Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease at 50 and Beyond

Preventing-and-Reversing-Heart-Disease-at-50-and-Beyond

Around the world, nearly seven million people die of coronary heart disease every year. And despite the continuing advancements in surgery, diagnostic techniques, and pharmaceutical interventions, that number keeps going up.

Mainstream Drug Treatments

As a cardiologist, I’ve treated many patients with heart disease. For years I prescribed drugs to patients who were suffering from high cholesterol and high blood pressure as the first step in treatment – because that is what I was taught to do.

But somewhere along the way, I started to notice that even though my patients’ “numbers” were improving, most didn’t look or feel any better. In fact, many patients were telling me that the drugs I had put them on, especially those for lowering cholesterol, were making them feel worse.

I knew there had to be a better way. And it turns out there is!

The Better Alternative

In fact, the data is right there for everyone to see – changing what we eat is the key to treating and preventing heart disease. So much so that studies have shown heart disease REVERSAL when lifestyle (and especially diet) are optimized.

The best part is, there are no side effects from eating better – just side benefits like lower blood pressure, better blood sugar control, weight loss, and a reduction in inflammation.

In one food-based study, 24 patients with severe coronary artery disease were offered an “experimental” dietary therapy on top of traditional medical care.

They were instructed to switch to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet which consisted of whole grains, beans and lentils, vegetables and fruit. Of the 24 patients, 17 adhered to the WFPB diet and 7 opted out.

In the eight years before the study, those 17 patients collectively had 49 heart events including heart attacks, strokes, angioplasty, bypass surgery, and worsening angina. In the 12 years following their dietary change, they suffered no additional events.

None.

The Role of Medications

This doesn’t mean medications don’t have a place. There’s plenty of data to support their use as well. But medications need to be thought of as an adjunct to optimized lifestyle – not the complete answer.

I saw this first hand when I started to incorporate nutrition into every treatment plan I created. All of a sudden, my patients were requiring less and less medication to control their health issues – and best of all, they FELT better!

I’ve even had some patients become non-patients because their health improved so much through dietary change.

This isn’t a diet that’s restricted or bland or even expensive. And because we eat multiple times per day, every day, even small sustained changes can yield dramatic health effects over time.

Implementing Diet Changes that Help Your Heart

So, if you’re not ready to go all-in on a WFPB approach, you can still significantly improve your health by focusing on adding these nutrients to your diet:

Plant Sterols

Plant sterols are found naturally in many grains, nuts, seeds, veggies, and fruits. This nutrient helps lower cholesterol by blocking cholesterol absorption in the intestines. Broccoli, blueberries, and corn are rich in plant sterols. They’re also plentiful in almonds, walnuts, pecans, and flax.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3’s are the good fats. These fatty acids are essential to your health and can be found in fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut – as well as in nuts and seeds, including walnuts, flax, and chia. Omega-3’s help lower blood pressure and triglyceride levels, while helping promote brain health.

Antioxidants

Found naturally in vegetables, fruits, coffee, and wait for it… chocolate and wine, antioxidants help prevent and stop cell damage. By incorporating these into your diet, you’re helping your body fight off disease and chronic ailments.

Whole Food Fiber

This plant-based nutrient is found in beans and grains, as well as fruits and vegetables, and helps keep food moving through your body. Fiber also aids in regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.

Supplements or Diet?

Together, these four nutrients play an essential role in keeping the main culprits of heart disease – diabetes, high-blood pressure, and high cholesterol – at bay.

But an important point needs to be made – getting these substances from food is preferable than getting them from supplements. Unlike the studies on food, studies on supplements have yielded generally disappointing results.

So, I encourage you to start incorporating more of these nutrients into your diet through small sustained dietary changes. It will make a big difference in how you feel, and most importantly, it will give you the best chance to improve your heart health and help you live well, longer.

The post Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease at 50 and Beyond appeared first on Sixty And Me.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor to get specific medical advice for your situation.

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Source: CareTips

Balance for Seniors: 600,000+ Seniors Die from Falls Each Year… Don’t Be a Statistic!

Balance-for-Seniors-600000-Seniors-Die-from-Falls-Each-Year.

“I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” If you’re an older woman who dreads experiencing that TV commercial as a real-life drama, you’re not alone. In today’s video, Dr. Sarah Brewer and Margaret Manning share insights into why losing our balance and falling after 60 is such a problem for us – and tips to prevent it. Read on and don’t forget to watch the video!

“She’s Gone Off Her Legs”

Most of us consider diminishing balance and the increased risk of serious falls over 60 as inevitable. Dr. Brewer explains that the UK medical profession even has a term for it: “She’s gone off her legs.”

And “off your legs” is definitely not somewhere you want to go. It could mean bruising, fractures or a broken hip and a one-way trip to a long-term care facility. If you’re old enough that fear of falling makes you avoid essential tasks like bathing, shopping or even sweeping, however, it’s time to act.

