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November 2012






Boomers are filling of the ‘sandwich generation’

Martin County


parents and adult children can approach these conversations in a calm and thoughtful manner. Home Instead Senior Care has put together a series of pamphlets designed to help broach topics such as when to stop driving, health care issues, financial arrangements and other sensitive subjects. The booklet “The 40-70 Rule: A Guide to Conversation Starters for Boomers and their Senior Loved Ones,” is one such resource. The “40-70 rule” is a reminder that conversations about elder planning See FILLING, Page 10

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f you’re a Baby Boomer, you are probably rejoicing that the kids are in high school or college or maybe even starting families of their own. That’s great news because now it’s possible to have some “me” or “us” time. For many of us, the reality is quite different. We now confront the issue of aging parents, many of whom have serious health problems. Perhaps one parent has died and the remaining cannot stay alone. Even if they are still both living in their own home, it’s often true that neither is able to drive anymore. As a result, many of us are called on to make difficult and often unpleasant decisions. This situation is so widespread that we Boomers have been called the “sandwich generation,” taking care of those younger and older, sometimes under one roof. Planning for that possibility in advance is one way that



November 2012





November 2012

It’s a



By Shelley Koppel Associate news editor

STUART — Debbie Platt is among the legion of Baby Boomers who is part of the “sandwich generation.” She has a husband who is ill and three children, the youngest a sophomore at the University of Florida. Her mother also lives with the family. “When I was 21 or 22, we ended up putting my father in a nursing home. I didn’t know anything and the care was poor. The poor care contributed to his death and I vowed I’d never put mom in a nursing home.” Twelve years ago, when Ms. Platt and her husband built their home, they added a fourth bedroom with a small bath and walk-in closet. It was there for her mother when she needed to move in with them. Some 18 months ago, that time came, and while Ms. Platt and her mother are close, her mother did not want to make the move. “She fought,” Ms. Platt said. “The doctors said she had to.” Safety was the issue. Her mother was having trouble keeping track of medicine and personal hygiene. She was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “You’re taking over every aspect of her life when you’ve got so many other things,” she said. “You never thought you’d do personal hygiene for your parents. Sometimes you feel like an awful caregiver.” Ms. Platt has spent a good deal of time making her mother’s life more pleasant. “When she first started to live with me, I could tell there wasn’t enough to do,” she said. “She’d just sit in her room.

I had a gut feeling that she needed socialization. It was the idea of getting up and looking her best. She’d worn the same hairstyle all my life. I printed out five styles and we went and got it cut. She wished she’d done it 50 years ago. “She’s lost a lot of weight in three years and when she came, the clothes were hanging off her. I’ve been able to replace them, little by little. She looks up-todate now and she gets a lot of compliments. That’s given her confidence.” Her mom goes to the Adult Day Center at the Kane Center in Stuart five days a week. “I had to push her to get started, but she enjoys it,” Ms. Platt said. “There was a guy hitting on her a little bit.” The Adult Day Center costs the Platts $60 a day, but Ms. Platt finds it worth the cost, especially as her mother will need more care in time. When her mother is home, she stays in bed with her eyes closed and without any mental stimulation. When Ms. Platt recently took her youngest child to college, her son, 25, came and stayed with his grandmother for three days. “He got her ready for the center and even put her earrings on,” Ms. Platt said. “He’s a sweetheart. He just moved out a couple of months ago.” In addition to taking care of her mother’s every day needs, she is also responsible for her mother’s finances. She handled the sale of her mother’s condo, and that helps pay for the day center. She is also trying to go through the boxes containing her mother’s possessions. She spends a lot of time fighting with insurance companies over her mother’s care. See FAMILY, Page 10

Photo provided by Debbie Platt

Debbie Platt and her mother, Mary Witt. Mrs. Witt moved in with Ms. Platt and has been flourishing under the care of her family. Mrs. Witt also ventures out to the Kane Center five days a week for social ineraction and activities.



