Ooma vs Magic Jack VoIP Phone System

Ooma Telo

Ever heard of Ooma? I hadn’t until I read about it in the May 2011 issue of Consumer Reports. So here’s a money-saving tip for seniors. You simply buy a base (adapter) like shown on the left and on one side you connect it to your router or modem and on the other side you connect it to the base station of your landline phone. Your calls will be going over the Internet so you do need Internet service and you do need to register with Ooma online, but once you do that, you do not need to keep your computer on like you do with similar services such as Magic Jack or Skype. I’ve not tried Ooma, but I am a fan of Magic Jack and Skype.

The downside is that the base costs about $200 at amazon.com. That’s the lowest price I found in checking prices at cnet.com. You do have to pay for taxes and fees each month, but after testing several zip codes, it was only $3.47. The Ooma Web site provides a tax calculator for you to input your zip code. According to a review at PC World, the pros of Ooma are the free local and long-distance domestic calls and excellent sound quality, but the cons are that the advanced calling features cost extra and the long-distance calling does not include Canada. But according to their Web site, you can call 70 countries for less than a penny per minute.

Personally, Magic Jack has worked very well for me. You simply insert it into a USB port on your computer and plug your phone into the jack on the Magic Jack adapter. Unlike Ooma, your computer needs to be on in order to talk on the phone. However, what I really like is that even though your Magic Jack is not plugged into your computer, people can still call you and leave a message. You will then be notified by e-mail if there’s a message and you can listen to the message via your e-mail. Once again, Amazon had the lowest price of $36.70. The first year is free and thereafter, it’s $20 a year for calls in the United States and Canada (Canada is a long distance call with Ooma).

If you are considering either of these services or any other service, be sure to do your due diligence before making a decision. But the services that use the Internet like Ooma and Magic Jack are definitely worth considering.

 

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Don’t you love it when you have a book in your hands that’s so exciting that it’s hard to put down? As previously written, I’m a Cellular Response energy healer so my clients are interested in healing their bodies naturally. In my constant quest for all-natural healing, one of my clients introduced me to Earthing which was published last year and written by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., and Martin Zucker. Last month it was selected as the “Book of the Month” by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

The authors define Earthing as follows:

If possible, read this book sitting with your bare feet directly on the Earth — grass, gravel, dirt, sand, or concrete.

You will simultaneously experience what you are reading about — how contact with the Earth restores your body’s natural electrical state.

The positive shift you feel is the start of a process in which your body slowly becomes infused with the Earth’s omnipresent and ever-present healing energy.

This is Earthing, a remarkably simple, safe, and natural act of reducing pain and stress.

For those that need hard core scientific evidence, Earthing might not be acceptable to you. But for those that accept mostly anecdotal evidence and testimonies, this book is full of amazing results. There are also scientific studies included and many more are planned.

It’s a very simple concept and you can read a sample of the book at earthing.com.

All that I’m learning about electromedicine and healing energies is so exciting. This is the future of medicine. The planet Earth is giving us the greatest gift of all for our health. Let us gratefully accept it. With all of the chronic diseases of seniors  straining our medical system, it’s time to be pro-active and look for alternatives. You are responsible for your own health. Earthing can change the way medicine is practiced. Earthing changes the actual physiology of the grounded person in a healthier way.

So run to your favorite bookstore and buy the book or you can simply click on the Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? link under Health Resources and Products to the right. To your health!

Medical Tourism

For many seniors, medical problems seem to multiply as we age, many requiring surgery. Medical tourism or offshore medicine has been around for a very long time. People seek medical procedures abroad that are a lot more costly in the United States or a procedure that might not even be available here. In an article in the Washington Post earlier this month, Manoj Jain, MD, sheds light on medical tourism.

Jain’s father sought dental assistance from a Boston dentist due to a toothache. The dentist recommended a dental crown and root canal procedures that cost around $2,000. His father decided to have the procedures performed in India while he was there for the holidays. The total cost? $200. Impressed with the results, his mother also decided to undergo dental treatment in India and had her front teeth fixed to close a gap. She estimated that even with the trip, she still saved about $3,000.

His parents are just two of the 875,000 American tourists in 2010 who traveled to other countries to seek medical care, undergoing procedures from dental work to heart bypass surgery to cosmetic treatments to hip replacements. Jain had not considered medical tourism until he visited Bangalore and met with Devi Shetty, a medical professional specializing in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery. He is also the founder of the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals.

