Page 1


Update

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

28 2013

Sen. Sanders testifying before a special congressional committee Oct. 30, on cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

In late October, the U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (OAA) on to the full Senate. The Older Americans Act has not been reauthorized since 2006, but is extremely important in continuing funding for programs that provide essential services for people over 60.

fraud and abuse, elder abuse, the Long-Term Care Ombudsmen, and evidenced based programs.

Committee member, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, said with the growing population of aging Americans nationwide the Senate cannot afford to think about not reauthorizing the act that has provided support for “hundreds of thousand of seniors.”

Sanders said in a statement that there are legislators upset with the reauthorization bill that came out of the HELP committee because there is language included that would shift some funding to states with more needs. Sanders said OAA programs are so cost effective that not supporting a measure to Reauthorize OAA would result in drastic cuts to the states. “This comes at a time when every state in the country is facing long lines for services.” OAA programs help save lives and assist aging adults to live independently in their homes.

The OAA provides funding of programs that include home care, nutrition, Meals on Wheels, transportation,

The House will still need to consider reauthorization, but has not set a date at this time.

Contents

page 3 - Older Americans Act page 4 - Opinion: Congress Moves from Crisis to Crisis page 5 - Opinion: Giving Thanks and Honoring Caregivers page 6 - Integrating County Senior and Social Services

page 18 - Energy Assistance page 23 - RSVP Volunteers page 28 - Toys for Children

Every Issue page page page page page

20 25 27 29 30

- Calendar Tinseltown Talks Crossword Resources Eclectic Observer

-

page 31 - Seniors4Travel page 33 - Eydie’s Excerpts

Health

page 10 - CMS: Two Ways to Get Medicare Benefits page 12 -Recognize and Educate Caregivers Dr. Lawrence J. Weiss, Ph.D., Center for Healthy Aging page 14 - Caregiving Made

Easier: Home Safety page 15 - Ophthalmology: Dr. Michael Fischer, M.D. page 16 - Plan Now-Pay Later

Financial

page 7 - Living Trust Bradley B. Anderson, Anderson,

Senior Spectrum Newspaper P.O. Box 7124 • Reno, NV 89510

(775) 348-0717

e-mai l : S eni orspectrumnv@aol . com S eni orspectrumnewspaper. com

Publishers: Chris & Connie McMullen Senior Spectrum is a monthly publication dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain. Publication of advertising contained does not constitute endorsement. Signed columns are the opinion of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publishers. Copyrighted publication. All rights reserved. December • 2013 • 3


Opinion U.S. Senator Dean Heller

Sen. Dean Heller

4 • 2013 • December

A headline I came across last month from

Congress Moves from Crisis to Crisis Politico read – “Congress seems to be done legislating for the year.” The sad thing is, expectations for Congress are so low

that I’m willing to bet no American was shocked to read that headline. It’s true, in less than a month, we will be facing yet another short-term spending bill and after that, yet another debt increase. Still, Congress has failed to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate budgets and has not passed a single appropriations bill. It’s clear: the “do nothing” status quo in Washington is alive and well. Governing from crisis to crisis while our debt continues grow is now the new normal in Washington.

Currently the United States debt sits at an astonishing $17 trillion. Both Republicans and Democrats contributed to creating this debt, and it is going to take both sides coming together to solve it. It’s past time that the government stops overspending and starts working on a plan that will place our nation on sound fiscal footing and cultivate a pro-growth economy that will produce jobs in the long term. Nevadans don’t deserve this political brinkmanship, and Congress must end the detrimental cycle of inaction and indecisiveness.


Opinion U.S. Sen. Harry Reid

Thanksgiving is a cherished celebration of sharing that spans hunSen. Harry Reid dreds of years. This special time of year serves as a reminder that we ought to strive to represent the virtues exemplified by the Wampanoag Indians in their interactions with the Pilgrim settlers nearly four-hundred years ago. That singular altruistic and noble action to save a few dozen people hundreds of years ago helped--and continues to help--to shape the culture and spirit of our

Giving Thanks and Honoring Our Caregivers great nation. We can all learn much from such paragons of comity who devoted themselves to such philanthropy regardless of the time of year. In the words of John Winthrop, “We must be knit together in this work as one man… we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities for the supply of others’ necessities.” I sincerely hope that both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate alike will use this time to reflect on how we may be knit together, to work for the people of this great nation toward a common goal, and

to supply the necessities of others. November also doubles as National Family Caregiver Month. During this time, we reflect on the difficulties and joys that family caregivers face on a daily basis. During these challenging economic times, it is more difficult and more important than ever for families to care for relatives that need extra assistance. There are monumental tasks ahead of us: with 50 million people in the US living in poverty, we need to work to get Nevadans back to work and strengthen the middle class; and with nearly 47 million people living in

the US without health insurance, our devotion to ensuring they can have access to a healthy life has never been more sorely needed. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate from both sides of the aisle. Working together, we will continue down the path of success, and economic recovery. I wish all of those that celebrate it, a very happy Thanksgiving, and a meaningful Family Caregiver Month. For more information, or to receive the Reid Report ENewsletter, visit Senator Harry Reid’s website at http://www.reid.senate.gov.

December • 2013 • 5


Commissioners Approve Feasibility Analysis Integrating Senior Services and Social Services The Washoe County Board of County Commissioners have approved a feasibility analysis that would integrate Social Services and Senior Services to create the Washoe County Human Services Agency in 2014. The commissioners agreed to appoint Social Services Director Kevin Schiller as Project Leader to evaluate the feasibility of a Human Services Agency in November 2012, that included the integration of Social Services, Senior Services and the Public Guardian. That decision came following a 2011 presentation for the

6 • 2013 • December

County’s Organizational Effectiveness Committee on the financial sustainability of each department. The commission approved moving forward with an interim director with a final integrated agency involving Senior Services and Social Services by July 1, 2014. Under the proposal, the departments will remain as they currently exist, however, the agency will provide for a centralized delivery of services; reduce duplication of services, programmatic staff time, administrative record keeping and tracking; provide a seamless continuum of

care for vulnerable adults, and meeting all contractual and grant obligations. The move would secure a separation of dedicated funding as mandated but provide better efficiencies and leverage for federal funding. Currently, the Senior Services Department is developing a Master Plan that will be presented to the commissioners in February 2014. The Senior Services Department has had difficulty meeting the growing challenges of an aging population especially in light of budget reductions and property tax decline.

