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Buy It, Sell It...call Classified 576-6721 -CONSUMER NEWS - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012 - PAGE

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10 - CONSUMER NEWS...Where Results Cost Less! - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012

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Senior Lifestyles

Overcoming Barriers To Better Health Can Make Seniors Part Of The Solution To Our Nation’s Spiraling Health Care Costs (NAPS)-An astounding 87 percent of Americans 65 and older have at least one chronic condition, and 67 percent have multiple chronic conditions, according to a 2004 report prepared by Partnership for Solutions. Baby boomers are aging into Medicare at a clip of 10,000 per day, which means that the number of Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases is set to skyrocket, putting an unprecedented strain on our health care system. These startling statistics mean that, more than ever, seniors need to understand the connection between the sustainability of our health care system and their lifestyle choices. “The U.S. spends more on the health of a 65-year-old than any other country in the world. Almost one-third of total health care expenditures in 2008, the last year for which we have data, were spent on care and treatment of the elderly,” said Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president and chief of medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group, which serves more than 9 million members through its portfolio of Medicare plans. “Because the health of our seniors is important and

we all have a stake in escalating health care costs, it’s essential that we work together to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices.”

To help older adults feel empowered about their health, Dr. Tuckson authored “The Doctor in the Mirror,” which is based on the premise that much of our wellness is in our own hands. Dr. Tuckson says seniors can break down barriers to better health by making small lifestyle changes that can result in significant improvements:

For more tips, strategies and resources designed to help older adults age with vitality, find “The Doctor in the Mirror” on Amazon.com or visit www.DoctorInTheMirror.com.

• Watch your weight. Start by calculating your body mass index (BMI). With your BMI in mind, develop a plan to help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in a senior’s health.

• Have your blood pressure checked regularly. This “silent killer” usually has no outward symptoms but can increase the likelihood of cardiovascular diseaserelated death.

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• Adopt a healthier diet. Choose foods that are low in cholesterol and sodium, including lean meats, fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains that contain plenty of fiber.

• Take a permanent vacation from smoking. It’s never too late to quit-and people often see immediate health benefits once they do.

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• Get active. Start with simple goals, such as elevating your heart rate 15 to 30 minutes per day. Then incorporate stretching, balance and strength exercises into your routine.

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Buy It, Sell It...call Classified 576-6721 -CONSUMER NEWS - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012 - PAGE

Senior Lifestyles

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Grandparents, Grandkids Benefit From Better Hearing (NewsUSA) - Grandparents and grandchildren have much to learn from one another, and such valuable relationships should be cultivated. Oxford University research has shown that ‘involved’ grandparents contribute significantly to better-adjusted grandchildren. The research suggests that children find unique acceptance in their relationships with grandparents, which benefits them emotionally and mentally. The grandparental bond is built on communication. In fact, most children studied did not identify distance as an important factor if communication was strong. Unfortunately, hearing loss is the number-one challenge to communication. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), age and hearing loss are strongly related — 30 percent of seniors from 65 to 74 years old suffer from a hearing disability. For adults 75 years of age or older, hearing loss jumps to 47 percent. “It doesn’t take a PhD for my patients to understand

the many costs of hearing loss,” says Sreek Cherukuri, MD, a certified ear, nose and throat physician based in Chicago, Ill.

loss going home without a solution because they couldn’t afford hearing aid prices,” says Dr. Cherukuri.

Beyond emotional wellbeing, even something simple like taking the grandkids to the pool can turn dangerous if grandma can’t hear possible cries for help. Driving puts the children at risk if the grandparents cannot hear oncoming traffic or car horns.

Cherukuri’s response was to develop inexpensive but effective hearing aids. “With today’s technology, a quality hearing aid shouldn’t cost more than a digital camera or iPod,” Cherukuri says. MDHearingAid, found at www.mdhearingaid.com, isn’t just a reliable source for affordable hearing aids, it’s also a good source for expert consumer information.

