Monday, December 31, 2007

Wedding planning

Weddings are wonderful events. Special days that mark the start of what is to be a lifetime of love shared. If you are going to be part of planning a wedding in 2008 then WeddingChannel.com would like to invite you to visit their site and see what they have to offer for planning stress-free weddings. They have interactive planning tools, expert advice, and even photos to help inspire your imagination.

Looking for a good registry? Their patented online registry system allows you to access all of your Wedding Gifts registries in one place. And the discussion boards are a great place to get advice on everything from what to do about problems with the planning to help with your vows.

You can visit WeddingChannel.com at the link above, or at www.weddingchannel.com.

I love being wireless

It is so nice. My parents got me a wireless router for Christmas, so now I can work on my laptop from anywhere in the house. I even ran the laptop from the end of the driveway, about 300 feet out to there. It is spoiling me rotten on being able to work anywhere I want to in the house. Now if someone would just put true wireless access in Alaska so I could really work from anywhere... That would be nice, but I have not yet found that sort of service up here.

Snow on eBay - $3,550.00

Snow. Fluffly and cold and white and... well... apparently in high demand. Some guy sold snow on ebay for $3,550.00! Yeah, that's right, I said he sold snow on eBay for over three thousand dollars. I think that's Canadian money, but still, impressive for snow.

And he ain't the first to sell snow on eBay, someone in Denver sold snow over the auction site before. I would be interested in knowing if they are the only two, or if a lot of people are selling snow online. I bet there is after this sale!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Arizona and snowbirds

A snowbird is someone that spends their summers in colder regions and their winter's in warmer areas. For many retired Alaskan's that destination is usually Arizona. Someday I would like to be a snowbird and meander down to a nice summer home in Arizona to avoid the harsher time of the year here in Alaska, when my joints ache and the weather hits -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

This desire was just heightened by a visit to the website of phoenix pool builders Cameo Pools and a browse through their gallery of pools that they have built. I have to say I believe it when they say their goal is not to build the most, just the best. In business for 30 years they offer some impressive warranties to back up the quality of their pool construction and the equipment used.

Their custom designs and the obvious attention to detail seen in the gallery has sold me on using them to install my future vacation home's pool. It might be 30 years before I can go vacationing in Arizona every winter, but Cameo Pools looks to me like they will still be going strong then and for many more years after.

Age Friendly Computers

Here is something that I know from personal experience is good for anyone that has a care recipient that uses the computer, or for anyone that needs a little more help seeing the computer themselves. My brothers and I set my dad's computer up for him to be able to use it more easily, including enlarging the font size and getting him a large print keyboard, but Microsoft has a Guide for Aging Computer Users. The one flaw I see is I do not readily see information on where to find out how to engage these features they discuss, so I'll try to get time later on to double check that and post a follow-up, if I still can't find it I will post my own tutorials for how to make this stuff more age friendly.

Have you seen CAST?

The Center for Aging Services Technologies. The mission of CAST is "to unleash the potential of technology for innovative development across the continuum of health care, housing and services for the aging". Among their mission points: "Support the needs of professional and family caregivers".

I just found the CAST website tonight, through a random search for "aging technology", but I will definitely be returning later to investigate what they are all about later on when I have more time to look over the site and decipher just what it is that they are doing.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Are you ready for Super Bowl XLII?

February 3rd, 2008
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona

I admit it, I'm not much for Super Bowl, it just is not something that gets me excited, now, a nice rodeo? Yeah, that's interesting to me, but there are a lot of guys and gals out there that I know like their Colts and Cowboys to be of a little bit different breed. People that live for the Super Bowl and are looking for great super bowl tickets to be sure they don't miss out on a moment of the action.

TicketsNow is an online marketplace for event tickets and has already began offering Super Bowl XLII tickets. To find out more about the tickets that TicketsNow offers visit the link above.

Addressing the Caregiving Crisis by Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter

Every once in a while family caregivers have someone of notice stand up and say that they are doing a good job, someone that recognizes what they are doing and expresses concern that help is desperately needed.

This January that person is Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. In Preventing Chronic Disease, the CDC electronic newsletter for disease prevention, the former First Lady presents an editorial "Addressing the Caregiving Crisis" in which she talks about depression in older adults and about family caregivers.

I urge my readers to visit the Preventing Chronic Disease newsletter and read this editorial via the link above.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Carter R. Addressing the caregiving crisis. Prev Chronic Dis 2008;5(1). http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2008/
jan/07_0162.htm
. Accessed 12/27/2007

Health Tips from the CDC for Visiting Nursing Homes and Hospitals

Here is something that I wish I would have seen back before the holidays, but I think it is something that applies at any time so I am going to be including a link here now. The CDC has up information on health tips for visiting seniors and family members that are in hospitals or nursing homes during the holidays. You can find out more at the CDC website's Health Tips for Visiting Nursing Homes and Hospitals article.

Radiator.com

Cars can be an important part of the family. They have memories associated with them and driving a particular car can be a comfort unlike anything else. Rather it is an older model car or something new you want to be able to find the right parts when you are trying to repair damage to your car.

One of the easier parts to damage when you are switching engines is the radiator. That is why I like Radiator.com, they can help you find the radiators that you need regardless on if you need to find an Integra Radiator or any other kind of radiator.

