Housing for Seniors

Own Home

Housing for Seniors is a big issue in Australia at the moment.  The shortage of affordable housing all around the country is a talking point, and it is especially difficult for seniors, and one group that is most affected are senior solo women.

People who are able to manage to live in their own homes well into their senior years are fortunate.  I have a small number of friends, couples and singles, who still live in their own homes.  They do need finances for the upkeep of the property and family or other support from time to time. I have one friend in her 90’s who still lives in her home, alone, and appears to manage well.  She has no wish to move any time soon!

Retirement Villages

There are many retirement villages – they seem to be in every suburb or town, and the building of new ones continues.  To live in one of these, generally, one needs to buy a house or unit, and the costs vary, but perhaps $300,000 to $500,00 is the amount of funds one needs, plus there are other ongoing costs.  I know couples and singles living in such establishments and most appear to be content.  There can be challenges living in these places, but generally, they are secure and safe, and work well as one’s “forever home”.

Rental Retirement Properties

There are many rental properties that provide especially for seniors.  I am not very familiar with these, but they can be expensive.

Private Rental Properties

Very few of these are built for the “seniors” market.  They are generally very expensive and pensioners pay around 70% of their income on rent, which long term is not suitable.  Many of these tenants go without a range of things to ensure they have a roof over their heads.  Food, medical treatment, entertainment and more can be too expensive, so they live a very frugal and often unhappy life as they cannot keep up.

Often the properties are not “geared” for seniors –  steps and stairs can be an issue, along with a range of other things, depending on one’s health and mobility.  There’s generally no “community” as such, and many seniors are isolated.

Sometimes, it is the only choice one has.

Public Housing

One generally finds that there are many negative tales about life in public housing.  Crime, drugs, drunken neighbours, foul language and abuse are often rife.  There is generally no security, no on-site manager and much isolation and apparent neglect in these places.  I understand that governments provide housing as economically as they can.  my understanding is that it is a “broken system”, and much public housing is being sold.  Housing is now being taken over by not-for-profit organisations, but I wonder if it is the best solution.

Shared Housing

Perhaps we have all shared at some time during our lives.  I have done so on several occasions, some with success, and on two occasions big FAILS.  The best time to do it I believe is when one is younger, but long term for seniors I think comes with plenty of challenges.  Seniors generally want a “forever home”, but appeasing two people could be problematic.  If the property is rented by two or more, who are “equal” in their plan, and they get on, it may not work long term.  What if the owners sell the property and the new owners have different plans for their property?  So what if there is a dispute between two of the tenants.  If one gets sick or dies, and it is not easy to find a suitable replacement tenant?  What if the owner neglects the property?  What if the physical needs of the tenants change?   To me, it would be very unusual to find your “forever home” in a shared situation.

Tiny Houses

From Unsplash.com

Tiny House from Unsplash.com by Silvie Tittel

There has been a lot of publicity about Tiny Houses recently and I have been tagged in quite a few stories on Facebook.  What do I think about Tiny Houses?  I do love them, but I think they are more suited to younger people, or as a very temporary residence.  I have been to visit several tiny house manufacturers, from Yeppoon to the Gold Coast, and while I was impressed with many aspects of them, I feel they are not safe for older people.

Steps, the climb up to the bed in several of them do not fit my criteria for senior people.  If you got sick and couldn’t get out of bed, how challenging would it be for the ambo’s to get you down?  Would the house call doctor go up the stairs to examine you if you couldn’t move?  Another issue with tiny houses is the land.  If there is a tiny house property, like a caravan park it would work.  Would there be community toilet and shower facilities?  I’d suggest that there would be issues for senior women if they did not have these in the tiny house.  But I know that the cost of taking sewerage to the tiny house, water and electricity is very expensive. I suspect that some local government organisations make it difficult for prospective tiny house owners/renters deliberately because they present a range of issues to them.

