Prepare Your Home and HVAC System For Warmer Days

Prepare Your Home and HVAC System For Warmer Days

 

 

Correcting any issues in the HVAC system well in advance of the arrival of warm weather can help ensure comfort when air conditioning is needed. 

 

The arrival of a new season can be an exciting time.  Homeowners may have renewed vigor to start home renovations projects, or even tackle some cleaning and organization tasks.

It won’t be long now. The cold winter winds will give way to warm spring breezes,  you’ll need to switch your HVAC system to cooling mode.

 

For the best indoor air quality this summer, give your home through a good spring cleaning before you switch your HVAC to cooling mode by following this brief guide:

 

Wipe Walls and Ceilings: Use a vacuum with HEPA filter to remove dust. Tackle stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, with a solvent-free degreaser (test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface).

 

Reseal Grout Lines: The cement-based material between wall, floor, and countertop tiles is extremely porous and stains easily. Protect it with a penetrating grout sealer; it’s best to apply it with a small foam brush.

 

Vacuum and Shampoo Rugs: Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. Rugs without backings, including Orientals, require professional cleaning.

 

Dust Books and Shelves: Take everything off the Shelves, and brush shelves and books with a feather duster. Use the dust-brush or crevice tool on a vacuum to reach into tight spots. Wipe the spines of leather-bound books with a clean, soft cloth.

 

Clean Upholstered Furnishings: Take cushions outside and gently beat them by hand to remove dust. If there are stains, check the pieces for care labels. Use a vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean under seat cushions.

 

 

Polish Metal Door and Window Hardware: Liquid polishes and polish-impregnated cloths work well for medium-tarnished surfaces; pastes and creams are for heavier work. If tarnish doesn’t come off, try a stronger product.

 

Dust Your Home Thoroughly: This includes hard-to-reach places, such as the tops of ceiling fans and window casings. Always work from the top of a room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor. Avoid using dusting sprays.

 

Wax Wooden Furniture: Wipe surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid. Apply paste wax, such as Butcher’s wax, a few feet at a time with a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Let wax dry; buff with a clean cloth.

 

Ensure Fire Safety: Change batteries in smoke detectors (this should be done twice a year), and make sure units are free of dust. Teach everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher, and review escape plans.

 

Wash Window Screens: Using warm water and a mild dishwashing liquid, scrub each screen with a brush; rinse thoroughly.

 

Clean Window Treatments: Many draperies and curtains are machine washable; check labels. Dry-clean fabric shades. Wipe wooden blinds with a damp cloth; warm water mixed with a mild dishwashing liquid is safe for metal and vinyl blinds.

 

Wax Non-Wood Floors: Vinyl and linoleum floors that have lost their shine should be waxed with a polish designed for these surfaces. Most stone and tile floors can be treated with either a paste or a liquid wax designed for the material.

 

 

Preparing Your HVAC System to Keep You Cool This Summer

 

Your HVAC system has worked hard all winter, keeping you and your home warm. And after several months of non-stop running, it’s probably developed a little dust and debris of its own. This is exactly why you should take a little time to make sure it’s ready to run at maximum performance once the hot, humid days of summer roll in.

Before the weather starts to warm up too much, you may want to evaluate your home cooling needs and ensure that all equipment is in good working order.

Spring air conditioning inspections and tuneups are essential steps in system performance.  Don’t take for granted that a system that performed optimally last year will do so this year when temperatures climb. 

Various factors, including weather damage, dust and grime, mechanical wear and tear, and even rodent or insect infestations, can compromise HVAC systems.

Since HVAC systems have so many moving parts, a thorough inspections of such systems can save you headaches and money down the road.

Extreme weather conditions that come along with fall and winter can be especially taxing on homes and the systems that keep them comfortable.  During a spring visit, an HVAC technician will perform maintenance on the air conditioner and make sure it is ready for the heat of summertime.  This maintenance may include cleaning the unit, checking controls, calibrating the thermostat, lubricating moving parts, checking refrigerant levels, tightening electrical connections, and clearing any clogs. 

You should also change the filter at the start of the cooling season.  Chances are, you don’t swap filters each month (even though that’s recommended). But changing filters is one of the easiest ways to prevent damaged equipment. Make a note to inspect, clean, and replace air filters (if necessary) at the start of each season. 

After all, your furnace has been running all winter and its filter has been trapping harmful pollutants like:

  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Dirt
  • Hair


 

HVAC Spring Maintenance Checklist

 

Keep your cool with simple A/C maintenance

 

  • Clear leaves, brush and dirt from inside your air conditioner’s top grille.
  • Trim nearby shrubs and bushes to allow at least two feet of clearance around the unit.
  • Set the thermostat to cooling mode and run your air conditioner a few minutes to make sure it’s working.
  • Schedule an annual checkup of your air conditioning system.
  • Replace your air conditioner filter once a month. Dirty filters restrict air flow and can waste energy.
  • If you use a room air conditioner, install it on a north-facing wall to keep it out of the sun.
  • If it’s time to replace your air conditioner, now is the time!

 

 

Don’t let April showers bring May mildew

 

  • Clear leaves, pine needles and other debris from gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage. Check that they’re stable to   avoid flying debris during storms.
  • Be sure downspouts slope away from your house. They should carry water at least 5′ from foundation walls.
  • Position lawn sprinklers so they don’t spray your home’s walls.
  • Examine window and door seals and weather-stripping. Reseal if needed.
  • Move furniture a few inches away from the inside of exterior walls to increase air circulation.
  • Check windows for condensation and walls for water stains, which are signs of too much humidity.
  • Keep your home’s relative humidity between 30 – 50%.

 

 

Take control of home energy costs

  • Reduce air leaks in your home by caulking, sealing and weather-stripping around doors and windows.
  • Use exhaust fans to reduce moisture in the kitchen or bath, but turn them off when they’re no longer needed.
  • Make sure your refrigerator’s seals are airtight. Test by closing the door over a dollar bill. If you can pull the dollar out easily, the seal may need to be adjusted.
  • Wash only full loads in your dishwasher and clothes washer.
  • Turn off lights you don’t need to save energy and reduce extra heat in your home.
  • If it’s time to replace your air conditioner, choose an energy-efficient model with two-stage cooling.  Two levels of operation allow you to rely on the low setting most of the time.
  • Prepare dinner on your outdoor grill to help reduce your air conditioner’s load.
  • Check ducts for air leaks, including holes or separated sections.

 

 

Final Thoughts

Correcting any issues in the HVAC system well in advance of the arrival of warm weather can help ensure comfort when air conditioning is needed.  As an added advantage, you could also install programmable thermostats if you don’t already have them, to keep cooling as cost- and energy-efficient as possible.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information on getting your home and HVAC ready summer.

I welcome your comments below.

 

-Laurie

 

 

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How To Safely Clean Away Mold in Your Home

How To Safely Clean Away Mold in Your Home

 

 

Can You Just Wipe Household Mold Away?

 

Are you wondering why you’re still experiencing mold issues despite wiping the affected area? You may need to do more.

You probably don’t know that mold is growing in your home. Mold thrives in dark, humid places such as your bathroom and basement.

Mold can develop within 24-48 hours under the right conditions and can potentially cause health problems or affect your home’s air quality if untreated. Once faced with this issue, you must recognize how to eliminate it.

If you’re wondering how to perform mold cleanup, here’s how.

 

 

Signs of Mold on Walls

 

The most common causes of mold growing on walls are high humidity, condensation and water leaks (which are often hidden inside the wall).

Condensation forms when water vapor in the air meets cold surfaces and cools to become liquid. Condensation is especially common on walls which form the perimeter of a house. These walls are often colder because of cool outdoor air on the other side.

Things like drying wet clothes inside or steam from hot water increases the humidity in the home. If humidity stays high in your home for a long time then you might see mold starting to grow on your walls. Usually the best way to decrease the humidity is to ventilate your home by opening windows and doors.

Leaking pipes near or inside of walls are a common cause of mold. If there’s a leaking pipe inside a wall cavity then mold will usually be well and truly set in before it’s discovered.

 

Look for:

  • cracked or peeling paint
  • discoloration
  • bulging

 

These are all tell-tale signs that there could be moisture in a wall. If you notice any of these things in a wall in your home, take a closer look and you might see the beginnings of small amounts of mold growth.

These signs could also indicate that mold is actually growing hidden behind the wall, in the wall cavity. Seeing small spots of mold on a wall can sometimes be a sign that there is actually a larger mold colony on the other side which is slowly growing through.

 

 

Mold Symptoms

 

Smelling a moldy odor or suffering allergic reactions are also good indications that there could be mold growing hidden behind a wall in your home.

Most mold symptoms are caused by mold allergies. When you breathe in mold spores your immune systems responds by creating allergic reactions. These reactions are the immune system’s defense against foreign particles entering the body.

The more a person is around mold the more sensitive to it they will become. This means that they can end up unable to tolerate being around even small amounts of mold. Their allergic reactions will also become more and more severe.

 

Indoor air quality doesn't have to be a scary unknown. Get easy-to-understand answers you can act on for cleaner, healthier air. Home Air Check - the test for VOCs, Mold, Formaldehyde, Tobacco Smoke

 

Symptoms that mold allergies cause include:

 

  • Cold or flu like symptoms
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Irritated, itchy throat
  • Blocked nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus congestion
  • Sinus headaches
  • Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Irritated, itchy skin
  • Skin rash, hives
  • Watery eyes
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Hair loss, baldness
  • Hay fever symptoms

 

 

Toxic Symptoms from Exposure to Toxic Mold

There are about 16 mold species which are toxic to humans. These molds put out highly toxic chemicals called mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins cause toxic symptoms which are much worse than the allergic symptoms caused by ordinary molds. Some of the symptoms caused by toxic molds include bleeding, damage to internal organs, mental impairment, cancer and even death in some cases.

 

Mold Infections

Sometimes mold spores that are breathed into a person’s lungs begin to grow inside them. Mold infections like this can also grow in the sinuses, skin or digestive system.

These mold infections usually don’t occur in healthy people. Elderly people or those who are sick with compromised or suppressed immune systems can suffer these infections though, since their immune systems might not be strong enough to fight off the mold. Sometimes these mold infections can even cause death.

Mold species that can opportunistically infect people include Trichoderma, Penicillium marneffei and Aspergillus fumigatus.

 

Eliminating Mold

 

It is virtually impossible to eliminate all molds and spores indoors. This is because some spores float in house dust and through the air. However, the mold spores won’t grow in the absence of moisture.

However, you can and should prevent or control mold growth indoors through moisture control. Although eliminating mold completely in a household setting is almost impossible, you can reduce an existing infestation to a point where it’s no longer harmful.

 

 

How to Remove Mold from Different Areas

 

Non-Porous Areas

 

You can simply scrub and wipe non-porous areas with a cleaning solution, sponge the affected area, and dry it fast (drying fast eliminates moisture that would allow recurring mold growth). This method is ideal for areas with small quantities of mold. An unscented detergent will enable you to smell residual moldy spots.

To remove and kill the mold, I recommend using Borax.

There are many advantages to using borax to kill mold. For starters, borax is a natural cleaning product and although it is toxic if you swallow it, borax does not emit chemicals or dangerous fumes like some other mold killers. Borax, a white mineral powder, has a pH level of about 9 (baking soda is pH 8.1 and pH 7 is neutral) and a low toxicity.

Borax is commonly used as a deodorizer as well as for cleaning toilets and drains. Borax is also used as an insecticide, herbicide and fungicide and it can be mixed with water in a solution to kill and remove mold as it is a natural mold inhibitor. You can buy borax in supermarkets for a few dollars from the laundry section.

 

How to Kill Mold with Borax

 

  1. To kill mold using borax, create a borax-water solution using a ratio of 1 cup of borax per gallon of water.
  2. Vacuum up any loose mold with a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner to lessen the number of spores stirred up into the air during the cleaning process.
  3. Use a scrubbing brush with the borax-water solution to scrub the mold off the surface.
  4. Wipe up any extra moisture and excess mold particles or dust/debris to prevent them spreading into the air once the surface has dried.
  5. You don’t need to rinse off the borax as the solution will prevent more mold beginning to grow on the surface again.
  6. Leave the surface to dry completely.

 

 

Mold Stains

If the mold has left a stain, try RMR-86 Instant Mold & Mildew Stain Remover.  It works on wood, concrete, drywall, siding and walls, tile & grout, fiberglass, vinyl and fiberglass.  It has lots of terrific reviews at Amazon. 

Note though, that this is a very powerful product (which is why it’s so effective for removing tough mold stains):  use it in a well-ventilated space, and wear gloves.

 

 

Mold Growing Behind Walls

Mold commonly grows out of sight behind walls in the wall cavities. These spaces often contain pockets of humid, moist air. Mold can also grow hidden behind wallpaper. Wallpaper glue can hold organic debris which can then become a food source for mold growth.

To find hidden mold behind walls you need to use invasive inspection methods and, optionally, mold testing. It’s best to talk to a professional mold specialist in this case.

 

Porous Areas (Like Unpainted Drywall)

If you discover mold on a porous area for instance, an unpainted drywall, you’ll typically need to cut the wall where there’s mold growth.  Because drywall is a substance high in cellulose, it is one of the most common materials mold grows on in the home. As there is no practical way to completely remove mold from drywall, you will have to cut out and dispose of any drywall you discover which has mold growing on it.  Bottom line – for such an area, you can’t merely wipe it because mold growth occurs inside the material rather than on the surface.

 

Wood Surfaces

Use an externally vented or HEPA vacuum cleaner for wood surfaces. Scrub using an unscented detergent solution, rinse and dry fast. You may have to sand and refinish the surface if the stain does not come off.

You should perform sanding with a sander/vacuum combination, allowing the vacuum to pick up the spores emitted by sanding.

 

Example: This lightweight Shark Navigator utilizes Anti-Allergen Complete Seal Technology® + a HEPA filter; it traps 99.9% of dust and allergens inside the vacuum.

