50+Living of Western North Carolina NOVEMBER 2022

Page 1

50+Living of Western NC

Healthy Joints

For Life


Too Blessed To Be


All Dogs Are Therapy Dogs

November 2022

Your Local Family-Owned Sleep Center

Luxury Mattresses, Futons, Adjustable Beds & more. For less.

Getting Asheville a great night’s sleep for 21 years

10% Off With Ad* *See

store for details

We’ve dedicated ourselves to bring you a wide selection from the highest quality manufacturers at affordable prices. Our 4 Month Comfort Guarantee Your Assurance of a great night’s sleep USA Made in North Carolina All mattress materials are toxin-free 12 Months Interest Free, 0 Down Financing & 6 Month Layaway options

Asheville’s Favorite Mattress Center!!

GoToAffordableBedding.com | 828-254-5555 | 996 Patton Ave., Asheville, NC | T-F 10-6, Sat 10-5

CONTENTS 50pluslivingWNC.com

6 Does Eating Sugar Cause Diabetes? 8 Unique Ways to Decorate a Christmas Tree 12 Cooking with Healthy Fats 13 Winter Greens & Garlic Soup with Rosemary Turkey Balls

14 Tips For Reducing Your Stress When Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

16 Natural Ways to Boost Endorphins 18 Local Music Makers 20 Why Having a Dog is the Equivalent of Therapy 22 Ways to Keep Your Joints Healthy as You Age 2

50+ Living | November 2022


Estate Sales




DOWNSIZING? MOVING? RELOCATING? HANDLING AN ESTATE? Whatever the circumstances, home transitions can be stressful. Our experienced team is here for you. We have helped thousands of area clients pack, move, and liquidate furnishings, household items, jewelry, and artwork. Whether you’re moving, settling an estate, or just want to streamline your life, we can make the process easier.


option 2


Asheville, NC 28803


NOV 3–5 17–19

DEC 1–3 15–17

JAN 12–14 26–28

To sign up for upcoming sale notifications go to

WNCbridge.org and click on SHOP

Each sale is different, offering something for every taste and budget!

We are looking for



WNC Bridge Foundation Estate Sales and Thrift Stores are friendly, upbeat places to volunteer. Folks of all walks and ages are making a positive impact in our community. Choose your own adventure! Interact with customers and clients by packing estates, stocking shelves, ringing up purchases. Or work in the wings sorting donations and organizing housewares, rugs, furniture, art, linens, clothing, and other hidden treasures. Determine your own schedule—a couple of hours, couple of days, or more. WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT VOLUNTEERING AND THE WORK OF WNC BRIDGE FOUNDATION? Call 828.575.2509 or go to WNCbridge.org and click on the Volunteer link. 2022-NOV

November 2022 | 50+ Living


50+Living of Western NC

PUBLISHER Tammy Sheppard tsheppard.avlmedia@gmail.com GRAPHIC ARTIST Joan Hutt WEB DESIGN Alphie Hyorth CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Peggy Ratusz Laurie Richardone ADVERTISING INQUIRIES Mike Demos 828.273.0098 mikedemos@aol.com Bridget Hepler 828.551.9893 brisdon00@gmail.com

AVL Media Inc. P.O. Box 18416 | Asheville, NC 28814


h All advertising published in 50+Living of Western NC is believed to be truthful and accurate. However AVL Media, Inc. assumes no responsibility and shall have no liability whatsoever for errors, including without limitation, typographical errors or omissions in 50+Living of Western NC. Any reference made to AVL Media, Inc. is not to be construed as making any representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the information on properties advertised in 50+Living of Western NC. The content of all ads contained herein are solely the responsibility of the advertiser. The opinions and statements contained in advertising or elsewhere in this publication are those of the authors of such opinions and are not necessarily those of AVL Media, Inc. AVL Media, Inc. reserves the right to edit or refuse any advertising submitted to this publication

50pluslivingWNC.com 4

50+ Living | November 2022

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Does Eating Sugar Cause



iabetes is a serious health issue that can cause a host of health problems, and it’s alarmingly common. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 11% of Americans have diabetes, making it one of the most prevalent chronic health problems in adults. Around 23% of American adults with diabetes are undiagnosed and unaware they have it. Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how your body uses glucose, a type of sugar that is an important energy source for your body. Your pancreas (a gland behind your stomach) makes insulin, which is the main hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. Insulin helps glucose get into cells in your body to be used as fuel or stored for later use. But what exactly is diabetes, and how does eating sugar affect it? Let’s look at the link between sugar and diabetes and whether eating sugar causes the disease. 6

50+ Living | November 2022

Two Types of Diabetes There are two types of diabetes, and they have different etiologies. Both types cause a rise in blood sugar, but they have different causes and treatments. Type 1 diabetes (around 10-15% of diabetes cases globally) is an autoimmune disease that destroys beta cells, cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. It’s not preventable and cannot be treated with medication. People with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections since their pancreas produces no insulin; they can die without external sources of insulin. Type 2 diabetes (around 90-95% of diabetes cases globally) has a genetic component but is also lifestyle-related and therefore preventable. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by eating sugar. It is caused by the immune system mistaking insulin-producing cells in the pancreas for foreign invaders and attacking them.

