RE/MAX 440
Peter Patkos
1110 North Broad Street
Lansdale  PA 19446
 Phone: 215-327-7491
Office Phone: 215-362-2260
Fax: 267-354-6879 
peterpatkos@remax440.com
Peter Patkos

My Blog

Important Tips for Seeking Senior Housing

December 26, 2012 3:54 am

People are living longer today. The century-long expansion in the world’s population that is 65 and older is the product of dramatic advances in medical science and health lifestyles. Currently, 13 percent of the U.S. population is 65 and older, up from 4 percent in 1900. As Baby Boomers turn 65 in higher and higher annual numbers, it is estimated that one in five Americans will be over age 65 and about 5 percent over 85. All this calls for growing care and services for the elderly population and pre-planning for lifestyles in the future.

The senior housing industry has been growing dramatically over the last 15 years as many adult children are now in the workforce and unable to provide the attention to their parents’ needs, whether physical or social. There are a number of things to be considered when choosing lifestyle alternatives.

-Location. Keeping your parents close to home should not be the number one consideration. Although it is important that the community be convenient for family and friends to visit, being close to amenities they need and trust will make their senior living experience rewarding and more fulfilling.

-Type of community. Visiting to make sure the current residents have similar interests, backgrounds and values will allow for a more enriching life in the golden years. Many communities invite prospective residents to tour their community and enjoy lunch with the community, which is a wonderful way to ascertain if the culture is a fit. Many communities offer a weekend stay to experience more fully what the community has to offer.

-Staff. Is the staff appropriately dressed, personable and outgoing? Do the staff members treat each other in a professional manner? Does the staff call residents by name and interact warmly? The answers to these questions will determine quite a bit toward whether the community is right for your loved one.

-Medical needs. Does the community have on-site medical supervision? If not, is there an agency that is associated with the community that can help when needed?

Finding and choosing a housing option for an aging loved one can be a difficult process. Be sure to keep seniors' needs as your top priority in order to find a community that properly suits them.

For more information, visit www.alternativeforseniors.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Ideas for Recycling Your Christmas Tree

December 26, 2012 3:54 am

Christmas has come and gone and most families will be looking to get rid of their tree in the coming week or two. The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) estimates that 30 million natural trees are sold each year. Recently, 93 percent of respondents told the association that they participate in some sort of tree recycling program. Instead of bringing it to the dump, there are plenty of ways you can recycle your tree and use it for other purposes. Here are a few suggestions:

Curbside pickup: For those with enough yard space, leave your tree on the edge of your front yard for town or city pick-up. Some towns use leftover trees for mulch for use in public spaces like parks. You may even be able to pick up some of that mulch for your own projects. Check with your city's government or parks and recreation department or visit earth911.org to find out more information about how your area uses and distributes leftover mulch.

Yard decoration: For non-city dwellers, trees can be put up in your yard to provide shelter for small animals or add to the ambiance of the winter season. Branches can also be cut off and used to protect bare patches in your yard throughout the season.

Donate it for habitat protection: Old trees can also help stabilize habitats, such as areas devastated by natural disasters like hurricanes. They are also sometimes used as safe havens for breeding rare or endangered birds, or as waterways for schools of fish. The NCTA details many of these programs on their website.

Be creative when deciding to recycle or reuse your Christmas tree. For more information, visit www.christmastree.org.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Tips for Preparing Your Home for a Virtual Tour

December 24, 2012 3:50 am

As more buyers are turning to the Web to begin their home search, sellers in today’s market are relying on virtual tours for that crucial first impression. If you are selling your home, take some time to get it virtual-tour and open-house ready to interest more buyers and entice a faster sale.

Virtual tours show buyers a 360-degree view of the interior of a home and allow them to narrow their home search conveniently from their personal computer. Since potential buyers will be sorting through hundreds of photos and virtual tours throughout this process, it is important to understand that your home looks different through the lens of a camera than in person.

Just as you would prepare for an open house, prepare for your virtual tour shoot by removing clutter. Move personal belongings out of sight or use this as an opportunity to donate or throw away items that you no longer use. The goal is to maximize the space of your home and depersonalize it enough to allow potential buyers to imagine themselves living there.

Here are some tips to help cut down the clutter:

-Remove excess furniture to make rooms look larger.
-Clear off the kitchen counter and hide everyday items, such as kitchen utensils, toasters, hand soap and magnets on the fridge.
-Store children’s toys, bicycles, gardening tools and other clutter out of sight.
-Place toiletries and cleaning products in cabinets or closets. Most virtual tours will only photograph the major rooms in your home.
-Take family photos off of walls and shelves while the home is being shown.
-Recycle old magazines and newspapers that take up extra space throughout the home.

The next step is to give your home a good, thorough cleaning. Since cameras often capture more than the eye can see, it is important to spend some time cleaning your home from top to bottom. Areas that are often overlooked during the cleaning process include windows and stainless steel appliances. Be sure to keep them streak free and clean to ensure the best photo.

Another cheap way to prepare your home for buyers is to brighten it up by replacing old or dim light bulbs. Consider using a higher wattage light bulb in rooms or areas that don’t get direct sunlight. You can also add a brightly-colored throw or vase to lighten up a space that has dark flooring or furniture.

Some other tips to consider for the virtual tour include:

- Take your own digital photographs to see how each room looks on camera.
- Get layout and style ideas from home and design magazines.
- Don’t forget about ceilings and floors. Most virtual tours today show all angles.
- Limit seasonal decorations.
- If exterior photos are included, park vehicles elsewhere and make sure your lawn is freshly mowed and garbage cans are out of sight.

Source: The Chicago Association of REALTORS®

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Appliance Safety in the Home: How to Prevent Tip-overs

December 24, 2012 3:50 am

Because of tragedies nationwide involving tipped-over appliances, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently completed a review of various tip-over hazards that can occur in the home.

It was reported that there were 1,600 injuries in 2006 from appliance tip-overs, most of which occurred to victims under the age of 5. Thirteen deaths occurred between 2000-2006, most of which were children under 10 or adults over 70. These deaths were primarily caused by freestanding or slide-in stoves with oven doors swinging outward.

Families must be aware of leaving children unattended in the kitchen, even if the stove is turned off. Many accidents occur when children attempt to climb on top of a stove door causing the appliance to topple over. With senior citizens, the same can happen when they are leaning on it for support. If the stove is on at the time of the incident, the heat will only make injuries worse and risk of death greater. Out of all of the accidents occurring in 2006, none of the appliances were properly secured to the wall.

The CPSC recommends the following to prevent related tragedies in the future:

-Manufacturers should create better stability in their designs. Models should be able to support 100 pounds on an open oven door. Although this may require some major redesigns, the added safety bonus will benefit everyone.
-Manufacturers should design door hinges that lock in the open position should an oven start to tip forward.
-Install anti-tip devices that prevent an appliance from working unless they are properly installed.
-Appliances should be programmed to automatically shut off the heat should they begin to tip.

Consumers should be aware that these types of incidents can occur in their home. To prevent this from happening to you or your loved ones, be sure to secure your stove with tip restraints provided by your manufacturer. New appliances made after 1991 should have shipped with these restraints included, but may or may not be pre-installed. The CPSC reports that it is not aware of a single injury or death caused by an appliance with tip restraints properly installed.

For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

'Mom Caves': A Growing Trend in Relaxation

December 24, 2012 3:50 am

Over the past few years, patriarchs of the family have been taking space in the home for their very own relaxation needs. "Man caves" became trendy, as men everywhere created their own rooms for recliners, mini-fridges, pool tables, televisions and more. Now, it's the women's turn.

Child- and husband-free zones are growing in popularity as moms feel the same urges to stake their claim. "Mom Caves" can be a place for a matriarch to get some work done, or a place for the direct opposite of that. Many women are finding comfort in their own house haven where they can de-stress, relax and get some peace and quiet. If this sounds like your cup of tea, take these tips from yahoo.com to turn any corner of your house into your very own "Mom Cave":

Pick your spot. You can transform any part of your home into your new Mom Cave, from an unused room or corner, to a nook in an attic or basement. Try locating yourself near a window. If this isn't possible, use a few mirrors to brighten it up and bounce light around your new hangout. This will also provide the illusion of more space and decrease any sense of claustrophobia your space may incur.

Hide from the world. Try to find a space that will be easy to enclose. Mid- to-larger-sized closets make good spots for makeshift caves, but other options exist as well. You can create your own corner by using a curtain or box yourself in with bookcases--whatever you need to do to temporarily hide yourself away.

Color choice is important. Transforming the walls is also a great way to make the space your own. You can paint the walls your favorite color, or if you don't want to get involved in a project, you can simply color coordinate with your favorite furnishings. Use calming colors to match your relaxed mood, or try blues and greens to spark creativity.

Think "comfortable." Choose your throne wisely. A comfortable chair is key in creating your relaxation haven. Use any chair in your home, or spruce up an old one with cashmere or another soft lining. Throw pillows can also go the extra mile you need for comfort. Your Mom Cave may just be your favorite nap location, too.

Infuse your personality. Whether your Mom Cave is for reading, painting, crafting or any other hobby, make sure it speaks to you. Make it yours by adding your own personality to it. Surround yourself with things you love. Add plants, photo albums, framed photos, etc. Don't overdo it though--you don't want your source of leisure to seem overcrowded or stressful. Do whatever it takes to make it appealing to you.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Helpful Tips for Stress-Free Holidays with Your Pet

December 21, 2012 9:46 am

In the spirit of the season, the Advocacy for Pets and Affordable Wellness (APAW) has announced seven unconventional tips to help pet parents, as well as anyone hosting a pet visitor, enjoy the holidays while ensuring their pets are safe, healthy and happy. As part of the organization's ongoing commitment to pet affordability and wellness issues, APAW offers valuable, pet owner insights and simple solutions to counteract unexpected situations that could affect the well-being of any four-legged friends during the holidays.

Heed the following seasonal tips and guidelines to prepare your home properly and ensure pet wellness during the holidays:

1. Calm your pet using food-grade peppermint oil. One teaspoon warmed and gently rubbed on a pet's paws will relieve stress and tension.
2. Secure your garbage can at all times. Harness your pet's curiosity and safeguard against unnecessary emergency visits and expenses by taking steps to fasten garbage bags and toss unwanted gift wrapping and other festive materials that could cause potential digestive problems.
3. Use cinnamon oil spray to keep your dog or cat away from the holiday tree. Fill a 3oz. spray bottle with water and 5-7 drops of cinnamon oil—spray around the base of the tree to deter pets from tampering with it.
4. Administer flea and tick medicine prior to arrival of guests. Proper application of this topical medication will help make your home more inviting and comfortable for your guests.
5. Keep over-feeding at bay. Supply healthy snacks for guests to feed your pet and cut back on regular food intake.
6. Use potting soil as an alternative to cat litter. This handy household ingredient can be used as a temporary fix when necessary.
7. Give your pup a quick clean. Mixing cornstarch with baking soda and salt yields a simple dry shampoo to freshen up a dog's coat—perfect for surprise visits and holiday photo ops.

Source: Advocacy for Pets and Affordable Wellness

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Consumer Reports Poll: With Just Days Left, 132 Million Americans Have Not Finished Their Holiday Shopping

December 21, 2012 9:46 am

With just a few shopping days left until Christmas, a whopping 68 percent of shoppers – a projected 132 million Americans – have yet to finish their gift shopping, according to the latest Consumer Reports Holiday Poll. Seventeen million are estimated to hit stores on Christmas Eve.

"We found in a previous poll that 20 percent of Americans dread shopping for gifts, which could explain why there are so many procrastinators this year," said Tod Marks, Consumer Reports senior editor and resident shopping expert. "Those who haven't finished shopping can expect crowded stores – including on Christmas Eve."

When asked which gift they were most likely to grab at the last-minute, 62 percent of shoppers said they would go with a gift card or gift certificate, 27 percent would opt for cold hard cash, while 15 percent would go with booze. Lottery tickets and candy would be a last-minute choice for 12 percent respectively, while 4 percent would issue an IOU or gift-to-be-determined.

The Consumer Reports Holiday Poll also revealed who holiday shoppers would most likely leave-off their gift list if they ran out of money or time to shop. Thirty-one percent said service providers would be chopped from their list, making them the most likely to be overlooked. But 14 percent of married shoppers said their spouse/partner would most likely not receive a gift, an option that was embraced by twice as many women (18 percent) than men (9 percent). Others most likely not to get gifts with time or money running short include co-workers, the family pet, an extended family member and the boss.

Even though some might not buy their spouse/partner a gift, 98 percent of Americans are looking forward to spending time with their spouse/partner this holiday season – including 88 percent who are looking forward "a lot." Who in their family are Americans not crazy about seeing? Extended family members like an aunt, uncle or cousin topped the list. Thirty-three percent are not at all thrilled about seeing their step-parents, and 22 percent could do without spending time with their siblings.

Thus far shoppers have spent a median of $340 on holiday gifts this season, which is 70 percent of the $483 total they told Consumer Reports they planned to spend on-average this year in a previous poll. And more Americans said that their shopping experience this year has been pleasant (41 percent) or fun (18 percent) than rushed (14 percent), nerve-wracking (9 percent) or disappointing (6 percent).

When asked who topped the list of worst gift-givers, 30 percent of those surveyed said their extended family members. Co-workers, in-laws and friends were also identified as most likely to give lousy gifts.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Transforming Your Bedroom into a Stylish, Functional Retreat

December 21, 2012 9:46 am

(Family Features) In today’s busy, on-the-go world, having a haven to come home to is a must. And for many people, that sanctuary is the bedroom.

“Today’s bedroom is for more than just sleeping,” says Emily Henderson, host of “Secrets from a Stylist” and HGTV’s Season 5 “Design Star” winner. “From working and engaging with media to reading, relaxing and watching TV, we are doing more in our bedrooms than before. But that doesn’t mean we have to compromise great style and comfort.”

Henderson recently shared a few of her designer secrets to help anyone create a peaceful and luxurious haven.

Choose the Right Color Palette
Color really sets the mood for a room. While soft, cool colors and neutrals create a soothing mood, strong colors add drama.

A good rule of thumb when choosing colors is 60-30-10. Sixty percent of the room should be the dominant color (walls), 30 percent a secondary color (upholstery) and 10 percent an accent color (accessories).

When choosing your colors, start with something you love as your inspiration. It can be a painting, a pillow or even your favorite vase. Use that item to build out the perfect color palette for your bedroom.

Beautify Your Bed and Bedding
The Better Sleep Council says that, in general, a mattress set that has been in use for seven years should be replaced in order to give you the best comfort and support possible. If it’s time to replace your mattress, think about upgrading your whole bed. To get the designer look you see in magazines and on websites for your bed, Henderson says you need to choose great bedding, and learn how to layer it.

“Make sure you have tons of textures and layers,” she said. “More than any other room, upholstery is important. In your bedroom, you want everything soft. The key is to contrast textures like wools, linens, cashmeres and knits to make it feel inviting. Remember to keep everything in your color palette to avoid it looking messy or feeling busy.”

Here is her step-by-step guide to layering bedding like a pro:

Start with sheets — Make sure you have comfortable sheets that feel good against your skin. You can choose a solid color or a pattern that complements your bedspread.

Add a blanket — The next layer is a soft blanket. Depending on the season and the climate in your area, you can go with a lighter cotton or fleece blanket, or a heavier wool one.

Top it off — A quilt, duvet or bedspread is the top layer of your bedding and has the most visual impact. It needs to pull together all the layers of your bed and complement the colors of your room.

Accent each layer — Fold the top layer back about a quarter of the way down the bed. Follow with the blanket and the sheet, leaving each layer visible.

Add pillows and accessories — Use larger, European style pillows and shams for a backdrop, your sleeping pillows in front of those, then an accent pillow or two. Add a textured throw or silky quilt folded at the end of the bed for a finishing touch.

Source: www.lpadjustablebeds.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Are You Seeing Spots...On Your Dishes?

December 20, 2012 3:46 am

(Family Features) If your dishwasher is turning out dull, spotty dishes and leaving you frustrated and annoyed, you’re not alone. Spotty and cloudy dishes are a common nuisance for many dishwasher owners across America.

In fact, a recent survey found that people experience spots and cloudy film on their dishes straight out of the dishwasher an average of five times per month, and 70 percent felt annoyed or frustrated because they didn’t know the cause. The battle of dull dishes has left many Americans wasting excess time and money by changing their detergent (49 percent) or rewashing by hand (47 percent).

But what many don’t know is that the spots are probably caused by the removal of a key grime-fighting ingredient from detergents – phosphates. In 2010, dishwasher detergent manufactures were forced to rework their formulas because of environmental concerns, as required by State laws passed in over a dozen states. While the new formulas may be gentler on the planet, some are lacking in cleaning power.

Despite the formula changes, dishwasher owners can still be spared the domestic dread of cloudy and spotty dishes and achieve sparkling and pristine dishware right out of the dishwasher.

To save time and avoid rewashing by hand, try these simple tips for sparkling clean dishes and glasses:

Boost your detergent’s performance. Let your dishes shine by giving your dishwasher detergent a boost of extra power with a product such as a dishwashing booster. To restore the sparkling appearance of your dishes in just one wash, add two squirts to the bottom of the dishwasher. For ongoing use, fill the rinse agent dispenser with dishwashing booster about once a month to keep dishes clean and spot free, wash after wash.

Properly load your dishes. To optimize cleaning, load the dishwasher so that dishes are facing in toward the center, and in line with the jets. Glasses, plastic and small items should be placed on the top rack facing downward, and large items like pots, pans and dinner plates should be placed on the bottom rack along the sides.

Whether you’re hosting an intimate get-together or throwing a grand soiree, adding a dishwashing booster and properly maintaining your dishwasher can help ensure your dishes come out sparkling clean with each wash. Rest assured your smile will be gleaming as bright as your dishes.

Source: OxiClean

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags:

Airport Security Procedure Changes

December 20, 2012 3:46 am

Recent changes to the screening process at airports across the country will help millions of travelers board their planes quicker and easier during the busy traveling season and allow officers to focus on passengers who might represent a bigger risk.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recently updated its screening process to help children, seniors, and trusted travelers move faster through airport checkpoints while ensuring the security of all travelers. Below, you’ll find some of the latest changes.

New Screening Process for Children
Children, 12 or younger, can now go through airport security without taking off their shoes. To minimize the need for pat-downs, children are now allowed to go through metal detectors and body scanners several times to clear any alarms.

It's also worth remembering some of the existing processes for screening children at the airport:

• Officers will never separate children from their parents or guardian
• All children's luggage will go through the x-ray machine
• Travelers with small children are able to take more than 3.4 ounces of liquid, such as breast milk, juice, and medicines

New Screening Process for the Elderly
Screening changes for passengers who are 75 years or older are similar to the screening process for children. That is, elderly people will also be able to go through airport security without removing their shoes. They can also go through a security checkpoint without removing a light jacket.

To minimize pat-downs, the elderly will be able to go through the metal detector and body scanners several times to clear any alarms. The TSA has a hotline to answer questions about the security process for passengers with disabilities and medical issues. The toll-free number is 1 (855) 787-2227. Be sure to call 72 hours before traveling so you have enough time to make any changes before going through security.

New Program for Frequent Travelers
The TSA also has a new program to help frequent travelers move through security checkpoints faster. The program is called "TSA Pre" and is available in more than 30 U.S. airports to frequent passengers of a limited number of airlines, including Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.

Travelers who enroll in the program:

• Do not need to take off their shoes and belts while going through security
• Can keep their computers inside their bags
• Can go through security without taking off a light jacket
To enroll in the "TSA Pre" program, or to learn more, visit GlobalEntry.gov.

Source: GobiernoUSA.gov/USA.gov

Published with permission from RISMedia.

Tags: