Scams Hurting The Elderly! – Protect Your Loved Ones!

Just imagine what you would think if someone called and said that your child/grandchild was hurt and you needed to send money right away!  What would you do?  I would be reaching for my purse.  BUT, this is how some people are scamming others.

Or, they may say that you owe the IRS money and there is an arrest warrant out for you, your utilities are going to be shut off, your house auctioned for back taxes, etc.

These people will call with things that threaten the things most important to youyour family, your home, your freedom.

It is sad to say that we have to become jaded and not believe all the things we see, read or hear.

My mother would believe most anything.  It was not that she was not smart, she just believed in people.  She donated a LOT of money to veteran’s charities without checking to see if they were legitimate.  Why would she, no one would lie about something like that, she use to say.

So, how do we protect our friends or families that are not as jaded as we are?  Good question.  I started by going through mom’s mail before I gave it to her.  That is illegal, you say?  Yes, tampering with the federal mail is illegal.  It just happened that some of it fell in the trash before it got to mom’s table.  She was getting at least 10 “give me money” letters on average every day.  I also sent letters to many of them telling them to stop but it didn’t help.

Mom has been gone almost 3 years and I still get mail saying that she agreed on the phone to give them $10.00 or something like that.  CREEPS!

Mom was a very caring person.  She was raised in a time when everyone helped each other without questioning them.  Unfortunately, those days are gone. 

We would go through the remaining mail and sort out what she needed to do something with and what she wanted to throw away.  She still gave to some groups that were legitimate but not as many as before.

What about those frightening phone calls?  Those would be harder to handle.  We finally got Mom a call identifier and answering machine.  I told her if she didn’t know the number, to let it go to the answering machine.  Generally I have found that scams, “sales” calls, etc. hang up after 4 rings.  So,  we told mom to not answer the phone till after 4 rings.  Not really a problem because it usually took her longer than that to do it anyway.  Unfortunately, her answering machine could only be set to answer after 4 rings too so sometimes, we would have to call, let it go to voice mail and then call right back.  She would then be at the phone and could see our numbers.  On a side note, we do not answer our home phone till after 4 rings so have told family and friends to just let it ring.

Although it is good to sit people down and explain to them that there are bad people in the world, it is harder sometimes with someone who might be forgetful.  I would talk with mom about the latest scams in the news but knew the best way to get around them was to not let them get in contact with mom.

Bottom line, keep on eye on those you love.  Talk about how some people are taking advantage.  IF you can, help with their banking.  Keep on eye on their accounts.  With e banking now, it is easy to supervise from a distance.

You have to give people their dignity to make their own decisions but yet be able to protect them from the people in the world that would hurt them.  Very hard to do.

WHAT STEPS HAVE YOU TAKEN THAT WORKED/DIDN’T WORK?

 

 

Aging – Does It Scare You?

I was in a conversation with a couple of friends who are all in their fifties and sixties.  We got to talking about health issues and the future.  One asked me why I wasn’t afraid of what was to come.

I had to really think about it.  Although I do worry from time to time about health issues, I plan on enjoying every minute I can and prefer not to waste it worrying.  As someone said…we are in the downhill slide of our life so why not enjoy it!

Although recently when a friend became ill, it made me think. I am one of “the older generation”.

A friend had told me a long time ago that is really made her think when she was filling in a form and it asked her age.  She had to go up to the next age bracket and it bothered her.  Of course since then we have been up several brackets.

All the posts I made in the beginning were about my parents age people basically.  But, now it becomes about my generation.  Everything I said for them applies to us also.  All the legal documents, family decisions, etc.

As we get older time goes by faster.  It just makes sense.  When you are five, you have only lived 1/20th of you life.  When you are 50, you have lived half.  (I know, I am planning on living to be one hundred in these examples.

So, should you let death scare you?  I don’t think so but I think we all have to be realistic and know that it is coming.  Make plans, live the way want, enjoy what you want you, say the things that need to be said, etc.

Don’t be afraid!

 

That Dreaded “D” Word – DIET

When I use to hear that word, I just shuddered.  You mean eat all that stuff that had no flavor, no sugar, no fun?

