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Local fitness programs offered for seniors

Remembering Prohibition Stories to commemorate 100th anniversary



Today’s Grandparent

What do your grandkids watch on television?

Green Space

Thaw out your January gardening to-do list



In thIs edItIon: FeatureS

swimming to stay in shape .................. 11

a century past ....................................... 4 Tales of Prohibition. Caring for the aging .............................. 10

coluMnS today’s grandparent ............................ 2

A national crisis.

Washington Watch ................................ 5-7

get fit in 2020 ......................................... 12-13

green space ........................................... 14-15

Local fitness programs for seniors.

Learn about CBd oil ............................. 8


downsizing tips ..................................... 8

good times travel Club ....................... 3

Back pain prevention............................ 11

travel insurance information ............. 3

Good tIMes FoR senIoRs a tiMEs-sHaMroCK PUBLiCation

149 penn avenue Scranton, pa 18503 EditoriaL | 570-348-9185 advErtising | 570-348-9100 Managing editor Elizabeth Baumeister x3492 advertiSing SaleS Manager alice Manley x9285 contriButing WriterS: duane Campbell, david deCosmo, Bob gelik, Cheryl Keyser and Jack smiles.

Good Times for Seniors is a publication dedicated to informing, serving and entertaining active older adults in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties of Pennsylvania. It publishes six times per year — winter, spring, early summer, late summer, fall and a holiday edition. Circulation of this issue is 61,000 copies to more than 125,000 readers aged 55 and over. Advertising rates and deadlines available upon request. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement.

on tHe cover: alice radzikowski uses a recumbent exercise machines at the Mid valley active older adult Community Center in Jessup. Photo by Bob gelik.






Winter edition January/FeBruary 2020



What they’re watching i don’t think i can remember a time when parents and grandparents haven’t been worried about what the kids are watching on tv. some programs, even cartoons, are filled with violence, car crashes and the like. it’s not all that surprising that a constant exposure to television can have an effect on the children. But that exposure isn’t always bad. and it’s impact is sometimes unusual. our 4-year-old grandson is a very big fan of two particular tv shows. one is thomas and Friends about some railroad engines with faces and personalities. the other is Peppa Pig . Both shows feature everyday life lessons through their stories. and both are produced in the United Kingdom. We first noticed their impact on our grandson when he announced he planned to grow “tomaatoes” in his backyard. When we suggested he meant tomatoes he replied “no. tomaatoes. i don’t like tomatoes.” next, when my wife and i went on vacation, we learned that our grandson told his teacher we were “on holiday.” the moral lessons offered on these

two programs are valuable. Little did we know they’d come with a British accent. now we tend to listen to him and say “good show young man.” Hope all your news is good. David DeCosmo is a retired TV reporter. He and his wife escort tours for Travelworld in Scranton & Kingston.

Good Times Travelers head to Myrtle Beach BY ED E. ROGERS

The Good Times Travel Club is going to Myrtle Beach for a spring fling. John Madden of TravelWorld put together an itinerary for the April 1723 trip that promises to be one of the club’s best visits to the Grand Strand. Included are five top-rated shows, four dinners at some of the area’s best restaurants and breakfast every morning. In addition, there will be ample time for shopping and to enjoy the area’s broad beach. The group will stay in oceanfront suites at the newly-renovated Grande Cayman Resort in the Dunes sector of North Myrtle Beach. The accommodations include a bedroom with two queen beds, a living room that opens onto an ocean view balcony, and a kitchen area with a coffee maker, microwave and other amenities. The resort has an outdoor pool with an oceanfront pool deck plus hot tubs, an indoor pool, 250-foot lazy river and a water slide. Other amenities include poolside games, a gift shop and a fitness center. The package is priced at $1,099 per person based on double occupancy. Single accommodations are available for $1,399. The shows Mr. Madden has booked are the Carolina Opry, the One Show, Time Warp, and Legends in Concert. Four dinners, headlined by one at Captain Benjamin’s famous Calabash seafood buffet, are included. So are a 90-miute minute narrated sightseeing luncheon cruise along the Intercostal Waterway aboard the yacht Island Time, a visit to the fabled Brookgreen Gardens, and shopping time at Broadway on the Beach. On the final day, before heading north, the group will be treated to one of the Grand Stand’s newest attractions, Pure Magic, starring The Wagsters, a husband-and-wife team of magicians. The show features spectacular illusions, card tricks, disappearing acts and sleight of hand tricks. The trip will begin early on the morning of April 19 at the Green Ridge Street shopping plaza where Upvalley members of the group will board

an Internet-equipped Martz coach. Down valley residents will board at the Park and Ride lot on Route 309 in Wilkes-Barre Township. Then it will be off to Colonial Heights, Va. where the travelers will spend the night at the Hampton Inn. The complete itinerary will be distributed at an informational meeting prior to the trip, but, here are some of the highlights: ■ Dinner at Captain Benjamin’s followed by the award-winning Carolina Opry, two hours of high-energy music, comedy and dance featuring a cast of over 35 of the nation’s most talented performers. ■ Prime seats for The One Show at the Alabama Theater following dinner at the Chestnut Hill Restaurant which specializes in fresh local seafood and corn fed beef. The One Show, which is celebrating its 26th anniversary, has something for everyone from gospel and country to Broadway, pop and rock. ■ Dinner at Joe’s Bar and Grill, an eatery that has been serving high-quality dishes for more than 30 years. The show that night will be “Time Warp” which features the best music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s blended with rich multimedia screens, special effects and elaborate costuming. ■ Legends in Concert, a production that provides the opportunity to experience celebrity look-alikes, dancers and singers as they pay tribute some of the greatest names in music such as the Blues Brothers, Elvis Presley, Tina Turner, Alan Jackson and Michael Jackson all in one night. The show will be preceded by dinner at another of the Grand Stand’s top restaurants. En route back to northeast Pennsylvania, the group will overnight at the same Hampton Inn in Colonial Heights, Va. Mr. Madden urged Good Times readers interested in joining the group to call TravelWorld in Scranton at 570342-5790 or Kingston at 570-288-9311 immediately as the trip will be limited to the capacity of the Martz coach which has been reserved. It is not necessary to be a member of the travel club to participate.

