Guest Post: Advanced Health styles – Safe Exercises for Senior Citizens:

For those who are entering the twilight years of their lives, many tend to lapse into a sedentary lifestyle sitting in front of the TV or sitting in a favorite chair and reading a book or doing a crossword. However, for those who are keen to retain a healthier standard of living, there are many effective exercises you can carry out that will keep your body in great shape. Exercise helps to keep bones strong, prevents high blood pressure and diabetes, and keeps you feeling both limber and mobile. However, due to the fragility of the human body as everyone gets older, you must always be cautious.

Older adults and senior citizens are more at risk of falling and injuring themselves than younger people, and they may potentially break a hip if they inadvertently fall foul of a trip hazard. Falls are a serious problem for anyone who suffers from thinning bones, so exercise on a regular basis helps to improve strength and balance. A little strenuous activity also helps you to sleep better and keeps your mind active.

There are a handful of get fit exercises that a person of any age can do to keep themselves in good shape, although you must always remember to warm up before beginning any type of workout and cool down after each workout. Try to do a form of exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week, and the aim is to raise your temperature, get your heart thumping and really get your muscles working. Bear in mind that moderate amounts of exercise are better for your health than strenuous workouts that might cause injury. The best idea is to choose activities you enjoy since you will be more prone to carrying them out repeatedly in the fullness of time.

Endurance activities can assist in increasing your heart rate and are also very good for your breathing and your body’s muscles. Warmed-up muscles are more flexible, so gentle aerobic exercises will help to increase your strength and overall levels of energy. Moderate swimming relieves stress on your bones and joints as well as strengthening and stretching your arms, legs and back muscles.

Jogging and walking at a brisk pace are other highly effective endurance exercise alternatives. In fact, one of the most popular forms of exercise for older people is walking, be it inside their home or around their backyard or the surrounding neighborhood. In addition, water aerobics is a cardiovascular exercise that delivers an effective swimming pool-based, full-body workout, and the accompanying water resistance will help to strengthen your muscles when you move, as well as building stamina with very little impact.

As the name suggests, flexibility exercises focus on how lithe and supple your body is, and, particularly due to old age, the human body can become stiff and inflexible as the years pass. Although people of all ages can benefit from stretching exercises such as yoga and tai chi, yoga is typically a little difficult for senior citizens and should only be attempted if they are able to move freely between positions and have no trouble getting up and down from the floor. Tai chi is very popular amongst the older members of society due to the way it helps to control breathing, and low-impact stretching exercises can help to hamper the possibility of muscular deterioration. Arm and leg stretches are also especially effective exercises for senior citizens who are chair-bound or bed-bound.

Many strength training exercises are too intense for the elderly to perform without aid, so it is important to carry out light, easygoing activities instead of overexerting yourself and risking the possibility for injury. Using a series of light free weights can help you to retain muscle strength, while resistance bands are a cheap and easily transportable option to decide on if you would like to do exercises like bicep curls.

Finally, make sure that you take things at a leisurely pace and never push yourself to the point of severe fatigue. After all, you should never keep doing arduous and overly-exhausting exercises when it gets painful or you start to feel uncomfortable.

Advanced Healthstyles is proud to supply health and wellness products that can help seniors embrace the concept of active aging in their own lives. Whether you are in need of equipment for your home or commercial business, we are a dedicated supplier of exercise and training equipment if you want to keep in shape in your old age. Please visit our website at AdvancedHealthstyles.com or call us at 855-326-6765 today to find out what we can do for you.

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Guest Post: A Teardrop That Gave Me Wisdom

This Guest Post is brought to you by Todd Stull, President of Alone Eagle Remodeling LLC.

Alone Eagle Remodeling is a specialty Bathroom Remodeling Contractor in the Harrisburg, PA area.

Early in my remodeling career I spent quite a few years working for a company as a bathroom remodeler/installer. There was one specific job that has always stuck in my mind which was actually both a shocking and emotional experience. It was one of those experiences where I never forgot their names or even the address but have not mentioned this day to anyone until now.

Recently I was driving through Lancaster, PA passing that home while on my way back from an appointment and I started to think about these folks. A few concepts crystalized in my mind. Some things came together that I was not even aware of 15 years ago so I wanted to share this in hopes that we can all learn from what others go through in real life. All that said, let me rewind the clock and tell you what happened.

