Surprise Your Kids Or Grand Kids With This Perfect Gift

By Joel Zimmerman

grandparentchildWhile not many people think of life insurance as fundamental, it is necessary if you want to protect your family, business, legacy, and other valuable assets. With the increased uncertainty of life, think about the future of your family when you exit the stage. After all, it lasts forever, as long as you pay the regular premiums promptly. Consider it as a gift to your dependants. They will forever be grateful to you for minding their financial security.

Invest in it as a gift

The next time you think of gifting your children and grandchildren, consider giving them a life insurance policy. Perhaps the biggest advantage is the fact that you can choose the method of paying premiums to your insurance company.

In fact, you can also invest in a policy where your children are the life assured. The following are the most common advantages that you will enjoy. Make the most use of them while they last.

• It can last a lifetime – take advantage of protection that lasts as long as you live. Should you suffer a disability or pass on, your child gains a head start on his financial life.

• It won’t wear out or fall apart – as you cannot be sure of the shelf life of material wealth, purchasing a policy assures you that the asset will live for years to come.

• It has accumulation potential – while most material assets lose value as the years go, the value of a life insurance policy actually accumulates as long as you pay premiums.

• There are tax advantages – most cash values from these policies are tax deferred under the current law. This also applies to borrowed cash values.

• Premium rates may never be lower – as your age increases, so do the regular insurance premiums. Therefore, lock the amount of your premiums at your current age.

• Future insurability – when you grow older, the possibility of companies to insure you goes lower as companies deem older people and those with diseases as risky to insure.

Factors that can affect your life insurance

Even from the life insurance definition, a number of factors determine your quote. While some of these are beyond your control, your lifestyle can influence others. Most companies that provide insurance are very thorough and meticulous when examining these factors. This is because they do not want to take risks that will cost them money.

1. Age – the earlier you obtain an insurance policy, the better for you and your dependants. Companies will underwrite you faster if you are young unlike when you grow older.

2. Gender – statistics show that women generally live longer than men. This means they are more insurable than their male counterparts.

3. Smoking – people who smoke are a red flag for most insurance companies. This is because smoking increases your chances to suffer diseases such as lung cancer.

grandparents4. Health – keep good health to purchase a favorable policy. Companies usually examine your cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, height and other metrics.

5. Lifestyle – if you actively engage in risky activity such as extreme sports, companies deem you more risky to insure. Therefore, make your choices wisely.

6. Family Medical History – the quality of your genes is one factor that you cannot control. If your parents suffered a certain serious condition, you may obtain insurance at a high cost.

7. Driving Record – insurance companies will access your driving records from the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you have had many accidents, they deem you risky to insure.

8. The Bottom Line – before applying for a life insurance, examine these factors and try to correct them if possible. This can guarantee you a more favourable policy.

Evidently, investing in one or more life insurance types is a sure way of protecting your family against the uncertainties of this life. Additionally, it is a great way for you to invest and do retirement planning. Instead of procrastinating, purchase a policy today and take advantage of the tax benefits of life insurance.

– Joel Zimmerman is an experienced financial advisor and his areas of specialization include retirement planning and risk management. When Joel is not working with clients, he is busy creating informative blogs and whitepapers. Follow this financial whiz @life_centra. You can also check out his fiscal blogs and videos on LifeCentra.

3 Things To Look For In A New Dentist

By Staci Rae

dentistIn order to have great looking teeth, you will have to put in a lot of work. The only way you will be able to keep your luminous smile, you will need to find the right dental professional in your area. With all of the many options when it comes to dentists in any given area, finding the right one will take some time and effort. You need to make a list of what you are looking for in a dentist and then go out in search of the right professional to fit the bill. Here are a few things you have to look for in a dentist office.

Knowledge and Vast Experience

The first thing you have to look for in a dentist is experience and a vast amount of knowledge about their chosen profession. The more you are able to find out about a dentist and how long they have been around, the easier you will find it to choose the right one. Make sure to do your own research to verify anything you are being told by a particular dentist.

