Funny Things to Ponder

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Identity theft

Identity theft is a growing concern for many people. Seniors too often fall prey to scams. There are many ways to insure protection by technological means. But the easiest way to get your identity stolen is by someone taking a purse or wallet. Be sure to carry only the cards you need, and leave cards like your social security cards at home.
When shopping online your information might pass through unsecured sites, be sure you are using a secure site. Monitoring your checking and credit card statements is an easy way to catch a theft before too much damage is done.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Alzheimer's new research

According to new research, optical imaging can be used to find earlier diagnosis and intervention of Alzheimer's. Nerve cell damaging plaque that builds up in the brain also shows up in your retinas. Previous studies show that changes in the brain can occur years even decades earlier. Noninvasive brain imaging could not provide enough information on the changes unless it was an autopsy done. The retina is considered a better target for noninvasive imaging because it is part of the central nervous system. Past research have documented retinal abnormalities but this is the first to identity plaque build-up that could specifically diagnose Alzheimer's.

More recipes

Ingredients

* 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 1 vanilla bean
* 1/4 cup pina colada-style sweetened coconut cream
* 1/4 cup heavy cream
* 4 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
* 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
* 2 large red-skinned mangoes, peeled, seed discarded
* 1 large Hawaiian papaya (about 1 pound), seeds discarded
* 8 (8-inch) skewers

Directions

Place the butter in a small skillet. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds onto the butter. Mash seeds into the butter with the back of a spoon. Add the scraped pod and melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and set aside to steep.

Heat the coconut cream and heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted and smooth. Stir in the lime zest. Set aside. (The vanilla butter and chocolate sauce can be made up to 3 days ahead, refrigerated, and reheated before grilling.)

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before grilling. Prepare an outdoor grill with a low-medium fire.

Prepare the fruit for the skewers, cutting the fruit into 2-inch chunks. Thread the fruit onto 8 (8-inch) skewers, alternating the mango and papaya. Brush lightly with some of the vanilla butter. Grill the fruit until lightly charred but not mushy, turning as needed, about 5 minutes per side. Pool about 2 tablespoons chocolate sauce on each of 4 plates, arrange 2 skewers on each plate, and drizzle with a bit of vanilla butter.

Recipes for thought

Antipasta salad

Ingredients
Salad:

* 1/4 medium red onion, minced
* 1/2 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cored
* 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 4 jarred roasted sweet red peppers, chopped (about 3&4 cup)
* 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and quartered, if whole
* 2 cups baby arugula
* 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
* 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted (about 2 ounces)
* 1/2 to 1 cup freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano

Dressing:

* 1 small garlic clove, peeled
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
* 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
* Freshly ground black pepper
* 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

For the salad: To mellow the minced onion, soak it in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain well, pat dry, and put in a serving bowl.

Meanwhile, make the dressing: Smash the garlic clove, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and, with the side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Put the paste in a bowl and add the orange zest, vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper, to taste. Gradually whisk in the olive oil, starting with a few drops and then adding the rest in a steady stream to make a smooth, slightly thick dressing.

Using a knife, cut the fennel lengthwise into long, thin slices. Add to the onion and toss with the chickpeas, peppers, artichoke hearts, arugula, parsley, and dressing. Scatter the olives and shave the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top.

Pros v. cons of assisted living

As you get older living at home can become more difficult with chores and other household necessities. The difference between assisted living and a nursing home: in a nursing home full time care of the patients is required. With assisted living people have more timed to enjoy things that are important to them because caregivers will take care of the small tasks. Transportation is provided for those who are unable to drive. Medical care is also provided in-house.
Cons for assisted living. There is less freedom because many activities are on a schedule. Also the cost to stay in assisted living is high, about $50-200 dollars a day.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Healthy eating

Eating healthy isn't all about dieting to lose weight, it's more for having a healthy, longer life. Benefits of eating well include resistance to illness, higher energy levels, and a better immune system. Good nutrition keeps your muscles, bones and other body parts strong. A proper diet reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, bone loss and anemia. Eating more fiber can prevent constipation and gastrointestinal diseases. The older you get calcium and other minerals move out of your bones faster than they are replaced. To help counter the loss of bone the National Institute of Health recommends you intake at least 1200-1500 mg of calcium supplement. Eat more fruits and vegetables, the more brightly colored fruits and veggies the more essential nutrients you'll get. Make sure the grains you buy are whole grain products to ensure you get the fiber and energy you need. Pick out leaner meats including poultry and fish.

