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THE PRESS

50Club Your Guide to Living Well

SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

Managing aches and pains Cannabis products offer another relief option

The ins and outs of Medicare

A key health insurance program for seniors

Turning 100

Local education legend celebrates birthday


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Why seniors are at greater risk for COVID-19

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t has been more than a year since the world learned about the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Since December 2019, tens of millions of cases have been reported and nearly 2 million deaths worldwide have been attributed to COVID-19, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Experts are still unclear how prevalent the virus really is because a large number of cases are not reported due to mild or asymptomatic infections. But there’s no denying COVID-19 can be risky for one large segment of the population. The chance for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the greatest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC further indicates that eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States have been in adults who are 65 and older. Compared to younger adults, older individuals are more likely to require hospitalization if they contract the illness. People aged 75-84

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The chance for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at the greatest risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

are eight times more likely to be hospitalized and 220 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the youngest patients. There are some key reasons why older adults are at higher risk. Vineet Menachery, an immunologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch who

studies coronaviruses and their effects on aging immune systems, said older adults are more likely to suffer from underlying conditions that can hinder the body’s ability to recover from illness. In addition, a greater propensity for inflammation in the body and changes in the way the

immune system responds with age are other mechanisms that increase seniors’ risk for COVID-19. Furthermore, COVID-19 affects the part of the lungs that delivers oxygen to the bloodstream and removes carbon dioxide. As a person gets older, the lungs are not as elastic, and this can affect gas exchange and other functions. Being older, coupled with having cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes, also can raise the threat level of COVID-19. Seniors must be extra diligent to behave in ways that reduce their risks. Epidemiologists recommend the following: ♦ Wash or sanitize hands whenever possible, especially upon entering and leaving public buildings. ♦ Shop and travel during off-peak hours, such as early in the morning, to avoid crowds. ♦ Use contactless payment methods rather than handling money. ♦ Ask friends and family to do your shopping and run errands for you. ♦ Wear masks over the nose and mouth and stay at least six feet away from others. ♦ If the COVID-19 vaccine is available to you, ask your doctor more about it and get vaccinated if it’s safe to do so. Learn more about at-risk groups at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ need-extra-precautions/index.html. To comment, visit www.thepress.net.

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Silver Castle Care specializes in home safety JAKE MENEZ

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Silver Castle Care specializes in helping seniors stay in their homes. They provide services such as scheduled phone calls and in-home assessments to check for any potential safety hazards while also creating a personal connection with the homeowners.

here’s no place like home’ is the mantra Dorothy uses to return to her cozy Kansas

farmhouse in “The Wizard of Oz,” but local seniors can stay comfortably at home without needing a pair of ruby slippers thanks to Silver Castle Care. Silver Castle Care is a new service that is geared toward helping seniors remain in their own homes as long as possible without compromising safety.The company was founded in January in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges associated with it. “During the pandemic, many adult children were not able to visit their parents and many seniors were not able to get to the grocery store themselves,” explained founder Erin Lamb. “We have been an extra point of consistent contact during this time...There are so many seniors out there that live alone with no children nearby that we become like an extended family for them. It is our joy and pleasure to become part of their lives in addition to the peace of mind that we give to their family members.”

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The company specializes in safety and security for its clients, starting with a one-time assessment of their entire home to determine fire and safety hazards and monthly follow ups of that assessment to be sure no new hazards have sprung up. In addition to these safety checks, Silver Castle Care also schedules phone calls at regular intervals to address client concerns and to be sure they are able to reach and answer the telephone. “We love filling in the gaps that are needed to keep seniors safe in their homes,” Lamb said. “I was fortunate to be able and

available to help my parents during this trying time, including dealing with loneliness and isolation in our senior community, our mission is to keep them safe, secure and connected.” Services also include education about the latest scams and recommendations for reputable vendors for home maintenance as well as preparing lists of emergency contacts, medications, medical conditions and other documents to give paramedics should they need to be called for any reason. Should the time come that clients choose to no longer remain in their homes, the company also provides transitional and real estate assistance.

