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We’re looking for examples of seniors being connected to their communities. It’s a simple concept, and the motivation behind it is that people who live in seniors’ residences can sometimes find themselves shut in, or at the very least, disconnected from their previous neighbourhood. The problem gets compounded when they aren’t able to drive or have trouble with mobility and can’t take a bus, or afford a cab.

Photo of jam and cookies

 

A fun, healthy business where you can learn how to make your own meals, or simply go in and purchase healthy, pre-made meals, is Simply Supper. Have you been to their kitchens yet? Did you know they also do classes on location in two kitchens in Edmonton? Plus, they will also do classes for special occasions, groups, etc. that you set up. I spoke with Monita, the owner, and she said that things are very busy in their kitchens because people are committed to eating right, even when they are too busy to cook. Check out the fab reviews on their Facebook page, here.

Have you noticed the Fresh Express Bus in your neighbourhood yet? This is a service started by Andrew Lineker, in Edmonton. Mr. Lineker’s background includes working at farmers’ markets, and now he is bringing the markets to neighbourhoods and communities on a bus. The company was featured recently on CTV News Edmonton, and the reviews from customers are ecstatic! The bus has stops all over the city, with plans for a larger fleet in the works. Check out the video here.

Making Something Old New Again

Having groceries delivered might seem novel, and I chuckle since that’s how people used to get a lot of their groceries around here. Some of the newer options are great, though, including green box and organic box deliveries, or meal kits in a box that you can put together in a hurry, or even click and collect at the big grocery chains. Look around for what’s available near you.

Some of the boxed meals are designed for a minimum of two people, and if you’re single you’ll have to be prepared for leftovers or invite a friend over. Simply Supper also offers a single serving option, and other options are handy where they offer delivery to your home or work, or a handy pick up spot.

So Many Options

Community kitchens, travelling markets, and grocery delivery are all terrific options for healthy eating, and for gathering with others. The sense of belonging that comes from joining friends at the table can’t be beat, and if you prefer to eat on your own, shopping at businesses like these can help you keep connected, and full of healthy grub.

A big problem for seniors is that of loneliness. We’ve written this article to help seniors, their families, and professional caregivers to help create healthy, active lives that fight  loneliness.

You may have connected with organizations that will help you help others. If you’re not connected, have a look for local agencies in your city by Googling the name of your city and adding the term “seniors association” to find local support. You can also speak with a social worker, staff in your doctor’s office, and checkout the Caregiver’s Association of Alberta.

Some folks enjoy time to themselves, and they may not feel lonely. Being lonely is about a sense of isolation that can bring on feelings of sadness, decreased appetite, and contribute to people closing themselves off even more. The list here are some practical things you can do to help fight loneliness for people you care for, including your parents, grandparents, neighbours, and yourself.

Start talking

If you’re going to visit someone you don’t know that well and find it awkward, create a list of conversation starters. Although this idea may sound silly, it really works because you’ll always have something to talk about! Avoid topics that you know are hot buttons for the other person. Ask open questions so that you don’t accidentally kill the conversation or make it awkward. Since loneliness can be worse if someone spends a lot of time living in the past, it’s important to try and learn about the person while encouraging them to appreciate the present. For example, if they loved playing football and you know of a high school or university football team in the area, you could find out when the next game is and go watch it together.

  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life? (Great discussion starter)
  • What’s your favourite lunchtime snack? (You could make lunch together)
  • What kind of reading / shows do you enjoy? (How about a trip to the library?)
  • Who were your friends when you were growing up? (More great discussions)
  • What were your favourite activities / sports at school? (A great way to connect with activities of interest in the community)

Get out of the house

If mobility is not a challenge, offer to take someone out for a fancy tea or coffee and get them out of their home. There are lots of independent places, or you could visit a big chain. Stopping at a local park and taking in an outdoor exercise class for seniors, or having some fun with an activity reminds people what is happening in the community.

