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In this issue:

Winter Survival Guide

Helping Yourself At A Time Of Loss Wealth Protection The Gift Of Life Stress and Heart Disease

VantagePoint Welcome to our Fall Issue! Fall is, in many ways, life’s ‘senior season.’ It is a time for ending the higher energy activities of the summer, for gathering family together, and for preparing for the winter to come. With that in mind, this issue contains articles with important information on: Winter Survival Guide – keeping healthy when the weather turns cold and threatening. Helping Yourself – Or Someone Else – At a Time of Loss – dealing with the loss of a loved one. From Wealth Accumulation to Wealth Protection – options in financial needs that life insurance can meet. The Gift of Life – why you should become an organ donor to save a life. Stress and Heart Disease – some of what you need to know to protect your heart and your health. As always, VantagePoint contains no advertising, only information that is of value to you and your family as you make decisions that will affect your life as you approach and enter retirement. Again, thank you to our content contributors who support and distribute VantagePoint. Each company is a leader in its field and is committed to providing our readers with valuable information about issues that affect you, your family, and the plans you are making to reflect the changes you face in your finances, health, and lifestyle. In their articles they have provided links to resources to help you find more valuable information on these issues that are important to you. Now, you can also check out VantagePoint online at Please ‘Like’ us and tell your friends about VantagePoint so that they may receive it too. Make Sure You Keep Receiving VantagePoint You have received this copy of VantagePoint courtesy of one of our sponsoring content contributing companies. Please let them know you want to continue receiving VantagePoint…either by emailing them, through their webpage (links on the inside back cover), or email us at We hope you enjoy this issue of VantagePoint and encourage you to pass it along to your friends and associates. We welcome your feedback on the articles presented and questions about these or other topics you would like to see covered. Thank you,

Matthew Ross

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In this issue Winter Survival Guide


The Gift of Life


Helping Yourself At A Time of Loss


Stress and Heart Disease


From Wealth Accumulation to Wealth Protection 10

Important Links 18

Winter Survival Guide

Winter Survival Guide This article provided by

We all know the dangers of frigid weather: slips on icy sidewalks, frostbitten fingers, and achy backs from too much leaf-raking or snow-shoveling, to name just a few. But even if the temperature where you live never drops below freezing, the late fall and winter months can pose other hazards to your health. Act now to take preventive steps before the season starts to avoid colds and flu. Y0036_12_5610 CMS Accepted 11042012 2

Winter Survival Guide Prevent Colds and Flu Spending more time indoors with family and friends enjoying the holiday season or during bad weather spells may expose you to the cold and flu. Germs can easily be passed from person to person when everyone is gathered in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods. Influenza or “flu” seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October. Getting a flu vaccine is considered the most important way to protect against this serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It’s especially important for those 65 years and older to get a flu shot as they are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu.

“Being physically fit provides many benefits, including bolstering your immune system and preventing injury.” You should get vaccinated against influenza as soon as the 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in your community. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks after the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Be sure to ask your doctor when the flu vaccine will be available in your area. Important Tips to Prevent Both the Flu and Colds: • Wash your hands frequently: One of the simplest ways to prevent the transmission of cold and flu germs is to wash your hands frequently.You need to use soap because it helps trap viruses and bacteria. Rub your hands together to loosen germs (15-20 seconds, or as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) and rinse them away under warm water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also great ways to minimize the amount of germs on your hands. • Keep surfaces clean: Surfaces we touch can harbor germs such as the flu virus. Wipe surfaces that get touched frequently – such as your phone, computer keyboard, television remote control and light switches – with a good cleaning product. • Get plenty of rest: The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can wear you out, and when you’re tired your defenses against illness can be weakened. Consider doing more shopping online this year, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to some of those holiday get-togethers. Be sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night, and rest or nap when you feel fatigued. Wash your hands frequently. 3

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Stay Fit Being physically fit provides many benefits, including bolstering your immune system and preventing injury. Just because summer is over doesn’t mean your exercise regimen should end. When inclement weather doesn’t allow a brisk walk, consider other ways to keep active during the winter months. Some people join a health club, but if you’d rather stay at home, you can pop in an exercise DVD appropriate for your fitness level and follow along. You can also do Tai chi, yoga and Pilates exercises at home. Expensive equipment isn’t necessary to get all the benefits of resistance and weight-bearing exercise. Instead, try using a few one-pound cans of soup or beans in the place of dumbbells. Meet up with friends and take a few laps through your local enclosed mall. Take advantage of fitness benefits offered through your health plan. Just be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program. Watch What You Eat Studies show that Americans gain an average of one pound each year during the winter. Indulging in high calorie “comfort foods” is frequently the culprit. While you should have no problem enjoying the occasional treat, try not to make it the norm. Get into the habit of eating nutritious meals that include low-fat proteins, complex carbohydrates and adequate fiber content like vegetables and fruits.