Travel insurance: more expensive with age? If you’re 60 or older and would like to travel abroad, you’ll need to make room in your budget for travel insurance. However, the cost increases as you get older. Here’s what you should know.

which may change once you reach a certain age. The best thing to do before booking a trip is to speak to an insurance broker so he or she can help you get the best policy available.

The price of protection An insurance policy that costs $1,000 for a 65-year-old couple can easily double in price for a 75-yearold couple. This augmentation will typically occur even if there aren’t any pre-existing health conditions. Insurance providers tend to assign a much higher level of risk to certain age brackets.

How to shop around Given the high cost of travel insurance, it’s essential that you shop around when planning your trip. Unsurprisingly, your overall health will have an impact on the kind of coverage you can get. This also applies to the basic travel insurance offered by credit card providers, the terms of




Your Complete 7-Day Group Rate Includes: • Roundtrip Motorcoach via Martz Trailways (DVD & WI-FI) • 2-overnights @ the Hampton Inn in Virginia enroute & return from South Carolina including Breakfasts • 4-Nights Deluxe Accommodations @ The Grande Cayman Resort (Oceanfront 1-Bedroom Suites with Balcony) • 4-Full Buffet Breakfasts @ our Hotel in Myrtle Beach • Enjoy a 1 ½ Hour Sightseeing Cruise along the Intercoastal Waterway with lunch • A Visit to Brookgreen Gardens • Visits to Broadway on the Beach & Barefoot Landing $ pp • 5-GREAT SHOWS (double occupancy) • Legends in Concert • The Carolina Opry • ONE The Variety Show at the Alabama Theater • Time Warp & Pure Magic Shows! • 4-Great Dinners including Benjamin’s Calabash Famous Seafood Buffet, Joe’s Bar & Grill, The Chestnut Hill Restaurant • Free Beach & Shopping Time • GoodTimes Travel Club trip hosted by Ed & Eleanor Rogers • All Taxes & Fees • Services of a TravelWorld Tour Escort


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A century past: tales of Prohibition BY JACK SMILES

One hundred years ago – midnight Friday, January 16, 1920 to be exact – we went dry when the 18th Amendment — which made “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes” illegal — went into effect; and the Volstead Act, which defined the parameters and enforcement mechanism of the amendment, became the law of the land. “Wet mourners” partied, ostensively for the last time, all over Scranton, with the biggest parties at the Hotel Casey, with a cabaret and dance, and Hotel German. “Funeral services” for John Barleycorn were staged in “processions” carrying mock caskets. Meanwhile the “Drys” celebrated. In Pittston, several hundred people gathered at the Presbyterian Church for speeches, music and a religious ceremony. Mrs. C. H. Cool, county president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, or WCTU, was the speaker. She was presented with a bouquet of roses. Cake and tea were served. A speaker at the Wilkes-Barre Baptist Church prohibition celebration talked about the New Year’s Eve dance on Public Square, calling it “the most degrading, appalling, disgusting and dishonorable night the city has ever seen” because of drinking and “cheek dancing.” In Scranton, there was a similar “Dry” celebration at Town Hall. The Reverend J.J. Curran, the famed “Labor Priest” and friend to Teddy Roosevelt, was the main speaker. The Lawerence Orchestra entertained. A resolution calling for the appointment of a citizens

committee of 100 to aid federal agents in prohibition enforcement was approved. At the Myrtle Street Methodist Church a “rejoicing and thanks” service music included the song “The Brewers’ Big Horses.” In his speech, “Who and What Defeated the Saloon,” the Rev. Albert Clarke said, “With booze outlawed now comes the task of finally destroying the outlaw.” He cited the Prohibition Party, the WCTU, church organizations, public schools, the Anti-Saloon League and the press, as champions of the 18th amendment. He was right in citing the press. Most newspapers supported prohibition editorially and bought government claims of strong enforcement by the Internal Revenue Service. From a Scranton Times story on the morning of the 15th under the headline No Mercy for Prohibition Law Breakers: “The possibility of the Liquid Age continuing beyond tomorrow night at midnight has been dispelled. Internal Revenue officials are holding enforcement posses in readiness and they will investigate and prosecute the slightest infringement of the law. And the penalties they inflict are severe, too severe to serve to permit chance taking.” At the 12th Internal Revenue District office in the Federal Building in Scranton, the Officer in Charge, W. C. Hosier, told a Times writer: “You can tell readers of the Times that persons who are of the belief that the new prohibition law which becomes effective at midnight tonight will be gone about in the loose manner that the wartime measure was handled are due for a disappointment. [The 1918 Wartime Prohibition Act which banned the sale of alcoholic

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beverages over 2.75 percent alcohol was widely ignored.] I know there are certain hotelmen and the others who believe that the law is a joke, but they are getting full warning now they will receive no favor if they are caught violating the law.” As time would tell, despite the warnings, enforcement was problematic. Some hotels and bars continued to openly serve alcohol, while others operated as backdoor speakeasies. A Times story in August, eight months after prohibition took effect, was headlined Hotelmen and Brewers Get Another Inside Tip. From the story: “Because of the belief among the hotelmen and brewers that Scranton is due for a raid similar to the ones that were conducted throughout New Jersey a few weeks ago there was a tightening up on the supply of whiskey and good beer here last night and today.” But most liquor businesses were law-abiding and closed in January. From a Times story just before Jan. 16: “Scranton will lose historic rooms where political slates were framed, campaigns won and lost and business deals closed.” Some bars— the Rathskeller on Spruce, Gilboy’s on Wyoming Ave, Valley House and Scranton House on Lackawanna; Lyons, United States and Eagle on Penn — remained open hoping to make a go as soda shops and ice cream parlors. John Brown’s Bar on Salem Ave became a dry goods store and ZC Bell on South Main offered pool and cigars. The Hotel Belmont turned into a shoemaker shop. Eddie Coleman’s specialized as a businessmen’s lunch room. The Arrow on Spruce closed. The St. Cloud became an automobile dealer. Even County Sheriff Schlager took a hit described as “a crushing blow.” He owned the Hotel DeJug, which before prohibition had been a watering hole for off-duty cops and firemen. Prohibition hurt workers directly throwing bartenders, brewers and wholesalers out of work. Ancillary business were hurt, as well, for example delivery firms and the ice businesses. It was estimated the county’s 900 saloons spent an average $125 each a month to keep beverages cool. Prohibition greatly reduced tax and license fee revenue. Wilkes-Barre lost $80,000, Pittston lost $30,000, more than its entire police force budget. Lackawanna County was forced to lay off two

