a paste of one teaspoon of vinegar and two tablespoons of salt. Apply to sink fixtures and rub with a cloth. Fill a plastic baggie with vinegar and attach to the showerhead with a rubber band. Let sit a few hours to overnight and then rinse away the mineral deposits.

· Brighten laundry. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the wash cycle. It will help loosen stains and brighten clothing. An added benefit is the acid will reduce static cling.

· Disinfect cutting boards. Give cutting boards an extra cleaning by spraying them with straight vinegar, then rinsing to clean.

· Clean the disposal. Make sure food residue doesn’t clog garbage disposals and lead to odor. Mix vinegar and baking soda in the drain and allow the bubbling action to remove built-up residue. Use a scrub brush for extra scouring.

· Get streak-free windows. Mix a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Use to clean windows and other glass surfaces. Wipe away with a microfiber cleaning cloth so no lint is left behind.

· Eradicate pet odor. Pour a little bit of vinegar into an empty litter box. Let stand for around 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Vinegar also can be used to blot up pet stains on the carpet. Just test color-fastness in an inconspicuous area first.

· Banish water stains. Fix water stains and rings on wood furniture by mixing equal parts vinegar and olive oil. Use a soft cleaning cloth moving in the direction of the wood grain. Polish using a clean cloth.

Vinegar can be used all around the house – these were just a few of the dozens of ways to rely on vinegar. Just steer clear of using it on natural stone and marble, as the acid could cause damage.

Simple Tricks to Satisfy Picky Eaters

Family mealtime can be challenging for a variety of reasons, including the varying taste buds of moms, dads and their kids.

Although there is no consistent definition of picky eating, according to a report published in the journal Frontiers in Pediatrics, the term is generally used to characterize children who eat a limited amount of food, have strong food preferences, have restricted intake of certain foods, or who are unwilling to try new foods. It’s difficult to account statistically for picky eating, but this relatively common behavioral problem tends to peak around age 3.

Picky eating tends to be genetic. A study led by Dr. Lucy Cooke of the department of epidemiology and public health at University College London found genes are largely to blame for picky eaters. According to her research, 78 percent of pickiness is genetic and the other 22 percent is environmental. Pickiness usually is a temporary part of normal development, and many of the behaviors associated with picky eating can be alleviated by open-minded, patient parents who are willing to try new things themselves.

Experiment with different textures

Sometimes it isn’t the food itself but the texture of the food that is the problem. Therefore, parents shouldn’t rule out certain foods just yet. For example, a child might not like the texture of a baked potato, but mashed potatoes are fine. Try presenting the food in a different way. Cauliflower is one food that can be transformed into many different styles, from being grated like rice, to baked into a pizza crust. Don’t give up on foods on the first try.

Make meals more hands-on

Many ingredients touching one another can be an overwhelming experience for children getting ready to eat. For example, young kids may not understand that melted yellow stuff on a hamburger is the same type of cheese they eat cubed with crackers for lunch. Rather than create separate meals, make the dinner table look like a fixings bar at a restaurant. Let kids pick and choose what they want to put on their plates. This may compel them to be more adventurous with their selections.

Find ways to mask nutrition

Choose foods that children regularly eat and enjoy and experiment with ways to dress them up and make them more nutritious. Regular mac-and-cheese can be improved with the use of whole-grain pasta and fresh cheese instead of boxed mixes. Try making chicken nuggets from scratch rather than buying frozen nuggets. Smoothies can be enhanced with fresh fruit and other mix-ins. Even desserts can include pureed vegetables and fruits to increase their amount of vitamins and minerals.

Picky eating is a phase many children will experience. Parents can ride through the mealtime woes by experimenting more in the kitchen.

Safety Measures for Winter Drivers

Winter weather causes many people to retreat indoors until the spring thaw. However, for those who embrace the cooler temperatures or find that life must go on despite snow and ice, taking inventory of their vehicles is a must before the first snowflakes start to fall.

