Gram-Gram’s Brown Sugared Yam Slices 

Total Time

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 1 ½ hours

Serves: 8-12

Ingredients

3-4 medium sized yams

1 ½ cups of brown sugar

2-3 TBSP of butter

12 oz bag of pecans-chopped is easier

Directions

Using a large pot bring 6-8 cups of water to a boil

Place yams in water and cover. Boil yams until cooked through

Place butter in a glass liquid measuring cup and microwave until melted

Peel cooked yams and cut into inch-thick slices

Place slices on a tin foiled baking tray

Pour melted butter over slices

Sprinkle brown sugar and pecans over slices

Turn oven on to broil at 300 F

Place tray inside the oven on the middle rack

Keep the door to the oven slightly open and watch for the butter and brown sugar to caramelize

 

Homemade Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce

Total Time

Prep: 5 minutes

Cooling time: 1 hour

Cook: 15 minutes

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients

2/3 cup of sugar

½ cup of no sugar added orange juice or freshly squeezed

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

One 12-ounce bag of cranberries

Directions

Combine the sugar, orange juice, 1/2 cup water, the cinnamon, salt and cranberries in a medium saucepan

Bring up to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 15 minutes

Let it cool completely before serving

Retrieved from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-deen/homemade-cranberry-sauce-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

Green Bean Casserole

Total Time

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients

2 cans (14.5 oz each) French-style green beans, drained

1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup

¼ cup of milk

1 can of french-fried onions

Directions

Heat oven to 350°F

 In 1 1/2-quart casserole or glass baking dish, mix green beans, soup and milk

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, topping with onions during last 5 minutes of baking, until bubbly

Retrieved from: http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/green-bean-casserole/f466928f-a799-4cdc-89ba-1e0bbedf878b

 

Sautéed Carrots

Total Time

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 10 min

Ingredients

2 pounds of carrots

1 teaspoon of kosher salt

¼ teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

1 ½ tablespoons of dill or parsley

Directions

Peel the carrots and cut them diagonally in 1/4-inch slices, you should have about 6 cups of carrots

Place the carrots, 1/3 cup water, the salt, and pepper in a large (10 to 12-inch) sauté pan and bring to a boil

Cover the pan and cook over medium-low heat for 7 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are just cooked through

Add the butter and sauté for another minute, until the water evaporates and the carrots are coated with butter.

Off the heat, toss with the dill or parsley. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.

Retrieved from: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/sauteed-carrots-recipe.html?oc=linkback

 

 

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1. Figure out what design you want to carve: It’s always better to have a design in mind before you go pick out a pumpkin, that way you can pick out one with the right dimensions. Depending on the design it might be better to go with a short, round one, or a tall, narrow one. Just try to find a pumpkin with a similar shape to the pattern you want to carve, especially when using stencils.
2. Picking out the right pumpkin: Make sure the skin is smooth and the color looks the same all over the pumpkin, watch out for discoloration and mold! When you press on the skin it should be firm and not give, avoid pumpkins with bruises, cuts or any dents if you can. Also, knock on the pumpkin with your fist, if it makes a hollow sound that generally means it’s ripe. This is fine if you only want to carve but realize unripe ones will last longer on your porch.
3. Handling and storing your pumpkin prior to carving: After you have picked out the pumpkin you want be sure not to carrying it by the stem, I know this is tempting but don’t! The stem is a big part of the visual for the finished Jack-O-Lantern, and if the stem breaks off it will cause the pumpkin to rot sooner. Store your pumpkin somewhere cool, dry, and preferably away from sunlight until you are ready to carve. This helps it last longer, once you have finished carving and put it out onto your porch the heat and sunlight will deteriorate it fast.
4. Carving prep: Wash the entire skin of the pumpkin prior to carving with a water and chlorine solution. 1 gallon of water with 1 teaspoon of chlorine, this helps prevent molding prematurely. Next, draw your pattern of choice on paper, this makes revisions much easier. DO NOT DRAW ON THE PUMPKIN.
5. Transferring pattern to pumpkin: You are going to need scissors, tape, and needles or a craft knife for this step. Cut out your pattern with the scissors being careful not to cut too close to the actual pattern. Once completed tape the cut out onto the pumpkin where you would like the pattern to go. Next, use your needle or craft knife to poke holes through paper to score the shapes you want to carve onto the face of the pumpkin. If this is sounds like too much work or you don’t have the tools then you can buy a fairly inexpensive pumpkin carving kit at most grocery stores.
6. Carving Time: Lay out some old newspaper on top of a steady surface or table and place your pumpkin on top of that. Small, serrated edge blades work best for carving. Use slow, controlled, sawing motions when cutting. Please DO NOT try to cut your pumpkin with a normal straight-edge razor, forcefully pressing the blade through will damage the pumpkin and you could possibly cut yourself. Be patient, some shapes take time. If you can’t get through to the other side on the first try that’s okay!
7. Carving out the top or head of the pumpkin: After you have finished carving out your design use a similar blade to carve out the top. Use a dark colored marker and draw a small circle around the stem about an inch and a half away from the stem. Next draw a small triangle that connects from the stem to the circle you just drew. This triangle will act as a chimney when finished. You can cut out the circle first and pull up the top or cut out the triangle first, it’s really personal preference.

