It’s Time

From sundials to timepieces that communicate with each other nightly, how we tell time has come a long way. The ancient has become decorations and the old is slowly leaking back into the new. Their evolution is a story as old as man.  The focus for this article will be the “portable clock.”

Watches

The first wristwatch was made for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary by the Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1868, according to Guinness World Records. But the first wristwatch for men is not so easy to pinpoint. Prior to this the first portable clocks were clunky, inaccurate, unprotected, and subject to break easily.

Watches worn on the wrist first became popular in Europe during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Americans thought men wearing this traditionally female adornment were comical and often would use it in vaudeville and comedy acts. It wasn’t until World War I that the practicality of having a watch more easily accessible for men/soldiers made sense.  The Atlantic article on watches further shares that it was during this time that European soldiers were outfitting the device with unbreakable glass to survive the trenches and radium to illuminate the display at night. And civilians, seeing the wristwatch’s practical benefits over the pocket watch, were parroting the behavior.

If the traditional style watch is something of interest check out this Unisex Low Vision 2″ Watch. This extra-large watch has a 1.6″ wide face within a 2″ case, providing extra-large visibility and clarity. Bold black hands are featured on a white face with bold black numbers so that you can read the time with ease.

If closing and opening straps are an issue than try the Talking Watch With Black Leather Slip-on Cuff. Not only is this watch easy to put on and take off but you can choose between a male and female voice to give you the date and time. The different voice options are great for anyone who has started to have some high frequency hearing loss.

Pocket Watches

Pocket watches were some of the first portable clocks. While they came before the wristwatch they also are continually being utilized to this day. This brief history is taken entirely from a Dapperfied  article on the history of pocket watches. One of the first historical references of the pocket watch can be found in a letter dated in November 1462 from an Italian by the name of Bartholomew Manfredi. By 1524 the practice spread and Peter Henlein, a master locksmith, began manufacturing watches in Germany. Watch production spread to the rest of the world, gaining popularity rapidly.

Early pocket watches only had an hour hand as the minute hand did not appear on the clock face until the late 17th century. In the late 1830s, the first American pocket watches were produced using machine-made parts.  Some of the first pocket watches also included practical gadgets in their design like winding keys, a vesta case [small match box] or even a cigar cutter. These added gadgets increased the usability of the watch and gave it an added appeal to consumers.

If you’re interested in purchasing a modern-day pocket watch check out this Gold Talking Atomic Pendant Watch With Gold Chain. This is an attractive talking time piece with 1.4″ wide case. It features a multi-band atomic receiver that can work in the US, Europe, or Japan once you adjust your time zone. This watch has a clear male voice which speaks the time and the date at the touch of a button. There is a daily alarm that can be activated if needed. It comes with a matching gold tone 30″ chain.

But what is an atomic watch?

Atomic Watches

Watch Ranker states that atomic watches are calibrated by an atomic clock and maintain their calibration by receiving radio signals from that clock. This means that with your atomic watch, you can know the exact time with the exacting precision of NASA, literally: NASA uses an atomic clock for its countdowns.

In the United States, the atomic clock is in Fort Collins, Colorado, one of the most accurate in the world. The clock is operated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Atomic watches in other countries communicate with clocks elsewhere in the world.

American atomic watches are programmed to search at least once a day for a 60 kHz radio signal from the Ft. Collins clock, which can broadcast at a range of 1,864 miles. It receives and decodes this signal to maintain its accuracy. The watch doesn’t stay in constant contact with the atomic clock, but it doesn’t need to as 24 hours isn’t long enough for the watch to noticeably drift.

If you’d like to check out the other amazing watches offered by ila please visit our watches category.

The Art of Distance Viewing

Whether it’s watching a mysterious bird from afar, going to a game, or trying to see details more clearly on the TV, distance viewing technology has its advantages. Read further to see how these devices can make any indoor or outdoor activity more enjoyable to watch.

Birdwatching

Audubon is a wonderful website to learn all about birding.  They state, “If you’ve been considering joining the ranks of the 47 million birders in the United States, there’s no better time than the present to take the plunge—or at least dip your toes in.”

The first thing to consider is your gear. Most people use binoculars to better view birds from a distance but a monocular can be used as well. In fact, a monocular could be a more practical aide to bring as it’s smaller, more compact, and is essentially like using a short telescope. If you’re considering giving a monocular a go the 4 x 12 Monocular on sale this week is an excellent inexpensive option to try.  Other suggested gear includes a weatherproof notebook, a field guide, comfortable clothes, and an easy to use birding app.

Before you actually start your first birding adventure the site suggests you learn the American Birding Association Code of Ethics. Once you familiarize yourself with the code of ethics another important step to take is to learn about  safety tips for better birding. It is also advised to check the elements, consider the season, and look up your local species occurrences prior to any outing.

Sporting Events

Whether going to watch friends, family, or just your favorite team play there is evidence that attending sporting events can be good for your health. Sporting events allow you to socialize, get out of the house, network, spend time with family and friends, and even immediately gives you a connection to the people around you.

