BY:Carol Ruth Weber 
Interior Decorating Examiner

Whether of a golden age yourself or have a loved one of a respectable age looking to add some new décor or redecorate their existing abode it is important to consider comfort and ease as well as beauty when embarking on decorating a home for a person of senior age.

The décor should allow for a senior to feel safe and secure as well as be able to reside in beautiful surroundings.

Avoid tripping

Do not use polished slippery tiles on the floor. Area rugs should be avoided; they have edges that can easily be tripped on.

  • Decorate the flooring with a quality low pile carpet that is tightly installed will provide a cushion if one does fall and prevents corners that can be tripped over. This is also to clean with a light weight vacuum.
Think safety first when choosing furnishings.

Pointy edges on table and countertops can cause pain and bruising when not navigated properly.

  • Avoid purchasing furniture with any sharp edges. Round edges will work best and provide a Feng Shui comfort. Countertop corners can be rounded as well.
Light a safe path.

As they say “eyes are the first to go”. So it is imperative to have plenty of good lighting in which to maneuver the rooms as well as perform tasks.

  • Add under cabinet lights in the kitchen.
  • Provide table lamps and bedside lamps with bright bulbs to read by.
  • Add switches for ease such as a 3-way switch by a bed to turn off or on the room light.
  • Provide emergency battery lighting that will turn on in case of power outage.
  • Make sure there are night lights in the bathroom and kitchen areas for safety.
Decorate for ultimate comfort and maneuverability.

A comfortable abode is a must for most seeking refuge from the outside world. The elderly need added options to provide comfort in their furnishings. Height is an important factor in choosing décor for a senior citizen.

  • Beds should be easy to get into and not too high or overly soft.
  • Chairs should have arms and not be too low in order for someone to easily rise out of their sitting position.
  • Higher toilets in the water closet present added safety and comfort.
Bathrooms can be dangerous if not properly adorned.

Towels look beautiful folded and hung neatly on a pretty towel bar but the towel bar can become a danger if someone uses it to grab onto to prevent a fall.

  • Grab bars are essential to place in the shower and toilet area.
  • Purchase decorative grab bars to use to hang towels on giving extra support when someone needs to hold on to something.
  • Use a honed tile on the floor to provide traction to keep from slipping.
  • Use taps in the bath and sink that are temperature controlled in order to avoid scolding. .
Accessibility is important.

Climbing on top of chairs and ladders can be dangerous.

  • Keep essentials in the kitchen in the lower cabinets.
Window coverings should be easy to use as well as add beauty.

Drapery and shades are a necessity for privacy and a peaceful sleep but they also need to be easy to maneuver.

  • Place heavy drapery on a corded track for easy opening and closing.
  • Blinds and shades should have cords that will not tangle.
  • Consider remote systems that will open and close window treatments with a push of a button.
Seniors should have fun with the décor making it your own statement of pleasing memories and furnishings.

When choosing paint color, think happy but not too bright.

  • Neutral colors work well in warm and creamy tones.
  • Old paneled walls can be renewed and brightened up with a coat of paint.
Add fun accessories.

Show off your many years of fun in the accessories. Pick pillows and throws in favorite colors that will add cheer to the décor.

  • Pick out some bright colored pillows to add to the sofa.
  • Add a textured tapestry, perhaps one found on an excursion, to the wall’s décor.
Make a space to call your own.

Perhaps a corner or cozy sunroom can be a favorite spot to read or do a favorite hobby.

  • Place a comfortable chair with an ottoman or a chaise to relax upon with a table to sit a lamp and snack on.
Mementos are precious and should be showed off and admired.

Place your memories on the walls to enjoy and look at as you sit in your favorite spot. They will also provide hours of conversation when visitors come calling.

  • Arrange groupings of favorite paintings on the wall.
  • Have a gallery wall of photos of friends and family.
  • Place vacation finds on wall hung shelves or in a pretty display case.
  • Show off the years of books that you have collected and enjoyed in a bookcase.
  • Have fun making a collage of family photos to frame and hang on the wall.
Becoming forgetful is a way of life.

