WEDNESDAY, 15 APRIL 2015

Nursing home offers rent-free accommodation for uni students

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Image from uhc.com

A nursing home in the Netherlands is offering rent-free accommodation to university students, provided that they spend at least 30 hours a week being “good neighbours” to the other residents – watching sports and celebrating birthdays with them, and more. And I think this has to be the best ageing population strategy I’ve ever heard of!

If there’s one kind of poverty we suffer in the developed world, it’s loneliness - most particularly in old age. Unlike poorer countries, which tend to have a tradition where elderly parents live with their children and grandchildren, the western world is all too happy to drop off Mum and Dad at a nursing home and visit on Sundays.

Of course this is a generalisation, but we cannot deny that it is a trend. I must point out that there are cases where a nursing home is necessary, when health issues cannot… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 13 APRIL 2015

How married men are trumping their unmarried peers

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These days, it’s common for people to make marriage sound like a trap, a life-ender, a stupid decision. Turns out though that the odds are stacked in the favour of the married: who enjoy many a benefit when compared to their single peers.

As covered in this MercatorNet article, research has shown that marriage means the following:

  • Intact family premium - young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families
  • Marriage premium - both men and women enjoy substantially higher family incomes, compared to peers with otherwise similar characteristics
  • Second generation family premium - men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry enjoy an especially high income as adults
  • Across race and educational divides -… click here to read whole article and make comments

 

THURSDAY, 9 APRIL 2015

The difference between married and “partnered” mothers

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Image from hybridrastamama.com

The News Story - U.S. sees rise in unmarried parents

The number of children born to cohabiting couples is rising, and scholars worry about the economic ramifications for children.
 
Reports the Wall Street Journal, “Just over a quarter of births to women of child-bearing age . . . in the past five years were to cohabiting couples, the highest on record and nearly double the rate from a decade earlier.” Among reasons for this increase, the WSJ lists an increased desire for financial stability before tying the knot, and also women’s higher levels of education and job-attaining ability, which make “marriage less attractive economically.” But the children of such unions, findings show, tend to fare worse socio-economically than do the children of married parents, and the increased instability of such relationships also bodes ill for them.
 
Research indicates that it is not only… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 6 APRIL 2015

Fertility apps streamline natural family planning

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winkPhoto: Gizmag

 

Natural family planning is getting a technological boost with new advances that make it even easier for a woman to track her fertility cycle.

The company behind the Kindara app, which charts a woman’s fertility signs right on her phone and connects her with specialist support, has come out with an innovative thermometer.

Cheekily called Wink, the thermometer is linked wirelessly with the app in her cellphone and acts as an alarm clock - since taking basal temperature at the same time each morning is integral to most fertility-monitoring methods.

When the woman wakes up, she reaches for her Wink, which then turns off the alarm (without her ever having to touch her phone) and takes her temperature with the device. The thermometer takes a quick reading, vibrating when done, and instantly syncs the temperature and time it was… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 30 MARCH 2015

Troubles tend to multiply for kids in broken families

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Growing up in a family with a history of substance abuse, mental illness, or incarceration places kids at higher risk of childhood depression, anxiety, and conduct disorders, according to Nicholas Zill at the Institute of Family Studies.

That might sound self-evident, but Zill also shows how these factors work together with family structure to put some children at a greater disadvantage than others. As the following graph illustrates, US data show that children cared for by a divorced or separated mother are far more likely to also experience alcohol or drug abuse, or mental illness in the family, or the imprisonment of a family member.

graph

It is noteworthy that young people in stepfamilies had family histories similar to those for kids living with divorced or separated mothers.

Also worth noting is the… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 30 MARCH 2015

Sweatpants are the #1 cause of divorce

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Image from au.lifestyle.yahoo.com

Last week, Eva Mendes was published in a TV Extra interview where she claimed that sweatpants (trackies, for the Aussies) are the number one cause of divorce in America. When the flood of indignant disagreement came in, she and boyfriend Ryan Gosling were quick to make light of the situation via Twitter, saying it was all a joke.

I know I’ll be going against the tide, but I agree with Eva Mendes. I get what she was trying to say. Not so much that trackpants themselves cause divorce, but rather that the “trackpants attitude” is certainly not strengthening to a marriage. And I understand the outrage too – trackies are undeniably comfortable and with a busy lifestyle, there’s not always time to look 100% perfect. But I still think we should avoid the trackpants attitude.

It’s not that relationships are all about the way people look: I’ll be the first… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 27 MARCH 2015

How to slim down super-sized kids

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family Photo: Christian Sinibaldi/Guardian

 

Every parent knows it’s tough getting kids to eat their greens. Even UK food writer Rose Prince claims to have been “quite undone by feeding children”, noting how easy it was for her mother, “a housewife in the classic sense”, to produce delicious from-scratch meals and keep a close watch on between-meal-snacking. By contrast, her own children “make toast and rampage through the biscuit supply as soon as they are sure I’m in my office working… The children of busy parents soon discover that you are too tired to argue”.

It’s estimated that Britain now has around 140,000 "super-fat" kids, who are likely to need gastric band ops in the future, at the taxpayer’s expense.

So much for government health initiatives, like Change4Life with its targets for ‘five a day’, reduced salt and sugar intake, and cutting back on fatty food.

Public money… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 25 MARCH 2015

Hello selfies, goodbye empathy

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“It would easy to describe the behaviour as self-obsessed and exhibitionist. But the issue is more complex than that. And far more troubling. If one is to take the word of experts who are looking into the behaviour of young people, we are looking at a selfie-led Armageddon. The end of society as we know it. We are breeding a generation of potentially ruthless narcissists who might not develop empathetic centres in their brains. Lack of empathy is what causes much destructive and aberrant behaviour in our society.”

This was one of the first paragraphs of an article I came across earlier this week in The Australian.  Yes, the selfie is something I have bemoaned before for its attention-seeking and over-sexualising properties. But an individual selfie is one thing. Seems like the culture of the selfie, on the other hand, is a whole other ball… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 20 MARCH 2015

7 tips for a happier home

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What makes for a happy home? Is it having plentiful sofas, nice neighbours, or perhaps super-fast Wi-Fi? Believe it or not, they all make the list according to a recent study cited on the Be Home Blog. As well as some (perhaps more surprising?) factors which would seem to make for less family time, but do play a part in preventing tension – for example, everyone having their own phones, or having a lock on the bathroom door.

These above points might seem trivial, but there are others on the list (of 50 – see the full list here) that do resonate with me. Here are my favourites:

Keeping the home tidy

Seems unnecessary? Not so! There’s something about being in clean, neat surroundings that calms a person. I’ve heard it said that the state of your wardrobe reflects the state of your soul – wouldn’t it make sense then,… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 18 MARCH 2015

Welfare reform needs strong families

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The Dutch Royal Family

 

Starting from the 1st of January, the Dutch youth care system has been reformed. Behind what might seem to be a simple organizational change lies the harsh reality of budget cuts. Given the ageing Dutch population, increasing demand for care is to be expected, and the government will have fewer resources to meet such demand. More will be asked of families, with a focus on “youth’s and parents’ own capacities” to decrease use of specialised services. But are families ready for such responsibility?

On New Years’ Eve, an acquaintance working in Dutch youth care told me he was unsure about his future employment, because of the reforms the Dutch government is implementing. The (anonymous) stories he told about couples he was dealing with, especially the rising numbers of “fighting divorces”, and the effects these have on children were quite sobering. Even though there are some people… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@ mercatornet.com


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