SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

December 17, 2014

Consumer’s misled – chicken cruelty

This article by Nicholas Kristof of the New York TIMES is stunning and worse even than I thought.  Wanting more than just the text, I went online and got the original complete with video snippets to bring it home in full scope. Each video, ending, gives more related material showing how “real” and natural chicken farming is done. . . which I very much enjoyed.  Now I know chickens eat seed, grass and bugs when they are allowed outside where life actually happens.. while this may be hard to understand why and how such as this is allowed to exist — with government sanctions no less. . .it is better to be informed.     Also, in these videos, we learn that these little prisoners are given only GMO corn and soy,  so there really isn’t a good reason to be eating  factory farmed chicken.   Jan

Abusing Chickens We Eat

Torture a single chicken and you risk arrest. Abuse hundreds of thousands of chickens for their entire lives? That’s agribusiness.

I don’t know where to draw the lines. But when chickens have huge open bedsores on their undersides, I wonder if that isn’t less animal husbandry than animal abuse.

December 15, 2014

Heart healthy Rosemary Tapenade

Again, John @ Learning Herb’s. . . and this appears to be fantastic, gonna have to do this. . . . .  Jan

What do you want, the RED PILL   or the TAPENADE?

Which would you rather take a regular basis for heart health?

Today’s herbal spreadable snack is not only killer on crackers, it also contains 8 amazing ingredients that are known to...

  • support heart health
  • reduce the risks of heart attack or stroke
  • reduce inflammation and hypertension
  • lower cholesterol
  • contain lots of omega 3 oils
  • support bone health
  • support mental health

Obvioulsy, this snack is food….and we can choose food to be our medicine.


Just go here for Rosalee’s amazing Rosemary Heart Healthy Tapenade.


Next week we’ll continue our Holiday Remedies & Recipes with an awesome gift giving idea.  (Well, guess I presented this one first.)

Yours in health,

John Gallagher




I think it goes without saying that you should not replace any heart medications with an hors d’ oeuvre. Never stop prescribed meds without talking with your physician. However, I don’t think anyone needs to check with their doctors on whether they can eat tapenade or not (unless you have issues with one of the ingredients).

This tapenade is simply another example of how we can use herbs in our every day lives to support a healthy heart.


Learning Herbs – Tea Stuff

 World’s favorite Beverage – TEA

Recently, even noted Dr Jonathan Wright’s “Nutrition and Healing” was speaking of  Green Tea and its benefits to so many diseases overall including lowering  mortality from any or all diseases.  Helps in lowering blood pressure, heart disease and so much more.  And that from ordinary teas  e.g. Camellia Sinensis.  Just ordinary tea!  

But put into hands of those at John Gallagher’s “Learning Herbs”. . .magic enters in and voila —  great Christmas gifts plus your own  personal pleasure  pleasure:  They have prepared a few delightful recipes,  just click on link below – take you right over:


Did you know that black tea, green tea and white tea all come from the same plant?

Harvesting, processing and even making tea has evolved for thousands of years and considered a high art form.

These teas are rich in antioxidants, including catechins. Numerous studies have shown tea to decrease cancer risks, aid metabolic processes for weight loss, and support heart health as well as longevity.

Tea has shaped cultures as it has fueled wars.

There must be a reason why tea became the popular beverage in the world.

Well, rather than ponder this further, let’s just make some tea. :-)

Rosalee has formulated SIX tea blends for you…

  1. Orange Spiced Black Tea
  2. Vanilla Earl Grey with Cornflowers
  3. Forest Tea Blend
  4. Smokey Pu’erh Tea
  5. Herbal Digestive Blend (no caffeine)
  6. Vanilla Rooibos Tea Blend (no caffeine)

These blends make GREAT Holiday gifts.

Yes, these kinds of tea are caffeinated. However, Rosalee has also included two blends without caffeine.

You’ll save a ton of cash making your own gifts that your friends will LOVE.

We also hope that these blends provide a “jumping off” point for you to start blending your own teas.


Just go here for Rosalee’s Six Tea Blends



John Gallagher


December 14, 2014

Stop Earth’s demise + our own?

