Smart Shopping Tips for Your Spring Planting

Smart Shopping Tips for Your Spring Planting

 

 

Ready to start planting?  Here are some tips for shopping smart!

 

It’s finally time to start planting – but before you plant, you shop.  With garden retailers preparing for the predictable spring surge in business, shoppers need to prepare themselves for the best shopping experience ever.

 

Before You Head Out Plant Shopping

 

Here are a couple of things you should know/do before you begin your spring plant shopping:

 

Know how sunny your garden is.

Watch your garden and figure out whether the area you want to plant in is in full sun (i.e. it gets 6 or more hours of direct sun a day) or not. This is key information to have—some plants won’t thrive in less than full sun and some plants will wither with that much sun. This rule applies to all plants, whether you’re looking to buy perennials, pretty annuals to fill a pot, trees, vegetables, or herbs.

 

Snap some photos of your garden with your phone before you go shopping.

Once you get into the garden center, there is so much selection it can be overwhelming. Having a photo with you will help you remember what planting hole or pot you came to fill and how big it is. And, if you need to ask a staff member for help it will make it a lot easier for them to give you good  advice if they can see your space instead of hearing “well, I need something to plant in the backyard, in front of the rosebush, beside the Hostas, well, I think they’re Hostas—is that what you call those things with green leaves that grow low to the ground?”

Bring close-up, in focus shots of the leaves of any plant you’re looking for help with identifying, as well as a picture of the whole plant, and, if it flowers, a picture of the flowers with you.

Once you’re in the garden center, read the tags on the plants — they’ll tell you whether the plant needs full sun or tolerates shade, and tell you how big it will get (height and width). Between the information on the tag and the homework you did before you left the house, you’ll be well on your way to buying the right plants for your garden!

 

Here are some tips for getting the very best plant value while shopping this spring.

 

Perfect is Imperfect

All of us do it:  we automatically reach for the perfect flowering plant, like a hydrangea in full bloom, a pot of pansies brimming with color.  The fact is, though, a plant brimming with color is soon in decline.  This is true of plants that bloom at their very best once a year, like a hydrangea, but not so much a season-long performer like a geranium.  Choose plants that are in flower bud, not in flower, and enjoy a longer bloom cycle.

 

Avoid Root-Bound Plants

Often, plants have been grown past their peak.  The easiest way to determine the quality of the plant you are buying is to pull it gently from the pot. Retailers won’t mind that you do this, as long as you’re careful not to spill soil everywhere.  The pot should be 50 to 70% roots, with the balance, a quality potting mix. 

If the roots twirl around the inside of the pot, they are likely to sit in your garden in shock.  pull tightly woulnd roots apart before you plant (or avoid root-bound plants in the first place).

 

Autumn Stock is a Good Bet

Some retailers store their leftover stock from last fall and bring it out for sale carly in the spring.  This stock may perform very well in your garden, as the plants are generally more established and “hardened off,” therefore more tolerant of frost than new stock fresh from the greenhouse.

 

Imperfect May Be Temporary

Experienced gardeners know that some of the best plant deals are at the back of the store, where less than perfect specimens are often offered at discount prices. 

Something like a broken branch or a scar in the bark that can be overcome with time or pruning.  In a few years, a tree or shrub that is imperfect at the time of purchase can look great; patience and pruning can really pay off!

 

Seeds Save Money

Many plant shoppers forget to go inside the store to peruse the seed racks.  The truth is, many herbs, annuals, vegetables and perennials grow easily from seed and they always cost much less than plants.

 

Divide and Save

Some of the best plant deals at this time of year are not at retailers, but at local horticultural society or master gardener meetings, and even sometimes at garage sales.  The divisions from someone else’s Hosta or Daylily can take root and perform very well in our garden this season, and save you a lot of money.

 

 

For that matter, if you have perennials of your own in your garden that are several years old, chances are that many of them can be dug up, divided with a sharp spade or knife, and planted around your garden.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful information on spring plant shopping. 

You may find some terrific planting ideas and inspiration at the new Amazon Plants Store!

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

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Get Prepared For Summer Camp Season

Get Prepared For Summer Camp Season

 

 

Start Planning Kids’ Summer Recreation Now

 

Many families spend winter figuring out how to chase away cabin fever and endure frigid temperatures until spring and summer mercifully return.  Parents and grandparents thinking ahead to swimming pools and days lounging on the beach can put their daydreams to practical use by planning ahead for their youngsters’ summer vacations.

Youth recreational programs and summer camps can bridge the gap in care between the end of school and the day when classes resume.  Due in part to high demand, parents who want to place their kids in summer recreation programs or summer camps should be vetting such programs and camps well in advance of summer.

 

The Benefits of Summer Camp for Kids

 

I am a huge believer in the summer camp experience for kids, especially these days, when many of today’s youth spend much of their time playing with their digital devices.  Summer camp is great option for parents who want their children to get outdoors once the school year ends, but there are so many other benefits to be had from a session or more of summer camp.

 

 

Kids Explore Their Talents at Kids’ Summer Camp

 

 

Summer camps help young people explore their unique interests and talents.  Under an organized, yet often easygoing camp schedule, kids can dabble in sports, crafts, the visual arts, leadership, community support, and so many other activities that may not be fully available to them elsewhere or during the school year.

 

 

Physical Activity at Kids’ Summer Camp

 

Many camps build their itineraries around physical activities that take place outdoors.  Campers may spend their time swimming, running, hiking, playing sports, climbing and so much more. 

 

 

 

 

This can be a welcome change for kids accustomed to living sedentary lifestyles.  Regular physical activity has many health benefits, and can set a foundation for healthy habits as adults.

 

 

Kids Gain Confidence at Summer Camp

 

 

Day and sleep-away camps offer campers the opportunity to get comfortable in their own skin.  Camps can foster activities which enhance self esteem by removing the academic measures of success and replacing them with noncompetitive opportunities to succeed.  Campers learn independence, decision-making skills, and the ability to thrive outside of the shadow of their parents, siblings, or other students.

 

 

Kids Try New Things at Summer Camp

 

Camp gives children the chance to try new things, whether that’s learning to cook, exploring new environments, or embracing a new sport or leisure activity.  Opening oneself up to new opportunities can build character and prove enlightening for children.

 

 

Kids Make New Friends at Summer Camp

 

 

Camp is a great place to meet new people and make lifelong friends.  Campers flood in from areas near and far, which provides kids with a chance to expand their social circles beyond their immediate neighborhoods and schools. 

 

Searching For a Summer Camp

 

The following are some handy tips for parents and grandparents who want their kids to have fun and fulfilling summers.

 

Determine Your Budget the Kids’ Summer Camp

As varied as program offerings may be, camps can also vary greatly with regard to cost.  Government-run camps may be less expensive than those offered by private companies.  day camps typically cost less than those that provide room and board.  Find out if a particular organization subsidizes a portion of camp costs.

Scouting programs often have a dedicated camp, and may offer affordable options for scouts.  Martial arts schools and dance centers frequently offer day camps, as well.

if camp seems out of reach, look into local summer recreation programs at parks or schools.  Such programs may not be as extensive as those offered by camps, but they can quell kids’ boredom and keep children occupied during the day.

 

Ask For Recommendations For Good Camps

Speak with fellow parents and trusted friends about where they send their children.  Personal recommendations can be very helpful, providing firsthand insight into a particular camp or program.  Schedule appointments to visit camps that fall within your budget.  Take your son or daughter (or grandkids) along, so he or she can get a sense of what camp will be like.

 

Explore All the Kids’ Camp Options

Camps come in more flavors than ever before.  Certain camps may be faith-based ministries, while others may focus on particular sports.  Band camps and art camps may appeal to creative kids.  There are also plenty of general-interest camps that offer various activities without narrowing in on any particular one.

Parents may need to choose between a sleep-away camp or day camps, depending on which camp experience they want for their children.

 

Inquire About Camp Schedules

While many camps are flexible, day camps do not have the same level of flexibility as after-school programs.  Arrangements will need to be made if care is required after regular camp hours.  Speak with camp staff to see which types of after-hours programs, if any, are available.

 

Plan Time Off This Summer For the Kids

In addition to camp, remember to plan for some free days, so children can just enjoy some downtime.  Such days can break up the monotony of a routine and provide kids and families time to relax together.

 

 

Purchase Your Kids’ Summer Camp Supplies Early

According to The Summer Camp Handbook author and psychologist Dr. Christopher Thurber, the most important thing to remember about packing for camp is simple and surprising: Give yourself plenty of time. This will ensure you’re not rushing and forgetting things last-minute and can even help ease nerves about heading off away from home.

 

Recommended Reading:

The Summer Camp Handbook – Everything You Need to Find, Choose, and Get Ready For Camp – And Skip the Homesickness

 

Camp Packing List

Your camp will provide you with a packing list, but even if you don’t yet have the list in hand, you can get started purchasing and organizing supplies that you are sure to need.

Think about which items you already have, and make a list of the items you will need to buy.  If possible, plan to go shopping in advance of the big rush, when all the parents are stocking up on the same items.  This will save you from the stress of “the hunt” when the stores are busy, or when the sizes and styles may not be as plentiful.

I always like to purchase as much online as possible:  if it’s not an item that your child must try out or try on in advance, order it online and have it delivered to your home.  For the other items, plan a shopping trip with your kid(s), and allow plenty of time to find just the right items.  If your kids are happy with the things they bring, it will be one less stressor as they get used to their new surroundings and fellow campers.