Stay hydrated with six to eight glasses a day.

“No matter what the cause, be sure to discuss any persistent ‘down’ feelings with your doctor.” Also be sure to stay hydrated by drinking water frequently (six to eight glasses of water per day), and don’t forget to take a daily multivitamin as recommended by your doctor. Avoid the Winter Blues The chill in the air may not be the only thing getting you down. Winter’s shorter days with fewer hours of daylight can bring on the blues. Holidays, while joyful for many people, can trigger sad memories. Depression can also strike whether loved ones are near or far. No matter what the cause, be sure to discuss any persistent “down” feelings with your physician. Some people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, during the fall and winter months. 4

Winter Survival Guide SAD is more common in northern regions that have less daylight. Doctors believe that SAD is caused when shorter days disrupt the body’s internal clock. Seasonal Affective Disorder is more than just a bad mood; it has very specific symptoms. If you have three or more of these symptoms during winter for at least two years in a row, you may have SAD: SAD Symptoms • Change in appetite or weight • Sleep problems • Lack of energy • Decreased sex drive • Body aches or pains • Memory loss • Inability to make decisions • Problems concentrating • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt • Lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities • Suicidal thoughts To combat SAD, get as much natural light as possible. Open your curtains and blinds, and sit outside or near a window. Be sure nothing is blocking light from coming through windows, such as tree limbs and shrubs. Many SAD sufferers find that sitting in front of a bright light box for a certain length of time improves their symptoms. Talk to your doctor to learn more about light therapy. Schedule a Check-up One of the most important steps you can take right now is to make an appointment to see your doctor. With regularly scheduled check-ups, you and your doctor can work together to be sure you receive the preventive care you need. Staying healthy will enable you to enjoy all the wonderful activities you love all through the year.

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For more information, please visit or HealthSpring is a Coordinated Care plan with a Medicare contract. Bravo Health is a Coordinated Care plan with a Medicare contract. We hope you found this article of value. To make sure you continue receiving your FREE copy of VantagePoint, reply to HealthSpring, or email: 5

Dealing With Grief

Helping Yourself–or Someone Else–at a Time of Loss

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No one wants to think about death any sooner than they must, but it’s going to happen and those you love will be affected by it. With some advanced planning, you can help reduce stress for you, your family and your friends. Dignity Planning® is a free online tool that can help you create a quick and easy end of life plan. To get started, visit today. It’s never been easier to create a meaningful and personalized plan and your family will be grateful that they know what your final wishes are when the time comes. The decisions you make today will help ease the burden that’s left behind when no plans are in place.


Dealing With Grief Dignity Planning was created by Dignity Memorial®, the largest network of funeral homes and cemeteries in North America. Dignity Memorial serves more than 300,000 families annually. It is our experience, dedication and commitment to excellent service that makes us the right partner to trust with your personal end-of-life plan. Creating your online plan is free, easy and 100% confidential so why not get started today? Just visit On the Dignity Planning website you will also find a library that is filled with information to help you and your loved ones deal with grief, such as the article below. Helping Yourself–or Someone Else–at a Time of Loss I seem to be falling apart. My attention span can be measured in seconds; my patience in minutes. I cry at the drop of a hat. Feelings of anxiety and restlessness are my constant companions. Laughing, happy people seem out of place in my world. It has become routine to feel half crazy. I am normal I am told. I am a newly grieving person. - Anonymous “The Grief Process” by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D., a noted author, teacher and grief counselor known internationally for outstanding educational contributions to both adult and childhood grief. The first few days following a death can be very draining. You may be feeling numb and overwhelmed with all the details requiring attention, especially so if there is no funeral plan in place, You may not know what you are expected to do. You may also fear doing the wrong thing. Take a deep breath and realize that you are not alone. Many people are ready to help you plan the funeral and do what must be done in the coming week. Be assured that your funeral director and staff associates will help you with the planning, paperwork, and the many details that follow a death. If you have never planned a funeral before, know that they are working to ensure everything goes smoothly. Their experience will help guide you through the next several days. The Role of Shock & Numbness Feelings of shock, denial, numbness and disbelief are nature’s way of temporarily protecting you from the full reality of the loss. Especially if you had little or no opportunity to anticipate the death, you may feel dazed and stunned now and in the coming days. Trust that these feelings are normal and necessary. They serve as psychological “shock absorbers,” giving your emotions time to catch up with what your mind has been told. You may also find yourself crying (or laughing) hysterically, having angry outbursts or simply feeling foggy and unable to think.


