FAMILY LIVING 2012
When is nonprescription cold medicine not enough? page 4
Help for teaching kids money management skills page 6
Five money-saving tips for family travel page 15
Want to sell your home fast? page 16
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FAMILY LIVING 2012
Don’t miss a beat in 2012: Get the facts about fats and heart health (ARA) - With heart disease the leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s time to listen to your heart and get the right kinds of fats into your daily diet. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming polyunsaturated fats, specifically omega-3 fatty acids, for heart health. But what are these “good fats” and how do you make them a part of your daily nutrition program?
A: We often hear that Americans eat too much fat, while people in other parts of the world aren’t eating enough. The truth is that, regardless of fat intake, very few people are eating the right fats. Fats to avoid are saturated and trans fats, which are solid at room temperature - like butter. In contrast, consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids - specifically omega-3s DHA and EPA found in fatty fish - are important for brain, eye and cardiovascular health.
“Hundreds of studies from prestigious groups like the National Institutes of Health and universities like Harvard and Tufts, repeatedly and consistently show that when you add omega-3-rich foods or supplements to the diet, you help to lower your risk for heart disease,” says Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietitian and author of “Eat Your Way to Sexy.” “One important step is making sure your diet is packed with heart-healthy omega-3s. The omega-3s in fatty fish, especially DHA, keep blood vessels squeaky clean and reduce inflammation. They lower heart disease risk; raise HDLs - the good cholesterol; help stabilize the heartbeat and reduce blood clots, thereby curbing the risk for heart attack and stroke.”
Q: Doesn’t my body make all of the omega-3s needed to help maintain a strong heart?
Somer answers some questions about heart health: Q: What are the main differences between “good fats” and “bad fats?”
A: Many experts have indicated that the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are essential nutrients due to the limited ability of our body to make enough of them and because of their beneficial health effects. That’s why we must get these nutrients from the foods we eat and supplements. The main dietary source of DHA and EPA is cold-water fish, such as salmon. Unfortunately, studies show the American diet includes far less than the ideal amount of DHA and EPA. For example, an average U.S. diet contains less than 100 milligrams of DHA per day. That is well below one expert’s recommendation of at least 220 milligrams of DHA per day. Studies show that the more omega-3s you consume, the healthier your heart.
FAMILY LIVING 2012
Q: What if I don’t like eating fish - are there other ways to get DHA and EPA into my diet? A: The most common sources of DHA and EPA omega-3s are fatty fish and fish oil. Interestingly, many people believe that fish produce their own DHA and EPA, but in actuality it is the microalgae in their food chain that make fish such a rich source of omega-3s. For those who do not eat significant amounts of fish due to dietary preferences, allergies, a vegetarian lifestyle or worries about potential ocean-borne pollutants, there are DHA/EPA supplements made from algae. One such supplement is Schiff MegaRed Plant-Omega, which is made from a vegetarian and sustainable source of DHA and EPA algae. To learn more, visit www.schiffmegared. com. Q: How much DHA/EPA should I get in my diet? A: If you’re not getting at least two servings a week of salmon, mackerel, herring or sardines, and you’re not loading foods fortified with an algal-based DHA onto your plate, then make sure to take at least 220 milligrams of DHA in pill form. According to the American Heart Association, people with documented coronary heart disease (CHD) are advised to consume about one gram of EPA and DHA per day.u
Get the latest in health news and information from local medical experts and long-time healthcare writers.
HEALTH&WELLNESS A monthly publication of the Kingsport Times-News
FAMILY LIVING 2012
When is nonprescription cold medicine not enough? (ARA) - Do you have a cold that just won’t go away? The aisle at your local drugstore is overflowing with different cold medicines, and choosing the right one feels like a gamble with your wallet taking the hit at every purchase.
ah Braga, who is a Registered Pharmacist who holds a Doctorate in Pharmacy and serves as director of drug information and associate professor at South University’s School of Pharmacy in Columbia, S.C.
Without a cure, the common cold is a treatthe-symptoms illness and that’s where the picture gets even more complicated. According to the Mayo Clinic, the common cold is caused by more than 100 viruses, which means signs and symptoms vary greatly.
“While antibiotics are not appropriate for treating a viral infection, complications from the common cold can include bacterial infections such as sinusitis, ear infections, and pneumonia. Remember that your pharmacist is there to help you long before you have a prescription in hand.”
