8 Steps to Taking Care of Elderly Parents.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Ephesians 6:2  Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise.

My Mom’s HS Picture

When we are young, our parents do everything for us. As we get older, their role of taking care of us lessens and eventually goes away. Usually somewhere in our 20s or early 30s, parents become more like friends and confidants.

Then the time comes when we notice our parents can’t do what they once did. They start to slow down and have health problems. At some point, we begin to realize that our parents have started to need our help occasionally. The longer our parent live, the more help they need.

Then the day comes when our parents are no longer there. If we have honored and taken care of them, we share memories about them and miss them, but we don’t live in regret. This is the goal. Here are a 7 things to consider about taking care of elderly parents.

Visit your parents regularly. As our children get older, we sometimes have such busy lives that we don’t take time to visit with our parents. Make a special point of scheduling a time to visit you parents every week, or if you live far away, at least every three months. This will mean a lot to them, but it will also help you live without regrets. We used to visit my husband’s mom every Sunday after church. Now that she is gone, we treasure those visits.

Go to doctor’s visits with them. Sometimes elderly parents get confused and don’t remember everything their doctor says during the visits. Other times, parents downplay the doctor’s advice because they have a hard time accepting they can’t live the way they used to or because they don’t want to be a burden. If you are with them, you can help them make the decisions they need to make.

Protect Your Parents from Scams. Scam artists prey on the elderly. There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the elderly are confused easily or don’t understand the complexities of security in our technical age. The main reason is because as people get older, the part of their brains that warn of danger decrease. Have hard conversations with your parents about what to look for. Put safe guards in place. Do whatever you have to to keep your parents safe form these evil people. Your parents might be angry about you interfering in their lives, but it’s worth it if they aren’t scammed out of their life savings. Here’s an AARP article that might help. Keep Your Parents Safe from Scams.

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

My mother-in-law, Charlotte Kraft (1924-2013)

Talk to siblings about who does what before the conversation is needed. There may be one sibling who lives closet to the parents and takes on more responsibility of hands on care, but that doesn’t mean other siblings should be out of the loop. They can help in other ways even if they live a distance away. They can help by providing financial support or investigating information like Medicare or care facilities. One sibling could take care of the elderly parents’ finances while another looks into funeral plans. It is important to discuss this ahead of time.

Take care of documents. Make sure your parents make living wills to let you and health care facilities know how they want to be cared for. Encourage them to place your name on their accounts. Discuss with them about when they would want to give you power of attorney over medical and financial matters. Make sure their wills are up to date and they have decided which sibling gets what – in writing. Ask them what they would like done at their funerals and if they would like to preplan them. These are morbid topics most people avoid until an emergency comes along.

Decide on long-term care. It is possible your parents can stay in their house until they die, but they might want to go to an assisted living facility when they get too old to care for themselves. Ask which they prefer.

Home Care: If you decide on home care, start looking into assistance you can bring into the home. This is what my mother-in-law decided, and she was able to stay at home until her last illness when she died in the hospital. At first, you will need someone to take care of the yard and clean the house. You’ll also want to set up a medic alert system so they can get emergency assistance if they need it. Later you might need someone to prepare meals. At some point, you might need someone to stay with them part-time or give around the clock care. Home health care workers and elderly sitters are cheaper than you might think and provide a way for the elderly to stay in their homes.

Assisted Living: If you decide to go this route, check into it early. There is usually a waiting list, and you’ll want your parents moved in before they need a lot of help. Assisted living facilities provide most services as needed for additional costs. So if they move in sooner, they can become comfortable in their new homes before they need to pay for the service available.

Nursing Homes: The day may come when you can no longer care for your parents, and a nursing home becomes the only option. When this happens, don’t feel guilty. The important thing is to your homework and find the right facility. Once you do, make sure to communicate with the staff often and visit regularly. Elderly patients with family advocates do much better in these facilities.

