Empty Nest Syndrome Is Common – Here’s How to Cope.

 

Well, here you are: The last kiddo has left home and you’re feeling pretty blue. Maybe you’re worrying all the time. You’re probably a little lonesome (or a lot). If you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, the good news is you are not alone. Most parents experience at least some of these feelings in varying degrees. Here are five suggestions for coping with empty nest syndrome and finding your groove again.

 

The Empty Nest Is Actually Full—of Emotions

 

According to GoodTherapy.org, empty nesters may experience insomnia, anxiety and/or panic—as well as feelings of extreme grief, isolation/loneliness, guilt and purposelessness. They may even lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Psychology Today notes that “…parents often struggle with a profound sense of loss, not just because they miss their child, but because their very identities have been significantly impacted.” In other words, if your parenting role has changed so dramatically, who are you?

In two-parent families, empty nest syndrome is at least a team experience—one partner can offer support and empathy when the other is struggling. For divorced, widowed or single parents, however, there may unfortunately be an even greater sense of isolation and loneliness.

 

 

Five Ways to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

 

1. Participate in Activities That Include Others.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need friends. If you’re already involved in a community group, don’t stop now! If you’ve been too busy, go ahead and sign up for those art classes, start a band, look into university extension programs, or join a new class at the gym. The excitement and energy of taking up a new hobby or learning something new is a real balm for feelings of loss, and being around other people can help stave off social isolation.

 

2. Find New Ways to Feel Valued and Needed.

One of the rewards of parenting is the feeling of being important to another person. While nothing will ever replace the love between a parent and child, you can find some fulfillment in helping others. Look for a volunteer organization that aligns with your values and sign up! Offer to read books at a nearby school, or hold babies in the NICU at your local hospital. Sign up to work at a local food bank or community garden. Or use your skills to help others—knit blankets for hospital patients, teach home repair skills… the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

 

3. Embrace a New Adventure.

If your time and budget allow it, why not enjoy all that traveling you put off during the busy parenting years? Some empty nesters even decide to sell their homes and travel full-time! While that might not be the right choice for you, having a trip to plan and look forward to (and then enjoy) can be very therapeutic.

 

4. Embark On an Encore Career.

If you’ve reached retirement age, becoming an empty nester might inspire you to re-enter the working worldEncore careers can take on many forms — a coaching or consultative role in your former industry, professionalizing one of your skills (such as giving art lessons), or even joining the staff at a nonprofit. These “second-act” jobs can be a great way to recharge your spirits, stay engaged and extend your retirement income.

 

5. Discover the Benefits of Homesharing.

Sometimes an empty nest means you’ve got unused space in your home. Homesharing offers a wonderful way to put that space to work and have some company around the house. In homesharing, your renter (or “housemate” pays rent or does household chores (or a combination of the two) in exchange for living space.

 

Some homeowners find housemates by asking around among friends and neighbors, or by advertising in the community, online or on social media. Silvernest uses unique roommate-matching technology and other tools to make homesharing simple and worry-free. We’ve helped build happy homesharing agreements between people of similar ages or across generations.

 

There’s Hope Ahead.

Those “empty nest” feelings are normal and natural. While you’ll always miss having your kids around, the most intense emotions usually ease with time. However, if you find yourself too depressed or anxious to fully participate in your life as you once did, please seek out professional support. A trained therapist or, if need be, psychiatrist can help you work your way through this transition to a brighter future.

 

Silvernest is a one-stop-shop online homesharing platform that pairs boomers, retirees, empty nesters and other older adults with compatible housemates for long-term rent arrangements. Through these creative living situations, homeowners earn extra income (about $10,000 a year), remain in their homes longer, and keep isolation at bay, while renters pay far less than market rent. Both enjoy companionship and the efficiencies that come with sharing a space.

 

See the original article here: https://blog.silvernest.com/you-are-not-alone-empty-nest-syndrome-is-common.-heres-how-to-cope

Winterize Your Home – Avoid Headaches!

