Health, Home & Family

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Three Ways to Stay Connected to Your Senior Loved Ones While Social Distancing

After more than 45 days in lockdown, it’s no surprise that many people are going a tad stir-crazy. But it’s far worse for seniors: Not only have visits from their kids and grandkids been suspended, but there’s the extra stress that comes with the nagging suspicion that they’ll be advised to remain on lockdown long after younger people begin trickling back to work and the world starts opening up again.

In fact, the AARP Foundation has even come up with this dire comparison: Prolonged social isolation, for those aged 50 and older, “is the health equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” Fortuitously, some of the niftiest technology offers solutions both to keep us connected and protect against some of the miscreants taking advantage of the situation.

  • Health Checks. If you are worried that all of the anxiety is harming your loved ones’ overall well-being, the machine-learning algorithms that analyze activity data as part of’s Wellness solution can provide you with the very details you’ve suddenly found yourself obsessing about.

Did they open their medicine cabinet when they should, to take their prescription? Have their sleeping, eating, and (yes) bathroom patterns changed? Are they up and about during the day? Continue reading

(NAPSI)—According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in the U.S., more than 12 million children receive free or reduced-price breakfast at school, and more than 29.7 million get lunch through the national school lunch program. For many, school meals are the only consistent food they get in a day and, while many school districts have continued distributing meals during the pandemic shutdown, when the school year ends, so do school meals. But there is hope and help.

Nationally, companies and non-profit organizations are partnering to help meet the needs in the community. One such partnership between Herbalife Nutrition and Feed the Children, a nonprofit organization, aims at solving the issue of food insecurity. The two organizations have united under the shared commitment to defeat hunger worldwide.

The Importance of Nutrition 

The most vulnerable members of our society, children, rely on school meals and feeding programs to survive. Families living paycheck to paycheck may not have savings or support systems to help them. When children are guaranteed proper health and sanitation measures, they are able to prevent and fight disease, enabling them to develop both physically and mentally into strong children who become contributing members of their communities.  Continue reading

(NAPSI)—Young men and those who care about them should consider the story of Max Mallory. At 22 he graduated from college and started his dream job in the video game industry. He landed the job before graduation at the company where he had interned for almost a year. Set up in his own apartment, he started to live his life on his own and navigate the nuances of that first professional job.

Life was fine until mid-October, when Max experienced what seemed like stomach troubles and minor back pain. After two visits to urgent care centers where doctors prescribed antibiotics, he came home to stay with his dad and visit a urologist. He never made it to that medical appointment. Doubled over with sudden pain the next afternoon, he called 911. Late that evening in the emergency room, he heard the worrisome diagnosis: late-stage testicular cancer.

His cancer journey lasted only seven hard-fought months. He had an aggressive testicular cancer, choriocarcinoma. He passed away three days after he received the first round of stem cells.

He couldn’t have prevented his testicular cancer with self-exams, since he “was born with” one testicle that was healthy.  Continue reading

SAINT LOUIS, MO – APRIL 22: Clean up after the destruction left behind by tornadoes that ravaged the area. April 22, 2011 in Saint Louis, Missouri

(NAPSI)—The preparations you make now, ahead of storms, floods or hurricanes, can help you recover faster and stay safe during cleanup. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of power equipment, small engines and battery power, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf cars, reminds home and business owners to get ready before a storm strikes and make preparations now.

“Weather can be unpredictable, so itís important to always keep your equipment in working order, to have the right fuel on hand and to know where your safety gear is. This is doubly true during storm season, as the weather can change quickly,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “You also want to know how to use your equipment safely and use caution when cleaning up.”

These tips can help homeowners and businesses plan ahead for storm cleanup:

