Cruises For Senior Citizens – Excellent Vacation Option

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Why have cruises for senior citizens become so popular over the years? They offer the best accommodation and service at affordable rates, especially to senior citizens. Also, retirees have all the time on their hands to go on a slow cruise with a full gamut of fun-filled entertainment options. Companies owning cruise liners are vying with each other to offer the best discounted cruises specially designed for senior citizens.

Why are cruises a good holiday option for seniors?

Cruise ships offer you a memorable holiday by providing:

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1.Accommodation that is very comfortable and comparable with star hotels. You will be staying on the ship so you don’t need to book hotel rooms at every place where the ship docks.

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2.  Multi-cuisine dining which will leave you licking your fingers. Of course, you will not cheat on any diet restriction imposed by your doctor!!

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3. An opportunity to make new friends

4. Besides, you can choose from a number of onboard activities like swimming, destination based activities, destination special festivals,  watching for whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures in their natural habitat. Or you can just sit back on deck chairs and enjoy the sea breeze, read or play board games with fellow passengers. You can also participate in a wine tasting and/or culinary demonstration fest on board the cruise ship. Different liners offers different forms of entertainment for senior citizens.

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5. You can explore new countries and cities wherever the ship docks. Visiting the tourist attractions is usually part of the package.

Things to consider before you book a cruise

There is no limit to information online. Take your time and search for the best deals. There has to be a good balance between choosing a cheap cruise and coping through the voyage. So there are few things you need to keep in mind before selecting an option:

Itinerary – Check the schedule and itinerary of the cruise ship online. By definition a cruise is leisurely so a fast paced cruise that covers too many destinations is not a good idea, unless you are confident you can cope with all the sightseeing when the ship docks.

Secondly, lifestyle diseases like arthritis can be very painful in cold weather. So choose your cruise wisely so that you do not experience discomfort at any point and can enjoy every aspect of voyage. Why not try a tropical one?

Type of ship – There are small cruise ships with a limited capacity offering personalised service and then there are huge cruise liners with a capacity of nearly 6000 passengers. If you like families and youth around you, choose the latter. But if you are looking for a quiet, slow pace choose a smaller one.

Avail of senior discounts – Most cruise packages offer heavy discounts for senior citizens usually without compromising on the quality of their services. Check online which would suit your budget and still give you the best experience.

Travel insurance – Ships are at sea for days at a time and access to emergency medical facilities is a complicated issue. The cruise package includes insurance but the coverage is very limited. So it is always sensible to opt for comprehensive travel insurance. These policies cover the cost of urgent medical expenses, emergency evacuation, unexpected illness or accidental injuries during the period of the cruise.

Gather information – Whether you intend going on one cruise or more, it is worth subscribing to newsletters of a few cruise lines that you found interesting. They will email their special offers and you might get a real bargain next time.

So go ahead and add a cruise to your bucket list. Better still, book one today and explore the world. Enjoy your retirement.

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9 Lifestyle Changes For Acne Free Complexion

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A clear complexion contributes towards better self esteem. Acne free skin therefore spells happiness. Spending exorbitant amounts on creams and lotions may/may not prevent acne. But these 9 lifestyle changes for acne free complexion will really work wonders:

  1. Get adequate sleep

When you are sleeping, the skin cells have time to repair damage and regenerate. The longer you keep awake, the more you are denying the skin from producing new cells and preventing abnormalities like acne. Also, hot and stuffy rooms are a no-no. Cooler rooms induce deeper sleep patterns. So if you are not doing this right, now is the time to change your habits.

  1. Wash face twice daily

Wash your face thoroughly at least twice a day preferably with a citrus-based face wash. This will not only remove grime but will also get rid of the oiliness of the skin. Oily skin aggravates the condition of acne and pimples.

  1. Eat more fruits & salads

With our busy schedules we usually prefer quick-fix meals, especially during the day. A small filling meal is what we usually go for like a meat sandwich or burger. In this way we compromise on health and skin-health. Why not eat a meat + vegetable salad for lunch instead? And don’t overdo the dressing! Substitute your mid-morning coffee with a fruit.