Memory boards help keep the mind alive.

  • Place attractive fabric covered bulletin boards in the kitchen and bedroom to make sure important dates are not forgotten.
Add a bit of extra safety precautions for peace of mind.

A beautiful abode is essential but in order to enjoy the pleasures of home it is important to stay safe and secure.

  • Add an emergency alert system in the bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen for added peace of mind.
Share the beautiful memories adorning the well appointed home with loved ones as you tell stories of where you picked up the souvenirs or who the people are in the photos. This is the perfect chance to share the best of times with family and friends as well as show off the beautifully decorated abode.

Keep the mind moving with every new moment and never be afraid to dance!


As they get older, they often need to get some long-held things off their chest

By Linda Bernstein

“I felt guilty every day of my life that I was able to have children and Lilly wasn’t,” my 80-year-old mother confided, quietly, more than a little choked up.

Lilly was Mom’s older, much beloved cousin whose lack of offspring had always been a matter of whispered speculation among the relatives of my generation. There was talk of a botched abortion, something that would have been positively scandalous in 1940. Even when “the kids” grew up, it would not have been divulged.

(MORE: Family Secrets: Is There a Skeleton in Your Closet?)

My mother wasn’t revealing a family secret. It wasn't the reason for Lilly’s childless state that was troubling her. She was sharing with me a feeling that had haunted her for decades. What could I say that would be helpful? I pondered that a moment before I opened my mouth.

I said what I knew to be true: “You adored Lilly. All of us kids loved her, too. I’m sure she knew how much you cared about her.”

For our elderly parents, “getting their house in order” often involves more than consulting with a tax attorney or an estate planner, says Ken Druck, author of The Real Rules of Life. As people age, many reach a stage where they are no longer concerned that we will judge them, so they confide feelings that remained unvoiced for years. “There comes a point where they feel intimate enough with us as adults that they can share unknown truths about their emotional lives,” Druck says.

Seeing Parents in a New Light

These conversations have the potential to help us see our parents in a new light and forge a deeper connection with them. The trick, of course, is knowing how to respond to door-opening revelations that may shake us a bit.

“In almost all cases, no matter what you really feel, it’s best to lead off with a response that enables your parent to unburden him or herself even further,” Druck advises. Lend a good ear. Ask open-ended questions. Avoid sarcasm. There really are some monumental things our aging mothers and fathers want us to know. These disclosures may improve our relationships with them -- and their lives.

(MORE: 8 Things Not to Say to Your Aging Parents)

8 Ways Our Parents Might Spill the Beans

Sometimes they’re aware they’re dropping little bombs; other times their motivation could be unconscious. Either way, our job is to be non-reactive and supportive and remember that their confession is more about them than us.

Confession 1: “When you were little, I loved your brother more than I loved you.” Even though parents say things like “I love all of you the same,” it’s common for parents to feel differently toward each of their children. As long as they don’t overtly show favoritism, the family dynamic isn’t necessarily unhealthy. 

Don’t say: “Really? Well, I love Dad more than you!”
Say instead: “Why are you telling me this now? Is there something else you want me to know?” Druck says elderly parents frequently bring up emotionally charged issues for reasons that may not be immediately evident, so give them an opportunity to get to the heart of the matter. If their admission unleashes emotions that are too painful for you to process in the moment, tell them this hurts you or makes you uncomfortable. Don’t get into recriminations that will throw grease on the flames of a potential conflict -- but if you're open to it, initiate a conversation about how your parent feels about you and your siblings' different personalities and ask if there's anything deeper they'd like to discuss.

Confession 2: “I really miss sex.” These four words actually convey two messages. First of all, touch is a basic human need -- sex is often as much about the cuddling as it is about intercourse. Perhaps your parent is revealing a deep loneliness. Second, seniors are often a lot friskier than we may imagine.

Don’t say: “TMI!!!”
Say instead: “I can understand that.” Druck thinks parents divulge information like this when they feel close to their adult children -- in other words, when we become trusted companions. If you haven’t discussed sex with your parents since “the talk” 40 or so years ago, this may be the time. You don’t have to share your own sex stories; just listen. And if you learn that the underlying emotion is loneliness, suggest things he or she might do to deal with that.

