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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Easy On, Easy Off: Clothing for Older Adults



Whether it’s surgery, arthritis, dementia, or the aches and pains of aging, many seniors and caregivers appreciate the simplicity and ease of adaptive clothing.  


Many older adults and caregivers struggle to dress themselves or their clients, not realizing that there are a variety of better options available. Adaptive clothing is easy to find these days, whether it’s to ease toileting for those using wheelchairs, make getting dressed an easier task for someone with arthritis, or allow caregivers an easier way to dress patients with limited dexterity. 

Who Needs Adaptive Clothing?

Many of us may find adaptive clothing useful to have in our own closets. Those who have arthritis flare-ups or weakened hands and limbs will appreciate styles that use hook and loop (such as Velcro brand) closures. Styles that traditionally feature buttons, such as men’s dress shirts, can retain that look with closures tucked away underneath a button front and cuffs. The same goes for pant styles that appear to close with a snap and zipper but feature magnetic or hook and loop closures.
 

Where to Purchase Adaptive Clothing


Many companies offer adaptive clothing as their only product or as an adjunct to traditional styles. This list serves as a jumping-off point, but there are a multitude of other fine providers that can be found with a specialized search. 

Buck and Buck features adaptive clothing and footwear geared to older adults.
IZ Adaptive has fashionable clothes for men and women in the latest styles.
Joe and Bella is geared toward older adults and offers a nice range of adaptive clothing and other items for seniors. 
Ovidis was started by four women who couldn’t find adaptive wear they liked for their parents who needed care. 
Silverts offers adaptive sleepwear and intimates for both men and women.
Tommy Adaptive is an arm of fashion brand Tommy Hilfiger. It offers the same style with easy closures for men, women, and children.
Zappos Adaptive has single and different-sized shoes, wide shoes, and adaptive intimates and accessories as well as clothing.

Caregivers and their clients benefit enormously when adaptive clothing is used. Side snaps and zips can make putting on pants a much easier task. Shirts that close in the back allow wearers to avoid the painful motion of forcing shoulders back into sleeves. Jumpsuits with zip or hook and loop back closures are the answer for Alzheimer’s patients who may have a tendency to undress in public. 

People in wheelchairs can also benefit from adaptive pants with flaps in back that open easily, or a dress with the fabric in back cut out to allow for easier and quicker toileting. They may also like pants with a comfy elastic waist that is cut higher in back to accommodate a seated posture. All styles offer full coverage in a seated position, with some made to also be discreet while standing. 

Mental Health Benefits

While adaptive clothing serves many practical needs, saving time and energy and reducing pain, the positive effects don’t stop there. Most older adults don’t want to be seen in a hospital gown every day, even when pain and diminished ability with tasks like buttoning make that option the most practical one. Adaptive clothing allows them to maintain a sense of style and independence. Confidence increases when people feel good in what they’re wearing. And caregivers have a greater sense of capability and control when dressing their clients is easier.

Adaptations

There are a wide variety of ways that clothing may be adapted to fit the needs of older adults. For instance, cuffs can be left with a traditional button closure while the underarm seam is held together with hook and latch or magnetic tabs. Alternatively, some people may be fine with a sewn seam but hook and loop under the faux button closure. The needs of the person who will wear the clothing need to be evaluated before purchasing. Does that person have trouble lifting his arms? Putting his shoulders back to put on sleeves? Would he prefer a traditional look to his shirts, with closures hidden in side seams? Or would he be fine with a caregiver putting clothes on and taking them off, and back closures? 

Another consideration is style. It is possible to have almost any item modified by a tailor to turn it into adaptive wear. Some people would prefer to have favorite pieces altered for continued use. For others, it may be simpler to buy a wardrobe of adaptive clothing available online (see sidebar). 

Shoes are also available in adaptive styles. People with swollen limbs, bunions, and/or trouble bending over may appreciate the slip-on styling and simple hook and loop closures of this footwear. 

Finally, adaptive sleepwear and undergarments can also be purchased online in a variety of styles. Often, bras are one of the first things that become too difficult for a woman to manage. This problem can be solved with styles that close in the front or eliminate closures altogether for slip-on, slip-off ease. Need we say that they are wire-free for added comfort? 

