Grandparents Archives

Second Anniversary — noranagatani.com

This week I celebrate my second anniversary with noranagatani.com. It’s been an awesome experience and mind-boggling when I think about people who have connected with me via comments, phone calls, and e-mails. I’m also grateful for the wonderful contributing authors.

Using the tagline, “Helping Seniors Live Happily Ever After,” has enabled me to cover a variety of topics, but what I’ve cared most about is the health of my generation. If you still haven’t caught on to exercising, it’s important that you do.

Granddaughter

I’ve mentioned being retired — it’s been almost five years now — and what fun to experience so many new things. Topping the list is becoming a grandma. What a delight! I’ve also been a “Cellular Response” practitioner for almost a year and how gratifying to see people feeling good.

Now I’m taking it a step further and I’ve developed a program to have seniors and baby boomers take charge of their own health. So I’m working with seniors and baby boomers who are struggling to find enough time to care for their aging bodies and would like to feel as though they are in their twenties again, except with better judgment. Know any senior who would do anything and pay anything to feel more energetic? Give me a call to find out more and get in on my no-cost pilot program. I’m looking for volunteers from anywhere in the United States. Call any time — 703.825.8384. I’d love to help!

Skype

AlyssaRecently, my husband and I visited our granddaughter. We knew she would start walking any day. She did take baby half steps while we were visiting. Of course, right after we left, she took off and according to my son, she took about 25 steps! What’s the long-distance solution for grandparents? It’s Skype for us. We missed the first step, but she was able to walk for us a few days later.

Skype is software that you download to your computer from www.skype.com. Click on the Download tab and follow instructions. Besides a computer, you will need a webcam and a microsphone. Most new computers have them built in — most likely into the monitor. If not, they need to be purchased. A webcam is relatively inexpensive. Amazon.com has a Microsoft webcam for less than $30 as of this writing.

Microphones come in two styles — a stick type microphone or a more expensive headset type of microphone. Although they are easily obtainable online, if you’re a novice computer user, you might want to visit your local electronics store — a big box like Best Buy or a smaller store like Radio Shack.

I’ve not had a problem with the built-in microphone while calling domestically to California and Hawaii. However, I made a call overseas to the United Kingdom to assist someone in a group I belong to called Synnd, and he told me several times that my voice was breaking up and he recommended that I use a headset. I used to teach an online course for a private university where I lectured in real time and although I bought a headset microphone, the stick microphone proved to be the clearest. So, I must look for my headset and try the call to my friend in the UK again.

Skype is not the perfect solution, but it’s certainly close. We Skype often with our other son as well and he’s able to show us what he’s cooked for dinner. One night he showed us the California roll (sushi) he made and it looked delicious. Skype is just a great way to stay in touch with family.

For the next six weeks, there will be a guest blogger. Enjoy learning about writing your memoir!

Autism and Older Parents

University of Wisconsin logoAs a University of Wisconsin alumna, I receive a quarterly publication, On Wisconsin. In the Spring 2009 issue, an article caught my attention: “Age, Order, and Autism.” Is there a link between autism and older parents as well as birth order? I have given birth to two healthy sons, but I often worry about the children they might have, my grandchildren, particularly since they both live in California. California seems to have a higher incidence of autism, although one theory is that it’s because of the way the data are collected.

Bascom Hall

Bascom Hall

What is autism? Wikipedia defines it as a brain development disorder characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. The autism spectrum disorders (ASD) also include related conditions such as Asperger syndrome that have milder signs and symptoms.

The article cited a study led by University of Wisconsin pediatrics and population health sciences professor, Maureen Durkin. The study looked at 253,347 children born in 1994. They found that 1,251 showed signs of autism spectrum disorders (ASD), a broad group of social and communication impairments. Less that .5% were affected, but the following patterns emerged:

  • The children of fathers over 40 years of age were 60% more likely to show symptoms than those of younger fathers.
  • The children of mothers over 35 were 40% more likely than those of younger mothers.
  • First born children were 30% more likely than second borns and 70% more than those born third or later.
  • First born of two older parents were three times more likely to than those third born or later to mothers 20 to 34 and fathers under 40.

