VOLUME 10 • EDITION 1
737 Main Street, Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com
A Letter fro m th e Fir m
Dear Friends, This issue’s cover topic is something I feel very passionately about. I support and advocate for women and diversity, and have been disheartened with the rash of discrimination and sexual harassment that has come to light these past few months. Now is as great a time as ever for men and women to speak up and participate in the change that the #MeToo movement has started.
PUBLISHER John T. Bair firstname.lastname@example.org
EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Andre email@example.com Art Director Eva Talley firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Brittany Monbarren email@example.com
I get the honor and privilege to work with the most amazing trial lawyers out there. Milestone has been a proud sponsor of Women en Mass, a community of the best and brightest female mass tort attorneys, for over 6 years. We frequently champion gender diversity and the accomplishments of females in our industry on our blog on Legal Examiner (Milestone.LegalExaminer.Com). With a company that is 75% female, we know how important this is. As settlement planners and consultants, we know how these sexual harassment and abuse suits typically resolve, which can include a big tax hit. We’ve worked with victims of sexual assault in the past and we know how critical it is to treat every client with compassion. We know that this movement doesn’t just apply to women. Our experience guiding individuals and families through the challenging litigation process and the complex financial steps that follow gives us a unique perspective on these cases. If you get a chance to view our blog, we’ve also published a post about the implications our new tax code may have on sexual harassment and assault victims, including those brave gymnasts who stood up to doctor Larry Nassar. At Milestone, we care about everyone’s wellbeing—before, during, and after litigation. As fellow advocates of civil justice, let’s continue to build a support system for those around us. Sincerely,
John T. Bair 716-883-1833 www.milestoneseventh.com
i n l i f e , t h e r e c om e s a t i m e t o mov e forwa r d t o t h e n e x t m i l e s t on e
Inside This Issue ON THE COVER
DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH LIFE INSURANCE?
HOW TO HANDLE WHEN YOUR PARENTS START AGING
WORK FROM HOME? HOW TO KEEP THE BALANCE
IMPORTANCE OF AN ESTATE PLAN
WHAT TO EAT TO GET RID OF A HANGOVER
Me Too. Time’s Up. What’s Next?
Could new social movements bring about significant change to our views on gender equality? Unlike some social media movements of the past that ultimately fizzled rather than fueling real change, the #MeToo movement has definitely made its mark on our collective consciousness, but to what end? Will we live in a world without sexual harassment, one where women stand on equal footing with men...
THE FINANCIAL ABCS OF PREPARING FOR RETIREMENT
WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR TO WORK?
THE LOWDOWN ON MAILAWAY DNA/ANCESTRY KITS
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTERS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
GADGETS & TECHNOLOGY
DOS & DON’TS
The American Point of View: Like It or Not, It’s Changing
by Bryan Silver If you’ve been following some of the more noteworthy news stories lately, you would probably agree that there have been some weighty topics tossed about—many that have done more in the last 15 months to challenge the American status quo than has occurred in the past 50 years. What’s interesting beyond the spirited discourse is that many of these viewpoints aren’t exactly new. While they’ve recently risen from the depths of our collective conscious to demand the attention of all, many have been bobbing just under the surface for years. Surely no one believes that the concept of Black Lives Matter or gender equality have only just emerged, but we are definitely now in an era now where the subjects are no longer circumventable, and, whether you agree with the outcome or not, we’re finally dealing with them as a society and doing so in an expedient fashion. Do you think that just a few years ago, any of us would have predicted that communities across the nation could mobilize within a matter of weeks and rush to remove questionable monuments that had stood throughout the South and beyond since the Jim Crow era? Could you have believed that years of downplaying the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and elsewhere would reach
its current heightened level of awareness over a period of several days—simply through the use of a keyboard symbol? Whether we’re talking about gender equality, same-sex marriage or even gun control, these are all issues that we’ve wrestled with for years as a society—with little agreement or resolution—yet, recent attitudes on these topics have shifted with a swiftness and steadfastness that is awe-inspiring. There is little denying that we are in a new era of social activism, and it’s one that is fueled by social media. It’s time to acknowledge that we live in an age in which a seemingly simple idea can go from grassroots to groundswell in a matter of hours; that technology can force an issue’s tipping point with minimal effort, and that a single voice can be heard around the world through a simple tweet. Ultimately, it is this newfound ability to speak up and speak out that’s most important. It’s a right and a responsibility for all of us that should be exercised. The context of a Martin Luther King, Jr. sermon made in Selma, Alabama seems very appropriate to this ideal, and it is often paraphrased as, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” There have been no truer words spoken, and change will come as long as we continue to speak of such matters. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 5
To Bring On Your Next Trip by Brittany Monbarren Concerned about your safety when traveling? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a Global Rescue Travel Safety Survey, more than eight out of 10 travelers are anxious about their safety when traveling. To help you calm your anxiety, we’ve listed some of the most important safety gadgets you should bring on your next trip.
Personal Safety Alarms Personal alarms and keychain alarms draw attention to any crisis. Personal safety and keychain alarms are small, lightweight, easy to carry and perfect self defense for women, men, the elderly and children. Keychain personal alarms are great for walking, running, hiking, biking or traveling. Some personal alarms have a hidden disarm switch that only the owner can deactivate. A personal alarm can also be used as a panic alarm or medical alarm.
Portable Door Locks Have you ever found yourself in a hotel room unsure that the door is locked or worried about the lock itself? Portable door locks provide a layer of security and peace of mind from a locked door being opened with a key or jimmied open while you're inside the room. Plus, they are small enough to fit in your handbag and suitcase.
Anti-Theft Sleeves Protect your personal information from being electronically swiped with a specially designed anti-theft sleeve that blocks virtual pickpockets. When purchasing anti-theft sleeves, look for items are labeled “electromagnetically opaque.” These sleeves can be put in your bags, wallet and pocket, and will keep identity thieves from getting info from your credit cards, passport, or vacation rental key.
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Portable Charger This might not seem like an obvious gadget to bring along, but you’d may be surprised how much your battery can drain while Googling directions or listening to music. Portable chargers are small, lightweight and easy-to-use. You can also get a wind-up charger that makes it's own power—requiring only a little elbow grease to keep your phone battery full. Plus, some of the chargers come with a built-in light for extra safety. Having a portable charger not only allows you to stay out and sightsee, it also helps keep you safe when you’re out of juice.
Travel Apps Travel Apps are a must! There are apps that can help you get around town, apps that make communicating with others easier, emergency safety apps that allow you to call for help no matter where you are. There’s pretty much an app for everything. Some of the travel apps I like to use, include WiFi Map, Google Translate, TravelBank, AccuWeather, Mobile Passport. Before you head out for your next adventure, go to your phone’s app store to check out the latest travel and safety apps available.
Lights Make sure you always have light by packing a reliable, sturdy travel flashlight. You can either bring a handheld light or a headlamp, but make sure you select a flashlight that is lightweight but still offers at least 150 lumens. Also, if you go with LED lights, you'll use less energy, which helps the battery life last longer.
Tracking Apps Tracking apps and gadgets are becoming more popular. I mean, no one wants to lose a family member on vacation. A good tracking app for worried parents is Picniic. It allows for parents to keep tabs on their kids. There are also tracking apps that can track your luggage and even track your vacation all together.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 7
C O M M E N TA R Y
Life Insurance is for When Life Happens by John Bair hat will your family do when “life happens?" Working in the settlement planning field for almost 20 years, we’ve seen practically every dire situation happen to families. Less than one percent of these families were financially prepared for it. Life insurance may be the most misunderstood and underappreciated financial security blanket. But why is that? Perhaps it’s the public’s perception of the industry at large, or the professionalism of the people whose responsibility it is to sell insurance, or maybe it’s the basic instinct against buying something you definitely don’t want or need—and that it’s morbid—as to why most people just avoid it. We readily insure our vehicles and homes, businesses and other valuables. Why is the additional step of getting life insurance a challenge? According to www.lifehappens.org, a not-for-profit geared toward providing basic information for families, only 39 percent of Americans carry any coverage. In fact, half of all millennials say they have never even been approached by someone to consider life insurance. After all of these years seeing people underinsured or uninsured, I think the best way to think of this type of coverage is as a big step in financial maturity. It should be one of the first things you buy in life (preferably permanent coverage) as it’s inexpensive, and it starts the ownership mentality, which is so important to creating an “accumulation” mentality for living and creating wealth. It’s not what you make; it’s how much you save. A permanent insurance contract early in life is an investment. It will provide you coverage throughout your life, especially in the years when the death benefits are critically important, and it’s guaranteed to grow at five to six percent for your entire lifetime. MassMutual, Guardian, Northwest and New York Life are the most competitive and mature companies.
So how much insurance do you need? Perhaps the very question is the problem with the industry. Most people buy term life insurance, justify it for its low cost, and never see a dime of their premiums. By the time people are 35 or 40 years old, are married or have children, the feeling of being responsible for someone else typically drives people to take out a 20-year term. If you make $250,000 a year and want to replace that income for your family, you will need $3 million to $5 million in term coverage. The problem with this scenario is that by the time you are aged 50, your term is expiring, and taking out additional coverage will be insanely expensive. That’s why buying early in life and buying permanent makes sense. Talk to people in their 70s that have paid up policies. They will attest that it feels great to know that they will be able to leave something to their family, and it doesn’t cost them anything. It becomes a “life asset.” If you missed the chance to invest early in life and still need coverage, then term coverage is probably the best. Only pay for what you need. A good rule of thumb is for every $50,000 of income you need to replace, you should buy $750,000 to $1 million in term. To keep the process simple, have your broker show you comparisons from the top seven carriers that are competitive in your state. For good term coverage, you may find real value in older, smaller carriers who have a history of financial strength. Their terms rates are often only distributed through their brokers. Companies like Vermont National and William Penn can serve up some of the lowest costs. As they say, there are no guarantees in life except of death and taxes. Why not at least make one of them a financial strength that you leave to your loved ones? @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 9
The Financial ABCs of Preparing for Retirement
by Michael J. Swanson
he first step to preparing for retirement is to select T the right financial planner
The other great advantage is that all of the funds that you contribute to your 401(k) are pre-tax. Plus, you pay no taxes as your
Having an expert on your side is always a good idea! The right
account grows, until you begin withdrawing funds. If your employer
financial advisor can make the difference between a comfortable
does not offer a 401(k), ask them to consider it. Even if they aren’t
retirement and not being able to retire at all. Be careful to do your
willing to do matching contributions, your ability to save pre-tax
homework when selecting an advisor. Anyone can call themselves an
dollars and grow your account tax-deferred would be a great help.
advisor, so make sure they have the right credentials. At a minimum,
If your employer won’t do that, you can always create your own
your advisor should be a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). This status
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) into which you can contribute
is awarded by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards and
pre-tax dollars. In fact, many people don’t realize that you can do
must be maintained by the advisor through ongoing education.
both! If you have a 401(k) at work, you can also create your own IRA
However, the CFP certification is just the starting point. Research your potential advisor carefully and ask for references of clients that he or she has been working with for a long period of time. You may want to consider hiring a fee-based planner rather than a commissioned planner. A fee-based planner will have fewer potential conflicts of interest since they do not earn fees or commissions by recommending particular investments. If you are not sure where to get started, you may want to check out the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) at www.napfa.org.
Next, max out your best savings options If your employer offers a 401(k), find a way to take advantage of it—ideally maxing out your contributions, if possible. This is especially valuable if your employer offers a “match,” whereby they contribute to your account by matching your contributions up to a certain limit. You can think of the matching contributions as an
to maximize your two best savings options.
Lastly, educate yourself Everyone loves to use Google to learn about topics like favorite sports teams, cooking recipes and vacation destinations. Why not spend a little time each week educating yourself about your financial future? Spending a little less time surfing the Internet for pure entertainment and a little more time investing in your financial future through education just makes sense. Here are a few websites to get you started:
»» www.consumerfinance.gov »» www.study.com »» www.khanacademy.org »» www.mymoney.gov Whether you are facing retirement in the next few years or
instant return on your investment. When you put in one dollar and
decades from now, it’s never too late to get started. Make a
your employer matches that, you just made a 100 percent return
commitment to investing time and money in your future and get
on that dollar! Where else can you get returns like that?
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How to Handle Your Parents
When They Start Aging by Anthony R. Leone, II
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ife really does come full circle. As babies,
the names and phone numbers of all their doctors.
we are totally dependent on our parents.
Find out their pharmacy. Ask doctors questions. If one
Before long, we pull away and seek our
is not in place, make sure Mom and Dad have a health
own independence. For whatever reason,
care proxy or power of attorney so that there is no
between ages 13 and 20, our parents seem to go
question about who can discuss your parents’ health
through a significant decline in knowledge about
care with providers. This is even more important if
life (or so we think). As some attribute to Mark Twain
there is any family strife between siblings.
musing about his Dad, “But when I got to be twentyone, I was astonished at how much he had learned
Check the House for Safety
in seven years.” Then, we often get closer to our
Take a look around their home for safety hazards.
parents as we start our families.
They can be everywhere—leading to trips, falls, and
At some point, though, Mom and Dad start asking for or requiring some help. At first, it may not seem like much, but eventually Mom and Dad really begin
injuries. Fall prevention goes a long way to keeping your parent independent for as long as possible. There are several things to consider to keep Mom
to need some assistance. This does not happen
and Dad’s house safe: clear floors and walkways of
overnight, but over time. There are several things to
clutter, add grab bars in the bathroom and next to
be mindful of as Mom and Dad start to age.
stair railings, update lights to increase brightness
Love, Support & Respect It can be difficult to see our parents get older. It is
and make sure appliances work well and are within easy reach to reduce the need to use stepstools or bend down to get items.
certainly difficult for them. The place to start is with your love for each other and to be there for them to help meet their needs. There are times when they
Attend to Estate Planning and Financial Needs The cost of health care and attending to the needs
do not want our help, even if that is not the best
of seniors is ever rising. Gain an understanding of
choice. If their safety is not at risk, be respectful of
Mom and Dad’s finances to help them plan for the
their independence and wishes.
future. It is very important to engage in fundamental
Listen & Be Patient
estate planning. At a minimum, this usually involves preparing a last will and testament, financial and
How many kids do not listen to their parents? How
health care powers of attorney. An elder law
often are kids and parents not patient with each
attorney can provide guidance about the right
other? These questions are, of course, rhetorical. A lack of listening and patience can be constant, even as the kids become adults. Now that we are adults, it is essential to be more conscious to listen to what our parents are saying or not saying about their needs. Are they asking for more help? Are they forgetting things too often? It can be difficult to stay calm when managing our lives, but it is imperative to step back and be more patient with aging parents. Even when they should make a change, they may not be ready. Suggest something, plant the seed, and come back to it another time.
Make Technology Easier Technology can be intimidating. There is more and more technology, and technological tools continue to get smaller and faster. Larger fonts on the phone and computer, timers for lights and fewer remote controls are just some ways to simplify technology for our parents.
Develop an Understanding of Health Concerns Learn their medical conditions and medications they take. Go to their doctor’s appointments or at least have
estate planning techniques for their given situation. A good financial advisor can also be very helpful to ensure that their money is invested wisely. Also, senior care planners can help coordinate services Mom and Dad may need.
Check on Them Regularly This can be tough as we manage our jobs and family, but it is important to check in often. Whether a visit, phone, call, or text, it may well make their day to hear from their busy kids. Siblings can create a schedule to check in with parents. If that is not possible, ask a neighbor or family friend to check in on them.
Resources While it is difficult to see Mom and Dad age, fortunately there are some great resources that offer an incredible amount of help. Check out the following websites for valuable information and other forms of guidance: »» www.caregiving.org »» www.aarp.org »» www.elderparentresources.com
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 13
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Sleep Deprived? What Not Getting Enough ZZZZs Does to Your Body and Mind by Mark Bello
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 15
If sleep does not serve an absolutely vital function, then it is the biggest mistake the evolutionary process has ever made. —Alan Rechtschaffen
We all know we should get a good night’s sleep—seven to nine
increased risk of Alzheimer’s. One reason is that during sleep
hours—yet most of us don’t. Why? Between work obligations
is when your brain’s waste removal system is at work. However,
and family life, most people put getting enough sleep low on
when you are sleep-deprived, the toxic protein associated with
their list of priorities. However, skimping on sleep can have
the disease cannot be flushed out.
profound consequences on your health and mental well-being. In the short-term, lack of sleep can affect your mood, judgment,
and the ability to recall information. Long-term effects can drain
Intimacy usually falls by the wayside when you’re exhausted.
your mental abilities, put your physical health at risk, and weaken
Numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation lowers
your immune system.
libidos and men with sleep apnea have low testosterone levels.
Let’s take a closer look at the reality of what happens to your body and mind when you cheat on sleep:
Another study found that each extra hour of sleep a woman got corresponded to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of sexual activity the following day.
Immune System Sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. This
can leave you vulnerable to sickness from the common cold, the
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases more
flu, or other infectious illnesses. If it continues, lack of sleep can
of the stress hormone cortisol. In excess amounts, cortisol can
affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical
break down skin collagen, the protein that keeps skin smooth
conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,
and even some forms of cancer.
You can usually tell when someone hasn’t slept well by how they look. Many people experience sallow skin and puffy eyes
after a few nights of missed sleep. However, chronic sleep loss
Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. Studies have shown that
can lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, dark circles under the
people who get six hours of sleep or less can are at a higher risk
eyes, more wrinkles, and more droopy corners of the mouth.
for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease—regardless
You can also feel colder than usual because sleep is essential
of age, weight, smoking and exercise habits. Sleep deprivation can
for body temperature regulation.
also increase your risk of having a fatal heart attack in your lifetime.
Weight Gain Studies show that poor sleep leads to an increase in hunger
Sleep plays a vital role in thinking, learning, problem solving, and
and weight gain. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-
decision making. Without adequate sleep, your brain feels foggy,
carbohydrate foods. Because sleep has an effect on glucose
and it is harder to focus, pay attention, and make decisions. The
metabolism, the lack of sleep will increase your risk of insulin
inability to focus and concentrate will further weaken memory.
resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Lack of sleep also slows your thought processes and reaction time. This is especially a problem when driving a car or performing
Sleep deprivation can usually be treated with good sleep practices such as:
tasks that require a quick response. Over time, sleep deprivation
»» Sticking to a bedtime routine
can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and depression, especially as the
»» Getting regular exercise
body struggles to cope with the stress of sleepiness. Your mood can be altered significantly if you don’t get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause you to feel cranky, irritable, or emotionally out of sorts; it may also lessen your ability to cope with stress. Even one night of insufficient sleep can have a dramatic impact on your mood. A number of studies have also linked lack of sleep to an 16 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 10 ED 1
»» Making healthy eating choices »» Avoiding alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime »» Turning off the TV, computer, and smartphone and hour before bedtime You owe it to yourself to develop better sleep habits. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
One Size Does Not Fit All in Children by Lily Grace ot all children follow the same path to concussion recovery, nor do they have the same predictors for returning to normal activity, according to a new study. Additionally, researchers suggest that younger children should be considered separately from high-school-aged students. “Concussions are common among children, yet the literature is limited with regard to understanding trajectory of recovery after concussion, particularly in children with non-sports related injuries and for younger children,” explains Kaitlyn Chin, a secondyear medical student at University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine and lead investigator in the study. “We were particularly interested in understanding how activity levels during recovery from concussion influence time to full recovery, in order to be able to identify modifiable factors to help guide concussion care. Previous studies have noted differences in the amount of time it takes children to recover from a concussion, and our team recently initiated a study to see if we can identify predictors associated with the amount of time between injury and when a child is medically cleared to return to activities which place the child at risk for re-injury,” she says. To assess this, Chin’s team at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore reviewed the medical records of 178 children who were treated for concussions at an academically-affiliated, rehabilitationbased clinic and who were medically cleared to return to play between September 2015 and February 2017. The children included in the study ranged in age from six to 17 years old (with a slight majority being under the age of 14), and each child’s first visit to the clinic was within 60 days of his or her concussion. The researchers reviewed each child’s record noting when they were approved to return to play. Then, they looked at several other factors for each child, including: sex, cause of the concussion
(i.e., sports or non-sports-related), number of symptoms, school attendance, and exercise status at the initial visit to the clinic. Finally, they considered these factors when the children were placed into two different categories—children under 14 and children over 14—to see if there are any differences based on age. “We were looking at several different factors to see how they impacted a child’s recovery,” says Chin. “Our hope is to identify modifiable factors that may help shape future recommendations given by healthcare providers to speed recovery.” Chin’s team found the number of symptoms affected how quickly all children were cleared to return to play—with fewer symptoms being associated with a faster return to play. For older children, male sex and higher level of exercise during recovery were both associated with a faster return to play. For younger children, higher levels of both exercise and school participation (e.g. attending class, completing homework and tests) were associated with faster return to play. Overall, this study shows that elementary and middle school aged children should be considered separately from high-schoolaged students when considering risk factors for prolonged recovery from a concussion. Furthermore, Chin’s team found that school participation and exercise were not harmful and did not prolong recovery. “Our study adds to the literature supporting that return to cognitive and safe physical activities while a child is still recovering from concussion does not prolong time to recovery,” says Chin of the findings. “Every child is different, and recovery is different for each concussion. To that end, a concussion recovery plan should be tailored for each child, and parents should seek help from the child’s pediatrician or other medical professionals for guiding care after a concussion.” @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 17
y d o B a s e o D g n i t e i D d a B d n a d o o G
by Bret Hanna
he methods of dieting can vary, but the goals are almost always the sameâ€”feel better and lose weight. But whatever the goals may be, some effects of dieting on the body are immediate, and others show up over time. Some are positive, and some are negative. As early as the first day, dieters can see a decrease in appetite. When there is a switch from empty carbs, which burn very quickly and leave one wanting, to complex carbs such as healthy fats and proteins that burn slowly, there are fewer hunger pangs to deal with throughout the day. Another immediate benefit is the ability to eat more food without gaining weight when lower calorie, healthier choices are made. A little bit further out, a week or so after starting a diet, dieters often describe increases in mental focus and clarity of thought. This is the result of a switch away from diets that are high in starches, sugars and saturated oils, which result in energy crashes and feelings of body bloat. Lower calorie, healthier
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choices result in more energy throughout the day. Sleep can also improve after a week or so of dieting. This also results from making food choices that leave one feeling less hungry, so hunger pangs are less like to disrupt sleep in the middle of the night. At about the same time, body water retention often subsides when high sodium processed foods are reduced or eliminated. Finally, one early benefit from dieting can be brainhealth improvements. Eating foods high in vitamin B12 and omega-3s can contribute to mood stability and a more positive outlook on life. About a month into a diet, even more benefits materialize. Since a healthy diet directly translates to healthier skin, dieters often report a skin â€œglowâ€? that they did not have before beginning a diet. Also, a month or so in, many dieters identify an increase in their metabolism. While that certainly seems like a healthy benefit from dieting, metabolism increases may not be destined to last.