November 2012



Elder law attorney can help adult children, parents plan Associate news editor

STUART — Adult children who are concerned about their parents should sit down and talk to them. That’s what Nicola Melby, an elder law attorney in Stuart, tells her clients. “Ask them what they want you do to if something happens,” she said. “Tell them you’d like to do what they want.” Ms. Melby suggests starting with funeral arrangements, because it is something concrete and understandable. “Ask if they want cremation or burial and where,” she said. “Ask who they want you to contact, if there are any papers and if they’ve seen an

attorney. If the documents they have are recent, ask ‘Would it be OK if we scheduled a meeting with your lawyer so that I understand what my responsibilities are?’ That starts a multi-generational contact.” If the parents have no documents or the documents are out-of-date, Ms. Melby suggests clients see an elder care attorney. “The best way to find one is to contact the Florida Bar and get a list of attorneys who are members of the elder law section,” she said. “Get a list of those who are certified in elder law and have practiced for at least five years. “If there is an identifiable problem, ask the attorney what percentage of the practice deals with that type of

problem. Once they get to the attorney, they’re probably in good hands.” Ms. Melby said there are basically two groups of documents that need to be put in place. The first relate to death and deal with the disposition of property at death. That group includes will, trusts, deeds and other similar documents. The second group of documents deals with the management of property and person during life. That includes such documents as a durable power of attorney, designating a health care surrogate and procuring a Living Will. Ms. Melby said many people have wills made decades ago that may still be legally valid, but that may no longer reflect the person’s wishes or

family realities. “A lot of older wills were made when the parent was in his or her 40s and nominated a brother to care for minor children. It may be time to look at it again with fresh eyes, so that they are sure that the consequences end up the way they wanted. “Bequests made 25 years ago may have consequences if a beneficiary becomes disabled or incompetent. The (new) will might want to have provisions that address that possibility.” Nicola Melby is an elder law attorney with McCarthy Summers Bobko Wood Norman Bass & Melby, 2400 S.E. Federal Highway, Stuart. Call (772) 286-1700.


By Shelley Koppel

Conquering Chronic Pain and Balance Disorders Article courtesy of Neurology and Pain Management Understanding the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Patients with diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, neuropathy, dizziness, Fibromyalgia, and a host of other chronic illnesses may actually have an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system (ANS ) that is causing chronic pain. The autonomic nervous system is the network of nerves that are associated with the organs. They are responsible for keeping the body running smoothly, and for providing the energy to respond to external stimuli. Autonomic imbalance can be detected with a noninvasive, painless, twenty-

minute test covered by Medicare and most insurance carriers. If this test reveals ANS imbalance, a simple treatment may be able to reverse a patient’s disease processes. ANS evaluation has proven itself beneficial in improving prognoses for patients with myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, and diabetes when steps are taken to restore balance to the branches of the ANS . “I cannot stress enough how important it is for patients to understand and take steps to protect their autonomic nervous system,” emphasizes Dr. Tobias. “I welcome the opportunity to guide patients through this

vital test to help them find effective relief of their ANS symptoms.” Understanding Disorders


Balance disorders are a particularly serious condition for senior patients because more than one-third of individuals over age 65 fall at least once a year. The Southern Illinois University School of Medicine reports: Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among those over age 65. 35% of individuals over age 65 fall at least once a year. 50% of individuals over age 80 fall at least once a year.

50% of those who fall will do so more than once. 50% of individuals over age 75 who fall will not survive another year. According to the American Academy of Neurology, an increased risk of falls is established among persons with diagnoses of stroke, dementia, disorders of gait and balance, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, lower extremity weakness or sensory disorders, and substantial vision loss . People often think their feelings of vertigo or light-headedness are a normal part of the aging process, but Dr. Tobias emphasizes this isn’t true. “Balance problems can result from a variety of caus-

es,” states Dr. Tobias. “They should be addressed as quickly as possible to determine the source of the problem “. Hal M. Tobias, MD, is board certified in neurology and pain medicine by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is just the 98th physician in the world to be certified by the American Academy of Neurology in Pain Medicine Dr. Tobias welcomes your questions regarding this article involving pain management and neurological disorders. To schedule an appointment, please call 772-283-3414.





November 2012

The perils of peanut butter for your pet

product is what we know today as peanut butter. Today a massive peanut butter recall is in progress for 101 peanut butter products in 19 states, suspected of being contaminated with a bacteria called salmonella, including one made for dogs called Dogsbutter RUC with flax (the manufacturer has voluntarily recalled the product). The other 100 recalled peanut products made for human consumption could have also been fed to dogs. At this time it is unknown how many dogs could be affected by salmonellacontaminated peanut butter.

