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Why Traveling and Vacationing Alone Can Be Fulfilling for Women

Tanya in front of sliding rock near Hendersonville, NC.Traveling is a fun thing for me even though I don’t get to do it very often. Finding a traveling companion is difficult due to problems with schedules, finances, personal choices, etc., and I have to say that often when I get back home after traveling with someone, I realize that I did not get to do many of the items on my itinerary. In addition, I find that sleeping hours vary, eating habits can cause problems, and highway choices can be vastly different–the interstate or country roads. So women traveling and vacationing alone can be fulfilling and much more satisfying for the most part. The one most likely exception occurs when traveling with someone you get along very well with at home, such as a spouse or good friend, where the ability to work well together is key.  The trip can be rewarding and with few regrets, with time spent satisfying to each.

The important thing to remember here is that you should not deny yourself the opportunity to travel because you lack a suitable person to travel with. Most likely, the majority of women traveling alone are those traveling for business. These are seasoned travelers and we have learned much from them.  They have shown us we can do it also.

“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” – Mae C. Jemison

 

Biking is a great way to get around.Traveling Alone is Fun

The first thing that pops into my head is “freedom” when I think of traveling alone. By that, I mean the freedom to do what I want to do, when and where I want, and how I want to do it. Let’s face it. I love making my own choices, and I bet you do as well. That forces me to take responsibility for the bad choices along with the good ones. Does this sense of freedom eliminate some fears that are associated with making choices? Certainly not, but being a little fearful about some things is helpful. That fear often encourages me to go beyond the fear, taking a risk, and enjoying the results. And just as often, that fear leads me to be cautious, to consider what could happen in order to prevent its happening.

 

“A subject to which few intellectuals ever give a thought is the right to be a vagrant, the freedom to wander. Yet vagrancy is a deliverance, and life on the open road is the essence of freedom. To have the courage to smash the chains with which modern life has weighted us (under the pretext that it was offering us more liberty), then to take up the symbolic stick and bundle and get out.” ― Isabelle Eberhardt

 

Woman Traveling AloneHow To Stay Safe

Here are some safety tips for your travels:

  • Travel with as little cash as possible. Keep the cash and a minimum of credit cards in a safe place on your person, making it difficult for someone to steal or for you to lose.
  • When dining, access your money or credit card away from your table to avoid someone’s noticing where you got it.
  • Rest stops for a bathroom or something to drink are probably the safest on the road in a state-owned rest area during the daytime or in a restaurant.
  • If you have packed your lunch, the above rest areas usually have tables. If traveling near the ocean, try to find a populated, beachside park for tables and restrooms.
  • When entering your hotel room, be mindful of people around you, so you can slip into your room without fear of being followed. If someone knocks on your door, preface what you say with “we, we’re, etc.” as in “We’ll be right there.” Don’t open it unless you are expecting the individual or the service, and when you do open it, don’t close the door until the person leaves. It is easy to feel so comfortable in some hotels or motels that you will leave the door unlocked when going for ice or something else. Don’t do this.
  • Woman traveling aloneKnow your route before you leave home and adjust it only in safe places. Always have a map of each state you are traveling in. Online maps are available for those actual areas where you will be traveling. Contact the chambers of commerce well ahead of your trip for information.
  • Know your destination for sleeping and make reservations well enough in advance. First, you will save money this way, and second, you don’t have to worry about where you are going to stay. Click on my favorite–Booking.com–for room reservations below.
  • Wherever you are, be mindful of the lack of people around you and the presence of people and their location to avoid being in a situation where one might take advantage of you.
  • Read the book on solo traveling below.  It has great Amazon ratings.  One in particular was “It gave me great confidence about the idea of an older single woman traveling and enjoying it. I’m now ready to take on the world. Thank you so much for showing the way.”  Those who liked the book the most were beginning solo travelers.  The book’s author also has a website.

I will be writing articles on traveling to certain areas in the future and need your input on what you would like to learn about places that are new to you.  Please offer your suggestions and comments below.

