Thursday, August 11, 2016

Let's Talk: 6-tips On How to Start A Conversation With Loved Ones About Long-Term Care

Co-authored with Tom McInerney, President and CEO of Genworth Financial.

When looking into the future, we imagine our loved ones happy and healthy, doing the things they enjoy during their late adulthood years. We never want to think of them being ill, disabled or needing long-term care services.

However, the reality is that most of us–at least 70 percent of people over the age of 65, in fact–will. Along with a longer lifespan comes a greater chance you will need help with some of life’s basic needs.

Here are a few numbers to put it into perspective:

• According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 36 percent of people age 65 and older reported some type of disability, be it vision or hearing loss, cognition problems, difficulties moving around, or restrictions when it comes to self-care or independence, in 2014.

• Nearly 40% of people age 65 and older have difficulties with the activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, getting out of bed, getting around inside one’s home or building, or leaving one’s home or building. Currently, about one in five older people that have these types of difficulties report that they need more help than they receive (Desai et al. 2001; Spillman 2013).

• Diseases that impair our ability to care for ourselves are on the rise. For example, one in nine people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

• When older people who need assistance do not get enough help, terrible things can happen, including falls, burns, inadequate nutrition, missed physician appointments, depression, hospitalization and emergency room use.

The truth of the matter is, by ignoring these statistics or failing to address the possibility of disability, we are doing ourselves and our loved ones a disservice. The power is in preparation and the best way to begin this preparation is to sit down and talk.

Admittedly, having a conversation about long-term care isn’t exactly like talking about the weather. You must pick your moment–and your words–carefully. Whether you are a loved one of someone facing long-term care needs or you are contemplating those needs yourself (or both), here are some tips on how to talk about it:

Find an entry point. It’s a good idea to use an event–be it a happy celebration, like a birthday or anniversary, or a near miss occurrence like a fall or brief illness–to trigger a discussion about long-term care. You can say something like, “it’s amazing that you are celebrating your 65th birthday; we should probably start talking about plans for your future.” Or, “you’re lucky you only sprained your wrist when you fell. Next time it could be worse, what can we do to prevent that from happening again?”

Back yourself up with facts. Its human nature to think aging-related disability will never happen to you. When faced with such a proposition, many people react defensively, saying things like “I’m never going to leave this house,” or “I’ll think about it when the time comes.” To get the conversation going it may help to present statistics on how often people over 65 actually do need some forms of long-term care.

Discuss the implications. Point out to your loved one that proper long-term care planning will not only put him or her in a safer position moving forward, but it will also help family members have peace of mind and avoid future conflict. Caring for an ailing aging loved one may put a major strain on families, and planning ahead helps pave the way and reduce that stress.

Make your loved one feel empowered. Explain to your loved one that the more they can plan when well, the more control they will have over their long-term care. For example, putting measures in place to allow them to live at home as long as possible rather than moving in to an assisted living or nursing home facility. It’s much better to plan while in good mental and physical health than to leave it to others should you become incapacitated.

Pull in a professional. If you are having trouble getting through to your loved one, or if you just want to add an expert perspective to the ongoing conversation, encourage a discussion with a professional. Talk to a geriatric medicine physician, elder law attorney, social worker, or a combination of these experts depending on your loved one’s needs. Your local Area Agency on Aging is also a good resource.

Crunch the numbers. When you look at the cost of long-term care, the numbers can shock anyone into reality. Use an online calculator to estimate your loved one’s long-term care costs (you can find one at, and start planning financially as well as logistically. Such financial steps could include dedicating savings specifically for long-term care, purchasing long-term care insurance, buying life insurance or an annuity with long-term care benefits, or reviewing options for using or preserving a home’s equity. As you approach the tenuous topic of long-term care with a loved one, remember: it’s never too early to get the conversation started.

For more resources on how to have “the talk,” visit

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A Pill A Day To Keep HIV Away For Young South Africans

For the last six months, Thulisile has been taking pills used to treat people with HIV. But she’s perfectly healthy. The 20-year-old South African is on an antiretroviral drug that, if taken every day, is more than 90 percent effective at stopping her from contracting HIV, even if she has sex with someone who is infected with the virus.

While taking a pill every day for some isn’t such a big deal, for Thulisile it’s a huge commitment. “You do it because you know it prevents you from HIV, but the pill is big – it’s hard to swallow,” she said. “To take it every day at the same time – it’s like I’m living with HIV already.”

