Valentine’s Day is a fun and festive time to celebrate love. While Valentine’s Day is commonly used to celebrate romantic relationships, it can also be a good day to spend time with family and friends and celebrate the love you share for each other. If you’re wondering how to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones, here are some family-friendly fun activities for you to consider.
Decorate Your Home
Decorating your home in pink and red is a great way to start. Make decorating an enjoyable activity by putting on some light music and having kids help with hanging up the decorations. You can even make Valentine’s Day crafts with your kids, friends and relatives who share your knack in making heart tassel charms, sequin pins, tissue paper wreaths, air-dry clay hearts and the like. Another sweet way to decorate is to get some colorful post-its from your neighborhood drugstore and write kind loving notes to each other. You can use these to decorate by sticking them on the wall, the fridge, the kitchen table, or just keep them for a bad day.
Spread Love Through Gifts
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, candy hearts, and cards are inexpensive gifts that can make a big impact on Valentine’s Day. You can also often find fun toys, salty snacks, and other small Valentines-themed items throughout the first two weeks of February. These are cute gifts to give to kids or other family members to spread love. Your local drugstore is a great place to find festive gifts for your family members, even at the last minute. Shop local helps spread love to your local community too!
Spend Time with Family
Valentine’s Day is a good day to spend time with family looking back on the memories you share. With elderly parents, you can look back on old photo albums from weddings, births, and other family milestones. If you’re unable to spend time with a parent, share albums with another relative or pass albums along to home care aides who offer companionship to your elderly loved one.
If you have kids who are old enough, you can also reminisce on old memories with a Valentine’s Day theme, looking back on old home videos or baby books with some heart-shaped snacks.
We all remember fun times in the kitchen at home. How about making Valentine’s Day cupcakes or candy together? Be sure to prepare plenty of coloring, frosting, powdered sugar, and other fun ingredients!
Wear pink and red at home or work and take pictures to celebrate Valentine’s Day! You could even buy fun accessories like feather boas or bead necklaces and do a family photoshoot. If you enjoy throwing parties, have a pink and red themed party. Valentine’s Day parties are a great way to put your festive decorations and pink and red attire to good use.
If you’re throwing or attending a party where you plan to wear pink or red, some Boston dry cleaners offer Valentine’s Day discounts for pink or red garments and household items. Get your garments and table linens cleaned before your party to look your best!
Enjoy Valentine’s Day with plenty of fun, laughter, good food, music and dancing, and don’t forget to show your love. Take advantage of local stores and discounts to get in the community’s Valentine’s Day spirit too!
Boston has a lot of baby boomers who live by themselves or with their children in the area. If you have an elderly parent or parents who are aging in place at home, it is important to know what precautions to take to keep their living environment in safe and healthy condition.
Ensure The Home Is Free From Odor
As we age, our senses become less sharp. It can be difficult for elderly people to detect odor or temperature changes at home. As a result, should there be mold, lots of dust or a gas leak, they are not likely to detect it. This is not a problem if your parents live with you, but if your parents live alone, it is a good idea to hire in home care aides a few hours a week to check in the general well being of your parents.
Home care aides are able to identify strange smells, leaks, or other things that seem odd in your parents’ home, as well as take action on these problems. For example, they may notice a smell that indicates a propane leak, which can quickly become a safety issue if not addressed by a propane provider. They can also help to ensure the home is clean and clear of dust, which can worsen health and breathing problems common in elderly people. While prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can help manage these problems, keeping their space free of allergens is also an important part of addressing potential allergic reactions.
Prevent Slips and Falls
It is common for elderly people to have trouble walking and be prone to slips and falls. Falls can have serious consequences for elderly people. A study published in The Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, found that older adults were three times as likely to die following a low-level fall compared to individuals younger than 70.
