Feb 13, 2018
Penny

Staying at Home Longer is Now a Reality

Our homes mean a lot to us. They are the places where we have experienced some of our fondest memories and watched our children grow up. Maintaining an attractive and functional home also helps to enhance our individual sense of purpose and accomplishment. As we age, our home becomes even more important because most of us tend to spend a great amount of time there.

As we grow older, physical and mental challenges can become more acute. For some, that means it is no longer safe to remain at home without assistance. Relatives and friends are often eager to help at first, but when the challenges of such an arrangement become apparent, they tend to be less receptive. This is not their fault: caregiving can be enormously challenging if you don’t have the right background.

Fortunately, aging at home is now a very realistic proposition and more and more Canadians are planning in advance for it. The key is an in-home personal support worker. These trained professionals have the knowledge, skills, and experience to help their clients with everything from major physical challenges to the basics of daily living that are now more difficult to do.

One of the best of these specialized service providers is Right at Home (RAH). Helping Canadians right across the country for many years, RAH thoroughly assesses each client in order to know exactly where their needs lie. Using this information, they find the worker(s) best suited to aiding that individual and draw up a visit schedule. RAH in-home assistance has made living a pleasure again for thousands of Canadians by allowing them to stay where they wish to live. While most are elderly, RAH also works with people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury in an accident and others who began to experience ongoing physical and mental challenges at an early age.

Jan 25, 2018
Penny

Do You Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke?

We’ve all heard about people who seemed perfectly healthy one day, who then experienced a fatal heart attack or stroke. This does happen and it is not always possible to predict such an unfortunate occurence. However, if you know what to look for, there are certain signs that can be a tipoff that such a medical event is underway. In many cases, the person affected can still be saved via timely intervention. Here are some of the early warning signs of heart attack and stroke.

Heart Attack

Most everyone knows that acute chest pain is a common sign of a heart attack. This uncomfortable pressure (which can also feel like squeezing or fullness) may be continuous or stop and then come back a few minutes later.

Here are some other symptoms you might not know about:

Pain in one of both arms, your stomach, back, neck, or jaw can also be an indication of a heart attack. Shortness of breath may occur before or during upper abdominal discomfort. Lightheadedness, nausea, or a case of the cold sweats can also be indicators.

Stroke

Someone experiencing a stroke does not generally feel the same degree of pain as a heart attack. However, there are also some very notable indicators. These include obscurred vision in one or both eyes, dizziness/loss of balance and/or coordination, severe inexplicable headache, numbness or weakness in one side of the body or arms/legs/face, or difficulty speaking/understanding.

If you or someone around you has any of these symptoms, call an ambulance immediately. Very few people experience all of the above, but even just one can lead to serious consequences. The sooner this person receives medical treatment, the better the odds that they will survive and be able to lead a normal life.

In addition to this article, sharing the following video with colleagues and loved ones can potentially save a life:

Dec 4, 2017
Penny

Spending Christmas Alone This Year?

Christmas is traditionally a time to get together with your family and friends. However, what if that is not possible this year? Or maybe, after years of one unpleasant family holiday dinner after another, you’ve simply had enough and want to stay home alone?

Many people would be mortified by the thought of Christmas entirely on their own, but spending December 25th on your own does have some definite appeal.

Enjoy the Quiet

No commitments means there is absolutely no rush to get out of bed—how refreshing is that? Many people in your neighborhood or building will likely head out of town for the day, so everything will be nice and quiet. Enjoy going for long walks in solitude? Christmas Day provides an excellent opportunity. Best of all: no screaming children or arguing adults.

Get Things Done

If you don’t want to spend the day doing nothing, use this chance to get some things done. Enjoy that rare chance to really throw yourself into something without perpetual interruptions.

Volunteer

If you want to be away from the usual suspects, but still would like to give back on Christmas, try volunteering. Check with your local volunteer center and see if there are any organizations that need help on December 25th.

Enjoy Foreign Cuisine

If you’re ditching company, why not also ditch turkey? Most restaurants are closed on Christmas Day, but that doesn’t apply to Chinatown or most restaurants specializing in cuisine from other far off places. Never could convince your friends to try that interesting looking Turkish establishment across town? Make a reservation and go there yourself.