Tire care is an especially important area of vehicle maintenance. The tire experts at Michelin say that regular tires may be ineffective for winter driving. Summer tires are made from materials that are optimized for warm conditions. When the mercury drops, these same materials can harden, reducing their ability to grip the road. That lack of traction can be compounded by the presence of snow or ice. Even all-season tires, which are designed to be driven year-round, can be insufficient in severe weather conditions. Winter tires can help drivers safely navigate winter roadways.

Bridgestone Tires says that having the right snow tires matters when driving in winter weather conditions. It’s important to look for tires that can disperse water sufficiently and also grip the road. Snow tires are designed to remain softer and more flexible to conform to the road better in cold conditions. Some winter tires are even studded to provide better traction.

Unfortunately, even the best winter tires cannot provide perfect traction on slippery roadways. That is why it is essential – in conjunction with the use of winter tires or snow chains – to modify driving techniques to navigate safely.

· Drive slowly.  Slow down on winter roads. Allow a greater distance for stopping than for dry conditions. Slippery conditions can make it more challenging to stop, and excessive speeds can make the situation worse.

· Shift into low gear. On hills, rely on low gears to maximize traction to travel up and down hills. This can minimize skids or sliding.

· Get the vehicle a tuneup. In addition to tires, be sure the braking system, battery and other major components of the vehicle are in good working order.

· Replace windshield wipers. Reduced visibility can compromise the safety of

drivers and their passengers. Replace windshield wiper blades before winter arrives. Consider purchasing winter-rated windshield blades.

· Know how to recover from a skid. When skids occur on black ice or slush, drivers should take their feet off of the pedals and steer gently in the direction they want to go. As the vehicle regains traction, only then should the brakes or accelerator be applied.

Winter weather requires making some vehicle modifications, and drivers may want to alter the way they drive to be more safe on the road.

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Gifts That Pamper and Rejuvenate

Stress can be bad for the body, contributing to depression, anxiety, hypertension, and even obesity. Unfortunately, more than half of working adults and 47 percent of all Americans say they are concerned with the amount of stress in their lives, according to a survey from the American Psychological Association. Canadians, too, are feeling stressed. The North American research company Ipsos found that stress affects 76 percent of the Canadian population.

Reducing stress can be especially important during the holiday season, which, thanks in part to its hectic nature, tends to produce extra feelings of stress. Gifts that pamper, relax and rejuvenate might be the ideal fit for those who need a little rest and relaxation.

· Aromatherapy: Studies have shown that aromatherapy, or breathing in certain scents, can trigger reactions in the brain and affect emotions, mood and memory. Specific essential oils can help relieve stress, induce relaxation and even promote better sleep. Scents such as lavender, lemon or yuzu, bergamot, ylang ylang, and jasmine can promote relaxation in many people.

· Candles: The combination of subtle, low flickering light and relaxing aromas can make candles soothing gifts. Put together an entire gift package with decorative candle holders or a nice tray on which candles of various heights can be placed.

· Plush robe: Sometimes lounging around the house is all that’s necessary to create a soothing atmosphere. A plush robe that is luxurious and comfortable will help that someone special unwind after a long day or after sleeping in on the weekend.

· Home aquarium: Stress can melt away watching underwater life flick and flitter through the aquarium. Combined with soothing bubbles and the gentle hum and splash of the filter, it is easy to see how having a fish tank in the home can alleviate stress. Make sure the gift recipient is able to care for the fish and select low-maintenance species.

· Bed linens: Treat someone special to the gift of added relaxation in the bedroom. Buying bed linens is often a chore and an expense that people put off. Pima cotton, silk, satin, or sateen sheets can be cool, comfortable and soothing.

· Facial treatment: A massage session can be relaxing, but so can a facial. There’s something serene about having a professional apply products and rub areas of the face and temples. Stress will slip away in an instant.

