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April 16, 2018

Debunking the “lonely old people” stereotype

While the prospect of robotic cars may be anxiety-provoking to some, a car that drives itself at the push of a button could mean more freedom and mobility for older adults

Most senior survey respondents say they’re rarely lonely, if ever. It appears they are too busy and involved with activities to be lonely. It’s no secret that aging comes with numerous challenges, but Nick DiUlio, a author, says it might surprise many to learn that loneliness doesn’t have to be one of them. According to a new study commissioned and conducted by Princeton Survey Research and Associates International in January 2016, 628 adults age 65 and older were asked how often they feel lonely or isolated from family and friends. Considering the survey’s findings, it would appear that far fewer Americans aged 65 and older are as lonely as one might assume. The survey’s findings show that only 6 percent of respondents said they “often” feel lonely, while 16 percent said they feel lonely “sometimes,” and a staggering 59 percent said they “never” feel lonely. Psychologists have a more technical explanation. “This is a subset of a much larger issue, which is the subjective well-

being of older adults,” says Dr. Paul Chafetz, a Dallas-based geropsychologist and former associate professor of psychology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “And what we’re finding from more and more research is really the opposite of what most people believe about late life.”

Seniors could be using driverless cars in the future Google, GM, Ford, Tesla, and BMW are all researching and testing automated car technology.

The decision to stop driving can have an enormous impact on those who live in suburban or rural areas. Jennifer FitzPatrick, a gerontologist and professor at Johns Hopkins University, whose book, Cruising through Caregiving: Reducing the Stress of Caring for Your Loved One, sees driving cessation as a source of anger and frustration. “It’s the idea that they have to depend on someone and they lose their privacy,” FitzPatrick says. A study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) found that seniors who stopped driving were twice as likely to experience depression. Among family caregivers, the dependency created by driving retirement adds added work and stress. AARP says that 80 percent of the 45 million adults aged 65 and older in the U.S. live in car-dependent communities. Many advocates of driverless car technology think that when they are mobile longer, it means a better quality of life for them and for caregivers. FitzPatrick sees the advent of driverless cars as incredibly exciting. And she says older adults who still drive are more cautious. They stay closer to home and only drive during the daytime.


Dear Doug Staying Youthful

Q: Some of my friends are in their 80s but feel and act as if they’re still in their 50s. Others I know are still in their 50s but act as if they’re 30 years older. What gives? I want to feel as if I’m younger than I am. How can I do it? A: Some psychologists believe that age is dependent on our attitude, health and goals. Our bodies continue to age with time, but your body isn’t you. You can choose to shape your own identity, as well as how others perceive you. Don’t count the years, unless there’s nothing else to count. You may be getting older, but that doesn’t make you an old person. Staying youthful means focusing on being cheerful, laughing and choosing a positive attitude about life. You should prioritize learning, keeping an open mind, exercising and staying engaged with others. Get out of your ruts by reading books, finding new hobbies and being flexible and adaptable. Many great people have continued to accomplish things into their 80s. Benjamin Franklin helped frame the Constitution at 80, and Thomas Edison was still working in his lab at 84. I hope that in these years of your life, you are free of multiple responsibilities. Indulge yourself in your old ambitions. You can now make these dreams into opportunities. Get rid of old baggage, both mental and material. Give, sell or donate items that you’ve kept in storage and not used for years. Simplify your life. Freedom from responsibilities can stimulate your imagination. Tackle new projects. You can plant a tree or volunteer for a worthy cause. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stresses. Don’t settle for being lonely and afraid of living. Go out there and seize the day! -- Doug

What To Do For A Grieving Friend

Q: I have a special childhood friend whom I’ve been able to stay in contact with for over 60 years. Recently, I heard the news that her husband passed away. He was a wonderful man, and I know that she is grieving terribly. My first reaction was to buy her a sympathy card, but that doesn’t feel like enough. What else can I do? A: Handwriting a letter is a wonderful way to express your loving and caring for your friend without overwhelming her during this mourning period. She is doubtlessly making many arrangements, but letters don’t demand attention. She will be able to return to it and reread it in the continuing tough times. But your instinct is right. You can do other things to supplement the letter. After losing a spouse, loneliness can be overwhelming. As her longtime friend, you can play a special role for her. The most important thing is to demonstrate that you are there for her and that she is not alone. To that end, you have several options. Consider making a visit. You could be around to help with any arrangements or perhaps come around after the dust has settled and give her some company. Additionally, you could send her a gift basket with some basic food items, which would help remove some of the stresses involved with dealing with a loved one’s death. Play the long game. In the immediate aftermath, she is most likely feeling a sense of shock. Even once this shock subsides, she will feel a need for human connection. You can help her with that. Do what you’ve always done and be a good friend. You two are lucky to have such a long-lasting friendship. -- Emma, Doug’s granddaughter Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at Emma, Doug’s granddaughter, helps write this column.


Social Security and You SSA Service: Am I a Shill or a Critic?