Here are the things you and your child will likely need to pack for a typical sleep-away summer camp:

Consider visiting Amazon for some of these supplies.  You’ll find a ton of choices and prices, you’ll be able to read consumer reviews, and if necessary, you can return anything easily.

Plus, they have really cute items you can’t find in the stores, like these:

 

 

 

 

 

Okay… I got sidetracked.  Here is the packing list:

 

  • Bandana/scarf
  • Hat
  • Glasses/contacts and cleaning solution
  • Prescription medication
  • Sunglasses
  • Goggles for swimming
  • Dress clothes and coordinating belts and shoes
  • Light jacket
  • Jeans
  • Rain gear or umbrella
  • Shorts
  • Sweatshirt
  • Swimsuit
  • Swim shirt with UV protection
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Underwear
  • Sweatpants or warm-up pants
  • Pajamas
  • Cotton bathrobe
  • Bras
  • Athletic support (jock strap)
  • Boots
  • Cleats
  • Flip-flops
  • Shoes, plus a spare pair
  • Socks
  • Bedding — check with your camp checklist for what, if any, to bring for bedding
  • Hand towels
  • Beach towels — can be used for bath or swimming
  • Shower caddy
  • Comb or brush
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Bug repellant
  • Lip balm
  • Nail clippers
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Soap in carrier
  • Sunblock
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush, toothbrush container and toothpaste
  • Camera
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Laundry bag
  • Reusable water bottle or canteen
  • Writing paper, pre-addressed envelopes, stamps and/or calling card
  • Spending money (but check with camp for policies)
  • Comforts of home, like a family photo or a stuffed animal
  • Entertainment, like books and deck of cards
  • Small backpack or tote for day trips
  • Medical ID bracelet, if applicable

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Camps benefit children in a variety of ways.  Lessons learned in camp can strengthen values, build confidence, develop coping mechanisms for when adversity strikes, and enable campers to make lifelong friends.

Summer recreation may a little ways off, but it’s never too early to start making summer plans, including finding camps and other activities for the kids.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on planning some great summer activities for the kids!

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Ease Your Allergies With These Simple Tips

Ease Your Allergies With These Simple Tips

 

 

 

Here are some tools I recommend to make allergy season a little less painful.

 

More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies—and even if you aren’t one of them, you almost certainly have a friend or family member coping with allergies as pollen counts rise.

Aside from the usual over-the-counter remedies, you can take a few easy steps to remove allergens from your home. There are air filters built into vacuum cleaners that can remove and trap pollen, pet dander, dust mites and other particles. There are washers with a special allergen cycle that can kit dust mites. And a good dehumidifier can prevent mold from growing.

So whether you’re dealing with springtime allergies or year-round issues with household dust and other allergens, here some tools I recommend you use to make allergy season a little less painful.

 

 

Clean Your House With a HEPA Filter Vacuum

 

Unfortunately, not all allergens are in the air. All kinds of dust and grime can get caught in your carpet which will aggravate your allergies with every step. And while serious allergy sufferers may want to consider removing carpet from their homes entirely, most of us can manage with regular vacuuming to suck up dirt before it becomes a problem (weekly vacuuming is ideal).

 

Example: Electrolux EL4021A Silent Performer Bagless Canister Vacuum with 3-in-1 Crevice Tool and HEPA Filter

 

The Electrolux EL402A is a a true silent performer, with their Silence Pro system for minimal noise and disription.  This powerful vacuum provides deep cleaning suction on bare floors and carpets, while its HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants (great for allergy sufferers!).  It also comes with a 3-in-1 crevice tool, dusting brush, and upholstery nozzle.  This vacuum is bagless and easy to empty.  Read reviews.

 

 

Consider a Roomba or Robotic Mop

 

While vacuuming is a simple solution to allergy problems, it takes a time and effort to do it weekly—and to keep dirt away you may need to vacuum even more often in high-traffic areas or areas frequented by your pets. If you’re having trouble finding the time, the Roomba 980 is the answer.

 

 

 

Despite its petite size, the Roomba 980 can do the cleaning of a conventional vacuum with its AeroForce cleaning system which is more powerful than previous Roombas.

The Roomba 980 cleans an entire level of your home: With Smart Mapping and vSLAM® technology, the Roomba® 980 robot vacuum seamlessly navigates your home, keeping track of where it’s been and where it has yet to clean.  It cleans continuously for up to 120 minutes, then recharges and resumes cleaning until the job is done.

 

 

 

 

The Roomba 980 removes dirt from high traffic spots of your home using patented Dirt Detect™ Technology. Sensors recognize concentrated areas of dirt and prompt the robot to clean them more thoroughly.  At just 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba® robot vacuum is designed to clean under beds, sofas, toe kicks, and other hard-to-reach areas.  Its Cliff Detect sensors prevent the robot from falling down stairs or tumbling over drop-offs.

Its advanced Gen 3 motor gives the Roomba® robot vacuum up to 10x the air power in Performance Mode or when the robot detects it’s cleaning carpet, while its multi-surface brushes work together to pull in pet hair, dust, dirt, and large debris without getting tangled.  Its Edge-Sweeping Brush is specially designed at a 27-degree angle to sweep debris away from edges and corners and into the path of the 3-Stage Cleaning System to be suctioned off your floors.  The 980’s High-Efficiency Filter is made from a special material that captures 99% of dust, mites, and allergens as small as 10 microns.

This little unit is not only powerful, it also utilizes cutting edge technology while being so simple to use:  You can use the IRobot HOME app to set your cleaning schedule up, and its Clean Map reports show where your robot cleaned, along with details such as coverage and duration from completed jobs. Plus, receive Push Notifications when your robot completes a cleaning job – all on your smartphone. Its also compatible on devices with Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant.  All in all, the Roomba 980 is a terrific little household assistant!

 

While dust and dirt hide in the carpet, the grime on hard floors is often in plain sight. A vacuum will help pick up the dust bunnies, but damp mopping will do a better job of trapping dust and allergens instead of knocking them back in the air. Unfortunately, mopping is another one of those chores you probably don’t do as often as you should—and that won’t help the allergy-sufferers in the household.

 

If you can’t find time, outsource your mopping to the iRobot Braava 388t. This bot can sweep and mop using either a washable microfiber cloth or a disposable cloth (it’s compatible with Swiffer pads).

It makes neat back-and-forth passes across the room (three passes when mopping) to thoroughly clean the entire floor, covering up to 1,000 square feet (sweeping) or 350 square feet (mopping).

 

 

 

While it’s a bit less turnkey than the Roomba—you’ll have to replace its cleaning cloth, fill it with water or detergent for mopping, and manually start it each time you want it to run—it’s still a lot easier than doing your own mopping!

 

 

Use an Air Purifier

 

The air in your home could be packed with pollen, dust mites, pet dander and more potential allergy problems. An air purifier will filter the air, catching those particles before they set off your allergies.

Honeywell’s True HEPA Allergen Remover captures 99.97% of microscopic particles, including dust, pollen, tobacco smoke, cooking smoke, fireplace smoke, pet dander, mold spores and even some germs—leaving you with clean, easier to breathe air.

 

This Honeywell uses a quiet fan to pull air into the unit and through its filters, cycling the room’s air up to five times an hour to keep it allergen-free. This model performs well in large rooms, too, cleaning rooms up to 465 square feet.

Using this purifier is simple, with a push-button panel to turn it on or off and set the cleaning level. Though you will have to change the filters—this Honeywell has two—to keep it cleaning efficiently, a light on the control panel will tell you when it needs replacing, so there’s no guesswork.  This Honeywell Air Purifier is consistently a top-seller good consumer reviews.

 

If you have specific concerns about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), mold, or other toxins, you can test your indoor air quality at home with a Home Air Check kit.  My husband and I did this test, and it was simple to do. 

Home Air Check - The advanced home air test that provides a solution to indoor air quality issues.

Home Air Check offers a variety of test kits, and they are very thorough.  If you need to get to the bottom of a suspected indoor air issue, I highly recommend doing this testing; it will provide you with actionable information and set your mind at ease.

 

Correct Your Air Humidity

 

If the air in your house is too humid (over 50% humidity), it can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites—both common causes of indoor allergies. A dehumidifier will help by removing water from the air and keeping the humidity level down.

 

 

This Frigidaire will remove up to 50 pints of water from the air before its tank needs to be emptied, meaning should be able to run all day without trouble, even in large rooms.

Operation is, like the name suggests, effortless—all you need to do is press a few buttons to select your desired humidity level and it will run until the tank is almost full.

Though you do have to empty the tank and clean the filter regularly (how often depends on how humid it is), otherwise you can just ignore it—and enjoy cutting down on home allergens.  Read consumer reviews.

 

 

Though humid air can be a problem, dry air can also be a problem, irritating your nose and lungs.

In this case, you’ll want to add some moisture to the air with a humidifier. Among these, the whisper-quiet Air-Joy Premium Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier, remains my favorite.

 

 

The  Air-Joy Premium Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier has a generous 3/4 gallon tank, and can run for 24 hours.  There are 3 timer settings and an automatic shutoff. 

The Air-Joy is whisper quiet, features 9 light settings, and comes with a tank brush and 2 ultrasonic disk cleaning brushes for hassle-free cleaning and maintenance.  User reviews are excellent for the Air-Joy Premium, with many allergy sufferers heaping on the praise.

 

 

Use Your Washing Machine (and Hot Water) to Reduce Allergens

 

Washing bedding regularly—once a week—is key to keep it free of allergy irritating dust and dust mites.

Additionally, washing clothing, especially outerwear, frequently can help prevent members of the household from tracking allergens in from the outside.