Pampering gifts can help ease anxiety, tame stress and help anyone feel more relaxed and happy.

Set and Stick to Your Holiday Budget

The chance to give gifts and spend time with loved ones makes the holiday season a special time of year. But for many people, the holiday season often leads to overspending.

A 2016 survey from the American Research Group found that American shoppers anticipated spending an average of $930 on gifts that holiday season. Data from T. Rowe Price confirms that parents are spending between $400 and $500 per child each year. In 2015, CPA Canada conducted a random phone survey of 1,004 adult Canadians and found the average adult planned to spend $766 on holiday gifts.

Although these numbers can reflect an overwhelming sense of generosity, many times excessive spending is based on a desire to outdo gifting from the year prior – sometimes at the risk of personal finances. Some people are taking drastic measures to make holidays over-the-top, with some delving into emergency savings while others withdraw prematurely from retirement accounts. Budgeting for the holiday season can help shoppers keep their finances in check.

Determine spending patterns

An examination of receipts and spending habits from previous holiday seasons can help individuals establish budgets for the current year. Make a list of all expenses – even the ones that extend beyond holiday giving. These may include expenses such as gym service fees, homeowner’s insurance, traveling expenses, gift exchanges at work, and more. Extra costs can add up and should be factored into holiday budgets.

Try to recall if your spending last year felt comfortable or if you were paying off credit cards long after the holiday season had ended. If it’s the latter, resolve to make adjustments.

Establish a budget that fits

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all budget. Figure out if there is extra money this season or if times are tight. This will help you plan accordingly and avoid overspending. Shifting priorities can help free up some cash. If children are interested in this year’s hot (and likely expensive) gift, cut back on holiday travel or entertaining. Instead of buying gifts for coworkers, buy a drink during a night out.

Use the holidays as an opportunity to sell

Collectibles, gently used toys, video games, action figures – all of these items may be collecting dust at your home, but they might be coveted by other shoppers. Rely on the season for spending to make some extra income that can be cashed in for your own holiday purchases.

Set up an account and track spending

Establish a separate account strictly for holiday spending. This can include a credit card only used for gifts and entertaining or a savings account at a bank or credit union. You won’t know what is going out of your account unless you keep careful tabs on it. Tracking spending is the biggest key to sticking with a budget, according to the financial advice group The Balance.

Holiday budgeting can be challenging. But with some effort, it is possible to avoid debt and still enjoy a happy holiday season.

Holiday Budgeting Tips for Savvy Consumers

Sticking to one’s budget is important all year long, but doing so during the holiday season can be especially tricky, when expenses run high and festive cheer makes it difficult to put the brakes on over-spending.

To get a better handle on your spending this holiday season, consider the following simple tools and tips.

Make Plans

Decide exactly what your plans are for this season. Will you be traveling? Will you be hosting a dinner party? What does your holiday shopping list look like? Add budget line items for all the associated expenses and put a price cap on each one.

Add it Up

Seek out tools that help make the logistics of staying within budget simple, such as desktop and printing calculators like Casio’s HR-100TMPlus, a 12-digit printing calculator with a large, easy-to-read display. It is especially well-suited for organized budget planning, as it offers special keys for tax calculations and has two-color printing, enabling shoppers to color code positive entries as black and deductions or purchases as red. For additional information on Casio’s portfolio of calculators, visit Casio.com.

Take Steps to Save

Make more space in your budget during the holiday season with smart strategies. Use free apps to help you score deep discounts on favorite retailers. If you’re crafty or handy, consider DIY-ing certain gift items and greeting cards. Suggest a day of volunteer service at your workplace in lieu of a gift exchange.

Don’t Get Impulsive

When you’re in the store aisles, it’s easy to make impulse purchases, particularly during the holidays when every display is designed to make you spend. Make a shopping list and then adhere to it.

To start 2018 on the right foot, spend no more than what you intended to using tech tools and smart strategies.​​​​​​ (StatePoint)

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