Budgeting For The Unexpected

Three weeks ago while I was on a quick trip to the store to buy bags of my father’s favorite candy, he fell and broke his hip. From that day on, both of our lives have been turned upside down from the moment we arrived at the hospital to the move to a rehabilitation center after his surgery. We are now forced to make a decision as to whether he can return home or will require 24-hour care.

As days turn into weeks, the need to make choices about long-term care has come knocking with force at my front door. I thought the challenge would be finding the perfect location for my father to receive the care he now needs full-time. However, I’m finding that there’s much more to it. Though my journey is just beginning, I’m learning very quickly that we all need to have a budget plan in place, as well as an idea of how we want to live out our lives, if the time comes that we need long-term care.

Paying for long-term senior care can be a challenge for all families, no matter what your circumstances may be. There are so many unknowns. We don’t know how long we will live or if those years will be spent in good health. We all hope to get lucky and stay healthy until our end, but in reality most people will face health challenges that will increase the need for assistance. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans significantly underestimate the amount of care they’ll need and how long they’ll need it. People are outliving their resources AND they are living much longer than years gone by.

When you plan for your golden years, here are some things to consider.

  • Anticipate escalating health needs
  • Ask about Medicare policies
  • Consider inflation increases
  • Give advance notice of limited funds
  • Be conservative in your choices
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Luckily for me, I have friends who have dealt with or are currently dealing with making choices about long-term care for their loved ones, whether it be independent or assisted living. All of them have graciously offered their help in guiding me to the correct avenues to enable me to make the best choices for my father’s future in long-term care.

For more information on budgeting and long-term care options, go to www.aarp.org or www.longtermcare.gov


5 Fitness Activities At Home

All seniors know they need to exercise, but most don’t know there are simple activities that can be done in the convenience of their home that count towards your daily physical activity goals. If you don’t currently have exercise goals in place, hopefully the following 5 fitness activities will show you how simple it can be to add physical activity to your everyday life.

  1. Balancing: Although balancing isn’t an obvious part of exercising, everyday activities require the ability to control your body’s position. From getting out of bed, to walking on an uneven sidewalk, and standing on tiptoes to reach something on a top shelf of your cabinet — all involve balance.
  2. Endurance Aerobic Activities: Endurance, or aerobic activities, increase your breathing and heartbeat, which helps improve heart and lung health. This can make chores like vacuuming and raking the yard easier to do. After all, who wouldn’t want to get a few chores in while helping your heart and lungs at the same time?
  3. Strength Training: Strength exercises help build muscles and bone, counteracting the weakness that can come with aging. Simple things, like sweeping, carrying in groceries or even getting up from a chair, can help make improvements in your muscle strength and in keeping and maintaining your independence.
  4. Stretches: As we age, connective tissues become less elastic, so stretching is important to maintain a functioning range of motion. Stretches should never cause pain or serious fatigue, so always be sure to warm your muscles prior to stretching. Take in deep breaths in each stretch for up to 60 seconds to get the full benefit of the stretch, and always be aware of the position of your spine.
  5. Video Games: Many seniors are now joining the world of video games, and have quickly learned it is the ultimate way to connect with their grandchildren. With popular video game consoles, such as Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect, seniors can use these and the variety of other interactive games to improve their fitness in the comfort of their own home.

Though incorporating a regular exercise routine into your everyday life can take some time, taking a few minutes a day to be more active is crucial to maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle. Before you start any exercise routine, be sure to discuss your plans with your doctor for any health restrictions he or she may want you to consider before getting started. Also discuss with your family your plans so they can help you check your home to make sure there are no safety issues that need to be handled before you start your exercise plan.


Visiting Your Grandchildren This Summer

Over the next couple of weeks summer vacation from school will begin for most school-aged children. What does this mean for you and me? For many of us this means it’s time for a road trip to visit our grandchildren or they are headed our way for a week or two. If the thought of the visit stresses you out, you are not alone. Here are some pointers to help ease your nerves and make for a more enjoyable visit.

Before the visit be sure to talk to your son or daughter about their rules and routines. For example, how long are the children allowed to watch television? How long can they be online and are they allowed to play video games everyday? When is bedtime and do they take naps? What types of foods do they like to eat? Are there any allergies you should know about? By taking the time to find out these things beforehand you help pave the way for a smoother visit.

While your grandchildren are visiting, the best things you can do with them is give them your attention and try to meet them at their level. Ask them things they enjoy doing and share with them things you enjoyed doing at their age. Share with them the cost of things like bread, gasoline, bacon, milk, a loaf of bread cost when you were their age and show them the comparison to today’s prices, which is a great way to sneak in a math lesson. Family photo time is always a fun time for everyone and it’s interesting to see the reaction the children have when they see you when you were they age they are now.

If you want to get outside, find a nature trail and take a hike. Bring along a small bag to collect treasures along the trail like a special petal from a flower, an odd shaped twig or a favorite from my childhood was shiny rocks or stones. Once you return from the hike, ask the child what they liked about each item they picked up and why they thought it was special. Another favorite is a picnic in the park. Allow the children to help prepare and pack the lunch for the picnic. Take a field trip, most children have never used public transportation or taken a ride in a taxicab, even if it’s just through downtown because they are using a form of transportation they’ve never used before, plus you will score major points with your grandchild.

