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Thursday, March 14, 2024

10 Spring DIY Crafts to Enjoy with Your Kids or Grandkids

As the flowers start to bloom and the weather becomes more inviting, it's the perfect time to channel your inner creativity and engage in some delightful spring DIY crafts with your kids or grandkids. From vibrant paper flowers to adorable bird feeders, these projects are not only fun but also an excellent way to bond with your little ones. Let's dive into 10 spring-inspired DIY crafts that will bring a burst of color and joy into your home.

1. Paper Plate Butterflies:

Transform ordinary paper plates into beautiful butterflies with a splash of paint, some googly eyes, rhinestones, and pipe cleaners. Let your kids or grandkids mix and match colors to create a kaleidoscope of fluttering creatures that will brighten up any room.

2. Egg Carton Flower Wreath:

Repurpose empty egg cartons into a garden of blooming flowers. Cut the egg carton cups into different shapes, paint them in various hues, and attach them to a ring. Attach them with hot glue for a charming and everlasting bouquet.

3. Nature Collage Frames:

Take a nature walk with your little ones to collect leaves, flowers, and small twigs. Use these treasures to create beautiful collages within picture frames. This simple project not only showcases your child's creativity but also celebrates the wonders of the season.

4. Rainbow Windsocks:

Celebrate the vibrant colors of spring by crafting rainbow windsocks. Use colored paper or fabric to create strips that can be attached to a paper towel roll. Hang these cheerful windsocks outside to dance in the spring breeze.

5. Ladybug Rocks:

Transform ordinary rocks into adorable ladybugs with a bit of paint. Let your kids experiment with different colors and patterns to create a whole family of charming critters. These ladybug rocks can be scattered around the garden for a whimsical touch.

6. Tissue Paper Cherry Blossoms:

Create a stunning display of cherry blossoms using tissue paper. Cut pink and white tissue paper into small squares, crumple them, and attach them to tree branches using glue. Your kids or grandkids will love watching their blossoms come to life in a burst of color. Check it out here!

7. Butterfly Magnets

Bring the magic of butterflies indoors with this delightful magnet craft. Provide your kids with butterfly templates or let them create their own designs on colored paper. Attach a small magnet to the back, and voila! You'll have a collection of vibrant butterflies to add a touch of spring to your fridge or any magnetic surface. Watch as your little ones proudly showcase their fluttering creations.

8. Springtime Sensory Jars:

Engage your child's senses by creating spring-themed sensory jars. Fill clear jars with items like flower petals, grass, or even a drop of essential oil for a fragrant touch. Seal the jars and let your little ones explore the different textures and scents of spring.

9. Fingerprint Cherry Blossom Tree:

Capture the essence of spring with a fingerprint cherry blossom tree. Use brown paint for the tree trunk and let your child create delicate blossoms by dipping their fingertips in pink paint. This craft not only produces a beautiful piece of art but also makes for a cherished keepsake.

10. Bird Feeder Craft:

Encourage a love for nature by crafting simple bird feeders. Coat pinecones in peanut butter and roll them in birdseed. Hang these tasty treats in your backyard and watch as colorful birds flock to enjoy a springtime feast.

Spring is the perfect season to embrace creativity and spend quality time with your little ones through DIY crafts. These 10 projects not only bring a burst of color and joy into your home but also provide an opportunity to learn, bond and appreciate the beauty of nature. So, grab your crafting supplies and let the springtime creativity bloom!

Brought to you by Tara Schumann, Digital Media Specialist for The Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Beyond Fosamax: Options for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is widespread in the senior community, and there is no cure. What options are available to someone looking for more than the usual prescribed drug?

Half of Americans aged 50 and up have low bone density (osteopenia) or full-blown osteoporosis. It’s more common in women (especially after menopause), but guys, you are not immune. A man is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than to get prostate cancer, according to the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation. In fact, the disease causes two million broken bones every year.

Currently, there is no cure. Patients are most often prescribed Fosamax, a biophosphonate that can slow bone loss. However, it has a host of potential side effects including problems with your esophagus and stomach. In rare cases, it may actually cause bone loss in the jaw or femur. 

How is Bone Density Measured? 

