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A1. The Perils of Aging
Starting with the bottom line, the greatest peril of aging is that every day you are moving closer to your demise. Therefore, how you spend each day is what should be the most important aspect of "aging."
Here are some guidelines and myths not to believe:
Mental confusion is not a natural part of aging.
It may occur more often in the elderly, but many factors can contribute including genetics, diet, and the general state of health. Processing and recall speeds may decline and forgetfulness increase with age, but they are not necessarily signs of serious mental confusion or forgetfulness. And with age, powers of reasoning and analysis don't inevitably decline. Serious confusion and/or signs that mimic dementia can occur from vitamin or mineral deficiencies rather than from other health problems. Only a doctor can determine if treatment can improve symptoms.
Sexual urge may not decrease with age.
And if it does, there are remedies or treatments that can improve these conditions. Never forget the value of loving words and touching caresses in sharing love.
Hearing and visual decline may not catch up with you.
Hearing is the sense most affected by aging, but total hearing loss is rare. Modern hearing devices can usually help. Eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular. degeneration are more prevalent with age, but they do not occur in all elderly, and if detected and monitored may be treatable or their progression slowed.
Large doses of vitamins can slow down the aging.
Megavitamins and antioxidants don't necessarily add to longevity, although a healthy diet and regular exercise add to vitality and overall health. Vitamin, mineral and herb supplements, without healthy food, are not proven to be absorbed. The latest beliefs are that calcium absorption is vital to stave off osteoporosis. Vitamin D and magnesium are needed for that absorption, and since an aging body is believed to absorb vitamin D less efficiently, perhaps an oral supplement may be preferable to more time in the sun. But inclusion of more non-fat dairy products with supplemental D, into your diet, will often be enough.
Retirement from paid employment does not have to be your swan-song. Most retired seniors provide the bulk of volunteer hours worked in America.
To retire successfully, you must not "retire from"but "retire"; something. Retire with a plan for what will make life fulfilling after the job ends. Developing a hobby during your working years is a start toward successful retirement.
For instance, let's say you love golf. How often would you play to have a feeling of fulfillment from the game? I know a man who loves retirement with 300+ games of golf a year. Aside from volunteering, If the idea of contributing your skills, time and attention to society without pay sounds unappealing, can you find a "bit of a job"; at a golf course that lets you spend time in an atmosphere you enjoy and put a bit of green in your pocket? Or, you love nature and you do like to do volunteer work. Will the places you can volunteer for the preservation of open space in your community challenge you regularly? Will planning and taking strenuous hikes do it? As a retired nurse, can you be a volunteer at the hospital.
Everyone ages differently. But if you believe something enough you can make it happen--you can retire if you plan for it.
Focus on what you can do, what you would like to do, and how to get from where you are now to where you would like to be.
Believe that the myths of aging are just that, and if some turn out to be true for you, how can you enjoy the years ahead anyway.
The true peril of aging is not living each day to the fullest: giving up on life before it gives up on you.
Find more aging process information at: http://www.seniorresource.com/ageproc.htm
A2. Winter Food Without a Garden
For some of us, autumn and the anticipation of the upcoming winter may bring happy thoughts, but if you're not a Southern Californian or a Floridian, you, as do I, may shudder in anticipation of a seemingly interminable season of shivering cold, rain down the back of the neck, and snow that serves only the ski-lodge industry. With that on the horizon, and with our gardens producing with their final bursts of energy the last of our summer fruits, vegetables and herbs, I bring you a few fall gardening suggestions and a couple of healthy, yet light, good-tasting recipes for autumn foods on these (to me) melancholy days.
While still enjoying my little garden's fall explosion of third-crop tomatoes, it's difficult for me to go back to those pallid balls of Silly Putty foisted upon us during the other three seasons of the year. I've recently rediscovered plum tomatoes for use in sauces and frittatas (the flavor is more intense, less watered-down than regular tomatoes), and as an easily bored cook, I'd rather deal with them canned than have to seed and peel them by hand. You can refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.
