V I T A L
I N F O R M A T I O N
F O R
V I T A L
L I F E !
THE MAGAZINE FOR ACTIVE OLDER ADULTS ®
It’s Your Life
MSG: Hiding in Plain Sight
Why Boomers Get More From Social Security
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Spring Fever! It’s Not All In Your Head Page 11 APRIL 2014
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E D I TO R S’ L E T T E R D E LAWAR E • APR I L 2014
V I T A L
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Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
KARYN CORTEZ AND LINDA PRITCHETT
C R E AT I V E ART DIRECTOR
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Measuring Retiree’s Real Cost of Living
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“Smart” Technology Open Your World to Possibilities
FE B R UARY 201 4
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t always amazes me, the changes that sunshine and longer days bring. I feel it myself and see it all around me: people are energized, revitalized, happier (and maybe just a little more apt to play hooky!). Turns out it’s not just in our imagination, either. Spring fever is a real phenomenon based in physiological changes, but that’s not a very romantic notion, now, is it? Really, it just feels so much better to say, “Love is in the air,” not “Seratonin is in the air.”
5:4 PM 2/21/14 5:42
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We think that every day is a new opportunity to examine your life and start fresh, though, so this month not only are we bringing you the science behind that spring fever (page 11) but thoughtful articles we hope might inspire you as you while away a lazy, sunshiny afternoon. On page 10, Bronnie Ware writes about her experiences as a palliative nurse and the insights she gained from her patients. Every choice you’ve made in your life has brought you to the place where you are now; wise choices now will take you where you want to be. What do you want your
life to look like in a year? Five years? More? Have you told others about those experiences that make you who you are? Our friend Myrle Bowe, an expert on writing your memoirs, takes the mystery out of getting the sharing started in her article on page 16. As she says, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to start! Inspired to start giving back and looking for ideas? The Annual Week of Service is April 6-12. Check out page 15 for some unique opportunities, and visit www.volunteerdelaware.org for more. Talk about food for the soul! And if you just want to get out in the fresh air and putter around in the yard, we’ve got you covered there too. Page 9 is your go-to guide for everything you’ll want to do (or at least think about doing!) in the garden this month. Here’s to your health, happiness, and life well-lived! Happy April!
Karyn and Linda
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TO YO U R H E A LT H
MSG: Hiding in Plain Sight By Dr. Chad Laurence
ver read a food label only to have no idea what half the ingredients actually are? Perhaps you notice words such as hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, monosodium glutamate, or natural flavorings. What do these ingredients have in common, and what are their dangers? The common thread among these ingredients and others is MSG, or monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer first used in Japan in 1908 and introduced in the U.S. in 1948. Since then, MSG production has doubled every decade, even though adverse reactions including obesity and numbness were reported as long ago as 1968. Conditions from ingesting MSG or processed glutamic acid can include changes in blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, chest pains, muscle swelling, asthma attacks, temporary blindness, dizziness, headaches, seizures, numbness, anxiety, behavioral problems in children, hyperactivity, insomnia, loss of mental acuity, slurred speech, joint stiffness and pain, digestive issues, blurred vision, prostate swelling, memory dysfunction, obesity, and skin reactions. It is particularly harmful for pregnant and lactating women, and infants. MSG is a neurotoxin that acts like a
poison by stimulating neurons in the central nervous system to an excitable state that can lead to neurological degeneration. Its main component, glutamic acid, can penetrate the hypothalamus of the brain (which regulates weight control) by breaking through the natural “blood-brain barrier,” affecting brain function, and causing further health issues. MSG is inexpensive to produce, and is used by many food manufacturers as a taste enhancer in frozen dinners, soups, condiments, infant formulas, processed baby food, shakes, snack foods, and other processed foods. It is also used by many restaurants, supermarkets, and school cafeterias. Research studies have shown: ■ At least 25 percent of the U.S. population reacts to glutamic acid from MSG food sources. ■ A study by Ohguro found that MSG exposure to animals over a 3-6 month period led to significant risk for retinal damage of the eyes. ■ An article in a 1999 peer-reviewed journal, called “The Toxicity/ Safety of Processed Free Glutamic Acid (MSG): A Study in Suppression of Information,” found that exposed lab animals suffered brain lesions, neuroendocrine disorders, and obesity. Disease conditions
such as ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive degeneration of neurons and motor cells of the brain), Alzheimer’s disease, seizures, and stroke are associated with the consumption of glutamate derivatives. The FDA requires food manufacturers to list monosodium glutamate and hydrolyzed protein on food labels, but they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it’s the main component of MSG. In addition, the FDA allows many ingredients that contain MSG to be classified and grouped under the names flavors, flavorings, natural flavors or natural flavorings. There are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, but you’d never know it just from their names alone. Further, in some foods glutamic acid is formed during processing and, again, food labels give you no way of knowing for sure.
■ Glutamic Acid ■ Hydrolyzed Protein ■ Monopotassium Glutamate ■ Monosodium Glutamate ■ Sodium Caseinate ■ Textured Protein ■ Yeast Extract ■ Yeast Food ■ Yeast Nutrient These ingredients OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing: ■ Flavors and Flavorings ■ Natural Flavors and Flavoring ■ Natural Pork Flavoring ■ Natural Beef Flavoring ■ Natural Chicken Flavoring ■ Seasonings ■ Bouillon ■ Stock ■ Broth
Tips for Keeping MSG Out of Your Diet In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its pseudo-ingredients). The other place where you’ll need to watch out for MSG is in restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSG-free, and request that no MSG be added to your meal, but of course the only place where you can be entirely sure of what’s added to your food is in your own kitchen.So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll avoid this toxin.
