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Boomer Retirement Tips You Can Read in About 60 Seconds (or a little more)

This is the post excerpt.

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Two key thoughts go into making up this blog.  1. You are a busy person—a boomer or a “seasoned senior”(born before 1946)— in retirement or about to retire. 2. You need good retirement tips that might, just might, give you some insight on this myriad of confusion called retirement. That being said, this blog intends to give your quality ideas on retirement, living well, staying healthy, investing, running a part-time business—items that get you to say “I’ll be damned!”  All presented on a fast food platter. Stick with me every 60 seconds or maybe a little more.   It took you approximately 15 seconds to read this statement (95 wds).

 

Saying the Final Goodbye to My Only Brother

A few days ago I reached for my cell phone unconsciously intending to call my brother, Don, in his rehab facility in Tustin. CA. He suffered a major stroke in July 2016. I was accustomed to calling him around three times a week to see how he was doing from loss of his left side—arm and leg––as he was trying to return to a normal life. The stroke did not harm his brain function…he was still the same old Don…sharp as a tack.

Wait a damn minute!!

My brother, my only brother, Don, had died a few days before.

My emotions of his death were still in lockdown. I was experiencing the first stage of grief in the death of a loved one. The emotion felt is what psychologists say: “Disbelief.” Upon returning to my Florida home 2900 miles away, I was still in shock and my refusal to accept his dying right in front of me.

I was at his bedside in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University of California Medical Center in Orange, CA when he passed. His family, his wife, Kathleen, her two daughters, Summerly and Lacey and son, Landon, were there including his only immediate daughter, Jennifer and myself.  We were all there around his bed when Don gave his last breath.

It was West Coast time around 7:45 PM. The nurse technician has taken his breathing tube from this throat around two hours before.

The decision was made by the family to let Don go after an agonizing week of Don being kept alive by machines. In the beginning Don suffered some sort of seizure in his rehab quarters. The staff called 911 and he was taken to ER at the small hospital at Orange County.

His immediate family at ground zero there made the decision to take him to the major trauma center in the area: the UCI Medical Center. He was transferred under the best of circumstances but such transfers are always traumatic for patients in Don’s condition.

The transfer complete. Numerous doctors and nurses in a special recovery ICU room in the critical care unit hooked up Don to the vital instruments and apparatus necessary to preserve his life.

I arrived on Jet Blue the next night to begin the most heart breaking experience in my seven-decade life. After seeing Don defendless and subservient to man’s machines, unable to talk, breathing only with life sustaining oxygen with a tube down his throat.  His system drowning in pain killing drugs, I realized his recovery from his initial stroke in July 2016 was a pipe dream.

Earlier, I was working with my brother on the phone and even a weeklong visit in April of this year to his rehab center to try and neutralize the depression he suffered early on.

He had hired two rehab specialists to help him weekly getting mobile again. That was progress, but the real breakthrough was when he was assigned to a progressive rehab center locally to aid people with brain injuries such as stroke.  The center is called “High Hopes”. As its name implies, for persons like Don it was a Godsend.

The center, financed by celebrities and the well to do, has the latest equipment to bring critically brain-injured people back to leading a halfway normal life.  For Don the equipment was making him mobile again…walking and utilizing his left arm again.

“High Hopes” has the latest ego-skeleton equipment that forces patients to walk by electronics. The equipment literally convinces the patient’s brain that he or she should be walking again. Don, I recall told me after a exhaustive session on the phone, “I just walked four football fields!”

Unfortunately, Don’s recovery from his first stroke was not to be.

Now, Don was admitted to the critical care center in the UC Medical Center and the family was assembled including Don’s long time friend and his help agent, Tony.

The time came the second day for an assessment by staff physicians of Don’s condition. Dr Levan was head of the ICU department and thirty-year veteran treating stroke victims with cases similar to Don’s.

The doctor’s presentation of Don’s condition was extensive, enlightening and blunt.  What happen? The doctor didn’t know. The images of what exactly happen to Don were unreadable.

Probably, according to the doctor, Don suffered a cardiac arrest. Whatever it was shut down most of Don’s vital organs.  His liver was unworkable; water in his lungs caused him to have pneumonia. His damaged kidney would cause him to be on dialysis for an extended period, maybe always. Even his heart stopped beating for 10 minutes before he was hooked up to the respirator.He was unable to breathe on his own so the respirator would be necessary for, perhaps, the rest of his life.

He probably would not be able to continue his re hab to regain his mobility ever again from his first stroke.