You’ll also want to keep bathmats, towels, curtains, cushion slipcovers and throw rugs as clean as possible by throwing them in the wash, if you can (be sure to check the manufacturer’s care instructions first).

A regular cycle in hot water should suffice, but if you’re in the market for a new washer, many reviewers classify the Speed Queen TR3000WN as a great machine (some saying it’s the best one they’ve ever owned!).

 

 

And while we’re talking laundry, make sure you choose hypoallergenic laundry supplies.  Some suggestions:

 

 

ECOS is made without dyes, optical brighteners, parabens, phosphates or phthalates; it’s dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic, and pH-balanced.  It also has built-in fabric softener to add freshness and reduce static cling (and save money).

 

 


Sun & Earth uses 100 % plant-based ingredients, which are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, compostable and biodegradable.  These sheets are free from synthetics, scents, and UV brighteners. They are also and are vegan and cruelty-free.

 

If you want to avoid fabric softeners, these Housoft Natural Fabric Softener Dryer Balls are a good alternative.  They are made with 100% organic New Zealand sheep wool, and are especially good for babies or those with sensitive skin.  These dryer balls will soften and de-wrinkle your clothes in the dryer, while also cutting down on dryer time (which saves money and lengthens the life of your clothes).

 

 

Try an Allergy App

 

An allergy app can tell you what today’s forecast means for your allergies, which can help you plan accordingly. My favorite app is WebMD Allergy (for iPhone and Android) which creates a personalized allergy forecast with doctor-approved tips for dealing with your symptoms.

You can also use the app to look up general allergy information and track your symptoms day to day—a handy way to figure out what’s working to help keep your allergies in check!

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on reducing allergens in your home.  By the way, if you suspect you are having allergic symptoms, but aren’t sure, Walk-In Lab offers discount allergy testing with no doctor’s order required.

 

Walk-In Lab Allergy Test

 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

 

 

Your indoor air quality may be having as big of an effect on your runny nose as your outdoor environment.

 

Your indoor air quality is effected by factors both inside and outside of your home or business. Inside your home, indoor air quality culprits, like chemicals, volatile organic compounds, or molds can be fixed or controlled, but outdoor causes of poor indoor air quality – such as allergens – are something we’re often at the mercy of.

As we pass the first day of spring, indoor air quality is not something typically on our minds. The birds are chirping, trees are budding, and flowers are pushing up through the melting snow. It seems simple enough to open a window to freshen your home and improve your indoor air quality, but you might actually be inviting pollen and other allergens in as well.

If you’re one of the millions who suffers from seasonal allergies, your indoor air quality may be having as big of an effect on your runny nose as your outdoor environment. Seasonal allergies are your immune system’s response to an allergen – like a pollen particle drifting through the air – which often manifests as itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose, or sneezing. If you’re trying to escape the cornucopia of pollen outdoors and find relief this spring, your indoor air quality can have a big effect on these escape plans.

 

Walk-In Lab Allergy Test

 

 

Check Your Air Ducts and Filters

 

To help keep your indoor air quality free of seasonal allergens, the first step is to have your ducts inspected and filters checked and replaced. Your indoor air quality is bound to be poor if this key part of your HVAC system is dirty or in need of repairs.

Allergens like pollen or dust can collect in your ducts or filters. Your system, doing its best to move air around your home, will actually help perpetuate poor indoor air quality by spreading that pollen to all rooms.

Inspecting your air filters, and replacing them if necessary, is also a key part of promoting good indoor air quality. Beyond providing a quick route to better indoor air quality, it also keeps your HVAC system running effectively which can prevent long-term problems from arising.

In regards to the HVAC, the low quality filters are porous and dion’t trap fine particulates of dust mites and pet dander, so using a high quality HVAC filters for allergies should be a priority.

The Micropartical Performance Rating or MPR is a rating scale created by Filtrete under the 3M company and it rates the filter’s ability to capture the smallest of airborne particles from the air (different companies use different scales).  These particles captured are microscopic, ranging in size from .3-1 micron in size.

The rating helps customers properly evaluate the ability of the Filtrete filtration.  The higher the MPR rating, the better the filter is at capturing the smallest particulates. The most common ratings for Filtrete filters are 300-2800 MPR.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has a slightly different scale for filters called the MERV rating.  This rating goes from 1-16, the higher the rating, the more effective the filter for .3-10 micrometers.

MERV 7 to 13 are almost as effective as true HEPA filters at removing allergens, with much lower associated system and operating costs.  This means that using high quality filters can actually help your HVAC system perform with more efficiency and keep the inside of equipment from accumulating dust.

If you are suffering with allergies, I recommend the Filtrete MPR 2800 Ultrafine Particle Reduction HVAC Filter.  It captures micro-particles  including: PM 2.5 air pollution, exhaust, soot, smoke, cough/sneeze debris, bacteria, viruses, and lint, dust, and pollen, and its electrostatic air filter has a Microparticle Performance Rating of 2800 (7 times better than non-electrostatic pleated filters).  It captures 0.3 to 1.0 micron particles, and will last for up to 3 months.

 

 

Cleaning to Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

Vacuum With a HEPA Filter

Cleaning is an obvious choice for improving your indoor air quality. Vacuuming hard surfaces that pollens may collect on can help reduce the buildup of allergens, and using a vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (or HEPA) filter can also help improve your indoor air quality.

Consumer Reports recommends the Kenmore Elite Pet Friendly 31150 as the best vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.  Strong airflow for tools and superb pet-hair pickup are top attractions of this Kenmore bagged upright. While you can get a fine performer for less, its price includes helpful features such as a brush on/off switch, which safeguards a bare floor’s finish and prevents scattering of debris; suction control (protects drapes); and manual carpet pile-height adjustment.

 

 

 

 

Use a HEPA Filter Air Purifier

HEPA filter air purifiers, either stand-alone units or professionally installed systems, can have a huge effect on your indoor air quality by offering a high grade of filtration and purification from more than just pollen.

Particle allergens such as mold, dander, and pollen are just a few of the antagonists found in the common household. Some of the best air purifiers will remove virtually all these airborne particles in a few hours or even less, ensuring you breathe pure air. While there may be some health benefits, these machines can be particularly life changing for people who suffer from allergies.

One of the most popular air purifiers currently is GermGuardian’s air cleaning system.  The GermGuardian AC4825 is a 22 inch tall, 3 speed tower with UV-C light and Titanium Dioxide technology. This will purge the air in rooms up to 400 square feet quite efficiently.  Judging by the rave reviews and some old fashioned comparison shopping, this unit is truly a great value.

 

 

It’s quiet, very lightweight and easy to move from room-to-room if you do so choose. The one two combo punch of a charcoal and HEPA filter kicks nasty particles to the curb. The Germguardian AC4825 also has its Energy Start qualification, meaning you are doing right by the environment and not sucking up an excessive amount of electrical energy to power it.

 

 

EnviroKlenz Natural Cleaning Products

 

 

Your Air Conditioner Can Help

Your air conditioner can actually be a key part of keeping pollen out and having good indoor air quality. Pollen is water soluble; since your air conditioner was made to remove water from the air, a well-functioning unit can improve your indoor air quality just by doing what it does best.

While you may not associate snow with mold, your indoor air quality can be affected by molds released from its winter cover as the snow melts. Mold spores are released into the air as rotting leaves and autumn’s debris are uncovered and heated up by warmer temperature. This can have a great effect on your indoor air quality, especially if your air intake is near to the ground or has been covered by organic matter.

 

Consider a portable air conditioner (even if you have central air).   Just because you have central air conditioning doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from a portable air conditioner. One of the leading causes of allergies is dust mites and mold spores. Sometimes central air conditioners can house these on their filters. Filters can be changed, but why not have back up.

Portable air conditioners offer removable and washable filters for easy cleaning. And this filter collects the allergens your central air conditioning unit doesn’t. In some cases – living in an apartment or dorm – you don’t maintenance the air conditioning system. If that’s the case, then having a portable air conditioner as back up is vital.

Portable air conditioners comfortably cool areas of your home that your central system doesn’t reach. Not only that but if you plan on entertaining and you need a little extra cooling, portable air conditioners are great options. They can pick up the slack when your system is not running. Your central air system can use all the help it can get.

A portable air conditioner doesn’t cost a lot to run; it can help cut your energy costs. You can use it to cool exclusive areas without running your central unit.

 

 

This bestselling BLACK+DECKER BPACT08WT Portable Air Conditioner With Remote Control has excellent reviews on Amazon.

 

 


 

 

 

 

Testing Your Indoor Air Quality

 

You can test your home’s indoor air quality quite easily on your own with a testing kit.  If a specific problem is found, you can then assess whether you can handle the issue or need to call the appropriate professional to take care of it.

My husband and I did this testing in our home, and it was a simple process, which saved us from paying a professional for a service call to do the testing for us (using a similar testing device).

There is a good variety of indoor air testing kits available to consumers these days, so there is really no reason to feel you have to call someone if you suspect your home’s air is causing health problems.

We used the Home Air Check, and were very satisfied with it.  Their testing device  provides a comprehensive picture of chemical levels that you are breathing when in the home. It also indicates a level of actively growing mold present in the home. Since these chemicals are tested simultaneously, this sophisticated analysis becomes less expensive than arranging for a professional to come out charge you for their time and several separate tests.

Also, the samples are collected without the use of toxic chemicals, so there are no health risks using Home Air Check. We were happy with the level of completeness, sophistication, prediction, and value of Home Air Check.

