How Do You Know When it’s Time to Downsize Your Life?

Downsize Your Life

There’s only one good answer to the question of when to downsize – before you have to.

As we age, the psychological benefits of choice increase and the opportunities to choose decrease. Things happen to us that are beyond our control. We don’t ask for diminishing eyesight or hearing. It’s not a choice when body parts get creaky or just plain wear out.

This is a story of choices – the choices of my wise parents.

My parents raised us on eight acres abutting the Mississippi River. Dad had raspberries, fruit trees, a vegetable garden and honey bees. A luscious rolling lawn spanned the distance between the house and the river. He mowed it weekly all summer. Inside, Mom had her six full sets of service-for-12 china, the wedding crystal, a cup and saucer from every city she’d ever visited and countless other treasures.

I’d married and moved away, but on a visit home Mom took me aside. “Your dad’s hip is bothering him. He doesn’t complain – you know your father – but it has to be painful because he’s stopped golfing. We’ve been talking about selling this place and getting an apartment in town. What do you think?”

Perhaps for the first time I noticed that age had crept up on my fit, energetic mother. She was 64 but Dad was 70. Like a flickering old-time movie, memories flashed through my mind: holidays here, and summers – my girls tagging after their grandpa, their lips and fingers stained red from the berries they’d plucked along the way. But I knew what I had to say.

“I think you’re smart to make the change before you have to.” She hugged me.

“That’s what we think too.”

Within months the house sold and there was an auction in the front yard. “Gram! You can’t sell these!” My oldest daughter rescued the wedding crystal. She still has it.

Their new home was a two-bedroom, second floor apartment in a building where they already had friends. The building had no elevator. Mom believed that climbing the stairs would be good exercise for both of them.

Five years later she was tired of carrying the basket of clean clothes up two flights from the laundry room in the basement. Again, before they had to, they rented an apartment in a new complex where there were no stairs to climb.

When Mom was 84 and Dad had just turned 90, she cornered me again. “We’re thinking of assisted living,” she said. That blind-sided me. I wasn’t ready. In my mind, assisted living translated as: The Final Move. But Mom was certain, and by that time Dad’s mobility was challenged and Alzheimer’s muddied his once-clear mind.

“Have you looked at what’s available?” I asked her, hedging my response, playing for more time.

“Not yet. But there are only two options here in town.”

“Let’s go check them out,” I said. I wanted to witness the horrors for myself. We first went to the newer one across from the YMCA. Mom drove herself and Dad to the Y three times a week. He sat with the other husbands and drank coffee while Mom joined the aqua aerobics workout in the pool. It would be convenient for them to live right across the street.

My eyes popped when we went inside. Elegant furnishings, a grand staircase to the upper level balcony, the chandeliers in the dining room, and the staff in their crisp uniforms felt like a well deserved step up. Mom was uncharacteristically silent.

Laden with brochures and price-lists, we thanked our tour guides and exited to the parking lot. “What did you think?” I asked. Mom looked unhappy.

“It’s nice. The other one is by the church,” she said. They’d been members of Zion Lutheran forever and they attended every Sunday. I decided not to press her for more feedback on the first place until we’d seen option two. We rode in silence to the next stop.

I turned off the highway onto a tree-lined drive with rolling hills that met evergreen forest at its border. The building branched out from a center hub all on one level. Mom’s countenance brightened but she remained cautious.

We parked and walked through the main doors into a space that felt like our living room by the river. A stone fireplace flanked by comfortable sofas and chairs anchored one end. An upright piano next to a juice and coffee bar stood to the right by a row of windows that filled the room with light.

When we left, their name was on the waiting list. “We would feel at home here,” she said.

On the drive back to their apartment I fished for more information.

“The first place was beautiful.”

She shot me an indignant look. “Like a hotel,” she said, and that was the end of that.

Their names came up far too quickly for me, but they took to their new surroundings with the same grace and good humor characteristic of all their transitions. The windows of their new home framed ancient pines and roving deer. Winter, summer, spring and fall, their view of the world was magical.

Dad died a year ago. It was hard for Mom; it still is. But for every meal she’s in the dining room with people who know and love her. She’s an active participant in the daily activities and special events – much more so now than she could be when Dad required so much of her attention. I’m grateful that she knew better than I the right time and place for that last transition.

Now more than ever I’m seeing the kindness in their choices. Their wise moves made it easy for us, their children. They never relinquished control over their circumstances but let go and adjusted before ill health or age forced them to it. We never had to step in and say, “Mom, Dad, it’s time.” What a precious gift that is.

Have you made the decision to downsize your life? What has been the hardest thing to let go? What have been the benefits of making these choices for yourself? Please share in the comments.

The post How Do You Know When it’s Time to Downsize Your Life? appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

There’s More to Healthy Bones Than Calcium!

healthy bones healthy aging

What framing is to a building, that’s what bones are to our bodies – a support system that shapes them and gives us the ability to move.

However, there’s a certain point in everyone’s life called peak bone mass and it happens around the age of 30. Up to that point, your body is producing bone mass but after peak bone mass, the rate of building bones slows down and problems start piling up.

Bone weakening and osteoporosis are common problems for everyone over 60 but especially for postmenopausal women over the age of 65. Luckily, there are things you can do preserve your bones and make them healthier, regardless of your age.

There’s More to Healthy Bones Than Calcium

Everybody knows that calcium is essential for healthy bones – it’s the mineral necessary for their proper development and it can be found mostly in dairy products. On the other hand, it’s possible to include calcium into your diet even if you decide to go dairy-free – kale, almonds, white beans, and sesame seeds can be your sources of this precious mineral.

