Showing posts with label growing older. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growing older. Show all posts

Do Word Puzzles Keep Your Mind Sharp Or Not?

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For years, companies have been encouraging adults to engage in regular “brain training” to train their neurons, just like their muscles, and make them stronger. But the relationship between solving puzzles and cognitive performance is anything but clear cut. Doing crosswords doesn’t seem to have a one-to-one relationship with the sharpness of our minds. So what the heck is going on? 

What Does The Evidence Say? 

When psychologists and brain researchers examined the question, they found conflicting results. A 2001 study in Brain and Cognition, for instance, found that as people get older, they perform worse on games designed to test working memory. Younger subjects almost always had the upper hand.

A study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology from 1999 found that older people who do crosswords don’t experience any reduction in the speed of cognitive decline. So, the researchers concluded that the brain might not be analogous to muscle tissue at all. 

But then another study in Psychology of Aging in 2000, found that doing crosswords regularly did, in fact, reduce the speed of memory loss as people get older.

So what the heck is going on here? Can you really train your brain like the rest of your body to keep it youthful?

The Importance Of Hidden Information

Although the science is mixed, some researchers think that certain types of word puzzles can actually help cognition. 

Consider a riddle, “what is full of holes but still carries water?” 

You can’t just read the statement and then think it through analytically to solve it. You won’t get anywhere. No matter how long you stare at it, the answer won’t pop out at you from the words on the page. 

Instead, you have to think “out of the box,” drawing on your knowledge of context. Eventually, if you think broadly enough, the idea of a sponge will enter your mind, and you will solve the riddle. 


The cognitive processes here are profound. Not only do you have to unscramble the problem, but you also have to open yourself up to novel ideas. Otherwise, you can’t resolve the riddle at all. It is a necessary part of the process. 

Finding hidden information is essentially what riddles are all about. They appear to allude to something that doesn’t make sense on the surface, but that can be resolved with the right idea. 

Riddles have appealed to people down the centuries, partly because their solutions are so unexpected and novel. You get a buzz of satisfaction when you solve one that makes you want to go on and do the next. 

Word puzzles, like riddles, therefore, could help train the mind by creating new connections in a way that many other types of problems don’t. Perhaps that’s why there have been mixed results in the literature. Performing rote calculations (in sudoku, for instance) uses well-worn neural pathways. But solving a riddle necessarily implies having to come up with an entirely novel solution. 

What do you think? Can solving riddles make you a better thinker overall? 



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What Makes A Children's Party Great?

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If you are thinking about throwing a party for your child, then you are obviously going to want to ensure that it goes as well as possible. You want them to have the best time possible, whether you are throwing them a party for their birthday or any other occasion. There are a lot of things that you are going to need to be aware of, and there is a lot of work involved too. In this article, we are going to take a look at just what makes a children’s party great, and how you can make sure that you are throwing the best possible party for your child.


Lots Of Invites


In general, you will want such a party to be as busy as possible, so that it feels much more like an event. Your child is bound to be excited if there are plenty of people in attendance, and it’s one of the hallmarks of a good party of any kind. So that means that you need to think about sending out a lot of invites as early as you possibly can, once you know what date you are thinking about having it on. You can even ask around first to see whether there is a date which seems best for most of the parents you know, so that you can increase the chances of there being good numbers. The more invites you are able to send out and get RSVPs for, the better.

Great Food


It’s not a party without food, and it is likely that this is one part of the day that you are going to spend a lot of time and money on. You need to make sure that the kids are going to love the food, and that part is easy enough. But you also need to consider the possibility that there will be kids who have particular dietary requirements. Make sure that their parents are including that information on the RSVP, so that you can prepare for it as well as possible. Beyond that, consider whether you want to get hold of a caterer to help you out with the food, or whether you are going to do it yourself - perhaps with the help of another adult who might be assisting you in planning the day.



Image Credit - CCO Licence
Entertainment


You also need to think about what kind of entertainment you are going to provide for the children. Many of the classic types of children’s entertainment are still going to work here, and you should think about whether or not you are going to want to include all or some of these at least. That could include looking out for a jumping castle rental, or getting a children’s entertainer or magician to come and do a show. You might also want to consider having pass the parcel and other classic games like that. The more entertainment there is, the better. You could even go down the pinata route if you want something a little different, and the child is not too young.

Decorations


You will probably find that you spend a lot of time decorating the party venue too. That is something that you need to think about in advance. Is there any particular theme that is likely to go down well? You could simply ask your child what they want - there is a chance they will have a clear idea, after all - or you could try to work it out with them if they are not quite sure. Then you can start to think about decorating the venue according to that theme, and in so doing you should be able to make the day much more memorable indeed. This is one part of the process that you might find you want some help with, as there can be a lot involved to get it right.