Previously this year, the department had to out source the Senior Law Project to Nevada Legal Services and Washoe Legal Services to provide legal representation of county seniors. Additionally, funding was cut for the Visiting Nurse Program after sequestration of federal funds resulting in several budget reductions. The Senior Services Advisory Board unanimously approved the integration of Senior Services and Social Services following three years of budget discussions and initiatives.


Why Choose a Living Trust? Brought to you by Bradley B. Anderson Anderson, Dorn, & Rader, Ltd.

As you research your estate planning options, you’re sure to hear a lot about living trusts. In recent years, the living trust has become such a popular tool that it forms the cornerstone of many people’s estate plans. What are the benefits of a living trust and why would you opt for one as part of your estate plan? Protect and Provide for Beneficiaries The foundational goal for any estate plan is to provide for your loved ones in the event of your disability or death. A living trust allows

The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys www.probatebusters.com • blog.wealth-counselors.com

you to do this and maintain some control over their inheritances even after you’re gone. You can protect vulnerable beneficiaries by controlling when and how they access your assets. For example: • Parents of minor children can use a trust to support their children while giving the trustee specific instructions for the use of trust funds, the circumstances under which the children will be allowed to access the funds, and the age at which the funds will be turned over to the children. • A beneficiary who is finan-

cially inexperienced or has a track record of irresponsibility with money can be given restricted access to trust assets, protecting his or her inheritance and preserving it for as long as possible. • A living trust can also be structured to shield beneficiaries’ assets from the threat of creditors, con artists, and divorcing spouses. Avoid Probate One of the best-known benefits of a living trust is that it allows your family to avoid probate. When you die, since your property is titled in the name of your trust,

and not in your name, it is not subject to the probate process. This can be an immense benefit in some states because depending on a number of factors, probate can be a lengthy and stressful process. A trust has the potential to offer a streamlined, simplified alternative. In the event you are incapacitated during your lifetime, a living trust also allows you to avoid “living probate.” Without an effective plan in place, a debilitating illness or injury could land your family in court (Living Trust page 8)

December • 2013 • 7


Living Trust / page 7

where a judge will first determine whether you are incapacitated and will then appoint a guardian to manage your affairs. Not only does this process mean that the private details of your situation are aired in court, it also tends to be expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing. Your family has to contend with the initial court proceeding, plus the guardian appointed typically has to make periodic reports to the court – a process which requires time and money. A living trust prevents the need for this process because it provides for a Successor Trustee to step in and manage your trust assets according to your written instructions in the event of your disability. This process is handled privately, without the need for a judge’s approval.

8 • 2013 • December

Maintain Privacy and Control Privacy is another benefit of a living trust. Unlike a will, which must be filed in court as part of the probate process, a living trust generally is never made public. If you die or become disabled, your living trust is administered in private, without the need for court supervision. With no court proceeding necessary to administer a living trust, it is more difficult for family members to contest it. And in the rare event that a lawsuit objecting to the terms of a trust is filed, the nature of the trust poses some inherent advantages. For example, establishing and maintaining a living trust usually involves ongoing contact with bank officials, trustees, and other people

who can provide evidence of the owner’s mental competence and intentions. Disadvantages As with any estate planning tool, a living trust does have some disadvantages. For example, a trust requires maintenance. You have to transfer all the necessary property to the trust. Formal transfers are required even if you serve as your own trustee. Without the transfers, the assets would still be in your individual name, necessitating a public probate. If you acquire new property that should be transferred to the trust but fail to do so, that property will be classified as probate property at your death, which you hoped to avoid when you established your living trust to begin with. The initial cost of a living trust may be more than the cost of a will, although a trust generally saves you significant money later on because it allows you to avoid probate expenses. As with any estate plan, it is important to keep a trust updated as your priorities and life circumstances change. Finally, not everyone needs a trust. That’s why it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a living trust with an experienced estate planning attorney. The Law Firm of Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. is devoted exclusively to estate planning. For more information or to attend a seminar, please contact us at (775) 823-9455 or visit us online at www.probatebusters.com.


December • 2013 • 9


Two Ways to Get Your Medicare Benefits David Sayen

Some people may not realize it, but there are actually two ways to get Medicare benefits. The best-known way is Original Medicare. With Original Medicare, you can choose any doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider you want, as long as they accept Medicare. When you receive medical services or goods, Medicare pays the provider directly. The other way is Medicare

10 • 2013 • December

David Sayen Regional Administrator, Medicare Region 9 Advantage, which is a form of managed care, like an HMO or PPO. Medicare Advantage is provided by private insurance companies approved by Medicare. If you’re in Medicare Advantage, you generally must go to doctors and other providers in the company’s network. If you go outside the network, you may have to pay more. On the other hand, Medicare Advantage companies may offer some coverage – such

as dental, hearing, vision, and wellness programs – that Original Medicare doesn’t. Most people with Original Medicare pay a monthly premium. If you’re in Medicare Advantage, you sometimes pay an additional monthly premium to the private insurance company that covers you. With Original Medicare, you must pay deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. To cover these “gaps” in Medicare, some people buy a

type of supplemental insurance called Medigap. If you have a Medigap policy, Medicare pays its share of the covered costs, and then your Medigap policy pays its share. Medigap policies also are sold through private companies. All plans offer the same basic benefits but some offer additional benefits. The costs vary between insurance companies – and often cost is the only difference between policies. Some Medigap policies also offer benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t,


MEDICARE (1-800-6334227). David Sayen is Medicare’s

Medicare / page 10

such as medical care when you travel outside the United States. Original Medicare generally doesn’t cover prescription drugs. If you want drug coverage, you can get it through Medicare Part D. Part D policies are sold through private companies approved by Medicare. You have to pay an additional monthly premium for Part D. About 75 percent of Medicare beneficiaries choose Original Medicare, with the rest getting coverage through Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage companies must cover all of the services that Original Medicare covers, except hospice care and some care in qualifying clinical research studies. (Original Medicare covers hospice and qualifying clinical research care even if you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan.) In all types of Medicare Advantage plans, you’re covered for emergency and urgent care. Most Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drug coverage. But the plans can charge different out-of-pocket

regional administrator for Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories.