This autoimmune reaction can happen at any age, but usually starts during childhood or adolescence. What about type 2 diabetes? It occurs when cells in the muscle and liver become insulin resistant and can’t take up glucose as easily. In response, your pancreas must produce more insulin to get glucose into cells, a phenomenon known as insulin resistance. Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t need insulin therapy and can be treated with lifestyle and oral diabetic medications. However, some type 2 diabetics will eventually need insulin. What Role Does Dietary Sugar Play in Diabetes? Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, it is not caused by consuming too much sugar. However, sugar does play a role in type 2 diabetes, although an indirect one. The main cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance fueled by obesity. Since sugar contains empty calories, it indirectly contributes to obesity by causing weight gain and obesity. There is a genetic component to type 2 diabetes, although lifestyle trumps genetics in determining whether you develop it. The more close relatives you have with type 2 diabetes, the higher your odds of developing it. If three or more of your first-degree relatives (parents or siblings) have type 2 diabetes, you have a 25% chance of developing it yourself. But unlike type 1 diabetes, maintaining healthy body weight and staying physically active can lower your risk even if you don’t have genetics on your side. Know the Symptoms of Diabetes Although the symptoms of diabetes can be subtle, you should be aware of what they are and see your doctor if you develop them. SYMPTOMS INCLUDE: • • • • • • •

Frequent urination Unexplained weight loss or increased appetite Blurry vision or dry mouth Frequent infections Slow healing wounds Fatigue Increased thirst

Type 2 Diabetes Responds to Lifestyle Changes Mild type 2 diabetes and prediabetes may be managed through lifestyle changes alone. Lifestyle changes that healthcare providers recommend for managing type 2 diabetes include the following: • Eliminate refined carbohydrates and replace them with non-starchy vegetables and fruits. • Avoid sugary drinks like soda. • Take a brisk walk after meals to bring down blood sugar. • Exercise for 150 minutes per week. • Get enough quality sleep. Poor sleep and lack of sleep can raise blood sugar. • Manage stress for healthier blood glucose control. • Work on losing weight if you’re overweight. Losing as little as 10% of your body weight can help with blood sugar control. (This applies to type 2 diabetes only.) • Watch alcohol consumption: Alcohol can cause weight gain if consumed in large quantities, so limit yourself if possible. • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions by taking blood-sugar-lowering medications as prescribed.

The Bottom Line Understanding what diabetes is and how food affects it will help you make smart lifestyle changes that help prevent and manage the disease. Sugar is not a direct cause of type 2 diabetes but contains empty calories that lead to weight gain. Since insulin sensitivity decreases with increasing body weight, weight gain due to a highsugar diet can increase blood sugars and elevate the risk of type 2 diabetes. Eating a lower carbohydrate diet and selecting fiberrich carbohydrate sources rather than refined ones help with blood sugar control and prevent weight gain. It’s important to understand what diabetes is and how food affects it, so you can make smart lifestyle changes to prevent or manage the disease. References: “Incidence of Newly Diagnosed Diabetes | Diabetes | CDC.” cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/newlydiagnosed-diabetes.html. “By the Numbers: Diabetes in America | Diabetes | CDC.” 28 Mar. 2022, cdc.gov/diabetes/health-equity/ diabetes-by-the-numbers.html. de Hoogh IM, Oosterman JE, Otten W, Krijger AM, Berbée-Zadelaar S, Pasman WJ, van Ommen B, Pijl H, Wopereis S. The Effect of a Lifestyle Intervention on Type 2 Diabetes Pathophysiology and Remission: The Stevenshof Pilot Study. Nutrients. 2021 Jun 25;13(7):2193. doi: 10.3390/nu13072193. PMID: 34202194; PMCID: PMC8308398. “What is diabetes? | CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” 07 Jul. 2022, cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/ diabetes.html. “The role of dietary sugars, overweight, and obesity in type 2 diabetes ....” 21 Mar. 2022,nature.com/articles/ s41430-022-01114-5.

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Hang Figurines on the Christmas Tree

Unique Ways to Decorate a Christmas Tree

Give your Christmas tree personality and let it tell a story by hanging miniature figurines on the tree. Suitable characters include Santa, his elves, Rudolph the rednosed reindeer, snowmen, sleds, and more. Intersperse bright red ribbons among the figurines for an eyecatching approach to Christmas tree décor. You can also get creative by hanging figurines of your favorite animals - dogs with angel wings or flying pigs. Keep your figurines fun and whimsical. Be sure to choose relatively light ornaments so they don’t break under their own weight when hanging from the tree. Decorate an All-Natural Christmas Tree Why not give your Christmas tree a nature theme? Forget the ornaments. Instead, string garlands of dried oranges, apples, and pine cones on your tree. One of the easiest ways to add natural elements to your tree is to buy clear ball ornaments that you open and add whatever you want inside, and it will show through the clear plastic. Close it up and hang it on the tree, so everyone can admire your unique ornament. Try adding pine tree clippings, pine cones, or ribbons in Christmas colors, and watch your Christmas tree take on a life of its own. Single Item Christmas Tree


t’s the most wonderful season of all, and what would Christmas be without a tree with the star on top? A Christmas tree is a symbol of the season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your Christmas tree a bit different from the traditional Christmas tree. There’s something “safe” about decorating with traditional Christmas ornaments. If you’re tired of the same old, same old Christmas decorations, green and red balls hanging predictably on the branches of your tree, shake things up this Christmas and try something different. Your guests will be delighted that your tree is a bit different from the typical tree at Christmas. 8

