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Do You Need Home Care For Aging Parents?

Aging parents - Grandfather with grandchildrenThe baby boomer generation is fast becoming caregivers to one or both aging parents. This has become the new norm for some 45 million Americans, not to mention tens of millions more in the UK, Australia, and other English-speaking western countries.

The other remarkable fact about that is that it’s the women who, more often than not, do the heavy lifting, and with people living longer than ever, Baby Boomers comprise the first generation to care for its parents as long as it cared for its children, and this can be a very stressful time.

When You Need Home Care For Your Aging Parents

Three things you can count on when it comes to your aging parent(s):

  1. They will be adamant about wanting to remain living at home
  2. They will hate to burden you and their other children
  3. And because of their fierce desire for independence, they won’t be the ones to tell you they need help
That accounts for those times when the need for home care is slow in coming. In less fortunate cases, such as a cardiac incident, or a mom who suddenly can’t be left unattended—not even for a few minutes—you’ll have to drop everything and run to their side.

How Will Baby Boomers Know if it’s Time?

Here are but a few of the telltale signs that may alert you that something is amiss:
  • There will be times when you realize that one of your parents is leaning too much on their sturdier spouse.
  • Or, that your aging parent is no longer able to perform adequately with one or more of their activities of daily living, such as bathing or moving about safely. They may also have become at high risk for falling, choking, or some other hazard of that nature.
  • You’re told by a neighbor or friend that your parent’s driving is dangerous, or you see a number of dents and scratches on the family car or on the garage door.
  • In yet more instances, your parent’s changes in appearance may suddenly alarm you, or perhaps how their home or yard has lost its accustomed tidiness and become cluttered.

Developing a Plan of Action For Your Aging Parents

There are several elements to an effective strategy, starting with determining if it’s time to hire a caregiver—or “carer” in some countries.
  • Hiring a professional caregiver is simple enough providing the family can afford the cost. In the US, and depending on where you live, you can count on a home care agency charging you anywhere from $25 to 35 an hour—at the lower end if you live in a rural area, and at the higher end if in high cost of living areas.
  • Hiring a caregiver directly would naturally cost you less, but it would entail you doing what an agency does: recruiting, interviewing, vetting, insuring or bonding, and filling-in for caregivers when they need time off.
  • Before you start contacting your local home care agencies, make sure your parents are in on the plan, and establish with them what number of hours per day and per week might be ideal for a start. Not involving them in the planning may bring you unnecessary headaches when a caregiver first shows up at their door.

Two Other Critical Elements of the Plan

  1. Assigning responsibilities: Who among the siblings and other members of the family will be responsible for:- Overseeing the care – Financial and legal matters (powers of attorney, living wills) – Doctors, prescriptions, and other health mattersFor Baby Boomers with aging parents, it’s prudent to count on emergency-type surprises, and you simply don’t want to have to squabble with your siblings at a time of crisis.
  2. Long-term housing considerations:Is it time to sell and downsize your parents’ home? And what is the plan for their long-term housing? Will they remain at home for as long as possible, or consider moving elsewhere at some point in the future?

Tread Gently When “It’s Time”

Some of the decisions entailed in the above considerations can be quite traumatic for your aging parents. Put yourself in their shoes: how would you like it to suddenly have a stranger roaming in your kitchen and bedroom, or have to consider moving out of the home you’ve lived in for all those years? The wise path is to tread gently while, at the same time, ensuring that your aging parents remain entirely involved in such momentous decision-making processes.

Stress Relief Strategies For Baby Boomers

We all get stressed, and the tendency to get stressed can get worse as you get older, so it’s good to have some good stress relief strategies you can use when you need them.

Stress is like a heavy backpack that we lug around. It is our companion from the day we land on this planet, and it doesn’t ever let go. As newborns, we cry out loud when we are hungry or cold, only to then surrender to contentment when we are picked up, and to smiles when we are kept warm and fed. Stress follows the same up-and-down patterns, well past our prime.

Remember Stress-free Days?

Childhood play is a natural stress relief strategy

Remember how you used to play and run around as a child? How the little things in life, such as molding houses out of twigs and clay, used to bring you the most joy? How running around barefoot on grass and mud used to feel? Remember how you used to chase friends and frolic all over, hollering, laughing, and sweating like crazy? You certainly didn’t need to consider stress relief strategies back then! What’s happened over the years? How did we ever let stress creep in and take hold?

