Elder Abuse Resources – Protect Family & Friends

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Elder abuse resources are designed in to assist those who have fallen victim, or know a relative who has fallen victim, to elder neglect. There are a number of situations which would qualify as such. Abuse can occur not only through another’s actions, but also through lack of actions, or neglect, when it comes to caring for a partially or fully incapacitated person. Every year, tens of thousands of individuals in the United States alone are subjected to abuse, if not more. Authorities are made aware of hundreds of thousands of reports, while it is estimated that as many as half a million more cases are not reported to authorities annually.

Elderly individuals can make easy targets due to their general fragility and the fact that they are less likely to fight back against their attackers. Additionally, many do not see or hear as well as they once did. It is possible that they may question what is occurring to them, but they may not be able to vocalize their abuse or neglect to others. They are, generally speaking, less likely to stand up for themselves when compared to younger individuals who may experience being bullied. In most cases, individuals who are mistreated are done so by the very person or persons who are in charge of their care. It most often takes place where the individual lives, such as in their home or at an assisted living facility. If mistreatment is suspected, there are resources that may be utilized to assist in helping catch the culprit(s) and stop the mistreatment.

Maltreatment can take many different forms. However, if you understand the type there are more specific resources to be considered. Such ill-treatment can take the form of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. There is also neglect or abandonment on the part of the caregiver(s), financial exploitation, and healthcare fraud or healthcare cruelty. While general signs of mistreatment include frequent arguments between the affected individual and their caregiver or changes in the personality of the affected person.

There are also more specific signs of elder cruelty as categorized by each potential form of abuse. Many online resources offer a complete listing of symptoms on their websites, broken down by the type of mistreatment which may be taking place. Identifying suspected violence is the first step to getting the victim help, which makes online resources very valuable.

Some help is readily available. For example, it is important to report suspicions to the effected victim’s family,

physician or a personal friend who may be able to help. It is suggested that if an individual suspects mistreatment, they should inform, at the very least, one other person. Ignoring or attempting to rationalize it away will not help the person in danger. State information pamphlets can be helpful in your time of need. Generally an organization can be contacted nationally on an 800 number. U.S. Administration on Aging offers several resources and guidelines to helping determine and deal with violence and neglect.

In many states throughout the US, the first agency that is designed to respond to situations such as these is Adult Protective Services. The power and scope of actions which Adult Protective Services can offer varies from state to state, since there is no federally structured organization in place. Each state has its own phone number to contact APS.

Once violence is found to have occurred, there are a number of agencies which can assist in the aftermath of such trauma. If you find yourself in the position of taking care of an older family member or friend, then it is wise to gather your elder abuse resources. You never know when you might need to call upon others recommendations and advice.

Easing the Burden for Loved Ones

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It’s a difficult subject to bring up. No one likes to think about the time when they’ll no longer be here. But truth be told, everyone will need a funeral some day. Without planning ahead, they can be stressful, expensive and filled with disagreements. Or you can create a celebration of life where loved ones come together to reflect on a life well lived, without the pressure of quick decisions and worries about expense.

How can you accomplish this? Through preplanning, which allows you not only the opportunity to create the type of memorial and burial that fits your beliefs and preferences, but to also put your family first by taking away the anxiety caused by guessing what you might have wanted. Planning a life celebration is a priceless gift of security, compassion and care for those we love.

Under a cloud of sorrow and time constraints, family members are often overwhelmed and uncertain of the decisions that need to be made: Did Dad want a traditional funeral or did he want to be cremated and have his ashes scattered at the lake? What music would Mom want played? Who will preside at the service? Making the dozens of decisions that arise when someone passes away can be nerve-racking.

Another point to consider is that family members often have differing ideas and opinions that can escalate during such an emotional and exhausting time. And in today’s world of blended families, preplanning can save children, step-children and extended family from disagreements about which cemetery, who will read a eulogy and who pays for what.

“While no one likes to contemplate their own death, it is an important topic,” says Guideon Richeson, funeral director and general manager of Lake View Memorial Gardens and Funeral Home in Fairview Heights, Ill. “Having those final arrangements taken care of is a gift to your family — and yourself. It’s the best way to ensure that things are taken care of in the manner you wish.”