And I'm going to miss the good basil and oregano from the pots on my deck, but you might do what I did this year: freeze the leaves in ice cube trays (three or so leaves to a cube) and store them in the freezer until you need them for sauces. They don't look very pretty when thawed, but they do taste like the fresh stuff, and you'll save a bunch of money.
If you're a garlic-lover with a deep window box or some deep pots, this is the time to sow cloves for winter/spring cooking. Don't try this with supermarket-bought garlic; it's been treated to inhibit growth--you'll get a ton of garlic-scented chive sprouts, but probably no garlic bulbs; I didn't, anyway. Check your local garden center or seed catalog online (I use gardenworld.com and seedgardener.com) for bulb-starters.
If you're nervous about the cholesterol in eggs--though it's said now that there's less of it than we were led to believe--you can try Egg Beaters or any other egg substitute in your omelets and the like. I prefer to use real eggs, but feel free to substitute Egg Beaters in the proportions given here. Please note that "Egg Beaters" is used in this article as an easily recognized brand of egg substitute. There is no intention to advertise the product. Here's a conversion list:
4 eggs = 1 cup Egg Beaters
Forthwith, a recipe for a good-tasting, VERY low-calorie (about 105 calories if you use Egg Beaters) cool-day frittata. This makes four large servings and is a meal in itself, though a nice cup of soup and maybe a roll would be a welcome plus here.
This is a basic omelet recipe I use all the time. Usually I add something more to it--crumbled bacon or ham, or sour cream and chives on top, along with more sprinkled cheese.
Here's one last summer-autumn squash recipe I like. These squashes are going out and winter squashes are arriving, but it should still be fairly easy to find zucchini and eggplant in the stores--or in your garden, if you're one of the fortunate. This recipe is a little bit complicated to make, but it's really good, especially nice for when you have guests.
NOTE: This gratin may be baked up to 2 hours ahead of time. Reheat at 350 degrees or serve at room temperature. Well, heck. You could have served it at room temp when it was first baked, couldn't you have? Why didn't they just say so!
Happy autumn, happy eating.
Learn more about eating healthfully. http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm#nutrition
B. DID YOU KNOW...?
1. Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase For 2013
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2012.
Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100. Of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2013, nearly 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.
Information about Medicare changes for 2013, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums
Additional insurance information for seniors can be found at: http://www.seniorresource.com/insur.htm
The Number 1 cause of poor indoor air quality is pollution from sources such as oil, gas, and kerosene; tobacco smoke; and household cleaning chemicals. Outdoor sources such as radon, pesticides, and air pollution contribute to unhealthy indoor air as well. Signs of poor indoor air quality include moisture condensation on windows or walls, smelly or stuffy air, dirty central heating and air-cooling equipment, and mold or mildew.
To improve on this unwanted situation eliminate or reduce the following sources of indoor air pollution:
For more information, go to http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-winter.htm
Find more health information at: http://www.seniorresource.com/health.htm
C. THOUGHTS FOR THE MONTH
We present here some words from those with a birthday this month.
More "Thoughts" at: http://www.seniorresource.com/thought.htm
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D. SPECIAL SURFING SITES
1. Be Alert When Surfing
2. Protecting Grandchildren
Safe Kids USA is a nationwide network of organizations working to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14. They educate families, provide safety devices to families in need, and advocate for better laws to help keep children safe, healthy, and out of the emergency room. More than 600 coalitions and chapters in 49 states bring together health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments, and volunteers to educate and protect families.
Some of the Safe Kids USA Functions:
**Learn about safety related items in your home here: http://www.seniorresource.com/ageinpl.htm#items
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E. OH MY AGING FUNNY BONE
1. For Those Who Love the Philosophy Of Ambiguity...
2. Less is Hard to Find
"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