Time for Fighting Back

Stress simply won’t go away, often times exacerbated by a relationship that isn’t going too well, mounting bills, a boss we’d love to throw under a bus, or perhaps even a sudden health issue. Left to its own devices, it keeps lurking in our mind, always threatening to degenerate and turn into full-fledged anxiety and/or depression. Both are serious issues that must be addressed with stress relief strategies.

It’s time to fight back, starting with a positive mindset that says that we’re not about to take our stress lying down. And while we know that there is no silver bullet—no magic wand—to rid us of stress, we sure as heck can do what we can to manage the beast.

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

We Boomers have a tendency to blame our genes—our parents and grandparents—for anything that goes wrong in our lives, including the level of stress that gets us down. When “neuroplasticity” came into the picture as of the second half of the 20thcentury, it showed that the brain is not as “set” as we had thought, that it is elastic (“plastic”) and can be made to change, particularly as we grow older. It has become clear that the makeup of brain circuitry can be invigorated as we factor in physical exercise, a nutritious diet and, most significantly, a regular routine of mind-stimulating practices. Making these stress relief strategies part of your everyday life is important to your overall health.

This science describes stress as a main factor in damaging “synapses”, or minute gaps between nerve cells through which brain impulses pass. The good news is that once the stress is mitigated, the synapses get replaced.

Three Simple Stress Relief Strategies for Baby Boomers

Laughter:

It’s time to bring back our zest for life—bring back the laughter of the past. The idea is to engage with peers who are outgoing and who know how to laugh. Following a considerable amount of research on the subject, a major study revealed that laughter is one of the best tonics to mitigate the insidious effects of the high-speed, high-stress world that we live in. Humor can reduce cortisol, a stress hormone. Chronic release of cortisol can damage hippocampus neurons, also leading to impairment of learning and memory.

Deep Breathing:

This is also another quick and easy way to achieve a lessening of the tension in your mind and body, and you can put its basic principles to good use at any time of day and whether at home or at work.

First, focus on lowering the breathing from your upper chest down to your middle section: lie down comfortably on your back, layer your hands on your belly and experience each breath going consciously all the way down. By taking a deep breath and holding it briefly for a moment, you should be able to see your belly rise and stay inflated while in this position. Now exhale at a slow and deliberate pace, emptying your lungs “down to the last drop”.

From that point on, inhale to a count of 2 or 3, and then exhale backwards from a count of 4 or 5, all the way back down to 1.

Deep breathing is so easy to learn that we are going to leave it up to you to master this technique and get a breathing rhythm going that gives you the feeling that every time you exhale, you are in fact pushing all the day’s accumulated tensions out of your system.

Fishing - stress relief strategy

Do Something That Gives You Joy: In the busy life that most of us lead it is easy to miss out on the activities you love to do, especially the activities that relieve your stress. Go for a walk in the countryside, enjoy an activity on the water, sing, read, visit a friend.Do whatever it is that makes your heart sing. And do the things that make your heart sing as often as you can. It makes stress melt away.

Final Thoughts

Just imagine what a few minutes of uninterrupted deep quiet within us would conjure up. In such instants, you would be able to attain amazing dimensions of energy, insight, sensory acuity, strides towards heightened awareness—and yes, love. The trick is to identify the stress factors in your life and fight back with appropriate stress-relief techniques for baby boomers.

Living the Retirement Dream

What Baby Boomers Always Wanted To Know About Living To 100

Are you planning on living to 100? There are actually around 450,000 centenarians in the world, 72,000 of them in the US. Longevity, is about a whole slew of factors. Genes naturally play a role.  So do the armies of free radical agents that rummage inside of us. Other factors include antioxidants, exercise and nutrition, negative attitudes, brain health, and mitigating stress.

Living to 100 relies on those thousands of mind-blowing parts and systems inside the body that operate in sync and keep us functioning harmoniously – homeostasis. The point about homeostasis is that any blockage to that glorious orchestration of cells, organs, and systems can throw us into disrepair—and a shortening of our lifespan.

Oxidative Stress, Antioxidants, and Aging

The Free Radical Theory of Aging (FRTA) stipulates that aging is the continuous battle between oxidative stress (akin to what makes a piece of metal rust when left in the open) and antioxidants. In that raging “wear and tear” war, stress is a powerful enemy, and antioxidants (berries, leafy veggies, nuts, red wine, dark chocolate, etc.) fight back and support our longevity.

