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Jul 102017
 

(BPT) – When was the last time you and your doctor talked about your hearing?

The fact is, only about 3 in 10 adults who had a physical exam in the last year say it included a hearing screening, according to research conducted by the Better Hearing Institute (BHI). That’s a shame, because research shows that hearing health is more closely tied to whole health and quality of life than previously understood — which means that diagnosing and treating hearing loss early may be beneficial on many fronts.

To help people take charge of their hearing health, BHI has created a free digital flipbook, “How to Talk to Your Doctor About Hearing Loss,” which anyone can view and download at www.betterhearing.org/news/how-talk-your-doctor-about-hearing-loss.

The flipbook provides pertinent information to help consumers start the discussion, which is especially important because research shows that patients are more likely to initiate the conversation about hearing than their doctors are.

To go along with the free flipbook, BHI has put together this short list of reasons to speak up and start the conversation on your hearing:

1. Hearing loss has been linked to other significant health issues. In recent years, a flurry of studies has come out showing a link between hearing loss and other health issues, including depression, dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, moderate chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, obesity, an increased risk of falls, hospitalization and mortality, and cognitive decline. With so much new and emerging research, it makes sense for people to talk with their doctors about their hearing as a routine part of their medical care.

2. Addressing hearing loss often has a positive impact on quality of life. Most people who currently wear hearing aids say it has helped their general ability to communicate, participate in group activities and their overall quality of life, according to BHI research. The research also shows that people with hearing loss who use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, feel engaged in life, get more pleasure in doing things, have a strong social network and are more likely to tackle problems actively. Many even say they feel more confident and better about themselves as a result of using hearing aids.

3. Leaving hearing loss untreated may come at a financial cost. Most hearing aid users in the workforce say it has helped their performance on the job. In fact, BHI research found that using hearing aids reduced the risk of income loss by 90 to 100 percent for those with milder hearing loss, and from 65 to 77 percent for those with severe to moderate hearing loss. People with untreated hearing loss can lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, the BHI research found. Health care spending may also be affected. For instance, middle-aged adults (55-64) with diagnosed hearing loss had substantially higher health care costs, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, indicating that hearing loss may place patients at risk for increased health care use and costs. The study authors suggested that early, successful intervention may prevent future hearing-related disabilities and decreased quality of life.

For more information on hearing loss, visit BetterHearing.org.

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Jul 032017
 

(NC) If someone were to look at your bank statement, what would they learn about you? Do you eat out often? What about emotional spending or group purchases? Taking a closer look at your spending habits can be eye-opening, and it can also help you rethink your purchasing priorities. Here’s how to decode what your bank statement signifies:

What your priorities are. If most of your monthly expenses go to organic groceries, then you likely value healthy eating. If what matters most to you is going out with friends, then your bank statement will reflect that. Make sure you are spending your money on what’s important to you.

How you value things. As a consumer, you always have the choice to put something back on the shelf because you feel it’s not worth the price. But when you buy something, you are basically dictating its worth. Looking back at your bank statement, was everything you purchased worth what you spent?

How you’re feeling. Did you resort to retail therapy last month? In moderation, emotional spending can be healing. But be careful as these expenses can add up. Try leaving your credit card at home and consider using your debit card instead. By using the money you already have, it’s easier to track your spending in real time.

How organized you are. Do you hate the hassle of withdrawing cash or writing a cheque? Do you prefer to pay for rent or split a group gift purchase through your online banking? Interac e-Transfer is a safe, efficient payment solution and is a great option for keeping track of your expenses. Additional features rolling out soon, like Request Money and Autodeposit, will make your life even easier.

Learn more at www.interac.ca.

www.newscanada.com

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Jun 182017
 

(NC) Buying a new home is an exciting but often stressful experience. The variety of financing options now offered by lenders is overwhelming.

One of the most popular options is a home equity line of credit. With interest rates typically lower than other forms of credit, this line of credit can help you reach your financial goals. However, there are several factors to consider when deciding if this product is right for you.

Banks market home equity lines of credit under different names, which might make it challenging to recognize when you are being offered one. They are commonly combined with a regular term mortgage in the form of a “readvanceable mortgage.”

When combined this way, the credit limit on your home equity line of credit will often increase automatically as you pay down the principal on your mortgage. A readvanceable mortgage may also tie together other credit and banking products —such as personal loans, credit cards and car loans — under a single credit limit.

Benefits of bundling these products together include convenience and lower interest rates. But the downsides include fees and restrictions if you want to switch to another lender, and variable interest rates that could increase on short notice. Your financial institution also has the right to demand that you pay the full amount owing at any time.