In an effort to “make the right choice,” loved ones often spend far more for products and services than they normally would. When the wishes of a loved one are known, family and friends may be prevented from emotional over-spending in their rush to “pick something nice.” Planning ahead enables comparison shopping without time constraints, facilitates the family discussion of important final arrangement decisions and removes some of the burden from loved ones.

One of the best ways to preplan is to sit down and put your thoughts in writing. Look for a fill-in-the-blank guide that will lead you through all the decisions that need to be made and provide a place for important information, such as the Personal Planning Guide from the Dignity Memorial network of funeral and cemetery providers. Offered free of charge, it provides space for couples or individuals to record detailed instructions regarding funeral and cemetery preferences as well as areas to document vital statistics, estate planning information and military service.

Seven Things Everyone Should Know About Planning a Funeral

1. Be informed about the choices available
Arranging a funeral or cremation service can seem complicated, but there’s always someone who can help you. Funeral directors are trained professionals who can be a vital and supportive resource for you. They can explain all the options available and help you make informed decisions and guide you though the process.

2. Plan ahead
At a time of loss, there are many practical decisions that need to be made. Unfortunately, this is often the time when we’re least able to approach the subject rationally. It makes sense to find a funeral director you can trust, before it becomes necessary.

3. Decide the final disposition
Selecting burial, mausoleum entombment or cremation is a very personal decision. Discussion of your choice with family and documentation is essential. Whatever you choose, government forms, fees and the organization of a memorial service will fall to your loved ones without preplanning. For ease and peace of mind, choose a funeral home, such as a Dignity Memorial network provider, that will walk you through all the necessary arrangements.

4. Find out what government benefits are available
To find out your exact Social Security benefits, call (800) 772-1213 or go to www.ssa.gov. Veterans may be eligible for a burial allowance from the Department of Veterans Affairs. You can contact them at (800) 827-1000 or online at www.cem.va.gov/benvba.htm.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask about prices
The cost of arranging a funeral can vary greatly between companies. Be careful to choose a funeral home that presents its prices — the cost of the casket or urn, transportation fees, preparation charges, as well as other professional services — clearly and simply.

6. Funeral or cremation service arrangements need to be documented
Many people think everything is taken care of by having a will and a living trust, but those documents only cover medical treatment and financial affairs. You should make sure that your wishes are shared in writing with several people you trust: family members, friends and your funeral director. The Personal Planning Guide provided by the Dignity Memorial network of funeral and cemetery providers walks you through the process of documenting your wishes and compiling important personal and financial information.

7. Consider prepaying.
If you decide to prepay for funeral or cremation service arrangements, be sure to let your family know. Also, keep your prearrangement documents in a safe place. Check with your bank before placing copies in a safe deposit box to ensure the box will not be sealed at the time of death.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

Reconnect With Long Lost Friends

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Ever wonder what happened to the girl you took to the sweetheart dance, the guy you always wished had asked you out or your childhood best friend? How about your high school’s senior class president or the class clown? Whether it has been five years, fifty years or somewhere in between since you graduated, you can soon find out by attending a class reunion.

Just ask Lee Moorhead of South Hampton, N.Y., a reunion aficionado and planner. She attended as many of them as she could after graduating from Holy Family High, a Catholic School in Union City, N.J., in 1948. “I loved reconnecting with all my old friends and finding out what they were up to,” she says.

But Moorhead didn’t think she’d ever see any of her old friends again after the school shut down in 1972. “They stopped doing reunions once the school closed,” she adds.

Moorhead had put the idea of ever finding any of her former school friends again until one day a banner ad flashed on her computer screen. It was from Classmates.com, an online community with more than 40 million members that has been a leader in online social networking since 1995.

“I thought to myself, what the heck and joined. Right away, I was able to reconnect with a girl who had been one of my best friends during my school days,” says Moorhead. “Not only did I connect with her, but I sent e-mails to 12 other Holy Family grads who were on Classmates.com, and before I knew it, we were planning a reunion.”

Each of the 13 grads involved in the original conversation contacted everyone they knew who had attended the school, and the people they told contacted others. A total of 770 Holy Family grads attended that first reunion in 2000. The 2004 reunion was just as popular and plans are in the works for another one in 2008.

