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50+ Living July 2010

Time well spent From gardening to giving back, John and Letty Bernhagen enjoy purposeful pursuits The advantage of motorcoach travel

Out and About: A Memorial Day tribute Last Word: Planting with ease

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10 Summer and music mix in perfect harmony Hello readers! With the summer solstice passed and Independence Day this month, it is safe to say summer and all its offerings are stretched out before us. On the top of the summer fun menu for me every year is live music. Warm weather and bright sunshine put me in the mood for outdoor concerts. My favorite radio station likes to use the slogan “the summer of live music” to kick off the music festival season. I intended to take it as a challenge to go out to see some live gigs this summer. I already have a couple of Christian music festivals penciled into my calendar and I wish to attend one or two of the shows at the Minnesota Zoo.


July 2010 Vol. 1 No. 5


Calendar: Summer entertainment


FEATURE STORY: Travel without the traffic


Out and About: Memorial Day tributes


COVER STORY: John and Letty Bernhagen are purpose driven


Recipes: Picnic potato salad


Travel: Vacation ideas to suit all tastes




Ask Marci: The changes in Medigap plans


Money Matters: Tips to plan your golden years


Last Word: Planting with ease by Brianne Wolters, executive director at Grand Meadows

I made these plans before learning that Hutchinson and Litchfield offer a nice selection of live music events each summer. From music in the park to the RiverSong Festival, the cities treat residents with a variety of toe-tapping family entertainment. The music in the park concerts are at Hutchinson’s Library Square. On the bill are the Maple Lake Jazz Band on July 5, The Wally Pikal Band on July 12, The Mouldy Figs on July 19, The Boundary Water Boys on July 26, The Prairie Rose Band on Aug. 2, and The Teddy Bear Band on Aug. 9. In Litchfield, concerts start at 7 p.m. in Central Park. In this edition of Zest, the subjects of the feature stories would share my enthusiasm for music. John and Letty Bernhagen met through music 54 years ago and are still in harmo-

ny today working to make the world just that little bit better. At Holt Tours and Charter, staff has been taking people to and from some of the country’s most popular entertainment destinations. From the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre to the auditoriums of Branson, Mo., travelers have seen some of the top acts. Also in this edition are photos from area Memorial Day ceremonies and advice on eating right and spending wisely. As always I welcome your feedback and ideas. If you have an idea for a story, a favorite recipe or just general comments, please send them to me. Until next time, happy listening and reading. Katie Winter

ZEST / July 2010 3

Letters What do you think? We want to hear your thoughts on this topic and many others. Letters to Zest can be mailed or dropped off at 217 Sibley Ave. N., Litchfield, MN 55355 or 36 Washington Ave. W., Hutchinson, MN 55350 or sent via e-mail to or

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Calendar of events Communities offer an array of summer entertainment July 24-25: Orange Spectacular Tractor Show

Aug. 14: Minnesota Garlic Festival

The 19th annual Orange Spectacular Allis-Chalmers tractor show takes place at the Karg farm three miles northwest of Hutchinson. The show is organized by the Upper Midwest AllisChalmers Club. In 2009, the show attracted 245 tractors and an estimated 7,000 people.

The fifth annual Minnesota Garlic Festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the McLeod County Fairgrounds. This family-friendly event celebrating garlic is put on by the Sustainable Farming Association and features celebrity chefs, a parade with Gertie the Garlic, fresh local foods, and garlic ice cream.

July 30-31: Second Annual RiverSong Festival

Aug. 21-22: Forest City Stockade Rendezvous

The Second Annual RiverSong: A Celebration of Grassroots Music Festival will be held in Hutchinson’s West River Park. It will feature more than 20 local, regional and national entertainers who will perform folk, bluegrass and acoustic music. To learn more about RiverSong, visit

The 27th annual Rendezvous at the Forest City Stockade showcases a replica of a fort built by Forest City residents during the 1862 Dakota Conflict. It is home to a variety of old fashioned activities, food and reconstructed period buildings including a church, candle making shop, newspaper office and a school.

