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Finances: Avoiding the 10 Money Pits of Retirement


Issue 60 • November/December 2019 For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Holiday Gifts for the Grandkids

Ann Marie Cook

Meet the Couple Behind Lazy Acre Alpacas Increase Home Heat Efficiency & Save Big Bucks

President of Lifespan: More than two decades helping older adults and caregivers take on the challenges and opportunities of a longer life

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Common Scam Goes Like This: ‘Hi Grandma … ’

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To help you stay on the course you envision, build on your financial plan by asking yourself the right questions: What concerns are important to you? Is your financial estate plan meeting your wishes? Should a trust be part of your plan? Are your loved ones protected if something happens to you? Will Medicaid require you to spend down your assets to support your spouse’s care? Are the duties of an executor truly an honor? Why partner with ESL Trust Services? Our team can help guide you and grow your assurance with clarifying answers. We invite you to meet with an ESL Trust Services representative to get the discussion going.

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30 COVER Savvy Senior 6 12 SCAM • Ann Marie Cook, president of Lifespan • This common scam goes like this: ‘Hi Grandma … ’ Financial Health 8 35 DRIVING Dining Out 10 14 MONEY • Should you take a defensive driving course? • The 10 money pits to avoid Addyman’s Corner 46 36 DIVORCE YOGA Long-term Care 48 16 • Brighton resident is still teaching at 92 • The financial issues when couples split

18 HAIR • More women embracing natural gray

55 PLUS Q&A Geriatrician William Hall discusses myths of getting older and why Medicare should cover tango lessons 4

55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019


38 VOLUNTEERING • Volunteers say they get back as much or more than what they give

• ‘Experience’ is the name of the game when it comes to holiday gifts




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28 FASHION • Clothing subscription allows customers get a wide varity of clothing

• Meet the owners of Lazy Acre Alpacas • Dentist William Calnon busy with patients, foundation

44 TRAVEL • Top winter destination

Had a Stroke. Back on Stage.


Central New York music legend Todd Hobin knew nothing about stroke — but he does now. That’s why he’s raising awareness about stroke risk factors and its signs and symptoms.



A. S.





Fact: Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Important to know: Stroke can happen to both men and women — at any age. Good news: Stroke is preventable by managing medical risk factors and healthy lifestyle choices. What to do: Time lost is brain lost. So it’s vital to know the signs of a stroke — F.A.S.T. Four words to live by: Call 911 and say, “Take me to Crouse.“ When it comes to stroke, every moment matters. As one of just 10 hospitals in New York State tohave earned Comprehensive Stroke Center status, and with the region’s newest ER and hybrid ORs, Crouse offers the most advanced technology for rapid stroke diagnosis and treatment

Read Todd’s story and learn more:

July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


savvy senior By Jim Miller

Who Needs to See a Geriatrician?


f your dad is dealing with a variety of health problems and is taking multiple medications, a visit to a geriatrician may be just the antidote to help get him back on track. Here’s a rundown of the different types of health conditions geriatricians treat and some tips to help you locate one in his area.

Geriatric Doctors For starters, it’s important to know that geriatricians are family practice or internal medicine physicians who have had additional specialized training to manage the unique and often multiple health concerns of older adults. Just as a pediatrician specializes in caring for children, a geriatrician is trained to provide care for seniors, usually over age 75. While most doctors, and even general practitioners, are trained to focus on a person’s particular illness or disease, geriatricians are trained to look at all aspects that can affect elderly patients — not just the physical symptoms. They also often work with a team of other health care professionals like geriatric-trained nurses, rehabilitation therapists, nutritionists, social workers and psychiatrists to provide care. And, they will coordinate treatments among a patient’s specialists. Patients who can benefit from seeing a geriatrician are elderly seniors with multiple health and age-related problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, confusion and memory problems, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, hypertension, depression, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic pain, mobility issues, incontinence, vision and hearing impairment and trouble with balance and falls. Geriatricians are also particularly 6

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adept at tackling medication problems. Because many seniors, like your dad, take multiple medications at the same time for various health conditions, and because aging bodies often absorb and metabolize drugs differently than younger adults, unique side effects and drug interactions are not uncommon. A geriatrician will evaluate and monitor your dad’s medications to be sure they are not affecting him in a harmful way. Geriatricians can also help their patients and families determine their long-term care needs, like how long they can remain in their own homes safely without assistance, and what type of services may be necessary when they do need some extra help. But not all seniors need to see a geriatrician. Seniors who have fewer health problems are just fine seeing their primary care physician.

Find a Geriatrician Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of geriatricians in the U.S., so depending on where you live, finding one may be challenging. To locate one in your area, use Medicare’s online physician search tool. Just go to and type in your ZIP code, or city and state in the “enter your location box”, and then type in geriatric medicine in the search box. Or, you can also get this information by calling Medicare at 800-633-4227. The American Geriatrics Society also has a geriatrician-finder tool on their website at Keep in mind, though, that locating a geriatrician doesn’t guarantee your dad will be accepted as a patient. Many doctors already have a full patient roster and don’t accept any new patients. You’ll need to call the individual doctor’s office to find out.


Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Writers & Contributing Writers

Deborah J. Sergeant, Christine Green, Christopher Malone Mike Costanza, Lynette M. Loomis Marion Tickner, Bruce Horovitz Jana Eisenberg


Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller, John Addyman


Anne Westcott, Linda Covington

Office Assistant Nancy Nitz

Layout and Design Dylon Clew-Thomas

Cover Photo

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

Mailing Address PO Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 © 2019 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area. No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. PRSRT STD US Postage PAID Buffalo, NY Permit No. 4725

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financial health By Jim Terwilliger

Dealing with Investment Volatility Continued from last issue In a previous column, we explored the concepts of volatility and sequenceof-returns as they relate to investing. First, let’s consider volatility. Volatility is the investor’s enemy. But it is also the investor’s friend. How can it be both? As discussed previously, volatility is the up and down movement of the stock market, short and long term. This “bumpiness” reduces the annualized (or effective) return. For example, for the 15-year period ending Dec. 31 2018, a broadlydiversified stock index portfolio yielded an average return of 9.6% per year. But the annualized return over this same period was 7.8% — almost 2% lower. It is the annualized return that determines investment gain, money in your pocket. The bumpier the ride, the lower the annualized return. What about this “friend” business? It’s all about the relationship between market risk (volatility) and return. If stocks were not volatile, they would not offer appreciation potential. It is their volatility that makes them attractive as a vehicle to generate wealth. No risk, no reward. Sequence-of-returns is similar. It can be the investor’s friend or enemy. Over an investment time period, early good returns followed by poor returns yields favorable results during a portfolio’s distribution phase, say, during retirement. But this same sequence yields a poorer outcome when accumulating money, say, during working years. Conversely, early poor returns followed by good returns yields favorable results when accumulating. But this same sequence yields a poorer outcome during the distribution phase. This is why folks who retire just as the market is suffering a prolonged decline often need to find part-time


