Posts Tagged ‘Jim Evans’

Men Who Hate Seeing the Doctor

Thursday, September 27th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 45-year veteran of the health-fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today Jim talks common sense to an older gentlemen who, for his own good, needs a reality check.

DEAR JIM: I’ve had a sharp pain in my lower abdomen for the past several months. It hurts like the dickens, but it comes and goes, so I haven’t been too worried about it. My wife keeps telling me to go to the doctor and have it checked, but I’ve managed to get by without seeing a doctor for the past 20 years, so why should I start now? I’m 72, and I already know I don’t take very good care of myself. I’m an overweight couch potato and proud of it, and I enjoy my TV, a good cigar and a cold beer before I go to bed every night. My wife says I’m just an old fool, and maybe she’s right, but as long as I can still tolerate the occasional pain, why should I worry? It can’t be that bad if it hasn’t killed me yet, right? Ha, ha! OLD FOOL IN FARGO

DEAR OLD FOOL: I have to agree with your wife on this one. You really are an old fool, aren’t you? Worse, a stubborn old fool. However, you’re in good company with a lot of other old fools — and young ones too. There’s a reason why women outlive men on the average, and you’re the proof.

A national survey by Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine (LUCSSM) found that women were three times more likely than men to see a doctor on a regular basis. In fact, the study indicated that "trying to get a man to a doctor can be harder than pulling teeth." Come on! I’m a guy, but even I don’t understand that kind of nonsense. Why do you hate going to the doctor so much?

"There could be as many answers to that question as male patients that I see, but more often than not it’s that it’s not a priority for them," says Timothy Vavra, DO, Loyola University Health System physician and associate professor of internal medicine at LUCSSM. "They’re not willing to make a lifestyle change, so they think it’s a waste of time listening to a doctor tell them to change the way they eat, to start exercising and stop smoking if they’re not going to do it anyway."

According to Dr. Vavra, this kind of obstinate thinking just doesn’t add up. "The longer a person puts off seeing a doctor, the more likely they’ll have to see a doctor on a regular basis," he says. "Prevention isn’t a hundred percent, but we can address issues and keep an eye out for warning signs. I have patients that, if they would’ve seen me more regularly, we could have made little changes that would have helped prevent them from having a medical crisis that resulted in a complete lifestyle change."

Are you afraid that if you see a doctor you might find out something is wrong with you? Well, the longer you wait, the more that just might turn out to be true.

"If you wait until you have a health crisis, it’s no longer preventive care," adds Dr. Vavra. "It’s secondary care, and that may include surgery and/or hospital stay. Instead of making a simple change in diet and lifestyle, a person will have to make significant changes and often be on medications. Having to see specialists, paying for procedures and taking daily medications can really affect a person’s financial health."

And, what kind of example are you setting for the young men in your family who look up to you as a parent, grandparent or relative if they see you neglecting your health and making lame excuses about not going to the doctor. My advice is to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If you do find something wrong, deal with it. If you don’t find anything wrong, change your lifestyle and move forward so that your next appointment won’t be so traumatic. Either way, you’ll be glad you did. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your wife.

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A Cure for “Sitting Disease”

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 45-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today Jim shares some great advice on staying active in the workplace.

DEAR JIM: I’m getting along in years at 74, but I’m still working full-time and love my job. However, it’s a "sit-down" job in front of a computer that doesn’t provide much physical activity, and my weight seems to be creeping up on me during the past few years. It’s not much — only two to three pounds a year — but I’ve put on about 12 pounds in the past five years. I watch what I eat and try to stay active when I’m not working, but it doesn’t seem to be helping now. I know my metabolism has slowed down with age, but is there anything else I can do? GAINING IN GRINNELL

DEAR GAINING: Although you have tried to stay physically active, you are probably suffering from a common infirmity known as "sitting disease." But not to worry. There is a cure. In fact, the cure can increase both your physical activity level and your metabolism at the same time, even while you are working.

