Monday, 02 December 2013 19:45

A Life Plan for the Next 50 Years

The typical milestones of life – school, work, marriage and raising kids – are usually concentrated in the first 50 years of life. So what do the next 50 years hold for you? These days, when making plans for those years of life, you have to take a lot into account: you may not have a pension to fall back on and need to think about income in later years, or maybe you don't want to stop working and are following your passion to a new career. Planning for the next 50 years can require a bit more thought than the first 50 – you should consider your goals, your health and your monetary expectations. Mapping out your plan can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

 

First, ask yourself what you want. More time to be with family? Time to travel the world? Take on a new hobby? Whatever it is, set yourself up for success by taking the necessary steps to ensure a happy and healthy road ahead.

Make Your Plan

Where do you see yourself in 50 years? Answering this basic question may require talking it over with a spouse, friend, loved one or a life coach.

"A good place to start is by writing your objectives down, listing the most important goals first," suggests life coach Laura Kronen. "Having a written strategy is important in helping you live the lifestyle you desire. At first, don't focus on budget. Focus on ideas, and be as specific as you can. For example, instead of 'travel,' list 'trip to Venice' or 'African safari.' Instead of 'do volunteer work,' write down 'volunteer with my local animal shelter.'"

Kronen also suggests making a list of your sources of income and your expenses. "Start a journal depicting how you envision your life in your 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  Be practical: Your list should rule out the unnecessary expenses," she says. "Make sure all your financial needs are met as you brainstorm. The more descriptive you are, the more tangible your outcome will be."

Kick the Bad Habits

The next step is to kick bad habits and improve your overall health – make sure you are sound enough in mind and body to accomplish these goals you've set for yourself. It will certainly be harder to enjoy your free time if you spend half of it at the doctor's office.

"We should all strive to make each decade better than the last," says Dr. Debra Carlton, associate medical director for primary care and informatics for Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. "Being intentional about improving and maintaining your health through your middle and later years requires a plan that begins with honesty about your current state."

 

To assess your current situation, Dr. Carlton says to ask yourself a few simple questions:

  • What habits do you have that will affect your health?
  • Do you smoke, use drugs or overuse alcohol?
  • How are your eating habits?
  • What is your state of mind? Are you anxious, depressed or stressed?

 

"Once you have faced your reality, you can move on to plan for a better state of health," Dr. Carlton says. In addition, it is important to know what screenings to get annually and when to get them done. Dr. Carlton says if you are going to visit only one doctor later in life, it should be your primary care physician (PCP). "A good PCP will be accessible, listen to you and be concerned about your physical and emotional health," she says. "He or she should share with you information pertinent to your concerns, putting you in the best possible position to make good health choices."

Annual screenings should include important immunizations, like tetanus and shingles, as well as checks of your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol and glucose. Living a healthy lifestyle also includes simple changes at home, like eating more vegetables, avoiding tobacco and engaging in physical activity.

 

Dr. Carlton recommends the following changes to your day to day:

  • Get enough sleep. Most people need seven to nine hours per night.
  • Learn ways to deal with stress. Stress affects you mentally and physically, so managing it well can improve your health.
  • Enjoy your family and friends. Maintaining your family and social support system is key to feeling happy and healthy.
  • Be a lifelong learner. Constant learning stimulates your brain and keeps you sharp.
  • "Fortunately, most of the time, your health is under your control, so being intentional about your health will make a difference," Dr. Carlton says.

 

older-couple-bikesDollars and Sense

You're healthy, you're ready to get out there – but what to do about those finances? Enjoying the upcoming years can be tough if the money isn't there to support the lifestyle you want. To get started, think about what you want to do over the next few years. "The amount of savings you need is a mathematical formula based on how much income you need a month," says Karen Lee, certified financial planner. "Ask yourself, did you pay off the mortgage? Do you want to move? Do you want to travel?" Debt can hinder these plans and should be the first area you tackle the next decade.

Having a realistic understanding of your finances today and planning for the type of future you want is one of the best ways to ensure your next 50 years live up to your expectations. Unfortunately, due to the recent economic crisis, even people who were conservative with their money lost out. Many people did everything right to prepare for their future financial security – they worked hard, saved and invested, but their savings still took a big hit.

According to the latest retirement confidence survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a full 28 percent of Americans are not confident they will have enough money saved for later in life. But not all hope is lost – the future might not look exactly how you originally envisioned it, but with these tips, it can be just as bright. The obvious option is to keep working at least part-time at your current job. While you're still working, Lee points out, you can continue to fund a Roth IRA, 401K or 403b to reestablish some financial security.

But if you really had your heart set on leaving your current job, don't let a reduced savings account stop you. "Consider other nontraditional assets and passions that could help fund you later in life. Many hobbies and skills can be turned into real income," Kronen says. "Maybe you collect antiques or restore cars? Perhaps you're an accomplished pianist and can teach lessons?  Maybe you are crafty and can sell handmade products on Etsy? Take what you are good at and where your talent lies and run with it." Options like these will help you achieve a later-in-life change without retiring. Instead, you can combine the exciting change you want with the supplemental income you need.