A family-run business with warehouses all over the US, Radiator.com offers quality radiators at very competitive prices. They also have a satisfaction guarantee backed by a lifetime warranty.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

IRS warns of scams

I was over at the IRS website getting ready for the 2008 tax season and noticed they have up an alert warning people to be careful about scam e-mails that have been claiming to be from the IRS and the Taxpayer Advocate Service (which is a real independent organization within the IRS), the scam e-mails entice people to fake IRS websites where the scam artist tries to gain access to information to help them steal identities or bank account information.

Don't be suckered into these scams, which often promise refunds or request help in running a sting on scammers. Also remember, the IRS is a government entity. Their URL will always end in .gov, never .com or .eu or anything else non .gov

Almost time to make resolutions

It is almost time for New Year's resolutions, have you got your resolutions decided on yet? I am thinking to make resolutions to take better care of myself, on a level of diet and exercise, but also on making more "me" time so I can be better able to fend off any kind of feelings of depression and other symptoms of caregiver burnout. I'm also going to be making a resolution to finish a book, but I make that resolution (or some variation on it) every year.

What are your resolutions going to be, have you thought about them yet?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Capella University

There are points when you are a full-time family caregiver that you are just sitting. Long stretches in which all you can do is read a book or knit or page through back issues of magazines in doctor's waiting rooms.

Have you ever thought about taking that time and using it to earn a degree? With capella university you can earn your degree in over graduate and undergraduate specializations or 15 certificate programs, and all on your own time and wherever you have a few minutes to work.

A fully online accredited university, Capella University is the choice for more and more busy individuals that are seeking to further their education. To find out more visit the Capella University website at www.capella.edu

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This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit Blogitive.com

Getting lost online

There is so much online about seniors and health and aging and.... :::shakes head::: It just boggles the mind trying to sort through it all. I know, I just spent the past half an hour trying to sort it all out and am still not sure I figured out where I was going or what I was looking for.

Did I have a goal when I started? Yes, I did, did I find it? Uhhh... I actually forgot what it was that I was looking for along the way.

I guess the holidays have started wearing me down and my brain is on the fritz, because I totally blanked out on what I was looking for and ended up just looking. No reason, no goal, just... window shopping for ideas on what it was that had lead me to wander the Internet in the first place.

I'm sure I'll remember after while and then take off again, but this time I am making a note of what the goal is and sticking to it rather than be lead off on side trips until I forget the original purpose of the research.

Tree draped in crystals

I have been working on creating a garland of small faux crystals to be strung along the boughs of the Christmas tree. Using a package of acrylic crystal pendants and a spool of dark brown thread I have been stringing the crystals about 2 inches apart along the thread so that when I hang it on the tree later it will look like the crystals are hanging in midair draped from bough to bough. It should look good when it is finished. I made a small version of it last night and draped between two boughs and I like how it looks, so now I am working on a full version of it for the tree.

Capella University

The following blog post is based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit Blogitive.com.
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Family caregivers barely have time to work outside the home, trying to further ones education can be all but impossible. That is why I like Capella University. Capella University is an accredited online university, that offers a chance to further your education from the comfort of your home on your own time. Whether you are looking for a masters in psychology or any of the 101 graduate and undergraduate specializations that Capella University offers.

More and more people are turning to online learning as a recognized way to further their education, and for many, such as Teresa Chaulk, it is the best alternative.

Previously the lead for the Lincoln County school district's special education programs and curriculum development, Chaulk also served as the alternative school's principal and has now been named superintendent of Lincoln County School District Number One in Wyoming. Like so many Chaulk has opted to use Capella University to seek her degree because of the inability to reach a traditional university. The nearest four-year university that Chaulk could have attended from her home in Kemmerer, Wyo. was more than 100 miles away.

Speaking about Capella University, Chaulk said: "It really is a wonderful opportunity to have a reputable online degree program for people like me who are working full time and who would not be able to pursue a PhD otherwise." I think the same can be said for people who are caring for others full time and could not otherwise seek their degrees.

If you would like to find out more about Capella University and the opportunities they have for those looking to further their online education, then visit Capella University at the link above or at www.capella.edu

cRANKy?

I was not sure what I would find when I went looking, but I decided to see if there were any search engines that are senior focused. The result? cRANKy. cRANKy is a search engine for the 50+ crowd.

Powered by eons, cRANKy bills itself as "the first age-relevant search engine". I have not done much looking at what cRANKy is, or the kinds of results I get from it, but I'm curious on how they are working out for people.

If anyone has had any experience with cRANKy I would love to know how you like it or if you dislike it and all that. Would it be a good search engine for me to be recommending to people over at FamilyCaregiver.info? Let me know what you think about it.

Christmas Tree is up

Yes, I know, I'm late. At least I finally got the tree put up, right?

And actually, I have always felt that the solstice was the right time for the tree to go up anyway, as long as it is up by the 21st I'm happy. And one tradition I heard years ago said that the tree was to be put up and decorated on Christmas eve. I assume that was a way for parents to distract children from the presents that the kids could not wait to be getting the next morning.

I remember as a kid me and my brother taking our horses out into the mountains to find the perfect tree and towing it back behind the horses. Now we use a fake tree that is stored carefully away in the basement year to year. Somehow the tradition of getting the tree is not so mysterious and fun when you are hauling it up from the basement rather than down from the high snowy forest.

Still, it is a pretty tree and even though I have a mystery of several segments of lights not working this year, I was able to move the boughs that are lit up until they filled in the areas that are not lit and the tree looks reasonably okay.

I then decorated it for the moment with red silk poinsettia flowers, green pine garlands, fake red apples, and small faux crystal pendents. It's not the most gaudily decorated tree, but it looks pretty enough until I actually find the decorations that I was sure we had here somewhere.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Medical Insurance

Advantage Healthcare Quotes would like to invite you to look at the different types of healthcare insurance that they offer. As family caregivers we know the importance of being able to afford healthcare, so I am always willing to share possible sources for family caregivers to Save Money on Healthcare Insurance. Healthcare is something that everyone needs to consider how they will be paying for at some point, and shopping around for the best Insurance Rates only makes sense when you are looking to get healthcare insurance.

I can not find the 'about' information for Advantage Healthcare Quotes on their website, however, I can find no record of anyone having complained about the site or their services. I looked through the sign up information, but I did not complete the procedure. The submit area on the final screen states:
By submitting this information, I request that insurance companies or their agents and NetQuote partners subscribing to the NetQuote service contact me via email, telephone or fax, using the information I have supplied, to provide quotes or to obtain additional information needed to provide quotes.
So, this is a way for those who are seriously shopping around to send their information to a range of insurance groups to get companies soliciting them with Medical Insurance Quotes. Not something I am in the market for at the moment, so I did not send my personal information out into the world at large for whoever is part of their network.

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Note: the domain for Advantage Medical Quotes was registered on 27 Sep 2007 for a period of one year and is using WhoIs guard to blank out who owns the site.

Children's Hospital Charity Auction "Paper Dolls" by Keith Urban, Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Daniels and more

Want to help out a very worthy cause? Celebrities such as Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Lee Ann Womack, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Daniels and Kenny Rogers (to name only a small few) have created Paper Dolls that are to be auctioned off for charity.

The proceeds go to benefit the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

From the auctions on eBay - Vanderbilt Children's Hospital's mission statement:

The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is a place to hope and a place to heal for patients and their families. Ranked as one of the 10 best children's hospitals in the nation by Child magazine, Vanderbilt Children's cares for many of the sickest pediatric patients in the region and beyond. We treat all children -- Vanderbilt Children's has the only Pediatric Emergency Department in Middle Tennessee and more than 100,000 patients are seen in the outpatient clinics each year.


Check them out, maybe even pick up an extra special Paper Doll and help out a very worthy cause this Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday gift ideas

Do you have someone on your list that wants car stuff? BuyAutoTruckAccessories.com can help you find the perfect gifts for your car enthusiast or for that off-road truck or maybe a good alarm or horn system.

Rather you are looking or a push bar (aka grill guard), or you want to get a good spoiler for someone's sporty car, you can find great gifts at BuyAutoTruckAccessories.com.

They have a full customer service staff to help you in finding the right parts for your vehicle, so you don't have to be a car person to find what you need, and offers same day shipping within the continental United States on most products.

Holiday safety - medications

A very important thing to take into consideration when visiting relatives for the holidays are medications.

I am sure that when you are at home you keep prescription medications out of reach and the more serious ones locked up, but what about when you are traveling? How can you keep safety conscious when you are not at home?

My suggestion, and what I have always done, is to get a small locking box. I use the kind that you would use for cash, but you can also use the kind used for guns or any other locking box. Use it for storage of prescription medications when traveling. It can be slipped into a nightstand drawer or into a suitcase and put away in the top of the closet.

Holiday travel with care recipients

Are you and your care recipient going to be spending time with relatives at their home this holiday season? You might consider if you should take a few minutes before hand to discuss with your relative if there are any areas of concern involving the care recipient while you are there.

Things to consider might be if your care recipient is at high risk for a fall and there is a open stairway or steps from one room into another. Do they use a powered wheelchair? You might let your host know what the turn capability on the chair is so they can check their floor areas and see if there is anything that might need to be moved during the holidays.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Disney World Vacation

Want to surprise the whole family with something special this holiday season? How about a Disney Wold vacation?

Check out OrlandoFunTickets.com to find all of the discounted tickets you will need for things like Walt Disney World Tickets and tickets to Universal Studios as well as other great attractions and dinner shows in the Orlando area.

OrlandoFunTickets.com guarantees they will have the lowest prices and with “Disney Magic Your Way” you and your family can enjoy your vacation the way that you want to.

Check out the other great attractions that OrlandoFunTickets.com has as well, there are a lot of different theme parks and dinner shows to choose from.

The forgotten family caregiver info website

I need to get back to working on the Family Caregiver Info website. I just realized that I have been badly neglecting that and focusing all my caregiver information over here on the blog. Oops. Bad me. I'll make that my goal this week, yes I know, it was my goal for November - November was a stressful month. I'll get back to work on it, if only in spurts. I promise.

Write away the stress

Writing is a very therapeutic thing for someone that is going through a difficult time or under stress, trust me, you can see how much I write. Writing has always been my sanity saver. If you are going through a hard time or suffering stress then you might consider writing. Rather you write in a personal journal, a locked blog that only those you let read it can see, or an open blog such as this one, it can be a very therapeutic thing to write.

My advice to anyone that has no idea where to start is to create a blog about something they enjoy. Do you love to quilt? Write about the things you are doing with your quilting, or a new quilt you are working on. Do you love to bake? Share recipes and tips on a blog about baking.

