Does Working Longer Help Your Brain?

Does Working Longer Help Your Brain?

While most people dread having to put off retirement, there may be a silver lining to working longer in life. Researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research took a look at the health records of almost 500,000 self-employed workers. They found that there was a three percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease for each extra year worked after the age of traditional retirement.

Researchers have long known that there are several lifestyle factors that can reduce the risk of dementia. Those include a heart-healthy diet, exercise,  social engagement, and mental activities. They now believe that staying in the workforce can be added to this list.

Americans are slowly moving toward a later retirement age for many reasons. In a survey of 1,000 Americans, about one-third said they planned on  working until age 80 to provide for a comfortable retirement. This may seem to be a reluctant choice for many, but this new study gives some added incentive to those contemplating retiring later.

Cutting the Cost of Vet Care

Cutting the Cost of Vet Care

Every good pet owner wants to provide the best care for their animal companion. But veterinary costs can add up, making it hard to afford quality care. There are some ways to keep costs down while making sure your beloved pet is taken care of. These tips can help save you money on your pet’s  health care.

Get regular check-ups. Don’t skip your pet’s annual exam in order to save money. It can end up costing you in the long run. Yearly exams are a great way to detect problems early instead of waiting for big problems to show up. You will also be giving your pet preventative care instead of only treating illnesses when they happen, which can be costly.

Feed your pet well. High-quality pet food can be more expensive, but will help keep your pet healthier throughout his or her life. This can save you money on health care costs. Also be sure to avoid overfeeding your pet. Not only is this wasting money, but it can cause obesity which can then lead to health problems.

Spay or neuter your pet. There are long-term benefits to spaying and neutering your pet, including a decrease in the risk of uterine, ovarian, and  testicular cancer. Many local shelters offer low-cost or even free spay and neuter services. Call your local shelter to find out if you qualify for reduced-cost services.

Consider pet insurance. Finally, if you know that treating your pet’s injuries or illnesses would be a financial hardship, you should consider   purchasing pet insurance. Getting this coverage when your pet is healthy will ensure that you are better able to meet your pet’s health care needs in the future.

Getting Enough ZZZs

Getting Enough ZZZs

Good rest is a cornerstone of good health. Numerous studies have shown the health benefits of adequate sleep. A chronic state of fatigue can result in more accidents, impairment in attention and reasoning, an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure, and increased healing time from injury or illness.

As far as knowing how much sleep you need, there is no magic number. Different age groups need different amounts of sleep, but even within age groups, each person’s needs are individual. Research has shown that adults who get around seven hours of sleep have the best long-term health outcomes.

To increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, try to keep a regular schedule. Going to bed at the same time each night and rising in the morning at the same time helps your body know when to sleep and when to be awake. If you are feeling sleep-deprived, it is better to take a short afternoon nap than to sleep in late the next morning.

Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that helps regulate sleep.  Its production can be altered if your day is spent out of sync with the natural changes in daily light. If you spend much of the day in an office away from natural light and then spend your evenings in front of a TV or computer screen, your body may not be producing melatonin correctly. To help correct this, try to get periods of natural sunlight during the day. At night, turn off artificial light from televisions and computers earlier in the evening.

If you’ve tried to get better sleep, but often feel tired during the day, it may be time for some help. A doctor that specializes in sleep disorders can offer  natural and medication-based strategies to help you get some needed rest.

Be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise with Carpet

Be Healthy, Wealthy and Wise with Carpet

Carpet is a great way to decorate because of the textures, colors and patterns available. It looks good, but it also provides a variety of benefits. Carpet insulates, typically resulting in 10% or more in energy savings. Carpet absorbs sound, making a house quieter and more relaxing. And of course carpet is safer, reducing the occurrence of slips and falls and the severity of associated injuries from these accidents.

But did you realize that carpet is also an economical and prudent choice for maintenance and health reasons?

Little Maintenance
Carpet requires less maintenance than hard surface floors such as hardwood, vinyl and tile. Interim care of carpet is accomplished simply by vacuuming. Depending on the number of people and pets, this may be done in as little as 2 or 3 hours a month in the typical household. Aside from prompt attention to spills, this is usually all that is needed between professional cleanings.

By contrast, think of all the cleaners, sealers, waxes and polishes needed to keep a hard floor looking good and the amount of time it takes to sweep and mop. Let’s not forget how much it can cost to have a professional restore a scratched, dull marble or wood floor, or to clean, remove stains and seal tile and grout. While it is true that hard surface floors are easier to clean in the event of a liquid spill, properly maintained modern carpeting has protectors such as 3M Scotchgard and DuPont Teflon factory applied which helps them clean-up well.