This marvelous piece is from Dr Mercola as he discusses with Gabe Brown, a N. Dakota farmer, the principles of saving our soil which has been under attack for too many decades.  Depleted soils can not give us nutrient-rich foods.  And our health starts there.  So after much stress, this city boy, having married into a farm-family learned the hard way what not to do (tho everyone else was doing it too).  His observations  led him to ‘no-till’ farming and the rest fell into place, over time.   His valuable experience translates not only to all farming whether small, independent, farmers as well as  commercial complexes, but also to individuals at home in urban life whether a sizable estate or apartment life — where ever one has access to some land.  We (you and I) can make a difference and enjoy real honest-to-God wholesome, old-fashioned,  tasty, natural food. .  .  on the cheap.  Enjoy,  Jan


How to Regenerate Soil Using Cover Crops and Regenerative Land Management


This Activity Could Transform Your Health for Pennies
It’s so simple and so inexpensive that you’d be remiss to bypass this amazingly transformative health strategy that enhances our food and environment. Get started today.

December 10, 2014

Dr Roach on A-fib/Cholesterol

 Abnormal heart rhythm goes undetected at times

To Your Good Health

Keith Roach

   Q #1) Ten years ago, I had many episodes of rapid heartbeats — diagnosed as atrial fibrillation.   My cardiologist put me on a medication, which I took for a couple of years, but the A fib came back. The doctor changed my medication to sotalol, but that didn’t help, either.  

I read that low magnesium could be a cause of atrial fibrillation, and I started taking calcium, magnesium and potassium. I haven’t had an episode of rapid heartbeats for four years.   I went back to my doctor, who told me the idea was crazy. I haven’t seen him in four years.   It seems a shame that we hear of so many treatments for A fib when it might be stopped with a simple supplement.  

A: Well, the idea isn’t crazy, but low magnesium isn’t the only cause of atrial fibrillation, and supplements of magnesium and other electrolytes won’t stop atrial fibrillation in most people.  

A low level of magnesium in the blood, however, is a recognized risk factor for developing atrial fibrillation, and magnesium given during heart surgery reduces the risk of developing A fib afterward in some studies, so there is something to it. Because oral magnesium is safe and inexpensive, I think it is reasonable to try it.   I remain concerned because atrial fibrillation can go on in some people without their being aware of it and the major risk has to do with blood clots.  

You should be evaluated periodically to ensure that your heart rate is persistently normal. You should also try to find a physician who is willing to work with you on combining “alternative” treatments with traditional therapy.  

Q #1,  it is a given that I would always go toward the non-invasive, non-toxic  holistic approach.  And it would seem this patient has also gravitated in a similar way toward more natural processes with her inner guide leading the way.  Been there – done that, only my own A-Fib wasn’t a brief episode, but more life-long.  Have availed cardiology in so many of it’s various ramifications and therapies.  It can be intimidating and fearful.  
It is also clear that there is much to be considered when dealing with the heart;  no one thing alone is  the panacea. . but a complex approach.  My thyroid problems had been so overarching and neglected for so many decades that the gland was now beating up my heart.  No less than UCLA’s Dr Abraham helped save my day by redirecting my thinking.  So much is needed, CoQ-10, EFA’s,  Nattokinase – natural and best blood thinner around and non-RX. . . all extremely helpful and necessary.  The salt – potassium balance is one of the most important things we can achieve — to insure that balance is right for our body.  Calcium and Magnesium are two side of the coin which regulates the relaxation and contraction of how the cardio system works. .  again, balance.  
In my case no matter how much or what kind of Magnesium I took, I couldn’t get enuff to get the job done..  Like this patient, I researched and it paid off when I learned of liquid, spray on Magnesium rubbed onto my belly.  My body couldn’t absorb it properly (as happens with many), so in my frantic effort to take more and more as the doctors urged,  I was afflicted with constant diarrhea that hurt my health even further.  I was housebound and weak.   Suffice it to say, I quit seeing cardiologists altogether and quit all meds.  Have not regretted it.  
But the A-Fib couldn’t be ignored, so I kept researching, found a book by a Naturopath by the name of Dr Harry Elwardt  who specializes in Heart therapies  — book was called  simply “Lets STOP The #1 Killer of Americans TODAY.   I got excited and dug in.  After getting the message anchored in my head, put myself on this protocol and immediately started to notice improvement, energy and peaceful sleep without the scary, heart racing and skipping (kinda hard to live with) .  . .  couldn’t lie on my left side as the pumping was too extreme.  
Aside from all the usual nutrients [some of which I mentioned above],  do you know what the heart and brain are really seeking before they start breaking down?  They run on FAT, but they function on AMINO ACIDS  All I knew about amino acids is that athletes took them.  So yeah, I’m daily ingesting Arginine, D-Ribose, Carnitine and Taurine. . .BIG TIME!  And because I’m really on borrowed time (at 85),  started to fade again and so – doubled my dosage [on my own] and feel great again.  The amounts I use aren’t in the range of what professional athletes take, besides which they are safe and non-toxic, food-grade all the way.  So I won’t be needing any stents or surgeries or further expensive tests and none of those pharmaceuticals – why would I?  
It’s nitric oxide which runs the engines in all the mitochondria in every cell in our body.  Divine instrument that our body is,  it makes NO by itself, but as we age and ingest all the pollutants the world offers now in this industrial age we live in, it makes less and it is incapable of keeping up with demand, so we help it along with exactly what it needs . . Arginine, the star of the show.  Have laid out my protocol in several posts, so won’t go into it now,  but for anyone interested and wanting to get the book, Dr Harry has it on his website:    I visited there yesterday and it has several videos up explaining what they do. Somehow, this protocol has also brought my BP down, so this has all been a blessing to me.  
I would agree with Dr Roach’s conclusions, that it is safe to use Magnesium.  But I would go further, it is necessary and in abundant amounts, but if you want to loose the other worry as well, by all means use an abundant amount of Nattokinase; it out ranks most pharmaceuticals with good reason.  