The NIDCD reports that only one out of every five people who needs a hearing aid actually wears one. This is largely due to the extravagant cost of most hearing aids. “I found that I saw too many patients with hearing

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12 - CONSUMER NEWS...Where Results Cost Less! - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012

Buy It, Sell It...call Classified 576-6721 -CONSUMER NEWS - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2012 - PAGE

Senior Lifestyles

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Professional Hearing Solutions Call to schedule a FREE, no-obligation hearing exam today!

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A Healthy Mouth At Any Age

(NAPS)-A healthy mouth is an asset at any age-contributing to your general health and improving your quality of life. “Not long ago, most people lost their teeth by middle age,” says Dr. William R. Calnon, American Dental Association (ADA) president. “Today, thanks to community water fluoridation, good dental habits and regular dental visits, more people are keeping their teeth. The ADA promotes the benefits of senior-friendly dental offices with dental staff trained to understand the special needs of the elderly. “The ADA encourages caregivers and patients to discuss all treatment recommendations with their dentists and to ask questions to clarify anything they may not understand.” Your Age Affects Your Teeth Older adults might not feel pain from deep cavities because their teeth are less sensitive. More than 90 percent of seniors take at least one prescription medication daily and a common side effect is dry mouth, which can contribute to bad breath, tooth decay, mouth sores and infections. As you age, fillings, crowns and bridges can shrink and crack, letting cavities form. Having these problems corrected early will help keep the mouth healthy for many years to come. Visiting your dentist regularly lets him or her treat tooth problems when they’re manageable and check overall mouth health. This includes looking for signs of oral cancer, which in the early stages might not cause any symptoms or pain.

The Iowa Central Community College Dental Hygiene clinic, located on the main campus in Fort Dodge at One Triton Circle, Applied Science and Technology (AST) building, room 102, prepares the student to provide comprehensive therapeutic oral health care and preventative education directly to diverse population groups. Iowa Central Community College Dental Hygiene Student Clinic is an educational institution that provides preventative and oral hygiene client treatment. In general, all persons who are able to afford the time and the cost will be treated at the school.

Your dentist will provide you with instructions about how long your dentures may be worn each day. Use denture cleansers and overnight soaking solutions to help keep dentures fresh and clean.

More than 20 percent of those 75 and older have moderate or severe gum disease, in which the gums begin to pull away from teeth, forming pockets where bacteria can grow unchecked. Regular checkups can help prevent gum disease. Caretakers should help older adults keep regular dental visits. Little problems that go untreated can turn into big problems, even lifethreatening ones, later on, such as developing a possibly life-threatening abscess. Preventing dental disease is the best approach.

Tips for a Healthy Mouth • Adopt healthy dental habits at home. • Make smart choices about diet and lifestyle. • Visit your dentist regularly. • Learn more at www.ada.org.

Seniors can benefit from regular dental checkups.

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Tips for Denture Wearers If you wear dentures, it’s still important to practice good oral hygiene. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes bacteria and stimulates circulation, which can make your mouth feel healthy and fresh.

All treatment is provided by dental hygiene students. Dental hygiene students are supervised by licensed dental hygiene faculty and/or a licensed dentist. The care provided by our student hygienists is done in such a way that gives priority to education. This may result in longer treatment appointments than would occur in a private dental practice but at a greatly reduced fee for services because your time is your contribution to the student’s education.

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Senior Lifestyles

Stay Ahead of Your Health with Free Annual Wellness Visits by George Andrews, M.D. (NAPS)-”An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an important adage to keep top of mind as we each strive to maintain a healthy lifestyle and achieve lifelong well-being. Beginning at birth, routine physicals are critical for monitoring a newborn���s health and developmental milestones. Even throughout childhood years, parents are diligent about scheduling routine physicals or making a doctor’s appointment at the first sign of an illness in their kids. However, this practice tends to reverse with aging as many adults delay regular doctor’s visits because they might not feel sick or are afraid of getting a pricey medical bill. In fact, a recent survey from The Senior Citizens League found that 51 percent of older adults put off visiting a doctor or getting outpatient medical services due to concerns about costs. The reality, though, is that postponing medical care can mean greater costs in the long run, particularly for seniors suffering from chronic conditions. With The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reporting that 70 percent of Medicare members suffer from at least one chronic condition, annual wellness visits are an important tool in ensuring lifelong well-being and catching serious illnesses early on.