  • Take stock of your outdoor power equipment. Make sure it’s in good working order. If needed, take the equipment to an authorized service center for maintenance or repair. If you need to buy a new piece of equipment, get it before the storm and learn how to use it.
  • Find your safety gear. Avoid the scramble for sturdy shoes, safety goggles, hard hats, reflective clothing and work gloves, which should be stored in an accessible area with your equipment.
  • Review the owner’s manuals. Read product manuals to ensure you know how to operate your equipment safely.
  • Have the right fuel on hand. Fuel stations may be closed after a storm. Store your fuel in an approved container. Use the type of fuel recommended by the equipment manufacturer. It’s illegal to use any fuel with more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment (for more information on proper fueling visit
  • Charge batteries. Collect the batteries for your outdoor power equipment and fully charge them ahead of the storm.
  • Use safety precautions. Be aware of fundamental dangers that can occur. For instance, chainsaw kickback may happen when the moving chain at the tip of the guide bar touches an object or when the wood closes in and pinches the saw chain in the cut. Always stand with your weight on both feet, and adjust your stance so you’re angled away from the blade. Hold the chainsaw with both hands. Never over-reach or cut anything above your shoulder height. Have a planned retreat path if something falls.
  • Ensure portable generators have plenty of ventilation. Generators should never be used in an enclosed area or inside a home or garage, even if the windows or doors are open. Place the generator outside and away from windows, doors and vents that could allow carbon monoxide inside. Keep the generator dry. Do not use it in rainy or wet conditions. Before refueling, turn the generator off and let it cool down.
  • Drive Utility Type Vehicles (UTVs) with caution. Keep the vehicle stable and drive slowly. Do not turn the vehicle mid-slope or while on a hill.
  • Be aware of others. Keep bystanders, children and animals out of your work area. Don’t let other people near outdoor power equipment when starting or using it.
  • Pay attention to your health. Storm cleanup can be taxing on the body and the spirit. Don’t operate power equipment when you’re fatigued. Drink plenty of water and take regular breaks.

Keep this advice in mind and you may be better prepared to weather any storm.

“Viral” by Kevin E. Ready 

(NAPSI)—A story of hope and the indomitable will of the human spirit. This is a popular fiction saga of a pandemic—written well before the COVID-19 virus was ever heard of—and the actions taken by people around the world to fight it. The story is told from the viewpoint of several key characters in various countries and walks of life. It includes realistic descriptions of the disease and heartfelt sub-stories of the characters as they deal with the pandemic.

A woman of science must step up and become a leader and, hopefully, a savior. A first responder finds himself fighting for the lives of thousands. Valiant medical workers face near-impossible tasks while risking their very lives. Sounds only too real. Purchase at

“Original Politics: Making America Sacred Again” by Glenn Aparicio Parry 

To recreate a whole and sacred America, it is important to piece together the forgotten fragments of history currently keeping the country divided. Just as a traditional Native American potter begins a new pot with shards of old pots, “Original Politics” re-constellates the nation as a whole out of the seemingly disparate shards from its origins.

Perhaps the most significant forgotten piece is the profound effect Native America had on the founding values of this nation. “Original Politics” demonstrates how the best aspects of America’s founding vision were inspired from Native American cultures: natural rights, liberty, and egalitarian justice. Native America has inspired bringing all the world’s peoples together on one soil in a harmonious cultural mosaic of unity and diversity. Purchase at

“Stitching a Life: An Immigration Story” by Mary Helen Fein 

It’s 1900, and 16-year-old Helen comes alone across the Atlantic from a village in Lithuania, fleeing terrible anti-Semitism and persecution. She arrives at Ellis Island, and settles on the Lower East Side. She finds a job and devotes herself to bringing the rest of her family to the New World.

A few at a time, Helen’s family members arrive. Each goes to work and contributes to bringing over their remaining beloved ones. Helen meanwhile, falls in love with a man who introduces her to a different New York—of wonder, beauty and possibility. From She Writes Press, purchase at

Final Flight” by Eric C. Anderson

On a clear, cold night high above East Asia, a China Air passenger jet disappears from radar with all aboard. It’s an anomaly, a fluke. And then a couple of hours later, it happens again.

It’s 2023. Former Air Force maintenance officer Jason Montgomery and Rob “Ski” Kalawski have just landed the gig of their lives. China Air’s aging fleet of Boeing 777s desperately needs navigation hardware and software upgrades. It’s a multimillion-dollar contract, and they’re just the guys to do it. Right? Wrong. Jason’s just the middleman, but he finds himself trapped between yakuza gangsters, a tattooed dragon-lady sales exec and murderous Russian mobsters. Purchase at

BookBites is a continuing series bringing readers information and ideas for their next read. For more reading ideas, visit and subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Pictured is a Purple Passionflower

We have bantering pictures of Animals, Birds, Flowers nonprofessional photography. Here is some information from the web about the Purple Passionflower.

Alternate Names Wild passion flower, maypop, apricot vine, old field apricot, Holy-Trinity flower, molly-pop, passion vine, pop- apple, granadilla, maycock, maracoc, maracock, white sarsaparilla.

Uses One of the uses of the purple passionflower is ornamental in nature. This is because of their showy blooms and their climbing ability over fences, arbors, or up walls. Native American Indians used the poultice root for boils, cuts, earaches and inflammation. Dried leaves boiled with water also aids in insomnia.