Confession 3: “It makes me angry that I’m ‘invisible’ to so many people.” It is shocking the kinds of things people say about the elderly right in front of them, as if they can’t hear and feel. This disrespectful behavior infantilizes our aging parents.

Don’t say: “Just ignore it.”
Say instead: “You are extremely visible to me, and I will do my best to make sure others treat you appropriately.” If your parent is in an assisted-living or nursing home, Druck says, it’s perfectly appropriate to take this up with the management. Workers there have to recognize that even if someone needs help getting from one end of the room to the other, her brain might still be sharp and her feelings may be hurt if attendants and visitors make derogatory comments. If your aging parents are still living on their own, help them feel more included. Our parents have a lifetime of experience and knowledge. At gatherings, encourage them to tell stories or give their opinions.

Confession 4: “I had an abortion when I was 19, and I still feel guilty.”

Don’t say: “What’s the big deal?” Attitudes toward abortion -- though still a highly contentious issue -- have altered significantly since the 1940s and 1950s. Back then, historian Ricki Sollinger says, people accepted the conventional “wisdom” that held that “women must passively receive and submit to the ‘gifts’ of marriage, especially pregnancy.”
Say instead: “Mom, that was a long time ago, and you were still a child. How can I help you forgive yourself?” Even if you privately believe abortion is wrong, you need to be empathetic. Let her know that you understand she probably felt unimaginable societal pressure. If she is afraid of consequences of her “sin” after she dies, guide her toward pastoral counseling. Or, if the subsequent conversation indicates she still thinks a lot about the child she might have had, suggest a different kind of therapy.

Confession 5: “No one knows I’m taking tango lessons.”

Don’t say: “Aren’t you a little old to be doing that?”
Say instead: “Wow. I’m impressed. But why aren’t you telling anyone?” We all have passions -- for music, movies, books and even the tango. When people are shy or inhibited about discussing the thing they love to do, sometimes they’ll keep it secret to avoid negative reactions. But when your parent opens a door to his or her “inner” life, walk right through. It's wonderful that your parent has found fun way to be active -- and wants to share it with you. (By the way, dance is a terrific form of therapy for seniors.)

(MORE: Are You Bullying Your Aging Parents?)

Confession 6: “I used to think I needed to see a psychiatrist because I had lots of anxiety attacks, but I was too ashamed to go.” Even today, stigma surrounds psychotherapy and people are afraid of being labeled “mentally ill.”

Don’t say: “Sure. Then everyone would've known how nutty this family was!”
Say instead: “Do you still feel anxious or troubled? If you do, you may want to tell your doctor -- or let me help you find a good psychotherapist.” Anxiety can be crippling and there is no need for an elderly person to be debilitated by this disorder. Sometimes, however, anxiety attacks dissipate when the triggers no longer exist. Your parent may be asking you for help or confiding something simply to let you know more about her inner life.

Confession 7: “I still worry about you -- a lot.” While we might prefer our parents not expend energy uselessly, worrying is what mothers and fathers do. It may feel bothersome, but it is probably an expression of love.

Don’t say: “Well, you can stop.”
Say instead: “I know how much you care about me.” Druck recommends not “jumping into the worry pond.” Instead, before assuring parents there’s no reason to fret (as long as that’s true), let them know how much you appreciate their love -- even if all their worrying can get exasperating because you are, you know, a grownup.

Confession 8: “Your mom and I would have gotten divorced, but we stayed together because of you and your siblings.” You probably realized on some level that your parents’ marriage isn't or wasn’t happy, so a revelation like this usually doesn’t come as a total surprise. Before “no-fault” divorce laws, couples were more likely to stay in miserable marriages. The divorce rate actually doubled between 1960 and 1980 and recently has been spiking among people over 50. To this day researchers can’t agree whether and to what degree divorce hurts children. 

Don't say: “I know and you made our lives miserable.”
Say instead: “Does that still make you sad?” Let your parents know that you sympathize with their predicament and will support them in any way they would like. The one thing not to do in this circumstance is take sides.

