Kimberlie Barrett: Stocks, Bonds or Real Estate? Writing Your Life Story: It Can Be Easier Than You Think
55 PLUS Issue 18 November / December 2012
For Active Adults in the Rochester Area
The Presidentsâ€™ Man Now a senior lecturer at University of Rochester, Curt Smith talks about his passion for sports and his job as speech writer for presidents Reagan and Bush I
Is It Time to Ditch Your Land Line?
Major Retirement Planning Mistakes to Avoid
What to do in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond
������������������������������ �������������������������� That’s why she’s one of the most important people on earth. How do you care for the most important people on earth? By giving them your absolute best. At St. Ann’s, we have built a brand new skilled nursing center in Webster that gives people more choices than ever before. From setting your own schedule, to enjoying small, friendly neighborhoods, to dining in cozy country kitchens—we make life what each resident wants it to be. We have also created the area’s first freestanding transitional care center—the only rehab center in Rochester that is not located in a nursing home. So people can recover from major medical events surrounded by people just like themselves. It is a remarkable new way to care for people. Inspired by the people who deserve nothing less than the best. Learn more about the changes at St. Ann’s Community by visiting us at StAnnsCommunity.com.
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� Get Your Affairs in Order � Navigate Retirement � Negotiate College Costs REGISTER TODAY! www.SageRuttyUniversity.com or contact Leslie at 585.512.2309 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org All workshops are being held at the Sage Rutty office at 100 Corporate Woods, Suite 300, Rochester NY 14623
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November / December 2012
Real Estate 7 9 MEMORIES Financial Health 11 • Writing your life story can be Planning 12
easier than you think
13 Aging 19 CHANGES
• Should you ditch your land line?
Savvy Senior 33 16 Long-Term Care 40 GETAWAY • The weather is perfect to stay at a bed and breakfast
• Elizabeth Osta: a journey like no other
• Curt Smith talks about his job as speech writer for presidents Reagan and Bush I
Got a story idea? email@example.com
• Peter Parts builds lucrative international ﬁrm
• Don Stevens starting his 27th year as Amerks announcer
• More boomers taking the entrepreneurial route
• Recorders: deceptively simple music-makers
42 LAST PAGE
• Town of Rush supervisor talks about his decision to retire November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
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real estate By Kimberlie Barrett
Stocks, Bonds or Real Estate?
ome may say that real estate investing is not for everyone but I disagree. When my husband and I decided to invest in the stock market and have our son manage our portfolio, I remember my son saying the ﬁrst law of investing in stocks was to diversify. The stock market is the most popular form of individual investing; however, stocks can be inﬂuenced by a variety of factors such as interest rates, inflation, cost of capital, unemployment, regulation, consumer conﬁdence or lack of it and in today’s world, the threat of terrorism. Bonds, on the other hand, deliver a lower, more stable return but bonds are a form of debt financing and it has been suggested that inflation, affected by a rising trade, budget deficit, ongoing military expenses, reduced tax revenues and increased government, can destroy any bond portfolio. Still another investment alternative is commodities. They are traditionally a strong hedge against inﬂation. However there is no easy way to invest without making risky individual investment decisions. In light of the past few years as well as the current soft economy I believe we need to look at all real estate acquisitions as an “investment”. No longer can people afford to look at buying a home as simply a place to live. For many, their homes are the single largest commodity that they will ever own so why wouldn’t they take better care to research and analyze the ROI (return on investment) that they will achieve by buying a certain piece of property. There are several types of property in which to invest: primary residence, a second home or resort property, a multi-family unit, even a fractional ownership in a villa in Tuscany. Key is understanding a buyer ’s objectives, assets and options with regards to investing in real estate.
Objectives for investing can include asset diversification, tax benefits, appreciation, cash flow, positive leverage, estate planning, ﬁx and ﬂip, long-term hold and quiet enjoyment. There are several questions to ask yourself about investing in real estate. Do you ﬁrst of all, own a home? Are you ﬁnancially capable of maintaining it at this juncture? Does it meet your needs and current lifestyle? Would it be to your advantage to sell it and invest in a more or less expensive property? Do you own another type of real estate investment? Does it meet your investment criteria or would it behoove you to sell it and roll your equity into another property with a better return? If you don’t own another investment property, would you like to? What is your risk tolerance for investing? What are your assets: cash, stock, existing real estate, retirement plans, collectables, etc. that could be converted to acquire new property? And in the event the right investment opportunity becomes available, where are your assets (equity) and how liquid are they? Sounds like a conversation with a ﬁnancial planner and it should because real estate investments can very nicely contribute to a lifelong retirement plan. Lastly, what are your options? Whether it’s a primary residence, a second/vacation home or another piece of real estate that will meet you investment objectives you have options and can purchase locally, nationwide or abroad to either occupy, rent or both. Bottom line: real estate deserves a place in every investor’s portfolio. Kimberlie Barrett is president, broker and owner of Magellan®, Inc. Real Estate & Relocation in Brighton and has more than 31 years of experience serving the Rochester real estate market. You can contact her at Kim@1Magellan.com.
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Eileen Loveman taught a memoir writing class at BOCES in Williamson for three years and has penned numerous memoirstyle stories for her Stories from the Lakes blog. “Write what you feel and what’s important to you. Others who lived through it may have a different memory but this is your story,” she says.
Write Your Life Story Experts: Writing a memoir or an autobiography can be easy and rewarding By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
ou may not think your life story is all that interesting, but it doesn’t have to be Pulitzer material to make it worth recording. To your children and grandchildren and other future descendants, it’s important. It may seem like a daunting task to capture your life story at a keyboard or with pen and paper. But it doesn’t have to be. Many different methods can help you pass down a record of your life to posterity. It doesn’t have to be an A to Z account of everything that’s happened to you. Writing the whole story is an autobiography. Memoirs record only a few important events of your life. How much you write and what you
jot down is up to you. Pittsford Town historian Audrey Johnson wants people to write down facts about “the important events taking place in their community and nation at the time. Everyday things are certainly important so we can know how life was before us. We want to know about their childhood, the clubs they were in or the things that were signiﬁcant like school activities and celebrations.” This may sound boring — and it can be — but to historians years later, this kind of information is gold. Interject interesting incidents that helped shape your life and stories that elicit an emotional response: happiness, regret, sadness and joy.
“I think feelings are important,” Johnson said. “I was frightened by that event or embarrassed by that event. What were their aspirations or goals?” Lynn Barton, historian for the Town of Webster, likes when personal history accounts include the individual’s genealogy, family relations, what they remember from their grandparents or greatgrandparents, and “thoughts and memories of family members, how you grew up, memories of activities you did, and your chores around the house and school.” Details such as your first job, how you met your spouse, and where relatives are buried are also helpful November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
and interesting to Barton. overcome, “Double Wedding Ring” • Stood up to a bully “Identify photos if you know for memories of your wedding and • Graduated from high school who’s in them,” Barton said. “I hate marriage, and “Trip Around the • Joined the Air Force when I see photos that people have no • Went to war and ﬂew bombing World” for travel stories. clue as to who’s in the photos. Pull out the photo albums and Make sure to use your relatives’ raids look through old family photos. Dig • Married Jenny names, not titles such as “Mother” through a box of memorabilia or • Returned to Europe because decades from now, no one • Came home to discover baby jewelry box. will remember to whom the photo “One man I know has boxes of Robert originally belonged. stuff that he doesn’t even know what’s • Built our home Eileen Loveman of Williamson in them and he and his wife are going • Started our store taught a memoir writing class at through them,” Barton said. • Store failed BOCES in Williamson for three years Loveman advises seniors writing • Went into business again and has penned numerous memoirtheir life story to carry around a • Robert joined the business style stories for her Stories from the notebook to jot down ideas for stories • Retired Lakes blog (eileenloveman.wordpress. Although the list is chronological, they wish to tell beyond the basics com). “There’s no wrong way to do your story doesn’t have to be. You of their background information. If this,” Loveman said. “Write what begin the story with a later-in-life possible, enlist the help of a friend and read stories aloud to each other. You you feel and what’s important to you. event, such as may ﬁnd “you can work Others who lived off each other,” Loveman through it may said, “and help each have a different other remember from memory but this is “When I went classroom and hearing your own past.” your story.” to war, I thought, the door thud shut When you’re done, She cautions ‘This is it. I’m going behind me. I turned don’t feel bashful autobiographers to die over there.’ I to the window and about publishing your to watch the tone felt much like I did watched mother ’s story. You can perform they use. the ﬁrst day of school: desktop publishing from “If you upswept hair until your own computer and have wisdom to overwhelmed, out she walked down bind it yourself, or seek share, that’s fine of my element and the hall out of sight. a professional publisher but don’t sound fearful of the unknown When I looked at the who will print it for judgmental in your that lay ahead. classroom I cried. On a small fee. If you’re recollections,” “Stepping onto the train, I didn’t cry uncomfortable using a she said. “They’ll computer, ask a family think you got the transport train felt but I wanted to...” member or friend for crotchety!” like stepping into the help. If you can Pass out copies “show and not to your children and tell” as the old grandchildren, and “if saying goes, your You can tie the stories together you’re living in the town where you’re writing will be more interesting. “You have to be able to connect with a theme, such as “beating from, give a copy to the local museum to who’s reading and make it have the odds,” which could include or historian,” Barton said. “They’re emotional depth, not the bare nuts overcoming a childhood illness, always looking for history from the and bolts,” Loveman said. “Share problems at school, and, as a young town.” If you would like to share your experiences. If you have something adult, a depressed economy. Or to say to your descendants, say it. perhaps the theme could be “looking life story with many others, consider You have to be willing to share some on the bright side” where you can using a print-on-demand publisher. of yourself. It may not be deepest, show how various hardships in your Booklocker.com starts at $317 and Lulu.com at $729. Submitting to life turned out to be blessings. darkest secrets.” Perhaps you’ve been a lifelong a traditional publisher usually To get rolling, start by listing all the stories you want to share or quilter and you could draw on quilt requires an agent and a large existing experiences that are important to you, patterns as inspiration for categories readership. for your life stories, such as “Broken such as: D i s h e s ” f o r h a rd s h i p s y o u ’ v e • First day of school 10
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
financial health By Jim Terwilliger
Enhancing Your Financial Fitness Things to do when you’re approaching retirement and during retirement