Or you can take the ultimate plunge and share your personal life. What it's really like to be a family caregiver. I have not yet taken that step, I guess I am just too personal of a person to write about that. I write about everything else though, and it is one of the best releases I have for pent up frustration and stress.

Long Stemmed Roses

Looking for something special for someone this Christmas? I know what I would love to get for my mom. A bunch of long stemmed roses - no, not those, I mean long stemmed long stemmed roses.

They are a little out of my price range though, at $599.99 for 96 of the Six Foot Red Rose Forever Young rose, but these are roses that according to FiftyFlowers have a six foot long stem on them! Well, 4'7" to 6' stems, but man, a rose with a six foot long stem? Just to see that would be so cool.

FiftyFlowers is an online flower merchant that specializes in bulk flowers and arrangements for weddings. Offering fast 2 or 3 day FedEx delivery to the door of the orderer from the time the flowers are cut in the fields of the flower farms.

I can think of reasons other than weddings to order flowers made for weddings, and not just stuff like anniversaries or graduations. Imagine getting a selection of lovely red rose boutonnieres to be used for decorating a Christmas tree! White lace bows and red roses made up into small boutonnieres with white lights and crystal clear spheres. Ohh.... So lovely.

Mevacor's future as an OTC to help lower LDL cholesterol looks dim

Merck & Co., Inc. had hoped that the third time might be the charm, and that the FDA might approve of the use of over-the-counter MEVACOR(R) (lovastatin) 20 mg to help lower LDL cholesterol (something that might prevent a first heart attack)

Merck & Co. announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's joint panel of the Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee (NDAC) and the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Drugs Advisory Committee (EMDAC) voted against recommending approval for the use of Mevacor at this time. Making this the third time the agency has rejected Merck's efforts to market Mevacor as an over-the-counter drug.

While the FDA is not bound by the committee's recommendation, they do take the advice of those committees into consideration when making their final decision. The decision is expected to be issued by the FDA on January 26, 2008.

Recipe for 1800's tea cookies

Last night I made some cookies following an 1800's recipe. With the simple title of: Cookies. the recipe is one of those in the 1882 cookbook; Miss Parloa's New Cook Book, A Guide to Marketing and Cooking.

I love older cookbooks. I used to have several cookbooks from the mid 1800's that were lost in a fire years ago. One of them had the most wonderful recipe for an applesauce cake, I still wish I had that recipe still, it would be perfect for a holiday cake. Maybe I'll look it up online, see if I can locate the recipe.

Anyway, the cookie recipe created a soft, not quite crumbly, dry cookie that has a mellow flavor and would be excellent for going with tea. The recipe as it appeared in Miss Parloa's cookbook is:

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Cookies.

One cupful of butter, two of sugar, five of flour, a teaspoonful of
saleratus, dissolved in four of milk; one egg, flavor to taste. Roll
and bake like seed cakes.
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Now, I had to look up what saleratus is, it's baking soda. For the 'flavor to taste' I used a full teaspoon of vanilla.

Made as it is here, the dough is crumbly and needs to be sort of smashed together and shaped onto the pan to create roughly 1.5 inch round 1/4 inch thick cookies.

I used about a heaping tablespoon of dough to form each cookie and pressed them down to roughly a quarter inch thick. I baked about 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven on an ungreased baking sheet.

They come out with a soft shortbread look to them and I have been thinking that this recipe would make a good base for something like lemon bars. You can stop here and have a very nice tea cookie, or, what I did, was to add a few ingredients to make a nutty tea cookie.

I added finely minced walnuts to the cookies. What I did was to take this basic recipe and add in a second egg and four more teaspoons of milk. Once that was mixed in thoroughly it creates a more dough-like cookie dough which I divided in half.

To one half of the dough I added 4 tablespoons of finely ground walnuts. The walnuts are such a perfect flavor accompaniment to the flavor of the cookies and they go so wonderfully with a cup of hot tea (trust me, that's what I have here beside me as I write this ;-)). Other nuts I think would work would be pecans or hazelnuts. I can't wait to get some hazelnuts and try the recipe with them, I think the cookie dough would bring the flavor out in such a delightful way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Florida Villas

It is difficult enough to travel with care recipients without arriving at your destination only to discover that the room you thought you booked at a Florida Villa is not the one you ended up with. You want to be sure that it will be a room or condo that will suit the needs of your care recipient. Lowery's understands.

Lowery's has been selling and renting property in Florida for 60 years. With an office in Kissimmee, FL since 1986 and a website that targets their UK clients but also serves travelers from all over the world, Lowery's is dedicated to helping people get that they pay for when it comes to rentals in Florida.

They achieve this by bringing together all of the sale and rental property information for Florida, and going by the simple principle that “The unit you choose is the unit you get!”

Search the Thinkflorida.co.uk website for Florida Villas with searches in the listings for pool homes, town homes and condos to find the perfect destination for you and your care recipient. Each of the units have a number of pictures and a 360 tour of main areas to help vacationers know exactly what they are going to be renting for their vacation.

For more information visit Lowery's Thinkflorida.co.uk website at the link above.

Food Safety Tips from the FDA

The FDA has a page on holiday safety to make the holidays more healthy for your family. You can find the full list of safety tips at Food Safety Tips. The tips include what to watch for in the event of foodborne illness and offers suggestions on how to prevent problems such as cross contamination and spoilage.

