Dan’s Letter TM My communiqué
“Please ... let me introduce you to my mind...one article at a time.”
FROM THE DESK OF Dan Anderson
A HEARTFELT REQUEST
Mixed in Emma’s daily mail was a handwritten note addressed simply to “neighbor.” The return address on the envelope was for a house across the street that Emma had always believed to be vacant, since the curtains were always closed.
The note inside read:
I see you with your family, and you seem like a very nice person. I was wondering if we could be friends. I am 93 years old and no longer have any family. I am very lonely.
ADULT PLAYGROUNDS T he B enefits and D rawbacks of O utdoor G yms
The note was signed by a woman named Allison.
Emma was reduced to tears. She thought of her own grandmother, who passed away recently. Then she thought about how much loneliness it would take for an elderly person to reach out to a complete stranger. Emma walked over to Allison’s house and knocked on the door. She was greeted by a petite older woman with dazzling blue eyes. Over the next few years, Allison became a surrogate grandmother to Emma and her family.
Fitness fads come and go rapidly, but one decade-old trend is still growing in America and all over the world. It’s rise in popularity comes at a great time too, given the shocking obesity rates in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. With the litany of workout and dieting options all over the media, choosing where to start can be just as confusing as deciding what to do. Luckily, some U.S. cities are starting to develop outdoor gyms in convenient locations to help their residents to get fit, shed extra pounds, and have healthier lifestyles. Outdoor gyms have been popular since China began installing them in its cities to promote physical fitness ahead of the 2008 Olympics. The fad traveled to parks across Europe and is blazing its way through the U.S. Are these gyms worth the hype? For most residents, the answer is a resounding yes, but there are some concerns users should keep in mind.
Loneliness is real and affects many people.
Reach out in the spirit of friendship to warm the heart of a lonely person through an act of kindness.
Let’s face it: Gym memberships are expensive and getting to the gym can be a time suck. If you can incorporate a workout routine into your daily life, you’re more likely to stick with it. Outdoor gyms work great for busy parents who can take their kids to the park and get a workout in at the same time. They also work wonders for the casual walker who wants
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to jump in during their route. The gyms are usually installed in central locations, and they are open 24 hours per day. Better yet, the workout is free. The gyms can also serve another purpose for their communities. Cities can fill their vacant lots and parks with exercise equipment and promote healthy living. It encourages residents to engage with their communities through health and fitness. Many residents in areas with outdoor gyms have reported feeling a stronger sense of community because of the friends they meet at the site. Some outdoor gyms have also expanded to include “green” options, where users generate energy to light the space and the buildings near it. Other neighborhoods have begun to offer training and classes there, making personal-training expertise available for everyone.
for progression. Marathon runners or expert weightlifters may feel left out at these gyms, and as newbies gain experience, they could easily plateau. Furthermore, fitness trainers warn that these pieces of equipment are assembled with little to no education about the best way to use them. Fitness novices may feel overwhelmed
or use the equipment incorrectly. Others claim the equipment is a gaudy sight for neighbors to have to look at. Despite these drawbacks, many supporters are passionate about the health benefits of outdoor gyms. As communities across America begin to embrace the outdoor trend, prepare to see one pop up in your town!
Despite the numerous benefits of outdoor gyms, they aren’t for everyone. While these gyms can help people get fit, they don’t allow
HURRICANE HERO TONY ALSUP How One Man Rescued Hundreds of Animals
In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a fewwho find greater strength in compassion. Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out-of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal inmind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama. The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals inTexas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he
finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.
It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can followTony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottomof every update he posts:“Love y’all, mean it.”
