Look: Grandma Just Got a Tattoo! ( Would You Go For One? )
FR✓ Personal: ‘Life After Kodak’ ✓ More Local Grandparents Raising Their Grandchildren ✓ Falling in Love Again, at 80
55 PLUS Issue 14 March / April 2012
For Active Adults in the Rochester Area
A Life in the Limelight
Brother Wease on his radio career, profanities, cancer, retirement and his charity work to help sick kids
Has never had a million dollar endorsement contract. But to us, he’s one of the most important people on earth. Somewhere along the way, people forgot that being older should make you more important. Not less. But at St. Ann’s, we never forgot. So we do everything we can to provide seniors with exceptional care. We offer a complete continuum of services. We give our residents priority if you ever need the next level of care. And everything we do, we apply old-fashioned values stemming from our roots in the Catholic tradition. So yes, our approach is somewhat extraordinary. But at St. Ann’s, we believe we’re caring for the most important people on earth. For more information, call Mary Ellen at (585) 697-6311.
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March / April 2012
8 14 HealthWatch 6, 7 Financial Health 11 Long-Term Care 35 My Turn 40 Last Page 42
24 COVER STORY
• Getting ready to bring the “A” game to job interviews
• Staying closer to home for a romantic weekend —just the two of you
• Falling in love again, at 80
16 GRANDPARENTING 80-year-old librarian still working full time at Greece Olympia High School
Got a story idea? editor@GVhealthnews.com
• More local grandparents are raising their grandchilren
• Former Kodak employee devoted to helping others
• At 65 Brother Wease still going and going
• Look, Grandma just got a tattoo
• Milestone: G.R.A.P.E is turning 20
• Tennis coach Chris Billings has retired
• Liz Patterson-Schum, a certiﬁed geriatric case manager for Jewish Family Service March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
Fast Food: What The Doctor Orders
ounting calories doesn’t have to end when facing a fast-food menu. Between shopping excursions to the mall, juggling school activities or taking long car trips, swinging into a convenient burger or taco joint doesn’t have to mean you are entering a nutritional wasteland. Jessica Bartﬁeld, internal physician who specializes in nutrition and weight management at Loyola University Health System has the following guidelines for you in case you want to eat some fast food: 1 — Select grilled rather than fried. A fast-food grilled chicken sandwich has 470 calories and 18 grams of fat while the fried version has 750 calories and 45 grams of fat. 2 — Hold off on cheese, mayonnaise and salad dressings unless low-fat options are available. Cheese can add an additional 100 calories or more per serving, as does mayonnaise, and often you won’t miss the taste when ordering the plainer versions. 3 — Order the smallest size
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
Associate Editor Lou Sorendo
Deborah Jeanne Sergeant Ernst Lamothe, Amy Cavalier Jason Schultz, Lynette Loomis Deborah Graf, Fred Jennings
Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller
Marsha K. Preston, Marlene Raite Donna Kimbrell
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Layout and Design Chris Crocker
available. Go for the single burger rather than the double and for the small fry rather than bonus-size. 4 — Skip sugar-sweetened drinks, which are usually absent in nutritional value and don’t make you feel more satisﬁed. These calories quickly add up leading to excessive calorie consumption, especially at restaurants offering free reﬁlls on drinks. 5 — Save half of your order for your next meal. You save calories, save time and also save money.
Sugary soda raises fat deposits rinking a liter of regular cola every day increases the amount of fat in the liver and muscles surrounding the organs in the stomach, a new Danish study reveals. That type of fat buildup has been associated in other studies to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. For the study, the researchers had 47 participants, who were all overweight or obese, drink either a
Editor and Publisher
liter of water, milk, diet cola or regular cola each day for six months. The findings suggest that the adverse effects of sugary beverages goes way beyond weight or fat gain. The researchers noted that the sugar used in beverages in Denmark is fructose, different from sucrose used in the United States, adding that it is the fructose part of the sugar molecule that is the primary culprit in fat synthesis in the liver.
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.
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How to Reach Us P.O. Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 Voice: 585-421-8109 Fax: 585-421-8129 Editor@GVhealthnews.com
Americans Living Longer, Report Finds Better treatments, screening for many diseases may explain trend, experts say
mericans are living longer, a new report shows, with the average life expectancy going from 78.6 years in 2009 to 78.7 years in 2010. Meanwhile, U.S. death rates dropped half a percent between 2009 and 2010, and hit the lowest rate ever, at 746.2 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the latest set of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. And while both heart disease and cancer stubbornly remain in place as the nation’s leading killers (together accounting for 47 percent of deaths in 2010), death rates here declined as well. Mortality from heart disease went down 2.4 percent, while it dropped 0.6 percent for cancer. The report is based on 98 percent of death certiﬁcates from 50 states and the District of Columbia available to the NCHS. “In many regards, I think the health of the nation is improving and people are living to an older age so that’s good news,” said David McClellan, physician and acting regional chairman of family and community medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. “But we are starting to see age-related diseases have more prominence.” For instance, pneumonitis (aspiration pneumonia) often happens when people get old enough and debilitated enough to where they can’t swallow. This
could be due to dementia or as the aftermath of a stroke, he explained. There’s also “a long way to go in terms of combating the epidemic of smoking, obesity, poor diet and exercise,” he said. “If we could get the smoking epidemic under control, we’d probably see the numbers improve even more.” Another expert was more optimistic.“This is good news. We’re making major progression in cancer and heart disease through decreases in smoking,” said Jay Brooks, chairman of hematology/oncology at Ochsner Health System in Baton Rouge, La. Statins are also playing a part in reducing the death toll from heart disease, while cancer screening is also helping to save lives, Brooks added. There were slight shufﬂes in the rankings of other causes of death. Homicide fell out of the top 15 category for the ﬁrst time since 1965, replaced by pneumonitis. Kidney disease and pneumonia/ inﬂuenza switchedplaces, with the former now 8th and the latter now 9th. “Pneumonia and inﬂuenza have really dropped a lot. Several years ago, they were the sixth leading cause of death,” said Michael Niederman, chairman of medicine at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y. “To me, this is very encouraging because we’re dealing with older populations where many patients frequently have pneumonia, but this afﬁrms the national priority
on immunization, both inﬂuenza and pneumococcal.” The other leading causes of death (in order) were: chronic lower respiratory diseases, cerebrovascular disease (stroke), accidents, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, septicemia, liver disease, hypertension and Parkinson’s. Many of these are clearly diseases related to the aging population, Brooks noted. Death rates also declined for inﬂuenza and pneumonia (by 8.5 percent), septicemia (3.6 percent), stroke (1.5 percent), respiratory diseases (1.4 percent) and accidents (1.1 percent). Meanwhile, death rates increased for ﬁve of the top 15: Parkinson’s disease (4.6 percent), pneumonitis (4.1 percent), liver disease and cirrhosis (3.3 percent), Alzheimer’s disease (3.3 percent) and kidney disease (1.3 percent). The death rate for HIV/AIDS (which was not among the 15 leading causes of death) declined 13.3 percent between 2009 and 2010. But the virus remains a signiﬁcant concern, especially for people aged 15 through 64. There was also good news in infant mortality, with rates in 2010 down 3.9 percent from 2009. But Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City cautioned against getting too excited over the ﬁndings. “This is good news. I don’t think it’s great news,” she said. “With the increased incidence in obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, we’re going to start seeing people getting sicker younger.” March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
Bring ‘A’ Game to Job Interview Appearance can be crucial when sitting down for key interview By Lynette M. Loomis
A When clients visit the production facility of Scale 2 they see owner Rick Crowley in jeans and safety glasses as he fabricates product replicas and kiosks (top photo). But when Crowley is calling on prospects, he goes for an artsy-but-business-like look. Bottom photo shows Moda’s owner Carmine Speranza updating Crowley’s look by tailoring his jacket for a more current, ﬁtted look. Photo courtesy of Dick Bennett Photography.
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
s baby boomers we grew up thinking if we did a good job, we would have a job until we chose to retire. But in reality, many of us left or were forced out of our careers earlier than anticipated. Now jobs are scarce, Kodak has declared bankruptcy, and other large employers have relocated or shifted jobs overseas. And you want a job. So let’s assume you have met about a third of the community through networking, updated and targeted multiple versions of your resume, have mastered using critical job description phrases in your online applications and are connected to the business-related social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Now you have been invited for a personal interview. This is the moment of reckoning when you will be judged on appearance and demeanor and when ﬁrst impressions are critical. “One would like to think that qualifications would determine whether or not a candidate makes the cut, when in reality, qualiﬁcations are just the starting point,” said Deb Koen, president and CEO of Career Development Services in Rochester. It’s not always the most qualiﬁed person who gets the job when other factors shape perceptions. Appearance
55+ alone will not determine a candidate’s status, but the impression created does become even more important when there are many qualiﬁed candidates vying for the same position,” she said. “If you’re surmising that age could be a barrier in your job search, pay particular attention to your appearance. An unspoken concern, held by some employers, about seasoned candidates is that they may not have stayed current in their profession, with the latest developments or with technology. A dowdy appearance with oldfashioned attire will only reinforce this concern. “For most interviews, you’re generally safe to go with slightly more formal clothing than is worn as daily attire in that work environment. You’re looking for ‘current professional’ not ‘runway trendy’,” she said. “You’ve hit the mark if your hair, clothing, accessories and posture suggest an overall conﬁdent demeanor that supports your presentation. Your goal is to present a vibrant look and outlook,” Koen added.
Diverse skill sets Carol Heveron has years of sales, marketing and design experience, and a decade of experience with a full-service digital agency. She also is an artist, singer and a landscape designer. In her job search, she is eager to find a position that challenges her to use her organizational and creative skills. Her varied background and range of experience requires a look that can go from the ofﬁce to behind the microphone. “All of my skills are very current, but it was obvious to me that I needed to update my image to be more current as well. Whether I am interviewing or on stage, I want my physical appearance to project the energy I feel,” Heveron said. Rick Crowley, owner of Scale 2 in Rochester, has discovered there is a new generation of businesses and ad agencies that don’t know about his company.
Before Carol Heveron wanted an updated look that matched her physical appearance to her energy and enthusiasm. This was accomplished by a shorter, brighter hairstyle from Brooke Stulpin of Park Avenue Salon & Day Spa and a makeover by Theresa Kusak-Smith of Mary Kay.
Scale 2 designs custom tradeshow booths and large-scale product replicas and creates unique exhibits for small businesses and Fortune 500 companies. If a prospective client has not seen Crowley’s work, his only opportunity to make a good impression and gain a client is how he presents himself. “As I work to expand my client base, I approach each prospective client as if I am ‘interviewing.’ How I do that needs to inspire conﬁdence that my team can accomplish the project on time and on budget. If I do not present myself in a professional manner—like arriving late to a meeting or my jacket does not ﬁt—I don’t instill that confidence and have probably lost that business opportunity before I have a chance to speak.”
The experts speak So how do we present our best image? Below are some tips from local experts. • M a r y b e t h B ro c k m a n , a n
independent consultant with Rodan + Fields Dermatologists in Rochester, recommends that men and women explore non-surgical methods to reverse signs of aging on their face and hands. “Lifetime exposure to the sun leaves us with the accumulated effects of sun damage that results in brown spots, dull skin and uneven complexions. The use of skin regimens that contain over-the-counter strength hydroquinone can significantly improve our complexion, enhancing our appearance, and increasing our self-conﬁdence,” says Brockman. • One of my own grooming tips is to consider teeth whitening. Nothing says “old” quicker than gray or yellow teeth. Considering that one of our ﬁrst facial expressions viewed by a prospective employer or client is our smile, it is imperative that it be a healthy, bright smile. • For men and women, the right hair cut is critical. Stacey Cudzilo, owner/manager March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
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55 PLUS - March / April 2012
of Park Ave Salon & Day Spa in Rochester, suggests women work with their face shape. “Don’t be afraid to go for a shorter look and consider bangs or a fringe to achieve a more youthful look. Work with your natural hair color. If you have gray or thinning hair, consider highlighting or going lighter to tone it down,” says Cudzilo. “Don’t ﬁght your hair texture. Products should be a necessity not an accessory. Be sure to have deep conditioning treatments regularly.” Cudzilo also offered some advice for men. “Grooming is everything. Ask your stylist or barber to trim your eyebrows and in between haircuts it is important that men keep nose and ear hair trimmed,” she said. “Gray is OK! But if you are concerned, you may want to consider blending with a little color. This doesn’t have to be a huge commitment.” • For women, wearing the right make-up properly applied can make a woman look vibrant, which is a major confidence booster. Theresa Kusak-Smith, an independent senior sales director at Mary Kay, said the biggest mistake is attempting to cover up too much. Less is better, especially as our skin ages. We want to minimize ﬁne lines without attempting a major cover up. “Nix heavy cover-up, which makes crow’s feet and shadows more obvious. Instead, brighten the area with a facial highlighting pen. This also works great on the lines that run from your nose to your mouth,” she said. “Use microdermabrasion a couple times a week. Dead skin cells accumulate in ﬁne lines, making lines
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more visible. To help foundation go on smoother, and last longer, use a primer. Also, the sides of the mouth tend to droop with age. To lessen the effect, use a facial highlighting pen to minimize shadows,” Kusak-Smith said. • And what about clothing? “What you wear and how you carry yourself is an important part of the impression you create. It is as important for men to consider what colors ﬂatter their skin tone as it is for women,” said Carmine Speranza, fashion designer, tailor and owner of Salon Moda in Rochester. “Many men make the mistake of trying to hide a fuller stomach by wearing a loose-ﬁtting jacket which can make a man look sloppy. A well-tailored, more ﬁtted jacket is going to create the best impression. Coordinate your tie with your jacket and avoid a ﬂashy tie,” she said. “Also, it’s usually best not to wear a tie with a logo to an interview. You are selling your brand, not someone else’s. And remember, make sure your socks are long enough not to expose your legs, and polish your shoes.” • In my own discussions with human resource people and business owners, it is important that women consider their jewelry carefully. You don’t want to distract the interviewer’s’ attention from making eye contact with you. Your goal is for the interviewer to remember you, not your jewelry. Also, men and women should go light on, or avoid, perfume or cologne. Consider that your interviewer may have allergies. The memory you want to create is not that of anaphylaxis but your conﬁdence, business savvy and skill set. To summarize, when preparing for an interview, remember that you are the product. Groom and dress yourself to generate conﬁdence and energy and portray yourself as the person you would want to hire.
Lynette M. Loomis is a certiﬁed life and business coach in Pittsford and may be reached at www. yourbestlifecoaching. com.
financial health By Jim Terwilliger
Exploring 401(k) Options for Retirees
he media has been abuzz lately with concerns raised by retirees or former employees of some local companies, including Kodak, about the safety of their 401(k) plans. While such retirement plans are separate from company ﬁnances and inaccessible to creditors, rumors and coffee shop conversations can end up keeping a number of retirees and former employees from sleeping well at night. Almost always, the money is perfectly safe, protected by federal ERISA regulations. But when a retiree is concerned about protecting his/her lifetime accumulation of employmentrelated savings, facts and logic often take a back seat to peace of mind. For many, peace of mind trumps all. Fortunately, a number of attractive options exist which allow many of the beneﬁts offered by company plans but with the ability to gain more personal control over the money.
Roll Over to a Traditional IRA A direct tax-free rollover to a traditional IRA will maintain the money in a pre-tax state. This is accomplished with a trustee-to-trustee transfer. You want to make sure you do not receive any cash in such a distribution. Generally, IRAs offer a bigger universe of investment choices than 401(k) plans, although you will want to make sure that you are not constrained by a limited choice of high-internal-expense “proprietary” funds that some IRA investment ﬁrm representatives may be encouraged to sell. A big advantage is the opportunity to create a personal, face-to-face relationship with a trusted local ﬁnancial adviser who can assist you in designing and managing a long-term
investment strategy for your IRA. Better yet, if you choose carefully, that adviser will be able to put together a personal financial plan and help you manage that plan over the longterm. This way, investment and other ﬁnance-related decisions can be integrated to ensure your overall ﬁnancial health and well-being. Look for advisors who are CFP® certiﬁcants or for firms who have such folks available to work with you.
Roll Over to a Roth IRA Again, a direct trustee-to-trustee transfer is the best way to manage this option. Here, taxability is completely different. The transfer is equivalent to converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. Income taxes on the rollover must be paid in the tax year the rollover is done. The reason: a Roth IRA contains after-tax money. Converting pre-tax money into aftertax money drives an income tax consequence. Once in a Roth, the money is tax-free and all subsequent growth and future distributions are likewise tax-free. Note that certain age and holding-time restrictions may apply, depending on your age and length of time your Roth IRA has been in existence.
Transfer to a New Employer’s Plan This is an option if you are retired but working part-time, say, for an employer that has a 401(k) plan allowing transfers in. This may not be an attractive option if you are inclined to want to gain more control over your account. Remember the “peace of mind” factor that may be driving your decision in the ﬁrst place! And, you will lose some ﬂexibility
since you will not have access to the funds, other than through a loan, while you are working for the new employer.
Take a Cash Distribution Unless you are facing a catastrophic financial emergency, don’t even think of this option! This is clearly a last resort. If you take the cash, the distribution will be subject to federal and state income taxes at ordinary rates. Twenty percent is required to be withheld by your previous employer for federal taxes. Additionally, if you are under the age of 59 1/2, distributions generally are subject to a 10 percent early-withdrawal penalty, although there is no penalty for distributions made to an employee who attained the age of 55 before leaving the company.
Other Considerations: • You are not constrained to only one of the above options. You have the ability to mix and match. • Those retiring now may have a choice between receiving a deﬁnedbeneﬁt pension as a lifetime annuity or a lump sum (or some combination). The above options are available for the pension lump-sum portion. This summary covers only a few of the issues needing consideration. Be sure to consult with a trusted ﬁnancial planner before making any change. What is right for you depends on your personal circumstances. The consequences of making a wrong choice can be disastrous. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
Just the Two of You Staying closer to home for a romantic weekend By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
f your children are grown (or at least old enough to fend for themselves) it’s your time to go on a weekend getaway: just the two of you. The travel expenses to reach adults-only resorts in various parts of the world would cost a bundle, but several venues in the area offer the tranquility and quiet you crave by not allowing young children. Local travel is a big trend, according to Bill Armbruster, associate state director for AARP. “I think people 55-plus are at a point where they are re-exploring their community,” he said. “The kids are out of the house and it’s a great chance to explore what’s available culturally locally.
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
“When you have kids at home, you’re less likely to go to a place like a theatre or a place like a B&B. “There are a lot of gems here in the Finger Lakes with the wine and culinary center. There’s a lot of initiative to make Upstate a destination center.” Staying closer to home for a romantic weekend also makes a lot of practical sense, too. “You don’t have to worry about the time for traveling or cost of traveling a great distance for a romantic getaway,” said Renee Scorsone, who along with her husband, Chris Miller, operate the The Bella Rose Bed & Breakfast (www. bellarosebb.com) in Canandaigua. “It’s different from the hustle and
The Bella Rose Bed & Breakfast is a great option for a getaway close to home. Victorian charm abounds in this cozy B&B with richly hued, ﬂowered wallpaper, carved woodwork, high-hung artwork and ﬁreplaces — and kids are not allowed. Photos courtesy Bella Rose Bed & Breakfast. bustle of a hotel.” The Bella Rose offers only three rooms, so there’ll never be more than six guests at a time. No children are allowed, so you and your sweetheart can savor quiet times enjoying the inn’s antiques, ﬁreplace and romance. Victorian charm abounds in this cozy B&B with richly hued, ﬂowered wallpaper, carved woodwork, highhung artwork and ﬁreplaces. The Inn on the Main (www. innonthemain.com) in Canandaigua boasts majestic architecture. The main house, built in 1840, has been used as the family home of a fruit farm, a law ofﬁce, and an apartment house, and has been restored to its 1800s grandeur by the current owners. Aspects of the inn such as its split oak staircase, period beds (including a four-poster, brass and wrought iron), and more provide restful charm. As
part of Canandaigua’s historic district, The Inn on the Main is a gem of the community. Children 12 and older are permitted. Toganenwood Estate in Lyons, Wayne County, (www.twoodbandb. com) is a historic waterfront B&B on a little more than four lovely, landscaped acres, which include a covered bridge. As a B&B in the country, Toganenwood offers solitude, yet is centrally located to many area attractions, including Finger Lakes wineries, Waterloo Premium Outlets shopping, the Erie Canal and numerous historic points. Whether you want a country retreat or a getaway in the middle of it all, Toganenwood ﬁts both. No children are permitted. Buffalo’s Parkside House (www. theparksidehouse.com) permits children 14 and older. Many historical sites and cultural points of interest nearby offer plenty to see and do, using this urban B&B as your hub. Tasteful, clean lines and décor offer an updated look without being too sleek and modern. Parkside even boasts a baby grand piano!
Tips for a great B&B getaway • Learn all you can before you select a B&B. Review the inn’s site, request or download a brochure and check its feedback on sites such as superpages.com or yelp.com.
• Understand the B&B’s policies and amenities before you go. Some don’t allow pets, for examples. Some serve breakfast only between certain times in the morning. Others include a microwave and mini fridge in the room. Some have only a high, clawfoot tub or jetted tub for bathing; others have walk-in showers. • When you book, look for package deals that can include tickets to nearby attractions or restaurants. These may save you money. • If you have dietary restrictions, let the innkeeper know before you arrive so you can be accommodated if possible. • If you cancel without advanced warning, you may forfeit some or all of your deposit. B&Bs are a lot smaller than hotels and cancellations hurt their business more. • Even though it’s a romantic getaway, it’s okay to do a few things separate. If you love window shopping for antiques and he doesn’t, let him enjoy something he likes while you slip away for an hour. When you join him later, you’ll have more to talk about. Romance doesn’t mean you’re joined at the hip. • Not sure where to go once you get there? Ask your innkeepers about the area. Chances are they’ll have plenty of ideas to enhance your getaway.
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Falling in Love Again, at 80 Betty and Guy, both 80, share storied histories, lives together By Jason Schultz
howing it’s never too old to start a new chapter in the book of life, Guy Kittlesen, 80, and Betty Perkins-Carpenter, 80, have been writing new pages together as active members in the Rochester senior community. Kittlesen of Irondequoit and Perkins-Carpenter of Penﬁeld are both members of the Retired Professionals Society of Rochester, which hosts events on a variety of senior-related issues. Perkins-Carpenter has been a member of the board of the Retired Professionals Society of Rochester for six years, and it was through this organization that she and Kittlesen met. Both widowers, the two have been together for almost two years and found they have enjoyed a variety of interests together, from traveling the country to taking in shows of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, to simply being in each other’s company. Always on the lookout for new challenges, Perkins-Carpenter has started a variety of businesses and has focused on a number of different goals, from childcare and swimming instruction to senior fitness and balance for the elderly. The senior balance program she founded, which can be visited at www.senior-fitness.com, is of vital importance to the elderly. She said every 35 minutes a senior citizen dies in from a fall-related injury. Her six-step program focuses on teaching seniors ways to tap into latent motormuscle memory, from stretching 14
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
before rising each morning to working on balance and depth-perception skills to prevent falls down stairs. “It’s all about balance and mindset,” she said. “Once people realize they have the ability to do things they thought they couldn’t, it changes their entire quality of life.”
