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Tuesday
Jun272017

Caring For An Aging Loved One? There's An App For That

As our parents age, weighing their care options can be a difficult and emotional process. In many cases, keeping them at home is appealing, as "aging in place" allows your loved one to stick to their same routines. However, this independence can also present health risks.

Fortunately, modern technology is evolving to make living at home more safe and healthy. 

It is estimated that two thirds of older people in the United States are living with multiple chronic conditions. This population also makes up 66% of the nation's healthcare budget. Caring for an aging loved one can be more complicated when they have a strict medication and treatment regimen to manage these conditions, so app developers are making it easier to monitor senior health. 

If you are caring for a senior family member, the following apps may help you out:

  1. Balance: For Alzheimer's Caregivers

    This app provides both organizational and informational tools for caregivers of those with Alzheimer's. Users can get specific tips on how to address certain behavior and care needs, and can also read up on the latest Alzheimer's health news. The app also has medication, appointment, and other scheduling tools.


  2. CareZone

    CareZone allows multiple family members to connect on a simple interface, keeping track of their loved one's care schedule, medications, behaviors, and daily tasks. Users can also upload files and photos to share with their family network. The app also has a reminder system built in, so your family member can avoid missing medication doses.


  3. Elder 911 and Elder 411

    Created by the same company, these apps are great resources for medical information and advice. Elder 411 has over 500 pieces of expert information organized into categories. Elder 911 focuses on the transition from hospital to home, helping caregivers plan discharge, care transfers, doctor recommendations, and other topics.


  4. Dementia Caregiver Solutions

    This app provides specific advice for addressing complicated dementia-related behaviors. Users can click on the problem at hand and receive solutions. You can then star the solutions that work to use later. The app also provides more general information about dementia as a whole.


Technology is changing the way that we address common health concerns. Dizziness, for example, is estimated to impact 65% of people over 60-years-old on a daily basis. Not only do smartphones make it easier to call and check in on aging loved ones, but informational apps are now able to suggest possible causes for common ailments like dizziness.

Carol Marak, editor at Seniorcare.com, writes in Huffington Post that caregiving technology will evolve to make truly independent living more feasible.

"Keeping a person safe and comfortable at home through a platform that automates everyday devices is a good start for aging in place," she writes. "But how about the personal care needs that people have as they decline? If a person intends to live at home as long as they can manage, technology must adapt to those issues as well. The medical term is activities of daily living, and deal with the day-to-day things like bathing, cooking, grooming, cleaning, walking, using the bathroom, and oral hygiene."

Just remember, no matter how evolved our tech and mobile apps become, it is still important to see a medical professional for all concerns. If your loved one is having an emergency, call 9-1-1 or get them to care immediately.

Sunday
Jun042017

Epson Unveils Workforce Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer

I recently had the opportunity to review the new Epson Expression ET-3600 EcoTank printer. I am always impressed when I receive a new Epson printer and they always provide top-notch printing and ease of use for my home office. I'm not an overly technical person, so I like that they are easy to set up and operate.

Plus the speed and print quality are amazing. However, I think, the best part about this printer is that you rarely have to worry about running out of ink! The printer comes with enough ink for two years right in the box and there aren't cartridges that you have to constantly change.That's enough ink to print up to 8,500 pages! I know many of you probably print more than I do, but it's going to take me a long time to go through that much ink! That's equivalent to 50 ink cartridges; so think of how much time and money we'll be saving without buying and changing cartridges constantly.

The printer is fast and I never have any issues with it keeping up with my demand. It prints double-sided, which I love and it's conntected to my wireless network; allowing me to print from my laptop, smartphone and tablet. It's very convenient and provides exactly what I need for my home office.

From Epson::

Expression ET-3600 EcoTank All-in-One Supertank Printer – designed for the small office/home office market, this printer offers an in-box ink yield of up to 11,000 black and 8,500 color pages and fast print speeds of up to 13.7 ISO ppm (black) and 7.3 ISO ppm (color). The ET-3600 is packed with an unbeatable combination of convenience and value, boasting auto 2-sided printing, a 150-sheet paper capacity and offering wireless printing from tablets and smartphones.

