August 2007

My Dad thought he was covered – medicare and a supplement – no worries.

Then it happened, the unthinkable, he developed a rare blood disorder several years ago and now nothing is the same.

He had the forethought to purchase a home health care insurance policy. Then one day he decided that it was too costly and cancelled it, because like many other Americans, he thought he was fully covered by medicare and his supplemental insurance. Boy was he wrong.

The reality of it all came to be when he had to be placed in a nursing home for a month because my mother, who had been taking care of him for the last three years, was just wore out and needed a break.

So, the doctor ordered my Dad to the nursing home for a short stay for rehab and for my mother to get some rest.

While at the nursing home/rehab center, they broke my father’s back. (a whole other story) Now my mother had to be there every day to make sure he was properly taken care of.

To add insult to injury, when he was finally released from the facility, he still needed home care for the broken back, which my mother did – some rest she got.

The cost of the nursing home? $9,000 for one month – not covered by medicare and, therefore, not covered by his supplemental insurance.

Seems that he did not meet the three day hospital stay before going into the nursing/rehab center for medicare to cover the first 21 days.

While I was complacent about the fact of needing home health care insurance, as was my Dad (he was very active until this blood thing happened), I have realized that it is time to wake up and make some plans! I didn’t want my husband or children to go through what my parents are still going through.

I started to do some research and discovered that according to a recent study, the risk for needing long-term care (either nursing home or home health care) was greater than 50%! And that is for people who are between the ages of 18 – 64!

The percent of those 65 and over was 75%! Another startling fact was that about 44% of all people who go to a nursing home stay 12 months or less; 22% stay between 1 and 3 years; 15% stay between 3 and 5 years; and 21% stay 5 years or more.

The average nationwide cost? Hold on to your hats – over $40,000 per year!

Now, remember, medicare and supplement medical insurance if they pay at all only fully covers the first 21 days; then they only pay a portion from day 80 through 100.

And guess what, YOU pay for the rest of the time. With 365 days in a year, less 100, balance of 265 days at $110 per day – my head hurts!

Although my Dad had the right idea of purchasing home health care insurance to help preserve his assets, his good health at the time made him a little short sighted.

Now, of course, he couldn’t afford it even if he could get it (which he wouldn’t be able due)!

After this family occurence, I decided I wanted to do something about this. I wanted to educate everyone I could about the costs of home health care – we are talking about help with the meals, laundry, cleaning, bathing, etc. – and that we needed to plan now, while we are still healthy. Of course, the younger you are when you take it out, the less expensive it is.

But don’t be penny wise and pound foolish like my Dad!

You know, my Dad insured his house – nothing has happened to it, but he still has the insurance (statistics show that your chances of a house fire is 5 in 1,000).

He paid for car insurance – never had to use it, (statistics show that your chances of your car being stolen is 10 in 1,000) but he is still paying for it.

But when it came to home health care insurance he cancelled it because he preceived it to be too costly and he didn’t use it! Statistics show that your chances of needing long-term care after age 65 is 400 in 1,000!

Think about it! Do some research for yourself – but be prepared! To qualify for medicaid, you cannot have any assets over $2,000 – what if you get better and go home, how are you going to live? Who is going to take care of you?In the aftermath of all this, I decided to join Bankers Life and Casualty Company as an Insurance Agent. They don’t just sell insurance – they sell peace of mind – the ability to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and remain comfortable, healthy and independent for as long as possible. They have been around for over 129 years and have been one of the only insurance companies in the country devoted to serving seniors’ needs. Is it affordable? I will let you decide – my Dad now wishes he had it.

How To Turn Super Sizing, Dietary Displacement and Portion Distortion To Your Advantage!
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS

Ever since the independent film, Super Size Me was released, research on the relationship between increasing obesity and increasing portion sizes has skyrocketed and the results have been virtually unanimous.

There have been numerous well-designed studies published just in the last several years which confirmed exactly what we suspected (and much of what the movie suggested):

* Portion sizes have increased in restaurants and fast food venues on a major scale over the last several decades

* We self-serve ourselves larger portions in the home than we used to

* When more food is put in front of us, we almost always eat more

* most people underestimate how many calories they are eating

* All of these factors have contributed to the growing obesity problem and the related health problems that come along with it

The obvious solution would seem to be to decrease portion sizes across the board, and indeed awareness of and control over portion sizes in general is important.

However, research has demonstrated that perhaps an even better solution is to keep the portion sizes generous, but decrease the energy density (calories per unit of volume) in the foods you put on your plate.

Several studies revealed that eating more low calorie density foods, especially green vegetables, salad vegetables and other fibrous carbs, as well as very lean proteins, maintains a feeling of fullness while reducing energy intake.

In other words, large portions of highly nutritious, low calorie foods displaced the less nutritious, calorie-dense foods! Most people allow the bad foods to push out the good foods, but you can actually do the same in reverse!

In a study published in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association, researchers fed one group a compulsory first course salad which was kept low in energy density by using very low calorie dressing with no high calorie toppings no bacon, cheese or croutons, etc).

After the salad, the subjects were allowed to eat as much pasta as they wanted.

A second group was also allowed to eat as much pasta as they wanted but was not given a compulsory salad to eat beforehand.

The results: As you might guess, eating a low energy density first course enhanced satiety (fullness) and reduced the overall amount of calories that were eaten during the whole meal.

Since the research has repeatedly discovered that almost everyone will eat more when served larger portions from a larger plate or container, and there is obviously a serious issue of “portion distortion” occurring, another group of scientists and psychologists decided to test this even further by providing larger plates or containers of low energy density, high nutrient density foods before the main course and or in between meals.

When more of the low energy density foods were made available first, the subjects ate even more of these healthy foods, which filled them up even more and decreased the amount of high calorie density foods eaten in the main course.

Reporting their findings in the Journal of Nutrition Education And Behavior, the researchers said that there is a silver lining to all the negative findings about super sized portions and overeating that we have discoverd inrecent years:

That is, although we eat more when more is put in front of us, We can use this phenomenon in reverse by serving large plates, bowls or containers of healthy, low energy density foods like fruits, salads and raw vegetables as snacks and first courses.

“While a small bowl of raw carrots might make for a good afternoon snack”, said one of the researchers, “a large bowl might even be better.”

You can learn more about calorie density, low energy density foods (thermogenic foods), and choosing your portion and meal sizes with precision inside the Burn The Fat ebook. For more information, visit:

About the Author:Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder and author of the #1 best selling e-book, “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to burn fat without drugs or supplements using the little-known secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and turbo-charge your metabolism by visiting: