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You probably have questions about when it’s the right time to start considering a Medicare plan. Maybe you’re still working and don’t have any plans to retire, but you’re close to turning 65, or you’re past your 65th birthday.

Questions you may have are:

  • Is Medicare better than my group plan coverage?
  • I'm not retiring, should I still consider a Medicare plan?
  • Will I save money switching to Medicare?
  • Can I keep my doctor if I switch plans?
  • Is there a Medicare enrollment period I need to be aware of?
  • When should I start planning my retirement Healthcare?
  • What kind of wellness programs do Humana Medicare plans offer?

We want you to have all the tools and resources you need so you can make a decision that’s best for you and your healthcare needs.

Resources just for you:

  1. Meet with a local licensed Humana Medicare sales agent when and where it’s convenient for you.

    Set up a meeting
  2. If you prefer to talk over the phone about your Medicare options, call our toll-free number to speak to a licensed Medicare sales agent.
    Call: 855-458-4820 (8am – 6pm EST. M- F. TTY: 711)
  3. Plan for Medicare – Understand Your Options(link opens in new window)
    This booklet will provide you with a complete overview of your Medicare options. It covers costs, enrollment details, the “coverage gap,” special needs plans and more. Download it today and read it at your convenience.

2019 is shaping up to be a big year for Telemedicine, and Humana’s behavioral health services through Doctor On Demand® are a major part of that—so be ready!

 

Beginning January 1, 2019, Doctor On Demand will be in network for Humana members to help treat non-emergent behavioral health issues like stress, trauma, depression, anxiety, and more. Members can securely video chat with board-certified psychiatrists and psychologists from wherever they feel most comfortable, and they can schedule appointments for one-time issues or ongoing treatment where they can choose to see the same clinician every time.

 

Check out the following resources for more information:

 

Doctor On Demand app

www.doctorondemand.com

 

*Cost will be determined by your benefit plan selection.

By Len Canter

HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

TUESDAY, Dec. 18, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- If you've ever come home from a brisk walk feeling reinvigorated, you're not alone. Research shows that this is just one of many benefits of exercising outdoors.

 

Working out in a natural environment can also be more physically challenging, making your body work harder and bringing greater fitness results. This happens when, for instance, you're walking, hiking or running on natural terrain, which can vary in evenness and require more exertion than on a flat surface, such as a treadmill.

According to the American Council on Exercise, other outdoor factors, like wind resistance, actually enable you to burn more calories. If, on the other hand, the wind is at your back, pushing you along a bit, you engage certain muscle fibers needed to develop strength and definition.

One study found that people get a variety of psychological boosts from building up a sweat outdoors. Participants were in a better mood and had more energy and less stress afterwards. They simply liked doing the same form of exercise more when they did it outdoors, in nature.

 

There are also benefits from the social interaction of exercising outside with a friend or in a group -- the enjoyment you feel makes it more likely that you'll plan more outdoor workouts.

 

If you have children, exercise with them to show them that fitness activities are fun. Family hikes and ski trips are great, but just being active with them at a park or playground counts, too.

 

And if you're caregiving for elderly parents, they, too, will benefit from time spent outdoors.

 

Get the entire family involved.

 

More information

https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2018-12-18/take-it-outside-the-benefits-of-exercising-outdoors 

November 07, 2018

Know your numbers. We hear that a lot. But what happens when that statement becomes all too real? Well, one Humana Employer Group associate found out recently and it helped save a member’s life.

 

Working as a Consumer Engagement Professional in Phoenix, Zoila's role is to engage group commercial clients in Go365. This can often be challenging when employers don’t understand the return on investment (ROI) or the employees don’t understand the value the program offers.

 

As part of that role, Zoila sets up an onsite biometric screening at these employers’ offices to meet with our members and share the benefits of Go365.