Thulisile may be reluctant, but she also knows she’s lucky. She is one of a handful of young women taking part in a pilot program to see if giving pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, to sexually active, HIV-negative young women can lower the rate of new HIV infections in South Africa, where around 7 million people currently live with the virus.

In sub-Saharan Africa, girls and young women account for 71 percent of new HIV infections among adolescents. The global health community has set itself ambitious goals to reduce the rate of HIV infections by 40 percent among adolescent girls and young women by 2017 in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. To that end, several countries in the region have launched PrEP pilot programs similar to South Africa’s. But experts have said any efforts to reduce HIV infection rates will fail unless countries first address the barriers that stop women from accessing essential health services, including stigma, gender-based violence and a lack of education.

While the effectiveness of PrEP is still debated, the technique has been gaining acceptance as a method for curbing the spread of HIV. In 2014 the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended offering PrEP to men who have sex with men – a group known as MSM – but last year broadened its recommendation to include all people at substantial risk of HIV infection.

South Africa’s Medicines Control Council approved PrEP last year, and in June began rolling it out among selected sex worker programs across the country. Before making PrEP available to other groups at high risk of HIV infection, researchers are conducting the pilot program to assess how well young people – who are likely to skip a dose here and there – adhere to the daily treatment and whether they suffer any side effects from the medication.

Right now, the program involves HIV-negative adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 in Cape Town and in the South African township of Soweto in Johannesburg. According to Linda-Gail Bekker, deputy director of the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town and one of the lead investigators in the pilot, the plan is to eventually roll it out to other parts of the country. But that depends on funding and the capability of the health system. “Who we give it to to prevent ongoing infections will help with the ‘bang for the buck,’” she said. “These are some of the issues to iron out in the next weeks to months.”

Nomtika Mjwana, spokeswoman for the Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition in South Africa, believes the sooner PrEP is widely available to young women and girls, the better. And alongside the drug, she said, more needs to be done to educate women and girls about their healthcare options. “We need to look at the different support structures that are in place to support women’s access to these services,” she said.

Mjwana welcomes the pilot program in South Africa, but questions how it can be put into practice on a wider scale. “In order to normalize prevention strategies and create access for young people, we need to normalize the fact young people are having sex,” she said. But one of the biggest barriers to girls accessing sexual health advice and treatment, she said, is stigma and shame around visiting clinics.

“Healthcare workers are women and they’re the ones who are chasing girls away,” said Mjwana. “They have a problem with the fact that young girls are having sex. So we have the prevention tools, but when it comes to implementation, it’s just not happening.”

One of Thulisile’s friends, who asked not be named, said she has been put off asking for reproductive health advice at public clinics because of the attitudes of the staff at health centers.

“When you go to a clinic and want to have family planning [advice], they start asking questions. It’s like you’re being interrogated,” said the young woman. “At the end of the day you go home, engage in sex … then you can become pregnant and infected by HIV.”

She suggested staff need to be trained in how to communicate with young people without making them feel judged. “We need to make PrEP available at every local clinic [but we also need] to have someone more understanding who is able to work with youth,” she said.

Bekker agrees, adding that healthcare worker attitudes have to change whether or not PrEP is part of the picture. But the drug could provide a unique opportunity to finally engage with healthcare workers, she says.

“Healthcare workers need to be included in the process as much as possible and we should use innovation and creativity to do it,” says Bekker. “Not just an ‘or else’ directive.”

This article originally appeared on Women & Girls Hub. For weekly updates, you can sign up to the Women & Girls Hub email list.

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6 New York Yogis Share Their Post-Practice Snacks

By: Shira Atkins

Walk down any New York City street and you’ll see people with mats slung over their shoulders, as well as endless food options. Here’s what six urban practitioners eat after yoga.

Some say that what we eat after we work out is the most important food we’ll eat in a day. Our body is highly receptive to what we put into it in the 30 to 45 minutes after exercise when our muscles require protein and carbohydrates to repair. When it comes to eating after yoga practice, there’s even more reason to be discerning. The practice doesn’t only affect us on a physical level, but it shifts us in many subtle ways as well. Eating foods that are wholesome and Ayurvedically appropriate is important to our overall sense of balance, which is why for many practitioners, what they eat in summer is different than in winter, just as it’s different in morning as at night. We polled a few New York-based yoga practitioners to hear what foods they incorporate into their days to stay balanced and nourished.