And although we conduct this battle gallantly day in and day out, the best we can is try to live as long as possible—perhaps living to 100 and beyond.

The Genetic Factors For Living To 100

face of a lady living to 100

According to Thomas Perls, Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University, 50% of those who make it to 100+ have in their ancestry people who also aged beyond the norms. In other studies, we learn that perhaps up to 25% of the longevity factor is due to our genes.

Although many other family studies associate longevity with both genetic and non-genetic factors, recent findings showed that even the offspring of those with abnormally long lifespans are likely to live long and less likely to suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. No need for alarm though, for there are hordes of centenarians whose parents only lived to their 70’s or 80’s.

Stress and Aging

In today’s fast-paced lifestyles, we are driven to multi-tasking on a number of fronts, including family, financial, and job-related trials and tribulations. Stress can then evolve, particularly when we begin to give in to the circumstances that test us—when, fearfully, we question whether we have the fortitude to handle the challenges. Stress conjures up toxic thought processes, making us view our issues through the prism of fear and uncertainty.

Some of us learn to cope with stress more effectively than others, mostly by staying fit and embracing other stress-relief strategies. We thus owe it to ourselves to not let stress evolve into depression and other mental issues, for those would turn into decisive barriers to healthy aging.

Attitude Adjustments for Longevity

Our basic attitude to life has a lot to do with how we handle stress. We may bring stress upon us unknowingly by having a cynical viewpoint to most ideas we face, or by holding on to a pessimistic outlook and walking around dejected and with low self-esteem.

So, get rid ofthat destructive and incessant self-criticism that you entertain, and replace it instead with open-mindedness and recognition of who you are. Focus on your generous deeds towards others, on every time you exhibited kindness and compassion, for in the end, we all have it in us to be filled with compassion and to love and be loved. That would be a necessary step towards turning into a positive frame of mind.

Brain Health for Longevity

The old adage still works wonders: strain your brain, your witts to retain. Moreover, if you’ve never stopped to wonder about the human brain, perhaps now would be a good time. This 3-lb. sensation spends 80, 90, 100+ years supervising, adjusting, and refining everything that goes on in your body, from the littlest cell, to your heart, respiratory and other major systems. It uses billions of “synapses” (nerve cells) to facilitate communications with every part of your body and maintain that state of harmony and balance so essential for long living.

The recipe from experts is to keep mental faculties working withthought-provoking mental activities that are both entertaining and engaging. If you want to be living to 100 with good health and vitality, keep your mind working. Naturally, crossword puzzles come to mind, as do chess, card games such as bridge and, especially, games that achieve both stimulating the mind as well as socialising.

One Final Thought for Baby Boomers

Boomers, you know well what it takes, so the question is: are you going to make the necessary adjustments? It’s simple really: fight off stress, stay healthy, and you can be one of the people living to 100, no matter what your genetic inheritance consists of.

 

Are Baby Boomers Older, Sicker, Fatter and More Sedentary?

Baby boomers are "older, sicker, fatter and more sedentary" than the previous generation, according to Dr Beth Seidenberg's article Baby Boomers: Here’s How Digital Health Tools Can Save You Money – And Save Your Life

Boomers have higher rates of chronic disease and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age, according to a 2013 JAMAInternal Medicine study. Obesity is significantly higher amongst Boomers (38.7% vs. 29.4%); rates of hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia also are higher. Boomers exercise less than the previous generation (35.0% vs. 49.9% exercise more than 12 times a month). Half of all Boomers report zero regular physical activity.Forecasters say the number of Boomers with multiple chronic diseases will quadruple by 2030.

Dr Seidenberg offers some hope, asking whether Baby Boomers may turn this around by becoming high-level adopters of digital health products, using these products to raising their awareness of their own health and physical fitness, and through this improving their health and fitness significantly. The most common digital products in this area are 

  • Activity tracking  eg Jawbone and FitBit

  • Food intake and weight loss recording eg MyFitnessPal

Do you use either of these?

She also mentions two great ideas, already operating in the US, but I am unaware of them in Australia. 

  • Telemedicine and remote monitoring – Visit your doctor online not in the surgery

  • Tools which enable you to compare the costs of different medical services so you can make an informed decision about which doctor, hospital or procedure suits you. 

Would you use these services if they were available to us in Australia?