Even if your parents live with you, there are times when they will be on their own, like in their rooms, in the bathroom, and when you may not be at home. Therefore, it is important to remove potential fall hazards. For example, avoid using extension cords or long electrical cords that could be tripped over, invest in storage systems to reduce the amount of clutter on the floor, and ensure that loose dirty laundry is contained in hampers and washed regularly. A few simple baskets could help tremendously in preventing your parents from slipping on cords, laundry, or sheets.
Install Safety Equipment
Seemingly easy tasks like showering or using the restroom can be a struggle for elderly people. Equipment like shower grab bars, raised toilet seats, and shower seats can help people continue to complete basic hygiene tasks independently as they age by preventing slips and falls and making it easier to perform each step of the process. Whether your elderly parents are living alone or with you, they’re likely still going to be in the bathroom alone. Extra precautions can keep tasks like showering safe and accessible for elderly people.
Safe and Accessible Homes
Elderly people prefer to age at home, the place that they are familiar with and love. However, we need to ensure that it is safe for them to do so. These precautions help to ensure that home is safe and accessible for your elderly parents, and they can live independently while avoiding any accidents.
Home and Family blog provides tips for family fun and home improvement ideas in Boston. Check it out for family activity ideas and more tips for maintaining your home.
Despite the joyous festivities and celebrations surrounding us during the winter season, some of us may feel the holiday blues. Perhaps it’s due to lack of sleep and stress from the extra activity, overeating and drinking, stress from overspending or not being able to afford gifts for friends and family, social isolation, and so on. So how do you cope with these bouts of depression?
Spend time with loved ones
While most of us have lots of parties and gatherings both at work and at home during the holidays, the elderly are often more socially isolated. Schedule some time with your senior loved ones. You will both have a good time. If that is not possible, try companion care by home caregivers.
You may be inundated with party invitations, or busy with preparing your own celebrations, turn down some of these activities and save some down time for yourself to rest, and get plenty of sleep. If necessary, get sleeping aids from your trusted local pharmacy.
Get a work out
Exercise will get your heart rate up and release mood-boosting endorphins to chase out the holiday blues. Working out in the outdoors with outdoor fitness equipment or playing a basketball game will bring wonderful physical, mental and social benefits. A quick 10 minute walk in the neighborhood can do the trick, too, especially when you feel overwhelmed and just need to take a break to relax.
Avoid overeating and drinking
We often eat and drink too much at parties. This can affect your mood and overall well-being. To avoid overeating, fill up on vegetables before going to a party. And if you still end up eating too much, get relief from digestive medicines — make sure you have those stocked up at home.
Holiday preparations can be overwhelming. Make a to-do list. Keep everything simple. Set reasonable expectations for activities such as shopping, cooking, entertaining, sending holiday cards and gifts, going to parties, etc., and set aside specific days for them. You can save time by shopping online. Don’t forget time saving services such as house-cleaning and laundry delivery service.
Set a budget
It’s easy to overextend yourself financially for presents and parties. Don’t try to buy happiness with gifts. This will bring a lot of stress and anxiety. Instead set a budget and stick to it. Try giving homemade gifts, or donate to a charity in someone’s name.
Helping others can also be very helpful for you, too. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities during the holidays. For example, you might try
Take a break when you feel stressed. Listen to some music at home. Go to the park and read a book on a park bench.
If you can’t shake out the blues, you might wish to see a doctor and get some prescribed medication or other treatment, especially if your sadness stays even after the holidays are over.
It’s that time of year again. Holiday parties are just around the corner in the Boston area, so if you’re planning on hosting or attending a party, take a moment to make sure you and your family are ready for such an event.
Follow the tips listed below to not only make the most of your holiday party, but to also help the people you love to make the most of their own events. It’s the season of giving, after all. So do your best to give, both to yourself and your loved ones.
Look Your Best
A big part of holiday prep before a party goes into looking good before the event starts. Start getting ready early so that you can take your time. Dry clean your holiday outfits and if you plan to host parties at home, make sure you take your tablecloth and linens to the cleaners, too.
With so much cleaning to do, it is best to simply schedule a laundry pickup to save time.