 

 

Mold on the Ceiling

If you see mold on the ceiling in your home then you probably have a humidity or condensation problem. It is also possible that the mold is caused by a water leak above the ceiling.

 

Removing Mold on the Ceiling

Like with mold on walls, if the ceiling is made of a non-porous material then you can usually just wipe the mold away with a wet cloth. You can use a mold killing product like bleach if you like too.

If the ceiling is made of a porous material though, like unpainted drywall, then you may have to cut away the material where the mold is growing since the mold has probably grown inside the material.

 

Windows

Condensation frequently forms on windows due to cold outdoor air on the other side of the window which cools the glass. Although mold cannot feed on the glass itself, if the window is dirty then mold can feed off of the grime on the window glass.

Condensation can also lead to mold growing around window frames because of moisture condensating on the glass and then running onto the frame. The other place to watch out for mold growing around your windows is in the seal where the window frame meets the wall.

So discovering mold on your windows isn’t uncommon if you have a condensation  issue.  After removing excess mold, you’ll be in a better position to establish the full extent of the issue.

If you discover a relatively minor problem, spray some cleaning strength white vinegar on the windows and then combine with some baking soda.

You can prevent mold from recurring by keeping your windows free from condensation. Wherever possible, ensure window ventilation to allow air circulation and prevent dampness.

 

Mold in Floor

Mold can grow beneath the floor in your home just like it grows above ceilings and within wall cavities. Dirt and dust which fall under the floor become trapped, along with moisture, leading to perfect conditions for mold growth.

Tiles and especially carpets trap large amounts of dust and can become a haven for mold growth. Carpets hold moisture particularly well, taking a long time to dry out, which means they can very easily foster mold growth if there are spilled liquids, water leaks or floods.

 

Mold on Furniture

Furniture left in storage can accumulate mold and mildew, especially in damp, dark conditions. Mold thrives in moist environments, and fabrics such as upholstery can absorb moisture from the air and provide an ideal place for mold and mildew to grow. It usually appears in patches, and can give off a foul, musty odor. One of the best ways to prevent future mold growth is to keep the area and items as dry as possible.

Furniture made of organic materials, such as wood, are another thing that mold soon ends up growing on if there’s a moisture problem in your home. Upholstered furniture in particular absorbs moisture, making it a prime candidate for mold growth.

Your household furniture should not be kept close to, or touching, the walls as this diminishes the air flow and creates condensation. When you check your furniture for mold remember to check underneath pieces of furniture. Also look inside furniture like cupboards, drawers, etc.

 

How to Remove Mold from Upholstered Furniture

Lay down newspaper around the couch to catch any falling mold. Brush the couch with a stiff broom or brush to loosen the spores and knock them onto the newspaper. Pick up the newspaper and throw it away.

Combine 1 qt. of warm water and 1/2 tsp. of liquid hand soap in a container. Alternatively, you can use equal parts rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and water. You can also use 1 qt. of warm water and 2 tbsp. of ammonia.

Dip a sponge into the liquid and squeeze it until suds form.

Apply the suds to the couch, focusing on the moldy areas.

Rub the upholstery with the sponge to remove any mold, rinsing and wringing the sponge as you go.

If you use alcohol, rinse the upholstery with a clean, damp sponge.

Dry the couch completely in a well-ventilated area or in the sunlight. Use fans or open a window, if possible.

Allow it to dry before using.

As an alternative to preparing your own cleaning solution, try Chem-Girl No Rinse OxyPro Deodorizer Biodegradable Peroxide Cleaner.  It’s very effective at removing mold and mildew, it utilizes hydrogen peroxide (not bleach), so there are no fumes.  Plus, you don’t have to rinse it off.  6 oz of OxyPro makes 1 quart of cleaning solution.

 

 

 

Testing For Mold

If you suspect that your home has a mold problem, and want to be sure,  you can pick up a mold testing kit.  Keep in mind that a mold testing kit is for mold only, and does not test for any other volatile organic compounds or off-gas.  For that, you will need a comprehensive test.

 

Example: This DIY Mold Test tests for mold and pollen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you with some practical information. 

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

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Prepare Your Home and HVAC System For Warmer Days

Best Air Purifiers for COPD – Full Reviews

Signs That You Need to Test Your Indoor Air Quality

Detailed Review of the SoClean CPAP Cleaner

Choosing The Right Allergy Treatment (So Many Options!)

Oxygen Therapy for COPD – Pros and Cons

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids Reviewed

Best Treadmills for Seniors Home Fitness

Should You Buy an Electric Bike?

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

Find The Best Bathroom Scale for You

The Fix for Cracked Heels

The Best Foot Bath Massagers – Full Reviews

Top 10 Massage Chairs – Full Reviews’

 

 

Signs You Need to Test Your Indoor Air Quality

Signs That You Need to Test Your Indoor Air Quality

(And How to Do It)

 

 

 

 

Physical symptoms caused by poor indoor air quality could be ambiguous and wide ranging, including everything from allergies, to sinus conditions, to headaches, to respiratory irritation. But when symptoms do persist, checking a home’s air quality and air circulation might have great benefit.

 

The indoor air quality of your home is a key part of you and your family’s overall health, because indoor air quality health effects can be wide ranging and have a long-term cumulative effect.

Indoor air quality isn’t always easy to spot the way that a burst pipe or a broken refrigerator is – unlike those household appliances, there’s no switch you flip only to find out your indoor air quality is broken. In the busyness of modern life, it’s often easier to think that smell is coming from the neighbors or the headaches you experience are from your stressful job. But indoor air quality plays a key role in our long-term health, and as we spend up to 90% of our lives indoors, having good indoor air quality is important.

 

Related image

 

 

Know What Your Indoor Air Quality Is

 

In most homes, both urban and rural, people have become much more environmentally conscious than ever before. And while much is made of the air quality outdoors and around the world, we often overlook the air quality inside our living space. It really shouldn’t be that way, especially since we spend so much of our waking hours indoors. The bigger question is how to ensure that indoor air quality is at an acceptable standard. The best way to start is with an air quality test.

Most every home could use an air quality test, including those that seem to be just fine. The truth is, a homeowner doesn’t have to wait for physical symptoms to arise before exploring the indoor air environment. For that matter, symptoms could be ambiguous and wide ranging, including everything from allergies, to sinus conditions, to headaches, to respiratory irritation. But when symptoms do persist, checking a home’s air quality and air circulation might have great benefit.

In the majority of homes, dust and debris is commonplace. And this could be anything from plain dirt, to plant materials, to skin particles, to home cleaning off-gases. For those with respiratory issues, polluted indoor air may be playing a part, especially when irritation is exacerbated. Even furnace filters have their limits – and poor maintenance can easily contribute to poor air quality. In cases where furnace filters clog up quite quickly, an air quality test might diagnose a problem.

Knowing what your indoor air quality is and why it’s important is the first step to having a healthier, safer home. Indoor air quality refers to the condition of the air inside of and around the building, especially as it relates to the comfort and health of the occupants within. Indoor air quality health effects appear when parts of the systems that support a high level of indoor air quality are faulty or broken. Some of these systems include your Heating, Ventilation and Cooling systems (HVAC), fans, HEPA filters, windows, doors, and moisture barriers.

Indoor air quality is more than just clean smelling air, it’s also about keeping allergens and pollutants out, while constantly refreshing and renewing the air within. When indoor air quality health effects appear, it can be the first symptom of a larger problem within your home.

 

 

 

High Off-Gas Levels in Your Home Can Make You Sick

 

Off-gassing is the release of chemicals from the things we bring into our homes, or that our homes are actually made of. In drafty old houses with lots of air changes it wasn’t much of a problem, but as we build our houses tighter for energy efficiency, these chemicals can build up inside. The craziest part of it all is that we go out and buy them without knowing what’s in them, and often stockpile them in the bathroom, the tiniest room of the house with the worst ventilation.

Poor indoor air quality can affect your health in a number of ways, and research has shown that certain toxins or chemicals can build up in people’s systems and cause trouble years down the road. Children, elders, or people who suffer from chronic illness or weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to poor indoor air quality which can worsen symptoms or complicate existing illnesses.

While the symptoms of poor indoor air quality health effects are broad, there are a number of them that can be mistaken for other illnesses such as colds, influenza, or allergies. They are:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • itchy, watery eyes
  • tiredness
  • headaches
  • dizziness

 

The key sign that your trouble may be with indoor air quality health effects is that they often completely disappear as soon as you leave the room or building.Indoor air quality health effects can be experienced at any time, by any person. But when indoor air quality is a problem in your own home, these effects can become serious. Air pollution can affect asthma, COPD, or allergies, but also heart conditions like angina; it can even be a contributing factor to heart attacks or strokes. Air pollution from some pollutants like asbestos or bacteria like legionella (which causes Legionnaires’ disease) can be fatal.

Some indoor air quality health effects may show up after one exposure, while others take repeated exposure to cause symptoms, which often makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

 

Walk-In Lab Allergy Test

 

These small chemical compounds are common in many household items like wood, perfumes, paint, cleaners, glues, and solvents. They may be stable as a liquid or solid, but when exposed to air, they rapidly become gaseous and can become problematic for your indoor air quality.

 

 

Here are some of the worst offenders of off-gas and volatile organic compounds in the home:

 

Particle Board and Plywood

Judging by words of the American Chemistry Council, Formaldehyde is positively benign, a natural part of our world. And it is, in small doses. Unfortunately, it is part of the glue that holds particle board together, the stuff our houses and furniture is made of. It is a recognized carcinogen and causes eye and nose irritation. But hey, it’s a natural part of our world.

The best way to avoid formaldehyde is to buy used, whether it is an older home where it has had the time to off-gas, or furniture that has stood the test of time. Or, buy solid wood furniture instead of particle board.

 

 

Dryer Sheets

Here is a completely useless product that does nothing but add VOCs to your clothing. Chemicals include chloroform and pentanes, which the Material Safety Data Sheet suggests can cause eye and skin irritation. Ultimately, anything that is designed to make your clothes smell nice is releasing compounds you don’t want in your house.  To reduce wrinkles, static and drying time, use dryer balls instead.

Example: These Handy Laundry Sheep Wool Dryer Balls are a great alternative to liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets.

 

 

Air Fresheners

There really are few products stupider than air fresheners, which are actually designed to pump chemicals into your home. The NRDC notes that 75% of houses now use them. Most of them are pumping out phthalates, the gender bender hormone disruptor that is the main villain in vinyl. The NRDC says:

Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that can be particularly dangerous for young children and unborn babies. Exposure to phthalates can affect testosterone levels and lead to reproductive abnormalities, including abnormal genitalia and reduced sperm production. The State of California notes that five types of phthalates—including one that we found in air freshener products—are “known to cause birth defects or reproductive harm.” Young children and pregnant women should be especially careful to avoid contact with these chemicals.

 To enhance the scent in your home, you can use essential oils and a diffuser instead of chemical sprays.  They’re safe and natural, and smell much better, anyways.

Example: These Lagunamoon Essential Oils are premium grade, natural and 100% pure. The set includes lemongrass, peppermint, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree.

 

 

URPOWER Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser Ultrasonic Aromotherapy Diffusers Cool Mist Aroma Diffuser with Adjustable Mist Modes, Waterless Auto Shut-off, 7 Color LED Lights for Home Office

Example: This Urpower Real Bamboo Essential Oil Diffuser has adjustable mist modes, 7 colored LED lights for ambience, and auto shut-off.

 

 

Nail Polish Remover With Acetone

Breathing moderate-to-high levels of acetone for short periods of time can cause nose, throat, lung, and eye irritation.  It can also cause intoxication, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion increased pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and shortening of the menstrual cycle in women.

Use an acetone free nail polish remover instead.  A good quality remover without acetone can get the job done!

 

Example: I use this Pure Vitality Beauty polish remover, and it has never let me down. It’s free from acetone, acetate, ethyl lactate & petroleum chemicals (and it’s cruelty free).

 

 

Electronics

Many products have the flame retardant triphenyl phosphate in the insulation on their wiring; it is an endocrine disruptor that off-gases when the device heats up.

 

Non-Stick Pans

It is suspected that overheating a teflon pan can lead to the release of Perfluorinated chemicals that cause “teflon flu.”

 

Laser Printers and Copiers

The printing process releases ozone, which causes irritation to nose, throat and lungs.

Individuals who have preexisting lung problems, such as emphysema, bronchitis, or asthma, are even more at risk for the effects of ozone (O3). Children are also more susceptible to the effects of ozone (O3) and can increase their sensitivity to allergens.

 

 

Example: Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar is an effective natural cleaner, with a pleasant fresh lime mint scent.

Household Cleaners

It is hard to know where to start with this one, so many of them are full of VOCs. That’s why people get “spring cleaning headache” from inhaling them all.

The US Department of Health and Human Services maintains a household products database where you can look up the ingredients of almost every product sold in the country. It is disturbing reading.

The EPA has noted that levels of organic pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes rather than outside. Most of the cleaners we use are not needed;  vinegar and baking sodas are good substitutes.

If, like me, you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, try one of the many natural cleaners on the market.  They are pleasant to use, and most are very effective. 

I have used several of Aunt Fannie’s products, as well as Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, and have been satisfied with all of them so far.  There are many options, so get rid of your toxic cleaners and replace them with natural choices – it’s an easy change.

 

Getting Rid of VOCs

There really are two ways to deal with the buildup of VOCs:

* Don’t use products that have them in the first place, and

* Provide lots of fresh air to get rid of them.

That’s why every new house should have a heat recovery ventilator, every stove should have a real exhaust fan that vents to the exterior (not those silly recirculating noisemakers) and every bathroom should have a high quality exhaust fan that actually gets used, (not the ten buck noisy ones that most builders put in and people hate using).

