Lifehack your parents

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Lifehack your parents

Post by Turdacious » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:20 am

I'm assuming that quite a few of us have parents that either are or will soon be retired. What have you done to improve their lives and how has it worked?

I'll go first-- my mom is (semi)retired, living alone, and currently on a fixed income. I don't live near her.
1. Exercise. Unable to get her to do fitness classes (yoga, tai chi, etc...). Unwilling to go out and walk because she's nervous about shithead neighbors and it's not something her friends do. She's a retired LEO in a small town, so that's somewhat legit. Purchased her a treadmill which she doesn't really use. Built her a custom table for in front of her front window a couple years back that she can use as a buffet table and keeps her dog away from her front window. She uses it as a standing desk regularly, which is something. I'll call this a work in progress and a major time suck on my part.
2. Lawn mowing. She was previously using a lawn service costing her $60+ a month. Her yard is relatively small. I purchased an Fiskars reel mower (she wanted a manual mower) and an electric trimmer and now she mows her own yard. The reel mower forces her to mow weekly (moar exercise). The electric trimmer is light weight enough that she can physically handle it, and the spool is easy to adjust and change. The sell seemed to be the idea that a little old lady mowing her own yard > grown men in her neighborhood who don't. Success.
3. Amazon Prime. She's not a shopaholic, but shopping is a social event (which has value). Convinced her to sign up for Amazon Prime which saves her money on some regularly purchased items. Dealing with what to do if a delivery gets stolen was a long conversation, but was able to convince her that Amazon understands and won't punish her for theft (which she's never experienced FWIW). Definitely reduced emergency trips to the store (state of emergency in her area this winter-- and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips in bad weather was a major reason for the suggestion), so worth it there, and she does save money on certain items that she regularly purchases. Hasn't reduced overall trips to the store, but there is that social value in those. Probably a wash financially. My stress is down. Success.

Working on cord cutting now, which should be interesting.
"Liberalism is arbitrarily selective in its choice of whose dignity to champion." Adrian Vermeule

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by TerryB » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:29 am

great thread
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Beer Jew » Tue Jan 17, 2017 5:48 am

Turd, this is warning number one. You get two more crap threads and then yuor banned.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by tonkadtx » Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:58 pm

This is a good idea for a thread Turd. I am starting to run into some of the same issues with my mother. She has some issues with her mobility (walking and balance). I'm lucky, we own a three family so we live in the same building and I am able to provide immediate assistance most of the time.
3. Amazon Prime. She's not a shopaholic, but shopping is a social event (which has value). Convinced her to sign up for Amazon Prime which saves her money on some regularly purchased items. Dealing with what to do if a delivery gets stolen was a long conversation, but was able to convince her that Amazon understands and won't punish her for theft (which she's never experienced FWIW). Definitely reduced emergency trips to the store (state of emergency in her area this winter-- and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips in bad weather was a major reason for the suggestion), so worth it there, and she does save money on certain items that she regularly purchases. Hasn't reduced overall trips to the store, but there is that social value in those. Probably a wash financially. My stress is down. Success.
- If you select normal shipping instead of 2 day on Prime, you earn credit for Prime Pantry which can be used to buy household goods.
- You can set up Subscribe and Save on a lot of goods. My mom has some medical supplies, we have them sent in a package once a month. The more you buy the cheaper they are.
- I got friendly with my UPS guys, they know my mom, they hide my deliveries for me.

Some other things:

Supermarkets near me offer shopping service. You call in your list, they pull it from the shelf and deliver it. You can leave a card on file.

I would really like to cord cut, the cable bill is nuts (mom is a movie nut), but my mom is married to a level of tech. She will not learn to use a remote for Netflix and Sling, etc.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by seeahill » Tue Jan 17, 2017 6:58 pm

My parents passed away more than a dozen years ago. They lived in Tucson, I live in Montana. I saw them once a year, maybe twice.

My biggest regret is that I didn't make more time to see them more often.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Turdacious » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:35 pm

tonkadtx wrote:Some other things:

Supermarkets near me offer shopping service. You call in your list, they pull it from the shelf and deliver it. You can leave a card on file.

I would really like to cord cut, the cable bill is nuts (mom is a movie nut), but my mom is married to a level of tech. She will not learn to use a remote for Netflix and Sling, etc.
That's interesting, not just because those are really good ideas, but also because every situation like this is a legit snowflake.