clerks. IRS clerks sent out inventory forms to all known liquor dealers. They were required declare all their stored stock and where it was stored by Jan. 27. Most dealers packed their stock in camouflaged packages and moved it to off-the-books warehouses. In March in Pittston $12,000 worth of booze ($150,000 in 2020 dollars) was stolen from P.J. Conway’s warehouse in Spring Alley. He had a legal wholesale distributorship on South Main Street before 1920, but after prohibition he moved his liquor to Spring Alley. Police investigated and discovered the thieves had broken in by hammering locks, but “owing to prohibition the Pittston police will not be able to offer assistance to Mr. Conway in the way of running down the culprits,” the Pittston Gazette wrote. For that reason, theft of booze stockpiles was a common crime in the early days of prohibition. Dealers hid and sold as much of their stock as they could before the 27th. Much of it wound up in private homes. Section 23 of Title II of the prohibition act permitted private ownership and consumption of alcohol in a private dwelling acquired before Jan. 16, 1920 and such liquor did not have to be reported “provided such liquors are for use only for the personal consumption of the owner thereof and his family and his bona fide guests when entertained by him therein.” This exception was allowed for two homes per owner, such as a summer lake house. It’s not hard to imagine a guest leaving a private party with a bottle or two in his coat. This exception and exceptions for religious and medicinal use, pharmacists could prescribe whiskey for example, made enforcement difficult, as did widespread disregard for the law, lack of law enforcement manpower and will, home and rural distilleries, bribery and undercover importation from Canada and the Bahamas. Before his death Andy Gavin, the founder of Andy Gavin’s Pub, claimed his father — also named Andy and a liquor wholesaler and one-third owner of an apple brandy distillery — made $100,000 during prohibition, the equivalent of $ 1.2 million today. SourceS: Digital archiveS of the Scranton timeStribune, the PittSton gazette anD WilkeS-barre recorD.

Caring for the aging BY CHERYL M. KEYSER

sight – just as demanding. And this does not just affect an older This country is facing a crisis. It seems couple where one spouse cares for anothlike that is a statement that is thrown out er. Kristina Brown, who recently testified every day referring to different circuma House Committee hearing, is a medical stances, but, in this case, it is a valid student at Yale. She starting providing comment. care for her mother at age 16. Her then The issue is we have an aging society 43-year-old mother had multiple sclerosis. and the members in that age bracket “For six years, I provided 10 hours of often require a great deal of care – usucare every day,” said Brown. ally one-on-one. More often, it is provided She and her sister handled the demand by a family member, but, even they are by alternating their education and work not able to provide this constant care on responsibilities to care for their mother. a daily basis - draining their own health But, it is not just the stresses of the and resources. physical duty, but Just one examalso the financial ple. A woman who issues that come worked in a docwith it. Brown and tor’s office had to her sister took out move her parents a loan to pay for into her home to the mortgage on care for them - one their home, also had Alzheimer’s with handling and the other Parpart-time jobs and kinson’s. She also trying to keep up had a husband with their educaand a teenage son. tion. Life soon became The network round after round of resources that of attending to the most people rely needs of everyon in cases of this one with little time for her own needs. was not available to them. Their mother Although she did it with a smile and a has an income of $36,000 from a divorce strong sense of duty, it was still a chalsettlement, is younger than 65, and does lenge. not a 10-year job background – so she was The most devastating of these, of ineligible for help from Medicare, Medcourse, is Alzheimer’s, but there are many icaid and Social Security Disability. And other illnesses which also require conher private insurance so does not cover stant, round-the-clock care. Most people home health care. try to go it alone or engage as many This was happening to a relatively friends and relatives as possible to help, young woman and compromising the fubut this also requires juggling multiple ture of her two daughters. Now imagine a schedules. The alternative is to bring similar situation with an older person or in someone from one of the growing couple unable to care for themselves. number of home care agencies to provide According to Bob Blancato of the care, but that requires the same juggling Elder Justice Coalition, “future Medicaid (oftentimes the person who is supposed to funding is uncertain.” arrive at a certain time and day doesn’t) Some states are examining the option and the cost of that care can soon break a of capping expenses for funding the household budget. health care they do provide, and the reAs an example of the latter, round-the- imbursement rates Medicaid provides for clock in-home care can run $50,000 a year, nursing home and home health care “are assisted living approximately the same, very low,” he added. and a semi-private room in a nursing One step forward is new legislation home more than $90,000 – and all of these enacted in Washington State which would services require some sort of family over- establish a long-term care insurance

“Round-theclock in-home care can run $50,000 a year, assisted living approximately the same, and a semi-private room in a nursing home over $90,000.”

plan for individuals, providing $36,500 in benefits per person. However, it will not be effective for five years. It will include caregiving, meal delivery and nursing home costs. In addition, Hawaii and Arizona both have set up a family caregivers program. Funded at a lower level than needed, at least it is a step in the right direction. Brown suggested that even these programs should be set up so that no only income is considered for eligibility, but should also be structured so that income is adjusted for the cost of care. She also suggested that home care providers be fairly compensated and home health care be made more affordable, and that the cost of durable medical equipment should also be reduced. But, while all of these possibilities are following fairly traditional paths, there are a couple of new ideas on the horizon. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that by the year 2018, 1.2 million new jobs would be needed to provide caregiving duties to meet the needs of an increasingly elderly population. One alternative is that of the Administration for Community Living (formerly the Administration on Aging). It is proposing a National Volunteer Care Corps, modeled on the Peace Corps, and is due to start accepting design proposals as soon as this fall. After a five year “test program,” it will select among these to determine which to replicate on a national basis. The other possibility under consideration is the use of robots. This is already being tested using a doll-size robot, decked out in blue and white, that can of-

fer some of the assistance a caregiver can usually provide, and, in some cases, even emotional comfort. Many are afraid of the use of robots, but this may be the wave of the future and individuals may even develop attachments to their robot. A somewhat similar experiment was tried a few years ago using two-way television. A nursing home was set up with a television that could provide contact and conversation between a patient and a health care provider. At first, the organizers of the test were fearful that people would not adapt, but soon found out that there was great demand for the service. Everyone in the home would crowd around the TV to speak to the nurse even if they were not officially registered in the test. Only future, once arrived, will tell how caregiving will develop, however, that future is getting closer.

