At the End of Life

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While this may not be a topic that many are prepared to talk about or accept, I thought it would be a good idea add an informative post about hospice. There are many people who probably do not have a full understanding of what hospice is– or have a misconception of what it is. Just the word “hospice” throws people off.

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There are many hospice companies in the Bay Area. What differentiates one from the other is size, experience and length of business. All hospice companies are regulated by Medicare guidelines for hospice eligibility. The main criteria for hospice is a terminal prognosis of 6 months or less. If you have a loved one with a prognosis of 6 months or less, you may both want to look into what hospice can offer.

You can sit down with a member of a hospice company to help explain and answer any questions you may have about the care that is provided and how exactly hospice works. Once you’ve had the chance to understand hospice, you can make a decision on whether hospice is the right choice for you and your loved one. Some decide they are not ready for it or do not wish to utilize hospice services during the end of life of their loved one.

However, there has been more awareness and understanding of the support and benefit that hospice offers during this difficult time. While your loved one is under hospice care, care will come to them. You no longer need to take them to the doctor’s office, to the hospital– the interdisciplinary team will come to them. There is usually a team of nurses, caregiver, spiritual counselor, social worker, volunteers and physician.

The nurse and caregiver make weekly visits to your loved one’s place of residence. During the visit, the nurse comes to assess the patient for pain, comfort, safety, see how the patient is eating, how the patient is feeling and help the patient maintain as much normalcy in his or her life and life with dignity and comfort during the end of life. The caregiver comes to help with more physical tasks, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. The visits from the psych-social team may happen once or twice a month to provide support, resources and assist with end of life planning.

We understand that this is a difficult time for any family member to manage the care of their loved ones which working and caring for their own families. It is stressful and overwhelming. This is where the hospice company steps in as the experts to help relieve the duty of care for the primary caregiver.

 

Take a Wine Tour to Wine Country this Summer

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Summer is soon approaching and whether you are a local or a visitor, there is no better time to take a wine tour through the many different wine counties within and outside the Bay Area.  Many favorites include Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Livermore Valley, Russian River Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, and the South Bay wineries.

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While Napa has been touted as the most famous for it’s wines and cuisines, you should certainly not miss out on the the smaller wine countries.  Livermore Valley, while not as world-recognized as Napa and Sonoma, would you believe is the oldest wine valley in the region and where wine production originated in the Bay Area.  There is so much to Livermore Valley’s history you will not want to miss out on an excursion through the various wineries there.

One of my favorite ways to travel to wine country with friends and family is by renting a limousine, small bus or SUV, which is typically accompanied with your very own designated driver.  This allows for everyone traveling to sample different varieties of wines without restriction.

Many limo companies have wine tour specials over the summer that you can look into.  If you are traveling from the Bay Area, you may want to look into a 6-8 hour trip, taking into account the 1-hour travel time each way, the time to visit 2-3 wineries and have lunch at one of the many popular restaurants and eateries in Napa Valley.

Besides wine tasting which is what most travel to Napa for, you may also want to head out early morning for one of their famous hot air balloon rides.  Take off is usually about  7:00am-8:00am and the ride encompasses the entire valley, providing you with the most amazing overhead view of the rolling hills and vineyards.

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If you are in town with a significant other for a special occasion, or with mom for Mother’s Day, with the girls for a “girls day out” or a bridal shower, don’t forget to try out Napa’s famous spas and resorts for pampering and relaxation.  If you have the extra time, you may want to travel the extra hour up to Calistoga’s hot springs for their popular mud baths and immerse yourself in a nice warm bath filled with minerals that are great for your skin.

If you need recommendations of places to eat, a few that I enjoy are Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch which uses their own farm fresh ingredients and practices biodynamic and sustainable farming.  The Fig and the Girl, La Bouchon, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, Brix, Bottega, and if you have the money, The French Laundry which you will want to save for a very special occasion and make reservations 6 months in advance.

So, if you have nothing planned for the summer, at least make a trip out to one of the Bay Area’s great wine countries.