  1. Sweat out toxins

Go out and get more exercise. It would be ideal if you could join a yoga class or a gym. But if you don’t have time to spare, walk to the supermarket at least once a week. Half an hour’s walking in a week is definitely not adequate but it is better than no exercise. There may not be medical documentation directly linking the accumulation of toxins with acne but removing toxins will definitely cleanse the blood.

One of the most enjoyable ways to sweat out toxins is to learn dancing. Search for a Zumba or belly dancing class in your locality and have fun while you cleanse your system.

If you are using public transport to get home from work, don’t alight from the vehicle at the stop nearest to your home. Instead get down at some point which is about half an hour’s walking distance from your home and then walk the remaining distance. This will get rid of the toxins through perspiration and cleanse the system.

  1. Avoid aerated drinks and liquor

An occasional drink, maybe at weekends is fine. But daily consumption of alcohol and/or aerated drinks will not hydrate the skin like water can. Instead, increase the quantity of water you drink during the day to keep your skin soft and healthy.

  1. Wipe your gizmos often

Every evening, moisten a ball of cotton with a few drops of hand sanitizer and clean your mobile phone once a day. This will get rid of the germs that are collected on the phone during the day.

  1. Keep your scalp clean

Wash your hair at least twice a week to keep it clean. If your hair is not washed regularly, the germs on the hair will get transferred onto the face when some strands come into contact.

Avoid using leave-on conditioners because they are usually sticky. When sticky tresses touch your face you are unnecessarily taking the risk of getting a fresh breakout.

  1. Eat foods rich in Omega-3

We have all heard the numerous benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. Eating foods like oily fish (salmon, tuna), flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds will keep the skin healthy and glowing without the help of creams.

  1. Exfoliate weekly

At least once a week you must exfoliate the face and neck to remove stubborn grime and dead skin cells. Dust and grime stick more easily on oily skin and if you don’t exfoliate for a long period of time, the grime will clog the pores and increase the chances of a breakout.

You value yourself and owe it to yourself to implement these 9 lifestyle changes for acne free complexion. So make a determined effort and prevent those distressing breakouts. If you already have pimples these changes will cure them too.

Successful Home Tutoring Business – Lucrative Hobby No.4

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A great way to switch from a regular office job to freelancing is to set up a home tutoring business. Whether it is for extra cash or because you want a change in career, tutoring can be very lucrative. In short, it is the best micro business with potential for macro returns. So here’s a step-by-step guide on how easy it is to start a successful home tutoring business:

1.Identify your skill

To teach someone you must have some level of expertise. Identify the subjects you excelled in school. Of these, focus on the ones you enjoyed learning. Make these subjects your area of expertise. If you are comfortable about teaching high school chemistry, you must aim at children from middle school to high school in order to get more students.

Note: Keep your house spotlessly clean because a shabby house will reflect on your tutoring skills when parents come with prospective students.

2. Publicise your business

Give your business a name and also create a nice logo online. Through family, friends and social media publicise your tutoring business. With due permission of the school authorities, post advertisements of your tutoring business on the notice boards in the local schools. You can also insert classifieds in the local dailies for additional publicity.

3. Check the competition

Check online or through friends the fees that other teachers in the area are charging for home tutoring. This way you know the size, experience, expertise and prices of your competition and you can set your hourly rates accordingly.

4. Start with locals

To begin with, start by teaching local students at your house. Initially take on students only at weekends. If not, fix a mutually suitable time and teach each student individually. You can slowly expand into taking a small batch of students at a time.

5. Identify the curriculum

Keep yourself up-to-date on the latest revisions in curriculum. You may need to make a small investment in books for ready reference.

6. Plan for expansion

As the number of students increase, you can afford to invest some more into the business for long term benefit. Identify a free space in your home that can be converted into a workstation. You must also:

  • Buy and install a PC with wifi connectivity so that you have easy access to the Internet.
  • Enrol in an online course to get the necessary certification for additional qualifications.
  • Learn online on how to carry out e-tutoring.

7. Publicise on the Internet

Register your home tutoring business on sites like e-hometutors.com or firsttutors.com so that you get regular e-tutoring jobs. It is now safe to chuck your job and take on more work. As different nations have different time zones, you can get e-tutoring jobs throughout the day. But continue with a few local students (through e-tutoring) to maintain a grip on the local scene.