I figure I must be doing something right when I get back-to-back emails from readers criticizing me for allegedly voicing diametrically opposite viewpoints. First, there was this little gem. Q: You just think the Social Security Administration is perfect in every way, don’t you? I just want you to know that there is a lot of bad information out there. Recently, I applied for widow’s benefits, and I won’t even get into what they put me through. The first young gal I talked to was clueless. Then she called an old bat for backup and this bat was criticizing me for waiting too long to file. She finally backed down. I just want you to know I read your column for laughs, not for information. And then the next email I opened -- and I’m not exaggerating, it really was the very next email -- went like this. Q: What I want to know is this: Why are you always so critical of an agency you spent most of your life working for? I think you should know that when I signed up for my retirement benefits recently, the local Social Security office people were very efficient and courteous. The young woman who took care of me was professional in every way. The entire process was smooth and simple. Please publish the good news about SSA and stop highlighting the few bad apples. Interesting isn’t it? So who is right? Well, in a way, they both are. I’ve been writing this column for about 18 years. And in more than a few columns, I took SSA reps to task for not doing their jobs. On the other hand, I’ve also written quite a few columns commending the agency and its employees for the work they do. In other words, when the SSA deserves praise, I give it. When it doesn’t, I let the SSA know. I will say this: I do think that overall service at local Social Security offices has gone downhill since I left the agency 13 years ago. When I worked for SSA, we were focused on one-to-one customer service. But that has gone the way of gas stations offering green stamps or doctors making house calls. In the 21st century, the focus is on the internet and other forms of electronic communication. From an efficiency standpoint, that has its plusses. But from the standpoint of someone trying to deal with the oftentimes complex Social Security rules and regulations, it has its drawbacks. Some readers may remember a customer service survey column I wrote about a year ago. I was getting lots of emails from readers critical of SSA’s services or of the allegedly bad advice they were getting from the agency’s representatives. As a still-proud retired SSA-er, I didn’t get too alarmed. I figured that people were more likely to write and complain about bad service than they were to praise good service. That’s just human nature, I guess. But I tested my theory by conducting a survey of my readers. I got hundreds of responses. And long story short: the vast majority -- almost 90 percent -- of respondents said they were happy and satisfied with the service they got from the SSA. That was the good news for the Social Security Administration and its employees. But there was another side to that coin. I was able to glean this bit of information from the responses. SSA’s front-line employees did routine work very well. And fortunately, most of us have rather routine experiences with Social Security. We turn 62 or 66 and want to file for retirement benefits and that’s that. It’s all rather simple and cut and dried. But if your Social Security situation is not quite routine, then, sadly, SSA reps all too often fall down on the job. For example, if someone wants to employ one of the Social Security maximizing strategies, or if a woman has a choice between taking widow’s benefits or her own retirement benefits, she sometimes get bad or conflicting advice from the Social Security representatives. And I think a lot of this has to do with training. When I started working for the SSA in 1973, I went to a highly intensive and vigorous 3-month class that was taught by expert trainers -- front-line supervisory people who had been with the agency for decades. And they passed all this knowledge on to us neophytes -- comprehensive facts and information that carried us through our careers. Regrettably, that’s not the way things work anymore. Today, new SSA hires get about six weeks of mostly online training. That’s just not the way to teach raw recruits about complicated Social Security rules and regulations. So if you are John Q. or Jane Q. Public, what are you supposed to do if you are pushing Social Security age and are about to deal with the Social Security Administration for the first time? Well, as I alluded to earlier, most of you have fairly routine situations. You are about to retire and want to apply for your Social Security benefits. In that case, I recommend you get on your computer, go to the Social Security website and file online. The whole process is quite simple. Or send an email to a highly trained but now retired former SSA representative who writes a nationally syndicated column about Social Security issues. I can’t take your claim, but I certainly will be able to answer your questions.


Privatizing the VA To hear David Shulkin tell it, he was bounced from his position as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs because he was anti-privatization, pressured by those (who were unnamed) who want to privatize the VA’s medical services. Now he’s used the media to defend himself, not mentioning his ill-advised European trip on the government dime. The truth is, others are very much against privatizing the VA. Sen. Jon Tester, the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is against privatization. The American Legion is against it, as is the Veterans of Foreign Wars. We need to keep the VA, with the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) on the side, if that’s what we want. A version of Choice care actually started in 1945 under the name Hometown Program. (Look for VHA DIRECTIVE 1601. The current version is 1700.) If all our care, or even most of it, is farmed out to the civilian world, what does the VA become? There will be less money for innovations; facilities will close, leaving fewer options for those who still want VA care; less veteran-centered research will be done; and the civilian care will be provided by those who don’t understand the specialized help many veterans need. To make VCP better, do away with the 40-mile distance requirement. If the VA can’t get us in for appointments in a reasonable amount of time (30 days at this point), we’ll go to wherever we can be treated quickest. Spend the money needed to fix up VA facilities. Too many are old, with

vintage surgical wings and aging roofs. Start firing those who are only marking time in their government jobs, collecting a paycheck without putting veterans first. That includes those who manage the money and don’t recognize the waste. At this point, it looks like a political football. Call your senators and speak up.

What Will You Do This Summer? Step One around here, the minute the snow starts to melt, is to grab the latest newsletter from the senior center and see what trips are planned. They’re always low in cost, to a great location and someone else drives the bus. Some trips include a tour guide at the other end, with lunch planned at a wonderful place with a view out the windows. If your senior center has trips like this, be sure to sign up early. Spaces will go fast. Here are some more ideas to stay busy this summer: * Talk to friends and neighbors about daily walking, either early in the morning or after supper. Look for indoor walking spots if your area doesn’t have sidewalks. Make plans to go on a picnic or head to the icecream store after your walks. * Does your local gym or YMCA offer Silver Sneakers classes? Those workouts are geared to seniors, and your Medicare Advantage plan may pay for it. Go to www. and look up plans offered for your state. * Search online for weekly farmers’ markets nearby. Chances are they’ll accept EBT/SNAP

benefits, if you have those. * Once summer is really here, you’ll need some indoor activities. Ask around about book clubs, art classes, senior swimming, weekly matinees followed by lunch, indoor flea markets, painting scenery for the theater, a yoga class, learning bridge or canasta, a ballroom dance class ... there are so many indoor options. * Go online to www.redhatsociety. com and see if there is a chapter in your area. Their goal -- having fun! While wearing red and purple! Summer gear is starting to appear on store shelves. Stock up on sunscreen and hats, and grab a new water bottle while you’re there. And maybe a red hat?