Lamb expects to see an increase in the number of seniors in need of some sort of service like Silver Castle Care in the near future. “With the large number of baby boomers retiring and staying at home, we feel that this is an essential service to keep people in their homes longer, while feeling connected and supported,” said Lamb. “We look forward to protecting as many seniors as we can.” For more information regarding Silver Castle Care or to schedule a free home safety evaluation, call 510-304-7961


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Seniors need to learn about Medicare JAKE MENEZ

As adults reach their senior years, it’s imperative they understand the ins and outs of Medicare, a health insurance program provided by the federal government.

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ne of the most confusing aspects of growing older is navigating the maze that

is Medicare enrollment and coverage. But that does not need to be the case. ♦ What is Medicare? Medicare is a health insurance program provided by the federal government. It is primarily geared toward individuals 65 and older, but younger people may qualify for Medicare due to disability. Beneficiaries of Medicare have the choice to receive their medical coverage one of two ways. The first option is through a private health plan, which is sometimes referred to as the Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part C. The second option is to receive coverage directly from the federal government, which covers 80% of hospital inpatient (Part A) and outpatient (Part B) services on a fee-for-services reimbursement basis. The combination of Part A and B is also known as Original Medicare. Original Medicare may also be combined with a Medicare Supplement (also known as a Medigap plan) to help pay for costs that Part A and B do not cover, such as deductibles, copayments and coin-

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surance. A Medigap plan also provides limits on out-of-pocket expenses. Even with a supplemental plan, Original Medicare does not offer coverage for prescription drugs, also known as Medicare Part D, so a drug plan must be purchased separately through a private health insurance company. Medicare Part C, the option offering medical coverage through a private health plan, is an all-in-one plan that combines Parts A, B and D while also limiting out-ofpocket expenses. These plans often offer zero or lower monthly premiums than Medigap plans and boast extra benefits that Medicare does not cover such as dental, hearing, vision, gym memberships and more with no additional premium. To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage

plan, individuals must be entitled to Part A, enrolled in Part B and reside in the health plan’s service area. ♦ What changes have been made to Medicare this year, and what changes are on the horizon? Medicare premiums and cost sharing change annually. The Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) is sent to members by their health plans in September. Each year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll, switch plans or renew existing plans for the coming year. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries can expect more patient care modalities to offer telemedicine options — long-distance, virtual ways of carrying out certain functions such as patient care and monitoring.

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♦ If you are aging into Medicare, what should you do to prepare? Individuals aging into Medicare have a seven-month initial election period that begins three months prior to their 65th birthday, includes their birth month and concludes three months after their birthday to join a Medicare Advantage plan or enroll in a Medigap plan and choose a prescription drug plan. Each person’s circumstances are unique, so this period is the best time to connect with a licensed insurance agent for a personal consultation. Cathy Little is the founder of Essential Exchange Insurance Services, which helps clients understand the nuances of insurance services, including Medicare. She has more than 15 years of experience of helping clients. “I spend about 80 hours each year certifying and training on all the health plans to make sure I have the product knowledge to help guide seniors through the maze of Medicare options and annual changes,” said Little. “I’m compensated by the health plan when I help a senior enroll, but my consultations and expertise are provided at no cost to the member.” Since she does not work for a particular health plan and is instead compensated by whichever one clients choose, Little is able to provide unbiased recommendations and speak about Medicare in an informed and objective way. For more information regarding Medicare, visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-Medicare.


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How to build friendships in your golden years

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aking friends as a child or even as a parent to school-aged children is

relatively easy. Classrooms and school Making friends is not just for the young. Men and women over 50 also can find ways to build new friendships.

functions facilitate the building of friendships. Even as one gets older and enters the workforce, it’s not uncommon for people to become friends with their coworkers. As people near retirement age, their situations may have changed considerably. Children have moved out, careers are coming to an end and friendships may be hard to maintain due to people relocating or traveling. Older adults may aspire to make new friends, but they may not know how to. According to Irene S. Levine, Ph.D, The Friendship Doctor and contributor to Psychology Today, seniors want to make new friends. But age can be a barrier to making new friends because some stereotypes can pigeonhole people of certain ages. But Levine notes that state of mind and physical ability are not directly tied to chronological age. Making friends is possible at any age. These guidelines can help along the way.