My assignment for this project was to replace a tub/wall surround, install a new shower faucet and mount a handful of grab bars (4 if I remember correctly). When I showed up to get started on the job an older man opened the door to let me in. We chatted for a few minutes and went over the scope of work before I started my task. As I walked into the living room his wife was sitting in a mechanical recliner (similar to a hospital bed) and she gave me a big smile. I said “Hi” to her but she strained to talk to me. I could tell that she had most likely had a stroke leaving her speechless and with little mobility. In a way, it appeared that she knew I was there to help her… she smiled again and I kept on my way to bring tools in and get started.

As I made multiple trips loading my tools and supplies into the home, she caught my eye again while I was passing through the living room to the second floor. She reached her hand out to me and was trying to talk again. I walked closer because I thought maybe that her speech was broken or she could only whisper. All of the sudden her husband jumped in and said-

“Don’t mind my wife, the invalid. She won’t bother you or get in your way”

I stepped back (at this point you can only imagine what a young, stubborn, short-tempered kid was thinking…) not knowing what to say. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Since I had a job to do and didn’t want to misrepresent the company. I replied, “It’s no problem sir, she is fine right there and nothing is ever a bother to me… I’ll get to work now.”

I was upset and annoyed; however, I didn’t want that to affect my work so I moved on and tried to stay focused on the job. Most of the day was a blur but the husband spoke to me a few times throughout the day. He apologized for the outburst and proceeded to tell me how stressful things had been for him. He could not afford a tub to shower conversion and chose to do what was necessary, because the shower walls were in bad shape and he was in hopes that the grab bars would help while taking care of his wife.

I hope that bringing this story to the forefront can be somewhat of a catalyst for all of us to both learn from and act upon. Fifteen years ago we simply did not have the resources and education that is available today. The Aging in Place paradigm is at our fingertips with a world of information. Alesha’s blog has become such a great platform to study all the different aspects and many of the writers that contribute are bringing so many different points of view and options to the plate.

Planning Early is the best way to become aware of different situations that we may face as we age. We can only communicate and recognize that as we grow older, facing health conditions and mobility issues are greater. I don’t think we can plan to not be stressed out by situations like the one I shared. In the story above, I’m sure that in his head, he was losing his partner of many years and didn’t know how to cope with that.

Budgeting Now is important. Whether you have a retirement account or are trying to save money in other ways, make it a point to set money aside for necessary (or currently unknown) improvements. Work on changing small things along the way. You may find that engaging in a tub to shower conversion or walk-in bathtub installation a couple of years early may be a good choice while you’re still working towards retirement.

When I left that day, she was still in her chair and gave another smile. He shook my hand and thanked me with a tear in his eye. I couldn’t tell you if this couple is still with us today, but I hope that what I was able to do for them was some kind of improvement to better their situation.

Be good to each other and be good to yourself.

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Guest Post: Tiny Home Building From Salvage

Lately I have been thinking about downsizing. I feel like my life is cluttered with a lot of unnecessary junk and my family could benefit from a simpler lifestyle. While contemplating this, I ran across an article on tiny homes. These homes are only a few hundred feet of usable space but they are very energy efficient and provide everything you really need. While it is not doable for me at the moment, I could easily see retiring in a small home like this.

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© Tiny Texas Homes

In my research on these tiny homes I ran across a few companies in my state, Texas, which are building tiny homes using salvaged materials. Not only are the materials eco-friendly but the building process and completed home is as well.

One of the builders are called Texas Tiny Houses. They believe in using salvaged material to make the best and greenest homes for any project. Salvaged materials can be found in barns and old homes and the site even offers classes and seminars on how to salvage your own materials for building projects. After all, the greenest products are the ones that have already been created.

Would you build your home from salvage? I would! The benefits for the environment and for your wallet are innumerable. If tiny living is in your future, or even if you are thinking about remodeling in an eco-friendly way, you should look into salvage.

As Brad Kittle, owner of Texas Tiny Houses says:

“Tons of vintage materials are at our fingertips waiting to be re-harvested — awaiting our awakening to the responsibilities we have to live with, not destroy the planet that we share. With some imagination, these salvaged quality materials and simple Human energy, anyone can have energy efficient tiny houses to live in for the rest of their lives. Sub-Zero carbon footprint houses are not only possible they are here – our tiny houses are proof that this concept works.”

Author Byline:

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.

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Are You One of the Short-sighted Home Remodelers Not Planning For Your Future?