50+ Living | November 2022

Decorate your Christmas tree with a single theme. How about stars? Hang a variety of star-shaped ornaments all over your tree. For added elegance, stick to a color theme. For example, white stars, gold stars, and burgundy stars will give your Christmas tree a glow of elegance. Don’t forget to place the grandest star on top! Stars symbolize all that Christmas is about - hope for all humanity. Celebrate it with a star-themed tree. Christmas Tree with a Family Theme Why not use this year’s Christmas tree to display family memories? Attach your favorite family photos to the Christmas tree and relive past memories. You can buy small frames that hold a photo with a string or ribbon attached for hanging. But if you’re hanging a lot of photos, it can get expensive. Another option is to print out photos on a high-quality printer and attach them

to large paper tags that you hang from the tree. Also dangle items from the tree that bring back memories of good times in the past, for example, seashells from a memorable beach trip. Christmas is a time to come together as a family and relive old memories. Decorate a Magically Delicious Christmas Tree You can buy Christmas ornaments in the shape of candy canes or candy, but why not use the real thing? If you use real candy, you can enjoy eating the ornaments once Christmas is over. Candy canes are the obvious choice, but make your tree more unique by decorating it with a multitude of lollipops and suckers in bright colors. You can even make your own lollipops if you have a lollipop mold. How about baking gingerbread men and women and hanging them on the tree? Don’t forget to add garlands of popcorn!

The Bottom Line Break out of a rut this Christmas and try something new. You can always use the green and red ornaments next year. Make this the year you get more creative. Merry Christmas!

November 2022 | 50+ Living



50+ Living | November 2022


4 Long Shoals Rd.


Fletcher 3445 Hendersonville Rd. 828-376-3711

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Cooking with Healthy Fats

by Laurie Richardone

Healing fats are required for optimal wellbeing. First, we need to discover what healthy fats are and why we need them. If you’re anything like myself, I like knowing the why. Healing fats are necessary for human health, but the body cannot make them. So, we have to get them through food. Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids (both of which play a crucial role) if we are to thrive, have optimal growth and development, and good brain function. I think we would agree that we all want to continue to feel good and have excellent cognitive abilities as we age to keep us fit to do the activities we love. To achieve this we must have healthy fats in our diet. Foods such as sardines, salmon, avocado, and walnuts; all of which provide a good amount of unsaturated fats. What happens when a brain’s fed poorly? It functions poorly. It wasn’t that long ago that many people were following the trendy Low Fat Diet. Science has debunked the “low-fat is best” line of thinking time and time again. In fact, research has shown that eating a low-fat diet actually increases your risk of dementia. Now that we have accurate information from decades of studies, it enables us to make better choices in our quest to purchase products that support our health. A great example of a beneficial way to eat is the hunter-gatherer diet, the way of life for early humans which focused on healthy fats. They consumed foods that can be caught, hunted, foraged, and gathered on land or at sea. It is characterized by wild meats, fish, berries, fruits, nuts and seeds, and vegetables. Sounds like the healthful Mediterranean diet that all of the centarnians feast on. Which contains, you guessed it, a plethora of healthy fats, and whole foods. A true story… Asian refugees were rescued from boats, adrift for months on the open sea in search for a better life. When they were found, all they had were the clothes on their backs and small containers of rancid oil. The extreme circumstances of months out at sea had destroyed the treasure they bore, but they knew the importance of fats to their health. They valued the fats, above all other worldly goods. History tells us that past populations suffered less physical degeneration than we do in modern times. Furthermore, a smaller percentage of them died of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In large, it was because of the whole food, healthy fat, cleaner way of eating. The great news is reversal of degenerative conditions is possible. For example, try eating brain-healthy foods — especially the right kind of fats, like cold pressed oils, which include olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds, to name a few. They can have a tremendous impact on our overall health and wellness, and can be most enjoyable to eat. Everywhere from brain function to metabolism to cardiovascular fitness, fat is an absolutely essential macronutrient for our entire body. And what’s amazing about healthy fats is they make food taste better. My recipe this month is an example. I would suggest staying away from refined vegetable oils, like canola, corn, grapeseed, and soybean oil. They are processed oils and studies show they are inadequate for our health. Unrefined oils have the most benefit, and flavor. Sounds good to me. Please enjoy this month’s recipe. It is a warm comforting dish with loads of healthy fats like cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. To your good health ~ Laurie If you are a curious cook or person, join me on my Podcast ~ A taste for All Seasons ~ If you would like to learn a bit more about cooking with healthy fats, Listen to the latest episode. Cooking with Healthy Fats ~ Get tips in the kitchen. All shows on LaurieRichardone.com ~ or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Coming Soon! Online cooking class series ~ Gluten - Free Italian Cooking ~ Learn how to make traditional Italian dishes without the wheat. @LaurieRichardone.com Laurie Richardone is an inspirational seasonal chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com 12

