Archive for February, 2010

‘Bingo!’ is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Joliet

Bingo is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportPeople love to play Bingo, and it’s especially popular with seniors. This age group enjoys the game for entertainment and companionship, and added benefits are brain power and enhanced focus. And who isn’t excited to win? Most senior communities have Bingo as part of their weekly activities. Some feature Bingo every day.

Did you ever wonder who invented Bingo?

According to, Bingo’s history can be traced back to 1530, to an Italian lottery game called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.” Travelers brought the game across the Alps to France where it was called “Le Lotto.” The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it primarily to help students learn lessons.

Fast forward to 1929 in America. A game called “Beano” was introduced at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. A pitchman selected numbered discs from a cigar box, and players would mark their cards with beans. When they completed a line of beans horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they yelled “Beano” and won a prize or money.

Edwin S. Lowe, owner of a very small New York toy company (two employees), had a sales call near Atlanta. As he drove down the road, he happened upon the bright lights of the carnival. He was early for his appointment, so he stopped. There was a huge crowd filled with people wanting a turn at a game called Beano. Lowe knew his games, and he had never heard of it.

While he was waiting for a seat (which he never got), he noticed that the players seemed addicted to the game. The pitchman wanted to close up, but every time he announced the last game, nobody moved. The game finally shut down at 3 a.m. After locking up, the pitchman told Lowe that he had run across a game called Lotto while traveling with a carnival in Germany the previous year. He thought it would make a good tent or carnival game. He called it Beano.

Returning to his home in New York, Lowe bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp and some cardboard. Friends were invited to his apartment, and Lowe assumed the pitchman’s duties. Soon his friends were playing Beano with the same tension and excitement as he had seen at the carnival. During one session Lowe noticed that one of his guests was close to winning. She got more excited as each bean was added to her card. Finally there was one number left – and it was called. The woman jumped up, became tongue tied, and instead of shouting “Beano,” stuttered “B-B-B-BINGO!” The name stuck.

Lowe realized the game’s potential and started to market it. He hired a math professor to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Dr. Carl Leffler had invented 6,000 different Bingo cards. It is said that Leffler then went insane. Who can blame him?

By 1934 there were an estimated 10,000 Bingo games a week, and Ed Lowe’s firm had 1,000 employees frantically trying to keep up with demand. The company took up nine entire floors of its New York office space, and 64 presses printed 24 hours a day.

According to Wikipedia, the Lowe Bingo Game had two versions; the first a 12-card set for $1, the second a $2 set with 24 cards. Bingo was a huge success. By the 1940s Bingo games were all over the country. Lowe had many competitors, and all he asked was that they pay $1 a year to conduct the games and to use the name Bingo.

Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, it had reserved itself next to baseball and apple pie – thanks to Ed Lowe and the loss of Professor Leffler’s sanity.

Then, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using Bingo as a means of raising church funds. It caught on like wildfire.

The rest, as they say, is history.


Healthy smiles for seniors in Shorewood

senior teeth and oral health in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportIt’s an old stereotype – You will lose all your teeth as you age, and all seniors have dentures. Not so! Teeth are never too old to be repaired or replaced, and dentures aren’t the only game in town. Dental implants are a new option that many older adults are choosing.

But let’s not talk about repairing or replacing. Let’s talk about keeping the mouth healthy in the first place.

According to WebMD, daily brushing and flossing of natural teeth is essential to keeping them in good oral health.

It’s important for all individuals – regardless of age -to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular schedule for cleaning and an oral exam.

The Mayo Clinic says the state of oral health can offer lots of clues about a person’s overall health.

The mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. Brushing and flossing can keep these bacteria under control. Saliva also is a key defense against bacteria and viruses, because it contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways.

But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection. This disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, which if not removed through daily tooth brushing and flossing, results in red or swollen gums that bleed easily. And, if plaque remains on teeth too long, a hard deposit called tarter or calculus forms. This deposit is removed by a dental hygienist or dentist when the teeth are professionally cleaned.

Left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy the gum tissues and bone around teeth, and eventually teeth can be lost. Periodontitis also may provide bacteria a port of entry into the bloodstream. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth also may lead to oral changes.