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These are common feelings, but they can make it more difficult to plan the funeral. Continue to ask others to help. Planning the Funeral Why do we have funerals? For thousands of years, funerals have been a means of expressing our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the death of someone we love. The funeral ceremony: • Helps us acknowledge that someone we love has died. • Allows us to say goodbye. • Provides a social support system for loved ones, friends and family members. • Allows us to contemplate the meaning of life and death. • Offers continuity and hope for the living. Another way to think of the funeral is as a final tribute to the person who died.

“Creating meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one begins with compassion and is shaped by understanding.” After the Funeral After the funeral, along with shock and numbness, you may feel a sense of relief that the “work” of planning the ceremony and receiving friends and family members is over. This is normal. It is also normal during this time to begin to feel more deeply the reality of the death. It’s as if for the first time since the death that you’ve really had a chance to sit down and think about what it all means. Feelings of sadness and despair may grow stronger. Sometimes it’s hard for friends and family members to know how to help you after the funeral. They’re not sure if they should leave you alone of if they should stay by your side. Let them know what you’d prefer. Be honest. If having others around comforts you, ask them to stay. If you need some alone time, tell them so and ask them to come back tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with errands, shopping, thank-you notes, etc. Believe in Your Capacity to Heal This early in your grief journey, it may be hard for you to believe that you’ll get through this. You will. Over time and with the support of others, you can and will learn to reconcile this loss. Although your pain may get worse before it gets better, in the coming months and years the intense feelings of grief will soften. To access the Dignity Memorial Guidance Series in our Resource Library at


Dealing With Grief “Creating meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one begins with compassion and is shaped by understanding.” The founders of Dignity Planning believe creating meaningful ways to pay tribute to a loved one begins with compassion and is shaped by the understanding that each life is truly unique. For us, there is no greater responsibility than honoring and preserving the story of one’s life. And you can begin telling your own story on Dignity Memorial providers care for more than 300,000 families each year and understand the importance of thoughtful, personalized arrangements. They also understand what families and friends go through when a death occurs and offer unique benefits that help families before, during and after the funeral service. Below are just some of the unique products and services offered exclusively by your local Dignity Memorial funeral home. Compassion Helpline® When traditional support like family or clergy is unavailable, you and your family are invited to use our toll-free Compassion Helpline for up to one year. The Helpline is staffed by professionals who have advanced degrees and are specially trained in grief counseling. 24-Hour Compassion Helpline is provided by Charles Nechtem & Associates, Inc. Bereavement Travel Services We provide the best available travel options throughout the U.S. and Canada and to many international destinations. On a moment’s notice, dedicated travel specialists will seek the best available airfares as well as hotel accommodations and car rentals for all family and friends to attend a funeral, cremation, memorial or graveside service. There is a nominal fee associated with the issuance of an airline ticket. Aftercare® Planner This comprehensive estate management guide, with more than 70 pre-written letters, is an invaluable tool in helping finalize business and personal affairs that arise when a death occurs. It provides clear direction and valuable information that may also reduce legal and professional fees. May be purchased separately. Dignity Memorial Guidance Series Dignity Memorial providers understand that the loss of a loved one is extremely difficult, as is the accompanying grief. Our bereavement materials were developed to support and comfort those coping with these emotions. An extensive collection of booklets, DVDs and CDs offers professional advice and compassionate insight. Dignity Memorial LIFT® Often, a widowed person feels isolated, usually believing no one really understands how he or she feels. Dignity Memorial LIFT (Living Information for Today®) is a social program that helps widows and widowers adjust to the loss of a spouse. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence. Contact a Dignity Memorial provider near you to learn more about the Dignity Memorial benefits it offers. For more information, to find a Dignity Memorial provider nearest you and to get started making your plan today, visit