If you do find yourself working into your later years, it will be well worth your time. According to the Center for Retirement Research, the earnings for workers in their 60s and 70s are rising faster than those in their prime working years.

older-couple-world-globeFinding Fulfillment

Keeping an active mind and body will make the next phase of your life a fun and fulfilling one. There's no better time than the present to learn a new skill, pick up a new hobby or meet new friends. Some questions to ask yourself when you're moving into your next act: What makes me happy? What will keep me happy long term? How will I continue to grow and thrive?

"As we age, our body changes, but our spirit is always youthful. Our spirit is what keeps us going," says Keisa Leprell Davis, a certified life coach. Davis, who works with a variety of people, says the best thing you can do later in life is get active, which will keep you thriving and satisfied. "Volunteer with a local organization, become active in the community or church," she says. "Find what you love and do it."

Jason Flurry, president of the National Center for College Planning, sees many people head back to school once they move out of the workforce. "A lot of people find purpose specifically at that season in their life. There are still things they want to accomplish," he says.

"The retiree is more of the non-traditional student with non-traditional wants and needs. They can reinvent themselves, and the reward of their own accomplishment can be more weighted than a paycheck." And it's never too late! Many schools offer programs for adults who want to continue learning through the years. In fact, according to the American Council on Education, adult learners have comprised close to 40 percent of the college-going population for the last two decades.

Regardless of whether or not your next 50 years contain the milestone of retirement, taking stock of your health, finances and avenues for life enrichment are crucial at this stage in the game. Use these tools to build the life you want, and turn the next 50 into the best 50.

Meet these Atlantans who are making these years their best.

The Career Changer

Tracy-Ann-UnsworthAs a single mom, Tracy Ann Unsworth knew she needed a flexible, lucrative career to provide for her family and her own future. A 14-year career as a massage therapist offered her both qualities, but as Unsworth got older, massage therapy began to take a physical toll on her. So as she entered the next phase of her life, Unsworth decided to look for work that was less physically demanding and even more financially secure. Her research directed her toward a program studying medical diagnostic sonography and ultrasound at Georgia Northwest College. She attends class three days a week, is finished by 2 p.m. each day, and will have completed the program after only 18 months. This flexible school schedule allows her to continue massage until she fully transitions into her new career in the medical field. Her new career will not only provide her with many opportunities to work with doctors, hospitals or home health care, but it will also allow her to secure her financial future relatively quickly. "There are many options for our second phase of life," she says. "It just takes a little research, understanding of what's available to us with each job, as well as creative scheduling with school." After that, the sky is the limit.

James-Judy-BrannanThe Fun-Lovers

When Judy Brannan retired from her position at Coca-Cola in 2000, she and her husband decided to leave the Atlanta area for a place "more laid back." They found an active adult community in Gainesville with more than 250 homes and plenty of neighbors to visit and enjoy.

"They offered what we thought were the elements of a fulfilled life. You can participate or not. You can keep really involved or do less if you want to. It's a place where people have common interests. We have a common bond here," Brannan says.

And Brannan does stay involved – she leads an exercise class, participates in games and water aerobics, teaches games like bridge and is in charge of the welcome committee to greet new residents. "It's a good way to give back to the community. We're grateful for being here," she says.

Jeaan-Reiss-and-ScottieThe Adventurers

Jean Reiss retired a few years ago from her role as a psychiatric social worker and, along with her good friend Sharon "Scottie" Scott, seems to have conquered the globe. "We travel a lot. We have a trip planned to Antarctica. Scottie just got back from the Amazon. We've gone to Turkey, Ireland and the Panama Canal," Reiss says. "We go through our list of places we want to see and try to look at things neither one of us has gone to, like China, India and Thailand," Scott adds.

About 10 years ago, the pair decided to start what they called "Ladies' Poker Night," a club which has nothing to do with poker, but more about trying something new or attending a new event. "It's the luck of the draw. We try to keep the events limited in terms of money and output.

One of us will come up with an idea, and we will tell everyone to meet us at such and such parking lot on a Thursday, and no one will know where we're going. We have a ball," Reiss says. So far, the group has gone to a roller derby meet, various storytelling events, the Evacuation of Jonesboro, an Elvis impersonator dinner, and a kangaroo conservation center, to name a few. "We always try to include new people and reach out to new people. The friends we've made over the years with this group have been great. We've met the neatest people," Scott says.