ost of us will never win the lottery … or inherit a windfall from a rich uncle … or pick the next million-to-one hot stock. That’s all luck. Lu ck wi l l n ot se cu re y ou r retirement. Nor will it ensure that the financial legacy you wish to leave your children and grandchildren will be realized. But smart, disciplined planning can help do just that and much more. It can help you reach your goals — and not just ﬁnancial goals. As we know, ﬁnancial resources are only a means to an end. When planning for retirement, the focus is a fulﬁlling two-to-threedecade period of time during which dreams are to be realized and lived. It is never too early and never too late to take charge of one’s ﬁnancial future. Even if you are nearing retirement or have already entered retirement without a plan, it is still not too late to develop a financial roadmap to follow. Good planning is not just about investing. It’s much broader. It’s really about getting your entire financial house in order, much like partnering with a trusted physician to establish and maintain medical well-being. Disciplined personal financial planning helps to ensure: • you and your household are adequately protected from undo risk, particularly catastrophic financial impacts resulting from potential longterm care costs • you are taking advantage of available income tax deductions and credits • you are aware of tax-advantaged ways to help with grandchildren’s college costs and are setting money aside at a rate that will meet your funding goals
• your investments are adequately diversiﬁed within an asset allocation consistent with your risk tolerance, time horizon, and ﬁnancial goals • you are taking distributions from your nest egg at a rate that will meet your retirement income goals but not so great that you risk outliving your nest egg • your estate plan is consistent with your charitable and familyrelated legacy interests, asset titling, and life-insurance/retirement-plan beneﬁciary designations Financial planning, when done properly, is a process, not a one-time event. The process typically consists of six steps: 1 — Develop goals and set priorities: Goals are a must for any plan. What do you want your retirement to look like? What do you want to accomplish? What level of after-tax spending will satisfy your standard of living goals? 2 — Assess assets/resources: Taking a current-state financial snapshot establishes the starting point. This step is data-intensive and involves documenting your holdings; cash ﬂows; insurance; taxes; wills; trusts; estimated future assets, income, and expenditures; and any special circumstances. 3 — Identify barriers to reaching goals: Can all goals be met, and if not, why not? Are there competing goals, and if so, which are more important? What are potential barriers and what tools or approaches are available to eliminate or bypass some barriers? 4 — Incorporate strategies into an integrated plan: The key word here is “integrated.” Since goals and associated strategies are usually interdependent, the pieces of an effective plan are assembled in a way that optimizes outcomes. In
the absence of such integration, the individual pieces are not linked and ﬁnancial decisions can become disconnected and even arbitrary. 5 — Put the plan into action: This is an often-ignored critical step. A plan is worthless if it is not implemented. An action checklist — detailing what is to be done, by whom, and by when — can help. 6 — Monitor progress, evaluate results, and adjust plan as necessary: Is the plan working? Has something changed — your goals or your circumstances? Life happens. Things change. It is important to keep the plan ﬂexible to respond to changes and, when necessary, reset the course. This takes us right back to step 1, and the process repeats. When done well, planning becomes a dynamic, ongoing journey. It provides a framework for making decisions consistent with long-term goals. Most folks do not have the knowledge, training, time, or desire to guide themselves through the process. Partnering with a trusted ﬁnancial planner to provide the expertise and discipline is advised. A planner can be particularly helpful in guiding the implementation step. When searching for a planner, be sure to talk with several, learn about their qualiﬁcations and experience, ﬁnd out how they are paid (fee only vs. commission), and determine if they are selling product. You likely will be happier working with a “pure” planner vs. one who may use the plan as a way to sell you a product. 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. November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
planning By Bill Losey
9 Major Retirement Planning Mistakes To Avoid
uch has been written about the classic ﬁnancial mistakes that plague startups, family businesses, corporations and charities. Aside from these blunders, there are also some classic ﬁnancial missteps that plague retirees. Calling them “mistakes” may be a bit harsh, as not all of them represent errors in judgment. Yet whether they result from ignorance or fate, we need to be aware of them as we plan for and enter retirement. 1- Leaving work too early. The full retirement age for many baby boomers is 66. As Social Security beneﬁts rise about 8 percent for every year you delay receiving them, waiting a few years to apply for beneﬁts can position you for greater retirement income. Some of us are forced to make this “mistake.” Roughly 40 percent of us retire earlier than we want to; about half of us apply for Social Security before full retirement age. Still, any way that you can postpone applying for beneﬁts will leave you with more SSI. 2 - Underestimating medical expenses. Fidelity Investments says that the typical couple retiring at 65 today will need $240,000 to pay for their future health care costs (assuming one spouse lives to 82 and the other to 85). The Employee Beneﬁt Research Institute says $231,000 might sufﬁce for 75 percent of retirements, $287,000 for 90 percent of retirements. Prudent retirees explore ways to cover these costs — they do exist. 3- Taking the potential for longevity too lightly. Are you 65? If you are a man, you have a 40 percent chance of living to age 85; if you are a woman, a 53 percent chance. Those numbers are from the Social Security Administration. Planning for a 20- or 30-year retirement isn’t absurd; it 12
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
may be wise. The Society of Actuaries recently published a report in which about half of the 1,600 respondents (aged 45-60) underestimated their projected life expectancy. We still have a lingering cultural assumption that our retirements might duplicate the relatively brief ones of our parents. 4- Withdrawing too much each year. You may have heard of the “4 percent rule,” a popular guideline stating that you should withdraw only about 4 percent of your retirement savings annually. The “4 percent rule” isn’t a rule, but many cautious retirees do try to abide by it. So why do some retirees withdraw 7 percent or 8 percent a year? In the first phase of retirement, people tend to live it up; more free time naturally promotes new ventures and adventures, and an inclination to live a bit more lavishly. 5- Ignoring tax efﬁciency and fees. It can be a good idea to have both taxable and tax-advantaged accounts in retirement. Assuming that your retirement will be long, you may want to assign that or that investment to it “preferred domain” — that is, the taxable or tax-advantaged account that may be most appropriate for that investment in pursuit of the entire portfolio’s optimal after-tax return. Many younger investors chase the return. Some retirees, however, ﬁnd a shortfall when they try to live on portfolio income. In response, they move money into stocks offering signiﬁcant dividends or high-yield bonds — which may be bad moves in the long run. Taking retirement income off both the principal and interest of a portfolio may give you a way to reduce ordinary income and income taxes. Account fees must also be watched. The Department of Labor notes that a 401(k) plan with a 1.5 percent
annual account fee would leave a plan participant with 28 percent less money than a 401(k) with a 0.5 percent annual fee. 6- Avoiding market risk. The return on many ﬁxed-rate investments might seem pitiful in comparison to other options these days. Equity investment does invite risk, but the reward may be worth it. 7- Retiring with big debts. It is pretty hard to preserve (or accumulate) wealth when you are handing chunks of it to assorted creditors. 8- Putting college costs before retirement costs. There is no “ﬁnancial aid” program for retirement. There are no “retirement loans.” Your children have their whole ﬁnancial lives ahead of them. Try to refrain from touching your home equity or your IRA to pay for their education expenses. 9 - Retiring with no plan or investment strategy. Many people do this — too many. An unplanned re t i re me n t ma y b r i n g t e r r i b l e ﬁnancial surprises; retiring without an investment strategy leaves some people prone to market timing and day trading. These are some of the classic retirement planning mistakes. Why not plan to avoid them? Take a little time to review and reﬁne your retirement strategy in the company of the ﬁnancial professional you know and trust. Bill Losey, CFP® is the President of Bill Losey Retirement Solutions, LLC, an independent fee-based registered investment advisory firm. He is the author of “Retire in a Weekend! The Baby Boomer ’s Guide to Making Work Optional” and he also publishes “Retirement Intelligence®,” a free weekly award-winning newsletter. Learn more at www.MyRetirementSuccess.com and www.BillLosey.com.
Should You Ditch Your Land Line? The cell phone-only option can be good, but make sure you understand all the terms of the contract before canceling your land line By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
ave you noticed that many young people starting out don’t bother signing up for land line phone service in their homes? Many of their reasons for doing so make sense for them. But you need to weight the pros and cons for you before ditching the land line and going to cell phone only. One main reason people forgo a home land line is the savings, especially if they already have a cell phone. Why waste money on the additional expense for a duplicated service? Cell phone plans have become very competitive and offer perks like free long distance, no roaming fees and free airtime within that carrier or within your “circle” of pre-selected numbers. Even unlimited talk, text and data plans have become much more reasonable than ever. Most carriers include a free basic phone with a two-year contract, or you can go with a pay-as-you-go service and buy a phone starting at around $20, plus airtime. (If you go with a pre-paid plan, pick one that will “roll over” unused minutes from
one month to the next.) If you already have a cell phone, nixing the land line will keep your contact information simpler, decreasing the chances of missed messages. Going cell-only also increases your phone number ’s portability. Even if you switch companies, you can keep your current cell number as your own. While some people balk at the notion of constant availability, it’s easy to silence a cell phone for times when you’d rather be undisturbed. One of the main reasons some seniors keep their land line is that it’s part of a three-way package with their cable company for television, phone and Internet service. Canceling the home phone service will break up the package and cost more. More and more people have discovered that as they grow older, keeping a cell phone clipped to the belt can increase their feeling of safety in case of a fall or other type of emergency when alone. “Some folks like Life Alert [an emergency call button system],
and others don’t like it,” said Mark Indelicato, associate professor i n t h e e l e c t r i c a l , c o m p u t e r, telecommunications and engineering department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. “They don’t want others to have access to their home. They can use their cell phone as an emergency call if they’re conscious. If they can program speed dial on their cell phone, they can use it that way.” The 911 system works differently through land line phones than it does through cell phones. “Some of the functionality and coverage of 911 isn’t as robust as for a landline,” said “The system was developed years ago when cell phones were a novelty and nearly everyone had a land line phone. 911 for most people will be ﬁne.” Cell phones can be programmed with ICE — “In Case of Emergency” — numbers so personnel can contact family members if you become incapacitated. You can also enter important medical data or directions as to where to ﬁnd this information, since many emergency responders November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
changes now look at patients’ cell phones for ICE. If you’ve never had a cell phone, you will have a small learning curve to overcome. Even dialing is a little different, since there’s no dial tone and pressing “talk” or “send” places the call. For your ﬁrst phone, get something basic. “I’ve worked with hundreds of seniors over the last six years and many are hesitant to give up their landlines,” said Jerry Taylor, owner of SeniorTech in Macedon, “It’s like giving up a newspaper. It’s comforting to have something in your hand. They don’t trust cell phones and don’t know how to use them. They ask for buttons big enough to see and something simple to use. They don’t care about surﬁng the Internet.”
That’s our guiding principle at Ashton place, and it’s why folks feel our community is simply one big family. It’s why you’ll be greeted with warm smiles at Ashton Place, whether they’re from residents or our friendly, helpful staff members. Families enrich each others lives, and that’s what our family does at Ashton Place every day. 190 Ashton Court • Clifton Springs, NY
1.800.819.5791 • AshtonPlaceNY.com
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
Taylor said that many seniors feel cell phone handsets are too small and too far removed in design from the familiar cordless handsets they’re accustomed to using.