8. Scraping out the inside: This is my least favorite part of carving but good news is you are almost done! Some people like to use a spoon to scrape out the inside and avoid getting sticky; personally I like to stick my whole hand in to take out the excessive clumps first. Once I have finished getting all the excess seeds and clumps out I use a spoon or dough scraper to clear out the bottom. Your goal should be to provide a flat surface for the candles to sit once you are finished. Once flat put no more than 3 or 4 small candles inside your pumpkin and set on your porch. Lite the candles and put the top back on. You are ready for trick-or-treaters!

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Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? You may be lacking key nutrients, don’t worry we are here to help you fight the natural insomnia that comes with age!

The National Sleep Foundation estimates “that 64 percent of adults over 65 consider themselves a morning person”. They went on to explain that as we age our cardiac rhythm changes slightly, making us feel drowsy in the early evening but then awaking too early the next morning.

Nutrient-Rich Foods List:

  1. 1.      Fresh Fruits- One of the favored fruits among athletes are bananas for their high sources of potassium, but did you know they also contain high amounts of magnesium which has been linked with decreasing anxiety? Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps induce sleep. How it works is the tryptophan is converted by the brain into serotonin and melatonin which are neurotransmitters that promote relaxation and sleepiness. Cherries are another good source melatonin if you don’t like bananas, and peaches, apples, and apricots all contain high amounts of magnesium. (Stevenson, S. 2014, June 27).
  2. Complex Carbohydrates- Certain carbs also contain amounts of tryptophan including oatmeal, popcorn, jasmine rice, and sweet potato. Mashing up a cooked sweet potato and pouring honey on it is an excellent bedtime treat to help you relax your way to some rewarding zzzz’s. Another good recipe is having a small bowl of oatmeal because it also has plenty of magnesium and potassium. (Stevenson, S. 2014, June 27).
  3. Lean Protiens- Remember Thanksgiving dinner last year? Remember how everyone took a nap after? That’s because lean proteins are filled with you guessed it tryptophan. Eating lean turkey, fish, egg whites with toast or rice cakes are all great examples of lean proteins. Caution: Don’t overeat on protein, especially anything with a lot of fat or deep-fried foods. These foods have the opposite result we want! (Stevenson, S. 2014, June 27).
  4.   Healthy Fats- Yeah that’s right, fats! Do you know according to the Cleveland Clinic unsaturated fats boost your heart health and also increase your serotonin levels?  Examples of foods containing these key nutrients include avocados, nuts, and certain kinds of peanut butter. Nuts contain large amounts of magnesium which promotes relaxation by reducing anxiety, particularly almonds. Caution: Avoid the unhealthy saturated fats and Trans fats! These will reduce your serotonin levels and sleep will be lost. (Stevenson, S. 2014, June 27).  
  5. Certain Non-Caffeinated Warm Drinks- Remember mom giving us a warm glass of milk before bed? She was a genius! Milk and other dairy products contain…yep tryptophan, that and the extra calcium will help regulate your melatonin levels. Warm up milk and drop honey and cinnamon into it, yum! Non-caffeinated drinks such as herbal teas can also be very helpful in relaxing us before bed. Look for teas that contain chamomile or peppermint herbs, they promote relaxation. Another key ingredient in teas is valerian root; this herb has been used for centuries as a natural sedative. Caution: Stay from caffeinated drinks like coffee and energy drinks, even several hours before you plan to go to bed to make sure it’s out of your system. (Stevenson, S. 2014, June 27).