Chances are good that members of your class are also in the planning stages of your next reunion right now, and if you had to venture a guess, what would you think is the most time consuming part of the job? “It’s not booking the venue or planning the activities, but tracking down the whereabouts of the impending guests,” says Moorhead, who points out that all you have to do to spread the word about an upcoming reunion is set up a message board on the Classmates.com Web site, let a few people know you’ve posted the information and word of mouth will do the rest of the work for you.

“The Internet has become so prevalent in our culture, that just about everyone has access to it these days, so what better tool could there possibly be to bring people together?” asks Classmates.com relationships expert Dennie Hughes.

If you want to get the most benefit possible out of your upcoming reunion before it happens, here’s what to do:

• Spend some time with your old yearbooks to reacquaint yourself with those old friends you’ll be seeing again.

• Send an e-mail to people you care about the most so you can make plans to enjoy quality time together at the reunion. Sometimes smaller groups are better.

• And afterwards, don’t just promise to stay in touch. Follow through by creating and sharing an online photo album with easy-to-use services.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Tips for Seniors to Overcome Loneliness

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(ARA)  For millions of seniors, loneliness can have a very serious affect on their physical and mental health; but there are many ways to overcome loneliness and improve their quality of life.

Emotional isolation is linked to elevated blood pressure in seniors, a 2006 University of Chicago study indicated. Lonely seniors have blood pressure readings up to 30 points higher than their socially connected peers, regardless of race, sex or other health factors, researchers found. Loneliness is also closely linked to depression, with more than 2 million of the nation’s 64 million seniors suffering some form.

“Approximately 8.8 million seniors were living alone in America 17 years ago, according to the 1990 U. S. Census,” says Scott Perry, president of Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national insurance company that specializes in serving the senior market. “The 2000 Census showed that number had climbed to 9.7 million. Experts agree it’s reasonable to expect the number of seniors living alone will continue to grow. Maintaining strong social networks can help seniors stay healthier longer, and enhance the overall quality of their lives as well.”

Older Americans are more prone to experience the kind of life changes that place them at greater risk for loneliness, including:

• Death of their spouse, relatives and friends;
• Retirement; * Illness;
• Decreased physical mobility;
• Loss of the ability to drive; and
• Intentional reductions in their social networks to include only those who the senior feels close to.

Fortunately, there are many ways in which seniors, even those with significantly curtailed mobility, can prevent and combat loneliness. Finding the right mode of social interaction for you, can improve your health as well as your enjoyment of life.

Proven loneliness-fighting strategies include:

• Volunteering — Volunteers live longer, have higher functional ability, lower rates of depression and less incidence of heart disease, according to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service. In particular, research shows that seniors age 65 and older who volunteer had significantly lower rates of depression than their non-volunteering peers.

“The life changes that come with age can easily make us feel isolated and less useful than we felt when we were working and raising our families,” Perry notes. “For those who are physically able, volunteering is a great way to connect with new people and renew your sense of purpose in life.”

• Joining Social and Support Groups — Social interaction with people who have similar interests, or face similar challenges, not only combats loneliness, but can be a way to build new friendships as well. If your community has a senior center (and most can provide transportation assistance), take advantage of its programs and facilities. Call your local recreation or senior services department to learn what’s available in your area.

• Connecting to Others on the Internet — The number of seniors using the Internet more than doubled between 2000 and 2004. Seniors who face mobility challenges can find others with similar interests through a variety of resources and Web sites directed at seniors on the Internet. Technology providers continue to develop products to make it easier for seniors to use the Internet, such as large-button keyboards and voice recognition software. Asking for help to get online can also be a great way to connect with tech-savvy grandchildren.

• Learning Something New — Learning a new skill requires you to interact with a teacher and fellow students. Choose to learn a skill such as cooking or e-mailing, and the skill itself can help enhance your ability to interact socially with others. Local community colleges and city centers offer many courses appropriate for seniors.

