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Good News for Retirees: Sex Is Good for You!

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

November 27, 2022 — Researchers at The John Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic have a message for people over 50: “It’s not just for young people.” In an article at AARP, Kate Thomas, Director of Clinical Services says that ““It can strengthen our relationships, promote self-esteem, and improve our sense of identity.” Beyond that, the article listed other ways researchers have found sex is beneficial to older people.

8 ways sex is good for you

Boosts Immunity. Apparently a romp in the hay is also good at improving your response to disease, possibly even Covid. People who had more sex showed more immunity than others according to a study by researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.

Posted by Admin on November 26th, 2022

Want to Be a Shedder? Australian Phenomenon a Great Boon for Retirees

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

October 29, 2022 — The sad fact is, many men don’t do so well in retirement. After a lifetime of working, the loss of purpose can lead to depression and inactivity. So when our guide in Scotland last month started telling us about the Shed movement, and the Shedders who use them, we got pretty excited. “The Shed What?”, we said. Then, as she told us how men’s sheds have been proliferating in the British Isles because of the enjoyment, as well as improvement to their mental and social health, they provide to retired men (mostly) and women. The movement seems to have a lot of potential here in the U.S. Here is what the Shed movement is all about.

Men’s sheds or community sheds are non-profit local organizations that provide a space for craftwork and social interaction. Think of it in some ways as a YMCA for retirees, without the gym. Precursors to the movement originated in Australia around the 1980s as a way to improve the health and wellbeing of older men. Since then many sheds have expanded to anyone regardless of age or gender, with similar aims and functions to hackerspaces. There are over 900 shed located across Australia, with thousands of active members. Men’s sheds can also be found in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, United States, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, and Greece. Objectives of Men’s Sheds include advancing the health and well-being of the participating men and creating opportunities for the men to contribute to their local communities.

Posted by Admin on October 28th, 2022

Adios Prescription Drug Donut Hole!

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

September 10, 2022 – There is good news coming for the estimated 1.5 million Medicare recipients who have been affected by the notorious prescription drug donut hole. The relief will arrive in 2025, thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Biden. Then the new law will put a $2,000 limit on annual drug copayments by retirees, replacing the current donut hole scheme, which hits people hard when they spend over a certain amount until they hit a catastrophic limit. Along the way monthly insulin charges will be capped at $35 for Medicare recipients in 2023, and in 2024 the 5% copay on charges over the catastrophic limit is eliminated.

Courtesy of Lisa Fotios

Current law requires retirees to pay 25 percent of the cost after they and the government pay a combined $4,430 out for their prescription drugs. The 25% figure lasts until people hit a “catastrophic” threshold amount, currently $7,050, and then they still have to pay 5% over that. Some beneficiaries were paying over $5,000 or even $10,000 because of it. The new limit eliminates these requirements; copayments will be capped at $2,000 in 2025.

The new law is a big win for retirees, and it has been a long time coming. Together with the government’s new ability to negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients, retirees (and the government) will be saving a lot of money.

Further reading:

Posted by Admin on September 9th, 2022

Study Says Paxlovid Works for People Over 65

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

Sept. 1, 2022 — Several Members commented recently about whether or not they would take Paxlovid if they contracted Covid. In a Comment Rick said he wouldn’t use it, based on the experience of so many people he knows who have taken it and experienced rebound. RichPB, however, said that the drug can reduce death and serious hospitalizations, and that taking it is a personal choice. To that point, a new study from Israel found that Paxlovid reduced the risk of death by 79% and hospitalizations 73% among patients over the age of 65. The study is one of the first tests since the arrival of the Omicron variant. The drug seemed to have little beneficial effect among younger patients in the Israeli study, even if they had underlying health problems.