amounts and they have different rules for how you get service. For example, you may need a referral to see a specialist. And you may need to stay in their provider network, unless you’re willing to pay more to go outside the network. You should always check with the plan before you get a service to find out whether it’s covered and what your costs may be. If the plan decides to stop participating in Medicare, you’ll have to join another Medicare health plan or return to Original Medicare. How can you decide whether Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage is better for you? There’s a more detailed explanation of the differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage in the “Medicare & You” handbook. An updated version of “Medicare & You” is mailed to all Medicare beneficiaries every fall. You can also find “Medicare & You” on our website, www.Medicare.gov. If you have any questions, you can always call Medicare’s tollfree number, 1-800-

December • 2013 • 11


Adding Life to Years

The Need to Recognize and Educate Caregivers Dr. Larry Weiss • Center for Healthy Aging

Larry Weiss

I discussed the importance of caregiving last month. On November 19th the Nevada Caregiver Coalition hosted the 8th annual Caregiver Recognition Luncheon. Diane Ross and Jerry Cruitt from the Continuum provided the leadership and support for this caregiver recognition celebration, with a lot of help from other Caregiver Coalition organizational members, including the Center for Healthy Aging. Mary Liveratti, former administrator for Nevada’s Aging Services and now the Nevada President of AARP, served as a co-MC and humorist. The Caregiver Recognition Luncheon was started eight years ago following the death of Linda Carr, an extraordinary person, volunteer, and paid caregiver that inspired all of us to do something special to acknowledge caregivers. The first year celebration had 50 guests and 19 honorees from Reno-Sparks. The celebration this

12 • 2013 • December

year had 57 caregiver honorees and over 200 guests representing 8 cities. Acknowledgement of these very special people occurred through a proclamation from the Governor and certificates of appreciation from Senators Reid and Heller and Congressman Amodei. The recognition of caregivers and care-receivers spans all ages. The people honored as extraordinary caregivers are truly silent heroes. These silent heroes come from unpaid family and friends, as well as paid personal care agencies, hospice, community, and inpatient facilities. The Nevada Caregiver Coalition recognized six different types of caregiver and selected a representative from each to be the best of the best caregiver. Those winners and award sponsors in the six areas are: - Carolyn Makrinos - In-facility Caregiver Award, sponsored by The Continuum

- Karalee Garrett - In-home paid Caregiver Award, sponsored by Consumer Direct - Geri Porter - Volunteer Hospice/ Community Caregiver Award, sponsored by NV AARP - Jody Smith - Paid Youth with Disability Caregiver Award, sponsored by The Auto Clinic - Connie Anderson - Double Life Caregiver Award, sponsored by Atlantis Hotel and Casino - Debra Tobias - Family Caregiver Award, sponsored by Laura Coger The awards event facilitated some life stories of the caregivers that were shared with the audience and created many tears. One example of the “best of the best” caregivers was Karalee Garrett, nominated by HomeInstead Senior Care in the area of ‘in-


home paid caregiver,’ Karalee’s co-workers wrote: “having a soft smile, a kind heart, a gentle and caring touch, impeccable intuition, an innate knowledge and understanding of exactly what the situation calls for, are all of the things that make one wonder where this angel on earth came from.” She grew up helping her mother care for her father who suffered from heart issues and dementia. She found out first hand at a young age what it meant to be a caregiver. Karalee stated that her caregiving life is what she was meant to do. It brings her joy to be able to add to the quality of life for one of her seniors. They are like family to her. This very special event is supported by the community, including some special sponsors including: Senior Care Plus, Comfort Keepers, HomeInstead Senior Care, Right At Home, and the Senior Coalition. These organizations, as well as all the others that participated in celebrating our caregivers, need to be acknowledge as stand up organizations. We do not acknowledge our caregivers enough. Most caregivers are not paid or not paid enough. In fact, many family caregivers do not even recognize themselves as caregivers and cer-

tainly take on overwhelming duties, many times to their own health detriment. Therefore, let’s take some time to say thank you and help those in caregiving roles. One way that the Center for Healthy Aging (CHA) is helping acknowledge and serve Nevada’s caregivers, is to provide caregiver training to unpaid and paid careKaralee Garrett receives In-home Paid Caregiver Award from Diane Ross of The Continuum. givers. In collaboration with ABBA the Nevada Aging and Disability Services Learning Center in Las Vegas, CHA is pro- Division and will be offered free of charge. viding caregiver education and training in If you or you know someone who is respite care throughout the state. caring for a loved one, please refer them to Our training will include finding and the Center for Healthy Aging at 775-848choosing respite services, types of respite 1260 or marta@addinglifetoyears.com or care services and providers, and paying for me. This is our small way of adding life to respite care. We will also help caregivers years for caregivers across our state. and provider staff understand behaviors Lawrence J. Weiss, CEO, Center for associated with loss of physical and cogniHealthy Aging, welcomes your comments tive functioning. Our training is funded by at larry@addinglifetoyears.com.

December • 2013 • 13


Caregiving Made Easier

Home Safety Dr. Marion Sommers

Dear Dr. Marion: We spent the holidays at my mom’s house, and I’m getting concerned about her safety while living alone. She refuses to move out and is in fact quite capable, but I worry about the little things – a fall in the bathtub, safety when cooking, trying to maneuver in the dark in the middle of the night. What can I do

14 • 2013 • December

make sure her home is safe? Julie, 56, Atlanta Dear Julie: It’s so wonderful that your mom remains independent, but you’re right to think that a few extra steps need to be taken to ensure her safety when living alone. I’ve just partnered with Philips Lifeline to create an easy guide for this at www.LivingSafer.tv - you can download it and implement a few sim-

ple, common sense changes in minutes. Just make sure to do it together with your mom – involving your senior is the most important part of the process. After all, this is all about helping them maintain their independence. Here are a few tips to get you started: • The bathroom is where 80 percent of home accidents occur. Avoid falls by adding non-slip strips to the tub/shower (Home Safety page 15)


Ophthalmology

Thinning Advice Michael J. Fischer, M.D. Eye Physician & Surgeon

The cornea is normally conical in shape; Michael Fischer however, when the progressive disease known as “keratoconus” occurs, the cornea thins and changes shape. It bulges and distorts due to weakening of the tiny fiber proteins responsible for holding the cornea in place. As a result, the cornea becomes slightly wavy (referred to as irregular astigmatism) and vision becomes more nearsighted. Other symptoms of keratoconus (which often first appear in the lateteens or twenties) include vision change in one eye, double vision in one eye, distortion of near and far images, and seeing triple ghosts images. Once keratoconus is properly diagnosed, the eye doctor can prescribe treatment in the form of eyeglasses or contact lenses

Home Safety / page 14

floor and non-skid mats to the bathroom floor, along with safety rails in the tub/shower and next to the toilet. • In the kitchen, even the most savvy cook has had a loose sleeve catch on an open flame. Make sure your mom wears tight fitting sleeves when cooking, and remove towels and curtains that may be hanging nearby.

specifically designed to address the cornea’s abnormal shapes. It should be noted that in the most severe cases of keratoconus, a corneal transplant may be needed. If you would like further information on today’s topic or an appointment, please call my office at (775) 882-2988. We are located at 3839 N. Carson Street, in Carson City. Hours: 8-5 p.m., Mon. - Fri. by appointment. M/C, Visa and Medicare Assignment accepted.

