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Southwest Florida Origins

We recently told everyone about our expanded service area…

coverageIn case you missed it, we cover seven counties in Southwest Florida now, Sarasota, DeSoto, Charlotte, Glades, Lee, Hendry, and Collier Counties.  We’re fans of history around here (that massive gallery of old American flags on Independence Day might have given that away…), but in Florida, history usually means Tampa and Miami.  What about Southwest Florida?  Well, we’ve got you covered.  We’re going to go over some of the more interesting history in our coverage area over several blogs, coming back to the subject every now and then.  To kick things off, lets take a quick look at those seven counties.  Specifically, why are they called what they’re called, and where did they come from?  Those county names reflect a lot of the history around here, so let’s get going!

Charlotte County

Seal_of_Charlotte_County,_FloridaFormed out of part of DeSoto county in 1921, the county was named for the Bay of Charlotte Harbor, which was in turn named for Queen Charlotte Sophia, wife of King George III, in 1775.  The Spanish originally called it “Carlos Bay,” so we almost had a “Carlos County”!

Collier County

Seal_of_Collier_County,_Florida

Carved out of Lee County in 1923, Collier County was named for Baron Collier, a New York real estate developer and businessman who moved to SWFL and built the Tamiami Trail for the state in exchange for having a county named after him!

DeSoto County

DeSoto_County_Fl_SealThis one is fairly self-explanatory.  Created in 1887 out of what was then Manatee County, it was named for Hernando de Soto (1496/1497–1542), Spanish explorer and conquistador.  He famously was the first European to cross the Mississippi River, and likely first landed in Florida on that voyage very near modern day DeSoto County.

Glades County

glades

Formed in 1921 from DeSoto County, the county was named after the nearby Everglades, which were, in turn, were named partly by British surveyor John Gerard de Brahm in 1773, who called the area “River Glades.”

Hendry County

county_logo_

Formed out of Lee County in 1923, it was named for Francis A. Hendry (1833–1917), a Florida cattle rancher and politician who was an early settler of the area, and an officer in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Lee County

Lee_County_Fl_Seal

Carved out of the original, massive Monroe County in 1887, Lee was named for famed Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), and has grown to become, by far, the largest county in Southwest Florida.

Sarasota County

393px-Logo_of_Sarasota_County_FL.svg

Founded in 1921 out of Manatee County.  Believe it or not, the word “Sarasota” is of unknown, probably Native American, origin.  The word has been used in the area since nearly the very beginning of European colonization, but there’s no record of where it came from.  A possibility is that it’s a Calusa (the original Native language in the area) word meaning “point of rocks” or “place of the dance.”  Again, there’s no way to know for sure!


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Quick and Easy Breakfast Recipes

Sometimes it’s not so easy to get out of bed and go make a large, healthy breakfast. Who wants to make all that food, then clean all those dishes!? It’s just too much work. There are easy breakfast recipes out there that can get you the nutrients you need. Your body requires protein, fiber, vitamins, calcium, and more. Here are a few of our favorite breakfast recipes which are made special for seniors.

Oatmeal with Blueberries

Banana Split Oatmeal

1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄3 cup oatmeal, quick-cooking (dry)
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 3⁄4 cups water (very hot)
  • 1⁄2 banana (sliced)
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen yogurt, non-fat

Preparation:

  1. In a microwave safe cereal bowl, mix together the oatmeal and salt. Stir in water.
  2. Microwave on high power for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave on high power for another minute. Stir again.
  3. Microwave an additional 30-60 seconds on high power until the cereal reaches the desired thickness. Stir again.
  4. Top with banana slices and frozen yogurt.

sunflower

Breakfast Barley with Banana & Sunflower Seeds

1 serving

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking pearl barley
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted salted sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Preparation:

  1. Combine 2/3 cup water and barley in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH 6 minutes.
  2. Stir and let stand 2 minutes.
  3. Top with banana slices, sunflower seeds, and honey.