Allie Mazur, director of growth operations at Exubrancy, an office wellness company based in New York City
For a perfect breakfast after a morning yoga session, I toast two Ezekiel Buckwheat waffles, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil (for healthy fats!), then smash fresh raspberries on top of them–a much healthier sweetener than syrup.

Maria Macsay, yoga and fitness instructor
It really depends on how my body is feeling that day and what it’s asking for. Many times it’s a delicious vegan smoothie and other days it’s an egg sandwich or a leafy green salad.

Sara Miller, yoga teacher and associate director, partnerships and brand development at
After morning practice I’ll eat overnight oats with chia seeds and peanut butter. After evening class I’ll have red wine and Brussels sprouts. Trust me.

To learn the post-practice snacks of three other yogis, read the original article on Sonima.

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Healthify Your Pantry

Let’s face it. There are days and weeks that are so busy that even getting to the supermarket can seem like a challenge. Stocking up on pantry items that have a longer then average shelf life can be a lifesaver when things get too busy or when you need an on-hand addition to an already fabulous meal. Stock up on these foods and use them as your go-to staples when you want a well-balanced meal that wows!

Black Beans: A powerhouse of protein and fiber, black beans can be used to make soup, dips, spreads and are a delicious addition to any salad. I prefer using the dried beans as opposed to the canned beans so that I can control the level of salt and cooking preferences. When I am super crunched for time however, I will rinse the canned version under cold water for ten seconds to reduce the sodium and the slightly metallic taste. Other great beans to keep on hand are lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas.

Spices: Not only do they tantalize your taste but spices are composed of a variety of phyto-nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential to your overall health. My favorites are turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne pepper and ginger. I add turmeric, garlic and some cayenne to almost every soup, stew or hot food I prepare, and I use cinnamon and ginger to enhance teas and after dinner treats. Ground spices can last for up to three years. 

Quinoa: Yes, although quinoa is a plant, it is a complete protein! It provides a boost of energy and will satisfy hunger in the same way that meat would, but without the fat. It takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and is a satiating addition to just about any meal. Try it on its own or is in addition to sautéed vegetable, soups, stews, spreads and my personal favorite, salads. 

Brown rice noodles: A healthy pasta alternative to its white counterpart and free of wheat or gluten, making it perfect for anyone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Use these as a substitution in all your pasta and noodle dishes and indulge in the delicious flavors and health benefits.

Crushed tomatoes: Rich in flavor and amped up in the antioxidant, lycopene, crushed tomatoes are extremely useful for creating vitamin rich foods. Add to homemade whole-pizzas, soups, and sauces. Opt for the no-salt added versions when possible. 

Extra-virgin olive oil: Gotta love those healthy fats! A natural antioxidant that is a staple in the Mediterranean diet, EVOO reduces the risk of heart disease and has also been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Take note that this type of oil does not have a high smoke point and is better as a drizzle for salads, dips and other cold foods so resist the urge to cook with it. 

Nuts: always a convenient and energy-boosting go-to snack, nuts have a large amounts of protein, fiber, calcium and other nutrients. Almonds are heart healthy and packed with the most fiber and protein of all nuts. Ground nuts are a tasty and healthy alternative to breadcrumbs and an excellent substitution for flour in baked goods. Nuts can be stored in the freezer for up to one year.   

Take this list with you the next time your go to the supermarket and reap the benefits for weeks and months to come!

Melody Pourmoradi is a Women’s Life & Wellness Coach. She thrives on supporting women to nourish themselves mind, body & soul to become the best version of themselves. She currently lives in NY with her husband and her beloved twin daughters. In her newest passion project, she is creating a GiRLiFE Empowerment training for mothers, coaches and others who are on a mission of empowering young girls to live a life of happiness, peace & success. For more information, check out

This article was posted from my blog :

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One Thing You Can Do To Improve Your Relationship...In Public

“That’s not what you told your mom about me…

"You told your best friend that I was bad in bed!?”

“I don’t understand why you get so ticked that I talk to my friends about our issues. It’s not like I can talk to you about them!”

“I just needed to let off some steam.”

“You told our son that I was being a crazy b****!”

“Whatever. I just told them about that one argument we had.”