■ Soy Sauce
To be on the safe side, you should know what ingredients to watch out for on packaged foods.
Here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG (monosodium glutamate):
■ Anything Ultra-Pasteurized
■ Autolyzed Yeast ■ Calcium Caseinate ■ Gelatin ■ Glutamate
■ Soy Protein Isolate ■ Soy Protein ■ Corn Starch ■ Citric Acid ■ Powdered Milk ■ Malt Extract ■ Malt Flavoring ■ Barley Malt ■ Carrageenan ■ Maltodextrin ■ Pectin ■ Protease ■ Anything Enzyme Modified ■ Anything Protein Fortified Know what you are putting into your body. Whenever possible, use fresh, locally grown ingredients. And as always, understand the ingredients on your food labels! References available upon request. w w w. Vit a lM a g O nline. co m
3/21/14 6:34 PM
TO YO U R H E A LT H
DENTAL WELLNESS By Leonard M. Kaplan, DDS
Dear Dr. Kaplan, My teeth have suddenly become very sensitive to both hot and cold, but my mouth is otherwise healthy. What could cause this? Answer: Receding gum tissue could be the cause of sensitivity. As gum tissue pulls back away from teeth, the root of the tooth becomes exposed. A soft tissue graft would be the recommended treatment. Other treatment suggestions might include using a fluoride mouth rinse or switching to a toothpaste made specifically for sensitive teeth. Visit your dentist to so that you can be diagnosed and treated properly.
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Dear Dr. Kaplan, Are seniors more at risk for oral cancer? Answer: Yes, the risk of oral cancer increases with age. Any lesion found on the tongue or anywhere in the mouth needs to be examined and closely watched. Smoking or drinking alcoholic beverages is also associated with oral cancer. Visit your local dentist for an annual oral cancer screening, as early detection is most important. If you have more questions, call Harmony Wellness Dental Specialists at (302) 369-6900 or visit their website at www.harmonywellnessdentalspecialist.com
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3/21/14 6:34 PM
Fats & Cholesterol: Know The Good from The Banned You might have heard about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent proposal to ban trans fats in foods in the U.S. But just what are trans fats, and why are they so bad for you? Fat and Cholesterol: Clogging the Pipes READ LABELS AND INGREDIENT LISTS TO Fat and cholesterol travel as a team KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EATING. through your blood vessels. Cholesterol is a waxy substance made in the liver. The body needs some fat and cholesterol, but when you have too much, it can build up like sticky grease in your sink’s plumbing. Eventually, it’s hard for blood to flow through the arteries, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Know Your Fats: Good Vs. Bad The types of fats you eat affect your cholesterol levels—so know what you’re putting into your body! “Good” fats store energy, help you grow, send electrical messages between nerves and more; “bad” fats raise cholesterol levels and build up deposits in arteries. It’s important to remember that not all fats are the same, as the American Heart Association (AHA) advises.
Big Ban News Many restaurants and food makers in the U.S. already avoid using trans fats, but they still post a big health risk. If you’re not careful, you can eat trans fats and not even know it. Under current FDA rules, food manufacturers can list the amount of trans fats as zero on labels, if a single serving size has less than half a gram. Read your nutrition labels, but also look at the ingredient list. If you see “partially hydrogenated oils,” trans fats might lurk inside. The FDA’s proposed ban would declare trans fats “unsafe” for the food supply. The FDA would then have to approve products with trans fats before they’re sold in the U.S. A ban on trans fats could save over 7,000 heart diseaserelated deaths and 20,000 heart attacks per year. So make a point to read nutrition labels, make smart food choices, and get a cholesterol screening. Know Your Number: Get Screened Your cholesterol level can creep up without any symptoms. Get to know your numbers with a simple blood test. Local pharmacies often offer convenient cholesterol screenings and counseling. Walk in or schedule an appointment today. The knowledge you gain can help keep you healthy for years to come. Be well, stay well!
Four types of fats
Brought to you by your friends at your local Walgreens pharmacy.
Olive oil, peanut oil, avocados
May lower “bad” cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease
25%-35% of your daily calories (combined with polyunsaturated sources
Plants (nuts, seeds, vegetable oils) and fish (salmon, herring). You might see sources called “omega-3” or “omega-6” fats.
May lower “bad” cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease
25%-35% of your daily calories (combined with monounsaturated sources
Animal products that are high in fat (meat, dairy, eggs), coconut oil
Raise cholesterol levels. Diets high in saturated fat have been linked to coronary heart disease.