Publicity on Tiny Houses

There’s been a lot of publicity about this option on recent days.  A few years ago, it was something that I explored.  I went to tiny house builders and saw some great places, but there are always issues.  The land – where are you going to put your tiny house?  I had a property made available to me, though it was unexpectedly repossessed by the bank a year later, the cost of getting sewerage, water and electricity to the tiny house was prohibitive.  In fact, the local government organisation deliberately made it difficult as they did not want such houses in their patch.  If it is on a property with other tiny houses, there is still the unknown for the future.  It is not permanent.  Plus, as one gets older, managing the steps and stairs, the bed in the attic and more is problematic and unlikely to be a “forever home”.

I have also lived in a bus (Toyota Coaster) which I found too small, and when the weather is bad, living in such a small space is not a happy place.

A Granny Flat

I question the value of these.  If the family involves you in their activities on an almost daily basis, it might work for some folk but unless you get all the support you need, if you are alone, it could be a miserable existence.  What if the circumstances of the family change and they need to move. Also if you are unwell it will be a challenge?

My Favourite Forever Home?

Co-housing.  I am single. I’d prefer a women-only cohousing property based on the New Ground project in London that I visited in 2018!  It is a project underway in Queensland.  Watch this space.  See New Ground here.

If you want to know more about co-housing and the project that I am working on with a group of other senior solo women, send me a message via the contact form.

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More on Podcasting

Who is Podcasting?

I have been busy reading articles about podcasting. My interest is to learn how many Aussie writers are using this technology to promote their work, their topic or their books?  Of the writers I know only a small number are doing podcasts.  I am still exploring this and keen to start doing some.  There is quite a raft of items I must tick off my “To Do List” before I set up my own program for doing podcasts.  One of the items on my to do list is to finish a manuscript that I have been working on, and it will probably be the first subject of any podcast.  Meanwhile, in my spare time, I continue the learning process.

I have the tools I need e.g. digital tape recorder, mobile phone and I have Audacity loaded onto my laptop, and I have been enjoying listening to other podcasts.  I am not yet ready to publish my podcast attempts.

Aussies doing Podcasts

It is not easy to find podcasts by Australian writers.  I suspect that we are somewhat behind what is happening in the US and UK, but I have found one.  Patti Miller is well known in Australia for her books on writing life stories and memoirs, and she is interviewed on a podcast.  I found this podcast.   Click here to listen.

Learn how to do Podcasting

 

The Australian Writers Centre

There are many podcasts listed on the AWC website, with interesting information for new and experienced writers, so see the article below.  There is some great information there.  It appears that there have been some Australian writers doing podcasts for several years.  I suspect though, that the percentage of writers using this technology compared to those in the US, is low.

“So you want to be a writer” listed in top writing podcasts!

Are you interested in doing podcasts?

Do you know of any Australian writers doing podcasts?  Please feel free to write the details in the contact form below.

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Lost and Found

Mislaid Not Lost

Where do my things go?  After hunting for days, I decide they are lost.  Perhaps they are mislaid, not lost!  If I lived in an old house, perhaps I’d suspect a ghost or similar, as the things I lose are varied.  I know how to find them eventually, but it is costly.

The Lost is Found

It has happened to me before.  I had bought a new nightie, an expensive $10 item from KMart. I wore it twice and then it went AWOL.  If I can’t find something and after weeks of hunting in every nook and cranny, I often decide to buy another.  To buy the original I had to hunt to find one that fitted my criteria.  I am tall, and like a nightie that comes down below my knees.  I hate pyjamas, I must have a nightie.  No long sleeves, even in the cold of winter.  So, I hunted in several of the low cost department stores.  I had to buy one exactly the same as the missing one!  They were so cheap, I bought two.

About 24 hours after arriving home with the new attire, I noticed the original one, sitting on some items near the end of the bed.  I swear that it was not there during my hunt.  How could I miss it.  Oh, well, now I have three!!   So glad they weren’t expensive!  The lost was found.

Dash Cam

Now, how could I lose a dash cam.  It was about half the size of a mobile phone, plus it had some wobbly bits, the “tool” that attaches it to the windscreen.  One day, the camera fell, as the “tool” had decided to break.  I tried various methods to repair it.  Super glue, rubber bands, etc, but it refused to heal.  So I tossed out the broken unrepairable bits.  And at the same time I lost the good bits.  The camera.  I hunted and hunted. So, when I saw one at 50% off at Supercheap Auto, I bought one.