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Life Insurance

From Wealth Accumulation to Wealth Protection This article provided by

As people approach retirement age, financial planning shifts in focus from wealth accumulation to wealth protection. Any good financial portfolio includes an appropriate amount of life insurance – but many people wonder if they own the best type of life insurance for their particular situation. For instance, people have different goals when considering the “ideal” retirement investments or insurance. In collaboration with Age Wave and Harris Interactive, SunAmerica Financial Group sponsored the “Retirement ReSet Study.” It is the first major study of its kind to specifically assess the impact of the recession on America’s mindset, family dynamics, lifestyle expectations and financial planning for retirement.


Life Insurance Goals Vary According to this study, 65 percent want an investment that is guaranteed not to lose value, 55 percent want an investment that would provide income to their family if they were to die or become disabled, and 26 percent would prefer to have a way to leave money to their family, community, or favorite charity. Of course, each of these goals can be met through different financial vehicles. Life insurance remains a solid option for protection and income replacement. Most life insurance policies sold in the United States today can be placed into two categories: Term or Universal Life (UL). Each of these types of life insurance provides people with different levels and areas of protection, for different life stages.

“Universal Life products are the most flexible and offer the biggest variety of features.” For instance, young families often choose to purchase Term coverage. Term Life insurance is basic – it’s life insurance for a specified amount of time. Term Life insurance doesn’t build cash value, and it doesn’t have as many features as Universal Life insurance. People frequently purchase Term Life insurance to cover temporary expenses like a mortgage, or to help pay for their children’s college tuition in the event of a premature death. Options Designed to Meet Specific Needs Additionally, some insurance companies offer an inter-generational solution through products that provide an ongoing family income after the death of the primary insured. Many companies offer a rider that can be attached to a base Term Life policy which can provide a guaranteed income stream for any period from five to forty years after death. This means a surviving spouse or children could be protected for years in the future, not just immediately after the primary insured passes away. However, as people continue to live longer, the need for life insurance to help protect their loved ones from inflation, longevity risk and market risk long after their death remains – they have ongoing, permanent, financial security needs rather than temporary needs. Universal Life is permanent insurance – meaning these policies stay active until the policy matures (unless the owner fails to pay premiums), typically at age 121 or above. Most accumulate cash value. Also, Universal Life products are the most flexible and offer the biggest variety of features. Many insurance companies are still refining their UL portfolios to offer consumers many more options than they had in the past. Variable Universal Life has been around a while; some of the most recent additions to the Universal Life product offerings include Guaranteed Universal Life, Indexed Universal Life, and products that offer living benefits. What sets Guaranteed Universal Life policies apart is just that – they are guaranteed. With other UL policies, it is possible that coverage may end before the primary insured dies if there isn’t enough value in the policy to cover the cost of maintaining it. With Guaranteed UL, that won’t happen. Once a coverage amount and the premium payment required to cover that amount have been determined, the policy owner needs to only make


Determine the coverage amount required.