* On April 30, 1933, Willie Nelson is born into a family of Texas musicians. He penned his first song at age 7. Years later he wrote “Funny How Time Slips Away,” “Night Life” and the Patsy Cline classic “Crazy” all in one week. * On May 5, 1944, Bertha Benz, the wife of inventor Karl Benz and the first person to drive an automobile over a long distance, dies in Germany. In 1888, Bertha drove 65 miles to her mother’s, over unpaved roads. She refueled the car with Ligroin, a detergent then used as fuel. When the car’s fuel line clogged, she unclogged it using one of her hairpins. * On May 2, 1957, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) succumbs to illness exacerbated by alcoholism and dies at age 48. McCarthy had been a key figure in the anticommunist hysteria known as the

5 “Red Scare” that engulfed the U.S. after World War II. * On May 1, 1963, despite running out of oxygen, James Whittaker of Redmond, Washington, becomes the first American to reach the summit of Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. * On May 4, 1977, British journalist David Frost interviews former President Richard Nixon. In the televised interview, Nixon admitted that he had not thought the White House tape recordings regarding the Watergate scandal would come out. * On May 3, 1980, 13-year-old Cari Lightner of Fair Oaks, California, is killed by a drunk driver while walking along a quiet road on her way to a church carnival. Cari’s tragic death compelled her mother, Candy Lightner, to found the organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). * On May 6, 2004, the familiar theme song (“I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts) heralds the final original episode of NBC’s longrunning comedy series “Friends.” The show had debuted in 1994 and ran for 236 episodes.

Pets and Neighbors: Don’t Get Personal DEAR PAW’S CORNER: I’m in charge of writing the monthly newsletter for our neighborhood

association. This month, I want to publish a warning to one of the homeowners who regularly lets their dogs run off leash and into the streets. However, the head of the association made me take out the article ahead of publication. Why? It’s a safety issue. -- Concerned HOA officer in Georgia DEAR CONCERNED: While you’re right about letting dogs run loose in the street being a safety issue, calling the offender out by name in the neighborhood newsletter is not the way to go. It sounds like the head of the association didn’t explain all the reasons why it’s a bad idea. For one thing, singling out a neighbor by name -- even if that person is the only one letting their dogs run off leash -- can have legal ramifications for the association. That can get expensive. Even if things don’t get that heated, that neighbor probably knows that you write the newsletter, and you could become the target of their ire. Talk to the association head face-toface or by email and ask what can be done to address this issue. Chances are, the neighbor has already been notified by the association. Another option is for the association head or the directors to remind everyone at the regular meeting, without singling anyone out. Or, a notice can be put in the newsletter that also does not single out any residents -- one that reminds everyone of the association rules or any relevant city ordinances. I know you want to act more quickly, but you’re working as part of a group of neighbors. So work with them to address this problem. Send your tips, questions or comments to

* It was Hungarian psychiatrist Thomas Stephen Szasz who made the following sage observation: “If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.” * That iconic symbol of the Old West, the Pony Express, was based on the mail system used throughout the Mongol Empire in the 13th century. However, the Mongol riders often covered 125 miles in a single day, which was faster than the best record held by a Pony Express rider. * Someone with way too much spare time discovered that a quarter has 119 grooves on its edge. * What’s in a name? A great deal, it turns out, if you’re talking about housing prices. Those who study such things say that a house on a “boulevard” is valued at over onethird more than the same house that has “street” in its address. * Confectioner Milton Hershey suffered through founding two candy companies that ended in failure, then succeeded on his third attempt, and finally sold that company and used the proceeds to found the Hershey Company. After all his hard work, though, he seemed to be less interested in enjoying the fruits of his labors than in helping others. In 1909 he established the Hershey Industrial School for Orphaned Boys, and 10 years later he donated control of the company to a trust for the school. Today the institution is called the Milton Hershey School, and it continues to have a controlling interest in the candy company.

6 convince Stefan to release her.

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Katie was affected when Thorne told her that Bill and Wyatt were a “package deal.” Bill offered Wyatt the keys to the kingdom, but with one major stipulation. Brooke was worried when Ridge refused to let go of his rage toward Bill. Steffy told her father about Hope’s true feelings for Liam. Hope and Liam worked together on her new “Hope for the Future” campaign. Det. Sanchez suggested re-creating the scene of the crime to jog Bill’s memory. Steffy was shocked by Liam’s attitude when she ran into him at Forrester Creations. Brooke warned Ridge that if he continued expressing his hatred for Bill, he may wind up back in jail. Wait to See: Hope finds a confidant in Maya. DAYS OF OUR LIVES Marlena was appalled when she learned that Stefan and Gabby were romantically involved. Hope returned home from Hong Kong. Brady made a bold bet with Eve. Lucas tried to dissuade Chloe from considering Miguel’s offer. Stefan and Gabby went to extremes to make sure Marlena didn’t reveal their secret. John started to worry when Marlena missed their dinner plans. Lucas confronted the person he thought was behind Chloe’s offer. Adrienne had a surprising suggestion for Will’s first “Spectator” article. Vivian urged Leo not to give up on the plan to take down Sonny. Rafe vowed to fight for his marriage to Hope. Tripp made an unexpected choice between Ciara and Claire. Wait to See: John searches for Marlena as she tries to