Q#2) My question pertains to cholesterol — specifically low-density lipoprotein particles, or LDL-P, and how they differ from low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.   My cholesterol readings: total, 176; triglycerides, 170; high-density lipoproteins, or HDL, 50; and LDL, 92. My particle numbers: LDL-P, 1,570.  

My doctor advised me to increase my pravastatin dose from 10 to 20 milligrams. Because of statin side effects, I resist increasing my dose.   I am 80 and in good health, with no diabetes or known heart disease, and I try to eat a balanced diet and walk at least a mile daily. In your opinion, should I increase the statin dosage?  

A: Two questions are in play.   The first: Does the measurement of LDL particles add value to the measuring of LDL cholesterol levels? Although some preliminary evidence indicates that it might, most authorities don’t recommend using the reading except in certain high-risk populations — especially in people with diabetes.  

The second: When is it appropriate to increase the dose of statins? For most people, the recommended goal of therapy is an LDL number of less than 100 — which you have already achieved.  

Levels of less than 70 are advocated by some cardiologists.   Because you are at a reasonable level and don’t have diabetes or heart disease, I wouldn’t recommend increasing the dosage for someone in your situation.  

I do recommend continuing your balanced diet and walks, which have many benefits.  

Q#2)  Very hard for me to be objective and reasonably fair on this one as I am so opposed to statins.  Between the over-saturation of our elders nationwide with statins and the low-fat diets all were advised to consume, its a wonder they aren’t dying off even sooner.  This product impacts the body’s ability to handle its CoQ-10 needs [which are very high],  as both brain and heart really need CoQ-10. . .now there is talk of giving it to younger people, even youth to prevent heart disease down the road.  But in fact it is setting them up for it.  
Cholesterol is NOT  the problem the medical complex says it is.  We NEED CHOLESTEROL.  Our brains and heart both do.  FATS, good fats are not a problem either, and yet our nation has been on a low-fat diet for generations based on faulty thinking, not science at all.  That has perhaps done more for obesity and heart disease than almost anything else.  carbs make us fat – not fat!. . . . .   .   til next time,  Jan

Dr. Roach answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; or  .


December 9, 2014

CEO Crane fights ‘climate-change’

