Is your loved one buried under clutter? Here are tidy ways to pare down the belongings

As your loved ones enter their golden years, their home becomes their sanctuary. But if they’ve kept all the tokens of love over the years, their home is probably too cluttered for them to navigate safely. This can be a health hazard, both physically (tripping and falling over things) or mentally (hoarding).

Here are some tips to help your older loved ones lessen their belongings so that they can remain safe and happy in their homes.

Put safety first: Your elderly loved ones have spent decades with their belongings – especially if they’ve remained in the same home – and they have created an emotional attachment to many of the items in the house. Although each item may have a special place in their hearts, the more items in the house, the more dangerous navigating between the clutter becomes. Help them see the safety benefits of organizing and decluttering so that they will change their attitude about the decluttering process.

Find support: Sometimes extreme clutter means that your loved one has developed a hoarding problem. Healing a hoarding issue takes time and patience, so we recommend you find a good support system for you, your loved one, and the rest of the family. Love, support, and patience are key in decluttering the house. Whether your loved one has a hoarding problem or not, groups like the IOCDF (International OCD Foundation) offer great suggestions and tips for those struggling with clutter.

Take it slow: Always remember to start small. You don’t want to overwhelm your loved ones by renting a dumpster for a weekend and completely gutting their house. Be satisfied with baby steps in the right direction. Try starting with one room – or even a cupboard – so that your loved one can work through the process of decluttering with you. Remember: Patience is always important in these situations.

Put it in a box: Persuade your loved one to handle an object only once. Allow him or her time to look at the object and make a conscious decision about whether to keep it or not. The more the object is handled, the harder it is to make a decision. Make three piles (or have three boxes) in each room: one for keeping, one for throwing away, and one for donating. If your loved one can’t decide whether to throw it away, put the item in a box for up to six months. Then, he or she can revisit the item and decide what to do with it.

Share heirlooms with those who want them: To help your loved ones in the process of decluttering, gather the family together and distribute any cherished heirlooms. Your loved ones will feel secure knowing that the item isn’t going to waste, and you will get to keep something special.

Paring down the belongings of your aged loved ones can be a long and difficult process. But if you remember to keep safety at the top of your priority list, find a good support system, go slowly and steadily, put everything in a box, and keep the heirlooms, the level of stress and hardship will be minimized.

This article was originally published in the Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.

Occupational Therapy Olympics at St. George Rehabilitation

April was Occupational Therapy Month at St. George Rehabilitation. To celebrate, we hosted an event we like to call The Occupational Therapy Olympic Games. Each week, a staff member and resident teamed up to play a game with a therapy theme. At the end of the month, we tallied the totals of each game and awarded medals! We also named a King and Queen of Therapy and hosted a coloring contest for a picture of our therapist.

Also, we have a few exciting activities coming up for next month. We will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo with Hispanic food, music, and a Pinata! We will also be celebrating Mother’s day with our first annual picnic hosted by a local women’s church group.

Keeping romance alive and kicking at any age

“Romance is the glamor which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze,” said Carolyn Gold Heilbrun.

While it takes a little extra effort, romance can make for a healthier, happier and more fulfilling relationship. Every couple’s love goes through phases, and many couples find romance starts to fade as they grow older. If you and your love are in this situation, whether you’ve forgotten how to connect or are stuck in the same routine, try some of the tips below to add a little spice to your love life.

The basics

Get back to the basics. As an experienced couple, you know what makes your love tick. This could be surprise kisses, breakfast in bed, watching the sunset together, or enjoying old movies. Try to think back to the little things that made your relationship exciting over the years. Even holding hands or taking the time to express specific things you love about them can make a big difference in your relationship. Sometimes the most romantic things you can do are giving simple reminders and signals that they’re on your mind, and you know them better than anyone else.

Walk together

Quality time is a must when it comes to romance. Walking is the perfect way to spend quality time, have meaningful conversations, and even do some of that hand-holding! You’ll have the opportunity to reconnect, get some exercise and fresh air, and take a break from your usual routine.

Photo shoot

Over the years, you’ve probably taken many family photos with kids, grandkids and a wide range of color-coordinated outfits. Try doing a photo shoot of just the two of you. Dress up in your favorite clothes, drive to your favorite place around town or in nature, and have your photos professionally taken. Not only will this be a fun way to spend time together, but also gives you romantic photographs to hang up around your home. Not to mention that during the photo shoot you’ll be reminded how her eyes sparkle or how his smile makes your heart skip a beat.