Cherish every moment with you spend with your grandchildren. What I’ve learned is that the older they get, the less time they have to spend with you. Take the time to build a special bond with them when they are young so that they always look forward to their visits with you.


Summer Fun In the City

By now, cabin fever has taken its toll on us all. If you’re like me, the time has come to open that cabin door and get out and enjoy the weather. As I sat on my porch the other day, I noticed most of my neighbors either working in their yards, washing their cars, walking their dogs or just sitting on their porches soaking up the warmth of the day. I cannot sit still for long, so I decided to see what was happening around the city that I might enjoy doing. After a few online searches, I found that Columbus has a lot to offer it’s residents so I decided to put together a list of sites for you to visit to help get your summer started.

If you want to find a little of everything in one search, you’ll want to visit Experience Columbus at www.experiencecolumbus.com. They make finding events to match your interests very simple and you can search by dates or add keywords to help narrow down your search results. Columbus Underground offers a very user-friendly site offering events for today, tomorrow and all year round. You can find them at www.columbusunderground.com. For events happening in Downtown Columbus, visit www.downtowncolumbus.com or Columbus Commons at www.columbuscommons.or/happenings/event-calendar/. If you like festivals but aren’t sure where to find them you’ll want to visit Columbus Ohio Festival Information at www.in-and-around-columbus.com/columbus-festivals.html where they offer a complete list of festivals in and around Central Ohio.

Today I’m heading to the North Market for lunch with a friend. There you can find a little of everything there from fresh produce and meats, yummy desserts, jewelry to a bouquet of flowers for a table at home to remind you that spring is here and summer isn’t far behind, so get up and out and enjoy the outdoors. The North Market also offers a seasonal farmer’s markets on Saturdays starting at 8am. For more information on activities and events, go to www.northmarket.com.


Gardening With Arthritis

Spring is finally here and many of us have already gotten our hands dirty doing yard work and tending our gardens.  Gardening is a soothing hobby and a great form of exercise. However, for those with arthritis, like my mother-in-law, gardening was at one time her favorite pastime, but now has become difficult since being diagnosed with arthritis.  I decided that I would try to find tips to help make gardening easier for her so she doesn’t have to give up something that she has always enjoyed.

If you love gardening and find that arthritis gets in the way, here are few simple tips that can hopefully help you work smarter, not harder, in your garden this year.

1. Avoid bending or kneeling; bring the garden up to your level.  Have a friend or a professional landscaper help you install a raised flowerbed.  Adding a retaining wall around your garden gives you a place to sit while you tend your garden.
2. When digging, pruning and weeding, use tools with arthritis-friendly features, such as easy-grip handles, which help absorb some of the impact and protect your joints.
3. When you have to go down to ground level, kneel on a foam pad to protect your knees.
4. Don’t carry your water.  Use a water caddy on wheels or install a hose long enough to reach the entire garden.
5. Plan ahead to avoid multiple trips back and forth by taking all the things you need in a wheelbarrow, bucket or wagon.
6. Use gloves that have a good grip, and try slipping a spongy rubber sleeve over the handle of your tools to help increase your grip.  This will help reduce the strain and jarring of your joints.

By using a few special tools and techniques, gardening doesn’t have to be a thing of past —  you can exercise that green thumb without causing added pain to your thumbs and other joints.  Remember that you don’t have to finish everything in one day.  Take your time, relax and enjoy the dirt and the treasures of your work.


Senior Residents in Columbus, Ohio communities study the effects of Brain Fitness

In June 2013, two residents of Wesley Glen began reviewing research on how physical and mental activity could affect the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some initial research was based on a book entitled “Now You Can See It,” by Cathy Davidson, and other research in “brain training” performed at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). A focus group was formed under the leadership of CEO, Margaret Carmany, of Methodist ElderCare Services.

Ms. Carmany states, “All residents and employees of Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge are very interested in this new research. We have all seen the devastating effects of brain function deterioration first-hand in those we love.”

The residents at Wesley Glen and Wesley Ridge Retirement Communities are encouraged to participate in a range of activities, from brain games and physical fitness classes, to spiritual and social interaction groups. In addition, the program is now expanding to train administration and staff members in the benefits of getting involved to encourage residents to engage in brain fitness activities. Research shows that good nutrition and being mentally, physically and spiritually fit may provide our aging population with preventative maintenance against the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It is projected that by 2050, 1 in 85 people will have Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia, and Methodist ElderCare Services will be a leading source of information and action to the local community.

Methodist ElderCare Services is an affiliate of the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church that provides quality housing, health care and services for seniors in Central Ohio. Incorporated in 1967, Methodist ElderCare Services continues to be a not-for-profit Ohio corporation that seeks to understand and meet the unmet needs of older people of Central Ohio. Methodist ElderCare Services operates Wesley Glen Retirement Community, Wesley Ridge Retirement Community, Wesley At Home and Hospice Services at Methodist ElderCare in Columbus, Ohio.

To schedule a tour or for more information about Methodist ElderCare Services communities, visit www.methodisteldercare.org

5155 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43214

www.methodisteldercare.org