The key to a healthy lifestyle…21 days!

submitted by Coach Michael St John, Action Karate Jamison, www.fitnessclassesnow.com

The key to maintaining good health is to start creating healthy habits. It only takes 21 days, that’s three weeks, to create a new habit.

It’s important to take control of your own habits. The first step to getting rid of bad habits and creating good ones is to identify them.

A great way to do this is to keep a food journal for a few days or weeks. You might start to notice that the afternoon hunger seems to strike around 3:00 every day when you reach for that bag of chips in your desk, or that you eat takeout two or three times every weekend when you don’t feel like cooking.

Now that you have identified the habits you want to change, it’s easier to create new ones.

Replace the chips with some almonds or fruit. Limit yourself to the number of times you order out and make meals ahead of time that can be easily reheated or eaten cold.

Go through the same process with your exercise habits. Sure, you have a gym membership, but how many times a week do you actually use it? What time do you go?

You might notice that you are more likely to workout if you do it first thing in the morning versus waiting to do it after work when you find it harder to motivate yourself. Make a habit of going the same time each day on the same days of every week.

Stay away from fad diets and quick fixes. You might see results faster with these methods, but they won’t last long.

Whatever changes you make you should be prepared to stick to for life. You aren’t “going on a diet” or “getting in shape;” you’re making a lifestyle change. You are choosing to make healthier choices that will benefit you and your family.

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Power of attorney – An important document for you

submitted by E. Garrett Gummer, III, Esquire (CELA), Elder Law Offices of E. Garrett Gummer, III 

While your will lets you appoint the person, your executor, who will be responsible for the disposition of your assets after death, a durable power of attorney lets you appoint the person, your agent, who will manage your financial and medical affairs if you become disabled or incapacitated during your life.

You can give your agent many powers, including, but not limited to, the power to pay bills, make gifts, make bank deposits, buy and sell real estate and securities, sign income tax returns, begin a legal claim, make important medical decisions, and authorize your admission to a medical or nursing facility.

If you or a loved one become disabled or incapacitated and there is no power of attorney in place, then the court will have to appoint a guardian to care for you and manage your affairs. This process is expensive, because both your attorney and physician are involved, and a court hearing is required. 

Upon the court’s appointment of a guardian, you will lose certain legal rights to act on your own behalf, and the guardian will be empowered to act for you.

You may revoke the powers given to your agent at any time. Since your agent must have actual knowledge of the revocation of the power of attorney for it to be valid, the revocation should be in writing and presented personally or sent via certified mail to your agent. 

Also, upon your death, your power of attorney will terminate upon actual notice to your agent.

Taking the time to prepare your power of attorney now while you are healthy and able to do so will make the process easier for your relatives and loved ones, who will be responsible for managing your financial and medical affairs in the event of your disability or incapacity. 

Without a durable power of attorney, the court may become involved in your affairs.

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Why should a family have a viewing?

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc. 

The purpose of a viewing, both public and private, has many benefits for family members. Viewings allow families and friends the opportunity to gather together to see a loved one for one last time prior to final disposition. This allows closure to occur because viewing a loved finalizes the thought that death has taken place, and family members and friends have witnessed a loved one lying in state. 

Many funeral homes offer private viewings for families selecting cremation without embalming so it allows a loved one to be viewed in a positive setting instead of seeing a death occur in an institution or residence.

Features such as the eye and mouth regions are closed and sometimes light makeup and lipstick may be used for a female. Viewings also act as positive identification for families selecting cremation services. This protects everyone from a legal standpoint.

The loved one is positively identified by a family member or friend prior to cremation; the funeral home is protected by securing identification prior to cremation; and the crematory is protected by having the family sign identification authorizations prior to the cremation procedure. 

This also gives comfort to family members by giving them the opportunity to have a brief viewing prior to the cremation procedure. Some form of positive identification must be secured prior to cremation, such as: a recent photograph, body markings or tattoos, or any physical anomalies.

Visitations provide many positive aspects for families. It allows loved ones the opportunity to say a final goodbye to a loved one or friend; it provides positive identification; and many times improves the physical appearance of someone after death occurs with or without the embalming procedure being selected.

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DUI Q & A

submitted by Carla V. Risoldi, LLC, risoldilawoffices.com

Q.  My son was cited for underage drinking. We were offered a deal that he can take a class and they would dismiss the charges.  Should we just take this deal?

A.  It is difficult to answer this without knowing the specific deal you were offered. Many “diversionary programs” for underage drinking do not involve the charges being completely dismissed.  Also, they may still result in the drivers’ license suspension, which can remain on your son’s drivers abstract for 10 years. Underage drinking cases are often defensible cases. Also, there are specific rules relating to expungement of underage drinking convictions.  You should definitely consult with an attorney prior to making any deals, no matter how good they may look at first glance as there can be unanticipated consequences.

This is for general, informational purposes only. You should always consult with an attorney before making any important legal decisions or signing any legal document.

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Benefits of personalizing a funeral or memorial service

submitted by Jason “Oz” Oszczakiewicz, Owner/Supervisor, Varcoe-Thomas Funeral Home of Doylestown, Inc.

Personalizing a funeral or memorial service is not only important when planning a funeral or memorial service, but it can also be healing for immediate family members and friends. As funeral professionals, funeral directors help families to plan, organize, and direct a Celebration of Life Service or Memorial Service that tells the story of a life once lived.

Families have many options when it comes to selecting different colors or materials for a casket or urn selection. Caskets can be personalized with corners or interior panels that are stitched with veteran insignias, religious emblems, nature scenes, sports and outdoor hobbies.

Urns may be personalized with a loved one’s name, date of birth and death, favorite psalm or poem, appliqués or personalized photos. You may also select photos for a memorial DVD or collage board.  Families may begin the DVD with photos from birth and insert photos chronologically until the death occurred.

The memorial DVD is generally played on a flat screen television in the funeral home or place of service with specific musical selections.  Flowers may also be personalized with the decedent’s favorite type of flower(s), color(s), and ribbons with script or terms of endearment may be added. Different styles of baskets, sprays, casket covers, wreaths, hearts or just a simple bouquet or vase of flowers may also be selected. 

If planning a funeral or memorial for a veteran, families can determine selections based upon the branch of service and when and where an honor guard may be present to play taps and provide the presentation of the American flag for the immediate family.

A family may also include a loved one’s favorite foods or desserts when planning the funeral luncheon or repast after a service is concluded. This can take place at a favorite restaurant that was frequented by the decedent throughout life.

There are many details and decisions that need to be made when personalizing a service for a loved one. If families and friends come together to personalize a funeral or memorial it can be beneficial for family and friends as well as aid in the healing and grief process.

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When a nursing home isn’t the answer, respite care is!

submitted by Care Plus More, www.careplusmore.com

In the 21st century, the demands placed on family and other informal caregivers continue to escalate, and will eventually affect nearly every American family.

It’s everyone’s greatest fear: a parent starts to forget things…he becomes bewildered, confused, and angry…finally, he can’t take care of himself and needs full-time care. Adult children are increasingly faced with their biggest nightmare. Caring for an elderly family member can be very demanding and overwhelming, and it’s important for caregivers to seek occasional respite from their responsibilities.

Moreover, other priorities in life such as a job and children can make providing care for an aging senior very challenging. That’s where respite care comes in. Whether it’s for a few hours a week to run errands or a few weeks a year to take a much-needed vacation, respite care offers the chance reduce stress, restore energy and keep life in balance.

Respite, or flexible care allows caregivers a break from the responsibility of looking after the seniors they regularly care for. Respite care may consist of an occasional few hours of in-home help or overnight care at home. This help is provided by professional caregivers who are trained and certified.

Respite care makes it possible for aging seniors to stay in the comfort of their own home without going to a nursing home or assisted living facility. Service can consist of either companion or personal care and the senior gets to enjoy their home environment while receiving high quality care. Everyone knows home is where the heart is!

If you find yourself caring for an aging loved one, you are not alone!

Consider the following:

  • Nearly a quarter (23.9%) of U.S. households are now involved in caring for an elderly family member or relative, spending an average of 20 hours a week in caregiving-related chores.
  • More than 60% of all family caregivers say they have suffered from depression. (Source: National Family Caregivers Association/Fortis Long Term Care, 1998)
  • Long distance caregivers miss nearly 15 million days of work each year. (Source: National Council on Aging/The Pew Charitable Trusts, 1998).
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Everyone likes a deal, but…

submitted by Gary Selleck, owner of C&C Family Roofing

Have you ever been presented with an offer that feels like your getting something for nothing?  Usually these things don’t present themselves very often. But occasionally the stars line up in just the right way and win the lottery. How about the times when you think you have the “Deal of the Century” and it turns out to be a lemon. Don’t let yourself be scammed by fast talk and awesome deals.

One of the more recent deals that are being presented to homeowners relate to storm and hail damage to your roofing or siding. Home remodeling companies come to your neighborhood, going door-to-door, and present free inspections due to a reported storm in your area. These companies talk about the damage and how they can get your insurance company to cover the repairs or replacement of the damage. They may even provide you with the name of a public adjuster to help absorb the deductible on your insurance policy. They may even tell you that there is no “out of pocket money” for you. I have two words for you – “Buyer Beware.”