While you’re working on looking your best, take a bit of time to make sure your home looks great too. If you’re hosting a holiday party at your home, have cleaners pay your residence a visit so that they can professionally clean your upholstery.
You will always look your best when you also feel your best. Taking care of yourself is an important part of your life no matter what time it is, but if you want to look great for holiday parties and not miss any fun due to illnesses, focus on staying healthy. Get a flu shot and take your medications (and make sure you have enough on hand so that you’re not rushing to your local pharmacy at the last minute). To prepare yourself early for all the holiday food you’re going to enjoy, stock up on digestive aids.
Too Busy Preparing for Holidays?
The thought of preparing for a holiday party can be overwhelming for plenty of people, especially those with extremely busy schedules.
If the thought of getting a party prepared sounds daunting to you, consider the family members who are hosting this year. It’s probably as difficult to prepare a party for your aging parents as it is for you. Think about sending help their way by hiring an experienced home health aide that can take some of the load off of them, and offer meaningful companionship should your loved one get the holiday blues.
The holiday season can be bitterly cold in Boston and the surrounding areas, so do your best to stay warm. Check your home’s heating system and make sure everything is working the way it should. If you use propane, make sure you’re working with a fast, responsive propane provider that will be available to fill your tanks whenever you need. This way, you’re unlikely to experience any sudden emergencies that’ll occur if your propane runs out at an inconvenient time.
Consider getting some propane lamps and firepits to add a little warmth to your outdoor spaces during your upcoming holiday party.
Happy holidays from us to you. Remember that no matter what you celebrate, we sincerely hope you have a great holiday season. Enjoy safe, memorable holiday parties with the people who mean the most to you.
If you feel like you haven’t spent enough time enjoying this fantastic season yet this year, don’t worry. We have just four simple and enjoyable ways to help you get outside and in that amazing New England fall foliage!
1. Take Your Exercise Outdoors
We all know how important it is to exercise our bodies — especially those of us who have jobs requiring us to sit down and stare at a computer all day. But, more often than not, motivating ourselves to get out, go to the gym, and do a workout is not nearly as enjoyable as we’d like it to be.
Luckily, there is an easy solution that allows you to both exercise and enjoy the fall weather simultaneously! You can try walking or biking on one of Massachusetts’ rail trails if you tend to enjoy walking, running, biking, or other more aerobic activities.
If, on the other hand, you’re more of a gym-equipment type, you could still take advantage of the beautiful fall season by going to a park with outdoor fitness equipment such as cardio walkers, sit-up benches and vertical ladders. Many communities in Boston offer outdoor gyms where you can easily mesh your workout time with some much-needed outdoor time. Find one in your neighborhood here. Exercising keeps you healthy and saves the time and costs of doctor’s visits and medicines from your neighborhood pharmacy, not to mention the pains of illness.
2. Take A Trip to the Park with Your Kids
Maybe bringing your exercise routine outside doesn’t sound great to you, or perhaps you simply would rather make your outdoor time family time. If you’ve got kids (who probably can’t get enough of being outside in the fall), a nice family trip to the park might be an excellent option for you. There are parks all over the city — from smaller parks in residential neighborhoods to larger, more public parks — and you can be sure to find one that is just right for you and your family.
Your children can enjoy the slides, swings, climbers, play structures, and when they are hungry, you can serve healthy sandwiches in a picnic shelter or on the lawn.
3. Go on a Walk with Your Parents
Speaking of family, don’t forget about your parents! A quick visit to your parent’s home can not only make their entire week but also help them enjoy the beautiful weather outside. As we age, it can get more challenging (or less desirable) for us to go out and walk around, but it is still crucial for our bodies to get movement.
So, stop by your parents and get them to go out on a little walk with you to enjoy the fall foliage. If you are genuinely too busy, you can also hire an in-home caregiver to do this, so they can still get out and move around before it gets too cold.
4. Go Camping
If you’re a camping fan or have an RV, you can completely immerse yourself in the stunning New England fall foliage by heading to a campground. Even if you’ve never tried it before, you can find a perfect leaf-peeping campground that will have you enjoying the fall season in no time!
