Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for the ‘A Musing’ Category

Why Is it . . .

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. . . that the most boring conversations begin with,

“I don’t want to bore you with my problems,

but . . .”

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Everyone seemed to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day doings

so don’t forget the Irish spirits-and-beer-tasting at

5 p.m. Sunday in the bistro.

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3 Little Questions Can Improve Health

If you can read and understand this clearly, you’re already a step ahead of many adults in the battle to stay healthy. Health literacy, which refers to the ability to read, understand, and act upon health information, has been identified as a hidden health crisis that affects all ages, races, and income levels.

This often-overlooked area of the health-care field puts one out of three people at risk for poor health outcomes. Health-care costs for individuals with low literacy skills have been estimated to be four times higher than for those with higher literacy skills. And patients with low literacy skills face a 50 percent higher risk of hospitalization compared with patients with adequate literacy skills.

Research suggests that people with low reading levels make more medication and treatment errors and lack the skills needed to successfully negotiate the health-care system. This affects the elderly because two-thirds of adults 60 years of age and older reportedly have either inadequate or marginal literacy skills.

The literacy problem can stem from poor reading comprehension, the complexity of medical information, the format in which it is delivered, or any combination of these. Studies show that anyone can have difficulty understanding health-care information. Even college-educated people who can understand complicated verbiage prefer to have medical information stated simply.

Medical terms often come across to patients as if the doctor is speaking another language. A sampling of some used by doctors and health-care providers include:

–dysfunction, a medical term that can replace problem;

–landmark, a conceptual term for turning point;

–cognitive, a term that can replace learning, and

–progressive, a value-judgment description that can mean getting worse or getting better._

A tool has been developed to make clear communication easier. It’s available on line at This program promotes three simple, but essential, questions patients should ask their doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health-care provider in every health-care situation.

1. What is my main problem?

2. What do I need to do?

3. Why is it important for me to do this?

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 17, 2023 at 8:53 pm

For Those Who Keep Asking . . .

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. . . there is a Roman Catholic Mass

scheduled for the 2nd floor theater

at 10 a.m. Friday.

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If at first you don’t succeed,

just remember that

you’re like the rest of us.

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Let’s Drink to Our Health

Results of several studies and surveys in various parts of the globe support the view that the moderate use of alcohol actually is good for your health and longevity. We’re talking about moderate drinking, which translates into an average of one or two drinks a day.

One drink is defined as an ounce of liquor, four ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. This is not to be mistaken as a promotion for the use of alcohol. If you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, keep it minimal.

Studies have revealed that women who drink an average of half a drink a day have a 14 percent lower risk of developing high blood pressure than non-drinkers. Those who average one drink a day lower their risk of hypertension by 20 percent compared with non-drinkers.

A study of more than 38,000 men over a dozen years indicated that those who have a drink three or more times a week reduce their risk of heart attack compared to those who drink less. Those who average one drink a day are more than 30 percent less likely to die after a heart attack than teetotalers.

People 65 and older who down more than 15 drinks a week are 40 percent less likely than abstainers to have silent strokes, but they are at greater risk for brain shrinkage. Harvard researchers even found a slight reduction in Parkinson’s disease rates among moderate beer drinkers.

Despite the data supporting the cardiovascular-health benefits of moderate drinking, physicians are loathe to prescribe a glass of wine after dinner to improve your well-being. There simply isn’t enough information to encourage patients who do not drink alcohol to start.

When discussing the benefit or bane of alcohol, medical experts argue that its use can lead to abuse, while exercise, proper diet, and cholesterol-controlling drugs can achieve and maintain a quality level of health. Supporters of the moderate use of alcohol suggest it dovetails smoothly into the litany of a health lifestyle: don’t smoke, be active, maintain a healthy weight, and eat a balanced diet — with a daily glass of wine.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 14, 2023 at 8:48 pm

Posted in A Musing, Health, News / Events

Tagged with ,

It Was Just . . .

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. . . the other day

that I mentioned I couldn’t remember

the last time I had a cold.

