We’ve Only Just Begun: White Flowers and Green Shoes


Fond memory brings the light of other days around me. Thomas Moore

For some reason, I have been thinking  of Karen Carpenter’s popular song, “We’ve Only Just Begun”…

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
(We’ve only begun)

While “white lace and promises” are great…I wonder what the song would sound like if I changedwp-1489778736321.jpg those lyrics to White Flowers and Green Shoes? (probably not!) Well, I don’t think song writer Michael Williams has anything to worry about in regards to me, or anyone else for for that matter,  changing the lyrics to one of the most iconic songs of our time.  As many times as I have heard this song over the years, it wasn’t until recently that the song presented a different meaning to me after a white flower appeared in my life.

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So many roads to choose. I have debated long and hard about sharing this story with my readers on “The Purple Jacket” but have come to the conclusion that since our life has been an open book, this experience would be important to share with everyone who has followed our story.

A few months ago one of my longest and best friends said to me; “you have so many wonderful things happening in your life right now, have you ever considered going for a psychic reading?”   My theological background was skeptical, but I was open to the experience.

The experience was more than I could have ever imagined. From my past and present life, to future romance, to business success, every topic was touched without me really saying a word. It was amazing what someone knew about me, who did not know me at all!

Then we moved onto the topic of Richard…

“Richard wants you to know that he has made it to the other side.”

“He’s checking in on you, but spending lots of time in Paris visiting friends” (Richard loved Paris and he and Herman traveled to Paris six times)

“You’ll see a flower, a white flower, I’m not sure what kind of flower, but I know that the flower will be white.  I don’t know when the flower will appear, when you see the flower, that will be Richard telling you that he is okay, that he is with you, encouraging you, wanting to live your life to the fullest and that he will always be with you.”

an-american-in-paris-limited-edition-official-opening-night-playbill-3Two nights later, I attended the spectacular musical “An American In Paris” at The Fox Theater in St. Louis.  Thirty minutes into the performance,  one of the actors walked out on stage with… a white flower!     Yes, my jaw dropped!

There is really no explanation for this phenomenon.  Chance event?  Richard and his love for Paris?  The white flower appearing in a stage play about Paris?  The psychic didn’t know I was going to see that play two days after seeing her.

I’ve shared this story with a couple of trusted friends and now I am sharing it with you. Whether you are an ardent advocate for psychic readings, you do it for fun,  have never done it before, or abhor the thought of psychic readings, seeing the white flower in “An American In Paris” has changed me forever.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

Sharing horizons that are new to us:  When we are open to new possibilities, our life is full of new horizons.  No matter what side of the aisle you are on in this conversation, the mere fact that a total stranger said to me, “He wants you to know that he’s made it to the other side” opened up new horizons for me.  This experience helped me get to the other side of my grief. This does not mean I miss him any less, this simply means that I am at peace.  My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me he is forever pain free; my heart tells me he is standing right beside me.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Songwriters
NICHOLS, WILLIAMS

And yes, we’ve just begun:   It’s never too late to start over; it’s never too late to live your dream; it’s never too late to find peace and happiness.   It’s never too late to find your white flower in the midst of a thing called life after caregiving ends.  Now, for me:  when the evening comes, we smile. 

Here are some simple reminders to help support you during your caregiving journey: 

  • Try not to isolate yourself from others
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness
  • Set a daily intention for yourself
  • It’s Okay to admit that caregiving can be difficult
  • Remember to take care of yourself, too!
  • Share your horizons

I used to wish for visiting hours in heaven and then my good friend Sam said to me: “There wp-1489779515429.jpgare! Every time you have a memory of Richard. Every time you cry. Every time you laugh, Richard is right there with you.” Something tells me that Richard is up there, holding a white flower too

Oh and those green shoes you were wondering about? Those green shoes are Richard’s size 7 that he wore once a year on St. Patrick’s day for over 30 years.  White flowers and green shoes…find your keepsake memory.

Read more: The Carpenters – We’ve Only Just Begun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

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How to Help Your Loved One Overcome the Fear of Asking For Help


We welcome back our guest writer Trevor to “The Purple Jacket”

Overcoming obstacles in life is only half the battle. The other half is living and functioning after the obstacle has been overcome. Addiction is a complex disease that individuals can violently be sucked into, without any recollection or realization that a substance or behavior has suddenly defined their life so dramatically. Pulling oneself out of addiction is a process – a journey that takes almost a lifetime to conquer. The desire to end an addiction is self-respect, but seeking help itself might possibly be the most frightening step, but the most courageous one and a mark of strength.

By seeking guidance outside of their own opinions, an individual with addiction is completely opening up their emotions and memories, leaving an incredibly personal part of themselves vulnerable to criticism – by no means is that a walk in the park. The fear in asking for help is completely valid and should never be something seen as humorous or a disposition to be taken lightly. Asking for help is always the hardest step. As the supporting friend, family member, or spouse – you are an assurance to your loved one that there is value in seeking help. You are their support system that provides positive affirmations and actions. Not to mention, you also remind your loved one there is a meaningful life outside of addiction, and they have so much to experience that makes life worth living, and that it can be done without unhealthy coping mechanisms and tendencies.

 First, sitting down and having an honest, raw conversation with your loved one sets everything on the table and gives you both an opportunity to share how you feel. You are able to learn why they want to take this journey. On the other hand, your loved one will always remember that someone understands their circumstances to the best of their abilities and is willing to be supportive. The utter transparency between you both is a solace, and may even make your loved one speak more easily and freely to a professional therapist or support group in the future. By your encouragement and love, it can give a loved one a little push to take the initiative to find help on their own. You can hold them accountable but also encourage their independence – because self-reliance is all that is necessary. Remember when you asked for help once? It was monumental to feel acknowledged by another human being.

 If your loved one wishes, go with them to support groups, wait in the seating area of a psychiatric office, or attend an event with them that will be a bit more bearable with a person by their side. The actual presence of someone during a difficult moment can make all the difference in the world. It is natural to be hesitant doing certain things alone, especially when particular moments require openness.

Besides meaningful conversations and formal treatments to addiction, simply having fun with your loved one is a break from anything disheartening in life. By experiencing the world outside of addiction, your loved one can see that there is truly an end-result to the recovery process. It is easy to lose oneself in addiction, question self-identity, and spiral into a dark place. But by enjoying themselves and letting go of pain – even just for a few minutes – your loved one can find pleasures in things and hobbies that they once loved, or will come to love.

 If there is one last thing that helps your loved one, it is never losing a sense of purpose from the trials of their mistakes and relapses, triumphs, and self-doubt that gives them the courage to ask for help. Life isn’t a race to see who can get to the finish line with the least amount of trauma and scars. Life is what they make it, and you hope that even through unexpected and painful bumps along the way – there is not an end, but a never-ending opportunity to give themselves an existence they have always wanted.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.  Trevor can be reached at 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevor-mcdonald
Website: https://about.me/trevormcdonald
Email: trevorc.mcdonald@gmail.com

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Dementia Care: Filling the Role of Spouse and Caregiver


The Purple Jacket is pleased to welcome back guest writer, Samantha Stein from ALTCP.org. 

Dementia care is difficult because of all the changes the care recipient goes through. No amount of money or precaution can fully prepare families for when dementia strikes a loved one, and this reality is even more devastating for many couples. To illustrate, here is a video we came across online of Bob Treanor and his wife, Ruth. Bob provides valuable insight on what it is like for individuals to become dementia caregivers to their spouses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEcgUNwwFto

Dementia affects the lives of many individuals. And as the video shows, it certainly does not only take its toll on the diagnosed. It also alters the lives of the people closest to the patient.

For this week’s post, let us discuss all of the intricacies of dementia and what caregivers go through for their family members and loved ones going through it.

Dementia Explained

Before anything else, let us clarify one common misconception: dementia is not a disease. It is the term used to refer to the severe decline in memory or thinking ability that it hinders a person from accomplishing everyday tasks. These signs and symptoms vary, but the most common ones are as follows:

  • Memory Loss
  • Difficulty in language and communication
  • Change in Attention Span
  • Reasoning and Judgment
  • Visual Perception
  • Behavioral Changes

Another misconception that people have is that dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are the same. However, the latter is, in fact, a type of dementia. The other types are listed below:

  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Mixed dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Wernicke-Karsakoff Syndrome

Dementia Caregiving Statistics

While it may depend on the type of care that they provide, caregivers often put themselves at a great risk by taking on the responsibility of supporting their loved ones. We have all heard the stories about it; co-workers barely meeting deadlines because of caregiving duties, people have even left their jobs to fulfill the role full-time, or neighbors leaving their homes to move in with loved ones. It is not an easy feat and it requires more dedication than anyone can ever really understand.

