No matter whom you are, big changes in life are stressful. That's not necessarily bad. Going to college or starting your dream job are changes that come with tremendous rewards. When those life changes involve a loved one, however, it's natural to be anxious. You want to make the right decisions for you and your parent as they transition to assisted living.
Health and personal assistance needs, among other things, help determine the choice of an assisted living facility. Location, finances, and amenities play a role, as well. Those considerations will help narrow your options, but there are some guidelines that, no matter the circumstances, can help make the move easier.
The transition to assisted living for parents
How can you help a parent transition to assisted living? Talk about it ahead of time. Make a plan and explore possibilities as a team if at all possible. Most importantly, remain patient and understanding. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine what they are going through. They are likely to be more anxious than you are about the transition and many parents will resist.
Talk about the benefits of assisted living. They won't have to worry about mowing the yard, cleaning the house, or doing laundry, or whatever you think would be a positive change for them. What else can help make the transition easier?
A big move doesn't mean you need to leave behind the activities that bring joy. Does your parent have a hobby they can take with them, or is there something new they can start doing? Indoor or outdoor gardening is a great hobby they may enjoy at their new home. Most assisted living facilities have a wellness director; talk to them about exercise or music classes. The more you can arrange ahead of time, the easier the transition will be. Find the upcoming activity calendar and go over it with your parent, highlighting activities they might enjoy.
Familiar places or activities
The transition to assisted living can include familiar places and activities, too. Although some people may look forward to living in a new town or new part of the country, your parent may prefer to stay near home. Keeping that Monday night book club or that Saturday morning volunteer shift can help maintain a sense of continuity as a new life stage emerges.
An article in Psychology Today points to the fact that keeping an active social life as we age can improve both mental and physical health. An assisted living facility comes with a built-in social calendar for interested residents. From art classes to a resident choir or tai chi class, your parent is likely to find something of interest.
Bring favorite mementos/photos
One of the difficulties of moving into an assisted living facility is downsizing. We gather any number of possessions over the years, some of which have great sentimental value. A smaller abode may require creative organizing, but don't discount the comfort that a connection to the past brings with it. Mementos are physical symbols of some of our most cherished times. Make room for them.
The transition to assisted living for you
Yes, the move to assisted living presents challenges for your parent, but you may find it stressful, too. Here are a few ways to help you get through the change.
Prepare ahead of time for moving day. Figure out what goes to your parent's new home, what goes to charity, and what gets discarded. Try to do the discarding after they have gone so it doesn't provoke any additional anxiety for your parent. Enlist the help of other family members if you can.
Don't feel guilty
Try not to think of an assisted living situation as shipping your parent off to some unknown fate. There is a reason you and your family made this choice, and most likely, it's for their safety and health. Many people live happily in these dwellings, even finding a new burst of vitality with new friends and a new environment.
Regularly scheduled visits help you and your loved one stay connected. It's good for both of you to include social activities in your week, and it's helpful to keep a schedule.
Yes, be compassionate to your aging parent, but don't leave yourself out. Give yourself some time to relax and settle with the new reality of a parent in assisted living. It's going to be okay. They'll make friends and receive the care they need, and you'll be free to appreciate your time with them instead of worrying about them being alone at home.
As we age, our insurance needs change. Whether it's an update to your life insurance plan or assistance changing a homeowner’s policy to a renter's policy. Contact us to find out how we can help with your insurance needs through the different stages of life.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Is it time to replace your roof? Installing a metal roof might be the answer you're looking for, but be aware of these five points first.
If there is one constant when buying or owning a home, it's the roof. You may have gas or electric heat, solar hot water, a septic system or municipal waste management, but every home has a roof. And eventually, that roof needs replacement. Installing a metal roof on your home comes with some major benefits and some drawbacks.
The average life span of an asphalt shingle roof, which is the most common roofing material, is about 20 years. So there's a good chance you'll need to replace your roof at least once if you own a home for any length of time. In that period, you may need to make repairs, as well. Even a small leak in your roof can lead to damage throughout your home, such as mold within the walls, and even structural problems if the leak goes unnoticed for a long time.
Asphalt shingles aren't the only roofing material, however. There are five common roofing materials: asphalt shingles, wood shingles, metal, tile, and slate. A metal roof has some distinct qualities that might make it the right choice for you.
