NEW HOPE AT STAGE 4

Pioneering drugs that remedy once-intractable diseases; clever products that make everyday living easier for people with injury or illness; innovative technologies that provide relief at a touch of a button—by all measures, 2017 has been a year of astounding health care advancements.  Here are some of the ways medical trailblazers and researchers are creating fresh possibilities for you and your family.

NEW HOPE AT STAGE 4

Adrienne Skinner awoke from cancer surgery to stunning news.  “I came to, and he told me we couldn’t do it,” Skinner says of her surgeon, who had planned to remove a tumor from the end of her bile duct. “He said, ‘Cancer has invaded your liver.  It’s stage 4. It’s systemic.’”  She was diagnosed with ampullary cancer, a form so rare that no standard treatments existed. Until now.

After some “pretty nasty” chemotherapy, Skinner, 60, of Larchmont, New York, became part of a clinical trial for pembrolizumab, marketed by Merck as Keytruda.  The drug helps the body’s immune system fight the disease.  Skinner started infusion treatments in April 2014.  In July her surgeon took another biopsy. “He said, ‘If somebody hadn’t told me you had cancer, I never would have known,’” she notes.  The tumor was gone.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since approved further uses of Keytruda, such as for patients with a genetic mutation called mismatch repair deficiency.  The drug continues to be tested for use by patients without the mutation. It is approved for some head and neck, lung, bladder and metastatic melanoma cancers, as well as Hodgkin lymphoma.

During clinical trials, the medication was famously used to treat former President Jimmy Carter, who two years ago announced he had cancer in his brain and liver and said his fate was “in the hands of God, whom I worship.” Four months later, his cancer was gone.

Skinner has seen similar results.  She’s back at work and makes a point of swimming and playing tennis.  “I’m running around like a maniac. I’m out gardening right now,” she says.  “I know what a gift is, and I know the gift of life.”

 

Written by Mandy Fetterman for AARP Magazine

October/November 2017

 

 

 

What’s New:

Hair-Saving Device.  Two years ago the FDA approved scalp-cooling caps, which help breast cancer patients keep their hair during chemotherapy.  Now one such device, the DigniCap, has also been approved for patients with other solid-tumor cancers.  That could help nearly 800,000 Americans avoid chemo-related hair loss.  Why it’s key:  One in 12 women with breast cancer avoid potentially lifesaving treatment for fear of going bald.  Says patient Lauren Jones of the Paxman Scalp device:  “It’s liberating.”      (by Sari Harrar for AARP Magazine)

 

Computerized Treatment.  Three words cancer patients should know: Watson for Oncology.  IBM’s artificial intelligence supercomputer can take test results and comb through tens of millions of medical documents to make recommendations for care.  “One doctor doesn’t have the computing power to crunch all the world’s data,” says Jay Wohlgemuth, chief medical officer of Quest Diagnostics.  Last year, IBM and Quest expanded Watson for use by clinics.  Doctors send a tissue sample to Quest, which identifies genetic mutations and sends data to Watson to unearth lifesaving treatments.         (by Lexi Pandell for AARP Magazine)

 

Ovarian Cancer Sniff Test.  Dogs can smell certain cancers.  Researchers in Philadelphia are developing an electronic nose to do the same.  It could be available within five years.  This is important because the first stages of ovarian cancer are nearly invisible to ultrasounds or via exams.

(by Virginia Sole-Smith for AARP Magazine)

 

 

SECRETS OF SINGLE SUPER SAVERS

SECRETS OF SINGLE SUPER SAVERS

 

Life goes on, and then suddenly, stuff happens.  For these 5 women, going solo reinforced a frugal lifestyle that has created both opportunities and meaning.  Here’s their best advice:

When Deborah DeHoff got divorced at age 40, the financial impact didn’t concern her.  DeHoff grew up so poor that her family often had to turn off the heat to save money.  She never got an allowance or went to the movies.  She rose early each morning to milk cows and bale hay.

“I vowed that my life would not be that way as an adult,” says DeHoff, who is now a certified financial planner and owns 10 acres—with two horses—in Elkhart, Indiana.