Hospice: If it ever comes time for hospice, decide ahead of time whether you will have home hospice of use a hospice facility. If you decide to use a facility, check them out and decide your top three choices before you need to make that decision. Not all hospice facilities are equal.

Be willing to sacrifice. You may have to sacrifice your plans at times, but God will reward you for every sacrifice you make. Remember how your parents sacrificed for you. It also might help you to thing about how you would like to be treated by your children in the same circumstances.

Set boundaries. Sometimes the elderly become demanding because they don’t feel good or because they become confused. In these cases, you may need to set boundaries. Remember that God wants you to consider the needs of your spouse and children first. Ask God to help you know when and where to set limits.

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Planning Family Nights Your Kids will Always Remember

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Family Night

In the “Leave It to Beaver” days of the 50s and 60s, almost every family sat down to eat dinner at 6:00. Nobody would call or stop by during dinner, because it was the dinner hour. With the busy lives we live, dinner hour is a thing of the past. That’s sad because we need time each week for the family to get together.

When family nights done right, they help families stay close and connected, and create memories children will always remember. But if don’t set up some ground rules ahead of time, family nights can become disasters your kids will remember for the wrong reasons. Here are seven ground rules to help you establish quality time with your family.

1. Attendance is mandatory. Nobody is allowed out of family night, not even parents. Family night is sacred. You need this rule because if you start making exceptions, there will be no family night.

2. Activities are planned. It doesn’t matter what your family does for family night. You could play board games or go bowling. If your family is active, you could go rock climbing or bicycling. The important thing is to do an activity together everyone can participate in.

3. No together alone activities allowed. There are certain activities that don’t allow families to connect. This happens when the members of the family are together, doing the same things, but they don’t interact with each other. Among activities off limits for family night are television watching, going to the movies, and playing video games. Plan activities where everyone is engaged with each other.

4. No arguing allowed. Set up ground rules with kids ahead of time that during family night, no squabbling, arguing, or fighting will be tolerated. Parents, this goes for you too. Family night is not the time to discuss your children’s bad grades or misbehavior.

5. Let children talk. Many times, parents talk to the children, telling them what to do, without allowing the children to talk. Tonight is the chance for children to share what’s going on in their lives without a lecture.

6. Start with a devotion. This is the best way to start a family night. Let the children know that God is the center of your family. If you’re creative, you can plan family nights with activities that go with the devotion.

7. Have fun. If a child complains that he doesn’t want to do the activity or he’s bored, remind him no pouting or sour attitudes are allowed. Everyone is expected to participate and have fun. Be very firm about this. There is nothing that can ruin a family night like a child acting like he doesn’t want to be there. The attitude spreads like wildfire.

4 Steps to Enhance Your Relationships

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Many times, people try to show love, but they don’t show it in a way others accept. This happens because we don’t understand the differences in love languages. When we try to love their family member using our love language, but our loved one has a different love language, miscommunication can happen. That’s why it is important to understand love languages. There are 5 love languages.

Words of Affirmation: You feel loved when people affirm you with their words.

Acts of Service: You feel loved when people do things for you.

Receiving Gifts: You feel loved when people give you gifts.

Attention: You feel loved when people give you their undivided attention.

Affection or Physical Touch: You feel loved when you are touched appropriately.

Now that you know a little about love languages, your challenge for today is to do these four steps to enhance your relationships.

Step One: Take this test online at this link to find out what your love language is.

Step Two: Tell your spouse or a close loved one what your love language is.

Step Three: Find out your spouse’s, children’s, and close loved one’s love languages. If they are willing to take the test, have them do so.

Step Four: Because it is more important to give than to receive, plan to do something special for your loved ones using their love language.

 

10 Steps to Declutter Your Home.

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Clutter is an epidemic in the US. Many of us have way to much stuff to enjoy what we have, but we worry about parting with some of it for sentimental reasons or because we spent a lot of money on it. How much money we wasted is in the past. If we want a peaceful environment, room to stay organized, and a place for everything so we don’t have to spend precious time looking for it, we need to get rid of our stuff. Trust me. It will feel so good when your done.

Start at the front door of your house. Many people are paralysis when they consider where to start. I’ll make it easy for you. Start at the front door. Are there any shoes there you don’t wear? Do you have too many coats? If you have more than three winter coats, you have too many.

Go in a clockwise circle around the room and organize. Next circle the room. As you get to each place in your room, decide what you need to keep and what needs to go. Then go to the next room.

Keep four boxes and trashcan with you.

The first box is labeled “Put Away”. This is for stuff that you need to put away or find a place for. Resist the temptation to put it away now. You might have a lot more room when you’re done.

The second box is labeled “Give Away” or “Sell”. These are items that have some value but you don’t need. It’s difficult to part with something you spent money on, but if you give it to the poor or sell it, you’ll feel better about freeing up that space. After you’re done decluttering, sell this stuff on e-bay or at a garage sale and make some money, or take it to the Salvation Army or AmVets. There also might be some items family members would cherish. Consider giving some of your stuff to them.

The third box is for storage. These are items you need, but you don’t need them all the time. Christmas and Fall decorations would fall in this category. Label each storage box with what is in that box for easy reference later.

The fourth box is for keepsakes and memorials that mean a great deal to you. This box is not for the pencil your nine year old took to school his first day of Kindergarten. These keepsakes should be important and irreplaceable. Things like your wedding certificate and your children’s first teeth might go here. After you’re finished organizing, you can go back to this box and decide how to display some of these items. If you don’t have room to display them, it might be better to get rid of them. Keeping a keepsake packed away in the garage for years doesn’t help you feel any fond memories about it.

The trashcan is for everything else. Be merciless about this. You don’t need 20 pieces of string just in case. You don’t need a cleaning product you never used but bought because it looked good on QVC. You don’t need a 20 gallon drum of Spic and Span. Get rid of it and free up your space and your life. You might also want to have a recycle bag for items you can take to the recycle plant later. See, you are helping the environment by decluttering.

Evaluate your stuff. Have you used it in the last year? Do you intend to use it within a month? Does it have great sentimental value? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you can keep it. Otherwise get rid of it. You will be amazed at how much stress you can get rid of by getting rid of your stuff.

Repeat in every room.

Go through the keepsakes again. After you’re finished organizing, you can go back to this box and decide how to display some of these items. Keeping a keepsake packed away in the garage for years doesn’t help you feel any fond memories about it. One idea is to start a scrapbook or memory box for each of your children. If you have too many keepsakes to fill one memory box for each child or to display your treasures, go through them again, and try to cut them down by half.

Organize Puzzle Shows Arranging Or OrganizingFind a place for all your put away items. At this point, you may have to get rid of some of them. You don’t need 53 pens and 7 pairs of scissors. The first time I went through this process, I found out I had seven 99 cent turkey basters. My husband convinced me to keep two so I had a back-up, but nobody needs seven turkey basters. Get rid of excess items.

Find a place for your storage boxes. They should be easily accessible but not take up prime space in your home. A storage closet, shelves in the garage, the attic, or the basement work well for storage boxes.

Find a place for your garage sale or e-bay items and label the boxes with the date. If you don’t sell them within a year, take them to the Salvation Army. You never will get to selling them if your haven’t within a year. Do not open the boxes to look through them at this point. You’ve gone without them for this long. It’s time to let go.

Repeat decluttering process at least once a year. Enjoy the peace that comes from a decluttered house.

Five Lessons Learned from This Summer

by Carole Brown

Seasons have a way of teaching us things we need to know, and this summer, I’ve certainly had many opportunities. Did I take heed and learn the lessons God 

little-boy-in-dandelions free

brought to my attention? I certainly hope so.

  • Pay attention to the children. They’re only little once and every minute counts when you have the opportunity to be with them. And who knows which one may be crying out for help in unspoken words? Encourage their endeavors, laugh often, criticize less, listen to the spoken and unspoken words from these “founts of wisdom, love a lot, and do what you can for them. It’s so very much worth it!