50+ Living | November 2022

Winter Greens & Garlic Soup with Rosemary Turkey Balls Serves 4 Ingredients for the soup 6 cups vegetable stock ( homemade is best ) 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin 2 cups brocollini, or other green, small chop 2 cups winter greens, like spinach or kale, small chop 1 lemon, plus zest 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 2 tbsp. miso paste 1 tsp. salt, to taste 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper 2 tbsp. grass fed butter 1 egg, optional smoked paprika, for finish, optional

With some of the warmed stock add the 2 tbsp. of miso to a separate small bowl to make a creamy paste.

Turkey Balls 1 pound organic ground turkey 1 tsp. salt 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced 1 tbsp. thyme, minced 2 eggs 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients for the turkey dumplings. Mix well. Roll into small size balls. Can be made a day ahead. For the soup - Heat the butter in a small pan, add garlic slices and swirl around until butter turns a deep golden brown, and has a nutty scent. Stay with the pan as you do this. Takes about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

Add miso back into the broth. Place all your turkey balls in the broth, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add brown butter with garlic. Squeeze your lemon juice into the pot. Reserve zest to finish the soup when it is off the heat. Taste for seasoning , and adjust. Whisk in the egg, until combined into the broth. Add fresh ground pepper. Add the chopped greens to the soup. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Take the soup off the heat, and stir in your extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika if using. Serve in warm bowls.

Laurie Richardone is a seasonal gluten free chef and certified health coach. To work with Laurie, visit LaurieRichardone.com

In a medium soup pot add your vegetable stock and bring it to a simmer.

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Tips For Reducing Your Stress When Hosting

Thanksgiving Dinner


f you’ve ever acted as the host for Thanksgiving, then you know how stressful the holiday can be. All of your friends and family are expecting a delicious feast, after all. However, the more stressed out you are, the less enjoyable the holiday will be for you - and you have just as much right to have a good time as your guests. To reduce your stress when hosting Thanksgiving dinner, consider the following tips. Make time to exercise - Exercise has been proven to reduce stress levels, so be sure to give yourself time to exercise on the days leading up to Thanksgiving as well as on Thanksgiving. Even going for a short 15 minute run in the morning or practicing a half hour of yoga can be extremely beneficial. It will help you relax as well as give you focus and energy to do what you need to do for the day. Begin preparing Thanksgiving dinner well ahead of time - One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to wait until the day before Thanksgiving to shop for


50+ Living | November 2022

all the ingredients you need to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is it stressful to run around shopping at the last minute, but you may have problems finding ingredients that have sold out - or you may even forget ingredients and not realize it until you’re already cooking. Make a list of everything you need for Thanksgiving dinner and begin picking up ingredients weeks ahead of time. This way, you won’t have to rush to buy everything in a single trip. Don’t be afraid of buying already prepared ingredients or dishes - Not everything you make has to be made from scratch. Your guests are most likely going to be more than thankful just to have a roasted turkey. There’s no shame in buying pre-chopped frozen vegetables - and few people will even know the difference. You can even buy a few pre-made side dishes or desserts that just need to be heated up. This will help save you a lot of time and reduce your workload, which will go a long way in keeping your stress levels in check. Keep it simple - Trying to impress your guests is fine, but you don’t need to go all out to do so. Sometimes a simple meal will more than suffice, meaning you don’t need 30 different side dishes and a banquet full of appetizers. Don’t over exert yourself - keep it simple. You should also stick to recipes that you know how to make. Thanksgiving is not the time to try out extravagant new dishes. Begin cooking the day before Thanksgiving - Trying to cook and bake everything on the day of Thanksgiving is going to be a challenging task. Even if you manage, you’ll end up spending the entire day in the kitchen, which is a stressful experience in itself, without getting a chance to socialize with your guests. There are a number of dishes that can be prepared days in advance, from your gravy and mashed potatoes to your pies. These dishes can just be frozen and heated up on the day of. Ask your guests to bring side dishes and desserts - There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little bit of help. Your guests should have no problem bringing an appetizer, side dish, dessert or bottle of wine if you ask them too. Not only will it lessen your workload, it will also give your Thanksgiving dinner more of a community atmosphere, which is perfect!

