Business Digest - July/Aug. 2011

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Talking With Your Elderly Parent's Doctor   Green Living Tip   Theo's Corner

Curing the Afternoon Slump

You know the feeling. Your eyelids start to feel heavy, you have trouble concentrating, and your energy level plummets. The afternoon slump happens to many people during the time between lunch and quitting time. Next time you feel sleepy at your desk, try these strategies to reenergize.

Take a break.
It is not enough to just take a break from your work. You also need a change of scenery. There is nothing better than heading outside for about ten minutes. If you can, walk for a few minutes. Not only will the sunlight boost your mood, but the movement will help your body feel more energetic. You will also get a dose of vitamin D, which is beneficial to you both short- and long-term.

Have a snack.
Grab something to eat, but not just any snack. Foods loaded with carbs will further deplete your energy level. Instead have something rich in protein, like some low-fat cheese, a hardboiled egg, or some sliced turkey. You can also indulge in some dark chocolate. It is full of healthy fat and antioxidants and even has a small amount of caffeine.

Have some tea.
Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee or an energy drink, try some tea instead. There is some caffeine in tea, but it is also full of antioxidants. The change to a flavored tea can be enough to awaken your senses for the rest of the day.

Talk with your coworkers.
Move some group activities to the mid-afternoon instead of trying to get your solo work done at this time. The collaboration will perk up your brain and keep you from zoning off. You can also use this time to make phone calls, since the act of talking is more active than sitting still while trying to concentrate.

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Talking with Your Elderly Parent's Doctor

Sometimes an elderly person shows signs of needing extra help or a change in their care. How do you know when it is time to talk to your older parent's doctor? The most clear sign is a marked change in personality or behavior. But there are also more subtle signals. Pay attention if you see any of the following: sudden weight loss, general forgetfulness or disorientation, failure to take medication or over-dosing, harmful behavior to self (burns or injuries), or a deterioration of personal habits.

When you do decide to consult with your parent's doctor, be sure to include your parent in these discussions. It might be helpful to begin accompanying your parent to doctor's appointments. You can ask questions and point out concerns. You may be able to begin a dialogue between your parent and his or her doctor that would be difficult for your parent to bring up on his own. You can also remind the doctor of medication your parent is taking, including all over the counter medications. It may be up to you to ask important questions about possible side effects or alternate treatments. After the visit, you will then be able to refresh your parent's memory regarding treatment options or medications to be taken.

When searching for a doctor for your elder, make sure that you find one who is willing to talk with you and take phone calls from both your parent and other family members who may be concerned about your parent's condition. It is also important to constantly assess the care your parent is receiving and be willing to make changes if there seems to be a problem.

In providing this type of care giving to your parent, it is crucial to remember that they are to play the primary role in their own care, if they are still able. Be sure to act as a helpmate and an intermediary between your parent and his or her doctor. Don't try to take too strong a role and be sure to allow your parent to have some private consultation time with the doctor if he or she has sensitive or personal issues to discuss.

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Green Living Tip

If your tires are underinflated, your car will not travel as efficiently and your gas mileage will suffer. To find the correct air pressure level for your vehicle, look inside the driver's side door. There should be a recommended pressure level. If it is not there, you can find this information in your car's manual. Check the pressure in your tires at least once a month and add air whenever necessary.

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Quick Tips:  Money

If you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy, don't use your 401(k) plan as a last ditch effort to get out from under your debt. Raiding your retirement funds can really hurt you in the long run. Retirement accounts are protected under bankruptcy laws in most states. It is foolish to give up your retirement fund just to get a fresh start. Many people who do that end up in bankruptcy anyway, ending up broke and with no retirement fund. By staying away from your retirement money, you can get back on your feet without sacrificing the future.

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Theo's Corner

Bringing Home a Second Pet

If you are considering getting another pet, you should spend some time making sure it will be a good fit for your current animal. The first thing you should do is make sure that your first pet is agreeable to other dogs. Take him to visit a friend with a dog or try out a dog park to see how he interacts with other dogs. If he is aggressive with every dog he meets, you may need to reconsider your decision.

But if he is ready for a new friend, your best bet is to bring your dog to meet a new dog in a neutral environment. This can be a kennel, a parking lot, a park, or a friend's house. This allows you to introduce them without experiencing territorial behavior. Keep both dogs on leashes and let them approach each other slowly.

There are some ways to make the change easier on your pet. If you have a spayed female, your best bet is to add a male to your family. Males and females get along better than a pair of the same sex. If neither animal has had obedience training, try taking them together. This will help keep them well behaved around each other and other people and animals.

Also remember that dogs most often fight over resources, such as food, beds, toys, bones, and human attention. Give each dog his or her own bed and take care when handing out snacks and filling food bowls. You should always feed the dominant dog first to avoid any conflict.

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