The holiday season might not be the most hazardous time of the year, but there is an uptick in safety concerns during this season of festivity and fun.
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Many people look toward retirement with mixed feelings. There is the anticipation and excitement of no longer having to stick to a set schedule. However, there may be some trepidation about living without a steady income.
Bloomberg financial experts found the number of Americans aged 65 and older without a disability that weren’t in the labor force rose to 800,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016. This has become a long-standing trend of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce and entering retirement. Yet, a Statistics Canada study of people between the ages 60 and 64 who had left long-term employment found 43 percent of them were working again, most within a year of leaving their job. Although boredom may have compelled many of those people to reenter the workforce, some may have started working again to make ends meet. Researchers found the higher the earnings in one’s late 40s, the more likely a retiree is to go back to work.
While retirees may need to alter their spending habits, it is possible to live happily on less. Here are some ways to do just that.
- Accurately assess home expenses. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling says the cost of home-related expenses accounts for roughly 45 percent of spending for retirees. Individuals can add up exactly how much their homes are costing them and then decide if downsizing is a practical solution. Downsizing has a host of benefits, not the least of which is reducing housing-related expenses.
- Invest in health care. Unexpected health care costs can quickly deplete individuals’ finances. That’s why it is essential to have a solid insurance plan in place. Health care planning also may include thinking ahead to long-term care, such as assisted living and nursing homes. One may have to make concessions elsewhere, but investing in health care can assuage concerns men and women might have about the cost of living in their golden years.
- Use alternative transportation. Cars can be expensive. A budget-friendly alternative to driving is to use public transportation or transportation services provided to seniors free or for nominal fees.
- Take advantage of senior discounts. Many restaurants, stores and service centers offer discounts to seniors. The starting age for discounts may vary from store to store, so always ask before cashing out.
- Shop for food differently. Bulk buys may have been appropriate for men and women when there were kids running around, but empty-nesters can cut back on food expenses. Shopping sales and making more meals at home can help seniors save money. The market research firm NPD Group found that in-home meals cost roughly one-third of what it costs to eat the same food at a restaurant. Save dining out for special occasions.
Retirees can make changes to save money without negatively affecting their quality of life.
Hobbies can provide a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Finding the right hobby requires the consideration of a host of factors, including one’s own personality. The following are some common personality types and the hobbies they might find rewarding.
While fire can provide warmth and safety, it also can cause immediate and significant damage that can uproot lives and devastate homes. Because fire is such a formidable foe, it’s imperative that people from all walks of life have a fire safety plan.
The threat of fire
The National Fire Protection Association says U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year between 2011 and 2015. On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services says 48 percent of fires that cause severe losses occur in residential properties. Both the NFPA and the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management in Ontario state that cooking-related fires are the most prevalent, followed by fires sparked by heating equipment.
How quickly fire can spread may surprise some people. The Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department says that in the average two-story home fire, fire ignites in 30 seconds, smoke pours into most rooms by 2.5 minutes, and roughly 4.5 minutes after the fire has ignited, flames can be visible from the exterior of a house. Temperatures inside can grow from 190 F to more than 1400 F in two minutes.
Planning is critical
When fires ignite, time is of the essence to make a fast evacuation. Unfortunately, panic may set in and people may not know how to act when under such acute stress. That’s why planning for the event of fire can provide families with the information they need to evacuate safely. Evacuation plans and drills should be established and practiced frequently so that getting out alive becomes second nature. However, only about one-quarter of households have actually developed and practiced a home-fire escape plan, according to the NFPA.
The following guidelines can help families customize their fire escape plans.
- Find two ways out. Look at your home’s layout and identify two ways out of every room, if possible. Walk around the house in each room and practice what to do if a fire broke out in that space, offers Safe Kids Worldwide.
- Choose an outside meeting place. Establish a spot to meet a safe distance in front of the home where everyone can gather after they’ve gotten out safely.
- Assign help to those with mobility issues. Elderly adults, infants or young children may have difficulty escaping on their own. Plan a buddy system so that a key person in the household is responsible for rousing and helping another from the house.
- Check fire protection. Be sure that there is a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and on every level of the house.
- Drop it low. Heat and smoke rise and escaping on hands and knees is essential for survival.
- Practice several times a year. Conduct a fire drill a few times each year, and choose a different escape route each time. Invest in a UI-certified collapsible rescue ladder and attach it at least once, advises The Fire Department of New York, in case a second-story evacuation is necessary.