Recently, while at an on-site event for a small group, Zoila was able to engage with several employees, get them signed up for Go365 and have them take their biometrics to earn the first of their points. At the end of the day, while packing up, a member came by and asked if he could do his biometric screening. Never one to turn down a member, Zoila gladly helped him.

 

The on-site nurse began the screening and soon became concerned while taking the member’s blood pressure. To be sure, she checked his blood pressure on his other arm. His readings were 248/143 and 258/143, respectively. The nurse knew right away that our member was in danger of a heart attack.

The member was advised to go to the Emergency Room immediately. There, he was treated right away and had to be administered IV fluids to bring his blood pressure down. He was then admitted to the hospital where he spent three days in ICU.

 

His doctor was stunned and didn’t know how he made it to the ER in time and that he was still alive.

 

Having concern for the member, Zoila called to check in on him. During that call, the member said, “Thank you for saving my life.”

 

The member was very thankful to Humana for hosting the onsite biometric screening that saved his life. He assumed what he was feeling was stress related to work.

 

Now when people ask Zoila what is the ROI for participating in Go365, her answer is simple, “You can save an employee’s life, there is no better ROI than a life!”

Beginning January 1, 2019, your Humana Spending Accounts will transition to a new technology platform known as Humana Access®. Humana Access will provide you with a simple, easy-to-use way to pay for eligible out-of-pocket healthcare and dependent care expenses. You will continue to get the same great tax advantages along with an improved debit card and more digital tools to manage your account(s).


What does the transition mean for you?


 A new debit card that can be used with all the spending account(s) in which you’ve enrolled including the dependent care flexible spending account.

 A new website and mobile app that offer a familiar online banking experience with more self-service tools so you can easily manage your account(s) anytime, anywhere.
(Please note: you will continue to manage your medical, dental and vision plans through MyHumana.com and the MyHumana mobile app.)
 Online tutorials, videos and interactive calculators to answer your questions and help you get the most value from your spending account(s).
 The same knowledgeable service you have always received from our Customer Care Center.


What happens next?


 You will receive detailed information about this transition and what it means for you in a few weeks.
 In late December, you will receive your new Humana Access Mastercard® debit card to replace your current Humana Access Visa® debit card.
 On January 1, 2019, you can begin using your new debit card. You will also receive information on how to register your account on the Humana Access website and mobile app at that time.


We are excited to provide you a better way to manage your healthcare and dependent care costs. Please stay tuned for more information. If you have any questions about the transition in the meantime, you can contact our Customer Care Team at 1-800-604-6228 (TTY: 711), 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM Eastern.

It may be Halloween, but that doesn’t mean you have to ghost your diet. Read on to explore our selection of healthy Halloween treats.

 

We get it: Halloween isn’t necessarily the time of year you’re most concerned with healthy eating. After all, “trick-or-treat” is basically just another way of saying “trick-or-eat unhealthy things.”

Nevertheless, there are plenty of delicious Halloween foods that you can enjoy this year without absolutely trashing your diet in the process. So sit back, relax, and check out some of our favorite Halloween foods for health-conscious revelers.

Healthy pumpkin pie

Sounds like a bit of a contradiction, doesn’t it? Well, there are plenty of ways you can take the sinful pumpkin pie and make it healthy. After all, the pumpkin itself is a remarkably healthy ingredient, containing boatloads of fiber, iron, and vitamins—there’s no need to stuff it up with useless carbs.

So, what’s the secret to a dreamy Halloween pumpkin pie? Well, there’s one very simple method: just take the crust off. That’s an awesome way to slash carbs, helping you to create a Halloween treat that won’t make your diet do a runner. Check out a couple more frightfully healthy pumpkin recipes in Country Living. From pumpkin oat cookies to a pumpkin smoothie bowl, they’ve got you covered for pumpkin goodness!

Dark chocolate + apples

Okay, it’s not going to win any healthy eating awards, but the winning combination of apples dipped in dark chocolate may help to improve your heart health. With potential health benefits including a reduced risk of atherosclerosis (hardened heart arteries), better defense against blood clots, and improved circulation, this is one Halloween treat that may work as a perfect replacement for candy or chocolate. Plus, it’s really delish.