After her marriage ended, she persuaded her employer to help pay for a college degree.  That allowed her to shift from part-time work to a full-time career as a financial planner.

But the frugal ways of her childhood are ingrained.

“Frugality is a lifestyle,” she says.  “You have to make a conscious decision about every last thing you spend on.”

For example, she still never goes to the movies: Films, TV series, books, music, even internet access are all free at the public library.  She plans the rest of her financial life the same way.  A few more tips:

> Cut your own lawn.  “I won’t pay someone to do what I can do.”

> Shop with a list, and stick to it.  “If I need black pants, I don’t buy the blue skirt that’s on sale.”

> Buy in bulk.   DeHoff’s two horses, Monster and Sophie, are her only extravagance.  Even then, she buys their grain and hay in bulk and gets big discounts.

> Keep a loose-change jar.  Dump change into it at the end of each day; never raid it.  When it’s full, make a savings account deposit.

> Spend on what matters.  For vacation, DeHoff stays home and spends extra time with her horses.  “I don’t even go to Starbucks,” she says.  “Feeding the horses is more important.”

 

By Contributors: Bruce Horovitz, David Hochman & Claire McIntosh

For AARP Magazine, October/November 2017

A Fresh Approach to Fighting MS

A Fresh Approach to Fighting MS

The first sign of trouble came when Jim Swartwood, now 56, couldn’t read the license plate on his pickup truck from 20 feet away. Swartwood, of Big Lake, Minnesota, saw an eye doctor, then a neurologist.  Tests revealed he had 19 lesions on his brain, a sign of multiple sclerosis.  More symptoms of this debilitating nerve condition soon came, and the MS drugs he tried didn’t do much.  In 2013, Swartwood’s doctor got him into a clinical trial for a medication called Ocrevus. His symptoms subsided.  The dreaded relapses didn’t come.

Most treatments for MS focus on T cells, a kind of white blood cell.  But in 2001, Stephen Hauser, chair of the neurology department at the University of California, San Francisco, teamed up with Genentech to test Ocrevus, which targets a different kind of white blood cell called B cells.  Last March, the drug was approved by the FDA.  It’s not a miracle cure, but it slows the disease’s progression and reduces relapses.

Swartwood now lifts weights and plays racquetball.  “Who knows what will happen tomorrow?” he says. “But I know I will be blessed no matter what.”—David Ferry for AARP Magazine, October/November 2017

What’s new

A Scan for Memory Loss?…The brains of people with mild signs of early dementia have smaller-than-normal medial temporal lobes, according to MRI scans done by Canadian researchers. Scans can’t currently predict Alzheimer’s disease, but in the future they might allow for preventive treatment.

Digital Tremor Blocker…Parkinson’s disease patients often benefit from electric current delivered to the brain through implanted electrodes. Abbott’s Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation system now lets neurologists direct electricity to specific therapeutic targets, which patients control using an iPod Touch.

Novel Drug for ALS…For the first time in 22 years, a new medication designed to temper ALS—amyotrophic lateral sclerosis—is on the market. Radicava was originally developed to treat strokes.  But clinical studies in Japan showed that it slowed the progression of ALS, a devastating degenerative illness.

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Lunch Break Money Boosters:

1)  Locate lost cash:   Businesses or institutions that owe you money but can’t find you are required to hand the cash to the state rather than keep it, says Patti Spencer, a PA wills-and-trusts attorney.  To claim your due, search online for “escheated property” and a state name; that should take you to a searchable database. Claiming money is free.  California alone holds $8 billion in unclaimed cash of 32.5 million people or groups.

2)  Split your paycheck:  If you direct deposit your paycheck into a checking account, change to a split deposit, which will send a small amount to a savings, vacation or emergency fund. It’s worth it: Research shows that people save an extra $1,080 a year when they use divided deposits. If your company doesn’t offer that, set up automatic transfers on paydays.  And think about sending a chunk to your credit card bill on the same schedule; never pay a late fee again.

