Monday, June 30, 2008

Eating for Health

Wouldn't it be nice if you could eat your way to health?

In some instances, you can!

Take cranberries, for instance. Two glasses a day of cranberry juice may reduce recurrence of urinary tract infections.

Whole grain oatmeal is said to lower cholesterol.

Some researchers say that soybeans cut the frequency of hot flashes.

Decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes by enjoying more peanuts or dried beans.

Fish oil is suspected to protect brain cells, delaying the onset on Alzheimer's Disease.

Think about becoming pro-active in your health. Enjoy the taste of your food and know that it's helping improve your well-being.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Eyes Have it

One distressing aspect to aging is its effect on your vision. Cataracts, Glaucoma, and Age-Related Macular Degeneration run rampant among Americans age 65 and older.

Be aware of the 10 warning signs and learn tips to coping with vision loss.

What you can do to protect your eyes:

1. See your eye professional every 1-2 years. Make sure your eyes are artificially dilated for the exam.

2. Know your family's history of eye disease and related diseases such as diabetes.

3. Get treatment for diabetes and high blood pressure.

4. Flashes and floaters may be signs of serious consequence. Run, don't walk, to your eye specialist.

5. Protect your eyes from too much sunlight. Wear glasses which block ultraviolet rays.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Buying a Used Car

Want a luxury car but your pocketbook goes into cardiac arrest? Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too.

If you purchase a certified pre-owned car, you may be able to achieve the level of luxury you want AND protect yourself from surprise visits to the car mechanic. Since the cost of certification is built into the price, these cars obviously cost more than your average pre-owned or used car.

Before you make this investment:

Check out how long the manufacturer limits certification

Be aware that each manufacturer has its own policies regarding inspection and warranty

Is the warranty limited to 100,000 miles? 50,000 miles? Or less?

Scan the used vehicle report to find out if the car was in any accident.

Here's another option: Consider buying a used vehicle which is not certified but does have a separate extended warranty.

Revive your pocketbook by applying by my gas-saving tips.

Good luck! I'll watch for you flying down the highway in that sporty convertible!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Moving--It's Not For Sissies

Mom says selling her house wouldn't be so bad if she could keep her master bedroom.

Moving, however, is one of those chores most people dread. It's a flashback to all the events which occurred in the current place. It's a reminder of your mortality. It's a scary unknown, especially to Americans age 85 and older who make up the fastest growing segment of our population.

The physical demands of relocating are daunting. Distance, career and family obligations often limit helping Mom or Dad during the moving process. Add to this a home where they have resided 30 or more years or an illness or death of a partner and emotions run into astronomical proportions.

Frankly, I've never needed a senior move manager. But that's the direction I'm exploring now that Mom is moving into another exciting phase of her life.

What does a Senior Move Manager do?

According to National Association of Senior Move Managers, they:
Develop an overall move plan
Organize, sort, and downsize
Arrange for profitable disposal of unwanted items
Arrange for shipment or storage
Pack professionally
Unpack in the new home
And take care of other chores, such as cleaning, shopping, etc.

What they can't do, Mom, is arrange for you to cart along your master bedroom to the new location. Sorry.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dehydration--It's Serious Business

What substance plays a crucial role in almost every biological process in our body?

I'll give you a hint: It transports nutrients and it "oils" our joints and organs.

Also, it begins with "W."

You guessed it--water!!!!

Since our sensitivity to thirst diminishes as we age, we must be particularly vigilant to get the minimum 2-3 quarts of beverages our bodies need to function optimally. Experts recommend that we drink before we feel thirsty at a rate of 1+ glasses every other hour during the day. However, many circumstances demand even more fluids.

Watch for signs of dehydration. Eat salted foods sparingly and limit alcohol and caffeine intake. Know which of your meds deplete your fluids and compensate for that.

Stay cool and comfortable during the hotter months.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Urinary incontinence: To Pee Or Not To Pee

Experiencing urinary incontinence can be humiliating. More people than like to admit are afflicted with this malady. Contrary to popular belief, aging does not cause incontinence.

The good news is that urinary incontinence is treatable. Bladder training is an option. Surgery may solve the problem. And there are products on the market which can make it more tolerable.

Why suffer in silence when relief is just a click or a phone call away: Bladder Control Hotline (800) 252-3337.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Alternative Medicine to the Rescue?

