Category Archives: Health and Fitness

Qualities of a Professional Nurse

I pray, I do my part, to lift each downcast spirit, and to soothe each heavy heart. May my touch being reassurance, may my voice be soothing too. May my gentle care remind them of the love they have in you. – A Nurse’s Prayer, Author Unknown.
To be a part of a noble profession such as nursing, is a matter of pride and achievement in itself. Though people may use the term “nurse” nonchalantly, only those who have seen a nurse’s life would understand the honor and respect that goes into this profession. Nursing isn’t merely a profession, or a job that you need to perform during your shift timings. It is a responsibility, a behavioral conditioning, an approach towards people, and a dedication towards healing others. To summarize the essence of this profession, it is not about the qualities that you can acquire to become a nurse, it is about the inherent qualities that you are born with, that will make you a great nurse.
Qualities That Define a Good Nurse

Handle Both Physical and Mental Pressure
Before you choose to be a nurse, it is very important for you to understand who you are as an individual. This is because the profession is extremely demanding, both physically and mentally. Physical pressures include dealing with emergency cases, on-call duties, extended working hours, and so on. Mentally, this job would need you to deal with the emotional situations of the patients and their families.
Provide Moral Support
Giving a constant moral support, aiding their needs to be heard and comforted, being an advocate of the patient in front of the doctor, and so on, involves the integral duties of a good nurse. All this would require the aspirant to be compassionate, mentally composed, physically strong, and professionally dedicated. Among the other qualities that an ideal nurse should have, the aforementioned qualities can only be found in a person naturally, and cannot be acquired forcefully.

Kind and Compassionate
We all tend to be kind and compassionate towards others in our daily lives. The majority of people that we meet are those at work, social gatherings, etc. But a nurse comes across people who are dealing with trauma – both physically and mentally! These people are distressed and are looking for comfort and healing. It is easy to deal with healthy people, but if you are surrounded with patients who need your assistance, then it is important for you to be kind and compassionate towards them.
Most of us might get frustrated after a point, a nurse is the one who understands their miseries and comforts them even in the darkest hour. All this cannot be done without compassion being a major essence of your character.

Physical Endurance
Being a nurse is not a 9 to 5 desk job. One needs to be on their toes, aiding the need of the doctors and patients. In case of emergencies immediate assistance is required. While the doctor examines the patient, it is the nurse’s duty to follow up according to the doctor’s instructions. A normal phenomena in this career is on-call duties, and extended shifts, in case there is less staff. Therefore, it is important to be physically active and strong.

Mental Endurance
A nurse is a caregiver who acts as a source of connection between the doctor, patient, and the patient’s family. There are various queries that the patient and his/her family members would have. Not only this, in case of serious illnesses, there will be issues like anger, frustration, pain, and agony, mainly from the patient’s end.
On the other hand, there will also be the mental pressure to deal with the patient calmly through all the chaos, thereby, making sure that the doctor’s instructions are being followed. Therefore, mental stability is a necessity in this profession.

Excellent Communication Skills
As mentioned earlier, a nurse is a caregiver, and it is not possible to provide complete care for a person if there is lack of proper communication. When it comes to communication, especially in health care, it is more than talking to a patient. One needs to cater to both – the physical and emotional needs. The talking needs to be soft and polite, making the patient feel at ease. Firmness too, is essential in the tone when it comes to instructing the patient about advised medications and exercise.
Good Listener
Another important aspect in communication is to be a good listener, and it goes beyond listening to the needs of the patient! It involves forming a bond of mutual trust and reliance. When a person goes through an illness or a trauma, it is usually accompanied by loneliness, frustration, and the need to be heard. During this phase, it is a nurse who can act as a caregiver and confidant, which is impossible without the ability to communicate well.

Constant Urge to Learn
A lot has changed from the time when Florence Nightingale founded modern nursing, as compared to the modernized changes that we see in the nursing field today. With continuous discovery of new illnesses, medicines, and development in health care technology, professionals need to update and adapt themselves continuously with the changing trends. This cannot be done successfully if there is no impulse to learn.

Alert and Observant
It is mandatory for the aspirant to be alert and observant, considering the demands involved in the profession. Observing the unspoken needs of the patient, providing with emergency care and assistance, taking charge of the situation when the doctor is not present, etc., are a part and parcel of the job.
Without being alert and observant, a nurse would not be able to justify the given responsibilities and would lose the trust that the patient and the doctor has on the nurse. This is because any kind of delay in taking the required action due to indecisiveness could prove to be fatal for the patient.