The Home Air Check Indoor Air Test measures VOC’s, formaldehyde and mold.

 

 

This is how the testing process works:

You use a small sampling device to collect an air sample in your home. The sampling time takes about 2 hours.  Full instructions are included in the kit (and it is very straightforward).

After the sample is collected,  you return the complete kit to the Home Air Check laboratory, where they analyze the air sample using sophisticated state-of-the-art analytical instrumentation for hundreds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be found in home air. In addition, they look for 21 specific mold compounds that can be generated when mold is actively growing in a home.

A detailed report is then generated. In this report will be a Total VOC concentration level – a total of all the VOCs found in your home. The US Green Building Council recommends a TVOC level of less than 500 ng/L to be considered a healthy environment. (The median US home is about 1,200 ng/L.) A total concentration of Mold VOCs is also listed. Generally, this number should be less than 8 ng/L or you have active mold growth you need to find.

The report also includes a Contamination Index, which gives you a prediction of which sources or materials in your home may be responsible for these contaminating chemicals, such as gasoline, paint, adhesives, odorants, personal care products, etc. Home Air Check emails you the report within 5 business days of receipt of your air sample. You can then use their phone or chat line support to answer any questions you have and to help you improve your air quality.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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Top 10 Massage Chairs – Full Reviews’

 

 

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

 

 

Both Experienced and Beginner Gardeners Should Keep These Tips in Mind

 

Gardening can be a fun activity for seniors to spend time with their family, relax for themselves, spend time outdoors, care for something other than themselves and even provide their own fruits and vegetables. Spring is the perfect time to start making plans for the garden and the weather is perfect for spending time outside. (Image above: Haws Design Traditional Peter Rabbit Design Metal Watering Can created by John Haws in 1886. Made in England.)

Physical, mental and age-related conditions must be considered, however, when older people work in the garden, but they should not prevent people from enjoying the garden.

These include:

Skin – fragile, thinning skin makes older people susceptible to bumps, bruises and sunburn.

Vision – changes in the eye lens structure, loss of peripheral vision and generally poorer eyesight can restrict activities.

Mental abilities – mental health, thinking and memory abilities may be affected by dementia and similar conditions.

Body temperature – susceptibility to temperature changes and a tendency to dehydrate or suffer from heat exhaustion, are common concerns with outdoor physical activity for older people.

Skeletal – falls are more common because balance is often not as good. Osteoporosis and arthritis may restrict movement and flexibility.

 

So whether you are an experienced gardener, or just beginning, you should keep these tips in mind:

 

 

Dress to Protect

Gear up to protect yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and harmful rays of too much sun.

Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants to prevent injury when using power tools and equipment.

Protect your hearing when using machinery. If you have to raise your voice to talk to someone who is an arm’s length away, the noise can be potentially harmful to your hearing.

Wear gardening gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.

Use insect repellent containing DEET. Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground.

 

 

UV Rays Can Cause Sunburn and Skin Cancer

Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Gardening in the sun can be harsh on seniors’ skin which is more sensitive to light.  Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sun shades, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 30 or higher

 

Example:  These Sloggers wide brimmed hats for women and men are great for gardeners!

 

 

Use Ergonomic Tools

Gardening can be very hard on seniors’ backs, hands and wrists. However, with the right tools, gardening can be made more comfortable and enjoyable. Bottom line:  these items really make a difference in the gardening experience.

 

Things to Try:

ergonomic gardening hand tools

a rolling seat garden cart

a cushioned kneeler

knee pads

 

Examples:

This Radius Ergonomic Gardening Tool Set includes an ergonomic trowel, transplanter, weeder, and cultivator. These tools are ultra lightweight, and have a patented ergonomic grip.

 

This Best Choice Garden Cart Rolling Work Seat has sturdy 10″ wheels, a utility basket, and a weight capacity of 300 lbs.

 

 

This Ohuhu Garden Seat Kneeler With 2 Bonus Tool Pouches comes assembled, and opens and closes with a quick snap. There are some terrific reviews for this kneeler!

 

 

These Viahart Comfortable Soft Ultra Light Foam Knee Pads also come in blue, and have excellent reviews.

 

 

This KI Store Super thick and shock-absorbing 2.36” high density memory foam kneeling pad with EVA foam protects knees comfortably from hard and uneven ground.

Its double water-resistant layer protection and easy clean exterior and removable and washable, quick-drying neoprene covered means it effectively block the water. The water-resistant interior layer prevents foam swelling if water seeps through seam.

This pad is portable, easy to clean and light weight (just as the size of briefcases when folded).

 

 

Switch up your Routine

Gardening can be more strenuous than you may realize. If you haven’t been outside in a while and haven’t been getting regular exercise, your best bet is to pace yourself and do a little at a time.

Consider changing both your position and activity every 20 to 30 minutes and take a 10-minute break between switching. Tending to your garden can involve a lot of bending, lifting, and pulling which can leave you sore the following day if you overdo it, so it is important to listen to your body and slow down whenever you feel you need to.

To get a more well-rounded exercise and rest your back, rotate your daily gardening routine. Work on ground plants one day and then on stand and work on vines and trees the next. Switching things up will work out various muscle groups while giving the other group a rest on alternate days.

 

 

Begin Early

Gardening in the morning when temperatures are lower can reduce chance of heat exhaustion or any other sun-exposure related issues. Start your morning in a relaxing way by working in the garden. 

 

 

Know Your Limits and Stay Hydrated

Even being out for short periods of time in high temperatures can cause serious health problems. Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness.

If you’re outside in hot weather for most of the day you’ll need to make an effort to drink more fluids.

Avoid drinking liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, especially in the heat.

Take breaks often. Try to rest in shaded areas so that your body’s thermostat will have a chance to recover. Stop working if you experience breathlessness or muscle soreness.

Pay attention to signs of heat-related illness, including extremely high body temperature, headache, rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness.

Eat healthy foods to help keep you energized.

It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re gardening, especially for seniors. Be sure to bring a large bottle of water and maybe even a light snack to stay hydrated on sunny days and prevent dehydration.

 

You can garden all day with this “Coldest Water Bottle,” which keeps liquids seriously cold up to 36 hours or more!

 

 

Work at the Right Pace

As a senior, you may not be able to work at the same pace or rate that you used to, so don’t be hard on your self. Work at a comfortable pace that is safe for your physical condition, take breaks when you need to and don’t push yourself! Progress is progress no matter what!

 

 

Bring your Cellphone

Bring your cellphone in case of unexpected falls or accidents so that you can easily call for help.

If you’re looking for a new cell phone, I highly recommend the GreatCall Jitterbug Smart Phone for Seniors.  This is the phone my Dad uses, and he has been so pleased with both the way it functions and the customer service.

 

 

 

Make it a Social Activity

Try inviting a family member, neighbor or friend to garden with you. You can exchange tips and knowledge about gardening and both benefit from the finished product of their work. You can even share lunch afterword! 

 

 

Safety Proof your Garden

Outdoor spaces have major potential for accidents. Before you begin working in your garden, make sure there aren’t any rocks or roots in your path that could lead to falls. Also, be sure to look out for slick spots or forgotten tools that could cause you to trip or slip.

 

 

Attend to Injuries

If an elderly gardener has pre-existing injuries or develops injuries while gardening, tend to them immediately and take a break from gardening if necessary. Whether a cut, bruise, or bite, take care of it before you begin to work again. Gardening with open wounds can easily lead to infection, especially in seniors with weakened immune systems.  Have an all purpose household first aid kit available, as well as some insect repellent and insect bite cream.

 

 

 

 

 

Consider These Gardening Styles

 

Raised Gardening Beds

A raised bed is a good way to alleviate some of the strain that can come along with plants that are lower and close to the ground. With a rectangular shaped planting bed, you can find a chair or board so that you can sit and garden from a more comfortable, less strenuous position. Ideally, the width should be about arms length so that you can access the plants without risking losing your balance as you reach across.

Example:  This CedarCraft Elevated Garden Planter is available in a variety of sizes, and allows you to garden at a comfortable height.  It assembles easily, with no tools required.

 

 

 

Vertical Gardening

Vertical gardens are also more convenient for seniors who may be less agile and have a harder time bending and moving around as much. This type of gardening is ideal for vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, zucchini as well as different kinds of melons. You can tend to these gardens from your feet without needing to crouch all the way down to the ground. Some other added benefits of a vertical garden are the fact that they take up very little space and also get more sunshine than regular beds.

 

Example:  This YardCraft Vertical Planter is made from heavy duty natural cedar.

 

 

Create a Garden that You Can Maintain

Certain types of plants can require a lot of time and maintenance. Some will need a lot of water and you may not be equipped to carry a hose or a heavy watering can around. Before you decide what you will have in your garden, be sure to research what the upkeep will consist of and determine whether or not you’re physically capable of handling it yourself.

For research and inspiration, I recommend Better Homes Gardening Made Simple:  The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Gardening.

This is a comprehensive step-by-step guide to creating beautiful gardens, including all the basics of planting, growing, and caring for trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits, vegetables, lawns and other greenery. This book has plenty of clear and explanatory full-color photographs, and it gives beginners the inspiration and simple guidance they need.

 

Better Homes and Gardens Gardening Made Simple

 

Just In Case

If you are going out to the garden alone, you should have access to either a cell phone or a medical alert system. Doing so will ensure that you can get the necessary assistance if you fall or feel like you may be suffering from any ailment caused by the heat.

Example: This Senior Help Dialer system has no contract or monthly fees, and comes with a panic button unit for your wrist and neck. If you get into trouble, it instantly calls up to 3 phone numbers and plays your personalized emergency message. It’s water proof and pacemaker safe.