• Elsewhere in the home, one of my biggest pet peeves is throw rugs – they’re an accident waiting to happen! Remove them along with any other clutter that can cause a fall. Increase light bulb wattage throughout the house to improve visibility at all times. Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, PhD) is the author of "Elder Care Made Easier" and has over 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager, caregiver, speaker, and expert in all things elder care. Visit www.DrMarion.com for more information.

December • 2013 • 15


Plan Now – or Pay Later – for Your Health Costs in Retirement By Jean C. Setzfand

Jean C. Setzfand

16 • 2013 • December

I don’t live a very long know (and hopefully about healthy) life. you, but I My father lived to 82 – even with three separate plan to

bouts of cancer – and my mom is still going strong at 76. So I’d rather bet on living to 100, and plan accordingly, than run the risk of outliving my money. Frankly, I’d rather get hit by a bus than run out of money in my later years. And if 30 or more of those later years will be spent “in retirement,” it turns out I can’t afford not to be healthy. I found this out the easy way, by using AARP’s newest online tool, the Health Care Costs Calculator. The tool, which was produced and sponsored

by Optum, is our latest effort to help people identify and plan for costs they will face in retirement. It turns out that health care is a much, much larger expense than I had ever imagined – even for those with supplemental Medicare and retiree health benefits through their employer. The calculator told me to plan on spending about $311,000 out of my own pocket on health care during my 30-plus years of retirement. Most of the sticker shock comes from the cost of premiums, deductibles and coinsurance requirements. But this new tool also factors in the costs associated with specific diseases that run in my family (hello, cancer), and provides some tips on how to manage those diseases (hello, vegetables!). Apparently, I’m not alone in my naïveté about retiree health care costs. In a recent AARP study, we found that the vast majority of respondents have never tried to figure out how much their health care will cost them in retirement. And when we asked them to give a ballpark estimate of how much money they might need, most guessed that they would need less than $50,000 to cover their health costs throughout retirement.


Health Costs / page 16

Clearly, this new tool fills an all-too-common gap in the retirement-planning process. As you’re planning out when and how to retire, be sure to check out the tool and take stock of your estimated health care costs. (And eat more vegetables!) In the meantime, here are a few things to keep in mind about retirement health costs: • Most of us will qualify for Medicare at age 65, as long as you or your spouse worked and paid into Social Security and Medicare for at least 10 years. • While Medicare is an incredibly important safety net, it does not cover all of your health care costs. There are significant out-of-pocket costs such as premiums, deductibles and coinsurance requirements to take into consideration. • Medicare is broken into four different parts: Part A (also known as “Original Medicare,” which provides hospital care), Part B (nonhospital medical care), Part C (also known as “Medicare Advantage,” private HMO or PPO plans that combine Parts A, B and D, and may have lower out-of-pocket costs), and Part D (prescription drug coverage). • Although most people don’t pay premiums for Part A (because they already paid for it through their payroll taxes), there are deductibles and coinsurance requirements for all four parts, and premiums to pay for Parts B, C and D. • When you’re choosing the best Medicare plan for you, the lowest premium may not be the lowest-cost plan overall. Even Part A charges an

annual deductible of more than $1,100. And if you do end up hospitalized with just Part A coverage, let’s hope you don’t stay long: After two months in the hospital, you’re expected to pay almost $300 per day out of your own pocket. After three months, you’ll be charged almost $600 per day. • Out-of-pocket charges may be lower and more predictable under a Part C Medicare Advantage plan than under Original Medicare. The downside to these Advantage plans is that they usually limit your choice of doctors and hospitals. • You should plan to reevaluate your Medicare coverage needs each year during the open enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7. • If you’re under 65 and have a high-deductible insurance plan ($1,250 or more), you might want to

consider setting up a health care savings account now. Your contributions are taxdeductible, they’re invested in the market, and they grow tax-free. And if you use the money to pay for medical expenses, you’re not taxed on the withdrawal. Best of all, unlike traditional flexible spending accounts, the money rolls over from year to year, helping you build a health care nest egg for your later years.

Bear in mind that the health care costs calculator doesn’t factor in the cost of long-term care. With any luck, you won’t need it. But again, that’s not something I would gamble on. Jean C. Setzfand is vice president of the Financial Security team at AARP. She leads the educational and outreach efforts to help Americans achieve financial peace of mind in retirement.

December • 2013 • 17


The Cold Winter Heating Months are Upon Us Energy Assistance May be Available

Karen Ross Community Relations Manager NV Energy It’s that time of year when cold temperatures drive up the cost of our energy bills, and the power company wants consumers to know there is help available. NV Energy Community Relations Manager, Karen Ross, and Customer Programs and Services Representative, Donna Brown, have been making the rounds to a variety of senior events and locations to spread the word about the availability of energy assistance programs that may help seniors pay their utility

bills. Both Ross and Brown began the outreach effort in May 2013 with a booth at the Older Americans Day celebration at the Washoe County Senior Center, followed by a presence at Senior Fest in September, the Retired Senior and Volunteer Program Recognition Luncheon in November, and visits to four Lyon County senior centers, including Silver Springs, Dayton, Fernley, and Yerington. Their message was consistent in every location. If

NV Energy Customer Programs and Services Representative, Donna Brown, provides energy assistance information to seniors at the Washoe County Senior Services Center during an Older Americans Month celebration.

you’re struggling to pay your utility bill, some financial assistance may be available. The State of Nevada Energy Assistance Program or EAP, is one source of funding. In Fiscal Year 2013 the State of Nevada awarded approximately $19 million to 26,000 Nevada households through the EAP. Funding comes through a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant and the Universal Energy Charge (UEC) collected by the State 18 • 2013 • December

of Nevada through a small, monthly charge on utility bills. The EAP application process is handled by the Nevada State Division of Welfare and Supportive Services (DWSS), and can be found on-line at https://dwss.nv.gov/ pdf/EAP_2824EL_EAPApplication.pdf. Eligibility is based upon a calculation of income and energy usage and, if a household meets the eligibility criteria, they will receive a onetime benefit paid directly to (Energy page 22)


December • 2013 • 19


December Calendar Dec. 1 - 25 - SPCA of Northern Nevada’s Angel Tree Promotion, help the animals, make donations at the Stanley James Walker Pet Adoption Center, or online at skpcanevada.org, or call (775) 324-7773, ex.204.

