*** July-August 2011 ***

This Month's Highlights:
· Your Aging Vision
· Stay Safe In The Sun
· Time to Get a Move on

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A1.SEE IT NOW--Your Aging Vision

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Many senior citizens develop difficulties with their vision, frequently caused by natural changes that occur with age. To detect and resolve any problems, everyone, and especially seniors, should have a comprehensive annual eye exam. If you are not doing this, do it now. This exam ensures that prescriptions are up to date and, most important, that the health of the eye is sound. The examining optometrist or ophthalmologist will look for unusual developments that may require follow-up, such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration, to name just a few.

Sometimes the answer to a problem is a new prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Or, perhaps a different type of glasses to meet specific needs is required. These could include: progressive (invisible) bifocals; standard bifocals (with a line); readers; glasses for use on a computer.

There are often simple solutions to problems. For example, many older people say they can't read a newspaper, book, or the Bible because of the size of the type. If an exam shows no systemic or medical reason, and there is no change in prescription, a solution could be changing a light bulb to a higher wattage. Problem solved.

Light also plays a part in the activities of daily life. One of the handiest items to keep by your bedside--if not throughout the house or apartment--is a flashlight. Waking up in the middle of the night and trying to navigate a hallway in the dark is an invitation to disaster.

Other issues faced by seniors include safety. A material called polycarbonate is recommended for lenses. It makes substantially more impact-resistant than-standard plastic lenses and has the added benefit of being thinner and lighter in weight than plastic. Polycarbonate lenses are best in the case of post-cataract surgery glasses, and may be the lens of choice for many, if not most, opticians. This also applies to patients who may have only one functioning eye. The approach of any qualified optician is to protect the functioning eye. The steadiness or mobility of a patient is also a factor. If someone is prone to falling, he or she should have the most impact-resistant lenses available.

Another question that pops up regularly is whether Medicare will pay for glasses. The short answer is, "No." However an exception arises for post-cataract surgery. Medicare does provide an allowance toward a frame and basic lenses after surgery. Add-ons such as progressive lenses, special tints or coatings, are an out-of-pocket expense. Pricing can change from state to state, so ask your optician.

SOURCE: Jerry Angert, ABOC (Angert is a board-certified optician practicing at Pennsylvania Optometrics at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia, PA.)

For more information on Low Vision, visit:
Check out the Kindle reader there as a key tool to aid your vision

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Summer is here and it's time to get outside and enjoy the sun. Warm weather, blue skies and a shining sun are all attributes of a fun summer. What could be more enjoyable than taking a nice stroll along the beach or heading out for a game of golf? While these activities might sound like a great way to spend a summer's day, we must not forget that the sun is not always our friend. As we head into summer it is important to remember that we need to protect ourselves from those harmful rays. Protecting our skin from the summer sun will not only help us avoid some severe ailments, but will also help keep us looking youthful and healthy for years to come.

During the past two decades it has become increasingly evident that exposure to ultraviolet radiation, UVB and UVA, is potentially lethal to humans. When these sunrays hit the skin, some are scattered, some reflected, but much is absorbed by chromosomes and cell proteins. This absorption causes damage to the cell's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), which in turn triggers a response that can lead to cancer, eye damage, or blindness.

The most common and acute response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation is sunburn. Sunburn is attributed to UVB and can occur in less than 20 minutes' exposure to summer sun. Tanning, which is also considered evidence of skin damage, is a delayed reaction. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is responsible for the growing epidemic of skin cancer in the United States and other warm countries. Humans are increasingly exposed to it as the ozone is depleted and global warming intensifies reflection.

The amount of sun a person is exposed to can be directly linked to his or her personality and lifestyle. While some individuals completely avoid sun exposure, others enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in which they experience prolonged periods of sun exposure. If you are a person who enjoys the beach or being poolside, you must be careful. Due to the refection of the water, the parts of the body that are above the water's surface will burn faster than usual. It is very important to reapply sunscreen to prevent burns and protect the skin from the premature aging that comes from constant sun exposure. Also, you should always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before heading outdoors to enjoy the sun. Applying sunscreen early ensures that it is absorbed by the skin and is less likely to wash off when you perspire.

A great newly developed concept tends to be very helpful-sun-protective clothing. This is a relatively new concept in the United States. Most people don't realize that regular summer clothing lets through a surprising amount of UV rays. And of course, summer clothing also typically exposes a lot of skin to the sun.

Good-quality sun-protective clothing typically covers a maximum amount of skin, yet is designed to be cool and comfortable to wear. Sun-protective clothing is also very reliable; it provides consistent and constant UV protection that does not fade or wear off during the day. In the long run it is less expensive, as the clothing is bought only once, and will last many seasons, or until it is outgrown. This form of protection is not messy, and it reduces the amount of sunscreen needed on exposed areas. This is particularly appealing to mothers of young children and to men. Protection is provided against both UVA and UVB rays.