There’s a simple way to measure bone density called a DEXA scan. It’s an imaging test that uses very low-level x-rays to show bone health. It’s quick, lasting about 25 minutes, painless and low-cost. Medicare will pay for a DEXA scan every two years, or more if you have special circumstances.

Many older adults with bone loss understandably look further afield for ways to stop the progression of this common disease. Two regimes that are widely supported within the medical community concern diet and exercise. We also examine jump exercise, the use of a weighted vest, aqua therapy, and the use of a vibration plate. Lastly, we look at OsteoStrong clinics.

Osteoporosis Diet

Foods that are good for bone health include dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna rate highly, as do many fruits and vegetables. Go here for a complete list. There is some research suggesting that olive oil, blueberries, soybeans and foods containing a lot of omega-3s, such as fish oil and flaxseed oil, provide benefits. 

Foods to be aware of include beans, which contain phytates that can interfere with calcium absorption. And while getting enough protein is important, special high-meat diets can cause your body to lose calcium. Eating too much salt can also cause your body to leach calcium, so aim for a maximum of less than 2,300 mg per day. Oddly, 100% wheat bran decreases calcium absorption. If you eat bran cereal as a “healthy” breakfast option, be aware that it’s preventing your bones from using much of the calcium in the milk you pour over it.

Not surprisingly, heavy drinking is not advised for those with bone loss since it can result in further erosion. Coffee, tea, and soft drinks can decrease calcium absorption. Although the carbonation in soda isn’t harmful, it appears the caffeine and phosphorous (listed as “phosphate” or “phosphoric acid”) can be. Some studies show that colas, and not other soft drinks, are the culprit. Finally, it may just be that replacing milk and other calcium-fortified beverages is the root problem.

Osteo Supplements

Whenever you consider supplements, it’s important to get your doctor’s advice. They can interfere with other drugs, and may worsen certain conditions, such as kidney stones. When you do choose appropriate supplements, make sure what’s in them is what’s on the label.  Getting supplements certified by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) means they have been tested for ingredients and contaminants.

Bone Workout

Two types of exercise are particularly helpful for anyone with osteoporosis: weight bearing and muscle strengthening. Weight-bearing exercise includes what you do standing up, such as hiking, dancing, walking upstairs and jogging. Low-impact weight-bearing exercise is done using elliptical or stair-step machines, fast walking on treadmills or outside, and low-impact aerobics.

Muscle strengthening is done with free weights or weight machines, using elastic bands or by lifting your own bodyweight. Check here for more information as well as links to exercise videos.

However, not all exercises are appropriate for all people, especially since stress fractures can occur. A growing trend, especially online, is to have specialist osteo coaches and osteo physical therapists. One to try who is highly regarded is Margaret Martin of Canada. You can also find someone you might like by searching for “osteo workout” on youTube. Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before you begin.

Jumping exercise is something easy to do at home, and it offers greater bone-building benefits than jogging, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion. In various studies, jumping was done straight up from the floor, off of a low box, from side to side and from front to back. Some had participants jump 10 times, twice per day. Others had more varied jump workouts, with protocols such as waiting at least 10 seconds between jumps. Ask your doctor before starting a jumping workout; it’s not advised for those with very brittle bones. 

Weighted Vest

One study showed that postmenopausal women who wore a weighted vest while jumping three days per week arrested bone loss in the hip area. Participants continued the regime for more than five years, showing strong compliance. It’s simple to do at home, and a weighted vest is easy to order off the internet. 

At Wake Forest University, Dr. Kristen Beavers is wrapping up a years-long study this April on the benefit of wearing a weighted vest to maintain bone health while losing weight. A pilot study had participants wear a two-pound vest about 6.5 hours a day, adding weight in two-ounce increments to the vest as participants lost it from their body. “With the weighted vest, you’re keeping yourself at an equal load while you lose weight,” Dr. Beavers said. “We know that not all, but a lot, of bone loss that occurs when you drop pounds is because of this ‘unloading effect.’” People who wore the vest in the pilot study reduced loss of hip bone dramatically.

Aquatic Exercise

A meta-analysis of aquatic exercises for people with osteoarthritis may be useful for osteoporosis patients who experience joint pain and dysfunction, or those who are unable to exercise on a hard surface. The buoyancy of water can be particularly helpful for people with excess weight, since the water helps support their bulk. Hydrotherapy can improve gait and posture with minimal joint stress. Go to Hydroworx for specific exercises including warmup and strength training. 