Seeing the early benefits of dieting often leads dieters to go further with calorie reduction in an effort to maximize those benefits. Think more is better. Studies show, however, that very low-calorie diets often result in unintended negative side effects that undermine the goals of dieters. When dieters move into the very low-calorie diet zone, the body reacts by going into what is called “starvation mode.” It is believed that this bodily response results from the recognition that very few calories are available, so the body must be ultraefficient in getting the most from the calories that are consumed. The primary protective response to very low caloric intake is preservation of fat stores. But the body must use something to survive, so it burns muscle or lean tissue to obtain the needed calories. This, in turn, results in loss of those tissues which leads to a lower metabolic rate. Once the metabolic rate drops, weight loss slows down, and a primary diet goal is thwarted. Once weight loss drops-off, dieters are often tempted to
throw in the towel and stop dieting. But that does not have to happen—a “damaged” metabolism can be repaired. There are two primary mechanisms for metabolism repair. The first is caloric intake. Although counterintuitive to most dieters, increasing caloric intake slowly will rebalance the hormones that regulate metabolism, and make them work more efficiently. The result is an exit from starvation mode. The second is exercise. An ideal regimen is 3-5 days a week, maximum, with an hour maximum per session. Also, resistance and weight training are best for increasing metabolism, because building muscle requires more calories than building fat. Cardio sessions can also be part of a healthy exercise regiment, but a combination of the two is ideal. The upshot is that dieting can be both good and bad for the body. Feeling better and losing weight are laudable goals worth pursuing. But understanding what happens to your body when you do diet is fundamental to making sure that you are making the most of your efforts to achieve your goals.
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 19
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Working Toward a
Safer Fitness by Michael Walerius and Matthew Devoti ot too long ago, we turned the page on another new year. Resolutions of all sorts accompanied the change in the calendar for many of us. These commitments frequently focus on the want to better our mind, body and overall well-being. Often that focus leads us to the local gym, fitness center or CrossFit “Box” (to a CrossFitter, this is akin to the dojo of a martial arts expert). Perhaps you felt motivated to evaluate your health to improve
Having said that, when you sign a waiver you must understand that the waiver does NOT protect YOU from injury; the waiver only serves to protect from liability the person selling the exercise program. “How safe is this product?” is a question rarely asked by consumers. Perhaps consumers hardly ever ask the question because they figure that the waiver always protects the fitness professional from liability. In this situation, you as the client
your health or happiness. Maybe you considered lifestyle revisions but have yet to act. If so, what aspects must you—as a consumer of a fitness program—consider when shopping for health and exercise? Depending upon your goals, those items might include:
assume all risk involved in participating in a program. Do not blindly move forward. The insistence of a waiver doesn’t give the fitness industry the right to put YOU in harm’s way. So, take it upon yourself to be actively safe in the gym. Do the following to minimize the risks inherent in participating in a health and exercise program and help move you on your way to a Safer Fitness:
»» Product – What will I be doing? Is this what I am looking for? How is the product packaged? In other words, you must inquire about the program’s format and style. »» Price – How much is this going to cost me? The key to any sustainable program is matching your individual priorities with a program that you can afford. »» Environment – Who am I surrounding myself with? Are these people like me...or not like me? Same level or not? Am I alone or in a group setting? The reality is that people often achieve their greatest success when they work with others with like abilities, strengths, weaknesses and goals. »» Convenience and Availability – How often can I use the service? When is the gym open and available to me? How close is the fitness center to my house? Schedules and day-to-day life commitments play a big part in achieving one’s fitness aspirations. »» Results and Commitment – If I wholeheartedly commit to this program, how will I look, feel and live? What am I getting out of this program beyond my physical improvement? However, the fact is that, no matter one’s avenue of fitness, the LAST thing most consumers consider is their SAFETY. The typical consumer just wants to lose weight or get ripped and toned, look good and get strong. In many cases, these goals exist without consideration of personal consequences. As a result, the fitness consumer must be prepared to be confronted by a waiver or release of liability as a condition of programming. Waivers are common tools used by many businesses, particularly those selling health and exercise programming. The viability of a liability waiver depends not only on language used in the document but also the public policy and law of the state in which parties enter into the agreement.
Understand what you are doing. If you don’t understand how to perform a movement, ask your instructor or coach. Then ask, “Why am I doing this?” This information should give you great insight on “Is this safe for me?” while getting the results you want.
Do not perform movements beyond your level. If you are doing exercises you cannot comfortably perform, you are increasing your chance of injury and potentially only doing harm. Talk with your coach and instructor about performing more motor control movements to gain the neurological and muscular capacity to make proper progressions.
Be aware of your surroundings. Create a space for you to exercise, free from obstructions and others. Large classes or over-crowded rooms create confusion and chaos.
Review what you are doing. Be alert on what movement is next and what the demand will be as you “get in the zone.” Understand your levels. Fatigue plays a huge role in compromising safety. Constant fatigue training isn’t the path to your success. In summary, never be afraid to ask the questions above when shopping for a Safer Fitness or—if you’ve already started a program—ask these questions NOW at your current facility. You are making an investment in yourself. The added safety will only keep you healthier in the longevity of your fitness journey. Michael Walerius is a fitness coach based in St. Louis, Missouri who does both remote and on-site training.
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What Should You Wear to Work? by Valerie Johnson
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an dressing improperly at work threaten your security in your job? Ask Nicola Thorp, a woman who was sent home on her first day at work at an accounting firm because she refused to wear heels. Or ask the female meteorologist who wore a tank dress on screen and was given a cardigan to cover up by the male anchor. Or the men who, facing extremely hot weather, decided to wear skirts when they were told that shorts violated the dress code. Dressing for work can be a minefield. Women and men want to avoid crossing the line when it comes to dressing professionally. But there are often office dress codes or religious preferences telling us what to wear to work. And does the new landscape of sexual harassment shaming mean that we no longer blame the woman for “asking for it” when she is harassed and wearing sexy clothing? It is no secret that most people dress more casually than in past decades, even at work. Even some of the most conservative jobs have ditched suits and ties for khakis and polos. But while the requirement to dress formally may have changed at your place of work, most people want to look nice and professional
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while at work. Many people think that if your clothing makes others uncomfortable, you ought to dress differently. They reason that if your look makes people squirm, it is going to hurt you in your profession. But some dress, especially religious clothing, does make others uncomfortable. The Constitution protects the free exercise of your religion. Federal and state laws makes it clear that most employers have to accommodate religious dress if it is not a burden to the business. So a woman can wear her hijab at work even if the qualifying employer does not like it, so long as it is not a safety hazard. Sometimes employer requirements make employees literally uncomfortable. Women have been asked wear heels and hose to work by businesses from law to banking to accounting for a long time. Can the employer require its female employees to do so? The answer lies in the laws that protect women—and men—at work. Employers may be requiring a certain type of dress for legitimate business reasons, such as to keep their employees safe, or to project a certain business image. Expectations should be clearly drawn. Dress code rules should be applied to men and women men equally. For example, everyone can be required to dress in business formal attire. But if women must wear pumps, men should not be allowed to wear running shoes. Dress requirements must also allow for disabilities. For example, a woman who has a back problem should be exempted from the requirement to wear high heels. Employers usually don’t have to allow for individual preferences. But employers may run into trouble with anti-discrimination laws if a person does not dress like people in their gender usually do, and the employer disciplines or harasses them. Women often feel the sting of societal expectations in their dress. When a female meteorologist wore a figure-flattering dress, she was criticized on social media for by a viewer who thought the dress was too small. It ignited a social media fire for and against the meteorologist. Compare that reaction to what happened when a male anchor wore the same suit for a year on camera and got not a single comment. The #MeToo movement has brought issues of sexual harassment at work to the front page of the newspaper. Some have accused women of dressing too sexy for work and bringing on their harassment. A popular exhibit started in 2013 called “What Was She Wearing?” displays the clothing that women wore when they were sexually assaulted. The clothes included in the exhibit range from work uniforms to jeans to body-covering religious robes. The conclusion: what you wear doesn’t excuse sexual assault or protect you from it. So what is the savvy employee to do when faced with issues of dress at the workplace? The woman sent home for wearing flats started an online petition saying that it should be illegal for employers to force women to wear heels. Though Nicola Thorp gathered 152,000 signatures the British government did not agree. Women in the UK can be required to wear heels, just as they can in the U.S. Workers should know that evenly applied requirements for dress are okay under the law. But a note of caution also applies how we may judge workplace clothing; women may not be secure, regardless of the way they dress.
Work from home?
How to Stay Focused and Productive by Cheryl Pope It’s hard enough to stay focused when working in an office. The pressure of the boss walking by or fellow employees watching is enough to keep most people on task. But how do people who work from home do it? While people may dream about it, most say they don’t think they could actually stay focused if given the opportunity. Here are some simple tips to help stay focused and productive while working from home.
Maintain a schedule. Keeping a routine is key for being productive. Setting the alarm, getting up and hitting the “office” at the same time every day reduces the risk of developing bad habits. Schedule breaks and lunch and get up and leave the work area occasionally. Work is a four-letter word for a reason, and it’s ok to step away a couple of times a day to re-energize!
Dedicate a work area. While sitting on the couch with a laptop may be tempting, it won’t do much to increase productivity. Set aside an area that is only intended for work and make sure that the desk and chair are comfortable. If TVs and radios weren’t part of office life, don’t bring them to your home office.