 

Fall is here, which means, like it or not, cold weather is just around the corner. While most of us would prefer not to think about turning on our heat just yet, this is actually the best time to check your heating to ensure everything is operating as it should. Neglecting to winterize your home and letting small issues pile up can have big repercussions. Ahead of the winter season, make sure you’re aware of three major things that may go wrong if you don’t winterize your house or neglect your heating system.

 

  1. Your utility bills may skyrocket. Utility bills often jump up in the winter due to the increased hours of darkness and the cost to heat your home. But if your heater is on the fritz or your filters are clogged, you could be in for an even bigger surprise. Dirty filters cause your furnace to work harder, which leads to inefficiency and a shortened lifespan for your heating system. Replacing filters is often an easy task for homeowners. A yearly tune-up is an inexpensive way to help prevent a costly system breakdown in the coming months. Also, keep in mind that some warranties require annual tune-ups, so don’t let your warranty go invalid by skipping this year’s tune-up.

 

  1. The threat of carbon monoxide is very real. Do you know how old your furnace is? Do you know how long it’s been since a professional checked it over? Carbon monoxide poses a health threat when the heating system flue, vent or chimney becomes blocked from debris or other material. During a heating system tune-up, a professional service technician can check to make sure all your vents are not blocked and are working properly. Drains and traps also need to be checked and combustion gases should be analyzed and compared to the specifications of your furnace or boiler to make sure everything is running safely. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home is another smart way to help with early detection.

 

  1. Water pipes can burst. It’s not just your heating system that needs to be winterized. All too often it happens – we wake up to realize our pipes are frozen, or even worse, leaking. Before the cold sets in, make sure outside hoses are put away and water is turned off. Evaluate which pipes are at the greatest risk for freezing during cold weather. For example, if your water pipes come up from an un-insulated crawl space, or if they are in or close to an uninsulated outside wall or vent, they are more likely to freeze and burst in low temperatures. Inside pipes should be covered in insulation to keep pipes warmer longer. Pipe insulation is easy to apply and available at most hardware stores and home centers.

 

By having an annual tune-up in the fall, you can catch small issues now, instead of experiencing bigger problems in the dead of winter. A tune-up with a reputable local company can also save energy, reduce heating costs and prevent a system breakdown in the coming months.

 

 

 

Fire Prevention Week: Elderly More Likely to Die in Home Fires

fire safewty for elders

A firefighter helps an elderly couple plan for their escape from a home fire. Credit: US Fire Administration

 

Age Safe America announces Fire Prevention Week, October 6-12 from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This years theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”. This year’s campaign recognizes the everyday people who motivate their households to develop and practice a home fire escape plan; these seemingly basic behaviors can have life-saving impact. For those of us who are older adults or care for older adults, this message is vital.

“This year’s campaign works to celebrate people of all ages who learn about home fire escape planning and practice, bring that information home, and spur their families to action,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA.

“Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” also focuses on what a home escape plan entails and the value of practicing it. These messages are more important than ever, particularly because today’s homes burn faster than ever. Carli notes that synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, are contributing factors to the increased burn rate.

“People tend to underestimate their risk to fire, particularly at home. That over-confidence lends itself to a complacency toward home escape planning and practice,” said Carli. “But in a fire situation, we’ve seen time and again that advance planning can make a potentially life-saving difference.”

A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home. Home escape plans should be practiced twice a year by all members of the household. If you are an older adult, a family or professional caregiver, the escape routes may be different and the traditional escape routes, such as the windows, may not be feasible. So it is vital to identify the routes that will work with the challenges. Remember to notify local fire and emergency personnel if someone in the home has special equipment or difficulty leaving the home. Many fire departments have special lists for individuals in their territory who may require additional assistance.

A new study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows scientifically for the first time that an individual’s ability to respond quickly to a residential fire determines who dies and who gets injured. Home fire deaths, the NIST researchers state, are more likely among those they define as frail populations—persons who are not in robust health and primarily age 65 and older—while nonfatal injuries occur more often in adults ages 20 to 49.