 Power-company CEO fights climate change


Joe Nocera

Since the early 1990s, the consensus view in the climate-science community has been that if the world is going to escape the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, it needs to keep the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels. A few years ago, the Presidential Climate Action Project issued a report in which it estimated that to meet that goal, global carbon-dioxide emissions would need to be reduced by 60 percent by 2050 — and the industrialized world would need to reduce its emissions by 80 percent.
This would seem, at first glance, an impossible task. Until, that is, you meet a man named David Crane. He is the chief executive of NRG Energy, the largest publicly traded independent power producer in the country. When he took over a decade ago, NRG was just emerging from bankruptcy. Today, it is a Fortune 250 company, with 135 power plants capable of generating 53,000 megawatts of power.
NRG, Crane told an audience at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer, is the country’s fourth-largest polluter.“We emit 60 or 70 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year,” he said, mainly because a third of its power is generated by coal-fired plants.  “I’m not apologetic about that because, right now, owning those plants and operating those plants are critical to keeping the lights on in the United States.”
But then he quickly added, “We have to move away from that.” And he has, reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 40 percent in the decade that he’s run the company. And, last Thursday, as The New York Times reported, he committed NRG to reducing its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050.
These are terribly ambitious goals, but Crane is not some pie-in-the-sky dreamer. Although he sees climate change as an “intergenerational issue” — a way of ensuring the future for our children and grandchildren — he is also a pragmatic man running a publicly traded company. He firmly believes that the technology exists to make his ambitious goals possible, and that the real problem is the refusal of the rest of the power industry to adapt and change.
Crane likes to say that when he first started hearing about carbon emissions, he didn’t view it all that seriously.“To be frank,” he said in that same Aspen presentation, “I thought this is just the next pollutant that we have to deal with.”But once he got religion — and realized, as he put it, that power producers such as NRG are “the biggest part of the problem” — he was determined to make his company a leader in reducing carbon.
One of his early moves was to apply for a license to build a new nuclear-power plant. (It already co-owns one nuclear plant.) But the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in 2011 ruined those plans, and NRG wound up writing off more than $300 million. NRG also invested in a wind company, which it sold three years later “because we got a little disenchanted with the way that the wind technology was moving.”
So how is he planning to get that 90 percent reduction? One answer is solar power, in which NRG has invested some $5 billion. Crane is a big believer in the eventual importance of solar, both for consumers — he foresees a day when millions of Americans rely on solar as their primary power source — and for power companies. Even so, Crane told me that solar generates only 3,000 megawatts of the company’s potential for 53,000.

  • And then there’s coal. When I asked Crane if he would have to eliminate coal to reach his goals, he said no. Coal, he said, will continue to play a big role. A carbon tax would be a great way of reducing emissions. But that is politically impossible.

So, instead, the carbon will need to be captured and then put to some good use. At one of its Texas power plants, NRG is teaming with JX Nippon of Japan in a $1 billion joint venture to build a carbon-capturing capacity, which it expects will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon each year — some 90 percent of the plant’s emissions. He is also convinced that that carbon eventually will be used to create liquid fuel or get embedded in cement.  (see post of 11-30-14, on “Toyota’s  Mirai, fuel-cell car”)    
“We could rebuild America’s roadways with embedded carbon from coal,” Crane said.He has another reason for wanting to be out in front on climate change. He says it will make his company more attractive to investors — and consumers.
“It’s like Wayne Gretzky said,” he told me before hanging up the phone.
“We are skating where the puck is going, rather than where it is now.”

Joe Nocera writes for The New York Times.

(Doesn’t this make you want to grin with pleasure, we’re living in some pretty spectacular times.  . .Jan)

House – Corp aid, cut rest

This is a mixture/post of two separate stories of our do-nothing Congress who only defile, belittle and threaten, have no sense of proportion or responsibility for the limited time they are in Washington pretending to work.  Now anxious to get out of town, they are rushing through as much as they can.  The first item is the biggie, taking care of corporate wants which if allowed would pile up our national debt after it had been destroyed under a Republican White House and Obama set about to bring it back down.  So ugly, but you can read about it below.  

The second item is typical of ongoing stories of the cut/slash/and burn issues which they have no patience for —  giving schools a one year waiver on rules for school meals.  It is just too darned expensive and relief is needed.  Go for it guys, that’s how one builds a great society!          Jan

House OKs extension of expired tax breaks

By Stephen Ohlemacher ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — The House rushed through a last-minute measure yesterday to extend a massive package of expired tax breaks for banks, investment firms, commuters and NASCAR track owners.    The bill would enable millions of businesses and individuals to claim the tax breaks on their 2014 returns. It would add nearly $42 billion to the budget deficit during the next decade.

The more than 50 tax breaks benefit big corporations and small businesses, as well as teachers and people who live in states without a state income tax. Narrower provisions include tax breaks for filmmakers, racehorse owners and rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

“With the end of the year and a new tax-filing season rapidly approaching, we need to act,” said Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “The IRS has been clear that unless Congress acts quickly, it will be forced to delay the start of the tax-filing season.”

