Archive for January 31, 2013

Decorating for Nursing Home Rooms & Small Spaces for your Loved Ones!

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How to Decorate the Small Nursing Home Room for your Loved One

With it being almost Valentine’s day, the kids and I are a little behind in taking down our Christmas decorations in Grandma’s room. Today, we’ll be putting up her Valentine’s day banner that her and her roommate really enjoy. This blog post will cover a few ways that you can decorate, spruce up, or liven up their rooms a bit! In our experience, we found that kid made items seem to go over the best, as well as pictures from their life.
Often, when a family member enters an institution such as a nursing home, or assisted living facility, they are going to strongly dislike it. They may even complain about every detail, down to the color of the floor tiles. Many times, residents at nursing homes do not see many visitors, or their families may be far away. It’s always nice to donate colored pictures, small crafts, and things like this to them. It is ALWAYS best to stay away from candies, cookies, and baked goods–as so many have health issues and dietary needs these days! This past Christmas, the kids and some of their friends from school made hundreds of pictures, small crafts, and such. We all spent a few hours walking the halls, and made sure that each person got a gift for the holidays…even the staff. We chalked it up to 26 acts of kindness, and the kids learned some great life lessons, too.
A few Christmases ago, I made photo collages of our entire family, and some of her closest friends for her bare, white walls. She also took to hanging up all the cards she received in the mail from family and friends, too. It was a very simple way to add some color, and give her some things to look at throughout the days. One of her favorite aides donated a cat wall clock to her, and she was given a kitty calendar, too. This past Halloween, the kids and I started making holiday banners. Now it’s turned into sort of a monthly tradition. We spent yesterday cutting out heart shapes, and writing “Happy Valentines Day” on each of the heart, spelled out letter by letter. The kids color the letters however they choose, and then we stringed them on a long string. Once we’re there, it’s easy enough to pin it to the wall so it hangs above her television area. We write special messages to her, and to her roommate on them, too. This is a very easy thing to do with the kids, and for each holiday. There are prominent symbols for each holiday, and cimply cut those out for each letter of your message! (I.e. pine tree/Christmas light bulbs for holidays; Easter eggs at Easter; hearts for Valentine’s; Shamrock’s for St. Patty’s; Flag’s for Memorial/Labor Days; Fireworks for 4th of July; Pumpkins for Halloween; Turkey’s for Thanksgiving…and anything else you can think of!!

Below you’ll find some ideas on how to decorate your loved ones nursing home room, or small living spaces!~

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Use wall hangings: Tapestries and wall decor with inspirational messages are always appreciated. Tailor the choices to the person’s interests, hobbies or religious preferences.
Many individuals prefer wall hangings or posters imprinted with verses about grandparents, families, love or humor.

Or try these themes:
Animal lovers: Hang some wall art or pictures of cats, dogs, birds or other animals.
Sports fans: Hang banners or photos of a favorite NFL team logo or incorporate the team colors into the room decor.
Collectors or hobbyists: If the person is a collector but had to leave their precious collection behind when they moved into the nursing home, try to find pictures, statuettes or other objects related to the collection and use those for room decorations.
For instance, a lighthouse collector might enjoy a small framed print of one of Thomas Kinkade’s lighthouse paintings. You can also take picture of their collectibles and have the pictures framed for display.
Stick it on, take it off: Removable, repositionable wall art is a great decorating option, and it’s fast and easy to apply. As a bonus, you can peel it off and change the decor in an instant if the person gets bored or wants a change.
Refrigerator art”: Remember to include drawings from all the adolescent relatives. Most individuals love to receive artwork made by their grandchildren or other young relatives. These personalized drawings can cheer up a resident who is adjusting to his or her new smaller surroundings.

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Family Mementos and Decorative Items
Decorating a resident’s room in a nursing home need not be costly or burdensome. For instance, remind patients of friends and family in a loving way by surrounding them with items such as these:
Favorite photos: Ask the person to select a few of his or her favorite family pictures to display in frames on a bedside table or desk. Include group photos of happy events like birthday parties, weddings and baby showers to help the individual feel connected to family and friends. Use frames of different sizes and heights to add depth and interest to the grouping.
Bed linens: Use colorful sheets, pillows, and bed linens in a pattern that the resident favors. Let them participate as much as they care to in the selection process of bedding. Make sure that the sheets, the bed cover, and the pillows are comfortable and durable as well as visually appealing. Decorative pillows are always a nice touch, if you just want to add a little charm to the room without redoing all the bedding.
Window treatments: Opt for light-colored window treatments to allow plenty of light into the room while the resident is awake. Pick colors that compliment the bedding pattern and theme.
Window Crafts: There are so many crafts that can be made to hang in the window, amd reflect light and colors through the room. One simple craft idea is to melt cheap beads in an aluminum pie plate at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Drill through it, and BAM! A beautiful personalized window craft! (Pictured below!)
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*IMPORTANT NOTE! Anything that you end up taking in to decorate with, make sure that your family member’s name is written on the item, somewhere!

And if you’re thinking about doing a craft for the whole nursing home, please stay away from anything that ends up looking like this:

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Just saying.

Resourced uses: yahoo.com

Water Excerise with Examples: Good for all Ages, Issues & Body Types!

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Water Exercise: A Great Choice for All Body Types & Issues
If you’re anything like me, sometimes it’s hard to choose from different things when just trying something new. You’re doctor has probably told you to “get your exercise” and to not be sedentary, but again, if you’re like me…you hear what Doc says, but finding how to work it in the schedule, into the routine, or what to do at all can be overwhelming. I recently did a blog post on activities for Senior’s, and the great thing is, all of those activities are done by myself, too—-and surprise! I’m not a senior! Hopefully this focused activity information blog will help you decide is water aerobics or exercise is for you!!

