At 86, Raymond Robinson is concerned he and his wife, Myrtle, might need to use wheelchairs soon; they are already using walkers. So, he is building a handicapped accessible ramp to his front porch - by himself - and expects to finish this week.

The retired federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector, who has lived in his home in a quiet section of Absecon for almost 60 years, gets some help picking up supplies from his son, Carl Robinson, and grandsons, Nathan and Luke Robinson. All three live close by in Absecon. But he's done the construction alone.

"They offered to help," he said of family members, but they aren't available when he wants to work, during the day. And he finds carpentry enjoyable.

It never occurred to Robinson that he couldn't do it, even though he has broken both his hips in the last few years and struggles with balance. He works from the seat on his walker about 90 percent of the time, he said, standing up only to use power tools and for a few other jobs.

"When I remodeled the bathroom five years ago, I put in a step shower with stools," he said.

He also did that job himself. And last week, when he wasn't satisfied with the curve in the ramp, he "ripped it all out," he said.

He has a long history as a woodworker and carpenter, having pretty much built his own house, he said. But he admits his family has set some restrictions on him recently.

"They keep me off of roofs," he said. "And I don't drive anymore, because they took my keys away from me."

Health and menopause

Peggy Bradford, 45, of Sewell in Washington Township, knows about weight gain during menopause. She was thrown into it suddenly after a hysterectomy about three years ago, and found herself feeling lethargic and hungry all the time. Her weight ballooned to 218 pounds, she said.

With simple changes in diet and exercise, she lost 75 pounds, and has kept it off for a year, she said. Now she wants other menopausal women to know they can lose weight by devising a personalized program they can stick to for the rest of their lives. She has started a Facebook group called Steps to Good Health, and about 1,450 people from across the U.S. have joined.

Bradford jogs in place for one hour each day while watching television and doing repetitions with weights, she said. She worked her way up to about 30,000 steps per day, but says 10,000 is the key for controlling weight."I eat three meals a day, and two 100-calorie snacks," she said. "I don't skip meals because it slows the metabolism down."

Email Bradford at


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