Dementia caregivers are no stranger to this circumstance. In a study released by the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 15 million family members and friends have provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care to loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other dementia in 2015. The economic value of all this was worth over $221 billion. Moreover, 38-percent of dementia caregivers have shared that they have been doing the work for six years or more. When a person takes on a responsibility this big and it lasts this long, it is bound to have negative effects on his or her well-being.

As cited in the same study, caregivers to dementia care recipients are 3.5 times more likely to say that the greatest consequence of the task is that it creates or aggravates their own health problems. Inevitably, these caregivers do not get to walk away from the experience unscathed. Physically, emotionally, financially, socially, or mentally, dementia caregivers will have to face some type of health problem during or after the care.

Lastly, and perhaps the most devastating discovery is that people caring for their loved ones hospitalized for dementia are more likely to pass away the following year, even after accounting for the spousal caregiver’s age.

Gender Differences in Caregiving to a Spouse with Dementia

Traditionally, caregiving is perceived by the majority as a woman’s task. This may be because of her nurturing nature or because of the traditional gender roles in society. However, the perception and behavior of society is rapidly changing. As seen in Bob and Ruth’s story, men are also becoming increasingly open to caregiving.

Gender Differences in Caregiving among Family – Caregivers of People with Mental Illness, a study published last year, attributes the growing change to longer life spans, more women taking on jobs outside the home, and smaller families. Similar to the reasons that women have in assuming the role of caregivers, men are driven to assume the responsibility by a sense of affection, commitment, and family responsibility.

Unfortunately, research that focuses on this subject is still quite limited. Most studies still pay little attention to male caregivers and maintain focus their female counterparts.

couple(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Redefining Marriage

Marriages take the biggest hit when it comes to dementia. Perhaps, this is might be one of the biggest tests to “in sickness and in health.” Imagine slowly watching partner forget about a life that you had built together over the decades. Not only that, imagine feeling angry at the whole situation and wishing it was all over, then immediately being consumed by the overwhelming guilt of even entertaining the thought. This is the reality that many dementia caregivers face on a regular basis.

Physically present, but psychologically absent—this is how Pauline Boss Ph.D. describes how spouses can change when dementia takes over in her NextAvenue article entitled, For Caregivers of Spouse with Dementia, a Redefinition of Marriage. For many spousal caregivers, dementia has turned their married lives into an abstract relationship that feels like “living with a stranger” or “loving half a person.” It is no longer about building and maintaining a perfect relationship. As Boss puts it, it becomes pushing to make the relationship good enough.

We get a further look into this through John R. Smith’s How to Care for a Spouse with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Just in his early 40s, he has become the primary caregiver of his wife whose health condition is so advanced that she has lost the ability to brush her teeth, bathe, or even remember his name.

One striking point in his account is how spousal caregivers will feel a unique kind of isolation. When your spouse could barely remember your name, how can he or she truly give consent to intimacy? Despite it being a taboo in some social circles, sex is one of the most basic needs of a human being. Dementia can and will take that away in marriages because, as Smith’s therapist puts it, it will start to feel like date rape.

The Importance of Self-Care

In the chaos, success, and emotional turmoil that come with caregiving for a spouse with dementia, caregivers can easily neglect their own lives. In their minds, their spouse’s needs become the primary concern. However, prioritizing their own care concerns and needs is and will always be important, and they should not feel guilty for it.

Spousal caregivers, especially those handling cases as consuming as dementia in their own homes, can feel as if anything that takes their time and attention away from their spouse is not worth the thought. In some cases, taking a break could even feel as if their being selfish and spending the money on anything that they want feels like a substantial waste of limited resources.

But taking care of themselves does matter immensely. In Smith’s case, he stopped eating properly because he dedicated most of his time and their resources caring for his wife. He ended up losing weight, and every time his wife would stumble and fall, he would have trouble picking her up.