Vibrating Therapy Plates

Marodyne low-intensity vibration (LiV) and the similar US-made Juvent micro-impact platform are non-drug interventions used to treat osteoporosis. Developed for astronauts, it works by standing on a plate that delivers vibration throughout your body. The companies claim their devices redevelop bone and muscle tissue while improving balance and mobility. 

These are different from high-vibrating machines that may be found in some gyms, which can worsen some problems, such as detached retinas. The Marodyne LiV has no contraindications and no known side effects and is a certified Class IIa (intermediate risk) medical device. The Juvent is a Class I (low risk) medical device whose claims have not been cleared by the FDA.

The Marodyne LiV is available for about $3,000, while the Juvent product runs a cool $5,995. You may be able to find a location near you that has one or the other available for a small fee. Talk to your doctor about the risks or benefits of using one of these machines to determine if it is right for you.

OsteoStrong Clinics

Popping up like mushrooms after a rain, OsteoStrong clinics offer a four-device circuit that delivers low-impact exercise. The company claims that one 15-minute session per week is all it takes to improve strength, performance, balance and overall vitality. It uses a process called osteogenic loading to induce axial compression to simulate high impact forces in a safer environment. 

Some OsteoStrong members report improved bone density, balance and strength, as well as reduced joint pain. Some members of the healthcare community have taken issue with some of these results, especially concerning claims to reverse bone loss. Others find that OsteoStrong’s peer-reviewed, science-based program is a valid treatment. It’s worth discussing with your doctor if this treatment could help you.

A growing number of older adults suffer from bone loss – and many don’t even know it until a fracture sends them to the hospital. Ask your doctor if you should get a bone scan. If you’re one of the many with this disease, evaluate your options carefully. There is a lot more you can do than just taking Fosamax. 


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Preparing Your Portfolio for Retirement

Moving from saving mode to pulling money out of your retirement fund once you stop working necessitates re-evaluating how your portfolio is structured and what priorities to consider. 

When you’ve been diligently putting money into your retirement portfolio for most of your life, it can be a shock transitioning to taking money out. Formerly bold investors can become timid, and frugal savers may suddenly go on a spending spree. The best way to avoid a bump in the road is to pull over several years ahead of retirement and create a plan with your financial advisor. 

Does 100 Minus Your Age in Stocks Still Work?

The old rule of thumb was to start with 100, then take away your age to arrive at what percentage of your portfolio should be invested in stocks. But with longer lifespans and better returns from stocks than bonds, professionals are rethinking the advice. 

"We don't use a hard and fast rule when applying the asset allocation," May says. "It's more important to understand one's risk tolerance, and then figure out the mix that works best for them. If you start to look at what your mix should be in retirement five years in advance, you can come up with a plan and then make adjustments to the plan and ensure that it's actually implemented two to three years prior to retirement.”

“You start to re-analyze the portfolio and discuss with your advisor any strategic changes that need to be made, and ensure that those changes have been implemented two to three years before retirement,” says Brooke V. May, managing partner at Evans May Wealth in Carmel, Indiana. “If you start to look at what your mix should be in retirement five years in advance, you can come up with a plan and then make adjustments to the plan and ensure that it's actually implemented two to three years prior to retirement.”

Here’s what you’ll want to consider:

  • Shift your mindset from growth to preservation. Take a look at how much of your portfolio is in more conservative assets like bonds, which tend to increase in value when stocks go down. They also don’t return as much as stocks over time. Assess your risk tolerance and make a plan for keeping a balanced portfolio.
  • Decide when withdrawals will begin. Estimate when you plan to retire from the workforce, and if you’ll continue to work part-time afterward. It’s fine to change your mind later, but best to make a plan now based on your best guess. You may be able to delay withdrawals while you use other sources of income or continue working.
  • Estimate your withdrawal rate. Check with your advisor to see how much you can reasonably withdraw, based on the value of your portfolio. Research based on past returns suggests a 4% rate is safe over 30 years with a 50/50 portfolio of stocks to bonds, but every situation is unique. 
  • Put away enough cash for a year of expenses. Having cash on hand will give you peace of mind if the market falls. You should have enough to pay for all of your needs, except what is covered by a pension, Social Security or other source of income.
  • Invest a few years’ worth of income in stable assets. Put several years’ worth of income into bonds, a bond fund, or a CD ladder. This will allow you to hold stocks if the market takes a sustained hit, and not to sell when prices have dropped. Replenish this cushion as you spend it down.
  • Take another look at your diversification. You may have become overloaded on assets that have done well recently, or on company stock, for example. Check over allocations on an annual basis and rebalance. 
  • Consider switching from growth stocks to dividend producers. When your goal is steady income, high-dividend stocks have an advantage over growth stocks, which often offer no dividend or an extremely small one.
  • Plan to be tax-efficient. You may be able to roll over assets from tax-deferred accounts to a Roth, or plan to take more income from taxable or tax-free accounts in certain years to control your income. You can also use charitable donations in your favor, especially at age 70 ½. 
  • Check for fees. Now is a good time to check expense ratios on ETFs and funds. Assess whether you could get a similar product for less.
  • Start thinking about required minimum distributions (RMDs). They won’t start until age 73  for most folks, but they are withdrawals stipulated by the government that will trigger ordinary income taxes on your tax-deferred accounts. 
  • Continue to look at your plan annually. Everything changes, from your health to your hobbies to taxes. A retirement plan has to be flexible to reflect your actual life, not the one you planned for last year or a decade ago. Update it every year to reflect the new you.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice from a qualified financial advisor.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

You Will Fall. Get Ready Now

The death rate from falls among older adults is alarming. Act now to keep from becoming part of this statistic.

Americans 65 and older are dying from falls at more than double the rate they did just two decades ago, according to a new study. That makes falling a leading cause of injury death, and a huge cost burden on the healthcare system and seniors. About 800,000 older Americans wind up in the hospital after a fall, usually for a head injury or broken hip.

Falls are Devastating

More than 60% of falls happen at home. Apart from the cost to our stretched healthcare system of over $50 billion every year, falls are often devastating on a personal level. It’s not just the financial hit, which can be substantial if, say, a hip fracture sends you to a managed care facility or causes you to need help at home temporarily or permanently. The healing and recovery process itself can be impactful.

Assessing Your Risk

The National Council on Aging offers a free risk assessment online. The Council’s position is that falls are not a natural part of aging and we should be proactive about reducing risk. You’ll answer 13 easy questions to get your fall risk score and tips on how to reduce your likelihood of a fall.

Strength and Balance Exercises for Seniors

Building strength and balance can be particularly helpful to avoid falls. Any exercise is better than none. One simple thing you can do is to stand on one leg for as long as you can, several times a day. For a great free video featuring fall-prevention exercises, google Johns Hopkins Medicine Fall Prevention Exercises on YouTube.
You may go from being a healthy, active adult to someone who needs months of rehab and therapy, perhaps with surgery. It’s time-consuming at best and may cause depression and despair. Many older adults must cut therapy short because only a certain amount is covered by health insurance. There’s no guarantee you’ll get back to your former activity level or be able to do the things you love, whether that’s traveling or playing with grandchildren. 

Writer Bill First and his wife found out the hard way. First tumbled down his basement steps while carrying a large box and injured his back, requiring surgery and months of rehab. His wife, Tracy, suffered broken bones and a dislocated ankle when their exuberant border collie accidentally plowed into her when it was racing around outside. She, too, underwent surgery and physical therapy for months in a bid to get back to the long walks and horseback riding that had been a daily part of her life. 

Why Do Seniors Fall?

Our bodies lose muscle mass as we age. This leads to poor balance, a reduction in strength and a less steady gait. Our diet may worsen, with inadequate calcium and Vitamin D for bone strength when we’re at greatest risk for osteoporosis, or porous bones. Vision and hearing may be declining, along with reaction time. Our beloved pets cause about 87,000 falls annually, with dogs more than seven times as likely as cats to send a family member to the hospital.

As we age, we take more medications. Antidepressants and sedatives make us drowsy, and diseases like Parkinson’s and hypertension add to the risk of falling. Blood thinners that inhibit clotting are a danger when someone taking them falls and hits their head.