Make sure you bring a propane tank for heating and cooking while you’re there so you can enjoy some lovely warm beverages and delicious camp cooking!
The fall season is arguably the most beautiful season in Boston. With the colorful and vibrant fall foliage, crisp weather, and delicious warm treats and beverages, most of us look forward to this time of the year. But, it can be all too easy to miss out on the glorious season if we’re busy with work and classes or even distracted by our screens. So, take advantage of the four activities listed above, and don’t miss out on this beautiful season!
New England is known across the world for its gorgeous fall colors, and Boston is no exception. As temperatures begin to drop, it is also high time to prepare for the colder winter ahead. Here are a few tips on getting your home and life more organized as you welcome the fall season in Boston.
Clean Up Your Yard
Boston is famous for its stunning fall foliage, with vibrant shades of red, orange and gold. People travel from far and wide to witness the glorious colors, as the trees change from hues of green, and living in Boston gives you prime viewing of seasonal splendor.
However, falling leaves also need cleaning up to reduce the attraction for pests. Fall is also the time to get your vegetable patch in order for next spring.
Give your grass one final mow before the winter, feed the lawn, rake up dead leaves, trim back dead tree and shrub branches, power wash the deck and plant fall flowers. Take time to de-clutter your yard and clean your gutters, too.
If removing debris and leaves seems like a big task, why not consider renting a roll-off dumpster to make your clean-up project smoother?
Organize Inside Your Home
As well as tidying up outdoors, have a thorough clean and tidy inside your home. Clean out cabinets and closets and get rid of any clothes that you no longer wear. You could consider donating unwanted items to charity.
Store your summer garments for next year and make sure your warmer winter wear is conveniently at hand. Wash any items that need freshening up after being folded away over the summer, and buy anything you’ll need to see you through the winter, such as a new coat, sweaters and footwear.
You’ll soon want warmer bedding for the colder nights. Freshen up blankets and comforters with a trip to the dry cleaners to make sinking into bed on a cold evening even cozier.
Heat Your Home
Check that all your heating appliances are in good working order. After all, it’s better to arrange any necessary repairs in fall than over the winter.
If you use propane to heat your home, you’ll likely have noticed that prices have recently increased. Research suppliers and make sure that you have a reliable propane supply to fend off the cold when the temperatures drop even further.
Snuggling up at home is especially appealing on cold days, and having well-stocked pantry and medicine cabinets is a great idea for those times when you simply don’t want to go out or think about trying to order goods.
Fill your pantry with long-life staples, such as canned and dry goods, so you’ve always got a supply to fall back on.
The colder weather is, unfortunately, a peak time for catching bugs and getting sick. Stock up on fall medications to keep your family as healthy and comfortable as possible. Buy things like painkillers, allergy products, cough medicine, throat lozenges and nasal sprays, making sure to also have items suitable for younger members of the family, to get ready to stave off colds and germs. You might also like to add vitamin supplements to your list.
Don’t forget to buy seasonal personal care products too, such as items to prevent chapped lips, combat dry hair and nails and keep your skin in great condition.
In today’s busy world, it’s all too easy to be so focused on taking care of others that people forget to take care of themselves.
Self-care isn’t a luxury; it’s essential.
You may have been focused lately on getting the kids ready to go back to school, and settling them in. Buying uniforms and supplies, arranging after school clubs, sorting lunches and transportation, helping with homework and dealing with other school-related matters can quickly start to take its toll.
Have you also been taking care of elderly parents? If you’re in need of a breather, get some valuable time to rest, recharge and feel more in control of your life with temporary respite care services. Your family will benefit much more from a rested you; being frazzled helps nobody!
As the end of the summer break approaches, it’s natural for students and their parents to start planning for their return to school. Starting a new school year can be exciting, daunting, challenging, and nerve-wracking for children, so as parents, we need to help them get ready for the new school year. Here are a few back-to-school tips.
