Improving The Quality of Healthcare for Successful Aging

What does successful aging mean? Using the word “successful” by itself implies that one is financially prepared, has family and friends to visit with or care for, feels well both mentally and physically, remains as independent as possible, enjoys life, and looks for ways to have fun and to help others. How are we improving the quality of healthcare for successful aging?

Challenges for Improving Successful Aging

For many, successful aging is discounted as a possibility because health becomes a reason for wanting to die, as does age. Successful aging in America is a subject yet to be truly defined because it involves so many things, like location, customs, and values of a given part of the United States. Look at the Alaskans and Hawaiians and their subcultures, with multiple differences within. Successful aging in a particular culture with vast differences may also be viewed as not necessarily being related to that culture due to Americanization–assimilation of American values and customs. In other words, it is difficult to predict based on country of origin or any other combination of factors. But one thing is for sure, aging successfully is largely dependent on how an individual chooses to age.

Are the challenges too large for us?  Older people have to be willing to speak up for themselves, rather than being willing to settle for what our family wants.  What we want and what they want may be different things. We are still important, and it is imperative that we express that.  Unfortunately, we don’t always realize that we have rights and that we can protect those rights by seeking assistance if we suspect we are being threatened, abused, or railroaded into doing something we should not have to do.  You have the right to find out what your options are.  Look for the Department of Elder Affairs in your nearest city for direction.

 

“How many of us stop short of success on purpose? How many of us sabotage our own happiness because failure, while miserable, is a fear we’re familiar with? Success, however, dreams come true, are a whole new kind of terrifying, an entire new species of responsibilities and disillusions, requiring a new way to think, act and become. Why do we REALLY quit? Because it’s hopeless? Or because it’s possible…” 
― Jennifer DeLucy

 

Health Information Technology

Aging in a rural area can be more difficult than aging in a highly populated area, due to the increased number of healthcare facilities in larger areas and the much lower number or lack of the same in rural areas. On the other hand, those that have lived in rural areas for most of their lives tend to live longer and may require even more services. Today, there is more hope for those living in rural areas to stay there due to health information technology which is currently being implemented primarily under the Department of Health and Human Services. According to Wikipedia, health information technology is defined as

Health information technology (HIT) is information technology applied to health and health care. It supports health information management across computerized systems and the secure exchange of between consumers, providers, payers, and quality monitors.

In short, this is a system designed to connect and exchange all aspects of health care, using monitors and  computers with improved delivery of health care. Implementation is difficult due to the many obstacles involved, such as HIPAA and the hacking of computer systems.

Sick or disabled older people will be fitted with devices to monitor their vital signs, check their blood sugar, and acquire many other pieces of health information necessary to determine their state of health at any given time. This information is transmitted then via computer to health care professionals. Some of this has begun.  A doctor will not only be able to monitor you but can provide treatment where you are by sending a health care worker or an email, advising of a prescription, or by making phone calls. The doctor will also know when to bring his patient in. This will improve quality of life, increase longevity, and allow you to age where you are.

If we can reduce the cost and improve the quality of medical technology through advances in nanotechnology, we can more widely address the medical conditions that are prevalent and reduce the level of human suffering. Ralph Merkle                                 https://www.brainyquote.com/qu…

Aging in Place

I see successful aging as the ability to age-in-place or better stated, to age where the person wants to age. Aging-in-place allows an individual to age where he or she is rather than move to a large town, an assisted living facility, a nursing home, a retirement home, etc. Only a small percentage of aging adults today have to age-in-place in a nursing home.

We have the greatest hospitals, doctors, and medical technology in the world – we need to make them accessible to every American. Barbara Boxer             https://www.brainyquote.com/qu…

How do we assist older adults to age-in-place? We care for them. We allow them to have their wish. We have in place a number of government-directed services that assist them to stay where they are. These services include in-home care by nurses, physical therapists, meals, housekeeping assistance, etc. Successful aging for those who don’t have a particular place to stay allows those with the financial resources to age in multipurpose-residence communities where one can rent an apartment, buy a home, stay in a room where he or she can acquire health care, or move into a hospital-like environment for close monitoring. Meals in these communities are served either in the residence or in a dining room where all who want can meet for meals and conversation. Most of these communities also include a chapel for worship, a library, a bus to take residents shopping, on trips, or to a doctor’s appointment; a beauty shop, gift shop, and recreation areas.

Those challenges in this country primarily reside with those who did not plan, those who lost their fortunes, those who got sick and became disabled, and those who fall somewhere between having access to government assistance and having a substantial amount of money. By staying informed, we can help those who need it or refer them to someone who can help, e.g., government organizations. We can also encourage them to help themselves by doing their part, meaning everything that is within their capability.

 

“If you don’t keep challenging your mind and your self, you’re going to lose the ability to grow as a human being both physically and spiritually.”
Lateef Abader


What are the Benefits of Healthy Family Relationships

DepressedWhy is it so important for adults, particularly senior adults, to experience healthy family relationships? Consider the alternatives: The lack of may be an indication of not having any healthy relationships at all, thus resulting in isolation. Isolation promotes depression, which affects our immune system and our mortality. There are few benefits to these adults of not having healthy family relationships.  Now, why do I say that? Good family relationships are the usual training ground for having good relationships with other people.

Some of you have very small families, particularly if you are older.  Hopefully, all is well with you.  If so, maybe this information can help you with a friend who has a problem in his or her family.  It may also help with some tips for maintaining or improving the good relationships you have with friends.  If you are experiencing strained relationships, I urge you to take some action to change that.

I guess in America we’re so sold on this ideal of the perfect, well-adjusted family that is able to confront any conflict and, with true love and understanding, work things through. I’m sure they do exist, but I never knew any of them. Alan Ball

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There are a number of reasons for consideration of this serious topic. I have previously written about improving dysfunctional families who have been well described in an article published by Brown University. Things you might have considered normal in your past were not normal, and in your haste to tell others (pretend) about a “normal” family life, you most likely overlooked some of those items that continue to create problems for you today. Do not think you are in the minority. You aren’t. As Salman Rushdie says,

There’s a lot of conflict and darkness inside everybody’s family. We all pretend to outsiders that it’s not so, but behind locked doors, there are usually high emotions running.