Your Concerns and Emotions are Valid

It has been said countless times before, but let’s reiterate: the quality of your care depends on how much you care for yourself. To the caregiver reading this, your health matter just as much as your spouse’s, so take the time to safeguard it.

As stated above, most caregivers learn later on that their own health concerns are aggravated by the responsibility of caring for their spouses. Stop, and reevaluate if you have enough saved away for that. The different types of long term care facilities may vary in prices, but none of them come cheap. Bear in mind that preparing yourself for the long term care costs you might have to face is all right.

Also, taking the time to continue doing what you love to do is not just acceptable but necessary. Maintaining good health by eating right (even if it is a little more expensive) and exercising can help you handle caregiving so much easier. Keeping your mind and your body in shape will make you a more effective caregiver. A strong body will help you handle the physical demands of caregiving, whether it is heavy lifting or working longer hours. A sound mind will help you handle the emotional roller coaster that come with it.

Lastly, but just as vital, remember that it is okay to ask for help. You are human. Exhaustion and frustration will come, and there will be times when you feel like you are filled to the brim. When this happens, know that those emotions are valid and that they do not make you a horrible spouse. Just ask for help from the people you trust the most. It may be from your children, other family members or even your neighbors. If budget permits it, the help might even come from a hired extra pair of hands.

Author Bio:

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long-term care insurance plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

 

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Creating Servant Leaders One Oreo Cookie At A Time


Good leaders must first become good servants.  Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches lives of individuals, builds better organizations and creates a more just and caring world.  Servant Leaders lead with others in mind.   Robert Greenleaf  is regarded as the founder of the concept of Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership is not only a process, it is a way of life.  

The Way To SuccessAllison Elkow Lazicky from Top Notch Teams is serving up Servant Leadership in more ways than one.  Using the metaphor of an Oreo Cookie, Allison  sets the stage by saying that before one can dig into the delicious center cream, we set expectations with the top half of the cookie and learn how to develop an attitude of gratitude with the bottom half of the cookie.  I love the metaphor of the Oreo Cookie and Servant Leadership.

I think there is a strong connection between servant leadership and being a caregiver.  As caregivers we often put ourselves second and focus on the needs of someone else. Becoming a servant leader is a process; becoming a caregiver is a process too.  When we (caregivers) develop a care team, we have to empower members to the best of their abilities.  While we might want to jump right into the center of the Oreo cookie, we have to set our expectations and adapt that attitude of gratitude.

I find the concept of Servant Leaders and Caregivers fascinating.  I think you will find the conversation with Allison Elkow Lazicky fascinating too.  Here’s to creating great teams and Oreo Cookies! Listen in and learn how Allison is creating healthy teams and Healing Ties all around us!

 Visit Allison’s website, Top-Notch Teams by clicking here! 

 bowtie_alifetolove_wcn

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Toula’s Tips: Caregiver Burnout — It’s Real!


Today we welcome my good friend and guest writer, Toula Wootan from Toula’s Tips for Caregivers to “The Purple Jacket”

 Have you ever felt like this? If so, you are certainly not alone. It’s so very common. Here are a few symptoms to let you know if you are experiencing caregiver burnout:

  • Overreacting to minor nuisances

  • Feeling constantly exhausted

  • Losing interest in work

  • Decrease in productivity at work

  • Withdrawing from social contacts

  • Increasing use of alcohol or stimulants

  • Change in eating patterns

  • Change in sleeping patterns

  • Increasing use of medications for sleeplessness, anxiety or depression

  • Inability to relax

  • Scattered thinking

  • Feeling increasingly resentful

  • Being short-tempered with care recipient frequently

Do you see yourself in the above? If so, perhaps it’s time to take a step back, or perhaps to take a real time-out.

How, you say? If you don’t have family or friends who can step in, there are many support services to help you do this. Many assisted living facilities offer respite, a short-term stay. There are also many adult day care centers in our area, and we have many companion/sitter agencies. Perhaps you qualify for Aging True — they have a team of volunteers who can sit with your loved one occasionally.