My mom lives in a small town that's about 50 miles away from the nearest area transmitters. She primarily watches local channels and a religious channel. Within the last week I've sent her a Mohu Leaf 50 and a Fire Stick. I can probably coach her on the fire stick over the phone and set her up with a couple of apps that will cost her less than $10 a month. I'm hoping that she'll move it on occasion to the TV set up in front of the treadmill she currently doesn't use. Setting up the Leaf may be a problem--I'll probably have to set it up on a future visit. If the leaf doesn't work, NBD. Saving $50 a month would be cool, but gaining more ability to be social (because she doesn't have to be home at a certain time to watch her shows), having access to stuff her grandkids actually want to watch when they're over, and more incentive to workout are my real goals.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Kirk » Tue Jan 17, 2017 7:50 pm

I will just say that you need to do what you can to keep your parents active, both physically and mentally, as much as possible. Once the mind goes, e.g., you're dealing with something like dementia, it's pretty much game over. My Mom was diagnosed with dementia over a year ago (I just found out, although it was clear something was going on). She went from looking healthy and well below her age 18 months ago to looking bent over and decrepit now. She's 81. Over the years I've encouraged her to get out/walk, do some strength training (which I often supervised), took her to yoga, etc. Maybe I didn't do enough early enough and maybe she was heading this way regardless. I don't know. Anyway, I think the effort is worthwhile so do what you can.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by DrDonkeyLove » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:40 pm

People do what they want, especially old people.

Get ready for catastrophe. Chronic illness, a fall, surgery gone wrong, dementia, or something is likely sooner or later. Best to research how you'll respond to that now rather than doing it in the midst of the hurricane. Get ready to take a substantial amount of unexpected time off of work.

If there are people who can keep an eye on her locally to see how she's holding up, it's in everyone's best interest. An apartment is a good idea -especially one filled with older people. They keep an eye on each other. Get an idea of which senior apartment complexes & assisted living facilities are best and affordable.

If you have siblings it's better to get on the same page now rather than battling when things get ugly and everyone is in emotional extremis. I found social services people to be almost useless. $$$$ and understanding the details of Medicaid, social security, wives of veterans benefits, etc. will help a lot.

And, if she goes suddenly crazy, immediately have her checked for a UTI.

Some of the most touching and most brutal times I experienced with my parents were in the last few years of their lives.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by odin » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:17 pm

I got mine a weekend break at dignitas. Not heard from them since so I assume they enjoyed it.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by milosz » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:50 pm

My parents' (really, my dad's) DirecTV bill is insane - all the movie channels, the NFL and MLB packages, the works. I can't believe he's watched anything on the movie channels (barring Game of Thrones, etc.) in years but maybe. I gave up trying to convince him to do anything else - and the upside is that his DirecTV login gives me access to the streaming NFL stuff.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by milosz » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:51 pm

When I got 300mbps cable Internet they had to follow suit, even though they don't stream anything or play games online. At least that was only $20 more/month.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Turdacious » Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:58 pm

milosz wrote:My parents' (really, my dad's) DirecTV bill is insane - all the movie channels, the NFL and MLB packages, the works. I can't believe he's watched anything on the movie channels (barring Game of Thrones, etc.) in years but maybe. I gave up trying to convince him to do anything else - and the upside is that his DirecTV login gives me access to the streaming NFL stuff.
The sports is a tough one. I cut the cord hoping I can use a proxy VPN to watch local MLB games and the Pac 12 network the next during football season.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by milosz » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:57 pm

I got a cheap cable package so I can watch English Premier League/Liverpool games because the streaming options (even w/ DirecTV login) are garbage. I may try torrenting them next season - I always DVR and watch a few hours later so as long as I keep avoiding spoilers there shouldn't be much difference.

World soccer is ripe for a mlb.tv streaming system, the audience for soccer in the US are exactly the kind of people who are comfortable with cordcutting.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Mickey O'neil » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:05 pm

That is my only gripe with going the streaming/Roku option. I haven't been able to find a way to watch soccer, which is about the only sport I care to watch now.
milosz wrote:I got a cheap cable package so I can watch English Premier League/Liverpool games because the streaming options (even w/ DirecTV login) are garbage. I may try torrenting them next season - I always DVR and watch a few hours later so as long as I keep avoiding spoilers there shouldn't be much difference.

World soccer is ripe for a mlb.tv streaming system, the audience for soccer in the US are exactly the kind of people who are comfortable with cordcutting.