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Explore online connections: A 2016 study published in the Journal of Gerontology found seniors (even those in their 80s) who stay connected with friends and family using social media reported feeling less lonely and better overall. Connected seniors also demonstrated higher executive reasoning skills. There are plenty of ways to meet new people online by joining social media groups that cater to your interests. In-person meetings in particular cities or regions of the country also can also be good ways to

make new friends. Exercise caution when meeting people in person after contacting them online. Bring another person along, whether it’s a spouse or an adult child, to ensure that you are safe. Volunteer your time: One way to meet new people is to get involved with causes or activities you love. This serves the double benefit of getting you outside and active and puts you in touch with people who share your passions and interests. Attend alumni events: If you have an interest in getting in touch with someone

from your past and reconnecting, make the time to attend school reunions and other alumni activities. It can be fun to reconnect with friends from high school or college. Join a gym: The local gym isn’t just a great place to get physically fit. Group exercise classes also can be ideal places to meet other people who enjoy working out. Strike up a conversation with another class participant you see on a regular basis. Once you develop a rapport, schedule lunch dates so your friendship grows outside of the gym. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Choosing a safe pain management plan Cannabis is one possible option DAWNMARIE FEHR

W

hen it comes to managing aches and pains, the local

drug store has plenty of ibuprofen, acetaminophen and aspirin. For bigger issues, doctors will often prescribe opiates to help their patients stay comfortable. But for those who are concerned about the blood-thinning effects of the first group, and the addictive habits of the second group, the local cannabis dispensary might be the next stop. “There are a number of cannabis options for seniors,” said Kayla ScottJefferson, a marketing associate with CoCo Farms in Antioch. “With edibles, creams, drinks, suppositories, tinctures, etc., there are a number of CBD, THC and CBN ratios that help with sleep,

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

Cannabis products have the potential to serve as alternatives to other pain management options. pain, nausea, arthritis, hip, back and joint issues, and appetite, to name just a few.” Scott-Jefferson said CoCo Farms has seen many seniors turning to cannabis and cannabis products to avoid opiates and

to manage pain. And edibles are not the only option – there are sprays, creams and vapes available in addition to the edibles and extracts. A study published last year by Harvard

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Medical School found a reduced stigma and increased use of medical cannabis in adults aged 60 and older. These folks might not be able to take opiates because of potential kidney problems, or they might just want a good night’s sleep. Whatever they are looking for, cannabis seems to have an answering product. There are still some concerns among doctors about the risk of older age groups using cannabis because of a lack of studies done on long-term effects. While doctors don’t expect a laundry list of negative side effects, and cannabis options seem to be well-tolerated among older adults, there will always be downsides to consider. Staff at dispensaries like CoCo Farms can help customers choose the right products. Those with cardiac issues should discuss cannabis use with their doctor first, as cannabis is known to increase heart rate and can increase blood pressure. Users should also be aware of the danger of drug interactions, particularly when combining cannabis with anti-seizure medications and blood thinners. Let your health care provider know if you plan to use or are using cannabis products. CoCo Farms is located at 3400 Wilbur Ave., in Antioch. For more information, call 833-424-4283 or visit https://enjoycocofarms.com/.


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Local education legend celebrates her 100th birthday

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he matriarch of a prominent, longtime East Contra Costa family has turned 100.