Adaptable to Change
When I say change, I mean the dynamic nature of the working environment in the health care sector. Each day is different from the other, with new cases, new patients, each varying from the previous ones. Every patient has different needs, and there are different ways to handle them. Which is why, a nurse needs to be flexible when it comes to adapting to changes, be it in the work schedule, or simply in the way one deals with the patients.

Willingness to Provide a Healing Touch
This quality defines the difference between a nurse and a great nurse. Doing something just because it’s your job, and doing something because it is your humane duty both are different things. It is only if you have this quality that you will enjoy serving others, whether it is during your duty hours or if you have been called on duty in the middle of the night. This career is satisfying only if the need to comfort others is more than the need to remain in your comfort zone.

Health Food Supplements

Health food supplements are one of the hottest selling products in the market these days. Their total consumption values billions of dollars in the U.S. alone. Recent surveys show that more than half of the adults in the U.S. consume health food supplements in different forms, such as tablets, capsules, powders, soft gels, gel caps and liquids.

The increased consumption of health food supplements can be attributed to public awareness of health issues and improved standard of living in our society. Many studies have shown that there is a close correlation between health and nutrition. Insufficient supply of nutrients can weaken our body defense mechanism, causing medical problems from common ailments to more severe illnesses in the long term.

There are different types of health food supplements, including macronutrients (amino acids, proteins, essential fatty acids), micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), enzymes (digestive enzymes and antioxidant enzymes), probiotics (beneficial bacteria in the gut), and herbal supplements. These supplements have unique functions in our body. They are either essential for life and good health, modulate our immune system or help with liver detoxification, digestion, mental clarity, etc.

Many people argue that there is no need to consume health food supplements as long as you have a healthy lifestyle and eat a balanced diet. While this may be true, the fact is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and proper diet is difficult to achieve by many people.

Over the past few decades, the green revolution has changed the farming practices over the world. We use more chemical fertilizers, more pesticides to grow the food produce in order to increase harvest and shorten the growth period. As a result, soil nutrients and the population of beneficial soil bacteria are depleted rapidly, and the produce we grow today contain less micronutrient than before.

A stressful lifestyle, improper eating habits, imbalanced diet and increased exposure to chemicals such as environmental pollutants (air, water) and pesticides, drugs, hormones, heavy metals in foods also weaken our body gradually.

Although health food supplements can be beneficial to our health, consumers should still choose the products carefully. Currently, there is little regulation on the quality of health food supplements. Composition of some health food products may not match the label claims and the quality of raw materials and finished products is not guaranteed. Therefore, consumers should only buy from reputable health food manufacturers, read the labels carefully and read more related literatures.

Here are some general rules for buying health food supplements:

1) Supplements made from whole foods, natural sources are better than the synthetic ones. They are more bioactive, can be absorbed readily, and less likely to be contaminated by chemicals such as coal tars used in chemical synthesis.

2) Protein-bonded vitamins and minerals (vitamins and minerals in organic form, binding to amino acids) are more bioactive than the inorganic forms.

3) Buy supplements using safe extraction methods, such as cold pressed extraction or supercritical extraction. This can avoid the harmful residue from chemical extraction.

4) Herbal concentrate and extract are usually more effective than the raw herbs.

5) Organically grown or wild crafted herbs are less likely to be contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides and other chemicals.

6) Read the labels, do not consume more than the recommended dose.

7) Be careful when consuming certain herbal supplements, such as Ma Huang / ephedra, Kava Kava, comfrey, etc. Some studies have shown that these herbs may cause severe side effects to some people. Stop use if unusual signs appear after consumption.

8) Some health food supplements may interact with drugs, either by decreasing or increasing their effects. Consult your doctor if you are currently taking medications.

9) Pregnant and nursing women, people with specific medical conditions such consult the doctors when consuming health food supplements.

10) If in doubt, contact the supplement manufacturers or distributors for more information of their products.

11) Health food supplements are available in many places, such as grocery stores, health food stores, drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, department stores, online stores, etc. Be a smart consumer, compare the price and service before purchase.

Choose Healthy Food Delivery

I am attempting to begin eater more beneficial than before. I have additionally begun to work out all the time. Fitting that into my bustling calendar was sufficiently hard, however this is the way I did it. I never have room schedule-wise to stop at the market. It has dependably appeared somewhat pointless now days, considering the business sector of today’s general public. In actuality, I appear to dependably stop by fast food eateries or just have nourishment conveyed to my home. When I get fast food, it is generally a burger and fries, and when I get sustenance conveyed, it is typically pizza or Chinese nourishment. None of these choices are precisely solid, and I was not practicing all the time either.

I then discovered that I can have healthy food delivery Toronto to my home straight from the market. I can arrange precisely what I need, when I need it, and the amount I need! By doing this, I found that I had significantly more extra time. With a portion of this extra time, I started practicing regular once more. I arrange sound sustenance online that I likewise truly appreciate, and never eat fast food any longer. So by doing this helpful switch to utilizing sustenance conveyance administrations, I found that I have significantly more vitality, additional time, more cash, and less push. I generally know precisely what will be conveyed to me, and I now can fill my refrigerator with the sound sustenance that I know I chose. Home nourishment conveyance administrations have truly had any kind of effect in my life, and I don’t know whether I would be as solid as I am currently without it.

Life is simpler and more proficient when you exploit healthy food delivery Toronto. Whether you are serving people or gigantic gatherings, here are a portion of the reasons why it’s ideal and brilliant to just request sustenance. With regards to strict eating regimen, there is just so much exertion included when you make your own particular dinners. Nowadays you can arrange sound and wonderful dinners that would meet your prescribed day by day servings of products of the soil. Whether you’re sustaining just yourself or a gathering, requesting sustenance will save you feast planning time. You can concentrate on other critical undertakings. There is no compelling reason to delay from work just to set up your sustenance. On the off chance that you are a mother, then you can better welcome the simplicity of just requesting sustenance. Also, in case you’re amusing a few visitors, basically go for nibble providing food or decide on sandwich conveyance. Along these lines you can focus on different master obligations.

Not very many individuals have aced the craftsmanship and art of menu arranging. Staying inside your financial plan for suppers at home or nourishment on your occasions can be ensured on the off chance that you basically arrange. It is less demanding to decide the amount you are paying per supper contrasted with making dinners starting with no outside help. Besides that, requesting from the best providing food organization guarantees that you will serve sound sustenance

Tips to Aging Healthily

Change comes with time, which is an inevitable fact of life. However, no matter at what stage of life we may be in, we can always opt for a healthier life as we age. Aging healthily involves the incorporation of all-round care that ensures our well-being. This includes staying mentally fit, being financially secure, being socially active, and being healthy and physically fit. Given below are a few tips on how to age healthily.

Stay Mentally Fit
As we age, it is very important to stay mentally youthful and fit. Which is easier said then done, obviously. In fact, for many people the very idea of aging can make them feel old. However, it is vitally important never to let ones sensibilities be overcome by depression. We can keep our mind young and fresh by including social service, intellectual pursuits, recreation, and hobbies in our day-to-day life. Serious age-related mental ailments like Alzheimer’s disease can be kept at bay by regularly exercising, both the mind as well as the body. By seeking challenge and variety in our everyday life and by thinking positively, we certainly can be mentally fit and youthful, no matter what our age may be.

Be Financially Secure
One cannot enjoy old age or retired life without being financially secure. After all, financial support is the basis of practically everything we do. Financial security usually needs prior planning and carried out well in advance. However, there are some measures that can be availed of even after retirement. There are several programs and plans, provided especially by a number of authorities for senior citizens. These programs or plans need to be opted for judiciously and thoughtfully.

Be Socially Active
Retired life can be one of the best times to take part in a variety of social activities and for socializing. According to one’s interest, we can engage in political activities, join associations, and clubs. We can expand our mind and knowledge by traveling all around the world, seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, and meeting new people. One can even opt for some freelance work, which can bring in some money, while keeping one mentally and socially active. One can even promote the well-being of the community we live in, while also keeping ourselves occupied, by getting involved in a variety of welfare programs for the community.

Be Healthy and Physically Fit
Some of the essential factors for remaining healthy right up to one’s old age are leading a life that is free of stress, incorporating a healthy diet which has a balance of all the essential nutrients such as healthy fats, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, and vitamins, and exercising regularly. Some of the suggestions are walking regularly, consuming vegetables and fruits, eating adequate amounts of fish and meats, taking mineral and vitamin supplements as prescribed by a health professional, taking part in games and recreational activities, and getting adequate amounts of sleep and rest. It is also a good idea to get oneself checked up regularly by a qualified physician and carry out the suggested tests. If there is an inkling of some major illness, thorough and proper diagnosis will have to be done, and also getting treatments accordingly.

As is evident, the best way to age healthily is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes a healthy diet, getting adequate rest, being financially secure, and being mentally and physically active.

Tips to Choose the Best Leotard for Your Body

A leotard is form-fitting garment that resembles a swimsuit in design. It has a thin but flexible material which allows you to move freely with your body. The leotard is commonly seen on ballet dancers and gymnasts. A leotard that fits well allows you to concentrate on your gymnastics routine without worrying about any part of your body showing off. It is best to learn how to choose the best leotard for your body to avoid distractions during a competition.

Know your body shape

To find a leotard suitable for your body, you have to know your body shape. Are you the skinny type? Do have an hourglass figure or a small waist?  Do you have a pear-shaped body? When you know your body shape, it will be easier for you to choose a leotard.

Find the right cut and fit

Not all leotards come in a one-size fits all package. There are different sizes and styles to choose from according to your body shape. The basic and probably the most classic <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’, ‘/outgoing/article_exit_link/6453279’);” href=””>leotard</a> colors are black, flesh and white.

Gymnastics leotards differ from dance leotards in fit and style. Although both have the same cut on the thighs and legs, gymnastics leotards are made out of more elastic materials. They usually fit the body tighter. Gymnastics leotards are available in different cuts and styles. Short-sleeved or sleeveless gymnastics leotards are worn when the weather is hot. This type of leotard allows your sweat to evaporate. Long-sleeved leotards will keep your muscles warm during the cold days.

Choose an appropriate design and material

Some leotard designs for gymnastics have an open back while others have sheer fabric panels to give the illusion of a low-cut design. If you choose an open back design, be sure you are comfortable wearing the leotard. If you have a trim waist, you can choose leotards with cut-outs near the torso area. It will great during an exhibition or competition. However, keep your undergarments from showing if you decide to wear a leotard with a cut-out design.  The judges will deduct points off your score if they see bra straps showing while you are performing your routine.  Some leotards have molded breast pads so you don’t have to wear a bra. Gymnastics leotards may also have crossed straps at the back. You can also find leotards with small appliques and sequined trims.

Gymnastics involve a lot of body movements. Leotards are usually made out of a combination of cotton and Lycra materials.  This allows the gymnastics leotard to stretch and move as you do your routines. You don’t have to worry about stretching it too much since the fabric is elastic enough to support your movements.

Try before you buy

It’s always a good idea to try on every leotard you like. What may look good on a mannequin or a fellow gymnast doesn’t mean it will look on you too. Your skin may be sensitive to other leotards made out of different fabrics. It is important to test the fabric by slightly stretching the fabric with your hands. When you are satisfied and comfortable with the way you look in the mirror, it’s time to make that purchase.

Best Tips to Stay Healthy for Seniors

It is said that health is wealth. As people grow old, they are more prone to health disorders such as obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Most of these diseases occur due to inactivity and consumption of spicy foods. Aging causes several disorders such as constipation, indigestion and irritable bowel syndromes. Senior citizens may suffer from poor eyesight, hearing loss and fatigue. Therefore, it is necessary to check the blood glucose level, blood pressure level and cholesterol level for a sound health. Given below are a few tips which will help them stay fit and healthy for a long time.

Proper Diet
Food plays a vital role in maintaining a sound health. Nutritious foods like leafy vegetables, cereals, grains, fresh salads, and fruits should be a part of daily diet. It is best to opt for a low fat diet to keep the cholesterol level under control. Besides, seniors should consume lots of spinach, nuts, beans that have enough magnesium necessary to maintain blood pressure.

Adequate Hydration
Water is another important element that keeps a person hydrated and helps in curing diseases such as dehydration and constipation.

Avoid Fast Food
Fast foods or processed foods have adverse effects on the body despite their delicious taste. Therefore, seniors should minimize the intake of processed food. Instead of oily fried foods they should consume boiled, baked, steamed or grilled foods.

Regular Exercise
Exercise keeps the body fit and healthy. Therefore, one should do exercise on a regular basis. Besides, exercises like aerobics can enliven the mind with zest and enthusiasm.

Weight Loss
Senior citizens tend to put on weight because of their sedentary lifestyle. This is bad for their health and can lead to many health hazards such as obesity, unreasonable fatigue and risk of high cholesterol level. Therefore, they should try to lose excess weight by doing exercises and yoga.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Senior citizens face a lot of stress as they grow older. Often they are overloaded with varied tensions and insecurities. This anxiety or tension may cause heartburn, panic attacks, acid indigestion and constipation. Therefore it is mandatory for them to reduce the excess amount of stress and anxiety. Relaxation techniques like listening to music, imagining beautiful objects, watching TV, sharing sorrows with near and dear ones may help them to fight against stress. These techniques help in building self-confidence, decisive power and positive thinking.