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sure he or she pays those premiums on time. Even if interest rates change, the cost of insurance increases, or if the economy becomes volatile, Guaranteed Universal Life policies retain their very attractive guaranteed features. Guarantees Provide Peace of Mind Today’s consumers need a product that is guaranteed not to lose value, that will provide income to their family if they die or become disabled, and that will enable them to leave money to their loved ones. Guaranteed Universal Life policies meet these needs. Each policy is based on guarantees that provide the ultimate level of security. Guaranteed cash value and guaranteed death benefits provide peace of mind, because policy holders know their families will always be protected. Indexed Universal Life policies offer customers the potential to grow cash value over time based on interest crediting strategies that are tied, in part, to the movement of one or more major stock market indices. With each account option, index interest is credited to the policy based on the performance of the stock market, on the interest rate environment, the costs of the options chosen, and other economic factors. It’s important to note that Indexed UL policies are not investments, and aren’t tied directly to the stock market. Most Indexed UL policies feature a built-in minimum interest rate guarantee that helps protect any cash accumulation value that has been built up in the policy. In other words, the accumulation value can grow based on economic factors, but it won’t decline due to the minimum interest rate guarantee – this minimum rate guarantee serves as a “floor.” Cash value VUL provides maximum potential growth of cash values. can grow, but it won’t fall below the minimum rate floor. Some Indexed UL policies include the same guarantees that Guaranteed UL policies provide, but what policy owners gain in guarantees, they may lose in cash value growth potential. Cash Value Growth For those who are equally concerned about leaving a death benefit to their heirs as they are about the size of their accumulated nest egg, Variable Universal Life (VUL) provides maximum potential growth of cash values. Within a VUL, in addition to a fixed interest-bearing account option, are various subaccount options with different investment objectives (“growth” or “aggressive growth” for example). Policy owners can tailor their choices accordingly, and can review each account’s performance and make adjustments as needed. Risk-averse buyers should note: because VUL subaccounts are invested in equity and bond markets, policy owners can lose money. Living Benefits Finally, there are a few insurance companies today that offer customers living benefits – otherwise known as Accelerated Benefit Riders, or ABRs. Accelerated Benefit Riders are only offered by a few companies and, as such, many consumers are not aware this feature exists.


Life Insurance

Accelerated Benefits However, a Universal Life policy that features Accelerated Benefit Riders is a smart choice for older Americans. The idea behind this concept is actually quite simple. As we know, “accelerate” means to speed up, or to cause something to occur sooner than expected.

“...with so many more options, the right choice is not as straightforward as it used to be.” Under certain conditions, these riders allow policy owners to “accelerate” the payment of a life insurance benefit, which means policy holders can use their life insurance proceeds before death. Here’s how an Accelerated Benefit Rider typically works: to receive benefits early, the insured must have what is referred to as a ‘qualifying event.’ As an example, that could mean a critical illness such as a major heart attack, invasive cancer, or a stroke. Some insurance companies also provide living benefits for chronic and terminal illnesses or conditions as well as critical illnesses. In these cases, policy owners usually receive a lump sum of money from the insurance company. It’s important to note, however, that any amount accelerated will directly affect the remaining life insurance. For example, if a policy owner has a $500,000 policy and decides to accelerate half of it, her family will receive only the remaining $250,000 when she passes away. For many older policy owners who are already struggling with a major illness, accessing an Accelerated Benefit Rider could help alleviate financial issues. It’s easy to see how important it could be to have access to life insurance benefits at a crucial time. Which is Right for You? Choosing the right life insurance protection for you and your family is an important decision. And, with so many more options, the right choice is not as straightforward as it used to be. A qualified insurance or financial advisor in your community can help you navigate the new world of life insurance. This article provided by

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Our life product portfolio includes life and accident insurance products, including Accident Expense Plus, Level Term, Return of Premium Term, Universal Life and Whole Life products. Our products are distributed by independent and brokerage general agents, independent marketing organizations and other wholesale distributors.

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The Gift of Life

Two stories: One Miracle. Meredith needed a kidney. Kimberly donated her kidney.

The Gift of Life This article provided by continuous flow of life-giving transplants

Organ donation is something that never crosses the minds of most people until it’s you or someone who’s close to you that needs a transplant. Since 1968, The Living Bank has been helping people give the gift of life. We were the first national registry in the nation. In 1968, Dr. Denton Cooley and his team of surgeons performed the first heart transplant in the United States. Five Houston women, realizing no formal way to donate organs existed, saw a need for a donor registry that would allow medical professionals to match organs with waiting recipients.


The Gift of Life Today, The Living Bank continues to educate people of the importance of donor registration. As a direct result of the critical shortage of deceased donors, we have implemented a thriving living donor advocacy program. The lack of organ donors is a national medical crisis. Due to the prevalence of diabetes and kidney disease the demand for organs has exceeded the supply. Thousands of people die needlessly each year due to the lack of donors

