8. Three types of Hobbies You can Try Without Breaking the Bank

Guest article by Mary Shannon . . . Find her at seniorsmeet.org/

photo via Pexels

Hobbies are a wonderful addition to anyone’s life, but they can also be expensive. Between material costs, lessons, workshops, and accessories, it is incredibly easy to rack up a shocking bill for a hobby before you even get started. If you want to discover a new pastime that will enrich your life instead of drain your pockets, check out these fun and easy options that are great for every age range, particularly retirees!


Active hobbies are great for your physical and mental health, and they can be a great way to bring more exercise into your life while keeping things fun and exciting. Gardening is a perfect example. Besides being an outlet for stress and a way to soak up vitamin D, gardening offers big mental health boosts, keeps you moving, and, best of all, provides you with a beautiful garden or landscape you can enjoy or a bounty of fresh produce.

Gardening, like any hobby, can cost as much as you’re willing to pay. On the more affordable end, gathering necessary gardening gear (e.g. hoe, rake, trowel, pruner, etc.) could be as simple as turning to your garage, but essentials can be found at reasonable prices. And seeds or starter sets can be purchased for very little. For those who want to go big and have the budget, grow lights, irrigation systems, raised beds, soil and mulch delivery and a tiller can pave the way for a pretty amazing setup. Who knows, you may even decide to sell your flowers or produce. Enjoying a new hobby and making a profit? That’s a win-win!


Making music is not only incredibly fun and entertaining, but it’s also good for our health in a variety of ways, from enhanced coordination to better mood regulation and even preventing Alzheimer’s disease. For many people, the main downside is the price tag that comes with a new instrument, as well as the classes needed to learn it.

The solution: For one, there’s no need to buy a new instrument. You can easily find quality second-hand instruments online through local listings. You could even rent an instrument or borrow one from a friend to see if that particular piece is a good choice for you. When it comes to classes, however, look for free online lessons through sites like Skillshare. If you prefer in-person tutoring, sign up for a skill-swap service to get free lessons in exchange for your expertise in another area.

Arts and Crafts

This is a broad category, encompassing everything from watercolor painting to sculpture, woodworking to photography, or knitting to quiltmaking. Whatever hobby appeals most to you, there are ways to keep costs low. Big retailers like Hobby Lobby or Micheal’s often have great sales on products, ranging from crocheting supplies to paints and canvases.

Make sure to pick your materials carefully. For instance, if you want to learn how to paint, don’t start with oil paints, which are generally expensive. Learn the basics with gouache or acrylics and then move on to pricier mediums. If you are just learning to sew, don’t buy a beautiful fancy fabric for your first few projects; wait until you are more confident with a sewing machine.

Depending on how quickly or how well you pick up a hobby, your creations could even become profitable. Paintings, scarves, sculptures and woodcrafts can be sold on sites like Etsy or at art fairs, while photography can turn into a professional side hustle where you take portraits or family photos for a fee. Another win-win!

What if My Hobby Becomes Profitable?

While not everyone goes into a hobby with profit in mind, it’s not unusual for a hobby to grow into a business. Depending on what you make and plan to sell, a hobby can even prove lucrative enough to supplement your income, which can be great for seniors who no longer work. If a fledgling business takes off, it can even be in your best interest to file as a business entity. Should you choose to form a business, a simple LLC formation can be an affordable way to protect your assets and even enjoy some tax advantages.

So many people throw themselves into a new hobby by spending a fortune on it. They assume that this investment will make them feel committed to the hobby and will help them achieve great results right away. However, this isn’t the only way to do it.

By being budget-conscious, you remove a lot of the pressure from the hobby you select, which helps you just have fun with it. You could even try out a few different things, meaning you have a better chance of finding one you instantly fall in love with. And who knows? You could even supplement your income with your hobby!

For more helpful insight geared toward seniors and caregivers, be sure to bookmark The Fundamentals of Homecare.