A recent study looks at the association between sporting event attendance and self-rated health.   The results of this 12 year study demonstrate that sporting event attendance positively correlates with self-rated health. In addition, individuals who attended a sporting even within the past year were 33% more likely to indicate a higher level of self-rated health. An article on CNN Health further states “scientists have found that being a sports fan can be good for your emotional, psychological and social health.”

Creating lasting memories is another advantage of going to a sporting event. The 7″ portable HD CCTV with distance, on sale this week, is a great way to both take photos, store reminders and zoom in up to 32x from as much as 16 feet away. It stores nearly an unlimited number of freeze frame images on a removable 32 GB card. Voice memo feature can add a recorded message to any of those images.  This may not make the game itself easier to view (depending on where your seat is located) but it can be beneficial when reading a program, small print at the concession stand, and can be both a visual and auditory aid in remembering where you parked or where your seat is located.

Watching TV

Everyone know that watching too much TV can be bad for your health but there are several surprising beneficial reasons to turn on the tube as well. Darling Magazine reports on three ways that TV is good for you.

The first reason listed is that watching TV can reduce stress. The more time we take in something we enjoy the less stressed we tend to be. The next reason is TV can promote healthy living. In the academic world it is called “entertainment-education.” An example provided is after an episode about PTSD the stars of NCIS also participated in a public service announcement about seeking help for the disorder. The third and final reason listed is it can inspire creativity. Do it yourself shows, cooking shows, and even those showcasing every day people demonstrating their talents can inspire others to do the same.

For some people with low vision and/or macular degeneration this pastime can be frustrating. Thanks to new technology such as the Eschenbach MaxTV Glasses individuals can adjust their vision to fit their TV viewing needs. They provide 2.1X magnification and allow the user to focus each eye independently, allowing for more precise focusing.

Be sure to check out other great products to help make distance viewing more enjoyable at independent living aids, LLC.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Fun for Everyone

July 4th always lands just under two weeks after the official start of summer on June 21st.  Summer is a wonderful time for family get togethers, barbequing, social events, and outdoor sports. In order to ensure everyone has as much fun as possible it’s important to keep safety and limitations in mind.

Barbequing Essentials

Regardless if barbequing means cooking outside on the grill or having chopped pork or beef brisket certain things remain constant. Nationwide provides 9 safety tips for summer barbeques. In a nutshell these include ensuring the grill is safe and operational, wearing appropriate clothing, and being prepared to put out a fire if it gets out of control. Safety should always be the number one concern.

Once everything is deemed safe to operate it’s necessary to consider everything that is required for a successful barbeque.  The Spruce Eats provides a 6-part barbeque essentials checklist. Beyond the food (meat, desserts, buns), other items needed are grilling tools (spatula, tongs, glove, and grill fork), drinks, condiments and sauces, and the sides.

To save space by the grill consider ordering this locking spatula/tongs combo. The unit features a stainless-steel frame with a nylon head that is heat resistant to 450°F/230°C. Simply push down to open and pull up to close. Dishwasher safe.

 

Participating in Summer Sports

Whether your go to game is baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, or even volleyball the summer season is a great time of year to play. The easiest of these sports to setup and play in a matter of minutes is volleyball.  All you need is a couple of people, a ball, and something that could be used as a net. Non-regulation games can last anywhere from minutes to hours. Volleyball is also the second most popular sport in the world today.

Volleyball is a sport that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy. Team USA further expounds on this idea by saying, “Volleyball is a team sport which can be played by disabled and able-bodied. It can be played by youth, juniors, adults and seniors in any combination. Unlike many sports, volleyball can be played at all levels co-educationally, creating a gregarious and integrating atmosphere that is appreciated by all involved.”

If volleyball is your go to sport and you’re looking to purchase a new ball check out this volleyball with bells, currently on sale. It’s perfect if you have any guests that may have any vision impairments but still want to enjoy the game.

 

Independence for All

Everyone knows that July 4th is the day to celebrate America’s independence from the British. A day to celebrate freedom be it by social gatherings, parades, and/or fireworks. Independence can also mean the ability to live your life without having to depend on the assistance of others. This could mean financial independence, learning to live on your own, or accepting and living with a disability. Statistically at any given time 1 in 5 Americans is disabled.

If you know in advance that friends or family members invited to your summer function lives a bit differently than you do, then you can research and find out tips and tricks to help them feel as much an active participant as everyone else. There are many wonderful resources readily available to assist you or your loved ones in returning to a new sense of normal. This HelpGuide article is a wonderful place to start.

Traveling with disabilities doesn’t have to be an issue either. A quick example for someone traveling with visual impairments  is this adjustable folding support cane. This cane is a durable, aluminum folding support cane (4 sections) with a comfortable T-handle and a Santoprene rubber tip. It has a white shaft with red on lower section. For more tips and advice for traveling with a disability check out this article on SMARTERTRAVEL.

Be sure to check out other great products to help make your summer more enjoyable at independent living aids, LLC.

 

 

 

All About Eye Health

It is often said that your eyes are a window into your soul.  This phrase has different meanings for different people but most everyone can agree that eyes are a very important part of our bodies.

