With winter just around the corner, it's time to prepare for the cold to come! For seniors, winter can be an especially challenging time of the year. Thankfully, there's still time to prepare and plan ahead while the weather is more manageable. After you utilize these tips, we’ll have you as cozy and snuggly as a Frank Sinatra Christmas album!
Snowed in and stocked up
Why not stock up on some basic essentials? Just in case there's one too many snowy days, it never hurts to have some preparations ready. Non-perishable foods like peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit, and canned goods are important to have. Also, you’ll want to have things like bottled water and flashlights stored at home. Don’t forget flashlight batteries, or that flashlight will be about as much use to you as a glass hammer! Check on your firewood stash, and if needed, order more now to beat the rush. Pull out the battery-powered radio in case of emergencies and make sure you’ve got all your warm layers dug out of the closet.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! (If you’re prepared for it, that is!)
Have you thought about who will attend to the outside of your home if a lot of snow falls? Plan now if you’d like to have someone else take care of it. Go ahead and get in touch with the relative, friend, or whoever will be helping you to make sure everything is on track. Do not attempt to shovel snow etc unless you are in great health and well-prepared. Even if you plan to only go outside a little bit, be sure you have shoes with good traction and no-skid soles. A small fall on the icy pavement could cause major injuries and a long recovery for seniors.
As the saying goes, prevention is the best cure! Avoid problems later by preparing your home and car now. If you’re planning to use a gas fireplace, heater, or lanterns, it’s important to have a working carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is odorless and a leak can be deadly, so it’s important to have a detector. Now is also the right time to check on your car before winter hits. Spare no expense when it comes to your safety- go ahead and have your car fully serviced to ensure the oil, tires, battery, and wipers are in tip-top shape. Do you have an ice scraper stored in the car for your windshield? You won’t be going anywhere if you can’t see! If you have an AAA membership, make sure you have your membership up-to-date and a card in your wallet or vehicle. If you plan to drive but don’t have a mobile phone, you can purchase an inexpensive prepaid phone to keep in the car. Seniors do experience slower reflexes, so if you’re at all unsure about driving safely this winter, don’t be shy to say no and instead ask others for help.
It was the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918. Finally, World War I had come to an end. Soldiers came home, families reunited, and the world rejoiced, but sadly, “freedom was not free.” There were more than 38 million casualties in total-- a number that is incomprehensible today. When Congress officially chose November 11th as Veterans Day in 1926, there was more behind their decision than just the concluding date of the First World War. November has always been a month of reflection, with its’ proximity to the end of the year and the Thanksgiving holiday. Consequently, choosing November for Veterans Day was intentional, to bring thankfulness, appreciation and reflection amongst the nation.
Often mistaken with Memorial Day, Veterans Day, isn’t only about those we have lost. It is about sacrifice, and no one understands that better than the veterans and military families across our nation. At its core, Veterans Day reminds us that when mankind works together to defend the basic principles of humanity, there is no force greater that can overpower our moral compass. Veterans understand not only sacrifice and moral duty, but that as human beings, we need each other. Even the heroes who help save the world will one day, in some fashion, need help themselves.
Thomas Plant, the visionary and founder of The Plant Memorial Home, was a man also familiar with what mattered in life. Born an impoverished French-Canadian immigrant in 1859, Mr. Plant worked diligently creating his shoe factory and amassing a grand fortune. Recognizing the need to provide for those less fortunate he purchased 24 acres in his hometown of Bath in 1917. With his entire community in mind he built The Plant Memorial Home and endowed the home with 3,300 shares of his shoe company, equating to $400,000 at the time. His vision for this home remains the same today:
At the age of 58 Mr. Plant completed this establishment and ironically in the same year encountered significant financial difficulty. As a friend of Theodore Roosevelt, he took Roosevelt’s advice and invested a large sum of money into Russian bonds. Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, the October Revolution occurred marking the advent Soviet control which devastated Mr. Plant’s investment. Similarly, his investment in sugar commodities failed with the collapse of the industry with the conclusion of WWI.
At the time of his death in 1941, he was penniless. Mr. Plant’s creditors permitted him to die in his estate, Castle in the Clouds located in New Hampshire. A fitting gesture for someone who sacrificed so much so that others may live out their final years in comfort and security.
As the Plant Memorial Home approaches its’ Centennial it continues to meet Thomas Plant’s vision by providing subsidized housing for seniors. The campus is located on the banks of the Kennebec River and provides a dignified lifestyle in a spectacular setting that many Veterans have--and continue to enjoy today.