• Maintaining Friendships — Studies have found that friendships are often more important than family connections in fighting loneliness among seniors. Make a conscious effort to stay connected with friends by visiting with them in person or keeping in touch by phone, letter or e-mail.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

Getting Back in the Dating Game

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(ARA) – Today, more and more baby boomers are finding themselves single, whether it’s due to divorce, personal choice or other circumstances. This means that an increasing number of these single boomers are dating once again, with up to 70 percent dating on a regular basis according to the AARP. While navigating the dating world can be difficult at any age, it can bring unique challenges and opportunities to baby boomers.

Dr. John Gray, communication and relationships expert and best-selling author of Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, has partnered with BoomerTowne.com, an informational Web site for baby boomers, to provide advice for boomers who are thinking about dating again or who have recently entered into a new relationship.

“Meeting someone new can be an awkward situation, no matter how old you are,” says Dr. Gray. “But dating should be fun, and having a better understanding of the process in relation to your age can help anyone enjoy successful dating experiences.”

Dr. Gray has identified what he refers to as the “five stages of dating,” which help to explain the common relationship phases couples might experience at any age.

• Attraction: This is the time to date around and not hurry into a serious relationship. “At this point, try to have a good time with dating and create a series of positive dating experiences,” says Dr. Gray. “This also lets someone determine what kinds of people he or she might find interesting or stimulating.”

• Uncertainty: Strong feelings could emerge once two people decide they really like each other. This could include feelings of uncertainty. It is important to remember that first doubts can be a normal part of the dating process.

• Commitment: Before two people decide they are going to be in an exclusive relationship they need to discuss their situation. Often one partner believes they have an exclusive relationship, but until they talk about it with their partner, nothing can be certain. Once two people agree to a committed relationship, men begin to relax.

“Men won’t give as much in this stage because they feel like they’ve already done all the work they need to do,” says Dr. Gray. “Women, however, still need to feel

appreciated, and so they tend to give more than they get. This is a mistake and can make women feel resentful.” Men should continue to do little things that will make women feel special, while women need to lead balanced lives and not get completely wrapped up in the relationship. “Think of men as a dessert, not the main course.”

• Intimacy: During this stage, couples open up and share everything. “Couples can often misinterpret one another at this point in the relationship, as they’re usually revealing a lot,” says Dr. Gray. “That’s why it’s important not to rush to this stage.”

• Engagement: This stage can be one of the best times for a couple. It allows them to be fully bonded without having to deal with the burden and responsibilities of sharing a household. “This is the perfect time for a couple to create a lot of positive memories with each other, which will last for many years,” he adds.

Article courtesy of ARA Content

After Retirement Separation – Life Just Get’s Better

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Life after retirement separation can be a very lonely one especially if you have no family of your own. You tend not to go out as often as you did when you were a couple. You may also have a complex that being older is harder and more difficult to meet new people. This may be so for many people but do not forget that are hundreds of people out there that are in the same situation as yourself. They too are lonely and without a partner after retirement separation.

You must think positive after retirement separation and not let standards drop or you may get into a rut and become depressed. Your appearance is very important and will show to others that you still care about yourself. Your hair, make up, clothes and accessories all say a lot about you as a person. They reflect your personality as well as your presentation.

You may wish to join a club to try and meet new people. There are many clubs and social events you could attend after retirement separation. Firstly there are specialised clubs like ballroom dancing for example whereby you do not have to have a partner as you can meet one there. Then there are hobby clubs like petanque and bowls again no partner is necessary as you will make new friends there. There are also travel clubs most of which give you the option of either taking a friend with you or go it alone and meet new friends. After retirement separation may not be so lonely after all as you could get together with a new friend or even organise an event with a group of your new found friends.

Holidays are another avenue to explore as you will be more likely to meet someone who enjoys the same sort of things that you do. It is by making choices for yourself that you will feel more positive about yourself.

You may also consider taking on a pet as they can be great company for you. A cat is an easy option as they will come and go as they please and do not need walking regularly like a dog does. But if you enjoy walking and could give a dog your time and space then this can be very rewarding because you will meet people out walking and have a new circle of friends with which to share your doggie stories with.

Perhaps you would like to do voluntary work for charity shops, clubs and events. There are also the neighbours, there nay be a neighbour in your street or on your estate that is also looking for that after retirement separation new life. The list of things to do and places to visit to meet new friends is endless.