Physical Activity
Some amount of moderate physical activities such as gardening, cooking, walking, swimming, jogging, etc., are good for health and keep the body fit to fight against diseases.

Avoid Smoking and Alcoholic Drinks
It is known to all that alcohol addiction and cigarette is injurious to health. Therefore, it is better to avoid smoking and consumption of alcoholic drinks.

Laughter Therapy
Laughter is another element that can assist in healthy living. It lifts one’s spirit and provides physiological benefits too.

Regular Health Checkup
A senior citizen should undergo medical checkup on a regular basis. It includes, measuring the blood pressure, ENT and ophthalmic checkup. Those who develop hearing loss can use hearing aids for better hearing effect.

It is very important for senior citizens to keep fit, physically as well as mentally. It is equally important to be realistic and maintain a happy sexual relationship. Here, love, understanding and mutual co-operation between the couple play a major role.

Ways to Make a Watermelon Fruit Basket

This is one of the easiest edible fruit baskets you will ever make. I promise that it will impress your friends and party guest. I’ve been making them for over 10 years now and had forgot about it until this summer. The first one I did was for a company meeting, and my employees couldn’t believe that I went to so much trouble. LOL

Getting started

The first thing of any recipe is going shopping for the ingredients. You should buy produce that is organic and definitely fresh. Start off with a medium size watermelon that is fairly round, with good color and has at least one good flat side so it will set up straight and not be wobbling. My other ingredients for the fresh fruit basket varies depending on the season and what they have on hand. You can add anything that you like but here are some things that I place in my basket:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Grapes (red and green)
  • Cantaloupe (cut in half and scoop out with a melon ball utensil)
  • Watermelon (scoop out with a melon ball utensil)

As soon as I get home, I wash all of my fruit and melons thoroughly. Then I refrigerate everything but the Watermelon.

Prepping the Watermelon

First I decide which way the watermelonsits the best to make the watermelon fruit basket. Make sure it’s good and flat with no wobbling and on a flat surface. The white side that it was sitting on is usually your best bet. Then I get out my trusted yard stick and measure the height and length. I then take my height  and divide it in half, that determines my cut line. Placing the yard stick standing straight up, I take a marker and go all the way around the melon marking my cut line.

Marking for the handle for the edible fruit basket is the next step. If your watermelonis 18 inches long, for example, I mark the top center at 9 inches and both sides. I then add 1 1/2 inches to both sides of my center mark. (Just remember, your handle will not turn out to be 3 inches wide, because we still have to cut the indention’s in it.) I then take my yardstick and mark for the handle from side to side across the top. Always begin your first cut on the handle because it will help you out to not over cut when placing the cuts from each side. Then taking a long butcher knife, I cut down from the top for both sides of the handle. Then I cut from each side back towards the middle.

Melon Balling the Watermelon

Next, I start making watermelon balls from all three portions. I usually use both sides of my melon ball utensil for the two different sizes. The seeds are sometimes a problem, if you don’t get a seedlesswatermelon. Just take a small paring knife and stick in the balls to try and check for seeds. This will be the largest quantity of everything in your basket. When the majority of it is out, I then take a large spoon and scoop out whats left. Drain off any excess juice, and you’re now ready for the pretty part.

Grooving Your Watermelon Fruit Basket

This next step looks hard, but it’s really not. I usually start beside one of the handles and using a paring knife making small angled cuts between 3/8 and 1/2 inch deep. I then move over and make another angle cut backwards making a “V” shape in the top edge. ( see picture below) Continue this all the way around, then proceed to the handle. This is probably the most time consuming part, but don’t let it freak you out. When you get finished, you will not realize that every cut is not perfect. It will look just fine. Just be sure to never pick your watermelon up by the handle. Always carry it from the bottom.

Prepping The Other Ingredients

I then move on to my cantaloupe to get it ready. Start by cutting in half, then raking all of the seeds and pulp out. (be sure to save this for your compost bin as well as yourwatermelon and cantalouperinds.) I then use my melon ball utensil (both sizes) and proceed to getting as much out as possible. I place all of my ingredients in individual baggies until time to use. Next I remove the stems from the strawberries and cut the bottom off. I pick my grapes off the vine and remove all of the little stems from my blueberries. I try to always use fresh pineapple that I cut into 1/2 inch wedges.