7. How Seniors Can Use Technology to Stay Connected with Loved Ones

Guest article by Mary Shannon . . . Find her at seniorsmeet.org/

Photo via Pexels

At any age, social isolation can be a major threat to our physical and mental wellbeing. When it comes to aging in place or aging in community, you have a range of senior living options that can help you stay active and social. Still, it can be hard to stay in touch with friends and family. It’s not always possible to get out of the house and socialize with your neighbors or visit your loved ones, especially if they live far away—or a global pandemic keeps you apart! Here’s how you can take advantage of user-friendly tech tools to stay connected with loved ones during your senior years.

Get Online

Before you can embrace the wonderful world of digital communication, you have to get connected to the internet. That ancient dial-up connection just won’t do! You need access to fast, reliable internet to enjoy online activities and digital tools like live video-chat and document-sharing apps. Don’t worry, high-speed internet doesn’t have to be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you may be eligible for discounted fiber-optic internet through Verizon’s Lifeline Discount Program! Whatever your circumstances, search around for discounts and savings opportunities, and you’re sure to find a solution.

Invest in Some New Devices

You may also need to invest in some new tech devices. A user-friendly smartphone, for example, will enable you to download all kinds of apps that can help you organize your daily life and connect with loved ones from anywhere. There are also several laptops and tablets that you can use to follow your grandkids on social media and participate in family video-chat calls with ease. If you have a hard time finding your way around a regular smartphone or computer, HuffPost recommends getting a simplified tablet like the GrandPad or Claris Companion.

Download Video-Chat Tools

Once you have a solid internet connection and a device that you feel comfortable using, it’s time to start downloading some social tools! Start by installing a simple video-chat app so you can call your friends and family at any time. Some great options include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Google Duo. All of these services are free, but some can only be used on certain devices. It never hurts to try a few and find out what works best for you!

Try Social Media

Whether you want to reconnect with old friends or look at photos of your adorable grandkids, social media can help you stay socially engaged in new ways. Social media also makes it easy to make new friends, learn about local events, and find groups of people who share your passions and interests. You can even use social media to play online games with people! Since there are many social media platforms to choose from, The Arbor Company suggests looking at some that are both popular and straightforward to use, like Facebook and Skype. You can also talk to your family members to find out which ones they use to share photos, videos, and life updates.

Install Senior-Friendly Apps

Besides helping you connect with loved ones, technology has the potential to benefit your life in several other ways. For example, certain apps can help you organize your grocery lists or keep your brain sharp through cognitive games. There are apps that can help with financial organization, appointment scheduling, medication management, exercise, food delivery, and more! Healthcare Dive notes — technologies like these can help make aging-in-place possible, so be sure to take advantage of all the great tools that are available to you.

Using technology to stay connected with your friends and family is easier than you may think. You just need a good internet connection, a user-friendly device, and a few simple apps. Once you’re all set up, you will have access to a whole new world of possibilities at your fingertips!

6. Your Five Best Options for Aging in Your Community

Guest article by Hazel Bridges . . . Find her at hazel@agingwellness.org

Today, more than ever before, you have innovative
housing options for aging in the community.

For example, you can adapt a home to make it safer or find dynamic ways to get the support you require. Below are some different choices to explore depending on your lifestyle and needs.

Share Your Home

Sometimes, your best option is staying where you’ve put down roots. However, with utilities and other bills you’ll need to pay, things can get expensive, especially on a fixed income. Moreover, by staying in our homes, we can find ourselves feeling lonely and a little isolated from the rest of the community. If you’re looking to avoid that, you could consider co-housing or having roommates. Fortunately, finding a new companion to live with can be as easy as going online or visiting your local senior center. Or, if you and a friend are interested in getting a house together, you can look into HUD programs that provide financial assistance to seniors. This way, you share the costs together and also have someone to rely on whenever you really need it.

Home Safety

If you do choose to age in place or decide to look for a new home with a friend, you’ll want to ensure your property is as safe as possible. To get started, you should check your home for anything that might pose a tripping hazard, such as uneven flooring or loose rugs. Most importantly, however, is the bathroom, particularly the shower. While a walk-in tub can make things safer, so can putting in a shower seat to let you sit when you want (it’s also the cheaper option, as you can find seats at Home Depot starting at around $40). You could even add smart features such as motion-sensor lights or a smart thermostat to save on energy.

