Making a New Year’s Weight Loss Resolution? Drive Less

weight and driving

Click to watch the video at the National Library of Medicine.

If you, your senior parents, or anyone else in your family is thinking about weight loss as a New Year’s resolution, watch and listen to this short National Library of Medicine (NLM) video that explains how newly published research in the journal Preventive Medicine has found an inverse association between the number of miles a person drives and weight loss.

An inverse association means that amount of weight loss increases as the miles a person drives decreases.

The NLM page with the video also includes a transcript. It’s also possible to click on the “CC” symbol at the bottom right of the video and turn on captioning.

Check out the abstract of the article, Quantifying the Association Between Obesity, Automobile Travel, and Caloric Intake. The full article is not free, but may be available at a public library and definitely at a hospital library. You can read a bit more about the research in a U.S. News Health article.

The Green Houses are Here — at VMRC!

Hutch 2 010

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time or even occasionally, you know that I’ve been keeping track of the new Green House Homes at Woodland Park with descriptions, pictures from the groundbreaking, and many construction images. The new neighborhood in Harrisonburg, Virginia, will be a special community that enables elders who have traditionally needed support in a nursing home, to live in a home setting while continuing to maintain much independence. Check out all of my posts about Woodland Park below.

The good news is that the these three beautiful homes at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community are almost finished. The grand opening weekend is January 5th and 6th. After that, move-in begins, with each home welcoming residents and establishing itself over a two-week period (6 weeks total).

I toured one of the Woodland Park homes recently. Finishing details were in progress, but already the house was filled with light and space, a private room for each resident, a kitchen that anyone can use, and lots of common areas, including a great (and grand) fireplace. The houses are constructed to be accessible — but almost nothing looks institutional. The goal of these homes is to provide a place where elders can live and “maintain self-care abilities longer, experience less depression, and receive timelier intervention as health conditions change.” (VMRC website). Basically, these beautiful buildings look like — well homes.

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We Lost a Son and Brother to Mental Illness: Violence Was Not an Issue

http://Percentage of US Health Expenditures Spent on Mental Health

Percentage of US Health Expenditures Spent on Mental Health Care and Services from upworthy.com

Like everyone else I’ve been glued to my computer, newspapers, and the radio, keeping track of the catastrophic and heartbreaking events that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. As a parent and an educator, I’ve alternated between tears and anger, prayer and frustration, trying to understand how someone could murder little children and their teachers, and imagining the thought of losing my own child. I’ve been awed by the bravery of the educators at Sandy Hook.

Yet, as I listen to the media, I’m appalled by the reports and conversations equating — intentionally or not — mental illness with violent behavior. You see, my family can imagine losing a son and brother to mental illness, because we experienced it for 24 years. Violence against others was never part of the equation, and it’s not for most people who live with brain diseases. Read the December 17, 2012 New York Times Health section article, In Gun Debate, a Misguided Focus on Mental Illness by Richard A. Friedman, M.D.

From the time my brother, Jeff, was 18 until he took his own life at age 42, he suffered from bipolar brain disease. He was erratic, often upset, and frequently angry with us — his family members. He wanted so much to be like the rest of us, his friends and family, and to get on with his life. Despite all of his problems, however, he was not violent toward people. His most erratic behavior occurred when he overturned a grocery cart in a parking lot next to our car — an attempt to demonstrate how angry he was with my father, who was trying to reason to him.

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Eleanor Roosevelt Understood Aging

Tony Fischer Photography via Flickr - Creative Commons license

Tony Fischer Photography via Flickr – Creative Commons license

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.

                                                 – Eleanor Roosevelt

beau·ti·ful

byo͞otəfəl/

Adjective

  1. Pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically.
  2. Of a very high standard; excellent.

Understanding My Aging Eyes After My Detached Retina

Eye Tour Cleveland ClinicI’ve written several posts about eye medical care (post on cataracts - posts on detached retinas). Sometime soon I will share a bit more about my experience with cataract surgery — mine occurred several weeks ago.

Recently I discovered a terrific eye education resource. If you are trying to make sense of the medical health of your eyes or the eyes of an aging parent, get started by educating yourself about the structure of an eye. Check out this wonderful Eye Anatomy Tour, posted over at the Cleveland Clinic website.

Because most of my doctors offer explanations during fairly short appointments, I am not always able to absorb everything. My physicians usually explain things clearly and mostly in an unrushed manner, but I cannot always remember everything that I need (or want) to know.

The nice thing about this animated eye tour is that it can be run over and over — always a useful feature but especially so if an adult child is  explaining an eye condition to an aging parent. When you watch the tour you can also use the Dictionary of Eye Terms, linked from the same web page.

This post is not a substitute for talking with your physician.

Read all of my detached retina posts.