As our parents age, they are trying to be at peace with their lives. Druck believes that by listening and acknowledging their feelings, we can become “spiritual anchors” and improve the quality of their remaining years.

BY:  ElderIssues, Inc.

What is dental health?The adage, "you are what you eat" can also be interpreted as "you are what you can eat" and what you can eat is often influenced by the health of your mouth! Healthy teeth and a healthy mouth are essential for both digestion and speech. Many persons have not been takeing proper caring for teeth and gums or taken advantage of the prevention and the technology that is used by the dental profession today. As a consequence there are many elderly dental issues, over 40% of people over 65 years or older have lost all their teeth due to poor dental hygiene. However, it is never too late to begin working toward improved dental health!

Why bother?Good nutrition depends on eating a variety of foods as well as its proper digestion. The ability to eat high bulk and fiber foods is dependent upon having strong teeth and a healthy mouth. The first stage of the whole intricate digestion process begins with enzymes that are released in the mouth. When the mouth contains areas of inflammation and infection, your body's fuel, your food, becomes contaminated before you are able to use it. When you have mouth problems and are only able to eat soft foods, they may be less nutritious. Your body is robbed of the nourishment it needs.

Importance of dental care among the elderlyAs we age, we have an increased need for a healthy mouth but yet there are few older persons who havedental health insurance to help pay for proper care. Health insurance and Medicare do not cover for dental services. It is difficult for many older persons to self-care due to disability or frailty. Dentures are wonderful but they are a far cry from having one's own teeth. Other factors include:
  • Decreased production of saliva
  • Increased mouth dryness from smoking and alcohol
  • Reduced self-esteem and increased social isolation with awareness of poor
  • Several disease conditions that cause mouth sores, ulcers and sensitive gums
  • Weight loss that changes the structure of the mouth
Evidence of poor dental careA person with poor dental health may experience one or several of the following:
  • Cavities (tooth decay, dental caries) are caused by destruction of the tooth from plaque and germs. The germs spread into the root of the tooth and can create infections throughout the body. They also can block salivary gland production, resulting in a decrease in digestive enzymes and a dry mouth.
  • Salivary gland disorders become more significant as we get older because the production of saliva reduces with aging. Over 400 medications interfere with this production causing dry mouth. Dry mouth is often accompanied by difficulty swallowing foods. It also prohibits one from lengthy conversations or public speaking. Radiation therapy to the head or neck and chemotherapy may also impact the salivary glands. Saliva provides protection from bacteria, fungus, and viral growth, and helps to maintain the mineral balance in the teeth.
  • Gum or periodontal disease is the result of an infectious process. It can result in bone loss and sometimes loosening of the teeth. Bleeding, swelling or pain in the gums (gingivitis) may be the first sign of this potentially harmful process.

Other contributing factorsCertain physical conditions may influence poor dental health. These conditions include:
  • Chronic respiratory illnesses
  • Diabetes
  • Immune deficiency diseases
  • Mobility impairments
  • Non-conforming dentures
  • Mobility impairments
  • Poor nutritional status
What you can doEssentially all dental health problems are preventable! You can practice good oral hygiene and ensure a healthy mouth. Do this by:
  • Daily flossing
  • Proper care of dentures
  • Use of anti-plaque mouth wash
  • Proper nutrition including reduced sugar intake
  • Regular dental check ups with professional cleaning
  • Regular tooth brushing
Older persons may have great difficulty with brushing and flossing and may require assistive or specially tailored items. People who are dependent on others for their oral hygiene including those with mental and physical disabilities require special attention. This may mean creating a special handle for the toothbrush by widening or lengthening it. There are special toothpaste dispensers, electric toothbrushes and alternative cleaning devices such as a Water Pic now available.

This article was last updated on: 07/17/2010
 Research shows that older people who have pets enjoy better physical and emotional health.