Go Home! Yes, a home-based worker is already home at quitting time but it’s critical to avoid the temptation to “keep going.” Work with the boss and peers to identify acceptable boundaries regarding work times, then make sure key stakeholders are clear on when it is and is not acceptable to cross those lines.
Set boundaries with other people living in the house. Establish a list of chores so it’s clear who is responsible for what. It’s easy for others to unintentionally take advantage of someone working from home. It starts off innocent enough. First, there’s a dirty cup in the sink. Then a request to put the clothes in the dryer. Before long, full-time housekeeper becomes part of the job responsibilities. Talking about this up front is easier (and cleaner) than going on strike and letting the dishes pile up. Oh, this applies to service visits too. Working from home doesn’t make someone the full-time “meet the plumber/delivery/cable guy” person.
Understand technology. Ensure phone and internet capabilities at home work, test them frequently and have a backup plan. Inevitably, something will go wrong five minutes before a huge conference call so have a plan B. Also, if using a cell phone be sure to silence the landline to reduce background noise.
Know the neighborhood. Whether it’s the yard crew’s mowing schedule, trash pickup, the dog next door or the mailman, understand the noise patterns of the neighborhood. There is nothing worse than trying to fight through a conference call when a guy with a weed whacker is right outside the window. The bottom line is that the most effective strategy for staying productive while working from home is based on the individual and having a mindset to making it work!
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The Importance of
Estate Planning by Stephanie K. Annunziata
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hen considering your options for retirement planning, certain investments tend to come to mind, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs. However, estate planning is one invaluable investment which tends to be overlooked—often until it is too late. While retirement accounts may offer appealing interest rates, a complete and welldrafted estate plan may offer an even better return on investment. A common misconception about estate planning is that the investment doesn’t pay off until after you’ve passed away. This is simply untrue. In fact, certain estate planning
unable to manage your financial affairs due to a stroke, your DPOA will authorize an attorneyin-fact to access and manage your finances on your behalf. Your Health Care Power of Attorney will authorize a Health Care Agent to make your medical decisions. Absent these documents, many states would require your family to file paperwork with the court seeking the authority to make these decisions on your behalf. In the event your family members were unavailable to make a timely filing with the court, the hospital or nursing home may file on their own. A DPOA can also assist you during your lifetime, even if you are never rendered
documents, such as a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Affairs (or DPOA) and a Health Care Power of Attorney may only be used during your lifetime—and their benefits cannot be overstated. Taking the time to plan ahead for your unavailability or incapacity means that YOU get to select the individuals who will make important decisions for you down the line. This proactive approach can eliminate the need for family members to seek judicial intervention to assist you with the management of your health care or financial affairs. In the absence of a validly executed Health Care Power of Attorney or DPOA, many families find themselves before the court to pursue a guardianship over an elderly relative. Although the guardianship process varies from state to state, one thing is consistent—it can be a time consuming and expensive process. This is especially true in circumstances where there is family conflict or disagreement as to who should be appointed as guardian. In those cases, the court decides between the potential candidates based on evidence presented by the parties and the outcome may or may not be consistent with your wishes. In certain instances, this could result in the appointment of a total stranger to make decisions on your behalf. A Health Care Power of Attorney and a DPOA prevent the need for guardianship by authorizing trusted individuals to act on your behalf for the management of your health care and financial affairs. By pre-approving these individuals, you empower them to step in and make decisions immediately upon your incapacity or unavailability. For example, if you become
incapacitated. If you plan to spend your retirement traveling or splitting time between residences, a DPOA can be drafted to authorize a trusted individual to manage your affairs while you are unavailable. In other words, you can appoint a friend or family member to collect your mail, manage certain accounts or collect rent from tenants. This method of financial management is far preferable to adding the individual as a joint owner on your various assets, which could provide them with unwanted carte blanche access to your money. Additional estate planning documents, such as a Will and a Revocable Trust, carry the important benefit of preserving your legacy and distributing your assets according to your chosen scheme of distribution. These documents, in conjunction with a DPOA and Health Care Power of Attorney, can be the foundation of a solid estate planning package. Importantly, the preparation of a quality estate planning package does not need to be expensive. Simple plans may be developed by competent local counsel for hundreds of dollars compared to the thousands of dollars which are often expended in guardianship actions. Therefore, pre-planning is an obvious and sound financial decision. The laws surrounding estate planning vary from state to state, so it is necessary to find local counsel to assist you in the development of your estate plan. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (www.naela.org) is an excellent resource for the location of competent local counsel as well as your local state bar association.
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How to Overcome a Fear of Dogs by Jon Lewis ynophobia—the fear of dogs. Yes, there is actually a term for it, and it’s real. With nearly 40 percent of homes owning a dog, it is almost impossible not to have an encounter with these animals. For some people, such an encounter
Another way to get a better understanding of what is exactly triggering your fear is to keep a journal. Such journal entries can assist in identifying a pattern of when the fear presents itself. With this method, you analyze your thoughts, beliefs and
can cause dizziness, palpitations, panic attacks, breathing difficulties, nausea, excessive sweating throughout the body, dry mouth, shaking, temporary inability to speak or think clearly, loss of control over the body and fear of death. The mere sight of a dog in the distance can create these symptoms. So, what can one do to overcome this fear? Well, several psychological techniques have been employed in an effort to relieve this fear, but first a person needs to understand the fear and the extent of it. This requires introspection into the history of the individual, i.e.: was there a dog bite or some type of aggressive dog behavior in the person’s past, or did the person’s parents instill the fear into that person at a young age? Next, what triggers the symptoms: a barking dog, a dog in the vicinity, a picture of a dog, etc.? Finally, what symptoms does the person exhibit: sweating, panic attack, nausea, dizziness, etc.? Once these issues are realized along with their severity (i.e. whether you change your life due to the fear), the person can then determine the appropriate course of treatment. One method used is termed systematic desensitization. In this method, relaxation techniques are used. Breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, visualization and biofeedback are some of the techniques used. First, these exercises are practiced, and after a period of time, they are implemented with pictures of a dog and, eventually, a live dog situation. In addition to the relaxation approach, cognitive restructuring is also used. Through cognitive restructuring, the person identifies her thoughts and
reactions to the fear, and then, you can develop a rational explanation for the fear. For example, if a person thinks all dogs are dangerous because they witnessed a dog attack when they were young, they can work with their therapist to realize that only a minority of dogs will attack, and usually, such an attack results from the dog being provoked or improperly trained. Finally, exposure therapy has been one of the best methods for overcoming the fear of dogs. Exposure therapy is exactly what is sounds like—exposing the person with the phobia to a dog for extended periods of time in order to help them overcome the fear. It involves more than simply putting the person in a room with a dog. The person has to actually experience being with the dog to a point where the person no longer has an adverse response. Cynophobia may be conquered with proper treatment. In order to do so, it is important to develop a plan of action. The therapies described above are part of that plan. Develop relaxation techniques so that when the exposure therapy kicks in, the relaxation techniques can be used. Slowly move toward the exposure therapy by thinking about the situation and utilizing cognitive restructuring. Keep a journal, and begin to move toward the ultimate goal of experiencing an actual dog. This can be done by reading about dogs, drawing pictures of dogs, looking at pictures of dogs, watching videos of dogs, watching actual dogs, being in a room with a dog, and finally, actually petting a dog. Fears and phobias may be difficult to defeat, but
realizes the irrational thinking. Once that realization is accomplished, the person then attempts to restructure her thoughts. A therapist can be very useful in helping you to understand your fear.
not impossible. The rewards of having a dog are immeasurable. They are loyal and compassionate to a fault. Once the fear of dogs is overcome, the old saying will truly be realized: dogs are man’s best friend.
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The Lowdown on Mailaway DNA/Ancestry Kits by Florence J. Murray
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iven the advancements in identifying one’s ancestry using online resources, it should not be surprising to learn that there has been a lot of social media noise about the so-called ancestry kits. If you don’t know why, try searching the internet and you will doubtlessly find several producers of the kits as well as more than twice as many analyzers of the data produced by these kits, with users complaining that the results contradict family reports.
Why all of the fuss? While a site like ancestry.com requires one to identify generations before to map the rest of the connections, it also relies upon the provider of that history for a certain degree of its accuracy. As the adage goes, “garbage in will result in garbage out.” So if great grandpa John had some of the facts confused with stories passed down from generations, then your ancestry.com may be a little different than your DNA actually shows. Ancestry results are a lot of the noise right now because the history does not match the genetics in some cases. In the case of these mail away kits, a person’s saliva is needed and the kit instructions, which are quite straightforward, must be followed exactly. However, even within this field, the way in which the data is analyzed and the results are reported still varies a little, and can thus result in one test results “feeling” more accurate than another.
To test or not to test The challenge in any developing area of science, though, is the availability and source of the information to the average person. Most sites don’t actually help you understand your results, though, and advise you to talk to your doctor or a geneticist about your results. As such, there are less companies actually providing the reports that can help to analyze the data, which is better for the public, at least for now. Timing is everything as it relates to learning more about one’s health. As health experts recommend, you should talk to a geneticist about your results before trying to make changes to your life. Caution is necessary because of the way in which the results are presented. Without a medical degree as well as some speciality as it relates to any one disease, the results often cause only fear and worry. And in extreme cases, the unknown future risk has caused people to make extreme current alterations.
Why more isn’t always better Consider that the results that are provided are based upon some, but not all, of your genes. For example, 23andMe tests only one-tenth of your genes. Then consider that your entire genetic makeup is called a genome. But genes only make up 1.5 percent of the genome. The rest of that genetic material
serves an unknown purpose. Your DNA test has provided you with results for 0.15 percent of all of your genetic material. Then layer on the fact that simply because you have a gene for one thing (X) does not mean that you actually have that characteristic. Eye color would be one such example where two genes together determine your eye color. In order for you to have blue eyes you cannot have a brown eye gene, because if you have one brown eye gene you must have brown eyes, even if the other gene is a blue or green eye gene. Now consider that X represents one gene that can suggest a possible elevated risk of developing Y. In spite of the lack of evidence suggesting you are truly at any real risk for Y, you decide, without expert guidance and counseling, that even a chance of Y causes you extreme anxiety and must be eliminated now. How has that process helped to make you any healthier?