Presenting Your Watermelon Fruit Basket

I never add my ingredients to my freshfruit basket until it’s time to present it. Never dump everything in at once, because you will have too much. I normally take a portion of everything and mix it in a large bowl and then just fill the edible fruit basketto the top of the v-cuts. Refrigerate whats left to replenish you basket later on. I hope you enjoy using this as much as I have. It’s a great way to impress your friends while giving them something very delicious and healthy to munch on.

How to Make Fresh Fruit Juice

There are many varieties of fruits grown in the Caribbean. The tropical island of Jamaica is no exception. There are many types of fruits widely available in Jamaica. The fruits are not only eaten, but they are also used in salads, fruit bowls and for making drinks. Swapping fruits is also popular among neighbors in Jamaica. For instance, if one person has a mango tree and it bears extra fruit (too much for his family and household) he will usually give some of the fruit to his neighbors. And, if one of those neighbors has another type of fruit tree growing in his yard and he also has extra fruit, instead of letting it spoil, he will give some of the fruit to his neighbors. Fruits can also be purchased locally in Jamaican supermarkets and markets. Here are some of the typical fruit juices that people make at home (from scratch) in Jamaica.

Mango Juice
Mangoes make a delicious drink. To prepare the drink, first wash the mango then peel it. Slice the mango into small pieces, avoiding the large seed in the middle. Throw away the seed. Place the pieces of mango into a blender. Add milk or water. Sweeten with sugar if necessary. Strain the mango juice if you want a smooth textured drink. Add ice. Serve chilled. Put the rest in the refrigerator.

Papaya Juice
Jamaican papayas are different than the papayas you find in some of the other countries (America, for example). Papayas are also delicious but the taste takes a little getting used to, in my opinion. To make a drink from the papaya you first wash the papaya, peel it then slice it in half. Use a spoon to remove the hundreds (maybe thousands) of little round black seeds. Throw away the seeds. The selected papaya should be ripe and soft. Slice the papaya further into smaller pieces. Put the sliced papaya into a blender. Add milk or water. Add sugar and/or condensed milk to sweeten if desired. Blend for a few minutes. Strain if desired. Add ice. Serve cold. Refrigerate the unused portions of juice.

Sweet Sop Juice
Sweet Sop drink is very tasty. However it takes some time to prepare and it is difficult to get Sweet Sop to buy if you live in a North American country; for reasons unknown. As mentioned previously, Sweet Sop drink is more difficult to prepare because you cannot peel off the skin of the Sweet Sop so you will have to cut or break open the fruit and scoop out as much of the sap as possible with a spoon. Furthermore, there are dozens of black seeds within the fruit and each one is encased within the sap of the Sweet Sop. You will need to separate each seed individually from the sap and try not to throw away any of the sap. Once this is done, you can place the sap in a blender, add water or milk. You can sweeten with condensed milk or sugar. Blend until satisfied. Strain if necessary. Add ice. Serve cold. You should refrigerate the left over portions of juice.

Sour Sop Juice
Another delicious drink is made from the Sour Sop fruit. Sour Sop is actually not entirely sour as its name suggests. Sour Sop is a popular drink which is also widely known among the Hispanic community (where it is known as Guanabana). To make Sour Sop drink, first you wash the fruit, cut it and then you remove the seeds. Peel the remaining skin. Cut the Sour Sop into sections then place them into a blender. Add milk or water. Sweeten with sugar or condensed milk. Blend for a few moments. Strain the juice. Add ice. Put the unused portion in the refrigerator.

The above are a few of the many freshly made juices you’ll find in Jamaica. The recipes above for making each drink will vary from person to person. Of course you can make more elaborate tasting drinks by adding additional ingredients or by varying the recipe. Happy experimenting.

Finding Dental Insurance for Seniors

The exorbitant cost of dental care has made it mandatory for people to have dental insurance. It is always better to get a dental plan before the problem arises to get competitively lower rates. In December 2011, 42% of the American senior citizens had faced tooth loss to an extent of replacing it with dentures and implants. Like this, there are several other dental problems that people have to face as they age.

About 97% of the insured population opt for dental health insurance plans that are employment-based. This is because employer-based dental insurance is a group insurance plan that has lower premium requirements as against individual dental insurance. Such plans are available for senior citizens also. As far as senior citizens are concerned, cost-effectiveness is one of the parameters that an insurance plan must fulfill. Here, we will discuss each of the plans in detail with its pro and cons.

Dental Plan Types Available in the Market Today

PPO Dental Insurance Plans
(Good Coverage, but High Prices)

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) are attractive due to the flexibility they provide while choosing a dentist. These plans can be regarded as gold for those who can afford it.