According to Shetty, bypass surgery in Bangalore costs from $2,000-$5,000, a fraction of the cost charged in the US. Shetty says that they are capable of keeping costs so low because they focus on improving the process and increasing the volume. Improved processes that include the latest innovations and surgical techniques from the US assures good results while volume creates better opportunities for more patients to afford the procedures.

According to National Center for Policy Analysis expert Devon Herrick, there are other factors that allow foreign hospitals to offer treatments at a lower cost: restricted malpractice liability, price transparency, fewer regulations and payments to third party companies and of course, lower costs of labor.

One glaring concern for Jain was the quality of health care, particularly in developing countries, but Shetty assured him there are established standards that hospitals involved in offshore medicine must pass. Such standards are implemented by the US-based Joint Commission International which has certified over 220 medical facilities overseas.

Medical tourism presents a whole new face of the health care industry, one that seeks to challenge doctors and medical professionals in the US to provide top quality yet inexpensive health care.

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Last year The Canadian Press reported, “The prevalence of cognitive impairment was significantly lower in women aged 65 and older who reported they were physically active as teens than in those who were inactive in their teen years,” according to a study at the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Principal investigator Laura Middleton said, “If we want to optimally prevent dementia, it’s important to start physical activity as early in life as possible.”

There have been a number of studies showing the benefits of exercise to stave off dementia and cognitive impairment in our middle age years and later, but this study adds the dimension of the earlier in life the better. Hence, as seniors, we need to encourage our grandchildren to remain active.

Middleton worked on the project while she was at the University of California in San Francisco, and used data from the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. She analyzed the responses of 9,704 women in four U.S. cities: Baltimore, Minneapolis, Portland, Ore., and Monongahela Valley, Pa. The study was published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Highlights include the following:

  • Women reported on their physical activity as teens, ages 30, 50, and late life.
  • People who were active as teenagers had a greater reduction in their risk of cognitive impairment compared to any of the other ages.
  • Prevalence of cognitive impairment in the women who’d been physically active in their teen years was 8.5 per cent, compared to 16.7 per cent among those who weren’t physically active as teens.
  • For those active versus inactive at age 30, prevalence of cognitive impairment at age 65 or older was 8.9 per cent compared to 12 per cent, and at age 50, 8.5 per cent versus 13.1 per cent.
  • Women who were inactive as teenagers and became active in later life still had a lower risk of cognitive impairment than those who remained inactive.

Louis Bherer, director of clinical research at the Montreal University Geriatric Institute, said most people in the field agree that physical activity is probably the most promising strategy to protect against cognitive decline, but he added that there are limitations to this study.

When a door is always in use, the hinges will never rust. ~Chinese Proverb. Let’s get moving to increase our gray matter.

 

 

 

Seniors and Weight Loss

One of the ways that I keep up with what’s available for seniors in my county (Fairfax County) is a small, valuable periodical that I subscribe to called, The Golden Gazette. The topic of “weight loss” was discussed when a reader asked the following:

I am about 30 pounds overweight and I’ve decided that I want to lose weight and get healthier. Can you share some tips for losing weight that would be appropriate for a senior?

The article commended the reader because losing weight has the following benefits:

  • Feel better about yourself
  • Reduce risk of a variety of diseases
  • Help manage chronic diseases
  • Keep you mobile and independent with age

Weight is controlled by a number of things:

  • Family history
  • What you eat and drink
  • Energy you use to live and be active

As I mentioned in a previous post on how to lose weight, this article said the same thing: consume fewer calories from food and beverages and become more physically active. One pound equals 3,500 calories, so in order to lose a pound a week, reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. Cutting out two servings of butter and exercising for 30 minutes at a moderate pace is an example of what you could do.

As always, check with your medical practitioner before embarking on any weight loss program. Here is an excellent Web site with online tools available for you. www.healthychoicessolutioncenter.org. For other senior services in Fairfax County, check out the Senior Navigator Web site.

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The President’s Challenge: Adult Fitness Test

About three years ago,the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports introduced an adult fitness test. If you did not get the Presidential Physical Fitness Award while you were in school, here’s your chance to prove your fitness or to just get started moving your body. Actually, the awards did not even exist when we seniors were in school. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson established the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for exceptional achievement by boys and girls ages 10 to 17. Now, here’s your chance to keep up with our children and grandchildren. Our starting point is The President’s Challenge: Adult Fitness Test.