Now I remember.

I caught one yesterday and still have it.

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All we hear about Humpty Dumpty is his great fall.

He musta had a lousy summer.

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Fish Fight Arthritis

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish bolster your body’s ability to battle inflammation that autoimmune rheumatoid arthritis causes to its victims’ joints, heart and lungs.

A couple of fish servings a week can alleviate the pain and discomfort as can a daily dose of fish supplement.

Vitamin C-rich foods, such as citrus fruit, also can help. Two CCs – celery and cherries – can alleviate the pain caused by gout, a form of arthritis that flares up without warning to attack joints. Cherry juice also can help.

If you’re prone to gout attacks, you should avoid carbohydrates, such as white bread, and commercially prepared baked goods as well as processed foods.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 6, 2023 at 4:23 pm

Got Wondering . . .

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. . . while waiting for breakfast the other morning,

where do they get the seeds

to plant for seedless watermelon?

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Inflation is a Four-Letter Word

There’s a lot of talk about inflation these days.

No one can pin point its cause nor can they really explain what it means. One generally accepted description is “Too Much Money Chasing Too Few Goods.” An economic term describes it as a general increase in prices and a fall in the purchasing power of money.

How ever you say it, it means things cost more than they used to while your money’s purchasing power has declined.

But just because the price of air fare goes up because everyone’s going on vacation doesn’t mean we’re being hit by inflation.

Money mavins are interested more in why prices rise. A rainy season can ruin a crop, boosting its price until regular seasonal supply can resume. Supply-chain breakdowns can cause sudden but short-lived surges in the price of certain products.

Those events are not to be confused with inflation.

Money supply is important, but so is the demand for money. If you lose confidence in the future of your currency, you’re likely to seek something else that will maintain its power to purchase what you need and want. Dumping dollars for gold and silver is one common practice, as is buying another country’s currency.

Like so many economic theories and multi-syllabic words, inflation is not easy to define.

When prices rise when consumers change their behavior or supply chains get snarled, that’s not inflation. But when prices climb because there’s a shift in the supply of and demand for money, that’s when inflation starts to become a problem.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

March 4, 2023 at 7:15 pm

Posted in A Musing, Finance

Tagged with ,

Do dyslexics get . . .

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. . . get depressed

when life

gives them melons?

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Smaller Bulk Buys Also Save

Even if you’re living alone, you can save money by buying the family size packages of such meats as beef, pork and poultry, which are usually cheaper per pound than the smaller packages.

At home, you can divide the pieces into meal-size portions and keep them in the freezer.

The same, of course, applies to large packages of frozen fruit and vegetables that are much more economical than smaller individual packets.

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 25, 2023 at 7:26 pm

Posted in A Musing, Finance

Tagged with ,

Super Supper Shuttle, Super Idea

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Beginning next month,

a twice-a-month shuttle

will provide Verena residents

late-afternoon free transportation

to and from nearby restaurants.

Because it’s a shuttle, there is no need to sign up.

Just show up at the times advertised starting at 3 p.m.

If you miss a shuttle, wait for the next one.

Just don’t miss the last one.

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I just realized

I’ve mastered how easy it is to sleep.

I can do it with my eyes shut.

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Coffee A Healthy Break

Coffee might be considered the WD-40 of the food system. It’s been cited as a defensive mechanism against health risks ranging from sunburn to diabetes. Scientific, medical and diet gurus around the globe claim drinking three to five cups a day is a healthy regimen.

While not the source of nutrients found in diets of the health-conscious, an eight-ounce cup of coffee, regular or decaffeinated, contains more disease-fighting antioxidants than a typical serving of blueberries or oranges.

The anti-coffee culture points out that coffee also can cause nervousness, keep you awake at night and boost your blood pressure. To counter these over-stimulating effects of coffee, nutritionist suggest spacing out one’s intake, drinking a cup of coffee every few hours during the day.

A European study also revealed coffee retards the cognitive decline in the elderly.