But simply eating these foods every day won’t benefit your bones. The trick is in pairing foods rich in calcium with foods that contain vitamin D. These two work best when together – vitamin D is like a key that unlocks calcium in your body – so make sure you include fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna; fortified cereals, eggs, and beef liver in your diet, too.

For bone density, vitamin K is a must since it can help your body make proteins for healthy bones while potassium neutralizes acids that remove calcium from your body. Pump up both of those by eating more leafy greens, white and sweet potatoes and bananas. Maintain a healthy diet to do what’s in your power to help your bones.

Get Your Body Moving

Regular exercise is the most effective way to keep your bones healthy, especially once you reach the golden age. In fact, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to osteoporosis but it’s also important to understand what kinds of exercise will the most beneficial.

Weight-bearing activities, such as jogging, walking, skiing, rope jumping, etc. keep bone health issues at bay. Moderate weight-lifting activity is also fine; it will keep your bones strong and help you move more easily.

Another important thing to consider is the quality of the clothes you’re going to work out in. Namely, adequate fitness clothing will provide proper support for your muscles and bones and let you exercise freely – without the fear of injury. It’s also important to choose the right athletic clothing for the physical activity you wish to engage in – good running shoes for jogging, professional gloves for weightlifting, etc. Better results also come with proper clothes, so make sure you’re adequately equipped.

The Biggest Don’ts for Healthy Bones

Besides eating the right foods and exercising regularly, preserving your bones depends on other factors, too, and there are certain behaviours that can surely do your bones no good.

Smoking gets the top of the no-no list. Smoking reduces the amount of calcium your bones get because it interferes with the way your body uses vitamin D, essential for proper calcium absorption. Smoking also lowers the levels of estrogen, which is important to help bones keep calcium and other minerals.

Besides, it’s toxic to osteoblasts, bone-forming cells that are essential for the good health of your skeletal system.

Although caffeine can have some health benefits, that’s not relevant to the bones. Too much of it also interferes with calcium absorption and makes your bones brittle. Alcohol also affects the vitamin D in your body, so try to moderate the intake. There’s no need to avoid coffee and an occasional glass of wine but try to lower their consumption – your skeletal system will be thankful.

Although osteoporosis is very common, there are certain steps that can be taken to counteract it and keep your bones healthy. Watch what you eat, stay active and up on your feet, and try to kick at least some of the unhealthy habits. Remember that your bones are there to support you – the least you can do is to support them, too!

What are you doing to make sure that you have healthy bones in the decades ahead? Are there certain foods you have added to your diet? What about exercise routines? Have you had any experiences with osteoporosis that you would like to share with the community? Please join the conversation.

The post There’s More to Healthy Bones Than Calcium! appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

7 Tips to Living the Aging Youthful Lifestyle


As an Aging Youthful Lifestyle blogger, I get asked all the time about the most important thing to growing older without being old. Here is a list I compiled of 7 Tips to Living the Aging Youthful Lifestyle.

Think Young – You Are What You Believe

Age is just a number! The only thing it measures is the time you have been on Earth. It has nothing to do with how many years you have left!

If you believe you are young, you are. If you believe you are old, you are! Your mind is more powerful than you can imagine. Harness the power of your mind, and the rest will take care of itself.

Feed Your Soul/Spirit

Praying and going to church can feed your soul and spirit. Or you could connect with your source in other ways. Whatever way you choose, just do it. By connecting with a higher power/self you keep your soul young!

Eat Right – Feed Your Body Right

The old saying “You are what you eat” isn’t totally true. It should be, “You are what you eat, and you are also what you WILL BE.”

What you put into your body fuels it and gives you energy. When you eat and drink highly processed foods and drinks such as fast food, boxed foods, etc. there is little to no nutrients for your body to use.

While the McMuffin at the drive through might stop your stomach from growling, it doesn’t give you much “fuel” to burn for energy. Many times, it actually leaves you more tired than if you hadn’t eaten anything.

Give your body whole foods such as lean protein (chicken, fish, beef, pork, eggs, etc.), lots of vegetables (the more colorful the better), fruits and whole grains. And don’t forget your healthy fats: olive and nut oils, nuts/nut butters, avocadoes, coconut oil, etc.

Another part of feeding your body right is proper supplementation. Our food supply is nutritionally bankrupt. Just about every person, even if they eat organic whole foods, is lacking in nutrients. The truth is, our top soil has been depleted of minerals due to all the spraying with “cides”: herbicides, fungicides, etc.

“Cides” means death in Latin, and most of the commercial food sold today is lacking nutrients. When searching for supplements be sure the ingredients are NON-synthetic, earth-based and water-soluble.

Drink Water

Just like Mother Earth, our body is made up of 60-70% water! Drinking water to keep your cells hydrated is important. With coffee, sodas and energy drinks as staples in most people’s diet, many of us are walking around dehydrated.

If I haven’t drunk at least a ½ gallon of water for the day, I find myself getting agitated and stressed and have a hard time concentrating. Many times, when you have the urge to eat without really being hungry, it is a signal from our brain that we need water.

In my Lifestyle Coaching Program, I teach my students to go drink 12 oz. of water when the urge to eat strikes. In most cases, it takes care of the urge. There are numerous reasons why you should keep your body hydrated. Mayo Clinic has a great article on the topic.

Move Your Body

Having a fit body helps keep you young! Fitness does not have to mean bench-pressing your body weight. Yet moving your body and doing some sort of weight-bearing exercise will keep your body agile! As you age, you lose muscle-mass, and you want to retain as much as possible to keep your body young and vibrant!

If you are looking for a great workout in just 12 minutes a week, check out the Aging Youthful article I wrote on Tabata workouts. If the exercise is too rigorous for you, modify it to fit your fitness level. Whatever you like to do to move your body is better than nothing.

If your gig is Yoga, do it. Like to bike? Hop on and go for a ride, or catch a spin class. Like to lift weights? Lift them. (Note: They don’t have to be the massive weights like Mark uses for Strongman!)

Our lives have become so sedentary, sitting is this generation’s smoking as a health hazard. Quick tip: If you work at a desk job, get up every hour and walk around, do a couple of standing stretches and/or squats to get the blood flowing.

Connect with Nature

Get outside, breathe in fresh air, let the sun soak into your skin and get your bare feet on the ground if you can. I currently live in Alaska, so going barefoot in the winter is not a good idea unless I want frostbite! What I can do is get out and breathe in some fresh air, even if it’s 50 below. (I bundle up and just don’t stay out for long!)

With so much darkness in the winter, some nights after work I get dressed in all my cold weather gear, grab a headlamp and take my dog for a short walk in the bitter cold. He gets geared up with a jacket and dog booties to keep his feet warm, too!

Create A “Quiet” Time/Hobby

Creating “quiet” in our life is more important than ever. We are constantly bombarded with information and our poor brains are on constant overload. When was the last time you sat in your house reading without a radio or TV in the background?

While technology is great, we need to unplug. You can do this by reading, prayer, meditation or finding a hobby that allows the creative side of our brain to flow. For some it’s painting, while grease monkeys may find tuning a car as quiet time.

One of my favorites, besides sitting in the hot tub, is working on a trash-to-treasure project. There is something special about transforming an object that someone thought was useless into a beautiful functional part of my home or yard.

What are your favorite tips to live an “Aging Youthful” lifestyle? Please share them in the comments below.

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Source: CareTips

Help! My Husband’s Retired and He’s Driving Me Nuts!


“When a man retires, his wife gets twice the husband but only half the income.” – Chi Chi Rodriguez

Finally, the day we’ve been working toward arrived. Both of us retired. Ever since I left the workforce 10 years ago, we’ve dreamed of the days when my husband would join me.

We imagined leisurely days we could spend together doing all the things we love to do. Well, now that day is here. We’ve settled into our new home in central Oregon and are getting plenty of that togetherness… maybe too much.

My cherished morning quiet time is now ‘our’ time and it’s not at all quiet. He’s been up since 5 am, itching to engage with someone and bustling around announcing all that he’s accomplished since sun-up. I’ve suggested he call someone on the east coast but it seems he has no friends on the east coast.

My Routine Goes Out the Window

In need of something to do, he’s decided that a “state of the household” assessment is required. All my usual responsibilities are now up for grabs. By him. Being the consummate tasker without any office demands, he’s gone into overdrive on the domestic front.

Apparently, my day isn’t adequately organized. Nothing a large whiteboard can’t fix. He set up a ‘his and hers list’ and gleefully checks off his tasks as he completes them. For me, an eraser works just fine – before the task is even contemplated.

Tuesday is his favorite day, the day before recycling pick up. He gets to oversee the family sorting of bottles, plastic and paper, like a general commanding his troops. Then he retires to his recliner where he claims he’s ‘practicing’ to unwind. That lasts maybe 20 minutes.

I expect most wives would be thrilled to have their husband so helpful. Of course, I am very appreciative of all he does… it’s just that he’s turned my daily routine sideways. We clearly have some adjusting to do to settle into each other’s rhythm. In fact, we’re not alone.

According to a survey of retirees ages 60 to 73, about two-thirds said they had challenges adapting to retirement. Most difficult were the absence of daily social interactions with colleagues, adjustment to a new routine and a lack of purpose in their daily lives.

While there’s no magic formula, here are a few tips to help retirees adjust to their newfound freedom:

Explore New Interests

Whether taking a class or tackling a new sport, try things you’ve wanted to do but never had the time for. Challenge yourself. Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.

For example, try learning a new instrument. Increasingly, studies are linking musical training with improved brain function and better memory because it exercises all of the brain’s parts.

The key is to find something you love to do and do it! Psychologist Jacquelyn B. James, PhD, of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College found that only those people who are truly engaged in their post-retirement activities reap the psychological benefits.

Have Fun as a Couple

Pursue mutual interests to continually cultivate your relationship. Travel is the number one mutual pursuit among retirees according to a study by Allstate Financial. New hobbies are another way to spend time together – cooking, hiking, bird-watching and gardening are just a few examples.


40 percent of the Ameriprise survey retirees chose to volunteer. Volunteering not only gives back to your community but also helps you make new social ties.

One study found that older adults who had volunteered at least 200 hours (3–4 hours a week) within the prior year reported greater increases in psychological well-being than those who did not. Also, they were less likely to develop hypertension than non-volunteers.

Be Patient

Expect adjustment – it’s a journey. According to psychologist Sloan, “Retirement is not like jumping off a diving board, it’s a process and it takes time.”

I’ve learned over the years to be more intentional in how I spend my time so that my efforts are headed toward something long term and sustainable… rather than just busy work to fill the hours.

There’s a whole new world out there to explore. Whether close to home or on a different continent, embrace your freedom!

Here are some questions to ask yourself: What have you always wanted to do but never found the time for? What travel destinations are on your bucket list? How can you give back to your community?

Challenge yourself and have fun! My husband and I are starting to settle nicely into a comfortable rhythm as we carve out our time spent individually and together. It’s a lot more fun to explore our new surroundings together rather than solo. Now, if I could just get rid of that whiteboard…

Has your partner or husband retired recently? How are you finding the new rhythm of your life together? Please share your tips and observations in the comments below.

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Source: CareTips

A Sedentary Lifestyle Killed My Mom. Don’t Let This Happen to You!