GENERAL HOSPITAL Liz was frantic. Carly was forced to come clean. Joss remained hopeful. Nelle forged a new friendship. Drew took matters into his own hands. Sonny pushed for a professional opinion. Finn was interrupted. Anna tried to deflect. Valentin prepared a romantic evening for Nina. Peter had plans of his own. Maxie pleaded her case. Franco needed time. Nina looked to Curtis for answers. Sonny worried that his past would come back to haunt him. Nina met with Curtis. Griffin remained clueless. Nelle got the support she needed. Mike’s condition took a turn for the worse. Jason balked at Anna’s idea. Wait to See: Maxie ambushes Nina. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS Nick told Nikki that he spotted a mysterious woman leaving Victor’s hospital room. Hilary was annoyed when Devon arrived with Simone to the dedication ceremony. Jill and Nikki fought for the spotlight as they each wanted to discuss how close they were to Katherine. Kyle agreed to play along with Hilary to make Devon jealous. Devon got interrupted when he tried to explain to Simone about his contract with Hilary. Nick didn’t like the idea of Sharon dating someone else. Later, Billy pressed Sharon for her thoughts on Phyllis and Nick’s renewed connection. Phyllis warned Nick that Sharon might be using him to try to get custody of Christian. Abby told Kyle that she still didn’t trust him. Wait to See: Neil returns home.

Q: I saw a preview for a movie on Lifetime called “Nanny Killer,” and the girl who plays the lead looks so familiar to me. Can you tell me where I may have seen her? -- Jillian F., via email

A: Morgan Obenreder is the talented young actress you are thinking of. Last year she played a pivotal role on “The Young and the Restless” as Crystal Porter, a girl who was saved from sex trafficking. The previous year, she starred in the Lifetime movie “Double Mommy.” Now she’s starring in “Nanny Killer,” which premieres Sunday, April 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. She plays Kate, who lands a summer job working as a nanny on an isolated vineyard in Northern California. The little girl in her charge, Rose, is an angel. But everything changes when Rose’s brother, Jack, unexpectedly returns from boarding school. With Jack’s return, a series of increasingly dangerous events unfold. This was a fun role for Morgan to play, as she told me: “What was fun for me is I’m the character who’s also the audience, in that everything unfolds for me just as it does for the audience. I’ve never really gotten to play anything like that. I get to piece together these questions that are in

7 the movie. I also like being able to play somebody who’s championing these kids I watch, looking out for them. I’ve always been cast as someone younger in my films, so to be somebody who’s older and giving guidance and helping somebody younger, that was very fun for me too.” *** Q: “Animal Kingdom” will be back for another season, won’t it? -- Barry R., via Facebook A: Yes indeed! This summer, the infamous Cody family is back as TNT’s hit drama “Animal Kingdom” returns for its third season on Tuesday, May 29, at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In last season’s shocking cliffhanger, Baz (Scott Speedman) was shot while on his way to Mexico after framing Smurf (Ellen Barkin) for murder. Season three opens with Smurf in jail and her grandson J (Finn Cole) in charge of the family business. Deran’s (Jake Weary) drifter dad Billy (new cast member Denis Leary) comes back to make amends but may have other motives. *** Q: I need info on the following series, if they will be extended: “Grace and Frankie,” “Ozark” and “The Alienist.” -- Randy M, Palm Springs, California A: “Grace and Frankie” and “Ozark” have been renewed for their fifth and second seasons, respectively. However, “The Alienist” was always meant to be a 10-episode limited series, and there are no plans as of this writing to make another season. But since there are more books in the series by author Caleb Carr to use as source material (the third book comes out September 2019), it’s not out of the question for the show to continue. Dakota Fanning has even expressed interest in continuing on with the series. We’ll just have to wait and see. Email Cindy at letters@cindyelavsky. com

HOLLYWOOD -- Olivia DeHavilland, the last living star of “Gone With the Wind” (1939), has been suing “Feud: Bette and Joan” producer Ryan Murphy and FX over the 10-part mini-series. The dispute involves the way she was portrayed and for the words they had Catherine ZettaJones say as her. DeHavilland says she’d never be so unkind and use the language and negative comments attributed to her. Her case for defamation was heard in a California Court of Appeals in late March. There wasn’t supposed to be

a decision for 90 days, but a week later the appeals court dismissed the case. DeHavilland’s lawyer says they will take it to the California Supreme Court because one of the judges responsible for ruling on the appeal was formerly a partner in a firm that had represented FX in the past. Could it be FX and Ryan Murphy are dragging this out hoping DeHavilland, now 101 years old, may not be around to object much longer? There was a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122 years and 164 days. DeHavilland may just stay the course. *** Robert Downey, Jr., who will hit

screens next April in the title role of “The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle,” will have a powerful supporting cast in Antonio Banderas, Jim Broadbent and Michael Sheen in live-action roles. Doing voiceovers are “SpiderMan” Tom Holland (a dog), Emma Thompson (a Polynesian parrot), Ralph Finnes (a tiger), Selena Gomez (a giraffe), Kumail Nanjiani (an ostrich), Octavia Spencer (a duck), Remi Malick (a gorilla), Marion Cotillard (a fox) and John Cena as, what else, a polar bear! *** It’s that time when shows find out if they stay or go off. Word at ABC is that while “The Good Doctor” has been renewed, it’s more than likely that “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World” probably won’t be saved. Over at CBS, thanks to Leah Remini joining the cast, “Kevin Can Wait” will be renewed, but “Living Biblically” and “Me, Myself and I” will not see a second season. “Elementary” and “Code Black” will return around April 30. Fox has canceled “Wisdom of the Crowd,” and “The Exorcist” is on shaky ground. NBC has renewed “Law & Order: SVU” for a 20th season, which will tie it with the longest-running series ever, “Gunsmoke.” The CW, owned by CBS, has become the comic-book network, and in addition to the former CBS show “Supergirl,” it’s renewed “The Flash,” “Arrow,” “Legends of Tomorrow,” “Supernatural,” “Riverdale,” “Jane the Virgin and “My Crazy ExGirlfriend.” If only Kevin of “Kevin (Probably) Saves the World,” were a superhero ... he could have saved himself!



