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Fun Family Halloween Recipes

We can’t wait for Halloween to get here! It’s the first taste of slightly cooler weather down here in southwest Florida, and a chance to dress up and make some spooky treats. Have a loved one in town? Plan a baking party or throw a Halloween bash with them.

We put together some fun Halloween treats you, the kids, friends, and other family members will enjoy eating and making.


Spiced Chocolate Bat Cookies

Chocolately little bat cookies with a hint of spice


Cheesecake-Stuffed Baked Apples

Baked apples. Check. Stuffed with cheesecake? Oh yeah!


Meringue Ghost Tartlet

You won’t want to eat these ghosts, they’re too cute!


Halloween Marshmallow Pops


Frightful Fruit Kebabs

A healthy Halloween treat for everyone.


Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake

Everyone will rave about this cake. You’ll be the hit of the party!


Caramel Apples

Don’t get stuck with plain old caramel apples. Spice them up!

Short History of Caramel & Candy Apples

Who thought to put sweet stuff around apples? Well it’s said that in 1908 William Kolb created the first candied apple by combining red cinnamon candy and an apple to sell for Christmas.

In the 1950s, Kraft Foods invented the caramel apple. This was yet another holiday candy experiment where employee Dan Walker took excess caramel, melted them, and added it to apples.


Graveyard Chocolate Cheesecake Dip

Spooky, yet oh so delicious.


Be sure to check out our previous articles on Halloween.

DIY Halloween Party Decorations

Halloween Movies That Aren’t Too Scary

Fun Halloween Party Ideas

Halloween Costumes for Seniors

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Let’s talk about fire safety

October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week, a campaign from the National Fire Protection Association. This week is all about making people aware of the dangers of fire, and putting in place a plan and contigencies in case of an emergency.

This year, the Associations campaign is “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” This is the 3rd year in a row that they are promoting smoke alarm safety. That’s because it is such a large issue. The Association states that only a small percentage of people even know how old their alarms are or that they need to be replaced every 10 years.

Change your smoke alarm

If you’re not sure how old your smoke alarm is, take it off the ceiling and look at the date of manufacture on the back. If it’s over 10 years old or approaching that date, it’s time to replace it.

Smoke alarms are a great tool to have, but they should not be completely relied upon. If a fire starts in a room without an alarm, a closed door could prevent the alarm from sounding right away. Have an alarm in every room, as well as outside each room.

Here are some additional tips from the NFPA website.

Consider Fire Sprinklers

The NFPA also has an initiative to promote fire sprinklers in homes.


Take a look at the infographic above. There are two big numbers you should take notice of:

  • Sprinklers can reduce average property loss per home by about 70%
  • Sprinklers cut the risk of dying in a home fire by about 80%

Those are numbers to really think about when you’re considering home fire safety measures you’d like to take.

Make a fire escape plan

In school, we run through fire drills every year. But have you ever done one at your own home? It’s important to take an hour or two to plan ahead. If an emergency ever occurs, you won’t even need to think, you will know just what you have to do to get everyone out.

One of the first steps is to walk everyone though the house so all possible exits and escape plans are known. Don’t rely on just one exit, as it could become blocked off during a fire. Do another walk through and make sure each person can reiterate the escape routes.

Determine an outside meeting place, maybe it’s a stop sign nearby or your neighbor’s mailbox. Ensure that it is far enough away from the home so as to be out of danger.

The NFPA put together a fire escape plan guide and tip sheet that you can download here.

Fire Safety & Seniors

The NFPA has a special section just for assisting those ages 65 and older with fire prevention and planning.

It’s important that older residents try to avoid living in the highest part of the building or home. If you’re in an apartment, the best place for you in case of a fire is the lowest level making your escape route much easier. Also look out for apartments that have automatic sprinkler systems that can extinguish fires.

Know where you can and can’t exit. Some buildings and homes have locked doors that can’t be exited through. Know where you have to go in case of an emergency, and have a back up route if possible in case your first choice is blocked.


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Halloween Fun in Naples

Halloween is a fun time of year for those young and old. The costume shops start popping up, yards fill with graveyards and spooky witches and cobwebs, and you get to dress up however you want without feeling self conscious.

The Southwest Florida area always has a ton of events happening around Halloween from the Collier County Fairgrounds all the way to 5th Avenue.

Mark down your calendar and see which Halloween events you want to attend, if you’re lucky maybe you can hit them all!

Haunted “Gross” House
October 14 & 15, 21 & 22, 28 & 29 7-11pm
Collier County Fairgrounds

Haunted hay rides, pony rides, games, and food vendors. October 29 has a costume contest and trunk or treat. Tickets are $15 per person for 1 walk through the Haunted “Gross” House.


Boo at the Zoo
October 21-23 10am-4pm

Boo at the Zoo will be hosted for 3 days this year! Enjoy activities daily from 10am to 4 pm. Guests will enjoy a trick or treat trail, games and education activities, and watch our animals “carve” their pumpkins.
Children in costume will receive FREE admission.


HalloWine Walk at Mercato
October 27 6-9pm

Event will include:
–Commemorative wine glass
—A drink and a bite at at over 10 establishments
–Red Carpet photos at the registration tent
–Costume Contest, 9pm
–Raffle Drawings & Passport Grand Prize

 Monster Mash at Venetian Village
October 29 1-4pm

Join us at The Village this Halloween for a frightfully good time! Face painting, balloon art pumpkin decorating, complimentary photos, arts and crafts, and trick or treating.


6th Annual Halloween Spooktacular on 5th
October 31, 2016
4:30-9:30 PM

Join in the fun as 5th Avenue South goes all out for Halloween. This fabulous festival brings kids, teens and adults together for an afternoon and evening of fun, trick or treating, costume contests for all ages and dogs too, live music, a street dance, kids crafts, live animal exhibits, giant movie screen and fun spooky cartoons and movies, and so much more!

Mall-O-Ween at Miromar
October 31 6-8pm

MALL – O – WEEN Monday, October 31, 6 to 8 p.m. Music, karaoke, trick-or-treating and contests. TRUNK – OR – TREAT 6 to 8 p.m. Near the Restaurant Piazza, Lakeside Trick-or-treat from trunk to trunk of specialty cars. Presented by The Cool Cruisers of SWFL. TRICK-OR-TREATING 6 to 8 p.m. Children trick-or-treat at participating stores. While supplies last. CHILDREN’S COSTUME CONTEST (0-12 YEARS) 6:30 p.m. Near Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store PET COSTUME CONTEST 7:30 p.m. Between Neiman Marcus Last Call and Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store

Healthy Halloween Recipes

Looking for a way to celebrate Halloween without succumbing to a sugar coma? Here are a few sites that have tons of healthy Halloween-fun recipes.

15 Easy-To-Make Healthy Snacks To Try This Halloween

14 Healthy Halloween Recipes

64 Non-Candy Halloween Snack Ideas

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Do seniors need smartphones?


It seems that the older generation loves to reminisce on the times when we didn’t have screens to stare at constantly. Smartphones can cause car accidents, people walk into streets, and people are consumed in their own little bubbles.

But technology can also be seen as a way to connect. Pew Research states that 82% of smartphone-owning seniors describe their phone as freeing. Only 64% of those ages 18-29 have the same sentiment. Even fewer elderly smartphone owners (18%) describe their phone as “a leash” compared to double (36%) of those under age 30.

Why is it that the elderly and young people view this technology so differently? Is it important for seniors to start using and embracing this technology even if it may seem overwhelming or difficult to use?

How do we use our smartphones?

This isn’t about necessarily “how to use a smartphone”, we want to discuss the role smartphones play in our lives. Pew Research Center found that younger adults use their phones for a wide range of purposed such as to relieve boredom and to avoid those around them. Older Americans mainly use their phones for basic features like calls, email, and texting.

The reason is likely that older Americans are less likely to be online. Also, only 27% of those ages 65 and older have a smartphone compared to 85% of 18-19 year olds.

