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Updated: 59 min 48 sec ago

Insuring the Health of America's Emerging Multigenerational Workforce

Fri, 04/24/2015 - 10:54
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(NewsUSA) - For the first time in modern history, America's workforce spans four generations. In this new era of multigenerational workers, a "one size fits all" approach to health insurance is a thing of the past.

The generational gap is as varied as it is immense. There are the young-adult Millennials, the middle-aged Gen Xers, Baby Boomers nearing retirement age and the Silent Generation in their 70s and beyond. Each group has vastly different health insurance needs.

Take, for example, Millennials. A recent Bankrate survey shows many prefer health plans with lower deductibles and higher premiums. Meanwhile, Pew Research reports that the Baby Boomer population is hyper-focused on long-term care coverage needs and how best to manage associated costs beyond Medicare.

This workforce shift is unprecedented and poses significant hurdles for businesses as they seek to provide affordable and appropriate health coverage options across employee lifespans. Both large and small group employers are impacted, though companies with 100 or fewer employees are more likely to feel the financial squeeze because there are fewer individuals to spread risk and defray costs.

Juggling vastly different insurance coverage needs can be quite difficult, especially for the more than 28 million small businesses employing nearly half of all U.S. workers. Affordable Care Act legislation adds further complexity as companies assess their group health plan options, or in some cases whether to offer them at all. So, what are employers to do?

In response, many are increasingly turning to private healthcare insurance exchange solutions as an effective answer to meet the diversity of benefit needs from Generation Me to Generation We.

"Private exchanges are marketplaces of health insurance and other related products," according to management consulting group Booz Allen. They offer access to multiple health plans in a single, unified program and are attractive because they enable workers to individually select the right coverage for their current life needs.

The private exchange platform provides an ideal bridge across generational divides. For example, a 22-year-old single female starting her first job out of college will likely want a different plan than the 59-year-old manager with a spouse, three children and plans to retire in the near future.

Employers are moving to these exchanges more quickly than forecasted, according to new data from consulting firm Accenture. The company estimates that some six million individuals signed up for workplace health coverage through private exchanges in 2014 alone, roughly two times the number expected. It's predicted that private exchange participation will exceed public exchange enrollments by 2018, if not sooner.

Much of this expansion is driven by the combination of health care reform and a workforce that now spans a 50-plus year spectrum.

"At the heart of the solution is access to choice," said Ron Goldstein, president and CEO of CHOICE Administrators, the nation's leader in developing and administering employee-choice health benefit programs and exchanges for employer groups. The company's exchanges include the country's first and only multicarrier private exchange, CaliforniaChoice, as well as CaliforniaChoice 51+ and Choice Builder, the nation's first ancillary exchange for dental, vision, chiropractic and other benefits.

"Smart business owners are teaming with their broker to identify and select a platform that enables their employees to design plans that best fit their lifecycle needs."

The age of the four-generation workforce has dawned. Owners and small businesses are wise to embrace the private exchange that technology employees have come to rely on, such as online enrollment, as they seek to cost-effectively address the needs of their workforce across all stages of their lives.

For more information about employee-choice health benefit programs and private health insurance exchanges, visit choiceadminexchanges.com.

New FDA-Cleared Device Significantly Advances IV Therapy Safety

Thu, 04/23/2015 - 15:21
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(NewsUSA) - While many patients fear needles -- especially IVs -- a new FDA-cleared device is making for a safer experience.

Consider this: approximately 80 percent of hospital patients receive an IV, and about a third of IV lines fail due to issues within the vein. One improvement that can now impact the patient experience is the ivWatch 400.

The device was created by ivWatch, LLC, a company committed to "aid in the early detection of intravenous (IV)

infiltration and extravasation events," according to its website (www.ivwatch.com). In layman's terms, IV fluids can inadvertently enter the tissue near an IV insertion site resulting in an infiltration or extravasation. Infiltrations are less-harmful leaks that can cause pain, redness of the skin and swelling. Extravasations are potentially harmful leaks from IV medications like chemotherapy. Infiltrations and extravasations are considered to be medical dosing errors and, in severe cases, may result in tissue necrosis, loss of function, amputation or even death. The ivWatch sensor technology aids clinicians in the early detection of these adverse events.

"It's very rare that you get an opportunity to be involved in something that can have such a huge impact," says Gary Warren, president and CEO of ivWatch, LLC. "IVs are probably the most common medical procedure that's performed and 30 percent of them fail. It's a huge problem."

Darcy Dolemann, MSN, RN, CRNI, VA-BC, clinical manager of the Vascular Access Team at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center where clinical trials of the technology have been performed, agrees with Warren's assessment.

"This is really a game-changing technology for infusion therapy and should become the new standard of care," says Dolemann. "The device impacts every unit and almost every patient. For clinicians and patients, this will change the experience."

In development since 2000, the ivWatch technology uses an optical sensor that illuminates tissue near the IV site with visible and near infrared light. The sensor is coupled with a patient monitor that receives the feed from the sensor, processes it, and alerts the clinician if conditions suggest that an infiltration or extravasation has occurred. The benefits, says Warren, are immeasurable, but can include improved nurse productivity, reduction in medication errors and IV restart costs, and most importantly, a safer patient experience.

"Our goal is to be on every IV pole in the country," says Warren. "This issue is so prevalent, and we have a way to fix it."

Take a Bite Out of Gum Disease By Seeing a Periodontist

Wed, 04/22/2015 - 12:58
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(NewsUSA) - Many people know that seeing a dentist twice a year is a key to keeping teeth clean and healthy. Those regular visits ensure your choppers are cavity-free, and perhaps it's a chance for the dentist to chastise you for not flossing enough. However, you shouldn't simply stop there.

According to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published in the Journal of Periodontology, nearly 65 million Americans suffer from gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Symptoms can include red, tender, or bleeding gums; loosening of the teeth; and receding gums. If you experience these symptoms, a trip to a periodontist -- a dentist who specializes in treating gum disease -- should be added to your twice-yearly dental check-ups.

"Periodontal disease remains a significant public health issue for people of all backgrounds," said Joan Otomo-Corgel, DDS, MPH, president of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and a practicing periodontist in Los Angeles. "However, with the proper treatment and care, periodontal disease is often reversible."

If you suspect that you might require the expert care of a periodontist, here are four things you should know:

* Know the cause. Poor oral hygiene is a major culprit in the development of gum disease. More than 500 different species of bacteria can be found in dental plaque, highlighting the importance of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.

* Know your risk. There is a genetic component to gum disease, but lifestyle choices also can increase your chances of developing gum disease. Smoking, age, taking certain medications, obesity, poor nutrition and stress may all increase your susceptibility.

* Know where to go. Take the "Gums 101" quiz on perio.org/loveyourgums to evaluate the overall health of your gums, learn the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease and find tips on how to care for your gums. You can also search for a periodontist in your area.

* Know how often to go. The AAP recommends that adults undergo a comprehensive periodontal evaluation every year to ensure the health of gums and teeth.

"If a person is found to have periodontal disease, a periodontist can determine the best course of treatment," said Otomo-Corgel.

For more information about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gum disease, visit perio.org.

Natural Health Care From Down Under Poised to Make U.S. Debut

Mon, 04/20/2015 - 08:55
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(NewsUSA) - Eating healthy and getting fit seem to be the mantra these days. After all, the First Lady has made childhood obesity a priority with her "Let's Move" campaign. Plus, the diet industry isn't showing any signs of slowing down, with Americans spending more than $60 billion annually, according to U.S. News and World Report.

Despite that, obesity continues to plague the U.S. and remains a serious health concern for the country. Underscoring this point is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third or 78.6 million U.S. adults are obese, and in 2008, the last year that numbers were reported, obesity cost the U.S. $147 billion in annual medical expenses.

For those looking to lose a little or a lot of weight, choosing between lifestyle products that assist with weight management can seem daunting.

"With so many products that assist in weight management to choose from, it's difficult to know which ones will work," said Simon St. Ledger, managing director of Rapid Nutrition, producer of U.S.-made natural health care supplements that have seen huge success in Australia. "This is why we are so focused on being our customers' first choice for their health and well-being needs, and establishing that there are companies that make choice products."

Rapid Nutrition was established on the back of its proven science-based supplements, SystemLS, that are now being sold in Australia's biggest retailer (Woolworth's) but will soon be available worldwide -- including the U.S.

The best part? All ingredients, according to the company website, are 100 percent natural, organic, gluten-free and designed to support natural weight management. The scientifically formulated SystemLS includes six products that have undergone stringent testing. The formula is high in fiber, antioxidants, omega 3's, whole-food-based vitamins, probiotics and high-quality whey protein. In addition, SystemLS offers a unique weight-loss-coach phone app to provide ongoing motivation, training and support.

"We are well positioned to help more people tackle the challenge of weight management with a system that works," said St. Ledger.

To learn more about SystemLS products and the phone app, visit www.systemls.com.

Wellness Travel Is on the Rise

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 13:18
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(NewsUSA) - Studies show that a yearly vacation is invaluable for health, with benefits varying from lower stress levels to cardiovascular improvements. Adding to these benefits, many travelers are now combining traditional vacations with wellness-geared getaways.

A panel of experts at the annual International Travel Mart in Cannes, France, predicted that, by 2040, 90 percent of luxury tourism will include some aspect of health and wellness.

The global market size of the wellness tourism industry is growing rapidly -- faster than travel in general -- and is predicted to account for $678.5 billion by 2017, compared with $438.6 billion in 2012, according to Statistica Inc.

Much of this growth can be attributed to the maturation of the baby boomer generation, which is more health-conscious than preceding generations. These travelers look for a vacation that integrates their daily healthful routine with traditional aspects of travel. But it's not just baby boomers who are looking to travel in good health -- the active family travel market is burgeoning and is expected to continue to grow as well.

So, what is wellness travel? The trend covers all aspects of health, including nutritious menu options, spa offerings and fitness activities. Across the globe, tourism professionals are responding to growing demands by introducing whole food, vegetarian and vegan menus, spa packages and active excursions. Hiking, cycling, paddle boarding and kayaking continue to gain popularity.