Another product that helps clothing protect your skin is Rit Sun Guard. It is a laundry additive that enhances the level of UV protection provided by your existing clothes. However, the protection provided by Rit will wash out over time, and it only works with cottons.

Other ways in which to protect oneself from the sun and ultraviolet radiation are hats, sunglasses, umbrellas, trees, awnings, or canopies. Given the epidemic of skin cancer in this country, sun safety should now be an important part of our lives. Sixty-five thousand new cases of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, are reported each year. Sun protection policies and strategies should be posted in our homes, schools, work areas, and recreation spots. They should be followed daily by people of all skin colors, and particularly those with fair skin and light eyes.

The best alternative is a healthy appreciation for your own skin''s natural beauty. If you insist of having a tan because you enjoy the look of a summer's glow, the only safe alternatives are self-tanners and bronzers. Sunless tans have been marketed since the 1920's. The "Codytan," a self-tanning liquid and powder combination, appeared in 1929. During World War II, leg makeup helped compensate for a shortage of silk and nylon stockings. Coppertone introduced quick-tanning lotion, or "QT" in 1960. This was different from earlier versions, as it did not wash off; it actually changed the color of skin. While a breakthrough in the tanning industry, this product became associated with orange knees and streaky legs.

In 1988, sunless tanning lotion was introduced, with better results. As the damaging effects of sun exposure became better known, several other sunless tanning systems appeared on the market in the form of gels, creams, powders, and sprays. These can be acquired in most pharmacies or wherever cosmetics are sold. Fake tans now can be acquired in just minutes by standing in a booth while a machine sprays you with lotion. Or, you may choose the more labor-intensive method of having someone "paint" you with an airbrush. Spray machines can also be purchased so that you can paint yourself at home. The tanned appearance usually lasts from four to six days. Spray tanning salons can be found in hotels, health clubs, malls and even laundromats.

Sunless tans are the only "safe" tan because there is no UV exposure, and so they may help prevent premature aging and skin cancers. However, it is important to remember that the ingredients of fake tans generally do not include sunscreen. The tan will not protect you from UV rays, and you should use still use sunscreen and other sun protection methods.

Below are several tips the FDA has provided to keep us safe and protected in the summer's sun:

  • Avoid overexposure to UV rays from both natural and artificial sources.
  • Plan your outdoor activities to avoid the sun's strongest rays. As a rule, seek shade and remember that the sun's UV rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm. You can also use the "shadow rule"; the sun's UV rays are strongest when the shadow you cast on the ground is shorter than you are.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand, because they reflect damaging UV rays and increase your chance of sunburn and other damage to the skin and eyes.
  • Wear protective clothing such as wide-brimmed hats and long pants and long-sleeved shirts made of tightly woven fabric to reduce sun exposure.
  • Wear sunglasses that provide 100% UV ray protection (look for models that advertise both UVB and UVA protection).
  • Use a broad-spectrum (protecting from both UVA and UVB) sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or greater to protect uncovered skin. For best results, apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 1-1/2 to 2 hours, even on cloudy days, and especially after swimming or sweating. Both selection of the sunscreen and re-applications are important.
  • Carefully examine all of your skin once a month. Early detection of melanoma can save your life. A dermatologist should evaluate a new or changing skin lesion. See a dermatologist if you notice an unusual mole, a scaly patch, or a sore with local persistent bleeding or that does not heal. This may be a pre-cancer or a skin cancer. If you develop severe itching or rashes in the sun, this may be an allergic reaction.

It is to be hoped that you can find a balance between having fun in the summer sun and keeping your skin safe from harm. For as you age, it is important to keep your skin healthy and looking young. While you are out and about this summer, remember that sun protection is your greatest friend. Whether itís long walks or gardening you like, don't forget your sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. Enjoying a good dose of Vitamin D is the key, but don't sacrifice at the cost to your skin.

Find additional Health information at

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1. You Can Help Bring a Cure Closer
Many charities foundations (i.e. Diabetes, Cancer, Heart, etc.) rely on your tax-deductible contributions to:

- fund vital research to find the causes and cures;
- educate people, their families and health care professionals about the disease;
- spread awareness of developments in diagnosis and treatment; and
- provide support to individuals affected by the disease.

There are many ways to make a donation to your favorite foundation You can choose to make a general, memorial, or honorary donation either online, or offline by mail, phone or fax. You may also establish automatic monthly donations. In addition, there are other ways to help. Take a look at some of the other options available.

Vehicle Donation-- the vehicle will be resold or scrapped for funding
Other Assets--including: real estate, retirement benefits and intellectual property
Walk or run for your favorite charity--participate in a fund raising event
Become a fund raiser--volunteer your time or services.

