Ever wish you had an all-knowing personal assistant to guide you in making smart choices and, even better, warn you when you were about to make a mistake? We searched out a variety of local experts for hard-earned counsel in their specific areas of expertise. Heeding their wise advice can save you time, money and frustration—and, in some cases, might even save your life.
Phil Azeff Captain/Fire Inspector Ocala Fire Rescue
What is the most common mistake people make regarding fire safety? Keeping extension cords as “permanent wiring.”
What is your single best piece of advice about fire safety? If faced with the option of having fire sprinklers in your home or business, or going without, always opt for installation. Working sprinkler systems can increase chances of survival in a home fire by up to 80 percent, while decreasing the amount of property loss and damage. Not only do sprinklers respond quickly and efficiently to a fire, oftentimes they extinguish the flames before firefighters arrive. There is only one documented case of a person perishing in a building equipped with a sprinkler system, and that was during the tragic events of September 11.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to fire safety? I take it seriously. Becoming complacent with the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality is easy and could prove to be fatal. The leading four causes of residential fires are unattended cooking fires (which account for 34 percent of kitchen fires), heating units, smoking and unattended candles. Stop by your local fire department; we would love to guide you in your fire-safety quest.
Lieutenant Fred Chisholm District Commander Ocklawaha District Office Marion County Sheriff’s Office
What is the most common mistake people make regarding personal safety? Failing to become familiar with their surroundings. For example, when most people go to withdraw money from the ATM, they do not look around to see if anyone is watching over their shoulder or standing off in the near distance.
What is your single best piece of advice for staying safe? Be observant at all times. Always take mental notes and obtain as much information as possible, for example: physical build, height, weight, clothing description, race, facial hair, vehicle description, direction of travel, etc. Everyone has a cell phone now, and taking a picture of a suspicious person, vehicle or detail will ensure that all the pertinent information is captured.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to the safety of your own family? I remind them to always set the home alarm and lock the doors. In addition, because my daughter drives to school each day, I installed a tracker on her phone, which alerts me when she leaves home and returns home. I can check her location at all times (with her permission, of course!).
Chelsea Walton, ARNP, FNP-BC Health Care Professional Family Care Specialists Urgent Care, Belleview
What is the most common mistake people make regarding seeking medical help? Putting it off. If you have questions about your health or are experiencing new symptoms, visit your primary care provider.
What is your single best piece of advice about staying well? During your annual ‘well-checks’ at your primary care office, we can discuss your health concerns and go over preventative testing that might apply to you (i.e. mammogram, cholesterol check, blood pressure check, colonoscopy, etc.). If we can work together to keep you well, it can prevent a trip to the ER for uncontrolled disease states, (i.e. diabetes, COPD, hypertension, asthma, GERD, etc.).
What is one thing you personally always do relating to your own health and wellness? I tell myself that ‘being busy’ is not an excuse to not take care of myself. I’ve seen the effects of people putting off their health until it becomes an emergency or chronic disease, so I strive to educate myself and my patients on healthy life habits at every age. A healthy diet, exercise and yearly checks with my primary care doctor are all important pieces of the wellness puzzle.
Jennifer Canganelli, MS, RD, LD, CDE Registered Dietitian Family Nutrition Services LLC
What is the most common mistake people make regarding nutrition? Skipping the basics. Today’s trending diets include low-sugar, low-fat, high-protein, low-carbohydrate, gluten-free, dairy-free and more. Although it seems everyone is trying to avoid something, they skip the basics of eating a balanced diet—a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and appropriate carbohydrates to fuel their body.
What is your single best piece of advice about making better food choices? Be intentional about your food choices. Ask yourself, ‘what are my food choices doing for my health?’ If you just eat along the way, you will find yourself in drive-thrus, restaurants, snacking more and having increased trips to the grocery store. Plan your meals, and make them count for you, not against you.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to nutrition? Every Sunday I plan my meals—and snacks—for the week, making sure I’m incorporating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats and fish. This helps my family get more of the vitamins and minerals we need. Another bonus of menu planning? Sticking to your list saves money with less impulse spending.
Tina Chandra, DDS Dentist Chandra Smile Designs, Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make regarding dental health? Not getting regular professional cleanings. We now have more research about the mouth-body connection. What we used to call plaque, we now know as biofilm bacteria, which lives in the crevices of teeth. It causes the destruction of gum and bone but also causes inflammation in your mouth, which spreads infection through the bloodstream to the rest of your body, especially the heart, liver, brain and other major organs. It’s not just about losing your teeth; it could be about losing your life.