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by nafod » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:57 pm

Turdacious wrote:I'm assuming that quite a few of us have parents that either are or will soon be retired. What have you done to improve their lives and how has it worked?

I'll go first-- my mom is (semi)retired, living alone, and currently on a fixed income. I don't live near her.
1. Exercise. Unable to get her to do fitness classes (yoga, tai chi, etc...). Unwilling to go out and walk because she's nervous about shithead neighbors and it's not something her friends do. She's a retired LEO in a small town, so that's somewhat legit. Purchased her a treadmill which she doesn't really use. Built her a custom table for in front of her front window a couple years back that she can use as a buffet table and keeps her dog away from her front window. She uses it as a standing desk regularly, which is something. I'll call this a work in progress and a major time suck on my part.
2. Lawn mowing. She was previously using a lawn service costing her $60+ a month. Her yard is relatively small. I purchased an Fiskars reel mower (she wanted a manual mower) and an electric trimmer and now she mows her own yard. The reel mower forces her to mow weekly (moar exercise). The electric trimmer is light weight enough that she can physically handle it, and the spool is easy to adjust and change. The sell seemed to be the idea that a little old lady mowing her own yard > grown men in her neighborhood who don't. Success.
3. Amazon Prime. She's not a shopaholic, but shopping is a social event (which has value). Convinced her to sign up for Amazon Prime which saves her money on some regularly purchased items. Dealing with what to do if a delivery gets stolen was a long conversation, but was able to convince her that Amazon understands and won't punish her for theft (which she's never experienced FWIW). Definitely reduced emergency trips to the store (state of emergency in her area this winter-- and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips in bad weather was a major reason for the suggestion), so worth it there, and she does save money on certain items that she regularly purchases. Hasn't reduced overall trips to the store, but there is that social value in those. Probably a wash financially. My stress is down. Success.

Working on cord cutting now, which should be interesting.
Does she have a computer?

If so, do you have remote access to her desktop so you can maintain it?
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by johno » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:04 am

Kirk wrote:I will just say that you need to do what you can to keep your parents active, both physically and mentally, as much as possible. Once the mind goes, e.g., you're dealing with something like dementia, it's pretty much game over. My Mom was diagnosed with dementia over a year ago (I just found out, although it was clear something was going on). She went from looking healthy and well below her age 18 months ago to looking bent over and decrepit now. She's 81. Over the years I've encouraged her to get out/walk, do some strength training (which I often supervised), took her to yoga, etc. Maybe I didn't do enough early enough and maybe she was heading this way regardless. I don't know. Anyway, I think the effort is worthwhile so do what you can.
As I understand, there's something called the UCLA Dementia Program that reversed dementia often for people with fairly advanced dementia.

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/memor ... first-time
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by dkay » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:13 am

As with most complex life issues, booze, drugs, and prostitutes is the complete answer (or following Pareto's principle, will get you 80% of the way there).

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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Turdacious » Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:39 am

nafod wrote:
Turdacious wrote:I'm assuming that quite a few of us have parents that either are or will soon be retired. What have you done to improve their lives and how has it worked?

I'll go first-- my mom is (semi)retired, living alone, and currently on a fixed income. I don't live near her.
1. Exercise. Unable to get her to do fitness classes (yoga, tai chi, etc...). Unwilling to go out and walk because she's nervous about shithead neighbors and it's not something her friends do. She's a retired LEO in a small town, so that's somewhat legit. Purchased her a treadmill which she doesn't really use. Built her a custom table for in front of her front window a couple years back that she can use as a buffet table and keeps her dog away from her front window. She uses it as a standing desk regularly, which is something. I'll call this a work in progress and a major time suck on my part.
2. Lawn mowing. She was previously using a lawn service costing her $60+ a month. Her yard is relatively small. I purchased an Fiskars reel mower (she wanted a manual mower) and an electric trimmer and now she mows her own yard. The reel mower forces her to mow weekly (moar exercise). The electric trimmer is light weight enough that she can physically handle it, and the spool is easy to adjust and change. The sell seemed to be the idea that a little old lady mowing her own yard > grown men in her neighborhood who don't. Success.
3. Amazon Prime. She's not a shopaholic, but shopping is a social event (which has value). Convinced her to sign up for Amazon Prime which saves her money on some regularly purchased items. Dealing with what to do if a delivery gets stolen was a long conversation, but was able to convince her that Amazon understands and won't punish her for theft (which she's never experienced FWIW). Definitely reduced emergency trips to the store (state of emergency in her area this winter-- and avoiding unnecessary shopping trips in bad weather was a major reason for the suggestion), so worth it there, and she does save money on certain items that she regularly purchases. Hasn't reduced overall trips to the store, but there is that social value in those. Probably a wash financially. My stress is down. Success.