 Whatever it takes, take a break so you can rest, do something for yourself, renew your perspective and refresh. It’s essential. I like the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

 I am the primary caregiver for both of my parents and work full-time, leading caregiving initiatives! I keep these eight things in mind to help me: sunshine, fresh air, exercise, prayer, water, diet, rest and laughter. Do they resonate with you? They are simple but make a big difference. So does having fun with friends! Don’t forget that.

 I hope these help you. As always, thank you for caring.

 

Toula Wootan

 Toula’s Tips for Caregivers, can now be hear on Spreaker.com/user/toulastipsforcaregivers or from Toula’s website at ToulasTipsforCaregivers.com.  You can email Toula at toulastips@gmail.com

Thank you Toula for all you do for Caregivers in Jacksonville and all over the country!

 

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Combating Dementia with Improv


The Highest Results Of Education Is Tolerance: Helen Keller

Dementia and Improv; two words you don’t normally associate together.  That did not hold

23

Cathy Braxton & Tami Neumann from The Silver Dawn Training Institute 

back Tami Newman and Cathy Braxton from the Silver Dawn Training Institute from developing a cutting edge communication tool using Improv to help all of us learn how to community better with someone who is suffering from Dementia.

Dementia Raw is “shining a spotlight on unique ways to communicate with people affected by dementia.  It’s unscripted, it’s unconventional and its unapologetic training that equips you to handle everyday challenges as a caregiver.”

It goes without saying that communication is the key to healthy relationships.  Learning how to communicate with a family member, friend or client who has dementia is equally as important. Silver Dawn Logo_PRThrough their Silver Dawn Training Institute, Tami and Cathy have created
an on-line and in-person certification program that will help professional caregivers and family caregivers alike, learn how to better communicate with those affected by dementia.  To learn more how you can become a Certified Dementia Communication Specialist  simply click here! 

Don’t just take it from me; listen in to this episode of “Healing Ties”  and learn how Tami and Cathy are creating “Healing Ties” all around us.  “Healing Ties” is a part of the Whole Care Network.

 

 

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5 Unexpected Symptoms of Stress and What to Do About Them


Today we welcome guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket

The human body is an intricate machine, and if something goes awry it can impact a variety of subsystems. Rarely is there an issue with “just” one specific part of the body—and it’s also important to remember that holistic wellness includes physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, and social health. Stress is a big wrench thrown into the human system, and in Western countries it’s often hefted with a sense of pride. However, stress can really do a number on the body, and some symptoms can take weeks, months, or even years to manifest.

You likely know about the obvious signs of stress, such as headaches and fatigue, but stress can play out in the body in a number of tricky ways. Here are five unexpected stress symptoms that you might not see coming, and what to do about them:

  1. Hair loss. There are many causes for hair loss and issues that exacerbate them, and genetics is just part of it. Stress can cause men’s hair loss, and even women’s hair loss. The hair is one of the last places the body routes nutrients towards because it’s not nearly as necessary for survival, unlike many other body parts (such as organs, muscles, and bones). Hair goes through natural shedding cycles, but if you’re constantly exposed to stress it might seem like your hair is in non-stop shedding mode. Stress-related hair loss usually presents as exaggerated thinning and not the classic “male pattern baldness” or patches of baldness.

What can you do about it? The first step is doing something  to reduce stress. There are also a variety of hair loss reversal tactics, such as using topical minoxidil (Rogaine’s active ingredient) to stimulate hair growth and stop stress-related shedding. Only shampooing every two or three days with a paraben-free shampoo designed to stimulate the scalp can also help. Laser combs and helmets with stimulating diodes have also shown great promise.

  1. Skin breakouts. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, but preventing breakouts is at the bottom of your body’s to-do list. Both stress and hormone shifts can cause acne, breakouts, and flare-ups. Acne can be painful, but if it’s stress-related it’s likely more embarrassing and a confidence killer than anything else. Fortunately, there are many ways to address it.

Again, reduce stress. Try over the counter topical treatments first, as well as acne-specific facial cleansers and astringents. Moving to prescription-based topicals is the next step. In severe cases, medications may be prescribed or a dermatologist might suggest dermabrasion or chemical peels to correct acne scarring.

  1. Low libido. Few people feel “in the mood” when they’re highly stressed, which is perfectly normal. However, if you’re chronically stressed, your libido may chronically suffer. This can cause big problems in relationships, preventing you from bonding.