From coughing and sneezing to body aches and nausea, the common cold is different in the estimated 62 million cases occurring each year in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. And that adds up to a lot of symptoms and cold medicine. When you take nonprescription medicine for four to seven days and your symptoms do not improve or the symptoms get worse, it is time to go to seek medical attention, according to Sar-
Fellow of the American College of Apothecaries, and Fellow of the American College of Veterinary Pharmacist
Pharmacists are trained to conduct assessments and to make recommendations on a wide range of nonprescription medications, including herbal remedies, vitamins, and supplements. For the common cold, remedies come in three broad categories: pain relievers, decongestant nasal sprays and cough syrups. Reading the labels and understanding dosage, especially for young children, is critical. (ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 23)
FAMILY LIVING 2012
Don’t Be Left High and Dry in the Doctor’s Office: Tips for Talking to Your Doctor (NewsUSA) - “I drink a lot of liquids, and my mouth still feels dry.” “Sometimes, chewing, swallowing and even talking can be challenging.” “I brush, I floss and I still keep getting cavities.” “I’m embarrassed to bring up these symptoms to my doctor. How serious could dry mouth really be?” If this sounds like you, talk to your doctor. While dry mouth may seem manageable on your own, it could be more serious than you think. In many instances, poor oral health can be an indication of a more serious medical condition. “Any time you notice changes to your health or body, it’s important to talk to your doctor because no symptom is insignificant,” says Dr. Michael Brennan, DDS, MHS, Director of the Sjogren’s Syndrome and Salivary Disorders Center at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. “Many patients ignore symptoms like dry mouth because they think they aren’t important, but they could be critical in diagnosing a systemic condition. Some of my patients, for example, simply try to drink more water and don’t talk
about their dry mouth, which is a hallmark symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome,” Dr. Brennan says. Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune cells attack and destroy moisture-producing glands, affects up to four million Americans -- but most people have never heard of it. In fact, the average time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis is almost seven years. One reason for the delay in diagnosis may be that patients wait months (and sometimes even years!) before discussing their symptoms with their doctors. A diagnosis can be challenging, too, because Sjogren’s symptoms may mimic those of other medical conditions and can vary from person to person. Additionally, patients may not connect their symptoms, like cavities or cracked lips, with feelings of dry mouth, which means they may not be describing their dry-mouth symptoms accurately or thoroughly when they finally do speak to a physician. (ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 11)
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Help for teaching kids money management skills (ARA) - Even though financial education courses for children are proven to contribute to improved savings rates and other financial measures, only 12 states require a personal finance course for high school graduation, according to the Council for Economic Education’s 2011 Survey of the States. In classrooms, studies show teachers want to provide personal finance instruction, but only 20 percent believe they have the capability to teach the subject, according to a study by the National Endowment for Financial Education. The benefits to students are real: Treasury Department research shows that high school graduates in states that mandate financial education have higher savings rates and a greater net worth than graduates from states without financial education.
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As a result of the growing awareness about the importance of financial education, more resources are becoming available to teachers and parents. To help with funding for schools, a program called Pathway to Financial Success (www. PathwaytoFinancialSuccess.org), from Discover Financial Services, recently announced thousands of dollars in grants to public high schools to implement financial education curriculum and test students to make sure they are learning the content. Schools can apply for the grants via the website, and Discover will fund the grants up to a total of $2 million annually. Additionally, nonprofits like The Council for Economic Education are training teachers around the country, helping them teach children from kindergarten through high school about personal finance topics, such as saving and investing. At home, parents can help reinforce what children learn about money. Unfortunately, these conversations are often not happening, as experts say parents are often more comfortable talking about sex, drugs and alcohol than they are about money - usually because parents do not trust their own financial acumen. Indeed, it can be an awkward conversation, as the issue of money raises other concerns and priorities. But a number of resources are available to help parents talk to their children about money, such as the Jump$tart Coalition (www. jumpstart.org).
FAMILY LIVING 2012 Pathway to Financial Success also offers an online resource center for parents, providing tips on how to talk to their kids about how to manage money effectively. Additionally, through the site parents can identify their school district contacts and find resources to reach out to their school administrators and teachers about bringing financial education into their children’s classrooms. For teachers, PathwaytoFinancialSuccess.org also provides sample lesson plans and other resources they can use in their classrooms.
• Be honest about your financial situation or poor financial decisions you have made in the past, and then talk to your kids about how you could have handled the situation differently. • Make it fun by playing online games that teach common lessons of budgeting and saving. Talking about money may not be fun - or even comfortable - but it is an issue that all families and young adults should confront with as much information as possible. There are resources available to help for all situations. u
Parents can start helping ensure their children are financially savvy by talking to their kids about money using a few simple steps at home: • Use everyday experiences to talk about money. Talk to kids about the process or engage them in the discussion of purchasing a large item and weighing the “wants” versus “needs” of the purchase. • Talk to your kids about saving for a special purchase, and set small, manageable goals for them to reach.