But, diet is now a way of life for a lot of people.  If you stop to think of it, our ancestors did not eat like we do and they had a much more active life than we do.  So, basically, we are going back to the way it was when life was simpler.

There are so many diets out there that I wouldn’t even think of saying what the right one was.  Some people do the no carb one, some do the vegan one, some do the one where nothing can come out of a box.  You have to research and pick the best one for you and your lifestyle.

I recently went through several of my fast food store’s websites so that I could pick the least harmful thing to eat.  It might really surprise you what sandwiches are actually less calories than that salad you were going to eat.  I made some notes in a little book I keep in my purse and then when I know I am going somewhere I can check it out and make a wiser decision.  I can’t wait until I am in line and then hold the line up while I am trying to read the calories on the order board.

Another thing that just stunned me was portion sizes.  I thought we had been eating somewhat healthy until my nutritionist showed me plastic models of what 1 serving was.  I think everyone would be shocked.  Just google it some time.  I think we were eating at least 2 – 3 times more pasta than what we should have been.

I am not going to sit here and tell you that we have made all the life changes we need and now are down to the correct weights.  That would be a BIG lie.  We are making small changes which include portion control.  I even bought one of those sets off Amazon where it gives you different size and colored containers so you know how much of each type of food you should eat.

But, bottom line, we probably all could stand to lose some weight.  We all have different reasons.  For me it is about the fear of someone having to take care of me at my current size.

Losing weight gets harder the older you are. So, for us, the time is now.

So, if you pass that overweight woman walking or riding a bike while you are driving your car, just remember, at least she is off her tush and trying to do something about it.

 

What diets of lifestyle changes have you made to become healthier?  Share with us your knowledge so we can all become healthier.

 

Just Do It – Lose Weight

We have probably all said it many times – “I need to lose some weight, get in shape,  exercise,etc.  But do you ever do it for a long enough period of time to make a difference without going back to your old habits?

This has been a battle for me for the last 15 or more years.  I could give you all sorts of reasons but that would not change the fact that I obese, not just fat…..OBESE!  The first time someone said I was morbidly obese, I wanted to punch them.  Surely I was just fat but then I looked at the standards doctors go by and yes, I am obese.

  1.  I think we all need to look at the reasons why we want to change and find one that is important enough to do the changes we need to do.
    1. For me it is a combination of things.  I am not getting any younger.  It is harder to lose weight the older you get.
    2. My children and grandchildren.  It is hard to keep up with them sometimes.  I do not want them ever to be ashamed of me for my weight.   do not want to die early and leave them with a hold in the hearts.
    3. I do not want to be a burden to anyone.  Having taken care of some aging adults, it was much easier to care for the ones that did not carry the extra pounds.
    4. I just want to live.  Period.  I may be on the downhill side of life but I plan to enjoy the slide.
  2. Why are you avoiding it?
    1. My health has been a problem for me but that can be a reason to avoid it OR a reason to get with it.
    2. I am just plain lazy.  When I get home from work, I do not want to do anything more that I have to.
    3. Fear of having people watch me exercise.  Have you ever been the fat one in a class full of skinny people?  It is not fun.
    4. Fear of failure – but if you never start, you have already failed.
  3. Start small so it is doable.
    1. For me this is an appointment I have soon where I will tour a women only gym.  It is a 24 hour gym so I can go anytime.  They have people that can help with the machines and teach you the right way to do it.  It is affordable as it is only $26.00 a month and I could easily spend more than that on junk food.
    2. Pick one thing to remove from your diet.  For me it has to be sweets.  I can sit down with a box of cookies and just absently minded eat until they are all gone.  Then I am disgusted with my self.   I am not an expert but have been told that sugar just makes you want more sugar so I am going to do my best to just completely stay away from it.
    3. Have a friend help you.  It could be your husband, fitness coach or just a friend who might have similar goals.  My husband is going to help me and also a lady from work.  Maybe you need an exercise buddy.
  4.  Get your supplies together.
    1. This can be as simple as buying more fruits and vegetables.
    2. Maybe you need to get some books on whatever diet you want to try.
    3. Perhaps you want to buy some home workout equipment like weights or a bike.
    4. There are free programs out there you can log your food intake or exercise on that will help you make good decisions and track your progress.
  5. Now just MAKE the time.
    1. We all have extra time.  It is just how we choose to use it.