So how do you decide what is best for you? Doctors first interview patients to learn about their symptoms and history. Only after they have a developed a working theory do they begin to consider medication and then maybe testing. To first order a lot of tests on a patient before ever using their training to determine what makes sense given that unique patient’s history and symptoms would be malpractice. They train for so many years because all of that training taken together with the presentation of the patient before them is what makes them better than genetic testing interpreted in isolation by a computer program. Until more is known about how human genomes actually function, testing in isolation tells nothing more than what was known about that person before testing. However, there are many times when genetic testing can be invaluable for determining treatment for symptoms. The perfect example is understanding the treatment that will work best for a particular diagnosis. Genetic testing can help pinpoint which drugs will be ineffective for a particular patient and which patient does not metabolize a drug effectively and instead keeps storing it within one’s body. This type of information only has value for the patient who needs to take medications to treat symptoms. If you are considering getting tested and have a lot of patience (my results took over four months to come back due to the high response rate), then you might want to look at the Genes For Good’s free study being conducted by the University of Michigan, utilizing 23andMe kits (http:// genesforgood.sph.umich.edu). Genes For Good is a research study aimed at generating and analyzing an enormous database of health and genetic information. The research will provide valuable biological insight into the causes of common diseases that can be used by qualified researchers from reputable institutions across the globe after de-identifying the data. To date, the study has 76,830 participants and has analyzed 22,884 genotypes from all 50 states.
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Unlike some social media movements of the past that ultimately fizzled rather than fueling real change, the #MeToo movement has definitely made its mark on our collective consciousness, but to what end? Will we live in a world without sexual harassment, one where women stand on equal footing with men...or is this creating a deeper chasm between the sexes that will remain long after the Twitter and Instagram posts play out? This truly is the big question, and it’s still unclear as to where we’re headed as a society—quite possibly because we’re not all moving in the same direction. Although it can seem counterintuitive, determining the direction in which you’re going can often be accomplished by looking back to where you’ve been. Such retrospective analysis can reveal a linear pattern that not only tracks your progress but projects your approximate destination—it certainly works well with changing points on the compass, but can it influence the course of cultural change?
Hashtag Activism: When Social Movements Take to Social Media In today’s world, one of the most effective ways to show support of an idea or cause is to include your hashtag of choice—the belief being that we can make a difference through a shared discussion. >> #BLACKLIVESMATTER As stories of police brutality toward people of color mounted in 2014, conversations on Twitter began using several hashtags—ultimately settling on this succinct and powerful statement. Tweeted over 9 million times in 2015 alone, #BlackLivesMatter quickly grew beyond the confines of social media to become a call across the U.S. for social justice and racial equality. >> #LOVEWINS A celebration of marriage equality, #LoveWins gained traction following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015 legalizing same-sex marriage. Tweeted out by President Obama, the hashtag went viral with 6.2 million tweets in the first day—soon to become a rallying cry for members of the LGBTQ community in general.
>> #WHYISTAYED In 2014, video footage surfaced that appeared to show Ray Rice, an NFL running back for the Baltimore Ravens, punching his then-fiancée, Janay Rice, in a brutal act of domestic violence. Public conversation quickly turned to social media, discussing why victims stay in abusive relationships. As a response, writer and domestic abuse survivor Beverly Gooden first tweeted #WhyIStayed in an effort to "change the tone of the conversation." The hashtag began to trend immediately and was shared more than 46,000 times the first day alone. >> #PRAYFORPARIS In just one year, Paris was the epicenter for two major terrorist attacks—the first being a shooting at the offices of the satirical publication Charlie Hebdo and then, in late 2015, several coordinated attacks of both shooters and suicide bombers occurred across the city in one day. The world showed their support on social media with the hashtag #PrayForParis, ultimately being uses over 5.7 million times on Twitter and 4.8 million times on Instagram in just the first 24 hours.
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It is time to end the culture of silence. — Anita Hill, Attorney and Brandeis University professor
Looking Back, Are We in a Better Place? It’s undeniable that certain aspects of our cultural attitude toward sexual harassment have changed greatly in just a matter of months. What may have been tolerated as marginally acceptable only a year ago is now viewed by many as abhorrent behavior. Coincidentally, it was a little more than a year ago that we found ourselves as a society reflecting on the anniversary of a related subject; a seminal event that occurred in October 1991 and brought the ugly reality of harassment onto the national stage and illuminated it with an introspective spotlight. The event was Anita Hill testifying in front of the Senate as to what transpired between her and thenU.S. Supreme Court-nominee, Clarence Thomas. It was with this 25th anniversary of the hearings that inspired our cover story in Living Safer volume 8: edition 2— analyzing what actually had, and had not, changed over the years in regards to the sensitive subject. The article conveyed that—while awareness, identification and acknowledgement of harassing behavior have greatly increased over the years—fundamental, positive change was lacking (you can read the Living Safer story online at https://issuu.com/livingsafer/docs/lsm_v8ed2_issuu). Yet, a mere 18 months later, we now live in a postWeinstein world. Attitudes and actions toward claims of sexual harassment are far different, and the outcomes for those accused are rarely as favorable as they were for Justice Thomas. There no longer exists protection within the proverbial “boys club” and excusing such actions as permissible is not to be tolerated. But what are we doing to actually change the situation? What is the future of social behaviors between men and women in the workplace and the world? To truly understand the potential path of such a fundamental shift, it’s best to begin by looking at those who would benefit most from a betterment of the mainstream mindset.
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New Commission Looks to Change Old Habits Today, the topic of sexual harassment is viewed differently than it was when Anita Hill first stepped onto the Senate floor. People are more aware of the toxic dynamic, there are more available programs to help those who are victims, and there exists more training opportunities in the workplace to prevent such behavior from happening in the first place. 25 years later, Anita Hill continues to play an active role in remedying the predicament faced by many women, stepping forward to chair the newly formed Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace. “I’m proud to be leading this newly-formed Commission on a long overdue journey to adopt best practices and to create institutional change that fosters a culture of respect and human dignity throughout the industry,” Hill said in a statement to the press. “We will be focusing on issues ranging from power disparity, equity and fairness, safety, sexual harassment guidelines, education and training, reporting and enforcement, ongoing research and data collection…this moment presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to make real change.” Formed to combat Hollywood harassment and abuse head on, the Commission is a coalition of top entertainment execs looking to lead by example. Key participants include Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, CBS chairman/ CEO Leslie Moonves, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris and Disney chairman/CEO Bob Iger.
Other Equality Movements that Are Making a Difference >> 50/50 BY 2020 The concept of gender parity is not new by any means, but declaring a deadline to the goal’s completion certainly puts a new emphasis on the effort. Simply put, the idea is to extend the world population’s gender mix to a multitude of industries that have notoriously been known as “men only”— this includes Hollywood, the political arena, the medical community and the corporate world. >> STEP IT UP Sponsored by UN Women, an organization offshoot of the United Nations that fights for gender equality around the globe, this effort asks governments to make national commitments to address the challenges that are holding women and girls back from reaching their full potential. >> EQUALITY NOW Believing that social change often begins with legal change and political will to enforce the law, Equality Now is relying on an international network of lawyers, activists and supporter to hold governments responsible for ending legal inequality, sex trafficking, sexual violence and child marriage.
Shouldn’t a Movement Called #MeToo Apply to All Women? While the movement was never meant to be exclusionary in any way, many point to the fact that, to date, it has mostly involved people of prominence—mainly politicians, powerful businessmen, TV personalities and male inhabitants of Hollywood. And it’s not just the accused who fall into this camp, either. Looking at those who have stepped forward with claims of misconduct, many are women who wield a fair bit of power, wealth and celebrity themselves. But what about those who do not move in such circles, shouldn’t the movement be of benefit to them as well? Does #MeToo apply to all the restaurant servers, the office workers and the housekeepers who fall victim to sexual misconduct, especially by someone who is also not of highprofile stature? According to a recent poll conducted by the well-known, independent surveyor Quinnipiac University, as many as 60 percent of all women have experienced some form of sexual harassment—yet their individual stories are not making headlines, not evoking hashtags, nor are they being heard. It is an unfortunate point to make, but it’s hard to deny that the #MeToo movement has done little to draw attention to the plight of the poor and the powerless. Some industries, such as hospitality and food service, have always had a reputation for being rife with sexual overtures that teeter on and often traverse the line of harassment—bad behavior that comes from both coworkers and customers alike. But there are some careers that see more than their fair share of sexual misconduct which might surprise you. For instance, women who work in retail—especially in clothing stores—account for the second-highest rate of sexual harassment after hospitality and food service. And in 2012, the international organization Human Rights Watch did a report on sexual violence involving farmers and field workers. In interviews, almost all stated that they had either directly experienced or witnessed sexual harassment. Corroborating evidence exists in an earlier survey of Central Valley farmworkers that found as many as 80 percent of female workers claimed to have been sexually harassed on the job.
Predators must come to feel they can't count on power or wealth or fame to shield them. — Kathleen Kennedy Star Wars producer and president of Lucasfilm
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Unfortunately, such data does more than make the point that the problem goes beyond affluent or influential women in certain industries or social circles—all too often, sexual harassment affects those most who simply can’t afford to lose their jobs at any cost. Those who fear retribution from management or a bad referral moving forward are often willing to tolerate what no woman should. Often, these women are immigrants, women of color, or ones with little money or opportunity to pursue legal action. Hopefully this will change as the movement evolves and more resources are put toward helping such individuals.
Time’s Up Promises to Provide for those Who Need Help the Most Created by more than 1,000 powerful and affluent Hollywood insiders to help combat the disparity experienced by working class women when it comes to addressing sexual harassment
On January 1st, a full-page ad ran in the New York Times. It wasn’t marketing a product or service, but an idea. It bore an important message that did more than speak to a group, it spoke to individuals on a personal level. The open letter professed that the systemic sexist culture found in the American workplace has stayed past its welcome. That the days of inequality are numbered. Basically...time’s up. The letter began with “Dear Sisters,” and ended with a call for solidarity, both signaling that what Time’s Up truly hopes to do is usher in an era of unity. If you’d like to read the letter as it ran in the Times, see the full list of women who signed the letter or read the original letter from 700,000 female farmworkers, you can do so at www.timesupnow.com.
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in their workplace, Time’s Up is a relatively new campaign that positions itself as a “sisterhood” backed by big-name members, such as Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Chastain, Selena Gomez and Meryl Streep. While essentially run by volunteers and multiple working groups, the movement is driven by a single mission statement—to support those women, men, people of color and the members of the LGBTQ community who have suffered from sexual harassment, yet do not have either the funds to pursue legal recourse or sufficient access to media platforms upon which they can tell their story. To this end, the movement has created a grassroots GoFundMe campaign to establish a legal defense fund that will be administered by the National Women’s Law Center—a nonprofit organization that advocates for women’s rights through both litigation and policy initiatives. While their initial goal was to raise $15.5 million, that number was surpassed in the first few weeks and continues to grow. While no one denies that the #MeToo Movement has started—and continued—a very public conversation on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace and elsewhere, there are some
critics who claim that it has yet to inspire a workable solution. Time’s Up promises to do just that, as their mission is to go beyond words and apply action in an effort to proactively shape a new social paradigm. Initially inspired by a letter of support from the Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworker Women’s Alliance), the campaign is intended to offer support to any and all who feel they have been marginalized in the workplace. “To receive a letter on behalf of 700,000 women working in the fields, women who put food in our supermarkets, on our tables, standing with us—it was such a moment of modeling what we need to be doing in our larger society,” commented America Ferrera
during a TODAY show episode. “It was such a signal to us that we couldn't do anything but respond. And not just with words, but with real action.” At a recent 2018 Makers Conference (a yearly event sparked by the 2013 documentary Makers: Women Who Make America), Time’s Up panel member Rashida Jones made the point that “the cornerstone of the Time’s Up movement is intersectionality, which means addressing the way a person’s gender, race, socioeconomic class, sexuality, and other characteristics can result in different forms of or circumstances surrounding the treatment they experience in the workplace.”