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5 Common Financial Struggles for Seniors WHETHER YOU’RE RETIRED OR NOT
SCAMS AND IDENTITY THEFT Sadly, many identity thieves and cybercriminals target the elderly. While your credit report can be corrected after such an event, many seniors are unequipped to deal with the process. The best defense is to check your statements often to ensure that any foul behavior is caught as early as possible. CONFUSION REGARDING FEES Many seniors reported charges they didn’t understand to the CFPB. Often, they were signed up for subscriptions they didn’t use or weren’t sure how interest was being calculated. As with identity theft, monitoring your statements for unusual charges is the best way to avoid this source of stress.
Planning for and navigating retirement is the most pressing financial concern for older adults. While understanding how to budget and spend as you approach and enter retirement is crucial, it’s far from the only issue that seniors face. Last year, a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) investigated the most commonly reported complaints the organization had received from adults age 62 and older. Aside from retirement savings, here are the five major issues reported by seniors. DEBT The number of seniors and retirees with debt is at an all-time high. Many seniors carry excessive debt in order to ease the burden on their children and grandchildren. Some still have student debt from their college years or other outstanding loans. Others turn to credit cards to defray a surprise cost like a medical emergency. If you’re in danger of falling behind on payments, contact your lenders before opening a new credit account. REVERSE MORTGAGES Many seniors have reverse mortgages, which allow them to buy into home equity provided they repay it when the property is sold. In this mortgage structure, however, people still need to pay property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. These mortgages can end up being a trap for seniors, which is why Jean Setzfand, a senior vice president at AARP, refers to them as a last resort.
LOSS OF A SPOUSE The loss of a spouse presents
challenges much greater than the financial burden, but that is often a major part of navigating the death of your partner. Accessing bank accounts and other assets can prove difficult, especially if it was the deceased who primarily managed the finances. Working with a financial planner or elder law attorney can help make this process less daunting.
Take a Break!
1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds)
4 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups red wine
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare. 5. To make au jus, place roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus.
Solution on page 4
Recipe courtesy of The Food Network
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Dan’s Letter “Please ... let me introduce you to my mind ... one article at a time.”
INSIDE THIS ISSUE From the Desk of Dan Anderson PAGE 1 Outdoor Gym Popularity PAGE 1 Hurricane Pet Hero PAGE 2 Financial Struggles Older Adults Face PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Herb Roasted Prime Rib PAGE 3 CombatWinter SkinWith Natural Solutions PAGE 4
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION FOR DRY SKIN The effects of winter can be harsh on your skin. Dry skin is frustrating, especially when it becomes chapped and cracked. Sunlight, cold and dry air, certain soaps, and chemicals all aggravate and worsen this condition because they weaken the outer layer of skin and make it less capable of retaining and replacing Natural Solutions
emollients, which smooth the skin and retain moisture. Both come in synthetic and natural forms and are easily found at your local grocery store. Natural humectants and emollients hydrate the skin long-term, while synthetic versions may soften the skin for a while, but don’t moisturize as well. For natural humectants, use ingredients such as aloe, honey, and glycerin. Natural emollients include shea butter and avocado oil. Lotions with added fragrance can further irritate already-dry skin, so it’s best to use fragrance-free. Once you’ve picked your favorite moisturizer, store it in an obvious place — your desk, nightstand, car —where it’ll serve as a reminder to reapply it throughout the day. Once is not enough, Dr. Marmur points out. A single use is enough protection for only about five minutes.
moisture. Your genes are also to blame, since certain skin types are more prone to dryness.
You know the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? When it comes to preventing painful cracked skin, this sage advice holds true. It starts with moisturizing, says dermatologist Ellen Marmur. “The best prevention is to begin using a moisturizer before your hands show signs of dryness.” Two ingredients are key to an effective moisturizer: humectants, which drawmoisture from the skin to maintain hydration, and
your skin from the elements by covering sensitive areas, like your hands and feet, with protective layers. Use warm water instead of hot water to wash, and try to limit showers to less than 10 minutes. Even though they feel good, long, hot showers dry out the skin more. If you live in a cold or dry climate, you might also consider using a humidifier for added moisture.
With your moisturizing routine down, protect
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