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July 2014
Easing a Difficult Transition

 Old person's hand being held    If you or a loved one is nearing the end of life, you might be expecting the doctor to talk with you about end-of-life care. However, many physicians are slow to broach this topic. When you feel the time is appropriate, you can initiate the conversation. Use this guide to help you plan a productive discussion. 
     We encourage you to consider making full use of hospice care. Hospice patients and their family members benefit from medical, emotional, and spiritual support, as well as assistance with care-giving tasks. People often regret not having started hospice care sooner as it can increase a patient's comfort and life expectancy, plus lower costs and family stress. 
     Hospice programs vary in the quality and range of services they offer, so ask your doctor and acquaintances for recommendations. As you shop among programs to find the best fit for your family, this brochure and worksheet will help you ask pertinent questions and keep your notes organized. You may also want to be aware of differences often existing between for-profit and non-profit hospices.
     Two San Jose Mercury News journalists have won Cover of the book awards for their writings on end-of-life care. If you would like to learn more about hospice, Changing the Way We Die: Compassionate End of Life Care and the Hospice Movement by Sheila Himmel (and co-author Fran Smith) is an excellent book.

     Lisa Krieger's series of articles, "The Cost of Dying," describes the difficulty of recognizing and avoiding costly treatments that only briefly, and perhaps unpleasantly, prolong the inevitable. You will find links to many excellent resources on the left side of the series webpage.

News You Can Use

Mid- to Late-Morning Slumps
Coffee and danish      Are you hungry and cranky long before lunch time rolls around? Maybe it isn't you, maybe it's your breakfast. Learn what makes for a sustaining breakfast, then try the easy, tasty suggestions included in the article.

Heading Off Future Problems
Close-up of soccer ball under a kid's arm      Minor, but repeated, concussions are now known to cause neurological degeneration that takes years to become manifest. Younger brains are especially vulnerable. A new educational campaign encourages kids, parents, and coaches to delay heading soccer balls until players are 14 years old.

Restless Leg Syndrome
     A panel of physicians has reviewed self-care and medical measures for dealing with restless leg syndrome. Their findings are presented in this article for consumers; more details are available in one for physicians.


Over-the-Counter Drugs During Pregnancy
Pregnant woman with pill bottle      If you are pregnant, you want to do the right things for your developing baby. But when you have a pounding headache, miserable allergies, or another malady, over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be mighty tempting. Here are 10 OTC drugs you should avoid, plus suggestions for safer options.


Devices for Hearing
Man with hand behind his ear      Now on the market are personal, in-ear amplifiers controlled by smart phone apps. They have advantages and disadvantages when compared with more conventional hearing aids.

     If you are in the market for a personal sound-amplifying device or hearing aid, you will find helpful information in a new Consumer Reports article. You will find much more information on hearing aids and hearing loss on MedlinePlus.


Asparagus' After-effects
Serving of asparagus      You love asparagus when you eat it, but an hour or two later... not so much. Or perhaps you wonder what the fuss is about when you have never noticed anything peculiar.
     Why do most, but not all, people notice their urine smells odd after eating asparagus?

In This Issue
News You Can Use
Funny Food for Thought
Pandas munching bamboo
    All events are open to the public; pre-registration may be required. All events this month are free.

Save the Date!
Cancer as a Turning Point
A wonderful conference for cancer patients, survivors, loved ones, and care professionals
Campbell - Sat., Sept. 6

Community resources for seniors
San Jose - every Thurs.


Healthy eating on a budget
San Jose - Thurs., July 3 or 24


Talking to kids about sex
Mountain View - Tues., July 8


Nutrition for kids with special needs
San Jose - Wed., July 9


Special education
San Jose - Thurs., July 10


Milpitas - Mon., July 14


Shoulder pain
Los Gatos - Mon., July 14


Dental health after cancer
Palo Alto - Thurs., July 17


Disability Pride Parade & Festival
Mountain View - Sat., July 19


Seasonal illnesses & Chinese medicine
Cupertino - Mon., July 21

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Funny Food for Thought
John Oliver with Dr. Oz in background
    The U.S. Senate rarely inspires richly funny and informative television. However, the recent appearance of Dr. Oz at a subcommittee hearing, "Protecting Consumers from False and Deceptive Advertising of Weight-Loss Products," provoked an exception. If you enjoy perfectly aimed satire, check out this 16-minute clip from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. (We rate this as PG for language.)
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