If mobility is a challenge, bring a fancy drink to them or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it together. Sharing pictures from your laptop or a tablet can help bring the outside to someone who is confined indoors.

Help the kids

If your kids are shy or find it awkward to go visiting with you, help them out by giving them a list of conversation starters, too. They might be fascinated by some topic but find it hard to ask about something and you can help them out. You can also take a game that’s kid and family friendly that everyone can play – cards, board games, and puzzles (get the right sized pieces for your crowd) are often a hit. If you don’t have any games handy, you can often pick them up inexpensively at Value Village or borrow them from the library. Get creative with this, and don’t think you have to stick with old fashioned games. Modern card games for older kids and adults like Mad Gab, or Cards Against Humanity, are a hoot.

wooden game pieces with cute wigs and faces painted

Take a class together

With great little businesses like Clay and Cupcakes, Plant Nite, and Paint Nite available, plenty of fun can be had in stress free, short, creativity based outings. Of course, there are always longer classes to commit to, and seniors love classes that are short one-time events (like a how-to class on computers, for example), and longer series of classes, too. If you know of a group of seniors who share interest in a topic, you can even bring the instructor to them to make things easier to coordinate.

Do something

If you know a senior who is lonely, speak with them about what they want to do. They may need just a little help, or a few ideas. They might want to do something that makes them feel appreciated, or needed, or valuable. They may want to do something that offers a distraction, or do something creative, or perhaps they really need some medical help and are afraid to ask. If you can’t help them get what they’re after, get their permission to speak with a social worker, health care provider, and whomever else you need to. Regular social visits, activities, and outings can make a huge difference in people’s lives, replacing loneliness with purpose and motivation.

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, and relocate. We’re specialists at making sure that your home is the place where you feel comfortable, safe, and content. If you’re interested in getting some help and you’re in the Edmonton, AB, complete the contact form and get in touch!

 

 

Today we’re bringing you tips to make the kitchen sparkle as part of our spring cleaning series. Some of these jobs can take a little time so be sure to spread them out if you need to.

Where we talk about soaking, wiping, or washing surfaces, here’s your recipe:  a mixture of hot water, a good squirt of dish soap, and a half to one cup of white vinegar. Always use rubber gloves when you are washing with vinegar.

Drawers

  • Check the junk drawer and throw away anything you haven’t used in the last three months. Flyers, menus, elastic bands, twist ties, bread tags can all go as part of your spring cleaning.
  • Vacuum crumbs out of the kitchen drawers, stove drawer, and cupboard fronts. Here is a handy gadget that’ll help make vacuuming those spaces simple and really quick! It’s about $20 CDN through Amazon, and might be available for less in other places, but it sure makes cleaning your drawers breeze! (This photo is not an affiliate link, but is just a link so you can check out the product easily.)vacuum brush for crumbs and dust
  • Clear expired food in the fridge. Tip crumbs out of the drawers, and wipe them out. Check the bottles of condiments and throw out anything that is expired. Wipe the shelves, and inside of the door. To clean the rubber seal that goes around the edge of the door, pull on it gently to stretch it almost flat and reveal the crumbs and dust inside; wipe the bits out.

Appliances

  • Pull out the stove and fridge to clean underneath them (hopefully they are on rollers!), and wipe the front and sides of both appliances.
  • If you have a self-cleaning oven, follow the directions for turning it on and open the windows.
  • If your oven requires a manual cleaning, make sure you have a couple of cans of oven cleaner, a proper fitting face mask, and rubber gloves ready. After you are finished, make sure you have something fun lined up, because this one is the worst job in any kitchen.
  • Remove the exhaust fan cover and soak it in soapy water and vinegar in the sink for up to a half hour. After soaking, give it a good rinse, shake it outside to remove the excess water, and set it aside until dry.
  • Clean the fan hood and be sure to remove any grease (stubborn grease should come off if you pour a quarter cup of baking soda onto a plate, then dip your damp sponge into it, then scrub with the sponge).

