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JOIN US! AGING AT ALTITUDE EXPO
5 Staying engaged as you age
8 Organizations for a variety of aging needs
11 Senior living communities: Shifting to meet seniors needs
13 Virtual Tours: A beneficial asset when choosing a retirement community
14 The Courtyards at Lupton Village: The perfect place to enjoy the next chapter in life
16 Resort-style senior living – for the best things in life
Darian Armer, Gabe Bodner, Linda Thorsen Bond, Emma Castleberry, Adam Goldstein, Sarah Huber, Luanne Kadlub, Julie Kailus, Wendy McMillan, Elise Oberliesen, Andy Stonehouse, Shelley Widhalm
EDITOR / DESIGNER
Julie Casper, Pete Christiansen, Jeanine Fritz, Ruth Garfield, Thais Hafer, Rich Hopkins, Jim Koppel, Keith Kratochvil, Billy Magrini, Dale Sekuler, Robert Steinberg
MARKETING & ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Jill Stravolemos
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18 Empower with balance: Tips for fall prevention 21 What your feet can tell you about your health: Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease 22 How to get and stay active
Protect your hearing and don’t wait for treatment
Navigating cognitive decline
Cannabis and its potential benefits for aging
includes new options 38 Retire
to help when
Are you eligible for the new Senior Housing Income Tax Credit?
right: What does your retirement picture look like?
Estate planning 101: Local attorneys define agents,
Aging at Altitude is an advertising feature of the Boulder Daily Camera, Broomfield Enterprise and Colorado Hometown Weekly and Longmont Times-Call. ©2023 Prairie Mountain Media. CONTRIBUTORS
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Staying engaged as you age
By Darian Armer for Aging at Altitude
It’s been shown time and again that as we age it’s important to stay connected with others and engaged in hobbies and passions. It has been shown to improve the mental health of aging adults, increase self-esteem and create accountability and purpose. We’ve rounded up some local ways to stay engaged as you age, starting with an organization that is new to the Boulder area: Seniors Helping Seniors.
Colleen Elliott of SHS Home Care of Boulder
County, Broomfield and Brighton, says Seniors Helping Seniors is a program designed to help seniors stay in their homes independently as long as possible.
“We focus both on seniors who need help and seniors who want to help. We hire older, compassionate caring adults who are looking to stay active and want meaningful and flexible work. Our caregivers offer companionship, light housekeeping, meal prep, help with medication, personal care like bathing and dressing and socialization, which is so important,” she says.
Elliott says many older people want to stay in the homes they’ve lived in.
“It’s where they’ve lived, where they’ve made friends and raised families and where they are comfortable in their community As you get older, depression and other factors start to weigh on your health. From the Boulder County report on aging, the population of 80+ older adults is drastically increasing in Boulder County, and the majority of seniors reported planning to stay in their homes and communities. The number of people needing long-term care is also increasing, with
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 5 ACTIVE LIVING
(Photos courtesy: Seniors Helping Seniors)
Sales Information Shannon Wiens, Realtor® 970.690.3579 | EpconLupton.com 207 S Rollie Avenue | Fort Lupton les Inf non W 9 2
The Courtyards at Lupton Village is a low maintenance community located in Fort Lupton, CO offering luxury ranch homes with private courtyards
about 70 percent of retirees needing some sort of longterm care. We believe that providing that in-home-care will help people meet their goal to stay in their homes as long as possible,” she says.
Caregivers hired for Seniors Helping Seniors are at least 40 years old, while most of them are in the 50-75-year-old range.
“We believe that having older adults take care of seniors provides a better connection and they’re better able to relate to one another. They really do understand what’s going on with those they’re caring for. It provides meaningful, impactful work opportunities and a way to stay engaged,” Elliott says.
Another way to stay engaged is through physical
exercise and socialization. And there is nowhere better to achieve both those things than at the YMCA of Northern Colorado.
The YMCA offers a wide variety of exercise programs for active older adults, for both those new to exercise and those returning to exercise. Offering both pool fitness classes and traditional classes, older adults have a plethora of options for exercising. The SilverSneakers drop-in classes offer activities like chair stretching, yoga, circuit workouts and shallow-water movement. Other dropin classes for older adults include Pilates, yoga and Tai Chi.
For the older adult who’s young at heart, volunteering
with the Early Childhood Service Corps is a great way to stay involved by volunteering with children. The Early Childhood Service Corps is an intergenerational program connecting older adults with early childhood.
The program recruits and trains adults 50+ to thrive within three pathways: Early childhood classroom/ site volunteer, Encore sub or volunteer business advisor.
A great way to be engaged with the local and global community is through the Boulder Environmental / Nature/ Outdoors Film Festival this summer, July 13-16 at the Dairy Arts Center.
“This is an opportunity to engage at the festival through discussion with the
filmmakers and experts. It gives an enlightened view of environmental and outdoor issues, all shared values,” Richard Paradise, organizer of the event, says.
“In my experience, most people who live and work in Boulder have a great appreciation of our environment. They are great advocates who want to see climate change tackled. Part of my message is that we all share in this journey together and all live here on this beautiful earth in the Rocky Mountains and Boulder community, and we’re all in it to make the best of it. This is a good opportunity to come and learn what’s being done and what can be done going forward.”
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SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 7 To sign up, call or email us at the info listed on each flyer. For general info, visit: bit.ly/CUPhysio University of Colorado Integrative Physiology of Aging Lab Lifestyle/pharmacological-focused clinical trials aimed at helping us all age gracefully. 970-460-8970
Organizations for a variety of aging needs
By Adam Goldstein for Aging at Altitude
Everyone ages differently, and everyone needs different types of resources as they get older.
No single formula exists when it comes to transitioning to life’s latter phases. Some may fare better in a senior living community, while others may thrive in their own home, provided they have the correct kinds of services and assistance. Some may need support when it comes to food, medicine and other fundamentals, while others may require guidance navigating the healthcare system and the correct ways to arrange a solid financial plan.
The aging process is as varied as the individuals who go through it. The good news is that Boulder County offers plenty of resources for seniors with all kinds of needs. From guidance in
finding the perfect retirement community to nonprofits dedicated to connecting seniors with food, company and moral support, our region is home to a vast network of organizations specifically dedicated to accommodating a broad spectrum of needs.
Here is a snapshot of organizations providing a wide array of needs for seniors, a selection of local resources and vendors who are committed to making
sure that each individual finds exactly what they need to thrive, whatever their specific needs.
SENIOR LIVING LOCATORS
Northern Colorado’s Assisted Living Locators chapter (assistedlivinglocators.com/ care-advisor/noco) offers clients the benefits of years’ worth of expertise and insights. Specifically, those selling points come with the
services of Maureen Walker, who prides herself on her 25-plus years of experience working with seniors for all of their residential needs.
Walker draws on this resume when she works with seniors to find the best living situation in terms of cost, care and community.
“I have built connections with local home-based services and have a vast knowledge of a variety of senior living options in independent living, assisted living homes and communities and memory care throughout the northern Colorado market,” Walker said. “My clients will benefit from my knowledge and experience advocating for their needs.”
With an assessment tool that gauges factors like memory care needs, budget, healthcare questions and other critical factors, Walker’s no-cost service works to find the perfect living solution for each one of her clients.
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Coal Creek Meals on Wheels. (Photo courtesy: Coal Creek Meals on Wheels).
“We help them fit what meets their needs. They have private pay places, then they’ve got places that will accept subsidized income down the road. We guide them to set them up in their best situation,” she said. “We guide them through what’s out there.”