Over 50s are generally digitally competent and are often early adopters of new technology.    Are you currently using a health and fitness app or product to motivate or inform your health and fitness efforts?  If so what difference has it made for you?

 

Healthy Feet v My Hobbit Feet

My Hobbit Feet don't meet the ideal requirements for healthy feet

I’ve always hated my feet.  One of my relatives (who only got away with it because his are similar) once described them as Hobbit Feet and that’s how I always think of them….short, sturdy, broad, with stubby toes (even a bit hairy if left unchecked). 

My flirtation with stilettos was painful and brief.  I’m very grateful that during my 20s, when such things seem to really matter, chunky wedged shoes were predominantly in fashion and at other times I was a backpacker with just a couple of pairs of shoes whose sole purpose was to cover my feet and keep the cold out. 

Those feet have carried me many wonderful places, but it seems they are getting a bit worn out.  Years ago I went to a podiatrist who told me I should be wearing orthotics.  I did….most of the time….and even got used to not being about to buy the pretty shoes that were on special, instead having to purchase shoes suitable for orthotics.  I love going barefoot, summer and winter, inside and outside whenever possible, so shoes have never been a big priority for me. Therefore the annual trip to the expensive shoe shops for people with difficult feet was a chore that I performed with little joy.  However I sort of forgot that you are supposed to get the orthotics checked once a year.  That just didn’t happen and the same old pairs of orthotics got transfered from one pair of shoes to another, depending on the season.  

I guess my feet decided it was time to complain, and complain they did….painfully! 

I need healthy feet to get fit

I wanted to start doing some regular long walks for exercise so went back to see the podiatrist and….Surprise! Surprise!….found I needed new orthotics.   Being relatively obedient I went along with the decision and spent a small fortune on what must surely have been gold-plated inlays for my shoes. 

It didn’t take too many days before I realized that my leg muscles were seizing up, becoming incredibly painful and necessitating a few visits to the physiotherapist.  It seems that my legs rather liked the old regime of well-worn orthotics when out and bare feet at home.  They reacted very severely, to the point that I could barely walk.  So much for the daily walks and healthy feet that I’d been seeking!

Wearing in my healthy feet

So now I’m “wearing in” the newly adapted orthotics…30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes, 75 minutes a day….Gosh in a week I’ll be able to wear my shoes for 2 whole hours.  That’s something to look forward to. 

If I wasn’t convinced that I need them, and if they hadn’t cost me a truckload of money, I’d have put the darn orthotics in the nearest garbage bin by now. 

When I see gorgeous young women in their stilettos there is a part of me that is quite jealous, and another part that wants to go and tell them to look after their healthy feet because they have to last you a long time. 

Taking Palpitations to Heart: The Arrhythmia of Life

Heart healthMy body may be telling me that I’m no spring chicken, but in my mind I’m still about 41.  Why 41 you may ask?  I’ve no idea except that it was a good age to be, a time when I felt fulfilled and content with family, friends and life in general. 

I sometimes wonder if it is because I was the baby of our family by many years, somewhat of a surprise in Vatican Roulette I suspect!   When you grow up with adult siblings you always think of yourself as “younger”….and so in my mind I haven’t progressed past 41.

So it comes as a shock when things start to go wrong.  I tend to ignore the obvious signs of ageing.  I don’t justify them, just quietly ignore them and hope they will go away.  After all, I’m “younger” aren’t I?

Obviously I do the same with my husband too, so when he asked me to take him to hospital recently with heart palpitations I secretly suspected he was over-reacting.   However the fact that he was not going to work that day told me that he was worried, as I only ever recall him taking one sick day in all the years we have been together. 

I was supportive that this condition needed to be checked out, but I think both of us were being particularly aware and cautious because a close friend had recently had a serious heart problem that was related to arrhythmia. 

I certainly expected that he’d be home by mid-morning, lunch time at the latest.  So it came as a surprise to me that the hospital took it all very seriously, that Emergency treated it as….well…an Emergency.   Then they said they would take him to the Coronary Care Unit and when we got there I realized just how seriously they were taking David’s condition.  Heart palpitations and arrhythmia are conditions that need to be monitored, that can be symptomatic of critical illness, conditions that can even precipitate strokes.  Woooooo!  Now the truth was hitting home.

I think it was at that point that I realized we are getting older!  We have hit the time of life when things often start to go wrong, and when seemingly small things can turn into big health issues.  That isn’t a pleasant thought, in fact it is downright frightening.