By Barbara Sharnak for WebVet
Reviewed by Amy I. Attas, VMD

Animals fill a void in the lives of the elderly who are alone without friends or loved ones. Pets can greatly increase quality of life for many senior citizens. Dr. Sandra Barker, director of the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, recalls the story of Annie, a depressed 95-year-old who, after being given a dog named Pumpkin, began to eat again. When Annie’s landlord sued her for violating a no-pet policy, she was asked in deposition what would happen if Pumpkin were taken away. “I’ll die,” Annie replied.

Pets for the Elderly Foundation matches seniors with cats and dogs by underwriting the pets’ adoptions. “Those who are responsible for a pet are likely to take better care of themselves, because they feel someone is counting on them,” said general manager Susan Kurowski. The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interactions published a study of elderly dog owners revealing 75 percent of men and 67 percent of women considered their dog their only friend.

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While Pets for the Elderly focuses on matching senior citizens with cats and dogs, birds, rabbits, and fish still provide the desired effects. The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interactions also published a study that found elderly women in nursing homes preferred an hour-long session interacting with a rabbit to an hour of open leisure time. Animals don’t judge the people who love them, making the comfort of a lap animal, the liveliness of an aviary, or an aquarium’s tranquility unconditional pleasures.

Proof on the Charts

Donna Williamson and her cat, Moochie, participants in the Delta Society Pet Partner Program, were called on to visit a terminal patient. When they arrived, family members greeted them in tears as the patient had slipped into a coma. Donna put Moochie in bed with the man, who awoke from the coma, took his arms out from under the sheets and began petting the cat. “The nurse sat there with her mouth wide open,” Williamson said. “Every time I see that nurse, she relates what a miracle that was.”

The Delta Society is committed to improving human health through service and therapy animals. While animals are proven health aids to all people, their benefits to senior citizens is extraordinary. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly pet owners are more active, cope better with stress, and have lower blood pressure than seniors without pets.

Dr. Edward Creagan of the Mayo Clinic Medical School observed, “If pet ownership was a medication, it would be patented tomorrow.” Whether it’s walking a dog or brushing a cat, activity benefits the cardiovascular system and helps keep joints flexible. Creagan cited a study of patients 12 months after suffering heart attacks, finding 9 out of 10 of those with pets survived, opposed to 7 out of 10 without pets. A study in the Journal of Personality and Social Issues reveals that dogs, especially, promote exercise; owners spend an average of 1.5 hours outdoors daily. Even fish foster healthy living – a Purdue University study found that the presence of an aquarium at mealtimes increases appetites of Alzheimer’s patients who don't eat enough for good nutrition.

Introducing a Social Life

“We had an elderly gentleman adopt a puppy today,” Michelle McCann of participant PAWS in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., wrote to Pets for the Elderly. “He was standing in the lobby holding his puppy as we all 'oohed' and 'ahhed,' and he was laughing about what a chick magnet his puppy was going to be!”

Animals are indeed social magnets. Nursing home communities such as Silverado and Eden Alternative were founded on principles of meaningful interactions driven by an animal-filled environment. Administrator Noralynn Snow houses dogs, cats, birds, fish — even kangaroos — at Silverado’s Aspen Park facility. The latter especially, she says, has the “ooh, ahh” factor, which encourages families normally shy of the residents at the home, to visit. Cooperative animal care also spurs interaction between the residents.

Different Pets, Different Frets

Though all animals offer benefits to the elderly, some are better suited toward certain individuals. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development found that cats offer many of the social aspects sought by lonely people who cannot provide the regular exercise dogs require.

Additionally, “Many elderly people also get a real satisfaction out of caged birds,” said Dr. William Fortney of Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “They are easy keepers and very social animals.” Noralynn Snow of Silverado notes that bird noises are especially important to those who are bedridden, because they can derive a sense of the outdoors from birds. Even rats provide companionship. Veterinarian Dr. Cam Day says, “Rats are easy to keep and are not expensive to buy. I know of a hip granny who has a pet rat and adores it, too.”

Bottom Line

“Policies that encourage pet ownership among the aged, either at home or as they make the transition to elder living facilities, can improve some medical conditions and alleviate loneliness,” said Nalini Saligram, board chair of PAWSitive InterAction. Be it on a doctor’s chart or in the wordless testimony of the animal itself, creatures of all kinds strengthen the lives they touch.