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

work or reduce spending in order to guard against ultimately running out of money. Sequence-of-returns has no impact on a lump sum investment with no cash flows in or out. We can’t control market volatility or sequence-of-returns. Our recourse is to employ tools we can control to moderate volatility and sequenceof-returns within our portfolios. One powerful tool is diversification. Diversification is necessary because we cannot consistently predict what the market is going to do and when it will do it. If we could, diversification would not be necessary. But if we could predict, everyone else could as well, and market rewards would vanish. n Macro Diversification. The first diversification decision is to choose the overall ratio between stock holdings and bond/cash holdings. This ratio for a given investor depends on several factors including goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. The higher the ratio, the higher the risk/volatility and the higher the expected portfolio return. The bond/ cash portion serves to dampen the gyrations of the portfolio and generally is not tasked to contribute to returns other than through interest/dividend income. n Micro Diversification. Within the stock portion of a portfolio, it is advisable to allocate among equity asset classes such as small-, midand large-company domestic stocks; foreign-developed and emergingmarket stocks; and global real estate. Similarly, within fixed income, it is advisable to allocate between domestic and foreign bonds. The allocation ratios within each portion depend largely on investor preference but should be relatively stable once established. – Volatility — Broad diversification, particularly within the stock portion, can reduce portfolio volatility and produce a smoother pattern of returns over time compared to a single stock

asset class such as the S&P 500 index. For example, for the 10-year period ending Dec. 31, 2009, a broadlydiversified all-stock portfolio exhibited a 7.5% annualized return vs. a negative 1% annualized return for the S&P 500. For the next 9.5 years through June 30, 2019, the same diversified portfolio exhibited a 9.6% annualized return vs. a 13.1% annualized return for the S&P 500. I’ll take the smoother, steadier ride any day. – Sequence-of-Returns — A recently-published study looked at the performance of two all-stock portfolios (diversified vs. S&P 500) in a distribution mode over two past 10-year periods — 1990 through 1999 (sequence-of-returns favorable for distribution portfolios), and 2000 through 2009 (sequence-of-returns unfavorable for distribution portfolios). Each portfolio was initially funded with $1 million, 4.5% was withdrawn the first year, and distributions were increased by inflation in each of the following nine years. The diversified portfolio ended with $1.3 million at the end of both 10-year periods. The S&P 500 portfolio ended with $3.5 million at the end of 1999 and with $0.4 million at the end of 2009. Again, I’ll take the smoother, steadier approach offered through diversification. n “Secret Sauce.” Actually, there is no secret. Diversification works because it populates a portfolio with components that do not move in concert with each other. The net result is decreased portfolio volatility and improved portfolio returns. It is said that diversification is the only free lunch in investing. It sure is. James Terwilliger, CFP®, is senior vice president, senior planning adviser at CNB Wealth Management, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. He can be reached at 585-419-0670 ext. 50630 or by email at

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DiningOut By Christopher Malone



Façade of The Red Fern, a vegan-friendly restaurant located at 283 Oxford St. in Rochester.

A Red Fern Grows in Rochester


Are all vegan options guilty or guilt-free?

here were many factors that played into choosing The Red Fern, located at 283 Oxford St. in Rochester. One of which was simply the name of the restaurant and a piece of notable literature from my childhood. Being vegan, although we did eat our share of fruits and vegetables, wasn’t on our omnivore agenda. After a jam-packed weekend that didn’t involve eating healthy, finding something clean was the way to go. The Red Fern’s mission and menu stood out. Also appealing was it sitting on the corner of Oxford and Park — it’s located in a pretty, hip neighborhood in Rochester. For the size of the brick-walled restaurant, there is a fair amount of outdoor seating along the sidewalk. The Red Fern is as quaint as it


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

is clean — very much so. While checking in at the station, it’s hard to not ogle the fresh sweet treats sitting in the case. When opening the menu, a card read this weekend — Sept. 21 and 22 — was their sixth anniversary. We’re glad to support on a celebratory weekend. For starters, the first menu item caught my attention. When doesn’t mac ‘n’ cheese or nachos sound appetizing? Put them together and there has to be food chemistry. The mac ‘n’ cheese nachos “snack” ($10.50) was more than that. The bowl was filled with tortilla chips (tortilla rounds found at your favorite grocer), cashew macaroni and cheese, and roasted tomatoes. I asked for the green olive salsa on the side due to my cold relationship with

olives. The option was really delicious, and the olive salsa verde was not heavy on the olive flavoring. The vegan cashew mac ‘n’ cheese was really delightful and there was no distinguishable flavor that made me think the cheese wasn’t the real deal. We also opted for the second snack — the fruit and cheese platter ($10.50). A mound of cashewmacadamia cheese had flecks of sundried tomatoes on top. Green apple slices and grilled focaccia bread accompanied. The fruit was indeed fresh and the focaccia was delightful. The cheese is open for discussion. Being a nutty cheese, it was very mild in flavor. Almost no flavor, actually. The sun-dried tomatoes didn’t help the situation. However, it’s very soft and easily

