Gardening Health and Safety Tips (July/Aug 2011)

Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get physical activity, beautify the community, and grow nutritious fruits and vegetables. Whether you are a beginner or expert gardener, health and safety are important.

DRESS TO PROTECT yourself from lawn and garden pests, harmful chemicals, sharp or motorized equipment, insects, and too much sun.

  1. Wear safety goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants when using lawn mowers and other machinery.
  2. Wear gloves to lower the risk for skin irritations, cuts, and certain contaminants.
  3. Protect yourself from diseases caused by mosquitoes and ticks. Use insect repellent containing DEET. Wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants tucked in your socks. You may also want to wear high rubber boots since ticks are usually located close to the ground.
  4. Lower your risk for sunburn and skin cancer. Wear long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher.
  5. KNOW YOUR LIMITS IN THE HEAT Even being out for short periods in hot weather can cause serious health problems. Monitor your activities and time in the sun to lower your risk for heat-related illness.
  6. Drink two to four glasses (16-32 ounces) of cool fluids every hour throughout the day to replace lost fluids. Don't wait until you're thirsty. Avoid liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar. These actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
Source: CDC Office of Women's Health

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Adult Children and Their Parents...Building Positive Relationships(July/Aug 2011)

Sue is a 57-year-old teacher, wife of an almost ready-to-retire husband, a mother of two married children and daughter of an 89-year-old widowed mother who lives alone. Life has been full. Contact with the mother, she has not had a close relationship with for 20 years, has been only occasional. Now, because of her mother's declining health, more frequent contact is required.

In facing increased interaction with her mother, Sue wonders: Will there be more responsibility than I can handle? Will I be able to satisfy my mother's needs? How will my husband respond to my devoting increased time and effort to mother? Will renewed contact mean fighting again for my independence from my strong mother?

The decline of a parent's health, death of one parent or financial pressures often mean an aging parent will need increased social and emotional support from family i.e. help with meals, cleaning, transportation or financial matters.
Those adult children and parents who have positive feelings about each other are better prepared to deal with the changes and decisions of aging. For other adult children, life-long conflicts and unresolved issues from childhood and adolescence can mean continuing conflicts in later life or reactivation of earlier conflicts and negative feelings.

Attachment The history of attachment between child and parent influences their relationship in mid- and later life. Attachment is an enduring emotional bond between two people. According to research, intimate attachments are the center of a person's life. Attachment with parents changes over time; however, it remains important throughout adulthood. Feelings of closeness, now and in the past, influence the present relationship with parents. Feelings of closeness to and affection for a parent are the most basic indicators of attachment. Feelings of attachment run high and are more intense during renewal or threat of loss. Attempts to maintain contact and communication with the attached person are called attachment behaviors and are more readily observable than feelings. You cannot be certain, however, that the behaviors represent feelings of closeness in every case.

When adult children see the attachment bond threatened by the parent's illness, they try to maintain the survival of the parent and preserve the emotional bond. This is seen in their caregiving efforts or the services they provide the elderly parent. Each individual has a unique relationship with his parent. This insight may account for differences in the way adult children relate to parents or help in determining realistic expectations from the relationship. All families do not have strong bonds of affection, identification or real liking for the other person which create emotional intimacy.

Assess the degree of closeness in your relationship. Ask yourself …
How satisfying is my relationship with my mother/father? How close do I feel toward each parent? How well do I relate to them?
To what extent do my mother/father and I enjoy spending time with each other? Is how comfortable I feel being with my parent time-related?
What interests do my parents and I share with each other? How much do we talk with each other about our concerns?

Knowledge about Parent's Aging Adult children can be most effective in relating to and helping parents if they understand the changes taking place in the parent's life, how they feel about these changes, and the implication of these changes. One of the most significant characteristics of increasing age is loss—loss of roles, health, financial security, spouse and friends.
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NEWS BRIEFS July/Aug 2011)

Alzheimer's disease could cause a global cash crunch in coming generations — as people begin to regularly live to 100 — and must be considered a serious fiscal danger, experts said recently. Currently 24-37 million people worldwide live with the incurable form of dementia. A panel of experts on Alzheimer's told the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs that a projected 115 million will have the disease by 2050. As women bear fewer children and the population ages, the world will become increasingly ill-prepared to cope with large numbers of dependent elderly people and must begin investing more in research to prevent the disease, they said. (Source: AFP story by Kerry Sheridan Kerry Sheridan)

Leaders of Women's Organizations Send Letter to President Calling for Meeting on Budget, Ask That Women be Included in Deficit Talks
In a letter to President Barack Obama, The Older Women's Economic Security Task Force, part of the National Coalition of Women's Organizations called for the concerns of women to be considered and asked that members of the administration with expertise on women's issues be added to the White House's advisory team discussing strategies for budget cuts. "Under the guise of reducing the deficit, conservatives in Congress have set their sights on cutting programs— including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—that disproportionately employ and serve women," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. Social Security is a lifeline to many older women, keeping them out of poverty. Without access to Social Security, 58 percent of women and 48 percent of men above the age of 75 would be living below the poverty line. Single mothers and women of color are particularly at risk as a result of cuts.