“Over 112,000 people in the United States are waiting for life-saving transplants.” The solution is – people. The greatest benefit of organ donation is knowing that you’re saving a life. That life might be your spouse, child, parent, brother or sister, a close friend, or a stranger in need. An organ donor is truly a lifesaver. • Every 18 minutes another name is added to the transplant list. • Every 24 hours, eight people die because suitable organs are not available. As you plan for your future, please consider registering as an organ donor. • Register with your state registry. • Tell your family, doctor, attorney and estate planner about your wishes. • One organ donor can save the lives of eight people. Who can be an organ donor? • There are no age limits on who can be an organ donor. Who cannot be an organ donor? Sally is grateful a donor saved her husband’s life. • People with certain medical conditions cannot donate an organ. • This includes people with HIV, actively spreading brain cancer, and severe, current infections. Please consider learning the facts on becoming a living donor. In response to the shortage of organs for transplantation, relatives, loved ones, friends, and individuals who wish to remain anonymous who are in good mental and physical health may participate in the process to become a living donor. • A living donor can save the life of a transplant candidate. • Types of living donor transplants include: Kidney (entire organ); Liver (segment); Lung (lobe); Intestine (portion); Pancreas (portion) To learn more about the facts and procedures of organ donation, view our website or call: 713-961-9431 (1-800-528-2971); or e-mail: Presentations in the Greater Houston area are done on a weekly basis; please contact us if you would like to schedule one. On a national basis, if you would like to participate in one of our live webinars, we would like to hear from you.

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Breast Cancer

Stress and Heart Disease This article provided by

Stress sets off a chain of events. First, you have a stressful situation that’s usually upsetting but not harmful. The body reacts to it by releasing a hormone, adrenaline, that causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise. These physical reactions prepare you to deal with the situation by confronting it or by running away from it — the “fight or flight” response. When stress is constant (chronic), your body remains in high gear off and on for days or weeks at a time. The link between stress and heart disease is not clear. However, chronic stress that causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure may damage the artery walls.

Four Ways to Deal With Stress

Here are four simple techniques for managing stress: Positive Self -Talk Self-talk is one way to deal with stress. We all talk to ourselves; sometimes we talk out loud but usually we keep self-talk in our heads. Self-talk can be positive (“I can do this” or “Things will work out”) or negative (“I’ll never get well” or “I’m so stupid”). Negative self-talk increases stress. Positive self-talk helps you calm down and control stress. With practice, you can learn to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. For example: Negative “I can’t do this.” “Everything is going wrong.” “I hate it when this happens.”

Positive “I’ll do the best I can.” “I can handle things if I take one step at a time.” “I can work it out.”

To help you feel better, practice positive self-talk every day — in the car, at your desk, before you go to bed or whenever you notice negative thoughts. Having trouble getting started? Try positive statements such as these: • “I can get help if I need it.” • “We can work it out.” • “I won’t let this problem get me down.” • “Things could be worse.” • “I’m human, and we all make mistakes.” • “Some day I’ll laugh about this.” • “I can deal with this situation when I feel better.” Remember: Positive self-talk helps you relieve stress and deal with the situations that cause you stress.

Emergency Stress Stoppers

There are many stressful situations — at work, at home, on the road and in public places. We may feel stress because of poor communication, too much work and everyday hassles like standing in line. Emergency stress stoppers help you deal with stress on the spot.


Breast Cancer Try these emergency stress stoppers. You may need different stress stoppers for different situations and sometimes it helps to combine them. • Count to 10 before you speak. • Take three to five deep breaths. • Walk away from the stressful situation, and say you’ll handle it later. • Go for a walk. • Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” if you make a mistake. • Set your watch five to 10 minutes ahead to avoid the stress of being late. • Break down big problems into smaller parts. • Drive in the slow lane or avoid busy roads to help you stay calm while driving. • Smell a rose, hug a loved one or smile at your neighbor.

Finding Pleasure

When stress makes you feel bad, do something that makes you feel good. Doing things you enjoy is a natural way to fight off stress. You don’t have to do a lot to find pleasure. Even if you’re ill or down, you can find pleasure in simple things such as going for a drive, chatting with a friend or reading a good book. Try to do at least one thing every day that you enjoy, even if you only do it for 15 minutes. • Start an art project (oil paint, sketch, create a scrap book or finger paint with grandchildren). • Take up a hobby, new or old. • Read a favorite book, short story, magazine or newspaper. • Have coffee or a meal with friends. • Sew, knit or crochet. • Listen to music during or after you practice relaxation. • Take a nature walk — listen to the birds, identify trees and flowers. • Make a list of everything you still want to do in life. • Watch an old movie on TV or rent a video. • Take a class at your local college. • Play cards or board games with family and friends.

