S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
Boomers are making up the ‘sandwich generation’ Phone (321) 242-1013 Fax (321) 242-1281 Classified (321) 242-0442
ASSOCIATE NEWS EDITOR SHELLEY KOPPEL
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 should start early and not when a crisis looms. The “40-70 rule” means that if
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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 See SANDWICH, Page 4
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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
South Brevard County
Associate news editor
MELBOURNE — It’s hard taking care of aging parents, when you live close to them. Add a few thousand miles, and it becomes a real challenge. Joyce Davis’ parents were long-time residents of Brevard County. She and her brother live in Massachusetts and she has a 12-year-old son. “My dad died suddenly 18 months ago,” Ms. Davis said. “Mom has dementia. She was high-functioning when he was around, but she has deteriorated since he died. Dad covered up how impaired our mother was, so it was a double surprise.” Ms. Davis, a social worker by training, knew that she needed help. A search turned up One Senior Place in Viera, a clearinghouse for resources
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and information about elder care. “My dad died and I felt it was his spirit that brought me to One Senior Place,” she said. “I spoke to Kathi Ridner there, and I felt she was an angel. I don’t know what I’d have done. I didn’t know what I needed.” Ms. Davis took advantage of the free 30-minute consultation offered by One Senior Place. She decided she needed to hire a care manager to coordinate her mother’s treatment, including doctor visits, medication and crisis management. One of the decisions she and her brother made was to keep her mother in Florida, near Ms. Davis’ aunt and uncle. “They’re emotionally connected,” she said. “They’re all they have. If something happens to my aunt or
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S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
A labor of... By Shelley Koppel Associate news editor
COCOA BEACH — Jackie Hitzig takes care of her mom, with a lot of help from her sister and friends. It is a labor of love for everyone. “My mom, Joy, is 86 years old,” Ms. Hitzig said. “She used to run the Tea Room in Cape Canaveral. After my dad died in 2004, my mother had a fall and we almost lost her. She had a brain injury and was in a coma for a week. They said she’d be a vegetable, but she’s never done what they’ve told her. She came back and woke up.” After several weeks of therapy, her mother was able to return home, but she couldn’t live alone. Ms. Hitzig’s sister moved in with their mom, who has heart issues and uses a walker. The two have a lot of help from friends. “It’s kind of neat,” Ms. Hitzig said. “Our family friends are (former) employees of the Tea Room. They’re like family members. They’ve stayed close to mom and love her dearly.” Everyone has a special role. “Jimmy takes my mother to therapy three times a week,” Ms. Hitzig said. “He takes her there and to the doctor when my sister or I can’t. That’s their thing. One of the best things is that it gets her out and she socializes. “Tammy cleans the house and Gary does things around the house. They let
Sandwich From page 2
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
my mother be involved in their lives. It gives her people to care about and love. When Tammy got married, she wanted my mother to be the mother of the bride. My sister takes her to church and they have their time together.” Ms. Hitzig knows how important it is for caregivers to ask for and accept help. “We have a family friend, whose mother died and she cared for her father and isolated herself,” she said. “It was all she did. It’s important to have people to help you and taking care of a parent can’t overtake your life. We’re so fortunate to have so many people to help.” Ms. Hitzig said that her mother loves going out, and they attend symphony concerts and go to restaurants. Everyone is enjoying the here and now and not worrying about the future. “We were caught unexpectedly with my dad,” she said. “He broke his hip and was doing fine, but his heart was too weak. We couldn’t plan for that. When we have to deal with something, we will. You can kill yourself worrying about it. Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it.” One of the greatest challenges she and her sister have faced is a change in roles, as her mother has grown more dependent on them. “It’s hard to find a balance as they get older,” she said. “She’ll say, ‘I’m the child,’ but I say no, she’s still my mother and I respect her as my mother. She
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 a good solution would be. If they don’t recognize a problem, use concrete examples. • Sooner is better. Talk before a crisis
Photo courtesy of Jackie Hitzig
Tammy Hitzig requested that Jackie Hitzig’s mother, Joy, be her ‘motherof-the-bride’ at her wedding. sometimes thinks she has to do what we want, but I tell her that she’s my mother.” Ms. Hitzig said that they all just do the best they can.
“We’ve been through a lot,” she said. “I lost my husband at a young age. You learn to deal with whatever comes. You don’t waste one precious minute.”
