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THE PRESS THE PRESS

FEBRUARY 19,2021

50Club Your Guide to to Living Living Well Well

Photo by Tony Kukulich

We live locally and we work locally! At The Reverse Mortgage Group, we only offer reverse mortgages. We don’t try to be everything to everyone; instead, we specialize in reverse mortgages.

Call today to find out how we can help you!

• Flexible payment options! • No principal and interest payments required!

• Tax free proceeds! • Turn equity into cash flow!

* Taxes and insurance paid by owner. Must be primary residence, and normal upkeep required.

Beth Miller-Rowe NMLS: 294774/831612/1850 DRE: 00950759/01215943

REVERSE MORTGAGE SPECIALIST

925-969-0380 Beth@YourReverse.com www.YourReverse.com 3478 Buskirk Ave., Ste. 1000, Pleasant Hill CA 94523

Licensed by Department of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act.


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Stay Active. Stay Social. Stay Connected. O’Connor Woods offers a wide range of senior living options and services alongside a fun, social lifestyle filled with new opportunities.

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Looking for the rainbow

Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.

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– Kobe Bryant (RIP)

uperbowl Sunday. As we sit here, ready to watch the game, I am inspired by these two teams. One is clearly the front-runner and

the other is the underdog. But, if you dig a little deeper, is Brady really the front-runner? He has only been with the Buccaneers for a year, and let’s face it, he is kind of an old guy… but maybe, old guy will rule again, after all he got Gronk to come out of retirement. What a dynamic duo they are! As for the “underdog,” he is the returning champion. Underdog? Really? Mahomes blasted onto the NFL scene and blew everyone away, his very first season. He is being touted as being on the road to become one of the greatest of all time although Brady has carried that title for many years. Can Mahomes take on the old goat? After all, he was just here last year and walked away with the big prize. Can he do it again? Both are here, willing and able, to give it their all, to win it all! Well, that game is now under our belts. Some wings, potato skins and a big bowl of homemade chili completed the day. So, what do we have to look forward to now? Vaccines, schools re-opening, dining inside a restaurant? Maybe even watching basketball at the bar with friends and a beer? My husband and I were recently talking about the new normal. We are going to Florida, and we are excited about everything being open. We laughed, thinking will it even dawn on us to stop by the tavern for an afternoon snack, or to choose which restaurant to make reservations at for dinner? For a year, our normal has been ‘nothing is open’ so we just don’t even think about stopping anywhere anymore. We drive by without even bemoaning it. It just is what it is. When will that thought process switch back? We shall see while we are in Florida. Is it like riding a bike? If it is open will we automatically revert to our old ways? Certainly, this whole ordeal has taught us a couple of things. 1. Enjoy life today because it can change on a dime. 2. There really is a silver lining behind every dark cloud. We were flying home from our friend’s wedding last March and we stopped in La Quinta for our President’s Club celebration. We were without a care in the world. We had just been to Kauai and now we were being pampered by our company, treated like a queen and king. Little did we know what lay just around the corner. The day after we got home, rested and ready to take on the world, the whole world shut down. Oh gosh golly, no big deal, it is only for a couple of weeks. We can handle it, no problem. It will be kind of a nice respite from the rat race, right? Millions of people’s lives changed forever. Some for the better, many for the worse. I know that many lost their lives, or lost loved ones, or lost businesses, their

