*Jan - Feb 2013 E-zine*

This Month's Highlights:
· Be Well Informed for 2013
· Be Happy, Not "SAD"
· Kinship Care

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A1. Be Well Informed for 2013
by Laurie Golden

Those of us who read Seniorresource like to be well informed! We want to know how to stay mentally alert and physically healthy, both for our own well being, and for those we care about and who care about us. But what should we believe? What should we be doing?

As we launch the adventure of this NEW YEAR of 2013, it's a great time to review some concepts we have heard about and may have tried. It is also important to consider new areas that are only now becoming available. Reviewing what we know is good for us, and those we care about:

  1. How and why exercise our bodies? - Pros & Cons
  2. How and why eat "right?" - Pros & Cons
  3. How and why exercise our brains? - Pros & Cons

How and why exercise our bodies?
We have worked hard in our lives, in school, on the job, and/or in our homes and raising a family. Shouldn't we be able to take it easy, real easy, really? Haven’t we earned that now that we are in our senior years? Of course, that is an option... but probably not the best choice.

Keeping our bodies moving is critical to maintaining good healthy organs, as well as helping us stay attractive. It can impact our health and our mood. Lack of exercise not only makes us less flexible (i.e., making it harder to get up off the couch or play on the floor with grandkids) and sluggish, but may be a sign we will be have discomfort and will possibly require more medications, tests and doctor visits, maybe even surgery. Ugh.

While we may not want to be disciplined now that we can relax more than when employed full-time, it does take prioritizing to work some exercise into our schedules.

Why not put it on your calendar, say three times per week, for at least 30 minutes each time.

Having a walking partner can "kill two birds with one stone." It can become a steady source of companionship.

Our bones may become more fragile as the years roll by, but walking and working out with weights can contribute to stronger bones, including more erect posture! We often see examples of osteoporosis all around us, which can also be painful.

How and why eat right?
Do you remember what you ate for breakfast? Selecting the right foods is the first step to keeping our memory "fit." We have known for a while that a Mediterranean-type eating plan is best for our bodies. Such foods include fresh colorful veggies, fruit, nuts, whole grains, and fish, such as salmon and trout (for its omega-3). This may seem obvious in its simplicity. It is easy to remember. It helps our brain work better. Sugar and red meat may taste good, but just aren’t healthy for our gray matter.

What about vitamins and minerals? In our age group, it is suggested that a multiple vitamin with minerals be taken daily. The importance of Vitamin D has been in the news a lot. If you have not had a Vitamin D lab test, why not ask your M.D. for one? The amount of Vitamin D you are getting may need to be supplemented. Lack of Vitamin D may cause many ailments.

How and why exercise our brains?
I don't know about you, but one of the areas that scares me the most about aging would be that my brain might malfunction while my body is still relatively strong. A lot of the joy I have results from using my brain in the old-school three R's of reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.

I enjoy helping grandkids with homework, being in book club with colleagues, and making regular visits to libraries. I often select biographies, because I am curious about how others live. Mostly, I like discussing ideas with all age groups and writing articles and poetry. What do you enjoy that keeps your synapses firing?

You have probably read about a study done on a group of nuns in the Midwest who have maintained superior mental functioning. How do they do it? Crossword puzzles or any kind of problem solving helps to keep our mental vigor. Volunteering in almost any capacity requires creativity, which often promotes wellbeing.

New to me... how about you? A miscellany.
Have you heard about two supplements called PS and Huperzine-A, and the memory exercise called Kirtan Kriya? It is interesting to know that there are also biologic benefits as we age. Some stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine, decline after age 50. Allergies and colds may also decrease.

Regarding supplements, phosphatidylserine (sometimes called PS) may have a brain age-renewal component, and has been reported that it relieves post-exercise stress. If you or someone you know has diminished memory, ask your M.D. about huperzine A, said to raise our most important brain chemical, acetylcholine.

An offshoot of yoga, which I am eager to experiment with, Kirtan Kriya can be done in less than a quarter of an hour. According to Dharma S. Khalsa, M.D., (whose work has been a resource for this article) board-certified in anti-aging medicine among other specialties, Kirtan Kriya can help prevent Alzheimer's disease. For more information on his work, the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation and Kirtan Kriya, try

To improve quality of life and maybe longevity, look into Dan Buettner, in association with a National Geographic team, studied those areas where people had the highest life expectancy. They discovered five areas and named them blue zones. Specialists learned what these groups had in common:

  1. They keep moving in their homes and gardens.
  2. They have a sense of purpose.
  3. They have a routine to lessen stress: some nap daily, pray, recall ancestors, or have a happy hour.
  4. They eat their smallest meal in late afternoon/early evening and then refrain.
  5. Those who reach the age of 100 base their diet on plants, mostly beans. Some stop eating when they are 4/5ths full.
  6. In four of the five blue zones, most drink wine (one glass for a woman, two glasses for a man, max) with friends or with food.
  7. Over 250 of those 100 years old are in a faith-based community. Studies show participating in four religious services per month extends longevity.
  8. Most of those 100 years old put their families first. Aging parents and grandfolks are kept nearby or in their family's home. Youngsters are healthier, too. They invest in their children with time and love.
  9. Social circles that support health: one blue zone has groups of five friends that commit to each other for life. Happiness, as well as loneliness, is contagious.