 

Editorial Resources
Dr. Debra Carlton - Kaiser Permanente of Georgia, www.kp.org
Jason Flurry - National Center for College Planning, www.yourcollegeplanners.com
Laura Kronen - Be You Only Better, www.beyouonlybetter.com
Keisa Leprell Davis - Be You Be Now™, www.beyoubenow.com
Karen Lee - Karen Lee and Associates, LLC, www.karenleeandassociates.com

With more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer's, chances are you know someone who has been affected by the disease. And although one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia, it is not, in fact, a normal part of aging. Doctors still haven't found a breakthrough medication to stop the progression of the disease, but we do know that a person with Alzheimer's will start experiencing changes in their brain 20 years before they show any symptoms. So in addition to finding a cure, doctors are in a race to identify the disease in its earliest stages so they can intervene before the illness sets in.

 

Alzheimer's and Dementia:

What is the difference?

According to alz.org, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's disease, however, accounts for 60 to 80 percent of these cases. "Dementia is like an umbrella, and underneath are the different types," explains Leslie Anderson, CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, Georgia Chapter. "But Alzheimer's is the most prevalent by far."

So in other words, dementia refers to a symptom like language difficulty, loss of recent memory or poor judgment, but not the disease itself. Alzheimer's is one type of dementia. "The term [dementia] does not imply a specific underlying cause or disease," says Dr. James Lah, Director of the Cognitive Neurology Program at Emory University School of Medicine. "Alzheimer's disease is a well-defined entity with specific clinical, pathological and molecular features, and it is the most common disease causing dementia in adults."

And although Alzheimer's disease accounts for a majority of cases of dementia, other disorders that cause dementia include vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

ALZH_2Who Is Affected?

Because dementia is most often caused by Alzheimer's, and Alzheimer's risk is most often influenced by age, older adults are at the greatest risk. "Starting at about 65 years of age, one's risk of having Alzheimer's doubles roughly every five years until the risk reaches 40 to 50 percent in those over age 85," Dr. Lah says.

Today Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in our country, and according to Anderson, it's the only disease in the top ten whose numbers are going the wrong way. "Over the last eight years, its prevalence has increased by 66 percent," she says. "Now our biggest concern is the baby boomer generation. Every day, 10,000 people are turning 65, which means that every day, one in eight of those people will develop Alzheimer's."

Lowering Your Risk

According to Dr. Shravantika Reddy, who specializes in geriatric medicine at WellStar Medical Group, the most common risk factors for Alzheimer's disease are age, family history, head trauma, fewer years of formal education, late onset of a major depressive disorder, hypertension, diabetes and obesity. "Previously it was thought that vitamin E and ginkgo biloba extract helped [lower risk]. However, recent studies show that they have no effect in treatment," she says.

There is also new evidence that wheat, carbs and sugar may have adverse effects on our brains. In his book, "Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs and Sugar – Your Brain's Silent Killers," neurologist David Perlmutter suggests that carbohydrates can cause a number of issues including chronic headaches, depression, ADHD and dementia. He makes the case that a wheat-free diet can preserve brain health and functioning and may even reverse the process of certain brain diseases.

If you or your relative is showing signs, you may want to consider an early detection treatment like Brain SPECT Imaging, which measures the blood flow and activity patterns in the brain. "One of the biggest challenges with Alzheimer's is that the disease is very progressed by the time a person experiences symptoms," says Dr. Jay Faber, who offers this treatment at Amen Clinics. "With Brain SPECT Imaging, we can see the beginning of the disease process as early as 20 years before symptoms occur. It is also a powerful tool for relatives of an Alzheimer's patient, who may be fearful of developing the disease."

While nothing we know of yet can stop Alzheimer's disease from occurring, there are things we can do to delay the onset of symptoms. "It's important to manage your numbers like weight and cholesterol," Anderson says. "Anything that is heart healthy is also brain healthy. Studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet can be beneficial. Exercise can also slow progression of disease, so it's important to stay active mentally and socially by engaging our brains. If you can get that cognitive reserve built up, the symptoms won't progress as fast."

Dr. Lah recommends activities such as regular bridge clubs, playing musical instruments and dancing. "These work best if the activities are enjoyable pastimes that have been cultivated over many years," he says. "Don't wait until you think your memory is slipping and force yourself to do a bunch of things that you hate to do. Find mentally challenging and stimulating activities that you enjoy doing and pursue them as lifelong activities."

People may also want to think twice about early retirement. "A French study has shown that dementia risk can be reduced by delaying retirement," Anderson says. "For every year of additional work, the risk of dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent."

Living with the Disease

It's no secret that Alzheimer's and dementia can take just as big of a toll on the caregivers as it does on the person with the disease. This is why it is so important to find a support system as soon as possible. "As soon as you get diagnosed, we like to be the first phone call," Anderson says. "We have a 24/7 help line, and we can help with things like financial planning and assisted living so people don't have to do research themselves."

The Alzheimer's Association can also help with the day-to-day challenges that caregivers might not be equipped to handle. "We're really concerned with wandering," Anderson says. "Seventy percent of people who have the disease will wander at some time. Fortunately we have something called Mattie's Call. It's like an Amber Alert but for people with dementia, and it helps get the emergency alert out to the media."

