Connecting with Your Grandkids
Guest article by Evangeline B. White of whereisyourangel.com
Some people say becoming a grandparent is their reward for raising kids. Others aren’t quite so sure what to do or how to connect with their grandkids “in this day and age.” Certainly kids today are raised differently than kids were 50+ years ago. Although many things have changed, one thing remains the same – a person’s deep need for connection.
How do you connect with your pint-sized offspring who knows how to work your cell phone better than you do? Being present in the moment with them is one of the best ways. Take an interest in them and in what they are doing. No matter their age, book reading is always a great way to draw a bridge and bridge the gap between generations.
There are some great classic tales that are still circulating which make wonderful reads. Anything by Dr. Seuss and The (original) Box Car Children are some classics that come to mind. Even when kids are pre-teens, find out what they are reading. What is it about the book that interests them? See if they would want to have a “book club” with you. Both of you can read the same book and then get together over lunch and ice cream to talk about it.
If your grandchild has a special need or is going through a traumatic time, consider a more interactive book that comes with something tactile. The Where Is Your Angel?™ series of books comes with a plush watchman angel and printable activities. Even if your grandchild does not have sensory or sensitive issues going on their lives, this book is a great gift to bring you closer together.
If you or one of your grandkids are the more crafty type, I would suggest you both create your own personalized history or biography book. You can write, tell, and draw about your childhood. Here are some ideas to get you going:
1.) Describe when you were a kid.
2.) Write about going to school – how you got there, what you wore, what you studied.
3.) What did you do after school?
4.) What was going on in the world? (a war, an invention, the space race, etc.)
5.) What were some of your favorite foods and activities, and how much did they cost?
There are many things you can include as you become the “publishers” of your own book.
Being a grandparent can be a rewarding experience – for you, for your grandkids, and for your grown children. Why not pick up that thing called a phone today and schedule some time for connection?
#grandparents #grandkids #rewarding #connecting #books #whereisyourangel #evangelinebwhite
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Bicycling Growing in Popularity with Senior Adults
Guest article via Dave Hogan of thisretirementlife.com
Staying physically fit is important for people of all ages, but as we grow older there are fewer vigorous activities we can do. Most of us are long past the days of jogging and racquetball. One fitness activity that many seniors can continue to enjoy is bicycling, which helps explain why biking is growing in popularity among senior adults.
Seniors are the fastest growing segment of new bike riders. One study found that seniors ages 60 to 79 accounted for one-third of the growth in all bicycling in recent years.
Seniors have generated a revolution in the types of bikes manufacturers are making. Older riders generally favor comfortable cruiser-style bikes with wide seats and tires versus bikes built for racing and mountain biking. Some baby boomer cyclists prefer the low-riding, three-wheel recumbent bikes due to their better stability. Seniors are also one of the largest groups of cyclists opting for electric-powered bicycles, which make riding easier, especially on hills, with less joint and breathing pain.
Health benefits of cycling
Numerous studies have documented how bicycling improves the health of riders, including seniors. The health benefits of riding a bike include:
- Biking is a low-impact aerobic activity that is good for the heart. Research shows that regular cycling improves the cardiovascular system 3 to 7 percent, lowers your resting pulse rate, and reduces blood fat levels. Biking burns fat and builds muscle too.
- Regular bicycling leads to improved weight management since cycling just 30 minutes a day can burn 300 or more calories. By keeping one’s weight under better control, cycling also helps fight diabetes and other diseases tied to being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle.
- Cycling improves mental health. A survey by Cycleplan found that 75 percent of riders said biking improved their mental health. Exercise in general is known to help improve one’s mood and fight anxiety and depression. Spending more time outdoors is also shown to improve one’s mental state. Biking is ideal because it combines exercise with being outdoors and is an activity that most participants find enjoyable and invigorating. What’s more, biking is often a social activity, either riding with a partner or seeing neighbors in your community as you ride. This too can improve one’s mental and emotional state.
- Fascinating new research suggests that biking also improves memory retention and may slow down dementia. Scientists are still exploring all the reasons, but it is believed that the rapid pedaling motion in cycling plays a role, as does the increased blood flow to the brain and having to balance oneself on a bike.
Tips for Senior Bicyclists
Want to get back on the saddle and ride a bike again? Or perhaps you are riding for the first time. Here are some suggestions to make your transition a smooth one:
- Buying the right bike is important. The bike you rode earlier in life, perhaps with low handlebars and skinny tires, may not be the right bike for you now. Look for a senior-friendly design, perhaps including a “step-through” frame that makes getting on and off the bike easier. To ensure you get the right bike, buy through a bike shop, and preferably one that focuses on selling to senior adults. A good bike shop will make sure the bike is properly assembled and sized correctly for your height.
- Consider an electric-powered bicycle. “E-bikes” look like traditional bicycles and still require you to pedal. Where they differ from traditional bikes is they will give you a boost when you need it, such as going up a hill. This is thanks to an electric motor which you control from the handlebars. Seniors with joint pain or breathing problems especially will find e-bikes the best choice for enjoyable cycling.
- Get the right safety equipment. Always wear a bike helmet when riding. This is the most important safety feature of all. It’s also a good idea to equip your bike with a mirror, usually mounted on the left side of the handlebars, to help you see motorists or other cyclists behind you. Some bikers also like to wear bike gloves that will protect the palms of their hands in the event of a fall.