Poppy Seed Fruit Salad

6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons orange-mango fat-free yogurt (such as Dannon)
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seed salad dressing
  • 2 cups halved strawberries
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple
  • 1 cup honeydew melon balls
  • 1 cup cantaloupe balls
  • 12 Boston lettuce leaves

Preparation:

  1. Combine yogurt and salad dressing in a small bowl; stir well with a whisk.
  2. Combine strawberries, pineapple, and melon balls in a large bowl, tossing gently.
  3. Line each of 6 plates with 2 lettuce leaves; spoon 1 cup fruit mixture onto each plate.
  4. Drizzle each salad with 1 tablespoon dressing. Serve immediately.

Healthy Breakfast Frittata

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 lb ground lamb or turkey
  • 1 + 2 TBS chicken broth
  • 3 cups rinsed and finely chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 5 omega-3 enriched eggs
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Mince onion and chop garlic; let them sit for 5 minutes to enhance their health-promoting benefits.
  2. Preheat broiler on low.
  3. Heat 1 TBS broth in a 9-10 inch stainless steel skillet. Sauté onion over medium heat, for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Add garlic, ground lamb or turkey, and cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat, breaking up clumps.
  5. Add kale and 2 TBS broth. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook covered for about 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and mix.
  6. Beat eggs, season with a pinch of salt and pepper, and pour on top of mixture evenly. Cook on low for another 2 minutes without stirring.
  7. Place skillet under broiler in middle of oven, about 7 inches from the heat source so it has time to cook without the top burning. As soon as the eggs are firm, it is done, about 2-3 minutes.


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Healthy Snacks for Seniors

nuts

If you are a senior on the go, you know hunger can strike at any minute. If you happen to be walking through the grocery store, your hunger will cause you to go food crazy. You may start grabbing any food that catches your eye, then end up back home with food you didn’t really need! It’s important to plan ahead when you’re heading out for the day or doing errands. You will want to have some healthy, convenient snacks that you can carry and eat while you are out. This can be a granola bar, fruit, sunflower seeds, and so much more. Get creative with your snacks!

New and Creative

Beet Chips with Curried Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp plain, low-fat greek yogurt
  • ⅛-¼ tsp curry powder
  • 1 cup beet chips

Mix the curry powder with the Greek yogurt. Dip the chips and enjoy!

Hazelnut-Chocolate Spread and Banana Crackers

Ingredients

  • Your favorite crisp crackers
  • 1 tsp chocolate-hazelnut spread
  • Sliced banana

Spread the chocolate-hazelnut on the crackers and top with sliced bananas.

Banana, Kale, and Almond Milk Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 pureed banana
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1 cup almond milk

Mix together the ingredients in a blender, pour into a cup and enjoy.

Healthy Snacks

Fresh Fruit

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Orange
  • Strawberries
  • Berries

Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Celery

Nuts

  • Walnuts (great for your heart)
  • Peanuts (great for the brain)
  • Almonds (helps disease prevention)

Cheese

  • Swiss (great for calcium, protein, and B12)
  • Cheddar (calcium and protein)
  • Mozzarella
  • Colby
  • Monterey Jack
  • Ricotta (great to mix in a smoothie)

Convenient Snacks

Rice Cakes

Pretzels

Dried Fruit

Granola

Granola Bars

Popcorn


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Easy Ways to Prevent Common Injuries

As we age, our physical health may begin to decline. It may be harder to stand up quickly or walk for long distances. If you or a loved one live on their own, it is a good idea to install some safety measures throughout the house. They may not seem necessary, but if they can prevent a fall, then it is very worthwhile. Falls are the most common injury seen in older Americans visiting the emergency room. These falls can do real damage as the body ages. There can be bruises or bleeding, but also broken bones, hips, or concussions. Take a look at some of these injury prevention ideas that you can implement in the house.

Prevent common injuries

Wear Non-Slip Shoes

This is a very cheap, simple way to try and prevent falls. Shoes with a lack of traction can easily cause you to tumble. Invest in a comfortable, easy to put on pair of shoes with a non-slip sole. Velcro is recommended as laces can become untied and tripped on.

Replace Carpeting & Remove Rugs

If your home has areas where the carpeting is coming up, you should replace it. It is easy for someone to get a foot caught. It is a good idea to get rid of rugs. These can move when stepped upon and cause a fall.