homes, etc. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. And I also know many people who were forced to make changes and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. I hear story after story about people who were “stuck.” They needed to make changes, they wanted to make changes, but they just felt they couldn’t. When forced to make a change, they are happier than they have been in years. I do not say this to minimize the tragedy. I say this to point out the positive, the silver lining, the bright spots that shine through the tragedy; and there are many. I have had so many clients tell me they thought about a reverse mortgage for years but just never got around to it, or thought it was too early, or had family who disapproved, or they just never took the time to get going. With the changes that have occurred in the last year many of these people were put in a position where they had to make the time to do their homework, and they could not be happier. People really did learn that life could change overnight, literally. So many people, friends, family, co-workers, clients and acquaintances have expressed the driving desire to live their best life right now! Whether that is a job change, a move, retirement, education, whatever it may be, none of us wants to wait for someday, anymore. A friend of mine said “Nike said it best! Just do it!” If you have been thinking about a reverse mortgage, give us a call. We are very laid back. We are happy to educate you and your family. We will go over the process, procedures, costs, pros and cons and we will help you determine if it is right for you. Will it help you to live your best retirement life? If so, great! If not, that is okay too. You will have made an educated decision, and maybe you will have a friend who would benefit. I will tell you honestly, I have never had a client call back and regret having taken out a reverse mortgage, never. I think that speaks volumes. Why choose us? I had a customer from years ago call me last Saturday night. We chatted about how he and his wife are, and how my husband and I are faring. He had a few questions about his loan which I answered. At the end of the conversation, he said ‘I wasn’t sure you would answer the phone.’ I asked him why in the world he would think that? His answer surprised me. He said ‘well, most often after someone gets what they want they are never available again.” He said, “after my last loan closed the loan officer would never return my calls. I figured that’s the way all y’all are.” I explained to him that our mantra is ‘we are here for you today, tomorrow and 10 years from now,’ and we mean it! Whether you ever decide to take out a reverse mortgage or not, we are here to answer your questions, give you guidance and help you navigate all the nuances that will allow you to live out the dreams. We happily answer all your questions as you begin your journey through the decision-making process, all the way through to when your heirs are calling for help on how to handle the reverse mortgage after your passing. So, as we think about what we have to look forward to, I think about our beautiful backyard. Our oranges and lemons are sweet and juicy. In the not-toodistant future we will see daffodils and crocuses popping up signaling the beginning of spring. Then it will be time to plant a passel of tomatoes, and a heap of peppers and get ready to get back to life! It might look a little different and that’s okay, but let’s get on with livin.’ Enjoy living your best retirement life!!

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Beth Miller-Rowe has been in the mortgage industry for 38 years specializing in reverse mortgages for the past 12 years. Beth has degrees in economics and business administration. – Advertorial

Let’s take a look and see if we can Make Your Retirement Dreams Come True.

Beth Miller-Rowe NMLS: 294774

Branch Manager and Reverse Mortgage Specialist

The Reverse Mortgage Group • A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corp.

Office: 925-969-0380 Cell: 925-381-8264 Beth@YourReverse.com

3478 Buskirk Ave., Ste. 1000 Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Your Retirement Dreams Can Come True! A Division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation NMLS 1850

DRE: 00950759/01215943 • NMLS: 294774/831612/1850 Licensed by the Dept of Business Oversight under the California Residential Mortgage Lending Act

*Reverse mortgages are loans offered to homeowners who are 62 or older who have equity in their homes. The loan programs allow borrowers to defer payment on the loans until they pass away, sell the home, or move out. Homeowners, however, remain responsible for the payment of taxes, insurance, maintenance, and other items. Nonpayment of these items can lead to a default under the loan terms and ultimate loss of the home. FHA insured reverse mortgages have an up front and ongoing cost; ask your loan officer for details. These materials are not from, nor approved by HUD, FHA, or any governing agency. **American Pacific Mortgage Corporation is not financial service company or licensed tax advisors; the material provided is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment, tax and/or mortgage advice. Although the material is deemed to be accurate and reliable, there is no guarantee it is without errors. We are not financial or tax advisors, please contact your financial professional for your personal financial situation.


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FEBRUARY 19, 2021

In-home care evolves with the pandemic DAWNMARIE FEHR

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n-home nursing and care services have been greatly affected by the COVID-19

pandemic, and the industry may never look the same again. Home care services have armed their caregivers with personal protection equipment (PPE), changed policies to protect their vulnerable clients and increased training to help employees safely give effective care. HomeLife Senior Care’s (HLSC) clients include seniors who need help or company during the day, individuals who have had a hospital procedure and have temporarily reduced mobility, and even those who require around-the-clock care. “We do the activities of daily living,” said Angela DiNicola, president ON THE COVER: Beth Miller-Rowe and her team have continued to assist their clients with their reverse mortgage needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, providing personal and detailed assistance to each and every customer. Photo by Tony Kukulich.

Photo courtesy of HomeLife Senior Care

In-home care and nursing services have undergone a variety of changes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but all have remained dedicated to their clientele and their families. and co-owner of HLSC. “We do everything that you can think of that you would do on a day-to-day basis that is nonmedical.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, HLSC has screened its employees and clients for COVID-19 symptoms, increased PPE use and implemented remote technologies. DiNicola – who owns the business with her husband,

Vinny – said virtual video platforms have been invaluable. “We are doing more remotely than we have in the past,” she said. “We are training our caregivers remotely, and we bring them in no more than two at a time to do the hands-on training. We have gone to doing online interviews with caregivers; a lot more remote activity.”