Forget That It’s Christmas

Supremely tired of the day and the people who live for it? Turn off the TV, radio, and internet and do what you would normally do on one of those rare days off that you have all to yourself.

Nov 13, 2017
Penny

How to Stay Awake While Driving

You have probably seen that warning on medicine bottles saying that you should not operate heavy machinery while taking that drug. The reason is drowsiness, which affects both mental clarity and reaction time. People are so used to driving that they typically forget their car has the potential to be a two-ton weapon when not operated safely. Fall asleep at the wheel and you will likely not be the only person hurt or killed as a result.

Those feeling tired en route typically drink coffee or blast loud music to keep themselves awake. Here are some other tips that are generally more effective:

Nap Beforehand

Know you have a long drive ahead of you? Try to grab a couple hours of shuteye before you hit the road. Your mind and body will thank you.

Stop and Move Around

Feeling drowsy? Pull off the road in a safe spot, get up and walk around for a bit. This helps to keep mind and body fresh. Don’t be afraid to spend a few minutes doing this.

Open Your Windows

A breeze can be very effective at keeping you conscious, particularly if the air is on the cool side.

Stay Hydrated

And by saying this, we are not including caffeine as it tends to dehydrate. Drink plenty of water. This may mean more rest stops, but your body will function better. Also, stopping and getting out of the car periodically will also help you to stay awake.

Eat Properly

It is tempting to fill up on the quick energy that sugar provides, but this leads to inevitable crashes. You are better off eating properly balanced meals that will help your body function evenly and consistently.

Audiobooks

Tired of listening to music? Try audiobooks. These require you to pay attention. Also, ones that make you laugh will also help you to keep going.

Oct 26, 2017
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Do You Have Glossophobia?

Do you have Glossophobia? Don’t worry, it’s not serious. In fact, it’s downright common. Glossophobia is fear of public speaking and it is something that afflicts just about any type of person you can think of, including the most outgoing among us.

Do you have a speech you have to give at work or some kind of public function that you are worrying about? Here are some tips on how to ease that fear:

Make Sure You are Prepared

You not only need to know your facts for the talk, but also in order to answer any questions that come up. Make sure you do all of the research that you need to present a persuasive and entertaining presentation. If you know that your speech is solid and accurate, that will help to increase your confidence when it comes time to take the stage.

Forget the Audience

Unless your speech requires the participation of the audience, try and forget they are there. Make occasional, brief eye contact, but limit your communication to that. Concentrate instead on getting everything in the speech across as clearly as possible. In some venues, the lighting is such that you won’t even be able to see the people you are speaking to. That can help to make it easier.

Learn to Relax When Giving a Speech

Like most everything in life, speechmaking becomes easier the more you do it. You can also use the short cut of Toastmasters, a group dedicated to public speaking. It meets weekly and offers a safe and receptive venue where you can practice techniques that help to make you a more confident and polished speaker.

If that doesn’t help, consider speaking to a therapist. They will offer suggestions on relaxation techniques and other strategies that can help to ease your anxiety.

Oct 13, 2017
Penny

How to Have Better Communication With Your Clients

One of the most important things in any business relationship is communication. If one party is either not comfortable or not able to clearly share information with the other, errors and misunderstandings can easily result. Such problems can lead to significant issues in a business relationship and sometimes even cause it to collapse.

Is your firm experiencing difficulties communicating clearly with your clients? Have a look at the following strategies and see which would work for you:

Engender a human connection

Who are you more likely to trust: a casual acquaintance or an old friend? Don’t just be a voice on the phone or an email in the inbox. Make appointments so you can meet in person. This shows that you care, respect their time, and appreciate the business.

Know the right time to communicate

Early on in the business relationship, it is important to keep communicating on a regular basis in order to get everything in place for the future. As a relationship continues, and you get to know each other quite well, you can rely less on such communication because you will be able to take certain things for granted.

Know the right form of communication to use

If something is of major importance, never send it to a client in an email. Request an in-person meeting to relay this particular news. Email is rapid and effective, but if you rely on it too much or for things that are of particular note, it can seem like you are not giving a client a sufficient amount of your time and consideration for this to be a relationship of equal stature.