Mayo Clinic has been conducting research on the role of Ginseng on cancer fatigue. Even though the study is not conclusive, those participants who previously experienced profound loss in energy during cancer treatments noticed major relief when they were given higher doses of the herb.

Family Doctor will tell you what you should know about herbal products and supplements. See what evidenced-based information Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center provides about herbs, botanicals, and supplements.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Remember the scene in Mel Brooks' History of the World where a lovely lady "sizes" up a lineup of men? She was grouping them into the "yeses," "nos," and "yes! yes! yeses!!!!"?

Sometimes I, too, like to measure things in terms of "long" and "short."

I didn't always fixate on the obituary pages. Now it's part of my daily routine--checking out how long or short a time someone lived, what they did with their lives, who was left among family and friends. I'd figure that donation suggestions tied into either the cause of death or a favorite charity.

It appalls me at how many young people have died prematurely. It makes me face my mortality head-on especially when the deceased is younger than I. Accidents and disease can strike without warning. May you live your life the way you'd want to be remembered.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Leaving a Greener Legacy

Nicole and I are alike: We both believe in taking baby steps. Of course, being only 1 1/2, Nicole is the pro.

Ellis Jones, author of The Better World Shopping Guide, instructs on how to spend your dollar to make a difference in this world. He lets us know the background of well-known companies by sorting through awards given by Better Business Bureau and Corpwatch. He borrows data from the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, Center for Public Integrity, Co-op America, the rankings and boycotts list of the Ethical Consumer, the 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and other sources (you get the idea). He grades corporations based on their procedures regarding environmental impact, human rights, community involvement, animal protection, crime, discrimination, employee treatment, and philanthropy.

Mr. Jones suggests that his viewers regularly use the guide while shopping in the supermarket, in the mall, or online. He believes (as I do) that each one of us can make a difference when we patronize responsible (and responsive) companies: our dollars combined can force major corporations to rethink their policies, making this world a better place both for ourselves and for our descendants.

By supporting high-ranking companies in our own small way, we bring new meaning to: One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Breakfast--A Meal You Shouldn't Miss

I just had spaghetti for breakfast. I've had my fill of cereal and eggs.

I bet even Mr. Kellogg or General Mills had a slip-up every now and then. Adding bananas, strawberries, or blueberries to the same old cereal has its appeal for only so long.

I propose for upcoming elections an amendment giving other foods equal opportunity on breakfast menus. Pizza instead of bagels. Tapioca pudding instead of yogurt. Ratatouille instead of vegetable omelet. Tacos instead of pancakes.

Oh. Breakfast is over. I think I'll go pop one of those chocolate truffles into my mouth. See ya.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Bed Issues

Goldilocks isn't the only one with a bed issue. Bob and I often find one bed too hard, one too soft, and sometimes, if we're lucky, one bed that's just right.
Vacations can be a problem. We occasionally like to sample B&B's (honestly, these are much more fun than hotels, frequently at similar costs, and we've only had a couple of sour experiences) but find that the quality of the beds may be sacrificed for charming decor.

Some of my friends swear that the Tempurpedic beds make sweet dreaming. Some of my budget-challenged ones have suggested memory foam mattress covers.
A few days ago I went to Costco and purchased a mattress cover. Getting it off the shelves and into my car was no easy feat. I unrolled it in the living room to let it air out (be sure to do this or the fumes will overwhelm you). Yesterday I dragged it into the bedroom and installed it adding a few inches to our already towering bed.
During the night I'd semi-consciously ask myself if my back hurt (like it always did before). No? Back to sleep. Up again...and so on.
This morning I scoured my body for aches and pains. Amazing. No pains in the back--I hardly feel like myself!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Benefits You or Your Parents May Qualify For

Feel like the middle of an Oreo cookie? Congratulations. Welcome to the sandwich generation.

Our kids may still need our help but so does mom and dad. The free time we anticipated is slipping through our fingers. Hobbies and travel are thrust to the back burner replaced by time-consuming dilemmas concerning parents' housing issues, medical conditions, and caregiving. And to make matters worse, funds stashed away to cover these impending expenditures are shrinking at a frightening pace.

We don't know where to begin to seek the assistance. We are justifiably anxious that our retirement funds will be in jeopardy should we accept this daunting financial burden.