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I’ve recently been posed with this situation– “exercise more,” even though I’ve got three kids, work, family, LIFE, blah blah blah. (Who isn’t busy, these days?!) However, to keep my symptoms from flaring up from my pretty serious autoimmune diseases, I needed this regular exercise. I’d always been pretty serious about swimming, as other exercises like running, jogging, weights, etc…all seemed pointless to me. I ran around enough with the kids. I lifted their 30, 50, and 70lb selves all the time. But swimming…was always a race against myself. And this was something I knew I could work into my schedule. My children were all involved in swim team activities, and it just so happened the lap lanes were open during that same time. Two birds, one stone, you ask? Why yes…I jumped right back in the pool and started doing laps. Not as fast as I once was, but I’ll be darned if my body didn’t pick right back up. I shared my lap lane with the sweetest elderly couple, too. They walked a 1600, back and forth in the pool (one time down our pool is 25yds, so do the math for 1600), to keep their new knees going strong. ~

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Here are the Facts:
*Water exercise is safe and beneficial to seniors with a variety of fitness levels and abilities. It provides the same cardio-respiratory and strength training benefits as land based exercises, but without the wear and tear placed on your joints. This makes it more ideal for seniors faced with age related health concerns.
*can also improve some health issues, too. These include increasing your metabolism, helping to build muscle strength, improving balance and range of motion, and relieving tension and stress. Because water exercising is so adaptable, it can be adjusted to meet individual abilities. Therefore, it is a perfect program for all even if you do not know how to swim as most exercises can be done in chest high level water. You need not even get your hair wet!
*There are many different types of exercise to be done in the water. You can do some of these by yourself, with a friend, or in a class that learns and works out together. Although water exercise is considered a low impact form of exercising, it can still be fun and challenging. While performing squats, simulating stair climbing, marching/jogging, kicking and jumping in the pool, fun equipment can be used to increase resistance. Kick boards, colorful noodles as well as foam dumbbells are used to give extra resistance in the water during normal upper body strength exercises (bicep curls, tricep presses, shoulder raises and chest flys).

Things you will need: a swimsuit, and towel. Possibly: goggles, ear plugs, swim caps; exercise equipment: kick boards, weights, etc.

Some of the Benefits from Water Exercise:
-weight loss
-stress reduction
-lowering blood pressure
-muscle endurance
-increase metabolism
-less pressure is placed on the joints so there is a significant reduced chance of injury and pain normally associated with other forms of exercise.

A Few Fun Water Exercises:
*Toe-heel walk- walking on a imaginary tightrope for balance/coordination.
*Kicks- backward, bicycle or side to side kicks for abs, glutes , back and hips.
*Marching/jogging- strengthens the lower body (hamstrings, thighs and quads.
*Jumping jacks- primarily for weight loss (works entire body).
*Jumping Jack – a great warm-up for loosening the muscles
*Power Jumping Jack – overall aerobic exercise
*Pointing and Flexing the Feet – Engage Hamstrings and Quadricepts
*Walking Breast Stroke – also exercising the Core and opening the Spine
*Bicycle with a Noodle (Flotation Device) – Great for regaining strength and flexibility after hip or knee surgery

To get the most of your water workout, follow these tips:
-Don’t go deeper than waist-high. That way your feet will have good contact with the pool floor and your leg muscles will be able to support some of your weight.
-Wear water shoes to improve traction and webbed gloves (usually made of Neoprene with webbing between the fingers) to add resistance and intensity to arm movements, Sanders suggests. (They’re not expensive.)
-Drink lots of water during and after your workout. Remember, you can still get dehydrated in the pool, just like you can on the land!

As with any new exercise, health, or diet plan….you MUST check with your physician BEFORE beginning your new plan! Even with swimming, it’s best to ask! Remember to start on your swimming routine slowly…just five minutes here, or there. Take breaks, and don’t forget to breathe!!~

Water Exercises with Picture Demonstrations!

1. Spiderman
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Climb the pool wall like Spiderman climbs buildings! This exercise helps you defy gravity in a way that just isn’t possible on land. It also provides a unique challenge to your core and back muscles.
How to do it: While standing in water at the side of the pool, stabilize your upper body by sweeping your hands back and forth as you run your legs up the side of the pool and then back down to the floor. Do four Spiderman exercises, alternating the leading leg each time you reach the end of one jogging circuit.

2. Pool Plank
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Planks are a proven core strengthener on land. But if you don’t have a strong upper body, it’s hard to hold it long enough to give abdominal muscles a good workout. All of that changes in a pool. Plus, planks boost your endurance and “the water pushing and pulling on you increases the challenge to your core,” Sanders explains.
How to do it: Stand on the pool floor. Hold a noodle (it’s also called a “water log,” a long cylindrical piece of foam that floats) vertically in both hands. Press it straight down into the water and lean forward until your body is on an even incline. (Your head stays out of the water.) Try to keep yourself stable for 1-2 minutes.

3. Chaos Cardio
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This exercise takes jogging to a new level. By creating several currents in the pool and then running through them, you’ll strengthen all your core stabilizing muscles.
How to do it: Run in a zigzag pattern from one end of the pool to the other, then run straight through all the currents you’ve just created. Do these in three-minute intervals, alternating with something less cardio-intensive, such as Pool Plank or One-Legged Balance.

4. One-Legged Balance
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This strengthens your leg and core muscles, the ones responsible for balance, without the risk of falling and hurting yourself.
How to do it: Standing in waist-high water, lift your left knee up and place the middle of a noodle under your left foot. (Its sides will float up into a U-shape.) Keep your hands by your side and balance with your left foot on the noodle for one minute. Then move your left knee out to the side and balance for another minute. Switch legs and repeat with the right knee lifted and the right foot resting on the noodle.
For an extra challenge, lift both arms up over your head as you balance.
If you’re in the pool with your kids, have them jog in circles around you to create currents that will further challenge your balance.

5. Fly Backs
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On land and in water, fly backs work the muscles in the upper chest, back and arms. They also improve posture.
How to do it: Start in a lunge position with your right knee bent and your left leg extended straight behind you. Reach your arms straight out in front of you at chest height — palms touching, fingers extended and thumbs up. Open your arms straight out to the sides, then return them to the starting position to complete one rep.

6. Cardio/Resistance Combo
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Strengthen your upper chest, back, arms and core with this challenging drill. It also raises your heart rate and burns more calories.
How to do it: Straddle a noodle as if you were sitting on a horse. Pedal around the pool as fast as you can while doing the arm portion of Fly Backs (see above). Sit up tall with your spine vertical — no leaning. This will force your core muscles to keep you stable. Continue for 4 minutes.

 

And as always, just a bit of humor….whether you’re male or female 🙂

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Your lifegaurds are always looking out for you!!! (Right???!!!!)

 

Activities for Seniors for all Seasons!