If you’re not there yet, act anyway. Despite what you’ve heard, following Dr. Sarah’s tips now can help you preserve your balance and avoid falling once you reach 60.

Maintain Your Muscular Strength After 60

Picture a stereotypical little old lady struggling to open a jar. Where did her strength go? It disappeared with her muscle mass, thanks to a condition Dr. Sarah identifies as sarcopenia.

Proper exercise and diet, however, can slow or prevent sarcopenia. Eating an adequate amount of quality protein and exercising from 30 to 60 minutes on most days, or a total of 2.5 hours per week, can boost your mass enough to build back your strength.

Try brisk walking, for instance. Dr. Sarah calls it an excellent antidote for sarcopenia and shaky balance. Using a walking stick, or Nordic poles, provides security and takes pressure off of your aching knees while also building arm strength.

Weather not cooperating? Turn your couch or easy chair into a workout bench with leg lifts, arm raises and shoulder stretches. Just get your muscles working and blood pumping!

Monitor Your Blood Pressure

Does rising suddenly from a sitting or lying position make you dizzy enough to fall? Blame low blood pressure. The change can trigger a 20-point drop, according to Dr. Sarah. It’s especially noticeable if you’re in too much of a hurry to get out of bed.

Usually, a few under-the-covers yoga stretches can help ease you into the day. For Dr. Sarah, a great way to start the morning is to sit up slowly, swing your legs to the floor and pause before standing.

For many of us over 60, however, the water pills we take for high blood pressure are a problem. Prescribed to prevent heart attacks or strokes, they unfortunately affect our electrolyte levels. This causes dizziness – and a higher chance of falls!

Track your BP with a home monitor. If it’s low, talk to your doctor about adjusting your meds and balancing your electrolytes. Regular checkups also reveal problems like atrial fibrillation, a heart issue associated with poor balance.

Replenish Your Diminishing Vitamin D

By the time you reach 60, Dr. Sarah says your skin makes only 20 percent of the Vitamin D it did during your 20s. Vitamin D helps control your slow-twitch muscle fibers. They cause the reflexive jerking that helps us recover our balance while falling.

Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D from sunlight, but they don’t get enough of it during cold, dark winters. Dietary sources include eggs and oily fish such as mackerel, herring or salmon. For women over 60, however, supplementing is the best way to ensure adequate Vitamin D intake.

Be Conscious of Your Surroundings

Meditation is one way to help you become aware of fall threats in your surroundings, and it is especially helpful when traveling. No new attraction is worth a bone-jarring tumble to the tarmac!

Or, as many of our mothers chided us so long ago, “Watch where you’re going, dear!”

Dr. Sarah reminds us to be alert for home hazards such as curled-up carpet corners. She also suggests keeping a light on to navigate late-night bathroom runs.

Stand Strong Against Falls

We can’t expect the world to be responsible for keeping us “on our legs.” Falls among older women are a serious problem. It’s up to us to limit our risk by working on balance and strength after 60 and staying aware of what’s around us!

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Source: CareTips

10 Steps You Can Take to Fall in Love With Your Community

Community

Whether you’re a newcomer or a long-time resident, there are multiple ways to experience more joy and connection in your community.

After numerous changes of address and believing that a new geographic location would make her happier, Melody Warnick still felt restless. She wrote, This Is Where You Belong as she discovered how to feel more connected to the town she was living in. It worked. She hasn’t moved since.

I found her book at my local library and was curious to read what she had to say. She suggests a number of ways to reap all the emotional, psychological, and physical benefits of your neighbourhood.

I walked myself through her suggestions and discovered I’d inadvertently already been following many of them. It explained why I already love my community.

I’d like to share some of her findings with you so you can assess why you love your own community and perhaps discover a few ways to love it even more.

Create a Perimeter

Draw a circle with a one-mile radius around your home. What tasks can you complete within this circle while walking or cycling? Walking and cycling connect us more closely with our environment.

Within my own one-mile radius, I often walk to the grocery store, visit the library and museum, dine at local restaurants and visit our post office. My walks often have me chatting with my neighbours and observing the antics of our local wildlife.

Encourage Local Businesses

Commit to spending a total of $50 a month among three locally-owned businesses.

As most of the businesses in my small, rural community are locally owned, it’s easy for me to go over this limit every month.

Enjoy Local Activities

Do the stuff your town is good at.

My community is known as the Island of the Arts. It was the main reason we chose to live here. I attend many local music and theatre events and engage in as many of the arts as I have time for. I’m currently experimenting with painting and collage.

Find Time to Dive in Nature

Make a list of your area’s natural assets that help you get close to nature.

We have many local parks, beaches, and walking paths within our 22 square mile radius. I live rural with nature in my backyard. This includes deer, turkeys, eagles, hummingbirds, crows, ravens, orcas, dolphins, seals, and more.

Hike with a Friend

Invite a friend to join you on a hike.

We have a map of all our local hiking trails. I’ve just bought a pair of hiking poles so I can navigate steeper paths more easily. A friend and I have committed to regular forest bathing ventures.

Find a Place to Volunteer

When I first moved here, I volunteered at the Visitor Information Centre. I made friends there, and it fast-tracked learning about everything my community had to offer. I soon started volunteering for events within the art community.

Shop Regularly at Your Closest Farmers’ Market

Our Farmers’ Market runs from May to October and is a gathering place for all of us to meet, chat, and shop with each other as well as with local farmers and artists.

Don’t Forget Politics

Follow your local political representatives on social media and attend meetings, when possible.

I’ve always liked to keep up on what’s happening locally, so I know how to vote in each election. I have attended community meetings about local issues and volunteered at election time.

What About the Arts?

Find out about art events in your neighbourhood and plan to attend them.

As I’m fond of the arts, I keep myself informed about all of our local arts events. I attend as many as possible. We have so many that the hard part is deciding which ones to miss.

Read About Your Town’s History

Our Museum holds a lot of our past on display. I’ve read several books written about my island and the West Coast, in general. We also have a long-time resident who hosts a story-filled, guided tour of the Island during the summer months.

Be Creative

Now, it’s your turn.

Go through the suggestions on how to fall in love with your own community. Fill in your own answers. Think about trying any suggestions you haven’t yet pursued.

I like what Melody Warnick says about how she fell in love with her town. “Wherever you are, experience joy… I can soak up every last drop of pleasure to be had in my town. I can choose to make myself belong… If I had to, I could do it all over again somewhere else.”

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Forget the Funny Sweater: Here Are 6 Real Benefits of Knitting

My mother was a brilliant knitter. I used to sit in awe watching her fingers fly over colored threads weaving intricate patterns. As she chatted with me while knitting, I would have the honor of helping her roll her balls of wool. It always amazed me that she could do such complicated knitting patterns while watching the television and talking to someone at the same time.

Exploring the Real Benefits of Knitting

She explained that during the war, knitting was something a lot of young women did to pass the time and calm their nerves while sitting for hours in air raid shelters. Later, knitting became a very practical skill when she had children. I remember very well some of her scratchy creations being so intricate and beautiful.

Today, knitting is having a big revival, according to Debbie Stoller, the founder of “Stitch ’n Bitch” knitters’ groups that now meet all over the world. She is considered the knitting revivalist leader and claims there are over 38 million knitters in the US alone. Knitting is one of those traditional crafts that are popular with younger women as well as older knitters.

What are the benefits of knitting? If you are a beginning knitter here is why your new craft is so good for you and is going to change your life – for the better!

Shopping for Wool is now a Sensory Delight!

Today, knitting shops are a visual delight. You enter to find a treasure chest of different wools in every color of the spectrum. There are different textures and styles including metallic, pastels, and mixed colors, pure whites and designer blends. The choices are amazing and allow knitters to create beautiful individual and unique pieces.

Skeins of wool tend to be reasonably priced and so for just a few dollars you can create a magical unique piece in just a few hours. You can also learn knitting and make new friends. Wool shops are great places to meet other women who have a passion for knitting.

Many also offer classes which improve your own skill and offer social connection as well. Knitting is an individual activity but connects you to a large following of creative women all around the world.

Knitting Calms the Nerves

There is something about knitting that makes it one of the best ways to relax. Whenever I have got something on my mind, I use knitting as a way to get my mind away from complexity to a simple repetitive activity. It just calms me down and feels very meditative. In fact research shows that knitting and yoga are a perfect combination.

The simple repetitive practice of breathing in and out, focusing on the rhythm of creating similar patterns over and over, is very calming. It helps to get you away from external stress and brings you right into the moment.

Having said that, knitting is also a great way to be productive while still being able to focus part of your attention elsewhere. You can knit while watching TV, while having a conversation, while riding in the car or on the train, or while keeping an eye on kids who are playing near you but who don’t need your full attention. It is also a great thing to do while listening to audiobooks.

Knitting Gives You Instant Gratification, but, Teaches Patience

Learning how to knit allows you to experience the joy of instant gratification. Being able to produce something within a few hours that you can actually wear is hugely satisfying. Achieving this immediate sense of accomplishment is important for both your emotional well-being and self-confidence.

Knitting is also a great activity for grandkids who have a relatively short attention span. There are many benefits of knitting when spending time with your grandkids. You can work together with your grandkids to create little scarves, mittens or purses, and something created, stitch by stitch, has a very special bonding significance.

At the same time, more complicated knitting projects certainly take patience, which is a great skill for the young, and young at heart, to develop.