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3 quick projects that kill clutter By CEDAR BURNETT For The Associated Press
If, like me, you spent this winter hibernating and eating baked goods, your home may have paid the price. Maybe it got a little disorganized, or is starting to look like an episode of “Hoarders.” Spring is a great time to shake off that winter sluggishness and free yourself from clutter. But where to begin? Spring cleaning can feel overwhelming if your to-do list is more like a to-do novel. Never fear: Three professional organizers are here to offer three projects you can do in an afternoon each: HALL CLOSET Nikki Havens of Seriously Organized in Bloomington, Minn., recommends starting with your entry hall closet. Small closet or walk-in, use the most convenient spot in your home to your advantage. First, identify the coats you actually wear and pull out anything you don’t, along with outerwear that’s wrong for the season. “If you have too much stuff, you can’t find anything,” Havens says. BEDROOM CLOSET Once you’ve mastered the hall closet, Brooke Butin and Heather Perrilliat of HeatherBrookes in Los Angeles have a plan for tackling your bedroom closet. The first thing to do is purge, Butin explains. Create a donate pile, a consignment pile and a give-to-friends pile. Perrilliat suggests trying on anything you haven’t worn in a while. You could even invite a friend and turn the chore into a fashion show. “Not everyone has the budget to buy new clothes,” Butin says. “Look for clothes that could get new life from an alteration — you could save a couple hundred dollars by spending 20.” Once you’ve cleared out the old, take stock of what’s left. Seasonal clothes should be boxed up and put in storage. The rest should be placed on matching hangers facing the same direction and categorized by type — i.e., shirts, pants, dresses. FILES With your closets in order, the last, oft-dreaded task is at hand: organizing files. If you have a filing system in place, Mia Carpiniello of Organizing Philly in Philadelphia suggests pulling out every file and seeing what you can
get rid of or consolidate. Consult with an attorney about legal documents, but in general, you can recycle or shred any items you haven’t looked at in a year. Receipts and manuals for items you no longer own and any regular bill statements you don’t need for tax or legal reasons should also get the heave-ho. Pull out any tax-related files from the previous year and keep them in a separate pile. u
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Feeling optimistic this spring? Might be the decor. Kim Cook - Associated Press
In home decor, there’s something about the start of spring. When life’s renewing itself outdoors, we feel the urge to revive our interiors too. This season, decor offerings are especially upbeat. Start with the palette. “Saturated” is a word being used a lot; it means ripe plum hues, intense tangerines, rich indigos, verdant greens, zingy turquoises, hot reds and peppy yellows. Dee Schlotter, a color expert with PPG Pittsburgh Paints, says exuberant orange is No. 1 on her trend radar. “It’s full of joy and playful,” says Schlotter, who also cites Geranium Pink as a hot hue. “It goes really well with orange, and it’s a happy, girly color.”
Not a fan of bright? Look for a whole world of calming neutrals such as soft putty, grellow (a gray/yellow blend), greige (a gray/beige), aqua, pewter, copper, vanilla and shell pink. You’ll see lots of texture in this category: weathered wood, animal hide, burnished metals, burlap and gauzy cottons. Honeycomb patterns, naturalistic motifs like twigs, leaves and birds, watery Impressionist prints and airy florals soothe the soul. u
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Teal and turquoise are back after a lengthy retirement, and with experience in mid-century modern and traditional decor, they’ve got legs that will carry them into fall. Erin Olson loved the color family enough to devote a blog to it; the House of Turquoise follows all things blue-green. “What I love about turquoise is that it can be paired with any other color, since it has both warm and cool undertones,” she says. “My personal favorite is using turquoise as a fun punch of color to an otherwise neutral space. A turquoise throw pillow, lamp or rug will instantly bring new life to your room, and can easily be switched out,” she says. Crisp clean white’s a common counterpoint, but you’ll see black as a foil as well. Graphic prints pop in these bold colors: Zigzags and stripes are all over the home accessories marketplace. So are lattice and ironwork prints; big and little florals; and abstracts. African handblock, Moroccan and Silk Road patterns have crossed over from last season.
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How to introduce oral hygiene to kids By Alison Johnson Daily Press (Newport News, Va.) (MCT)
Turning good dental practices into habits very early can prevent cavities and many other problems down the road. “It’s all about making it a routine, which will last a lifetime,” says Dr. Miles Hall, chief dental officer at Cigna. Some tips: Start early. As soon as a child’s first tooth appears, begin cleaning it with a brush and water — no toothpaste yet — and make a dental appointment. Introduce toothpaste slowly. Kids usually are ready for toothpaste by age 2 or 3 years old. To keep them from swallowing large amounts, put a pea-sized bead of paste on the brush and squash it down into the bristles.
brush-and-floss routine. Parents can brush at the same time so kids can imitate them. Help with flossing. Kids don’t need to floss until gaps between their teeth have closed, but they likely won’t be coordinated enough to try it on their own until ages 6 to 8. Before that, it’s a parent’s job. Expand the tooth fairy’s role. She doesn’t just need to bring money for lost teeth. She also might leave encouraging notes and little rewards for good brushing and flossing. Limit sugary snacks. Emphasize regular meals and healthy snacks, but if kids do eat or drink something sugary, teach them to brush or rinse their mouths with water soon afterward.
Let kids pick out their toothbrushes. Opting for a favorite color or cartoon character helps them feel in control.