 

EnviroKlenz Mobile HEPA Air Purifier

 

 

Moisture Build-up and Mold

 

Sometimes you see it, but sometimes you don’t: mold is often not visible to the naked eye, but it has a recognizably musty smell and it’s important to have it promptly -and professionally- removed.

 

Interestingly, most homeowners aren’t aware enough of the negative effects of moisture build up in various parts of the house. Moisture is simply a stepping-stone for mold or mildew to develop, even in a small sized washroom space. And while mold may look unsightly, an infiltration could be the first sign of a health risk. In any home, it’s wise to watch for the beginnings of mold, but for extra measure a high quality air test will be able to pinpoint the exact source and extent.

Found worldwide, mold is an important type of fungus. But when it grows indoors, toxic strains can proliferate and cause serious indoor air quality health effects that can make people seriously ill. Mold is often found after a water leak or flood, and can destroy construction materials and objects as well as cause health trouble.

Mold is often not visible to the naked eye, but it has a recognizably musty smell and it’s important to have it promptly -and professionally- removed. 

If you suspect that your home has a mold problem, you can pick up a mold testing kit to see if you need to  call a professional for mold removal.  Keep in mind that a mold testing kit is for mold only, and does not test for any other volatile organic compounds or off-gas.  For that, you will need a comprehensive test.

 

Example: This DIY Mold Test tests for mold and pollen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carbon Monoxide

This odorless, invisible gas is produced by appliances that use fossil fuels, such as your furnace or gas stove. Carbon monoxide can build up in your home and it prevents your body from using oxygen efficiently – resulting in tiredness, dizziness and headaches. If the concentration is high enough, you can die. While plug-in and battery powered testers are available, have your heating and cooling systems checked by a professional yearly, and ensure appliances are correctly vented.

Every home should have a carbon monoxide detection device on every level of the home. If the home has an attached garage a CO detector should be installed in the room that shares a door with the garage. In the case of CO, monitoring is better than testing.

 

 

Here’s How You Can Be Proactive About Your Indoor Air

 

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

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Is Your Indoor Air Making Your Allergies Worse?

Prepare Your Home and HVAC System For Warmer Days

Best Air Purifiers for COPD – Full Reviews

Detailed Review of the SoClean CPAP Cleaner

Choosing The Right Allergy Treatment (So Many Options!)

Oxygen Therapy for COPD – Pros and Cons

The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids Reviewed

Best Treadmills for Seniors Home Fitness

Should You Buy an Electric Bike?

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

Find The Best Bathroom Scale for You

The Fix for Cracked Heels

The Best Foot Bath Massagers – Full Reviews

Top 10 Massage Chairs – Full Reviews

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Seniors and Guns – Do They Mix?

Seniors and Guns

 

Do They Mix?

 

 

The debate surrounding gun ownership has been raging for decades, and I want to preface this article by acknowledging that advancing age, by itself, should not preclude anyone from leading an independent life and enjoying their rights and privileges. However, when exercising one’s freedoms threatens others’ safety and puts oneself in danger, I believe some sort of intervention is necessary.

I find that a simple comparison helps me wrap my head around this heavily contested topic. Many families are familiar with the dreaded process of taking away an aging loved one’s car keys. Whether an elder starts getting lost while driving, experiences a few fender benders or near misses, or their eyesight or reaction time is worsening, at some point it becomes clear that they should no longer be on the road. In my opinion, guns are in the same category as cars. Both items are useful tools, but they can also be lethal, whether intentionally or accidentally.

In some areas, hunting is a popular sport. Many households have one or more guns used for hunting, and some people also own hand guns for protection. I feel that if an elder is cognitively sound and has good eyesight and reflexes, he or she should be able to possess a firearm for hunting and self-defense. I don’t feel that age alone should be a deciding factor with guns any more than it is with driving. But, as with the ability to drive a car, the time may come for many elders when owning a gun is no longer safe. That’s when the challenge of removing this hazard arises.

 

 

When is it Too Dangerous?

 

Continuing with the comparison between the ability to safely own a firearm and drive a car, the answer to this question is very rarely black and white. In fact, part of the difficulty with taking away an aging loved one’s driving privileges is that they usually haven’t harmed themselves or others or caused any property damage… yet. Their family members can see the writing on the wall and are anxious about what could happen if they continue getting behind the wheel. The trouble is that the time to cut an elder off may only become clear after something conclusive occurs.

Daniel C. Potts, MD, a neurologist at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, founder and president of the Cognitive Dynamics Foundation and medical director of Dementia Dynamics, LLC, feels that elders who are not cognitively impaired should be allowed to continue owning guns without any restrictions that are not already in place for the general population. “The case of documented cognitive impairment, however, would be different,” Dr. Potts says.

Cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and mental health disorders, such as depression and psychosis, are the biggest red flags for families to look for when deciding if it is still safe for a loved one to own a gun. Confusion, memory issues, inability to recognize or remember who friends and family are, impaired decision-making capabilities, delusions, hallucinations and paranoia can all contribute to a terrible accident.

“I personally feel that guns should be removed from the homes of those with documented dementia,” Dr. Potts explains, “or at least sequestered safely so that only family members with their faculties have access to them.”

Other less serious age-related factors that might at least warrant a healthy discussion about responsible gun ownership and safe handling techniques and storage practices include changes in eyesight, hearing loss, slowed response times, use of certain types of drugs that can affect mood, judgement, and alertness, and limited mobility and coordination. Even if an elder is emotionally stable and mentally competent, certain physical conditions can still contribute to dangerous mistakes.

 

 

Reasoning For Gun Ownership

 

Susan Madlung, RN, BScN, MSc Gerontology, Eden Alternative Associate, and Resident Care Manager at Langley Lodge in Langley, British Columbia, says that there is a larger factor to consider when addressing a senior’s gun ownership: their motives. This often boils down to their desire to feel protected and secure. As we age, we concentrate more on basic needs like shelter, food and safety.

“If an elder is in possession of a gun, my first step would be to ask them why, rather than jump to managing the gun itself,” Madlung notes. “If safety is their main concern, ask questions to determine what exactly is causing the elder to feel unsafe and whether the threat is genuine or perceived. Usually, the more vulnerable or isolated they feel, the greater the perceived threat will be.”

Ideally, if family members can come to understand the fear or uncertainty that causes an elder think they need a gun for protection, it can help everyone work together to devise a way to address these concerns and seek out other alternatives for improving comfort and security. This could include carrying pepper spray instead of a gun, installing additional security measures around their home, moving in with family, transitioning to a senior living facility with regular security patrols, etc.

“Addressing feelings of safety and social isolation can help to minimize their need for such a powerful weapon to protect themselves,” posits Madlung. “Improved feelings of safety will go a long way in improving quality of life as well.”

However, for some people and in some areas of the U.S., gun ownership is an essential part of life. For a senior, giving up their gun can be tantamount to giving up their independence and part of their identity. When understanding their need to hang on to a gun doesn’t help solve the issue, other means must be used.

 

 

Is Gun Safety Being Maintained in the Home?

 

If your senior does keep a gun in their home, you must ensure that it is properly and securely stored. Taking the necessary precautions is vital, but the weapon should still be easily accessed should the time ever come when it is needed. Here are five key safety measures for storing firearms at home.

 

Lock Boxes and Gun Safes

The safest way to store a gun is within a well concealed lock box or gun safe. This will prevent unauthorized access to the weapon, while also ensuring that you have it close at hand.

While some owners may choose to keep their gun safe in the closet or under the bed, it is safest to install a hidden one whenever possible. A sturdy lock box may also be adequate, though you must ensure that it is well hidden to protect your weapons from potential intruders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep it Locked

The National Rifle Association notes that safe and proper gun storage includes using a secure locking device. Two of the most common mechanisms are trigger locks and cable locks – the former is affixed around the weapon’s trigger to lock it in place, while the latter is a long steel cable that is looped through the action of the firearm to block its operation.

However, owners should never rely solely on mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into guns, the NRA warns, as these can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun safety rules. Always remember that, while these devices prevent the weapon from being loaded or fired, they will not stop it from being stolen. That’s why it’s so important to use it in conjunction with a proper storage device.

 

Keep it Unloaded

The NRA recommends that gun owners should always keep their gun unloaded until it is ready to use. This is particularly important when you are storing your gun at home. Keeping your firearm unloaded at all times will help prevent accidents and injuries, even if it does accidentally fall into the wrong hands. It’s also good practice to store the bullets separately from the weapons.

 

 

Addressing the Issue

 

There is no single best way to tackle delicate subjects like this one. Your approach should depend on your loved one’s level of cognition, their physical health, their reasons for owning a gun/guns, and the nature of your relationship with them.

If Dad has been a responsible gun owner his whole life, has no signs of any impairment or age-related decline, and you two are close, it can’t hurt to discuss the possibility of one day having to sell his weapons or give them to another trustworthy family member for safe keeping. Discussing these matters early on can help an elder feel involved in the decision and prevent unexpected issues down the road.

If you have noticed behavioral changes in a loved one and suspect some sort of cognitive impairment, seeking a diagnosis early on is critical, whether they own firearms or not. Gathering as much information as possible will help the entire family be better prepared and enable you to address difficult issues as they arise. If the diagnosis is positive, work closely with your loved one’s doctor to ensure they understand that there are guns in the home. Just as with driving, a physician should be available and willing to help family members determine if safety is an issue and how to proceed while keeping everyone’s best interests in mind.

“Ideally, I think that a health care provider should have a discussion after the initial diagnosis with both the patient and caregiver, if possible, to talk about how to safeguard the home and environment,” suggests Dr. Potts. “This would include things like securing or removing any weapons, or at least having them supervised by another family member with access restricted for the patient.”

Many members of caregiver forums have offered excellent advice to fellow caregivers who are struggling with this problem. For example, one woman’s mother had always carried her gun for protection, but she became more fearful than ever after being diagnosed with dementia. She absolutely refused to give up her weapon, and her daughter didn’t know what to do. Another member suggested that the daughter take the gun to a professional and have it permanently disabled.

Countless caregivers have had to use the same approach with their loved ones’ cars to prevent them from driving. Removing guns altogether is the safest option. Disabling may be an alternative, but it also comes with hazards. Once the weapon is disabled, the elder should be able to enjoy the feeling of gun ownership without the risk of accidentally hurting or killing someone. Obviously, as with so many caregiving issues, you wouldn’t let your loved one know of the change. Just be aware that even a disabled weapon still poses a risk, since law enforcement and other individuals will react as if it is operational.

 

 

Finding Help

 

While gun laws and background checks are in place to prevent high-risk individuals from purchasing weapons in the first place, many seniors are unique in that they are not considered risky or unfit for gun ownership until later in life—after they have already legally obtained weapons.

Generally, this demographic does not pose the same dramatic public safety threats that are so often cited in gun control debates. But that does not change the fact that family members are concerned their aging loved ones may mistake them for an intruder, take their own lives or react violently to delusions they think are real.

If discussing these concerns with your loved one directly is not productive, it can be helpful to contact their physician, the local police department and even the family attorney for guidance on ensuring their safety and the well being of those around them. A police officer may be able to help confiscate and destroy the weapons. It may be difficult and heartbreaking to attempt, but revoking a loved one’s concealed-carry license is also an option.

Lastly, a handful of states feature Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) laws, which are also called red flag laws. They allow law enforcement officials, and in some cases family members, to petition for the immediate and temporary seizure of weapons from a person who poses a danger to themselves or others. The owner can then attend a hearing where the court determines how long the weapons will be held in custody. Washington, Oregon, California, Indiana and Connecticut are the only states who have enacted some form of this red-flag law, but others are considering them.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Ultimately, no family member wants to infringe on a loved one’s independence, but at some point, we must take responsibility for their well being and our own. Being a caregiver isn’t about doing what is easy; It is about doing what is best for those we love.

 

Based on an article by Carol Bradley Bursack, author of Minding Our Elders – Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.

 

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

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Best Home Safes for Valuables and Guns – Full Reviews

Simple Gadgets and Tips For Seniors’ Kitchen Safety

Anytime Gifts That Seniors Will Actually Use

Minimize Your Seniors Risk of Falling Now!

Gardening Safety Tips for Seniors

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Best Home Safes for Valuables and Guns – Reviews

Best Home Safes for Valuables and Guns

 

Home, Portable and Firearms Safes – Tips and Reviews of the Best

 

While no one likes to think that events like break-ins, fires and floods might happen to them, the truth is that these things can happen to anybody. Most people arm their homes with door locks, window locks, and fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as a way to forestall these disasters; so it makes sense to add a fireproof safe that can protect hard-to-replace documents, currency and large and small valuables in case of fire or flood. The general rule when buying a safe is to get the largest safe you expect to be able to fill — that way, you won’t have to invest in a second safe in the future. Image above – SentrySafe SFW123DEB

If you have guns, a safe designed specifically for handguns or long guns like rifles and shotguns will not only protect your weapons from fire, water damage and theft, it will keep them safely out of the hands of small children or unauthorized adults.

It may be tempting to head straight for the cheapest safes — but if there was ever a time to invest in quality, this is it. However, price is not always an indicator of quality either, and there are plenty of reports of pricey or even custom-made safes that owners felt seemed cheap or tended to collect condensation in spite of their cost. Regardless of price point, look for home safes that are rated by Underwriters Laboratory (using the UL mark) or Intertek (using the ETL mark). Testing from these third-party companies gives you an honest gauge of just how much fire or flooding the safe can withstand, and how well it will hold up against break-in attempts.

 

Fireproof Home Safes

 

Although they sometimes come with theft-deterrent features like relockers and pry-resistant hinges, a fireproof home safe’s primary focus is exactly what the name suggests: Defending the contents against a house fire. Most fireproof safes use either moisture-rich insulation or concrete amalgamate to do this, paired with doors that seal shut in a fire for extra protection. Many larger safes also come with a range of interior organizers, and some are waterproof against flooding or the firefighter’s hose.

