A1. IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
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A1. IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON
It is Seniorresource.com's wish that you have a joyful holiday and a bountiful new year! As we welcome in this season of the year, our minds and hearts turn to giving (and getting). Here is a personal story about how volunteerism helps both the giver and receiver.
Helping Mom Embrace the New Year in a New Home by Jennifer Ardinger
At 35, I've done my fair share of moves, but none as monumental as helping my mother move from my childhood home. More than forty years of memories and life were packed into the attic, garage and every cupboard and closet of our family home.
Emotionally we were not prepared for the tough decisions and hard choices that lay ahead. Cleaning and packing was like an archeological dig into her past, our past. Like practical women, we ordered up a dumpster and purchased moving boxes and set ourselves to task, but as we ran out of boxes we realized there was more stuff than one person would ever need being packed for the move.
Actually getting items into the dumpster proved to be harder than we thought. We began to collect items to the side of the dumpster in what we considered a free pile. While many items from the pile found new homes with passersby, this would not be the solution to get Mom moved in a timely fashion. To make things easier, I sought out other ways to recycle items. Friends suggested thrift store donations like Goodwill and Salvation Army, and we donated loads to both, yet some items were too bulky for us even to transport for donation, and this is when we turned to online communities like Freecycle™ and Craigslist.
Freecycle™ is a grassroots non-profit email-connected community helping reduce the waste of still useful items from filling our landfills. Our free items were offered up to our local community, but there are local groups in many cities. To quote their website "The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,840 groups with 6,678,000 members across the Globe." For more information about Freecycle™ and to join a local group visit: http://freecycle.org
Craigslist is also an online community with local sites of classified listings available. According to their website they have 700 local sites in 70 different countries. While some of their posting services are for- profit, all our messages were posted at no charge to us. We were able to give items away and even sold a few furniture pieces before the move. To locate the Craigslist for your area visit: http://www.craigslist.org
After the three weeks of cleaning out the old house, one of which was dedicated just to cleaning out the attic, we both have a new perspective of what items are worth holding on to and what needs to be let go. My mom vows to never put an item in her new attic, and tends to offer this advice to all our friends and family that visit her new home.
Find gifts to make this a happy season for your senior at our Senior Bazaar. http://www.seniorresource.com/SRBaz.htm
A2. MARKETING FOR EYES THAT SEE - AND FOR EYES THAT DON'T SEE SO WELL ANYMORE...
When a store is hard to shop, senior citizens buy less. So say the executives of Kimberly-Clark, which runs a program that explores the difficulties seniors have when filling today's shopping basket.
The ranks of senior citizens are exploding, and older Americans are living longer. If you're 65 today, expect to live beyond age 84. Americans have aged, are living longer yet, and western marketing firms are taking notice. Studies on Internet use and shopping trends online by seniors, to trips to the good old corner store are being examined, and billions of dollars are at stake.
Kimberly-Clark is only one of many corporations, organizations, and governments looking into the daily living and shopping activities of senior citizens. They are finding that while some seniors are taking on health improvement exercise programs and even strength training, the fact is that eyes get blurred, knees go bad, and hands get arthritis eventually, in most of us. They also find that the world is built for younger generations. Younger hands, younger eyes, younger knees...
You try looking up and reading the label on the carton atop the high rack at Home Depot. It's so high up it often isn't possible for young healthy eyes to read. Now imagine trying it with poor vision. OK--look for an orange-vested employee to help you. Wait--there are far fewer employees on the floor of any retailer these days, aren't there. Sound fun to you?
Wanna go shopping in a big-box store, with your bad eyes, bad knees, and bad hands? That's what Kimberly-Clark's program for executives arranged. Clunky gloves, bandaged hands to restrict movement, vision-blurring eyeshades to simulate older eyes, and yellow tint to simulate the yellowing of the eyesight of seniors.
Ever set your computer monitor to yellow with white type? Or to type yellow type on white? What if your vision were "yellowed" and you're looking at a yellow label with low contrasting-type colors? Kimberly- Clark's program makes executives consider that, too. Internet studies have shown that senior citizens get 50% less information from web sites than younger users do. This is because web sites are usually not designed for or by senior citizen eyes, hands, and reactions. Seniors need bigger fonts and buttons, for starters.
The result of all of these studies? Brighter lighting, more convenient shelving. Larger type fonts and greater contrast in colors where text is present. Installing service request call buttons near heavy items, and smaller sizes...for everything from packaging to carts to entire store footprints. When was the last time you saw a small Walmart? Remember your bad knees and the hard floor in there? Now do you want to make the quarter-mile trek around that place looking for your groceries and other needs? Ouch. Store designers are considering the needs of the elderly shopper as they move forward into an ever-ageing marketplace.
From the Internet, to the corner store, it is fine and appropriate for seniors to ask management for changes to their favorite store that would help them shop--and make more purchases. Do you find it hard to reach up for your favorite detergent? Ask for help getting it down, and then ask the management, nicely, to consider moving it to a lower shelf. Can they print their price specials in larger lettering when they make those little paper signs? These are not things that are expensive to change, and you are perfectly reasonable to ask.
Watch for changes in lighting, signage, and assistance for seniors at major stores near you, and help your corner merchant with requests that make your shopping--and his sales--a little easier for everyone!
Additional low vision information may be found at: http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Save Kitchen Energy Here are a few tips to ease your energy costs.
- Your microwave uses significantly less energy for reheating food than the stovetop, so make it your preferred reheat method.
- If you do use the stovetop, remember you can shut off the burner a couple of minutes before you're finished cooking. The heating elements will remain hot and continue to cook the food.
- Keep your refrigerator coils clean. Dusty coils cannot efficiently do their job, which is to remove heat from the interior. Those of you with pets need to be sure to clean off any animal hair from the coils.
Get your copy of "Energy Saving Home Improvements from A to Z" here: http://www.seniorresource.com/SRBaz.htm#books
2. Shoe Repair Saves Your Feet and Money
There are many repairs that can be done at a reasonable price. Replacement may be available for: heels and soles, lifts (the bottom of high heels), buckles, elastic, and Velcro straps. It is also possible to stretch shoes to make them fit better.
The Shoe Service Institute of America's website, at http://www.ssia.info, provides store locater function.
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
D. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. Exercise Guide
2. Physical Activity Guidelines
E. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. Smart Minds Go Pondering
2. Out of Shape
For more fun and jokes visit "Oh My Aging Funny Bone" at:
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This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Aging in Place