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Washington Watch BY CHERYL M. KEYSER

Living or ACL (formerly the Administration on Aging) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). ACL funds would be used ELDER STAMP to support ways “to prevent and respond In an effort to raise awareness of elder to the abuse of older adults,” while those abuse, a group of senators has moved for the DOJ will be used to prosecute cases to create a “semi-postal” stamp, called of abuse, data collection and litigation appropriately enough, “Stamp Out Elder support. Abuse.” (A semi-postal stamp is one issued “Vulnerable seniors can be victimized to raise money for a worthy cause and sold even by the people who are supposed to at a premium over the printed amount on be caring for them, and congress has a the stamp.) It can be purchased at the post duty to stop it,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar office or online at about.usps.com. (D-MN). It is estimated that one in 10 Americans For more information, visit aging. 60 years or age or older have been victims senate.gov. of some form of elder abuse, which can BILLS AND MORE BILLS range from neglect, to theft, to physical or sexual abuse. According to a study published in the As an example, in terms of financial Journal of Health Affairs, more than half abuse only, the General Accounting Office of Medicare patients who are considered notes that such fraud costs older adults an seriously ill face financial difficulties in estimated $29 billion a year. However, this paying their medical bills, especially premay be an undercount as many cases are scription drug costs, followed by hospital not reported, especially when they involve bills, ambulance rides and visits to the a family member. emergency room. The monies raised by the stamp will Seriously ill individuals were defined go to the Administration on Community for the purposes of the study as those

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with a condition that over three years “required two or more hospitalizations and visits to three or more doctors.” The most causes were heart disease, cancer and diabetes. More than half of the patients included in the study have seen five to nine doctors over the past three years. Broken down further, more than one-third have used all or most of their savings to pay health bills, 27% have been contacted by a collection agency in regard to lack of payment, and another 23% were unable to pay for basics such as food, heat and housing. And almost half (45%) reported that as a result they faced emotional or psychological pressures. Yet, according to the Journal article, this is an issue “that hasn’t gotten much attention.” “We did not expect to see this extent of financial distress in the Medicare population,” said Michael Anne Kyle, lead author of the study. For more information, visit healthaffairs.com.

OSTEOPOROSIS INCREASING This disease, characterized by the hump on the back is not talked about as much as some other illnesses, but it affects some 2 million Medicare beneficiaries. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), “osteoporotic fractures are responsible for more hospitalizations than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer combined.” An incredibly high number for an illness that is often overlooked. Furthermore, a contributing factor is the lack of attention to a fairly easy way to reduce the number of repetitive fractures. For example, according to the NOF, only 9% of women who suffered an osteoporotic fracture were screened for osteoporosis with a bone mineral density test within six months following their fracture.” These “secondary fractures” could have reduced the costs to Medicare by 5% to 20% or in dollar amounts by $310 million to $1.2 billion over 2-3 years. “The good news is that we have the tools to stem this crisis, with Medicare paying for bone density testing and FDAapproved drug treatment that can help reduce spine and hip fractures by up to 70%,” said Elizabeth Thompson, CEO of the NOF. The NOF is calling for Medicare to eliminate cuts to payment rates for

osteoporosis screening and a national education campaign to raise awareness of the disease and what steps can be taken to prevent or treat it. For more information, visit nof.org.

NOW YOUR HOUSE Starting this year, AARP members will be able to receive some new benefits with a real estate program established for them by the Realogy Holdings Corr. Under this program, AARP members can “earn a cash back reward or bonus when they buy or sell a home with one of Realogy’s associates, such as Century 21 or Coldwell Banker, among others. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, some 113 million Americans, age 50 and up, “made up nearly 40% of home buyers and the largest of group of home sellers at 55%.” However, it should be noted that this service will not be available in all states and where it is so, it must be a sale or purchase through a program-introduced real estate agent. For more information, visit aarp.org.

CHEMICAL ABUSE No, this is not about vaping, although that is also a source of chemical abuse. This is in regard to using antipsychotic drugs in some nursing homes to sedate residents. In many cases, this applies to those patients with dementia and is used to control unwanted behaviors. But, in other cases, it can be just for the convenience of the staff. Unfortunately, these drugs can also increase the chance of a heart attack, stroke or even death. The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care has started a national consumer education campaign to advise the public of the misuse of these antipsychotic drugs. There are close to 180,000 nursing home patients, many with various stages of dementia. No one knows how many have been given these drugs and in many cases neither patients or staff has received a clinical diagnosis stating that they are required. In addition to raising awareness of this issue, the campaign suggests ways to establish patient rights and help families insist on care without using these drugs. “Use of antipsychotic drugs to sedate Please see Watch, Page 7


or change behavior is a chemical restraint,” said Lori Smetanka, executive director of the Consumer Voice, “residents have the right to individualized care that meets their needs.” For more information, contact the Consumer Voice at theconsumervoice.org.

STAYING HOME Most people, as they age, want to remain in the familiarity of their home. But, sometimes that proves difficult. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) has provided a source that can help: the Eldercare Locator. This organization was established and is funded by the Administration for Community Living (formerly the Administration on Aging) and is administered by the n4a. Many issues that can result in negative outcomes can be resolved as easily as arranging a home that better meets the needs of people of age. For instance, individuals may find that they have difficulty climbing stairs, seeing in dim light or making minor repairs. Modifications can range from simply cleaning a home of clutter, improving lighting or installing ramps, to making a bathroom wheelchair-accessible. Home modification is one of the top five reasons that people contact the Eldercare Locator. “The home modification program provided by Area Agencies on Aging and others help older adults continue to be active and engaged in their communities - in part because they live safely in their homes, which is where we know they want to be,” said Sandy Markwood, n4a CEO. To contact the Elder Locator, call 1-800677-1116 or visit eldercarelocator@n4a.org. More than 70 organizations that deal with aging issues have united to urge Congress to prevent scheduled Medicare prescription drug cost increases and extend protections for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. Under Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drug costs, once a certain

monetary level has been reached, beneficiaries can access catastrophic coverage for drugs to reduce their costs. But, for the coming year, the threshold is going to jump by $1,250 affecting some one million Medicare patients. Nationally, this would represent an additional $2 billion in outof-pocket costs for beneficiaries. The groups are also calling for more low-income Medicare beneficiaries to be enrolled into programs that assist with prescription and other health care costs and modernize and simplify enrollment in Medicare Part B. For more information, visit ncoa.org.