FDA: No increase in heart trouble from Prilosec and Nexium

On May 29, 2007 AstraZeneca, the maker of Prilosec and Nexium, sent the FDA data from studies that AstraZeneca had conducted. Cardiovascular events raised a question about whether long-term use of Prilosec and Nexium increased the risk of heart attacks, heart failure, and heart-related sudden death.

Anyone that has had any connection to these drugs will likely recall the issuance in early August of the FDA's ongoing safety review of the drugs. This review was conducted with the assistance of AstraZeneca and included 14 comparative studies of Prilosec - four of which were placebo-controlled.

In a press release issued December 10, 2007 the FDA stated that the heartburn drugs Prilosec and Nexium have been determined to not present increased heart risks. The FDA concluded that long-term use of the two drugs was not likely to be associated with an increased risk of heart problems, stating: "FDA recommends that health care providers continue to prescribe, and patients continue to use, these products as described in the labeling for the two drugs."

Layer on protection for your computer

Computers can be a lifeline for a family caregiver. They can be a way to reach out for support when facing caregiver burnout, a window to the outside world and others that know what you are experiencing. They can be invaluable tools for researching what medications your care recipient has been prescribed and sources of part time income to help you pay for day to day expenses.

Computers are, for many full-time family caregivers, a very vital part of their lives. Protecting those electronic sanity savers is an important step to take. Do you think you have adequate protection for your computer from online threats? You might not. Did you know that no single computer protection program is made to be all-encompassing? They are usually made to target specific threats such as viruses or efforts to break into your computer from the Internet.

The best defense against threats to your computer is to create a layer of different types of software, kind of like layering blankets on against the chill of winter. By layering programs such as NOD32 with other security programs such as LinkScanner or Outpost Firewall, you can have a much better line of defense to help you keep the viruses that threaten your computer out.

Software Security Solutions has researched and tested computer security solutions to let them offer their customers what they feel are the best solutions in each computer security category. To find out more, visit Software Security Solutions at the above link.

Dementia linked to high blood pressure?

High blood pressure may be a contributing factor for dementia. Earlier this month researchers stated that hypertension was linked to one of two types of mild cognitive impairment. A condition that can foreshadow the development of dementia.

Rather then being linked to Alzheimer's, this mild cognitive impairment can effect language, memory, attention span or other mental functions.

While it is not an impact on the ability of the person to perform daily activities, it an be noticed by others and detected through tests.

It can also be a precursor to vascular dementia, which is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer's disease, and is a risk factor for stroke.

From 1992 through 1994 Columbia University Medical Center in New York tracked 918 people (average age 76) in New York that did not have mild cognitive impairment when the study began.

Given examinations for cognitive ability at 18 month intervals, the tests revealed that over a course of 4.5 years 334 of the subjects developed mild cognitive impairment.

High blood pressure increased the risk by 40%. In concluding the study researchers suggest that cognitive impairment may be reduced through prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.

For more information see:

High blood pressure tied to dementia: researchers

High blood pressure ups risk of mental decline

Who to talk to

There is a problem that I have encountered time and again as a caregiver, and that is with the doctor's not understanding who they should be addressing when they are explaining something. I share the role of caregiver for my father with my mother. I do the physical stuff and take care of the medications, she handles any appointments and keeping track of what doctors have said, and we share responsibility on nearly everything else.

When we go to see a doctor that does not know us, however, the doctors will often place my mother on complete ignore and explain things to me, or if I am not there to whichever of my siblings is there. I am not sure why they do this, exactly, but my assumption is that they mistakenly assume my mom is only there as moral support for my dad - or something. ::shakes head::

The point is, it gets annoying to have to continually make polite redirects to my mom when the doctors will address me more than my parents. A lot of the time they address me on things that should be directed to my father. So I guess I just want to get it out there into cyberspace that doctors need to pay attention not to who they perceive is in control of things, but to who the people they are speaking to perceives as in control of things. My dad's primary doctor is one of the best I have ever meet in part because they take everyone into consideration when talking about something and realizes that my dad does understand, he's able to answer questions (a lot of the time better than I can), and that my mom is not just there because she is his wife, but because she is one of his caregivers and should be treated with respect and be included in what is going on with her husband.

The doctors that have annoyed me the most are the ones that even after I have flat out said "My mom's the one that you should be talking to, not me, I'm just in charge of medication" the doctor *still* ignores my mom and talks to me instead.

No wonder being a caregiver is so stressful.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Massaging Chair from Human Touch

Looking for something good to get for someone that needs a nice massage? How about a massage chair?

Human Touch has a wide selection of chairs in designs to fit most decorating schemes, and colors to match any taste. Now Human Touch has added the Human Touch HT 7450 Zero Gravity Massage Chair to their selection, a chair that uses the Quad Roller System that offers percussion, rolling, compression, and kneading to relax the whole body and provide revitalizing comfort and relaxation. The ultimate gift for anyone that works too hard, the HT 7450 is also equipped with soothing heat and a foot massage.

Visit the HT 7450 page at the Human Touch website by clicking the link above and find out all about this newest chair and all of the Human Touch massaging chairs and accessories.