Eventually, the doctor drove his points home that he would not be able to ever have a decent quality of life again.

The doctor sobered up all the family members and his friend, Tony. Even as this information from the doctor that had been extremely pointed and final, still some family members believed we should have a second opinion.

We did and scheduled another review the next day about Don’s condition from the incoming critical care physician coming on duty. He was to be instructed to review Don’s case and examine him directly.

Not a precise and extensive as the department head’s analysis, still the second doctor had a similar assessment. Too many bad things happen to Don’s systems during the second seizure to ever fully recover.

By the third day and another meeting with the Neurology team whose words as we all listened intently but echoed a similar bleak future for Don if he lived on.  We discussed at length what that would be. The only option would be an immediate Tracheotomy operation.  That is, creating a hole in his throat that a breathing tube would be inserted without the pain he was enduring presently with the breathing tube down his throat in his hospital bed. His best friend would become an oxygen bottle.

This would cause him with strong odds of artificially breathing the remainder of his life.  The universal question the family was asking thru this emotional roller coaster was: “WHAT WOULD DON WANT?”

In the end, the family unit came together with the answer of what we thought Don would say. It was the final decision by the group adhering to the opinions of knowledgeable medical professionals who know more than we did who made our decision easier but not 100 percent for sure. We wretched the decision from our souls. We reasoned that Don would not want to be attached to machines the remainder of his life.  He was an active guy, a million dollar producer for this company, loving the challenge of bouncing out of bed each day and working in the corporate world. He would never be expected to experience that lifestyle again.

When the time came, he passed easily impacted by the injection of morphine. The deep sleep came not hindered any longer by pain. We took turns holding his hand. We all cried as his face turned gray and mouth opened.

Seeing a loved one like my brother, Don, die after a predicable unrecoverable illness—no amount of intellectual knowing, understanding, or expecting can prepare you.  My wish for my reader who have journeyed with me this far, is that you will never have to go through it and make a life or death decision as we did.  But chances are, you will.

1271 wds/10 min read

Baby Boomers Going to Pot

silhouette-of-cannabis-id831852770 (1)

Can it be true that many seasoned seniors are re-acquainting themselves with marijuana after 30 years plus being in absent from a drug they may have tried in their youth—or never tried at all?

Yes, it appears that more and more seniors are coming out of the closet and taking up weed for yet another reason than getting stoned.

Boomer-age seniors are finding out that getting old is a pain. Medical marijuana (also referred to as medical cannabis, medical weed, medicinal marijuana and medical pot) is becoming an affordable, safe and effective alternative for many expensive, ineffective and highly addictive prescription medicines.

Marijuana may some day be the drug of choice over opiates

Ongoing research is revealing that marijuana may become the drug of choice over opiate drugs such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.

Marijuana can be a source of pain relief for seniors suffering from arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and Nausea. In fact, scientists are studying marijuana for relief help for over 200 ailments and diseases. In fact, for a complete list log on:

www.https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/

Today, stats are on our side. Polling confirms that more and more Americans age 55 and up are partaking of marijuana. It appears that Americans 55 and older are presently becoming the largest growth segment for marijuana usage.

Marijuana is losing its “Reefer Madness” movie image

 First, availability is becoming the norm. Almost ½ of Americans live in a state where marijuana is legal for recreational or medical purposes.

Presently nine states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Washington, D.C.,) have passed laws allowing citizens to partake with recreational and/or medical marijuana. Twenty-nine states have passed laws putting the legal use of medical marijuana on the books.

That’s only the beginning, as more states will be putting marijuana usage on the ballot come this November: Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Utah and others.

The US government is becoming more lenient towards legal marijuana in the future. Right now, marijuana is listed by the DEA as a drug with the highest potential for abuse along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, peyote, etc. The weed has had a bad rap ever since the movie “Reefer Madness” was released in the thirties. Our federal government still considers cannibals to be an illegal drug. But the most dangerous drug label is being re-evaluated by Americans, state institutions and our government.

The reason is simple. States and countries are discovering the drug can be a tax cash cow in the billions of dollars. In fact, Canada on July 1, 2018 will establish medical and recreational marijuana as legal throughout the whole country.

Furthur, Pew Research Center in January 2018, found 61% of Americans think weed should be legalized.

 Older Americans seek wellness benefits of cannabis

 The overall economic impact is tremendous if Americans find that marijuana is cheaper and more effective than traditional drugs. It may hurt the bottom line of Big Pharma, but it would also help the bottom line of many individuals struggling with health issues.

 Seniors don’t have to smoke it!