These companies and called “Storm Chasers.” The most common sign that this is happening in your community, other then the salesman at your door, is the appearance of contractor lawn signs with the same name in a short period of time. These contractors offer many deals with a perceived huge upside for you. What they fail to talk about is the pending law suits for insurance fraud that they are currently facing.

Don’t get scammed. When looking for a home remodeling company, choose one that your friends and neighbors recommend and not one that comes to you. Be careful!

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Laundry reinvented

submitted by Kevin E. Roberts, Owner/Air Force Veteran, The Laundry Room of Doylestown 

We all have “that” Laundromat in mind, you know the one, it’s nasty, it’s gross, and it’s the last place you want to be! But guess what? It’s the only one in town, and you’re stuck!

This is a common episode experienced by many nationwide, and its origins may surprise you. Roughly 60 years ago when commercial Laundromats came into existence, they were very popular and it was because of the lack of washers and dryers at one’s home that customers waited in lines just to do their laundry.

In addition to their popularity, storeowners didn’t have to advertise their businesses or keep them clean; customers came in left and right regardless of appearance and or cleanliness. This mantra has carried over through the past several decades where storeowners are considered “absentee owners.” You never see them and they like it that way. You call the number on the wall and no one answers, every other machine is broken or it’s encrusted in dirt and grime, yet still you go.

But there’s good news, this industry is being reinvented. Laundromats are considered a mature market. Not many new ones are being built and the ones that are established have been in business for decades.

Fortunately for you, this industry is seeing a renaissance. Stores are getting full makeovers with all new machines and modern amenities that you’d see at Starbucks: free Wi-Fi, plenty of seating, TVs, books to read, etc.

There’s a new generation of storeowners that see value in these established locations. They’re offering wash, dry, fold and delivery services that allow a busy professional to shave off a few hours of chores during the week.

In addition, these savvy owners are embedding technology and social media to drive their business outside the proverbial 2-5 mile net around their stores.

So next time, when you need a Laundromat, look for a reinvented one!

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Preparing your child for the return of school

submitted by Ron Seidman, VP/GM, A Child’s World

The beginning of August brings the realization for parents that there is only one month for them to prepare their children to be ready for learning on the first day of school. This preparation is more than just buying school supplies and new clothes. Parents must focus on their children’s physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

Here are some suggestions that will help students start the school year in go-mode.

Good nutrition from a healthy diet will have a positive effect on your child’s ability to learn, think and concentrate. The brain needs essential nutrients such as glucose, vitamins and minerals to function properly. The energy source for the brain is glucose, which comes from eating healthy carbohydrates or other foods that can be converted to glucose. The brain uses this to manufacture the right proteins and fats in order to more easily grow new cognitive connections.

Rest and sleep are as important to the brain as food, oxygen and water. The brain retains more information when it has the proper rest and downtime to process and cement what it has learned. Researchers have found a direct correlation between rest and the stress created by lack of sleep on the brain’s ability to function properly. 

Exercise is another key factor in your child’s ability to learn. Engaging your child in regular exercise is crucial for blood and oxygen to flow to the brain for better focus and thinking. Starting the day with exercise, which should be standard practice in all schools, will actually wake up the brain and relieve stress. Controlling stress and practicing calming exercises will help relieve your child’s anxiety that a new school year and all its changes can bring.

Parents also feel stressed this time of year, which can transfer to their children. The best advice for parents is to model optimism and motivate your children to have a positive attitude.

New changes, new teachers and new opportunities can be exciting if we teach our children to appreciate them without feeling threatened.

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The importance of a living will

by Maureen L. Anderson, Esq., Gummer Elder Law

Modern advancements in medicine have made it possible to live longer. While these advancements have extended lives, such extensions may lower our quality of life and result in a loss of dignity.

Since all competent adults can make their own medical decisions, you should prepare a living will to inform your doctor of your wishes for end of life care. A living will is a legal document in which you direct your doctor to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, whose only purpose is to prolong your dying process, if you are in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious.

You must be at least 18-years-old, and of sound mind to prepare a living will.

You can refuse all medical treatment including resuscitation, tube feeding, antibiotics, and ventilators. You can request only treatment that will keep you comfortable and alleviate pain. You can designate another individual to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

Your living will becomes operative when it is presented to your doctor and your doctor determines you to be incompetent and in a terminal condition or permanently unconscious. Then your doctor must act in accordance with the instructions in your living will.

If your doctor cannot in good conscious follow the instructions in your living will, your doctor must inform you or your surrogate and must assist you in finding another doctor who will comply with your living will.

A living will permits you to decide what medical treatment you want if you are in a terminal condition and incompetent.

It helps to eliminate uncertainty regarding your desire for specific medical treatment, and provides guidance to your doctors and family members. Failure to prepare a living will may cause increased stress on your loved ones who will decide your medical treatment.

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