To Keep or Not to Keep Pre-Planted Trees in Your Garden


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Garden & Landscape | Posted on 24-10-2014

If you have just purchased a new home, there are many features you may be considering updating or renovating altogether. One of these features is likely to be the landscaping in your yard. While your taste and sense of style may vary significantly from the previous owners’, it is a big decision to remove pre-existing landscaping to replace it with something else. Some plants, flowers and bushes can be dug up and replanted elsewhere if they do not fit your landscaping design aesthetic. However, if you have trees in your new yard, they may not be able to be transplanted, and it can be a difficult decision to uproot and remove a beautiful and healthy tree. To help you make your decision, consider the questions below.

Does It Create Shade?

One of the many reasons people plant trees in their yard is to create shade to enjoy on a warm day or to shade the home to help increase energy efficiency. A series of properly planted trees can reduce your in-home temperature by up to nine degrees on warm spring and summer days. The trees would need to be tall enough and close enough to your home to provide proper shade for energy efficiency. They shouldn’t be so close, however, that the roots will damage the foundation of your home as the trees continue to grow over the years.

Does It Support Local Agriculture?

Before deciding to remove pre-existing trees, find out what kind of tree it is if that supports local agriculture. This could be a tree that is rare and endangered or a tree that is a welcoming home to endangered birds and other small wildlife.

Has It Been Well Maintained?

Another deciding factor in whether or not you should keep or remove pre-existing a tree is whether it has been well maintained. A tree that has been allowed to overgrow or is showing signs of disease can help you in determining if you have the time and resources to nurse it back to health and then maintain it. If the tree has been well maintained, make sure you understand what kind of ongoing maintenance is required to keep the tree healthy and strong.

Does It Create Curb Appeal?

There are many reasons to add or change your landscaping, many of which are related to curb appeal. Even if a tree is healthy, well maintained and beautiful, it may not fit the rest of the plans you have for your landscaping. Before deciding to keep, replace or remove a tree, think of how it will fit with the rest of your landscaping goals. If you are not able to visualize how it will look with the other changes you plan on making to your yard, consider keeping the tree until the rest of the changes have been implemented before making your decision.

When making your decision, also keep in mind the impact that trees, shrubs and plants have on reducing emissions and local pollution. While removing a couple trees in your yard may not seem as if it would have much of an impact, the culmination of citizens throughout your community and across the world that plant one more tree here and there has a great impact on the environment.


Gregory Kittles is a freelance writer who focuses on home improvement and gardening. Fellow gardeners interested in maintaining a clean and orderly landscape at home should visit

What to Expect When Helping a Relative into a Nursing Home


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Health And Fitness | Posted on 24-10-2014

Making the decision to place a relative and loved one into a nursing home facility is a difficult one for a family to make. Nearly 10 million Americans require some type of assistance due to their inability to care for themselves. Of this number, more than 6 million are over the age of 65. From data provided by the Administration on Aging, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, 1.3 million Americans reside in nursing homes.

Nursing home experiences can vary depending on the state where care will be provided and the level of experience the staff of the facility has. Preparing a loved one to make the transition from the home that they have spent a portion of their life in to an institutional-type facility will be difficult. Knowing what to expect as the transition is being made will help ease some of the burden of placing a relative into a nursing home.

Dealing with a Relative’s Reluctance to Move 

One of the most difficult aspects of helping a relative into a nursing home involves overcoming their reluctance to move. A relative with roots in their community or an emotional attachment to their home will not be easy to convince about the benefits of moving into a nursing home. You may face this reluctance with anger, resistance to change and outright refusal to move.

You will need to prepare yourself for this possibility by enlisting the aid of a trusted adviser, such as your relative’s doctor. The counsel of your relative’s personal physician may help remove the fear and apprehension that a relative has about going into a nursing home.

Managing Expectations of the Relative 

If you did not take your relative to visit the nursing home before placement, you need to have a discussion about the facility. If the relative does not suffer from a cognitive impairment (i.e. Alzheimer’s or dementia), having this conversation is an important one to have. You need to provide assurances about the quality standard of care provided at the facility, amenities available and the type of staff at the nursing home. If possible, visit the facility with the relative and allow them the opportunity to ask questions of residents and staff.

