For Sale By Owner

There are two ways to sell your home. One way is to hire a real estate agent and sell your home or property through him, and the other way is to sell your home yourself. The method of selling your property yourself is known as FSBO or For Sale By Owner. Many people don’t want to hire a real estate agent for selling their property. Actually they don’t want to pay the expenses of hiring a real estate agent, and it seems to be a valid reason if you are so that you can do it yourself. Normally the cost of FSBO home is 5% to 10% lower than the one listed by an agent.

Selling your home through a real estate agent is not only an expensive method but it is also a time consuming process when trying to decide which agent is better than others. After the selection of an agent you must now work with him/her to negotiate the process (terms and conditions) for the sale of your home (property).

The real estate agent is paid according to the selling price of your home. At the time of closing you give commission to the real estate agent. At this moment you feel that it might be a good idea to sell your home yourself. If you can sell your home yourself then you can save the commission which you give to the real estate agent at the time of closing.

You can find several FSBO websites on the internet which gives you the opportunity to list your property yourself. Few FSBO websites are free while few sites charge some amount for adding home in their websites.

The biggest advantage for selling your home for sale by owner versus using a realtor is control factor. You have the total control of entire dealings form start to finish and this is the most important factor in selling. You are free to choose the advertising method which suits you more.  You can set the schedule of appointments with buyers. Being the owner of your home you can explain each and every feature of your home to potential buyers.

Finally, when you have successfully found a buyer to your home, it is probably time for your moving process. If you like, you can find some help to make your move easier on Busy Beez Movers.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning – A Practical Guide for Seniors

Learn signs and symptoms of food poisoning and its complications with simple, practical ways to prevent food-related illness in seniors.

Food poisoning, also known as food-related illness or foodborne illness, can affect people of any age, but seniors fall under a high-risk category for developing serious complications related to food poisoning. Contaminated food often looks and smells just fine, but eating or drinking food that is improperly prepared or stored can make a senior sick…very sick. Learn more about how to ensure that the food being served is safe for seniors and everyone else at the table.

Food Poisoning Statistics

People who have developed food poisoning are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year foodborne illnesses in the United States account for:

  • Illness in about 76 million people
  • Hospitalization in approximately 325,000 persons
  • Death in about 5,000 people

Older adults fall under a high-risk category for contracting food poisoning and experiencing complications related to foodborne illnesses due to several factors:

  • The immune system tends to weaken after age 75.
  • Many seniors have at least one chronic condition, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, etc.
  • Certain medications may make seniors more susceptible to foodborne illnesses.

Foods Most Likely to Cause Food Poisoning

Foods that are the most likely to cause illness if improperly prepared or stored are:

  • Uncooked fresh fruits
  • Uncooked fresh vegetables
  • Raw animal products (eggs – particularly unpasteurized ones, meat, poultry, seafood)
  • Certain processed animal products such as unpasteurized milk or soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk

Avoid purchasing any food that is sold in unsanitary conditions or in ways that appear to compromise the safety of the food, even if the packaging appears intact. Always ensure that the food’s “sell by” date has not expired as well.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning and Foodborne Illness

Practical tips for safe food handling include the USDA Fight BAC! campaign:

  • Wash hands and surfaces frequently.
  • Avoid cross-contamination.
  • Cook foods at the recommended temperatures for an appropriate length of time.
  • Refrigerate foods properly.

Washing Hands Saves Lives provides details about proper hand hygiene. Ways to reduce germs on surfaces in the kitchen include:

  • Use soapy hot water to wash utensils and counter tops before and after preparing each item.,
  • Either use paper towels for cleaning surfaces or a cloth towel that is frequently washed in hot water with detergent.
  • Rinse all fruits and vegetables under running tap water – rub fruits with thick skins.
  • Clean lids before opening cans and inspect cans to ensure they do not have dents, cracks, or bulging lids.

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are transferred from one product to another. This can easily occur when preparing multiple dishes, especially when handling raw meat, eggs, poultry, or seafood, such as when preparing a holiday meal for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Tips to prevent cross-contamination include:

  • Separate the above four types of foods from other foods in the grocery cart and refrigerator. Place these items in separate plastic bags to prevent dripping of juices onto other foods.
  • Use two cutting boards: one for produce and the other for raw meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Plates, bowls, platters, etc. that have held raw meat, etc. should be thoroughly washed with hot soapy water before placing cooked food on them.
  • Marinades that are reused on raw foods should be brought to a boil first.

Proper cooking temperature is important while preparing meals. Safe cooking temperature tips include:

  • Cook foods to at least the USDA recommended safe minimum internal temperature – this is typically found on the label of most meats (specific cooking temperatures are listed in the linked USDA article at the bottom).
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure of the temperature because foods may appear fully cooked when they have not reached that temperature in the center.
  • If cooking foods in a microwave, cover, stir and rotate the food for even cooking. Allow the food to sit for a few moments to complete the cooking process before checking the temperature of the food.
  • The FDA has specific guidelines for each type of meat, with minimum safe temperatures ranging from 145ºF for steaks and roasts to 165ºF for whole poultry.

 

Storing foods and drinks at a safe temperature can also help prevent food poisoning. A few practical safety tips for storing foods include:

  • Foods should be chilled within two hours of purchasing or cooking – use coolers or other cold sources for transporting perishable foods during warmer weather.
  • If the environmental temperature is 90ºF or higher, foods should be refrigerated or frozen within one hour.
  • The refrigerator temperature should stay at 40ºF or less.
  • The freezer temperature should stay at 0ºF or less.
  • Frozen food should be thawed in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.
  • Thawed food should be cooked immediately.
  • Divide leftovers into shallow containers for faster cooling in the refrigerator.
  • Refer to the USDA Cold Storage Chart for specific guidelines on how long certain foods may be safely refrigerated and how long these foods may be frozen and still maintain quality.

How to Prevent Food Poisoning in Seniors

Although seniors are at risk for food poisoning, many of the safety tips for safe food preparation and storage are simple and inexpensive. An ounce of prevention may equal a life saved.

Tips for Seniors Traveling With Oxygen

Find practical information for older adults who are traveling via an airline while using oxygen as well as helpful links.

Many seniors who enjoy traveling may think that their traveling days are over if they must use oxygen due to medical reasons. However, newer equipment and recent legislation regarding airline travel with oxygen have enabled more seniors who use oxygen to enjoy traveling once again. Learn helpful tips for planning air travel with oxygen to ensure that the trip is safe and how to avoid common problems.

According to the National Home Oxygen Patient’s Association, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has approved the use of several oxygen concentrators that are portable for use for travelers who require in-flight oxygen in the United States since September 2009. Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are small, non-pressurized devices that deliver oxygen. They may run on electricity or battery.

Examples of POCs approved by the FAA for air travel at this time include:

  • Airsep Lifestyle
  • Respironics EverGO
  • Airsep Freestyle
  • Inogen One
  • SeQual Eclipse (pulse and continuous options)

Additional approved emergency oxygen generating devices include:

  • Oxysure
  • Ox-Gen

How to Prepare for Air Travel With Oxygen

Seniors who plan to travel should check with their physicians first and ensure that proper paperwork is completed. Travelers should carry and have readily available a physician’s order for oxygen. Respiratory and other medications should be kept with the person and not checked with baggage.

The physician should be able to help determine whether or not a POC will provide enough oxygen delivery to maintain a proper oxygen saturation for seniors who use another form of delivery at home. This may require a trial test on POC equipment. This can also give the senior the opportunity to learn how to use and carry the POC as well as practice with changing the battery. Check with the insurance company regarding coverage of a POC.

Many airlines have a specific form regarding special medical needs, so seniors should contact the airline to determine the requirements for traveling with oxygen and get the forms completed in advance, ensuring that the equipment will meet requirements of the airline security. If the senior normally uses an oxygen tank that is filled with compressed gas or liquid, ask whether or not the airline allows an empty tank to travel and how the tank should be prepared in order to be accepted if applicable. Contact the airline at least 48 hours prior to the flight to ensure that all requirements have been met.

Contact the oxygen provider to check if they can manage to provide an approved POC for travel. Other options include renting or purchasing a POC with battery power that is sufficient, taking into consideration the extra one to two hours pre-flight, time scheduled in the air, and after-flight activities. Direct or non-stop flights avoid layovers that may increase the amount of oxygen use on the POC. Plan for unexpected delays by ensuring that battery life exceeds anticipated time by at least 50%. Check the Department of Transportation guidelines for traveling with batteries.

Senior travelers should also check accommodations at the planned destination regarding oxygen use policies with arrangements for oxygen delivery if devices will not be necessary for flight. If oxygen is taken in the airport but not used in flight, arrange to have someone remove the equipment from the airport upon departure.

It is helpful to write down all conversations, including the date and time and with whom the person spoke in case any question arises while traveling.