Installing a metal roof: The good, the bad, the ugly
1. What is a metal roof?
A metal roof is constructed from aluminum, steel, copper, or a copper/asphalt blend. Metal roofs don't have to "look" metal, though. Advances in construction and fabrication can give you a metal roof that looks like classic wood shingles, tile, or slate.
It's also worth noting that metal roofs have come a long way since the days of the flimsy tin roof on the old barn. If you're replacing your roof, it behooves you to look into the new materials and construction.
2. How long will a metal roof last?
According to the Metal Roofing Alliance, the lifespan of a metal roof is between 40 and 60 years. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors places the average life of a metal roof between 40 and 80 years.
For the sake of comparison, an asphalt shingle roof needs replacement within 20 years. A tile roof will give you at least 80 years, and possibly more. A slate roof is the longest lasting (and most expensive) with a lifespan of over 100 years.
3. How much will a metal roof cost?
This is, of course, one of the big questions. Installing a metal roof, or any roof, is a big job. Contractors may have wildly different quotes, depending on the location, the type of roof you have, or even how busy they are. It isn't just the contractor that determines the price, however. These factors also play into the cost of any new roof:
According to Bob Vila, when you spread the total expenses out, "a standing-seam metal roof is the least costly roof option over the life of the roof because it is virtually maintenance-free and can last 50 years or more."
Understanding the many factors that go into the expense of installing a metal roof, there is still a national average price of between $14,000 and $16,000 as calculated by Roofing Calculator. By comparison, an asphalt shingle roof is around $6,500, and a tile roof runs about $18,000.
4. Is a metal roof safe?
The short answer is yes. A properly manufactured and installed metal roof is fire-resistant, is non-combustible, and can withstand hurricane force winds. And, no, it will not attract lightning any more than any other roofing material.
5. Is a metal roof environmentally friendly?
A metal roof is green in more ways than one. Manufacturers can make metal roofs with up to 95% recycled material, and if you do ever replace your roof, they are entirely recyclable. Installing a metal roof comes with plenty of indirect ecological benefits, too.
Add a reflective coating to a metal roof, and you could save an average of 40% of your summer cooling costs. The longevity of a metal roof also decreases the drain on resources to repair or replace a shorter-lived roof.
The downside to this is, of course, the initial use of natural resources to make and install the roof in the first place. You may find that proper maintenance and repair of your current roof (along with other energy-reducing habits) is more environmentally friendly than installing a metal roof.
No matter what kind of roof you have, a home insurance policy will help you retain the value of your home in the event of an accident.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
You know your dog wants your onion rings, but are they one of the foods toxic to dogs? Find out.
It's Saturday morning, and for some strange reason, your dog lets you sleep in. Not that you miss that 5:30 a.m. wake up nudge, but it's unusual for him to sleep through that first trip to the outdoor bathroom. Then you hear him in the other room; he's pacing and panting, and he's had diarrhea. You look in the kitchen and see the torn wrappers of two chocolate bars. You know chocolate is one of the foods that is toxic to dogs, so you grab your keys and head to the emergency vet.
Anyone who owns a dog is probably familiar with a situation similar to this. There's no way around the fact that dogs get into things they aren't supposed to. Most of the time it's harmless, even if it is annoying and occasionally smelly. But there are some pretty surprising foods that are toxic to dogs that could send your pet to the animal hospital, or worse, if they don't get treatment quickly enough.
Dogs love chocolate, but no matter how much they look at you with those puppy dog eyes, keep the chocolate away. Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine—two substances that dogs are especially sensitive to. According to petMD, the symptoms of chocolate ingestion may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, seizures, and even heart failure or coma.
Caffeine comes in chocolate, and, of course, coffee, but did you know there is also caffeine in green tea, protein bars, and some sodas like Mountain Dew and Barq's Root Beer? The Pet Poison Helpline notes that eating tea bags or as little as a one or two diet pills "can easily cause death in small dogs or cats." Symptoms of caffeine ingestion include a high body temperature, hyperactivity, tremors, or vomiting.