Aug. 7:Watkins’ Kraut and Wurst Day

Aug. 21-22: Forest City Thresher Days

Area residents celebrate their German heritage in Watkins’ one-day celebration, which includes a parade, kids’ games and sauerkraut and bratwurst.

Thresher Days include displays of antique tractors and other farm equipment, along with potato digging, threshing and corn shredding demonstrations.

ZEST / July 2010 5

Feature Story


Branson, Mo., is one of the most popular destinations for motorcoach travelers. Cokato’s Holt Tours takes several trips to the city each year including four in November 2010.

Travel without the traffic 6 ZEST / July 2010

No need to fill up the car as motorcoach tours take travelers to concerts, casinos, and chocolate shops.

Feature Story By Katie Winter


magine a vacation devoid of driving in busy traffic, finding a hotel, and planning activities. Does it sound too good to be true? Well, that is precisely what travelers get by signing up for a motorcoach tour. From visiting state parks and Broadway shows to touring cheese factories and wineries, passengers can easily get out and explore the United States from the comfort of a bus. Trip options range from a oneday bus tour to a sporting event or theater production to spending a week or two at a popular sightseeing destination.

Holt Tours and Charter in Cokato is just one of several companies that offers motorcoach tours to suit all interests. For nearly two decades, Holt Tours has been organizing trips both near and far. “With a reputable company and you don’t have to worry about a thing,” said manager Darlene Larson. “They can just relax and see the world. Leave the driving and stress to the driver.” Amanda Boadi, administrative assistant at Holt Tours, said a few of the biggest traveling stressors are traffic, getting lost and lacking knowledge about the destination. A motorcoach tour relieves those stresses.


Holt Tours’ group of experienced drivers take away the stress of navigating busy streets from passengers.

The price of a tour typically includes transportation, accommodations, food, and admission to entertainment. Holt Tours tries to take those offerings to the next level by providing luggage handling, door to door pick up and drop off, and experienced drivers and tour guides. Most tours have a tour guide, who will solve problems, keep everyone on schedule and share facts and stories about places along the way. With Holt Tours, the guide serves not only as a leader but also as host for hospitality and social interaction. They are responsible for breaking out games to play on the bus, initiating social mixer activities and sometimes passing around snacks. “There will always be someone on a trip,” Boadi said. “(The hosts) get the group together. They have a lot of work to do. They are a big key.” Drivers also make sure passengers have an enjoyable trip. Holt Tours has seven motor coaches and two new mini buses staffed by experienced drivers. Each bus is equipped with recliner seats, bathrooms, TVs and Wi-Fi availability. Boadi said many passengers form friendships with drivers during the course of a tour and will ask for that driver by name before their next trip. “We have some very good veteran drivers,” Boadi said. “Anyone that we have driving has some sort of bus driving experience. They just have so much fun. Our drivers make a trip.” Embarking on a motorcoach tour opens travelers up to new friends and experiences, Boadi said. Whether it’s with fellow travelers or the coach drivers, friendships have a way of sprouting during the hours cruising down the highway. “I think it’s a good way to meet people,” Boadi said. “We want people to meet other people. They have a good time and people like to travel together.” There are many places to see in the state, the country and the world. In order to take groups to as many locations as possible, Holt Tours works with four other area tour companies. These are R & J Tours, Community Club Tours, Luverne Travel and Creative Tour and Travel.