Airline Travel with Oxygen for Seniors

Seniors who require oxygen use may find that a portable oxygen concentrator may enable him or her to travel safely via airplane. By carefully planning and communicating with the physician, airline, oxygen provider, insurance company, and destination, air travel with oxygen may be coordinated safely and effectively.

Practical & Inexpensive Bathtub Tips for Seniors to Avoid Injury

Find practical information about a variety of products designed to help those with mobility or balance problems to more easily and safely shower or bathe.

Enjoying the feel of a refreshing bath or shower may seem a distant memory to many seniors, but several products are available to enable those with limited mobility, balance issues, decreased sensation, and other health issues to safely wash in the bathtub. Choosing a product that is best suited to one’s needs may increase independence and decrease the chances of injuries like a hip fracture in a senior or a back injury in a caregiver.

Simple and Inexpensive Products May Help Prevent Falls in the Bathroom

Combine wet feet with a loss of balance, and often a fall will result. Some of the simplest and least expensive aids for the bathroom include:

  • wearing shoes designed for water walking, aqua shoes, or water shoes that will not slip off the feet (Readers may also wish to read about products designed to help seniors put on and take off shoes.)
  • rails or grab bars that are installed securely and appropriately placed
  • anti-slip mat for the tub (Follow cleaning instructions to ensure that mold growth does not develop – avoid using bath oils or any other products that may make the tub more slippery.)
  • anti-slip mat for the floor outside the tub (Throw rugs that slide can increase the chances of a fall.)

Bath Seat and Hand-held Shower Nozzle May Help Seniors with Bathing

Other names for a seat designed to be used in the tub include:

  • shower chair
  • bath chair
  • shower bench
  • bath bench
  • shower seat
  • bath seat
  • bath transfer bench
  • shower transfer bench

A wide variety of bath seats are available, from free-standing shower chairs that can be moved from room to room to those that are attached to the bathing area that is folded down for use. A long bath seat that extends across the top of the tub can be helpful because the senior can sit on one surface to transfer to the inside of the tub and vice versa. Other bath seat options include:

  • adjustable height
  • a seat that swivels (particularly helpful for people with more severe mobility issues and/or pain from arthritis or other health issues)
  • heavy duty size
  • lightweight models
  • ability to fold for travel
  • space saving bath stools
  • with or without a back
  • with or without holes in the seat
  • attached bag for holding bathing products
  • bath seat that doubles as a bedside commode
  • variety of colors

A hand-held shower nozzle can help a senior who wishes to select the direction of the spray of water. These may be mounted to the wall or temporarily attached to the tub faucet. It is helpful to have a holding place for the nozzle that he or she can reach, particularly if the senior will remain seated throughout the shower. Additional options to consider include:

  • models that conserve water
  • high-pressure nozzles
  • spray options (such as massage)
  • design style
  • weight of the nozzle

Products Designed to Make Bathing Safer for Seniors

Seniors with certain underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, people experiencing weakness, or older adults who are on medications are especially at risk for falls, which can have devastating consequences. These products may help a senior to become or stay more independent while decreasing the risk for injury while bathing.

Those with underlying medical conditions should consult with a physician regarding the safest choice of bath safety products related to medical needs. Many seniors also benefit from exercises, such as Silver Sneakers, yoga, Tai Chi, or other programs designed to help maintain balance, increase range of movement, and more.

Inflammation and Alzheimer’s Disease

Moving from Harmful to Beneficial With Vaccines

Inflammation has a complex relationship with Alzheimer’s disease. Research is in progress to develop safe and effective vaccines against the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing problem with an aging population in the U.S. and worldwide. Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of dementia, which is the loss of remembering, reasoning, and thinking. There is still no cure for the disease, although some treatments have helped to slow the progression of the disease. Recently, attention has been focused on the role of inflammation in advancing the disease.

What Are the Characteristics of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by two abnormal structures in the brain: beta-amyloid protein plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Beta-amyloid is a protein normally produced in the body, but in Alzheimer’s, it accumulates in plaques surrounding the neurons (brain cells). It is not known whether the plaques are the cause or the result of the disease.

Tau proteins are responsible for the proper alignment of microtubules that provide support and bring nourishment to the nerve cells. When tau protein undergoes structural changes typically due to increased uptake of phosphorus, it can no longer bind to the microtubules. The microtubules then lose their structural integrity and can no longer support the nerve cells, and become neurofibrillary tangles.

The third player in Alzheimer’s disease are the different forms of Apolipoprotein E. People can inherit three forms of the Apo E: Apo E2, E3, or E4. Apo E3 is protective as it binds the tao protein to the microtubules. The Apo E4 cannot bind to the tao protein and may facilitate the formation of amyloid plaques. People who are homozygous for E4 are at greater risk to develop Alzheimer’s.