 

  • Pay attention to the world around you. My youngest grandson recently picked upgravel-rocks free a common ole gravel and gave it to me declaring it unique and lovely. Was it? In his eyes, yes. In my eyes? Yes, for two reasons. He gave it to me and the gift automatically transformed a common gravel into a thing of beauty. Remember how the sand feels on your bare feet? How long has it been since you’ve listened–really listened–to the world around you? Don’t lose these natural soothing sounds. Don’t forget to love the beauty that surrounds you–simple or magnificent. All of us can’t travel to exotic places, but beauty is found everywhere. 

 

  • Time flies.  As we grow older we realize what our youth didn’t: time certainly doesclock free fly. A few days ago, August started; now, today I’m catching glimpses of the end of the month. Sigh. We’ve had two vacations at the lake house, one vacation at the beach, one at camp, and a short trip to Gettysburg. Now, Grandsons have begun school, and we’re looking at Autumn! Don’t let any period of time pass you by without having memories to write down, share with others, pictures, or paste into scrapbooks. What were your most valuable moments? What words were spoken that will forever glow in your heart?

 

  • Some things only pass by us one time. I’m reminded often tosunrise free take advantage of playing with make believe with my grandson, to listen while my older ones still want to ask questions or tell me their observations. Do I think differently? Sometimes, but that’s not what it’s important. How can I neglect their trust now then expect their attention when they’ve grown up? Why would I want to sleep in another ten minutes when hubby wants to take that sunrise walk? Don’t lose focus that…sometimes we only get that one opportunity. 

 

  • Say less. I did one of those fun, but crazy, quizzes on Facebook the other day wherequiet free they determined (scientifically, I’m sure. Lol) what color I was. As I suspected, they described me as I already knew was my basic personality. One of the things mentioned was my desire to get along, and that’s true. I don’t like havoc and disturbance, problems and disagreements (although I’m realistic enough to know we’ll encounter them) in my life. I like making others happy. How do we do that? We can’t always, but sometimes, as I was reminded this summer, the less said, the better. We don’t always have to reply, we don’t always have to voice our opinion, and we certainly don’t always have to defend ourselves or what we believe (although I don’t believe in being a doormat either!). Sometimes we have to learn when the time is right and walk away. 

Were there more? Plenty! But if I can carry through on accepting and initiating these lessons, I will have improved my own life and possibly encouraged others to be better persons. 

How was your summer and did the season/events help you learn valuable lessons?

 

Top 10 Tips for Starting the School Year Right

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Most children start back to school this month. Here are 10 tips to make the school year easier.

1. Start the school routine early. Most children stay up a little later during the summer. It takes at least a week or two for their bodies to get adjusted to the new sleep schedule. It will help them get a head start if you place them on that schedule at least a week before school starts.

2. Help your children decide a homework time. Children are more apt to follow through on homework assignments if they have a say in initiating it. Discuss with your child how much time he’ll need to do his homework, when’s the best time, and where he should work. Some children would rather do their homework as soon as they get home and get it out of the way, but other children need to unwind before they can concentrate on more work. Work with them instead of against their natural work habits.

3. Set up a homework station. Some children like to work out in the open where everybody is so they don’t feel isolated. Other children want privacy and quiet. Find out what’s best for your children.

4. Discuss extracurricular activities with your children. Most children are so overburdened with sports, dance, music, art, and other activities that they never have downtime just to play. Give your children limits about how many activities they can be involved in. Let them know they have decisions to make about which activities to participate in. They can’t do them all.

5. Schedule and limit TV, computer, video games, and other electronic devices. Let your children know that, during the school year, these activities will be limited. Tell them how much time they have on each device, and let them decide how to use that time.

6. Buy a number of easy and healthy breakfast items for your children. If they’re running late, they’re much more likely to eat breakfast if there’s a banana or breakfast food readily available.

7. Take your children to the grocery store and let them help you pick out items for their lunches. If your goal is for them to eat healthy, let them know that, and help them choose foods they’ll eat and not throw out.