Double Railing for Stairs

One railing may seem like enough, but having railings on both sides helps a lot. It will allow you to put your body weight on the railings, making it easier to climb the stairs. You can then focus on making each step, rather than worrying about balance.

Motion-sensor Lights

These lights can be switched on once someone walks into the room. They are great for the night, if you need to get up and do something. The motion sensor will sense your movement and turn on the light. This allows you to better see where you are walking.

Grab Bars & Shower Seats

These should be placed in areas like the shower or tub. Inside the bathing area it is also useful to have a steady shower seat, so you don’t need to stand for a long time. Placing non-slip mats inside the shower and outside will ensure you don’t slip easily on the wet surface.


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How to Maintain Independence as You Age

Here at Just Like Family Homecare, we want to help you or your loved one maintain independence for as long as possible. Sometimes you need a little help getting to the grocery store, doing household chores, or walking the dog. Our caregivers are always here to assist in any help you may need. Our transportation business, Concierge Transport Services, also caters to those wanting to maintain an independent life. We provide helpful drivers and comfortable vehicles to get you to doctor’s appointments, the airport, or just to the supermarket.

Maintain independence

Many of us out there balk at the idea of receiving help from others. We are independent and enjoy doing things on our own, even if it may take a little longer. As we age, it gets a little more difficult to maintain a fully independent life. Some of us are lucky and have great health til a very old age. Others may need some assistance every now and then. It is a good idea to stay physical for as long as possible. Walking daily is a great, low impact exercise that keeps your muscles moving and active.

It may be tough to admit, but our eyesight tends to decline as we age. We may need glasses or bifocals to see properly when before we had 20/20 vision. It is important to update your prescription as soon as you notice a decline. Poor eyesight can lead to accidents like slips, or, if you are still driving, fender benders. To ensure the safety of yourself and other drivers, you should be testing your eyesight regularly. If you notice a marked decline, it may be a good idea to forgo driving. Driving is a key part to our independence, but there are many safe alternatives out there for getting you from point A to point B. Even asking a friend or family member in advance is worthwhile. Don’t feel like a burden, your friends and family will be happy to help you out! There may even be a bus or driving service in your area that caters to the elderly.

There are some small fixes you can have done to your living space that can help you maintain independence. Items like shower seats or handrails will allow you to safely bathe yourself. Place non-slip mats inside the shower/tub and just outside. Making sure your floor is level, is also important, as this will help prevent slips and falls. Adding a grab bar near the toilet is also useful. As is raising the toilet, so sitting and standing is easier.

If you or a loved one needs some extra assistance to help maintain independence, or just wants a little extra help, Just Like Family Homecare has you covered.


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The Best Cell Phones for Seniors

Best Cell Phones for Seniors

It is hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have constant access to our phones. When was the last time you had to use a payphone? Most of them are gone now, because cell phones have become so ubiquitous. For many senior citizens though, cell phones are difficult to get used to. The buttons on many are small, the screen text is hard to read, and there are many complicated menu settings. It is a great idea to get for family member a cell phone, as it will ensure you have constant contact with them. If they are required to stay in bed, it may be difficult for them to get up and reach their home phone. Below we will go over two of the best cell phones for seniors.

Snapfon ezTWO3G

Snapfon styles itself best cellphones for seniorsas “the cellphone for seniors”. The phone was designed with large buttons and numbers for those with less than optimal sight. There are simple menus, an LED flashlight, enhanced volume and speaker capabilities, and a speaking keypad. The phone is also hearing aid compatible. A large SOS emergency button on the back of the phone, if help for 3-5 seconds will alert up to five responders by voice and text. A loud siren also goes off, so anyone nearby can hear that the user is in need of help. The phone can be used on Snapfon’s plan or, for an extra charge, unlocked to be used on a GSM cell provider (not Verizon or Sprint).

