*** January 2008 ***
* E-zine *

This Month's Highlights:
· 30 Days to New Health
· How About A Housemate
· New Year Can Bring Changes

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Aah, the holidays! We see the family, eat the turkey-and then the ham - and then the cakes - and then... "Mom I feel bloated!"

Weight gain and a sedentary lifestyle go hand-in-hand. Fortunately, both are reversible! Exercise does not necessarily mean "running a marathon". Moderate activity on a regular basis, such as walking every morning or evening, can make all the difference in the world for many people.

It takes about 30 days to form a life-long habit. In that light, it is no wonder that so many Americans lead sedentary lives! Regular exercise can help prevent or delay many disabilities and diseases. It can also assist in treatment of many diseases. By exercising daily for 30 days you'll be on your way to a much-improved lifestyle, better health, added energy for chasing those grandchildren around the house, and for more enjoyment of life.

A number of health factors cited by the National Institutes for Health can be improved for seniors by regular, moderate exercise:

  • Blood circulation
  • Metabolism improvement
  • Weight control
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility

Some senior citizens are afraid that exercise will hurt them. It isn't true when "safety first" is your watch phrase. Begin slowly, but because you're exercising regularly you'll feel your endurance and strength increasing over time. Perhaps you can find a neighbor or friend to exercise with. Then not only will you have a "buddy" to share the experience with and to motivate each other, you'll also have a friend with you should you overdo it and need some help getting out of that pool. But since you're practicing safety first, even if you think you're too old or out of shape you shouldn't have any problems!

Think of the daily activities you'll have an easier time with:

  • Climbing stairs
  • Carrying groceries
  • Caring for grandchildren
  • Walking
  • Standing

How do you know it's working? Well for one thing you'll feel better-but it is a good idea to chart your exercise habits and progress because nothing steels the resolve like visible results. Start by measuring how well you do your first time out with moderate exercise. This is NOT a contest! You're simply measuring where you are today as a baseline from which you'll measure your performance into the future. There are any number of exercises for you to try, but aim for exercise that stimulates balance, lower body strength, endurance, and flexibility. Begin EVERY session with gentle stretching to prevent injury. There are hosts of stretching exercises that are appropriate for a senior citizen. Look into it and discuss them with your doctor. Olympic stars have their own methods, but they probably aren't the best for your situation. Why? They tend to be super-athletic kids!

Remember, " Safety First." This means you should speak with your physician about the exercise you plan to undertake, especially if you're a heart patient, smoke, or are obese. Exercise can have major benefits for you, but you do need to coordinate your plans for exercise with your physician's treatment plans for you.

Don't dawdle! Start the New Year right with a check-up, and 30 days of moderate, regular daily exercise to get yourself rolling into new health in 2008. See for more details.

Additional health-related information for seniors can also be found at:

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And now for the latest in senior citizen housing trends: housemates... It's back to the future! Don't worry- we're not talking about college kids passing out on your sofa and putting their feet up on your antiques. It turns out that all across America seniors are letting out rooms and apartments for increased revenue and bill payment ease, as well as security and community. Today, this is often referred to as "home sharing, and folks from all walks of life are enjoying it. Some professions almost require it! A traveling salesperson will often want a housemate because the long periods away from home make an empty apartment a target for break-in and theft.

These new "landlords" come from all walks of life. Manhattan high-rise residents and West Coast suburbanites alike share housing. Rural families are doing it, too. It used to be quite common in America to find a boarding house in most towns and cities. Not every town had a hotel or vacant apartments, and people had to stay someplace. In the land of capitalism, the answer was a natural. Large Victorian-era mansions and rambling farmhouses made great boarding houses back then, and still do today. There are intangible benefits of living with others: community and friendship, learning new things, cooking new cuisines, and sharing books and culture. These aren't the types of benefits one usually looks for in a living situation-but beneficial they can certainly be towards contributing towards a comfortable quality of life.

There are services today that match people up, homeowner with renter. Some of these services will help with every detail; others simply list available living quarters. In some areas the homeowner must apply for a permit. In others there are occupancy limits, so be sure and do your homework. Of course, you'll need applications for potential renters to complete, and some house rules that must be observed. No loud music after 9 pm? Clean all dishes immediately after use? No overnight guests? All fair-game requirements in your home as long as they read, understand, agree to and sign the document requiring them. As in any landlord/tenant situation, there are occasionally going to be people who you thought would be great tenants- they have good credit, are polite and professional-but who turn out to be deadbeats, and you'll sometimes need to send a bill to collection. But most senior citizens and professional people you might rent to will be happy to have found such a convenient and affordable option.