For more information about Fire Prevention Week and “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!,” along with a wealth of resources to help promote the campaign locally, visit fpw.org.

 

 

Impact of Falls on Caregivers and Employers

family caregivers

 

During Fall Prevention Week we consider the Impact of falls on Caregivers and Employers. One of the most staggering statistics for companies is the lost productivity by employees acting as caregivers. The losses range from lack of attention to current job tasks, more time away from work for appointments and caregiving to the increased levels of stress and health-related issues for the employees themselves. Informal caregiving burdens cost employers as much as $33 Billion annually in lost productivity according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.

American workers must make the most out of their situation when life happens while performing at an optimum level. That’s the corporate ideal, but on a personal level, the burden of caregiving can exceed a worker’s mental fortitude and earning potential. A new report from the Harvard Business School Project on Managing the Future of Work shows companies lose too when workers must decide when to care for a loved one or to keep on working.

“The Caring Company,” from co-authors Joseph B. Fuller and Manjari Raman, suggests companies are ignoring the “silent crisis of caregiving” as it pertains to today’s workers. A rapidly aging population, more women in the labor force and misalignment of benefits are contributing to pressures on work-life balance. For companies that espouse a culture of caring, many are unprepared to expand their conception of caregiving and benefits beyond family leave or more flexible work options.

In the authors’ estimation, companies do not calculate or understand the costs their workers incur when absent from the job or working when distracted or fatigued. High turnover and training costs are hidden from companies’ bottom lines while parents and elder caregivers are acutely aware of what they sacrifice in pay, time and mental strength. The rising cost of child and elder care is eating into earnings, leading workers — mainly women, who still shoulder the majority of caregiving responsibilities — to restrict their careers.

Workers’ expertise leaves with them when they suspend their careers, and many companies aren’t offering a pathway back to pick up where they left off. The result is a miscommunication between the two parties. According to the report, workers suffer in silence and do not utilize their benefits to ease their caregiving burden in fear of negative consequences while companies could look at this underutilization and say that there isn’t a problem. “The Caring Company” illustrates how companies operate in ignorance and pay lip service to caring, while not accommodating a widening spectrum of issues related to care.

The report comes at a time where dynamic population and healthcare trends are coinciding with a labor and skills shortage.

It doesn’t have to be this way! There are professionally trained Senior Home Safety Specialists™ who can provide the information and solutions to reduce the stress and worry about aging parents at home while an employee is attempting to put in a full day’s work. Age Safe® America has trained professionals throughout North America, Europe and the Middle East to provide the valuable resources for HR departments and EAP program administrators.

Our mutual goals are better, healthier, less stressed, more productive employees who have confidence that their family members have the right solutions in place for their home environments.

 

Age Safe® Live Well.

 

Falls Prevention Awareness Day – Change is Possible!

Falls Prevention Awareness Day!

Falls Prevention Awareness Day!

 

 

The annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults. We have heard the statistics over and over. One in 3 Americans over the age of 65 will fall this year. One in 2 Americans over the age of 80 will fall this year. Falls account for 40% of nursing home admissions. It doesn’t have to be this way! As our population ages and the demographic studies tell us that the longevity for the current generations is greater than any other time in history, then this is the opportunity to change the statistics. Ten years from now, the fall rate among Americans can be significantly different. But in order to do so, we must take the action.

 

The social activism of the 60’s needs to translate into personal activism to maximize the independence and control we can exert in our lives. This generation took the action 50 years ago to affect military policy, civil rights and the creation of Older Americans Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are too many stories of people moving into assisted living communities or long-term care, not by choice but by necessity. We all know an individual, family member, friend, member of our social circle or faith community who has not had the chance to remain independent.