Last Updated: 08/01/2009
Reprinted with permission from WebVet, LLC. Copyright 2009 WebVet, LLC, all rights reserved. For further information, please visit
Experts say dozens of easy-to-find 'superfoods' can help ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more.

By Susan Seliger
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD

Imagine a superfood -- not a drug -- powerful enough to help you lower yourcholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no side effects? You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply. Guess what? These life-altering superfoods are available right now in your local supermarket.

"The effect that diet can have on how you feel today and in the future is astounding," says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, author of Food & Mood, Nutritionfor a Healthy Pregnancy, and The Essential Guide to Vitamins and Minerals.

"Even people who are healthy can make a few tweaks and the impact will be amazing," Somer says. "I'd say that 50% to 70% of suffering could be eliminated by what people eat and how they move: heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertensioncan all be impacted."

You don't need specific foods for specific ailments. A healthy diet incorporating a variety of the following superfoods will help you maintain your weight, fight disease, and live longer. One thing they all have in common: "Every superfood is going to be a 'real' (unprocessed) food," Somer points out. "You don't find fortified potato chips in the superfood category."

How to Enjoy Nutritious Exotic Fruits

Top Superfoods Offering Super Health Protection
  • Beans
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Oats
  • Oranges
  • Pumpkin
  • Salmon
  • Soy
  • Spinach
  • Tea (green or black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Turkey
  • Walnuts
  • Yogurt

Blueberries, an Antioxidant SuperfoodPacked with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, these berries are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them the top choice of doctors and nutritionists. Not only can they lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, they are also anti-inflammatory.

"Inflammation is a key driver of all chronic diseases, so blueberries have a host of benefits," says Ann Kulze, MD, of Charleston, S.C., author of Dr. Ann's 10 Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality. When selecting berries, note that the darker they are, the more antioxidants they have. "I tell everyone to have a serving (about 1/2 cup) every day," Kulze says. "Frozen are just as good as fresh." Be sure to include lots of other fruits and vegetables in your diet as well. Remember too that, in general, the more color they have, the more antioxidants.

Omega 3-Rich Fish, a Superfood for the Heart, Joints, and Memory"We know that the omega 3s you get in fish lower heart disease risk, help arthritis, and may possibly help with memory loss and Alzheimer's," Somer says. "There is some evidence to show that it reduces depression as well."

Omega-3s are most prevalent in fatty, cold-water fish: Look for wild (not farmed) salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel. Aim for two-to-three servings a week. Other forms of omega 3s are available in fortified eggs, flax seed, and walnuts. These superfoods have the added benefit of being high in monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol.

By: E-Gov Link

What do you know about Memorial Day? Discover this Alan's FUN Holiday Trivia Quiz. 
"Check Your Answers" at the end of the quiz. 
1. What day in May is Memorial Day Celebrated? 
First Tuesday in May 
Last Monday in May 
Last Thursday in May 
2. What was formerly Memorial Day called? 
Veterans Day 
Decoration Day 
Confederate Memorial Day 
3. What year (many experts believe) was the first Memorial Day observed? 
4. Where was the first "official" Memorial Day observed? 
Charleston, South Carolina 
Washington, DC 
Waterloo, New York 
5. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a 
veterans' organization, he issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed 
nationwide. Who was the former general? 
Ulysses S. Grant 
William T. Sherman 
John A. Logan 
6. May 30 was selected as Decoration Day, first observed because it was NOT an anniversary of 
a battle. 
True or False? 7. What were decorated in remembrance of this day?
Tombs of fallen Union soldiers 
Cemeteries of family 
State Capitals 
8. Memorial Day was first used in 1882. However, the name was not used until after what war? 
World War I 
World War II 
Korean War 
9. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved 
three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a 
convenient three-day weekend. Memorial Day is considered the start of what? 
10. What is one of the longest standing traditions which has been held in conjunction with 
Memorial Day since 1911? 
Indianapolis 500 
Arizona Rodeo Days 
Washington DC Apple Blossom Festival 
Memorial Day Quiz [Answers] 
Last Monday in May 
Decoration Day 
John A. Logan 
Tombs of fallen Union soldiers 
World War II 
Indianapolis 500 
Your silent tents of green; We deck with fragrant flowers; Yours has the suffering been, The 
memory shall be ours. 
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Decoration Day 

By Joanna Fuchs -

On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration. 

Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years; 

In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory. 

Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share. 

No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory. 

Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay. 

We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer. 
Before writing your family history, you'll need to decide on the scope and topics you intend to cover. You may find it helpful to visit a larger library and browse through any family histories it may contain to get a feel for styles and approaches that appeal to you. Then you'll want to make some basic decisions:

Do You Want to Write an Essay or Book?
What final product do you envision? Do you hope to complete an essay or chapter-length history? Do you hope to produce a nicely bound book, a photocopied booklet, or perhaps a picture book with text? Or, for that matter, is a written family history the best approach for you? Would a family newsletter or website be more realistic, given your time restraints and other obligations? It's better to be honest with yourself than to have a half-finished product nagging you for years to come.

How Many People or Generations Should You Include?
Do you intend to write mostly about just one particular relative? About one couple and their family? About two or three generations of one side of the family? In short, what will be your focus?

Who Is Your Intended Audience?
Are you writing just for the family insiders, or also for the community beyond the family? Are you writing for the adult readers in the family, or do you want your history to appeal to teenage readers or even children as well? You choice of audience will shape what and how you tell your story.

What Style Will You Use?
Most family histories are written using a chronological style, a topic style, or a combination of both. To see typical outlines for both the chronological and topic approach, go to the Family Records episodeFamily History Content extra. Many prefer to intertwine the two, going through the phases of an ancestor's or family's life, and covering the different topics - such as hobbies, health, and friendships -- within each timeframe. Another popular approach for profiling couples - say, your grandparents - is the "his story, her story, their story" approach, where you open with their marriage and then alternate between their respective childhoods, until you return to the phase-of-life style for the rest of their lives.

Whatever approach you choose, you'll want to be sure to develop an outline to make certain you have a story that will be easy for others to follow. This may reveal the need to do some additional homework to provide necessary background to the reader, just as Taylor researched the Mexican Revolution so that his family members would know enough to make sense of and fully understand the events his grandparents had experienced.

If you're like most of us, you will probably have to cope with some skeletons in your family's closet. It is your choice what to do with them, but the most common approach seems to be one of "tell, don't dwell" - meaning don't whitewash history by excluding the story, but don't embellish it or make it the focus of your family history. For help in handling those skeletons in the closet, see the Newspaper Records episode Skeletonsextra.

If you plan to include any illustrations - and ideally, you should - be sure to provide detailed captions for them. Photos, pedigree charts, maps, and other illustrations can make your family history all the more interesting, but unlabeled illustrations are almost useless. Take the time to make sure the reader will understand the importance of each illustration to the story you are telling.

 Video Clip
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Ancestors expert Craig Foster explains some important things to do when organizing a family history.

Two more items in the must-have category are an index and source citations for the information you're sharing. If you really want your story to reach others in your extended family, an index is critical. Many researchers won't even browse through a book without an index. Just think how frustrated you would be to find a book you think might be on your family, but have no means of finding where your branch might fit in. Source citations are also essential. Otherwise, the reader has no way of knowing that the book is not a work of fiction. Every good researcher knows to leave a trail that others can follow to verify the research. Make it easy for the generations who come after you.

The information contained on this page comes from a variety of sources, but relies heavily on The Everything Family Tree Book by William G. Hartley (Adams Media, 1998) and Ancestors: A Beginner's Guide to Family History & Genealogy by Jim & Terry Willard with Jane Wilson (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997)

Kitchen fires are eminently preventable. Here’s how to stay safe now and during the holidays when you really put your oven and stove through their paces.

I was troubled to see so many kitchen fires crowding the news today — especially since Sunday begins Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 9-15).

