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Choose love





Residential Plaza's Olympic Games were a total success with two weeks of fun and friendly competition. Enjoy some of our best moments!

Residential Plaza’s COVID-19 Considerations As we gain some normalcy, we recognize that COVID-19 remains a very harsh illness, and because unvaccinated residents, staff, and visitors remain vulnerable, mitigation measures will continue as contemplated in our current visitation guidelines, which also ponder the most recent CDC recommendations for assisted living facilities. We encourage all residents and family members to familiarize themselves with the current visitation guidelines, which can be found on our webpage ( The visitation guidelines enable us to follow best practices for visitation, infection prevention, and the screening and triage of everyone entering our community for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Please note: We are adhering to The Core Principles of COVID-19 Infection Prevention to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Visitation slots will be assigned by appointment ONLY. Except for the visits for residents in an end-of-life situation. To make an appointment go to our web page (, go to the Visitation Appointment App and follow the prompts. We currently have available appointments in the morning (8:00 AM to 12:00 PM) and appointments available in the afternoon (2:00 PM to 8:00 PM). When making an appointment, the slots assigned to the morning visits will enable the visits from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM regardless of the time. And the afternoon slots will allow visits from 2:00 PM to 8:00 PM. All residents can leave the facility as they wish with no restrictions. If a resident stays overnight at a family member's home or elsewhere, we ask you to coordinate your arrival between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM to allow the healthcare staff to perform a rapid COVID-19 test. Residential Plaza will perform a rapid COVID-19 test to staff and residents randomly, or in case someone is showing symptoms or is at risk by contact.

If you have any questions or concerns, send an email to

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September 2021



in every issue 6








Marking great days ahead



Social gaming: something for everyone

feature 34



Thomas McClary talks about life’s highs and lows





Explore the pristine trails of Florida's state parks



Learn more about your Medicare options with these easily accessible resources

finance 28


Zippy Sandler shares her take on retirement




Ideas to start unlocking your unique purpose in life

heal 14


Cook like a Floridian

caregiving 18


Lesley Stahl shares all there is to love about being a grandparent

defy 24


The Ansel Adams of our time shares his love for photography despite adversity



Dr. Loretta “Lee” Ford

YOURTAKE How do you make friends as an adult?

"Volunteer. You will feel good for helping others, meet other volunteers and those who you are helping. In addition, your problems might not seem so bad when you see what others are having to deal with in their lives."

"ANY PLACE YOU WANT! At your home with your neighbors. At the store. At church. At the farmer's market. At your community center. At a volunteer event. Be friendly & smile, it will draw people to you!"

—Toby C.

—Vicki G.

"Look for ways to help or show kindness to people you don’t know."

“Same way you did as a kid: be nice, share, invite, help, be yourself!”

—Tori L.

—Janice W.

"I talk to everyone who wants to pet my dog during our walks. I’ve met quite a few people through our pets."

"I learned to play bridge and I joined a senior singles group. Met many good friends at the senior center playing cards."

—Barbara G.


—Sandra C.

"Join a class or go to a fitness center. Be friendly!"

"Making music with others is the best of connections! Music is the universal language. Find others with similar interests and show up."

—Cynthia E.

—Mershell S.

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What does aging look like to you? Close your eyes and imagine someone who is 60, 70, 80, 90 or even in their 100s. Are they still vibrant, active, creatively engaged and passionate about the days ahead? If not, it’s time to change the way you think about aging. What the mind believes, the body will follow. In this issue of the “Growing Bolder Digital Digest,” we’re excited for you to meet some examples of active aging in action. Bill Shafer catches up with Thomas McClary, founder of the legendary band, the Commodores. This is not just another story about a former rock star. At 71, McClary knows all about life’s highs and lows, and he is an example of how to face adversity, maintain character, and live with compassion.   Speaking of rock stars, we love showcasing those we call the Rock Stars of Aging®, the men and women who are redefining what it means to be an elder. We can’t wait for you to meet healthcare trailblazer Dr. Loretta Ford. At 100 years old, she continues to shepherd the profession she co-founded, taking to Zoom during the pandemic to encourage nurse practitioners worldwide during perhaps the most tested time of the profession. And what am I doing to challenge my own beliefs in aging? The Growing Bolder team challenged Shafer and me to participate in a social video game on a Nintendo Switch. The results? Check out our recap on page 12 to see why you may just find me in the next online gaming tournament (after a bit more practice!). Game on!

It's time to imagine more when it comes to aging.

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mihailomilovanovic via GettyImages

A grandparent has silver in their hair and gold in their heart.


Tim Gunn 68 Bill Shafer

Any fashion designer will tell you how important it is to be comfortable in your own clothes. But fashion icon Tim Gunn believes it is even more important to be comfortable in your own skin, especially as we grow older. “How you dress should reflect who you are,” said Gunn, the 68-year-old producer of TV hits “Project Runway” and “Making the Cut.” “But the fashion industry is so youthobsessed that it can easily leave you confused as to what you should wear and how you should present yourself.” Gunn suggests choosing styles that make you feel confident. “Know who you are,” he said, “and feel proud to present that individual.” In addition to his TV work, Gunn has been a driving force in the fashion industry for two decades. Prior to stepping in front of the cameras, Gunn was an instructor at the Parsons School of Design and was chief creative officer at Liz Claiborne. He assumed that is where his career path would remain. “Who knew that at the age of 50 I would receive a blind phone call from the producers of ‘Project Runway?’” he

said. “You never know where life is going to take you, so never say, 'I’m too old.'” Gunn never dreamed his high-profile TV career would lead to being named one of People magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive. Nor could he have imagined being turned into a superhero fighting crimes of fashion by Marvel comics. Add to that, he won an Emmy award for ‘Project Runway.’ “People assume I’ve always led a charmed life,” he told Growing Bolder. “But it has mostly been in my 50s and 60s. Even if I could, I would not turn back the clock. With each day on this planet, I have more experience, I’m a little wiser — I hope — and I feel more confident in navigating the world.” After all his years as an educator, and now as a mentor, he feels he has much to teach the rest of us — not just about fashion but also about living a good life. “It sounds so cliché, but it is so important: Practice the Golden Rule of doing unto others,” he said. “Even when you’re frustrated, angry or afraid, take the high road. It is so easy to lash out, to fight; but the only one who gets hurt is you. We are all in this together. Life is not an individual act; life is a collaboration. Treat each other with kindness and sincerity.”

