Wednesday, August 26, 2020

5 ways we can help elderly family members

This guest post is helpful but during the pandemic, we're prevented from seeing loved ones. It's for their own good. Please let's refrain from visiting our elderly family members to keep them safe from the COVID-19 disease. We can use technology instead to maintain a meaningful relationship with our senior loved ones. Be safe, practise social distancing, and stay home!

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GUEST POST - For many of us, family comes first before anything else. The aging process is inevitable, so doing everything you can to support your loved ones as they enter their senior years is important. As your parents get older, they may require more help and assistance, and you’ll want to know how to act and what strategies to take. With that in mind, here are 5 ways in which you can help elderly family members.

Empathize with Your Parents

As your parents get older, you may be startled by their frustration, change in behavior, or neediness. There may be some instances where they’re very unpleasant to be around. However, you need to be empathetic towards their situation and understand that they may be acting out of fear, rather than a personal attack on you. Aging is a series of losses, such as health and wellbeing, employment, and independence, so try and put yourself in their shoes, which can help you know what action to take.

Keep in Regular Contact

If you live nearby your elderly parents, popping in regularly and seeing how they’re doing can make all the difference. For those who live further away, there are lots of ways that you can keep in touch, such as by using video conferencing tools like FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Viber, or Zoom.

As your parents head into their senior years, your interaction may be the only one they receive that day, so it’s important that you maintain regular contact. We all live busy lives, so it’s advised to set a reminder on your smartphone so you can check how they’re doing. 

Get Other Family Involved

If you have siblings, it’s important that you share the responsibilities of looking after your elderly parents. Effective communication is critical among family members, especially if your parents require additional support and assistance. Having a close circle around you can help reduce stress levels and be a good opportunity to let off steam. Seeing your loved ones decline in health can be heartbreaking, so having other family members who can be a shoulder to cry on is important. If your siblings live nearby your parents, they can keep you regularly updated on how they’re doing, which can bring you peace of mind.

You can also ask your parents' neighbors to check on your parents every day. Maybe they can play cards together, start a gardening hobby and grow vegetables together, or watch a favorite show at each other's houses.

Seek Out Potential Problems

When visiting your parents’ home, there may be repairs or changes that need to be immediately addressed. The last thing you want is to return to your own home and be worrying about your parents’ health and safety, so make sure that you look out for uneven flooring and ensure essential items are within arm’s reach.

Many elderly family members want to hold onto their independence for as long as possible, so make sure you tell them that you’re trying to help, rather than being a hindrance. Should your parents have a fall because of uneven flooring, you will never forgive yourself for not acting sooner, so seeking out potential problems and rectifying them is key. 

Encourage Physical Activity

Many aging parents tend to shy away from the outside world, which can have a huge impact on their health and wellbeing. We all know how important regular exercise is for our mind and body, so encouraging your parents to get out and about is crucial. If your parents struggle with their mobility, there are very heavy duty mobility scooters that can help them get around with ease. There are tons of light exercises and activities that your senior parents can take up, like yoga, walking, and stretching, which can boost their mindset for the better.

If your parents’ health is starting to decline once they enter their senior years, it can be hard to see them struggle in front of your eyes. Being there for your elderly family members and supporting them in the best way you can ensure they lead a good quality of life. 

*Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com. 

Monday, August 24, 2020

5 best U.S. states for starting a small business

I've been checking out the immigration policies of other countries. It seems like one of the most guaranteed ways of getting permanent residency in any country is to put up a business there. It's not cheap, of course, but I can see why governments want new businesses to be pumped into their economy. This guest post is a list of the 5 best states in the United States that you can start a small business in. Good luck!

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GUEST POST - If you’ve been considering starting a small business, we’re here to tell you that it pays to do your research first. Yes, you can set up in any state in the country, but some states are much more favorable than others when it comes to things like taxes. Some states also have declining populations and economies which make starting a business in them a pretty poor idea. For a state to be positive, it needs to be flourishing, both economically and socially. Using research performed by Seek Capital, we are going to show you the top five states to start a small business and explain why each is a good choice.

1. Utah

At the top of the list is Utah. Venture capital flows freely in this state with just over 100 companies receiving $1.16 billion in funding in 2019. This is the fifth best in the country. In addition, the growth rate of companies in the state and the number of employees taken on by companies in Utah is higher than average. Of course, what most people are interested in is the tax savings they can make should they move to Utah. This varies depending on whether you have an LLC or a corporation – with LLCs able to post their losses on members’ private tax returns. However, the low corporate income tax rate of 4.95% is certainly attractive.

2. Texas

Nicknamed the Lone Star State, Texas is the second most populated state in the country and is also one of the best states for starting a small business. Especially well known for its crude oil industry, this state is also home to a lot of tech startups, especially in the cities of Houston, Austin and Dallas. Starting a company in a state such as Texas is also relatively simple, making it a top choice for those new to entrepreneurship. With affordable living and property, a surging GDP, a strong working population, and good weather year-round, Texas is a top choice.