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Activities for Seniors for all Seasons! 2013

For many senior citizens each year, they get bored with the doldrums of the everyday routine. They want to seek out a new activity, and help their health by staying active. Maybe they’ll even check out a local fitness center for group activities, but whatever it is that they choose, remember to back them on their choice. Volunteer to help with their group, if you can. Join in one day, and create the crafts with your loved one. All of those things will show them that you care!!
Below is a list of ideas and activities for Senior Citizen’s to do throughout the year!

*Exercise Classes. These days, there are so many different styles of classes! Water aerobics, step class, Silver Zumba, and more. Water aerobics are very popular, and tend to be low impact, but great for joints. Many of these types of classes are offered at local YMCA branches. Sometimes there is a small fee, but most are free! Being at a fitness club doing these activities also provides safety, help if needed, and to ensure that one is working out properly, or using the machines correctly. They also have fitness instructors and guidance to help you along the way. When to do this? winter months & cold times! If you are a member of a local outdoor swim club, you may do water aerobics there during the summer months, as well. Just plan accordingly!
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*Field Trips. This may sound silly, but taking field trips, or being a tourist in your town can be very exciting! Whether it is the local museum, old houses, the parks, and the mall– anywhere that gets you up and out of the house for a little while! Planning all day excursions cannot be ruled out, if they are planned in advance. Depending on how your loved one is with traveling, sometimes going 3 or 4 hours by car is an okay distance to vi\sit a far away city, or a Broadway show. When to do this? all year long!!

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*Gardening. Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and even better, you get a harvest you can EAT! In most all cases, everyone has the ability to grow some plants. You can grow vegetables in large containers on patio decks, or build raised garden beds by their backyard patio to grow their garden in. This gives months of entertainment, something to focus on, and do everyday and the best part- the food! When to do this? Spring and summer months

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*Arts & Crafts. There are so many different types of crafts to be made! Painting, Beading, Wood Working, Sand Art, Quilting, Crocheting, and cross stitching are just some of the numerous types of craft that our senior’s are participating in today. All types of crafts help to keep the mind focused and strong, and then create beautiful things for friends and family. Many assisted living centers and nursing homes do have craft days, and people come in to demonstrate different types of crafts. For those seniors still living at home, check your local library for group meetings, and with local churches on senior activities! When to do this? All year long, with extra focus in the winter months.

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*Outdoor Activity. There are a lot of options when it comes to this one! Walking, and Nordic Walking (using ski poles/poles while walking works the upper and lower body) are two options for the more active person. Hiking is another option for the more active person. With a small group of friends, going and exploring the Local Park or small forest could be a great experience for everyone! Bike riding, nature observing, bird watching, photography classes and practice, and so much more can be done outdoors! Fresh air livens the spirits, too!! (*Bird watching is one of the top up and coming fads in 2013, stated by the AARP activity guide!) When to do this? Any season you can tolerate the weather in, but take extreme caution when walking extra outdoor in the winter with sheets of ice!!

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*Video Games. More recent video game machines, like the Xbox, Wii, and Playstations, that are making people get up and move with each fun game, are perfect for seniors! Many games, such as bowling, baseball, basketball, and numerous other types of balance board games, are great to keep the bodies moving, and the minds working! Some games even track calories lost, and suggest work-out plans dependant on the participant’s abilities. Technology can be such a great assistant when used correctly! When to do this? all year long!

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*In-State Traveling. In many states, there are numerous botanical conservatories and arboretums. These would be excellent trips to take, and check out the many different things there are still to learn about in the state. When to do this? That depends on what state you’re in, and where you’re going!!

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*Long Distance Traveling. If you’ve got the energy, the funds, and need a break, then maybe a longer trip is in the cards for you!! All inclusive trips and destinations would be what to look for, and are offered on land, and at sea! When to do this? As soon as you know where you’re going, and the weather climate there!

*Extreme Events. Of course, there will be some of you that this will pertain to. I just know it. If you’re into bunjee jumping, or sky diving…there are ALWAYS those types of events, too. 🙂
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~2013 Social Security Changes~

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New Changes Effective NOW For Social Security Recipients!!

These changes, released by the Social Security Department, have already taken effect with January payments that went out. Here is a list of the new changes taking place, just to be sure that everyone gets this information!!

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Payroll tax cut ends. The temporary payroll tax cut was allowed to expire at the end of 2012. Workers who paid 4.2 percent of their income into the Social Security system in 2011 and 2012 will now resume contributing 6.2 percent of their earnings in 2013, up to the payroll tax cap of $113,700.

Higher payroll tax cap. The payroll tax cap increased by $3,600, from $110,100 in 2012 to $113,700 in 2013. Workers who earn more than this threshold don’t need to pay Social Security taxes on that income.

More online services. A trip to the Social Security office is no longer necessary to start your Social Security payments. A growing number of retirees are claiming Social Security payments online, largely thanks to an advertising campaign starring actors Patty Duke and George Takei. For the first time in 2012, workers could access their Social Security statements online, including their complete earnings history and expected payments, and about 3 million people have already done so.

In early 2013, Social Security added online services including the ability to access a benefit verification letter and payment history. Retirees can also change their address and start or change direct-deposit information online. “The ability to do this online, it will be a real convenience for the people who are required to have these benefit verification letters,” says Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue. “It is going to allow us to focus on the kind of conversations that we really do need to have face to face.”
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Reduced office hours. Social Security offices are reducing the hours they are open to the public to save money and avoid paying overtime to workers. Social Security locations nationwide have been closing 30 minutes early each day since Nov. 19, 2012, and they began closing to the public at noon every Wednesday on Jan. 2.

Paper checks will end. On March 1, the Treasury department will stop mailing paper checks to Social Security recipients. Retirees will be required to choose to have their Social Security payments either directly deposited into a bank or credit union account or loaded onto a prepaid Direct Express Debit MasterCard. “If you already have a bank account or credit union account, we encourage you and it’s our preference that you sign up for direct deposit,” says Walt Henderson, director of the electronic fund transfer strategy division at the Treasury Department. “The debit card is primarily for unbanked benefit recipients. We don’t want people who already have a bank account to feel that they have to get the debit card.” New Social Security beneficiaries have been required to choose an electronic payment option since May 2011, and approximately 93 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are already being made electronically.