 

What to Put in Your Home Safe

 

A home safe gives you 24/7 access to documents you might need from time to time without requiring a trip to your bank’s safe-deposit vault. 

 

Document How long to keep
Birth and death certificates Forever.
Estate-planning documents Forever. (Unless your executor knows how to get into your safe, also make sure he or she and your lawyer have copies.)
Life-insurance policies Until the term of coverage ends.
Savings bonds Until you cash them in at maturity (30 years in the case of Series EE bonds).
Stock certificates Until you sell the stock or have it converted to direct or street-name registration.
Tax returns At least seven years.

 

Portable Safes

 

For those who just want a layer of extra protection for difficult-to-replace documents such as social security cards, birth certificates or other small items, these highly affordable safes will probably do the trick. Most are fireproof and can be moved fairly easily; some are waterproof, too. Although these small boxes aren’t the best deterrent against theft because a burglar can just carry them off, many people choose portable safes primarily for their fire and water protection, then hide them so a thief cannot easily find them.

 

Gun Safes

 

Gun safes employ the similar security features to home safes, although gun safes are often designed for quick access in case you need the gun for self-defense. Second, although the federal government doesn’t require you to lock your firearms up, some states do; and some states levy penalties or criminal charges for allowing children access to firearms. Always check your local laws regarding firearm storage.

 

Best Home Safe Recommendations

 

 

Best Fireproof Home Safe:  The SentrySafe SFW123DSB

 

 

Of all the safes evaluated, the SentrySafe SFW123DSB offers the best combination of fire and flood protection at a reasonable price. It’s UL-rated for up to an hour in 1700-degree fire and against exploding or rupturing in a flash fire. This safe is also ETL-verified for impact resistance during a fire and flood resistance for 24 hours in 8 inches of water. This SentrySafe is a top choice for protecting USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives.

The SFW123DSB offers fire and water protection at a good value, plus a few effective anti-theft measures. It’s UL-classified to survive up to one hour in a 1,700 degree fire, and also UL-tested not to explode or rupture when exposed to a flash fire in a 2,000 degree furnace for 30 minutes.

The SentrySafe SFW123DSB home safe is ETL verified for 15 feet of impact resistance in a fire (important because this simulates the performance of a super-heated safe that may fall through a floor or have a beam fall on it). With a guarantee that the interior won’t exceed 350 degrees, the SFW123DSB is also certified for protection of USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives for up to an hour. However, it can’t protect photo negatives or floppy disks in a fire because they’re susceptible to heat damage at lower temperatures than some other media. Some prospective buyers misconstrue this to mean that you can’t store any electronics or media at all, but, in fact, it will effectively protect the above listed items. You also shouldn’t store pearls in this safe, because they sustain damage at relatively low temperatures.

The SentrySafe SFW123DSB is also flood-proof to a certain degree, with ETL-verified water-resistance for up to 24 hours in up to 8 inches of water. That waterproofing goes away, however, if you drill into the safe to mount it to the floor as a theft deterrent (the bolt-down kit is included).

That’s an impressive selection of disaster-proofing at a great price, and the SFW123DSB has a few anti-theft measures built in as well, including the pre-marked bolt holes and bolt-down kit, steel construction and pry-resistant hinges. However, the manufacturer doesn’t disclose how thick the steel is, and it’s likely that much of this safe’s 90-pound weight is due to the heavy, moist fire-resistant insulation, not steel; so it’s best to think of this as a disaster-proof safe rather than a theft-proof safe. Many home users take the extra step of hiding the safe in a closet to make it a less obvious target for would-be thieves.

Although the SentrySafe SFW123DSB represents a good value in disaster-proofing, there are a few quirks you should be aware of. Users are sometimes surprised to see that both the safe handle and the outer dial on the combination lock are made of plastic and feel a little flimsy. These cosmetic parts don’t have anything to do with actually locking the safe — but you do need them to open it.

Also, SentrySafe’s proprietary fireproof insulation, combined with the airtight/waterproof seal on the safe, produces quite a lot of condensation inside. Leave the desiccant package that comes with the safe inside, and consider adding more; and if you store electronics, watches, jewelry, photos or firearms in the this safe, they should be put into airtight containers first, to protect them from the condensation. SentrySafe offers a fire protection program that will replace up to $50,000 worth of belongings if they’re lost to a fire while in the safe — but you do have to enroll first. They’ll also send you a replacement safe if the one you bought is damaged in a fire.

Many users like the backup key lock on this safe, which can be used to provide extra security to the sometimes-fiddly combination lock. Note that it’s not an override key that can open the safe if you forget the combination; it’s just an extra layer of security. Also, you can’t set your own combination — you’re stuck with whatever the factory issued.

This line of safes has an interior capacity of 1.23 cubic feet, and users are sometimes surprised by how small the interior is, thanks to the thick fireproof walls.  The interior measures 13.8 inches by 12.6 inches by 11.9 inches, or just large enough to hold tabbed file folders. There’s a door pocket and key rack for quick access to small items, and one adjustable interior shelf tray that users say seems a little flimsy, so only use it for light items.

Most of the varied model numbers on this line of safes simply designate different lock types or interior configurations. For example, the SentrySafe SFW123DEB  is essentially the same safe with a shelf instead of a tray and the addition of a locking inner tray/top-access drawer, which can also act as an additional shelf. You can also purchase extra trays, shelves and drawers for any of these safes separately.

One quick note: If you do purchase any version of the SentrySafe SFW123, inspect it for dents and other damage before accepting delivery. The construction is sturdy enough that you might not notice dents at first, and many users say that once they’re stuck with a dented safe, it’s not worth the effort to return it.

 

Best Portable Firesproof Safe –

The SentrySafe 1200 Fire-Safe Chest

 

In the portable fire safe category, the SentrySafe 1200 fire-safe chest draws excellent reviews for its UL-rated 30 minutes of protection in fires of up to 1550 degrees. It’s also ETL verified for keeping internal temperatures low enough to protect USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives.

The SentrySafe 1200 is small enough to hide discreetly away or pick up and run with during an emergency, but, at 3.5 by 12 by 7.5 inches, it’s not exactly spacious.

This fire-safe chest draws the best reviews for being able to stand up to a fire. It’s UL classified to survive up to half an hour in fire temperatures of up to 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit, and ETL verified for keeping internal temperatures low enough to protect USB drives, CDs, DVDs and portable hard drives. It’s also an excellent value.

This is one of the few products where there is an owner review from someone who had it in a fire. That user writes that although the box itself was “neatly seared” after what the fire marshal estimated as 10 to 15 minutes of exposure, everything inside the box survived just fine. However, If this box is in a fire, it seals itself shut and will have to be pried open; SentrySafe will send you another fire chest to replace the old one.

 

Not For Burglary Protection

One place the SentrySafe 1200 does not excel is burglary protection, but that’s not what it’s designed for; after all, it’s deliberately built small enough that you can pick it up and run in case of a house fire. We also found a few scattered complaints about durability for the key-lock mechanism, but users say SentrySafe’s customer service did a good job of replacing defective products.

 

Size Options

Owners are sometimes surprised by just how small this fire-safe box is. The interior capacity is just .18 cubic feet, or 3.5 inches by 12 inches by 7.5 inches, so it’s long enough but not quite wide enough to lay a letter-size piece of paper flat. Most people use this 13.3-pound box for storing small but important documents — like birth certificates, social security cards and passports — and sometimes even for securing prescription medication, although there’s no rating to say whether it can protect meds through a fire. A similar lock chest is also available, the .17 cubic foot the SentrySafe H0100, that is ETL-verified for water submersion in case of a flood.

If you want a larger fireproof box, consider the SentrySafe FHW40100 large file safe, which is UL-classified for fire endurance for up to half an hour at 1,550 degrees. It’s also ETL-verified for a half-hour of fire protection for digital media, UL-classified against explosion hazards, and ETL-verified for water submersion in case of a flood or water from fire-fighting efforts. 

The biggest thing to be aware of with the SentrySafe FHW40100 file box is that its fireproof insulation has a high moisture content, which is part of what makes the safe so heavy. Although this offers excellent fireproofing, users are sometimes dismayed to see that the manufacturer recommends against storing anything that might be damaged by that moisture — including firearms, stamps, photos, watches and other jewelry with moving parts — inside the safe. Some readers store these items anyway, placing them in airtight plastic bags — often with a desiccant inside — to protect against that moisture.

With an interior capacity of .66 cubic feet, users say the fireproof and waterproof SentrySafe FHW40100 file box is large enough to hold several dozen full letter-size file folders (hanging or non-hanging) or four reams of paper, and it has a pair of straps in the lid to help secure smaller items. It comes with built-in carry handles on the side and isn’t meant to be bolted down — so technically it’s still portable — but at more than 40 pounds while empty, you probably won’t be moving it around much. Owners are sometimes surprised by how thick the safe’s walls are: Its interior dimensions are just 11.6 inches by 12 inches by 8.1 inches.

The SentrySafe FHW40100 comes with a flat key. If you prefer, you can buy the same fireproof, waterproof portable safe with a tubular locking mechanism — the SentrySafe FHW40220. The FHW40220 also has an in-lid organizer for small items, but draws a few complaints about its plastic handle breaking — something that should definitely be treated with care, given this fireproof box’s weight.

 

 

Best Handgun Safe:  The GunVault SV500

 

 

Both owner and expert reviewers love the GunVault SpeedVault SV500’s balance of security and quick, one-handed access with either hand. When you key in your pre-programmed access code, the bottom of the vault drops open to give immediate access. The GunVault’s 18-gauge steel isn’t going to keep a determined burglar out, but it’s still a solid deterrent, and it works great for securing your handgun from nosey adults or inquisitive children. The GunVault comes in a biometric version as well.

 

Quick Access

Quick access is why so many reviewers recommend the GunVault SpeedVault SV500. Its 18-gauge steel and keypad lock won’t keep a determined burglar out, but it offers reliable everyday security while keeping your firearm close and accessible.

When you tap in your personal combination on the four-button keypad, the bottom of the GunVault SpeedVault SV500 drops open, giving you instant access to your firearm. There’s also a small light to illuminate the vault’s interior. The SpeedVault can be mounted for right- or left-hand access, and it’s approved by the California Department of Justice. If the keypad stops working or the 9-volt battery gives out, a back-up key will still open the vault. There’s an audio and light-up warning to let you know when the battery is nearing the end of its life.

With the GunVault SpeedVault SV500 you can program your own three- to six-entry access code, even pressing more than one button at once as an “entry” in the code — which makes for more than 12 million potential combinations in all. Users generally love how well this unit works, although they do say the keypad is a little touchy if you try to key in your code too quickly, and some wish it didn’t make an audible “clunk” when opening, although they also say that’s not a deal-breaker. Speaking of sound, the GunVault also defaults to beeping when you key in your code, but there is an option to silence the keypad. If you think someone has tried to access the SpeedVault without your permission you can activate the tamper detect feature, which will illuminate a red light if someone has keyed in an invalid access code, or a green light if no invalid codes were entered.

Owners say the GunVault SpeedVault SV500 is easy to mount, although several are frustrated by the tiny installation screws that come with it; you may want to consider using longer screws and securing the vault to something that can’t be easily carried off or ripped apart.

It’s also available in a biometric version, the GunVault SpeedVault Biometric SVB500, although user feedback on that model’s fingerprint scanner is mixed. Both the biometric and keypad versions come with an override key to immediately open the vault in case the other mechanism fails.

 

 

Best Biometric Handgun Safe:  The SentrySafe QAP1BE

The SentrySafe QAP1BE is one of the best biometric gun safes on the market. It’s small enough to stick in a drawer but offers quick access to your handgun, draws plenty of praise for being sturdily built, and can be bolted in place as an additional theft deterrent. The biometric fingerprint reader is the SentrySafe QAP1BE’s best feature, reading multiple fingerprints and working almost flawlessly for quick access. There’s a keypad and key lock backup as well.

This 12-pound steel box can hold one J & K size resolver or a full-size semi-automatic handgun. You can also mount it in place to make it a better theft-deterrent but, again, its strength is keeping children and inquisitive adults away from your firearm while still allowing quick access when you need it.

The SentrySafe QAP1BE has a pry-resistant steel door, a foam interior to protect your handgun, and easy one-handed access: Just tap the fingerprint scanner to “wake it up,” then press your finger to the biometric scanner for one second and it’ll pop right open. You can program multiple fingerprints for access to this safe, allowing more than one person access with either hand or, say, with a different finger in case one is bandaged. A compression gas strut lifts the lid for quick, quiet access to your firearm, although users say it’s not completely silent: You’ll hear a sound variously described as a thud, thunk or click.

Most users say the biometric reader works very well once it’s programmed, even if you have unusually rough or worn fingertips; however, if you put your finger on the scanner at an angle, it might take several tries to get a good reading, and access can take a couple of seconds. You can also use the keypad entry or backup key lock to get in. The QAP1BE can only be mounted horizontally. It’s not meant to be mounted on vertical services, because there’s no lip to hold the handgun in place once the safe is open.

While SentrySafe doesn’t disclose the thickness of its steel casing, the QAP1BE draws a lot of praise from users for being thick and heavy. The SentrySafe QAP1BE runs off four AA batteries, and has an indicator to let you know when battery life is running low. If you would rather skip the biometric scanner and go for a key-operated version, it’s available with a keyed lock or electronic lock, or in a two-pistol version.

 

 

Best Long Gun Safe:  The AMSEC BF6032

 

 

Protecting your valuable guns from damage or theft should be a top priority, and for that you need the AMSEC BF6032. It stores up to 20 guns, is ETL-verified for two hours of fire protection at 1200 degrees, and it’s UL-rated for resisting up to five minutes of sustained attack protection with typical tools. At 913 pounds, no one’s running off with the AMSEC BF6032, either. It’s pricier than some, but most say it’s well worth it.