Heart of the Matter Disparities in heart health among ethnicities in the U.S. have narrowed in recent years, according to a new analysis, but not in a good way. Most Americans do not have healthy hearts -- at least as healthy as their doctors or medical guidelines would suggest. The analysis, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that less than 40 percent of whites enjoyed optimum cardiovascular health. Among MexicanAmericans, it was 25 percent and among African-Americans, just 15 percent. These were the only three groups studied. The health gap between races was smaller than in the past, but only because white patients have become less healthy. “The narrowing disparities (are) no cause for celebration,” said Dr. George Mensah, a study author. Everyone is less healthy.

The Mouse That Gorged Food scientists at Cornell University have discovered that when mice are fed a high-fat diet and become obese, they lose nearly 25 percent of their tongue’s taste buds. The loss is caused by a massive inflammatory response prompted by the unhealthy diet. That might seem like it would prompt a subsequent reduction in food consumption by the mice, but scientists found that the obesity-triggered metabolic malfunction actually encouraged the mice to eat more food. Body of Knowledge For roughly six to seven months after birth, an infant can breathe and swallow at the same time. Older children and adults cannot do this. Get Me That, Stat! Almost three-quarters of Americans think drug companies have too much sway on Capitol Hill, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll. That compares to 69 percent for Wall Street and 52 percent for the NRA. Why the big differences? Both Republicans and Democrats see the drug industry’s influence as a problem, while the other issues are more partisan. Doc Talk Hemoptysis: Spitting up blood Mania of the Week Hippomania: An obsession with horses Never Say Diet The Major League Eating record for haggis is three pounds in eight minutes, held by Eric Livingston. Haggis is a savory pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach. Livingston’s record, set in 2008, is not likely to be broken anytime soon. Obser vation “Everyone should have a few bad habits so he’ll have something he can give up if his health fails.” --Franklin P. Jones


What Could Cause Voice to Change? DEAR DR. ROACH: Over the past year, my voice has become hoarse or raspy. I find that I often have to clear my throat while speaking. I’ve had a stomach endoscopy and a colonoscopy done, the results of which were noted as “normal.” Nothing has changed in my life, such as climate, diet, clothing, furnishings, etc. I have never smoked. I suspect it may be allergies, since antihistamines seem to help somewhat. Is this the best solution? -- N.G. ANSWER: Vocal changes can be the result of many common conditions. Voice changes lasting more than two or three weeks should be evaluated by an ENT doctor, since there are serious conditions that can manifest in voice changes. In particular, anyone with a history of smoking needs a prompt and thorough evaluation for voice changes, since the nerve to the vocal cord is commonly damaged by lung cancer. Fortunately, alternate diagnoses, such as chronic laryngitis and benign vocal fold lesions (such as polyps) are more common. Reflux disease can affect the vocal cords, which may be why you had the upper endoscopy. Chronic sinusitis with postnasal drip is one cause of hoarseness that can be improved with antihistamines. However, I would not be comfortable treating this long-term with antihistamines without a more thorough evaluation than you have

reported. DEAR DR. ROACH: My wife works in the operating room of a local hospital. She came down with a Staph infection, and has been treated. Do only certain blood types catch a Staph infection? She is type A, and I am O positive. -- R.S. ANSWER: Staphylococcus aureus is a feared infection, and rightly so -- it is an aggressive bacteria that is capable of going through tissue due to its digestive enzymes. Recently, resistance to multiple antibiotics has made it even more dangerous. Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (MRSA) is resistant to many antibiotics, even though we don’t use the antibiotic methicillin anymore. Anyone can be infected by Staph, and most of us will have a Staph infection at some point in our lives, such as a boil (furuncle) or abscess. Although I did read in a popular book that people with blood type A are more likely to get Staph infections, that seems to be myth, not science. Certainly, people of any blood type can get life-threatening Staph infections. All kinds of Staph, including MRSA, can be transmitted via the hands, which is why handwashing is so important. *** DEAR DR. ROACH: You recently mentioned that apples are high in sugar. I am a 74-year-old man with borderline diabetes and an A1c level of 5.7 percent. I have been eating an apple a day for a long time and worry that I might be making my diabetes worse. -- L.T. ANSWER: The best data I can find on this still show that whole fruit, such as apples, do not adversely affect blood-sugar control if eaten in reasonable quantities (i.e., up to four a day). An apple a day is still good advice. Please don’t stay away from the doctor, though. ***

Here’s How

Use Roof Trusses Dear James: We are adding a master bedroom and family room “wing” to our house. It will have a standard pitched roof. Do you recommend having the roof stick built with lumber or using pre-made roof trusses? -- Arn T. Dear Arn: For most homes, using roof trusses is a far better construction method than stick built roof framing. The main exception is if you plan to use the attic area for storage of large items. The web cross supports on the trusses may get in the way of large items and make it more difficult to move through the attic. There are many advantages to using trusses. They are an engineered product, so they are generally very strong. If your wing addition is going to be very large, trusses are strong enough to cover a longer span than standard roof rafters. In cold climates with a heavy snow load, this extra strength of trusses can be a significant advantage. Also, you will have more flexibility on the design of your rooms and the spacing of the walls because the trusses will not have to rest on a load-bearing wall. Another key advantage is the uniformity of the size and shape of the trusses. This simplifies the construction of the roof because you know everything will line up properly. The lumber used in trusses is kiln dried so it is stable and relatively lightweight to handle.

