Posts Tagged ‘love’

8 Ways to Sort Aging Parents’ “Stuff”

By Paula Spencer, Caring.com

“Christmas lights. Do not work.” Three boxes, so labeled and tucked in the basement ceiling joists, were perhaps my favorite find while clearing out my parents’ house. Well, those or the shelf of neat notebooks recording weekly bowling scores back to the 1960s. A dozen casserole lids, no casseroles. Spare stereo knobs, circa 1975. Enough yarn to knit a sweater that could encase the entire house and yard, Christo-style.

I tossed plenty of useless stuff while clearing out my parents’ home of 40-odd years, recently. (100 pairs of elastic-waist pants, anyone?) But I had it relatively easy, because my parents weren’t involved. (My mom had died and my dad, who was relocating, was sidelined by dementia.)

Most caregivers face the “junk wars” with still-living relatives. It can happen when you combine households because of the recession. Or help a parent downsize into assisted living. Or just try to make a crowded old house safer for an older adult in which to age-in-place.

Sorting through the accumulated years can be exasperating. Even a nightmare, if the person is a packrat, under stress, or hopelessly sentimental. (Which doesn’t leave too many people, I know.) Here are eight great tips to get you started:

1. Start yesterday

Just about everybody who’s been through the ordeal–whether they have to “de-junk” in crisis mode or not–wishes they’d begun sooner.

Tip: Appeal to the person’s sense of not wanting to be any “trouble”: “Dad and Mom, it will be a heck of a lot more trouble for me to sort through all this after you’re gone than to sit here and help you get a handle on it now.”

2. Snap it, then dump it

Take pictures of beloved objects before disbursing them. What is really important are the memories, not the stuff. Your parent is apt to have more fun looking at albums (or downloaded images online) than dusting and digging. Likewise, you can scan old documents.

Tip: Perfect summer job for an unemployed teen.

3. Box it and “forget” it
For stuff you’re pretty sure you’re not going to want to see again–but the resistant person insists is important–try some elegant boxing. Get official, sturdy moving boxes, carefully label contents, and relocate the clutter to a basement or storage unit. Nine times out of ten, it’s never asked about or seen again. But the person feels reassured that it’s safe.

Tip: For items worth leaving out, write the significance (where it came from, family meaning, etc.) on a piece of paper stuck to its bottom. Your own children may appreciate this tiny extra step.

4. Develop some questions to sort by
The specific questions depend on the situation, but you can make a game of it. Samples: When was the last time you wore it? (More than two years and it’s out.) Does it work? (If it doesn’t function, forget it.) Is this a sentimental thing for you or a memory you want to pass on to somebody else? Is there anybody who could use this more than you right now (a young family starting out, a charity)?

Tip: Focus on potential gains (less to clean, safer floors, money, helping someone else) rather than losses.

5. Distinguish saving from collecting or hoarding
It might all look like junk to you, but understanding the person’s motivation can guide the psychology you use on them. People reared during the Depression tend to save stuff because they “might need it someday.” (That would explain my Dad’s broken Christmas lights.)

Tip: Collectors might be persuaded to cash in on their collection(s) in this economic climate. Or work with them to plan ahead to divide a collection among, say, grandchildren as Christmas gifts.

6. Cope with it as an alternative to “American Idol”

Try easing a willing parent into a downsizing spirit by suggesting you spend an evening a week, or an hour every evening, having “Sort Time.”

Tip: Start nonthreatentingly small: a corner, a box of paper paraphernalia or photos, a bookcase.

7. Enlist professional help
Especially if it’s a crisis or you’re out of town, consider finding a senior move manager. These experts know not only what to do with all that stuff but, more importantly, empathetic ways to get someone to willingly part with it.

8. Think twice about grabbing it for yourself
Your own kids will thank you someday.

via 8 Ways to Sort Aging Parents’ “Stuff” | Healthy and Green Living.

Lasting marriage linked to better health

Lasting marriage linked to better health

Mon Jul 27, 2009 3:26pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – People who get married and stay married may enjoy better health than the perpetually single, but losing a spouse could take a significant health toll, a new study suggests.

Historically, studies have found that married people as a group tend to be in better health than singles — though recent research suggests the health advantage of marriage may be fading.

In the new study, researchers found that middle-aged and older Americans who were currently married tended to give higher ratings to their health than their never-married counterparts. They also reported fewer depression symptoms and limits on their mobility.

On the other hand, divorced or widowed adults fared worse than the never married on certain health measures — including the number of chronic health conditions reported. “Previously married people experience, on average, 20 percent more conditions and 23 percent more limitations,” the researchers write in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Remarriage seemed to lessen some of the health effects of divorce or widowhood. However, remarried men and women were still in generally poorer health than those in a lasting marriage.

“We argue that losing a marriage through divorce or widowhood is extremely stressful and that a high-stress period takes a toll on health,” researcher Linda J. Waite, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said in a written statement.

“Think of health as money in the bank,” she added. “Think of a marriage as a mechanism for ‘saving’ or adding to health. Think of divorce as a period of very high expenditures.”

The findings are based on data from more than 9,100 Americans age 50 and older who took part in a national health survey in 1992.

Overall, 55 percent had been continuously married, 4 percent had never married, and the rest had been divorced or widowed at least once.

Marital history was linked to overall health even when Waite and colleague Mary Elizabeth Hughes factored in participants’ age, race, sex and education.

The findings do not necessarily mean that simply staying married is a health boon, however.

A shortcoming of the study, the researchers note, is that it lacked information on marital quality. Past studies have found that people who remain in an unhappy marriage may have increased risks of health problems like high blood pressure, depression and heart disease.

SOURCE: Journal of Health and Social Behavior, June 2009.

via Lasting marriage linked to better health | Health | Reuters.

Happy couple starts their life together with a boogie down the isle

By Michael Inbar

TODAYShow.com contributor

updated 10:31 a.m. ET July 25, 2009

Most couples wait until the reception before breaking out into the Funky Chicken on their wedding day, but Kevin Heinz and Jill Peterson figured, why wait to unleash their unbridled joy?

The 28-year-olds floored their wedding guests by having their whole bridal party — including seven bridesmaids, five groomsmen and four ushers — boogie down the aisle in a choreographed dance more at home in a Broadway musical than in a somber church.

Groomsmen split into sides as Heinz did a somersault in front of the wowed crowd — and the gown-clad Peterson quickly followed, shaking her hips to Chris Brown’s “Forever” while pumping her bridal bouquet into the air during the June 20 ceremony in St. Paul, Minn.

via Secrets behind wacky YouTube wedding dance – TODAY Weddings.