The Role of Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease

The presence of amyloid plaques in the brain stimulate an inflammatory response. A type of immune cell known as microglia is stimulated to produce chemicals called cytokines, which in turn activate other components of the immune system. The microglia can engulf and destroy the amyloid plaques. The inflammatory response also stimulates T-lymphocytes to secrete cytokines. Although the initial inflammatory response may be beneficial, overstimulation results in nerve cells being attacked and destroyed.

Development of Vaccines to Prevent or Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

A vaccine is an antigen that stimulates an immune response when administered. Immunity is achieved by the formation of specific B-cell antibodies that react with the invading organism or toxic agent. A typical Alzheimer’s disease vaccine uses a short peptide (protein fragment) of beta-amyloid plaque as the antigen. Administering this vaccine stimulates the body to produce anti-beta amyloid antibodies (active immunity). Passive immunity (administering antibodies to the person) is not very satisfactory, since it requires frequent administration, and can be very expensive.

Elan Pharmaceuticals conducted a clinical trial with their experimental vaccine in 2001. The trial was terminated after several months as several patients developed encephalitis (swelling of the brain). Some improvements in patients were noticed, such as reduced beta-amyloid deposition, reduced tau levels, and improved cognitive function. After two years, however, the beneficial effects disappeared. Several clinical trials sponsored by pharmaceutical companies involving active or passive immunity against Alzheimer’s disease are currently underway. (Zotova)

Dr. Cynthia Lemere of Harvard Medical School reported on studies developing an Alzheimer’s disease vaccine. The critical aspect of the vaccine was to develop an antigenic region (epitope) that would stimulate B- cell production, while the epitope for T-cell stimulation would remain inactive. In this way, the B-antibodies react in a very specific manner with the beta-amyloid plaques, while harmful T-cell secretions are kept to a minimum. Preliminary results with animal studies are very promising.

Inflammation in Alzheimer’s Disease Must be Controlled to be Beneficial

Inflammation is a normal response of the body to eliminate or confine an invading organism or foreign substance. A vaccine against Alzheimer’s disease should stimulate antibody production against beta-amyloid plaques, while not activating microglia or T-cells that promote an inflammatory response that could damage nerve cells.

Dental Health Problems Related to Aging

Gum Disease, Broken and Stained Teeth are More Likely with Age

As people grow older, many physical changes take place and teeth are no exception. Even with excellent care in earlier years, bad teeth and gum problems may occur.

Most people would agree that real teeth are better than false teeth for comfort and ease of care. Paying attention to early symptoms may prevent development into serious issues. Dental health problems may result from aging, other health issues or a change in hygiene routine and a dentistry professional can help determine specific causes. The type of dental problems which may occur with aging include the following:

  • yellow and stained teeth
  • chipped and broken teeth
  • sensitivity to hot and cold foods
  • receding gums
  • dry mouth

Yellow and Stained Teeth

The outer layer of tooth enamel can become thin with time and use, exposing the inner layer of dentin. This layer is more yellow and can begin to show through causing a yellowish appearance. The loss of enamel also makes it easier for foods to stain the teeth. The acidity of foods like citrus drinks can soften the enamel and make it more prone to damage even from teeth brushing. It is best to wait an hour to brush teeth after eating highly acidic foods to allow the mineral content of the teeth to increase before brushing. Eating cheese or milk helps to neutralize the acid and reduce the damage.

Chipped and Broken Teeth

Part of the inner tooth structure includes pulp where blood vessels and nerves are located. As this area decreases over time, there is less water taken to the teeth and they become dry and brittle. This can result in tooth chips, cracks, and breakage.

Sensitivity to Hot and Cold Foods

As the enamel becomes thin, the more sensitive dentin layer is exposed and strong temperatures are felt more intensely. Receding gums may also lead to tooth sensitivity as can brushing teeth with too much pressure. There are specialized kinds of toothpaste which help to reinforce the tooth surface but if used while brushing too hard, the benefits are lost.

Receding Gums

The gums are likely to lose their elasticity with time, causing them to recede from the teeth. If spaces appear between the teeth and gums, food and bacteria can be trapped and create tooth decay. This condition is also known as periodontal disease, a serious threat to dental health. It is possible for infections to develop within the gums and spread to other areas of the body in the bloodstream.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is an important part of dental hygiene as it rinses the teeth of food particles, acid, and bacteria. With aging, less saliva is produced and some medications may cause a dry mouth. Rinsing with warm water can help replace the saliva’s cleansing function.