The couple is also rolling out a new virtual caregiving service they expect to see active sometime this year. DiNicola said she knows people still want to remain safely in their homes as they grow older, and her goal is to provide a service that allows that. A virtual caregiving service can offer reminders to take medication, help with wellness checks and provide an avenue for nurses and doctors to get basic health information. “I think there is going to be more of that type of thing used in the future,” DiNicola said. “Like it is with doctors and their patients, this is going to be a new thing that will be utilized more.” Anyone exposed to a positive COVID-19 case must self-isolate, and anyone who tests positive must isolate as well. Every caregiver goes through a health screening procedure each morning and the company has asked that all employees who feel unwell remain home. With the onset of the pandemic, and their clients asking for shorter shift times to decrease the risk of infection, HLSC has eliminated its three-hour minimum policy, and has shorter shifts available. One-hour shifts are $38 per hour, and three-hour or longer shifts are $30 per hour. A two-hour shift can range between those prices. Pricing does not see Care page 15B

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The moment we’ve been waiting for O N THURSDAY OF LAST WEEK Grandpa and I got our first COVID-19 vaccines. Both of us were excited to start a positive path towards some normalcy and I wanted to share our experience. When they first announced the Senior groups and ages orner of those in the first tier after essential workers, Grandpa fell into the over 75-year-old category. He went online and registered on the county website, on Marla Safeway and Sutter Luckhardt Health since we are in that medical group. I was told to sign up as well. They sent Grandpa a notification that he was to choose a time and location to get his first vaccine but when he tried, the closest place was in San Pablo and there were no times available before the end of April. This being the early stages of the rollout, everybody was online trying for the same time spots. He kept trying to find something sooner and even though the location was not ideal he would take what he could get. My email merely said they would let me know when I would get an email! A few days later, he received an email from Sutter saying he could go in

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two weeks to the medical building right before the hospital on Lone Tree and get his first vaccine there. I was still waiting for my email. After some research, I found out that since I was old enough to be on the list and lived with someone over 75, I could get an appointment too. I contacted my medical group and they told me I could indeed come in with Grandpa to receive the vaccine together. I was delighted and we talked about what we would wear and who would drive as the excitement mounted waiting for the day and time. When we arrived at 10:15 a.m. for our 10:30 a.m. time slot. The signs were very explicit and helpful. There was no line and the ladies that greeted us were as delightful as can be. They said that there were small lines around the early morning slots and those right after lunch. A jolly good morning and ‘how can we help you?’ made us feel comfortable right away. We were six feet apart from anyone else, asked to fill out a very brief questionnaire and then ushered into the waiting area that had chairs spread apart for safety. Within two minutes or so, another delightful young lady came out to call us into the examination room where she introduced herself and asked how we were. “Just perfect,” I replied. Grandpa rolled up his sleeve, she administered his

Whether you agree with taking this vaccine or not, I made a personal choice and felt it was my obligation for myself, my husband and the loved ones I want to see again soon.

vaccine and then it was my turn. Not a fan of needles, I closed my eyes and said “ok, I’m ready” to which she replied “you’re done!” If it was not a health risk, I would have hugged her. She offered to set up our second dose right then and there and of course we said YES! She handed us a card with the information and after we get the final dose, Grandpa will laminate them so we have proof that we were vaccinated. We were then guided to the observation area and asked to leave when the clock hit the exact time on our little sticker, (15 minutes) ensuring we would experience no reaction. It was not crowded and we stayed a safe distance from anyone else,

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although the pleasant small talk with another couple could be heard over the masks we donned from across the room. Later, I felt a slight discomfort in my arm but not enough to annoy me. Grandpa was tired from getting up early so he napped away a good part of the afternoon and was only mildly achy for his vaccine. The next morning, I still had a little ache in my arm but nothing of any consequence for either of us to report. I don’t know what affects the second dose may bring. I am told that we may experience some slightly more pronounced symptoms like a headache, rash at the injection site or a fever. This information is from others so I will update you when we get our second dose. Whether you agree with taking this vaccine or not, I made a personal choice and felt it was my obligation for myself, my husband and the loved ones I want to see again soon. Stay safe and well and again thank you to the staff at Sutterfor making something very frightening, absolutely easy and comfortable. I’ve heard that nearby CVS and Walgreens locations will be receiving doses if they have not already and so is Safeway. There is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at marla2054@aol.com.