Knitting Projects for Gifts and to Sell

Gone are the days when a knitted Christmas gift meant a scratchy pair of socks or a reindeer themed Christmas sweater. People actually look forward to receiving a handmade angora headband or a multi-color scarf and appreciate that it was something you made especially for them. There are some wonderful knitting projects for beginners to try.

For you, the process of knitting becomes a gift in itself as you put your thoughts of the recipient into the process. You personally feel the benefits of knitting when you weave your love into what you are creating. Finally, don’t forget that there is a big demand for unique homemade products, so why not try selling your handiwork on Etsy or other online marketplaces.

Knitting Boosts Brain Power

On the physical side, knitting is good for your brain. It improves hand eye coordination and by helping you relax, it also reduces the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and generally minimizes stress.

Some evidence even claims that knitting helps to reduce risk of dementia, strokes and brain disorders. This is because the simple repetitive activity of knitting changes your brain chemistry, and produces more of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

Knitting for a Good Cause

Since knitting is such a great way to connect people, there are many organizations that encourage knitting for good causes. Knit for Peace simply gets people together in groups around the world to break down barriers and differences through the simple act of knitting together. The goal is to get women and men from different, often competing tribes or communities, to come together in a casual friendly way to just knit peacefully in a constructive manner.

Another group in the UK called Grannies, Inc. has created a marketplace for older knitters and shares the profit from their online sales.

The post Forget the Funny Sweater: Here Are 6 Real Benefits of Knitting appeared first on Sixty And Me.

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Source: CareTips

Thrive: ‘Maniacal’ Finances, Companion Care Help Homewatch CareGivers Agency Ramp Up Revenue

When Reena Sharma opened her Long Island, New York-based Homewatch CareGivers franchise location in 2013, the odds were stacked against her.

New York was coming out of a moratorium, which froze licensing for new agencies. Though the state’s Department of Health was accepting applications from new home-based care providers, there was a processing backlog, leaving Sharma’s agency without permission to provide personal care services until 2016.

Rather than put the business on hold, Sharma operated the Homewatch CareGivers as a companion care-only agency for nearly three years.

“We couldn’t bathe,” Sharma told Home Health Care News. “We couldn’t dress. But we said, ‘Listen, we could build this business serving folks who have Alzheimer’s and dementia — [who] don’t need personal care — but really need safety and oversight. We tapped into that very early.”

Since then, Sharma has grown her agency — which now serves more than 400 clients per day with about 300 caregivers in New York’s Nassau, Sussex and Queens counties — to become one of the top revenue generating Homewatch CareGivers franchises in the country, according to the franchiser.

Sharma declined to disclose her agency’s revenue or profit margins but attributed much of her success to her background: Before entering the home-based care industry, she spent decades working in management consulting and investment management.

Ultimately, the experiences taught her to identify untapped opportunities and pursue them in a profitable way — while also inspiring her to pursue her passion in the first place.

“After spending 20 years in corporate, I just said, ‘Am I happy?’” Sharma said. “‘Am I really fulfilled? Am I doing something I just truly feel passionate about?’”

After realizing the answer was no, Sharma quit her job and began looking for business opportunities that would allow her to help people.

Because her husband worked in the pharmacy industry, health care seemed like the perfect fit. She chose home care after determining it had the most growth potential.

Globally, the home health care market is expected to exceed more than $7 billion by 2024. And that figure is only projected to grow in the future, with 10,000 baby boomers in the U.S. turning 65 every day and the nation’s aging population expected to double in the next 20 years.

Sharma’s ability to stay nimble and find a niche in the face of licensing challenges helped get her agency going — and eventually thrive. Her story serves as a lesson for other home care providers today, many of whom are also dealing with regulatory uncertainty and administrative backlogs.

Untapped opportunities and ‘maniacal’ finances

Since entering the industry, Sharma’s strategy has always revolved around pursuing untapped opportunities with a “maniacal” eye toward finances, she said.

It started when she chose to offer companion care while her personal care license was pending. Six years later, several industry players are making similar moves, catering to the needs of seniors, one in three of whom dies with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For example, Maryland-based home care agency Regent Healthcare announced the development of its dementia caregiver training programs in November. Also last year, Sunrise, Florida-based Interim HealthCare and Omaha, Nebraska-based Right at Home rolled out dementia programs, with a big perk being creating specialized caregiving positions while also catering to clients’ specialized needs.

Once Sharma’s Long Island-based Homewatch CareGivers location earned a license to offer personal care services, it expanded its focus beyond companion care.

It’s next goal became winning market share of several different ethnic groups in the New York City metro area.

“As the licensure came, again I tapped into, ‘Where are the opportunities?’” Sharma said. “I happen to be of South Asian background, a born-and-raised New Yorker, and I said to myself, “I want to help my community.’”

She began reaching out to different religious and community groups and hiring bilingual caregivers.