The BF6032 is the smallest in a series of residential gun safes that is built using the same techniques and material that you’ll find in many commercial safes.

Not all of AMSEC’s safes are built in the USA, but the AMSEC BF6032 and the larger safes in its line (the BF6030, BF6636, BF7240 and BF7250) are. The AMSEC BF6032 has a 1/2-inch plate steel door and 2-inch walls, the latter a combination of AMSEC’s proprietary poured DryLight fireproofing insulation and two layers of steel.

 

DryLight Insulation

The DryLight insulation is a concrete amalgamate that, unlike the moist fireproofing material used in SentrySafe’s fireproof safes, doesn’t generate condensation inside the safe.

Thanks to that DryLight insulation, the AMSEC BF6032 is ETL verified to provide two hours of fire protection at 1,200 degrees, with the interior temperature staying lower than 350 degrees; it’s also UL-rated as a residential security container (RSC), which meets California DOJ standards and means that it can resist up to five minutes of consistent attack with typical household tools including pry bars, hammers, chisels, a handheld drill and screwdrivers. This safe has a UL-listed Group II lock with hard plate and two relockers, and is covered with a lifetime warranty against theft and fire.

 

Stores up to 20 Guns

The AMSEC BF6032 can store up to 20 guns — although depending on how you configure the interior storage, that capacity may be reduced — and weighs a hefty 913 pounds. That weight in itself is a theft deterrent; nobody is going to just pick this safe up and run off with it, and users are generally very happy with its build quality. “This safe is like a piece of fine furniture. I wish I could put [it] out in my living room,” writes one.

The end result is a sturdy safe that is well-made enough to draw high praise from Capra, who also points out that the AMSEC safe’s Palusol intumescent door seal is the industry standard for fire protection.

The AMSEC BF6032 represents a hefty investment, but it’s one of the best ways to protect another investment you’ve already made — those valuable weapons — and of course it’ll keep your guns safely away from inquisitive children or adults as well.

 

Best Inexpensive Gun Safe: 

The Stack-On FS-14-MB-E

 

If the AMSEC or other high-end gun safes are a bit above your price range, reviewers suggest taking a look at the Stack-On 14-gun safe FS-14-MB-E. Fire-resistant up to 1400 degrees for 30 minutes, it also will do a good job of discouraging thieves and keeping young children (or unauthorized adults) from accessing your guns. The FS-14-MB-E is also versatile, with adjustable shelving if you prefer to use it just for general storage.

The Stack-On is more widely available at retail than the AMSEC, is fire resistant up to 1,400 degrees for 30 minutes, and conforms to California DOJ standards.

 

Stores up to 14 Guns

 

This safe can store up to 14 guns depending upon the type and configuration, although things get a little tight if you’re storing them with scopes or light attachments.

The FS-14-MB-E isn’t quite as theft-resistant as pricier models, but owners say it seems as if it would be plenty hard to break into; and at 290 pounds and 55 inches tall, no one’s going to pick it up and haul it off by hand.

The interior features four adjustable shelves that make it versatile enough to use for any of your valuables. However, the manufacturer does not recommend storing CDs, DVDs, photographic negatives or other delicate storage media in this safe.

There are a couple other quirks to the Stack-On FS-14-MB-E safe that you should be aware of: lots of owner comments that the carpet install isn’t so great, and there are sporadic complaints that the electronic lock goes through 9V batteries very quickly. The carpet isn’t a deal-breaker for most, and if you’re concerned about the lock, this safe is also available in a combination lock version.

 

 

Where to Put Your Safe

The best place for your safe will depend on the design of your house, but there are some trade-offs worth considering. The master bedroom tends to be the first stop for burglars,  so it might not be the ideal site for the safe. Your basement could be better from a fire-protection standpoint; there’s usually less down there to burn. But if your home is located in a flood-prone area, the safe might be at greater risk in the basement.  You could also consider the home office or a crawl space under the stairs.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

No one wants to think about the possibility of coming home to find all of their most precious processions missing. Unfortunately, whether the cause is burglary, fire, or a flood, it can happen to anyone. These occurrences are particularly scary because there isn’t any warning beforehand.

And when it comes to your firearms, controlling who has access to them is fundamental to gun safety. Burglars are first and foremost, but think too about anyone else who may be in your home: children, visitors, babysitters, house-sitters, friends with spare keys, etc.

Luckily, buying a safe for your home is a simple way to make sure that your valuables and firearms are protected, no matter what.

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some practical information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

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The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

The Best Elliptical Machines Reviewed

How to Find the Perfect Elliptical Machine for a Safe, Quiet, Low Impact Workout

 

An elliptical machine provides a workout that resembles a combination of walking (or running) and climbing in place. Ellipticals feature oversized pedals that move with the motion of your legs.

Many people like ellipticals because they are easier on the joints than walking outside on a hard surface or running on a treadmill. You can go as fast or slow as you’d like on an elliptical machine, and in either forward or reverse to vary your workout. In addition to giving you a great cardio workout, most ellipticals have moving handlebars that provide full-body resistance as you pedal in place. One great feature of a home elliptical is that it is very quiet, so you won’t disturb your downstairs neighbor — a big plus for apartment dwellers.

(Example Image aboveNordictrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainer)

 

Full Size Elliptical Machines

 

Full-sized ellipticals offer a range of workout options, from intense to easy, as well as the ability to work your upper body and lower body; some even offer the option to isolate the upper body (most allow you to isolate the lower body). Many also feature plenty of nice touches — like LED screens, cup holders, tablet rests, fans and more — to make your exercise session a bit more pleasant. Some even offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync your workout with your smartphone and various fitness apps.

 

Compact and Portable Elliptical Machines

 

If you simply don’t have the space for a full-sized elliptical, we found a couple of very highly-rated home ellipticals that give you a great workout, but have a relatively small footprint — some are even small enough to tote to the office. One drawback is that these elliptical machines are designed to have one, relatively low-intensity workout level. However, users who are just trying to move more, who describe themselves as “un-athletic” or who simply want an easier workout love them.

To find the best home ellipticals, I looked at a few important factors: Smooth, stable and quiet performance; easy-to-use features and controls; long-term durability and reliability; and a good warranty backed by responsive, helpful customer service. Consumer Reports is the only credible professional organization I spotted that tests and ranks ellipticals, but there are some other good expert sources that review individual ellipticals.

Most importantly, I evaluated hundreds of customer reviews to gauge owners’ satisfaction with the features and usability of their home elliptical machines. This information, along with expert evaluations, led me to finding the best ellipticals for any home fitness regimen.

 

What You Should Look For in an Elliptical Machine

 

  • A heavy flywheel. In general the heavier the flywheel, the smoother the motion. Look for one that weighs 25 pounds or more.
  • Enough resistance levels. To maximize your training, the elliptical must progress with you as you get more fit. Most ellipticals have at least 16 levels of resistance; higher-end models have 20 or 22 levels to choose from.
  • Quiet magnetic braking. Almost every full-sized modern elliptical uses magnetic braking for resistance. The mechanism should adjust smoothly and quietly between resistance levels, with no clunking or jerking.
  • Appropriate stride length. The actual feel of any given stride length can vary between brands and models but, as a general rule, the longer the better, especially if you’re tall.
  • Adjustable stride length. You can get by without this feature but if several people of different sizes are going to use the elliptical, it can make everyone’s workout more comfortable.
  • Adjustable incline. Changing the incline serves two purposes at once: altering your stride length and shifting the workout focus to different muscle groups, lending more variety to your workout.
  • Comfortable handlebars. Make sure the handlebars, moving or stationary, feel comfortable when you hold onto them and pedal; it’s hard to exercise when you feel awkward. This is a common complaint with elliptical users who end up unhappy with their machines.
  • Easy-to-use controls. Resistance and incline should be easy to control from the center console or moving handlebars. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to stop the workout to make adjustments.
  • Strong warranty and solid customer service. The warranty should cover parts for at least five years and labor for at least one. The manufacturer should be easy to reach, and quick to respond to consumer complaints.

 

Things to Consider Before Shopping for Your Elliptical

 

Does it fit my available space?

A typical full-sized elliptical is about 79 inches long by 30 inches wide by 63 inches tall, and many front-drive ellipticals require additional clearance to the rear when in use. Don’t forget to measure your ceiling height, too; most ellipticals will add an extra 1.5 feet to your own height. If you have less space, you may want to consider a compact or portable elliptical.

 

Does it fit me?

If you’re especially tall or short, look for an elliptical with a longer or shorter stride length. That said, the only way to know how well any stride length suits you is to get on the machine and exercise for a few minutes. Is the motion comfortable? Do you have plenty of room for your limbs (knees and elbows especially) within the elliptical trainer’s frame? If not, look elsewhere. Comfort is key.

 

Who will use it?

If more than one person is going to use the elliptical, everybody should try it out. If the users are of very different sizes, you may need an elliptical trainer with an adjustable stride length to comfortably accommodate all of them.

 

Should I have it delivered or assembled?

When you pick up or receive your elliptical, it will arrive in one or more large, heavy boxes. Often the shippers will deliver boxes to the curb, but won’t bring them into your house unless you pay an extra fee for “inside” delivery. If you’re handy, patient, and able to get the elliptical into your home on your own (even if that means carrying it piece-by-piece), DIY assembly can be a viable, but time-consuming, option. If you don’t have the time or patience to mess with it, consider paying for a professional delivery and assembly service (typically about $100 to $200).

 

How often will I use the elliptical trainer?

If you’re committed to long, frequent workout sessions, it pays to invest in a machine with the highest build quality and the most durable parts.

 

Do I want movable handlebars?

Although movable handlebars provide a moderate upper-body cardio workout, many exercisers prefer holding onto the stationary handlebars instead. If you’re in the latter group, you can sometimes save money by opting for an elliptical that comes without moving handlebars.

 

Elliptical Machine Reviews and Recommendations

 

 

Best Home Elliptical Machine

 

The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical’s super-smooth ride, sturdy frame, auto-adjust incline ramp and extensive warranty make it hard to beat. It’s also a great value compared to other high-end ellipticals, which typically sell for much more. Its eddy current braking system is quiet and dependable, the heavy flywheel makes for a smooth ride, and owners largely have good things to say about Sole’s customer service.

Of all the ellipticals I evaluated, the front-drive Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical  boasts the best combination of stability; durability; useful features; smooth, quiet resistance; and affordability. It’s a top pick at Consumer Reports, with Excellent ratings for ease of use, heart rate features and safety; Very Good ratings for ergonomics, exercise range and construction. AT Fitness Equipment Source it gets 4.5 stars out of 5, with the experts there calling it “Sold, Stable & Rugged – A Winning Combination.” Users agree, saying it feels very solid, like a gym-quality elliptical. Many say that they, and sometimes other members of their family, use it every day, multiple times a day.

The Sole E95 offers 20 levels of eddy current braking — the gold standard for quiet operation and reliability — and is backed by a solid warranty: Lifetime frame coverage, five years on parts, and two years of labor coverage. Sole Fitness has an excellent reputation for customer service; owners say they’re prompt, efficient, and honor their warranty with no hassles.

The Sole E95 also has a plethora of useful features, including an incline ramp that power-adjusts between 0 and 40 degrees (adjusting the stride length between 20 and 22 inches); 10 workout programs, including two custom workouts and two heart rate control workouts; cushioned, adjustable foot pedals that angle slightly inward to reduce stress on your joints; a 9-inch LCD console that tilts for easier viewing; and handgrip controls for easy adjustments to both incline and resistance. Users say the built-in sound system and fan are just adequate — but we see similar feedback for those features on almost every elliptical — indeed, on almost every piece of home exercise equipment we review. The Sole 95 is also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can wirelessly sync your exercise stats with your smartphone and a variety of fitness apps.

 

Best Mid-Priced Elliptical Machine

 

It’s a bit lighter than its big sibling, the Sole E95, but the less-expensive Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical is equally praised by reviewers for its quality build and durable components. It has a slightly smaller LCD screen, but its 30-degree incline and a plethora of adjustments and programs earn a lot of praise. Owners love the great value this machine represents, saying it’s a club-quality elliptical at a price that’s very reasonable.

The Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical shares the same excellent build quality and warranty, and almost all of the same features — including the 2017 Bluetooth upgrade. The LCD screen is a little smaller (7.5 inches), the max incline is a little lower (30 degrees), and the flywheel is a little lighter (29 pounds instead of 34). It’s also got just a bit smaller footprint and a lower upper weight limit — 375 pounds to the E95’s 400 pounds. However, the E35 gets just as good of reviews from experts and owners for performance and features.

At Fitness Equipment Source the Sole 35 earns a 4.5-star rating, as well as a Best Buy designation. They note that it’s one of the lowest- maintenance machines you can get at any price range. John Carlzon at Top Ten Reviews puts the Sole 35 at number four on his top ten list after research and testing, saying it, “gives a smooth and substantial workout.” The only con he notes is that there are only 10 preset workouts. Owners agree with Carlsen, giving the Sole 35 above-average ratings and saying they’re very pleased with the build quality and the various workout options.

That’s not to say that the Sole E95 and Sole E35 are perfect. The most common complaint we found for both was occasional squeaking or clicking noises from the foot rails. Most users say lubricating the foot rails will resolve this, while others simply let Sole’s excellent service department take care of it. These ellipticals also require assembly — unless you pay for assembly on delivery. While assembly is not necessarily super difficult, it is time-consuming and there are lots of parts to keep track of — some of which are rather heavy. Assembly is much easier, users say, if you get organized first, take your time, and enlist the help of a friend.

 

Best Inexpensive Home Elliptical Machine

 

 

For most people, the Schwinn 470 elliptical will be a good fit for their exercise room without making their wallet lose too much weight. Reviewers say it’s stable and quiet, with 25 levels of eddy current braking. Included in its impressive array of features are 29 programs, including options for beginners to advanced users and a customizable setting. The 470’s 20-inch stride length, smooth operation and a decent warranty combine to make the Schwinn 470 an excellent value if you’re on a budget.