Pricing and Availability

The WorkForce Expression ET-3600 EcoTank ($399 MSRP) will be available mid-September 2016 through major computer, office and electronic superstores and www.epsonstore.com. For more information and availability, please visit www.epson.com/ecotank.

About Epson

Epson is a global technology leader dedicated to connecting people, things and information with its original efficient, compact and precision technologies. With a lineup that ranges from inkjet printers and digital printing systems to 3LCD projectors, smart glasses, sensing systems and industrial robots, the company is focused on driving innovations and exceeding customer expectations in inkjet, visual communications, wearables and robotics.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 67,000 employees in 90 companies around the world, and is proud of its contributions to the communities in which it operates and its ongoing efforts to reduce environmental impacts.

Epson America, Inc., based in Long Beach, Calif., is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: epson.com. You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (facebook.com/Epson), Twitter (twitter.com/EpsonAmerica), YouTube (youtube.com/EpsonAmerica), and Instagram (instagram.com/EpsonAmerica).

*I received a complimentary product in order to write this review; however, all opinions are my own.

 

Sunday
Jun042017

Product Review:: Krazy Words & More!

It's that time of year again when I'm asked to review some new toys and games from BRIO, Ravensburger and Wonder Forge! Admittedly, because of so many things happening in my professional and personal life, I'm a bit behind this time :( Before Easter, I was sent these great products to review. And, although we've played with them several times since, I'm just now getting around to posting my review.

As always, they didn't disappoint. My 11 and 10 year-olds have been having so much fun with the Krazy Words game. They love the Apples to Apples style where they have to guess their opponents responses. This game is great for language skills because it requires them to create words that they think mean a certain thing, and then guess others' creations. We've had a lot of fun creating and guessing.

More from their site: GARBUNA? What is that!? An "Australian marsupial"? A "brand of chocolate bar"? Or perhaps "somebody remarkably smart"? This crazy word fits only one of the task cards on the table. It may sound or look like it fits multiple cards, but it's up to you to guess the correct one! In this outrageous game of weird words, you'll want to put your creativity and quick-wittedness into high gear to win!

We were also sent My First Take Along Set from BRIO. This, we requested to share with our small nephews that LOVE trains! This set was perfect for them (ages 1 &2). It's easy to manuever and compact for clean up purposes. The boys have enjoyed playing with it and interchanging it with their other train sets. I am always impressed by BRIO's high quality products and this one was no different. It is very sturdy and well made; great for toddlers!

More from their site: A play bag with bright colours, just for you! Take it along when travelling or visiting and play wherever you want. Just open the bag and drive the bell wagon down the track. Fun to use and easy to store.

You can read our past posts and reviews about several more games and toys by BRIO, Wonder Forge and Ravensburger, here.

*I recieved complimentary products in order to write this review; however all opinions are my own.


Thursday
May252017

Benefits for Using Your Tablet-Based POS System

In today’s ever changing world of technology, it is important to keep up with the trends. Tablet-based POS systems are one of those trends that are proving to be beneficial to businesses in many ways. Learn more about some of the benefits and find out what this system can do for your business.

Better Customer Service and More Sales

Using a tablet-based POS system for your business will first and foremost improve your customer service and drum up more sales. This is because most customers want convenience when they shop, and having a tablet-based POS system does just that. It allows your business to conduct transactions right there on the spot, which is extremely convenient for customers. Additionally, most customers do not carry cash, as our society today is typically using debit and credit cards for convenience. By implementing a tablet-based POS system, your business will inevitably increase its’ sales by providing this convenience to your customers.

Affordable and Easy

Another great benefit is that these systems are more affordable and easy to use than traditional POS systems. Tablet-based systems allow the ease of keeping your records of sales, inventory, and other records right at your fingertips, and even include a built-in credit card reader. In addition to being easy, tablet-based POS systems are also more affordable in that they typically include a free credit card machine, small monthly fee for software, and the ability to cancel and change software if you are unhappy with the product.

Good for the Environment

Another benefit of a tablet-based POS system that you might not have considered is that you will be doing good for the environment. These systems allow for less use of paper in that they can provide electronic receipts and records for your customers and for you. No more printing and saving receipts or balancing the cash drawer, this machine does it all while lowering your carbon footprint!