A Great Staff

Another very important thing you have to consider when trying to find the right dentist is the type of staff they have. In order to get a feel for the staff at a particular dentist’s office you will need to schedule a consultation. By getting a firsthand look at what a particular dentist office can offer, you will be able to make the right choice. Be sure to weigh all of the options you have so you can get the full scope of what is out there. The time you spend going to these different dentist’s offices will be more than worth it.

Knowing Their Cost on Procedures Performed

If you do not have insurance, you need to think about how much you are going to have to pay for the procedures you need. The time you spend doing the research on this factor is worth it when you are able to adequately budget yourself. Make sure you call around to as many different offices as you can to get a feel for what the going rate for dental work is in your area. The more you can find out about this, the easier you will find it to get the right dentist chosen in your area.

The right dentist will be able to help you keep your teeth in pristine condition with ease. The time invested in this process will pay off in the end.

– Staci has been a freelance writer and editor for more than 15 years. She has worked on a wide variety of projects for a kaleidoscope of clients, from websites and guest blog posts to academic writing and ghostwriting 3 fiction books. She lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband and their 8-year-old daughter. She also writes articles for a dental office in Scarborough.

What To Do If A Dog Is Having A Seizure

This article is courtesy of PRWeb, please share your comments below…..

Epilepsy is a seizure disorder that occurs in humans and dogs. 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy, 1 in 5 Dogs will too. MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets is participating in promoting International Epilepsy Day on Monday, February 8.

walkingdogEpilepsy is a seizure disorder that occurs in humans and dogs. MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets is participating in promoting International Epilepsy Day on Monday, February 8th. This is an annual event to promote awareness of epilepsy worldwide. Epileptic seizures can vary from brief and very subtle trembling to long periods of vigorous shaking and disrupt lifestyles for affected people and their canine best friends. Similar to people with epilepsy, the cause is unknown in most dogs, although more serious problems, such as trauma, infections or cancers also occur.

According to the American Epilepsy Society, 1 in 26 Americans will develop epilepsy in their lifetime adding more than 200,000 new epilepsy cases annually to the 3 million already living with the condition in the US. According to Dr. Michael Podell, MSc, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology), head of the Neurology and Neurosurgery department at MedVet Chicago and Affiliate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, “the prevalence of epilepsy in dogs in the U.S. may range from 0.55 percent to 5 percent.” That could mean that about two million dogs are affected.

Dr. Michael Podell of MedVet Chicago states, “There is no cure for epilepsy. Living with epilepsy can be extremely difficult not only for the humans and dogs that have the disease but also for the caregivers. Unlike other diseases, a long period of normal activity may occur between the seizure events. The focus of treatment is to balance the best quality of life for the patient and owner with optimal seizure control.” The diagnosis of epilepsy involves consultation with a board-certified veterinary neurologist who may recommend more advanced diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Many patients do not necessarily need more tests, but to start appropriate anticonvulsant treatment. Many of these drugs used to control seizures in humans and dogs are the same.

Dr. Podell was the chair of the panel and lead author on the upcoming American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) Consensus Statement by the College of Neurology to be published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine titled: “2015 ACVIM Small Animal Consensus Statement on Seizure Management in Dogs.” Dr. Podell states that he hopes this information “helps to improve the care and treatment of epileptic dogs throughout the world.” Similar to the International League Against Epilepsy, which works to provide guidelines for best practice standards of care for epileptic people, the International Veterinary Epilepsy Task Force (IVETF) was recently established to work towards these same goals in veterinary medicine. Dr. Podell is one of the founding members of the IVETF, which held their inaugural meeting this past year, and has also published several consensus statements on epilepsy.

About Canine Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a common disease in dogs and can occur in most other animal species. The disorder is characterized by unpredictable seizures in which the brain produces sudden bursts of electrical energy. Seizures differ in movements and alternations in consciousness from subtle to severe tonic-clonic muscle movements. There is not a cure for epilepsy however daily medication can decrease the frequency and severity of the seizures in the majority of dogs. Commonly used drugs include phenobarbital, bromide, zonisamide, and levetiracetam.