Talk up the dentist. Don’t pass on your hatred of dental appointments or details on your fillings and root canals. Keep it positive: the dentist’s office is a fun place that helps kids stay healthy. u
Make brushing fun. Put on some great music and do a little dancing as part of the nighttime
(c)2012 the Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)
FAMILY LIVING 2012 DON’T BE LEFT HIGH AND DRY CONT. “If patients speak up sooner and give an accurate account of all of their symptoms, their doctors can address those symptoms and recommend a treatment plan earlier,” Dr. Brennan adds. To make the most of your conversations with your doctor, make sure you are prepared for each visit by using the following tips: • Be prepared to explain your dry-mouth symptoms in detail, including how they affect your daily activities (e.g., eating at a restaurant, public speaking). • Tell your doctor if you’ve been taking any over-the-counter products, lozenges, or other
treatments. How you’re managing your symptoms now can help your doctor determine a treatment plan that’s right for you. • Be honest! The more accurate information your doctor has, the more he or she can help you. Ask questions and take notes during the discussion. • Leave with a plan of action to manage your symptoms, including follow-up appointments or additional tests. If you are experiencing dry-mouth symptoms, talk to your health care professional. For more information on the symptoms, testing and diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, visit www.livingwithdryness.com. u
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A world of family fun just minutes from your home. Bays Mountain Park offers a wide variety of activities which can be enjoyed by the whole family. The highlights of the park are the Animal Habitats and the Planetarium Theater. Bays Mountain Park features over 38 miles of beautiful hiking trails that cover most of the 3,500 acres of the park. Take a relaxing stroll around the lake or, for the more adventurous, make the trek up to the fire tower. No matter where you go, you’re sure to encounter natural wildlife and amazing scenery.
features four elements on two levels. The Low Course features 10 challenging elements. Both the Hawk’s Nest and Low Courses may be scheduled for group activities. The Flying Squirrel is a 300 foot zipline guaranteed to provide participants with a thrilling and memorable experience. u
Learn about the natural environment and native animals of East Tennessee by attending one of our Nature Programs. Bays Mountain Features a wide variety of programs from wolves to reptiles. Fishing is allowed from the dam to people 55 and older (must have proof of age), and for people under 16 years old. Ages 12 – 15 MUST have a youth license. All other state regulations apply. Fish found in the Lake are Bass, Bluegill, and Channel Catfish. Dates and time for fishing are June through August – Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 12 noon. September through May – Monday and Saturday only from 8:30 to 12 noon. Any bait or lures except live minnows. Bluegill may be caught from Bays Mountain Lake and used as bait for other fish. Bays Mountain provides quality educational programming that is designed to meet the needs of grades K through 12. Special school programs are available from September through May. These presentations are scheduled on mornings and early afternoons from Tuesday through Friday. Please visit the Education area of our website for information about how to schedule a school visit and detailed program information. Bays Mountain Park’s newest attraction is an interactive ropes course consisting of both high and low challenge elements and a thrilling 300 foot zipline. The Adventure Course elements provide participants with an intense partnering experience which dramatically highlights the objectives of team work, cooperation, trust, communication, adventure, and perhaps most importantly, compassion. The Hawk’s Nest is our high ropes course which
Planetarium Theater Astronomy shows: $4 per person for ages 6 and older. Children 5 and under will receive a free pass.
Nature Programs: $2 per person Barge Rides: $3 per person
Park Association members will receive free passes to programs 853 Bays Mountain Park Road Kingsport, TN 37660 Phone: 423/229-9447
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Could You Retire Now?