However, if exercise is not part of your routine, be sure to seek the advice of your medical practitioner first. The test is for people 18 and older who are in good health. Although the Web site has a “senior” link, the link is not working. That’s unfortunate because certainly most of our senior bodies are no longer like the younger generation. However, the test was inspired by the many baby boomers who asked council members if there was a fitness test available that was similar to the ones used in schools. The test has four basic parts:

  • Aerobic fitness—the ability of your heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles
  • Muscular strength and endurance—whether you are strong enough to do normal activities easily and protect your lower back
  • Flexibility—the ability to move your joints through their proper range of motion
  • Body composition—whether you have too much body fat, especially around the waist

To get the details go to: http://www.presidentschallenge.org/challenge/adult.shtml. If you’re not in the best of shape, getting started is probably one of the most difficult steps and staying motivated can be even more difficult. As I mentioned in my last blog post, making a decision is critical. To stay motivated, the program offers awards that you can sign up for on the same Web site. Having an accountability partner has proven to be one of the best ways to move ahead in many areas of life. Find out about my new Gracefully Age Program by contacting me — gracefullyageprogram@gmail.com or by calling 703.825.8384. I encourage you to accept the President’s Challenge and take the Adult Fitness Test.

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Great Aloha Run and Commitment

Before leaving for Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, I made a commitment to walk the Great Aloha Run. My sister was running in it so I told her I’d cheer her on. Then she said a lot of people walk it. It never crossed my mind to do anything like it, but I wanted the “Finisher” t-shirt to demonstrate something that I’d never done in my life. It was amazing that just making a decision was the greatest hurdle to overcome. Once I made the decision, the practice and training fell into place.

When we find that we have something that we have difficulty getting started … could it be that we simply have not made the decision to do whatever we need to do? For example, as seniors, we all know that death is a greater reality than it was when we were younger. We have many decisions to make, one of which is where to live out our life. Older seniors are advising us to pack up and move now. Move closer to family. Sage advice, but we haven’t made the decision.

I look at my neighbor in his early 80’s. He’s not made the decision either, although he’s on a wait list at a senior facility and has been called about an opening. And because he’s not yet made a decision or commitment, he is having trouble getting started on the project to move. Unfortunately, as seniors, we have to face the reality that the longer we wait, our bodies may not be in any condition to handle such a huge project.

Going back to the Great Aloha Run … it was an 8.15-mile run (walk). I was advised to soak in the tub, preferably in Epsom salt, after the race because I was catching a flight that afternoon. I also wore compression socks on the plane and was fortunate to get a seat where I could get up and walk around on the new Airbus 330. That night in my hotel room my legs felt really heavy, but I rubbed a generous amount of Sunjing, the only all-natural analgesic that I know of, and the next morning I was up early in almost perfect condition to continue the journey back to the East Coast.

Sadly, we were actually in Hawaii for my husband’s mother’s funeral. She died suddenly at age 93 of a massive heart attack. She enjoyed the outdoors and in her later life did a lot of walking. So we took her spirit along with us and I’m sure she helped us complete the Great Aloha Run.

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Whole Grains and Blood Pressure

Wheat

For many seniors, as we age, our blood pressure seems to creep up as well. Here’s one solution to lower blood pressure naturally. Refrain from reaching for any white grain such as white rice or white bread. Instead, replace it with brown rice and whole grain bread. In a study of overweight adults in their 50’s, those that replaced refined grains (rice, cereal, bread) with whole grains lost weight as well as a drop in their systolic blood pressure (top number) of five to six points.

High blood pressure can raise your risk for a heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and blindness among the many problems. Other diseases such as diabetes can raise your risk even further.

The study suggested that lowering blood pressure by eating three servings of whole-grain foods daily could reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by at least 15 percent and stroke by 25 percent or more.  Generally, refined or processed foods have more sodium which is known to contribute to high blood pressure. However, the study did not define exactly how whole grains might contribute to the lowering of blood pressure.

Check this Web site of the Harvard School of Public Health for more information on the benefits of whole grains.