Posted by Admin on September 1st, 2022

Cheaper Over the Counter Hearing Aids Coming

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

August 22, 2022 — The FDA has issued a ruling that will allow people over 18 to purchase hearing aids without a clinical assessment. It is scheduled to go into effect by mid October, and the FDA estimates that consumers could save up to $2800 with these air conduction devices when sold in stores like Best Buy, CVS, or Walgreens. The goal with this initiative is to help prevent the depression, mental decline, and lack of socialization that can come with hearing loss.

The ruling applies to people with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you think you might be a candidate for these, now is the time to do your homework – there is a lot of complexity to figure out before you buy.

Posted by Admin on August 22nd, 2022

6 do it Yourself Tests to Help Keep the Young in You

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

July 26, 2020 — There aren’t too many people who don’t want to feel, act, and look younger. But, as each of our birthdays adds a bigger number, that seems harder and harder.

While there is no real fountain of youth, yet, there are some simple steps anyone can take to delay the effects of aging. Spend a few minutes to take these simple tests. It could lead to feeling better and looking younger.

Caution. Do not undertake any of these exercises without consulting with your doctor, or if you feel discomfort or pain.

Tests to help you stay young:

Take these simple tests and then share the results with your doctor. He or she can use them to help evaluate how you are doing, and what you can do to improve.

Sitting and standing. How you sit and stand is critical in so many ways. Doing it correctly not only keeps you looking young, it makes you stronger. When you sit, can you do it without using your hands? Ditto with standing, do you need to hold on to something in order to stand up? One evaluation that physical therapists use is to see how much you have to rely on your hands to get up out of a chair. The other is speed – how long does it take to sit and stand 5 times in a row, arms crossed against the chest? A good result for someone in their 70s is 12.6 seconds or less. Long term: practice not using your hands whenever you stand up – it you will keep your leg muscles in shape for the long haul.

Posture. Put a chair in a place where you can see your profile in a mirror. Sit, and then stand up and look in the mirror. Is your back straight, and are your shoulders pulled back? Unfortunately, there is no better way to look old than to have rounded shoulders and be hunched forward. Every time you stand up, practice stacking your spine once you are vertical. Once you do that, center your head over your spine, and pull your shoulders back. This can be hard to overcome after a lifetime of sitting hunched over a desk, but you can do it!

Walking. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Dr. Nathan LeBrasseur, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging, said that people should start working on their health early. For example, a person in their 50s should be able to power walk a quarter of a mile at a brisk pace in less than 6 minutes and 40 seconds. If you are slower than that report it to your doctor. Another test is to see how far you can walk in 6 minutes. If less than 350 meters, that would be worrisome for that person in their 50’s.

Standing on one leg. You should be able to stand on one leg for at least 10 seconds if you under 70. Practice while you are brushing your teeth. In that WSJ article, Dr. Natasha Bhuyan said she believes this test is an excellent prediction of long term physical health.

Push-ups. Dr. LaBrasseur believes that a man in his 50s and 60s should be able to do at least 10 push-ups. If not, it is a confirmation you are losing your strength. In one test of people with an average age of 40, those who could do more than 40 tended to live longer than others. Women would have a different exercise or metric.

Mental. There are various mental tests to determine your mental capacity and any deterioration. Some are free and others you must pay for. You can take them and ask your doctor for an evaluation. The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam (SAGE) is a short screening test you can take at home. It is used to help detect early signs of cognitive impairments. The Clock Draw Test and Simple 3 Word Memory Test are other variants.

Bonus tip:

Stay active. In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s excellent book, “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age“, he postulated the number one key to keeping your brain young is daily physical activity. Much better than crossword puzzles or Wordle, regular exercise is the best thing you can do. Apparently, getting the blood flowing has positive mental effects.

For further reading:
Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age“ – Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Dementia – Or Ordinary Age-Related Change?

Posted by Admin on July 25th, 2022

How Many Steps a Day Are You Striding For?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

June 22, 2022 — Two new studies have found that people who regularly exercise are much more likely to live longer. Fortunately, many people are interested enough in their health that they set daily goals for various activities, like how many steps they take each day. New devices like Fitbits, Apple Watches, and smartphones make that especially easy to do. But how much activity, like the number of steps, is the right number?