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Higher earnings limit. People between ages 62 and 66 who work and collect Social Security benefits at the same time might have part or all of their Social Security benefit temporarily withheld. Workers between ages 62 and 65 can earn up to $15,120 in 2013, after which $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $2 of income above the earnings limit. People who turn 66 this year can earn up to $40,080, and then $1 of benefits will be withheld for every $3 earned above the limit. However, once you turn age 66, the earnings limit no longer applies. And benefits may be recalculated at age 66 to reflect the withheld benefits and continued earnings.

Bigger payments. Social Security beneficiaries began receiving payments that were 1.7 percent larger in January. The average monthly Social Security benefit in January increased from $1,240 to $1,261 as a result of the cost-of-living adjustment. (Information gathered from USNews.com) ~
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Medicare Enrollment Periods & What to do if you Missed Enrollment #1!!!!

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Second Enrollment Period for Medicare Enrollment Ending Soon!

Even though the first enrollment period runs from mid-October to December of each year, there is normally a secondary enrollment opening as well. Some do not know about this small window of time, from January 1 through February 14th. Although some of the features that you would’ve been able to change in enrollment period #1 will not be able to be changed in enrollment period #2, you are still able to change major plan issues.

Below you will find facts about Medicare Open Enrollment, and general information about Medicare!~

Medicare Open Enrollment Dates for the 2014 Medicare year are October 15, 2013 through December 7, 2013. This means that you’ll need to collect your information, compare prices on plans, even talk to your doctor to ensure that you are getting the right type of coverage for your needs.
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The second enrollment period for 2013 Medicare benefits is coming to a close quickly!! February 14, 2013 is the LAST day you can make changes without paying hefty penalties!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!!!

If you‘re not positive you can do it, DON‘T DO IT ALONE!! If you don’t understand something, ask for help! For more detailed information about signing up for Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), including instructions on how to join, visit www.medicare.gov. You can also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
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Another helpful option is with your pharmacist. At many major local drug stores, they have the ability to print out all your options for your Medicare Part D insurance, plus it will show all the cost for each medicine you’re taking, as well. Often these are free, and many times the staff if more than willing to go over it with you.

 A missed deadline is not the end; in most cases..

If you missed the deadline, you may have to wait until next year before you make changes, or you will pay penalties and higher premiums.
However, there is a second enrollment period from January 1 to February 14. During this time, you can:
     If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.

     If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until February 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to add drug coverage. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

Timing matters when you’re joining Medicare.

When you turn 65 or otherwise become eligible for Original Medicare (Parts A and B), enrollment windows open. But some of these windows will close quickly. If you wait until later to sign up, you may have fewer choices, and you may pay more. During Open Enrollment Period, you can:

     *Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.

     *Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.

     *Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.

     *Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.

     *Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a    Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.

     *Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

     *Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another.

     *Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

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There are two ways to get Original Medicare (Part A and Part B)

Choose Original Medicare on its own, with the option to add Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. If you collect benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you will automatically get Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). There is a premium for Part B. If you don’t want to keep Part B, you must follow the directions when you get your Medicare card, indicating you don’t want it. Otherwise, you will be charged.

Or choose a Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan that bundles Original Medicare with extra benefits and may include prescription drug coverage in one plan. Medicare Advantage Plan is like an HMO or PPO. You may have to go to doctors within their service network or pay higher co-pays for going out of network.

What you pay for the Medicare costs may be larger than you expect

Medicare, the traditional benefit provided by the government, doesn’t cover all medical expenses. For example, approximately of 20% of physician fees are paid by the Medicare beneficiary. Seniors often find themselves paying out-of-pocket for many of their healthcare expenses.

 Medicare Advantage Plans pick up where Medicare leaves off

A Medicare Advantage Plan (like an HMO or PPO) is another Medicare health plan choice you may have as part of Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called “Part C” or “MA Plans,” are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. This insurance provides your Part A, Part B and oftentimes, Part D coverage. You use a Medicare Advantage card for health care.

Medicare pays a fixed amount for your care every month to the companies offering Medicare Advantage Plans. These companies must follow rules set by Medicare. However, each Medicare Advantage Plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for how you get services (like whether you need a referral to see a specialist or if you have to go to only doctors, facilities, or suppliers that belong to the plan for non-emergency or non-urgent care). These rules can change each year.

Do you know how much you’re paying? You should!!

When you’re deciding whether or not to add, change or drop plans, pay attention to what you’re paying. Look at your total out-of-pocket healthcare expenses from last year. It’s not just the premium, but check to see what may have changed with the deductible, co-pays, prescription drug costs.

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 You’ll never hear this anywhere else, but doing nothing is an option

If you don’t make any changes during Medicare Open Enrollment, your existing plans will rollover at the end of the enrollment period with no changes and your existing coverage will remain in effect throughout 2013.

Don’t be shocked if you cannot just “change it back” or “switch back” to previous plans

An insurance agent might say that “if you don’t like the Medicare Advantage plan, you can just switch back.” But it’s not that easy. You can get stuck in a plan. You can only drop Medicare Advantage during certain time periods. In recent years, a new “dis-enrollment period” for Medicare Advantage plans is offered. From January 1 through February 14, a senior can disenroll if they are unhappy with the Medicare Advantage Plan they purchased. They can go back to regular Medicare coverage and, if they wish, pick up a prescription drug plan. (But beware: Medigap is different. Once you give up a Medigap plan, you might not be able to get it back.)

If you are new to Medicare, and need to sign up, please visit:
www.medicare.gov

If you are a care giver to a person who is on Medicare, check out what their website offers to you!

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www.medicare.gov/caregivers

Stay tuned to future blog posts that will have the information on FREE services offered by Medicare!!

Review: AARP 2013 Almanac FREE Nook Book!

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Review: AARP 2013 Almanac FREE Nook Book!