Shopping for my dad

It's hard to figure out what to get my dad for Christmas, since a lot of the things that he liked when I was growing up he does not do anymore and he has a very large collection of eagles now. I'm sure I'll get him an eagle, and I will be getting him a box of cordial cherries as well since I always make sure to get him a box of those, but I am not sure what to get him other than that. I went looking on eBay and found a few Army coffee mugs and things, so I am pondering one of them maybe.

Price of some medicines has gone up for Tricare recipients

I went to the pharmacy last night to get one of my dad's medications. It seems that Tricare has changed their way of doing things and I had to pay over twice (nearly three times) what I normally pay for that medication. That hurt. I still had enough money with me to get stuff for dinner, but I had left my credit card at home and it was a close stretch to get what else I had needed with the surprise increase in the cost of that one medication.

What pisses me off is that the prices are going up because of Medicare and stuff like that being charged for things that they should not be being charged for, and yet if you want to report some place for fraud it is a complicated process (at least it seemed to be when I was looking at it for an article a while back - I gave up on writing the article about it it was so messed up).

Friday, December 07, 2007

Advertising on blogs

The Family Caregiver Info and Family C.A.R.E. blog is joining the Smorty service, which allows bloggers to get paid for blogging about things that interest them and their readership. The blog advertising campaigns that Smorty features are opportunities that I can opt to write about for people and companies that want to advertise on blogs as a way to spread the word about their product or service.

I know that many will say that it is not right for bloggers to blog for money, but I also know that my readership knows that even though I get paid to blog, I can not be paid enough that I would say something I did not feel was true. If I suggest a site or service on this blog it is because I believe that it is something that my readership will want to know about. I am very committed to being able to hand select the things that I review and recommend to my readers, particularly my fellow family caregivers.

Being a family caregiver is the highest stress unpaid job in the world, being paid to blog about products and services allows me to earn a little money while still acting as a full-time caregiver for my father.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How to have a less stressful holiday season

An old fashioned Christmas can mean many things to many people, but to mean it has always meant a tree trimmed in strings of popcorn and cranberries, round gingerbread cookies decorated with royal icing and deep fried rosette cookies in the shape of snowflakes sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar.

I love Christmas, it is a time to gather the family together and enjoy one another's company. But it is also a time of stress. Did everyone get a gift? Were there enough treats made that no one will miss out on a popcorn ball or bit of divinity fudge? Did all of the gifts get under the tree? Has the dog and cat escaped into the yard in these frigid temperatures?

Want to survive with some of your sanity in one piece? Try some of these tips that I have worked out over the years.

Lock the cat in the basement and the dog in the bedroom. That's how I handle them when there is a chance they will be lost unnoticed outside. When the temperature is well below freezing you don't want to have a loved pet stray out when the door is open and get lost out in the yard, so put them in rooms that no one will go into and check on them occasionally to make sure they are doing okay in there.

Steal (or at least borrow) one of Santa's sacks. I had a huge red tablecloth that I never used for anything. It has a nice swirling pattern on it and looks very brightly red and cheery. I folded it in half right sides together, did a straight stitch up one side and down the end with my sewing machine and turned it right-side out. Instant giant red sack that I was then able to fill fill of presents and tuck in behind the Christmas tree to make sure that everything made it to the tree during the holiday season. Starting out as just a decor the tree slowly and magically fills with presents as the days wear on toward Christmas.

Make twice as much. If I know that the fudge is likely to be all eaten up, then I will (if possible) make twice as much as I think I will need. If it gets all eaten then I at least tried, if not, I can either keep the leftovers or (if there is a lot leftover) send some home with anyone that really liked it and would like to take a little back home with them. An idea on this might be to get some little gift baskets or bags and as people are starting to head for home, put the bags or baskets out on the buffet table and invite your guests to take some goodies home. Make sure you also have waxed paper or saran wrap out on the table to wrap the goodies up in.

Present prizes. Can't afford presents for everyone, but want everyone to get something? One year my sister organized a family bingo party for Christmas. Everyone brought something of a set value that was all ready wrapped up and placed it under the tree, then when someone won the bingo game they got to pick a present from under the tree. No time for such a long game? Mark each present with a number and drop corresponding numbers into a container to be pulled out. Each person pulls a number and the number they pulled is the present they get. This can result in some people getting the same gift they brought, so you might want to allow redraws if that happens (provided the present has not been opened). One that can be fun but also cause some disappointment is popular at my local American Legion's parties where people's names are drawn and they can select a gift. Then before they open it they can either keep what they picked out or trade it for one gift already opened by someone else in the room. I've never liked this one myself because of the chance for creating bad feelings if there is one really cool gift that everyone wanted to have, but it is an option.

The most important thing, rather there is not enough fudge, the egg nog spills, no one trades presents or the kids spend half the party under the porch catching the cat ... have fun. Enjoy the holidays and have a good laugh over things that will inevitably go wrong. Some of the better holiday memories can be made from things going wrong, so just enjoy it and keep it as stress free as possible.

Happy holidays!

Hotels.com en Espanol

Are you planning to travel this holiday season but dreading having to book a hotel because English is your second language? If your primary language is Spanish then Hotels.com has great news for you. Hotels.com has opened up a new site specifically built for the needs of Spanish speaking travelers in the United States.

Hotels.com en Espanol is a Spanish version of the well known Hotels.com website that has ofertas de hoteles for Spanish speaking travelers. The site also features a dedicated customer service center that can help customers with any questions or concerns they might have.

