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51 Seminary Avenue
Reading, PA 19605

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“Wellness” Is a Deep Subject: What Is It?

Couple-Enjoying-Meadowreduced"Wellness" may be a slightly misunderstood word, but it is no doubt a major concern for older Berks County residents. It is a relatively new word, and is generally equated with the concept of physical health. However, the meaning goes far beyond that, encompassing physical, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, environmental, and vocational elements. So, as we age, we may have physical or environmental conditions that limit our activities, but that does not necessarily limit our wellness in other areas. Berks County retirees need not resign themselves to a languishing life.

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Pharmacies, Physicians, and Rising Prices

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The spread of COVID-19 in the Reading area has triggered the spread of concerns about the rising costs of healthcare, including doctor visits and medications. If you haven’t already done so, now may be the time to have a talk with your pharmacist and your physician about your concerns regarding the price of pills and the value of visits. Often, there are ways to save money without compromising quality.

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Tax Tips for Seniors

Tax papersWinter has come to the Reading / Berks County area. Is it too early to start thinking about springtime? Well, as the year 2020 ends (which many of us are thankful for), a new year begins, bringing along with it — tax time! January is generally when all those tax statements arrive in the mail, and those quiet winter days are the perfect time to collect what you need to file correctly. It’s also the perfect time to research the tax breaks available for seniors.

The following tips were developed to help you avoid some of the common errors in dealing with senior taxes. Visit the IRS at irs.gov/individuals/seniors-retirees/tips-for-seniors-in-preparing-their-taxes for helpful publications and information on how to obtain free tax assistance.

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Looking for Clues

John Brooks CDC Chief Medical OfficerWith COVID-19 still dominating the Reading Area news, many people wonder what is going on behind the scenes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want you to know that they have dedicated professionals searching for clues every day that can end the pandemic. Here is the CDC's story about one busy worker. Also know that Sacred Heart Villa in Reading is taking all CDC-recommended precautions to protect our residents, staff, and visitors. Click here to read our statements.

In long days at his dining-room table, Dr. John Brooks is looking for clues to bring COVID-19 to an end.

John, a CDC medical epidemiologist, is the chief medical officer for the agency’s COVID-19 response. He and his team of more than a dozen—all working remotely during the outbreak—pore over scores of newly published reports on the disease, compiling the highlights to share with researchers throughout the agency and figuring out how to apply those findings.

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Winter Woes and What To Watch For

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Why is winter called “Old Man” winter? Is it because of the snow on the roof? Maybe it’s a mishearing of “Oh, man! Winter!” Perhaps it’s because winter weather generally affects older folks more severely due to changing physical and psychological characteristics.

 

Snow isn’t the only thing that falls in the winter in Berks County — wet, icy, slippery conditions can be treacherous, especially for those whose sense of balance and reaction time are diminished. Driving and walking can be affected, and no one wants to take those unexpected ski trips. Brittle bones make those falls doubly dangerous, so be very careful and cautious and take it slow!

 

Of course, there are the usual cautions about seniors shoveling snow, especially if we don’t get enough exercise during the year. The cold weather tends to seal us indoors as well, where we tend to be less active. Less exercise and more hard labor can be a deadly combination, so take this warning to heart! Of course, at Sacred Heart Villa in Reading, residents don’t have to worry about shoveling and maintenance!

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Don’t Be SAD This Winter

kermit frog winterAs winter approaches the Berks County area, the daylight hours dwindle and the nights get longer. This can trigger a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is a form of depression. Although researchers don’t know exactly what causes it, symptoms can happen any time of year, but always occur at the same time each year for each affected individual.

This disorder, known as SAD, can occur in summer (known as “summer depression”) but is more common around winter, starting in fall or winter and lasting until spring or early summer. If a person generally feels “down” during a season of the year, he or she may have SAD. It can be a vague, mild feeling of being out of sorts, or it can lead to depression, weight gain, and fatigue. The symptoms can interfere with relationships and work or school. It is more common in areas like Pennsylvania that have fewer daylight hours in winter than other locations that have plenty of sunshine year-round.

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There’s Still Time To Get Outside!

636220582937954843-Elderly-couple-joggingBerks County is famous for its fall foliage and beautiful scenery, not to mention the many activities available to residents of Reading and beyond. True, the days are getting shorter, the sun is on a tilt, and the weather requires unleashing those friendly old sweaters from storage. Despite these indicators of harsh weather to come, there is still time to get outside and enjoy what’s around you.

Besides the aesthetic pleasure of observing colorful leaves, honking geese, busy squirrels, and people in their fall finery, there are health benefits to walking about and breathing fresh air. This all counts as exercise, and exercise is good for you, as you know! Even if you can’t work out at a gym or fit an expensive, expansive exercise machine in your apartment, you can still enjoy benefits from getting outside or even walking around your building. For people with back, knee, or ankle problems, walking is the recommended exercise. Let’s peek inside your body to see what happens when you are active!

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