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Using Up Your Dental Benefits

on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Whether it’s an extended illness that catches you off guard or a nasty sprain from stepping awkwardly off the curb, we all know the benefits of having good health insurance. However we often get so caught up in hacking coughs and broken bones that we forget about our dental insurance.

Yes, teeth are important too. Are you making the best use of the money you’re paying to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape?

Dental benefits in many insurance plans don’t roll over into the next year, so it’s essentially a use-or-lose situation. You wouldn’t leave vacation hours on the table at work, so why let those hard-earned dental benefits go to waste?

There are plenty of good reasons to use them. You’ve heard lots of horror stories about root canals or abscessed teeth. Well, this is one horror story that can have a happy ending because many of these problems can be detected long before they reach that stage. Regular dental check-ups are your best defense. The best part of it is that preventative care check-ups are free under many dental plans. That’s right. They cost you nothing except an hour or two of your day.

If your choppers do need more extensive treatment, the end of the year is a good time to schedule it. By this point you’re likely to have met your deductible, but are still under your annual maximum. That means you’re not only helping your teeth out, but helping your wallet out too.

Your teeth put in a hard day’s work. Give them the appreciation they deserve by maximizing your plan’s dental benefits.

Thank You for Our Freedom

on Tuesday, 05 November 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

After four years of horror, World War I finally came to an end on November 11th. That day, then called Armistice Day, would later become known as Veterans Day. World War I was hoped to be the ‘war that ends all wars”, but unfortunately this wasn’t the case.

In the years to come, American soldiers would be called upon again, first in World War II, and later in many other conflicts across the globe. The price of freedom is always high, and our country’s veterans have always stepped forth to pay it.

Thoughts of pumpkin pie and turkey legs may be dancing through our heads during the month of November, but it’s also a month to say thank you to those veterans. Without their sacrifice we may not even have a Turkey Day to enjoy. How can you say thank you to a veteran? Here are some ways:

You can make a donation. There are plenty of veteran’s groups such as Wounded Warriors that could use a helping hand. It doesn’t have to be cash either. Groups like Hero Miles can make good use of donated frequent flyer miles.

If money is a little tight this holiday season, you can also offer up your expertise. Sometimes the most valuable asset you have is the wisdom and skills you’ve accumulated over the years.

If you’re a business owner, why not consider hiring a veteran? The skills and expertise learned in the armed forces often translate very well to civilian service.

If none of these options seem appropriate, you can always do the simplest thing of all. Just say ‘Thank You.’ It takes a few seconds of your time and lets veterans know you appreciate the sacrifices they’ve made.

Happy and Safe Trick-or-Treating

on Tuesday, 29 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

“In masks and gown we haunt the street
And knock on doors for trick or treat
Tonight we are the king and queen,
For oh tonight it's Halloween!”

—     Jack Prelutsky

It’s that time of year again when the moon is full, the night breeze is filled with just a hint of mischief, and ghosts and goblins prowl the streets. Yes, Halloween is here, and there’s plenty of fun to be had, not to mention plenty of candy to collect. With a few common sense safety tips, it can be a fun night to remember.

Keep it bright. While dark colors might make for a cooler costume, they’re also harder to see at night, placing your child at risk for oncoming traffic. If you can’t quite bring yourself to send out your child in day-glow pink, add some reflective lights and/or glow sticks to your child’s ensemble.

Light up the night. Speaking of light, don’t skimp on the illumination. Send your child out with a flashlight that has fresh batteries.

There’s safety in numbers. In all the scary movies it’s always the lone straggler that gets picked off by the monster. Children and even adults should stay in groups. Older children should walk a pre-planned route, and younger children should stay with the older ones.

Inspect the loot. Yes, your children may accuse you of wanting to keep the best candy for yourself, but it’s the only way to make sure that the candy they’ve worked so hard to collect is actually safe for them. Never consume anything that isn’t in a sealed package.

Don’t go in there! Just like in the movies, going into the spooky house is a bad idea. Children should always stay on the porch. There’s no reason they should EVER enter a stranger’s home.

A little common sense may be all you need sometimes. Use these safety tips to make sure that Halloween is a treat and not a trick.