Some like Verizon’s Home Connect system, which allows users to plug their current home phone into a box at home and Verizon Wireless becomes the provider, offering all the same features of cell phone users such as free long distance, caller ID and three-way calling while using a familiar handset and their current home number. The handset may be used only up to 30 feet of the base unit, but the base unit’s 2-hour battery back-up would allow you to take it on a road trip and set it up where you’re staying. Thus, the system does not offer the complete portability of a cell phone. The service starts at around $20 per month. The base unit is free with a two-year contract and is otherwise $129. Pared-down cell phones include Samsung’s Jitterbug (www.greatcall. com), Snapfon EZ One (www.snapfon. com) or Just5 (www.just5.com). They offer features like a streamlined handset with a cushioned ear piece, emergency automatic dial buttons, operator assistance by dialing “0”, large buttons and easy-to-read displays. Their longer standby time means less worries about recharging. These phones also amplify the handset’s sound, unlike many cell phones. Before selecting a carrier, ask neighbors and nearby friends about their cell phone coverage to make sure you choose the right one. “The carriers don’t cover every spot in the US,” Indelicato said. “It’s 100 percent with landlines.” Some seniors fear they would have no phone service in case of a power outage but most fully charged cell phones last up to two weeks in “standby” mode, so storing the phone on its charger at night circumvents this possible problem. If you have hearing impairment, ask your hearing aid supplier about using a bluetooth device as a streamer for a cell phone so incoming calls go directly to your hearing aids. This can greatly enhance call clarity, even surpassing that of land line phones. Going with only a cell phone can be a good option, but make sure you understand all the terms of the contract before signing up and canceling your land line.
Nov 9: 1 -7PM • Nov 10: 10 AM-6 PM • Nov. 11: 10AM-4PM Adults $6 • 12 and under Free!
Dinner & Dance
with the Skycoasters! $30/person Reservations Required
• Live Music • Great Food, Wine and Beer • Over 100 Juried Artisans • Women’s Council Bake Sale • Free Elf School for Kids • Visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and the Christkindl Angel
FESTIVAL of TREES Nov 9 - Dec 8
• Holiday Display of over 100 Unique community creations • Silent Auction!
Granger Homestead and Carriage Museum 295 N. Main St. • Canandaigua, NY • 585-394-1472 www.canandaiguachristkindlmarket.com • grangerhomestead.org
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Great Time to Stay at a B&B With the temperatures cooling down and the leaves changing colors, this is a great time to spend a weekend at one of the local bed-andbreakfast places By Ernst Lamothe Jr.
hen they renovated a beautiful country home in 2001, Gail and Gary Wicher officially followed their dream of creating a
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unique rendezvous for out-of-town guests. They lived in the Lake George area for years, and when traveling, they started staying in bed-andbreakfasts and talking with owners
about running a business. They loved their experiences and the inspiration was born. “We enjoyed creating breakfast menus and thinking of new garden and landscaping projects to make the outside welcoming to guests,” said Gail Wicher, owner of A Wicher Garden Bed and Breakfast, 5381 Dunning Ave., in Auburn. “Twelve years later, we are enjoying the fruits of our labors and our guests’ love of them. We love our returning guests, many of which have become more like good friends.” Late fall and winter sometimes offers challenges for older residents
Gail and husband Gary Wicher run A Wicher Garden B&B in Auburn.
55+ who decide not to ﬂock to warmer climates. Not everyone is into fall apple picking or winter skiing; however, bed-and-breakfasts offer an atypical excursion when the weather cools. Offering a vastly alternative experience than a typical hotel stay, bed and breakfasts give people an opportunity to take pleasure in country life. “It’s a well kept secret that when the leaves ﬂy in the fall or snow ﬂies in the winter, it can be the absolute best time for a quiet romantic getaway,” said Gary Wicher. “Wineries are open and you don’t have to ﬁght the crowds. You can just sit in front of the ﬁreplace, enjoy a good conversation over wine and cheese, Dickens Christmas Festival in Skaneateles and take in local ﬁne dining and shopping.” Each bed-and-breakfast offers a distinctive feel that is reﬂective of the owners and the style of the home. Some offer a village or city experience, some a little country, while others might have a Victorian or modern atmosphere. Once living in the hilly and picturesque region of Northern California, Burney and Susan Baron moved to Penn Yan in mid-December 2002, with their three cats and an idea to set up a bed and breakfast. They said the beauty of the region, with its lakes and waterfalls, scenic farms and vineyards, drew them. The Finger Lakes offered them many alternatives to their California living as they opened Los Gatos Bed and Breakfast, 1491 state Route 14A Penn Yan. “We fell in love with this region years ago, spent many of our own vacations here exploring the area in all seasons,” said Susan Baron. “Being in the heart of a bountiful agricultural area allows us to offer made-fromscratch breakfasts using primarily local foods each morning, something that our guests enjoy, but often don’t have the time to do themselves at home.” What they lost in living in a large metropolitan area, they gained in clean air, fresh fruit and the complete ability to navigate near rafﬁcless streets. The pair decorated
Interior of Bella Rose Bed and Breakfast, 290 N. Main St. in Canandaigua, owned by Chris Miller and his wife Renee Scorsone. the house with stained glass they crafted themselves, and their freshly cut flowers and homemade jams, syrups and breads make their guests’ experience something different than a hotel. The Barons also offer a 10-inch reﬂecting telescope astronomy tour because you can see stars throughout the sky at their inn. “Fall is wonderful with the temperatures cooling down after summer and the leaves changing colors,” said Baron. “But early winter is probably our favorite season. There are less people around so you get more personalized service everywhere you go. We love the scenery in the winter like the frozen waterfalls and the lakes will start off with a layer of fog that slowly rises as the sun comes up. It’s spectacular.” Renee Scorsone agrees that the off season has an entirely different feel than the busy summer season. The slower pace of life leads to a slower, more relaxed getaway, with the days growing shorter and colder. And for those people looking to bring it down a notch, a B&B is great way to accomplish that. “No two B&Bs are alike, so
depending on how people like to relax, their needs will be met,” said Scorsone, co-owner of Bella Rose Bed and Breakfast, 290 N. Main St. in Canandaigua, with her husband, Chris Miller. “Many B&Bs offer ﬁreplaces, jetted tubs and ﬂat screen TVs to cater to the guest who wants to do nothing but relax in the comfort of their own room. Others offer spa services in-house for those looking to have their troubles massaged away without leaving the warmth of the B&B.” In a more intimate setting, bed November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
“Our mission is to give back to those who have spent their lives caring for us and our children.”
At Strong Home we provide our residents with personalized care and assistance with on call LPN’S, Therapists, Dieticians, and Beauticians; Wellness Options such as Yoga and/or AromaTherapy; Homemade Meals made on premises with fresh organic ingredients; Daily Activities and Social Outings; Plus much more. Give us a Call today to schedule a tour and let us help you.
“We love the scenery in the winter like the frozen waterfalls — and the lakes will start off with a layer of fog that slowly rises as the sun comes up. It’s spectacular.”
966 Strong Road, Victor • 585-412-8560 Email: email@example.com • www.stronghome.org
Susan Baron owner of Los Gatos B&B, Penn Yan
Working with our seniors. Call today for a FREE, no obligation consultation of your real estate needs. www.irmgardhahn.com
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and breakfast owners hope to not only personalize the experience, but bust the misconceptions about their business. Especially in the nonsummer months. The truth is most area businesses are now open yearround so the challenge is getting the world out that it could be an ideal destination. “Many believe that we have a lot of snow here and road conditions that will make it difﬁcult to get around or they think that everything closes in the winter. Neither is true,” said Baron. “If someone is looking for a relaxing, restful getaway with all the amenities that come with upscale living, selecting a bed and breakfast in the Finger Lakes for a winter escape is the thing to do.” The 9,000 square mile Finger Lakes region is not only breathtaking with scenic rolling hills and lakes, but there is so much to do and see. With more than 100 wineries and weekly wine events, a cheese trail, musical theaters, waterfalls and state parks, boating and swimming, the area offers activities for those who want an energetic weekend. In addition, with many historic sites, museums, scenic villages, art trails and world class shopping, it can be a relaxing time as an alterative getaway. “Even though there are so many choices of things to do, we personally just really like sitting out in the rocking chairs sometimes in the evening listening to the crickets and enjoying our birds and wildlife and peaceful surroundings of nature,” said Wicher, who is celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary with her husband, Gary, this year.