to the FDA. In 2005 a pet food recall came after aflatoxin in one manufacturer’s pet foods caused the deaths of 100 dogs and at least one cat from liver failure. Early symptoms included lack of appetite and jaundice (yellow discoloration of the gums). Therefore, to avoid salmonellosis or aflatoxicosis illnesses in your dogs, please do not feed them peanut butter! Dogs can live without peanut butter, as for man, that is up to you. Dr. Amy Cousino is the owner of The Cat’s Meow Cat Clinic and the author of “How to Cook for Your Pet.” To order a copy, go to ml. For a mini-list of foods and seasonings that are safe/not safe to feed your dog or cat, email



Salmonella is a bacteria which inhabits the digestive tract of people, animals, birds and reptiles. Feces from any of these can cause contamination of peanut butter. Once the peanut butter is contaminated, refrigerating opened containers can slow the growth of bacteria, but not eliminate it or its toxins, so it can still cause illness. After a dog eats salmonellacontaminated peanut butter, symptoms may include sudden diarrhea and possible septicemia (infection of the blood) with fever. In addition, peanut butter contains a mold called aspergillusflavus, which produces a carcinogenic (cancercausing) and liver-toxic substance called aflatoxin. This mold is considered to be an unavoidable contaminant in peanut butter and is allowed up to 20 parts per billion, according


butter.” Peanut butter is creamy and delicious and has been enjoyed by Americans and their pet dogs since about 1884. Peanut butter is enjoyed heartily by dogs and is used widely as flavoring in dog treats. Dog owners use peanut butter to entice their dogs to take medications, as a reward in training settings and spread on chew toys. Peanut butter sticks to dog toys well because it is a smooth thick paste. The process for producing the paste was patented by a Canadian, Marcellus Edson from Montreal, Quebec, in 1884. Roasted peanuts were pressed between heated plates, then upon cooling the resulting tenacious gooey




y father has a saying: “Man does not live by bread alone … he must have peanut


November 2012



Waterfront restaurant is known for accommodating large groups For Forever Young

MARTIN COUNTY — A beautiful young bride sits at the head of a table with her groom enjoying a casual lunch with a party of about 30 guests. “They called about a week ago and asked if they could bring 30 people over,” said Robert Rae, general manager of Shuckers on the Beach. “We said sure. They just had their wedding right out here on the beach.” The ease with which the restaurant could accommodate the large group, plus host a wedding on its waterfront property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is part of the magic of Shuckers on the Beach. Much of the resort-based restaurant’s appeal lies in its quiet charm

and unassuming ability to easily seat large or small groups indoors, on the patio, near the tiki bar or in its banquet room. “We do a wedding just about every Saturday, and host lots of functions and big parties,” Mr. Rae said. But small groups are equally at home at Shuckers on the Beach, the restaurant with one of the best raw bars in Jensen Beach and tables for two tucked intimately and strategically away throughout the dining room. This is a place where the menu offers good and finely prepared food, made from fresh ingredients and served with style. A favorite appetizer is the ahi tuna, served with a lush salad, perfectly See SHUCKERS, Page 9

Staff photo by Samantha Joseph

Diners at Shuckers on the Beach enjoy the outdoors and sea breezes on a patio overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.


By Samantha Joseph




November 2012

Makes changes to Medicare plan during open enrollment For Forever Young


he annual enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans and stand- alone drug plans is

here. You can enroll or make a change, now through Dec. 7. Any change you make would take effect on Jan. 1, 2013. Unless you qualify for a special enrollment period during the year or are eligible for Medicaid or the Extra Help program, this is the only time you can make a change to your coverage for 2013. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs’ Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders or SHINE program provides free, unbiased counseling


and information for individuals eligible for Medicare, their families and caregivers. SHINE counselors are trained to assist you in understanding your options so that you can make informed decisions. When you meet with a SHINE counselor by phone or in person, they will begin by asking you about your income to determine whether or not you might be eligible for Extra Help, which helps reduce the cost of your prescriptions, or a Medicaid program. If you are looking for a drug plan, we will ask you to provide a list of all the prescriptions you take, as well as the dosage and the frequency for each medication. If you are searching for the best

Medicare Advantage plan, there are some questions you can ask in advance that will help to narrow your choices in finding a plan that fits best: • Will the plan allow you to continue using your present doctors? • If you had to go to the hospital, would your hospital of choice be included in the plan’s network? • Will you need a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist? • Do you desire to have coverage when traveling? • Does the plan offer extra benefits such as vision, dental, hearing aids and gym membership? • Are the drugs you presently take part of the plan’s formulary, and what will they cost?