CHOOSING A FIDUCIARY, MEDICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENT
Of course, finding the perfect living situation is tied closely to financial concerns, and that’s just one reason why finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable financial and fiduciary agent is so critical. With locations across Colorado (including Denver, Broomfield, Longmont and Loveland), the law firm of Jorgenson, Brownwell & Pepin, P.C.
(jbplegal.com) offers a range of legal services designed to accommodate the unique needs of seniors.
“We provide compassionate legal representation and understand you and your elderly loved ones are more than a case number,” said JBP Legal Coordinator Andrea Rau. “We will help you navigate uncertain and often painful circumstances with both sensitivity and zealous advocacy.”
For example, estate planning, Medicaid, real estate and elder care fall into the firm’s purview, and all of these fields can be critical when it comes to making important transitions and finalizing decisions that will have an impact not only on seniors themselves but on generations to come.
SIMPLIFYING THE MEDICARE EXPERIENCE
All of these legal issues can be particularly stressful for those turning 65, specifically because of a shift in healthcare requirements. According to licensed Medicare advisor Mary Hansen, many aren’t prepared for the onslaught of advertisements and mailers that suddenly appear with Medicare eligibility.
“When people are first turning 65 and becoming Medicare eligible, their mailbox just floods with advertisements. It overwhelms them. It makes them feel like they have 1,000 decisions to make,” said Hansen, who offers individualized, tailored guidance for navigating the system (maryhansenmedicare.com).
“My job is to simplify that so that they end up with what’s right for them.”
For years, Hansen has worked to make the Medicare process less daunting and more effective for those she consults. Hansen is on a mission to make Medicare approachable. Through her services, she hopes to help people realize that they can tailor their Medicare coverage to meet their specific needs.
“There’s no such thing as one plan fits all; coverage should be based on lifestyle, travel, medications, doctors, medical needs – it depends,” Hansen said. “It’s about taking all those factors and boiling them down for what is right for the individual. What might be right for one person might not be right for
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Environmental I Nature Outdoors
July 13-16, 2023
AGING AT HOME
For some, the right choice may be rooted in remaining in the home they’ve known for decades. With the right kind of services and the right kind of medical assistance, that may be a safe and reasonable option, but it all boils down to an individual’s specific needs.
Several organizations in Boulder County specifically accommodate those needs, including Right at Home of Boulder (rightathome.net/ boulder), an organization dedicated to working with a specific individual’s past medical history to create the right circumstances in any given home for someone to thrive in comfort and safety. Indeed, that includes connecting residents with caregivers that have a unique insight into their needs.
According to the company’s website, “We are experts, providing not just care, but coaching and experience to help navigate every step of the journey. Right at Home’s trained caregivers are passionate about helping clients.”
TRU Community Care (trucare.org) also offers resources for those who want to remain in their home, with certified healthcare professionals whose specialties run the gamut from palliative to hospice care. Maureen Walker, who also deals with the needs of clients wishing to remain in their homes, stressed that the issue of safety, comfort and mobility are paramount when coming up with the best home setup. “We like
to talk with people and hear their story about what they want to do, what their goals are. Sometimes people will choose to stay at home because that’s their goal. We recognize that,” she said. “We’ll talk about safety, making sure they have that.”
Part of living safely and securely at home is having enough to eat, and Coal Creek Meals On Wheels (coalcreekmow.org) has been helping seniors secure food security for more than 50 years. The nonprofit remains committed to connecting the community with food and, even more importantly for some seniors, companionship. The organization is dedicated to keeping seniors and others in need connected with essential services in their homes.
“We provide services so people can stay in their homes. It’s incredibly expensive to go into assisted living or nursing care,” said CCMOW Executive Director Lark Rambo. “We want to provide the services that they aren’t able to do on their own.”
They realize that mission through a variety of services that include meals delivered to homes, as well as an onsite program called the Coal Creek Café. During regular hours Monday to Friday, seniors have the opportunity to dine at the nonprofit’s home base, a service that provides food as well as human contact. For many, both of these services are essential for those facing a transitionary phase in their lives.
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Shifting to meet seniors needs
Changes at Golden West and The Pearl at Boulder Creek (formerly The Carillon at Boulder Creek) are geared to enhance the quality of life for area seniors
By Sarah Huber for Aging at Altitude
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the senior care industry may be both more essential and more strained than ever before. Two local senior care establishments are shifting to meet elderly care needs.
GOLDEN WEST CLOSES ASSISTED LIVING BUILDING, SECURES PERMANENT FINANCING FOR AFFORDABLE APARTMENTS
The low-income senior housing community of Golden West in Boulder closed its assisted living residence in March in response to pandemic fluctuations in housing preferences and resulting financial pressure. The community’s independent living apartments, The Towers, remain open John Torres, who retired in 2020
after 26 years as CEO of Golden West, has returned to the nonprofit community to serve as interim CEO through the transition. He explained that “the low reimbursement rate for residents who were funded by Medicaid and overall lower occupancy (because one effect of the pandemic
was that many people didn’t move to assisted living communities)” fueled the change. “And at the same time, we had to begin paying higher wages to staff to provide them a living wage,” he said. “Bottom line is it was all financial. The budget was such that Golden West could not sustain the
monthly loss any longer.”
Golden West ensured that the few residents living in the assisted living building dubbed The Mezzanine were safely relocated and helped staff obtain new jobs. Golden West’s board of directors is considering plans for the future use of the residence.
SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES SENIOR LIVING
Golden West’s independent living apartments, The Towers, remain open. (Photo courtesy: Golden West).
Affordable independent senior living remains core to Golden West. (Photos courtesy: Golden West).
Affordable independent senior living remains core to Golden West. Torres said, “We continue to have the same mission, and our focus is on assuring that The Towers’ 253 apartments remain affordable over the next 30 years as a result of our refinancing and major renovations.” He noted that Golden West recently obtained permanent financing, crucial security as the community evaluates its low-income housing options, and completed “long-needed upgrades in key areas such as new heating and cooling systems, new windows, updated elevators and several improvements in the apartments.”
THE CARILLON REBRANDS AS THE PEARL AT BOULDER CREEK
The Carillon at Boulder Creek was rebranded The Pearl at Boulder Creek in early 2023 after a change in the management company.
The luxury hotel-style senior living community, now managed by Dial Senior Living, is adjacent to the University of Colorado Boulder and a short walk from Pearl Street, its new namesake.
Senior living advisor Christian Shahmardian said Dial Senior Living is “all about enhancing systems and making life easier for our residents and staff, so it’s been a very positive change.”
He added, “It happened because we were doing well,” a bright spot in an industry that has struggled in recent years.
Dial has revitalized The Pearl’s communications and resident response toolkit, with a website and “Life Loop” app that enables residents to check monthly calendars and menus, register for events and outings, track exercise goals and coordinate transportation. The portal may be shared with family members and provides immediate feedback to staff on resident preferences. “We’ve discovered that our arts and culture events tend to be the most popular,” Shahmardian said.
“This allows us to cater to our demographic.”
Besides streamlining signups and the community calendar, Dial Senior Living has begun a complete refresh of The Pearl. “They’ve put together a resident committee to get feedback on the process, from redecorating to some larger projects to make the community even more comfortable and welcoming,” Shahmardian said. “Dial has done right by our residents, and they’re excited about the changes.”
The Peal hosts 130 residents and includes assisted and independent living apartments.
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A beneficial asset when choosing a retirement community
By Andy Stonehouse for Aging at Altitude
In recent years, more and more people of retirement age have decided to move from larger metropolitan centers to seek out a more relaxed Colorado lifestyle – one that’s closer to their adult children and grandchildren as well. But the complications of weather and cross-country travel often mean that retirees end up signing leases on retirement-oriented properties, without actually seeing the developments in person.
Looking to provide a
better experience for its future residents, the Avenues Crofton Park, an awardwinning 55+ community in Broomfield, has worked hard to expand its virtual tour capabilities, both internally and on its website, livetheavenues.com/virtualtours.
Having the option of taking a virtual 3D tour of the senior living community, can help out-of-town seniors make sure they find the right place. Or, as property manager Corné Lewis says, also be a good starting place to see if they would like to schedule an in-person visit.
“We added virtual tours
to our website during the pandemic so we could show people what was available while things were on temporary hold,” said Lewis.
“Prospective residents and family members helping with the initial research really liked being able to see our senior boutique living community’s common areas and rooms remotely, so we kept this feature in place even after in-person tours resumed.”
For potential residents, those options include something as simple as a leasing agent doing a live walk-thru Facetime session on an iPhone to provide a
real, first-person view of amenities.
Alternately, they can also access more sophisticated 3D tour software that allows guests the immersive experience of seeing the Avenues Crofton Park’s various rooms and floor plans.
It’s a way to get a better picture of what’s available on-site at its apartments, cottages and the development’s common areas, such as its demo cooking area, library, billiard room and private dining room, plus the community garden and patio lounge outdoors.
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The perfect place to enjoy the next chapter in life
The Courtyards at Lupton Village offers Luxury Ranch Homes for 55+ Adults
By Luanne Kadlub for Aging at Altitude
If you’re ready to downsize and enjoy retirement, looking for the perfect place for the next chapter in your life can be overwhelming.
Location is important, as are amenities. Chances are good that you’ll be looking
at 55 Plus communities that are becoming commonplace in Colorado and across the U.S.
The advantages of such homes are many: no yard work, no snow shoveling, no steps, wider doorways and hallways, and easy access to shopping, recreation and leisure activities. The Courtyards
checks off all the boxes. The new development is an Epcon Community located in the heart of Fort Lupton, just nine miles east of I-25 and Hwy. 52.
Eastman Properties, based in Fort Collins and owned by David Krafsur, is the first Epcon Community Builder in Colorado, said Shannon Wiens, sales manager for
the Courtyards at Lupton Village. “Our staff and industry partners have more than a decade of home building experience, with homebuyers having enjoyed the Epcon line of homes for more than 30 years,” Wiens said.
The Courtyards at Lupton Village, located at 207 S. Rollie Ave., includes 27 lots
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with four semi-custom floor plans ranging from 1,400 to 2,800 square feet, all featuring universal design elements and oversized garages with homes starting at $455,000.
Homeowners can choose from a variety of upscale interior options including gourmet kitchens, zero threshold showers and a second-story bonus suite. Private courtyards enclosed by a 5-foot wrought iron fence form the centerpiece of all homes, Wiens said, and provides a peaceful, private oasis just steps from
anywhere in your home.
“We partnered with Epcon, one of the top 50 national builders, because of their tried and true concept,” she added. The Courtyards at Lupton Village is perfectly situated across from the Fort Lupton Community/ Recreation Center and the new Fort Lupton Library Coyote Creek Golf Course is less than a mile away and the community is near shopping, restaurants and medical.
For more information, call the sales office at 303.732.2500.
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Photos courtesy: Shannon Wiens, RE/MAXNexus The Courtyards atLupton Village
Resort-style senior living – for the best things in life
Senior Living, trainers tailor exercise sessions to specific conditions, such as Parkinson’s or arthritis, and wellness center amenities include a warm-water therapy pool, lap pool and cardio and strength training areas. Other health services include acupuncture and massage therapy.
By Sarah Huber for Aging at Altitude
Resort-style senior living brings home the amenities of a vacation. From salons and spas to access to fitness trainers and nutritionists to first-class musical performances and thought-
provoking lectures, the conveniences distinguishing a hotel-style senior living community are drawing those who want to spend their retirement years enjoying the best things in life.
In Boulder County, resortstyle senior living options include Frasier Senior Living,
Balfour Senior Living, Sunrise at FlatIrons and The Pearl at Boulder Creek (formerly The Carillon at Boulder Creek). Resort-style senior communities often feature comprehensive fitness programs, with perks such as an indoor track, gym, pool and daily aerobic, yoga and balance classes. At Frasier
Spas and hair salons, theaters, libraries, art studios and gardens also keep seniors active and engaged in resort-style senior living communities, as do a robust schedule of classes and outings. Many hotel-inspired senior living campuses include at least one chefled, seated restaurant, in addition to a pub or café. At The Pearl, for instance, the lead chef crafts monthly menus and holiday specials that reflect the nutritional and health preferences of the community.
Luxury senior living communities usually offer
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Need help with a Long Term Care Policy? We are experts in helping you maximize your beneﬁts. Let us teach you how! Get help, Right at Home! Cooking • Housekeeping • Transportation • Pet Care • Fall Prevention • Companionship • Personal Care Assistance • & More
(Photo courtesy: Balfour Senior Living)
a range of supportive care, including independent and assisting living, memory care and skilled nursing care. Apartments tend to be roomier than the average senior living community, and in Boulder County, many feature balconies or patios with mountain or open space
Most senior living communities charge a monthly fee per level of care. Resort-style senior living can start around $5,000 per month for an independent living arrangement but varies based on included costs and amenities.
Spacious homes, great amenities, friendly staff, all-inclusive pricing and lovely neighbors in a safe, comfortable community. That’s our version of senior living.
Partnering to Create and Care for the Healthiest Community in the Nation
From the earliest days of caring for our neighbors, creating a healthy community was our goal. A century later, we’re proud that Boulder County is ranked among the healthiest communities in our nation Whether it’s a pandemic or seasonal epidemics, Whether it’s bringing new lives into the world or saving lives with unequaled care, Our 582 doctors in over 44 specialties are dedicated to caring for you and your loved ones across the Boulder Valley
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 17
(Photocourtesy: BalfourSenior Living)
LiveTheAvenues.com | 720-336-7866 | 12431 King Court, Broomfield Schedule a Tour Today!
To learn more about our services or to find a physician, visit bch.org
withBalance with EMPOWER
Tips for fall prevention through building balance
By Wendy McMillan for Aging at Altitude
Spring has arrived! As the winter chill does its usual alluring dance, blooming into the renewed but mercurial season, we can’t help but feel the proverbial extra spring in our steps, whatever the weather But if that lift is accompanied by a quiet but persistent voice saying ‘proceed with caution’, know you’re not alone. From slippery sidewalks to
poolside patios, and even the comfort of home, activity in and out of doors can pose risks of falling. These risks become increasingly worrying as we age, and it’s sensible to be mindful of them.
“One in four seniors experiences a fall each year,” says Dr. Tracy Ellen Lippard, MD, Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine with Kaiser Permanente. “Of these, one of every five falls results in serious injury, such as broken bones or head
injury, even death.” The good news is, there is a lot that can be done to reduce the risk.
“Most falls are preventable, and don’t happen from a height but from a slip or trip at home,” says Nicole Barabas, Director of Wellness at Frasier, a lifeplan community in Boulder offering a continuum of care. “Our bodies change, but falls are not a normal part of aging. Prevention is to a large degree in our power.”
What is the key to prevention?
Like with so much of life itself, it’s all about balance. Our experts share insights on how to achieve it.
FIND OUT WHERE YOU ARE
Like with any goal, it’s always wise to start by establishing a baseline. It’s important to pay attention to those trips and stumbles, Dr. Lippard says, and you can get a lot of information from a really simple test.
“Find an area where you have something stable to grab onto if needed, such as next to a countertop,” she says. “Stand next to it, and simply alternate standing on one foot for as little as ten seconds, she says, thirty seconds, one minute or more. Once successful, try closing your eyes and see if your balance is harder to maintain.”
If you have concerns, some labs and centers offer advanced testing options. “One big thing that sets us apart at Frasier is that we use VirtuSense VST Balance Technologies,” Barabas says. “Driven by artificial intelligence, this system utilizes machine vision, identifying all the intricacies of balance, gait and function through a quick analysis.” Mobility deficits are revealed that help adults not only determine their risk of falling but pinpoint areas to work on to reduce that risk most significantly, Barabas says.
TALK WITH YOUR CARE PROVIDER
If you’re feeling unsteady on your feet, it’s worth consulting with your
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(Photo courtesy: Frasier)
doctor right away. Balance problems can be caused by medical conditions and certain medications. These are issues that need to be addressed, and many have simple solutions to make all the difference.
“Some medications increase risk of falls, including over-the-counter ones like diphenhydramine products like Benadryl or “PM” meds,” says Dr. Lippard, adding that in some cases, what you aren’t taking may be as significant as what you are. “Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause balance issues, and this is easily correctable.”
Don’t shy away from those regular eye and ear checks, either. Inner ear problems such as inflammation can cause vertigo and imbalance If you wear bifocals, you may want a pair of glasses with only distance vision for outdoor activities like walking or hiking, Dr. Lippard says.
TRY YOGA OR TAI CHI
Don’t let fear of falling keep you from being active. On the contrary, keeping moving is crucial to building and maintaining strength and balance. Gentle activities like Tai Chi and Yoga help develop strength, balance, flexibility, coordination and mindfulness. There is a lot of data around Tai Chi in particular for preventing falls, Dr. Lippard says. Some studies have shown Tai Chi to reduce falls in seniors by up to 45%. Moreover, these activities can be practiced solo at home, or in a group setting for added social camaraderie.
TAKE A BALANCE BUILDING CLASS
Look out for local classes that are designed with balance in mind foremost At Frasier, one-hour Balance classes are offered twice weekly, in addition to three times daily online classes, modified so residents can practice at home. Utilizing a variety of equipment, these classes run through everevolving series of exercises with eyes open and closed, and incorporated flexibility checks, gait analyses, and strength. “We need to go hand-in-hand,” Barabas says “Lower body strength supports us and determines gait; you need upper body strength to lift yourself, from a fall, a wheelchair, or walker; and your core is the pillar for whole body resilience.”
From walking heel-to-toe in tandem to experiencing a throwback to childhood with delightfully squishy circle props, Frasier’s Balance Building classes are characterized by fun. “I have [participants] laughing so hard, they don’t even realize its class,” Barabas says.
It is class, though, and it’s effective. Barabas recalls one of her most moving successes. “One of our residents wanted to get up and dance at his granddaughter’s wedding,” she says. “He had Parkinson’s and used a walker For six months prior, he came without fail twice weekly, and he got up to speed to do that dance. Both he and his granddaughter were so grateful, it moves me to tears.”
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STRENGTHENING THE HEART — IN MANY WAYS Find Friendship &
Fitness At the Y
AT THE Y, we work to inspire a love of movement while also fostering meaningful relationships for older adults. Yes, the Y is where friendship and fitness meet. We provide exercise opportunities for a wide range of needs, nurture connections and create welcoming communities for people of all ages.
At the Y, Active Older Adults Enjoy:
• Clubs and events
• Active older adults group exercise classes
• SilverSneakers, Silver&Fit and Renew Active memberships
• Programs developed for people with Parkinson’s, cancer, arthritis and balance challenges
• Aquatics classes and programs
• Virtual fitness classes
• Volunteer opportunities
• Locations in Boulder, Lafayette, Longmont and beyond.
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What your feet can tell you about your health
Understanding peripheral artery disease
(Family Features) – If you are living with pain and discomfort in your feet, legs, thighs or butt, it may be a sign of a serious health problem, known as Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD).
PAD affects the blood vessels outside the heart, reducing blood flow to the area with the diseased blood vessel. In the most common type of PAD, lower extremity PAD, blood flow is reduced to your legs and feet.
Learn more about PAD, including symptoms, risk factors and treatment, from the experts at the American Heart Association:
The most common symptoms of PAD are burning, aching, numbness, fatigue or discomfort in your leg or hip muscles while walking. The symptoms are caused by your legs not getting the blood they need. This pain usually goes away with rest and returns when you are active.
“These symptoms can impact a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to walk and hard to do usual activities at home and work,” said Amy W. Pollak, MD, American Heart Association volunteer expert serving as a leader of the national PAD Collaborative and cardiovascular medicine physician at Mayo Clinic.
PAD affects more than 8.5 million people in the U.S., the majority of whom are 65
years and older, according to the American Heart Association Approximately 46-68% of patients with PAD also have coronary artery disease or cerebrovascular disease
“We see PAD more commonly in people living with diabetes, people who smoke and people with other common risk factors for heart disease, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity,” Pollak said.
PREVENTION AND TREATMENT
While some causes of PAD are beyond your control, the best method to prevent PAD is managing risk factors by making lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, managing diabetes and high blood pressure, staying active and eating a heart-healthy diet.
Working closely with your health care professional at the first sign of PAD is an important step in achieving the best treatment outcomes and avoiding serious complications like amputation.
“PAD is a lifelong medical condition, but people with PAD can lead active and long lives,” Pollak said “If you notice walking is more difficult, keeping up with others is hard or you have pain when you walk, talk with a doctor and describe when it happens and how it feels. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.”
Visit heart.org/PAD to learn more.
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How to get and stay active
Advice from your local medical providers
By Julie Kailus for Aging at Altitude
Science and vast studies have proven it: If you want to age well, you have to stay active.
Physical activity can help lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It also improves strength and balance, which can help prevent those injuries that become so common as our bodies succumb to age-related decline. Staying active is tied to helping lower chronic pain, boosting your mood and helping to alleviate symptoms related to anxiety or depression.
Exercise prevents cell death. Research has shown that telomerase, the enzyme that helps with cell regeneration, increases with
exercise,” says Dr. Cliff Gronseth of Spine West. “If your cells lose their telomeres (tails at the end of your DNA strands), they stop working and even die.”
The good news is movement is for everyone –at every age. Here are some more tips for getting – and staying – active.
MIX IT UP
Try to create a mix of aerobic, musclestrengthening and balance activities. Talk to your doctor first about where to start based on your current activity level.
Aerobic activities, such as walking, dancing or swimming, get your heart beating faster and build healthy endurance. You can add strength surprisingly quickly right at home with exercise bands and
hand weights. And balance exercises like standing on one foot, walking backward or sideways, or yoga or tai chi moves, help balance it all out.
But as you start to increase your weekly activity be sure to monitor your rest and recovery. It’s safe to move every day, and important to keep in mind the “relative rest” rule for exercise. “If your knees hurt while walking, do something else like swimming or biking,” says Dr. Gronseth. “It’s a 3-to-1 rule for rehab. Every day at rest takes three days to regain strength and endurance lost. So keep moving.”
CONSIDER HEAT THERAPY
When it comes to taking care of your moving body, heat may be one secret to success. Holden Hemingway,
a postdoctoral fellow at the Integrative Physiology of Aging Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder, says a hot tub or sauna could be beneficial to your health.
“There is evidence that regular increases in body temperature (also known as heat therapy) can partially mimic the beneficial effects of exercise,” he says. The laboratory is currently researching how sitting in a hot tub three times a week for three months can lower blood pressure and improve vascular function in adults over 50 with above-normal blood pressure.
“Heat therapy may also be used to jumpstart or supplement a traditional exercise program,” Hemingway says. “There is evidence that heat therapy in conjunction with an exercise program can increase the
22 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA
(Photo courtesy: UC Physiology Lab).
(Photo courtesy: Spruce Health)
benefits seen compared to exercise alone.”
CARE FOR YOUR JOINTS
It’s no mystery why we’re often injuring or even replacing joints like knees and hips as we age. Over time they just wear out. Your goal? Protect and preserve your moving parts the best you can by advocating for your health.
“Empower yourself to find a healthcare provider that personalizes the treatment plan to your goals,” advises Dr. Andrew Allen of Spruce Health Group, who knows how osteoarthritic joint pain can challenge the ability to remain active and thrive.
“You don’t have to settle for outdated medicine or jump right into a major surgery. There are tiers of
joint pain relief options to keep them moving,” he says.
“Steroids injections are an initial step, but if needed you can explore the next levels of non-opioid pain relief and tissue transplants.”
When it comes to staying active, Spencer Frenchman, DPT, Spruce Health Group, says to ask yourself an honest question: What form of movement do I truly enjoy?
“There is no magic exercise that is right for everyone, and the best one for most people is the one you are excited to do,” he says. “Do it as often as you can. If pain or another issue is preventing you from participating in it, visit us. We will help you return to what you love.”
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Protect your hearing and don’t wait for treatment
By Emma Castleberry for Aging at Altitude
Hearing loss is an extremely common and frustrating experience for most seniors. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take now to prevent hearing loss and keep your hearing in tip-top shape – which is a far better approach than waiting for your hearing to become a problem. “With hearing, it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive,” says Dr. Georgianna Hearne, an audiologist with
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Family Hearing. “Preventing and treating hearing loss early is the best medicine for mitigating risks associated with untreated hearing loss like depression, anxiety, balance issues, cognitive decline and of course difficulty communicating.” While most health matters benefit from a prevention approach, this is especially true for hearing because there aren’t many options once it’s lost. Furthermore, damaged hearing has a ripple effect on other realms of your health. “We hear with not just our ears but our brains, so
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Georgianna Hearne, AuD, CCC-A at Family Hearing helps a hearing patient
(Photo courtesy: Family Hearing)
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any damage to our ears has a higher impact on cognitive function,” says Dr. Shawna Beasley with Hearing HealthCare Centers. “Once hearing has been lost, there is no medical treatment or cure for hearing loss. However, there are technology devices being used as a form of treatment to provide functional hearing.”
All is not lost if you’re already experiencing difficulty with your hearing, but a preventative approach is quite simple and should be implemented regardless of the current quality of your hearing. “Top three tips: protect, protect, protect,” says Dr. Beasley.
One simple protective step is reducing your exposure to loud sounds and noisy environments. “Noiseinduced hearing loss is one of the leading causes of hearing loss and is 100 percent preventable,” says Dr. Hearne. Loud situations aren’t always avoidable, so Dr. Hearne recommends “giving your ears listening breaks,” which “can help keep your hearing system strong when it encounters noisy situations like lawnmowers, power tools or concerts.” Using earplugs or other ear protection can also reduce the damage done to your hearing by loud noises.
Your diet and general health matter, too. Eating nutritious foods in the proper portions and maintaining good cardiovascular health will ensure that your heart can deliver vital oxygen to your hearing system and keep it functioning properly. But even the healthiest
individual shouldn’t skip their check-ups! “Get your hearing checked annually to monitor for any changes,” says Dr. Hearne.
“Hearing is extremely unique and personal to each person, so it’s important you collaborate with a professional to achieve your better hearing goals.” The team at Family Hearing takes pride in their individual approach and customized treatment that is tailored to each patient’s lifestyle and expectations.
“As a company, we pride ourselves on old-fashioned customer service paired with the most modern and up-todate equipment and testing,” says Dr. Hearne.
If the loud concerts and noisy lawn work finally catch up to you and you experience hearing loss, it’s not a time to procrastinate or see if it gets better on its own. “It’s crucial to keep your hearing in shape and pursue immediate treatment when you start to experience hearing loss,” says Dr. Beasley. The team of doctors of audiology at Hearing HealthCare Centers is trained to partner with patients to help determine the appropriate treatment.
“We work with most insurance carriers and provide best practices within each of our locations,” says Dr. Beasley. “If you or a loved one are experiencing any signs of hearing loss, do not wait. Call and get help right away”
For more information or to find a provider, visit familyhearingco.com and hearinghealthcarecenters.com.
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Navigating cognitive decline
By Elise Oberliesen for Aging at Altitude
Ilene Naomi Rusk, Ph. D. is an expert in brain science and psychology. Her work began in Ontario, Canada as a neuropsychologist. She earned a Ph.D. in psychology and neuropsychopharmacology from the University of Birmingham, in England.
Her knowledge runs deep on matters surrounding the brainto-body connection and her commitment to this evolving field of
brain health runs even deeper.
Rusk owns The Brain & Behavior Clinic in Boulder and is the Healthy Brain Program director. Her mission is to educate people about factors that cause cognitive decline and directly work with people to delay onset.
“Mental health and stress are root causes of cognitive decline,” Rusk said, adding that other contributing factors include high blood sugar, insulin resistance and gut microbiome disturbance.
“There are data-driven things we
26 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA HEALTHY AGING
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can do that impact our cognitive health, like preventing cardiovascular illness, and better managing your diet.”
Consider the interconnection between a wide range of systems in the body. Each system contributes to overall health – including cognitive health, she says.
Rusk looks at relationships between different systems – like how the immune system, vision and dental
health create a feedback loop that delivers information from the body to the brain. And by taking care of the body, it helps protect against mental decline.
“If you’re taking care of your senses like vision and hearing, there is data to support that you are also taking care of information getting into your brain which strengthens those cognitive connections to the outside world.”
BEHAVIORS FOR BUILDING A BETTER BRAIN
What we do on a daily basis contributes to brain health – which you already know. Things like daily movement, sleep health and nutrition come to mind. The question is, how do you change bad habits? Rusk shares the payoffs tied to behavior change.
Striving for eight hours of sleep a
the right memory care facility
When the time comes to find the right memory care facility, ask questions about whether the staff can adapt to your loved one’s evolving needs, says Marcia McMahon, director of sales and marketing with Juniper Village. “No matter what a loved one’s requirements become, knowing that staff can make changes and accommodate them is important.”
Examples include changing from one person who assists with activities of daily living to two staff members. This includes assistance with showering, getting dressed or getting into bed, she said. Adaptive facilities are built on the concept of aging in place, which McMahon said will recognize peoples’ changing wants and needs along the way. Forward-thinking communities accommodate such needs by anticipating age-related changes and planning ahead, while still maintaining quality of life.
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Gloria Clarke and her daughter Sarah Kleinhans. (Photo courtesy: Sarah Kleinhans/Juniper Village).
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night is the gold standard of sleep health. Here’s why your brain cares. “Sleep affects nerves in the brain. We have a nighttime lymphatic system that clears toxins from the brain, including toxins that can cause neurodegenerative illnesses like Alzheimer’s,” Rusk said.
HEALTHY GUT, HEALTHY MIND
Knowing that food affects mood is the motivation for biting into more bananas and artichokes over processed foods in plastic wrappers. Yet many people still struggle.
“Food choices we make are based on information from our body and some of that information is related to gut microbiome
health. Permeability of the gastrointestinal tract affects how we feel and whether we feel anxiety and depression.”
EXERCISE BODY ACTIVATE BRAIN
Want more brain activation during exercise? Mix it up with five types of movement.
1. Movement classes help you memorize steps or choreography – think kickboxing or Zumba
2. Cardio builds heart health which correlates to brain health – think walking or jogging
3. Resistance training connects mind to
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muscle – focus on bicep contraction while curling a dumbbell
4. Restful restorative allows mental rest
Disability planning tips
– think yin yoga or chi gong
5. Spiritual fitness creates soul connections – think meditation
Are your legal matters in good standing? To avoid common missteps and unintended consequences, Dan Kapsak, Longmont-based estate and elder law attorney with Kapsak Estes LLC, shares legal tips to keep you on track When setting up a general power of attorney, Kapsak advises clients to keep a separate power of attorney that specifically addresses healthcare wishes His second tip: Select an “agent” which is a trusted person authorized to make legal decisions on your behalf This can catch spouses off guard when, Kapsak said, memory lapse and mental decline become evident “The loved one suffering cognitive decline should not be named as the agent in the power of attorney because they may not be capable of sound decision making ”
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Curious about Cannabis?
By Elise Oberliesen for Aging at Altitude
Are you curious about cannabis?
People drawn to this medicinal wonder plant use it for different reasons – and across multi-generational lineages. It’s not unheard of for grandma to pop an edible after a long day of skiing while her twentysomething grandson rips the bong – while both enjoy a good laugh. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties found in cannabis, kiss those body aches bye-bye and say hello to the euphoric feeling from its psychoactive properties.
As more people discover the ease of buying cannabis and the variety of uses, it’s easy to see why the plant is legal in 41 states (and Washington D.C.) for medical use, and 23 states for both medical and recreational use.
Cannabis growth means new products hit store shelves daily. And that can leave Kyle Krueger, general
manager and store director
with Starbuds in Louisville feeling like the human FAQ page. Since customers are bursting with questions, he stays current on the latest research so that customers get answers and enjoy the welcoming vibe.
Seniors who shop at Starbuds ask questions ranging from finding products to help with sleep, muscle spasms and sore knees – to experiencing the best “full body relaxation” experience – with licketysplit onset. To which Krueger recommends smoking or vaping, over edibles.
Since vaping is a newer
method of cannabis delivery, where the cartridge holds THC or CBD, Krueger is flooded with questions about how they work, who uses them and what’s inside them. Some people vape because it’s inconspicuous, as in no smoke and less smell, he said.
“People like edibles and vapes because of discretion, especially if they are timid about using THC.”
What about chemical solvents in vaping products? For consumers who want to avoid ingesting solvents, Krueger recommends a Rosin cartridge, because “it’s the closest thing to having
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Moon Mother Hemp Company was the first CBD store to open its doors in Boulder--back in 2018 “We are not a dispensary, we sell full spectrum CBD products made from certified-organic Colorado grown hemp This means it contains all bio-available cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids,” said Jessica Bates, founder and formulator of Moon Mother Hemp
Customers often ask why people take CBD and how much THC stays in their system
bud or flower in a cartridge.”
“Rosin cartridge is a clean cartridge which means solvent-less.”
What about tar? There’s some confusion about vaping cannabis vs vaping nicotine, and both have differences. In general, somewhere around 11,000 inhalations on a vape pen is equivalent to the tar load of one cigarette, Krueger said.
SAY BYE TO MUNCHIE MADNESS
Edibles brand Wana recently launched Optimals Fit, a gummy with THCv or Tetrahydrocannabivarin cannabinoid. But this is no ordinary gummy While THCv alone won’t provide a body high, based on rodent studies, research suggests it may have potential for those watching their waistlines. While more research is needed, THCv could help with appetite control and glycemic regulation in type 2 diabetes.
“Wana Fit version also helps with inflammation. It’s higher in CBD and since CBD and TCH work well together, THC works as a catalyst that gets CBD into the body,” Krueger said.
“We take time with customers to explain how these products work – and how there’s little psychoactive effect from trace amounts of THC,” she said, adding that hemp products only contain 3% THC
She also emphasized that when combined, TCH and CBD create the “entourage effect” which helps increase absorption –something that helps with product performance or relief. People use Moon Mother Hemp for sleep, anxiety and pain management, Bates said
30 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA SMART PLANNINGHEALTHY AGING
Boulder Grown Hemp. (Photo courtesy: Moon Mother Hemp).
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 31
Tips to help when downsizing
By Linda Thorsen Bond for Aging at Altitude
It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than to fit a lifetime of possessions into a much smaller space. What can you do when your closets are full, the storage area jam-packed, the garage is piled to the top and a voice bellows, “You must downsize. NOW!”
Fear not, there is help available. Aging at Altitude explored downsizing with two experts, Beth Blacker of It’s Just Stuff and Clarissa Edelen, owner of Fabulous Finds.
Blacker offers six tips for people who are surveying the detritus of a life well lived and feeling despair.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME
The founder of It’s Just Stuff said, “For a lot of people downsizing or going to assisted living is so emotionally difficult. It’s not because they want to keep everything, but they are looking back on more years than they have ahead which then makes them very nostalgic and, therefore, often just sad. I try to impress on seniors or their family members to give themselves time to
reflect, to go through, to wrap their heads around the things they have collected
all their lives and realize they can only fit so much in a small living space. It
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can paralyze them and then they emotionally shut down. It’s not something anybody should ever disparage or criticize. Allow a proper amount of time to work on it. I tell people it’s important to work as far in advance as possible.
WORK IN CHUNKS OF TIME
Downsizing takes a lot of energy. Nothing is harder than trying to do it all in one day. I recommend people sort in small chunks of time. Maybe break the work into 15- or 20-minute chunks; even set an alarm and when it goes off, stop. Then if you feel good after 5 minutes, work another chunk of time and take another break. Keep doing this for as long as you can on a given day and you will be less
likely to get overwhelmed. Remember, there’s physical effort involved, and even the mental work feels physical. Allow proper chunks of time, so that you don’t get frustrated and not want to do it.
DOWNSIZE BEFORE DOWNSIZING
We all think we have plenty of time. Every move I’ve made I’ve gotten rid of that much more stuff Don’t wait until it’s time to downsize before you start organizing things. Time is important and everything can be worked on gradually.
GIVE THINGS TO FRIENDS
My mother had quite a few designer purses. When she died, I had her friends come over and I let them each pick
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a purse they wanted to keep. It was functional and it made them smile. That’s one way to preserve the memories without maintaining the physical objects that usually become a burden to keep.
DEALING WITH PHOTOS
It’s especially hard to sort photos. The memories will be there, and the photos have stories to tell. If the photos are of anybody who is long gone and you don’t know who’s in the picture, throw it out. You can have photos you know and care about scanned and send them digitized to anyone you think would want them.
I come in to help people because I bring a fresh set of eyes, ears (listening is so important in this process)
and hands. Downsizing requires patience, compassion, empathy and vision. I help people start with the low-hanging fruit and see what they don’t need. I suggest they set themselves up for success by finding things that are easy to do at first and, therefore, they can trick their brain into accomplishing something in the first hour. When people lose momentum and motivation, and clients say, “I don’t know where to start,” I just say, “I do.” This is my superpower, but it doesn’t mean it is yours and that is okay so let go of any guilt you may be feeling and just remember it took you more than a day to collect all of your stuff so it will take more than a day to edit it all.
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 33
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Clarissa Edelen, owner of the two 5,000-squarefoot Fabulous Finds shops in Longmont, provides a new life for valuable women’s fashion and home furnishings.
Edelen said, “I love what we do. It’s a win-win business. People have to get rid of good quality fashion or home furnishings and they don’t want to donate them to a thrift store. They want to know that things they love and treasure get into the hands of people who like what they had. When people don’t want to part with things but need to, when they have to downsize for moving, for example, into independent living, that’s where we come in. We can come in and take a hard
objective look at what they have.
We do mobile consignments and can go through the whole house and select what we can sell. We are curating what comes into our stores. After 12 years I can see the trends in fashion and home design and know what we’re looking for. For example, we only take clothing that’s within the last two to three years. In the home furnishing store, we take all quality genres in design, from shabby chic to glamour and brands like Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel. We don’t take appliances except maybe a new little countertop appliance in a box like a Cuisinart. We take fine crystal, fine sterling décor items, original
artwork, and everything from rugs to chandeliers. We help people who are downsizing, someone going into assisted living and sometimes people who are moving. When a house sells, sometimes the whole kit and caboodle needs to be dealt with. We can reboot and try to accommodate that. Some of our customers are property stagers, real estate agents, interior designers, and other people with a design group who are looking to design homes that are going on the market. Edelen has a list of guidelines for working with Fabulous Finds for consignment. Go to fabfindsconsign.com/ consignment.
34 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA itsjuststuff.co
Cornerstone Orthopedics & Sports Medicine 3 Superior Drive, Suite 225, Superior, CO 80027 500 W 144th Ave, Suite 230, Westminster, CO 80023 3455 Lutheran Pkwy, Bldg 8-Suite 105, Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 www.cornerstoneorthopedics.com CALL: (303) 456-6000 Fax: (303) 420-2279 THE REGION’S RECOGNIZED EXPERTS IN ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY, SPORTS MEDICINE & PHYSICAL THERAPY Shouldn’t Your Death Plan Match Your Life Plan? (720) 515-2344 or email@example.com • TheNaturalFuneral.com LIVE and DIE Your Values We offer ecological services including: • Water Cremation • Body Composting (Natural Reduction) • Green Burial • Reverent Body Care™ Let us help document your wishes to have your body gently returned to the cycle of life.
(Photo courtesy: It’s Just Stuff).
Senior homeowners might qualify for up to $1000 through a new Senior Housing Income Tax Credit available for the 2022 tax year. The Colorado Legislature recently passed HB22-1205 to provide some relief during this time of high inflation for seniors living in apartments or lowincome housing, which is a large portion of the senior population. To qualify for the Colorado Senior Property Tax Exemption, you must be over 65 and have lived in your home for 10 years or more. The new credit is intended for the many seniors who don’t qualify for the exemption.
Residents that were 65 or older as of January 2022; have an adjusted gross income of less than $75,000; and haven’t claimed a homestead property tax exemption for the 2022 property tax year will qualify for this credit. Seniors with a federal adjusted gross income (AGI) that is $25,000 or less will receive $1000 of the credit. For every $500 of AGI above $25,000, the amount of the credit is reduced by $10. “There are additional rules whether you file individually or jointly so ask your
accountant for more details,” says Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) Dale Pearson. “This tax credit is small but can help during these inflationary times.”
The easiest way to get the credit is to file a Colorado state tax return. Even if you have no tax liability, you may be eligible for the credit. Luckily, while many credits can no longer be claimed after April 15, the Senior Housing Income Tax Credit will be available until at least October 15. Even if you’re a senior that doesn’t qualify for this credit, you can still benefit from years of appreciation if you’ve been in your home for some time. That equity can assist you if a move is in your plans. “It’s important to have a plan, whether you’re buying or selling a home in this market,” says Pearson.
“A Realtor with SRES Designation can answer your questions and assist in the process so that you can have success in achieving your specific goals. Some Realtors with the SRES Designation are also seniors themselves and have actual first-hand experience with downsizing and seniorspecific relocation needs.”
> Visit Vejrostek Tax & Financial at the upcoming Aging at Altitude Expo on April 22 (see page 42) for more information about the New Senior Housing tax credit.
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 35
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End-of-life planning includes new options
By Shelley Widhalm for Aging at Altitude
Planning for hospice care and end-oflife services during happier moments frees up the decision at a time when friends and families already might be grieving.
“There isn’t second guessing on the family’s part that they’re doing the right thing,” said Seth Viddal, co-owner and chief executive officer of The Natural Funeral.
When it comes to end-of-life planning, the conventional decision is either burial or cremation, but in recent years, body composting and water cremation have become additional options.
The Natural Funeral, a holistic funeral home and cremation services provider, opened in March 2019 shortly after the state approved water cremation, expanding to natural organic reduction in September 2021 when the state approved it for body disposition. The Natural Funeral provides
both procedures at its ecological center in Arvada and has funeral homes in Lafayette, its global headquarters, and Loveland.
“They both are very environmentally friendly, and they return our bodies to the earth in the form of gifts,” Viddal said. “It changes the last act from something that pollutes to something good for the earth.”
Water cremation, scientifically known as alkaline hydrolysis, is a process that involves placing the body in a chamber and using water, heat and alkaline chemicals to accelerate natural decomposition. In three to four hours, the body becomes a sterile liquid containing no DNA or pathogens, but only scientifically measurable elements. Those include macronutrients like nitrogen,
Planning for hospice care and end-oflife services during happier moments frees up the decision at a time when friends and families already might be grieving
phosphorus and potassium and micronutrients like calcium and magnesium that can nourish growing plants. There isn’t any pollution, like with flame cremation, and it’s more energy efficient because natural gas does not have to be burned to incinerate the body. The Natural Funeral is the first company in Colorado to offer the service and has provided the service to 400 families so far.
Natural organic reduction, commonly called body composting, is a process that uses biology instead of chemistry. It works like garden or industrial composting, where microbes break down biological and biodegradable materials into a nutrient-rich, organic material that can be put back into the soil.
“This is a two- to fourmonth-long process. We call
it the long goodbye,” Viddal said.
The process takes place in a chrysalis vessel in a controlled environment, where temperature, air flow and moisture levels are monitored. Body composting sequesters more than a thousand pounds of carbon from the environment and does not use any energy or cause any pollution, Viddal said.
“This is by far the funeral choice with the most positive environmental footprint available to anyone in the world,” Viddal said.
Greenwood & Myers Mortuary in Boulder added water cremation and body composting in 2022. The mortuary opened in 2011 and added a Frederick location in 2022 and two years ago began offering receptions in Boulder.
“Families can do everything in the same place without having to relocate to a restaurant or someone’s home,” said Mike Greenwood, co-owner of Greenwood & Myers Mortuary
36 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA
Individuals considering end-of-life options can make the prearrangements by sitting down with a funeral director or counselor. They can decide if they want the funeral service at their home or a funeral home; how they want the casket or urn to look; and what they want during the service, such as music, liturgies and floral arrangements. They also may want to honor their spiritual beliefs, customs and traditions, as well as their values, such as being environmentally friendly or acknowledging their love of nature or being on the water.
Prepaying for the arrangements and service locks in the current price and removes the financial burden from the family, especially at a time of grieving.
“It’s about documenting it and making sure the plan you want is what you get,” Viddal said.
Preplanning involves four stages, starting with deciding on a burial or cremation and the type of service, whether a traditional funeral, memorial or interment, said Jeffrey Hunter, owner of Peace of Mind Services in Brighton. The other stages include deciding what to spend, determining to pay now or at the time of death, and sharing a filled-out planning guide with loved ones.
“It’s letting loved ones know who to call, what your wishes are and where the information is kept,” Hunter said. “That’s the biggest thing is helping people make sure their affairs are in order, and preplanning is a wise thing to do.”
Alternatively, hospice planning starts with
eligibility and a patient decision, said Chad Hartmann, director of access and palliative services for TRU Community Care, a nonprofit based in Louisville. To be eligible, patients need two physicians to sign an order stating they have a terminal illness life expectancy of six months or less and that they do not seek curative or prolonged treatment, he said.
The patients opt for comfort care and agree to not seek hospitalization except for unrelated things. They receive their care at home or where they may be staying, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, or at TRU Care’s in-patient unit for symptoms needing 24-hour oversight or up to five days of respite care for caregivers.
“A lot of it is educating the community what hospice is,” Hartmann said. “People think you die right away, but once patients are in hospice care where their symptoms are managed or their pain is under control, they might live longer than previously thought.”
Hospice care looks at the entirety of care for patients through an interdisciplinary team approach that includes a physician, RN, CNA, social worker and chaplain.
“It is encompassing the whole being, not just the illness the patient is going through,” Hartmann said.
“It’s allowing for us to help those patients live their last six months the way they want their life to be lived.”
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 37
What does your retirement picture look like? Picture your grandparents’ retirement
By Gabe Bodner
What did life look like back then? How much did a gallon of gas cost? How much did a dozen eggs cost? How much did a bottle of soda cost? How much did homes cost? Now visualize your retirement. Does it look the same? What’s different?
If you are like me, you would agree that everything has changed! My future retirement will not look anything close to my parents or grandparents’ retirement and I am sure you would say the same. Part of the
difference is not just the cost of living and home prices, but life is very different today than what it was 30, 40, 50 and 60 years ago! Medicine, technology, cars, pensions, life expectancy, more technology, etc.
When we think about how retirement has changed and how it is done today, I would also argue that the tools used for retirement are different today. My mother was a teacher for 30+ years and receives a pension. My grandparents lived a very modest, mediocre (at best) retirement on social security, with no savings and never splurged and never took any vacations. When I visualize my retirement, I do not expect to receive a pension and I do not plan to sit in a rocking chair for 30 years and grow old and skip out on travel and seeing family
and friends. I want to live a long, fun filled retirement with purpose and meaning. With that, I expect that I will need a lot of money to do all of those things along with fulfilling my bucket list!
So, what tools do I need to secure in order to achieve the retirement that I dream about? First, I will need to eliminate some monthly expenses in order to incur new expenses. Let’s face it, if my income is less in retirement, then ultimately my expenses need to be reduced as well. Therefore, I will first want to eliminate my mortgage payment
38 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA SMART PLANNING
which is likely my largest monthly expense. On top of reducing expenses, how will I pay for all the trips and activities that I want to take? The money I have saved in my 401K and my IRA will likely not be enough to cover a 30-year retirement. Ultimately, that money is designed to help replace lost income in retirement. What if I tap into my home equity to access some additional cash to cover larger expenses in retirement like travel and home improvement? How do I do that without incurring a new monthly expense and do it safely? I can’t do that with a 30-year mortgage or a 15year mortgage or a HELOC (home equity line of credit). Even if the interest rate is 2.5 or 3 or 4%, it still requires me to pay it back, right?
Well, the answer is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. This is a tool that allows you to access a portion of your home’s equity and not have to make monthly payments, bingo! You can make payments, but you are simply not required to make payments. This is the most incredible, most flexible retirement planning tool that exists today! Seriously...you can access some of the equity in your home while continuing to own your home, without ever having to pay it back until you sell the house or you pass away (you still need to pay your property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and HOA dues if applicable). Additionally, if you live in your home for the rest of your life and you never
sell your home, your heirs can inherit your home and they will pay back the loan using the proceeds of the sale of the home or other assets. If the balance ends up being greater than the value of the home upon sale, the heirs cannot be held liable either because this is a non-recourse mortgage to boot! Oh yeah, and you do not need to pay any income taxes on the equity that you take out because it is not considered income (this is not tax or financial advice). So, what’s the catch? There isn’t any...seriously! Okay, the catch is you must be at least 62 years old to qualify (there are similar programs that are available starting at age 55). Yes, that’s right for all of you who are in your 30s, 40s and 50s, you have
to wait a few more years to get your Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. I can tell you now, I will get mine as soon as I am eligible!
This is the most powerful retirement tool that exists today. It is a very flexible and financially smart strategy that can increase your cash flow, enhance your overall quality of life, and improve your probability of success in retirement.
Gabe Bodner is a retirement mortgage planner and licensed mortgage originator in Colorado. To reach Gabe, call 720.600.4870, e-mail email@example.com or visit reversemortgagesco.com.
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Estate planning 101
Local attorneys define agents, wills, trusts and more
By Julie Kailus for Aging at Altitude
When it comes to your estate, planning ahead makes all the difference. Considering your estate when you are younger and healthier gives you more options.
“The longer you wait to plan your estate the more your choices narrow. Choices about avoiding estate tax. Choices about qualifying for Medicaid long-term nursing care,” says Diedre Wachbrit Braverman, Esq, Braverman Law Group.
A planned approach also gives you time to pick the best people to carry out your wishes.
WHO SHOULD BE IN CHARGE?
Many people choose the wrong decision-makers to administer their will, trust or act as their agent under power of attorney. This can create costly litigation, according to Susie Germany of Germany Law Firm.
“I often hear clients say they want to choose their eldest child. But when I ask what that person does for a living, how responsible they
are with their finances and whether they communicate regularly with family members, the answer is
often surprising,” Germany says. “Many people feel that the tradition is to pick the eldest child, regardless
40 AGING AT ALTITUDE BOULDER DAILY CAMERA SMART PLANNING
Hear More, Laugh More, Love More Come connect with us at our booth at the Aging at Altitude event on April 22 Family HEARING 303.857.5836 www.familyhearingco.com
of the fact they may have had bankruptcies, divorces, criminal convictions or other complications.”
Instead, if you plan ahead you’ll have the opportunity to “interview” various family members, friends and professionals. “Often people fear the cost of naming professional,” she says. “However, that can be less expensive than family members fighting it out in court, challenging the ‘favorite’ child who was named personal representative, trustee or agent.”
TYPES OF WILLS AND TRUSTS
Everyone’s situation is unique and estate planning requires careful individualized considerations. For a will to be administered, it goes through a court process called probate that transfers assets from a person who has died to those entitled to inherit those assets.
“A will is always a ticket to probate. The alternative to probate is a revocable living trust,” Braverman says. “You place your assets in it but keep total control. If you become incapacitated, the living trust names who will step in and help you with your finances. When you die, every asset in the living trust avoids probate.”
Trust planning typically avoids the need for probate. But there are many types of trusts, not every person needs a trust and the type of trust depends on each person’s situation. For instance, a trust can be created for pets, children or people who are receiving
public benefits, like Medicaid.
People are often spooked by the cost of having their estate plan prepared by an attorney. However, the cost of this planning is far below the cost of administering an estate for someone who has no will, or whose estate is being contested, explains Germany.
TIPS FOR PICKING AN ESTATE PLANNER
Having an attorney who specializes in estate planning on your side can alleviate stress. Braverman shared five ways to pick a good one: Find a specialized practice. Estate planning can be a complex area of law, so it’s essential to choose an attorney who specializes in estate planning and administration.
Check credentials. Review attorney bios, education, years of practice and any examples of teaching this type of law. Read Google reviews on the attorneys you’re considering.
Consider communication style. During an interview, look for an attorney who is easy to talk to, responsive and explains complex legal concepts understandably.
Discuss fees. You should be quoted a fixed fee at or after the end of your free initial consultation. Be sure you understand what’s included in the fee.
Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and keep looking until you find an attorney who you feel can handle something as important as planning your estate.
SPRING 2023 AGING AT ALTITUDE 41
® NOCOSTReferralService.Don’tStart YourSearchWithoutCallingUsFirst! In-Home Companion Care, Independent Living,Assisted Living, and Memory Care Communities PersonalizedTouring, PersonalizedAssistance Maureen Walker Owner/SeniorAdvisor Cell: 970-310-4307 www.AssistedLivingLocators.com Facebook.com/ALLNoCoSeniors LindsayAdams CareAdvisor Cell:303-775-6312 Affordable Senior Living Apartments in Boulder 1055 Adams Circle Boulder, CO 80303 Schedule A Tour 303-444-3967 gwboulder.org
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