When a couple faces crisis and ends up in the office of a therapist such as myself, I often begin the process by tuning into what’s left, if anything, of positivity in the relationship. When couples are at their breaking point, there is often little or no respect or understanding left between them.

Does it surprise you to know that this dynamic is actually preventable? And that there are things you can do, early on in your relationship, to negativity-proof your relationship later on? Couples don’t often realize the power they hold in maintaining respect and health in their relationship. Today, I want to share one simple yet powerful tool for you to consider – and here’s the thing – it’s really not rocket science. But it must be done consistently and in public.

Speak highly, positively, and respectfully about your partner to the outside world.

One of the most common patterns I see in couples who are struggling in their relationship is the challenge of not pulling third parties and external sources into their issues. Partners lose the ability to talk to their mate, so they turn to outside sources (be it a family member, coworker, friend, or other person of the opposite sex) for relief. This leads to long term issues with trust, respect, communication, and the ability to work problems out with one another.

Have you ever heard coworkers, friends, or family members speak poorly of their mate? Putting them down, making fun of them, or making low blows that obviously allude to bigger underlying issues?

This is one of the most insidious and unhealthy things you can do in a relationship. Talking negatively about your partner actually increases the likelihood of you continuing to see them in that regard, even if they make healthy or positive changes.

So, do you hold your partner in a high regard to others?

Do you frame them in a positive light to the outside world, or is your commentary about him/her more critical, complainant, and comparative to others?

If your partner heard how you talk about them to others, how would they feel?

When you choose to respect your partner even when they don’t see or hear you- especially when they don’t see or hear you- you are bringing a fresh, healthy, and respectful approach to how you relate to them in your world.

Wouldn’t you hope for the same in return?

So, get public! Share with the world what you appreciate, love, and are proud of about your partner. And by the way, this is NOT “being fake”. If there really are problems that exist in your relationship, it is a relationship 101 not to involve other parties who may be biased and to seek professional help. Do the healthy thing and do right by your relationship to carefully filter who you allow into your relationship issues.

Speak highly, positively, and respectfully about your partner to the outside world.

Are you experiencing relationship issues? Snag a FREE copy of my relationship e-book: The Five Relationship Mistakes You Are Making, And What To Do About Them!

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Eavesdropping On The Stars

Upon the latter part of the evening, I was feeling very peaceful and decided to step outside to gaze at the stars. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Apparently the stars weren’t aware that I was looking and listening in, because it wasn’t but a few moments later that I was able to eavesdrop on their conversation. I caught them in a moment when they were gossiping, and it was about us.

The larger of the twinkling stars said, “The earthlings on the planet, the third from the sun, are an unfinished adventure. Over the past several thousand years it’s been interesting watching them evolve. Remember when they came up with the idea of "private property” and decided to divide the planet into parcels? Wow, what a nightmare that has become. They continue to slaughter and maim one another in the name of their acquired country and call it “patriotism.” They become even more neurotic about ownership of the planet by building fences and walls everywhere, and living in gated communities.

The smaller of the twinkling stars chimed in, “And though it’s a very guarded way of living, they call it "freedom.” It seems these earthlings have evolved technologically, but they’ve not evolved one centimeter from their cave-man lifestyle when it comes to their outrageous butchery in the name of their boundaries. Yet when they see a lion devour a zebra, they shudder and wail about the cruelty.“

The larger star then added, "They seem to believe that there are not enough natural resources or enough room on the planet for all of them to survive. They further the exasperation by setting boundaries in their minds. They will do to one another whatever it takes to maintain their beliefs. One of the wiser of them, John Steinbeck, I believe, once said, "Man is the only kind of varmint, sets his own trap, baits it, then steps in it.” It seems that they live by habit and inheritance, then constantly step in those traps. Although their eyes are hungry, their ears are thirsty and their hearts are yearning for new answers, they scream, “Leave things alone. Fight not to change them.” Thus their lives remain a baffling puzzle.

A third twinkling star laughingly uttered, “Yet we know that the planet, third from the sun, is far more intelligent than any of its inhabitants including those varmints that set their own traps. For no environment can be less intelligent than its occupants. The planet would never allow a population explosion that it could not sustain. If that were to happen, the planet would resolve the problem quickly, as it did when it rid itself of the dinosaur. I hear these earthlings speak about saving the planet, not knowing that they need never worry about that, but they should be gravely concerned with saving themselves.”