An active senior Kittlesen, meanwhile, splits time between the Retired Professionals Society of Rochester, where he is vice president, with work at the Resurrection Lutheran Church in Irondequoit, where he is a worship
assistant, and at the Irondequoit Rotary Club as a member and past president. As part of his duties in the Retired Professionals Society of Rochester, Kittlesen described a recent talk he gave to the group on his experiences in the Army during the Korean War, during which time he was a test subject in a nuclear blast, one of the few to see an aboveground test before a 1960 treaty banned such explosions. A chemical engineering student at Clarkson University, Kittlesen wasn’t expecting to see action, but the outbreak of the Korean War saw him being sworn in as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers just minutes after receiving his diploma in 1952. In April of 1953, Kittlesen was ordered to take part in tests conducted at Camp Desert Rock, Nev., 50 miles outside Las Vegas. While there, Kittlesen was part of a detonation of a ﬁssion bomb as part of Operation Upshot-Knothole, which was conducted to study the effects of aggressive radiation exposure to ground troops. “I was young and dumb enough to be excited about this ‘opportunity,’” Kittlesen said looking back on this
Guy Kittlesen, 80, and Betty Perkins-Carpenter, 80, started a new relationship at age 80. “Even at 80, it’s never too old to meet someone new, and open a new chapter in your life,” he said. They are shown at a Rotary Club party at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester last year.
55+ experience. Kittlesen said he was witness to a test shot code-named “Simon,” a 43kiloton explosion of a ﬁssion device used to detonate the newly invented hydrogen bomb.
Earth-shattering experience The 11,000-pound device was located on a 300-foot tall tower two miles away from his trench, which was considered the minimum “safe” distance for such an explosion. While in the trench with many higherranking officers, he first viewed a calibration shot, consisting of 10 tons of TNT, which he described as a barely audible explosion at that distance. Then came the bomb. “We were instructed to duck down in the trench and look at the jacket of the man in front of you,” Kittlesen recalled. “The ﬁrst thing I experienced was a bright, blinding light that lasted several seconds, and would have blinded me if I had been looking at it. Once the light stopped, we were hit with an earthquake, followed by a deafening roar that drowned out everything. A beat later, the blast wave traveling at hurricane force came over us, and would have blown me to pieces if I wasn’t protected by the trench. The force was indescribable, and beyond anything I’ve experienced before or since.” After this apocalyptic event had passed the soldiers, Kittlesen and the rest of his unit were ordered to walk toward ground zero to examine the effects of the explosion on dummies, vehicles and buildings placed at various distances from ground zero. “When we went over the top, I was met with the sight of this huge mushroom cloud towering up miles into the sky,” he said. “I will always remember seeing the cactus near us was on fire, and singed rabbits running around.” Leading the way to ground zero was a phalanx of helicopters carrying Marines, who were tasked with enduring much higher doses of radiation. “Many of those Marines got a lot of radiation and died young,” he said, showing just how different the times
were and the risks that were deemed acceptable for America’s fighting forces. “On the final stop we were checked out by a two-man team; one with a whiskbroom and the other with a Geiger counter,” Kittlesen said. “When we got back to base, I took off my clothes and didn’t go near them until they were properly washed.” Following being a witness to what was feared to be the worst-case scenario of the ﬁght with the Chinesebacked Korean forces, Kittlesen spent six months in Korea as a combat engineer, where his job was to build roads and clear mines. He got through the war unscathed, though not without a few close calls.
Taste of death Once he was on a bulldozer doing engineering work, and got off to inspect something. The bulldozer operator with him later jumped off his machine and landed on a mine, which killed him instantly. “That could have been me,” he said with a somber realization at the time of just how close he had come to being a casualty of war. During his tour of duty in the summer of 1953, the war was drawing to a close, and Kittlesen was working at the ﬁnal front, at a formation of mountains surrounding a circular valley troops called the “punchbowl.” The area would later become the DMZ, or demilitarized zone, which to this day separates the Communist North Korea from the democratic South Korea. Besides the mines, Kittlesen said he was always worried about artillery and snipers, and was as happy as his Chinese counterparts were when he heard the war had ended. Returning from the war, Kittlesen married and began a 35-year career at Kodak, where his skills as an engineer were turned toward the nascent industry of computer systems and programming, which was used for many years at the photo giant’s image processing center. Despite decades in his career at Kodak and over 50 years of happy marriage, Kittlesen has adapted to the
changes retirement and becoming a widower have on so many seniors.
Meeting New People “Even at 80, it’s never too old to meet someone new, and open a new chapter in your life,” he said. “It’s when you sit around and do nothing, that’s when you get in trouble.” As for ﬁnding her own balance and positive mindset, PerkinsCarpenter said being open to new social situations and new relationships at any age is paramount to health and well-being and an oft-overlooked aspect of senior care. “It’s always important to have a positive outlook and look on the bright side of things,” she said of the philosophy that keeps her going after 80 years. “My experience has found that being socially active is just as important as being physically ﬁt. Along with good nutrition, that goes a long way toward making the most of all the years you have.” Kittlesen agreed with PerkinsCarpenter’s outlook on life. “I’ve always said it was important to get out there and meet people in new avenues of your life,” Kittelsen said. “Once you retire, you lose a lot of people that you see day-to-day, and when your children and grandchildren move away, it can be difﬁcult to keep in touch with family.” Kittlesen said two of his three children moved to Massachusetts and Colorado, while a third remains in Rochester, a common theme these days as families spread out across the country in search of work. Though finding new people to spend time with is difficult in the golden years, Betty said it is a necessary element to healthy living. “So much of getting older is dealing with loss; losing family members and close friends,” she said, adding she has attended funerals for a niece and a sister this year. “With all that goes the social isolation that many seniors face when they stop working or go outside the home, which can quickly lead to depression. That’s why offsetting that with meeting new people is so important to us older people.” March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
Grand Way to Raise Kids Grandparents raising grandchildren is on the rise By Frederick Jennings
t’s among one of the greatest phenomena of our time: grandparents raising their grandchildren, and loving it. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, 4.9 million children (7 percent) under age 18 live in a grandparent-headed household. That’s up from 4.5 million 10 years ago. Approximately one ﬁfth of these children have neither parent present, and grandparents are responsible for their basic needs. Linda James, program coordinator for “Skip Generations” at Family Resource Centers of Crestwood in Rochester, cites several reasons why this increase has occurred: Drug addiction, incarceration, mental health issues, child abuse and neglect, divorce, absence for military service and abandonment are among the more common causes, she said.
How are other families coping with such matters? Several happily share their experiences:
Well-managed Maddox household Sixty-one-year-old Carry Maddox and his wife, Jean, a former Kodak employee, are raising their grandson Honor, 4, now in his second year of preschool. Although the couple has some medical issues themselves, they are perfectly able of caring for their grandson. Honor, they say, is “ahead of his time … above himself, well-mannered and a joy to have
around.” There is no ﬁner example of a role model than Carry. He is a Vietnam War veteran who has since recovered from a stroke, two heart attacks and prostate cancer. Nonetheless, he is robust enough to care for Honor with Jean at his side. Upon his discharge from the Navy, Carry attended R.I.T., and then spent over 30 years at Strong Memorial Hospital, Continuing Developmental Services, Lifetime Assistance and United Cerebral Palsy working as a patient unit secretary, residential manager, and support specialist with over 20 certiﬁcations pertaining to the healthcare ﬁeld. How Carry and Honor got together is the result of tragic circumstances. “His biological parents had been caught up in the dregs of society since his birth,” says Carry. “So we were compelled to step in when he was 6 months old. This has given my wife and I much joy, and the opportunity to see him grow has been a blessing.”
The Trombley Family Cathy Trombley and her husband, Al, their granddaughter, 1 year old Paitynn, and her mother, Cadie, all
Among friends The program that James heads is part of Crestwood’s dedication to the care and upbringing of children. Family Resource Centers is one of the services of Crestwood Children’s Center within Hillside Family of Agencies that provides a plethora of family developmental services for their constituents. James has been raising two grandchildren practically from birth, both of whom were born prematurely. Her daughter was murdered and found in an abandoned field as the result of her drug trafficking activities. 16
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With their blended families the Maddoxes have 11 children, 35 grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. They’re now raising their grandson Honor, 4, now in his second year of preschool.
55+ live together. Paitynn’s mom is a full-time student at college. Her grandmother, Cathy, has left her job as a preschool teacher to care for her grandchild. “I truly believe that babies should be brought up in a home environment, not daycare,” she says. “Besides that,” Cathy went on to say, “my daughter is only 19 years old and would like to continue her education to become a medical assistant. My husband and I decided that I should stay home to care of her [child].” Paitynn’s mom is out of the house from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. “That would have been an awfully long day for a baby to be out of her home and left with strangers,” Cathy says, noting that she has a ‘loving, caring, and giving family which provides Paitynn with most of her necessities. “Money has become an issue especially since I’m no longer working,” Cathy says. “We live week by week but somehow make do without public assistance. We love our daughter and granddaughter very much and will continue to care for them as long as we can.”
Al Trombley and his wife Cathy (right) care for their granddaughter Paitynn while their daughter Cadie (in cap and gown) attends college. Cathy, left her job as a preschool teacher to care for her grandchild. “I truly believe that babies should be brought up in a home environment, not daycare,” she says.
Through the eyes of a child Viewed from a child’s perspective are the memories of Sherry Hardiman who was raised by her grandparents Robert and Hilda Dunn in Syracuse. Now happily married at 36 and mother of two boys, she runs her own home-based business as a graphic designer in the Rochester suburb of East Irondequoit. After Sherry was born, her mother, Susan, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a mental condition characterized by an altered concept of reality often accompanied by delusional behavior and hallucinations. At the time, her father was in the Air Force stationed in Germany and England where he served as an air trafﬁc controller. Despite the hardships this divided family faced, Sherry claims to have had “the best childhood. My grandparents were always home so I never had to be shipped off to daycare. All of their ﬁve children had grown and I became
David, Ruth and Megan Rogers enjoy a brief moment together with young Adam. their main priority. They gave me all the attention I could ask for and the best life they could. Using their Social Security money, they were able to send me to Catholic school. It was great to come home after school to the smell of cookies baking in the oven or dinner cooking on the stove.” “When I hit my teenage years, there were some challenges for both of us. But they were all part of a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t change a thing,” Sherry added.
Sherry Hardiman holds a portrait of her grandparents Robert and Hilda Dunn, who raised her.
“During my senior year of high school, my grandparents passed away. To this day, I miss them terribly,” she said. Sherry went on to college at SUNY Oswego to prepare for the successful career she now has.
