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Uninsured Consumers Expecting Free 'Preventive' Care Sometimes Surprised By Charges By Michelle Andrews, Kaiser Health News The new health-care law encourages people to get the preventive services they need by requiring that most health plans cover cancer screenings, contraceptives and vaccines, among other things, without charging patients anything out of pocket. Some patients, however, are running up against coverage exceptions and extra costs when they try to get those services. Advocates and policy experts agree that more federal guidance is needed to clarify the rules. Rebecca Hyde of Woodstock, Conn., was angry when, after getting a colonoscopy to screen for cancer in December, she got a notice that her insurer was charging a hospital "facility fee" of $1,935 against her $6,000 deductible. Such fees are not uncommon for hospital-based care But since colonoscopies are recommended starting at age 50, the 53-year-old had not expected to owe anything out of pocket. "I thought it was the bait-and-switch: They tell you it's going to be preventive and then you get a really large bill," she says. Hyde discussed the problem with hospital billing staff, who offered to resubmit the bill using a different procedure billing code. Hyde says she hopes the issue can be resolved without having to appeal to her health plan. Hyde's experience is not unique, says Mona Shah, associate director of federal relations at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Other patients have reported being charged for services related to a colonoscopy, if not the actual screening itself. Last year, feder-

al officials clarified that insurers can't impose cost sharing if a patient has a polyp removed during a screening colonoscopy, as Hyde did. But the rules are murkier for other services. As in Hyde's case, it's often a problem with how a procedure is coded for billing purposes, Shah says. Instead of a single code that covers a procedure and everything related to it, the traditional fee-for-service system assigns multiple codes: one for the colonoscopy, for example, and others for the anesthesia and the facility. "We're trying to get [the Department of Health and Human Services] to release guidance that says prevention should cover all related services," she says. HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters says the agency continues "to monitor how the preventive services provisions are being carried out, and we are working with stakeholders to ensure they understand our guidance and to offer further clarity to them when needed." Lacking explicit federal guidance, "there may be some variation in coverage," says Susan Pisano, a spokesperson for America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. But "our plans are committed to doing what the [health law] says we should do." The system still has kinks to work out. Translating a set of clinical recommendations about preventive services into an insurance claim and describing how it should be paid is "much more complicated than just pointing to a list and saying 'that's covered,' " says Karen Pollitz, at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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Virginia City Tourism Commission

2014 Contents

page 3 - Preventive Care page 4 - Opinion: Congress Breaks Promises for Veterans page 5 -Opinion: Congress Needs to Work on Recovery page 6 - Second Home Meal for Low-Income Seniors page 17 - National Health Spending Remains Low

Every Issue

page page page page page page page page page

20 21 22 23 24 27 29 30 31

-

Calendar Tinseltown Talks Biggest Little City Eclectic Observer Eydie’s Excerpts Crossword Resources Seniors4Travel this ‘n that

Health

page 10 - CMS: Medicare Information Online David Sayen, Region 9 page 12 - Fear of Aging: What Can Women Do? Dr. Lawrence J. Weiss, Ph.D., Center for Healthy Aging page 14 - Ophthalmology: Dr. Michael Fischer, M.D. page 15 - Nursing Home Miracle, Dr. Steven Rubin page 16 - AARP: Social Security and Your Spouse page 18 - Caregiving Made Easier: Strive for Balance

Financial

page 7 - Plan Your Estate Bradley B. 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. contained does not constitute endorsement. Signed columns advertising of Publication are the opinion of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publishers. Copyrighted publication. All rights reserved. February • 2014 • 3


Opinion U.S. Senator Dean Heller

Congress Breaks Promises to Our Nation’s Veterans

In December, Congress chose to balance the budget on the backs of veterans and our nation’s hardSen. Dean Heller working military men and women. Essentially, the budget deal relied on our veterans to provide for increased spending. Our heroes have served this nation bravely, and do not deserve to have their benefits compromised in any way, which is why I joined seven of my colleagues to introduce a bill to reverse these damaging cuts. Our bill repeals the recent decreases in the military retiree cost-of-living adjustment included in December's budget agreement. The legislation also includes a three-month extension of long-term

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unemployment insurance benefits for the nearly 17,000 Nevadans looking for work. This is a common-sense proposal that will allow Congress to help Americans who were left desperate when their benefits were abruptly cut, as well as ensure that our nation keeps its promises to military retirees and their families. More than 300,000 veterans call Nevada home, and I am grateful for the immeasurable sacrifices they have made on our behalf. The character and courage of our military men and women, past and present, are what have made our nation so great. It’s past time that the government provides certainty to our military retirees and their families. Nevada vet-

erans don’t deserve this political brinkmanship, and Congress must end the detrimental cycle of inaction and indecisiveness. While it’s unfortunate that the Senate majority is placing politics ahead of good policy, rest assured, I will continue fighting to reverse the unfair military retiree cuts. To all of Nevada’s heroes, thank you for your service and everything you have given. Readers can contact Senator Heller at: Bruce Thompson Federal Building, 400 S. Virginia St., Ste. 738, Reno, NV 89501. In Carson City write to: 305 North Carson St., Ste. 201, Carson City, NV 89701.


Opinion

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid

Washington Needs to Work on Economic Recovery

2014 has brought with it a chance to tackle the challenges that our counSen. Harry Reid try, and Nevada, continue to face--including closing the income gap, reducing unemployment, increasing the minimum wage, and reforming our immigration system. It’s no secret that lately, our government has experienced gridlock and continuous bickering amongst those elected to lead. The American people, and Nevadans, want results; they want us to do the job they sent us to Washington to do—seek solutions for everyday problems. Over a million Americans and 18,000 Nevadans have seen their unemployment benefits halted. I am working with Nevada Senator Dean Heller on a solution to extend these

important benefits to those out of work through no fault of their own that recently failed to overcome a procedural vote. But the Senate will bring this up again, as we have not forgotten the thousands in Nevada that rely on these benefits to survive. Raising the minimum wage so a mother or father working two jobs can afford the rent and the electric bill in the same month is a solution. Investing in job creation and education, so today’s workers can compete for tomorrow’s jobs, is a solution. Safeguarding every American’s access to our world class healthcare system, is a solution. Middle-class Nevadans around the state continue to struggle to make ends meet. Many have lost their jobs or have seen their hours at work reduced significantly. Many

more have taken part-time work or a second job just to get by. And the rest have watched their wages shrink at the same time the richest few have tripled their income. Meanwhile, wages for middle-class families have remained stagnant, while the cost of housing, food and gas has gone up. What beleaguered Americans need is to be able to pay their bills, and live with dignity. Regrettably, too many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives are more interested in playing politics than helping middle-class Nevadans and Nevada's seniors. With just a little cooperation, we can work to continue down the road of economic recovery, and work to create jobs for every Nevadan.

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Washoe County Senior Services Begins Second Meal for Low-Income Seniors Washoe County Senior Services is launching a Second Meal Program to meet the growing demand for food sought by needy seniors.

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On February 10, 2014, Senior Services will begin delivering a 2nd home delivered meal to eligible people whenever it is requested. In order to do this, Valley

Services, Washoe County’s nutrition services provider, is adding staff and routes to reach people. Eventually, new applicants eligible for the Home Delivered Meals program will automatically be included in the Second Meal Program if needed. This year, Senior Services planned on delivering 127,000 Home Delivered Meals. The Second Meal Program will increase the number of meals served by almost 68,000 to 195,000 meals. Additional program expansion is planned to meet the growing demand. “Today there are about 83,000 seniors in Washoe County. Because of the aging of the

baby boom generation, there will be 100,000 by 2020, and 130,000 by 2030. The aging of our community is a permanent change, and we need to be prepared,” said Senior Services Director Grady Tarbutton. A recent Washoe County survey found that 37 percent of Senior Services homebound seniors that receive Home Delivered Meals report that the meal is their only meal for the day. Seniors who are homebound may qualify for this program. For more information and to schedule an in home assessment, call Washoe County Senior Services at (775) 328-2575.


This New Year, Resolve to Plan Your Estate

Brought to you by Bradley B. Anderson Anderson, Dorn, & Rader, Ltd.

The New Year brings with it a renewed outlook and fresh resolutions. We vow to get organized, eat healthier, and lose those last stubborn 10 pounds. But many of us overlook one simple and practical resolution that could have a profound effect on our lives, not to mention the lives of those we love. What’s that resolution? Create a basic estate plan. It’s not hard to get started. First, find an experienced estate planning attorney. You can start by checking with

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

the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys or avvo.com. Call to make an appointment, and then relax. The attorney’s office will let you know what to expect, and what you need to bring with you to your consultation. The meeting is essentially a conversation about you, your family, and your goals. The attorney will ask many questions, listen carefully to your answers, and give you time to ask questions of your own. After your concerns are addressed, the attorney will suggest a plan

to meet your needs. The plan will be tailored to your specific situation, but it will likely include these basic documents: • Living Trust – This is the cornerstone of your estate plan. You transfer most of your assets into the Trust and retain control of the Trust during your lifetime. The provisions of the Trust allow for the assets to be managed by a Trustee selected by you in the event of your death or disability. The Trust provisions also dictate

how the Trust assets will be distributed after your death. One of the advantages of a Living Trust is that Trust assets are not subject to probate. • Pour-Over Will – “Catches” any assets omitted from your Trust and “pours” them into your Trust after your death, allowing the terms of your Trust to determine how these assets are distributed. You will also name guardians for your minor children. (Your Estate Plan page 8)

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Estate Plan/ page 7 • Financial Power of Attorney – Allows you to appoint an agent to manage your financial accounts and any property not included in your trust in the event of your disability. • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care – Allows you to appoint an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. • HIPAA Power – Permits your agent and the loved ones you list to access your healthcare information. Without this, confidentiality rules could prohibit the release of any Medicaid information. Planning your estate is an easy and important resolution to check off your list.

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With the peace of mind and confidence you’ll gain from putting your estate plan in order, who knows what you’ll be able to accomplish next year? Maybe you’ll even banish those last 10 pounds for good! About Our Law Firm The Law Firm of Anderson, Dorn & Rader is devoted exclusively to estate planning. We are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys and offer guidance and advice to our clients in every area of estate planning. We offer comprehensive and personalized estate planning consultations. For more information or attend an upcoming seminar, please contact us at (775) 823-WILL (9455) or visit us online at www.wealth-counselors.com


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Getting Medicare Information Online David Sayen Regional Administrator, Medicare Region 9

David Sayen

O

As 2014 gets under way, I wanted to give you a quick overview of the Medicare information you can now get online.

ur website is www.Medicare.gov, and it has a wealth of information that you may find helpful. One terrific feature is our “Compare” websites, which provide quality of care information on hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and dialysis centers in your area. Take Hospital Compare. This tool has information about the quality of care at more than 4,000 Medicarecertified hospitals across the

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United States. Hospital Compare gives you a snapshot of the quality of hospitals in your area by allowing you to compare their performance on different quality of care measurements. For example, you’ll find information on how often and quickly each hospital gives recommended treatments for certain conditions including heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. You can also learn how each hospital’s readmission

and death rates compare with the national rate, and how likely patients in that hospital are to suffer complications. To check out Hospital Compare, and our other Compare tools, go to www.Medicare.gov. Medicare.gov also lets you search for doctors and other healthcare providers, including medical suppliers, near where you live. You can also search online for Medicare health and prescription drug plans

in your area. Just click the “Find health & drug plans” button. You’ll see a list of local plans, premium and other cost information, contact information, and how many stars the plan received under Medicare’s Five Star Rating System. In addition, Medicare.gov lets you see what Medicare covers, including preventive health services. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, co-pays and deductibles were eliminated for many of the tests, screen-


Medicare / page 10 Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and the Pacific Territories. You can always get answers to your

ings, and immunizations that Medicare covers to help you stay healthy. Preventive screenings for cancer, heart disease, and other problems can help detect them in their earliest, most treatable stages. Another helpful new tool is our www.MyMedicare.gov website, which lets you create a secure, online account for accessing personalized information regarding your Medicare benefits and services. Once you’ve registered at MyMedicare.gov, you can: • Complete your “Initial Enrollment Questionnaire” so your Medicare claims can get paid correctly; • Manage your personal information (like medical conditions, allergies, and implanted devices); • Manage your personal drug list and pharmacy information; • Search for, add to, and manage a list of your favorite providers and access quality information about them; • Track your Original Medicare claims and your Part B deductible status; • Sign up to get the annual “Medicare & You” handbook electronically. You won’t get a printed copy in the mail if you choose to get it electron-