If you’re over 55, you’re going to fall sooner or later. But there are steps you can take to tilt the odds in your favor; to help you fall less and keep you out of the hospital. The good news is, these are things that will improve your health and wellbeing overall. 

Prevention is the Best Cure
Fortunately, there are precautions we can take to keep falls to a minimum:

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medications and supplements.
  • Get your hearing and eyesight checked.
  • Install grab bars in your bathroom.
  • Put rails on both sides of stairs.
  • Get rid of small throw rugs or secure them so they don’t slip.
  • Wear comfortable shoes with low or no heels and grippy soles.
  • Add lighting sources to your home and use bright bulbs.
  • Use night lights.
  • Use non-slip mats in showers and tubs.
  • Exercise often to keep agile. 
  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Add gripping tape to bare stairs.
  • Remove clutter from pathways around furniture.

After you’ve made your own home safer, pass on the knowledge to parents and other loved ones. We can reduce this epidemic and make Americans safer and healthier at the same time. 

Friday, March 8, 2024

Best Phone Plans for Seniors 2024

One thing nearly all older adults have to spend money on is a phone plan. Here’s what to look for, including price, and some of the best options.

If you haven’t already reviewed your phone plan for 2024, it’s time to take a moment and make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Don’t just keep the same plan year after year. Like home and car insurance, your phone plan is something you should review annually because your needs change, and so do plans and prices. Most every carrier now lets you keep your phone number, too.

How Much Data Do I Need?

If you’re unsure about your data usage, here are some rough guidelines. 
  • Calling and texting only: no data needed
  • Emailing and messaging: less than 5G of data per month
  • Social media and browsing the Web: 5G per month
  • Streaming music: 10G a month
  • Streaming high-definition video: at least 10G per month
Some carriers do offer plans specifically for seniors. However, you’ll have to do your homework to see if that’s best for you. They may only be offered in one state, or another plan may better fit your needs. 

How to Pick a Plan

There are four criteria to consider before choosing the plan that’s right for you:
  1. Usage. Do you use your phone for calls and texts only, or are you checking social media and diving into apps away from home? If you’re out of Wi-Fi range, you’ll need a data allowance for playing games, using your news app, browsing the internet and a whole lot more. Check your current plan to find out how much data you use per month.
  2. Coverage. There are three major carriers for service: Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. Almost every plan is from one of these, even if they pony off their network. It’s important to know which one has the best coverage in your area, especially  if you’re in a  more rural place. Ask your neighbors which one they use and if they’re happy with the service. You can also check local coverage below. Most networks are 4G, but major cities often offer 5G, which is a bit faster. To use 5G, you must have a compatible phone.
  3. Budget. While it’s somewhat true that you get what you pay for, there are a couple of caveats. First, you may not really need an unlimited data plan. Most seniors don’t, and you’ll just be paying for something you don’t use. Additionally, there are plenty of companies that piggyback off of the Big 3 for a lower price. Don’t be afraid to use one of them if it can save you money.
  4. Bundling. Alas, nothing is easy these days and that includes some phone plans, but it could be to your advantage. Many companies offer bundled plans, or phone plans that may include streaming services, possibly a discount on internet service and even a medical alert service. One plan below promises to block spam and robocalls. Check out these options and compare prices.

Best Phone Plans for Seniors

Now that you know what you’re looking for, here are seven great phone companies with plans to appeal to older adults.

Mint Mobile uses the T-Mobile network to save you a lot of money. Six-month plans range from $15 per month for 5G of data to $30 per month for unlimited data. They also offer several more plans between these two price points. 

Tello works off the T-Mobile network and offers 35G of high-speed data with free hotspot and Wi-Fi calling for just $25 a month. Their 2G plan is just $10, and 5G is $15 per month. Plus, they don’t require a contract; just pay month by month.

US Mobile runs on the Verizon and T-Mobile networks, and has unlimited data, talk and text starting at $23 a month, taxes and fees included. You could also elect the 2G of shared data plan with unlimited talk and text for $10 per month. US Mobile also offers unlimited US and international calling on your existing landline for $9.99 per month.

Jitterbug is a phone network and flip phone specifically for older adults. The hardware features bigger buttons, while you can opt for a medical alert feature (some people may already have this on their smartphone or smart watch). Jitterbug also partners with ride-sharing company Lyft to make getting a ride super simple. Cost ranges from $19.99 to $49.99 per month.