Advances in a Cure

Most clinicians agree that the biggest advances in the fight against Alzheimer's are the launches of the first prevention trials. "[We're] looking at the damage done and trying to find ways to slow that process, or even reverse it," says Dr. Lisa M. Billars, a neurologist with Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. "Researchers are working on targeting the beta-amyloid and tau proteins which accumulate in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer's disease, as well as targeting inflammatory mediators. Understanding how blood sugar levels and other metabolic mechanisms affect the brain is another pathway for advances in research."

While there are currently no new drugs available, there are a number of drug studies underway for the treatment of dementia. "In the meantime, several non-medical behaviors have become well established as potentially impacting cognitive disease," Dr. Billars says. "These include increasing social contact with others, getting regular physical activity, getting adequate sleep and engaging in cognitive challenges like 'brain games' such as crosswords, Sudoku and computer-based modules. Certainly following up for treatment of chronic medical conditions is important as well."

Where to Go for Help

If you or a loved one is showing any signs of memory loss, first make an appointment with your family physician or general practitioner. "Lots of things can cause memory loss that are not necessarily due to dementia, for example, medication side effects, stroke, depression or infection," says Dr. Allan Levey, chair of the Department of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine. If your physician cannot rule out dementia, however, you will generally be referred to a neuropsychologist for further testing. And if you still suspect dementia even though your physician has ruled it out, get a second opinion. "Request a consultation by an expert, because people are often right when they suspect memory loss."

The next step is collecting information about your symptoms for your doctor. "Often this involves meeting with a family member who may have insight," Dr. Levey explains. "Then we assess memory and thinking ability. For example, we'll ask the person to draw a clock and then ask them to remember three words. Then we'll ask them to recall those three words after drawing the clock. This is usually coupled with a questionnaire for family members about their functional abilities. Functional abilities are critical to how advanced somebody is in their illness, so if somebody doesn't need much help driving or managing finances, it is pretty mild. If they can't live independently, it is more severe."

The Future for Alzheimer's and Dementia

Until doctors find a cure, it's important to remember dementia isn't just an "old person's disease." It can start attacking the brain in people as young as their thirties and forties, so if you or a loved one is experiencing memory difficulties or changes in cognitive skills, don't ignore them. The earlier the diagnosis, the greater the chance of delaying the onset of subsequent symptoms and getting the most out of new medical treatments as they come available.

 

Glossary

Alzheimer's is the most common cause of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. There is no current cure for Alzheimer's. However, a number of studies promise to lead to new treatments.

Vascular dementia is a decline in thinking skills due to reduced blood flow to the brain. It is generally considered the second most common cause of dementia, accounting for 20 to 30 percent of the cases, but the FDA has not approved any drugs to treat vascular dementia.

Parkinson's disease dementia is an impairment in thinking that ultimately affects many people struggling with Parkinson's disease. To date, there are no treatments to slow or stop the brain cell damage caused by Parkinson's disease dementia, so most physicians focus on managing the symptoms with a number of medications including antidepressants and cholinesterase inhibitors.

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a type of progressive dementia that leads to decline in thinking, reasoning and independent function due to abnormal deposits that damage the brain over time. Most experts estimate that dementia with Lewy bodies is the third most common cause of dementia, accounting for 10 to 25 percent of cases. Currently there are no treatments that can slow or stop the brain cell damage caused by dementia with Lewy bodies.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of disorders caused by progressive cell degeneration in the brain's frontal or temporal lobes, which control planning and judgment, emotions, speech and certain types of movement. FTD was once considered rare, but it's now thought to account for up to 10 to 15 percent of all dementia cases. Antidepressants and anti-psychotic drugs are the most common medications used to treat behavioral FTD symptoms. However, none of these drugs have been approved by the FDA for use in FTD.

— Information courtesy of the Alzheimer's Association


Editorial Resources
Leslie Anderson, The Alzheimer's Association - www.alz.org
Dr. Lisa M. Billars, Kaiser Permanente of Georgia - www.kaiserpermanente.org

Dr. Jay Faber, Amen Clinics - www.amenclinics.com
Dr. James Lah, The Emory ADRC - www.med.emory.edu/ADRC/
Dr. Allan Levey, Emory University School of Medicine - www.emoryhealthcare.org
Dr. Shravantika Reddy, WellStar Medical Group - www.wellstar.org


To raise money for the Georgia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, local Atlantans will partner with professional dancers for the 5th Annual Dancing Stars of Atlanta event on Saturday, May 3, 2014. Vote for your favorite dancers by donating money to the fundraiser, which takes place for one night only at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. For information about the event, please visit www.alz.org/georgia

When it comes to standing up for what she believes in, HLN news anchor Christi Paul speaks her mind. As a successful reporter and happily married mother of three, Paul has a lot to be thankful for. But last year, she decided to reveal a difficult part of her past with the hope of helping others.

