(5) GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS – members put forth the effort to hear how the other person says and feels. They are comfortable voicing opinions of their own and open to change. They don’t always agree, but open to resolve conflicts. (6) HEALTHY LIFESTYLE – good nutrition, adequate rest and plenty of exercise for optimal wellness. Quiet time to help manage stress. When all members function at their best, the result is a strong family. (7) SPIRITUAL STRENGTH – live by the golden rule, treating others in the family as they want to be treated. Value praying, singing and meditating and share common values. (8) POSITIVE OUTLOOK – deal with crises in a constructive way. They search for the silver lining and stick together. They believe they can handle anything that comes their way. MORE TO COME!
(1) COMMITMENT – work to promote each other’s happiness. They share meaningful experiences by setting family goals and carrying them out. (2) EXPRESSED APPRECIATION – express appreciation thru words and actions. They let one another know how important they are. (3) STRONG MARRIAGE – the health of the marriage influences a family’s well-being. Clear communication, mutual respect and self-disclosure are signs of a healthy marriage & family. Crucial for blended families and single-parent families, but can be done. (4) TIME TOGETHER – strong families frequently work, play, eat and attend religious and social functions together. They cut down on outside involvements in order to have quality time together as a family. MORE TO COME!
EYE AND GESTURE-CONTROLLED TECHNOLOGY. Assistive technology like eye/gesture controls are expected to take off in 2014, allowing control of technology with a glance, rather tHan using a keyboard, mouse or even your voice. The Tobii EyeX controller is just now available & the associated hardware should be mainstream before the end of 2014. Samsung’s Smart Control Remote may eliminate trying to learn how to use a new universal remote. This may be easier to use than a touchscreen smartphone. Leapmotion (leapmotion.com) is a touchless computer experience that allows people to operate programs with hand gestures in thin air. Software is currently limited, but A TREND COMING.
MASS ADOPTION OF PHABLETS. What’s a phablet? A PHONE + TABLET = PHALBET. New breed of larger smartphones as are particularly suited to older users as screen is larger & easier to read, buttons tend to be larger & some offer brighter screens. The Samsung Note 3 has useful voice-command options, so minimizes the need to type with onscreen keyboard. Added bonus, the “S-pen” makes it easy to jot a quick note “old school” style & convert it on the fly to typing or other digital use. PHABLETS ARE FABULOUS! More to come.
WIRELESS LIGHT SWITCH – no wires – and no power – are required for the NXP Powerless light switch currently being demonstrated in the tech circles! The action of merely pushing the button creates enough energy to send a signal to turn on a “wireless” light bulb. This means you could have a switch right by your bed without tearing out a wall and rewiring. If you move the furniture you move the switch. MORE TO COME!
WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY WITH MONITORING FEATURES. 2014 is the year for the smart watch to monitor health/fitness during exercise and at rest, count steps and calories & alert you of an incoming call. Also a version for pets called Voyce (mydogsvoyce.com). Before long this technology will be expanded to do health monitoring, blood pressure, fall alerts, inactivity alarms, health records and other SMART functions that make it easier for seniors to stay safe, prevent problems and get help without restricting their independence. MORE TO COME!
(1) MORE CONVENIENCE-ORIENTED SERVICES – do you use your smart phone or tablet to deposit checks, pay bills, transfer funds or order a pizza. Can arrange for cleaning pick-up & other services. Any marriage of service & technology makes life easier & delivers faster results. (2) GROCERY SHOPPING FROM HOME – is a good option for expanding senior independence. Peapod, FreshDirect, Schwan’s, etc. have been already doing this, but AmazonFresh coming on line (hefty annual fee of $299) & orders have to be over $35. MUCH MORE TO COME!
Projects that increased a home’s sustainability showed significantly higher recoup cost values and growth in 2013. Backup power generators ranked 1st in Houston, Austin & El Paso with a 105.1% gain in El Paso in 2013. Natural materials, such as wood, cement and steel, led to a significantly higher recoup cost than synthetic, plastic-based materials, such as composite and vinyl. SHOPPING AROUND WILL GET YOUR AN IDEA OF MATERIALS TO USE AND COST AND RECOUPING VALUE. TAKES HOMEWORK!
Remodeling trends were consistent across the state with the 5 larger markets demonstrating that smaller, functional remodeling projects showed greater increases in recoup cost than upscale, luxury projects. Steel entry door replacements ranked 1st for total recoup cost nationwide & in Texas. In Houston recouped 105.5% of total projected cost. Projects that increased a home’s livable square footage using existing spaces showed significantly higher recoup costs in 2013. Major renovations were popular in more functional rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Kitchens could recoup 143.9% of total project cost. MORE COMING.
OFTEN OVERLOOKED TASKS: (1) wash walls and switch plates, (2) clean window coverings and screens, (3) thoroughly clean kitchen appliances, (4) wash and repair children’s toys. GET ORGANIZED: (1) empty coat closet of out-of-season clothing and gear, (2) purge the pantry, remembering to check expiration dates, (3) sort through storage areas, (4) put family photos into albums or frames, (5) sort through DVDs, books and magazines, (6) declutter bedroom closets, (7) get rid of ill-fitting or out-of-style clothing, (8) check the bathroom cabinet for expired medicine, sunscreen or cosmetics. MORE TO COME