Caffeine reduces the risk of cirrhosis of the liver as well as lowering the odds of death by heart disease among the elderly. Studies have also revealed coffee drinkers are less likely to develop basal-cell carcinoma – skin cancer – than non-coffee drinkers. Coffee has also been found to reduce pain, protect against strokes, fight depression and a variety of cancers, and protect the liver.

While the consensus is that coffee can be good for you, it shouldn’t be considered a cure-all. If coffee gives you the jitters, try decaf. If that doesn’t work, talk with your doctor.

Go easy on milk, cream, sugar and other-coffee-shop add-ons because they add calories to an otherwise low-calorie beverage. When brewing your own coffee, use paper filters that trap the oils in coffee that can increase your levels of cholesterol.

As with anything that involves your health and well-being, discuss your coffee habits with your primary care physician.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 22, 2023 at 8:08 pm

Posted in A Musing, Health, News / Events

Tagged with ,

Take A Free Look At . . .

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It’ll be an educational view

= = = =

Learning sign language . . .

. . . could come in handy.

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Open Sesame is Too Simple a Password

As hackers break through firewalls protecting our nation’s facilities, the rest of us are wondering how to protect our assets from internet thieves. Cyberspace crooks pounce on bank and credit card accounts to fatten their finances.

It’s vital that you make your passwords as complex as possible to shield your information. they can be sheltered in the cloud, software programs, password manager and a protection service. These usually involve a fee. Or you can store them in a simple-to-keep thumb drive.

A prime rule to call to mind is that having a password that’s easy for you to remember – an old address or your father’s birthdate – makes it easier for password-hacker hounds to sniff out and attack your data. And using the same password for everything you work at in cyberspace makes it simpler for these same hackers to scramble through all your secured sites.

What happens if you lose your thumb drive? First of all you should store your passwords on two or three such drives. Keep them in safe and secure places. One should be in a safety deposit box.

Your passwords should be complex and different for every site The doorway to your email should be different than that of your bank account that should be different than that of your medical data, which should be different than … you get the idea.

Internet security experts suggest you begin with a Shakespeare quote or a song lyric or a phrase you make up yourself.

Let’s use “Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Write down the first letter of each word. Keep the punctuation and use capital letters for stressed words and you get W,WeaNaDtD.

You might add the date you first visited the ocean (which might have caused you think of this quote). You can split it up with half in front and half at the end. If it was July 4, 1954 – 7,4,1954 — you can wind up with 741W,WeaNaDtD954.

Looks complicated doesn’t it, but you know what it means. It also meets the rule offered by password pros – use a combination of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. And the longer the phrase you pick, the longer the password and the more difficult it is for hackers to crack.

Password security experts also recommend padding the password to make it longer but warn against using the shift key for padding or adding symbols. They suggest adding a short string of letters — such as jkjkjk – in front of and at the end to strengthen your password against assaults by hackers.

If you make the process fun, you’re more likely to remember the formidable password you’ve developed to protect yourself out in the cyberspace.  

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 12, 2023 at 6:11 pm

My Brother Said. . .

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. . . the cops knocked on his door the other day

and told him there were reports

that his dogs were chasing people on bikes.

My brother said that was impossible

because his dogs don’t own any bikes.

Daily Life Changed Already

There was a never-ending stream of predictions and prognostications about how our lives would change as we emerged from of the COVID-19 shut-downs. Some have already happened.

Folks who never gave a thought to having groceries delivered have settled into this convenience for the rest of their lives. They’ve discovered the ease of shopping online and dropping by the source to have their order deposited in their trunk in minutes instead of spending an hour or two pushing a cart up and down aisles after competing with countless other vehicles to find a parking spot.

Many have realized the added comfort of having their goods dropped off at their doorstep. They’ve decided to forego the hassle of having to jostle through traffic and crowds to get their goods.

Shaking hands is disappearing. We’re learning to meet and greet each other with a fist bump or touching elbow to elbow.