Tall ship cruise specialist Star Clippers is one travel company that offers a complete wellness experience. Shoreside the cruise line features complimentary water sports and adventurous shore excursions that include mountain biking and kayaking in some of the most beautiful destinations in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Onboard, guests are invited to participate in yoga on deck under billowing sails on select yoga-themed sailings, and most cruises afford the opportunity to climb the mast for an exhilarating workout. Massages are available on each ship, and flagship Royal Clipper features a full-service spa. Healthy gourmet meal options are available on all three ships in the fleet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

For more information, visit www.starclippers.com.

3 Steps to Build a Better Nest Egg

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 15:43
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(NewsUSA) - (NewsUSA) - It's one of the biggest challenges facing today's workforce -- can I save for retirement? It is made even more difficult with an unpredictable economy and low levels of trust in financial institutions.

So, what's an investor to do?

FinMason (finmason.com), self-proclaimed numbers crunchers and producers of an independent investment analysis tool, may have the answer.

According to FinMason's "Building Bricks," there are three basic steps you can take to sketch out a general retirement plan:

* First, calculate how much money you need to retire. To get a rough idea, take the amount of income you would like at retirement, subtract the amount you expect from social security and divide the result by 4 percent. For example, if your total annual income required in retirement is $60,000, subtract other sources of income (Social Security might be about $24,000), which leaves you with $36,000 that your savings needs to produce each year. Divide by .04 and you get a whopping $900,000. This is the amount you need to save in order to retire the way you would like.

Next, think about the minimum amount of income you would need to retire at all, and do the same calculation. This is your minimum retirement goal. The idea is to create a retirement plan where you have a good chance of retiring the way you want if markets go as planned, but still stays above your minimum retirement goal if markets behave poorly.

* Next, determine how much you can set aside each month. The amount you save each month is usually the biggest driver of your ability to ultimately retire. In this way, small sacrifices now will most likely bring big dividends down the road. Not making sacrifices now will likely lead to worse outcomes.

* Lastly, determine your investment risk tolerance. This is another important consideration since it typically drives the investments you choose. One straightforward way to determine your risk tolerance is to use an online retirement calculator that allows you to choose different risk levels and see how that effects your retirement. You want to choose a risk level that gets you as close to your goal as possible without dipping below your minimum retirement amount. It is also helpful if the tool shows you how much you could lose in a stock market crash so you can gauge what a really bad day would feel like.

For more information, visit www.finmason.com.

Para los latinos, el Día de las Madres es una celebración de honor y gratitud

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 15:18
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(NewsUSA) - Cuando se trata del Día de las Madres, la mayoría de ellas pueden esperar recibir buenos gestos, como un desayuno especial o almuerzo y regalos por parte de su familia. El Día de las Madres es considerado como una de las fiestas más importantes del año para la comunidad hispana. Las madres hispanas suelen ser el ancla de la familia. Ellas toman las riendas en todos los asuntos familiares y del hogar - desde cocinar para toda la familia hasta involucrarse en todas las actividades sociales y escolares de sus hijos.

El Día de las Madres es típicamente uno de los días festivos donde más se entrega regalos en la comunidad hispana. Como una manera de expresar sentimientos de gratitud, respeto y honor, la familia hará un esfuerzo considerable para darle a mamá todo lo que ella desea - desde pequeños electrodomésticos y decoración para el hogar hasta ropa de moda, ropa deportiva, joyería fina y accesorios.

Los comercios nacionales como JCPenney, ofrecen una variedad de opciones para mamá. "Sabemos que las madres son veneradas en la comunidad hispana, es por eso que queremos que la entrega de regalos sea tan simple como sea posible con nuestra plataforma de regalos en línea para el Día de las Madres en JCPenney.com, como una manera sencilla y efectiva de encontrar una variedad de regalos de calidad a excelentes precios bajos", dice Lyris Leos, director de marketing multicultural de JCPenney. "También estamos alentando a nuestros clientes a que se diviertan homenajeando a mamá dándole todo el crédito al publicar fotos que muestren los estilos que aprendieron de sus madres utilizando los hashtags designados #DeMiMama y #JCPLookbook para tener la oportunidad de aparecer en nuestro sitio de Tumblr, JCPLookbook.com".

Si todavía estás buscando ideas de regalos, solo echa un vistazo a estas fantásticas recomendaciones de JCPenney:

* Para la mamá que le gusta la comodidad. Dale un par de pantuflas Isotoner o Muk Luk, una hermosa y suave bata tipo spa de Liz Claiborne para relajarse en casa o un suave cojín masajeador de espalda del Dr. Scholl.

* Para la mamá elegante. Hazla sentir hermosa con un nuevo collar que tiene un corazón de Love Grows como colgante o una pulsera de plata con diamantes de 14k de oro t.w.

* Para la mamá que es ama de casa. Regálale unas rejillas para copas de Epicureanist para la parte inferior del gabinete o un delicado juego de 16 vajillas JCPenney Home con diseño de encaje de Chantilly para esas cenas dominicales con la familia. O elige un juego personalizado de cuatro copas blancas para vinos.

* Para la mamá que está a la moda. Dale lo más exclusivo con la chaqueta manga larga con diseño a la cintura de Evan-Picone o el vestido estampado floral sin mangas de Worthington.