This year, AARP has made an Almanac for 2013 that is filled with tons of different information, scams, ways to save, and more!! The best part of this book is that it is a FREE download on the Barnes & Noble site, and on Nooks! I like how this almanac lays out the “new” scams that are happening, as this is such a huge problem with the elderly.
There are 9 different sections of the book covering a wide variety of topics. The first section is an introduction, and looks ahead into the future. It briefly discusses AARP and what it has to offer. The second section goes through a 12-month year, and covers topics that one family deals with.
The third section brings a more unique aspect of the almanac. It goes over many 50th Anniversaries of a multitude of things! It lists specific dates of events that happens in 1963, and thusly being celebrated with their 50 years in 2013! Some of these important anniversaries are:
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*August 28, 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. delivers the “I Have a Dream” Speech before a crowd of over 250,000 people.
*March 21, 1963 Alcatraz, the federal prison on an island off the coast of San Francisco, closes.
*March 22, 1963 the Beatles release their debut album, ‘Please, Please Me’
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*November 22, 1963 President John F. Kennedy is assassinated while riding in the motorcade through downtown Dallas. Less than two hours later, on Air Force One, Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the new U.S. President.
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Also in the third section, it covers important holidays, and days of National observance. This is handy for those who like to look ahead, and see when each holiday or special day is, and which day of the week it will be. This AARP Almanac does not have religious preference, and covers holidays from every religion, every faith, and every creed. No discrimination in here!!

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The fourth section covers free things, scams, and ways to save in 2013. Here are the different scams covered in this Almanac:
*Sweepstakes Swindles
*Ripoff Romeos
*the Grandma Scam
*Home Repair Ripoffs
* “Gotcha” Greetings
* “Free” Trip Scams
* Dialing for Diabetics (and others)
* Vacation Scams
* Cold Weather Cons
* Medicare Open Enrollment Cons
*Online Shopping Scams
*Charity Cons
The AARP Almanac 2013 really dives into the different types of scams. It gives details of each type, how they happen, how to avoid them, and what to watch out for.
The freebies section steers readers towards certain free websites for food samples, products, and coupons. The sites that they promote have been checked, and tested for security, and are safe. It also covers restaurant deals, as so many elderly love to sample the fine dining options in their areas. For those who are our finest Vets, there is a military section, too! All of these sections point people where to find some really great deals!
They also include a month by month guide to specials at certain places and businesses. Some of those listed are:
* March 20: Free Italian Ice at participating Rita’s locations
(it then links you to their website to find locations!)
*April 9: Free Cone Day at participating Ben & Jerry’s
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*June 7th: National Doughnut Day gets you a free doughnut at participating Krispy Kreme locations
*July 11: Free Slurpees at participating 7-Elevens
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*November 11: Free entrance to all 397 national parks; retired and active military members eat free from limited menu at Applebee’s
*December 17: Free Shipping Day for online orders

There is also a part in this section on seasonal buying. This states which months have the best sales on bigger items that one may need for presents and gifts for family, or a long thought of item that someone has wanted for a long time! For example, the best deals in February are on air conditioners, boats, cameras, chocolate, and luggage. This also gives a month by month description.

Section five has places and ideas for traveling to great vacation destinations around the USA. It has specific dates and times of events, making it easy to plan a year long adventure for those who travel the year through! One of the exciting events listed in this Almanac, is the Donkey Derby Days that happens in Cripple Creek, Colorado each June. This is a festival where food, games, and fun with stubborn donkey’s is had by all!
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Not only does the Donkey Derby Days get mentioned, but also numerous Book Fairs that happen across the country all year long. Film Festivals are also highlighted. There are also many listings of Food Festivals, as well. Many of those are hosted by Food Network, and the dates are listed within this wonderful Almanac.

The sixth section covers all entertainment aspects. In consists of television trivia, movie classics, top songs from many different months and years, milestone birthdays of famous & recognizable people. This section is laid out very well to be able to scroll through and find the birthdays of the stars!
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Section seven offers a wide variety of diet tips, health tricks, and yummy recipes. Each month offers a new healthy recipe to try, with complete directions on how to make it! Sometimes all you need is one new recipe a month to liven up your menu! One of my favorite parts of this almanac is the super food list. Many times elderly forget, or are not sure which foods they should eat more of, and what they should eat less of. The layout of this section allows the reader to learn about each food specifically, giving them pointers and suggestions on what each food helps with health-wise, too. It also lists super foods by season!

Top 20 super foods you should eat more of. I've put about half of these in my Vi shakes. Gotta try the kale, spinach works great so worth a try!
The monthly fitness tips are great if you are unsure of where to start in your routine. It give tips for indoors, as well as outdoors; and month by month. Immunizations are also a huge part of getting older. Many times elderly who do not regularly visit doctors forgo any special immunizations and treatments. This can be especially dangerous, as immune systems in the elderly are often weaker, and can be easily compromised with other illnesses and issues. This goes through each specific vaccine, and why each is important.
With winter, comes the flu. There is a whole part dedicated to the importance of how to avoid the flu, and what to do if you should come down with it. I really liked how they went season by season, and hit on each of the top factors for injury and illness, too. Winter is the flu, but summer also covers important things– dangerous falls! Not to mention heat stroke, and exhaustion.

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Section eight covers the legal aspects, and Medicare. Many seniors get “set” in one style of insurance, and do not understand that many prices, and monthly costs change yearly with different plans. Some may go on years paying $50 in their “set” plan, when simply changing to the newer style of the same plan is only $25 a month. Medicare part D is covered in more detail, as there are hundreds upon hundreds on possible plans that could be, or would be, suitable for the reader. It also covers Medicare open enrollment dates, as those are very important, too.
Another great section in this is the new laws section. Many new laws happen each year, and unbeknownst to many individuals, things change with no notice. One new law of some interest, that will involve the 2013 tax year, is that the Itemized medical deduction percentage will be going up, from 7.5% to 10%….but those 65 and older do not qualify. (What?? This seems off, to me…)

Finally, section nine offers the readers facts and tidbits about what happened on “this day in history.” There is one fact per day. The fact for January 25th 1915 is: “Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell makes the first transcontinental call from New York to San Francisco.”
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Overall, this would be a GREAT addition to an senior citizen, of elderly person’s reading plan. I just read it, and I’m glad I did. My favorite sections were the legal, new laws, and facts and tidbits. I found that even in the new laws, some of the newer tax laws will affect my family, too! Boooo! Tell your elderly relatives about this FREE Nook book today! AARP 2013 Almanac is great! 🙂
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Let’s Lighten the Mood….Some Funny Oldies #2

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Let’s Lighten the Mood….Some Funny Oldies #2

With it being Darling #2’s birthday, and considering the past few days, I thought there was no time like the present to throw some sillies your way! Everyone can use a mood lightener once and a while! I hope you enjoy these silly cartoons!

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*What would you do in that situation?! I wonder if they know who he is?! HAHA!!

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LoVe!

I love old women!