Cupboards and Counters

  • For that wretched (and wasted) space above the kitchen cabinets, scrub them down (this is where getting help is handy) with soapy vinegar water, and wipe them well. Once they have dried completely, cover the area with wax paper. Next time you clean, all you have to do is change the paper!

 

kitchen cupboards with empty space on top

  • Clear clutter off the counters. Items that you use every day (like the kettle, coffee pot, or paper towel) can stay on the counters. Things that you use less frequently need to be stored in your cupboards. If you have a big collection of mugs, drinking glasses, or mixing bowls and they are out on the counter, consider donating them to a charity.
  • Descale your kettle (and tea pot) with 1 cup of vinegar and two cups of water and letting it soak for about 20 minutes. Scrub the inside gently with a plastic scrubber to remove any residue. Rinse well.

Celebrate your clean kitchen with a coffee and a nice plate of goodies!

coffee and blueberry scones with blueberry sauce drizzle

Contact Us

If you’d like some help getting things sorted out at home, or you’re ready to downsize, move, or get settled somewhere new, let us know! Contact us here.

This is the third article in our Spring Cleaning Series and we hear you! Who has time for spring cleaning when there is so much else to do? And, if you have  uncooperative joints, pain, or are prone to dizziness, there are things you don’t want to tackle. Here are some great tips to freshening up your bedroom, fast.

If some of these things are tough for you to do, invite a friend, family member, or consider hiring a reputable cleaning company. They have people who love to do Spring Cleaning!

Tackle the Bedroom

Your bedroom will feel like an oasis if it is clean, clear of clutter, and you create a comfortable space. If you want to change up the colour or mood, consider changing your bedspread, or adding some new cushions, or a pretty blanket at the end of your bed.

Spring cleaning includes doing the jobs you don’t do regularly, like these ones:

  • Use an extendable handle and a reusable duster to clean the tops of door frames, windows, light fixtures, and baseboards.
  • Check floor mats for wear and tear and decide if they need replacing. Mats need to have a non-slip backing but if you use a walker or wheelchair, or have a habit of tripping, you could get rid of them entirely.
  • That extendable duster can be perfect for getting dust bunnies out of the corners, under the bed, and behind the dresser. Be sure to clean dust off of electrical cords, too.
  • Use the upholstery or a dusting brush to vacuum the inside of your window screens and tracks.
  • Take a few minutes to declutter the tops of dressers, nightstands, desks, and entertainment areas. Limit yourself to ten minutes per area, and be snappy about it so your Spring Cleaning doesn’t turn into a full organizing project.
  • See this post for tips on getting your windows clean.

Enjoy your refreshed bedroom, and have a good sleep!

bedroom with grey bedspread and yellow flowers

Ready?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help, get in touch here.

This is the second article in our Spring Cleaning Series, with a focus on where pets hang out, eat, and play. Instead of trying to get all our spring cleaning done at once, go ahead and break it up over several days.

Cat Litter

The toughest thing to clean can be a cat litter tray. The hard plastic bottom takes quite a beating.

Clean the trays as part of your seasonal clean up routine, unless you see them on sale someplace and opt to replace them. That’s my favourite kind of cleaning for this particular item – get a new one!

To keep the outside area tidy, use a “boot tray” or a cute rubber mat outside of the litter box entrance. You can also use a big tray that sticks out all the way around the tray if you don’t use a covered box. The tray will catch lots of the litter that the cat flings about when covering his poop, and it’ll also catch some of the litter that gets caught between their toes.

Your cat(s) will be very happy to have a clean area for doing their business, and so will you!

tabby cat peeking out of box

Cat and Dog Beds

Can there be anymore hair anywhere, than in your pet’s favourite place to sleep?

Lightly dampen some paper towel to help “lift” the bulk of the hair, then vacuum the area with an upholstery brush to help remove the remainder. Depending on the fabric and the type of hair you’re dealing with, you can also use a tape roller or the sticky side of packing or masking tape, to pick up what’s left.