spreadable. With the bread or the apple, the light flavor of the cheese paired very well. For large plates, the Buddha bowl ($13.75) and lentil loaf ($13.75) captured our attention. The lentil loaf is a veggie loaf take on meatloaf. It comes with a scoop of mashed potatoes, sautéed kale and herb gravy. No loaf is ever complete without gravy. The kale was sautéed very well and the red skin mashed potatoes were very soft and flavorful. The herb gravy was also very applaudable and proof you don’t need meat for a delicious gravy. The lentil loaf had the same consistency as a meatloaf, but it’s much grittier thanks to the lentils. It’s not that this was bad, because it wasn’t, but the ground lentils might not be for everyone. The Buddha bowl featured organic marinated tofu, coconut brown rice, more sautéed kale, roasted beets, plus pickled carrots and cabbage. Sesame seeds were sprinkled in the mix and ginger garlic tamari sauce came on the side. This entree, which came in an actual (not edible) bowl, was stellar. The well-marinated tofu was a standout. The consistency wasn’t rubbery and cut through like chicken. The coconut brown rice, which acted as the bed for the other ingredients, was not overly flavored. The vegetables, the beets and the pickled pair, were noteworthy. The tamari sauce also packed a flavorful punch with prominent garlic. When you combine all the ingredients in one bite, the flavor is as vibrant as a Monet painting. As an apres-dinner treat, I opted for the peanut butter rice Krispie treat ($4.50). The large portion of the dessert was nothing to laugh at. It was topped with a solid blend of chocolate and peanut butter. The flavor made me as giddy as a child. Before tip, the total came to $57.24. For a respectable amount of food, which allowed us to take home leftovers, it was of great value. The quality of the food was high, and each option lived up to expectations. The Red Fern is a definite recommendation, especially for those stubborn omnivores who say they couldn’t enjoy a vegan-friendly meal. This place will prove your doubts wrong.

The lentil veggie loaf ($13.75) is served with mashed potatoes, sauteed kale and topped with herb gravy.

The mac and cheese nachos ($10.50) with chips and green olive salsa verde.

The Red Fern

The peanut butter and chocolate rice krispie treat ($4.50).

Address 283 Oxford St., Rochester, NY 14607 Phone (585) 563-7633 Website/Social Hours Sun. & Tues.– Sat.: 11am. – 9pm. Mon.: Closed Reservations recommended July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+scam This Scam Goes Like This: ‘Hi Grandma … ’ Don’t be tricked by this scam that drains your emotions — and wallet By Marion Tickner “Hi Grandma” is a scam that has been around for a few years, and maybe even longer than that. Recently, I had that call. Boy: Hi Grandma I know what this call is about and I should hang up, but I wanted to play. Me: Who is this? Boy: Don’t you recognize the voice of your eldest grandson? Sure I do, but this wasn’t his voice. I have only one grandson so I wouldn’t have called him the eldest. Me: Oh, hi, Bob. How’re you doing? My grandson isn’t Bob and he didn’t correct me. Boy: I hate to do this, Grandma, but I borrowed a friend’s car and had an accident. My friend had a bottle of


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

alcohol in the car so they arrested me. Not sure about this one. If it was an open bottle, they might have, but I think the alcohol might have been in him if he were arrested. Except my grandson doesn’t drink. Me: Oh, sorry to hear that. How’s your job going? Probably I should have asked him if he were hurt. Boy: My boss is upset because I’m not able to go to work today. My grandson has his own business and doesn’t have a boss over him. At this point, I had run out of questions. Me: I hope you’re feeling better soon (and hung up). He never got around to telling me how much money he wanted. The following is a true story about a “grandma” who fell for the scam.

And it is scary. This experience was told to me by a woman I’ll call Mary and her grandson I’ll call Nelson. Their real names aren’t used to protect their identities. When Mary answered the phone, she heard the despondent voice of her grandson. Mary: Nelson, is that you? First mistake. Let him identify himself. Boy: Grandma, I’m in bad trouble and I dare not turn to anyone else but you. I can’t talk well because I had an automobile accident and broke my nose and cut my upper lip. He’s covering his tracks in case his voice sounds different. Mary: Why were you driving? Nelson has an important job working for an airlines and travels a lot. Whenever he goes anyplace he flies to keep up training. Boy: I’m tired of flying and thought I’d drive this time. I’m in jail in Atlanta. They’ve taken my phone, wallet and everything of mine. The accident wasn’t exactly my fault, they know that, but it is complicated because it’s serious enough so they are holding me. I’m so embarrassed that I don’t want anyone to find out what I’ve done. Mary heard a man’s voice in the background. Boy: They say my time of my one phone call is up. Then he’s gone. A man who identified himself as an officer took the phone. He offered to see what he could do to help Nelson. Then he transferred her to a “more important person.” There’s a pause while they try to find the man who will judge the case and perhaps cut him a break — for a fee of $1,800. Again, Mary was put on hold. The longer she waited, the more terrified she became. Then another person took the phone, but he wasn’t sure if he should rightfully help Nelson out

or not. She was told to go to the nearest Walgreens and wire $1,800 to their address and call to tell them she’d done it. She was warned not to tell anyone. Mary had to go to the bank to get the money and could have wired it from there, but they were specific and she was afraid. Later, they called back and she hoped Nelson was let free, but it became more serious. The lady in the other car had gone to the hospital because she lost her baby and they were considering holding her grandson for manslaughter. Her granddaughter came in just then and when she told her, she screamed, “Fraud man, Grams.” Even though they claimed they had taken Nelson’s phone, she had called him before sending the money. There was quite a bit of noise in the background and he said he couldn’t talk then. She really believed he was in jail. However, at the time he was attending car races in Chicago and not involved in any accident. These callers target the elderly who may be gullible enough to give them the information they want so they can relieve you of your money and your identity. A neighbor told me she had that call and her caller was bold enough to ask for her credit card number. Some callers are smart and they’ve done their homework. Listen carefully to what they say and don’t offer any information. Instead, ask questions that only your grandson would know. If you get the “Hi Grandma” call and are not satisfied that this is a scam, call a family member to verify whether or not your grandson is in trouble. But the best thing to do is just hang up. If you have caller ID on your phone, check that to see if you recognize a number or name, but chances are there won’t be one.


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55+money 10 Money Pits of Retirement These expenses can put your retirement in jeopardy if you’re not careful By Bruce Horovitz


here are so many scary things about retirement: All that free time to suddenly fill. The slew of health care decisions, from Medicare to supplemental health insurance to long-term care insurance. But the scariest thing of all is figuring out how to avoid falling into the dangerous money pits of retirement. There are many. Some are obvious, and some are total shockers. But each one can put a serious ding in your retirement savings. Which we reached out to three retirement gurus to offer tips on how to avoid them. Here are 10 big money pits of retirement (in no particular order), with solutions to avoid them:

No. 1: ATM Stops

Solution: Limit your ATM stops — and the amount you withdraw from them. Not only is much of the money you withdraw often unaccounted for, if you’re not using an ATM from your bank’s network, you can be stuck with stiff fees for using it. The biggest problem with cash dispensed by an ATM is, “The money goes and you don’t know where it’s gone,” says John Essigman, CEO of John Essigman Wealth Advisors in Cleveland, Georgia. Instead of stopping at the ATM, Essigman suggests using your debit card for most purchases. That way, you avoid interest charges on credit 14

55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

cards and can keep better track of your spending.

No. 2: Dental Costs

Solution: Budget seriously for this. Dental expenses are not covered by Medicare and can come as a shock to retirees. No, not the teeth cleanings or annual checkups or even the cavity fillings, but the extraordinarily high costs of things like root canals, crowns, tooth replacement or gum surgery for retirees no longer are covered by an employer’s dental care policy. At some point in retirement, virtually everyone incurs significant dental costs that can exceed $10,000, warns Ed Kohihepp Sr., CEO of Kohlhepp Investment Advisors in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He suggests setting aside at least $2,000 (per person) annually for dental care so the money is there when you need it.

No. 3: Little-used Subscriptions

Solution: Drop them once you’ve stopped using them. For one investment adviser, that realization came as he was speaking with this reporter. Scott Reed, the Florence, Alabama-based CEO of the

wealth advisory firm Hardy Reed, subscribed to HBO specifically so he and his family could stay culturally connected and watch Game of Thrones. But wait, the final episode aired in May 2019. And the family has since stopped watching HBO — but hasn’t canceled their subscription. “I’m paying $12 per month for something we don’t even use,” Reed says. He suggests all retirees take a second look for subscriptions that they, too, have stopped using or seldom use — from magazines to a cable TV channel.

No. 4: Costly Life Insurance Policies Solution: If you have kids and they’re out of college, consider dropping this insurance. It’s a good idea to review all your insurance when you start retirement. But a reevaluation of life insurance is especially smart if you’ve got kids and they no longer depend on your income for support. Then, it may be time to consider dropping or cutting back on your life insurance policy, says Essigman.

No. 5: Eating Out

Solution: Make restaurant dining

occasional, not daily. Essigman has some clients who eat out every day. Some can afford it; some can’t. If that one meal for two costs roughly $50 per day, the expenses over a year add up to an astounding $18,000. If you and your retired spouse or partner also stop at Starbucks for two grande cappuccinos every day (at about $12 per day), that’s another $4,400 — which bloats the annual eating out budget to more than $22,000. “That would sure buy a lot of groceries,” says Essigman.

No. 6: Gifts to Your Grown Kids Solution: Get your financial adviser’s OK first. Sure, if you have an adult child, it’s fine to sometimes give him or her a $100 gift — or even a $1,000 gift, if you can afford it and the occasion merits it. But don’t make gifts of $5,000 or more to any of your children (or grandchildren) without running the idea by your financial adviser, suggests Kohlhepp. When you’re retired and not receiving full-time employment income, you might not be able to be

so generous. “This is something that can be very difficult to turn off once you retire,” Kohlhepp says.

No. 7: A Credit Card Balance

Solution: Pay your credit cards in full every month. Before you retired, the first “bill” you were supposed to pay every month was the money you put into your 401(k) or IRA. Now, the first bill you pay every month is your credit card bill — which you should try to pay in full with zero balance, says Reed. Retirees, he says, can’t afford the high interest rates of credit cards when every dollar they spend counts.

No. 8: Failing to Stick to a Budget

Solution: Create a budget that’s set in stone. Most people don’t create a monthly budget before they retire, which makes it even more difficult for them to create one after they retire. But since your income will almost surely decline once you retire, establishing and sticking


with a reasonable budget becomes even more essential, says Essigman.

No. 9: Home Remodeling

Solution: Remodel strategically. Home remodeling, particularly in retirement, can be a never-ending money pit. Many people who are retired keep adding on to their homes to make them more suitable and more luxurious, says Essigman. “A retired couple can live just fine in 1,000 square feet,” he says.

No. 10: Health Care Costs

Solution: Hire a Medicare adviser. “It’s surprising how many retirees don’t understand Medicare at all, nor do they understand Medicare supplemental policies,” says Kohlhepp. He suggests hiring a Medicare adviser, particularly to help with choosing Medicare Part D drug plans, which can change annually. This story was originally published in Next Avenue ( Republished with authorization.


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55+ yoga

Magda (Mindy) Rosenberg getting ready to teach a yoga class to residents of The Gables of Brighton Senior Living, where she and her students live.

Teaching Yoga, at 92 Brighton resident Mindy Rosenberg has been teaching yoga for more than 50 years. She is not about to stop any time soon, she says By Mike Costanza


fter nearly 50 years of teaching yoga and fitness classes for those in their later years, Magda (Mindy) Rosenberg is nowhere near quitting. “I have to be active,” Rosenberg says. At 92, an age when others might


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

need help getting out of bed, Rosenberg teaches Yoga with Mindy, her fitness and yoga class for seniors. It meets every Friday at The Gables of Brighton, a residential facility for those 62 years of age and older, where she and her students live. Rosenberg took a long road to

Brighton. She was born in a tiny Czechoslovakian farming village near the Carpathian Mountains, the eldest child of a Jewish family of seven. In 1943, in the midst of WWII, the Nazis collected them all in a roundup of Jews. The young girl was taken first to the Auschwitz concentration camp, then to Germany, where she and two of her sisters worked in a Krupp munitions factory. There, an explosion took part of her left arm, and the lives of both sisters. As Germany’s fortunes waned on the battlefield, Rosenberg and other prisoners were forced to march from place to place to avoid being liberated by US forces. Many of them perished. Left for dead, she was found by an American soldier. No other member of Rosenberg’s family, including her extended family, survived the Holocaust, she said. After being liberated, Rosenberg was taken to England, where she learned office skills. “I became very good at shorthand and typing, even though I did it with one hand,” Rosenberg says. Rosenberg was employed by a lawyer in London for a time, but remembered the Americans who freed her from the Nazis. “When we were liberated, they just found us and fed us, and they were just unbelievable,” she says. “I figured if America produces such wonderful guys, I must come here and marry an American.” In 1951, Rosenberg moved to the US. Settling in Queens, one of New York City’s boroughs, she continued working as a legal secretary. While at a Catskill Mountains resort, she met Coast Guard veteran Martin Rosenberg. They married two weeks later. The couple moved to Long Beach, Long Island, where Rosenberg helped raise their four children. After the kids entered school, she volunteered to teach free fitness and yoga classes for seniors at some of the city’s residential

