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Archive for April, 2009

Six Answers About You and Long Term Care

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Long term care of elderly is everyone’s concern since it will most likely affect you or a loved one. Let’s review and respond to 6 questions that encompass your long term care (LTC) concerns: What is LTC? Who needs it? Who provides help for it? What’s the cost? Who pays for it? What should you do about LTC?

What is LTC?

You need LTC when you need help carrying out your activities of daily living (ADLs) for the foreseeable future. For seniors, this most likely means for the rest of their lives. Examples of ADLs are dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, transferring from bed to bathroom and continence.

Who needs LTC?

Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research (BCCRR) recently found that three of every four 65 year olds are projected to need LTC in their future. The percent breakdown of elderly needing LTC will be:

31% – no care

29% – 2 years or less

20% – 2 to 5 years

20% – 5 years or more

Who provides help for LTC?

Long term caregivers do. They’re either skilled or custodial caregivers. Custodial caregivers are typically family or friends, volunteers, or paid helpers. Heath care plans pay for skilled caregivers (i.e. medical specialists like doctors, nurses, etc.) but only for custodial services if these are given as part of a skilled care procedure.

You receive LTC in your home, at an adult day center, an assisted living facility, a hospice facility or at a nursing home.

What’s the cost of LTC?

The cost for LTC services depends on where you’re living and what level of long term care you’re getting. Approximate annual costs may be $25,000 for home care at home; $40,000 for an assisted living base rate; and $80,000 or more for nursing home costs. These costs can cut deeply into your savings or legacy.

Who pays for LTC costs?

The BCCRR study shows that 18% of dollars spent on LTC come from direct out-of-pocket payments by individuals. Medicaid pays about 50% of LTC costs but only for those who have almost no assets since Medicaid is for the poor. Medicare paid 20% probably as transition costs only since Medicare is not intended to pay continual LTC costs. Only 7% of LTC dollars were paid for by private LTC insurance policies.

What should you do about LTC?

Clearly, you or a loved one will probably need some long term care in the last stages of life. And it’s very costly. It can wipe out all your savings or legacy if you require a year or more of it. So you need to plan for how you can handle paying your LTC costs.

The Different Styles of Yoga

Friday, April 17th, 2009

There are many different styles of yoga being taught and practiced today. Although all of the styles are based on the same physical postures (called Asana’s), each has a particular emphasis or path. Here is a quick guide to the most popular types of yoga that can help you decide which style is right for you.

Hatha Yoga

Hatha is a very general term that can encompass many of the physical types of yoga. If a class is described as Hatha style, it is probably going to be slow-paced and gentle and provide a good introduction to the basic yoga postures. Highly recommended as a standard experience in the basics of yoga. This is a good place to learn basic poses, relaxation techniques, and become comfortable with yoga.

Vinyasa Yoga

Like Hatha, Vinyasa is a general term that is used to describe many different types of classes. Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronized movement, tends to be a more vigorous style based on the performance of a series of postures called Sun Salutations, in which movement is matched to the breath. A Vinyasa class will typically start with a number of Sun Salutations to warm up the body for more intense stretching that’s done at the end of class.

Ashtanga or Power Yoga

Ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” in Sanskrit, is a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A set series of postures are performed, always in the same order. Ashtanga Yoga is very physically demanding because of the constant movement from one pose to the next. In yoga terminology, this movement is called flow. Ashtanga is also the inspiration for what is often called Power Yoga. If a class is described as Power Yoga, it will be based on the flowing style of Ashtanga, but not necessarily keep strictly to the set Ashtanga series of poses.

Iyengar Yoga

Based on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar, this style of practice is most concerned with bodily alignment. In yoga, the word alignment is used to describe the precise way in which your body should be positioned in each pose in order to obtain the maximum benefits and avoid injury. Iyengar Yoga usually emphasises holding poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one pose to the next (flow). Also, Iyengar practice encourages the use of props, such as yoga blankets, blocks and straps, in order to bring the body into the most perfect alignment.

Kundalini Yoga

Yogi Bhajan brought Kundalini Yoga to the US in 1969. Now the practice is world wide and growing. The emphasis in Kundalini Yoga is on the breath, internal concentration, mantra (words or sounds) in conjunction with physical movement, with the purpose of freeing energy within the body and allowing it to move upwards. All asana practices make use of controlling the breath. But in Kundalini, the exploration of the effects of the breath (also called prana, meaning life force energy) on the postures is essential. Kundalini uses rapid, repetitive movements rather than poses held for a long time.

Bikram or Hot Yoga

Pioneered by Bikram Choudhury, this style is more generally referred to as Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95 to 100 degree room, which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. The Bikram method is a set series of 26 poses, but not all hot classes make use of this series.

Anusara Yoga

Founded in 1997 by John Friend, Anusara combines a strong emphasis on physical alignment with a positive philosophy derived from Tantra. The philosophy’s premise is belief in the intrinsic goodness of all beings. Anusara classes are usually light-hearted and accessible to students of differing abilities. Poses are taught in a way that opens the heart, both physically and mentally, and props are often used.

Jivamukti Yoga

This style of yoga emerged from one of New York’s best-known yoga studios. Jivamukti founders David Life and Sharon Gannon take inspiration from Ashtanga yoga and emphasise chanting, meditation, and spiritual teachings. They have trained many teachers who have brought this style of yoga to studios and gyms, predominantly in the U.S. These classes are physically intense and often include some chanting.

Forrest Yoga

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and gaining popularity around the U.S., Forrest Yoga is the method taught by Ana Forrest. The performance of vigorous asana sequences is intended to strengthen and purify the body and release pent-up emotions and pain so that healing can begin. Expect an intense workout with an emphasis on abdominal strengthening and deep breathing.

Kripalu Yoga

The name Kripalu is associated both with a style of hatha yoga and a yoga and wellness centre in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Both were founded by yoga guru Amrit Desai, who came to the United States from India in 1960. Kripalu is a yoga practice with a compassionate approach and emphasis on meditation, physical healing and spiritual transformation that overflows into daily life. Kripalu also focuses on looking inward and moving at your own pace.

Integral Yoga

Integral yoga follows the teachings of Sri Swami Sachidananda, who came to the U.S. in the 1960s and eventually founded many Integral Yoga Institutes and the famed Yogaville Ashram in Virginia. Integral is a gentle hatha practice, and classes often also include breathing exercises, chanting, kriyas, and meditation.

Sivananda Yoga

Swami Vishnu-devananda, a disciple of Swami Sivananda, founded the first Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in 1957. There are now close to 80 locations worldwide, including several ashram retreats. Sivananda yoga is based upon five principles:

1. Proper exercise (Asana, focusing on 12 poses in particular)
2. Proper breathing (Pranayama)
3. Proper relaxation (Savasana)
4. Proper diet (Vegetarian)
5. Positive thinking and meditation (Dhyana)

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