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

Preparing for Memorial Day

With everything going on in the world right now, prepping for a holiday celebration is a welcome distraction. Memorial Day is coming up, and although we may have to tweak our traditions a bit, it’s still entirely possible to have a good old’ fashioned American BBQ. Here are some things to consider as you’re preparing for Memorial Day.

Get Those Flags Ready

I know you don’t need a reason to proudly display your American flag, but Memorial Day is a perfect reason to freshen it up a bit. Did you know that some dry cleaners will clean flags for free? Call your local dry cleaners and ask about their flag policies. An old crumpled flag can accumulate a lot of grime and even mold, so getting it cleaned once a year is a good idea.

Prep the Picnic Linens

Whether you’re planning a social distancing gathering with the neighbors, or a family backyard barbecue, it’s still important to make sure your table linens are ready to go. Most linens can be machine washed in cold water on a gentle cycle. However, sending your linens to a local dry cleaner with laundry delivery service will not only ensure they’re washed properly, but also save a lot of time and effort. For anyone attending your gatherings that may want some extra protection, consider washing some bandanas or small cloth squares that can be used as face masks.

Prepare for Outdoor Gatherings

We’ve all been cooped up inside for months, so it’s easy to forget about the necessary outside preparations. Your local pharmacy will have everything you need to stock up on like allergy meds for high pollen counts, insect spray for those pesky mosquitos and even last-minute paper products like napkins and paper cups. 

Once you’ve made these simple Memorial Day preparations, you’re ready to enjoy the start of the summer with your family! Enjoy!

Photo by Michael Skok 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

Spring Cleaning Time!

Spring is here! It’s finally warm up. Now is the traditional season for fresh starts. For many, that means putting away winter clothes and giving your house a good spring cleaning.  Here are a few tips for making the annual ritual less stressful.

Start with a plan.  Make a list of the tasks that you want to accomplish. Assess which parts of the house you need to cover and figure out where you want to start.  Review the plan with family members and get their input on the cleaning goals too.

Do a little bit at a time.  You don’t have to do it all at once. Tackle one task from your list each day. Seeing results helps motivate you and makes spring cleaning feel less overwhelming.

woman cleaning up her home

Tackle the clutter first.  Getting rid of items you no longer need or want will help to free up space. Freeing up space also makes it easier to clean so the rest of the job goes smoothly. Tackling the clutter can also help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Spring cleaning is a good time to organize things and to get rid of unused clothing, furniture, and appliances.

Always dry clean your winter clothes before you put them away for the season. Particles left on your winter clothes can stain and set in after months of storage. During that time, moths may feast on the dirty fabric as well. You can also use a laundry delivery service for the heavier bed linens and comforters to save time and effort.

Don’t forget the medicine cabinet. Gather up any medications that have expired or are no longer needed, including both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Having expired medication around not only clutters your cabinets, but can also be dangerous.  You don’t want to risk yourself or a loved one taking the wrong medication.  Your local pharmacy can help you refill prescriptions and restock over the counter medications as well as dispose of the expired ones properly.

Check the fridge and pantry for expired food items and throw them out. Again, freeing up space allows you to organize your food items and become a more efficient cook.

Spring cleaning is a great tradition. Make it a fun activity for the family and everyone can enjoy a cleaner and more organized home afterwards.

Personal Hygiene During COVID-19

Everyday household tasks can become a source of anxiety in these times. Do you start worrying about how to get the basics done while keeping yourself and loved ones safe and healthy? Simple hygiene measures can help.

washing hands

Personal Hygiene

A piece of advice that is repeatedly stated by the authorities as a top precaution is to wash our hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Make sure the soap or sanitizer fully covers your hands, then rub hands together for 20-30 seconds. For hand sanitizers, use those that contain at least 60 per cent alcohol.  Having trouble finding hand sanitizers in the grocery store? Try your community pharmacy. If they have the ability to provide compounded medications, they may be able to produce sanitizers themselves.

Remember to avoid touching your face because the virus is spread through droplets that may cling to surfaces that you touched.

Cleaning Clothes

There’s no research as yet on how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on clothes or other fabrics, but it’s still a good idea to change and wash your clothes regularly — especially if you’ve just come home from the grocery store (or the office if you aren’t working from home).  If you are doing the laundry at home, wash your clothes using the warmest appropriate water setting in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you dry the items completely. 

