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Savvy Senior: Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses

55 Issue 73 • February / March 2018



Meet the Parents

Former Congressman Jim Walsh and his wife DeDe talk about public life, career, family and how they feel about having their son, Ben Walsh, as the new mayor of Syracuse

Inside 3 Is Consulting for You? 3 How to Look 5 or 10 Years Younger 3 28 Years of Volunteer Work at Rosamond Gifford Zoo

Special: Should Grandparents Get Paid to Babysit?

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SERVICES • Wills & Trusts • Health Care Proxy • Power of Attorney • Asset Protection • Medicaid Planning & Qualification • Stay at Home Options • Special Needs Planning • Business Protection & Succession • Estate Tax Planning • Probate • Trust Administration

We invite you to join us in creating a legacy gift through your will or financial plans. Together we can do great things for Central New York. Dr. Michael & Rissa Ratner

For them it’s personal! Upstate legacies: lifesaving and life-changing Mike and Rissa Ratner love kids; it’s that simple. Rissa has been a teacher for 41 years. She could have retired long ago but she sees teaching more as a vocation than a job. Mike recently retired after 40 years as a highly regarded pediatric surgeon at Upstate golisano children’s Hospital. For years, the Ratners have generously supported the Children’s Hospital. With Mike’s retirement, they decided to create a legacy gift with the Upstate Foundation. The gift plan arrangement they selected will pay them income for the remainder of their lives and create a long-term gift that will enable nurses at the Children’s Hospital to continue their education. as Mike puts it, “it’s terrific! You can have your cake and eat it, too!” Both Mike and Rissa have touched the lives of countless children and their families in profound ways. Through a legacy gift to the Upstate Foundation, they will continue to do so beyond their lifetimes. it’s also personal for you since every Upstate legacy dollar stays right here in Central New York to help assure happy, healthy and longer lives for your loved ones, friends and neighbors.

For free and confidential information on how to make a low cost, high impact legacy gift contact, or have your professional advisor contact, John Gleason at 315-464-4416 or email us today at FDN@Upstate.edu Our legal name is THE UPSTATE FOUNDATION INC.

www.UpstateFoundation.org February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS



Savvy Senior: Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses

55 Issue 73 • February / March 2018


February / March 2018


Meet the Parents

Former Congressman Jim Walsh and his wife DeDe talk about public life, career, family and how they feel about having their son, Ben Walsh, as the new mayor of Syracuse

Inside 3 Is Consulting for You? 3 How to Look 5 or 10 Years Younger 3 28 Years of Volunteer Work at Rosamond Gifford Zoo


Special: Should Grandparents Get Paid to Babysit?



12 Savvy Senior 6 RETIREMENT

Gardening 8 • Ready to retire? Consider these

Dining Out 10

10 unbelievable numbers


My Turn 22 VOLUNTEER Guest Columnist 30 • Still volunteering at Rosamond Aging 32

Gifford Zoo — after 28 years


Golden Years 39 CONSULTING Life After 55 44 • Is it for you? We spoke with Consumer’s Corner 46

three women who do it

Druger’s Zoo 47 20


• New passion for former Anheuser-Busch employee LAST PAGE Bill Gooley to be honored as co-grand marshal of the 2018 St. Patrick’s Parade in Syracuse 4


55 PLUS - February / March 2018


• At 59, Nancy Eaton is embarking on a new challenge: Head of United Way of Central New York


• Should you consider having a housemate?


• Grandparents may be the best sitters for their grandkids. But should they be paid for the help?


• Meet the parents: Jim and DeDe Walsh talk about public life and about their son, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh


• How to look five or 10 years younger

42 RIDE SHARING • Cicero retiree happy to be Uber driver


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3:16 PM5 February / March 2018 - 551/11/18 PLUS

savvy senior By Jim Miller


Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses

s a divorced spouse, you can collect Social Security retirement benefits on the earnings record of your ex-husband or ex-wife, if your ex is at least age 62, was married to you at least 10 years, and you are not now married and not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own earnings record. In order for you to collect, your ex must also be at least 62 and eligible for Social Security benefits. But your ex does not have to be receiving them for you to collect divorced spouse’s benefits, as long as you have been divorced at least two years. Even if your ex is remarried, it won’t affect your right to divorcee benefits, nor will it affect your ex’s retirement benefits or his current spouse’s benefits.

Benefit Amount

A divorced spouse can receive up to 50 percent of their ex’s full Social Security benefit, or less if they take benefits before their full retirement age — which is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. To find out your full retirement age and see how much your benefits will be reduced by taking them early see SSA.gov/ planners/retire/retirechart.html. Keep in mind though, that if you qualify for benefits based on your own work history, you’ll receive the larger of the two benefits. You cannot receive benefits on both your record, and your ex’s work record too. To find out how much your retirement benefits will be, see your Social Security statement at SSA.gov/ myaccount. And to get an estimate of your ex’s benefits, call Social Security at 800-772-1213. You’ll need his Social Security number to get it.

Divorced Survivor

You also need to know that if your ex-spouse dies, and you were married for 10 or more years, you be6

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come eligible for divorced survivor benefits, which is worth up to 100 percent of what your ex-spouse was due. Survivor’s benefits are available to divorced spouses as early as age 60 (50 if you’re disabled). But if you remarry before 60 you become ineligible unless the marriage ends. Remarrying after age 60 will not affect your eligibility. Also note that if you are receiving divorced spouses’ benefits when your ex-spouse dies, you will automatically be switched over to the higher paying survivor benefit.

Switching Strategies

Being divorced also offers a switching strategy that can help boost your benefits if you were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954. Here’s how it works. If you worked and are eligible for benefits on your own earnings record, you could file a “restricted application” with Social Security at age 66 to collect a divorced spousal benefit, which is half of what your ex gets. Then, once you reach 70, you stop receiving the ex-spousal benefit and switch to your own benefit, which will be 32 percent higher than it would have been at your full retirement age. Unfortunately, as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, this option is not available if your birthday is Jan. 2, 1954 or later. Divorced widows (and widowers) also have switching options regardless of your birthday. If, for example, you are currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits on your own record, and your ex-spouse dies, you can switch to survivor’s benefits if the payment is larger. Or, if you’re collecting survivor’s benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits – between 62 and 70 – if it offers a larger payment. For more information visit SSA. gov/planners/retire/divspouse. html, or call 800-772-1213

55PLUS cny55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo


Deborah J. Sergeant Aaron Gifford, Matthew Liptak Mary Beth Roach, Jacob Pucci Payne Horning


Eva Briggs, M.D., Bruce Frassinelli Marilyn Pinsky, Harold Miller Jim Sollecito, Marvin Druger Michele Reed, Sandra Scott Marion Hancock Fish, Esq. .


Amy Gagliano Cassandra Lawson

Office Assistant Kimberley Tyler


Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in Central New York is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper. Published at 185 E. Seneca St. PO Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126. Subscription: $15 a year; $25 for two years © 2018 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in Upstate New York.

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How to Reach Us P.O. Box 276 Oswego, NY 13126 Phone: 315-342-1182 Fax: 315-342-7776 Email: editor@CNY55.com Editor@cnyhealth.com

Social Security

Q&A Q: I’m retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings? A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at www.socialsecurity.gov. For more information, call 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Q: I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be? A: You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse’s benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If you want to get Social Security retirement benefits before you reach full retirement age, the amount of your benefit is reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you will reach full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you can get 35 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction); if your full retirement age is 67, you can get 32.5 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction). The amount of your benefit increases if your entitlement begins at a later age, up to the maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. However, if you are taking care of a child who is under age 16 or who gets Social Security disability benefits on your spouse’s record, you get the full spouse’s benefits, regardless of your age. Learn more about retirement benefits at www. socialsecurity.gov/retirement. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS



By Jim Sollecito

Y learned.

6 Lessons Learned

ou might have heard that experience allows us to work smarter, not harder. I will share here six lessons I have


Break a project into smart stages. Complete each phase before you continue to the next. Stepping it out allows you to stretch any budget. Don’t stress. Instead, think logically. Always consider new varieties. Improved cultivars (cultivated varieties) bring more features into your landscape with less work. I spend weeks determining which field-trialed plants to add to the next year’s inventory. We demand disease and insect resistance. We look for improved features such as flower abundance, flower size and colors. Compact growth habit and deer resistance are important for lower maintenance. Of course, then we need to identify which ones to cycle


out. Editing is the first step in any renovation. Our job is to expand our client’s palette while ensuring the whole project fits into a person’s lifestyle. We take all that very seriously. As for density, sunlight equals weeds! Yes, it really is that simple. The more space there is between shrubs, trees and perennials, the more inviting the environment for weed growth. A densely planted design will create a closed canopy, eliminating light. Initially the hosta plants in this photo were 24 inches apart (measuring from center to center). Within two years their lush slug-resistant foliage covered the ground so that not one weed can pop through. Smart and thoughtful design, well executed installation, very low long-term maintenance. You can see weeds trying to gain a foothold along the edges where there is some light. More plants covering landscape beds equates to fewer


These hosta plants were 24 inches apart. Within two years their lush slugresistant foliage covered the ground so that not one weed can pop through. 8

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weeds altogether. Nothing lifts up the landscape like a stand of ornamental grasses with their upright form and light texture. These wind dancers bring motion, creating a shadow dance on walkways, walls and fences. They add energy and excitement to a drab area. Place them in front of plants deer love, and deer tend to walk right past. As a rule of thumb, if a plant problem happens gradually it is more likely an insect or disease. Treatment might solve the concern. If the plant fails quite suddenly the problem is more likely a root issue and not easily treatable by a spray. Some problems have no effective treatment, so rogue that scoundrel out and replace with a different plant. Choose an improved cultivar that is better matched to the site and conditions. Add organic compost into the ground when planting any shrub, tree or perennial plant. Our favorite, and the only one we use is Leafgro Soil Conditioning Compost. It is a proven fact that plants with compost will grow 50 percent faster and will be healthier. Commercial fruit growers practice this with diligence. There is wisdom in mimicking the good farmers. They do this for a living, have a lot riding on their success, are constantly striving toward more natural and organic cultivation and have been through more than one learning curve. Well, now you have some inside scoop for the next growing season. Keep calm, it’s almost spring. If you need help, give me a call.

4. 5.


Jim Sollecito is the first lifetime senior certified landscape professional in NYS. He operates Sollecito Landscaping Nursery in Syracuse. Contact him at 468-1142 or jim@sollecito.com.

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DiningOut By Jacob Pucci



Sherwood Inn: Not Resting on its Laurels Skaneateles restaurant blends elegance, rustic colonial comfort and great food


he Sherwood Inn has been serving diners and travelers in Skaneateles since 1807, earning a fair bit of Central New York prominence along the way. But make no mistake, this is not a restaurant content on resting on its laurels. The restaurant housed in the big blue inn along the shore of the equally blue Skaneateles Lake looks the part of an establishment more than two centuries old. The dining room’s low, coffered ceilings and framed paintings, each lit from an overhead light, give the restaurant an elegant touch authentic to its colonial style. The first thing we encountered upon arriving for dinner on a blustery winter night was the welcoming scent of burning firewood from the fireplace in the main lobby, one of four wood10

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burning fireplaces in the inn. After warming our hands by the fire for a minute or two, we were seated in the dining room, close to a second fireplace. The dining room was only about one quarter full on this Sunday evening — which I attribute to the cold, snowy weather — but we could hear a bit more rambunctiousness coming from the inn’s tavern, where live music was entertaining the crowds. The Sherwood Inn is not the kind of place where the dinner menu changes daily or weekly. A few menu items change seasonally, but this is a menu built on consistency and tradition. As for the inn’s famous dishes, like Yankee pot roast and scrod Christopher, don’t expect those to ever leave the menu. Dinner started with a dish of clams

casino ($14). Served a half-dozen to an order, the Sherwood Inn’s version manages to avoid all the pitfalls all too often found in this New England classic. The stuffing is not too bready, while punctuating flavors of bacon, red pepper and garlic complemented the briny clam. The broth left in the shell after eating the clam was a small sip of perfection and well worth soaking up with a small piece of bread. For our entrees, we went for the duck breast ($28) and that evening’s special, surf and turf ($34). The duck, cooked to the desired mediumrare, was tender and capped with unctuously fatty skin. It was served over a bed of shaved Brussels sprouts, carrots, red onion, butternut squash and duck confit. The vegetables in this

hot slaw retained a bite of their natural crispness, while the duck confit, with a similar texture to that of the vegetables, proved that if one kind of duck is good, then two kinds are even better. The chunky apple chutney that topped the duck was a comforting and classic accompaniment. Put together, this dish perfectly encapsulates the transition from fall to winter, a welcome thought in sub-zero temperatures. Surf and turf — in this case, a grilled filet mignon topped with poached lobster in a lemon butter sauce — is a dish that always works on paper, because if steak and lobster are great on their own — and they are — then why wouldn’t they be good together? A grilled steak with a lobster tail on the side tastes good because steak and lobster, but the Sherwood Inn was bold enough to incorporate both elements into a single, wellcrafted dish. An ample portion of lobster claw meat, which is generally sweeter and more tender than the more-popular tail meat, topped the grilled filet, which was cooked on the rare side of medium-rare — my ideal doneness. Filets are revered for their tenderness and this beef did not require the steak knife it was served with. It was as tender as the butter served alongside my baked potato. The steak was mild enough in flavor as to not overwhelm the lobster, which too was nicely cooked and not the faintest bit rubbery. At first, lemon butter sauce doesn’t seem to be a natural pairing with a steak, but when the sauce, lobster and steak are combined in a single bite, it all made sense. The bright lemon and parsley sauce also played well with the grilled asparagus served alongside. Dinner ended with a shared slice of homemade white chocolate cherry cheesecake (all desserts $7). With its golden-brown top and pieces of white chocolate and cherries inside the cake, this cheesecake was clearly housemade and certainly delicious. The Sherwood Inn provided attentive service and a great meal in a white table cloth restaurant that expertly blends elegance and rustic colonial comfort. Even in the winter, when the blowing snow makes the picturesque view of the lake across the road a bit harder to see, the Sherwood Inn is worth a trip.

