Go Camping This Summer

Summer is here, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us. Most of us are still leery of flying, so vacationing overseas or out of state is not under consideration. Although we are in phase 2 of re-opening and many restaurants and shops are now open, our safest activities this summer would be outdoors, especially in parks and beaches, with social distancing, of course. One place I’d like to visit with my family is the Minuteman Campground in Lexington, which is just 30 miles northwest of Boston. There, you can enjoy a quiet, spacious campsite among the tall pines. The campground has tent campsites, RV campsites and cabins. The RV sites have picnic tables, Wi-Fi, laundry, fire pits and electricity hookups, so you won’t need propane for RV generator. For fun, the campground provides kids playground, swimming pool, basketball, volleyball and more.

rv in campground

As long as the family is outdoors, you always should be prepared with insect sprays and sunscreens, first aid kits and wound care supplies such as bandages, dressings and wound cleansers.

If you have a senior loved one at home, you may not be able to bring him or her along. In that case, it would be a good idea to get respite care service from a trustworthy home care agency. A professional home care aide can provide companionship, as well as take care of daily tasks such as simple meal preparation, errands, and also make sure that your loved one is taking prescribed medications.

Worried about your routine household chores while you are on vacation? Take a break and let others do them for you. Use the nearby dry cleaner to do your dirty laundry, maid service to clean your house, and a personal concierge to do whatever else that needs to be done. With their help, even though you are still in the Boston area, you can take your mind off your daily routine to rest, recharge and have fun!

Gardening Tips You May Not Have Considered

Gardening season is here! After the last few months we’ve had, spending time outside with our hands in the dirt is incredibly welcome. While gardening is a great hobby to have, it also helps to be prepared. Here are some gardening tips you may not have considered.

Prep for the Bugs

Bugs are inevitable when it comes to gardening, it comes with the territory. But with a couple of precautions, you can be ready for those creepy crawly gardening buddies. Your local drugstore or pharmacy will have all the insects sprays you need to keep protected, including kinds for sensitive skin. Be sure to look for calamine or aloe lotion to soothe itchy insect bites.

Protect Your Skin From the Sun

Even if you’re just spending a few minutes outside watering your plants, it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun. If your skin is on the pale side or you tend to burn easily, look for sunscreens at your nearby pharmacy with an SPF of at least 50.

Gardening activity

Be Prepared for Cuts and Scrapes

Weeding your garden can come with some drawbacks, like cuts and scrapes. Use good quality garden gloves to stay protected and keep a stash of first aid supplies nearby. Your local drug store will have bandaids, antibacterial cream, gauze and all the necessary things you need in the event you hurt yourself gardening.

Remove Dirt Stains

Grass and dirt stains aren’t easy to remove from clothing, so it’s best to designate some clothes specifically for gardening that you won’t mind if they get a little grungy. However, if you want to have your gardening clothes clean and stain-free, take them to the dry cleaners nearby. Be sure to tell your local Boston dry cleaner how your clothes were stains, so they can treat accordingly.

Consider Planting a Garden for a Loved One

Your elderly friends or family members may still enjoy gardens but can’t take care of them because of physical limitations or mobility issues. Planting and tending to a garden for someone else is an amazing gift, and can be so rewarding. Alternatively, a home care aide can provide great companionship by tending to the garden with your loved one.

Have fun gardening this season and take a few small precautions to stay safe and healthy in the summer sun!

Dealing with Skin Allergies

So many Americans are affected by skin allergies, so much so that skin allergy remedies are a lucrative industry. Different factors can make skin allergies worse like weather, pollen and common airborne allergens. Here are some tips for those dealing with skin allergies.

Check With Your Local Pharmacy

Skin allergies are sometimes tricky to treat since they vary so much from person to person. Check with a compounding pharmacy about medications specifically for your individual needs. Compounded medications for skin will be specially formulated for you by type and dosage, so you’ll get the quickest most reliable results.

fingers scooping moisturizing cream

Be Aware of What Fabrics Irritate Your Skin

You may be unaware that some of the clothing you wear regularly is irritating your sensitive skin. It could be the fabric itself, or the detergent you’ve been using to wash them. Always look for “free and clear” detergents that don’t contain any dyes or perfumes. Additionally, look for a local green dry cleaner nearby that tailors to those with sensitive skin. Ask for no fragrances and hypoallergenic products. 

Check With Your Doctor

Sometimes skin allergies could be pointing to a more serious health problem. If your skin suddenly becomes dry or irritated, its best to have it checked out by your doctor or dermatologist. Raised rashes, odd-shaped markings or irritation paired with fevers should always be checked by a medical professional right away.

Moisturize Frequently

Dry weather or heat can bring on skin allergies, especially if you’re already prone to dry skin. To avoid this, I always keep my skin moisturized with a natural, perfume-free lotion or oil. I like to buy lotions and creams specifically formulated for sensitive skin at a local drugstore near me, which also can fill prescriptions from my dermatologist. Older people also tend to have dry skin, so family caregivers or professional home health aides should also take care to keep their loved one or client’s skin moisturized.