The larger star concluded, “These earthlings, who not only insist that parcels of the planet are theirs exclusively and will harm intruders who don’t agree, also divide themselves into two parts: those who believe in their god and those who don’t. Heaven help those who don’t. With that one trap, a life that could be a delightful journey has become a woeful maze. What misery they lay upon themselves when they slay others in the flesh. Do they not slay themselves in spirit?”

All of a sudden, I think one of the stars noticed me listening in because the chatter stopped. They continued to twinkle but there was no more small talk. Oh well. I went in the house, watched an old rerun of the Seinfeld sitcom and went to bed.

International Bestselling book author, Rob White, offers other inspiring short stories that reveal ordinary gurus who come to you to prove there’s no such thing as a final failure unless you say so in his book And Then I Met Margaret.

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Top Super Fruits You Need In Your Life

The majority of people in our country are genuinely interested in finding the secrets for optimal health. Such secrets can involve how to achieve overall health and wellness, what foods to choose, and how certain foods benefit our bodies, but the reality is that the majority of people don’t know how to go about finding those ‘secrets’.

Truth be told, most people find it hard to assess and accept all the information available at their fingertips especially when having to decipher what information can truly influence their health in a more positive way. Currently, there is an overload of health information available that is just downright overwhelming.

That being said, when I think of 'optimal health’, both exercising and eating a daily balanced diet consisting also of fruits and vegetables, quickly comes to mind. Additionally, I have found a 'secret’ for optimal health that I would like to share with you today; one that is not only rich in nutrients, but also absolutely appetizing!

Eating super fruits
Eating plenty of fruits on a regular basis is a habit that most people should develop early on. Powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C along with potassium, fiber and others, are just a few of the many benefits that can be found in a recommended portion of fruits.

Below are some of the top most powerful super fruits:

Nutritional facts - 1 cup mango
100 calories
1 gram of protein
25 grams of carbohydrates
A good source of fiber - Each cup has 3 grams of fiber (or 12% of daily recommendations)
Excellent source of vitamin C - A cup of mango has 100% of daily vitamin C needs
35% of vitamin A needs
Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals
Each mango is cholesterol free, sodium free and fat free
Ongoing research surrounding the health benefits of mangos have found mango consumption beneficial for blood glucose control, cancer protection and digestive health

Favorite Quick Serving Tips
Add them to salsas, salads, grilled seafood, kabobs, smoothies, and desserts such as cheesecake or sorbet.

For more information, recipes and tips visit: Mango

Nutritional facts - 1 cup (140 grams)
80 calories per cup
9 grams fiber per cup providing more fiber than any other berry
One of the lowest in natural sugar content compared to other berries
Excellent source of vitamin C, providing 60% daily value recommendations
Packed with phytochemicals that may help slow the aging process and may reduce the risk of certain diseases.

Favorite Quick Serving Tips
Add them to beverages, salads, as a garnish or to desserts such as fruit tarts.

For more information, recipes and tips visit: Raspberries

Nutritional facts - 1 cup (8 medium strawberries)
45 calories per cup
Excellent source of vitamin C - 140% Daily value recommendations
3 grams of fiber per cup
Packed with antioxidants and important nutrients such as potassium, folate and fiber.
Clinical research shows a serving per day may improve heart health, help manage diabetes, support brain health and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Quick Serving Tips
Add them to salads, sauces, smoothies, and desserts such as strawberry pie.

For more information, recipes and tips visit: Strawberries

Nutritional facts - 1 cup (148 grams)
84 calories per 1 cup
2 grams of fiber
14 grams of vitamin C or 16% of the daily value recommendations
Rich in antioxidants and important minerals and vitamins
Research indicates that blueberries may improve motors skills and reduce the aging short- term memory loss.

Favorite Quick Serving Tips
Add them to quick breads such as pancakes and hot cereals, smoothies, or deserts such as blueberry pie or bars.

For more information, recipes and tips visit: Blueberries

Nutritional facts - 1 cup without pits
97 calories per cup
3 grams of fiber (12% daily value recommendations)
A good source of Vitamin C - 25% daily value recommendations
Cherries provide vitamin A and potassium as well as other important nutrients such as vitamin K, B vitamins, magnesium and copper.

Favorite Quick Serving tips
Add them to sauces, beverages, quick breads, salads, as a garnish or as a topping for ice cream desserts.

For more information, recipes and tips visit: Cherries

Nutrition data information obtained from the USDA Data Base

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