I am happy to say I took the time and checked out the gym.  I am joining on Monday and my goal is to go 3 times a week at the minimum.  That for me will be easier than staying away from the sweets.

What are you going to do?  Do you have any suggestions for others how to achieve their goals?

Blizzard or Other Natural Disaster – What Do You Do For Water?

Water is essential for life.  We all know that.  But, it is also essential to flush your toilet, do a lot of cooking and cleaning, etc.  And, most water supply systems are powered by electricity.

Having been raised in a rural community, we were taught to always have water on hand. Back then, we just had old milk jugs we filled with water and stuck in the corner.  Of course, now there is bottled water but if you stop to think how much water you might need if the power was off for a couple of days, that would be a lot of water.  I believe the rule of thumb is one gallon per person per day.

That sounds like a lot but if think of all the ways you need water, it really isn’t.  You drink water – supposedly you should drink at least 8 8 ounce glasses per day or 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce for every pound you weigh.  That to me is a lot of water.

You also use it for cleanliness.  Simple things like brushing your teeth and bathing are important.  Of course, in a emergency situation you would probably only do “spot” bathing but it still takes water.

You use it for cooking also.  But, once again in an emergency it would depend on what you were able to cook.  Grilling doesn’t require a lot of water but if you were cooking on a camp stove, it might need water.

The one thing I never considered was flushing the toilet.  I did not realize how much water that takes until we had a big plumbing issue and had to go without water for 3 days while they fixed it.  No big deal I thought, we will just buy a couple gallons of water and be good to go.  We bought a couple gallons and then had to go to the neighbor and fill them up several times.  It seemed like such a waste to buy water just to flush the toilet.

Of course, in a power outage, your neighbors aren’t probably going to have water either. Since then, we have been buying a couple cases of water and replacing it as we drink it. When we know a blizzard or tornado is coming, we fill up the bathtub.  That water wouldn’t be good for drinking but it would flush the toilet many times.

I do have friends that stockpile water in the blue jugs you get for camping.  They are clean, reusable and safe for drinking.

I guess bottom line, it depends on where you live, what natural disasters you might have, how much space you have, etc. as to how much water you might want to keep on hand.

What do you do for water storage?  How much do you keep on hand.

Blizzard Here – Do you have enough food for days like this?

blizzard

 

I know it sounds crazy and I do not want to sound like an alarmist but the weather is getting crazy.  I live in Nebraska so we are used to bad snow storms and tornadoes. Where ever you live, you have your own disasters to look out for…hurricanes, floods, tidal waves, earthquakes, etc.

Do you have a plan in place?

We are lucky  in that most times when we have weather related problems coming, we usually have a warning.  But, even so, there are things every one should do to prepare for any possible problems.

Naturally, food, water and shelter are the most important needs in a disaster.

When it snows here, the days before, the stores get hit hard.  It is like people think they will never be able to buy groceries again.

I try to keep a months food on hand at the bare minimum.  We could probably last at least three months.  It wouldn’t be what we would necessarily want but it would sustain us.   Think of what your family prefers to eat and keep some on hand.  Certain items go on sale at different times of the year and you can stock up.  I know when you are on a budget, it is hard to stock up but an extra can or two a month and it adds up.

You have to also consider the nutritional value of what you have on hand.  Items like cereal bars, nuts, beer jerky are great to have as they require no cooking and usually last a long time. Naturally, you need to make sure that you keep recycling these buy using the oldest ones when you restock.  I am not a big believer is the idea that you HAVE to eat it by the date on the package but I know some people are.

Do you have certain nutritional needs that mean you have to have specific foods?  Some people cannot just eat whatever is available as it might cause major health problems.  If you or someone in your family has special needs, make sure you plan for them.  Do you have an infant that needs formula?  What about a diabetic?

