“If You Are A Senior or Love Someone Who Is….*”

May 12th, 2016

Then this blog is for you!

When we started our business we were located in the same building as Eastern Agency on Aging – 81 Main Street  in Downtown Bangor, Maine.  The building is small and there always seemed to be a steady stream of people going in and out of their offices.  One of those people, Carol Higgins-Taylor was one of those people. She worked for the agency.  I met her one day and every day since when I see her she puts a smile on my face.  She is warm, smart and hysterical.

My Resource

I met Carol 15 years ago.  Lots of things were different back then, my father was alive, my Mom newly widowed, I was newly divorced and living in a new town with a new company.  But Carol is the same. Friendly, kind and whenever I have a question about getting help or advice in being a better daughter to aging parents, I can email Carol.  Today, Carol owns a PR Agency, (and our office has moved too), her specialty is Seniors and families. She often points me back to Eastern Agency on Aging and even though Mom is in Southern Maine, the resources are there too.

Knowledge is Power

I say this all the time.  Usually, it means, Knowledge gives me “piece of mind.”  I hate feeling like I cannot help my Mother.  I need support to navigate our (Mom’s and mine) journey together.

Senior Expo 2016

Sr.ExpoThursday, May 26th at Husson is the Senior Expo.  While you may think this is JUST for the OLD FOLKS it isn’t.   In the Newman Gym there are exhibitors – It really is a big Resource Room.  Come through, browse at your leisure.  It’s FREE.  And starting at 10am are Presentations in the Meeting House/Gracie Theatre Building. A Wide range of topics, Living With a Wound, Healthy Living For Your Brain and Body, Caregiving for your loved one with Dementia to Chair Yoga.

 

Come See, Come Learn. Stay for as long as you can. Feel the power of the Network.  With Carol at the Helm of this Event, it is something not to miss.

 

*Carol Higgins-Taylor – preceding her weekly Radio Show Senior Talk on WVOM. Click here FMI.

We Are In This Together

April 25th, 2016

I am a daughter and the primary “Go – To”  for my Mom.  Mom lives 2 hours south of here in the same house I grew up in.  I am not exactly sure how it happened, over the years, we have become closer and closer.  I call her my best friend. We talk every day.

Elbow Surgery

Last December, Mom had elbow surgery.  It was something we planned ahead for, what I didn’t know at the time was that it was a “dry run” for what was the emergency we had last week.

Setting Up Contact Groups In My Phone

I never bothered to set up groups in my cell phone for myself, but when Mom had her elbow surgery, I set them up for her numbers.  Doctors, relatives and neighbors on the street that could help out if we needed them.  I never had her Doctor’s numbers before. Turns out we didn’t need them – until last week.

Contact Groups

Depending on your phone type, you probably have the ability to create these lists/groups.  I have a separate list for those I can text and those I can’t  (Doctor’s office numbers don’t text!)  You may be able to have multiple lists/groups yourself. Mine look like this Depot Rd. Neighbors (who let the dogs out), Mom’s Doctors, Close Family (that can help that are close by) Other Family (for update only, living far away)

Don’t Wait For the Emergency

hands-coffee-smartphone-technologyTake the opportunity to go through these numbers with your “loved ones.”  Put these numbers in your phone – do it.  It makes functioning under an emergency so much easier, knowing that I could do what I needed to do, contact who I needed to contact, gave me a little direction under a pretty stressful time.

Emergency Rooms Have Crappy Cell Service

Every ER I have been in, perhaps due to all the electronics, machines and monitoring devices required for the patients, your cell phone may not work. No reception.  And for those of us that are “lone rangers” – sitting next to Mom’s bed waiting for the Doctor, without any backup, you don’t want to leave.  When you do leave you would like the easiest and quickest way to touch base with a group.

Your Cell Phone is a Lifeline

Sure, we all have fun taking selfies, perhaps we get texts by the kids to be picked up from choir practice. We use our phones every day. But take a little time to set up your phone, NOW. You can save

You can save yourself from any extra stress under an emergency situation.  I am sure glad I did.

Things You Should Know

April 8th, 2016

Anyone that knows me, knows that I reluctant to discuss politics or publically take stands on issues. That being said, I do try to get the word out for things that may be helpful to other people.  By passing on an event or announcement does not mean that I am supporting or not supporting something necessarily.