Hope everyone has a good night, and a GOOD day tomorrow. 🙂

Be the “Event Planner” for your Socially Isolated Seniors

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Be the “Event Planner” for your Socially Isolated Seniors
Maximize the social needs of the elderly and people you love

        Years ago, after my grandpa died, and I began the roll of taking care of my grandma… no one warned me at the influx of phone calls I’d be getting. Or the sometimes daily need for visits. Or the strangest requests, that you know they sat and thought of for eight hours the night before, just so that it would be sooo out there, that you’ll definitely come check it out. I understood it fully, and it was okay. Sometimes annoying, absolutely. I won’t lie. But I knew she was lonely, sometimes scared, and all by herself in a now empty house. The trouble was I lived 35 minutes away. I also had toddlers. Yes, plural. And I owned my own businesses. Yes, plural. So sometimes dropping everything to take care of what she needed really put a large bend in my straight, clean schedule.
        Lucky for me, I caught on quickly, and took action. Sometimes caregivers miss out on the signs that their elderly person, or loved on, is crying out for communication. To talk to someone. To be listened to. Yes, seeing people was important, too. Face to face time brightened the darkest of days. But even more simple, was just calling on the phone, and catching up. This is true for all elderly, and people. We need communication, to share and receive feeling and emotion regularly. Otherwise, we become depressed. Sheltered. Withdrawn. We tend to think of people then in the abstract, instead of in the present. I took notice of her needs, and the cycles they seemed to come in.
        When I started caring for her, there was not much other extra help at this point. Some family members came around occasionally, while others never did at all. I alerted everyone that phone calls were absolutely the easiest addition to a schedule, and that regular phone calls meant even more to her. I knew that this would cover the communication need. Having phone calls from family to listen to her stories, no matter how repetitive, or pointless. This is what she needed. The family was put off at first by my blunt requests, but, it was what it was. And it needed to be done. I meant no disrespect to anyone, and I still don’t to this day.
           For her social needs, I became her event coordinator. I reached out to her long time friends, even those that had moved to warmer climates. Most all of them had something that she did not…something that she flat out refused for a whole year. Email and the internet. That idea kept getting pushed aside. So in the meantime, I set up lunch dates with her neighbor friends. We traveled once a week to a nursing home in a nearby city where two of her old friends resided. We had regular library visits. I began to work her into some of my schedule. On library days, she went with us. I didn’t change the day we went, or time. Just the library we went to was closer to her house, and the kids played in the children’s section there. It was simple things like this that I did to ensure that we both would still get what we wanted out of the week. Grocery trips, shopping trips, doctor’s appointments, and our own lunch dates were just some of the things I did to keep her going.
         We began having weekly “lunch” dates with her neighbors. There were two women that she really liked, and their “dates” were special. They’d meet on Grandma’s front porch swing, and talk about it ALL. (the neighbor’s, included!) We (the kids and I) would drive her to lunch dates with others, and sit a table away. This was an educational experience sometimes, let me tell you.
        Finally, she agreed to learn the computer. It was perfect timing, because we had one that we were getting rid of. It was slow, and moved just as she did. I thought they would get along wonderfully. Pages and pages of notes written, COMPLETE directions left, and two weeks worth of daily visits later ….and she’s calling every four hours needing reminders on how to send the emails. Then to save the emails she’s getting. But the most magical thing was that, with each phone call, her dependence on me lessened, and she was getting the hang of it. Not to mention, she was again in contact with her out of state friends and family! I could hear the smile in my 75 year old Grandma’s voice for the first time in months. Things like that made those daily visits, and the PTSD I now had from the phone constantly ringing, all worth it. She told me she’d never had a “freedom” quite like this before. I was thrilled to have helped her learn it.
        Below you’ll find suggestions on how to ensure that your elderly loved one is getting the socialization that they need to be healthy, both mentally and physically.~

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Some Steps to Good Socialization and Emotional Care

Number 1: Consider providing your senior with a pet. Discuss this first with your elderly family member, and anyone who is involved in their care. Pets are helpful with emotional needs for many people. In some cases, owning a pet may not be feasible, but there are local organizations that do animal visits to assisted living and nursing home environments, as well.

Number 2: Ease a senior’s mind in regard to his health by taking him to his physician regularly. Take the time to make sure that they understand what is happening, and the medicines or directions that the doctor gave them. Never just assume that they understood, or can remember, everything that they were just told.

Number 3: If your loved one is showing signs of anxiety, or depression, do NOT wait to act on this!! Take your older loved one to a mental health professional if her emotional issues escalate or if she becomes very depressed. She may need anti-depressants or some form of therapy to better cope with her emotions, and this is okay! Many older people and people in general, are on some kind of depression medicine. Many forms are no longer addictive, and are easier on the stomach, too.

Number 4: Encourage physical activity. Even if the only activity they can do is painting, quilting, or crafting…encourage them to continue! Even putting puzzles together can get their upper bodies moving, and their brain’s thinking hard!

Number 5: Learn to anticipate when your elderly loved one will have mood swings, have stressful events that may trigger bad moods, or depression. Know what to do when this happens, and work to keep things calm. If you can, head off any such disaster before they even begin.

Number 6: Listen to their stories. No matter how many times you’ve heard it. No matter how ridiculous, pointless, or made up it may be. The elderly years can be very lonely. Living alone, and being unable to transport yourself far really does limit your options for company, or getting out much.

Number 7: If you have an elderly family member that’s alone, or your family cannot find the time to give them, there are elderly daycare style centre’s, assisted living homes, or nursing homes to think about. OR, if insurance allows (which is still not as easy as you’d think) you could have in home nursing care, or in home “assistance” givers, come in and help your loved one.

Number 8: Over all else, remember to be patient. Know that this isn’t forever, and once they’re gone, you’ll have a hole in your heart. PATIENCE is a virtue. That is so true. If you wonder if you’re being patient enough, reverse rolls. In that situation, would you have liked to been your loved one? That was always enough for me.

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To find out if you’re elderly loved one is being socialized enough, check out this quick quiz!! http://www.quotev.com/quiz/2652951/How-Socialized-is-your-loved-one/

Heart Strongly Beats; then Death it will Cheat.