But what if you're a senior citizen in the opposite position and YOU need to rent a room and share costs with someone else? You might look into "congregate housing" if finding a home-sharing arrangement for yourself isn't on your dance card. Congregate housing can be found in a few different configurations. In the late 1970's the term began to be used by government to reflect housing for seniors that included services such as meals. These are sometimes private citizen seniors who simply share costs. They might also share sleeping quarters, kitchen facilities, or a common bathroom. It can also be multiple units offering support services to seniors with disabilities who don't want to live alone. Similar to what some refer to as "board and care," the government agency involvement often found in congregate living can be a quality assurance factor. There can be government subsidies and non-profit organizational assistance, making it extremely affordable.

Congregate housing is evolving into "assisted living" in some facilities. Meals, housekeeping, and various activities can be included. Unlike skilled nursing, there would likely be no medical facility or care, but the added services and extreme low cost can make a comfortable home for an elderly person of limited means. It can also put off the need for expensive nursing home care.

Check it out even if you're living happily in a luxury environment-you may have a friend who could use the tip!

Here are some links to check out:

Additional housing information for seniors can also be found at:

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Change is ever constant, isn't it? We can benefit from change, even though as humans we prefer things to stay the same. They don't. It's just not Mother Nature's way! We get older, move, stop driving, our kids have grandchildren, or are going to graduate from university this year. It's not IF something will change for us, its how we go about planning for change and handling it that makes life manageable.

January is a great time to review your plans, goals, and financial position-especially in light of new, lower interest rates, and real estate values.

There are a number of levels to such an examination. At first blush, most people think about retirement planning. How are the investments doing? What is our exposure to the mortgage crisis? Can some of those downgraded, but now extremely high yielding income securities make sense? Or should you run from them like fire? There may be protections for your positions. Of course, speak with your financial advisor before you file your taxes and or make any investment changes. There may be some actions you need to take before you file for deductions, IRAs, and so forth. But your New Year's review can go farther today-especially if you're caring for someone.

The Home Front
What about those property taxes? If your area has experienced a decline in real estate values, you may be able to lower your property taxes. You'll want to check your state's official government web site for a contact at the assessor's office to learn how they require you apply for such a reduction, but the savings can be significant, and well worth the trouble.

Now is also the time to replace those incandescent light bulbs in Mom's home with the compact fluorescent bulbs for utility savings all year. There are major sales promotions going on with respect to these energy savers at national big- box stores. Those outdoor motion lights you put in? Revamp these outdoor fixtures, too, for additional savings and longer lamp life. Do the same for leaky plumbing fixtures, or old, high flow toilets and showerheads. Have you seen the water bill lately? Right! Check some of these links for more ideas:

The Medicine Cabinet
Now is also a good time to look at prescription bottles. Medications go out of date and may be dangerous to ingest after their effective (labeled) life, and may need to be thrown out, lest a well-intentioned, thrifty-minded senior think they are safe, even though well out of date. Get rid of them (the drugs, that is). What about saving on prescriptions? Well, if you can safely stock up on prescriptions needed year in and year out, January might be the time to capture those savings, but again remember, many of these items are perishable. Speak with your physicians to determine your best route.

Don't Burn Down the House!
Fire alarms: now is the time to replace the batteries. And since we're talking about fire protection, what's going on with that fire policy? Most people have a number of policies that together create a portfolio. Have you reviewed the coverage of your insurance portfolio? Review each of the policies. If you care for a parent who no longer drives much, this could also be a good time to have Dad hang up the car keys for everyone's safety, and to cancel his auto insurance.

Set Goals!
Not resolutions... goals! A resolution is easily broken because we are but frail humans. Goals, however, are easily set and reached if wisely laid out and reviewed daily. Do we mean financial goals? Sure. But there are other types of goals you can set and achieve, as well. What about a goal of learning? Senior Resource has discovered low cost, or tuition free educational opportunities in most states. Why not learn a new language and make new friends in the process? Or what about reinvigorating an old favorite activity? Cooking classes are all the rage today. Gourmet chefs teach regular folks how to master the latest tricks in the kitchen, and they are as delicious as they are fun-students get to eat their homework!

Enjoy Your Family
Yes they drove some of us nuts over the holidays-but guess what? That's their job! We need our family connections, and in the modern world they can be so fragile. Let's take some time to keep those conversations over turkey in November going through the rest of winter and into spring. They are the only family we've got, after all! What was that new hobby your cousin was talking about? Send her something pertinent to that hobby and you'll be chatting like you were kids again, sneaking a piece of cake together at family gatherings.

Take advantage of the fresh start of the New Year. Review your standing. Set new goals. And dig into life!

Additional health-related information for seniors can also be found at:

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More Energy Savings Techniques
The following illustrates some steps that can be taken to conserve energy.

  • Decrease your thermostat. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees when you're at home and 60 degrees when you're away or asleep. This can save as much as 14% a year on your heating costs, versus a 70- degree setting. Somewhat warmer temperature settings may be required for homes with ill or elderly persons or infants. Using a programmable thermostat certainly can facilitate this savings.
  • Weatherize your home. Air leaks are a big cause of energy waste in your home. You can average a 10 percent or more savings on your energy bill by keeping warm air inside. Use caulk and weather-stripping to seal holes and cracks around windows, doors, light fixtures and walls. Inexpensive weatherization kits are available at your home supplies store.
  • Minimize hot water usage. Lower the temperature of your hot water heater from 140 degrees to 120 degrees and wash your clothes in cold water. Take a short shower instead of a bath. These efforts combined can result in savings of up to 10 percent.

Of course, the savings percentages noted above are a function of your current situation, including: lifestyle, home condition, weather, conservation habits, and local energy rates.

For more energy tips see "Energy Saving Home Improvements From A to Z" at

Tribute to SEALS
The United States Navy Memorial honors the Navy's Special Warfare community with a series of activities centered on the "Sea, Air, Land: The Navy's Special Operations Sailors" exhibit. Through dramatic imagery, video footage, lifelike mannequins outfitted in combat gear, and artifacts, this exhibit pays tribute to the dedication, valor, and sacrifice of the Navy's Seals and Special Warfare Combatant-craft crewmen who take on the nation's most dangerous and demanding missions. The exhibit will be open to the public through April 2008 at The Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C.

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

Victor Borge: "Laughter is the closest distance between two people."

Bobby Hull: "Always keep your composure. You can't score from the penalty box; and to win, you have to score."

Joan Chen: "Things had just happened to me, good things and bad things, and I took them."

Jane Wyman: "The opportunity for brotherhood presents itself every time you meet a human being."

Mel Gibson: "I don't make things complicated, that's the way they get all by themselves."

More "Thoughts" at:

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  • Cervical Cancer Screening Month
    • Cervical cancer used to be one of the leading causes of cancer death among American females. However, since the 1950's the number of deaths has decreased dramatically, thanks to the increased use of the Pap test. This screening procedure is a vital resource in detecting abnormal cells before cancer has fully developed. Learn more:
  • Glaucoma Awareness Month
    • Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Everyone, from infants to seniors, is vulnerable. Moreover, among African-American and Hispanic populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Learn more:
  • Mail-order Gardening Month
    • Yes, it is cold in January. So while you are inside why not review the garden catalogs and get ready for spring. In fact, January is National Mail Order Gardening Month. "Catalogs not only inspire, showing you new possibilities for your garden, but serve as helpful planning tools," says Richard Chamberlin, president of the Mail Order Gardening Association. Learn more:

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National Public Radio (NPR) - Music
NPR launched NPR Music, a no-cost, multi-genre Web site that presents the best of public radio music. NPR Music aims to be as diverse as their audience's interests and curiosity. Hence Jazz Profiles, an in-depth look at the greatest performers who have influenced the history of jazz, lives alongside World Café, which addresses new and significant music and the artists who create it, and Classics in Concert, established masters and emerging musicians, in concert, with music from Bach to Bernstein and beyond.
The site features everyone from Aaron Copland and Aaron Neville, to Dan Zanes and Joe Zawinul. It's organized by genre and by type of musical content, including live concerts, studio sessions, artist interviews, profiles, reviews, blogs and podcasts.

For your favorite CDs, visit: Senior Resource Music

Avoid this Cholesterol Double Whammy
When it comes to fat, trans fats are considered by some doctors to be the worst of them all because of their double-barreled impact on your cholesterol levels. Unlike other fats, trans fats-also called trans fatty acids-both raise your "lousy" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers your "healthy" (HDL) cholesterol. A high LDL cholesterol level in combination with a low HDL cholesterol level significantly increases your risk of heart disease, the leading killer of men and women. Learn more about trans fats and how to avoid them.

Additional health-related information for seniors can also be found at:

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All in A Snap
Little Glenn's kindergarten class was on a field trip to their local police station, where they saw pictures tacked to a bulletin board of the 10 most wanted criminals. One of the youngsters pointed to a picture and asked if it really was the photo of a wanted person. "Yes," said the policeman. "The detectives want very badly to capture him." Little Glenn asked, "Why didn't you just keep him when you took his picture?"

Van Gogh's Family Tree

  • His dizzy aunt - Verti Gogh
  • The brother who ate prunes - Gotta Gogh
  • The brother who worked at a convenience store- Stop N. Gogh
  • The grandfather from Yugoslavia - U Gogh
  • The cousin from Illinois - Chica Gogh
  • His magician uncle - Where Diddy Gogh
  • His Mexican cousin - A. Mee Gogh
  • The Mexican cousin's American half-brother - Gring Gogh
  • The nephew who drove a stagecoach - Wells Far Gogh

Visit 1000's of jokes of interest to people who have lived a long and rich life.

"Oh My Aging Funny Bone" is at:

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

Copyright 2008, 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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