When deciding if this lending product is right for you, remember that your home is likely your biggest investment. You should beware of overborrowing against its equity, especially if you’re counting on it to fund your retirement.

“Most lenders allow you to make interest-only payments on your home equity line of credit, making it easier to delay repaying the principal balance,” explains Lucie Tedesco, commissioner of the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. “Continually borrowing against your home’s equity without repaying the principal can jeopardize your long-term financial security. For instance, in the event of a housing market correction you might owe more than what your home is worth.”

Ask yourself if a low interest rate and easy access to credit may encourage you to spend more than you can afford to pay back. You could find yourself in a debt spiral, using additional home equity just to stay current on your mortgage. This could make you more vulnerable to unforeseeable events, like job loss, illness or an interest rate hike.

Consider creating your own plan to pay down the principal amount borrowed over a fixed period. Aim to pay more than the minimum payment or interest every month. With a home equity line of credit, there is usually no penalty to pay back as much as you can at any time.

Find more information online at canada.ca/money.

www.newscanada.com

Jun 152017
 

(BPT) – Muumuus and mom jeans or spangled capris and Aloha shirts — is this really all the fashion world has to offer women over the age of 60? Do mature women who desire to dress fashionably for summer really have to choose between “frumpy and fogey” or “too young and trendy?”
Not at all, says Catherine Brock, who blogs about style on thebudgetfashionista.com.
“Reaching a certain age doesn’t mean you have to give up your love of fashion, or that you can’t be stylish,” Brock says. “In our youth-obsessed society, many fashion trends are geared for young women, but truly stylish clothing can work for women of any age.”
Joyce Williams (name changed to protect her privacy), a resident of Brookdale Belle Meade Senior Living Community in Nashville, Tennessee, agrees. Williams didn’t leave her lifelong love of fashion behind upon moving into the senior community. Instead, she remains an avid reader of fashion magazines, and designs and makes her own jewelry to accessorize her wardrobe. She happily shares fashion advice with other residents who seek to remain stylish after 60.
Here are some of Brock’s and Williams’ favorite tips and insights for senior women:
* Senior women can have trouble finding fashion images that feature women who could be their peers, Brock says. Because most clothing is marketed with images of younger models, many older women may worry about their clothes being “age-appropriate.” Don’t be limited by that kind of thinking, she advises. The age of the model wearing the fashion is far less important than whether the style will work for you.
* Look for garments that have a defined shape. You don’t have to wear form-fitting clothing, but do avoid overalls or baggy, pull-on pants and maxi dresses with no waistline, Brock advises.
* Find your colors, Williams suggests. Everyone has certain colors that complement their skin tone, hair and eyes, and others that are less flattering. Determine which ones are yours and emphasize those colors in your wardrobe. Brock also counsels against putting too many colors in a single outfit, and says avoid wild color patterns. Instead, pick one piece in an outfit to make a color statement and use muted, complementary colors in the rest of the outfit to create a backdrop for your statement color.
* Just as important as knowing your best colors, you should also know the visual line that looks best for your body type, Williams says. For example, if you’re pear-shaped, a line that draws attention to your shoulders can be flattering, Brock adds. Apple-shaped women may find an A-line skirt flattering since it creates an angle from the shoulder to the waist.
* Stay true to your own personal style, regardless of your age. “If you had a well-established personal style when you were younger, it doesn’t need to change just because you’re older,” Brock says. “If anything, as you age, you can pay more attention to your personal style and be less of a slave to the season’s trends.” Adapt your younger style to your more mature place in life by focusing on creating outfits that make only one statement at a time, she advises. For example, wear that big, chunky turquoise necklace that you’ve always loved and pair it with an outfit that’s simple and straightforward like a pair of tailored jeans and a white blouse.
* Some styles work particularly well for senior women, Brock says. Blazers and cardigans pair well with V-neck tops, sheath dresses, shift dresses and button-down shirts. “In warmer months, V-neck tops with elbow-length sleeves are the new T-shirt for seniors,” she says. “Just add a necklace for a little sparkle.” Plus, every senior woman should have wardrobe staples such as a black blazer, white button-down shirt, dark-wash jeans, straight-leg trousers, neutral-colored cardigans, a collection of dolman-sleeve tops and T-shirts with varying sleeve lengths and necklines.
* Never underestimate the power of great accessories, Williams says. The right jewelry can turn an ordinary outfit into something stunning, and you can change the entire look of an outfit simply by switching around your accessories.
“It’s never too late to discover your personal style,” Brock says. “Start by creating a Pinterest board and saving looks you love (get a fashion-minded younger friend to help if you’re not tech-savvy). Then reacquaint yourself with your body type and go shopping with a friend. Try on different cuts of pants, skirts and dresses until you both agree on which are the most flattering. Find the cuts that look good on you and then start experimenting with colors and textures.”

Jun 032017
 

5 aging-in-place bathroom upgrades to make while you’re young(er)

(BPT) – Is it ever too early to think about aging in place, and making home improvements that will allow you to remain living in the same house well into your golden years? Homeowners in their 60s and 70s are no longer the only Americans investing thought and money into preparing their homes to meet their needs as they grow older — and that’s good news, according to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging-in-Place report.

“If homeowners start early, they can spend sufficient time researching and planning to avoid wasted time and suboptimal solutions,” Brad Hunter, HomeAdvisor’s chief economist, says in the report. “Homeowners can protect, and possibly even raise, resale value of the home by making (it) more appealing to buyers in all age groups with modifications that have broad appeal.”

The report notes universal design improvements, such as wider doorways and open floor plans, “can enhance the quality of life in a home even as they make the home safer … and can be just as beneficial to a homeowner in their 30s or 40s as they are to a homeowner in their 70s or 80s.”

Universally beneficial upgrades

Incorporating universal design principles into your home can facilitate aging-in-place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels using your home. Features like single-story design, bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor, daylighting through larger windows and skylights, and wider doors and hallways appeal to users of all ages.

However, if you’re considering aging-in-place upgrades, making improvements in the bathroom can deliver the greatest return on your investment. The bathroom is often referred to as the most dangerous room in the home for all ages, but especially for seniors with increased risk of falling in showers or bathtubs, or around the toilet area.

Upgrades to improve a bathroom’s usability and safety can help people remain in their homes for longer. Here are bathroom improvements to consider:

  • Replace a step-in bathtub with a walk-in option — Falls send thousands of older people to the emergency room each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those with mobility issues and muscle weakness, lifting their legs to step into or out of a bathtub can be a fall risk. Tub manufacturers offer a range of solutions with walk-in bathtubs designed to provide enjoyable bathing with safer accessibility. For example, the American Standard walk-in bathtub includes an outward opening door for easier access, molded seating for added comfort, and convenient grab bars for security. Plus, it offers a Quick Drain feature that removes water from the tub in less than two minutes, preventing the user from getting chilled sitting in the draining water.

  • Shower seating — Showers also present a fall risk that affect people of all ages. Adding seating in a shower — whether a removable chair or bench, or built-in options — can allow you to relax in the shower with less fear of falling.

  • Chair-height toilets — Standard toilets have a bowl height of about 14 to 15 inches. Toilets with higher bowls at 16 1/2 inches, similar to the familiar height of a chair, make it easier for everyone to stand up without a lot of effort. Water-conserving models like the American Standard VorMax high-efficiency Right Height elongated toilet are not only more comfortable, but they also facilitate cleanliness with powerful flushing action and technology that keeps the bowl cleaner. Toilets with built-in bidets are another smart option for those with dexterity and mobility issues, making it easier for them to maintain personal cleanliness without daily bathing.

  • Pedestal sinks — Standard sinks are about 30 inches high. Installing a higher sink to reduce the amount of bending a user needs to do is another worthwhile bathroom improvement. While you can find vanity sinks set at a higher level, pedestal sinks of about 36 inches high have even more advantages. The slimmer, sleeker profile of a pedestal provides more maneuverable floor space for people with mobility issues or those using wheelchairs or walkers. Plus, the reduced footprint makes floor-cleaning easier.

  • Easy-to-use faucets — Twist faucets can be difficult to manage for people with arthritis or decreased flexibility, as well as for small children just learning to use the facilities. Lever-style or single-handle faucets make controlling the water flow much easier for people of all ages and with varying skill levels.

Universal design home improvements can benefit all ages within your home. Making these upgrades at a younger age can prepare your home to meet your needs in your golden years, while allowing you to enjoy the comforts early on.

IMAGE CAPTIONS: ——————————————- Caption 1: This universally designed bathroom suite features an easily accessible walk-in bathtub with a convenient outward-opening door, a 16-inch VorMax Right Height toilet for more comfortable use, and a classically styled 36-inch high Town Square pedestal sink for less bending during use, all from American Standard. Caption 2: The SpaLet AT200 Electronic Bidet Toilet from DXV is the highlight of this bathroom suite. It provides indulgent personal cleanliness, conveniently and easily.

May 302017
 

(NC) With its beautiful lakes, picturesque plains and incredible coastlines, Canada offers a spectacular backdrop for summertime gatherings. Canadians are game to gather as well. In fact, more than eight out of 10 of us want to connect in person with family and friends more often according to a recent study released by Catelli Pasta in honour of its shared 150th birthday with Canada. Whether you’re planning an impromptu gathering with long-time friends, an annual get-together with relatives or a festive night with neighbours, there are simple ways to make it memorable. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Get creative with the name. “Family” means different things for everyone — it’s not always a shared last name. Have fun with the invite by giving the event a name that has meaning for the group. And quirky reunion slogans never go out of style – ‘reunited and it feels so good!’

Add a touch of nostalgia. #ThrowbackThursday is a trending hashtag for a reason — people love to remember where they came from. Excite guests in the weeks leading up to the event by sharing some classic photos on social media.

Make festivities fun. Take a cue from a cherished pastime and leave a Polaroid camera alongside the guest book for family members to snap a fun picture to include with a personal message. Hosts can even create a catchy hashtag where everyone can capture the action on Instagram and reminisce post celebration.

Celebrate with a local-inspired menu: A resounding eight out of 10 Canadians want to cook with more fresh, local or regional ingredients. For a twist on a traditional potluck, challenge guests to cook with their favourite local ingredients.

Introduce pasta apps: Put a twist on everyone’s favourite pasta dishes by making them mini. Pre-twirl spaghetti on appetizer forks, bake macaroni and cheese in a muffin tin or serve pasta salad in tiny mason jars. Pasta appies are great because they can be made in a big batch ahead of your big bash.

Find more reunion inspiration and recipes at www.catelli.ca.

www.newscanada.com

May 252017
 

(NC) With winter ending and warmer weather approaching, the time is right to think about spring and summer cruising in some great wheels. If you’re in the market for a vehicle this season, there are some things you can do to make the experience interesting, rewarding and satisfying.

By analyzing your driving lifestyle, choosing the vehicle and power that’s right for you and doing your fuel consumption homework, you’ll be driving in style in no time — with money in the bank and a green mindset. Whether you’re looking for a new or used vehicle, check out these tips to get you started:

  1. Analyze your driving needs. Where do you live? What do you do? How will you use your vehicle? How many people and things will you carry along with you? How much will you travel each day? Do you need to tow a boat to your cottage? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself to get a realistic idea of the size and type of vehicle you’ll need.

  2. Analyze your choices. Gasoline, diesel, electric or hybrid are your basic power choices nowadays and each has its advantages depending on your driving needs. Do your research to find out which combination of pros and cons works best for you.

  3. Avoid temptation. There are some thirsty, fuel-guzzling vehicles out there and they’re not all pickup trucks or large SUVs. You can find a vehicle with moderate thrills that won’t cost a bundle to fill up or maintain.

  4. Think light, think small, think efficient. Why buy a bigger, more expensive vehicle when a smaller, greener one will do? Help protect the environment for future generations with a more fuel-efficient vehicle that produces fewer greenhouse gases.

  5. Do the math. Check the EnerGuide label on the vehicle for the fuel consumption ratings. For example, a vehicle with a fuel consumption rating of seven litres per 100km would use about half the fuel than a vehicle with a rating of 14 litres per 100km. If you’re looking to purchase a used vehicle, fuel consumption ratings are available on websites such as www.vehicles.nrcan.gc.ca.

www.newscanada.com

May 232017
 

(NC) Ever wonder how the coldest, most northern parts of our country are safeguarded? Located in 200 remote, isolated and coastal communities across the country, Canadian Rangers are the military’s eyes and ears in the north. Their motto is Vigilans, which means “The Watchers.”

Canadian Rangers have been around since 1942, when they were known as the Pacific Coast Militia Rangers and protected the coast of British Columbia from possible Japanese invasion.

Today they are part-time reservists who provide local assistance to search and rescue activities and offer support in moments of crisis, like during natural or man-made disasters and humanitarian operations. For example, they’ve helped with the avalanche at Kangiqsualujjuaq in northern Québec and the drinking water crisis in Kashechewan, Ontario.

As part of the Canadian Armed Forces, Rangers have an important role in protecting national sovereignty. They conduct North Warning Site patrols, report suspicious and unusual activities, and collect local data of military significance.

National Aboriginal Day and National Aboriginal History Month are perfect opportunities to learn more about Indigenous people’s contributions to Canada. Many Canadian Rangers are Indigenous peoples, which include three distinct groups: First Nations, Inuit and Métis. Many of today’s Rangers are part of a long history of Indigenous peoples making significant contributions to our military, including during both world wars as well as on peace keeping missions.