Seared duck breast topped with apple chutney, served atop shaved Brussels sprouts, tender duck confit, red onion and butternut squash.

Six tender clams topped with a bread stuffing loaded with bacon, garlic and red pepper, served atop rock salt with a wedge of lemon.

This nightly special of grilled filet mignon topped with lobster in a lemon butter sauce is the Sherwood Inn’s take on the classic surf and turf.

The Sherwood Inn Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Website: http://sherwoodinns.com/ White chocolate and cherry cheesecake, finished with shipped cream and chocolate sauce.

Phone: 315-685-3405 February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS





Unbelievable Numbers

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


h, retirement! When you can shed the burdens of work and at last take some well-deserve “me time.” Unfortunately, many Americans will experience the shock of a lifetime when they discover they’re financially ill-prepared for retirement. In “10 Retirement Stats That Will Blow You Away” (The Motley Fool, April 28, 2017), writer Maurie Backman shared 10 surprising statistics.


One-quarter of people 65 today will surpass age 90 and one-tenth will survive age 95. That’s good news, right? Not if you lack the funds to support yourself in older age. Many on the cusp of retirement now began planning for a 20- to 25-year retirement decades ago. Their posh retirement ends up skimpy to stretch their funds.


One-third of Americans have $0 retirement savings.

That’s according to a GoBankingRates survey. In addition, over half — 56 percent — possess less than $10,000 in savings. While making a nice emergency fund, it’s peanuts when looking at retirement, when Social Security checks alone won’t cover 12

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‘In the early 1990s, a mere 2.1 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 and older. The figure crept up to 7 percent in 2007. According to www. debt.org, people 55 and older now account for 20 percent of people filing for bankruptcy.’


Slightly over half of Americans feel they’re saving sufficiently.

Transamerica recently reported that 51 percent of the working people surveyed think they’re saving what they need to retire comfortably.


One out of every three Americans plans to not retire.

They may work less or at a different job, but most of those who will keep working will have to in order to support themselves, not just for beating boredom.


Sixty percent of Americans fear they’ll outlive their income.

Considering how few save for retirement — 30 percent of those 55 Four out of 10 single people 65 and older have no savings — it makes and older receive 90 percent or sense that baby boomers voiced their more of their income from Social Security. fears in an Allianz study. much.



Nearly 60 percent of Americans Unfortunately, Social Security don’t plan for fun. was meant to supplement retirement. It supplies only about 40 percent of Forget a leisurely retirement. A the pre-retirement income. Because of inflation, many people need 70 per- Merrill Lynch survey showed that cent or more of their previous income most people don’t budget for recreation during retirement. to take care of their bills.


On average, a healthy couple will spend $377,000 on healthcare during retirement. Unfortunately, few have planned for this expense. HealthView Services designs healthcare cost projection software. The company reported that when figuring in out-of-pocket costs, someone who’s healthy and 65 today will likely fork over $377,000 on health care expenses once retired. The figure doesn’t include long-term health expenses. It’s easy to see why many people continue working to keep their health care benefits.


Nearly half of retirees spend more during retirement.

Costs won’t go down during retirement. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 46 percent of retirees spend more annually in their first two years of retirement and 33 percent keep spending more for the next four years of retirement. That kind of budget blowing will require a change in spending habits or a return to work.

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The fastest-growing age group of those filing for bankruptcy is those 65 and older. In the early 1990s, a mere 2.1 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 and older. The figure crept up to 7 percent in 2007. According to www.debt.org, people 55 and older account for 20 percent of people filing for bankruptcy. Mounting medical expenses may explain part of the reason, as well as eviscerated retirement savings after the 2008 Recession. The repercussions for an older adult can be severe. Bankruptcy ruins credit ratings. Purchasing a home or vehicle after bankruptcy is hard enough; however, trying to do so without employment as a retiree is nearly impossible. While these statistics may seem discouraging, those who have not saved enough still may have options. By continuing to work and put money into a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k), they can grow their nest egg considerably. Budgeting to control spending, paying off debt, developing passive income and discussing options with a financial planner can also help.

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February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




Ellenrose Galgano has been volunteering at Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse for 28 years. Her colleagues affectionately call her the zoo lady or Mrs. Zookeeper.

‘My Happy Place’ Former Syracuse teacher still volunteering at Rosamond Gifford Zoo — after 28 years By Payne Horning


llenrose Galgano has been a zoo regular for as long as she can remember. She was raised in downstate New York, where her passion was first cultivated. “I grew up on the Bronx Zoo,” Galgano said. “My grandmother would take me. We used to go almost weekly — get on the bus with grandma and go to the Bronx Zoo. So, I was always a zoo lover.” Galgano continued that tradition when she came to Syracuse University in 1970. She was studying to become a teacher, but in her spare time she would find a way at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, by whatever means necessary. “When I was in college, I didn’t have a car. I would either befriend 14

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somebody who had a car and would like to go to the zoo or take the city bus up to the zoo,” Galgano said. “Then when I graduated and got my own car, I just started coming here frequently.” She would spend part of her weekends at the zoo, admiring the animals. Soon after, Galgano said her “lucky day” arrived. “When I started teaching, one of the other teachers was a volunteer here and saw me at the zoo all of the time and said, ‘You should stop just coming, you’ve got to volunteer.’ So that’s how I got started,” she said. What began as a small investment of time soon became much more. Galgano is now considered a fixture at the zoo. She’s a tour guide,

member of the volunteer council, the volunteer liaison to the Friends of Rosamond Gifford Zoo board, and a teacher at the zoo. All told, Galgano says she spends about 200 hours at the zoo ever year. “There’s not a person at the zoo who doesn’t know who Ellenrose is,” said Ted Fox, director of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. Fox, who started at Rosamond in 1991, says he can remember Galgano’s presence for nearly as long as he’s been there. Rosamond enjoys the support of hundreds of volunteers, though few of them have been there as long as Galgano. But Fox says Galgano stands out for other reasons. “The passion that she has for the zoo, what it brings for our community and the animals in particular,” Fox said. “It’s easy to get people who are very interested in the animals and passionate about that, but not who can instill that passion and respect in others that Ellenrose does.” Although Fox says Galgano has been involved in nearly every facet of the zoo, he says her forte is as an “ed guide.” Education volunteers

complete a course to prepare them to further the zoo’s mission of public education — giving school tours, working on educational programs and interacting with visitors about the exhibits. Fox says Galgano’s academic background serves her well in the position. “If you’ve had the experience of walking around the zoo with her, she has a very unique way of describing and talking — it draws you in and gets everyone excited,” Fox said. “My favorite thing is to watch her with a group of children. They are so interested in what she has to say.” Galgano says that’s why volunteering at Rosamond is such a natural fit for her. Education and animals are her two passions. And it shows. On a recent tour of the zoo with Galgano, she spoke with an ease and depth of knowledge that would suggest her formal training was in zoology. Clad in her Rosamond jacket and pair of elephant earrings, she captured the attention of the families around her at the exhibits as she went into detail about each animal and their history at the facility. “She’s one of the most trusted and knowledgeable people at the zoo,” said Janet Gramza, Rosamond’s communications director. “It’s like such a huge part of her life.”

Making a Difference Galgano is often asked why she dedicates so much of her time to the zoo. She says it was an important part of her childhood, but more importantly, it’s the impact. “I think zoos have an important message to get out to the public,” Galgano said. “The wild is shrinking. People are saying ‘well, these animals should be out in the wild.’ The wild isn’t such a great place anymore. Animals are competing for smaller habitats and for food. So zoos have a role here.” Zoos like Rosamond are now active participants in saving endangered species through captive breeding. And zookeepers are also sharing what they learn about the animals under their care with those who are charged with watching after their wild counterparts. “You know, people used to think of zoos as recreation,” Galgano said. “Now they’re so much more. They’re

Galgano with Seth Groesbeck, a former first grade student of hers, who became a zookeeper at Rosamond Gifford Zoo. conservation, they’re education. While our mission is still recreation, and we’re having fun doing it, we’re making a difference.” The animals themselves have an important role to play in educating the public about those threats, Galgano says. Since most people will never encounter a lion or elephant in the wild, these animals act as ambassadors for their species. “You make that connection when you get close enough so you care about things you know,” Galgano said. “We say we like to bring you close enough to care.” This summer, Rosamond was

able to raise $6,000 for Asian elephant conservation efforts, like combating poaching.

Changes A lot has changed since Galgano arrived at Rosamond for the first time as a college student in the ‘70s. Back then, the zoo was owned by the city and Galgano said Syracuse did not have the proper funds to improve it. “In 1982, they closed the zoo because it was just becoming so run down,” Galgano said. “It wasn’t a good place for animals. It had fallen February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


into disrepair.” Control of Rosamond transferred to Onondaga County, which completely renovated the facility and reopened it to the public in 1986. Galgano said the zoo was vastly improved, with bigger spaces for the animals — like the elephant enclosure. What was once a one-room exhibit for the zoo’s elephant has grown to 4.5 acres with seven elephants. The upgrades eventually gained Rosamond a membership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Only a small margin of the nation’s zoos and aquariums are on the prestigious list, which is earned by maintaining quality care for animals and visitors. But Galgano has not enjoyed all of the changes. Regulations have limited the public’s ability to engage with the animals. “When I started volunteering here, we were giving elephant rides,” Galgano said. “Volunteers were able to help with bathing the elephants. We used to do public pictures with elephants. Now, we can’t even occupy the same space as elephants.”

Galgano says while she understands that the changes were made to protect both the animals and the public, she misses the interaction, especially with the elephants, her favorite animal.

Where My Heart Was When Galgano is not pouring her time into Rosamond, she’s at zoos elsewhere. Whenever she travels, Galgano says the itinerary must include a visit to the nearest zoos. She’s been to facilities all across North America, in Europe, Australia and on an African safari. But there’s one zoo that holds a special place. When Galgano was ready to leave her career in public education, her colleagues knew exactly where to host the retirement party and so did she: Rosamond. “They knew that was where my heart was,” Galgano said. “It’s an honor to be at a zoo like this. I’m proud of this facility.” Galgano shares that pride with visitors at Rosamond each day, and

Fox says it’s palpable. “Ellenrose always has a presence of joy and excitement of just being at the zoo,” Fox said. “Even if it’s a time where there might be no animal [in the exhibit] or when the weather isn’t so great or the kinds of things that can bring down anyone, Ellenrose always seems to rise above that and be glad to be there and be glad to interact with the visitors and talk about the animals that live there.” Although she’s retired now, Galgano is still able to bring classes of students to Rosamond as a substitute teacher. They affectionately refer to her as the zoo lady or Mrs. Zookeeper. It gives Galgano, who doesn’t have children, the opportunity to share that love of zoos with the next generation, similar to what her grandmother offered her. And occasionally, it sticks. “One of the things I’m most proud of as an educator and a lover of the zoo is one of our zookeepers was one of my former first grade students, Seth [Groesbeck]. So as a 6 year old, I brought him here to the zoo. Hopefully, I inspired him.”

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Is Consulting for You?

Three women share their experience as consultants and talk about what it takes to be one of them By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


o you have what it takes to ditch your day job and become a consultant? Or launch your own consulting business after you’ve retired? That depends. It certainly makes sense to parlay the skills you’ve used for years on your job into a career where you’re at the helm; however, operating a business is a lot different than working for a business. Robin Bridson of Chittenango works as a professional development and training coordinator at Colgate University. She has both consulted and worked as an employee. “You want to be very realistic with what you can do,” she said. If you need the income to live on, could you work enough hours a week?

Retirees seeking entrepreneurship must perform due diligence to the market (is the service needed in the area? Is there any competition?), assess their passion (do you really, truly want to do this for a living?) and make sure they have the ability to manage a business. The last item can make all the difference, since not everyone who possesses talent and passion and lives in the right market also possesses the ability to organize, launch and operate a business effectively. New businesses require infrastructure, such as equipment and recordkeeping processes. Bridson likes One Note, which synchs information on her phone, tablet and laptop. “I used to use lots of Post-It notes, but things get lost,” she said. Ever Note is another example of

similar Cloud-based synching software. She also urges would-be entrepreneurs to evaluate their organizational skills, either online or on paper. “Once you’re working on your own, you’ll need to keep track of expenses: mileage, getting suits cleaned and meals,” she said. “Itemize that.” There’s also billing, marketing and web development. In addition to business management skills, sole proprietors need soft skills, including communication. Linda Lowen of Jamesville consults as a writing and media coach. She said that flexibility is vital for consultants. “It’s not a 9 to 5 job,” she said. “You have to understand you are given greater flexibility, but at the same time, you have to be flexible.”