Medicare questions by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1800-633-4227).

ically. MyMedicare.gov also features our new Blue Button, which allows you to download your Medicare claims data to your computer or mobile phone. Why would you want to do that? Your claims information gives you a better picture of your overall health. This can help you make more informed decisions about your care and can help you give your healthcare providers a more complete view of your health history. Having your claims data on a computer file makes it easy to share with your doctors, caregivers, or anyone else you choose. I always urge people with Medicare to check their claims and make sure they reflect services you actually received, and were only billed once for. If you suspect possible fraud or abuse, call us at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). And if you don’t have computer access, just call 1800-MEDICARE and our customer representatives will help you. David Sayen is Medicare’s regional administrator for

February • 2014 • 11


Adding Life to Years

Fear of Aging: What Can Women Do? Dr. Larry Weiss • Center for Healthy Aging

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iven that women live an average Larry Weiss of 6 years longer than men (82 vs. 76), what fears of aging do women have and what can be done about it. According to research, the first and foremost fear of aging of a woman is the loss of attractiveness or appearance. This explains the billions of dollars spent on anti-aging products, including surgeries. Isolation or being left alone is next, with concern about finances or becoming a bag lady a close third. The fear of cancer and being dependent on others are prevalent among women as well. In short, these fears can shorten our lives, create stress, and reduce the quality of life. How do we combat these fears of aging? Women can combat fear and anxiety about growing old through knowledge, planning, and better health

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habits. It is important to recognize the fear, know the facts, plan for change, and adopt healthy behaviors. It is never too late to address one’s health and focus on prevention. In addition, we need to stay active and engage in regular physical, social, and emotional activity. Self-care and self-perception is critical, especially when it comes to physical beauty or loss of attractiveness. A woman’s attractiveness needs to be determined by her inner beauty which transcends the outer package. You cannot control others’ views, societal norms, or stereotypes about aging, but you can do a lot to stave off illness, disability, and negative images of self. When you cultivate an inner beauty of yourself, it transcends the outer packaging. Plan for and act on getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, engaging in

physical exercise, laughing a lot (at least eight times a day), and staying engaged with the world. Negative images, myths, and stereotypes of aging are very pervasive in our culture: • To be old is to be sick • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks • The horse is out of the barn • The secret to successful aging is to choose your parents wisely • The lights may be on, but the voltage is low • The elderly don’t pull their own weight These negative stereotypes are implicit ageism and have significant effects on our lives. Another fear women have of aging is being left alone and isolated. Spouses and loved ones die and family move away, so there may be fewer relation-


ships as we get older. However, the important element is quality of the social and loving relationships, not the quantity. We need to accept change, including death, and reach out socially to new encounters. Church groups, political activities, and other social experiences enhance our health. Women are able to accomplish this better than men, hence contributing to their increased longevity. Know that even if you have fewer overall relationships as you get older, the ones you have gain intimacy and importance. Healthy relationships, especially in old age, involve less self-centeredness and more closeness. The fear of not having enough money to live or of becoming a bag lady will diminish as more boomers gain skills and confidence about managing their money. Unfortunately, we still do not save enough for living into our eighties and nineties. The earlier we start the better and even saving a small amount each month will have an impact later. Financial planning is critical. If you are not comfortable, seek professional help. Cancer, especially breast cancer, is the greatest health concern women fear most, according to a 2005 study by the Society for Women's Health Research. Other cancers are more deadly, such as lung cancer, but not more fearful. Cancer is scary. However, if we have a healthy lifestyle, get routine screenings, and put the disease in perspective we will be healthier. An example of putting breast cancer into perspective is that heart disease (feared by only 10%) is actually the number-one killer of

women in the U.S. One final fear women have of growing old is losing independence and being dependent on others. It is critical to plan and communicate what your wishes are when you are unable to care for yourself. Ironically, many women who don't wish to be a burden become exactly that because they haven't done their basic health care advance planning, living will, and health care power of attorney. About one-third of us have our advanced directives and about one-fifth are used. Therefore in addition to preparing our advanced directives, we need to regularly communicate our wishes to our significant others and professionals, such as our physicians. Assign someone now to have health care power of attorney in the event you become incapacitated. Talk about your wishes, plan for living a portion of your life not having full function. This article only raises some fears and some possible solutions that will help you prepare for healthy aging. Many causes of death and disability are preventable and treatable. The four major factors to aging well are: Understanding/Wisdom; Belonging/Social Support; Forgiving; and Serving/Helping. The power is within you. As Dr. Dyer states, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This will add life to years! Lawrence J. Weiss, Ph.D. is CEO of the Center for Healthy Aging. Dr. Weiss welcomes your comments. Write to him at larry@addinglifetoyears.com or c/o Center for Healthy Aging, 11 Fillmore Way, Reno, NV 89519. February • 2014 • 13


Playing the Angle

Ophthalmology

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

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he FDA recently approved a new drug for the treatment of Michael Fischer “open-angle glaucoma,” which is the most common form of the eye disease. Sometimes referred to as “chronic glaucoma,” open-angle glaucoma is particularly dangerous because it can progress gradually and go unnoticed. Affecting 70 to 80 percent of those

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suffering from the disease, open-angle glaucoma typically occurs among individuals over the age of 50, and its risk of occurrence increases with age. It is characterized by a clogged drainage system in the eye, which results in a buildup in aqueous fluid and rise in intraocular pressure. The new drug for treatment of this form of the disease, tafluprost, works by reducing inner eye pressure. It should be noted that open-angle

glaucoma is known as “the silent thief of sight” because it may not present noticeable symptoms; an eye exam is necessary for diagnosis. 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.


A Nursing Home Miracle Steven Rubin M.D.