3. Florida

Florida may be a top state for retirees, but it’s also one of the best for those who want to start a travel company. The glorious year-round weather, a low top marginal income tax rate, and a lack of state income tax for individuals all combine to make this state a great contender for new entrepreneurs. What’s more, a good percentage (18.8%) of businesses are able to get up and running for under $5,000 in Florida. It is perhaps this that led to Florida having the largest number of new entrepreneurs in 2019.

4. Colorado

For those who want to get away from the heat, Colorado is an enticing option. Economically a great choice, the working population in the state has grown by 7% over the last five years, and its GDP growth is also higher than average. In addition, over 80% of businesses that start up in Colorado are still active a year later. The state ranks as the tenth best in the country for corporate tax rates, and a high number of jobs tend to be created by those starting up in the state. If you love the mountain air, and want to launch a new company in 2020, Colorado is certainly a worthy choice.

5. California
Finally, we have California. Full of big name companies like Facebook, Google and Apple, California is a great choice for tech companies, but entrepreneurs in other industries as well. 99.8% of the businesses in California are small, yet they’re certainly mighty and employ over 7 million people between them. And, while there is quite a bit more red tape in this state than others, and the corporate income tax rate is higher than almost all over states, the five year survival rate of businesses is higher than average. Although possibly not as impressive as the four proceeding it, it’s still a good option to consider.


Which state are you planning to start a small business in?

*Photos by Ian Schneider, Carlos Alfonso and Ahmet Yalçınkaya on Unsplash.

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

5 ways to amplify your morning routine

Next week, we go back to some semblance of a normal life: School starts! It's still not the school we're used to but, hey, after 5 months in quarantine, back-to-school puts back some structure in our lives. This means we need to take control of our mornings, take them back from the lazy limbo it's been for nearly half a year. So when this guest post popped up in my inbox, I took it as a sign from the universe telling me to get with the program! 

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GUEST POST - From the moment you wake up, it’s important that you’re full of energy, drive, and motivation for the day ahead. Whether you have a long day at the office to endure, or a mountain of household chores, your morning routine can be the difference between staying focused and losing concentration. To help give you the boost you need, here are five ways to amplify your morning routine.

Embrace the Morning Light

Instead of laying in bed and staying in the dark, make sure you embrace natural light which can start your day off right. Once the sun rises, it can brighten your mood, improve your performance on tasks, and enhance your perception. When exposed to natural light, your skin will absorb Vitamin D which can prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of weight gain. Getting outdoors in the morning and being in the fresh air can also do wonders for your wellbeing. 

Drink a Cup of Coffee

It’s important that you’re full of energy and drive in the morning, so what better way to kick off your day than by having a cup of coffee? Coffee can boost your physical performance, help you burn fat, and most importantly, boost concentration levels. If you have a Nespresso machine, there are over 30 types of capsules to choose from depending on your preference and taste. While there are lots of benefits that caffeine can give you, it’s advised to stick to drinking coffee in the morning only, otherwise, you may have difficulty getting to sleep at night.


Set Goals

If you wake up in the morning feeling confused and disorientated, it can be hard to gain focus for the day ahead. Setting achievable goals can boost your motivation and give you something to work towards. Whether it’s tackling a project at work, or completing day to day errands, having things to accomplish can get you in the right mindset and help get your morning off to the best start possible.

Meditate

If you’re the type of person who wakes up feeling anxious and tense, the thought of doing anything can fill you with dread. However, there are lots of relaxation techniques that you can practice which can help you feel calm and collected, ensuring your morning and day ahead run smoothly. Meditation helps to calm your nervous system, optimize your circulatory system, focus your energy, and boost your immune system. The main purpose of meditation is to reduce stress, pain, and anxiety, so waking up a little earlier and taking 15 minutes to meditate can make all the difference.


Exercise

Getting your mind and body psyched up for a busy day is important, so taking some time to do physical activity is key. A morning workout can make you stronger and healthier, as well as increase your longevity. While it can be difficult to find the energy for exercise once you get out of bed, you will soon notice an improvement in your mental and physical health. Working out in the morning can increase alertness, give you more overall energy, and get you in a better mood, so whether you head to the gym, or perform a workout from the comfort of your home, making exercise a priority is important. 

All the strategies above can transform the way you think and help get your morning off to a good start. If you’re the type of person who wakes up feeling groggy and sluggish, using any of the tips above can increase productivity levels and help you get the most out of your day.

*Photos by Alexa Williams, Danielle MacInnes, and Carl Barcelo on Unsplash.

* This is a guest post, with my edits. To place a guest post, email frances@topazhorizon.com.