Word of warning: some of the reports suggesting that “chocolate may actually be good for you” are, to put it mildly, dubious. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of chocolate’s purported health benefits are bogus, and since a recent study has indicated that eating chocolate may be linked to lower risk of cardiovascular health, there could be something to the idea that dark chocolate + apples = a healthy heart. That said, it’s always best to exercise a bit of common sense when you encounter health claims that run counter to received wisdom.

Baked apples

Speaking of apples, why not really embrace one of the classic fall flavors and bake up a tray of apples — topped with oats and cinnamon, of course! Not only does this make for a ghoulishly tasty dessert, but it’s also great for anyone looking for a healthy alternative to traditionally sugary Halloween dishes. There are loads of different ways to customize your baked apple dish. Add in raisins and lemon zest or soak it in cider brandy for a slightly boozier take on this stunning Halloween treat.

Popcorn

Anyone who saw Scream—maybe the ultimate Halloween movie—at a formative age will have the memory of Jiffy Pop popcorn seared into their retinas. Okay, so we’re probably stretching the definition of “healthy” Halloween food to the breaking point with this one, but with its high fiber and low calorie content, homemade popcorn may actually have a variety of health benefits. From “apple pie” flavor to “lemony kale,” this list by Greatistis a great source of ideas for healthy popcorn.

Kale

Although it doesn’t necessarily sound like a Halloween staple, kale actually has a bit of a storied history when it comes to the spooky season. Once upon a time in Scotland, Halloween was an opportunity for young people to head out into the garden and pull up kale stalks, which were then used to predict your romantic future. It was said that the shape and length of the stalk could be used to determine your future lover’s height and physical appearance, while the amount of soil clinging to the roots represented the size of dowry you could expect to collect. This Halloween, why not honor this old tradition with a healthy (and surprisingly tasty) kale dish?

Want to boo-st your diet this fall? We hope this list has given you some inspiration when it comes to nutritious Halloween food. For a little extra help navigating Halloween’s scary food choices, check out our Halloween Food Pyramid.

 

Halloween treats that won’t spook your diet — Withings 

 

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My name is Emily Jokisch and I am a registered dietitian and certified strength and conditioning coach. I’m here to answer your nutrition-related questions.

How do you adjust your diet/exercise routine to help burn fat rather than just lose weight?

–Luke E.

I believe your question might be referring to gaining muscle while losing fat. There’s a lot of varying science behind it, but the idea is that if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. However, when restricting calories, your body has to pull energy by “exciting” energy stores in your body – fat, glucose, and even muscle (protein). Although this allows your body to function properly, you will not only lose fat, but unfortunately some muscle as well.

Science does show that you can gain muscle while losing fat, but you have to focus on two main things: protein intake and weight lifting. Keep in mind that the number on the scale may not change much if you gain muscle while losing fat. Muscle is denser than fat, so in some cases the scale may even go up. The focus here is on decreasing body fat percentage.

To start, you need to figure out where you are now. If you already consume a lot of calories, you may need to cut back. If you do decide to cut calories don’t cut too much at once or you’ll be left with limited energy for exercise and with slowed metabolism. Skimping on protein in particular can leave next to nothing for your muscles to feed on after your workout. You don’t have to count calories; consider just eating mindfully and choosing filling, nutritious foods.

A recent study of 20 young men divided the subjects into two groups, with one group following a higher-protein diet than the other.* Both groups performed resistance and high-intensity interval training six days per week. By the end of four weeks, not only did the higher-protein group lose more body fat than the lower-protein group, but they also managed to gain muscle, despite eating fewer calories than their bodies needed.