Para mayor información, visita: http://www.jcpenney.com/gifts.

Top 4 Signs You Need to Call a Pest Professional

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:15
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(NewsUSA) - When pests are discovered, it may be tempting for homeowners to employ DIY methods to first attempt to deal with pest infestations themselves. However, depending on the type of pest and size of the infestation, there are times when immediately calling in a pest professional is vital to protecting health and property -- and could end up saving money in the long-run.

According to the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), there are certain signs homeowners should look for that could indicate the presence of an infestation that should be dealt with promptly by a pest professional:

1. Droppings. Any droppings found in undisturbed areas of the home could indicate the presence of rodents. These droppings are a serious health risk and can spread diseases and contaminate food sources. People often mistakenly believe they only have one or two rodents present in their home; in reality, however, mice have high reproduction rates that can quickly escalate to large infestations.

2. Home Pest Sightings. If pests are spotted in the home, even if it's just a couple or they only appear sporadically, it could indicate the development of a more serious infestation. In the warmer months, this is especially true for stinging insects. If hornets or wasps are showing up indoors on a regular basis, there may be a nest somewhere inside or around the home. Removal of stinging insect nests is a dangerous job that should always be left to the professionals.

3. Mattress Markings. If small reddish brown spots are found on mattresses, upholstery or walls, it could indicate a bed bug infestation -- especially when paired with red, itchy welts, most notably on the legs and arms. These bugs are notoriously difficult to get rid of, and a pest professional should be called as soon as possible to assess and treat the situation.

4. Mud Tubes. Some termites build distinctive mud tubes that are frequently found near a home's foundation. Termites are known as "silent destroyers" because their constant gnawing can go unnoticed until significant structural damage to the home occurs. If mud tubes are discovered, homeowners should immediately call a pest professional before further structural damage occurs.

If any of these severe pest infestation signs is discovered, homeowners should contact a pest management professional immediately. For additional information and prevention tips, visit www.pestworld.org.

Another Reason to Choose Chiropractic Care First for Pain Management

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:13
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(NewsUSA) - The move for a "chiropractic first" approach to treating pain just got a big boost.

In recent years, a growing number of experts have argued that the downsides of relying on drugs and invasive spinal surgery were potentially so great in certain cases -- particularly among patients with chronic back pain -- that a proven alternative like chiropractic care should officially be recognized as a serious option. Now comes word that the influential Joint Commission has done just that.

Following what it called "an extensive literature review," the not-for-profit organization, which accredits and certifies more than 20,500 health organizations and programs in the U.S., announced that it was revising its "Provision of Care, Treatment, and Services" standard to "affirm" the role of nonpharmacologic approaches including chiropractic care in pain management.

"In addition," the commission warned regarding the use of medications, "organizations should consider both the benefits to the patient as well as the risks of dependency, addiction and the abuse of opioids."

Nearly 80 percent of Americans are believed to experience back pain at some point in their lives. Past studies have shown that patients who turned to a chiropractor first had consistently better health outcomes and drastically reduced their odds of having to undergo costly surgery.

"As a nation, we are facing an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and all stakeholders in health care stand to benefit from a conservative approach focusing on chiropractic first, drugs second and surgery last," said Gerard Clum, D.C., of the not-for-profit Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.

To learn more about chiropractic care or to find a chiropractor near your area, visit www.F4CP.org/findadoctor.

Create a Precious Moment for Mom This Mother's Day

Fri, 04/10/2015 - 12:05
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(NewsUSA) - Mom. Just the mention of the word can spark memories of love, warmth and kindness. It's why a day has been designated just for her, honoring all that she's done.

Trying to decipher what to give "the woman who has everything," however, can be a challenge.

Experts agree, saying there is a tremendous amount of pressure to find the perfect gift (I'm talking to you, Hallmark), when in reality, most just want to know that they're cherished.

So, what says love to one of the -- if not the most -- important women in your life? Read on for some ideas on how to create a precious moment for mom on her special day.

* Give the gift of time. Anyone can take mom out for a nice meal -- the restaurant business counts on it. But a real treat might be to shoo her off for some alone time to her favorite book or clothing store (maybe with a gift card in hand) while you stay home and cook and clean for her. This way, she gets the best of both worlds -- no chores for a day, and time to herself with a little pocket money to boot.

* Write down some heartfelt words. Be it in poem, story or a letter, moms love the written word. For added panache, tuck this on a tray with a homemade breakfast (in bed, of course), a handpicked flower in a vase, and you can count on a few tears.

* Pick the perfect pendant. Every woman loves jewelry, but it can be difficult finding that piece that embodies the amount of love you have for this lady called Mom. Which is why Galatea has created a hand-carved pearl that contains the first near field communication (NFC) in the industry. The Momento Pearl allows users to create a tailored voice message that can be played when the pearl is tapped against a compatible mobile device. Taking smart jewelry to a completely new level, the Momento Pearl can also store a variety of digital content including images, messages and web links -- so even if you can't be with Mom on her day, you can still send her a message of love or photo with a piece of jewelry that will last a lifetime.

"A person can 'live' with this pearl forever, as it holds the voice and memories of a loved one," says inventor and Galatea founder Chi Huynh. "The real interest in the Momento Pearl lies in its ability to summon a voice, a memory and emotion," adds Huynh, who plans on introducing more NFC-enabled jewelry to include gemstones and diamonds.

The new Galatea line includes earings, rings and pendants in 14k white or yellow gold. To learn more, visit www.galateausa.com.

New Drug May Help Control the Spread of Cancer

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 15:23
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(NewsUSA) - Each year 14 million people worldwide find out they have cancer, and 8 million die from the disease. It is now the leading cause of death around the world, and there is no cure. However, one company is working on what it believes to be an effective method to help control the spread of the disease, and treat and stabilize the cancer.

Propanc Health Group is a Melbourne, Australia-based health care company currently focusing on developing new cancer treatments for patients with solid tumors such as pancreatic and colorectal cancer. With its lead product, PRP, currently in animal trials -- and soon moving to clinical trials, the company believes it has a way to extend the life expectancy of cancer patients. In a previously conducted compassionate care study, PRP did increase life expectancy in terminal patients.

The way it works is this: Propanc has identified that pancreatic proenzymens are able to suppress, or stop, a long-silent embryonic program reactivated by cancer cells, by returning cancer cells back toward normal behavior. This is important because certain cancer cells develop traits such as motility, invasiveness and a resistance to death. They also become "stem-cell" like and develop the ability to seed new tumors. This process, called metastasis, is responsible for about 90 percent of deaths from cancer.

"From our research we observed that pancreatic proenzymes enforce the re-entry of cancer cells into normal cellular pathways and could represent an exciting new method of managing the disease process," said Dr. Julian Kenyon, Chief Scientific Officer of Propanc Health Group. "We believe this small but significant step supports my initial observations from clinical practice that pancreatic proenzymes have the potential to prolong life and stop tumors from spreading, especially if we treat patients during earlier stages of the disease process."

The company's vision is to identify active anti-cancer agents, which have anti-cancer effects and are a less-toxic and effective way to treat patients, compared to standard treatment approaches.

"Propanc is a very well tolerated medication and has been shown to extend survival time well beyond that expected in any of the patients it has been used on," said Dr. Kenyon. "These results are by far and away better than I have ever seen with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or monoclonal antibodies, which are the treatments offered currently."

More information can be found at www.propanc.com. Media and investors should reach out to Regal Consulting at 702-575-9157.

4 Basic Exercises to Help Older Adults Improve Strength and Balance

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:53
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(NewsUSA) - As you grow older, being physically active is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Whether you're well into your golden years, a baby boomer or younger, studies show regular exercise can lower your risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and dementia. It also helps improve your mood, energy level and overall well-being.

"The great thing is, no matter what your age, size or fitness level, it's never too late to start exercising," said Jaza Marina, M.D., a Kaiser Permanente physician who specializes in elder care. "We strongly recommend seniors do exercises that maintain strength, balance and flexibility. Our goal is to reduce their risk of falls and injuries, so they can stay healthy and independent."

Dr. Marina advises that good ways to exercise include low-impact aerobic activity, swimming, tai chi and yoga if you're physically able. "We have 80-year-olds who run 5k or 10k races. Everyone is different, so pick an exercise that you enjoy."

She believes walking is probably the easiest exercise. All you need is 30 minutes a day, five times a week. If that's too much, you can break that up -- 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening. Some seniors walk at their local indoor shopping mall.

"The important thing is to get off the recliner, turn off the T.V. and get active," said Dr. Marina. Below are four basic exercises to get you started.

1. Knee bends. Holding on to a sturdy chair or counter at your side, keep your back straight, feet on the ground and gently bend your knees and lower your body. Then, raise your body back up. It's a slight squat but not a deep one. Repeat 10-15 times.

2. Heel raises. Holding on to a chair or counter at your side, raise up on toes slowly and then lower the heels to the ground slowly. Heel raises strengthen the calf muscles. Repeat 10-15 times.

3. Side leg raises. Holding on to a chair or counter at your side, raise one leg out to the side and bring it back down. Repeat 10-15 times and switch to other leg.

4. Sit to stand. If you're able -- sit in a chair and rise to a standing position with arms stretched in front of you. Make sure the chair is in a stable position or against a wall so it won't fall over. Sit back down and repeat 10 times.

Kaiser Permanente offers exercise classes at several of its medical facilities. To find classes in your area and for further information about these exercises, visit kp.org. Also, talk with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.

Uber to Passengers: Our Drivers May Be Unsafe

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 15:07
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(NewsUSA) - They've reached what you could call the braking point.

Fueled by anger over Uber and other ride-booking services' own warnings that their drivers may pose a "risk," critics are calling for a "Passenger Bill of Rights" that would serve as a stop-gap until lawmakers act to officially crack down on the app-based industry's most egregious safety issues.

Safety -- or the lack of it -- has been a major concern ever since news reports began piling up of ride-booking drivers across the country being arrested for allegedly raping and assaulting passengers. And with the companies fighting efforts to subject their drivers to the same rigorous background checks as taxi and limousine drivers, the last straw may have been the discovery that the "terms of use" posted on their own websites appear to place the burden on passengers to decide who they're willing to entrust their lives to behind the wheel.

"By using the services," Uber states, "you acknowledge that you may be exposed to situations involving third-party providers" -- meaning, their drivers -- "that are potentially unsafe, offensive, harmful to minors, or otherwise objectionable, and that use of third-party providers arranged or scheduled using the services is at your own risk."

And from Lyft, another top industry player: "Users understand and accept that Lyft has no control over the identity or actions of the riders and drivers. . . Drivers and riders use the services at their own risk."

The Bill of Rights intentionally includes all "ground transportation," not just app-based services like Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and Whisk. That jibes with the stance of the non-profit National Limousine Association, which suggested the guidelines as part of its "Ride Responsibly" campaign, that "everyone be held to the same standards."

"As the global voice of the private driver transportation industry," said Gary Buffo, the NLA's president, "we feel it is our obligation to promote a safer and more accountable system for passengers and operators."

Among the rights passengers would be entitled to:

* Proof of commercial-for-hire licensing and certifications.

* A safe and courteous driver covered by commercial vehicle insurance (which ride-booking drivers may or may not have).

* A fully vetted and trained driver who's undergone official criminal background checks and pre-hire drug testing.

* Air-conditioning on request.

* Fully functioning seat belts.

* A quoted fare and final charge that match the agreed upon amount.

* Assurance that the vehicle has undergone regular inspections and is certified as being safe.

With a new Harris Poll showing a whopping 91 percent of Americans believe there should be mandatory rules and regulations for ride-hailing drivers, the NLA also stepped up pressure on lawmakers by setting up a website (www.rideresponsibly.org) to provide a forum for public debate on the issue.

Thermal Imaging Camera Helps Find Hidden Damage in Your Home

Tue, 04/07/2015 - 13:22
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(NewsUSA) - Spring is in the air, which means it's not only time to start deep cleaning your home, but ensuring it's protected against damage caused by Old Man Winter.

For homeowners who have gone through especially harsh weather (a shout-out to the Northeast and New England seems to be in order), the spring thaw that occurs from record-breaking snowfall can result in irreparable water damage if not taken care of properly.

For roofs, it's important to check for ice damming. This happens when snow on the upper portion of your roof melts and freezes on the lower half, creating a wall-like formation around the gutter. Water then becomes trapped behind the ice dam and can leak into your home. In addition, water-stained ceilings, drywall and damp areas in the basement, cracks in concrete floors and musty, wet odors can also mean trouble and should be checked.

To help find these sometimes-hard-to-see signs, you might want to consider investing in a thermal camera. This pocket-size device plugs into smartphones and puts technology that was once unaffordable into consumers' hands.

It works like this: all objects radiate heat or "infrared light" that can be seen by true thermal cameras even in the absence of visible light. While this technology has primarily been used by law enforcement and the military, one company has brought the cost down to an affordable price for the everyday consumer.

Seek Thermal, a California-based technology company, has created a thermal camera that works with a free app to turn invisible heat energy into an image that can be seen from your phone or tablet. This, the company says, allows homeowners to easily expose and record water damage, so something can be done about it before having to make costly repairs.

For one Boston custom home builder, the Seek Thermal camera has made a difference in how he approaches his business.

"With the Seek camera we're able to isolate the exposure without cutting holes in the sheetrock," says Chris Rapczynski, president of Sleeping Dog Properties. "Now, with the thermal imaging camera, we're able to quickly walk in, assess whether the water has infiltrated a wall cavity, and all of that can be done in minutes.

"Having a thermal imaging camera bridges the gap between applying some effort and having certainty the effort that's been applied is the fix," says Rapczynski. "And the clients just want the fix."

For more information, visit www.thermal.com.

Hate Waiting? Businesses Target Improved Customer Experience

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:32
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Often the most frustrating aspect consumers experience with businesses isn't directly related to the service or product itself, but instead the long wait time to receive it.

Restaurants, automotive services, bowling alleys and beauty salons are all examples of businesses that can have extended -- and sometimes unspecified -- wait times. Business owners are noticing that this can be a major annoyance to their customers, which can result in a negative consumer experience from the start.

Now, some business owners are taking action with the help of Waitlist Me.

Waitlist Me, previously known as NoshList, makes managing a waitlist simple and uses text and call messages to notify customers when it is their turn. The service is broadening its reach to work in all types of businesses, and runs across multiple platforms, including iPads, Android tablets, smart phones and computers.

"Waitlist Me has been proven to reduce walkaways, increase revenues and improve customer satisfaction," says Brian Hutchins, Head of Product for Waitlist Me. "At the end of the day, everyone wins."

Unsurprising, then, is that Waitlist Me is even catching on in the health care industry -- where the average time it takes to see a doctor is approximately 23 minutes, and anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours during cold and flu season. In this industry, having technology at your fingertips to help plan your time could be a godsend. For example, the app has made a difference for both patients and physicians for one Wisconsin-based primary care facility.

"We expected the patients would appreciate the new waitlist options, but we didn't anticipate that the physicians would also be happier, because the patients are happier when they get into the room," said Kelly Tolson, director of operations at Wisconsin-based ProHealth Care. "That has been a very nice surprise."