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Heart strongly beats; then death it will cheat.
Heart Disease signs, Symptoms, and ways to Improve it

In the many years that I cared for my Grandma, I saw a steady decline in her health. After a multi heart bypass over 15 years ago, it became clear that she had heart disease. She did about every precautionary “do not do,” when you have the disease. She had high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, had been quite the drinker, was a die hard, cigarette’s to the grave type of lady, and high cholesterol that layered all her arteries with a thick coating of fattiness. This is how it had always been, even when I was little, and she would babysit for me. We ate good dinners….but never watched the sodium content, fats, or calories. She ate what she wanted, smoked like a chimney, and was happy as could be.
When I was younger, I always ALWAYS pushed the “Stop Smoking” buttons with my family, to the point of childhood annoyance, as most all of them smoked. At that age, I didn’t know the full effects smoking had on the body, or just how much smoking during your busy & upbeat years, could really put a bit of a damper on your ending years. In school, we learned to “just say no” to drugs, and that smoking caused cancer. I remember being terrified when a family member was stricken with breast cancer (…she ended up kicking it’s ass!) and thinking that everyone I knew that smoked was going down… L Even as a teenager, I picked up the habit from spending too much un-quality time with a boyfriend, and our friends. Camel Reds were my go to…the worst ones out there. Thank God my head got screwed on straight, and I quit before I was 19. Helps that my husband wasn’t a smoker, so I didn’t have the social need anymore, either.
I’m fully aware that for full time smokers, there really is no easy way to quit. If you do it cold turkey style, you risk gaining weight, getting depressed, and having a terrible outlook on your days. Trying the gradual cut back, and using the help of nicotine gums, patches, and the other can help…but sometime’s leaves the smoker’s feeling like they’re being starved nicotine. Which then causes mood swings like something out of a movie. Then there’s cutting back, gradually, on one’s own. I’ve watched many friends, and family members, try quitting this way. Some succeeded on the first try, others struggled for years. Some are still fighting the battle.
Below are some facts, statistics, graphics, and such with information about heart disease. Hopefully some of this information can be put to some good use, or make someone get their heart checked out today!! ~

FACTS!!
*Coronary heart disease rates in women after menopause are 2-3 times those of women the same age before menopause.
*More than 1 in 2 women by the age 40 are at risk over their lifetime for cardiovascular disease
*64% of women who die suddenly from coronary heart disease had no previous symptoms
*Out of those who die within a year of suffering a heart attack 23% are women age 40 and older compared to 18% of men
*Nearly 70% of all men that get hypertension during middle age will have a cardiovascular disease incident by 85 years old.
*Women that get hypertension by earlier middle age have a higher lifetime cardiovascular disease risk of 49.4% than those that have kept normal blood pressure until the age of 55. *Women generally had higher increases in blood pressure throughout middle age.
*At an average of 55 years old, 40.8% of women and 25.7% of men had blood pressure levels that were normal; 47.5% of women and 49.4% of men had pre-hypertension.
*The overall lifetime cardiovascular disease risk for people aged 55 years or more was 39.9% for women and 52.5% for men, after factoring in all blood pressure levels.
*The lifetime cardiovascular disease risk was higher among Blacks in comparison to Whites of the same sex, and went up with increasing blood pressure at middle age

Other Complications
There are also major complications that can come from heart disease. Many times those who do not know they have heart disease, one of these serious issues creeps up on them when they least expect it.
*Heart Failure: One of the most common issues. It’s simple: your heart can’t pump enough blood for your body. The ventricles stiffen, and do not fill properly between beats.
*Heart Attack: heart attacks happen usually when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through the coronary artery. Interrupted blood flow to the heart at any time destroys the heart muscle.
*Stroke: heart disease may cause ischemic stoke, that happens when the arteries in your brain are narrowed or blocked and there is a decrease of blood to your brain. A stroke is a medical emergency, as brain tissue begins dying within minutes.
*Aneurysm: this is a serious complication that can happen anywhere in your body. An aneurysm is the bulge in the wall of your artery. If the aneurysm bursts, you risk life threatening internal bleeding. Slow leaks are possible with aneurysms, but these are normally catastrophic events.
*Peripheral Artery Disease: with PAD, blood is not transported to the limbs as it should be, and can cause dying tissue and immense pain. This usually occurs in the legs, before arms.
*Sudden Cardiac Arrest: sudden loss of heart function, breathing, and consciousness. Usually results from electrical disturbance inside the heart, that disrupts the pump-and-flow of your blood. This almost always occurs when other underlying issues of the heart, particularly coronary artery disease. Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a medical emergency, and treatment needs to begin immediately.

To see if you’re at risk for heart disease, check out this free heart assessment test!!
Free Heart Assessment Test:
http://www.bostonscientific.com/your-heart-health/assess-your-risk.html?

What can you do to help your body get back to a heart healthy state? It may not be as hard as you think!!

*QUIT SMOKING!! Did you know that one year after the cessation of smoking, your lungs will spring back, and you decrease your risk of heart disease by 50%??!! Not to mention all of the other things…better digestive health, more relaxed, better skin, meals taste better, better endurance, and more!!
*EXerCiSE!! Get up and move!! Even if you start small with walking in place! Any kind of activity is preferred. Being sedentary will do nothing but kill you, so, get up and go! Do this EVERY day!!
*Eliminate STRESS inside and out!! This one may be easier said than done, but everyone knows that they can eliminate SOME stressors from their lives. Make sure you’re making time for yourself
*check that ‘beetus at the door! Keep your diabetes in check! Don’t let your sugars roam, high or low!
*roto-rooter your arteries!! Cholesterol is everyone’s enemy, and if you have heart disease–is one of the worst! Change your diet enough to honor this change in your body. It will definitely thank you for it in more ways than one!
*HEALTHY foods, friend! Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains that are low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. Avoid friend, fatty, and processed foods. Eating these types of foods regularly will help your body cleanse itself and stay healthier!
*Get a flu shot! Those with heart issues can actually benefit from the flu shot! Don’t believe me? Go ask your doctor!

Treatment for Heart Disease
Treatment is often medication, with all of the mentioned above lifestyle changes. My grandma wasn’t the only family member or friend we have that has heart disease. My other grandparents have had it, and the myriad of pills on their nightstand’s told me just how bad it was. Of course, this is an issue to discuss with your doctor. And I’d advise you to research each drug, take notes, and meet with your doctor solely about medications, side effects, etc.
There are some holistic approaches, and all natural medicines. Some are: Blond psyllium, Coenzyme Q10, Flaxseed Oats and oat bran, Omega-3 fatty acids, Plant stanols and sterols, such as beta-sitosterol and sitostanol. Of course, as with ANYthing you put into your body…run it by your doctor BEFORE the first pill goes in, ok?? Thanks.