Organize Your Home
Over the break, it’s normal for your home to have become somewhat messier than normal. Make a team effort with the whole family to clean up, de-clutter and get organized. Not only does this put everyone back into work mode and set the scene for being back in school, but it also means your kids have no excuse for not being able to find their gym kit or book bag the night before going back in school. If you’ve got lots of junk to get rid of, save time by renting a dumpster. It’s so much easier to be able to toss things away as you’re sorting, rather than maneuvering around piles in your home and making multiple trips to the local recycling center.
Clean Out Your Closets
Linked to above, make sure you sort through your closets while getting your home in tip-top order. If your child has had a summer growth spurt, it’s better to know beforehand instead of finding out they have nothing suitable to wear for their first day in school! It also helps your child find everything they will need for their schooldays. Get rid of clothes and shoes that no longer fit or are showing signs of wear and tear. You can donate items in good condition and discard the rest. In case you open the closets and discover a huge pile of hidden laundry, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed — get practical time-saving help from your local laundry or dry-cleaning service.
School can be a veritable breeding ground for germs. When kids start mingling again in school, you might find that your child comes home with colds, sore throats and earaches more frequently than when they’re off school. Head to your local pharmacy to get the family updated with their flu shots. While you are there, you can also conveniently pick up various school supplies and other back-to-school items like backpacks.
Check School Updates in Advance
Nobody likes being surprised on the first day back to school. Put your mind at rest and check for pertinent updates on your school’s website and prepare accordingly. Are there any special supplies your child needs for the next academic year? Give yourself plenty of time to make any necessary purchases. Confirm the actual first day back and read up on your school’s most recent COVID policy. Get any required COVID supplies like masks while you are at the drug store as well.
It doesn’t need to be all work and no play when the kids go back to school. Keep your kids engaged and motivated outside of the classroom by making sure they have plenty of fun with their peers in the evenings and on weekends. It can be as simple as arranging with other Boston parents for kids to meet up in the neighborhood park or playground. Alternatively, take a look at your town’s library calendar to find diverse activities and events geared toward youngsters.
Set those school year daily routines in motion, like school transportation, lunches, study habits, bed time, etc. Finally, give your child a good pep talk, a pat on the back, hugs and kisses, and send them off to a good start!
I can’t afford to hire a housekeeper, and I work full time. I don’t have other family members to share the burden of taking care of household chores. How do I keep my house in order and maintain a good quality of life? Automate! Here are some ideas.
Cleaning the floor with robots
Let the Roomba or similar robotic vacuums clean the floor for you while you are at work! This is a major time saver.
Landscaping service or robotic mower?
While we are talking about robots, do you know there are robotic lawn mowers and weeders? These innovative products are offered by Automated Outdoor Solutions. Check them out!
We all use washers and dryers, so laundry is automated. And if you use a programmable washing machine, you can schedule it to run at a convenient time, for example, two hours before you can come home to move the clean laundry to the dryer. But you can save more time by simply packing your laundry in a bag and call the local laundry delivery service. Your clothes will come back clean, fresh and ready to wear! You can further “automate” by subscribing to a weekly or biweekly delivery.
Hey, automation doesn’t have to be by machines ;-) The robotic vacuum can only clean the floors. You can use automatic toilet bowl cleaners like Flush 2000. However, you’ll still need the clean the shower and the kitchen, do some dusting, etc. and there are no robots for those yet, as far as I know. Scheduling the cleaners to come every two weeks will do the trick!
Rent a dumpster for cleanupsDe-clutter your house at least once a year to make your daily cleaning easier. Save yourself trips to the town recycling center and rent a dumpster instead. The dumpster rental company will haul your junk away for you and take care of the recycling, too!
Online food delivery service
No time for cooking and clean up afterwards? There’s nothing more convenient than having your favorite food delivered to you! You can use an app like UberEats, or order from your favorite local restaurant or supermarket as well.