Limit to 7% of daily calories—about 16 grams a day (for diet of 2,000 calories/day)
Mostly processed items like fried food, baked goods (crackers, hamburger buns), stick margarines, microwave popcorn, canned frosting, frozen dinners, coffee creamer
Can actually reduce “good” cholesterol in the body. Also raises risk of heart disease by increasing “bad” cholesterol
Limit to less than 2 grams a day 5
3/21/14 6:34 PM
TO YO U R W E A LT H
On Living and Dying Well By Melissa Timm
s an ICU nurse, the death and dying process was all too familiar and real for me. I saw some families and patients who were prepared for it—they knew they had a terminal illness—but for many, the event was sudden and family members were left with the incredibly difficult task of deciding what their loved one would want without being able to talk to them about it. This hit close to home when my in-laws were in a serious motorcycle accident. Seasoned riders with over thirty years of experience, their tire blew. My fatherin-law suffered a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and was on life support for 2 weeks. His physicians asked us to start thinking about the type of care he would or would not want to receive in the upcoming days. They handed us a copy of an advance directive to fill out on his behalf. When I approached my motherin-law to fill it out, she looked at me and said, “How could I possibly think about these things at a time like this?” And she was right. How do you make tough decisions in the midst of the hardest experience of your life? And how do you know the decisions you make are the ones your loved one would have wanted? End of life care is a foreign concept to most of us. We think we’re too healthy or too young to consider that sort of thing. We also have a tendency to think we are the one exception to the rule—that death won’t happen to me.
But death is a natural progression to this life we live. And we should talk about it. It’s all around us, in movies, video games, and the news, yet we don’t really talk about it. I think a common denominator among us all is the desire to lead a life well lived. And to me, a life well lived should end in a dignified death. End of life care planning should start when we are in good health, both mentally and physically. Early on, we should have conversations with our family members, loved ones, and health care providers about the type of treatment we would want if we could not speak for ourselves. We should ask our loved ones in return what type of care they would want to have. An advance directive is a vague term for a really important concept. It is a legally binding document that spells out the type of care we do or do not want to receive at the end of life. It also gives us the ability to choose a person we trust to speak on our behalf if we can no longer do so ourselves. Advance directives are not a one-time decision. They can be changed at any time, and should be reviewed throughout our lives. 6
Unsure where to start? Gather more information on advance directives by talking with your health care provider, a friend who has completed one, or by looking at some online resources. Think about what matters most in your life. Do you enjoy spending time with your family? Painting? Volunteering? Would you want medical treatments if they prolonged your life, but you were no longer able to engage in these activities? Next, think of someone you would trust to make decisions on your behalf if you were unable to do so. This person may be a spouse, adult child, friend, neighbor, or even your health care provider. Talk to this person about your health care wishes. Ask them if they would be willing to act as your health care agent. Do not assume they know you want them to do this. Choose how much flexibility you want them to have. Will they make all decisions about your health or will they simply relay instructions you have given them? Write down questions you may have for your health care provider about advance directives. What is CPR? What would happen if I could no longer eat and needed a feeding tube? Can I say no to this type of treatment? Ask your provider about different treatment options and what your life would look like after you had them. Make sure you and your provider are on the same page in regard to your wishes about end of life care. Finally, fill out your state’s advance directive form. Keep one copy for yourself, give one to your health care agent, and one to your health care provider. Review it every couple of years to make sure it reflects your current wishes about health care at the end of life.
Advance Directives Checklist ■ Gather information on advance directives to become more knowledgeable (attend advance directives workshop, review fact sheet, visit online resources). ■ Decide what matters most in life. ■ Choose a medical decision maker. ■ Choose amount of flexibility for your decision maker. ■ Bring questions you might have of your doctor to your next visit. ■ Bring a family member or friend who knows your wishes to the doctor’s visit. ■ At the start of your visit tell your doctor you have questions so he or she has time to answer them. ■ Make sure you and your doctor understand each other. ■ Complete your advance directive in front of a required witness (competent adult not related by blood). ■ Tell others about your wishes.
In reality, most adults will not pass away from an accident. Chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, emphysema, and cancer are among the most common causes of death. It is estimated in a few short years over 37 million adults living in the U.S. will have one or more of these chronic conditions. Instead of avoiding discussions about end of life care, we should be proactive and begin talking about this subject so we know our wishes are clear to our loved ones and health care providers. This is a decision we all will face at some time or another. Preparing ourselves early on will make this process easier when the time comes. Melissa Timm is earning her doctorate in nursing practice at the University of Utah. She will be graduating in May and working in a primary care outpatient setting. Her nursing career was spent caring for oncology and ICU patients.
■ Give copy of advance directive to your health care agent, doctor, and local hospital. Keep the original in a safe place at home. ■ Review your advance directive every 1-2 years. Other resources: • www.prepareforyourcare.org • www.caringinfo.org • www.polst.org • www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/ factsheet/Support/advancedirectives
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Dust Off Your Financial Plan By Debra Scull, Social Security Manager in Wilmington, DE
pring is officially here. Before you get started with your spring cleaning, perhaps another matter deserves some dusting off—that long-term financial plan. April is National Financial Literacy Month—the perfect time to spring into action when it comes to planning your financial future. If you already have a plan, this is a great opportunity to take another look at it and make sure you’re still “on track” to reach your financial goals. According to a 2013 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the past few years have seen a sharp decline in Americans’ confidence about their retirement savings. Only 13 percent of workers feel very confident about having enough for a comfortable retirement and
28 percent are not at all confident. More than half of workers have less than $25,000 in total savings and investments. Twenty-eight percent of workers have saved less than $1,000. If you haven’t begun saving for retirement, now is a good time to start—no matter what your age. If retirement is near, you’ll want to jump into the fast lane right away. If you’re younger and retirement seems a lifetime away, it’s still in your best interest to begin saving now, due to compound interest. For example, a 25-year old who begins saving $100 a month and earns a modest 5 percent interest will have more than $150,000 at age 65. Experts agree that saving when you’re young will make a world of difference when the time comes to draw on your retirement savings. Don’t just take our word for it. You can check out the numbers yourself.