The truth is that many doctors prefer for their patients to ingest medical marijuana instead of smoking it because there are still adverse effects from smoking anything. It’s not good for your lungs!

As well, seniors to the legal marijuana industry tend to be nonsmokers. Cookies, candy, brownies, soft drinks and oils offer consumers something that’s a bit cleaner, a bit safer, and allows seniors to avoid the negative stereotypes of a pot smoker.

From arthritis and epilepsy to PTSD and anxiety, marijuana continues is providing relief for thousands of people. As the erosion of marijuana prohibition continues, more and more seniors will have access to this therapy and, of course, willdemand it.

The bottom line is that we’re about to witness the end of marijuana prohibition in North America allowing our older generation to receive a safer, more secure medical treatment for those aches and pains experience of a seasoned senior.

672 words/4 min read time

Read On and Think About What Memorial Day Really Means… “It is the Soldier!”

Soldier-115986817 the soldier)It is the soldier…

It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech

It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the right to demonstrate

It is the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given use right to a fair trial

It is the soldier, not the pastor, who has given us the right to worship

It is the soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote

It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protester the right to burn the flag…..

 Source: Charles M Province, U.S. Army, The Patton society

Can’t Find Your Keys? You May be a Candidate for MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment)

Puzzle head
Puzzle head with brain parts in disunity

Forget Dementia. Never mind, Alzheimer’s. —For now.

Let’s talk about Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). This is age-related memory loss. Not so unique for us smack dab in the golden years. But don’t think you’ll get off easy by being around age 50 or so.

Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is an intermediate stage between the expected cognitive decline of normal aging and the more-serious decline of dementia. It can involve problems with memory, language, thinking and judgment that are greater than normal age-related changes.

Mild cognitive impairment causes cognitive changes that are serious enough to be noticed by the individuals experiencing them or to other people, but the changes are not severe enough to interfere with daily activities.

You are able to drive your car, talk to your family, take in a movie, shop for the family goods etc. In short, you are pretty much able to accomplish the tasks you have been doing for years.

Except for one thing. You know in your mind you are not the same.

You are thinking slower, forgetting more. Plainly, you just feel you are not at the top of your game.

Yes, your genes can be a factor here. Remember Uncle Harry who couldn’t recall my brother’s name when we visited him in the old folks home.

However lifestyle choices as well as genes contribute also on how sharp our memories and thinking skills stay on track.

Surprising, eating a healthful diet, getting regular exercise, stabilizing our cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, no smoking have all showed to protect memory. In the same way our muscles become stronger with use, memory and cognitive skills need strength training also.

You can teach an old dog (your brain) new tricks. Even if you an aging seasoned senior, your brain can adapt and change. Your brain has the ability to grow and improve throughout your life.

Visualizing your daily routine of living, here are some ways to keep the fire burning in your brain:

Make your daily diet a brain booster: Your body needs fuel to function properly; so does your brain. Consuming the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones will keep powering your brain to keep it fit and healthy for life.

The Mediterranean diet is ranked as one of the best diets for brain health in the world. If you thrive on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, healthy fats– olive oil nuts, and fish, etc. then your diet will have a positive impact on your cognitive function and improved memory and attention.

Here are a few foods that recent research has hailed as self-starting memory boosters:

  • Walnuts • Blueberries • Avocado • Cocoa and Chocolate • Caffeine
  • Cinnamon • Peppermint tea

Stay physical: No expert ever says exercise is bad for you. Then listen up! Keep active or lose it–your body and your mind. If you want both to stay sharp, stay active.

Exercise increases oxygen in your brain, reduces your risk of heart attack and diabetes, which leads t o memory loss, decreases stress levels and increases the effect of the “good” brain chemicals.

An analysis of brain health, researchers found the aerobic activity and resistance training combined: boost brainpower. Combining moderate-intensive aerobic and resistance training for at least 45 minutes per session and at minimum three days a week will likely benefit your cognitive abilities and memory.

Nap your way to a better brain: Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep to maintain both physical and mental health. Sleep helps us consolidate short-term memory to long-term memory. Skipping the recommended hours of sleep is short-circuiting the brain’ s ability to form new memories.

Latest research found in adults aged 65 and older taking an hour-long nap in the afternoon improved performance on cognitive memory compared with individuals who did not nap.

Don’t be wary of taking a power nap. It can improve your mental performance journey to enhance your brainpower.

Brain workouts: Brain –training applications are very popular. However, do they really work? Evidence suggests that they do not. They have been proven in improvement of the task at hand but they do not appear to strengthen memory, intelligence or cognitive abilities.