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Honoring, remembering loved ones during COVID DAWNMARIE FEHR

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othing is immune from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the

COVID-19 has changed many things including how people mourn their loved ones. Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery is just one local business that has worked to accommodate pandemic guidelines while serving the community.

business of putting families’ loved ones to rest. Funeral homes and cemeteries have been faced with a lengthier paperwork process due to closed government offices and the inability to offer large gatherings to memorialize those who have passed. JoAnna Di Sibio, managing partner at Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery, said she has seen an increase in her business since the beginning of the year. “January was our busiest month for burials and for cremation in the history of Oak View Memorial Park,” Di Sibio said. “It was really busy in January and now in February . . . in November we had 11 services the whole month, now we are having seven, eight, even 10 in one week.” Di Sibio noted more people are opting for cremation these days, but could only speculate as to why, suggesting families are waiting to hold memorial services once it is safe to host large gatherings. She said her staff’s biggest

Photo courtesy of Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery

hurdles are the ever-changing guidelines from the state and their inability to show compassion to their customers. “It’s harder in the sense that because we have the masks and because we have

all the rules – which are important to follow – it makes our jobs more difficult,” Di Sibio said. “We want to be compassionate and caring with the families, and it makes it hard on us. We want to

reach out and give a hug and be there for people, but we have to have the doors locked, we have to ask questions before see Honoring page 10B


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Ways to save more for retirement

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etirement seems like a lifetime away for young professionals. But as careers

advance, families are started and milestones are met, retirement can start to feel a lot closer. A 2014 Gallup poll indicates that most Americans now retire at age 62. That is a good starting point when planning your retirement. The earlier you start establishing savings goals and putting plans in motion, the more likely you will be to retire on time without having to worry about money. These strategies can help you save more for retirement years. 1. Raise? What raise? If you’re lucky enough to get a salary increase at work, direct the extra money into retirement savings accounts and act like the raise never happened. You won’t miss the extra money since you were not accustomed to earning it, and redirecting it into retirement savings can go a long way toward procuring your financial future. 2. Max out deposit limits. By depositing the maximum allowable amount into your retirement accounts each year, you can grow your retirement savings quickly and earn considerably more interest on your money over the life of the account.

3. Allocate your tax refund. Elect to apply your tax refund to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. 4. Take advantage of employers’ offers to match retirement contributions. Many employers will match 401(k) contributions if you save enough to qualify. This is an easy way to save without having to put in any extra money out of your own pocket. Make sure you’re vested in the 401(k) plan so that the employer contributions can be taken with you if you leave a job. 5. Open a Roth IRA. A Roth IRA is a retirement savings vehicle that enables you to pay taxes on the money you put in up front. When you become eligible to withdraw the funds, they are tax-free. 6. Aim for a 15% investment. Start investing 15% of gross income for retirement once you’re debt-free and have a fully funded emergency fund. Such a strategy can go a long way toward ensuring you have enough money to do what you want throughout retirement. 7. Make calculated cuts. Think about which items you can live without and dedicate what you would spend on those expenditures to retirement. For example, calculate the difference between buying a new car and a certified pre-owned model. Deposit the savings into retirement. Can you skip a vacation this year and do a staycation instead? Forgoing certain luxuries can help you build retirement savings. – Courtesy Metro Creative

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FEBRUARY 19, 2021

Preventing Falls o one wants to fall! Yet 25% of older Americans fall every year. A senior is treated every 11

seconds in the ER for a fall. Some even die from head trauma or internal bleeding. So what are some important things to know to prevent being one of those statistics? First, many diseases of the elderly can cause loss of balance, a major reason for falls. As we age, there is more diabetes, heart, thyroid and peripheral vascular disease. Unfortunately, medications used to treat these conditions can cause dizziness or vertigo. However, the answer is NOT to stop taking your medications. Call your doctor immediately and let him/her know what is happening. This is especially important if you have just started a new medication. Loss of balance can also be a sign of other health problems so be sure if it is new, call your primary care physician. As a nurse, I tell patients to get up slowly from a bed or chair. Take a few minutes to breathe and look around. Sitting up quickly can cause a drop in blood pressure so if you feel dizzy or the room is spinning (vertigo) stay put until you feel safe to get up. If it does not go away, call someone to come and help.