Going Smaller

Downsizing can also be an excellent alternative, particularly if you want to be closer to family, friends, or your favorite city. However, to avoid any financial surprises, it’s vital that you research the market to know what to expect from selling and what you’ll likely spend on a new home. If you can afford to downsize, it will allow you to destress, ditch clutter, and enjoy a more accessible space.

Village to Village

One emerging choice is the village-to-village model. If you have an independent spirit but still want to enjoy the benefits of a close community, this could be a good fit. Indeed, you’ll have your own home, yet your neighborhood will be full of people of a similar age. Better still, each village provides various services to its members, including education opportunities, medical care assistance, and coordinated social events to keep everyone active and engaged.

Retirement Communities

Lastly, and similar to a village-to-village model, is a retirement community. However, you won’t have to worry about home or yard maintenance, including broken appliances, leaky faucets, or repainting. In fact, you’ll get more hands-on support, with meals often provided and nurses on staff to assist you with any issues. Still, that doesn’t mean there will not be the option to cook, but it’ll be up to you, depending on your own tastes. Indeed, the most rewarding aspects of retirement communities are the opportunities offered for all stages of life, as well as how adaptable they are to changing needs. Yet, similar to the village model, you’ll keep your independence and make your own decisions on how you lead your life.

No matter what you choose, home is what you make it, and your community should be one you love. You never know if an old friend will also be interested in a village or retirement community, too. This is your time to explore and live an active life of your own making.

Image courtesy of Pexels

5. Humor pause

Early Warning Signs Your Kid May Have A Problem

Somedays, I believe we all could use a dose of humor. Here’s a couple of giggles I found this week. I hope you enjoy!

A barber gave a haircut to a priest one day. The priest tried to pay for the haircut but the barber refused saying, “You do God’s work.” The next morning the barber found a dozen bibles at the door to his shop.

A policeman came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying, “You protect the public.” The next morning the barber found a dozen doughnuts at the door to his shop.

A lawyer came to the barber for a haircut, and again the barber refused payment saying, “You serve the justice system.” The next morning the barber found a dozen lawyers waiting for a haircut.   🙄 


Walking into the bar, Harvey said to the bartender, “Pour me a stiff one, Eddie. I just had a fight with the little woman.”

“Oh, yeah?” said Eddie. “How’d this one end?”

“When it was over,” Harvey replied, “she came to me on her hands and knees.”

“Really? Now that’s a switch. What did she say?”

“She said, ‘Come out from under that bed, you gutless weasel.’”  🙂 

In New York, you can now share a cab with strangers. I saw two strangers sharing a cab just today. One was taking off the tires; the other was removing the radio.

An English Professor wrote the words, “woman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and asked the students to punctuate it correctly.

The men wrote, “Woman, without her man, is nothing.”

The women wrote, “Woman! Without her, man is nothing.”

A new survey found that three out of four children under the age of four have their own smartphone. You can tell it’s bad; last night I told my daughter it was time for bed and she tried to swipe left on me.

After one of Google’s self-driving cars was pulled over this weekend, the company released a statement touting that the cars have the human equivalent of 90 years behind the wheel. Which also explains why the left blinker was on for 17 miles.   😎 

4. Why your own health as a caregiver is still important.

If you’re a caregiver for someone elderly, chronically ill or a disabled loved one you’re not alone.

Surveys in the U.S. have recently confirmed there are over 65 million adults taking care of someone at home.

Unexpectedly they also revealed that nearly 90% of those laborers are not getting enough sleep.

Over time this anomaly puts these extremely hard workers on the pathway to caregiver burnout which can lead to all sort of setbacks according to psychologists. Often by the time you suspect signs of burnout – you’re already suffering from a myriad of ailments.

 Caregivers not only must cope with the patient’s illness and the special “cares” those disablements may demand. They also may experience variations in the family’s dynamics which could add up to serious disruptions in family life.