 

According to a study done by The U.S. Department of Justice, one in four women (25 percent) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime. During her marriage to her first husband, Paul was one of those women. "It was frightening to admit at first because I felt such shame about allowing myself to be treated like that," Paul admits. But telling her story helped her create something positive out of a difficult experience: her first book, "Love Isn't Supposed to Hurt." This was a first-hand account of emotional abuse and how she found the strength to overcome it.

Christi-Paul_1"I recognized, after lots of therapy, that we're all equipped to do whatever it is we need to do to make things right in our lives," Paul says. "We have to choose truth, faith and courage, though, to 'flip that switch' in our brain to habituate strength and truth rather than weakness and lies. Once I learned how to do that, I thought, 'other people should know this!' so I wrote my story." In her book, Paul tells people who are currently in abusive relationships that they are not alone. Her advice? "Don't let what someone else says define who you are. Set those boundaries! [Know] what you are and are not willing to live with. You can forgive someone and still cut them out of your life."

Her story touched many people, including CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who wrote a foreword in the book. At the time, Paul had no idea how many people would be affected by her story. "I'm astounded because I get emails, daily, from women and men who say 'I feel like I'm reading about my own life,' 'Now I know I'm not alone,'" she says. In addition to reaching people personally, part of the proceeds from the book go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

Paul wanted to protect her family as well. "I started [writing the book] after I had my third daughter and realized [my daughters] won't be immune to an abusive situation in their lives," she explains. "I thought if they eventually knew I'd gone through that, perhaps they won't be afraid to come to me when they have problems."

This year she had another chance to get her positive message across through music. She was offered the opportunity to record songs in Nashville that correspond with her story. Along with Rachel Thibodeau and Jason Sever at Blackbird Studios for Little Champion Music (Martina McBride's company), they penned and recorded two songs, both available on iTunes. The songs correspond with her book and can be found on the No More website, a recently developed universal domestic violence awareness site.

"I'm grateful beyond words for that experience," says Paul, who is an accomplished singer and has performed the national anthem at several opening baseball games and performed on stage with Grammy-winning artists Richard Marx and David Foster. "I've had a passion for singing since I was in the church choir, not that I had a choice since my mom was the choir director!"

Amid her demanding career and various projects, Paul is happily remarried and concentrating on spending as much time with her husband and daughters as her busy schedule will allow. "I'm like every working parent just trying to get it all done, but I couldn't do it without my husband who gave up his engineering career to be a stay-at-home dad for a while," Paul says. "We're a true team and I'm so grateful he has that time with them. I know my girls are really blessed in that sense."

At the end of the day, Paul hopes that her daughters and others will benefit from what she has learned about herself through her experience and become stronger. "I hope it will set a foundation for [my girls] to be self-sufficient, follow their passion, and recognize the biggest limits in life are the ones we put on ourselves."

Christi-Paul_Joe-BidenMore from Christi

How did you find your way to Atlanta?

It was so strange. I received three calls within a matter of weeks for jobs in Atlanta (we were living in Phoenix at the time). Two local stations and HLN/CNN. HLN made an offer, and we took it. That was more than 10 years ago!

What do you love most about your job?

What I'm most grateful for is the creative freedom they've given me to work on things I really believe in. For instance, I pioneered a segment called "Find Our Children" where we profile a missing child on the air. I called the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in DC and asked if they'd partner with us. They jumped at it, and it's become a real team effort between NCMEC, our viewers and us. Since beginning the segment several years ago, 35 of the kids we've profiled have been found and are now safely at home. I love our viewers because they make that happen! Being able to do something meaningful that truly affects people's lives, that's what it's all about for me.

What advice do you have for other aspiring broadcasters?

Don't be afraid to do the grunt work. If you want it, you have to be willing to make the sacrifices. Learn to listen intently and tell people's stories. We all have something to say and we all want to be heard. The news is about people with real feelings, struggles and successes. Getting news on the air is a team effort. Appreciate everyone's part in it.

What would our readers be surprised to know about you?

We have three chickens and three beehives so we get fresh eggs and jars of honey. I'm living in Green Acres here in the city of Atlanta!

Christi-Paul_2What charities are you passionate about?

ASPCA and The Humane Society: We always have and always will adopt from rescue shelters.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Teen Hotline: Part of the proceeds from every book I sell are donated to this organization.

One Love: I'm on the National Advisory Council for this organization founded in honor of Yeardley Love, the University of Virginia lacrosse player beaten to death by her boyfriend. We're on a mission to help raise awareness about relationship violence.

Best way to relax?

Poolside with an umbrella drink in hand and Pinterest at my fingertips.

Best books you've read?

"Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson and "Facing Your Giants" by Max Lucado.

Best piece of advice you ever received?

People may not always tell you how they feel about you, but they'll always show you. Pay attention.

Best accomplishment?

My relationships with my family, with my friends and with myself. It's not always easy or smooth and it can be messy, but it's work worth doing.

Christi-FamilyWho are the people that help you be your best self?

My family. They remind me what's lasting and important in this life. Also I'm blessed with smart, savvy, compassionate friends who give me a safe place to fall and who cheer me on.