Here are a couple healthy recipes I found to try out:


Bran Cereal Muffins

1 cup whole bran cereal
1 cup milk
1 egg
¼ cup corn oil
¼ cup honey
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 ¼ cups whole-wheat flour, unsifted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix bran cereal and milk in a bowl, and let stand 1 or 2 minutes. Add egg, oil and honey. Beat well. Combine remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed. Add to liquid mixture and stir only until mixed. Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 medium-sized muffins.


Pasta with tomato and peas

Ingredients

* 1 pound linguine
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 shallots, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 carrot, diced
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 5 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
* 1/4 cup grated Romano

Directions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, carrots, salt, and pepper. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the tomato paste and 1/2 cup of the hot pasta water. Stir to melt the tomato paste and create a sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary. Stir in the oregano, thyme, and parsley. Gently fold in the cooked pasta, peas, and the cheeses, adding more reserved pasta water if necessary. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Confused (poem)

I feel so confused
About everything
About something
About nothing
So much races through my mind
It goes blank I forget everything
I feel so angry
Because I can't recall anything
What am I to do
You can't see my thought's
So I can't ask you for help
Raking my brain for whats lost
Looking at objects hoping they trigger a memory
But none comes at all
Nothing but an echo from one side to the other
Emptiness, no feeling or emotion
I laugh at nothing in particular
Only to fill space for a minutes time
Something finally comes to mind
I walk downstairs as I think
I walk through the door and...
Dang! I'm confused again
I stand there staring blankly
What did I come down here for?
Something so simple has been erased
Once again I look around hoping to rekindle the memory
I feel anger rise up
A wasted trip, used up energy for nothing
I go right back upstairs standing at the top stair
I remember! Repeating it over and over so not to forget

Alzheimer's disease

This disease was named after a German physician Alois Alzheimer. Alzheimer's destroys the brain cells, and is progressive and fatal. This causes memory loss, thinking and behavior problems. Because Alzheimer's gets worse over time it is considered the seventh leading cause of death. It is a common form of Dementia. As we get older our brains change, like our bodies. We notice slowed thinking and forgetting things are normal. Serious memory loss is not just a part of aging. In Alzheimer's increasing number of brain cells deteriorate and die.
In 1906 Alois Alzheimer did a study on a 51 yr old woman who had developed problems with memory, speaking and understanding. After she died he performed an autopsy. There in her brain he noticed shrinkage of the cortex mostly. It is the outer layer of the brain that deals with memory, thinking, judgement and speech. There is currently no cure or proven treatment to slow Alzheimer's progression. There are a number of medicines out to help improve functioning through everyday life.

Dealing with stress

Stress is everywhere, in everyday life. Its important to deal with stress in a healthy way. Finding something to take your mind off things can be easy if you know what you like. Simple things I like to do is walk around the park and listen to music. More time consuming things I like to do is drawing. I'm good at drawing cartoons. I've done a couple poster size drawings for friends, and it feels good that they like them a lot. Another hobby I used to do was writing poems. I would write about things I've been through and things I haven't, so if someone read my poems they might be able to relate. Here is an example of one poem I wrote a long time ago:

Through all my smiles and all my tears
Through all the trials of all my years
Through all the pain and drama
To all my better days
When I was happy and had my way
Not a doubt in my mind that something would go wrong
Just sitting back, relaxing and listening to my songs
Going out every night with my girls
Always something to do in our world
But as we get older and reality sets in
We realize we cant do things as we did then
All work no play but hey what can I say we had our days

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Activities for seniors around Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Community Center
625 N. Main
662-3128

Recreational, social, educational, and health activities for age 55 & over, including arts and crafts, trips, lectures, health screening, and a lunch program (Thurs. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.). Outreach for homebound seniors Mon., Wed., & Fri. Dues $12. www.annarborcommunitycenter.org