However, this study focused on a small group of young men, and it may not work for you. It’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor and/or a dietitian before starting any exercise and diet regimen. However, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Track your current food habits and activity; it’s always good to find a starting point.Decrease a SMALL number of calories if needed. Increase the percentage of calories coming from protein, and decrease the percentage from carbohydrates.
  • Protein recommendations vary by age, sex, size, and activity level, but should be somewhere between 1.2 and 2.4 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. This would equal out to roughly 20-35 grams of protein per meal.
  • Focus on lean protein sources, and try adding in vegetarian sources of protein.
  • Get a new way of thinking about exercise. Focus on more resistance training exercises and less on cardio.
    • Resistance training doesn’t need to be heavy weights; try body weight exercises as well.
    • Make sure your workouts are a balance of cardio (both low and high intensity), resistance training, and stretching.
    • During your workouts, focus on a heart rate (HR) that is between 60 to 85 percent of your max heart rate, especially during strength training sessions. (HR max = 220 minus your age in years)
    • Alternate between multi-joint exercises, such as squats, and single-joint exercises, like bicep curls. Get your heart rate up during the multi-joint exercise, and then catch your breath during the single-joint set. This method combines cardio with resistance training.
    • Give muscles time to heal. Resistance training causes damage to muscle fibers and you will need at least one recovery day per week.
  • Focus on protein for recovery. Have about 20 to 25 grams of protein about 30 minutes to 2 hours after a workout.  

There is no perfect diet or workout plan for everyone! So figure out what is good for you and stick with it! Start with something, even if it’s small. Ten minutes of resistance training is ALWAYS better than none. And remember that results do not happen overnight. Start with a small goal every couple weeks, learn to make it a habit, and you will create a healthier you!

 

Go365 — Ask a Nutritionist – October 2018 Edition 

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by Shannon Spence

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables offers more health benefits than you can count on both hands, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, cancer prevention, lower risk of obesity and digestive problems, and improved blood sugar levels. Even more, eating the daily recommended doses of fruits and veggies will help you feel full longer and keep your appetite in check.

“There are so many people who rely on supplements and vitamins when we should be able to get most of what we need from our food,” says registered nurse and nutrition advocate Kristin Woodruff. “Make sure you’re getting as many colors on your plate as possible. That is the original multivitamin.”
While the research surrounding the effects of color on health is ongoing, here’s a look at the potential health benefits of tasting the rainbow with some help from Dr. David Heber, author of What Color is your Diet?

Red foods

Health benefits - Contain lycopene , a powerful antioxidant associated with reduced risk of some cancers and protection against heart attacks

Sources - Tomatoes and tomato-based products; watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, cranberries

Fun fact - Cooked tomato sauces may offer the most health benefits. The heating process allows the body to more readily absorb carotenoids, including lycopene.

Blue/purple foods

Health benefits - Rich in anthocyanin, antioxidants that support a healthy heart and regulate blood pressure

Sources - Eggplant (especially the skin), blueberries, blackberries, prunes, plums, pomegranates

Fun fact - The richer the color, the riper the fruit/veggie. Blueberries have the highest antioxidant activity of all. 

Green foods 

Health benefits - Contain lots of isothiocyanates, which live in the liver and help the body remove carcinogenic compounds; good source of vitamin K (essential for blood clot formation), folic acid, and potassium (helps lower blood pressure)

Sources - Broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, brussels sprouts

Fun fact - The isothiocyanates found in cruciferous vegetables may have cancer-fighting properties, particularly against colon and bladder cancers. 

Yellow/green foods

Health benefits - Rich in lutein, which is especially good for eye health; good source of vitamin C

Sources - Avocado, kiwi, spinach and other leafy greens, pistachios

Fun fact - Pistachios contain lutein in the green skin that surrounds the nut.

Orange/yellow foods

Health benefits - High in vitamin C and beta-carotene (good sources of antioxidants), which convert to vitamin A, a vital  nutrient for vision and immune function as well as skin and bone health

Sources - Carrots, mangos, cantaloupe, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, apricots

Fun fact - Beta-carotenes may also help prevent some cancers, particularly lung, esophagus and stomach.