Verna Cakebread Kruse is a longtime resident of Contra Costa County. More specifically, the roots of her family can be traced all the way to the Shannon/ Williamson Ranch. Kruse is the oldest daughter of Vernon and Francis. The family-owned and -operated ranch can be found on the main drag of Lone Tree Way. If the name Cakebread sounds familiar, it’s because the family has been a part of East Contra Costa County history since 1867. The home is on the National Register of Historic Places database and is listed to be of local historic significance. The National Register of Historic Places

records describe the Shannon/Williamson farm as: “...one of a few working 19th century farms in Contra Costa County which evoke a feeling and association with the agriculture industry of this time period, not only by each of its separate components but as a complete complex. The buildings have retained their historical integrity, original fabric and character of the late 1800s.” But this story is not about the house. This is the story about Kruse who was fortunate enough to celebrate her 100th birthday in the very same home where her life began. Verna is an incredible woman as dedicated to education as she is humble. At 100 years old, the educator still smiles brightly, laughs wholeheartedly and can light up a room with just her presence. Verna was a student of Liberty Grammar School from 1927-1934 and graduated from the original Liberty High School in 1939. She attended college in Berkeley and at San Jose State. Originally, she worked a retail job. But not long after, she

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started her career in education at a preschool in Chinatown. Verna found this new career more rewarding. Verna and her husband, Fred “Bud” Kruse, moved to Brentwood. Verna and “Bud” had three incredible children together: Brian, Bonnie and Dan. In 1949, she became the first kindergarten teacher in the city of Brentwood. Her career spanned over 50 years as she continued teaching in Brentwood, Antioch and Pittsburg. Verna’s life’s work rubbed off on her grandson Dylan Kruse. Like his grandmother, Dylan pursued a career in Early Childhood Education after graduating from Liberty High School and eventually Menlo College. Now, Dylan owns and operates the Love For Learning Preschools and Kindergarten in Brentwood. Her son, Brian Kruse, also served the community as a member of the Save Mt. Diablo organization. His interest began when the Cakebread land was threatened by the possibility of a garbage site and he continued his work until his death in 2016. Verna spent her early retirement years traveling, creating art and sharing her wisdom. For the past six years, she has resided at the Westmont Senior Living facility. Her Westmont apartment is filled with

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Verna Cakebread Kruse was the first kindergarten teacher in Brentwood. pictures of her family members, memories of her past students, flowers and her artwork. She serves as the family matriarch and is adored by the members of the Cakebread legacy.

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Adults should see their primary care physicians at least once a year to make sure diseases are being properly managed and to stay current on preventive screenings.

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How often to see the doctor

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outine health checkups are a key part of staying healthy. Older adults may feel like

they’re always visiting one doctor or another. But how often should you see a doctor? The answer isn’t always so cut and dry, and many health professionals have mixed feelings even among themselves about the magic number. The Centers

for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults over age 65 visit the doctor more than twice as often as 18- to 44-year-olds. According to Paul Takahashi, a physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., adults should see their primary care physicians at least once a year to make sure diseases are being properly managed and to stay current on preventive screenings. Visiting the doctor more frequently does not necessarily add up to better see Doctor page 12B

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MIKE’S ESTATE PLANNING MINUTE By Michael J. Amthor, Esq.

LETTERS OF INSTRUCTION. ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOU? Estate planning documents cover the distribution of assets after death but do not always provide the details you may want those you leave behind to have. This is partly because these types of details and information typically change often. Changes to a will or trust require certain formalities (i.e. must be in writing, signed by you, etc.) This is where a letter instruction can be helpful. Although the letter is not binding, it can be very helpful in identifying final wishes you may have, such as social media posts, financial information, a list of assets and even desired distributions of personal property to assist those appointed to make those distributions. The letter can include account numbers, location of important documents, a list of professionals you use, website passwords, etc. Obviously, it is important to make sure the letter is updated on a regular basis to make sure the information is current. On the issue of personal property, another option is the use of a separate letter to make a binding distribution of personal property items such as vehicles, jewelry,