Ruth and David Rogers You can’t really say that 6-year-old Adam Rogers is being raised by his grandparents, Ruth and David, but he and his mother, Megan, all happily live March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
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together in their three-bedroom Cape Cod home in Gates. I t ’ s a n around-the-clock proposition, which means Adam’s mother is the one mainly responsible for his care and upbringing, but his grandparents James have had an enormous inﬂuence in his life. The decision to do just that would help lessen the ﬁnancial burden and, Megan says with a smile, “assure us of a reliable sit-in baby sitter.” Megan and her son had been living for a year in an apartment in Rochester. She then decided to go back to Monroe Community College to finish her associate’s degree, subsequently moving on to Roberts Wesleyan College where she completed her bachelor’s degree in health administration this past summer. She is taking physics classes at Monroe Community College to gain entry into the diagnostic medical ultrasound program at RIT in the fall. Adam is a bright, friendly outgoing boy. And although his father lives in Fairport, his parents have joint custody. Adam’s father and his son visit regularly. “Adam is the love of my life,” says Ruth. “But there’s also the stresses in life that naturally come when three generations live together under one roof.” But the Rogers are managing things just ﬁne, realizing that things will not always be as they are now. “We do what we have to do, and what our conscience tells us to,” Ruth said. “We are delighted to help care for our grandson.” • According to the AARP, “Most grandparents and other caregivers say they gain great joy from their role. However, many face financial, health, housing, education, and work challenges that often thwart their retirement plans. This magniﬁes the need for more supports, resources and services for these so-called “grand-families” so they can more effectively provide this important service to their families and to our country while building their own security for their future.”
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Life After Kodak Former Kodak employee devoted to helping others through education By Nat Yogachandra
here is always life after Kodak. It is a life serving humanity in remote corners of the world that involves a strong dedication to work toward educating the needy and poor children around the world. This is my story. I am 64 year sold and retired from Eastman Kodak Company after working for the photographic company in various marketing and management positions for more than 30 years while living in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. After my retirement, when many of my colleagues moved to warmer climate areas to play golf or to start new businesses, I took a different path in my life. I, along with my
youngest daughter Natascha and my wife Deborah, started a new chapter in my life to establish vibrant communities around the world where needy children can enjoy a peaceful and healthy life and receive proper education without any form of prejudices. The time after my retirement was the most inspiring and rewarding days I have experienced in my life. Natascha and my wife are the true great inspirations for me to take this new path in my life after Kodak. Before my retirement, I worked for Kodak in various marketing and management positions in several countries. Natascha, who turned 18 last July and is now a second-year
student at the New York University, was born in Hong Kong while I was assigned to the headquarters for Kodak Asia Paciﬁc operations. After the December 2004 tsunami hit parts of southern Asia, Natascha, then 12 years old, inspired my wife and I to take her to Asia to help victims. We helped tsunami orphans and repaired damaged day care centers along the coastal areas of southern India and Sri Lanka. After we returned to Fairport after a month, we realized our mission had only begun. Seeing the desperate need and ﬁred by Natascha’s special passion to improve literacy, education, and lifetime opportunities for young girls, we started Hope is Life Foundation (www.hopeislife.org) a non-governmental agency registered in New York state to help raise the standard of children in impoverished parts of the world and to eradicate illiteracy. To me and my wife Deborah along with Natascha, the satisfaction and pride that come from helping others are important reasons to get involved in serving humanity.
Matter of commitment
With Haiti children, Nat Yogachandra and his organization are helped build a school. 20
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When you commit your time and effort to a cause you feel strongly about, the feeling of fulﬁllment can be endless. So, in late 2005, we moved back to Asia, this time to India to continue with our humanitarian work. From 2005 to 2007, we lived in India, opening libraries in village schools, sponsoring girls to attend school, providing educational materials to village community schools
55+ and building schools in remote areas. One of our most fulﬁlling projects was in Kolkata, where we worked with the All Bengali Women’s Union—a volunteer association that runs an orphanage which houses runaway girls or teenage girls rescued from streets or brothels. When we met the chair lady of the orphanage to discuss ways in which we could support the girls’ education, she told us many girls had just come to her a couple of days ago requesting to go to school. This meant they needed money to buy textbooks, educational materials, uniforms and other minor expenses of attending schools. She had to tell the girls they could not attend school because they didn’t have the funds to send them. She told us she knew that God had sent us, which, of course, brought tears to our eyes. There we agreed to sponsor the girls to send them to school. We visited the orphanage again in Kolkata last June to monitor the progress of these girls. They are doing
Nat Yogachandra talking to a group of students in a village school in Battambang, Cambodia. This school was built by Hope is Life Foundation. great. During this visit, Natascha also started a pig farm and a computer training school in a village in Imphal, Manipur, India, in the northeastern
part of India. The village school is being repaired and rebuilt with the help of our support. While living in India, our mission
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March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
spread to many Southeast Asian countries including Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos. To help and monitor the projects, we moved to Bangkok, Thailand in 2007. Natascha attended an international school in Bangkok and during weekends and long breaks, she would travel with us to support and monitor various projects in neighboring countries.
Opening up opportunities Since then, we have been helping less fortunate children around the world, providing opportunities for them by building schools and learning
About Nat Yogachandra Nat Yogachandra has published several articles and papers on brand management, marketing and social issues in publications in Asia, the Middle East, and the U.S. He authored four books on Asian cultures and doing business with various cultural groups in Asia. He is a recipient of the Civic Award by the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce for his work in advancing better international understanding and participation. He
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is also the recipient of the prestigious Kodak Burnham Award, a lifetime a c h i e v e m e n t a w a rd g i v e n f o r excellence and innovation by Eastman Kodak Company. Yogachandra was also named “One of the 25 Most Inﬂuential Executives— Visionaries 2002,” by U.S. Consumer Good Technology publication. He is active with Rotary International, a Paul Harris fellow and former president of the Fairport Rotary Club.
centers through our Hope is Life Foundation. Examples of support include the building of schools in Cambodia, sponsoring HIV/AIDS children in Vietnam, and offering micro-loans to guardians of orphans in Sierra Leone, Africa. Our projects mainly focus on education—eradicating illiteracy— one child at a time, especially the girls in Asia and Africa. Asian society is very patriarchal and most girls in poor families miss out on educational opportunities and end up doing housework at home or going out in the farm working. We believe educating girls is more important than educating boys. The ﬁrst teachers of children are mothers, and we need to educate them ﬁrst. We have always stressed that girls beneﬁt tremendously from education, and so do the societies around them. These women send their children to schools and teach them at home about social responsibilities and rights, which leads them to get rid of poverty and discrimination. We moved back to Fairport in 2010. Natascha got admitted to New York University in that year. Today, our work still continues with the help of our family and friends here at home and all over the world. With the strong dedication and passion of Natascha, our foundation is involved in several humanitarian projects in many parts of Asia, Africa and Haiti. After the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, we have visited Haiti few times, with the goal of empowering local communities to participate in and sustain the
Continued on page 34
How many youth need mentors?
Just one…the one who needs you.
You’ve got what it takes to make a difference in the life of a child.
Call 271-4050 or visit www.RochesterMentors.org A message from the Boomer Mentor Project of Rochester Mentors at Lifespan.
March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
A Life in the Limelight No. 1 Rochester radio personality: Telling it like it is By Amy Cavalier
o apologies. What you see is what you get when it comes to Brother Wease, one of Rochester’s longestrunning and most well known radio personalities. Whether you love him or hate him, whether you listen or don’t, the word “Wease” is synonymous with Rochester. He’s been voted the No. 1 radio personality in The Democrat and Chronicle Rochester’s Choice Awards for the past 10 years and he ranks No. 1 among men 25-54 years of age, according to Arbitron, a consumer research company that collects listener data on radio audiences. Wease’s name is on bumper stickers. He’s known for having a foul mouth and using made-up words like “shiznit” and “keester.” “ H e ’ s g o t a n o v e r- t h e - t o p personality,” says Joe Tantalo, coowner of Physical Graffiti and a former producer of “Radio Free Wease.” “He wears his heart on his sleeve, tells it like it is, and what you get on the radio is what you get in person. There’s no different personality. He’s the same 24-7,” he said. His fame extends well beyond Rochester. Wease attended all three Woodstock concerts, serving as emcee in 1994 and 1999. Co-producer of the concerts, John Scher calls Wease “one of the greatest DJ’s in the history of the modern music industry.”
“He’s is a rare breed because in America, especially terrestrial radio has taken an awful lot of the personality out of the industry,” Scher says. Scher compares Brother Wease to famous DJs such as the likes of Alan Freed, who is famous for introducing the term “rock ‘n’ roll” in the 1950s; Murray the K in the 1960s, who referred to himself as the ‘ﬁfth Beatle’; Cousin Brucie in New York City and Wolfman Jack in Los Angeles. Wease loves to argue, he sports sunglasses indoors and has more than 45 tattoos. He’s also as honest as he is loyal and notorious for speaking his mind. It’s hard to typecast “The Wease Show,” says Kevin LeGrett, vice president and marketing manager for Clear Channel’s cluster of radio and television stations in Rochester. “He, in many ways, invented the format he does,” says LeGrett. “He is a pioneer and all you need to do is listen to Rochester radio to hear the imitators on a daily basis. There’s only one Brother Wease and everybody aspires to be him.” Wease has met people and experienced things most people have only dreamed of, says Leslie Zinck, a long-time listener and owner of Lovin’ Cup Bistro and Brews in Park Point at RIT. In spite of all his accomplishments, she says, he remains humble. “Wease just is who he is, and he lets it all hang out for us to hear,” says
Zinck. “He does all of these things while making us laugh. Not a giggle, or a chuckle, but a really good belly laugh. It’s a beautifully refreshing thing.” In 2008, at the age of 63, when most people are retiring or already retired, Brother Wease was picked up by Clear Channel and had to rebuild his show from the ground up. “That ain’t as easy as I thought,” he says. “That was pretty tough and scary, you know? I lost fans, and the guys I left behind do the show I created without me.” Now 65, Wease is working harder and waking up earlier than he ever has before, says his wife Doreen Levin. “He’s become an institution, but he doesn’t take it for granted in any way,” she says. “He still works real hard. Instead of backing off, expecting listeners, he always wants to be on top of his game. He’s always worried about giving listeners the best show he can give them.”
War, what is it good for? Born on Park Avenue, Wease attended No. 1 School and Monroe High School. His dad Hyman owned a printing business and his mother Beverly was a housewife. He has two older sisters. After graduating from high school in 1965, he joined the Army as a paratrooper at the age of 19. “It was kinda dumb decision,” he says in hindsight. March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
cover Rochester to work for his father ’s business, Levin Printing, and he “hated it something terrible.” Wease’s heart was in music.
Brother Wease with his wife Doreen, and four of his ﬁve kids: the older boy and girl are Satchel Jacob and Abbey Rose. The younger two are Lucille Ball and Sammy Davis Jr. After advanced infantry training at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Ga., followed by paratrooper school at Fort Benning, Wease shipped off to Vietnam. He took three trips from 1966 to 1968, spending time in the jungles of the Northern Highlands and then the Long Binh Post in Saigon. After the war, he was promoted to drill sergeant. “I didn’t want to teach anybody to do that and send them to get killed,” he says. “I was too pussy.
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I used to go in and see my captain every week-and-a-half and ask for a different job.” Wease went AWOL, leaving the Army to manage a band. If he was lacking direction when he left for Vietnam, Wease says, he came home with even less. In a short period of time he was busted for drugs, served a year of jail time as a result of going AWOL, and got married to a “chick” in Philadelphia. In 1975, he moved back to
Wease’s radio career began as a “lucky accident,” he said. While buying tickets for a show in Rochester, Wease met concert promoter Ted Boylan. The two hit it off and Wease began working for him. Together they brought acts like The Pretenders, Divo, Peter Tosh, Def Leppard and Judas Priest to town. Through his work as a promoter, Wease met Trip Reeb, program director at 96.5 WCMF at the time. “One night he asked me, ‘Did I ever want to be on the radio?’,” Wease recalls. “I said ‘Who doesn’t want to be on the radio?’” Eventually, Wease landed a 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift as a regular disc jockey ﬁve days a week at WCMF. When the station needed to fill a morning slot in December 1984, they approached Wease. “I didn’t want to do it,” he says. “I didn’t think I knew what I was doing. I was on at night, getting high, picking tunes, having a ball, meeting broads. It was a big raise, not that I even cared.” Despite his doubts, Wease took the gig. He gives much credit for his rise to success to famous comedian Sam Kinison. Early in Wease’s career, Kinison would frequent Wease’s show when he was performing in Syracuse and Buffalo. He has also hosted Jay Leno, Adam Sandler and David Spade on his show, and Andrew Dice Clay visited the studio in January. “I hate to brag, but I pretty much invented the way I did this,” he says. “I’ve gone to morning show boot camp for the past 20 years and I’ve really spread the way to do this to tons of other shows that are now way bigger than me. They give me credit, and that feels good, but it also sort of hurts.”