Robin Bridson

Linda Lowen

Jennifer Bernstein


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She believes that many new entrepreneurs, especially women, struggle to promote themselves and value their skills and experience. Marketing relies upon entrepreneurs’ ability to connect with others to establish the relationships they need to do business, including clients and vendors. “Are you good with people and confident entering a situation where you don’t know anyone?” Lowen said. “Can you respond appropriately?” Jennifer B. Bernstein, president and founder of Get Yourself into College, Inc. in Syracuse, now 48, confessed that her family “thought I was crazy” because she wanted to leave her position as a tenured college English professor to become a consultant. She believes that starting her consulting business before she quit or retired made the leap easier. She also sought professional resources that proved helpful. She took an online class about promoting her business, launched a website and blog and began networking so she could get her business name in front of potential clients. “I personally don’t do a lot of traditional networking in my industry, such as spending time with others who do what I do,” Bernstein said. “If you want to start learning more about developing a business, it’s very useful to become part of a community that can help you learn about developing a company.” Groups such as Women TIES in Syracuse, the local chamber of commerce, Syracuse Small Business Development Centers or other business-oriented organizations may be helpful. Consulting part-time while still working helped Bernstein gain momentum so that when she went fulltime, she had a steadier stream of clients, thanks to referrals and wordof-mouth advertising. Volunteering may also help provide helpful experience. “If this is something you’re seriously considering, you shouldn’t just be dreaming about,” Bernstein said. “Use the time now to start clarifying possibilities and seriously look into what it would mean for you tax-wise and what it would take to get it going so you can make a smooth transition into that next phase.”

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second act

Paul Vollmer of Liverpool is the owner of Career Clarity, a counseling service for high school students and their families.

New Passion for Former Anheuser-Busch Employee After working at the Baldwinsville brewery for 32 years, former accountant now helps high school students find their collegiate and professional paths By Matthew Liptak


aul Vollmer of Liverpool spent 32 years at Anheuser-Busch in Baldwinsville, but it wasn’t until his last seven years that he felt truly fulfilled in his job. “I never really found a great fit for me until I was 50 years old,” the 59-year-old said. “They put me into the utility department to use my accounting background to help troubleshoot and find a more efficient way of refrigerating throughout the brewery. I worked with a supervisor. We were able to save a significant amount of money. That’s in my wheelhouse.” For most of his time at the brewery, Vollmer was an accountant. He appreciated the work but it wasn’t a good fit for him, and he discovered why when he got some career counseling. “My Myers-Briggs personality 20

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is that of a strategist,” he said. “A strategist likes to figure things out. What a strategist doesn’t like are things that are routine and mundane. You can kind of see what I struggled with.” Vollmer decided he wanted to share what he had learned about choosing the right career direction with others. He figured he could save others a lot of effort and pain if they knew what he knew after learning the hard way. He started Career Clarity, a counseling service for high school students and their families. “This career counseling that I do is also about figuring things out,” he said. “It’s working with people, but it’s kind of based on my own struggles. The seeds to my business actually started in 1997.” His own four daughters were the testbed for Vollmer’s career consulting

business. They were going into college and he wanted them to get on the right track from the beginning. It would save them a lot of time, confusion and money. He got in touch with a software company that normally only supplied career counseling software to schools. Using Myers-Briggs, the software, and his own knowledge, Vollmer has helped forge a successful career path for each of his daughters. He determined that his oldest daughter might enjoy the major of psychology. “We had a conversation,” he said. “She said ‘Dad, you know my psychology text book? I read it to relax.’ That was the lightbulb moment. I knew I was really onto something at that point.” “My girls, none of them changed their major,” he said. “They all ended up with jobs, which is what it’s about in the end. That isn’t a home run. That is a grand slam.”

Benefit for students Parents and their students often stress over what direction their child is headed, especially in high school. High school kids and early college students are Vollmer’s main clients. Finding the right career choice is a major challenge for many of them. “We’re asking 17-year-olds to make a major life decision without any knowledge,” he said. “It is creating tremendous anxiety and poor results. In 2013 the National Center for Educational Statistics stated that 80 percent of students change their major. And on average students change majors three times. That is a great benefit for the colleges and a terrible benefit for the students and their families.” It’s a statistic Vollmer wants to do his part to change. He has been focusing exclusively on Career Clarity since his retirement from the brewery two years ago. He said he enjoys being able to help others avoid the pitfalls of choosing a career path. “How can you have the knowledge to change people’s lives for the better and not do something about it?” he asked. “I love the people contact, but

more importantly, I love sitting with the kid. You can just see the anxiety disappear. It’s like the light bulb goes off.” Choosing the right career path from the start can impact a person’s whole life, according to Vollmer. From saving money, to reducing stress, to the fulfillment of doing a job you were meant for and enjoy. “It carries over to their family life,” he said. “If you’re happy at what you do when you come home and open the door the dog won’t run from you.” The entrepreneur has evidence that he is making a difference other than the careers of his four daughters. He has worked with people from around the country. Locally, he has worked with kids from 16 local school districts, he said. Vollmer used the example of one client to show how his service has helped others find fulfillment. She was a woman who had found success in her post-secondary education, but not in her career choice. She was salutatorian of her college class, but working as a web page editor. “Her Myers-Briggs personality was the giver,” he said. “A giver derives happiness from helping people and this poor thing was editing web pages. She went back to school. She is a registered nurse today. Her mother sent me a text and said it’s not a job to her. She loves what she does. She’s doing what fits her.” Vollmer plans to keep on helping as many students and families as he can. He loves this second career, and considers himself a lucky man. He feels there is more work to be done, more students and parents that can be helped. “We’re doing a terrible job for our students,” he said. “This process will put them in a place where they can succeed. It will sharpen their whole career process.”

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Paul Vollmer ’s consulting business, Career Clarity, has helped dozens of high school students from at least 16 local school districts in the region. The fee charged is $300 and covers all counseling services, including discussion of job market. For more information, email him at careerclarity.pmv@gmail.com. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

You Have My Word “Has a friend ever promised to send you information ‘tomorrow,’ but ‘tomorrow’ turned into never?”


y mother’s favorite ethical phrase was: “Your word is your bond.” I adopted it, too, because it represents my sacred pledge that you can trust what I say is true. If I tell you that I will do something, you can rest assured that it will happen unless there is a compelling reason that prevents me from doing so. This inviolable pledge is not unique to my mother, although both she and my father invoked it as their guiding principle in operating our


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corner grocery store for more than 35 years. The modern version of this saying goes back to the Bible. In the Book of Numbers, we find this quote: “When a man … swears an oath to bind his soul with a bond, he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth.” Have you ever made an appointment with the representative of a business to give you an estimate on a project, but no one ever showed up? Have you waited sometimes several

hours beyond the appointed time for a medical provider to see you, yet no one in the office even bothered to give you an explanation about why there was this long delay? Have you ever made a loan to a family member who promised to pay you back within a certain period of time, but the deadline came and went without even a mention of why the promise was not kept? Has a friend ever promised to send you information “tomorrow,” but “tomorrow” turned into never?

Some have been able to handle these situations by not taking them personally. Because my “Your word is your bond” mantra is figuratively pasted to my forehead, I tend to expect others to abide by the same expectations, but most don’t. I have been told that the most important thing to understand is that other people aren’t me. Their priorities and top of mind awareness are not mine. It’s not that they are malicious. They usually mean what they say at the time, but then the complexities of their own lives get in the way of the promises. In our frenetic, can’tcatch-a-breath world, getting busy and concerned with their own issues can make mine seem less important, even forgettable. Sometimes people will lie just to buy time or get you off their backs. I recall having had a conversation with a publicist for comedian George Burns, who was in his early 90s at the time and a living legend. I thought Burns would make a great interview, and I asked whether the publicist could intervene. She hedged, saying he had a very

busy schedule, but I persisted, so she finally said that she would call me the following week to set up an interview. “Next week” came and went. I called — several times — to try to find out what went wrong. She would not take my calls. After more than a month of this, I finally took the hint: Her promise was not sincere; it was just a way to blow me off. I had the last laugh, though, because the next year Burns was featured in a one-man show at a theater in the Pennsylvania city where I was the newspaper editor, and I interviewed Burns on that occasion. What a letdown! He was the rudest person I ever interviewed. Is it ever ethical to lie? I guess the textbook answer is “no,” but, in reality, we lie all the time. We gloss over the majority of these lies by convincing ourselves that they fall into the “little white lie” category. These are instances where we lie for a good cause. For example, your spouse tries a new dish, which took her several hours to prepare — just for you. It’s disgusting. When she asks how you like it, do you tell the truth,3.5 do xyou lie 4.75”

or do you use a euphemism — “This was really different” — hoping that she doesn’t catch on? Is it OK to tell a little white lie to spare a friend’s feelings? When my spouse, who packed on a few pounds, asked whether she looked fat, should I have told the truth? (I didn’t.) Should you lie when asked about past encounters with the opposite sex prior to your marriage or serious relationship? Philosopher Charles Fried says that lying is always wrong, because it shows disrespect for the person to whom we are lying. Others, however, do not find it as clear-cut. They view the intent of the lie in determining how harmful it might be. Lying to a family member, who will be the honoree of a surprise birthday party, is perfectly acceptable, most believe. One thing is certain: Even the most ethical person tells a lie now and then. It’s part of our DNA. Yes, my word is my bond, but I, too, tell occasional white lies to get me out of uncomfortable situations.

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new job

Nancy Eaton at the United Way of Central New York headquarters on James Street, Syracuse.

A New Challenge at Age 59 Nancy Eaton is now heading the United Way of Central New York By Mary Beth Roach


s people hit their late 50s and early 60s, many begin to think of retiring. But if you’re Nan Eaton, you take on a new career — probably larger in scope than anything done before. Since July last year, Eaton, 59, is serving as president of the United Way of Central New York, a job that she said she has long hoped for. “I think the culmination of everything I’ve done in my career allows me to give all of that experience to United Way,” she said. She has been involved with nonprofit and human services


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agencies for more than 25 years. A native of Long Island, Eaton graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in psychology and anthropology. While trying to decide whether to go on to law school or get her master’s in psychology, she opted to get some work experience and became a paralegal. She then learned of an opening at the Erie County Mental Health Association as a client advocate. It was the perfect combination of psychology and the law for her, she said, and she found her calling. “I loved and realized that nonprofit work was really

where I belonged,” she said. Moving to Central New York, she first worked at Housing Visions Unlimited, a local nonprofit that had just completed its first project. Working in Syracuse’s east side and then moving to the north side, she was pleased to be part of an effort to have the north side neighborhood designated as a “Weed and Seed” site by the U.S. Department of Justice. Eaton was asked by then-U.S. Attorney Tom Maroney, thenSyracuse Mayor Roy Bernardi and Linda DeFrancisco, who was head of the city of Syracuse’s Research Bureau, to become the

Weed and Seed program director. The initiative brought law enforcement and all community stakeholders together to help revitalize the north side and then the near-west side neighborhoods. Spearheading the initiative under the umbrella of Home HeadQuarters, Eaton also served in a number of roles with that organization. Eaton would go on to work at the Salvation Army as its development director, which enabled her to better hone her skills in fundraising. From there, she moved to Arise, which works with people of all ages with all types of disabilities in a five-county region. There, she was able to form the Arise Foundation, bringing in new volunteers, raising funds and increasing awareness. This would all lead to her assuming the reins at the United Way of Central New York. “It’s a job that I really wanted because I’ve been involved with United Way since 1999 in one way or the other. I really believe in the United Way, and I recognize the impact of strategic giving through United Way,” she said.

‘It’s a marathon’ In order to prepare to take over at United Way, Eaton began about a seven-week transition plan while working with outgoing president Frank Lazarski, who had held the position for more than 13 years. “One of the things I suggested to her is it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Lazarski said. One of the keys to working with United Way is to develop long-term relations with the agencies that are funded, donors and companies in the area, he added, and that comes with the marathon approach. Her persistence, background, experience and credibility with nonprofits in this community are all attributes that will serve Eaton well, Lazarski said. Currently in the middle of the United Way’s annual campaign, Eaton is experiencing some of the highs and lows that come with the job. “Some things are going really well in terms of the actual work

Eaton in a meeting with members of her staff in Syracuse. From left, Vince Spicola, Tyler Greco, Nan Eaton, Emily Winiecki, Tim Ferlito, and Tatiana Parker. we’re supporting. The initiatives are amazing,” she said. “The fundraising piece is a challenge. We are concerned about whether or not we’ll meet our goal. That could mean a decrease in our funding to 88 local programs at 33 agencies next year. We’re hoping that won’t happen, but it’s a possibility.” Although people have heard of the United Way for decades, Eaton said the organization needs to do more outreach in an effort to detail what it really does. “We’re evolving just like the needs, and we’re looking at solutions that will change our community’s story. Instead of being the 13th poorest city in the U.S., we’ll be a city of destination, where people see opportunity and people who are from here will choose to stay,” she said. “We’re not your mom and pop’s United Way here in Central New York,” she added. Calling it a “community convener,” she said the United Way attempts to “bring together the thought leaders, the service providers, the community members to strategically provide human services across the spectrum of needs.”