 

Final Thoughts

Gardening provides many mental and physical benefits for seniors. Not only is it a great way to stay active and get outside, but gardening can improve overall mobility, dexterity and reduce stress.

Creating a garden can turn into one of your favorite hobbies and can even improve the way you eat if you can grow fresh fruits and vegetables of your own. You will feel motivated and encouraged by the progress of your plants and will also feel better physically.

Sticking to good safety habits in the process will help to ensure that you can enjoy your garden for many years.  Follow these simple tips to ensure that you or your elderly loved one can garden safely and enjoy their time.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some inspiration to get out in the dirt.  I welcome your comments below.

 

-Laurie

 

P.S.  For an excellent selection of anything and everything you need to get gardening (and things you didn’t know you needed!), check out  Amazon’s Gardening Products!

 

 

 

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Get Gardening to Lose Weight and Gain Health

Get Gardening to Lose Weight And Gain Health!

 

 

 

The Garden is a Great Place to Achieve an Effective Mind/Body Workout and Help You Drop Some Pounds.

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, gardening is compared to “moderate cardiovascular exercise.” Gardening 30 to 45 minutes a day can burn 150 to 300 calories. This isn’t just standing there watering the flowers, but weeding, digging, hoeing, raking and planting. And there’s nothing like being at one with nature to help create a calming, relaxed state of mind while you let go of the pressures and anxiety of everyday life.

A recent South Korean study, published in the journal HortTechnology, found that some gardening tasks qualify as moderate-to high-intensity physical activity.

The researchers asked 15 college-aged students to complete 10 gardening tasks on two separate occasions. They did five tasks on each occasion for five minutes each, with five-minute breaks in between each one. The tasks included digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants. The researchers also asked participants to wear devices that tracked their heart rate, calorie burn, and oxygen consumption.

When the researchers measured the results, they found that all of the tasks were considered moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the volunteers. (One word: Yay!)

Some of the activities were more intense than others: Digging was the highest-intensity job. Next up was raking, followed by weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing, harvesting, watering, and mixing growing medium. Planting transplants was the lowest-intensity job.

There are some extenuating circumstances that can make these results vary from person to person, such as differences in the type of garden tools, gardening methods, gardening conditions, and garden size can all impact the results. However, the point remains: Gardening is, in fact, a legitimate physical activity that can help you lose weight!

…But you didn’t need a study to tell you that, did you?  So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty  of how you lose weight with gardening.

 

How Gardening Helps You With Weight Loss

 

According to the University of Virginia, gardening rates up there with other moderate to strenuous forms of exercise, like walking and bicycling. It all depends on what gardening task you are doing and for how long. Like any other form of exercise, you have to be active for at least 30 minutes for there to be a benefit.

 

 

Gardening = Exertion

 

 

While enjoying yourself in the garden, you are also working all the major muscle groups: legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. Gardening tasks that use these muscles build strength and burn calories.

Besides the exertion involved, gardening has other pluses that make it a good form of exercise and calorie burning. There can be a great deal of stretching involved with gardening, like reaching for weeds or tall branches, bending to plant and extending a rake. Lifting bags of mulch, pushing wheelbarrows and shoveling all provide resistance training similar to weight lifting, which leads to healthier bones and joints. Yet while doing all this, there is minimal jarring and stress on the body, unlike aerobics or jogging.

 

 

Burning Calories Without Thinking About It

 

Losing weight requires you to burn more calories than you consume and so the amount of weight you’ll lose gardening depends on several factors including your size and the task you are performing.

 

Some general examples from Iowa State University, below, show how some of the more strenuous gardening tasks can really burn calories.

  • Digging Holes – Men: 197 calories, Women: 150 calories
  • Planting – Men: 177 calories, Women: 135 calories
  • Weeding – Men: 157 calories, Women: 156 calories

The National Institute of Health lists gardening for 30 – 45 minutes in its recommended activities for moderate levels of exercise to combat obesity, along with biking 5 miles in 30 minutes and walking 2 miles at the same time.

 

 

But Wait – There’s More!

 

 

Research is showing that gardening for just 30 minutes daily will help:

  • Increase flexibility
  • Strengthen joints
  • Decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Lower your risk for diabetes
  • Slow osteoporosis

 

 

Getting The Most Out of Your Gardening Session

 

It takes at least 30 minutes of exercise several days a week, to really receive any health benefits from gardening. However, researchers are now saying that you can break that 30 minutes up into shorter active periods throughout the day. As long as each activity lasts at least 8 minutes and is of moderate intensity when you total them up to 30 minutes per day, you’ll reap the same rewards as if you had been gardening for a half hour straight. So you can do a little weeding in the cool of the morning and go back out to the garden in the evening to prune and trim.

Start slowly, if you’re not used to the exertion. Lift properly, by using your legs. Vary your tasks and your movements and make use of the major muscle groups, to get the most benefit. Aches and pains aren’t necessarily a sign of a good workout. Your muscles may feel tired, but they shouldn’t hurt unless you’re using muscles you haven’t worked in a while or you’re using them wrong.

Gardening isn’t usually enough exercise to forsake your daily walk or swim, but it’s nice to know those tired muscles you feel after turning the compost are actually something good you did for your body and your health. As with any other form of exercise, check with your doctor first, if you’re not used to strenuous exercise. Make sure you incorporate a little stretching before and after gardening and take things slowly in extreme heat. We do a garden for the pleasure, after all. Getting in shape and losing weight are just the icing on the cake.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Gardening gets you moving in an enjoyable way is a great strategy for staying healthy, especially for those who are attached to their desks most of the week. Gardening also forces you to get outside and dig around in the dirt, which will do wonders for your body.  It’s an excellent form of functional exercise, incorporating many of the elements of a moderate to intense fitness routine. Stretching, pushing, pulling and lifting incorporate multiple muscles at one time and improve the quality of your overall fitness level.

Gardening also helps improve balance, flexibility and sharpen your senses. The movements, the sights and smells are all part of the healthy benefits while you tend your green space. 

The fresh air, focusing on tending your garden and unplugging from technology all open the door for more creativity, too. Gardening helps you connect with the earth, your body, mind and spirit, which allows space for relaxation, stress-reduction and creative thoughts.  Immersing yourself in nature is a natural relaxer and helps boost those endorphins, which help you feel better, help you become more grounded, centered and relaxed.

By the way, if you don’t have access to a garden, you can volunteer at a local park in the neighborhood; it’s a good way to give back to the community, and benefit physically and mentally at the same time!

So what’s stopping you?

By the way, if you or someone you know is new to gardening, you’ll love this Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started by Katie Elzer-Peters.  It’s a one-stop, easy to understand, beautifully designed book with step-by-step instructions and photographs for every important gardening and landscaping technique.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some inspiration to get out in the dirt.  I welcome your comments below.

For an excellent selection of anything and everything you need to get gardening (and things you didn’t know you needed!), check out  Amazon’s Gardening Products!

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

 

 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults complete at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Walking is one of the safest ways to fulfill this requirement because it’s a functional activity that is gentle on the muscles and joints.

Treadmills allow you to fulfill your daily activity goal year round, but how do you select the right treadmill for your needs? You can start by considering the size of the treadmill because you must make sure that it fits comfortably into your living space. The width of the walking belt is also important because you need room to hit your natural walking stride comfortably.

If you want to enjoy interval training and other walking exercises for seniors, the range of speed available on your treadmill is also important. While most seniors aren’t up for a treadmill run, it is reasonable to assume that you will want to pick up speed as you become more physically fit. Many seniors are surprised at how fast they can walk once they get accustomed to their treadmill.

Finally, look at the advanced features offered on some treadmills. You may want a built-in heart rate monitor to ensure that you’re working within your target heart rate zone, or you may prefer a console with pre-programmed workouts to ensure that you don’t get bored during your workout sessions. You may also look for a machine with a well-lit console to ensure that you can easily see the feedback delivered throughout your workout.

 

 

How to Choose the Right Treadmill For Your Needs

 

When used frequently, an electric treadmill is a wise investment that will help you fight against disease and illness while managing your mood and increasing your ability to continue daily activities without depending on your loved ones. While you may start shopping with your maximum budget in mind, it’s more important to find a machine that safely accommodates daily exercise and rehab for the elderly.

The treadmills recommended below are all suitable for older users because they have extra cushioning on the walking belts and safety features like the red key that locks the belt between workout sessions.

In addition to those basic features, you may want to consider the location of the speed controls and the start/stop button for added safety.

You should also think about the number of pre-programmed workouts that you will use and what type of programs will best fit your needs.

Some advanced treadmills now offer pre-programmed heart rate workouts that require you to walk with your hands covering the pulse sensors in order to create workouts based on your pulse. You may not need this type of advanced programming if you just want a basic treadmill to increase your daily activity level, but those interested in improving their cardiovascular endurance may consider investing in a treadmill with this capability.

Every senior will select a different treadmill based on their unique needs, so start by identifying what you want to accomplish with your machine. You can then match the available features to your needs and budget to select the best treadmill for your healthy lifestyle.

 

 

Treadmills I Recommend for a Senior

 

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill is a good pick for heavier users or any senior searching for a wider belt to ensure comfort while exercising at higher speeds.

The ProGear HCXL 4000 is approved for users up to 400 pounds, and the extra-wide walking belt measures 20 inches. It’s also equipped with a 1.5 HP motor that is designed to operate quietly.