Cooking fires, primarily started on ranges or in ovens, cause 40% of all house fires, and 36% of all fire-related injuries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Frying poses the greatest risk, and Thanksgiving is the peak day for kitchen fires. 

So let’s stay safe. Follow these easy safety tips, courtesy of the NFPA. 

How to prevent a kitchen fire

1. Be alert. If you’re tired or tipsy, don’t use the stove or oven.

2. Never leave the kitchen — even for a short time — when food is frying, grilling, or broiling. Don’t leave the house if food is simmering, baking, or roasting.

3. Use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.

4. Clear away from stovetops anything that can catch fire, like cloth and paper towels, oven mitts, and wooden spoons.

How to put out a kitchen fire

1. Get out of the kitchen. Close the door behind you when you leave to help prevent the fire from spreading to the rest of your house.

2. When you reach safety, call 911 or your local emergency number.

3. Make sure others are out of the house and you have an escape route before you try to fight the fire.

4. Smother a grease fire by sliding a pot lit over the pan. Then, turn off the stove. Don’t remove the lid until the pan is cool.

5. If your oven catches fire, turn it off and keep the door closed

By RICK NAUERT PHD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 28, 2013

Landmark research reveals a connection between poor sleep, memory loss and brain deterioration in the elderly.

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, believe their findings will stimulate new initiatives to improve the quality of sleep in elderly people as a means to enhance memory.

UC Berkeley neuroscientists discovered the slow brain waves generated during the deep, restorative sleep we typically experience in youth play a key role in transporting memories from the hippocampus – which provides short-term storage for memories — to the prefrontal cortex’s longer term “hard drive.”

Unfortunately, in older adults, memories may be trapped in the hippocampus due to the poor quality of deep “slow wave” sleep, and are then overwritten by new memories.

“What we have discovered is a dysfunctional pathway that helps explain the relationship between brain deterioration, sleep disruption and memory loss as we get older — and with that, a potentially new treatment avenue,” said UC Berkeley sleep researcher Matthew Walker, Ph.D.

Walker is the senior author of the study that has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The findings shed new light on some of the forgetfulness common to the elderly that includes difficulty remembering people’s names.

“When we are young, we have deep sleep that helps the brain store and retain new facts and information,” Walker said. “But as we get older, the quality of our sleep deteriorates and prevents those memories from being saved by the brain at night.”

Experts say that healthy adults typically spend one-quarter of the night in deep, non-rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep. Slow waves are generated by the brain’s middle frontal lobe. Deterioration of this frontal region of the brain in elderly people is linked to their failure to generate deep sleep, the study found.

The discovery that slow waves in the frontal brain help strengthen memories paves the way for therapeutic treatments for memory loss in the elderly, such as transcranial direct current stimulation or pharmaceutical remedies. For example, in an earlier study, neuroscientists in Germany successfully used electrical stimulation of the brain in young adults to enhance deep sleep and doubled their overnight memory.

UC Berkeley researchers will be conducting a similar sleep-enhancing study in older adults to see if it will improve their overnight memory. “Can you jump-start slow wave sleep and help people remember their lives and memories better? It’s an exciting possibility,” said Bryce Mander, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at UC Berkeley and lead author of this latest study.

For the UC Berkeley study, Mander and fellow researchers tested the memory of 18 healthy young adults (mostly in their 20s) and 15 healthy older adults (mostly in their 70s) after a full night’s sleep. Before going to bed, participants learned and were tested on 120 word sets that taxed their memories.

As they slept, an electroencephalographic (EEG) machine measured their brain wave activity. The next morning, they were tested again on the word pairs, but this time while undergoing functional structural magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans.

In older adults, the results showed a clear link between the degree of brain deterioration in the middle frontal lobe and the severity of impaired “slow wave activity” during sleep. On average, the quality of their deep sleep was 75 percent lower than that of the younger participants, and their memory of the word pairs the next day was 55 percent worse.

In contrast, brain scans of younger adults showed that deep sleep had efficiently helped to shift their memories from the short-term storage of the hippocampus to the long-term storage of the prefrontal cortex.

Source: University of California – Berkeley