Honoring World Alzheimer’s Month: Keeping The Brain Healthy

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomersI read The New York Times blog called The New Old Age written by Paula Span. This week, Paula introduced herself in The Story Behind The Story column. She says that “With more than 20 percent of the American population projected to be over 65 by the year 2030, per the Census Bureau, I’m unlikely to run out of material.” In fact, she adds “the list of subjects I hope to tackle keeps lengthening.”

Let’s see, how old will I be in 2030? Hmm, hmm, hmm, I’ll be 72. Ouch!

As I approach 60 next year, I feel like I’m in pretty good shape. However, every aging body has something. Right? My one friend has knee issues, my other friend has rotator cuff issues, another friend has back problems. My vice is my teeth – I’ve got one implant already in my mouth and lately with the pain I’ve been having, more to come. Plus, I have flat feet, which is minor only when they hurt after a long walk and add to my difficulty finding comfortable shoes.

Alzheimer’s and The Aging Mind
Then there’s the aging mind and memory. I try to keep my mind active by teaching and doing yoga, reading the daily newspaper, and researching and writing this blog. However, with the growing statistics on Alzheimer’s and dementia, it’s all so scary.

According to the National Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, a number that is expected to rise as high as 16 million by 2050.

Let’s see, I’ll be 92 in 2050. Ouch! How should I keep my brain healthy as I age?

Since September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and many more women develop the disease than men, I thought I would take time to share my interview with Dr. Michelle Braun, a neuropsychologist, who knows a great deal about Alzheimer’s and keeping the brain healthy. Dr. Braun developed the Brain Health Quiz, which she shares more about in the interview below.

Note: This is a very long blog post, but there is so much good information that I wanted to share it all. So just read the Qs and As that you are interested in, or read it all if you are really interested! I’m sure many of you may also be caregivers to parents or other relatives who have Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Michelle Braun; Healthy Brain Quiz; Alzheimer's; healthy brain; aging

Dr. Michelle Braun is a neuropsychologist.

Here are excerpts: Continue reading

My Fabulous Foodie Day At The 2017 Fancy Food Show

aboomerslifeafter50.com; boomer women; life after 50Are you hungry?

Are you thirsty?

If not, you likely will be after you read about my fabulous foodie day at the 2017 Fancy Food Show. Last week, I spent four hours walking 362,000 square feet of the Javits Center in New York while sampling goodies offered by 2,600+ exhibiting companies. As a long-term foodie (in my previous career I worked for two major food companies for 30+ years), attending the show and scoping out new products is always fun.

The Fancy Food Show has helped launch such brands as Popchips, Ben & Jerry’s, Walker’s Shortbread (my late husband M loved these biscuits), ZICO Coconut Water and Vermont Creamery.

#2017SFFS; foodie; Florence Fabricant, 2017 Fancy Food Show

I was excited to meet “The New York Times” food writer Florence Fabricant at the Fancy Food Show.

Move Over Millennials, Boomers Are Big Foodies
According to Today’s Specialty Food Consumer 2016 Report, “baby boomers are an experiential and experimental group. They use specialty foods the most of all groups, more than millennials, for cooking at home. They do a lot of scratch cooking and enjoy trying new things.” In addition to getting excited about their food, health and social consciousness play a role in purchases. They are also the most likely consumer group to purchase products that claim to be fair trade, ethical, or sustainable.

My Foodie Favorite
So now that you know that boomers are big foodies, I’m going to share the foods that pleased Judi Foodie’s post 50 palate during my gourmet walkabout. Some of these products can be purchased in local supermarkets, while others can be found in Whole Foods or smaller gourmet shops. If you cannot locate a particular product in stores I suggest checking Amazon or going on the company’s website.

Drum roll please! My absolute FAVORITE #1 product of the show was Kourellas Organic Greek Yogurt. It brought me back to my vacation in Greece (will share all the details of my trip soon) and the delicious creamy yogurt we ate during our stay in Athens and Santorini. Greek yogurt and honey is a breakfast classic in Greece. Kourellas yogurt was smooth and lighter than most Greek yogurts. Unfortunately this yogurt is not available yet on the east coast. I hope Kourellas gets a distributor soon.

#SFFS; Kourellas Greek Organic Yogurt; Kourellas; foodie

Second drum roll! Third and fourth drum roll! My absolute FAVORITE #2 and #3 and #4 products of the show were Bonchou Eclairerie mini eclairs, Petitpot Pot De Creme (French for delicious pudding), and SweetBite Baklava one bite wonders to satisfy the sweet tooth. All were phenomenal desserts with portion control. Yum, yum, yum!  Continue reading

It’s Summer! Time To Power Up The Sunscreen

This post is produced in collaboration with CVS Phamacy.

boomer beauty, life after 50, makeup for 50+ women, over 50Give me a cheer! Give me a yeah! Give me a high-five!

It’s finally warm and sunny. I’m back from my holiday in Greece (will be sharing all the highlights soon) and getting ready for summer weekends at my condo-on-the-corner at the Jersey shore.

Power Up Your Sunscreen
As a CVS ambassador*, it’s my job to remind you to power up your sunscreen so you don’t get a bad summer sunburn. I did exactly that while in Athens and Santorini. The sun was shining bright when my sister N and daughter A and I climbed to the top of the Acropolis and walked and hiked around Santorini. Only A got a bad sunburn on her legs, N and I re-applied and were more cautious with hats and caps. We all came back with good tans.

Greece; Santorini; Oia

My friends at CVS were so nice to supply my sunscreen including CVS Health SPF30 Breakout Free Face Lotion to protect my face (and put on my ears) and CVS Health SPF50 Clear Zinc Sun Lotion for my body. It went right in my suitcase for my trip and now sits on my bathroom counter. Every morning I slather my body with sunscreen before I go out in the sun. The lotions go on clear and are non-greasy.

CVSHealth 50 Clear Zinc Sun Lotion; CVS Pharmacy

The CVS team also sent other products that I packed for my trip, such as packets of cortisone and bacitracin. These creams are handy to have in case you get a summer itch or need a first aid ointment. Plus they don’t take up much room in your toiletry bag. Continue reading

Mindfulness, Happiness, and More Trends From the 2017 Book Expo

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenWhen I was growing up in the Bronx, NY, I loved going to the public library. My mom and I would walk across Mosholu Parkway from our home. Mom would go food shopping – which took a long time since she had to go to the butcher, the bakery and the supermarket. I went to the library, where I headed straight for the new book section, opening the crisp covers, reading the flaps, flipping the printed pages. I’d stack the books – six was the limit – check them out one at a time – and carry the pile in my arms to meet up with mom.

To this day, new books still excite me. That’s why I so enjoyed attending the 2017 Book Expo at the New York Javits Center earlier this month. The Expo is an annual event where publishers showcase new books. From Simon & Schuster to Hachette, Workman, Penguin and more, I walked every aisle to see each publisher’s offerings.

What’s Hot In The World of Books?
Now that I’ve finally finished combing through my notes and all the catalogs I collected, it’s time to share the themes and trends that caught my attention. Are you ready for what’s hot in the world of books? Note that some of these books may not be available until later in the year.

Here’s the scoop:

Mindfulness and Yoga With A Dosage of Happiness 
If you’re not being mindful or you’re not happy, not to worry because there are hundreds of books (or maybe more) to bring you into the present and make you joyful. As a yogi, I was pleased to see that these topics are trending, yet not sure how I would find time to practice if I spent all my time reading. Here are some titles to choose from:

Mindfulness On the Go – “a set of 52 cards and a 64-page illustrated book, all in a flip-top box with an easel to display your mindfulness cards.”

The Yoga Healer by Christine Burke – with “remedies for the body, mind, and spirit, from easing back pain and headaches to managing anxiety and finding joy and peace within.”
Beyond Mindfulness by Stephen Bodian – says it’s “the direct approach to lasting peace, happiness, and love.
Relax into Yoga for Seniors by Kimberly Carson, MPH, E-RYT and Carol Krucoff, E-RYT –  including a six-week program for strength, balance, flexibility and pain relief. Continue reading

My Yoga Journey: Celebrating One Year As A Teacher

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness

Last month, marked one year since I completed my Yoga Teacher Training 200 Hour Program at Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies.

Since graduation, I’ve taught 70+ hours of yoga to mature adults and seniors as old (or should I say as young) as 100. I’ve taught newbies and experienced yogis. I’ve taught Chair Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Aqua Yoga in the water and even Power Yoga (if there is such a thing). I’ve led Meditation and Mindfulness sessions too. Wow-o-wow! 

yoga, reinvention after 50

I remember my first few classes. I was very nervous. Would my voice project? Could I memorize a sequence of poses? What would happen if my sequence ran past the hour? What about the music, the mantras, the mudras, the Sanskrit names and directions for each pose? It was all so overwhelming. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to teach.

yoga training, yoga mat

Learning From My Students
Transitioning from a teacher in training to an instructor in the studio has been an incredible learning experience. Now my students are my best educators.

When I speak softly, my students tell me to talk louder or turn down the music.

When I mention “inhale your left arm up” instead of “inhale your right arm up,” my students remind me and I quickly correct.

“We don’t say pain,” said my Chair Yoga student. “We say discomfort.”  “Discomfort it is,” I replied. The word “pain” has left my vocabulary.

“Can we look in the mirror?” asked my Yoga 101 student. “Yoga is a practice, there’s no perfect pose, no judgement,” I said. “The mirror won’t tell you anything and may even bring you off balance.” The student found his focal point (or drishti as we say in Sanskrit) away from the mirror and attempted to balance in Tree Pose, first on his left foot and then his right. Continue reading

How To Enjoy A Mindful Cup Of Tea

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer women“Would you like to try our teas?” said the nice representative from Adagio Teas. “Yes, yes, yes,” I replied. I was given a gift certificate to purchase some tea and teaware. The package arrived a few weeks ago and I waited until my BFF R visited last week to enjoy a relaxing cup of tea for two.*

I was excited to try Adagio Teas and carefully unpacked the gift items I had ordered:

Adagio tea; mindful cup of tea

Decaf Earl Grey Tea – a decaf blend of tangy Ceylon black tea, flavored with bergamot – a citrus fruit.
Decaf Orange Teabags –  a brisk decaf black tea, flavored with zesty orange rind dry notes and hints of sweet orange juice.
Decaf Chamomile Iced Tea pouches – a premium herbal tea in cold-brew pouches that make four cups of tea. This tea contains the finest chamomile flowers from Egypt’s Nile River Valley and is naturally caffeine-free,
PersonaliTEA Ceramic Teapot and Two Ceramic Tea cups – a personal teapot with a large infuser basket for the tea leaves. I selected the set in pastel pink (my favorite). It also is available in sky blue, black and white.
Glass Jar for tea storage – The jar is made out of Borosilicate glass to block UV rays from harming the tea.

Adiago teaware; pink teapot; pink ceramic teapot; pink tea cups

I found both the teas and the teaware reasonably priced. Definitely a good gift idea for  a housewarming party, BFF birthday present, yogi, or for anyone who likes tea. The teapots range in price from $14 for ceramic to $24-$34 for glass, and $49-$59 for cast iron. And you can try sample packs of loose teas for as little as $2.

Stop, Breathe, And Enjoy A Mindful Cup Of Tea
Preparing a cup of tea using tea leaves can be a very mindful experience. Boiling the water, measuring out the tea (all you need is 1 teaspoon of loose Adagio tea per cup), inhaling the fragrant tea leaves, watching the water change color and then savoring each sip.

Asiago tea; making a mindful cup of tea; steeping tea; pink teapot

Continue reading

How To Stay Healthy and Happy During Spring Allergy Season

This post is produced in collaboration with CVS Phamacy.

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessIt’s May and it’s 80 degrees in New Jersey. After last week’s extensive rainfall, all of a sudden my surroundings are filled with greenerygreen leaves on the trees, green grass on the lawn, green bushes in my backyard and yes, yes, yes, those pesky green weeds are cropping up everywhere. Colorful tulips, flowers and blossoms are in full bloom too. My daily routine now includes mindful walks around my complex, oohing and ahhing over the earth’s rebirth as it comes out from hibernation.

Spring Allergy Season; tips for staying healthy during spring allergy season; CVS; CVS Pharmacy

I love the spring, except for when I come back inside with pollen all over my clothing and sneakers. Usually my eyes get watery and I begin to …

Sniff, sniff, sniff.

Cough, cough, cough.

Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze.

And my nose starts to run, run, run.

According to the experts at CVS Pharmacy: “Allergies are caused by allergic sensitivity to pollens from trees, grasses or weeds, or airborne mold spores.”  From this description, it sounds like it is difficult to avoid allergies if you enjoy being outdoors as much as I do.

Philadelphia Flower Show; tulips; spring flowers

Lucky for me, I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy for their 2017 influencer relations program.* I’ll be highlighting their offerings in a series of blog and social media posts throughout the year. They likely reached out to me because my boyfriend L and I frequently spend date nights at the local CVS near my condo on the corner at the Jersey shore. You can find us there most Saturday evenings in the summer. We get our dark chocolate bars there when we run out of sweets. We get our sunscreen and other toiletries there as well. And since I don’t have cable television at the shore, we go there to rent DVD movies at the RedBox outside the store. We’re both big fans of our super duper CVS. Continue reading

Making The Most Of My Mindfulness Journey

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessIt has been almost 10 years since I studied mindfulness meditation. My therapist C at the time had suggested I sign up for the Mindfulness-Based Stress Management Program at The Penn Medicine Program for Mindfulness. It was right after my husband M died and she thought learning these new skills would help me process my grief and reduce my stress. I went to an 8-week program and began my mindfulness journey. It changed my life.

Last night I was reminded of these changes as I sat among mindfulness newbies in one of Penn’s 2-hour introductory classes. As a yoga instructor, I wanted to brush up on my mindfulness skills so I can share the benefits with my yoga students.

“Mindfulness originated in India. It comes from a word that translates as heartfulness,” said our leader M. “It is a way of bringing your attention to the present moment.” Like yoga, mindfulness is a practice. You have to work at it to experience the changes it can bring.

The Penn Program is modeled after the philosophy of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., who has done landmark work on mindfulness meditation and healing, and is the author of the bestseller Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, Illness. M noted that “Dr. Kabat-Zinn says mindfulness is when you are bringing your attention on purpose, in the present moment, and without judgement.” (Note: If you want to learn more about Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn check out his 60 Minutes interview from 2014 with Anderson Cooper.)

How Do You Practice Mindfulness?
During the evening session, M guided us through different exercises to bring us into the present moment. We did a 25 minute meditation, closing our eyes and bringing our attention to various parts of our body, such as noticing the top of our head when M would mention it, or our fingers or toes. For many of the newbies, their thoughts wandered during the meditation. Each time M reminded us to bring our attention back to the body. My mind wandered too, but not as much as in earlier days.

“You become more aware of your thoughts as you practice,” M said. “You are strengthening your attention like you would strengthen a muscle during exercise.”
Rock Cotton, Rock Cotton , tee shirt dress, yoga, mindfulness

Using Mindfulness To Manage Stress
“What is stress for you personally?” M asked. We gathered in groups to discuss our stress. “Lack of sleep,” said one participant. “Pain,” said another. “Worry,” said another. “Perfectionism and over thinking,” chimed in two more. Continue reading

Where Do You Want To Travel During Your Life After 50?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50From my visit to The New York Times Travel Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Center, N.Y.C. in January, it’s clear that boomers are a prime audience for many destinations. From Costa Rica to California, from Florida to the Philippines, from Morocco to Martinique, and everywhere else you can take a plane, ship, train or drive to visit, the post 50 market is on the move and so are their millennial children.

In fact, The New York Times announced that its annual Travel Show reached a new record of 30,099 participants during the three-day event —the highest attendance in the Show’s history.

The New York Times Travel Show; boomer travel; travel

The New York Times Travel Show reached a new record of more than 30,000 attendees.

So where do you want to travel during your life after 50?

I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2017, I’ve been to Canada (a variety of eastern and western cities), Detroit, Hamburg (Germany), Minneapolis, Kingston (Jamaica), Napa Valley (California), Sedona (Arizona), Madrid (Spain), Portland (Oregon), and yes, believe it or not South Bronx, N.Y., which is on the list. Since I was born in the Bronx I am curious to know more about this “industrial neighborhood’s revival!” That’s only 10 spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do in my lifetime.

What’s Trending In Travel?
There were a few trends that I noticed from the panels at the Show. I also attended a media event sponsored by Trav Media, where I met with Convention and Visitor’s Bureau representatives to learn about their destinations and chat with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members to hear about their itineraries. Continue reading

How To Take Care of Your Heart After Menopause

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness

February is Healthy Heart Month and this week is Valentine’s Day, so I thought I would wear red and remind you to take care of your heart. This is especially important for women our age. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women – more than all cancers combined. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes.

Go Red ™ For Women
For more than a decade Go Red™ For Women, the AHA’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke among women, has fought for equal health opportunity for women. They wear red during February, share stories of survival and advocate for more research and swifter action for women’s heart and brain health. They’re focused on changing the culture to make it easier for women and their families to live healthier lives.

Penn Medicine MD Shares Tips For A Healthy Heart
This year to learn more about women and heart disease I reached out to the experts at Penn Medicine – Heart & Vascular Center. Nazanin Moghbeli, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor of medicine and associate director of women’s cardiovascular program at Penn Medicine, provided an excellent overview for post 50 women and I’m pleased to pass it on:

Penn Medicine - Heart & Vascular Center; Dr. Nazanin Moghbeli; heart health for women; care for your heart after menopause

Dr. Nazanin Moghbeli is clinical assistant professor of medicine and associate director of women’s cardiovascular program at Penn Medicine.

It is no secret that heart disease risk factors increase as you age. When a woman reaches menopause, her body goes through a number of changes and research shows that heart attack and heart disease risk spikes during and after this time. A decline in estrogen is thought to be a major factor for why women have a greater risk of developing heart disease once they are post-menopausal.

It’s not that menopause causes heart disease, says Dr. Moghbeli,

Menopause causes “several things to change in a woman’s physiology, and some of those changes can lead to heart disease,” Dr. Moghbeli explains. “The lipid profile of women actually starts to change, so that cholesterol starts to go up. And higher cholesterol can put you at higher risk for heart disease,” she says. “That happens pretty immediately after menopause.”

At the same time, blood pressure also begins to rise.”The blood pressure is not directly related to menopause. It’s kind of related to the aging process,” Dr. Moghbeli says. “But those two factors—the blood pressure and the cholesterol rising—can increase the risk of heart disease.”

HOW DO YOU REDUCE HEART DISEASE RISK IN THE TIME SURROUNDING MENOPAUSE?

How To Reduce Heart Disease; women and heart disease; heart disease after menopause

During menopause and post-menopause, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing a heart condition, including: Continue reading