To find out more about Hotels.com en Espanol visit the Hotels.com Spanish website at the link above.

Make your own keepsake ornaments

I have decided that I am going to make some ornaments for the tree this year, and that got me to thinking. You have seen those advertisements for keepsake ornaments that help you commemorate special events from the year, right? How about creating your own keepsake ornaments? Rather to be used for your own tree or given to someone for their tree it is a wonderful craft for the holiday for anyone that loves using polymer clay.

I like to make things with polymer clay to help ease the pain in the joints of my hands, so even if you have never tried using it before you might consider working with some clay and seeing what you can create.

A friend of mine found some wonderful air drying clay that she insists I have to find and try because it is a no-mess clay that she says dries beautifully.

Not sure what to make? Start out with something such as a teddy bear or a rag doll. Maybe make a toy jack in the box or a Santa's sack? If you feel really artistic you can make a few little elves, or just create a snowman.

A metal hanger in the top of the figure helps them hang and you can use aluminum foil as a base for the bulkier parts so that your clay dries more evenly when you bake or dry it.

Try a few simple things out and see what you think of it. A good oven bake clay is Sculpy, which can be bought in larger sizes for low cost and is easily painted after it is dried in the oven. Sculpy is also a lot softer than other clays I have used, so it does not require the conditioning that other clays require before you can use it. For clays such as Fimo I find it is best to warm them against your body for a few minutes to make them more pliable.

Sweets for gift baskets

Gift baskets for friends and family are a wonderful thing, but what do you put in one? I decided to share some of my favorite ideas for what to add to a gift basket of goodies.

Fudge: ideally there would be several kinds of fudge added in. Divinity fudge would be a must for me, since it is one of my mom's favorites. Then there is plain chocolate fudge and fudge with walnuts added in to it.

Rosette Cookies: I love making these deep fried cookies for the holidays, then sprinkle with powdered sugar. You need to have a rosette iron to make them, but it is well worth the low cost of investment and you can make a lot of cookies for a very low cost. They are perfect fillers for a large basket.

Oatmeal Cookies: Another one of my mom's favorites, these can be made in multiple recipes very easily by adding nuts or raisins to the basic cookie mix. A nice hearty cookie they are easily made following a healthy recipe.

Sugar Cookies: Rolled out and cut into shapes then decorated these are a staple of sweet gift baskets, particularly for families with small children.

Gingerbread men: A holiday favorite, gingerbread men are something else that is perfect for families with small children. You can also add in plain gingerbread baked and cut into squares.

Just about any cookies or candies can go into a gift basket of sweet treats, start with some kind of filler such as raffia, or even dry popcorn, to fill in the bottom of the basket, then start layering in the goodies starting with the larger or less fancy ones toward the bottom and putting the delicate or very fancy treats at the top of the basket.

Add in some candy canes or other holiday treats, a little ornament or two, gather basket wrap up and around it then tie some bells to the handle with a large bow and you have a wonderful basket of treats.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Credit cards

Do you need to find a credit card that will work for your needs as a caregiver? Want something that can help you repair bad credit? Looking for a card that can help you build up airline miles that won‘t expire as long as you use the card? How about a card that can help you save on gas?

You can check out all of the Credit Card offers at CreditCardSearchEngine.com and find the one that best matches your needs.

CreditCardSearchEngine.com is one of the internet’s longest running sites to help people compare cards from all the major card issuers so that the person looking for a credit card can make smart decisions on what card is best for their individual needs.

Make greeting cards with your care recipient

It is fast and easy to make personalized holiday greeting cards for the whole family. Clear off the dining table or a work table and arrange materials such as scrap booking supplies, pressed flowers, paint and whatever else you would want to use. You can buy cards that can be run through your printer or even cards made for painting on. Then have an afternoon of making cards for friends and family. This can be a wonderful thing to share with the grandchildren or just a time for you and your care recipient to laugh and act like kids again yourselves. And who cares if the cards turn out perfect or not? They are hand made cards for the ones you care about, have fun and enjoy the holidays in an old fashioned way.

Lap quilts and sewing stuff

Want to create something extra special for your care recipient? If you have even limited sewing skills you can make a lovely lap quilt very quickly. There are a lot of great and inexpensive fabrics on the market that allow you to create wonderful blankets in no time at all for anyone on your holiday list. Maybe get a large basket or a tote bag and fill it with hand made lap blankets and small travel sized pillows? Or if your care recipient loves to sew get them some fabrics and other sewing supplies and tuck it all into a nice gift basket.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Home for the holidays

There is so much that needs to be done during the holidays, and when you are a full-time caregiver you are often shopping not only for your own gift giving needs, but for the gift giving needs of the care recipient as well. Make things easier on yourself when shopping for big items on your list, such as appliances and HDTVs, by shopping with Krillion. They can help you find the things you need, such as a westinghouse HDTV for your care recipient so they can enjoy their favorite shows, and you can be sure you get not only the best price you can get locally, but that you can get it locally.

Find it online using Krillion to find the best deal, then buy it locally and have it home in time for the holidays. Nothing could be easier or more hassle-free than being able to do all of your running around from the comfort of your favorite chair and still be certain your big purchase will be there in time for the holidays - even if it is a last minute purchase.

Home made decorations

A few minutes of browsing eBay looking for old strings of cranberry garlands convinced me that the best plan for the holiday season is to just make my own decorations.