Lower your stress, and you’ll raise your libido. Other approaches include prioritizing intimacy with partners, scheduling romantic dates, and making an effort to feel and look your best. Remember that intimacy is paramount for many to bond.

  1. Thin, peeling nails. Not only can stress cause nails to be fragile, you might also be inclined to bite and chew them from stress. Your hands operate as a quick, easy sign of overall health. In professional and personal relationships, you might be judged by your hands.

 Stress reduction is still the number one route to healthier nails. Regular manicures for both men and women can also work wonders. Opt for a paraffin dip, keep nails short and trimmed if they’re prone to breaking, and keep your hands moisturized throughout the day to prevent cracking and hangnails. A biotin supplement can also aid in hair, skin, and nail health.

  1. Almost every disease imaginable. Stress has been linked to almost every disease there is including heart disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and much more. Some of these diseases are curable, but many are not. Many can also be life-threatening.

If you needed another reason to reduce stress, this is it. Stress management is core to overall health and well-being. Preventative care, including stress reduction, is the easiest, fastest, and most affordable way to manage or avoid deadly and painful diseases and disorders.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

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What is Iot and How is it Changing Our Lives


We welcome guest writer, Christopher Britton to The Purple Jacket.

Notice how the Internet affects almost every aspect of our daily lives? It doesn’t matter where you are—at home or at work—the Internet impacts everything. There’s actually a name for that and it is on point. This phenomenon is called the Internet of Things or IoT.

The Internet of Things is a concept wherein you can connect any device with an on and off switch to the Internet. Sounds familiar? Yes, we’re talking about mobile phones, laptops, wearable devices, and even coffee makers and washing machines. Broadband Internet, Wi-Fi, and the decreasing cost of technology are all contributing to the spread of IoT.

In short, the Internet of Things is a giant network of connected things and people. Gartner, an analyst firm specializing in technology, estimates that by 2020, there will be over 26 billion connected devices connecting people-people, people-things, and things-things. In the very near future, anything that can be connected will be connected.

The IoT impacts our lives in a greater magnitude that we all can grasp. It makes the workplace, the home, and our cities smarter. Just by zeroing in on how IoT impacts our home living will make you realize that we will all soon have our own Jarvis.

Let’s take a look at how technology is transforming our home and how IoT impacts our lives, one innovation at a time.

Home management made easy

how-management-made-easy

Photo courtesy of Gramophone Maryland via Flickr

The evolution of a smart home is something that always comes up in a discussion on IoT. Electric appliances at home now adjust to your lifestyle. Thermostats and lighting can eventually create an optimal setting based on your daily life. Even before you arrive home, you can turn on and adjust your  thermostat.

Things around the house also communicate to one another. When the alarm goes off, the coffee maker starts brewing your coffee. There are even smart refrigerators that will notify you when staples are running low.

And when no one is home, these gadgets and appliances will sense it and turn off automatically, reducing energy consumption in the process. The US Environmental Protection Agency found that using schedules and temperature settings can reduce energy cost by 10% to 30%.

Now, you can worry about the more important things in life such as preparing the best breakfast for your family and sending your kids off to school.

Security at your fingertips

security-at-your-fingertips-1

Photo courtesy of informedmag.com 

Home security systems keep burglars away. A study found that four out of every five burglars would attempt to find out if security devices are installed and more than half would flee if  there is an alarm present.

This is why one very important aspect of home living is safety and security. And since it is physically impossible to guard your home and loved ones 24/7, smart security systems can do that for you.

The Honeywell Total Connect is one such system that takes care of your home security wherever and whenever you are. A smart home with Honeywell Total Connect enables you to monitor, access, and control security using a smartphone. You may view the videos being captured by security cameras in real-time, get notified via text or email when something unusual is happening back home, and lets you manage security settings remotely.

Technology of baby monitoring

Digital parenting is now the thing for parents. Nothing still beats being there for your child every second but that is simply not possible for working parents. But technology has enabled parents to stay connected with their babies wherever they are and whatever it is they are doing.