“My spirit gets nourished in faraway places. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a biological need, perhaps a biological flaw that compels me to seek the excitement and challenge that comes of being in a place where nobody knows me. Other times I think that my compulsion to settle into communities that are different from the ones I know is related to my passion for experiential learning. I learn best and most happily by doing, touching, sharing, tasting. When I’m somewhere I’ve never been before, learning goes on all day, every day.” ― Rita Golden Gelman, Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Traveling




Booking.com

Staying on Top of Dementia for Successful Aging

Introduction to the Rest of Your Life

In January of 2017, Dr. Kenneth Langa and group reported that in a population of 21,000 adults, 65 and older, the prevalence of dementia dropped 2.8% to 8.8% in from 2000 in 2012.  Previously, we assumed that acquiring dementia was our destiny as we got older and that it could come at any time; however, with evidence that it is actually decreasing, we need to take note. Even a reduced number of cases is a significant number, and you should know that in 2015 Alzheimer’s disease was number six on the leading causes of death in the United States.  This ranking came three years after the research.   This is somewhat shocking and is, therefore, the reason for writing an article about staying on top of dementia for successful aging.

Levels of education were attributed as a contributing factor to the above decrease, and education is an extremely important factor in maintaining good health, both physical and mental.  Many state university programs encourage further education by offering free opportunities to seniors.  Because each state has different programs,   “Google” those free opportunities for education in your state.  Further, attending school has been shown to be effective in reducing cognitive decline due to aging in addition to improving poor self-image and depression.

It is refreshing to note that the above decrease shows that we may finally be paying attention to those who have defined the necessary steps to further improve the above figures.  We know that the following factors are instrumental in preventing or prolonging some forms of dementia:

  • More people in our society have gone further in their education and are still learning.
  • Staying mentally active by participating in “social, cultural, economic, spiritual, and civic affairs.”
  • Improved quality of life by maximizing access to good health through physical, mental and social well being.

 

What Can You Do?

According to Medical News Today, the causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are unknown; however, they do say that 80% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have some form of cardiovascular disease.  They recommend reducing the risks for cardiovascular disease, which includes heart attack (the leading cause of deaths) and stroke (5th leading cause of deaths) with the following:

  • No smoking
  • Limited alcohol
  • Balanced diet
  • Good exercise, including walking or some form of sports
  • Routine blood pressure checks
  • If diabetic or pre-diabetic (seventh leading cause of deaths), pay special attention to all instructions from your doctor.
  • Increase mental activity with reading and writing for pleasure, learning new things, using those musical instruments, and anything else that helps you to focus better.

Smoking.  There are all kinds of resources to help you with this.  Many are free.  Please start with your doctor.

Limited alcohol.  This is usually explained as one drink a day for women and two for men.

Balanced diet.  This is as easy as looking it up on the Internet; however, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or any other factors affected by diet, please ask your doctor for a diet made just for you.

Good exercise.  The first thing to pop in one’s mind about exercise is the list of reasons for not doing any exercise.  Using them is self-defeating.  Walking is the number one recommended exercise, but even if you can’t walk, there are exercises out there for you.  Please find out what is available for you.

Blood pressure checks.  You can do these at home, in your local fire station, or at your primary physician’s office.

Diabetic or pre-diabetic.  The repercussions of acquiring diabetes are well known to most and include, according to the Mayo Clinic, damage to ears, kidneys (may lead to kidney dialysis, feet (may lead to amputation), nerves (may lead to neuropathy), eyes, skin; cardiovascular disease; and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Mental activity.  With this last item in mind, it is helpful to select one of your hobbies and use that as a base for additional learning and concentration. Take gardening  for example.  There are so many additional activities attached to gardening. Just talking about it can be rewarding.   It provides lots of exercise and Vitamin D.  You can also write about it—keep good notes on what, when, and where you planted something, if it came up and produced a good crop, what you used or did to facilitate growth, etc.  And last but not least, you can eat the products of this hobby!  In fact, becoming an expert in one area of your life leads to all sorts of fulfillment.