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Today, we see some serious consequences to events that were not right: Mass shootings, domestic shootings, suicides, divorce rates, child abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, other forms of crime, and addiction. We actually sit around, bemoaning these events as we hear about them, not wanting to take a stab at the most obvious reasons. We don’t like

  • to talk about family abuse, incest, alcoholic parents, and so on. That’s embarrassing talk, and it comes too close to home!
  • thinking that we will have to excuse someone of having committed a heinous crime or that the courts will justify it for that reason.
  • thinking that we just might have to do something about our refusal to give voice to our thinking, to get the conversation rolling.

 

The Good Ole Days

Remember those old rides!As we age, we talk about the things that used to be, that wonderful life we had, and even our happiness at how things are going so well right now. Whereas, the fact is we remember things the way we want them to be and not the way they actually were. Of course, this is a defense mechanism because remembering things the way they really were causes anxiety and emotional pain. Chances are if we are able to gloss over a troubled past, we have in some way come to terms with it. We have practiced forgiveness or acceptance. And this is great as long as it works.

If we have become bitter people to the extent that we mistreat others, pushing them away, we need to learn how to step up in our relationships with our family members and with others. It is never too late to renew, reconcile, or clarify relationships. For example, in the case of sexual abuse which might never be reconciled, it is helpful to tell the person that wronged you that there will be no reconciliation or at least not now. Circumstances, such as holidays, funerals, and weddings, force people into situations they would prefer not to be in, but not everyone wants to give up an entire family because the one member who mistreated them is planning to be there. Nor should they be expected to.

 

Renewing and Maintaining Old Relationships

The best of friendships!Some simple ways to do this include practicing thankfulness, asking for and giving forgiveness, staying in touch with others on a regular basis, offering to help out with the little things, and just being there when someone needs to talk. Doing these things will also help us feel good about ourselves. For those with a computer, “connecting” on Facebook can be rewarding.  I reported on repairing bad family histories in my last post.

 

Benefits of Healthy Family Relationships

As we get older, retire, and stay at home more often, the harsh reality of fewer people being around sinks in. We realize that working and taking care of a family occupied a great deal of our time and suddenly, we are left with a lot of time to fill up. It’s time for hobbies, visiting, or traveling. Many of us are fortunate enough to gain and or maintain membership in clubs, attend church, or volunteer with an organization.

Those of you with senior family members should consider spending more time with them or writing and calling them. Older people like to feel needed and they appreciate knowing they can count on family for support, especially during the holidays, as this is the time we remember past family get-togethers, the good and bad. They will deny that they need someone. Pay no attention. If spending the holidays with them is not possible, please encourage your seniors to invite friends over or volunteer in a nursing home during these times. Being with someone is important.  Involve other family members in genealogy endeavors, posting your results on charts or in scrapbooks.  (See some shown below.)

What Are Families For?  They

  • Assure us that we are loved.
  • Support our endeavors.
  • Assure us that we are on the right path.
  • Can be brutally honest when we bring on our own failures.
  • Stand by us when we are scared.
  • Teach us to trust.
  • Celebrate our victories with us.
  • Give us a sense of belonging.

Judging from the above-stated benefits and qualities, it would behoove us to work toward those goals both with our own parents and with our children.  It is too easy to say “Oh, I don’t need them.” or “They don’t need me.”  Please reconsider.  When we anticipate negativity, we are going to get it.  How much better it is to anticipate positivity.

People who are prone to anxiety are nearly always people-pleasers who fear conflict and negative feelings like anger. When you feel upset, you sweep your problems under the rug because you don’t want to upset anyone. You do this so quickly and automatically that you’re not even aware you’re doing it. David D. Burns

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Please share your comments and thoughts with me on this post below.  Thanks.

 

How Do You Improve Adult Family Relationships

 

Family is where you need to learn and should have been taught how to think for yourself, express yourself, and how to be confident that what you think may be the right way to go.  Instead, many of us learn that speaking up against a family member or not going along with the family as a whole is disloyal and that that equates to “You don’t love me.”  Not feeling loved by a family member can be traumatic. Not only do you suffer a great deal from this rejection, you are likely to become alienated from other family members to the extent that you have none left.  I’m talking about aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents.  You will also acquire an increased amount of anxiety, especially when a family member emotionally attacks you if you attempt to disagree. You can forever exist in an “underdog” position or you can do something about it.

DEVELOPING A STRONG SENSE OF SELF

Be happy with yoursef with no regrets.Loyalty to family members who “gang” up on you results in a lower, unhealthy differentiation. That is so unfair! You definitely don’t feel good about yourself. But it is something you can control. I wrote about differentiation in a previous post but wanted to explain it in more detail.  Cami Osten says it best,  a “high level of differentiation means a strong sense of self.”  When you are able to take actions that you are comfortable with, not because you are being coerced, and that are in the family’s best interests, you are using your intellectual skills and displaying confidence.

When I was an undergraduate student at the University of Florida, taking my first class in the upper division, a graduate-student instructor asked the class to individually propose three improvements for the campus.  I stood up feeling confident that I had three good ones, and after I presented each, she would put them down.  Yes, I was devastated, feeling shame and embarrassment in front of my fellow students, and I was extremely disappointed in this type of treatment.  I chose to react this way, but I did not know that then.  A healthier reaction would have been thinking that she didn’t know what she was talking about and that she had not learned how to communicate to students. I am happy to report that as time progressed, all three ideas were implemented—not as a result of my introducing them, but because they just happened to be good solutions to the problems that I had identified.

Ask the right questions the right way.So, what were the instructor’s options that might have resulted in a better outcome for me and for the other students?  She could have asked, “How did you arrive at that conclusion?” Or  said, “That is a solution that might work.” Or she could have offered her own solution to the problem by saying, “How do you think this solution would work.”  Truth is that she probably lacked a solution.  Had my level of confidence been higher, I might have said, “I regret that you don’t think my ideas would work.  Do you have any of your own?”