Road trip

A road trip could be the trick you need to rekindle your romance. Try adding a little excitement by making the destination unknown or researching a bed and breakfast to spend the night at. You’ll have time to talk and a little adventure is sure to jumpstart romance.

Scavenger hunt

This romantic idea is a fun twist on a road trip. Map out all the places that are significant to your relationship. This could be favorite restaurants, places you love to walk, or locations of good memories. You can design it as a scavenger hunt with the final location a place neither of you has been. By the end of the day, you’ll both be reminded of the history that’s made your relationships strong. It’s a big gesture that the two of you can enjoy together.

Intimacy

Some couples struggle with intimacy as they grow older. A healthier sex life between you and your partner could be the key to your romance struggles. If your relationship is lacking in this department, consider planning a weekend getaway, or even simply lighting some candles and setting the mood. Intimacy is essential to connecting as a couple and can often be a romantic experience for both parties.

New hobbies

Learning something new is a great way to bond and make memories with your loved one. Take up golfing or something artsy. The two of you will have something new in common and be sharing meaningful time with each other. Experiences like this can help shake up the routine and reignite the romance.

Love language

Sometimes the best way to increase romance is to learn how you and your love want to be loved. One of my favorite books is “The 5 Love Languages.” The book outlines the five possible ways most people want to receive and give love. Understanding how your partner wants to be loved, whether it’s through acts of service or words of affirmation, will help you connect and love on a deeper level.

It’s never too late to turn up the heat on your love life. Try out some of these tips, and the two of you will have more romance than ever before.

This article was originally published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.

Seniors and dental care: it’s something worth smiling about

Typically, we make sure our family has regular checkups but is your older loved one following the same schedule? Experts are guessing the answer is probably not.

According to the Center for Disease Control, a little over half (60 percent) of today’s senior adults visited a dentist in 2013 despite the fact that one in four of seniors aged 65 and older have gum disease. This segment of the population is in need of proper dental care since many of today’s serious diseases can be linked to tooth decay or gum disease.

“It is thought that poor dental hygiene allows a proinflammatory state that is associated with CAD,” wrote Youngsoo Cho, MD., “I must emphasize that this is not a proven cause, but studies have shown an association with tooth decay and Coronary Artery Disease.”

Other studies have found correlations between poor oral hygiene and diabetes and pneumonia.

Yes, Aunt Cora needs to visit the dentist, but there are a number of challenges seniors face when it comes to dental care. Three of those reasons include financial, transportation and lack of prevention.

Put your money where your mouth is

“Unfortunately, only about 2 percent of older Americans have dental insurance,” wrote contributor Chris Hawkins for SeniorLiving.com. “This means that many end up going without. And the older the person, the more likely they are to need dental care for a variety of reasons.”

At present, neither Obamacare nor Medicare provides dental coverage. However, there are programs at a state level that can offset the cost of dental care.

Running your mouth off

Oftentimes, it is the responsibility of a loved one to transport a senior to various medical appointments. If that kind of support doesn’t exist, the condition of his or her mouth will decline.

The good news is that many senior facilities are proactively taking the matter of dental care into their hands.

“It’s really hard to find good dental benefits for seniors. Medicaid does cover some but it’s limited in most states. However in a long-term care facility like Provo Rehab and Nursing, there is an internal dentist that makes sure residents have routine cleanings and checkups,” said Loralee Hatch, business director at Provo Rehab and Nursing.

Here’s something to chew on

As with most health conditions, prevention is the best defense against serious disease, and dental care is no exception. It is common for many of your loved ones’ medications to create dry mouth, which encourages tooth decay and disease. Also, treatments requiring chemotherapy or radiation to the head or neck can damage or destroy oral tissue.

Seniors can counteract the potential damage of medications or treatments by drinking lots of fluids, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and adopting a routine of regular brushing and flossing. In some cases, it is difficult for your loved one to brush their own teeth. In situations of dementia or other medical limitations, seniors may not cooperate. The best strategy is to talk with your loved one’s doctor and discuss your dental concerns with the skilled nursing or assisted living facility. You will find that everyone involved wants the best for your senior and will work together to be sure your senior’s dental needs are addressed.