Around her mid-60s, Mama decided that she had worked enough and she completely stopped. She embraced a sedentary lifestyle and spent the long days watching TV from her recliner or sleeping in her bed.

This was not the mama I grew up with. That mama was energetic and involved, especially in our lives. She also worked outside of the home. She dressed to the nines, and was fun to be around.

We went to the beach, on long vacations camping across America, and to movies and museums. She enrolled us in dance, twirling and piano; but all three of us girls were cheerleaders born of a high school tumbling majorette.

She was such an active woman. She could bend backwards and walk her hands down her backside until she bent into a high backbend, and then bend back up or flip back over to a standing position.

I remember her doing a cartwheel off our diving board when she was in her early 60s, showing her granddaughters how it was done. But now she exclaimed that she was through, and she just sat down.

A Sedentary Lifestyle is a Choice

Suddenly, her life was in her recliner, waiting on daddy to do for her. She told us that she was pre-diabetic like it was a badge of honour. We noticed that she lived on carbs. We fussed that she needed to watch her sugar, but she said that you couldn’t get diabetes just from eating sugar. We didn’t know because diabetes was nothing we had before in our family. We began to study it.

At the time, we blamed the sugar, the smoking, the diet; but now we know that what really did her in was the inactivity. Her health continued to spiral out of control.

I read somewhere that for a person who loses a limb there is an 80% chance they will die within five years. Every 30 seconds a limb is lost to diabetes, and she joined the nearly 2 million Americans who had already lost a limb. She was dead at 75.

In the past year, I’ve noticed numerous magazine and newspaper articles about the effects of prolonged sitting. You can read one from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) here. Written in 2015, it says there is evidence that “prolonged sitting is independently associated with negative health outcomes and mortality.” It is worse for people who never exercise, and that was Mama. She wasn’t even a walker.

Hazards of Prolonged Sitting

With most of us sitting more than half of our waking lives each day, it scares me to think how many more of my family may join Mama as a statistic. Maybe myself included, because I sit a lot writing, researching and reading.

But in case you thought sitting is the only culprit, read what the New York Times says about lying down. You can read it here. It claims that inactivity is the culprit, whether you are sitting or lying down.”

Embracing a Sedentary Lifestyle Kills

Our legs and backsides use blood sugar for fuel, and in one study using physically fit young men the article said that “Within two weeks of being more sedentary, these previously healthy young men had begun to develop metabolic problems, including serious insulin resistance, whether they had spent their inactive time primarily sitting or in bed.” So, it happens quicker than anyone realizes.

Finally, an article in the Washington Post shows other problems caused by prolonged sitting such as a foggy brain, inflexible spine, tight hips, limp glutes, muscle degeneration, disc degeneration, colon cancer and much more.

Being Active Can Save Your Life

For over 40 years I jumped up during commercials, using the time to cook, clean, and even garden. I mention the real reason for this behaviour in a post about my back troubles. However, it turns out that this behaviour was good for me!

So, what can we do? The articles by both the AAFP and the Washington Post made suggestions such as taking a one to three-minute break every half hour to stand and/or move around, and standing or exercising while watching TV or using commercials to walk or get something done. People can also try doing yoga poses or doing hip flexors three minutes per side per day.

What happened to my mama was heart-breaking to all her family. Two of her granddaughters never really knew her, and they will have hardly any memories of her. I wrote about my story because if it prolongs one life, then it was worth it.

I also wrote it because I miss my mama. My husband and I travel to some neat places that she would have loved. I would have taken her along, but she died way, way too young.

What do you do to keep active and avoid a sedentary lifestyle? How do you integrate movement into your daily life? Have you found ways to encourage others to join you? Please share in the comments.

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Source: CareTips

Oops! Unexpected Gas and Other Midlife Tummy Troubles

gas tummy troubles

Joanie confided to me that she was mortified on a fairly regular basis.

“Why is this happening to me?” she asked. “I’m sitting with friends at a restaurant and let out a toot when I stand up to leave. It’s funny but also very embarrassing. I try to pretend it’s the chair scraping on the tile floor, but they laugh and say it happens to them too.”

Sounds familiar? Joanie is not alone. It’s one of many humbling things that is more common in midlife than when we’re younger. Some of it is muscle control, but the more common reasons a gal develops audible flatulence are related to the quality of her digestive system, her eating style and her diet.

The Digestive System – Your Second Brain

I’m in awe of the digestive system. Some call it our second brain because of all the receptors located throughout the system. Seventy to 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut. Much of serotonin, our happy hormone, is produced in the gut.

There is, we hope, a massive colony of good bacteria situated in a healthy gut. Who among us hasn’t said we have a gut feeling about something? Our gut talks to us. Spread it out, and it stretches nearly 30 feet! There’s a lot that can go right – or wrong – as food moves through this long passageway.

Knowing all our gut does makes it easier to appreciate how tenderly we should treat this amazing system.

What’s Your Eating Style?

Inquiring about your eating style is a critical question when it comes to figuring out your tummy issues. Do you “inhale” your food? If you do, that may be the answer as to why you cut the cheese.

Food needs saliva, not air, to be broken down and make its way through your system. Slow down and chew. Check out my blog post on the topic to understand the many reasons why inhaling your food isn’t good. Slowing down to chew may be all you need to do to cure this embarrassing current of noxious, noisy air.


Well, maybe your eating style isn’t the whole breaking wind story, but simply a part of it. For sure the foods you eat affect your digestion. But here’s where it gets tricky. You may be eating the same foods you always ate, but they are affecting you differently.