 

 

Sources:

 

Stevenson, S. (2014, June 27). 5 Foods That Fight Senior Insomnia. Retrieved from http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/6-27-14-foods-to-help-seniors-sleep/

 

-Cleveland Clinic

-National Sleep Foundation

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When we travel on our business trade shows, we always come out with a new experience… But this time, we almost didn’t make it.

We arrived in the Atlanta Georgia Airport, looking forward to relaxing in a cool hotel room after a long day of traveling and adjusting to the thick humid air. We flagged down a taxi, and packed the 7 large bodies of our team into the old van, losing an inch of clearance as each person stepped into the van.

Packed shoulder to shoulder, the driver gunned it towards our destination. We thought nothing of it, until we reached the freeway…

The driver swerved through near-impossible gaps, with each grinding turn revealing the crunch of the old worn shocks that haven’t been replaced in years.  It was clear the van was overloaded; and at one point, we questioned if the driver was loaded (on drugs) too.

Clinging to the hope of a safe arrival, we veered of the exit and into the winding maze of Atlanta, Georgia. After a few heart-pounding stops, and almost rear-ending another car, we finally arrived at our hotel with the feeling of relief, and a new appreciation for life.

We do a lot of traveling, and although the experience was unsettling, it’s fun to look back on the crazy adventure and laugh.

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2007 the percentage of men ages 65 and older working in the workforce is at 20.5%. This number has steadily increased since hitting the lowest it has been in recent years at 15.8% in 1985. The percentage of women ages 65 and older in the workforce is at 12.6% this rising from 7.3% in 1985. This brings to mind a question why aren’t people retiring?

There are several factors that affect whether or not someone retires. These range from financial reasons to emotional reasons. In this article we will discuss the various factors that are involved in deciding to retire and what that means for the rest of the workforce.

Recession

The first reason we are to discuss is financial reasons. Whenever a country goes into a recession you can see the effects on the workforce almost immediately. Fewer people are wanting to leave their jobs because they don’t know if the grass is greener on the other side or if there is even grass at all. Fewer people leaving the workforce means fewer jobs for people who are beginning to enter the workforce, this leads to lower wages and an overall bad economy.

Most people in today’s recession have decided to work a few extra years and save some money instead of entering retirement when they planned to. Like we stated above their unwillingness to trust in their financial planning and the fear of the unknown keeps them working. The longer they wait to accept Social Security benefits the more money they will have in retirement.

Remaining Active

Another reason for why there are many that postpone retirement is that they don’t know what else to do with there time and working allows them something to do. By the time that most people reach retiring age they have been working in the workforce for a few decades. They probably are in a job that they enjoy and don’t necessarily want to quit working. Some also fear becoming inactive and don’t know what to do with the extra time that they have been given in retirement.

Don’t Want To

This reason may seem very practical but for some that are at the age of retirement they simply don’t want to retire. They have enough money to retire and have activities that they enjoy and would like to pursue but for some reason they just don’t want to stop working. Many people devote their lives to their work and when it comes time for retirement they don’t want to leave their life’s work and start on a new journey. For people that have this desire keep in mind that their are plenty of options to volunteer your time and skill set to help out the community or companies in your area. Depending on your skill set you can find ample opportunities to continue working in your field of study.

 

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1. Don’t be too bossy

Remember when you were growing up and you hated it when your parent’s bossed you around? Well don’t take this chance to give them the same treatment.  When you begin talking to your parent about their healthcare options bring up your concerns instead of telling them what they are going to do. Not only will this allow you to understand what their concerns are but they will continue to feel like they have control of their situation. Independence is key when caregiving for your family.

2. Don’t be the Doctor

Unless you are a doctor don’t diagnose your parents with anything. They don’t want to hear that they are getting old from real doctors why would they want you to tell them. If you feel like your parent(s) are having declining symptoms then schedule a visit to the doctor so that the professionals can diagnose them.

3. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes your parent(s) is going to forget that they told you something or they might just want to tell the same stories over and over again. This might be because they are forgetting things or they just really love that story. Don’t get worked up about them telling you the same thing over and over, just listen patiently and attempt to engage in the conversation.

4. Don’t Assume Things

Just because you think that your parents won’t be able to do something doesn’t mean that you should discourage them from trying. New technology seems to be one of these things. Despite what you may think about your parent’s ability to use technology there are several of them that can handle their own when it comes to newer technology. This suggestion also is related to tasks. Much like a younger child who is learning to do things wants to do everything by themselves, so do your parents as they age want to feel like they can take care of themselves. Allow them to do this as much as they can.

5. Don’t Be Discouraging

Negativity in any form can be very disheartening. Think positively and emphasize the things that your parents can do instead of the things that they can’t do. Our minds are more powerful than we think and by thinking ‘my parent can’t do anything’ and focusing more on ‘my parents may be limited but there are many things they can do’ you will see a big change in your attitude and your parent’s attitude.

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1. Bowling

Did you know that three games of bowling is equal to one mile of walking? Or that you burn an average of 240 calories per game? Now you might think, ‘I’ve bowled before. I

Photo by Ginny

didn’t feel like I was exercising’. Isn’t that the best kind of exercise, the type that you don’t realize that you are burning calories. If you’re interested in bowling in a league ask your local bowling alley what league options are available to you or just begin bowling for fun and exercise.

2. Try a Wii or Kinect

With the modern technology that is now available in the world you can get a good workout by playing video games. The Nintendo Wii and the Xbox Kinect use technology that tracks your movement across the room, using a camera they have developed games and workouts using these devices.  These consoles have developed games specifically designed as workouts. If you’d rather have fun and play a game they have developed several games that help with range of motion, balance and flexibility.

3. Window Shop

Walking is walking no matter where you are. You don’t need to go on a nature trail to exercise just walking through the city would do just fine. Remember that if you reach 10,000 steps per day that you can help promote weight loss. The window shopping part of this suggestion is there to distract you so that you don’t realize that you are exercising.

4. Golfing

Golf is a great game for the competitive senior although competitiveness is not a requirement when it comes to golfing. Golfing is a great way to exercise and on average you walk 5.16 miles when playing 18 holes of golf. This is the equivalent of walking about 10,000 steps which is a healthy way to promote weight loss.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson

5. Weight-Train with Groceries

Groceries can be really heavy, so why not lift with them? Weights can be very expensive so a very inexpensive way of weight lifting is to use your groceries. After you finish a gallon of milk, instead of throwing it away fill it up with water or heavier materials and use it to lift. Other groceries can be used as well such as heavy bags of rice or heavy cans.  This will provide you and very cheap and effective way of staying in shape.

 

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Photo by AboutModafinil.com

We have all seen people that in old age have begun to forget things or who struggle with diseases that overtime begin to make them confused or forget things. Staying mentally sharp is a goal that everyone entering the latter years of their life should have. Because of that here are four tips that help everyone regardless of age to stay mentally sharp.

1. Staying Socially Active

Your brain needs to remain active and engaged with other people, that’s why this is the first tip for staying mentally sharp. After a person retires they no longer are engaged on a day-to-day basis with their co-workers. We need to find replacement social engagements after we retire. Some activities include volunteer work, joining a club or participating in weekly activities of any kind.

