Staying Connected

Staying connected is both easier and harder in today’s fast paced world. Some people feel that true communication is a lost art while others believe the opposite. Communicating today differs in some ways from in ages past and remains the same in others.  

 

Networking, Social Networking and Social Media

When you hear the word “networking” several different things may come to mind. For the purpose of this blog we mean the exchange of information among individuals or groups. In the past the main forms of networking were in person or by horse and/or carriage. This developed into telephones, more readily available transportation and through the mail or delivery services. The old adage of it being not what you know but who you know was true then and in many ways is true now but on a much bigger scale.

Social Networking is like regular networking on steroids. The earliest forms of the Internet, and with that email, was developed in the 1960s. By the 1970s it had advanced to the point of being able to share virtual newsletters. In the 1980s home computers were starting to be more common and in 1988 Internet Relay Chats (IRCs) were first used. These remained popular into the 1990s. It was becoming possible to network with people from all over the world with the click of a few keystrokes.

Small Biz Trends states that the first recognizable Social Media Site was Six Degrees. It was created in 1997. It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular, creating a social media sensation that’s still popular today.

Understanding Social Media Sites

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of Social Media sites across the world depending on how broad or narrow you define the term. Since 2012, Pew Research Center has researched and surveyed the trends of US residents using Social Media sites. Their findings in 2018 (see link above) found that the top 8 regularly used sites for Americans are: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Below is a  brief summary of each of the top 8 Social Media Sites using information from Leverage and Lifewire.

Facebook: Easy to create a profile and keep up with and find long-lost friends and family. Tons of groups and pages to join for nearly any interest, hobby, or concern you may have.

YouTube: From music videos, tutorials, movies, personal vlogs, and independent films you can find nearly any type video you have in mind.

Twitter: Microblogging social site that limits posts to 280 characters.

Instagram: It’s the ultimate social network for sharing real-time photos and short videos while on the go.

Snapchat: App for sending videos and pictures that disappear after being viewed. Most used platform among 12-24-year-olds.

WhatsApp: It is a cross-platform app that uses your internet connection or data plan to send and receive messages using your phone number instead of usernames and pins.

Pinterest: Social Media site all about discovery. Most sought for interests include home, parenting, beauty, style, food, and industries.

LinkedIn: Business oriented social media site.  Profiles look like extremely detailed resumes. Make professional connections, look for job opportunities, and possibly advance your career.

Ways to Effectively Communicate

Effective communication is about more than just the exchange of information. HelpGuide identifies how using a combination of 4 different skills can up your communication game. These skills are:

  • Engaged listening: Effective communication is less about talking and more about listening.
  • Nonverbal communication: The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can.
  • Managing stress in the moment:  It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.
  • Asserting yourself in a respectful way: Being assertive means expressing your thoughts, feelings, and needs in an open and honest way, while standing up for yourself and respecting others. It does NOT mean being hostile, aggressive, or demanding.

Independent living aids, LLC has many products that can enable you to have an easier and more relaxing time communicating with others. This week’s amplified phone sale can help you become a more engaged listener.

 

This post was written by Alicia Baucom.

Handwriting is Good for You

Writing by hand can increase both memory and creativity. It can also be a welcome respite from this crazy busy world to just sit down with pen in hand. It can feel like you’re putting more of your heart and soul into what you’re writing when you take your time and watch the ink glisten off the page. It seems that handwriting, especially calligraphy, may be making a comeback in big ways.  

 

Handwriting Increases Memory and Creativity

According to Quartz, handwriting leads to increased brain activity, long-term information retention, and increased ability to generate ideas. They came to this conclusion by comparing brains scans that were imaged be persons typing and by persons handwriting. Researchers surmise this could be due to the fact that it takes more intention and more action to form words by pen than by hitting a series of keys. When someone is handwriting, they are forming each letter themselves instead of allowing a machine to form them instead.

The article further shares results form a Princeton University study. Their research found that students who took notes via laptop performed poorly on conceptual questions, whereas, those that handwrote their notes performed better. It is suggested that the process of taking notes longhand forces your brain to sort through what is being said allowing for more pertinent information to be written down versus typing what is said verbatim.

The article concludes by naming famous writers who to this day prefer to handwrite their novels, stories, or poetry prior to typing them up for print format. Quentin Tarantino even went so far as to say poetry should never be typed at all.