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eighbors discovered the middleaged man unconDr. Rubin scious in his mobile home. He was treated at the hospital for dehydration and malnutrition. His condition of encephalopathy (malfunctioning or altered state of the brain) was resolved and he was transported to a nursing home for rehabilitation. His only medications at the time of transfer were newly initiated aspirin and a blood pressure agent. Upon admission to the extended care facility, one of the many antidepressants known for weight gain side effects was initiated. Due to the medication’s other side effect of agitation, the patient was started on an antipsychotic medication, and then I was consulted to offer treatment advice. The two psychiatric drugs were stopped. The man continued to regain his mental and physical fortitude by means of time, proper nutrition, and physical therapy. He started to look less thin and much healthi-

er, and voiced his improvement. Then, less than two weeks later, he developed significant trembling, was mentally ill-focused and distressed, and looked to be in active physical decline. A surgically placed feeding tube was delivering nutrition directly into his stomach. What had happened? The man had slipped and fallen, and had been sent back to the hospital for observation. He was assessed as not having any acute injuries but was diagnosed by a specialist as having Parkinson ’s disease, based on a mild hand tremor. High-dosages of a medication meant to alleviate tremors were initiated, but it had side effects of tremors, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, and more. In addition to the feeding tube, he was returned to the nursing facility with orders restricting him from swallowing anything through his mouth. He was also prescribed a steroid medicine (side effects include high blood pressure, blood clots, and

encephalopathy) to promote his appetite. There were no directives for follow-up by any specialists. I discontinued the latest two medications. One week later, our man was again mentally stable, without tremors, and regaining ability to swallow his nutritive substances. He was regaining his composure, and preparing to return to his home with prescribed aspirin and blood pressure medication. Hopefully, some form of follow-up outpatient community or homehealth personnel would be arranged to supplement his care. The miracle? A patient within the medical system regained health as a result of sensible healthcare interventions and quality care delivered by facility staff. Now, he’s only on two medications, and not 10, 20 or more, as has become too common. Steven Rubin MD is a board certified psychiatrist and independent medical examiner, specializing in senior health care delivery, consultation, and education.

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Social Security and Your Spouse Jean C. Setzfand

This Valentine’s Day, do you want to do something really special for your spouse? Then skip the chocolates and flowers, and let’s talk Social Security. Okay, it’s not the most romantic topic, but if you plan well, your Valentine will feel your love for years to come. Jean C. Setzfand

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et’s start with the basics. Normal retirement age for Social Security is currently 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. (It rises to 67 if you were born in 1960 or later). But “normal” doesn’t always mean “best.” To get the highest benefit from Social Security, you can delay retiring up until age 70. Now, you might not end up in a position to do this, but it’s well worth it if you can. Your benefit goes up 8 percent a year until age 70. On the other hand, you’re permitted to take Social Security beginning at age 62. But this can reduce your benefit by 25 percent or more. Here’s an example for someone with a $1,000 monthly benefit at normal retirement age:

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So now you know how deciding when to claim affects you. Here’s how it affects your sweetie: #1. You’ll have higher annual income as a couple. The longer you wait to begin taking your Social Security retirement benefit (up to age 70), the more income you’ll have as a couple. A few hundred dollars a month in additional income during retirement can have a meaningful impact on your budget.

#2. Her survivor benefit will be higher. If you die first, your spouse gets 100 percent of your retirement benefit. If you take your benefits early, you’re leaving her with less monthly income for life. If you retire later, you’re giving her a monthly gift that keeps on giving. And, if you outlive her, you still have the higher benefit. #3. She can start claiming before you retire. Here’s a neat option if your spouse has lower lifetime earnings than you – it’s called the “file and suspend” strategy. You can file for your retirement benefit at your normal retirement age, but ask to receive it later. When you do this, the love of your life can file for spousal benefits on your work record. Then, when you turn 70, you can start receiving your higher benefit. Social Security has a built in way of increasing retirement benefits for your spouse if she has earned less income than you over her lifetime. If her retirement benefit will be less than yours by 50 percent or more, she’ll get the higher amount. She can wait until her full retirement age to claim this “spousal benefit” to maximize her monthly income. There’s a lot for couples to consider when looking at Social Security retirement benefit options. It’s not the easiest thing to do in the world, but then again, neither is love! But everything worthwhile is worth working on. Hmm. Social Security claiming is kind of romantic after all. To learn more, head on over to www.aarp.org/work/social-security.


National Health Spending Growth Remains Low for 4th Consecutive Year Overall national health expenditures grew at an annual rate of 3.7 percent in 2012, marking the fourth consecutive year of low growth, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary. Health spending as a share of the gross domestic product fell slightly from 17.3 percent in 2011, to 17.2 percent in 2012. The entire report from CMS’ Office of the Actuary found that the continued low growth in 2012 was driven by slower growth in prescription drug, nursing home, private health insurance, and Medicare expenditures. It also found that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contributed to the slow growth for the Medicare program in 2012, but had a limited impact on overall spending as reforms were still being implemented in 2012.

• Prescription drug spending growth was low. Retail prescription drug spending slowed in 2012, growing only 0.4 percent as the result of numerous drugs losing their patent protection, leading to increased sales of lower-cost generics. • Nursing home spending growth slowed. Spending for freestanding nursing care facilities and continuing care retirement communities increased by only 1.6 percent in 2012, down from 4.3 percent growth in 2011, due to a one-time Medicare rate adjustment for skilled nursing facilities.

increase over 2011, this increase still represents historically low overall growth rates tied to improved economic conditions, as well as efforts by states to control costs. The report also found accelerated growth in hospital and physician and clinical

services spending, and slightly faster growth in out-ofpocket spending, 3.8 percent in 2012 compared to 3.5 percent in 2011. (Find report at: http://www.cms.gov/Researc h-Statistics-Data-andSystems/Statistics-TrendsandReports/NationalHealthE xpendData/NationalHealthA ccountsHistorical.html)

• Medicaid spending continued to grow at a historically low rate. Total Medicaid spending grew 3.3 percent in 2012. While an

The report’s findings said: • Private health insurance spending growth remained low. Private health insurance spending continued to grow at a low rate, increasing 3.2 percent in 2012 compared to 3.4 percent growth in 2011. • Medicare spending growth continued to be low. Despite a large uptick in Medicare enrollment, Medicare spending growth slowed slightly in 2012, increasing by 4.8 percent compared to 5.0 percent growth in 2011. Total Medicare spending per enrollee grew by only 0.7 percent in 2012.