I used to eat plain shredded wheat for breakfast; recently my body says, No way. When this happens, you have some choices. You can experiment with eliminating suspected culprits and if it’s something you like, try it again in a couple of months. You can take digestive enzymes or a probiotic to see if you get relief. It may take some time and experimentation, but these are easy tasks and may lead to great relief.

Other Tummy Troubles

So maybe it’s not gas, but another kind of tummy trouble. The most common one is acid burn. For example, Nancy and Sandra had both been treated for their acid problem, but no one had bothered to ask them what they were eating or what their lifestyle was like. They were only given a proton pump inhibitor medication to lessen the gas in their stomachs. It didn’t help.

Stomachs should have acid in them to break down food; the problem comes when that acid goes up into the esophagus and wow, will it burn.

In Nancy’s case, she was dealing with an anxiety problem and had a diet high in processed food; Sandra was a late-night eater who would lie down right after eating. When Nancy got some therapy, and began eating simple whole foods, her stomach quieted. Sandra changed her schedule and began eating her big meal at mid-day. Both got off their medication and feel much better.

Recommendation: hold off on the Tums and Prilosec and experiment with your food first.

Simple Whole Foods

If you’re wondering what I mean by simple whole foods, I mean foods that are in their original form, not packaged or combined with other ingredients. Examples are a head of broccoli, an apple, a cup of brown rice, a piece of wild fish or a piece of antibiotic and hormone free beef or chicken. This is the starting point for identifying foods that are good for you and most likely won’t cause stomach acid. They are clean foods.

That said, we are all unique, and your life experience may be quite different from the person next to you. You need to listen to your body; observe how it responds to any and all foods that you eat. Just because it’s a simple whole food doesn’t mean your body will tolerate it. Choosing simple whole foods is your baseline. Your careful observation is the most powerful force in identifying what works in your body and what does not.

Check out three habits of people with excellent digestion on my website Wellness and You.

Have you experienced any midlife tummy troubles? Have you made any positive changes to improve your tummy health? Did it come from changing your food? How have you adjusted your eating and lifestyle habits over time? We would love to hear your stories.

The post Oops! Unexpected Gas and Other Midlife Tummy Troubles appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Recipes of the Rich and Famous That You Can Make for Pennies

Senior woman cooking recipes

Welcome to another installment of how to live like a millionaire on a retirement budget.

The recipe ideas I want to share with you are served at the finest restaurants for hefty prices. They may not even be that good either, because as we know, money and quality don’t always add up.

However, you can dine even better than a millionaire by making these wonderful recipes at home for pennies. You might even find yourself entertaining more often, treating your guests like kings and queens.

It’s All About Technique

These dishes use humble ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Onions, old vegetables, stale bread, flour, eggs. The secret is in technique: what you do with these inexpensive ingredients.

Do you love French onion soup? Order it in a regular restaurant and chances are you’ll get a disappointing bowl of gloppy cheese topping a negligible amount of salty broth and a few slices of onions swirling around. You burn your tongue.

Or, you order it in an expensive French restaurant, if they even have it. Divine? Not necessarily. You’ll burn your tongue there, too. The most expensive option is to fly to France and get the real thing. Guess what, you’ll burn your tongue there, too.

Onions, Water, Stale Bread

I make French onion soup as it should be: at home. In its most illustrious incarnation it costs pennies. Oh, those clever French. To think that nursing a few onions in a sauté pan and adding some beef stock could result in something so sublime. Then, make use of a stale loaf of French bread you have lying around. Sliced and toasted, it’s the perfect crouton to float on top of your soup.

The only ingredient you spend money on is the cheese, and you can either go high with real Gruyere or go low with whatever is hanging out in your fridge. Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack and Cheddar work just as well. I opt for Julia Child’s technique, but I’m sure you have your favorite cookbooks and websites that will guide you to this happy meal.

If someone invited me over for homemade French onion soup, I’d say yes in a second. And try not to burn my tongue.

Leftover Veggies

Continuing with those wonderful, thrifty French, another one of my soup winners is Potage. When I was a student living with a family in Paris, I was served Potage several nights a week and loved it every time.

The madame took whatever vegetables she had lying around in the pantry – a potato, a carrot, an onion, a courgette, celery, peas, whatever – and boiled them up in a pot of water. Maybe she’d add a cube of chicken broth or maybe not. She whizzed the cooked veg and water in a blender and then back into the saucepan for reheating, adding salt and pep and a clipping of fresh herbs.

Voilà, a velvety, simple but utterly sophisticated soup that takes the edge off your appetite. I serve it as an easy, impressive first course when I entertain, and I also serve it as a light supper with a salad, crusty bread and cheese. Great to bring to friends who are suffering from a nasty cold.

Bread, Tomato, Garlic

Next, we go to Spain for one of my favorite hors d’oeuvres that’s rustic and well, very sexy. When I serve it as a nibble for cocktails, my guests eat so much they don’t even want dinner afterwards. It has many names but I’ll call it the classic “Pan Tomate” – with a Spanish accent!

Slice a good loaf of crusty bread on the diagonal into about 3/4-inch-thick slices. Grill the bread so it has grill marks if possible. If not, toast it. Next, rub cut garlic halves on the toasted bread, and then smear a cut-in-half tomato all over the bread, letting the juices and pulp be absorbed by the bread. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt (the finest you can afford). I like a hit of fresh pepper.

You won’t believe how such simple ingredients make Something So Scrumptious! Remember, it’s all about technique. Of course, you can take it further, topping with whatever you have in your fridge: a slice of ham, a few crumbles of bacon, some chopped scallions, a toss of feta cheese. The Italians have a version of Pan Tomate and it’s called Bruschetta.

Three Amazing Classics

Who makes homemade chicken soup these days? I do. Especially when for the price of a chicken and some veg and odds and ends of pasta I dine on something very rare in this world of take out and pizza delivery.

