Blog Posts by ThirdAge.com

  • It's Never Too Late to Have a Dream

    Sunset Woman

    Mary Anne Evans, the 19 th Century novelist who wrote under the pen name "George Eliot," once said: "It's never too late to be what you might have been." With all due respect for her admirable body of work, that quote is not entirely true. You can't, for example, become a gold medal gymnast or a prima ballerina as a ThirdAger even if those were possible dreams for you as a girl.

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    That said, however, there are plenty of pursuits that are possible dreams for people in the later decades of life. I can't resist trotting out the most famous example of a late bloomer, Grandma Moses, the renowned American folk artist who started painting at 75 and continued until she died at 101. I've never been at all surprised that she took so long to get started, given the fact that she gave birth to 10 children, 5 of whom survived, and also worked with her husband on their farm. No wonder she didn't have Read More »from It's Never Too Late to Have a Dream
  • Banish Crow's Feet, Bags, Droopy Eyelids, and Under-Eye Shadows

    Blonde Woman

    There's no denying the fact that aging can cause the thinning skin around your eyes to wrinkle and sag. The good news, though, is twofold. First, some of the damage is reversible. And second, certain factors that contribute to creases, puffiness, and dark circles have nothing to do with getting older and everything to do with lifestyle and general well-being. Here's how to keep your eyes as young-looking as possible as the years go by:

    Coping With Crow's Feet

    Nothing etches the skin around your eyes more surely than too much exposure to direct UV rays from the sun. The light not only breaks down the connective tissues that provide elasticity and strength but it also makes you squint. Your best defense is the trifecta of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a broad brimmed hat. Over time, if you also treat the skin around your eyes to nourishing moisturizers - especially those with retinol - the new cells you're always making will surface and look better than the ones that were

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  • My Fabulous Florida Holiday: When New Traditions Are Better Than Old

    The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, in Ponce Inlet, Florida. This is the tallest lighthouse in Florida, at 175 feet.

    Snow for Christmas is overrated. My dream Christmas has always been to be somewhere warm, but I could never get my Midwestern family on board with that. Now that I am divorced and live in Florida, 2011 was my opportunity to live the dream.

    My older son and his family hosted his dad and my daughter-in-law's dad at their home in Wisconsin. My younger son actually had to work on Christmas in Chicago. My sisters were occupied with their own plans and I had just visited them at Thanksgiving. So I was "on my own" this holiday season for the first time. Staying in Delray Beach, eating Christmas Eve dinner outside and dancing under the stars on New Year's Eve has definitely spoiled me. I never want to go north for the holidays again.

    Although Christmas and New Year's seem much more laid back here, Florida residents don't skimp on decorations. And why should they? You can put up lights without freezing your patootie off. I hadn't planned to even decorate but once my neighbors

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  • Are You More like Mom Than You Expected to Be?

    Mother and Daughter Smiling

    You need at least 6 if not 8 or 9 hours a night to look and feel your best. Otherwise, you're courting a hollow-eyed look complete with shadows. Naps are good supplements, too, especially if you are something of an insomniac. Just 15 minutes of mid-day shuteye can work wonders.

    When my mother had been widowed about three years, we took her on a tour of a residential development for active seniors near where we lived in New York. She was visiting from her home in Michigan, and our plan was to get her to move. From our point of view, she was rattling around all alone in a three-bedroom house, and she rarely got a chance to see the grandchildren. We thought she'd jump at the opportunity to sell her property and not only settle into a community with people her own age but also be a short drive from her family.

    Wrong. She politely but firmly refused and I couldn't understand why. Now, though, I totally get it. I'm a single ThirdAger myself, and although I adore my

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  • How to Deal with Shingles

    Doctor and Patient

    Although we sometimes like to think that non-fatal illnesses can be so thoroughly cured that they never recur, that's simply not true in the case of shingles.

    The unpleasant, uncomfortable rash, which affects about one million people per year, is actually a reactivation of the virus that causes the common childhood disease chickenpox. The virus is called a "varicella zoster" virus, which remains dormant within our nerve tissue until it's activated. Although the virus is part of the herpes family, it has nothing to do with the herpes simplex virus that causes sexually transmitted diseases.

