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A1. Staying in Touch? Defeating Isolation? Easier Than Ever!
A major issue for many seniors and their families today is isolation. A century ago, almost all Americans lived in multi-generation homes. In the farm belt, large families worked together. In crowded cities, space was hard to afford, so mom and dad, kids, and grandparents all lived together. Sometimes multiple branches of a family all lived in the same building, increasing the family community able to run upstairs to lend a hand, watch children while adults worked, or look after a sick family member. And at holiday times everyone was together around the table.
It's not universally true anymore. While some cultures in America still result in extended families living together, the forces of the 21st century have split many into smaller, dispersed households. When a single senior is on the other side of the continent from family, it can get lonely around the senior's apartment.
Fortunately, today there are technologies that can solve this problem! It's a matter of spreading the word.
Web cameras, Skype, email, and relationship networking web sites are powerful additions to an isolated senior citizen's quality of life. These devices and services are inexpensive, easy to use, and provide a line of communication that can be vital. Let's take a look at a few of these:
What's a "web camera"? It's a simple little camera attached to your computer that allows people to see you while you're sitting at the keyboard. You can buy one online or go to a big box retailer like Best Buy or Wal-Mart. If you go to an electronics store they will often hook it up for you, too.
"Skype" is a video phone service allowing two-way communication anywhere the Internet goes - and beyond. When two people subscribe to Skype and both have web cameras, a "two way video telephone call" is the result. No web camera or Internet? Skype still allows a free telephone call as long as one of you is a subscriber.
"Relationship-Networking sites" have popped up in the last several years, allowing people from around the world to stay in touch. These are services that are secure, and can be as private or as public as the consumer decides to make his profile hosted on the site. Facebook.com is one of the most popular. Think of it as your electronic scrapbook, bulletin board, hotline, and photo album. Once you've signed up, these sites allow you to keep in touch with family, old friends, and business associates. Writing, sharing pictures, writing and/or sharing a diary, and keeping tabs on the comings and goings of life can connect an isolated person in a powerful, beneficial way.
Your local senior community center probably has an Internet whiz who
can help explain it all to you, and the devices and services really are
easy to use. Give it a try and see how wide you can expand your friendships
by reaching out, all from your desk at home!
Don't forget that a Valentine's gift can also bring relief from isolation.
A2. Is it Time for a Real Estate Move?
Real Estate is a BIG value today. Prices are as low as they have been in decades. This reality is not to be overlooked when considering housing for senior citizens. Reducing - or eliminating - the distance between relatives and friends is commonly sought as a method of increasing life enjoyment and easing the burden of daily living.
If you have good credit and a down payment there are a number of creative options to consider. Always wanted to relocate Mom closer to you? Or have you wanted to relocate yourself to a state with milder weather? Now could be the perfect time. Interest rates are low, housing stock is plentiful - too plentiful, in fact -- and this has created opportunity. Don't worry about news reports of banks curtailing lending. A customer with good credit and a down payment can always find a lender.
Right now the real estate available on the market is vast and varied. From "MacMansions" to condominiums, to foreclosed suburban tracts homes owned by the bank, there are many options. Your local real estate agents are where you should start. Interview a couple of them before you decide on which agent you prefer, because you need to work with just one. Find out what types of real estate they specialize in. Just condos? That may be good for you if that's what you need. Apartments, duplexes, and fourplex buildings? Maybe there are options there you had not considered. There are many niches in real estate besides the single-family home.
If you are considering a move to a different city or state, Seniorresource.com
can help you find an agent in the immediate area to which you're contemplating
a move. Just send us a note at
Ever think about owning a duplex to solve care-giving needs? Dad can live on one side and you can rent the other side out, or live there yourself. In this way you both have your privacy, and yet you're next door with an intercom if you're needed.
What about a larger home to accommodate an added family member? Perhaps one with a finished basement suite would provide the flexibility you need. Maybe you can find an older home with a master bedroom addition. These additions have been popular with builders in recent years, and the added combination of bedroom and extra bathroom can make living together possible where it isn't in your current home.
Now may be the time to look for the home that would allow your kids' grandmother to move in. Many families find this arrangement is positive in all aspects of rearing children in today's hectic world. Seniors bring the dimension of life experience. They often have time on their hands. They can be home when your kids arrive after school while you're at work...and it works both ways. You'll always be in touch, thus keeping you aware of concerns about the health, diet, happiness, and life activities of your older family members.
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Improved VA Loans
For more information, or to obtain help from a VA Loan Specialist, veterans may call VA at 1-877-827-3702 or visit http://www.homeloans.va.gov
Additional financial information may be found at
2. Small Steps to Health
A few key actions can help you along the path of reduced weight.
More important, there are many small steps that one can undertake to
begin moving toward better health.
Additional health information may be found at
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. Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)
Also learn about Aging in Place at http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm
2. Time to Get a Benefits Checkup
Additional financial information may be found at http://www.seniorresource.com/finance.htm
E. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. When Insults Had Class JB San Diego
2. Wisdom of Larry, the Cable Guy
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at: http://www.seniorresource.com/jokes.htm
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Aging in Place