The bill passed 378-46. It now goes to the Senate, where Democratic leaders have been noncommittal about whether they would accept it or try to change it. Time is short because the House plans to adjourn for the year next week, and the Senate could as well.
Congress routinely extends the package of tax breaks every year or two. But they were allowed to expire in January.  Technically, the bill is a one-year, retroactive extension of the tax breaks, even though it only lasts through the end of the month.
Lawmakers from both political parties said the short-term measure is the product of a divided Congress that has trouble passing routine legislation.

“This on-again, off-again style of legislating on a temporary basis is a terrible way to make tax policy,” Camp said.
House Republicans and Senate Democrats were negotiating to make some of the tax breaks permanent. But talks faltered last week after the White House threatened to veto an emerging package, saying it too heavily favored big corporations over families.

Some Democrats said they opposed the package, which the White House threatened to veto because it would have added more than $400 billion to the budget deficit in the next decade, yet still would have allowed several tax breaks that benefit low-income families to expire in a few years.

Among the biggest breaks for businesses are a tax credit for research and development, an exemption that allows financial companies such as banks and investment firms to shield foreign profits from being taxed by the United States and several provisions that allow businesses to write off capital investments more quickly.

There is also a generous tax credit for using wind farms and other renewable-energy sources to produce electricity.

The biggest tax break for individuals allows people who live in states without an income tax to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns. Another protects struggling homeowners who get their mortgages reduced from paying income taxes on the amount of debt that was forgiven.

Other provisions benefit commuters who use public transportation and teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies.
Some Democrats are unhappy the package leaves out two provisions: a tax credit that helps some laid-off workers pay for health insurance, and a tax credit for buying electric motorcycles.



GOP seeks 1-year waiver on rules for school meals

By Mary Clare Jalonick ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON — House Republicans are making a final push this month to give schools a temporary break from healthier school-meal standards.    The school-meal rules, phased in since 2012 and championed by first lady Michelle Obama, require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the lunch line. The standards also limit sodium, sugar and fat.

  • Some school-nutrition directors have lobbied for a break, saying the rules have proved to be costly and restrictive.

House Republicans have said the rules are an overreach, and they have pushed a one-year waiver that would allow schools to opt out of the standards for the next school year if they lost money on meal programs over six months.

The waiver language stalled this summer after the first lady lobbied aggressively against it and the White House issued a veto threat. The food and farm spending bill that contained the provision was pulled from the House floor, a move that House Republicans attributed to scheduling issues.

But the waiver has new life this month as lawmakers are expected to pass a catchall spending bill to keep government programs running.

Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees school-meal spending, has been pushing to include the waiver in the wide-ranging bill.

Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., both said on Thursday that the House and the Senate are negotiating over the waiver.    A Senate bill approved by a spending committee in May did not include the waiver but called for further study on sodium and whole-grains requirements.

Yesterday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listed “lowering standards for school lunches for our children” as one of a few “very destructive riders” that would be unacceptable to Democrats in the spending bill.

White House nutrition-policy adviser Sam Kass said the White House is “deeply engaged” on the school-meals policy, which has become one of the first lady’s signature issues. He said the policy is a priority for the administration.

December 8, 2014

Holistic Dental pioneer, Hal Huggins

This is from David Wolfe [recently received] and it is to honor Hal Huggins and all the ground-breaking developments based on years of research.  It was not well received by the established  Medical/Dental complex as any can imagine. People with this kind of moxie are almost always debunked, delicensed and/or run out of town or country to practice.  e.g. Dr Max Gerson with his remarkable cancer therapy  and having to go to Mexico in order to have it available for those who demanded it.   Look at  the persecution Dr Burzinski had to go thru. . .the years and millions of his own dollars, just to keep on keepin’ on.   Most can’t.  

The corporate hierarchy which built and continues to fund our Medical Complex  will not allow it – period. It is a stacked deck with solid protection for their very profitable cash flow for they bought and own all the voting members of congress who protect those interests and their own security.  What a system! . . so nothing changes; fresh ideas rarely ever get seen or heard.  Accountability is non-existent.  

I admire so much of what he has done and am in agreement with his ideas, which is why I’ve shared my own dental care several times [some of which I’ve put up in the “TOP POSTS” area].    Some of my ideas came from Nadine Artemis [her product line openly, proudly showing the ingredients which I also admire and respect], and articles from several modern, holistic dentists [probably trained by Dr Huggins].  But hey, whatever works, as long as one realizes that commercial products available to us are causing much of our troubles.  And for sure, much of the procedures they use in our mouths are in fact injurious and setting us up for further biological woes and immune problems.  