A great way to start figuring out how much you will need for retirement is to use Social Security’s online Retirement Estimator, which offers an instant and personalized estimate of your future Social Security retirement benefits based on your earnings record. Try it today at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator. We encourage saving for retirement, but there are reasons to save for every stage of life. A great place to go for help is www.mymoney.gov (the U.S. government’s official website dedicated to teaching Americans the basics of finances). Whether you are looking for information about buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k) plan, the resources on www.mymoney.gov can help you. The Ballpark Estimator at www. choosetosave.org/ballpark is another excellent online tool. It makes
complicated issues, like projected Social Security benefits and earnings assumptions on savings, easy to understand. If you have to choose between scrubbing down the house or scrubbing your budget to get your financial house in order, we recommend putting off the cleaning one more day. Get started on planning your future right now at www.socialsecurity. gov. Call the ADRC at 800-223-9074 for a list of the Delaware agencies that can help you save for retirement.
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3/21/14 6:34 PM
TO YO U R W E A LT H
Why Boomers Get More From Social Security By Dr. Jeffrey B. Miller
f you were born between 1943 and 1954, it was sometimes rough going squeezing into overcrowded housing, schools and colleges. But in terms of Social Security claiming choices, no one has it better than you. The age at which workers born between 1943 and 1954 can receive full Social Security retirement benefits is 66. If workers delay claiming benefits until age 70, they are rewarded with a whopping 8% increase in benefits for each year delayed. Workers who are retiring now can get the 8% increase each year for four years. In an environment where interest rates are historically low, the 8% Delayed Retirement Benefit bonus is one of the very best bargains around. This boom time in Social Security claiming comes about because of changes in 2008. Before that time, the Delayed Retirement Benefits — the additional benefits that a worker receives each year he or she waits to claim between the full retirement age and age 70 — were smaller. Those with a full retirement age of 66 also have available to them other strategies that mitigate some of the cost of delayed claiming of Social Security retirement benefits. By using a restricted application, or file and suspend strategy, one member of a married couple or a divorcée can get a spousal benefit while waiting to claim their Delayed Retirement Benefits. In essence, the spousal benefit is a subsidy for delayed claiming. In an earlier article, I discussed the importance of the full retirement age for married couples, divorcées and widow(er)s. This article describes how special strategies can be used to enhance benefits once someone reaches full retirement age.
Younger workers have some of the same strategies available to them, but they won’t realize as great a benefit. Under present law the full retirement age is scheduled to increase in several stages until it reaches 67 for workers born in 1960 or later. The increase in the full retirement age will reduce the benefits that younger workers will receive since these workers will be able to take advantage of Delayed Retirement Benefits for a maximum of three years instead of older workers’ four years. In addition, the benefits that they will receive at each age between 62 and 70 will be smaller than they will be for workers that are now between the ages of 59 and 70. For example, when a worker born between 1943 and 1954 waits until 70 to claim, the benefits are 32% (= 4x8%) higher than they would be if the worker claims at 66. Once the full retirement age becomes 67, the increase in benefits for waiting until 70 will be 24% (3x8%). In a recent article, “Social Security’s Real Retirement Age is 70,” noted researcher Alicia Munnell calculates that when the full retirement age moves from 66 to 67 this will reduce benefits at each claiming age by about 7% on average. There have been discussions about changing the full retirement age to help bring the Social Security program into long term financial balance. But for the time being, it’s boom time for baby boomers. Jeffrey B. Miller earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and taught at the University of Delaware for 36 years. In 2009 he co-founded Social Security Choices, a firm that specializes in providing customized information to assist people in formulating their best strategies for claiming Social Security benefits. Dr. Miller worked at Social Security after graduating from college. If you have a question for Dr. Miller email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3/21/14 6:34 PM
IN THE GARDEN
Gardening Tasks and Projects for April At long last, spring has arrived! As you look out upon your garden, does the nagging question of “where do I even begin” sound familiar? The first and foremost thing to do is to stand back for a moment and simply enjoy the beauty that Mother Nature has given us. Listen to the birds as they sing you a spring melody, dream a little, and then put on the gardening gloves and head on out to get your hands dirty! Shrub and Tree Care ❁ There’s still time to plant trees and shrubs. However, by the middle of this month it’ll be a little late to transplant large trees or shrubs, so do them now. ❁ The months of March, April and May are ideal for pruning evergreens. If you have juniper, cypress or other conifers that need shearing or pruning, this is a good time to do it. Remove all dead, diseased, and undesirable wood.
Broadleaf and coniferous evergreens benefit most from lightly spreading a high nitrogen fertilizer around their bases. ❁ Prune your forsythia after it finishes flowering.
❁ Divide perennials like daylilies, delphiniums, iris, chrysanthemums, daisies, and phlox.