The takeaway from this shouldn’t be men and women can’t work together. —Koa Beck Editor, Jezebel Magazine
Where Does this Leave Us? What’s Next? If this conversation is to evolve into a true movement, one where lasting cultural change is brought about—it needs to engage the base on a fundamental level. We’re talking about the average man on the street as well as the woman on the street. If they have differing views on the topic, then the solution will need to bridge that gap. It cannot just be about male sexual misconduct, we must also examine why the female reaction has often been to downplay events or look the other way when it affected other women. This is not just about men vs. women. It’s about civil interaction between people, regardless of gender. It’s about respect for each other and an inherent responsibility to treat people how we ourselves would like to be treated.
In some ways, this might be a dilemma that must be addressed on an individual level. It’s hard to imagine that one voice could aptly put into words how everyone feels on the subject. Yet during a CBS This Morning interview with Oprah Winfrey on the subject, America Ferrara might have distilled the feelings of many women while commenting on the movement and its progress moving forward; “Speaking of this moment, as a culture, we've gone from not listening, hearing or believing women,” said Ferrara, “...and how were we going to skip over the whole part where women get to be heard and go straight to the redemption of the perpetrators?” she asked. “Can't we live in that space where it's okay for perpetrators to be a little bit uncomfortable with what the consequences will be?”
Up to this point, many have simply been focused on maintaining the momentum of the movement—acknowledging that it needs to move forward, but unsure as to whether there is an “appropriate” pace. Others question the continuing accusation of male perpetrators with little in the way of due course of law, wondering if there will ever be a time of forgiveness, a time of reconciliation, a time when we can move past the pain and the limits of acceptable male-and-female professional interaction can be rewritten.
Do not doubt that there will definitely be consequences for those who commit such actions. But the uncomfortability should apply to all of us. We should all shoulder some responsibility for not rectifying this social ugliness sooner. To move forward, we all need to come together and work on a solution. While the next step is consensus, we must temper our expectations with patience. We must remain focused on our goal, but realize that real change may take time. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 37
The Real Story on
Reduced–Calorie Wines by Jon Lewis
id you know that various wineries have now begun producing reduced-calorie wines? Some current lowcalorie wine producers are Skinnygirl, Skinny Wine, Weight Watchers, FitVine, and some foreign brands. These wines typically have approximately 90 calories for a five-ounce glass of wine. This compares to a typical five-ounce glass with about 120 calories—saving a person approximately 30 calories by drinking lowcalorie wine. Is it worth it? Maybe, and maybe not. Some wines produced today actually have lower calories, but they are not marketed as low-calorie wines. The calorie count in wine stems (no pun intended) from the grapes and the alcohol content. The sweeter the grape, the sweeter the wine, and the more calories the glass will contain. Similarly, the higher the alcohol content of the wine, the more calories that will be ingested. The real question is the goal of the person drinking the wine. If a person wants to drink low-calorie wine in order to be able to drink more wine, it’s probably not a good idea. For example, if two glasses of average, regular wine are consumed, the person will be taking in approximately 240 calories. But, if on chooses low-calorie wine in
order to drink more glasses—say three—the person will probably consume 270 calories or 30 calories more than two glasses of regular wine. This would defeat the purpose of drinking low-calorie wine, and the person will probably be sacrificing taste as well. The low-calorie wines also advertise that their sugars are lower. For example, FitVine claims to have less sugar, but, in reality, white wines typically have less than 1.5 grams of sugar, and a fiveounce glass of red wine typically has less than 1 gram of sugar. Consequently, the sugar content is usually not a driving force—it’s the alcohol content. There are other factors that drive the availability of lower calorie wines as well. Some winemakers have started to retreat from the 14 to 15 percent alcohol content wines to 7.5 to 9 percent alcohol content. This reduction in alcohol content naturally reduces the calories in the wine, but it’s often done for a matter of taste. Additionally, less alcohol content helps reduce the cost of the wine. Also, it is more difficult to reduce the alcohol content in red wines, therefore fewer red wines exist in the lower calorie category. Ultimately, it’s up to the consumer to decide if reduced calorie wines are to be their beverage of choice! @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 39
8 Ways to Help
Get Rid of a Hangover by Mike Bryant
angover tip #!: Hydrate! And no, that does
Early grease can help.
not mean more alcohol, or the “hair of the dog” approach. What it means is getting water in your body to hydrate those cells and get your body working again.
People have even gone as far as consuming olive oil before heading off to a party. It is a classic scene from Parks and Recreation that had Nick Offerman’s character showing up with a bag of hamburgers the next morning to get people to grease their hangovers away. The idea is that your intestines use the grease in the absorption of the alcohol.
Drink water. Re-hydrating your body involves drinking a lot of water when you wake up. It doesn’t hurt to drink a big glass of water before you go to bed also. The key is the absorption of the alcohol by your body. Water slows the rate in which your body absorbs alcohol and will keep your blood alcohol level down. The water helps in replacing those fluids that you are losing with alcohol consumption, so keep a bottle of water by your bedside and drink it as soon as you wake up.
Don’t smoke, or reduce your amount of smoking while drinking. There have been links between the amount of smoking that you do and the intensity of your hangover. Smoking affects the way that you sleep due to congestion and your overall breathing which prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep. Combined with the alcohol, it makes you feel worse.
Sleep, sleep, sleep. Sleeping off a hangover can make a difference in that it gives your body more time to heal itself. Good sleep is affected by your water intake and the way that you hydrate. Also, it helps to get good airflow and give your body the time to do what it needs to do.
Drink the right alcohol. Studies have shown that clear booze vs. dark booze plays a role in the way that your body processes these chemicals. The better your body deals with it, the less intense of a hangover you will have. Consequently, making the right alcohol choice can make a difference. 40 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 10 ED 1
Early sugar can make a difference. Studies show that fructose may speed up the way your body processes alcohol. Consequently, people have used orange juice as a remedy.
Try ginger. Ginger is a natural ingredient used to reduce nausea and vomiting. Consequently, eating a little ginger may make a difference. The National Institute of Health has research that consuming a combination of ginger, tangerine pith, and brown sugar before drinking decreases nausea and vomiting the next day.
Prickly pear cactus may work. There are early studies that indicate taking 1,000/600 IU’s of prickly pear extract five hours before drinking reduces risk of severe hangover by 50 percent. Finally, if you are experiencing a lot of hangovers, you may want to look at whether you have a problem related to alcoholism. There are a number of groups out there that help with either early signs of alcoholism or people who are using alcohol to deal with other issues, such as pain, relationships, or day-today life. Don’t be afraid to ask the right questions in dealing with this problem so that things don’t get worse.
Salty or Sweet: What You Crave May Tell You Something by Marc McCallister hen you are looking for a snack, what do you usually reach for? Does your food craving change if you are at the movie theater, in the middle of a tough work day, or settling into a comfortable chair or couch after a big meal? While the scientific literature is not conclusive as to whether individual food cravings can be causally linked to nutrient insufficiencies, an individual’s relationship with food cravings clearly represents a unique biopsychosocial matrix. Like anything, it can be complicated. The human body is no different than a piece of machinery. We are powered by the food we eat, much like a car is powered by gasoline or electricity. If you want your mind and body to function at peak performance, science has demonstrated again and again that a balanced diet and plenty of sleep are a must. Obviously, this is not new information. So why is it we suffer from food cravings? What is behind the cravings that tempt us in the middle of the work day or at the end of a long day? There is a significant physiologic component to food cravings. Anecdotally, an individual’s preference for snacks can be easily identified by asking them to choose between a salty snack and a sweet snack. In both instances, sweet and salty foods trigger physiologic responses that activate regions of the brain linked to emotional, cognitive, and chemical stimuli associated with food cravings. For instance, sweets trigger the release of dopamine, an organic chemical, and salty foods trigger the release of serotonin, a monoamine neurotransmitter. Both dopamine and serotonin have been linked to mood improvement. Over time, the human body builds a tolerance to sweet and salty foods, and in turn, more of that food is required to feel satisfied. Before long, a problematic cycle develops that results in the taste buds magnifying one’s craving for either sweet and salty foods. If you prefer sweet snacks when given the choice, it could mean a couple of things. First, it could mean your diet lacks in tryptophan, chromium, sulphur or phosphorus. Sweets also tend to correlate with emotional eating and diets with limited carbohydrates. Lastly, sweet cravings are also associated with skipping meals. If the body is deprived of fuel, it will start to crave foods it can break down the fastest—refined grains and simple sugars. If you prefer salty snacks when given the choice, the first thing you should consider is your stress level. A 2011 study found that salt was not only addictive, but it affects the brain in a way that is similar to being addicted to cigarettes or drugs. Additionally, it is known that stress can have a negative impact on the adrenal glands, which regulate sodium levels within the body. An imbalance in sodium levels can in turn lead to salt cravings. Regardless of your personal snack preference, the next time you experience a craving for something sweet or salty, stop and evaluate what factors might be driving your desire for your favorite snack. If you’re still in the mood for something satisfying, try one of these healthful options to the right.
Salty Snacks: »» Edamame with dash of salt »» Whole grain pretzel sticks »» Sunflower seeds »» Lightly salted almonds »» Olives »» Baked potato chips »» Kosher dill pickles »» Sea salt caramel »» Parmesan cheese drizzled with balsamic vinegar »» Hummus with cucumbers and carrots
Sweet Snacks: »» Fresh fruit »» Fruit smoothies »» Pretzels with peanut butter »» Animal crackers »» Frozen yogurt »» Frozen grapes »» Greek yogurt with fruit »» Sweet chewy granola bars »» Fat free chocolate pudding with sliced almonds »» Red Vines (always fat-free)
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THE CONSUMER’S GUIDE TO ALL THINGS SAFETY
We’re on the Web and in Your Hands. Welcome to the all-new Living Safer, the same magazine you’ve come to know and love...just with a more inviting look and feel. And while the face may have changed, our pledge ; the best in safety information— from new trends and wellness to lifestyle, home and more.
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F A M I LY
How to Talk to Your Daughters
About Sexual Harassment by Hillary Rinehardt
ith the rise of the #MeToo movement (see more in cover, page 32), the news and social media are inundated with heart-wrenching stories about sexual harassment and assault. The #MeToo Silence Breakers were named TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” and the movement is uniting survivors by allowing them to tell their stories of harassment and assault. Undoubtedly, if your daughter is on social media, she will see these stories, too. Talking to your daughter about what sexual harassment is and what to do about it will allow your daughter to be prepared in the event she or her friends encounter it.