How do you stay fit and healthy during the holidays?

I can't say no to frosted Christmas cookies. Now you know my weakness, so I keep running outdoors and hitting spin class.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

The Botanical Garden's holiday lights are spectacular! It's like stepping into a glittery, magical forest. My three girls are mesmerized, and it's romantic for my husband and me.

Most memorable holiday moment?

My husband proposed to me at a park in downtown Chicago among the Christmas lights and snow. Still makes my heart flutter.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 14:39

"Best of 2013" Contest Winners

 

YOU nominated,
YOU voted
and you have chosen your
"Best of 2013"
winners!

Check out our December issue
for more about your winners,
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out-of-the-box favorites
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 The December issue hits
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Bound to be Read Books

Camp Gladiator

Dr. Marc Yune at Aesthetic Specialty Center

Kaiser Permanente Breast Care Center

Shamrock 'n Roll Road Race

Dr. Austin Cohen at Corrective Chiropractic

Mitchell Barnes at Carter Barnes Hair Artisans

The Cook's Warehouse

Atlanta Center for Cosmetic Dentistry

CrossFit Atlanta

Gaby Sanjurjo at CrossFit AGX

Cannon Cyclery

Ballroom Dance Clubs of Atlanta

Dermatology Center of Atlanta

Brook Run Dog Park

Puppy Haven

Bonny Domoto at Kalos Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Richard Pare

Rika Anamayatana at White Salon & Spa

Sol Oasis

DeKalb Farmers Market

Garnish and Gather

Laura Schilling

Genki Food Truck

Uptown Pups

Complete Chaos

Ashley Watt at The Bar Method

White Salon & Spa

Bob Steele Salon

DryBar

Harry Wood at Van Michael Salon

Whole Foods

Dr. Scott Isaacs

Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy

Jeremy Levison at Flywheel

Energy Lab

Dr. Maziar Rezvani at Avicenna Integrative Medicine

Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine

dTox Juice and Junk

Bantam + Biddy

Adrenaline Group Xercise

The Fountain Laser Hair Removal

Chastain Park Art Festival

Sally B's Skin Yummies

Paces Ferry Veterinary Clinic

Chateau Elan

Julian Reynolds at Julian's Cosmetics + Skincare

Gallery Spa of Historic Roswell

Knockout CrossFit & MMA

Dhiego Lima at American Top Team Gwinnett

Corey Dobyns at Core Balance and Wellness

American Haircuts

Gardner Dermatology and Med Spa

Tabernacle

Debra MacIntyre, ND at Natural Health Solutions

Rowbot Fitness

SUP

Dr. Reuben Sloan at Resurgens Orthopaedics

OGL (Old Guy's League) at the Concourse Athletic Club

Chastain Park

Michael Lynch at Aesthetic Specialty Center

Jeff Baird at Chaos Conditioning

City Dog Market

Nancy G's Café

One on One Physical therapy

Megan Fields at Launch Awareness Yoga Centre

Absolute Pilates

Authentic Beauty

DYNO Fitness & Training

Defined Sugaring Studio

European Wax Center

Half Moon Outfitters

Big Peach Running Co

Thomas Eye Group

Sweetwater Creek

Atlanta Country Club

Blackburn Tennis Center

Stone Summit Climbing & Fitness Center

BeltLine

Dr. Brian Maloney at The Maloney Center for Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Perry Julien at Atlanta Foot & Ankle Center

Dr. Richard Ellin with Kaiser Permanente

Silver Comet Trail

Atlanta Track Club

International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy

North Point Fitness

Patrick Shell at Indian Hills Country Club

Atlanta Triathlon Club

Dr. Scott Miller at Georgia Urology

Café Sunflower

Vein Atlanta

Good Measure Meals

Pure Barre

Cindy Olah at Sacred Garden Yoga

Lift Yoga Therapy

Dance Stop Studios

Thursday, 24 October 2013 21:12

Managing Melasma

What is melasma?

Melasma is a very common skin condition that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, chin and the upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the forearms and neck. It is asymptomatic, but many do not like the appearance.

What are some common causes of melasma?

Melasma is caused by the sun, although heat can also be a trigger. It commonly develops in pregnant women or women on birth control pills, however, it can occur in anyone.

What is the best way to treat melasma?

The most important way to treat and prevent melasma is by using sun protection. Sunscreen, sun protective clothing and the oral medication Heliocare will all help in the management of melasma. In addition to sun protection, skin bleachers and chemical peels are used to treat the brown areas.

Is there a permanent cure for melasma?

Unfortunately, there is no true cure for melasma. It often returns with summer each year, but we are fortunate to have many ways to combat this annoying skin condition.

 

North Atlanta Dermatology
3850 Pleasant Hill Road
Duluth, Georgia 30096   www.naderm.com

Dr. Gabrielle Sabini is board-certified in dermatology. With over 20 years of experience, she specializes in dermatology, procedural dermatology and dermatopathology at North Atlanta Dermatology.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 20:06

Flu season is upon us

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu
  • More than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu complications
  • About 36,000 people die from the flu

Some people, such as seniors, young children, and people with certain health complications, are at higher risk for serious flu complications.

Complications of the flu

Complications of the flu include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes.

How flu spreads

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person when someone with influenza coughs or sneezes. Sometimes people become infected by touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouths or noses. Apparently healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five days after becoming sick.

Key facts about seasonal flu vaccine

The single best way to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated each year.

The flu shot: an inactivated vaccine (killed virus) is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The flu shot is approved for use in people older than 6 months, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

Symptoms of the flu

  • Fever (usually high)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (can be extreme)
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting (more common in children than adults)

Diagnosing the flu

It is very difficult to distinguish the flu from other infections on the basis of symptoms alone. A doctor's exam may be needed to tell whether you have developed the flu or a complication of the flu.

If you develop flu-like symptoms and are concerned about your illness, especially if you are at high risk for complications of the flu, you should consult your healthcare provider. Those at high risk for complications include people 65 years or older, people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, and young children.

 

Dr. Robinson and Dr. Rekaby

Concentra Primary Care

Edgewood Primary Care
1220 Caroline St. NE, Ste. A230
Atlanta, GA 30307

Sandy Springs Primary Care
6334 Roswell Rd. NE, Ste. B
Sandy Springs, GA 30328

www.ConcentraPrimaryCare.com/Atlanta

Concentra Primary Care offers a comprehensive approach to healthcare that begins with a family doctor and care coordinator who work together to care for patients' full health and coordinate any additional care needed from other supporting providers.  By creating an ongoing relationship with patients, Concentra providers help to manage chronic and costly healthcare conditions, including care for seniors.  With flexible scheduling, longer appointment times, and experienced providers, Concentra Primary Care connects the dots that form a larger picture of health. It's healthcare with a focus on getting well and living well today and in the years ahead.

With the growing cost of health care and health insurance in today's environment, many employers are choosing to offer health insurance with higher deductibles and attaching optional contribution accounts, known as Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Medical Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA). I have found the education on the optimal use of these accounts is lacking. The following are some facts you need to know about your HSA/FSA before the end of the year and before selecting your benefits next year:

  • HSAs are medical savings accounts available to taxpayers who are enrolled in an HSA-qualified high-deductible health plan. In contrast, FSAs are available to all employees, if an employer elects to offer one.
  • Both cover pay for qualified medical expenses, and both are not subject to any payroll taxes.
  • FSAs will be lost if not used by the end of the year. If not used, the FSA money is forfeited to the employer.
  • HSA account balances will roll over to the next year.

When looking at your open enrollment this year, remember:

  • All money you plan to contribute to your FSA is available at the start of the plan year and does not have to be reimbursed if you leave the company.
  • HSA contributions are available only after the money is deducted from payroll.
  • As of January 1, 2011, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandated that drugs must be prescribed to be reimbursable.
  • Eligible medical expenses for your HSA and FSA include many complementary and alternative services, not just co-pays and deductibles.

Although many integrative medicine services are cash-based, you may use your contribution accounts for reimbursement. Most importantly, integrative doctors who are MDs who may prescribe conventional medicines and alternative therapies that would then be covered under your HSA/FSA. Remember, when choosing an integrative doctor, reimbursement claims must be submitted by the last day of the plan, so act fast. Don't forget to always consult your tax advisor should you require tax advice, and remember to speak with your human resources department to learn more about your HSA/FSA.

 

Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite E200
Marietta, GA 30068
(770) 977-9300  |  www.avicennamd.com

Carrie Whittington has a BBA from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and is the Executive Business Director of Physicians Group of Georgia and Avicenna MD, which encompass Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. She has been inspired by the new approach to medicine presented by Maziar Rezvani, MD, owner of Avicenna, and is an integral part of his new practice and new approach to medicine both in his office and through corporate wellness.

 

Thursday, 24 October 2013 19:27

The Lost Art of Cleansing

Constipation is the top gastrointestinal complaint in North America resulting in over 2 million doctor visits each year.

When one becomes constipated waste is not promptly eliminated from the body and ferments in the bowel producing poisonous toxins, chemicals and bad bacteria. There are more bacteria in the colon than cells in the body. The colon lining has a network of blood vessels which absorb toxins into the bloodstream causing a condition called autointoxication or self-poisoning. In the bloodstream these toxins can put a strain on the body particularly the liver, the body's major organ of detoxification. Once autointoxication occurs and settles into the tissues it can be a contributing factor to autoimmune disorders. This creates an even higher level of toxicity in the body all stemming from the frequent problem of constipation. Almost everyone has a toxic colon due to poor diet, lack of fiber and poor elimination.

Colon Hydrotherapy, reported to be used by the Egyptians, is a "Lost Art of Cleansing". Every tissue in the body is fed by the bloodstream, which is supplied by the bowel. When the bowel is dirty the blood is dirty and so are the organs and tissues. It must be the bowel that is cared for first. Colonics are a safe, effective way to balance body chemistry, eliminate waste, and restore proper tissue and organ function.

