Gunning Daily News

Keep Your Mental Edge as You Age

October 7, 2011 1:09 pm

If you've ever walked into a room to look for something but forgot what you were looking for, you're familiar with the feelings of forgetfulness and frustration. Unless you take immediate action, these feelings may worsen each year. There are easy lifestyle choices you can make every day to sustain your mental edge as you age. 

Cognitive decline, including memory loss, is one of the top fears among people over the age of 55. More than half of baby boomers fear the loss of mental capacity, and 41 percent are afraid their brain fitness has decreased in the past 10 years, according to a 2010 report in Today's Dietitian. 

"New research shows that by changing our lifestyle habits we can help grow key parts of our brains, resulting in better memory, improved learning speed and mental agility," says Majid Fotuhi M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Neurology Institute for Brain Health and Fitness in Baltimore. 

Give your brain a physical workout
Exercise helps maintain a healthy body and brain. Research has found associations between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Give your body and brain a workout by engaging in physical activities such as yoga, walking and weight lifting, at least 30 minutes every day. It helps keep cholesterol levels in check, maintains good blood flow and encourages the growth of new brain cells and connections. 

Nourish your mind
Help protect your brain cells from memory loss by following a diet that includes foods rich in good fats such as DHA, a major structural fat accounting for up to 97 percent of the omega-3 fats in the brain. DHA intake has been associated with a decreased risk of mental decline associated with aging. The body doesn't make DHA on its own, so you need to consume DHA though food or supplements. 

"The more omega-3 fat you eat, the more it is incorporated into brain cells, the more flexible your brain cell membranes become, the better you think, the more you remember and the happier you are," says Elizabeth Somer, M.A., registered dietitian and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness. 

You can find DHA in certain foods, but another easy way to get it is by taking a daily DHA supplement like BrainStrong Adult, which contains 900 mg per serving of life'sDHA, which is clinically shown to improve memory in adults over 55, according to a study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association. 

Activate your mind through mental stimulation
Develop a "use it or lose it" philosophy when it comes to your brain. Studies have shown that brain cells, much like muscle cells, can grow bigger and stronger with cognitive challenges and stimulation.
Pursuing education, learning a new language, reading, working crossword puzzles and even playing board games are fun ways to exercise your mind. Keep your brain active by engaging in brain-boosting activities you enjoy. Commit to learning something new each month. 

Stay socially connected
Friends and family are often the key to happiness, and they just may be the key to brain health as well. Social interaction not only makes your life more fun and meaningful, but it also stimulates and protects your brain. 

Stay connected with others by being part of an in-person interaction, whether it's in the workplace, a card club, a network of friends or a religious congregation. Seek out friends and family for emotional support to help manage stress and stay happy. Put your passions into action by volunteering for a cause you feel passionate about. 

By giving your brain a little more attention, you'll not only lead a fuller life, but you'll also be helping to keep your mental edge. 

For more about brain health, visit www.BrainStrongDHA.com.

Word of the Day

October 7, 2011 1:09 pm

License. A privilege or right granted to a person by a state to operate as a real estate broker or salesperson.

Question of the Day

October 7, 2011 1:09 pm

Q: How bad is a previous foreclosure on credit?

A: Unfortunately, it is a pretty bad blemish. A property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in a borrower's credit record. In terms of the effect on your credit history, a deed in lieu of foreclosure—where you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender—or a short sale, which is when the lender agrees to write off a portion of the loan that is higher than the value of the home, is not as adverse as a forced foreclosure.


Selling an ‘Ugly’ Home

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

Melanie Tisdale, a real estate media coordinator in Florida, recommends the following tips for making the most of that old house you inherited, or that damaged home you don’t have the funding to repair. Selling an ugly home doesn’t need to be a hassle.

• Many homebuyers today are shopping for deals and want to see the potential in your home. In that case, leave brochures for new cabinets in the kitchen, color palates around the bedrooms and even create computerized images of what updates could look like.

• In addition, secure bids from licensed contractors on necessary fixes and provide them to your potential buyers. People may overestimate the cost of a new roof, shower stall or drywall repair and fresh paint. Estimates will bring the home into clearer perspective.