Mary Ann Thode, MPH, JD, RN is the President and CEO of A Better Choice Home Care Agency with offices in Brentwood and Danville, CA. HCO License # 074700009

Another major cause of falls is a general decline in physical fitness affecting balance and strength. We all know it can be hard to exercise as we age but just a short walk daily can make a big difference in physical agility. Even chair exercises can help fitness improve. If you like to

We all want to be safe and stay healthy during this pandemic... A knowledge of infection control and transmission is critical... Hire the company owned and managed by registered nurses! Our caregivers are carefully trained and supervised by our nurses. This offers you a level of quality care management not available from many other home care companies. Our mission is to increase comfort, ensure safety and preserve independence.

dance, put on some music and move with it! Decreased vision and hearing can be a major cause of falls. Macular degeneration (both dry and wet) and cataracts present visual challenges. If you are experiencing sudden decreased vision, be sure to see your primary care physician or ophthalmologist. If you have glasses or a hearing aid, WEAR them. This is especially important when you are outside since cracks in the sidewalk or a sudden unexpected noise can cause a fall. Environmental factors in your home like poor lighting, throw rugs, clutter, slick floors are all things to eliminate whenever possible. One thing I recommend to my clients/ patients is a medical alert system, especially one with GPS and/or a smartwatch with fall alert. Many people like the bracelet rather than the pendant. Most can be worn in the shower. They are all pretty good and frankly I see it almost as a form of inexpensive insurance. If you live alone, no matter what your age, it can be the difference between life or death. Preventing falls is often possible. When someone falls, they often begin to live in fear and become less active, increasing the risk of a further fall. Not a great way to spend those years that should be as comfortable and fun as possible. Stay Safe!

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Protect yourself from coronavirus fraud

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s communities begin returning to some semblance of normalcy, the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned people against letting their guard down. While many of those warnings pertain to the importance of continuing to practice social distancing as economies reopen, advisories also include notices about fraud schemes related to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General advised the general public about scams involving Medicare fraud. Such schemes are targeting Medicare beneficiaries in an assortment of ways, including through text messages, social media, telemarketing calls and even door-to-door visits. When perpetrating such frauds, scammers seek beneficiaries’ personal information, which they then use to fraudulently bill federal health care programs, potentially leaving their victims on the hook for costly unapproved tests related to COVID-19. The CDC notes the importance of being aware of such schemes. Awareness can help

consumers avoid being victimized by scammers, and the following are some additional measures people can take to protect themselves from COVID-19-related fraud. ♦ Do not share personal account information. Scammers need their victims’ personal information to perpetrate their fraudulent schemes. The CDC cautions beneficiaries to be suspicious of unsolicited requests for their Medicare or Medicaid numbers. ♦ Do not take callers or visitors at face value. Unsolicited callers or visitors requesting Medicare or Medicaid information should be met with extreme caution. Be suspicious of any unexpected calls or visitors offering COVID-19 tests or supplies. ever click on links in emails or text messages. Do not respond to, or open hyperlinks in, text messages or emails about COVID-19 from unknown individuals. ♦ Ignore offers or advertisements for COVID-19 testing or treatments on social media sites. Only a physician or other trusted health care provider should assess your condition and approve any requests for COVID-19 testing. Consumers who suspect COVID-19 fraud can contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or visit Justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm to file a complaint. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Honoring

FEBRUARY 19, 2021 from page 6B

we can let people in and only let in two at a time, so those rules are making things difficult.” Oak View Memorial has not yet had an issue with completing burial services, despite a higher volume. Di Sibio said the staff is making an effort to accommodate families and help them through a trying time, but some things don’t have to be so difficult. “We love it when people plan ahead,” she admitted. “Death is a part of life, and when you are prepared, it is so much better for the families. When people come in and someone has passed, they have to go through everything, and it’s a big ordeal with all the different pieces, it’s like planning a wedding, but you only have a week or two. When someone has planned ahead, all you have to do is come in and sign some papers.” Darren Carter is a licensed funeral director and embalmer at Higgins Chapel in Antioch. He said he and the other men and women at Higgins are working hard to meet an increase in business and guide their customers through a sad and confusing time. He said the shifting guidelines make it difficult for people to know what to do to honor their loved ones. “We have had to deal with a lot more folks passing suddenly or from things they weren’t expecting, and there are a lot of limitations because people can’t gather in large groups to memorial-

Making Lasting

Memories.

ize,” Carter said. “There has been a lot of confusion for folks and it’s been hard for them to know what to do and how to honor their loved ones so we have been trying to accommodate them as best we can, but it’s been a real challenge.” Embalming and cremation processes have been slowed since most of the chapel’s paperwork has to be mailed rather than dropped off in person, but staff is working longer hours to keep up. Carter said he is advising his families to wait to celebrate a passing life, as there is no time limit for such events. “I try to remind families there is no end to when you can memorialize someone,” Carter said. “In many traditions, there is a time of celebration for quite some time, so I encourage them to maybe not have the big gathering right now, because it’s not safe to do so, but maybe wait until it’s safe and have a party in that person’s honor.” The extra time can be used to create a project or plan something special. Higgins is also offering virtual events, so loved ones from near and far can tune in for a service or watch at a later date. Oak View Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 2500 East 18th Street in Antioch. For more information, call 925-757-4500 or visit https://www. oakviewmemorialpark.com/. Higgins Chapel is located at 1310 A Street in Antioch. For more information, call 925-757-4343 or visit https://www. higginsmortuary.com/.

