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A1. HEATING EXPENSES GROWING
Its getting cooler, and lots of folks are worried about heating their homes versus buying food or paying for healthcare. This is a very real dilemma for many American families fighting day-to-day in our weak economy. Now think about a senior citizen on a fixed income.
It is wise for anyone with a relative living in a cold winter climate to understand this complex situation. As you can see in the chart below, home heating oil prices are growing at a significant rate. They were over 365 cents per gallon in March, and the cost of crude oil has increased since then.
For a primer, we've provided a link for you to check out: http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/analysis_publications/heating_brochure/heatbro.htm
There are a number of things happening around the nation that we should consider when approaching this problem:
What about other options for achieving a heated home? Here are some ideas you might consider:
Home Loans - Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over by the government mortgage rates have dropped quite a bit for those with good credit. It may be possible to get an equity line of credit now, when only a couple of months ago it wasn't affordable to do so. Also, some areas of the country are better off than others in this regard. Is it possible that you can get a loan where perhaps your parents could not? Something to think about if it applies to your family.
Alternative Heating - Wood-heating stoves are flying off of the shelves this year. Some models are even configured to heat water for your shower, thus saving more energy. There are "pellet" models that use electricity and a store of wood pellets - compacted wood and wax, basically. You fill up the hopper and push the ignition button, and there you go! There are many traditional models that use cordwood - and if they are unavailable in stores due to demand you may well find a local welder who is making them professionally in your area. Yes, the demand for these home heaters is that great, and the markets abhor a void. DO NOT TRY TO MAKE YOUR OWN WOODBURNING STOVE! Professional stoves seal against carbon monoxide, smoke, and embers. You don't want the oaken fire you built before bed burning through the bottom of your homemade stove before breakfast, or you won't be waking up!
Government Assistance - There are a number of home heating assistance
programs, and some new ones in the legislative process. HR 6784 Home Heating
Oil Assistance Act of 2008 was introduced by Christopher Shays, and would
provide a refundable credit against income tax to assist individuals with
high energy costs. But it isn't out of the Ways and Means committee yet.
Citgo's Low Cost Heating Oil Program - Yes, you'll be burning Hugo Chavez'
oil...but do you really care? This is an emergency and all assistance
is welcome. Citgo is the Venezuelan oil firm that offers discounted home
heating oil to Americans in need. There are some qualifying requirements
- and you can read about them here: http://www.citgo.com/CommunityInvolvement/HeatingOil.jsp
Find things like a feather/down comforter and books on Home Energy Savings
at our Senior Bazaar.
A2. HAVING A HEALTHY WINTER
Its fall...time to avoid getting sick, time for a flu shot (maybe you'll want a pneumonia shot, as well), time for...so many things for a senior citizen to do! Then there are the rural challenges of time and distance from population centers where senior services are often administered. And it is getting cold outside! And for some it could get cold inside, too!
Here are some ideas from around the nation for keeping your health during this transition of the seasons:
Clothing- Dress warmly in layers. Yes, even for a short trip outside. Some fibers hold more heat than cotton, with silk, wool, and polypropylene topping the list. If you get wet - get indoors! Remove the wet clothing and be sure it is dry before you put it back on.
Be Careful with Exercise - Cold temperatures are the times when 15 minutes outdoors can kill a person who is doing rigorous exertion. The human heart can be stressed in cold weather - and that means shoveling the driveway because you think you're superman can be your last task. Don't do it. Get help. Do not be ashamed to be heart-healthy because it is a life-threatening matter for some who are not. Avoid perspiring or overdoing it. You shouldn't be panting outdoors in cold weather.
Cover up! - Exposed skin can become frostbitten in an alarmingly short period of time, especially seniors, who naturally have thinner skin. Cover all areas - throat, ears, face, wrists, and your lower legs.