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• What is the plan’s monthly premium, as well as co-payments for doctor visits, etc.? Comparing the different plans using the answers to these questions will help you arrive at the best choice for you. A SHINE counselor can help you find available plans in your area and can assist you with any questions. Once your decision has been made, you will have one opportunity in 2013 to disenroll from your MA plan during the annual disenrollment period. The ADP runs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. During this period, you will be able to leave the MA plan you chose and return to original Medicare (Part A and Part B). You will See MEDICARE, Page 9

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November 2012

Shuckers From page 7

dressed and accompanied by wasabi and pickled ginger. Its seafood stew is also excellent. It is a generous creation made of fresh fish, clams, mussels, lobster, scallops and shrimp in fish stock, seasoned with saffron and aromatics and served with toasted French bread and spicy rouille. The crispy grouper Reuben is fresh grouper, deep fried and served on rye bread with Swiss cheese, coleslaw and thousand-island dressing. Most reassuring about this restaurant is its consistency. Shuckers on

Medicare From page 8

also be able to enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan at the same time. The effective date will be the first of the following month. So if you made the changes during January, your effective date for the change will be Feb. 1. You would again be able to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the next annual enrollment period (Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2013). A SHINE counselor is waiting to



the Beach is consistently good. Diners can rely on enjoying a great meal and receiving service from a friendly staff. On a recent visit, my server, James Danise, was excellent, and Bobby Drummond, one of the restaurant’s bartenders, was recently voted one of the top 10 bartenders in the county by “Stuart” magazine. The live entertainment is good too, with bands, such as the Shakers, OPM and Hot Rod, performing on the restaurant’s deck on Saturday and Sundays. Shuckers on the Beach is located at 9800 S. Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach. For more information, call (772) 22291224.

assist you with your choices.The counselor will not make any decisions for you, but will guide you through the comparison process so you can make an educated choice. Call the Elder Helpline toll-free at (800) 96-ELDER (800-963-5337) to contact a SHINE counselor or for information about volunteering with SHINE. Lynne Meagher is the Brevard County SHINE area coordinator Contact her at (321) 752-8080 or email

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It is a heavy load. “Forget sleeping,” she said. “I try to eat healthy and I’ve hired someone to do yard work and gotten that off my plate. I’m hiring people to do the harder jobs. It never ends, but I figure it’s like this for everybody. I know I can put her in a nursing home, but as long as I am physically able, I’ll take care of her.”

should start early and not when a crisis looms. The “40-70 rule” means that if you’re 40 or your parents are 70, you should be talking and planning. If you haven’t, now is still a good time to start the conversation. Home Instead and consultants on senior care suggest seven tips to help get the conversation started. • Get started. If you’re 40 or your parents are 70, begin observing and gathering information. Don’t make decisions based on one incident or observation and keep an open mind. • Talk it out. Talk to your parents in a conversation, not an inquisition. Discuss what you’ve observed and ask your parents what they think is going on. If they acknowledge the situation, ask them what they think a good solution would be. If they don’t recognize a problem, use concrete examples. • Sooner is better. Talk before a


From page 3


From page 4

crisis occurs. If you know a loved one has poor eyesight or has trouble with night driving, begin the discussion before there’s a problem. • Forget the baby talk. Remember that you are talking to your adult parents, not to a child. Don’t patronize or them on the defensive. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how you would want such a conversation to go. • Maximize independence. Always try to find solutions that allow your loved one the maximum amount of independence. Look for answers that play to strengths and compensate for problems. Some household assistance or medication reminders may help preserve independence longer. • Be aware of the whole picture. If your dad dies and your mom’s house is in disarray, it is probably not a separate issue, but the result of the loss. See if people can visit and maybe help out for a bit to see if the situation improves.

November 2012

• Ask for help. Local agencies and resources exist to help older people maintain their independence. Find out what is available for your parents and seek out whatever help you can. Senior centers and area agencies on aging are wonderful resources. To obtain copies of “The 40-70 Rule” or other helpful pamphlets on talking about aging, contact Diane Butler, director of community outreach at Home Instead Senior Care at (772) 564-8821. Thanks to Kathy Ridner of One Senior Place, Diane Butler of Home Instead, Laura Zel of Just Checking, Crystal Edmunds of the Kane Center and Peggy Cunningham of the Alzheimer and Parkinson’s Association of Indian River County for their assistance in preparing this issue of Forever Young. As always, we welcome your comments. Email us at m

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November 2012


November 2012