10 The ceiling in the rooms should be flat and true with trusses because the long bottom chord of each truss becomes the ceiling joist to which the ceiling drywall is nailed. If you prefer a vaulted ceiling, your builder can order scissor trusses in which the bottom chord is pitched at the angle of your ceiling. There are some tips to make it easier to install a truss roof. Although your builder will be doing most of the work, it would not be a bad idea to discuss the construction methods with him/her. Doing it the simplest way saves workers’ time and that reduces your labor costs. The trusses will be delivered to your building site in bundles strapped together. The top truss in the bundle will be a gable truss. Instead of the supporting webs being on angles, as in the other trusses, the web will be vertical studs. This makes it easier to finish these gable trusses with the exterior finishing materials. Once the bundle or bundles of trusses are placed flat on the roof, cut the bands to separate them. Building a temporary catwalk along the center of the ceiling makes it safer to handle and move the trusses. Measure and mark the locations of each truss on the top of the wall plates. Walking along the catwalk, drag each truss until its bottom cord is over its mark on the wall plate. The peak of each successive truss will lay over the one in front of it. It usually takes three people to raise and attach the trusses so you might find it interesting to help at this stage. Aligning the gable truss with the house wall is critical. Once this is done, each successive truss will be raised vertically. Use bracing to keep the trusses vertical and spaced properly until the roof sheathing is nailed to them. This will help lock them rigidly together. \

A Greener View Double Digging Q: I was reading a mystery novel, and one of the characters mentioned that the garden had been double dug. I was wondering, is that still a common practice? A: It probably isn’t, but it should be. In the past, gardeners depended more on having a good soil than having good chemicals. A deep organic soil is much better for the plants. A deep bed of soil will support more roots and supply more water in dry weather. It will support a better soil ecosystem of beneficial organisms that will make a healthier garden that doesn’t need as much chemical input from the gardener. This method of soil enrichment replaces poor soil with good topsoil. Everywhere that you want a plant’s roots to grow should be double dug. It is easiest with annuals and vegetables that have roots that are not going to grow very far. It becomes harder for perennials, shrubs and trees. First, decide where the planting bed is going to be. Let us pretend it will be 4 feet wide and 20 feet long. On one end, dig out one shovel depth all the way across the 4 feet. Put the dirt in a wheelbarrow, and carry it the 20 feet to the opposite end. In the same trench, dig out another shovel depth, and lay it on top of the ground next to the hole. Use the shovel to loosen the

clay at the bottom of the hole. Add organic matter of any kind to the trench. The more composted it is, the better, although fresh material will do if it is all that is available. Mix the organic matter and the dirt from the second depth to refill the bottom layer of the hole. Next, dig the first shovel depth out of trench No. 2 all 4 feet across. Add it and some organic matter to trench No. 1 to fill it. Dig the second shovel depth out of trench No. 2; add the organic matter; and mix it in. Begin trench No. 3, and add the top layer to trench No. 2. Continue until you are all the way to the end, and finish by using the soil from trench No. 1 to fill in the last trench. Since each shovel depth is 8 to 10 inches deep, you will have a good deep soil more than a foot and a half deep. You can even use this method to go three shovel depths deep to get a 2-foot-deep soil. Rototilling usually only scrapes the surface a few inches deep. Double digging is a much better method of creating a good garden soil. Q: Do you have any suggestions on a good wood for making the boards of a raised bed? A: Any type of wood can be used for supporting walls on a raised bed. Cedar, cypress and redwood all have natural oils that slow down the decay organisms. Wood that is treated with preservatives may be harmful to some plants. Landscape timbers from garden centers are used near ornamental plants without any adverse effect. The worry is that chemicals may leach into the soil and be absorbed by vegetables. An untreated pine or spruce board will last for several years without any treatment. A layer of plastic behind the board can keep

11 the moisture away from the board to make it last longer. Painting the board with a latex paint will also make it last longer. An easy method to build a wall with good drainage is to use stones. Flowers and vines can also be planted in between the rocks for a nicer view of the garden. Large boulders go at the bottom; medium ones go in the middle; and small ones go on top. Many manmade concrete wall stones stack easily and have a relatively low cost. They usually have ridges for reinforcement that make them very durable.

* Check your dishwasher for food particles, and run a cycle every week with a cup of white vinegar in the bottom. It will clear your lines of yucky mildew buildup and leave it smelling fresh. * “If you get a small cut, try sprinkling it with black pepper (fine ground). It stops the bleeding right away and doesn’t hurt or sting at all. I did this when I accidentally nicked myself in the kitchen. It worked! I rinsed it off after a minute of two, and it still didn’t bleed.” -- J.J. in Florida * To get your white sneakers clean again, mix a paste of peroxide and baking soda, wet the canvas and rub the paste in with a toothbrush. Rinse and repeat scrubbing as needed. Allow to dry before wearing. * Save plastic cups from fast-food or convenience-store visits, because they make good containers when you are painting. Pour some paint in the

cup to use when you are cutting in the edges. Many paint ladders have a spot that accommodates a cup, so it’s more secure. * Have a little empty spray bottle from a travel-size body spray? They are perfect for small cleaning solutions. Add rubbing alcohol to use in cleaning off your glasses or cellphone touch surface. Add window cleaner and store with a half roll of paper towels in your vehicle for quick windshield cleanups. * “Cheap moving supplies: paper plates. You can put them between your real plates and pans to prevent scratching, or use them as walls to separate items in a box. Store small hardware by folding the plate over and sealing the edges together (don’t forget to label it!). And then you can use it for pizza when you move in.” -- R.D. in Missouri Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.