Studies have found that the physical activity associated with standing — rather than sitting — has a profound impact on overall health. "Sitting disease," a long-term result of prolonged sitting (more than 6.5 hours a day), includes increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and early mortality.

Based on the results of these studies, Ergotron, Inc.,www.ergotron.com of St. Paul, Minnesota, the global leader in ergonomic and wellness-enhancing mounting and mobility products, is urging employers to start utilizing stand-up and walkable work stations to fight "sitting disease."

"Responsible businesses need to understand the strong correlation that exists between extended periods of sitting and the associated impact that conditions such as heart disease and stroke will have on the global workforce," says Joel Hazzard, president and CEO of Ergotron. "By offering access to sit-stand computing options, businesses are creating an environment that promotes and supports optimum wellness and an active work style, and as a result healthier and happier employees."

Jacquie Evans, communication manager and executive assistant to the CEO of Hospice of the East Bay (hospiceeastbay.org/), has long been an advocate of working while standing. She says, "Like many people working in an office environment, I spend a lot of time on my computer and, after watching a special segment on ABC’s Good Morning America about the benefits of standing while working, I decided to try it. Now, after standing at my desk for more than two years, I really think it has made a difference in my overall concentration and alertness during the day, and it has definitely improved my posture. And, I don’t experience the back pains anymore either from sitting for so long day after day. It has helped me control my weight, too, because I find myself eating less in a standing position."

Until and unless your company acquires ergonomically-correct furniture to accommodate some kind of a mounting device or "lift" to raise your computer to a higher level where you can easily use it in a standing position, you might place something under it. "I just placed a simple cardboard box under my computer in the beginning," says Evans, "until I could find an adjustable desk top that offered more stability."

So join the "uprising" and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised to see your weight start heading in the right direction again.

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Wearing Headphones While Walking

Monday, March 19th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 45-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today he shares some safety information that could save your life, the life of a senior fitness client, or that of another older adult loved one.

DEAR JIM: I’m 63, and I usually wear headphones when I take my daily walk. It breaks up the monotony and puts a little more spring in my step listening to some of my favorite tunes. I enjoy "zoning out" and leaving all my troubles behind me while walking along the railroad tracks or the highway near my home. However, one of my friends — and she’s a real couch potato — says I am going to damage my hearing. Is there any truth to what she says? ZONED OUT IN ZENIA

DEAR ZONED OUT: Your friend may be right if you are really cranking up the volume, but there is a greater chance that you might die instead. No, not from the music but, rather, from what you don’t hear or see coming!

According to a recent study, "Headphone use and pedestrian injury and death in the United States"(http://press.psprings.co.uk/ip/january/ip040161.pdf), published in the online journal Injury Prevention
(http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/), serious injury and death to pedestrians listening to headphones have more than tripled in the past six years.

Seventy percent of the 116 accidents in the study resulted in death to the pedestrian. More than half of the moving vehicles involved in the accidents were trains (55 percent), and nearly a third (29 percent) of the vehicles reported sounding some type of warning horn prior to the crash. In other words, the pedestrians didn’t hear it or see it coming. Do you know how loud a train whistle is? Do you know how big a train is? Again, they didn’t even hear it or see it coming.

"Unfortunately as we make more and more enticing devices, the risk of injury from distraction and blocking out other sounds increases," according to lead author Richard Lichenstein, MD, (www.umm.edu/doctors/richard__lichenstein.html), associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (http://medschool.umaryland.edu/) and director of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center (www.umm.edu/).

The two most likely phenomena associated with these injuries and deaths are distraction and sensory deprivation. The distraction caused by the use of electronic devices has been coined "inattentional blindness," in which multiple stimuli divide the brain’s mental resource allocation. In cases of headphone-wearing pedestrian collisions with vehicles, the distraction is intensified by sensory deprivation, in which the pedestrian’s ability to hear a train or car warning signal is masked by the sounds produced by the portable electronic device and headphones.

