Monthly Archives: May 2017

A Memorial Day promise to my family

She made a vow to her father to always tend the family graves

By Diana Reese for Next Avenue

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(This article was originally published in May 2014.)

While friends look forward to barbecues and boating during the first long weekend of the summer, I’m making plans for my annual cemetery tour in northwest Missouri.

I promised my dad before he died that I’d put flowers on his parents’ grave, as well as his, every Memorial Day. Although he knew my mom would, he wanted reassurance that someone would continue the tradition after she was gone.

My mom’s still here, but I’ve made a point of visiting the graves every year. read more

Health care community residents practice gratitude through journaling

Research has shown that recognizing the good may improve well-being

By Tina L. Kies for Next Avenue

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Her pale blue eyes sparkle when she smiles. Peacefully observing all that surrounds her, she is a history book waiting to be opened. An experience outlines every wrinkle, silently alluding to the secrets, loss, love and happiness that she has experienced during her lifetime. A few weeks shy of her 90th birthday, she speaks of the celebration that her family is planning for her with the enthusiasm of a child.

“After all,” she says candidly, “I don’t know how many more of these I’ll get!” read more

Prepare for surgery with exercise and diet

‘Prehabilitation’ is slowly being recognized as valuable for success after a procedure

By Judith Graham for Next Avenue

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A dozen years ago, at the age of 50, Lillie Shockney decided to have breast reconstruction surgery after two bouts of cancer and two mastectomies. The procedure called for removing a flap of skin and fat from her abdomen, used to rebuild her breasts.

Shockney knew a lot about breast cancer and the trials of recovery: she was (and still is) director of the breast center at Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. Characteristically, this dynamic nurse didn’t want to stay in the hospital for any longer than absolutely necessary. read more

What I learned from my gray hair experiment

Giving up my copper-red locks wasn’t easy, but it was time (or was it?)

By Wendy Schuman for Next Avenue

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Last spring, I decided it was time. I would no longer color my hair. I vowed that after my youngest child’s wedding in April, I was going to let it go silver. I’d had auburn hair since childhood and had been touching up the gray for about 15 years.

I used to be able to go five weeks between color appointments. But recently, the roots were showing within a week or two. On my next birthday I would turn 70, and it seemed wrong to fight nature.

After all, I wasn’t someone who would go for a facelift or even a smidge of Botox. I was a child of the ’60s, for God’s sake! And I would save so much money and time, especially when I added in the cost of highlights every few months. read more

10 ways to keep your old dog healthy and happy

Some of these potential solutions are easy and inexpensive

By Deb Hipp for Next Avenue

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When my dog Toby was 11, I checked out a book on anti-aging for dogs from the library. I left to run a few errands and returned later to a grisly scene.

I found the mangled book on the floor, cover gnawed off, two chapters torn apart and puncture wounds to the appendix. Apparently, Toby didn’t intend to age gracefully.

I’d adopted Toby, a Lab/chow mix, from a shelter six years earlier. Toby’s feisty personality soon emerged. He raced up and down stairs and barked ferociously whenever a stranger approached the door. He was my big, protective dog. And then one day, he wasn’t. read more

Can you self-insure for long-term care?

It might be within reach if you take these steps

By Chris Farrell for Next Avenue

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The odds are worrisome. The typical 65-year-old can expect to live another two decades and has a 52 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care services and support at some point.

According to Melissa Favreault of the Urban Institute and Judith Dey of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average tab for long-term care is $138,000. Medicare covers hardly any of that cost. Medicaid does, but only for the impoverished.

Insurance is the classic financial planning solution for handling an uncertain risk that comes with a potentially large price tag, yet only about 10 million Americans have long-term care insurance, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. read more

Gardening when you’re not yet in shape

This spring, follow these tips to avoid injuring yourself

By Linda Melone, CSCS for Next Avenue

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Warmer weather and the smell of spring in the air provides major motivation to get outside and dig in the garden — an enjoyable exercise that doesn’t involve a treadmill. Pushing a mower, pulling weeds, digging holes and carrying soil require the use of muscle groups in the entire body. But if you’ve been lounging around for most of the winter, all that bending, digging and planting can wreak havoc on your body, especially when you’re over 50.

Laying the groundwork

“You need to know your limitations,” says Matthew Cauliffe, physical therapist with Professional Physical Therapy, which has locations in the New York metropolitan area. “You’ll want to avoid any activities that aggravate pain. And if you do not regularly perform heavy lifting, bending or squatting, you should begin easy and progress as tolerated.” read more