Handwriting is great for both the Writer and Recipient

There are many reasons why a handwritten note or letter is good for you but for now let’s look at 5 reasons why you should write and 9 reasons why once you start you shouldn’t stop writing.

According to American Stationery, the 5 most important benefits to writing are:

  • It really shows you care
  • You make memories that matter
  • You make your words count
  • It helps you become smarter and more creative
  • It reduces stress levels

If those aren’t enough reason for you to get into the habit of handwriting again (or even for the first time) let’s now look at the 9 reasons once you start you shouldn’t stop. You’ll soon see that the list to encourage you to write are quite like the list of whys to keep going. This list comes from an article on Huffpost and it delves into both the physical and mental benefits to keep you writing.

  • They create lasting memories
  • They show how much you care
  • They make you feel good
  • They make every word count
  • They spark creativity
  • They require your undivided attention
  • They require unplugging
  • They honor tradition
  • They’re timeless

 

If you do not believe some of these are true take a step back in time and read some of these timeless letters preserved (and yes typed for legibility/sharing) for the ages at Letters of Note.

Handwriting is making a Comeback

If you search on Amazon for “calligraphy” you’ll come up with over 10,000 search results. If you search Facebook for “Pen pals” you’ll come up with many pages and groups some with more than 13,000 members. Even Hollywood has gotten in on the handwriting craze in the past few years with movies such as “The Lakehouse” (Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock) and “Letters to Juliet” (Amanda Seyfried and Gael Garcia Bernal). Not to mention writing clubs forming around the world.

Yes Magazine gives us an inside look at one such writing club in LA. The writing club made its debut in 2015 and in addition to writing letters that are sent all over the world, the group cooks together, laughs together, and just has a great time socializing while practicing the age-old art of handwriting letters.

To love ourselves, is another writing club that has popped up recently. It is a non-profit letter project allowing women to writer to other women/girls from around the world who need a bit of extra encouragement.

Ready to start, or return, to writing? Be sure to check out this week’s specials on writing supplies from our store page independent living aids, LLC. While you’re there you can check out other items that can make your newfound hobby easier and more relaxing.

 

 

This post was written by Alicia Baucom

Playing Games Is Good for Your Health

What do these phrases have in common? “Come on down!” “I’d like to buy a vowel.” “I’ll take ‘Animals’ for $500, Alex.” “Tag you’re it!” “Duck, duck, duck, GOOSE!” “Bingo!!” “I can name that tune in 5 notes.”

If you said game shows and/or games, then you are correct! Did the phrases conjure up Images and memories of the past? Make you smile? Conjure up feelings that you may not have felt in some time? Games are not only good for your heart they’re also good for your memory and enjoying life.

According to an article on Psych Central, play is just as important for adults as it is for children. Play brings joy, aids in problem solving, and helps keep creativity and relationships strong. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD wrote “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing… This might seem surprising until you consider everything that constitutes play. Play is art, books, movies, music, comedy, flirting and daydreaming.”

 

Playing Games are Fun and Provide Tremendous Benefits

Dozens of articles and studies have been written on the benefits of playing games throughout all stages of life. The importance doesn’t lessen as one reaches their golden years, in fact, it may be even more important to play games as you age.

 

Samvdna Care has an interesting article outlining 7 wonderful benefits of playing games. These benefits are:

  • Creates happiness and reduces stress: There is always a good amount of laughter. Laughing together and having fun can keep seniors happy and healthy.
  • An opportunity to spend time together and socialize: Often friends and family have different schedules. But playing games, even for a short while, with your loved ones is a perfect way to spend time together.  
  • Memory formation and cognitive skills: Creative indoor games help the brain retain and build cognitive associations well into old age.
  • Keeps the risks for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia at bay: A stronger brain has lower risks of losing its power and thus reduces the risk of cognitive decline, such as associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • Lowers blood pressure: Laughter helps in producing endorphins that naturally help muscles to relax and blood to circulate which can lower blood pressure.
  • Improves immune system: Positive feelings and thoughts improve immunity by releasing chemicals that fight stress and boosts the immune system.
  • Therapy treatment for coordination and dexterity: Many board games require the use of fine motor skills to pick up or move pieces, actions that take both coordination and dexterity.

