Business Digest - December, 2011

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Scams Targeting Seniors   Treating the Sniffles   Organizing Tip   Riddles for Kids   Beating the Winter Blahs   Theo's Corner  

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 
May God Bless You with Love, Health and Happiness!

Scams Targeting Seniors 

Seniors are often contacted by companies or individuals offering services and support. While many of these are legitimate, it is important to be aware of scams targeting seniors. Many of these scammers call themselves "senior specialists." They claim expertise in providing financial services to those 55 years and older. Often they will offer seminars where they review seniors' assets and suggest alternatives to the investments currently held by those individuals.

If you or a loved one is approached by a "senior specialist," be cautious. Ask to see their credentials or license. You should also never make an investment decision if you feel pressured to act quickly. Always review paperwork before signing anything. If you are unsure of the legitimacy of the person or company that contacted you, get a second opinion from a trusted financial advisor. If you have any doubt, be sure to contact the Better Business Bureau. They can tell you if there have been complaints against the company.

Finally, if you are having difficulty understanding your financial situation, get the assistance of a trusted friend or family member. Have them review all of your information and help you keep track of your assets, investments, and accounts.

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Treating the Sniffles with Cold Hard Facts

Everyone would love a miracle cure for the common cold. Many remedies are touted as helpful, including echinacea, zinc, vitamin C, and other supplements. But are they really doing the job? Research has found that echinacea does not prevent or help cold symptoms, as reported in a recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine. In fact, in study after study, it has been found that no supplement can prevent or cure a cold.

There are some studies that show there is a reduction in some cold symptoms with the use of zinc and vitamin C, however. But these benefits are limited and do not reduce the severity or duration of colds more than 20 percent. And taking too much of a supplement can cause problems of its own, including an actual suppression of the immune system and gastrointestinal distress.

So what should you do to help with your cold symptoms or even prevent a cold? Your best line of defense against the cold virus is to wash your hands often with soap and water, and to get an annual flu shot. Avoid overexercising during the winter months or lack of sleep, both of which can lower your immune system response. If you do come down with a cold, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids, especially warm liquids like tea and chicken soup. Antihistamines may alleviate some symptoms, but they are not effective in reducing the duration of your cold. With or without treatment, your cold will probably run five to seven days and should clear up on its own. 

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Organizing Tip

To make storing Christmas decorations easier, get some empty liquor boxes with the partitions in them. Wrap each ornament from your tree in tissue paper and place it into the partitioned compartment. Each compartment will hold several ornaments. To store strands of lights, use a cardboard paper towel roll or a wrapping paper roll. Insert the end of the strand into the tube and then wrap the rest around the roll. This will help keep the strands from tangling.

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Riddles for Kids: Snow

Q:  Where does a snowman keep his money?
A:  In a snowbank!

Q:  What do you call a snowman in the summer?
A:  A puddle!

Q:  What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
A:  Frosted Flakes!

Q:  What do you get when you cross a snowman and a vampire?
A:  Frostbite!

Q:  What do snowmen wear on their heads?
A:  Ice caps!

Q:  What does Frosty's wife put on her face at night?
A:  Cold cream!

Q:  What did Jack Frost say to Frosty the Snowman?
A:  Have an ice day!

Q:  What does a snowman take when he gets sick?
A:  A chill pill!

Q:  Where do snowmen go to dance?
A:  A snowball!

Q:  How does a snowman get to work?
A:  By icicle!

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Beating the Winter Blahs

Do you feel sluggish, have an increased appetite, weight gain, and a craving for carbohydrates? You may be suffering from the winter blahs. While you are waiting for the sun to break through, consider these suggestions to help chase those blahs away.

-  Spend as much time outdoors as possible.

-  Get plenty of exercise.

-  Vary your routine each day.

-  Get enough rest and avoid caffeine.

-  Try to include laughter in your day.

-  Make time for friends and family.

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Theo's Corner

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

The American Humane Association estimates that up to 60 percent of dogs put down in their shelters were abandoned due to behavioral problems with which their owners could not cope. However, something as simple as daily exercise could have prevented many of these problems. Besides reducing misbehavior, daily exercise also improves overall health in dogs just as it does in humans.

Before you drag your pooch out the door for a long walk, however, you must evaluate just how much exercise is appropriate. This depends on your dog's size, breed, age, personality, and general health. For instance, dogs in the sporting, hound, and working categories will need more exercise than other breeds. Likewise, younger puppies cannot tolerate long walks as well as full grown adult dogs. Older dogs may also need to slow down, as their health and energy levels decline.

Before embarking on a new exercise program, you will want to consult with your veterinarian to ensure your canine is up to the challenge. Dogs with chronic conditions like hip dysplasia, arthritis, or heart and respiratory ailments may need special consideration. It is important to know your dog well and to listen to the signals he may be giving you, including limping, reluctance to go outside with you, or excessive panting. To overcome these challenges, focus on gradually reducing the intensity of your dog's workout, while still maintaining a regular schedule of exercise.

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