3)  Save for future health costs:  Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) let certain people save, tax free, for future medical expenses.  If you can afford it, increase your savings to the max (in 2017, $6,750 if you have a family health plan; $3,400 for individual coverage). But don’t use the account for current medical needs.  Pay those costs out of pocket; use the HSA to save for medical expenses after retirement (HAS dollars can accrue indefinitely).

4)  Download a shopping or coupon app:  Many free apps provide discounts on demand when you shop.  Coupon Sherpa, for instance, delivers retailer coupons to your phone for in-store scanning and sends promo codes to use online. Card-Star stores your merchant loyalty cards on your phone so you won’t miss out on discounts.  Paribus searches for price drops on items you bought online, then contacts retailers to ask them to refund you the difference.

5)  Review your credit card bills:  First, check for charges that don’t make sense; for example, some scams involve generating small credit card charges each month, in the hopes you won’t notice them.  Action items:  Contact your card provider and contest suspicious charges.  Next, look for recurring charges for services you don’t use, such as a forgotten subscription to an e-greeting card service.  Action item:  Cancel them.  Finally, study your spending patterns.  Do you mean to spend that much on food or clothes in a month?  Action item:  Find ways to start saving money.

 

‘Play to your Strengths—Something that challenges you a bit’

‘Play to your Strengths—Something that challenges you a bit’

(Pioneering Brain Scientist Brenda Milner, 99, whose groundbreaking research helped unlock the mysteries of memory—and who’s still actively exploring links between brain function and behavior spoke with Brenda Milner for AARP Bulletin)

You’re a preeminent neuroscientist, and a professor at Canada’s prestigious McGill University.  At age 99, what motivates you to keep up your research at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital?

I am very curious. Human quirks attract my interest. If you’re a theoretical person, you can sit and dream up beautiful theories, but my approach is, “What would happen if…” or, “Why is this person doing (that)…” and then, “How can I measure it?”  I wouldn’t still be working if I didn’t find it exciting.  

Are you curious in real life, too?

Yes. I’m a good “noticer”—of behavior as much as the kind of furniture people have!

In the 1950s, you made a revolutionary discovery—that memories are formed in a brain area called the hippocampus, which is now getting lots of attention for its role in memory loss and dementia. Has brain research gotten easier?          Nowadays, everyone has functional magnetic resonance imaging.  Anybody with access to a medical school can get a good look at the patients’ brain while they’re alive and young, but it wasn’t like that (then). Psychologists were studying patients who were much older and beginning to show memory impairment.  Then they had to wait for their patients to die.

But you were different?

I was privileged in having access to the kinds of patients I had.  They were young adults of normal intelligence, in the prime of their lives.  We were able to test them before and after surgery for epilepsy.

Was it frustrating waiting for your concept to be accepted?

Oh no, no. It was so exciting working with these patients and satisfying one’s curiosity. But it was a bit annoying occasionally.

What led a young Englishwoman to brain science in the 1930’s?

I started at Cambridge University in mathematics and decided that I wasn’t going to be a great mathematician because I don’t have enough spatial ability.  I switched to experimental psychology, got married and came to Canada for one year—and I’m still here.  I was very lucky in being at the Neurological Institute when this work was being done.

 

6 Clever and low-cost ways to make everyday tasks easier, from people who care for others:

1)  Safer Soap:  Slip soap into a nylon stocking.  Tie to a towel bar or the shower head.  This creates a non-slippery soap that lathers through the stocking.

2)  DIY Ice Pack:  Mix one part rubbing alcohol with two to three parts water into a plastic zipper bag and freeze.  This ice pack will stay cooler longer and will mold to your body where you apply it.

3)  Glow Guides:  Use glow tape for safer walks in the house at night.  Place around light switches and thermostats, and along walls.

4)  No-Slip Sips:  Glue a piece of plastic tubing to a clothespin.  Slide a straw through the tubing and attach the clothespin to a glass.

5)  No-Slip Surfaces:  Apply no-slip paint to walking surfaces inside and outside the home to help prevent your loved one from falling.  The texture of the surface will become gritty.

6)  No-Spill Drinks:  Cut out a nonslip pad and place it on a shelf in the refrigerator.  Put beverage cartons on the pad.  Drinks can then be poured by just tilting the carton forward.

 

Guard Your Digits

Guard Your Digits

‘Social’ smarts will help protect your identity

By obtaining your Social Security number, identity thieves have the easiest path to the greatest damage: stealing your money and government benefits.  Getting medical care and other services in your name.  Leaving a terrific tangle for the real you to clear up.

And what then? You can apply for a new “Social” but few do so successfully.  In 2016, when 15 million people were victimized by identity theft, about 400 new numbers were issued, says Social Security Administration spokeswoman Dorothy Clark.  Getting a new number is a laborious and often futile process in which economic hardship must be proven.  And getting a new Social creates more hassles as your original number continues to follow you through life.  So, your best defense is to protect those nine digits.  Here’s how.

Leave it Home.  Never carry your Social Security card—what if your wallet or purse is stolen?  The same goes for your Medicare card (which includes your Social, until 2018), unless you’re seeing a health care provider for the first time.  If you like the security of having an ID on you, carry a photocopy of your Medicare card with several digits blanked out.

When asked, Don’t Tell.  Only a few organizations have a legal right to your Social—your employer, banks and lenders, investment funds, the IRS and government-funded programs such as workers’ compensation.  When asked by others, just say no.  The more your number is out there, the greater the risk of identity theft.

Guard the Final Four.  Although most widely used and shared, the last four digits are in fact the most important to protect.  These are truly random and unique; the first five numbers represent when and where your Social Security card was issued.  Scammers can get those numbers by knowing your birth date and hometown.  So don’t use the last four as a PIN.  Don’t share them in emails.  Ask companies to use an alternative identifier.

Freeze ‘Em Out.  If you place a security freeze on your file at the big three credit rating agencies, ID thieves who have your number can’t get loans in your name, because lenders can’t do the required credit check.  To place a freeze, you need to contact each of the three major credit bureaus:

Equifax (equifax.com; 1-800-349-9960)

Experian (Experian.com; 1-888-397-3742)

TransUnion (transunion.com; 1-888-909-8872)

Freezes can be “thawed” as needed, such as when you are switching insurance providers.

Report Quickly.  If your number is used for identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-438-4338 or at identitytheft.gov.  File a police report and notify credit-reporting bureaus and banks.  Report Medicare fraud to 800-447-8477, and if you suspect crooks are going for your tax refund, call the IRS at 800-908-4490.  For lost or stolen Social Security cards, call the agency at 800-772-1213, or go to socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.

 

(written by Sid Kirchheimer for AARP Magazine, September 2017)

 

FROM ALL OF US AT

 

INNOVATIVE BUILDING & DESIGN

Delicious Ham and Potato Soup

“This is a delicious recipe for ham and potato soup that a friend gave to me. It is very easy and the great thing about it is that you can add additional ingredients, more ham, potatoes, etc and it still turns out great.”

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground white or black pepper, or to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk

      Directions

  1. Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve immediately.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017 Allrecipes.com
Printed From Allrecipes.com 12/15/2017

Boomers are Skipping Needed Vaccinations

 

Boomers are Skipping Needed Vaccinations

(Two-thirds of 65-plus haven’t had shingles show, feds say)

 

Americans over age 60 are often not getting needed immunizations, and that is creating a growing risk to the health care system, say federal disease-prevention experts.

About two-thirds of those who are 65 and older have never had the shingles vaccine, and more than 4 in 10 haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  As for the pneumococcal vaccine, nearly a third of older people haven’t had this immunization.

Older Americans do better about getting flu shots.  But nearly 1 in 3 between ages 65 and 74 skipped the shot during the last flu season.

The data is worrisome because older adults are at increased risk of complications that can be prevented by vaccines, the CDC says.

And, adults age 65-plus who skip immunizations drive up health care costs when they get sick—to the tune of $4.8 billion a year, according to researchers’ estimates.

Most people should get a flu shot annually, get a tetanus booster every 10 years and keep their pneumococcal and shingles vaccines current, say federal health officicals and leading medical experts.

The most neglected inoculation, the singles vaccine, reduces the risk of getting a viral disease that can cause skin to become painful and blistered, plus fever, headache, fatigue and sensitivity to light, according to the Mayo Clinic website.  The vaccine is recommended for adults 60 and older.  That includes those who have already had shingles.

 

(As printed in the AARP Bulletin, September 2017)

 

Active Senior Living For Active Seniors

You now have the time to do what you always wanted to do. What was that again? Hiking the Appalachian Trail? Volunteering at the Humane Society? Working part-time at a ski resort? Mentoring a child?

Active Living Options
First things first: if you’re healthy and active, you may just choose to live in the home you retired in—until it becomes more than you want or are able to handle. It’s a tough decision to leave the home you raised your family in, the neighborhood you’re used to and familiar with. 

But maybe your home is just too big and requires too much upkeep. Or maybe you’d rather live with other active seniors. Maybe you just want a change. If so, you have plenty of options.

Independent living communities are designed for the active and healthy senior who is able to live on their own. You can live in a home, condo, townhouse, apartment complex, motor home or mobile home.

They are the same as a traditional neighborhood but with age restrictions—usually 55 and older. And they provide amenities like clubhouses, gyms, yard maintenance, housekeeping and security. Most communities also typically offer transportation, laundry service, group meals, and social and cultural activities.

Before we look at what kind of community is right for you, let’s look at some senior statistics.

Seniors by the Numbers
In a 2010 report by The Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics called “Older Americans 2010: Key Indicators of Well-Being,” we found the following statistics that may interest you:

  • People who reach age 65 will live another 18.5 years v. just 4 years longer in 1960.
  • From 2006 to 2008, 74.5% of those 65 and older reported being in good to excellent health.
  • About 22% of seniors reported regular physical activity.
  • Seniors 65 to 74 report doing 7 hours of daily leisure activities; watching TV account for 4 hours.
  • The housing burden cost for seniors increased from 30% to 37% between 1985 and 2007.
  • Forty percent of seniors in 2007 had one or more of the following housing issues: “housing cost burden, physically inadequate housing, and/or crowded housing.”
  • What’s Right for Me?
    This is a big question for many seniors and worth careful consideration. The answer may take weeks, months and even years of thought. To start, take an inventory of your life now that you’re retired. Here are some basic questions to ask:
  • Are you happy in your home and neighborhood? Do you dread doing yard work in the summer heat? Are the four bedrooms too much to clean? Do you live close enough to family? Do your friends still live near you? Would you rather live close to the water, mountains, in the country or in a city?
  • Financially, are you secure in your present home? Or do you need to downsize? Are property taxes too much?
  • Would you rather live with other active seniors? Or do you enjoy living in a mixed-age neighborhood?

These are just a few of the challenges one must think about before making a move into any kind of housing for the future.     

 

Stay tuned for the next blog to get other information on Bailey Park and how to make the best possible decision for your life…….

 

 

GENETIC TESTS COME TO YOUR MAILBOX!

GENETIC TESTS COME TO YOUR MAILBOX!  

      (Now approved by the FDA, a DIY test can shed light on your health.  But is it better not to know?)

    Are you at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease? Or late-onset Alzheimer’s? For about $200 and a vial full of saliva, you can find out via a mail-in testing kit.

    After a new ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers can bypass doctors for the first time to learn if they have a genetic risk for 10 diseases.

    Genetic testing has been in the news for years, often as part of criminal trials or paternity suits.  Doctors and medical researchers have long used genetic testing to diagnose ailments and assess disease risks.  But the FDA had been wary of allowing consumers to take matters into their own hands.  Does the science support consistent links between certain genetic variants and diseases? And could consumers understand the key concepts in the test reports they get back?

    To receive FDA approval for its direct-to-consumer (DTC) medical testing, the California company 23andMe, which previously had been limited to ancestry testing, supplied peer-reviewed studies that demonstrated links between specific genetic variants and 10 diseases, as well as data that showed a consumer comprehension rate higher than 90 percent, says Stacey Detweiler, medical affairs associate at 23andMe.