One need not make a career out of caring for the teeth;  just a simple baking soda for brushing in the direction of gums to edge of tooth, inside and outside of all teeth, taking the time to sense and feel the rightness of this action.  It can be almost soothing or meditative.  Flossing is good especially if your teeth are close together as mine once were [ lost many molars, so shifting apart a bit now].  Finish up with a sea-salt rinse using water as hot as you can comfortably accept. I have used different water irrigation systems for over 50 years and think they are terrific.  Loved the Water Pic and now using Colgate Via Jet.. . any of them beat electronic contraptions like motorized tooth brushes or massage  pics etc.  .  just sayin’


Dear Longevity Enthusiast,

Remembering Dr. Hal A. Huggins

We are deeply saddened to share that Dr. Hal Huggins, who pioneered the campaign against the use of dental amalgam fillings and other unsafe dental therapies, passed away peacefully at his Colorado Springs home Saturday, November 29, 2014. He was 77.

Dr. Huggins spoke at our Longevity Now® Conference in 2013, and we are honored to have had the chance to know him. We are so very sorry to hear of this loss and are sending loving thoughts and prayers to his family during this difficult time.

Dr. Huggins was a caring and sensitive man who dedicated his life’s work to helping humanity and was loved by his patients, professional colleagues, and staff for his compassion, generosity, and willingness to give of himself. He devoted his last years to establishing the Huggins Applied Healing Center (, but his greatest passion was the recent formation of the Dental DNA laboratory ( This sophisticated facility specializes in the detection of dangerous, disease-causing DNA that reside within root canals, cavitations, implants, and other oral environments.


Please enjoy this feature presentation in honor of

Dr. Hal Huggins…   The Pioneer of Holistic Dentistry

Click HERE to watch.

December 4, 2014

Elderly Suicides, a concern

(My Comments. . . and I seem to have a few,  for this post in particular will interject, in place as applicable, right along with the text — but in ‘blue’.  Seems better to me rather than having a bunch of abstract thoughts and stuck with trying to make sense of it all.  Sorry if this seems bothersome;  I just get off on tangents at times, especially when I see things differently.  Jan)


Mental health

Suicide rate for elderly a concern


In study after study, Americans report being more satisfied in their golden years, suggesting that life gets better as you get older.     The Golden Years perhaps seem better and more satisfying because  one’s kids are grown and on their own;  the business has been built and career goals are no longer a problem.  Not everyone you’ve known and loved has died or moved on.  And your time seemingly is your own to choose, because, essentially,  one’s responsibilities have changed.  This of course would primarily apply to those who are financially able to live the good life they dreamed of.  Not all can have such choices.  Nor even a significantly high number since our middle class has slid more into poverty.   But changes that come later in life — retirement, loss of loved ones, medical problems and isolation, especially around the holidays  — can lead to depression in older adults, increasing their risk for suicide.

“It’s a silent killer for far too many of our elders,” said Carolyn Givens, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.
In the U.S., people 65 or older make up 13 percent of the population but account for more than 18 percent of all suicides, according to the National Institutes of Health.

So far this year, 12 percent of the 133 suicides in Franklin County were people who were at least 65, according to statistics from the coroner’s office. The figure jumps to 21 percent when people 60 to 64 are included.

Experts say the statistics are especially alarming because the elderly make up the fastest-growing segment of the population. By 2030, there will be about 72 million people age 65 or older, more than twice the number in 2000.

The suicide rate is likely even higher because it can be difficult for coroners to recognize “silent suicides” such as intentional overdoses, self-starvation or deaths that look as if they could have been accidental. When the cause of death is unclear, officials might be inclined to call it something other than suicide because of the pain it might cause the family.

“There’s still a lot of stigma associated with suicide,” said Diana Kubovcik, client-services director of the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging.
While older people make fewer suicide attempts than the young, they are far more likely to die because of often-frail health, Kubovcik said. They also turn more frequently to guns.

Double suicides involving spouses or partners also occur more commonly among the elderly, she said.

White men older than 85 are especially vulnerable and have the highest suicide rate — nearly six times that of the general population. But they’re seldom included in the national conversation about awareness and prevention, said Amy Fiske, an associate clinical-psychology professor at West Virginia University.  Although many people might think suicide is an understandable reaction to growing older, “late life is not miserable for most people,” she said.