Saving With Solar Energy

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A friend of mine just picked up his own solar system for his first house and apparently it’s starting to already save him some money. Recently, he’s been telling me all about his brand-new system and I’ve actually been getting interested in getting solar for my own home. There are a lot of things that I had no idea about so I started searching the internet for answers. In this article you are going to find out a few things that you may not have known about solar energy, and how you can save money and save the earth at the same time.

One the most overlooked things about solar energy is that the panels are not made equally. There are some panels that produce much more energy than others due to a number of factors. If you want to get the most for your money, you want to find a system that will totally bypass your monthly energy bill while staying within your budget. But, there are a few other factors that you may want to pay attention to as well.

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For example, The warranty of the system is one of the most overlooked things as well because homeowners don’t really know much about the warranty of the solar system. Did you know that some companies have warranties for up to 25 years on specific solar systems by specific solar manufacturers? This is huge because solar systems are expensive and you don’t want to have to replace your entire system in the next 10 years. If that’s the case you’re going to want to look for a system that has a warranty of over 20 years or more.

Las Vegas Solar Energy is the company that my buddy went with because of the extended warranty that came with the system. He said that if any part of his system breaks, including the panels or the inverter in the next 20 years they will fix it for him for free. After my research, this is pretty standard but I’m curious as to how many of these claims actually get resolved one hundred percent. The good news is that most panels or manufacturers can handle a lot worse conditions than I ever expected, but I guess it makes sense. People in the mid-west with hail storms will need to have a system that can handle some serious weather conditions!

In the long run the solar system that my friend bought has saved thousands of dollars, which is great. Besides residences, they’re also great for businesses and corporate services.  I’ve always hated paying for electricity especially when the prices keep going up and we continue to get less. I can’t wait for the day that I have my very own solar system running all the electricity for my entire home so I can pay into something as an investment rather than continue to throw money down the drain.

How to Use Craigslist

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Craigslist originated in 1995 as a free web-based classified advertisement, featuring local events in San Francisco.  It has now expanded to over 50 countries with a greater number of classified categories.  While mostly free to advertise, they now charge a fee for job listings.  I have found Craigslist to still be one of the best forms of online classified advertising around.  It is obviously very popular in the Bay Area and used by 60 million people in the US a month.  While a great resource for the community, there are unfortunately, people who abuse the site to scam others.  I believe that Craigslist is still a great place to buy and sell or look for services, as long as you take the necessary precautions.

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Tips for Using Craigslist

If you are trying to sell, post services, or rent out a property, try to avoid taking personal checks, cashier’s check or money orders as there is greater risk of forged checks or insufficient funds and you will be held responsible.  Never wire funds and beware of those who say that they will overpay and ask you to pay back the difference.

Do not include personal information in your ad, such as phone number, home address, or personal email. I would suggest creating a brand new email account with Yahoo or Google and using that as your preferred method of response.  Otherwise, you can use Craigslist “anonymous” reply option, where your personal information will not be displayed.

When searching for a job on Craigslist, make sure you have enough pertinent information prior to sending in a resume.  For example, inquire about the business, ask for a website, ask for name of contact for position and phone number—simply very detailed information to help verify that it is a legitimate business and a legitimate job opportunity.

If you are planning to meet somebody in person to sell or purchase an item, I highly advise that you bring a friend or family member along and meet up during the day in a highly populated area, like a Starbucks cafe or Barnes and Nobles.  Never go alone, avoid dark, isolated areas, and do not offer to meet at your home.

Lastly, trust your instinct.  Usually, if the ad or situation doesn’t feel right or make sense, then it is probably best to avoid.  Be extra cautious when buying or selling high value items.  Fortunately, the majority of Craigslist users are trust worthy and have good intentions.  However, it never hurts to take simple precautions.

Popular Limousine Fleets

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The limo has evolved into an exciting expression of how people like to have fun and party with friends. You now have an ever-expanding variety of limousines to choose from. Often limo companies have a fleet of various sizes and types on-hand to accompany all sorts of events and parties. Let’s look at the most requested limo types on the market.