What to Do if A Dog is Having a Seizure

If your dog has a seizure, keep your dog safe. If your dog is near stairs or water, move them away while taking care not to get bit. Seizuring dogs are not aware of what they are doing and their chomping behavior can result in severe bites. Dogs will not swallow their tongues so stay away from their mouths. Most seizures cease in two to three minutes. If your dog seizures, please call your veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately.

If a pet is experiencing a medical emergency, pet owners are encouraged to immediately contact their family veterinarian or MedVet Chicago for guidance and help. MedVet Chicago can be reached 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by calling (773) 281-7110 or in-person at 3123 N. Clybourn Ave., Chicago, IL 60618. For more about MedVet, go to

About MedVet Chicago

MedVet Chicago (formerly Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center) is a 24-hour emergency, critical care and specialty animal hospital which is part of the MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets patient care family. MedVet is employee owned, veterinary led, and is leading specialty healthcare for pets. MedVet provides specialty referral services for in-depth care and patient management, as well as emergency services, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. More than 100,000 dogs and cats are treated annually at MedVet’s expanding network of medical centers across the country.

About Dr. Podell

Michael Podell, DVM, MSc, Diplomate ACVIM (Neurology) is a board-certified veterinary neurologist at MedVet Chicago. Dr. Podell was a Full Professor in the Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and Neurology at The Ohio State University until 2002, when he moved to Chicago to open the area’s first veterinary neurology and neurosurgery practice. Currently, Dr. Podell continues to demonstrate his passion for veterinary medicine and neurological sciences through his daily work with neurologic patients at MedVet Chicago, numerous published book chapters and articles, and as an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery, Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Podell is actively engaged in comparative medicine curative research for animals and people through clinical trials, and educating the future generation of veterinary neurologists.

Tips For Success When Seniors Live Alone

This article is courtesy of PRWeb and the Harvard Health Publications, please share your comments below…..

seniorcoupleexercisesmallSeniors who live alone face many risks, such as isolation, depression, and a lack of help in emergencies. Despite the many tools to help reduce those risks, some older adults don’t take advantage of them. “The misconception is that any acceptance of help is somehow the beginning of a slippery slope into dependence and losing control of one’s life,” says Barbara Moscowitz, a geriatric social worker at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital. But utilizing tools and services to remain independent enhances the ability to live alone, reports the February 2016 Harvard Health Letter.

One of the most important tools is a safety alert button, a waterproof device that alerts 911 with a single touch. “This device must stay on the body 24 hours a day,” says Moscowitz. “It won’t do any good on a nightstand if the person has fallen in the shower.” Prices range from $25 to $50 per month, depending on the system.

Moscowitz also recommends an emergency supply kit for electricity outages or times when older adults can’t get to the store. The kit should include three days’ worth of supplies, such as food and water. And to avoid running out of medications, it’s best to refill prescriptions when there’s a one-week supply remaining.

Convenience services are also a must for older adults who live alone, such as ride services; pharmacies, restaurants, and grocery stores that deliver; and errand services. And if the activities of daily living — such as bathing, dressing, taking medication, and cooking — become too difficult, private-duty care can keep seniors independent and at home longer, and help them avoid moving to a retirement home. These services can be expensive, but moving to assisted living can also be costly.

Read the full-length article: “Steps to stay independent when you live alone”

Also in the February 2016 issue of the Harvard Health Letter:

* Why more doctors are prescribing mindfulness

* Easy exercise breaks for “keyboard athletes”

* The health benefits of intimacy in the older years

The Harvard Health Letter is available from Harvard Health Publications, the publishing division of Harvard Medical School, for $20 per year. Subscribe at or by calling 877-649-9457 (toll-free).