Always follow up promptly

Even if you are quite busy, it is imperative to provide timely, detailed, and accurate responses to any kind of inquiry. This reflects that the client’s association with you is of great importance and that you care about their time and business.

Sep 25, 2017
Penny

It’s Official: Cats Make Great Pets

The question of whether cats or dogs make the better pet is an eternal argument that will likely never be solved to anyone’s satisfaction. However, we come here today not to belittle dogs, but simply to praise cats. Millions of people around the world know that cats are great pets; if have not already discovered this yourself, the following information might help change your mind.

They are independent

Frankly, dogs are a lot of work. You have to walk them a few times a day and most of them cannot be left alone for long periods of time. Let’s say you get held up at work and are going to be a few hours late coming home. For dogs, this can be a catastrophe, but for a cat, well, they might not even notice. Need to go away for the weekend? You have to you to take your dog with you or make arrangements for someone to look after it. When it comes to cats, it is just a matter of leaving out some extra food and water.

Purrrrrring

Dogs can be one of the affectionate creatures around and have amusingly expressive faces. Cats are not quite their equal in either of those areas, but they have one amazing secret weapon that dogs lack: purring. A cat’s purr can be remarkably soothing and appealing, especially when the rest your day has royally sucked.

They are trainable

People like to joke that cats are essentially untrainable; they do what they want when they want and nobody is going to change that. However, it is possible to train a cat, you just have to be especially patient. You will never get a cat to retrieve a ball or bring you the newspaper in the morning, but you can actually train them to go for a walk and do other rudimentary things. So give it a try!

Sep 15, 2017
Penny

Hobbies are Therapeutic

Most everyone has a hobby, but how many do you think realize just how important it is to their lives? Have you ever honestly thought about the value that your hobby adds? Here are just a few of the things that having a hobby can do for you:

A sense of calm

So many of us nowadays are stressed and perpetually in a hurry. It never seems like there are enough hours in the day to get things done, while also finding some time for ourselves to unwind and smell the roses. Having a hobby allows you to have time to get away from it all and engage in something you find relaxing and rewarding.

Meeting new people

Some hobbies can be solitary in nature, but most are practised by many people in the world. That means that your particular hobby can act as a way for you to meet new people and expand your friendship circle. Such associations can not only improve the depth and quality of your hobby, they can also enrich your life.

Hobbies help with depression

People who suffer from chronic depression often feel that their life is going nowhere and they are accomplishing nothing worthwhile. Having a hobby allows you to not only accomplish something, but something that is of particular importance to you. That can help to make up for any voids you feel in your life, such as an unsatisfying job, unsuccessful relationships, etc. Hobbies also allow you to remain in the present moment, something that many therapists find to be an effective natural remedy for depression.

Hobbies provide structure

Are you the type of person who has trouble adhering to a schedule? Practising a hobby on a regular basis can help you significantly with that, especially if you do it with other people.

Sep 6, 2017
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Have Trouble With Your Temper?

We all get angry every once in a while, but if you find yourself getting upset constantly, then you may have an anger problem. This issue can have serious consequences, such as acts of violence, and can drive a significant wedge between you and your loved ones.

Here are some things you can try if you feel anger is a growing problem:

Walk Away

If you feel a situation heating up and your blood pressure rising, do yourself a favor and walk away from it. Good solutions rarely happen when the people involved are upset, so you are better off just leaving and coming back to it later when you feel calmer.

Take Some Deep Breaths

It sounds too simple to work, but taking deep breathes and slowly exhaling is a very effective way to make yourself calm down. You can heighten the effect by closing your eyes during the process.

Exercise

In addition to being good for you, exercise is a great way to work out your aggression. If you feel that anger rising, take the edge off by going for a good, long run.

Let Things Go

It can be very tempting to hold a grudge when you are angry, but that just perpetuates the problem. Try to put things in the past by not dwelling on them.

See a Therapist

As mentioned above, regular bouts of anger can have a terrible effect on you and the people around you. If you are feeling that your emotions are regularly out of balance, and you can’t correct the issue on your own, make an appointment to see a therapist. He or she will talk to you about the problem, determine what your triggers are, and discuss how you can work together on a treatment strategy that will help you achieve a better emotional balance.

Aug 10, 2017
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Getting the Best Deals on Back to School Supplies for the Kids

Believe it or not, August is almost half way over. That means only about three weeks before the kids are back in school. It can be tempting to put things off and enjoy the rest of the summer with as little work as possible, but you really should start thinking about school supplies. Getting them now before the rush is a smart idea and here are some tips on how you can save money while doing it:

It can be tempting to buy everything at one store, but that convenience will cost you. Why not make a list of what you need now and pick it up during your regular shopping runs?

One place for school supplies that many do not think of is the local dollar store. Don’t worry, you are not letting your child down by getting things there. The truth of the matter is, not everything school kids need has to be of top quality, so why not save on those items? Basics like pencils, crayons, and erasers will cost you less here. Be careful about paper, however, as it tends to be so thin as to be useless at standing up to the wear and tear of grade schoolers.

You can also price compare using the internet. Look at your list and check the prices charged by retailers in the area. Make note of which offers the best prices for each item, then buy the things you need from each retailer. That means a few more trips rather than just one, but the money saved will more than justify it.

Don’t forget about online retailers, like Amazon. Planning and buying early gives you the chance to order from online suppliers that can offer better deals than brick and mortar stores.

Take some of that money you save and treat the kids to dinner and a movie. That will help to alleviate the sadness they feel on the morning of September 5th.

Aug 4, 2017
Penny

Global Warming: What Can We Do?

Everyone with a conscience is concerned about climate change and whenever someone mentions global warming, “What can we do?” is usually the next comment heard. While it is up to government, scientists, and industry leaders to shape final policy in this battle, there are a number of things the average person can do on their own that will help to make a difference.

Recycle

Take the time to properly sort your garbage for pick-up. Compost, if at all possible.

Filters

Make sure that your air conditioner, furnace, and dryer filters are clean as this reduces the amount of electricity the machines need.

Washing and Drying

It can be tempting to run a load of laundry whenever you need the clothes in question. Unfortunately, you are wasting energy and then compounding the problem with half a load in the dryer. Wait until both are full. You can also reduce dryer usage by letting clothes air dry.

Bathing

While a nice relaxing bath is tempting, you use less water showering. Also, cut back on the number of showers you take because such regular hot water exposure is hard on your skin.

Reduce Packaging Waste

If you can buy an economy version of a product, do that instead of purchasing multiple units of the same thing. That reduces the amount of packaging (and garbage) you will be contributing to landfills.

Eat Less Meat

In addition to being better for you, vegetarian and vegan diets contribute a far smaller carbon footprint than diets that regularly include meat. Even if you don’t wish to give up meat entirely, reducing your consumption can still help.

Car Efficiency

Keep your tires properly inflated and your engine properly tuned. Carpool, if possible, and plan out trips to get as much done as possible, so that you do not have to use the car more often than necessary.

Jul 31, 2017
Penny

The Menace of the Pacific Garbage Patch

The planet is in the grip of a major sanitation crisis. Not only are landfills running out of room, the waste we have dumped in the oceans over the decades has collected into huge masses of non-biodegradable trash, like plastic bottles. Sargasso Sea garbage levels are of particular concern. The clockwise tides of the surrounding Atlantic Ocean cause plastic to become enmeshed with the area’s sargassum sea weed.

Known as the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, these floating islands of trash have been around for decades. However, it has been in the past decade or so that they have reached truly daunting sizes and are causing a great deal of concern. Fish and other marine life can mistake these bits of trash for food and swallow them. That often leads to gastronomical distress and even death. Only about 1/3 of the trash floats at the surface; the rest sits on the bottom of the ocean.

Humans produce well over 100 billion pounds of plastic every year and about 10% of that ends up being dumped in the ocean. Scientists are at a loss as to how to clean it up. Snaring the garbage seems like the logical answer, but a huge number of small marine animals would undoubtedly also perish. That could cause even greater eco-system damage than the plastic.

Even if the waste could be collected without throwing off the oceans’ balance to such a degree, there is the tough question of what to do with it. With regular landfills already full to bursting, where would these billions of other tons of plastic go?

These questions need answers and scientists around the world are working on this very real problem. In the meantime, you can do your part by not contributing any more waste than there already is out there. Don’t pollute, especially in the water.

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