Bargain-priced ellipticals tend to have short, choppy strides, but the front-drive Schwinn’s 20-inch stride length is the equal of many high-end home ellipticals. It has 25 levels of eddy current resistance (another great feature for the price), and users say the motion is smooth and stable, even for larger users — its maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds. You can also create up to four user programs, something that impresses the folks at Top Ten Reviews.  

At Consumer Reports the Schwinn 470 earns ratings of Very Good across the board for ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction, heart rate features and user safety. It’s also named a Best Buy there. It’s the number five pick (out of 10) and Top Ten Reviews, but their review is disappointingly devoid of testing notes, even though they say they tested for this roundup. Rather, they call out the 470’s features for praise, and there are plenty of those.

That includes 29 preset workout programs, with custom programs available as well. The display is fairly small, but still a nice touch at this price point. It displays time, distance, speed, calories burned, resistance level and more.

There are 29 preset programs, as well as the ability to design four custom programs. The automated inclined adjusts up to 10 degrees. A three-speed fan is also a nice touch to keep the user comfortable.

The Schwinn 470 is compatible with a chest strap-style heart monitor, but one is not included.  I like the Polar H7 Bluetooth Heart Rate Sensor and Fitness Tracker.

 

 

The Schwinn 470 also has a USB port for data export to Schwinn Connect and MyFitnessPal.com — online tools to help users upload and track their workout data and fitness goals; the USB port can also be used for charging your portable gadgets.

 

Best Compact Elliptical Machine

 

The Sunny Air Walk Trainer is as highly rated as ellipticals costing much more, but is lighter and much more compact. It does not have the bells and whistles of a full sized, high-end exercise machine, but most say that it provides all you need if you just want an effective, low-impact exercise option. Owners note that it’s very quiet and is uncommonly comfortable to use.

 

Best Portable Elliptical Machine

 

 

Reviewers say the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical may take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll love it. It’s little more than a set of wheels you pedal, but it’s extremely portable and many dedicated exercisers take it to work, on trips, or keep it in their dorm rooms.

 

 

You can adjust the tension to control workout intensity, and use it standing or sitting, in forward or reverse to add variety.  The Stamina In-Motion also has an electronic fitness monitor which displays the number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Elliptical training combines the best of stair climbing, cross country skiing and running in a low impact, variety rich workout.  Runners will benefit from the non-impact movement as a complement to their running and older users will appreciate the fluidity and ease of the motion.  It is a highly effective cross training activity that is viable for anyone from beginning exercisers to elite athletes.

 

 

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

-Laurie

 

 

 

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Anytime Gifts That Seniors Will Actually Use

Anytime Gifts That Seniors Will Actually Use

 

 

 

Coming up with gift ideas for grandparents or elderly parents can be a real headache for many people. Most grandparents have more stuff than they could possibly ever use.

There is nothing they need and very little they want. So, what do you give someone who has almost everything, and their house is already full of family photos, albums, personalized mugs, slippers and bath oils?

Here are some gift giving suggestions to get you started. Those gift ideas are perfect for any occasion.

Independence is a thing that seniors – and everyone, for that matter – really tend to value very highly. Maintaining independence promotes a sense of achievement that for many older people generates a great sense of self-worth and well-being.

The key to maintaining a senior’s independence is to keep them safe and one of the basic areas of safety is their home. This makes assistive devices very good gift ideas.

 

 

 

For the Bathroom 

 

 

For seniors who have difficulty bending or limited mobility due to an injury, the bathroom is probably the most dangerous room of the house. Bathroom accessories, like bathtub grips, can provide a sense of security when using the shower and would be really appreciated. Make sure to offer to help install these handles for them.

There are several types of grips you can get, but probably some of the best ones are those that lock over the side of the bathtub. Unlike other grab bars that use suction cups for attachment, the ones that clamp into the bathtub wall will not slip out of position.

 

 

 

Example: This Medline Bathtub Bar locks to the side of the tub

 

 

 

For the Kitchen

 

While the kitchen is often referred to as the “heart of the house,” it can be a very dangerous place for our aging loved–ones. While cooking fires happen to all people of all ages, older adults have a higher risk of injury from these, in part, due to the fact that their responses and physical abilities diminish as they grow older. In fact, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), people over the age of 65 have a 2.5 times greater risk of dying in a kitchen fire than the general population.

Cooktops and ranges are most frequently implicated in kitchen accidents. Elderly people are more likely to forget to turn burners off after removing pans, leave food unattended on the burner or lose track of cooking times. Others that have arthritis or Parkinson’s disease can easily spill food and ignite a fire.

This makes an induction cooktop another practical gift idea for seniors who say they don’t want anything. The elderly or disabled will really appreciate the safety factor of induction cooking since there are no open flames and nothing will catch on fire. With induction cooking there is no direct heating of the cooktop surface.

Only the pot gets hot, so spilled food will never burn. This also makes it very easy to clean. Another big plus – these cooktops cook faster than gas and electric cooktops, which saves energy and money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Organizing Medications

 

An inexpensive way to help an older person remain healthy and independent is to support them in taking their medication every day. Managing medications can be a challenge for many old people, especially when certain prescriptions must be taken at specific times during the day. This task can be even more daunting for people with multiple diseases who often end up taking multiple medications at the same time. The more drugs they use, the more likely they are not to remember to take them.

One gift that can help simplify medication management, giving peace of mind and maximizing independence, is a pill organizer. They come in a variety of styles, from daily to monthly storage options, and variety of sizes.

Ask your elderly parents or find out how many pills they need to take and look for an organizer that has compartments big enough for them. Also, find a pill organizer that is easy to open, because many older people struggle with so-called “child proof” tops.

The MedCenter 31 Day Pill Organizer with Reminder System is a great option, because you need to set it up for them only once a month. It can also be combined with a reminder system, to make sure your older parents are taking their pills on time. The reminder system is a talking alarm clock that is easy to read even with impaired eyesight and easy to hear even with hearing problems. It also gives people, whose memories may not be what they used to be, useful reminders of what date and day of the week is.

 

 

 

Help With Groceries

 

An interesting gift option for elderly people who have everything is a voice-activated grocery and errand list organizer. Sometimes people forget things, like what they wanted to buy from the store, end up with a diet that resembles the worst of hospital food – microwave meals and frozen foods. An organizer like that can be very helpful.

The Smart Shopper Grocery List Organizer is a device that records your items, sorts them into separate categories and then prints a paper list that you take with you to the store. A person simply has to press a button and say what they need to purchase.

The sorting option can be very useful for seniors, because everything they need from each area in the grocery store will be grouped together and they won’t need to aimlessly wander the isles to find an item. Another handy feature is its magnetic back, which allows to keep the organizer on the fridge door.

The device has almost 2500 items in its database, but there are not all just grocery items. There are many errand items such as: Gas Station, Pay Bills, Dentist, FedEx, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Cooked Meals

 

Home-cooked meals are so appreciated by older people who live alone or in an assisted living facility. Prepare several of their favorite meals and freeze them in portions so they can take them out easily and only have to re-heat them. If your grandparents live relatively close to you, you can make a gift certificate inviting them for one dinner a month at your home for a year. Offer to pick them up and drive them home, too!

Have some disposable take-out containers on hand, so they don’t have to worry about washing or returning your casserole dishes.

 

 

 

Better Sleep

 

Quality sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. In fact, sleep is as essential as food, and creating healthy sleeping patterns is just as important as eating right. Unfortunately, some of the most common problems the older generation experience are insomnia and sleep issues. An awesome gift that can help them deal with sleep disorders is a Sleep Sound Machine. Those machines play calming nature sounds that help people fall asleep faster, relax, or just block out distracting noises.

Since audio quality is very important part of masking distracting sounds, it is better to get a sleep machine with really good speakers. One such machine is Sound+Sleep High Fidelity Sleep Sound Machine. In fact, Sleep+Sounds has all of the features you could possibly want in a sound machine – 30 rich and immersive non-repeating sound environments, adaptive Sound listens to your environment and responds instantly by adjusting audio volume, front panel lighting automatically dims for distraction-free rest, and a sleep timer.

This machine is also tiny and light, meaning that seniors can take it with them whenever they visit family or go on holidays.

 

 

 

For Mood and Well-Being

 

Older people, and those who are homebound or bed-ridden, sometimes don’t get outside enough and don’t get exposed to enough natural light, which can disrupt their sleep-wake cycle. If you are looking for a good, useful gift for an elderly parent or grandparent like that, consider getting them a light therapy lamp, such as the SunTouchPlus Lamp from Nature Bright.

These lamps mimic the brightness of the sun, stimulating the body’s production of vitamin D, and thus, boosting mood and well-being. In a way, they work like antidepressants, but without the side effects of the medications. They can also help those who suffer from winter blues, which makes them great gifts for Christmas, too.

When you look for a light therapy lamp, you need to make sure it emits 10,000 lux of light. “Lux” is a measurement of the intensity of light and 10,000 lux is the optimum light level that best mimics natural outdoor light. This means that it can be used for shorter time periods than a lamp that is not as bright. For comparison, the light on a typical, overcast day can be between 1,000 and 2,000 lux and on a very bright, sunny day – between 32,000 and 100,000 lux.

If you find a product that offers intensities higher than 10,000 lux, you should know that intensities higher than 10,000 lux have not been studied for safety or efficacy.

 

 

 

 

Healthy Food Delivery

 

All of us would like to have our parents and grandparents around as long as we possibly can, so a healthy food delivery is another excellent gift choice. Sign your grandparents or elderly parents up for a food delivery membership, for example, and every month they will receive a package of the best orchard-fresh fruit of each season. It will not only make you happy to know that they will have something healthy to eat delivered every month, but you will be amazed how much your grandmother or grandfather will love this gift idea. Depending on their tastes, you can also sign them up for a cheese club, coffee or tea club of the month.

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, this is neat …   Old Time Candy Company sells nostalgic candy from eras past: you can select the decade you grew up in and purchase the candy you remember having as a kid!  It’s a real trip!

 

 

Candy you ate as a kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memory Journals

 

Grandparents love to be sentimental and brag about their kids and grandkids, and when a holiday comes around, they often get overloaded with framed family photos and albums. Although seniors love receiving these photos, they probably have enough already and will enjoy getting a different sentimental gift.

A nice way to express your love for them is to show interest in their life’s journey. Give them a memory journal, for example. A memory journal is a book that contains all kind of memory-jogging questions about person’s life, and makes it easy for a senior to write his or her life story by answering those questions right in the book. This is a great way for them to record their life stories and pass them to the next generations.

 

 

Some good memory journals that will make fantastic gifts are:

 

Story of My Life

Memories for My Grandchild: A Keepsake to Remember

Grandma Tell Me Your Story

Grandfather Remembers

 

 

 

 

Shopping Cart with Seat

 

Whether they are making a trip to the corner store, the farmers market, carrying stuff to friends’ house or waiting in line at the pharmacy to fill a prescription, a senior will appreciate the convenience of a carrying cart with a built-in seat.

 

Such a cart would also be a very nice gift idea for anyone who lives in a crowded urban area and uses public transportation when grocery shopping or enjoys going to local street fairs or other events where seating is limited.

There are many carts on the market.  This Trolly Dolly Stair-Climbing Foldable Handcart with Built-in Seat is a nice choice;  its rubber wheels have a large arc triangular support, and its a sturdy cart made or steel pipe.  The seat can support 300 lbs, and it has a non-slip hands and waterproof, odor-free fabric.

 

Folds Easily into a Compact Design

 

Strong, Comfortable Seat – 300 lb Capacity

 

Handy Step For Reaching High Items

 

 

 

Massage Pillow

 

Elderly people often suffer from a variety of age-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease. As a result, they have poor circulation and limited physical capability. Massage can help them relieve muscle pain, joint stiffness, poor blood circulation and even mental stress.

If your elderly parents or grandparents suffer from back aches and neck pains, then a massage pillow would be an amazing gift for them.

One massage pillow worth considering is the Etekcity Shiatsu Massager. This pillow reliefs pain using Shiatsu massage technique. Shiatsu (meaning “finger pressure”) is a form of massage that originated in Japan and applies gentle but firm pressure with the thumbs, hands, knees and elbows to different points on the body.

The pillow uses 4 rotating balls to provide deep-kneading motion, and heating elements to relax the muscles even further. The rotating balls do a pretty good job of simulating the kneading fingers of a professional massage therapist.

Because of its compact size, the Etekcity Shiatsu Massager pillow can apply concentrated pressure to specific areas of the body like the neck, shoulders, lower back, feet, calves etc., which are problematic areas for many people. Another excellent aspect of this massage pillow is its portability. It can be used almost anywhere – on different types of chairs, sofas and car seats.

 

 

 

Hobby Baskets

 

Many older people have hobbies they love. Do a little snooping to find out what the senior on your gift list enjoys making. You might find a gift idea or two.

If grandma likes crafts, put together a nice gift basket with a hot glue gun, scissors, glue sticks, and other crafting supplies that she can use in different projects.

You can do the same for your grandpa and his favorite hobbies. 

 

If they are not really able to enjoy active hobbies anymore (like fishing or golfing), get them a subscription to a related magazine so they can read about them.

 

Some Magazine Ideas:

 

 

 

 

 

Encouraging grandparents to take up new hobbies, or revisit old ones, can improve their quality of life.

 

 

For Gardening

 

For those seniors who still have access to a vegetable or flower garden, yard or patio, useful gardening accessories can make fantastic gifts.

 

Some Ideas:

 

Garden kneelers can prevent knee-pain while weeding.

 

Example: Ohuhu Garden Kneeler and Seat with Bonus Tool Pouch

 

 

 

 

Ergonomic gardening tools, including clippers, are easier for older hands to use.

