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• • • Behind the Scenes: A Profile of Mary Alhart • • • How Health Insurance Marketplaces Will Help Early Retirees How Popular Are EReaders? Just Ask Yaya Book Club Members Golf: Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Injuries

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Two Rochester Icons: George Gines, Jines Restaurant

PLUS Issue July / August 2013

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

MCC Prof: Never Too Late To Be Who You Want To Be

Buying a House? See what you need to consider before doing it

DR. PAT BOMBA 10

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Financial

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55 PLUS

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July / August 2013

PLUS

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Savvy Senior 6 Real Estate 8 Financial Health 10 My Turn 16 Long-Term Care 45 Visits 47 Linda Smith, a Victor resident, discusses the program Neighbors in Ministry to Seniors. Page 50

CONTENTS

Got a story idea? editor@roc55.com

11 TECHNOLOGIES

• E-readers popularity growing fast. Just ask the Yaya Book Club members

14 PROFILE

• Behind the scenes. A profile of Mary Alhart

20 SOCIALIZING

• Now, that’s a way to have fun. Meet the Rochester Single Fun Raisers

32 28 RETIREMENT

• Is Upstate a good place to retire?

30 TRENDS

• Staycations are here to stay

32 SUCCESS

• George Gines, Jines Restaurant

34 LIVING

• The art of “living in place”

22 COVER

37 REAL ESTATE

26 SPORTS

39 LIFE

• Rochester physician Pat Bomba making a mark on end-of-life issues

• Golf: Simple things you can do to avoid injuries this season

39

• Things to keep in mind before buying a house?

• MCC prof: Never too late to be who you want to be July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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savvy senior By Jim Miller

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How Health Insurance Marketplaces Will Help Early Retirees

he new health insurance exchanges — also known as Health Insurance Marketplaces — that begin in 2014 will be a welcome benefit to millions of Americans who need health insurance, especially uninsured baby boomers and pre-Medicare retirees who often have a difficult time finding affordable coverage.

How It Will Work As part of the Affordable Care Act, starting Oct. 1 you will be able to shop and compare health insurance policies in your area, and enroll in one directly through your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace website. The policies will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. You’ll also be happy to know that federal law dictates that Marketplace insurers cannot deny you coverage or charge you higher rates based on preexisting health conditions, and they can’t charge women more than men. But they can charge older customers more than younger ones — up to three times more. Every state will have a Marketplace, but each state can choose how it will operate. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia will run their own state-based Marketplace, seven states will partner with the federal government, and 26 states will offer federal Marketplaces. The differences between federal and state programs will be subtle. You will be able to access your state’s Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov. The policies available through these Marketplaces will be sold by insurance companies and will provide a package of 10 essential benefits, including emergency services, hospital care, lab services, prescription drugs, doctor visits, preventive care, rehab services and maternity care. To make shopping and comparing a little easier, the health plans will 6

55 PLUS - July / August 2013

be divided into four different levels — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — each offering similar benefits but with a different cost structure. The bronze plan will have the lowest monthly premiums but have highest out-of-pocket costs, while the platinum plans will have the highest premiums but the lowest deductibles and copayments. The Marketplaces will also offer a toll-free hotline to help you choose a plan that meets your needs and budget. These helpers aren’t associated with any particular plan, and they aren’t on any type of commission, so the help they give you will be completely unbiased.

Costs and Tax-Credits Prices will vary depending on where you live, your age and the health plan you choose. Exact cost structures for most Marketplaces will be released within the next few months. To help make coverage affordable, sliding scale tax-credits will be available if you earn less than 400 percent of the poverty level — that’s $45,960 for a single person and $62,040 for couples. These tax-credit subsidies will provide immediate savings off your monthly premiums. To find out if you qualify, or see how much a tax-credit will reduce your monthly costs, you’ll need to submit a Marketplace application in October, or when you decide enroll. In the meantime, you can calculate your potential tax-credit premium savings by using the Kaiser Family Foundation calculator at healthreform.kff.org — click on “Interactive Features” and then scroll down to “Subsidy Calculator.” For more information on the Health Insurance Marketplaces including a checklist of things you can do now to help you choose a plan, visit healthcare.gov/marketplace.

55PLUS Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Contributing Writers

Deborah J. Sergeant, Ernst Lamothe Jr. Jason Schultz, Suzanne Ellis Lynette Loomis, Beth Emley Ken Little, Deborah Blackwell

Columnists

Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller, Kimberlie Barrett Bruce Frassinelli

Advertising

Jennifer Wise, Donna Kimbrell

Office Manager

Laura J. Beckwith

Layout and Design Chris Crocker

Cover Photo

Chuck Wainwright 55 PLUS –A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area is published six times a year by Local News, Inc., which also publishes In Good Health–Rochester–Genesee Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper.

Health in good

Rochester–Genesee Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Mailing Address PO Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 Subscription: $15 a year © 2013 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area. No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 3071

How to Reach Us P.O. Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 Voice: 585-421-8109 Fax: 585-421-8129 Editor@roc55.com


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Reach the Fastest Growing Population in the Rochester Area 55 PLUS magazine recently had its distribution audited by the Circulation Verification Council. Here are some of the results:

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July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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real estate

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55 PLUS - July / August 2013

By Kimberlie Barrett

Who Represents You in a Real Estate Transaction

F

or decades there was no such thing as buyer representation. Historically, all agents worked for the seller because the seller paid the commission. Agents worked with buyers not for them. An agent would meet a buyer and show the buyer several homes. Upon deciding to purchase, the agent wrote the offer, called the seller’s agent and presented the offer in person. Prior to agency disclosure the agent presenting the offer was obligated to share with the seller anything that the buyer might have disclosed to the agent. If the buyer told the agent to present an offer for $85,000 and disclosed that they would go as high as $95,000, the agent was obligated to disclose this fact if the seller asked. At some point, the question became, “Who is representing the buyer’s interest?” and hence agency disclosure was born. There are four parties to a real estate transaction: A buyer’s agent, a buyer, a seller’s agent and a seller. Keep in mind that it is the real estate broker and company that have the relationship with the buyer or seller not the individual agent who is simply a representative of the brokerage agency. A real estate broker is held by law to owe specific duties to his or her principal/client in addition to duties or obligations set forth in a listing contract such as an Exclusive Right to Sell Agreement or buyer’s contract like an Exclusive Right to Represent Agreement. Fiduciary duties include honesty, confidentiality, disclosure, loyalty, obedience (of lawful instruction), reasonable care and diligence and accountability. If the brokerage represents the seller in a client relationship, then the buyer is considered a customer. In a customer relationship a seller’s agent still owes the buyer three things:

honesty, disclosure of material facts (that which can be seen as opposed to a latent defect which is hidden) and an obligation to define agency to a customer at the point of “substantive contact” or that point in the conversation where the buyer (in this example) begins to share information that could potentially compromise the buyer’s later position to negotiate should they pursue making an offer to purchase. It happens. Buyers wonder into an open house without their own agent to represent them and their excitement starts to grow as they find the home they were looking for. I tell buyers no matter how much they love a particular piece of property, it might be best if they contain their interest in the presence of the seller or seller’s agent. Remember the seller’s agent owes the seller disclosure, which might mean sharing how much the buyer loves the seller’s home and the likelihood that a higher price might be attainable if the buyer starts with a lower offer. More damaging to a buyer is a conversation in which the buyer discloses that they have inherited a lot of money or are in a position to purchase without having to sell their current property. This information could have the ability to affect the outcome of a potential offer and the price that is ultimately reached between the buyer and the seller. My best advice is to hire an agent to represent your best interest and not disclose sensitive information to agents who do not. Kimberlie Barrett is president, broker and owner of Magellan®, Inc. Real Estate & Relocation located in Brighton. She has more than 31 years of experience serving the Rochester real estate market. For more information, contact her at Kim@1Magellan.com or 585-233-6111.


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financial health By Jim Terwilliger

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Updating Your Beneficiary Designations

e constantly remind clients to review their estate plans, making sure that wills and other estate planning documents (powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies) are up to date. Doing so is necessary but not nearly sufficient. What is equally important is to review and update beneficiary designations. Why? First, beneficiary designations trump the will. That is, assets such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, qualified employer retirement plans, life insurance death benefits, and deferred annuities all pass to heirs via beneficiary designations provided to plan administrators by the owner. Generally, the will only becomes involved when no beneficiaries are named. In this case, the estate is the default beneficiary. Second, it is far better to name individuals and/or charities as beneficiaries of IRAs and qualified employer retirement plans rather than the estate. The ability to roll over or inherit, then ultimately “stretch” pretax accounts over the individual beneficiaries’ lifetimes, is worth its weight in gold. If a beneficiary is not named and the estate becomes the default beneficiary, the estate is generally required to liquidate the entire account and pay the resulting income tax on such at highly-aggressive ordinary income tax rates. Naming a charity as full or partial beneficiary of IRA, qualified employer plan, and deferred annuity accounts containing pre-tax dollars is a very smart option to consider. By doing so, not a penny of income tax will ever be paid on these assets. Rather than leave after-tax dollars to the charity and pre-tax dollars to 10

55 PLUS - July / August 2013

family members who will then have to pay income tax when distributions are ultimately taken, consider doing just the opposite. Fund charitable bequests from pre-tax accounts via beneficiary designation and fund bequests to family members from after-tax accounts via the will. The beauty of the latter is that after-tax assets get a step up in tax cost basis on death, resulting in no income tax consequence to the heirs. The above guidance does not hold for Roth IRAs. They should always be passed along to individuals either directly or through a trust. Life insurance death benefits are directed by beneficiary designation. Generally, it is best to direct such proceeds to individuals or trusts. This ensures that the money flows immediately and is not delayed awaiting probate. In some instances, directing these proceeds or a portion to the estate is advised to ensure that the estate has adequate liquidity. Some additional planning issues follow below. Name contingent beneficiaries — In most cases, contingent (and sometimes third-level beneficiaries) should be named. This takes care of situations in which the primary and/or contingent beneficiaries pass first. It also allows for a hierarchy of pathways in case primary and/or contingent beneficiaries wish to disclaim part or all of the bequest. This is a flexible and smart estate planning tactic. Be specific — When naming individuals, it is best to list specific names and associated information (date of birth, Social Security number, relationship, address, and percentage of total allocation) rather than just referring to a class of beneficiaries (children, for example). Keep designations up to date — Typically, beneficiary designations

are made over a period of years, oftentimes over decades. Over such a span of time, family members die and/or are born, marriages dissolve, and other circumstances change. It is no wonder that designations can end up to be highly inconsistent across one’s IRAs, employer retirement plans, and life insurance policies. Don’t guess on this one. Make a list of all accounts/policies that have beneficiary designations, contact the associated administrators, and confirm. Correct any inconsistencies by filing new forms. Be sure to keep updated copies of all beneficiary designation forms in your personal files. Consider the financial and emotional readiness of your beneficiaries — Pre-tax accounts and life insurance proceeds left directly to beneficiaries generally can be fully accessed by such beneficiaries. In other words, they can be emptied and spent. If your heirs are not prepared to handle such an inheritance, consider appropriately-designed trusts as beneficiaries. With trusts created during your lifetime or at death through your will, you can specify the ground rules and timeframe for your beneficiaries’ access to the assets. Seek professional guidance — As with other important financial matters, be sure to partner with a trusted financial planner and an attorney to ensure that the design of your beneficiary designation array represents your interests and is consistent with your overall estate plan. This exercise is much too important to try on your own. James Terwilliger, CFP®, is senior vice president, Financial Planning Manager, Wealth Strategies Group, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. He can be reached at 585-419-0670 ext. 50630 or by email at jterwilliger@cnbank.com.