Having Plastic Surgery Done? Tips To Keep In Mind Before And After The Procedure

By Dr. Michael J. Brown, MD

didyouknow?Getting a plastic surgery procedure done is an exciting, yet nerve-wracking time. You are excited for the changes about to take place, but may be nervous about the surgery. However, it is important that you take the time to keep some tips in mind. These tips will help the procedure and recovery go more smoothly. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are having plastic surgery.

Follow All Pre-Op and Post-Op Instructions From Your Plastic Surgeon

When you are preparing for, or have just undergone a plastic surgery procedure, the most important tip to keep in mind is to follow all instructions from the doctor who is or has performed your surgery. You will be given a pre-op and post-op instruction sheet. These sheets will tell you what you should and should not do following the surgery. The pre-op sheet may advise you to stop eating or drinking at a certain time prior to your operation and ask you to remove all jewelry prior to surgery. The post-op instructions may explain what medications to take, what foods to eat, and how to care for any wounds after the surgery. Failing to follow these instructions can jeopardize your heath both during and after the procedure.

Get Your Affairs in Order

After undergoing a surgical procedure, you are going to want time to rest and recover. You are not going to want to have to run around and pay bills or go grocery shopping. As such, you should get all of your affairs in order prior to the surgical procedure. If possible, pay all your bills early so you don’t have to worry about them immediately following the surgery. Take the time to stock your pantry with non-perishable food, so you will have plenty to eat. Or arrange for a grocery service to deliver groceries to your home. And since you may feel like lying around for a few days, pick up a book, magazines or movies so you have something to do without becoming bored. This will help you get the rest you need without feeling like you have other things that need to be done.

Stay Hydrated Following Your Surgery

waterbottleAnother important tip to keep in mind as you recover from plastic surgery is to stay hydrated. After surgery, you may not feel like eating or drinking much, but once you get the all clear to consume liquids, you should. Make sure you drink plenty of water. This helps blood flow through your body and assists in the recovery process. It also keeps you from becoming dehydrated, which can lead to headaches and nausea.

Massage Your Scars

When the dressing and bandages come off of your body, you may want to begin to rub vitamin E oil or other scar reducing products, into your surgical scar. Massage helps to increase the flow of blood to this area of the body, while vitamin E, or similar products, help to moisturize the skin. Both of these items together can minimize the darkened color of the scar and it’s length. No one wants an obvious scar in the area they had plastic surgery, so doing this can help decrease your chances of having an unsightly scar.

Undergoing plastic surgery can be a life-changing decision. You get to improve something about your appearance that you dislike and instead, get something you have always dreamed about. This may be larger breasts, a smaller nose, or a curvier figure. However, plastic surgery can take a toll on your body. Luckily, there are certain things you can do before and after surgery to make things easier on yourself. Following these tips will help make the procedure go more smoothly and assist in your recovery.

Author: Dr. Michael J. Brown, MD, Founder and Medical Director of the Loudoun Center for Plastic Surgery and Dermatology, Dr. Brown has paid particular attention to all facets for safety and personal experience.

Contact details:

How To Maintain Good Eyesight

eyeHumans are visually-driven by nature. We depend on eyesight to function in practically every facet of society. While numerous examples show the ability of people who triumph over partial or total blindness, healthy vision is something just about everybody wishes to maintain throughout their entire life.

We live in relatively fortunate times for those suffering from congenital or progressively occurring vision problems. Glasses have been an established remedy for centuries. The 20th century saw the advent of even greater advances in vision improvement possibility. Contacts became a popular alternative to glasses. Eventually, Lasik surgeons working in cities across the globe began to permanently correct less-than-perfect eyesight.

Yet, given the chance, prevention is always preferred over cure, so what can be done to maintain good eyesight? Here are the basics that will keep your vision crisp and lean for years to come:

Eye Exams

Sometimes the causes of poor vision are genetic, in which case little, if anything, done by the person will make a difference. This is why it’s important to get your eyes checked at least once a year. Most health care plans cover an annual eye exam free of charge. This way eye problems can be caught and corrected as soon as possible.