For the price of an egg and 100 grams of flour I make something sublime that I pay a fortune for in a restaurant: fresh pasta. My recipe came from an Italian friend who gave me a class. My life has never been the same.

Gourmet grilled cheese! The secret is in spreading mayonnaise on the outside of the bread instead of butter. Mayonnaise has a lower melting point than butter, and caramelizes, causing a delightfully crunchy and tasty exterior. I add sliced tomatoes, a piece of salami or a pickled pepper inside to amp it up. I have to stop writing now and run into the kitchen.

I can’t leave you dessert-less! Serve any fruit hot and you’ve got heaven written all over it. I’m talking sautéed bananas, grilled pineapple, baked apple. A tiny scoop of ice cream or thick Greek yogurt, crumble a cookie over that and oh my. The best meal in town tonight will be at your house.

What are your favorite recipes that look expensive but are quick and cheap to prepare? Please share. We all want to get in on the deliciousness.

The post Recipes of the Rich and Famous That You Can Make for Pennies appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How to Rock It the Mature Way in 2019: Downsizing Your Habits as Your New Resolution!


You’ve heard it: New Year’s resolutions don’t last! This doesn’t mean that you can’t take stock of what you want in life. The still dark, shorter days of January in the Northern hemisphere are the perfect time for taking stock.

The Reality of Retirement

If you are in your 60s or 70s, retirement and aging loom big. Images of couples bicycling along beach fronts, of women hanging out with grandchildren in sunny breakfast nooks, or grandfathers taking their grandkids fishing fill commercials of financial companies who want to sell you their products.

Your reality may not be so picture perfect. If you’re lucky, you can retire (or have retired) from work for a pay-check. If you’re not so lucky, you need to figure out ways you can reduce your spending so you can make what little you have, last.

Planning is the key to aging healthy and without financial worries. If you’ve planned for financial security, now is the time to plan for healthy aging. If you‘re healthy but not financially secure, the opposite is true.

These changes mean you may have to move your body in more ways than one. No wonder many women over 60 are worried and in a late life crisis.

The Perfect Timing Alarm

In his latest bestseller, When, The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel Pink talks about the psychological alarm clock that goes off when people reach the midpoint of a pursuit, like a career midpoint or a life midpoint, or as many women over 60 experience a “late life point.”

This psychological alarm tells you it‘s too late to achieve certain things in life. Pink, however, states this is the time when instead of going into a life slump it’s a time to reinvent yourself.

Pink provides a formula centered on Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule, for how to reinvent yourself in later life:

  • Write out your top 25 goals;
  • Circle the top five;
  • Cross off the next 20;
  • Ignore the 20 until you’ve finished the top five.

Numbers 1 and 2 on this list are something you’ve consciously or unconsciously done in your life already. More interesting are Numbers 3 and 4, which require you to avoid indulging in things or activities that deter you from your goals.

Stick to Your Activities

Family, friends, and media can easily pull you into activities that don’t serve your top five goals. If financial independence is one to those top five, you need to ignore the pull to give your money away, to buy unnecessary gifts for your grandchildren, to have that latte three times a week.

When health is your top goal, buy those new walking shoes and sign up for the gym. Get moving with your partner, family, or friends. Make activity dates instead of sitting around drinking coffee! To write your memoir, put a limit on your screen time and use the time to write!

A New Kind of Resolution

Instead of making new year resolutions of what you will do, make resolutions of what you will not do anymore based on your 5 top goals.

Do you like the sound of not doing?

This may sound easier than it is, though. We are creatures of habit. Not doing means changing habits. As Aristotle wisely said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence (read achievement) then is not an act, but a habit.”

My habit of endlessly storing pictures in my ever-expanding cloud has made a mess of my photo organization. I will stop doing this: I will file the pictures, delete the ones I don’t want and work toward reducing my iCloud stock. I will no longer pay a monthly fee for expanded iCloud storage. I feel better already!

I encourage you to sit down and make your list. Making the list can be an eye-opening experience. (I had trouble coming up with 25!)

Figure out what not to do in 2019. Find people who inspire you with their lifestyle as they age. Ask them how they got there and what habits they have dropped along the way. This will be your habit-downsizing project!

What habits do you want to change to achieve your goals? I look forward to comments on breaking habits that don’t serve you. Please join the conversation!

The post How to Rock It the Mature Way in 2019: Downsizing Your Habits as Your New Resolution! appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

5 Steps to Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity for Women 55 and Over


Why is finding the right volunteer opportunity important?

Not only does giving back to society provide you with a strong sense of purpose and fulfillment but it’s also good for your health and overall well-being.

In a 2013 study, UnitedHealth Group found that 76% of the people who volunteered at some point throughout the year felt physically healthier, 94% reported volunteering improves their mood, and 78% felt less stressed.

Rachel Piferi of Johns Hopkins University and Kathleen Lawler of the University of Tennessee conducted a study in 2006 and found that people who provided social support to others had lower blood pressure than people who didn’t, which indicated a direct physiological benefit to people who give back.

As a derivative of those studies, I’ve put together these five simple steps to help you find the right volunteer opportunity that’s unique to you.

STEP #1: Self Reflect

Understanding your skill set, your professional and personal experience, and also your limitations are key to deciding the type of volunteer opportunity you want to get involved in. Ask yourself:

  • What role do you want to have in your volunteer opportunity?
  • What skills do you have to offer?
  • Which past experiences would you like to recreate?
  • Which activities give you energy?

It can also be helpful to think of things you want to limit, such as:

  • What physical activities do you not want to do?
  • Where do you want to cap off your mental strenuousness?