Recently I Joined AARP

I have many friends and family members that are not AARP Members and they all have their reasons.  My reason to join is because for this blog and for other information that affect the Senior population, I use their information on their website and blog.  Even tho it is available for free, I felt that I should join the organization if I was using them as a “Go To” for information- yes it was the GUILT factor.

I am a Daughter, Companion, Friend

Photo Credit "Image courtesy of  "Time" by Salvatore Vuono  / FreeDigitalPhotos.netI have lots of friends and a Mom that is in “that demographic.”  I get asked lots of questions.  And I try and be patient.  As I revitalized this blog I felt compelled to share the information that I was passing out to these folks in my life.  I hope you find it useful.  I also have been blessed with a personality that loves people and I network every chance I get.  Helping people meet one another is great.  “Connection” is everything.

Technology

This blog is about technology and all the frustrations that come with it comes some great benefits.  Maybe I can sift through some of these things to help you navigate it.  I also will post on the Facebook Page events that I know about that may be helpful.  Some of them may involve technology, but not all. Some things just events that I may hear about – (AARP Membership not required.)

It’s About You

As I celebrated my 54th birthday last month and my Mom celebrates her _____(she will kill me if I tell you) in July, we are navigating these days together.  I am sure we aren’t the only ones!  This blog is free to use and I don’t make money writing it.  It is just a way that I can give back to the people in my life that have helped me and believed in me along the way.  Please join us – share it with your friends – if you have any questions go on over to the Facebook page, leave a comment here or send me an email.  Would love to help.

Feeling Like Your Head’s In The Clouds?

March 16th, 2016

That’s okay, your data is too!

Like it or not, companies that we do business with have our stuff in the cloud.  Server farms with redundant power, etc. to protect their stuff, (which is yours first.)  Medical records, bank records, etc. is in the Cloud. And rather than to repeat what Justin from Sephone said, he has a great post here that explains some basics.

Practical Use

This may sound grim but recently, we had a funeral and I had some photos in my “dropbox” account.  I was able to share them in a quick and easy way.  The photos were there at high resolution as easy as someone on the other end, opening an email and clicking on a link.

Did you know that all your photos in your phone can be saved autoblog_cloudmatically to a cloud account too? (Synchronize over a wifi connection.) You can access them from anywhere, anytime.  Storage is cheap. And for lots of space.  My favorite is Dropbox and have been using it for years. It doesn’t matter which you pick except to pick something that is reputable. There are many cheap alternatives but your data is too important. Companies get sold or go under all the time, make sure your data doesn’t sink with them.

As Justin mentioned, Amazon has cloud storage and so does Google.  With everyone’s computers getting more mobile, (iPhone, Kindle Fire, etc.) store everything somewhere else that your username and password can help you get to, when you get something new there is no need to backup, transfer, etc. and even from your kids computers-if you are in Florida on vacation or home!

Who Do I Believe?

February 16th, 2016

scratchingheadWith  actual “person to person” communication becoming a rarity these days, everything seems to be done by robots or people in foreign countries that cannot speak the language of the majority of the customer base of the companies they “represent.”  Calling the cable company?  I did once, was on the phone for over an hour, I even had to charge my cell phone in the process.  Only to speak to “Ricky” who spoke little or no English and in the end, did not help me.  It is no wonder we have no idea what or who to believe anymore!

When “They” Call You or Email You

The IRS continues to warn people about a telephone and email “phishing” scam that has been going on for a few years and ramps up around tax time.  Below are some links to help in being able to SPOT such a scheme. First and foremost –  the IRS won’t initiate a phone call to you or email you out of the clear blue sky. Here are some links below to some evidence:

You Have the Power

YOU know this information now and don’t have to become a victim.  Tell your friends, share this post and follow us on Facebook.  Technology is not to be feared.  We just want to help you in understanding and to use it to your advantage! Don’t be fooled and remember, breathe.

Meditation Isn’t Just for Hippies

February 12th, 2016

Back in the late 60’s, the Beatles blew the lid off of this “thing” called Meditation.  They met this man, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and learned about Transcendental Meditation and if you were paying attention to what the Beatles were doing at the time, at best it seemed weird and worst it seemed sorta creepy.  What is happening with these musicians?  This and Woodstock would certainly make a person stop and know something new was going on!

Scientific Proof

There is proof that meditation actually CHANGES how your brain responds. Psychology Today talks about this in great detail. But the important thing isn’t how long you meditate, if you sit cross legged or make funny chant sounds that scare the dog, it is that you START.

