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Loose collars and vitamins help protect eyes

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Does it seem the newspaper is getting harder to read? What makes things blur so much when you try to read the sports pages? Does it seem your arms are just not long enough to hold the darn thing up and decipher anything but the headlines?

As we age, our bodies become deficient in vitamin trace minerals. Adequate zinc and beta carotene cannot be acquired by nutrition alone. Vitamins added to your regimen can help.

The culprit in this life drama is called presbyopia, an aging of the eyes. When the lens of the eye weakens, it loses flexibility. With age, the pupil of the eye flattens and does not allow as much daylight to enter the eye. Sometimes, just moving a book closer to a bright light can help. But in everyday endeavors like driving your car, or squinting to read road signs at night, it can be scary.

There are many more causes and effects that can worsen the problem, not the least of which is wearing your shirt collar too tight against your neck. Tight neckwear can boost pressure inside the eyes and increase the risk of glaucoma. What's the best way to keep from constricting blood vessels? Be sure when you wear a dress shirt you can still place one finger between the collar and your neck.

Here's one you might not have guessed -- the very material of your prescription glasses can help you save the day and your vision. Carbonate lenses help block out harmful ultraviolet light. If you don't wear prescription glasses, look for nonprescription sunglasses in your drugstore or mall, labeled to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember, when you are outside, wear your glasses.

New people at the Simi Center

There are new people on board at the Simi Valley Senior Center. Marisue Eastlake is the assistant manager, at 583-6364. Judy Herdman is the meal site coordinator at 583-6365, and Raquel Wirth is the coordinator for the Meals on Wheels program at 583-6363.

Italian feast on tap in Simi

It's that time of year again, when we all become Italian. It's time to be serenaded by Italian tenors and join in for a singalong. The meatballs will be shaped, seasoned and prepared by our own resident Italian chef, Lu Gammariello. Of course, there will be succulent sausage, crisp green salad, garlic bread and dessert. The feast will be at 6 p.m. Oct. 21. Pick up your $10 tickets early; They are on sale now at the front desk of the Simi Valley Senior Center. Every dollar helps support our Council on Aging programs and the Lifeline, Brown Bag and Meals on Wheels programs. Space and seating are limited.

Grandparents raising children

Last week, I attended the wedding of the grandchild of one of my friends. The bride was beautiful, and the groom was handsome. The couple looked starry-eyed while repeating their vows. Then, they made their way down the aisle together. The wedding was expensive and the couple was filled with promise and determination. Happily ever after? Let's hope so. Someone wished for the bride to have many children.

Some seniors have taken on the job of raising their grandchildren after younger generations won't, or can't, do it. Retired grandparents, living on fixed incomes, assume they will live in comfort for the rest of their lives enjoying the golden years.

A successful living today requires more than a couple with college degrees willing to work side by side to meet skyrocketing housing costs and deal with competition for American jobs. The challenge of raising a family today, while saving enough for children to have a college education, is slipping away.

A young family today has to make a Herculean effort just to stay out of debt. Of all 50 states, California has the most children being raised by their grandparents. Is there an answer to this growing problem? Are their workshops to help seniors deal with this growing concern? Are there agencies or resources available that can help financially?

-- David Nankivell is a Star columnist. He may be reached by leaving a message at 520-7050, or by fax at 526-0479.

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