Currently, Sharma’s agency provides companion care, personal care and, occasionally, nursing services. Although the bulk of the agency’s payments come from Medicaid, a “good portion” of services are also paid privately or with long-term care insurance, Sharma said.

Additionally, the agency offers a bevy of community services.

“[We have] a very open door policy with the community,” Sharma said. “It doesn’t matter what you need help with. We’re here. Bring your letters. Bring your stuff you’re confused with. Bring your food stamp application. We may not be able to help you on the spot, but we’ll guide you in the right direction.”

At the end of the day, the agency’s success lies in its finances, Sharma said.

“Anything can go wrong with Medicaid or even with your clients,” she said. “So we are … maniacal about our finances because you could go under within weeks. Your payroll is huge.”

As such, Sharma operates by a cardinal rule from her corporate days: You cannot manage what you cannot measure.

“I’ve been maniacal about making a process out of everything and knowing every part of the pipeline of my office operations and measuring every aspect of it,” Sharma said. “If we’re going way into overtime, I want to understand why. If people are challenging us with rates and we’re missing visits, I want to know why. Your success will be around managing your numbers.”

Thrive is a HHCN series that explores the successes, struggles and strategies of home care owners and operators on the local level.

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Source: CareTips

Possible vs. Inevitable: The Importance of Preventing Falls… and How to Do It!

Preventing-Falls

Several weeks ago, a woman commented on an article I’d done about getting older vs. getting old. She told a story about taking a bad fall over a concrete curb, sitting there for a few moments, and then moving on.

What’s notable about her story is that at 76, she got up and kept going. She lost only a tiny fraction of her flexibility. She didn’t land in the hospital, decline and die within six months – unlike far too many older people.

The Senior Health & Wellness Blog posted a quick review of the stats on our ‘splats’, if you will, and the extraordinary cost we pay when we don’t keep our balance.

The Story of One Woman

The woman in question, let’s call her Marge, banged her head, elbow and a few other places. It took her a moment to get her bearings. Then she got right up and walked away. Most women of that age don’t get up again. Far too many die within six months of a fall.

Marge is different.

Why? When she wrote to me, she explained that she’d started doing yoga and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) when she was 62. She works out on weights. She works on her balance and flexibility. She’s not a lifelong athlete.

I’ll say it again: She began at 62.

When she did see her doctor, he was shocked not only at how little flexibility she’d lost but that the fall had done so little damage in the first place.

Why We Fall

And therein lies the point. Falls kill. They can be horrifically unforgiving. All too often, they happen because we’re trying to do something at the end of a ladder that we shouldn’t, or we have a slightly too-high opinion of our abilities that might be a tad too dated.

Or it’s just a touch of snow or ice in the wrong place on the sidewalk. Or for that matter, it’s a disease or a combination of prescription or OTC drugs we’re taking, which is a whole other matter entirely.

We all fall. I do it spectacularly, but I ask for it because of the sports I do. At 65, horse back riding is the worst offender when it comes to head injuries. Still I am off to ride for three hours this afternoon. With a helmet, of course.

Prevention Matters

But I also take other tumbles. What keeps me in the game is the same thing that Marge does: a combination of yoga, balance work, weights and aerobic activity.

Marge didn’t get there overnight. Nobody does. We begin where we are with gentility and a sense of humor. We ask permission and achieve small gains over time.

The body confidence that we can gather with those small gains makes all the difference when it comes to our personal freedom and our ability to enjoy life.

And to survive falls, which are inevitable for all of us at one time or another.

Techniques for Fall Prevention

Here’s the RX for fall prevention, and if you do fall, for the ability to get right back up again:

  • Start a gentle program (such as yoga).
  • Work on your strength and your flexibility. Find a program or class you love and will commit to do regularly.
  • Be patient with your body, especially if it’s been a while. Have a good chuckle at yourself and give yourself permission to be imperfect.
  • Celebrate the small gains. Who knows? That turn around the block may turn into a 10k race before you know it. When we begin a new effort, we have no idea where it may lead.
  • Get support by involving friends who will not only encourage you but support you along the way. Laughter goes a long way towards encouraging each other to keep moving.

The post Possible vs. Inevitable: The Importance of Preventing Falls… and How to Do It! appeared first on Sixty And Me.

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Source: CareTips

Is Paying Your Mortgage Off Before Retirement a Good Idea?

Paying-Your-Mortgage-Off-Before-Retirement

The day we close on a new house, we start looking forward to our final payment. Over the years our savings build up and retirement is in the not-so-distant future. It seems like the perfect time to pay off our mortgage and live debt-free, but is this a good idea? Join us in discussion with financial expert Pam Krueger who explains why this decision may or may not be to your advantage. Enjoy the show!

If you’re pondering whether or not you should pay off your mortgage before retirement, you’re not alone. And according to financial expert, author, and PBS co-host Pam Krueger, you’re also in a very good position to start with.