    Reasons to be cautious remain.  A test that shows a risk potential for a disease doesn’t mean the patient will develop that condition, says Scott R. Diehl, professor of oral biology and health informatics at Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences in Newark, NJ. “Most diseases have a complex causality, which means that it’s often not a single gene that results in illness, but the complicated interaction between an individual’s genetic makeup and his or her environment, diet, even tobacco use.”

    Knowing your genetic predisposition does allow you to make changes—diet, exercise, preventive medical testing and care.  “DTC tests seem to intrigue people, teach people, even motivate them to improve their health,” says Robert C. Green, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and geneticist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

    Erica Ramos, president-elect of the National society of Genetic Counselors, recommends seeking out a professional if you have a concern about a condition that may run in the family.  Ask your doctor for a recommendation, or check out FinaGeneticCounselor.com.  These discussions may be covered by insurance.

    AARP Bulletin Executive Editor Michael Hedges took the 23andMe test and found it gave him peace of mind.  “I’m relieved to know I am free of the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s genetic variants,” he says.

    The other conditions tested are:  celiac disease; alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, which raises the risk of lung and liver disease; early-onset primary dystonia, a movement disorder; factor XI deficiency, a blood-clotting disorder; Gaucher disease type 1, an organ and tissue disorder; glucose-6-phospate dehydrogenase deficiency, a red blood cell condition; hereditary hemochromatosis, an iron disorder; and hereditary thrombophilia, a blood clot disorder.

    One more caveat involves privacy.  U.S. laws protect consumers from being denied health insurance based on genetic tests, but “there are currently no protections in place for long-term care, disability and life insurance,” Ramos says.  In some states, a life insurance application can ask if you’ve had genetic testing. “You may want to think about if you want to make changes to any policies you have before you get your test results back,” she says.

 

COMPANIES THAT OFFER MAIL-IN GENETIC TESTING:  

 

23ANDME (23andme.com)

What it tests:  The ancestry test helps you discover your origins. The health test determines info such as your carrier status (whether you carry a specific copy of a mutated gene) for 40-plus conditions, as well as your risk of developing 10 diseases based on genetic markers.

How it’s administered:  A saliva sample, which you mail to the lab.  In about six to eight weeks, you get an online report.

Price:  Ancestry test, $99; health and ancestry, $199

 

FAMILY TREE DNA (familytreedna.com)

What it tests:  Provides in-depth DNA analysis of your family roots.

How it’s administered:  A cheek swab, mailed to the lab.  Results are shared with you online.

Price:  Ranges from $89 to $556, depending on the complexity of the testing.

 

Pathway Genomics  (pathway.com)

What it tests:  The company offers two direct-consumer tests, including one (FiT iQ) that provides insight into how your DNA influences your body’s response to diet and exercise.

How it’s administered:  A saliva sample, mailed to the lab.  A downloadable report includes information on whether you’re built for endurance or strength workouts and diet guidelines that reveal your ideal ratio of calories from carbs, fats and proteins.  Pathway Genomics also offers a 50-minute consultation with a registered dietitian for $99.

Price: $124

 

(written by Michele Shapiro for AARP Bulletin, September 2017)

 

Older adults can get past fear of going to the gym

Older adults can get past fear of going to the gym

Regular exercise and a nutritious diet are two of the best things seniors can do to maintain their health.  Exercise can delay or prevent many of the health problems associated with aging, including weak bones and feelings of fatigue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a person age 65 or older who is generally fit with no limiting health conditions should try to get two hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, while also including weight training and muscle-strengthening activities in their routines on two or more days a week.  

Individuals often find that gyms have the array of fitness equipment they need to tay healthy.  But many people, including older men and women who have not exercised in some time, may be hesitant to join a gym for fear of intimidation.  Some seniors may avoid machines and classes believing they will use the apparatus properly, or that they will be judged by other gym members.  Some seniors may feel like gyms do not cater to their older clientele, creating an atmosphere that is dominated by younger members and loud music.   