Of course, that brings up the question as to how you are going to cook the food you have if you have no power.  Most of us are very dependent on electricity or gas for cooking and heating.  Stop and think what you would do to cook your food if you have no power.

Some people have fireplaces they could use to heat up their food.  Others have grills.  In our situation, we really have no way to cook things so that is something we need to look into.

Eating cold canned food is not the worst thing that could happen to you but do you have a way to get those cans open if you have no electricity?  It is amazing how dependent we have became on electricity.  It is important to have an old hand can opener available.

.  Since it is snowing like mad here today, that is our only option but if it was a tornado, we might not have that option.  We might have to grab what we could and evacuate.

Think ahead and plan what you would do in such a case.

What disasters happen in your area and are you prepared?

The fear of “catching” your parent’s disease

Today I felt it for the first time…the agony of watching my food flying off my spoon as I tried to take a bit.

My mom had been young when she noticed her hand shaking. Although she wasn’t much for doctors, the next time she went she asked about it. “No worries” he said. “Those are just familial tremors.” Well after many years they finally diagnosed it as Parkinson’s. That is what I believe finally killed her although it was a complication of it.

I use to go to back home and we would always go get ice cream. She loved her ice cream. Slowly the shakes took that away from her. At first she would laugh about spilling some on her shirt but eventually she refused to out for anything to eat or drink as she said it was too embarrassing. Of course, we would all assure that we didn’t care but it was obvious that she did.

Soon, she couldn’t write any longer. Reading was hard because she couldn’t hold the book steady. This disease slowly trapped her in a world with little she could do.

I was at a dinner yesterday and noticed how bad the shakes had become in my right hand. They have been there on and off for quite a while but just like mom, my doctor assured me they were just familial tremors.   I think she is wrong but pray she is right.

I was having trouble keeping my corn on my spoon and finally just gave up. I know that no one was watching but I still very self-conscious.

When this all started for mom, I researched everything I could. I found weighted silverware that was supposed to help. I ordered them right away and took them down. Mom acted grateful but after she passed, I found them still in their original package.

I believe she just didn’t want to accept what this disease does. Who would?

My shakes come and go and they are not horrible but the idea that I will suffer the same fate as mom horrifies me. I think everyone who has lost a parent to a horrible disease worries about the same happening to them.

Maybe it was just a bad day and it won’t happen again for a long time. Maybe not.

The "joys" of Parkinsons

The “joys” of Parkinsons

Just Do It – Learning a new skill

Just do it!

One of the things in my life that I have been wanting to do for a long time is trying to do some crafts. I am not someone who has a lot of talent in the area (unless it is well hidden). I decided to put my ‘money where my mouth is’ and use this method to get going.

There are many reasons (excuses) you may be avoiding doing these things. I have thought a lot about this and these are my biggest ones:

  1. Fear of failure
    1. This is definitely one for me on this project. I have tried different craft projects in the past and they look nowhere what the example shows. Have you seen those pictures of Pinterest fails that float around from time to time? But does it matter what it looks like if it brings you pleasure or helps you to relax?
  2. No time
    1. This is another great excuse for me. I just have no time but in reality I could be doing this in the evening instead of watching tv. Depending on the craft you pick, you can do it while watching tv.
  3. Don’t know where to start
    1. It is easy to say that you don’t know where to start or what pattern to start with, etc. But, that is just an excuse. With the internet, pinterest, youtube there are patterns everywhere.

 

Below are a few steps that MIGHT make it easier for you:

  1. Stop and think of why you are avoiding it. I would like to be able to do things as easily as some of my friends. They just throw something together and it looks great. I have to really work on craft projects. But reality is I just have to work harder on it. Everyone has different things they are good at.
  2. Break it into small steps. I decided that I am going to start with a simple crochet project that is the basic step. I already know how to crochet from my younger days but haven’t done it in years. So, I took the time to hunt up a simple pattern on Pinterest. I do warn you that getting on Pinterest is dangerous as you can spend WAY too much time on there.
  3. Get the materials together.   I had to dig out my crochet hooks and yarn. Sime I am testing my skills, I did not rush out and buy new supplies.
  4. Make the time. I am going to do this in the evenings while my husband and I watch TV after supper. Since this is an easy pattern, I hope to be able to do it without a lot of though. We will see.