Skin allergies are a pain, but they don’t have to be. Take care of your skin and take care of each other.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is right around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about gift ideas for all the special guys in your life. This year is undeniably different than previous Father’s Days, so it may require a little thinking outside the box. Some traditional stores aren’t yet fully open, and special outings and celebrations may not be possible because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Not to worry! I’ve compiled some unique Father’s Day gift ideas that are perfect for our current situation.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are always a good idea for any holiday gift. But this year, consider a gift card from your Dad’s local dry cleaner. Once things get up and running again, he’ll want to freshen up his wardrobe and get out of those sweats and t-shirts. Or he may try shirt laundry service at his office so he can look his best always at work. If the dry cleaners won’t work for your guy, the local drugstore will have a large selection of gift cards for local restaurants and stores.

Father's Day card

Private Home Care

This gift could work for grandpas as well as Dads. If your dad is caring for his elderly father, or could just use some help himself, contacting a private home care agency may be the perfect gift idea. A caregiver or home health aide could be a lifesaver, and something they may not always feel comfortable asking for themselves.

Last-Minute Gifts

Because of COVID-19, it’s hard to follow our usual gift-giving routines. If you haven’t been able to go to a department store or find what you need online, you may need to run out and grab something locally. Luckily, pharmacies are considered essential right now and almost all are offering special extended hours. The local pharmacy near me, for example, turns out to be a treasure trove of Father’s Day gifts. Cologne, coffee mugs, fancy chocolate – you’d probably be surprised what you can find at the drug store. The community pharmacy probably carries Father’s Day gift sets as well to make it even easier.

Don’t let the global pandemic stop you from treating those special Dads in your life to the perfect gift they deserve.

Photo by Mockaroon on Unsplash

Celebrating Mother’s Day During COVID-19

We usually celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers and gifts for mom, taking her out to dinner and may be a shopping spree or a trip to the spa or salon. While our city is still in lockdown, with restaurants, salons and shops closed, how are you celebrating Mother’s Day?

Mother’s Day Gifts

For the most part, we can order gifts online and get them ready by Mother’s Day. If you cannot get a gift delivered in time, don’t forget that your local drugstore is still open and carries a variety of health and beauty products that your mom would love – from age-defying skin care, hair coloring and styling to perfumes and manicure products. Your community pharmacy may provide curbside service so you can stay safe.

Happy Mother's Day card

Take a load off

Mom is always busy caring for her family. The list of household chores is never ending. During the quarantine, the amount of cleaning and disinfecting has probably quadrupled. So a great gift would be to take over some of her work. How about letting the local dry cleaner nearby do the laundry? Schedule a laundry pickup before Mother’s Day, so that she is relaxed and not worried about doing the laundry.

If mom’s work includes caring for grandpa and or grandma, which is not unusual in this age of the “Caregiving Crunch,” you can take a load off her by hiring respite care providers from the local home care agency. A home health aide can provide respectful professional care and companionship for a senior loved one while the family caregiver takes a break.

Fun activity together

Do something fun with your mom at home, such as watch a movie on tv, take a trip down memory lane by viewing old photos together, make handicrafts or artwork, give mom a manicure, and so on.

Dinner

If your mother is living in the same house, you can perhaps cook a nice dinner or if you are not a good cook, you can order a big meal online and get it delivered to the house. But if your mother is not under the same roof, you can try sharing a virtual dinner on Zoom. That way, you can still see and chat with each other during dinner.

With a little creativity and preparation, we can still give mom a memorable Mother’s Day during these unprecedented times. Stay safe and have fun with your mom on Mother’s Day!

Photo by Karolina Bobek ✌ on Unsplash

Helping Your Aging Parent Stay At Home

Newton has the fifth largest senior population in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and older people are known to be at higher risk from COVID-19. Although the city is working to make sure seniors are safe, you may be wondering if your parent or senior loved one who lives alone needs extra support during this pandemic. The best thing you can do is encourage them to stay home and practice social distancing to avoid exposure. Here are a few things to make staying home easier.

old woman on a phone call with a loved one

Before you talk with your loved one about the need for COVID-19 precautions, get up to speed on facts and information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or from the state or local health department. This will help you be better able to correct any misinformation they may have. If there is a home health aide, some precautions are needed. Discuss with the home care agency what protocols they have in place to reduce risk. In addition to helping with activities of daily living, the home caregiver can help your loved one follow the CDC’s risk-reducing recommendations and also monitor for symptoms so they can alert you.

To make sure they have enough of the daily essentials like food and medicine, you may want to stock a couple of weeks’ worth of groceries including food, pet supplies, cleaning supplies, etc. and to gather a one to three month supply of medications. Use a prescription pharmacy in Newton that provides prescription delivery service and/or curbside pickup to keep up with the medications. For groceries, remember to check the availability of time slots for delivery. Laundry pickup service can help avoid trips to the nearest dry cleaner in Newton or laundromat where social distancing is hard to maintain.