To summarize, oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond the mouth. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in the mouth. Simply said, oral health is important for overall health and vice versa.


Age-related macular degeneration in seniors in Plainfield

Age-related macular degeneration in seniors in Shorewood, Joliet, Plainfield, Channahon, Crest Hill, Minooka, Naperville, Morris, Aurora, LockportAs the economic crisis continues, some seniors may believe it’s reasonable to skip their annual eye exam. But for the older population, it’s critically important to keep tabs on the silent stealers of sight – cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration. According to the National Eye Institute, by age 65, one-in-three Americans have some form of vision-impairing eye disease.

Often there are no warning signs, so most people don’t know it, or they assume that poor sight is a natural part of aging. It is not. By detecting and treating eye disease early through annual, comprehensive dilated exams, seniors can do so much to preserve their sight.

Let’s focus on just one of the sight-steeling diseases – age-related macular degeneration. The American Health Assistance Foundation tells us it is a common eye disease that causes deterioration of the macula, the central area of the retina, a paper-thin tissue at the back of the eye where light sensitive cells send visual signals to the brain. The macular processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision, color and fine detail, and damage to this area results in blind spots and blurred or distorted vision.

Age-related macular degeneration is a major cause of visual impairment in the United States. In fact, it is the leading cause of blindness among Caucasians over age 65. Almost 1.75 million Americans 40 years and older have advanced age-related macular degeneration, and another 7.3 million people with intermediate age-related macular degeneration are at substantial risk for vision loss. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be 2.95 million people with advanced age-related macular degeneration.

There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. Neither causes pain. The dry form of macular degeneration, in which the light sensitive cells of the macula slowly break down, is the most common type, accounting for 90 percent of diagnosed cases.

Wet macular degeneration accounts for approximately 10 percent of cases but results in 90 percent of legal blindness. It is considered advanced macular degeneration (there is no early or intermediate stage of wet macular degeneration). Wet macular degeneration is always preceded by the dry form of the disease.

To help diagnose macular degeneration, an ophthalmologist will perform a dilated eye exam, and it is imperative for older adults to visit their eye doctor at least once yearly.

Mayo Clinic lists the following risk factors for macular degeneration:

  • Age – The number one risk factor is age.
  • Smoking – Smoking increases an individual’s chances of developing age-related macular degeneration by two to five-fold.
  • Family history of macular degeneration – An individual is more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration if someone in his or her immediate family has been affected.
  • Gender – Females are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration than males. This may be due to the fact that females live longer than males, and thus have more time to develop the disease.
  • Race - Caucasians are more likely to be affected age-related macular degeneration than other races. This may be due to differences in genetic background or pigmentation.
  • Prolonged sun exposure – Ultra-violet (UV) light damages retinal tissue directly and can also lead to the accumulation of products that are harmful to the retina.
  • A high fat diet, and/or one that is low in nutrients and antioxidants – Individuals with diets high in fat, cholesterol and sugar, and low in antioxidants are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.
  • Obesity - Overweight individuals are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.
  • High blood pressure – High blood pressure, like smoking, leads to a constriction, or narrowing, of the blood vessels that nourish the retina, negatively affecting its health.
  • Eye color – Individuals with light-colored eyes are more likely to be affected by dry age-related macular degeneration. This may be due to the fact that light-pigmented eyes offer less protection from damaging UV light.
  • Inactivity – Individuals who do not follow a regular exercise routine are more likely to be affected by age-related macular degeneration.

Currently, there is no treatment or cure for advanced dry macular degeneration. However, ongoing research is hopeful. New treatment strategies are being investigated including retinal cell transplants, drugs to prevent or slow disease progress, radiation therapy, gene therapies, a computer chip implanted in the retina that may help simulate vision, and agents that will prevent new blood vessel growth under the macula.

Until an effective treatment is found, a healthy lifestyle may reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration. The following are recommended by Mayo Clinic: eat foods containing antioxidants, take antioxidant and zinc supplements (check first with your doctor), eat fish, stop smoking, get regular eye exams, manage other diseases by taking prescribed medications, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight.

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