Such misconceptions are often unfounded, as many gyms welcome older members with open arms.  But even if seniors find gyms intimidating, they should still sign up for memberships.  In such situations, the following tips can help seniors shed their fears and adapt to their new gyms.

START THE PROCESS SLOWLY.  Shop around for a gym that makes you feel comfortable.  Get fully informed about which classes are offered, and the benefits, if any afforded to older members.

GET A DOCTOR’S GO-AHEAD.  Make sure to clear exercise and gym membership with your doctor prior to purchasing a membership.  He or she also may have a list of gyms where fellow senior patients have memberships.

BUILD UP GRADUALLY.  Begin with exercises you feel comfortable performing.  Spend time walking on the treadmill while observing other gym members.  Tour the circuit of machines and other equipment.  Find out if you can sample a class to see if it might be a good fit.

FIND A GYM BUDDY.  Working out with a partner in your age group may encourage you to keep going to the gym and increase your comfort level.  You each can offer support and enjoy a good laugh through the learning process.

DON’T GET DISCOURAGED.  Anyone working out for the first time, regardless of age, will feel somewhat out of place until exercise becomes part of a routine.  Give it some time before throwing in the towel.  Once you catch on, you may discover you enjoy working out.

CHOOSE A SENIOR-FRIENDLY GYM.  Some gyms cater to senior members.  They may offer “SilverSneakers” classes at their facility.  Other niche gyms may only accept members of a certain age group.  Investigate these gyms if working out with a younger crowd is proving too great a deterrent.  

Fitness is important for healthy seniors.  It can prolong life, help seniors maintain healthy weights and reduce their risk of injury.

 

(Courtesy of Metro Creative Graphics as a special to the Press Enterprise 8/18/17)

 

Cochlear Implants – Life Beyond Hearing Aids

Feeling frustrated and sometimes even exhausted from listening?  Whether it happens suddenly or gradually, hearing loss can affect you physically and emotionally.  Being unable to hear impacts your ability to communicate with your loved ones, hear in noisy environments, talk on the phone, and may force you to become more reliant on your family members to interpret for you.

Cochlear implants work differently than hearing aids.  Rather than amplifying sound, they use sophisticated software and state-of-the-art electronic components to provide access to the sounds you’ve been missing.

  1.  How do implants differ from hearing aids?  Hearing aids help many people by making the sounds they hear louder.  Unfortunately as hearing loss progresses, sounds need not only to be made louder, but clearer.  Cochlear implants can help give you that clarity, especially in noisy environments.  Hearing aids are typically worn before a cochlear implant solution is considered.  
  2.  Are cochlear implants covered by Medicare?  Yes, Medicare and most private insurance plans routinely cover cochlear implants.
  3.  How do I know a cochlear implant will work?  The technology is very reliable.  In fact, it has been around for over 30 years and has helped change the lives of over 450,000 people worldwide.  For the majority of people, cochlear implants are better than hearing aids in noisy environments.
  4.  What does a cochlear implant system look like?  There are two primary components of the Cochlear Nucleus System – the implant that is surgically placed underneath the skin and the external sound processor.  Cochlear offers two wearing options for the sound processor.  One is worn behind the ear similar to a hearing aid.  The other, the new Kanso Sound Processor, is a discreet, off-the-ear hearing solution that’s easy to use.  The Cochlear Nucleus System advanced technology is designed to help you hear and understand conversations better.

To Find a Hearing Implant Specialist Call: 1-800-912-6204 or visit Cochlear.com/US/Bulletin

 

(As reported in the November 2017 AARP.org/Bulletin

                                                                                             by Jacques Herzog, M.D., Cochlear Medical Advisor)

 

SAUSAGE AND APPLE STUFFING

 

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat the broth, celery, onion and apples in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables and apples are tender.

Step 2

Add the sausage and stuffing and stir lightly to coat.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups Swanson® Chicken Broth or Swanson® Certified Organic Chicken Broth  orSwanson® Natural Goodness® Chicken Broth
  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • ½ Red Delicious apple, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • ½ pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 cups Pepperidge Farm® Herb Seasoned Stuffing
  • 2 cups Pepperidge Farm® Cornbread Stuffing