Medicare Part B price increase
Are you expecting a raise in your Social Security check? Not so fast. Chances are high that Medicare will eat up your 2 percent increase. This year anywhere from 42 to 70 percent of those receiving Medicare whose incomes are under $85,000, will see their monthly Part B premium jump by $25, from $109 to $134. Those whose income is above $85,000 for a single or $170,000 for a couple will pay $53.50 more per month. Single retirees with an income of $107,000 to $133,500, will pay $267.90 and those with an income of $133,500 to $160,000 will pay $348.30.
A pain in the neck
Technology is putting an additional strain on necks. Placing tablets or Kindle readers on your lap can cause the neck to flex at an extreme angle. This is fine for a short time, however, over long periods, this practice can lead to neck pain, according to research from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Keeping your electronic hardware at eye level is best. It is a good practice to set the display in front of you not to one side, so that your neck is not twisting constantly. These techniques along with not staying in one place too long, for instance moving your head, shoulders and neck, will help keep you flexible and pain-free. If your neck is in an unhealthy position for a long time, the spine and neck can become strained. Another tip is to prop a touch-screen computer at a 45 degree angle, instead of flat on your lap.
Think positive… about aging
Once again science has proven that a positive attitude about aging leads to a better life. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports on a study showing a positive attitude about aging helps people recover from medical issues. The study included 598 people who were interviewed once a month and filled out questionnaires over a space of 10 years. Their attitudes were determined by the words they used to describe getting older. People who were positive were 44 percent more likely to recover from medical interventions than those with negative attitudes. For those positive people, daily living was also easier.
Eating right can be tricky
Want to eat right? Trying to figure that out may be trickier than you thought. Take the lowly egg. For years it was maligned because the yolk has 200 milligrams of cholesterol. Now doctors are saying that one egg a day is fine, except for diabetics. The “perfect” egg contains 6 grams of protein, lutein for vision, and choline for memory preservation. If you are concerned at all, substituting egg whites for yolks is always a useful strategy. Egg whites contain almost no cholesterol but are packed with protein.
Some doctors talk about fish as a staple of a healthy diet. But, fish is becoming more and more contaminated by methylmercury and other toxins. Ninety five percent of methylmercury that we ingest is absorbed into our cells, bloodstream and even our organs. Mercury can cause brain damage, memory issues, shaking, and numbness among other things.
The fish containing the highest amounts of mercury include orange roughy, white tuna,
and swordfish. Farm-fed salmon has five to ten times as many contaminants as wild salmon.
The New York Times is reporting on a study in the journal Neurology that seems to show that participants who ate green leafy vegetables – one to two servings a day – scored the equivalent of 11 years younger on tests of mental ability than those who ate little or none. Greens contain lutein, folate, beta carotene and other nutrients known to affect aging. The study was observational in that 960 men and women ages 58 to 99 completed food frequency questionnaires and had two or more cognitive assessments over five years of follow-up. As the cartoon character said: eat your spinach…and your collards, kale, and lettuce.
Being fat is the new smoking
New research from Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research shows despite the decrease in the smoking rate of Americans over the last several decades and its positive effect on health, life expectancy in the U.S. is lagging other industrialized countries. Researchers found that 56 percent of the shortfall in life expectancy is due to obesity. In the case of women, the effects weigh heavily. The good news is that exercise and weight loss help extend life but you have to start in midlife. Even at age 50, being overweight is associated with an increased risk of death, according to the National Institutes of Health.