We expect teachers to be leaders, just as we expect parents to be leaders and teachers.  I was 30 years old at the time, married with two children, and I later analyzed her behavior and decided that she might have had many problems with her own mother and without thinking recast me in the unenviable position of a substitute mother.  Whether or not that was true I will never know, but it sure as heck made me feel better!  And that is an example of alternative thinking.

Enjoy your family.

GETTING ALONG WITH FAMILY

Alternative thinking is a great solution to practice when you are offended by a family member.  This is really another way of giving the person the benefit of the doubt.  We don’t always understand what is behind their way of thinking, but it is good to imagine and consider it.  It can be healing.  Have a conversation with yourself:  Did I really understand what the person was saying to me?  Was she trying to be helpful or mean?  What else could she have meant?

Learning to express yourself whether in your family or not is something that should have started there, and I covered how to do this on my Aging Gracefully page.

Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn’t listening.     

Emma Thompson

What is a healthy disagreement?Healthy Disagreement.  Disagreement does not mean hate, does not mean disrespect, and does not mean superiority.  People who chose to look at disagreement in this manner are close minded, to say the least, and a person with a highly developed sense of self does not view disagreement in this manner. This is a problem with communication.   If you have trouble communicating, practice disagreement by giving and receiving it, by learning how not to overreact to it and by understanding that disagreement is extremely healthy. If you discontinue relationships because of disagreement and an inability to communicate, you have committed a most egregious act to yourself and to others.  You have put others on the spot, causing them to be fearful around you.  We all need to be willing to say, “We can agree that we disagree” and move forward.  But sometimes it is just not that simple.

So, what are some good ways to disagree without offending someone?

Listen and make sure you understand what they are saying first.  Paraphrase by repeating back to a person what you understood him or her to say.  “Let me see if I understand…”    Listening shows respect, love, and the desire to want to understand what another person is thinking.

Be prepared with knowledge of the situation and the facts surrounding it.  This might require a little work on your part, like researching or talking to other people first to get an even better opinion.

Always lend credence to the other person.  Telling them that they don’t know what they are talking about is a good way to bring about harm. You have lost without going further.

Don’t yell and scream.  Calmly explain why you disagree and state that you have a different way of looking at it.

Both parties should either be sitting down or standing up unless one is in a position of authority.  Even if someone is in a position of authority, it helps to keep things on an even keel.  If you are the one initiating the conversation it is easier to assume the position the other person has.

Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  Rather than say, “You did such and such,” say “I understand that you want to…” or “I wanted to express…” or “I feel…” “I know you meant well, but I…” or “I think differently about…”  That is your way of taking responsibility without accusing the other person of wrongful doing or thinking.  He may be right, or wrong, or just simply different!

Consider the results of immediate disagreement.  If you cannot freely communicate with another without fear of reprisal, be aware of this and consider what your response might be to reduce the friction.  Thinking ahead can save the situation if the other party gets upset.  “Maybe we need to have this conversation another time.” “I feel bad about upsetting you, but I think I am entitled to an opinion.”  This can be soothing to the other person and a way to gain agreement for you to continue.  Some people consider disagreement as immediate dislike for their person.  You are disagreeing with an idea, leaving the person intact.

 

SUMMARY

Armed with the knowledge that you can achieve the above results, you should be feeling very good about yourself right now. Practicing it will help you to feel more confident and will engender the respect you deserve.  Continue to set boundaries, when people don’t appear to know that you have them, and you will sail through abusive situations.  If you absolutely cannot achieve resolution with a particular person who continues to be a thorn in your side, it is okay to live your life without that person.  You will be so much better off.

“There’s folks you just don’t need. You’re better off without em. Your life is just a little better because they ain’t in it.”
William Gay

Please leave your thoughts in the Comments Section.  I would like to know if you liked the article and what suggestions you have for improving it.

 

Why do Family Members Cross the Line

You have heard the expression many times that all families are dysfunctional, and I believe that is true in many respects. Just when we think we have found the perfect family, we learn later that they have their problems as well. I have noticed that those families who get along the best with each other are often those who are grounded in some religious faith, using their knowledge of that faith to form guidelines for successful living and thus successful aging. So why do family members cross the line when getting along is so important to maintaining a healthy family?  Despite any religious beliefs, upbringing, excellent socialization, study of psychology, etc. there will always be family difficulties of some nature.  It is how you resolve, rather than ignore, these issues that is important.

 

The Me-First Attitude

Yes, there are family members who take actions that affect the rest of the family without thinking of any repercussions to others or themselves. Suddenly, it seems more important for them to win and for others to lose.

For some reason, these people–they exist in groups outside of families also–have to be right and have to have the last word even when it means that the wronged family member may not only suffer emotionally but will resort to cutting off the member who offended him.  It does not matter how far children move away from their parents, the parents don’t get it.  Now, I’m not saying that every move is caused by a problem in the nuclear family, but I am saying that many are.

We have all met them, worked with them, and lived with them.  They are everywhere we are.  And aren’t we part of the problem also?

 

Bowen’s Concepts

Emotional Cutoffs

To understand this better, we need to take a look at an explanation of family behaviors that was proposed by Dr. Murray Bowen. While he proposed eight concepts about family systems we will only discuss three of those, beginning with emotional cutoffs. He described this as members of a family unit, parents, siblings, etc., simply cutting other family members off when it appeared that a resolution to a troubling problem was not possible, even after repeated attempts. Obviously, this has its drawbacks in that when it happens, there is that loss of family unity that most of us desire, and secondly, attempts to recreate a lost relationship in new relationships often result in failure due to the individual’s inability to develop a sustained relationship, thus leaving this family member even worse off. Cutting off a family member can mean more than one thing in that the individual may

  • move far away and see the family member only on rare occasions.
  • see the family member more often but avoid reference to the problem.
  • have to stay with his parents but cuts them off with behavioral issues that no one wants to address. This situation is tantamount to abuse.

Neither of the situations is going to actually solve the problem. So, when family members do get together, there is tension, reducing the likelihood of enjoying the occasion.

Triangles

family members cross the lineNot really understanding what is happening, a family member who has wronged so many suddenly finds himself or herself cut off from those members because they can’t tolerate the way the individual treats them. There is the customary amount of defending oneself against the person or persons who cut him off, and rather than trying to work it out, the individual, will seek out other family members and complain against or trash the one who distanced himself. This is what Bowen called triangles, which creates a very uncomfortable third party who immediately wants to comfort the person. According to Wikipedia,

Triangulation (psychology) is a manipulation tactic where one person will not communicate directly with another person, instead using a third person to relay communication to the second, thus forming a triangle.

When triangulation occurs, there is some reduction of the anxiety caused by the conflict; however, the actual source of the anxiety is not determined. According to The Bowen Center “People’s actions in a triangle reflect their efforts to assure their emotional attachments to important others, their reactions to too much intensity in the attachments, and their taking sides in others’ conflicts.” While a third party might be helpful in restoring relationships with the “important others,” it is more likely that there will be no resolution, and that additional triangles will be created, still with no resolution.

 

Differentiation

So why not get it right to begin with? Part of this has a lot to do with another of Bowen’s concepts—differentiation–an individual’s ability to think and behave independently of others, relying less on what his intimate group or everyone else thinks. The higher the differentiation, the better off a person is, and It is the highly differentiated person that is most likely to attempt talking with the family member to arrive at some resolution. A higher differentiation results in improved ability to resist the efforts of others to force someone to believe what everyone else believes. The lower your differentiation, the more you require the agreement of others and the more you feel like you have to agree with others. If you don’t get it, you feel rejected, worthless, and that what you think just does not matter. This puts you in a vulnerable position, always being afraid to speak up in meetings outside the family or in resolving family conflicts. You just give up.

Lisa Firestone wrote that our perceptions of ourselves most often came from projections of feelings generated by childhood incidents. Let me give you an example about me to illustrate this. I bet you will find something of yourself in this also: I used to be one of those people who experienced rejection often, and because I wanted everyone to like me, I would avoid taking sides, agree with both sides, or refrain from offering an opinion that I believed was not shared by others. I rarely spoke up for myself, even when falsely criticized for doing something I did not do. So, why would I act like this:

  • I was overweight.
  • I once heard my mother refer to my brother’s having a higher IQ than mine.
  • My parents were divorced at a time when you did not hear much about divorce.
  • That divorce left me feeling abandoned because (1) I loved and missed my father, and (2) Everyone (both sides of my family) made it clear to me—a 10-year-old at the time—that they were on my father’s side. They did not seem to care how what they were saying was affecting me.
  • My mother was mentally ill and frequently underwent shock treatments for depression.

Moving up the ladder of differentiation, we need to resolve these old feelings and recognize that they have led us to conflicts with other people because by projecting our old feelings onto them and reacting in much the same manner as we did when we were children, we have shown ourselves to be superior to them by judging them.  Have you ever wondered where you got some of those words that just bubble out of your mouth sometimes?  Now you know.  They were automatic, coming from somewhere way back when.

For me, change was slow, but good, and to my embarrassment, there are times when I revert to my old behaviors. There were also times when I became the peacemaker, trying to explain certain things to family members. I think my primary goal at the time was to say, “Hey, I hurt when you say things like that.” I would like to think I am much closer to being fully differentiated. I still refrain from giving my opinions about political and religious matters to certain people. Yes, I know that is cowardly, but sometimes it avoids arguments that have no solution. You are probably able to handle this on your own by thinking back to those events in your childhood that caused distress. Rethink them and make peace with them. This can be painful, and if you think you will not be able to do that, please see a professional.

 

The Mental Illness Component

This is a consideration we all have to investigate when we are having problems with family members that don’t get resolved and don’t go away. They just keep on happening. And it does not seem to matter how many conversations you have with the offending family member. Some offending members demonstrate characteristics of personality disorders such as

  • Disregard for others’ needs or feelings
  • Having a need to one-up or put down someone–feel powerful and arrogant
  • Lying, stealing, and manipulating others
  • Not recognizing that others have rights
  • Thinking that they are more important than others
  • Envying other people
  • Inability to feel remorse, shame, embarrassment
  • No admission of guilt, culpability, or responsibility–all meaning the same thing
  • Always looking for a scapegoat to blame
  • Taking advantage of others

This is just a few, but you get the picture. These are also symptoms of other serious mental illnesses, so don’t attempt to diagnose your family member. The final solution for dealing with one like this is to point out that you recognize the problems that affect your relationship and that you recommend professional help. That, too, comes with repercussions, but what are you going to do if you have tried everything else? Whatever their reason, you have to recognize that the person lacks the ability to compromise.

Our Flag

Conclusion

We live in a country characterized by freedom, any number of which you will find in the Constitution of the United States. We also have freedoms beyond those. Why do we allow ourselves to be mistreated by others or imprisoned by our thoughts and our feelings, both past and current, when we could be doing something about it and living a healthier life as a result? When you consider the costs of those freedoms–mainly the loss of hundreds of thousands of good men and women who fought for them–you pale by comparison by being one who cannot fight for your own freedom. No one is going to take action for you when it comes to personal matters. YOU are the one who has to do that.  Please refer to an earlier blog for help with this.

 

 

 

 

Why Build Family Groups on Social Media

Getting together is important.

Why not build family groups on social media, most specifically on Facebook, as there is a platform designed just for the purpose of creating groups? As shown below, there are many reasons for doing this.  Speaking for myself, I have noticed a sharp decline in the size of families today and in the gathering together of extended families for special occasions and getting to know each other. Wouldn’t you like to find a family unit to be a real part of?  What about someone who shared your love for gardening, saving memories, antiquing, painting, writing, fishing, hiking, etc?  Sharing your passions is part of life–a very exciting part.  It is also a great way to get new tips and to share yours.

That May be the Only Way to Find Them

There are a lot of people out there who don’t know enough about their family tree to know that they have family anywhere.  A large number of single-parent families is one cause of this.  Smaller family units is another.  Divorce and deaths in a family can quickly diminish family size.  Poor relationships:  People have great difficulty getting along these days.  There is an increasing amount of rudeness.  Take the way we behave in traffic for instance.  Would we drive differently if we believed that each car out there was being driven by a close family member? The use of drugs has had a huge impact on the loss of family because drug users

  • Addiction tears us apart.are hard to get along with.
  • are dying in increasing numbers.
  • have difficulty with concentration and interpretation of events.
  • experience poor memories.
  • refuse to take responsibility for themselves.
  • are self-promoters.