Four questions to help you tell if your retirement plan is ready (William J. Hunter) - If you’re five to 10 years away from retirement, you’re probably asking yourself, “Will I be financially ready when the time comes?” Answering these questions can help you figure that out. 1. How Do I Want to Spend My Retirement? If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to start figuring out what you want your retirement to look like. You may want to keep working part time, start a business or spend the next five years sailing around the Caribbean. Once you know where you want to go, you can put a plan in place and begin firming up the necessary finances. If you want to start your own business, for example, you’ll need to figure out how much seed money the new enterprise will require and how that will affect your retirement budget, factoring in the effects of a changed tax picture. Even a plan to kick back at home has financial implications, particularly if you have philanthropic goals or want to pass wealth along to your heirs. 2. Do I Have a Retirement Plan That Can Provide Me with Income for Life? As your retirement date grows nearer, you’ll have to put a plan in place to help you translate your savings into an income stream that fits your immediate needs yet allows your investments to continue to grow. The Merrill Lynch Retirement Income Framework offers a good example of how to do this. It’s a strategic retirement income planning approach that asks you to think of your portfolio as three different portfolios— short, medium and long term — each with a specific objective in mind. The short-term portfolio should include high-quality, fixed-income assets that may generate consistent income and liquidity to meet immediate expenses — say, two to seven years’ worth. The intermediate-term assets should seek to generate growth over a longer period to help you keep pace with inflation. You can use these assets to replenish your short-term holdings, if necessary, to avoid selling your longer-term, higher-growth assets when markets are down. (It’s important to remember that investments are not FDIC-insured, are not bank guaranteed, and may lose value.) 3. Am I Prepared for the Cost of Long-Term Care in the Event That I Need It? Expenses for long-term care rose at nearly twice the rate of overall inflation during the five-year period from 2004 to 2008,1 and Medicare typically doesn’t cover these costs. One possibility is to set aside money to pay for care. Another op-
tion is to buy a long-term care insurance policy. A third alternative is taking advantage of a change in IRS regulations and use a non-qualified annuity to fund long-term care insurance: As of Jan. 1, 2010, money withdrawn from an annuity that goes to pay for a long-term care policy is no longer subject to federal income tax. 4. Are My Spouse and I on the Same Page? If you’ve worked for 40 years, you may want to take time to play golf and relax at home, whereas your spouse could be just hitting her stride in her career. The key is to open a dialogue early and have frank discussions about how each of you wants to spend your later years. Getting together on these important decisions now will definitely make you both happier in the long run. William J. Hunter is a Director, IRA Product Management, at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management makes available products and services offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (MLPF&S) and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation. MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation. 1 Overall inflation, 2004 — 2008, annualized: 2.7%, Ibbotson SBBI 2009 Classic Yearbook; LTC inflation data from Genworth 2009 Cost of Care Survey. PDF available at http://www.genworth.com/content/genworth/us/en/products/long_term_care/long_term_care/cost_of_care.html; inflation figures on page 3. Any information presented is general in nature and is not intended to provide personal investment advice. The information does not take into account the specific person who may receive it. Neither Merrill Lynch nor its Financial Advisors provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Clients should review any planned financial transaction or arrangements that may have tax, accounting or legal implications with their personal professional advisors. Long term care insurance coverage contains benefits, exclusions, limitations, eligibility requirements and specific terms and conditions under which the insurance coverage may be continued in force or discontinued. Not all insurance policies and types of coverage may be available in your state. Annuities are long term investments designed to help meet retirement needs. An annuity is a contractual agreement where a client makes payments to an insurance company, which, in turn, agrees to pay out an income stream or a lump sum amount at a later date. Early withdrawals may be subject to surrender charges, and taxed as ordinary income, and in addition, if taken prior to age 59 1/2 an additional 10% federal income tax penalty may apply. All guarantees and benefits of an insurance policy are backed by the claim paying ability of the issuing insurance company. All annuity contract and rider guarantees, including optional benefits and any fixed subaccount crediting rates or annuity payout rates, are backed by the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. They are not backed by Merrill Lynch or its affiliates, nor do Merrill Lynch or its affiliates make any representations or guarantees regarding the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company.
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Five money-saving tips for family travel (ARA) - The slow economy hasn’t hindered travel plans for most families. Family travelers take an average of 4.5 trips each year, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Savvy families are able to travel and build lasting memories by making trips more affordable with the help of simple money-saving solutions. Here are five money-saving travel tips to help you plan your next family vacation: Tip 1: Plan ahead of time Once you decide where your family will go, it’s time to research what to do. From visiting theme parks and museums to spending relaxing days at the park or beach, it is smart to do your research. Some places will give deals for advanced purchases or allow you to combine several activities into one discounted price. Your research might also help you discover some fun free activities in the area. Tip 2: Seek out inclusive activities Food, rides, shows and souvenirs, a day at the theme park - vacation expenses add up pretty quickly. Consider seeking out options where one price includes everything. All-in-one activities are great for families on a budget. Does the water park include free lunch with your ticket? Does your amusement park pass include a ticket to the music show they present? How about free child care for mom and dad while they’re at the restaurant? Activities that include extras can make for a hassle-free day where you never have to take out your wallet. Tip 3: Book a hotel with all the amenities - and perks A nice hotel with many amenities can make all the difference after busy days of sightseeing or visiting friends and family. Home2 Suites by Hilton, for example, have comfortable suites for the family to stretch out and sleep soundly each night. Cook a meal in the suite’s kitchen for a relaxing night in and a money-saving alternative to nightly dinner outings. Make a day of hanging out at the outdoor patio where you can grill lunch or simply relax and catch up with the family in the Oasis, the hotel’s common hub for social gathering. The saline-based pool, maintained with natural chemicals, is also a fun spot for the family to enjoy. Bringing the family pet? Enjoy time with your furry family member on the outdoor green area for pets at this petfriendly hotel. (ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 23)