Dec. 6 - Senior Coalition, Renown Mack Auditorium, 8 a.m., (775) 348-0717.

Dec. 3 - Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospital, Reno City Lights Benefit, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., to benefit the Child Advocacy Center, Rancharrah, Reno.

Dec. 6 - Grand Sierra Resorts Holiday Gala, 7 p.m.

Dec. 5 - 8 - Lake Tahoe Festival of Trees and Lights, MontBleu Resort and Spa, www.festivaloftreeslaketahoe.org. Dec. 6 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Victorian Square, Sparks.

20 • 2013 • December

Dec. 6 - Transportation Summit, Reno Sparks Convention and Visitors Center, hosted by the RTC.

Dec. 7 - Scheels “Ugly Sweater Run,” Legends Mall, Sparks. Dec. 7 - Secondhand Prose Annual Holiday Open House, 10 - 3 p.m., Northwest Reno Library, call (775) 787-4125. Dec. 7 - Celebrate Tuba Christmas Concert, 10 - 3 p.m., Wilbur D. May Museum, Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, (775) 786-5961 or

Philharmonic, Pioneer Center.

www.maycenter.com.

Dec. 7 & 8 - The Nutcracker, 7 p.m., Bay Pointe Ballet, Grand Sierra Theatre.

Dec. 7 - UNR Commencement, 8 a.m., Lawlor Events Center, UNR, www.ur.edu/commencement.

Dec. 7 - Sparks 27th Annual Hometowne Christmas Parade, 1 - 3 p.m., Victorian Ave., Sparks.

Dec. 7 - Santa Visits for Seniors, will be making 150-200 stops delivering gifts in the Carson City area, call (775) 884-0180 to make a donation or details.

Dec. 8 - Carson City Historial Society Christmas Party and Annual Meeting, 2 - 4 p.m., Bliss Mansion, call David Bugli at (775) 883-4154, or DCBugli@aol.com.

Dec. 7 - Community Faire, 10 4 p.m., Bourbon Street Casino, Sparks.

Dec. 10 - Advance Directives Workshop, Renown Medical Group, 9 - 11 a.m., 975 Ryland Street, Reno, (775) 982-7787.

Dec. 7 & 8 - Spirit of the Season: Dec. 7, 2 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 8, 2 p.m., Reno

Dec. 10 - Senior Outreach Services, Education Talks, 10 -


Dec. 7 - Santa Visits for Seniors make 150-200 stops delivering gifts in the Carson City area.

11 a.m., Laxalt Auditorium, UNR Nelson Bldg., (775) 7847506. Dec 11 - Gift deadline for “Be a Santa to a Senior,” call Home Instead Senior Care for more. Dec. 13 - 15 - The Nutcracker, A.V.A. Ballet Theatre with the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Dec. 14 - History for the Holidays, 11 - 4 p.m., Nevada Historical Societys Annual Holiday Event. Dec. 14 - The Sierra Nevada MasterWorks Chorale, "How Great Our Joy", annual Christmas musical offering, Saturday, December 14th at 7:30 pm. Nightingale Hall on the UNR Campus. Call (775) 324-1940 or go to www.themasterworkschorale.org for information on tickets and program advertising. Dec. 14 - Tahoe Adventure Film Festival, MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16 - Peanutcracker, Sierra Nevada Ballet, 10 a.m., Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Dec. 17 - Monthly Food Pantry, age 60, income restrictions, Reno Senior Center, (775) 328-

2575, or /www.washoecounty.us/seniorsrv. Dec. 18, trip to Nevada City for the Victorian Christmas Celebrations, depart 2:30 p.m., $40, Sparks Parks & Recreation Department, (775) 353-2376. Dec. 19 - VA Holiday Party, 2-4 p.m., call (775) 336-5333. Dec. 20 - The Peking Acrobats, 8 p.m., Grand Sierra Theatre; through Dec. 27th. Dec. 29 - Broadway Comes to Reno, MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER@ 3 p.m. & 7 p.m., Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Dec. 31 - Sensory Support Group, 5 - 6 p.m., The Continuum, (775) 829-4700. Dec. 31 - Children of Aging Parents Support Group, 5:30 7 p.m., The Continuum, (775) 829-4700. Jan. 16 - Human Services Awards, Peppermill Casino and Resort, 8 - 10 a.m., call Erik at humanservicesnetwork1@gma il.com. Thru - Jan. 26 - Ice Fantasy, Eldorado Hotel Casino, Showroom, $24, Cirque Meets Ice, 1-800-6485966.