Maintaining Dental Health While Aging

The following suggestions will contribute to maintaining or creating dental health as you age:

  • gentle teeth brushing
  • rinsing mouth after meals
  • regular care from a dentistry professional
  • pharmacy products to lubricate the mouth
  • regular flossing
  • foods rich in calcium and vitamin D can strengthen teeth and gums

Aging brings about physical changes in teeth and gums which can lead to tooth decay, yellow and stained teeth and broken or chipped teeth. These problems can become serious to overall health and should be monitored and attended to when problems first appear. Changes in teeth and gums may also be a symptom of other conditions or diseases. Dentistry professionals check for signs of problems during routine check-ups to monitor a person’s general health. While aging cannot be prevented, there are choices available to reduce the impacts on dental health.

Pros and Cons of Required Flu Shots

Advantages and Disadvantages of Compulsory Influenza Vaccination

Look at the positive and negative aspects of required flu shots in healthcare personnel and other businesses.

Many healthcare facilities and other businesses now require annual mandatory flu shots for seasonal flu, H1N1, or both strains. Although the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed healthcare workers into a high priority to receive the seasonal flu and H1H1 influenza vaccines, those federal programs are voluntary. This article provides a look at the pros and cons of requiring flu vaccines for healthcare workers.

Pros of Mandatory Influenza Vaccines for Healthcare Workers

According to the article entitled “Information for Healthcare professionals: Influenza – prevent a bad disease with a good vaccine” on the National Influenza Vaccine Summit web site sponsored by the American Medical Association on January 22, 2010, many benefits can result from mandatory influenza vaccines, including the possibility of:

  • lower rates of influenza in healthcare professionals
  • fewer employee absences related to the flu
  • lower patient mortality rates
  • monetary benefits to the healthcare institution due to the above

According to the Flu.gov article entitled “About the Flu,” about 36,000 people die annually due to complications from the flu. Higher influenza vaccination rates among healthcare workers may result in a slowing of the spread of influenza with less potential to spread influenza to patients and other staff members. This can, in turn, save lives. The flu shots are protecting people from the flu and at the same time is lessening the symptoms in case someone develops an influenza infection. Businesses that require flu shots for employees typically provide them free of charge.

Cons of Required Flu Shots for People who Work in Healthcare

Although vaccination rates have increased with mandatory influenza programs, some of those programs may have had problems with implementation. For example, the CDC recommends that certain people not receive the influenza vaccine, and it is important to provide employees the opportunity to receive an exemption under certain medical or religious circumstances. An educational program should be in place for those administering the vaccines as well as those who are receiving the shots.

Some employees may not qualify for the institution’s exempt status but may have serious concerns related to receiving the influenza vaccine. They may have had a bad experience after a previous flu shot. They may have allergies or sensitivities to other vaccines, preservatives, or other ingredients that may be in the vaccine. These employees might be concerned about possible negative health effects resulting from the vaccine or may be concerned about possible side effects and risks of the flu shot.

Those that do qualify for an exemption may still leave the institution because they may be required to wear a mask throughout the flu season once the vaccines are available, whether or not they have any flu-like symptoms. Most programs do not require employees who receive the flu shot to wear a mask during the two-week period of time that it typically takes for the body to build antibodies to the influenza virus.

According to the CDC’s online article “Seasonal Flu Shot,” the influenza vaccine effectiveness varies, but in healthy adults younger than 65 years, the shot has been shown to be 70-90% effective when the vaccine closely matches the influenza strain of that particular year. This may leave 10-30% or more vulnerable to the flu despite receiving the shot, but only those who did not receive a shot would typically be required to wear a mask during the flu season.

Some employees might argue that if they have not been exposed to the flu that they do not pose a threat to the populations they serve, particularly if they work in areas in which they do not have direct contact with vulnerable populations. Older employees might argue that their age group is not a high risk for H1N1 flu and that limited supplies should go to younger employees and to those who are providing direct care. Other employees may argue that receiving the nasal flu vaccine might pose a threat to others who are immunocompromised if other vaccines are limited in supply.

Mandatory Flu Shots – Are They Worth It?

Many healthcare institutions and other businesses have instituted mandatory flu shots for employees, although the CDC maintains the recommendation of voluntary programs. Although influenza vaccines provide many people with protection from the flu and its potentially deadly side effects, some excellent employees would rather face disciplinary action and even termination rather than to receive required annual flu vaccines.