    Shingles can appear on any area of the body, although they are common around the buttocks and trunk. The rash will appear on only one side of the body. If it appears in the eye, there's a risk of blindness and you need to talk immediately to an ophthalmologist, in addition to your primary care physician. (By the way, in case you're wondering why the condition has such an odd name,

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  • Dr. Marie's Guide to Preventing and Treating Constipation

    Marie Savard M.D.

    If you're not always "regular," you're definitely not alone. ThirdAge's resident women's health expert, Marie (Dr. Marie) Savard M.D., says that women are much more likely to suffer from constipation than men are. The reason is that the contractions of the digestive tract -- a process called peristalsis -- are slower in females. Dr. Marie also points out that women are especially prone to "holiday constipation," a phenomenon brought on by changes in diet, long plane or car rides, and the "safe toilet syndrome" in which people "hold it" for too long when they're away from home.

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    The good news, though, is that preventing and treating constipation is almost always simple and rarely requires a doctor visit. Here's what Dr. Marie recommends:

    Fill Up on Fiber Hard stools and the need to strain are the result of a diet that doesn't have enough bulk. "Your colon is a muscle," Dr. Marie

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  • Insulin and Weight Gain: Are You Gaining Weight on Insulin?

    Doctors

    Of course, there's no question -- you must take the insulin or other diabetes medications your doctor prescribes. Unfortunately, this can lead to the last thing you want: weight gain.

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    Here's why it happens: the more insulin you use to control your blood sugar level, the more glucose gets into your cells and the less glucose is wasted in your urine. The glucose that your cells no longer use simply accumulates as fat. Oral medications have the same effect as insulin replacement.

    What can be done to keep those pounds off? Well, there's no magic bullet but there are strategies you can use to stay at a healthy and stable weight.

    DON'T SKIP MEALS. If you go without a meal than your body tells your metabolism to slow down to prepare for a fast. When you eat well-balanced, nutritious meals at a regular time each day, your metabolism will stay on a steady keel.

    PAY ATTENTION TO

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  • The Upside of Worrying: Why Worrying Can Be Good for You

    Mature Woman

    Studies show women fret a lot more than men. If you're a worry wart, you're probably not surprised. But here's the good news: Worrying helps us to make the right decisions - especially about our health and our wallets. Think about it. Without a certain amount of fretting about our health, would we really make our annual appointment for a mammogram, go to the gym or wear a seat belt?

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    "Good worry is like a smoke detector that nature has built into our brains," explains psychiatrist Edward M. Hallowell, MD, author of Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition. Worry alerts us to danger. It also helps solve problems. If you're worried about bouncing checks, you'll be more likely to set up a cash reserve.

    That's probably why we're actually wired for "good worry" thanks to a part of the brain called the anterior insula, which helps us predict, and thus avoid, danger. So, when

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  • Eat Heart-Smart Foods Every Day

    Bowl of Fresh Fruit and Yogurt

    Did you know that certain foods can actually reverse the damage that has been done to your heart? If you pick your meals with your heart's health in mind, you can help unclog your arteries and even lower your blood pressure. You can also reduce your risk of developing diabetes and high cholesterol. Reducing your sodium and fat intake is a must, and if you learn to shop for healthy ingredients at the grocery store, you'll end up with heart smart options for all times of day. Here are some guidelines:

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    Breakfast. It's the most important meal of the day, but we're usually too rushed to even think about it. All too often, we tend to grab something unhealthy on the go instead of making sure we start the day with vital nutrients. So pass up a cheesy bagel or a carb-packed scone and go for oatmeal with fruit and nuts. Oatmeal tastes great topped with almonds, bananas, raspberries or

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  • Winter Style Tips from a Top Fashionista

    Sherrie Mathieson

    Sherrie Mathieson, an award-winning costume designer for United Artists, is the author of "Forever Cool: How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful, and Modern Personal Style" and "Steal This Style: Moms and Daughters Swap Wardrobe Secrets." We asked her for tips to give a winter-weary wardrobe some pizzazz. Here's what she told us.

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    1. Add an orange wool scarf. This bright shade is a better choice than red because it's unexpected. It works best if your basic palette is neutral. (Don't team it with black or you'll risk looking like a Halloween throwback!) The accent of sophisticated color will draw attention to your face -- and camouflage a less-than-perfect neck. No need to fork over designer prices. We found affordable versions at Target and Amazon.

    2. Look for classic olive green Hunter rubber boots to wear on sloshy days. This is an ageless style that's fun without being too funky.

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