You have probably used apps that allow you to refill prescriptions and have them delivered to you. But many drugstores, like the pharmacy near me, also have online stores where you can buy home healthcare products, personal care and even household products and deliver to you as well. Check them out!
Automatic propane delivery
If you use propane for heating, cooking, etc. for your home, sign up for automatic propane delivery. With automatic delivery, the supplier knows when to deliver propane to you without you having to call them. You’ll never run out of fuel because you forgot to check or to call. Isn’t that a life saver?
Sign up for autopay
I use autopay for all my utility bills, credit card bills, etc. It saves time and I’ll never get any penalties.
There are so many ways to automate and make our lives easier. It pays to be on the lookout for more automated solutions!
As you head outdoors, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray, clinicians urge
RACHEL COPPOLA | COVERAGE, NEWS SERVICE OF BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF MASSACHUSETTS
As summer vacation season kicks off, taking commonsense precautions to avoid sun, heat and insect-borne illnesses can help ensure a fun and safe season.
Follow these summer safety tips:
“It’s important to be prepared and take these necessary precautions,” Yeats says. “But the good news is that many of these conditions, including moles, rashes and bug bites, are highly amenable to being evaluated and screened through telehealth.”
“We want you to get outside with your family and go for runs and hikes and bike rides,” Yeats says. “But we also want you to be safe.”
PICTURE OF DR. ASHLEY YEATS BY MICHAEL GRIMMETT
Coverage is a news service of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
With 23 unique neighborhoods, Boston offers endless moments of discovery and excitement for you and your friends and family to explore and enjoy. Whether you live in the city or are visiting during summer vacation, you’ll never be bored. In fact, the choices can be overwhelming so we are here to give you a few good ideas to start the summer. Break out the walking shoes and sunscreen!
Enjoy the Water
Nothing’s better than being by the water on a sizzling summer day. Enjoy the sea in Boston by taking a ferry ride or grabbing a spot on a Boston harbor cruise.
Many visitors and locals enjoy taking a quick ferry ride over to Spectacle Island. There are plenty of hiking and swimming opportunities for everyone!
If you’d rather just relax on the water, lounge on a cruise around the Boston harbor. Grab some motion sickness medicine from your local pharmacy if you tend to get seasick.
Soak up the Sun
Is being near the water not your cup of tea? Don’t worry. There’s still plenty you can do as you visit Boston.
Pack some fresh fruit, a linen sheet, and allergy medicine for an outdoor picnic in The Public Garden. It’s a great location to quickly escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
For a more active day, take a stroll with friends or family around the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University near Jamaica Plains. It’s a free public park and a botanical research center, easily accessible by MBTA Orange Line’s Forest Hills station.
Dive Into the Entertainment
There’s no shortage of Boston activities in the entertainment category. Between sports and live shows, you’ll keep busy.
Visit the iconic Fenway Stadium for a Red Sox game. Stuff your face with hot dogs as you enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
If you’re a music lover, check out local band performances at nearby bars or parks. Keep an eye out for flyers around town and popular concert venues, including the Paradise Rock Club or House of Blues.
Relax at Home
Believe it or not, one of the best Boston activities is enjoying a day at home. With lots of daylight and warm weather, Boston is a beautiful city to be in summer so you might as well soak it up.
How about a cookout in the backyard. Grab some steaks, hotdogs and chicken wings, propane for the grill, cut up a watermelon, and make fresh lemonade for your family. You’ll never regret moments surrounded by your loved ones.
A fun family day is also a great excuse to give your elderly family member’s in-home companion the day off. Your family members can help watch over your aging parents and spend some quality time together.
Sunny Days: A Summer in Boston
No one ever forgets their first summer in Boston. This historical city offers plenty of chances for laughter, smiles, and adventure. Don’t sweat the household chores. Let the dry cleaner do the laundry and the maid service do the cleaning. Soak up the sun near the sea or in a park. Cheer on the Red Sox or your favorite band. Or take a day to put your feet up in your own backyard. Have a great summer!