Sacrifice is not bound by time nor event. It lives on altering the course of life for others--many of whom do not realize that they are the recipients of another’s generosity. Sometimes sacrifice is the precious, innumerable cost of someone’s very life. As we remember the cost of freedom in our community, we offer our sincerest thank you to all of our veterans and their family members. May God bless you and thank you for your service and sacrifice.
No driving like Dracula!
Putting all joking aside, very tragically, children are more likely to be fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Although this is mainly connected to teenage drivers, it is, nonetheless, crucial to be alert and safe when driving this spooky night. Drive extra slow through neighborhoods and anywhere kiddos might be out and about, using extra caution in general. Stay alert as you watch other drivers, and if you notice any wild and reckless driving, don’t hesitate to contact the police. If you're out walking, carry a flashlight and shine it towards any oncoming cars.
Keeping treats sweet and simple
Unfortunately these days, with so many crazy incidents in the news, most parents (understandably) feel that homemade treats just can’t be trusted. So if you want to please the crowd, it’s best to stick to individually wrapped candies, so parents can have confidence that no one has touched it except the manufacturer. Wondering what to give out? It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate! Other favorites are Skittles, Starbursts, Sour Patch Kids, or lollipops, but you can also get creative…
Little treasures for the tots with allergies
Perhaps you have a grandchild with allergies or just want to get a little creative for your trick-or-treaters. The latest trend is to get some non-food treats and put a teal-blue pumpkin in front of your home. The pumpkin can be either painted teal-blue or you can buy an artificial one. (Sure, times have changed, but pumpkins are indeed still orange)! The teal-blue pumpkin lets families know that you have allergy-friendly options available for treats. An additional sign noting you have toy treats might also be helpful. Simple and inexpensive toys are wonderful. Things like bouncy balls, glow sticks, bubbles, slinkies, or any other little toys you can find at the Dollar Tree or a party supply store. Don’t feel pressured to try this-- the good, old-fashioned way of giving candy is still a delight for most! But if you’re wanting to brighten things up for a child with allergies, or perhaps just want a healthier option, toy treats can be all treat and no trick for any child!
Signaling trick-or-treaters, whether to come or go!
Contrary to popular belief amongst children, there is not an endless supply of candy behind every door! If you’re ready to hit the hay or perhaps don’t want to give out anything at all on Halloween evening, you can signal this with a simple tip. Turn out as many lights as possible, and in particular, avoid having any outdoor lighting on. Inevitably, a few eager beavers will still come knocking. There’s no need to answer the door and explain-- they’ll get the hint to move on when no one answers. On the other hand, if you want as many visitors as possible, signal them over with lots of bright lights inside and outside your home. Decoration is also very welcoming. But don’t feel bad setting a cut-off time for answering the door. Kids will still come in the dark, but by about 8:30, most folks will probably be done, so you can set a cut-off time between 8:30pm and 9pm, or 9:30 at the latest.
Particularly as it gets later, sometimes rowdy teenagers (or even older young people!) can come knocking, and although it’s unlikely, occasionally they are up to no good and looking for trouble. Stay safe by taking a peek out the window before answering the door; if they look older or are acting at all unusual, don’t answer. Mostly, troublemakers come out later in the evening when it’s more isolated, perhaps from about 9pm (and certainly 10pm) and onwards, so turn your lights out and stop answering the door as it gets later.
Hopefully the scariest thing you'll encounter all Halloween evening is a mini-monster toddler (or worse, your neighbor dressed as Madonna). With these simple tips, you’ll have more time to enjoy the night and maybe even do the “Monster Mash” dance! Stay safe, and have a very happy Halloween!
“Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.” -- Albert Camus
Florida snowbirds might be enjoying a warm autumn, but they've got nothing on Maine's gorgeous fall foliage! Are you wondering what activities you could participate in to make the most of autumn this year? Well, sit back, pour a glass of warm apple cider, and read on for a whole list!
Just 10 minutes drive north from The Plant Memorial Home is the Whiskeag Trail, with 5 miles of gorgeous woodland following the creek, featuring various local landmarks. The trail is one-way, but there are various parking/access points, so you could even take a peek at one before driving around to another entrance. Pets are welcomed and the trail is open dawn to dusk. If you decide to go, always call ahead to double check for trail safety/accessibility. For more info, call Bath Trails: (207) 443-8360 or click here for more information.
Walking (within 30-minutes drive)
About a 30-minute drive away, Wolfe’s Neck Wood State Park boasts exceptionally bright yellow fall leaves, particularly on the North Loop Trail. The fall colors usually peak in mid-October. The park offers the best of both worlds- deep forests and calm coastal waters. The walking trails are well-maintained, ranging from easy and flat to more challenging. If you decide to go, always call ahead to double check for trail safety/accessibility. For more info, call Wolfe’s Neck Wood State Park: (207) 865-4465 or click here for more information.