About the Author: Laurie Golden grew up in the Garden State, where she savored fresh fruits and veggies grown in her dad's garden. Her mom did her part by washing and freezing bushel baskets of produce that wasn't immediately enjoyed by family or friends and neighbors. Golden earned a B.S. and a Juris Doctor, and has always had a passion for health. She reads voraciously and shares information. A regret is that she did not pursue a career in medicine. Her first book is called "Shelf-life of a Valentine."

Find more aging process information at:

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A2. Be Happy, Not "SAD"
by JK Wyndmoor, PA

If you watched the Howdy Doody Show when you were a kid, you may remember Princess Summer Fall Winter Spring. Most of the Doodyville characters were pretty upbeat, especially the irrepressible Buffalo Bob. But what if the charming and pretty princess had been called Princess Fall Winter? Without summer and spring, she might have felt blue, anxious, depressed, fatigued and a whole range of other undesirable feelings that make up "winter blues" and/or the more severe seasonal affective disorder (SAD--a type of depression that is tied to seasons of the year.

Right now, the blues and SAD folks may feel like crawling under the covers and not coming out until April, because for many of us it's the dead of winter, when it's cold outside and the sun too often takes cover, avoiding the afflicted when they need it most. Although SAD victims were at one time often dismissed as hypochondriacs, SAD is now recognized as a disorder in DSM--IV (as recurrent depressive disorder with seasonal pattern). Nor is it apparently a new disorder. Even Hippocrates and Aristotle refer to a seasonal condition in their writings, and the ancient Greek physician Aretaeus advised in the second century that "lethargics are to be laid in the light, and exposed to the rays of the sun (for the disease is gloom)."

According to the Cleveland Clinic, SAD " a depression that occurs each year at the same time, usually starting in fall or winter and ending in spring or early summer. It is more than just 'the winter blues' or 'cabin fever.'" And even the Doodyville princess could be affected since--surprise!--"a rare form of SAD known as 'summer depression' begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall." According to some health experts, "SAD is most common in young adult women, although it can affect men or women of any age." It's also not uncommon. SAD may affect as many as six of every 100 people in North America, mostly in the North, rather than the South. Another 10%-20% of people may have a milder form of seasonal mood change.

How common is SAD?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, "between 4 and 6 percent of the U.S. population suffers from SAD, while 10 to 20 percent may suffer from a more mild form of winter blues." Not only that, but our princess is a more likely SAD victim since, "Three-quarters of the sufferers are women, most of whom are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Though SAD is most common during these ages, it can also occur in children and adolescents. Older adults are less likely to experience SAD. This illness is more commonly seen in people who live at high latitudes (geographic locations farther north or south of the equator), where seasonal changes are more extreme. It is estimated that 1 percent of Florida residents, 4 percent of Washington, D.C. residents, and nearly 10 percent of Alaska residents suffer from SAD."

Health experts don't know the exact causes of SAD, but these are some of the likely causes:

  • Chemical changes in the brain caused by changes in the amount of sunlight are probably involved. Risk factors for SAD include living in geographical locations that are dark or cloudy during the winter.
  • A tendency to have SAD may run in some families.
  • Given how often alcohol abuse and dependence occur in individuals with SAD, there is thought to be a possible genetic link between having either illness.
  • Low levels of vitamin D seem to be a risk factor for developing a number of mood disorders, including SAD.

But you don't have to suffer for half the year. According to the Mayo Clinic, help is available for SAD victims:

Home remedies-

  • Make your environment sunnier and brighter. Open blinds, trim tree branches that block sunlight, or add skylights to your home. Sit closer to bright windows while at home or in the office.
  • Get outside. Take a long walk, eat lunch at a nearby park, or simply sit on a bench and soak up the sun. Even on cold or cloudy days, outdoor light can help--especially if you spend some time outside within two hours of getting up in the morning.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical exercise helps relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can increase seasonal affective disorder symptoms. Being more fit can make you feel better about yourself, too, which can lift your mood.

Light-therapy-- Light therapy is one of the first-line treatments for seasonal affective disorder. In light therapy, also called phototherapy, you sit a few feet from a specialized light-therapy box so that you're exposed to bright light. Light-therapy mimics outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood.

Medications--Some people with seasonal affective disorder benefit from antidepressant treatment, especially if symptoms are severe. Antidepressants commonly used to treat seasonal affective disorder include paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), and venlafaxine (Effexor).