 

There are more Options than just Cards and Board Games

Sure, cards and board games are loads of fun in and of themselves, but they are not a begin all and end all to game play. Anything from arts and crafts to social gatherings and bird watching can be options for how someone wants to play and have fun.  

Many places offer free, and/or low cost, craft activities for persons of all ages to enjoy. If none are readily available close to you create one yourself by inviting a few friends over to play. Some crafty ideas to consider are; sketching, painting, quilting, ceramics, jewelry making, and even finger painting! You’d be amazed at the fabulous works that can be created with finger painting. Plus, the sensation of making a controlled mess can be quite freeing.

Social gatherings are another form of important play that further incorporates socialization as well.  From costume contests, to karaoke, to trivia the ideas of things to do in a social gathering are endless. This is yet another option that is free, and/or low-cost, depending on where you go or if you host it yourself.

Bird watching, along with gardening and other outside activities, allows the play to be brought to the great outdoors. Sunshine, fresh air, and communing with nature are beneficial for your wellbeing. Many local areas host community gardens or may have local farms that can be visited for free or for a low cost.

For a more complete listing of ideas visit: Great Senior Living

 

But Cards and Board Games are also Important Options

The added benefits of the more traditional games include being well-known with a lower learning curve than other options, being readily available, and often played. If traditional games are more to your liking be sure to check out the items on sale this week.

Marinoff Low Vision Playing Cards enable individuals with vision problems to more easily see the numbers on the cards. They come with 1.25-inch-high numbers. (SKU: 308250)

Jumbo Braille Dominoes (Double Six) (Raised Dots) are standard double six dominoes that have raised, tactile, black colored dots. Great for any domino game, jumbo pieces measure 1″ x 2″. Includes a black storage case. (SKU: GAM105)

Tactile Connect Four has holes in one color of the pieces so that those who are blind or visually impaired can play tactually. Drop the chips vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. The first person to get four of their pieces in a row win. (SKU: 188643)

 

Looking to order other types of games? Check out ila’s Games and Education.

 

This post was written by Alicia Baucom

Why Reading is So Good for Seniors

Reading is good for seniors on several levels. It can help prevent dementia, it can help prevent depression, and it also increases our capacity for empathy. So regularly reading high-quality material can benefit both your mental and emotional health.

 

All reading materials are not created equal. The “wrong” kind of material would be anything that may work against your goals. For example, if you only read your Facebook feed all day, you won’t get the same kinds of benefits. In fact, you may become more depressed if you struggle with comparing yourself to others. The “right” kind of material includes books, newspapers, and magazines. Literary fiction, novels, and educational nonfiction are all excellent choices.

Reading Prevents Dementia

Psychology Today reported on a  journal article that was written based on an observation of 300 older adults. They participated in a study to examine the effects of reading on seniors. After the participant’s deaths, their brains were examined for physical signs of dementia. The study concluded:

 

“Those people who reported that they read, were protected against brain lesions and tangles and self-reported memory decline over the 6-year study. In addition, remaining an avid reader into old age reduced memory decline by more than 30%, compared to engaging in other forms of mental activity. Those who read the most had the fewest physical signs of dementia…”

 

So even though all forms of mental activity are helpful (Don’t put down your Sudoku puzzle just yet!), reading seems to be one of the most beneficial in maintaining your mental acuity.

Reading Prevents Depression

Reading can also prevent depression. The science on this is not entirely clear, but that’s probably because reading lifts people’s moods due to a variety of different factors.

 

Readers are more likely to socialize by going to the library, going to bookstores, attending reading groups, and exchanging books with friends.

 

Some readers feel that books alleviate loneliness, as they start to feel they are friends with the characters.

 

Similarly, books give readers a window into someone else’s world. When a reader sees a character tackling a problem similar to one they might have, it gives the reader hope and a sense that they aren’t alone in their struggles.

 

Reading can boost your mood and help you relax, which changes the chemicals in your brain. Reading has even been shown to have an effect similar to meditation.

Reading Increases Empathy

Don’t want to turn into a grump? One of the best benefits of reading is that it increases empathy.  However, this benefit is only gleaned from reading literary fiction. Popular fiction and nonfiction books don’t provide the same value.

 

According to Scientific American, “Literary fiction, by contrast, focuses more on the psychology of characters and their relationships. “Often those characters’ minds are depicted vaguely, without many details, and we’re forced to fill in the gaps to understand their intentions and motivations…This genre prompts the reader to imagine the characters’ introspective dialogues. This psychological awareness carries over into the real world, which is full of complicated individuals whose inner lives are usually difficult to fathom. Although literary fiction tends to be more realistic than popular fiction, the characters disrupt reader expectations, undermining prejudices and stereotypes. They support and teach us values about social behavior, such as the importance of understanding those who are different from ourselves.”

 

ILA wants to encourage you to read more by making your reading experience more comfortable. That’s why we’ve put reading accessories on sale this week. Check out the Easy Reader Stand, Moshi Elite Neck Pillow, and Posture-Rite Lap Desk on our Sales page today.

3 Fun Outdoor Exercises for Seniors

When trying to come up with outdoor exercises for seniors, it’s easy to default to the most obvious activities. Walking, swimming, and cycling are commonly recommended for older adults who need to get outside and move.

 

But sometimes those exercises sound like more work than fun. That’s why we’ve compiled three outside-the-box activities that can help you get moving while retaining the fun factor.

 

Play as Exercise

Playing outdoors is one of the most overlooked exercise opportunities for adults. We tend to want everything organized and official. That’s why we join sports teams or running clubs.

 

But if you think about the way small children stay active, you’ll realize their exercise comes naturally through play. Why can’t adults play, too?

 

The easiest way to do this is to join your kids or grandkids out in the yard for a pickup game. No matter whether you are playing tag, soccer, baseball, or hide-and-seek, your grandkids will just be happy you’re spending time with them. And you’ll be getting some exercise.

 

You can also play alone or with adults. Go fly a kite in the park. Start a game of horseshoes or cornhole. Put up a badminton net in your yard. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you are having fun.

Garden to Stay Healthy

The BBC recently released an article that proclaimed, “Gardening could be the hobby that helps you live to be 100.”

 

The benefits of gardening are both physical and mental. Physical exercise comes from walking, squatting up and down, carrying supplies, and doing other things that require strength.

 

One benefit that isn’t exercise-related is that spending more time outdoors boosts both mood and vitamin D levels. Another is that staying cognitively active as you plan your garden can help prevent dementia. Also, if you garden fruits or vegetables, eating what you grow can contribute to a healthier diet.

 

Take your Indoor Equipment Outside

Do you get bored doing your at-home exercises? Staring at the wall or TV just isn’t that fun. A simple way to remedy that is to take your indoor equipment outside. As soon as the weather is nice, move your stationary exercise sessions to the yard. You can have the benefits of outdoor exercise without having to actually go somewhere.

 

This week ILA has several items on sale that can help you get moving- inside or out.

 

Enjoy bicycle-type exercise from your chair or place the unit on a table to exercise arms. Our pedal exerciser helps you improve circulation and muscle strength. It’s made of heavy-duty steel with a large knob to adjust for variable resistance. It also features comfortable pedal straps to help hold your feet in place while in use.

 

The Multifunction Talking Pedometer measures and announces steps, calories, distance, and total activity time. And just in case you have so much fun exercising that you lose track of time, it has an audio clock function. The pause function allows you to stop and resume measurement as needed, and it has a 7-day memory to track and log your activity.

 

The Braille and Tactile Yoga Mat is designed to enable people who are blind, vision impaired, or who may face physical challenges due to age or disability, to practice yoga safely and confidently. This Yoga Mat is designed in three dimensions, with tactile raised and depressed features called ”stations” strategically placed to help the challenged yoga student feel where his or her hands, feet, and head should be placed for all 24 basic yoga postures. Designed for a person of average size (5′ 3″ or taller), the Yoga Mat for the Visually Impaired easily accommodates individuals who are shorter or taller who need only to adjust their stride for a comfortable fit.

What’s Right for You?: Choosing Adaptive Aids and Equipment

When you first start experiencing frustration with a health situation, it’s easy to go overboard in your efforts to try to find something that will mitigate the problem. Discovering what “works” can be a process of trial and error. Often at your own expense.

 

Before throwing money at any and every potential solution, take some time for an evaluation process. Use these questions as a checklist to help you determine what type of aid or equipment is best for you.

 

  1. Does it do what you need it to do?

Maybe your hearing has become worse, and you need a new, louder alarm clock. Don’t just randomly buy new ones, hoping they will have the right sound. Do your research to find clocks that have options for extra loud alarms, different types of sounds, and possibly even vibrations or bed-shaker options. You want to make sure the item is going to do what you need it to do before spending your money. Also, consider getting something with features that can grow with you. Maybe you don’t need a vibration feature now, but in a few months you may wish you had it.

 

  1. Is it a manageable size?

Whether considering a rollator walker or a pill container, consider the size of the item. Do you have room to store it? Can you carry it easily? Even if a piece of equipment is relatively small, it won’t be functional unless you have a good place to put it. An example of that is a talking pill container. Some of these containers are a bit bulky because they include built-in clocks and speakers. If you currently use a small pill sorter that stays inside a cabinet, will you be able to easily switch to something that needs more space and is less portable?  And if you are looking for a walker, will it fit into your vehicle or down the halls of your home?

 

  1. Is it a good fit for your physical abilities?

Sure, that cane looks snazzy, but if you really need to be using a walker, it may not be a good purchase. Make sure the item you buy fits your physical abilities. Be honest about possible limitations in seeing, hearing, or mobility. Another consideration is ergonomics. If you’ve had a stroke, there are adaptive utensils that can help you eat. But if you also have arthritic fingers, you should examine handle size and shape to make sure the utensils are manageable with that condition as well.

 

  1. Have you asked your doctor or therapist about it?

Doctors and therapists often have good ideas as to which aids work and which ones don’t. They also understand your health history and may think of warnings or considerations that are specific to your situation. Every little thing doesn’t require a healthcare consult, but if you are considering a piece of equipment, it’s in your best interest to get a professional opinion first.

 

  1. Can you afford it?

Even if you feel like you would pay anything just to solve your problem, don’t buy the first thing that comes along. Shop around and compare prices. Or wait until you see your favorite item go on sale. That’s why ILA puts items on sale each week. We try to make independent living affordable for our customers.

Computer Keyboard Options for People with Low Vision

If you have low vision, it may be challenging to use a standard computer keyboard. The good news is, there are several different options for adapting this piece of hardware. You can meet your specific needs and avoid having to use a computer keyboard you aren’t comfortable with.

 

Jumbo Keys and Oversized Hardware

Some keyboards have jumbo keys. Not only are the letters printed larger than usual, but the entire keyboard is also bigger. The VisionBoard Keyboard is a good example of this kind of adaptive equipment. The letters on each key (A-Z) are 7/16″ x 7/16″, and feature bold print. The oversized keys also have ample spacing in between.

 

Another oversized piece of hardware is the Big Track Mouse Ball. The BIGtrack is a valuable tool for users who lack fine motor skills which a regular mouse requires. For example, if you have arthritis, an ordinary mouse can be difficult to hold and keep the cursor in position while you click. The BIGtrack allows you to settle the cursor in position and then click easily without moving the cursor inadvertently. The giant yellow ball makes it easy to get the cursor to precisely where you want it. You can even do this with your foot or elbow!

Keys With Extra Contrast

If you are comfortable with the spacing of a standardized keyboard, there are other ways to enlarge the letters for easier viewing. The EZ Key Keyboard large print keyboard provides easy to see computer keys with extra-large key legends for greater visibility and efficiency. It features large-print keycaps that are clear and easy to read with high-contrast color schemes. You can choose black on white or black on yellow, depending on which one is easier for you to see.

 

Don’t want to buy a whole new keyboard? Stick-ons and overlays are the perfect solution. You can buy a set of black and white stick-ons that display capital letters at .4 of an inch high in bold print. Just peel them off and carefully place them on your existing keyboard.

 

If you have an Apple keyboard, you can buy a “skin,” or overlay that fits over the entire keyboard. No peeling and sticking individual stickers! These come in white on black or black on white.

Braille Keyboards

Make your keyboards tactile with braille stick-ons. Just like the large print bold stick-ons, these stickers are printed with jumbo letters. But the bonus is that they are also in Braille. The stickers come in black on white or black on yellow, to give you a choice of contrast. Braille keyboards are perfect for both low vision users and users who are blind.

Screen Magnifiers

While you’re considering your keyboard options, you may as well think about how to improve your screen viewing as well. LCD magnifiers and filters don’t just enlarge the screen, they also enhance contrast and reduce glare.

ILA stocks plenty of keyboards and keyboard labels for you to choose from. You can also find the complete range of our assistive technology on our Assistive Technology category page.

Tips and Tools To Help Keep Your Finances in Order

 

Sometimes retiring or getting older also means having a tighter budget. When you aren’t working anymore, there’s no prospect of getting a raise. Whatever your budget is from social security or savings, it likely won’t change any time soon. And even if that number is small, one good thing about it is that it will be mostly consistent. That allows you to make a budget with more certainty. Keeping your finances in order will be the key to feeling less stressed about money.

Recording and Budgeting Expenses

Whether you prefer using pencil and paper or you like to keep track of things online, the first step to managing your finances is to record and budget for your expenses. You will quickly see where you may be overspending, and you will hesitate to make impulse purchases, knowing you have to keep track of every penny.

 

If you don’t already have a budget in place, the first step is to record your essential expenses. Make note of any recurring payments, like your electric bill, and keep in mind that may fluctuate during the year.

 

After you have a good idea of what your base level of spending is for housing, food, and utilities, see how much money you have left out of your monthly income. Try to save a percentage, then budget the rest into categories like entertainment, clothing, travel, etc. Even if you don’t buy clothes every month, if you put $20 in your clothing budget (and don’t spend it on eating out!) in several months, when you need new shoes, you will be able to buy them without having to sacrifice from an essential area.

Protect Yourself from Fraud

Some banks are more “senior friendly” than others. Find a bank that will be supportive of any needs you may have as you maintain your account. Support can be shown in a variety of ways, including providing large print copies of materials, hiring employees that talk in a clear, non-condescending manner, and providing extra fraud protections.

 

Although no one wants to think about themselves cognitively declining, you should still prepare for the possibility. One way to do this is through fraud protections that involve sending family members alerts if large withdrawals are made from your account, or locking your debit card to a specific geographical area.

Low Vision and Money Management

Another barrier to money management can be low vision. That’s why ILA provides products that help count and track your money.

 

The New iBill Talking Banknote Identifier

Convenient, accurate and compact, the new iBill Talking Banknote Identifier enhances independence and confidence with ease of use. The new iBill offers accurate and immediate identification of paper money while being compact enough to go anywhere. Increased volume makes it easier to use in noisy places as well as for users with hearing difficulties. The earphone jack provides an alternative to the vibration mode as well as providing additional privacy. A redesigned slot makes it even easier to insert the bill, and the recessed buttons prevent inadvertent activation when the unit is in a purse or pocket!

 

Personal Financial Management Kit

This sturdy plastic envelope contains all the products you need to help you independently manage your finances. The kit includes plastic signature, check, and letter writing guides,

portable and desk-sized large print check and deposit registers, the CAN-DO Low Vision Pen, a low vision calculator, and an Expense Management Log.

 

Plastic Check Writing Guide

This heavy-duty plastic guide has cutout fields to assist in writing the necessary information on a standard 2 3/4″ x 6-inch check.

 

For even more tools that can help with money management, check out our Writing Guides & Money category on the ILA website.

Tips to Help You Extend the Life of Your Hearing Aid Batteries

Hearing aid battery life isn’t completely under our control. Batteries will run out at different speeds depending on how often you use your hearing aid, what type of battery you have, and what type of hearing aid you use.

 

However, there are a few tips that, if you follow them, will at least help you get the most life out of your batteries as possible.

 

Let the battery breathe.

Did you know that when you open a new battery and pull the tab, you should let the battery sit out for about five to ten minutes to “breathe”? That may sound funny, but it’s true! When outside air hits the materials inside the battery, it activates them. Putting your battery into the hearing aid too soon can shorten the battery life by a few days.

 

Wash your hands.

Wash your hands any time you change the battery or open a package of batteries. Oils and grime from your hands can clog up the battery (remember- it has to get air!) or damage it.

 

Keep your batteries at room temperature.

You may have heard that batteries last longer if you store them in the refrigerator. The thought is that the cooler temperatures will slow down the power leakage from the battery. But with hearing aid batteries, the refrigerator does more harm than good. Hearing aid batteries need to stay very dry, and the refrigerator creates condensation. This can lead to corrosion or shortened battery life.

 

Keep your batteries (and hearing aid) dry.

Speaking of staying dry, keep your batteries dry, even once they are in inside your hearing aid. Using a hearing aid dehumidifier can prolong battery life and increase the efficiency of the hearing aid itself.

 

Use fresh batteries.

If you keep pushing that one pack of batteries to the back of the drawer, by the time you pull it out and use it, you may not get as much life out of them as you’d like. Make sure you are using your batteries in the order that you purchased them, so none of your packs have a chance to sit around and lose power.

 

Open the door.

When you aren’t using your hearing aids, open the battery compartment door. This will keep the batteries from draining, and it will also encourage airflow and help with the moisture problem we’ve already discussed.

 

Take your batteries out.

If you’re not going to use your hearing aids for a long time, go ahead and take the batteries out. This gets even more air flowing than opening the compartment door, and is an even better way to prevent corrosion and moisture build up.

 

Need new batteries? This week ILA has several on sale.

 

Power One Hearing Aid Battery Size 675 – 6 Pack $2.96

These Power One Implant Plus batteries have 20% longer life. Recommended by Cochlear

 

iCellTech Hearing Aid Battery Size 312ds (6 pk) $2.53

 

Hearing Aid Battery #13 Orange (6pk) $3.42

Renata Maratone + replaces all size 13 zinc air batteries, including high power batteries.

 

How to Use Clocks to Reduce Confusion in People With Dementia

People with dementia often lose track of the time, date, or even if it’s day or night. If you are a caregiver, you may find yourself arguing with a loved one about what day it is, or what activities it’s time for them to do. This can cause strain on your relationship- especially if you are asking them to believe your word over what they perceive to be the truth.

 

One way to mitigate these types of situations is to transfer the authority (and blame) to an inanimate object- the clock. Even if your loved one already has a clock or watch in their home, you may not be getting the most use out of it. Choosing clocks that are clear and easy to see, that have alarm functions, and that display the month and day, will make everyone’s lives a little easier.

Low Vision Clocks

Sometimes people with dementia also have age-related vision loss. Even if they don’t, visually tracking tiny numbers can be confusing. That’s why choosing a clock that is designed for people with low vision is a win-win situation.

 

Also, using a digital clock is ideal. Analog clocks can be challenging to read because the viewer has to remember how to tell time on the analog clock. Digital clocks with jumbo-sized numbers offer the best combination of features.  

 

By making sure the time is easy to see and understand, you are reducing the potential for disagreements that might start over misreading the clock. You can gently direct your loved one to look at the numbers, and instead of telling them what it is, you can ask them what time it is. For example, instead of saying, “It’s 6:00! You need to eat your dinner now,” you can ask, “We eat dinner at 6:00. What time is it now?”

Types of Alarms

Most clocks come with a standard alarm feature. This is fine for a one time task, like getting up in the morning. But what do you do if you have multiple activities you would like to alert your loved one to throughout the day? Even if you get a clock that has the multiple alarm feature, how can they tell what each alarm is signaling?

 

This is where clocks like the Your Minder Personal Recording Alarm Clock come in really handy. The Your Minder Personal Alarm Clock can record your own voice and play back a personal alarm or reminder for each alarm. Record up to six of your own alarm messages to alert users when it’s time to take medication, get out of bed, walk the dog- or whatever they need to do!

Dates and Months

It’s one thing to see and know what time it is, and it’s another to keep track of the day of the week and the month of the year. Your loved one may understand it’s morning because they can see the sun coming through their window. But what if they have trouble remembering what day it is? If they have special activities they look forward to every week, they may keep those activities in the forefront of their mind and ask you every day if it is time to go.

 

Using a clock that has both a day and month display can help with this problem. If water therapy is on Wednesday, and today is Tuesday, you don’t have to bear the disappointing news. You can gently direct your loved one to look at the clock and let you know what day it is. Or if they think it is the month of their granddaughter’s birthday, you can ask them to check the clock to verify if it is June yet.  

 

None of these ideas will work 100% of the time, but they will certainly cut back on the potential for misunderstandings.