In addition to improving waitlist experiences, the app also offers easy-to-use features. Premium users can now customize and enable feedback surveys to go out after customer visits. Customers can easily send quick numerical ratings back in text messages or take surveys to rate their experiences in more detail, leave comments and even request a manager to contact them about their visit.

For more information, visit www.waitlist.me.

Is It Sarcoidosis? Don't Rule Out This Often Misdiagnosed Condition

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:29
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Most people have never heard of sarcoidosis, but this complex condition has actually been acknowledged for more than 150 years. Well-known people who have been impacted by the condition include Bernie Mac, Reggie White, Evander Holyfield, Tisha Campbell-Martin and Daisy Fuentes. Although anyone can develop sarcoidosis, it is most common among people between the ages of 20-40.

Often, the symptoms of sarcoidosis are similar to cancer or arthritis, and people may undergo unnecessary treatment before finding out their actual diagnosis. It's stories like this that inspired the CHEST Foundation of the American College of Chest Physicians and the Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (FSR) to team up and launch "Sarcoidosis: Seek Answers. Inspire Results," a campaign that encourages people living with sarcoidosis to take a proactive role in their treatment.

"While sarcoidosis is not fully understood, it's important to consider it if symptoms are present," said Doreen J. Addrizzo-Harris, MD, FCCP, co-director of the Pulmonary/Critical Care Faculty Group Practice at NYU Langone Medical Center, pulmonary section chief at Tisch Hospital in New York City, and trustee of the CHEST Foundation board. "The educational resources available at www.chestnet.org/sarcoid encourage people living with sarcoidosis to openly discuss options with their doctor, then follow their unique treatment plan."

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease wherein the immune system goes into overdrive, causing cells to group together into clumps called granulomas. When too many granulomas form on an organ, they can interfere with its function. Though sarcoidosis can impact any organ, the lungs and lymph nodes are affected in more than 90 percent of cases.

With good medical care, most cases are not severe and do not cause lasting damage to the body. However, 30-40 percent of people with sarcoidosis have a persistent condition that may require treatment to control symptoms.

Common symptoms include:

1. Fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats and an overall feeling of ill health.

2. A persistent cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.

3. Enlarged lymph nodes -- most often located in the neck, but they can also be under the chin, in the armpits or the groin area.

Other signs may include skin changes (such as painful or red, raised bumps), joint pain or eye sensitivity.

For more information and to download sarcoidosis resources -- including the "Sarcoid Five," a list of five questions designed to jump-start conversations between patients and doctors -- please visit www.chestnet.org/sarcoid.

Breaking Down the Walls -- Improve Your Connection Outside the Office

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:20
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - In the modern business age, many companies are doing away with physical office space altogether. In fact, experts say that enabling employees to work from home is doing a 180-degree turn from the perk it once was, to a business necessity.

"Who says there will be an office at all?" says Tom Austin, vice president at Gartner, a Stamford, Connecticut-based technology research firm. "Already we work from Starbucks, in the car and at our kids' softball games."

Yet, there are still naysayers who poo-poo the idea -- Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo! sent out an in-house memo last year stating that employees must come into the office -- even as studies show those that have employees who work from home are, on average, more productive and have lower real-estate costs and better employee morale, which leads to less turnover. Supporting this trend is that nearly 6 million Americans work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Further advancing this transformation in doing business, Switch (www.switch.co) is bringing a business phone system to organizations that use GoogleApps, replacing a company's old phone hardware with new software built to enable mobility.

"Switch makes sense for anyone who realizes their business phone system that serves a desk is broken," says Craig Walker, founder and CEO of the San Francisco-based company.

Switch is Walker's latest project that focuses on modernizing the traditional phone call -- starting with companies that use Google Apps.

Google Apps users are directly imported into Switch, enabling a company to get up and running in minutes. Users log in with their Apps account and have immediate access to their company directory. When on a call, Switch shows the latest Gmail messages, upcoming Calendar events and shared Docs.

"Switch puts the power of the phone back into the hands of the user with your work number on your own device, enabling you to stay connected and productive from wherever your work and life take you," he says.

Pricing for companies of all sizes is $15 per month per employee, including a free company number and unlimited domestic calls and texts. For more information, visit www.switch.co or call 844-9-SWITCH.

Patriot Trails Offers New Way to Experience Revolutionary War History

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:17
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - If you are fanatical about American history -- especially the Revolutionary War -- then the new "Patriot Trails" might be just for you.

Produced by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board (VFTCB), Patriot Trails is a comprehensive touring adventure designed to illustrate the dramatic struggle for independence for modern visitors. The self-guided Revolutionary War journey uses web-based mobile technology to tell the richly detailed story of the Revolutionary War as it unfolded throughout Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Best of all, the transportable information can be accessed while visitors are onsite at the significant locations -- or even en route.

"Most people recognize the role that Valley Forge National Historical Park played during those crucial years of 1777 and 1778," says Edward Harris, vice president of marketing and communications for VFTCB. "What visitors -- and even locals -- may not know is that the encampment that was housed there is just one aspect of a much larger story."

The customized itineraries highlight 16 historic sites in all areas of the county. Notable destinations include Peter Wentz Farmstead in Lansdale, which twice served as Washington's temporary headquarters, and Hope Lodge in Fort Washington, the site of a six-week encampment prior to the winter in Valley Forge.

"What we are doing is telling that tale by showcasing other significant historic sites throughout Montgomery County," says Harris. "The information for our trails is formatted for mobile devices. Our website's responsive technology enables history buffs, families, students and groups to access information on the go."

The Patriot Trails website breaks the exploration down into manageable options, depending on how much time a history buff has. Designed for all ages, the itineraries range from half-day to multi-day and can be customized. The website also highlights the men and women who committed themselves fully to oppose the British crown, offering mini-biographies.

"We are very excited about this tour," says Harris. "Its success can be replicated to enable visitors to experience our great county in a whole host of ways, from military history beyond the Revolution to arts and culture destinations to retro theaters and brewpubs."

For more information, visit www.patriottrails.com.

Thermal Imaging Helps Find Hidden Damage in Your Home

Mon, 04/06/2015 - 10:15
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - Spring is in the air, which means it's not only time to start deep cleaning your home, but ensuring it's protected against dama caused by Old Man Winter.

For homeowners who have gone through especially harsh weather (a shout-out to the Northeast and New England seems to be in order), the spring thaw that occurs from record-breaking snowfall can result in irreparable water damage if not taken care of properly.

For roofs, it's important to check for ice damming. This happens when snow on the upper portion of your roof melts and freezes on the lower half, creating a wall-like formation around the gutter. Water then becomes trapped behind the ice dam and can leak into your home. In addition, water- stained ceilings, drywall and damp areas in the basement, cracks in concrete floors and musty, wet odors can also mean trouble and should be checked.

To help find these sometimes-hard-to-see signs, you might want to consider investing in a thermal camera. This pocket-size device plugs into smartphones and puts technology that was once unaffordable into consumers' hands.

It works like this: all objects radiate heat or "infrared light" that can be seen by true thermal cameras even in the absence of visible light. While this technology has primarily been used by law enforcement and the military, one company has brought the cost down to an affordable price for the everyday consumer.

Seek Thermal, a California-based technology company, has created a thermal camera that works with a free app to turn invisible heat energy into an image that can be seen from your phone or tablet. This, the company says, allows homeowners to easily expose and record water damage, so something can be done about it before having to make costly repairs.

For one Boston custom home builder, the Seek Thermal camera has made a difference in how he approaches his business.

"With the Seek camera we're able to isolate the exposure without cutting holes in the sheetrock," says Chris Rapczynski, president of Sleeping Dog Properties. "Now, with the thermal imaging camera, we're able to quickly walk in, assess whether the water has infiltrated a wall cavity, and all of that can be done in minutes.

"Having a thermal imaging camera bridges the gap between applying some effort and having certainty the effort that's been applied is the fix," says Rapczynski. "And the clients just want the fix."

For more information, visit www.thermal.com.

How to Make Outdoor Spaces as Beautiful and Comfortable as Indoors

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 15:14
Five words or less

(NewsUSA) - While making the inside of your home beautiful is naturally a focus, there's so much to be gained from an outdoor space. Beautifully designed and decorated, outdoor areas not only expand upon actual "livable" space but enable you to enjoy your home al fresco -- and the good news is, you don't have to sacrifice style or the comfort of the indoors.

With everything from sofas and sectionals to colorful Moroccan-inspired floor rugs and outdoor chandeliers, one home-furnishings retailer is bringing both style and comfort from the indoors out. And with signature designs from its outdoor collection available in stores across the country and hundreds of furniture plus accessory options on its website, Arhaus is placing a world of outdoor décor options at your fingertips.

"We have something for everyone, for every style, for every space, and designs are made to weather the elements," says Gary Babcock, chief creative officer for Arhaus.

Here are some key pieces to recreate rooms outdoors:

Classic wicker. "Wicker never goes out of style," says Babcock. Choose from a number of different looks by the retailer -- including occasional seating, as well as dining and accent tables. "Add a conversation piece to the setting," suggests Babcock, referring to a wicker wingback chair in a chic herringbone pattern.

Antique inspirations. European antiques inspired several aluminum designs by Arhaus -- from a Greek klismos chair to an English library-looking sofa with matching chair, chaise and end and coffee tables. "Stuart is the most traditional [aluminum] collection with an x-back design," says Babcock. Stuart features a chaise for two with shade overhead and privacy draperies.

Slipcovered upholstery. "We took our coziest upholstery collections and redesigned pieces to sit outside," says Babcock. Slipcovered in easy-to-care-for fade-resistant Sunbrella/Outdura fabric and underneath, cushions are guaranteed to fend off mold and mildew, and frames are "marine-grade" -- hence, waterproof and worry free.

Mixed materials. Reconstructed stone, lighter and more durable than concrete, is mixed with everything from metal to reclaimed elm and teak to create tables at varying heights and widths for any outdoor occasion.

Decorative accessories. Like any interior, accents pull everything together -- even outdoors. Consider a beautiful floral or awning striped rug, a patterned pouf, a mix of colorful accent pillows and handmade pottery in different shapes, sizes and finishes. For outdoor lighting, there's Arhaus' Claudette Chandelier, among other options.

For more information, visit www.arhaus.com.

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