Then a friend, who’d been in my car asked me to look for her sun glasses.  Had she left them in my car?  I hunted, I moved the seats back and forth and lay on my car floor looking under the seats, all to no avail.  I did not find her glasses.  But, much to my surprise, I had obviously lodged the dash cam.  No, not the new one, but the one that had gone missing!  Oh, at least I have a spare now.  The lost is found.

My Fountain Pen

Pen and Ink taken by me

The Purple Fountain Pen and Ink

My passion for fountain pens is well known.  I rarely use “biros” or pencils.  When I write letters, sign my name on printed documents and use such a pen anywhere and everywhere I have to write.  I am known to carry two or three in my handbags.  My preference is my favourite Purple Pen with Purple Ink.   It ran out of ink, and I put it somewhere, so that I would remember to refill it.  But it went AWOL.  I hunted everywhere, so yesterday I Googled  “buy purple fountain pen”.  Oh, there are so many it was hard to choose, but suspecting that my Lost and Found condition would rear its ugly head again, I chose to buy one from a New South Wales shop that was less than $10.  The postage was almost as much!!

Guess What!!

This morning as I was creating something with Corflute and had to clear the table, guess what looked at me from behind a small box.  I had looked there before, but on that occasion, it obviously hid from me!  I am just about to refill it.  At least I can write with a purple pen and purple ink, while I wait for the new one to be delivered.

Is it my brain that is causing this phenomenon?  Is my brain getting too old?

What is lost is found – especially if I buy a replacement!

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Writers Exploring Podcasting and Filming

A Journey of Discovery

Recently I have been learning about podcasting.  This is part of my study of modern methods of getting one’s writing published.  I just happened on some information that I thought would benefit my writing friends.  It wasn’t for me – certainly not at the moment as I have another project on the go.  But one day. Perhaps.

Podcasting

A friend, Breanda Cross, does a lot of podcasting.  She’s a copious writer and has found a “niche” with fast fiction and podcasting. Earlier this week I went to her home and she showed me how she records the stories. With the help of www.audacity.com can use a range of voices and sounds to create her story.

It was rather amusing.  On the one hand, I was telling myself I was too busy already and didn’t want to learn more, but I found it fascinating.  I’m still not planning to do anything, but write about what I have learned.  But, maybe.  One day…

We all have our phones to do voice recording, and we can use these devices to record other sounds that maybe one day can be used in a creation.  Will I record some sounds and save them to Audacity?

black and grey microphone on stand from Unsplash.com

Photo by Panos Sakalakis

I spent an hour or so exploring podcasts on the internet.  I found where someone charges a fee to transcribe the words that people record in their stories.  There was a video with a great story, with the text appearing on the bottom of the screen.  The words that appeared on the screen were clearly spoken by a computer – and they were far from correct.  I suspect if anyone is serious about producing a quality story – that they edit what the computer has created.  In some sense it was humorous, but I feel a little frustrating for someone with hearing difficulties!

WordPress Meetup

Then last night I attended a WP Meetup.  I’ve been going to these for a long time, and often the material is too complex for me.  But often the material is too complex for me.  But I always learn something.  The first two sessions last night were mildly interesting to me.   The first two sessions last night were mildly interesting to me.  Information that I am unable to use right now,  but maybe one day…

The last session was on creating videos for one’s Facebook page or website.  My interest increased.  Not that I want to get on the filming bandwagon, but I found it interesting.  I’d never heard of a teleprompter before and was quite impressed.

Today I have done further research and found a free teleprompter – which I would find quite useful.  As someone who does public speaking, I can use one of those and the free one looks like it would be ideal.  I will practice that.

So, for my writing friends.  If you want to explore these avenues of getting your stories online, you can ask Google some questions.  If you have a modern cellphone, you have a voice recorder and video recorder – great to use.  Do you need any more equipment?  Maybe.  But practice with your phone first.  Practice reading your stories and explore the possibilities.

Resources

Audacity – https://www.audacityteam.org/  Program for recording.