BBCD05A2E90BE652_479_1There was an AARP study done that basically said more than four in five Americans over the age of 55 plan to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Unfortunately, if you are in this group, chances are, you are not preparing for this situation. A report by the Mature Life Institute that summarizes a survey of homeowners in the 55+ age group and what they are looking for in purchasing a home. What it showed was that this group mentioned they wanted high-speed internet access and energy-efficient appliances. While these are great things (and necessary), there are other considerations that you should consider for safety and comfort as you live in your home.

There is a checklist by The National Association of Home Builders of proven safety adaptations to help you live better and longer that includes such things as installing bathroom changes like grab bars, raised toilets, non-slip flooring, and installing railings on both sides of the stairs. Things like having increased lumens in lighting, low thresholds, wider doorways, lower upper cabinets with accessible shelving, and choosing lever door handles are good choices.BBCD05A2E90BE652_576_1

Are you one of the remodelers in the baby boomer age group or older who is not preparing for the future so you may stay in your home as you age? Maybe this is due to a lack of knowledge about what to expect as aging occurs.  It is time to start planning so that pro-aging in place choices are a norm, not a special situation. It is time for you to be pro-active and plan. If you are remodeling or building, find a designer who can help you plan and join small but necessary elements so you are not stuck in a home that is potentially dangerous or requires expensive changes later. It is usually easier and more cost-effective incorporating accessibility design from the beginning and not retrofitting when an emergency crops up.

The number one key to designing for your forever home is to think about how you live and not just make the space “pretty.” Take this scenario for instance, you have a nice home and want to remodel. Your walls need painted, flooring needs updated, and lighting needs upgraded. Are you going to go with the current home trends found in most homes these days? Are you going to choose the generic brown or dark taupe for the walls and hard wood and tile for the floors? What if you want to create a home you can call your forever home?

There are many things to consider making this happen. As you age, your eyes do not see as well as they used to making your surroundings seem darker. If you have chosen finishes conforming to the current home trend, the already dark space becomes a recipe for depression and even a safety disaster. Older eyes need more light to see things clearly; the dark walls will absorb the light creating an even darker space. In addition to this, older eyes tend to view colors with a yellow cast to them.

Take those shiny wood floors and ceramic tile that is so sought after in today’s homes; these finishes can create a slip factor that is treacherous as you age. Luxurious marble and tile are extremely slick yet often installed in the bathrooms and showers. Yes, they look great but they are not the most functional for an older person. Consider flooring that has a higher slip resistance factor. Lightly textured surfaces tend to reduce slipping more than slick or highly polished materials.

Be pro-active and research the finishes you are looking at choosing and make sure they are safe, have low maintenance needs and give comfort for you and your loved ones both now and in the future. Sites like the NKBA and the AARP sites offer some guidance. Consider working with a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist). Universal Design elements and pre-planning can go a long way to making your life safer and easier. The hippest, hottest trends may look very cool but will they stand the test of time: your time?

I would love to hear your comments and ideas- please feel free to share your ideas and thoughts about planning ahead for aging in place.

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Guest Post: Keeping Occupied During Retirement

Keeping Occupied During Retirement submitted by Ken Myers, president of Morningsidenannies.com

We all strive to have a fruitful life and anticipate the day when we can retire. However, do you have a plan for when that day will come? Although many of us look forward to traveling the world, a large portion of us can’t really afford to do so. In light of not having the money to do anything you wish, what can you do that can keep yourself occupied?
1. Garden Care - Some of those who retire will build a greenhouse and create a lavish garden of various flowers, fruits and vegetables. It can be incredibly relaxing and provide you with a method to create healthy snacks for the grandchildren when they visit. Dehydrating grapes into natural raisins can be quite a common snack in your house. The grandchildren could be drawn to homemade apple chips. There is so much you can do with a food dehydrator and a garden full of fruits you grew yourself.
2. Arts and Crafts - Now that you’re retired, you can put a great amount of effort into learning the art or craft of your choice. Whether you’re interested in painting, crocheting, building models or delving into woodworking there are plenty of ways to express yourself in the world of art. It’s never too late to learn a new talent and you could find that your work can be relaxing as well as beautiful.
3. Volunteering - If you are able to do so, volunteering at various organizations can help eat up your time. You can put your efforts into helping those whom are less fortunate than you. In many situations, volunteering doesn’t take any particular skills as many organizations just need some menial task completed. Some may even have positions that your background qualifies you for. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to spend your retirement helping others.
4. Build Something Elaborate - Your personal funds permitting, you can spend your time building something elaborate for yourself or others. For instance, why not look into building your own boat in the backyard? Perhaps refurbishing an old car that you rescued from a junk yard is more of your cup of tea. Since you have nothing but time on your hands, you can build as long as you want without worry of being late for work or missing meetings. 
5. Blogging - If you have some computer knowledge, why not put that to use and blog about your experiences? Moments in history are always happening and many stories can be told of where you were when key moments were unfolding. By blogging your stories, you could entertain many individuals with your recollections. This is aside from the fact that your experiences could remain on the Internet forever immortalizing your name. You could even go so far as to writing your own biography on sites like Wattpad.com for all to read. Perhaps you would even like to try your hand at writing novels.
There are many things you can do after you retire. If your funds don’t allow you to travel, then you need to keep yourself occupied. Being stationary can be detrimental to your health and you want to keep the blood flowing. What kind of projects can you find around the house or community that can keep you active after retirement?