Down lovely, scenic US-1, you’ll find Bradbury Mountain State Park, famous for it’s fall colors. Pets are permitted and anyone 65 or older enters free. Try the flat, but beautiful, Tote Road Trail. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a migrating hawk! If you decide to go, always call ahead to double check for trail safety/accessibility. For more info, call Bradbury Mountain (207) 688-4712. More information here.
Perhaps you’re not a big nature walker. Columbus Day weekend, Saturday, October 8, downtown Bath will celebrate it’s annual AutumnFest, featuring seasonal activities and crafts, sweet treats, and lots of shop specials. The N. Street Block Party is from 11:30am - 3pm with games and a live Marimba band. The Farmers Market, full of local, fresh goodies, will be in Waterfront Park from 9:30am - 12:30pm. Local businesses will run all day specials. For more info, call Bath Regional Information Center: (207) 443-1513 or visit their webpage.
BOO! It’s time to get SPOOKED! Here comes the Red Cloak Haunted Mystery Tours of our very own local Bath. The lantern-lit walking tours run on various evenings from now through October and cost $15 per adult. For more info, call Red Cloak Haunted Mystery Tours: (207) 380-3806. More information here.
If you still fancy a more urban autumn experience but want to try a different area, just 15 minutes down the road is Maine Street (Brunswick), a pedestrian-friendly, scenic area with plenty of interesting shops to browse. Why not do some window shopping or enjoy a meal out? For more info, call Brunswick Downtown Association (207) 729-4439. Check out more information here.
Fall Fun at Home
There’s always easy, little ways to celebrate fall at home too. If you used to enjoy the old-fashioned caramel apples from the carnival, you can make a simpler (and easier to chew!) version at home by slicing thin, round apple slices and dipping them into your choice of toppings, then chilling in the fridge. If you’re sentimental towards eating the apple off a stick, cut the slices about slightly thicker (about ¼ - ¾ an inch thick) and insert a lollipop stick (available at craft stores and some grocers). Why not purchase a little pumpkin to display? Perhaps you could even paint your own design on it. If you enjoy the vibrant colors of autumn, pick a few of your favorite leaves and display them on your mantle, windowsill, or even on your fridge with magnets.
Do you have more fun fall activities that might interest our community? Post details in the comments below!
A brighter future might be ahead for patients with Alzheimer's disease, based on a new drug trial which concluded with some reassuring results. The new drug, named LMTX, appears to have significantly slowed the shrinkage of the brain and improved cognitive symptoms in a group of nearly a hundred patients who were participating in the trial.
What did the researchers find?
Almost 900 patients participated in the drug trial in total, with about a hundred patients taking only LMTX for treatment of Alzheimer's. The patients on LMTX alone had largely positive results, even amongst severe cases of Alzheimer’s. After 15 months on the new medicine, the group experienced improved cognition and completion of daily tasks. Remarkably, there was also a 33 to 38 percent reduction in brain shrinkage, based upon the dose of LMTX.
Most patients in the drug trial were also on other Alzheimer’s medications and did not demonstrate any positive changes; technically, it was a failed experiment despite some good results. The side effects of LMTX have naturally been less publicized, which included diarrhea and pain when using the bathroom. The drug, however, is still considered to be in the early phase of research, so improvements may very well be possible. Dr. Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer's Society, called the encouraging results from the subset of patients "glimmers of hope...of the possibility that we could one day stop dementia in its tracks."
Summer is magical in midcoast Maine. After dealing with a long, chilly winter, Maineiacs love the sun and the heat. But summer can take a toll, with its high temperatures and harmful UV rays from the sun.
Here is a look at how the heat and sun can affect the quality of senior living and tips that will ensure you stay safe and healthy in the summer sun.
1) Regulating Your Body Temperature
It’s all about regulating your body temperature. This gets harder as the body ages. It is a serious concern because if you get too hot, your health suffers.
One problem is the fact that seniors don’t sweat as easily as those who are younger. And sweat is one of the most effective ways the body has to cool itself. In addition, the human body stores fat differently as it ages, making heat regulation more complicated.
As a senior, you are also dealing with specific health factors that affect how the body handles high temperatures. These include:
Here are a variety of tips to stay hydrated and cool your body and your living area. Following them can help your body regulate its temperature, keep you cool and make summer safe and healthy.
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We try our best to give back to a community who has given us so much. Whether it's supporting local Veterans or the local Scout groups. Or providing public access to our beautiful waterfront property. We are committed to supporting our community.