Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pre New Year

This week I got back into doing more exercising. Admittedly, I am one who takes exercise out of my schedule when I get busy knowing that is BAD for me! It's usually bad for everyone - but most of us stop exercising when we have other things to do.

I started feeling more tired even tho I get sufficient sleep - so I felt too tired to get to the club and then of course the cycle continued. I was getting there for a cycling class but doing "serious" exercise only twice a week is not the best for me and it led to the tired feeling.....

So today I added yoga back into my schedule. In the summer I do yoga at home to the tapes I have - but as soon as it gets cold - which it did on September, my floor is too cold to stand on with bare feet - and so out went the yoga.

What finally got me back was the realization that we are entering celebratory season - and I love parties. So figured I'd beat the New Year Resolution crowd and be in great shape before January 1...besides I have a birthday coming up in January and I'd really prefer being in a whole lot better shape, and a few pounds lighter, than last year...which was not that bad a shape - but we can always improve on our health and I started on improving mine today..

And I really want to get back to playing squash before my D.C. friend comes in late December - so I don't look like such a dork on the squash court when we play!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

As we grow older, we have more thanksgivings behind us to remember - but for me, each year seems to be a better thanksgiving than the one before.... maybe as I have more to be thankful for in that I have yet again added another year.....

Enjoy your day.....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Here's a question, and some variants, to ponder

What is old age? Or - when does old age start? Or even this: Is there really such a "thing" as old age?

I have taught life span development many times over the decades and it's a question that came up [and comes] up in college classes and now it's popping up among other populations - even among those who might be considered to be "in" their old age.

I have heard many 20-somethings talk about "those poor senior citizens" who collect social security. The "seniors" are often described as infirm, unable to work and otherwise to be pitied. These same 20-somethings most likely come into contact with those over 65 - who are still working, still active and hardly pitiable...but the 20-somethings do not see those over-65ers as being over 65.

So when are you old? Is it an age determination? or is it something else?

When I was a "young kid" a few years removed from graduate school - many of the local psychology professors were beginning to think and write about aging but few had really started studying it. One such psychologist jokingly said that only when we all got older would psychologists start really understanding older ages. I think she was right.

Studying older and aging populations is relatively new...and defining old age keeps changing...

Me? I hate the term "old age." It has no real meaning. We do not speak of childhood as "new age" or junior - so why label some as old age or senior? I much prefer "old fart" - it stops people in their tracks - annoys some and makes many laugh... I ask for my old fart discount when I go to a particular store on what I call old fart Wednesdays - when we old farts get a 10% discount.

Friday, November 16, 2007


What do holidays mean for you?

I love Thanksgiving - but it has not been a family holiday in ages and has rather become an extended-family holiday where friends and visitors gather for a pot luck feast. This was true in Boston, D.C. and now here in Portland.

What started years ago, well before I moved here, is what is called "Orphan Thanksgiving" - and it has become an anticipated event.

Many years ago, my neighbors were staying here for Thanksgiving and put out an invite to anyone who was also not going anywhere. Since it was such fun, it has since become the destination spot for Thanksgiving - so much so that fewer go away and instead arrive with visiting family and friends.

As we are a small neighborhood most everyone knows everyone else and a relaxing day with all sorts of good food to eat and good wine and beer to drink - makes for a grand holiday. And as we all live within walking distance - there is never a need to drive and be in traffic.....

So readers, whether you spend holidays with family, biological or extended, or take the time to get away for a vacation, enjoy this upcoming holiday season and remember that being social is good for your health!

And don't forget to share lots of your social-ness with those 4 footed neighbors and family : - )

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Beware of your own HMO

For those on Medicare - some worries are about the schemers who promise the moon and deliver nothing while taking your money. And for those insured through HMO's there is an additional set of worries.

For starters it is often difficult for an insured to get some care covered - and covered in full - as the HMO keeps looking for loop holes.

Well it seems at least one California HMO gives it's employees bonuses to do such things!

From SFGate.com
Health Net Inc., one of the state's largest health insurers, tied rewards and savings to its employees' ability to cancel policies based on misrepresentations in members' applications, according to documents in a lawsuit against the company.