White/green foods

Health benefits - Rich in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that help the body combat free radicals

Sources - Garlic, onions, endives, chives, celery, pears

Fun fact - A recent study found that increasing your intake of white fruits (those with white flesh) may lower your risk of stroke.

As a Go365 member, you can earn up to 10 Points per week for tracking your fruit and veggie intake when you set a weekly food log in the Go365 App.

For more nutritional facts and information on how to select and store specific fruits and veggies, visit http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fruit-and-veggie-color-list.

 

Go365 — Taste the rainbow for better health 

LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) has again earned top Gold status in the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Achievement Index, a self-assessment scorecard that measures the comprehensiveness and quality of a company’s workplace health program, and the overall heart health of its employees.

“Humana employees have embraced the common cause of well-being, and together we’ve achieved a heightened sense of purpose, belonging, health and security”

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The index, produced by the Association’s Center for Workplace Health Research and Evaluation, measures multiple organizational best practices and compares that data across peer companies. Humana scored in the 99thpercentile overall among over 1,000 companies, demonstrating excellence in multiple best-practice areas – including leadership, communications, programs, engagement and partnerships.

This is the second year that the AHA has offered Gold-level recognition, and the second year that Humana has been honored.

“Humana employees have embraced the common cause of well-being, and together we’ve achieved a heightened sense of purpose, belonging, health and security,” said Tim State, Senior Vice President of Associate Health and Well-being at Humana. “There’s tremendous energy and power that comes from thousands of unique and personal well-being journeys evolving into a social movement we share. That’s the Humana community, and we’re proud of our commitment to better care for ourselves, our peers and our customers.”

The Workplace Health Achievement Index fulfills the vision of the CEO Roundtable, which called on the AHA to deliver an evidence-based approach to measure and recognize success in improving employee health and the corporate culture of health. Research shows that comprehensive programs, policies and practices -- supported by leadership and fully implemented -- are associated with improved employee health and well-being.

Humana’s commitment to health and well-being is exemplified by the company’s Bold Goal -- to improve the health of the communities it serves 20 percent by 2020 by making it easier for people to achieve their best health.

Over five years, Humana employees led from the front on the Bold Goal, improving their own well-being and gaining 1.8 million more Healthy Days by the end of 2017 than they would have otherwise experienced.

Humana’s research shows that employees with high overall well-being experience three times less stress, miss three times less work, are less likely to look for another job, and are more engaged.

Despite aging five years, 63 percent of continuously employed Humana employees since 2012 reduced or maintained biometric health risks associated with chronic disease, reversing the expected trend.

Humana’s annual 100 Day Dash continues to unite and inspire employees, with more than 20,000 Dashers taking nearly 14 billion stepsthis year. And Humana’s health and wellness rewards program, Go365, offers personalized activities, tracking, support and rewards to encourage healthier lifestyles.

For more than half a century, Humana has cared for people and guided them toward their own best health. That sense of purpose continues to thrive among the company’s employees, making them stronger, healthier and more resilient.

About Humana

Humana Inc. is committed to helping our millions of medical and specialty members achieve their best health. Our successful history in care delivery and health plan administration is helping us create a new kind of integrated care with the power to improve health and well-being and lower costs. Our efforts are leading to a better quality of life for people with Medicare, families, individuals, military service personnel, and communities at large.

To accomplish that, we support physicians and other health care professionals as they work to deliver the right care in the right place for their patients, our members. Our range of clinical capabilities, resources and tools – such as in-home care, behavioral health, pharmacy services, data analytics and wellness solutions – combine to produce a simplified experience that makes health care easier to navigate and more effective.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s website at humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings
  • Most recent investor conference presentations
  • Quarterly earnings news releases and conference calls
  • Calendar of events
  • Corporate Governance information

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

What You Need to Know and How You Can Help

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins, the American Cancer Society says remarkable progress against the disease should not obscure the significant challenges remaining.