 

“Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration—studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing—are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s. (254)” 
― Norman Doidge

 

I can’t say enough about improving your mental activity, especially if you are doing something you are enjoying.  You will most likely be rewarded with an improved self-esteem, and that will hopefully lead you to believe enough in yourself to succeed in all of the other activities leading to the best of health.  If you have what it takes to be successful in any improved mental activity, you will want to accomplish all of the above.

Whatever disabilities you have, minimize them as far as you can.  Don’t use them as an excuse for not doing something that would improve your life overall.  And don’t forget, that improving your life automatically improves the quality of life for those around you.

Heed the Evidence and Proceed to Staying on Top Of Dementia

Staying on Top of DementiaYou read varying reports on just about anything these days, which causes you to wonder why one person’s observations are so vastly different from another’s reports.  When reading articles such as mine and others like it, you have to be sure you are comparing apples and apples.

Using our subject–dementia– for example:  If an article does not specify a particular type of dementia, you don’t know whether or not the article pertains to everyone with dementia or just certain groups.  There are different types including those with Alzheimer’s disease, drug use, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease,  traumatic brain injury, vascular disorders, and those caused by infections.  Alzheimer’s constitutes the largest part at 50 to 70%

According to the Cleveland Clinic, dementia has become more prevalent in that group they classify as “elderly–65 and older”  and they report that the most likely causes of this increase are that people are more informed about the symptoms of dementia or their extended longevity lends the possibility of acquiring Alzheimer’s.  In addition, they say that at age 85 and older, more than 50% will have Alzheimer’s.  This is especially important to acknowledge, as it means that just maybe we can lower that figure by applying all we have learned to prevent other diseases associated with it The time to start is now.

The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer. And they will run right into the dementia firing range. How will a society cope? Especially a society that can’t so readily rely on those stable family relationships that traditionally provided the backbone of care? Terry Pratchett
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On a personal note, my work on this website definitely challenges my brain cells which sometimes seem to be more active than necessary.  Writing, researching my subject, deciding how to best present it, and learning the technical language associated with its presentation is working for me.  I meet every achievement here with thanks that I am still mentally active.  And while I did not intend to promote Wealthy Affiliate when I started this post, I can heartily do so by recognizing its benefits for me in terms of aging successfully.  By hosting my website and giving me all the training and information I need, Wealthy Affiliate has provided me the opportunity to make additional money that will continue into my retirement. I look forward to waking up, grabbing my coffee, and getting started on my website. If this interests you, please click on Wealthy Affiliate and investigate this as a possibility for you. Many members are making a living far beyond their expectations and use WA for their full-time work, while others use it as I do to supplement my income.

Based on a reader’s recommendation, I looked this book up and found it had hundreds of good reviews.  Check it out!

Seniors Make the Best Volunteers

Keep working for a better cause.

So, you are probably wondering why seniors make the best volunteers? The first thing that comes to mind is the experience an older adult has accumulated in his or her lifetime. Secondly, seniors have learned to tap into the wealth of people who need help not only because they have a lot to give but also because they are aware of some of the needs that are out there. There is a lot of research showing that seniors receive a lot more in return. I’m not saying that seniors volunteer for the sole reason of getting back, but I am saying that once they get started, they realize that they are the prime beneficiaries.

 

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

— Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and statesman

 

Help reduce the size of a juvenile justice systemAs I pointed out in my last post about senior volunteers, there are many children out there who need our help and guidance. Unfortunately, we think children’s needs are being met by the “systems” already in place, and some of them are but many are left behind. There is a growing number of children that need help. Helping them could actually foster such an improved generation of children that our juvenile justice and prison systems will wonder where they went. You will definitely want to check out this article written by teens that shows the importance to them of having good relationships with their family.