Venue


Speaking of which, you will also need to make sure that you are clear on which venue itself you might want to use. There are many options that you can consider here, and it all depends on the nature of the party and how much of an event it is going to be, including how many likely respondents you will get to your invitations. But make sure that it’s somewhere people can get to easily, and which is going to have enough space for all to enjoy themselves. If you can do that, you are going to find that the day is much more of a success.
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Having a Baby? Here are 3 Top Tips to Ensure You’re Prepared

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Photo by Andreas Wohlfahrt from Pexels


Finding out that you’re pregnant is one of the most exciting experiences in your life. However, it’s also one of the most daunting. Although no one can be fully prepared for what comes your way, it’s good to do your research so that you’re as prepared as possible. Motherhood and fatherhood is a journey unlike any other, and without this preparation, it might come to the due date and you’re not ready for the changes.

Gifts to Give a Pragmatic Parent

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Do you dread getting your parents gifts whether if it's for Christmas, birthdays or holidays? It's not because you don't love them, quite the opposite actually. 

Supporting Your Parents In Old Age

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It can be a difficult thing to face up to, but it is a fact of life: we all get old. As children and younger adults, we look at our parents, and they can seem almost immortal. It isn't until we begin to get older ourselves that we notice the signs of aging - the grey hairs increasing, the skin getting more and more linked, the creak of the hips and knees, and perhaps the odd moment of forgetfulness. At some point, we have to accept that they may need a little extra support to help them live out the later years of their life in comfort.

Image credit: Pixabay CC0 License

Here, we look at a few of the ways that you can support your parents in their old age.

Assess their needs

Organizing additional care and support for a parent can seem daunting because you are not sure exactly what needs to be done. What you need to do is to take a step back and think about how much help they need with various aspects of their everyday life.

Some of the things to consider include:

  • Staying safe in the home
  • Personal hygiene
  • Cooking and eating
  • Cleaning
  • Mental health
  • Shopping
  • Social interaction 
  • Mobility
  • Medical needs

How much support do they get for each thing, and how much help do they actually need to stay safe and healthy? By looking at each situation individually, it allows you to see where the support is necessary so that you can plan it accordingly. This may be in the form of help in the community, or it may be that they are better suited to a care home. Make sure you do your research to find reputable support, and if you come across one that doesn't treat their residents with the utmost care and respect, Chony can help.

Consider your own needs and abilities

You are allowed to be a little bit selfish. You don't have to take on the full responsibility for caring for elderly parents, and it is okay to say, ''I can't do that''. Even if you want to, can you?

  • Does your own health allow you to care for someone physically?
  • Do you live close enough to visit when needed and be there at short notice?
  • If you work, can you have time off to deal with issues?
  • Do you have the relationship that allows you to care for them without any hostility or negativity?

Your main aim is for your parents to be healthy and safe. It isn't selfish or heartless if you are not the best person to take on the job of all-round care.
By looking out for their health and safety and getting the assistance they need, you're still a loving and supportive child.
If you take on too much responsibility and can't manage either physically or emotionally, you're not going to be able to support your parent or yourself, and that is not going to help anyone.

Accepting old age can be difficult, but it is inevitable. By considering the points above you can make sure that the process for everyone involved is calm, safe, and above all, happy. 
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How to Level-Up Your Legal Career

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There’s much to love about working in the legal field. It’s exciting, and you tend always to be involved in what’s going on in the world. Indeed, in many ways, the legal field is the profession that has the biggest impact on the direction of the world. Given the immense possibilities that a legal career can provide, it’s important that any lawyer avoids settling for a position that they’re less than inspired by. If you need to level up your career, then take a look at some of the tips that we’ve outlined below. 


Finding New Work

No lawyer should be stuck doing boring work all the time. While there will be times when you just need to dig deep and get through the work, if you’re beginning to feel as if your entire career is one long and boring episode, then it’s time to switch things up. One of the quickest ways to do this is to find work with a new company. It’s easy to become comfortable where you are, but the best lawyers keep on pushing forward! One way to do this is to network with your peers, you’ll never know where it could lead. Eventually, this attitude can result in you starting your own firm.

Going Deep 

You’re going to have an array of skills as a lawyer, and that means that you can practice in a bunch of different fields. But that doesn’t mean that you should. You’ll find your career much more satisfying if you go deep into one specific area of the law, rather than fluttering around on the surface of various aspects. When it comes to choosing your specialty, start from a point of passion. What are you most passionate about, what subject interests you so much that you could do it every day? Going deeper will give you the expertise needed to excel in your career

Becoming a Star

The legal world is all about reputation. If you have one, then you’ll go far (providing it’s good, of course). If you don’t have a reputation, then no-one’s going to know you’re there. As such, one of the most effective ways to step up as a lawyer is to work on building your profile. There are numerous ways you can do this, but the best way is to work with a company such as EliteLawyerManagement.com. They have the knowledge and experience needed to boost your reputation, and can even help to get you featured in the country’s leading media publications.

Back to School 

If you’re a lawyer, then you’ll already know the power of education. Indeed, it’s your education that has gotten you this far! And perhaps it might just take you further, too. One recommended method is to go back to school and study for a Master’s degree. It can feel like you’re pausing your career a little, but it’ll pay off in the long-run, especially as it’ll allow you to apply for the more senior positions that pay better. 

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Health Checks to Keep Yourself In Top Condition

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Most of us have busy schedules that largely revolve around our work life, social lives and home lives. It’s not all too surprising that many of us don’t pay sufficient attention to our overall health and wellbeing. But we really do need to keep our health at the forefront of our minds at all times. Good health can lead to a better quality of life and a happier you! Attending a variety of health checks regularly can help to ensure that you’re in good condition. If any problems are identified, you can tackle them sooner rather than later! Here are just a few you should add to your schedule!

Eye Tests

You only need to have an eye test every two years. No matter how busy you are, you should be able to fit this short appointment into your schedule within that time frame. When you have your eye test, an optometrist will check the health of your eye from the front to the back. This could identify warning signs of serious eye problems like glaucoma, cataracts and displaced retina. Your eye test can also help to identify illnesses like diabetes by evaluating the health of blood vessels inside of your eye. On top of this general health checks, you will be able to receive a prescription for glasses or contact lenses if your vision seems to have deteriorated and is anything but perfect!

Hearing Tests

We don’t tend to think of hearing tests as much as eye tests. For one, we don’t have them as regularly. Generally speaking, you will only book in to see an audiologist for a hearing test if you notice a change in your hearing. But it’s absolutely essential that you do get checked if you have any concerns. A hearing test can help to identify a deterioration in your ability to hear clearly and will be able to recommend any hearing devices you might need to rectify any issues.

Dental Check Ups

You should see your dentist for a check up at least once every year. If possible, go once every six months. A regular dental checkup will allow the dentist to have a check of your mouth and its overall health, including the health of your teeth and your gums. If you have any issues with decay, they can be resolved early on with simple procedures, such as fillings. This will prevent you from having to face a more complex procedure, such as root canals or tooth extraction, which become more likely when problems are left unchecked. Your dentist can also conduct a scale and polish, which will see you leave their surgery with a gleaming, clean smile!

These are just three health checks you need to add to your diary. Sure, they may seem routine - and they should be! But so many people neglect them that it’s always worth reminding you to book in and be seen by the professionals!
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8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Design The Life Of Your Dreams

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With the new year upon us, it is the perfect time to reevaluate where you are in life and where you want to go.

Future Planning: An Introduction To The FIRE Movement

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For most people, their career path is very simple. They go to college, find a job after graduating, and slowly but consistently work their way up the career ladder over the course of the next 30 or so years. Then, usually by the time they are in their 60s, they are able to retire. This is the conventional career route that has been a staple of society for decades; but it’s a route that a group of people are now challenging. 

Introducing FIRE 

FIRE stands for “financial independence, retire early”. The driving force behind the idea is that retirement is not something that people should have to wait until their 60s to achieve; instead, people focusing on FIRE look to retire as soon as possible, with some achieving this goal in their 30s (though between 40 and 50 is more standard). 

Frugality is a big part of the FIRE lifestyle; in many ways, the movement is strongly related to anti-consumerism, and people choosing to spend more time enjoying the simpler things in life rather than working in order to spend. 

How is FIRE possible?

There are a few additional considerations anyone contemplating FIRE will need to keep in mind - which we will discuss in more depth soon - but the core essentials are aggressive saving and investment. People looking to achieve FIRE will spend as little of their income as possible - saving 75% of income is far from uncommon - and will instead choose to invest. Over time, the combination of savings and compounded interest from investments results in people having a large enough sum of money to retire and be able to live on the income from investments alone, rather than relying on a salary. 

How much is considered sufficient to retire on?


Most people aiming for FIRE aim to save 25 times their anticipated annual living expenses. So, if you were to estimate that you would need to spend $60,000 per year, then you would need to save $1,500,000. The x25 rule is thought to be sufficient to allow people to withdraw 4% from their savings to meet their living costs during their retirement.

Is it really possible to save that much money?

While the idea of setting so much money aside may initially seem outlandish, it is a goal that many people are able to reach. Admittedly it’s not a short-term goal - without a lottery win or two, no one is going to achieve FIRE in just a few years  - but if you’d like to retire earlier than expected, then it can be done. 

How can you get started on the path to FIRE?

The path to FIRE will always be slightly different for every person who chooses to walk it, as everyone starts from different financial positions and with slightly different goals in terms of how much they want to be able to save. However, the general steps needed to reach FIRE are as follows: 

#1 - Cost cutting 

Cost cutting is crucially important to those looking to pursue FIRE for two reasons. Firstly, FIRE requires a much higher savings rate than the 5-10% of income that most people aim for, so outgoings will have to reduce to allow this to be possible. Secondly, when actually retired, living a low-cost, frugal lifestyle is incredibly important to ensuring funds are sustainable, so it’s a good idea to get into the habit as soon as possible.

You will therefore need to go through all of your expenses and see where you can cut back. Be stringent here: anything but essentials should at least be considered for cutting if you’re dedicated to reaching FIRE. For areas of your budget that cannot be cut entirely - such as groceries, insurance payments, and so on - look for ways to reduce the amount you spend instead.

#2 - Debt repayment

FIRE requires people to save and invest as much of their income as they possibly can, while spending as little as possible - a situation that is difficult if you are carrying credit card or student loan debt. These debts will continue to accrue interest for as long as they are outstanding, which means that there’s more money being spent servicing debt than there is being saved into a potential retirement pot - which is obviously less than ideal. 

As a result, the extra funds found after cost cutting should be put towards clearing debt rather than saving for retirement; by doing this, potentially hundreds (or even thousands, depending on the size of the debt) of dollars in interest can be saved and diverted to an early retirement fund instead. 

#3 - Mortgage repayment 

Owning a property is outright is an important part of FIRE, as having to pay a mortgage (or, worse still, rent to a landlord) will inevitably deplete savings significantly and reduce the amount available to live on when retired. As a result, ensuring that your mortgage is paid off should be your next focus when you have cleared all debts; there are various methods available when it comes to paying off a mortgage, so explore these and decide which will work best for you.  

#4 - Investing 

With your mortgage paid off, you can now consider your investment options. Within the FIRE community, low-cost index funds are perhaps the most popular, but experiences and preferences do vary, so it’s advisable to seek the assistance of a financial advisor who can help decide which investments are the right choice for your specific goals. 

A quick note: Above, we have suggested that mortgage repayment and then investment is the best choice for those looking to achieve FIRE - but this is a hotly-debated topic within the FIRE community. 

Some people believe that investments and mortgage payments should be done at the same time (so interest can be earned on investments during the mortgage repayment), while others say, as we have, it’s best to focus all funds in paying off your mortgage first so that this important step can be achieved as soon as possible. 

The decision, however, is entirely yours: if you would like to split your focus, choosing to invest and pay off your mortgage at the same time, then you can do so - the route to FIRE is different for everyone, so go with what you believe to best the best course of action for you. No two routes to FIRE are the same!

Common questions people ask about FIRE 


FIRE is such an unusual idea that it is natural people may have further questions about how it works, so below we’ve sought to answer the most commonly-asked questions...

#1 - Is it possible to retire early and still pay college tuition for my children? 

Yes, but it’s complicated; there’s a helpful guide here that parents should find useful when deciding how to factor college tuition into their FIRE plans. 

#2 - Is FIRE for me if I love my job and don’t want to stop working?

Absolutely! Many people who reach FIRE continue to work even when, mathematically speaking, they do not absolutely need to. The goal of FIRE is to simply have the financial independence to choose to work, rather than having to work out of financial necessity. 

#3 - Is property ownership an essential for FIRE? 

Realistically, yes - even if you would like to live a nomadic lifestyle (such as travelling the country in an RV) post-retirement. Property is an excellent investment, so even if you’re not intending to live in your current home when you’re retired, it will still be a valuable asset and can contribute to your income if you choose to, for example, rent the property out while you explore the world. 

#4 - Should I try to increase my income in order to reach my goal faster? 

Yes, doing so can be beneficial and is a common choice for many people focused on FIRE. It is usually preferable to try and increase your hours/wage in your day job rather than embarking on a potentially-unreliable side hustle, though you can give this a try if you would prefer to do so and have the time available. 

#5 - What happens to early retirees if the market crashes? 

As we have discussed, FIRE is highly dependent on investments - but, of course, the market can go up as well as down, which could spell trouble for those who are solely reliant on investments for income. This concern is one of the reasons why working with a financial advisor is so important; they will help to diversify risk and ensure that funds are stable even in the event of a market crash. In addition, keeping some savings in cash (as in a high-interest standard savings account; not storing literal cash) can be a good way of protecting against market downswings. 

In conclusion

The FIRE movement definitely goes against convention, but can be an incredibly positive step for those who choose to commit to it. We hope the above has provided food for thought and, if you decide FIRE is the right choice for you and your family, we hope the journey is as smooth as it can possibly be.


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