55+

technologies

I Just Love My E-Reader

More seniors are choosing to read books on devices such as Kindle, Nook and others. And they love it By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

A

t 8 9 , B a r b Wo l f e o f Canandaigua seems an unlikely person to embrace recent technology. But don’t believe the stereotype that older people can’t — or won’t — learn new technology. Though she uses her Nook now, Wolfe confesses that three years ago, after her son had given her the ereader, she “didn’t care for the e-reader at all at first.” She missed handling the book, smelling the paper and turning the pages. Once she became used to the lack of the tactile experience of reading and became used to the Nook’s controls, “I began to like it,” she said. “Now I like it very much.” Wolfe can easily adjust the font

size instead of waiting for a print copy to become available so she can keep up with the reading for Yaya Book Club in Canandaigua. “I can order books and have them within an hour,” she said. “I don’t have to even go to the library to get them.” She has read about 24 e-books, mostly history and romance. Four of the 10 members in the club use ereaders, and most of them are 70 or older. “I am very grateful for my ereader,” Wolfe said. Carolyn Eltscher, 80, of Rochester, calls her Kindle “a lifesaver.” “I had to give up books because of the magnification I needed. The ebooks are easy to carry around, too,”

Almost half of the members at the Yaya Book Club in Canandaigua prefer e-readers such as Nook and Kindle. Shown from left at back are Barb Wolfe, Pat Heckman, Nancy Johnsen, Sue Howard, Cathy Van Vechten, Sharon Jaynes, Katie Pirozi. Front: Sally Maxson, Joyce Bradley, Shirley George. Photo courtesy Barb Wolf. Eltscher said. Daniel Jones teaches computer technology to seniors in the Rochester area. He has found that most of his students can easily use electronic books. “I’ve taught people who’ve never been on a computer their whole lives and the No. 1 reason is fear,” Jones said. “Some admit it and some won’t and make excuses, like, ‘That’s for the young people’ or ‘I’ll never be able to do that.’ Once they get over that fear, and embrace it, it opens up a whole new world for them. It helps them feel connected and engaged in the world.” He said that tablets and e-readers are very popular. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS 11 11


“Usually, they really like the format,” he said. “I always suggest to buy the best tablet they can afford. They’ll be able to read books and do everything they want as far as Internet use, instead of just read books. “Depending on what e-reader you have, you can email excerpts of magazine articles to your friends. You can share what you’re reading or what your interests are with friends and family.” You can also download and listen to audio books electronically. With the cost of the technology plummeting, it may be time to consider a tablet or e-reader. If you buy many books, the initial investment in equipment may help you save big, both for the cost of purchasing books and in the space that standard books require. Of course, checking out books from the library is free for either format, but e-books offer additional convenience for borrowers, too. Electronic books lack the traditional look, feel and smell of paper books, which some purists may miss. Though the layout of e-books often mimics printed ones, the tactile experience is different, as Wolfe found. Paper books are harder to damage, too. A little moisture or being dropped can spell disaster for an e-reader or 12

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Daniel Jones teaches computer technology to seniors in the Rochester area. He said tablets and e-readers are very popular among his students. tablet, unlike their paper counterparts. Paper books require no charging or technology upgrades, which can be intimidating if you are unfamiliar with electronics. The Wood Library Association, part of the OWWL system that includes Ontario, Wayne, Wyoming, and Livingston counties, has offered e-books since 2008. Director Jenny Goodemote said that many seniors who receive ereaders as gifts come to the library to ask for help in learning how to use them. “It’s been an explosion of people coming into the library asking for help in how to use their devices,” she said. “The staff has to keep up-to-date with technology to show the older crowd. Our classes are always full of seniors when it comes to anything technology.”


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profile

Behind the Scenes:

Mary Alhart Don Alhart’s wife making sure no one misses a beat a home By Beth Emley

T

he most senior television news anchor in Rochester, Don Alhart of WHAM-TV NEWS (Channel 13), has taken the pulse of the community for over 40 years. But as the old saying goes, behind every great man there’s a great woman. And back at home in the Alhart household, Don’s wife, Mary, has an equally steady hand on the family’s pulse — making sure no one misses a beat. The couple’s story began when the two met when he was hosting a Miss Rochester Pageant and she was one of the contestants. They married in 1970. Mary, 63, and Don, 69, have three adult children—Todd, Jennifer and Jon. They also have three grandchildren and a fourth on the way. Except for a brief period when she worked as a secretary for Eastman Kodak early in their marriage, Mary has been a homemaker most of her married life. “I make it all happen. I know what our kids are doing and I tie it all together. I am the main link and the behind-the-scenes coordinator,” Mary said. She’s a petite brunette with a flair for fashion and an appearance that belies her age. She acknowledges that she’s the one who keeps everything at home running smoothly. She’s cooked and cleaned and kept the children’s schedules straight for years. Mary admitted their life hasn’t always been carefree. When she and 14

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Don were first married, she wondered if everything would come together. “I quit work after I was pregnant with our first child,” she said. Finances were tight. But, in time, she said the two realized it made sense for her to stay home since Don worked afternoon and evening hours. “Having one of us at home, the kids didn’t suffer much,” she said. Don was there for all their activities and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, he would come home for a family dinner between newscasts, she said.

Looking dapper Over the years, Mary has also managed to keep an eye on the smaller details, like helping Don look good on camera. The couple goes to the same hairdresser and she picks out all his ties. “Sometimes I’ve texted Don [while he was on the air] and told him. ‘Pull the tie up,’” she said with a smile. Don isn’t the only newscaster Mary enjoys watching on television, friend Carol Floreano said. Mary also loves Father Jonathan Morris, a news analyst for Fox News Channel. His good looks aren’t lost on Mary, Floreano said. She said her friend giggles when she calls the newscaster “hot.” “Knowing this, my husband invited Father Jonathan to be the guest speaker at the Italian Heritage Gala last year so Mary got to enjoy an evening with him and was seated next to him at our table,” Floreano said. Television news is but one of Mary’s interests. Floreano admires Mary’s knack for presenting herself and her home in the best possible light. “She’s a very passionate woman and her home reflects that. She likes to garden, read, and shop and you never see her out without being put together,” Floreano said. “Even with raising a family, she’s kept everything at pace no matter what. Everything is always done well.” When Mary looks back on the hours and the demands of Don’s job over the years, she acknowledged that it has often been tough to keep work

and family life separate. Even during time at home, the couple is always conscious of what’s going on in the world. “ Y o u can’t live with someone all the time and not be involved,” she said. “We have it [news] on all the time.” D o n s a i d The Alharts vacationing in Aruba. “If we could, we would his wife is often live there,” Mary Ahart said of the island paradise. more absorbed with the news than he is. She gets up While newsgathering can take its before him most weekdays and often, toll, Mary said the couple makes time she’ll be sitting downstairs having for relaxation and fun. coffee and watching the news. They both enjoy exercising. “I “A lot of times I will find out what started exercising about three years is going on from her,” he said. ago. I get up every day at 7 a.m. and walk three miles,” she said. As for Business comes first Don, he leaves the house around 1:30 On several occasions, big stories to 2 p.m. on workdays to exercise have interrupted family time. at the Jewish Community Center in For instance, Mary recalled Brighton. delaying the family’s vacation to the They go out to dinner together Adirondacks after the Kali Poulton every Saturday night and every year, murder story broke in 1994. This they take a vacation to Aruba. past Christmas Eve 2012, Mary said “If we could, we would live there,” news of the Webster fire and shooting Mary said of the island paradise. coincided with the family’s plans to get In reality, however, it doesn’t together with their daughter and son- look like the couple will be making in-law for a holiday gathering. retirement plans soon. Earlier this year, B u t t h e m o s t m e m o r a b l e Don signed a contract to keep working “interruption” of family plans at least another three years and as a happened when she was pregnant result, the couple has no specific plans with their son, Jon, back in November for their retirement years. of 1978. Mary said she’s grateful Don has Mary said she was in the hospital had such a long career. and Don had the care of the other two “We’ve been fortunate he’s done children. Don was supposed to take something he loves,” she said. the kids to breakfast in her absence. For his part, Don says he Instead, news of a big fire at the couldn’t have achieved his career Holiday Inn in Greece broke, which success without Mary’s support and sent Don out to cover the story. strength. That morning, when Mary couldn’t “For her to have adjusted to the reach anyone at home, she called a hours and the type of job it (news neighbor for an update. “Is the car casting) is, it’s really a compliment to there?” she asked. her,” he said. When she was told no, Mary To be sure, Mary Alhart has kept responded, “He’s probably out chasing the pulse — and hasn’t missed a a fire.” And that’s where he was. She beat. smiled at the memory. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

15


my turn

By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

My Crush on Annette Funicello

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Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me. M-I-C-K-E Y M-O-U-S-E

o the strains of this catchy march, the “Mickey Mouse Club” debuted on Oct. 3, 1955, on ABC-TV, right after “Bandstand,” and this entranced 16year-old high school sophomore was there from the beginning. In those days, “Bandstand” was a local show that aired on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, and its host was Bob Horn, predecessor to Dick Clark. “Bandstand” went national in 1957, and its name changed to “American Bandstand.” It was by accident that I saw the first broadcast of the “Mickey Mouse Club,” on our 12-inch RCA TV, probably because I had been watching “Bandstand” until 5 p.m. and didn’t bother turning off the set. After the opening intro, the “Mouseketeers” marched by to introduce themselves. When I saw 13-year-old Annette Funicello, I was instantly smitten. She was the first of three major teen-age crushes. The others were French sexpot Brigitte Bardot and Italian film star Sophia Loren, but I fell hardest for Annette. Annette was different. She was cute, perky, innocent and chaste, even though I had an enormous curiosity and fascination about those two developing points coming from her chest that pushed ever so slightly through her Mouseketeer uniform. Annette Funicello died in April at the age of 70, ravaged by multiple sclerosis which slowly sapped her energy, mobility, speech and, eventually her life. When I saw the NBC Nightly News Report the day she died, I choked up and couldn’t talk for a few minutes. My wife, Marie, couldn’t believe it. As a hard and crusty life-long journalist, I did not give in to tears easily. I explained to Marie that an important part of 16

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my teenage memory bank had been withdrawn, and I was very sad. I remember someone once told me that those “good old days” were really never as good as we remember them, but the mind is a great filter to make them seem more special and unique than they really were. Maybe that is true of a lot of things, but not with Annette. No, my crush on Annette was no flash-in-the-pan. I watched her intently every weekday from 5 to 6. I sometimes had to outwit my mom, because that was our dinner hour. I kept making up excuses — had to go to the bathroom, forgot to wash my hands, had to change my socks and on and on. Finally, my mother capitulated and agreed to wait until 6 p.m. to eat. When I tried to explain this to my disgruntled father, who wanted to eat earlier, he could not understand how his hunger had to play second fiddle to a 13-year-old girl. When I told him that her last name was “Funicello,” my Italian immigrant father smiled slightly and was somewhat mollified. I wrote to Annette numerous times, complimenting her on her singing and dancing abilities. Once, I even confessed, in great and specific detail, that I was madly in love with her and would be eternally grateful if she were to return the feelings. Not surprisingly, I never received a response. But it didn’t matter. I knew she was busy. I enjoyed most of the “Mickey Mouse Club” cast, including head Mouseketeer Jimmy Dodd, Big Mouseketeer Roy Williams and Annette’s contemporaries, Darlene Gillespie, Cubby O’Brien, Karen Pendleton, Bobby Burgess (who went on to fame on the Lawrence Welk Show), Sharon Baird and Doreen

Tracey. Johnny Crawford, who later starred on The Rifleman series with Chuck Connors, was on the show the first season only. Each day had a theme: Monday was Fun with Music, Tuesday was Guest Star day, Wednesday’s theme was Anything Can Happen, Thursday was the Circus, and Friday was Talent Roundup, my favorite. Friday was the day when Annette really showed off her dancing and singing talents. She looked so cute in that cowgirl outfit she would frequently wear during “roundup” day. Annette Funicello was born on Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica. When she was just 3, the family moved from Central New York to North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley. She instantly became the most popular of the Mouseketeers, but some critics said a large amount of the fan mail she received came from her large and extended family in Central New York. When the “Mickey Mouse Club” ended, Walt Disney kept her under contract, and she went on to have


a successful career as a solo singer recording more than 200 songs. Some of her big hits were “O Dio Mio,” “Tall Paul,” “First Name Initial” and “Pineapple Princess.” Her friend and musical director, Tutti Camarata, was instrumental in developing the “Annette Sound” by double-tracking her voice to make it appear stronger. I instantly hated singer Paul Anka when he and Annette became an item. Anka even wrote his big hit “Puppy Love” about their relationship. When she was 22, she began starring with singer Frankie Avalon in a series of insipid beach movies, including the first one “Beach Party” (1963), “Beach Blanket Bingo” and “How to Stuff A Wild Bikini.” She promised Walt Disney that she would never wear a skimpy bikini in these movies and kept her promise by wearing one- or two-piece suits which never revealed too much of her ample charms. She and Avalon had a reunion in the 1987 film “Back to the Beach.” It was during the filming of this movie that Funicello suffered physical issues which led to the M.S. diagnosis. In 1986, I thought I was finally going to fulfill my lifelong dream and meet my teenage crush. She was listed as one of the stars who would appear at the 15th anniversary media spectacular to celebrate Disney World’s success in Orlando. At the last minute, she canceled because she was still filming “Back to the Beach.” Even though I interviewed Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Gloria Estefan and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger during that extraordinary weekend, I was crushed that I never got to meet my first love, Annette Funicello. Upon news of her death, Bob Iger, Disney chairman and chief executive, summed it up best for those of us who were beguiled by this enchanting and unassuming darling with the funny mouse ears: “Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word ‘Mouseketeer’ and a true Disney legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside….”

