In trying times it’s nice to know there’s a place to turn for answers: your smartphone. The Advocator Group, an organization that helps Americans obtain disability benefits, has released a new smartphone app, “Disability Answers,” to help people with debilitating health conditions and their families handle the bureaucratic minefield surrounding Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare eligibility. Available for both iPhone and Android devices, it offers clear answers to simple questions (“What is disability insurance?”) as well as the esoteric, head-scratching stuff (“Tips for filing taxes for a lump sum retroactive award”). On a more personal level, the “My Answers” menu walks users through a step-by-step survey to determine the likelihood of coverage. If nothing else, it will provide a touch-sensitive road map during an emotionally taxing and paperwork-intensive time.
Want to improve your chances of living long enough to have Willard Scott announce your 100th birthday? Try adjusting your diet. In the October issue of Whole Living, Daryn Eller examines the habits of some of the longest-lived people in the world, Okinawans, in search of health tips. “The number of these islanders who reach 100 is four to five times that of Americans, and those centenarians are physically and mentally agile,” writes Eller, citing research by the Okinawan Centenarian Study. “Scientific markers of biological age, such as artery function and hormone levels, suggest they have bodies much younger than their calendar years.” How do they do it? Mostly, researchers believe, by eating right: a diet heavy on fish, soy, sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens. More important, they don’t stick around for seconds. Okinawans make a habit of pushing away from the table while there’s still a little room left in their bellies. “These customs combined with their dietary mainstays mean the islanders take in 20 to 30 percent fewer calories than Americans, an amount that studies suggest slows aging,” explains Eller.