Having enough money in savings to pay off your mortgage entirely and live completely debt-free is a goal that some people will never reach. While the prospect sounds appealing, it’s not always in your best interest according to Pam Krueger.

Weighing the Pros and the Cons

There are two different ways to look at this option- that is from a financial standpoint and from an emotional standpoint.

Pam says that from a financial standpoint, if you have several years left to pay on your mortgage, then paying it off early will save you a considerable amount of money that would otherwise be lost to paying interest on your loan.

The money that you are no longer paying in interest every month becomes the return that you are now guaranteed to get on that savings. And as Ben Franklin is credited with saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

From an emotional standpoint, paying off your mortgage early certainly brings great emotional relief and a feeling of success and financial freedom. The sense of security is comforting, and it seems like a win-win situation.

However, from a financial standpoint, if your savings are not far exceeding the amount left on your loan, you may find that paying off your mortgage upfront can leave you strapped for cash. Emotionally, you may find it burdensome to be unable to participate in the life you always imagined after retirement.

Moving or Staying

Another huge factor in making the decision to pay off your mortgage early or continue paying it into retirement is deciding how much longer you plan to stay in your home. This plays a big role in your decision.

If you plan to stay there for years and you have enough in savings to keep you happy while your savings builds back up, then paying off your mortgage makes good sense. But if you plan on moving 5 years down the road, then putting all your money into a house you’re going to be leaving is not a wise investment.

Considering Your Tax Deductions

Another huge factor to consider is the tax break that you could be losing by paying off your mortgage early. The loss could be significant if you have a long life left on your mortgage and are forfeiting that interest deduction.

Getting Sage Advice

With so many factors and options to consider, Pam highly recommends seeking council from a CPA who is trained and well-versed in comparing all possible scenarios that you could be facing. With the latest sophisticated software, CPAs are able to give extremely accurate outlines of your current financial situation and your future possibilities.

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Source: CareTips

Downsizing Your Home After 60: Don’t Let Change Keep You from Living the Life You Want

Downsizing-Your-Home-After-60

Everyone resists change… Change is very hard… Real change takes a long time…

We hear things like these all the time. Are they true? Well, maybe and maybe not. Like lots of things, “It depends.”

 

Change Is Everywhere

There are some big changes we make on a dime, like setting the clocks forward and back twice a year. Except for a couple of states, the entire United States changes “what time is it?” overnight.

On the surface we feel sleepy an inadequate for a couple of days, but this is a huge change on lots and lots of levels. And still it happens in an instant.

It’s the same when we suddenly become a student and have to go to school every weekday for many months a year for the next however many years.

In similar manner, one minute we’re single, and the next minute we’re married. One minute we aren’t parents and within several minutes we are. And according to my mother, we’re a parent for the rest of our lives, even when our “children” get to be 40 years old!

In our lifetimes we’ve changed our mindset from not even knowing what a car seat belt was, to automatically putting one on, even if it’s just to drive to a different spot in the parking garage! And on and on.

In many cases the change itself is not so hard as the time we spare to sit down and contemplate it. There have been countless times when a major decision was looming, and I agonized over it for days or sometimes months. And then, I made the decision – snap! – and did what needed to be done after that.

Has that been true for you?

Taking Small Steps Helps

Downsizing your home can be a bit like this, I think, if we keep some things in mind.

Last year I went through a major downsizing of my home and moved into a very small apartment. Was that an easy change to make? No, and I’ve written about the emotional side of it in my book The Upside of Downsizing: Getting to Enough.

However, the more I remembered to take things one small step at a time, the easier the process seemed to be. For example, one of the hardest things for me was getting rid of lots and lots of my books. I consider books precious, but I could take with me only a very small percentage of the ones I owned.

Understandably, when I thought, “I need to get rid of lots of books,” I was absolutely frozen. Changing my mindset to “Today I will focus on that bookcase,” made things infinitely easier. It was not necessarily fun and delightful, but it was certainly easier.

And I think this is true for lots of changes we’re asked to make in our lives. If we remember to break it down and take it one small step at a time, it will be easier. And eventually we’ll be done.

In terms of downsizing, “being done eventually” means that we need to start sooner rather than later. So, if you know that at some point you’re going to be downsizing your home, start NOW!

Don’t Accumulate New Stuff

Start by not bringing in lots of new things but start going through one closet and one drawer at a time. Take everything out and put back only those few things you really want or need to keep.

If you don’t know the size of the place you’ll be moving into, pretend it will be a quarter of the size of your current space.

I went from three very large clothes closets to a single small one. That meant getting rid of lots and lots of things. Keep a big plastic bag in the corner of one room and use it to discard all those things that are overdue to go out.

There is a big rule you will need to make yourself keep: Never look in that bag again and never take anything out unless it truly went in by mistake.

If you intend to donate the things to a charity and want to take a tax deduction, keep a pad and pen beside the bag so you can list the things as they go in.