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

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Guest Post: 2013 and Beyond: the Future of Social Media

Written by David Glenn, Father, Husband and Sustainability Writer

Hey, remember “My Space?” Me too, sort of. I think there was something about music and colorful backgrounds, but I can’t really say for sure. That whole experience has grown somewhat hazy for me. It was a different time. It was an era when social networking was fresh and exciting, and I didn’t get 20 emails a day from Linkedin. But even though it’s been less than a decade since My Space’s golden age, the world of social networking has changed drastically.

And guess what? It’s going to keep on changing.

Facebook, arguably the biggest juggernaut in the social networking arena, has recently seen a decline in use. In a recent poll, 34% of current users said that they have spent less time on the site in the past year. But just as My Space once towered above the competition and then fell, Facebook will inevitably be overtaken by one of the other social media networks that it helped spawn. But despite hard times for some of the more established sites, the future doesn’t look like it’s going be social media free anytime soon. Here’s why:

Marketing. There was a time when watching a YouTube video didn’t mean having to wait an obligatory 5-15 seconds for some pre-roll ad to play itself out. Modern social media is a place for people to connect and share content, but even more than that it’s a place for advertisers to take a look at your personal preferences and information, and then promote products or services that they think you might like. Most users agree that this is annoying. Most advertisers agree that commercials have always been annoying, so users need to suck it up.

Most social media sites agree that advertisers pay them, and unless users want to get stuck with a monthly fee, they’ll keep their ungrateful traps shut (not in so many words). And as 2013 continues into the next few years, the increased need for revenue will drive companies and media sites to invest more and more time and money into marketing. However, the companies that will really benefit from social media are the ones that forego the tired old “shove ads in their face” or “make insane posts about nothing” practices. Businesses that use social media to humanize themselves, and really connect with their customers on a personal level will see amazing returns.

Oversaturation. I mentioned My Space at the beginning of this article. What was it that made My Space so darn popular? I think that most people who used it would say the same thing: It was the only game in town. Sure, there were precursors such as Friendster and SixDegrees.com, but My Space was really the first modern Social Network site. Now, you can’t swing a dead virtual cat around the internet without bumping into social network and media sites. The reason for this is a simple one: people use them. With the near ubiquity of the Smartphone in America, users are now able to check their Twitter accounts (or whichever site they use) at any time, without having to log onto a home computer. Likewise, new smart devices are constantly being created and upgraded.

Smart home automation is looking to put smart devices that can connect you to your network in places that you might not be willing to bring your phone, and automation companies such as Vivint are using social networks to allow customers to post unbiased reviews. And as social networking capabilities begin to diversify, more people are finding that they prefer one form or another. The future of social networking won’t be one of text-posts, or videos, or Pinterest-style images; it will be all of those things and much more.

Technological evolution. As I’ve stated, smartphones provided a boost to social media sites by making them accessible on the go. Well, technology marches forward, and new advances such as Google Glass will effectively put your computer screen directly in front of your face at all times. But even more impressive is that soon social networking will move beyond “social.” How’d you like for your oven to be able to tweet you when your rolls are done baking? How about having your fishbowl send you a message when it needs to be cleaned? Inanimate objects using social networking may sound like the next big pixar movie, but it is in fact a reality thanks to new, inexpensive miniature-circuitry.

Social media isn’t going anywhere; it’s going everywhere. So brace yourself, because if you thought that our society was network crazy now, just wait until you start getting tweets from your new shoes telling you about “one weird trick” that personal trainers don’t want you to find out about.

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