Bonus Tip: Use this free Retirement Lifestyle Assessment to really uncover your true interests and passions.

STEP #2: Understand Your Commitment Level

Rather than starting off with the searching process and catering to the commitment and needs of the volunteer opportunity, it’s best to explicitly define your ideal commitment level.

Map out your schedule and physically create an ideal weekly calendar. Be sure to include your prior commitments and reserve time for leisure and other activities.

Once you have your time blocked off, you can avoid over-committing yourself to a volunteer opportunity by being very clear on how much time you want to assign to the giving back part of your life.

STEP #3: Be Clear How This Impacts Your Goals

You can be efficient with how you spend your time and create more meaningful experiences for yourself by aligning your activities with your overall goals and dreams.

How do you want volunteering to fit into your overall goals? What would you like to learn and gain from your experience?

Some examples include:

  • If health is a priority for you, consider volunteering at a fitness or health-related group.
  • If you’re after a certain mission or cause, giving back to an organization that aligns with your interests can be very fulfilling.
  • Interested in traveling and finding your next adventure? Consider giving back abroad.

STEP #4: Brainstorm from Your Learnings and Begin Your Research

Being clear on the type of volunteer opportunity you’re after is so important to finding something that suits you best. Once you figure that out, you can go ahead and do your research – not the other way around.

Rather than starting off by scouring the internet or researching volunteer opportunities that may sound good to you, when you research with intent the process will be much quicker, more intentional, and more likely to be a good fit for the long-term.

Jot down a list of all the organizations, types of places, and various causes that you’re interested in from your learnings in the first three steps. Simply brain-dumping after a good self-reflection session can be so illuminating.

You can put into more concrete terms the types of volunteer opportunities that sound appealing to you instead of just casting a wide net to see what sticks.

This is an effective way to be more intentional about choosing how you spend your volunteering time, and chances are you’ll find something that you’ll enjoy over a longer period.

Here are some categories to get you started:

  • Family, friends
  • Educational
  • Environmental
  • Sports
  • Underprivileged, needy, disaster relief
  • Cultural
  • Neighborhood
  • Elderly

Need ideas on where to look? I’ve put together a volunteer reference guide of 20 volunteer websites, plus descriptions, to help save you time in your research effort.

STEP #5: Interview the Organization and Do a Trial Run

You can treat it like a job interview to find out if the organization will be a right fit for you.

Ask questions about what’s required and expected of you. Find out more about how the organization is run and what the culture and priorities are like. Talk to other people who are involved at the organization, both paid team members and volunteers.

By testing out the volunteer opportunity you can find out first-hand whether or not it’s a good fit for you. Ask to set up a trial period and commit to the short term first to find out if the volunteer opportunity is really something you’ll enjoy.

With so many choices and options out there, it’s important to be very intentional about your hunt for the right volunteer opportunity. The key will be to align your volunteer efforts with your core values and true interests.

And then find something that energizes you. That’s where the magic happens.

Which of these steps are most helpful in finding your ideal volunteer opportunity? How will you incorporate into your life giving back to society? Please share in the comments below.

The post 5 Steps to Finding the Right Volunteer Opportunity for Women 55 and Over appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Can Breathing Exercises Give You a Healthy Aging Boost? You Bet!

Breathing Exercises Healthy Aging

Could something as simple as doing breathing exercises help you to get more from life after 60? The answer is almost certainly yes!

For most of our lives, we have a tendency to take our bodies for granted. In our 20s and 30s, we barely even notice that it is there – or, at the very least we don’t appreciate it as much as we should!

In our 50s and 60s, we suddenly become aware of our bodies once again. We suddenly realize that, if we are going to maintain our quality of life, we need to start taking our health seriously.

Joining a gym or taking up a sport is a great idea, but, there are plenty of simpler things that we can do to improve our health, energy and mood after 60. For starters, we can learn how to breathe.

Breathing is free. You can do it anywhere, anytime. It is a truly essential activity that can reduce stress and improve your health, energy level and mood.

Please watch the video and join the conversation.

Every day, you breathe around 15 times a minute. That’s 20,000 times a day. You never think about it since breathing is just something your body does naturally, but every one of your daily breaths is a chance to refocus and re-energize your spirit.

Every time you take a breath, oxygen is inhaled to nourish the cells of your body and then carbon dioxide is exhaled as those cells give off toxins and waste. At a minimum, breathing is what keeps us alive.

However, beyond basic survival, good breathing is also essential to making the most of our health. There is real value in taking deep deliberate slow breaths a few times each day to make our bodies even stronger. The good news is that positive breathing also reduces stress!

Breathing Exercises Can Assist with Healthy Aging

Stress has a significant impact on our heath as we age, so women over 60 have a special reason to establish good breathing habits. Focused breathing has been used for centuries in countries around the world to energize the body and create a positive mindset.

We’ve all had those moments in life where we say to ourselves or to our children in moments of stress, “Take a deep breath!” Taking a deep breath calms you and centers you. Do it right now and see how it makes you feel. Take one deep breath right now. How do you feel?

It might not seem like something so simple as “taking a deep breath” can make a big difference in your life. However, in the long run, having a strong healthy body and calm mind makes you more efficient, productive and energized! Something as simple as taking a deep breath can help improve all aspects of your life!

How does this work? What is happening in our body when we breathe deliberately and with mindful awareness?

There is a very simple cause and effect between positive breathing and good health. Deep slow breathing causes an increase in the levels of a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin works kind of like our body’s own built in “anti-anxiety drug,” because it reduces levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. We all know that reducing stress helps us to transform our mindset from negative to positive and has a real impact on how we interact with our world – family, friends and colleagues.