Back in the saddle again In January 2008, Wease and Entercom failed to reach a contract. He says it was strictly a “dollars and
55+ cents” decision for both parties. “There was no betrayal,” he says. “Those guys I left behind may have felt betrayed by me, but that’s not the way it is. I have to worry about my family before I worry about anything else.” When he was picked up by Clear Channel a few months later, he had to build the show from the ground up. The show’s line up has gone through some adjustments since restarting in 2008. Nationally known comedian Jamie Lissow is the only original cast member. Also on the show are head producer Pauly Guglielmo, and assistant producers Scott Brooks, also known as ‘Brooksie’, and Billy D’Ettorre. A guest comedian on the Jay Leno show and Comedy Central, Lissow was living in New York City three years ago when he got the call about being on the “The Wease Show.” With a son on the way, Lissow was looking to get back to Rochester and family. “This is probably like one of the only opportunities I would have ever wanted to come home for,” he says. “He’s your guy; the LeBron James [of radio]. I knew I was joining what was the winning team and I just hoped I could do my job. I think it’s gone pretty well.” The success behind the show is Wease’s ability to tell it like it is, says Guglielmo. “You fall in love with him as a friend and as a personality on the radio because you feel like you could have a beer with this guy and really talk to him,” says Guglielmo. Zinck says she admires the way Brother Wease speaks from the heart, whether he thinks people will like it or not. “He loves people for who they are, and gives everyone a chance, but calls people out when they need to be called out,” she says. “He’ll admit when he is wrong, but not without a stubborn ﬁght. Even though Wease is a strong force to be reckoned with, you can tell he has a sensitive side too.” The worst part of his job, Wease says, is negative feedback, especially when it’s anonymous. He’s the ﬁrst
to admit that he doesn’t have a “thick skin.” Ratings stress him out. “If I’m No. 1 by a mile, and I’ve got a 10-share, then that means 90 percent of people aren’t listening to me,” he says. “I know how good my radio show is. It’s respected nationally, and called legendary by GQ [Magazine], but you know, to have to worry about these ratings is brutal.”
It’s a family affair Wease is a self-proclaimed “lover of people.” “I always have to be with people,” he says. “That’s why I’ve been married three times. I’ve never lived alone.” He isn’t shy about professing his love for his wife Doreen. “The secret is she loves me, and you don’t get that a lot,” he says. “Here she is, 22 years younger than I am, way too hot for me, and she sincerely loves me. I can’t tell you how much she does. We do everything together.” Originally from Long Island, Doreen moved to Rochester in 1990 to get her Master ’s degree at the University of Rochester. One of her former boyfriends was listening to the Wease show one day and called in. When Wease heard Doreen’s thick Long Island accent in the background, he asked her to get on the phone. Before she knew it, she was being invited onto the show. “It was exciting and fun,” she says. “I was never anxious or nervous. I just went on to have fun and be myself.” Doreen would ﬁll-in on the show in the early ‘90s. As the years progressed, so did a friendship between the two. In the fall of 1995, they started hanging out more seriously. “Then one day he kissed me and that was it,” she says. “He’s got such a big heart and truly, that’s what I loved the most. He’s so caring and so giving.” Wease credits her with saving his life twice. Fifteen years ago, Doreen stopped Wease from getting an operation on his pancreas and got him into a specialist at John Hopkins for a second opinion. It wound up being a simple cyst. In 2005, Wease
was diagnosed with nasal pharangeal carcinoma, a rare form of sinus cancer. Doreen got him into the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for treatments. During his treatment, WCMF raised nearly $100,000 for children with cancer with the “Kick Cancer’s Ass,” campaign. Wease has been cancer-free since. Married for 14 years, Wease and Doreen have two children: Lucille Ball and Sammy Davis Jr. He also has children from his previous marriages: Satchel Jacob, Abbey Rose and Dianne. He spends his free time with family, traveling to Florida or the Caribbean, and at his summer home on Sodus Point. Doreen, who works in education, says people often ask her how she tolerates having her life discussed on the radio. “I’ve always been a very open person, even at work, so it didn’t bother me and eventually, the people of Rochester, his listeners have become our big family,” she says. “It’s a blessing to me because we don’t have any family here in town. Instead, it’s like our family is replaced by all the people in Rochester who listen to him. It’s amazing.” She says the listeners have been with them from the beginning of their relationship and sometimes they’ll remind her about details of their lives she’s even forgotten. Some even send cards for their children’s birthdays. “I know that there are other radio shows that try to do his kind of radio and at times they have issues because their family members don’t want their lives to be an open book, and most of them don’t even use their signiﬁcant other’s real name,” says Doreen. Doreen says she thinks listeners can appreciate that Wease has a wife at home that’s going to nag him to empty the trash and the litter box and kids who want him to come home from poker and take them to a movie. At home, Doreen says, she gets the Wease show “uncensored.” “He will tend to bring home the same sentiment he has on the radio. I just get to hear the longer version of it with more dirty words,” she says. Satchel Jacob Levin, 24, is Wease’s March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
son from his second marriage. He says his father is just as entertaining off the air as he is on. “The basics behind a good argument are passion and facts and he has so much passion about what he’s talking about it makes for a great argument to listen to,” Satchel says. “I think he’s just that way as a person. He’s good at talking. All that pulled together, he’s a radio personality and his personality brings out the best on radio.”
There goes the last DJ Wease said he is proud of the things he’s accomplished on radio. During a recent 24-hour talk show to beneﬁt Monroe Community Hospital that raised $30,000, Wease agreed to have several sponsors’ company names tattooed on his body. Wease is part owner of Physical Grafﬁti tattoos in Rochester. “It sounds crazy to people, but I’m proud,” he says. “Radio people do stupid, phony radio bits and you
might think mine is, but it’s pretty bold, it’s lasting forever, and it was for charity. Plus, nobody else has ever done it. If it wasn’t hard, why doesn’t everybody else do it?” Wease is also big on endorsing services or causes that are near to his heart. For example, he has had an actual prostate exam performed live on the air to help Urology Associates of Rochester spread awareness of prostate cancer. “I know guys that have prostate cancer, and it’s really a simple cure,”
In the Words of Brother Wease On war: While serving in Vietnam, Wease collected audio recordings. Later in his career, he played excerpts on the air. The recordings garnered complaints so he pulled them. It’s a decision he regrets. “I’m the only one who doesn’t glorify war,” he says. “War is ugly, nasty. Why shouldn’t people know the uglies instead of all this propaganda?”
On his nickname: Weasel or Wease is a nickname he picked up in his youth because he was “always sneakin’ around stealing stuff.” The name stuck—in the Army, as a concert promoter, and then when he needed a name for radio. “I was Wease, but I said ‘Brother Wease’ because I call everyone brother and sister,” he says. “I said ‘Brother Wease’ never knowing it would be a career. I think if I’d had a chance to think about it, I would have picked something else.”
On being compared to Howard Stern: For lack of a better description for Brother Wease, people often times compare him to Howard Stern. Wease says that may have been a fair comparison 15 years ago, when Kinison and strippers were 28
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regular occurrences on his show. Today, Stern’s audience is men aged 18-34. Wease’s demographic is men aged 25-54. “I didn’t need to keep having naked chicks to get the ratings,” he says. “I still talk sex, no doubt about it, but I don’t need naked chicks to come out and do stupid bits. My show is completely real.”
On if he could have one person, alive or dead, on his show: “This is easy. Jesus,” he says. “Cause I want to prove to all the right-wing bastards that he’s really a liberal. I guarantee it.”
On profanity: “On satellite [radio] you can say anything,” he says. “I’m jealous of that, not just to swear to be dirty, but I’m a profane person. My right and wrong is different than Bob Lonsberry’s. To me, to say the word f--- doesn’t mean anything. It’s ridiculous to think these words are right and wrong, at least to me.”
On cancer and the fear of death: In February 2005, Wease was diagnosed with a nasal pharangeal carcinoma, a rare form of sinus cancer. After being given a 60 percent survival rate in Rochester, Wease went to Memorial Sloan-Kettering
Cancer Center for treatments. He says cancer put a fear of death in him that Vietnam never did. “It was way worse,” he says. “ W h e n y o u ’ re y o u n g , y o u ’ re indestructible, and I wasn’t indestructible anymore. That was the whole thing—I had little kids. Every day I went in for radiation, out the window from where I waited was a school with a playground. I would look at those kids on the playground and it was tearing my keester up.”
On casinos and fast ferries: Wease says he’s all about funding for the arts or “anything that makes my place more fun or hipper.” “I want to live in a hip town,” he says. “I shouldn’t have to move to New York City. I want taxes to pay for all my stuff. We’re already paying for all the stuff you’ve gotta have. I want to see some of the things people complain about—arts centers, ferries, skating rinks.”
On retirement: “I can never retire,” says Wease. “They’d have to shoot me or ﬁre me or something because I have kids and I have too big a lifestyle and they don’t make enough money on this planet to keep me going.”
he says. “Some guys are afraid to let a guy put their ﬁnger up their a--. That’s fact. That’s a hell of a gift to me that my stupid a--- h--- can save a guy.” At Woodstock, he remembers having to take charge and direct the crowds when a guy fell off a sound tower in 1994 and again as head emcee in 1999 when ﬁres broke out on the concert grounds. Scher says Wease is a great communicator. “He’s someone I’ve come to be able to rely on to sort of get the temperature of what people are thinking, especially on concerts and entertainment in Upstate New York,” says Scher. “He’s a trusted friend and trusted business associate. His life story is such a great example to people. He’s a veteran and pulled his life together to become as successful and charitable as he’s been. I love the guy.” Wease started the Wease Cares Children’s Fund in 1996 to raise money for children in need. Since 1998, the charity has raised and given away over $270,000. “I’m a bleeding heart liberal, and if the right wingers want to call it communism, so be it,” he says. “I call it helping people who are hurt and I try to do as much as possible with a silly microphone and it’s made a big difference over the years.” At 65, Wease says, he doesn’t feel his age. “I hang with mostly much younger people so their energy and attitudes get injected in me,” he says. “That’s just life, who you run with, so I don’t feel that number at all.” Guglielmo says Wease has taught him that life experience is not just about currency. “There’s days you wish you were him and days you’re glad you’re not,” he says. “Hearing his unique take on things and hearing the way he approaches life, you know, ultimately the major life lesson I’ve learned from him is that it’s about the experiences and smiles in life, not money.” Wease says his only regret is that he “didn’t ﬁgure this radio thing out way earlier.” “I never set out to accomplish anything except to stay alive and not hurt anybody, spread a little love,” he says. “As corny as that sounds, I’m serious.”
Rochester Chamber Orchestra Directed by David Fetler
TWO UNIQUE PERFORMANCES MUSICAL KALEIDESCOPE March 25 at 3 p.m.