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Want to sell your home fast? Tips for helping your home stand out in a buyers’ market
(ARA) - If you have decided to sell your home, that last thing you want is for it to sit on the market for a long time. Taking some home improvement steps before listing can make your house more attractive to potential buyers and put you in a better position to sell quickly. So what do you need to do to ensure that listing your house floods your real estate agent’s office with showing requests? 1. Spiff up the entranceway Every interested buyer will enter through your front door. Have you looked at your entranceway with a critical eye lately? Consider replacing old or sagging screens. If your front door is dirty or scratched, clean it up or add a fresh coat of paint. Sweep away dirt and grime and set out a new entrance mat. Oil any squeaky hinges. If you have plants or shrubbery leading up to your home, make sure that they are trimmed appropriately. A manicured landscape leading up to a welcoming front door will portray the positive experience of living there. An ugly or dirty entranceway can turn away buyers before they enter your house, meaning even if your home has the most amazing interiors, their minds may already be made up. 2. Create an outdoor oasis by detailing your deck Today’s buyer isn’t just interested in the inside of a home, but the outdoor space as well. Tak-
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ing your deck or patio from drab to fab may only require adding a couple of stylistic extras. Start by adding beautiful deck and fence post caps like Deckorators VersaCaps to create a polished, upscale look for your outdoor space. These one-size-fits-all caps have nested inserts that are compatible with wood, composite and vinyl posts, and come in a variety of colors. Next, add unique decorative fascia corners that stylishly adorn deck skirting and cover unsightly corner joints. These new decorative fascia corners come in two designs and install quickly with screws. 3. Add outdoor extras for safety and style Additions that are both beautiful and useful get noticed by potential buyers. Railings can add style to your deck, porch, patio or stairs, plus they add a safety element to your home. Deckorators CXT Railing is the perfect choice because
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FAMILY LIVING 2012 you get to choose from a variety of rail and baluster combos that emulate the look of real painted wood and are ultra low-maintenance for long-term durability and strength. Another addition to consider is LED lighting that makes a home stand out at dusk and provides just the right amount of light so outdoor space can safely be enjoyed any time of day. 4. Add modern colors to interior walls Cracked paint or dated wall colors are sure to turn off buyers. For a small price, you can purchase plaster and several cans of paint to refresh dated looking rooms for a clean, modern feel. Not sure what paint colors are on-trend? Visit your local paint or hardware store for insight. Remember, it’s best to avoid anything too bold, so even if you love fire truck red, pick a shade a little more demure so you attract the most potential buyers. 5. Reduce clutter for clean, minimalist rooms If you’ve ever visited a house that’s been staged, you know that it helps buyers envision what they might do with the room. To follow this example, you’ll want to make sure that you eliminate all
clutter, clean up drawers and closets, stow away extra items like pillows and blankets, and reduce the amount of personal photography you display. Remember, you want buyers to visualize themselves in your home, not see your last family portrait and feel out of place. Always keep in mind that you want to paint a picture for buyers of the wonderful life they can have if they purchase your home. If they have a good first impression and can envision their family enjoying each room in the house, they are going to want to submit a bid fast. u
FAMILY LIVING 2012
Get your pool ready for safe family fun
(ARA) - As the weather starts to warm, you can’t help but stare at your backyard pool, anxious to begin a new season of memories with friends and family. No matter the season, pool safety should always be top of mind where children are concerned. With safety barriers - or layers of protection - in place between the home and the pool, you can experience the pleasures of backyard swimming pools and feel confident that children, grandchildren and visitors will be safeguarded from pool accidents. It’s impossible to watch your children every second of every day. There are times when a parent or caregiver is distracted by answering the phone or door, household tasks or checking email. Unfortunately, accidents tend to happen very quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14. The CDC reports that in most cases, the children involved were out of their parents’ sight for less than five minutes. The good news: Drowning can be prevented. Barriers help buy those few minutes needed to see where children are after you’ve momentarily lost sight of them.
Numerous studies have shown that an isolation fence separating the home from the pool can prevent 50 to 90 percent of all toddler drownings. Only an isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate in proper working order will prevent children from getting into the water without your knowledge. Liability can become an issue if a visitor is injured. Homeowners can improve the safety and security of their pools or spas with isolation fencing with self-closing, self-latching gate hardware by D&D Technologies (www.ddtechglobal. com). Magnetically triggered latches like D&D’s selflatching MagnaLatch have been shown to offer safe, reliable operation, latching even when locked in the open position. Pool gates must also be self-closing, and D&D’s TruClose hinges feature a tension adjustable enclosed spring so gates need no hazardous external spring. Rust-free gate hardware by D&D Technologies is available under the Stanley or National Hardware brand through select Lowe’s stores or online at www.lowes.com and other hardware retailers.
FAMILY LIVING 2012 If you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take to keep everyone safe including these. • Never prop a gate open for convenience or during pool parties. It’s simply not worth the risk.