Here are a few places to begin your search:

AARP has an internet tool which finds low or no-cost state and federal public benefits programs for qualifying older Americans, private prescription drug programs offered by pharmaceutical companies or Medicare RX extra help.

To target specific benefits, use the Benefits Quick Search. You may even tap into some of your state government's offerings to see if any program is applicable and available.

Be aware of the top 10 signs that indicate if a senior is in need of housing assistance.

The Housing and Urban Development provides financial assistance resources and guides. Should you opt to speak to a HUD-approved housing counselor, one is only a phone call away.

Medicare Interactive is a one-stop source for federal and state information about health care rights, options, and benefits.

There may be extra help from Medicare to help reduce the costs for prescription drugs or consider tapping into 475 public and private programs which offer assistance to patients who don't have prescription coverage.

AARP provides information on low-cost public loans which include reverse mortgages, deferred payment loans, and property tax deferrals.

The Department of Veterans Affairs provides a booklet which states eligibility for healthcare, home loans, education, life insurance, mental health, and memorial and burial, etc.,benefits for veterans and dependents.

These are just a few places to begin getting the help you need. I wish I had the magic wand to answer all your questions. If you let me know precisely what you want, I may be of further assistance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Buyer, Beware

I turned the big 6-0 in May. I received a "Sixty Sucks" sucker, a new pill box, ointment for arth-riddence, oil of old age, jewelry, an amazing album of photos and good wishes from friends and relatives, numerous cards, a barber shop quartet, dinners, lunches, a homemade cake, a store-bought ice cream cake, an exceptional surprise visit (imagine finding your kid and boyfriend at the airport of your destination vacation!), crayoned pictures, a NetFlix subscription, flowers, candy, even gift cards.

Remember Shirley, my cousin? She and her family sent the works--flowers, candy, cards which were lovely and yummy. She was bummed, though, with her experience of buying on the net and wanted you to know about it.

Shirley suggested that I alert you to companies which don't fully advertise exchange rate add-ons which could significantly increase the final cost of your purchase. Make sure, she said, you are aware of the location of the site where you are placing your order.

Shirley has filed a dispute with her credit card company.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, also check out Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce, or other helpful consumer sites. In addition, Consumer law experts can protect vulnerable customers.

And if you want to speak to a real person about your complaints, go to Get Human.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Avoiding Photos

"Head shots", they ordered for the umpteenth time. "You need them for your website, press releases, whatever."

I delved into my dwindling stock of excuses and pulled out the one on top: I make goofy smiles: toothy and lopsided.

No response.

My skin is blotchy. I need to deliver grapes to my starving next-door neighbor. I need more air in my tires. The goldfish wants some company.

Still no response.

They're wearing me out. Darn it, they're catching on.

As you might have guessed by now (and if you haven't, run, don't walk to the nearest mental health center), I don't like to have my photo taken. I'm fine on one side of the camera but make an appalling subject. Part of it is because the image captured just isn't that cute high school senior anymore. It's just an average almost-senior.

Ok, I know, I know. Stop the denial and ridiculous vanity. I've delayed long enough. Even my sweet-natured friends are getting angry.

Let's see if I can keep my June 12 appointment and not chicken out. If anyone in cyberland has any suggestions, please contact me ASAP.

Death Postponed

When I hear the words "Breast Cancer," I generally think of women in their 50's and up. I'm not surprised, however, when someone is struck with it as young as 30. It feels like an epidemic.

In 1967 when my mother contracted "Breast Cancer," one of many cancers, outreach hadn't yet blasted the media with urgent messages for women to assume responsibility for their own health through self-examinations and timely mammograms.

Mom was in a fragile state-of-mind (my sister had died less than a year before) and she could muster neither the energy nor the spirit to debate her doctor.

My lovely-figured mother had a radical mastectomy. One breast entirely gone. Not even enough tissue for optional reconstruction.

Mom was and is still beautiful. But it did dampen the joy of trying on clothes or going to the pool. She was reluctant to undress in front of us. She purchased a prosthetic. Yet her necklines became higher. And she was often discouraged about finding apparel that would accommodate her enlarged arm.

Alice Matzkin is a compassionate woman and a fine artist. In her paintings she focuses not on missing body parts but on the remaining heightened spirit and determination of her subjects. These women are real people who have courageously faced, wrestled, and postponed death with grit and renewed strength.

Be inspired or be touched. Check out Ms. Matzkin's website.

And be proactive in your own health.