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furniture, family heirlooms, etc. To use a letter in this context, your will must state that you are authorizing the distribution of personal property in a separate writing, the separate writing must be dated and be either in your handwriting or signed by you. The benefit here is that you can change this letter at any time and add and subtract property as you see fit. Changes do not require you to amend your will or even contact an attorney, etc. In short, this method provides you flexibility in the distribution of personal property. If your will does not already include a reference to the use of such a letter, make sure you revise your will ASAP and have the necessary language added.  We can certainly assist you with this and all other estate planning needs you may have. Every person is different, and we have many suggestions and options available to address your unique situation. If you have questions on this or any other estate planning topic, call me at (925) 5164888. East County Family Law Group, 1181 Central Blvd., Brentwood – Advertisement www.eastcountyfamilylaw.com

health, and it actually can do the opposite. Dr. Peter Abadir, an associate professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says frequent visits to health facilities where sick people congregate puts one at a higher risk of illness or infection. Visiting the doctor only when necessary is one way to avoid risky exposure. Doctor visit frequency is not a onesize-fits-all answer. A yearly physical or checkup is a given, even for people who are healthy. People with a family history of certain conditions, like sleep disorders, cancer, high blood pressure, and other conditions, may need to see a doctor more frequently than those with no such histories. In addition, patients may need referrals to certain specialists who work together to provide an overall health plan. That can increase the number of appointments and shorten the intervals between them. Johnson Memorial Health offers some statistics. ♦ People visit the doctor four times a year on average.

♦ Studies show that poor or uninsured people prolong the time between visits to a doctor. ♦ Individuals with high blood pressure may need to see the doctor four times a year to ensure medications are working properly. ♦ Patients on dialysis see the doctor several times a week. Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a family physician and assistant professor at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, N.J., says too often people visit the doctor only when they are really sick. That does not help them because the appointment will focus only on treating the illness instead of addressing other preventive care and screenings. Balance is necessary in regard to health care. Patients can work with their doctors to develop screening schedules that are customized to their particular profiles. These schedules can be modified as health history information changes or as patients age. Doctors can dial back or increase the number of health visits as needed. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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The signs and symptoms of dementia are typically categorized as being in one of three stages: early stage, middle stage and late stage.

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Signs, symptoms and stages of dementia

D

ementia is a global issue

perform everyday activities, potentially

The WHO reports that about 50 million people across the globe have dementia and there are nearly 10 million new cases diagnosed each year. Though the hallmarks of dementia, such as memory loss, might be the same, the WHO notes that dementia affects each person differently. That’s due to certain factors, including a patient’s personality prior to becoming ill. Though people will experience dementia differently, the signs and symptoms of the disease are typically categorized as being in one of

robbing them of their independence.

see Dementia page 14B

that affects people’s daily lives in myriad

ways. According to the World Health Organization, dementia is a syndrome marked by deterioration in memory, thinking and behavior. That deterioration affects dementia patients’ ability to

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Dementia from page 13B

People in this stage may need help caring for themselves, and some experience behavioral changes such as wandering and repeated questioning.

three stages: early stage, middle stage and late stage.

Early stage

Your home is your castle. Silver Castle Care will help you stay in it.

Providing Support and Encouragement for Seniors Living Independently in Their Homes • Scheduled daily check-in calls • Whole home assessments for safety, security, fire, and other hazards • Recommend home improvements and trusted vendors to make them • Monthly home safety checkups • Scam and crime education and awareness • Review of emergency documents • Real estate and transition assistance

Late stage

Signs and symptoms that mark the early stage of dementia are often chalked up as side effects of aging. But the WHO notes that dementia is not a normal part of aging, so its signs and symptoms, even if they are not yet severe or significant, should not be written off as a byproduct of growing old. Common symptoms in the early stage of dementia include forgetfulness, losing track of the time and becoming lost in familiar places.

Memory disturbances are significant in the late stage of dementia, when people are almost entirely dependent on others. People in late-stage dementia may have difficulty recognizing relatives and friends and be unaware of the time and place. Many people in this stage need assistance with self-care and they may have difficulty walking. Behavioral changes may escalate, and some people in this stage become aggressive, even toward their loved ones. Dementia affects millions of people across the globe. Though there currently is no cure for dementia, the WHO emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis, which starts with learning the stages of dementia and the hallmarks of each stage. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

Middle stage

Life becomes more difficult during the middle stage of dementia, when signs and symptoms become more apparent. The forgetfulness present in the early stage now becomes forgetfulness of recent events and people’s names. People in the middle stage also may become lost in their own homes and have more difficulty communicating.