Be ever watchful for the opportunity to shelter little children with the umbrella of your charity; be generous to their schools, their hospitals, and their places of worship. For, as they must bear the burdens of our mistakes, so are they in their innocence the repositories of our hopes for the upward progress of humanity. Conrad Hilton

Volunteers can help to restore broken and abusive relationships.One organization that helps with this is Strengthening Families who works with children ages 6 – 12 and their families to improve family relationships, parenting skills, and life skills.  Not knowing appropriate life skills is particularly important for students, and these limitations have effectively kept children apart from their peers and made them more vulnerable to those who will hurt them.  These pre-teens also learn how to resolve conflicts, make decisions, solve problems, and resist the efforts of peers who want to influence them to do the wrong thing.   Parents learn how to provide a positive family environment by incorporating family meetings and family time periods, developing family rituals, providing discipline, and showing their appreciation for positive changes within the family. Volunteers are needed here to assist with transportation, meals, and caring for younger aged siblings of students selected for this program.

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.”

— John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States

Children absorb too much of a violent world.Children need to know that someone cares about them. You should not be surprised to learn that many families are not what they appear to be. The news is full of horror stories about children being killed, subjected to sexual, emotional and physical abuse if not by a parent, then by a nanny, visitors, or other relatives and trusted associates. Children are being educated about sexual abuse by various organizations, including Lauren’s Kids in Florida. They have provided a curriculum to public schools for teaching children about sexual abuse.  This curriculum is prepared with different age levels in mind.

Children should be able to live a life free from bullying and harassment and it is time that we all took a stand against this. Katherine Jenkins
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There is a yearning here for something else.Abused children often suffer from a variety of psychological disorders including, self-esteem, thinking impairment, hyperactivity, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, and much more. Hopefully, these are noted in school behaviors and through their grades, and the children are treated appropriately; however, that does not happen as often as it should. Very often, these problems go unnoticed because students are able to hide these problems, but the effects of these disorders will linger for long periods of time, showing themselves in how the adult gets along with others on the job and in marriage and how the adult raises children.

 

“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.” 
— Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist 

 

There are many agencies and institutions in your area that could use your help with children.  Google those opportunities.  Also, look for orphanages, like Baptist Children’s Homes, who need volunteers.  Contact the United Way in your area for additional information on agencies that need volunteers.  If you are not physically able to get out and minister to children in some way, then consider a program that involves financial contributions and communications of some sort with a child.  Children love books, especially audio books.  See what Amazon has to offer.  Also, if you decide you want to provide a different type of gift, Amazon has everything to offer.

“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me.”

— Fred Rogers, television personality

 

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Using Community Service Volunteers to Combat Criminal Behaviors

Volunteer through the Police Dept.

Acts of violence, hate crimes, and terrorism are definitely on the rise.  We watch our television sets in disbelief.  It is as if one is trying to outdo another in the killing game. We ask why. Why are there people out there who are so unhappy with their lives that taking the lives of others is the only answer they can come up with? Is this scapegoating–holding others responsible for what the shooter did that made him unhappy? We also ask if this could be us?  There but for the grace of God, go I.  And it is with this humility that we realize there may be some answers, with the first one being our attitude if we have chosen judging rather than understanding the person.  Another answer is using community service volunteers to combat criminal behaviors. Volunteering in children’s homes, serving as responsible foster parents, or working with nonprofit community agencies for children are available.

 

Why?

I see people who commit heinous acts of terrorism on their neighbors as being power-seeking people—those who were forced to succumb to the power of others or those who thought they had it and lost it. There are no acceptable explanations for the gunman who decided to shoot more than half of the congregation of a small, country church. We don’t know his background yet.  The person that did this wanted to inflict as much pain as he could to get rid of the pain he was feeling himself.  The urge to exercise control was far greater than any sense of humanity he might have harbored.  Learning more about the background of anyone capable of such an act can be a first start toward accepting the reality of such situations.  They are not going to magically disappear.  Hating these people and turning off the TV news just might put us in the same category with those who commit terrible acts.  We need to ask ourselves what small part or large we might play in combatting violence.  We need to

  • educate ourselves about the symptoms of those most likely to become violent
  • learn why people do what they do
  • find out why people are so easily indoctrinated and led by others to kill
  • look for what is behind that anger
  • make sure we are giving our children what they need to reduce the number of incidents in the future

This is a limited list of things we can do.  Please use the comments section below to list those things that come to you and any other concerns you have about this subject.