8. Provide progress reports

Set goals for students and work with them to achieve the goals. Give the parents feedback on the child’s progress at regular intervals. Keeping them in the loop will keep the students more focused and will also improve your credibility as a tutor.

Being a freelance tutor or online tutor gives you the opportunity to choose a schedule for tutoring that fits in well with your household chores. The home tutoring business is a micro enterprise which requires minimal investment but has the potential to give you a fair-to-excellent monthly income depending on the time you can devote to tutoring. And yes, don’t forget to check up your tax liability.

The Driving Force

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GUEST BLOGGER: NEENA VILAS TALPADE

Anant Chaturdashi is over. We all witnessed the thousands that thronged to bid farewell to their favorite ‘Bappa’ at Girgaum Chowpatty seashore in Mumbai and at other water bodies all over Maharashtra. What is the driving force?

The Driving Force: JOY

I was wondering what draws so many people of all ages, castes and creeds (even religions) to worship this unusual looking and unique Deity for ten whole days with matchless enthusiasm.

‘Rock’ and/or other music festivals, sports World Cups or ‘Mind, Body, Soul camps draw the same!

One common thread brings them and binds them together – they feel shared JOY.

The Deity:

Such a Deity that gives so much joy right from its creation out of ‘Shaadu clay’ to its immersion that vibrates the waters, must surely emit so much of positivity.

A renowned scientist friend from the USA once shared with us that he showed a 3 dimensional model of the carbon atom to his spiritual master, telling Her that when viewed from its left side, you could see the ‘Swastik’ while from the right, what you saw was the ‘Om’. Both symbols of Shri Ganesh!

His Guru then told him to view the same from the top and bottom. And to his amazement and awe, what showed up was that from the top, it resembled the Alpha and from the bottom, the Omega – both Symbols of Lord Jesus. She left it to him to conclude!!

Some subtle facts about Shri Ganesh:

  1. He is the Primordial Sound-the ‘Omkara’ that resonated throughout the Universe when the Adishatki-the Primordial Energy set out to Create.
  2. Shri Ganesh governs the base chakra, the Mooladhara Chakra within the human being. So, He is the root of the tree of self-knowledge.
  3. He protects His Mother Kundalini(Shri Gauri) within the Sacrum bone, from any unauthorized spiritual methods.
  4. The qualities within a devotee that please Him, are innocence (lack of guile, simplicity), chastity (in thought, word and deed) and purity.
  5. The qualities that He bestows on a devotee when pleased are wisdom (intelligence + love?), discretion and auspiciousness.
  6. He in fact, clears the path of spiritual ascent on every chakra since He grants auspiciousness to all of them. (On a material level, this auspiciousness translates as all the conditions necessary for ‘Creation’ to happen!

Interesting, isn’t it?

Conclusion:

We see Shri Ganesh as the Eternal Child and as a ‘little’ deity.

But if we understand the meaning of the ‘Atharvasheersha’- a very powerful shloka that describes this Deity, we realize that in fact, this ‘small’ idol represents the whole of Creation! So, we all, in fact, reside within the ‘being’ of Shri Ganesh, this Driving Force!

Senior Citizen Travel Tips

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“I’ll travel around the world once I retire?” Haven’t we heard this often? This is how most of us think and this is what we budget for. But if we plan well and take a few precautions, senior citizens too can go on their dream voyages. Here are some senior citizen travel tips that will definitely help you to explore the wonders of the world without hesitation…

Pre-planning for maximum comfort

Make it easy for yourself by enlisting the help of a younger family member in planning your trip. List out all the tourist destinations you had longed to visit since a long time. Then choose one from the list and make reservations, keeping in mind senior citizen discounts.

Group travel: Travelling with your family is the best way for senior citizens to travel. But if the younger members of the family are not free to travel with you at the time, look out for the best group travel options. Most agencies offer affordable and comfortable packages specially designed for senior citizens.

Non-stop flights: If an agency is not booking your fares and you are doing it on your own, choose non-stop flights even if it is not the cheapest option. Changing planes can be very stressful. When you take a direct flight there is no chance of missing connections and you will actually save travelling time.

Jet bridges: Choose bigger aircraft rather than smaller jets. Boarding on / alighting from bigger airplanes is easier because they usually provide a jet bridge. You won’t need to climb/descend steps.

Suitable timing: Choose flight schedules that suit your personal body clock. Some seniors like to wake up very early in the morning. Others find it difficult to take on any hectic tasks till mid-morning. So choose your departure times to suit your own pace.

Travel insurance: At 60 years and above, there is a greater risk of falling and getting injured or falling sick in a foreign land. One does not usually carry extra foreign exchange to pay for medical attention. Besides, your travel plans may need to be changed at the last moment and you will have to pay for local accommodation to continue treatment. To keep such contingencies in mind it is advisable to go in for travel insurance.

Travel tips once you reach the destination

To stay safe and enjoy every aspect of your vacation, you just need to keep a few tips in mind once you reach your destination:

Regular medication: At our age we are probably taking at least one tablet for some lifestyle disease like high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, heart, etc. Missing ones medication is the biggest mistake one can make while travelling. The maintenance dose(s) will ensure your wellbeing and help you to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Book cabs at reception: Every time you go out sightseeing or shopping do not go out alone and hail a local taxi even if the place is safe and tourist-friendly. Sometimes language issues can create a lot of problems. Book a cab through the reception desk. This has two advantages:

  • They will provide a driver who knows English and can help you with your day’s plans,
  • The driver will ensure you return to the hotel safely.

Housekeeping: If you want the room cleaned in your absence, request the staff at the reception desk to tell housekeeping. It is better than just hanging the sign on your doorknob.

Don’t leave your passport or other important documents, jewellery or expensive gizmos for charging in the room while you are away.

Tourist activities: If you are travel with a group then the entire trip including sightseeing is planned and arranged by your agent. But if you have done all the bookings on your own, then plan your sightseeing activities so that you do not feel too exhausted at the end of the day. Most hotels have a travel desk and they can give you tips on the best tourist attractions, distances and travel time. Take on only those activities that you feel are hassle-free.

Eat right: Choose what you eat very carefully. Keep in mind any allergies you have, any diet restrictions recommended by the doctor, etc before ordering a dish. In general, avoid very high protein dishes, spicy/oily curries or sauces, eating at roadside food malls, etc.

Sensible footwear: Flat, canvas shoes or sneakers are the most sensible footwear while travelling. There are fewer chances of you tripping/falling and hurting yourself.

Inexpensive accessories: Never ever carry gold ornaments, designer wristwatches, or other expensive accessories while travelling. Keep a set of “to-wears” in a separate travel pouch to use on your trips.

Keep family informed: Keep in touch with your family and friends via Facebook and whatsapp. Keep uploading statuses and forwarding pictures at regular intervals. Most cities and towns around the world have reasonably good 3G connectivity (at least) so keeping others in the loop will not pose a problem. The local time and exact location will get logged into the apps automatically.

Of course, senior citizen travel is the easiest and most hassle-free when it is a group tour. I have already written about “Benefits of group tours for women” in a previous post and the information applies to senior citizens as well. Hope this has helped you plan your next trip and I do hope you enjoy it very much. Happy travelling…

Easy Diet Plan for Diabetic Women of 40+

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There is no substitute for a well balanced diet. This is especially important for a woman of 40+ who is a confirmed diabetic. Besides the prescribed medications, there are many foods that can help to control the symptoms of diabetes. So here’s a easy-to-follow regime so that you can enjoy food without having to go on a crash diet…

Suggested diet for diabetes

Meal

Menu

Early morning On empty stomach  4 almonds  + 1 walnut + 1 glass warm water

After half an hour your favourite cup of coffee or tea without sugar or sugar-substitute.

Breakfast

(3 suggestions)

*Dal dosa (pancake) + chutney

1 bowl of oats + 1 boiled Egg + 2 slices multigrain bread

**2 Ragi and oats pancakes + chutney

Mid morning Papaya or apple + buttermilk 1 glass
Lunch

(3 suggestions)

Fish curry + brown rice + salad

2 Chapatis (Indian flatbread) + 1 bowl of low fat cottage cheese (paneer) + salad

Chicken curry + brown rice + salad

Evening *2 Dal idlis + coconut chutney

1 bowl of low fat curd + 4-5 black plums (jambuls)

Dinner

(3 suggestions)

Soup of your choice + a bowl of vegetable curry (with leafy greens, carrots or bitter gourd [karela]) + brown rice

Soup of your choice + 1 piece grilled chicken breast/fish + brown rice + dal (lentils)

Kidney beans soup + 2 slices garlic bread + salad

 Bed Time  A glass of warm milk

Why is this menu perfect diet for diabetes?