 

The Facts:
Thanks to largely stable incidence rates, improved treatment, as well as earlier detection through screening and increased awareness, a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer dropped 39 percent between the late 1980s and 2015, translating into more than 300,000 breast cancer deaths avoided during that time.

Despite that progress, there's much more to be done. Breast cancer is still the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer. There is still a large racial gap in mortality, with African-American women having higher death rates compared to whites, even as incidence rates are similar.

The American Cancer Society's estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2018 are:

• About 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women. 
• About 63,960 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer). 
• About 40,920 women will die from breast cancer.
• While black and white women get breast cancer at roughly the same rate, the mortality rate is 42% higher among black women than white women.
At this time, there are more than 3.1 million people with a history of breast cancer in the United States. (This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment.) 
Risk factors:
• Numerous studies have confirmed that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer in women by about 7%-10% for each one drink of alcohol consumed per day on average. Women who have 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day have a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to non-drinkers.
• Obesity increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Risk is about 1.5 times higher in overweight women and about 2 times higher in obese women than in lean women.
• Growing evidence suggests that women who get regular physical activity have a 10%-25% lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, with stronger evidence for postmenopausal than pre-menopausal women
• Limited but accumulating research indicates that smoking may slightly increase breast cancer risk, particularly long-term, heavy smoking and among women who start smoking before their first pregnancy.

If you or someone you love are concerned about developing breast cancer, has been recently diagnosed, are going through treatment, or are trying to stay well after treatment, the American Cancer Society provides important information on these topics and more.

What the American Cancer Society is Doing
The ACS currently funds 155 multi-year grants focused on breast cancer totaling $60.2 million. We have played a key role in many of the advances against breast cancer, including funding early work that eventually led to the development of tamoxifen and Herceptin.

Join us and help save lives from breast cancer: Fund-raise and participate in one of more than 250 Making Strides events or participate virtually at makingstrideswalk.org.

The American Cancer Society's nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is also working to make fighting breast cancer a national priority. ACS CAN is committed to ensuring that all women have the opportunity to receive lifesaving cancer screenings and services. Working in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., ACS CAN advocates for adequate funding for early detection programs that provide access to affordable breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and under-insured women.

To learn more about ACS CAN's advocacy work and to help make fighting breast cancer a priority in your community, visit acscan.org/makingstrides.

This item was posted by a community contributor. To read more about community contributors, click here.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Aurora Beacon-News 

With the arrival of fall and winter, unfortunately we also see the arrival of the major flu season of the year.  As the air gets colder and dryer, the flu virus can remain a more stable form of the virus as well as stay in the air longer, making winter prime season for the flu to spread.

In fact, influenza is actually an Italian phrase, influenza difreddo, meaning “influence of the cold.”  So, while we may be in the midst of welcoming the cooler evenings and chances to cuddle up in our warm wooly sweaters and sit by the fireplace, it’s also now the time to gear up for a fight against getting sick and decreasing our productivity this year. 

Healthy Tips to Prevent the Flu

Catching flu can easily decrease our work for more than just a few days.  It can wipe out our immune systems and leave us dragging for weeks, along with being more susceptible to other colds and viruses.  If this just doesn’t fit into your schedule, here are some tips to follow to stay healthy and productive all fall and winter long.

Eat Well, Sleep Well

Perhaps the number one way you can take care of your health and well-being during these months when the flu is running rampant is to sleep & eat well.  Sleeping well will ensure that your body has time to reboot, recharge and keep your immune system powered up.  Eating a well balanced diet will give you the nutrients, minerals, vitamins and energy your body needs to keep going and to fight off any flu virus that might try and get in.