You may also of been thinking of extending a hobby of yours over the years and now that you have more free time on your hands to do as you wish, this may be the right time to perhaps start your own business in whatever field you choose. Again, by exhibiting your chosen hobby after retirement separation you will be able to make new friends easily as they will come to you because that is also their interest. Your business may bloom and who knows you may even want to take on an extra pair of hands to use as well as to hold. After retirement separation can be rewarding in many ways as now you have more free time to share and enjoy with others. Friendship after retirement separation can be fun, so make the most of what you have and enjoy life to the full.

Article by Jenny Clair

Group Activities for the Elderly

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Group activities for the elderly give social interaction with an outside world. The below listed tips will give you an idea to find and have the best group aged activities.

A number of community centers have offered some group activities for the elderly. While a few of these elderly activities are charging a little fee, many are offering fun activities for free. These community centers usually post their activities schedule at the center lobbies of senior citizen and in some local newspapers. Included in the activities offered are the following:

Crafts and arts : Many volunteered craftsmen and local artists are sharing their talents and spend time in teaching crafts to the aged. Fees usually include payment for the supplies. A few of the centers exhibit the done projects in art fairs.

Exercise classes : Some of the physical fitness options that have been offered to the elderly include water exercises, chair exercises, stretching classes, tai chi and yoga. These are such wonderful activities for the aged.

Field trips : These community centers usually organized weekend and day trips to sporting events, festivals, theater productions, shopping malls and outlet malls.

The senior centers also provide various senior services and that includes organized group activities for the elderly. These activities are listed as follows:

Dances : These senior centers concentrate on maintaining their aged citizen members active through giving them fun and exciting dances. Many senior citizens enjoyed moving on the square dance floor while following the big bands beat.

Games : These centers usually offered game nights to the elders with set up tables for the bridge, bingo and some card games.

Auctions : Many elders enjoy participating and attending in auctions. Included in these auctions are the products donated by the local trades, handmade items donated by some senior citizens and other pieces.

Bus trips : Transportation is sometimes limited for some elders, that is why many senior centers are running shuttle buses going to scheduled community activities, community centers and shopping centers.

If you are not satisfied with few of those mentioned group activities for the elderly and still looking for more, then concentrate on your hobbies and interests. You can probably do gardening, join travel clubs and RV, and participate in any fishing and sewing organizations. If you are a pet lover, the association of American Pet and Animal Humane Society provide an opportunity for the animal lovers to express their concern and affection for animals through volunteering in the local shelters.

Candis Reade is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

Pets for Seniors Enhance the Quality of Life

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Recent studies indicate that seniors who own pets, live longer, experience better health and enjoy life much more than the senior who has no pet companionship. Results have shown that pet owners often experience a decrease in temperature, stress level, and even blood pressure! In addition to this luxury of companionship, pets can provide joy, entertainment, love and security and even calm the pet owner. Pets love you for being you — not for the psychological games you play — not “only” for the treats you shell out frequently — they are forgiving, loyal and love you unconditionally.

Learn the 6 ways pet ownership can enhance a senior’s quality of life:

#1. Companionship:

An increasing number of hospitals, clinics and nursing homes are now using pet therapy on their senior patients and the results are very encouraging. These patients are finding that having a four legged friend can be comforting, joyful and provide a feeling of security. Studies have proven that having a pet, improves the overall well-being of seniors, for many reasons. Often, seniors are unable to interact socially, perhaps through remoteness or immobility. Sometimes all recreational activity is limited for that senior. A pet can supply both of these things. Animal companionship lessens loneliness, the feeling of isolation and boredom and has even been known to eliminate depression in some patients.

#2. Increases Self-Worth:

Just the need to love and clean and provide for a pet, can certainly increase the self worth of that senior. A pet owner may certainly revel in the attention and affection this pet will offer. Think of the satisfaction derived from seeing this pet thrive and become your best friend — there is nothing like it.

#3. Loyalty and unconditional love received:

This feeling shared with your special pet is second to none. Regardless of the weather, lack of special friends, immobility, poor health — your pet will be by your side assuring you, you are the greatest ! Your pet may even become your most faithful travel companion (depending on your choice of pet, the mode of travel and personalities of both you and your pet)

#4. Improved quality of life:

By exercising your pet in the fresh air, your appetite should increase due to the increased activity, your interest in the outside world increases , you should experience great happiness and you focus less on your physical and emotional aches and pains. You gain a sense of purpose and a compelling reason to take good care of yourself so you can care for your “best friend”. This responsibility for providing protection and care for your pet should be a wonderful diversion for the pet owner.