The maximum speed for this treadmill is 4 mph, and that is adequate for most seniors walking at moderate to fast speeds. For an added challenge, you can manually incline the walking belt.

The 18-inch safety handles contain speed controls, and a key lock system secures the belt until you’re ready to begin your workout.

 

 

 

 

The Exerpeutic TF1000 Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill

 

 

Whether your goal is to get your heart rate up for weight loss or to just add more physical activity into your daily life, the Exerpeutic TF1000 delivers adequate speed and walking space to meet your needs.

With a maximum speed of 4 mph, pulse grips to monitor your heart rate and a 20-inch wide walking belt, this is a treadmill that you aren’t likely to outgrow as your fitness abilities increase over time.

 

 

This is also a wise choice if you’re concerned about safety during your walks. The extra-long safety handles extend along each side of the machine, and a bright red button on the console allows you to stop the belt at any moment. A safety key is also offered to secure the belt between workouts.

 

 

 

 

Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill

 

While this is one of the most affordable treadmills available to seniors today, the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 treadmill is far from lacking in advanced features. This includes a large console loaded with six workouts designed by personal trainers.

 

 

The walking belt is 16 inches wide and 50 inches long, and the belt is cushioned for added protection of your joints and muscles. That cushioning is important if you plan on speed walking or going for a light jog, and with a maximum speed of 10 mph, the machine is suitable for high-intensity workouts.

If you’re concerned about the amount of space a treadmill may consume in your home, note that this is a folding model. Some seniors may need help raising and lowering the walking platform, but you can fold it up against a wall or roll it between rooms as necessary.

 

 

 

 

Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill

 

The Sole F80 is a mid to high range item. It comes with a powerful 3.5 CHP motor and a two-ply walking belt designed to reduce the impact on your muscles and joints for a safer walking experience.

The large console is equipped with an advanced sound system that allows you to connect an MP3 player for entertainment. You can walk at your own pace or select from eight pre-programmed workouts, two of which are based on your heart rate.

 

 

The belt on this treadmill is a generous 22 inches wide, but it is a larger treadmill that will consume more space in your home. The manufacturer warranty is also quite impressive with lifetime coverage for the frame.

 

 

 

LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

 

 

The LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill is a mid-market electric treadmill. It’s suitable for users up to 300 pounds and features a 20-inch walking belt, well-lit color console and speed controls conveniently located on the handlebars.

 

 

If you’re concerned that you’ll get bored walking on a treadmill, you’ll appreciate the 17 pre-programmed workouts and your complimentary membership to the online LifeSpan Fitness Club.

 

You can walk or jog up to 11 mph, and there are 15 incline levels to ensure that your body is continuously challenged over time.

With a 2.5 CHP motor, this is a high-quality treadmill that will keep up with most seniors.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Keep Your Senior Hydrated

 

 

For many, the long awaited summer months bring to mind family picnics, cool drinks on the porch, and lazy afternoons at the beach. But, as temperatures soar, warm weather activities can increase the risk for another staple of summer: dehydration.

Not getting enough fluids, especially when it is hot outside, can pose serious health problems for anyone, but older adults are at particular risk for dehydration, which is the most common fluid or electrolyte imbalance among the elderly.

 

Why Seniors Are at Risk

There are a few reasons why older adults are more susceptible to dehydration. As we age, our body’s ability to conserve water is reduced, causing increased difficultly when it comes to adapting to things like extreme temperatures. Additionally, the sense of thirst also diminishes with age, so by the time someone actually feels thirsty, essential fluids could already be extremely low.

Certain medical conditions and medications can also affect a senior’s ability to retain fluids. Individuals with dementia may forget to eat and drink, which severely reduces their intake, and drugs like diuretics, antihistamines, laxatives, antipsychotics and corticosteroids may also cause frequent urination that depletes water and other fluids in the body. Seniors who experience incontinence may also refuse or limit water in order to avoid accidents.

 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration

As a family caregiver, it’s important to be mindful of the signs and symptoms (both for yourself and your loved one), and to communicate with a doctor or health professional should you notice red flags that could indicate complications from fluid loss.

There are a few clear symptoms and warning signs that all family caregivers should remember to look for if they are caring for an older loved one.

 

It is important to pick up on the more subtle, early signs that indicate a senior needs to up their fluid intake before they lose too much water. Rather than go by thirst, color of urine is a better indicator of hydration. It should be clear or light yellow.

 

Keep in mind that thirst is not usually a helpful indicator. These signs include headache, constipation, muscle cramps, dry mouth and sleepiness or lethargy. Urine color is also a helpful indicator and should be clear or light yellow for someone who is properly hydrated.

If severe dehydration goes unchecked, it can cause seizures due to electrolyte imbalance, a reduction in the volume of blood in the body (hypovolemic shock), kidney failure, heat injuries, and even coma or death.

 

Signs of Severe Dehydration

 

  • Little or no urination
  • Dark or amber-colored urine
  • Dry skin that stays folded when pinched
  • Irritability, dizziness, or confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • Weak pulse
  • Cold hands and feet

 

 

Preventing Dehydration

 

For most of us, drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods with high water content is a great way to keep our bodies properly hydrated in warmer weather. Most adults need about two quarts (64 ounces) of fluids every day, but that amount increases with heat and humidity and can change based on various medications.

A good rule of thumb is to try balancing fluid intake with output. If a senior is sweating or urinating more frequently, then their fluid intake should become more frequent as well.

If a loved one is suffering from an illness that causes fever, diarrhea or vomiting, carefully monitoring fluid intake is crucial. Keep in mind that you can become dehydrated in cold weather, too.

 

 

Ways to Increase Fluid Intake

If your loved does not enjoy drinking water, it is good to remember that most fluids count towards the 64 ounces (except for fruit juice, alcohol, soda and caffeinated beverages), and many foods do too.

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Sometimes a caregiver must pick their battles, though. If a senior refuses to drink plain water, there are some modifications and alternatives available.

Try using water enhancers, opting for flavored waters, serving a half water half juice mixture, or including plenty of ice in their preferred beverage if they like it cold.

Recommended Bestseller:

Stur All-Natural Water Enhancer (sugar-free, made with Stevia)

 

For those who enjoy warm beverages like tea or coffee, hot chicken, beef or vegetable broth can provide a soothing source of fluids and electrolytes that seems more like a “meal” and less like a drink. Even stubborn elders are often fond of sweets, so popsicles, milkshakes and smoothies may be more enticing options that also function as a sneaky vehicle for fluids.

 

How you serve beverages can have an effect on a loved one’s willingness and ability to drink as well.

Someone with low vision might be able to see an opaque, brightly colored cup more easily and therefore drink from it more often. Particularly resistant seniors may find a beverage more appetizing if it is served in a pretty glass or with garnish. For example, try serving a healthy smoothie in an old-fashioned soda fountain glass with a piece of fresh fruit on the rim.

 

 

 

See Help for Low Vision

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes specialized drinkware may be necessary for those with swallowing difficulties, tremors, arthritis, motor skill problems and muscular weakness. Cups with two handles, a no-spill lid, built-in straw, or ergonomic features may simplify the process and prevent spills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fluid-Filled Snacks

While water is the go-to for most people, keep in mind that beverages are not the only source of fluids. Raw fruits and vegetables can pack a hydrating punch as well. For example, a small plate of cut vegetables, like celery sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and carrots served with a healthy dressing or hummus for dipping can be a nutrition- and fluid-filled snack. Use the list below to add foods that will help your loved one stay hydrated.

 

 

Foods with High Water Content

Food Percentage of Water Serving Size to Obtain about 4 Ounces of Water
Cucumber 96% 1 cup peeled and sliced
Tomato 94% 1 medium
Watermelon 92% 1 cup diced, or 10 balls
Bell pepper 92% ¾ cup sliced
Grapes 92% 1 cup
Cantaloupe 90% 1/10 (1 small wedge)
Orange 97% 1 medium
Blueberries 85% 1 cup
Apple 84% 1 medium

 

If a senior has an aversion to fruits and vegetables, especially when they are uncooked, high water content foods like crudités, salads or gazpacho, may be an unrealistic approach. On the other hand, sneaking healthy ingredients into foods they already enjoy can yield small victories for a caregiver.

Try adding a cup of fresh berries to a loved one’s yogurt, cereal or dessert, or add slices of tomato and a few leaves of lettuce to wraps and sandwiches. These may not seem like meaningful additions, but every little bit adds up. Incorporating these items on a daily basis can help your loved one prevent dehydration without changing the amount of liquid they drink.

 

———————————-

 

While these helpful guidelines make good health-sense, it is important to stay in communication with your doctor and keep in mind that managing some medical conditions, such as heart failure and kidney or liver disease, may require intentional restrictions on fluid intake.

 

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Choose the Right Allergy Treatment

How to Choose the Right Allergy Treatment

 

(There Are So Many Choices!)

 

 

http://www.rd.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/02/01-12-natural-allergy-remedies-allergies.jpg

 

Allergy medications are available as pills, liquids, inhalers, nasal sprays, eye drops, skin creams and shots (injections).

Some allergy medications are available over-the-counter, while others are available by prescription only.

Use this summary of the various types of allergy medications and why they’re used as a guide for finding the right treatment for your allergies.

 

  Antihistamines

Antihistamines block histamine, a symptom-causing chemical released by your immune system during an allergic reaction.

 

 

 

 

Pills and Liquids

 

Oral antihistamines, available as over-the-counter and prescription drugs, ease runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, hives, swelling, and other signs or symptoms of allergies.