No matter what the need, adaptive clothing can fill the gap where traditional styles fall short. Simple solutions using alternate closures can make life a lot easier for older adults and caregivers while maintaining dignity and a sense of personal style. There’s no need to struggle with buttons, traditional sleeves or pants that are nearly impossible to get on when adaptive clothing is easy to find.




Sunday, January 16, 2022

What is a VPN and Do I Need One?



You’ve probably heard of virtual private networks (VPNs). We explain what they are and why you should probably be using one.    


The internet is a wonderful thing. But there are hazards to using it, especially for older adults who may not be aware of, say, the difference between being at the doctor’s office or being at home while checking their stock portfolio or email. There is a way to keep safer, more secure, and more private while browsing online, and it’s by using a virtual private network, or VPN.

Every computer has an IP (internet protocol) address, which makes it identifiable on the internet or a local network. It’s sort of like the address for your house showing everyone where you live. You might not want others to see your IP address when you’re browsing. Businesses can see what you’re buying and researching. Even worse, when you’re on a public network hackers can break in to your connection to steal passwords or view your information.

How a VPN Works

A VPN is able to disguise your address by redirecting it via a remote server that becomes the source of your data. In this way, your internet service provider (ISP) and any other third parties can’t know which websites you visit or what data you send and receive while you’re online. In fact, the VPN turns all your data into unusable gibberish, so even if other parties could see your data, they wouldn’t be able to decipher or use it.
 

Caveats and Best VPNs to Use

There are loads of VPN providers to choose from, and it pays to find one you can trust. Beware of free VPN services and even some paid ones that may sell your information to third parties. Your ISP can’t see your data, but your VPN provider can. And if a VPN is compromised, so is your data. For this reason, you’ll want to go with a company that has been vetted. The easiest way to do this is to use a VPN recommended by a trusted source. We used PC Magazine to find some of their top picks for VPN services. Here are companies that made the top grade:
NordVPN (Editors’ Choice)
Surfshark (Editors’ Choice)
Proton (Editors’ Choice)
Express (Editors’ Choice)
IVPN (Editors’ Choice)
Mullvad (Editors’ Choice)

Another way to think of a VPN is like a secret, secure tunnel between you and the internet that your ISP and other third parties cannot see. The VPN changes your IP address to a different one provided by the server, protecting all of your data.

It is important to realize that a VPN is not the same as anti-virus software, which protects your devices against outside intrusion. For instance, a VPN cannot detect malware that may be sent via email. You still need comprehensive anti-virus software on your devices, and you should still follow safe practices such as never opening email from a sender you don’t recognize.

What Does a VPN Actually Provide?

  • Enhanced security. A VPN connection is hack-proof, and it encodes all of your activity to make it unreadable.
  • More privacy. Your connections are no longer linked to your computer. Your ISP doesn’t know, and can’t record, which websites you’ve visited. 
  • Better website access. Some information and streaming is limited geographically. With a VPN, there is no censorship or blocking based on your IP address.
  • Greater anonymity. Since you never use your own IP address, you are hidden. It often looks like you’re in a different part of the world than where you are.
Reading through these services, you may suspect that VPNs can be used for nefarious purposes. That is true. Many people use VPNs to access content that is only available in a localized area, such as when Netflix releases films in specific geographic areas. However, Netflix and related companies are increasingly able to stop that activity. 

Another common use is of VPNs is by people who live in countries where the government censors available internet information. Using a VPN enables them to access information from other sources to get a better idea of what is happening and to find other viewpoints. 

One big reason for older adults in the U.S. to use a VPN is to stay safe on the internet while using public networks. You may feel perfectly safe using the Internet at your local library or in the doctor’s office, but you are not. You may not even realize your computer or phone is using a public network, since most of us use a setting to find public networks and remember passwords. After all, we want to be frugal and save on data usage! But that could backfire in a big way if someone accesses your information.

Are VPNs Hard to Use?