Caring for Your Annuals, Perennials and Bulbs ❁ April is the month for planting summer flowering bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas and lilies. Mix bulb fertilizer, processed manure and peat moss into the planting soil.
❁ Hybrid tea roses should be fertilized prior to buds beginning to bloom. Using a systemic fertilizer will help prevent insect infestation later in the summer at the same time that it feeds your roses. Plant new rosebushes before growth starts and buds swell.
❁ Tuberous begonias and canna should not be set outdoors until all danger of frost has passed, so wait until next month.
❁ If you have a pond or pool, you should set aquatic plants any time after the middle of the month.
❁ Plant annual seeds of asters, cosmos, marigolds and zinnias in the garden.
Fruit and Vegetable Gardens ❁ Control weeds and aerate the soil by cultivating between the rows of plants.
❁ When they have finished blooming, you should deadhead your spring flowering bulbs. Do not cut off the green foliage yet! These
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green leaves continue to grow for a few weeks, and provide the bulb with food for flowering next year.
❁ Select and plant fruit trees and berry plants. Fruits and berries do best when planted in full sun. ❁ Plant perennial vegetables like asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish. It’s also time to plant peas, carrots, beets, spinach, cauliflower, and cabbage. Root crops like potatoes, radishes, parsnips and onions can be planted at anytime. Late this month you can plant beans and corn. ❁ Warmer weather crops like tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers should not be planted until next month. ❁ As your direct-seeded crops sprout, be sure to keep them thinned out to avoid crowding. April Lawn Care ❁ The application of a spring type of lawn fertilizer should perk up the lawn and improve its overall color and appearance. If there is moss growing in the lawn, use spring lawn fertilizer that has the mosskiller included, so you can do both jobs in one easy application.
lawn and deter the regrowth of moss and weeds. Use about one pound of quality grass seed for every 300 square feet of lawn area. Apply a light compost or soil over the seed to keep it moist and in place. ❁ Aerating the lawn will allow water to penetrate deeper into the lawn soil and reduce the need to water during the drier months ahead. Use a garden fork and punch holes over the surface of your lawn. ❁ As mowing becomes necessary, be certain that the blade is sharp to prevent tearing the grass tips. Set the blade on your lawnmower to cut the grass at 2 1/2 inches to avoid scalping. A mulching blade will eliminate the need to rake or bag the clippings, prevent thatch buildup, and the clippings will provide food for the lawn. Odds and Ends Around the Garden ❁ It seems that different states can’t agree to a universal Arbor Day, but more than likely an Arbor Day exists in your individual state at some point in this month, so plant a tree! ❁ Although we think of this as a rainy month, it can fool us. Keep transplanted flowers well watered during dry spells. Be sure to take a little time to check the plants in containers and those under the eaves of the house and under tall evergreens to see that they are getting enough water. ❁ If you receive some mail-order plants or can’t resist the urge to pick up a few perennials before you’re ready, make a trench and heel them into the ground in a protected area. ❁ Driving around the neighborhood, or visiting a local nursery may give you some great ideas of what you’d like to have blooming in your yard at this time next year.
❁ Thatch buildup can smother your lawn and provide an environment for diseases. Remove thatch with a brisk raking, or with a dethatching machine.
Remember that whatever you accomplish in the garden now will definitely cut down on yard maintenance later this season!
❁ Overseeding will help fill in the
Source: thegardenhelper.com w w w. Vit a lM a g O nline. co m
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Choose Happiness Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness. Choose NOW.
Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.” Among the top, from men in particular, is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.’
Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. “This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwin-
ners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
ing friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”
I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. “Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”
I wish that I had let myself be happier. “This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. “Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giv-
Based on the response to this article, Bronnie has written a book titled The Top Five Regrets of the Dying—A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.
The Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles is now issuing more secure, federally compliant driver licenses and identification cards. In order to obtain your new driver license or ID card, you will need to collect and bring a few important source documents to provide proof of: t Identity (Name and Date of Birth) t U.S. citizenship/Legal presence t Social Security Number
t 2 proofs of Delaware residency t Name change documents (if applicable)
You can find everything you need to know at
SecureID.dmv.de.gov or call toll free 877-477-7117
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Spring (Fever) Is In The Air!
meant to be.
“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” —Mark Twain
pring fever—It’s that restless feeling inside where you suddenly feel revitalized, energetic, yearning for passion and that something that you just can’t quite qualify. It might not technically be a medical condition, but the sudden change in weather, longer days and more sunshine do have a very tangible and physiological impact on our bodies. Not only do we experience longer days when we change the clocks for daylight savings time, but the change in seasons, marked by the vernal equinox on March 20, prompts a readjustment in the body’s internal chemistry. In fact, that’s when the population as a whole starts to report a higher energy level, decreased sleep, reduced eating and an alleviation of depression.
What’s Happening Inside Just as your body’s reveling in soaking in the sun, our brains are busy processing the bright light as well. The increased sunshine signals the body to produce less melatonin, which plays an important role in sleep. “There’s more daylight, so people have more energy, sleep a little less,” says Sanford Auerbach, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Boston University. With less melatonin pumping through your veins, you may also feel a lift in your mood and a more revved-up sex drive. Another chemical change that seems
to occur during the transition to spring is an increase in serotonin. A 2008 study found that in the fall and winter, there is a greater level of what’s known as serotonin transporter in the brain, which removes more serotonin than during the spring and summer. Known for its role in mood, serotonin is likely involved in that sudden happiness and lust for life we feel in springtime, according to the Los Angeles Times. It may also account for the increase in energy that makes some people feel restless and distracted, just itching to spend time outdoors. Likewise, people also experience an increase in the release of endorphins and hormones such as testosterone and estrogen. This explains why people feel a sudden increase in their energy and sexual appetite by the time March and April roll around.