Finance tips for caregivers

KNOWING PARKINSON’S Close to 50% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and their care partner’s leave their doctor’s office with no substantial information as to what they can expect as their condition progresses. “Early in my diagnosis with Young Onset Parkinson’s, I realized that I couldn’t find all of the answers I was looking for,” said Christina Korines, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 33. To fill this gap, the Parkinson’s Foundation is developing a campaign that will help the some 60,000 people, who are newly diagnosed, with the knowledge, tools and resources to deal with the challenges this illness brings. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, this is “the first national campaign ever launched to specifically target the needs and priorities for people newly diagnosed with PD.” “Our goal is to empower everyone new to our community to build a better life with Parkinson’s from day one while addressing their unmet needs,” said John L. Lehr, president and CEO of the Parkinson’s Foundation. For additional information, visit parkinson.org.

Juggling one’s own finances and the responsibilities of another person’s money can take its toll on a person, but there are several ways to navigate these often tricky waters. The number of retirees is on the rise. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau points out that, by 2030, there will be 81.2 million Americans over age 65, and many of them will need help taking care of themselves. Caregiving is a big responsibility. One crucial role caregivers may take on involves managing a loved one’s finances. AARP states that acting as a money manager becomes especially important if a loved one begins having trouble keeping a checkbook or becomes confused about money. The Family Caregiver Alliance indicates millions of Americans are managing money or property for a family member or friend who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. Juggling one’s own finances and the responsibilities of another person’s money can take its toll. Here are several ways to navigate these often tricky waters. ■ Discuss plans in advance. Have conversations even before an aging loved one needs caregiving. Talking through difficult topics when parents are healthy can simplify decisions later on. ■ Open a joint account. Joint bank accounts make it easier for caregivers to manage loved ones’ money if the person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. When necessary, you can step in as a money manager to pay bills, make deposits and withdrawals and monitor account balances.

■ Make legal fiduciary changes. AARP suggests drawing up legal documents to manage all financial accounts. A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person assigns another the power to make financial decisions on their behalf. This also protects family interests, so that another relative like a sibling, who may want his or her share of a loved one’s money, will not have access. Documenting fiduciary changes in the letter of the law can serve as a measure of protection against potential problems. ■ Put your priorities first. You may end up running yourself emotionally and financially ragged catering to a loved one’s needs. According to a 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 43.4 million American adults provide unpaid care to an adult or child. Taking repeated time off of work or paying for loved ones’ needs out of your own pocket can take its financial toll. Do not take on unmanageable debt. ■ Ask for help. Speak with a financial advisor and/or elder care attorney about the best ways to manage a loved one’s money to ensure an aging parent or child will be provided for. Arranging assets in certain ways can make individuals eligible for certain benefits. Managing money is just one of the many tasks associated with being a caregiver.




Leap into a New Year of Hearing!

What you should know about CBD oil Cannabidiol (CBD), a molecule extracted from cannabis, is making waves in the medical community. Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non-psychoactive substance. Its therapeutic virtues, however, have caught the interest of researchers. Here’s what you should know about CBD, which is available in oil, gel cap and capsule form.

Possible uses

Dr. Serena Marie Ross

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CBD oil can be used to help with a number of health conditions. Doctors may prescribe it for the following: ■ Anxiety ■ Arthritis ■ Chronic pain ■ Epilepsy ■ Inflammation ■ Insomnia ■ Migraines ■ Nausea ■ Parkinson’s disease Several high-level athletes, including cyclists and runners, feel that CBD allows them to perform better. This is because it helps them to manage the pain associated with their strenuous workouts.


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A number of people have reported digestive issues, dry mouth, drowsiness, fluctuations in blood pressure and other effects from consuming CBD. While everyone reacts differently, these side effects are often mild and tempo-


rary. If you’d like to try CBD oil to improve your quality of life, consult a health care professional. They’ll make sure that the product you use is right for you and compatible with any medication you’re taking.

Tips for downsizing in a hot market

It’s common for seniors living in up-and-coming areas to be solicited by realtors and potential buyers interested in their homes. A hot real estate market can be a boon if you’re looking to downsize, but it can also attract predatory buyers and lowball offers. Here’s how to get the most out of this opportunity, especially if you’ve been off the market for a while.



Side effects

Hire a good real estate agent. Interview three or more real estate agents and check their references. Ask questions about their experience with selling properties like yours, their general approach to closing on sales and what you can expect in terms of communication.

You should also ensure the agent you hire is a registered member of the relevant professional organization in your area.

Get a market analysis. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your home’s value. Your realtor should be able to provide you with a realistic estimate. You should also get a home appraiser to assess the value of the property.

Make your wishes known. Just because you’re selling doesn’t mean you need to leave everything behind. You’re perfectly within your rights to request that valuable or sentimental items, such as your vintage chandelier, be excluded from the sale.

Investor Tips for 2020 BY CHRISTOPHER SCALESE As we approach the new year, some financial researchers believe a potential economic downturn may be in the near future. Despite the continued strength of the economy to-date, if history has taught us anything, it’s that we are overdue for a market correction. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the nation’s recovery from the Great Recession started in 2009 and has continued through 2019 and now, into 2020. However, the same research also shows that economic expansions in recent decades have consistently lasted about ten years. The expansion that started in 1991 lasted until 2001. There was then another expansion that started later in 2001 and lasted until early 2007.1 The new year provides a great opportunity to start fresh with a batch of resolutions and good intentions. This clean slate should carry over to your financial house as well. With the potential for a market decline looming, now may be good time to consider developing a strategy designed to both preserve the assets within your current investment portfolio and accomplish realistic goals to help improve your long-term financial confidence.

Understand Your Net Worth To achieve any financial goal, you should start with the basics and calculate your net worth. This includes the current market value

of your investment portfolio, but you may also want to consider the current market value of any real estate that you own and the net asset value of any life insurance or annuity contracts you own. It’s also important to know your current credit score and understand how your assets can compare to your liabilities.

Preserve Your Wealth There are several steps you can take to ensure your financial plan is properly updated so that you can help protect your nest egg from a potential market drop. Some of those steps include rebalancing your portfolio, repositioning stock exposure to align with your risk tolerance, or increasing contributions to retirement accounts like a 401(k) or IRA to help accumulate more wealth. Conversely, you may consider decreasing your investment contributions if you find that you need access to your cash savings. Working with a qualified financial advisor can help ensure that you’re considering the right financial moves for your personal situation.

Strategic Considerations As you adjust your financial plan, it’s important to keep a few factors in mind. These include:

• Asset Relocation: While 2020 may be a good year to reduce market exposure to help protect against potential volatility, it’s also important to remember that it may not be a good idea to

cash out of the market completely. Keeping some skin in the game, regardless of temporary economic declines, is a strategic move that can potentially help you accumulate wealth over time.

updates to your estate plan. From marriage to the birth of a child or grandchild to divorce or death of a spouse, there are several life events that may have happened in 2019 and require you to update your estate plans in 2020.

• Loaning Money to Yourself: During an economic downturn, it’s common for investors to stop or reduce their automatic contributions to their 401(k) or other retirement plan. While it’s always a good idea to consistently set money aside for your future, a financial hardship may cause you to reduce or stop investing. Some investors may also consider borrowing money from their employer-sponsored retirement accounts. While this can be a viable option for emergency cash, it’s important to know that if you lose your job, you are required to pay back the full loan by the end of the year you left that employer. If you fail to pay the loan back in time, you can face costly penalties and additional taxes.

While the potential of an economic pullback should have you entering the new year with caution, there is no reason to live in fear. With the right proactive planning and implementation of retirement strategies, you can have confidence in your financial plan for 2020 and beyond.

• Take an Insurance Inventory: The new year also provides a great time to take a comprehensive inventory of your insurance coverage. As you acquire more things as you age, it’s important to make sure your coverage matches up with your worth. If you live in an area with extreme weather considerations, make sure you have the proper coverage in place to protect your home. • Don’t Forget Estate Plan Updates: The new

year is also a great time to make any necessary

Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Fortune Financial Group are not affiliated companies. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. Any references to protection benefits, safety, security, lifetime income generally refer to fixed insurance products, never securities or investment products. Insurance and annuity product guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Guarantees and protections provided by insurance products, including annuities, are backed by the financial strength and claimspaying ability of the issuing insurance carrier. Our firm does not provide and no statement contained in the guide shall constitute tax or legal advice. All individuals are encouraged to seek the guidance of a qualified tax professional regarding their personal situation. 447135




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Swim to stay in shape and slow down aging

How to prevent, relieve lower back pain

According to a recent study, people who swim three to five times a week showed delayed changes in traditional aging indicators such as loss of muscle mass, high blood pressure and reduced lung capacity. If you’re a senior who’s looking for a way to stay in shape, here’s why swimming may be right for you.

It’s low impact

Lower back pain is a common side effect of aging. Here’s how to go about preventing and relieving it.

Prevention Good posture is essential for preventing lumbar aches, as is the position you sleep in. Try to sleep on your side with your knees bent. If you can only sleep on your back, a firm mattress can help to prevent back aches. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the amount of strain put on your spine. Try to exercise regularly, ideally by performing activities that are of moderate intensity. You should also try to avoid lifting heavy objects. If you need to pick one up, keep your back straight, use your abdominal muscles and bend your knees.

Relief As much as possible, try to integrate physical activity into your daily routine that won’t impact your back. Swimming and walking are two good examples. Yoga and tai chi are also great low-impact activities that allow you to gently stretch and strengthen your muscles. Consulting a physiotherapist is another good idea, as these professionals can teach you various stretches and exercises that will provide relief. Massage therapy and ibuprofen can also help you manage your pain. If these methods fail and the pain persists, be sure to consult a healthcare professional, ideally before it becomes unbearable or spreads to other areas of your body.

Swimming is gentle on the body and over time, it can improve your flexibility. The water supports your weight and takes the strain off your limbs and joints, making it a great activity for those who struggle with joint pain or mobility issues.

It helps in maintaining a healthy weight Even a leisurely swim is enough to burn a significant number of calories. Water is nearly 800 times denser than air and provides enough resistance to make even low-impact, gentle swimming a good way to shed a few pounds and help you maintain a healthy weight.

It improves cardiovascular and respiratory health While high intensity swims are great for increasing your fitness level, you don’t need to get your heart pounding to reap the benefits. Regular swims, even gentle ones, can help your heart and lungs stay healthier.

It improves mental health Like most physical activities, swimming can help improve your mental health. In addition, since water-based exercise is gentler on your body than other types, you can reap these benefits without risking getting injured.

It’s affordable All you need is a bathing suit, a cap, a pair of goggles and access to a pool. No expensive equipment required. Finally, visiting the pool on a regular basis may lead to you forming new friendships. This lends a social dimension to your swimming sessions that makes them all the more beneficial.

Worry Less and Live Better in the New Year! Wesley Village Campus offers the full continuum of care, ensuring you access to quality care as your needs change. Enjoy a lifestyle that offers peace of mind with maintenance-free living and amenities at your fingertips! Call 570-655-2891 to learn more about our levels of care.