Of course, eventually, this protection wears off, just as the protective finish on a new car does. And just as you need to wax your car to refresh that protection, your carpet should have a protector reapplied periodically. In cases where the protector is maintained, prompt response usually achieves good results in spill removal.

(Also MicroSeal is a fantastic option it lasts 8 professional cleanings)

Carpet is Good for Your Health
Contrary to opinions by well-meaning but ill-informed “experts,” carpet that is properly maintained actually improves indoor air quality. How? Carpet acts as a filter, trapping pollutants such as dust, pollen, dander, smoke, and dust mite contamination as air passes through it. Studies  conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that carpet acts as a “sink” for pollutants. This fact caused some experts to contend that carpet contributed to poor indoor air quality and associated ill health effects.

But this view misses one key point.
As the EPA pointed out, carpet acts as a “sink,” trapping these pollutants, instead of allowing them to be distributed up into the breathing zone. The result? Homes and buildings with properly maintained carpets have better air quality in the “breathing zone” than those with other flooring types. So, as these contaminants build-up in the carpet they simply must be removed by professional cleaning. This creates a cycle of cleanliness. On the other hand, with hard surface flooring, all it takes is a small amount of air movement from an open door, or even foot traffic to disperse the dust and pollutants into the breathing zone.

So to reap the financial and health benefits of your carpet, give Hansen Steam Way a call for proper maintenance and periodic, professional cleaning.

Making a Clean Break

Making a Clean Break

There is never a better time to give your belongings a good going-over than when you are moving. Packing and unpacking can be a big hassle, but this process is a perfect opportunity to get rid of the clutter and unwanted items in your life. The first step when getting ready to pack should be a thorough house cleaning.

Go through every room of your home and discard any broken items. If it can be fixed, either fix it yourself or take it to a repair shop. If it cannot be fixed or is too expensive to repair, simply toss it.

Next, remove all those items you don’t want or don’t use anymore. You can give them to friends or a charitable organization, or you may decide to  have a garage sale to raise some extra cash for all those moving expenses.

Another option is to haul your things to a consignment shop. This is an especially wise move for any big ticket items you may have, like stereo equipment, exerciseear, designer clothing, or sporting equipment.

Remember that hazardous wastes, including motor oil, leftover paint, batteries, and some household and lawn chemicals, must be disposed of properly. Most communities have designated drop-off facilities for such wastes.

Scoring Last Minute Deals This Summer

Scoring Last Minute Deals This Summer

Traveling can be expensive, but there are some ways to get deals if you decide to head out of town on the spur of the moment. If you will be staying in a hotel, be sure to always inquire if there are any discounts available. It sometimes can be as simple as just asking. You should do some research first on the Internet to see what price range is being offered. Then call the hotel and politely ask if there is a lower rate available for a last minute booking.

If you have some flexibility in your travel dates, you can check to see if changing your arrival or departure dates by even just one day gives you a lower  rate on airfare or hotel accommodations. When booking a hotel room, ask if there is a price difference between a room with a king-sized bed  and one with two queen-sized or double beds. If you are flexible on this point, you may be able to score a deal.

Finally, be able to act quickly. You can sign up for email updates on deals from airlines and hotel chains. If you see a great deal, be ready to grab it. You should always read the fine print on any deal, but often these offers with short deadlines are the best way to travel on the cheap.

Fun Pool Games

Fun Pool Games

What can be more fun than playing in a cool pool on a hot summer day? Kids will love playing some of these water games this summer! Don’t forget that children need to be supervised in or around water at all times, even if they are good swimmers.

Pool Soccer: Use a large beach ball as the soccer ball. Set up two goal areas on each end of the pool. Players are not allowed to use their hands during this game. No dunking should be allowed.

Sharks: One person is a “shark.” He or she tries to catch the other players. As soon as a player is tagged, he or she also becomes a shark and joins in trying to catch the other players. The last one caught becomes the “shark” for the next round. Players are not allowed to leave the water during the round.

Stuck in the Mud: This is another game of tag. One player is “it.” Once he or she tags another player, that player must freeze in that spot. He can only be freed by another player swimming through his legs.

Marco Polo: This is a classic swimming pool game. One player is “Marco.” He closes his eyes and counts slowly to ten, while the other players quietly swim away.

Keeping his eyes closed, he then begins shouting out “Marco.” The other players respond by shouting “Polo.” He is able to figure out where the other players are by listening carefully.

The other players try to avoid being tagged, but must respond whenever he calls out “Marco.” The other players are allowed to leave the pool, but if Marco suspects that anyone is out of the water, he can call out, “Fish out of water!” If anyone is out of the water at that time, he or she becomes “it.”If no one is out of the water, play continues. When another player is tagged, that player becomes the new Marco.