This is why health benefits provider Humana strongly encourages all Medicare members to take advantage of the complimentary annual wellness visit offered through their plans. The CMS-mandated benefit, which has been available Postponing medical care can mean greater costs in to all Medicare members the long run, particularly since January 2011, profor seniors who have chronic conditions. vides members with crucial services and the resources they need to keep their health on track. The visit, which can be performed by a health professional such as a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant in addition to a doctor, includes: • Comprehensive Medical Review. When members meet with their primary care physician, they should bring their medical records and a list of prescriptions and know about their family’s health history to review with the doctor. During this visit, doctors will also track blood pressure, weight and height to establish a baseline for future appointments, as well as calculate the member’s “body mass index,” or BMI. BMI is a simple way to find out if the individual could have health risks because of excess body fat.

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• Mental Health Check. Studies show that seniors are at great risk of some mental disorders, many of which can be accurately diagnosed and treated. During the annual wellness visit, doctors will check for signs of dementia, memory loss, depression and other mental health conditions. • Developing a Plan. Doctors will examine a patient’s medical history and current health conditions to create a plan for getting necessary shots and services. They will also make sure all preventive screenings for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and various forms of cancer, are up to date. And there is more good news-many preventive screenings are also free or low cost for Medicare members. Although it’s never too late to schedule an annual wellness visit, it’s a good rule of thumb to contact your doctor early in the year. By forming a partnership with your primary care office, you can have the preventive measures to keep yourself on a path to lifelong health and well-being. George Andrews, M.D., is the corporate chief of quality at Humana. A former Fulbright scholar, Andrews is board certified in the areas of internal medicine and cardiovascular disease. Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health care company that offers a wide range of insurance products and health and wellness services that incorporate an integrated approach to lifelong well-being.

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Senior Lifestyles

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Nutrition: A Key To Health For Seniors (NAPS)- Many believe that the idea “you are what you eat?” has particular significance for seniors.

• As people get older, their skin is less efficient when it comes to synthesizing vitamin D, which, together with calcium, can help to protect older adults from osteoporosis, so taking a supplement may be to your benefit.

That’s because following a healthy diet can often lead directly to a better quality of life, including being more alert, having a stronger immune system, more energy, faster recuperation times and the ability to do a better job managing chronic health problems.

In both cases, as with any vitamin or nutritional supplement, itís best to consult your doctor before beginning a supplement program.

It’s also said that eating well can lead to a more positive outlook and better emotional balance. Plus, it can also help to keep muscles, bones, organs and other body parts stronger over time.

Get an Assessment Since poor eating habits are a primary concern among the senior population, home health care aides are playing an increasingly important role in providing support for those who might be at risk. In light of this and other issues, Interim HealthCare– one of the leaders in the home care industry, providing services to over 50,000 individuals nationwide–offers a free independent living assessment for seniors.

Stay Hydrated Part of a proper diet is making sure you drink enough water. Seniors can be prone to dehydration because their bodies may lose some of their ability to regulate fluid levels and their sense of thirst on a regular basis. Drinking water with meals can help them avoid urinary tract infections, constipation and possibly confusion.

The benefits of healthy eating can often lead directly to a better quality of life for seniors– particularly, increased alertness and a stronger immune system.

To learn more or to take the free assessment, you can visit independentlivingassessment.com.

Take Your Vitamins Even those who pay attention to nutrition can sometimes benefit from taking a vitamin supplement, particularly when it comes to getting enough vitamin B and vitamin D. • After age 50, a person’s stomach produces less gastric acid, which can make it difficult to absorb vitamin B12, a vitamin needed to help keep blood and nerves vital. In order to get the recommended daily intake (2.4 mcg) of B12, it may be necessary for some to take a supplement.

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Senior Lifestyles