Example: UKOKE Ergonomic Garden Tool Set for Men and Women

 

 

 

Comfortable gardening gloves and gardening clogs can extend the time spent in the garden.

Meadow Design (5)

These attractive Meadow Design Gardening Clogs by Backdoor Shoes have an extra comfortable arch support.

 

 

Lightweight hoses are easier to coil up and put away.

 

 

Plant markers and packs of seeds are always appreciated!

 

 

And speaking of seeds, this White Mountain Garden Seeds Puzzle is a stunning vintage montage.  It 1,000 extra large pieces; a puzzle lover who gardens would surely enjoy it!

 

This White Mountain Garden Seeds Puzzle is gorgeous! It includes 1,000 extra large pieces.

 

 

If your parents or grandparents are retired farmers, who always obsess over the weather because it dominates their livelihood, or if they’re simply weather buffs, they will probably be happy to receive something useful, like a remote rain gauge, as a gift. It is a handy unit that can help them with their garden irrigation needs without getting wet or simply help them stay on top of the local weather situation.

 

A very cool gift for the weather buff – This Ambient Weather WIFI Observer Solar-Powered Wireless WiFi Remote Monitoring Weather Station also has Solar Radiation and UV indicators.

 

 

Even a very simple gift, such as boot jack (or boot remover), can be really useful for gardeners, farmers and those who live in rural areas. The elderly will find this little gadget handy for slipping off their boots or shoes before entering the house.

 

 

For Watching TV

 

Watching television and movies can be such a pleasure as we get older. For older people who live with others, however, it can be difficult to negotiate a volume that works for everyone. An excellent gift that will allow people with hearing loss to listen at their own volume without disturbing anyone else is a TV listening device.

 

 

There are a number of TV listening devices on the market that can help an elderly person hear the TV better, but the best options available today are the wireless radio frequency systems. There are others that use infrared technology instead of radio frequency, but they have a drawback that can be very annoying. An infrared signal is “line of sight,” which means a person needs to be in front of the transmitter, with nothing in the way, in order to hear the TV properly. If they turn their head to the side, to look out of the window, for example, they will lose the audio for a second. In comparison, a radio frequency signal can transmit through walls or obstructions.

The Unisar TV listening devices are some of the best options, because they use wireless radio frequency digital technology (mono or stereo), which means that a person can walk into another room and will still be able to hear the TV. Another useful feature that a senior would appreciate in these devices is the built-in microphone that amplifies the sounds around you, thus, allowing them to also hear conversations in the room.

 

 

 

Brain Training Games

 

Brain-training games are great gifts for elderly people. Just as everyone can benefit from exercising their body, brain training can help seniors improve their memory, awareness, reasoning, and other cognitive skills. Whether these games delay dementia is still unclear, but constant brain challenges are certainly better than just watching TV.

 

Some Examples:

 

Brain Games® #1: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day (Brain Games (Numbered))

Brain Games® #1: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day

 

 

 

Home Satellite Radio

 

 

A nice gift idea for an older couple that lives in the suburbs, or in an isolated rural community, is a home satellite radio and SiriusXM subscription. They usually don’t have as many choices, in terms of radio channels, as people living in big cities. With a home satellite radio they can enjoy tons of channels with, sports, news, talk radio, or their favorite music, especially if they spend a lot of time at home.

 

 

 

Other Inexpensive and Useful Gifts

Some people may feel that gift vouchers are impersonal, but older generations welcome them with open arms. They are useful and most importantly, they are clutter-free gifts. If you have grandparents or elderly parents who are on a fixed income, get them pre-paid cards for their favorite restaurant or for the grocery store.

Do a little snooping to find out what your elderly relative enjoys and uses the most. Many businesses that you may not expect to do in fact offer gift certificates, including:

  • Veterinarians
  • Pharmacies
  • Hair salons
  • Pet food stores

 

 

Some Examples:

 

 

 

 

When All Else Fails

 

battery charger

grocery delivery

prescription pick-up

paying a utility, newspaper or cable bill

breakfast or lunch in a restaurant

take their car for a wash and wax

pay someone to do their yard work

pay someone to clean their house

 

 

Some Easy-to-Arrange Ideas:

You will find some  great service gift ideas from Amazon Home Services.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

 

Simple Kitchen Gadgets and Safety Tips for Seniors

Simple Kitchen Gadgets and Safety Tips for Seniors

 

 

Make the Kitchen Safer With These Inexpensive Products

 

Kitchens are considered one of the most dangerous areas of a home, for children and for seniors. Many accidents and falls occur in the kitchen due to a range of common scenarios: cooking fires, grease and spills on the floor, reaching for objects, appliance injuries and even inappropriate objects placed in a microwave.

Health conditions like arthritis, low vision, frailty, stroke, or dementia can make everyday tasks challenging for older adults. With heat, liquids, and knives present, working in the kitchen can be especially dangerous.

I found some simple kitchen aids for seniors that increase safety, prevent accidents, and help them stay independent longer.

Being able to perform everyday tasks on their own boosts mood and self-esteem. Plus, increasing their safety in the kitchen will give you peace of mind.

 

 

This Universal Knob Turner is really handy tool; it can be used to grip and turn many different types of small, slippery knobs found on stovetops, microwaves, dishwasher, etc.

 

 

 

Use this clever silicone Boil-Over Safeguard lid to avoid running to the stove to catch a pot that’s boiling over. Make sure to take off the cap to expose the holes.

 

 

 

Use these slim, cut-resistant gloves to keep fingers and hands safe from cuts when slicing meat or veggies.

 

 

 

 

This palm peeler sits in the palm of the hand and is easier for people with arthritis or joint issues to use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protect your older adult’s arms from burns with these oven rack guards.

 

 

 

Make veggie prep faster, easier, and safer with one of these simple veggie chopping tools.

 

 

 

 

Hard-to-open jars shouldn’t stop your older adult from eating foods they enjoy. Let an automatic jar opener do all the work.

 

 

 

 

 

Make it easier to access pots and pans with easy pull-out shelves that install into existing kitchen cabinets, available in a variety of sizes

 

 

 

This special kitchen stool lets seniors sit and get off their feet while working at the kitchen counter. The angled seat makes sitting and standing easy. The height is adjustable too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Important Safety Tips for Seniors Kitchen Safety

 

 

Fire

Fires in the kitchen are often a concern for seniors and can be very dangerous. Seniors should make sure that the outlets in their kitchen are safe and have cover plates and that the wiring in their kitchen is properly installed to prevent electrical fires from occurring.

When cooking, seniors should make sure that they do not wear long, loose sleeves because this can easily cause their clothing to catch on fire. Wearing short sleeves or rolling the sleeves up can help prevent the sleeves from touching the stove or other hot areas.

Stoves with front or side controls are often good for seniors to have because this keeps them from having to reach over the stove to operate it which can prevent burns and fires.

Family caregivers should also make sure that their loved ones do not have any dish towels or curtains that will touch the stove while it is on. If possible, it is helpful to have a gas stove that will shut off automatically. Those who do not have a stove that shuts off on its own can try clearly marking the on and off switches on appliances as this can also help prevent fires by making sure that heated objects do not get left on the stove in the kitchen.

 

Spills and Clutter

Spills and clutter in the kitchen can be another hazard for seniors. Many seniors spill things in the kitchen and do not notice it and then slip and fall in it later. Buying pots and pans with handles on both sides can help keep seniors from spilling things when cooking. If family caregivers notice spills, they should make sure to clean them up as soon as possible so that their loved one will not slip. Clutter around the kitchen can also cause seniors to fall, especially when there are cluttered cords on the floor. Small appliances should be unplugged when not in use so that seniors do not trip over the cords.

 

Organization

Keeping an organized and well-lit kitchen is another way to make sure that seniors are safe while in the kitchen. Lighting might not seem like a big deal but it can make a big difference for seniors who have trouble seeing by allowing them to see what they are doing better.

I really like these Stick-On Anywhere Portable Wireless Motion Sensor Lights.  They are so versatile and perfect for providing  a good amount of light when and where you need it.

 

 

When it comes to organization, sharp knives should be stored in a knife rack or in a separate drawer so that seniors do not cut themselves while looking for silverware.

All appliances, silverware and dishes should be stored in easy to reach places so that seniors will not get hurt getting them down. A sturdy step ladder can be used if necessary, but it is usually best to avoid using all out of reach cabinets. If possible, seniors should get unbreakable dishes so that if they do drop them they will not have to clean up broken glass. It is especially important to store heavy objects at waist level so that seniors will not drop them when trying to get them out because this can cause serious injury.

 

Example:  These Golanstar Unbreakable Dinner Plates are dishwasher, microwave, fridge and freezer safe.

 

 

 

 

 

Expired Food

To avoid poisoning or illness from expired food, family caregivers should regularly check their loved one’s kitchen. Hazardous items such as cleaners or chemicals should be stored away from food so that your loved one’s food will not be contaminated with things that are not safe to eat.

After carefully organizing the kitchen, family caregivers should make sure to regularly check their loved one’s pantry and fridge to ensure that there are no expired items. Eating expired foods can be very dangerous, but many seniors forget to check expiration dates when cooking.

The kitchen should also be bug and vermin free, so family caregivers should check to make sure that their loved one’s kitchen does not have rodents, ants or roaches which can contaminate food. If your loved one does have bugs or vermin in the house you should call in an exterminator to get rid of them so that your loved one will not get sick.

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Kitchen safety is important at any age, but it can be a serious problem for the elderly. The kitchen is said to be one of the most dangerous areas in the home, especially for seniors. Many seniors are harmed by fires, spills or spoiled food in the kitchen. You can make some simple changes that help ensure your senior’s safety as they maintain their independence and enjoyment of kitchen activities.

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful information. 

I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

 

 

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Best Flea Treatments for Your Dog or Cat

 

Best Flea Treatments for Your Dog or Cat

 

Your Complete Guide to Getting Rid of Fleas!

 

 

Fleas are more than an annoyance — they can affect the health of their host dog or cat. A flea’s saliva could trigger allergies, and the itching and scratching that ensues can lead to a more serious skin infection. Infected fleas can also transmit tapeworms and bacteria — including bacteria that are harmful to humans. A large enough number of fleas can even cause life-threatening blood loss.

Unfortunately, fleas are not a problem that will go away on its own. In fact, ignoring a few fleas can quickly lead to an infestation. Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs a day, many of which fall off and land in carpets, bedding and furniture. Once the larvae hatch, they remain inactive in cocoons for weeks or even months. Unsuspecting pet owners might think the problem is resolved after killing the adult fleas, but the life cycle will repeat weeks later unless eggs and larvae are prevented from maturing into adult fleas. Experts say the most effective way to keep fleas off a dog or cat is with a topical or oral medication.

If fleas are bugging your dog or cat, topical treatments like Advantage and Frontline can provide long lasting relief. I also found some great oral medications, and even a flea collar that’s safe and effective. There are other alternatives, too, but most generally are ineffective at best, and possibly hazardous at worst.

But before we go any further, be sure its fleas – 

Not all scratching indicates dog fleas. Scratching of the ears may indicate ear mites or another ear infection. Scratching or licking other parts of your pet’s body may indicate a food allergy, or other irritation.

 


Fleas are about half the size of an apple seed, but may be as large as the size of a grain of rice. They’re jumping insects, with laterally flat bodies, and they have no wings. If you don’t see actual fleas, look for flea poop. Flea waste may collect on the skin of your pet, and will look like tiny crumbles of dirt.

 

What to Look For in a Flea Treatment

 

  • Works quickly and reliably. The best flea treatments should work quickly enough that your pet will find relief within a short period of time. If the first one you try doesn’t work, try something else.

 

  • Kills adult fleas, eggs and larvae. Some medications and treatments kill adult fleas only, so you may need to re-treat fairly often, or combine them with a second flea treatment to avoid re-infestation.

 

  • Causes few side effects. Most flea treatments have potential side effects, though those are mostly minor. However, others could be life threatening to certain animals. Cat owners in particular should avoid products containing permethrin and other pyrethroids.

 

  • Is easy to use. “Spot-on” topical treatments are quick to apply to a pet’s neck or back, while tablets can often be tucked into a treat like cheese or peanut butter.

 

 

Topical Flea Treatment

 

Also known as spot-on products, topical treatments are squeezed out of a tube and applied to the pet’s neck or back. One advantage of these products is that they generally contain insect growth regulators (IGRs), which prevent eggs from hatching and larvae from maturing into adult fleas. This means that a single application can completely eliminate fleas for up to a month.

However, these products have drawbacks as well. Although they’re generally safe for pets if applied correctly, they can irritate the skin or eyes of humans; should you come in contact with the product, it must be rinsed off promptly. Once applied, the product may take several hours to dry. During this time, it may rinse off in water, and the residue may transfer to other pets, furniture or humans. Moreover, some pet owners find the smell or feel of the spot-on treatments unpleasant.

 

 

Flea Collars

 

Until recently, experts have said that flea collars are generally ineffective; some are toxic to pets and people as well. There is one exception, however, Seresto, which uses the same active ingredient as a well-rated topical treatment, Advantage, but in a slow-release formulation.

Seresto also has a tick killing ingredient. Seresto is pricey, so other options are more cost effective if you pet is indoors most or all of the time, but for pets that spend lots of time out of doors, it can make sense. No other flea collar receives much, if any, positive feedback from pet experts.

 

 

 

 

Oral Flea Medications

 

Flea control medications such as Capstar, pose no risk to humans, and they don’t leave any messy residue. Oral flea treatments tend to kill adult fleas very quickly, but most of them don’t contain an IGR to deal with the eggs and larvae. This means that pet owners must either combine the tablet with a second treatment that contains an IGR, such as a spot-on product, or keep repeating the dose until no new fleas are hatching. Another problem is getting a pet to take the pill.

While some users say their pets will gobble them happily if they’re tucked inside a treat, others — especially cat owners — find it very difficult to get them down their pets’ throats. Also, some oral medications are available only with a prescription from a vet.