If you follow this diet plan for diabetes, over a period of time the symptoms will be more manageable. The nutrients that you get with this plan are:

  • Proteins from eggs, dals, beans, milk, fish and chicken
  • Carbs from oats, brown rice, bread and chapatis.
  • Vitamins and minerals from vegetable curries and salads.
  • Omega-3 from fish.
  • Fiber from oats and fruits.
  • Good cholesterol from almond, walnuts and fish.

A healthy diet is a must for everyone and all ages. This becomes even more important in the case there is an imbalance of blood sugar levels. A diabetic might suffer from distressing symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, frequent urination, mood swings, etc. Besides the prescribed medication, you can also keep the sugar levels and symptoms under control by following this balanced diet.

** For recipe of ragi+oats pancake click here. Ragi (finger millet) has a low glycemic response and is an excellent substitute for diabetics.

Note: To saute the ingredients of any curry (vegetarian or non-vegetarian) use ghee instead of oil. Ghee or clarified butter made from cow’s milk helps to reduce cholesterol levels. It also prevents joint pains.

My Favourite Tourist Attractions Of Gujarat, India

Last year I went on a pilgrimage tour in Gujarat, India with a cousin. It was a wonderful experience and I can still relive every beautiful moment. We flew from Pune to Ahmedabad and then drove around the state of Gujarat along the coast. We visited the island city of Dwarka and the islet of Bet Dwarka. Then took the coastal road southwards along the Arabian Sea to Somnath temple. This is the first of the 12 Jyotirlingams (primary Shiva temples). Then we came back eastwards and stayed in Gir Forest.

On the way from Ahmedabad (in the middle of the state) to Dwarka (an island city) on the west coast, we stopped at the Swaminarayan Temple. This is a quieter and a more peaceful version of the famous Akshardham Temple in Ahmedabad. Although it is comparatively new, the architecture emulates ancient Indian style. Going around the temple was a fascinating experience.

Swaminarayan Temple
Swaminarayan Temple

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It took us 7 hours to drive from Ahmedabad to Dwarka city. Most of the original kingdom of Dwarka is submerged under the sea. But a small portion of the land where the original Dwarkadheesh Temple (Lord Krishna temple) and Bet Dwarka temples were built still exist!

Dwarkadheesh Temple
Dwarkadheesh Temple

Bet Dwarka – reachable only by ferry

Bet Dwarka
Bet Dwarka

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Near Dwarka there is the Nageshwar Temple which is also considered one of the 12 Jyotirlingams. We paid our respects to Shri Nageshwar and proceeded south along the coast.

Nageshwar Temple
Nageshwar Temple

We proceeded to Somnath Temple which is in Prabhas Patan on the Arabian Sea coast.

Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple

Note: To maintain the sanctity of the Lords no one is permitted to take photos inside the temples. Hence I do not have pictures of Shri Dwarkadheesh, Shri Somnath, Shri Nageshwar. But when you read on Google that there are more than 1,00,000 visitors per day at these temples you can imagine what an awesome experience it is!

Once the pilgrimage part of our holiday was over, we looked forward to some adventure. Now we moved back eastwards to Gir Forest, which is the only place where you can find Asian lions in their natural habitat.

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Pride of lions sitting in the shade
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The King of the Jungle at siesta time

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Tent Accommodation
Our air-conditioned Tent Accommodation in Gir Resort

On the way to Ahmedabad airport we visited the ancient stepwell built by Queen Rudabai in 1499 to prevent drought in her kingdom. It is another architectural marvel. It takes all day to explore the landings and steps. If you zoom in you will see what looks like a never ending array of landings…

Adalaj ni vaav (stepwell)

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At the end of a wonderful week, my cousin and I drove back to Ahmedabad city and returned home with more than 1000 photos and a lot of stories to tell. BTW, Gujarat is definitely the cleanest state in India! Even small villages and fishing hamlets are surprisingly clean. I hope to go again soon…

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