For many people 10,000 steps has become a popular goal. Achieving that frequently becomes an obsession or often a competition with friends. They brag about how many steps they got, or worry about a bad day. Hitting 10,000 steps a day is a lot – with a 3′ stride (slightly longer than most people’s) – that would translate to over 5.6 miles. There are a number of other goals that some people set up for themselves, such as the amount of active energy expended (such as 700 calories), floors walked up (e.g.; 5), the number of standing hours (e.g.; 12), or minutes getting some other type of exercise.

Posted by Admin on June 21st, 2022

Georgia Active Adult Community Excludes Female Softball Player from League

Category: Active adult communities

March 10, 2022 – In a move that is sure to be controversial, a softball commissioner at the Del Webb Village at Deaton Creek has banned Linda Evans, a female, from participating on a men’s softball team at that community. Ms. Evans, 70 years young, is an experienced player, whose coach said of her: “She can play.”

The active community in Hoschton, GA has one softball league with 7 teams. There is no women’s team or league. The commissioner banned Evans from playing in games or participating in practice, saying that it was a “men’s only league”. A poll of the players reportedly found that a majority did not women playing in the league. However, the community’s ownership bylaws say “membership in any Chartered Club must be open to all bona fide members of the association without discrimination as to race, religion, color, sex, ethnic culture or national heritage.”

Not an uncommon problem
The problem of inclusion of the sexes has long existed. Private country clubs have excluded women from membership. Some active communities provide access to facilities slanted towards men (such as the earliest tee times), or have mens-only grills. How communities maintain fairness can be a struggle that often pits one group against another, and even results in lawsuits.

Comments? What do you think, should communities have the right to have single gender teams, activities, and facilities? Or should men or women be able to mix together, based on ability or other qualifications. Please share your thoughts and experiences from your community in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on March 10th, 2022

Heart Valve Disease Week – Are You at Risk?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

Feb  15 – Feb 22 is heart valve disease awareness week.

As many as 11.6 million Americans are estimated to have heart valve disease, and each year around 25,000 people die from the disease. Fortunately, valve disease can usually be successfully treated in patients of all ages.

Getting personal

On a personal note, last March your editor’s heart valve disease became very serious. Although I knew I had a leaking mitral valve, it was always a someday, maybe, kind of problem. Then during some exercise my heart began racing, and went into atrial flutter. Long story short, after some superb medical care I had a mitral valve repair via robot, minimally invasive. Today it is almost as if nothing ever happened. But I was lucky. Please be aware that this problem does affect millions of people. When you get your medical checkups, pay attention to anything pointing to this disease. Follow your doctor’s advice. And if you experience symptoms – get help fast!

Posted by Admin on February 9th, 2022

Brain Food: Trying Something New

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

by Lucy Burdette

If you are a regular follower of TopRetirements, do you take the website’s advice? Maybe you’ll have read the article from November 21 discussing Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s The Five Secrets of Super Agers. Having watched my father’s mental faculties wane under the onslaught of dementia, I’m definitely interested in keeping my brain healthy as I age. I’m pretty good at his number one, exercise, though I don’t try to keep up with my hub, Mr. Top Retirements. Number four, a Mediterranean-style diet and number five, staying connected, have been important to me for a long time.

Trying something new was number three on the list. At first I thought: I write most days, and all the words are new, so I have this one down cold. On the other hand, in the mystery world, I’m mostly known for my series featuring a food critic living in quirky Key West. I’m comfortable writing that series—I know the characters and the setting, and I love talking about restaurants and food. Even though this is a long-running series, every book is new in some way. Each story has a new plot, usually some new characters, and often new layers in the relationships between the regulars. 

Posted by Admin on December 10th, 2021