Wildlife Purple passionflower attracts butterflies. Young tendrils inch lavender flowers are short-stalked from leaf axils. The petals and sepals subtend a fringe of wavy or crimped, hair-like segments. The pistil and stamens are also showy. Three-lobed, deciduous leaves are dark-green above and whitish below. The plants bloom from June to September. The pulpy fruit or “maypop” develops in two to three months after flowering and may be harvested from July to October. It will be yellowish in color and it is about the size of a large oval hen’s egg. Continue reading

Nestled back in under some Oak trees in rural Marion County I ran across a true Artist. This is Chuck York standing behind one of his creations. A genuine Handmade Rocking Horse with real Horse Hair a miniature hand made saddle.  I ask Chuck how much time he had in the Horse? He said he started it last summer. It is hard to tell how many hours are in the project because you do some work on it then you have to let it set for a couple of days. He estimates over 300 hours, I guess at least 500 hours. The horse has been spoken a person person that has collected other creations from  Chuck. For questions Chuck’s number is 352-361-6642. If you know someone that has a hobby like this let me know. 352-804-1223.

Applebee’s 441 Villages

I dined inside. Pretty good size restaurant and maybe six tables were occupied. They brought my place setting on a plate: knife, fork, spoon and napkins. I was asked to take them off of the tray.  Interesting they took my drink order, it came on a tray. I had coffee. You take your own coffee off the tray. They take your order when they serve you. They never touch anything you are using to eat or your food.

I had fish. It was good and plentiful, fries, coleslaw which was tasty. The fish looked deep fried which is not my choice of how I like fish but it was good, a little cocktail sauce and I had a nice lunch.


I have been informed that Sweet Tomato is closing for good. They will be missed. Their food was good, healthy and moderately priced. They always took part in community events. Again I say they will be missed! Continue reading

Shoppers Save Big On Groceries With Healthy Savings® Powered By AARP Foundation

(NAPSI)—Good nutrition is important at any age. But for older adults on a tight budget, regular access to nutritious foods can be limited—and expensive.

A new program aims to change that by making it easier to get healthy foods at the local grocery store for an affordable price. With Healthy Savings® powered by AARP Foundation, shoppers pay a small fee of $4.99 per calendar year for a card that can save them up to $200 a month on groceries.

The program is part of AARP Foundation’s work to help people over 50 with limited income eat more nutritious foods, ultimately improving their well-being. Research shows that more than 10 million older adults don’t get enough nutritious food on a daily basis, most often because they can’t afford it. Continue reading

(NAPSI)—Here’s a thought that may make you feel like singing: In times like these, when so many people feel like little islands, connecting with other people to share stories and songs takes on a special significance.

It’s long been popular. For much of human history, the center of people’s light and life was the humble campfire. It was a place to teach, share, connect, and give thanks. It was the hub of culture, where our ancestors gathered nightly to fight back the dark with their myths, stories, and the joy of their voices raised in song.

Stories and songs are basic units of shared culture that remain, even as the source of flickering light changed from fire to screens. These days, many social networks and streaming services are reporting global spikes in member activity.

For example, on the “stories” side, nearly 16 million new people joined Netflix during the first part of the year, which was twice as many as expected.  Other streaming services have seen rises as well, including Disney+. And underscoring the many benefits of engaging in these libraries of “once upon a time,” watching streaming video has quickly become the #1 leisure activity for people at home.

On the “songs” side, social singing network Smule has also seen a significant rise in new users joining in from all over the world. Smule is a global online community of music lovers where millions of people from all over come together each day to sing along with millions of popular songs, often with other people—and sometimes with the stars who first sang the songs—plus make new friends, cheer each other on, and simply have fun. Your singing ability doesn’t matter; the thing all the members have in common is a love for singing, and a love for connecting with other people through the shared experience of performing songs together.

It’s somewhat like Snapchat and YouTube, mashed up with an automated sound and video recording and effects studio. You can sing or record songs on video with new friends, karaoke by yourself, or sing a cappella. Members include people from all walks of life, including real-life superstars, such as Lewis Capaldi, who upload recorded versions of their top hits for other members to sing along with and repost to the network and other social media platforms. Fans can even sing along with Disney characters such as Moana to the hits from popular Disney films.

Thousands of independent singing communities and teams have sprung up around the world, using Smule as the platform to showcase their singalongs.

One such community, Apex Team, is a group of 46 young, talented and dynamic voices from all parts of the world who came together as a virtual choir that inspires online audiences with their enjoyable musical performances. Apex produces more than a hundred group collaborations a year, including a phenomenal performance of “Fight Song,” by Rachel Platten and Dave Bassett—edited into a “Thank You” to frontline professionals in the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, some things haven’t changed. Shared light is better, stories and songs still matter.

To learn more, go to or get the app at Google Play.

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