With layers of protection between your home and your pool, you can give your family years of safer relaxation and enjoyment, and build some great family memories. For drowning prevention tips, visit www.ndpa.org or poolsafely.org. Take the pledge and tell others about the Simple Steps that Save Lives at www. ddtechglobal.com/pledge. u
• Always ensure that doors from the home are locked, alarmed, or fitted with child-safety latching devices. • Ensure that pet doors are secured or open into an area that is isolated from the pool. • If the house forms one side of the barrier, doors leading into the pool area should be protected with alarms that produce a loud sound when the door is unexpectedly opened. • Power safety covers that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards can be very effective if closed whenever the pool is not in use. Manually operated covers tend to be left open; closing them frequently requires two adults. • Ensure children in the home learn how to swim, and that adults know CPR. CPR can make the difference between full recovery and brain damage or death. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules. • When children are in the pool, designate a “water watcher” to maintain uninterrupted supervision of children in the pool at all times. • When not in use, keep toys and other objects out of the pool area, and don’t use chlorine dispensers that look like animals or toys that will attract children.
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FAMILY LIVING 2012
Caregivers’ mental health may improve with short daily meditation By Jeannine Stein - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
A yoga meditation program could reduce depression symptoms and boost mental health, a study finds, and that’s not all — it may also show benefits at the cellular level. The study, published recently in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, involved 49 caregivers ranging in age from 45 to 91 who were taking care of family members with dementia. Caregivers are at risk for high stress levels, often with no outlet or relief, which can lead to health problems. The participants were randomly assigned to two programs: Kundalini yoga Kirtan Kriya meditation or passive relaxation with instrumental music. The yoga meditation program included breathing, chanting and repetitive finger movements, call mudras. Both were done for 12 minutes a day for eight weeks. At the end of those eight weeks the meditation group seemed to come out ahead. Among those men and women, 65 percent showed 50
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percent improvement on a depression rating scale, and 52 percent showed a 50 percent improvement on a mental health scale. Among those who did passive relaxation, those numbers were 31.2 percent for depression and 19 percent for mental health. More evidence was found on the cellular level. The meditation group had a 43.3 percent improvement in telomerase activity, while the relaxation group saw only a 3.7 percent boost. Telomeres, the study explains, are repetitions of DNA sequences at the end of a chromosome that protect it from damage that can lead to health problems. Higher telomerase activity can help improve the durability of immune cells. “We know that chronic stress places caregivers at a higher risk for developing depression,” said lead author Dr. Helen Lavretsky in a news release. Lavretsky, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, added, “On average, the incidence and prevalence of clinical depression in family dementia caregivers approaches 50 percent. Caregivers are also twice as likely to report high levels of emotional distress.” u
FAMILY LIVING 2012
People not using hearings aids despite hearing loss By Andrea K. Walker - The Baltimore Sun (MCT)
Millions of people with hearing loss are not using hearing aids, according to new research by Johns Hopkins scientists. Nearly 6.7 million Americans age 50 and older have hearing loss, but only one in seven uses a hearing aid, according to the new research. The Hopkins researchers said it shows how under treated hearing loss is. It is the most expansive data analysis on the subject ever. “Understanding current rates of hearing loss treatment is important, as evidence is beginning to surface that hearing loss is associated with poorer cognitive functioning and the risk of dementia,” study senior investigator, otologist and epidemiologist Frank Lin said in a statement. “Previous studies that have attempted to estimate hearing aid use have relied on industry marketing data or focused on specific groups that don’t represent a true sample of the United States population.”
The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a research program that has periodically gathered health information from thousands of Americans since 1971. Participants answered questions about whether they used a hearing aid and had their hearing tested. The studied covered the period from 1999 to 2006. The findings were published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine online. They showed that only 14 percent of adults with hearing loss use hearing aids. Lin said many with hearing loss don’t using hearing aids because health insurance often does not cover the costs and because they aren’t trained to use the devices. People also don’t consider hearing loss a big deal. “There’s still a perception among the public and many medical professionals that hearing loss (ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 23)
