Matthew Lawson

How Well Do You Know Your Body?

matthew lawson for web 2We are constantly reading about what is considered to be the ‘ideal weight’ and how to achieve it. Many people will often think they are overweight, or even underweight, without really knowing the facts. To clear up some of the common misconceptions surrounding weight and healthy living, Matt Lawson, a qualified Sports Nutritionist with a Masters Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics is on hand to provide expert advice in this week’s blog. Matt has worked with athletes in professional football as well as international sportspeople  for the London 2012 Olympics, so who better to explain how we can look after ourselves?

Matt explains BMI…
“The best way to calculate a healthy weight is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). The easiest way to do this is to divide your weight in kilograms by your height in metres, then divide that answer by your height again. Your BMI can then be used to calculate what weight category you fall into.”

BMI Chart
Below 16  Severely Underweight
From 16 – 18.5 Underweight
From 18.5 – 25 Normal
From 25 – 30 Overweight
From 30 – 35 Obese Class 1
From 35 – 40 Obese Class 2
Over 40 Obese Class 3

Get better with age!
“Oily fish are rich in Omega-3 and have been proven to lower inflammation and stiffness, a huge benefit for those with arthritis. Also, eating of plenty iron-rich foods helps avoid the risk of anaemia which is especially prevalent in women.

Calcium is also very important, allowing bones to regenerate and stay stronger for longer, helping prevent Osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also great as it helps calcium absorption along and although it is predominantly found in sunlight, you can also get it from fish, eggs and fortified cereals.”

Salmon

Improve your diet
“It takes discipline to continually check up on yourself, but it is important to monitor things:

1. Frequently check your BMI and waist measurements.
2. Try the 1/3 method for all meals – eat 1/3 carbs, 1/3 protein and 1/3 fruit and vegetables.
3. Reduce your sugar dependence; try natural, better quality food.
4. Eat food in a range of colours, including at least 5 fruit and vegetables (although 9 is optimal!)
5. Hydrate your body as often as you possibly can!”

Be more active!
“Exercise helps to improve your heart’s pumping function, your mobility, your weight control, blood pressure, mental wellbeing, symptoms of breathlessness and your overall quality of life!”

Chair Based Exercise

For more ways to improve your lifestyle, call Age UK Notts on 0115 844 0011.

The Power of Personal Choice: a Guide to Lasting Powers of Attorney

Christina YardleyYou may realise the importance of making a Will to deal with your estate after you die, but do you realise the importance of making a Lasting Power of Attorney to look after things whilst you are alive?

Christina Yardley, Solicitor of Nottingham law firm Actons Solicitors explains all.

What is a Lasting Power of Attorney?

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that allows you to appoint people that you trust to look after your affairs in the event that you are not able to. This could be temporary assistance such as paying your bills during a period in hospital or time abroad, or more permanently as a result of an accident or an illness such as dementia. It will continue to be valid even if you lose mental capacity.

A person making an LPA is called a Donor, and they can appoint anybody they wish to act as their Attorney as long as they are over the age of 18 and are not bankrupt. This could include children, siblings, other family members, trusted friends or a professional such as your solicitor. It is possible to appoint more than one Attorney and they can act ‘jointly’ so all together or ‘jointly and severally’ so they may act individually.

Most importantly you can only create an LPA whilst you still have mental capacity and so I always advise clients not to delay.

Whilst you have mental capacity you can cancel your LPA if you wish to.

Types of Lasting Powers of Attorney

There are two types of LPA which consist of two separate documents; one for your Property and Affairs and one for your Health and Welfare.

The LPA for Property and Affairs deals with all financial and property matters such as accessing bank accounts, paying bills or mortgages, claiming benefits and pension allowances, buying or selling property, organising property repairs and maintenance, purchasing gifts for family or friends and donating to charities. This type of LPA can be used whilst you still retain mental capacity.

The LPA for Health and Welfare deals with your personal welfare such as where you will live dependant on your needs, your day to day care, social activities and the consent or refusal of life sustaining treatment. This type of LPA will only come into force once you have lost mental capacity.

LPAs replace the previous Enduring Powers of Attorney since a change in the law in 2007. Existing Enduring Powers of Attorney remain valid but require registering once the Donor has lost capacity.

What safeguards are there for me?

Lasting Powers of Attorney have been designed to provide greater protection for Donor’s than their predecessor Enduring Powers of Attorney.

In particular:

✓✓ They have to be registered with the Courtbefore they can be used.

✓✓ A Certificate Provider such as a solicitor or doctor must confirm that the Donor understands what they are doing and is not being forced to make the document.

✓✓ The Law provides that the LPA must only be used in the donor’s best interests.

✓✓ A person of your choosing is notified about the LPA when it is registered.