Any concerns that your relative has about the facility should be addressed immediately with the right information. The more at ease and comfortable your relative has about the nursing home, the better you will feel about the transition.

Managing Payments and Medical Issues 

Families choose to place a relative into a nursing home in order for them to receive the type of care that they themselves are unable to provide. The cost for this type of care represents the most expensive form of long term care provided for older individuals. According to MetLife’s Mature Market Institute, the average daily cost of care for nursing homes in the United States (2012) is $222 to $248, depending on the type of room. This comes out to roughly $80,000 to 90,000 a year in cost. As you may suspect, a relative may have concerns about the affordability of this type of care. There concerns may be in the area of their assets; how they will be able to afford the care and will they lose everything they have saved to meet these costs.

You can help your relative understand how their assets will be protected while in the nursing home. A financial adviser or accountant can help you and your relative understand what options are available to fund the nursing home costs. There is also information through a local office on aging that can discuss long term care insurance, using cash value life insurance, annuities, trusts and reverse mortgages.

Tom Ventura is a freelance writer based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Tom frequently writes on medical science, the medical profession, nursing, health, medical education and other related areas; curious readers interested in pursuing further information on the medical field should check out

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?


Posted by JR Olson | Posted in Health And Fitness | Posted on 23-10-2014

A dental hygienist is much more than a dentist’s assistant. These licensed professionals deal with the public on a daily basis, essentially becoming the face of the dental practice. They perform teeth cleaning procedures, take and develop x-rays and impressions, schedule appointments, and act as liaison between dentist and patient. However, there’s a lot more to this job than meets the eye.

Dental hygienists often work hand-in-hand with the dentists they work for. They prep patients, get their extensive medical history, prepare them for seeing the dentist, and can even prep for small surgeries or procedures taking place within the office. Dental hygienists interact with a diverse group of community members, from children to adults to elderly patients. It’s helpful to have a good bedside manner, offering a gentle touch and demeanor for all patients. Dentists often stop in for a final check-up at the end of the visit, but it’s the hygienist who interacts with the patient during the appointment. They can offer encouragement, advice, tips and more, on top of their stated job description.

Day-to-Day Duties

The American Dental Association adds that dental hygienists perform patient screening procedures, including assessment of oral health conditions, review of each patient’s health history, and dental charting. Other duties include removing plaque from the teeth, applying sealants and fluorides, teaching patients the right oral hygiene strategies, performing nutritional counseling, making impressions of patients’ teeth, and performing documentation procedures. Dental hygienists also examine patients for oral diseases, the most common of which is gingivitis. With career advantages ranging from personal satisfaction and variety to flexibility and security, becoming a dental hygienist is an increasingly popular option among men and women alike.


According to the Academy of General Dentistry, before becoming licensed, a dental hygienist must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program, complete and pass a written exam by the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, and complete and pass a state clinical board examination. Once accomplished, you can then apply for a license in the state where you’ll be practicing. Keep in mind, that licensing requirements vary by state. It’s wise to get in touch with your state’s licensing board in order to receive the full requirements in terms of exams and licensing. You’ll need at least an associate’s degree to begin practicing this craft, and there may be some fees involved for licensure.


There are many advantages to becoming a dental hygienist, not the least of which is job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dental hygiene profession is expected to grow by 38 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than average for all occupations. Due to the link between oral health and general health, the need and demand for preventative dental services will skyrocket. As of 2010, the median pay was $68,250 per year, or $32.81 per hour. The ACD adds that due to the burgeoning success of this field, there will be a reduction in incidence of oral disease. The result: an older population that will keep their original teeth well into their golden years. Stressing the importance of regular dental care, dental hygienists can play a pivotal role in the future of this career choice.

Charlie Pickett writes on health & fitness, nutritional science, medical science, the medical profession, medical technology, dentistry and other associated topics; those interested in possibly joining the medical field should consider obtaining a certification for medical billing.