aging By Marilyn L. Pinsky firstname.lastname@example.org
Traveling Alone to Cuba
Reflections on my first trip as a single person
his is about my trip to Cuba. Sort of. The place is peripheral to the story, though I loved it. This article is really reﬂecting back on the ﬁrst trip I’ve taken in my “revised” status (I’m a widow now). Why Cuba? I had wanted to go there for years, and to get there before McDonald’s did. I wanted to see how I felt traveling as a single person and a group tour seemed a safe way to go. I ﬁgured if I got homesick, Cuba was close enough to swim back, and except for the sharks and the fact that I can’t swim, it felt like a plan. And it had to be to a place that Philip would never have gone. We had spoken of going to places in Europe together but life intervened and I knew I couldn’t handle going to places that we had either visited together, and therefore held too many memories, or places that we had talked about going to before he got sick and that I couldn’t bear going to without him. Cuba ﬁt the criteria. He would have hated Cuba. It was hot in May, they didn’t have steak restaurants, there was a lot of standing around in the sun waiting for things to start and, except for the last night’s “60’s revue” with lots of Sinatra music and beautiful dancers, it deﬁnitely was not his thing. It was perfect. And it was a chance to test myself out. I always admired the adventurous looking gray-haired ladies with the ponytails, hiking boots and backpacks that I would see alone in the airports. Okay, so I
didn’t have the gray hair ponytail thing totally down, but I did have the boots and a backpack. It was a last minute decision to go. Or as last minute as getting a visa allowed. I had a free couple of weeks in which to travel and couldn’t ﬁnd an available trip to Cuba until my sister-in-law, a travel agent, called as I was passing through Bloomingdales killing time between meetings. She said she found a trip with one opening but I had to call immediately. I ran to the furniture department, commandeered a couch, called the tour agency while Googling their website to see what I could learn about the trip, gave the deposit over the phone and signed up. So much for research and planning. It was a busy month and it wasn’t until the week before departure that I ﬁnally had time to give thought to the trip. I looked online and read comments that there were lots of bugs there and as I am a mosquito’s idea of an all-you-caneat buffet, I spent most of my buying
and packing time loading my duffel bag with bug deterrents of all sorts. The night before I left, the actual agenda for the trip ﬁnally arrived. When I saw all the late nights on the schedule, I panicked and called my guru of all things, Linda Land, and said, “what am I going to do as I’m usually asleep by the time these things start?” She had me contact her world traveler son, and in ﬁve minutes he totally changed my mindset. He reviewed my agenda and said “you have to see X, Y and Z that are not on your tour, so go off by yourself to see these things; you’ll be safe. And by the way, there’s no bugs, so dump the paraphernalia.” I didn’t, but again he was right — I didn’t see one bug. You need to arrive in Miami the day before the trip leaves because Cuba is strict about being in the airport departure lounge three hours before and if you’re not, you can’t get on the plane. My son picked me up at 6 a.m. in plenty of time for an 8:15 ﬂight. At 9:30 the ﬂight was cancelled and we were taken off the plane. I eventually got on another ﬂight and did get to Miami. I used my airport time to check out other travelers to get ideas of what to wear when traveling in the future. Unfortunately I have no useful research to pass on. In Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami the look for women, ages13 to 95, seemed to be really tight pants and Continued on page 38 November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
A Journey Like No Other Elizabeth Osta, 67, has worn several hats: educator, nun, strike leader, author, cancer survivor, champion for children with disabilities — and she keeps on going By Deborah Blackwell
lizabeth Osta has had a few miracles up her sleeve, from her time in the convent to improving state education laws, surviving cancer and publishing a book about her great-grandparents, who lived through a potato famine in Ireland. To say she has miraculously touched the lives of many is an understatement. Osta, 67, has changed lives, attitudes and hearts simply by being herself. This former nun, educator, cancer survivor and author who lives in Pittsford continues to devote herself to the betterment of others on a daily basis. “She is completely devoted to the people in her life,” says Cheryl Keane who resides in Alexandria, Va., but has been a best friend of Osta since they met in Syracuse in the eigth grade. “She’s a woman of great compassion, an amazing friend, and has always marched to her own drum.” O s t a w a s b o r n i n B u ff a l o to a corporate lawyer father, the descendant of Italian immigrants, and a corporate secretary mother, the descendant of Irish immigrants who would become the subject of Osta’s novel. She learned early on she had a passion for life that could not be quelled, beginning with her love of school in kindergarten, all the way through her graduation from Nazareth College and then as an 20
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55+ educator for the Monroe 1 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES). “I loved my time at BOCES working at the Foreman Center with children of limited IQ ranges,” says Osta. “I still attend a monthly education group entitled Seasoned Advocates for Education run by Ken Harris, the superintendent who originally hired me 40-plus years ago.” But shortly after her ﬁrst year of teaching children with special needs, Osta had a different calling, and after much debate and soul searching, she decided to enter the Sisters of St. Joseph convent in 1968. Her life as a nun, however, did not pull her from her love of education. She worked as a postulant at the Foreman Center, then went on to teach in parochial schools, became a principal at Corpus Christi in 1975 and, at one point, even chaired the ﬁrst Monroe County Special Olympics under the direction of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. “The story of that journey — life in the convent — is the subject of my next book, a memoir of sorts,” says Osta. “The stories are legion.” That might be said for Osta’s entire life to date. When she found her way out of the convent nine years later to continue her personal mission, she landed in the Rochester City School District teaching special education while setting up her life in the broader world. “I had the fortune of meeting some very special educators, bought a house, and dated enough toads to keep me hopping,” she says. Hopping she was, when she became the strike captain of the teacher ’s union while working at School No. 21 on Colvin Street. But since nothing has ever really held Osta back from following her heart, and she was soon recruited to work for the State of New York Special Education Training and Resource Center in Rochester. That is where she worked tirelessly on the laws that govern special education and trained teachers, principals and school boards on
what is commonly referred to as “mainstreaming,” and “inclusion,” helping persons with disabilities be part of a regular classroom-based education. “I was able to bring a wealth of services mandated by law to children whose families had lost hope,” says Osta. “One such youngster from the Sudan stands out. He came to the States with no language, poor vision and poor social skills. His father was desperate for help and we were able to provide services that helped his progress out of special education back into regular education.” Her mission in what she refers to as ultimately satisfying work: to help teachers implement effective strategies for working with children with disabilities, and helping them understand that the language we use reﬂects how we treat people. “Are they a person ﬁrst or a disability ﬁrst?” she asks. Osta’s compassion and devotion to people is apparent regardless of their struggles. “Elizabeth has been mentoring a boy from Rochester who she had in one of the public schools since he was 5, he’s 23 now. She has supported the family many times, helped him ﬁnd jobs, helped him get into college, even paid for it,” says Keane. “It’s the most amazing thing I have ever watched. This kid is a fabulous person today because of her. He has so much respect and love for her. She has taught him so many values.” Keane also says her best friend feels very deeply for people, and when she talks about their struggles she often cannot keep from crying. That compassion has been magniﬁed since her battle with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2008, Osta faced her greatest life challenge head-on. Osta says having breast cancer gave her an opportunity to examine some things about herself, like tending to her own needs after spending a lifetime tending to others’. But even in her darkest moments, she used her suffering as an opportunity to ﬁnd its purpose, what she calls the “miracles of the moment.”
Elizabeth Osta and husband Dave VanArsdale, whom she married on her 50th birthday in 1995. “Elizabeth and I try to ﬁnd the meaning in the simple pleasures of every day life together,” says VanArsdale. “Happiness is not being in a constant state, but rather an accumulation of one and only moments,” says Osta. “I have so many of those. Like when I watch the sunset, or friends come over for dinner. I look around at each moment that is ﬁlled with spontaneous laughter and joy.” Osta says she learned a lot about ﬁnding the way through things rather than around them, staying open to the whole experience, and not shutting down. During her cancer treatment she ﬁnished another one of her heart’s callings and published a novel she had written just prior to her diagnosis. “One of my life’s dreams was to write a book, and I did,” says Osta. “A portion of the proceeds go to Pluta and I’m thrilled. Because without them, there would be no book, or no me.” The novel, “Jeremiah’s Hunger” was born out of the discovery of her mother’s ancestral home in Ireland Continued on page 32 November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
Presidents’ Man Now a senior lecturer at University of Rochester, Curt Smith talks about his passion for sports and his work writing speeches for Presidents Reagan, Bush I By Ernst Lamoth
olitics and sports aren’t so different. Some of our best-known presidents and politicians could have easily taken the athletic road. Condoleezza Rice was once considered a candidate for president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo played centerﬁeld for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league
system until an injury caused him to retire and become a scout for the team. President Richard Nixon was offered the position of Major League Baseball commissioner in the 1960s. So it’s no wonder that Curt Smith felt just as comfortable interacting with presidents in the West Wing as he feels sitting in a bleacher seat at Fenway Park in Boston.
Curt Smith, with the President and Mrs. Bush, at an early 1990s Christmas Party. 22
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Smith, who was born in Caledonia and now lives in Gates, has been a keynote speaker at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, helped write ESPN specialty shows and has been a speech writer for two former presidents: Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush. This year, Smith left his role as host of Rochester’s WXXI’s Perspectives after 10 years and 520 shows. The show attracted guests from Bob Costas and Stephen Ambrose to George H.W. Bush. T h e A s s o c i a t e d P re s s a n d the New York State Broadcasters Association has voted his weekly radio commentary the “Best in New York State.” He just ﬁnished his book, “Mercy! A Celebration of Fenway Park’s Centennial Told Through Red Sox Radio and TV.” A baseball aﬁcionado even though he’s more likely to call himself nothing more than a fervent Red Sox fan, he has written columns for Major League Baseball’s ofﬁcial website as well as authored 15 books about the White House, football and America’s former pastime. “You can’t be a good writer without reading numerous books,” said Smith, 61, who is a senior lecturer at the University of Rochester. “You can’t be someone who can use the English language as wonderfully
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as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, if you are someone who doesn’t like reading.” Ever since he was young, the beauty of the English language transﬁxed Smith. He enjoyed analyzing how incredibly or poorly an author or writer utilized words. Raised in the world of print journalism, he began his career as a Gannett reporter covering politics and sports. He continued his journalism path when he became senior editor of The Saturday Evening Post after a brief stint in politics as a writer. The magazine, which relayed stories of Americana through articles and pictures, gained even more prominence once famous artist Norman Rockwell created numerous covers.
Born to speech write You don’t major in speechwriting in college. You just become one. Smith eventually transitioned into politics by becoming a speechwriter for former Texas governor and secretary of the Navy and treasury John B. Connally,
who is also known for being in the front seat of the car when President John F. Kennedy was shot. He worked on Connally’s 1980 presidential campaign, which he lost to Reagan. He started in the White House working under Reagan’s administration two years later. He wrote for cabinet members in the Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development departments. After Reagan’s successor was elected, he worked his way to the big show speechwriting for President George Herbert Walker Bush. One of the more remembered Bush speeches involved him talking to the American people about the rationale for entering the Persian Gulf War. The speech, which Smith wrote, centered on Operation Desert Storm being a “just war” almost a year after the United States liberated Kuwait. Smith also wrote Bush speeches during the presidential library dedications of Nixon as well as the eulogy to Reagan at Washington’s National Cathedral.
Random Thoughts by Curt Smith • Advice to young writers: “The most important thing you want to do is read as many books as you can at a young age. You have to ﬁght the trend today that says all you need to do is consume TV, video games and social media. Reading leads to being a good writer and writing leads to being a good speaker. When you are young you should read and then read some more.” • On working at the University of Rochester: “It might sound cliched but it really is a dream come true. Teaching students who care about the presidency is incredibly rewarding. I just hope they keep their open minds well after taking the class.” • On being a Red Sox Fan: “Being a Red Sox fan is an exercise in passion and pain. With this year’s team you never knew what was going to happen.” • On future retirement: “Teaching has no retirement age. If the mind is young and you have the energy, you should be able to do it for a long time. I plan to be here as long as they will have me.” 24
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“When you write for anyone, your job is to sound like that person,” said Smith. “If you want to satisfy your ego, write books because a speech writer’s job is not an exercise in vanity.” There is a certain rhythm between a speechwriter and the president. The writer learns if the person likes short or long sentences, why they prefer subjugate over suppress, do they detest alliteration and who they enjoy quoting. The two presidents that Smith interacted with had two completely different styles and preferences. Reagan gravitated toward quoting the founding fathers. Whether it was a poignant moment from George Washington or a riveting reflection from Thomas Jefferson, the men who helped form a country would ﬁnd their way into Reagan’s conversational-toned speeches. “You asked writers who worked for Reagan and they would say the best writer in the Oval Office was Reagan. He knew what he wanted to say and the best way to say it,” said Smith. Bush, who had a large vocabulary, tended to have a different tone in his speeches. He also opted to use common man musings of Yogi Berra, a famous New York Yankees catcher. Berra is known for playing with the English language loosely with such phrases like, “If you see a fork in the road, take it,” “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore,” “Ninety percent of this game is half mental” or “Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.” “The beauty about Berra’s quotes is that they are fool proof and age proof. You don’t have to know who he is to ﬁnd what he says hysterical,” added Smith. “And when it came to Bush, he had such a wonderful vocabulary that you would give him a rough draft and he would replace some of your words with much better words that the average person would not have thought of.”