2. Avoiding Stress

Stress can make people age faster and lead to several health problems. Learning to control and maintain stress levels can be one of the healthiest things you do, not just for your brain but for your whole body. Some researchers have indicated that stress can promote changes in your brain and has sometimes led to Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Puzzles

Using your brain and testing it is one of the best ways to keep mentally sharp. Doing the

crossword in your local paper or doing other puzzles like Sudoku can greatly increase your mental sharpness and help you remember things. Don’t get stuck doing the same puzzles over and over again because they will get easier with time. Change up what puzzles you are doing to keep your brain challenged.

4. Exercising Regularly

This seems to be a tip that is involved in every part of healthy living. Exercising regularly has been linked to stimulating new brain cell growth. This only occurs when you exercise on a regular and consistent basis. Tips on exercising regularly include exercise with a friend, vary the activities that you perform and don’t push yourself too hard, too fast.

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Let’s face it, every day we grow older. This can be a depressing thought when you really consider it but instead of allowing that thought to consume us, we’ve put together a few things to get excited for as we age and more particularly as we become senior citizens.

  1. Senior Discounts

    Photo by Vincent Lock

Let’s be honest this was the first one that came to everyone’s mind during the introduction. As most of us know several institutions and businesses offer senior citizen discount, in order to get the discount however you must admit that you are a senior citizen which can be hard to do sometimes.

If you decide that you want to become a member of the AARP they offer several different discounts, one discount allows you to save 60 percent when you shop at certain online stores.

2.  Travel

Another perk that comes from growing older is the time that you now have to travel. Throughout your life you probably made a mental note of places that you would like to visit. Well, now is the time. If you don’t necessarily have any places in mind there are several travel agencies that can help you decide where to go.

3.  Fitness Programs

Staying active and exercising is more important now than ever before. Local community centers or fitness centers usually have several programs for senior citizens to enjoy. This would be a great way to improve your health and mobility to ensure many years of healthy living to come. 

Check with your local community recreation center for a list of programs that you might be interested in.

4.  Volunteer Organizations

Now that you’re retired and you have lots of free time on your hands. This could be spent doing several things but if you have worked your whole life and gained experience chances are you would want use that experience. Find a volunteer organization that you can donate some of your time.

There are several places for volunteers to find somewhere to volunteer but we suggest searching online for the nearest opportunities.

 

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Caregiving for an elderly parent can take its toll on a person both financially and emotionally. Although difficult anyone that is considering becoming a caregiver for a loved one should always consider the costs of caring for that loved one.

The following statistics come from a survey performed by AgingCare.com referring to the costs that it takes to care for a loved one.

Personal:

63% of caregivers have no plans on how they will pay for their parent’s or loved one’s care.

62% of caregivers state that becoming a caregiver has affected their ability to plan for their financial future.

Although there are government plans in place like Medicare to help with the costs of caring for a loved one, they don’t pay for everything. Creating a plan for you loved one’s care before they are in need of it is the best way to ensure you’re prepared for the costs.

Financial:

34% of caregivers spend $300 or more per month out of their own pockets for their loved one’s expenses.

54% of caregivers have sacrificed their own spending money to pay for their loved one’s care.

Identifying what care your loved one’s needs is a good way to begin preparing for these costs. Although diseases and other illness come upon us quickly prepare for normal aging among your loved ones.

Work:

43% of caregivers have had to take time off of work to fulfill their caregiving duties.

48% of caregivers say they make less money at work because of their caregiving duties.

25% of caregivers have been fired or lost their job because of caregiving.

The best advice to avoid any type of miscommunication between your employer is to be honest and upfront about the challenges that you are facing as a caregiver. Most employers will be sympathetic to your cause and possibly allow you to adjust your work schedule or even take days off when needed to perform caregiving duties.

Physical & Emotional Toll:

53% of caregivers provide more than 40 or more hours per week.

37% of caregivers provide more than 80 hours per week.

21% of caregivers say they never get a break from caregiving.

This type of cost might be the most overlooked of them all. The best way to make sure that you remain healthy emotionally is to create a team of caregivers that can provide breaks from caregiving. These might include neighbors friends or  relatives.

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