Mozart, Piazzolla, Purcell, Schubert, Mahler,Straus and more with stellar soloists and choruses
MOZART’S TRIPLE April 22 at 7 p.m.
Mozart’s Concerto for Three Piano’s, Symphony No. 23 and more Mozart Hochstein Performance Hall
50 Plymouth Ave. S, Rochester 14608
Tickets are $10-$25 at Wegmans, online at www. rochesterchamberorchestra.org or by calling 585.442.9778
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HomeForLifeNY.com March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
Look! Grandma Just Got a Tattoo!
Joel Provost, owner, Pure Image Tattoo, applies an original design black and white tattoo near the neck of Brigid Kelly, who does not even ﬂinch.
Comfortable in their skin, older women reveal their tattoos By Deborah Graf
he art of self-expression has been in existence as long as humanity, unrestricted by gender, race or age. But for women in their golden years, it’s the art that makes all the difference. Tattoos are a universal language, and the quest for personal identity is what keeps them coming back for more. “I just like the self expression,” says Lee Post, 51, of Irondequoit. “I feel like it’s my way to celebrate things that are important to me.” Post got her ﬁrst tattoo at age 43 on her ankle, and her latest one on her leg, and she’s already planning her third. So what is it about getting a tattoo that has women inking up later in life? Joel Provost, owner of Pure Image Tattoo in Fairport, has an idea. “Everybody has their reasons, but 30
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there is a common theme with older women,” he says. “It’s like a sentiment for them. A way of coming back out. Many have gone through some kind of life-change, divorce, midlife crisis, death of a loved one, and they just feel different, more free.” Post says her tattoos represent milestones or signiﬁcance in her life. “The second time I was willing to be more adventurous, and my next one will be my parents’ initials to celebrate their lives.” But celebration isn’t all that mature women are thinking about. For some it is an accomplishment, for others it becomes a hobby. Brigid Kelly, a former Webster resident and mother of three now in her late middle age, has several colorful tattoos on her foot, ankle, back and, most recently, shoulders. She says it’s addictive and when she
gets one, she is already thinking about the next one. Kelly and her best friend Karen DiGuiseppe, 50, of Macedon, enjoy getting their body art together, and one of their designs even matches. They recently had a dual appointment with Provost, who has done several of DiGuiseppe’s tattoos. “Karen said let’s get a tattoo together, so we found a design, and we personalized it to make it unique for us,” says Kelly. DiGuiseppe also has “matching ink,” as she calls it, with her daughter, who is 20. “My father was in the service and I loved his tattoo, so I got one,” DiGuiseppe says. “Now I am proud to say almost my whole family has them.” According to Provost, body art is more common than we think. He has
55+ been tattooing on and off since 1995, and doing it full time for the last nine years. “When you talk about your tattoo, many people have them that you do not expect,” says Lynne Johnson of Avon. But she was also quick to explain that she had to be careful with the placement so she could conceal them because of her job in a conservative company. “Even though I have no problem with them, you still have to be careful; they are not completely accepted,” Johnson says. “It is what it is.” DiGuiseppe explains that body art has to put it in the right environment. “I work in a professional ofﬁce. The world is not receptive yet to full acceptance of ink skin coverings,” she says. “You can’t take it lightly.” Contemplating body art may prove enlightening, but the actual act of getting tattooed should not be taken lightly either. “Oh, it hurts.” says Kelly, “But some places are more sensitive than others.” According to Provost, getting a tattoo isn’t pleasant. “I don’t enjoy getting tattooed; it’s terrible,” he
Brigid Kelly shows off the ﬂower tattoo design on her back, which complements the other ﬂower designs in color and style on her body. says, although nearly his entire body is covered in ink. “Everyone reacts differently to how it feels.” He explains that the outlining usually hurts more than the color work, as it’s the initial application. But after a while the area can become numb so pain may be less noticeable. “If you have a good artist they are busy and engaging you in conversation you may not notice they are putting a needle on their skin,” says Post. There are also ways to care for your new tattoo to help ensure proper healing without complications, which can include allergic reactions or infections. Healing time varies but can take a week or so, according to Provost, and the location should be exposed to air, and not exposed to sunlight, chlorine and other things that may affect the skin or the coloring. “Some colors will fade a little, so you should take color into consideration when planning it, and really love what you are getting,” says Kelly. “You can’t erase a tattoo,” says
May Lucas, 28, of Victor, who works with Provost at Pure Image. “So you need to be sure you want it and then follow the post-tattoo directions so that it lasts. You paid a lot for it, you might as well take care of it and enjoy it.” The cost of body art depends on the size, the location, and the tattoo artist. “It’s expensive depending on the size,” says DiGuiseppe. “But it’s like anything—you have a hobby, whatever it is, and you plan for it and you put aside for it.” Post agrees. “You get comfortable with the cost. You are getting something on your body, you can’t lose it like a piece of jewelry,” she says. “You want to pay for good work; you are going to look at it forever.” DiGuiseppe even replaced her actual wedding band with a tattooed ring around her left ring ﬁnger. Forever is a long time, so it’s important to be sure permanent ink feels right. Tattoo removal is not an March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
easy process, so it’s important to make an informed decision. “I am comfortable with both the good decisions I have made and the bad decisions I have made,” Post says. “That comes with age.” Provost, at age 34, is young but has seen it all and can help people make the right decision. “It was two years before I even touched anybody,” he says. “There is a lot of watching, learning, the machinery, how to clean things, and all about people and their skin.” He talks at length with customers to be sure they know what they want, know what they will be getting, and spends time educating his customers. Each customer then must fill out an information sheet, much like in a doctor’s ofﬁce. Provost takes his time drawing out designs for the customers, perfecting their tatttoos on paper before even touching their skin. He then will apply the artwork on adhesive paper to the location of the tattoo before using the ink. Customers can see the outline and decide one last time if that is what they want before he begins. “The beauty of it is that it’s not easy to do,” says Lucas. “It’s all a process. First it takes a long time to acquire the talent, then it takes a long time to transfer that to a body.” Common thread for older and younger alike? “It’s quite an accomplishment,” Johnson says. “I was really glad I did it each time. No regrets.”
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Tattoo: Age is Irrelevant... The discovery of pride in age, beauty, and body art By Deborah Graf
hen I was assigned a story on women who opt for ink later in life — middle-agers getting tattoos if you will — I was excited. I am approaching “later in life,” and while I have never thought about getting a tattoo, it certainly made me curious. A middle-aged mother of ﬁve children, one of whom is 18 and wants to be a tattoo artist, this was a story I wouldn’t take lightly. So off I went to a nearby tattoo parlor, unafraid to venture into the unknown. Pure Image is a fairly upscale and new tattoo shop on the edge of the quaint village of Fairport. The antique building sits on a corner with a welcoming outside and an updated and chic inside. I spent the afternoon there, surrounded by simplicity—walls of soft pumpkin, comfortable leather chairs, a big ﬂat screen TV hanging on the wall almost as if it were art. The music rocked through speakers, perfect in sound, bass booming just enough to feel the beat. It certainly wasn’t the scenery that made me feel like I was in a tattoo parlor; it felt more like an urban eatery. The owner, Joel Provost, 34, black haired, and covered in ink, was hard to stop watching. His tattoos were everywhere the eyes could see, except his face. One merging into the next, colors running, almost like a rainbow. He worked quietly and diligently as he prepared the designs on paper that would then be transferred into tattooed body art. He has been doing this trade for most of his young adult life. I r o n i c a l l y, t h e c u s t o m e r s scheduled that day were older women who were not new to body art either, and were getting their fourth tattoos. These “mature” women, both with professional jobs, good manners, and positive attitudes, let me spend more than two hours with them while they chose their design, received
their permanent markings, and revealed their proud, colorful body art. They pulled their clothes up to let me photograph their tattoos. They laughed, they hugged, and they talked, sharing their thoughts. It was fascinating. I learned some things about their personal lives, their backstories, and their dreams. I also learned that they are no different than I am...raising families, working, trying to survive the daily grind. I talked to them at length about why they wanted tattoos — revealing their own stories about choosing this as their form of self-expression, more for themselves, not worried about what other people think. It is about honoring something important to them, deciding how to relegate that, and then accomplishing the task of doing it. It is about personal pride. I asked them when they got their ﬁrst tattoos — they all said later in life, even contemplating for years before doing it, and most often having a close friend or relative who also has tattoos. When they felt ready, they took the leap. I asked them how it feels — physically uncomfortable, but worth it they said. Emotionally is a different story. Treating themselves to tattoos helps them feel good — like a hobby. They take pleasure in their artwork, their bodies, and themselves. They feel comfortable in their own skin. I had a hard time imagining what it would really feel like. A loud, Continnued on page 40
Milestone: G.R.A.P.E. Turns 20 Nonprofit gathers people interested in improving the quality of life of seniors in the Rochester region Ernst Lamothe
ne day, Beverly Groden, who worked at LifeSpan, was having a conversation with a friend, Nancy Stark, who also worked at a social service agency. Someone was looking for help locating a service for his elderly parent and they didn’t know where to turn. Groden looked through her Rolodex, talked with some of her colleagues and was able to ﬁnd the information and pass it along. This time the problem was ﬁxed instantly, but the two women wondered if more elderly people in the area often hit a dead end when searching for necessary services. Groden and Stark got together and formed the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly or G.R.A.P.E. A nonproﬁt organization, the agency dedicates its mission to serving the older adult population in the area and improving their quality
of life and the quality of services that are available for them. Ofﬁcials act as advocates for seniors in education, social and public policies and other emerging issues. And 20 years later, the organization remains a staple for the elderly. “When we started, all we wanted to do was help out as many people as possible because there were many splintered groups, duplicating services. People were trying to do the same things and people didn’t know where to go for the services they needed,” said Groden, co-founder of G.R.A.P.E. “I would have never imagined that the organization would still be strong 20 years later and I am so proud of all the work that has been done.” The hard work didn’t happen overnight. The organization grew slowly from a 25-member group to more than 300 people, representing about 20 various social service agencies
that help the aging population. Myron Kowal joined G.R.A.P.E. about a decade ago and was instrumental in marketing and organizational changes that kept the young association viable in the 21st century. As former president of G.R.A.P.E., he set into a motion the need to hire an executive director, which the organization never had before, along with expanding communication opportunities and having a more detailed, accurate newsletter to inform the public about its services. “When we hired Jeanne Jones as our first executive director, she created stability and a platform that we surely needed,” said Kowal. “The organization wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for her and it wouldn‘t be the same if we didn’t decide to be more aggressive in letting people know about us. The elder care community overall weren’t aware of the resources that we had to offer and it didn’t make sense to have O’Reilly all these vital services that we could provide if nobody knew about them.” G.R.A.P.E. focuses on three legs of service: advocacy, networking and education. The advocacy wing helps push major legislation such March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