Jitterbug 5best cellphones for seniors

This is a simple, affordable device is one of the best cell phones for seniors. The keypad features large numbers and buttons that are easy to see. They are even backlit so you can see them in the dark. You can use the Jitterbug with hearing aids (M4/T4). A great feature about this phone is that it can hold its charge in stand-by mode for up to 25 days. The screen features large text and the menu has Yes/No questions rather than a confusing menu. The phone also has a camera. The most basic plan starts at $14.99 a month.


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Top Exercises for Seniors

Top Exercises for Seniors

top exercises for seniorsHave you been looking for ways to get in shape? Get inspired with this list of the top exercises for seniors. These exercises are generally low impact and can be done without specialize equipment or the gym. The National Institutes of Health recommends focusing on four types of exercises:

Stretching: These exercises will help increase your range of motion, allowing you to do more.

Strength: Help build muscle and increase metabolism.

Endurance: These activities will increase your heart rate and breathing. They include walking, jogging, swimming, and more.

Balance: These exercises are important to prevent slips and falls. Almost 300,000 people are admitted for broken hips each year, most of them being seniors.

Strength Exercises

  • Arm Raises

These can be done with or without weights. It involves sitting in a chair with your back straight. Hold  your hands straight down with your palms facing inward. Raise your arms from your side to shoulder height. Repeat this 8-15 times, whichever is most comfortable.

  • Knee flexion

Stand with your back straight, holding something stable for balance. Bend one knee slowly so your foot lifts behind you. Hold this position then lower your foot. Repeat this on each leg about 8-15 times.

Balance Exercises

  • Side Leg Raises

Stand with your back straight behind a table or chair. Hold the chair or table for balance and slowly lift one leg about 6-12 inches off the ground. Keep your feet facing forward, don’t point your toe down. Lower your leg and then repeat with the other leg. Do this about 8-15 times on each leg.

  • Heel-to-Toe

Find an area to walk in a straight line. Put your heel just in front of the toes on your other foot. Each time you step they should be touching. This will help improve balance tremendously.

Endurance Exercises

  • Walking briskly on a level surface

Be sure you are dressed appropriately. If the weather is hot, wear light color clothing. If it is warm, bring a coat or jacket, hat, gloves, or scarf if necessary. Make sure your shoes fit properly and are comfortable.

  • Swimming

If you have a pool or live near one, then you should be swimming a few times a week. This is a great, low impact exercise that works out your whole body. Be sure to buy goggles so you don’t irritate your eyes underwater.

Stretching Exercises

  • Tricep Stretch

Grab a towel and hold one end in your right hand. Raise and bend your right arm to allow the towel to drape down, hold this position. Reach behind your lower back and grab the bottom of the towel with your left hand. Move your left hand higher up the towel, pulling your right arm down. Go up only as far as is comfortable. Reverse the position and repeat, holding the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

Let us know if you have any more top exercises for seniors! We’d love to hear from you.


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Mall Walking: Frequently Asked Questions

Mall Walking Guide

Mall walkingSurely you love to walk on those dry, cool evenings, but how often do we get such perfect weather? Sometimes it’s rainy, sunny, or blisteringly cold weather, especially this time of year, that can prevent you from enjoying the outdoors. Luckily, some creative person came up with the idea of mall walking. Mall walking is beneficial because of the air-conditioned, enclosed space, level surface, and availability of drinks and snacks. The mall also offers many places to sit comfortably and use the restroom. Check out these frequently asked questions about mall walking.

Do all malls have mall walking programs?

Not necessarily. You may want to call your local mall to see if they do. If not, there may be some local groups that participate in mall walking.

How long should I be mall walking?

It is recommended to walk at least 30 minutes, if not more. If you can, you should be walking every day. As you continue your walking routine you will notice that your breathing should be getting better. You will also be able to walk longer distances the more you walk.

When is the best time to walk?

This largely depends on your mall. Some malls get very crowded during certain points in the day, and it is best to avoid walking during these times. Early morning is usually a good time to beat the crowds, especially on weekends.

Are there rules for mall walking?

Generally no, but you may want to ask management at your local mall. Otherwise it is best to be courteous to other shoppers and avoid running into anyone.

Do I need to warm up?

