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Today, almost all health care facilities offer free patient portals. Patient portals are secure websites and mobile apps that give you direct online access to information from your electronic medical record. While many of these systems have been around for years, they still aren’t being used to their full potential. At two-thirds of hospitals, less than a quarter of patients have activated their patient portal. Despite our ever more connected world, many patients still don’t use or see the value in a patient portal. Patient portals allow you to schedule doctor appointments, access your medical history, and request prescription renewals, all from one site, even if the office is not open at that time. Patient portals give you a way to connect with your health care providers and actively engage in your treatment plans. When fully adopted, patient portals can even improve health outcomes for patients who use them. Patients can sometimes feel overwhelmed during a doctor’s appointment, whether due to unexpected news or complex medical terminology. Fortunately, patient portals allow providers to share clinical summaries after a screening or checkup, so patients can then easily reference their medical history or lab results on their own time. They can also use this information to send their doctor follow-up questions they may have forgotten to ask during the visit, thus helping them better understand their medical condition and care plan. • Schedule or request office appointments with your health care providers • View upcoming appointments • See your appointment history and details about each one • View test results faster • Request prescription renewals • Send secure electronic messages to your health care providers ACCESS YOUR MEDICAL INFORMATION AND IMPROVE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN YOUR HEALTH CARE THE BENEFITS OF PATIENT PORTALS You can use your patient portals to:
View your immunization summary
• Stay up to date on screenings and make sure you’re not overdue • Manage your child’s or aging parent’s care • Pay your bill In many cases, you can even download copies of your electronic medical records for your own personal use and allow others to access your patient portal. We have found this feature helpful when gathering the medical documentation needed to support our clients’ Social Security disability claims. It’s easier than ever to sign up. At your next doctor visit, ask how you can activate your patient portal before you leave the office. Often, you can also visit your health care providers website and sign up online.
Information is power. With easy access to your health information you can have more control over how your health is being managed.
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GIVING BACK TO LOCAL COMPANIES
March 29 is National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, which is huge for small businesses everywhere. Mom-and-pop businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy; Small Business Trends reports that mom-and-pop businesses account for 64% of gross domestic product (GDP) and generate 78% of all new jobs. Furthermore, no matter what turns the economy takes, small-business owners are less likely to lay off their employees than big corporations. Mom- and-pop businesses support all communities, and you can support them by celebrating this unofficial holiday! Give your local economy a boost! Shopping locally has a massive impact on your community. Local businesses return three times the amount of money to the local economy than larger corporations do. With that big of a returned investment, your community can support even more small businesses that generate a wealth of jobs and keep the cycle going. In addition to the economic boost, products from small businesses are usually higher quality, which makes them a better value for your dollar. Take this day to shop for birthday and holiday gifts for your loved ones that will bring them great joy and last a lifetime.
Get social and spread the word! While small businesses utilize every form of marketing available, social media is essential for their success and growth. After shopping at your favorite mom-and-pop business, share that experience on your social media! When you write a post on Facebook or take a picture for Instagram, be sure to tag the business and use relevant hashtags so your friends, family, and everyone else in your community can shop there, too. Writing reviews on Google Reviews and Yelp helps establish validity for the company. When another potential customer looks for reviews, they know they’re getting quality products and services from a well-established pillar of the community. The local businesses that are active on social media may post deals and sales for that day only, so keep your eyes peeled and be sure to follow all your favorite businesses!
FEEL LIKE YOU CAN’T DO DIY PROJECTS ANYMORE?
As you age, it can be harder to tackle the home projects you once did without a second thought. That said, just because they appear harder doesn’t mean they’re impossible to do. And, luckily, with age comes experience; you know how to get a job done faster and more efficiently than any 20-year-old would — you just need the tools to do it right. Here are three of the best power tools you can use to turn your home project dreams into reality. Previous drill models were built out of hard plastic and steel, which made them heavy, hard to maneuver, and difficult to grip. However, Makita drills are designed with soft grip handles, making them easier to use if you have arthritis or other joint conditions. In addition, they weigh only 2 pounds, so they’re safe and easy to handle in the tightest of spaces. That said, don’t let the size fool you: This drill can deliver 800 pounds of maximum torque, making it an ideal drill for your heavy-duty projects. Makita DT01W 12V Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Drill
near impossible. Fortunately, this handy power tool is perfect for polishing, cutting small-scale copper piping, engraving, or even spot- grinding a nasty weld. It also weighs only 1.1 pounds, so it’s perfect for intricate engravings or polishing your favorite set of wheels.
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX 5-1/2-Inch Circular Saw
For bigger DIY projects, it might not be realistic for you to work with the heavy, corded, and bulky saws that you used to use. When it comes to home renovations or those bigger DIY projects, there is nothing better than this BLACK+DECKER saw. With a tool-free depth of cut and easy-to-use bevel, it’s so much easier to get the type of cut you need. At 6.1 pounds, it’s painless to manage and less risky when you need to stretch to get a longer cut.