So, you may choose to keep listening to your music as you stroll along the tracks or the highway — just don’t get lost in the moment. Even the Rolling Stones aren’t worth a fatal bump in the road.

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Robots Aiding Stroke Survivors

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized fitness consultant. Today he describes promising innovation in the area of stroke rehabilitation.

DEAR JIM: My wife suffered a debilitating stroke last year at age 70 and still has trouble using her arms. She has made considerable progress working with her physical therapist, but many of her arm movements still seem awkward and unnatural. Do you have any advice to help her regain the normal use of her arms more quickly? WORRIED IN WACO

DEAR WORRIED: I would not want to contradict anything in your wife’s current physical therapy regimen because it seems to be working, albeit more slowly than you would like. It typically takes time to recover from a stroke, and recovery is usually measured in very small increments — especially after the first three months or so. Sometimes survivors do not recover substantially even with the best of love and medical attention, so prepare yourself for the long haul and relish even the slightest improvement, no matter how small.

But take heart, too, because researchers are constantly working to find new and better ways to help stroke survivors. Research appearing in BioMed Central’s open access Journal of euroEngineering and Rehabilitation shows some significant success using robots to help stroke survivors regain the normal use of their arms.

The researchers’ robot assists patients as they attempt to guide its "hand" in a figure-eight motion above a desk, pulling in the correct direction and resisting incorrect movements to a minutely controlled degree. This interactive assistance allows for alternating levels of help, encouraging patients to re-learn how to use their arms.

According to Elena Vergaro and a team of researchers from the University of Genoa, Italy, "Our preliminary results from this small group of patients suggest that the scheme is robust and promotes a statistically significant improvement in performance. Future large-scale controlled clinical trials should confirm that robot-assisted physiotherapy can allow functional achievements in activities of daily life."

"Stroke survivors," said Vergaro, "perform arm movements in abnormal ways, for example, by elevating the shoulder in order to lift the arm, or leaning forward with the torso instead of extending the elbow. Use of such incorrect patterns may limit their ability to achieve higher levels of movement ability, and may lead to repetitive use injuries. By demonstrating the correct movements, a robot can help the motor system of the subject learn to replicate the desired trajectory by experience."

Robots are being used in various other ways to help stroke survivors, too, so there are some exciting developments that may be available to your wife in the near future. In the meantime, please continue to be patient and supportive while your wife goes through this difficult and painstaking recovery.

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One Terrific Role Model

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Today the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) celebrates the career of an outstanding SFA author and longtime friend of SFA members: James Evans. We will begin with two timely articles from Jim and then wrap things up with his impressive professional profile.

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Thanks, Jack!

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Quoted by Jim Evans in a 1996 SFA article, Jack LaLanne encouraged seniors this way: “Challenge yourself. Swim against the clock and swim vigorously.” He added, “Exercise should be a daily habit. Just get up and do it!” In today’s issue of Experience! Jim Evans provides further insight into the man he knew. Also included are several photographs that Jack gave to Jim over the years.

DEAR JIM: I was saddened to learn about the passing of Jack LaLanne, but, frankly, I wasn’t surprised. I thought he should have died years ago performing some of those crazy stunts of his. I used to exercise to his TV show in the fifties — I’m 75 now — but I quit working out years ago because I thought he took exercise too seriously. After all, doesn’t it just prove that no matter what we do to take care of ourselves, we will all die eventually anyway? DOUBTING THOMAS

DOUBTING THOMAS: Wow! You certainly missed Jack’s message by a mile!

Jack had no illusions about living forever, even though he joked that “dying would ruin his image.” And he often said – very honestly – that he didn’t work out because he “liked it” but, rather, because it enhanced his quality of life as he grew older and allowed him to continue to do things that people half his age had long since give up because they were simply “too old.”