Take the worries out of winter and spend time doing more of what you love! No more shoveling or outrageous heating bills. GOOD T IMES FOR SENIORS




Local programs help seniors get fit in 2020 BY BOB geLIK

director of the Greater Scranton YMCA, said the needs of seniors are Seniors who put “improve physi- recognized and reflected in the facilcal fitness” on their New Year’s ity’s programs, such as high- and resolutions lists will find at least low-impact exercise classes, yoga three things locally to help check and arthritis water classes. that one off. “The senior age group is our largFirst, there are plenty of fitness est membership group,” he said. and wellness programs designed for Senior fitness is “a very importhem, and there are plenty of places tant part of the mission” of the where they may pursue their fitness JCC, Cardonick said. “They should goals at community organizations, have easy access to and (we should) like the YMCA and the JCC, and provide opportunities for seniors local senior centers. (Check out the to be very active and participate in accompanying box.) programs to keep strength up and Second, a sampling shows that be comfortable.” these groups warmly welcome and “One of our basic focuses,” he encourage participation. All of continued, “is to provide exercise them recognize the importance and and fitness programs so they can effect of good health on seniors’ feel stronger and also to combat evquality of life. ery-day conditions as one gets older. Third, these organizations will Exercise can help address them.” work with seniors to keep services All of the facilities have some low-cost and, in some cases, free. kind of fee structure. For example, Dan Cardonick, Jewish Commuthe Mid Valley Active Older Adult nity Center executive director, said Community Center in Jessup has the staff will help new members a membership fee of $10 per year, navigate the facility and its prothough membership is not required grams. Based on a person’s goals, to participate. It may not fit the and staffers’ assessment of ability, stereotype of a fitness center or a class such as water exercise for gym, but UNC’s Fleming points out, arthritis may be recommended. “Most of our centers also offer new Alison Boga, executive director fitness equipment that is available Free weights and resistance bands complement the exercise machines at the Mid Valley Active of Dunmore Senior Center, which for use. The one unique aspect at Older Adult Community Center in Jessup. offers classes that do not involve UNC is that there is no fee to use our exercise machines, sees the imfitness equipment nor to participate portance of physical activity for in our fitness classes. Participants seniors. are asked to make a donation.” “Anything is better than nothMany donate in the $1 or $2 ing,” she said. “It doesn’t matter range. what it is. Chair exercise is better The JCC’s and the YMCAs’ memthan not doing anything at all. … bership dues are several hundred Get out and move!” dollars yearly. But, all work with Laurie Fleming, director of the potential members to reduce the Active Older Adult Program of costs to an affordable rate. United Neighborhood Centers of These community organizations NEPA, which operates four senior have scholarship plans that can centers in Lackawanna County, offset the costs of membership. All said, “Those age 55 and older should household information on the applibe encouraged to participate in cation is kept confidential, they said. some form of physical activity to Depending on the specific insurinvest in their overall well being. At ance, the entire cost may be covUNC, we offer a variety of classes ered, according to Lorrie Williams, to meet the needs of those new to RN, who oversees the older adult fitness as well as those who are fur- programs at the Carbondale YMCA. ther along on their fitness journey.” Please see FIT, Page 13 Wayne Stump, branch executive Patty Walker, lower left, leads a water aerobics class at the Carbondale YMCA pool.






“No one gets turned away” for financial reasons, she said. The JCC and the Greater Scranton YMCA have similar inclusivity approaches to membership, starting with a review of seniors’ health insurance policies. While Medicare does not cover gym membership, the Medicare Supplemental plans that most seniors purchase often do cover programs like Silver Sneakers and that can open the door to taking advantage of many of the YMCA and JCC classes and programs. “A lot of seniors don’t know that,” Williams said. She suggests seniors call the customer service number on the back of their insurance card. Dee Sabia, RN, who also is on the staff at the Carbondale Y, said the staff can help new applicants for membership check on that eligibility. “Another thing that seniors don’t know,” Williams said, “is that there are wellness funds attached” to PHoToS BY BoB GELIk / FoR GooD TIMES FoR SENIoRS their policies. These are funds that pay for things seniors can do to stay Members of a Silver Sneakers exercise class at the Carbondale YMCA use a ball as part of their workout. healthy. These are programs or classes that go beyond and may be in adand Strong, Fit and Flexible; 282-2210; greatercarbondaleymPHYSICAL FITNESS dition to physical exercise. At the weights, treadmill, two recumbent ca.org: Silver Sneakers, Zumba PROGRAMS Greater Scranton YMCA, Stump exercise machines, resistance Gold, Walkercise, Water Fitness, said, there are programs like ChronHere’s a rundown of senioric Disease Prevention Program, bands, balance balls. Arthritis water exercise, yoga, oriented fitness and exercise Enhanced Fitness and an Active South Side, Scranton, 425 swimming, In the Cardiac Direcprograms available. Check with Adult Social Club. The Carbondale Alder St., 570-346-2487: Chair tion cardio wellness program, the senior centers, the YMCA’s or YMCA’s programs like In the Cardiac Direction, Breathing Easy and yoga. Breathing Easy exercise program. the JCC for more information. Diabetes Prevention Program fall West Side, Scranton, 1004 Cycling, treadmill and other exerThe JCC of Scranton, 601 Jefinto that category. cise machines are available. ferson Ave., Scranton; 570-346- Jackson St., 570-961-1592, Fleming noted, “Beginning in February, UNC’s Active Older Adult ext. 102: Yoga, light fitness, tai Dunmore Senior Center, 1414 6595; scrantonjcc.org: Arthritis Center will be the first in the area chi; Strong, Fit and Flexible; and Monroe Ave., 570-207-2662; Water Exercise Classes, Zumba to offer the AEA Arthritis FoundaBarre; exercise machines. dunmoreseniorcenter.org: Tai chi, Gold, Senior Motion, Senior tion’s exercise class focusing on exercises for those with arthritis.” Greater Scranton YMCA, 706 yoga, walking club. Movement, Silver & Fit, Senior As 2020 gets underway, seniors N. Blakely St., Dunmore, 570Abington Senior Center, yoga classes, Strength and Flexcan tap into the fitness resources 1151 Winola Road, Clarks Sumibility, Silver Sneakers; pool, vari- 3342-8115; greaterscrantonymavailable in the area. And they’ll ca.org: Silver Sneakers, Zumba mit, 570-586-8996; abingtonfind help to meet their goals. ous exercise machines, weights. Carbondale YMCA’s Sabia said, seniorcommunitycenter.com: United Neighborhood Centers’ Gold, Easy Does It gym class, “As we get older, things start to not Yoga Stretch, Yoga for Seniors, Forever Young exercise class, Active Older Adult Community work right. … We have a lot of chalWater Aerobics including Arthritis yoga, dance exercise, tai chi, Centers, uncnepa.org, Carbonlenges … our age, our eyesight, our joint problems, our tiredness that dale, 66 N. Church St., 570-282- Water exercise, Enhanced Fitness stationary bikes and treadmill. makes you feel like not moving. And and Live Strong at the YMCA for Note: the center was closed for a 6167: Chair yoga when you don’t move, (when) you cancer survivor and patients. few weeks in early January. It is Mid Valley, 310 Church St., stop moving, that’s when bad things happen. So, we keep them moving. Greater Carbondale YMCA, 82 expected to reopen on or shortly Jessup, 570-489-4415: Tai chi, We keep them motivated.” N. Main St., Carbondale, 570Bob Gelik is a retired Times-Tribune copy editor.

line dancing, yoga, chair yoga,

after Jan. 20.