Start the Conversation Early According to one study, more than 1 in 10 American girls has experience some form of sexual harassment by age 11. Don’t wait for your daughter to tell you something has happened to her. You can start talking about good touching and bad touching as early as 5 or 6. Tell your daughters it is never okay for someone to touch them without their permission. Teach them the significance of their “no-no square”: the imaginary box that extends from their collar bones to mid-thigh—if anyone makes weird comments about their “no-no square,” they should tell you about it immediately. Teach your children how to talk freely about their bodies by being frank and open.
What is Sexual Harassment? Make sure to discuss the definition of sexual harassment with you daughters. Sexual harassment is not just unwanted touching, but also includes verbal harassment (catcalls, rumors, comments); cyber harassment (texts, emails, social media); physical harassment (unwanted touching, grabbing, kissing); and nonverbal harassment (gestures, notes).
Ask Questions About What She Has Heard For tweens or teen daughters, you can ask her about what she has heard. Listen to her opinions, insights, and thoughts
on the subject. You may be surprised how much she already knows. Based on what she says, you can have age appropriate conversation and discuss strategies if she is faced with unwanted sexual comments or advances. Answer her questions honestly and use your own experiences from the past as an example of how to handle—or not to handle—a situation. If you are watching television or a movie, and you see harassment taking place, embrace the opportunity to talk about it.
Discuss Realistic Strategies She Can Use Ideally, your daughter will feel empowered enough to extricate herself from any harassment situation. The first line of defense being, say no, and walk away. It is not always possible, however, to respond in the moment. When dealing with someone older or a person with authority, your daughter may not feel comfortable or may be afraid to speak out in the moment. She needs to know it is okay to stay quiet in some situations, and then find someone she can trust to talk to about it when she can get to a safe place. It is good practice to write down all details of the event as soon as practical after it happens. Most important, your daughter needs to know to never be ashamed to talk to you about a situation even if she wishes she had handled it differently or responded more forcefully in the moment. Teach your daughters to not only report sexual harassment she experiences, but also if she sees it occur to someone else.
Talk to Your Sons, Too Obviously, teach your son to be respectful to women; but a boy needs to know what to say and what to do when he experiences or witnesses sexual harassment, too. Talk to your son about consent and control over his own body as well. Make sure your kids know that both boys and girls can be sexually harassed. With greater awareness and a refusal to stay silent, there is hope we can look forward to a world where sexual harassment is extinguished. @LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 43
How to Start Your
Child’s Love of Reading by Hillary Rinehardt A healthy diet and regular exercise are not the only important health habits. Reading has a significant number of benefits as well, including mental stimulation, stress reduction, increased knowledge, vocabulary expansion, better writing skills and improved concentration to name a few. With the continuous rise of modern technology, reading has taken a backseat in the lives of many adolescents. Like all good health habits, it is important to start early. Research shows that health habits developed early in life tend to be long lasting. What can we do as parents to start a lifelong love of reading in our children?
to value books as common and necessary objects—instead of unattainable grails kept on high shelves. When children are surrounded by books and adults who love books, they tend to pick up on those habits early. Humans are naturally storytelling creatures, and this talent is developed at a young age. One way to inspire a love of reading for your child is to make the books come alive, larger than just words and images on a page. While this may be exhausting (and expensive), your child will thank you for it. Reading about animals? Visit a zoo. Reading about stars? Go outside at night to see them.
Children are often too energetic to sit still and read a book for very long. One step that a parent can take to promote literacy is to give their child audio-books (yes, they count as reading). Children are naturally listeners, and listening to another person speak fluently—pronouncing words and giving inflections to certain parts of sentences—can not only help your child become a better listener, but a better speaker, and, therefore, a better reader. This can be as simple as listening to an audio-book of Charlotte’s Web in the car or simply playing a track in your child’s room as he or she falls asleep. Opting out of audiobooks? Reading books aloud to your child works the same way! Children often take cues from adults. You may have noticed your child sitting the same way as you or your spouse; mimicking the behavior of those with whom they spend the most time. Reading works no differently. Surrounding children with books allows the literature to be accessible, both literally and metaphorically. “Accidentally” leaving a book in your child’s room, allowing them to pick it up and see the cover illustrations, teaches children
Or, if you take family vacations, go on a “bookcation”—visiting New York City after reading The Brownstone or visiting New Orleans after reading Freedom in Congo Square. Small experiences like these allow your child’s imagination to soar unrestrained; creating personal connections between themselves and literature (a skill that highschool English teachers continue to emphasize). Once a child is forced to do anything, they no longer want to do it. A child may love taking baths until he or she is forced to bathe at the same time every night—and then it becomes a nightmare. Reading is no different. Giving your child a nightlight to “stay up past bedtime” allows him or her to start viewing reading as a “grown-up” privilege instead of a chore. There’s also nothing wrong with making reading fun! Read aloud to your child, even after he or she may not need to be read to. Act the different characters in funny voices, using different hats and boas, and invite your child to partake in the shenanigans as well! The more that a child is actively involved with the story, the more he or she is likely to pick up a book and never want to put it down.
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When Was Your Last ‘Date Night’? by Tammie McKay We all think of dating as something you do in order to start a relationship and eventually get to the end goal: marriage. However, most don’t think of “dating” the person with whom they will be spending their lives. Although you may feel that your relationship is going well and there are no issues, it is still important to have time alone—a date—with your significant other. Let’s face it, these days, everyone is busy. Between work, family and social commitments, there’s hardly enough time to watch your favorite show or catch up on the news, let alone carve out time for a “date night” with your partner. Here are five reasons why “date night” is a must:
Communication Communication is a key factor of any intimate relationship. Through communication, couples can discuss distractions, such as children and career demands. Date nights also offer couples the opportunity to discuss topics that don’t revolve around the children or daily home life.
Originality Most couples experience a “settling in”—a time in which they are likely to take each other for granted. Believing that “we are a couple” can create an ordinary domestic routine. Having a deficit in fun and originality can be toxic. Incorporating activities that emphasizes novel and different experiences can help increase intimacy.
Being Connected Over time, some couples find that the spark, excitement and overwhelming attraction to each other tend to fade away. Having a “date night” allows a couple to focus on their connection; the spark may be restored during the pursuit of romance and intimate conversations. Date nights may also rekindle the romance, which then leads to an understanding of why they are so necessary.
Eliminating Stress Couples who engage in regular “date nights” may maintain a connection through conversation and support. This can also reduce mental stress. We don’t need to connect perfectly with our partner, but we do have to preserve and develop the ability to pay attention and be present when they are stressed. Couples need to learn to be a loyal and reliable friend to each other.
Relationship Commitment Commitment can be scary. Date nights help you reinforce a sense of stability and a deeply satisfying relationship. When partners cherish each other, they steer clear of romantic opportunities outside the relationship and are significantly more happy than those who are less committed. A couple that puts forth the effort to spend time together and continue the growth of their relationship is more likely to grow stronger and closer, staying in it for the long haul. It doesn’t matter what you do or where you go; it’s the action: curl up on the couch, watch a movie, eat pizza and cuddle. You’ll feel more connected and loved. Trust in that.
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Teaching Your Son Respect by Tammie McKay arenting is one of life’s quintessential conundrums. It can be rewarding on many levels, but just as quickly becomes one of the greatest frustrations. Nurturing our children is often a learn-as-you-go process, especially for new parents. As a parent, teaching your son respect has to be a continual, lifelong process, as it is one of the most important lessons he can learn. Respect is earned, and should never be implied, which is probably the most difficult aspect for a young boy to grasp. Help him respect his others such as his elders, women, those who hold positions of authority, and even his friends; it requires daily mentoring. Teach your son that it is right to hold doors and allow others to precede him when entering or leaving a building. Instruct him that saying ‘yes sir’ or ‘yes ma’am’ is a sign of respect. Do not allow him to answer adults with words such as ‘yeah’ or ‘uh huh’, but rather help him realize the use of proper English will garner more respect in the long run. In addition, teaching boys that they must give respect to get respect is often times met with resistance, particularly in instances where respect is not reciprocated. This frequently manifests itself in scholastic environments, such as when your son encounters a teacher with whom they have a personality conflict. Even if your son is completely in the right, and he is being subjected to unfair treatment by a teacher, it is still imperative that he show respect to the person and deference to the position. Teach him to acknowledge what the teacher is saying and to answer respectfully, not to “back talk” or cause further conflict. If he feels he was unfairly treated, he may discuss it with you or request to speak with a school counselor. We need to teach them self-discipline and how to control themselves when faced with conflict, even if they are feeling rage or anger. We live in a world of rules and consequences, and we must help immerse our sons in this reality. If you are constantly late for school, skip school or leave early, for example, you will face disciplinary
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actions as set forth by the school rules. Having your son learn to commit to the rules you enforce in your home or suffer the consequences is a great way to start him on his own path while outside the home. When he realizes that for every negative action comes a negative response, he will strive to achieve positive responses through positive actions. There will be times when he slips up and gets into trouble; however by simply discussing the situation with him and talking through the action/consequence, you can steer him back onto the right track.
What History Shows For many years, society has portrayed men to be emotionless and to conceal their feelings, but this can be harmful to quality relationships. Many boys grow up ashamed of their emotions, making them unable to communicate well and possibly lash out toward others. Get him to open up and know that it is important to express what he is feeling or thinking. We must teach our sons the importance of kindness, compassion, empathy and love for family, friends and the environment. These feelings will help him become a responsible and strong man that has the social skills to help others and prevent him from doing hurtful things to himself or others. Many will use the expression “boys will be boys” to explain away their behavior. After hearing this over and over, they start to believe it implies that boys are troublemakers and it’s acceptable because of their gender. Parents must sent forth the example by treating others in their son’s life with respect. Insist that he do the same, even outside your presences. Teach him that there is a reasonable way to handle a situation without being a troublemaker. One very important lesson to instill in him would be “just because your friends are doing it, it doesn’t mean that it is acceptable.” Have him stop and think, “what would my parents think about me doing this?” If he comes to the conclusion, “not very well,” then he should probably step away from the situation.
7 Terms You Need to Know before Buying a Home by J.R. Whaley
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ou’re tired of renting and realize the money you’re spending on rent each month could go towards owning your dream home. But the thought of going through the home-buying process scares you. You don’t know where to start, what you should know, or who you should talk to. You’re not alone. In fact, 35 percent of all home purchases were by first-time homebuyers. Educating yourself on the home-buying process in advance will help you make the right decisions and prevent buyers’ remorse. Knowing these seven terms will help protect your interests when buying a home.