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Amazing benefits to seniors having pets a chemical chain reaction in

the brain that may help to lower stress hormones while also increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.

Protect your loved ones and gain peace of mind through advanced cremation planning. Call me for a personal appointment, or to learn about our free seminar coming soon. Linda Feldman (925) 813-4788 Pre-Arrangement Area Manager FD#1354

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A recent study from the Mayo Clinic, which looked at 1,800 people between the ages of 25 and 64 who had healthy hearts, found that almost half owned a dog. Having a dog was likely to spur hearthealthy behaviors, like exercising with the pet, eating well and having ideal blood sugar levels. Pets also provide emotional support and companionship that can help seniors — including those who may be divorced or widowed — feel more secure and happy. Seniors considering getting a pet can explore the many benefits to doing so. ♦ Reduce pain: A study published in Pain Magazine found therapy dogs provided significant reduction in pain and emotional distress for chronic pain patients.

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around them can produce

♦ Feeling of purpose: Caring for an animal not only stimulates physical activity, but it also can give seniors a reason to get up and go, which equates to a feeling of purpose. ♦ Altered focus: Having a pet can help seniors focus on something other than physical or mental health issues and preoccupations about loss or aging, according to New York-based psychologist Penny B. Donnenfeld. ♦ Increased physical activity: Pets require care, and that interaction can get seniors moving more than if they didn’t have a pet. ♦ Improved health: Ongoing research from Harvard Medical School has found dog owners have lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t own a dog. ♦ Stick to routine: Caring for pets helps seniors maintain a routine. Having structure after retirement can be important to ward off risk of depression. Staying on top of feeding, grooming and other pet needs also can help prevent cognitive decline. – Courtesy Metro Creative

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aring for pets and being

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What to know before claiming Social Security benefits

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LAW OFFICE OF RUTH N. BUZZARD

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Our office takes a comprehensive approach to Estate Planning. If you pass away intestate (without a will/trust) the State of California has statutory provisions that will divide your estate, often these provisions are not aligned with your wishes. As you mature and acquire assets, don’t forget to plan for how those assets will be managed and divided upon your departure from this world. Trust Administration: After your loved one has passed and you have been left in charge of handling their affairs, the task can be daunting. Let our office guide you through this process effectively and minimize the stress you are already going through due to your loss.

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ensure all that hard work pays off when the time comes to call it a career. In the United States, men and women nearing retirement age may be thinking about when they should begin collecting their Social Security retirement benefits. The decision about when to claim Social Security retirement benefits is one all those who have contributed to the program must eventually make. In recognition of the difficulty of that decision, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau offers the following tips. Confirm your full retirement age. Full retirement age refers to the age at which people can begin collecting their full benefits. Depending on the year you were born, you can begin collecting your full benefit at age 66 or 67. Claiming your benefit before you reach full retirement age will lead to a permanent decrease in your monthly benefits. Conversely, claiming after you reach full retirement age will lead to a permanent increase in your monthly benefits. Since the stakes are so considerable, it’s vital for adults

to confirm their full retirement age before they claim their benefits. ♦ Delay claiming if you can. The CFPB notes that you can expect to get an additional 5% to 8% in monthly benefits for every year you wait to claim your Social Security benefits after age 62, maxing out at age 70. If you can afford to do so, wait to claim your full benefit until age 70, as doing so can translate to a benefit that’s 32% higher than it would have been had you claimed your benefit at age 62. ♦ Continue working. Remaining in the workforce full-time or even part-time can have a considerable impact on the size of your Social Security benefit. The CFPB notes that continuing to work for one or two additional years can replace low- or no-income earnings from your earnings record, thereby increasing your benefit. ♦ Consider the long-term needs of your spouse. Surviving spouses receive the higher of the two spouses’ benefits. So it makes sense for the higher earning spouse to wait to collect his or her benefit until he or she reaches full retirement age. The decision about when to collect your Social Security benefit is complex. Discussing your options with your spouse and financial advisor can help you make the most informed decision. ­— Courtesy Metro Creative

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How seniors can approach exercise

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xercise is a vital component of

exercise part of a day-to-day

routines, people of all ages, including men and women over the age of 65, can greatly improve their overall health.