With all of the known side effects of blood pressure medication which even includes heart failure, taking prescription medication should be your last option.  Pre-hypertension or even hypertension can often be controlled with diet and exercise.

February is American Heart Month. On the Web site of the American Heart Association, you will see some staggering figures: 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, it is the number one cause of death of women 20 and older, more women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer. It is the number one killer in America, also known as the “silent killer.”Enhanced by Zemanta

How Long Will You Live?

Here’s an eye-opener if you want to know how long you’ll live: find out how fast you walk. I want to share an article from the January 2011 issue of Consumer Reports on Health.

Your walking speed and ability to rise from a chair are surprisingly effective at predicting your longevity. In a study of more than 3,000 healthy retirees, for example, those with the slowest gait were about 50 percent more likely to die within seven years. Take these tests to see how you compare.

Walking Speed: In a hallway, mark start and finish lines six meters (19 feet, 8 inches) apart. Have a partner time you. Walk briskly but don’t run, and stride past the finish line without slowing. Divide the time in seconds by six to get meters per second. Average: 0.9 meters per second for people over 50.

One-Leg Balance: With bare feet, stand with your arms folded across your chest. Raise one foot slightly off the ground and have someone start a stopwatch, stopping when you uncross your arms, move the leg you’re standing on, or touch the raised foot to the floor. (Stand next to a counter or piece of furniture). Average: 43 seconds for 18- to 39-year olds; 40 seconds for 40- to 49-year olds; 37 seconds for 50- to 59-year olds; and 27 seconds for 60- to 69-year olds. (With eyes closed: 9 seconds for 18- to 39-year olds; 7 seconds for 40- to 49-year olds; 5 seconds for 50- to 59 -year olds; and less than 3 seconds for those older than 60).

Chair Stands (for people 70 and older): Stand up from a chair five times in a row as quickly as possible without stopping. Keep your arms folded across your chest, come to a full standing position each time, and sit all the way down each time. The clock should be stopped when your bottom hits the seat the fifth time. Average: 14.28 seconds for women and men.

Sit-ups (for people younger than 70): Lie on your back with your knees bent at a right angle and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands palms down on the ground next to your body, and with your lower back kept flat on the ground, curl up your shoulders so your fingers slide forward about 3.5 inches, then return your shoulders to the floor. Count the number you can complete in one minute. Averages for women: 25 for women 40 to 49; 31 for those 50 to 59; and 12 for those 60 to 69. Averages for men: 33 for men 40 to 49; 39 for those 50 to 59; and 18 for those 60 to 69.

Practice makes perfect so if these exercises can determine how long you will live and you want to live a long life, it’s time to get moving! A long life to all of you.

Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes

A few months ago,  bottomlinesecrets.com ran an article on how to “Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes” by fitness expert Joan Price, author of six books including, The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. Price is a fitness speaker, writer, and instructor whose specialty is helping beginning exercisers start and stick to an exercise program. It’s all about moving just as my new Gracefully Age Program (GAP) is designed to get you to do. Her passion is line dancing and she calls it the most fun you can have without a partner. I love it, too, as described in this post. So I share some of her suggestions to get fit in just a few minutes.

Joan Price says: Lack of time is a primary reason people give for failing to get the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Admittedly, it can be tough to find such a big chunk of time in your busy schedule.

Here are a few of her suggestions that I like when you’re out and about:

At the gas station — instead of sitting in your car as the gas flows, clean all your windows, alternating the hand that holds

When parking — instead of finding a spot close to your destination, get one a few blocks away.

Upon entering a store — if all the items you need will fit in a shopping basket, choose a basket instead of a cart.

As you shop — if you need a cart, do 10 bicep curls with weightier items — soup cans, juice jugs — before placing them in your cart. (If you feel silly doing this in public, do your bicep curls at home as you put the items in the pantry.)

While waiting in line — work your abdominal muscles. Suck in your belly and tighten your abs… hold for 10 seconds… relax. Repeat five to 10 times. And if that’s not enough, I would add, stand on one leg for a few seconds, then the other to hone your balance skills.

At the end of the day, close your eyes, breathe in and out deeply 10 times, feeling grateful for all that your body was capable of doing during the day. If you had worn a pedometer (which I always do) all day, you would also have an idea of how many steps you walked. Experts recommend 10K steps a day. Here’s a simple pedometer I love.

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