Buy/Sell Agreement The Buy/Sell Agreement is a binding contract detailing the relationship between the buyers, sellers, and their respective agents representing them throughout the real estate transaction. It is very important that the duties of brokers and agents are well defined in order to prevent confusion. Items included in this document varies by state but usually include the following: »» Property Description: Describing the property to be sold in great detail so there is no question what a buyer will receive when the deal is finalized. »» Price: This one is obvious. The sale price the parties agree to is an essential part of the transaction. The sale price or method for determining the sale price should be clearly stated in the buy/sell agreement. »» Act of Sale: Parties will agree to the date of the act of sale when money will change hands, and all the legal documents will be signed. At this point the new owner can finally move into their home. When setting this date, also known as the “closing,” buyer and seller should allow enough time for the attorney or title examiner to examine the title for any issues. »» Cash or Finance: We would all love to have $100,000 dollars to pay for a house in cash, and some people do. However, financing your new home is also a popular option. The agreement will indicate whether the transaction is a cash sale or financed sale. This is important because financing a home will make the transaction contingent upon the buyer obtaining financing.
Contingencies These are provisions in a contract that require certain acts to occur before the contract becomes binding. One of the most common examples is “Contingent upon Financing.” In this case, the buyer must be approved for a home loan in order to complete the sale. An Inspection contingency allows the buyer to renegotiate or withdraw from the transaction if the inspection reveals problems. Parties will either negotiate who should cover the costs, or back out of the deal altogether. A title contingency protects the buyer from any claims of ownership that have not been resolved. A person who is buying a home contingent on them selling their current home will benefit from a home sale contingency clause.
Inspection Period No one wants to buy a home with termite damage and a leaky roof. Buyer and seller will agree on a specified amount of time in which the buyer may examine the property for any issues. Take advantage of this opportunity especially if you are buying an older home. Protect yourself by getting a full inspection done on your future home.
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Earnest Money Know the difference between a deposit and earnest money. A deposit is an amount of money paid towards the purchase price of a home usually to show that the buyer is committed to the transaction. Parties will stipulate that a seller will not sell the home to another buyer once a deposit is put down. Earnest money is a bit different. When a buyer and seller agree that the amount given is in earnest, this money is regarded as the amount of damages a party will receive if the other party backs out of the sale. If a buyer puts down earnest money instead of a deposit, and later decides that he no longer wants to buy the home, he forfeits the earnest money to the seller and everyone goes their separate ways. The same goes for a seller who backs out of the deal. He must return the earnest money to the buyer. Earnest money is held by the title company and distributed when necessary.
Agent Your agent will be your best friend throughout this process. An agent is a person who has the power to act for another person. A buyer’s agent will assist a buyer with finding the right property, negotiating the offer, finding lenders for financing, a real estate attorney, home inspectors, and more. A seller’s agent will help a client set a competitive price for the home, give guidance on how to present the house when prospective buyers come to view it, develop a marketing plan including dates for showings, organize and rank offers, and represent the seller in negotiations.
Commission This is the agent’s piece of the pie, their fee for their services in completing the deal. The commission is usually a percentage of the sales price at the time the home is listed for sale and paid by the seller. The average fee is around 6 percent split between the agents for the buyer and seller. Sellers usually pay the commission.
Closing Finally, the most rewarding phase of the home-buying process is the long-awaited closing meeting. Before you take the keys to your new home, a few things must occur to complete the transaction. Closing is an event where promises made in a purchase agreement are fulfilled and funds are distributed to the seller. A few days prior to closing, buyer will receive important documents such as the closing disclosure which has the terms of the home loan. The date agreed upon may change due to unforeseen delays. Buyer and seller must agree on postponing the closing. On the day of closing, a buyer will sign legal documents regarding the transfer of ownership from seller to buyer, and regarding the contract between a buyer and lender if the home is being financed. A buyer will pay closing costs and escrow items such as mortgage insurance and real estate taxes. The mortgage or deed to the property will be provided to the buyer. This document gives the lender a right to seize the home. The mortgage note provided contains the buyer’s promise to repay the mortgage according to set terms and consequences for failure to pay. The certificate of occupancy has is provided if the home is newly constructed and certified that the home has passed all required inspections by the state where the home is located.
Radon: Invisible Killer Inside Your Home? by Lara Vitiello ou can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can’t taste it. It could be present at a dangerous level in your home. What’s even more frightening—it’s the leading cause of lung cancer deaths among nonsmokers in the U.S., claiming 21,000 lives each year.
What is this invisible killer? Radon gas. Radon (Rn) is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas. It’ produced by the radioactive decay of radium-226, which is found in uranium ores, phosphate rock, shales, igneous and metamorphic rocks such as granite, gneiss, schist, and limestone. Every square mile of surface soil contains about one gram of radium, which releases radon in small amounts into the atmosphere. It is measured in picocuries per liter (pCi/L) of air with an acceptable level being four or lower.
It occurs naturally almost everywhere. Why is it so dangerous? Radon, under normal conditions, is gaseous and easily inhaled. It’s the heaviest of the noble gases, causing it to accumulate in low points of buildings, such as basements and crawl spaces. It is also highly water soluble allowing it to easily seep into groundwater. Due to geological factors, the level of the radon gas hazard differs by location. It is found in all 50 states with I owa having the highest average concentrations and the Appalachian Mountain area of southeastern Pennsylvania coming in a close second. Epidemiological studies have shown a clear link between breathing high concentrations of radon gas and the instance of lung cancer. The EPA considers radon gas a “Class A” carcinogen. They, along with the U.S. Surgeon General, urge all Americans to protect their health by testing their homes for radon.
How can I protect myself from radon gas exposure? Exposure to radon is a preventable health risk and testing radon levels in your home is the only way to detect it. If a high radon level (over 4 pCi/L) is detected in your home, the good news is, you can take steps to fix the problem. You can also help by spreading the word about the health risks of radon and encourage others to test their homes.
Where can I get a test kit? »» Discounted test kits are available from the National Radon Program Services »» www.sosradon.org »» (800) SOS-RADON (800-767-7236) »» You can also contact local agencies within your state that might offer discounted or even free test kits. You can find a
listing of contacts for state by visiting: www.sosradon.org/ state-radon-contact-map »» Many home improvement stores also sell test kits at an affordable price Once you obtain the test kit, be sure to follow the directions on the packaging for the proper placement of the device and where to send it afterward for processing. It is important to note that radon levels can fluctuate due to transient weather conditions. If your initial test reading is over 4 pCi/L, it is worth repeating the test or performing a more comprehensive long-term test prior to undertaking an expensive mitigation project.
Should I hire a professional? If you are not comfortable performing the test yourself, you can also hire a credentialed radon service provider to perform the test. These professionals can also assist with mitigation, if your radon readings come back higher than 4 pCi/L.
More Information National Radon Helpline Get live help for your radon questions. (800) 55-RADON (800-557-2366)
National Radon Fix-It Line or general information on fixing or reducing F the radon level in your home. (800) 644-6999
@LIVINGSAFER / LIVINGSAFER.COM / 51
Dos and Don’ts
of Social Drinking by Brittany Monbarren
Know your limits and pace yourself.
Drink on an empty stomach.
Accept drinks from people you don’t know.
Drink water in between drinks.
Think you’re OK to drive— get a ride.
Stay with the person/people you arrived with.
Take medication of any kind if you’re going to consume alcohol.
Always have your cellphone with you.
Leave with anyone you don’t know or feel comfortable leaving with.
Make sure you have your ID and money with you.
Eat well the next day.
52 / LIVING SAFER / VOL 10 ED 1
The Ins and Outs of Deferred Attorney Fees by John T. Bair
or attorneys who want to create a supplemental retirement fund, manage the cash flow of their law firm, or protect themselves from being bumped into a higher tax bracket, attorney fees should be considered as a viable investment option. In Richard A. Childs, Et al. v Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed that attorneys who elect to structure their fees will not have to pay taxes on those payments until the year the income is received. This allows attorneys to spread out their income, rather than getting hit with a large tax bill in one year.
At what point do I need to decide to defer my fees? You must elect to structure your fees prior to settlement; it must be included in the settlement agreement. You can’t have constructive receipt of the money to be structured. It should be paid to the life insurance company via an assignment company.
What if I worked on the case with another attorney? Am I still eligible? Yes, you can still structure your fees. The stream of payments can be split among more than one attorney. Should more than one decide to structure, each gets their own unique payment schedule.
Is an attorney fee flexible? Yes. You should choose a plan that best fits your individual needs.
How is my “attorney fee deferral” accomplished? The attorneys deferred assets are custodied at TD Ameritrade Institutional, and our team develops an investment strategy that is customized specifically do you and your family. The best wealth management approach for most of our attorney clients is a well diversified individual stock portfolio that is mid and large cap dividend growth heavy.
What factors should I consider?
How are payments made?
There are a number of factors to take into account when deciding whether or not to do an attorney fee structure:
Payments can be made either to you or to your firm. Fee payments can be affected by a number of factors, including the type of incorporation the firm has (e.g. LLC, PC, etc.), dissolution plans of the firm, tax advantage, etc.
»» Age »» Health »» Present financial needs and goals »» Future needs and goals (college, retirement, etc.) »» Tax bracket »» Risk tolerance
Can I elect to defer a fee if my client elects to receive their settlement proceeds in a lump sum? In most cases, you may create your fees regardless of what your client decides to do.
About the Firm
What does it cost to do a deferral? As administrator, our firm charges 1% annually on the assets in the program. Monolith Advisers is our Registered Investment Adviser that provides the investment advice. Disclaimer: Milestone Consulting, LLC does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult an attorney and/or estate planning expert if you have questions regarding the legal or tax implications of your structured attorney fees.
Milestone Consulting, LLC is a comprehensive settlement planning and management firm. We believe that injured plaintiffs and their families deserve strategies designed to ensure a lifetime of financial security. Our consultants are licensed in all fifty states to provide guidance on settlementrelated issues including government benefits preservation, trust planning, Medicare Set-Asides, wealth preservation and annuities. We also provide mediation support to assist the plaintiff in reaching a settlement that will meet their present and future medical and financial needs.
737 Main Street, Suite 100 Buffalo, NY 14203 (716) 883-1833 (855) 836-2676 www.milestoneseventh.com
In addition to our work with plaintiffs and trial attorneys, we actively support a number of civil justice organizations, including The Injury Board, the American Association for Justice, EndDD and statewide associations in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit our website at www.milestoneseventh.com.
INSULT TO INJURY It is what lending companies will doâ€”if you let them. Advocating for your injured clients requires two fights â€“ legal and financial. It is a FACT that most seriously injured clients are underfunded. Borrowing during litigation is often a necessity, but it should not be injurious. With the Bairs Foundation, a first-of-its-kind not-for-profit, you can help them with both. Inspired by the Seventh Amendment, our 7% annual simple interest rate provides ethical financial relief many families need to survive.
Imagine if all plaintiffs were funded by not-for-profits.
Amy and John Bair, Cofounders
The #MeToo Movement: What’s Next?