Know Where Your Things Are Going

It was less painful for me to get rid of things, even my books, if I knew where they were going. For example, my books went to the local library for their semi-annual used-book sale, which pays for a very large percentage of their operating expenses.

Let’s summarize the steps you can take for making the change of downsizing easier:

  • Take small steps to make the process much less overwhelming.
  • Don’t bring new things into your house so you won’t have additional clutter to feel attached to.
  • Plan for where the things you’re discarding will go. Knowing that someone else (person or organization) will benefit from your things makes getting rid of them much less painful.

Once you decide to get rid of something, don’t change your mind – it’s not worth it to go through that painful decision twice.

It’s time to start downsizing! Good luck!

The post Downsizing Your Home After 60: Don’t Let Change Keep You from Living the Life You Want appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post Downsizing Your Home After 60: Don’t Let Change Keep You from Living the Life You Want appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

How Important Are Your Neighbours as Your Reach the Mark of 60?

Neighbours

My very friendly next-door neighbours moved back to the US last month. In many ways, it was not a surprise, as they were always going to be visitors in London – here because of the husband’s job. Yet it came as both a shock and a loss.

Perhaps I am not alone in this position.

The Role of Neighbours

The role of neighbours in our lives is an interesting one. They may become good friends, of course, but often – however friendly you are with them – there is a certain amicable distance.

You meet on the doorstep when putting out the trash or even stop in the street for a chat when out shopping.

I have neighbours with whom I can have lengthy discussions about the schooling of our grandchildren or the state of the world. Such talks can be so engrossing that my husband begins to worry what happened to me when I had only popped out for some milk.

You also do all sorts of small things for one another, like taking in packages or offering the proverbial cup of sugar. Perhaps you occasionally water a garden or keep an eye on the cat.

The Importance of Neighbours

It might be said that neighbours now substitute for what the larger family traditionally did as a matter of course.

When extended families used to live near each other (or, indeed, with each other), it would often be the older generation who would come to the rescue when there was a problem.

As I have written in my book about grandmothers, this can still happen, but often people simply live too far away.

We, for instance, often step in for a 15-minute babysit when a neighbour with three kids has one child suddenly down with the flu and needs to get the others to school.

Although these little niceties are small, they make life so much richer. Not to mention easier. You may not see the neighbours all that much or you may see them often, but you feel more comfortable knowing they are around.

Getting to Know Your Neighbours

Big cities are famous for not being very friendly places, with people feeling lonely in the midst of a large population.

This may be true for many, but you may be surprised that a lot of people do get to know their neighbours. In some countries, this is easy, with very little required for people to break the ice.

In the UK, with its tradition of people keeping to themselves, it can be more difficult. Children are a great enabler of friendliness. I certainly met some of our neighbours through our children and, now, through our grandchildren. I believe dogs serve much the same purpose.

Some places seem to have a tradition of neighbourhood friendliness. I know of one family who, on the day of moving in to their new house, were greeted by a bottle of wine and a friendly note from those living nearby.

Unfriendly Neighbours

Not everyone has friendly neighbours, of course. This is often a nightmare scenario. You hear shouting, or worse, and don’t know what to do. They have loud parties or don’t clean up their rubbish and it all affects your quality of life.

Sometimes, they are doing nothing more than enjoying their garden, talking to friends well into the night or, as we used to experience, barbecuing fish. You can’t really complain, but you wish they wouldn’t do it.

Years ago, we had some very unfriendly neighbours who threw rubbish over our common fence and once threw a brick through our window. We called in the police, who claimed that there was little they could do. We moved soon after.

Moving Away

There are many things we may take for granted until they are gone. One of these, in my view, is friendly neighbours. If you have lived in the same place for a long time, you know them quite well. And you know you can ask them for help (and are happy to reciprocate).

If they move, you will miss them.

And if you want to move, it does make you stop and think. As we are at the age of down-sizing, we have begun to consider the road ahead. There are numerous pros and cons, and it is an easy decision to put off.

But I realised that I felt strongly that one of the ‘pulls’ to staying put was the existence of so many people in my road who would help us if we needed it. This can be hard to establish in a new place. It certainly gave us pause.

We Like to Know They Are There

Years ago, I was designing a questionnaire on levels of involvement among members of patient support groups. It was easy to specify committee membership or frequency of meeting attendance, but I felt there was something more passive but subtle.

I came up with “I don’t attend my local group often, but I like to know it is there.”

Bingo; that was ticked more than anything else.

Afterwards, I thought this is a category that comes up in life quite often – the things we don’t use actively, but we are very pleased to know that they are there.

Good neighbours come under this heading.