8. Go school shopping. This is an exciting time. Make a day of it.

9. Visit the school your children will attend. If possible, try to meet the teacher.

10. Decide how your children will get to school. If they ride a bus, what time will the bus pick them up? If they walk, who will they walk with? Have they met the crossing guard? What route will they take? If you drive them, you might want to set up a car pool with other parents. Also give your children a secret password that you can use for anyone you might send to pick them up in an emergency.

Tips on Celebrating the Fourth!

by Carole Brown

A summer celebration time that combines fun and patriotism, for kids and adults, with activities and more serious contemplation. Here’s some thoughts on experiencing all this with your family.

  1. Display the American flag. Allow children to attach one to their bike or scooter. Display one from your house or garden. String a row (banner) of flags around the yard for a party.american-flag-free
  2. Obtain a copy of the constitution and read it to your children or family. Discuss it with your family. Explain details not understood. This is an important part of our country’s history. constitution free
  3. Dress up patriotically. Wear clothes that have the U.S. flag design on them, or clothing shoes freechoose to wear the red, white and blue. You can have a lot of fun trying to look as patriotic as possible using just these colors.
    • Have someone to draw the flag on your cheek or hand with washable finger paintpainted flag on hand free
    • Wear a flag pin on your clothes
    • Paint the US flag on your nails
  4. Watch a local 4th of July parade in your community or city. Get into the parade spirit by waving back at the participants or clapping as U.S. veterans pass by.parade cartoon free
  5. Enjoy a barbecue or picnic with family or friends. Get together around at least 1 pm or so to spend the afternoon together. Enjoy the foods of your choice but don’t forget the traditional fourth foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and an American flag cake.Independence day cake free
  6. Travel. Both on the fourth of July and the days around it, there will be a number of festivities, fireworks displays, and other fun you can join in depending on where you live. If you’re traveling, check on the suggestions below for a festive time with family and friends 
    • Boston has six days of celebrations: Take a hike along Boston’s Freedom Trail, watch the annual turning of the USS Constitution, attend Chowderfest, watch the reading of the Declaration of Independence from the balcony of the Old State House, and enjoy the annual Boston Harborfest. And there is the holiday concert by the Boston Pops at night plus fireworks.
    • Philadelphia‘s festivities last for around a week. Visit the Liberty Bell, see the historic sites in Independence Mall, and enjoy the 4th of July parade and fireworks.
    • In Washington D.C., you can watch the National Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue and enjoy the fireworks displays above Washington Monument and the Capitol while at the grounds for the popular and nationally televised A Capitol Fourth, broadcast on PBS and AFN Television.
    • Visit Valley Forge National Park.
    • Mount Rushmore is a great place to celebrate. You can see the fireworks and mount-rushmore-freeother commemorative events. 
    • In San Diego, head for Mission and Pacific beaches and watch the fireworks after dark.
    • In New York, make sure to attend the Macy’s 4th of July Spectacular event, with live music from the US Air Force Band and Orchestra, fireworks and performances by US artists. Or visit the National 9/11 Museum at the Ground Zero site to honor the victims of 9/11 and the armed forces fallen of recent conflicts. 
    • And don’t forget your smaller town celebrations. Heartfelt and interesting, you’ll find many things to do there too!

         7. Make crafts for Independence Day. If you have children, it’s an ideal time topins stars patriotic free

             make crafts together to celebrate the day. Check Pinterest or other online places                  for suggestions and ideas.

  • Make an American Flag Lapel Pin.
  • Make a Homemade Paper Weight and paint it with patriotic designs and colors.
  • Make a homemade card and use a patriotic theme and colors to design the cover and contents.
  • Make a yarn wreath using patriotic yarn colors.
  • Make glowing star lamp in patriotic colors and hang up at your celebratory party.

         8.  Enjoy the fireworks! It’s an awesome time to spend with family and friends.fireworks

Have a wonderful and safe holiday!