Flu shot - Yes the good old flu shot is still a great idea for most senior citizens at this time of year. There are exceptions though, so assume nothing. On the 16th of September, 2008 the American Lung Association is launching a flu clinic locator at this web address: http://www.flucliniclocator.org/ Check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site on flu shots, eligibility, who should not get a shot, and other important factors here: http://www.cdc.gov/FLU/protect/keyfacts.htm
Eating Well - Now is not the time to be shy if you, a friend, or a loved one needs food assistance from time to time. Meals on Wheels and similar organizations stand ready to provide a hot meal to a shut-in senior citizen. There are also food banks around the nation where staples can be had. Unfortunately, in our nation there are often lines at these facilities, so call ahead and learn what you need to do for your elderly neighbor, friend, loved one, or yourself. In these economic times we need to remember that others who won't show or tell you may be in need that will not show it outwardly. Let's face it - which of us wants to admit he needs food help? Take the initiative. http://www.mowaa.org/index.asp
Don't Fall This Fall -Yes falling for a senior citizen can be tragic - if not deadly. Going out to retrieve the morning paper can land you in the hospital if you aren't wearing proper footwear and there is ice or frost on the ground to make you slip. What are some activities that you normally do which could lead to a fall in bad weather? Can you get help with those from a neighbor? Can you call the newspaper distributor and ask them to "porch" your paper? Do you have slick tiled steps in or around your home that can be carpeted or grip-taped? Think about it, make a list of the fall-risk activities, and get assistance to eliminate the opportunity for disaster.
Here are some links to sites with helpful information on staying healthy in fall and winter:
Additional health information for seniors can also be found at:
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Vets Honored with Laser Engraved Memorial.
Learn more by writing:
2. Red Cross "Ready When the Time Comes" Volunteer
These professionals are part of the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago's Ready When the Time Comes (RWTC) corporate volunteer program, designed to increase the local Red Cross's capacity to respond instantaneously to disasters while giving area corporations a way to allow their employees to get actively involved in providing disaster relief services to the community.
Through Ready When the Time Comes, corporations such as Grainger partner with the Red Cross, allowing their employees to receive free training in disaster relief functions. In return, corporate partners commit to making their trained employees available for disaster service at least one day each year. When a large-scale disaster occurs, the Red Cross calls upon the RWTC partner and, with a single phone call, can deploy as many volunteers as needed. Throughout Chicago, RWTC volunteers have put their training to work responding to flooding, massive fires, heat emergencies, and even the attacks of September 11. http://www.redcross.org/news/ch/other/021119ready.html
3. DNA Samples Needed.
The military maintains a database of mitochondrial DNA samples from family members of missing-in-action soldiers. The DNA samples help the army identify missing soldiers' remains when they are uncovered. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command continually sends anthropologists and forensic analysts to search past-conflict locations identified as potential recovery sites, provided the country where the conflict took place allows U.S. access.
Though contracted professional and amateur volunteer genealogists, as well as volunteers from veterans groups, have helped the army track down thousands of missing soldiers families, public input is needed to identify families with missing soldiers and to keep family records updated. Families with unaccounted-for soldiers, or anyone who knows of a family with an unaccounted-for soldier, should contact the Past Conflict Repatriation Branch by calling 1-800-892-2490 or sending an e-mail to email@example.com
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
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D. SPECIAL OCCASIONS THIS MONTH
1. National Book Month.
2. National Aging In Place Week
Learn about aging in place at http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm
E. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM)
2. Learn About Home Health Care
The "American Medical Association Guide to Home Caregiving" provides
the information you need to take the best possible care of an elderly,
ill, or disabled person in a home setting. It addresses home preparation,
basic and special caregiving skills, choosing and paying a provider, long-term
care, nursing home care, care for the caregiver, and caring for someone
who lives alone, someone with Alzheimer's disease and the terminally ill.
F. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. Why, Why, Why
2. Five Minute Management Course
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:
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SPONSOR AN ISSUE
This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Aging in Place