The post How Important Are Your Neighbours as Your Reach the Mark of 60? appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post How Important Are Your Neighbours as Your Reach the Mark of 60? appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

Is Your Bath Water Unhealthy? Tips for Neutralizing Toxins in Your Tub

Neutralizing-Toxins-in-Your-Tub

When you’ve had a mentally stressful day, a warm bath is a fabulous way to unwind. Some days you may have pushed your body a bit too much overdoing it in the yard, trying to keep up with the grandkids at the park, or engaging in a new activity your muscles weren’t used to.

All of these can result in sore muscles and achy joints. A soak in the tub can help relax your body, quiet your mind and calm your soul.

Get Clean in the Shower, Relax in the Bathtub

If your primary objective is cleansing your body, you’ll likely jump into the shower so all that dirt and grime goes right down the drain. For radiant skin and additional detoxification, try dry skin brushing before showering.

The bathtub isn’t typically where we go to wash up. Most of us think of a warm bath as something designed to create a different experience altogether. Therefore, I want to make certain your bath isn’t doing more harm than good.

Here’s what this article will cover:

  1. What is chlorine and chloramines?
  2. Why are these chemicals detrimental to your health and skin?
  3. How to dechlorinate your water to protect healthy bacteria, and minimize skin aging.

Chlorine and Chloramine: Two Dangerous Toxins in Water Supply

Chlorinated tap water is the norm around the world, but there are several European and Asian countries that do not add this chemical to the water supply. It is added to all water in the United States.

Chlorine is used for the purpose of removing microbes, including bacteria. Chloramines, formed by adding ammonia to chlorine, are also used to treat drinking water.

Not only will these chemicals disinfect the water, they have the potential to do the same to YOU. There is evidence that chlorine and chloramines can kill the friendly bacteria (which are crucial for optimal health) that reside on your skin and in your gut.

If You Wouldn’t Drink It, You Shouldn’t Bathe in It

You’ve probably been drinking purified water for a while now. Removing toxins and impurities from the water you drink is important, but have you considered the water you shower and bathe in?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so absorbing toxins by daily bathing in unfiltered water has the potential to create more toxic exposure than drinking unpurified water.

Before you even stick your big toe into the bathtub to test the water temperature, do make sure your water is as pure as possible. As you soak in your luxurious bath – if you haven’t taken steps to dechlorinate the water – you will absorb chlorine through your skin. Hot or warm water will cause your pores to open up, increasing the likelihood of absorbing even more toxins.

First, discover why these chemical are so harmful. Then, I’ll reveal a simple, low-cost method of dechlorinating your water.

Two Ways Chlorine Harms Your Skin

One: Chlorine kills off beneficial bacteria

Millions of microbes reside on the surface (and in the deeper layers) of your skin. To be optimally healthy, you need beneficial bacteria populating your gut, so you should be taking a good quality probiotic every day. Do you know, however, that your skin (again, your largest organ), needs to have a colony of friendly bacteria as well?

Two: Chlorine can cause premature aging of the skin

As a young girl, I spent most summers swimming in my best friend’s pool. Not only did my naturally blond hair develop a greenish tint, but my skin would become dry and flaky as well.

Today, in my late 50s, if I spent a few hours a day in a swimming pool, my skin would likely become dry AND wrinkled. Whether you swim in a chlorinated pool or not, to keep your skin radiant and healthy looking, you must remove chlorine from your bath and shower water.

If you are like the women that I work with, you spend time taking care of your health. You know that reducing stress, healthy eating, exercise and getting plenty of rest will result in healthier, more radiant looking skin.

However, one activity that you probably consider an important beauty regimen – cleansing your skin – could actually be damaging it. If your tap water has been chlorinated, you’ll need to purify it before using it to bathe. Fortunately, there is a simple way to remove these toxins!

How to Neutralize Chlorine and Chloramine

Dechlorination can be done by using Vitamin C.

Option 1: Purchase Effervescent Vitamin C Tablets

Every Christmas, I bought my maternal grandmother Cecelia (“Grandma Cecil”) a large container of bath gelee from her favorite company, Vitabath.

When I got to visit her, I would take a luxurious bath with her wonderfully fragrant bath gelee. These days, if Grandma Cecil were here, I’d have her use Vitabath’s effervescent vitamin C tablets to dechlorinate her water before adding her gelee. You can purchase these tablets on Amazon.

Option 2: Add 1 teaspoon of powdered Vitamin C

Buy powdered vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid. This is all you need to get the job done.

You could also recreate the Vitabath formula, if you prefer. Once you have obtained your chosen form of Vitamin C for dechlorination:

  1. Fill your tub with very hot water.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of vitamin C powder.
  3. Wait 5 minutes.
  4. By now the temperature should be right; add more hot or cold water if necessary.

The post Is Your Bath Water Unhealthy? Tips for Neutralizing Toxins in Your Tub appeared first on Sixty And Me.

The post Is Your Bath Water Unhealthy? Tips for Neutralizing Toxins in Your Tub appeared first on Best Homecare Tips.

Source: CareTips

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