“People don’t die of old age,” he said. “They die of inactivity.”

I first met Jack LaLanne (www.jacklalanne.com/) on his birthday – September 26 – in 1968 at the grand opening of the European Health Spa in Dublin, Ohio. Of course, I had grown up with Jack, watching him on TV with my mother in the fifties, but it is something else when you get to meet a legend in person.

Several hundred people had gathered to see the new club but, more important, they wanted to meet the guest of honor – the “godfather of fitness.” Small in stature – he was only about 5’6” – Jack was “big” in personality with a terrific sense of humor. As he was about to speak to the crowd, a very large woman elbowed her way rudely to the front of the room to see the fitness icon in person. The crowd grumbled audibly but parted so that she could get by, curious about her purpose. Finally, face to face with Jack, she looked him up and down and appeared noticeably crestfallen.

“Why,” she said with disappointment, “you’re not any bigger than my husband.”

“That’s right,” replied Jack with a big grin. “The difference with me is that everything still works.”

The crowd erupted in laughter as he gave her a big hug.

I ran into Jack many times during my 44 years in the fitness industry, and he was always the same outgoing, friendly, fun-loving guy with a positive attitude about life. While many so-called fitness experts have had more academic credentials or titles than Jack, no one could sell the concept of physical fitness with more natural enthusiasm – more passion – than Jack. He made exercise fun.

“Better to wear out than rust out,” he said. He was right, you know. Why don’t you put away your cynicism and start doing something physical? I know Jack would approve.

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Need Weed?

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

It’s a poorly kept secret that many senior citizens have both longstanding and ongoing experience in the use of marijuana. But did you know that physical exercise might curb the urge to partake? Jim Evans explains below.


DEAR JIM: I’ve been smoking “weed” most of my life – since I was about 20. I’m 73 now and I still smoke 3-4 joints a day. I’ve thought about quitting from time to time, but it helps me relax and it’s pretty much of a habit now anyway. As you can probably guess, I’m pretty laid back after all these years, but I have been experiencing an increasing number of panic attacks as I grow older. I know there isn’t any
way to treat my dependence with medication, and I really don’t want to quit anyway, but I’m wondering if some kind of physical activity might help me to cut back a little. POTHEAD FROM POMONA

DEAR POTHEAD: Until recently I couldn’t really say whether exercise might be a factor in curbing marijuana use or not. However, a recent study by Vanderbilt University Medical Center seems to indicate that exercise might actually curb both marijuana use and cravings.

The study, published earlier this year in the journal PLoS ONE , found that, after just a few sessions of running on treadmill, participants who were admittedly “cannabis-dependent” but did not want treatment to stop smoking pot, experienced a significant decrease in both cravings and daily use.

In fact, their craving for and use of cannabis was cut by more than 50 percent after exercising on a treadmill for 30-minute sessions over a two-week period. Researchers measured the amount of exercise needed for each individual to reach 60-70 percent of their maximum heart rate respectively, creating a personalized exercise treadmill program for each participant.

“This is 10 sessions but it actually went down after the first five. The maximum reduction was already there within the first week,” said co-author Peter Martin, M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center.>

“There is no way currently to treat cannabis dependence with medication, so this is big considering the magnitude of the cannabis problem in the U.S. And this is the first time it has ever been demonstrated that exercise can reduce cannabis use in people who don’t want to stop.”

The importance of this study – and future studies – will only continue to grow with the new knowledge of the role of physical activity in health and disease, according to co-author Maciej (Mac) Buchowski, Ph.D, Research Professor of Medicine and director of the Vanderbilt Energy Balance Laboratory.

“It shows that exercise can really change the way the brain works and the way the brain responds to the world around us,” added Martin. “And this is vital to health and has implications for all of medicine.”

More research will need to be done to substantiate these findings, but it certainly sounds promising. In the meantime, you might start walking for 30 minutes a day – on a treadmill or otherwise – and gradually increase the pace and see what happens. You can do your own personal experiment to see if it helps you to cut back on your pot smoking. If not, at least you’ll be in better shape.