- Start slow and don’t give up. If you haven’t ridden a bike in many years, don’t be surprised if it feels awkward at first and you come back from your first ride with sore muscles. Like walking or other exercises, you will build endurance and strength the more often you ride. Make it a goal to ride at least 30 minutes a day at a steady pace for at least five days a week.
- Be careful where you ride. Communities across the country are building thousands of miles of trails that are solely for pedestrians and bicyclists. This is often the safest place to ride, so look for bike trails in your area. One good place to find trails is TrailLink, hosted by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. Your local bike shop where you bought your bike should also be able to give you trail information. Otherwise, stick with lower-traffic residential side roads or ride in parks. Don’t confuse bike trails with bike lanes. Many cities simply repaint the lines of existing city streets to make room for a small lane for cyclists. Sometimes a bike lane is the only workable option, but because you are still riding next to motorized vehicles, bike lanes are more dangerous than bike trails. Stay on trails and in residential areas when possible.
Bicycling is a wonderful activity for seniors, improving both our mental and physical health. It’s a low-cost form of exercise many healthy seniors can continue until very late in life. Why not give biking another try?
Seniors, Get Your Best Sleep Now
Traditional wisdom says that seniors need only a few hours of sleep per night. However, the National Institute of Health states that adults over the age of 65 need seven to nine hours of sleep per night just like all adults.
How can you improve your sleep?
How To Get A Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, these tips may be able to get you back on track:
- Find the best mattress for your body.
A good mattress should support you properly and address any issues you have such as pain. Ideally, you should buy a mattress that you can “test drive” for a few weeks. This post from Spine Health teaches you how to choose a mattress for lower back pain.
- Create a bedtime routine.
Creating a regular routine before bed can help ease you into sleep. Part of that routine should be waking up and getting to bed around the same time every day. You should also avoid triggers such as caffeine, spicy foods, unpleasant topics and stressful books before bed. Here are 10 calming activities that will help you get to sleep from NoSleeplessNights.com.
- Get proper diet and exercise.
Eating for your body and health will be helpful, particularly if you avoid heavy foods or foods that trigger stimulation. Additionally, regular exercise done during the day (but not before bed) can help you sleep. Research shows that exercise actually benefited patients with insomnia more than medications designed for sleep.
- Set up a good sleep environment.
Be sure that your bedroom is set up for sleep by making sure your curtains or blinds filter out all light. Set your thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Buy a good quality pillow that supports your neck. You may want to buy a white noise machine to help you fall asleep.
- Avoid screen time an hour before bed.
Tablets and smartphones emit something called blue light, which can disrupt your sleep patterns. Read more about this health hazard in this article from Scientific American. You can download a blue light blocker for your device to protect you.
Sleep Issues For Older Adults
Some of the common causes of sleep problems for seniors listed by Better Health While Aging include:
- An underlying medical condition.
- Sleep apnea, snoring, or other breathing problems associated with sleep.
- Issues caused by a limb, such as restless leg movement or periodic limb movement.
Additionally, discomfort, stress, depression and anxiety are all issues that can contribute to poor sleep habits.
When To Talk To Your Doctor
How do you know if a sleep issue is solvable or is a symptom of something deeper? There are a few things you can try:
- Buy a journal to track your sleep habits. Be sure to include instances of interrupted sleep as well as when you wake up feeling fatigued.
- Think about whether there have been any major stressful changes in your life. You may need to address those issues with a therapist.
- If you have pain or intense discomfort not relieved by a new mattress, or any worsening breathing problems, see your doctor.
According to Jason Harvey, co-administrator of Live Free Home Health Care, “Sleep deprivation symptoms also mirror other common signs of aging or disease, making it difficult to notice or diagnose a sleep disorder. Having a professional assessment and respite care during evening hours can go a long way in helping families get to the root of a hidden problem.”
Seniors can benefit physically and emotionally from proper sleep habits. Take steps to improve your sleep today.
Not All Disabilities Are Visible
Guest article from Mobility Products 4 U
As I run my website and I also have disabilities of my own, severe arthritis and sleep apnea, I am aware of others around me who clearly show signs of being disabled, but not all disabilities are visible. Recently I saw what think is a new sign in an Asda store, and I thought what a very good and sensible sign it was.
All too often you can see people look and ‘tut’ as they see what seems like a normally fit and healthy person enter a disabled toilet. However, you do not need to be in a wheelchair or mobility scooter or using crutches/walking sticks or other living aids in general in order to be disabled.
Asda have clearly embraced this position and it is so good to see that people are being made aware that they need to be more understanding when they see people going into disabled toilets or indeed using disabled parking spaces.
I do not want to elicit sympathy for my arthritis, but it is often easy to see the amount of pain I am in, however, my sleep apnoea, which can cause all sorts of problems when it is at its worst, is not easily spotted and the same goes for an awful lot of disabilities that other people struggle to cope with.
Can you imagine how it must be to have a stoma bag fitted and need to empty it when you are out doing your shopping?
Very few people would ever realise you have one on, but obviously those having to cope with it will not readily show to others the problems that they have.
This doesn’t change the fact that their disability is as difficult to cope with as any of those I suffer from, but I probably get more sympathy as my arthritic problems are clearly visible.
So please remember not all disabilities are visible and let us all congratulate Asda for their signage and encourage other companies to follow their lead.