Because some of these drugs can cause drowsiness and fatigue, they shouldn’t be taken when driving or doing other potentially dangerous activities.

 

 

Antihistamines which cause drowsiness (for bedtime) include:

 

 

  • Chlorpheniramine

 

 

Antihistamines much less likely to cause drowsiness:

 

  • Desloratadine (Clarinex)
  • Levocetirizine (Xyzal)

 

Zyrtec Allergy Relief Tablets, 70 CountAllegra Adult 24 Hour Allergy Tablets, 180Mg, 70 Count

 

Nasal sprays

Antihistamine nasal sprays help relieve sneezing, itchy or runny nose, sinus congestion, and postnasal drip.

Side effects of antihistamine nasal sprays may include a bitter taste, drowsiness or fatigue.

 

 

Prescription antihistamine nasal sprays include:

 

  • Azelastine (Astelin, Astepro)
  • Olopatadine (Patanase)

 

Antihistamine Eye Drops

 

Antihistamine eye drops, available as over-the-counter or prescription medicines, can ease itchy, red, swollen eyes. These drops may have a combination of antihistamines and other medicines.

Side effects may include headache and dry eyes.

If antihistamine drops sting or burn, try keeping them in the refrigerator or using refrigerated Lubricant Eye Drops before you use the medicated drops.

 

Prescription Antihistamine eye drops include:

  • Azelastine (Optivar)
  • Emedastine (Emadine)
  • Ketotifen (Alaway, Zaditor)
  • Olopatadine (Pataday, Patanol)
  • Pheniramine (Visine-A, Opcon-A, others)
 

 

Decongestants

 

Decongestants are used for quick, temporary relief of nasal and sinus congestion.

 

They can cause insomnia, headache, increased blood pressure and irritability. They are not recommended for women who are pregnant or for people with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, glaucoma or hyperthyroidism.

Pills and liquids

Oral decongestants relieve nasal and sinus congestion caused by hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

Many decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others), are available as over-the-counter drugs.

A number of oral allergy medications contain a decongestant combined with an antihistamine.

Many decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Afrinol, others), are available as over-the-counter drugs.

 

A number of oral allergy medications contain a decongestant combined with an antihistamine.

 

Examples include:

  • Cetirizine and pseudoephedrine (Zyrtec-D)
  • Desloratadine and pseudoephedrine (Clarinex-D)
  • Fexofenadine and pseudoephedrine (Allegra-D)

 

Claritin Allergy 24 hr, 10mg, 40-Count Tablets

Nasal sprays and drops

Nasal decongestant sprays and drops relieve nasal and sinus congestion if they are used for a short period of time.

Repeated use of these drugs for more than three consecutive days may result in a cycle of recurring or worsening congestion.

 

Examples include:

  • Tetrahydrozoline (Tyzine)

 

Dristan Nasal Decongestant, 12-Hr Nasal Spray, .5 oz.

 

Corticosteroids
Corticosteroids relieve symptoms by suppressing allergy-related inflammation. Most of these medications require a prescription.

Nasal sprays

Corticosteroid sprays prevent and relieve stuffiness, sneezing and runny nose.

Side effects can include an unpleasant smell or taste, nasal irritation and nosebleeds.

 

Examples include:

 

  • Fluticasone furoate (Veramyst)
  • Mometasone (Nasonex)

 

Nasacort Allergy 24 Hour 120 Sprays, 0.57 Fluid Ounce

 

 

Corticosteroid Inhalers

Inhaled corticosteroids are often used every day as part of treatment for asthma caused or complicated by reactions to airborne allergy triggers (allergens).

Side effects are generally minor and can include mouth and throat irritation and oral yeast infections. Some inhalers combine corticosteroids with other asthma medications.

 

Prescription inhalers include:

 

  • Beclomethasone (Qvar)
  • Budesonide (Pulmicort Flexhaler)
  • Ciclesonide (Alvesco)
  • Fluticasone (Advair Diskus, Flovent Diskus, others)
  • Mometasone (Asmanex Twisthaler)

Corticosteroid Eye Drops

Corticosteroid eye drops are used to relieve persistent itchy, red or watery eyes when other interventions aren’t effective.

A physician specializing in eye disorders (ophthalmologist) usually monitors the use of these drops because of the risk of vision impairment, cataracts, glaucoma and infection.

 

Examples include:

  • Fluorometholone (Flarex, FML)
  • Loteprednol (Alrex, Lotemax)
  • Prednisolone (Omnipred, Pred Forte, others)
  • Rimexolone (Vexol)

Corticosteroid Pills and liquids

Oral corticosteroids are used to treat severe symptoms caused by all types of allergic reactions.

Long-term use can cause cataracts, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, stomach ulcers, increased blood sugar (glucose) and delayed growth in children. Oral corticosteroids can also worsen hypertension.

 

Prescription oral corticosteroids include:

Prednisolone (Flo-Pred, Prelone, others)

Prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos)

Corticosteroid Skin creams

Corticosteroid creams relieve allergic skin reactions such as itching, redness, scaling or other irritations.

Some low-potency corticosteroid creams are available without a prescription, but talk to your doctor before using these drugs for more than a few weeks.

Side effects can include skin discoloration and irritation.

Long-term use, especially of stronger prescription corticosteroids, can cause thinning of the skin and disruption of normal hormone levels.

 

Examples include:

  • Betamethasone (Dermabet, Diprolene, others)
  • Desonide (Desonate, DesOwen)
  • Hydrocortisone (Cortaid, MiCort-HC, others)
  • Mometasone (Elocon)

 

Cortaid Intensive Therapy Cooling Spray, 2-Ounce Spray Pumps (Pack of 3)

 

Cortizone-10 Max Strength Cortizone-10 Crme, 2 Ounce Box

 Mast Cell Stabilizers

 

Mast cell stabilizers block the release of immune system chemicals that contribute to allergic reactions.

These drugs are generally safe but usually need to be used for several days to reach full effect. They are usually used when antihistamines are not working or not well-tolerated.

Nasal spray

Generic over-the-counter nasal sprays are sold as Cromolyn (NasalCrom).

 

Nasal Crom Nasal Spray, 0.88 Ounce
 

 

Eye Drops

Prescription eye drops include the following:

Cromolyn (Crolom)

Lodoxamide (Alomide)

Pemirolast (Alamast)

Nedocromil (Alocril)

 

 

Leukotriene Inhibitor

 

A leukotriene inhibitor is a prescription medication that blocks symptom-causing chemicals called leukotrienes.

This oral medication relieves allergy signs and symptoms including nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Only one type of this drug, montelukast (Singulair), is approved for treating hay fever.

In some people, leukotriene inhibitors may cause psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiousness, insomnia, hallucinations, aggression, depression, and suicidal thinking or behavior.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is carefully timed and gradually increased exposure to allergens, particularly those that are difficult to avoid, such as pollens, dust mites and molds.
The goal is to train the body’s immune system not to react to these allergens. Immunotherapy may be used when other treatments aren’t effective or tolerated. It may help prevent the development of asthma in some people.

Immunotherapy Shots

Immunotherapy may be administered as a series of shots, usually one or two times a week for three to six months. This is followed by a series of less frequent maintenance shots that usually continue for three to five years.

Side effects may include irritation at the injection site and allergy symptoms such as sneezing, congestion or hives. Rarely, allergy shots can cause anaphylaxis, a sudden life-threatening reaction that causes swelling in the throat, difficulty breathing and other signs and symptoms.

Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)

With this type of immunotherapy, you place an allergen-based tablet under your tongue (sublingual) and allow it to be absorbed.

This daily treatment has been shown to reduce runny nose, congestion, eye irritation and other symptoms associated with hay fever. It also improves asthma symptoms and may prevent the development of asthma. SLIT tablets contain extracts from pollens of different types of grass, including the following:

  • Short ragweed (Ragwitek)
  • Sweet vernal, orchard, perennial rye, Timothy and Kentucky blue grass (Oralair)
  • Timothy grass (Grastek)

Emergency Epinephrine Shots

 

Epinephrine shots are used to treat anaphylaxis, a sudden, life-threatening reaction. The drug is administered with a self-injecting syringe and needle device (autoinjector).
You may need to carry two autoinjectors and wear an alert bracelet if you’re likely to have a severe allergic reaction to a certain food, such as peanuts, or if you’re allergic to bee or wasp venom.
A second injection is often needed. Therefore, it’s important to call 911 or get immediate emergency medical care.

Your doctor or a member of the clinical staff will train you on how to use an epinephrine autoinjector. It is important to get the type that your doctor prescribed, as the method for injection may be slightly different for each brand. Also, be sure to replace your emergency epinephrine before the expiration date.

 

Examples of these medications include:

  • Adrenaclick
  • Auvi-Q
  • EpiPen
  • Twinject

 

Get Your Doctor’s Advice

Work with your doctor to choose the most effective allergy medications and avoid problems. Even over-the-counter allergy medications have side effects, and some allergy medications can cause problems when combined with other medications.

 

It’s especially important to talk to your doctor about taking allergy medications in the following circumstances:

 

  • You’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, glaucoma, osteoporosis or high blood pressure.
  • You’re taking any other medications, including herbal supplements.
  • You’re treating allergies in a child. Children need different doses of medication or different medications than adults.
  • You’re treating allergies in an older adult. Some allergy medications can cause confusion, urinary symptoms or other side effects in older adults.
  • You’re already taking an allergy medication that isn’t working. Bring the medication with you in its original bottle or package when you see your doctor.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Keep track of what symptoms you experience, when you use your medications and how much you use. This will help your doctor figure out what works best.