Understanding Your Risk for Deep Vein Thrombosis (StatePoint) Anything that keeps the blood from circulating properly can cause a clot, including injury, illness, lack of movement, certain inherited conditions and lifestyle factors. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a large blood clot that forms in one or more of the deep veins in the body. Knowing the symptoms of DVT could help save your life. For more information, visit Take control of your health to help decrease your chances of developing DVT by understanding the risks and treatment options available.

New drugs promise to melt away high cholesterol Patients that suffer from abnormally high cholesterol can benefit from a new class of drugs, but the cost may cause problems for some. Affordable cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins work for the majority of people, but there are about 10 million people in the United States who can’t take those drugs or who suffer from a genetic disease. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disease that causes uncontrollable high cholesterol even with the highest doses of traditional medicines. PCSK9 inhibitors such as Praluent, from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and Repatha, from Amgen, represent a new way of tackling cholesterol. They have been shown to reduce cholesterol in eligible patients by 50- to 60 percent after a year’s worth of treatment. The drawback to the drug is the price tag. A year’s worth of Praluent is around $14,600 and Repatha demands a similar price. It is likely, however, that patients could obtain discounts from 30 to 65 percent off the retail price, according to The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Health insurance companies may be hesitant to approve the use of these drugs as long-term use could end up costing them billions of dollars in benefits. Prescribing this treatment might end up saving them money in the long run as the estimated lifetime cost of heart failure is $110,000 - many years worth of a life-saving medicine.


Kovels: Antique And Collecting Spice Bin

Why not collect food-storage antiques? Food had to be specially prepared to last during the centuries before ice boxes and refrigerators. Long hours were spent smoking, pickling, drying and canning foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables were available only “in season.” Ice boxes were used in the 19th and 20th centuries. A block of ice was cut from a frozen lake then wrapped and stored in a special zinc-lined box. It melted as it cooled, and the housewife had to empty the pan of melted ice water at least once a day. The first electric refrigerator was made in 1911, and by 1923, Frigidaire was selling a home refrigerator. Early refrigerators used freon in the cooling process, but to keep the planet green, the chemical was outlawed in the 1990s. The refrigerator-freezer combination we use today was first sold in 1939. But spices still are used to store, flavor and preserve food. Grocery stores of the 1890s sold spices from a large container, or later, the small-sized tins sometimes used today. A spice display was an important part of the store. A 36-inch-tall Pagoda-shaped spice bin with original paint sold at a Showtime auction in 2015. It was a six-sided tower that held ginger, cinnamon, mustard, cloves, allspice and pepper. The revolving tower had ornate lithographed labels on the tin sections. The rare antique sold for $3,300. If that is too big, look for the small (2- to 3-inch) tins that used to hold spices. The best have unusual graphics. Prices range from $5 to $25. They are still found at house sales, flea markets and online, but rarely at auctions because they are so inexpensive. *** Q: I’m downsizing and want to sell my dining-room furniture. It’s made of maple and is marked “A genuine

A country store spice bin shaped like a Pagoda sold for $3,300 because of its rarity, condition and size. The 3-foot-tall lithographed tin Pagoda held six different spices that were ladled into bags by the store clerk in about 1890.

Cushman Colonial Creation made in Bennington, Vermont.” I have a table with two leaves, hutch, six chairs and a wet sink. How much do you think I can get? A: The H.T. Cushman Manufacturing Co. was in business in North Bennington, Vermont. from 1892 to 1971, when it was bought by Green Mountain Furniture. The company was founded by Henry Theodore Cushman. The furniture probably won’t sell in antiques sales, but a house or garage sale could be good. You should get about one-third the price of comparable new furniture if your set is in great condition. *** CURRENT PRICES Elvis Presley record, “All Shook Up,” RCA, 45 RPM, 1957, $10 Folk-art birdhouse, wood, steep pitched roof, two windows and door, 21 x 21 inches, $60. Toy sand pail, kids playing on beach, tin lithograph, Ohio Art Co., c. 1930, 6 1/2 inches, $380. Wigwam Oats box, cardboard, Indian village, multicolor, 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, $775. *** TIP: Don’t use old home-canning jars to preserve food. The jars with wire bails, glass caps, zinc porcelain-lined caps or metal caps with rubber rings do not seal as well as the new twopiece vacuum-cap jars. For more collecting news, tips and resources, visit

Sweet and Tangy Glazed Salmon The sweet tang of citrus and the bite of hot pepper jelly are what make this salmon dish so uniquely flavorful. Serve with Orange-Almond Rice. 1 cup long-grain white rice 1/2 cup sliced almonds 2 navel oranges 1/2 cup hot pepper jelly 4 salmon steaks or skinless pieces salmon fillet Kosher salt and pepper 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1. Heat oven to 400 F. Cook the rice according to package directions. 2. Meanwhile, spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Heat broiler. Line a broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. 3. Squeeze the juice from half an orange into a small bowl (you should have 2 tablespoons juice). Add the jelly and whisk to combine. Place the salmon on the baking sheet, season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and broil for 5 minutes. Spoon half the jelly mixture over the salmon and broil until the salmon is opaque throughout, 2 to 5 minutes more. 4. Cut away the peel and pith of the remaining 1 1/2 oranges. Cut the oranges into 1/2-inch pieces. Fold the oranges, almonds and parsley

13 into the rice. Serve with the salmon and the remaining jelly mixture. Makes 4 servings. TIP: Try this tangy jelly glaze on flank steak, chicken breasts or pork chops. Or use it as the sauce in your next stir-fry.