Another reason seniors tend to use just the basic functions of their phones is due to medical conditions like poor eyesight or hearing that make it difficult to use other features. Pew also stated that many older Americans are skeptical of the benefits of having a smartphone.

But that doesn’t mean all seniors are Luddites. Their study showed that in 2014, half of seniors using the internet were on Facebook.

Why use a smartphone?

Yes, the smartphone has been to blame for young people not connecting with those around them, but the smartphone has many beneficial features that are not as news-worthy as a teen walking into the street while playing on their phone.

These beneficial features include:

  • Video calls
  • Camera
  • Access to real-time news (Twitter, news apps)
  • Mobile banking and payments
  • Maps and navigation (Google Maps)


What will get more seniors to use smartphones?

One answer is education.

Smartphones don’t come with user manuals, and even if they did it would still be overwhelming and confusing to use the device especially if it’s your first time.

Getting educators into nursing homes or senior centers, hosting community smartphone sessions at the library are great ways to show seniors the benefits of learning to use one.

Once they’re able to see that they can Skype their kids and relatives, and are able to figure out how to use it, they may want to jump on board.

But don’t pressure them. They’ve lived nearly their entire lives without one, and many will put their foot down about getting one. The next best solution is to get them a senior-friendly phone. There are some available with large buttons and screens that display big numbers for easier visibility.

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Top apps for seniors


If you’re a tech-savvy senior, or maybe you want to get your loved one an iPad or smartphone to start using, you’ll want to download some of these helpful apps for seniors.

It really is true that there’s an app for everything. Upon beginning our search into iTunes and the Google Play Store (the main app centers for Apple and Android phones) we noticed apps for detecting falls, medicine, games, health, food, and more.

It’s not surprising that some enterprising app developers decided to hit upon the senior market.

Here are some of the best apps out there for seniors.

Pillboxie (iPad and iPhone)
This app will help you remember which medicine to take and when. It seems simple enough to use, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you took something any longer. $1.99

EyeReader (iPhone)
This app turns your phone’s camera into a magnifying glass. Useful for when you’re at a restaurant our need to read some fine print. $1.99

Lumosity offers games to help enhance your memory and attention. Play some games and feel good doing it! Free

If you love reading and discovering new articles, you’ll get addicted to Flipboard. You can create different topics or follow certain publications so you’re always on top of the latest news. Free

Stay in touch with friends and family through video! You may need to make an account, but after that the app is simple enough to use. Free

Word with Friends
This is a fun game based on Scrabble that allows you to play against friends in real time. Free

Keep up with your family and friends with the Facebook app. You will need to set up a profile if you don’t already have one. A family member will be able to help you.

Weather Channel App
Check the weather for the day and the week ahead so you always know what to wear before you head outside. It’s especially useful here in Florida so you know the likelihood it will rain, since it can rain at any moment. Free

This personal finance app helps you see all of your financial information at a glance. Keep track of where you’re spending the most money and how well your accounts are doing. Free

The NPR One app lets you stream and listen to all your favorite NPR shows. Free

Voice Reading
This Android app will read text to you from the internet, messages, and emails. Very helpful for when you can’t read the small font on the screen. Free

Looking to learn how to use an Android phone? Here is a video on the Samsung Galaxy series of phones to help beginners get familiar with certain features.

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Keeping an eye on elderly family members during hurricane season


The Atlantic hurricane season started on June 1st and won’t finish until November 30. Already we’ve seen multiple hurricanes and tropical storms hit the eastern cost of the United States including Hurricane Alex (category 1), Tropical Storm Bonnie, Topical Storm Colin, and Hurricane Hermine (category 1).

As residents of Florida whether it’s all year or just part-time, we understand the risks of living here. Florida is one of the lowest-lying states! Just Like Family and many of our nurses and patients are located in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties, with many people located just minutes from the Gulf of Mexico.