Verizon Unlimited offers phone plans on the largest network bundled with various movies, songs, and sports providers. For instance, for $55 a line you get unlimited service bundled with Netflix and Max if you need 4 lines. They even have plans that will save on your internet in some areas. 

Verizon Prepaid is perfect for the senior who wants to be on the Verizon network and doesn’t mind setting up autopay (to save $10 per month). For just $35 you can get 15G of data, unlimited talk and text, and you can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. 

Visible Wireless piggybacks onto the Verizon network. For $25 per month, you’ll get unlimited data, talk and text with spam and robocall blocking, unlimited use of your phone as a mobile hotspot, and unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada. The spam block may be worth $25 all by itself, especially for older folks.

Monday, March 4, 2024

Seniors and Weight-Loss Drugs

Finally, we have weight-loss drugs that really work. But should older adults be taking them?

Seniors hailed the recent introduction of effective weight-loss drugs to the market. Injectable semaglutide Ozempic was approved by the FDA for diabetes treatment in 2017. Weight-loss drug Wegovy, which is identical to Ozempic, was approved in 2021. Mounjaro, with active ingredient tirazepatide, got approval for diabetes in 2022. Other drugs are in development.

But are they safe for older adults? Reported side effects include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and stomach pain. The drugs are recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or more and at least one obesity-related condition like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. No guidelines exist for people 65 and up. 

Who Needs to Lose Weight?

BMI is calculated by weight and height – but it can either overestimate or underestimate actual fat percentage, the most problematic feature of obesity, according to Rodolfo Galindo, director of the Comprehensive Diabetes Center at the University of Miami Health System.

Is There a Generic Form of Semaglutide? 

Taking weight-loss drugs is expensive, so it’s no wonder people are asking when a generic version will become available. Novo Nordisk was the first drugmaker to patent semaglutide, and patents typically run for 20 years. Unfortunately, the earliest we can expect a generic is December 5, 2031 when their patent expires. 

Novo Nordisk may get marketing exclusivity, allowing them to extend the patent protection, usually for three to seven years. Competing pharmaceutical companies could challenge the patent, leading to earlier generic versions. However, the US Patent Office has not looked favorably on two recent claims, so optimism isn’t warranted.

What we really should be looking at in older people is waist circumference, suggests Dennis Kerrigan, director of weight management at Henry Ford Health in Michigan. It’s abdominal fat that carries more risk as you get older. He says that men should measure no more than 40 inches at the waist. For women, the number is 35 inches.

The drugs are “best suited for older patients who have clinical evidence of obesity,” according to Fatima Stanford, an obesity medicine scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. This would include those with elevated cholesterol or high blood sugar, osteoarthritis, or heart disease. 

Cost of Weight-Loss Drugs

At about $1,000 per month, the drugs are not cheap. Medicare will not cover them unless a patient has diabetes. Some lawmakers have tried to change that, but it’s unlikely the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act has much of a chance of passing. The problem is, 42% of older adults are obese, according to the CDC. If all the clinically obese Medicare beneficiaries began taking semaglutide, the cost would exceed what Medicare spends on the Part D drug program, which amounted to $145 billion in 2019. 

But many wonder if that will change in the future, as the beneficial effects of the drugs on livers, hearts and more are beginning to be released. Could the cost saved on treatments for other diseases outweigh the cost of the drugs themselves at some point? 

Seniors At More Risk

The problem is that when people lose weight – and it doesn’t matter if the loss is from medication, dieting or bariatric surgery – they lose more than fat. Normally, about a quarter of the weight shed is from lean mass, such as muscle and bone. And older adults need all the muscle and bone they can get, since bones weaken and muscles shrink with age. 

Seniors must keep as much muscle mass as possible for strength and mobility. The loss of muscle strength in older adults is a leading factor in falls, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Waning bone strength puts seniors at risk of fractures. 

“While there may be many important benefits of weight loss metabolically, we need, particularly in older adults, to think about muscle and how important it is for the older adult population,” says John Batsis, a clinician and professor of geriatric medicine and nutrition at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. “Losing muscle mass and strength with aging is a natural phenomenon. Everyone, though, has a threshold where it causes a problem.”