New Banana Tea Bread

Enjoy a slice for dessert or to start your day off right -- it also makes a great snack. For a whole-grain variation, substitute 1/2 cup wholewheat flour for 1/2 cup of the allpurpose flour. 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup (about 3 small) bananas, mashed, very ripe 1/3 cup fruit-based fat replacement or unsweetened applesauce 2 large egg whites 1 large egg 1/4 cup pecans, chopped 1. Heat oven to 350 F. Spray 9-by-5inch metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. 2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 3. In medium bowl, with fork, mix mashed bananas, fruit-based fat replacement, egg whites and egg. 4. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into loaf pan, sprinkle with chopped pecans. 5. Bake 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool loaf in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan, cool completely on wire rack. Visit our website at www.

Everyday Cheapskate

No Truth to the Rumor That Metal Knives Make Lettuce Turn Brown Quite possibly one of my favorite aspects of writing this column is the mountain of reader feedback it produces. I have the best readers in the universe, too. Nearly every letter turns into a love fest, which of course charges my batteries, making me love my readers all the more! Do you recall the letter from Pat, who complained of her lettuce turning rusty? I responded that the rust-colored stains on lettuce are harmless evidence of the natural breakdown process and an indication that the produce is not exactly fresh. The parts that are turning brown can be cut away, while the rest of the lettuce remains perfectly edible. Well, that question together with my response brought in a tsunami of input from readers insisting Pat’s problem is that she is cutting her lettuce with a metal knife. Jenny wrote: “While working in a restaurant, a decade ago, I learned to either cut the lettuce with a plastic knife or tear it. I do not know the science behind why metal causes the lettuce to brown but my lettuce stays fresher looking days longer since I stopped using metal knives.” While this might sound like a plausible explanation for why lettuce turns brown, I’m sorry to tell Jenny and the dozens of others who wrote about using a plastic knife instead of a metal one to keep lettuce fresher longer: It’s a myth. There is no truth to the rumor. If you believe your lettuce stays fresher longer when you cut it with a plastic knife, the truth is, it produces the same outcome as using a metal knife. The enemy of lettuce is time plus oxygen, not metal. Exposing the inside of a head of lettuce to oxygen is going to hasten its breakdown, whether you cut it with plastic, metal or a laser beam. It’s going to turn brown. Personally, I blame Tupperware parties for founding this myth. Back in the 1970s, the company came out with a little plastic knife, or “corer,” that it included with its Lettuce Crisper. The instructions were to cut out the heart of the lettuce head, insert a plastic pointy thing where the heart used to be and then store it in the crisper. Tupperware dealers were instructed to tell party attendees that cutting lettuce with metal would make it turn brown, and that to combat this horrible waste of money, they needed this plastic coring knife-like gizmo. I believed; I bought it; and so did millions of others. And here we are, all these years later, many still believing this vintage piece of culinary lore. I’m convinced it was nothing more than a brilliant marketing ploy. There are lots of ways to slow the lettuce dying process so it stays fresher longer: Wait to wash it until you’re ready to use it. Store it in a sealed glass container. Wrap it in a paper towel to wick away moisture. Keep a Bluapple ethylene gas absorber in the produce bin of your refrigerator or the fruit bowl on your counter. All are excellent tips with provable results. But the mother of all tactics that will keep produce fresh at least long enough to use it up is to vacuum seal it by removing all of the oxygen -- the arch enemy of fresh produce. And with that, I’ll close by encouraging you to write to me. I enjoy knowing your feedback, but most of all, I thrive on just knowing that you’re there!



16 Top Ten Box Office Movies 1. A Quiet Place (PG-13) Emily Blunt, John Krasinski 2. Ready Player One (PG-13) Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke 3. Blockers (R) Leslie Mann, John Cena 4. Black Panther (PG-13) Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan 5. Tyler Perry’s Acrimony (R) Taraji P. Henson, Lyriq Bent 6. I Can Only Imagine (PG) J. Michael Finley, Brody Rose 7. Chappaquiddick (PG-13) Kate Mara, Clancy Brown 8. Sherlock Gnomes (PG) animated 9. Pacific Rim: Uprising (PG-13) John Boyega, Scott Eastwood 10. Isle of Dogs (PG-13) animated (c) 2018 King Features Synd., Inc.

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Top 10 Movies On Demand 1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13) Dwayne Johnson 2. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (PG-13) Daisy Ridley 3. Pitch Perfect 3 (PG-13) Anna Kendrick 4. Downsizing (R) Matt Damon 5. Justice League (PG-13) Ben Affleck 6. I, Tonya (R) Margot Robbie 7. Ferdinand (PG) animated 8. Coco (PG) animated 9. The Shape of Water (R) Sally Hawkins 10. Thor: Ragnarok (PG-13) Chris Hemsworth Top 10 DVD, Blu-ray Sales 1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13) Dwayne Johnson 2. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (PG-13) Daisy Ridley 3. Pitch Perfect 3 (PG-13) Anna Kendrick 4. Downsizing (R) Matt Damon 5. Justice League (PG-13) Ben Affleck 6. I, Tonya (R) Margot Robbie 7. Ferdinand (PG) animated 8. Coco (PG) animated 9. The Shape of Water (R) Sally Hawkins 10. Thor: Ragnarok (PG-13) Chris Hemsworth

Active Life Weekly Digest (04-16-18)  

Active Life Weekly Digest (04-16-18)

Active Life Weekly Digest (04-16-18)  

Active Life Weekly Digest (04-16-18)