Give yourself breaks - When running errands prior to Thanksgiving and cooking on the day of, don’t forget to give yourself short breaks. A 10- or 15-minute break to sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee or to read a chapter in your book will help keep you from feeling drained at the end of the day. Have a no politics at the table rule - One of the most stressful things about Thanksgiving is getting into it with friends and family about politics. A difference in opinion in regards to politics can get even the most loving family into heated shouting matches, so simply establish a no politics rule at the dinner table. Thanksgiving should be an enjoyable holiday for everyone, including the host. If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, then use these tips to ensure that you don’t get stressed out.

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Natural Ways to Boost Endorphins


ndorphins are natural painkillers your body produces that regulate moods and emotions. The chemicals bind specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord (mainly those involved with pleasure and pain control). Upon binding, endorphins create feelings of pleasure, and even euphoria, while they reduce stress. Experts believe that endorphins account for the relaxed state of mind runners get known as “runner’s high.” “When you release endorphins, you just feel good.” (Jesse Metcalfe) Since endorphins make you feel good, you might wonder how you can boost your body’s own production of endorphins. Let’s examine what science shows can boost your endorphin level for added stress reduction, peace, and contentment. Get a Move On If you want to up your endorphin release, move more! Most people understand that exercise is a healthy habit,


50+ Living | November 2022

but fewer understand how powerful a tool exercise can be for boosting mood and mental health. If you’re feeling down for any reason (or no reason at all), start moving and get the endorphins flowing! Exercise, particularly aerobic activities like running, causes your body to release more of these stress-relieving chemicals. You don’t have to be an avid runner or gym rat to reap these benefits--even simple habits like taking a brisk walk in the morning can boost endorphins. Plus, exercise can help you sleep better and improve your cardiovascular health. If you’re feeling down for any reason (or no reason at all), start moving and get the endorphins flowing! You’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel after even 10 minutes of brisk exercise. Smile and Laugh The old saying is true--laughter is the best medicine! Laughter boosts endorphin release, sending a barrage of pain and stress-relieving endorphins throughout your body. A study found that when you laugh, portions of

your brain, including the caudate nucleus, thalamus, and anterior insula regions of the brain release endorphins. Plus, laughter is contagious--when people laugh together, it improves relationships and makes everyone feel more confident and relaxed. Meditate Meditation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost endorphins. One study found that people who meditated and those who ran had similar endorphin release. So, you can get the calming effects of endorphins by running or meditating. Meditation is a very simple process: • Sit in a comfortable chair. • Close your eyes. • Focus on your breathing. Just by focusing on breathing, your heart rate and blood pressure lower so that you enter deep relaxation. Regular meditation not only boosts endorphins but also lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Meditating can help you get a better night’s sleep too. Eat Spicy Food Do you feel a sense of pleasure when you eat spicy foods? Endorphins may play a role! Researchers at the Colgan Institute discovered that capsaicin, a compound in hot peppers, stimulates endorphin release for a mood boost. Maybe that’s why people feel happier and more alert after eating spicy dishes. Select low-sodium versions of your favorite spicy dishes to get a boost in endorphins. Capsaicin is also known to reduce pain and is an ingredient in some topical creams used to treat achy joints.

depression, and anger. Acupuncture stimulates nerves in various parts of the body, which increases endorphin production. If you aren’t a fan of needles or want something less intense, try a foot massage! Another option is to add a massage chair to your office, so you can get a relaxing massage during breaks. A whole-body massage increases circulation and lymphatic flow and helps relax tight muscles. Conclusion Endorphins are nature’s pain and stress relievers. And there’s no need to worry about side effects since these methods don’t involve drugs or medications--only the power within! Now you know some ways to increase your body’s natural endorphin production and feel better when you’re stressed out. Plus, there’s evidence that endorphins balance the immune system, so you can get additional health benefits from activities that increase endorphins. References: “Social laughter releases endorphins in the brain -- ScienceDaily.” 01 Jun. 2017, sciencedaily.com/ releases/2017/06/170601124121.htm. Harber VJ, Sutton JR. Endorphins and exercise. Sports Med. 1984 Mar-Apr;1(2):154-71. doi: 10.2165/00007256-198401020-00004. PMID: 6091217. “Laughter releases ‘feel good hormones’ to promote social bonding.” 03 Jun. 2017, medicalnewstoday.com/ articles/317756. Harte JL, Eifert GH, Smith R. The effects of running and meditation on beta-endorphin, corticotropinreleasing hormone and cortisol in plasma, and on mood. Biol Psychol. 1995 Jun;40(3):251-65. doi: 10.1016/0301-0511(95)05118-t. PMID: 7669835. “Capsaicin | Arthritis Society.” arthritis.ca/treatment/medication/medication-reference-guide/medications/ capsaicin. Dunbar RI, Kaskatis K, MacDonald I, Barra V. Performance of music elevates pain threshold and positive affect: implications for the evolutionary function of music. Evol Psychol. 2012 Oct 22;10(4):688-702. PMID: 23089077. “Endorphins: Functions, Levels, and Natural Boosts - Healthline.” 30 Nov. 2021, healthline.com/health/ endorphins. Mørch H, Pedersen BK. Beta-endorphin and the immune system--possible role in autoimmune diseases. Autoimmunity. 1995;21(3):161-71. doi: 10.3109/08916939509008013. PMID: 8822274.