More Research Needed

The problem is, not enough research has been done on the older population with these drugs to see if seniors may lose a greater proportion of fat and muscle than their younger cohorts. One study that looked at semaglutide use in older patients with diabetes found that they reported more side effects than younger patients. 

“My concern is that administering a medication without concurrent behavioral strategies may promote the development of loss of muscle mass and function,” says Batsis.

In the meantime, older adults should exercise caution when considering taking the drugs. Consult with your doctor about a concurrent exercise program to counter muscle loss. And check out the article in this month’s Senior Spirit about treatments for bone loss. 

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Famous & 65

Look who's turning 65 this month

Find out which celebrities are turning 65 this month!

Image Source: Wikipedia

March 7 - Tom Lehman, golfer  

Although not the winningest golfer of his day, Tom Lehman holds the honor of being the only golfer ever to be awarded the Player of the Year for all three PGA tours: the regular PGA Tour, the Tour, and the PGA Tour Champions. 

Lehman got his business degree at the University of Minnesota, then hit the tour circuit. Unfortunately, he struggled from 1983 to 1985, and had to go overseas to continue his golf career. He came back to the US on the Ben Hogan Tour, where he topped the 1991 money list for his ticket back to the PGA. This time, he secured his place and was even named PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1996.

But although he played well, victory was often elusive. He held the lead at the US Open in 1995, 1996 and 1997, but failed to bring home the trophy. He did, however, win his sole major championship to that point and held No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking … for one week. He did earn a reputation for consistency, coming in second in tour events 19 times between 1992 and 2006. 

Lehman and his wife reside in Scottsdale, Arizona. The couple has two sons and two daughters. 

Image Source: Wikipedia

March 8 - Lester Holt, journalist and news anchor

Since June of 2015, Lester Holt has anchored the weekday edition of “NBC Nightly News”, “NBC Nightly News Kids Edition” and “Dateline NBC“. The most trusted TV news anchor in America, according to a 2018 poll, Holt also was praised for his job moderating the first presidential debate of 2016. 

Holt’s father served in the Air Force. Holt was born on Hamilton Air Force Base in California and wound up in Alaska when his dad was sent to Elmendorf Air Force Base during the Vietnam War. Holt’s older brother, a DJ in Anchorage, showed him the broadcasting ropes. Doing the news was a by-product of needing work.

"My first on-air job was actually as a disc jockey at a Country and Western station,” Holt says. “The only time I could land a full-time gig was if I was willing to report the news." And so he did all through his time at college. He went on to be a reporter, anchor and international correspondent for CBS, a relationship that endured for 19 years. Holt reported from hotspots such as Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador, and Haiti. 

Married with two sons, Holt lives in Manhattan with his wife, Carol. Son Stefan is currently the 10pm anchor at NBC affiliate WMAQ in Chicago, following in the footsteps of his famous dad.  You can catch Holt off-air on upright bass in the band Rough Cuts.

Image Source: Wikipedia

March 13 - Kathy Hilton, socialite, actress and fashion designer

How do the “one percent” live? You might ask Kathy Hilton, mother to Paris and Nicky, wife of hotel heir Richard Hilton, and a talented and successful actress and designer in her own right.
She started life as a child actor, appearing on shows you’ll remember, such as “Nanny and the Professor”, “Bewitched”, “Family Affair”, and “Happy Days.” 

Hilton graduated from Montclair College Preparatory School in LA, where one of her besties was … did you guess? Michael Jackson! At age 20, she married Richard, and the pair produced four children: Paris, Nicky, Barron Hilton Nicholas II and Conrad Hughes Hilton III. However, you would never know it by looking at her. 

And you may certainly have seen her, perhaps on “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”, where her half-sisters, Kim and Kyle Richards, are regulars. Or maybe on the December 2020 edition of Vogue, where she and her daughters modeled the Valentino resort collection. You could have even caught her live on Sunset Plaza in LA back in the 80s and early 90s when she had a gift and antiques store called The Staircase.

A savvy businesswoman, Hilton does not rest on her laurels (or her bank accounts). The entrepreneur has her own skincare line and a signature perfume, “My Secret.” And in 2012 she debuted her group of party dresses, the Kathy Hilton Collection. 


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