Smart cribs now have microphones and sensors in them that can detect when a baby is crying. There are apps that let parents monitor their baby’s sleeping patterns. During critical early months, there are wearables for babies so that parents can keep tabs on the baby’s health. Wi-Fi-powered baby monitors, app-controlled thermostats, and other wearable devices help modern parents keep track of their baby’s health and activities.

Being able to monitor your baby is a welcome improvement to modern home living. Family set-ups are no longer what they used to be and knowing that your child is safe and protected at all times gives you peace of mind.

Sensors in our body

sensors-in-our-body

Photo courtesy of Intel Free Press via Flickr

People are now more connected to everything than ever before. Wearable technology are integrated into different systems such as phones and social media accounts so that we can track our own activities and the things that matter to us.

It is now possible to monitor sleeping patterns and calories lost during workouts. There are also wearable sensors that can detect environmental factors such as the weather. Smartphones will serve as everyone’s tool to thrive in a digital ecosystem.

Prepared for the journey ahead

prepared-for-the-journey-ahead

Photo courtesy of jay-jerry via Flickr

One of the easily noticeable changes with our daily lives is how our cars are connected to everything. More than GPS, road sensors can now communicate to your dashboard about unsafe driving conditions. Smart cars can now monitor real-time traffic everywhere with the use of satellite navigation systems that gives you rerouting options. Other car sensors will help you monitor engine performance and even find parking spaces. In short, journeys today are safer and a little less stressful. Soon enough, driver-less cars will be available and your daily commute will never be the same again.

The Internet of Things is this generation’s own industrial revolution. Soon, everything will be connected to our phones. Everything we own will be connected to something. Everything will be up there in the cloud. The IoT is already changing the way you live, even if you’re not fully aware of it. And very soon, you could be controlling everything with a wave of your hand.

Christopher Britton  Interior Architect, Home Security Consultant and a Writer. He often writes about home improvement, home security and privacy, green and simple living, geometric and structural designs technological home advances and home design.  I am into sports and travelling too.  You can reach Christopher at christopherbritton011@gmail.com

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The Family Historian


A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

I did not have the opportunity to meet three of my four grandparents.  Aunt and Uncles? Well they lived in Canada and New Orleans; I grew up far far away, in St. Louis.  While the internet has made the world smaller and quite a bit faster; how are we preserving our family legacy for generations to learn about there family history?

Mike Stith from One Legacy has a  passion for collecting inspirational stories.  Mike believes that by sharing stories, “we’re adding a special piece of history for future generations.”  Mike’s new publication, The Family Historian 20170211_110727continues to share  special pieces of family history, yet in a more traditional way. The Family Historian is in newspaper format and is available for free!  Imagine sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office and picking up a copy of The Family Historian and being comforted by stories that are similar to yours?

While the internet has changed the way we communicate, there is something special about holding a publication in your hand while reading compelling stories.  The Family Historian is a publication you will want to take home with you!

Everyone has a story, but not everyone gets to tell there story. Listen in and learn how Mike Stith from One Legacy and The Family Historian is creating Healing Ties all around us!  

To learn more about One Legacy and The Family Historian click hereWould you like to receive The Family Historian journal free at your business or organization? Contact info@onelegacy.com or call 618-960-7252 today!

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I’m a Teenage Caregiver: Now What?


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”       Albert Einstein

aacy_logo-for-webNot every child gets 18 years of childhood. There are an estimate of 1.3 million caregiving children ages 8.-18 years old in the U.S.*  We often think of Caregiving as a role solely for adults. Child caregivers are a hidden, vulnerable population in the US, sacrificing their education, health and childhood while fulfilling roles and responsibilities beyond their years.  The risk of underachievement and high school dropout increases for teenagers who end up taking on the role as family caregiver.

When child caregivers are recognized and supported, their lives change and they learn that they are not alone. The American Association of Caregiving Youth of Palm Beach, County (FL) was developed by Connie Siskowski, RN, PHD and is the first US program to support the hidden population of child caregivers.   Through a variety programs to help young caregivers and their families, the American Association of Caregiving Youth brings the issues facing young caregivers and their families to the forefront.

Don’t just take it from me, listen in and learn how Connie Siskowski and American Association of Caregiving Youth is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To learn more about the American Association of Caregiving Youth and the upcoming Caregiving Youth Institute conference on Thursday, April 27th in Boca Raton, Florida simply click here! 

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