However there are techniques that can help you to recall information. Say remembering a person’s name you just met. These methods are called mnemonic devices.

  • Method of Loci: this method is also commonly called the mental walk, or items you would like to remember along a traveled route in your car. In more basic terms, it is a method of memory enhancement that uses visualization to organize and recall large amount of information.
  • Acronyms: can be used as a tool to remember anything. In the supermarket, you could use “CAKE” to help you remember that you need to buy cheese, apples, kale and eggs.
  • Chunking: is a way to break down a lot of information into smaller, more manageable chunks of information. An example would be breaking down phone numbers into three chunks rather than trying to remember all 10 digits at once.

The more you exercise your brain, the easier you will find to process and remember information. Consider new workouts (leaning a language, playing a musical instrument, doing crossword puzzles, etc) to develop new brain pathways that are new and challenging. Your brain is waiting for you.

Relax your brain: You have heard all about the dangers of stress. Chronic stress hurts your brain. Over time, stress can kill brain cells, and is linked with memory loss. Managing your stress is one of the best ways to protect your memory.

Try the MMs: music and meditation. Both can be effective strategies for relieving stress and reversing in older adults with cognitive issues. One study demonstrated that meditation and listening to music over a 3-month period significantly improved subjective memory function and cognition performance.

Further, just 25 minutes of mindfulness meditation and yoga per day has found to have a positive effect on mood and boost brain function.

Want to go further with this? It has been found if subjects relaxed with certain aromas like rosemary essential, they were found to score higher in memory tests than subjects who didn’t smell scented air.

In essence, your brain needs both workouts and relaxation to get the most out of improving your brain health.

If you feel you are an individual applicable for MCI, then take time to get tested to receive a benchmark for your condition. Determine if your condition is old age decline or MCI. If so, begin applying some of tips outlined here. Begin seeking professional help just as you would with a physical ailment.

MCI may increase your risk of later progressing to dementia, caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions. But some people with mild cognitive impairment never get worst and a few eventually get better.

Think about it?

Words: 1143 /time to read: 5 min. Sources: the Mayo Clinic & Medical News Today

Stupid drivers’ tricks drastically increase deaths and injuries during Holidays

I can't hear his breath
I should have written this blog last week. I might have saved a life.

Yes, I got through Thanksgiving amidst the local traffic swarms. However, I did not drive over the hill to grandma’s house as millions of Americans did. I missed most of the fifty million citizens or so who were on the road driving this 4-day holiday.

National Safety Council (NSC) estimated 433 people would be killed and another 52,300 would be injured in car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday. Actual figures are not available yet but every year it’s about the same.

So much so, Thanksgiving is known as the biggest traffic build up of the year—more than New Years, Christmas and all other holidays. That’s among many reasons a number of Americans don’t ever arrive to grandma’s or return home ever again.

I thought about it and asked myself: Why do all these accidents occur? I think that a lot of auto accidents are caused by “stupid drivers’ tricks” (Thanks, David. Letterman- “Stupid Pet Tricks”). Here are a few of my favorite stupid drivers’ tricks:

GOT YOUR BACK: Of course, you do. In this case, you are following the driver in front of you so close you are breathing his exhaust fumes. That is, until the driver in front of you decides to do a slow right turn (no signal, of course). Or the line of traffic does a quick halt because a cow was crossing the road.

In either case it’s a bang job for both of you. Only you will be charged because you were following too close. Welcome to one of the Number Uno causes of traffic mishaps in all of America. “Your vehicle was not under your control” or something like that is written on the ticket.

Oh yes, to get you thinking about it—the average stopping distance from 60 MPH to zero is 180 feet. Your reaction time is at least one second (experienced driver) or 88 feet. Meaning, based on those numbers you need 268 feet to stop completely. Good guess is 4–5 seconds. If you’re texting, fatigued, drinking earlier…Oh well. S___, happens.

TURNING RIGHT LOOKING LEFT: You’re in a hurry (what’s new?) You pull up to the intersection planning to make a quick right. Looking left…no cars coming. You make the turn and collide with a 10 year old on a bike with Jell-O for brains coming fast right down the sidewalk. Now you have to pick up the pieces.

MINDFUL OF YOUR MIND: Distractions. Remember your job as the driver is to get yourself and your passengers from point A to point B safety. The awful truth that driver distractions are another number one cause of automobile mishaps. Cell phones/texting have gotten a lot of negative media attention recently — but other more low-tech distractions cause most traffic accidents. Have you ever spilled hot coffee on yourself? Dropped something on the floor and picked it up while driving? These are two of the distractions drivers cited most frequently as reasons for their road traffic accidents, according to a recent study done by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).

Fiddling with a radio or climate control system is the next most-cited distraction. Believe it or not, some commuters regularly read the newspaper, shave, or apply make-up on their way to work. The fact that most of them are operating a motor vehicle at the same time doesn’t seem to concern them. NETS suggests that you allow plenty of travel time, preset your climate control and radio, and put all reading material in your trunk.

A COMBINATION OF TRICKS: I mention speeding, changing lanes too often, aggressive driving, and driving under the influence (DWI)– all of these driver tricks are on the blackboard of accident causes. We didn’t not get them all in this blog. You get the idea. Why die on a holiday? Or any other time in your car, really. Make yourself bulletproof to these stupid driver tricks. And come home from grandma’s house in one piece.

As my father used to say as I happily slide in the driver’s seat of the family car.I was fully ready and able to fly the parental nest.

“Be careful, son. You might meet another fool out there.”

713 wds/ 3.15 min/sec reading time

The “Silent Killer” Gets an Upgrade… More Important Than Ever to Pay Attention to Your Blood Pressure

Black tonometer and heart isolated on whiteOur nation’s heart experts have bumped up the guidelines for high blood pressure– a change hoping more people will be become more sensitive to the dangers of stroke and heart attacks that are the second cause of preventable death in the United States and the leading reason for deaths worldwide.

The new redefined high blood pressure, as a reading is now 130 over 80, down from 140 over 90 as determined by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology 14 years ago.

What this means that presently almost 50 per cent (46 percent) American adults, many of them under the age of 45, now will be labeled hypertensive. Before November 11 under the previous guidelines, 32 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure for healthy adults remains at 120 (high number: systolic [heart contracts])/over 80 (low number: diastolic [heart relaxes between beats]).

Most of the data to support the new requirements came from a large-scale study of more than 9,000 people reversing the assumptions held by many blood pressure medical professionals.

The results shows bringing down blood pressure vs. the recommended 140/90 could reduce the risk of heart and stoke. Although most of the participates in the study were people 50 or over, other studies have shown younger people are at risk also for hypertension. Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease, strokes, kidney disease and other maladies killing millions every year.

Hence, the key reason to clue in Americans sooner on the insidious illness outcomes high blood pressure can generate. In that way, more healthy lifestyles might be migrated through U.S society by healthy eating, exercise, and reduced tension.

In that way, the “Silent Killer” so named because so many people are unaware they have the condition because there are no symptoms. The new requirements won’t change the symptoms but may arouse the interest needed to combat this dreaded disease.

317-words/reading time average 2 minutes

 

The “Silent Killer” Gets an Upgrade. More Important Than Ever to Pay Attention to Your Blood Pressure

 

Black tonometer and heart isolated on white


Our nation’s heart experts have bumped up the guidelines for high blood pressure– a change hoping more people will be become more sensitive to the dangers of stoke and heart attacks that are the second cause of preventable death in the United States and the leading reason for deaths worldwide.

The new redefined high blood pressure, as a reading is now 130 over 80, down from 140 over 90 as determined by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology 14 years ago.

What this means that presently almost 50 per cent (46 percent) American adults, many of them under the age of 45, now will be labeled hypertensive. Before November 11 under the previous guidelines, 32 percent of U.S. adults had high blood pressure.

Normal blood pressure for healthy adults remains at 120 (high number: systolic [heart contracts])/over 80 (low number: diastolic [heart relaxes between beats]).

Most of the data to support the new requirements came from a large-scale study of more than 9,000 people reversing the assumptions held by many blood pressure medical professionals.

The results shows bringing down blood pressure vs. the recommended 140/90 could reduce the risk of heart and stoke. Although most of the participates in the study were people 50 or over, other studies have shown younger people are at risk also for hypertension. Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular disease, strokes, kidney disease and other maladies killing millions every year.

Hence, the key reason to clue in Americans sooner on the insidious illness outcomes high blood pressure can generate. In that way, more healthy lifestyles might be migrated through U.S society by healthy eating, exercise, and reduced tension.

In that way, the “Silent Killer” so named because so many people are unaware they have the condition because there are no symptoms. The new requirements won’t change the symptoms but may arouse the interest needed to combat this dreaded disease.

Continue reading “The “Silent Killer” Gets an Upgrade. More Important Than Ever to Pay Attention to Your Blood Pressure”