Remove zippered covers and prepare to wash the outside of the beds. If you can wash the insides, that’s a bonus too. If not, throw the bed away if there are signs of wear or pests, and always replace them if they stink. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up unpleasant odours in your own house, so ask a visitor if they can smell animals when they come in the door. If they can, you know you’ve got some deeper cleaning, or replacing, to do.

Pet Dishes

Be sure to wash water and food dishes daily. Hot soapy water is usually all you need, and use some vinegar to rinse them, then rinse again in clear water. While you are spring cleaning, be sure to wipe the walls behind the dishes (Mr. Clean erasers or Microfiber cloths are great for this), the dish holder, and wipe up the floor. Clean the mats (or replace them with something colourful and fun if they are beyond saving), and the area where you store animal food and treats.

Using Cedar? Try Wool!

If your pet beds have cedar in them (sometimes dog beds are filled with cedar chips), then washing the bed will destroy the power of the cedar to ward off bugs, so these do have to be replaced regularly. If you are tempted to restuff the bed yourself, you’ll need to be very careful with what you select, since certain types of cedar can be toxic to pets.

As a great alternative, check with your local wool shop or a sheep shearer (there are a few in Alberta) and pick up some washed, 100% wool roving to stuff the bed. Wool has properties that make it naturally antibacterial, resist moisture and mildew, and they are washable [though you have to clean them carefully to avoid shrinkage]. Wool can last for years if you keep it free of moths, and you’ll find that cats and dogs both love laying on a wool stuffed bed.

As always, if your pets tend to chew their beds and remove the stuffing, then a padded bed is not recommended, whether you are using cedar, wool, or polyester.

3 puppies in a bed

Pat Yourself on the Back!

Now that you’ve got the pet stuff cleaned up for spring, it’s time to take a break and spend some time tossing a ball for Rover, or playing chase the light with Felix. Enjoy!

Ready to get organized?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help, contact us here.

This is the first article in our Spring Cleaning Series and we hear you! Who has time for spring cleaning when there is so much else to do? And, if you have a wonky shoulder, or bad knees, or other uncooperative body parts, there are things you might not be able to tackle.

Below are some handy hacks to make your windows sparkle. Clean windows and their coverings can make you whole home look bright and cheery. You don’t have to tackle them all at once; remember that you need to go at a pace that works for you. Most of these jobs are best done with a friend around for an extra pair of hands and some cheering if you get tired. Friends are also helpful if you get yourself stuck somewhere, and you can always return the favour by helping them to spring clean at their place.

If you don’t want to tackle this job, scroll down to the second last paragraph to see an easy way out of it!

Curtains

If you have washable curtains or drapes, take them all down and get the washer going (remove any drapery hooks first). Get help with this if climbing up and down on a stepstool is not your thing. Wash your window coverings using the gentle cycle and if they aren’t too wrinkly when they come out, you won’t have to iron them before they go back up.

If your curtains can’t go in the wash, you might get away with a good vacuuming (especially if they were dry cleaned last fall). Use an upholstery brush, and for delicate fabrics, put a nylon sock over the end of the brush to protect the material. If they won’t stand up to the vacuum, give them a good dusting with one of those extendable handles and a replaceable fluffy duster.

Blinds

The best way I have found to clean horizontal blinds is to remove them from the window, and hose them off out side or wash them in a tub. That is a pretty physical undertaking, so you may want to wash them while hanging up. Vinyl, aluminum, or plastic blinds are usually washable. Prepare a bucket of warm water, with some mild dishwashing liquid, some vinegar. Wear a pair of rubber gloves, grab durable sponge or dishcloth, and get scrubbing. Careful not to move the grime from the blinds to your window frame or the walls, and be prepared to wash the window afterwards.

When you think you are done, close the blinds and then turn the louvers in both directions to check to make sure you got everything off them. Sometimes there is an edge that hides behind the louvers on either side.

