Winter is Not Over Yet…

Winter Road Michigan

Yes, winter is still here, despite the predictions from Punxsutawney Phil. And it will soon show that spring may yet be a long way away when Winter Storm Rocky arrives in our area this afternoon.

Here are some practical tips for seniors, in anticipation of this latest blast of cold, wintry weather:

• Layer your clothing, being sure to watch fingers and toes for over exposure to the cold.

• Stay active: low impact activities or light household chores are good ways to stay mobile.

• Eat well and drink plenty of water. Keep your body hydrated and fueled!

• Arrange to have others plow and/or shovel the snow and ice from your driveways, Snow Removal MIsidewalks, ramps, and around entry doors. The strain from the cold and hard labor can cause health issues like muscle and joint strains and tears, stroke, and heart attack. And falling on the ice can lead to painful bruises and even broken bones.

• Make sure you and your family know how to turn off the water supply in case the pipes freeze and then burst.

• Be aware of the dangers of overloading outlets and extension cords. Keep space heaters at least three (3) feet from flammable objects. Have a fire extinguisher in a convenient place and read the directions to make sure you know how to use it. Check the batteries on fire alarms and make sure they are in good working condition.

• Check your carbon monoxide detector and replace the batteries if necessary.

• Prepare your vehicle: check wipers/tires/lights/fluid levels; keep a windshield scraper/small broom for ice and snow removal inside near your door; and maintain at least a half tank of gas, although a full tank is preferable.

• Plan only necessary trips outside during snowy weather and use extra caution. Travel during the day, let someone know where you are going, when you expect to arrive and about what time you will return, and take at least one other person with you if possible.

Spring will be here soon. In the meantime, stay safe!

Random Acts of Kindness

RAK_kindness_tag_3 copy

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” –Mark Twain.

As you may or may not know, Random Acts of Kindness Week is coming up. There is even an organization that is dedicated to this cause. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’s mission is to inspire people to practice kindness and pass it on to others. This seems so simple, yet so few of us think about it. This is a huge challenge, as we are all so busy, because we tend to get caught up in our own lives.

While we have an entire week, and an organization, dedicated to doing random acts of kindness, there are people out there who make kindness an integral part of their lives and practice it all the time. One example of those who do random acts of kindness all the time is caregivers to seniors all over the country. Caregivers provide care to others, giving their time and energy to those who need it. They provide not only physical support, but also emotional support. Women and men regularly take the time to go grocery shopping for seniors, take them to doctor’s appointments, and run other errands. They also provide emotional support when seniors just want to sit and talk; they provide a compassionate ear. Sometimes caregivers have a choice in the role they play to seniors; sometimes they do not. Here are a few facts about caregivers (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention):

• There are approximately 34 million unpaid caregivers who provide care to those ill or disabled.

• An estimated 21% of households in the U.S. are impacted by caregiving responsibilities.

• Unpaid caregivers provide an estimated 90% of long-term care.

• The majority (83%) are family caregivers- family members, friends, and neighbors of all ages who are providing care for a relative.

I had the opportunity to witness the impact caregivers have on seniors while volunteering at a senior living community. The actions of these women and men would vary considerably. They would attend guest performances with seniors, making sure everyone was comfortably situated so they could get the most enjoyment from the event. Other times, caregivers would go on walks with the seniors, giving them a chance to enjoy some fresh air or just get some exercise. Additionally, I would observe them simply sitting with the seniors, reading, knitting, or watching TV. The action of merely providing company for the seniors made a significant and lasting impact on their lives. I was struck by the fact that while many of these actions were simple, they had a profound impact on the lives of everyone in the community. The caregivers’ time and commitment helped make the community feel like a home.

We see and experience random acts of kindness all the time, as it can take many forms. Caregivers to seniors are just one example. From the simplest random act of kindness, such as a smile, to the more involved, such as running errands, random acts of kindness can have a huge impact on the recipient, the giver, as well as everyone else.

What will your random act of kindness be this week, next week, and every week?