Make Music or Dance Do you play an instrument or dance? Do it more often! A study found that singing, dancing, and drumming stimulate endorphin release and help release stress. In the past, experts believed passive listening to music was enough to boost endorphins, but a study found it’s making music or moving to music that enhances their release. Get a Massage or Acupuncture Massage and acupuncture can reduce stress, anxiety, November 2022 | 50+ Living


Local Music Makers Green’s my Favorite Color

I admit I’m jaded. Lucky for me, green’s my favorite color.

Photo by Libby Gamble

Staff photographer at the Citizen Times

nyone reading this, who is less than 55 years of age, should know that it’s a natural part of the aging process to become at least a little jaded. My duty is to work through what makes me dark in places. Talking about, writing about whatever’s bothering me is necessary. Therefore, I offer up this opinion piece pertaining to ageism and the ever changing dynamics of the music industry.


In 1985 I was 28 years old and living on my own in Austin, Texas. I formed a 4 piece Blues band and we recorded a demo, analog-style in the warehouse of a small print shop where I worked during the day helping people self-publish their books. A friend took some pictures of us and we had 8x10 glossies made. Not far from Morgan Printing, was one of the most famous streets in bar band history; 6th street near downtown Austin. For a solid week, the drummer and I canvassed venues, dropping off portfolios containing a cover letter, black and white glossy, song list and cassette demo. Meeting venue owners and booking managers in person is how I took serious hold of my music career. At that time, the onus for filling rooms to capacity was on the venue. Their success rate was often consistent with the quality of the entertainment they booked. I targeted the venues who scrupulously booked the best local bands. 18

50+ Living | November 2022

By Peggy Ratusz

Photo by Carol Anders

And thankfully, I got on their rosters and in their rotation, paying my dues with week night residencies. Weeknights morphed into weekend dates and opening for touring acts at the bigger venues. Promoting was done in a grassroots way. ‘Posting’ meant taping handmade gig posters up on every street corner a week beforehand. Reposting was when you’d have to replace them because it rained or someone taped over yours with theirs. Talent scouts were out in force any night of the week there in the “live music capital of the world.” Those of us who played out regularly lived in hopes that someone from whatever record company or national booking agency would choose to attend our gig. Actual in-human-form-followers paid cover charges to hear us play live and in person. If there was a line out the door of your venue, the talent scouts would notice. Now talent scouts are called ‘influencers’ and can be any Tom, Dick or Harriet, who vet artists by measuring how many views and subscribers they have and how many playlists they’re on. There’s no doubt I’ve been fortunate to win some awards and travel a bit because I’m still diligent in creating opportunities

for myself, despite the rapid pace at which ways of doing things change. I’m still paying my dues and pounding the pavement after 44 consecutive years leading bands, producing and co-producing specialty and themed shows. Some of the local prestige that I humbly accept and appreciate is based on the art of my pitch and the undeniable prowess of the professional musicians I staff for these gigs and shows. These extremely talented people range in age from 25 to 75 and doing shows with me has helped them pay rent, give back to the economy and supplement their Social Security checks. And while I may sound like a prima Donna to some, I wholeheartedly believe that musicians at, near or above my age and our baby boomer fan bases should be celebrated more than we are. How dare we ask to be treated specially? It certainly isn’t because we feel privileged; but because we feel invisible. Younger band mates of mine have actually been questioned by friends and musicians their own age, as to why they sometimes perform with me. I’ve watched young people enter a room full of dancing seniors and immediately walk out once they’ve assessed the demographic. The conversations and interactions that do go on within a group, who are various ages, are the conversations I want to be part of. They are robust and enlightening to say the least. No one involved in these interactions escapes without learning something new. I believe future old people have trepidation with people over a certain age like me, because along with our wrinkles, gray hair, hip replacements and older followers, is the realization that none of us make it out of here alive. My theory is it’s going to take people from every generation, willing to work side by side to hopefully begin to change mindsets and end ageism. After all the UN says that ageism is the last acceptable bias and that it’s high time that it receives the same standard of scrutiny as other forms of discrimination. The movers and shakers within the local music system are doing all their fine work during a time when population and tourism is at an all time high in WNC. Those of us who were making music when they were in diapers or taking music lessons, deserve more exposure and a leg up from the ones who control outcomes, I respectfully but strongly feel. While statistically, male musicians over the age of 50 have received more respect than their female counterparts, from a local standpoint these notoriously privileged seasoned citizens can also be squeezed out by the younger sect and the younger-skewed entertainment media. Here’s another aspect of life as a seasoned musician that’s troubling to me. When I was starting out in 1976, the words: social, media and platform all meant totally different things. This new way of communicating on a minute to