In general, older adults are less likely to suffer from mental illness than their younger counterparts and more likely to report higher levels of well-being and satisfaction, Fiske said. Physical health generally declines with age, but the vast majority of older adults do not become suicidal when that happens , she said. Research shows that many who commit suicide don’t have terminal or painful conditions.  The most prominent risk factor for suicide in older adults is depression, said Debra Reilly, a senior-care liaison at Dublin Springs, a 72-bed mental-health and addiction-treatment center in Dublin. Alcohol or drug abuse also can be factors.
“People sometimes assume that depression is a normal part of aging, but that’s untrue,” said Reilly, who also is a psychiatric nurse. “The good news is depression is treatable.”     Many older adults don’t seek treatment for mental-health problems, leaving it up to family and friends to step in, Reilly said.    So the doctor is saying that depression is treatable,  indeed it is if the  diet has suffered for one reason or another and is inadequate.  SAD diet can’t sustain health. . one needs wholesome, fresh, not manufactured foodstuff and plenty of the necessary vitamins and minerals generally well-endowed in whole foods. The B vitamins are an absolute must.  What is not needed is more chemicals for an under-performing organism whether it is physiological or emotional.  There isn’t a happy pill on the planet which can help or replace what is missing – someone who cares enough to be there or at least try to work it out.

Though depression ranks in some psycho-medical classification, I personally have a problem with that.  What seniors who have been perhaps family-oriented their whole life and surrounded by loved ones who meant everything to them to the extent of serving everyone else’s need over their own can be dealing with is simple economics and inequity over which they no longer have the power or influence to manage or change.  No one wants to hear about it  . . how can they when the loved ones  aren’t even around.   This kind of life-style is commonplace no matter what label [and there are many,] one chooses to put on it.  

If the senior has no locomotion, he or she needs help;  if they are too frail to do the chores or climb the stairs  or make the big decisions — they need help!  If there is NO ONE  to talk to, they need help  — or maybe they’d be better off if we just shot them. . .isolation can drive anyone crazy.  I’ve seen this sort of thing over and over again throughout the years and it is heartbreaking.  So, to me, it is not ‘depression’ which is only a descriptive word for what we see going on, loneliness  and abandonment, lack of someone to care.

Seniors exhibiting signs of depression should undergo a thorough medical examination to make sure the symptoms aren’t being caused by a physical condition or medication. Warning signs include loss of interest in things or activities usually found enjoyable; cutting back on social interactions; expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness; or having a preoccupation with death.

Changes in sleep or appetite or other unusual behavior such as stockpiling of medications can also be signs.

Often, suicide coincides with a doctor visit — 20 percent on the same day, 40 percent within a week, 70 percent within a month — so physicians need to look for warning signs, Reilly said.

Suicide triggers can include the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness, severe or chronic pain, or a loss of physical or financial independence, said Mary Brennen-Hofmann, suicide-prevention coordinator at North Central Mental Health Services, which operates the local suicide-prevention hotline.

“A sense of purpose and dignity in life is significant,” she said. “If you feel like you’re taking up space and have nothing to offer, those feelings can be painful.”

Treatment for depression could include cognitive therapy and medications. Sometimes, simply talking can be a good start, Brennen-Hofmann said.

“The holidays offer a perfect time to help seniors to reconnect with their family and friends, their faith and their world of social activities,” she said. “Help remind them that they have value.”

If you or someone you know needs emotional help, resources are available, including the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, a 24-hour local suicide hotline at 614-221-5445 and a senior hotline at 614-294-3309.


Should SCOTUS be reformed?

I  had downloaded this from Bill Moyer’s Journal a couple of months back with every intention to post it right away.   But as anyone can see, . .just not as swift as I used to be.   This piece is so very welcome bearing with it some remarkably sound ideas which alone could heal many of our country’s problems (think most will agree).  Quite aside from the author’s words, we also have Moyers speaking with two accomplished ladies (well-connected politically) with esteemed backgrounds as honored writers.    This however appears after one clicks on the picture of  the seated SCOTUS within the article.  Promise, it will give you much to think about.    Jan

It’s Time to Reform the Supreme Court — Here Are Five Ways to Do It

Throughout American history, the Supreme Court largely has failed at its most important tasks of enforcing the Constitution and protecting the rights of minorities. By Erwin Chemerinsky

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