 

 

 

Atlanta Colonic & Massage
6710 Jamestown Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30005
770-558-6900  |  www.atlantacoloniccenter.com

 A Mother-Daughter team, Teresa Ducoffe and Candace Layer are Certified Colon Hydrotherapists at Atlanta Colonic & Massage. Atlanta Colonic & Massage is to provide the best in preventative health care and detoxification, as well as unparalleled client care and service.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 19:13

Robotic Hair Restoration Arrives in Atlanta

Millions of Americans suffer from hair loss. Today, there are many more options for treatment of balding and thinning hair than ever before. Long gone is the "pluggy" or "doll's hair" look, as modern hair transplantation is performed one single follicle at a time for the most natural look possible.

The Anderson Hair Sciences and Research Center is a new, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing the most natural, permanent hair restoration results to both men and women, with an emphasis on artistic concepts, patient comfort, and natural, permanent results.

Dr. Ken Anderson, MD, is the first and only hair restoration surgeon in Georgia to offer the very latest in cutting edge surgical robotic devices. The ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Surgery System performs a type of hair restoration surgery called "follicular unit extraction," or "FUE" – a technique Dr. Anderson has been performing for over 10 years. With the revolutionary ARTAS System Dr. Anderson is able to transplant hair without any linear or noticeable scarring, using no scalpels, no stitches, with a dramatically shorter recovery period than for patients who undergo a traditional linear strip method hair restoration procedure. With the sole exception of the ARTAS system, all FUE methods, using any device, are performed by hand, with all the associated variability and inherent human error.

ARTASHow Does It Work?

Using high-tech stereoscopic cameras, and updating its coordinates 5,000 times per second, the ARTAS System's image-guided robotics harvests hair follicles for transplant with micron-level precision, one at a time.  As there is no linear incision required with an ARTAS procedure, healing time is short, and you can usually go back to your daily activities after a day or two. Call for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Anderson to discuss your options, or visit us online.

 

The Anderson Hair Sciences & Research Center

The Medical Quarters
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Ste. 135
Atlanta, GA 30342  |  (404) 256-4247  |  www.AtlantaHairSurgeon.com


Dr. Anderson is a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon who has confined his practice solely to hair restoration for over a decade. After 7 years of surgery training in facial plastic surgery, in 2003 he entered the field of hair restoration in Beverly Hills, California.  He opened the Anderson Hair Sciences & Research Center in Atlanta in 2011.  He has appeared on CBS Atlanta, and is an internationally recognized expert on the FUE technique of hair restoration.

Thursday, 24 October 2013 19:13

Robotic Hair Restoration Arrives in Atlanta

Millions of Americans suffer from hair loss. Today, there are many more options for treatment of balding and thinning hair than ever before. Long gone is the "pluggy" or "doll's hair" look, as modern hair transplantation is performed one single follicle at a time for the most natural look possible.

The Anderson Hair Sciences and Research Center is a new, state-of-the-art facility dedicated to providing the most natural, permanent hair restoration results to both men and women, with an emphasis on artistic concepts, patient comfort, and natural, permanent results.

Dr. Ken Anderson, MD, is the first and only hair restoration surgeon in Georgia to offer the very latest in cutting edge surgical robotic devices. The ARTAS Robotic Hair Restoration Surgery System performs a type of hair restoration surgery called "follicular unit extraction," or "FUE" – a technique Dr. Anderson has been performing for over 10 years. With the revolutionary ARTAS System Dr. Anderson is able to transplant hair without any linear or noticeable scarring, using no scalpels, no stitches, with a dramatically shorter recovery period than for patients who undergo a traditional linear strip method hair restoration procedure. With the sole exception of the ARTAS system, all FUE methods, using any device, are performed by hand, with all the associated variability and inherent human error.

ARTASHow Does It Work?

Using high-tech stereoscopic cameras, and updating its coordinates 5,000 times per second, the ARTAS System's image-guided robotics harvests hair follicles for transplant with micron-level precision, one at a time.  As there is no linear incision required with an ARTAS procedure, healing time is short, and you can usually go back to your daily activities after a day or two. Call for a complimentary consultation with Dr. Anderson to discuss your options, or visit us online.

 

The Anderson Hair Sciences & Research Center

The Medical Quarters
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd., Ste. 135
Atlanta, GA 30342  |  (404) 256-4247  |  www.AtlantaHairSurgeon.com


Dr. Anderson is a double-board certified facial plastic surgeon who has confined his practice solely to hair restoration for over a decade. After 7 years of surgery training in facial plastic surgery, in 2003 he entered the field of hair restoration in Beverly Hills, California.  He opened the Anderson Hair Sciences & Research Center in Atlanta in 2011.  He has appeared on CBS Atlanta, and is an internationally recognized expert on the FUE technique of hair restoration.