minute basis is exhausting to participate in and at times it feels toxic. It never ceases to amaze me that for the crux of us who use social media to promote ourselves, a post about our dog gets more traction then a Photo by the late Frank Zipperer post about an upcoming show. Sure there are exceptions, but for those of us who rely on social media to put butts in seats, it can be discouraging. For some entertainers, promoting ourselves seems inauthentic and boastful. I used to struggle a bit with just how to word a pitch to a booking person, making sure it would be something I would actually say about myself out loud. These days, a musician is expected to be a braggart. But to me, bragging is different than exploiting successes by mentioning them as a way to attain booking dates and garner more fans. I consulted with a marketing person recently and she told me I’ll be more successful at growing my fanbase if I make it about them. That’s a shift in thinking, and at the same time it makes all the sense in the world. Whatever the creators of social media platforms intended for them to be, these are now places where people go to express feelings. Subject matters run the gamut and reflect how far or how deep people will go to convey dismay, air their grievances and wax poetic about their beliefs. Some rightfully call out the cruel, cowardice and hateful commenter who is protected by the veil of anonymity. But there are fearless feelers out there too who are also fearless free-thinkers. They’re using social media platforms in culturally useful ways. They stand ready to take on the naysayers. It’s these brave feelers, thinkers and doers that help change mindsets. Some of them are out there right now, taking on ageism.

Peggy Ratusz is a vocal coach, song interpreter, and songwriter. For vocal coaching email her at peggymarie43@gmail.com

November 2022 | 50+ Living


Why having a


is the Equivalent of Therapy for Your Mental Health


dding a dog to your family can change your life and stress level. There’s a reason people have emotional support animals. Dogs are good for mental health and here are some reasons why. Dogs Offer Constant Companionship Dogs are there for you all the time, every day. Their support never wavers, and they’re supportive of your life choices, no matter how weird they might seem to other people. Dogs don’t care if you’re a crazy dog person who spends all day watching TV in pajamas. They never judge or criticize your lifestyle choices, and are always there to support you with unconditional love and constant companionship. Whatever thoughts you’d like to share or whatever you need to get off your chest, a dog is there to listen without judging. They Help You Stay Active Dogs need physical activity every day. Dog walks are an ideal opportunity to get outside and enjoy fresh air. The simple act of walking with your dog relieves stress and


50+ Living | November 2022

helps clear your head. Exercise has the power to calm emotions and improve mental health but people without dogs are less likely to take advantage of the benefits walking outdoors offers. And playing with your pup -- whether it’s a game of fetch or just wrestling around on the floor is a fun way to bond, have fun and get some exercise. Dog owners are also more active. Research shows dog owners spend around 300 minutes each week, about 5 hours, walking with their dogs whereas non-dog owners only spend about 100 minutes each week walking. Owning a dog may be particularly beneficial for seniors. A study found that seniors with a dog spend 30 fewer minutes sitting each day. That’s important since too much sitting is linked with health problems, both physical and mental, including depression. Plus, companionship is important for mental health and well-being. Dogs Are Non-Judgmental Dogs never judge you, make fun of you, or reject your presence like other humans. A dog will accept anyone

unconditionally as a friend and companion, even if that person is sometimes moody, or too busy to give the dog all the attention it deserves. They have undying loyalty that’s good for your soul and mental health.

support and companionship, which can help prevent loneliness that leads to isolation and depression.

Your dog will never give you a judgmental look like a friend might. Dogs don’t mind if you talk about anything, like how your boss was mean today or how someone started a rumor about you at the office. It makes no difference to them, because they are tolerant and accepting of you, even with your flaws.

Who doesn’t feel less stressed after spending time with a dog? Their silly antics make you smile and appreciate the little things in life. Dogs live mindfully and with gratitude, enjoying every moment, and can teach humans to do the same.

They’re a Source of Unconditional Love If you’re having a bad day, it’s comforting to know that your dog will be there for you and respond with affection whenever you need it. Dogs also encourage their owners to take frequent walks, which can reduce stress levels, improve blood circulation, and improve cardiovascular health. Such unconditional love is important for mental health too.

Dogs Make You Laugh

The Bottom Line Now you know why dogs are good for mental health, and if you adopt one, you’re doing something positive for the dog you bring into your home too. It’s a win-win situation. References: “Dog Owners Get More Exercise - The New York Times.” 29 May. 2019, nytimes.com/2019/05/29/well/move/ dog-owners-get-more-exercise.html. “Study Finds Seniors Who Own Dogs Lead Healthier, More ....” 08 Aug. 2017, studyfinds.org/dogs-seniorselderly-health/. “Can Pets Really Help Fight America’s Obesity Epidemic ....” psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/animals-andus/202005/can-pets-really-help-fight-americas-obesity-epidemic. The Health Care Cost Savings of Pet Ownership: habri.org/assets/uploads/HABRI_Report_-_Healthcare Cost_Savings_from_Pet_Ownership_.pdf