From beautiful spacious apartments to delicious Five Star dining, Forwood Manor offers all the amenities and support needed, the way retirement was meant to be! • Independent Living, Assisted • All day restaurant-style Living and on-site dining Rehabilitation and Wellness • Complimentary • Warm family environment transportation to with activities, events, fitness appointments and shopping programs, and outings • Daily Housekeeping and • Nurses on site 24 hours weekly laundry services a day
CALL TO LEARN MORE OR TO S C H E D U L E A C O M P L I M E N TA R Y LUNCH AND TOUR.
What’s Happening Outside Some would argue it’s not just hormones at work, but that there’s another possible reason people are happier. With more time spent outdoors on a sunny day, it’s likely you’re logging extra hours exercising. Of course exercise itself has moodenhancing powers. Couple that with a healthy dose of vitamin D and it’s all the reason you need to delight in lingering sunshine, warm breezes and bare legs.
1912 Marsh Road • Wilmington, DE 19810
302-529-1600 www.ForwoodManorDE.com Pet Friendly
©2014 Five Star Quality Care, Inc.
INDEPENDENT LIVING • ASSISTED LIVING R E H A B I L I TAT I O N • R E S P I T E S TAY S w w w. Vit a lM a g O nline. co m
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C A R E G I V E R ’S CO R N E R
How to Choose a Personal Emergency Response System
e’ve all seen the commercial where the woman cries, “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” We might have laughed, but the danger is real. What happens if someone falls and they’re home alone, or can’t get to a telephone to dial for help? What happens if someone has a heart attack, stroke, or another emergency? This is where a Personal Emergency Response System (sometimes known as Medical Alert or Medical Emergency Response System) comes in. A PERS will instantly summon help in the event of an emergency. How? Emergency Response Systems have three components: a small radio transmitter (a help button carried or worn by the user); a console, or base station, with speakers that connects
to the user’s telephone; and an emergency response center that monitors calls. If you are the wearer and emergency help (medical, fire, or police) is needed, you just press the transmitter’s button. You don’t need to get to a telephone. Some systems can even place a call for help if they detect a fall and you’re unable to push the button yourself. The transmitter triggers the console to automatically dial the emergency response center. Most systems can dial out even if the phone is in use or off the hook (called “seizing the line”). The console typically has speakers so that you can hear conversations on the other end of the line and the operator can hear you. Purchase, Rent or Lease A PERS can be purchased, rented, or leased. The purchase price for a PERS can range from $200 to more
than $1000, depending on the manufacturer, the features included and the seller’s integrity. In addition to the initial investment, most systems require that the user pay a monthly monitoring fee, which can range from $15 to $50. Presently, neither Medicare nor Medicaid will cover the costs of PERS, nor will most private insurance policies. It may be possible, however, for low-income persons in some areas to obtain a PERS at a subsidized rate from local agencies. Many consumer groups strongly recommend that consumers rent or lease a system on a short-term basis because of the possibility that any manufacturer may go out of business, taking its monitoring center with it, leaving the consumer with a useless system. Rentals are available through national manufacturers, local distributors, hospitals, and social service agencies. Monthly fees may range from $15 to $50 and usually include the monitoring service. Be a Smart Shopper The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends the following when shopping for a PERS: ■ Check out several systems before making a decision. ■ Find out if you can use the system with other response centers. For example, can you use the same system if you move? ■ Ask about the pricing, features, and servicing of each system and compare costs. Ask if the monthly cost will increase. Some companies raise the monitoring fee every year. ■ Make sure the system is easy to use. ■ Test the system to make sure it works from every point in and around your home. Make sure nothing interferes with transmissions.
■ Read your purchase, rental, or lease agreement carefully before signing. Before purchasing, renting, or leasing a system, check the unit for defects. Ask to see the warranty and service contract and get any questions resolved. Ask about the repair policy. Find out how to arrange for a replacement or repair if a malfunction occurs. Lease agreements can be longterm or lease-to-purchase. If you lease, review the contract carefully before signing. Make special note of cancellation clauses, which may require you to pay a cancellation fee or other charges. Ask Questions About the Response Center ■ Is the monitoring center available 24/7? ■ What is the average response time? ■ What kind of training does the center staff receive? ■ What procedures does the center use to test systems in your home? How often are tests conducted? Other Questions ■ Is the emergency button large and easy to see and press? Are there any complicated instructions, buttons on the console or other features that might be troublesome? ■ Most accidents happen in the bathroom. Can the transmitter be worn in the bath or shower? ■ Are repairs or replacements included in your contract? ■ How long has the company been in business? ■ Can the system be used away from? Some companies offer a small base unit that is the size of an answering machine. If your system works in all 50 states, you can take the system with you when you travel. A PERS is a great way to help preserve independence, and in the end, isn’t that what we all want?