John Lamparski / Stringer via Getty Images



“We all need friends to encourage us and a real purpose to motivate us.”

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Ordinary People Living Extraordinary Lives ®

Bill Shafer


What will you be like when you turn 70? Katherine Shortlidge celebrated her 70th birthday with a vigorous, 45-minute bootcamp workout, the same one she does four days a week. She also swims, bikes, and runs triathlons. And twice a week she does what she loves most: practicing with the Calendar Girls Dance Team. “Exercise, workouts and fitness training are great; but there needs to be more, especially as we get older,” Shortlidge said. “We all need friends to encourage us and a real purpose to motivate us.” Does that sound familiar? Having a sense of purpose is an essential, yet sometimes elusive, element of a fulfilling life.

Become Stars Shortlidge thought that if she could put together a group of women, over the age of 50, and if they could learn dance routines and make their performances hip, energetic and sexy, they could attract enough attention to help smash the stereotypes of aging. She named the group, “Calendar Girls.” The dance team’s first big break came when they were chosen to perform during NBA Development League games for the Fort Myers franchise. “Here were these women, most over age 60, who had never been on a team, had never performed, and had never had the chance to be in the spotlight before,” Shortlidge said. “And the most amazing transformations began to take place. The glamour, recognition, and comradery started bringing out the best in us all." When the development league folded, the Calendar Girls did not. Shortlidge worked to find other bookings. They became community fixtures at fundraising events, delighting audiences wherever they performed. “We've danced at retirement communities, assistedliving centers, country clubs, and even biker rallies,”

Shortlidge said. “And we’re proud to say we’ve raised enough funds to provide over 25 dogs to disabled U.S. veterans through Southeastern Guide Dogs. And all along the way, we are showing examples of positive aging, fitness, and community service. That’s what we’re all about.” While they danced their way into the hearts of the community, the 30-member squad had tons of fun. They are known for their extravagant costumes, which have included showgirls, hippies, Hawaiian princesses, zombies and Marilyn Monroe lookalikes.

Fountain of Youth® “We are all different shapes, sizes and abilities, yet people think we’re much younger than we are,” said CJ Johnson, 65. “We’ve discovered that the fountain of youth is filled with attitude, energy and confidence.” Donna Allio, 61, said, “Age doesn’t matter. What defines us is how we feel, what we do for our community, how we give back. The Calendar Girls isn’t just a dance squad, it is a sisterhood where we believe in making a difference, and we believe in each other.” And as for the birthday girl, Shortlidge said, “So, yes, I’m turning 70, and I love it. I feel good. I have great friends, and I have a purpose. Who knew life at this age could be so great?” G R O W I N G B O L D E R / S E P T E M B E R D I G I TA L D I G E S T 2 1


TRANSLATING TECH Social Gaming: Something For Everyone  Tim Killian 


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Video games and board games are excellent activities to strengthen relationships and minimize social isolation. Gaming together provides a reason for having conversation and creates a common ground to which people of all ages can relate. There is so much variety in the world of social gaming that there is something out there for everyone — you just need to find the right game that fits your passions.

If you’ve ever said, “Gaming isn’t for me,” you’re missing out on hours of opportunities to strengthen your existing relationships, talk with loved ones, and form new friendships. There are games that are specifically designed for social interaction. These often offer easy controls to encourage people of all skill levels to play together. So, whether it’s on your computer, on a gaming console, or on your phone, there are games out there for everyone. Growing Bolder co-hosts Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer recently demonstrated the fun and social benefits of gaming when they connected virtually with a New Yorkbased livestreamer and tabletop game designer named Mike Lavoie, who goes by MeatSim9 on Twitch, the No. 1 streaming website. The trio discussed how playing a game together can strengthen our bonds. “It gives you something to converse about,” Lavoie said. “It gives you a context for having a conversation that probably goes off the rails, and you talk about lots of other things, too. But it helps just give you that commonality very quickly of, ‘We’re going through this experience together,’ so we’ve established this baseline, and now we can go off on all sorts of tangents.” For a livestreamer such as Lavoie, who has made countless friendships through gaming, it is worth the time to find the right game to suit one’s passions. “Nintendo is something I grew up with,” Lavoie said. “My older brothers had the original Nintendo console, and it was something that we always did together growing up, playing different video games. [With] the amount of games in the Nintendo library, there’s just something for everyone. I think that’s one of the big things that people think about games: ‘Oh, video games aren’t for me; board games aren’t for me.’ “There’s something for everyone,” Lavoie explained. “There’s just so many of them that it’s just a matter of

finding out which one is for you. Games have given me so much my whole life, like different friendships, people I would’ve never met if they weren’t also interested in games.” While live on Twitch, the Growing Bolder team and Lavoie played “Overcooked 2,” a cooperative game on the Nintendo Switch where all players work together as shortorder cooks trying to prepare meals in a chaotic kitchen. While laughing at one of his mistakes in the game, Shafer asked a question that many people may struggle with when it comes to getting started in gaming. “Mike, was it frustrating for you to play with us?” Shafer said. “Not at all,” Lavoie responded. “Honestly, it’s really fun playing with people experiencing a game for the first time because I get enjoyment out of seeing you improve. Everyone starts somewhere.” Lavoie said, “The first time I played this game, someone else told me, ‘Hey, this game’s really fun,’ and I’m like, ‘What the heck? I’m supposed to do the dishes and cut the lettuce? I don’t know what’s going on.’” But it isn’t long before attitudes change, Lavoie said. “Over time, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh this is so fun!,’ he said. “And getting to see other people improve is part of the fun.” Gaming is for everyone. No matter what your skill level is, or your age, anyone can game. The Growing Bolder team showed this firsthand when they learned a new game together, having a blast in a virtual kitchen alongside a new friend. “Low socialization is more harmful to our health than smoking, alcoholism or obesity. Research has proven that,” said Middleton, the CEO and founder of Growing Bolder. “But here we are, four guys hanging out and having a good time. You know, I laughed more in the last 5 minutes than I have in the last 5 days, so thank you for that!”

WATCH THE REPLAY Click here to watch the entire interview and see the Growing Bolder team demonstrate social gaming on the Nintendo Switch.

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Jackie Carlin


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Euphoria Fish House is the signature restaurant at the new Margaritaville Resort Orlando. The restaurant takes its name from Jimmy Buffett’s beloved yacht and features a celebration of the best seafood and more Florida has to offer. Head chef Joseph McFadden, a native of Ireland, brings his passion for fish and local offerings to the menu, adding a special flair to the Sunshine State’s celebrated seafood scene.

Euphoria Fish House is open to guests and visitors alike. Learn more at

Photography by Jacob Langston / Illustration: axel2001 via Getty Images

Florida’s waters are teeming with seafood. From Key West pink shrimp to the state's beloved blue and stone crabs, the state is famous for its fresh-caught, delicious seafood. Perhaps no fish is more beloved, though, than grouper. Did you know Florida harvests more than 85 percent of the nation’s grouper, with more than 75 percent of that haul coming from Pinellas County on Florida’s west coast? Most restaurants around the Sunshine State claim to feature the state’s best grouper sandwich, but there are so many other ways to enjoy this mild-tasting yet versatile fish. At the Euphoria Fish House at the Margaritaville Resort Orlando, Chef Joseph McFadden enjoys finding new ways to put his on flair on Florida’s abundant fresh catches. And his recipe for grouper is no exception. When you’re picking out fish for your own home feast, look for fresh fillets that are firm, translucent-looking with no discoloration, advises the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This recipe calls for a pan sear of the grouper, but it also lends itself well to grilling, baking, poaching and steaming. It does cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook it. The fish is done when the flesh become opaque and can be flaked easily with a fork. In this recipe, Chef McFadden places the grouper fillets atop a bed of crab rice and drizzles the dish with soy glaze. It’s an easy-to-make meal, sure to impress your guests. True Florida living!

Florida Grouper 7 ounce serving per person


Preheat broiler. Melt some butter in an oven-safe pan and add grouper. Pan sear grouper 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the thickness. Fillets less than a ½ inch thick do not need to be turned during cooking. Once the fish’s edges are slightly browned, transfer the pan to the broiler to crisp the edges, watching carefully to avoid overcooking. Once finished, plate the crab fried rice (see below) with grouper on top. Garnish soy glaze around edges of rice with lemon and orange zest and chopped parsley on top of fish.

Crab Fried Rice

Soy Ginger Glaze



4 ounces cooked brown rice 2 ounces shredded blue crab 1 knob (about 2-3 tablespoons) of butter ½ oz. green onions diced 1.5 teaspoon minced garlic and shallots

4 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons ginger, minced ½ teaspoon red pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce ⅓ cup honey



Melt the butter in a pan, then add garlic, shallots, onions and cook until brown. Add the crab and toss with salt and pepper. Combine with brown rice and sauté until thoroughly heated.

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Never let anyone dull your sparkle.

Cheryl Gillis, 55




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Photography by Mike Dunn for Growing Bolder


Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program If you are living in a Central Florida household with at least one resident who is age 60 or older, you may be eligible for energy bill assistance. The Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program (EHEAP), a 100% federally funded program, helps eligible seniors pay energy bills in an emergency. Through September 30, EHEAP-eligible households can receive up to $5,000 of assistance with multiple energy bills while funds are available.

What Is Included? Utility categories eligible for heating/cooling bill assistance include electricity, natural gas, propane, wood/coal and refillable fuels. Benefits may also be used for:

• Pre-paying energy bills • Purchasing blankets, portable fans, space • • • • • •

heaters and window air conditioners Repairing existing heating/cooling unit Deposits to connect or restore energy Late fees and disconnect/reconnect fees Charges from a now-closed account previously held by the elder resident Payment to landlord when utility costs are included in rent Temporary emergency shelter due to an energy-related crisis

How Do You Qualify? • Applicants must be age 60 or older and reside in a home located in one of the following counties: Orange, Seminole, Osceola or Brevard. • Energy bill does not need to be in the elder’s name, but the elder will need to provide proof of residence, such as a driver’s license or other identification. • Applicants age 60 or older with at least one household member who is receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Social Security (SSI) and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) must provide proof of additional benefits, such as an award letter, in addition to documentation of total household income. • The applicant must be experiencing a home energy crisis (disconnected, delinquent or past due).

How Can You Apply? • Orange and Osceola County residents: Call Osceola Council on Aging at (407) 846-8532. • Seminole County residents: Call Meals on Wheels, Etc., at (407) 333-8877. • Brevard County residents: Call the Brevard Alzheimer’s Foundation at (321) 253-4430.

/ S E P T and GR O WDepartment I N G B O L D Eof R Health E M BHuman E R D I GServices I TA L D I (HHS). GEST 21 This program is 100 percent federally funded through a grant by the U.S.



The of Grandparenting Lesley Stahl


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There’s no question that technology is a game-changer for grandparents. I live across the country from my grandchildren, but I am still in their lives in a very visual way. Little kids have trouble communicating over the phone, but with new video technologies like FaceTime and Skype, you can hold face-to-face connections. And, if your own kids are patient enough, they can turn their phones or computers around and let you watch the grandkids playing. As they’ve done with so many things, Baby Boomers are reinventing grandparenthood. We’re relatively young grandparents, and we’re a little more involved with taking care of the grandkids. We do more active things, like take the kids to the park. It’s funny; I used to hate doing that with my own kids, but for some reason, I don’t mind at all with my grandkids! Our generation is also spending much more money on grandchildren. In fact, we spend seven times more today than grandparents of just 10 years ago spent. And we’re not just buying toys and clothes. Many grandparents are picking up big-ticket items, including things like the crib, car seats, medical bills, education, braces and so much more. People say all the time that it’s the best thing in the world to be a grandparent. But you can’t fully understand the depths of those feelings until it happens to you. For the vast majority of us, we’re fundamentally transformed in the best possible ways.

Lesley Stahl is one of America’s most respected broadcast journalists. Her work on 60 Minutes has been honored with 11 Emmy Awards. Stahl was the CBS White House correspondent during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush and moderator of Face the Nation for nearly a decade. She’s the author of two books including here most recent Becoming Grandma in which she chronicles the joy of grandparenting.

Photography by Dave Lauridsen

I don’t just like being a grandparent; as my granddaughter would say, I love it. After thinking those days were over, I have fallen madly in love with my granddaughters. And I’m not alone. For my book, Becoming Grandma, I interviewed grandparents around the world, and discovered that we all fall deeply, emotionally, joyously, helplessly in love. Because these feelings are so universal, I suspected something deep within us, perhaps something biochemical, happens when we become grandparents. My hunch was right. I discovered that when we hold our grandchildren, we start secreting what experts call a bonding hormone, which rewires our brains. And strangely — and amusingly — one of the things that happens is our ability to say the word “no” is disabled! In the process, we all, automatically, turn into these indulgent mushballs. We may have been strict parents, but boy, we’re such pushovers with these grandkids. Amongst ourselves, all grandparents joke, “What happened to us?” These feelings aren’t exclusive to biological grandparents. If step-grandparents or surrogate grandparents are in the picture when the grandchild is born, they feel the exact same connection and feelings of falling of love as the rest of us. The title of my book may say “Grandma,” but I also know many grandfathers, including my husband, who experience these same feelings of love and devotion. Sadly, not every grandparent gets to experience these relationships. During my interviews for the book, I heard heart-breaking stories of the many grandparents who never see their grandchildren — because they’re not allowed to, or their visits are rationed. It hurt me to hear these stories. Thankfully, for the vast majority of us, we’re so transformed by these kids that there’s a huge trend going on. After retiring, more and more people are picking up, selling the homes they’ve lived in for decades and moving to wherever their grandchildren are so that they can be in their lives.
















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Happiness is your nature. It is not wrong to desire it. What is wrong is seeking it outside when it is inside.




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Westend61 via GettyImages

– Ramana Maharshi

Watch inspirational stories any time of day or night. Search for Growing Bolder in the app store and download today.

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h g u o r h T

s e n th L e

of Clyde Butcher

Some call Clyde Butcher the Ansel Adams of our time due to his breathtaking photographs of the Florida Everglades. At 79, and dealing with the aftermath of strokes, Butcher is undeterred from his obsession capturing this natural treasure in photographs.

Photography by Mike Dunn for Growing Bolder

Photography by Mike Dunn / Story by Bill Shafer

Clyde Butcher never expected that one day he would be considered the foremost landscape photographer in America today. But when fate combined with opportunity, he stepped up to the challenge. “When you find a door that swings open for you, you should go through it,” he said. “If it’s a door that leads you towards making a difference in the world, step through that door and just keep going as far as you can.” For a time, Butcher wasn’t quite sure where his life would lead. Landscape photography wasn’t much of a profession; it was considered more of a craft than art. Ansel Adams

helped change that with breathtaking photographs of mountain ranges, valleys, meadows and rivers across the country. But Butcher was in Florida where he struggled to find much that inspired him. “It took me four years to begin to really see what was around me,” he explained. “I learned you’ve got to get out of the car and actually get in the water. You’ve got to play with the gators and snakes and become one with the scene, and not many people are willing to do that.” Butcher became obsessed with the Florida Everglades. He would spend hours, day after day, waist deep

in the swamp, experimenting with light and composition before understanding how to allow the beauty of the region to reveal itself. “It occurred to me that you just can’t shoot in color there,” says Butcher. “Because there’s so much green it just makes you want to throw up. So, I thought if I went back to my roots in black and white, people would be able to see the Everglades with a depth and dimension they hadn’t ever noticed.” Another change he made was in the actual size of his photographs. Butcher found that large photos allowed the viewer to be immersed by

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the image, to feel that they were part of the environment. The larger images revealed the infinite textures and the true beauty of nature. Butcher began creating super-sized images up to 5 feet high and 9 feet wide that required a larger darkroom and presented other challenges. “When I started doing these large photographs, they didn’t make any of the stuff I needed,” he said. “Processing trays, washing bins, even papers were all way too small. So, I had to go build it all myself. See, you can’t let yourself be restricted by what exists, thinking if they don’t make it then you can’t do it. We all need to realize that we are fully capable of creating progress.” Butcher began to believe that the way to transform landscape photography from a craft to an art was through passion. He became determined to create prints with a purpose. “It’s interesting because if you ask me what I am, I’ll tell you I’m a teacher,” he said. “I want to teach people to appreciate our environment. Photography is just my method for teaching that lesson.” Butcher is a strong advocate of conservation efforts and uses his work to promote awareness and responsibility to protect our natural treasures. He has used his photography

“I just don’t see why anybody would want to retire when you still get to do what you love. I hope I never have to stop.” C LY D E O N S LOW I N G D OW N


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Top: A photo taken near Clyde’s home with his digital process. Middle: Growing Bolder photographs Clyde out in the field with his digital gear. Bottom: Clyde with his wife Nikki who supports his photography studio.

to create award-winning environmental documentaries for public television, to publish numerous books of photos, and to display in museums across the country. At the age of 79, and dealing with the effects of a stroke, many wondered if it was time for Butcher to retire. He says it is simply time for him to adapt. “Last December, I got myself a cheap walker and use it to get myself up to my waist in water about 80 feet from shore,” he said. “It’s wonderful. I just don’t see why anybody would want to retire when you still get to do what you love. I hope I never have to stop.”

A find you When

door for that swings you open you should go through

_ it.


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"You shouldn’t have to worry that you can’t cover your life essentials while you’re living it." – ZIPPY SANDLER


Is an Official Personal Finance Partner of Growing Bolder

How to Bucket List... Yeah, Really Story by Zippy Sandler, Founder of Champagne Living

I am retired

A little planning goes a long way

I actually retired when I was in my 50s. It wasn’t in my plan to retire so early, but I had an accident and could no longer do my job. I had to have multiple surgeries and physical therapy, and I was so close to retirement age that finding an entirely new career wasn’t going to be easy. So, I stopped work when my husband retired, and we moved from Rhode Island to Florida — where retiring is an art form. While I loved being able to explore my new state and my shiny new home, I found myself staying home and cleaning. Which was, frankly, not how I wanted my retirement to look. I had a bucket list that I had put together for years. There were so many dreams on it that I stopped counting after the first three journals were filled with ideas of what I would do. It turned out that for me, retirement meant that I would do the things that I loved, and working was actually one of them. Inspired, I decided to start a blog, Champagne Living.

Thankfully, my brother is better with numbers than I am, so he has been my financial guru. He recently set my husband and I up with an annuity that adds income for me every month. With that and my Social Security benefit, I don’t have to worry about things like paying the mortgage and utilities, wondering what that crown is going to cost me when I call the dentist in a panic, or order pasta when I really want a steak. I have a regular income that helps pay for the essentials. And the rest, I can use to live the retirement I want.

I still had that bucket list though While I’ve loved writing, I wasn’t making any progress on my bucket list. So, my bestie Rachel and I began to travel together and talk about our adventures on our blogs and social media and on our web show. But the thing about bucket lists is that they continue to grow and change, and I realized that not only do I want to take a gondola through Venice and to bicycle along the canals in Amsterdam or through the Napa Valley, but I wanted to learn to cook. I also wanted to learn to ride that bike again after 40 years so I could bicycle through Copenhagen or along my own town’s beach. And there is so much more!

The dreams are there, but are the funds? I retired with a few dollars in my pocket and $953 a month in Social Security checks (plus Medicare). Florida is cheaper than New England, but WHO CAN LIVE ON under $1,000 a month AND do everything that they had spent their lives planning to do?

Retirement should be a time to live your best life You shouldn’t have to worry that you can’t cover your life essentials while you’re living it. That’s why I decided to protect my income with an annuity. It gives me the freedom to pursue those things that I’ve been wanting to do, knowing that my bills are going to get paid while I’m eating cacio e pepe and listening to the gondoliers sing in the canal below.

Isn’t it time to do all of those things you’ve always wanted to? If you have questions about protecting your income in retirement, the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a nonprofit that creates awareness and educates Americans about the importance of protected income in retirement, can help.

Check out for more helpful, free retirement ideas and resources.

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Lynne Mixson


G R O W I N G B O L D E R / S E P T E M B E R D I G I TA L D I G E S T 2 1

Photography by Jacob Langston

Dr. Loretta “Lee” Ford

In 1937, 16-year-old Loretta Ford was graduating from high school early, having skipped two grades. Like many young women of that era, she felt she basically had three options. “Teaching, nursing or the convent,” Ford said. Without money for college, Ford chose nursing and became a trailblazer in the field. “My preference would've been to be in college to learn to be a teacher,” she said. “I always wanted to be a teacher, and I took a very circuitous route to get there. But it was a good decision.” Ford became a nurse’s aide at 16; and then at 18, she enrolled in nursing school at Middlesex General Hospital in New Jersey. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force, Ford attended the University of Colorado on the G.I. Bill, earning her bachelor’s, master’s and eventually doctorate degree in nursing. She accomplished this while married and working full-time as a public health nurse in rural Colorado and teaching at the university. “That was quite a trick,” she said. “I didn't think anything of it at the time. I just arranged my schedule so I could do that.” In 1965, with the Vietnam War raging and Civil Rights protests spreading across the nation, rights to healthcare were being scrutinized. Physicians were criticized for the lack of care available for rural and unserved populations. At the same time, there was a need for advanced education in nursing that was more clinically focused and able to expand the role of nurses. Ford teamed up with pediatrician Henry Silver to address both concerns. Together, they created a pediatric nurse practitioner program at the University of Colorado — the first of its kind. “I was interested in what nursing could demonstrate,” she said. Silver also was interested in the care of children and felt that nurses could provide care in well-baby clinics, which would focus on growth and development, parenting, exercise and nutrition, as well as parent education. “It was all wellness-oriented,” Ford said. Ford encountered opposition to the new role from almost every side, including from educators, older nurses, and younger physicians. Legalities were questioned. The one welcoming group? Patients.

“It was not an easy time for me,” Ford recalled. “But I believed in it. I saw the changes that were occurring in nurses, and all the acceptance of the patients, and the quality of the services they provided. So, I felt we were on the right track, and I wasn't going to give it up.” Thanks to Ford’s persistence, there are now over 325,000 licensed nurse practitioners in the United States. Ford has received countless awards, including the Surgeon General’s Medallion in 2020, for “actions of exceptional achievement to the cause of public health and medicine.” “I always thought I could do what I wanted, personally,” Ford said. “I never felt held back because I was a woman. I just wouldn't accept it, I guess. But I think education was a big key to making a difference in terms of that. Also, some efforts of the rights groups to include women.” She continued, “When I read something's going on in this country, but also around the world, about the constrictions on women's basic rights, even to education, I can't imagine not being able to choose and to make that happen.” Now 100 years old, Ford continues to shepherd the profession she co-founded, taking to Zoom during the pandemic to encourage nurse practitioners worldwide during perhaps the most tested time of the profession. She keeps up with developments in the field and has a vision of where it’s headed. “I do see that one of nursing's major goals in the next century is to develop a culture of health and wellness,” she said, “because the culture, up until just fairly recently, has been very oriented toward disease and illness. The only time you can get any attention from anybody in terms of the medical community (is) you’ve got to have symptoms. You don't get ‘paid’ to stay well.” Ford also shared her thoughts about health insurance. “Most of your insurance is based on illness risks, so that there are not too many incentives,” she said. “You’ve got to build the incentives in yourself. You can't wait for others to do it. So, it seems to me that you can learn that when you're little and grow up with it. I'm all for educating children in terms of health and wellness and cultural change.” Looking back at the last century, Ford has advice for younger generations. “You can do whatever you want to do,” she said. “You know what Henry Ford said? ‘If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right.’” Ford had one last bit of advice. “Go for it. Don't have little dreams, go for the big stuff,” she said. “And it isn't always in money. It's in the satisfactions that you get from work. For mine, it's helping others and leading a good life and enjoying it. If you haven't got a sense of humor, I don't see how you can manage it all, because you got to laugh at yourself and help others laugh, too.”

"Go for it. Don't have little dreams, go for the big stuff." G R O W I N G B O L D E R / S E P T E M B E R D I G I TA L D I G E S T 2 1


Memories of your experiences are like growth rings in a tree; a record of what you’ve been through in the seasons of your life. You can no more change your past than a tree can change the history recorded within its trunk. Learn from your history, but do not live there.



Jay's Photo via GettyImages

– John Mark Green

4 ideas to start unlocking your unique purpose in life. Find your why Identifying your main reason for getting up each and every morning is an important first step in creating a life that you enjoy living. Having a purpose — or a why — can help with longevity, health and provide a sense of fulfillment.

Try The Napkin Test

Four Tips to Finding New Purpose in Retirement One in three new retirees struggle with finding purpose after leaving their job, according to a recent Edward Jones study. Without a plan for what could be 20, 30, or more years in retirement, you may find yourself feeling restless, craving something more but not knowing where to start or what that something might be.

The napkin test is a quick and simple self-awareness exercise to help you map out what you are looking for, or should be looking for, in your next chapter. To start, you make a list of your gifts, passions and values. Once you have the three columns, you see how they connect and can align to your calling. “If you approach every day with an intention to use your gifts on things you feel passionate or purposeful about in an environment that aligns with your core values, you’ve got a calling,” Leider says.

Cultivate a sounding board

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you figure out why. – R I C H A R D L E I D E R , C O - AU T H O R O F W H O D O YO U WA N T T O B E W H E N YO U G R O W O L D?

Illustration: invincible_bulldog Via Getty Images

As Leider says, “our time is the most precious investment for our life. We need to stop and reflect on our lives and what matters to us most.” Don’t let another minute go to waste. Identify what brings your life purpose and go after it.

To find out how having an annuity can give you the confidence to pursue new purpose, visit

Is an Official Personal Finance Partner of Growing Bolder

Identify a group of trusted friends and family you can turn to for advice and perspective. “You need at least one person you see all the time, someone who’s a great listener and who allows you to make your decision,” Leider says. These trusted confidantes can provide counsel and help you define your purpose.

Set yourself up for success Once you’ve discovered your passion and determined what you want to spend your retirement doing, you will want to ensure you have enough income to achieve your goals. Annuities are a great financial option for individuals looking to cover basic living expenses with protected income. They can also help secure a path toward a comfortable retirement — no matter your career, the size of your paycheck or the volatility of the stock market. Research shows retirees with annuities are happier than those without. It’s always a good idea to team up with a financial professional who understands your situation (and your purpose) and can work closely with you to help you achieve your financial goals.



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Why the Commodores  founder says

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Photography by Mike Dunn / Story by Bill Shafer

Anybody can be happy when things are going well. We can be compassionate when we are winning. We can be generous when we are wealthy. The true test is how we act when times are tough. This is not just another story about a former rock star. Thomas McClary, founder of the Commodores, is an example of how to face adversity, maintain character, and live with compassion.  

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CLASH OF THE COMMODORES If you know the name Thomas McClary, it is probably because he is the founder of the legendary funk and soul band, the Commodores. Led by McClary and Lionel Richie, the former college classmates and Grammy-winning group were on top of the charts for over a decade, from the mid-‘70s to the mid-‘80s, with such hits as “Brick House,” “Easy,” “Three Times a Lady,” and “Sail On.” The band sold over 70 million albums worldwide. But as happens with many bands, at the height of their fame, the group began to come apart. Richie became the face of the Commodores, and other members did not like it. McClary became stuck in the middle.   “I tried to compare our situation to the Rolling Stones, where Mick Jagger was the star but the whole band was a winning team; but the guys wouldn’t accept it,” McClary explained. “Suddenly, I was getting blamed for either being too proLionel or too pro-group.”  Shortly after Richie left the Commodores, McClary did, too. Not only did that surprise the music world, but it also shocked those who knew him, especially when he announced he was moving back to his hometown, Eustis, Florida.  

A LEGEND GOES HOME “My old buddies couldn’t believe it, man,” McClary said. “They thought I was nuts. I was leaving the Commodores, and I had just co-written songs for Kenny Rogers, Whitney Houston, and for the ‘Endless Love’ soundtrack, and I was giving that up to move back to Eustis?"  Leaving the Commodores was not the first time McClary chose to take a stand. In 1965, McClary was in high school during a time when racial tensions were high across the country, especially in Eustis.   "There were blacks dying mysteriously in jail, and people were burning crosses at black people’s homes, threatening them at night, and hiding their faces in the day,” McClary said. “It occurred to me that the all-white high school was much closer to my house than the all-black school so I thought, ‘Why shouldn’t I just walk there and go to school?’ And one day I decided that’s what I was going to do.”  

Thomas McClary, founder of the legendary band, the Commodores, works on his music in his home studio in Orlando, Florida. McClary says right now is the best time of his life. "At 71, I feel like I am 41. And you know what? At 71, you can still groove and that’s what I intend to do!” 

FIGHTING FOR CIVIL RIGHTS McClary became one of the first black students at his high school in the early days of integrating the Florida Public School System.   “I believed very deeply in the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jackie Robinson,” McClary said. "I was aware they had chosen the nonviolent route and that was my choice as well. I was determined to love no matter what happened to me. Well, as I walked into the school I was pelted with rocks and oranges, and someone even tried to light my sweater on fire while I had it on.”  

MOVING FORWARD WITH LOVE Surprisingly, McClary smiles as he relives that memory. To this day he shows no trace of anger, hatred or resentment, something many still question him about.  “I kept my cool back then because I believed love was the way, and I believe in love,” he explained. “Some of my best friends are white, some of my worst enemies are black. It is not about the color of your skin but the character in your heart, and only with love do we keep the door open to moving forward together.”   McClary believes that giving in to anger and rage distracts from your message and pushes you farther away from resolving the source of your anger.  “We get so caught up in words we forget the real purpose of our movement,” McClary said. “You have to keep asking yourself, ‘How can I make a difference? How can I improve my immediate environment? How can I change other people’s minds?’” 

Photography by Mike Dunn for Growing Bolder

BETRAYED BY THE BAND McClary was forced to lean upon his philosophy in 2016 when current members of the Commodores sued to stop him from using the band’s name.   “Man, after 30 years of trying to bring the Commodores back together, I said, ‘You know what? I'm just gonna do some dates, and maybe they'll come along.’” McClary recalled. “And the next thing I knew, they hit me with a lawsuit. It was the most devastating period of my life to have my brothers, who I literally hand-picked to be in the group, say to me, “You know what? We’re going to put the law on you and ban you from even being a part of something that you created.’”  McClary was crestfallen but not defeated. Instead of resenting the Commodores, he continues to reach out to them, hoping one day that they can reunite and perform again.  

“I'm still in denial, I guess,” he said. “I just can't believe that after all we've gone through that they could be so tunnel-visioned about putting themselves ahead of the group. Maybe I'll wake up one day; but right now, I still have dreams and aspirations of reuniting with the guys.” 

THE BEST TIME OF MY LIFE In the meantime, McClary put together a band featuring his adult children, and the reviews have been encouraging.   “You know when you have that sense that you're right on the verge of just something huge?” he said. “That's where I am right now. I’m so excited, I believe the best time of my life is right now."  Faith in God is a big part of what keeps McClary excited about life, but he believes there is more to it than just that.  “Prayer is good but you  gotta  work,” he said. “You gotta be eager to roll up your sleeves and put in those extra hours when everybody else is asleep. On tour when everyone else was partying, I would be giving back to the communities.  You’ve  got to meet  the people, listen to them, and try to make a difference. I just see that as part of the journey. I think it’s what keeps me on the right road.”  Writing his autobiography, “Rock and Soul: Thomas McClary Founder of the Commodores,” helped him put his feelings to words and clarify his philosophy of life.  “I have learned that life is about cherishing every single moment and understanding that there's an assignment that you have while you’re here, and that’s making a difference in the lives of others.”  “Age does not matter, because at 71 I feel like I am 41. And you know what? At 71, you can still groove and that’s what I intend to do!” 

“We get so caught up in words we forget the real purpose of our movement.” T H O M A S O N M OV I N G FO R WA R D

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Go take a hike along Florida’s pristine trails Grab your hiking boots or sneakers. We’re going to take a hike. Even without the majestic mountains of some other states, Florida is rich with natural beauty that can be explored with your walking feet. Scenic hikes abound, whether you’re in for a few miles or more adventuresome. Here are five of our favorites nestled in the heart of our state parks:


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Ocala National Forest North Central Florida |

Be prepared to consider a long stretch of options. You’re looking at 673 miles of land, multiple trials and a whole host of scenic opportunities. Situated north of Orlando, the area is known for its large sand pine scrub forest. Wanna get wet? Check out the Juniper Springs, Alexander Springs and Salt Springs recreation areas that feature natural pools and canoe runs. Recommended options include the Francis Trail (7.8 miles). A moderately trafficked loop trail located near DeLand, it features live oaks and cabbage palms. The hike is considered moderate. Another excellent spot is the Hopkins Prairie, with views including live oaks covered in moss. It is also excellent for birding, with areas occupied by songbirds and wading birds.

Everglades National Park Homestead |

Where to start in a park that includes 1.5 million acres of subtropical wilderness in South Florida? The park is home to hundreds of animal species, coastal mangroves, sawgrass marshes and pine flatwoods. Many options abound along this expansive park, but one of our favorites is the Anhinga Trail. This one is short and breezy (0.8 miles total) but it packs a lot to take in as you mosey along: a self-guiding trail winds through a sawgrass marsh that features alligators, turtles, anhingas, herons, egrets and a variety of other birds, especially during the winter. The abundance of wildlife makes it a must-see.

Little Talbot Island State Park Jacksonville |

Located in Jacksonville, this gem encompasses a five-mile stretch that includes ancient dunes, pristine beaches and a secluded barrier island. Your activity options include kayaking, beachcombing, fishing, hiking and surfing. Please note that you are in North Florida, so the beach will be flat, hard packed and grayish in color. As one reviewer noted, it’s a “great place to become one with nature, it’s like your own private beach.”

Bulow Creek State Park Ormond Beach |

We’re talking expansive. Located north of Ormond Beach, Bulow Creek encompasses nearly 5,600 acres, more than 1,500 of which are submerged lands. There are seven trials. So where to start? Check out Bulow Woods Loop. Located near Flagler Beach, this 5.3-mile loop stretch features beautiful wildflowers and appropriate for all skill levels. It features plenty of shade, but also can be wet and humid and buggy. It is considered one of North Florida’s most scenic hikes.

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park (Micanopy) Gainesville |

Located just outside Gainesville, this park is a time-trusted favorite. You had us at “wild horses,” that you can see along some trials, along with buffalo. You’ll get the obligatory gator photo op as well. As a reviewer noted, it offers “breathtaking prairie views reminiscent of the west. We saw white-tailed deer, wild horses, green and brown anole lizards, a ribbon snake, spiders, many species of plants and a variety of unusual and beautiful fungi and lichens.” There’s an observation tower as well, so bring those binoculars. G R O W I N G B O L D E R / S E P T E M B E R D I G I TA L D I G E S T 2 1


September is Medicare Education Month At Florida Blue Medicare, we’re celebrating Medicare Education Month and we’ve put together comprehensive resources to help you get the information you need. Whether you’re a current Florida Blue Medicare member looking to brush up on the basics, you have friends and family wanting to learn how to enroll, or if you’re looking for more information about the types of Medicare plan options available, we’ve got you covered. It’s important to know there’s a Medicare plan that meets your health and lifestyle needs.

What is Medicare?

There are 5 parts of Medicare

To learn more and have access to helpful downloads and checklists call 1-866-330-8850 or visit


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Understanding the parts of Medicare and what they cover is important. Medicare is the national health insurance program that is offered to individuals 65 and older and some people under 65 who have specific disabilities. Learn more about the different parts of Medicare.

Part A

Part B

Part C

Part D

Medicare Supplement

Explore Medicare plan types and more.

Eligibility & Enrollment

Picking the Right Plan

Know when you can enroll and what you need to do when you’re ready. The good news is that there are multiple opportunities to enroll in Medicare. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is approaching and will be from October 15th through December 7th. During this time, you can switch, drop or join the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan of your choice.

Explore your options and pick the right Medicare plan for your needs and budget. There are many things to consider when you’re shopping for Medicare plans. Ultimately, what matters most is finding a plan that fits your lifestyle and meets your unique needs. Florida Blue Medicare offers a variety of plans to help you choose what’s best for you.

Learn more about the enrollment periods.

Find out more.

Help for Caregivers

Medicare Basics Guide

Understanding the options available is key when assisting someone else in choosing a plan. With the right knowledge and tools, you’ll be able to make informed decisions for your loved one’s health needs.

Get your free Florida Blue Medicare Basics Guide filled with information you’ll need to choose the Medicare plan that meets your lifestyle and budget. Click here to download.

We’ve created helpful materials to provide you with Medicare information and easy-to-understand resources for caregivers. Learn moretoabout theour enrollment periods. Click here explore resources.

At Florida Blue Medicare, we’re here to help you, or your family and friends choose the best option that meets your healthcare needs and your well-being goals. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is coming up from October 15th through December 7th. During this time, Find out more. you can sign up for Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug* and Medicare Supplement.

*You can only sign up for Part D and/or a Medicare Supplement plan if you also enroll in Original Medicare.

Florida Blue and Florida Blue Medicare are Independent Licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. © 2021 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., DBA Florida Blue. All rights reserved. 41

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Did you know Florida Blue has Medicare Plans? September is Medicare Education Month and Florida Blue Medicare has put together comprehensive resources to help you get the Medicare information you need. Download helpful tools such as Medicare guidebooks, checklists, and learn more about what types of Medicare plans are available to meet your health and lifestyle needs.

Call today



Florida Blue and Florida Blue Medicare are Independent Licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ©️2021 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc. DBA Florida Blue. All rights reserved. Y0011_106632 2021_C

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Growing Bolder Digital Digest | ATTE September 2021: Choose Love  

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