Free Teleprompter http://www.freeteleprompter.org/

Video Platforms – www.vimeo.com, www.youtube.com

Podcasting Platform – www.whooshkaa.com

Podcasts – https://www.podcastrepublic.net/podcast/

 

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Pioneer Women Drivers in Australia

Taken by me in 2015

Women’s Hall of Fame Alice Springs

Women Driving Pioneers

It is an accomplishment to drive around Australia, which I did on my own in 2012/13. Later I learned that some great women had done so much earlier.  I found in the Women’s Hall of Fame in Alice Springs that Catherine Gregson had done so in 1937.  I was to learn later that Marion Bell did so way back in 1925.

When I found this information, I contacted the Women’s Hall of Fame to advise them, and this story is now recorded in the Hall of Fame.  I was going to visit this amazing museum, which is in the old Alice Springs gaol when I drove to the Alice in my Toyota Coaster to attend the Rolling Solo event at the Ross River Resort. Just before I was due to leave Brisbane, the curator contacted me and told me that they had included Marion’s story.

When in Alice Springs in 2018, I called into the Hall of Fame and met with some of the staff.  Only today I have sent them another story – which they probably know about, but just in case they don’t…………..

Electric Car – there’s power all around Australia

Last year, another woman has driven around Australia and created another “record”.  Sylvia Wilson, a 70-year-old lady, drove an electric car (Tesla) all around the coast of our country.  I didn’t hear anything about it but accidentally found out about it today. She wasn’t all alone as family members joined her along the way.

I would have thought with all the publicity about the government’s wish for us to be driving electric cars in the futures, there would have been more media about it.  Maybe I missed it.

Most Aussies probably think it would be difficult to drive the long distances around Australia in an electric car, but I have learned that there are places all around the country where one can charge the car battery.  In fact, Sylvia only paid around $150 dollars for the electricity for her car for the whole journey.  Awesome.  I didn’t dare add up how much I spent in the nearly 5 months I was on the road.

Now, I wonder if someone would give me an electric car – would love to do the journey again.

Is there anyone who would like to donate me an electric car, as I would happily do the drive around Australia.  I would record the story and take photos!!!  Pick me!!

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The Stories about Cemeteries

The Home of the Dead

I have sited many cemeteries in my travels around Australia.  There are many stories in these sites. As I was driving this afternoon, on my way to an appointment I heard some of a program on ABC RN, about cemeteries.  It essentially was a program on the history of these places around Australia.  I will have to listen again, as I had to depart my car for my appointment, and missed the last part.  I am not sure but I think it was a repeat of this podcast.

It certainly was very interesting, especially as I am very interested in these places, and I like to find the burial sites of famous people,  though I’ve not written about them very much.

Brighton Cemeteries

My connection with visiting cemeteries goes right back to my first school days. I went to three schools in the Brighton area and they were all close to cemeteries. One at the St Judes Church (Hopetoun School) and next door Brighton Primary School, both adjacent to the St Jude’s Cemetery. My first high school was Brighton High School, now called Brighton Secondary School, which was right next to the North Brighton Cemetery.  I can remember walking in both burial grounds in my youth.  Sometimes, we’d watch funeral services – usually from a distance.

Ghosts of Norfolk Island Cemetery

When I was in Norfolk Island in 1988, several of my friends and I, covered ourselves with white sheets, and as a tour bus passed by, we ran through the cemetery, hoping to scare them.  In fact, it was us that were scared, as one of the huge gates closed all by itself screeching as it did so.  That scared us!

Cemeteries around Australia

In 2012/13 I drove around Australia in my lovely Mitsubishi Lancer and along the way visited quite a few cemeteries.  The first one was at Miles, Queensland, where the remains of a cemetery, was high on a cliff overlooking the Dogwood Creek  Apparently many years ago in a major flood, the cemetery was mostly washed away, so it was relocated.

Bourke, in New South Wales, is a favourite place for me to visit, and I have visited the cemetery there, in part to see the memorial to Dr Fred Hollows who did a lot of ophthalmology work in the area.  It is a significant memorial to him.

I stopped at many cemeteries around Australia, and some I have little memory of – they were generally small and ancient.

Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries

In the boom days of pearl diving in Broome, WA, there were many Chinese and Japanese living and working in the area, and it was a dangerous place with many deaths.  Both cemeteries are very interesting.  I wandered around both of them.  They are well worth a visit.

Mataranka Cemetery

I have been a great fan of Jeannie Gunn, author of We of the Never Never and other books.  I stayed at a motel in Mataranka and explored the area as well, including the springs.  When I went to the cemetery, there were three cattle in the grounds wandering around.  I didn’t see them initially and wandered slowly around some grave sites.

Then I heard the noise of the cattle, running.  As I looked up I saw all three jump over the fence and disappear into the bush surrounding the gravesites.  I felt very uncomfortable, as I am a little scared of being up close to large cattle. I retreated to my car!!

Military Gravesites

I have visited three military gravesites – one in Freemantle, which is very impressive, one in Rockhampton, and another at Lutwyche.  The latter two in Queensland.  I must say that the Freemantle one is the best.  So many stories on the headstones.

Photo taken by me

Redcliffe, Qld, Cemetery

Local Sites

Recently I went for a wander in the Redcliffe Cemetary (north of Brisbane, Queensland).  I was rather sad as the old part of this property looks rather neglected.  Sadly, no one goes to cemeteries much any more.  History tells us that once they were places where folk visited often and even picnic areas were common.  I think it is a shame that they are so insignificant and neglected now.

Photo taken by me

The Old and the New at Redcliffe

 

 

Do you visit cemeteries?

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Where’s the Architect?

Was there an architect?

In December last year, I moved into a unit and a seaside suburb north of Brisbane.  It is a two bedroom unit, with ensuite off the main bedroom, the main bathroom with shower over the bath, as well as a toilet.  There’s a kitchen and dining room, and a balcony overlooking a road which goes down to the waterfront.  I looked at the unit and thought it looked wonderful, but as time went on, I found some things that I didn’t pick up on my initial inspection.  None of the issues are such that I want to move out, but I thought it interesting.  I doubt that an architect had anything to do with the plans.  If so, he or she should be banned.  If a draftsman or woman did it – mmmm…. Not sure what to say about that.

The Laundry

The laundry space is a cupboard with two bi-fold doors.  Inside the space is a stainless steel laundry sink, with space underneath to store washing powder etc.  There is a great clothes dryer attached to the wall – above the area for a washing machine.  Whoever drew up the plans was thinking about a small front loader machine.  There is room for one of those.  I have a top loader – and the space is not adequate for it.  I cannot open the lid properly.

Tiny space

My laundry.

The manager has moved the dryer up a little which has been a small improvement, and I can push my washing in the small opening and with twists and turns remove my washed clothing.  It was suggested I get a front loader – but I hate them.  I’ve used many in my house sitting and find the top loader is much softer on my clothes.  As well, I would have to bend down, which is difficult for me sometimes, to load and unload the front loader.  Nope. I’ll stick with the inconvenience of the top loader.

The Bedroom Window

It’s quite a big window, with a flimsy flyscreen.  Certainly NOT a security screen, but since I am on the second floor, it’s not so important.  Initially, I could only open the window about 6 inches.  In the hot summer, I wanted to open my window wider and let the cool sea breezes in to cool my room.  Apparently, the reason the window was set and locked at this tiny 6 inches was to prevent babies from falling out!!  I asked for the lock to be removed – as I am never going to have a baby in my room.  Fixed.

The Kitchen Window

This window which sits over the kitchen sink is at my head height – nearly 6 feet, and is around two feet high and six feet wide.  It does let some light into the kitchen.  My beef with this window is that people walking past can look in.  Not that they would normally see much, but it is a privacy thing and I have on occasions walked into the lounge room and kitchen without being fully dressed.  A bigger window which reached down towards the sink would allow me to see out and give me more light.  It would be no more of a privacy issue than it is now.

Cleaning the Windows

It is also impossible to clean the windows on the outside.  In the bedroom, there’s no way I can get the dirt, dust and scum off the windows.  Does the property engage a window cleaner?  I doubt it, and I am not sure, even with one of those machines if they could.  Am I stuck with dirty windows forever?