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The Three Phases of Grief in Dementia Care By Sally Williams
f you’re caring for someone with dementia, you’re continually losing pieces of your loved one. Educating yourself about the illness and preparing yourself for the pain of loss doesn’t minimize your feelings of grief. It may help, however, to understand the phases of grief that you may experience.
Unfolding Grief In some cases, dementia may progress rapidly, but Alzheimer’s disease can be a long and insidious disease, with life span extending 2- 20 years from time of diagnosis. Unfolding grief comes as you experience the many additional losses caused by the effects of the person’s dementia. For instance, not only are you slowly losing a parent, spouse or friend, you’re also losing the role of daughter, son, wife, husband, or friend, along with the relationship that you had prior to the diagnosis. You may be losing the spouse who handles all the household finances, or the mother who loves to make Christmas cookies with you, or the father who works on your car or projects around the house.
Anticipatory Grief A caregiver experiences anticipatory grief with every passing day, knowing that there is inevitable death ahead. Sometimes there is a deep regret
that no matter how well you care for your loved one, he or she is facing the sunset of his or her life. It is normal to experience regret and guilt, not only when you wish this person would be relieved of his or her suffering, but also when you have expectations of someday being released from your role as the care provider.
Acute Grief It can be agonizing to watch the dying process as the body shuts down. Acute grief comes as the physical death takes place and you face the finality that your loved one is gone. A combination of guilt and relief come from anticipatory grief and acute grief. The situation is often compounded by painful emotions and the losses of the caregiver’s role and sense of identity. There are also many peaks and valleys in the magnitude of grief that we feel.
It’s normal to experience the following emotions: ■ After the loss, you may feel uncomfortable or afraid to show joy because it seems to be dishonoring the person you have lost, or because you’re worried about how others will perceive you if you don’t behave in the manner they think is appropriate.
you’re now finished with a very frustrating and unhappy role into which you were thrust. ■ Alternately, you might have found caregiving to be very rewarding, offering unexpected closeness and treasured times with your loved one. Now that he or she is gone, you may feel empty. Some people may try to encourage you to “move on” or “be thankful that your loved one is in a better place” or assure you that “this is a blessing; they were suffering” and that “time heals.” Realize that there will be days when you you want to avoid contact with other people just so you will not have to listen to their “helpful” advice.
People’s grieving experiences may have similar emotions, but every journey is different. Do not treat the grief that you are experienc-
ing as an illness or weakness. Grief is a normal and necessary response to collective loss. Grief is not the price we pay for loving someone…it is a natural and inescapable part of being a human being. Arden Courts Memory Care Community, located at 700 ½ Foulk Rd., Wilmington, is part of the HCR ManorCare family. The HCR ManorCare health care family comprises centers that are leading providers of short-term post-acute services and long-term care. With 60,000 caregivers nationwide, the HCR ManorCare centers are preeminent care providers in their communities. Quality care for patients and residents is provided through a network of more than 500 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, assisted living facilities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care agencies. These locations operate primarily under the respected Heartland, ManorCare Health Services and Arden Courts names. For more information on Arden Courts, call Janice Clay or Jean Youkers at 302-761-4805.
Remote control? Or telephone?
■ You might feel badly because deep down you’re relieved that
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For a person with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, this could be mistaken for a telephone. Seems harmless eenough, but what if there’s an emergency and they try to dia dial 911? Don’t wait for a crisis to make the decision for you, talk t to Arden Courts. If you’d like more information, or to schedule a personalized tour, please visit us at www.arden-courts.com. We know. We understand. We can help. Arden Courts of Wilmington 'PVML3PBEt8JMNJOHUPO %& 302.762.7800
©2011 HCR Healthcare, LLC
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H AV E S O M E F U N
NO-CREAM PASTA PRIMAVER A
By Dave Fisher
Answers on page 13
Spring veggies benefit from a quick roasting in olive oil and herbs before being tossed with penne. No cream here—just the fresh flavors of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon. A beautiful dish. PREP TIME: 25 Minutes COOK TIME: 35 Minutes READY IN: 1 Hour SERVINGS: 6 INGREDIENTS • 1 (12 ounce) package penne pasta • 1 yellow squash, chopped • 1 zucchini, chopped • 1 carrot, julienned • ½ red bell pepper, julienned • ½ pint grape tomatoes • 1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces • 5 spears asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces • ¼ cup olive oil, divided • ¼ teaspoon salt • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper • ½ tablespoon lemon juice • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning • 1 tablespoon butter • ¼ large yellow onion, thinly sliced • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced • 2 teaspoons lemon zest • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar • ½ cup grated Romano cheese DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until al dente; drain. 3. In a bowl, toss squash, zucchini, carrot, red bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, and asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Arrange vegetables on the baking sheet, and roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until tender. 4. Heat remaining olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook until tender. Mix in cooked pasta, lemon zest, basil, parsley, and balsamic vinegar. Gently toss and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with roasted vegetables and sprinkle with Romano cheese to serve. Allrecipes.com
ACROSS 1. Handguns 5. Unit of capacitance 10. Pulp 14. Wings 15. Alpha’s opposite 16. Savvy about 17. Container weight 18. Absolution 20. Trampled 22. Saliva 23. Type of dog 24. Fails to win 25. Relating to theology 32. Intoxicating 33. Housemaids 34. Barely manage 37. Makes a mistake 38. Tropical vine 39. Implored 40. Dawn goddess 41. A skin disease 42. Levelled 43. Compulsively 45. Caused by streptococci 49. Night before 50. Most destitute 53. Vibrating effect 57. Air 59. Distinctive flair 60. Deceased 61. Moses’ brother 62. Agreeable 63. Feudal worker 64. Ancient Greek unit of length 65. Playthings DOWN 1. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 2. Winglike
3. Tropical tuber 4. Legumes 5. Relinquish 6. Ends a prayer 7. Scarlet 8. How old we are 9. Humid 10. Slogan 11. Pieces 12. Filched 13. Sharpens 19. Tablets 21. At the proper time 25. You (archaic) 26. Protagonist 27. Hearing organs 28. Advances 29. Picture 30. Flogs with a stick 31. “Eureka!” 34. If not 35. Ship part 36. Countercurrent 38. Chemist’s workplace 39. Sidewalk 41. Broods 42. Rend 44. Calm 45. Garden tool 46. Carries 47. Ancient empire 48. Wear away 51. Resorts 52. Not this 53. Stepped 54. Hodgepodge 55. Delicate 56. 1 1 1 1 58. Historic period
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Fill in the blank squares so that each row, each column and each 3-by-3 block contain all of the digits 1 thru 9.