What is your single best piece of advice regarding dental care? Going for professional cleanings twice a year is old news. Frequency of cleaning should be based on how your body breaks down biofilm bacteria. Everyone’s body is different, so you can’t base cleanings on the calendar or insurance coverage. Research shows it’s more about each individual and how they respond to treatment. Some people have more risk factors for periodontal disease, such as those with high blood pressure, diabetes, tobacco use, pre-existing heart disease and those who are predisposed because of genetics.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to dental health? I suffer from periodontal disease because of my genetics, so I get my teeth professionally cleaned four times a year. At home, I use a high-quality electric toothbrush, water flosser and mouth rinses.
Ashley Cauthen, MD Dermatologist MidState Skin Institute, Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make regarding skin care? Not nourishing your skin with moisturizer. Skin is like a sponge; when it gets too dried out it starts to lose its glow and develop more wrinkles. You always want to replenish it with a good nighttime moisturizer. Especially in the winter season, both women and men need to be using moisturizer.
What is the single best piece of skin care advice you can offer? We’re only given one try, so don’t abuse the skin you have. It’s not rocket science, and it sounds redundant, but protecting your skin from UV damage by wearing sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day is the most important thing you can do, along with washing your face daily.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to your own skin care? I wash my makeup off every night. Cleaning off the dirt and grime of the day makes your face a good canvas for your moisturizer, and that allows your skin to ‘drink.’
Diana Williams Certified Financial Planner Principal Financial Group, Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make regarding their finances? Collecting Social Security too early. I deal a lot with people who are on the cusp of retiring, and many think they should start collecting whenever it becomes available, but every year you wait, the amount you receive goes up by 8 percent. I think people need to de-couple the idea of collecting Social Security and actual retirement.
What is the single best piece of financial advice you can offer? Save, save, save. Set money aside for college, purchase of a home, retirement, etc. Plan ahead. Stuff happens, and your life is made much easier if you have reserves from which to draw.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to finances? I practice what I preach and plan ahead. I started my own retirement plan in my early 20s, and I pre-planned for all four of my kids’ college educations; my fourth child is graduating from the University of Florida this year.
Brian Bednar Automotive Technician Bednar’s Auto Service, Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make when it comes to vehicle care? Neglecting oil changes. People often go 2,000, 3,000 miles or more past when it needs to be changed. The worst case I had was someone who went 40,000 miles over. Needless to say, the engine soon expired in their vehicle, costing thousands to repair.
What is your single best piece of advice regarding automotive care? Newer cars require less maintenance than cars built five to 10 years ago, and people tend to neglect them. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Many people don’t even look at this manual and may not even be aware they have one.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to your vehicles? I keep up with the basics: regular oil changes and checking the cooling system, brakes, belts, hoses and tires. These things may or may not be checked if you go to a ‘quickie oil change’ place.
Carolyn K. Roberts Realtor Roberts Real Estate Inc., Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make when it’s time to sell? Wasting time and dollars doing things that won’t affect the value of their property. If you talk to a Realtor first, they can give you advice on what you need to do to get your property ready to sell and what you can do to add value.
What is your single best piece of advice regarding buying a home? Meet with a Realtor first. They can help you get pre-qualified for a loan, so you’ll know exactly what you can afford to buy and what your monthly expenses would be to own that home. Working with a knowledgeable professional you trust will save you time and money.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to buying/selling? I always do a current, accurate market analysis on the property so I know the value. This is No.1. You don’t want to over pay or under sell.
Mike Torres Certified Public Accountant Crippen & Co., Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make regarding taxes? Attempting to file their own tax return without seeking professional advice. Often, we see individuals who own their own business attempt to file their tax return without the knowledge necessary to properly fill out a complete and accurate tax return. This often leads to unnecessary IRS notices, penalties and interest, which costs them more money in the long run.
What is your single best piece of advice regarding tax preparation? Consider tax planning throughout the year. We are required to pay tax on the income we receive, but with a little planning and advice from professionals, we can preserve as much of our wealth as legally possible.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to your own taxes? I make sure I’ve reported everything correctly, taken every legal deduction allowed by the IRS code and that my supporting documentation is organized and complete.
Mohamad Aysheh Certified Personal Trainer Zone Health and Fitness, Ocala
What is the most common mistake people make regarding working out? They don’t have a custom plan, so it’s a guessing game. They never change their routine, and they’ll do too much cardio and not enough resistance training, or vice versa.
What is your single best piece of advice regarding proper exercise? Never be afraid to ask for help. A lot of our members feel uncomfortable in a new environment and immediately gravitate toward the cardio equipment. Our mission at Zone Health and Fitness is to get everyone plugged into a zone they love, and that helps them get to their goals as efficiently as possible.
What is the one thing you personally always do relating to exercise? I never go into a workout dreading it. I always look forward to what I’m doing for the day and make sure I give it my all.