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PlaneTree's website
January 2011
"I resolve to get healthier this year."
Resolution? Evolution!

      The road to health is paved with good intentions, to twist a well-worn phrase. You may doubt it when your resolve falters, but you canA line of standing dominoes develop healthier behavior patterns. Set yourself up for long-term success with appropriate preparations and proven techniques.
     We've located resources with research-based, common sense, and innovative ideas to help you meet the challenge of self-change. A quick overview is located here. Especially helpful is this easy-to-understand, step-by-step guide to altering one's lifestyle; it contains examples of appropriate planning, links to info on exercising and quitting smoking, and a one-page worksheet. If you already have a well-conceived plan but your resolve needs a boost, here are additional tips. Finally, this brief article has suggestions that may help anyone, especially people trying to cut back or cut out their use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances.
     The following online information resources, support groups and tools could also help you establish healthier habits:

  • You can identify your modifiable risk factors for various health conditions and get information about healthier target values by taking the "Stanford Health and Lifestyle Assessment." The results are provided in several reports; the final one explores motivational barriers to successful behavior change and suggests ways to overcome those barriers.
  • These Lane thru woodsonline classes devoted to helping individuals set and meet common healthy behavior goals provide information, support, and a way to track one's progress. Classes in the research-validated program are available for a minimal annual fee.
  • Find websites offering personal physical activity and dietary logs, daily calorie counters, support groups, and other resources by browsing the "Health Resources" section of Finding Health and Wellness @ the Library.
  • As always, we recommend visiting for additional information and consulting with your health care practitioner for advice on your particular situation.
Two New Health Resource Directories

      A bilingual guide to free and low-cost health and nutrition programs (including non-government ones) serving low-income California Cover of "Directorio de Salud"residents is available from the California HealthCare Foundation.

     Please let any family, co-workers, or clients whose primary language is Spanish know about the Directorio de Salud, created for residents of Santa Clara, Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties by the Mexican consul general in San Jose. 


 News You Can Use 


Medicare logo



     If you have questions about Medicare, the Medicare Rights Center has lots of clearly written information. The national, nonprofit, consumer group recently urged Medicare Advantage enrollees to consider several often-overlooked issues when deciding whether to leave private health plans. The deadline for Medicare Advantage "disenrollment" is Monday, February 14.


Pills and 2 pil bottlesPill-splitting... a common practice by individuals and care facilities. What's the most accurate method? When is splitting tablets especially unsafe? Read more


Paying for Medical Care

     With the shaky economy and rising medical expenses, more of us are uninsured and underinsured. There are Handling money in a red walletways to lower your expenses without endangering your care.

     If you need to control the costs of your medical appointments, tests, or prescriptions, you can enlist the help of your doctor. Here are tips for an effective discussion about your financial concerns with your physician, or his or her office staff.
     If your prescription drug costs are too high, this publication focuses on ways to control those expenses; links to excellent sources of information and assistance programs are included. (Note: a minimal amount of information in this Texas newsletter does not apply to Californians.)


Chronic prostatitis, ...

Graphic for a men's restroom... also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CPPS), is a common, but poorly understood, condition affecting men of all ages. A recent review of prior research examined which treatments were more effective. Click for more information about CPPS and other prostate conditions



CT scan machine being used     Computerized tomography (CT) scans, which deliver a lot of radiation, may cause 1.5-2% of all cancers in the U.S. Yet a recent study found that most patients place a lot of confidence in CT scans while neither understanding the risks posed by scans nor knowing their cumulative exposure to radiation from previous scans. Read a news report and learn more about CT scans.

Tripping hazard caution sign
Creative Commons: Some rights reserved by World of Oddy


Worried about falling? 

Fifty-four published studies exploring ways to reduce the frequency of falls among seniors were analyzed by researchers. They found good support for the effectiveness of two interventions. Read the news story or original review article.


Man in physical distress"Mama! that's a spicy meatball."

The side effects of an inexpensive way to reduce heartburn may be more social than physical. Just be sure to keep your mouth closed. 

In This Issue
Two New Directories
News You Can Use
The Life Study
Looking Ahead
Women's Health 360 

Greek statue of clothed woman

Sat. morning, February 12

Fairmont Hotel, San Jose


     Two women who have overcome difficult medical challenges during their eventful, fascinating lives will be keynote speaker and closing presenter for this invigorating women's health fair. Many health issues of interest to women will be addressed during the breakout sessions. Pre-registration and a reasonable fee are needed to attend this event hosted by Good Samaritan Hospital.

Logo of Life Study
    Seniors who want to contribute to research on healthy aging while also benefiting themselves are needed to participate in a research project. The Life Study's goal is "to help older adults make changes in their lives that will help them improve their quality of life and remain independent." 
    As one of eight study sites across the country, Stanford's School of Medicine is seeking individuals who are 70 to 89 years old, have some problems with their daily activities, and are not physically active on a regular basis.
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Looking Ahead

. .

Logo for Brain Awareness Week 

     From March 15 to 19 we will be celebrating Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a global campaign publicizing progress in brain research. Visit PlaneTree during BAW to get free, fun tools for exercising your brain (while supplies last), or to borrow a book or DVD about this phenomenal organ. 

     To learn about a neurological condition or recent developments in understanding our brains, visit the extensive Dana Foundation website.


April Health Lectures

Get Healthy at the Library logo

   Our spring series of free presentations at Santa Clara County Library locations will include lectures and health screenings. Topics now penciled into the schedule are foot health, positive living with a chronic condition, self-acupressure for pain relief (presented in Mandarin), healing imagery in a stressful world, hormone replacement therapy, and non-medical ways to address chronic pain.


AWE*some Film Festival

Saturday, May 7

Closed red velvet curtain of a theater

*Aging with Excellence

    Illuminating how to stay positive as we age, this all-day event will include independent films by the award-winning Bay Area producer Dorothy Fadiman and a panel discussion. The very affordable ticket price will also buy your lunch. The South Bay festival is being produced by the Aging Services Collaborative of Santa Clara County.

    Watch for details in upcoming PlaneTalk issues.

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