How the Eyes See

The American Optometric Association explains how the eye works:

When light rays reflect off an object and enter the eyes through the cornea, you can then see that object.  The cornea bends, or refracts, the rays that pass through the round hole of the pupil. The iris opens and closes, making the pupil bigger or smaller. This regulates the amount of light passing through.

 

The light rays then pass through the lens, which changes shape so it can further bend the rays and focus them on the retina. The retina, which sits at the back of the eye, is a thin layer of tissue that contains millions of tiny light-sensing nerve cells. These nerve cells are called rods and cones because of their distinct shapes. Cones are concentrated in the center of the retina, in an area called the macula. When there is bright light, cones provide clear, sharp central vision and detect colors and fine details. Rods are located outside the macula and extend all the way to the outer edge of the retina. They provide peripheral or side vision. Rods also allow the eyes to detect motion and help us see in dim light and at night.

 

These cells in the retina convert the light into electrical impulses. The optic nerve sends these impulses to the brain, which produces an image. (Click on the link at the beginning of this section for a complete diagram on this process)

 

The importance of Eye Exams

Eye exams at every stage of life can help keep your vision clear and strong.  Many people only go to the eye doctor when they notice things aren’t as clear as they once were. Noticeable lack of vision is only one of many reasons that regular eye exams are important to eye health. Regular eye exams can spot many diseases early on and with proper treatment can even help preserve your eyesight.

The CDC states that “Eye diseases are common and can go unnoticed for a long time—some have no symptoms at first. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective.

During the exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. Your eye doctor may even spot other conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, sometimes before your primary care doctor does.”

Some of the common eye issues mentioned further in this article include cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and aged related macular degeneration.

Tips for Better Eye Health

The National Eye Institute, provides some simple ways in which you can help protect and save your eyesight.

  • Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam
  • Know your family’s eye health history
  • Eat right to protect your sight
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Wear protective eyewear
  • Quit smoking or never start
  • Be cool and wear your shades
  • Give your eyes a rest
  • Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly
  • Practice workplace eye safety

Following these simple tips can go a long way toward preserving your eyesight as you age. Don’t forget to check out this week’s sunglasses sale. Afterall, even the National Eye Institute advises to be cool and wear your shades.

Sunglasses and other high quality items can be found at: independent living aids, LLC.

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.

Celebrating Father’s Day

According to the US Census, fathers make up 72 million of the nation’s population. Grandfathers make up 29 million. The idea for Father’s Day came over a century ago from Sonora Smart Dodd wishing to honor her father, a widowed Civil War Veteran and single father to six.

Father’s Day means something different to different people. There is likely a very personal reason why you look forward to or dread the coming of this day. Where you live or grew up could also be a factor in your response to the day. The day is celebrated worldwide on varying days of the year. It can be a day to cherish and celebrate the men in our lives regardless of biological affiliation

Father’s Day Around the World

There are many articles related to the various days that countries utilize for their celebration of Father’s Day. A good overview can be found at the Spruce. The second paragraph from that link states: “Traditions vary for Father’s Day celebrations around the world. For example, some countries link Father’s Day to the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19, which celebrates Joseph of Nazareth, father of Jesus. In Germany, Father’s Day is commonly celebrated by men loading wagons with beer and heading off into the woods. In Russia, Father’s Day overlaps with their Defender of the Fatherland Day. So, while fathers are honored, many of them march in military parades in their home towns on the same day.”

There are 38 countries represented from this site with the month of celebration breaking down into: 7 celebrate in March, 16 celebrate in June, 1 in July, 4 in August, 5 in November, and 1 varies but always on the 6th Sunday after Easter. To learn about the dates and traditions of Father’s Day even further feel free to see Wikipedia.

Father’s Day and the Men’s Health Week Campaign

Father’s Day is a great time to tell the men in your life how much you care about them. This is why the Men’s Health Week campaign was designed to coincide with Father’s Day in the United States. Instead of focusing on what could happen if you ignore your body let’s look at 6 ways you can refocus your health.

Everyday Health provides a checklist of what men can actively do to protect their health for both themselves and their loved ones. These 6 ways to better health are:

  • Get Enough Sleep: Aim for seven to nine hours per night.
  • Stop Smoking: If you quit now, you’ll lower your risk for cancer, COPD, and other smoking-related illnesses.
  • Exercise More: Try to fit in 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening exercises, each week.
  • Eat Healthy: Your diet should include a variety of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • Reduce Stress: You’ll feel much more relaxed if you avoid drugs and alcohol, connect socially, and find support.
  • Get Regular Checkups: Positive outcomes are more likely with early detection.

Creating a Father’s Day to Remember

If you’re looking for things to do with and for your father look no further than this article at All Pro Dad. Jackie Bledsoe shares not only wonderful creative suggestions but also provides links to photo tutorials if you want to create your slide show and/or order products with family photos on them. These 5 memory worthy ideas are:

  • Share and write down old stories the two of you have together
  • Go through old family photos
  • Take him somewhere special
  • Get the grand-kids to do something special
  • Visit him wherever he is

If you’re still looking for a store bought present for dear-old-dad don’t forget to check out the sale items at independent living aids, LLC.

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.