Many of us are loathe to add yet another tech service to our devices that we don’t completely understand. The good news is that adding a VPN is super easy. You don’t need to buy any new equipment or change service providers. You don’t need to hire the Geek Squad to hook anything up. You can just go online and walk through the simple steps your VPN provider gives you.

Turning the VPN on is as simple as moving a toggle in your settings from “off” to “on.” And if you just want to keep it on all the time, that’s okay. The only downside might be slightly slower internet speeds. If that’s important to you, select a VPN provider that is highly rated in that area.

Using a VPN allows you to use your computer, smartphone, or tablet any way you want to, no matter where you are. Make stock trades or email your accountant, knowing your financial information is secure. Shop to your heart’s content without getting a thousand related advertisements. VPNs are an easy way to secure your privacy and evade hackers.




Sunday, January 9, 2022

Thrifting: The New Cool




Save money, help the environment and get a fresh look all at the same time by shopping the Gen Z way: at thrift stores.


Buying gently used clothing has become trendy, thanks to young adults and the pandemic. A culture has built up around finding your wardrobe at Goodwill, Savers, Salvation Army, flea markets, and a host of other brick-and-mortar second-hand stores, or online sites dedicated to recycled clothing. It is a way to add pieces to perk up your basics without spending an arm and a leg. You can get expensive items, like a wool or down coat, for a fraction of the retail price. And then there’s that added element: the thrill of the hunt.

According to a recent study commissioned by online resale platform ThredUp, it’s a $36 billion market in the U.S. today, and expected to reach $77 billion in five years, eclipsing the growth in the broader retail sector 11 times over. One in five Americans shops at a thrift store in a given year — about the same number as those who go to a major department store. 

Green Machine

“Having a young family where the kids are constantly outgrowing their clothes, thrift stores are a blessing,” says mom Beth Jarvie. “There is also now the awareness of conservation of resources, keeping your environmental footprint small, and upcycling durable goods.” According to the ThredUp study, younger shoppers are far more concerned with the environmental impact of clothing than their grandparents. 

Maybe that is because younger shoppers are more aware of clothing’s impact. The apparel and footwear industry accounts for about 10% of climate impact, which is more than the combined effect of every international flight and all maritime shipping, combined. 

“I’ve kind of stopped buying clothes from traditional stores,” says college student Grace Snelling. “People almost respect you if what you’re wearing is thrifted, and it looks good because you’ve managed to pull off a cool outfit, and it’s sustainable.”

What’s In It for Older Adults

Thrift stores are a goldmine of clothing for grandchildren, and it’s priced right for people on a fixed income. You can get your granddaughter a gorgeous dress for around $5, or a down sleeping bag for $5 or $10. Jeans for your grandson are available for $5. You may find a pair of $135 Boggs boots with a $12.95 price tag. Bikes, toys, crafts — they can all be thrifted.

Switching to a fake Christmas tree? Shop your local thrift store and get it for a quarter of the retail price. Need some new dinnerware or kitchen tools? How about an edger for the lawn? Halloween costume? The nice thing about thrift stores vs. garage sales is that the thrift store will have a huge array of items in one stop. Most also have a senior day once a week when items are marked down for adults over a certain age. All wares usually go half price after a month without being sold. 

Another fun find is books, which seldom cost more than a dollar or two. How fun to bring over a basket of books for little grandkids or choose a few interesting reads for yourself. Invite a friend to accompany you for more fun and to get a second opinion on whether or not you should buy the jeans with the giant sparkle pockets. 

Online Thrifting

Have you ever bought a used item on the internet? Hundreds of thousands of items are all available at any one time, from a vintage wool Norwegian sweater to a leather Harley Davidson jacket. Sites like eBay, ThredUp, Poshmark and the RealReal offer buyers the chance to find bargains galore. You can pay the stated price, make an offer to the seller, or bid in auctions where gorgeous clothing sometimes gets sold for a ridiculously low price. By the way, don’t forget to look for jewelry and shoes or boots. How about a fun pair of cowboy boots for $20 instead of $200, or getting some Frye or UGG boots at comparable discounts. You don’t have to give up your favorite brands to thrift; they’re not this season’s goods, but they’re a whole lot cheaper! 