Green Space by Duane Campbell

If you set up a raised bed, do tuck some sedums and sempervivums under the wooden frames.

...caring for life

Mid-Valley Manor Personal Care Center

But January spading is probably something you shouldn’t do. Your soil I’m making a list, checking it twice. is too wet. Mine is in raised beds that Well, not really. What I’m doing is drains as quickly as it thaws. More looking out the window, a frequent important, it warms earlier in spring. pastime in January, but now with a I have seeds planted and growing while purpose. I am anticipating a January neighbors are sill daydreaming over thaw, a perennial weather pattern that catalogs. On the other hand, a warm sometimes comes in February, and day in January is a great time to set up looking at all the things I intend to do. a raised bed or two. Next January you Since fall ended hard and quick, it is a can do some spading. lengthy list. It’s really simple. All you need is Commonly I write about what I am three eight foot lengths of 2x8, one cut doing, but I’m not doing anything much in half to make two four foot lengths. right now. And I could write about Cobbbled together, they make a frame what I intend to do, but I have learned, 4x8 feet. Get the picture? Others have slowly and painfully, that my intentions tried different sizes, and so have I, but are not reliable subject matter. So I that 4x8 configuration works best. have welcomed a visit from the Ghosts You can spend some serious money of January Thaws Past, so I shall pass in garden catalogs for corner brackets on some good thaw activities to get which for some reason are commonly your hands dirty and shoes muddy. sold in pairs, though most rectangles Believe it or not, I absolutely love have four corners. I’ve found that large spading in January. It is therapeutic wood screws work just as well and are and doesn’t require any special and a lot cheaper. If you want a little bit expensive exercise equipment. And I more structure, you can nail a six inch get perverse pleasure from the winter triangle of plywood on the top or reinblooming flowers. OK, they’re weeds, force the corners with L-irons. Up to but in January even those tiny blooms you, but I prefer to just reattach them that emerge with the slightest warming in 10 years. on mat forming weeds are worth making those knees creak for a close look. Please see Green, Page 15

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While forgotten tulips are questionable planted in January, the smaller bulbs are almost certain to bloom in spring.


Get those leftover leaves tucked into corners of the house and yard and dump them in the frame. They’ll be ready to spade into the soil in spring. Then you can top the frame off with some good topsoil mixed with at least a couple of bags of ground bark mulch that piles up by the pallet in big box parking lots. More is better, Speaking of leftover fall leaves, have you set up a compost pile yet? Thought so. Now is the time to do it. Fall is a better time, but that is gone. The P&W composting system works -- Pile and Wait. Just pile up organic material, last fall’s leaves and dead annuals and vegetables, and they will do the rest all by themselves. But they’ll do it faster and better if they are contained to make a taller pile. A length of any kind of fencing about three feet high formed into a circle is the simple solution. Snow fencing is cheap and effective. I never like simple; fairly easy is more my style. Here’s a project to get hubby out of your hair for a couple of hours. Take some lumber that has been lying around waiting for a greater destiny. Pieces 2x2 work best, but 2x4s work. Make a three-foot square, bracing the corners with plywood. OK, now picture this. Using three more pieces, turn it into two three foot squares attached at right angles making half a cube. Then do it again. Line each half cube with chicken wire of vinyl fence or turkey wire; you want it on the inside, not the outside. Attach the two half cubes together with wire or screen door hooks. It’s a good idea to dig out that can of avocado green paint that’s been lingering in the basement since 1968 and slap some on to make it last longer. Fill it up. After it is filled, it will shrink and you can put more stuff in it. Eventually it will stay full. Pull the frame off and set it up next to the pile, which will maintain its neat square shape. You’re composting, just like you’ve always intended. The very best system, of course, is the classic three bay system seen in spring magazines and television shows. Build three bays and fill the first with organic matter. When it is full, move it all to the second bay and refill the first. Then move the second to the third, the first to the second, and refill the first. Eventually dig out finished compost and start over. This is undeniably the best except for one thing. No one ever gets past the second or third moving,

and it is abandoned. My system actually works. January is a good time to plant that bag of spring flowering bulbs you forgot and left in the garage. Is this the best time? No. But it is worth a try. They aren’t doing anything for you in the garage. If the thaw lasts more than a day or two, you may see more timely planted bulbs tentatively poking leaves up. My phone starts ringing off the hook with questions about what to do. My evil twin started telling people they had to go out and poke them back in. But the truth is that they have all been through this before and will do fine without your help. Regular readers know of my decades long infatuation with terra cotta pots, and terra cotta pots break. January is repair time. Over the years I have tried SUBMITTED PHOTOS everything – everything – before landThe pile retains its neat form even after the frame is removed. ing on a system that actually works. And while generally I do not mention brand names, in this process brand is important. The first step is unremarkable. I glue the broken pieces together with Gorilla glue. Read the directions and dampen the edges slightly before applying. Then hold the pieces together with Gorilla tape; common duck tape won’t work. Leave them alone for a couple of days before removing the tape. Gorilla glue expands as it sets and will ooze out of the cracks. I shave it off with a small sharp knife. Good as new. Almost. That should all keep you busy through a short January thaw. Before you know it, the species crocus will be blooming. Meanwhile I’m looking out the window and planning my next January thaw piece.

The right glue and tape can repair broken terra cotta.

Raised beds can be really raised for those with mobility problems.




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Tina McCarthy, RN, BSN, CPC 570.830.8928 Kathy Stella, RN, CRRN 570.341.4365





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Good Times for Seniors, Winter 2020 edition  

Good Times for Seniors, Winter 2020 edition