Consider using a laundry delivery service instead of making trips to the laundromat to avoid too much people contact and save time for other chores. Dry cleaning can help to disinfect clothing and other household items like towels and bedding because it uses high heat. Some Boston dry cleaners provide germ-free laundry services, too.

When handling dirty laundry from a person who has symptoms, wear disposable gloves. If you are using a drycleaning pickup service, you should tell the dry cleaner that the laundry may be infected.

Housecleaning

It is also important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces or objects including tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, sinks, and faucets at least daily. Clean dirty surfaces with a regular household detergent first, then disinfect with any EPA-registered household disinfectant.

Let’s all stay safe and healthy during these unusual times!

Photo by Irina Ba 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 ​

Disinfecting Laundry at Home

With the COVID-19 outbreak surging in Boston, we are all concerned with keeping our home and family safe from germs, bacteria and viruses, especially when you have seniors living at home. You know how to keep your floors and surfaces disinfected, but what about your clothes and linens? When someone in the household becomes ill, it’s even more important to disinfect laundry to keep the rest of the family safe. Here are some easy ways to disinfect your laundry.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Tips for Easy Disinfecting

When someone in your home is sick, try to have them use 100% cotton sheets and clothes in light colors. This makes them easier to disinfectant in the washing machine using the strongest possible disinfectants. Wash all contaminated items separately from other laundry and wear gloves while handling it if possible. Wash your hands after and avoid touching your face.

Safe Laundry Disinfectants to Use at Home

Although it’s great for regular stains and soiling, regular laundry detergent isn’t strong enough to kill bacteria and viruses. Fortunately, there are several easy to find add-ins you can add to your washer to disinfect laundry.

  • Pine Oil Disinfectants – These are the most readily available disinfectants to use on fabric. They work best when used with warm water added at the beginning of a wash cycle. Look for 80% pine oil products for maximum efficiency.
  • Bleach – Bleach can be used on almost all fabrics, even colors believe it or not. Look for color-safe bleach and use the special bleach dispenser in your washer if it has one. Hot or warm water cycles work best.

In addition, innovative green dry cleaners such as Utopia Cleaners in Boston use a special environmentally-friendly soap to remove germs from your laundry. This germ-free laundry service is a good alternative to trying to disinfecting your own laundry at home.

Disinfect Your Washing Machine

After washing contaminated laundry, it’s important to disinfect your washing machine as well. Run an empty cycle with hot water and 1/2 cup bleach to kill any lingering germs and bacteria.

If you’re concerned about keeping your family safe and healthy, remember you can always take your laundry to the dry cleaners nearby to be disinfected as well. Use separate bags for contaminated items and wash or dispose of afterwards. Be sure to tell your local dry cleaner what items need disinfected and be specific about stains and damage. During this unprecedented time, it is best to use a laundry pickup service.

Using Delivery Services During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We heard from Governor Charlie Baker yesterday that the number of COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts will begin to surge sometime between April 7 and 17. With the stay-at-home advisory and social distancing guidance still in place until April 30, we’ll need to find new ways to manage our daily lives.  Fortunately, we have the Internet, various online tools to help us work remotely and entertain ourselves. And for the physical stuff, we can take advantage of delivery service.

Laundry Delivery

Cleanliness is key during this time. Other than washing our hands and disinfecting frequently used surfaces, we need to keep our clothing and bed linens clean. Using a germ-free laundry service can be extra beneficial. If you usually take your laundry to a dry cleaner or a laundromat, this would be a good time to switch to a free laundry delivery service. Even though dry cleaners are considered an essential service by the state, they usually reduce hours and avoid having you in the store as much as possible.

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Prescription Delivery

Medical supplies are critical too, especially prescriptions. Pharmacies are also an essential service and will stay open, but they, too, may reduce hours. In the suburbs, curbside service is often available – you drive up to the curb, call the store and they will bring the prescriptions or other medical supplies to you. Many drugstores also offer prescription delivery service within their neighborhoods. You should call your local drugstore to find out if they offer this service.

Food and Grocery Delivery

We all need food. While all the restaurants have closed, we can still order food online and then either pickup or get it delivered.  Many supermarkets also offer grocery delivery service and even meals to go. These days, we may find empty shelves for certain food items. Rather than making several trips to get all the food items that you need, it is better to stay safe and order online instead.

When taking advantage of delivery service, make sure that it is contactless. Ask the driver to leave the delivery items on your doorstep and then pick them up after they left.

Let’s all be careful and stay healthy!