Eat extra vegetables like dark leafy greens and brightly colored red and yellow vegetables to give your body an extra boost.  Eating yogurt on a daily basis is also known to lower your cold susceptibility by up to as much as 25% by boosting your immune system.

Plan Ahead

Planning is more important than ever during this time of year in order to eliminate stress.  Fall tends to be a major gear up time in the office, with a big push after the sometimes “lackadaisical summers.”  Compound that with the upcoming rush of holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and the tendency is to build up stress, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The more planning you can do, in terms of on the job and off the job, the better chance you give your health.  So start planning now for things like Thanksgiving travel plans, holiday menus, gifts, etc.  It may feel like it’s way too early or that you’re just making your plate worse now for no reason, but it will actually help relieve underlying stress you aren’t even aware of.  And, when holiday season actually hits, you’ll be that much less stressed!

Make Work Environment Comfortable

Most offices feel overly cool during the fall and winter months.  Feeling cold makes you tense and will stress your body more to overcompensate as it tries to keep itself at normal body temperature.  You will also have a very hard time feeling relaxed.

Bring in a small heater to regulate your body temperature; it can also increase your comfort level by releasing tension and making you feel more relaxed.  A footrest that puts your feet at an angle and heats at the same time will warm, soothe and relieve tired legs.  When you are relaxed, your immune system actually produces more chemicals to fight off infections.

Use Humidifiers

Humidifiers are often used during these months because it tends to be the driest time of year.  Humidifiers are also beneficial in preventing the flu and colds, as low humidity makes the nose dry and more susceptible to infection.

However, if your office is running a humidifier or if you have one at your personal desk, make sure to clean it regularly.  They can harbor mold and bacteria that can become airborne and compromise your immune system.

Disinfect!

It may not be the most popular thing at work to be the biggest germaphobe, but it could be the easiest thing you do to keep yourself healthy.  Most flu is caught by direct contact from touching a surface touched by someone sick.

Coughing and sneezing are widespread this time of year and all it takes is touching a surface that’s contaminated with airborne droplets.  Keeping your desk and common areas disinfected will greatly reduce your likelihood of getting sick.  Wash your hands regularly and any time you come in contact with common surface areas.

Exercise

Exercise is an easy (relatively!) and all natural way to boost your immune system.  It is capable of increasing those precious virus-killing cells in your body, and while it may not keep you from getting the flu altogether, if you do get it, chances are those higher levels of killer cells will shorten the time and intensity you suffer.

Give Up “Tough”

If you do happen to get the flu, forget the “tough it out” motto that would tell you to get yourself into work and just make it through.  Not only will you most likely increase the length of time you’ll need to recover, you’ll put your co-workers in jeopardy of getting sick as well.  Take the appropriate time to stay home, rest and get fully recovered before heading back into the office.  Your work and your office pals will thank you

 

Keep the Flu Away This Fall Season 

Let’s retire the word “retirement”

 

Bruce Broussard

President and CEO at Humana

 

 

Work has changed in America, and our notion of work is evolving along with society.  

Thanks to advances in science, from antibiotics to vaccinations, life expectancy in the U.S. has increased. In 1900 it was 46 years for men and 48 for women; it’s now 77 years for men and 81 for women.

Today’s work environment is less dangerous and taxing, thanks to a century of new safety laws, machines and computers that have transformed offices and factories. The demands on our lives and our bodies are not what they once were.

People also have more opportunities due to advances in transportation, with breakthrough ideas like ride-hailing apps and rapid light rail. Such options within cities are enabling many, particularly seniors, to get out of their homes more often.

But our views on retirement -- a concept introduced in 1935 with the passage of the Social Security Act -- have not kept pace. There is still a negative bias in how we view people over the age of 65. That needs to change, because there is nothing but disruption on the horizon when it comes to aging.

It’s a “Booming” World

Baby boomers are demanding better, in all aspects of their lives, and businesses will have to find new ways to market to these new “seniors.” That’s why I turned to an expert on how the U.S. business community is missing the mark when it comes to helping boomers age into retirement.