#5. Stress Reduction:

What could be more tranquil than watching an aquarium full of tropical fish — even, a simple act of petting a dog has been shown to significantly lower a person’s blood pressure. Therapy pets as companions, for AIDS patients, cancer patients, those afflicted with mental illness and seniors, are much more commonly used today. This Pet Therapy concept is experiencing wonderful success in helping many patients experience greatly improved

emotional and physical health.

#6. Self Reliance Increase:

Often the fear of being victimized or abused is greatly decreased when the pet owner is in the company of their pet. This self reliance is especially evident when sharing a residence with a dog. Researchers speculate that the “care-taking role” involved in pet ownership “often provides older people with a sense of purpose and responsibility and encourage them to be less apathetic and more active in day-to-day activities.” (From the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, March 1999) Pets, like people display their own unique personalities — IF you or a senior you know are looking for that special friend — Assess the potential pet owner’s unique personality!

Some unique personalities:

• A Couch potato:

Possible choices may be, a tranquil indoor cat — a parakeet, finch or lovebird, or a turtle. A pet that may happily entertain themselves with a mirror, a bell, a ball of wool or a scratching post. Remember with all these pets, they must be fed and watered regularly, ALSO, make certain they have clean bed, kitty litter or cage (whatever the pet may need).

• A High-Energy City Dweller:

Possible choices may be, a bird, an aquarium with exotic fish, a ferret OR possibly a gecko!

• A Country Boy (or girl): A larger dog (lab or retriever) are some good choices for walks, hikes, swimming, fishing , or enjoying rides in the country.

• The traveller:

Always on the go — Perhaps a pet with little care needed or a travel ready dog such as; a poodle, Chihuahua or Yorkshire terrier are excellent travel companions and are usually airline friendly. Fish, birds would also make a good companion for those breaks in between trips.

If considering a pet for the elderly — keep in mind any restrictions or limitations the senior may have. Size and personality of a dog are important aspects to consider, if a senior wishes to have this type of pet. A small dog is often the pet of choice — but also consider the temperament of the dog.

Smaller dogs are usually easier to handle (unless an exceptionally active little one, i.e. a Jack Russell, however, very cute!) and tend to be less maintenance and easier to handle than larger ones. Usually a smaller dog are also beneficial for the elderly because they make great lap dogs — of course, you need to research the breed’s characteristics first.

Following are some choices of breed that the senior may enjoy:

– Pomeranian — cute, cuddly, perky — a lovely companion!
– Shih Tzu — friendly, gentle, alert and love companionship.
– Schnauzer — two sizes, miniature and standard — protective, wants to please — needs exercise and grooming.
– Boston Terrier — small size, very protective, laid back and friendly.
– Cocker Spaniel — Very patient and docile, little exercise, but regular grooming.
– Pug — Loves loving and to cuddle — but can be playful!
– Toy poodle — Absolutely loves attention — enjoys people presence immensely.

These are just a few breeds that seniors may appreciate — it may be wise to visit a humane society, pet shop and research online for just the companion the senior will love and enjoy. For each and everyone of us who has ever owned or ever cared for a companion animal, we should not underestimate their important role in emotional health. Pets offer unconditional love and attention, they make us laugh, help us relax and divert us from daily issues. The psychological benefits of pet ownership can be amazing!

Ready, Set, Go — Adopt a Cat!

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This summer bring home a cat from your local shelter and add a lovable companion to your family. Although cats are the most common household pets in the United States, the unfortunate reality is, millions of cats around the country are in desperate need of permanent homes. Experts say three out of four cats that enter a shelter do not come out alive. Adopting a pet is, of course, not something to take lightly and you should always first consider the financial costs and lifestyle impact before acting on impulse.