Presidential preferences Reagan, the oldest American president, opted for self-deprecating humor about his age to disarm others
The night of December 19, 1989. Bush meets with his speechwriters, including Smith (to right of Bush) in White House personal quarters to review ﬁrst year of Bush presidency. When they met Bush had already approved an invasion of Panama, announced later that night, to capture drug kingpin Manuel Noriega. who might try to beat him to the punch. He never took himself too seriously. “People need to realize that a great sense of humor and the ability to use anecdotes can really help make a connection with somebody,” said Smith. “Reagan’s whimsical nature made you feel like you have known him all your life. Politics is poetry not prose.” Bush wasn’t a fan of spraying his speeches with a bunch of humor. “If he wasn’t familiar with the classic rock or pop culture reference we would put in a speech, he wouldn’t use it,” he said. Bush also never liked taking sole credit for things, rarely putting the word “I” in a speech. That philosophy came from his upbringing. “He would use ‘we’ and stressed togetherness more than prop himself up,” said Smith. “One day he was coming back from a sport where he had won ﬁrst place and he was bragging about it to his mother. She turned and told him, ‘Enough with that “how great thou art” thinking, George.’ She planted the seed that boasting about yourself isn’t something to do.” Even after writing speeches under two presidents, Smith understood that every four years, you have no control
about what happens next. When William Jefferson Clinton defeated Smith’s boss in 1992, he wasn’t sure what his pen, pad or computer would be doing next. “When the American people told Bush and 400 of his closest friends to vacate the White House, it was a little jarring,” said Smith. “The only thing I know how to do well is speak and write and while speaking and writing are transferable in many fields, I wasn’t sure what my next line of work would be. I did know that I would have options after leaving the Bush White House.” Leaving the White House in 1993, Smith found himself out of the Oval Office, but not out of the political arena. Understanding that writing and speaking are transferable in various fields, he could have done several things next. Instead he decided to stay close to Bush and continue speech writing as he tried to raise money for his presidential library in College Station, Texas. “ B u s h w a s e x t r a o rd i n a r i l y modest, which is rare for a president,” said Smith. “He hated talking about himself. He hated attacking other people. He was spectacularly miscast for politics today and I loved him for being that way.”
Veteran scribe Smith spent much of his time out of the White House penning books like: “A Talk in the Park”; “Pull Up a Chair: The Vin Scully Story”; “The Voice: Mel Allen’s Untold Story”; “Voices of Summer”; “What Baseball Means to Me”; “Storied Stadiums”; “Our House”; “Windows on the White House”; “Of Mikes and Men”; “The Storytellers”; “A Fine Sense of the Ridiculous”; “Voices of The Game”; “Long Time Gone”; and “America’s Dizzy Dean.” Named one of the 100 most outstanding alumni at SUNY Geneseo, Smith has written for, among other publications, “The Boston Globe,” “Newsweek,” “The New York Times,” “Reader’s Digest,” “Sports Illustrated,” and “The Washington Post.” In addition, he appeared on network radio/TV programs such as ABC’s “Nightline”; Armed Forces Radio; the British Broadcasting Corporation; CBS “This Morning”; CNN, ESPN, and MSNBC TV; Fox News Channel; History Channel; Mutual Radio’s Larry King and Jim Bohannon; and Radio America. Later in life, an unexpected path Continued on page 41 November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
Parts and Parcel
Entrepreneur builds lucrative international electronics components firm from scratch By Fred Jennings
quarter century ago, Peter Parts began to pursue a dream he never imagined would actually come true. What’s more, he claims to have enjoyed most every minute of it. Parts grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and upon marrying Debra Burns the couple moved to Rochester where he later went on to study business at Rochester Institute of Technology, graduating with an MBA degree. He is a member of its college of business board of advisers. Parts is also a big supporter and volunteer at Camp Good Days and Special Times, a summer camp for kids ﬁghting cancer. Peter Parts Electronics began when he converted ﬁve of his credit cards into cash to launch a venture that has become a multi-national, multi-million dollar enterprise that couldn’t be more aptly named. Of course it wasn’t easy. In fact, his ﬁrst venture failed within the ﬁrst week. However, an investment by four venture capitalists helped the ﬂedgling business rebound and thrive. Up until that time, prospective suppliers had been reluctant to do business with a newcomer despite his engaging presence, solid foundation in the ﬁeld, and the drive to make things happen. PPE now employs 25 full- and part-time people in ofﬁces around the world. They support a 26
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“Cool,” thought Peter at the time. He’d get to drive all kinds of heavy mechanized equipment. It wasn’t until his ﬁrst trip to China that he understood what his dad was talking about. There he saw more than 300 men with shovels digging a huge drainage ditch next to the road. But more than that, it was the “lessons of hard work and the value of a great education that I learned from my father along with his passion for photography and ﬁshing. Those things,” he added, “helped shape my life.”
A long, successful career begins group of 50 sales reps across North America.
Dad discovers America Surprisingly, Parts’ path to prosperity began even before he was born. His Estonian father, Leo Parts, immigrated to the United States in 1949. He brought only the clothes on this back and a cardboard suitcase crammed with some other life necessities. After landing in New York, he soon settled in Sioux Falls, S.D., the Minnehaha County seat, working as a farm hand. Recognizing he’d be resigned to that fate the rest of his life unless he became educated, he enrolled at Augustana College in Sioux Falls and later at Purdue University where he earned his doctorate degree in chemistry and began to live the American dream. It was at Augustana where he met and married Virginia, Peter’s mom. She passed away after a bout with cancer when Peter was 4, and he was remarkably lucky to get a great new mother when his father remarried when he was 7 to Mary Ann, and she instilled the importance of a positive attitude every day. His father has always been an inspiration to him, and told Peter he had better get a good education or he would be a ditch digger all his
Parts’ career in business began soon after he graduated from college. He had been hired as an inside sales person at an electronics ﬁrm in Sodus. He characterizes the four years spent there as being a “terriﬁc learning experience” and prepared him well for the challenges ahead. Parts then established his own company in a small ofﬁce on Main Street in Webster, along with Steve Crane who he says has become “an incredible partner. Steve was great at all the things I was struggling with,” he said, “and we have made a great team.” PPE soon outgrew those cramped quarters to relocate in a commercial business park in nearby Ontario. So there he was, buying high quality products with their brand names clearly identiﬁed from factories managed by exceptionally well-educated and trained employees. These he bought and distributed to over 150 renowned end users, such as General Motors, John Deere, and Welch Allyn, to mention just a few. By the time he was 40, Parts had found himself positioned to take on some of the most well established players in the massive, dynamic, worldwide electronics industry. Today, sales have surged into the low eight ﬁgures. And you couldn’t meet a nicer guy who insists that his success has as much to do with the
long as Parts was involved with a competitor. Why China? After all, the two countries often ﬁnd themselves at odds with one another. While there’s always room for improvement, “Modern day China is far from what it used to be a half century ago,” says Parts. “Once considered by many to be a Third World monolithic communist regime strictly ruled by intolerant dictators, China has become a very capitalistic, market-driven society. Remarkably, it has evolved into an economic powerhouse and is increasingly sensitive as to how it is perceived abroad. Thanks largely to America’s vast imports of Chinese products, its growth rate has been averaging close to 10 percent annually. In many ways, China has become the envy of the world, providing hope and jobs for a population with 1.3 billion mouths to feed. That’s a billion more than the population of the United States today.”
Peter Parts, owner of Peter Parts Electronics, now employs 25 full- and part-time people in ofﬁces around the world. He was once a partner in a factory with a workforce of 1,200 people located in the China’s southeastern province of Guangzhou. quality of his employees as himself. But where Parts is concerned, there’s more to it than just that. It’s his wife Debra, a Webster schoolteacher, conﬁdant, and life partner of 30 years. Parts often recalls the old adage that says, “80 percent of a man’s success in life depends on ﬁnding a great wife.” And to that, he added, “In my case it may be higher than that.”
The fascination with China Historically, most electronic
parts are manufactured in a variety of Asian nations which nowadays are accessed mostly from China where Parts has established close ties with high quality manufacturers. He was once a partner in a factory with a workforce of 1,200 people located in the nation’s southeastern province of Guangzhou. Parts eventually divested himself of that venture to make it easier to deal with a larger group of manufacturers that considered it a conﬂict of interest as
While Parts has found extraordinary success, for him life has not been a bed of roses. Back in 1985, Parts had a bout with testicular cancer that left him cured, childless, but blessed with nine nieces and nephews. Nonetheless, this temporary setback turned out to be a positive lifechanging experience for him, and a mission to help make this a better world. With no thought of sales gain in mind, he initiated a series of public service announcements on WHAM radio conveying dozens of inspirational messages such as: “A life without cause is a life without effect.” Even with his crushing schedule, Parts does ﬁnd time for recreation. He’s involved with the Jazz Festival held each June in Rochester. Parts is also a photographer, writes and produces his own Chinese-oriented newsletter and, like his father, is an avid ﬁsherman. November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
Amerks Announcer Don Stevens Begins 27th Year Veteran broadcaster has the distinction to have been at the microphone more than any other play by play man in the 30-team American Hockey League By Todd Etshman
hen Don Stevens took the Rochester Americans hockey play-by-play broadcasting job in 1985, he told his wife they’d be here for two years, tops. Like many of the players on the American Hockey League team waiting for their opportunity to 28
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play in the big leagues, Stevens was conﬁdant he’d be moving on to the big leagues soon, too. But, today, the National Hockey League’s loss is Rochester’s gain as Stevens begins his 27th year at the microphone, more than any other play by play man in the 30 team AHL and the 64 year-old has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Photo courtesy of Micheline Veluvolu
“I don’t even have that on my mind,” he said. “Basically, I live my life with 20- and 30-year-olds so I don’t feel like I’m nearing retirement. I’m still trying to ﬁgure out what it is I want to do when I grow up. If there was something else I wanted to do, I’d probably do it but I haven’t found anything else that would even compare to what I do.” Stevens brought good luck with him when he arrived in town as the Amerks won the Calder Cup in his very ﬁrst season and proceeded to play in the AHL ﬁnals in seven of the next 14 years, a feat Stevens said is one of the highlights of his broadcasting career. To say Rochester loves its hockey and the Amerks is an understatement. Five thousand fans turned out at the airport to greet the Amerks when they returned home after winning the championship in 1986. “My ﬁrst day here, Seymour Knox IV [former Sabres owner] picked
55+ me up at the airport. He said you’re really going to love it in Rochester. It’s [hockey] the social event of the winter,” Stevens recalled. “Nothing builds the name of a city faster than a sports team. People in Texas know where Rochester is because of the hockey team.” But, today, Stevens says the city’s love for its pro hockey team may have worn off a bit. The reasons vary. There was an unpopular afﬁliation with Florida for a while. Players come and go so fast fans hardly have time to identify with them and there are quite a few more sports teams playing in the area today than there were in the 1980s. “There isn’t as much of a focus on one particular team anymore,” Stevens said. Making sure attendance stays high at the Blue Cross Arena for Amerks games is one of the most important aspects of his job. “I have to get people to want to go and see what all the excitement is about. Sure, I want listeners but in order to keep my job I want rear ends in the seats so selling tickets is what I’m supposed to do.” Many fans in attendance at the arena still bring headphones to listen to Stevens play by play while they’re watching the game. Restoring the Amerks popularity in the city got a little easier last year when the Amerks renewed their afﬁliation with the Buffalo Sabres. And this year they’ll be in the unique position of being the highest level of pro hockey due to the ongoing labor dispute between NHL owners and players that threatens the entire NHL season. “I work for the Buffalo Sabres and my paycheck comes from the Buffalo Sabres. I want them to be playing but selfishly