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Caregiving Made Easier

STRIVE FOR BALANCE

Dr. Marion Sommers

Marion Sommers

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I know I’m out of balance because I’m now a caregiver for my father, 78, on top of being a boss and a parent and a mother. What can I do to get things back in line? Sheila, 50, in California

orking caregivers everywhere need to strive for balance in their lives. You have to try and eat right, exercise regularly, maintain a social life, be productive at work, and set aside the right amount of time for your family, all while being a caregiver. I get dizzy just thinking about it, but you can do it. It’s not hard to spot when a working caregiver is out of balance. They might gain or lose weight, abuse alcohol or drugs, perform poorly on the job, and even neglect their own family. Being conscious of this will help you avoid the dangerous pitfalls. Sit back and think about what you like to do. What makes you feel good? Then go do it. Maybe it’s buying a new suit, getting your hair cut, going hiking or fishing in the wilderness. Many people like to go for a bike ride. Whatever it is, you have to set aside time for your-

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self or you risk becoming so run down that you will not be able to be there for your elder loved one or your family and co-workers. As a working caregiver, you have to focus on what keeps you physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally charged. If you neglect even one of these four areas, you can become out of balance and begin to break down. You can’t expect other people to take care of these needs for you. Most people are trying hard just to meet their own needs. So take a long, honest look at yourself and move forward. Set realistic new goals and try to meet them. You can do it. Correct any problem areas starting today, and caregiving will become an easier challenge.

Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, Ph.D.) 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. She offers practical tools, solutions, and advice to help caregivers everywhere. For more information, visit www.DrMarion.com.


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Calendar February 3-14 - Reno-Tahoe Senior Games, participants 50+, venues around Reno/Tahoe, call Alan Roney, (775) 657-4644. Feb. 14, Valentines Day Dance. February 4 - RTC 5-Year Paratransit Plan Open House, 10-1 p.m., Reno Senior Center, (775) 335-1908, or contact Tina at twu@rtcwashoe.com. February 4 & 7 - Ageless Repertory Theatre (ART), The Hotel on Marvin Gardens by Nagel Jackson, Circle’s Edge, 1117 California Ave., Reno, 1 p.m., free, webpages.charter.net/agelessrep/ Also Feb. 25 & 28 - The Silver Whistle, by Robert E. McEnrol.

February 7 - Video Conference on Senior Issues, Commission on Aging and Nevada Association of Counties, contact Washoe County Commissioner Bonnie Weber at (775) 328-2006. February 8 - Reno Youth Jazz Combo, 7 p.m., Bartley Ranch Regional Park’s Western Heritage Interpretive Center, 6000 Bartley Ranch Rd., (775) 828-6612 or visit www.washoecountyparks.com. Also Feb 22, Richard Elloyan, 7 p.m. February 11 - City of Reno, Senior Citizens Advisory Committee, 3 p.m., Neil Rd. Rec. Center.

February 5 - Washoe County Senior Citizens Advisory Board, 3:30 p.m., Reno Senior Center, (775) 328-2575.

February 11 - AARP Driver Safety Classes, $15 members, $20 non-members, pre-registration required, (775) 786-3509, 9:30-2 p.m., Carson City Senior Center, 911 Beverly Drive. Also Feb. 17, 1-5 p.m., National Automobile Museum, Reno. Feb. 29, 9:30-2 p.m., Neil Rd. Rec. Center, Reno.

February 6 - Helping Caregivers and Providers Advocate for Resident Care, 8-5 p.m., Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel & Conference Center, Reno, (775) 682-8470.

February 18 - Dr. G. Allen Power, author of “Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care,” 3:45-4 p.m., William N. Pennington Health Sciences Bldg., UNR,

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Lecture Hall 103, Sanford Center for Aging, RSVP to (775) 784-8072. February 20 - Facts and Fiction Behind the Margins Tax Initiative, NAIOP, The Grove in South Reno, 95 Foothill Rd., 11 a.m., $30 members/$45 non-members, Andie at (775) 8886168 or (775) 721-2057.

Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year Award

Nominations for the Nevada Senior Citizen of the Year for 2013 will be accepted from February 1 to March 31, 2014. Recipients will be selected for significant contributions made at the local, state, and/or national level, must be a resident at least 5 years, and 60 years of age as of December 31, 2013. Nominations for the year 2013 must be submitted no later than March 31, to the Nevada Delegation of the National Silver Haired Congress, 2116 Inverness Drive, Henderson, NV 89074. Guidelines and nomination forms may be obtained by emailing herandall@cox.net or calling (702) 860-6349.


Tinseltown Talks By Nick Thomas

Julie Adams Revisits The Black Lagoon

Julie Adams on Halloween at the Spooky Empire in Orlando, Florida.

H

ow much mileage could a studio expect from a 1950s film starring a biologist with a fascination for a secluded fishpond? Quite a bit, when the scientist is beautiful Julie Adams wrapped in a skin-tight white latex bathing suit and the fish turns out to be an angry piscine amphibious humanoid – aka “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Premiering 60 years ago this month, the success of the now cult film continues to astound Julie who, at age 87, remains a popular guest at fan conventions and film festivals across the country. In March, she will be appearing at the Williamsburg Film Festival, WV (see http://wff5.tripod.com). “It’s amazing the life this movie has,” said Ms. Adams, from her Los Angeles home, who portrayed scientist Kay Lawrence abducted by the infatuated Gill Man towards the end of the creature feature. “It’s a classic

beauty and the beast story, with stunning underwater photography filmed at Wakulla Springs, Florida, because of its clear waters. The lagoon scenes were shot at the Universal Studios backlot where ‘Gilligan’s Island’ was filmed.” Underwater, Julie was doubled by Ginger Stanley, while Ricou Browning donned the rubber creature suit for swimming scenes. On land, the creature was played by Ben Browning. “Ben began going to fan conventions in the 1990s and convinced me to attend my first one in 2003. It’s wonderful to meet so many people who still enjoy your work.” Fans have also (Adams page 25)

February • 2014 • 21


BIGGEST COMSTOCK little City

by Harry Spencer

A

s 2014 marks Nevada’s sesquicentennial of statehood, it was very fitting to spend New Year’s Eve saying farewell to 2013 and welcoming in 2014 at the Crown Point Restaurant within the Gold Hill Hotel located on SR 341 in the Comstock Mining District. More than 150-years-old, the Gold Hill Hotel building was constructed in 1861, the same year Nevada became a territory. Originally known as “The Riesen House,” the Gold Hill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Nevada and is currently owned by Comstock Mining. As I travelled to the Gold Hill Hotel up scenic Geiger Grade on New Year’s Eve, I was greeted by several majestic homes with Christmas lights