Rangers support and participate in many events in their local communities, like Remembrance Day, National Aboriginal Day which takes place June 21st, and Canada Day. They’re also positive role models and educators in the Junior Canadian Rangers, a program that works with youth in isolated areas to improve their quality of life. For more information about the Canadian Rangers, visit www.forces.gc.ca.

Find more information about National Aboriginal Day visit www.nad.gc.ca.

www.newscanada.com

May 212017
 

(NC) As city property prices continue to skyrocket, many empty nesters are considering taking advantage of the market and retiring to the country. But is selling and moving away the right strategy for retirement?

“Leaving the city for your golden years has many benefits, but it is important to carefully consider your individual situation and lifestyle before putting up a for sale sign,” recommends Mariah Hamilton, regional director at Millborne Real Estate in Kingston, Ontario.

Hamilton has helped dozens of empty nesters relocate from cites and tells clients to consider all their options before selecting a retirement property.

“A rambling, century farmhouse in the country may appear idyllic, but it comes with hidden costs and challenges, including having to drive everywhere. Living in a new property in town is often a better choice for people who have spent much of their lives surrounded by neighbours, who like the option of walking to conveniences and don’t want to be surprised by unexpected expenses.”

Hamilton says new retirees often underestimate the importance of having a range of leisure options available to them.

“When people are working, they dream about having hours of down time. But unless they have a time-intensive hobby, they can get bored very quickly. City retirees are often happiest in communities that offer a range of activities like boating, biking and walking and that have a variety of places to socialize including a library, clubs, restaurants and coffee shops. If there is a theatre or playhouse it is an added bonus.”

Hamilton recommends that people considering moving away from the city look for communities relatively nearby so they can keep up with friends and family. She says Gananoque in eastern Ontario is particularly popular because it is just a couple of hours on the highway to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and upper New York state, making a visit to the city quick and easy.

Find more information online at stoneandsouthcondos.ca.

www.newscanada.com

May 192017
 

(BPT) – It can be hard to admit your vision isn’t what it used to be, especially when it comes to driving. Maybe you’ve noticed some difficulties reading traffic signals, or you’ve found it challenging to drive at night.

If you’re a family member noticing these warning signs in a loved one, pointing out these challenges may seem like a daunting and delicate undertaking. But when it comes to being on the road, safety is one thing you can’t ignore.

Encouraging your loved one to prioritize safety can be hard, especially when it feels like their independence is at stake. That’s why it’s important to have an open and honest discussion to determine the best options for maintaining independence outside the home.

Step 1: Address driver safety

Vision is the most important sense for driving safety. Annual vision screening is important for everyone, but it is especially critical for older people, since the sensory data used for driving is predominantly visual.

For seniors still able to drive, a defensive driving class can be beneficial. These classes allow students to brush up on skills while gaining confidence and introduce them to alternative transportation options for the times and locations of their preference. What’s more, many insurance companies provide discounts to seniors who complete these courses.

Giving up driving doesn’t have to mean choosing between all or nothing. For example, start limiting driving to daylight only, non-rush-hour periods. Then look into supplementary transportation options that eliminate the need to drive while still allowing you to get where you need to go.

Step 2: Research transportation options

It’s important to educate yourself or your loved one about locally available transportation options for seniors. When you know there are reliable, cost-effective transportation options available, it can help maintain a high level of independence for a trip to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment.

Rides in Sight is a nationwide, online database of senior transportation options built by ITNAmerica, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing sustainable transportation options for seniors. Visit www.ridesinsight.org and enter basic information like your state or zip code, and you can find the ride option that’s best for your situation. If you prefer to access information by phone, call 1-855-60-RIDES (1-855-607-4337).

Rides in Sight makes it easy to find customized transportation, no matter what a person’s needs. For example, you can find wheelchair accessible transportation options or door-to-door driver assistance if that’s what you need.

Step 3: Implement a trial period

Giving up the keys is easier if you do it over a period of time. Pick a date and schedule your first ride with a transportation service during a time you normally drive. Any change takes time to adapt to, so try it out for a while before reassessing and making any necessary adjustments. After this trial period, you should feel more comfortable with someone else driving you, and you get to be in control of your mobility.

For older Americans, it’s important to be able to maintain independence when they limit or stop driving. When they are encouraged to create their own driving transition plan, more emphasis can be placed on finding new passions and activities to engage with their communities. The result is a positive impact on people of all ages.

To have that impact, reliable, secure transportation is essential. Having the necessary conversations and researching appropriate transportation options helps keep everyone happy, healthy and safe.

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