Collaborative approach The area doesn’t need more nonprofit agencies, she said. The United Way is designed to be,

what she called, the administrative backbone, with her organization bringing community resources together in partnerships, coordinating and providing funding, and employing staff. She cited several examples to back her contention. The Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County, which focuses on literacy across all ages, has a small staff team comprised of United Way employees. The Early Childhood Alliance, aimed at helping children from birth to 5 years of age get prepared for school, is also directed by a United Way employee. The 2-1-1 phone line and website, which responds to questions about human service needs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is a partnership that spreads across five CNY counties. Work Train is a workforce development program with CenterState CEO and other funders and partners. “This is the way of the future,” she said. “Unless we’re bringing everyone together to look at strategies, we’re not going to solve these large issues that face our community. The United Way, since 1917, has been inviting people to invest together in making a difference.” The way of the future is also impacting how people may give to the United Way, and Eaton appreciates different times will mean different challenges for agencies. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


“There are younger professionals, younger people in the workforce. They’re used to having an app on their phone now and getting a cab. So why would you give through United Way, when you can push a button and donate now to anything you want? So it’s a challenge for sure that United Ways are facing all over the country.” Long-time colleague Helen Hudson is confident in Eaton’s abilities and foresight. “She’s the right person at the time to continue to move forward. She’s seen it from all sides,” according to Hudson, the AFLCIO community services liaison at United Way who has known Eaton for more than 15 years. The two met while working on the violence intervention and prevention program, and Hudson is also a member of the Syracuse Common Council. Preparing to lead the United Way into the future, Eaton, who is upbeat by nature, remains hopeful. “Central New York is big enough that we have all kinds of things to do. We have the arts, we have gorgeous things to do, but it’s not so big that people are anonymous or invisible,” she said. “I think United Way is meaningful here because it’s personal. We are a community, and people care about each other. We’re all looking to address community needs and turn things around.” And it’s “all kinds of things to do” in Central New York and its close proximity to larger metropolitan areas that allow Eaton and her husband, Doug, to find some balance. “I am blessed to be in a wonderful second marriage to a husband who is fun and loves the outdoors and makes me laugh,” she said, beaming. The pair enjoys hiking, relaxing with friends, traveling to outdoor music festivals both near home and such places as Montreal, and spending time with her grown children — Amanda, in Albany and Rob, who lives in Lancaster, Pa. She also has a stepdaughter, Antonia, who recently gave birth to her first grandchild, and a stepson Angelo, who resides in Cleveland, Ohio. 26

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Should You Consider Having a Housemate? Having someone to share a home has some great advantages, some disadvantages By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


erhaps your large home feels even larger now that the children are grown. Or maybe you would like a means to earn passive income to enhance your retirement. Could your widowed mom enjoy

some companionship? Or maybe you would feel more at peace if your inlaws weren’t by themselves so far from your home. Any of these scenarios could be a good reason to consider renting a room to a housemate.

Whether through word-of-mouth or roommate-matching websites, renting a room to a stranger when you’re a 55-plusser isn’t so strange anymore. Numerous people watched their retirement savings evaporate during the recession. Most older adults want to age in place. Renting a room provides companionship, savings on household expenses and assistance with chores. Others rent space to save on their household expenses or to make commuting to a distant job easier. Take Helen Harris, 48, for example. A physician assistant at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists (SOS), she has rented a room in Solvay for the past six years. Her rental includes access to common areas of the house. She and her partner, Karen Clark, built their dream home in Harpursville, east of Binghamton, an 80-minute drive from Harris’ workplace. “I like being here at our house so much,” Harris said. “I like mowing the grass and being outside. As we get older, that may be more annoying to do, but I enjoy it. I don’t like the neighbors being on top of me and I like that I don’t have to sacrifice that by renting a room to be close to work.” Of course, Harris could find employment closer to home, but she said she’s content at SOS and doesn’t want to find a different workplace. By renting a room for $100 monthly, Harris can save gas, car maintenance and driving time and give Clark, who is retired, quiet time Tuesday through Thursday while Harris is away. Harris returns to Harpursville Friday and

Physician assistant Helen Harris has rented a room in Solvay for the past six years because it’s close to her work. She says she goes home (in Harpursville, east of Binghamton) on Fridays and stays until Monday. Renting a room near her work saves her commuting time and fuel expenses. “If I had to drive back and forth, it would be exhausting,” Harris said. “I did it once. stays through Monday. “If I had to drive back and forth, it would be exhausting,” Harris said. “I did it once.”

Investing together so everyone benefits

She spends about 10 hours at her rental a day, so occupying an entire apartment would waste a lot of money, she figures. “I shower and sleep there and that’s it,” Harris said. “It’s a great thing for me.” So far, sharing a home on weekdays has worked well for Harris. “The people I’ve rented from know what my needs are,” she said. “I visit with the people I stay with, but I see them for only an hour and they have their weekends to themselves.” Harris also likes that by renting, she can help out the owner of the home she shares. People renting part of their home with someone else must count that money as taxable income. Bill Symons, staff accountant at Canale Insurance & Accounting in Oswego, said homeowners can “write off expenses for whatever percent of the house they’re using for the rental. If it’s 15 percent of the house, then write off 15 percent.” That can apply to expenses such as home owner’s insurance, mortgage interest and home improvement expenses. For an elderly person who simply needs a companion, offsetting the income by hiring workers to perform home repairs and upgrades may prove a means to maintain the home and keep a companion. “If you aren’t sure of what you’re doing regarding taxes and deductions, bring it to someone who does know,” Symons added.

United Way of Central New York’s Community Campaign

For one hundred years, donations to the annual Community Campaign have changed lives and made our community a better place! In your retirement years, we invite you to “Continue United” with your support of the Community Campaign. Mail your check payable to: United Way of CNY PO Box 2129 Syracuse NY,13220 Check out volunteer opportunities at


Learn about United Way of CNY Initiatives including: Work Train, Early Childhood Alliance, Literacy Coalition, and 211cny that are making a difference every day!


of Central New York February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




Should You Get Paid to Babysit? Grandparents may be the best sitters for their grandkids. But should they be paid for the help? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


any parents would agree t h a t t h e i r c h i l d re n ’ s grandpa and grandma represent the best childcare they could imagine. After all, who loves (and spoils!) their children more than the children’s own grandparents? For some families, the grandparents provide more than occasional babysitting and take over the duties regularly, even full-time. Should grandparents in this role receive money for their time? That depends. Laura Brown, who coordinates the gerontology graduate certificate program for the human development department at SUNY Oswego, believes that factors include the amount of time the grandparents spend watching the children. She said that some grandparents shape their retirement plans around their grandchildren’s care needs, even retiring earlier or moving so that they can provide daily care. Grandparents who reduce employment to watch the children s h o u l d re c e i v e c o m p e n s a t i o n , according to Brown. Some grandparents on fixed incomes could really benefit from income earned while watching their grandchildren, if their adult children can afford to offer pay. At the same time, for some young families, relief from the cost of childcare enables them to build a better future for the children. Ultimately, a frank, honest discussion can help both parties realize where they stand and their needs. If pay will be involved, they need to 28

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agree upon a rate that’s fair for both parents and grandparents. “Set up a contract and say, ‘Look, this is something we’re doing because we love our grandchildren, but we could use some compensation for it,’” Brown said. “You’re putting in time and energy and feeding them while they’re there. To avoid any misunderstanding and make sure everyone is on the same page, set in writing.” Mutually agree on all the terms of the contract.

“Both parties would sign it,” Brown said. “That way, there are no hard feelings and misunderstandings.” The conversation should also include how often and for how long the grandparents will provide care, who pays for any expenses incurred during care, where they will watch the children and who will provide transportation. Grandparents may want to split care among themselves and other relatives so that they have more free time. Families should also talk about

how care is provided. “The expectations should be clearly spelled out,” Brown said. “If someone wants to change it, talk about it again and say what’s working and what’s not. There may be issues with particular kids who wouldn’t thrive in a daycare environment, but the grandparents may have an insight.” Some grandparents may also benefit from a class to brush up on their childcare skills. Obviously, their own child survived to start their own family; however, standards of childcare change as more research shows what helps children stay safer, grow better and learn more. For example, the “Safe to Sleep” program, formerly known as “Back to Sleep” has helped reduce incidences of SIDS by 50 percent since its introduction in 1994 and 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grandparents Harrington who always laid babies on their stomachs for sleep may not understand why sleeping on the back is important. Madonna Harrington Meyer, professor of sociology with Syracuse University Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said that grandparents caring for their grandchildren is a complicated issue. “A lot of times, the adult children bring up the topic of payment.” If they don’t, and you could use the money, compare with them your reduced rate with the going rate for a daycare facility. Meyer also pointed out that grandparent care is often much more flexible than daycare facilities, since the latter usually won’t accept sick children and may not be open on snow days or school holidays. If the demands of watching the children every day prove too great, consider watching them less, such as the “Wednesday grandmas” Harrington Meyer knows, who have the children one day a week. Other family members may be able to pitch in to help. Whether pro bono or paid, grandparent care offers a level of care parents can’t replicate otherwise.

Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

By Jim Miller


oney is often an issue for the millions of U.S. grandparents who are raising their grandchildren today. To help with the day-to-day expenses, there are a variety of government programs and tax benefits that can make a big difference in stretching your budget. Here’s where to look for help.

Financial Assistance Programs For starters, find out whether your family qualifies for the state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which may include cash assistance, food stamps and free or low-cost daycare. Or, if your household income is too high to qualify as a family, ask about the “child-only grant” for just the grandchild’s support alone. Also, find out if the state offers any additional programs like guardianship subsidies, non-parent grants or kinship care. Contact the TANF program (see ACF.HHS.gov/ofa for contact information), or call your county social services office for more information on these programs. Yo u a l s o n e e d t o f i n d o u t if your grandkids are eligible for Social Security, including benefits for children, survivor benefits or SSI. You can find this out at the local Social Security office or call 800-772-1213 or visit SSA.gov. And finally, use BenefitsCheckUp. org, a comprehensive website that lets you search for additional financial assistance programs that you may be eligible for, such as lower energy bills, discounts on prescription medications and more.

Tax Benefits In addition to the financial assistance programs, there are also a number of tax benefits that may help you too like the Dependency Exemption, which allows you to deduct $4,050 in 2107 on each qualifying grandchild.

There’s also the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC which is available to those with moderate to low incomes, or the Child Tax Credit if you make too much money to qualify for the EITC. If you’re working, and are incurring childcare expenses in order to work, there’s a Child and Dependent Care Credit that can help. And, if you choose to legally adopt your grandkids, there’s an Adoption Credit that provides a federal tax credit of up to $13,570. T h e re a re e v e n e d u c a t i o n related tax credits that can help your grandkids go to college, like the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. To learn more about these tax benefits call the IRS at 800-829-1040, or visit IRS.gov. You can also call the IRS publication line at 800-8293676 and ask them to mail you the publications that further explain the aforementioned benefits. Ask for publications 501, 503, 596, 970, 972.

Health Insurance If your grandkids need health insurance, depending on your income level, you may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through the state’s Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. See InsureKidsNow.gov or call 877-5437669 for more information.

Legal Aid You also need to talk to a family law attorney to discuss the pros and cons of obtaining legal guardianship, custody or adoption. Without some sort of legal custody, you may not be eligible for many of the previously listed financial assistance programs, and there can be problems with basic things like enrolling your grandkids in school, or giving a doctor permission to treat them. For help locating affordable or free legal assistance, visit www.FindLegalHelp. org, or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for referrals. F o r m o re i n f o r m a t i o n a n d resources see the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center at GrandFamilies.org. Jim Miller is the author of Savvy Senior column, which is published in 55 PLUS. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


guest columnist By Marion Hancock Fish, Esq.

Florida Residency Living in Florida doesn’t have to change your charitable giving in NY


pring is coming and Central New York snowbirds will start to return to the Empire State. While weather is certainly one reason to spend half the year in Florida, you may have headed south for another reason — to establish or maintain your non-New York residency for tax purposes. Recent changes in the law have reduced the impact of New York estate tax, but New York’s high income tax rates remain a strong motivator to establish residency outside New York. New York taxes its residents on income from all sources. On the other hand, nonresidents are only subject to tax on income derived from New York sources. Therefore, an individual who can establish legal residency outside New York will eliminate or at least minimize his or her exposure to New York tax. There is a common misconception that charitable giving also needs to be adjusted during this process. Thomas Griffith, director of gift planning at the Central New York Community Foundation, reports that he often sees donors who change their tax domicile to Florida mistakenly thinking they need to cease their gifts to charities here in Central New York to avoid New York taxation. Let’s look at this more closely. Section 605(b) of the New York Tax Law determines your residency status. The initial question is whether you are “domiciled” in New York. Although in everyday conversation “residence” and “domicile” are used interchangeably, here they have different meanings. “Domicile” is the place you intend to make your permanent home — the place to which you return after absence. And though 30

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you may have several residences, you may only have one “domicile.” These are the five primary factors to determine domicile under New York Law: the pattern of use of your New York residence; your New York business ties; where you spend your time; the physical location of items “near and dear” to you; and the location of your family. Even if you are not considered “domiciled” in New York, you may still be taxed as a New Yorker if you spend more than half the year (or 183 days) in New York, and maintain a New York year-round residence. To help snowbird clients navigate these complex rules, advisers have developed widely used checklists of “do’s and don’ts”. Often included in such lists is the recommendation that clients sever all ties with local charities. In response, clients have shifted their charitable support out of state, ceasing donations to organizations they and their families have supported for decades, and perhaps generations. This is not the intent of New York law. In fact, you will be reassured to know the New York Tax Law and

published tax audit guidelines specifically state that where you volunteer and to what charity you donate are not relevant in determining your domicile. The New Yo r k l e g i s l a t u r e amended Section 605 of the Tax Law in 1994 to clarify that charitable support and volunteer work “shall not be used in any manner to determine where an individual is domiciled”. Surely, this is welcome news. It means one less item on your snowbird checklist and, more meaningfully, a green light to continue supporting the charities you have supported your entire life. For more information on this topic and ways you can support Central New York, I encourage you to connect with the Community Foundation. The staff will work with you to discern your intentions and create a plan that maximizes the advantage of your estate and financial plans. Contact Tom Griffith at tgriffith@cnycf.org or 315-422-9538 for assistance. Marion Hancock Fish, Esq. is a former board chairwoman of the Community Foundation and partner at Hancock Estabrook, LLP. She focuses her practice on estate planning, transfer-of-wealth tax issues, family business planning and succession, charitable giving, not-forprofit law and elder law and special needs administration.

Good News, Guys: Viagra Prices Start to Tumble


n news that will delight men who’ve had difficulties in the bedroom, two generic versions of the erectile dysfunction  drug  Viagra hit the market in December. One of the new generics is made by Teva Pharmaceuticals, and the other by Greenstone, a subsidiary of Pfizer, the company that manufactures Viagra. The generic versions of the little blue pill (sildenafil) are cheaper than brand-name Viagra for most men. And more generic versions are expected this year, which could drive prices even lower. Viagra came on the market in 1998 as the first drug to treat impotence. Cialis (tadalafil) and  Levitra  (vardenafil) are two other erectile dysfunction medications. They work by relaxing muscle cells in the penis, which allows for greater blood flow, according to the Urology

Care Foundation. Pfizer says the current wholesale cost for a 50 milligram or 100 milligram Viagra is $61.54 a pill. Greenstone will sell the generic version for between $30 and $35 a pill. However, both of those figures represent the price the drug maker charges. A number of variables affect the final cost a consumer pays, such as mark-ups from pharmacy benefit managers or pharmacies, and insurance coverage and copays. “Cost has been a tremendous issue for patients. Many patients have been unable to obtain the medication since insurance companies don’t pay

for it and out-of-pocket costs are astronomical,” said physician Aaron Katz, chairman of urology at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. “The hope is that [the introduction of generics] will reduce the cost, and patients will have greater access to Viagra, which has been an important medication for healthy men with erectile dysfunction,” Katz added. Generic versions “will be of real benefit to the majority of men,” he said. “The brand erectile dysfunction drugs are often not covered by commercial payers [insurance companies], or are covered but with substantial copays and restrictions on the number of pills covered per month,” he said. For older men on Medicare, he said the brand-name drugs can cost as much as $50 for one pill. The doctor said this has led many men in the United States to buy erectile dysfunction drugs online or in Canada.

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February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS



Editor’s note: This is the first segment in a two-part series on physical therapy.

By Marilyn L. Pinsky

PT: Road to Recovery Physical therapy is methodical approach to feeling better


any of us have had experience with physical therapy and the klutzier ones, like me, have had many experiences. It started with an injury resulting from constantly reaching up to close the garage door with a shoulder loaded down by a heavy shoulder bag. Then came an injury from not paying attention to how many weights were on the machine while exercising and doing something stupid to my Achilles tendon. And so on through the years. Each time, physical therapy has come to the rescue and restored me practically to my former self. But after the last injury, I began to wonder if there were things I could be doing to prevent injuries in the first place. I asked my question to Katherine B e i s s n e r, d e a n o f t h e C o l l e g e of Health Professions at Upstate Medical University. She trains physical therapists among other health professionals. “One of the problems is that people get an injury, or just start to hurt for seemingly no reason, and they don’t act quickly enough to address the problem,” Beissner said. “One example is my sister who had two hip replacements at age 60. She started to have aches and pains but she was too busy doing other things, like being a caregiver to our father, taking care of her children and working full time. So she just pushed on through the pain. “The hypothesis is that the problem with her hips started years before but she ignored the symptoms. When she finally went to see an orthopedic surgeon, she was diagnosed with severe arthritis for which surgery was required. Had it been tended to earlier through stretching and exercising, the severity of the arthritis might have 32

55 PLUS - February / March 2018

Katherine Beisnner been prevented.” This is exactly what I wanted to know — how to avoid surgery. “It won’t prevent all surgeries, but stretching can help a great deal. An extremely important prevention exercise is the hip flexor stretch,” Beissner said. “It keeps the muscles in your hips stretched so injury is less likely. It is important to do this before you even have a problem, as aches and pains creep up on you. Then you start to think that having pain is what normal feels like, but it isn’t.”

Don’t just settle

“We are seeing a major generational difference with how we baby boomers approach injuries, as opposed to older people,” Beissner said. “Our mindset is that we don’t take as inevitable the changes that our body might be telling us. Slowing down is not an option; this is not what getting older is all about.

So we use physical therapy to recover and allow us to go on with our lives.” “On the other hand, the popular expression, ‘no pain, no gain’ is a double-edged sword,” she said. “You don’t want to let pain stop you from exercising, but sharp, stabbing pains could mean you should stop or switch what you are doing to a different exercise,” Beissner said. “It is fine to tolerate some degree of discomfort, and not let the pain become the focus of your life or stop you from exercising.” She said there are a number of ways that exercise can help decrease pain.  “No. 1 is from the  endorphin release that reduces your perception of pain. Two is strengthening the muscles around joints for greater joint stability, and three is stretching for increased flexibility that decreases joint stresses,” she noted. Often people go to PT and exercise diligently until they’re better and then they stop. Here’s why we can’t just quit and expect to maintain results: “If we don’t maximally lengthen our muscles, tendons and ligaments, they’ll gradually get shorter and then there’s less room for the bones to move and that results in joint compression. Stretching should start at an early age and continue throughout our life,” she said. We all want a quick fix. However, a quick fix rarely sticks. “Even though stretching is something that no one likes to do, it is the best injury prevention technique,” Beissner said. “It is important to realize that stretching exercises are not just for getting through the painful period after an injury, but that it is something we always have to do. It has to become part of our daily routine because it affects the rest of our life.”

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February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




Meet the Parents

Former Congressman Jim Walsh and his wife DeDe talk about public life, career, family and how they feel about having their son Ben as the new mayor of Syracuse


By Aaron Gifford

im Walsh can handle dilemmas. Take, for example, a situation in June of 2014 im Walsh handle dilemmas. duringcan a trip to Ireland. He Take, for example, a situation had a rare of opportunity to fish in June 2014 during a atrip dam known for its bass.aBut at to Ireland. Hebighad rare the same to time, United States opportunity fishthe a dam known for wasbass. playing in a time, televised its big ButBelgium at the same the United States was playing Belgium World Cup quarter final game. in a televised Worldangler Cup and quarter Walsh, a serious a finaldevoted game.  fan of the beautiful game, Walsh, a serious and a attempted to watchangler the match devoted fan of the beautiful game, on his cell phone while fishing. attempted to watch the match on his cell phone while fishing. He found 34

55 PLUS - February / March 2018

He found the task too tricky to manage, so he packed his gear, shut off the phone and stepped the taska too to one manage, inside localtricky pub. No there so he packed his gear, shut off the phone knew him. Although the soccer and stepped inside a local pub. No one fans were happy to have a there knew him. AlthoughYankee the soccer in their presence to have add toathe fans were happy to Yankee in ambiance of their World Cupambiance their presence to add to the ofexperience, their World Cup saw experience, Walsh Walsh no reason saw noanyone reasonthat to he tell anyone to tell had served that hein had served in theInstead, U.S. Congress. the U.S. Congress. Walsh Instead, Walsh sipped stout and sipped stout and cheered on Uncle cheered on Uncle Sam’s team with his Sam’s team with his new friends. new friends. 

Jim and DeDe at their Otisco Lake home in January. Photo by Chuck Wainwright February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


Goose hunting in 2016 with friends on the eastern shore of Maryland. Photo provided. “Every single person in that bar was rooting for us [United States],” he said. “That was such a great feeling.” As a congressman, Walsh was a moderate heralded for levelheadedness, making balanced decisions with his heart and mind, and serving his Central New York area well without diving too deep into the ugly side of politics that has tarnished reputations of so many leaders. He represented the 24 th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 20 years. “He was one of the good guys, and that’s saying a lot these days,” said Jim O’Connor, Walsh’s longtime friend and former communications director. “He always did the right thing, like turning down first class flights that were offered to him when he wasn’t looking for anything like that to begin with. He took the role of a congressman seriously and worked for our neighbors. He had the integrity to know his priorities and not get himself into trouble.” Walsh, 70, is the son of former Syracuse Mayor and Congressman William F. Walsh. And now one of Jim’s sons, Ben Walsh, continues that legacy as he was recently sworn in as Syracuse mayor. Unlike his Republican father, Ben is an independent and not affiliated with a major political party. But like his Dad, Ben has said he embraces the service aspect of public leadership and is hoping to minimize, if not avoid, the ugly side of politics. In the wake of his son’s election, 36

55 PLUS - February / March 2018

Golf outing in Ireland in 2017. Photo provided.

Walsh took some time recently to discuss his Syracuse upbringing, career, family, and other events leading to the new era of Walsh leadership. Jim Walsh, the second oldest of six children, grew up in an Irish neighborhood on Syracuse’s west side. Forty cousins and a host of aunts, uncles and grandparents all lived within a few blocks of him. “They are there when you need them, and they are there when you don’t,” Walsh quipped about his extended family, adding that at his first house, the family shared one bathroom for 10 people. The advantage of such a big family was there were always plenty of hand-me-down toys, books and clothing, and no shortage of kids to play with. Life was never boring. The basketball hoop over the Walsh garage became a gathering spot for neighborhood youngsters. Like most kids on Tipp Hill, Walsh also enjoyed football and baseball. He attended St. Patrick’s school and later graduated from Christian Brothers Academy. He frequently traveled outside of the city to go hunting and fishing, and spent his summers on Otisco Lake, where he continues to maintain a home, splitting time between Washington, D.C., and Central New York.

Involvement in Politics The Walsh legacy of public service began when Jim’s father took a job as a social worker and then moved

up the ladder in the Onondaga County Planning Department before eventually seeking an elected position as mayor. Jim’s parents were focused on serving their community, and they tried to instill the same values in their children at home and through school, church and scout programs. The Walsh children watched intently as their father helped to integrate city schools and managed emergency responses to snow storms. “Those issues were really important,” Walsh said. “It was a pretty good time to grow up.” Wa l s h a t t e n d e d a C a t h o l i c university in western New York, St. Bonaventure. At the time, he had no aspirations to become a politician or a leader. During his junior year, Walsh’s friend talked him into running for student council vice president. He agreed, “as long as I didn’t have to do anything.” The day of the election, Walsh went to Olean as a student volunteer to help fight a forest fire. He lost the election, but still felt good about what he did that day. The following summer he joined the Peace Corps and, after completing training at the International Rice Institute, was sent to Nepal to help citizens of that country plant fields. For two years, Walsh lived in a hut with a mud floor and no running water. He befriended the locals, sharing meals with them and engaging in pick-up soccer games. “As different as they were, the basic human values were the same

— family, education, and making a living,” he said. Upon returning home, Walsh took a job at the Onondaga County Social Services Department. He embarked upon a career, got married (to DeDe), and started a family. Seeking a better paying job to support the household, Walsh left the county job to work for New York telephone. As a homeowner who was unsatisfied with city services, Walsh started to make his presence known around City Hall. He joined a young Republicans association and threw his hat into the ring for the Common Council president position, challenging an incumbent. “He throttled me,” Walsh recalled of the losing effort. “You really got to pay your dues. It was a great lesson. You really need to get out there and meet people.” That’s just what Walsh did. He was good at it, and it was a skill that would come in handy decades later when he went door to door for his son’s mayoral race last year. Jim’s second run for a council spot was successful. He is pretty sure he knocked on every single door in the city’s third district, “maybe twice.” But Jim Walsh’s experience in local politics was different than his father’s. Mayors have executive powers, but legislators must wait for things to happen, Jim explained, as they make deals and build relationships. He was later elected council president and considered running for mayor, but decided the move could be risky for his career and chose a path with more job security. When Walsh stepped into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989, the environment felt much more hostile than anything he experienced in Syracuse. The Democrats had held the majority for more than 40 years. “They owned everything and they ran everything,” he said. “Even the buildings and all of the rooms inside the buildings were named after Democrats.” Walsh did not enjoy partisan politics, even after the tide shifted in 1994 to put his party in the majority. But it did give him more power within the appropriations committee, where he could focus on getting funding for programs back home. He brought home money for Syracuse neighborhood initiatives and saved the 174th Fighter Wing Air National Guard

DeDe Walsh with granddaughter Breena on Otisco Lake last winter. Photo provided. base from closure. With rust belt cities like Syracuse in peril, Walsh felt it was his duty to get Central New York as much federal funding as possible. “That was my whole goal,” he said. “I went to Washington to be an uber-city councilor.” B u t t h e U p s t a t e N e w Yo r k re p re s e n t a t i v e e v e n t u a l l y h a d opportunities to help folks outside of Central New York. Newt Gingrich, then the house majority leader and a fellow Irish-American, appointed Walsh as chairman of the Friends of Ireland Committee. For the next 12 years, Walsh led delegations to Belfast and Dublin, helping to ease tensions in the North Ireland conflict and fostering solid relations between the United States and the two Irelands. “It became a labor of love,” Walsh said. “The more I went there, the more I realized that I had so much more to learn about where my ancestors came from.” Walsh is also credited with creating a universal hearing screening process of newborns, improving health care benefits for veterans, and securing $160 million for the Onondaga Lake clean-up project. 