Before doing any exercise it is recommended that you warm up and stretch. This helps loosen your muscles and prepare your body for walking. Warm up for about 5 minutes before you begin.

If my mall doesn’t have a mall walking program, can I start one?

Be sure to ask management at your mall, but it is most likely that you can. You should ask to post fliers in the mall about your walking group, or even see if the mall can open a little early for your group to begin before shoppers arrive.


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Travel Tips for Seniors

Travel Tips for Seniors

travel tips for seniorsThe Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ­destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year. And although heavy media attention focuses on crowded airports and bus and train stations on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving, when personal vehicle trips are added to the mix the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) reveals that Thanksgiving Day is actually a heavier long-distance travel day than Wednesday.

But, getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop traveling. Now is probably the best time for you to get out there and see the world. There are many discounts you can take advantage of at museums and other attractions. Traveling through the airport is now easier than ever, especially with the added convenience of wheelchair assistance. You can book your whole trip online or contact a travel agent to assist you. Here are some travel tips for seniors on how to maximize your experience other cities, states, and countries.

  • Check out elderhostel.com. This is a budget friendly site offering affordable rooms during your travels.
  • Utilize sites like Kayak and Hipmunk. These sites allow you to compare different airline costs, getting you the best deal for your flight.
  • Medication. Be sure you are well-stocked for your medication.
  • Rolling luggage. If you are worried about lugging bags through the airport, make sure you get one on wheels.
  • Request a wheelchair. If you have a hard time walking long distances, it is a good idea to request a wheelchair at the airport. Wheelchairs also have the added benefit of allowing you to skip security lines.
  • Ground-Floor room. If you have difficulty walking up and down stairs, request that your hotel put you on the ground floor when you make your initial reservation.
  • Take advantage of discounts. Many activities like museums, plays, and tours offer discounts for seniors. See if you can snag some for your trip.
  • Don’t overexert yourself. You just got to a new country and already want to see and do everything. Pick your top three or four activities and focus on them first. This way you won’t tire yourself or your companion(s) out just on the first day. If you feel weak, be sure to sit and rest for a while
  • Drink water. It is important to stay hydrated while you travel. In other countries, the water may not be as safe as you’d like. In these instances you should purchase only bottled water.
  • Travel Insurance. If you want to be extra cautious, you may want to invest in travel insurance. This can be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency. Some of these plans will pay for emergency evacuation by air back to your home country. Without insurance this evacuation can put you in debt.

If you have some travel tips for seniors feel free to share!


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Workin’ It: Jobs and Volunteer Opportunities for Seniors

eld_2134154bMany people look forward to the point in their career when they can retire. Others enjoy retirement, but become restless at the lack of a daily routine. AARP found that 80 percent of baby boomers will work beyond the age of 65 (the typical age of retirement). Seniors have valuable work experience and skills that businesses can utilize. There are likely opportunities for work or volunteering in your area, it’s just a matter of finding them. Below is a list of resources where seniors can search for jobs and volunteering.

Senior Job Bank

This site’s motto is “Helping employers connect with the over-50 talent pool.” Their focus is to provide jobs to seniors and help employers wanting to hire qualified ones. The site allows you to search, post a job and learn about employers. You can also find career and education information by state.

Career One Stop

This is a site offered by the U.S. Department of Labor. It offers a wealth of information about salary, education, resumes, interviews,  training, and benefits. The site is designed to help those who are unemployed, career professionals, students, businesses, and more.

The Senior Environmental Employee Program

This program is offered to retired, unemployed Americans over the age of 55. This program offers jobs to assist the Environmental Protection Agency. Jobs in this department include clerical work, professional (accounting, engineering), or technical (writer, researcher). Although this job is through the EPA, those in the program are not considered federal employees.

Local Library

Your local library is a great place to volunteer or work. They always need a helping hand shelving books or organizing. Contact your local library and see if there are any opportunities available.

Senior Corps

Senior Corps is a program for those age 55 and over. It allows them to volunteer as mentors, companions, coaches, or utilize their job skills in their community. Some roles include becoming a foster grandparent or senior companion to someone in your community.