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The decision about when to claim Social Security retirement benefits is one all those who have contributed to the program must eventually make.

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survivor benefits, and workers in the United States contribute to Social Security each week. 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 (CFPB) offers the following tips to people wondering when they should begin collecting their Social Security benefits.

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.

Budget for retirement:

Short- and long-term budgeting for retirement can help you assess how much money you will need to cover your expenses when you stop working. This step can help you understand how much a reduced or increased Social Security benefit will affect your bottom line in retirement.

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, 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 adviser can help you make the most informed decision. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Even if planning for retirement has been many years in the making, it can take some time for a person to become acclimated to having less income. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, ‘older households,’ defined as those run by someone age 65 and older, spent an average of $45,756 in 2016, or roughly $3,800 a month. That’s roughly $1,000 less than the monthly average spent by typical American households. Housing, transportation, healthcare and food are some of the biggest bills retirees will have to account for. Aiming to have savings in addition to any other retirement income or government subsidy coming in to cover that amount is a step in the right direction. Retirees can make their money go further if they take inventory of their spend-

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ing and make some cuts where possible. ♦ Know where your money is going: It’s impossible to save without knowing what your expenses are each month. Many people are surprised to learn how much little things add up over the course of a month. For example, spending $4 for a take-out coffee each day can quickly become an expensive luxury. Add all expenses and see where you can trim, especially if there’s a deficit each month. ♦ Consider extra health care: In the United States, Medicare participants can choose Medicare Supplement Insurance plans to help reduce out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Medicare Parts A and B cover only some of your healthcare costs. Supplemental insurance can cover some of the costs not covered by original Medicare, like copayments, deductibles and coinsurance, according to AARP. ♦ Pare down on possessions: Take inventory of what you have and scale back where possible. If you are no longer commuting to work, you may be able to become a one-car household. Downsizing your residence can help seniors avoid spending too much of their retirement time and money maintaining their homes. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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Effective exercises for seniors that won’t get boring

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osing interest in an exercise regimen is a situation many fitness enthusiasts have

confronted at some point. Overcoming a stale workout routine can be simple for young athletes, whose bodies can typically handle a wide range of physical activities. That flexibility allows younger athletes the chance to pursue any number of physical activities when their existing fitness regimens get boring. But what about seniors who have grown tired of their workouts? Even seniors who have lived active lifestyles since they were youngsters are likely to encounter certain physical limitations associated with aging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the likelihood of dealing with one or more physical limitations increases with age. CDC data indicates that 8 % of adults age 50-59 have three or more physical limitations. That figure rises to 27 % among adults age 80 and older. Physical limitations may be a part of aging for many people, but such obstacles

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Seniors can successfully engage in a variety of exercises that benefit their bodies and are unlikely to grow stale. need not limit seniors looking to banish boredom from their workout routines. In fact, many seniors can successfully engage in a variety of exercises that benefit their bodies and that are unlikely to grow stale. Water aerobics: Sometimes referred to as ‘aqua aerobics,’ water aerobics may involve jogging in the water, leg lifts, arm curls and other activities that can safely be performed in a pool. The YMCA notes that

water aerobics exercises are low impact, which can make them ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues like arthritis. Resistance band workouts: These can be especially useful for seniors who spend a lot of time at home. Resistance bands are inexpensive and don’t take up a lot of space, making them ideal for people who like to exercise at home but don’t have much space. Resistance bands can be used