The Front/Only Door

When I first moved in the door swung shut with such gusto that I was bruised!  I needed two hands to stop it.  It meant I could not carry anything! The manager did adjust the door and it now slowly closes without doing me an injury.

It is a heavy fire door.  I cannot see who is at my door if someone knocks.  There is no way that from within the apartment that I can see out.  I have had two men just barge in, and I have had someone banging on my door in the middle of the night. I did not open it – but called out and no one answered.  How do I know who is there? It is a security issue.

There is no place to put my emergency/second key either.  That’s annoying!

The Ensuite

The ensuite is more than adequate, but there is one stupid issue.  According to Australian standards, there is a correct placement for the toilet roll holder.  But the standard is not followed in my apartment.  There clearly was no consideration for that when the plans were made.  Right beside the toilet is the towel rail, which is some 7 feet from the shower cubicle, and underneath is the toilet roll holder.  One has to fight with the towel on occasions to reach the paper.  And one has to set the towel closer to the shower when one wants to have a shower.  Where?  There is nowhere to put it except in the handbasin!!

Ceiling Fan in Bedroom

There are ceiling fans in both bedrooms and the lounge area.  Yippee!  There is also air conditioning in the main bedroom and lounge room with a remote.  Sadly, there is no remote for the ceiling fan.  Oh, how I wish that there was.  I hate having to get up out of bed and try and turn the fan down/off, especially when it is hard to see the switch when one is half asleep.  Oh, for a remote control!

So, in summary, I doubt there was an architect – if so, he or she should update their skills at lease!

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The Taste of Fresh Fruit

Picking Fresh Fruit

I can remember it well.  In Adelaide’s hot summer weather, when I was very young, the fruit trees that grew in our back yard suddenly ripened.  We (my sister and I) would have surreptitiously picked some before they were really ripe.  My sister and I longed for the taste of freshly picked stone fruit.  We were impatient.  Then, when the fruit became a little soft, we felt like we were in heaven – that is until we indulged in the fruit too often, and had to suffer “tummy problems.”

In the following weeks, the jam making and preserve preparation was in full swing.  My mother was adept in making jam, and the three of us (Mum, sister and I) worked during school holidays.  We created plenty to use for the next almost twelve months until the next fruit season arrived.

Tasteless Fruit in the Supermarkets in 2019

When the stonefruit appears on the shelves in the local supermarket, my memory of those childhood days comes back, and again I enthusiastically reach for the new season’s fruit.  But, alas, I shall mostly be disappointed.  The fruit looks clean, with good colour, but when I pick up one of them, I become depressed.  The fruit is rock hard.  Not ripe.  Not edible.  I am shattered.  This year I have had several nectarines that I purchased with a few others from the nectarine display, sitting in my fruit bowl.  I was hoping they would soften up, but two weeks later they remain rock hard!

Fruit Growing Areas

I checked out that these fruit are grown here in Queensland, though I confess I don’t know where my hard supplied came from.  I recognise some of the challenges growers have.  If they let them ripen too much, they get damaged in transit.  They try and pick them hoping that they will ripen by the time the customer gets them.

 

From Unsplash

Stone Fruit Image by Christiann Koepke

 

The season is coming to an end now – so I don’t know when supplies will cease.  I will have to wait for next season and be more selective in choosing my fruit.

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End of Life Planning

Be Organised

We all like to be well organised.  So many of us plan our weekends, our workday, our children’s activities and so much more.  We forget to plan for the one event that is ultimately inevitable.  The end of our lives.   It is surprising to learn that studies have shown that over 45% of Australians do not have a will. No doubt these folk have done nothing else to plan for their ending – as there other things we need to do.  I encourage people to do some end-of-life planning.

Next of Kin

What happens if there is an event, (accident or health event) that requires emergency services or others to make contact with your next of kin?   It is especially important for those who live alone to ensure that their next of kin is easily identifiable and contactable.

Why not put details in the glove box of your car?  Get an envelope, and a sheet of paper, and on the paper write the names, addresses, and all contact details of your next of kin.  Preferably one or two people – and it may be that you have no real next of kin, so you would provide details (with their permission) of someone who knows you very well, and perhaps has access to health and other information about yourself.)