Deep breathing, through breathing exercises, also stimulates the hypothalamus, which acts on the pituitary gland to send out neurohormones that work to balance our hormones. This practice triggers a relaxation response in your body.

Breathing Exercises Can Help You to Get More from Life After 60

Our moods are often controlled by our hormones, so it is very important to remember this relationship between breathing, hormones and our overall physical health. Poor breathing can lead to insomnia, panic attacks and even chest pain that can be quite frightening. So deep breathing can benefit the body in several ways. Let’s explore just a few examples.

Besides relieving stress, deep breathing has also been shown to improve the function of our overall immune function. Good breathing can improve heart health and reduce blood pressure. It can also improve the quality of life of people affected by chronic pulmonary disease, emphysema and asthma.

Most importantly, good breathing and being aware of our breathing, even in simple everyday situations, has preventive benefits for our overall health and mental well-being. Think about how you spend a typical day and how paying attention to your breathing is so vitally important.

Today our busy and sedentary lives contribute to poor posture and a variety of situations where breathing is not optimal. As strange as it sounds, many people today are encountering situations where they “forget how to breathe!” For example, there have been some recent studies to show that when people are reading e-mail they tend to hold their breath. Think about it, is there a time when you’ve been working on something important and then you stop to realize that you haven’t taken a breath for a few minutes? Have you ever noticed this?

A concept called “email apnea” shows that people often start doing shallow breathing, hyperventilating, or not breathing at all while checking their e-mail or using their mobile phones. Think of the times you do this yourself in a typical day!

Irregular breathing increases stress by causing the body to triggers a nervous response that dumps chemicals into the nervous system, and confuses the body. So it’s probably a good idea to be more mindful of your breathing while working at your computer and take regular breathing and stretch breaks.

The benefits of breathing are not just limited to our physical health. Good breathing has an impact on our mind and spirit as well.

Better breathing gives a self-awareness of one’s connection to the universe, and to a very profound gratitude for the simple gift of life. With every breath we take, we can express a silent feeling of thankfulness that our bodies are functioning, that we can feel the air in our lungs, that we have strength and power to work toward our goals. Breathing exercises allow us to connect to a rhythm that gives us space to shift attention from the physical to the purpose of our lives at a more spiritual level.

Deep slow breathing has an impact on how we perceive ourselves and our inner purpose. When we breathe deeply, we have the power to set aside inconsequential thoughts and mundane troubles, and invite a more meditative state of mind. The use of the breath is central to meditation practice. Watching the breath enables the mind to calm down and to focus on self-observation, reflection and mindfulness.

Deep breathing also allows you to pay attention to the gaps between the breath where all thought and infinite potentiality arises. This is where the mind, body and spirit are united and where the breath becomes the connecting energy for our whole selves, in a deep and meaningful way. Let’s take a minute now to practice what we’ve been discussing.

Take Action to Find Happiness

Of course, you might say, “breathing is easy.” You do it every day, but….

Let’s take a minute to practice some deep breathing and see what a difference it makes to our overall sense of well being, happiness and good health. Of course, everyone’s body is different, so, be sure to talk with your doctor if you have any concerns about your health or the breathing exercise below.

Here’s what to do:

  • Start by sitting comfortably in any position and put your hands on your chest and stomach.
  • Next, start to breathe from your abdomen, not from your chest. This practice of abdominal breathing is known as “belly breathing.”
  • Continue to focus on your breath until you feel your stomach rise and fall.
  • When you inhale, breathe in through your nose.
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth.
  • Exhaling should take twice as long as inhaling – this is how we prolong the breath and achieve a more meditative state.
  • Try 4 seconds to inhale, 7 seconds to hold, and 8 seconds to exhale.
  • Let go of other thoughts while you breathe.

How do you feel? Do you feel a greater sense of calmness? Do you feel a greater sense of connectedness to your body and your mind?

Do you agree that breathing is essential to getting the most from life after 60? What did you think of the breathing exercises in this article? Please join the conversation.

The post Can Breathing Exercises Give You a Healthy Aging Boost? You Bet! appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips


What we offer

  • Wound Care
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  • Medication management
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  • Diabetes management
  • Pain management
  • Dementia & Alzheimer
  • Assessment of blood pressure, pulse, respirations, lung sounds, blood glucose or pulse oximetry, as ordered by your doctors
  • Home Health Aide/Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Homemaker
  • Medication Reminder
  • Medical Escort
  • Companions
  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Fall Prevention
  • Medical Social Worker Services

NewVision understands that navigating our healthcare system is complex for clients and families alike. That is why we also offer a comprehensive care management program that is strictly run by our advanced level nurses who are well-versed in the complexities of the healthcare system. Our approach is team-based and patient-centered, it is designed to make healthcare simple.  Services include but not limited:

  • Assess and develop individualized plan of care
  • Implementation of a comprehensive plan of care
  • Conduct ongoing assessments to monitor and implement changes in care
  • Oversee and direct care provided at home
  • Medication management and treatment plan review
  • Assist with advance directive
  • Find appropriate solutions to avoid a crisis
  • Coordinate medical appointments and medical information
  • Provide transportation to medical appointments
  • Assist families in positive decision making
  • Develop long range plans for future needs
As clients transfer from acute and/or post acute care settings back into the communities, the process can be fragmented and as a result this can be detrimental to clients with complex care needs. Transitional care is there to prevent the care gap that exist between the “handoffs” from the hospital to the outpatient care teams. Our well trained and experienced advanced level nurses and nurse practitioners will connect the pieces from the acute and/or post acute care settings accurately. Our goal is to safely link clients back into the communities in a safe manner through coordination with inpatient, outpatient care teams along with family members. Our comprehensive plan of care is design to prevent unnecessary readmissions.

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