No Smoking

Add the risk of vision loss to the already long list of reasons not to smoke cigarettes. Smoking has been linked to increase chance of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and damage to the optic nerves. If tempted to start – don’t – for the sake of your eyesight. Those already regular smokers, consider the ordeal of eye surgery before lighting up again. Aforementioned laser eye surgery is impressively low-key and routine these days, but you still want to skip it if possible.

Eye-Friendly Diet

Unfortunately the idea that carrots are especially effective at improving vision is fictitious, despite the vegetable being an all-around great source of Vitamin A which helps preserve eyesight. To keep eyes in top shape make room for citrus fruits in your diet such as oranges and kiwi. Leafy greens are good too such as kale and spinach. Seek out natural foods sources rich in vitamin E such as salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, and beans.

Limited Screen Time

It’s hard to do these days, we know, but reducing the amount of hours spent staring at a computer screen is essential to keeping eyes from becoming strained and damaged over time. It’s a good policy to maintain a healthy distance and angle between yourself and a desktop monitor. Set smartphones and tablets to auto-brightness to prevent unnecessary strain. Make a habit to look away from screens at least three times an hour. Focus your vision on the other side of the room, perhaps a wall clock, to give them a break from the computer screen.

Eyesight is an important part of the human experience. Although people are powerful enough to adapt to blindness, with tools and procedures that serve to correct otherwise terminal vision problems, the beauties of the world are best experienced with unadulterated, natural eyesight. Taking steps to keep your eyes healthy is an investment in future enjoyment.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Dry And Irritated Eyes: Effective Treatments From Your Kitchen

By Melissa Holden

eyeSome common health ailments are uncomfortable enough to cry about. Those with dry and irritated eyes deal with temporary, and in some cases, long-term pain and discomfort. Causes vary and include old age, hormonal changes, and mucus production in the tear glands. Luckily, effective treatments exist, and even better, they can be found in the kitchen.

Causes of Dry and Irritated Eyes

Eyes get dry due to short or long-term issues. Eyes become dry because tears evaporate quickly or due to a lack of moisture produced by glands. Causes include old age, hormones, decreased oil or water, damage to tear glands, autoimmune diseases, lupus, and other ailments.

Behavior contributes to dry and irritated eyes. A decrease in blinking can irritate the eyes and may take place when watching too much television or working on the computer. When paying great attention to the screen, people ‘forget’ to blink, which results in dry and irritated eyes. Additionally, wearing contact lenses adds to dryness, irritation, and eye strain. Bacterial keratitis is linked to contact lenses; as the lens rests on the eye, free circulation and tears are obstructed, which leads to tear evaporation and dry eye syndrome.

Particular health conditions and a lack of vitamin A contribute to eye problems, specifically dry and irritated eyes. In addition to prescribed medications, solutions are found in the home.

Home Remedies for Dry and Irritated Eyes

Since dehydration can be the cause of dry eyes, water is a simple solution. Consuming 8 to ten glasses per day helps dry eye patients and aids in recovering from dry eye syndrome.

Eyes get dry when people are sleeping. A lubricant can be applied before going to bed so eyes stay moist through the night. A washcloth dipped in water is a simple solution. Also, abstaining from washing and overly drying eyes helps avoid irritation.

Take breaks from working so eyes get enough rest. As mentioned, a lack of blinking leads to dry and irritated eyes. Make an effort to blink often to help eyes stay moist. Blinking also helps spread tears to the side of the eyes.

Those with dry eyes often rub, which causes inflammation as dust and microbes gain entry into the eyes. Avoid rubbing or touching around the eye area with unwashed fingers.

Cucumbers, freshly cut and chilled, can be placed on the eyes, which numbs the dry sensation and provides relief.

Flaxseed oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps treat dry eyes. Put flaxseed oil in fruits and drinks.

Castor oil helps retain water. It’s a great remedy for dry eyes. You can place drops of castor oil directly into eyes.

Mix a few drops of lavender oil with a cup of water. Dip a washcloth in the mixture and apply to affected eyes. The solution soothes eyes and makes for a readily accessible home remedy.