to strengthen muscles in various parts of the body, including the legs, arms and back. Resistance bands can be pulled or pushed in any direction, which allows for more versatility in a workout than weight machines and dumbbells. That versatility enables seniors to spice up their workout regimens when things get a little stale. Pilates: Pilates is another low-impact exercise that can be ideal for seniors with bone and joint issues. According to SilverSneakers, a community fitness program for seniors that promotes living through physical and social engagement, Pilates can help seniors build overall strength, stability and coordination. SilverSneakers even notes that seniors can experience improvements in strength and stability by committing to as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily Pilates exercises. Strength training: Seniors on the lookout for something more challenging than a daily walk around the neighborhood should not overlook the benefits of strength training. The CDC notes that seniors who participate in strength training can stimulate the growth of muscle and bone, reducing their risk for osteoporosis and frailty. The CDC notes that people with health concerns like arthritis or heart disease often benefit the most from exercise regimens that include lifting weights a few times each week. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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facturers, visit the dealership where your relative bought his or her car and ask for a quick tutorial on all the safety features in the vehicle. Salesmen demonstrate these features every day, so it shouldn’t take long for them to show you the ropes. Be patient: Each person adapts to a new technology at his or her own pace. It’s important to remain patient when teaching aging drivers how to use the tech in their vehicles. Old habits die hard. And while some drivers may quickly adapt to tech like backup cameras, others may not be so quick to abandon driving techniques they’ve been safely using for decades. Stay the course, remain patient and allow senior drivers to adapt at their own pace. Teach one tech at a time: It can be overwhelming for drivers of all ages to adapt overnight to all the tech in their new vehicles. When teaching senior drivers how to use various driver assistance technologies, take it one technological improvement at a time. When coupled with your patience, this approach can help seniors avoid being overwhelmed and increases the likelihood that they will embrace the tech in their vehicles. Many senior drivers use driver assistance technologies every day. A patient and methodical approach to showing seniors how their vehicles can help them stay safe behind the wheel can be a road map to helping seniors adapt to life in modern vehicles. – Courtesy of Metro Creative

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In a recent analysis of motor vehicle accidents, researchers at the International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that vehicles with blind spot and lane departure warning systems were involved in 11 percent fewer sideswipes and head-on crashes than cars that did not feature such systems. In addition, the IIHS estimates that the number of automobile crashes in the United States could be decreased by 85,000 each year if every vehicle were outfitted with a lane departure warning system. Driver assistance systems have made driving safer for millions of people across the globe, but one demographic may need some extra help adapting to modern vehicles, and may even need a little extra encouragement to use technology that can keep them safe behind the wheel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that in 2018, the United States was home to 45 million licensed drivers aged 65 and over. That marks a 60 percent increase since 2000. Though seniors’ perceived unwillingness or inability to use modern technology is often overstated, some aging drivers may need a little extra help as they try to learn how to use assistance technologies in their vehicles. Learn the technology yourself: Assistance technologies are not all one and the same. Vehicle manufacturers have their own systems and there can be a learning curve when adapting to a new one. If you aspire to teach a senior how to use the assistance technologies in his or her vehicle, first learn the tech on your own. If both you and your aging friend or family member own a Subaru, chances are you already know how to use the tech in your loved one’s vehicle. If you drive cars made by different manu-

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SEPTEMBER 3, 2021

Why not that old cranky guy at the end of the street?

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got a call from a friend of mine a few months ago. She called to tell me her husband had died the night before. She had just gotten

home from the hospital. She sounded like a zombie. I just stood there. I had no words. What? …no… how? … What? I am not hearing you right. My mind was spinning. I didn’t hear any sirens so I am sure it isn’t true. We are neighbors, we live just a few doors down. We have been friends for 30 years. We were just together the weekend before, like we were most weekends. We had dinner, drank some wine, shared a whole lot of laughs like we always do with them. How could we have not heard the ambulance? Jack and Geri were the quintessential high school sweethearts. They met in Junior High but didn’t start dating until their junior year in high school. They went to the same college and then married. They had 3 kids, and now have 6 grandkids. It was just unbelievable. It was so sudden. When I heard those words, it took my breath away. I didn’t hear any commotion. No sirens, fire trucks, police, shouldn’t we have heard some commotion? Our friend is dying, there should be commotion damn it! He was fine that night. Just normal. She was happy. They seemed to be reconnecting after he retired just 8 months ago, at 65 and a half. It was planned to a tee. There was a party at the office, his boss gave him a gold watch, not from the company but from him personally. It was a joke between him and Jack. He was so relaxed. No talk of business, just golf, grandkids, and Geri. They were giggly and flirty, winking across the room. It was so sweet. They were really enjoying each other again. They had made plans for a big cruise next Fall. They were talking about the strategies of paying in full or waiting until closer to the cruise. She had heard from a friend that if you hold off on paying for the cruise and they have a price drop, you will get the better price, but if you pay in full you don’t get that benefit. We talked about the places each of us had been. I went to London when I was 16. Charlie had gone when he was 16 also, except that was 3 years later. Yes, I robbed the cradle. Geri had gone on a cruise with her parents when she was in her teens, before she was married. Of course, she felt all grown up and yet they were so protective of her. She said their biggest fear was that she would fall overboard. She couldn’t, for the life of her, understand how that could even happen. We laughed about that because we were just like her parents when our kids were young. Jack had the best stories. His family lived in Europe when he was growing up. They traveled all the time, to places that seem so exotic to us, but to them, it was a weekend trip. Switzerland to ski, Paris to shop, Spain for the summer ‘beach holiday’, and they even travelled to South Africa on one trip. It was a fun night reminiscing. Lots of laughs, great big belly laughs, where you feel like you might