During his hospital stay of 5 days David had many tests and was put on new medication.  It should keep his heart beating regularly, with the proviso that he may need treatment in years to come.  So that problem has been dealt with for now.

But what lesson have we learnt from this?  It’s obviously time for an arrhythmia of our own habits and everyday life.  It's time we considered our heart health and made changes to improve our chances of longevity. We need to change our everyday rhythm of life with a complete health shakeup, a review of our diet and exercise, a recognition that we are no longer young and have to start taking our health seriously. 

My brain recognizes these as facts…..heart health is important….but I have made no changes to our everyday life.   Maybe by writing about it I might internalize the importance of this issue and start making changes to our everyday habits. 

Do you have any suggestions to make this change to a healthier lifestyle less painful?   

By Jenni Proctor

5 Ways for baby boomers to maintain their health

As you get older, it gets much easier for those minor aches and pains to build up and break you down. There’s no shame in it. We live decades longer today than we used to thanks to modern medical breakthroughs. But a longer life doesn’t always automatically mean a healthier one. The baby boom generation has been integral on the international stage for the past four decades. But now the majority of this great group are knocking on retirement’s door. It’s never too late to take the steps that will help guarantee a high quality of life well into your twilight. Here are five ways baby boomers can maintain their health.

First of all, make sure you are drinking enough water. It sounds incredibly simple, but most people don’t get enough of the old H2O each day. Human beings are 70% water. Clear fluids help lubricate your joints, refresh your blood supply, maintain skin elasticity and basically make everything run better. Do whatever is necessary to drink at least eight cups of fresh, filtered water every day. You’ll notice a huge difference in your vitality.

Another easy one that’s often ignored is getting the proper amount of sleep every night. You should strive for eight hours, though every person is different and you might require a little bit more or less. The deep, REM sleep we experience late in the night helps reduce anxiety and rejuvenate your mind for the next day’s activity. Without it you will be sluggish and far more likely to injure yourself. Stress is one of the largest contributing factors to a number of diseases, and getting enough sleep is an easy way to combat that negativity.

Regular exercise is also a crucial element to maintaining your health. And this has nothing to do with age, really. Exercise always keeps your body young, helps your organs maintain peak effectiveness and obviously reduces fat deposits. At least thirty minutes of exercise each day will cut down the chance you’ll face heart disease or a stroke, and will even help stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. You’ll also have more energy to chase around grandkids or enjoy the great outdoors on the weekends.

A proper, balanced diet goes hand in hand with that regular exercise. Your nutritional needs change as you age, so do the proper research to find out the peak eating strategy for you. You can’t ever go wrong if you focus on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed and chemically treated foods. Lean proteins are great, and cut out the sugar, salt and alcohol whenever you can. Obviously you have got to live your life, and you don’t want to lose all the fun stuff. But moderation will serve you well.

Finally, don’t forget about the support you can receive through regular doctor’s visits. This is hugely important as you age, so that any problems can be caught and addressed as soon as possible. Check to see if your insurance covers any sort of premier patient line, so you can pick and choose the best doctors for your needs. But in any case, take advantage of bi-yearly appointments at the very least, and heed the advice of those respected professionals.

 

Top health issues for baby boomers

For Baby Boomers each New Year is something to celebrate. Depending on what end of the generational spectrum you’re on, you may be one year closer to retirement, or another year removed from the hustle and bustle of working life. You’ve got another year with your life partner ahead, and your kids and grandkids have grown up just a little bit more. It’s always a great time to review the blessings life has bestowed, while also committing to some lifestyle changes. No matter how successful, happy and healthy you are, there’s always room for improvement. And let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger! Now is the time to make your health a priority, even if you never have before. So consider taking on any of these top five New Year’s health resolutions for baby boomers, and you’ll be shocked at who you’ve become when another New Year rolls around. The first resolution on this list is important regardless of the age bracket, but is probably more important for baby boomers than anyone else. And that’s making sure you pay attention to preventative health measures. You should be seeing the doctor twice a year, but there are also some specialists you must pepper in there as you get older. It’s never fun, but a bit of discomfort due to some awkward office visits could actually save your life some day. Major diseases have been cured simply because the sufferer uncovered them early enough to make a difference. So do yourself a kindness and see the doctor as often as necessary this year. If you’ve made it to this point in life and you’re still smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes you may think you’re charmed. But the fact remains every day you are at risk for serious health problems. Those gory commercials you see on TV paint the whole picture, so we don’t need to go into detail here. But you know there’s simply no good reason to keep smoking. Make 2013 the year you resolve to give up nicotine and actually do it. It’s never too late, no matter how old you are. And every day you go without smoking from now on is a healthier and happier day ahead. As we age the food choices we make become more and more important. Perhaps you don’t want to live a life that doesn’t include your favorite cheeseburger joint, and you don’t have to. But resolve to make healthier food choices overall in 2013. Heart disease impacts men and women, and what we eat has as much to do with the issue as our genetic disposition. Lean heavily on vegetables and unprocessed foods, and keep sweets and red meat to a bare minimum. Treat yourself from time to time, but a year spent with healthier eating habits will help you stick around long enough to enjoy your retirement. Food alone won’t do the trick if you don’t pair it with regular exercise. And it’s never too late to get started. There are plenty of studies about the benefits of regular exercise on aging. If you get at least thirty minutes of mild to moderate exercise each day, you greatly reduce your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack. But best of all you’ll remain mentally sharp and physically balanced for long years ahead. You’ve worked hard and gathered a ton of amazing memories during the course of your lifetime. So keep them with you by exercising. Finally, resolve to stay healthy mentally, both in the use of your mind and in your attitude. Physical exercise is one thing, but the mind is a muscle that needs to be worked out as well. So consider turning off the television in favor of a quality book some nights. Pick up that crossword puzzle again, or download apps filled with brain teasers. Make a point of seeing friends and family for some lively conversation. Learn new things, challenge yourself, and create a life that surprises people, not one that is predictable and boring. It’s up to you to keep things interesting. Experiences that push you outside of your comfort zone and time with loved ones will boost your health and wellbeing for many years to come.  

5 ways to keep your house warmer in the winter – and make sure you’re covered with home insurance

With the wind, rain and cold really kicking in for the winter, now is the time to prepare your home for anything the elements throw at you. And that also means making sure your home is covered with home insurance – in addition to making sure you’ve winter proofed your house.

 So these five top tips should help keep your home cosy – and maybe even save you some money too. But since you can never be too safe, why not check out some home insurance online quotes?

 

1. Spot those draughts

Most of the heat in our homes escapes through cracks – rather than poorly insulated walls. So you could get a builder to do an air-tightness test to spot the worst areas. Or you could also use some of these cheap and effective ways to cosy up your home… Like carpeting floors, hanging thick curtains, installing wooden shutters – or getting double glazing.

 

2. Check your pipes

Sometimes you can get cracked pipes that leak into your home. But it’s not always easy to spot them. So use a mirror to spot flaws at the back of pipes. And if you haven’t already lagged your pipes, now’s a good time to do so – before the temperatures really drop.

 

3. Protect woodwork with paint

It’s easy for wood to get damaged and create draughts if it rots. So wash down the window paintwork every year – this will help prolong the finish. It will also be a good opportunity to check the frames for decay. If you do find any exposed wood, make sure you paint it as bare wood can quickly rot if it’s left exposed.

 

4. Check your roof

Looking out for damaged or slipped roof tiles is another important job that can help keep your home cosy – and possibly prevent any further damage. Because even a small gap can let in enough water to cause damage. This is why it’s always good to check your home and contents insurance policy to make sure it gives you enough cover for your home and things.

 

5. Insulate, insulate, insulate

Since insulation cuts down the amount of heat going out of your home, it’s crucial that you check yours to make sure it’s up to scratch. You should have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic.

 And, since warm air rises, you can also insulate the attic hatch or door to stop it from escaping out the top of your house.

 But no matter how many measures you take, the unexpected could always happen. So it’s worth making sure your home insurance covers you, just in case the winter weather does actually cause some damage. You can then rest easy, knowing you’re prepared for the months ahead.

Healthy Aging – Fit or Healthy? There Is A Difference!

The older I get the more I realise how important it is to be fit and healthy. Building a foundation of fitness and health is vital for anyone planning to live a long and active life.  But is there a difference between being fit and healthy? The answer is yes!  Being fit doesn’t mean you are healthy and conversely being healthy has little to do with being fit.
We use various terms to describe health. A person has vibrant health or radiant health. One can be healthy as a horse or the opposite: poor health and failing health. But what is health and how can I tell if I am healthy? Below are some ways to gauge your health.
  1. Free from debilitating diseases.
  2. Vital signs like blood pressure, cholesterol levels, heart rate are normal.
  3. Your weight is within the acceptable range for your height.
  4. At your last physical exam the doctor gave you a clean bill of health.
Now let us look at fitness. Of course there are different levels of fitness. There is the Lance Armstrong level and then there is the fitness level of a jogger you runs 5k races. But basically fitness is the measure of being able to perform a task efficiently. Fitness is achieved through physical activity. For example if I want to win a 5k race I have to run on a regular basis, gradually increasing my pace and lowering my time. A person can be fit and unhealthy. How many times have we heard or seen in the news of a seemingly healthy athlete collapse and die because of an undetected aliment. Even Lance Armstrong when he was at his peak of physical fitness developed Testicular cancer. Fortunately for Lance he beat the big ‘C’ in no small measure because of his level of fitness. By the same token a healthy person’s fitness level maybe at the low end of the scale because he or she doesn’t exercise. In my own case I maintain a level of fitness that most sixty-five year old would envy. I’m no Armstrong, but I am able to perform physical most tasks at levels that would leave a “normal” thirty year old breathless. Despite being fit, I do have some health issues. I have to take statins for my high cholesterol and my blood pressure is slightly elevated. Both problems run in my family so I guess I will blame genetics. As important as being fit is and as much as I like the feeling that comes with being fit and healthy if I was to chose one or the other I would chose health over fitness. Thanks to modern medicine many health problems can be effectively treated, but of course you can’t pick your parents, so genetically you have to live with the cards you are dealt. However if you are out of shape there’s definitely something you can do. Being fit can keep help you stay healthy by building a foundation that will fight off many common aliments such as colds, flu etc. Most people who are fit live a lifestyle that even if they suffer a major health issue such as cancer have a better chance of survive.
The Pain Stops Here! You deserve relief from your aching back and to live pain free. There are alternatives to suffering and surgery. As someone who has suffered with debilitating back pain, I believe you owe it to yourself to know all the facts.
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Use Walking to Stay in Shape

When most of us think about exercise, we think about going to the gym and sweating behind some piece of equipment were many people sweated before us. But if you are terrified of germs maybe walking to stay in shape is a better option for you.   

 

Walking is perhaps the best and easiest exercise you can apply in your daily routine. The main reason is because you can find time to do it every day. 
  
Experts say that walking 20-30 minutes a day can take you a long way. This will reduce your risk of coronary disease for example, and will keep blood circulation at best.  
  
Other benefits include the strengths of your legs muscles and arms. Most of the people feel a boost on their daily energy levels and will sleep better at night. 
  
It does not matter if you like to walk early in the morning or late in the evening. Remember the importance of walking to keep you in shape is the constancy. Do it at least twice a week and see how your body starts feeling the benefits. 
  
Even if you think you are too busy and have no time, I encourage you to find ways to do it. Maybe you own a dog? Take him/her for a walk and will benefit both of you or when you go to the supermarket, movies or dinner just park away from the building and walk a little more. Avoid elevators etc… 
  
If you are looking in into losing weight, walking will do wonders for you. Walking those 20-30 minutes a day will easily replace a meal. 
  
If you reduce the calorie intake you will lose the weight even faster. Drink at least eight cups of water per day and if you can eat 5 or 6 times a day instead of 3 times (breakfast, lunch and dinner) also will help you. 
  
Eating more times a day will keep your body metabolism high and will burn more calories through the day. Use this little tips and get fit… I KNOW YOU CAN. 
  
There are really no reasons or excuses! You can do many things to use walking to get fit, lose weight or just use walking to stay in shape. 
  
It comes down to you and your willingness to get better physically and mentally. I guarantee you once you start incorporating a walking routine in your life and you feel the benefits, nobody will be able to stop you in journey of discovering the better you.

 

Often times we are too lazy and look for any excuse not to exercise. First decide, commit and use walking to stay in shape as a jump start to move towards your goal which is getting in shape. Now if you are looking for fast results and want to burn fat in record time just go to www.myfatburningsecret.info and say good bye to the fat.

Naturally Lower Your Cholesterol Through the Food You Eat

Cholesterol  is measured in three ways, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Cholesterol is determined by a couple of different factors genetics, diet and exercise. One’s diet is the easiest factor to control. However, peoples eating habits have declined over the years and diets are filled with highly processed, high fat, and high sugar foods. This raises the bodies LDL bad cholesterol and lowers the HDL good cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol levels are bad because it raises blood pressure, increases plaque build up in arteries and increases the risk for heart disease and heart attack. Lowering your bad cholesterol should be a major concern and by eating these foods you can start reducing your LDL levels today. Remember to eat a variety of these foods on a daily basis to get the maximum cholesterol lowering effects.

 

1. Oats/Oatmeal- Oats are part of the whole grain group of food and should be consumed on a daily basis. Oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber. It is recommended to consume 20-35 grams of fiber a day, with 5-10 grams being soluble fiber. Due to the switch to highly processed flour and refined grains, which are cheaper and easier to produce, Americans are taking in less fiber and our cholesterols are rising because of it. Soluble fiber is important in lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) also known as bad cholesterol. Soluble fiber works by reducing both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. So eat a bowl of oatmeal or cold oat based cereal to boost your fiber intake and lower your cholesterol. Also include oat bran, barley and other whole grains n your diet to reduce your risk for heart disease.

2. Beans- Beans are another source of valuable soluble fiber. Therefore eating 1/2 cup of beans a day can reduce your cholesterol. Additionally beans fill you up and take a long time to be digested by the body. This is why beans are a perfect food to lower cholesterol. Plus there are so many different choices of beans such as navy, kidney, pinto, lentils, garbanzos, black eye peas, etc.

3. Nuts- Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, and some pine nuts are great for lowering LDL cholesterol and raising good HDL cholesterol. Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats, which keep the blood vessel to the heart healthy. These fats make LDL cholesterol unable to oxidize therefore reducing the plaque build up in arteries, which can cut off blood flow to the heart. By reducing plaque build up you reduce your risk for heart disease. Nuts are high in calories so limit your intake to about a handful or 1.5 ounces a day and avoid salted or sugar coated nuts.

4. Olive oil- Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats, which lower LDL cholesterol. Olive oil is also rich in phenolics, a plant substance that makes blood less likely to clot. Because olive oil is high in calories, limit your intake to 2 tablespoons a day. To reap all the heart health benefits of olive oil use it in place of butter, lard, or shortening. To get even better cholesterol lowering effect use extra virgin olive oil because the oil is less processed and contains more antioxidants. Other vegetable oils such as canola, sunflower and safflower oil also provide cholesterol-lowering benefits to the body.

5. Fish-Fish, especially fatty fish are a heart healthy addition to ones diet. Fatty fish have high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, which reduce blood pressure, and development of blood clots. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream, which lowers LDL cholesterol and keeps blood vessels clear and healthy. Fish should be consumed at least 2 times a week. Examples of fatty fishes include salmon, halibut, mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, and albacore tuna. The best way to consume fish is by baking or grilling it. Omega 3’s and fish oils are available in supplementation, however fresh fish have additional nutrients such as selenium that you will miss out on when taking the pills.

6. Fruit- Fruit is a great food for a healthy body. In addition to their vitamins they are low in calories and should consume 4-6 servings of a day. Fruits such as apples, grapes, strawberries, and citrus fruits are rich in pectin a soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol. Blueberries have been called a super food because of its nutritional benefits to the body. Blueberries lower LDL cholesterol in the blood, which reduces plaque build up in the arteries. Blueberries help support liver function by removing cholesterol from the system more quickly. Avocadoes are also a heart healthy fruit, full of monounsaturated fats. Avocadoes lower LDL cholesterol and remove triglycerides from the blood stream. Avocadoes are high in calories so limit your intake to a few slices per serving.

7. Vegetables- Vegetables are very healthy for the body as a whole. They are full of vitamins and minerals are very low in calories and you should consume 6-8 servings of vegetables a day. Tomatoes are full of lycopene, which inhibit LDL production. Lycopene lowers LDL cholesterol and breaks down artery clogging plaque. Asparagus, beets, okra, carrots, eggplant, green beans, and cauliflower also help to lower cholesterol. When these vegetables are served steamed it improves their cholesterol fighting abilities. Steaming these vegetables helps to bind bile acids, therefore the liver requires more LDL cholesterol to make bile, further lowering LDL cholesterol.

 

Graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me. Check out my health website! http://www.universalhealthinfo.com/Lower_Your_Cholesterol.html

  • Lower cholesterol without pills? It’s possible (msnbc.msn.com)