Be prepared to model your latest finds for older grandchildren, who will applaud your style and your savvy. They may even ask to go on your next thrifting trip! 


Monday, January 3, 2022

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!


Image Source: Wikipedia

January 2 - Lynne Cox, open water swimmer, speaker, author


American Lynne Cox has a slew of swimming records to her credit, but she was never in the Olympics. That’s due to her adventuring spirit and specialty: open water swimming. This sport exposes swimmers to lengthy times in the water, frigid temperatures, and, in Cox’s case, international fame. 

Her most famous swim was between the United States and the Soviet Union, as the first person to swim across the Bering Strait in 1987. For this feat, she was lauded by both President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, as the two worked to warm relations during the Cold War. But Cox has many more accomplishments to her credit.

She began her aquatic exploits with a record crossing of the Catalina Island Channel in California. She held the speed record for crossing the English Channel twice, with her personal best keeping her in the water for 9 hours and 36 minutes. She was also the first person to swim across the Chilean Straits of Magellan and swim around the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. 

If that were not amazing enough, she swam the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake Titicaca in Peru, which also featured “biting animals” in the water. Oh, and she swam more than a mile in the unimaginably cold, icy water off Antarctica. But Cox enthuses about the joys of such far-flung swims in wild places, where dolphins, penguins, and other creatures surround her. To learn more, read this article from Wisconsin Public Radio.





Image Source: Wikipedia

January 6 - Nancy Lopez, golfer

The only woman to win LPGA Rookie of the Year, Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy all in the same season (1978), Nancy Lopez is an icon of professional golf. She began her long winning streak early, garnering the New Mexico Women’s Amateur at the tender age of 12 in 1969 and following it up by dominating the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in 1972 and 1974. 

As a college freshman, Lopez was named All-American and Female Athlete of the Year, as well as winning the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women golf championship. Her success led her to leave college after her sophomore year to turn pro in 1977, when she was the runner-up at the U.S. Women’s Open event for the second time.

With a total of 48 LPGA tour wins, including three major championships, to her credit, Lopez dominated the sport of women’s golf from the late 70s to the late 80s. She was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in July of 1978 during her first full season on the LPGA tour. During her career, she took time off to have three daughters. 





Image Source: Wikipedia

January 7 - Katie Couric, journalist and author


It might be easier to list shows Katie Couric hasn’t hosted than those she has, with so many appearances to her credits, including programs on all of the Big Three U.S. networks. She has also starred in a syndicated daytime talk show and is the founder of Katie Couric Media. 

Some of her weightiest presenting jobs have been as co-host of Today, anchor of the CBS Evening News, and correspondent for 60 Minutes. In 2011 she authored a book, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives, which became a New York Times bestseller, as did her most recent book Going There

She has filled in for and worked with such luminaries as Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams and Bob Costas, winning multiple television awards throughout her storied career. Couric has interviewed a vast array of famous people in diverse arenas, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, author J.K. Rowling, presidential spouse Laura Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

Couric is also known for her work fighting cancer after the death of her first husband in 1998 at the age of 42 to colorectal cancer. She remarried in 2014, and she and her husband starred in the Sur La Table online cooking show Full Plate with Katie and John.





Image Source: Wikipedia

January 17 - Steve Harvey, actor and radio/TV personality

A fixture on Family Feud, Steve Harvey also hosts the Miss Universe competition and The Steve Harvey Morning Show. He also founded Steve Harvey Global in 2017 as an umbrella company over production and various other ventures. Harvey has won six Daytime Emmy Awards, a pair of Marconi Awards, and 14 NAACP Image Awards. 

Success didn’t come his way easily. He had to overcome a stutter and work his way up through jobs as a boxer, autoworker, insurance salesman, carpet cleaner, and mailman before finding fame. In fact, Harvey spent three years sleeping in his car, often showering at gas stations or swimming pools. 

His break came in 1990 as a comedian. Harvey reached the finals in the Second Annual Johnnie Walker National Comedy Search, which led to hosting It’s Showtime at the Apollo. In 2009, Harvey released his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, which spent 23 weeks at No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. 







Sources:

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors