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November 2014

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The magazine for active, mature lifestyles

6 ‘Snowbirds’ fly south for the winter


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INSIDE

Staff Pat Pankratz, 50 Plus! Editor 920-686-2138 | ppankratz@htrnews.com Dale Mahloch, Advertising Manager 920-686-2124 | dmahloch@htrnews.com 50 Plus! is published monthly by the Herald Times Reporter Media. It also is distributed to select businesses in Manitowoc County.

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ON THE COVER:

Snowbirds’ fly south for the winter “Snowbirds” Roger and Linda Dufek of Manitowoc, who winter in Alabama each year, prepare to leave from their home in Manitowoc. Sue Pischke/HTR Media

11 Choose Medicare Part D plan wisely

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How to improve your balance as you age Dear Savvy Senior:

ent you in relation to other objects.

I’ve always been a walker, but when I fell last month my doctor suggested I start doing some balance exercises. Is this really something I need to practice? What can you tell me?

It’s all sorted out in the sensory cortex of your brain, which takes in the information from those sources to give you balance. But aging dulls our balance senses, and causes most seniors to gradually become less stable on their feet over time.

Avid walker Dear walker: Most people don’t think much about practicing their balance, but you should, the same way that you walk to strengthen your heart, lungs and overall health, or you stretch to keep your body limber. As we age, our balance declines – if it isn’t practiced – and can cause falls. Every year more than one in three people age 65 years or older fall, and the risk increases with age. A simple fall can cause a serious fracture of the hip, pelvis, spine, arm, hand or ankle, which can lead to hospital stays, disability, loss of independence and even death. Balance is the ability to distribute your weight in a way that enables you to hold a steady position or move at will without falling. It’s determined by a complex combination of muscle strength, visual inputs, the inner ear and the work of specialized receptors in the nerves of your joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons that ori-

Poor balance can also lead to a vicious cycle of inactivity. You feel a little unsteady, so you curtail certain activities. If you’re inactive, you’re not challenging your balance systems or using your muscles. As a result, both balance and strength suffer. Simple acts like strolling through a grocery store or getting up from a chair become trickier. That shakes your confidence, so you become even less active.

Balance exercises If you have a balance problem that is not tied to illness, medication or some other specific cause, simple exercises can help preserve and improve your balance. Some basic exercises you can do anytime include: One-legged stands: Stand on one foot for 30 seconds, or longer, then switch to the other foot. You can do this while brushing your teeth or waiting around somewhere. In the beginning, you might want to have a wall or chair to hold on to.

Jim Miller Heel rises: While standing, rise up on your toes as far as you can. Then drop back to the starting position and repeat the process 10 to 20 times. You can make this more difficult by holding light hand weights. Heel-toe walk: Take 20 steps while looking straight ahead. Think of a field sobriety test. Sit-to-stand: Without using your hands, get up from a straight-backed chair and sit back down 10 to 20 times. This improves balance and leg strength. For additional balance exercises visit go4life.nia.nih. gov, a resource created by the National Institute on Aging that offers free booklets and a DVD that provides illustrated examples of many appropriate exercises. You can order your free copies online or by calling 800-222-2225. Some other exercises that can help improve your balance and flexibility is through tai chi and yoga. To locate a beginner’s class in your area that teaches either of these disciplines, call your local senior center, health Savvy Senior continued on page 10

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ADRC

Medicare premiums will remain unchanged By Cathy Ley Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell has announced that next year’s standard Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will remain the same as the last two years. Medicare Part B covers physicians’ services, outpatient hospital services, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other items. For the approximately 49 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part B, premiums and deductibles will remain unchanged in 2015 at $104.90 and $147 respectively. This leaves more of seniors’ cost of living adjustment from Social Security in their pockets. Open enrollment into Medicare Part D prescription plans began Oct. 15 and will run through Dec. 7. It is im-

portant for those enrolled in Part D to review their plans annually as monthly premiums change, co-payments change, and sometimes drugs are dropped from a formulary. You can enroll into Medicare Part D through the Medicare website. This site allows you to enter your medications and compare Medicare Part D plans and costs. That Internet address is www. medicare.gov. The ADRC has a number of trained specialists who can be seen by appointment at the ADRC office. Please call the ADRC at (920) 683-4180 or 1-877-416-7083 to schedule an appointment.

The purpose of the committee is to develop, guide, and oversee initiatives in the following categories: • Awareness and education at the public level • Support and education to persons with a diagnosis, their families, and caregivers • Dementia friendly transportation • Provision of health services and supportive services • Educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities

Dementia committee

• Public safety/emergency placement

The ADRC of the Lakeshore’s Dementia Care Program, as part of the State of Wisconsin’s Dementia Care System Redesign, has formed a planning committee to work on implementing strategies for creating a more dementia friendly community in Manitowoc County. This committee will assess, plan, create and promote various components for building a more dementia friendly community with direction and oversight from the ADRC.

• Civic engagement/volunteer opportunities • Employment/workforce education and awareness • Dementia friendly community/business interactions and services We welcome more committee members. If you would like to join us to share your expertise and input on potential program components and deciding what activities to include, or if you have questions about this initiative, please call Kim Jacquart-Franzen, dementia care specialist at (920) 683-4180.

Stepping On The ADRC of the Lakeshore, along with the Manitowoc County Health Department, will be offering a “Stepping On” program beginning on Nov. 5. This is a seven- week falls prevention program being held at the Two Rivers Senior Center from 1 to 3 p.m. It is highly recommended that you attend all sessions, as each builds on previous skills acquired. Stepping On is a fun and interactive, evidenced-based falls prevention program aimed at educating participants and building confidence in order to reduce and/or eliminate falls. It focuses on how strength and balancing exercises, medication management, home and community safety, footwear, vision and mobility are important in preventing falls. Stepping On is led by a health professional and a lay leader. Local guest experts also assist by providing information on exercise, vision, safety and

medications, such as a physical or occupational therapist, low vision specialist, pharmacist, and community safety specialist. It is estimated that one in three people aged 65 and older fall at least once per year. Many of these falls result in broken bones and other types of disabilities, hospitalizations, and in some cases, even death. Wisconsin ranks second for falls among older adults. Many falls can be prevented and this educational program can help. For more information, or to register, please call Lynn Scheinoha at (920) 6834180.

Scam calls Wisconsin small businesses are receiving intimidating calls about overdue bills from scammers claiming to be with the local utility. The scammers threaten the business with a cancellation of services unless they make an immediate payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit card. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) asks Wisconsin businesses to be on the lookout for these calls and to contact their utility providers directly if they have questions about their bills or recent payments. DATCP’s consumer hotline has fielded a number of recent inquiries about these calls from businesses throughout the state – mainly in the southeast region and the Stevens Point area. In some cases, scammers may spoof the caller ID data that appears on the businesses’ phones, causing the readouts to display the name and phone number of the local utility company. Callers may also use fake employee ID codes and may have researched the addresses and contact names for the businesses they target. Utility scams also target consumers, so consumers should also be aware that this scam is underway and be on the lookout for similar calls. For more information or to file a complaint, visit the consumer protection bureau at http://datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an email to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the consumer information hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128. Cathy Ley is director of the Aging & Disability Resource Center of the Lakeshore.

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‘Snowbirds’ fly south for the winter

Linda Dufek packs clothes in anticipation of heading south for Gulf Shores, Ala. Roger Dufek prepares his fishing rods for the trip to the Gulf Shores area of Alabama. Sue Pischke/HTR Media

Manitowoc couple among those who head for warmer climates By Joni Shavlik 50 Plus Correspondent

The air is brisk, the trees have put on a gaudy display of crimson and gold, and while many of us are bracing for yet another frigid Wisconsin winter, Roger and Linda Dufek are packing their things for Gulf Shores, Ala. Roger, 65, has been planning for their future for the 42 years that he worked at Manitowoc Cranes. “I had 15 percent of my money put away every week,” he said. He chose a safe and steady mutual fund for his money to grow over the years. “We don’t live a high lifestyle,” Linda Dufek said. “We don’t have a fancy house, it’s small, and we don’t have any kids,” adding the couple has lived within their means and are able to enjoy their time down south in winter. Roger had always thought about “snowbirding,” as he knew several other people that really liked getting out of the cold for a few months. He just didn’t know if his wife would want to leave all of her family in Wisconsin. Last year was their first extended stay of three months.

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“Even though it was a cool winter for and the Dufeks have taken advantage of Gulf Shores, it was still 30 degrees Fox Hills Resort time share opportunities. They always use two weeks in Nowarmer than Wisconsin” Roger said. The couple is very active in volunteer- vember to go to Branson, Mo., for veting at the local AMVETS post. Roger eran’s week, and they get to Nashville served in the Army in Vietnam in 1969 for a week as well. They get a condo two and 1970, with an infantry division. to three times a year and go to Fox Hills. They expanded their options by visiting Gulf Shores with friends Al and Shirley Umnus, from Atlanta. The Umnuses have been visiting Gulf Shores, and Linda, 63, worked as a community ser- renting a two-bedroom condo (not on vice coordinator for Manitowoc County, the water) for $500 a month for 21 years. putting incarcerated individuals to work On that initial visit, the Dufeks had while serving their sentences. She too never intended to stay in Gulf Shores enjoys being active, is a “people person” for an extended period. However, they and the number of activities available for went back a month later and did stay for them at their winter retreat is as much of a month. They loved it so much that in 2013 they stayed for three months and a lure as the balmy temperatures. are planning another three-month stay Options this winter. They’ve tried other vacation styles in the past. Keeping with their “not-too- Cheaper to rent flashy” lifestyle, the couple purchased a Will Casey, certified financial planner used motor home – with cash. Roger’s and owner of Access Investment Adviphilosophy is, “if you can’t pay for it in sors in Manitowoc, is a fan of renting. cash, don’t buy it!” “There’s been a glut of overbuilding in They’ve enjoyed traveling for many military reunions, and were happy to find an AMVETS post in Gulf Shores where they could volunteer.

They enjoyed the motor home. “It was nice for short trips” says Linda, but they got sick of it and it was needing work to the point where it would be too costly to put more money into the vehicle.

the south, and great places can be rented inexpensively,” he said. “Renting means you are not tied down, you can try different locations for a few years before buying.”

Time share is another option for travel, Renting is an excellent way to go if you

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don’t want the responsibility of property taxes and upkeep, he added. Some of his clients with dual home ownership can choose the state to call “home.” Most states require that you stay in the state for a minimum of six months and one day in order to claim that state’s income tax rate, and smartly choose residency in the state with the lower rate. Casey suggests checking with each state to find out their residency requirements, which can vary from state to state. Casey also likes “time shares” for their versatility, as points can be redeemed all over the world for those with a bit of wanderlust.

On the water The Dufeks found a three-bedroom, two-bath condo on the water for $1,500 per month. Some other units on the water commonly run $900 per month. It depends on the season. Spring breakers will fill the beaches, but because of demand, they will be paying more per week than the folks visiting January through March. Linda isn’t interested in purchasing property even though she loves the location. “If I was a bizzillionaire I wouldn’t buy one,” she said. “They cost $200,000 to


Linda and Roger Dufek pose for a photo with Linda’s sister, Cindy Treml at the Dufek’s rental property in South Shores, Ala. Submitted

$1.5 million, and then there’s maintenance, and hurricane insurance! We rent, we don’t have to bring anything except our clothes, and everything is included!”

munities. They and found the traffic of Fort Myers, Fla., “horrendous” and the temperatures in Mc Allen, Texas, too warm, along with a higher crime rate that made them uncomfortable.

After doing some research, the Dufeks realized the advantages of renting from an agency. “They will move you if the power goes out, bring you a new TV set if yours fails. They really cater to the snowbirds!” Property owners don’t always have that kind of service.

At Gulf Shores, “everything is flat,” Linda said. “You can walk for miles; everyone is between 60 and 80 years of age and the town caters to them.”

Some other options are to rent a site at Gulf Shores Park by Lake Shelby. Getting a campsite is cheap, or you can rent a cabin on stilts. Linda states, “there’s a luxury motorhome park there that looks like a palace to drive by!” Linda said their rental agency provides perks and there is a calendar of event with numerous daily activities.

Q-Tips “We are called Q-Tips down there,” Linda said. “We have white hair and white shoes! And the whole town seems to be all Q-Tips except for the people that work there!” She said there are “incredible” places to eat, including a $10 prime rib night and amazing fresh fish varieties. “There’s always some place to play bingo, bike trails everywhere, music, plays, art festivals, craft fairs, the historical society, and of course the beach,” she said. The town’s motto is “A small town with a big beach.” If they don’t feel like going out, they can sit on the beach and watch the dolphins splash in front of them. They’ve visited other snow-birding com-

Upon arriving, the Dufeks were invited to a “Wisconsin Club” meeting where all those visiting from Wisconsin gathered. The club is big on volunteering, and joining something like this right away helped them to learn the great places to visit, where to eat, and how to shop less expensively in nearby Pensacola, where the taxes are far less than the 10 percent in Gulf Shores. They found the Flora-bama restaurant through friends. Linda explains: “You can go there on Sundays for a church service and enjoy a Bloody Mary from the bar while sitting on the water. It’s so busy on Sundays that they need the police to direct traffic.” “We plan to continue our trips to Gulf Shores as long as we possibly can,” states Linda. They love and miss their family when they are down south. Their home in Wisconsin is looked after, as their niece stays there when they are gone. Family members needing a bit extra help are always on their minds. Some family plan to visit the Dufeks in Alabama, and they will have the fun of sharing their home away from home with their visitors, taking them to visit all of their favorite places all over again.

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Crossword: THE SIXTIES

sudoku 48. *Like the 1960s to “The Four Seasons” 50. Black tropical American cuckoo 52. Grandmother in Britain 53. Not as much 55. Pigeon sound 57. *Woodstock to NYC 61. *It intersects Ashbury 64. *Flower _____ 65. Exist 67. *Steve McQueen in “The _____ Escape” 69. A bootlicker 70. Summer chore 71. Approaches 72. Crumbs or scraps 73. Hankering 74. To impede or bar

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ACROSS

1. British elevators 6. Mischief-maker 9. *”One ____ Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” 13. Licorice-like flavor 14. Crew tool 15. Canines, e.g. 16. *Sinatra was Danny ____ in 1960’s “Ocean’s 11” 17. Also

18. Musical show 19. *Home to 32 newlyindependent countries in Sixties 21. *Where the music invasion came from 23. Sense of humor, in text 24. Look for 25. Cartographer’s creation 28. Royal Indian

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30. Like Black Mamba’s bite 35. Deserter 37. Cry weakly 39. *Twiggy didn’t tip it 40. Gardening tool 41. Like a snicker 43. Prayer leader in a mosque 44. Groups of workers 46. At any time 47. Capitol feature

1. Indochinese language 2. Ancient Peruvian 3. Medieval domain 4. Ivan and Nicholas, e.g. 5. Junior’s predecessor 6. I, to a Greek 7. *First name of mastermind behind the Great Leap Forward 8. Exploratory spacecraft 9. *Many ran bare in the mud at Woodstock 10. Bulgarian money 11. Small ornamental case 12. At what time? 15. Kids ride, pl. 20. Leg protectors

Fill in the blank squares in the grid, making sure that every row, column and 3-by-3 box includes all digits 1 through 9. Crossword and Sudoku solutions on page 10. 22. *1966 hit, “___ Rubber Ball” 24. Drool, pl. 25. *King’s _____ on Washington 26. Cognizant 27. Hokey-_____ 29. *Johnny’s “Jackson” partner 31. *Like some rock by Grateful Dead or Jimi Hendrix 32. Bourne’s portrayer 33. Andean animal 34. Arab country 36. Obscene 38. Genesis garden 42. “Fear of Flying” author _____ Jong

45. Wages that aren’t hourly 49. Up to the present time 51. Well-groomed 54. Morally degraded 56. Shrek and Fiona, e.g. 57. As far as 58. Standard’s partner 59. Special law enforcement unit 60. Koppel and Turner, e.g. 61. Shaped with an ax 62. Furnace output 63. Hawaiian tuber 66. Wade’s opponent 68. Recipe amount


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SAVVY SENIOR CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3 club or wellness center, check your yellow pages or try online directory sites like americantaichi.net and yogafinder. com. If nothing is available near you, there are DVDs and videos that offer tai chi and yoga instructions and routines for seniors that you can do at home. Some good resources for finding them are amazon. com, collagevideo.com and iefit.com, or check with your local public library.

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Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior� book.

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Choose Medicare Part D plan wisely health By Marv Moore The autumn season brings beautiful colors to our lakeshore, throngs of migrating geese and ducks that fill the sky, and patches full of big orange pumpkins ready for picking. Unfortunately, along with the good comes some bad - in what’s becoming a yearly tradition for many - the daunting task of choosing next year’s Medicare Part D plan. My purpose here is to provide a few pointers that should help in finding a plan that’s best for you.

Consider the entire annual cost of each plan. One should consider the monthly premium as well as the deductible amount and the copay structure. Don’t fall into the trap of picking a plan based solely on its monthly premium.

If you are Internet-savvy, go to the medicare.gov website and click on “Find Health and Drug Plans.” From here you can enter your current list of medications, choose a pharmacy, and compare the different plans that are available. Be care-

Consider whether a plan will allow you to use the pharmacy of your choice. Some plans, but not all, have restricted networks – meaning you may pay different prices at different pharmacies. And some will penalize you for using a local community

ful when entering your medication list though. Picking the wrong dose or dose form (tablet vs. capsule) can sometimes skew the information that is provided.

pharmacy instead of their own outyour medications was left off the list or that your current pharmacy of-state mail order facility. So if you of choice is non-preferred. Consider value the relationship you have with asking your pharmayour local pharmacist for help in wading cist choose a plan through the massive that will allow that On the surface a amount of information to continue. plan may look like that’s out there. Review the fora good one until Seniors in Wisconsin mulary of each you realize one of have another choice – Seplan to make sure your medications niorCare. For someone that you will be was left off the taking a small number able to continue list or that your of low-cost medications with your current current pharmacy this could be a good opmedication regiof choice is nontion. There is no monthmen. Each Part D preferred. ly premium with Seniorplan has a different Care and no restriction formulary, which on which pharmacy you means you have to can use. So don’t forget about that opresearch whether a particular drug tion as well. is covered, and if covered, what tier it falls under. The tier is important Lastly you can take comfort in knowbecause the higher-tier drugs typiing that if you’re not happy with a plan cally have higher copays associated that you’ve chosen, you haven’t made with them. a lifelong commitment. Just like the leaves changing colors, the opportunity Ask for help but be wary. Some to choose a Medicare Part D plan will sources of information may not be part of next fall’s tradition as well. have your best interest in mind, or may not consider the big picture. Marv Moore, PharmD, is a pharmacist and On the surface a plan may look like the owner of The Medicine Shoppe in Two Rivers. He can be reached at (920) 794-1225. a good one until you realize one of

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