as the town hall meeting that took place in February at the Country Club of Rochester. The legislation breakfast was something that was reinstituted after the ﬁrst executive director was hired. Local legislators hear from G.R.A.P.E. experts about the issues facing seniors in the Rochester area, which include transportation services, medical care and residential needs. “We aspire to improve the quality of services for the elderly, but we know that there are services that don’t reach the people that need it,” said Ellen O’Reilly, president of the organization. “People are falling in between the cracks and there are issues aimed at accessibility and health care, which has been on the forefront of the national news for the past few years.” Networking has become one of the most critical elements of the organization. Members meet twice a month for breakfast and lunch meetings where they share information about their individual agencies. O’Reilly, who also works at Crimson Ridge Gardens, a 52-bed care community, understands another level of senior care helping those who suffer dementia, Alzheimer and other memory-related issues. “We have to keep ourselves educated and meeting with other people who are in the business of helping us exchange ideas and talk about the trends happening in the profession,” said O’Reilly. “Seniors are dealing with so many issues and we have to continue to be at the forefront of it.” Which leads to the third leg, which is education, where G.R.A.P.E. officials bring speakers to discuss critical issues affecting the elderly and new innovations to help with aging. And whether it’s music therapy enhancing the lives of those suffering Alzheimer ’s or advocacy tips, the organization continues to focus on those who need the most. “It’s truly humbling and with pride that I look and see how incredibly functional the organization is,” said Kowal. “To see our membership continue to grow and see the creative ways that we have been able to expand our horizons is something that I am truly glad to be apart of.” 34
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Life After Kodak Continued from page 22 development process. Among these are training of teachers, repairing and building damaged schools and building community enrichment centers. During our last visit last November, I was glad to see great progress has been made to help Haitian children rebuild their lives in the coming years with access to educational facilities, materials and welfare. My extensive travels with Kodak have taken me to countries around the world. I do thank Kodak for it and I am very grateful. It has provided me the Yogachandra with children in Haiti. opportunity to attain intimate knowledge of customs and are great supporters of our mission. work ethics while providing me with For me, after my retirement, strong cross-cultural management shouldering social responsibilities experiences in dealing with various with enthusiasm and passion and cultures. to keep them moving forward have I have led cross-cultural project now become my true purpose in life. teams in many parts of the globe I hope these efforts will make our and have served as keynote speaker society better and provide hope for at many international conferences children around the world. I believe on globalization and business that all young people have the right management strategies in many cities to education. Education is the key to around the world. ridding the world of poverty. During my assignment in Hong Education gives young people a Kong, I helped develop common stronger voice in society and creates regional marketing campaigns in 11 the opportunities and choice that countries to reduce cost. allow them to lift themselves out Each year, I conduct several of misery. I have been blessed with workshops and deliver lectures on the opportunity to be that one light marketing, strategic planning and that sparks off and ignites the ﬁre of cross-cultural business effectiveness passion to help others. to companies, colleges, educational Well, my wife has been the strong institutions and private groups. pillar and motivating force behind all Subjects are related to closing deals our efforts and achievements to serve across borders and cross-cultural humanity. I am blessed. management. I am a grandfather now. Our More about the project? If you are interested in helping Nat eldest son, Randy, who is an architect and works in Dubai, was blessed with Yogachandra’s projects, visit www. a baby boy last February. Our second hopeislife.org or send contributions daughter Megan, who is an interior to: Hope is Life Foundation, P.O. Box 261, Fairport, N.Y. 14450. To designer, also lives in Dubai. We visit them regularly and talk contact the author, send an email to to them by way of Skype. Both of them email@example.com,
long-term care By Susan Suben
It’s Time to Dust Off That LTC Policy For a Review
ong-term care insurance has been in existence for over 35 years and the policies have evolved and changed substantially over time. If you purchased a policy, when was the last time you had it reviewed? Do you remember the beneﬁts you purchased? Most importantly, has the policy maintained its value? U n f o r t u n a t e l y, o n c e w e ’ v e purchased any insurance policy, we place it in a drawer and hope we never need to use it. We have the peace of mind the coverage insures us but we become increasingly unmindful of its features as time goes by. This is especially true with LTC insurance. If the policy has not kept pace with the rising costs of long-term care or is lacking coverage for certain services and settings, you will be paying more out-of-pocket, and this could result in detrimental ﬁnancial consequences for you and your family. LTC insurance policies should be reviewed every ﬁve years with special attention given to the levels of care, the daily beneﬁt, inﬂation factor, and elimination period. Many of the older plans did not offer comprehensive coverage. These policies may have only covered home care or facility care. Oftentimes, a facility meant a nursing home and did not include assisted living or Alzheimer ’s residential facilities. Home care was limited to care provided by an agency. Adult day care may also not have been included. When reviewing your coverage, determine if your policy has integrated, ﬂexible beneﬁts. Claims history shows that most policyholders are receiving care at home or in an assisted living facility with fewer individuals entering nursing homes. If your policy is
nursing home only, you may want to supplement it with a plan that provides coverage for assisted living and home care. If your policy is home care only and states that your care must be received from an agency, you may want to supplement it with a cash plan that allows you to use anyone to take care of you, including family and friends. At the time of application, you selected a daily beneﬁt that hopefully covered most of the risk associated with your care. It was probably based on nursing home costs because that is the most expensive level of care. Check to see if your daily beneﬁt is high enough for today’s cost of care. Most often, daily beneﬁts are not selected to cover the entire cost of care. This is for premium affordability and risk sharing. For example, nursing home costs may have been $250 when you purchased your policy but you chose a daily beneﬁt of $220. Your intention was to pay $30 out-ofpocket. Is the amount you chose to pay out-of-pocket still manageable or have long-term care costs risen so much as to make it ﬁnancially difﬁcult for you to pay the difference between what the policy is reimbursing and the actual cost of care? How the daily benefit has maintained its value is tied closely to your inﬂation protection. Sometimes, the older policies did not offer any inflation or none was selected in order to keep the premium lower. Does your policy have inﬂation? Did you choose 5 percent compound or 5 percent simple? This is the most important feature to be mindful of. Living a long life is now a reality, which means you might not use your policy well into your eighties. If your policy has no inflation or you selected a low daily benefit
that has not substantially increased, seriously consider purchasing a supplemental policy. There are many new inﬂation options available with today’s policies, such as 3 percent compound or periodic increases. Review your elimination period (EP) and understand how it works. The EP is the amount of time you pay out-of-pocket before the policy starts to pay benefits. The older policies were based on service days, meaning that one day of service counted as one day against the EP. These policies often did not let you accumulate service days over time and required that they be consecutive. Some gave you a two year timeframe to satisfy the EP otherwise you would have to start from the beginning with a new claim. These limitations may make it difﬁcult for you to obtain your beneﬁts in a timely manner, especially when it comes to home care that you may not be receiving on a daily basis. If your policy’s EP is restrictive, consider adding a supplemental policy with a shorter EP based on calendar days so that home care reimbursement is more accessible. If you have your LTC insurance policy for some time and are concerned about its comprehensiveness, consider a supplemental plan. It is a much better strategy than replacing it because a new policy’s premium would be based on your current age and health. Consult with your agent or an LTC insurance specialist for a thorough analysis. You don’t want to be surprised when you need to ﬁle a claim. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS
retirement Game, Set, Match 55+
East Rochester tennis coaching legend retires after a winning career By Ernst Lamothe
t the height of America’s fascination watching John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors battle in championship matches, Chris Billings decided to teach himself how to play tennis. Never really playing tennis as a kid, he and his wife, Elizabeth, would go to hard courts when they lived in Utica and hit tennis balls around, gaining an even bigger appreciation for the once country-club-centered sport. He never ﬁgured that a one-time hobby, which he never had formal training in, would turn him into one of the better all-time Section V high school tennis coaches. After winning three consecutive championships in which his East Rochester Lady Bombers girls’ team went undefeated in each season, Billings has decided to retire, ending his 21-year legacy. “I have been saying for years that I was going to retire. But I had a group
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of special seniors who I knew could accomplish something great and I didn’t want to leave them behind,” said Billings, 63, of Fairport. “It was really worth staying.” Under Billings, ER’s boys’ and girls’ teams have won 404 matches and 19 league titles (12 girls and seven boys), played in 22 Section V finals, and earned five Sectional titles (four girls and one boys), not to mention numerous team sportsmanship and scholar-athlete honors.
By happenstance He began coaching as a happy accident. He was teaching math in East Rochester when the previous coach, who was going to retire soon, asked Billings to help out. The next year, Billings became the junior varsity head coach and coached for
the next 21 years. “It took me some time to adjust because it’s one thing teaching yourself how to play. It’s another teaching young students and gaining their trust,” he added. “I was also replacing someone who was a good coach and it is always hard to follow that. Eventually I got a group of kids who were raw and I could teach them the basics.” Billings remembers the ﬁrst time he and his assistant coach saw the six girls that would eventually lead the high school to its three-peat championship. They were still in seventh grade at the time with raw skills. “You could see they were great kids and they were going to be special,” said Billings. “Their chemistry was wonderful and they just gelled. It
made them champions and it says something about the fact that they had the determination and talent to go three straight years without losing.” His coaching philosophy was simple: make the kids understand that it takes diligence to succeed, while also not trying to overburden them with a winning-is-everything mentality. He also had the girls hit tennis balls with his boys’ team, which also made them better. “You should give the players the opportunity to slowly succeed. Once they get that success and achieve a level of winning, then you make sure the rest of the kids see how their hard work got them to that point,” said Billings. “And never put pressure on the kids because they have to have fun.”
his ground strokes and improve on his serve on the clay courts. “Tennis is a sport that you can learn and play for a lifetime,” said Billings. “These girls are always going to be able to play the game they fell in love with it when they were young. And even at my age, I can still play.” He’s happy he didn’t retire years ago when he first wanted. And it doesn’t hurt to go out on top. “I would have been ﬁne even if we didn’t win this past year because I have had a good, successful career. And they are an awesome group
of kids and I felt I owed them one last season,” he said. “But now it’s deﬁnitely time to do other things in the fall, like travel. My wife supported me all these years that I gave to tennis so it is time to give back some time to her.” There is one thing he won’t miss though. “Those bus rides were horrible,” he said. “We used to have to go to Wayne County to play our matches since they had schools that were as small as ours. The kids were always great on the bus; I just don’t enjoy sitting that long.”
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His seniors—Sharon Ricci, Erin Engert, Amy Kurmis, Paige Brown, Sabrina Gonzalez, Stephanie Niggli and Alex Nudd—agree that Billings helps take their talents to another level. The Lady Bombers varsity tennis team had a four-season, 50game undefeated streak. They won the past three league titles. “The awesome chemistry we have allows us to come together, and play together, so easily,” said Ricci, 17, senior. “This team is something I will never forget. Coach Billings is the best tennis coach and he really gets involved. He’s the man.” Billings, who also coached the boys’ varsity teams to numerous league and sectional titles over the years, also recognizes the friendships among these teammates. “What I really like about them is they’re the best of friends who really care about each other, and they know the team comes ﬁrst,” he said. Billings also acknowledges he couldn’t have coached his teams to such levels of success without school psychologist Dan O’Leary, who served as modiﬁed and JV coach for many seasons. “I think he deserves as much credit for the success of ER tennis as I do,” he said. “He brought a great attitude to the game and to the players.” Even if he’s not coaching, he plans on going to the Tennis Club of Rochester in Pittsford to keep hitting
Liz Patterson-Schum A certified geriatric care manager for Jewish Family Service in Rochester devotes her life to helping seniors By Ernst Lamothe
eople only come to Liz Patterson-Schum when they are stressed out, in crisis or simply in a complete state of chaos. And she doesn’t mind that one bit. Whether it has been in hospitals during emergency service visits, fighting against elder abuse or transitioning people into a nursing home, she has helped seniors when they needed it the most during the past 36 years. Sometimes, she still can’t believe where life has taken her. “I could never be as good at my job today if I didn’t go through everything that I did beforehand,” said 58-year-old Patterson-Schum, a certiﬁed geriatric care manager for Jewish Family Service, 441 East Ave. in Rochester. “People have expectations on what the health care industry can do for them and many times they leave disappointed. Throughout my career, my job has been to limit that disappointment and help them work through the chaos,” the Ogden resident said. She doesn’t know where the passion started, but there was something about being an advocate for others that made sense. She began as a case worker for the Erie County Adult Protection Services in the mid-‘70s. With little to no backup, the thin-framed Patterson-Schum 38
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Elizabeth Patterson-Schum, left, visits one of her clients, Elisabeth Vukanovic at St. John’s Meadows in Rochester. would knock on unsuspecting doors to investigate physical or emotional elder abuse. Those home visits included many unfriendly encounters in sketchy n e i g h b o rh o o d s w h e re p e o p l e reported evidence of heavy drug use. Some might have feared for their lives walking into those unknown situations. “In those days, we didn’t have pagers or cell phones with us where we could call for back up in case something bad happened. All they gave us were ﬂash lights as if that could do anything,” she said. “But when you are young, you don’t think about all the things that could go wrong. I just loved it.” Relishing being the first line of defense against elder abuse, she battled hostile environments where the unknown laid behind unsuspecting
doors. With each case, her watchful eye for even the smallest details improved because she didn’t always know how much access she would be allowed. “When you go into someone’s home and say you are here for adult protective services, they are not looking to throw you a welcoming party,” Patterson-Schum added. “Boy was that an eye opening situation but it also gave me an opportunity to help the people that couldn’t help themselves.” After six years, the Tonawanda native decided to make a move to Rochester as director of social work for the Brightonian Nursing Home on Elmwood Avenue. Nestled near a neighborhood setting, the facility offered 24-hour comprehensive care. Along with administrative duties, her goal became erasing the
myth of nursing homes being an uncaring crypt for their loved ones. Helping seniors adjust to a new living environment was sometimes hardest on their children. “I had to be their emotional strength because sons and daughters felt so much guilt,” said PattersonSchum. “They would tell me that they promised at an early age never to take their parents into a nursing home. But the day had come where they had no choice and they had to become the main decision makers for their parents and that is a very hard reversal to make.” Looking for a new challenge, she shifted from the easy going pace of a nursing home to the frenzy of emergency room services at Park Ridge Hospital. Patients would roll into the cardiac or intensive care unit, and along with their medical needs require a medical social worker to prepare them after their hospital stay. Putting together an effective discharge plan after the patients came in with cardiac conditions, congestive heart failure or other ailments, she would connect them with local medical organizations to provide a support system. This was the ﬁrst time she worked with younger patients, sometimes helping a mother through sudden infant death syndrome, the leading cause of death among infants one month to one year old, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Each year, 2,300 infants die from the disease. “Things go so fast in the ER that it’s hard to get all your thoughts straight. You are working faster than you have worked before,” she said. “I just loved it.” There were difﬁcult days though. Sometimes she would have to tell families that they couldn’t stay an extra day or two in the hospital whether it was because of health insurance demands or the constant stream of emergency patients ﬁlling up additional beds. “If I had a Christmas wish list, I wished the health care industry was a little more ﬂexible,” said PattersonSchum. “Before you could keep people a few days extra to rest but that’s not the case anymore.” Her path in life eventually led to Jewish Family Services, an
organization that helps individuals and families navigate life’s transitions with comprehensive personalized social services. She remains one of only six certified geriatric care workers in a 50-mile radius. “There’s nothing else to say other than she is simply amazing,” said Janet Sunkin, executive director of Jewish Family Service. “She is the epitome of professionalism, she’s wise, prepared, a real advocate for her clients and we jokingly call her a walking Wikipedia page.” Sunkin first met PattersonSchum eight years ago and was immediately impressed about her knowledgeable ways of helping people in the community. The more she got to know her certiﬁed geriatric care manager, the more she saw what a valuable asset they had inside the Jewish Family Services ofﬁces. “Liz is a mentor and a model for the staff we have here,” said Sunkin. “When we have someone call our offices, Liz knows how to meet their needs and she meets them wherever their situation takes them in life.” W h e n t h i n g s g e t overwhelming, Patterson-Schum has her husband Mike, and her two twin boys Jordan and Jeff, to keep her relaxed. “Sometimes my mind is running at 2 a.m. and you have to know when to turn off thinking about work because if you don’t you will burn yourself out and then you can’t be a help to anyone,” she said. “Having a wonderful home life has made all the difference in the world.” Patterson-Schum’s eyes grow wide and a smile immediately appears on her face every time she talks about an industry of helping seniors, which
has framed her life during the past four decades. “I honestly think I was put here to do the jobs that I have done,” added Patterson-Schum. “People have a lot of fears about growing old. They worry about losing their memories, losing their independence and start thinking about their mortality as their friends start dying. They need someone to serve as their advocate and you can hear the change in someone’s voice when you have made their chaotic situation better. I know I say this a lot but I just love this.”
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savvy senior By Jim Miller
IRS Income Tax: You May Be Exempt from Filing
ccording to the Tax Policy Center, 56 percent of retirees will not have to ﬁle or pay federal income taxes this year mainly because their incomes are under the IRS filing threshold. Here’s a breakdown of the 2011 ﬁling requirements along with a few other tax tips to help you determine if you need to ﬁle.
your gross income was below $12,200 ($13,650 if age 65 or older). • You are married ﬁling separately and your income was less than $3,700. • You are a qualifying widow(er) with a dependent child and your gross income was less than $15,300 ($16,450 if age 65 or older).
You also need to be aware that there are some special financial situations that require you to ﬁle a tax return, even if your gross income falls below the IRS ﬁling requirement. For example, if you had net earnings from self-employment in 2011 of $400 or more, or if you owe any special taxes to the IRS such as alternative minimum tax or IRA tax penalties, you’ll probably need to ﬁle. To ﬁgure this out, the IRS offers a page on their website called “Do You Need to File a Federal Income Tax Return?” that includes a list of financial situations and a series of questions that will help you determine if you’re required to ﬁle, or if you should ﬁle (if you’re due a refund). You can access this page at www. doyouneed2ﬁle.info, or you can get
If your gross income is below the IRS ﬁling limits, you probably won’t have to ﬁle a federal tax return this year. Gross income includes all the income you receive that is not exempt from tax, not including Social Security beneﬁts, unless you are married and ﬁling separately. You probably don’t have to ﬁle this year if: • You are single and your 2011 gross income was less than $9,500 ($10,950 if you’re 65 or older). • You are married ﬁling jointly and your gross income was under $19,000. If you or your spouse is 65 or older, the limit increases to $20,150. And if you’re both over 65, your income must be under $21,300 to not ﬁle. • You are head of household and
Tattoo: Age is Irrelevant...
Continnued from page 32
buzzing, piercing needle moves into and through the skin depositing permanent ink. It bleeds, it turns red, it swells, and it hurts until it heals. When it’s all said and done, they are left with something that they say feels beautiful. I did not look at them any differently than myself. I enjoyed our conversation, I could relate to them 40
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
— not getting a tattoo, but just living life and appreciating when I find something that is enjoyable for me. I felt the same way about the owner. Even with more than two decades between us, I appreciated his candor, his willingness to share his story and his enthusiasm. He is fulﬁlling his dream, and he is proud of himself and his work. His kindness
help over the phone by calling the IRS helpline at 800-829-1040.
Check Your State Even if you’re not required to ﬁle a federal tax return this year, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re also excused from ﬁling state income taxes. Check on that with your state tax agency before concluding you’re entirely in the clear. For links to state and local tax agencies see taxadmin.org — click on “Links.”
Tax Help If you do need to ﬁle a tax return this year, you can get help through the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (or TCE) program. Sponsored by the IRS, TEC provides free tax preparation and counseling to middle and low income taxpayers, age 60 and older. Call 800-906-9887 to locate a service near you. A l s o c h e c k w i t h A A R P, a participant in the TCE program that provides free tax preparation at around 6,100 sites nationwide. To locate an AARP Tax-Aide site call 888-227-7669 or visit aarp.org/ ﬁndtaxhelp.
showed through the mask of color that veiled his skin. Nothing about any of it felt odd. I think that is what surprised me the most. There are stigmas attached to everything, and today I learned that what is behind the stigma, or the image, or the perception of a tattoo on an older woman, may be someone just like me. I loved that. It was an enjoyable afternoon of stepping outside of my own vantage point, and seeing people who are more like me than not, regardless of our age.
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Areinvestment your accounts receiving the service they service. deserve? choices and dedicated personal Are you struggling to manage your portfolio on your own? Has your portfolio not lived up to your expectations? FAAdvisors NameCornerstone The Experience the Wells Fargo difference.Group If you Compliance-Approved Title Address and Suite Number are looking for a ﬁnancialWells advisor that stands apart from Fargo Advisors City Name, State Zip FA Name XXX-XXX-XXXX • 8XX-XXX-XXXX the crowd, come and see what makes us different. We Compliance-Approved Title1200 Pittsford-Victor Road Web or E-mail Address Address and Suite Number Pittsford, New York 14534 offer comprehensive investment advice, a broad range of City Name, State Zip (585)-249-1705 or 1-877-249-1711 Fargo Advisors, LLC, Member SIPC, is a registered broker-dealer and a separate non-bank 8XX-XXX-XXXX investment XXX-XXX-XXXX choices•Wells and dedicated personal service. affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. Investment and Insurance Products: � NOT FDIC Insured
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March / April 2012 - 55 PLUS FA Name
By Ernst Lamothe
Pat Anselm 80-year-old librarian still working full time at Greece Olympia High School Q. How did you decide your career path later in life? A. After working at Wegmans’ main ofﬁce and part time in a bank, I decided to work for the Greece school district 29 years ago as a substitute teacher and teacher aide. When my four children [two sons and two daughters] graduated from Greece Olympia High School, I felt compelled to give back to the school that gave my children an educational edge. Even in my early 50s, I never had qualms about coming back to work. My ﬁrst desire has always been to help children. I enjoy being around them and they keep you young so I just thought this would be something nice for me to explore.” Q. How did you start working at the library and what do you enjoy about it? A. After subbing for 15 years, I decided to work in the library because I still wanted to do something that helped students. I work in the circulation desk and am one of the ﬁrst people students see. The change allowed me to help students select books and have meaningful and fun-loving conversations with them. Q. What is the difference between students then and now? A. Teenagers haven’t changed much over the years. They were talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends when I ﬁrst started and they are still talking about boyfriends and girlfriends now. I always try to make students feel like they are welcomed. Most of them 42
55 PLUS - March / April 2012
are just surprised that I have as much energy as I have. Q. Recently your coworkers threw you an 80th surprise bowling birthday party. How did that make you feel? A. I was in complete shock and the day was wonderfully overwhelming. They had a princess birthday theme and a little No. 8 and No. 0 on my cake. They lured me away from bowling a second game and told me I had just won a free drink at the bar and then there was the surprise party. They made me feel so good about the things I do in Greece and made me feel very special. I felt honored that they were impressed by the work I do because I really think these are a super group of people. Q. Are people surprised that you are still working at your age? A. They don’t expect someone my age to be here. But I have a lot of energy and I can still relate well with students and have patience to deal with them. I always try to make students feel like they are welcomed. I rarely if ever call in sick. I just really enjoy my job and am happy to be part of the Greece Olympia community. Q. What are some of the things that your co-workers say about you? A. They say that I have a lot of personal motivation. And they say
that teenagers can be trying but I never seem to let them get under my skin. Q. What do you like to do in your spare time? A. I like to bowl. I’m very competitive. I bowled an 80 at the bowling party and I was upset. I wanted to bowl another game after that. I also keep active gardening by planting vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers as well as planting annuals and perennials. I have four grandchildren and spending time with them keeps me active. Q.What is your exercise regime?: A. “I go to Bally’s [Total Fitness] gym a few times a week.
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