Dip a cotton ball in rose water or cold milk and apply to closed eyes. Leave the milk or rose water on for about 10 minutes, which allows the eyes to relax as it reduces strain.

One’s surroundings influences eye moisture. Use a humidifier or air cleaner to avoid dry eyes and to keep them moist. Those in particularly dry regions, such as Colorado, should use methods of countering the dryness in the air.

Aloe treats dry eyes. The gel or viscous liquid inside the leaf may be applied to the eyelid. Believed to reduce the symptoms of dry eyes, aloe is effective when placed on the lids but avoid direct contact with eyes, as it may increase irritation.

We are what we eat. Proper nutrition keeps eyes moist and healthy. Essential fatty acids are present in fish oil, and omega-3 and 6 acids are found in dried fruits and grains. Eat walnuts, sesame, grape seeds, almonds, and whole grains.

Grapes support eye health and are known to prevent retinal diseases.

Lastly, soaking a towel in warm water and placing it on the face for fifteen to twenty minutes maintains eye moisture.

What to Avoid

Common things add to irritation. It’s important to take note of what to avoid such as dry environments and air condition.

If you’re prone to dry eyes, avoid dry areas and situations, such as being around smoke or using a hair dryer.

Staying in air conditioned environments for a lengthy period makes eyes drier than normal.

Limit computer use. If you use a computer at work, take breaks often and rest your eyes.

Excessive coffee consumption intensifies dry eyes and has been linked to dry eye syndrome.

Acidic foods, such as tomato products, vinegar, and tamarind, aggravate affected eyes.

For some dry eyes and subsequent irritation is common, yet effective treatments are found in most households or at a local grocery store.

– Melissa Holden has been involved in natural healthcare most of her life. Aiming to spread the word further that nature can cure, she writes for health and wellness sites, green/eco sites and more. Read for additional home remedies that relieve dry and irritated eyes.

4 Actionable Tips For Healthy Diabetes Management

diabeteswordFrequently, diabetic patients complain how challenging it is to manage diabetes. Even though you take measures to keep your blood glucose in check, the numbers may disappoint you.

But don’t beat yourself up. Doing something new is a great way to have a fresh start. Here are some ideas for healthy diabetes management in 2016:

Watch your glucose levels throughout the day

It’s important to monitor your blood glucose levels to determine the level of insulin intake. The ideal time to check blood sugar levels is before meals and before sleeping. Keeping tabs on your glucose level will help you determine if you need to readjust your diet or medications in order to keep the level in the safe range.

Glucose monitoring is also important to know your hemoglobin A1c, which gives an overview of your average blood glucose levels over a period of time. The pattern helps you adjust on a month-by-month basis, and indicate how well you’re managing diabetes overall.

With Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitor and similar systems, you can get an assessment of your health with five of the most important insights of glucose levels: lows, highs, best day, nighttime and daytime. With the help of summary patterns you can place frequency, intensity and duration of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia risks into context. Overall, the data will help you prioritize diabetic management decisions.

Eat small meals and avoid alcohol on empty stomach

It’s important to break down your daily meals into small portions, and spread it out into six different meals. Consuming a large quantity of food in a meal or two will cause greater spikes in your blood sugar levels. To maintain a stable blood glucose level, consider eating three healthy meals (medium portion) and two nutritious snacks in a day.

Also, if you didn’t eat throughout the day, drinking alcohol on an empty stomach will cause a drop in your blood sugar level 24 hours later. This is because the body has to work intensely to get rid of alcohol.

Before having a drink, check your blood sugar, and eat something. Sometimes symptoms of low blood glucose levels can be taken as drunkenness; these symptoms could be dizziness and slurred speech.

Incorporate raw & green foods in your diet

Add raw foods into your diet; tomatoes, eggplant and onions are some delicious options. Almost all fruits can be eaten raw, while plenty of vegetables can be eaten in a raw or roasted state. You can try raw vegetables with dips such as salsa, guacamole, and Thousand Island dressing to enhance taste. Vegetables can be roasted with seasonings like garlic, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.

When it comes to adding greens, think beyond the regular salad and try spinach, broccoli, and chard. These are low-carb veggies that can be mixed with olive oil and roasted in the oven for a quick, crunchy snack. You can also mix roasted veggies with nuts to add a different flavor and texture.

Lose some pounds for better health

Diabetics who are overweight can easily stabilize blood sugar levels effectively by losing a few pounds. Just losing five pounds can make a significant difference in the need for medication and diabetes control.

Taking a varied approach to working out can help you drop those few pounds. Try engaging in resistance, strength and aerobic training two or three times a week for optimal results.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Why Your Skin Needs Protection From The Sun All Year Long

sunWe all want healthier, younger looking skin, but as we age it gets harder and harder to achieve. One of the biggest factors that affect our skin over time is the sun.

Warm sunlight washing over our skin may feel nice; however, what’s happening under the epidermis isn’t. Years of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can kill or damage skin cells causing:

  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Skin discoloration
  • Rough texture
  • Sunburns
  • Reduced elasticity
  • Reduced collagen production
  • Acceleration of the aging process (photoaging)
  • Skin cancer

Sunlight helps us produce vitamin D, but just a little too much is enough to damage skin cells. This guide will help you better understand how to lessen the damage that’s already been done and better protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

Correcting Past Sun Damage on the Skin

Chances are your skin has experienced some level of sun damage. Fortunately, doctors and researchers have discovered a number of natural ingredients that can help improve the damage that has already been done. They include:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Peptides
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Many of these ingredients are found in top-rated skin care products. Lines like Dermaclara also combine multiple products to maximize the effects. Customer reviews of Dermaclara reveal that many users see improvements in the signs of sun damage. When all five products are used together customers note that brown spots, wrinkles and dullness are all reduced.

Skin damage from the sun accumulates every day, which is why it’s important to begin correcting damage and protecting skin as early in life as possible. Creating a routine that you can stick to daily is also important. Moisturizing and protection is needed during the day while cleansing, moisturizing and nourishment is needed at night.

What You Need to Know About SPF

Many people make the mistake of thinking sunscreen is only needed during summer beach vacations. Even in the winter when the sun sets earlier and we’re huddled inside by the fire sunscreen is still a daily requirement for healthy skin. The winter sun can actually be even more harsh because of dryness, windburn and reflection off the snow.

The truth is sun protection is a daily need throughout every season. But today there are so many products with confusing labels that the hassle of selecting a sunscreen is enough to keep some people from using it.

There are really just a few key things to look for, and one of them is SPF.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It’s a gauge of the percentage of UVB rays that are being blocked and how long the protection lasts. Theoretically the number indicates how many times longer the sunscreen protects the skin. For example, SPF 30 prevents UVB damage 30 times longer than the skin’s natural barrier of 20 minutes. However, experts suggest any sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.

As far as the percentage of UVB rays that are blocked:

  • SPF 15 blocks 93%
  • SPF 30 blocks 97%
  • SPF 50 blocks 98%

A one percent difference is actually quite substantial when you consider that every day the damage is adding up. Experts recommend that you use at least SPF 15 even if you plan to spend just a few minutes outside.

UV Blocking Ingredients to Look For

The main purpose of sunscreen is to block damaging UV rays so they can’t easily penetrate the skin. The FDA has approved a number of ingredients that are proven to block UVA and UVB rays. These include:


PABA derivatives
Cinnamates (octylmethoxycinnamate and cinoxate)


Benzophenones (oxybenzone and sulisobenzone)
Ecamsule (MexorylTM)
Titanium dioxide
Zinc oxide

The best sunscreens are broad spectrum. That means they protect against UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays cause burns and skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate to deeper layers of skin causing wrinkles, discoloration and dullness. Typically, two to three of the ingredients above are needed for complete protection.