 

When we understand the connection between how we live and how long we live, it’s easier to make different choices. Instead of viewing the time we spend with friends and family as luxuries, we can see that these relationships are among the most powerful determinants of our well-being and survival. Dean Ornish

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Build and Contribute to a Family Tree

You have seen the trees decorated with family members hanging from them with the names and critical information attached.  How great it would be to see an apple, bird, flower, etc.  with your name on it.  You just need the right information and the right family.  It is possible that the person who starts your family group will post access to a family tree for your contributions or will simply gather the information from you and put it where it belongs.  If not, this is something you might consider doing and sharing with other family members.  A great lesson for children would be for them to create their own family tree starting with themselves and going to their grandparents.  This might be the spark they need to get interested in other family members.Social media is the next best thing to being there.

 

Discover Your Commonalities and Share

Have you ever had something really terrific happen to you that you wanted to share and realized there was no one to share it with?  Yes, that is sad, but it does happen.  When you do join a family group, reach out to others by sharing those enjoyable hobbies, trips, or just new tips for living more abundantly.  You have no idea what you might find out there–instant friendship with family members for one.  Encourage your children to do the same, to be participants in life beyond those day-to-day, mundane activities we all participate in.

“Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family.” » Virginia Satir

 

Plan Family Reunions

Establishing a family group on Facebook and Pinterest to plan a family reunion by reaching out to your relatives and asking them to do the same, getting ideas, forming committees to take care of things, and best of all, getting everyone excited about seeing each other on the designated date.  These social media groups are the best way of staying in touch between reunions. The likelihood of children enjoying reunions can be increased if activities are organized and provided for them, such as setting up a net for volleyball, a table for games or drawing, etc.

Share Pictures and Stories About Your Family and Ancestors

Staying in touch is very important.  I don’t mean to leave out those special milestones, such as births, deaths, religious celebrations, marriages, or graduations.  That is a great way of adding to the family history.  Who wouldn’t want to have a picture of their grandparents’ or great-grandparents’ wedding picture?  That is so special, and I learned of some this past week which I hope to acquire copies of soon.  Another thing to share would be ancestral names.  Yes, what names are popular in the family and worth handing down to our own family members.  Also, just where did your family come from?   Our immigrant families came from everywhere to get here.

Learning about family illnesses is also important.  That gives one the opportunity of avoiding having children who are most likely to have a life-threatening, congenital illness.  Learning to check for this can lead to checks on a doctor’s office form for further investigation.

Where you went to school and what organizations you belonged to are important in finding common ground as are those organizations you belong to today.  What you do for a living is important to some people.  All of these things help tell the story of your life.

 

Families are getting smaller and smaller today.

 

Conclusion

I cannot think of a better tool for bringing families together than belonging to a Facebook group.  I am looking forward to joining one myself soon and learning about those things I have in common with my ancestors.  Why not get out your own pictures of family gatherings and share them.  Tell where and when they were taken and provide as many of the names of those in the picture as you can.  If your family does not yet have a Facebook group, why not start one yourself.

 

Please leave your comments below about this article and what having a family means to you.

What Happened to my Credit Rating?

Usually, credit report scores can range from 300 to 850 with 850 being the highest that one can achieve. Many things go into this score, and these will be further explained.  Unfortunately the question “What Happened to my Credit Rating” is asked over and over again in homes where bad credit gradually creeps up on you, eventually leaving you with no options for emergency purchases.  Part of the problem is that consumers are lulled into applying for credit cards on receipt of hundreds of offers in the mail telling them they are pre-approved.  They apply and within minutes have a source of spending money!  Credit should never be viewed as such.  Wisely used credit will form the foundation of a good credit report.  This takes about six months from the time you have your first credit approved.  With a good report to build on, one can proceed in the future to acquiring major purchases, e.g. home, car, etc.

 

 

What is Considered

Types of Credit (10%)

Credit types are revolving accounts, car loans, installment loans, mortgages, and finance companies.  Be careful and avoid opening accounts just for the sake of having them.

New Credit Opened (10%)

Recent inquiries (within 12 months) are noted and the reasons for them. Inquiries about mortgage loans or car loans are not generally considered in this category, as it is considered good business to shop around for the best companies and the best rates.

Numerous inquiries might raise eyebrows and cause a lender to wonder what the consumer has in mind if the consumer is trying to establish several new accounts, particularly if cash can be acquired from the companies. A vendor might view too many as high risk for whatever reason.

Credit History Length (15%)

Credit history length includes the length of time one has had a credit history, the length of a particular account and the actual use of those accounts awarded.  

Credit Utilization (30%)

I alluded to this in a previous post but want to illustrate what I was talking about:  If you have a $5,000 credit limit on a credit card, you must strive to spend less than 30% of that limit or $1500 in this case. The ratio of money spent on all of your balances to money allowed will be combined for an overall percentage.  The higher the percentage, the more likely you will be considered at higher risk for making payments on new accounts or loans.  A lower percentage indicates that you show restraint in spending and that you are more likely to maintain your credit and pay your bills.

“If you don’t take good care of your credit, then your credit won’t take good care of you.”
― Tyler Gregory

Payment History (35%)

This area covers delinquency. One thing you need to understand for sure is that different companies have their own rules about reporting late payments to credit bureaus. If this is a concern to you, and it should be if you make late payments, you need to ask each of your creditors what their rule is. This might make a difference in who you pay first when you have to make a choice. Other late payment considerations will include the total amount owed on the account, the number of accounts late payments were made for, and how late the payments were made.

Generally, the payment history will include a look at public records which reveal bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, liens, and wage attachments, with the latter usually made for child support payments. In other words, all monies owed by an individual, regardless of the type will be considered by a credit bureau in coming up with a score.