Prevention
It’s pretty basic here, folks. Here’s a list of what to do to keep heart disease away.
*good hygiene
*don’t smoke
*keep your health issues in check
*visit your doctor regularly
*exercise 30 minutes a day
*eat a good diet
*stay at a healthy weight
*reduce stress

Of course no one plans on getting heart disease. No one person sits down, decides they are going to eat themselves into a heart attack. Life happens. Stress happens. Some handle it better than others. Don’t ever turn your back on someone who has a disease like this, or anything else. When you’re chronically ill, it’s hard enough to want to maintain relationships with people…and that’s one thing that is needed so much: social contact. Reach out to those who are ill, who may have it worse than you. You never know when it will be the one thing that brightens, or saves a life. J

Visiting with a Purpose: Making a Family History

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Visiting with Purpose: Making a Family History
Simple ways to bond with your loved one, while creating a beautiful keepsake

Many times, when I was visiting with my Grandma, we would work on her quilts. Sometimes we would paint. Sometimes we enjoyed reading my childhood books, including, “the Pink Elephant with Golden Spots.” It seemed so natural to pack up my children, and head to GG’s house. There really was something wonderful about watching my kids run around the yard and neighborhood I grew up in. Something full circle, if you will. We sat on the front porch, and watched the kids play. This particular day I had found some old pictures, and was asking Grandma about them. That’s what started one of the longest, deepest, most informational conversations we ever had. (Lucky for me, it was the first of many.)
She began telling me about my great, great, great, GREAT relatives. She had names, dates, old addresses, just tons of info. I quickly got my notepad and jotted down the stories, name, and all the info I could pack on to my paper. The stories she told me were not in chronological order. They were whatever came to her mind while we were talking about whatever. But she could explain the timeframes, and about how old she was at the time. These stories went on for weeks, and I had so many great stories, and information. Once our conversations slowed, I began to put all that information together.
With places like Ancestry.com, they have all of the records available, all of the time. They even offer a free trial that is two weeks long. That was plenty of time for me to collect and record all of the data. I also utilized the local library’s geneology department online. There, the employees knew where to direct you with questions. That was surely helpful. I found out dates she didn’t know about some family members, and places others had lived, and been. I kept this new information from her until I was done compiling all of the news. I then took a completed “family history” book over to her, and presented it to her. She cried a little, but not because she was sad. She was so happy that I had taken the time, and said now I’d always have her story. ~

I would suggest to anyone caring for an elderly relative to do something similar. If you’re like me, sometimes just sitting (and sitting, and sitting…) when you’re visiting, or when you’re there care taking and watching relentless repetitive episodes of Roseanne, can be so intensely draining…. This is something that can be done calmly, without much effort, but still solidify your relationship. All you really need is a pen & paper!! Not to mention the positive impact it will have on your elderly relative’s social needs, and brain function. Simply chatting, especially while using their brains to remember old memories, can help keep their brains functioning, and in reality, even longer.
Family History is not only important to your elders, it’s just as important to young children. Where your family has been, what it has been through–even those ever important medical issues, can all be recorded in one of these books. That’s one of those inevitable things…your children will ask questions!! With a book like this, it’s easy to pull it out, sit down with them, and go through all of the old family stories.
It’s easy to make one. After you’re compiled your information, set it up like a book with chapters. Chapter one: Family Tree; Chapter two: Personal Info; Chapter three: story timeline…and so on. If you need a place to start, I’ve included a bunch of questions that you can start with in your journey! In my experience with elder care, I would highly suggest you do this!! ~
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List of Questions to Start your Family History~

What is your full name? Why did your parents select this name for you? Did you have a nickname?
When and where were you born?
How did your family come to live there?
Were there other family members in the area? Who?
What was the house (apartment, farm, etc.) like? How many rooms? Bathrooms?
Did it have electricity? Indoor plumbing? Telephones?
Were there any special items in the house that you remember?
What is your earliest childhood memory?
Describe the personalities of your family members.
What kind of games did you play growing up?
What was your favorite toy and why?
What was your favorite thing to do for fun (movies, beach, etc.)?
Did you have family chores? What were they? Which was your least favorite?
Did you receive an allowance? How much? Did you save your money or spend it?
What was school like for you as a child? What were your best and worst subjects? Where did you attend grade school? High school? College?
What school activities and sports did you participate in?
Do you remember any fads from your youth? Popular hairstyles? Clothes?
Who were your childhood heroes?
What were your favorite songs and music?
Did you have any pets? If so, what kind and what were their names?
What was your religion growing up? What church, if any, did you attend?
Were you ever mentioned in a newspaper?
Who were your friends when you were growing up?
What world events had the most impact on you while you were growing up? Did any of them personally affect your family?
Describe a typical family dinner. Did you all eat together as a family? Who did the cooking?
What were your favorite foods?
How were holidays (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) celebrated in your family? Did your family have special traditions?
How is the world today different from what it was like when you were a child?
Who was the oldest relative you remember as a child? What do you remember about them?
What do you know about your family surname?
Is there a naming tradition in your family, such as always giving the firstborn son the name of his paternal grandfather?
What stories have come down to you about your parents? Grandparents? More distant ancestors?
Are there any stories about famous or infamous relatives in your family?
Have any recipes been passed down to you from family members?
Are there any physical characteristics that run in your family?
Are there any special heirlooms, photos, bibles or other memorabilia that have been passed down in your family?
What was the full name of your spouse? Siblings? Parents?
When and how did you meet your spouse? What did you do on dates?
What was it like when you proposed (or were proposed to)? Where and when did it happen? How did you feel?
Where and when did you get married?
What memory stands out the most from your wedding day?
How would you describe your spouse? What do (did) you admire most about them?
What do you believe is the key to a successful marriage?
How did you find out your were going to be a parent for the first time?
Why did you choose your children’s names?
What was your proudest moment as a parent?
What did your family enjoy doing together?
What was your profession and how did you choose it?
If you could have had any other profession what would it have been? Why wasn’t it your first choice?
Of all the things you learned from your parents, which do you feel was the most valuable?
What accomplishments were you the most proud of?
What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?

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