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It used to be that every high school in the country offered classes that taught life skills. For girls, it usually meant they would be taking “Home Economics” courses. These included topics such as sewing, cooking, childcare, and home management. The boys took things such as agriculture, woodshop, welding, and auto repair. They may not have known it, but they were being taught life skills – how to survive as an adult in the real world.

Unfortunately, these types of vocational classes are no longer common in the technology-driven high schools of today. Our modern world of cell phone convenience and disposable everything actually keeps people from learning some basic skills to survive. A large part of the population would freeze in their tracks if the internet and cell phone system went down. They would have no clue how to proceed and survive without their constant technology. To combat this possibility, here are 5 life skills to learn and teach your children.

Feed Your Family

Learning to plan and cook nutritious meals for yourself and your family is not hard. With the millions of cookbooks and classes available today along with readily available ingredients, you can be whipping up good, tasty food in no time. Let your kids join in on the fun and soon they will be cooking for you.

Aside from the large amounts of money you save by preparing food at home, knowing exactly what you’re feeding your family is important. Food that is created from fresh ingredients will always be healthier than that take-out pizza or noodles from a box.

Don’t Throw Out That Sock

The simple task of sewing a button back onto a shirt terrifies many people. When a sock gets a hole in the heel, it is easier for them to toss it and buy new ones instead of taking a few quick stitches to close up the tear.

Community colleges and adult schools offer simple sewing classes that last from one day to entire semesters. They will teach you how to preserve and even make your own clothing. Online videos can also teach you to easily darn that holey sock.

Fire the Maid

Busy households get messy fast and need constant attention. If you’re one of those fortunate people with a maid or staff, that’s great. If not, you need to know some basic cleaning skills: washing dishes, vacuuming the floor, dusting shelves, scrubbing the bathroom, doing laundry, etc.

It is never too early to start teaching kids to do household chores such as taking out the garbage and sweeping the garage. Why hire a maid if you have kids (or a spouse) that can pull their own weight? Fire the maid and save the money for a family vacation or better yet, a spa trip for yourself.

On the Road Again

It’s true that cars used to be pretty simple beasts. They had straightforward components that were easy to identify, monitor, and maintain. The cars of today are complicated, computerized machines that watch their own fluids, talk to you, and even drive themselves in some instances.

This is still no excuse to not have the ability to change a tire in an emergency. Tires go flat all of the time and when it happens, you’re stuck. If you’re somewhere with no cell service to call for help, you’re really stuck. Have your mechanic or car dealer show you how to change the tire on your car so you can get back on the road right away.

My Pipes are Leaking

Learning to do simple home maintenance yourself can save you thousands of dollars. If you don’t have to call out the plumber to replace a faucet washer or an electrician to change your light bulb, you’re ahead of the game.

Many of the big box hardware stores have regular classes to teach these routine skills. They even have some classes taught exclusively for women who want to learn how to lay tile, install a garbage disposal, or hang drywall. The possibilities (and the savings) are endless.

If you were to look only at the money you would save by doing any of these tasks yourself instead of paying someone else, it would be eye-opening. When you add in the satisfaction you’ll feel when you’re able to say “I did this myself”, it becomes priceless.

What are some life skills that you learned in high school?

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5 Health Tips People Over 50 Need to Know

Aging is a fact of life. By the time you reach your 50s, you may notice physical changes such as a steady weight gain, a slowing metabolism, hair loss, and changes in sexual performance. But don’t let growing older become an albatross around your neck. Learn what to expect as you age, and the best steps you can take to limit the effect on you.

It’s Easy to Lose Muscle Tone

As people age, they tend to slow down. Statistics suggest that people lose about 10 percent of their muscle mass for every decade after the age of 45. Unfortunately, too many people use growing older as an excuse to become sedentary. Specifically, experts suggest that people ages 65 and older are the least likely to engage in physical activity.

This decline in physical activity not only results in a loss of muscle tone, it means you’re burning fewer calories. While it may be normal to gain some weight as you age, there are ways to maintain a healthy weight and retain muscle tone as you grow older.

Begin by considering your eating habits. As your metabolism slows, consider reducing your caloric intake by 300 to 500 calories a day. In addition, increase your physical activity. Aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises are the best for improving and retaining muscle tone and maintaining a healthy weight.

Seniors Face Dental Hygiene Issues

Dental hygiene is an area of concern regardless of your age. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that less than two-thirds (approximately 62 percent) of adults from 18 to 64 years of age visit their dentist annually. After the age of 65, this number only drops to around 60 percent.

The difficulty here is that if you have bad oral hygiene when you’re younger, chances are it won’t improve with age. The longer you let it slide, the more you increase your chances of having dental problems in your twilight years. One of the biggest dental issues, especially for seniors, is tooth loss. Without a full-set of healthy teeth, you risk gum deterioration, jawbone resorption, and facial collapse.

Prevent dental problems as you age. Brush at least twice daily with a soft head toothbrush, floss every day before sleep, and visit your dentist regularly.

Aging Skin Requires More Care

Skin care is essential as people age. While problems such as wrinkles, dry skin, and age spots are inevitable, you can avoid other issues such as acne and sun damage through proper skin care.

As people age, hormones change, cell renewal declines, and the human body produces fewer natural oils. Rays from the sun advance the aging process and lead to spider veins, dark spots, and wrinkles. Additionally, years in the sun may lead to basal cell carcinoma or melanoma (skin cancer).

Although the sun is a good source of vitamin D, too much can age skin faster. An average of 10 to 15 minutes of daily sun can give you the health benefits and reduce your chances of skin damage. Be sure to moisturize daily (that means men too), especially after you shower. Speaking of showers, blot your skin dry instead of rubbing harshly. This will reduce the chance of rubbing away important natural oils.

Make Sure to Get the Right Medical Checkups

Just like when you were a youngster and your parents took you to the doctor for age-appropriate checkups, there are age-related medical screenings for older adults. Along with annual health reviews of your weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, there are other periodic health checks that your doctor should be recommending for you, depending on your gender.

For men and women, your doctor may screen annually for diabetes, hepatitis C, or lung cancer (if you smoke). For women, an annual mammogram and Pap smear continue to be vital. Additionally, your physician may recommend a bone density screening. Finally, most doctors suggest a colonoscopy every 10 years for all adults beginning at the age of 50.

The best way to know which medical screenings are right for you is to speak with your primary care physician.

Keep an Eye on Your Eyes

The eyes are the windows to our souls. They can tell a lot about someone’s health. If they’re red, blurry, or dry, you may be sitting in front of your computer too much or just be overly sleepy. However, if you’re over the age of 50, there may be something else wrong.

Tired eyes accompanied by headaches may be a sign of presbyopia, a loss in your ability to see close objects or small print. Blurred or hazy vision may be a sign of cataracts. Floaters – small cobweb-like objects that float into view – are usually a normal part of aging. However, they also can be the sign of retinal detachment. Ensure eye health as you age by having annual checkups with an eye doctor.

Growing older is a normal part of the life cycle. Taking good care of your health should be too. That means getting regular health checkups, and that’s the best health tip for people over the age of 50.

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