 

Never Had a Credit Rating

Some people pride themselves on never charging or borrowing.  They only pay cash.  That may be a good policy to follow for now but can also set the background for a rude awakening.  So, why have a credit rating if you are well able to pay cash? You just might want to buy a nice car or a nicer house to live in and lack the cash.  You can’t wait until these things crop up. You have to work at establishing and maintaining credit.  In addition, insurance companies use your credit scores to determine your rates, and employers use them to establish reliability.

 

So, What Comes After an Approval

This covers whether you have approval for the first time or approval following a major credit event, such as a bankrupcy.  Remember that approval of one request does not guarantee approval of the next one.  If you have a lower score, there are some things you can do to take care of that:

  • Get a copy of a credit report free and go over it for errors that you can resolve.  Also, you will learn what the problems are that led to your report.
  • Pay on time.  Consider using automatic payments from your bank account or institute a reminder system.  Some payments are more negotiable than others, e.g., your rent (you may have to pay a late fee) and your medical bills fall into this category.
  • Reduce your overall debt by making cash payments or by not buying it at all.
  • Increase your income, even if it is only with a temporary or part-time second job.  Report that income to the credit bureau along with any raises you might have received.  Many of us think that when our income increases, we can spend more. Don’t do that. That kind of thinking gets us into serious trouble.  Remember, we are talking about improving our credit rating right now.
  • Avoid having a bill go into the collection process.  Once that happens, and it is actually reported to the credit bureau, it will stay on your credit report for seven years, even if you pay it right away.
  • Institute credit card prioritization.

If you have experiences with credit that you would like to share, please do so in the Comments section below.

 

 

 

Acquiring Debt is Not for the Faint of Heart

 

Acquiring Debt

Whatever does “Acquiring Debt is Not for the Faint of Heart” mean? It takes a lot to acquire debt:

  1. Courage
  2. A decent work record
  3. A healthy record of previous debt patterns (the ratio of amount spent to amount allowed)
  4. Proof that you have paid your debts
  5. Proof that you have the ability to pay your debts in the future
  6. Evidence of your ability to continue to earn income (education, work habits–how often you change jobs, health

So, after you have gone through all of that,  why overextend yourself by proving that you can? People apply for credit and with a good credit rating, they get more credit than they need. For example, Company A gives a family a ceiling of $5,000 to spend, even when they only want to spend a few dollars for something they need. They just did not have that money available to them in their budget this month. Unfortunately, some consumers use that $5,000 up as soon as possible, not realizing that will result in a lower credit rating.  It is easy to become a victim of creditors, but rather than blame your having spent all of that money on them, you must look within and come to some conclusions about your own need to spend all of that money.

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

Dave Ramsey

Don't play the victim. You are the perpetrator!

Expect the Unexpected

Do not use the unexpected as an excuse to acquire and maintain debt. Terrible weather conditions, medical illnesses, and car accidents are three things that often show up unexpectedly with costs that fall within the deductible. That is sad. On the other hand, having emergencies like that is something we should prepare for by saving a certain percentage of our income every month. It’s called an emergency fund. So, are you asking how you should know what to contribute to such a fund? That depends on your monthly budget.

Oh, did I hear you say you don’t have a monthly budget? You just hope that your income matches what you have to pay out and that you will have enough left over to spend for something extravagant. What kind of thinking is that? The kind that gets us into trouble!

Secondly, most of us like to take vacations but don’t plan well for them, so we put the costs on a credit card and before you know it we have spent more than we can make monthly payments on. Vacation planning needs to go into a budget if it is important to you. So, now you’re thinking that you don’t have enough money to cover planning for emergencies or vacations. And I haven’t even mentioned Christmas, for those who celebrate it, college funds or retirement. And how about the costs for a graduating senior from high school?

“And don’t tell me debt is not a big deal.  Debt will cut off your legs and laugh at you as you grovel in the dirt begging for mercy. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. If you can’t afford it, don’t get it. If you’re already in debt, get out quickly. If you think you’ll never get out, you’re right, you won’t.”

Osayi Emokpae Lasisi, Impossible Is Stupid

 

Budgets

One way to get started with all of this planning is to start thinking differently about everything you do. Each of us will have a different answer. Adam Baker has his own answers which he covers in this video. Before you rush into something here, let’s return to the actual consideration of a budget. Adam’s video certainly revealed that some things are not necessarily as important to you as you once believed.

More is not better!

Hopefully, you are not thinking that you are too old for a budget. To the contrary, the older you get, the more often you need to think about it. You are probably going to live much longer than you thought–that’s what people do these days! You will find attached a budget designed by AARP which will prove helpful in establishing your budget. Make a plan for budget implementation. Let’s be fully realistic here. You are going to have to know how much you need for what you have to have in order to have the income in place to cover it.

Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times. Rutherford B. Hayes
                                                                                                                                                                               https://www.brainyquote.com/qu…

What’s Next

Paying off your credit card debt may be done in more than one way.  In an earlier post, I discussed consolidating your credit card debt.  Another way is to make a list of those card balances, payments, and amount of interest, beginning with the company that charges you the largest amount of interest, which will accrue far more interest over a long period of time.  In fact, if you check the bill, it will probably tell you what it is going to cost if you continue to make the minimum payment. End your list with the one that charges you the least.  Look for a way to increase the payment you make to the first card. You are going to want to use any available money that you can find in your budget and make even more by having yard sales, selling items you don’t use or really need, or maybe even by going to a cheaper car.

For the remaining cards you owe money on, make the minimum payments.  When you have paid off that first one on your list, apply what you were paying monthly to that card to the card with the next highest interest and pay that one off, continuing to do the same until you have paid them all.  Is that not a wonderful thought!  You can do it, and it will not take you nearly as long as you once learned it would.  Another huge benefit of paying your debts down is that your credit rating will go up.   In the meantime, refrain from using credit cards except for absolute necessities.  Pay cash for clothing in thrift or second-hand shops, while placing what you no longer wear in a consignment shop.

 

Look Forward to No Debt

 

In my next post, I will address credit ratings, how to improve it,  and the importance of having the best one you can get.  I am sure that you have tips to pass along.  Please put them in the Comments section below.

 

 

 

 

 

Debt May Force a Woman’s Return to Work

Debt Consolidation

 

Debt may force a woman back to work; however, before it gets that far you might consider debt payment by some form of debt consolidation with a more solid goal in mind. I say that because any debt consolidation should be taken very seriously as it is surely an indicator of debt that is substantial enough to warrant desperate measures. The goal in mind is to avoid getting in this position again. And yes, I understand that that is not always possible. Let me say though, that while it can be, not all debt consolidation is bad.

 

Noninterest Bearing Credit Card Loans

First, there is debt consolidation through credit card companies who want to get your business by offering to have you transfer a balance riddled with interest to their company with no interest if you pay it off within a specified period. This is possible. I have done it. But you must be consistent in paying on time. Fortunately, these companies have made this more possible by offering automatic payments which are set up through your bank. You pay them the same amount of money each month at the same time. The only concern you have is to make sure that you have money in your bank account to cover this withdrawal.

So how do you do that? I find that the best way is to arrange for the amount to be withdrawn within a day or two that you are expecting a deposit. If you are not expecting a deposit, I would suggest that you do what you can to earn the money in advance and deposit it.

The primary problem with this method of debt consolidation is that the time to pay the debt off is limited to usually 18 months or somewhere between 12 and 18 months.  This usually results in higher payments.

Communicate about Debt

Nonprofit Debt Consolidation Companies

Second, there is another way to consolidate debts and that would be to seek a nonprofit debt consolidation firm such as American Consumer Credit Counseling. This is one of many and is just one that comes to my mind. You will work with a credit counselor to establish what bills you owe and how much you will have to pay for them, hoping that the counselor will be able to achieve a payment that is consistent with what you want to pay. This is not always achievable, and you may learn that you will have to give up something in order to be able to do that, i.e., selling something you recently acquired that you really can’t afford and or returning something that is actually returnable.

These companies don’t loan you money. They negotiate with the companies you owe, arrive at better ways to pay your debt, and tell you what they will need from you to pay off your debt. You give the consolidating company the same amount of money every month. In other words, you are still paying many companies through one payment as with other forms of consolidation. They also offer counseling to help you avoid this kind of debt in the future.

Peer-to-Peer Lending Companies

There is a third way to consolidate and that is to use a peer-to-peer lending company who will offer interest bearing loans to cover the costs of your debts through the Internet, where online businesses will pair lenders with borrowers. Clark Howard offers a great explanation of these companies.

L O A N S 

Even after all of the struggle to consolidate your loans to make them payable, you will continue to have problems with debt if you don’t learn how to live within your means.  Of course, this is easier said than done, but it is absolutely necessary to change the behaviors that got you into trouble to begin with.  Now, I am not discounting those unexpected, major events in our lives that cause us to get into debt.  They do happen, and we have to take some kind of action to deal with them immediately rather than wait until we get deeper in debt.

 

Poverty is about people lacking the tools they need to get on in life. And solving it is about tackling educational failure, antisocial behaviour, debt problems and addiction, and of course it’s about work. Theresa May

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/

Banks and Credit Unions

Loans from banks and credit unions are certainly possible and should certainly be investigated as an option; however, these financial institutions are generally going to require collateral.  Very often, they want to refinance your home mortgage for this. This is quite an undertaking that deserves a great deal of consideration, as you can imagine.

 

Part III. Why is Grandma Going Back to Work/Wealthy Affiliate Explained

By this time, if you have been on the Wealthy Affiliate site, you probably took the Level 1 training and built your first website on WA, and you may or may not have signed up for Premium. Regardless of whether you are straddling the fence or have actually signed up, you might need Wealthy Affiliate explained a little better.  let me tell you a few more things about WA that would be helpful to know before you get too far. These are things that I got stuck on or did not know about for a while and had to do a lot of research on, including questioning my mentor, using the search bar, looking up some posts that came up, and actually writing down (There were too many to remember.) the instructions for some things; however, you will always have access to your training on WA.

Costs of Going Premium

First, if the $49.99 cost per month is causing you grief, have a yard sale! Yes, I know it is a charge per month, but I am here to tell you that this adventure can’t go too far without a little investment, and the cost can actually be reduced by signing up for a year. But that, you will say, is a one time charge you can’t afford. By doing that you actually save a considerable amount per year. So, yes, have a big yard sale. Most productive yard sales can produce between $300 and $400 per sale. If you don’t think that will work for you, try babysitting for a few hours a week or any other odd jobs you can work in. Also consider putting it on a credit card.  The payments are far less than $49.99. Once you have made a commitment like this, you are more likely to work harder toward your goals. And by the way, remember the total costs you figured of returning to work in Part I? Just compare the cost of staying home and starting an online business with those of working on site.

Site Rubix

You are so used to clicking on Site Manager in SiteRubix that you probably neglected to take a close look at the other items. For example, take the following:  

 

  • Site Content
  • Site Comments
  • Site Feedback

Note:  Site Comments and Site Feedback is available only to Premium members.

Site Content allows you to type your posts or pages and publish them from there. You can set up your own templates, make one from scratch, or use a pre-made one.   One of the great things you can do with it is to plan ahead. When you think of something that applies to your niche and you think you want to write about it, go ahead and create a document for it, giving it a temporary title. Site Content also counts your words for you and keeps a running total of all the words in all of your documents. If you find yourself struggling for words, as writers sometimes do, just save it and create a new post, either returning to the older ones later to continue or to delete.  Use Site Content to your advantage in recording information you want to relay one way or another. That can save you lots of time later on. Clicking on ABC at the top will check spelling, punction, grammar, and sentence structure, saving you a good deal of time.  Unfortunately, you will not have access to the image part of Site Content until you become a Premium Member.

 

Site Comments gives an opportunity for you to offer comments on other members’ sites, giving you a choice of what is available.  You will find the instructions for accomplishing that there but if still unclear, you can question the search bar for additional information.  It is customary for the reviewer to write comments on the actual web page you are reviewing.  Please use that courtesy only to make nice comments.  When you have submitted comments on two sites, you will be allowed to ask for comments.  This is an area you can’t afford to be without because Google looks at the number of comments on your site.

 

Site Feedback works like Site Comments but gives you an opportunity to constructively criticize the site owner to improve the overall health of the page.  Some of the results you get are meaningful and come from people who have been around for a while.  This is also an area that you need because you have an opportunity to find out what is right and wrong about your site from people who have been there a lot longer than newer people.

Any Questions So Far?

Please ask your questions related to Wealthy Affiliate in the Comments Section below, and I will provide you with an answer or direct you to the right person.  Many questions can be answered by clicking on the banner below. Also, if you proceed with the free membership, you may ask questions of other Wealthy Affiliate members.

Part II: Why is Grandma Going Back to Work/Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership

 

Having your own online business can be one of the best solutions of all if you investigate the possibilities for affiliate marketing. This is something you have to do on your own because after all, you are the most reliable person for absorbing information and making a decision. Please consult any number of websites that investigate affiliate marketing scams to understand the nature of these scams.  “Why is Grandma Going Back to Work” is a question that many will ask.  My previous post  answers that.

The Wealthy Affiliate Free Membership is a gift you cannot turn down if you are considering going back to work. You will reassure yourself that you can still learn and do something that is truly engaging.

Introduction to Wealthy Affiliate

Wealthy Affiliate is one of many online affiliate marketing sites one that many consider the best, including me.  For information on the success of some of these please click on success.  If you really get stumped with some of the training in Wealthy Affiliate I will assist you once you have followed the instructions in the following paragraph and have actually registered for your free membership. This is very important: Once there, you have seven days to sign up for Premium membership for $19.99 for the first month. You can sign up for Premium using the red button to the left of your screen in WA Free membership covers all of the 10 lessons in Level 1 training and in Bootcamp.

You will also be building your own free website. You are entitled to two, but I would advise you to wait until you have finished the first one and have had time to look around the site, absorbing whatever you can.  You may also ask questions of other members of Wealthy Affiliate. Do not worry about running out of time if you are attentive to following the lesson plan. I would suggest if you are working a regular job that you get started just prior to or on your days off or a holiday weekend if you are worried about running out of time to decide on Premium.

Selecting a Theme

Familiarize yourself with WordPress Themes by reviewing some of them on their website.  A theme is your website design.  You will be required to select one before proceeding very far into your training, so this would be a good time to look through some, especially reading the general information on their use and previewing what it will look like.  Some have a sidebar on the left or right, or you can select a theme with both a left and right sidebar or one with no sidebar.  The sidebars generally contain information about your website, e.g., lists your blog posts, comments, menu items, categories, and all of this varies.  Some show the date of the post, while others show no date.  Some only list the last five posts (blogs), while others list more.  Another way to see themes in action is to check out your competition on the Internet for your niche (see below) and observe each theme.  None of this information is intended to frighten you off, it is simply part of building your website.  Just query the search bar on WA and you will find other information about selecting a theme.  The same applies to Your Niche below.

 

Your Niche

This is something else you need to consider before gaining access because your training will go faster.  Your niche should revolve around two things:  What you are passionate about and what you believe your readers are passionate about.  List those topics that you love to talk about–things you do, things you believe in, and things you want to pass on to others because you believe you can help them. Helping others is the primary theme in creating a niche, with making money to follow.  The reason for this is that you must be able to write enough content–posts and pages–to convince your readers that you know what you are talking about and that you can enhance their lives by sharing and helping them.  You must develop trust with your readers.

Work through your list, eliminating the maybes and arriving at the sure thing that fits the criteria of your niche.  You will need to have an understanding of your niche before constructing your site.  Consider also any information you can find on the site about the Wealthy Affiliate Bootcamp which is primarily directed toward building websites for the primary purpose of attracting people to Wealthy Affiliate.  That is a separate training module which is also available for the free membership.

Ready to Get Started

Please click this link, Wealthy Affiliate, for their website opening, where you will acquire free membership. Once there, please read the information at the bottom of the screen, complete the required information, and click the green button to register. There is no obligation to pay, and you have nothing to lose except the time it takes to gain a substantial amount of information and build your own website following the instructions in Level 1 training. Once you are in, you access the training by clicking on the green space to your left that says Certification. You will discover 10 lessons in Level 1.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. 

— Sally Berger

 at: http://stylecaster.com/beauty/strong-women-quotes/#ixzz4uh05hxjQ

 

The first hint of spending money will occur during the free training when you learn how to use the Jaaxy tool and the Keyword Tool. Both are:

  • keyword tools
  • in Wealthy Affiliate
  • accessed on the left side of the Wealthy Affiliate screen.

The more sophisticated tool, Jaaxy, is the one that costs money; however, for training purposes you may use it up to 30 times at no charge, beginning in Level 1 training. The Keyword Tool is perfectly acceptable until such time as you want to purchase Jaaxy for keywords or other reasons. Many excellent WA members have continued to use the plain Keyword Tool with continued success.

How Do You Make Money with Wealthy Affiliate?

In one of her blogs, Veronica, who has been with Wealthy Affiliate for nine years explains the number of ways you can earn money after establishing your own website. While she also goes into detail as to how to acquire this income by monetizing your site, do not embark on the details of this.  If you decide to become a Premium member, you will be concentrating on building your site’s content. This can take a considerable amount of time, and you need to understand this rather than set yourself up for disappointment that you are not making money after day seven.  It happens, but it just does not work that way.  It takes hard work and dedication to build your site, not to mention additional training.–the next level–which you will want to get started on as soon as you complete your first level and sign up for Premium membership.

Helpful information that Veronica offers can’t really be bought any cheaper than becoming a member of Wealthy Affiliate for $49.99 a month, unless you purchase a yearly membership.  That results in a savings of $289.00.  You will not find that opportunity anywhere else.  Premium membership is not contractual and can be canceled at any time. I will send you reminders about Premium membership after you sign up for the free membership so that you will be able to take advantage of a reduced first month rate of 19.99.  To get the reduced first month rate, you must sign up within seven days of joining. If you are really unsure that you will continue with Premium, I suggest going for the 19.99, if the opportunity is still available to do that. Payment is month to month with no obligation to continue.

Please offer any comments below.

Please look for Part III of this post.