Today’s severe financial pressures can also take a huge toll – further affecting the safety and security of the caregivers’ world.

Taken together over time such pressures eventually will affect your ability to provide good care to your patient and conceivably begin to place the caregivers own health status at risk. So what are some possible warning indicators of burnout?

Continue reading “4. Why your own health as a caregiver is still important.”

3. A list of things that show someone is going to need some additional help around the home soon.

Once someone starts needing assistance during the day or night it could be time to start looking for some help outside of the home. Today there are dependable options, others have used successfully. Before starting it’s important to remember that as the level of assistance increases or decreases – the overall price of the assistance also is amended.

In my first book, I cover many excellent tips on what to watch for and why, which I can in this short blog post. Ok – often the quickest, easiest, fastest and safest bet is to look for a reliable home healthcare agency located in your area. Some family’s instead start with hiring an “aide or helper” directly to come into the home for a couple hours each day or week – as the case may be. This can work quite well and is less expensive than going through a healthcare agency. Continue reading “3. A list of things that show someone is going to need some additional help around the home soon.”

2. What is a bedpan and how to set up and use it successfully

Someday, due to an injury or declining health, you or a loved one may be unable to get out of bed and use the bathroom. It seems an unlikely scenario – but happens all the time in the real world. At that time the patient has 3 choices when needing to use the bathroom for a bowel movement or urination.

Soil the bed. This is not acceptable and makes life for your caregiver and family members unpleasant, to say the least. It is also very unsanitary and can lead to serious infections etc.

Option 2 is to start using incontinence briefs or pull-ups. Properly used this option is quite easy,  keeps everything clean and takes little time for your caregivers to replace throughout the day or night – once they gained the experience needed. They can be found anywhere elder care products are sold. Their only drawback is they can be expensive for folks who have limited resources. 

Opt 3. Is to use a bedpan whenever possible, as the care recipient “needs” dictate and use the convenient incontinence products mentioned above during hours of sleep or travel.

In Book 2 of my caregiving series, I delve into this subject in more detail. For this simple blog post, I’ll try to cover the basics of bedpans and their usage in a short amount of time.  

Bedpans are sometimes the ideal solution for the immobilized patient that is confined to bed and come in a wide array of colors, sizes, and shapes and are designed to be durable and easy to clean. Most feature a plastic guard to prevent spills and have a tapered end for easier positioning and some are designed with a handle for easier placement and removal.

About 60% of bed pans look like an undersized toilet seat and function just about the same way- so these are easy to figure out. The big or widest end goes under the buttocks and the narrow end goes forward or where the urine is expelled.

Another 40% are much smaller in size and looking at their side profile take the form of a wedge and are called (fracture pans) with an easy to use handle for carrying after they have completed their duty. The handle side is carried elevated and the reservoir end holds the contents. Often the contents are more than the size of the reservoir so you must carry it tilted to avoid spillages.

Both types function acceptably, however, some patients prefer one or the other mainly due to personal preferences.

On these smaller units, the thin side or wedge side is inserted under the buttocks and the wide deeper end is positioned for urine outflow.

How to use a bedpan

First set-up your supplies, normally a couple of washcloths, (I always have a few extras nearby just in case) 2 towels, 2-3 plastic bags, a basin of warm water and a supply of disposable gloves positioned nearby, then wash your hands and don a pair of disposable gloves.

After making sure the patient has adequate privacy, (close the windows and door) have the patient lift themselves upwards if they can, or roll over onto their side if they can’t, and help them lower their disposable underpants.

Now insert the bedpan (deeply) with the correct end to the rear, so the waste matter will be contained in the bedpan and then have them roll back over and open their legs so you can confirm they are centrally positioned on it, then if possible raise the head of the bed so they are in a semi-sitting position.

They don’t need to sit straight up (45-60 degrees is best) but being on an incline (sometimes called being in the standard Fowlers’ position) promotes emptying one’s bladder and feces. Lastly, cover them with the sheet for privacy.