Is it Too Soon to Clean my New Carpet?

Is it Too Soon to Clean my New Carpet?

If you purchased new carpet within the last year or two you may be wondering when the time is to start having it professionally cleaned. Often times a salesperson at the carpet store will tell you to wait as long as possible before you have your new carpet professionally cleaned; that cleaning your carpet will just make it get dirty faster requiring more frequent cleaning. Is that true?

Old Attitudes for Old Technology
The belief that once you clean your carpet the first time you will then need to clean them all the time goes back to the early days of professional carpet cleaning. Back then lots of chemical and water was used in an attempt to get the carpet clean. These carpet cleaning chemicals worked great at attracting soil away from the carpet fiber and suspending those soils in the cleaning solution to be wet vacuumed away.

The trouble began because the equipment was not able to extract or rinse out all the chemical that was applied. So, the chemicals remained on the carpet as a sticky, soil-attracting residue. It was true, once you cleaned your carpets back “in the day” you began a cycle of needing to clean them more often.

Poor Quality Carpet Cleaning Causes Damage

To some extent, this can happen even today when calling some “discount” carpet cleaners. They use cheap chemicals, inferior equipment, untrained workers and charge low, low prices.

The poor guys who work for them are often subcontractors or are paid on commission. What happens is that the technician often has to hurry through the job just to make a decent living. So there can be a lot of these cheap, sticky chemicals left in the carpet because they were not properly rinsed out. Sure it looks okay when he leaves, but the carpets will re-soil quickly, often over the course of a few days or weeks.

The Benefits of High Quality Cleaning

Things in the carpet cleaning industry have changed dramatically over the last few years. The cleaning agents we use, though more expensive, are designed to rinse freely from the carpet and leave little or no residue. What tiny amount may be left behind is specially formulated to dry completely non-sticky, to be vacuumed away with normal maintenance.

Quality equipment does cost more, but it has the power to thoroughly clean your carpet and rinse away soils and cleaning agents. Finally, the application of a quality protector makes your carpet stay cleaner longer.

Not all carpet cleaners are willing to spend the extra time and money to do a high quality job. A reputable company will pre-treat, agitate and rinse with extremely hot water and a powerful vacuum system. This leaves carpets clean, fluffy and residue-free, the way it should be. As an added bonus, clean carpet improves indoor air quality, so your family will breathe easier.

Most major carpet manufacturers require professional carpet cleaning once every 12-24 months. Failure to do so could void your carpet warranty. So if you want your carpets to stay cleaner, last longer and look beautiful, call Hansen Steam Way to set up your personalized carpet care program.

7 Warm Weather Tune-Up Tips

7 Warm Weather Tune-Up Tips

Your bags are packed, your maps are unfolded, and the kids all have their snacks. You and your family are ready for your road trip, but is your car? As the weather gets warmer, there are some things you should do to ensure that every trip, short or long, is a safe one.

1) Do a check of all of your exterior lights and windshield wipers. Replace worn wipers or any burned out bulbs.

2) Look over your tires to make sure that the tread is not worn down. Don’t forget to check your spare also. This is a great time to get out your jack, make sure it is in working order, and review how to use it.

3) Under the hood, check the belts, battery, and all fluid levels. It is a good idea to get a fresh oil and filter change before and after a road trip.

4) Fill up the washer fluid reservoirs and wash all the windows.

5) Inside your vehicle, do a safety check of all of your seat belts.

6) Check any car seats that are in your car, making sure that they have been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

7) Put a safety kit in your vehicle. This should include first aid supplies, a wrench, screwdriver, flashlight, safety flares, extra water, and some rags.



There is nothing more you can do to prevent melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than to use sunscreen every time you go into the sun. You might imagine that people who have survived melanoma would be extra careful. But a study by researchers at Yale University’s School of Medicine reveals that more than 25 percent of melanoma survivors never use sunscreen when heading outdoors.

Everyone should limit exposure to the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. This means putting sunscreen on every time you go out, staying in  the shade as much as possible, wearing protective clothing and a hat, and avoiding tanning salons.

The good news of the study is that over one-third of melanoma survivors always wore sunscreen. Other studies have revealed that only about 17 percent of Americans wear sunscreen all the time. The  researchers believe that better education of the melanoma survivors increases the rate at which they use sunscreen.

With almost 77,000 cases of melanoma diagnosed each year in the United States, it is critically important for everyone to understand the risks of sun exposure. An estimated 9,500 American will die of the disease this year. But with better educationabout basic precautions, that number could be reduced significantly.

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