The documents showed Health Net saved $35.5 million in "unnecessary" health care expenses for rescinding more than 1,000 policies between 2000 and 2006. At the same time, a Health Net analyst received about $21,000 in bonuses for her work, which included exceeding company goals for policy rescissions.
Full article HERE.

This does not surprise me as I had heard it before - but this came out during an arbitration hearing and was made public....widely public! As a one-time provider for an HMO, I dropped off their list of providers as decisions about people's mental health were being made by gum chewing office workers who continued to have loud conversations with their friends while speaking to me on the phone about clients!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Back to standard time

I'm not sure why this year is so different for me - the change of time was only a week different from what is used to be but my body is more mixed up. I sleep okay and wake up okay but I'm hungry at odd times...and I am tired earlier.

I could see if my stomach was off by an hour - but it's way off...like I had supper at 3 PM today. I assume the tiredness is related to the dark so I try to get as much sunlight as possible during the day [and it's great that we have not had the usual Portland cloudy drizzly days.]

And soon will come the stretch of time when it is still dark out at 7:50AM. That shocked me when I first moved out here. It's just an odd sensation to have that drastic a change from what I was used to on the East coast...

Wonder how much of this might be related to aging? Exercising more? Different climate? It's hard to separate out all the variables as I changed so many in the same time frame....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Information about medical schools and drug companies

Disclaimer - I take vitamins and supplements. I also market vitamins and supplements.

But did you ever stop to wonder why the big pharmas and your docs tell you vitamins are a waste of money? And why certain meds are seemingly pushed at you? Read on.....

Medical School Department Heads Financially Connected to Drug Companies
Breaking News
By VRP Staff

A new survey indicates that almost two thirds of department heads at U.S. medical schools have financial ties to drug companies.

The survey, conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was distributed to all 125 accredited medical schools and the nation’s largest teaching hospitals. A total of 459 of 688 eligible department chairs completed the survey.

The results indicated that many of the academic leaders at these institutions served as paid consultants to the pharmaceutical industry or accepted free meals and drinks from drug company representatives. Overall, 60 percent of the department heads had a personal financial relationship with the drug companies. Twenty-seven percent reported serving as a paid consultant to the pharmaceutical industry and an equivalent amount of respondents also reported serving on a drug company scientific advisory board. Furthermore, 21 percent of these academic leaders reported serving on speakers’ bureaus for the drug industry. Eleven percent of respondents were on the board of directors of companies involved in the medical industry. In short, the survey found that pharmaceutical companies are involved in every aspect of medical care.

The lead author of the study, Eric Campbell, pointed out that drug companies and makers of medical devices often take advantage of these academic connections to convince physicians to widely prescribe the companies’ products to patients, even if the products aren’t necessarily in the patients’ best interest. Campbell also co-authored a study last year, which found that these same links to drug companies occur on hospital review boards that oversee experiments on patients.


Campbell EG, Weissman JS, Ehringhaus S, Rao SR, Moy B, Feibelmann S, Goold SD. Institutional academic industry relationships. JAMA. 2007 Oct 17;298(15):1779-86.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The free food come on

Some Medigap providers invite you to a meal - a FREE meal! Why? Because few turn down free meals. But with the food comes a sales pitch.

You can eat the food and say NO - not interested. Or say "let me take the information home and study it." If you feel pressured by the sales people to sign up right there and then - it's a good chance they are working on a commission and do not really care about you except as part of their commission check!

High pressure sales tactics are not unheard of - several insurers got in trouble due to this a while back. If any sales person tells you that you must sign up for their insurance immediately because it's a limited time offer - RUN the other way! You have a few months in which to make the decision...and it's one that you want to think about.

Changing insurers may mean you need to switch physicians and you'll want to think about that. You'll need to check each plan in which you might have interest and see if your current providers are part of the new plan. You'll also want to compare out of pocket costs like co-payments, daily hospital rates and the maximum you must pay before the insurance kicks in.

I got a "blurb" in the mail yesterday that said it starts at $0. [There are a few of these.] So I went online to find out more about this because I was not about to call them and talk to a sales person. For starters even tho I am web savvy - the site was not easy to negotiate and for many of the questions I had - I needed to open a .pdf file.

So I decided to stop looking at that insurance for now because it seemed to me the goal of the site was to get me to call or go to a meeting - which is exactly what I was trying to NOT do!