This week, I have made an effort to do a daily good deed. In general, I am a good person, and help others as much as I can. I work in healthcare, helping people is what I do for a career, but this time I consciously thought about what good deed I did by the end of each day. Surprisingly, I made me feel a lot better about myself.
Good deeds benefit both the recipient and the provider. Often when someone is the recipient of a good deed, they in turn provide a good deed for someone else. Imagine this great big, helpful world of people!
Good deeds can be quick or long term, free or expensive depending on your ability. Good deeds can be for strangers or people you know well. Obviously the more we can do good deeds for others, the better world we will all live in.
Here are some ideas:
· Make a double batch of a meal and deliver it to an elderly neighbor or neighbor with a new baby
· Volunteer your time at a local shelter (human or pet)
· Buy coffee or food for the next person in line
· Allow someone to go ahead of you (in line at a store or merging on a highway)
· Donate to a local charity (food bank, animal shelter, medical center, emergency services)
· Give a friend a break and take their children for a fun day
· Buy a bouquet of flowers, put a note on them that says “just to brighten your day” and leave them at a random house in your neighborhood
· Donate blood
· Volunteer at your local hospital
· Bake a large batch of cookies and deliver to your local fire or EMS department
· Donate gently used clothing and household goods to your local shelter (preferably a not for profit organization)
· Help an elderly neighbor by mowing their lawn or weeding their flower beds
· Help someone who is lost, if you can manage the time, take them to their destination rather than giving directions
· Write a note to a friend that is single and send it in the mail
· Buy a “just because” gift for a friend that has been going through a rough time
· Help your parents with a good house cleaning
· Offer to pick up food (take out or grocery store) when you are going for a neighbor
Everyone could use a good deed, just pay attention to their needs and help when you can!
Watching a parent age can be very difficult. The person that you once looked to for guidance and support is now looking to you for the same thing. It can be very disconcerting, and sad, but it is a normal fact of life and of course you will want to do everything you can to make life easier for your mom or dad.
One simple thing you can do is have them sign a power-of-attorney("POA"). This document will give you (or some other trusted person) the power to act in your parent's place to manage his or her affairs. This can save a lot of time and anxiety if/when your parent becomes incapacitated.
My father-in-law is in decent health, but we have noticed that his memory is slipping considerably. He already has me take care of most of his finances (paying bills, filing taxes, etc.), but I do all of that online and there is no actual form giving me authority to do so.
He agreed to sign a durable power-of-attorney, which means that at any time my husband (the "agent") can step in and take care of any of his financial matters. This gives all of us peace of mind in case my father-in-law (the "principal") declines to a point where he is unable to perform the functions himself. It will save us a lot of time and paperwork trying to get the authority to take over his affairs.
There is also an ordinary POA, which becomes inoperative if the parent becomes incapacitated (I guess the reasoning here is that the parent would not be of sound mind if s/he wanted to revoke the POA). We opted for the durable POA because we want the document in place continuously and my father-in-law is unconcerned about giving his son access to all of his finances. In other words, he trusts us!
Note: all POAs terminate upon death, or by court order, and they can be revoked at any time (but if the person is incapacitated, that would be difficult to do).
The POA can be "general", as in our case, or "limited" if the powers are only to do one specific thing, such as sell a piece of property. There can be more than one agent, and the principal can decide if s/he wants the agents to act jointly (all must sign to make any moves) or severally (only one must sign). In families where there is a lack of trust---they do exist!---requiring that all sign jointly may alleviate some of the problems.
There is also a "springing" POA that only goes into effect upon a specific triggering event (for instance, the incapacitation of the parent).
There's lots to learn and think about, but if you have an aging parent and they are open to discussing their future financial affairs, a POA might be a good idea. A great article to get you started is here: http://www.agingcare.com/Articles/what-is-durable-power-of-attorney-140233.htm
Forms are available online and could be filled out without the help of an attorney, but each state has different guidelines so it might be a good idea to consult an attorney for assistance.
Summer is finally here! Kids, both young and old, are home for the summer. Now what do you do to avoid “Mom, I’m bored!” It’s important to incorporate a balance of work, exercise, learning and rest daily. It is certainly not easy to adapt to a completely new schedule either.
Young Kids/Older Kids:
· Develop a weekly schedule to meet expectations, include meals, play, learning activities, chores and naps (if applicable)
· Sign up for summer camps or classes
· Form a group with friends and neighbors-coordinate playdates or trade off watching each other’s children to give yourself a break
· Incorporate them into your life-have them help with household chores, shopping, planning and preparing meals
· Coordinate day care a couple of days a week to give yourself a break
· Search websites for fun DYI projects and activities
· Take advantage of local museums and tourist activities
· Adhere to a set bedtime
· Adhere to expectation and rules
· Ensure your spouse is in agreement of expectations and plans
This group is unique in that they are adults, but still rely on their families for support while they are learning for the their future careers. It is important to treat them with respect and allow independence while ensuring you are not taken advantage of. Furthermore you want to ensure a peaceful and stress-free living situation.
· Make expectations clear as soon as they arrive home
· Have a conversation about expect rules and roles in your home
· Allow them the freedom to choose their schedule so as long as they are completing tasks previously agreed upon
· Keep an open mind and understand there is more than one way to do things
· Encourage internships or shadowing experiences
· Encourage part time or full time jobs
· Talk frequently with respect on issues that arise, allow them to discuss their feelings without fear of being shut down or interrupted
· Ensure your spouse is in agreement of expectations and plans
Plan ahead and have a wonderful summer break! ~Liza
Most of us have many bottles of vitamin supplements stacked in our cabinets and on our counters. We feel healthier when we take a vitamin, but do you really NEED it and is it helping you? The surprising answer, is NO!
Unless a healthcare provider has prescribed a multivitamin or supplement for you, you probably should not be taking one. First, vitamins and supplements are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Thus, you may not be taking what you think you are or the correct amount. The highest quality supplements tend to be the more expensive ones, which are often passed over for those on a budget.
Secondly, vitamins and supplements will not make up for a poor diet. If you eat a healthy, well rounded diet, you are probably getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Have your medical provider test your levels to determine if you have any deficiency prior to taking vitamins and supplements.
Furthermore, excessive doses can cause harm or even death! With fortified foods and drinks, multivitamins and additional supplements, it can be easy to unknowingly over dose. Most water soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine when you have too much. However, several vitamins and supplements are not easily removed and build up causing problems. Over supplementing can decrease the absorption of some essential vitamins and minerals. Too much vitamin C or zinc can cause nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps. Too much selenium can lead to hair loss, GI upset, fatigue and nerve damage and too much vitamin B can cause leg cramps. Exceeding the recommended dose of vitamin D may lead to serious heart problems. Excessive folic acid can mask vitamin B12 deficiency and lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated. Toxic levels of iron can cause skin discoloration, enlarged liver or spleen, abdominal pain, congestive heart failure, irregular heart rhythms and insulin dependent diabetes.
This is not a complete list of all of the side effects and dangers of overdosing on vitamins and supplements, but this should get your attention to realize that these are not always safe and need to be considered with all of the other medications you take and food you typically eat. Sit down with your medical provider or a nutritionist to determine what supplements are necessary for you and what dose you need to take based on your deficiency and the diet you normally consume.
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