How To Start

Deep Sleep With Andrew JohnsonAnywhere.  This blog focuses on how to make technology work for you.  This post is no different. There are many apps available that you can download many for FREE to start Meditating.  Using a “Guided” type first was most helpful when I started.  I have written about Andrew Johnson before, he has great apps and downloadable audio files for relaxation of all types.  There are also other free ones, in both the Apple App and Google Play Stores for your phone or mobile device.

Latest one I am trying is “Guided Journey,” you can pick the setting (like the beach or forest) and the time that you would like to Meditate: 1 minute to :59 Minutes. The sounds of the setting you pick (waves, etc.) and a very sweet voice “guides” you through a visualization that helps focus you awGuidedJourneysay from all the jumbled thoughts you have and onto something else to help you clear your head.  Just follow along. It is that easy.

Keep On Keepin’ On

Start with short intervals and try to sit at the same time(s) during the day. I started with 2 minutes, twice a day for the first week. The second week I tried 4 minutes and so on. Do what works for you.  I “sit” in the morning, first thing still in my PJ’s and at night after I am ready to go to bed, but before I am in bed.

I also have used these apps when I was in a stressful situation, I have my phone with me so  when I was waiting in a waiting room while my Mom was in the Operating Room.  It was a great way to stay calm and feel fresh and focused. Then if you really get into it, you may want to start meditating in a group, but for now, just START.

I am a big believer in Meditation for just about everything. Great option to try before turning to medication. If you have any questions, like always please drop me an email and I am happy to help.

 

Having Fun Exercising Your Brain

February 10th, 2016

Let’s face it, we all do it.  Sit in front of the TV, space out. Sitting at a Doctor’s office or picking up someone, waiting.  Twiddling your thumbs.  How about using that time productively?

Puzzles, Crosswords, Sudoku like the books we bought in the Drug Store to play at camp, have really improved these days.  If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can occupy your time as well as exercise your brain like never before.  And the possibilities are endless, there are free ones and there are games that you pay a subscription fee to use. But I always try the free ones first to see if I will really enjoy them.  I don’t mind paying for something I really am going to use.

What’s the Point?

If you have never had a brain injury or a stroke you may think this is silly.  But if you have or you have been the caregiver of someone you know just how frightening this can be.  All of a sudden those things you could do, you can’t. One of the outcomes with my Dad, was his ability to read and do the JUMBLE puzzle.  He could read to himself, but he could not read out loud to me.  He also had trouble with word finding.

In order to get better, there are lots of exercises that were very simple-but tiring to get the brain to work again. The more you exercise your brain today the better fit your brain is to handle some of the bumps in the road that may cause stroke and memory loss the list goes on from bad to worse.  Also, as a population, we aren’t using our brains the same way anymore and if you are retired, it is possible your interactions with the outside world are different also.  All of this causes your brain to slow down, get out of shape.

Some Options

Free for Fun games are some of your old favorites but rather than a deck of cards or a book they are on your computer, tablet or phone.  These are  free games that allow you to play and get a score. Each of these asks for a user name, or email address and a password to play. (Last post discussed having an extra email address – here is a use for that spare account that promotional materials can go to!)

Subscriptions (paying a little each month), may make you nervous but if you are serious about mental fitness, want to keep track of how you are doing, then a subscription site is worth considering, many sites allow for family plans.  You may play the same games over again and watch your progress. This is also helpful information for sharing with your Doctor.  Manufacturers also consistently introducing new games to try. For the price of one movie ticket a month there may be an option out there for you.

Let’s Play!tabletwithgame

There are lots more if you go to the App Stores, Apple, Google or Amazon and browse around. Get them on your mobile device, keeping your brain and memory fit is as close as your purse or briefcase!

 

 

 

JUST What I need ONE MORE thing in my In-Box

January 5th, 2016

Email ClipWe all get spam or emails from companies we have never heard of and have no interest in doing business with.  Even though most of these emails are supposed to be “Permission Based,” which means you have given permission for them to send you emails.  Sometimes we give permission without realizing we have or we have given permission and once we see the offers/messages we do not find them interesting.

Help Yourself

You can help yourself first off by paging to the bottom of the message and click on the UNSUBSCRIBE button.  And theoretically, the list deletes your name and the next email that gets sent you wont receive.  But you must be the one to unsubscribe and click that link.