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 See SANDWICH, Page 10
S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
Health and Performance – a matter of CHOICE DR. WILLIAM H. WHITE, PH.D. AGELESS IDEAS Physician Walter Bortz wrote a book entitled We Live Too Short and Die Too Long. True, as we age, far too many of us fall far short of our health, function and performance potential. While we tend to live longer than our grandparents and great grandparents, the norm is to spend the last 10 to 12 years of our lives with lifestyle-caused - and therefore avoidable, and possibly reversible - disabling body and brain conditions. The good news is that health and performance are much more a function of our day-to-day choices than of our genes, our gender or our age. That speaks directly to two common fears associated with aging: • The loss of independence, and • The loss of brain potential due to Alzheimer’s, or some other form of dementia. You can take steps to reduce your risk for being numbered among the 5.6 million Americans who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the 9% of those 65 to 69 years of age, and nearly 50% of those 85 and older who need assistance with activities of daily living. Consider maintaining, or regaining, your independence. Physical dependence in the latter decades of life is often due to muscle and bone weakness - the result of years of inactivity. Only 5 percent of men and women 60 and older meet even the minimum requirements for exercise set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. Consider the following examples from the research: • Women in their 80s were able to increase bone mass over a three year
period through regular exercise and good nutrition. • People in their 90s who engaged in a 3 month strength training program increased strength (174%), muscle size, and muscular power (explosive strength). • Participation in Tai Chi classes improved balance by 50% in three months. Exercise not only impacts physical capabilities, but also longevity. People in their 80s who are regular exercisers have a lower all-cause death rate than people in their 60s who are couch potatoes. Love Your Brain, is the title of one of many encouraging, informative books written by Clinical Neuropsychologist, and nationally recognized brain health expert, Dr. Paul Nussbaum. The old, outdated
view was that you are born with a certain number of brain cells, and then you proceed to lose brain cells over the course of your lifetime. Brainpower, which normally begins to slow at age 25, can be improved through mental stimulation (novel and challenging learning experiences), socialization, spirituality, nutrition and exercise. The brain can be molded, new brain cells produced, new connections built, and thinking skills improved at any age – even if you are 110. (paulnussbaum.com; fitbrains.com) A six month study with 60 to 79 year olds showed an increase in brain volume, and improved brain performance, among those engaged in aerobic training. (Normally, there is a progressive loss of brain volume beginning at age 45.) A group whose
exercise consisted only of toning and stretching showed no increase in brain volume. Another study linked an increase in brain volume to strength training. There is also research to suggest that regular exercise may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 40%. Are the expectations you have set for yourself too low? Join a growing number of men and women who have rejected ageism, and who have taken charge of their health and body/brain performance. Ageless IDEAS team members have had marked success in helping people maintain, or regain, optimal levels of body and brain performance and independence. If you have a question, or would like to explore your own health fitness and performance potential, Dr. White can be reached at 321-506-5058. Visit the Ageless IDEAS website at www.agelessideas.com.
S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
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S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
Helping aging parents takes time, organization By Shelley Koppel Associate news editor
MELBOURNE — Kathi Ridner knows a thing or two about the “sandwich generation.” She is director of One Senior Place, a clearinghouse for information and services for seniors. She also has a mother who’s 89 and children, ages 22 and 18. Ms. Ridner is fortunate that her mother, who lives in Michigan, is able to live independently, but she know what a challenge it is for families trying to care for parents and, occasionally, children, at the same time. Living at a distance adds to the challenge. “At One Senior Place, I talk to people all the time,” she said. “Often the children live away and get a sense of a state of decline, or they see their parents after six months or a year and say, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ There’s a dramatic change.” Ms. Ridner said that she often hears from families when there is a crisis.
“We get a call from a family member, who’s thousands of miles away,” she said. “They’re reacting to a crisis and control the situation and make decisions. They are thinking they can and should solve Kathi Ridner the problem, often without consulting the parents.” One Senior Place offers a free 30minute consultation with a care manager. Family members can find out what resources are available in Brevard County and get referrals to appropriate agencies and businesses. Then it’s time to talk with the parents. “This is your mother or father’s life,” Ms. Ridner said. “Rather than rolling in and making decisions, arm yourself with information. If possible, involve as
many family members as possible in the decision-making process at one time. That way, the goals of the senior citizen can be taken into account and respected. The senior citizen should be there, if possible.” Ms. Ridner said that parents, as well as adult children, need information. “Seniors should educate themselves and make decisions while they are able to and let their family know,” she said. There should be more than one plan. If Plan A is to stay at home and that’s not possible, then maybe having outside caregivers at home is an option.” Ms. Ridner said that seniors often worry that allowing for some help is the first step to losing independence. For that reason, they try to pretend that everything is fine. “Having help allows them to stay in their home longer,” Ms. Ridner said. “It’s difficult to accept help. Sometimes, the first time the caregiver shows up, the client does everything and the caregiver
watches. The second time, the client lets the caregiver do the work and the client watches. It may take two weeks before the client relaxes and doesn’t hover. It’s a process.” It’s easy to see the toll that declining health takes on the parents, but it is hard for the adult children, as well. “It takes a toll, emotionally,” Ms. Ridner said. “It also takes a toll on time with their own family and it’s a strain on finances. Many are still raising their own children or picking up the slack on their children’s finances. They may be dipping into their own retirement funds, leaving them vulnerable. If they’re 45-55, there may not be a chance to recoup it. They should talk to a financial adviser, but people tend to live in the moment and do crisis management.” For information about One Senior Place, located at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road, Viera, call (321) 751-6771 or visit the website www.oneseniorplace.com.