Check in frequently by phone, FaceTime, or Zoom to stay connected. Companionship and social relationships are important to the mental health of an aging adult. Social distancing makes it difficult for us to communicate effectively and intimately with our senior loved ones, but digital communications can help quite a bit during these unprecedented times.

photo credit: Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay ​

Condo Living in Boston

Condo prices have gone up again this year in downtown Boston, according to Boston Magazine. For example condos in the South End area cost nearly $1 million while in Back Bay they are over $1.2 million. As more and more businesses in the innovation economy move to Boston, mostly technology and life sciences companies, the demand for residential condo units go up. Most of these condo developments are in the high end category and concentrated in the Seaport District, Back Bay, West End and also across the river in Cambridge.

South End is one of the most desirable places to live in the City of Boston. There you’ll find interesting upscale specialty shops, coffee shops and restaurants, convenient services like dry cleaners, salons, and friendly community pharmacies. The brownstone lined streets are charming and relaxing with plenty of green public areas. It’s also a stone’s throw from major shopping centers in Copley where you can find major luxury brands. There is metered parking on major thoroughfares like Tremont Street and residential parking mostly in the side streets. Of course, it is also served by the T, which is Boston’s mass transit system.

If you want more floor space, you might want to move to the Boston suburbs instead. For example, in the city of Newton, there are many condos, old and new, as well. Newton is known as the Garden City with plenty of green spaces, parks as well as beautiful gardens in private houses. There are major shopping centers in Chestnut Hill with a variety of specialty shops, boutiques, restaurants, luxury brands as well as many medical offices, banks and schools. Parking is readily available in all the village centers (there are 13 villages in Newton). Finding a laundry and dry cleaner in Newton is easy, as is a local prescription pharmacy. Newton has many residential housing complexes for the elderly, including independent living, assisted living, nursing homes and other choices. There are also many home care agencies in Newton, offering in-home care services for elderly and disabled adults.

Boston is a great place to live and work. You’ll love it!

Caring for an Aging Parent

Is your aging parent starting to need help with some of the everyday tasks at home? A change in functioning doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to move to assisted living or a nursing home. Sometimes all they need is a little help with chores or some extra support so they can continue to live in their home.  Start by asking your loved one what they need help with, discuss your concerns with them, and coordinate with their primary care doctor. That way they’ll still feel like they’re in charge and you’ll get a good feel for what is really needed to keep them safe, comfortable, and happy.

Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

Maybe a few modifications to the home, such as grab bars for the shower or a stair lift can make things safer for them and reduce the worry for you.

Maybe you can stop by once a week to do yard work or household chores and prepare some meals for them.  If they have difficulty with bathing or dressing, you could stop by once a day to help. However, don’t be afraid to get some extra care giving help.  Here are some ideas:

  • Use a laundry pickup and delivery service to take laundry day right off the chore list.
  • Set up a reminder schedule for medications using specially designed pill boxes or high-tech reminder devices.
  • To save time picking up the medications, choose a local pharmacy that offers prescription delivery service.
  • Hire a home health aide who can help with some of the household chores and meal preparation as well as some of the personal care tasks and medication reminders.
  • Use a grocery delivery or meal delivery service.
  • Take advantage of programs and services at the local senior center, especially for socialization and exercise.

For busy professionals living in cities like Boston, caring for an aging parent can be overwhelming. Don’t sweat it out all by yourself. A little extra help here and there can make all the difference in your quality of life, as well as your parent’s!

Tips for Healthy Aging for Women

We get older every year. That’s just a part of life. Staying active and healthy ensures that you’ll feel your best at any age. What can you do to age healthily?  Here are a few tips for keeping yourself healthy and active.

Get moving.

We’ve all heard that exercise helps us live longer and feel better.  The best way to work regular exercise into your schedule is to pick an activity that you enjoy so you’ll stick with it.  A daily walk, a yoga class, or doing some gardening can all make a difference. You can add more movement to your ordinary routine by things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking in the farthest parking space.

Eat smart.  

Small changes like choosing leaner proteins (chicken or fish) and whole grains, adding fruits and vegetables to each meal, and drinking water instead of sugary soda can make a big difference in how you feel.

Make room for some “Me Time.” 

Be sure to allocate some time for activities that nourish your spirit and help you get rid of stress.  There’s more to life than errands and chores.  Use a laundry service to free up some of that chore time for meditation, exercise, knitting, reading, or whatever refreshes you.

Pay attention to your health. 

Don’t forget to schedule your annual checkup and screenings as recommended by your physician.  Aging and stress can increase your need for some vitamins and minerals, so consider getting vitamins and supplements from your local pharmacy.

Life can get even busier when you add caring for aging parents or a disabled family member to your responsibilities.  Consider hiring a homecare aide to help with your caregiving responsibilities if you need a respite in order to stay healthy yourself.