• Work with your real estate agent to make the home as presentable as possible for the least amount of money. Make a room or two inviting so you have the photos that will attract buyers to what you can call “a fixer upper.”

• Nothing is going to attract people more than a low price. Obviously, you will need to discount the sales price to gain an advantage over comparables in better condition.

Finding a Church, Post Move

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

I was recently reminded of the challenging time folks have finding a place of worship when they move after checking out a recent blog by Bruno Somerset—a novelist and freelance writer living in Texas.

Somerset says with some denominations like Catholic and Episcopal the problem is made easier by the fact that most people simply go to whatever parish they fall into geographically. But for others with a less clear-cut path, particularly Baptists and those who prefer a non-denominational congregation, Somerset offered the following suggestions.

1. Start with the Internet. A simple search on Google of the word "church" and the name of your city will bring up several websites with listings of churches in your city. If you don't mind driving a little farther, you can include surrounding areas as well. Start with this list and narrow it down to the particular denomination or type of church you're looking for.

2. Check out the church's website. Except for extremely small congregations, almost every church now has some presence on the web. The church's website will usually have invaluable information in a very short period of time you can compare the various ministries, congregation size, and service times of a large number of churches.

4. Find the one that seems to suit your needs best and visit for at least a month. It is very easy to visit a church once and decide that it's missing some key ingredient you want; this enables you to get a more consistent view of the church and whether it's a good fit for you.

5. Talk to church members. Simply having a conversation with current church members over coffee or at lunch after a Sunday service is both a great way to make friends in a new town. From current members you can often learn how well what the church says meshes with what it actually does.

Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you’ll enjoy a bit more peace of mind in those hectic days after your move.

Parenting Advice: Teenage Girls and Self Image

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

With childhood obesity becoming more and more prevalent in the US, we are all aware that weight can cause a plethora of problems. These problems include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and more. But another issue childhood obesity takes its toll on is self esteem, especially in young girls. 

Teenage and adolescent girls are naturally more prone to having more body image issues than young boys, and it’s typical for them to feel judgement radiating from their peers, society, and even their family.
If you’re a parent with an overweight daughter, you may naturally try and talk to your child about their weight—but there is a fine line here between seeming concerned and seeming judgmental, and with young girls sensitive by nature, it’s easy to come off as critical. 

Here are a few ways to healthily handle and approach your child’s weight issues.

1. Lead by example: Show your child how to maintain a healthy weight through example. Let the focus be on overall health, not numbers on a scale. Develop healthy lifestyle habits like daily exercise, proper nutrition, a regular sleeping pattern and engaging in fun activities that inspire and motivate you.
2. Time. Spend time together, just the two of you. Take interest in what your child likes, from playing soccer to seeing a concert or a movie. Of course, physical activity is optimal, as you will be bonding and getting exercise at the same time. Go for a hike, take the dog for a walk, play basketball or go to a yoga class. Show your child you love and support them.
3. Nutrition. Bring real, whole foods into the house and limit processed junk food. Shop for food together at a grocery store, local market or—even better—a local farm. Research meals and prepare them together. Talk to your child about where their food comes from and what it can do for their body. Teach them nutritional basics and help them make healthy choices. Again, be sure to lead by example. 

Source: Swparents.com

Opening the Door to Aging in Place

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

According to the National Aging in Place Council, an overwhelming majority of Americans want to remain in their homes for as long as possible. But, while people may wish to stay in their homes longer, most houses were not built to adapt to our changing needs as we age. 

“The good news is that there are many simple ways to make a home more functional for your needs as you age, starting with the doors,” says Shannon Sims, marketing communications manager for Therma-Tru Corp. “Making life easier for aging adults can be as simple as choosing low-maintenance entry doors with easy-to-use levers instead of doorknobs. Or, to easily allow more fresh air and light into the home, a homeowner can request Vented Sidelites on their doors that swing open easily on hinges.” 