Hanging vertical blinds are trickier. You can wipe the hard plastic ones with a vinegar and soap solution (careful not to let it drip on your floors), then dry them with a soft cloth. Fabric verticals can be vacuumed like the curtains above. Finish the job off by wiping with a duster to clean cobwebs and debris out of the hardware.

Roller blinds can be a pain to wash. You’ll want to clean them in sections, and leave them extended to dry…but not so extended that you can’t get the blind to roll back up.

bedroom with washable curtains

Windows

The best time to get your windows sparkly is while the drapes and blinds are down. While you can get them clean with vinegar water and a little soap, there are also products (like Windex) that make it even easier. Be careful not to breath in the fumes from a cleaner.

If your windows are tall, it is worth investing in a squeegee tool to make the cleanup even easier. I saw one at Dollarama this week for $4 with a short handle, or you can get an extendable one at places like Canadian Tire or Walmart for about $12.

Take a Breath!

Once your windows are clean, your home will feel bright and beautiful. That might encourage you to get to the tasks in our next few blog posts, and it might not. That’s okay. By the way, if you’re not up to cleaning the windows yourself, check with your neighbours and see if two or three of you can agree on a time to bring a cleaning crew in to do everyone’s windows. You might be able to get a discount or a referral fee if you do it as a group.

Ready to get organized?

At Elder Move Inc. we help seniors to downsize, organize, move, and more. If you’re ready for some help at getting organized for Spring, contact us here.

It’s that time of year when we speak of organizing taxes, TFSAs, RRSPs, and money. Do you have all your paperwork handy, or know where to go online to find all your information?

The deadline for filing personal taxes in Canada is April 30, 2018 unless you or your spouse are self-employed, and then you have until June 15.

Caution – These Are Still YOUR Taxes

Remember that if you are hiring someone to file your taxes for you (or using a volunteer at a senior’s centre, for example), you still need to keep copies of your forms, slips, receipts, and statements in case you are audited. Also make sure that you have a way to contact the person or company you hire in the event there are questions from the tax department. Sometimes your local H & R Block is just a temporary location during tax season, so take note of their regional year round office location.

The Canadian government has set up a handy website set up that will walk you through what’s needed, and the videos there are short and easy to follow. Speaking of videos, even if you want someone else to complete your tax return you should watch the videos. They can help you to understand the process, and might even help you identify some questions to ask your tax filing professional. (If you are heard of hearing, there is a transcript with each video, too!)

Picture of a cute dog in a tshirt with question mark on it

This cute dog can’t help you with tax questions, but having a dog to snuggle can ease the stress of getting organized and doing your taxes. If you need help doing your taxes, ask your local senior’s association if there is a tax preparation clinic coming up.

Come back to this space soon, and check out our Spring Cleaning series. In the meantime, if you’d like help with organizing, sorting, packing, relocating, or settling into a new space we are here to help. Reach out to us via our contact page, here.

Are you ready? Thursday, March 8 is International Women’s Day and there is plenty going on to get you involved and taking part. In Edmonton, where our head office is located, the Edmonton Women’s Initiative has planned a celebration at City Hall, and there’s lots going on throughout the city that day. You can enjoy taking part in a march, banquet, gala, film release, and more.

Women’s Day is a movement that honours women, and so do we here at Elder Move Inc. We’re proud to be part of a company that was founded by a female leader who identified a need for our kind of company. Way to go Shannon!

Celebrate in Style

Do you know some fabulous women that you want to celebrate? Whether you go out to a public event, or you plan an event with seniors at a nearby centre, or you gather at home with a few friends, we hope you celebrate Women’s Day in style.

For more information on International Women’s Day, have a look at the official site here.

Photo of Shannon Lang in celebration of womens day

Shannon Lang, founder of Elder Move Inc.

There was a happy ending to this story, but that’s not always the case when you can’t find mom. On a cool winter evening, a man we’ll call Fred was out walking the dog, and his elderly mom, Lynn, wanted to go along.