Now, don't get me wrong, I have boxes upon boxes of decorations in the basement, and I can well afford to buy any decorations that I want to get for this holiday season, however, I want a certain look to the tree and I think that can best be obtained by making what I don't have for it.

The first step is going to be to see if I can find some strings of realistic cranberries that I can use for garlands, and if not -- a couple of bags of cranberries and a needle and thread and I have instant strings of cranberries... well, almost instant. I will have to spend a few hours assembling them, but they should look really great on the tree when I have them all strung up. I also need to get out the popcorn from last year and see if it weathered the summer in its storage tin.

Then its off to making cookies in the kitchen.

I'm planning an old fashioned Christmas

Now is the time to be getting the artificial Christmas trees out of the attic and basement and setting them up for the Christmas lights to go on and to hang Christmas décor. Christmas wreaths hang on the doors and presents are being bought and wrapped up in bright paper.

Have you been looking for the perfect Christmas gift idea, or maybe a unique Christmas gift for someone special? Handcrafted gifts are something that has been a long tradition for giving, and there is the “buy American” proclamation that one of the guys running for president made at the CNN YouTube debate the other day.

We are going to be setting the artificial Christmas tree up here in a couple of days and start putting Christmas gifts under it. I want to create an old fashioned look and feel to the holiday this year, so I am thinking to make most of the decorations for the tree myself. Stuff like gingerbread cookies and fried rosettes and strings of popcorn and cranberries and other festive décor.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Investment in silver

Both the traditional and contemporary gift for a 25th wedding anniversary is silver. This precious metal is perfect as a way to recognize and celebrate a quarter of a century of commitment because, like all precious metals, silver is something that is destined to maintain its value over the years. Silver is one of the most sought after precious metals by investors and is one of the precious metals that the Monex Deposit Company, one of America’s silver and precious metals investment leaders, has helped investors invest in for over 30 years.

Rather you are celebrating 25 years of commitment, or making a commitment for the next quarter century, you can find the perfect way to do it with a silver ingot from the Monex Deposit Company. Find out more by visiting the Monex Deposit Company at the link above.

Family Caregiver Alliance - 30 years of caring for family caregivers

It has been thirty years since Anne Bashkiroff and Suzanne Harris shared their stories with a group of volunteers that had gathered in a church basement. There for a meeting of the San Francisco Mental Health Association, the two women shared their stories as caregivers for their husbands with serious cognitive disorders. This was well before “Alzheimer’s” was recognized by the general public, before the words “family caregiver” had become a part of the medical vocabulary.

That moment, thirty years ago, marked the beginning of the Family Caregiver Alliance. To find out the complete history of the Family Caregiver Alliance visit the Family Caregiver Alliance article: Looking Back, Looking Forward: FCA Celebrates 30 Years of Caregiving at the Family Caregiver Alliance website.

The Family Caregiver Alliance has information that can help you to find a national family caregiver support program that can help you.

Being prepared ain't just for BoyScouts - family caregivers can learn a lesson in it as well

There are very high winds here, an advisory is in effect until around 5 a.m. Monday morning, which means that there is a good chance for a power outage. Being a family caregiver I know that power outages can be a serious matter. We keep a supply of fresh drinking water on hand, but also water that can be used for flushing toilets in the event that the power goes out for very long. Most toilets now have a flushing capacity of under 2 gallons of water, so it is easy to keep enough water on hand to allow the tank to be refilled after use. Water for pets is also something to consider when you are looking at water that will be needed for emergency situations.

Make sure that you have a good flashlight with working batteries and get in the habit of checking it occasionally (every couple of months at least) to make sure that it is still working properly and has a strong charge on the batteries. Candles are good to keep around, but make sure that with them you have some kind of holder that is safe for use in the event of a power failure. You don’t want to be searching for something to put that emergency candle in. I prefer oil lamps, and in the past have used Coleman lanterns. You can also get battery powered lamps from the camping section of most stores, just make sure you double check that they have good strong batteries every so often (particularly if you have kids that like to use them).

Keeping warm is another major consideration in Alaska when the power goes out. We have a Kerosun heater that can be used for keeping the house warm when the power goes out. Just fill the tank with clear kerosene stove oil and it will keep an average sized home nice and warm in most weather conditions. We also have extra warm blankets that can be piled onto beds of into laps when sitting in chairs. On the flip side of that is regions where the home needs to be kept cool. Battery powered fans can help with that, but I have never needed to worry about air conditioning so I’m not as familiar with that as I am with ways to keep a house warm.

Emergency power can come in the form of a generator, just be certain you isolate it from the main power so it does not create a feedback on the lines when the electricity returns. You can also opt for 12 volt to 110 converters. We have run on those in the past and you can get converters that can run everything from a few lights to power tools and even a refrigerator using a 12 volt battery. The time that is usable on this varies based on the items you are running, we have used power tools before by idling a car to keep the battery charged while we ran the tools. Another option that we have used in the past is to just get a 12 volt light bulb and put into a 12 volt lamp that is then connected to a standard car battery using clips.

When the power goes out, a little common sense and a few items that you have set aside for such events can make it a much better experience for everyone. Today with the high winds I have heated water and poured into the thermos so if the power does go out, I can still make my dad coffee. I have the flashlight and candles where I can find them easily, and I have switched to my laptop to finish off my work.

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