Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When A Book Isn't A Book

I looked down at the book laying on my dining room table. Well, it really wasn't a book. It was what optimism would look like if it came in 3-D rectangle.

After all, I'm heading to be with the grandkids and every minute, I suppose, is planned.

"Grandma, let's go swimming (in 60+ degree weather!)."

"Let's play Candyland" one granddaughter suggests, which really means "I intend to beat you even if I have to cheat."

"I'm hungry," the little one insists at the most inopportune times. Then we frantically search the bare shelves of our vacation spot for something that is halfway healthy and will satisfy her momentarily. I hand her a candy.

"Grandma, let's go swimming." Did I mention that the temperature is 60 degrees and rapidly descending?

No, I shall bring the book but I suppose it is more likely to become a door stop so our bedroom is light enough to scare away any bogeymen lurking about.

Check out 50somethinginfo.com for suggestions on how to be a super grandparent (or in my case, a highly optimistic, exhausted one.)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Managing Job Search Stress: Ways To Manage The Stress Of Finding a New Job

Author and psychotherapist Mary Jane Hurley Brant provides 6 suggestions on managing the stress of a job search:

1. Don't consider job loss as a personal failure. Many good, loyal, hard-working, intelligent people lost their jobs. Don't internalize it into your personal identity.

2. Concentrate on what you do well.

3. Properly grieve the lay-off as you would any loss.

4. Evaluate the old job--what you miss, what you don't want to undertake again.

5. Get through the anger and possible depression so it doesn't undermine for job search/interviews.

6. Stay healthy. Get some rest and relaxation.

Also, consider upgrading your skills and improving your resume.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oldsters, Don Your Walking Shoes to Improve Your Health

The oldest old (about 85 years+) can benefit from even a little physical activity, according to Dr. Jeremy Jacobs, a geriatric specialist at Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center in Jerusalem.

"As little as four hours a week was as beneficial as more vigorous or prolonged activity. "

It's never to late to start, either. Just walk in short intervals several times a day and you 'll increase your chances of seeing your granddaughter on her wedding day (and maybe you'll be first on the dance floor!).

A side benefit to all this--less depression, loneliness and a greater ability to perform daily tasks.

So get moving.

For more on walking to maintain your health, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Always Listen To Your Mama

"Susie, your blogs are good but not as good as your old ones," Mom told me recently.

"That's because I have less time to write them."

I continue, "Do you want the more personal ones again?"


Here goes:

It used to be that most families went through the process of marriage as follows:

Boy meets girl, boy woos girl, girl plays hard-to-get, boy wins girl, boy asks girl's father for girl's hand in marriage, girl's father says okay, boy proposes to girl, girl asks if boy asked father for her hand in marriage, boy says yes, girl says yes, and so on.

Not in my family with our younger child:

Boy and girl meet, they woo each other, neither plays hard-to-get, boy and girl make first purchase with comingled funds, a Roomba, girl suspects boy is going to ask father for girl's hand in marriage and alerts father, boy asks father for hand in marriage, father says okay even though he knows that they'll do as they d--n well please, girl says yes, boy and girl try to make second purchase together, a house.

"Susie, did lawgirl and soda man (not their real names) get the house?" Mom asks.

"No, Mom. I'll let you know when I hear from them."

Next day:

"Susie, did lawgirl and soda man get the house?"

"No, Mom. I will definitely let you know when I hear from them."

Next day:

"Susie, did lawgirl and soda man get the house?"

"No, Mom. I promise to let you know when I hear from them."


"Guess what, Susie," Mom said, "They got the house!!!"

"Oh. I didn't know that."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kiss Stress Goodbye: How You Can Reduce Your Stress

Remedy stress by looking at a landscape.

Researchers have shown that students facing an open window were less stressed than others facing a blank wall or even a nature scene on their computer screens.

Nothing beats the real deal.

Go outside over an inside gym. Exercising in a green environment puts you in a better frame of mind.

Fetch some live plants for your work area. Plants improve a room's air quality by increasing the oxygen and decreasing the pollutants.

Calm your nerves with herbal scents. Those sniffing lavender not only felt less stressed, they also enhanced the antioxidant activity in their bodies.

For more on stress and stress reduction, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Beauty And Style Tips To Make Women Over 50 Fabulous: What To Do And Get To Look Great

Geri Brin, 62, took a survey of women over 50 to find out what they use to make them feel and look great. She shared some of her discoveries as the following:

1. Diamond studs to brighten you up.

2. A bra that actually fits!

3. A crisp white cotton shirt.

4. Your own lingering daily fragrance.

5. A great haircut.

6. A fashion tote large enough to hold all your stuff.

7. Moisturizer with SPF.

8.. Yummy body wash.

9. Dressy black pants.

10. A "signature" piece of jewelry that'll knock their socks off!

Check out women's wardrobe at this site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Arthritis Gadgets: Make Your Life Easier At Home

I was looking at about.com on Arthritis and found a forum on Arthritis aids. I read the reader recommendations and this is what I found to be helpful to those plagued with this common problem:

1. One-Touch can opener

2. Heated mattress pad

3. Long reach curved back scrubber

4. Sports bras with zippered fronts

7. Heated socks

For more on Arthritis and Arthritis aids and what you can do to make life easier, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Gift Countdown: Find What To Buy And Reduce Your Stress

Most people worry about holiday gifts. Some fixate on how they are going to pay for them. Others don't know what to buy. Here are some suggestions:

1. Susan Boyle, the Brit singing sensation, has a new album that has gotten sensational reviews.

2. Video card games are sure to please.

3. Wii makes exercise fun for kids and adults.

4. I just got a crockpot for stews and soups on chilly days.

5. How about a chair massager for the home or office?

6. Car-man just bought me this camera to satisfy my photography obsession.

7. Wind chimes drive Car-man crazy but I love them.

And for those who are financially-strapped, try creative baskets:
For the garden
For arts & crafts
For the bath
For the kitchen

For more gift ideas, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Proton Therapy: Radiation As Cancer Treatment

Proton therapy targets radiation directly into cancerous cells. The proton beam is more precise than traditional radiation therapy and will not damage surrounding tissue, reported Gerry Smith (McClatchy News Service).

More long-term studies need to be conducted on this form of cancer treatment, however. The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality questions whether the additional expense is cost-effective when many cancers can be treated effectively with other radiation therapies.

For more on cancer treatments, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Keepsakes and Memorabilia: Mementos From My Former Life

I always thought this would make for interesting and revealing conversation with friends: If you could sum up your childhood by compiling a few items, what would they be?

Going through Mom and Dad's "stuff," I've found bits and pieces of my childhood. A Hopalong Cassidy box of paper straws. Partially used ticketbooks from early 1960's Disneyland. I can still pan for gold or sample the Old Miner's Burro Ride (if it's still in existence) without a charge because I unearthed a Knott's Golden Nugget Adventures Fun Book.

Dad liked to enclose important items in frames like Mom's check from her first sale and Brent's first dollar earned.

Mom kept a sampling of our clay models (my piglike bear and a man's face created by my sister), even my pressed preschool handprint.

Most things, I know, landed into the great "trashcan in the sky." But it's amusing to find these kinds of keepsakes (maybe put them into a scrapbook). It makes me glad that mom wasn't absolutely fastidious about her home. And it's kind of a reminder that I had a life before I got married at 20.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beware Negative Option Programs: Scams That Target Seniors

Negative option programs puts the burden on you as a consumer to cancel an order because they are considered "legally accepted" if you don't respond! In other words, if you say nothing, you are buying something!!!

Sid Kircheimer in the September, 2009, AARP Bulletin warns us about this kind of scam often perpetrated by banks in the bank-branded offerings.

Make sure your bank doesn't charge you for bank-branded offerings (like car or life insurance) if you don't want them.

Here's what you can do:

1. Scrupulously review your bank statements upon receipt--you have only 60 days to dispute a charge.

2. Beware of tree trial offers where negative option programs are common.

3. Request a contract.

4. Send certified letters with return receipt requested asking companies not to send information about company-branded programs.

And when is doubt, contact your state attorney general or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

For more on consumer protection, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pet Travel: Keep Your Pet Safe and Comfortable in the Air

Air travelers who are concerned about their best friends being trapped in cargo holds with temperature extremes, poor ventilation and rough treatment--worry no more.

If your destination is Washington, D.C., New York, Denver, Chicago or Los Angeles, you can opt to put your dog or cat on Pet Airways.

On Pet Airways your dog or cat carrier is placed in the main cabin and your cherished pet is checked is checked every quarter hour by an attendant.

For more information, contact www.petairways.com

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bonus-Sized Women, Unite: Bigger Woman Fashion Tips

Bonus-sized women: Your voice is being heard. Just check out Roadwarrior and her cronies who are on the warpath for tasteful, stylish, comfortable clothes that flatter your figure. Stores are blamed. Even designers who don't recognize this sizable (pun intended) population.

Sherrie Mathieson and Sandy Dumont responded to the plea for plus-size clothes by suggesting tunics and slacks, collarless and pocket-less jackets and the use of one color "head to toe." An occasional visit to the dressmaker helps too.

For more ideas on dressing with style, tune in to Oprah or visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Encore Careers For Boomers and Seniors: Over 50 Find New Job Satisfaction

According to Kerry Hannon's article in What's Next, "moving into a new field later in life can be fulfilling." Just ask the banker turned chef, the corporate exec turned minister and others.

8.4 million Americans ages 44 through 70 have embraced encore careers. Some need the money but others need purpose in their lives.

Ms. Hannon suggests 6 steps to making the transition easier:
1. Appraise your skills, interests and personality. And plan the change well before you leave your current job.

2. Do your homework: Look for field with strong growth potential. Check out the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.

3. Network by finding a group of like-minded people who have already made the career change. Learn from their experience. Also, connect with people in the fields you are considering.

4. Upgrade your skills.

5. Evaluate your financial picture.

6. Don't let your age get in the way.

Best of luck and let me know!

For more on jobs and second careers, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hotel Rooms For Less Money: Find a Great Hotel Room Without Breaking Your Budget

Andrea Bennett at Travel and Leisure says that hotels are looking to fill beds by turning to value-added promotions such as free nights and reduced rates for advanced bookings.

However, some of the best deals are offered as part of the guest recognition programs of the big hotel chains. There are bargains a-plenty if you pay with points and some hotels are reducing the number of points redeemed for a similar quality room or are even upgrading.

Look for promotions and deals available to members only (even on former blackout dates). Pointmaven.com instructs you on how to maximize hotel points and to search by plan or destination. Flyertalk.com posts up-to-the-minute loyalty program news.


Cheapostay.com lets you know about up to 50% hotel discounts world-over. Search by name, city, airport or landmark.

Every Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. through Wednesday at 12:00 a.m. hotels.com lists approximately 400 new discount packages when booked through them.

If you wonder about a hotel, check out travelpost.com and see how other visitors have reviewed the hotel.

Finally, visit kayak.com to view the lowest room rates each day for the next 2 months.

For the ultimate guide to travel, see this 50somethinginfo.com and select Air Travel, Buses, Cruises, International Travel, Train Travel, Travel America or Traveling With Disabilities.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Live to 100: How Boomers and Seniors Reach Triple Digits

Thanks to the research of Jody Fransch, we boomers and seniors can improve our likelihood of reaching triple digits.

Our genes play a huge role, she says, but so does being active for 30 minutes a day, eating 5 daily servings of fresh fruits and veggies, and avoiding tobacco and excess alcohol.

Here's how:

1. Stay active. Don't retire.

2. Floss your teeth regularly. The bacteria that builds up on them may be clogging your arteries.

3. Exercise. It improves your mood, mental sharpness, balance, muscle mass and bones.

4. Get your ZZZZZ's. Sleep regulates and heals cells so get at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

5. Eat whole foods, not supplements.

6. Become a creature of habit if you already aren't one. Centenarians tend to adhere to strict routines.

7. Focus on family and community.

For some of the best tools to help you live to 100, try this site.

For more on anti-aging, check out 50somethinginfo.com.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Holiday Gifts For All Ages: Finding The Perfect Gift

Car-Man and I cherish our throws. We curl up on the sofa at night under them and watch some of our favorite programs.

Then Debbie Burak, founder of VeteranAid.org, introduced me to a custom woven throw made from a digital or print image.

This not only makes the ideal gift, it comforts:
Those who have lost a loved one
Children who have a parent deployed
Those in hospitals, rehabs, nursing homes or assisted living facilities
Those separated by distance
Those remembering their favorite pets
Those reminiscing about happier times.

Ms. Burak is extending a 10% discount to my readers if you enter coupon code TENOFF at the checkout.

Create a family heirloom by following the simple ordering instructions. Your gift will be the best gift. I promise.

Other gifts which are sure to please:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

An Apple a Day Keeps Colon Cancer At Bay: What To Eat For Colon Health

What you eat is important for colon health, according to Real Age. The fiber found in apples (pectin) appears to protect your colon from cancer-causing compounds. Choose cloudy over translucent juices because they contain more disease-fighting antioxidants.

Head for Red Delicious bin at your supermarket. Wash them well and don't forget to eat the nutrient-enriched skins.

Other key factors to colon health are:

Get screened for polyps

Load up on whole grains

Drink milk and stay away from sugary drinks

Add sliced onions to your salads

For more on colon cancer, visit 50somethinginfo.com. And read my cousin's real-life situation conquering colon cancer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Special Times To Save Money (Consumer Reports): When You Should Buy

Consumer Reports suggests you adjust your alarm clock to get the best deals.

Find the least expensive airline seats on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Buy your seat after 3 p.m. (Eastern time), Tuesday - Thursday.

Bowl before 9 or 10 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Shop farmers markets near closing time for the best buys.

Discounted movie tickets may be available in the morning or early afternoon.

The cost of live theater tickets may be greatly reduced within a couple hours of curtain time--but be prepared to pay in cash.

Check your utility company to see if rates are lowered during off-peak times.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dating For Boomers and Seniors: How to Find YOur Soulmate

When you're in the dating pool, you're thinking about where to go, what to wear and what to say.

AARP has something to say about making the whole process easier:

Try group activities such as wine tasting, cooking classes or seminars.

Join groups that focus on your hobbies.

Put on your dancing shoes.

Pack a picnic or better yet, shop together for the picnic fare and find the perfect spot.

Go to a gallery or a museum.

Try boating--canoe, row boat or dinner cruise.

Join a book group or meet at an author's lecture.

Pull out your golf clubs or tennis racket.

Visit a nursery.

And most of all, have fun!!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Financial Planning For Boomers and Seniors: How to Hire the Right Personal Financial Advisor

Two of the most abused words in the English language are “financial planner.” Be warned that a number of professionals wear that title even though they shouldn’t--like insurance agents and stockbrokers.

When looking for a personal financial advisor, find one who accepts no commissions from product sales. Pay by the hour, a flat fee, an annual retainer, or a percentage of your assets.

Interview the person (this appointment should be free) to see if it is a right fit.

Consult as many sources as you can including those that can be found online.

However, if you find yourself unable to pay your bills, don’t hesitate to confer with a nonprofit credit-counseling agency for free or low-cost. Consider applying for public programs, also, to get over the hump.

For more, check out 50somethinginfo.com.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Medicare Part D Prescription Plan: Getting the Best One For You

Take Dale Carter's word for it.  She provides step-by-step instructions on how to select the right plan for you or your parent.  

Each year she reviews her mother's current plan to decide if that is the proper route to take for the subsequent year.  

Following her advice takes into account changes in congressional or state legislation, changes in prescription plans and changes in a person's medical and financial situation.  

You can check the estimated annual costs for comparisons and make the most prudent decisions.

Now there's no need to reinvent the wheel.  Thanks to Dale Carter, a daunting task is made easy.      

Friday, October 30, 2009

Smoking: It's Never Too Late to Stop

Even if you've smoked two packs a day for 40 years, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily and have more energy...if you quit. You'll also have more extra money and your food will taste better.

Your clothes and hair will smell better.

You'll be setting a healthy example for your kids and grandkids.

Your chance of heart attack, stroke and other circulatory diseases diminishes within the first year.

And much more.

The bad news is that the first few weeks are very hard. You may become grumpy, hungry or tired. Headaches, depression, sleeping habits and concentration may plague you.

BUT the good news is that there is a lot of help out there. You can join a support group, get counseling or use nicotine replacement therapy. Find the organizations, doctors and clinics offering stop-smoking programs by opening your phone book or check out this site to find out more than you ever wanted to know (!) about smoking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

When You Can't Sell Your Home

If you’re unable to unload your home at a fair price, renting it out may be a wise option. This way you will have help paying the monthly mortgage while waiting for the value of your home to increase, according to AARP.

Owner-turned-landlord, you are warned to:

Check comparable rentals in the area and price it right.

Screen your tenants carefully and check out their ability to handle the monthly rental payment.

Keep good records and consult your accountant about tax consequences.

Make sure you follow landlord tenant law.

Make certain that all parties are properly insured.

Use a handyman (or do it yourself) when repairs are imminent.

Factor in provision for lease/option to buy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: A Chance to Land the Job You Want

New jobs and career opportunities are being created throughout the U.S. because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Lear how to position yourself to take advantage of the opportunities by studying job searcher Monster's Stimulus Jobs Guide.

Stay informed, advance in your career and find local jobs. Research the industries that are most impacted by the stimulus.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Computers Combat Depression for Boomers and Seniors

Miranda Hitti of WebMD Health News reported to Fox News that adults over 65 who use computers are less likely to experience depression than the non-computer savvy friends.

Probably, she asserts, this is because this group of people are more likely to connect with other people via email, chat rooms and because they are exercising their brains more (learning!).

What else did this study group reveal?

Most had higher annual household incomes and greater ease with daily tasks.

For more on improving your mental health and combating depression, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Save Money on Gas

Smart Money gives advice on saving money at the pump.

If you want to feel less pain filling up your car, follow these inexpensive and easy steps:

1. Compare prices at stations near your home or work. Tap into websites such as GasBuddy.com and BillShrink.com.

2. Pay in cash if there's a discount.

3. Take advantage of discounted gas at warehouse clubs.

4. Keep your car in good shape in increase fuel efficiency. Tire should be properly inflated. Maintain air filters and stick to the car's recommended motor oil.

5. Watch acceleration, hard braking and speeding.

6. Lighten the load--remove excess articles from the trunk. Pack items inside the car rather than using roof-racks which increase drag.

7. Limit air conditioning usage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cancer Treatment: Mini-robots to the Rescue

According to Discover Magazine, sometime in our future (6 years?) tiny robots will be able to travel through body fluids, find a tumor and zap it with drugs (chemotherapy).

Propelled by an electromagnetic field, the miniature (small enough to balance on a grain of salt) crawling robot can snake its way through the body with its tiny arms gripping vessel walls and burrow itself into disease tissue.


For more on cancer treatments, check out 50somethinginfo.com.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Photography Tricks and Tools For Amateurs and Pros

Sorry, folks. I don't know why these photography tools never made it to my September 21 blog.
I'm trying again.

***Sue's alert: If anyone who like to submit photos for my blog, I'd welcome them and will give you credit!

Electronics guru Kim Komando shared some of her favorite "special effects" photography sites.

1. Although some features require paid membership Picnik provides photography tools that mimic certain types of film or paper. You can even insert text bubbles--like in cartoons.

2. BigHugeLabs offers dozens of photo tools to do mozaics, posters and puzzles.

3. MorphThing can combine 2 faces into one--very cool.

4. Put someone into a movie scene or onto a poster or billboard by using FunPhotoBox and get instant celebrity.

5. Class up your photo with ornate frames. Or cut your photos into various shapes. Put your face onto the body of a weightlifter or model with LoonaPix.

6. Mozaiq does just that==make a mozaic of your favorite photos.

7. Photovisi provides various layouts for a photo collage.

8. You don't need extra lenses (or an SLR camera) to be able to focus on your subject and blur the background. Try TiltShiftMaker.

Thanks, Kim. And for more on photography, including digital camera reviews, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boomer and Senior Jobseekers

Combined with age discrimination the recession has made finding a new job a daunting task for older workers many of whom have been laid off or are driven back into the job market.

The assumption by many employers is that older workers either would not accept less than their customary salary or would be unhappy for doing so. And often the human resource staff feels that boomers are less familiar with the latest technology and social networking skills than their younger counterparts.

In response boomers have taken to deleting dates on a resume in order to land a job. They ignore ads that suggest that the position would be perfect for a recent college graduate. And they are taking steps to appear younger—even using cosmetic treatments such as botox.

Boomers are bracing and preparing themselves for the frequent question, “Aren’t you overqualified?” and are encouraged by experts to emphasize skills and achievements over the number of years of experience.

According to Associated Press Christopher Rugaber, jobseekers should be enthusiastic about the job without sounding desperate. They should also brush up on their skills and not give anyone sufficient reason to discriminate against them in any way.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Boomer and Seniors Get Tattoos

I don't know why they're getting tattoos at our age (and would love to hear why you think they do!)...but they are. But the fact is that more and more baby boomers are adding to birds, flowers and family reminders to body parts mostly unseen in public.

Like our younger counterparts, boomers and seniors should go only to reputable shops displaying licenses from city, county or state agencies. Even so, make sure the artist not only uses new disposable needles which are discarded after use but also explains the entire process.

The tattoo artist should disinfect chairs, tables, counters and workspaces, wear gloves and wash hands before and after each customer.

Think before you ink, warns the FDA. Be on alert for allergic reaction. And note that you may be at risk for other ailments.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

No Pretty Shoes For Me

I linger longingly at the stylish pointed heels but head toward the sensible comfort shoes, trying to come to terms with my unsightly, sometimes painful, bunions.

I shouldn’t be surprised that I have them. Mom does. And it’s likely my daughter will develop them too.


Because the malady responsible for angling my big toes toward my second ones is more likely to discomfort women (50% of women have bunions) and is hereditary.

Here’s how we can cope:

1. Purchase a shoe with a wider toe box.

2. Avoid heels and pointy toes

3. See a podiatrist to get specially-designed orthotics.

4. Use bunion-relief gel pads that fit over the toe.

5. Speak to a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon about the best bunion-removal surgical procedure for you. But, buyer beware. Bunions can recur.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Best Recession Bargains

Consumer Reports Money Adviser provides the best recession bargains in its June, 2009, issue.

For big ticket items, you can compare prices and in some cases, get alerts when prices have dropped. Try BizRate, PriceGrabber, Shopping.com, Yahoo Shopping and Nextag.

Pass on extended warranties if your research shows low repair rates.

Get as many of these as you can when you purchase a car: low interest rates, cash back, and special lease deals. (Sue's suggestion: Consider insurance costs in your decision--different models might have different rates).

Select cruises that don't involve expensive airline tickets to get to the port. And Early Saver programs can cut the cost as much as 30%.

Look for hotel bargains in cities that formerly served as convention sites.

Don't buy more than you need. For instance, a 6-megapixel camera is great for most photos. You don't need to spend more on more pixels.

Maintain a stellar credit score if you plan to purchase real estate (and take advantage of house bargains galore).

When purchasing washers, dryers, ovens and ranges, and refrigerators, consider only energy-efficient ones to save on your utility bills.

Secondhand stores are my personal favorites for clothes.

Finally, for greater discounts at many stores, ask the salesperson if he/she can "work" with you. Negotiate also on shipping, delivery and installation. Paying in cash can save the merchant for a credit-card transaction--so see if the store will pass along the savings to you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Therapy: Voo Doo or Voo Don't

This is for you, Kim P., Diane S., Barbara, and Pam.

Every since Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center (Milwaukee) neurologist Bhupendra Khatri used his plasma exchange machine 30 years ago, most of his MS patients have noticed significant improvement.