BW50+ FAVORITE THINGS Treats by Bernadette July/Aug 2011)

Bernadette HuntThe best route to dessert heaven is through the main entrance of the east parking pavilion, down the side corridor at Mayfair Mall. TREATS BY BERNADETTE offers simply the best baked indulgences you'll find anywhere. "We make everything from scratch, in small batches by hand, using only fresh ingredients with lots of love and prayer going into each product," explains owner Bernadette Hunt who describes TREATS as a 'high end boutique bakery'.

Although Hunt is the primary baker she explains, "TREATS is really a family affair. My mom helps a lot with baking. I also bring in my 17 year old daughter. I'm training another person to help out. Other family and friends work in the store."
During a time when most of her peers were out playing, Hunt was nurturing what would become her passion. "She was always a serious responsible child, an old soul who started baking when she was 13 years old," explains Hunt's mother Nell Scott. "She was baking sweet potato pies and cakes for church events back then. I'm so proud of her." Hunt relies on recipes she learned from her great grandmother and other church ladies to create classic sweet TREATS.
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YOU SAID (May/June 2011)

I just sat down and went through a recent issue. Excellent job! From being in the life insurance industry, I know that health concerns are a challenge in getting African American families approved with good rates. The articles regarding heart issues coupled with the frequently asked questions and answers was great information. I specifically liked the "What can you do" segment because it moved us from information to action. It is my heartfelt prayer that we take heed to this information and make necessary changes for a healthier life. Unfortunately, too often we don't realize this fact until after our quality of life has been altered by our unhealthy life choices. Thanks. I look forward to future issues.

Avis M. Nichols-Soaring In The Spirit -www.soaringinthespirit.com

I really enjoy reading your magazine. As a woman who is 50+, it's good to have written proof that we are major contributors to the lives of others. Stay encouraged in all that you do.-Brenda Banks

I am Theresa Annette Thompson, nearing 52 years. I was looking for a magazine for 50+ black women when I have discovered yours. I just love it. I live in Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. There are a limited number of magazines that feature the black Caribbean woman. I am therefore suggesting that you maybe reserve an article for us, as there is a wealth of information that we can share with the world. The areas that I can immediately think of are relationships with our black men. They are somewhat different from in the developed parts of the world, I can assure you. Subscribe to BLACK WOMEN 50+ MAGAZINE to read the full story.

Getting Out of Credit Card Debt (May/June 2011)

Credit cards make it all-too-easy for you to fall into bad habits and rack up thousands of dollars in debt. Getting rid of debt takes time and discipline, but it can be done. Follow suggestions will help in paying off debt.

Make a list of all your credit cards and the dollars due each. You cannot solve the problem until you have a full understanding of it.

Stop using the cards. Experts say that your budget should never include using your credit cards.

Snowball your debt payments. Pay particular attention to the card with the lowest interest rate. If you have not reached the maximum limit, consider transferring a higher-interest bill to that card.

Track how much you make and how much you spend on everything everyday. Find out exactly where your money is going. Do it for 30 days.
Make sure you are aware of any changes to your account, such as skyrocketing interest rates, by reading each statement carefully.

Resist the temptation to use retirement savings or a home equity line of credit to pay off credit card debt.

Source: THE MOTLEY FOOL, Suze Orman, financial expert, RedeemingRiche.com "
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Estate Planning, Protect What you Save(March/April 2011)

Bill LoseyBy Bill Losey | Bill Losey, CFP®, CSA, America's Retirement Strategist®, is a highly sought-after advisor, retirement authority, thought-leader, author and national TV personality with over 20 years experience in the financial services industry. He is the author of Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer's Guide to Making Work Optional, Founder of National Retirement Planning Month, and he publishes Retirement Intelligence®.

No matter your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year with regard to estate planning.

1. Create a will if you don't have one. A Lawyers.com survey of 1,022 Americans found that just 35% had wills. A solid will drafted with the guidance of an estate planning attorney may   prove to be some of the best money you ever spend and may save your heirs from expensive headaches linked to probate and ambiguity.

2. Complement your will with related documents. Some kind of trust or multiple trusts, durable financial and medical powers of attorney, a living will and other items are essential documents to have. A living will makes your wishes known when it comes to life-prolonging medical treatments and takes the form of a directive. A durable medical power of attorney authorizes another party to make medical decisions for you (including end-of-life decisions) if you are unable to make these decisions.

3. Review your beneficiary designations. Who is the beneficiary of your IRA - 401(k) - annuity or life insurance policy? When it comes to retirement accounts and life insurance, many people don't know that beneficiary designations take priority over bequests made in wills and living trusts. If you long ago named a child who is now estranged as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, he or she will receive the death benefit when you die – regardless of what your will states. Some estate planners recommend that you review your beneficiaries every two years. In some states, you can authorize transfer-on-death designations. This is a tactic against probate: TOD designations may permit the ownership transfer of securities (and in a few states, forms of real property, vehicles and other assets) immediately at your death to the person designated. TOD designations are sometimes referred to as "will  substitutes" but they usually pertain only to securities.

4. Create asset and debt lists. You should provide your heirs with list of assets and debts - a "map" they can follow should you pass away, so they will be aware of the little details of your finances. Lists should include all real property and personal property assets including the value of each property. Also, detail your bank and brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards and any other forms of investment plus any insurance policies.

5. Think about consolidating your "stray" IRAs and bank accounts. Consolidation means fewer account statements, less paperwork for your heirs and fewer administrative fees to bear.

6. Select a reliable executor. Who will administer your estate when the time comes? Consider these facts. Is there a possibility that your named executor might die before you do? How well does he or she comprehend financial matters or the basic principles of estate law? What if you change your mind about the way you want your assets distributed – visit your lawyer and make it legal. Your executor should have access or copies of your will, forms of power of attorney, any kind of healthcare proxy or living will, and any trusts you create. In fact, unless there are reasons you want to avoid this process, your loved ones referenced in these documents should also receive copies.

8. Talk to the professionals. Do-it-yourself estate planning is not recommended, especially if your estate is complex enough to trigger financial, legal and emotional issues among your heirs upon your passing. If you own a business, have a blended family, have kids with special needs, worry about dementia, or can't stand the thought of probate delays plus probate fees whittling away at assets you have amassed…well, these are all good reasons to create and maintain an estate planning strategy.

Majority of Women 50+ Say Aging is Better Than Expected(March/April 2011)

The National Center on Women and Aging (NCWA) at Brandeis University.

Married women 50 and over and never-married women are in better financial shape than those who are widowed or divorced. A majority of women age 50 and over believe getting older is better than they expected, according to a poll by The National Center on Women and Aging (NCWA) at Brandeis University. The national poll also reports that nearly a third think aging is worse than expected.

"The findings challenge the stereotype that aging is an unpleasant experience. Yet, we still have to be concerned about the plight of women who aren't married, more of whom say aging is worse than they expected. They represent a major, emerging demographic cohort, especially as fewer women marry and divorce rates remain high," said Phyllis Mutschler, associate professor and director of The National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University.

Married women are significantly more likely to report aging being better than expected than previously married (widowed or divorced) and never-married women, according to the poll.
• 55 percent of married women say aging is better than expected; 30 percent say it's worse.
• 45 percent of previously married women say it's better than expected; 34 percent say it's worse.
• 55 percent of never-married women say aging is better than expected, compared with
40 percent who say it's worse.

The Money Issue Continues to Loom – and Cause Stress
While 32 percent of women age 50 and over do believe they have saved enough for future needs, nearly as many (30 percent) say they don't have enough income to cover their expenses and have nothing left to save. One in five women age 50 and older say their financial situation will be worse in five to 10 years, and 46 percent say it will be the same. Only a third (32 percent) say it will be better. According to the survey, a significant portion of women 50 and over are already having difficulty affording essentials, namely healthcare and utilities: Nearly a third of 50+ women are having a hard time affording prescriptions. One in five women 50 and over struggle to pay for home maintenance, and nearly as many are having difficulty paying for heating, fuel, electricity and property taxes.

Compounding the financial stress is the fact that nearly half of retired women age 50 and older believe it would be almost impossible to find suitable employment if working became necessary.
Divorced and Widowed Women: More Financial Stress Than Married and Never-Married Women
"Interestingly, we found that married women and never-married women have a much more optimistic view of their financial futures than previously married women -- those who have been widowed or divorced. Never-married women are the least likely to report having difficulty paying for prescription drugs.
Women 50 and Over Call Themselves Generally Healthy, But a Third Say a Health Issue Limits Daily Activity
The vast majority of women 50 and over – 70 percent – say their physical health is excellent, very good or good. A third say their physical health is fair or poor.

Nonetheless, nearly a third of women 50 and over say that a health problem limits important daily activities. A quarter of over-50 women can't exercise, and about one in five are limited in terms of housework and working.

Many Older Women Remain In The Work Force — And For Good Reason

A majority of the women who are age 70 and over who still work say they will never retire, and about a quarter of working women between 50 and 69 say they will never retire. "The survey also confirmed that women age 50 and older who work are healthier and have a more positive attitude than women who do not work now," said Kathy Burnes, research associate at The National Center on Women and Aging.

Priority Public Policy Issues
When asked to express which public policy concerns are most important, virtually all women 50 and over focused on health and age related issues:
• 94 percent said making prescription drugs
more affordable is a key concern.
• 91 percent said curing cancer is a key concern.
• 87 percent said improving the availability and affordability of child and elder care is a key concern.
• 86 percent said eliminating poverty
among older women is a key concern.

About the Survey The survey was conducted via telephone over the course of three weeks, Aug. 7 through Aug. 25, 2002, among 1,001 women age 50 and older. Respondents were selected from more than a million pre-screened households demographically representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error on a sample size of 1,000 at a 95 percent confidence level is 3.1 percent. The study was conducted in conjunction with Market Facts Consumer Panel and was funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging. Demographic characteristics included age, employment status, living situation, education, race/ethnicity and marital status.

The National Center on Women and Aging at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management is dedicated to developing solutions and strategies to the challenges confronting women as they age. The center draws attention to the evolving issues that confront women as they age through community education, research, and policy analysis.

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