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Luxury Town Car Limousine

This is the original “mack daddy” limousine that started the customization craze of limos. This oversized limousine is built like a tank; taking the blueprint of an SUV and adding a separate load-bearing chassis. Subsequently, these limos are very heavy to accommodate more passengers and not all states approve them based on safety regulations.

Hummer H2 Limousine

A definite favorite among stretch limousine fleets. The Hummer limo is in many ways more impressive than its standard counterpart. Obviously the size of it is a head-turner, but the stretching of the Hummer’s trademark boxy pattern and chiseled design goes well on an aesthetic level. The inclusion of a hot tub in the back is also a party favorite, as you can expect.

Ford Excursion Limousine

Another massive limousine that takes one of the best SUV makers and stretches out a party machine for the people. It’s actually the only SUV-exclusive line manufactured, so you can imagine why this is such a popular limo. This SUV was built for things like a full bar, a complete home and audio entertainment system that includes: surround sound speakers, thundering bass, multiple flat screen plasma screen TV’s, and plenty of comfortable leather seating.

The Party Bus

If you took a coach bus and tossed out all the vertical seat coffins, put in all the trappings of a stretch limo, and added even more amenities that otherwise wouldn’t fit, you’ll get something called a party bus or party limo. People may order a party bus because it can simply accommodate more people, the largest going up to 22+ people, but there’s also a demand for party buses that have crazy stuff like stripper poles and mini-dance floors that literally allow you to take your party on the road.

With things like party buses, the door really opens up on what is possible on “four” wheels. Celebrities have been known to encourage a “pimp my bus” trend where customizing party buses becomes a contest to see who can stuff the most creative environments into their spaces. The only limit is your imagination.

 

Limo or Taxi?

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Taxis and limousines both have their space and serve a purpose, but sometimes people get crossed between the two and aren’t sure which would be better for them in certain situations. The most obvious differences between taking a taxi or a limo are luxuries afforded to the patrons inside. The next, less obvious comparison of taxis and limousines are their services and what the patron’s needs are for their transportation.

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Service Expectations

This is a pretty basic principal of transportation needs, this includes: dependability, professionalism, and personal care. When you call for a taxi cab over the phone, you expect to get a cab fast, with no personalized expectations. On the contrary, if you call for limo service, your phone call will comprise of what your special needs or expectations will be for the ride, such as refreshments in the vehicle, if you would like a newspaper, or music for your entertainment.

This leads into differences between the qualities of your experience, on average, for each mode of transportation. Limousine services survive on a higher standard of quality and conditioning of their vehicles. That isn’t to say that taxi drivers don’t take care of their cars, but they are often running on older, more worn-down vehicles, because most patrons aren’t going to waste time complaining or attempt to pass on a cab for some minor eye-sores. Limousines are expected to be spotless, plush, and provide a smooth ride that makes the commute seamless without worry from any of the passenger.

On-demand Servicing

While you can order on-demand service from both taxis and limousines, the consistency of quality service between the two can be drastic. No matter how hard a taxi service may try, sometimes they are unable to meet scheduled pick-up times due to the nature of the cab. Traffic can hold the designated cab driver up and there’s nothing they can do about it if there are no available cabs nearby to make an emergency substitution. Limousines exist to meet the personal expectations of every customer, they will often arrive early to overcompensate for traffic. An unreliable limousine service is the opposite of luxury and such a company will not last very long.

So, while the cost for the on-demand taxi will always be cheaper than limousine service, if you have a strict schedule to follow, a reputable limo service will be the only way to secure peace of mind for an important day.

Eureka— Bay Area Community Network

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Welcome to Eureka— Bay Area Community Network!  This site serves as a space for the community to share and receive helpful tips and information for local services in the Bay Area.  We welcome suggestions and recommendations on topics you would like to hear about and ask that you leave us a message below.  We hope that you find this site of great resource and value as we continue to improve upon it.