In 2008, Walsh decided not to run for another term. Power in Congress had shifted back to the Democrats, and after barely beating challenger Dan Maffei in the previous election, his seat was vulnerable. “We went from the top of the mountain to the bottom,” Walsh said. “I felt like I had accomplished everything I set out to do, and at 60 I was still young enough to do something else.” Upon leaving the House of Representatives, Walsh accepted a job as a lobbyist/government affairs specialist with the K&L Gates in Washington, D.C., which is one of the largest law firms in the nation. He develops legislative strategies to help elected leaders obtain federal funding for their districts. Walsh enjoys the job, because “it’s a team sport here.” He cherished his role in serving constituents, but does not miss the political games. And even though his party won back the majority of the legislature in the last election, Walsh couldn’t imagine being in office during these very trying times. “The country is basically bi-polar right now,” he said, “and Congress February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


really reflects the country. The key to doing your job the right way is to find people who disagree with you but are still willing to listen. That might still happen, but not enough.”

Support for Ben Walsh Walsh and his wife, DeDe, who is an educator by trade and had worked for the Syracuse City School District, split time between D.C. and a home they own on Otisco Lake. They have three grown children (Jed, Ben and Maureen, all registered to vote as independents), three grandchildren and another grandchild on the way. At any given time, DeDe said, all three of the Walsh children, along with so many of their cousins, showed interest in public service and leadership, though all of them are well rounded with many interests. She described Ben as a quiet leader. He was assertive and liked to explore different ideas, and in doing so he always attracted an audience of peers who were curious to see if his ideas worked. She initially discouraged him for running for mayor, but when he made up his mind, she was thrilled to help with the campaign. “It can be challenging, because you are open to public criticism,” she said of the mayor’s position. “A mother’s job is to protect her kids. They have such a great time as a family. I was afraid he would be torn from it.” Jim Walsh added that he has emulated his father’s approach. “I tell him that I’m here if you need me, I’m there, but beyond that, I stay out of it. We took a very low profile. We love going door to door. But these guys, they have more energy and they are so savvy with social media. These guys were really organized on their own.” DeDe said that in the Walsh household, politics was never discussed as much as most folks would imagine. And despite Walsh’s commitment to Washington, the couple worked very hard to support all of their children’s activities and give them opportunities to pursue whatever path they chose.  “Jim would get off the plane, meet us at the soccer game and then drive a carpool of kids home,” DeDe said. “For me, the best thing was to hear our kids say he did everything that he was expected to do.” 38

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Meet the Walshes Jim Walsh Age: 70


The Syracuse native splits time between homes in Otisco and Washington, D.C.

Family: Wife DeDe; children Jed, Ben and Maureen; three grandchildren. Career:

Currently employed as a lobbyist and government affairs specialist with K&L Gates in Washington, D.C. Prior to that he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1989 until 2009. He served on the Syracuse Common Council from 1978 to 1988.


Mountain climbing, watching soccer, traveling. He also played on the Congressional baseball team for 11 years. He loves hunting and fishing, especially the Salmon River. Said long-time fishing buddy Jim O’Connor: “He goes winter fishing in the Salmon River, and then will fish in the blazing heat on Skaneateles Lake on Father’s Day. We’ve hit all the weather extremes. The 15-pound king salmon he caught, I think it may have broken his rod.”  

DeDe Walsh

Age: 67 Career and Civic Activities:

Previously worked for the Syracuse City School District. She has also served on several local boards, including the Children’s Consortium, the St. Camillus Foundation, Onondaga Community College Foundation and the Onondaga Lake Parks Association. In Washington, D.C., DeDe has continued to serve as a member of the Bipartisan Congressional Club, which is a philanthropic group that also puts on luncheons for the First Lady. 

Hobbies: Spending time with friends and family, especially the grandchildren. Favorite Foods: seafood.

Pasta and

Thoughts on aging: “As your

family grows, you feel happy for them. We feel blessed. These are great years.”


Walsh works out 30 minutes a day without the use of weights, preferring stretching, push-ups and exercises that work the core.


“I consider myself very lucky,” Walsh said. “I found a wonderful woman to take me through life. I was also lucky enough to have a great career, and it’s still going.”

Granddaughter Inga with DeDe and Jim Walsh during a visit in Washington, DC in 2015.

golden years By Harold Miller hal@cny55.com

Quantum Computing The latest thing from Silicon Valley promises to change the world and how things are done


y column about artificial intelligence in the June-July issue of 55 Plus explained how advanced computer technology will allow computers to read, analyze and understand data like our minds do. Now, hot on the heels of this development, comes news of the next revolution in computer technology — quantum computing. The strange laws of quantum mechanics have been known and understood for some time. Scientists have proven that atoms can exist in two states at once, a phenomenon called superposition. A single atom, for example, can be in two locations at the same time. Scientists have proved the theory repeatedly and conclusively and this law is behind the next revolution in computing. The computers that run your laptop or iPhone are now described as “classic.” They process information using bits, which have a value of one or zero. Bits are represented by tiny electrical circuits called transistors that toggle between on (one) and off (two). Every finger tap on your iPhone is simply a long sequence of ones and zeros. Quantum bits (or qubits) use superposition to exist in two states at once — effectively one and zero at the

same time. In a classic computer, bits are like coins that display heads or tails. Qubits, on the other hand, are like coins spinning through the air showing both sides at once. This dynamism allows qubits to encode and process data exponentially faster than bits. It is like comparing an addi ng machine to today’s supercomputers. The computing power of a classic computer data center stretching several city blocks could theoretically be achieved by a quantum chip the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Companies and universities around the world are racing to build quantum machines. Google, a unit of Alphabet Incorporated, appears to be in the lead. Early this year Google’s Quantum Computer will face its acid test in the form of an obscure computational problem that would take a classic computer billions of years to complete. Success would establish “quantum supremacy,” the tipping point where a quantum computer accomplishes something previously impossible. The result of this tipping point would be to render most classic mainframe computers obsolete. Companies and governments are scrambling to prepare for what some refer to as Y2Q — the year a large scale quantum computer arrives — some experts estimate 2026. When and if this happens, many challenges may occur. Many closely guarded digital secrets could be compromised. Last year the National Security Agency issued an order that America’s national security employees and vendors must, “in the not-to-distant-future,” begin overhauling their encryption to

guard against the threat imposed by quantum computers. The objective of the race to develop quantum computers is to get a leg-up on competition, to supercharge machine learning and artificial intelligence — two rapidly growing fields. Google is betting that all machine learning will be running on quantum computers within the decade. Meanwhile, the commercial race heated up earlier this year when IBM unveiled a chip with 16 qubits and Google’s head of quantum hardware let slip that they had a 22 qubit chip sitting frozen inside elaborate vats called cryostats. Because particles lose superposition with the slightest interference, quantum computers must be radically insulated from the outside world. The cryostat’s exterior (a soft magnetic alloy that blocks the earth’s magnetic field) is augmented by compressed helium and liquid nitrogen pumped from an adjacent frost-covered tank, and must cool the inside of the cryostat to minus 459.6 degrees F. (a fraction of a degree above the lowest temperature possible) to enable the conductivity necessary for Google’s qubits to run computations. Such an expensive and complex setup means that Google and its peers will likely sell quantum computing via the cloud, possibly charging by the second. For now Google, as well as Microsoft, Intel and most other computer machine manufacturers are working 24/7 to market the first quantum computer and enter into the frontier of technology where computers leverage unthinkably complex natural laws rather than converting the world into ones and zeros. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




lower lashes moving from the inner corner of your eye to the center. • More youthful lips Full lips also appear more youthful, so invest in a good long-lasting lip liner. Line your top and bottom lip along your lip line. For fuller lips, line just to the outside of your lip line. • A perfect complexion As you age, foundation often makes you look older because it cakes on your mature skin. The good news is there are lightweight foundations that offer excellent coverage without caking. One of them is L’oreal Visible Lift Blur Foundation, which is very light weight, yet it does a superb job of hiding those lines.

Products That Work

How to Look 5 or 10 Years Younger – Without Injections or Plastic Surgery By Kimberly Blaker


egardless how gracefully women try to handle aging, it’s something most of us dread from early adulthood. The proof is in that women as young as their 20s are getting Botox injections with many  more who spend hundreds of dollars a year on anti-aging lotions and potions. But the good news is women can maintain a youthful appearance without undergoing risky and costly injections and surgery or resorting to concoctions that seldom work.


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It’s All In The Application Several makeup techniques go a long way toward fine-tuning your features to create a more youthful appearance. So give these a try. • The eyes have it To make your eyes look larger, line the inside of your lower lid with a white or flesh colored eyeliner. Now, brighten up your eye area by dabbing a pale pink, flesh or oyster color shadow to the inside corners of your eyes. Then add a couple more dabs just under your

There are countless products on the market from supplements to lotions and creams that claim to make you look younger. Unfortunately, few hold up to muster. Occasionally, however, there’s one that does the trick. These are a few that do as they claim. • Dermastrips Are you tired of looking at the lines around your mouth? If so, you don’t need to resort to lip injections. Instead, try Angelift Dermastrips. Insert these specially designed rubber strips under your lips along your gum line, and wear them for up to 30 minutes a day. In about four weeks, you’ll see a remarkable improvement. After that, wear them just once a week for maintenance. • Invisible eyelid strips Are your upper eyelids no longer visible because of sagging skin that rests on your eyelashes? Now there’s an easy correction for this. Eyelid strips are made by a several manufacturers. Look for Bynanda Double Eyelid Tape, Eye Magic Instant Eye Lift, or Magic Strips, among others. Just stick these tiny clear strips along the crease of your eyelid, and voila. Your eyelids are now visible and look years younger. • Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum When it comes to anti-aging

lotions, few on the market stand up to their claims. But this clinically proven serum has shown significant improvement in reducing deep lines. It takes about four weeks to see the full results.

Clothing That Compliments The clothing you choose can either add years to your age or it can make you look younger. You just need to know the tricks to make clothing work in your favor. • Out with the black It’s time to banish the black. As you age, black tends to draw attention to the fine lines on your face. Instead, wear colors that compliment you. Everyone looks great in certain colors, so play those colors up. Hold on to your black pants, but keep the black away from your face. This also includes black-framed eyeglasses. Opt for metallics, bright colors, or lighter colored frames. • Keep it stylish, but don’t overdo it. As you age, dressing trendy from head to toe doesn’t work so well. In fact, it can make you look your age because the style contrasts with your physical maturity. Instead, mix a pair of classic pants and shirt, with a trendy sweater. Or add style to a pair of jeans and a classic top with a pair of trendy boots (so long as they aren’t bulky). Another option is to choose pieces that are mostly classic but have a stylish flair. • Shapers aren’t what they used to be And that’s excellent news. There

was a time when most women wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the hideous shapewear that was available to them. But lingerie companies have finally gotten the message and come out with shapewear that’s both sexy and more comfortable to wear. Shapewear can shave years off your image by creating a sleeker look.

