Stop Knee Pain!

Stop Knee Pain!

8 steps you can take to avoid surgery

by Richard Laliberte, AARP The Magazine, Feb/March 2017|

About 700,000 knee-replacement surgeries are performed each year in the U.S., making it the most common joint-replacement procedure in America. By 2030, demand for knee replacements is expected to grow to 3.5 million—and patients under 60 will likely account for more than half of that growth. 

Here are 8 ways to help avoid the need for surgery:

Make over your workout

Avoid knee-stressing activities that require running and jumping. Instead, engage in more moderate exercise such as biking, walking and swimming.

Lose weight

Walking puts one and a half times your body weight on your knees — 300 pounds of pressure for a 200-pound person. Climbing stairs doubles the pressure. “Even modest weight loss can significantly reduce pain,” says Stephen Kelly, a joint-replacement surgeon at New England Orthopedic Surgeons in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a committee member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons.

Strengthen and stretch

Supervised physical therapy can strengthen leg muscles while increasing your range of motion and flexibility, to better support your knees.

Brace yourself

An “unloader” knee brace can help make the joint feel more stable and allow you to do everyday activities without pain, especially if arthritis is on the inside of the knee.

Relieve pain and swelling

An analgesic such as acetaminophen can relieve pain without a prescription. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories — both over the counter and prescription — can reduce pain and swelling. If neither drug is effective on its own, your doctor can prescribe a combination.

Test acupuncture

Stimulation with fine acupuncture needles can provide some relief from osteoarthritis in knees, notes the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Consider injections

Injecting cortisone directly into knees can reduce inflammation and pain, though repeated use may damage cartilage, so you shouldn’t get more than three or four shots a year. Injections of hyaluronic acid may provide longer-term relief (typically about six months), by replacing natural lubricants with a gel-like fluid.

Try supplements

A combo of 500 milligrams (mg) of glucosamine hydrochloride and 400 mg of chondroitin sulfate three times a day relieved moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain as effectively as the drug celecoxib (Celebrex) in a recent study. “Expect about a 50 percent decrease in pain over a six-month period,” says study author Allen D. Sawitzke, a rheumatologist and University of Utah associate professor

 

 

HAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBS

HAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBSHAM & PINEAPPLE KABOBS
INGREDIENTS

⦁ Ham cubes (or slices)

⦁ Pineapple (pre-heat if fresh)

⦁ Skewers

⦁ ¼ Cup Pineapple Juice (pre-heat if fresh)

⦁ 2 T Soy Sauce

⦁ 2 T Brown Sugar

⦁ Ginger to taste

 

INSTRUCTIONS

⦁ Place ham and pineapple on skewers.

⦁ Mix juice with remaining ingredients.

⦁ Marinate for 2 hours.

⦁ Baste on the grill

⦁ Grill until heated through

The Yin and Yang of Life in The 55+ Active Adult Community: Five Paths to Happiness to Successful Living in Bailey Park

The Yin and Yang of Life in The 55+ Active Adult Community: Five Paths to Happiness to Successful Living in Bailey Park

Not in my wildest nightmare had I imagined myself living in a 55-Plus Active Adult community. Nada, no way, are you crazy?

My whole life I rejected suburban living, selecting instead a city life with neighborhoods that reflected interesting architecture, entertainment and services, walking distance access to shops and neighbors who varied in ages and stages.

And then I accidentally discovered Bailey Park, just outside of Benton, Pennsylvania, where we live. An advertisement for the soon-to-be-constructed retirement community popped up on my monitor nearly five years ago on a normal Thursday afternoon when I was working in my home office.

“Hmmm,” I thought. “What’s this all about?”

Suffice to say, my husband and I now find ourselves celebrating nearly two years in our Bailey Park home in a lifestyle that often makes me dizzy.

Like all living arrangements, lifestyle living has its ups and downs. Here’s my take on the ying-yang of it all, and how to be happy in 55+ Communities:

  1. The yin: We get to know our neighbors very well. Living in a close community allows us to create wonderful new friendships with peers who come from all over the country to live and retire. That means nearly everyone wants to make new friends. Social events and neighborhood camaraderie makes it easy to get started. If you’re lonely in the community, you just aren’t trying.

The yang?  The survival technique to a 55+ Active Adult Community is happiness: Forgive and forget quickly and deeply. Let it go.

  1. The yin: We learn so much from others who have been experts and high-level achievers in their fields and careers. Community leadership positions, clubs, hobbies, sports, social activities and intensely interesting conversations are everywhere as we get to know each other. This keeps our minds and bodies sharp and our interests expanding.

The yang? Experts know what they know. It’s hard to change their minds at this stage of the game. The survival technique to 55+ Active Adult Community happiness: Embrace the ideas you hear and know that even if they aren’t true for you, they’re true for someone. Let it go.

  1. The yin: We can do it all, right here in our community. With our group of friends, everything is here from swimming in the Clubhouse Pool to shuffleboard and pickle ball to leisurely walks, the choices are rich and seemingly endless.  If you want to be on the go day and night, you can do it. If you say, “No thanks, I just can’t fit in another thing,” everyone understands. We’re all in the same boat.

The yang? Your children may bemoan the fact that it’s nearly impossible to get in touch with you. Wait a minute. Maybe that’s just another yin. (Only kidding, kids). The survival technique to 55+ Active Adult Community happiness: Say no when you need to, and yes to all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Feel like sleeping in? Do it and let it go.

  1. The yin: We have maintenance-free living so we may lock the door and take off, or stay home and watch the terrific landscaping crew do its job. Nearly all lifestyle communities have common areas that are beautifully landscaped and maintained. We are able to enjoy the beauty every day in our long walks around the area. If we want to travel or winter/summer in another part of the country, we can lock our doors, ask our neighbors to keep an eye out for our home, and go in relative peace. Most of all, our individual properties look great, and we didn’t have to do the work.

 

The yang? Community rules and regulations are in place to keep Bailey Park looking neat and clean.   The survival technique to Post 55 Lifestyle happiness: Read all of the community rules and regulations before you agree to build/purchase a home. If you can’t live with the rules, don’t buy into the community.

  1. The yin: It’s all about us. No shame in that, I say. We’ve earned the time to be ourselves as we decide to sky-dive, swim in the sun, write our memoirs, entertain our grandchildren, paddle around the lake, fish, sing, dance and have it all. We just might be the first generation to say that out loud. Boomers are famous for being self-centered, although we are a generous lot. We give to charities and volunteer to help others. Being in community, we are able to do it as a group so that our individual gifts become corporate-sized help. It’s all good.

The yang? We realize that time and our bodies are catching up with us. For the first time in our lives, perhaps, we have to say no to tennis (bad knees), or close needlework (bad eyes) or long trips (bad kidneys). We know we are singing our swansong. The big yang of living with our peers is that we know every single one of our new and dear friends will die, including us. It’s just a matter of time. Not easy to face. The survival technique to a successful 55+ Lifestyle happiness: Sing your song right up until the end. If you feel sad or frightened about what’s ahead, have faith. If you can’t have faith, just let it go.

I had never dreamed of living in a 55+ Active Adult Community. And now, I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Bailey Park. It’s a lifestyle of immense pleasures and healthy challenges. We cherish the people and friendships we’ve discovered. And we’re having so much fun.

HOW TO AVOID SNEAKY AIRLINE FEES

HOW TO AVOID SNEAKY AIRLINE FEES

by Eileen Ambrose | AARP | April 12, 2017

The government is looking at requiring airlines to refund baggage fees if your luggage shows up late. It’s a rare victory for travelers, but not a sign that fees — which bring in billions of dollars yearly to airlines — are going the way of paper tickets. If anything, airlines have gotten more creative at tacking on charges for perks that were once free — like choosing your seat.

Fees vary by airline. Ultra low-fare airlines, for instance, are more likely to charge additional fees to make up for the cost of those discounted tickets.

“They charge for everything,” says Rick Seaney, CEO and cofounder of FareCompare.com. “The ticket price is ridiculously low. And if you fly naked and don’t eat, you’re in good shape.”

You don’t have to go that far to avoid add-ons. Here are some common fees on domestic flights and ways you can bypass them — or at least lessen their impact.

Checked bags

Many airlines charge to check luggage, often starting at $25 for the first bag and quickly escalating. For instance, the fee for three or more bags on United and Delta is $150 each, while four or more bags on American costs $200 each.

What to do: If packing light isn’t possible, your baggage fees may be waived if you buy the ticket using the airline’s branded credit card. Or fly Southwest Airlines, which doesn’t charge for the first two checked bags. And when flying ultralow-fare airlines Spirit or Allegiant, baggage fees will be lower if you pay them at the time of booking rather than later at the airport. Some travelers also avoid this fee by checking a bag at the gate, which is often — but not always — free, Seaney says.

Big bags

You’ll pay extra for oversized or overweight luggage. You might even owe two fees on United and JetBlue if your bag is too big and too heavy. Oversized fees often run $75 to $200. Overweight bags cost $75 to $100, but can climb to $200 for each bag over 70 pounds on American, United and Delta.

What to do: Make sure your bag isn’t bigger than the 62 inches allowed by many airlines, and weigh luggage before going to the airport to stay within the 50-pound limit. Or, mail your luggage ahead of time to your destination. Shipping a 51-pound bag from Chicago to New York via FedEx costs as little as $41.

Change tickets

Most airlines charge extra to switch a nonrefundable ticket. Delta, United and American slap travelers with the steepest fee — $200 to change a domestic flight days before departure.

Cancellation

You’ll pay similar fees to cancel a flight as you would to change it.

– What to do:

If you must cancel, do so early. Federal regulations require airlines operating in the United States to refund your money if you cancel a reservation within the first 24 hours — provided you booked seven or more days before the flight. 

What to do:

It’s usually not worthwhile buying refundable tickets because they can be two to three times more expensive than nonrefundable fares, says George Hobica, founder of AirfareWatchdog.com. Look for flexible airlines if your plans are iffy. Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee, giving a credit for a future flight instead. Alaska Airlines has no fee if you make a change more than 60 days before departure. And for $59, Frontier offers “The Works,” a package of perks that includes a waiver of change fees. 

 

MEMORIAL DAY 2017

In traditional observance, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. At noon, their memory is raised by the living who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all.
Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act adds the flying of the POW-MIA flag on all Federal and U.S. Military Installations on Memorial Day. The POW-MIA flag is to be half-staffed until noon along with the National flag.
Other traditional observances included wearing red poppies, visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes, and visiting memorials.


Save your Eyesight
Every year, 50,000 Americans go blind, most from treatable or preventable eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration. Yet just half of the 61 million Americans at high risk of losing their eyesight saw an eye doctor in the past 12 months, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s partly because preventive eye exams are not covered by Medicare or most private insurance, says Peter J McDonnell, MD, director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at the John Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Not surprisingly, blindness is among Americans’ most-feared medical conditions, along with Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
“What’s sadder than working your whole life, getting ready to retire and developing something like macular degeneration, where you lose your central vision?” McDonnell says. “it’s a big issue.”
AARP spoke with McDonnell about what’s fueling the rise in eye diseases, steps we can take to protect our eyesight and new developments in the treatment of blindness.
Did you know: 75% of Americans have glasses or contacts
12 is the number of times you blink per minute
Percentage of color-blind Men: 8% Women: 0.5%
Q: By 2050, the number of Americans who are blind or visually impaired is expected to double to more than 8 million. What’s behind that trend? A: The two biggest drivers are the increase in the number of people with diabetes and the fact that we’re living much longer. Thirty years ago, it was pretty rare for us to see someone who was 80 years old. Now, we routinely see patients over 100. Back then, people would have developed these age-related eye diseases, but they didn’t live long enough.
Q: If you have diabetes, are you destined to get diabetic retinopathy? A: The better you control your diabetes, the less likely you are to have a problem. And if you do develop the abnormal blood vessels in your retina that are a hallmark of the disease, we can treat them with lasers or medications. Unfortunately, only about 20 to 30 percent of people who have diabetes get regular eye exams, and up to 24,000 Americans go blind each year from diabetic retinopathy.
Q: What else can people do to protect their eyesight as they get older? A: Eat a well-balanced diet, and don’t smoke. We think that the loss of vision that accompanies some eye disease such as age-related macular degeneration may be related to oxidative damage to the eye. People who eat plenty of green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables like blueberries and tomatoes might be better off. Plus, when you’re out in the sun, you want to wear UV-absorbing sunglasses and a hat with a brim. Smoking doubles your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, so if you smoke, quit.
Q: Dry eye syndrome seems to be on the rise. Even Jennifer Aniston has been diagnosed with it. What’s going on? A: Dry eye happens when your eye doesn’t make enough tears, and it’s one of the most common eye problems affecting Americans. A lot of people convince themselves it’s normal to feel scratchiness or irritation in their eyes, or to think that it’s just part of getting older. But it’s not.
Q: What is the treatment? A: We now have two FDA-approved drugs to treat dry eye: cyclosporine (Restasis) and lifitegrast (Xiidra). Some people can benefit from corticosteroid eyedrops, but you only want to use those for a short period of time. We can also put a plug in your tear duct to make the tears that you do produce stay in your eye longer.
Q: Can you envision a time when no one in America would become blind? A: I’m counting on it! We have scientists who are growing retinas from stem cells, and as best as I can tell, it’s just a matter of time before we can implant those in people. We’ve also made progress on an artificial optic nerve, so if you can grow the retina and grow the artificial optic nerve that connects the retina back to the brain, hopefully you’re there.

(as written in AARP Magazine by Gabrielle DeGroot Redford)

10 WAYS TO SNEAK FITNESS INTO YOUR DAY

You know that you should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. But somehow the time slips by, and you never seem to find that half-hour block. No worries. People who sprinkle activity regularly throughout their day—even in one-minute increments—may get the same blood pressure, cholesterol and waistline benefits as people who exercise in longer, more structured bouts, one study suggests. Here are some tips from top trainers:
1. While Waiting Around: Nobody likes standing in line. Here’s a full-body exercise routine to help pass the time. Squeeze your behind 10 times. Tighten your stomach muscles 10 times. Stretch your arms downward behind you and squeeze your triceps 10 times. Rise up on your toes and squeeze your calves 10 times.
2. While Sitting Around: Improve your grip strength by keeping a tennis ball at your desk at work, and another by your favorite chair at home. At least twice a day, grab a ball and squeeze tightly. Hold for 5 seconds, then release slowly. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each hand.
3. At the Supermarket: Build strength by ditching the cart and using your reusable tote bags instead. Sling one over each shoulder and cruise the aisles grabbing what you need. The additional weight is like walking with a pack on, so it boosts your heart rate and your calorie burn.
4. When Working at a Desk: Sitting is the new smoking: hazardous to your health. If your day includes a lot of chair time, swap a stability ball for your usual perch for 20 to 30 minute periods throughout the day. (Be sure to stand up and walk around frequently, too.) A stability ball builds core strength and may reduce back pain.
5. While Brushing your Teeth: Balance deteriorates with age, but there’s a trick to getting it back. When you brush your teeth, stand on one foot for 60 seconds and then switch. When that becomes easy, try balancing while lifting your leg to the side.
6. While Making Dinner: Keeping your shoulders strong and flexible can relieve joint paint and stiffness. So the next time you’re waiting for water to boil, do some arm circles. Keep your arms out to the sides and do 15 circles in a clockwise direction, then 15 circles counterclockwise.
7. While Your Beverages Brew: If you’ve ever had plantar fasciitis—stabbing heel pain that’s common with age—you know it’s important to keep your calves and Achilles tendons from getting tight. Loosen up each morning while waiting for tea to steep or coffee to brew: Stand at arm’s length from the wall and place one foot behind the other, keeping heels down and knees straight. Lean toward the wall, bracing with your arms. Bend your forward leg to stretch the calf of your back leg. Hold for 30 seconds. Switch feet.
8. When Getting Out of a Chair: The ability to get in and out of a chair unassisted has implications for your health—and your longevity. Every time you stand up from or sit down in a chair, use just your legs—or use one hand at first for assistance. Do this 10 times a day and you’ve done 10 squats, without going to a gym.
9. When at a Stoplight: The muscles supporting your uterus, bladder and bowel can weaken over time, leading to incontinence. Counter gravity’s effects by tightening your pelvic floor muscles (as if you have to pee and you’re “holding it”) when you’re at a light. Hold for a 10-count, then release for 10. Repeat until the light turns green.
10. While Watching TV: This lower-body workout can be done when your favorite show is on: Lie on your side and do three sets of 15 leg lifts, then three sets of 15 leg circles—raising your leg and rotating it in a circular motion. Switch sides.

(by Selene Yeager for AARP Bulletin; March 2017)

LESSONS FROM THE RICH

If you want more money, get to work:
The Proof. Millionaires put in some of the longest hours of any economic group in America. In one survey, 86 percent of wealthy workers said they log more than 50 hours a week. One reason for their dedication: About 70 percent own their own business. Only 10 percent inherited their wealth.
The Takeaway: Forget about lottery tickets or slot machines. The one reliable path to wealth is through hard work. So launch that side business, take that second job, volunteer for overtime hours or go for that promotion.
Be Prepared for Retirement:
The Proof. Why save for the future in you’re rich, right? Wrong. America’s top earners channel almost 40 percent of their income into savings. They understand they will need lots of cash for a long retirement.
The Takeaway: A general rule of thumb is to set aside 10 to 15 percent of your income for retirement. If you haven’t done that up to now, shoot for even more.
It Pays to Own, Not Rent:
The Proof: Nearly 90 percent of Americans with annual household incomes above $120,000 own a home. The financial benefits: You build equity, get tax breaks and can make a profit when you sell.
The Takeaway: If you plan to stay put for five years or more, it makes sense to own your home.
You Can Afford to be Generous:
The Proof: The affluent are giving more to charity than ever before. One indicator: In 2014 there were 86,000 grant-giving private foundations in the U.S.
The Takeaway: Make a difference in other people’s lives. Even small acts of generosity can make you feel rich in spirit.