Dremel 7300-N/5 4.8V MiniMite Cordless Rotary Tool
Getting the amount of precision needed for smaller projects like engraving, polishing, and finish work with older rotary tools is
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RETIRE IN STYLE Even if you’ve always planned for a comfortable retirement in the United States, choosing to live internationally could be a smart alternative to improve your standard of living in retirement. International Living Magazine’s Retirement Index has tracked objective retirement metrics — like the cost of living, democratic stability, and health care — for the last 40 years. They also take into account reports of correspondents actively living abroad. Here are some of their top picks for international retirement destinations. Panama Panama ranks No. 2 in International Living Magazine’s list of best places to retire internationally. With its tropical climate, proximity to the United States, excellent health care, and low tax burden, it’s easy to see why. In Panama City, you can expect to pay at least $2,600 a month in living expenses, but housing costs are substantially lower outside of major metropolitan markets. Panama also offers excellent discounts, up to 25% off of things like airline tickets, hotels, and energy costs through its Pensionado program. Costa Rica If it’s a textbook paradise you’re looking for, look no further than Costa Rica. Thanks to a 1948 decision to abolish their military and direct all of those funds to health care and education, Costa Rica
is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America.” Known for its stable democracy, safety, and socialized health care that’s only available once you’ve obtained residency, Costa Rica also offers climates for just about everybody — from the lush jungles of the south to the hot, dry beaches of Guanacaste in the northwest. Expect to find large communities of expats to help you acclimate. Mexico The first things that come to mind for most people when you mention Mexico are margaritas and beach umbrellas, but this country offers a lot more than that. For starters, Mexico features an enticingly low cost of living. International Living estimates a couple could live in Mexico on anywhere from $1,500–$3,000 per month, depending on location, including health care expenses. Once you’ve obtained residency status, you can sign up for national health care plans that offer full coverage for just a few hundred dollars annually.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
IT IS OUR DESIRE TO BECOME YOUR 1-STOP LAWYER. If we can’t help you with your case, we would be happy to personally refer you to one of our colleagues. We will even give them a call to let them know a summary of your case so they are aware and ready to take your call.
• 1 eggplant, peeled and chopped • 1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds • 2 tsp salt • 3/4 cup olive oil, divided
• 5 sprigs thyme • 1 large onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick • 1 red bell pepper, chopped • 2 garlic cloves, sliced • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
1. Heat oven to 400 F. 2. In a colander, toss eggplant, zucchini, and salt. Let sit for 30 minutes and pat dry. 3. In an ovenproof pot, heat 1/2 cup olive oil. Add half of eggplant mixture, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove vegetables from pot. 4. Tie thyme sprigs together with kitchen twine. 5. In the same pot, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, and cook onion, pepper, garlic, and thyme for 8–10 minutes. 6. Add half the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. 7. Stir in original eggplant and zucchini mixture and top with remaining tomatoes. Do not stir. 8. Transfer pot to oven and bake mixture for 15–20 minutes. 9. Remove pot from oven and remove thyme bundle before serving.
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INSIDE This Issue
Patient Portals and You page 1 Celebrating National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day page 2 Best Power Tools for Older Folks page 2
3 Places to Retire Internationally page 3
Ratatouille page 3
Tama, the Calico page 4
THE FIRST FELINE STATIONMASTER IN ALL OF JAPAN TAMA, THE CALICO
During the mid-2000s, the Kishi Train Station in Japan began to deteriorate. By 2006, Kishi Station was left completely unstaffed because of low ridership and financial problems. However, one last resident still remained after everyone else was long gone: a black, white, and tan cat named Tama. Tama first appeared at the station as a young cat in the late 1990s. She lived near the train station and would visit commuters daily to receive affection and the occasional treat. But, as it turned out, her continued visits to Kishi Station would end up playing a much bigger role for the station. The same year it became unstaffed, residents living near the station asked the president of the Wakayama Electric Railway, Mitsunobu Kojima, to revive the station because the cat’s survival depended on it. It turns out Tama’s original owner had asked the railway workers to care for her before he moved away — he couldn’t bear to take her from the station she loved to visit so much.
Stationmaster of Kishi Station, the first cat stationmaster in Japan. To complete her look, Kojima gave her a small conductor hat to wear as she greeted commuters from her window perch inside the ticket gates. As an official stationmaster, Tama became well known all across Japan and throughout the world. She appeared in the media and on promotional materials that soon brought much-needed foot traffic to Kishi Station. Thousands of tourists came rushing to Kishi to see Tama for themselves, ride the Tamaden carriage, and pick up Tama merchandise inside the station. Tama brought joy to all commuters for the next several years before passing away in 2015. Nearly 3,000 people attended her funeral, and her legacy lives on. Tama’s successors continue as stationmasters: Nitama, who serves as Kishi stationmaster, and assistant Yontama at Idakiso, five stations away. Tama’s friendly and loving nature impacted many people around her, and she will always be affectionately known as the cat who saved the Japanese train station.
So, Kojima decided to go meet Tama. He liked her immediately and adopted her. A year later, Tama was officially named the
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