Ann Arbor Senior Center
1320 Baldwin
794-6250

Classes include ACBL bridge, fitness, dance, art, music, social and duplicate bridge, mah-jongg, and French. Holds events such as football parties, art shows, concerts, trips, and more. Free activities include Scrabble, investing basics, Wii, table games, book clubs, and movies. Hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Lunch for age 55 & over ($2.50) served 11:30 a.m. Mon.-Thurs. Produces cable TV (channel 19) show Senior Moments. Membership $25/year; scholarships available. Mon.-Thurs. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. pssimmons@a2gov.org, www.a2gov.org/senior

Investing your money

A Certificate of Deposite is a 'time deposit' that cannot be withdrawn for a certain amount of period. CD's are like a saving accounts they are insured and risk free. But unlike a saving account they have a fixed time and interest rate. CD's are held until it matures then it can be withdrawn along with the interest your paid. Withdrawing a CD before it matures can have penalties though, and can be measured in months of interest or by paying a fine.

Retirement

Deciding when to retire depends all on each individual. You have to look at different factors including financial status. Setting up a budget for future expenses will give you an idea of how sufficient income will be. Using a retirement calculator willl give you an idea of the financial resources to support your retirement. Starting a retirement plan is very much like a wish list. Writing down your hobbies and/or any interests you've always wanted to get into. You should have a nice long list of information and different options for you to choose.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dogs are mans best friend

A third of owners exercise with their four-legged friends. Walking is the preferred way to execise. 42% of those 50-64, and 26% 65+ play catch or ball with their pets. People who execise with their pets are more likely to stick to a work out program. Studies show that owning an animal benefits your health. Pets may help the elderly live longer and healthier lives. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics society showed that seniors with pets have a better physical and mental well being than those who dont.
Having any pet requires some type of action from the owners. Walking, grooming, feeding, playing and petting. Even just letting the dog out a few times a day can help work out your cardiovascular system and keep your joints flexible. Research has proved in the past that people who come in contact with animals have lower blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels.

Fitness for seniors

Exercising is one of the best ways to a longer life, including a good diet. Today Americans are in better physical condition than their parents because we are aware of the necessity to work out. The physical capabilities of the 50+ group are much different than of a younger person.
Here are a few tips to consider before jumping into an exercise regime.

1. First and foremost before exercising is to get a check-up. Find out what you are or aren't limited to.

2. Don't over-do-it. Take it slow to find out what your capable of. Figure out what your base line is and record what you do from a day to day basis.

3. Setting short and long term goals for yourself. For example: take a 10 min walk friday morning, or working towards the tennis competition next spring. These goals will keep you motivated.

4. If the shoe fits... Make sure the shoe size is comfortable and fits and that the support of the shoe is appropriate for you.

5. If an exercise routine your doing hurts, work around the pain not through it.

6. Make sure you reward yourself once you have reached your goals.

Health care reform

Many of the changes expected to come with this new bill wont take effect for years, so Obama is focusing on the changes coming soon to get the public's favor. The new plan is expected to cover up to 32 million Americans who aren't insured.
"This new law gives seniors and their families greater savings, better benefits and higher quality health care" Obama said at a conference in maryland. "Your guaranteed benefits will not change; eligibility will not change; Medicare will continue to cover your costs the way it always has."
Sometime this year seniors who were caught in the 'donut gap' will receive a $250 rebate check to help pay for their prescription drugs. And by 2011 those seniors will receive up to 50% discount on brand name drugs.
One woman's view on the speech Obama held in Maryland. “‘I think it answers a lot of questions about the Medicare bill, the new Medicare bill,’ she said. ‘And it helps kinda clear up the air a little bit about what's happening to Medicare, what's happening to Social Security, what's going to happen to our children as far as Social Security and Medicare, and I was glad to hear the answer was positive.’”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Parkinson's

A support group is a tremendous pool of knowledge and experience. Members are encouraged to share how:

To cope with the day-to-day challenges,
To get the most from their visit to the doctor,
To ask intelligently about medication and therapy,
To instruct the hospital staff in the event of an admission,
To tell family and friends about PD (they notice it before you realize they do),
To empathize with other people in the same situation,
To maintain a good attitude and even laugh at adversity,
To define what’s important in life and what can be left behind