Spring Fever: Why You Feel Different With The Change In Season

Spring Fever: Why You Feel Different With The Change In Season

 

All of a sudden, we’re delighting in lingering sunshine, warm breezes and bare legs. If where you live is anything like New York City this week, then you might find yourself battling a bout of spring fever. Perhaps you’re easily distracted and less productive than usual, daydreaming of an alfresco dinner or cocktail. Or maybe you’re feeling particularly smitten or more energized than usual.

But are these slight changes in our moods and behaviors all in our heads or rooted in science? Researchers have studied the link between weather and mood for years, but really only scratched the surface of what’s truly going on.

You’re Not As Sleepy

Just as your bare legs are soaking in the sun, our brains are busy processing the bright light as well. The increased sunshine signals the body to produce less melatonin, which plays an important role in sleep. “There’s more daylight, so people have more energy, sleep a little less,” Sanford Auerbach, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Boston University, told Web MD. With less melatonin pumping through your veins, you may also feel a lift in your mood and a more revved-up sex drive. 

You’re Happier

Another chemical change that seems to occur during the transition to spring is an increase in serotonin. A 2008 study found that in the fall and winter, there is a greater level of what’s known as serotonin transporter in the brain, which removes more serotonin than during the spring and summer. Known for its role in mood, serotonin is likely involved in that sudden lust for life we feel in springtime, according to the LA Times. This also may be why winter depression, known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD, often lifts in the spring, according to Scientific American. It may also account for the increase in energy that makes some people feel restless and distracted, just itching to spend time outdoors.

…Because You’re Exercising More?

Some would argue it’s not just hormones at work, but that there’s another possible reason people are happier the more time they spend outdoors on a sunny day: It’s likely you’re logging extra hours exercising. Your spirits could be lifted by the mood-enhancing powers of working out itself, or those of a healthy dose of vitamin D, rather than a springtime hormonal shift.

You’re In The Mood

Maybe it’s the host of hormonal changes, or maybe it’s as simple as trading winter sweaters for spring skirts, but love is definitely in the air come springtime. Obstetricians report high rates of unplanned pregnancies in the spring, according to the LA Times, which may be due to seasonal variation in sperm counts or the springtime peak of the “reproductive fuel” that produces testosterone in men and triggers ovulation in women, according to Scientific American. However, sexual activity and rates of sexually transmitted diseases are actually highest in the fall and winter, according to WebMD.

Or, You’re Depressed

While many feel a burst of energy and happiness come spring, the season can be a period of darkness for others and is actually witness to a peak in suicides. As psychiatrist and neuropsychiatrist John Sharp, M.D., wrote for Psychology Today: The palpable energy of the season becomes a stressor that can become too much for some of us who have been struggling for too long to get by. In the case of those suffering from a major depression, this can be just plain too much. The extra energy and increased expectations of the season can be the last straw, pushing us right to the edge, or in some cases, tragically, over the edge. However, researchers found in a 2000 study that only people in climates with significant change between the seasons experience this increase in springtime suicides.

You’re Sniffly

Science of the seasons aside, there’s at least one very real health concern that increases this time of year: allergies. More than 40 million Americans have allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Pollen, the most common springtime trigger of sniffling and sneezing, is released earlier and earlier as winters grow milder, according to ABC News.

 

Penne with Chicken and Asparagus

Penne with Chicken and Asparagus

35 m  8 servings   332 cals

Ingredients:

1 (16 ounce) package dried penne pasta

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into cubes

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder to taste

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 bunch slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

 

Directions

 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

Warm 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in chicken, and season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook until chicken is cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken to paper towels.

Pour chicken broth into the skillet. Then stir in asparagus, garlic, and a pinch more garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cover, and steam until the asparagus is just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Return chicken to the skillet, and warm through.

Stir chicken mixture into pasta, and mix well. Let sit about 5 minutes.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, stir again, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.