Saturday, December 31, 2011

Your Gums and Pulmonary Diseases: The Connection

Lung diseases can be severely disabling and debilitating. In fact, two pulmonary diseases, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and pneumonia, are among the leading causes of death in the United States.

A new study of 200 participants suggests that periodontal disease, a chronic inflammatory disease that affects gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth, adversely affects the respiratory system.

Researchers suspect that the presence of oral pathogens may increase a patient's risk of developing problematic respiratory disease.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sleeplessness and Loneliness Connection

University of Chicago Lianne Kurina and colleagues studied the connection between loneliness and sleep deprivation among 95 elderly residents of two Hutterite communities.

Those members who reported sleeplessness were often unhappier and lonelier--leading to poorer health.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Help the Earth and Have a Happy Day!


"Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash."

"In the last 8,000 years Earth has lost 11,000 square miles of forest."

"Renewable energy provides 8% of total U.S. energy."

What can we do to help sustain our Earth? Here are a few ways:

Set your water heater temperature to 120 degrees.

Reduce your time in the shower.

Wash with cold water and save 90% energy.

Bank online.

Have a great holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Air Inside Can Make You Sick

We all know why we should insulate our homes. The downside is that insulation can trap pollution indoors.

Many of the contaminating substances give no warning and may produce symptoms years later. So it's best to control or eliminate exposure now before they cause any harm.

Asbestos was common in roofing, flooring, well and pipe insulation, speckling, cement, coating, heating equipment and acoustics. Generally if it is sealed or undisturbed, it does not pose a threat. But disintegration and other disturbances can cause small fibers to get into your lungs.

Keep humidity low and ventilation high to thwart the dangers of viruses, bacteria, molds and fungi. Wash bedding materials in hot water and keep a clean house.

Monitor all fuel-burning appliances so that carbon monoxide doesn't build up. Install a detector with an audible alarm.

Reduce formaldehyde-producing sources that can be found in some air fresheners, particleboard, fiberboard, plywood paneling, carpet backing, upholstery and drapery fabrics.

Check for nitrogen-dioxide (maintain vents), radon (in the soil surrounding the house), second-hand smoke and toxic chemicals in household products. Pay attention to the warnings. Consider installing a high-efficient air cleaner with either larger filters or an electronic air cleaner. Ventilate your home-open windows when the weather is nice.

Monday, December 19, 2011

When Shoes Aren't the Keys to Happiness: Experience Rather Than Buy

What do you when the new pair of shoes doesn't keep you happy?

A San Francisco University study suggests that you "invest in your experiences."

Forget the momentary lift and go for experiential happiness. Try a spa treatment, a yoga class, or a nature walk.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Make Your Move Less Stressful

Moving can be less stressful if you plan it right, according to author Gregory Karp.

Choose your type of move: either do-it-yourself, full service or hybrid (the mover may drop off a container, you load and unload, and they transport).

Hire a quality mover. Ask for recommendations. Check out yelp, the Better Business Bureau, and

Declutter. Take photos of things that are hard to part with and then get rid of them. Sell, donate, recycle, throw out.

Be flexible for times. Summer weekends around the 15th and 30th are the most expensive.

Find boxes. Buy used boxes or look for the best prices.

Save on packing materials by using towels, linens and newspaper.

Ship books by mail at the postal media rate.

See if you can consolidate your goods with someone else who is moving to the same vicinity.

Get full replacement insurance from other than your moving company.

See if your moving expense can be tax-deductible or reimbursable.

Tip your movers at $3-5/hour.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mental Illness: Not a Weakness

Mental illness is often seen as a moral issue or an issue of weakness. Ileana Arias, principal deputy administrator of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, claims that "mental illness is a condition no different from cancer or other chronic diseases. People need to accept the difficulties they are having and avail themselves of the resources that are available."

About 50% of Americans will experience some form of mental health problem at some point in their life. Many do not get help. Many hide their problem from others but there is also a big dilemma with under diagnoses and under treatment.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

To Gray Or Not to Gray

Vibrant Nation, a great source of information particularly for boomer women, provides 3 steps to going gray gracefully.

They recommend to carefully plan the change to take place over time. Ensure that your hair is healthy by properly conditioning it, drinking plenty of water and taking your vitamin supplement.
Finally, consider a full style makeover including adding colors to your wardrobe that complement your new hair color.

Every time I write out a check to my hair stylist, I wonder if I'd be better off going gray. After all, mom's hair is beautiful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Caregiving Suggestions

According to's Gilbert Guide, it's better to redirect or validate a person with dementia rather than remind him/her that he/she is demented.

They recommend redirecting the conversation away from the issue to something more pleasant. Be warm and open to reduce stress and tension.

Validate feelings and emotions. "Accept that your loved one's emotions have more validity than the logic that leads to them."

Those with dementia sometimes experience delusions and/or hallucinations. These experiences are vivid and upsetting. Ask simple questions to try to give them some relief.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Seniors and Drug Abuse

Free time can kill you.

"When retirement is bereft of fulfilling activities, some people turn to drugs to fill the void," according to Dr. Fred Blow of the Hanley Center.

As of December, 2009, 4.3 million adults 50+ had used an illicit drug within the prior year. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service, a federal agency) reports that "the number of boomers with substance abuse problems will be 5 million by 2020."

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance. Prescription medication and marijuana abuse is also climbing significantly.

Director of the Dartmouth Centers for Health & Aging, Dr. Steve Bertels, reported that "older adults who may be abusing marijuana, cocaine, or other drugs are sensitive to smaller amounts than when they were younger..Substance abuse in an older adult mimics many of the signs of aging. It causes memory loss, cognitive problems, tremors and falls" so it's hard to recognize.

Many boomers seem to feel that if there is something wrong, they'll feel better if they take a pill. "Many doctors unwittingly collude with addicts to keep them armed with pills".

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Buy From the U.S. Government: Unusual Gifts at Fair Prices

Since these holidays are strictly budgeted for in our household, I won't allow myself to be tempted to buy something that I think is really pretty for myself.

But if I were to ease up, there is a particularly beautiful scarf I'd love to own that is sold in a Smithsonian shop. It's like a piece of art.

Consider shopping at the U.S. government: Get National Park passes, stamp collectibles, holiday ornaments, World War II mementos, presidential library gifts,...even folk recordings.

You can do all your shopping online. Some places even have free postage for a limited time only.