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S. BREVARD County HOMETOWN NEWS
Legal issues require communication among family members MELBOURNE — When attorney William Johnson talks to clients about planning for themselves or their aging parents, he emphasizes three things: estate planning, incapacity planning and long-term care. These are difficult topics for many families, but it is extremely important that the conversations take place when there is no crisis and calm decisionmaking is possible. “Estate planning is not only wills and trusts,” Mr. Johnson said. “It’s having beneficiaries designated on IRAs and 401(k)s. It’s making sure that the estate goes where they want it to.” Incapacity planning is critical because people are living longer and surviving illnesses and accidents they might not have survived a generation ago. “Diminished capacity can be physical or mental,” he said. “When we talk
about it, we discuss Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Surrogate and a Living Will.” The Durable Power of Attorney allows someone to manage finances in the event the William Johnson person cannot manage them. “I tell people they will be turning over the keys to their finances to someone else,” Mr. Johnson said. “It has to be someone trustworthy. We can designate multiple siblings to make sure a person isn’t exploited. You should hold onto the document or have someone hold it for safekeeping.” “Designating a Health Care Surrogate allows someone to make health care decisions on your behalf. They can make all kinds of decisions, including the doctors and where you live,” Mr.
percent of people over age 65 have extended families,” he said. “The spouse has children from the prior marriage. That seems to be the powder keg. “Ninety percent of the litigation I do deals with kids from the prior marriage going against the new spouse,” he added. “It usually blows up because everyone is in denial. You can butt heads over heath care and finances.” Mr. Johnson said the best thing to do is communicate. “Have a family meeting with the children of both marriages,” he said. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Both sides should have meetings, where things are openly and frankly discussed before the time, so you’re not acting in a crisis mode, with emotions running high. The most important things are planning and communication.” William Johnson’s law office is located at 21 Suntree Place, Melbourne. Call (321) 253-1667.
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Johnson said. “A Living Will states whether or not you want to be kept alive artificially with feeding tubes or ventilators. You should spell it out ahead of time whether or not to disconnect life support.” The third topic, long-term care, is one most people try to ignore, but it is important. Mr. Johnson said that most people greatly underestimate the costs of long-term care. Nursing homes, for example, average $250 a day and assisted living facilities can cost $3,500 a month. “It’s important to have a plan,” he said. “What is the plan for paying for the care? Do they have insurance? Will they have to apply for Medicaid? If they can’t afford or get long-term care insurance, they have to plan on self-insuring or qualifying for Medicaid.” Much of the work Mr. Johnson does involves second marriages, with adult children on both sides. “Most people do not realize that 50
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By Shelley Koppel Associate news editor
From page 3
uncle, I’d bring her back to Massachusetts.” Ms Davis and her brother have split the responsibilities for managing their mother’s affairs, with her brother handling the finances and Ms. Davis the rest of the care. While they think that keeping her in Florida is the right deci-
sion, it is another challenge. “It’s expensive to manage a parent from far away,” Ms. Davis said. “My parents had assets and that makes a huge difference. We have it easier than most because it’s not a strain financially. I can’t begin to put myself in the shoes of those with financial burdens, as well as emotional burdens.” The eventual decision to place her mother in a facility for patients with
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• 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.
For information about One Senior Place, located at 8085 Spyglass Hill Road, Viera, call (321) 751-6771 or visit the website www.oneseniorplace.com.
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) 5648821.
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sion,” she said. “Then you realize how much worse it was, being worried about her safety. It was like having an out-of-control toddler with a lot of need. It’s pretty awful. I feel much better.”
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.
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dementia was a difficult one. Both Ms. Davis and her brother hoped to keep her in her home as long as was possible, but there were many medical emergencies that resulted in trips to the emergency room. While caregivers came to the house more and more frequently, it became clear that her mother could no longer live alone. “You put off making the decision because you think it’s the worst deci-
From page 4
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It’s time to rethink retirement The historic volatility combined with the limited availability of traditional retirement income sources, such as defined benefit pension plans, has placed a greater responsibility on Americans saving for their future. With this responsibility comes a need for financial solutions that can help provide a new level of protection for retirement savings. Whether your long-term objective is to build a source of guaranteed lifetime income, save for a specific retirement goal or leave a legacy for your loved ones, annuities can help by offering benefits designed to meet your specific retirement needs. Understanding the basics A fixed index annuity is a contract between you and the insurance company. In exchange for your premium payment, the insurance company provides you income either immediately or sometime in the future. Most fixed index annuities have two phases. First, there is an accumulation phase during which you let your money earn interest. This is followed by a distribution or payout phase during which you receive money from your annuity. A fixed index annuity also guarantees you will receive at least the minimum guaranteed interest credited to the contract. All of these guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing company. With a fixed index annuity you defer paying taxes on your contract’s interest until you receive money from the contract. Tax-deferred interest means the money in your contract can grow faster. You will be guaranteed the return of the money you originally paid into your annuity, unless you surrender some or your entire annuity during the surrender charge period. Most annuities have a surrender charge of 5-15 years. Understanding the benefits A fixed index annuity offers a unique combination of benefits that can help you achieve your long-term goals. No other product offers the tax deferral, indexed interest potential, optional benefits to protect your retirement assets and income along with bonuses. • Tax deferral Interest earned in a fixed index annuity contract is tax-deferred. Withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken prior to age 59, a 10 percent federal tax penalty may apply. Tax deferred growth, compounded over time, may increase the amount of savings and income your fixed index annuity generates for your retirement. Tax deferral is also a benefit of traditional IRAs and 401(k)s but contributions are limited. You can save more and also enjoy tax-deferred growth potential. • Indexed interest potential Allocate its value to one or more chosen indexes. A crediting method is then used to track the performance of your index(es). At the end of each contract year, the indexed interest is calculated. Unique opportunity for accumulation. Option to receive fixed interest If result is positive, you will automatically receive indexed interest, subject to a cap or
PAUL S. ALFREY
Standard Insurance Group, Inc
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spread. That interest is locked in each year and cannot be lost due to index declines at some point in the future. If result is negative, nothing happens. That can be a good thing. Although you won’t receive any indexed interest for the year, your annuity’s value doesn’t decline. At the end of each contract year, your annuity’s index values are automatically reset. That means this year’s ending value becomes next year’s starting value. Annual reset also locks in any interest your contract earned during the year. • Protection benefits Accumulation: Principal and credited interest is protected. As long as you abide by the terms of your contract, you will not lose any of the money you placed in your annuity due to surrender charges. Additionally, any interest credited to the contract is locked in and protected as well. Annuities are subject to surrender charge periods, which can vary, but are generally between five and ten years duration. Guaranteed income: A fixed index annuity puts you in control of your future income, based on the annuity you choose and how much money you put into it. After your contract has had an opportunity to earn interest over its deferral period, you can begin distribution. Receive your contract’s values in a stream of income that will last your lifetime. The amount of your payments is based on the value of the contract on the date you begin distribution and the payout schedule you choose. Optional income riders: Flexibility to add additional income riders to the policy that can increase to help you keep pace with inflation throughout retirement. These income riders or benefits provide a valuable benefit, but they usually come at a cost. Again, remember that withdrawals may be subject to regular income tax and, if taken prior to age 59, a 10 percent federal tax penalty may apply. • Legacy benefit If you pass away before annuity payments begin, a fixed index annuity may help you provide for your loved ones. Your beneficiary may choose to receive your contract’s values in a single payment or in a series of payments over time.
LET DOZENS OF COMPANIES COMPETE FOR YOUR BUSINESS... Paul S. Alfrey PRESIDENT /OWNER
321-253-3100 www.AmericanStandardInsurance.NET • 2015 Aurora Rd. #B Melbourne, FL 32935
ALFREY ALFREY ROOFING INC ALFREY ROOFING ROOFING INC INC Residential • Commercial • Reroofs • Repairs
• TILE • METAL • SHINGLE • FLAT ROOF SPECIALISTS When searching for a roofing contractor, consider this: Our family has been continuously roofing in Brevard County since 1969. Alfrey Roofing, Inc. are 3rd generation local roofing and better business council award winners specializing in doing the job right. We are family owned and operated and offer no pressure estimates. We will be here when you need us.
ALL WORK GUARANTEED Wind Mitigation Inspections Available 2015 Aurora Rd. Melbourne 321-752-9417 www.AlfreyRoofing.com State Lic # CCC 058342
Is a fixed index annuity right for you? Are the following benefits important to you? Tax deferral to help you reach your retirement goals? Indexed interest potential to help accumulate your retirement savings? Protection benefits that can help protect your retirement assets and income? Only you know your goals for retirement, so only you can determine your needs.
For more information on annuities, life, or other insurance needs call American Standard Insurance Group, at (321) 253-3100.
n recent years the financial markets have experienced extreme swings.
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