Magda (Mindy) Rosenberg and Gene Martzloff, who’s been coming to Rosenberg’s class since it began. “I’m getting a lot more flexible,” Martzloff, 84, says. facilities for older adults. “I made it interesting — I brought in some familiar music,” Rosenberg says. “That’s the way it started.” Rosenberg went on to make her living teaching yoga and fitness classes for facilities that met the needs of seniors, and to acquire a master ’s degree in exercise physiology at Adelphi University. She has also authored a seminal work on exercises that seniors can use to stay fit, and deal with the effects of advancing years. First published in 1977, “Sixty-Plus and Fit Again” was essential reading in college and university courses for those learning how to help seniors exercise. “I was a pioneer,” Rosenberg says. “It was the only book ever written on fitness for older people.” Republished in 2015, “Sixty-Plus and Fit Again” is available online. Down through the years, Rosenberg’s expertise in senior exercise techniques and work with older adults have gained quite a bit of attention. She was the subject of many major articles in Newsday, Long Island’s main newspaper, has appeared on many TV and radio shows, and has written for many publications. In addition, Rosenberg is a past member of the New York State Advisory Council on Aging and the Speakers Bureau for the American Heart Association on Cardio-Vascular Fitness. She is also a staunch advocate for paying compensation to Jews who suffered at the Nazi’s hands, or their survivors.

While she might seem to be all work, Rosenberg has an easy laugh and smile, and once did standup comedy in a number of clubs in metropolitan New York. The comedy routines were her way of coping with her memories of being in Auschwitz and the Krupp factory. “I had to do something that was so hard that I could not think about what

happened to me,” she explains. Yoga with Mindy is a chair exercise class to which seniors who have trouble standing come to limber up, increase their muscle tone or experience other physical benefits while seated. Their instructor also occupies a chair — Rosenberg uses a walker to get around. On a recent Friday, 11 people trooped into a large room at The Gables of Brighton for her class. Longtime resident Charles Hoover says the program has been good for his arthritis. “I got arthritis in my back,” the 75-year-old Vietnam veteran says. “It’s good for the arthritis.” Phyllis Chess, Hoover’s 79-yearold girlfriend, says Rosenberg’s class helps her “stay fit.” Gene Martzloff, who’s been coming to Rosenberg’s class since it began, has also felt its positive effects on her arthritis. “I’m getting a lot more flexible,” the 84-year-old says. Though Rosenberg will turn 93 in mid-December, that’s the kind of news that should keep her teaching her classes. “I love to see people getting better,” she says.

Phyllis Chess, 79, and Charles Hoover, 74. “It’s good for the arthritis,” Hoover says of the weekly yoga classes he attends in Brighton. July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ hair

Going Gray, Naturally Stylists say they see many more women over 55 embracing their natural gray. Is that a new trend? By Christine Green

P Annette Daniels Taylor, 54, started coloring her hair when it first became gray but ultimately she said it was too much work. “I didn’t appreciate having a financial dependency on a beauty corporation to simply hide what was actually a beautiful natural occurrence. ” Photo courtesy of Bleu-Ruby Daniels -Taylor. 18

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eople all over town stop Brockport resident Elizabeth Banner to ask about her hair. “People always, all the time, come up to me and say your hair is so beautiful. I’ll be in an airport or at Wegmans and these people they’re just, ‘What did your hairdresser do?’ And I’m like ‘this is God!’ It’s never been a big deal to me and people make a big deal out of it.” What’s so different about Banner’s hair? It is a lustrous, healthy silver-white. In recent years, stylists are witnessing many women over 55 embracing their natural gray. But what has prompted this trend?

Elizabeth Banner, 57

Cecilia Moffat, 57

Nancy Washer, 59

It’s not a simple answer, but Andrea Bonawitz, owner of Parlour Salon in Rochester, said that some clients want freedom from the hassle of coloring their gray on a regular schedule. “It is just stressful to have to be in the salon that much or have to book your life around your hair.” For others it is about embracing an authentic self, a self that doesn’t conform to traditional beauty standards. Jen Marks, who styles hair at Surface Salon in the South Wedge, said she noticed the same trend. “I think it’s a rebellion for people that are getting more mature.” But whatever the reason, it appears to be a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. n Banner, 57, a music teacher at Brockport High School and SUNY Brockport, never considered dyeing her hair. “I never think about my hair color. I think more about the shape of my hair, and I’ve never thought about coloring.” She saw her mother go gray without coloring, so she followed her example. And the chemicals found

in hair dye gave her pause. “The chemical aspect was a little daunting to me. I didn’t know if it was healthy, especially so close to my brain.” When asked if gray hair was a negative sign of aging she laughed and said, “I don’t feel old because I have gray hair. I’m a kid still!” n About three years ago Cecilia Moffat, 57 of Spencerport, was dyeing her gray hair every five weeks. One day she noticed that gray roots were peeking through near her temples. The coloring upkeep was just getting to be too much.  “I was like, OK this is just a rat race!” Moffat, a retired elementary school principal secretary, didn’t want a harsh line between her colored hair and her gray hair. She went to stylist Jill Glidden of Jill’s Boutique in Brockport for help. Glidden started by highlighting her hair with lighter streaks. Every time Moffat came in, they went lighter with the highlights. Finally, they got to a point where the highlights were similar in color to her natural gray hair. Today her hair is a color-free salt and pepper. She noted that, “it’s a lot healthier than it used

to be.” n Annette Daniels Taylor, 54, is an artist and poet in Buffalo. She started coloring her hair to cover her gray in her late 30s because, “I thought they made my face look tired and washed out.” But in her 50s, she noticed that her fast-growing hair required color touchups almost every two weeks. She was tired of it and decided to accept what nature was offering and save some money to boot. “I didn’t appreciate having a financial dependency on a beauty corporation to simply hide what was actually a beautiful natural occurrence. I earned these gray hairs. They were a part of my new chapter in life. So, I allowed myself to accept being a ‘Silver Fox,’ and I allowed my hair to gray naturally and accept the beauty in my new self, my silver self, and all its lovely stunning senior beauty!” n Nancy Washer, 59, of Brockport also teaches music at SUNY Brockport. She’s always been about ease when it comes to her hair and crops it short to keep her grooming routine simple. Her hair is a rich brown with gray streaks blending throughout. But, July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


the people in her family had nice white or silver hair. She figured it was time to join the club. “I just didn’t want to fight genetics anymore.” She started with some silver highlights and over time it became clear that her natural hair was about the same color as the highlights. Today, her hair is all white, and Bahr said it feels much healthier than before when she said it felt like “straw, unnatural.”  “It feels good now and feels very nice to just be who I am.”

Tips from the Pros

Ellen Bahr, 65 like Banner, she didn’t even consider dying them. Her decision was based on ease, but she is also aware of the underlying statement going gray can be for women. “As a woman you are always supposed to look young and that’s ridiculous. It is unrealistic. You can’t always look young because you age. [Coloring gray hair] sets an unrealistic standard for everyone.” She also said she is seeing the gray hair trend among younger women and has witnessed her students dying their hair gray. She wondered if this is a sign of a new generation flipping beauty standards on its ear. “As men age and they go more white or gray they become more distinguished and people take them more seriously, whereas when women go gray or white, they become invisible. Is this trying to counter that?” n Ellen Bahr, 65, also of Brockport first decided to dye her gray hair when her daughter was a little girl. Someone asked if she was her grandmother, and that sealed the deal. But that little girl grew up, and Bahr was weary of the constant dyeing. Besides, so many of 20

55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

All local hair stylists interviewed for this story agree that everybody’s natural gray, silver or white hair is different, so care can vary widely from person to person. But, in general all agree that talking to a stylist or color specialist can help you determine the right way to treat gray. There are shampoos and conditioners, some with a purple tint, that can help with shine and luster. An occasional deep cleaning with a special shampoo can wash out pollutants like cigarette smoke and mineral deposits from water. As for preventing gray hair, it’s not possible. Going gray after a “shock” is just an old-wives’ tale, and if you want to know what to expect look to your family as genetics is the biggest gray hair determinant.  But the question isn’t simply whether to dye or not. Andrea Bonawitz, owner of Parlour Salon in Rochester, said that there are plenty of options out there. “You can do color services that don’t read to the public or viewer like you’re coloring your hair. You can do gray enhancement services, you can do gray blending services, so that while you are in the process of transitioning into your white hair or your gray or out of color you can do things that make that transition much easier, and it doesn’t look awkward.” Going gray after 55 is ultimately about freedom. “They are freeing themselves up in other ways at that age, too” said Bonawitz. “It is a really beautiful season of life as they are preparing for retirement because they are saying, ‘I’m finally ready to embrace who I am.’

Karen Stein, 56, of Spencerport is totally gray and loves it. It took about a year and a half for her to transition to gray with the help of her stylist. “I felt more confident doing it gradually.”

Christina Selian, 59, of Rochester works with Jen Marks to enhance her gray streaks “I always want to look natural and not too drastic,” she told 55 Plus.

Carolyn Stiffler

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55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

Even Age 80 Is Not Too Late to Begin Exercising: Study


ven seniors who never exercised regularly can benefit from a workout program, researchers say. A new study found that men in their 70s and 80s who had never followed an exercise regimen could build muscle mass as well as «master athletes” — those of the same age who had worked out throughout their lives and still competed at the top levels of their sports. T h e U . K . re s e a rc h e r s t o o k muscle biopsies from both groups in the 48 hours before and after a single weight-training session on an exercise machine. The men were also given an isotope tracer before the workout in order to track how proteins were developing in their muscles. It was expected that the master athletes would be better able to build muscle during exercise, but both groups had an equal capacity to do so, the University of Birmingham team found. The study was published Aug. 30 in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. “Our study clearly shows that it doesn’t matter if you haven’t been a regular exerciser throughout your life, you can still derive benefit from exercise whenever you start,” lead researcher Leigh Breen said in a university news release. “Obviously a long-term commitment to good health and exercise is the best approach to achieve whole-body health, but even starting later on in life will help delay age-related frailty and muscle weakness,” Breen said. Current public health advice about strength training for older people tends to be «quite vague,» he noted. “What’s needed is more specific guidance on how individuals can improve their muscle strength, even outside of a gym-setting through activities undertaken in their homes -- activities such as gardening, walking up and down stairs, or lifting up a shopping bag can all help if undertaken as part of a regular exercise regimen,» Breen said.

Social Security


At Your

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Q: I’m trying to decide when to retire. Can Social Security help? A: Deciding

when to retire is a personal choice and you should consider a number of factors, but we can certainly help. First, take a few minutes and open a My Social Security account at www. With a My Social Security account, you can access your Social Security Statement and estimate your retirement benefits at age 62, your full retirement age, and age 70. Also, there are several online calculators that can help you decide when to retire. The retirement estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. You can use the retirement estimator if: • You currently have enough Social Security credits to qualify for benefits; and • You are not: – Currently receiving monthly benefits on your own Social Security record; – Age 62 or older and receiving monthly benefits on another Social Security record; or – Eligible for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security. You can find the retirement estimator at Also available at www.socialsecurity. gov/planners/benefitcalculators. htm are several other calculators that will show your retirement benefits as well as estimates of your disability and survivors benefit if you become disabled or die. You may want to read or listen to the publication, “When To Start Receiving Retirement Benefits,” at www.socialsecurity. gov/pubs.

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July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ gifts Holiday Gifts for the Grandkids ‘Experience’ is the name of the game when it comes to smart holiday gifts to grandkids By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


Genesee Country Village and Museum offers a great outing for history buffs. Photo by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant.

f your grandchildren have plenty of toys and games, consider giving experiences this year. What children enjoy most is the gift of time with the adults who love them. Pair up a gift card with the promise you’ll take them there this year and you can create memories neither of you will forget. n Seneca Park Zoo tickets start at $9 for kids. Buy them for all your pre-teen and younger grandchildren for a fun outing. Some teens may also enjoy the zoo; others may not. n The Strong National Museum of Play offers admission for $16. Children can enjoy hands-on fun alongside you. n Clubhouse Fun Center operates in two locations — Henrietta and Greece —so read each site to tell which amenities you like better. Clubhouse doesn’t have admission but charges per activity. Kids can apply their monetary gift cards ($10 to $100) to whatever activity they want: go-karts, arcade tokens, batting cage, miniature golf, gemstone panning, bumper cars or ball play. Children from about age 4 through teens would enjoy the place.