By 2030, Americans 65 and older will make up 20 percent of the population. For those people wishing to make changes in their home that make aging in place an easier experience, experts at Therma-Tru® offer the following tips: 

Tip No. 1 - Evaluate Your Entryway: To accommodate a wheelchair, ideally the doorway to your home should be at least 32-inches wide. Even without needing a wheelchair, a wider opening can be beneficial to provide added space for getting in and out.
Tip No. 2 - Get a Grip: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 67 million adults aged 18 years and older will have doctor-diagnosed arthritis by the year 2030. For arthritis sufferers, just turning a doorknob can be painfully difficult. For this reason, consider installing lever-style handles on your exterior and interior doors.
Tip No. 3 – Upgrade Patio Doors: Patio doors tend to receive more traffic than the front entry door. If your patio door is due for an upgrade, you can choose the classic elegance of a hinged patio door or the modern convenience of a sliding patio door.
Tip No. 4 – Maintain the Beauty: As we age, simple home cleaning and maintenance tasks get harder. Having a wood door for example, will require more maintenance over time as it tends to rot, split or crack and requires frequent painting and staining. 

A better option is a fiberglass door that can withstand a wide range of temperatures and weather elements. These doors are easy-to-maintain, can be stained or painted like a wood door and are easily cleaned with soap and water. Fiberglass doors can even replicate the rich look and feel of a real oak or mahogany door, but offer the durability and energy efficiency advantages of fiberglass. 

For more information, visit www.thermatru.com or www.fypon.com.

Word of the Day

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

Lessor. Someone who rents to another party through a lease; the landlord.

Question of the Day

October 6, 2011 5:09 pm

Q: How do you clear up bad credit?

A:
It is not easy but certainly doable with both commitment and time.

By law, any unfavorable information in your credit file can stay there from 7 to 10 years. Today, however, a creditor must remove credit blemishes in a timely fashion if you challenge them and they turn out to be false.

The first step in any recovery plan is to get copies of your credit records. You are entitled to free copies if you have recently been turned down for credit. Otherwise, request copies for a fee from the three major credit-reporting agencies: Experian, (800) 311-4769; Equifax, (800) 685-1111; and Trans Union, (800) 916-8800.

If you see any incorrect information, let the credit reporting agencies know. Also contact the companies that reported the negative claims against you.

If the credit report is correct, move immediately to take care of any outstanding delinquencies, tackling a little at a time until you get back on the right track. In fact, make an effort, if at all possible, to repay your debt in full and on time for six months to a year to prove you are working hard to repair any damage.


Insurance: What Can You Do Without?

October 5, 2011 5:09 pm

12 Types You May Want to Reconsider

When it comes to life insurance, and even car insurance, you may be best off erring on the side of carrying too much. But insurance companies thrive on our natural urge to protect all the things around us—so much so, that many people find themselves paying for policies they likely will never need.

That’s the observation of consumer advisor Lisa Smith, who suggests the average consumer pays for too much insurance protection. She recommends 12 types of insurance policies we probably should not buy.

• Extended warranties – Most appliance stores offer extended warranties on new appliances, TVs, and more. But for most reputable, brand-name products, extended warranties are statistically just not necessary.
• Car rental damage insurance – Most auto policies protect you against damage costs no matter what car you are driving. If yours does, don’t let a rental salesman talk you into an added policy.
• Flight insurance – Air accidents are very rare—and your life insurance policy very likely offers all the protection you need.
• Mortgage life insurance – Designed solely to pay off your mortgage in the event of your death. Carry enough life insurance to pay off your mortgage and other obligations as well.
• Accidental death – Again, carrying enough life insurance offers protection whether death is accidental or not.
• Credit card insurance – These policies pay off your credit card in the event you are unable to work. Nice, but a better idea is not to carry a balance and save the cost of the insurance.
• Unemployment insurance – pays minimal monthly payments on your bills if you are unable to work. Think about saving the premiums and building up a healthy emergency fund.
• Credit card loss insurance - Federal law limits your liability if your credit card is stolen. Your out-of-pocket costs are limited to $50 per card and not a penny more. In fact, many credit card companies don't even try to collect the $50.
• Disease insurance – There are policies that specifically cover cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. If you have good medical coverage, you will be protected no matter what malady occurs.
• Flood insurance – unless you live in a flood plain, where it is required, don’t buy it. If the community you are buying in has never flooded, it is unlikely to do so now.