Frequency of exercise

Seniors, particularly those who have not exercised much in the past, may not know how much exercise they need to

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tance bands, heavy gardening and even some forms of yoga qualify as musclestrengthening activities. Exercises that use your body weight for resistance, such as sit-ups and push-ups, also can help build strength. Always speak with a physician before beginning a muscle-strengthening exercise regimen and, if possible, work with a personal trainer, especially if you’re a novice.

a healthy lifestyle. By making

The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that seniors should aspire to be as active as possible. Exercise is a great way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and has been linked to reduced risk for diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Though adults with chronic illnesses may be hesitant to exercise, the AAFP notes that it’s possible for men and women who have been diagnosed with such conditions to exercise safely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging.

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When to stop a workout

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health and can potentially prevent many health problems associated with aging. reap the full rewards of physical activity. Though it’s best to discuss exercise with a physician prior to beginning a new regimen, various public health agencies advise seniors to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Brisk walking is one example of moderate aerobic exercise. Seniors who want to sweat a little more when exercising can replace moderate aerobic exercise with one hour

and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as jogging, each week.

Is strength training safe for seniors?

The CDC advises seniors to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into their weekly fitness routines twice per week. Lifting weights, working with resis-

It’s imperative that seniors recognize when to stop working out. Exercising more than is recommended by your doctor can increase the risk of illness or injury. In addition, stop exercising if any of the following symptoms appear: ♦ Dizziness or shortness of breath ♦ Chest pain or pressure ♦ Swollen joints ♦ Nausea ♦ Tightness in muscles or joints ♦ Pain anywhere in the body ♦ Throbbing or burning sensations Exercise can help seniors stay healthy and feel more energetic throughout the day. Before beginning a new regimen, seniors should discuss physical activity with their physicians. – Courtesy Metro Creative


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Celebrating

those we have lost, but are never forgotten. • Burials • Cremations • Memorials • Veterans • Serving All Faiths • Advance Planning

FEBRUARY 19, 2021

Senior living options abound in East County DAWNMARIE FEHR

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age, it may be time to discuss living in a community geared

toward their individual needs. In East County, seniors have options ranging from active adult communities open to those aged 55 years and older, to assisted living, memory care and nursing homes. Trilogy at the Vineyards and Summerset in Brentwood are both examples of active adult communities where residents must be 55 years or older, and live independently with no provided health care services. Communities like these often have community centers that offer classes, gym equipment, a pool and other landscaping services. Beyond that are facilities like Tre Vista Senior Living in Antioch, where residents can choose from multiple levels of medical care based on the type of support they need. “Tre Vista is a senior living community,” said senior living consultant Tamsin Meierdierck. “We offer independent living, assisted living, and memory care.” The level of care offered to residents is determined by a visit with Tre Vista’s nurse, a physician’s report and interviews with the senior and family members. Rents at Tre Vista start at $2,395 per month and go up to $5,000 a month, based on the level of care and the size of the apartment rented. All residents get daily social activities, meals, snacks, a weekly housekeeping and laundry service, and transportation within 10 miles of the building included in their rent. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has minimized many of the social activities, residents are still encouraged to an active lifestyle within safe boundaries. One thing Tre Vista is not is a nursing home. “Nursing homes are specifically dedicated to individuals who have advanced needs, individuals who need day-to-day skilled nursing professionals,” said executive director Alberto Maldonado. “We are a nonmedical model and for that reason, we are not in a nursing facility realm.” Tre Vista’s memory care apartments offer structured schedules and activities designed to help those with issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia. They offer specific activities and interactions to help redirect, calm and comfort residents.

Call for a FREE Quote Today!

Tre Vista’s family-owned parent company has been operating senior living facilities for more than 45 years. Meierdierck and Maldonado said they are in constant communication with their superiors, who are passionate about offering supportive care and being involved in the community. “I would say it’s a family culture here,” said Maldonado. “We strive to be the assisted living provider of choice. We are conveniently located to hospitals and several docs offices and in terms of longevity, we are one of the longest tenured assisted livings in the area.” In Brentwood, Cortona Park offers assisted living for seniors, with medication management, daily living activities and coordination with outside health care providers. Communications manager Heather Hunter noted there are still plenty of activities for residents to safely participate in, despite restrictions put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. “Life hasn’t stopped at (Cortona),” Hunter said. “We are limiting the number of people accessing the amenity to help encourage safe social distancing. We are frequently sanitizing each amenity and residents wear masks to and from their apartment, if they are able to.” At Cortona, residents can expect to pay between $800 and $7,700 each month, depending on care, apartment size and amenities. Tre Vista Senior Living is located at 3950 Lone Tree Way in Antioch. For more information, call 925-470-3395 or visit https://www. trevistaseniorliving.com/. Meierdierck will host a virtual event entitled “Senior Living Options and Costs” on Thursday, March 11, at 5:30 p.m. To RSVP, call 925-470-3395 or visit http:// bit.ly/3al8ehu. Cortona Park is located at 150 Cortona Way in Brentwood. For more information, call 925-240-0733 or visit https://www. brookdale.com/en/communities/cortona-park. html?cid=yext.