Imagine Fred’s surprise when, 20 minutes later, he stood up after scooping up some dog poop. He turned to say something to his mom, and she wasn’t there! The snow was well packed and there are too many footprints to figure out which way she went, so Fred retraced his steps home as quickly as he could. His mom, in her 80s, had trouble with remembering things and didn’t speak clearly, both results of a recent stroke. Fred was in a panic as he approached home and saw she wasn’t there either. Where could she be?

Although Fred’s mom was dressed for a short winter evening walk with the dog, she was not dressed to be outside for a prolonged period.

An elderly woman, somebody's momFred called the police, and members of the family to let them know Lynn was on her own, on foot, and possibly disoriented. Somehow, Lynn made her way several blocks off the path they were on, to a bus stop. She stood patiently waiting for a bus along a route she hadn’t been on for years, yet was obviously familiar to her. Meanwhile, word went out from police to all the bus drivers and cabs in the area to keep watch for her. Within two hours of the call to police, a bus driver had welcomed her onto his bus to warm up, contacted dispatch, and Lynn was returned back home.

This wasn’t just lucky. This was also part of being in a city where seniors are valued and respected. It’s a city where people take such an announcement seriously. It’s a blessing.

Let Us Help You!

At Elder Move Inc., we help people to organize, downsize, in preparation for moving or to age safely in place where they are. We also provide packing and unpacking services with the work completed by our team of senior move specialists. If you’d like some more information, get in touch with us here.

The idea of the “third act” was made popular by Jane Fonda, when she gave a Ted Talk, and lots of other people have talked about it since then. She says that since we are living about 34 years longer than our grandparents, it’s as though we have been gifted with another lifetime; a third act.

You can see Jane’s presentation here (11 minutes 20 seconds).

Isn’t that inspiring? I love how she describes the third act; it’s a longevity revolution, an opportunity to age as potential instead of pathology.

We know that positive people live longer than negative people. And, we understand that people who have strong relationships live longer and tend to be more positive than people who are alone (or lonely). Hmm. Food for thought here.

Of course, being alone or lonely can be even harder for folks who are divorced or widowed. They are alone, and that could naturally position them to become lonely or negative, even if they were positive people, right?

Instead, what if the Third Act was a time for rejuvenation and renewal? A time to explore our own potential, well-being, and happiness instead of deteriorating and sliding into obscurity sounds good to me!

That’s what happened to a woman we’ll call Barb, after Barb’s Dad died. Barb’s mom, Annette, was lonely, sad, and always seemed angry after Adam died. Adam had been Annette’s one true love, and he was obviously a positive balancing force in their marriage. He was especially helpful to Annette after he retired, including helping her to manage her advancing arthritis. After he passed away, Annette was left with a huge garden to attend to, a house that was too big for just one person. She resented the changes, missed Adam fiercely, and became miserable.

Barb encouraged her mom to sell the family house, and move from a neighbourhood where she was almost always alone, into a seniors’ residence. Annette resisted for a months, arguing that she didn’t want to leave the place where she had so many memories. Eventually, though, she admitted that looking after things on her own was simply too much. She sold her home, and has hardly looked back since she moved into her new place.

“Honey, I have to call you back,” Annette often says when Barb calls nowadays. “I’m off to play cards.” Or take an exercise class, or volunteer to teach her new neighbours how to knit. She keeps her calendar filled as much as she wants to, without time to feel lonely, or dwell on her arthritis.

Seniors riding bikes along a lake.

“I miss Adam everyday,” she says, “and sometimes I feel a little guilty when Barb calls and I have something else to do. But I decided I’d better live life and make the most out of it. I’m one of those people that could be alive for another thirty years. I’m not going to waste it.”

Want Help?

At Elder Move Inc., we help people to organize, downsize, move, pack, and unpack. If you’d like some more information, get in touch with us here.

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