 

You must be the change you want to see in the world….Gandhi

 

Be the change—-get a professional home safety evaluation. A trained specialist can identify the opportunities and changes that we don’t see for ourselves. They may suggest to add the grab bars and motion lights, clear the pathways and make sure our entrances are safe and easy to navigate. (The extra benefit of a safe entrance is a safe exit during an emergency or natural disaster!) You can make an appointment get your eyes checked, mark your calendar and get it done! On the next visit, take your list of questions and review your meds with the doctor. Exercise can be as simple as a short walk or stretch or taking a class in person, by video or on TV.

 

We cannot look back and wish we had our home evaluated or our eyes checked.

Our future selves are relying on our taking the steps today to change the trajectory of our lives and change those awful, realistic statistics. Take a step today to Age Safe® and Live Well!

 

Change the Statistics, Make a Difference.

 

Plan for independence!

We all want to live safe, independent and comfortable, regardless of our age or ability. Unfortunately, many homes were not designed to give you freedom as you age. Whether you are living by yourself or with a family member, you can design your own additions or home modifications that will help you continue living independently. Trained advisors and qualified contractors are available to help you plan and create the safety, comfort and flexibility in the home that you want and need. Age Safe® Live Well.

 

 

Join NCOA for Falls Prevention Awareness Day 2019 events! #FPAD2019 

https://www.ncoa.org/healthy-aging/falls-prevention/falls-prevention-awareness-day/

Essential Home Modifications and Universal Design Features for Mobility Users

Unversal Design

After Rosemarie Rossetti’s spinal cord injury in June 1998, she found that access to appliances, counters, and storage in her kitchen became challenging, hazardous and frustrating. The microwave, oven controls, and wall cabinets were out of reach. (Photo: Mark Leder)

 

Rosemarie Rossetti’s Story

When I came home from the rehabilitation center in a wheelchair for the first time after my T12-L1 incomplete spinal cord injury in June 1998, my husband, Mark, pulled me in my wheelchair up three steps at the front door. He then pushed me over the carpeted great room, too weak to roll myself. In the kitchen, I rolled on the linoleum and tried to get an unreachable glass out of the wall cabinet. Mark handed me the glass. I took it to the sink but couldn’t reach the faucet. Mark poured me a glass of water.

 

The realization I was so dependent on Mark hit me hard. So much was out of reach in the kitchen, including the freezer, microwave, and shelves. There was no knee space under the sink or cooktop. The 36-inch-high counters were too high for comfort. The oven door was hinged on the bottom, making it very difficult for me to position myself to use the oven. Frustration was intense as I tried to imagine how to live independently. With my home not accessible, I was keenly aware of the obstacles that intensified my disability.

 

Entering and Exiting the Home and Internal Mobility

Entering and exiting the home is a primary concern; inability causes the person to become homebound and unable to leave the home in an emergency. Many homes have at least one step at entrances. Each entry should be evaluated for the possibility of adding a ramp, either wood with appropriate weatherizing materials or aluminum. While the code for ramps requires 12 inches in length for every 1 inch of rise, there is a growing movement to change the code to 18 inches in length for every 1 inch of rise to make an easier-to-traverse ramp. When a ramp is not possible, installing a vertical platform lift brings people up to the level of a landing at the door.

 

Once inside, various access challenges can arise. Beyond wider doorways and 5-foot turning radiuses, thresholds can be problematic. Thresholds should be no more than ½ inch high beveled. If unable to decrease the threshold height, two small ramps (aluminum or rubber) on either side of the threshold can solve the problem. Automatic door-opening systems can be installed to remove the need to physically open the door. A version is available for nearly any door, controllable via remote control, push pads, and motion sensors. Swing-away door hinges add 2 inches of space when replacing regular door hinges—just enough to fit a wheelchair.

 

Guest Post by Rosemarie Rossetti, PhD, CLIPP, SHSS and Monique Chabot, OTD, OTR/L, CLIPP, CAPS

Originally published

Read the Entire Story Here: http://www.rehabpub.com/2018/11/essential-home-modifications-universal-design-features-mobility-users/