 

 

Alternative Flea Treatments

 

Flea shampoos can provide immediate relief by killing adult fleas on the pet, but they don’t leave enough residue behind to kill new fleas as they hatch. As for flea dips, bombs, powders and sprays, many of them contain chemicals called pyrethroids, such as permethrin. Experts warn that these chemicals are highly toxic, especially to cats. Some vets say that products containing permethrin can be safe if you only have dogs in your household, but all warn to not use such products on cats or even on dogs if one is likely to come in contact with a cat. Permethrin comes in for the sternest cautions, but some experts also warn against the use of other pyrethroids as well.

Natural remedies are more controversial. I see lots of recommendations for them around the Internet, however, there’s little scientific evidence that they are effective in most cases. In a recent blog post, Nancy Kearns of The Whole Dog Journal says that she’s “never had much luck with the plethora of natural remedies out there.” And some natural remedies are rated to be just as toxic according the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory published by the Natural Resources Defense Council, and in some cases more so, than many of the topical and oral treatments recommended in this report

 

 

Shopping for a Flea Treatment

 

Talk to your vet first.

Your vet may have specific recommendations for products he or she thinks are the most appropriate. This is especially important in the case of pets that are weak, older, medicated, sick, pregnant or nursing, or that have previously had an adverse reaction to a flea control treatment. Additionally, some products are not suitable for puppies and kittens.

 

Check your pet’s weight.

All flea control treatments are packaged according to the pet’s weight. Don’t try to guess your pet’s weight or buy the wrong dosage because it’s cheaper. You might end up with a dosage that’s too low to kill the fleas or, worse, one that’s too high and causes serious side effects.

 

Read the directions.

Before you buy a product, take a look at the application instructions and make sure you understand them. Even if you have used the product before, review the directions to make sure they haven’t changed. Many reported illnesses in cats and dogs from flea control products are due to misuse. Lack of effectiveness is also often the result of improper application. Be especially careful not to use flea control treatments designed for dogs on your cat, or vice versa. Permethrin, a pesticide found in some topical dog treatments, can be lethal to cats.

 

Choose the right treatments.

Don’t waste your time with flea shampoos, dips, sprays or powders. Vets generally agree that these products are ineffective at best and toxic at worst. The same goes for “natural” remedies like essential oils and garlic, some of which are no less toxic than the most effective flea control products per the ratings at the GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory.

 

Buy your flea remedies from your vet or from a reputable retailer.

Many products sold online, and sometimes even in stores, are counterfeits that may be ineffective or harmful to pets. Counterfeit versions of Frontline Plus are particularly common.

 

Are generics safe?

Frontline and Frontline Plus topical treatments, and Capstar oral medication, are available in generic formulas at savings ranging from a little to a lot. Experts say to avoid the cheapest generics as they likely won’t provide the same level of protection as better options. Also, though they might use the same active ingredients, the inert ingredients may differ, and that can be the difference between a treatment your pet tolerates well, and one that might irritate. Consult with your vet if you are unsure of any flea treatment.

 

Be wary of new products.

That’s the advice of The Whole Dog Journal, which adds that you shouldn’t feel pressured to change if a flea treatment that you’ve been using is continuing to work well. In addition, newer flea treatments have been subjected to less “real world” testing, which can often reveal shortcomings or hazards that lab testing fails to turn up. “We suggest that pet owners stick with older products until the safety of new ones has been established,” says Nancy Kerns, editor of The Whole Dog Journal.

 

If you don’t see it, ask.

Pet stores may not keep all their flea remedies on the same shelf. Some of them may be locked up in a separate case to prevent theft. If you don’t see the one you want, ask an employee where to find it.

 

Treat the whole house.

Money spent on a flea treatment is wasted if you don’t get the fleas out of your house. Vacuum carpets and upholstery daily, and discard the vacuum bag (outside the house) right away so fleas don’t escape. Also, wash bedding, and wipe floors and furniture.

 

Keep your eyes open.

After treatment, monitor your pet for any signs of a harmful reaction. Be prepared to contact your vet if necessary. Also keep an eye out for fleas that survive the treatment – a nit comb is very useful for checking your pet for any remaining fleas.

Some products can be re-administrated right away while others should not be. Follow manufacturer instructions to the letter and talk to your vet about additional treatment.


 

As the name suggests, a flea comb is a grooming tool used to comb through your pet’s fur. But unlike regular combs, the teeth of a flea comb are very finely spaced allowing the comb to physically trap and remove fleas, flea eggs and flea “dirt” from your pet’s fur. The tightly-spaced teeth on the comb are also useful for picking up and removing dander, dirt, and other debris from your pet’s fur.

Even if you don’t think your pet has fleas, using a flea comb periodically can help you identify fleas before they become a more difficult to treat problem.

 

 

Know what to expect.

Some flea treatments work almost immediately, some take a day or more for effects to be seen. Frontline and Frontline Plus work by over stimulating a flea’s nervous system, something that’s often mistaken for an increase in fleas or an adverse reaction (caused by a short-term uptick in flea bites) by anxious pet owners.

 

 

Flea Treatment Recommendations

 

The top two topical flea treatments for both dogs and cats are Advantage II and Frontline Plus. They use different active ingredients, imidacloprid and fipronil, respectively, to eradicate infestations. The two insecticides work differently, but experts say that when used correctly, they are both safe and effective.

Both products receive mostly positive reviews from veterinarians and pet owners, but we found somewhat stronger recommendations for Advantage II. Cat owners, in particular, tend to give Advantage II for Cats high marks for its effectiveness, safety and ease of use. While it does not work for every cat, it’s more consistently effective than any other topical treatment. Most owners also find it easy to apply and are not bothered by the odor.

 Advantage II is a reformulated version of an older product called Advantage, first released in 1996, which killed only adult fleas. The current version includes an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill flea eggs and larvae as well. Both the original Advantage and Advantage II get positive reviews from veterinarians, including those who specialize in cat care. Vets at the All Feline Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., describe Advantage II as “very safe and effective on cats.” However, reviews from cat owners indicate that in very rare cases, cats may have dangerous reactions to this treatment, so it’s probably wise to consult a vet before use.

 

Advantage II for Dogs is sold in several different dosages, for small, medium, large and extra-large dogs; as you might expect, versions for larger dogs cost a little more than those for smaller ones. Dog owners are not quite as enthusiastic about Advantage II as cat owners. Although most owners find it effective, dog owners were more likely than cat owners to complain that Advantage II either didn’t work or stopped working before the one-month treatment period was up. Veterinarian dermatologist Jon Plant, writing at the Itchy Dog Blog, notes a study, albeit in cats, that shows some drop in effectiveness toward the end of a month. He adds that “the Advantage line of products are generally very effective for flea control in most situations, when used as directed (monthly).”

Bayer (the maker of Advantage II) also offers Advantage Multi, which is offered by prescription only and in formulations for dogs and cats.  It adds additional protections against hookworms, round worms and other parasites (depending on the species). However, it is not an all life cycle flea killer and is only effective on adult fleas, not flea eggs and larvae. The cat version is the only product that’s also FDA approved for use on ferrets (minimum weight of 2 pounds). One disadvantage to products in the Advantage line is that they don’t protect against ticks. If that’s a concern, a different product could be a better choice.

Frontline Plus, like Advantage II, is a reformulated version of an older product. The original Frontline killed adult fleas, as well as lice and ticks. The new version, Frontline Plus, also contains an IGR to kill fleas at every stage of their life cycle. It continues to protect against ticks and chewing lice as well, something that Advantage II can’t do.

 

Frontline Plus for Cats

 

 

Frontline Plus for Dogs

 

 
 

Frontline Plus gets high marks for safety from both vets and pet owners.

Frontline works by over-stimulating a flea’s nervous system, making them hyperactive before they die. That can make it look like your pet’s flea infestation is actually getting worse as fleas that were previously unseen rise to the top of its coat, and that results in some negative feedback in user reviews, but vets have few reservations. Dr. Plant notes that Frontline Plus is “100% effective at 12 and 24 hours from 1 day to 28 days post treatment.”

There have been some reports, such as this article in The New York Times, indicating that, while fleas in a few parts of the country have become more resistant to fipronil (the active ingredient in Frontline), it and other treatments are still largely still effective in most regions. That’s echoed in comments by Dr. Thomas B. McMillen at the Mercy Animal Hospital in Cranston, R.I., who says “There have apparently been some resistance problems in Florida, but there is no evidence of that around here.” In a study published in Parasites & Vectors, a scientific journal, researchers Tad Coles and Michael Dryden find that reports of resistance to flea treatments is more likely to be caused by improper or insufficient application rather than resistance to the product by the fleas or other pests themselves.

Because the patent for fipronil has expired, generic versions of Frontline Plus are now available. Examples include Pet Armor Plus for Dogs and  Sentry Fiproguard Plus for Dogs.  Formulations for cats are also available, as are generic versions of the original Frontline, designed to kill adult fleas but not eggs or larvae.

 

 
 

 

 

Experts do sound some cautions, however. While the active ingredients are the same, inactive ingredients can differ. The Whole Dog Journal specifically recommends against using low-budget spot on treatments as they can be more toxic and less effective than those “made by the most reputable and responsible manufacturers.” Still, some vets and other experts consider generic versions of Frontline to be a reasonable alternative where budgets are a concern. If you are considering a generic version of Frontline or Frontline Plus, the best guidance would be to ask your vet. Finally, choose your vendor wisely as counterfeit versions of Frontline Plus have also been reported.

 

For Fleas and Ticks

For dog owners who want to control both fleas and ticks, another option is K9 Advantix II

 Made by the same company that makes Advantage II, K9 Advantix II contains the same ingredients, plus an additional ingredient called permethrin that kills ticks and mosquitoes. Permethrin is highly toxic to cats, so K9 Advantix II is for use on dogs only. While permethrin is not generally considered harmful to dogs, reviews from dog owners suggest that K9 Advantix II is more likely to cause side effects than either Advantage II or Frontline Plus. Skin irritation is the most common problem, but a few owners describe more serious reactions. Still, K9 Advantix II appears to be an effective product for treating both fleas and ticks in dogs.

 

 

One Flea Collar to Try

In general, flea collars get a thumbs down from experts as being both ineffective and often toxic. One that breaks from the pack, however, is the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

This is another product that uses the same active ingredient as Advantage, and is made by the same company, but in a gradual release format that keeps pets pest free for eight months. There’s no IGR, but one’s not needed as the active ingredient is constantly killing fleas as they emerge. Seresto collars also have a tick-killing component, flumethrin, so they are a great choice for animals that spend a lot of time outdoors.

Vet feedback thus far has been largely positive, and the Seresto flea collar receives lots of user feedback at sites like Amazon.com, most of which has been very good. In a blog post, Nancy Kearns of The Whole Dog Journal reports using Seresto to keep her dogs flea free after an outbreak had been eradicated. “So far, so good; I haven’t spotted any fleas, and you can believe I’ve been looking,” she writes. Dr. Plant notes that it kills 100 percent of existing fleas on dogs within 24 hours, and re-infesting fleas in two hours. It’s also 98 percent effective on cats within 6 hours. One caution that he shares is that while the collar is rated to be effective for eight months, frequent swimming or bathing can reduce that duration.

Adverse reactions seem to be relatively rare. However, since this flea collar uses the same active ingredient as Advantage, if your pet has not done well with Advantage, Seresto also won’t be a good choice. Some complaints are seen about the cost, a concern that Kearns echoes as well, especially for those with multiple pets, but keep in mind that a single collar is the equivalent of eight monthly does of Advantage. Versions are available for both dogs and cats.

 
A Complete Flea Control Program

 

Treat the Environment

Indoor flea control involves mechanically removing all stages of the fleas, killing any remaining adults, and preventing immature forms from developing.

Start by vacuuming thoroughly, especially below drapes, under furniture edges, and where your pet sleeps. It is estimated that vacuuming can remove up to 50% of flea eggs. Vacuum daily in high traffic areas, weekly in others. Each time, seal your vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it immediately. Do NOT place mothballs or flea collars in the vacuum, since toxic fumes could result.

Use a product that will kill any remaining adult fleas and also stop the development of eggs and larvae. You will need a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator (IGR), such as Nylar (pyriproxyfen) or methoprene. This can be in the form of carpet powders, foggers, or sprays.

Foggers are especially good for large open areas. Surface sprays can reach areas such as baseboards, moldings, cracks, and under furniture where foggers cannot reach. Choose the product(s) you use with care, taking into account the presence of children, fish, birds, persons with asthma, etc. Your veterinarian can help you choose the appropriate products for your situation. In severe infestations, you may need the help of a professional exterminator.

Wash your pet’s bedding weekly and treat the bed and surrounding area with a product that contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.

Do not forget to also clean and treat your automobile, pet carrier, garage, basement, or any other place your pet spends much time.

Flea control in the outdoor environment generally involves eliminating the habitat in the yard and kennel areas where fleas are most likely to occur. Fleas tend to like it where it is moist, warm, shady, and where there is organic debris. They will also tend to be where pets spend more of their outdoor time. So be sure to concentrate on areas such as patios, under porches, dog houses, etc.

Rake away any organic debris such as leaves, straw, grass clippings, etc., to disturb flea habitat.

Wild animals such as opossums, raccoons, chipmunks and other small rodents can carry fleas. Try to discourage these animals from entering your yard, e.g., do not feed them.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

 

Keep in mind that until all of the fleas in your home have died, you will probably still see some fleas, even on a treated pet, since some immature forms may continue to develop. This is especially true if you had a big flea problem to start with. Persistence is the key here. It is essential to keep following an effective flea control program for a long enough time to get rid of all of the fleas, in all life stages. This may take several weeks to 6 months or more, depending on your particular situation.

 

Pet Medical ID Tags by Lauren's Hope

 

 

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

-Laurie

 

 

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