Health and Attitude Is Everything Finally, being healthy both mentally and physically goes a long way toward looking and feeling young. If you have a positive outlook on life, it benefits your health. In contrast, anger, stress, and depression are known to increase your risk for diseases. Not to mention, it reflects in your posture and your face. So make exercise a part of your daily routine. A regimen of aerobic exercise for your heart and lungs and weight lifting to keep your bones and muscles strong will help you maintain your youth. Exercise also helps with your mood by releasing endorphins. Remember, whatever methods you choose to create a more youthful appearance, good health and a positive attitude will show and make you glow. Kimberly Blaker is a lifestyle and parenting freelance writer. She also writes a blog, The Young Gma’s Guide to Parenting at www.theyounggma.com

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February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS



ride sharing

Cicero Retiree Happy to Be Uber Driver By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


aking some extra money up to a full living may be as easy as driving your car around town. As of late last June, ride hail companies have been operating in Syracuse and elsewhere in Upstate New York. Would-be drivers download an app onto their smart phones and complete the application process, which includes background, driving and criminal record checks. Once they’re approved to drive, they can turn on the app whenever they’re available to drive for anyone who hails them through the app. The app records the mileage and accepts the fares directly from riders. Drivers may accept cash tips. Driving through Uber’s ride hail app has enabled T o n y


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Petrilli, 68, of Cicero, to save up some money and keep busy after retiring from his career in sales for CCX. He has driven for Uber since June. Petrilli learned about ride hailing when he attended a wedding out of state in November 2016. He planned to rent a car, but another attendee told him about ride hailing. He realized that ride hail driving could provide a means for him to make some money in retirement, so he signed up as soon as ride hailing came to Upstate. Petrilli said that he drives around 10 hours a week, although not evenings, and averages about $10 to $12 an hour. He chooses morning hours because “if you’re called late, most are Ubering because they can’t drive,” Petrilli said. “I’ve heard about people getting sick in the back seat.” He added: “I get calls Saturday mornings from people who need to go back to where they were Friday night to pick up their cars.” He has learned to go to areas where

Driving through Uber’s ride hail app has enabled Tony Petrilli, 68 and of Cicero, to save up some money and keep busy after retiring from his career in sales for CCX. He has driven for Uber since June.

people tend to need rides, since no one can directly hail specific riders. The Uber app connects riders with whatever driver has the app on in the vicinity. Petrilli said that when riders check his profile, they can see his 4.78 out of 5 rating and know that they have a dependable driver available. “That makes me feel good about myself,” he said. So far, Petrilli has enjoyed good experiences with Uber. He said that drivers who are a “people person” do better than the quiet types. He added that patience can help improve the experience as well. Occasionally, riders think that he should instantaneously appear to pick them up. “They think I’m waiting at the end

of their driveway,” Petrilli said. “If they want a cab, that would take just as long or longer to get to their home.” Beyond the stringent checks on drivers, their cars must also meet company standards, such as up-to-date inspection and insurance. Drivers of old cars need not apply; acceptable cars must be within a certain number of years old. Cars must have four doors that open from the inside and outside, a minimum number of seats and meet safety standards. No beaters are allowed; cars must be in good condition, clean, free of dents and rust and fully functional. The app uses GPS to aid drivers in finding riders for pick-up and to arrive at their destination efficiently. The app also tracks drivers’ rate of speed, braking and acceleration to ensure safety. Lyft and Uber both provide insurance for drivers that take effect whenever the app is on. It’s also important for drivers to feel completely comfortable using apps and GPS. Knowing the town well can also help as occasionally GPS isn’t 100 percent accurate. Petrilli said that he feels safe about driving for a ride hailing service knowing that riders pay the fares electronically. Since drivers don’t carry cash, they’re much less of a target. He added that overall, he thinks driving for a ride-sharing represents a good opportunity for retirees. While it could prove a means to earn retirement income, paying taxes is up to the drivers. Bill Symons, staff accountant with Canale Insurance & Accounting in Oswego, said that in addition to paying state and federal tax, drivers must also pay Social Security taxes as well on both fares and any tips they receive since drivers operate as independent contractors, not employees. “Drivers should make estimated tax payments quarterly,” Symons said. Setting aside approximately 15 percent of their income for federal tax and 8 percent for state tax should be enough; however, consulting with a tax professional can help drivers plan ahead so they don’t pay penalties at the end of the tax season. Drivers should also discuss deductions for car maintenance with their tax preparer.

55+ pastime 10 Fun Things to Do Indoors with Grandchildren By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


t’s winter. You know the drill: hunker down and try to not go stir-crazy when the mercury dips ridiculously low. But when you’re watching young grandchildren, you need a game plan so you don’t all bounce off the walls with cabin fever. Try these ideas for inside fun when it’s frigid out. Dress retro. Dig out old clothes and accessories you have from years back and put on a fashion show, including the children. Your grandchildren will get a kick out of seeing what was popular decades ago. Try some retro hairstyles on them, too, and crank up your favorite tunes. Picture this. Pour over the photo albums and play home movies from when their mom or dad was small. Tell stories about funny things their parents said and did at their ages. Get crafty. Offer them an array of craft tools and supplies — age appropriate, of course — and items from the recycling bin. In an age of craft kits and directions, freewheeling with supplies can be refreshingly fun for children. Keep them safe and try to curtail the mess, but let them make whatever they want. Or teach them a “forgotten” art that you’ve mastered. Cook up fun. From baking cookies to making alphabet soup, children love mixing it up in the kitchen, especially if you let them select the recipe. Keep in mind that long and complicated recipes may frustrate younger children, so guide them toward tried-and-true favorites. For the very small, a box cake mix may suffice, but let them do as much as





they’re able, such as stirring, pouring in the pre-measured oil, and decorating the cooled cake. Read them stories. Even older children enjoy hearing stories, but let them pick out the book. Plan a vacation. Clip photos out of magazines and brochures and print ones from the internet to plan an imaginary trip to an exotic locale (somewhere warm, perhaps?). Younger children may want to pretend the trip; older ones may want to make a poster about it, with a list of things they’d like to do at their dream destination. Play along. Even if you don’t understand or enjoy their video games, play it with them. Children will relish the chance to teach you their games and insider tips for winning. Maybe you’ll find you like it, too. Get board. Board games, that is. Since you likely own different games than they have at home, the games may prove novel enough to hold their interest a while. Play outside games inside. Play hopscotch with a beanbag and masking tape on the floor. Inflate a small wading pool and fill it with plastic ball pit-style balls so they can “swim” inside. Blow bubbles in the kitchen while wearing rubber boots for traction. With just a few tweaks, outside “summer” activities can provide diversion indoors. Put on a show. Write and perform a play, puppet show, musical or whatever. Or copy one of your favorite stories. When their parents come to pick them up, it’s show time!

5. 6.





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life after 55 By Michele Reed michele@cny55.com

Fresh Veggies, Flowers and Sun: Winter in France


ur French neighbors don’t understand why these crazy Americans come every January, and not the “beautiful month of April,” as they always recommend. At those moments, I raise my hand waist high and tell them we have “snow by the meter.” I can’t wait to see their faces when I show them pictures of Bill cleaning off the car on Dec. 27. That day’s snowfall in Oswego — 39 inches — is exactly one meter, and it fell during only a six-hour period! Because they are used to it, the French don’t see how much more pleasant their winter weather is. One sunny, 63-degree day last February at the weekly outdoor flower market in Beziers, I purchased two small plants, a cyclamen and primrose, both in full bloom, for a total of $4. They spent the winter on our windowsill — outside! Not only are flowers plentiful, our farmers’ markets are full of fresh produce from France and nearby Spain. At that same day’s market I picked up a perfect head of lettuce, ripe tomatoes, fresh young onions, a leek, leafy celery and a firm white cauliflower for a grand total of $6. Paradise for a Central New Yorker! But it’s not always like that. It’s still winter in the south of France, and while it in no way compares to snowy Upstate New York, it can sometimes be cold and windy, with plenty of rain to chill these old bones. When we arrive in mid-January, temperatures can be as low as the high 30s or low 40s with strong winds. Our stone house starts out frigid. In our absence, September to January, the house has plenty of time to get really chilly. Foot-thick stone walls and terracotta floors hold the cold and they don’t like to give it up easily. There is


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These bright blooms were for sale in our outdoor flower market in late winter. no central heating, which is common practice there. We have two electric heaters in the living room (although we’ve only ever needed to use one), one in the hall between the bedroom and bathroom, and one in the top-floor guest room. For the first two or three days, we go around the house with layers of sweaters on and scarves around our necks. Little by little, as the house warms up, we shed the layers, and eventually after a week or two, we even keep the heaters off most of the winter. There is no window in the bathroom but as is common in Europe, there is a nine-inch diameter screened vent drilled through the thick stone wall, bringing light and air into the room. On warm days you can hear the

doves and chickens our neighbor raises right in the heart of the village, cooing and clucking in an avian chorale. The vent is right above the shower and in winter, cold air pours in. When the wind is just right, you can see your breath. Our first couple of weeks in France every winter are marked by very quick showers. Our house is not the only “stone cold” place, as Bill has dubbed it. Churches, like in the United States, are kept closed when there are no services. So during the week, the stone walls of the church get very cold. In our little village, because of the priest shortage, we only have mass once a month. The church, first built in the 1200s and added to over the centuries, is a massive stone structure

— originally the village’s defense, complete with arrow slits — perched high on a hill overlooking the plains and rolling vineyards. There is a direct line from the Montagnes Noires, or Black Mountains, the edge of France’s Massif Central. The cold tramontane winds (their name means, literally, “over the mountains”) have nothing to stop them as they buffet the church. So our village church is cold in winter, but we prefer it to our other options. At least we have infrared heaters on high pillars aiming down upon the congregation. It makes it so warm within their reach, that we sometimes have to shed our scarves and coats. Not so on the other three weekends of the month. We take the bus into the nearby city of Beziers to an 11th century church made famous by the Crusaders’ slaughter of 7,000 people, according to medieval chronicles. When the Crusaders fighting the Cathar heretics in 1209 asked the papal legate how they should know which people hiding in the church were the heretics to slay and which were innocent Christians, he famously said, “Kill them all. God will know His own.” But that chilling story is nothing compared to the chill we feel when we walk into the Church of St. Mary Magdalene every winter weekend. Because the church is closed all week, not only is it frigid inside, it is damp and musty to boot. It can be 60 degrees outside on an early spring day, and be a bone-chilling 40 inside. We dress in coats with down vests underneath, scarves and wool gloves, right through mass. The saving grace is that in France, unlike in the States, there are no kneelers. So congregants stand for most of the service. Being saved from kneeling on the stone floor and able to move around a little help to keep us warm. The opposite is true in summer, when the stone church — with no windows that can open — becomes an oven, with temperatures rising to the high 90s or even 100. Our area is very near Spain, and we keep many of their customs so it is common to see ladies fanning themselves with ornate Spanish fans throughout summer services. The cold weather ends quickly, and daytime temps between February and April rise steadily through the 50s, 60s and 70s. The mimosas are in full bloom by Valentine’s Day, and families take walks in shirtsleeves to pick the

On a late January day, all these fresh vegetables were available at the farmers’ market. fragrant yellow flowers growing wild by the roadside to greet the arrival of spring. By the time we leave France in April, the temperatures are hitting 70. With 320 days of sunshine year, even in depth of winter, we enjoy the feeling of well-being a blue sky and natural sunlight bring. Weather is a constant topic of conversation, and on a sunny day, even the natives remark on the “beau soleil,” or beautiful sun, and smiles are everywhere. Fresh flowers and produce, beautiful sunshine and mild temperatures — that’s why we became “snow birds” who fly all the way across the Atlantic to our winter home.

Michele Reed retired after a career spanning four decades in public relations, advertising, journalism and higher education. She now writes travel articles, book reviews, haiku poetry and fiction. Bill Reed retired after four decades in social services with the county of Oswego, and now works at travel photography and photojournalism, along with writing book reviews.

In February, wildflowers abound between the dormant organic grape vines. In the background is the village, with its stone church perched high on the hill. Photos by Bill Reed February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS


consumers corner By Eva Briggs, M.D.

Abdominal Pain? One Reason May Be Diverticulitis


ave a bad stomachache, and the first thing that jumps into peoples’ minds is the appendix. Or constipation. But those are only two of many maladies producing belly pain. Diverticulitis is one common cause of abdominal pain in mature adults. This disorder of the large bowel (colon) is acquired with age. Up to 60 percent of people over age 80 develop divericuli, little outpouchings of the colon. Fortunately, the majority never develop symptoms or problems. Understanding this disease begins by considering the colon’s structure. This tubular organ has a lining called the mucosa, surrounded by a muscle layer. Arteries pierce through the muscle layer to supply oxygen and nutrients to the mucosa. Over time, the perforations that admit the arteries weaken and stretch. If the lining of the


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intestine bulges outward into these widened openings, small pouches, called diverticuli, form. Most affected people have multiple divericuli, each about one quarter to half inch wide. The presence of diverticuli is called diverticulosis. About 15 percent of patients with diverticulosis develop abdominal pain. The pain is usually crampy, and may be relieved by passing gas or having a bowel movement. Eating sometimes precipitates attacks. The pain is typically in the lower left abdomen. We’re not sure why some people with diverticulosis develop symptoms. Evidence suggests that people who eat a high fiber diet and exercise regularly are less likely to develop problems. Conventional wisdom advises patients with diverticulosis to avoid eating seeds, corn, popcorn and nuts for fear that these will lodge in the diverticuli, trapping bacteria and leading to infection. Caffeine, smoking and alcohol don’t seem to raise the risk of symptoms from diverticulosis. About 5 percent of patients with dicerticulosis wind up with infection and inflammation called diverticultis. The initial symptom of abdominal pain develops fairly quickly. Most diverticuli are in the left colon so the pain is typically on the left. But the disease can occur on the right side too. Usually there is a fever, and blood work shows an increased number of white blood cells. Other possible symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. If an inflamed diverticulum is near the bladder it may cause frequent and/or painful urination, symptoms that mimic a urinary tract infection. The usual diagnostic test is a CT scan, which detects about 97 percent of cases.