“Special” Email Address

I mentioned in a  couple posts before this,  that it may be helpful to create a separate email account for Offers, Coupons, Etc.  Gmail accounts are free.  You can check that separate account only when you have time, or in the mood.

Not All Newsletters and Notifications are Created Equal

An important newsletter or notification that is especially valuable is one that your town or city puts out. Most Towns and Cities now have Facebook pages too.  The City of Bangor Public Works Department has their own notifications for construction, parking bans, leaf pickup, holiday trash collection schedule.  It is a great help to have that accessible. Then I don’t have to go look for it, because chances are I won’t and I will miss something important.  Every town/city is different, but most often you can go to the home page of the website and sign up there, make sure you follow the instructions.

If you don’t see anything on the website, take a moment call the office and ask or send your local Councilor or Selectman an email requesting this.  From their point of view, it saves phone calls answering the same questions and from your point of view, you get the help you need, when you need it.

Grocery Lists or Gift Lists…Evernote is FREE

December 22nd, 2015

I don’t know how many times I have been at the grocery store, reached into my pocket for the list I had been so diligently working on to be used JUST on this very day and it isn’t there.  It is on the table in the kitchen.  Right where I had left it.  After a few mumbled curse words and shaking my head, I resign myself to the fact that I will shop without it.

Forgetting My List

Once I have decided to continue on, I find myself in a sour mood, I forgot my list, know I will forget key items that I need, so my shopping trip becomes frustrating when it didn’t evernoteiconneed to be. I was mentioning this to one of my friends and she said to me, “Try Evernote, it goes on your cell phone and desktop and you can put your list there and have it when you when you go shopping.”  Sounds easy, right?  Well, it is!  I also don’t have to remember to add anything to a paper list on the Kitchen table when I think of it while I am at the office.

Tons of Features

The thing about most of these apps is that there are TOO many features.  So many that it may be overwhelming.  Here is a simple HOW TO for making lists when using Evernote. Go to your smartphone app or play store and download the free version or pull up the website. As a “free thinker,” I use Evernote for lots of things now.  But it all started with forgetting my shopping list and deciding to do something about it!


 

Afterward:
Other ways I use Evernote are here.

 

 

First Things… FIRST

December 17th, 2015

Are Your Teeth-Clenched and Your Shoulders Tight?

Next time you sit down at your computer, pick up your smartphone or tablet, take notice of how you feel?  Are you happy to see the latest news or are you feeling overwhelmed?  “I can’t do this!”  “I don’t understand this!”  “What is wrong with me?”

If you have any of those questions, it is possible that you do actually feel TRAPPED, just like this blog’s title.  Feeling TRAPPED creates many reactions in your body. FIGHT or FLIGHT, right?

FIGHT or FLIGHTRelaxed senior woman doing some breathing exercises

When it is “Fight” you want to beat up whatever is causing you to feel trapped, (which can be expensive if you throw your cell phone around) or “Flight” you try and escape. When you try to escape,  chances are you cannot learn or do what it was you wanted in the first place. Which may be as simple as trying to look at your grandchild’s prom photo. In either case, you are the one that loses.

Try Something New

I am not a doctor. But I have noticed that when I am feeling trapped myself that everything in my body feels tight.  And when everything feels tight, it is hard for me to think clearly. One thing I have learned a lot about in my life is the importance of breathing.  When we get that Trapped feeling we tend to hold our breath.  Right now, try clenching your first.  When you look down at that fist all tight, check your breathing.  Most of us will be holding our breath.  If you are holding your breath, it is difficult to think straight and solve problems.

Here is a great article * from Dr. Anthony Komaroff, from Harvard Medical School that is worth reading, about stress and breathing. Some people have preconceived ideas about meditation and yoga but each of these practices showed me how often I failed to breathe. When I was often in a situation that was stressful or sad, I was holding my breath. It was surprised to learn that when I caught myself holding my breath, once I started to breathe again I could start working to solve the problem at hand.

Give it a Whirl

breathing_in_and_outIt takes just a few minutes, this website here actually has a nice instructional way of explaining * the timing of doing it, and it is well worth it.  I find  I start thinking clearly, act more calmly.  When I have a method to do this to stop and count my breaths it really helps. Otherwise, I haven’t really stopped and refocused with a clear head after all!

 

*I have no affiliation with these organizations or websites, I just find them easy to read and understand and that is always worth sharing. I also want to thank them for the use of their photos.