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Fresh herbs all year make for great entertaining (ARA) - Turkey salad with fresh tarragon, crostini spread with homemade pesto and a refreshing mint mojito on a hot summer day. What do these things have in common? Fresh herbs. Whether cooking for a family, entertaining friends after work, or having a romantic cocktail with that special someone, fresh herbs can be the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. Fresh herbs can take cooking and entertaining to the next level. This goes way beyond adding oregano to your spaghetti sauce. Did you know you can save money, time and waste of produce if you grow your own fresh herbs, right there on your kitchen windowsill? Basil and parsley are two of the most common herbs grown in kitchens. This is because these herbs have a wonderful scent, are relatively easy to grow and are very common ingredients in both winter and summer dishes. Other popular herbs include dill, cilantro, chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint and sage. One note on mint - this herb spreads quickly and can become unmanageable in the yard. But mint does extremely well in containers - just make certain you keep the container separate from your other herbs. With only a window ledge and very little effort, you can have fresh herbs at your fingertips. To get started growing herbs indoors, try these helpful hints: • Location is key. Herbs like sun, so make certain your window area receives plenty of good light - preferably from the south. Stem herbs like oregano and thyme will send out new growth toward the sun, so also plan to rotate the pots to keep the plants growing tall. You might consider setting up a grow lamp to give your herbs additional light - especially in the winter months when the daylight hours are shorter and less intense. • Grow those tiny seeds. Getting your herb garden started might seem like a monumental task, but the Miracle-Gro Culinary Herb Garden makes this process so much easier. Plant the handy seed disks - choose three from basil, chives, cilantro, dill and thyme - directly into the mini Gro-Bag, which contains Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. Keep the soil damp and your herbs
will thrive. You can also try the Culinary Herb Kit to grow a single herb plant. Simply pour the nutrient-enriched potting mix - which comes in the kit - into the bamboo pot and plant the seed disk. Both kits come with recipes on the back, or visit www.groyourown.com for additional recipes. • Water maintenance. As your plants develop, prevent over watering by allowing the soil to dry to the touch. When watering, use enough moisture to see water pooling near the container drain holes. • Trimming and upkeep. If you use your herbs frequently, you probably won’t need to trim off any dead branches or leaves. But if you do notice dead leaves on branches, trim those away to allow for new plant growth. As your herbs grow along your window sill, don’t forget to plan delicious recipes using these fresh ingredients - recipes that will delight the palate and impress your friends. Consider some of the following ideas for incorporating fresh herbs into your meals: • Make your own pizza. Spread olive oil or sauce over pizza crust, then top with fresh veggies and chopped up basil, rosemary, thyme
FAMILY LIVING 2012 and oregano. A little cheese and you’re ready to bake. • Pesto is a great basil-based sauce, and when made, freezes well so you can have a delicious dinner all winter long. • Decorate soups - both out of a can and homemade - with parsley, chives or to emit a bit of spice, cilantro. • Add a couple basil leaves to a sandwich for some unexpected zip. • Give salads a slight peppery taste by tossing the lettuce with cilantro, mint and chives. • Freshen your drinks with crushed mint. It will give your lemonade or iced tea a surprising kick and make your mint julep even tastier. • Can some pickles using fresh dill. • Develop rubs for chicken and pork using dill or sage. • Make a fresh bouquet garni by tying together assorted fresh herbs with thread. Then just drop into soups, stews or roasting meats. • Don’t forget, herbs aren’t just for cooking. Give an herb in a painted pot as a hostess gift or use an herb topiary as a centerpiece to add interest to any gathering. The options are endless, and as you browse through your recipe collection, you won’t have to look far for the seasoning ingredients, since these are growing on your windowsill. u NON-PRESCRIPTION COLD MEDICINE CONT. “Nonprescription medicine should be taken with the same care as prescription medicine, especially for those with complicating factors such as pregnancy or chronic long-term medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma,” says Dr. Braga. “And your pharmacist is there to help you make good choices for treating your cold symptoms and can help you with dosage instructions.” Consider these factors when evaluating whether or not it is time to see the doctor. 1. Do you have a fever? 2. Have you been treating your symptoms for a week with no improvement or have the symptoms gotten worse? 3. Are you experiencing unusual symptoms such
as dizziness, new pain, coughing blood, etc.? 4. Do you have complicating factors such as diabetes, or are you pregnant? If you can answer “yes” to two or more of the above questions, it is probably time to seek medical attention. For most people suffering with the common cold, standing in the drugstore aisle reading the labels on nonprescription cold medicine and trying to decide which one to use is a challenge. Remember, you are not alone, and your pharmacist is there to help. u PEOPLE NOT USING HEARING AIDS CONT. is an inconsequential part of the aging process and you can’t do anything about it,” Lin said. “We want to turn that idea around.” Some funding for the study was provided by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. u FAMILY TRAVEL CONT. Tip 4: Cut your food costs By eliminating eating out for one meal a day during your trip, you can save a lot of money. A family of four can spend $40 a day on breakfast at a restaurant - that’s $280 for a week’s vacation! By choosing a hotel that provides a complimentary breakfast, you can pocket that money for a fun activity, or save it for paying down the credit card bill when you get home. Not all hotel breakfasts are equal - look for options like the ones from Home2 Suites that provide a variety of tasty options to please everyone: hot breakfast sandwiches, cereal, yogurt, oatmeal and a variety of bakery products. Tip 5: Pack light when flying With most airline carriers charging for luggage these days, your family can rack up fees quickly if everyone has a full bag to check. For example, at $25 per bag per flight, it costs a family of four $200 extra round trip. If you can cut down on the amount of clothes and supplies you bring, you can save a ton. Check only a couple bags or just use carry-on luggage. Then, look for accommodations that offer on-site guest laundry. If you stay with Home2 Suites, you can easily do laundry on-site and either relax in the outdoor common space, or grab a quick workout in the adjacent gym. Family travel is quality time you spend together creating memories that will last a lifetime. With these strategies, your next trip will not only be memorable, but it will be affordable too. u
FAMILY LIVING 2012
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