Dogs Can Help You Meet People Dog owners often feel a special bond with other dog owners, but there are other ways that a dog connects you to other people. Owning a dog makes you more likely to go outside, and when you’re outside, you’re more likely to meet people -- especially if you have a friendly, energetic dog. Then there’s the opportunity to take your canine family member to a local dog park and interact with other dog owners and their dogs. Such positive interactions are beneficial for mental health. They Reduce Stress Study after study has shown that interacting with animals can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve self-esteem. Studies also reveal that having an animal companion reduces feelings of isolation and depression in older adults and children. The unconditional love and non-judgmental companionship of dogs is therapeutic for humans and dogs alike. Having a furry companion can also help reduce your risk of depression and anxiety. Studies show pet owners are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure and obesity than non-pet owners. In fact, a report from the HumanAnimal Bond Research Institute revealed that dog ownership may account for a million fewer obesity cases annually in the United States. Pets also offer emotional November 2022 | 50+ Living


Ways to Keep Your

Joints Healthy


oint pain is one of the most common health issues in the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, 17% of adults experience severe joint pain almost daily. Joint health is important because it impacts so many aspects of life. When you have healthy joints, you can move more freely and easily -- as long as they’re free from pain and inflammation. But there are many things you can do to keep your joints healthy as you age, which will help you remain active and independent for many years to come. This article covers some of the best ways to maintain joint health so you don’t have trouble moving around now or later in life. Exercise regularly Do you want to keep those joints healthy? Then keep moving! Research shows exercise helps lubricate joints so they work more smoothly. Strength training helps strengthen and thicken the muscles that support your


50+ Living | November 2022

as You Age

joints, so you’re less likely to sustain a joint injury. Plus, exercise can help your bones stay healthy and strong, so they can support your body as it ages. Finally, regular physical activity burns calories and helps you avoid weight gain. More weight places added stress on your joints. Exercise is a must-do for joint health. If you already have significant arthritis, avoid high-impact activities where both feet leave the ground simultaneously. This type of activity is too jarring for arthritic joints. Choose low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling. Exercise can also reduce stress and improve sleep quality, both of which will help you deal with joint discomfort better. Lose weight if necessary The more you weigh, the more stress it places on your joints. Weight loss reduces joint pain by reducing the load on your joints. The more weight you lose, the less

stress is placed on your knee and hip joints, which can reduce pain and stiffness. If you already have osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip, losing even 10 pounds can affect how well you function during daily activities such as walking up stairs or bending over to pick something up off the floor. If you’re concerned that excess weight could harm your ability to move freely as you get older, talk to your doctor about how being overweight could affect joint health down the road. Avoid too much stress on your joints Avoid sitting for long periods, as too much sitting adds stress to your joints. For example, if you work at an office desk, there’s a chance your upper back is slumped forward while typing on a keyboard all day long. This position creates pressure on the facet joints in your spine (the bones that connect vertebrae together), which can lead to wear and tear over time -- even if you exercise regularly outside of work. When you sit, your hip flexors tighten, causing muscle imbalances that can trigger lower back pain. In addition, sitting also puts pressure on your joints and ligaments. Over time, this can lead to osteoarthritis of the hips and knees.

degeneration of cartilage in your joints. In fact, smoking can cause inflammation, tissue damage, and even cartilage loss, which leads to joint pain. To combat this detrimental effect on your system, it’s important to quit or at least cut back as much as possible. If you can’t quit smoking on your own, talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement products and smoking cessation programs that can help. Don’t ignore injuries Don’t ignore an injury or sudden ache. If you think you have injured your joint, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor can rule out any serious problem, and if it’s minor, they can treat the injury so that it doesn’t lead to long-term problems in the future. If you ignore an injury or don’t seek treatment for one because you think it will go away on its own, it could lead to permanent damage. Once you’ve injured a joint, you’re at higher risk of developing arthritis in that joint. Use proper protective equipment if you play sports to reduce your risk of injury. Follow good form when you exercise or strength train, and work on your balance skills to lower your risk of falling. Know your family history

The best way to reduce sitting-related joint pain is by moving around often throughout the day. If you work at a desk all day, take frequent breaks to walk and stretch your legs. Just standing up will help reduce compression and improve circulation.

If joint problems, like osteoarthritis, run in your family, you may be at higher risk of developing it yourself at a younger age. This means you should begin taking steps now to lower your risk through safe exercise, weight control, not smoking, and adopting good posture.

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet


An anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce pain and improve mobility for people with painful conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The key is to avoid foods that cause inflammation, such as processed foods high in trans fats, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates. Instead, focus on eating various colorful fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, which help fight inflammation when consumed regularly.

You can take many steps to keep your joints healthy as you age, which will help you remain active and independent. You can stay active and independent as you age by taking care of them. References: “Joint Health Matters - The Ultimate Guide to Joints.” .niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-joints. “16 Joint-Protection Tips - Arthritis Foundation.” .arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/managing-pain/ joint-protection/16-joint-protection-tips. “NIH analysis shows Americans are in pain | National Institutes of ....” .nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nihanalysis-shows-americans-are-pain.

Stop smoking One of the best things you can do for your joints is stop smoking. Smoking is a major cause of osteoarthritis and November 2022 | 50+ Living