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

The Strong National Museum of Play offers admission for $16. Photo courtesy of National Strong Museum of Play. n Waiting to use gift cards to theme parks Darien Lake Roseland or Seabreeze can build the anticipation all winter and spring. Each park offers a variety of packages, from one-day tickets to full season passes.

n Altitude Trampoline Park is perfect for grandkids who are already bouncing off the walls, from toddlers through teens. Admission starts at $8.99. n Bristol Mountain Aerial Adventures

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Ask for a Senior Discount Many of these tickets may be ordered online for easy shopping. Most places offer free admission for those 2 and younger. Some facilities like theme parks offer a “non-rider” entry at a lower cost if you came along only to watch. Of course, ask about a senior discount, since many venues offer this. Especially if your grandchildren

are small, give a small gift along with their gift card so they have something tangible that represents their “real” gift, such as a plush puppet to go with a zoo gift certificate or a sporty water bottle to go with their gym membership certificate. Always ask their parents in advance about experience gifts to ensure that your gift is appropriate.

offers ziplining and obstacle courses for adults and bigger children or one for younger children, starting at age 4. Double-locking belays and other security measures keep adventurers safe. Gift cards start at $53 and allow the user (or his parents) to select the right course., Canandaigua

Museum offers a great outing for history buffs to share with their grandchildren. The facility includes many hands-on activities for children at no additional charge. One-day admission must be purchased at the gate; however, tickets to special events are available online. Family/grandparent admission is $130 annually and includes two adults and the grandchildren you list. That may be a more budget-friendly option if you plan to attend often with many

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grandchildren. The facility is generally stroller-accessible; however, not every building can accommodate strollers. Consider giving a gym membership, camp or lessons. If your grandchildren want to get fit, excel in their favorite sport, learn a new skill or improve in playing their instrument, discuss with their parents what you can do to support their interests. July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ savings Increase Home Heat Efficiency Things you can do to save money this winter range from replacing the furnace filter to lower the thermostat at night or on weekends you’re not home By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


f you felt burned by home heating costs, you can dramatically decrease these expenses with a few changes and upgrades to your home. A few of them won’t cost much at all. Scott Oliver, deputy for energy programs at PathStone Corporation in Rochester, said that installing a new furnace filter will help. “A clogged filter will inhibit air flow and make the furnace work harder,” he explained. It’s also helpful to have your furnace and ducts cleaned to help the furnace work more efficiently and not use as much energy. While you’re in the basement, check your water pipes for insulation. “As your basement gets colder in the winter, you’ll lose more heat from non-insulated pipes,” Oliver said. As another way to snug your home, Bart DiProspero, sales manager at Crossfield Heating & Air Conditioning in Webster, recommends sealing up windows with clear plastic shrink wrap covers if they’re not double pane windows or if they’re poorly sealed, indicated by the feel of cold air leaking in around the windows. “If it’s not 100% properly sealed, it will turn your furnace on and off,” DiProspero said. There’s little sense in keeping your home toasty while you’re away at work or on a weekend trip. Instead of paying for heat while you’re not even using it, turn it down. DiProspero suggested a fivedegree reduction on the thermostat’s


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

normal temperature. You can also do the same just before bed. “If you have a programmable thermostat, you can do that automatically,” DiProspero said. “If you want your house 75 or 78 degrees in the winter, you’ll pay for that. If it’s comfortable 68 to 70 degrees, start with that and see how that feels.” Some thermostats, such as the Nest, may be controlled remotely through a smartphone so you can turn up the heat before you even leave work and come home to a warm home. “A lot of homeowners can install a programmable thermostat,” DiProspero said. “If they’re not mechanically inclined, have a professional do it. You may need to run a wire to the furnace.” He also suggested considering a new furnace for homeowners whose furnace is 15 to 20 years old or older, since newer models may be up to 25% more efficient than older ones. A space heater may seem an easily solution for rooms that always seem cold or to warm up a spouse who “runs cold” in winter; however, electric space heaters can be costly to run. Instead, adjusting the dampers to some rooms can reduce the amount of heat to some and push more warm air where you want it. “It’s called balancing a house, which especially works if the duct work isn’t too bad,” DiProspero said. If you’re ready for some renovation, take a close look at your home’s insulation, especially in the attic. Though it may be simply a partially

finished space for stowing mementos, DiProspero said that that the attic of many homes older than 30 years is not sufficiently insulated. “The newer standards for attic insulation can greatly improve the efficiency of any house and make it more comfortable in the heating season,” he said. A simple way to see if your home has insufficient attic insulation is to see if the snow melts very quickly off your roof compared with a newer home. DiProspero said that warm air leaking out of the roof shows it’s not well insulated. Jeremy Groh, owner of J. Groh & Sons in Walworth, suggested energy efficient windows, doors and insulation if you’re remodeling. Although any of these distributed in New York will be Energy Starcertified, Groh said that those with the highest ratings will cost more, but can help a home reach its optimal energy efficiency. “Compared with a singlepane window, you’ll save anywhere from 10 to 15%,” Groh said. He installs a complete window with insulation for $500. You can also obtain a free energy assessment from a NYSERDAqualified contractor. “An energy assessment can show you where there’s not enough insulation in your home or how your furnace might be inefficient,” Oliver said. “There are programs that can provide free insulation and 50% off a new furnace for income qualified families.”

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July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ fashion

SUNY Brockport professor Melissa Brown, 61, with clothing she bought online through a clothing subscription company, “They whole point of this is that I don’t have to go to the mall. What is amazing is that the clothes always fit,” she says.

Clothing Subscription, Anyone? Online service allows customers get boxes of clothing in the mail. They try out and return the items they don’t like By Christine Green


ork, family, appointments, errands — when does a busy person really have time to fit in clothes

shopping? Let’s face it, shopping can be a real pain. Everything from driving to the mall only to have to find a parking spot, then searching packed clothing racks for the right size, and then — cue existential dread — having to try items on under the harsh and not-soflattering glare of fluorescent lights in a tiny department store dressing room. Shoppers everywhere often wish they could just skip the whole


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

rigmarole. The good news? Now they can — with a host of online clothes shopping options that takes the hassle out of looking great at work or at play.