G R E AT WAYS TO G I V E B AC K
Annual Week of Service April 6-12, 2014 Every person can make a difference in the lives of others and in their communities. It is our hope that each citizen who volunteers this week will carry on volunteering not just for a week, but for a lifetime. To learn more about these and other volunteer opportunities, visit www.VolunteerDelaware.org. Project Consultants for Nonprofits (marketing, business planning, research, board development, IT, program development) Have a lifetime of business experience you’d love to share with others? Project Consultants for Nonprofits is a group of volunteers ages 50+ who as a team serve as consultants for local nonprofits assisting them with short-term projects. For more visit go to www.newarkseniorcenter.com/PCN.html.
Answers on page 13
(courtesy of KrazyDad.com)
Delaware Foster Grandparent Program The Delaware Foster Grandparent Program is now accepting applications from people age 60 or over to mentor/tutor with special needs children in day cares, Head Starts, schools, and detention centers. Foster Grandparents must be willing to serve between 15-40 hours a week. In turn, eligible Foster Grandparents will receive a tax-free stipend of $3.45 an hour, sick time, vacation, holidays and mileage reimbursements. For more information visit www.volunteerdelaware.org. Archaeology Lab Assistant The volunteer would be independently working with the archaeologist and six other volunteers to help preserve the artifacts from the Roosevelt Inlet shipwreck (a merchant ship that sank off the coast of Delaware in the late 1700s). The processing of artifacts will include extracting an artifact from a ‘blob’ of organic material which was once underwater for centuries. This kind of work will require small detailed cleaning and scrubbing. You will definitely get your hands dirty! The lab volunteer will help to put together an inventory database of the artifacts (tobacco pipes, bowls, ceramics, plates, cups and much more) to better assess the consumer habits of 18th century Americans. We will provide gloves, necessary tools, and proper training. Our schedule is very flexible, as long as it is during the regular lab hours of 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, because of the nature of the project, we would like the lab volunteers to commit to more than four hours per week. For more information about the shipwreck, please visit http://history.delaware.gov/archaeology/shipwreck1.shtml. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Volunteer Coordinator at (302) 736-7411 or HCA_VolunteerSvcs@state.de.us.
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Your Crazy Quilt of a Life By Myrle Bowe
hink back on all the crazy things that have happened to you over the years. Have you told those stories to your family and friends? Shared your views on life with younger generations? Don’t lose those stories! Instead, take some time to write memoirs—literally “memories.” Writing a memoir doesn’t mean writing your complete autobiography, beginning with, “I was born on a snowy Tuesday.” Instead, they’re stories about episodes or periods in your life. “But I can’t write,” you protest. Yes, you can—it’s like telling stories to your grandchildren. Grammar and punctuation are important here for clarity, not for formal style. A memoir writing workshop can provide help and inspiration, not to mention the social interaction so valuable to your well-being. The stories people share there may stimulate memories of your past, too—laughter, fond remembrances, as well as more somber times.
Memoir writing is more interesting when it includes vivid descriptions of places and people in your life, particularly when it incorporates the thinking and motivation of those close to you. The essential framework for understanding all this is the context, or times when it took place. A Victorian crazy quilt is an apt metaphor for memoirs: the quilt has a collection of pieces in random varied shapes, textures, and colors, embellished and held together with intricate embroidery, finished with a border of a fabric and color which enhances and emphasizes particular pieces. It’s essential for many reasons to preserve your stories on paper. Recordings are important, but they are often stored or lost, or technology may not be available to access them in the future. That said, however you choose to leave a record of your memories, just do it. The first version probably won’t be perfect, but you can always edit later. And who knows—you may decide to publish!
A P R OV E N L E A D E R
in the continuum of care
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ManorCare – Pike Creek 5651 Limestone Road Wilmington, DE 19808 302.239.8583 ManorCare – Wilmington 700 Foulk Road Wilmington, DE 19803 302.764.0181 Arden Courts of Wilmington 700½ Foulk Road Wilmington, DE 19803 302.762.7800
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