It can be done. It will make you feel better. You do not have to be great at it, just enjoy it.  This could apply to a craft or even a new start of educationWe reinvent ourselves many time during our time here so make it fun!

So, get off your duff and do it!

Just do it – Having the talk with your parents about their wishes during aging

Hopefully, many of you still have your parents living. One of the biggest gifts you can give them is to make sure you will be able to take care of them in the event they can’t take care of themselves. This can be a very hard thing to do.

Most people do not want to face the fact that we all do not live forever. Aging is something we all do but when it is our parents it is especially hard to face. They are supposed to live forever, right? Each family is different so you might be able to skip over a lot of this. Or you may have to add many steps. You just have to tailor this to your situation.

Let me share with you why I feel this is an important one, even though my parents are both gone. I have a friend who is going through a hard time as her parent has consistently refused to let her do anything that might help with this. She has tried over the years and now that her parent is having problems, she is powerless to help without getting the legal system involved. Although she does not want to have to do this, she has to for the safety of her parent.

Her parent will not tell her any financial information – “I have taken care of myself all these years and I do not need you to tell me what to do” but her taxes are not being paid on her home. She has no control over her parent’s medical care and needs it badly as her parent is obviously not taking her medication. Her parent will not let her even take her shopping for groceries.

Naturally, this is causing a lot of stress. What is actually concern on her part is being seen as a control issue by the parent. This could be dementia setting in but watching a love one go downhill with no way to step in and help is devastating when it could be avoided.

My mother was one of the people who wanted to make sure that things were taken care of. She also is the one who use to tell me to “get off your duff and do it”. Keep in mind that even though you try to do this, it may not work. But, you will feel better for having tried.

  1. Figure out why you are avoiding it.
    1. I can think of several reasons. First you may not want to accept that you need to do this. After all, we all want our parents to live forever.
    2. You do not want to hurt your parents. This is valid but it might hurt worse to see your parents in a situation where you cannot step in to help.
    3. Your siblings may think you are sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong.
    4. You don’t know where to start.
  2. Break it into small steps.
    1. Accept that this has to happen. I could tell you horror stories of families that do not do this and then their parent’s wishes were not followed.
    2. Think of the way to approach it. If you have a plan, it will be much easier and helpful than just blurting it out one day.
    3. Do some research for your state as to the legal steps needed. This can be as simple as going onto the internet to see what is required. Of course we all know that just because it is on the internet does not mean it is true. Another place to check is with your friends that may be going through the same process.
    4. Talk to your siblings. This is especially important if they do not live close and it will be your responsibility to physically take care of your parent.   Maybe you are the one they talk to about financial matters. Maybe someone else is more into the medical part of their lives.
    5. Work the subject in to the conversations slowly instead of just sitting them down one day and say “we are going to do this”. That approach usually won’t work and may make them just shut down the whole subject.
    6. Work up to the point of discussing each point. Things I would suggest are end of life decisions, power of attorney for both medical and financial transactions, funeral arrangements, will, etc.
    7. Make sure it is done through an attorney. Even though you may know what your parents want, it if it not written down in a legal manner, you may not be able to make it happen.
  3. Get the materials together.
    1. I covered this in step 2 but basically it is researching your state’s laws, discussing with family members, etc. You could also talk to an estate lawyer, read different books or articles on the subject and many other steps but do not let this be a stopping place or a place to get bogged down.
  4. Just do it.
    1. Get off your duff and do it!

 

While you are at it, think about this for yourself. No matter what your age, you should have these legal matters taken care of. I would like to live forever but I won’t. We have this taken care of and my children are well aware of what I want to happen. There will be no fighting about anything as it is all taken care of. This actually gave me peace of mind as I don’t want them to have to guess at what I wanted.