“Keeping your mouth healthy keeps your overall system in shape, especially in your senior years,” said Hatch, and that’s worth smiling about.

This article was originally published by The Daily Herald. It has been republished here with permission.

25 Family history questions to ask Grandpa before it’s too late

When a loved one passes away, it’s not just their presence you miss. Along with their smile, their kindness, generosity and voice, the individual stories and memories that make up that individual are lost as well. With all the ways that currently exist to ask questions and record and preserve memories, don’t wait until it’s too late to record the important information your grandfather has to share.

A study found that “the more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned.”

To get the best information, and maybe even some new stories you’ve never heard, you will find the more specific the questions, the better.

Here is a list of questions to ask your grandpa the next time you visit.

Questions about Childhood

Little details about the past and how children played are a piece of history. With the changing generations, technology, and other factors, you might find your grandfather had a completely different childhood than you. Then again, some things never change.

1. What games were popular when you were a kid?

2. Tell me about your best friend growing up? Have you kept in touch? What was special about this person?

3. Do you remember any particular sadness in your growing up years? Were there any tragedies or events that shaped you?

4. What types of things did you do as a kid that kids of the newer generation don’t do anymore (paper route, etc.)?

5. What is the fondest memory you have of your mother and father? Grandfathers and grandmothers?

Jobs and hobbies

Information about your grandpa’s career, jobs, and hobbies can give you an idea of how they spent their time. But, if you find that they are lonely or feeling bored, knowing what activities they found joy in can give you ideas for activities you participate in with them today.

6. What was your first job? What did you like about it? What did you hate about it? Any stories from that job that stand out to you?

7. Did you go to college? What did you study? Did you graduate? Any stories about college friends, professors, or trips?

8. What hobbies have you had that brought you joy? Did you collect anything (stamps, rocks, coins, etc.)?

9. Did you enjoy reading, writing, or creating art? What was the first book you can remember loving?

10. As a child, what were your career aspirations? Did those change as you got older? Why?

Family and friends

11. Have you asked your parents or grandparents how they met or what their courtship was like? Stories and memories of dating can inspire sweet and funny memories.

“From the day my grandparents met, and throughout their entire courtship, my grandfather wrote a letter to my grandma expressing his love for her,” said Kellyn Brandt, administrative assistant at Sea Cliff Healthcare Center. “It wasn’t until my grandfather passed that I learned about this, and it made me think about all the questions I could have asked him. Since then I’ve been hounding my grandmother for every detail about their love life.”

12. (If married) How did you and your spouse meet? What were your other dating experiences like? How did you know your spouse was the one to marry?

13. As an adult, did you have any close friends who you’ve kept in touch with? Think about the friends who influenced your life and why they were important to you.

14. Name one thing about each of your kids (if you have them) that stuck out to you as they were growing up.

15. Name something about raising children that changed from your first child to your last.

Places you’ve lived

While your grandfather may have lived his life in the same home as his parents, there may be details you didn’t know or expect. Learn about their travels and experiences both at home and away.

16. What do you remember about your childhood home? Where did you grow up, and where do you consider your hometown?

17. Did you ever move? What were your feelings when you moved? How many different places did you live?

18. Name each place you lived and one memory of each place that shaped your life?

19. Of all the places you’ve lived, which was your favorite? Which was the saddest?

20. Where would you have liked to live but never got there?

Looking forward

21. How do you want your family and friends to remember you? Of all the ways people could describe you, what words or thoughts would you like to leave with them?

22. What are you most proud of in your life? Any relationship or professional achievements?

23. How has your faith or spirituality changed throughout your life? Where did you start, and where are you now?

24. Was there any experience or event in your life that you didn’t think you would make it through? How did you persevere, and what did that experience teach you?

25. What was the kindest thing you’ve done for someone else?

Speaking with your loved ones about their lives is a way to record the pieces of your family history that live only with them. Beyond the record that these conversations create, talking to your grandpa will strengthen a relationship with him now, and you’ll have plenty of stories to share with your children. And that’s enough reason to pick up the phone or drive over and connect now.

This article was originally published on Familyshare.com. it has been republished here with permission.