 

Where does emotional pain come from?

Watching your parents fightChildhood environments.  Many of us experienced environments of living with parents who hated each other, parents who were addicts, and parents who were just plain mean.  Does that mean that every child raised in a similar environment is going to grow up and shoot a church full of people?  No.  It means that there are many children who for whatever reason carried their feelings of neglect and abandonment into adulthood, did not confront these problems and deal with them, and recreated them in their own families.  This resulted in the same or worse levels of unhappiness, not only for themselves, but for the individual’s entire family.  Many of these families live in bad neighborhoods where children are forced by other children to commit crimes in order to have a place to belong—frequently called a gang.  Unfortunately, children seek another bad environment for love or friendship to replace that which they don’t feel at home. The only way out for these children is to leave the neighborhood.  Many leave through the criminal justice system but return because they don’t think they can make it anywhere else.  This cycle is repeated with addiction being a large complicating factor, making it extremely difficult to survive.

Children may be prison boundAccording to E. Mosely of DefenderNetwork.com, 7.3 million children in this country have a parent in prison.  This leaves the care of these children up to a remaining parent, if there is one, grandparents, other relatives, or foster care parents.  Very often, they are left to take care of themselves or are shuffled between homes.  Many of those placed with foster care parents are likely to leave and become homeless, living on the street. These children develop mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, abandonment, or post-traumatic stress disorder, making it even more difficult to adapt to their situation.  Of the 7.3 million children, 70% are likely to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

Traumatic events in the life of a person can cause considerable pain, leading a person to make unwise decisions.  Shaka Senghor served over 20 years in prison after having killed someone. He tells his own story in a short video.  Unfortunately, there are not enough good prison stories, nor are most of these children going to be okay.  There is not enough mental health support to identify and treat these children.  It is only when they themselves get into trouble that their problems are uncovered, unless they had problems in school and were fortunate enough in school to be tagged for a program that could help them.  Occasionally, you will find prisoners who are reformed in prison, but they are rare.

 

 

 What can we do about it?

Most large police departments have programs that benefit the community.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has more than 3,000 volunteers working in various police department programs designed to improve the environments children live in and to educate parents and children about the many things they can do to help themselves.  Of these volunteers, over 300, “are over the age of 70” and the total number of volunteer hours worked per month by the 3,000 is 20,000 hours. LAPD is larger than many and likely has over 50 programs to volunteer in.   Just a few of their many programs are

  • Help your local police departmentYouth at Risk Programs
  • Jeopardy Youth Programs
  • Radio Operators
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs
  • Youth Centers
  • Crisis Response Teams

I urge you to consider becoming a volunteer in a police department; however, there are many other places in the community, and I will be following up this article with another to delineate some of those.  The important thing is to see yourself as an instrument of benefitting mankind by getting involved in some program that works with children and or their parents.  These problems of violence are all around you and all over the world.  Just think of the talents you have to offer–sharing your own hobbies, using your abilities to speak, listen, or both, sharing your own childhood stories and what you gleaned from them, etc.  There is no end to how you might facilitate the healthy life of a child and his or her family.

Helping Others

Throughout this website, I have supported helping others in your community for several reasons.  Helping is an opportunity to

  • Pay it forward
  • Care for someone
  • Draw attention to a good cause
  • Feel good about yourself
  • Work with other people in mutually satisfying endeavors
  • Set goals and meet them
  • Get so wrapped up in the problems of others in a good, helpful way that you forget you have problems
  • Extend your life by years

Please leave your comments, objections, opinions, and your plans to volunteer below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 https://www.brainyquote.com/qu…

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

 https://www.brainyquote.com/qu…

 

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.