3. Grapes and raisins
Grapes, raisins, and currants are all potentially poisonous to dogs. That includes snack bars, trail mix, and cereals with raisins in them. Individual dogs may react differently, but unfortunately, the most visible signs of poisoning don't appear until your dog is in the beginning stages of acute kidney failure. Ahna Brutlag, DVM at VCA Animal Hospitals, writes that immediate and aggressive treatment is your dog's best chance at survival. Symptoms are non-specific but include vomiting and excessive urination, as well as abdominal pain.
4. Onions and garlic
Onions and garlic are two of the most surprising foods that are toxic to dogs. In fact, small amounts may not cause a problem. However, large quantities—or small quantities eaten regularly—can cause severe anemia. Dr. Scoot Nimmo, MRCVS, BVMS, writes on vetblog.net that the initial symptoms of onion toxicity are drooling, vomiting, or lethargy. You should also look for blood in your dog's urine, an elevated heart rate, and pale gums over the next several days if you think your dog has eaten onions or garlic.
5. Macadamia nuts
Your dog may love peanut butter, but keep her away from macadamia nuts. VetWest Animal Hospital warns that eating macadamia nuts may lead to vomiting, weakness, fever, and muscle tremors. Fortunately, the prognosis is good as long as your dog receives supportive medical attention.
It may be tough to believe that bread dough is toxic to dogs, but it's true. In fact, unbaked bread dough could be deadly. As the dough rises and expands in your dog's stomach, it can lead to bloat and a twisted stomach. Symptoms of bloat include a distended stomach, retching, weakness, an elevated heart rate, and death. If treated quickly and aggressively, your dog could recover, but the prognosis is not good in severe cases.
You may not recognize xylitol, but it is almost certainly in your cupboard. Xylitol is a sweetener in everything from toothpaste to gum to candy. The ASPCA points out that it can cause an "increase in insulin leading to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels)." Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy, and seizures.
8. SalmonWho would have guessed that salmon is among the foods toxic to dogs? According to petmd.com, if your dog eats raw salmon infected with the Neorickettsia helminthoeca parasite, he may end up with systemic hemorrhaging. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and discharge from the eyes and nose. The positive news is that the prognosis is good for pets treated promptly.
Ok, who among us hasn't used popcorn as a treat for our dogs? Yes, your dog probably loves popcorn, and plain popcorn certainly isn't the worst thing your dog can eat. But unless you pop your own popcorn at home, chances are that treat is loaded with sodium.
The Pet Poison Helpline says that salt poisoning can lead to fluid retention, vomiting, excessive thirst, excessive urination, tremors, seizures, and coma.
What to do if your dog is poisoned:
We hope you and your dog never experience any of these frightening events, but it's good to prepare for the unexpected.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
We that live in hurricane prone areas are bombarded with hurricane predictions at this time every year. Unfortunately 2016 was predicted to be an active season, and that prediction turned out to be correct.
2017 IS BEING PREDICTED TO BE MORE ACTIVE THAN 2016!!
Unlike a typical homeowner's insurance policy deductible of $500 or $1,000, hurricane deductibles usually are listed as 1 percent to 5 percent of a property's insured value. The owner of a home with dwelling coverage of $200,000 and a 2% hurricane deductible would pay the first $4,000 of damages from a storm.
A hurricane deductible can be a useful thing. It's a higher deductible than your regular one, and does "lower" the annual premium you pay.
Hurricane deductibles were developed in response to 1992's Hurricane Andrew, which racked up a $15.5 billion bill for insured losses, the most ever from one storm, according to the Insurance Information Institute. As a result, insurers had to lessen their future risks by having policyholders assume more responsibility in the form of higher deductibles, the institute says.
After the recent Hurricane Matthew, we had to tell all or clients with hurricane damage that their hurricane deductible applied.
For 90% of our clients the damage estimate from the claims adjuster was less than the deductible. For example one client's policy has a Coverage A (Dwelling) value of $175,000, and a 2% hurricane deductible of that value ($3,500). The client filed a claims, the claims adjuster assessed the damage, and the damage was assessed at $3,300. So the letter they received was that since the damages were less than their deductible, the responsible for repairs was theirs.
But a small 5% of our clients selected to have a $500 hurricane deductible. Yes their annual premium was higher, but only by an average of $9.50/month.
Should you consider lowering your hurricane deductible? Call us from to discuss.
EMERGE INSURANCE AGENCY
Cecil Williams -