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Who’s Who in Senior Fitness

Friday, April 15th, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 43-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and internationally recognized consultant specializing in fitness for seniors. For seven years he was host of the popular radio talk show "Forever Young" on San Diego’s KCBQ 1170 AM focusing on issues of health, fitness, and quality of life for older adults. He is a member of the Visionary Board for the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), focusing exclusively on the health and wellness of adults 50 years and older. Association members include people working within senior housing and retirement communities, recreation, academia, government agencies, and fitness and rehabilitation centers.

For nine years Jim served as chairman of the advisory board for the San Diego Retired & Senior Volunteer Program overseeing the fundraising and volunteer activities of more than 2,700 older adults at more than 250 worksites in San Diego (California) County.

Jim has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers over the years including Successful Retirement, 55 & Fine, Good Age, Economic Community, Living Better, Men’s Exercise, Motor Home, Under the Sun, Senior Life San Diego, Club and Resort Business, Exercise for Men Only, Iron Man, and many, many more. His editorials have appeared in the San Diego Business Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Des Moines Register, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and others. He is the author of "Senior Health & Fitness," a monthly column published in more than 750 markets across the country (since 1992) and is a popular and well-known speaker available for speaking engagements through World Class Speakers & Entertainers.

He was the owner and president of the Peninsula Athletic Club in San Diego, the largest health, fitness, and recreational complex in California – a 200,000 square foot facility on 546 acres serving more than 3,500 members and more than 250 schools and community groups. The facility hosted such historic events as the International BMW Dealers Convention and the San Diego Grand Prix and provided lodging and services for the 1999 Mexican Women’s soccer team during the World Cup and the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team. The club was sold in 2002 to Multi-Line Fitness International, an international chain of upscale health clubs in the U.S. and Canada. Jim currently works as vice president of sales and marketing for the SIM Corporation dba Bay Area Family Fitness in addition to his consulting and freelance writing.

A former world-class powerlifter and collegiate wrestler, Jim is a charter member of the ABCC Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame (1985) and was the sole inductee in the U.S. Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2009. He was the founder of the North American Natural Bodybuilding Association (NANBA) — now NANBF — in 1984 and hosted the first World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) pro natural competition — the Natural Universe – in 1990. He is an alumnus of The Ohio State University in Columbus where he majored in English and served as president of the Ohio State Weightlifting Club. He was a member of the varsity wrestling team at Ohio State on a full athletic grant-in-aid.

Jim and his wife Jacquie grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and currently live in Dublin, California. They have four children and nine grandchildren.

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Healthy Hints for the Holidays

Monday, December 20th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 40-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today Jim provides practical solutions for mature adults who have concerns regarding holiday weight gain.

DEAR JIM: It seems the older I get, the more weight I gain — especially during the holidays. I seem to be able to hold my own during the rest of the year, but I probably gain at least five pounds every year between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. At this rate I’ll be a blimp by 2011, and I’ll only be 69. What can I do to control my weight this holiday season?
HEFTY IN HELENA

DEAR HEFTY: The holidays are here again, and the average American can expect to gain from one to 12 pounds during the holiday season depending on what statistics you want to believe. It’s the same old story every year. Most Americans will make the same New Year’s resolution every year too: to lose weight! How to break the cycle of failure? Try these healthy hints to help you control your weight while still enjoying the holidays:

  • WALK AFTER EVERY MEAL. Instead of sitting around feeling stuffed and uncomfortable after every big meal, get up and walk. You don’t have to be a party pooper and leave your company behind to talk to themselves — invite them to walk with you. A brisk walk around the block will be invigorating for everyone, and you can continue your conversation along the way.
  • DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Drink a full 8-ounce glass of water when you first get up in the morning and right before you sit down to eat that big meal. Another helpful trick is to take a drink of water between every bite of food. All of this will help you to eat less and improve your digestion too.
  • EAT SMALLER PORTIONS. Serve yourself smaller portions — you can always go back for another serving if you are really that hungry — and cut the servings into several small pieces. Of course, this is a psychological ploy to fool your brain into thinking you are eating more than you really are, but it does work because generally you will eat less if you take smaller portions. Eat more slowly, too, instead of trying to wolf your food down as if there were no tomorrow. What’s the hurry, anyway? Enjoy!
  • EAT BREAKFAST. Be sure to eat breakfast on the day of any big holiday meal, even if you sleep in late and the meal is only a few hours away. It will keep you from eating too much at one time and help you digest your food more efficiently.
  • WALK IN PLACE. Most people will be watching lots of television during the holidays and, between all of the football games and Christmas specials, we are creating a nation of couch potatoes in just a few short months every year. Well, fight back without sacrificing your favorite television programs. How? Just stand up during every commercial and walk in place in the middle of the room. It might sound stupid, but just think about how many commercials appear on each program. You can log a lot of miles and burn a lot of calories without even leaving the house. Think you might be embarrassed in front of family and friends? That’s their problem, not yours, and you might be pleasantly surprised when they join you (it might be fun for grandchildren too!).
  • STAND UP AND SUCK IT IN. It sounds simple because it is simple. Many people walk around slouched over, shuffling along dragging their feet with absolutely no sense of energy. They are sleepwalking through life. Make a concentrated effort to stand up straight, throw your shoulders back, hold your chest high, suck in your tummy and walk with purpose. Try it while you are holiday shopping. Walk like you mean it. It takes a little more effort in the beginning, but after a while it will become a habit.

These simple suggestions can help you to have a healthier holiday season this year and every year hereafter. And, maybe you can convince Santa to join you.

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Facing Mortality Without Fear

Friday, November 19th, 2010 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

SFA author Jim Evans is a 42-year veteran of the health and fitness industry and an internationally recognized senior fitness consultant. Today he discusses natural concerns that may arise with advancing age.

DEAR JIM: I have managed to outlive most of my friends and three wives to make it to age 92, and I feel pretty good for my age. I don’t drink or smoke, and I try to stay physically active. Still, I can’t help thinking about dying. I have seen so many of my friends expire after lingering for months with cancer, heart problems, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions, and I have to admit that it scares me to think that it could happen to me too — and the likelihood becomes greater with every passing year. Am I just being paranoid?

SCARED IN SCARSDALE

DEAR SCARED: No, you’re not being paranoid. The thought of dying becomes more commonplace as we get older and have a greater sense of our own mortality. And, as many of our friends and loved ones pass on, we think about it more often. However, you seem to be living a healthy lifestyle which has probably contributed to your longevity and could sustain you for years to come.

To put your mind more at ease, you might be surprised to know that most people in their eighties, nineties, and above are often healthier than those 20 years younger. Many medical afflictions usually happen to people in their sixties and seventies. Those who have reached their eighties and nineties — like you — are "survivors" who often carry on for years in comparative health.

With all of the current concern about Medicare, most people are not aware that the average Medicare bill for someone who dies by age 70 is three times greater than for someone who lives to be 90. In fact, the medical cost during the last two years of life — which are usually the most expensive — is typically just $8,300 for someone who dies at age 90 compared to $22,600 at age 70. It won’t be the centenarians who stretch the limits of Medicare but, rather, it will be the baby boomers turning 65!

It is not easy to put the thought of death on the back burner when so many of your peers are already deceased, but dwelling on it will not add years to your life either. You have been given a great gift to live so long, so continue to take good care of yourself and enjoy each and every day. Your healthy lifestyle has seen you through the years and should continue to serve you in good stead. Remember, it is not how long you live that counts but the quality of those years. With more and more people living longer, you are in good company.

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