People with mild diverticulitis are treated as outpatients with a clear fluid diet and antibiotics. Often two antibiotics are needed because a mixture of several types of intestinal bacteria causes the infection. The sickest patients need hospitalization for bowel rest (no food or fluids by mouth) and intravenous antibiotics. The vast majority of patients hospitalized for diverticulitis recover without surgery. A few require surgery after failing to improve with antibiotics and bowel rest. A very small number develop serious complications. Abscesses occur when the inflammation spreads beyond the tissues adjacent to the colon. Fistulas form when the inflammation erodes into a nearby organ, such as the bladder, producing an abnormal passageway between the bowel and the other organ. Obstruction, a blockage of the bowel, may result from scar tissue, from swelling that closes the bowel, or from an abscess that pushes the bowel shut from the outside. Diverticular hemorrhage is the most common cause of major bleeding from the lower gastrointestinal tract. In fact, it can be the only sign of diverticular disease. It happens when the arteries that travel through the muscular wall of the colon are thinned where they pass through the diverticula. The bleeding starts abruptly, there is usually a large volume, and it’s painless. It’s treated in the hospital with fluid replacement and transfusion if necessary. Most diverticular bleeds resolve without surgery.

Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health.

druger’s zoo

By Marvin Druger

My Adventure Buying a Mattress ‘My reason for delaying so long to buy a new mattress was that I was terrified that I’d get it home and then find out that it was uncomfortable’


leep is very important to our health. Although many aspects of sleep are still a mystery, we know that sleeping time is when there is physical, mental and emotional processing. During sleep, there is consolidation of memories and they change from short-term to long-term memory, hormones are synthesized, tissues are repaired and the body is revitalized. The National Sleep Foundation has recommended that infants (4 to 11 months) need 12-15 hours of sleep; preschoolers (3 to 5) need 10-13 hours; school age children (6-13) need nine to 11 hours; teenagers (14-17) need eight to 10 hours; adults (26-64) need seven to nine hours; and older adults (65-plus) need about seven to eight hours of sleep. Humans spend about one third of their lifespan sleeping. As I get older, I deliberately spend less time sleeping because I want to have more conscious time in my life. We try to have optimal conditions for healthy sleeping, such as darkness and quietness and a good mattress and pillow. Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you go to bed? After many years of use, my mattress seemed to have developed grooves into which my body sunk at night. I already had replaced my regular pillow with a special cervical neck pillow to avoid a stiff neck syndrome. Now, it was time to replace the mattress. After many months of complaining, I finally shopped for a new mattress. First, I looked online to see approximate prices for different mattresses. I discovered that there were many different kinds, sizes, and prices of mattresses. I already had the sheets and pillowcases for a king size

mattress, so I decided to get a king size mattress to avoid buying new sheets and pillowcases. I also had a headboard for a king size mattress, so the decision was easy to make. I visited a local furniture store. A salesman greeted me warmly. It seemed that he had been standing near the door for a long time waiting for a potential customer. He gave me a pillow, so that I could try out different mattresses. I immediately noticed the great variety of mattresses, none of which had a sale price label. This store regularly advertised spectacular sales, but I had no idea of what a sale price might be. I lay down on several different mattresses. One was too soft. Another was too hard; and I tried to find one that was just right. Lying down on a mattress for a few minutes didn’t help much. Since I had exercised at Metro Fitness just before going to the store, I almost fell asleep on every mattress I tried. My reason for delaying so long to buy a new mattress was that I was terrified that I’d get it home and then find out that it was uncomfortable. I visited the store on three separate occasions to try out mattresses before I actually bought one. I was told that if I bought a mattress cover for more than $100, that I could exchange the mattress if it didn’t suit me. I bought the mattress cover. I also bought the king size mattress that seemed most comfortable. I didn’t haggle much about the price, especially since I couldn’t identify the spectacular sale price on any mattress. Of course, I asked for a senior discount, but there was none. The mattress was delivered to my house on a specified day. My bedroom is on the second floor, and the hallway

is adorned with framed photos of my family members. There are 13 steps up to a landing and then a sharp left turn and three more steps. I wondered what damage would be done to the photos or walls as the delivery men negotiated the hallway. Magically, they somehow got the mattress up the stairs and into the bedroom without damaging anything. I was excited about finally having a new mattress, even though I had no idea about what it was really worth. I went to bed that night and covered myself with a quilt. It turned out that the mattress was extra firm, and it was like lying down on a wooden table. I didn’t get much sleep that night, and I even had a nightmare that I attribute to the wooden mattress. The next day, I called the store to ask about exchanging the mattress for a softer one. I was told that it would take some time for the mattress to wear in and be comfortable. “How long?” I asked. “About a month,” I was told. Then, after a month, if the mattress was still uncomfortable, they would exchange it for a softer one. My guess is that many dissatisfied people get used to their mattress in a month, and don’t bother to exchange it. The store cashier also suggested that I get young children to jump on the mattress to soften it up. I don’t have any young children in my house, but I thought about hiring some young kids in my neighborhood to jump on the mattress. Then I realized that there were no young children in my neighborhood and I gave up on that idea. So, at the moment, I am reluctant to try to go to sleep. I don’t think my mattress adventure is uncommon. Try buying a new mattress and you’ll see. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




Adventure Tour, the longest, fastest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America. When there is no snow, take the chair lift to the top for a panoramic view and wander the trail to the Rip Van Winkle statue. Thomas Cole: English-born Cole was enthralled with the unspoiled landscape of the Hudson Valley and painted many works of art that personified the beauty and serenity of the area. His work gained him the status as the founder of the Hudson River School of Art, a movement that flourished in the mid19th century creating many landscape artists. At the Thomas Cole National Historic Site in Catskill visitors can tour his house and studios. Kaaterskill Falls: This is the highest two-tiered cascading waterfalls in NYS and one of the oldest tourist attractions. It was featured prominently in paintings by Thomas Cole and others. Visitors can get a great view of the area and falls from the new viewing platform or hike to the bottom where there is a swimming hole. Hikers can also take the 1.5-mile trail between Kaaterskill Falls and the Mountain Top Historical Society in Haines Falls. Mountain Top Arboretum: Green County’s roads wind their way through the hills, mountains and valleys but the dedicated naturalist will want to visit the Arboretum near Tannersville. The public garden has 178 acres of plant collections, meadows, wetlands and forest making it a natural sanctuary for those interested in horticulture, birding, geology (there is Devonian bedrock), along with hiking and snowshoeing. There are trails and boardwalks and a new nature center. Piano Performance Museum: The one-of-a-kind piano museum is located in the Doctorow Center for the Arts in Hunter where they offer a variety of films, live performances and other events. The Piano Performance Museum offers a unique look at 400 years of the development of pianos in Europe and America. There is also a display of piano shawls, tuning equipment and an amazing collection of miniature pianos. They offer a variety of tours, mini concerts, and lectures.


Hunter Mountain is known as the “Snowmaking Capital of the World” making it a favorite of winter sportsmen.

10 Things to Visit in Greene County County is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill peaks By Sandra Scott


o c a t e d s o u t h o f A l b a n y, Greene County is named after Revolutionary War hero Nathaniel Greene, one of Washington’s most gifted and dependable officers. The county is a place for year round fun. The people of Greene County like to say it is a “World away…and closer than you think.” The county is home to five of the 10 highest Catskill peaks. The area is a favorite of outdoor enthusiasts who love the greens and snow but visitors can also enjoy the area’s unique art, music and culture. Bronck Museum: Learn about the history of the area at the Bronck Museum on the homestead where eight generations have lived and farmed. The land was purchased



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from the Mohicans in 1662. There are 11 buildings on the property representing different eras of architecture. Besides the home, there is a New World Dutch Barn, a unique 13-sided barn, and a kitchen building behind the main house. The site is on the National Register of Historic places. Hunter Mountain: Hunter Mountain is known as the “Snowmaking Capital of the World” making it a favorite of winter sportsmen. The complex is best known for skiing with winter enthusiasts enjoying the Kaaterskill Mountain Club with a variety of accommodations, restaurants, and a spa, which makes the place a favorite winter getaway. There is more than snow fun — it is also home to the New York Zipline






Mahayana Temple: The serenity of the area is amplified at the Buddhist temple, one of the first of its kind on the East Coast. Walk under the red wooden archway to enter the temple where there is a statue of Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Wander the beautiful grounds stopping by the Bell Tower, Serenity Isle and the Dee Zhang Hall. Besides serving the Buddhist community, the general public is invited to attend the lectures held every Saturday night. The campus has grown to over 166 acres of serenity. Irish Connection: Get your “green” on in East Durham with a visit to the Donegal Irish Cottage at the Michael J. Quill Center home to many cultural and sporting events. Located on the cultural center grounds, the cottage on the hill was originally built over 200 years ago in Carrickataggart, Ireland. From the cottage take note of the largest manmade map of Ireland. Nearby don’t miss the Irish gift shop, the largest Irish import store in the U. S. and down the road is Our Lady of Knock shrine church with beautiful stained glass windows. Owl and Pussy Cat: There are many small, picturesque towns such as the colorful Painted Town in the Sky (Tannersville) with unique shops and eateries plus the Hudson-Chatham Winery, and home to the Tannersville Ice Festival. Go Cat’n Around in the village of Catskill and check out the cat statues or check out the Owls in Coxsackie, a Hudson River border town. The town of Athens has a lovely Riverfront Park where during certain days in the summer there are tours to the 1874 lighthouse which is visible from the park. All-inclusive Resorts: The county has a variety of accommodations including unique B&Bs like Albergo Allegria and campgrounds. The area also has several all-inclusive resorts making them a great option for family vacations and especially for family reunions. There is something for all ages. One, Sunny Hill Resort, a favorite of golfers, serves three family-style meals day, unlimited activities, daily entertainment, and so much more. They offer unique activities such Military Night which can include a ride in a tank used in Desert Storm.


Painted Town in the Sky (in Tannersville) has unique shops and eateries plus the Hudson-Chatham Winery. It is home to the Tannersville Ice Festival.


Mahayana Temple is one of the first of its kind on the East Coast. Besides serving the Buddhist community, the general public is invited to attend the lectures held every Saturday night.


Hunter Mountain is also home to the New York Zipline Adventure Tour, the longest, fastest and highest zipline canopy tour in North America. February / March 2018 - 55 PLUS




By Mary Beth Roach

Bill Gooley, 63 One of the founders of The Hunger Project, Gooley will be honored as co-grand marshal of the 2018 St. Patrick’s Parade in Syracuse Q: What does it mean for you, being of Irish stock and a Tipperary Hill native, to be co-grand marshal of the 2018 St. Patrick’s Parade with Ed Riley, who restored the iconic Hotel Syracuse into the Marriott Syracuse Downtown? A: It’s very exciting to carry on with Ed. The Hotel Syracuse project’s been around for about 15 years. It took someone like Ed and his talents to unlock it. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be sharing the honor with him Q: You are being honored as co-grand marshal in large part because of your work with The St. Patrick Hunger Project. Can you explain what that initiative is? A: The Hunger Project started with a conversation with [long-time friends] Richie Walsh and John Young, and part of it goes back to our roots, our families in Ireland and the Famine, where a million men, women and children died of starvation. Richie and I were talking about the emphasis on our parade, and there’s a small group of people every year that kind of mar it with the drinking activities. There should be some way to tie in a food drive. We presented the idea to the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee. And they got behind it very quickly. Q: How does The St. Patrick Hunger Project work?  A: The way it was originally designed was that the donated food would go to the Interreligious Food Consortium. We felt they were better equipped to distribute the food to the food pantries. They have the pulse of all the food pantries. They know what food


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pantries, at any particular time, need a lift with some extra food. The monetary donations are directed to the Food Bank of Central New York. They have the warehouse capacity to buy very large quantities of food. What they would do is they see which pantries could use a bigger donation. For every dollar that was donated, you were getting about $2 worth of food that was directed to each food pantry. Between both — the Food Bank and the Interreligious Council, I think it’s been a very good step. Q: How has it grown over the last 12 years? A: It seems to grow a little bit every year. It was created from whole cloth. We started with certain ideas and

adjusted them. There are 30 food pantries in Onondaga County, and they all have to raise their own money and food individually. When you talk with Michele Jordan of the Interreligious Food Consortium, she’ll tell you that after Christmas, everybody thinks there’s no more need for feeding the hungry. But now it’s one of the biggest times of the year to get food to people, so it seems The Project is in a good spot for helping the food pantries. Q: How much food and/or money has The Project taken in? A: I think the better way to look at it — I’m told by the end of this year’s campaign, it will have provided about 500,000 meals. That’s really the more important issue is how many meals not pounds of food. Q: In announcing you as a co-grand marshal, the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee cited your extensive volunteer work in the community. What motivates you to stay so involved? A: Well, I have a lot of friends who have been involved, and I got involved with them. Over time, you can say to yourself, “We can sit down and watch TV for a few hours each week, or I can lend a hand on a project.” At the end, when you’re all done, you feel like you made a difference.



• Chest discomfort: pressure, squeezing, fullness or

pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. • Shortness of breath: with or without chest discomfort. • Other signs: breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

KNOW THE SIGNS OF A STROKE. THINK FAST. F • Face droops on one side A • Arm drift downward S • Speech sounds slurred T • Time to call 911.


OVER 50?


Stay healthy and engaged through OASIS, a community learning center for those aged 50+. OASIS offers classes in the arts, history, technology, fitness, science, travel and more. Start anytime. Enjoy learning and being connected with others. Session class prices range from free to reasonable. Easy access and free parking. OASIS is located at 6333 State Rte 298 in East Syracuse, next to the DoubleTree Hotel, off Carrier Circle.



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CNY 55+ #73 Feb-March 154  

CNY 55+ #73 Feb-March 154