When the time is right, your local shelter is an excellent place to adopt from because volunteers often know the cats’ personalities best and can help you select your perfect match. “Who knows? You might even adopt America’s next big star!” said Rose Ordile, handler and companion of 9Lives icon Morris the Cat, himself a former shelter cat with humble beginnings who went on to become a star of the silver screen and two-time presidential candidate!

Mission from Morris the Cat

And speaking of Morris the Cat, adopting is easier than ever thanks to 9Lives’ Morris’ Million Cat Rescue (MMCR) campaign. Kicking off its second tour, the goal of the MMCR is to rescue one million of his fellow felines throughout the U.S. “We are committed to saving lives and educating the public on responsible cat care,” said Ryan Thomas, 9Lives brand manager. “Our “Welcome Home Kits” provide proud new owners with 9Lives cat food samples and other valuable tips and savings.”

A state-of-the-art MMCR bus and two high-tech satellite vans will be barnstorming the country and stopping at shelters, retailers, and special events to generate awareness for adoption. Since last September, Morris the Cat and his friends have rescued over 250,000 cats nationwide. For more information on MMCR stops, visit 9Lives.com.

Cat Care 101

Although cats do not require extensive care compared to other pets, there are some basic tips and knowledge that every new owner should know before adopting. Providing the best care for your new beloved pet can result in years of gratifying companionship for your entire family.

Cats have basic needs too  many of which are very similar to those of humans, such as proper health care, nutrition, cleanliness, safety, and of course, having fun!

Health care  Just like humans, cats should have annual examinations and vaccinations. Even a minor illness or

infection can turn serious in a cat, so be sure to seek immediate medical attention if your cat appears sick or becomes injured. Most responsible shelters will send your newly adopted cat home with proper vaccinations or information on what and when these should be scheduled.

Additionally, it is very important to get your kitty spayed or neutered to not only reduce unwanted litters, but to prevent your pet from certain illnesses. “Spaying or neutering can be done at a nominal cost and makes for longer, healthier lives for cats and companions,” said David Robinson, board president, of the Hinsdale Humane Society in Hinsdale, Illinois (also, home of Morris the Cat).

Food  Cats require a nutritious diet that is also age appropriate a fact often neglected or unknown to most pet owners. Experts recommend adult cats should be fed once or twice daily, while kittens need three to four smaller meals throughout the day. Cats continue to grow until they are 3-years old. 9Lives Growing Years for cats 0 to 3 years old is available in stores this August. It provides kittens and young cats with the proper nutrition they need to grow into healthy adult cats. Regardless of age, all cats just like people, need plenty of fresh water.

Safety  Cats are extremely curious by nature and love to seek and explore new places, especially outdoors. However, most experts recommend a safe indoor environment, in order to avoid disease, fights with other cats and animals, as well as car accidents that may result in serious injury or death. Cats that grow up indoors can be very happy as long as they have plenty of toys and tools for exercise, such as a tower or scratching post.

Cleanliness  Cats constantly keep a tidy coat and rarely require bathing. However, they do need frequent brushing to keep their coats from matting and reduce shedding. They will occasionally get caught in something sticky or their fur can become oily, making a bath necessary. A mild cat shampoo in warm water will do the trick. Litter boxes must also be meticulously clean and should be scooped of waste daily, and cleaned and refilled with fresh litter weekly  some new litter boxes even clean themselves. If a cat doesn’t use her regularly maintained box appropriately, something is wrong and you should consider speaking with a veterinarian.

Moving In!

Bringing a cat into a new environment can be a bit daunting, at first. Most cats do not like traveling, so anticipate that your newly adopted cat is likely to tense or anxious when you first take him or her home from the shelter. Don’t be alarmed or discouraged. Slowly adjust your cat to her new surroundings by putting her in a small, quiet room. This enables the cat to gradually adjust to the strange new smells and slowly find her favorite hiding spots. As your cat grows more comfortable, gradually allow her to begin exploring beyond her safe zone. Just remember to be patient and understanding as your cat adjusts to a new way of life. Once your cat realizes that this loving environment is her new home, it will seem like she has been part of your family for years.