I recently asked Joe Coughlin, author of “The Longevity Economy,” to speak at a company leadership meeting. Coughlin says the older adult market is misunderstood, and he cites several examples, both good and bad, of how companies try to serve them.

Here are some of my observations from the book and Coughlin’s visit with our team.

Product design needs to address the needs of seniors. One of the main takeaways I had from the book, and from my talk with Joe, is the importance of respectfully designing products that address the needs and desires of older adults. That means treating them not as a set of problems but as “full-fledged members of society with recognizable wants, needs, and ambitions,” as Joe puts it.  

In many cases, products are designed by young engineers who don’t understand or account for the needs of seniors.

Coughlin cites BMW’s 2001 debut of “IDrive,” a joystick designed to simplify dashboard controls. Coughlin says many people hated it, especially seniors. That’s an issue because older people are a big part of BMW’s customer base. Although BMW fixed the problem, it’s a great example of older adults not being part of the design process.

65 is no longer the real retirement age for baby boomers and countless others. More and more boomers are remaining in their current jobs or choosing others, which is a good thing when you consider the brain drain. When we think of retirement, we traditionally think of age 65 (Medicare eligibility) with Social Security now kicking in at age 66. . But let’s be honest: For many, age is only a number; it’s not an indication of ability.

A few years ago, I wrote on LinkedIn about how my own father got bored in retirement and went back to work as a network engineer (Update: he stills loves doing it and feels it’s given him a real boost in his life).

It’s clear that my father and tens of millions of others are not going to fade away, but live life on their terms. More and more boomers are raising their grandchildren, going back to work, and starting their own businesses.

A bias in how seniors are portrayed in the media is not helping matters. Coughlin explored the misperceptions around older adults and how many of us “expect older people to live apart, quietly sequestered away in retirement communities, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes, surfacing to shop and dine only when everyone else is at work.”

This negative perception reminded me of how my company sponsored research examining the negative stereotypes of seniors in the 100 highest-grossing movies of 2015. The researchshowed that seniors were ridiculed, as well as “underrepresented, mischaracterized and demeaned by ageist language.” Findings also showed that “out of 57 films that featured a leading or supporting senior character, 30 featured ageist comments.”

At Humana, we’ve done our own research which shows that aging with optimism improves a person’s health. We also firmly believe that older adults are solid contributors to the workforce because of the proven skills, capabilities, and experience they bring.

Every stage in a person’s life needs to have a clearly defined purpose, especially the last one. Coughlin writes that there are four “chunks” of life, each of which is composed of roughly 8,000 days. The first covers birth to college; the second, college to midlife; the third, midlife to retirement; and the last covers retirement and beyond.

An 8,000-day chunk is about 20 years. Yet while it’s easy for many of us to plan for the first three “chunks,” we need to realize that the last one could go on much longer than two decades. We as a society need to embrace retirement as useful longevity. 

Today’s 65-year-old is very different from today’s 85-year-old. That’s why personalization and understanding the stages in 8,000 days is critical. With Baby Boomers now aging into their unique and dynamic version of retirement, just imagine what this new generation of seniors will be able to accomplish from ages 65 to 85, and beyond.

As a person’s health, financial and social needs increase with age, there is an opportunity not just to guide people through the fourth “chunk,” but to help them live life to its fullest potential.

The path forward

We need to look at older adults as a very active, very participatory segment of our society. They’re going to retire the term “retirement.” And that’s a good thing.

At Humana, we’re committed to addressing the needs of our 3.3 million Medicare Advantage members. Every one of our members is unique, and they certainly do not intend to fade into the background at age 65.

The Baby Boomers will change the concept of retirement, and the American business community will have to innovate in ways that meet their needs. Let’s harness the power of imagination to help seniors live their best lives. 

Let’s retire the word “retirement” 

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Go365 — Aska Nutritionist – August 2018 Edition