In another study cited in the Washington Post, “Children of fathers who were 15 to 29 years of age had a risk of about six in 10,000 of developing autism. Children of fathers in their thirties had a risk of nine in 10,000. Children of fathers in their forties had a risk of 32 in 10,000, and children of fathers who were older than 50 had a risk of 52 in 10,000.”

No study is conclusive, but starting this year, there is a longitudinal study of 100,000 children. This National Children’s Study will follow the children from birth to 21 to examine environmental influences on health and development. This probably won’t help my grandchildren, but should hopefully help a future generation.

At the moment, many believe that the cause may be a toxicity from several possible sources. It may be for that reason that products that remove toxicity have helped some patients. For more information, click here.

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Grandparents as Caregivers

Tiz with grandchildrenThe Washington Post ran an interesting article on June 23, 2009 about a great-grandmother caring for her 7-year old great-granddaughter who is autistic, virtually blind, and is “medically fragile.” Instead of enjoying her golden years, she’s busy changing diapers for this child as well as picking up toys and spilled cereal. When distressed, the child bites, furies, and flails. What a heart-breaking story. You can read the whole story at the Washington Post Web site.

Look at these statistics in the article:

  • Number of children in the care of their grandparents: 2.5 million

  • Number of grandparents raising children: 2.5 million
  • Married grandparents raising children: 70 percent
  • Percent of grandparent caregivers who are raising children 5 to 17 with disabilities: 11.8 percent
  • Grandparents who are caregivers and have their own disabilities: 30 percent
  • Grandparents who are caregivers over age 60 and have disabilities: 40 percent
Source: Census data analysis by National Center on Grandfamilies at the nonprofit Generations UnitedKen Klemm.
If you’re a grandparent like me and not in any of the above categories, how fortunate we are. (Enjoy pictures of my Facebook friends Tiz Wheeler Wemyss in England and Ken Klemm in Pennsylvania who are not “caregivers,” but wonderful, loving “care givers”).
Can you imagine being over 60 and not in the best of health being a primary caregiver? 40 percent fall in that category. How difficult it must be. My heart goes out to those brave individuals. Any of us could become a caregiver in an instant. Are you ready? Check out the post by Nancy Fiedelman here.
As difficult as it is, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to take care of your health. Experts tell us it’s important to exercise, eat healthfully, and take good nutritional supplements. If you’re under tremendous stress as a caregiver, check out this drink which has helped many people.

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Shingles Vaccine

injectionYesterday I got an injection for the shingles vaccine. It is something recommended for those 60 years of age and older. Since this blog is dedicated to “living happily ever after,” I thought I’d share some facts about it.

There has been a nationwide shortage of this vaccine and I had to keep calling my doctor’s office to check on availability. Finally, they started a wait list and I got a call a couple of weeks ago to set up an appointment.

Previously, I’d been under the impression that if you’ve already had chickenpox, then you had an immunity from shingles. It’s actually not the case – if you’ve had chickenpox, then you are a candidate for shingles. The chickenpox virus actually stays in your body and can reappear years later as shingles.

If you’d like a technical term, shingles and chickenpox are caused by the Varicella Zoster virus. Shingles is a painful skin rash, often with blisters and is also called Herpes Zoster. I won’t go into the details of the pain … perhaps some of my readers have had it and would like to comment. I’ve been fortunate; I’ve not had it and I’m doing everything I can not to get it. Just the word “pain” is enough to get me motivated to get the vaccine.

At least one million people in the United States in a year get the disease and it is more likely to hit those over 50 and with weakened immune systems. The vaccine is relatively new. It was licensed in 2006 and in clinical trials, the vaccine prevented shingles in about half of the people 60 years and older. Should you get the disease, it can reduce the pain.

So if you’ve had chickenpox, I highly recommend that you get the protection.

Grandmother Starts a Business

Sonia and her date-nut bars

Sonia and her date-nut bars

Since the start of this blog late last year, I have been “hammering” the need to start a part-time home-based business. Recently, I met a woman who practically lives in my back yard and is putting her passion to work. We met when she attended the networking luncheon I host monthly for professional women in business.

Sonia Sidhwaney has a passion for dates (the fruit) and creates date-nut bars. By day, she’s a programmer with many initials after her name including an MS degree in Computer Science from Bowling Green State University. But at night and on weekends, she’s busy making her date-nut bars. She’s pictured on the left with her bars before they are cut. She was on a quest for healthy snacks for her family and now she has the recipe perfected.  As a businesswoman, she’s now working on the marketing aspect of her business.

Her energy bars are vegan, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, and no sugar has been added. Additionally, no chemicals and preservatives have been added, but they have a long shelf life. Her company is called Nuts About Dates and more information is available at her website, www.date-nut.com. Most importantly, the date-nut bars are delicious and her granddaughter would concur!

Personally, I prefer the network marketing business model because the income is residual. For an explanation of the difference between residual and linear income, please view my video explanation. But in these tough economic times, it’s getting started on something of importance to you that is foremost.

Retail Job Losses and Retirement

Last year over two million people were unemployed. Isn’t that a staggering number?! It’s in the news every day. We can’t escape it. Yesterday’s Washington Post said that Macy’s will cut 7,000 jobs, but what was even more amazing in the article was the list of retail job losses announced this year (and we’re only in the second month of 2009!)
• Saks 1,100
• Neiman Marcus    375
• De Beers    Up to 1,000
• Harry & David    More than 100
• Circuit City    34,000
• Home Depot    7,000
• Target    1,500
• Macy’s    7,000

If you are close to retirement, what are you doing to protect yourself? I’ve been laid off twice – caught in the cyclical nature of real estate. It is a shock to the system. But thankfully, I always had a part-time teaching job. I’m focused on helping people protect their retirement, particularly grandparents, so that their retirement years can include enjoying their grandchildren.

As I’ve said previously, health should always be your number one priority and I will write more in the future. But next, I will share some websites for jobs for seniors.  However, start thinking of ways you might be able to add to your income. Share your passion. What do you like to do more than anything else? Perhaps one of my readers might be able to suggest something you’d never thought of doing with your passion. I invite my readers to help each other.

First Video and Smallest Camcorder

We are slowly thawing out of our first major snowstorm in the Washington, DC area. Malia and Sasha Obama were surprised that schools were closed. Their father, our President of the United States, thought it was humorous; DC officials did not. In this area, we actually have some hilly terrain in the suburbs and school busses have a difficult time. This time, though, we were not only dealing with snow, but freezing rain that had fallen overnight causing a lot of problems. Today, however, we welcome the sun and above freezing temperatures.

So what happened when I chose to stay off the streets? I uploaded my first video to YouTube! I purchased a Flip Mino HD (the commercial tells you it’s the world’s smallest camcorder) which is about the size of an iPod. I love it! It’s something every grandparent should own not only to capture those Kodak moments, but to video those everyday scenes like I did when I was visiting my then 4-month old granddaughter. As she awakened every morning, she’d coo and smile and I was able to video those precious moments. Parents are generally too busy and forget, but I think that we as grandparents have more time and because my husband and I don’t live close to our granddaughter, every moment was valuable.

As most of us seniors know, our bodies begin to ache as we age and carrying a camcorder could be a problem. But the Flip camera is so small, grandpa can pop it in his shirt pocket and it will not add much weight to grandma’s purse.

So please visit me at www.youtube.com/noranagatani and enjoy. I share with you why I have a home-based business that I can pass on to future generations.