One went from a wheelchair to a cane or walker. Another claimed that she couldn't have finished college and grad school without the exchange of artificial plasma for her blood plasma.

And of the 271 patients in a 25-year study presented in May, 2009, a total of 217 showed improvement.

Journalist John Fauber (McClatchy News Service) reported that even though Dr. Khatri is earning increasing credibility in the science community, many question his test data. They assert that the FDA would have required better-designed and more random clinical trials.

Pharmaceutical companies are paying little attention to the blood-filtering system. But maybe that's because it wouldn't generate a big enough profit for them.

Still, Medicare and Medicaid have initiated payment for the costly ($4, - 5,000) treatments even though most private insurance companies deny it.

Kudos to Dr. Khatri for continuing his uphill climb to relieve the millions afflicted with MS. May all the videos he is now taking to document his patients' improvements turn the skeptics into believers. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Heal Thyself

You don't have to be Superman to heal thyself, according to Julie K. Silver, M.D.

Ms. Silver is a practicing physiatrist, a doctor who combines physical medicine with rehabilitation. She treat people with a variety of serious illnesses and injuries.

She advises that in order to speed up your recovery, avoid infection and help recuperate, you need to focus on diet, sleep and movement.

Get certain vitamins and adequate protein. Eat nuts, seeds and legumes, at least 5 portions of fruits and veggies and a 100% RDA (Recommended Daily Requirement) multi-vitamin.

Because some healing processes require sleep to work effectively, get at least 7 - 8 hours (or more!) each night.

Movement gets the blood working. Exercise heals muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments better and faster. After an illness or injury, slowly increase your activity (with your doctor's permission, of course).

YOU have the power to heal. Go for it.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oats, A Healthy Food Source

Animals ate it. Now we do--to keep healthy.

Oats keep bad cholesterol at bay.

Oat fiber controls blood sugar.

Oats may help reduce heart disease.

It doesn't matter whether it's old-fashioned, instant, or even steel-cut, oats are similarly nutritious.

For more on diet and nutrition, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Brain Health: What You Can Do

The University of California, Berkeley, puts out a great Wellness Letter.

Lately it featured an article on brain health. This is what I learned to promote good brain health:

1. What helps your cardiovascular system also benefits your brain and protects it from disease.

2. Exercise is a key factor to preserving brain function. Aerobic exercise, in particular, can improve brain activity and produce new brain cells and the connections between them.

3. Anything that exercises your brain is promoting good mental health.

4. Control your blood pressure.

5. Prevent or control your diabetes.

6. Control your weight--especially that bulge around your middle.

7. Lower your cholesterol naturally or with drugs.

8. Increase your good cholesterol.

9. Eat a heart-healthy diet. Alcohol in moderation has been linked to better cognitive functioning.

10. Large doses of vitamin B12 (under a doctor's supervision) may help with memory loss.

1. Treat depression as it may cause severe memory problems.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Putting "Fun" Back Into Photography

Electronics guru Kim Komando shared some of her favorite "special effects" photography sites.

1. Although some features require paid membership Picnik provides tools that mimic certain types of film or paper. You can even insert text bubbles

2. BigHugeLabs offers dozens of tools to do mozaics, posters and puzzles.

3. MorphThing combines 2 faces into one.

4. Put someone into a movie scene or onto a poster or billboard by using FunPhotoBox.

5. Class up your photo with ornate frames. Or cut your photos into various shapes. Put your face onto the body of a weightlifter or model with LoonaPix.

6. Mozaiq does just that--make a mozaic of your photos.

7. Photovisi provides various layouts for a photo collage.

8. You don't need extra lenses (or an SLR camera) to be able to focus on your subject and blur the background. Try TiltShiftMaker.

Thanks, Kim! And for digital camera reviews, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Job Tips For Anyone Over 50

AARP provides excellent information for the boomer and senior looking for a job--in the United States or elsewhere.