Tip. Sometimes with an enormous patient, I may layout a disposable incontinent pad (or heavy towel) first and put the bedpan on it, in case of overruns, to save time changing out bedding after an extra big discharge. Becoming familiar with your care recipient will help decide if something like that may contribute toward keeping things clean.

Also with the large or obese person you may need to hold their legs open (with a rolled up towel) so there a gap, for urine to escape down into the bedpan, otherwise the urine can become trapped between their legs and travel downwards, and you will end up with an dry bedpan and a urine soaked bed at their feet.

Now remove your gloves and dispose of them properly and wash your hands thoroughly and step out to permit the patient privacy unless it’s unsafe due to weakness or another reason.

After the job is completed (they have called, signaled or enough time has elapsed), wash your hands and again don gloves and have them lift up, or turn onto their side again (supporting the bedpan so it doesn’t roll over likewise) and carefully remove the bedpan being vigilant not to spill the contents.

Put a towel or plastic bag over the bedpan and lay it in the bathroom or on a flat surface if you can’t get to the bathroom quickly, and never down near them or on their tableside table or nightstand.

Cleaning or “perineal care” – overview

Thoroughly soap, wash and rinse with warm water, using the washcloths separately, the patients (male or female) genital area first and afterward the buttocks.

Always wipe (front to back) so you’re careful not to introduce any fecal matter from the rectum to the urethra, and ensure they are clean and dry when finished to prevent infection and eliminate embarrassing odors.

While wiping turn the cloth so each swipe is using a clean area of the cloth. Be gentle as this area of the body is sensitive. Finally, thoroughly dry the area to avoid any chapping developing or bed sores.

Always check for signs of infection, like swelling, sores, lesions, rashes, and boils, and if observed report them to your nurse.

When finished cleaning —  pull up the underwear, or position and firmly tape the briefs closed (not hanging loosely), and direct them to roll back to a comfortable sleeping position then offer a damp cloth (or the basin of warm water) to allow the patient to wash his/her hands and use a drying towel, so they are able to sanitize their hands if the patient so desires.

Lastly cautiously take the soiled washcloths/ towels and bag them for laundry (to reduce odors) and take the filled bedpan, and empty it slowly down the toilet, flushing at the same time and then clean the bedpan according to your procedure.      Then you may remove the gloves and wash your hands.

Some key points of perineal care

Try to perform it regularly as part of their daily cleaning and bathing schedule, especially after using the bedpan or toilet or an incontinence episode.

Whenever in bed keep the patient’s body covered as much as possible during the procedure to help provide a sense of warmth,  dignity and avoid unnecessary exposure.

Your first couple tries of providing “peri care” may prove to be intimidating, however, it’s a very important part of the overall care plan for obvious reasons and to avoid odors.

It’s important the first couple of times to obtain a coach (for training purposes) like another experienced caregiver, nurse, or your healthcare provider.

Be sure to congratulate yourself on a job well done.  

  The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Again I break this procedure down more thoroughly in Book 2.   🙂 

You’re totally welcome to send me a message anytime for advice or encouragement.

My website has a contact page – send a message there.

Or by email to glennlapoint55@gmail.com


1. Having your Loved one come home from the hospital or a nursing home can be a bit unnerving the 1st time.

In the majority of cases after a hospital admission, before coming home the patient is transferred to a rehab center or nursing home.

This step helps ensure they receive an increased amount of care while they are recovering than they simply could at home.

Once they have demonstrated or recovered enough and have a proper home environment available – they can be released – often between 2 weeks to a month.

These transfers normally involve a certain amount of pre-planning – often called transition planning. Successful transition planning ensures continuity of care, clarifies the current state of the patient’s health and capabilities, reviews their medications and if going to a nursing home or rehab center helps you select the facility to which your loved one is to be released.

In a perfect world, you will have plenty of time and information to make a solid choice. In real life, you may have very little time and given a diminutive amount of information and simply shown a list of currently available facilities and asked to choose one.

Continue reading “1. Having your Loved one come home from the hospital or a nursing home can be a bit unnerving the 1st time.”