Of course, you must make sure the recipient organization is a tax-exempt, charitable organization and is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions under IRS Code 501(c)(3). Your gift may be 100% deductible from your taxable income if you itemize your deductions. provides online current coverage of a broad spectrum of health care issues, including cancer, cardiovascular, transplant, and infectious disease developments. Find these news stories and additional health information tips here:

2. It's Time to Get a Move on
Now that summer is here, there is no reason not to get your body in shape.

Many research studies have shown the benefits of regular physical activities. The US Federal Physical Guidelines and many studies show that 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity is required to achieve these health benefits

Research shows that a low level of physical activity exposes a patient to a greater risk of dying than does smoking, obesity, hypertension, or high cholesterol, and for older men, regular physical activity can decrease the risk of death by 40%. Active individuals in their 80s have a lower risk of death than inactive individuals in their 60s.

Regular physical activity can:

- Reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50%.
- Lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60%.
- Reduce the risk of developing of Alzheimerís disease by approximately 40%.
- Reduce the incidence of heart disease and high blood pressure by approximately 40%.
- Lower the risk of stroke by 27%.
- Lower the risk of developing type II diabetes by 58%.
- Be twice as effective in treating type II diabetes than the standard insulin prescription and can save significant money when compared to the cost of standard drug treatment. Can decrease depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy. Adults with better muscle strength have a 20% lower risk of mortality (33% lower risk of cancer-specific mortality) than adults with low muscle strength.
- A low level of fitness is a bigger risk factor for mortality than mild-moderate obesity. It is better to be fit and overweight than unfit with a lower percentage of body fat.

So turn off your computer now, go outside and at least take a walk!!
Ref: American College of Sports Medicine, 2008

Get a book on walking as exercise here:

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

Tom Hanks - "Life is like a box of never know what you're gonna get."

Courtney Love - "I'm driven. I am. I'm driven for some reason. But I don't know where I'm going."

David Brinkley - "A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him."

Jessica Simpson - "I think there's a difference between ditzy and dumb. Dumb is just not knowing. Ditzy is having the courage to ask!"

Arthur Ashe - "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

More "Thoughts" at:

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1. Price of a Free Lunch
Unfortunately, many people are getting their financial planning information from persons not qualified to provide it. People, especially those over 65, may be a bit nervous about their investments. Many "advisors" are ready and willing to take advantage of the current economic uncertainty.

Because of the current uncertainty in the stock market, the emphasis on selling stocks to older people has changed to replacing those sales with selling them investment securities. Many of these opportunities are presented at a "free lunch." The following are some of the parameters that should be considered as you evaluate an investment:

- Both initial costs and on-going costs;
- Duration of investment before payback or withdrawal;
- How the investment suits your investment experience and current financial situation;
- Nature of the investment risk; and
- Regulator involvement or the lack thereof.
If the "free lunch" presenter is unable to answer these questions, the investment' may not right for you.

Here are some resources you can use to help evaluate investments

Investment fraud information:
National Center on Elder Abuse:
Securities and Exchange Commission:
North American Securities Administrators Assoc.:

For other financial items of interest to Seniors visit:

2. Hoarding Help
Hoarding often results in people keeping large amounts of items that to the outside world are considered excessive or worthless/useless. Many elderly people deal with hoarding and may have had a lifetime of accumulating stuff that gradually got worse as they got older. Often this leaves the by then grown-up children to deal with or face the actions of their elderly parents. The children may not know how to deal with this situation.

Here is a website to provide more information and help for a hoarding problem:

For other aging issues of interest to Seniors visit:

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1. Life as A Greeter
My name is Chad. I would like to explain how I lost my job at Wal-Mart.
Last year I landed a new job as a Wal-Mart greeter, a good find for many retirees, I lasted less than a day.
About two hours into my first day on the job a very loud, unattractive mean-acting woman walked into the store with her two kids, yelling obscenities at them all the way through the entrance.
As I had been instructed, I said pleasantly, "Good morning and welcome to Wal-Mart. Nice children you have there; are they twins?"
The ugly woman stopped yelling long enough to say, "Hell no, they ain't twins. The oldest one's 9, and the other one's 7. Why the hell would you think they're twins? Are you blind, or just stupid?"
So I replied, "I'm neither blind nor stupid, Ma'am, I just couldn't believe you got someone to hook up with you twice.
Have a good day and thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart."
My supervisor said I probably wasn't cut out for this line of work. So now I just watch NASCAR races on the telly.

2. Focused Education for Seniors

Drivers Ed 101
     A - How to Parallel Park In Less Than 20 Minutes Without an Insurance Claim.
     B - Learning to Live--How to Apply Brakes Without Throwing Passengers Through the Windshield.
Human Relationships 102B
     How to Shop by Yourself.
Physiology 101
     How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering to Take a List to The Store, Avoiding Separate      Trips for Each Item Needed.
Home Economics 101
     The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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

Copyright 2011, 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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