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                 

      

 

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To advertise on this page, call 585-421-8109 or email: editor@roc55.com Reach the Fastest Growing Population in the Region

Living to 100 Preparing for good health as life expectancy age rises

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he world’s fastest growing age group is 80-plus, according to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau. If you are reading this, there is a very real chance that you will live to be 100, and there is no doubt you want to remain healthy to enjoy those years. Americans are not only living longer, but (thanks in large part to the baby boomers) they are doing so in massive numbers. Each day more than 10,000 boomers turn 65. Baby boomers are becoming “geri-boomers,” a term coined by physician Stephen Jones, board-certified in geriatric medicine at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut. Jones points out that when the U.S. government conducted its first census report in 1790, half of the American population was under the age of 16. Less than 2 percent of the population was 65 or older. In 1900 the average life span was only 47; today it is approaching 80. In 2012 the number of Americans living to age 100 tipped 100,000; by 2050 it will jump to 800,000. “One of the big things that ages people is stress or the lack of control of stress,” says Jones. This includes your outlook on life or how you see the world. Jones asks, “When you’re stuck in traffic do you see red, or do you accept what you can’t change and try and make the best of the time?” Jones says that the one thing you always have control over is your attitude. Keep a sense of humor. Try and see the world as you did when you were a child…through joyful eyes. Knowing that it’s realistic to live to 100, the physician shares his top 10 tips for healthy aging: 1. Control Stress. Maintain a positive attitude and sense of selfworth. 2 . Keep a sense of humor. Laugh! 3. Don’t smoke. 4. Control your blood pressure and get regular checkups. Use medications

Jesusa Rodriguez is 103 years old and lives at St. Ann’s Community.

properly. 5. Maintain good nutrition. Moderation and variety are the keys. 6. Get enough sleep, at least seven-eight hours per night. 7. Stay active. Move! 8. Exercise your brain. The rule “use it or lose it” applies here. 9 . Don’t isolate yourself. Companionship keeps you healthy. This may be a partner, good friends or a household pet. 10. Live in the moment and treat each day as a gift…that’s why they call it the “present.” July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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Club members one recent Thursday night, during their regular weekly get-together at Valicia’s Ristorante in Gates.

Now, That’s a Way to Have Fun! Members of Single Fun Raisers in Rochester seek company, fun times By Staff Writer

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he Rochester Single Fun Raisers doesn’t seem to fit the common image of a club for older adults. Several times a week, the club’s energetic members come together to attend shows, dance, catch up on each others’ lives, or just enjoy themselves together. 55-PLUS interviewed several club members one recent Thursday night, during their regular weekly get-together at Valicia’s Ristorante in Gates. Though almost all of the Fun Raisers are at least 55 years old, those in the group didn’t seem to let the years slow them down. Tony Pittinaro joined the group five years ago. “I came to find this organization through the dance community,” the 56-year-old Perinton resident said. 20

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The Rochester community includes those who move across a dance floor to the sound of everything from a polka to swing music. Pittinaro, a businessman who prefers dancing to rhythm and blues, estimated that 15 to 20 percent of the Fun Raisers members enjoy dancing regularly—though that’s not all they do. The club’s website listed 13 group events or activities in May and June alone, including a golf outing, fish fry, big band dance and nature hike. “We have an event going nearly every night of the week,” said Fun Raisers vice president Marlene O’Keefe. The Fun Raisers also hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner, a holiday dinner and dance, and an Anniversary Dinner Dance, which is

held in April. Those who attended the last Anniversary Dinner Dance sat down to a catered meal before enjoying the sounds of a live band. Fun Raisers members have also been known to course down snowy trails on skis, vroom across the US on motorcycles, and go on cruises together. Fun though such activities might be, Fun Raisers is more than just a social group. O’Keefe said she came to her first meeting of the club about six years ago, after her husband died. “After a couple years, my friend gave me a kick…and said, ‘Go do something,’” the 70-year-old said. “The first time I walked into a bar, it was for Fun Raisers.” O’Keefe eventually joined the group, where she became involved with one of the members. When he


died, 88 of the group’s 129 members attended his funeral. “We’re there for you,” she said. O’Keefe has moved on since then. When she spoke to 55-PLUS, she was preparing to head out with her current man friend for a twoand-a-half-week jaunt that would include sightseeing in New York City, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia. She also enjoys going on camping trips, golfing, and other activities. Though club members have formed long-term, romantic relationships through the Fun Raisers, most that join the club are not looking for them. “Many of them, including men, are widowed, or coming from bad relationships,” said club president Jim Cerrito, who joined the Fun Raisers in 1991. “They’re looking for some harbor in a storm somewhere, to go and have peace.” That purpose is a far cry from the one that motivated the club’s four founders. Back in 1989, the men decided to start a club that they hoped would make it easier for them to meet women, Cerrito said. The men placed a newspaper ad that invited singles to a mixer at a bar in the Rochester area. Those wishing to

“The purpose of the club is to make friends in a comfortable social environment,” said Sandra Convertino, who joined the club about 13 years ago.

Fun Raisers president Jim Cerrito with members Audrey Wolf and Linda Adams, during a recent meeting.

attend were to respond in writing, describing themselves and their reasons for wishing to join the group. The men then sat down, selected the women they found appealing, and invited them to the mixer. From the sound of it, few men were invited. They decided to call the club the

“Whiffenpoofs.” In order to be admitted to the Whiffenpoofs, you had to attend club activities for three months, and be voted into the club by its members. Dues were $120 a year, and the maximum age allowed was 55. The club averaged no more than 35 members in those early years. As time went on, the club changed its name—“Whiffenpoofs” left many scratching their heads— and began attracting an older crowd. There is no upper age limit for joining nowadays, and dues cost only $35 a year. The Fun Raisers now has close to 180 members, and though some might come to club events seeking romantic connections, most appear to be drawn to them by the personal, platonic relationships they have developed with other members. “The purpose of the club is to make friends in a comfortable social environment,” said Sandra Convertino, who joined the club about 13 years ago. That doesn’t stop the Fun Raisers from enjoying themselves. At one club party, everyone wore unusual pajamas and wigs. “We laugh at a lot of things that nobody else would laugh at,” Convertino said. For more information on the Fun Raisers, go to singlefunraisers.org/. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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Dealing With Death Dr. Pat Bomba’s efforts empower those facing their final days By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

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ealing with death at an early age changes people. For some, it launches them into a spiraling path of depression, mourning so hard for their lost loved ones that they neglect having a life of their own. For some, it turns them into a closed person who would rather bottle up their emotions than have them bubble to the surface where they have to contend with the pain. But for others, it forces them to confront the uncomfortable conversations that death brings. It makes people grow up fast. When physician Pat Bomba buried her grandmother at 10 years of age, life changed for her in small ways she wouldn’t realize until later. She grew up in Lansford, a diminutive coalmining town in the northeast section of Pennsylvania with a total land area less than two square miles. People didn’t go to college let alone medical school in that town during the 1960s. However, the death experience with her grandmother catapulted her into wanting to be a physician who would help families deal better with the death of their loved ones. Her grandmother died at home after suffering for a long time. Bomba played the dual roles of grand daughter and “nurses’ aide.” She had to watch her grandmother’s less than desirable end of life and the impact on the rest of the family. Those were the days before hospice 22

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care. It would still be four more years before the passage of Medicare and Medicaid, which provided additional impetus for development of the nursing home industry. “People didn’t move away in Lansford so when you walked around the neighborhood you could still engage with all the grandmothers and grandfathers living in the community. You learn to appreciate and respect older adults and value what they bring to the family,” said Bomba, 62, vice president and medical director of geriatrics for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “As I look back, my grandmother was one of many family members who died during my early years. My mother taught me how to deal with death and dying and how to communicate with people in real and lasting ways.” The eldest of five girls, her father passed away three weeks before she graduated from medical school. Bomba experienced close neighbors dying when she was in high school who were as young as her sisters. Her cousin died three weeks after he graduated. The same cousin’s brother died in the Korean War in the 1950s and his mother, so broken from the death of her child, died soon after. Dealing with death helped forge Bomba’s path into the medical profession. However, there wasn’t much conversation about end-of-life care when she earned a bachelor ’s degree from Immaculata College and

graduated from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. That also was the case when she began her residency at the University of Rochester in 1976. Back then she thought hematology—the science of blood disorders—and oncology—the science of tumors and cancers—would become her chosen path. “The medical culture was focused on saving people’s lives so we didn’t really look into how people might want to live during their last days,” said Bomba.

Stepping into geriatrics After completing her medical training, Bomba started her career in academics at Rochester General Hospital in 1979. Along with her many responsibilities, she became the leader of an innovative geriatric assessment team that in turn reshaped her future. Four years later, Bomba and a physician friend began their own private primary care practice in internal medicine and geriatrics, focused on the care of frail elders. While keeping their practice alive, she also worked at the Episcopal Church Home of Rochester from 1983 to 1991 as medical director. Working at the Episcopal nursing home brought her back to confronting death in an authentic fashion. On a random day, an 85-year-old patient, Lady Fern, asked her to tea. After having a short conversation about several topics, death came up and the


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patient was direct about a flaw she found in Bomba. “She told me. ‘You are not comfortable talking about death and you will never be the best you can be if you don’t become comfortable.’ The conversation helped me realize that I still had issues stemming from my dad’s death,” Bomba said. Later on through conversation, Fern mentioned that she didn’t want to go to the hospital if she encountered any medical ailments. It took Bomba aback. “I told her of course you want to go to the hospital if you have a heart attack or stroke or break your hip because you will be in a lot of pain,” she said. “Lady Fern told me that I should first see what they could do here at the nursing home.” As life would have it, Fern suffered a heart attack only a few weeks later. “I told her we needed to send her to the hospital. She turned to me and said she didn’t want to go to the hospital. Then she asked, ‘Did we not have this discussion? Did I not teach you anything?’” remembers Bomba. “I still needed to call her family. I assumed they would want her taken to the hospital. However, the first thing they asked me was what does she want? They had had a family discussion before the acute event, which was unique in 1983. I learned an important lesson. You have to listen to what patients want. That’s when I finally understood that we needed to think differently about end-of-life care for elderly patients. It brought me back to my grandmother’s death and reminded me why I first considered medicine as a profession.” She left her practice to work at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in 2000. In that role, she serves as a geriatric consultant on projects and program development affecting seniors. But before Bomba left private practice, she received some more useful advice from her patients. “They said if you don’t like it come back and we will gladly be your patients again. But since you are going, you have to promise that you will make some positive difference,” Bomba said. 24

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The medical profession had to alter its “doctors know best” philosophy and start listening and adhering to patients’ needs. She began leading the communitywide end-of-life/palliative care initiative in 2001. A team of professionals and consumers led the initiative and developed four key projects that addressed end-of-life care for doctors, patients and families.

MOLST is born The projects encouraged advance care planning discussions and health care proxy completion for everyone 18 years and older. The team worked to develop Medical Orders for LifeSustaining Treatment for seriously ill patients near the end of life and improve patient pain management. Additional work was also completed to support these main projects, including developing professional guidelines, pain management tools and both professional and patient education. The MOLST program encourages physicians to have discussions with seriously ill and frail patients and their families about their end-of-life care wishes. Those wishes are translated into medical orders and documented on the bright pink MOLST form that must be followed by all healthcare professionals. For several years, the program was piloted in just Monroe and Onondaga counties. Mark Tornstrom, chairman of the Monroe Livingston Regional EMS Council, said he first started working with Bomba in 2003 when she began introducing the concept of honoring decisions regarding the wishes of individuals at the end of their life. “This discussion can prove to be uncomfortable for many people and presented many legal obstacles,” said Tornstrom. “That did not slow Dr. Bomba down in any way. She never stopped working and collaborating with many in the healthcare field in order to achieve the desired results.” Bomba also encourages individuals to talk about end-of-life wishes when they gather with family at the holidays. For Bomba, the ritual began when her

mother, Sophie Bomba, came to her and wanted to complete a health proxy in the early 1990’s. After a lengthy discussion, her mother suggested a broader discussion with the rest of the family when they gathered at Bomba’s home for Thanksgiving. That initial discussion became an annual family tradition, but it also forced Bomba to wear two hats simultaneously—doctor and daughter. When her mother developed early dementia, she moved to Pittsford to live with her daughter and husband. During her first visit with her new primary care physician in Rochester, a MOLST form was completed. Sophie Bomba’s goal for care was to continue to visit her grandchildren as long as she could. She wanted a natural death, did not want certain life-sustaining treatment which she viewed as extraordinary measures, but would still accept limited interventions and hospitalizations. During the last months of her life, she wanted to travel to Allentown, Pa., for her granddaughter’s wedding. When she arrived in the state, she got sick and was sent to the hospital. She gave the doctors her MOLST form that stated they shouldn’t do anything extraordinary to keep her alive.

Far-reaching impact “When the doctors in the Pennsylvania hospital honored my mother ’s wishes, it validated the work we were doing since MOLST was in New York state, but not yet in Pennsylvania,” said Bomba. Her mother was able to make it to the wedding and died in December 2007. Five days before she died, Bomba traveled to Albany to review quality data from the three years of the MOLST community pilot. When she returned, “My mother asked me if I thought MOLST was going to be a statewide program and I told her yes. She said she was glad.” T h o s e l a s t f i v e d a y s w e re particularly difficult. Bomba credits the annual discussions at Thanksgiving and the MOLST discussions with helping her and her family through her mother’s dying process and death. She encourages others to do the same.


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Through Bomba’s leadership and advocacy, MOLST became legal throughout New York state in July 2008 after Gov. David A. Paterson signed it into law. This made MOLST permanent and statewide, ensuring a person’s end-of-life wishes would be followed in all care settings and while living in the community. T h i s y e a r, B o m b a re c e i v e d the honor of being selected to the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Transforming End-of-Life Care. The Institute of Medicine is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision-makers and the public. “New York state is ahead of the curve when it comes to ensuring patients’ wishes are honored at the end of life,” Bomba said. “I hope to parlay the successes of New York into a new national standard that empowers patients, their families and physicians to make and share sound decisions.” As she looks over her career and the challenges she faced as a young girl, there is a sense that helping people during their final years was supposed to be part of her life. “I have always viewed my dedication to end-of-life care as making a difference to improve the quality of care for seniors and the whole population. Death is something all of us will face one day,” she said. There comes a time when you want to give the people you love a comfortable ending to their lives. And that in itself is an expression of love that Bomba has given residents throughout New York with all her hard work. “Pat is the model for what I call ‘active compassion,’ the combination of a willingness and an ability to do whatever is needed to address an issue,” said Rev. Kenneth O. Comer, a hospital chaplain in the Rochester area and a pastor and church leader in Genesee and Erie counties. “Nurses have it, some doctors and first responders have it, and great leaders have it. They refuse to stand by and watch when God has given them the abilities to make a difference. Pat has it.” July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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sports

Golf: How to Avoid Injuries this Season Injuries to lower back, neck, shoulder and elbow are common among some golfers. Find out how to avoid them By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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s eager as you may be to hit the links, it pays to prepare before a round of golf to avoid injuries that can both hamper your ability to play this season and cause lingering or possible longterm health issues. “Like every other activity, it’s important to stretch before you go out,” said Chuck Partridge, who is on staff at Buttonwood Golf Course in Spencerport. “As we get older it’s especially important. Pay attention to your body. Listen to it. If it’s telling you to slow down, slow down.” Pain is your body’s signal that you need to stop or at least modify the activity. Don’t forget that golfing is a physical, recreational activity. “People have a tendency to not think of how strenuous the activity might be, whether doing lawn work or golfing or whatever, and by then it’s too late,” Partridge said. “I can’t say it enough that you need to stretch out.” Don’t bounce as you stretch. Move slowly and repeat each stretch a few times on each side. Partridge recommends gently stretching the shoulders by holding a door frame and leaning forward through the doorway. “Stretch your lower back by bringing your knees up towards your chest and do some trunk twists,” he added. Zoe Fackelman, physical therapist with Lake Country Physical Therapy & 26

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Sportscare, PC in Canandaigua, plays golf and offers a golf performance enhancement program at the practice. She also occasionally speaks on improving golf safety. She said that pre-game stretches should include those that rotate the spine while in a sitting or squatting position. “Avoid twisting and turning in a standing position if your feet are planted,” Fackelman said. “Twist and hold the position for a moment in each position. Trunk rotation is the No. 1 movement we lose. Don’t bounce as you stretch.” Swinging a seven-iron club — not a weighted club — is another movement she recommends since the back, shoulder and elbows are the main places where golfers become injured. “Squat as if you’re lining up a putt with the right knee forward and then with the left knee forward,” Fackelman said. “Drop your head while squatting, too.” Make your tee time for later in the day. Your joints will thank you. “In general, what I tell my near-to-be-seniors, if you tend to be stiff in the morning, if your back or joints or muscles are stiff, it’s better to play


in the afternoon or later so you have a chance to move around a little bit,” the physical therapist said. She advises against playing if the temperature is below 50 degrees, since “we tend to tense up. It’s wise to avoid playing in the rain because of slipping and you don’t have good foot placement.” Playing in the rain can also reduce your grasp on the clubs and make you more prone to losing your grip. Overdoing it can also result in injuries. Instead, take golf lessons or get tips from better golfers to improve. “Lessons can help avoid injury,” said Chris Haigney, partner at Optigolf Centers, LLC, which offers several locations throughout the northeast, including Victor. “The smoother the swing, the easier it is to avoid overuse injury. “Strength training also helps avoid injury in the legs and back. A lot of the golf motion comes from the core.” Many golfers try to increase their distance by walloping the ball. Instead, improving their technique will result in greater distance without straining muscles. “Especially for new people, swinging as hard as possible makes one prone to injury,” Haigney said. “It’s in your best interest to swing smoothly. You will hit the ball harder and more likely avoid injury.” Walking the links offers good exercise; however, lugging your clubs can strain muscles. Use a wheeled bag to reduce the wear and tear on your back and shoulders. What you do once you arrive at home, Fackelman advises that you “have your ‘19th hole’ in the tub” to help prevent soreness. “If there’s pain after soaking in the tub, put ice in a Ziploc bag and rest it on the area where you’re having pain for 20 minutes,” she added. “Go with heat then ice.” If you see no improvement in two or three days, seek medical attention. You should keep golf-ready all year round by staying fit. General conditioning and physical fitness activities such as yoga, walking, and tai chi provide low-impact exercise. Perform golf stretches a few times per week year round as well. With a little planning, you can avoid injury and enjoy more time on the links.

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retirement

Is Upstate a Good Place to Retire? No, according to the many surveys published by the media By Ken Little

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ost locals will agree there are many things that make Upstate New York a great place to live. Good-natured neighbors, family and friends, four seasons, beautiful summers and ample outdoor activities — all could be cited as reasons for living here. But when it comes to the Upstate region as a place to retire, other factors must be considered. High tax rates, challenging winters and the lack of nearby medical services in some rural areas come to mind. The above reasons may be why the region is largely ignored by numerous magazines and others who publish lists of the best places to retire. But other reasons, including the desire to remain in their homes when retirement age comes, keep many people from leaving. “Invariably, what retirees are looking for right now given dwindling home values, disappearing pensions and cracked nest eggs, are places 28

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where their dollars will go as far as possible,” AARP New York spokesman David Irwin said.

Notable Exception One exception is the college town of Ithaca, in the rolling hills of Tompkins County. It’s listed by AARP as a Top 10 affordable city for retirement. Ithaca also makes several other lists, including AARP’s list of Top 10 “Quirky Places” to retire. Beyond that, Upstate, including Central New York and Western New York, comes up blank. New York state is among those that have initiatives to encourage property owners to remain at home in retirement. “People are looking for communities that will allow them to age in place,” Irwin said. Moving to a new home in Florida or Arizona may not be realistic. “These days, retirees are finding themselves in a bit of a pinch. The 400ks are still recovering and home

values have dwindled significantly,” Irwin said. “They are looking for communities that are affordable and supportive.” For many, that description best describes their current home.

Outdoor Attractions Few can question the beauty of Upstate New York’s rural areas. Attractions like Lake Ontario and other waterways, state parks and 5 million public acres are ideal for the outdoor-minded, said Jola Szubielski, spokeswoman for Empire State Development. “While mainly focused on the tourism aspect, we also see these as great draws for our residents who enjoy New York state’s excellent quality of life. Health care is another strength for New York state with its many teaching hospitals and premier, major medical facilities,” Szubielski said. Some rural counties are wanting when it comes to specialized medical


treatment, but most areas of Upstate New York are relatively close to a major medical facility. Syracuse is a medical services hub for Central New York, and Rochester serves a similar function for sections of Western New York. Increasingly, adult children of retirees serve as primary caregivers, another reason to remain at home. “Being close to friends and family is always another factor for New York and people across the nation,” Irwin said. “More and more adult children are stepping in to serve as primary caregivers with their aging parents, so more and more that’s something New Yorkers want to be close to.”

What The Lists Say Those factors aside, Upstate New York, and New York in general, takes it on the chin in lists of the best places to retire. In fact, New York state finished tied for sixth with Ohio on an AARP/ MoneyRates.com list of the “10 Worst Places to Retire.” The reason? “High property taxes and other costs,” the list states. Michigan, with “harsh weather and a poor economic climate,” tops the list. The top five states to retire, according to an AARP/MoneyRates. com list, with accompanying reasons in parenthesis, are Virginia (good economy), Arizona (good economy), Utah (good economy), Idaho (low crime rate and good economy), and Hawaii (great weather and high life expectancy). In addition to Ithaca, Ulster County near New York City made the AARP’s Top 10 list of “Quirky Places” to retire, along with places like Boulder, Colo.; Austin, Texas and Cape Cod, Mass. States like Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota were included in the AARP Top 10 list of places for outdoor lovers to retire, but not New York. There are 25 cities on Forbes Magazine’s list of best places to retire in 2012. None are in New York. But in the end, beauty — and practical reasons — are in the eye of the beholder, Irwin said. “The majority of New Yorkers want to stay in their own home,” he said.

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trends Letchworth State Park

Staycations

Are Here to Stay The new trend? Spend vacation close to home — or at home By Ken Little

T

here are plenty of destinations in the greater Rochester area to support the new staycation trend, local experts say. While the recent recession was definitely one factor that contributed to seniors and families remaining closer to home on vacations, staycations began in earnest about 15 years ago and are part of a “a very long-term staycation trend,” according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey compiled by the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, a consulting firm based in Kansas City, Mo. 30

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“The first thing we looked at was participation — what percent of all households spent money each year on entertainment during a trip. Since 2000 the percentage of those spending households has decreased by 34 percent,” Randy White, CEO of White Hutchinson, said in January at a London conference. Data shows “it is not a recessioncaused trend, but rather a long-term trend,” White said. Conclusions from the analysis are twofold, White said. First, “There’s a strong 15-year long-term downward trend of the

percentage of households who spent at entertainment venues during a trip.” Secondly, he said, “There is a definite social stratification trend occurring where an increasing share of the remaining entertainment spending is shifting to higher income households. “There is little doubt the staycation trend is very real,” White said.

Local Entertainment Rochester is well suited to those looking for entertainment value closer to home, said said Claire Wysokowski, manager of communications and public


relations for VisitRochester, which promotes activities and attractions in the Rochester area. “Rochester is a very affordable destination making it desirable for those on a budget,” she said. Figures aren’t available for how much is spent on average by seniors, families and others who spend entertainment dollars in the Rochester area, “but most visitors come from within a 200-mile radius,” Wysokowski said. She said Rochester has many attractions popular year-round with visitors. Attractions popular with seniors include the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO); an Erie Canal boat cruise; and the Memorial Art Gallery. Other popular attractions include the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House; and the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

Income A Factor White said household income is also a factor in the increased popularity of staycations, which has relevance for seniors with fixed incomes who only budget a certain amount on entertainment spending. “There is a definite positive correlation between household income and both the percentage of households that spent for entertainment on trips and how much they spent,” he said. In 2011, households with $100,000 and higher incomes in the survey totaled 18 percent of all households, but they accounted for 48 percent of all trip entertainment spending. A recent analysis by the U.S.

Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the percentage of households reporting any travel expenditure declined by 10 percent between 2005 and 2011. “This indicates that the percentage of households who took a trip declined by one-tenth during that period. This definitely correlates with the decline in entertainment participation we found,” White said. “Our analysis shows a 9 percent decline in the percentage of households spending on trip entertainment during the same six years. “Clearly, the staycation trend is predominately due to a declining percentage of households who are taking trips, and secondarily to those households who spent less on trips,” he said.

Good Value Entertainment values in Rochester make it an even more relevant choice, Wysokowski said. Rochester received high grades in a recent USA Today article that called the city and surrounding area a “serendipitous and surprising getaway.” “We think once you visit Rochester, you’ll be delighted at your discoveries as well. Its people and places live up to our top rankings for friendliness, family fun and memorable getaways. Famous sites blend with charming neighborhoods and historic canal towns to create a mosaic of attractions to visit. Cruise, bike or hike, on the original Erie Canal path while visiting great restaurants, shops and quaint villages along the way,” according to the VisitRochester website, www. visitrochester.com/.

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July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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success

This busy home-style restaurant serving authentic Greek food as well as American cuisine is always full of customers. Many are regulars who enjoy dining there several times each week.

t h g i l e D n a i c e r G

Icons in Rochester: George Gines, Jines Restaurant By Deborah Blackwell

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h e b o o t h w h e re G e o rg e Gines sat gave him a perfect view of the cafe-style dining room facing Park Avenue in Rochester. Jines Restaurant was busy even late in the afternoon, and the retired owner smiled as he looked at the tables filled with customers, many of them familiar faces. Gines knows why they come back: to simply enjoy the homestyle Greek food Jines has served there for 42 years. “There’s a reason for everything,” says Gines. “Every person is cut out to do something and in this case it is this restaurant. This is for the people.” He takes great pride in his namesake restaurant and the community it serves. 32

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Spelled with a “J” instead of a “G” so there is no confusion on pronunciation, Gines calls the restaurant “tablecloth style.” The home-like atmosphere is simple and elegant, with booths and tables, delicious aromas wafting from the kitchen, and a bustling staff who serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner any time of the day. Gines connected with his customers prior to opening on Park Avenue in 1971. “I talked to the people who live around the area, talked to people right on the street, and I asked them, ‘What can I give to you?’ Then I opened this restaurant,” says Gines. “I still talk to them. We want people to come here five days a week and know it fits the

budget.” Soft-spoken and ever so humble, Gines’ heavy Greek accent is still apparent after 58 years in America. He left the south part of Greece in 1955, at age 21, to make a better living and lead a better life in the United States after the war took a toll on his homeland. His mother ’s brother lived in Rochester, so Gines, one of five children, asked his parents’ permission to go to America to live with his uncle. With their blessing, he left his family behind to start a new life. “Right after the war in order to make a living you had to labor very, very hard in Greece. It was like a Third World country,” says Gines. “I was desperate to leave, young, and full of


vigor. You have to make some kind of sacrifice. When you see the green light you try to get there no matter what.”

Humble beginnings Gines stayed with his uncle for three months before moving out on his own. First he worked in an ice cream plant in Rochester. Then he went to work in a soda fountain-style restaurant that served ice cream. “I had no idea about anything, so I washed dishes, scrubbed floors and learned the business,” says Gines. “I did that for two years and then was promoted from dishwasher to general manager. Two years after that I bought them out.” He rubbed his hands together and tears filled his eyes as he spoke about his life’s journey. “Something up there directs you and pushes you,” he says. “You just count your blessings. You can’t look back and have regrets.” Among those blessings is his family—wife Maria of 52 years; son Peter, owner of Jines for 18 years; daughter Irene of Virginia, and his three grandchildren. Gines smiles and his face lights up as he tells the story. “Maria is my beautiful partner in life. In 1961, I went back to Greece and I hung around there for a while and found my bride. There was a difference between Rochester and Greece,” he said. “We have a different mentality. We grew up differently in Greece, and for me it was about culture and compatibility—family, background, where you come from, what type of family are you, do we match or not? What are your expectations in love? “Maria and I had connections. Our families knew each other well. We dated three or four months and I said, ‘I am going in that direction. Do you want to follow me?’ She said yes. It was very difficult when the unknown is there; it’s another country, far away. We both wanted better living for ourselves and for our kids, so they would not go through what we did.” Gines also brought one of his sisters to America in 1961 and his brother in 1967 from the working family farm that was passed from generation to generation.

and exchanging ideas. Both Maria and Peter’s wife Amy help with the restaurant, continuing the traditions of preparing the old-world, family recipes that make up the menu. The staff has little turnover. Many of the employees at Jines have worked there for 20 years or more. One of the cooks began 41 years ago, first as a dishwasher, and worked his way up to the kitchen. “It’s a great family environment. This is a real family—they love like a family and argue like a family, they speak Greek together,” says Sarah Flick, server with Jines since 1999. “Every day Mr. and Mrs. Gines come in and Mrs. Gines makes baklava and Mr. Gines makes the famous soup. Peter always gives them both a kiss on the cheek. It’s neat to see the restaurant pass from father to son.” It is a family business through and through, but Gines always thanks the people who come to eat at the restaurant. “The restaurant business is a constantly changing business, you always have to give the best to the

customers. We have so many regulars, not just from the area, regulars from other cities and towns,” says Gines. “The people have made the business, they make this restaurant, and they help my employees have jobs. It goes both ways.” Gines gratitude for his prosperous and rewarding life is endless. Nearing 80, he is healthy and fit, and still tends to the restaurant he brought to the people of Rochester decades ago. What is his secret to success? “Olive oil and garlic. You must have these two ingredients,” he says. “And yogurt, every day, especially Greek yogurt. I ate that as a child from the sheep on the farm.” But besides eating Greek yogurt, Gines’ recipe for success is simple. “Live a clean life. When you get tired, you go home and get your rest. You make a schedule and you give time to yourself,” he said. “You have to turn your back to difficulty and not look around to others, but you must look to yourself for the right answers. It’s all up to the individual.”

George Gines, founder of Jines Restaurant on Park Avenue in Rochester, is a native of Greece. He opened his successful family-owned and operated Greek restaurant 42 years ago. He is shown at the restaurant recently.

Family togetherness Family is important to Gines, both at home and at work. His philosophy is togetherness, openness, July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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living

In this yard mowing the grass was challenging for the clients They now can enjoy their yard from the kitchen window or back porch and take a nice stroll in nature instead of the stress of a lawn that needed constant attention to watering and re-seeding.

Aging in Place… Successfully M By Lynette Loomis

ost of us, nearly 90 percent, say that we want to “age in place,” stay in our own homes until we pass gently into the night. To stay healthy longer, we have stopped smoking, consume less alcohol, exercise regularly and eat more healthfully, all effective means of warding off or managing preventable chronic medical conditions. And hopefully we have set money aside for the inevitable increases in property taxes, health care and overall cost of living. But with age comes some inevitable changes that might creep up on us slowly. Our eyes require more light to see at night. We might need glasses 34

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to read a road map or a prescription bottle. A hearing aid may be necessary for us to hear birds chip, a grandchild whisper or general conversation. More than one in five of us have arthritis, three in four have at least one chronic condition and more than half have two or more medical conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Our balance and flexibility can be compromised as we age and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls causing moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head injuries which can increase the risk of early death.

With that data in front of us, then why do we think that the house we loved in our 20s or 30s is going to suit the physical changes that may confront us in our more mature years? The answer? We’re either just not paying attention, we’re in denial or we don’t know what to do. Fortunately there is a growing movement in design that is not turning a blind eye to the abilities of people at all life stages and ages. Originally coined “universal design” and now updated to “design for all ages” or “inclusive design,” this philosophy shows that good design can accommodate us throughout our life. Good design can help us stay


55+ active, independent, involved and safe. The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access, the IDeA Center in Buffalo focuses on environments that help people remain independent throughout all stages of life. “For a very long time houses have been built with the same conventional features that do not consider the functional diversity of the people who live in them or how their needs and preferences will change as they age,” says Danise Levine, architect and assistant director at the IDeA Center. “As we are now seeing more and more older adults wanting to remain in their own homes, or ‘age-in-place,’ the approach to home design is being rethought to become more inclusive and improve usability for everyone regardless of age or ability.” When thinking about our future aging, we need to think about how our current health and lifestyle choices may predict our future health. While we aggressively seek to manage our chronic medical conditions, it makes sense to think about the possible physical limitations we might experience as our condition progresses. We also need to anticipate a mobilitylimiting condition such as arthritis, which is the leading cause of disability in the United States. If you are considering remaining in your own home into your 90s, or building a new home that will accommodate you for many years, it is important to begin with an assessment of your sensory abilities including sight and hearing. Both senses diminish as a normal part of aging. Knowing this, we can accommodate our vision loss by making sure every room has both natural light and adjustable lighting, including light switches and outlets within easy reach. A doorbell might have a ring tone in the lower frequency range as well as a flashing light. And any design features that accommodate a walker, wheelchair or stroller means that our homes will be accessible to friends and family. As we age, we continue to be individuals. While demographers tend to lump us into the category of “seniors” we are a heterogeneous

living

In his one floor living area, Ellsworth Downs houses his scissor sharpening business in a large closet. “When I finish a project, I just close the doors—no stairs, no trying to hide everything. We planned different work spaces within the same room.” group. Our health, life experiences and socio-economic status actually make us less like one another than teenagers living in the same neighborhood. At any age, our home reflects who we are as a person. So as you consider a remodel, modification or even an inlaw apartment, it is important to think about what parts of your personal identity you want expressed in your home. If your house has always been the center of family holidays, you may still want a large eating area with room for family and grandkids. If you are a woodworker or quilter, you may want to relocate your workshop to the main floor of the house. It is important that you let your space planner or architect know what’s important to you to assure that the focus is on your interests and abilities and not your chronological age. When Vonnie and Joe Askins invited her parents to live with them, they added a large open space to their home paying special attention not only to the health needs of their parents, but their hobbies and interests as well. Her

mom used a wheelchair so the rooms are easily accessible. The bedroom and bath are in a separate space and a large living space has natural light on two sides from a large bank of windows. Her father, Ellsworth Downs, now in his 90s, continues his craft as a professional scissor sharpener (The Scissor Doctor). His workspace is hidden behind double doors, which open onto a workbench and chair and house the tools of his trade. Downs recently purchased a scroll saw which he uses to make puzzles from photographs of special places. An avid user of technology, Downs has his desk, multiple computers and printers in another area of the spacious living room. “What I like about this space is that everything that is important to me is right here: my hobbies and work, family photos, a TV and my own kitchen area. I am able to be independent but also get to enjoy my family every day, including my new greyhound rescue dog, Lilly.” Architect Joe Crestuk was drawn to the concept of design for all ages July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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living

The walkway does not look like a traditional “ramp.” It is a part of the overall design and the porch is deep enough to accommodate children’s play items, lounge chairs and any adaptive equipment that might be necessary. The walkway also allows easy movement of a rolling cart with food items into the yard or even a child’s tricycle up and down the walkway within easy view of a watchful grandparent. for several reasons, including the growth in the aging of the population and witnessing the challenges that traditional design presented to his parents in their 70s and 80s. “Having experienced that need personally, it became imperative to develop accommodating ideas to make my life and my parents’ life easier.” He worked closely with his parents to design a space that reflected their personalities and would assure maximum safety and independence. “There were a variety of features that my parents really enjoyed, “said Crestuk. “I think the critical aspect is to make a living space that is welcoming and does not have ‘handicapped’ stamped all over it by intrusive ramps and stainless steel handrails. They loved the accessible shower with minimum lip and we incorporated grab bars that looked like towel rods but which were actually much stronger than a towel rod would be.” [Let’s face it, when we are heading for the floor 36

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we don’t stop to think, ‘Is the towel rod connected to a stud?’ We just grab what’s there.] “We also had a chair lift for one flight of stairs. My parents could easily move out onto the patio and we installed a pool with a hydro lift from the outside deck into the pool. The garden area was very important to my parents and we positioned the windows so they had a great view from their bed and the view encouraged them to go outdoors and stroll through the garden. “Increasingly we are seeing families consider the multi-generational household that was common decades ago. A major difference is that both generations are mindful of the need for privacy combined with space for natural interaction and safety. People want to modify their homes to make it easier for their older family members to retain their identities and independence. This includes features such as wider hallways (which any person carrying a laundry basket or

toddler can appreciate), no-step entry ways, lever-style door handles, pull-out kitchen drawers, raised dishwashers and several more design specifications that just make it easier.” Laurie Broccolo, CEO of Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care in Rochester, reinforces how important the view is in inspiring people to go outdoors. “It’s amazing how good landscape design can transition a suburban yard into an inviting walking path and a sanctuary for birds and butterflies. We have worked with clients who no longer wish to plant and weed gardens as their primary hobby, but their love of nature and beauty has not diminished with age. We make sure the walking surface is level to avoid trips and falls and regularly add benches with backs and arm rests so clients can pace their walk or relax and be a part of nature. On the other hand, some customers prefer a few elevated planting beds with a wide edge so they can sit and comfortably tend their gardens without bending and kneeling. Container gardens also help to create more manageable flower and vegetable gardens.” Broccolo cites an article in “Outside Magazine,” December 2012 titled “Take Two Hours of Pine Forest and Call Me in the Morning” which talks about the Japanese practice of spending time in the woods to lower blood pressure, fight off depression, reduce stress and perhaps prevent some forms of cancer. “It makes sense that we create similar environments in our own yards and neighborhoods. As we look out onto our yards perhaps we might think “This yard has been mowed a thousand times, well actually more… maybe it’s time to create a space that is more environmentally responsible, takes less work, and that our friends, family and even grandkids will find appealing and peaceful. And have it accessible so that everyone can enjoy it.” Lynette Loomis, MA MBA, is a certified coach, marketing consultant and free-lance writer who will be renovating her lakeside/hillside cottage to assure she can enjoy it for decades to come.


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real estate

Buying a House in Retirement By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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ith interest rates low and plenty of available homes in the Rochester area, it’s a good time to shop for new digs. If you’re retired or about to retire, moving to a smaller home with less property can help you really enjoy your free time with travel, hobbies and volunteering. With a smaller house, you can reduce the time and money maintaining more rooms and land than what you need. But many other considerations should be part of the decision. Senecaugya Properites, LLC agent Dana Allen urges retirees to consider the tried-and-true real estate adage “location, location, location.” “Find a place where property taxes are reasonable,” Allen said. “Find an area that’s near people of your own

age and amenities that cater to mature people. “Some of the retirement communities offer a reasonable cost for yard care service. Some places you buy the home and land and pay a Home Owners Association fee and they take care of all the exterior things. For those not in a community like this, he recommends a home with lowmaintenance features such as a small lawn, easycare landscaping, and vinyl siding. Consider how far you may want to Allen

drive in coming years. By moving away from points of reference such as your doctor, dentist, and other supports, you lose easy access to service providers with which you’re familiar. Trying to find a new hairdresser or barber you like may be inconvenient; however, selecting a different doctor can impact your health. Moving out of the community may create more distance between yourself and friends and family — supports that enrich life — which are especially important once you have retired and lose the daily social interaction with coworkers. Consider how close you are now to church, social clubs and other venues you often visit. Some downsizing retirees have no problem paring down the size of their furnishings and thinning out July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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possessions to reduce their living space from several bedrooms to two. But parting with a formal dining room and large kitchen can be difficult because they envision entertaining their adult children and grandchildren for special occasions. “Think about how many bedrooms you want,” said Rich Guilliams, Realtor and associate broker at Realty USA in Canandaigua. “Two would be the minimum. You may have grandchildren who want to stay over in a guest room.” Many extra guest rooms add more square feet that need cleaning and maintenance. If you want to go with a smaller house, a fold-out sofa or inflatable mattress in the living room can work in a pinch. A home with a big living room can suffice for get-togethers if a folding table can serve up family meals. Consider how often you entertain big groups If it’s only a few times per year, you probably don’t need a dining room. Allen said that sticking with a onestory house can make a retirementage house practical for many years ahead. “ Tw o - s t o r y homes, as you get older, becomes a challenge for a lot of people,” he said. Antetomaso “You can’t tell what your health will be. Depending upon how far along you are, easy opening doors with something more than 30” in case you become less ambulatory. For the bathrooms, it would be nice if they have ample room for accessibility for rails near the showers and easy access.” Look features such as energy e ff i c i e n t w i n d o w s , d o o r s a n d insulation. John Antetomaso, broker and part-owner at Re-Max Real Estate Associates in Webster, said that many couples who want to travel look for “turn-key” homes that need no sprucing up and allow them to leave anytime they wish, thanks to the Home Owners Association-provided maintenance. 38

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Social Security

Q&A Q: I need proof of my Social Security income. Can I get verification online? A: Yes! And the best way to get a benefit verification letter is by using a “my Social Security” account. Your personal “my Social Security” account is a convenient and secure way for you to check your benefit and payment information, change your address, phone number, and direct deposit information, and to get your benefit verification letter. You can use your benefit verification letter to verify your income, retirement or disability status, Medicare eligibility, and age. When you use “my Social Security” to get it, you can request which information you would like included in the letter. Learn more, use “my Social Security,” and get your benefit verification letter now at www.socialsecurity.gov/ myaccount. Q: I heard there is a Social Security video available in American Sign Language. Where can I find it? A: Yes, it’s true, and you can find the video on our website. The video is called “Social Security, SSI and Medicare: What You Need to Know About These Vital Programs.” The video is available in American Sign Language and it presents important information about our programs. You can watch the video now at www.socialsecurity.gov/multimedia/ video/asl. The video is a part of our larger collection of on-demand videos and webinars available at www. socialsecurity.gov/webinars. Q: Can I apply for retirement benefits online? A: Yes, you can and it is quick, convenient, and easy. You’ll find the application information at www. socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. You also can calculate your estimated benefits by using our Retirement

Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/ estimator. Apply online and save a trip to the office and a wait in line. For more information, visit our website at www. socialsecurity.gov. Q: I worked the first half of the year, but plan to retire this month. Will Social Security count the amount I earn for this year when I retire? A: Yes. If you retire mid-year, we count your earnings for the entire year. We have a special “earnings test” rule we apply to annual earnings, usually in the first year of retirement. Under this rule, you get a full payment for any whole month we consider you retired regardless of your yearly earnings. We consider you retired during any month your earnings are $1,260 or less, or if you have not performed substantial services in self-employment. We do not consider income earned, beginning with the month you reach full retirement age. Learn more about the earnings test rule at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/ rule.htm. Q: Will my Social Security disability benefit increase if my condition gets worse or I develop additional health problems? A: No. We do not base your Social Security benefit amount on the severity of your disability. The amount you are paid is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began. If you go back to work after getting disability benefits, you may be able to get a higher benefit based on those earnings. In addition, we have incentives that allow you to work temporarily without losing your disability benefits. For more information about disability benefits, read our publications “Disability Benefits” and “Working While Disabled—How We Can Help.” Both are available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.


55+

life

The Middle Ages In a new book, MCC teacher says it’s never too late for a Renaissance By Deborah Blackwell

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or Doug Brooks, life got in the way of living, a lot. Whether he was surviving basic training as an overweight recruit, trying to cope with the struggles of divorce, or habitually over-indulging himself with food and beverage, he went through the motions, over and over, thinking he would never get better, or ahead, or feel good. Feeling complacent and somewhat

incomplete early on, Brooks, of Rochester, was not at first what you might call an active participant in his life. Considering himself immortal in his 20s, and not realizing the real meaning behind immortality until much later, Brooks was searching for something. Then in his 40s, he woke up an enlightened man and turned his life around. Now he put his experiences

into a book titled “Middle Age Renaissance.” The book’s message is that you can always be who you could have been. Written to inspire people of Brook’s generation, his concept is that if we stay mentally, physically, and spiritually active, we will be healthier and happier. “It’s about commitment to the present moment,” says Brooks. “The July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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life

He says you can always grow and be more than you are; you can always do better. Many of his older students are taking classes he says to stay active and continue to learn. He has students in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who are changing careers or jobs, retraining, and learning new skills. His message remains consistent: No matter what goes on in your life, it’s never too late to be who you want to be, and sometimes you have to live a little bit to figure out what that is. In middle age, Brooks says, there is life experience to draw from to make better choices.

In search of self

At home getting some exercise. past is gone, the future is uncertain. Take your time in the present moment and be who you have always wanted to be.” A writer since sixth grade, an avid reader of poetry and literature from youth, and an associate professor of English-philosophy at Monroe Community College in Rochester for more than 26 years, Brooks is a student of life. He is a philosopher rooted in Eastern concepts, and a man who believes that knowledge and experience 40

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equals wisdom, and renewal and growth is possible at any age, but especially middle age. “You don’t have to follow society’s mandates of who you should be or what you should do. That’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes you have to go through what you have to go through to be the person you need to be,” says Brooks. “You never stop learning. It is a lifetime task.” That’s partly what he teaches his students at MCC, who range in age from 18–87.

You might say Brooks had plenty of experience. He grew up with his mother and sister in a two-bedroom apartment in the city, where he says he had to work for everything he had from the age of 14. At age 17, he hitchhiked from Rochester to California in search of his father, who left his mother when he was 2 years old. He wanted to ask his father why he left them, but was not able to locate him on that trip. Brooks worked on a farm with migrants digging potatoes to make enough money to get back home. Brooks coincidentally met his father several years later but did not maintain a relationship with him. “I did fine growing up without a father. I turned out OK. I had a tough upbringing, we were poor, we didn’t have anything, but I had a lot of love growing up. It wasn’t easy, but somebody was always there for me,” says Brooks. “Everything I’ve ever had I’ve had to work for and I’m glad. You appreciate what you have if it isn’t just given to you.” At 18, Brooks joined the Army and says he began contemplating where he was, both in the world and in his own life. Seeing other cultures and how people lived helped Brooks understand the meaning of humility. “We are all struggling to find peace and to understand our lives and the people around us,” he says. “All species, including humans, are constantly evolving. You have to discover that yourself, and realize what is truly important.” Brooks was on his way toward that when he married someone he knew


Doug Brooks has several published books and is finishing his next one, “Confessions of a Community College Professor.” well as a teenager and they had three children together. The marriage lasted 15 years before it dissolved in what he refers to as an amicable split. Neither remarried and both remained close, especially as they faced the decadelong terminal illness and then death of their youngest child in 2005.

Family health tragedy “We went through the surgery and treatments over 10 years and it altered my daughter’s life and impacted all of us. Since she was born and when she passed at 23, the experiences that I had going through the health crises with her [and experiencing] her patience and strength made me realize that she gave birth to me,” says Brooks. “You don’t have to have a devastating experience in your life to be reborn into who you should have been. We are here to love and to learn. We have infinite possibilities and we have to recognize that. Once you recognize it, accept the opportunities that come your way and act upon them.” Brooks did that more than once on his life path. He says he found great satisfaction working for the Veterans Service Agency in Monroe County before becoming a technical writer at Kodak. He says he fell into teaching by accident when he was laid off in 1986, and responded to an advertisement for an English and philosophy instructor at MCC. Now nearly three decades later he still finds teaching a joy, instituting his personal philosophies. “If you have confidence in yourself,

you can do anything. Don’t be the first one in line to reject yourself,” says Brooks. “If you’re looking for the ideal job, it does not exist. I was confident in my ability to teach even though I had no real experience, and I guess that came across to the hiring committee. The other candidates had a lot more credentials than I did, but I had confidence in myself.” Confidence is one of the qualities he tries to inspire in his students every day. He says you need to stand up for yourself; people will take advantage of your life if you let them. Brooks has one rule in his classroom — respect. He tells his students to respect what they are doing and every person in the room. He says people get angry because they have issues with their own lives and have issues with themselves. By college they should have a better sense of their identity, and by middle age the opportunity arises to exercise that and make good choices.

Mind and body The choices Brooks made to turn his life around included more than exercising his intellect. He says his decision to exercise his body, lose weight, and stay consistently active has enhanced his life more effectively than any drug or medication he could ever take. Not only does the book describe Brooks’ journey of the body and mind, but also details the method of getting healthy, the ins and out of joining the

gym, good nutrition, and even how people-watching can propel inner growth. The suggested reading list at the back of the book will take readers further into the exploration of self. Brooks says we must remember our spirit and enjoy our own company. He suggests we disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the world and just be with ourselves, and truly pay attention to what’s going on around us. He says we may learn things we don’t want to learn, but those are the most important lessons. Having an open mind and accepting them is how we grow. “It’s not always easy and I practice what I preach, trying to live one day at a time,” says Brooks. “We are so ready to defend ourselves and sometimes we don’t even know why. Instead we need to soften and embrace what is around us. Nature. The laugh of a child. The hug of a friend. I’m grateful I can stand up and see the sunshine out the window. Gratitude and creativity can change our lives.” Creativity, throughout life, is one of the most important messages Brooks shares. Staying active and busy, expanding the mind and moving the body are vital to health and well being, he says. Whether it’s gardening, cooking, or building a birdhouse, nurturing our creative selves provides a sense of accomplishment and joy in completion. Sharing that with others through kindness, generosity, and mutual respect, no matter what the circumstances, positively impacts us all. “That is what is in my heart and the way I try to conduct myself during the day,” says Brooks. “We are always creating, impacting other people’s lives and leaving that legacy. You don’t have to be a teacher to do that. Whatever you do, you can positively impact other’s lives and your own.” Brooks has several published books and is finishing his next book, “Confessions of a Community College Professor.” He enjoys being creative through writing poetry, practicing amateur and fine art photography, and painting. He is the father of three and grandfather of three. For more information on “Middle Age Renaissance” (available on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble. com) or other works by Brooks, contact dbrooks@monroecc.edu. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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noteble native

General admission of $15 ($14 for seniors) gets visitors into both the Lucy-Desi Museum and Desilu Studios in Jamestown. Visitors can thoroughly enjoy everything in both museums in three hours or less.

Jamestown is Home to Two Lucille Ball Museums More than 10,000 flock to the town in August to celebrate ‘Lucy Fest’ By Suzanne M. Ellis

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f you’re a “Lucy” fan who isn’t aware of the gem we have just a few hours down the road, this spring or summer do yourself a favor and make the pilgrimage to Lucille Ball’s native land. Heading west from Rochester, the short trek to Jamestown takes a bit more than two hours via the Thruway and state Route 60 South. Driving through miles of pristine farmland and along Chautauqua Lake, it’s a part of our state that offers beautiful, panoramic vistas. 42

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The Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy opened in 1996 but it wasn’t until recently that Jamestown became home to the “I Love Lucy” 50th anniversary tour sets that had traveled the country. Exhibited at convention centers, state fairs, music festivals, casinos and other entertainment venues, the traveling “museum” featured exact replicas of the original sets from the most popular program ever televised. When the cross-country tour was over, and prior to moving to Jamestown, the exhibit was stored in Houston,

Texas. Eight years ago, in 2005, five tractor trailers were loaded with “I Love Lucy” treasures and moved across the country to a permanent home in Lucille Ball’s hometown of Jamestown. The facility housing them is called Desilu Playhouse, named after the rented Hollywood studio at 847 Lillian Way where the first episodes were filmed. There are two museums in picturesque downtown Jamestown, the Lucy-Desi Museum and the Desilu


Playhouse, and they are next door to each other on West Third Street. There’s no dedicated parking for either, but there’s ample parking for visitors on surrounding city streets and in nearby municipal lots. Even the most rabid Lucy fan can thoroughly tour both museums in a total of three hours or less, reading everything there is to read, watching all the video clips, perusing the gift shops and soaking up the scenery of days gone by in photographs and reconstructed television sets. You can even put yourself on the set of Lucy’s ill-fated Vitameatavegamin commercial and let your friends make a video. The Desilu Playhouse is devoted exclusively to the “I Love Lucy” television series and houses original props, furniture, cameras, costumes and photographs. There are exact replicas — the originals no longer exist — of the Ricardos’ New York City kitchen, living room and bedroom as well as the Hollywood hotel suite where, in two 1955 episodes, Lucy enacted the famous “mirror pantomime” with Harpo Marx and set her nose on fire when she met William Holden. Other Lucy must-sees in the city of Jamestown and the village of Celoron are so downplayed, however, that my search for her grave, the house where she was born and her childhood home turned into treasure hunts. Free maps are available at the museum, but that’s about it; there are no special signs or historic markers to guide you — and a GPS is relatively worthless — so persistence is a must. The good news is, Jamestown is not a very large city and Celoron is a small, lakeside village, so you won’t get too far off the mark during your search. There are ample accommodations in Jamestown, including a Ramada Inn, a Best Western, a Hampton Inn & Suites and a Comfort Inn. Nearby Chautauqua Lake offers plenty of all-season lodging and lots of restaurants, and the famous Chautauqua Institution is a short drive south from the city. Every summer during the first week in August, thousands of Lucy fans flock to Jamestown for the annual Lucy Fest. During the 1980s, Lucille Ball worked closely with the arts council in Jamestown to develop a comedy and comedy-film festival in

The Lucy-Desi Museum features an exact replica of the kitchen and living room where Lucy got into some of her worst predicaments (larger photos). The apartment building where the Ricardos and Mertzes lived was at the fictional address of 623 East 68th St. on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Smaller photo on the left is the home in Jamestown where she was born. The other is the home in the village of Celoron where Lucille Ball spent most of her childhood. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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How to Find Lost Life Insurance Policies

L The gravesite where Lucille Ball’s ashes, along with those of other family members, are buried is in Lake View Cemetery on Lakeview Avenue in Jamestown. her hometown. In 1989, she planned to attend the first-ever Lucy Comedy Fest and accept an honorary degree from Jamestown Community College. Unfortunately, she died in April of that year, a few months before the premiere of a festival that now draws more than 10,000 people. Events include performances by some of the hottest rising comedians, live bands, live comedy theater, some of the best impersonators of Lucy, Ricky, Fred (William Frawley) and Ethel (Vivian Vance), late-night, standup comedy in the Tropicana Room, Lucy Town Tours, Party on the Plaza, a critically-acclaimed kids comedy show, grape-stomping contests and more. Over the years, celebrity guests included Ray Romano, Ellen DeGeneres, Paula Poundstone, Joan Rivers and Lewis Black. The dates for the 2013 festival are Aug. 1–4. Visit www.lucycomedyfest.com for more information. The museum and playhouse in Jamestown are open seven days a week, and more information is available by calling 716-484-0800 or visiting www.lucy-desi.com. “We’re fortunate to have the privilege of preserving the memory [of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz] and the impact they’ve both had on the world, through all the fun costumes and memorabilia, awards they were given, photographs of their personal and TV lives …” says the website. “We’re constantly swapping out exhibits for new ones, so even if you’ve visited the center before, it’s always a new experience.” 44

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By Jim Miller

ost or forgotten life insurance policies are actually quite common in the U.S. In fact, it’s estimated that around $1 billion in benefits from unclaimed life insurance policies are waiting to be claimed by their rightful beneficiaries. Unfortunately, there isn’t a national database for tracking down these policies, but there are a number of strategies and a few new resources that can help your search. Here are several to get you started.

Search records If your dad died recently, searching through his financial records is a good first step. Check his files for a policy, records of premium payments, or bills from an insurer. Also contact his employer or former employer benefits administrator, insurance agents, financial planner, accountant, attorney or other adviser and ask if they know about a life insurance policy. Also check safedeposit boxes, monitor the mail for premium invoices or whole-life dividend notices, and review old income-tax returns, looking for interest income from, and interest expenses paid to life-insurance companies.

Contact the insurer If you suspect that a particular insurer underwrote the policy, contact that carrier’s claim office and ask. The more information you have, like your dad’s date of birth and death, Social Security number and address, the easier it will be to track down. Contact information of some big insurers include: Prudential 800-778-2255; MetLife metlife.com/policyfinder; AIG 800-888-2452; Nationwide 800848-6331; Forethought 800-331-8853; John Hancock johnhancock.com — click on “Contact Us” then on “Account Search Request.”

Get state help Some state insurance departments

have a policy locator service program that can help you locate lost life insurance, or offer resources that can help you with your search. To reach New York state insurance department, call its consumer hotline at (800) 3423736 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. 4:30 p.m.). For information from other states, see the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website at naic.org — click on “States & Jurisdictions Map.”

Search unclaimed property If your dad died more than a few years ago, benefits may have already been turned over to the unclaimed property office of the state where the policy was purchased. Go to missingmoney.com, a website of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, to search records from 38 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The pulldown menu under Links connects you to a map and addresses for unclaimedproperty agencies. Or, to find links to each state’s unclaimed-property division use unclaimed.org. If your dad’s name or a potential benefactor ’s name produces a hit, you’ll need to prove your claim. Required documentation, which can vary by state, is detailed in claim forms, and a death certificate might be necessary. If you need a copy of your dad’s death certificate, contact the vital records office in the state where he died, or go to vitalchek.com.

Tap MIB database The MIB Group Inc., an insurance membership corporation whose main purpose is fighting fraud, offers a policy locator service to help consumers in their searches for life insurance policies. This service, however, only tracks applications for individual policies made since 1996. The service costs $75, requires an original death certificate to get the ball rolling, and takes about seven to 10 days to produce a report. To learn more, visit policylocator.com.


long-term care By Susan Suben

You Are As Important As The Person You Care For

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he National Alliance for Caregiving in its 2009 report, “Caregiving in the US,” estimated that 65.7 million people in the country have served as unpaid family caregivers to an adult or child, and there are an estimated 36.5 million households with a caregiver present. Caregivers can be in their role for an average of four and a half years with three in 10 (31 percent) having given care to their loved one for five years or more. I can count myself in that category as I have been taking care of both my parents for over five years. Caregiving is a national issue. As you can see from the statistics, many of us are in this situation but caregiving itself is isolating and we often feel alone. Caregivers are a special breed of people who provide an act of kindness, unconditional love and dedication to the person they are caring for. They travel uncharted territories with no training for the tasks they need to perform. They try to face each day with a sense of purpose, strength and fortitude. Their goal is to assure that their care recipient has the quality of life he/she deserves. But caregivers may forget to care for themselves. They don’t get the rest and medical attention they need to stay healthy. They don’t take time to be with family and friends. They deal with a roller coaster ride of emotions, stress and frustration. Caregivers need to learn to value themselves, and recognize and acknowledge the commitment they have made to their care recipient. The first step in doing this is to understand what stress and frustration are. According to Webster’s dictionary stress is defined as “strain, a force that strains or deforms, mental or physical tension, to put pressure on,”

etc. Generally, “stress is what you feel when the demands of your life exceed your ability to meet those demands.” Stress can be positive or negative. Negative stress occurs when you “feel out of control or under constant pressure; trouble focusing on a project; feel isolated from others.” Positive stress provides “a feeling of excitement and opportunity; confidence when approaching a situation; the ability to develop a plan of action” according to Timothy Gordon, an expert on stress and caregiving. With stress often comes frustration. Frustration is a “normal and valid emotional response to many of the difficulties of being a caregiver.” It can have serious consequences to a caregiver and care recipient and “it arises out of trying to change an uncontrollable circumstance.” Warning signs of stress and frustration are tiredness, lethargy, anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, irritability, overreacting, new or worsening health problems, knot in the throat, stomach cramps, chest pains, headache, lack of patience, trouble concentrating, feeling resentful, excessive drinking, smoking or eating, neglecting responsibilities, cutting back on leisure activities. How do you overcome stress and frustration as a caregiver? According to the Family Caregivers Alliance, in order to diminish stress and frustration, you need to distinguish between “what is and what is not within your power to change when dealing with an uncontrollable circumstance. You can control one thing: how you respond to that circumstance.” Here are some responses that you can use as tools to manage your role as a caregiver: ask for help, give yourself a break, practice acceptance, calm your body, practice thought modification, take care of your health, and join a support group.

Asking for help is the bravest thing you can do. Delegating and relinquishing control shows strength not weakness. Give yourself a break by setting aside time to make yourself feel special. Laugh, smile, and count your blessings. Try to see the lighter side of things. Practice acceptance by accepting your feelings of anger, resentment, guilt and grief. Accept the limits of what you can do as a caregiver. Learn to be kind to yourself. You are only human! When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, calm you body by counting to 10, leaving the room to collect your thoughts, calling a friend, listening to music, meditating or learning breathing techniques. Practice thought modification. How you think affects how you feel and how you behave. Negative thinking causes more frustration and stress. Recognize negative thoughts and try to stop them. This is just another way of being kind to yourself. Take care of your health by going for annual physicals, eating appropriately and exercising. Most importantly, join a support group. Being with other caregivers will give you the strength and courage to be the “best” you can and understanding that you do not have to be “perfect”. You will not feel so alone. The trick to being a good caregiver is to understand that your needs still have to be met and that you are as important as the person you are caring for. Susan Suben, MS, CSA, is President of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at susansuben@31greenbush.com. July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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Death with Dignity in the Age of Healthcare Reform By Michael Bertolone

A

n unfortunate fact of life is that parents eventually grow old. And, as a consequence, they will most likely get sick. But regardless of advance warning, one is never fully prepared for the devastating sense of loss felt when the end comes. My Dad, Dan Bertolone, passed away 10 years ago at the age of 78. In decades past, that may have seemed indicative of a long life, but to our family it was far too short. He was an active man who shared 52 years of marriage with my mother, and had many friends with whom he socialized. As a member of what Tom Brokaw called “The Greatest Generation,” he didn’t seem old — that is, until a stroke crept up on him one sunny winter morning. Suddenly, he had been transformed from the person we leaned on to a man who in an instant seemed much older. He had once been an outgoing and independent retiree; then, he became dependent upon others for even his basic functions. As he lay on a gurney in the emergency room, he repeated again and again, “I want to go home.” Hospital stays had become a major part of his last years. Diabetes, a bout with bladder cancer, and a heart condition all combined to rob us of the father we once knew. Though often in severe pain, he never wallowed in self-pity. He told us he just wanted to complete his physical therapy program and return home. At that point, we didn’t know the ordeal that awaited him individually, and for the rest of us as a family. Somewhere along the line, our health care system underwent radical change. In the 1970s and 80s, the powers that be thought that it would be a great idea to change the mission of hospitals from simply providing good medical care to maximizing profit and “doing more with less.” Dad’s final hospital stay proved to me that when this policy is taken to the extreme, one ends up with less quality care and 46

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more trouble than was anticipated. “The stroke has affected his ability to swallow food and water,” said one of many in a series of doctors who took part in Dad’s treatment. “If he is fed by mouth, there is a good chance that he’ll aspirate and contract pneumonia.” At 78, pneumonia is often a death sentence. I must say that most members of the hospital staff were empathetic, competent, and dedicated. Some were obviously lacking. But the system is clearly broken, with the patient’s best interests taking a back seat to business concerns. Our community leaders have lost sight of the fact that the system should be about healthcare, not stockholder care. This is especially unfortunate, since Dad was a man who devoted his life to public service and helping others in need. At the dawn of the 21st century, hospital staffing shortages are now the norm. Dad was often made to wait for his feeding tube, medication, and other care issues simply because his nurses were buried in paperwork. It was not merely an inconvenience. He would literally wait for hours to be put back into bed, or to receive the next dose of his many prescriptions. A few weeks went by. Dad wasn’t progressing fast enough for the bean counters who are in control of the system. The downward spiral quickened its pace. His swallow function had not returned and he developed pneumonia as a result. We met with the doctor from the stroke rehab unit, where Dad had been transferred a week earlier. “Your father is unable to participate in our program at the rate that we need,” he said. “His other medical problems are worsening, so we’re transferring him back to the main hospital in order to get these medical issues under control.” He assured our family that this would only be a temporary situation, and Dad would be back in the rehab unit as soon as the pneumonia cleared up. Dad was fighting hard, but his

maladies were fighting harder. His pneumonia was clearing, the hospital staff told us. But he didn’t look any better to us. He was becoming lethargic and unresponsive. And he was becoming an expensive liability to the health care system. His team of doctors decided that it was time for our family to see the hospital social worker, who, in this case, was apparently elected to be the bearer of bad news. “Well, his condition isn’t bad enough to require hospital care. We think he should be moved to a nursing home to complete his physical therapy,” she said. Two words hung in the air: nursing home. Ever since he saw his father admitted to one 25 years ago, Dad has hated nursing homes. My grandfather had his money and other personal property stolen from him there, including, incredibly, his dentures. The social worker also insisted that Dad would only be there temporarily, but something told me this would be the beginning of the end. The next day, I went to his room. He looked at me with sad eyes and said, “They’re putting me in a nursing home.” The following day, he was transferred; his worst nightmare had come true. I went to the home to visit him and the first thing he said was, “I can’t move my left arm or leg.” A day or so later he was back in the hospital of his initial emergency room visit. The prognosis was not good. He had had another stroke and now it was only a matter of time. A sense of relief came over his face when my brother and I told Dad that we weren’t going to allow him to be transferred back to the nursing home. It was the least we could do for this man who had helped so many throughout his life. He died in the hospital a few days later, surrounded by family and friends. Rest in peace, Dad. Your ordeal showed me that all critically-ill patients deserve better treatment than they’re getting from our mismanaged “managed care” system. We should all work toward that goal as a memorial to the self-sacrifice of your generation.

Michael Bertolone l i v e s i n R o c h e s t e r. He can be reached at MBertolone@frontiernet. net.


55+

visits

10 Things to Do in Las Vegas

Explore the World and Never Leave Town

By Sandra Scott

L

as Vegas is surreal. There is no place quite like it. While most people associate Vegas with gambling — and, rightly so — it also puts the world and its amazing sites in reach of all visitors. Many are free for the enjoying. So pack your bags and see the world — no passport needed only one airfare involved.

1

Venice - Explore one of the Italy’s most romantic cities — if not the world’s most romantic city at the Venetian. Stroll along San Marco Square and ascend an exact replica of the Campanile Tower affording a view of The Strip from 200 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard. Wander or, in this case ride the peoplemover across the Rialto Bridge. The most iconic activity in Venice and at the Venetian is a romantic gondola ride. Glide along the quarter-mile waterway beneath bridges, under balconies, and

past street scenes. Inside the Venetian take note of the ceiling paintings calling to mind Michelangelo’s work at the Vatican in Rome.

2

England - The head-turning brilliant white “castle” with colorful conical roofs atop the many turrets is hard to miss. It is home to the Excalibur Hotel and Casino and one of Vegas’ top-rated family-fun activities. Spend an evening in merry olde England at the “Tournament of the Kings,” a medieval-style banquet. The tournament was adapted from the legends of King Arthur. Guests get rowdy and cheer on their favorite jousting knights atop their mighty steeds. Feast on a three-course meal served in traditional medieval style, which means eating with your fingers and pounding your fists on the groaning board (table) as you root for your favorite knight.

3

Paris - Ah, Gay ol’ Paree! Feel the passion, excitement and elegance of the City of Lights. Wander the cobblestone streets, experience the sounds and flavors of Paris’ sidewalk cafes at Café Ile St. Louis, and stop at Le Creperie where the French-style crepes come with a variety of toppings. Paris, France, is known for its good food and shopping; both are available at Paris, Las Vegas. For the ultimate Paris experience ascend the 460-foot-high, half-size replica of the Eiffel Tower for a fantastic panorama view of the area. The Eiffel Tower has a restaurant on the 11th floor also with great views. There are also other Paris iconic sites, including the Arc de Triomphe, the Opera House, the Louvre, and even the balloon from “Around the World in Eighty Days.” July / August 2013 - 55 PLUS

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4

visits

New York - Take a bite of the Big Apple at New York, New York. Gaze at the Statue of Liberty, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with a view of the New York skyline with 12 of the Big Apple’s most recognizable buildings replicated at one-third scale. Get into the Coney Island spirit of on the thrilling Manhattan Express roller coaster. The heart-stopping ride rises 203 feet before dropping 144 feet leaving you coasting at 67 mph. Experience all the sights and sounds of the original Coney Island at their arcade with over 200 games and no visit to any New York is complete without Nathan’s Famous hot dogs. Shop along “Park Avenue” and take in a Broadway show or, at least, a show that features selections from many Broadway hits.

5

Egypt - Visit the Luxor, named for the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes complete with a massive pyramid, the 110-foot high great sphinx of Giza, and a140-foot obelisk. Not only is the shiny black pyramid easily visible so is the Luxor sky beam emanating from the apex of the pyramid, which at 42.3 billion candle power is the strongest beam of light in the world. It is said, on a clear night, to be visible from aircraft 275 miles away. The atrium lobby, which was the largest in the world when the hotel was built, has a step-style pyramid and an obelisk.

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6

The Caribbean - Feel the lure of the tropics. Visit Treasure Island where the beautiful sirens of Treasure Island try to lure a band of renegade pirates with the enchanting melodies into their cove. Watch this updated 17th-century tale of revelry, seduction and danger as the battle ensues with cannons fired between ship and shore. The best part is that it is free with viewing areas in front of Siren’s Cove near the entrance to the hotel. You may want to dine on the fresh catch-of-the day at TI’s Seafood Shack.

7

Rome - Travel to ancient Rome and explore Caesar’s Palace where the architecture and statuary are all reminiscent of ancient Rome. There are accommodations fit for a king and high-end shopping in stores located around a magnificent statuary display with King Neptune at the center. Watch the frequent animatronic “Fall of Atlantis” presentation.

8

T h e U n d e r w a t e r Wo r l d Mandalay is an inland city in Myanmar but Mandalay Bay in Vegas is a watery destination.


55 PLUS

The Magazine For Active Genesee Valley Adults

At Shark Reef there are giant rays, endangered turtles, piranhas along with over 2,000 aquatic animals in 1.6 million gallons of water. Certified divers can dive amid a large concentration of sharks that include whitetip reef and sandbar sharks.

9

Germany - Not all the “worldclass” experiences are casinorelated or located on The Strip. Spend an evening in Munich’s Hofbrauhaus. The fun starts the minute you enter and hear the Oom

Pa Band and continues until you raise your stein for the last time. Dine on authentic German specialties served by drindl-clad waitresses — all capable of carrying eight-liter steins of Hofbräu beer.

10

And, more - Head to Monte Carlo, a gambling Mecca, and who knows maybe James Bond will be trying his luck at the baccarat table. Or, visit Rio for fun of the Latin kind, or dine at one of the many Asian restaurants in the China Town area.

Rochester’s first magazine to celebrate life after 55. Don’t miss out on future issues. Focus on health, finances, travel, housing, family, leisure. Subscribe today and get 55 PLUS magazine mailed to your home!

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page

By Ernst Lamothe, Jr.

Linda Smith, 70 Victor resident discusses program Neighbors in Ministry to Seniors Q. You’re one of the original members of Neighbors in Ministry to Seniors. How did you hear about the program? A. It all started 11 years ago. I was attending a service at First Presbyterian Church when the interim pastor, Rev. David Cole, told us about an effort that was being undertaken by five Victor churches, First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, St. John’s Lutheran, St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic, and Willowbrook Christian. When I heard about the program that helps the aging population, I wanted to be apart of it. Q. What drew you into participating? A. If we say we are Christians we are called to help people. It would be what Jesus would have said to do and that is all I needed to get involved. I knew there would be a great satisfaction in helping your neighbor. Q. What are some of the services you do for people? A. Volunteers cater to seniors’ requests for transportation, doctor and hospital visits, shopping, and other errands. There is no charge for the service. We also do small household tasks and home visits. Drivers are available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Q. What are the requirements for participating in the program? A. The only requirement for help is that the person be 60 years or older and that 24-hour warning be given 50

55 PLUS - July / August 2013

for any ride. The organization has about 20 driving volunteers who average giving 50 rides a month. Volunteers go through an hour and a half orientation. During the orientation, volunteers are given the history, mission, and organization of Neighbors in Ministry. Q. What was the response when you first got involved in this within the community? A. When we started, you could tell this was something that just made sense and would really help a lot of people. At the bottom of our brochures, we have the words God so loved the world, he sent a volunteer. There were people all over numerous towns that needed rides. They didn’t have anyone to take them to the doctors or any of their errands that they desperately had to do. It took about a year to slowly get people together and officially start driving seniors. I was surprised the word spread so fast because we had people from Clifton Springs, Canandaigua and Victor calling us needing appointments to the pharmacy or a hair appointment. Q. Why is something like this important for the older population? A. It is important for seniors to look their best so a program even as small as this can be very essential to their quality of life. People don’t realize that a lot of seniors don’t have family around to take care of them. Fortunately, there are people who are retired and willing to give free rides for people. Because it is a small operation, the organization now only

serves Victor. Q. What do you do with your free time? A. I volunteer at Serenity House, which provides specialized care for the terminally ill, their families and loved ones. I also volunteer and teach reading to kindergarteners at Victor Central School District. It is the early childhood center and I have volunteered there for four years. They call me Grandma Smith and I read them books. I also work as part of a program where we tutor children with cancer. It is so rewarding and I really do enjoy working with kids. Q. Why do you enjoy volunteering in programs that involve kids? A. As a former teacher, I always enjoyed working with kids. It is very gratifying to see kids’ eyes light up when they are learning something new. They can’t wait to just pick up something different.


Private rooms. A hotel-like feeling. Makes you wish you had something to rehab right now. A revolutionary new approach to rehab from St. Ann’s. St. Ann’s is proud to introduce a whole new approach to rehab. Our brand new accommodations in Webster and Irondequoit make you feel like you’re in a fine hotel. With private rooms, private baths with showers, and flat-screen TVs, you truly feel like one of the most important people on earth. And St. Ann’s has the latest technology and the most advanced accreditations to accelerate your recovery. So whether

you’re recovering from joint replacement, heart surgery, a stroke—or anything else—you’ll have everything you need to get back to being your best. We’ll get you home fast. But we’ll make you feel like staying. Have a surgery that’s already scheduled? Remember, where you go for rehab is completely up to you. So preplan your stay by reserving your room at St. Ann’s.

Caring forThe Most Important People on Earth

Call 585-697-6311 for your FREE Transitional Care Planning Kit. Wegman Transitional Care Center – Irondequoit St. Ann’s Care Center – Webster


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Roc55 22 july aug13  
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