speaking, I’m ﬁne with the lockout,” Stevens says. “All of a sudden we’ve become the focal point of hockey and our attendance should increase because of it.” The veteran broadcaster said another important aspect of his job is the ability to paint a picture for the listener. “It doesn’t matter what it is, it could be a symphony or a car race, you’ve simply got to be able to paint a picture for the listener.” Stevens hasn’t covered any symphony performances here but he has done other sports such as Rochester Rhinos soccer for 13 years. “There were a few interchangeable terms there for awhile,” he recalled. The ﬁrst few games were a little tough. The Rhinos were playing hockey and the Amerks were playing soccer.” Like many kids growing up in Alberta where he was born and
in Denver for high school, Stevens played some hockey but played more baseball and football than hockey. “I didn’t play organized hockey. I wouldn’t call myself a player,” he says. Instead, hockey came to him a few years after broadcasting school for a semi-pro team in Sioux City, Iowa and then in San Diego. Stevens has seen the AHL nearly triple in size during his 27 years in the league, extending now from coast to coast across the United States and Canada. But despite the increase in jobs, Stevens said it’s much harder to get into sports broadcasting today than it was when he started out in 1969. “More people want to get into it than ever before but the attrition rate isn’t all that high. People in the business like me tend to stay in it,” he said. With so many people waiting for an opportunity, broadcasters like Stevens know they have to be good to keep their job. “People don’t realize the amount of work he actually puts into it prior to going on the air,” said Rob Crean, the Amerks director of public relations. “He is extremely well prepared.” Working 70 to 100 hour weeks during the season isn’t uncommon for Stevens. Fortunately for him and the players, the league has reduced the number of times teams have to play three games in three nights on weekends. “I probably spend more time prepping than anybody else because I have to. I wasn’t born with this great brain or a photographic memory,” Stevens says. Even though most of the players weren’t even born when Stevens came to town, he stays close to them despite the age difference and Photo courtesy of the Rochester Americans the constant turnover that is November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
commitment common in the minor leagues. “I’ve never had a problem with that at all,” he said. “I think they trust me. They don’t hide things from me. There are certain things you don’t talk about publicly and they know I won’t talk about it. You’ve got the players group, the coaches group and the ofﬁce group and I’m kind of in the middle of all this but everyone treats me very well from the players to the coaches to the staff. I couldn’t ask for a better situation. “My life is the same as theirs,” Stevens says of the players. “I live season to season and I live half of the year on the road. There are a lot of bus miles.” The veteran broadcaster said he’s never tried to sound like anyone else in the business. “It’s hard to say what kind of style I have because I really don’t listen to myself. I sort of cringe when I hear what I do. My only style is helping the listener get to know the players a little bit so they’ll want to get tickets and come see a game.” When he’s not working, Stevens likes to spend time in his woodworking shop in the basement of his Perinton home. He gets his ﬁll of sports in his job and rarely watches it on television or reads about it. “I like working in sports and participating in sports but I’d rather watch the DIY [Do It Yourself] channel at home,” he said. In addition to the job and woodworking, there’s also charity functions for the local celebrity to attend. “He never says no to a charity opportunity whether it’s speaking at a school or to a rotary club. He’s always eager to help out,” Crean said. When he does retire, Stevens says he misses the West but will probably stay here near two of his three adult children and his grandchildren. Late in their career, veteran minor league players still cling to the hope that they’ll get a call from an NHL team and Stevens does, too. “It’s not a foregone conclusion that it can’t happen,” he said. “I still have hope that someone will give me a chance. It’s always been my goal to make it to the NHL and that hasn’t changed.” 30
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
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where her great-grandfather had survived a famine, and Osta, like her ancestors, was determined to survive. “Elizabeth is so not done with what she wants to accomplish in this life,” says Osta’s chemotherapy nurse at Pluta Cancer Center, Kitty Forbush. “Having breast cancer allowed her to face her biggest fear and not only move through it but actually embrace the experience as an opportunity to live her bucket list.” That is an ongoing list. From her work as program chair for the United Nations Association of Rochester hosting journalists from around the world shortly after 9/11, to most recently receiving one of her numerous awards, Outstanding Alumna at her alma mater, Nazareth College, Osta continues to inspire in classrooms, in meeting halls, at cancer centers and in bookstores. She is almost always accompanied by her biggest fan, husband Dave VanArsdale, whom she married on her 50th birthday in 1995. “Elizabeth and I try to ﬁnd the meaning in the simple pleasures of every day life together,” says VanArsdale. “When she had cancer at ﬁrst she said, ‘Why me?’ But then she said ‘Why not me?’ and I understand that now. She is a tremendous human being.”
“Elizabeth has a total involvement in life with people, with activities, with nature, and she experiences everything so magniﬁcently,” says Kathleen Van Schaick, fellow writer and host of Silver Threads on Reachout Radio. “She listens, she is very aware and receptive and open. She has a wonderful critical ear, asks a lot of questions, and is truly interested. In every arena that I have seen her, she is so attentive and she just brings a tremendous life force to every person she meets.”
savvy senior By Jim Miller
Understanding Reverse Mortgages
or seniors that are house rich but cash poor, a reverse mortgage is a viable option, but there’s a lot to know and consider to be sure it’s a good choice for you. Here are some tips and tools to help you research this complex ﬁnancial product. Let’s start with a quick review. A reverse mortgage is a loan that lets older homeowners convert part of the equity in their home into cash that doesn’t have to be paid back as long as they live there. To be eligible you must be age 62 or older, own your home (or owe only a small balance) and currently be living there. You can receive the cash either as a lump sum, a line o f c re d i t , re g u l a r monthly checks or a combination of these. And with a reverse mortgage, you, not the bank, own the house, so you’re still responsible for property t a x e s , insurance and repairs. Currently, 99 percent of all reverse mortgages offered are Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), which are backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Repayment is due when you or
the last borrower dies, sells the place or lives elsewhere for 12 months. Then you or your heirs will have to pay off the loan (which includes the money you borrowed plus accrued interest and fees) either with the proceeds from selling the place, or if you want to keep the house, with money from another source.
Educational Resources To get a better handle on reverse mortgages and how they work, there are several excellent resources you can turn to for reliable information, but you’re going to need access to the Internet to utilize them. To get started, the National Council on Aging recently created a free new website called the Home Equity Advisor that’s designed to help you think through the best way to leverage your home — a reverse mortgage isn’t your only option. Just go to homeequityadvisor. org and click on its “Quick Check” tool which will ask you a series of questions about your personal and household situation to deﬁne exactly what you m i g h t need or want. Then, based on your answers, you’ll receive an individualized report o ff e r i n g i n f o r m a t i o n , tools, and consumer advice on a range of possible solutions that includes reverse mortgages and other alternatives. If you ﬁnd that you are a good
candidate for a reverse mortgage, your next stop is at reversemortgage. org, a new consumer website created by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. This site offers lots of educational information including “Your Road Map,” which will help guide you through all the features of reverse mortgages and the process of obtaining one. It also has a calculator to estimate how much you’d be eligible to receive from a reverse mortgage, and offers a comprehensive directory of licensed HUD-approved mortgage lenders, banks, and credit unions that offer reverse mortgage loans in New York and other states.
Get Counseling Another important resource to help you understand the pros and cons of a reverse mortgage and how it would work in your particular situation is through counseling. In fact, because reverse mortgages are such complicated products, the federal government requires that all reverse mortgage borrowers receive counseling through a HUD approved independent counseling agency before they take out a HECM loan. Counseling can be done in person or over the phone and some agencies today provide it for free or at a minimal fee. Some locations charge around $125. To locate counseling agencies in your area, visit hud.gov/ offices/hsg/sfh/hecm/hecmhome. cfm or call 800-569-4287. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book. November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
More Boomers Taking the Entrepreneurial Route
Resources to help would-be entrepreneurs abound in Rochester area By Ken Little
n the Rochester area like elsewhere in the U.S. more people over age 50 are launching businesses these days. Many have the knowledge, skills and experience that are suited to the task. But budding entrepreneurs may also need help in other areas to start or grow a business successfully. Experts tout the many advantages of being self-employed: ﬂexible hours, the opportunity to be creative and wear many hats, the potential to make more money and the chance to do something you love. Organizations such as SCORE, OASIS and AARP have resources available in Western New York that can assist in ensuring a successful business venture. Others, such as Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., provide ancillary services that may be helpful for retirees considering re-entering the job market. “We do provide workshops for retirees who are looking for parttime jobs, but providing advice about entrepreneurship is not something we do. There is a group called SCORE that provides advice, workshops and counseling,” said Mary Rose
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McBride, vice president of marketing and communications for Lifespan of Greater Rochester Inc. SCORE is a nonproﬁt association supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration “dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.”
Active SCORE Chapter SCORE has an active Rochester chapter, along with chapters in other Upstate cities. “The tips that we give to our clients do not really depend upon age so much as commitment and enthusiasm,” said Rick Bruner, president of Syracuse SCORE. “Retirees do have the distinct advantage of having survived the real world and all of its challenges. That experience goes a long way in toughening up their outlook as to what can and will go awry as they chart a course in a new direction,” Bruner said. First-hand knowledge of a business discipline “is truly paramount,” he said. SCORE counselors also reinforce the practice of preparing a business
plan “which is simply a comprehensive and detailed outline of the business, its target markets, competition and marketing strategy, its financials, sales projections, profit and loss estimates, overhead cost projections, management team and any other pertinent details,” Bruner said. A business plan compels the client to think about all aspects of the business and what the next three years should look like to ensure continued growth and success, he said. A business plan is usually used as the basis for securing a small business loan, “and if the client cannot articulate the details of the plan then the odds of getting a loan diminish greatly,” Bruner said.
Rochester SCORE Background Greater Rochester SCORE has nearly 90 volunteers. Some are currently employed or have their own business. Many are retired business executives. The organization works with clients in Monroe, Livingston, Ontario Wayne and Yates counties. It offers free counseling services, along with a variety of low-cost workshops and seminars for start-up and existing
55+ businesses. SCORE volunteers come from every facet of the business community, Rochester SCORE ofﬁcials said. Some have had careers at large corporations such as Kodak, Xerox or Bausch & Lomb. Others have a military background or worked for the local or federal government. Some spent years developing their own small business, SCORE ofﬁcials said. As a resource partner with the SBA, Rochester SCORE operates in cooperation with the agency to provide business owners with information, resources and tools vital to their success. Services include counseling on financing options, business strategy, marketing tactics, product development, cash ﬂow and management, In Rochester, business counseling is also offered in other areas, including accounting/bookkeeping/recordkeeping, advertising/promotion, business buying and selling, business plans, business startup planning, consulting, engineering, franchising, graphic arts/printing and government contracts. Counseling is also available in the areas of manufacturing, marketing, patents and copyright, personnel, photography, public relations, purchasing, real estate, retail and research and development. “We do have a wide range of knowledge in business matters. In some situations, we may encourage access to our national e-counseling system for answer to speciﬁc question,” a Rochester SCORE ofﬁcial said. For more information, call SCORE at 585-263-6473 or visit http://www. scorerochester.org/ SCORE also offers inexpensive or free business workshops in the area and webinars available online around the clock. For more information, go to www. SCORE.org/
AARP Offers Tips The AARP also has tips for those 50 and older considering starting a business, said Luci de Haan, senior communications manager for AARP in New York state.
SCORE in Rochester and other chapters are a useful resource, de Haan said. For those thinking about starting a business, AARP advises several considerations. First , “Take a hard look at your ﬁnances, your idea, and yourself,” AARP advises. “Research, network, and plan, plan, plan.” It’s important to “analyze yourself,” according to AARP. “More and more boomers are taking the entrepreneurial route. But starting a business is a risky venture,” advisors say. Here are some important questions to ask, according to AARP: • Do you have the conﬁdent, takecharge personality it takes to run your own show? • Does your family support your entrepreneurial project? • Do you have the tenacity to stick with it? • Are you ready for a signiﬁcant time commitment? Starting a business often involves more than a 40 hours a week. • Are you comfortable with a certain level of uncertainty and chaos? • Are you a risk-taker? It’s also important to clearly identify the product or service to be offered. “Take the time to choose. Carefully compare the pros and cons, the risks and beneﬁts, of each type of business,” AARP advisers say. “Look for a business that allows you to specialize
About 10 Percent of Older Adults Are Self-employed “The number of older, unincorporated self-employed workers in nonagricultural industries increased from fewer than 2.6 million in December 2007 to almost 2.9 million in March 2012.” While the number has increased, the percent of older workers who are self-employed has remained about the same: 9.7 percent in March 2012, compared to 10 percent in December 2007, according to a 2012 analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
business and ﬁlls a growing need.” AARP advises learning the business by working for someone in the same line of work ﬁrst. Perhaps most importantly, “Pick something that you will enjoy doing,” AARP advises.
Know Financial Risks It’s also important to know the financial risks associated with a business venture, according to AARP advisors. Related tips include: •Don’t use retirement income to start a business. Consider a small business loan to get started. • Know that you have the resources and cash ﬂow to cover a start-up period of a year or more. • Consider “moonlighting,” that is, starting a business in your offhours while still working. Make sure to avoid all possible conﬂicts with an existing job. • Beware of self-employment scams. Developing a good business plan is also very important, AARP advises. Such a plan “shows why your idea is workable, how your business will operate, and how much your income and expenses will be,” de Haan said. The SBA’s checklist for starting a company is a good place to start, she said. It can be accessed at www. sba.gov/content/check-list-startingbusiness “It helps you assess your situation, identify a niche, analyze the market, and organize your ﬁnances,” de Haan said. Adds the AARP: “It’s not enough to have a good product. You must know how to market and sell it. How will you reach your targeted market? What will make people buy your product?” The AARP also advises using online workshops and templates from the SBA to help develop a business plan. In addition to SCORE, the AARP says the Riley Guide, www.rileyguide. com/ has links to many sources for help in setting up a small business. November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
Members of the Rochester chapter of the American Recorder Society include dozens of members from their 20s on up into their 70s. Photo shows group playing during the summer at the Fairport Market.
Recorders: Deceptively Simple Music-Makers By Jeanne Gehret
ing Henry VIII had 49 recorders at his death. He liked these musical instruments so much that he composed several pieces for them that are still played today. But you need only ﬁve to get a complete ensemble of music spanning four octaves. From soprano to great bass, they give a full range of sounds from the babbling of brooks to the deep groans of stormtossed tree trunks, earning their name as one of the earliest form of woodwinds. Although the recorder is often taught to early elementary students, in Europe it has such stature that it is studied in the musical conservatories. It can be quite challenging to play well because it predates some of 36
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the improvements in ﬁngering and tune-ability made to modern oboes, clarinets, and flutes. Unlike those instruments, however, recorders require no embouchure training (facial muscles that control sound) and can be affordable, starting at less than $50 for the higher-pitched instruments. Rochester has its own chapter of the American Recorder Society that includes dozens of members from their 20s on up into their 70s. From September through May, members gather twice a month for up to two classes per evening; these range from beginners’ classes to the early notes class that plays music from 15th century manuscript facsimiles. Regina Memole has co-taught
classes for several years with her sister Jessica Brennan. Memole, a recent Nazareth College graduate in music education, owns and plays ﬁve recorders ranging from bass to the tiny and seldom-seen Garklein, which is only six inches long. “Jessica taught me everything I know,” says Memole, “and when we play duets together, we’re so accustomed to each other that it’s very enjoyable.” She says that throughout her college years she occasionally performed recorder pieces for her classmates, who were always surprised at the beauty and versatility of the instrument. The two sisters have led classes on sacred music, Celtic melodies, and will be teaching dance tunes starting this fall.
The lifetime you are imagining can begin today! The soprano recorder, a mere 12-inches long, can sound shrieky in the hands of an inexperienced player. But in the hands of Neil and Liz Seely, who have each been playing for 50 years, it sounds like a beautiful ﬂute. Neil is comfortable playing music from all periods but has a particular penchant for 20th century music, particularly arrangements of Big Band music or pieces composed speciﬁcally for recorder, American composer and arranger Andrew Charlton. Liz especially enjoys the English and German renaissance repertoire. Pat Hanley’s Paetzold style great bass recorder is a standout in any ensemble. Instead of the hardwood stained tubular shapes customary to wind instruments, Paetzold recorders are square and made of high quality beech-veneered plywood. Hanley’s white model is beautifully painted by friend and fellow member Marian Henry. Each year Hanley teaches a sight-reading class and conducts a couple ensembles that involve all the members, whatever their skill level. Occasionally she joins a pickup group to play for an English country dance. Throughout the school year, the society holds mini-concerts between the ﬁrst-hour and second-hour classes where members get to hear each other. During the winter holidays they put on a longer concert for each other, and new students are invited to join the ensemble for the first time. I still remember vividly my ﬁrst-ever ensemble with the group. Although the piece was ridiculously easy, under the crisp direction of Pat Hanley and with the full range of instruments, my humble alto recorder suddenly became part of a large and multi-faceted musical selection. I was enchanted. The group’s next performance will be 7 p.m., Dec. 4 at Cherry Ridge Community at 900 Cherry Ridge Blvd. in Webster. for other information, visit www.rochars.org. Jeanne Gehret is going on her fourth year as a member of the Rochester chapter of the American Recorder Society. She plays the alto and soprano.
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November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
aging Reflections on my first trip as a single person Continued from page 19 very high heels. No wonder the line in the ladies room is so long. After just one day of traveling, I realized all the things Philip handled when we traveled that I took for granted — money conversion, making sure our passports, visas and plane tickets were always safe and at hand, conﬁrming reservations, looking at backup ﬂights, making sure the luggage was always where it was supposed to be and ﬁguring out the tips. Philip was also the one who got us places on time. With a group trip you don’t want to be the one holding up the bus, so I got up earlier than necessary and by dinnertime was ready to go to sleep. The tour group met for the ﬁrst time in the Miami airport, our ages ranging from early 40s to early 80s. Most of the people on the trip were either couples or good friends traveling together, but there were four others traveling alone, the couples were all friendly and it felt OK. I quickly learned that when traveling alone, you have to make the effort to be congenial. For someone who has been used to meeting new people while ducking in and out of events for years, I didn’t think that would take much effort on my part. But it did. Mostly, I realized, it was because Philip always had my back and I had the freedom to be the carefree one making jokes and knowing he would always rescue me if I got in over my head. Being on my own and having to be responsible turned me into a very serious person whom I wasn’t all that crazy about. On the other hand, except for missing him, I was generally OK being alone. And that was important to learn about myself. And apart from traveling with my family, I’ll probably go on other tours by 38
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myself again. Taking Linda’s son’s advice, I did take off on my own and learned a lot doing it. First lesson is to have at least a few basic words of the country you’re visiting (I didn’t) as smiling and pointing to places on vague maps can get you lost. My favorite was looking for the famous Cuban ballet theater and no one in the crowd understood what I was saying until I ﬁnally stood on my toes in the middle of the sidewalk and twirled around. The second piece of advice is to ﬁgure out the money system before you get in the cab, or, in my case, the pedi-cab. I was arguing with the driver/pedaler over what seemed an exorbitant charge he was asking for only a ﬁve-minute ride and ﬁnally gave up, giving him the equivalent of $20. An hour later I realized he was asking me for what was really a reasonable amount in Cuban Convertable Pesos (CUCs). Expensive lesson. A little about Cuba. I loved it and can’t wait to go back. The Cubans would ask if we were Canadians and were surprised when we said we were Americans, but they were glad we were there and everyone was always warm and welcoming. I won’t even go into the “embargo” issue, but it dominates every conversation and, from the Cuban’s perspective, their very
lives. Politically and economically it is a complicated situation. The revolution has made some real quality of life improvements for all Cubans. On one hand, the literacy rate is almost 99 percent, medical care is free, and with free birth control most people choose to have only one child as a personal, not a government, choice. Perhaps as a consequence, the children we saw, even in the poorer sections of the cities, looked well cared for and watched over. The economy is in transition to slowly allowing more free enterprise and new restaurants operating in private homes (paladars) and artist studios are sprouting up. The streets are immaculately clean and it felt safe walking most everywhere. The architecture is exquisite, though falling down and only very slowly being restored. I have to mention the classic American cars from the ‘40s and ‘50s that are everywhere and the tremendous Cuban ingenuity that goes into keeping them running without access to parts because of the embargo. On the other hand, life is hard for the majority of citizens and Cuba remains a oneparty dictatorship. Seeing gorgeous private homes that had been taken from their owners and “given to the people” to use for clinics, schools, restaurants, etc. raises questions about “the greater good” vs. “free enterprise” that I hope to ﬁnd someone to answer for me. That Cuba will change is probably inevitable, but I hope for them that they can keep the good parts and not become just another beautiful Caribbean island. Marilyn L. Pinsky is the president of AARP in New York state. She lives in Jamesville, near Syracuse.
Exercising In Your 50s, 60s, 70s and Beyond
recent study has shown that exercise can add years to a person’s life. Still, as we age it can become more tedious and sometimes more difﬁcult to exercise. Many people see aging as a time to slow down and take it easy. The reality is the more we age, the more we need exercise to keep us independent and healthy. Still, it sometimes takes a prescription from the doctor to get adults up and moving. “ E x e rc i s e i s i m p o r t a n t f o r almost everyone. There are very few medical conditions that exercise won’t beneﬁt. In fact, I sometime write a prescription to get my patients to start taking this seriously and help them understand exercise can be just as helpful as medication,” said Keith Veselik, director of primary care at Loyola University Health System and associate professor in the department of medicine at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Around age 35 is when our muscle mass and resting metabolism starts to decrease. When this happens our bodies require more, not less exercise to manage our caloric intake. When this starts to happen we can eat the same things, do the same things and may gain 3 pounds a year. That’s 30 pounds in a decade.” Though exercising is beneﬁcial to nearly everyone, before starting a program the physician advises that people, especially those who have not been active, consult a doctor to determine their baseline and to get guidance about what exercises would be most beneﬁcial. “In my own life I’ve seen the benefits of exercising. When that alarm goes off in the morning I want to just roll over, but I’ve seen such a positive change in so many ways. It can be difﬁcult, especially at ﬁrst, but the beneﬁts truly out weigh the struggles,” said Veselik. Veselik said the best workout program balances cardiovascular exercise, strength training and
ﬂexibility. He recommends an hour of cardiovascular exercise four days a week, two days of strength training for 30 minutes and balance and ﬂexibility exercises such as stretching, yoga or pilates, one to two times a week. But what is optimal doesn’t always translate into what is doable. Each decade has unique challenges. Veselik gives some ideas of how to use exercise to counter those health hurdles.
In Your 50s Muscle and joint aches and pains start becoming more apparent, so Veselik said get creative about how to keep up cardiovascular exercise that is easy on the joints but gets the heart rate up. He suggests trying exercising in a pool or riding a bike instead of running. If you do run, make sure you have good shoes and try to run on softer surfaces. Cardiovascular exercise also helps to ﬁght many of the most common and deadly medical concerns, including heart disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). “But don’t go from doing nothing to running a marathon. Talk to your doctor, ask about risk factors and together create a plan that’s right for you,” said Veselik. Another nearly universal complaint for people in their 50s is back pain. “The best way to protect your back is to build strong core muscles and make sure you are lifting heavy objects correctly,” said Veselik.
In Your 60s As we enter our 60s, balance and strength should be a major focus. Many people are scared of breaking a hip, which can limit independence. Also, our bones aren’t as strong and both men and women become more susceptible to osteoporosis. To help battle these concerns Veselik suggests incorporating balance and leg strengthening exercises to increase ﬂexibility as well as balance
to help prevent accidental falls. Weight-bearing exercise is crucial to bone health and keeping bone density strong. In addition, many adults in their 60s begin to experience symptoms from arthritis, which can make exercise difﬁcult. “Exercise has been proven to help people deal with their arthritis. It’s just making sure your exercise routine is working for you, not against you. Some people forget that walking is a great form of exercise, just make sure you get your heart rate up. Also, aquatic classes or swimming are a great way for people with arthritis or fibromyalgia to exercise,” said Veselik.
In Your 70s and Beyond “The biggest worry I hear from my patients who are entering their 70s, 80s and beyond is dementia. The two most common forms are Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia,” said Veselik. He also said that exercise is the only thing that is proven to prevent Alzheimer’s. And, many of the major risk factors for vascular dementia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, can be countered with exercise. “Exercise is important, but it’s not the end all. It needs to be coupled with eating right and incorporating other healthy habits to lead to a better quality of life,” said Veselik. November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
long-term care By Susan Suben
It’s All About Inflation!
The long-term care insurance market is changing. A little creativity in how you design your plan will keep it affordable and valuable
s o n e l o n g - t e r m c a re insurance carrier recently put it, ‘the prolonged low interest rate environment continues to present pricing challenges for the LTC insurance market.” Policyholders, especially those with 5 percent compound inﬂation protection, have daily beneﬁts that are growing at a faster rate than what their insurer is earning on its own investments. In addition, the American Association of Long-Term Care insurance found that the nation’s 10 leading long-term care insurance companies paid over $10.8 million in claim beneﬁts in 2010. This represents a 53 percent increase over the daily values of claims paid by the same entities in 2007. People are deciding to hold onto their coverage because they see the value of the product. These factors are causing some carriers to leave the market or raise current policyholder premiums. But the more common trend is the substantial increase in premiums that companies are imposing for the selection of 5 percent compound inflation to the point that it is unattainable to buyers. Don’t despair. You can still purchase long-term care insurance at an affordable cost and not sacriﬁce comprehensiveness. There are several companies, very dedicated to the market, that are introducing new products with innovative inflation options. One company has created a unique inﬂation option called combo inﬂation rider. This feature provides 5 percent compound inﬂation up to age 60 then 5 percent simple inﬂation up to age 74. After age 74, there is no longer any inflation protection. A recent webcast showed premium 40
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
comparison charts using the combo inﬂation rider vs. straight 5 percent simple and 3 percent compound. The daily benefit with combo inflation was higher at age 74 than the other two options. This inﬂation factor seems to be geared toward individuals in their 40’s, which makes it attractive for the worksite market. If you are a business owner with a young workforce, it might make sense to offer coverage with this type of inﬂation rider as a voluntary or employer paid benefit. Younger policyholders will be able to grow their daily beneﬁt for a longer period of time during the 5 percent compound inﬂation leg of the combo rider. This new feature has been approved in several states and is pending in New York. Another new inﬂation design that is already available in 36 states since Aug. 13 is called beneﬁt builder. Benefit builder has two components: automatic crediting and voluntary build-up options. The automatic crediting allows a policyholder to gradually grow their beneﬁts based upon the company’s investment returns in their general account portfolio exceeding certain thresholds. Benefit increases are determined by a speciﬁc formula and applied annually. Voluntary buy-up options give a policyholder the opportunity every three years through age 75 to increase beneﬁts by 10 percent, without medical exams or questions about health or underwriting. In addition to these two new inflation designs, companies are offering 3 percent and 4 percent compound, 5 percent simple, 5 percent compound 2x, inﬂation attached to the consumer price index and future
purchase options. The NYS Partnership is also introducing a 3.5 percent compound inﬂation factor in addition to the 5 percent compound that is currently built into all four available plans. It was determined that the realistic inflation increases for long-term care in NYS is averaging about 3.1 percent. What inﬂation option you select should be determined by your age, the amount of income anticipated in retirement and your tolerance for cost sharing the risk. The younger you are the higher the inﬂation protection should be. In your 40s, the ideal inﬂation would be 5 percent compound. But if the premiums are too rich, start out with a higher daily beneﬁt and select one of the other compound offerings. If you are in your 50s and 60s, you probably will have a better sense of your retirement income. You may be able to take a lower inﬂation factor and be more inclined to make up the difference between what the policy is paying and the actual cost of your long-term care needs. Over the age of 70, 3 percent compound or a future increase offering might be the best choice. There is no doubt that the long-term care insurance market is changing. Do not shy away from the coverage. You and your family still need protection from this very real risk. A little creativity in how you design your plan will keep it affordable and valuable. 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 email@example.com.
The Presidents’ Man from page 25
opened up for him that created unbridled joy and a chance to once again talk about politics for a living. As an 8-year-old, he remembered sitting at home and listening to the University of Rochester Yellow Jackets basketball game on his parent’s beat up radio. Growing up in Western New York, U of R provided the same exhilarating chills to him as someone who grew up in Cambridge, Mass., blocks away from Harvard University. “U of R became my dream and working here I am pleased to say the dream is not only a reality but everything I could have hoped it would be,” said Smith. He’s now a senior lecturer of English, teaching public speaking and presidential rhetoric from President Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression time to Obama. Through the intensive audio and visual course
he teaches, students get exposed to how a president sounded and carried his message to the masses. “Students hopefully get a better sense of history and how these men conducted themselves in ofﬁce,” he said. “Their discussions affected the lives of their grandparents, parents and now them.” But even life’s fulﬁlled promises don’t come easy. Every semester, he is tasked with an unequivocal goal: turn politics into a non-partisan, nonemotional and unbiased topic. He pushes students to remove the scales from their eyes and look at someone objectively even though they have learned and read about him countless times before. It’s a rare person who can discuss religion, race, relationships and politics with an open mind. And at ﬁrst, college students aren’t that rare breed. However, he gives them one
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message on opening day: Leave your political parties and ideologies in the hallway where you can pick them up after class. “Even in politics there wasn’t a p re s i d e n t w h o w a s a n a l l encompassing horrible person. Many made poor choices or maybe the jobs were bigger than they could handle,” said Smith. “At the end of the course, people have no idea who are my favorite presidents and that is the purpose. Too many teachers make students repeat ad nauseam what a professor thinks but that is not the purpose of a college education. There is no value in kids repeating and not helping themselves become critical thinkers.” Although Smith maintains objectivity, one president still stands out and stands up as the standard barrier. “Franklin Roosevelt is simply timeless,” said Smith. “The man died in 1945 and there are still students who are 19 years old today who love quoting him because he was that good.”
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November / December 2012 - 55 PLUS
By Ernst Lamothe, Jr.
Bill Udicious, 81 The Town of Rush supervisor talks about his decision to retire after 12 years Q. What got you into politics in the ﬁrst place? A. It all started back after I retired from Kodak. Having worked inside the engineering portion of the company and retiring as director of material control, I sought another outlet in 1999. As a Town of Rush resident, I heard squabbling for years about either improving or rebuilding town hall and other facilities, yet nothing was ever done. I just wasn’t too happy about the things that were going on in the town and not getting any traction and I thought I could do a better job, I just wanted to start making things happen.” Q. What would you say was one of your biggest successes? A. During my years as supervisor, I helped push to renovate town hall and enhance the recreational programs in the community. In my ﬁrst two years in ofﬁce, I brought forth a referendum on the town hall issue. Even after it got voted down, I worked to tweak the design, scaling it back yet still remodeling. It eventually passed and renovations began. The Rush town hall was originally built in 1935 as a Works Projects Administration endeavor, during the Depression. The town hall underwent a major renovation. The overall appearance of the building, both internally and externally, has been significantly enhanced. Q. How did you feel once the town hall was built? A . This was one of my first campaign goals and to see it go forward made me proud. I always prided myself in following through on the things I said. I just wanted to 42
55 PLUS - November / December 2012
stay in ofﬁce long enough to see it come through. Q. Is there anything else you did in ofﬁce that you were proud of? A. I was also able to grow the recreational program, orchestrating the purchase of 10-acre property as part of the town’s overall development and master plan. There is a playground and sports ﬁelds behind the town hall now. Keeping up my plan to improve the citizens’ quality of life, I worked to increase the library space as well. I believed it was important to have strong town services that make people proud to live in Rush. Q. Why did you decide to retire? A. It was fun being involved in every aspect of the town, but you reach a point when you really do know when it’s time to go. You’re fooling yourself if you don’t. Even when I left Kodak after 32 years, I knew it was time to leave that job. I still think I had an easier job than my wife, Jackie. She was the one who had to take care of our ﬁve kids. She made a wonderful home for us so she was far busier than I ever was. Q. How did you become a high school football referee? A. I was a football enthusiast and decided if I was too old to play that didn’t mean I was too old to participate. I went through a certiﬁcation program to become a head referee for high school games. One thing for sure, you have to develop some thick skin being a referee. Everyone is screaming at you and everything is out of control so you can’t go into the situation being
hot tempered yourself. It’s like any job where you have to work hard and pay your dues. Q. You also got a chance to teach at Rochester Insittute of Technology. How did that happen and how did you enjoy it? A. In my spare time, I also enjoyed educating young minds. I became an adjunct teacher teaching night math courses, which gave me an opportunity to connect with students. Yes, there were some days when it was tiring to teach after you had worked all day, especially in bad winter weather. But I had a great time with the kids and never had a second thought about it. Q. What are some of the things you are doing to keep yourself active? A. I garden. I plant tomatoes, beets, spinach and carrots But I also like to sit back, relax in the same house I have lived in for 45 years on Harvest Lane and spend time with my children and grandchildren, many of which still live within 10 minutes of the town. All things considered, I made the right decision to leave now. I am going to enjoy spending time with my wife.
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