ZEST / July 2010 7

Feature Story

The motorcoach advantage If cross-country speed is your only concern, America’s professional motorcoach operators admit you need to look elsewhere. But if you really want to see America – if you want to experience the excitement of its cities, feel the glory of its landscape, share the warmth of America’s communities – it can’t be done from 30,000 feet. You should be traveling by luxury motorcoach. Top 10 reasons why you should take a motorcoach: 1. We do the driving. You’re free of the hassles of traffic, roadmaps, parking and backseat drivers. You’re finally free of distractions and responsibilities – free enough to enjoy the travel while a professional driver handles the wheel. 2. Finally. You can see the sights. What good is it to drive through the scenic mountains and deserts and villages of the nation if your entire field of view is a broken white line or the bumper ahead? In a motorcoach, your own panoramic window is a magic carpet. 3. Sleep if you’d like. Today’s luxury motorcoach provides you with stylish and comfortable recliner seats. This is what luxury travel used to be like. 4. Socialize with friends. If you’d rather visit with friends and fellow travelers, you can do it virtually any time you feel up to it. There’s no better way to meet new acquaintances or to enjoy the company of old friends than the

8 ZEST / July 2010

adventure of travel together. 5. Enjoy a movie. Can’t sleep? Not up to conversation? In most cases, you can now enjoy a fulllength feature film or videos of your group’s own activities while you travel. 6. Save money. There is no more economical way to travel. Period. You'll be surprised to find that luxury doesn’t come at a high price on today’s motorcoach. In most cases, each traveler’s share of the cost of a professional motorcoach will be far less than other modes of public

transportation and even less than private autos. 7. Door-to-door service. Your charter coach can go where you are and take you to where you want to be. There’s no substitute for the tremendous convenience of a motorcoach’s door-to-door service. Nor is there a substitute for the security and peace-of-mind which comes from that service. You don’t have to worry about dark parking lots in strange cities or shady characters on street corners. 8. Consider the environment. Seeing America responsibly also means leaving the beauty intact for the next visitors. Today’s motorcoach has become both fuel efficient and environmentallysound. On a per passenger basis, a

modern motorcoach is among the cleanest modes of transportation in the world. That’s especially important when your group travels through America’s majestic National Park system. 9. Safety...Safety...Safety... In the world of the professional motorcoach industry, there is nothing more important than safety. Accident statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bear this out year after year. According to its records, you were 1,097 times more likely to experience a fatal accident in your own car during 1994 than aboard a motorcoach. 10. You love to be surprised. Frankly, if your last trip by motorcoach was more than five years ago, you have a treat in store. This isn’t the bus you rode to grammar school or home from college. This isn’t the way you came back from visiting Aunt Agnes. Today’s European style motorcoach is a delight. And as America’s professionals, we'll delight in surprising you with it. The United Motorcoach Association is North America's largest association for operators of motorcoach companies providing charter, tour and regular route services. It has over 1,200 members located all across North America, with more than 925 charter and tour bus operator members. Visit for more info.

Feature Story CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7 With the resources available to these companies, trip goers are spoiled for choice, Larson said. “We’re lucky here to offer such a nice variety of trips,” Larson said. “Whether it’s our own or other tour operators, we get such a nice variety offered to our customers.” Holt Tours’ calendar of upcoming trips includes four separate tours to Branson in November. The tours will feature tickets to Branson’s top shows, a visit to Silver Dollar City and a selection of holiday attractions. Also scheduled is the always popular Country Christmas and Lights Tour on Dec. 4., which comes with tickets to the Lundstrom’s Country Christmas Celebration in Lakeville and a tour of area Christmas lights displays. Trip goers seeking a more unconventional excursion may find one of

Holt Tours day trips or mystery tours more to their liking. In the past, Holt Tours offered day visits to Midwest wineries, cheese factories and chocolate shops. A mystery tour involves travelers signing up for a trip knowing only its duration and cost, but not the destination or attractions on the itinerary. “You don’t have an idea of where you’re going until you’ve headed off,” Boadi said. “Its just something different. Its fun.” Boadi said the company also offers more casino trip and Twins baseball packages as well.

Choosing a tour For first time motorcoach tourists, being assured the trip will meet their needs and expectations is important. Boadi encourages people to call with any questions they have, and the staff at Holt Tours will answer them.