Working on cord cutting now, which should be interesting.
Does she have a computer?

If so, do you have remote access to her desktop so you can maintain it?
Haven't gone down that route yet. At this point she's taking it to Staples and driving the tech staff crazy when necessary. Not a bad idea to consider though.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Protobuilder » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:08 am

I talked to my parents back in 2014 and they seemed fine, basically.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by baffled » Tue Jan 31, 2017 4:29 pm

The key is to not treat your parents like toddlers. They'll do what they want, when they want.

My dad pointed out that a suggestion is nice, but after that I should shut up and let he and my mom decide for themselves.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Blaidd Drwg » Tue Jan 31, 2017 5:10 pm

Both parent are in their 70's...my dad's down to 30 hours weeks building drag cars and other oddities. He's walked off stage 4 cancer twice (Lung, Brain and Lymphoma) and is still smoking along. My Mom's got a hobby farm and powerlifts in the USAPL. I just try to keep out of their way.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Turdacious » Thu May 31, 2018 3:41 am

For those of you with parents who garden and who have mobility/balance issues, an action hoe is a great gift.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by Sangoma » Thu May 31, 2018 5:55 am

My mom is 77 years old. Last year she dislocated her shoulder as the result of the fall. Thankfully I was with her in Moscow that time, and could influence the events to some extent (dealing with Russian healthcare is a very testing experience). In March she also had to have femora-popliteal bypass, which had to be revised two months later. She is good now, but I learned couple of things from this.

1. When people get older they start crumbling suddenly. Everything is ok, and then several things go wrong at once.

2. Old folk often behave like toddlers, either you like it or not. You can take the stance "I gave the advice, what they do with it is their business", but it's not that simple. Problems tend to get worse, and then you will have to deal with much bigger issue, which could be prevented if they followed the advice earlier. SO sometimes you have to persist with your advice.

3. They often listen to people other than their children. Why - I have no idea. I've been a doctor for over thirty years, passed numerous medical exams in two countries, currently covering various surgeons and have plenty of colleagues to ask for advice (which I extensively did in my mom's case) - yet she almost went for some laser procedure on the varicose veins, for which they would charge good money. No ethical doctor would offer this shit, given her symptoms, which were classical for the peripheral vascular disease.

Anyway, guys, this is the lesson in impermanence. Everybody gets old and eventually dies. My wife went to Moscow to look after mo mother, and now she is triple committed to a diet and exercise, in order to delay hospital experience as long as possible. Parents are not getting any younger, and sooner or later most of us will have to deal with their health problems.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by syaigh » Thu May 31, 2018 1:45 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 5:55 am


3. They often listen to people other than their children. Why - I have no idea. I've been a doctor for over thirty years, passed numerous medical exams in two countries, currently covering various surgeons and have plenty of colleagues to ask for advice (which I extensively did in my mom's case) - yet she almost went for some laser procedure on the varicose veins, for which they would charge good money. No ethical doctor would offer this shit, given her symptoms, which were classical for the peripheral vascular disease.

f


One of my friends is an 80 year old horse breeder. His kids have all but given up on him, but I go visit him semi-regularly and bring him food and he's always happy to see me. Sometimes he even takes my advice, but yeah, I think its the same with kids. Ie, its always good to have a fresh face they haven't been fighting with their whole lives to keep them focused on stuff that is good for them and give them an outlet to vent.

As an aside, my parents live up the street and my dad had to put his dog down recently. He's been down and kind of lonely (my mom has a very active social life.) I recently found a young crow injured on the road and took it to him to rehab. He's happier than I've seen him in a while. Sometimes they need purpose outside of their routines as well.
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Re: Lifehack your parents

Post by DikTracy6000 » Thu May 31, 2018 2:44 pm

Turdacious wrote:
Thu May 31, 2018 3:41 am
For those of you with parents who garden and who have mobility/balance issues, an action hoe is a great gift.
Wished I'd seen this a couple weeks ago. Had one in my hand at Walmart and said wth is this? Now watched a video and will have to get one. I hate pulling weeds in wife's flower gardens and she can barely do it herself anymore.

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