December • 2013 • 21


Energy / 18

their energy provider. This payment is intended to supplement a household’s ability to pay their utility bill over a 12month period. To get answers to questions about the EAP, in Reno or Carson City call 775-684-0730 or toll free 800992-0900. Another resource for home energy

22 • 2013 • December

conservation and savings is the Nevada State Housing Division (NSHD) weatherization assistance program. In State Fiscal Year 2013, the NSHD provided $3.8 million in weatherization assistance to 2,551 household throughout Nevada. The weatherization program assists low income persons to reduce their monthly utility bill by providing, Seniors may be eligible for assistance to help with energy bills. free of charge, a variety of energy conservation measures for Energy (SAFE). This program is that a NSHD contractor installs in administered by 19 agencies throughout the home. northern Nevada and is intended as a In northern Nevada, the gap-filling program if people are not eliCommunity Services Agency overgible for the EAP, but may be experisees the Washoe County program encing short-term financial hardship and they can be reached at 775-786- due to medical bills, loss of employ6023. In Carson, Douglas, Lyon and ment, or other unusual circumstances. Storey Counties, Nevada Rural To determine whether you may be eligiHousing Authority is the agent for ble for SAFE, contact NV Energy at the weatherization program. They 775-834-4444 or toll free at 1-800-962can be reached at 775-887-1795, 0399. An NV Energy customer service Ext. 124. representative can help guide you to the A third source of energy assisright program that may provide some tance is the Special Assistance Fund financial assistance, especially during the winter heating months. According to Ross, the reception from seniors throughout the Washoe County and the Lyon County area has been very positive in learning about programs that can help people manage one of their most basic needs. Ross says she and Brown have enjoyed their many conversations with seniors, knowing that these programs can lead to more financial stability, less stress, and more comfort for people who may need just a little help to pay their utility bills. NV Energy has a variety of other resources available to customers, including equal payment plans and on-line resources to help customers better understand and manage their energy use. Visit www.nvenergy.com for more information.


RSVP Volunteers Recognized for Helping Others The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program recognized its volunteers November 7, at the annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon held at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, in Sparks. RSVP places volunteers in community organizations, government entities, and the Washoe County School District where they provide countless volunteer hours of service. Over 300 RSVP volunteers attended the recognition where two people received the Amos Tinkey Award for Outstanding Volunteer, and two organizations received the Elsie Connor Award for Community Support. Roger Slugg, who volunteers at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada and the Veterans Administration, received the Amos Tinkey Award. Slugg delivers food items from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program to 41 sites for the Food Bank. He has been volunteering with the (Volunteers page 24)

(L) RSVP Director Scott Trevithick; Food Bank and VA volunteer, Roger Slugg; Susan Lisagor, Sen. Harry Reid Rep.; SHIP Program Dir. Wanda Brown, ADSD; Dena Miguel, Gov. Programs Supervisor, Access to Healthcare Network; Don Klasic, SAVE, Reno Police Dept.; and Katie Pace, Sen.Heller Rep.

December • 2013 • 23


Volunteers / page 23 Food Bank since 2006, and typically contributes over 800 hours a year. Slugg also volun-

teers twice a week with the VA’s Friendly Visitor program, assisting veterans with meal service.

Don Klasic, received the Amos Tinkey Award for his service with the SAVE program, or the Senior Auxiliary Volunteer Effort. Klasic has been a volunteer with SAVE since 1999 where he works with the Reno Police Department in a number of roles providing service that allows the department to han-

Nevada Aging and Disability Services Division (ADSD) oversees the program, administering state and federal grants awarded to community organizations. SHIP Director, Wanda Brown accepted the Elsie Connor Award for ADSD. Dena Miguel accepted the award for Access to Healthcare Network in her role as

RSVP Project Director Scott Trevithick; SHIP Director Wanda Brown; and Access to Healthcare Network, Gov. Programs Supervisor, Dena Miguel.

24 • 2013 • December

dle more serious crimes. SAVE officers help with incidents involving graffiti, abandoned cars and illegal use of handicapped parking spaces, to name a few. Klasic has served four terms as the chairman of the organization, and currently volunteers as the Special Events Coordinator. Two organizations received the Elsie Connor Award for Community Support. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is a national program that offers unbiased one-on-one volunteer counseling and assistance to people eligible for Medicare. The

Government Programs Supervisor. Access to Healthcare Network administers SHIP funding providing services through volunteers to partnering organizations and agencies. Volunteers provide free counseling and assistance via telephone, face-to-face interactive sessions, public education presentations and programs. SHIP assisted over 2,258 Medicare beneficiaries living in Washoe County in 2013. The RSVP program is sponsored by the Sanford Center for Aging, at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Tinseltown Talks

The Real Rod Serling By Nick Thomas

I

t’s been called one of the most influential programs in the history of television drama. “The Twilight Zone,” an anthology series that aired in the early 1960s, was created by Rod Serling (1924-1975), a veteran of radio and World War II. Both influenced his career as a writer. “When he returned from war in the Philippines, he went to college and wrote for the campus radio station,” daughter Anne Serling recently recalled to me. “He later wrote plays for commercial radio, then television. He said writing was a way to get the war trauma ‘out of his gut.’” During the show’s five year

run, Serling was executive producer and chief writer, penning more than half the some 150 episodes. But he is best remembered as the program’s stonefaced host, whose foreboding narrations introduced the show each week. In biographies after his death, the master storyteller of chilling sci-fi and fantasy tales was often described as dark and depressed, inaccuracies that led Anne “to set the record straight” in her own book about her father. “He was described as a tortured soul, but that wasn’t my father at all,” said Anne, who published As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling in 2013. “Although the war left scars, he

was also a very positive, fun, down to earth person. My friends adored him and any apprehension they had about meeting him would instantly dissolve because he could make anyone feel at ease. He was brilliantly funny at home, a great practical joker, and was always at the dinner table each night.” As a child, Anne had little knowledge of her father’s career. “I knew he was a writer, but didn’t know what he wrote about until I was about 7. Some mean boy on the school playground asked if I was ‘something out of the Twilight Zone,’ but I had no idea what that meant because I wasn’t allowed to watch much TV during the

week – my mother’s rule! A few years later, we watched ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’ together, the episode where William Shatner sees a gremlin on an airplane wing. I remember looking at my father and thinking ‘this is what you write?’ It was a bit scary.” Praised for his original fiction writing, Serling was also highly respected for raising social issues in some episodes although controversial topics were subject to the censors’ whim. So he frequently concealed his intent in fantasy. “He famously once said he could have aliens say things that Democrats and Republicans couldn’t,” Anne recalled.