Here are a few questions to consider before booking a tour: • How long will I be on the bus each day? • Will I have to change seats every day? • Will we be able to explore when we stop, or will we only have a “photo opportunity” at each stop? • What is the average age of the people who take this tour? • Are children allowed? • Will we have any free days or afternoons? • Will we change buses, or can I safely leave personal items on the bus while we sightsee? • How many people will be on the tour? • May I bring a wheelchair? Where will it be stored? To register or learn more about future tours, visit Holt Tours Web site at or call (320) 286-5315.



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Out and about During a Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park of McLeod County in Hutchinson, attendees lay wreaths to remember American soldiers lost in wars.



Members of the Litchfield Military Honor Guard march into Lake Ripley Cemetary during Litchfield’s Memorial Day ceremony.

The Rev. Greg Nelson gave the keynote address at the Memorial Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park of McLeod County. Several hundred people attended the ceremony. STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG HANNEMAN

10 ZEST / July 2010

Out and about

at Dickerson’s Lake Florida Resort Spicer, MN


Let us remember

Gary Smith, right, past commander of the Litchfield VFW, presents Kenny Ness with the Commander Appreciation Award for 55 years of outstanding service as chaplain of the Litchfield VFW and American Legion during the Memorial Day ceremony.


An American Flag adorns memorial stones on Memorial Day 2010 at Veterans Memorial Park of McLeod County.

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ZEST / July 2010 11

Cover Story

Purpose driven Whether in the garden or in the community, John and Letty Bernhagen put their time to good use. 12 ZEST / July 2010

Cover Story By Katie Winter


wo high school sweethearts, who met through music more than a half a century ago, have been humming a sweet tune ever since. During the ensuing 54 years, Hutchinson natives, John and Letty Bernhagen have raised three children, served their country and traveled the globe. But it all might not have happened, had John not signed up for a school music contest. “I needed an accompanist my junior year for my solo for contest work,” John recalled. “The band director said there was this lady (Letty) who did a real good job. So she played for me. There were no bells and whistles, but the next year we could invite anyone we wanted to a marine band concert at Willmar. I thought I’d invite her. That was our first date and then the music started playing.” “And we’ve been making music ever since,” Letty added with a laugh. The couple still attends the Willmar Marine band concert to celebrate that first date. It is just one of the many places and activities the two have enjoyed together over the years. John served as a state senator and representative for a combined 34 years, while Letty worked in Mid Country Bank’s advertising and marketing department. As a couple, the Bernhagens devised campaign strategies, volunteered in their church and community, and built a house in Costa Rica for a Christian youth camp. Time spent together is especially precious to the Bernhagens. Shortly after becoming engaged in 1954, John and Letty were separated for two years when John was called to military duty in France. “We were engaged and Uncle Sam said ‘why don’t you go overseas first,’” John said. “I had to go without personally saying goodbye.” John and Letty did not let the great expanse of ocean stop them from corresponding. They wrote letters to each other every day, despite the lag time in receiving a reply. Most letters took nearly two weeks to arrive via airmail. “Back in the ‘50s, of course, we didn’t have the communications,” Letty

said. “So it was all letter writing. We wrote every day. When he came back from the service he said we were apart this much, so whenever we would do anything we would do it together.” They married in 1956 and began a life centered on family, community and giving back. John was elected to his first term in the Minnesota House of Representatives in 1969 after winning by two votes and surviving a recount process that would spur the state to change its election procedures. John served as representative of District 15A for four years before the district was eliminated when con-

gressional lines were redrawn. He went on to win a seat in the Minnesota Senate, where he worked for 20 years representing the counties of Hennepin, Kandiyohi, McLeod, Meeker, Renville, Sibley, Stearns and Wright. He retired in 1992. His position granted him opportunities to become involved in many worthwhile causes that took him across the United State and to international destinations. John devoted a lot of time to an organization dedicated to promoting tourism and economic development along the Mississippi River. He served as the group’s chairman during the 1980s and into the early


John and Letty in a bamboo grove in Japan in 1993. Letty recalled the day: “After meeting two Japanese ladies at a conference, they decided they should give us a Japanese experience.We were taken to a summer home and they dressed us in traditional garb.They had trouble fitting John as he is taller than most Japanese men.” ZEST / July 2010 13

Cover Story


John and Letty will travel to Egypt later this year, putting them on every continent but Antarctica.This photo was taken on a tour in South America while they were traveling between Chile and Argentina. Letty said it was an all-day trip using various modes of transportation to cross mountains by land and by water. 1990s. It took him to Japan twice, where he presented information on the United States’ longest river to hydrologists and representatives of the world’s other major rivers. “It was quite an experience,” John said. Parents often are credited with setting the example for their children. John and Letty followed their parents’ footsteps in community involvement. They volunteer extensively at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, the McLeod County Historical Society and their homeowners’ association. John continues to work with the American Legion and Kiwanis, while Letty creates newsletters and booklets for non-profit groups. “Life has been good to us, so we feel

14 ZEST / July 2010

we need to keep on,” Letty said. “It’s not about what you’re getting, it’s what you’re giving that’s the most rewarding.” The Bernhagens’ three children, Joel, Luann and Paul, followed suit by embracing opportunities to give back as well. Paul and his wife started Camp Penuel in Costa Rica for inner-city youth in 2006. John and Letty are responsible for fundraising and bookkeeping for the camp They said being part of the area’s culture has been a remarkably enlightening experience. “The camp is for 7-11 year olds,” John said. “The idea is to bring them to Christ, but also to make sure that they have a better understanding of what it is to be a good citizen. We just

felt really honored to be part of it and to hopefully be our little part of the world to make a difference.” They have already accomplished a great deal in their lives, but still have a few unchecked items on their wish list. John would like to take a trip to Alaska, thus completing visits to all 50 states. Letty has ambitions to learn Spanish and finish writing the book she started about home building in Costa Rica. They also have planned a trip to Egypt. “We enjoy people and finding out more about different cultures,” John said. “We still enjoy working. We don’t work for pay, we work for other things that are fun things and also constructive and have a purpose.”

Cover Story

Left, the Bernhagens built a house in Costa Rica, near their son Paul’s youth camp. “Many groups have stayed at our home while we're there January through March, or any other time of year,” Letty said. “ The two chairs on the front corridor are occupied by us for our morning coffee plus other ‘resting’ times of the day. It's one of our favorite places to bird watch, watch the children coming to school across the street, and watch farmers moving cattle from farm to farm.” Right, John and Letty sit outside their Hutchinson home.

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ZEST / July 2010 15

Comfort Foods Cheeseburger and Fries Casserole

Picnic potato salad

Submit recipes, win a prize Share your favorite recipes with Zest readers by sending them to or mail them to 36 Washington Ave. W. Hutchinson, MN 55350 or 217 N. Sibley Ave., Litchfield, MN 55355, attn: Katie Winter. One entry per month will be randomly selected to win a $25 prize.

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Ingredients: • 2 lbs. hamburger • 1 pkg. (20 oz.) frozen crinkle cut fries • 1 can golden mushroom soup • 1 can cheddar cheese soup Instructions: 1. Brown hamburger and drain. 2. Stir in the soup and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. 3. Spread fries on top. 4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour.

Picnic Potato Salad By Good Housekeeping Ingredients: • 3 lbs. (about 12) medium red-skin potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks • 1/4 c. distilled white vinegar • 1 T. olive oil • 2 t. spicy brown mustard • 1 1/4 t. salt • 1/4 t. coarsely ground black pepper • 1/2 c. mayonnaise • 1/3 c. whole milk • 2 small celery stalks, thinly sliced • 2 green onions, minced Instructions: 1. In 5- to 6-quart saucepot, place potatoes and enough water to cover; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. 2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, with wire whisk, mix vinegar, oil, mustard, salt and pepper.

3. Drain potatoes. Add hot potatoes to bowl with vinaigrette; gently stir with rubber spatula until evenly coated and vinaigrette is absorbed. Cool 15 minutes. 4. In small bowl, with wire whisk, mix mayonnaise and milk until smooth. Add mayonnaise mixture, celery and green onions to potatoes. Gently stir with rubber spatula until mixed. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day. Serves 12.

Strawberry Lovers Pie By Healthy Exchanges Ingredients: • 4 c. sliced fresh strawberries • 1 (6-ounce) graham cracker pie crust • 1 (4-serving) package sugar-free vanilla cook-and-serve pudding mix • 1 (4-serving) package sugar-free strawberry gelatin • 1 1/2 c. water • 1 c. reduced-calorie whipped topping • 1/2 t. vanilla extract • 3 to 4 drops red food coloring • Instructions: 1. Evenly arrange strawberries in pie crust. In a large saucepan, combine dry pudding mix, dry gelatin and water. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, stirring often. Spoon hot sauce evenly over strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Cut into 8 servings. 2. In a small bowl, combine whipped topping, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Top each piece with a full tablespoon of topping mixture. Serves 8.


Vacation ideas to suit all tastes There are countless vacation destinations that offer breathtaking scenery, comfortable accommodations and opportunities to relax. Many destinations are also truly affordable.

The great outdoors

• Carolina Beach, N.C. – A seaside town with beaches that aren't crowded, reasonably priced accommodations and affordable activities. • Cannon Beach, Ore. – Only hours from Portland and Seattle, this northwest oasis has affordable accommodations as well as state parks and campgrounds close by.

With a wide range of regional, state and national park campgrounds from coast to coast, camping always has been one of the most affordable ways to stay and play. • Yosemite National Park, Calif. – Best known for the massive granite rock formations Half Dome and El Capitan looking down over Yosemite Valley. • Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. – Home of the famed “Old Faithful” geyser, numerous other hot springs, geothermal mineral pools and deposits, Yellowstone also hosts an abundance of wild grizzly bear, bison and wolves.

If you’re looking for a quiet and affordable getaway for just the two of you, consider some place new and different. • Gatlinberg, Tenn. – A beautiful secluded destination in the middle of the Great Smokey Mountains with walking trails and a tramway to the mountaintop. • Lake Quinault, Wash. – A large lake just a few hours from Seattle that hosts a rustic, century-old lodge surrounded by a temperate rainforest.

A day at the beach

Action and adventure

The United States alone has thousands of miles of coastline, with most of its sandy beaches open to the public, free of charge and many with affordable lodgings. • South Padre Island, Texas – One of the most popular beach destinations in the United States.

Opportunities for affordable adventure abound, especially if you consider destinations off the beaten track. • Big Horn Mountains, Wyo. – Paradise Guest Ranch hosts horseback riding, overnight pack trips and rustic western-style cabins.

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ZEST / July 2010 17


KING CROSSWORD ACROSS 1 Hydrox competitor 5 Bro's kin 8 Hawaiian island 12 Period 14 Opening day? 15 Womanly 16 Give as an example 17 Crossword clue abbr. 18 Whiteboard adjunct 20 Censoring sound 23 Hebrew month 24 Feedbag fill 25 Inge play 28 Dallas sch. 29 Devour 30 Small barrel 32 NASCAR repair break 34 Deuce beater 35 Chooses 36 Song of praise

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37 40 41 42 47 48 49 50 51

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DOWN 1 Vacationing 2 Regret 3 Shade tree 4 Pizza topping 5 Mix 6 Charged bit 7 Accelerates 8 Farm wagon 9 Parisian pals 10 Loathe 11 - -friendly 13 Break suddenly

19 20 21 22 23 25 26 27 29 31 33 34 36 37 38 39 40 43 44 45 46

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All answers on page 20


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Adult Day Services Nurturing body, mind & spirit 3 Caring, affordable program 3 Social activities, outings, health and wellness 3 Transportation is provided Adult Day Services is located at Hunter’s Ridge Community Church in Hutchinson. Cost is based on your ability to pay. Financial resources may be available.

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For a brochure call (320) 234-4630 or visit AdultDayServices.pdf


Puzzle Answers

20 ZEST / July 2010

Ask Marci

The changes in Medigap plans Dear Marci, I have heard there will be some changes taking place to Medigap plans beginning next month. What are these changes, and how will they impact me? — Ruth Dear Ruth, There will be some changes to Medigap plans beginning June 1, 2010. These changes will only affect plans that are sold after June 1, 2010. All Medigap plans sold starting June 1, 2010 will cover the hospice benefit. Plan K will cover 50 percent of the hospice coinsurance, and Plan L will cover 75 percent of the hospice coinsurance. All other plans will cover the hospice coinsurance completely. The at-home recovery benefit and the preventive care benefit will no longer be included in Medigap plans sold starting June 1, 2010. However, these benefits still will be covered under Part B. Plan G, sold after June 1, 2010, will increase its cover-

age of the Part B excess charge from 80 percent to 100 percent. The excess charge is the amount a doctor is allowed to charge over the Medicare approved amount if the doctor is not a participating provider. Plans E, H, I, J and high deductible J will no longer be sold as of June 1, 2010. With the changes to all the Medigap plans, these plans would have been identical to other plans. Two new plans also will be created and sold beginning June 1, 2010. These plans are M and N. As noted above, these changes only affect plans purchased on or after June 1, 2010. If you purchased a plan between July 31, 1992 and May 31, 2010, your benefits will not change, and you can continue renewing your plan. —Marci Do you help people with Medicare? Where do you turn to for help? Call the Professional Hotline, a national service offered by the Medicare Rights Center to support people serving the Medicare population. Dial 877-794-3570 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST for accurate, up-to-date information


Foods are rich in antioxidants Dear Mayo Clinic: I keep hearing that antioxidants can help prevent disease and improve my overall health. Should I be taking antioxidant supplements each day along with my multivitamin? It is true that antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, carotene, lycopene, lutein and many other substances, may play a role in helping to prevent diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and macular degeneration. However, research indicates that simply taking antioxidant supplements is not the best way to get what your body needs. In fact, it’s possible that some of these supplements could be harmful. Fortunately, research also increasingly shows that you can reap the potential health benefits of antioxidant intake by eating a diet rich in antioxidant-containing foods. Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants and are quite effective at neutralizing free radicals. The minerals copper, manganese, selenium and zinc are important players in this process. But this process isn’t 100 percent effective, and its effectiveness declines with age. One reason foods appear to be a better choice than supplements is that foods contain an unmatchable array of antioxidant substances. A supplement may contain a single type of antioxidant or even several types. However, foods contain thousands of types. Some of the better

sources of antioxidants include: • Berries — Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries are among the top sources of antioxidants. • Beans — Small red beans and kidney, pinto and black beans are all choices rich in antioxidants. • Fruits — Apple varieties (with peel) are high in antioxidants, as are avocados, cherries, green and red pears, fresh or dried plums, pineapple and kiwi. • Vegetables — Broccoli artichokes, spinach, red cabbage, red and white potatoes (with peel), sweet potatoes are all rich in antioxidants. • Beverages — Green tea is a good source of antioxidants, but coffee, red wine and many fruit juices such as pomegranate have high levels too. • Nuts — Walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds are the top nuts for antioxidants. • Herbs — Ground cloves, cinnamon and ginger, dried oregano leaf and turmeric powder are all good sources. • Grains — In general, oat-based products are higher in antioxidants. • Dessert — A piece of dark chocolate ranks as high or higher than most fruits and vegetables in antioxidant content. — Donald Hensrud, M.D., Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.

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Money Matters

Tips to plan your golden years The key to a successful retirement is planning ahead and it’s never too early to start. Knowing how your future will look and having a clear plan of how you will get there can make the idea of retirement less intimidating. Here are some strategies to help ensure the “golden years” are really golden. Determining your needs and wants Retirement means something different to everyone. Some may choose to be semi-retired and continue their careers part-time, while others look forward to spending time with family and friends, volunteering in the community or traveling the world. Having a vision of what you want is the first step toward what steps to take and the resources needed to make it possible. How much is enough? Financial planning is the backbone of any retirement strategy. Investments and contributions to a retirement account can provide the income you’ll need if they are maintained properly and you don’t withdraw funds early from tax-deferred accounts. If you are over 50, the taxcode contains “catch-up” provisions, allowing higher contributions to retirement accounts that can yield as much as an additional $155,507 at age 65. If you are unsure

Less now is more later Spending less now and investing the savings can help you achieve your retirement goals. The proceeds from selling your “empty nest,” for example, can be reinvested while saving the expense of maintaining a larger than necessary home. Fewer meals eaten out, a more modest vacation or trading down to a smaller, more efficient car today means a more comfortable tomorrow. To your health Review your current insurance policies to be sure the coverage is adequate and you’re not paying for coverage you don’t need. It’s difficult to deal with at any age, but a catastrophic illness or accident for someone who is retired and on a fixed income can be devastating. Anyone planning for retirement should consider purchasing long-termcare insurance. Though the emotional trauma of an illness can be overwhelming, having your retirement savings wiped out and the financial burden of continued care placed upon your family can be avoided. Long-term insurance is expensive, but it may be a small price to pay to keep your retirement savings and peace of mind.


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Last Word

Planting with ease Nurture your green thumb with a few simple gardening tips By Brianne Wolters Gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter what their physical abilities may be. Making a garden more accessible for those who may be handicapped, disabled or becoming less mobile can help ensure they keep their love of gardening. Simple changes to a garden can change nearly impossible gardening work to a gardener’s dream. Raised beds can make gardening easier for those who may have trouble kneeling or bending to reach low areas. Try to have the raised garden contain bricks or blocks, which also have a seating area the person can rest on. Make sure to have wide paths for wheelchairs to navigate between them. The ideal height for the raised beds would be 24 to 30 inches. Having the right tools can make any job easier. Ensure the tools are in a handy location by the garden. If there is not a shed near the garden you can set up a mailbox for storage. Also, have the tools visible by wrap-

ping colored tape around the handles. Look for tools that have padded handles to make gripping them easier. For those with arthritis, a watering system would be helpful. Handling watering cans can be very painful. Setting up a drip irrigation system will keep the plants watered without over-watering and can be set on a timer to go on automatically, so that you will not have to do additional work. If a drip irrigation system is not available, use a lightweight watering can from your local gardening center. Also consider using a small lightweight cart to transport your garden supplies instead of walking with them. When purchasing supplies make sure you buy them in smaller bags to make moving them about more manageable. Planning ahead can make gardening easier by identifying low maintenance plants, which you can still manage if you are unable to go outside on a regular basis. Keep in mind how much time you are going to have

available for your gardening. Some low maintenance plants include: acer, camellia, ferns, lilac, and geraniums etc. Keep cool when you are out gardening. Wear a hat and apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn. Always keep a bottle of water handy to avoid dehydration. Try to do your gardening in the cool morning or early evenings and avoid the middle of the day, when the midday sun is hottest. Many communities have gardening clubs. Sharing the gardening experience can help you manage those tasks that may become difficult. It is also a great way to have interaction with others who love to garden. Remember, gardening should be a relaxing, enjoyable hobby, which is good for the body and the soul. – Brianne Wolters is the executive director at Grand Meadow, an independent living, assisted living and memory care active adult community in Glencoe.

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zest July 2010  

From gardening to giving back, John and Letty Bernhagen enjoy purposeful pursuits Out and About: A Memorial Day tribute Last Word: The advan...

zest July 2010  

From gardening to giving back, John and Letty Bernhagen enjoy purposeful pursuits Out and About: A Memorial Day tribute Last Word: The advan...