Follow their instructions, for instance, on how to:
Prepare a resume and cover letter that demands attention
Win at interviewing

Apply their job strategies by:
Finding out who hires older workers
Determining the best job search sites and staffing firms
Learning how to network with success

Assess your skills and talents by:
Preparing a short speech that briefly explains your particular expertise

Get help:
From a career coach
From financial tools
By taking classes to update skills

Consider going out on your own:
As a consultant
With your own website
With your own business

That you're not alone

Monday, September 14, 2009

Home Swapping Vacations

Whether or not you have the money for a vacation, you can still take one!

There are a host of websites such as HomeExchange.com and HomeForExchange.com that provide members with a means to swap their own home or condo for another one in a desired location.

This is how it works:

You'd purchase a membership and upload a description with photos of your home and neighborhood.

Then you indicate the places you'd like to visit.

Finally, you wait to be contacted by other interested members.

You can discuss the swap by phone or by mail.

So clean your house, stow your valuables, prepare guides to your area, share house rules and take off for a dream vacation!

Go with peace of mind. Swappers have found that co-members are much more likely to treat the home as if it were their own--than outside agencies.

For more on travel, check out 50somethinginfo.com.

Friday, September 11, 2009

10 Ways to Keep Busy Between Jobs

Allan Hoffman, Job Expert and Monster Tech, wrote an article, “Ten Ways to Keep Busy Between Jobs.”

Why? Because employers want to know how applicants spent their time while they were out of work—they want to see that you were productive with your off-time. Besides bypassing depression, discouragement and hopelessness, job seekers can influence potential bosses by demonstrating continued career involvement.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Volunteer. You give back to a cause and organization while networking with people who may be able to guide you in the right direction.

2. Join a professional organization and take a leadership position.

3. Update your skills by taking classes.

4. Take an internship particularly if you are changing careers.

5. Teach a class.

6. Be an independent consultant. Get business cards and set up a web site.

7. Join a job seekers group to exchange contacts and give support.

8. Build social networks online and offline.

9. Consider opening your own business.

10. Have fun and keep your sense of humor.

For more on employment, visit 50somethinginfo.com.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bone Density

Today was bone-density test day. I'd done the procedure before so I knew that it would be short and painless--hop onto the table and let the scanner do its job.

Being prone to osteoporosis, I was given the prevention riot act by the lab tech.

She commanded the 61-year old me to take 1500 mg daily (500 mg per meal) of calcium, preferably in the form of liquid, chewable or gelcaps (and forgo the humungous calcium tablets I've often purchased at Costco).

Calcium, like exercise helps strengthen bones at any age. It needs to break down in order to be absorbed by the body, she admonished. But it also needs to be accompanied by 400 - 800 I.U. vitamin D3, the only vitamin the body can manufacture from sunlight.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is linked to a surprising number of other health conditions such as depression, back pain, cancer, and macular degeneration. Make sure it is included in some form in your daily intake.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Smile and the Whole World Smiles With You

Laughter is a powerful medicine. It can be infectious. It increases happiness and intimacy. And it can trigger healthy physical changes in the body by strengthening the immune system, boosting energy, diminishing pain and protecting you from the damaging effects of stress.

How can you bring more of it into your life?

1. Smile more

2. Count your blessings

3. Train yourself to seek it out--spend more time with more playful people

4. Look at situations differently and with humor

5. Laugh at yourself

6. Keep things in perspective

7. Don't delay dealing with issues that stress you

8. Watch children and emulate them

For more on laughter and its strong influence over your life, visit 50somethinginfo.com

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Travel in Western Europe: Recommendations

She hasn’t been disappointed yet. I asked a former travel agent what she uses to get recommendations for accommodations and itineraries.

“Without a doubt,” she replied, “I use Karen Brown guides. The hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts aren’t inexpensive but they are always great.” She further explained that Brown doesn't cover every single country.

For Italy, try her exceptional hotels or bed and breakfasts. If you narrow your travel to Tuscany and Umbria, check her guide to the area.

Sample Ireland's gems or the hotels, inns and B&Bs in England, Scotland and Wales.

Similarly, France comes alive in her charming bed and breakfasts or her amazing hotels.

Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Portugal are covered at length.

Finally, don't miss Spain, one of my personal favorite countries.