 

Thursday
Apr132017

5 Snacks to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

You're a busy mom. From the moment the alarm goes off until you hop into bed, you're always doing something – dropping off the kids at school, picking them up from soccer practice and getting some work done somewhere in between the madness.

Who has the time to make snacks? You're too busy wondering what you're going to make for dinner. I know this sentiment all too well. It's much easier to pick up a few staple snacks at the store and call it a day.

But I've found that it really doesn't take that much time to make some of your kids' favorite snacks at home. As a bonus, your homemade versions are usually healthier and less expensive.

Here are five easy snacks to stop buying and start making at home:

1. Yogurt Pouches

My kids love yogurt pouches, better known as "Go Gurt." And I always assumed they were a healthy snack choice – until I read the ingredients.

Aside from the strange ingredients I couldn't pronounce, the yogurt in these pouches had a surprising amount of sugar.

Yogurt pouches are so easy to make at home, and you can buy ZipZicles online that can be filled with your own little concoctions.

When I say these snacks are easy to make, I'm not exaggerating. If you have a blender (food processor will also work), yogurt and fruit, you're good to go.

Experiment with different fruits and ratios of fruit to yogurt to get the flavors and textures you want.

When you're done blending, use a funnel to fill the ZipZicles pouches and enjoy. If you don’t want to use pouches, you can just fill a baby mason jar with your yogurt. But kids really do love eating out of these pouches.

2. Apple Chips

We love fruit chips in our house, but apple chips are the best, according to the kids. Store-bought apple chips can be expensive (like $1.50 for a very small bag), but you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you can use your own ingredients and ditch the preservatives and added sugars.

To make your own apple chips, you'll need two things:

  • Apples
  • Cinnamon

Sure, you can make these chips in a dehydrator, but that would take forever. We bake ours in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour and a half.

  • Bake for 30-45 minutes.
  • Flip the apple slices.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Bake for another 30-45 minutes. 
  •    

The chips come out crispy, and they're naturally sweet. Cinnamon makes this treat taste delectable.

3. Cereal Bars

Cereal bars are a great way for the kids (and adults) to get their servings of whole grain and fruit. But these bars can be expensive when you buy them in the store. They're also loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients.

Making your own is easier than you think.

The trickiest part (and it's really not that tricky) is making the crust.

Here's what you'll need to make the crust:

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups oats
  • I tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups pastry flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder

You could even turn this into a yeast-based crust and make the dough in your breadmaker to save time.

The filling is so easy to make. Just blend your favorite fruit with a little bit of water.

To make your bars, roll out the dough, cut into bar-sized rectangles, place a dollop of filling in the center, fold the dough  over, and seal the edges to keep the filling inside.

We bake ours at 350F for about 15-18 minutes.

4. Trail Mix

Have you seen the cost of a bag of trail mix? Furthermore, have you looked at the ingredients in these mixes?

It's incredibly easy to make your own trail mix blend, and you can add whatever ingredients you want.

  • Cashews, almonds and pecans.    
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried fruit
  • Dark chocolate chunks, peanuts and pistachios.     

You're only limited by your imagination and your taste buds when making your own trail mix blend. We've even added spices to our mix for a unique flavor twist.

5. Fruit Leather

I can remember eating Fruit Roll-ups as a kid, and now, my kids love them, too. But I can't bring myself to buy a snack that's loaded in sugar and preservatives. The amount of actual fruit in these snacks is questionable.

Like apple chips, fruit leather is so easy to make at home. You don't need a dehydrator either – just some parchment paper and a little time.

To make your fruit snack, puree your fruit in a blender or food processor. You can blend just one fruit, or a mixture of different fruits.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the puree onto it. Make sure the puree is evenly distributed across the pan to allow for even cooking.

All that’s left to do is bake your snack at 175F for three to four hours. After two hours, check the fruit leather every 30 minutes, and remove it when it's ready. It will be done when it's dry to the touch.

Which snacks do you make at home? Share in the comments!

Bio: Joe Hughes, known by most as the Village Baker, is an expert in homestyle cooking techniques, with a primary interest in baking. He runs the very popular website, http://www.village-bakery.com, which provides the latest homestyle cooking news, techniques, tricks, and recipes. He can be reached at Joe@Village-Bakery.com.

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