When in doubt, look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s seal of approval. This means that the sunscreen contains an ample supply of the UV-blocking ingredients above.

Nothing harms your skin more than the sun. Since forgoing the light of day isn’t a viable option, taking steps to reduce and prevent damage is a necessary part of your daily skin care routine. All it takes is a few extra minutes each morning and night to start seeing the skin you enjoyed in your younger, less sun damaged years.

– Submitted by Katherine Smith

Family Decisions: Your Parent Is Declining

By Ryan McEniff

seniormanIt eventually happens, you and your siblings notice that your mom or dad is not acting the way they once did, maybe memory impairment has increased, or someone is still mentally sharp, but they are not stable when walking and standing. When the family is together as a whole, it provides a great time to starting talking about what the options are.

So what are the options when it’s clear that someone is steadily declining and needs help?

Your Senior Care Options

This article will go through the options most families have when looking for senior care. It will provide the pros and cons of each service and the monetary costs associated with each type of care.

Family Members

Family members are great to be able to help someone who needs a small amount of assistance. Maybe your parent can’t drive anymore but just needs to get out twice a week. Or if the family is large enough, different people can help out for a few hours per week, and all share the responsibilities of helping out.

Cost: Low/Free
Time: Medium/High
Cons: Loss of time. Often one person becomes the main caregiver sacrificing more and more of their own time than other families do and can become burnt out.

Adult Day Services

Adult day services can be an alternative to having private caregivers come in. It allows seniors, especially those with dementia, to be stimulated through physical and mental activities while a family member has time to go to work or get important errands and tasks done.

Cost: Nation average $70 per day
Time: Low
Cons: Adult day patients can often suffer from dementia, so depending on your location, it might not be a right fit for non-dementia seniors who are looking for activities a few times a week. Additionally, care is provided from 9 am to 3 pm M-F, so there needs to be someone available to drop off and pick up. So it might not be ideal for families working full time or those who work on the weekends.

Private Home Care

Private home care services can provide peace of mind knowing that there is a dedicated caregiver that is there only for your loved one. Caregivers assist with ADLs (activities of daily living) and are flexible with their hours to cater to your schedule.

Cost: $20-30 per hour all private pay (no insurance coverage available)
Time: None/Low
Cons: It is expensive. Many families cannot afford the services. Additionally, families and seniors can be very nervous letting caregivers into their home.

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF)

Assisted living facilities provide an active social environment for senior who wish to interact with people their age. The services provide a private or shared room, meal services and transportation services. Additionally, many assisted living facilities have included a dementia unit, which, as the name implies, is for residents who have developed dementia and needs to be in a secure unit with dedicated and trained staff.

seniorwoman2Cost: $3,300 per month depending on location (no insurance coverage available)
Time: Low
Cons: Expensive. What you are paying for are room, food, and transportation. The personal care hours included are minimal, usually 2-5 hours per week. So if your family member ends up needing more care than that, it will be required to get additional attention, usually from a private home care company that will be an out of pocket expense. Finally, assisted living facilities are private pay, and once the money runs out, then you will be asked to leave.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes help people who need more complicated care that they cannot get at an assisted living or through private home care services. Many are new, provide outstanding care, good food, and activities. Nursing homes have a stigma attached to them of places you go to die or once there, no one visits you, but for many places, it is just not true.

Cost: $6,500-7,000 per month depending on location.
Time: Low
Cons: Expensive & Spend downs. Stigmas are a problem. Quality can range drastically, and some nursing homes will try and only accept spend down patients first.

Pro-tip: Nursing homes are not automatically paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, spending down is required (which is when the patients assets are “spent down” with a seven-year look back before Medicaid pays for the services). So if mom or dad is a resident at an assisted living or using private home care, my suggestion is to start looking for at nursing homes when you have over $50,000 left. Reason being, higher end nursing homes will be more accommodating to private pay customers than those that have no money and will be coming to them on Medicaid.

– The author of this guest post is Ryan McEniff, owner of Minute Women Home Care, in Lexington, Massachusetts.