We see many retirees living here that don’t have a well-planned out strategy for what to do when the next storm hits. If you have a loved one in “Hurricane Alley” as many like to call this southeastern part of the US, be sure to write down some of these tips in order to help prepare them for any upcoming storms.

Supplies you need

The last thing you want to have to do is run out to Publix or Home Depot to pick up supplies right when a storm is announced. Everyone else in the town is doing the same and it is likely that popular items like bottled water, batteries, and ply wood could get sold out.

Stock up on these non-perishable items and have them on hand for emergencies.

These include items like:

  • Batteries
  • Radio
  • Flashlight
  • Bottled water (1 gallon per person per day)
  • First aid kit
  • Peanut butter & jelly
  • Canned food (ready to eat)
  • Energy bars, trail mix
  • Vitamins
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rain gear

The US Coast Guard has an in-depth list of items you can have on-hand in case of a storm.

Other ways to Prepare

Rather than worry about having to buy plywood and drill it onto the outside of your windows, invest in some storm shutters. These are especially helpful for the elderly as they are much easier to deploy when needed.

Have an emergency contact that lives nearby. If your loved one lives in Florida and you live in another state, you’ll want to have a contact you can trust that is willing to help your loved one during a storm. You’ll want to make sure that they have your phone number and all other contact information, and vice versa.

Create a plan in the case of a true emergency. If the time comes to evacuate, you will want to know exactly where they should be going. Do they need to go to a nearby shelter? Can someone pick them up and drive with them to a safe city outside of the path of the storm? These are all things you should discuss before the time comes. The last thing you need is to have to make last-minute decisions during an emergency.

Get your loved one a cell phone. If they don’t have one already, and prefer to use a landline, you should purchase a cheap elderly-friendly phone like the Jitterbug. They should have one just in case of anything.

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In-Home Care vs. Nursing Home: When do you need these services?


The elder care industry is growing rapidly, especially as the Baby Boomer generation starts to get into their older years. With the care of older parents and relatives falling to young people and those in their middle ages, it can be tough to decide how best to care for them.

Some parents have been able to stock away money to provide for their own care. Others have beneficial care policies which may cover their elderly care needs. But it seems that the majority are relying on their relatives and children to provide care as they age.

The US has seen a surge in elderly care and memory care facilities. Memory care refers to helping those with dementia or Alzheimers who live within the facility.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2012, there were 1.4 million people in nursing homes nationally.

If you’re considering all of your options in terms of the care of your aging relative or parent, you’re likely thinking about the pros and cons of nursing homes. We’re going to go over some of the benefits and disadvantages of utilizing one of these services.

When You Need A Nursing Home

Round the Clock Assistance
If your loved one is finding it hard to do basic tasks, and seems to constantly need some assistance, 24 hour help may be necessary. Nursing homes can aid with bathing, eating, dressing, administering medicine, and more.

Specialized Care
If your loved one suffers from a specialized disease such as dementia, Alzheimers or something else that needs extra care, then a nursing home may help in this case. Your loved on may need additional care to help with the symptoms and issues that occur with these diseases.

Nursing homes involve your loved one living among those their age. A nursing home can allow for socialization, outings, and other events to keep them involved in their community.

When You Can Utilize Home Care

Round the Clock Assistance
That’s right! Many home care agencies (including Just Like Family) provide round the clock assistance to your loved one. Care provided by an agency is more specialized and tailored, and the nurse or caregiver will be focusing only on your loved one.

Relieving your Family
If you plan to take over the care for your loved one, you may need some assistance from time to time. Let’s say you plan a vacation or need to take a business trip. A home care agency can provide a caregiver to visit your loved one each day or stay with them 24/7. This allows you to continue with your life and know that your loved one is well taken care for.

House Keeping, Food Prep, Errands
If your loved one is under your care, but lives on their own, they may need some assistance with daily chores. Caregivers from home care agencies can help with housekeeping, food preparation, running errands, or taking your loved one to appointments.

If you’d like to hear about the benefits of in-home care for your loved one, give Just Like Family Home Care a call at 239.431.6661,