Calling or emailing your doctor also is a novel approach to good health. Telemedicine has made giant strides in the few months this pandemic has been in force. Much is due to the fact that insurance companies have begun to pay for these cyberspace calls. Getting a diagnosis and medication has, in many cases, become as easy as making a phone call.

The home office and workshop have become a bigger part of working lives. Employees have discovered the comfort and convenience of not having to wear a shirt and tie and climbing into the car to spend a couple of hours on the freeway to get work. And they don’t have to drop off the kids at a chld-care center.

Employers have seen how they don’t have to provide expensive equipment and space to have their work produced, whether its schematics or sales. Computers provide the capability to have all this and more achieved remotely. Researchers report that more than one-third of office work can be performed at home. And those downtown office buildings are staying dark.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

February 1, 2023 at 2:00 am

Got To Thinking . . .

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. . .t’other day that

it’s OK for a gal

to wear her guy’s T-shirts, dress shirts, sweaters and such

but should he wear on of her dresses

it’s “we gotta talk” time.

Future of Telemedicine is Now

Telemedicine – the practice of getting diagnosis and treatment via your laptop or cell phone – has been gaining traction. Accelerating this drive is the unavailability of health care in rural (and some urban) areas because of the diminishing number of doctors as the over-65 crowd grows at the rate of 10,000 people a day.

One out of five residents live in areas identified as being short of health professionals. The advantage of being able to contact a doctor remotely became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were confined to quarters.

Telemedicine opens the door to specialists as well as second medical opinions without taking up too much consulting time by the health experts contacted. It also reduces the stress on the patient as well as eliminating the need to travel to an appointment, which requires the patient to find a driver in many cases. Seniors fretting about their lack of computer equipment or skills find a telephone conversation may work as well.

Medicare has expanded its coverage of medical treatment by phone or computer. While not all health-insurance companies are following suit, several recognize telemedicine helps reduce the cost of health care. For example, it allows primary care physicians to schedule appointments at any time and not just the traditional “office hours” and reduces unnecessary office and emergency-room visits. It also lowers the cost of patient no-shows.

A barrier in the way of expanding telemedicine are reimbursement rules that require treatment to be conducted in specific sites, such as the doctor’s office or a health center. Government licensing laws also get in the way. Federal law requires telemedicine health-care providers to be fully licensed to practice medicine in the state where the patient is physically located. Health-care systems that have locations in more than one state may need to obtain multiple licenses.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 31, 2023 at 2:00 am

Posted in A Musing, Health, Humor / Quote

Tagged with

If You Want People . . .

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. . . to remember you,

borrow some money from them.

Don’t Choke on Pension Lump Sum

A couple we know lived through a lesson for all of us when the topic of pensions arises. The question focused on was whether they should take their pension cash with them when they retire or leave it with the company so they can receive monthly payments during their senior years.

They worked for different companies but both retired before the traditional 65-years-of-age so they could travel and enjoy life and living while they were still mobile and in relatively good health. They agreed that the wife would take her money and her husband would leave his with the firm because the total was much bigger and offered a much-more substantial monthly income.

They reached their decision after contacting a financial advisor to see what opportunities were available for investing the lump-sum pension check while still having money available for travel or medical expenses. They had set aside a sizable kitty over the years in bank certificates of deposit to cover day-to-day expenses until they could draw Social Security benefits.vEvery facet of their financial lives had been probed and programmed.

Except for one drastic occurrence.

Shortly after the husband quit working, a couple of deaths in the families that owned the controlling interest in his former company suddenly made it easy prey for a takeover. This resulted in a split in ownership/management philosophy. After a rapid series of internal battles, the company was sold. The new owners divvied it up into a handful of several divisions and sold each piece by piece.

And through all this, the original company pension was defunded and disappeared. The golden years planned by the couple were turned to trash.

This story is not to be taken as an endorsement of taking out retirement income in a lump sum. It does shine light on one of the perils of walking off the job without such an enticing check. A MetLife study revealed that one out of every five retirees who did leave the job with a lump-sum retirement payment spent it all in less than six years.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 30, 2023 at 2:00 am