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A1. Exercise = Self-Improvement
Want to improve your independence and self-assurance? Exercise is the way to go. It doesn't matter at what age you begin, or how inactive you have been. An exercise program will:
The toughest part of an exercise program is sticking with it. Once you decide to begin an exercise program, getting started tends to be the easy part.
Here are some tips for staying with a program for the long haul:
A key to a successful exercise program is in selecting the right exercises. Each individual needs to tailor a program that matches his or her preferences. There are several parameters to consider, including how your program fits your regular schedule, whether to exercise in a group vs. working alone, whether you want to be indoors or outdoors, if you want to be in a classroom or work free-form, your transportation needs, and most importantly, your doctor's advice.
To make sure your program will be safe and fruitful, be sure to CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR before starting. Also, avoid exercising on a full stomach, during an illness, or during extreme temperatures (either cold or hot).
A well-structured exercise program should include three elements:
Learn more about walking exercise at: http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm#walk
A2. Health Care--Facebook vs. Face Time
Let's face it, the internet has forever changed the way we communicate and learn. This is especially obvious in the way we take care of ourselves and track our health. As more and more Americans, especially older people, become internet-savvy, (more than 80% of us now use the internet) the more we use it as a prime source for information, including health and wellness. We track workouts, what we eat, our blood pressures and glucose levels, as just another routine. And while we continue to turn to professionals, friends and family for support and advice when we have a health problem, people's networks are expanding to include online peers, particularly in the instance of rare diseases.
Social networks such as YouTube and Facebook have been extremely valuable in helping patients sort through the overwhelming amount of information that may be imparted in a medical appointment. Think of it: As an example, your doctor says, "You've got diabetes. It's Type 2, here's what you need to do about it." What you hear is "diabetes, Type blah, blah, blah, diet, drugs, blah, blah, make an appointment to see the dietitian, goodbye." Bewildered, overwhelmed, you head home, and if you're thinking at least halfway straight, you do what millions of other people in your situation have done--you hit the computer.
In a national survey of 3000 persons conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project and the National Organization for Rare Disorders, in 2012, the most striking finding is the extent of peer-to-peer help among people living with chronic conditions. One in four internet users living wiith high blood pressure, diabetes, heart or lung conditions, cancer, or some other chronic ailment say they have gone online to find others with similar health conditions. Fifteen percent of internet users who report no chronic conditions have looked for such help online.
Often, help comes from social networks. But where do you start? Start searching "diabetes type 2," and you get more than 40 pages of links, some of them obvious frauds ("Control Your Diabetes With Herbs and Grass!"), some of them irrelevant ("How to Inject Yourself With Insulin"), and, obviously, as they say in social-network land, TMI (too much information).
Many people go straight to Facebook or YouTube. It's easy to get comfy with these mega-sites: YouTube has lots and lots of videos, some professionally produced, some not. Some are charmingly (or not so charmingly) naive. The point is, using social networks, it's easy to get lots of information in small, palatable bits, when you want them and are able to digest them comfortably. I happen to like the way YouTube presents its information; just keep in mind that ANYONE can produce and post a video there. Facebook has lots of forums where you can ask questions and get answers, some of which will probably prove useful, some not. It's like asking your next door neighbors for their opinions--your neighbor to the right may have a completely opinion than your neighbor to your right.
One problem many of these at-home researchers hit is "paywalls"--a site may give some initial information but then demands payment before you can continue. Many people stop right there and try to continue their search elsewhere. "There's been a lot of discussion about the impact of having scientific journals and others' articles behind a subscription wall," said Susannah Fox, Associate Director at Pew. "Nobody knows. One in four who look say they were asked to pay for access to something they wanted to see. Some tried to get around the paywall and find the information elsewhere. Another segment gave up. You wonder what the lost opportunity is there." Often, the same information is available, though perhaps in digest form, on other sites. (This is not an article on HOW to search, though it's tempting, so the assumption is that you have at least basic knowledge on how to use the Wikis and other search engines.)
Do medical professionals object to online self-research? Medical professionals' fears to the contrary, asked about the last time they had a health issue, 71% of adults in the U.S. say they received information, care, or support from a health professional. Fifty-five percent of adults say they turned to friends and family. Twenty-one percent of adults say they turned to others who have the same health condition. The often-expressed fear that patients are using the internet to self-diagnose and self-medicate without reference to medical professionals seems without basis.
According to an online interview in the Deseret News by Hannah Blake, on November 21, 2012, Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, a prominent children's gastroenterologist at Baylor College of Medicine says, "The internet provides information 24 hours a day versus the physician's eleven minutes with them in an exam room. Patients frequently use the internet to access information, and it potentially helps them understand what is going on. But all of the basic dialog is happening in real life. The connection between provider and patient [...] remains the final step. [...] I see them developing a relationship with information; they use the internet to accent what they understand is going on with them. But they also have a relationship with me."
The downside: "As health care providers, we sometimes dread the stereotypical hypochondriac patient who comes in with ten unlikely diagnoses they've found" said Dr. Roni Zeiger, CEO of smartpatients.com, who is also former chief health strategist at Google. "We need to move beyond that stereotype. It does happen, as do many more patients who have thoughtful questions and ideas about what they've learned and considered. Instead of hoping to avoid this issue, I think doctors should ask their patients what they've learned online and also share with patients online resources they find most reliable."
Mobile health, too, has found its market: smartphone owners. Fully 85% of U.S. adults own a cell phone. Of those, more than half own smartphones. One in three cell phone owners have used their phone to look for health information. In a comparable, national survey conducted two years ago, only 17% of cell phone owners had used their phones to look for health advice.
Smartphone owners lead this activity: half of them gather health information on their phones, compared with almost none of non-smartphone owners. Cell phone owners who are Latino, African American, between the ages of 18-49, or hold a college degree are also more likely to gather health information this way.
Health status also plays a role. People caring for a loved one, those who recently faced a medical crisis, and those who experienced a recent, significant change in their physical health are more likely than other cell phone owners to use their phones to look for health information, but few receive text alerts about health or medical issues.
A whopping 80% of cell phone owners say they send and receive text messages, but just 9% of cell phone owners say they receive any text updates or alerts about health or medical issues.
Women, those between the ages of 30 and 64, and smartphone owners are more likely than other cell phone owners to have signed up for health text alerts. One-fifth of smartphone owners have a health app.
Smartphones enable the use of mobile software applications to help people track or manage their health. One-fifth of smartphone owners have at least one health app on their phone. Exercise, diet, and weight apps are the most popular types.
One in three cell phone owners have used their phone to look for health information. In a comparable, national survey conducted two years ago, 17% of cell phone owners had used their phones to look for health advice.
Some popular apps for iPhones (and some smartphones) are WebMD Mobile, Epocrates Rx, EmergenKey, Health Cloud, itriage, and ReachMD CME. Microsoft's HealthVault is the new app that replaces Google Health.
What's the takeaway? Computers and phones are both over- and under-utilized for health information and monitoring. The start of a new year is a good time to add your paper health documents, including lists of drugs you take, to your phone or to a dedicated document on your computer. And try using "alternative" sources such as the social networks for medical information.
Learn more about eating healthfully. http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm#nutrition
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Keeping Your Grandkids Safe
The coin-sized batteries children swallow come from many devices, most often mini remote controls. Other places you may find them are singing greeting cards, watches, bathroom scales, and flameless candles.
It takes as little as two hours to cause severe burns once a coin-sized button battery has been swallowed. The batteries can become lodged in the throat, burning the esophagus.
In order to help keep the grandkids battery safe:
If a child swallows a battery, caregivers should follow these steps:
Learn more at http://www.safekids.org
Experts believe the recent increase in bed bugs in the United States may be due to more travel, lack of knowledge about preventing infestations, increased resistance of bed bugs to pesticides, and ineffective pest control practices.
The good news is that there are ways to control bed bugs While there is no chemical quick fix, there are effective strategies to control bed bugs, involving both non-chemical and chemical methods.
Here are a few tips to at least minimize bed bugs:
Learn more at http://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
Rod Steiger - "We come. We go. And in between we try to understand."
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
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D. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. All About Gold
Generally speaking, in today's world, half of all gold demand is comprised of jewelry sales. About ten percent of gold is used in technology, where it is used in devices ranging from computers, cell phones, space shuttles, and defense technology. Forty percent of gold is used as an investment--and this percentage is growing significantly.
History has shown gold to have several properties as an investment. Gold helps diversify a portfolio, and also acts as a hedge against inflation, currency devaluation, and volatility.
**Learn more about gold here:
However, if are you short on cash? Need to pay the bills quickly? Just want to make some good money? Now is the time to sell your unwanted gold. Visit our sponsor, Cash for Gold USA, here: http://cashforgoldusa.com/?cid=416
2. Finding Low Gasoline Prices
It wouldn't be productive to compare prices by driving around town, so here are some online site tools and ideas to help you find the cheapest gas in your area.
GasBuddy.com: Prices are provided by drivers in the local area, along with the time/date they saw the price.
Automotive.com Gas Price Tool: To use the tool just type in your zip code and it will come back with the local gas prices in your area.
MSN Autos Gas Prices: Just type in your zip code (all stations, such as Costco, may not be included).
Here are some additional actions to save on gas.
**Check your local gas price on our site here
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E. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. Things We Eventually Learn
2. Bragging Is Not for Wimps
"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at: http://www.seniorresource.com/jokes.htm
SPONSOR AN ISSUE
This issue has been edited by Betsy Day (Betsyjday@aol.com).
Aging in Place