Big companies provide these plans to their employees as a privilege. Although their annual payment is more expensive than other options, PPO plans are easily available to individuals as well as groups. They offer the maximum benefit to members who choose dentists from within their provided network. Nevertheless, members have the freedom to opt for any dentist of their choice at the cost of some benefits.

Alternately they reimburse the member or directly pay the dentist. Before getting attracted to its perks, be aware of all the costs that accompany it. Also, it requires you to pay the deductibles before the coverage actually starts.

HMO Dental Insurance Plans
(Affordable Care, Reduced Flexibility)

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are cheaper than PPO plans and indemnity plans. They are commonly known as Dental Health Maintenance Organizations (DHMO). Just like PPOs, DHMO also covers a group of dentists that provide service at predetermined prices. They are famous among the employers who buy them for their employees, but an individual can also approach a DHMO policy conveniently.

For senior citizens, the low cost attached with this plan is the appealing factor. This plan does not provide you with any comfort while choosing your dentist. In fact, if you are required to consult a specialist, the insurance carrier will pay only for that specialist referred by your dentist.

The unique feature about this option is the way DHMO pays their network of dentists. The dentists are paid on the basis of number of patients they treat and are also required to accomplish a target. This leads to unprofessional treatment and discommode to the patients. In spite of the shortcomings, these plans are preferred due to their cost-effectiveness.

Dental Indemnity Insurance
(Traditional Dental Coverage for Seniors)

This was the basic plan introduced for the purpose of dental insurance. In this type, the policy holder has the freedom of choosing any dentist of his choice without any prejudice. It has a reimbursement mode of payment. The policy holder files a claim which is reimbursed by the insurance carriers.

It covers 50-80% of the cost incurred in a dental treatment; rest is to be borne by the patient. For this reason, this is not a favorite among the senior citizens.

Steps to a Perfect Choice

Today there are many ways of researching in order to find the perfect plan that solves all your problems. There are companies like Spirit Dental, Dental Plans, Medicoverage, etc., which offer easily accessible websites to search and compare a variety of dental insurance options. Four fundamental steps that one must follow while buying a dental insurance for seniors are listed below:

  • Step 1 – Use the online tools provided to search for all the dental plans available and narrow it down according to your need. Look at the procedures offered, some of them are not covered under various plans or covered at low percentages.
  • Step 2 – If you already have a family dentist, visit him for advice or to learn about the plans that he is covered in. If not, then call up few referred dentists and ask them for the schemes that cover them and check for the success of their practice.
  • Step 3 – After going through the above-mentioned steps, narrow down your selected plans to two or maximum three that represent the best combination of your preferred services and your favorite local dentist.
  • Step 4 – To make your final selection contact a licensed agent. He can help you with all the issues that you haven’t noticed and fill up the remaining loopholes, after which your final dental insurance plan will be ready.

Problems Associated with Dental Insurance
Managed care plans are the cheapest, and as a consequence, most employers have shifted to these from the erstwhile popular traditional insurance plans. Managed care plans force the insured to choose from the given network of doctors and do not provide coverage for preexisting conditions.
Traditional insurance plans result in the insured receiving only the cheapest treatment according to the Least Expensive Alternative Treatment (LEAT) clause, although one has the option of choosing the doctor. Again, preexisting conditions are not covered by the plan.
The best dental insurance plan for people who are employed, is definitely the Direct Reimbursement Plan, which in addition to being the only plan that covers preexisting conditions, also provides the benefit of deductible premiums to employers. However, there is the danger of the amount not being reimbursed by the insurance company.
Since the aforementioned plans are usually employment-based, and have certain restricting clauses as far as treatment and payment is concerned, these are not suitable for seniors.
The Best Alternative

Dental Discount Plans
They have assumed a great deal of significance from the perspective of ensuring cost-effective treatment without the usual hassles that are associated with dental insurance. These plans are an alternative to insurance. The plan works by allowing members to save up to 60% on various procedures like cleanings, fillings, braces, checkups and more. Some of the advantages of dental discount plans include:

No Waiting Period: People have to pay an annual or a monthly fee in order to become members. The membership card generally arrives within 7 to 10 days of joining the plan. The procedure for becoming a member does not require extensive paperwork. Moreover, there is no waiting period clause unlike Traditional dental insurance and Managed Care plans. Direct Reimbursement plan is the only insurance plan that does not have any waiting period requirement, but costs more and is typically employment-based.