pee a little. It was really a fabulous night. Now what? Now what for her? Now what for the gang? When is it okay to laugh again? When is it okay to reach out to see how we can help? When is it okay to have a party again? Will she come? It wouldn’t be the same without her, and without him. Oh my. There are so many things that are just different now. I feel like I don’t know how to act, or what to say, or what comes next. Their kids went back to their homes, their jobs, and their owns kids. Of course, they are sad, and they still have life as they knew it before that day. Yes, Dad is gone but, in some deep recess of our minds, we know and accept that we are going to lose our parents one day. Somehow that makes it just a little bit easier. They are sad. They have bad moments. But life if pretty much back to normal. We have spent a lot of time with her over the last few months. We helped her with sorting through Jack’s clothes, moving furniture around, and my husband even bought Jack’s car. He had always loved it and I think Geri gave us a deal just to keep it close to her. All through-out, the elephant in the living room would pop up. How could this have happened? Why him? Why them? Why not that old cranky guy at the end of the street? She kept telling us how their mantra was “it’s our turn now”. From a selfish point of view, I kept saying Jack was just like Charlie, I am just like Geri. It could have been any one of us laying on the floor, no longer breathing. Any one of us running to call 911. Screaming at them to wake up, get up, stop playing around… and realizing, they weren’t playing around. The EMTs and the firemen. The ride to the hospital. It was so quiet in the ambulance. The siren sounded so distant. She told us the story so many times, and then she would end it with “I watched the life drain out of him”, with the tears streaming down her face, and ours as well. Geri has started to sort through the reality of the situation now. She went to their attorney who had drawn up their trust. She helped Geri to file all the legal documents. Can I just say one thing, why can’t she hold title to their home as a widow? The attorney told her there is only “a married woman” or “an unmarried woman”. She vested her as Geri name withheld for privacy, an unmarried woman. Geri has been a married woman for 43 years. That is just plain hurtful. One of the most difficult things that a newly widowed person has to deal with is finances. Geri didn’t even think about her month-to-month cash flow. It had always been fine. She and Jack had always done well throughout their careers and their retirement was pretty secure. When Jack passed, his pension was to continue for Geri’s lifetime. That was the choice they made when he filled out the paperwork. There was some kind of issue and it stopped immediately. Geri got it going again but it was terrifying. His Social Security was less than hers so hers continued but still she lost his. Just because he is gone does not mean the expenses are suddenly half of what they were. She just felt lost and distressed and scared. Of course, we are there for her, but we can’t go through it for her, or feel it for her, or be there at 3:00 in the morning

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. when she hears a noise or just feels so alone. I wish we could, I so wish we could. I feel very fortunate and privileged that I was able to assist her with a reverse mortgage on their home. She set up a monthly income stream along with a line of credit for emergencies. The monthly income will continue forever, until she leaves their home. She doesn’t know if she will stay there forever but for now, she doesn’t have to think about it. She has some peace. – Advertorial

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*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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50+ Club 09.03.2021  

The Press special section for 50+ Club!

50+ Club 09.03.2021  

The Press special section for 50+ Club!

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