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In East County, seniors have many living options ranging from active adult communities open to those aged 55 years and older, to assisted living, memory care and nursing homes.

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We do everything that you can think of that you would do on a day-today basis that is nonmedical. – Angela DiNicola, president and co-owner, HomeLife Senior Care

family member, isolate. Hansen said she and everyone else at HHHS hopes they are soon able to return to in-person volunteer visits, which are vital to their patients and families. The organization also hopes to resume their fundraising activities this year. HLSC is currently looking to hire new caregivers, with or without experience. Interested parties can apply at https:// homelifeseniorcare.com/. HomeLife Senior Care is located at 6440 Brentwood Blvd., in Brentwood. For more information, or to apply to be a caregiver, call 925-240-5770 or visit https://homelifeseniorcare.com/. Hope Hospice and Health Services is located at 6377 Clark Ave., in Dublin. For more information, call 925-829-8770 or visit https://hopehospice.com/

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reflect the activities during the shift, only the amount of time spent with the client. Hope Hospice and Health Services (HHHS) offers an array of hospice services, including medical care and supplies wherever the patient calls home, social work services, spiritual care upon request, pre- and post-hospice grief support, family caregiver education, and dementia-care education. Located in Dublin, the organization caters to the Tri-Valley and East Contra Costa County areas. HHHS implemented additional safety protocols in March of last year and continues to rely on PPE to keep both clinicians and patients safe. Visits with nonmedical personnel – such as chaplains and social workers – are done over the phone or virtually to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. “We COVID test our clinicians weekly to ensure the safety of all involved, and we’re securing vaccination appointments for our entire staff as fast as possible,” said Jennifer Hansen, HHHS CEO. “We also had to adjust our community education and grief support programs, which traditionally meet in person at our administrative office in Dublin.” Hansen said these programs, as well others, have been converted into live webinar presentations over Zoom. Their policy is to have positive employees, or those with a positive

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FEBRUARY 19, 2021

By Michael J. Amthor, Esq.

HAVE YOU TALKED WITH YOUR FAMILY ABOUT MONEY? YOU SHOULD. HERE’S WHY.

I have discussed the importance of estate planning many times in these articles. Saving money, peace of mind and making things easier for those you leave behind are just a few of the benefits. However, with estate planning typically comes difficult conversations with family members that does not come natural. Subjects such as who you want to be in charge of your estate after death, who should receive your assets and end of life issues are just the beginning. Nine out of 10 Americans consider it important to have a financial plan but almost half have difficulty discussing finances with loved ones. There are three reasons for this: It can be overwhelming, it can be awkward and talking about a future plan is difficult when you don’t have one in place. The statistics tell an interesting story. 38% of people do not even talk to their spouse or partner about the other’s financial situation before getting married. 55% of those without a financial plan say they are not confident in their retirement and a full 86% of us do not feel they have saved enough for retirement. It starts with a conversation and

sometimes we just need a little help to take that first step. When I talk to clients about estate planning, I do so without making them feel guilty or being ashamed. The most important step you take is talking with someone. I reassure my clients that it is never too late nor too early to start talking about finances after death. Most of my clients have a very real sense of accomplishment and relief because many have been putting it off for years. I cannot emphasize enough the peace of mind my clients walk away with when we complete their estate plan and they know this important issue has been handled. Make a commitment to yourself and talk to your family today about these issues. Keep it light and do not take it too seriously. Your next call should be to my office and we will put your plans into action. If you have questions on this or any other estate planning topic, call me at (925) 5164888. East County Family Law Group, 1120 Second Street, Brentwood – Advertisement www.eastcountyfamilylaw.com

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Profile for Brentwood Press & Publishing

50+ Club 2-19-2021  

The Press special edition for 50+ Club.

50+ Club 2-19-2021  

The Press special edition for 50+ Club.