Daily Relaxation

Relaxation is more than sitting in your favorite chair watching TV. To relieve stress, relaxation should calm the tension in your mind and body. Some good forms of relaxation are yoga, tai chi (a series of slow, graceful movements) and meditation. Like most skills, relaxation takes practice. Many people join a class to learn and practice relaxation skills. Deep breathing is a form of relaxation you can learn and practice at home using the following steps. It’s a good skill to practice as you start or end your day. With daily practice, you will soon be able to use this skill whenever you feel stress. 1. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap or lie down. Close your eyes. 2. Picture yourself in a peaceful place. Perhaps you’re lying on the beach, walking in the mountains or floating in the clouds. Hold this scene in your mind. 3. Inhale and exhale. Focus on breathing slowly and deeply. 4. Continue to breathe slowly for 10 minutes or more. 5. Try to take at least five to 10 minutes every day for deep breathing or another form of relaxation.

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Content Contributors

About AMERICAN GENERAL LIFE COMPANIES Since its founding over 160 years ago, American General Life Companies has been devoted to ensuring the current and future financial stability of American individuals and their families. American General focuses its financial services on retirement, life insurance, and consumer finance. Its policies serve to help customers plan for unavoidable yet unforeseeable future occurrences. Such life insurance products as annuities, individual health and long term care policies aim to fit any financial need, be it personal or business-oriented. One of the first multi-line insurance companies to come into existence, American General now boasts a customer base of over 13 million people. In the past five years alone, its insurers have paid out claims and benefits in abundance of $34 billion. To learn more, please visit the company website,, or contact: American General Life Companies: P.O. Box 4373, Houston, Texas 77210 Phone: (800) 231-3655 Fax: (713) 831-3028 TDD: (888) 436-5256

About SERVICE CORPORATION INTERNATIONAL: Founded in 1962 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Service Corporation International is a top provider of death-care products and services offering funeral, cremation, and cemetery services to hundreds of thousands of families each year. Compassionate employees in over 1,800 network funeral homes and cemeteries work with families on a pre-need basis to plan their most ideal tribute to passed loved ones. Service Corporation International (SCI) is the umbrella title for seven individual brands: Dignity Memorial, National Cremation Society, Advantage, Funeraria del Angel, Making Everlasting Memories, Memorial Plan, Neptune Society/Trident Society. Each of SCI’s brands offers a unique experience allowing families to choose which best fits their needs and desires, whether it be the simplest of funeral arrangements or an extravagant ceremony involving ample planning and resources. To learn more, please visit the company website at or contact: Service Corporation International 1929 Allen Parkway Houston, Texas 77019 Phone: (713) 522-5141

About HEALTHSPRING: Based in Nashville, Tennessee, HealthSpring is the largest health plan in the United States focused exclusively on Medicare Advantage. HealthSpring’s concentration on this market has led to the development of a unique approach to healthcare and a deep understanding of the needs and challenges facing both patients and physicians. HealthSpring’s physician engagement model provides more access to high quality preventive care for members while supplying physicians what they need to deliver that care more effectively and cost efficiently. Specifically, HealthSpring recognizes and rewards physicians for quality over quantity of care, and provides extra resources to physicians so they can devote more time and attention to patients. The result: healthier members with lower medical costs. It is a common-sense model, but an uncommon practice. HealthSpring currently owns and operates Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C. and West Virginia. Additionally, HealthSpring offers a national stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan. For further inquiries, please visit the company website at or contact: HealthSpring, Inc. 9009 Carothers Parkway, Suite 501, Franklin, TN 37067 1-800-472-1823


VantagePoint is published quarterly and is distributed free of charge by those companies contributing content of interest and value to our readers. The articles in VantagePoint reflect those issues that affect you, your family, and the plans you make to accommodate the changes you face in your finances, health, and lifestyle. Please forward this issue to family and friends who you believe might also benefit from the information contained in the articles appearing in this issue. For additional information or to provide feedback or suggestions on future topics you would like to be covered, please email:

In this issue:

Winter Survival Guide

Helping Yourself At A Time Of Loss Wealth Protection The Gift Of Life Stress and Heart Disease


An advertising-free, quarterly magazine designed to provide baby-boomers in or near retirement with useful infomation on health, financial,...

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