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

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

Help Prevent Osteoporosis: “Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“Did you have your bone density scan?” asked Dr. S during my annual gynecological examination earlier this year. “Yep, I had my last scan in February 2015 and it indicated that I had osteopenia, a lesser degree of bone loss, which may lead to osteoporosis.”

“Okay,” said Dr. S, “No medication is indicated at this time.” Dr. S recommended that I get a DXA scan every two years to check my bone health.

I felt relieved but wanted to know more about how I could help prevent osteoporosis, a chronic disease of the bones, during my life after 50. That’s why when Hologic, Inc., a leading global healthcare and diagnostics company with a focus on women’s consumer health, asked if I would participate in their sponsored campaign, I said “yes.”

The Statistics Are Startling
According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis. Furthermore, estrogen, a hormone in women that protects bones, decreases sharply when women reach menopause, which can cause bone loss. (Isn’t it enough that I have sleepless nights due to my lack of estrogen, now my bones are less protected too!)

osteoporosis; National Osteoporosis Foundation; World Osteoporosis Day

In addition, figures from a recent Harris Poll, Omnibus Survey on Osteoporosis (April 7-11,2016) reveal 71 percent of Americans say they are aware of the effects that osteoporosis can have on their health, yet only 52 percent report taking any steps to prevent it.

Wow-o-wow! These are startling statistics. And the sad part is that many women (and men too) can help prevent this disease by following some simple tips.

Celebrate World Osteoporosis Day
While World Osteoporosis Day 2016 is October 20th, and National Osteoporosis Month is in May, it’s the theme of this year’s campaign that is especially important. It calls for individuals to “Love Your Bones: Protect Your Future.” Continue reading

Why I’m Voting For Replens™ in the 2016 Election

life after 50, over 50, retirement, baby boomer women, baby boomers

Sit down. We have to talk. There’s a crisis that’s about to happen in the coming years that none of the presidential candidates are talking about. It’s bigger than global warming. It’s “so huge” that it may cause emotional upheaval in this country due to the enormity of the population that is currently — and is going to be — impacted by this unfortunate feminine physical condition.

What am I talking about? Can you guess?

The Trends Tell The Story
I’ll give you some hints. It has to do with post 50 women. Just listen to these stats. These facts are from The National Association of Baby Boomer Women:

By 2030, 54% of the 78 million American Boomers will be women.
By 2030, there will be 71.5 million Americans age 65 or older, more than double the number currently within that demographic. And more than half of them will be women. We’re a mammoth population that is growing. And you know what physical changes happen during our post 50 years?

Can you guess what I’m talking about now?

Okay, let me give you some additional clues:
It happens during menopause, or sometimes when you are peri-or-post.
It’s part of the changes that occur during our midlife years, especially with the decrease in estrogen in our body.
You may even be experiencing it now and don’t know what to do.

Still trying to figure it out?

Okay, I’m going to tell you. It’s vaginal dryness. No wonder none of the candidates are taking on this issue. There is nothing to debate. (Although you would think Hillary would be aware of the importance of solving this problem and have a Town Hall on the subject. It might make her more relatable.) 

vaginal dryness; Replens; post 50 women; baby boomer women

Boomer women have been a force for change since the 60s, so we can talk openly about this subject and others. There’s no need to live in what feels like a desert of dryness. My friends at the Replens™ brand know the repercussions and have figured out solutions. They clearly see what’s ahead with the increasing population of post 50 women. They want us to be happy and well moisturized for our second act. They asked me to share their news with you so I thought I’d tackle the topic head on.

Continue reading

I Need To “Sleep Better”

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessWhen I was in my 20s, I was a great sleeper. I’d hit the pillow after a long day at work and I was out for the count. I remember my roommate W was envious of how quickly I would nod off. Not anymore. These days as a “post menopausal woman,” I rarely fall asleep even after 30 minutes of relaxing music. Some nights I feel like I barely get any shut-eye at all.

I’ve tried many remedies — from warm milk to warm bathes, from Valerian (ooh, ooh, ooh, cannot stomach that herb in any form) to Melatonin — without much success. Most evenings, I usually enjoy a cup of Chamomile tea and douse myself with lavender oil. Yet some nights nothing seems to work.

AARP Life Reimagined, Sleep Better, AARP, sleep, insomnia,

While I do see a sleep doctor about twice a year, I’m always open to any and all sleep experts. That’s why when the team at AARP invited me to interview Life Reimagined Thought Leader and psychiatrist, Dr. Janet Taylor, and try out her new “Sleep Better” activity created for LifeReimagined.org, I said “yes.”

The “Sleep Better” Program
The program was quick to complete at only four steps: Continue reading

Are You Taking Care Of Your Heart Health?

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessThanks to Valentine’s Day, February is a month filled with red hearts. I just bought my cards and heart-shaped candy for my sweetheart L. I always tell him how lucky he is to be my boyfriend.

February is also a month to honor your own heart and make sure it stays healthy year-round. I learned more about heart health from the American Heart Association (AHA) Go Red For Women Campaign and wanted to share it with all of you. Boomer girls are especially prone to heart disease after menopause as our estrogen levels decrease causing a whole lot of ruckus in our body. While heart disease and stroke kill one in three women, the good news is that 80 percent is preventable.

So what are you doing to take care of your heart?

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum

I talked with Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, attending cardiologist and Director of Women and Heart Disease at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, to learn more about menopause and what boomer girls can do to stay in tip-top shape. Here are excerpts:

Q: How does menopause impact heart health?
“Menopause is so fascinating,” said Dr. Steinbaum. “It is about the closing out of our time to reproduce. Estrogen levels decrease and the benefits of estrogen decline. Blood pressure rises. LDL – the bad cholesterol rises. Research has shown that 10 years after menopause has occurred that heart disease increases because you no longer have any estrogen left in your body.” (Ugh! This is depressing. I feel like I may need to eat all those heart-shaped chocolates I just bought for L. Isn’t dark chocolate good for the heart?) Continue reading

Are You In A Postmenopausal Desert?

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“I’m itchy down under,” I told the gynecological nurse practitioner during my last visit. I was going to purchase an over-the-counter medication for what I thought was a simple vaginal infection. Glad I didn’t self-medicate. It’s not a good idea.

“You have postmenopausal dryness,” said the nurse practitioner. “Your vaginal walls are thinning and irritated due to your lack of estrogen. It’s simple to fix.” She prescribed an estrogen cream. Just a few small dabs worked wonders and now I’m pleasantly hydrated again.

Not Alone With My Postmenopausal Woes
I’m not alone with my postmenopausal woes (psst, psst, it can impact your sexual health after 50 too) and soon there will be many more women joining me in the vaginal desert. According to statistics, nearly one out of every two (45.25%) American women will be menopausal or approaching menopause next year. While most women are aware of menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes  and night sweats, fewer know about vaginal atrophy, a condition that effects one-third of women. (OMG, OMG, OMG, that’s a lot of dried out women!) Continue reading

Holiday Gift Guide For Boomer Girls

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer womenAre you all shopped out from Black Friday and Cyber Monday? If you are still looking for gifts I thought I would share some suggestions from the NY NOW Home + Lifestyle Show. I’m also pleased to highlight gift ideas from talented boomer girls Debbie Miller, Elizabeth Morrow, Linda Janssen, Susan DeGarmo, and Elaine Coyne, who are doing creative things during their life after 50.

Listen, listen, listen – since it’s the gift-giving season, I’m not only going to share my holiday gift guide, I’m going to give away some of these gifts throughout December. Watch the bottom of each blog post for the Rafflecopter giveaway! Then leave a comment about something you are grateful for this holiday season and enter to win.

For Those Who Need to Relax
Anna’s Potions and Lotions are created by Debbie Miller, based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Anna’s Sweet Rose Cream, will calm you with the aroma of fresh roses. As Debbie says, “It’s like having a jar full of rose petals.” For those who want to ease stress, there’s Anna’s Organic Rose Perfume Potion. According to Debbie,  “Rose oil is known to increase a sense of well-being and relaxation.” Check out AnnasPotionsandLotions.com.

For Those With Sleepless Nights

Spoonk mat, insomnia, anxiety, life after 50

I could sit on the Spoonk massage mat all day.

Spoonk Acupressure Massage Mat is for people who experience a lack of deep sleep, tension and muscular pain, or stress and anxiety. I tried out this mat at the NY Now Show and wanted to sit on it all day. The flyer says Spoonk mats “stimulate specific reflex points throughout the body, releasing blocked energy, easing tense muscles, and creating deep mental and physical relaxation. You can find these mats at www.spoonkspace.com and at Amazon.com.

 

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The Yogi’s Way to a Good Night’s Sleep

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellnessCatching my nightly zzz’s has been getting more challenging during my life after 50. What about you? Is your mind racing when your head hits the pillow? Still experiencing menopausal night sweats? Is your body exhausted?

Since yoga has helped me to lower my stress levels during the day, I asked my friend Alene Brennan, health coach and yoga instructor, if she had any yogic advice that might work during the wee hours of the night. Here’s an excerpt from our chat:

life after 50, over 50, boomer women, good night's sleep, sleep, Ayurveda, yoga, menopause

Alene Brennan, Health Coach and Yoga Instructor

J: What principles do yogis follow in regards to sleep?
A: “Yogis follow Ayurveda, a sister science of yoga and one of the world’s oldest healing systems.  Ayurveda offers simple routines that can create balance and a restful sleep.”

J: I’ve always wanted to learn about Ayurveda – tell me more.
A: “A good night’s rest begins with the time that you wake up each morning According to Ayurveda, there are cycles of energy in nature throughout the day and the more you synchronize your daily routine with nature’s clock the better balanced your energy will be throughout the day.”

J: So what time does nature awaken?
A: “Ideally you want to rise by 6:00 a.m. or before sunrise. This is known as Vatta time when the energy is fresh and full of renewal. Rise and shine to welcome the new day and sync your internal clock and energy with that of nature.”

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Time for a Mammogram Checkup

life after 50, baby boomer women, boomer wellness“There is an area of interest on your last mammogram that warrants a closer follow up,” said the note I received from the imaging center. “A surgical consultation was advised. We recommend to have your next imaging study in June.”

Had six months passed since I had my mammogram in December? I remember going for the exam and hearing the radiologist say there was a benign area on my left breast. I was nervous back then. As the date drew closer for my second round, I grew anxious.

“What if there is something wrong with my left breast?” I thought as I entered the exam room. In a moment – my life and possibly my body – would be forever changed.

What Is Your Risk Of Breast Cancer?
“We’ll be with you in a minute,” said the receptionist. As I sat in the waiting area I read through a Women and Breast Health brochure. There was a quiz to assess “your risk of breast cancer.” According to the research, “the more ‘yes’ answers you have, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer.” Hmm, hmm, hmm, let’s see where I rank:

* Yes – I am a woman.
* Yes – I am more than 50 years of age.
* No – I have had breast cancer or a precancerous condition.
* No – I have a family history of breast cancer.
* No – I began my periods before age 12 or reached menopause after age 55.
* No – I never had a child or had my first child after age 30.
* No – I weigh 40% more than my ideal weight.
* No – I drink alcohol. (Okay this one is a yes/no as I do drink some wine.)
* No – More than 30% of my daily calories come from fat↑
* No – I am using or have used hormone replacement therapy.

↑Note casual rule for dietary factors not firmly established.

Yeah! Only two ‘yes’ answers out of 10, that’s great! While this quiz does not ensure that I will not get breast cancer, I am grateful to know that my risk factors are lower. Continue reading