December • 2013 • 25


Serling / page 25 Several Twilight Zone actors also shared vivid memories of Serling. Theodore Bikel is wellknown to fans of “My Fair Lady” as Henry Higgins’ rival linguist, the nosey Zoltan Karpathy. In July, 1960, Austrian born Bikel appeared on a Hollywood TV talk show, “Caucus with Backus,” and was verbally assailed by fellow

26 • 2013 • December

guests – glamorous silent film actress Corinne Griffith and beloved character actor Adolphe Menjou. “We were talking politics and they said I had no right to open my mouth because I wasn’t born in this country,” recalled Bikel. Appalled, Serling appeared on a later program defending Bikel’s right to freedom of speech. “I will never

forget how Rod came to my defense. I later appeared in the Twilight Zone episode ‘Four O’Clock,’ in 1962.” Ann Jillian and Mariette Hartley were teenagers when they first met Serling. “I was 13 when I starred in the episode, ‘Mute,’” Ann recalled. “I was very excited about doing the popular show. Mr. Serling made me feel at Anne Serling provided the photo with her dad from the 70s. ease and didn’t talk down to me.” And after tinues to inspire other seeing him on TV, a gutsy 14moviemakers. J.J. Abrams, year old Mariette Hartley teledirector of the new Star Trek phoned Serling and asked him films, has called “The Twilight to speak to her Connecticut Zone” a big influence on his high school drama club. career and reportedly has “He said he would be secured the rights to adapt delighted and I can still see him Serling’s last, never-produced sitting in the teacher’s desk at script, “The Stops Along the the front of the classroom talkWay.” ing to us,” Mariette said. “Years Rod Serling’s work is still later, when I started working in available for your viewing Hollywood, I met him again pleasure, almost nightly, on when his limousine pulled up classic TV cable channels …. in as I was walking out the studio. The Twilight Zone. He remembered coming to my class. I told him I was looking for work and within a couple of months he gave me the won-derful gift of working in ‘The Long Morrow’ episode.” Today, Mariette Hartley’s first ex-husband, Jerry Sroka, provided the Serling conTwilight Zone photo with Bob Lansing.


December • 2013 • 27


Toys for Children From Anderson Elementary School

Over 90 children from Anderson Elementary School in Reno will receive an early Christmas in December, during the annual Teddy Bear Holiday Party hosted by Five Star Premier Residence of Reno. Over the past thirteen years, the senior living community has provided the magical experience where children are given Teddy Bear’s by Five Star residents, an intergenerational celebration that connects seniors with kids living in the South Reno neighborhood. This is

28 • 2013 • December

the third year that the children are also given presents from Santa’s big sack. Ahead of the party, teachers ask the children to write letters to Santa telling him what they want for Christmas. The gift requests are then purchased and matched to each child. Residents at Five Star provide the donations while Executive Chef Michael Johnston goes in search of the presents. The annual event is a spectacular celebration where everyone comes away a winner.


RESOURCES • NEVADA INFORMATION.....................211 • Aging and Disability Services ........................................................688-2964 • ALZHEIMER’S ASSOCIATION 1301 Cordone Ave, Suite 180, Reno........786-8061 • CARE CHEST 7910 N. Virginia Street, Reno.....................829-2273 • COMMUNITY SERVICES AGENCY, 1090 East 8th, Reno.........................................786-6023 • ELDER PROTECTIVE SERVICES ADSD.…................................................................688-2964 • FOOD BANK (TRUCK)....................331-3663 • FOSTER GRANDPARENt........358-2768 • HAWC CLINIC, 1055 S. Wells, Reno........................................................................329-6300 • MEDICATION MANAGEMENt, Sanford Center for Aging.............................784-1612 • NV STATE WELFARE.....................684-7200 • CENTER FOR INDEPendent LIVING, 999 Pyramid Way, Sparks......353-3599 • RTC ACCESS TRANSPORTATION Information.........................................................348-0477 • RENOWN MED. LOW INCOME CLINIC, 21 Locust, Reno..........................982-5270 • RSVP, Reno...................................................784-1807 • RSVP, Rural Counties Carson City..........................................................687-4680 • SANFORD CENTER FOR AGING, UNR........................................................................784-4774 • SENIOR COMPANION.................358-2322 • SENIOR Community Services Employment, AARP, 1135 Terminal Way, Reno........................................................................323-2243 Job Connect, Reno...........................................284-9600 Sparks....................................................................284-9520

• SENIOR LAW PROJECT....328-2592 • SENIOR OUTREACH SERVICES .........................................................................784-7506 • SENIOR SAMPLER (Assist. League) 1701 Vassar St., Reno...........................324-2003 • SHIP (State Health Ins. Adv. PGM) ...............................................................800-307-4444 • SilVER COLLEGE, 5270 Neil Rd., Reno…….....................................................829-9010 • Social Security 1170 Harvard Way, Reno..........888-808-5481 • Veteran’s Administration 1000 Locust Street, Reno...................328-1293 • Veteran’s Benefits 5460 Corporate Drive, Reno....688-1653, X1

December • 2013 • 29


THE ECLECTIC OBSERVER by Janet Ross H is for Health, being well with freedom from sickness. In our youth most of us enjoy good health, taking it for granted, but as the years pile on we find our bodies changing and not always for the good. Here’s wishing you the best of health now and in the future. A is for Animals, all living things other than plants. Animals enrich our lives,

30 • 2013 • December

whether as domestic pets or creatures that live in the wild. May you always have the love and devotion of an animal. P is for Parents, our mothers and fathers. Without them we wouldn’t be here, and that’s just for starters. Although many of us are without living parents, their influence stays with us. Let’s give thanks for the gift of life from our parents.

P is for Peace, freedom from war or strife of any kind. We may wish for an end to all conflicts, but perhaps the best way to begin is within our own relationships. Y is for Yesterday, not only the day before today, but the recent past. Yesterdays determine where we’ve been and who we’ve been, but yesterdays can also lead us to better days. May we cherish the memories of yesterday and learn from its lessons. Take a deep breath as you look

at the calendar and realize the holidays are upon us. Then, take a moment to consider the meaning of home ... H is for Home, the place where a person or family lives. Is there an axiom truer than “home is where the heart is?” I’ll hope that your heart’s home is where you happily reside today. O is for Old, meaning having existed for a long time. That’s most of us, folks, at least as we add up the years. On the other hand, old is too easily a state of mind, putting up barriers and locking us into a constricted environment. Let’s change that word - from Old to Open - and enjoy what the change brings. L is for Libraries, the repositories of books and, today, so much more. Get thee to a library today and be prepared to be astonished by what’s yours for the borrowing. I is for Ideals, models to be imitated. Today the buzz word is more often “values”, but ideals are something to strive for. May our ideals prove reachable, especially as an example for our grandchildren. D is for Donating, the act of giving. Whether we give money, time, or material goods, donating is good for the soul. Being mindful of what we give is equally important and keeping the word “share” in mind as we give will insure our gifts have value. A is for Artists, those people who create. What a sad world this would be without music, theater, dance, paintings, sculptures, beautiful buildings, and so much, much more. Thanks to all who make this world a more inspiring place. Y is for Yes! the wonderful, positive response. May we all say “Yes!” more often than “No”. Yes can open doors, incite smiles, and bring new experiences. S is for Serenity, quiet, peace and calmness. Close your eyes and let serenity wash over you. Your holidays will be truly happy when sprinkled with moments of serenity.


Seniors4Travel By Carolyn Prusa and Robert Boyd

New York, New York

Many cities have original nicknames or are known for something special. Chicago is known as the Windy City. Las Vegas built its reputation on being the Sin City, while Reno has its own long-established moniker, Biggest Little City in the World. And don’t forget that for some time, our Biggest Little City’s claim to fame was as the Divorce Capital of the World. It wasn’t until our most recent visit to New York City that we became curious about its name, The Big Apple. After some research, it seems to us that no one really knows for sure how the name came about. Accounts have traced the Big Apple expression to Depression-Era sidewalk apple vendors, a Harlem night club, and a popular 1930s dance known as the Big Apple. Bandleader Cab Calloway used the phrase Big Apple to mean "The big town, the main stem, Harlem." Some claim the saying evolved in the 1920s when New York Morning Telegraph sports writer John J. FitzGerald overheard stable workers using the phrase while talking about New York's racing scene, which was considered "the big time”. Fitzgerald liked it so much he named his popular racing column Around the Big Apple. In the 1970s, the New York Convention and Visitors Bureau began using a red apple during its campaign to increase tourism. Since then the apple has become an international symbol for New York City and the phrase its unofficial nickname. If you’ve been keeping tabs on our travels of late, you may recall that in September we were in The Big Apple celebrating Robert’s 89th birthday. Times Square Times Square claims to be The Crossroads of the World. Within walking distance from our Murray Hill East Suites Hotel, this was where we headed

our first day out on the town. With its glittering lights, flashy billboards, giant animated signs by the dozens, and tourists of various ethnicities by the zillions, it’s easy to see why this intersection of Broadway and Seventh Avenue got its name. Times Square was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. Times Square Museum & Visitor Center You can get information on New York City’s many tourist attractions at the Times Square Museum & Visitor Center, located within the landmarked Embassy Theater, which was the world’s first newsreel theater. The nearly 6,000 square-foot Visitor Center includes a free mini-museum with unique exhibits that tell the story of Times Square. Hours of Operation: 7 Days a Week, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.. Entrance is located at 7th Ave between 46th & 47th Streets.

part 3

Times Square Museum & Visitor Center 1560 Broadway, New York, NY 10036. Tel. (212) 452-5283 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building New York Public Library Robert recalls that as a child, his father’s office was across the street from the main branch of the New York Public Library. We stopped by the library just in time for a guided tour of the facility. Today, this prominent Beaux-Arts historic landmark on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Often referred to as the "Peoples Palace”, the library has evolved into one of the world's preeminent public resources for the study of human thought, action, and experience -- from anthropology and archaeology, to religion, and sports. Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Fifth Ave. - 42nd St., New York, NY 10018-2788 Tel. (917) 275-6975

December • 2013 • 31


32 • 2013 • December


Eydie’s Excerpts

The Biggest Loser by Eydie Scher

Christmas is coming and I decided to keep it light in view of all the medical stuff I’ve been writing. A few years ago, I wrote a Santa poem. It hit me all of a sudden. I’ll demolish the original poem and integrate a new one with the Biggest Loser TV Show. The words just flowed in my head in a rhyming pattern. This might be something you could share with the grand kids. I did with mine and of course, they loved it. Would they tell me otherwise? Guess who illustrated the story? Hint: She has the same last name and is related. It’s my ultra talented granddaughter Kaylin. She’s 16, beautiful, and talented. The holidays arrive with incredible speed. I’m off to Kohl’s again for the umteenth time. Just want to wish all of my treasured readers, friends and family a wonder holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We made it through 2013 with the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re ready to move on!

And The Winner Is.... Santa Claus The summer was over, my stomach was bulging I was paying the price for over indulging I made up my mind at that very minute There was a TV show and I would be in it The Biggest Loser would be me I’d be skinny for the world to see On the application they requested my age Can’t I just write in “Old Sage”?

I changed my clothes and my name No special treatment due to my fame I weighed in on the televised scale When my numbers were shown, my red cheeks went pale 320 pounds I was told to lose My looks would change from suit to shoes My personal trainers called me Nick Running and lifting weights would do the trick Jillian Michaels yelled in my ear “We don’t tolerate any slackers here!” Every morning at the stroke of five They made this old body come alive Every single week, my body was weighed I closed my eyes and then I prayed I’d be so embarrassed if I didn’t win The Biggest Loser had to be thin The pounds were sliding from my frame The title was mine, I won the game

Was this the Santa kids wanted to see? I loved my profession, it’s all I have known I had studied for years how reindeer were flown Even Rudolph looked at me in disgust I’ll change back to the old but quickly I must Put back the weight, was this all a mistake Please pass the ice cream, cookies and cake “You don’t even have a round jolly belly At the end of the mall, try out the new Deli” Now my metabolism was in total reverse Was gaining weight or losing it worse? On Dancer, On Prancer and Comet and Vixen My Santa suit needed some fixing I ate in the morning, at noon and at night I ate everyone’s food never missing a bite And on Christmas Eve, I weighed even more Than I had weighed ever before

Now I regained that funny demeanor That I thought I had lost when I was leaner But Santa Claus will always be The Biggest Loser on National TV I made the cut, I’m back in my sleigh And you all won’t guess how much I weigh It will be hard to make that chimney slide But I will while Rudolph waits at my side Just call me or text me if I make a mistake And I’ll be sure to do a re-take I’ll smile for you on your cell phone This is the greatest night I have known Merry Christmas to all and to everyone Santa Claus will be there and get the job done!

- Illustrated by Kaylin Scher

My Santa suit needed alterations To my surprise, there was no admiration When I thought of Christmas, my demeanor changed A thin grumpy Santa would be very strange All that work and healthy advice Santa Claus was not very nice No one believed it was really me December • 2013 • 33


34 • 2013 • December


Senior Spectrum Newspaper December 2013  

Senior Spectrum Newspaper December 2013