22 • 2014 • February

DINING

and a stunning view of the Truckee Meadows and all of its lights. Driving through Virginia City at night is a real treat and I was welcomed by an endless array of Victorian style black street lamps on both sides of C Street. However, the true nighttime surprise on this journey was the Christmas lights placed on structures throughout the towns of Gold Hill and Virginia City by Comstock Mining-especially the lights hung by the Comstock Geology Department on the New Yorker Head Frame. Arriving at the Gold Hill Hotel, I entered the Great Room and was greeted by Clayton Mitchell, the Gold Hill Hotel Manager, who immediately made me feel welcome. The Great Room features a large fireplace, projection TV

on a big screen and a wellworn, solid wood floor suitable for dancing and hosting a live band during the New Year’s Eve celebration. Behind the large fireplace is the Gold Hill Bar, which also features a fireplace in the corner surrounded by seating, or you can belly up to the bar and choose your favorite spirit. Be sure to sign a dollar bill and pin it to the ceiling for good luck! Speaking of spirits, back in the Great Room, en route to the Crown Point Restaurant, I passed a wooden staircase that leads to the hotel rooms on the second and third floors. Purportedly and not surprisingly, considering the age of this

historic structure, amiable spirits occupy some of the more popular rooms. In fact, several of the rooms feature fireplaces and/or balconies and the entire property has 18 rooms to choose from, including adjacent free-standing lodges with many amenities. The crown jewel of this property is definitely the Crown Point Restaurant. On this past New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of dining with Comstock Mining CEO Corrado De Gasperis as well as several other dignitaries. The restaurant feels original with a Victorian motif that is complemented by Squeek Steele playing live tunes on the piano. Service was superb from Head Waiter Vic and his staff. The meal was delicious and replete with a table-side visit from Sarge, the Executive Chef. This entire property will appeal to all of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. And if you have a sixth sense, this property can accommodate that as well from several of the long-term “residents”. The Gold Hill Hotel can host your special event including weddings. A picturesque drive on SR 341, the Gold Hill Hotel is only 27 miles from Reno or just 14 miles from Carson City. For additional information, you can call 775847-0111, visit www.goldhillhotel.net and Facebook for more history and great photos from the past and present.


ECLECTIC OBSERVER Janet Ross

M

Great Reads for Book Lovers

y personal choices for the best reads for 2013 are heavily weighted toward mysteries and fiction, but my top-of-the-list favorite is a work of nonfiction titled (perhaps appropriately) The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. Published in 2012, currently available in trade paper, Schwalbe’s book recounts the final years of his mother’s life and their mutual enjoyment of a shared passion for reading. It’s a tender, bittersweet story for all book lovers. Number two of my favorite reads is Wally Lamb’s masterful work of fiction, She’s Come Undone. Published back in

1992, Lamb tells the story of a young woman’s struggle to overcome a rape at age 13, her disastrous teen years and eventual stable life. What sets this book apart is Lamb’s ability to speak in a feminine voice and do it credibly. I do read book reviews, but avoid the plot descriptions on dust jackets preferring to find my own way into a book. Because of that idiosyncracy, you’ll find the rest of my choices described with as little information as possible; that’s so you can come to a book without many preconceptions. Jussi Adler-Olsen is a Dane who writes about a Copenhagen police officer and his unusual crew in A Conspiracy of Faith (2013). Scandinavian mysteries tend to the dark side and this one is no exception. There were two books of the same

title published in 2013, but it’s the one by Kate Atkinson (Life After Life) I’m recommending. Atkinson is British and writes about the dual lives of one young woman, leaving the reader to wonder what is the “true” story. Michael Connelly is a favorite Los Angeles, California, crime writer and his latest, The Black Box (2012), again features his detective Harry Bosch. This time Bosch attempts to solve a 20year-old crime. Two writers combine their efforts as Nicci French to produce a thriller set in London as a psychotherapist becomes involved with murder in Tuesday’s Gone (2013). Great Britain is again the location for part of Elizabeth George’s latest Inspector Lynley novel. (Having lived (Eclectic Observer page 28)

February • 2014 • 23


Eydie’s Excerpts by Eydie Scher

Is This Really My Kid?

F

By Greg Scher with an explanation by Eydie

ebruary hardly has a

24 • 2014 • February

chance to debut before Super Bowl Sunday ups the ante for the shortest month. Eyes on

the big game, glued to TV’s at home and in bars. Bets exchange hands. The annual super bowl is here and now. Our favorite teams are out but hey, we’ll have more time for bathroom breaks and eating so we don’t miss a single commercial. Isn’t that what people talk most about the following day? What commercial hit the heights? Besides, the game takes place in our favorite area of the country. The stadium is actually in nearby New Jersey, not New York. Strange things are happening. Our oldest is wearing a Patriots jacket? Never! This is a kid born and raised in New York and weaned on the Yankees, Giants and the Jets. Where did we go wrong? Okay, so he lives in and works in the Boston area but once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, except for this one time…..Take it away Greg. It’s your story although I’m reserving the right to add my commentary and delete anything you write. The call came in while at work asking if I wanted to travel with the NE Patriots on the team plane and hotel for the weekend in Cincinnati. This is like asking the Pope if he’s Catholic. So off I went with a friend on short notice. Scott and I left our Boston area homes for Gillette Stadium Saturday a.m. to meet the group we were travelling with and team. Upon entering the stadium, we were escorted to a buffet in the Executive Suites overlooking the field while waiting to board the bus. Prior

to boarding, we went through security. No lines, but still the real deal. Sort of nice and easy like before 911 when we weren’t as worried about terrorists. There would be no other check-ins needed on the way. There were 5 busses in total, with the team and team personnel on the other 4. While waiting, the broadcaster from Patriots All Access TV came in to talk to us about his take on the upcoming game. Each seat had its own flat screen TV. The ride to Providence airport took about 45 minutes. We drove right up to the Boeing 757 and the players boarded followed by us. Now THIS is priority boarding! While boarding, the barrage of food began and I took a sandwich prior to finding my seat. From there, it was like being on a cruise with food non-stop and the quality of it improving with each round. When the main dinner came, I had to pass which is probably a first for me. Upon arriving in Kentucky (yes, the Cincinnati airport is actually in Kentucky), we boarded our busses. About 8 police escorts on motorcycles escorted us stopping traffic on the entire highway for us to get to the hotel. This was clearly the way to travel. I don’t know if the fear was towards Cincinnati fans or if that’s what comes with having a near infinite amount of $. Either way, I wasn’t complaining. The Patriots and their entourage, which I guess I was part of, took over the hotel. I (Patriots page 26)


Julie Adams / page 21

audiences were not so enamored with the show, which was cancelled after the first season. “It was quite a charming show, but came out the same time as more edgy sitcoms like ‘All in the Family,’” said Julie, who still remembers it fondly. “My idea of heaven was going to work with Jimmy Stewart every day for six months!”

Unlike the little-remembered TV show, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” continues to gain fans from new generations. “Some projects just take on a life of their own,” says Julie. “The Creature still walks among us.” Nick Thomas is a free lance writter. He can be reached at his blog: http://getnickt.blogspot.com

Julie Adams and Creature

shared some interesting admissions with Julie. “Some told me they became zoologists or paleontologists because of the film. And I met a little girl who was named after my character!” In 2011, the Arkansasraised actress self-published her autobiography, “The Lucky Southern Star: Reflections from the Black Lagoon,” coauthored with her

Julie Adams with Jimmy Stewart in 1972 The Jimmy Stewart Show.

son, Mitch Danton. The book contains some 200 photographs, many unpublished from her personal collection, with a chapter devoted to the Black Lagoon.

Of course, the Creature wasn’t the only biped Julie costarred with during her career. She received top billing with less scaly characters such as William Powell, Glenn Ford, Charlton Heston, Elvis Presley, Rock Hudson and many others (see www.julieadams.biz). “Rock and I were about the same age, so we became close friends and often played bridge.” One of her favorite costars was Jimmy Stewart, with whom she appeared in “Bend of the River,” two years before the Black Lagoon. Two decades later, she reunited with Stewart in 1971 for the “Jimmy Stewart Show.” “After I read for the part of Jimmy’s wife, he gave me a little nod as if to say ‘you’ve got the job’ – and I did. Jimmy was wonderfully informal but professional, so it wasn’t hard to pretend to be in love with such a lovely man and talented actor.” However, critics and

February • 2014 • 25


Patriots / page 24

rode the elevator alone with one of the Pats, whom I didn’t recognize. He was a foot taller than me, easily twice my weight, built like a truck, and was wearing a Pats

26 • 2014 • February

jacket. At a loss for words, I asked him if he played for the Pats as if he might have been randomly just staying at the hotel. What was I thinking? Of course he did! On the bed was a Patriots gym bag packed with everything you can imagine with the Pats logo from M&M’s, to a jacket, signed helmet, tshirts, hand lotion, and That’s me at the end next to Owner Bob Kraft of the Patriots! razor (which at least makes sense). About Bengals founder. In a 2007 survey, it was the only thing in the room without the the only NFL stadium ranked in the top Patriots logo was the toilet paper, and 150 buildings and structures. probably only because they hadn’t Prior to the game, we were taken onto thought of it. the field during practice. Bob Kraft, the That night, one of my best friends, owner of the Patriots, briefly joined us for a Mike from nearby Louisville, joined us and we were taken to the top of a rotat- picture. On the way back to our seats, a Pat’s fan in the stands went berserk trying ing restaurant in Cinci. Of course, the to get his autograph. Kraft’s security permenu had the Pats logo. We left for the game on the 5 busses sonnel didn’t seem to appreciate it, but to Kraft’s credit he stopped and accommodatat about 9 a.m. This time there were ed the request. close to 10 police The game itself was close but the Pats escorts. I’m sure lost their first game of the season while the the diehard Cinci skies opened up with a few minutes left in fans didn’t mind the game with the Pat’s driving. That’s having to wait for what you call a home field advantage. us to go through. The trip back mirrored the trip there We were even with escorts, except the plane ride was saluted by the eerily quiet. We arrived back to Gillette Bengals fans! late Sunday night. The weather in The Pats organization is all class and not the morning was a single detail was overlooked. Yeah mom, terrible and so we I kept my New York preferences to myself explored Paul and tried my best not to speak in my New Brown Stadium. I York accent. No, not a single trace of guess there’s still an another team’s allegiance touched my body NFL stadium not the entire trip. I took it like a man and named for a cable went along with the acclaim the Patriots company or bank. gave me. It was worth every minute. Compared to Gillette, there was When you read this, the Super Bowl very little advertismight be but a memory just like all the holing. The stadium idays and the year that was. Greg turns 50 opened in 2000, this month. I know it seems impossible holds about 65,000 but there it is, on his birth certificate. people, is nickFootball season comes and goes. Baseball named the “jungle” is still a ways out. What’s a TV to do? It’s given the Bengals off to Sochi, Russia. Bring on the Olympics logo, and was or maybe golf! named after the


February • 2014 • 27


Eclectic / page 23

in GB, I find it fascinating that George is an American who writes so well about life in another country.) Just One Evil Act (2013) features Lynley’s sidekick, Barbara Havers who follows a kidnaping to Italy. Khaled Hosseini has written a third novel about life in Afghanistan that I found equally as good as his first two. And the Mountains Echoed (2013) provides a fascinating journey into another country and its culture. Capital (2012) deals with the financial crisis and investment banking in London. What might be a dry subject is enhanced by author John Lanchester’s characters and their interaction. John LeCarre’s latest novel is partially set on Gibraltar and involves a counter-terrorist action gone wrong. A Delicate Truth (2013) is typical LeCarre, insightful and scathing. For a disturbing look at

28 • 2014 • February

the effects of India’s partition on individuals, in this instance a Sikh and Muslim, Amit Majmudar’s Partitions (2011) is an enlightening read. Canadian author Louise Penny has an entire series about Chief Inspector Gamache of Quebec and the latest, How the Light Gets In (2013) is another winner. (Suggestion - begin with the first book in the series if you’ve not read this talented writer previously.) The title (almost) tells all in Saima Wahab’s In My Father’s Country: an Afghan Woman Defies Her Fate(2012). This work of nonfiction makes a good companion for Hosseini’s fiction. Last, but surely not the least, is Robert Wilson’s London thriller, Capital Punishment (2013). This is another author with multiple titles to his credit, worthy reads for those who like adventure fiction. (All books are available at the Washoe County Library.)


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

February • 2014 • 29


Seniors4Travel By Carolyn Prusa and Robert Boyd

Charlotte, North Carolina

O

ne advantage of having family spread out across the United States – from Alaska to Arkansas, California to the Carolinas – we have reasons

aplenty to travel. Over the Christmas and New Year holidays we were in Charlotte, North Carolina visiting Robert’s daughter and family. During the 1960s Robert and family often went through Charlotte on family road trips. “A little hick town” is the way he remembers it then. Today, with a population of 580,000,

Charlotte has grown into our nation’s second largest banking center. High-rise office buildings dot the city’s skyline. We were impressed by the fact that downtown Charlotte is immaculate. And, unlike other urban centers of note (which shall remain nameless), nowhere are peddlers and homeless people to be found in this metropolis.

There are a number of art galleries and museums in Charlotte. Mint Museum Randolph Located in what was the original branch of the United States Mint, Mint Museum Randolph opened in 1936 in Charlotte as the state’s first art museum. Alerted by Robert’s daughter (who is a docent at the museum) we went to see the exhibit titled “Bearing Witness: The New York Photo League and Sonia Handelman Meyer”. It is comprised of approximately 100 photographs by members of The Photo League, established in New York City in 1936 by a group of photographers concerned with making images that could affect social and political change. By the late 1940s of the McCarthy Era, the group was listed by the Attorney General as a “subversive organization.” In this hostile environment of blacklisting and accusations, membership declined and the Photo League was ultimately forced to disband in 1951. However, in the 15 years of its existence, the Photo League revolutionized documentary photography. While the photos were impactful for both of us, they were of particular interest to Robert since it was during the mid-tolate 1930s that he lived in New York City and witnessed much of what was captured in the photos. Mint Museum Randolph 2730 Randolph Rd, Charlotte, NC 28207. Tel. (704) 337-2000 Discovery Place – Charlotte Nature Museum One day during our holiday break, we bravely set out with Robert’s daughter and two ram(Seniors4travel page 32)

30 • 2014 • February


this ‘n that

by Anne Vargas It is true love because I put on eyeliner and a concerto and make pungent observations about the great issues of the day Even when there's no one here but him, And because I do not resent watching the Green Bay Packers Even though I am philosophically opposed to football, And because When he is late for dinner and I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the middle of the street, I always hope he's dead. It's true love because He is willing to wear un-ironed undershorts Out of respect for the fact that I am philosophically opposed to ironing, And because If his mother was drowning and I was drowning and he had to choose one of us to save, He says he'd save me. It's true love because When he went to San Francisco on business while I had to stay home with the painters and the exterminator and the baby who was getting the chicken pox, He understood why I hated him, And because When I said that playing the stock market was juvenile and irresponsible and then the stock I wouldn't let him buy went up twenty-six points, I understood why he hated me, And because Despite tooth decay, acid indigestion, dandruff, and other features of married life that tend to dampen the fires of passion, We still feel something we can call true love. Judith Viorst

True Love Viorst’s delightful books observing the decades since she wrote “It’s Hard To Be Hip Over Thirty and Other Tragedies of Married Life”. True Love is among my favorites of her poems and it came to mind recently when my husband was recuperating from minor surgery. After a week in the role of caretaker, I could unquestionably add to Ms. Viorst’s list of true love proof. Memories of a previous occasion when he was sick (what a grouch!) were vivid so I was determined to forestall a repeat of that by being an angel of a caretaker. I had everything I could think of for his comfort ready; plenty of pillows, an extra blanket, a sturdy tray at his side with tea, juice, bottles of water, ice pack, TV remote, tissues, books, pain pills and the telephone. I suggested he could reach me whenever he wanted to by calling my cell phone, which I would carry around with

me. After getting him settled I asked whether he needed anything else and was assured everything was fine, that he was fine, and that he needed nothing except to sleep. So I believed him and left the room. Within minutes, the cell phone rang. He: “Would you mind bringing that magazine I was reading last week? It’s in the living room.” Me: “Of course. Is that all?” He: “Yes, just the magazine.” Me: “Are you sure? As long as I am coming up, there may be something else?” He: “No, that’s all.” Up I went, magazine in hand, smile on my face. Down I went. The cell phone rang. He: “The tea doesn’t taste good. Could I have some coffee?”

(this ‘n that page 32)

I have been enjoying Judith February • 2014 • 31


this ‘n that / page 31 Me: (Trying not to grit my teeth) “Of course”. He: “..the magazine fell on the floor and I can’t pick it up, can you help? He: “Don’t we have any good books?” HE: “Could you arrange the pillows under my leg?” We live in a house with a lot of stairs. When we bought it twenty years ago we were foolishly captivated by the multi-level open floor plan but that was before we reached the unanticipated Body Part Problems chapter of life. Mutual artificial knees, arthritis, slipped disks and a variety of other issues necessitate limiting our trips up and down so we have worked out a system; stuff deposited at both ends of the staircase and a lot of tossing. During this Florence Nightingale stint I ascended and descended more times in a matter of

Seniors4travel / page 30 bunctious seven-year-old greatgrandkids to spend the afternoon at Discovery Place. Of interest to all was the fifteen tank aquarium featuring ecosystems from around the world with sharks, stingrays and other fish. Live reptile and amphibian tanks, a rainforest exhibit, lizards and other reptiles available for up-close viewing and petting kept the seven-year-olds riveted. Discovery Place has an IMAX and a 3-D theater. We watched a fascinating documentary, The Flight of the Monarch Butterflies, at the IMAX.

32 • 2014 • February

Discovery Place 301 N Tryon St., Charlotte,

days than in the previous three months. When thoughtful friends called to ask how the patient was doing, I wanted to say “why aren’t you asking about me? My knees are killing me and my back aches!” How was it possible that he only thought of something he wanted or needed after I left the room? That cell phone rang incessantly. My smile disappeared and Florence Nightingale morphed into Nurse Ratchet. Sometimes he called with an urgent need, sometimes because he was being cantankerousness, sometimes because he was bored. But I eventually realized it was mostly just because he wanted my company. And that’s pretty wonderful . So despite petulant behavior and mutual grouchiness and medical messiness, we still feel something we can call True Love.

NC 28202. Tel. 704-372-6261 Levine Museum of the New South Charlotte is truly an American Historical City. Levine Museum of the New South relates the story of the city from 1865 into the future. The museum’s centerpiece is the multi-media, permanent exhibit “Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers” which tells stories of men, women and children, black and white, rich and poor, who shaped the area since the Civil War. Levine Museum of the New South 200 E 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28202. Tel. (704) 333-1887. www.museumofthenewsouth.org


February • 2014 • 33


34 • 2014 • February


February 2014 Senior Spectrum Newspaper  

February 2014 Senior Spectrum Newspaper

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