Cost-effective: The annual membership fee is generally around $100. The members have the option of visiting participating dentists nationwide and availing discounts by showing the membership card. Members receive a discounted fee schedule for almost all procedures and the least savings may be to the tune of 10%. The maximum savings, as mentioned earlier, is around 60% for certain procedures. Amongst dental insurance plans, managed care plans are the cheapest, but force people to choose from a narrow network of dentists. In addition to discounts on dental procedures, people may receive discounts related to vision, hearing and chiropractic care as well.

Less Encumbrances: These plans have less encumbrances as compared to other dental insurance plans, since they do not involve filing claims and other forms for predetermined benefits. In most cases, there are no plan deductibles or limitation on benefits. Unlike insurance – that does not cover cosmetic dental procedures – dental discount plans may provide discounts on procedures such as bonding or veneer.

It’s evident that dental discount plans provide a number of facilities that may be unavailable to people opting for dental insurance. Seniors, who cannot rely on employer-based insurance, can benefit to a great extent from these dental discount plans; so much so that dental discount plans have become synonymous with dental insurance for seniors.

The aim is to find a plan tailored just for you so that you can flaunt your big, toothy smile!

Exercises for Seniors

Senior citizens face an increased risk of various health ailments that can range from simple indigestion to stroke, their age also makes them susceptible to a fall or physical injury. In the elderly, aging muscles and bones combined with reduced strength leads to inactivity that further results into a weak immune system, diminishing flexibility and mental equilibrium, which are recognized as some of the important factors of a healthy body and mind. A good way to fight against such old age concerns, it is important to take up some physical exercises or activities for the wellness of body and mind.

Simple or tailor-made exercises for senior citizens will promote good health in the golden phase of their life, which will help them maintain physical, mental as well as emotional balance. However, it should be noted that when age is a crucial factor for a body to respond, one should not go out of the way to match the stamina of others around.

Simple Exercises

  • Walking: To begin with, walking is one of the best primary exercises that senior citizens can opt for. Walking on a regular basis in the morning and evening can keep one fit and healthy. This activity can help burn fat, increase flexibility and uplift one’s spirit.
  • Yoga: Yoga is a form of traditional Indian exercise. It has a healing effect on one’s soul. It includes breathing exercises and meditation that play a vital role in maintaining a balance between body, mind and spirit. This can help senior citizens to reduce stress levels and decrease high blood pressure. It promotes flexibility and provides relaxation.
  • Weight training: Senior citizens may also opt for weight training with the help of light-weight dumbbells. This will help improve metabolism and increase muscle strength, enhancing stability.
  • Swimming: The primary benefit of swimming is that it is easy on the joints. This will rejuvenate you and keep the stress factor at bay, besides retaining your fitness levels.
  • Aerobics: Aerobics is rhythmic by nature and warms up the body. This activity engages every part of the body and is beneficial to stretch and tone up the muscles. Aerobics also strengthens the respiratory system, provides sufficient oxygen, improves blood circulation, reduces blood pressure and rapid palpitation, also improving mental health.

Stretching or Flexibility Exercises
As people grow old, their muscles stiffen and their range of motion decreases. To preserve the range of motion and to maintain flexibility and a relaxed mind, stretching exercises are very effective. These involve stretching slowly, while maintaining normal breathing during each movement. This will help senior citizens to relax their body as well as mind. For example,

  • Stretch your arms straight upwards, take a deep breath and exhale slowly as you bend down to touch your fingers to the toes.
  • Stretch your arms sideways, keep your back straight and twist your upper body toward the right side. Hold this position for 10 seconds and come back to the original position. Repeat this for other side and do it couple of times as per your convenience.
  • Stretch your arms parallel to the ground, close your fists and turn them clockwise and anti-clockwise.

Activities to Boost Your Stamina
If you are catching up in age but feel young at heart and like taking challenges, you can boost your stamina by performing some activities that can be little demanding for your age. Try riding a bicycle if possible, take the stairs if you can, or indulge in a sport or activity, make sure that it does not leave you breathless. This will give you a benchmark as to where you need to stop. If you succeed in this challenge, you will definitely be eligible to accelerate your happiness and be proud of what you could manage to do at your age. And we needn’t add that staying happy is also good to stay fit. Once you have developed the confidence of performing such activities, you could challenge your grandchild to outdo you. Whoever wins, you are ultimately boosting your stamina!

Some Points to Remember

  • Start slowly and increase activity gradually according to your capacity
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes while exercising
  • Test blood glucose level
  • Consult a physician before starting any exercise regimen

Exercise has no age limit, only difference being, the method and level of doing it. Having achieved most from life in terms of kind and money, dedicating their time for health and wellness tops the priority for senior citizens.