Psychotherapy--Although seasonal affective disorder is thought to be related to brain chemistry, your mood and behavior also can add to symptoms. Psychotherapy can help you identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be making you feel worse. You can also learn healthy ways to cope with seasonal affective disorder and manage stress.

If you want to learn more about SAD, British psychiatrist John Eagles says that "The outstanding book for SAD sufferers and non-clinicians is Winter Blues, by Norman Rosenthal, the latest edition of which was published in 1998. Rosenthal is often regarded as something of a father figure among SAD researchers and clinicians and Winter Blues contains a wealth of insight and experience."

These helpful websites can provide you with more detailed information about both winter blues and SAD:


Learn more about eating healthfully.

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1. Home Repair Injuries
As the New Year starts, many people begin the task of making repairs around the house. Safety is no accident when making repairs and improvements in the home. In many cases the net result is a ladder-related injury. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that over 150,000 people are injured in this manner each year. The CPSC offers the following safety precautions to help prevent these injuries.

  • Make sure the weight your ladder is supporting does not exceed its maximum load rating (user plus materials). There should only be one person on the ladder at one time.
  • Use a ladder that is the proper length for the job. Proper length is a minimum of 3 feet extending over the roofline or working surface. The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on.
  • traight, single or extension ladders should be set up at about a 75-degree angle.
  • All metal ladders should have slip-resistant feet.
  • Metal ladders will conduct electricity. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder in the vicinity of power lines or electrical equipment. Do not let a ladder made from any material contact live electric wires.
  • Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.
  • The ground under the ladder should be level and firm. Large, flat wooden boards braced under the ladder can level a ladder on uneven or soft ground. A good practice is to have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder.
  • Do not place a ladder in front of a door that is not locked, blocked, or guarded.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.
  • Do not use a ladder for any purpose other than that for which it was intended.
  • Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf, or attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
  • Never leave a raised ladder unattended.
  • Follow use instruction labels on ladders.

Additional home safety information for seniors can be found at:

2. Kinship Care
At times, seniors are pressed into long-term service as caregivers for their grandchildren. This service is referred to as "kinship care."

As such, kinship care refers to the care of children with relatives or, in some jurisdictions, close family friends (often referred to as fictive kin). Relatives are the preferred resource for children who must be removed from their birth parents because it maintains the children's connections with their families. Kinship care is often considered a type of family-preservation service.

Kinship care may be formal and involve a training and licensure process for the caregivers, monthly payments to help defray the costs of caring for the child, and support services. Kinship care also may be informal and involve only an assessment process to ensure the safety and suitability of the home along with supportive services for the child and caregivers. Approximately one-fourth of the children in out-of-home care are living with relatives.

Learn more at

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We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.

Burt Reynolds - "You can only hold your stomach in for so many years."

Mark Spitz - "If you fail to prepare, you're prepared to fail."

Robert Wagner - "I got up to the plate and swung at a lot of those and never hit it. But I got up there."

Roberta Flack - "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering."

Tina Louise - "It's a surer way to a woman's heart to be interested in what she's thinking than what she's wearing or not wearing."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Are You Immunized?
You never outgrow your need for vaccines. The specific immunizations you need as an adult are determined by factors such as your age, lifestyle, high-risk conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous immunizations.

Each year, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews the recommended adult (anyone over 18 years old) immunization schedule to ensure that the schedule reflects current recommendations for the licensed vaccines. The resultant recommended adult immunization schedule has been approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

Those over 60 years of age should consider obtaining the following vaccines after consultation with a physician.

Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Td/Tdap)
Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)
Pneumococcal (polysaccharide)
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B

See the CDC “Recommended Immunizations for Adults” chart and related cautions at:

Learn about Health related items here:

2. American Legion History
View the rich history of the nation's largest and most prestigious veterans' organization. The 91-year history of The American Legion is presented in "History of The American Legion: A National Legacy." From its founding in Paris in 1919 to its support and advocacy for the military during the global war on, hear from the men and women of The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of The American Legion. The full-length documentary is narrated by actor Neal McDonough ("Band of Brothers"). Proceeds will benefit The American Legion's Emergency Fund, the Child Welfare Foundation, and the Legacy Scholarship Fund. Get your copy here:

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1. Smart Minds Go Pondering

  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  • Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, "You stay here, I'll go on a head."
  • I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  • A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab center read, "Keep off the Grass."
  • A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to a hospital. When his grandmother telephoned to ask how he was, a nurse said, "No change yet."

2. Hi-Tech Homework

One of the third-graders came to school crying.
The teacher asked him why he was upset.
He said, "Because I couldn't complete my math homework."
"Why's that?" the teacher asked.
"Our computer doesn't have Roman numerals," he replied.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:


This issue has been edited by Betsy Day ([email protected]).

Copyright 2013, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products, service and companies named herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders and are solely responsible for the content of their articles. Articles are included for informational purposes and are not an endorsement.

This Copyright E-zine may be forwarded to others only if sent in its entirety. Other uses are subject to written permission of the publisher.

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