Do I need one?

If you lost capacity without an LPA in place, your family or friends would be forced to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy to look after your affairs. Not only would you have no influence in who acted as your Deputy, but the process is very time consuming. There are also yearly fees and insurance to pay for as well as substantial court fees and legal costs.

Lasting Powers of Attorney are a vital part of ensuring you have your affairs in order. You may never need the services of your Attorney, but it provides peace of mind that you have done all you can to plan ahead for the future.

How a solicitor can help you

It is very important that you fully understand LPAs and that your Attorneys are aware of what they can and cannot do on your behalf. A solicitor will provide you and your Attorneys with easily understood and expert advice.

They will also:

✓✓ Ensure that your LPA is completed correctly and that it is registered at the Office of the Public Guardian;

✓✓ Act as your Certificate Provider if you wish them to;

✓✓ Advise you on any applicable Court Fee discounts available to you.

 

Christina offers free legal advice on a range of matters at our Head Office at Bradbury House 12 Shakespeare Street, Nottingham, NG1 4fQ on Wednesday afternoons between 2.30pm and 5pm. Each session is completely free, confidential and impartial. To book a session please call 0115 844 0011.

The benefits of owning a dog

Do you own a dog?

Written by Emma McDowell

A recent study conducted by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland has found that dog owners aged 65 and over act around a decade younger than they actually are.

It was discovered that participants of the study who had a canine companion displayed an increased amount of physical activity compared to those who did not have a four-legged friend.

Lead author of the study, Dr Zhiqiang Feng stated that, “If you have a dog in the home, your physical activity is roughly equivalent to a person ten years younger. It may not add a decade to your life, but it is very beneficial – it is all about getting up and out and about.”

The study is profound in that it highlights the positive impact that a pet pooch can have on people during later life, not only physically but by also providing a wealth of benefits in terms of mental health too. The companionship of a dog encourages greater confidence when venturing outdoors, surpassing the difficult barriers often associated with going out such as poor weather conditions and the worry of safety, particularly when alone. Dogs also help to encourage social interaction with others which can help hugely if a person is feeling anxious, lonely or isolated. Dogs are unassuming and are not judgemental in the way that we are and so do not comprehend the barriers of social interaction in the ways that we do. Where we may feel it is rude or out of character to approach a stranger for a chat, a dog has no such concern and will often be the catalyst for anything from a happy hello to a full-blown conversation!

Sleeping dog

Sleeping off another long walk!

In the same way that dogs are brilliant for social interaction, they are also professionals in the art of bringing a smile to your face. With their playful, inquisitive and sometimes naughty child-like natures, it is the hardest thing to not be amused and endeared by the antics of a dog. It is their individual personalities and loyal natures that provide so many people with both love and laughter, a feeling treasured by all. These are feelings that are especially cherished by older people who have experienced bereavement or who feel isolated due to ill-health or mobility problems. One of our basic human desires is to have contact with another living being; to love and to be loved. Dogs are perfect in the way that they offer an unconditional and mutual affection. They share our happiest times with us and our saddest, often mirroring our emotions as a kind of silent yet strong support system. On a down day, a cuddle from your dog can be one of the most calming and reassuring things to have. In fact, many people actually talk to their dogs about everything from the weather and the washing up to money worries and health problems which acts as a form of therapy for the owner in that they are able to voice whatever is on their mind to a constant listening ear.

Pets4Homes, the UK’s leading advertising website for pets from reputable breeders and rescue homes strongly advocates the benefits of having a canine companion. In terms of making an older person healthier and happier, they identified that dogs can help to:

  • Lower depression – people who share their lives with a pet pooch have the benefit of constant companionship.
  • Lower blood pressure – it is believed that dog owners are more inclined to manage stressful situations in a much better way than those who do not own a dog.
  • Increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body – simply put, these are happy chemicals in our body that rise when playing and having fun with a dog.
  • Lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels – these are both well-known indicators of heart disease.
  • Heighten the chance of surviving a heart attack – because owning a dog helps to lower the above mentioned chemicals, should you suffer a heart attack, your heart stands a much better chance of making a good recovery.
  • Lessen your visits to the doctor – research has found that dog owners over 65 actually felt less inclined to visit their local GP – studies showed the figure was as high as 30% fewer visits!
  • Provide structured routine to life – making sure your dog is walked every morning or every evening (even both!), fed properly each day and well taken care of provides people with motivation. This is particularly beneficial for people who have retired as it helps to boost both optimism and morale.
  • Improve self-esteem – a furry four-legged friend will love you know matter what – to them, you are, by far, one of the best things in existence (aside from a doggy treat!)

So, if you don’t have a dog, now might be a great time to consider getting one!