Senior Health Series: Exercise

on Tuesday, 22 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

When seniors plan their retirement, exercise probably isn’t at the top of their list of things to do. After all, your golden years are supposed to be a time to kick back and relax. However with age working against them, exercise becomes even more critical in a person’s later years.

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to do the things you once did. For seniors, exercise can not only help them stay active and enjoy a higher quality of life, it can also prevent the onset of chronic disease and lower their chances of injury.

So what types of exercises work best for seniors? Pretty much anything they want, within certain limitations. These guides from Silver Sneakers and from Healthline provide some pretty good examples.

Regular exercise is important for everybody, but seniors face some unique challenges. After we hit our 40’s, our body’s muscle mass declines— as much as 5 percent per decade. Loss of muscle mass leads to complications like degenerative joints and makes us more susceptible to damage from falls.

Healthy body, healthy mind, goes the saying. It’s true for seniors as well. Research has shown that seniors who regularly exercise have a reduced risk of dementia. Even a brisk walk two or three times a week can reduce the chances of dementia by as much as 35 percent.

While a senior can certainly take the initiative and create an exercise program of their own, there are also plenty of resources available to help. For example, the National Council on Aging has a program called the Center for Healthy Aging that connects community organizations to quality exercise programs around the country. It also has valuable information about nutrition and behavioral health.

Great living starts with a healthy lifestyle, and that’s true whether you’re eight or eighty. Check these resources out, but more importantly get out and get some exercise!

Senior Health Series: The Impact of Limited Income

on Tuesday, 15 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

They say that money doesn’t buy happiness, but plenty of people wouldn’t mind giving it a try. There’s no doubt that having a thin wallet can be tough sometimes, and it doesn’t get any better when you get older. It fact, it becomes more challenging. In addition to increased medical needs, seniors often deal with a fixed income when the price of everything around them keeps going up, up, up.

Fortunately, there are some resources available to help. One of the first steps to access these resources is often through a senior’s local center on aging. While they may not be able to solve all of a senior’s problems, the center can usually point them in the right direction and help them navigate the often complex network of state and local assistance.

If they haven’t already, seniors should consider enrolling in Medicare as soon as possible. Contrary to what many believe, enrollment in Medicare isn’t always automatic. This article by the Motley Fool website details some things seniors should know about the program.

In addition to Medicare, seniors may be eligible for a wide variety of other programs including housing assistance, income tax preparation and more. How do you find out about these services? Again, your local council on aging is a great place to start. Another way is the Eldercare Locator. It’s a website run through the U.S. government’s Administration on Aging, and it helps seniors locate the necessary resources in their local community. Topics covered include everything from medical insurance questions to transportation and support services.

Getting old can be tough. If you’re a senior having trouble making ends meet or have a family member dealing with these issues, give these resources a try.

Senior Health Series: The First Signs of Dementia

on Tuesday, 08 October 2019. Posted in Doctor of Fitness

Ever forgotten your cell phone or couldn’t remember where you parked? You might be having a ‘senior moment’ even though you’re decades away from receiving your first social security check. It may be a joke when you’re younger, but for a senior it may be no laughing matter. At what point does it become more than simple forgetfulness and the start of something more sinister like dementia? If you’re a caregiver or have an elderly relative, here are some things to look for:

Memory loss. While simple forgetfulness is not a sign of dementia, the frequent inability to recall recently learned information such as dates, names or appointment times may point to something more.

Inability to Problem Solve. A senior is suddenly befuddled by simple problems they used to solve effortlessly a few years prior.

Confusion about time or place. Dementia can dull the sense of the passing of time. A senior may not fully be aware of where they are or when they got there.

Sudden mood changes. A senior suffering from dementia may experience wild swings in mood for no apparent reason.

Withdrawal. Because their condition makes it difficult for them to process and to react to new information, seniors suffering from dementia may become withdrawn and sullen.

Unrealistic goals. A senior may lose the ability to understand what is fair and reasonable. For example, they may buy too much or buy things they don’t need. They may become obsessive about keeping broken objects.

It’s important to remember that dementia is NOT a natural part of aging. It’s a disease. And while there is no known cure for dementia, a doctor’s help can help ease the symptoms and let a senior enjoy a higher quality of life during their remaining years.

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