You may need to try a few different medications to determine which ones are most effective and have the least bothersome side effects for you.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Plan Some Summer Outings With Your Senior

Plan Some Summer Outings With Your Senior

 

 

 

Many aging adults spend the bulk of their time just managing to get through the day. They take care of life’s basics but often don’t leave their home, assisted living center or nursing home, except for doctor appointments and an occasional holiday.

Enjoying a breezy spring day or the warm summer temperatures don’t have to be a distant memory for elders and caregivers.

After being cooped up in the house for possibly months at a time, senior adults can breathe in the fresh air, even if they are experiencing mobility problems.

It takes some advance planning and choosing an activity that won’t seem like a chore, but it’s worth getting out of the house, for you and your elderly parent.

 

 

The Benefits of Getting Outside

 

A main advantage of heading outdoors, even for a short period of time, is being able to soak up the sunlight, which generates Vitamin D – necessary for the brain, bones and muscle function, says Dr. Michael Raab, a geriatrician with Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Fla.

 

 

Some doctors even prescribe sunlight as a source of Vitamin D, which research also finds can improve cognitive function.

See Vitamin D and Diabetes

Another key benefit is that being outside enables elders to socialize and interact with caregivers as well as other adults, children and animals.

Those activities can give people an extra spring in their step and rejuvenate them, says Christina Chartrand, vice president of training and staff development for Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care agency with offices in 40 states.

Raab adds: “Whatever you can do, it’s going to be mentally uplifting.”

Although caregivers may be aware of the benefits, sometimes it seems as if the obstacles, such as wheelchair access, bathroom access, frailty and fatigue, are too great to overcome the great outdoors.

Caregivers can start to prepare elders with mobility problems to take the steps to head outside. Your physician can suggest chair exercises to make them more stable and build their muscles, for example.

Even though the temperatures may be pleasant, Raab says it’s also important to make sure an elderly family member stays well hydrated; if not, it can impact muscle function and blood pressure and lead to a dangerous situation.

Families and friends might like to take a senior out for some fun but they don’t know how to go about it.

 

 

Stumped For Ideas? 

Here Are a Few to Get You Started:

 

Take a Sunday Drive

 

 

Back in the “olden days,” driving around the community to check out home town activity was a Sunday afternoon ritual for many adults.

While life is more complicated now, many elders still enjoy watching new construction or being shown how the town that they’ve lived in for decades is changing.

For those who live near flood prone bodies of water, spring is a terrific time to take a drive to see how this year’s water levels compare to other years.

A twist on this approach is to pick a prime time when cherry trees, crab apple trees or other ornamentals are at their peak and do a flower tour. Getting out of the car is optional, based on your elder’s abilities and wishes.

 

 

Go to the Zoo

 

 

Who doesn’t like baby animals? Spring is birth time for most species. Rent or borrow a wheelchair if one is needed for longer walks. Not only will your elders see baby animals, they will see young children reacting to the animals.

 

See Choosing a Transport Chair

 

As with everything suggested, watch your loved one for signs of fatigue, thirst, too much sun or other issues that could signal that it’s time to leave, perhaps with a promise to return at another time should they wish to do so.

 

 

Go to a Restaurant

 

 

When was the last time you took your elder to a restaurant that he or she has enjoyed over the years? Now that snow isn’t a problem, it’s easier to navigate such adventures.

Keep in mind that going for a meal at off-peak times is a good idea. That usually means less stress for everyone. Also, elders who are hard of hearing won’t feel as isolated if there’s less background noise.

 

 

Visit an Ice Cream Place

 

 

Ice cream treats are a favorite of many a senior. I suggest encouraging your loved ones to sit outside if the weather’s nice and they are able.

 

 

Enjoy Children at Play

 

 

Watch children swim or play on playground equipment. Spring brings young children out in throngs. People who enjoy children often like hearing their laughter and watching the seeming innocence of this type of play.

 

 

 

Check Out Summer Programs at the Park

 

 

Take your elder to the spring programs that most schools sponsor. This is particularly nice if a grandchild or great-grandchild is involved, but that’s not necessary. If your elder doesn’t know any of the children, then I’d suggest focusing on the younger ones; their antics can be pretty entertaining!

If grandchildren are involved, take your elder to watch them perform in their concerts, plays or other activities. You may have to arrange for a spouse or friend to be available to take Grandma home if she gets tired or uncomfortable.

A twist on this idea is to attend one of the concerts in the park that many communities have during the spring and summer.

 

 

Have a Picnic

 

 

Whether you go to a park, stay in your own backyard or use the grounds of the nursing home, a picnic is often possible. If your loved one is able, going to a park would be nice, however many nursing homes have gorgeous grounds and nice areas with tables that accommodate wheel chairs. If all else fails—and I’m aware that this isn’t an outing but sometimes we have to punt — bring a picnic to your loved one in the care home.

 

 

Check out the Crops

 

 

If your elder has an agricultural background or is interested in wildflowers, try taking a country drive. Even if your loved one didn’t have any first-hand agricultural experience, but they will probably still enjoy driving in the country to see new crops being planted and wild flowers blooming.

Tailor this outing to your area of the country and your elder’s preferences. Maybe you can pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables from a farm stand.

 

 

Go Fishing

 

 

A friend told me that his community sponsors events where elders are taken out on pontoons—wheelchairs and all—to fish. Volunteers are there to help with anything the elder can’t do.

Just being out on the water and holding a rod can be a thrill for someone who has enjoyed fishing in the past. Again, this can be adjusted to accommodate other pastimes.

 

 

Visit a Friend

Many elders lose touch with their peers. Sickness, the death of a spouse and/or difficulty getting around can mean they haven’t seen a dear friend for months or even years. See if you can set up a lunch or just a visit with someone your loved one has enjoyed through the years. Perhaps you can take them both to a park or a restaurant.

_____________________

 

And More!

Use these ideas as springboards. You know your loved one. What did his or she enjoy in their earlier, healthier days? Don’t be afraid to ask what they miss doing or what they’d like to do. They may not hear those questions very often these days.

If you get a shoulder shrug or an “I don’t know,” then be ready to say, “Sunday looks nice so we’ll go for a picnic.” You may get some resistance but if it seems like simple inertia, just say with a smile that it would make you very happy if they’d do this for you. If a loved one truly doesn’t want to be part of an activity, try whittling down your expectations and suggesting something less strenuous.

As mentioned above, during any of these activities monitor your loved one for dehydration and heat issues if the weather is warm, or chilliness if it’s cool. Older bodies don’t adjust to temperature changes as well as younger ones.

Be prepared with sun hats and hooded windbreakers (like the ones below).  Also, bring water to drink and watch for fatigue.

And remember, you are doing this for pleasure, so don’t overdo anything.

 

 

Practical Products For Your Summer Outings:

 

 

A Note About Sun Protection

A Final note – caregivers do need to be sure that before they head outdoors, they have protected both themselves and their elderly loved ones against the damaging effects of the sun, which can lead to melanoma.

New York dermatologist Arielle Kauvar says that most people don’t do enough to protect aging skin. For instance, instead of a dollop of sunscreen smeared on the face as you’re heading out the door, you should be applying a shot-glass size amount about 30 minutes before you leave. If you’re swimming or sweating, you should reapply the sunscreen every two hours.

The sunscreen should be a water-resistant, broad-spectrum product that protects against both UVA (ultraviolet short-wave) and UVB (ultraviolet long-wave) rays, with an SPF or sun protection factor of 30 or higher. It should be applied before you get dressed, so you can be sure that you haven’t missed any spots.

 

Dr. Kauvar says it’s important to pay special attention to the hands and feet, as well as any bald spots on an elderly person’s head. Lip balm with an SPF at least 30 should also be used, and reapplied after eating. Aquaphor Lip Protectant + Sunscreen is the #1 dermatologist recommended therapeutic lip brand. 

 

This product contains a broad spectrum SPF 30. It is formulated with shea butter and vitamin E for extra conditioning of sensitive, dry chapped lips. This lip protectant is fragrance-free and dye-free.
   

For a general use sunscreen, I like Coppertone Sensitive Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50.  It provides protection against UVA/UVB rays, won’t sting eyes, and keeps skin moisturized with Vitamin E.

 

 

If your activities will require a water-resistant sunscreen, pick up Cotz Plus; this is an excellent broad spectrum SPF 58 sunscreen which will stand up to water activities without any chemicals to irritate sensitive skin.

Dark clothing with a tight weave can also protect the skin, but may not be the best choice for seniors, since they get hotter than loosely woven, lighter-colored clothes.

For this reason, Dr. Kauvar suggests buying special clothing that protects against ultraviolet rays. Made for gardening, swimming and leisure wear, the clothing should have a UPF or ultraviolet protection factor above 30 (by comparison, she says, an ordinary tee shirt only has a UPF factor of 6).

I like the UPF sun protection garment choices from Coolibar. They have a good variety of clothing items for men and women which are perfect for keeping skin protected during outdoor activities.

This versatile women’s sun protective shirt below, for example, has a UPF of 50+ and comes in 6 colors.

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women's Beach Shirt - Sun Protection (X-Small- Mainsail White)

 

 

Coolibar UPF 50+ Men's Sun Shirt - Sun Protective (Small- Light Blue)

 

This men’s sun protective shirt above (also available in blue plaid)  has a UPF of 50+ as well, and is a great choice for a day of activities in the sun.

 

Top the outfit off with a broad-brimmed hat and dark sunglasses, and you’re ready for your place in the sun.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas for summer outings with seniors. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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