Put it in the glovebox of your car – and mark it in big letters.  ICE.  In Case of Emergency.

If you are a user of a smartphone there are a number of Apps, where you can keep some of this information.

Don’t forget to update it if things change.  e.g. your address, phone number, next of kin etc.

Envelope of Knowledge

There is other information that would be helpful in the event of a serious health issue or your demise, and if you made a note of it, and “parked” it in a place that is easily accessible, and let your family, next of kin, or important person in your life, know where it is, it will make life easier for those left behind.  These documents will be very helpful at the end of your life.

Shortly I will upload a more formal list, but consider what you can put in the envelope.

  • Write your full name, date and place of birth, a copy of Birth Certificate would be good too, and if you have marriage, divorce documents.
  • Your next of kin – name/s, addresses, contact details
  • Your Last Will and Testament.  it is best to have this legally done – so seek advice re this
  • Details of your bank accounts (just bank name, account name and number)
  • Property details (can be quite brief here)
  • Health Directive – how do you wish to be supported when the end is near?
  • List of people who you wish will be advised of your demise.
  • Your Funeral Wishes

Your ICE Envelope – attach it to the side of your fridge.

I like to add to this list with a couple of items that are not essential but can be very helpful for the family at this time.

  • The Story of Your life!
  • Suggestions for your Funeral.

(More details on this on a later post).

Storage and Updating

Your Envelope of Knowledge needs to be in an easily accessible place.  Adhered to the side of the refrigerator is a good place – but you can choose where it is.  Let your NOK and important people know where it is.

Update it from time to time.  Perhaps a task to do at the end of every year or the beginning – it’s up to you.  Or as information changes.  e.g. change of address of anyone, contact details etc.  Make sure your details are really helpful at the end of your life.

Peace of Mind

Research has shown that people who are well organised with this information are more relaxed about the possibility of their demise, and often live longer as they don’t have the stress of not having done their planning.

Why?

Why am I interested in this topic?  Two reasons:

  1.  I am trying to get my affairs in order.  Just because I can.
  2. Recently have been informed of the drama of someone who was found unconscious in her unit, and no support documents could be found e.g. next of kin
  3. I encourage people to pen their own life stories – even a precis of their life!

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Planning Safety for Seniors

Back Story

Over the past few days, I have given great thought to the issue of safety for solo senior women and their safety.  I’ve talked with people and done research online.  As a result, I have some advice for women who live alone, and perhaps do not have any family member or friend to keep in touch with them.

Four Things to Do!

  1. Neighbourly – Next of Kin.  Make contact with your neighbours.  If you feel that they are trustworthy, you can discuss with them about checking up on you.  Is there a way, you can let them know that you are alive?  Perhaps it is something you do to let them know each day that you are alive and well. It might be to phone them, or knock on their door.  Work out something that is not going to be a challenge for both of you.  Give them details of your next of kin too.
  2. Keys.  Who do you know locally that you can trust with a spare key to your home?  You can get a low-cost key safe, and leave it outside your home.  Bunnings have some great key safe’s for less than $25!  Give your password to someone you trust, and if necessary put their contact details on paper and leave with your key safe, but put it in a plastic bag.
  3. Red Cross – The Red Cross has a program where they make a phone call every morning to people who are alone and are registered with them.  Please check here for details about this service.
  4. Rotary and Lions Medical Information Booklet – As part of their community service these organisations distribute these booklets which are in a plastic pocket with magnets.  With details of your next of kin, health issues and medication, it is attached to the refrigerator, so that in an emergency the information is easily accessed.  Not alll Lions or Rotary Clubs are involved in the program.  Contact your local Lions or Rotary, or check here.

Emergency Alarms

There are a variety of  Emergency Alarms on the market – though most are expensive, especially those with 24-hour services.  There is quite a range available.  Check here for details of LiveLife Alarm.  It is quite expensive to purchase, but no ongoing costs.

I have had a watch with an emergency alarm, which, if I press a button, will advise my two offspring, and it will give the GPS coordinates.  I instructed them to phone me first, but if they could not contact me, give the GPS details to 000.

If you know someone who lives alone, why not discuss with them, how to keep them safe!  Can you help them?

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