Although rules are important, permitting playtime is also crucial in the development of your cat. “Cats need play for physical and mental benefits,” said Ordile. “It’s best if you play along with them  it helps to strengthen the bond between owner and cat.” Rules and training can also be learned through play. With a little patience and effort, cats can be taught not to scratch upholstery or jump up on furniture and countertops. “Offer your cat a scratching post and show her that this is the appropriate place to scratch by moving her paws on it,” said Ordile. “If this doesn’t work, trying covering your furniture with plastic or aluminum foil for a period. Your cat will not like the feeling and should ultimately be deterred from scratching.” Always remember, your cat is a cat. You might not always understand or even like some of their traits or behaviors. It is your job as a responsible owner to train as best as you can and accommodate.

Debunking the Myths?

There are many misconceptions regarding cat care, so know the facts from fiction to ensure the long-term well being of your cat. For example, a common fallacy is that cats do not require attention or they prefer to be alone and are aloof. Regardless of their independent natures, cats need attention, love and affection, just like human beings, and do develop deep lasting bonds with their owners.

Another mistaken belief is that cats “always land on their feet.” True, cats are very agile but they can also be seriously injured or killed from a fall. Always make sure that your cat cannot jump or fall from a window or balcony, especially as they are easily tempted by outdoor distractions, such as a birds flying.

Whether you are deciding to bring home a new kitty or an older cat from a shelter, remembering these tips can ensure that your new cat will be happy, safe and healthy in her new home. “Treat your call well and, and he will be your friend and companion for life,” adds Ordile.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

What to Do When Your Loved One Needs Long Distance Care

Filed under Friends & Family

You took that fantastic job offer in another state. Mom and dad were healthy and fine. As time passed, you were promoted and became successful. Dad passed away and mom is not doing well on her own. She’s reached an age where daily assistance may be necessary and you’re a thousand miles away. How do you manage this situation without picking up and moving your family or your mother? If this scenario sounds familiar, remote care giving might be the answer.

“This scenario plays out each and every day in thousands of American’s lives,” says Richard Bitner of Visiting Angels Living Assistance Services. “I had relocated to Florida in 1985 and my mother followed shortly after. In 2000 I relocated back to Pennsylvania to start a life with a new wife and family. My mother stayed and many questions arose. What do I do if she cannot live day-to-day being able to care for herself? How can anyone take care of a loved one so far away?”

That’s when Visiting Angels began to focus on remote care giving and taking the burden off families and loved ones of those that need care. “Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not the only options available,” says Bitner. Non medical home care allows your loved one’s to live where they want to be … their own home.

Visiting Angels has more than 300 offices around the country to help educate families and provide care to loved ones. Here are some questions to consider when determining if your loved one needs professional care:

• Does your loved one need assistance with walking? * Has their physical and/or emotional health been declining?

• Are they able to prepare nutritious daily meals? * Are they able to shop for themselves?

• Are they able to manage their bills and financial responsibilities?

• Are they taking their medications on time? * Are they still able to drive safely?

• Are they in need of companionship?

• Are they able to dress and groom themselves?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, professional home care might be an option for you. When considering agencies, choose one that can offer more than basic homemaker services, including dressing, bathing and other hygienic activities. Because not all states require licensing, be sure to check that the agency is bonded, insured and licensed.

For piece of mind for you and your loved one, understand the caregiver’s background and experience. Agencies should be able to provide you this along with conducting a criminal background check on its employees. You also should be able to meet with the caregiver before you agree to services to make sure that personalities match and you are comfortable with the service they provide.

“And you should be entirely comfortable with the person helping your loved one,” adds Bitner. “For example, at Visiting Angles, we try to match the personalities of our clients with the personalities of our caregivers. If something doesn’t fit, we find someone who does. This makes everyone happy and allows us to give the best care possible.”

Since home care services are non-medical, they currently are not covered by Medicare. But you do have options. Home care services can be paid individually or by long term care insurance. Often, funds from associations are available as well. For example, contact the organization that is involved with the illness that your loved one is afflicted with. Funds are sometimes available for their members.

Veterans and their spouses might qualify for the Disability Pension for Aid and Attendance. Others decide to take out a reverse mortgage. Whatever your situation, the proper research can determine the best route for financing care.

Most importantly, stay in contact with your loved one and the people involved in their care. Establish periodic phone calls and visit when you are able. Conversation shows you care whether you are in the same room or across the country.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

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