What is it & Who is it for? Clothing subscription boxes are all the rage these days, but what does “subscribing” to a clothing box even mean? It means shopping from home usually with the aid of remote stylist. Your stylist picks out a selection of

clothing items, so you can try them on in your own home. Return what you don’t like at no charge and purchase what you do like. Different companies offer different timing options. Some clothing boxes come on demand while others come at regular intervals depending on your needs. Most services charge a styling fee starting around $20 that can, in many cases, be applied to any purchases you make from your box. Jessie Stein worked for three years at Stitch Fix (, one of the most popular clothing subscription services currently available. Stein

was a personal stylist then worked as a styling team leader. She said that her clients were from a variety of demographics and genders and, in terms of age, ranged from children up to adults in their 70s and 80s. People in their 50s and 60s often wanted stylish professional options for work and customers in their retirement years came to Stitch Fix for a fun style update go with their new retirement lifestyle. Professor Melissa Brown, 61 of Brockport, teaches psychology at SUNY Brockport. Brown was tired of shopping at brick and mortar stores for all the reasons listed above. A stylish colleague turned her on to Stitch Fix. “They whole point of this is that I don’t have to go to the mall. What is amazing is that the clothes always fit.” One of Brown’s favorite Stitch Fix purchases is a mauve dress that came in one of her boxes which she gets every few months. She wore the long, flowing dress on a champagne cruise on the Hudson and it made her feel comfortable and pretty. “Perfect strangers were telling me how beautiful my dress was. They [Stitch Fix] have my number! They get me. There is always something I want.” Brown also loves that in addition to clothing she also gets pieces of jewelry, purses and jackets. Customers can also choose to receive shoes with their box. Brown has a particular style and fit of shoes she likes so opted out of getting shoes. Stein said that Stitch Fix and other, similar companies are so popular right now because people are seeking personal service and help while they shop. Online retailers are great, but there is often little to no help choosing style or fit. And while service at a mall or stand-alone clothing store may be friendly it is rarely truly personal these days. “Stitch Fix is really appealing because it has all the ease of modern retail,” noted Stein. “But it also brings in the personalization where you have a relationship with the person who styles you.” Stitch Fix isn’t the only option, of course. A quick internet search will result in a myriad of subscription choices including the popular Trunk Club ( Its styling fee is $25 and customers can get a preview of what is in their box before it arrives. Frank and Oak (frankandoak. com) focuses on eco-friendly and

environmentally sustainable clothes, and many of its clothes are made with organic and recyclable materials. Dia & Co. ( caters specifically to women in the plus size market (sizes 14-32). They also have an option for an active wear subscription.

Clothing Rentals Another hot subscription box styling option is rental clothing. Some customers want new, on-trend outfits but don’t want to pack their closet with clothes they may only wear once or twice. Others want a special outfit for an event, but they don’t want to pay the high price for something they may never wear again. “We hear time and time again that people are tired of wearing the same outfits on repeat, but are hesitant to try new styles or trends outside of their comfort zone,” said Le Tote ( Chief Merchandising Officer Ruth Hartman. “Fashion rental is a fabulous way to refresh and enhance your wardrobe, as it allows you to choose the items and styles you want to wear now, with the flexibility to swap them out for other pieces later. Le Tote specifically offers the benefit of convenience, so you can try, rent, or buy clothes when and where you want to.”  Le Tote subscriptions start at $75 a month. Subscribers can try out fun brands such as Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff or Calvin Klein, among others. And, if a customer likes their rentals there is an option to buy at a discount off of the normal retail price. Membership fees also cover dry cleaning and sterilization. Gwynnie Bee ( is another clothing rental service offering sizes 0-32. They started as a service for sizes 10-32 but began offering a wider range of sizes in January 2018. Rent the Runway ( is one of the more high-end rental services with its “Unlimited” plan costing $159 a month. But if you want to wear exclusive brands such as Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci or Oscar de la Renta, this is the go-to subscription. Customers can rent red carpet-ready

A sample of the box clients receive from Stitch Fix. The company has one of the most popular clothing subscription services currently available. dresses, bridal gowns and cocktail wear in addition to more everyday professional and casual looks.

Beyond Clothes There are also subscription boxes on the market for make-up, underwear, shoes and jewelry. But why stop at clothes? There are subscription boxes for tea, toys, books, candles, pet toys, coffee and more. And all of it can be purchased from the comfort of your couch. Stitch Fix really has changed Brown’s shopping habits, and she was all too happy to say good-bye to the hassles of cramped dressing rooms and impersonal customer service. “I don’t go to the mall,” said Brown with a smile. “This is pretty much where I get my clothes now.” July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ cover

Guide to the

Golden Years Ann Marie Cook, president and CEO of Lifespan, celebrates the process of aging By Lynette M. Loomis


nn Marie Cook, president and CEO of Lifespan, is the child of Irish immigrants who came to the United States on a boat in the 1950’s. She loves Ireland because it is a country with an amazing history, she said. She has always believed that being a first-generation American is a great spot in the family line. “I was really raised with Irish culture and traditions. We always had Irish music playing in the house. I still love Irish music today. I was an Irish dancer like all the other first-generation kids. My father played Irish football and we would watch him play. We had potatoes at every dinner. I got firsthand stories about Ireland,” she said.

In addition to a rich culture, she also received a strong work ethic from her parents. “I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I was a girl. We always talked politics at the dinner table, and I was interested in government. I was a political science major in college.


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I didn’t know where it would take me. I am very glad that it led me to Lifespan,” she said. From those early career thoughts, she started off on a very different path than the one in which she has spent the majority of career — the field of aging services.

Cook began her professional life at the Monroe County Legislature as the staff director. Shortly after that, she went to the NYS Senate. She was the chief of staff for Sen. Mary Ellen Jones, directed staff and helped the senator with her legislative agenda. “I saw and still believe that

Ann MarieMayer Cook photographed Sept. in 17the outside her Lifespan Suzanne in front of her home office on South Clinton Avenue, Rochester. Grove Place neighborhood of Rochester onShe started at the organization in by 1996 and Wainwright. became its CEO in 2004. Aug. 2. Photo Chuck Photo by Chuck Wainwright.

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government can play a role in bettering the lives of everyday people, but it also can hurt people and communities. I am a firm believer that everyone must participate in the governmental process and give elected officials information so they can make informed decisions. That knowledge of government has certainly helped me in my role at Lifespan. Close to 60% of our operating budget is government funded,” she said. Cook began her Lifespan career as the director of services for vulnerable older adults. Lifespan is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information, guidance and services that help older adults and caregivers take on the challenges and opportunities of longer life. The organization has a $12 million budget and employs 160 staff. She said shortly after she came to Lifespan, she knew that she would like to make a career in aging and nonprofit work. If she hadn’t gone to Lifespan, she said she would have worked in government or another human service agency. She was fascinated with the story about how Lifespan came into existence. Lifespan was formed by a group of nursing home operators who attended the first-ever White House Conference on Aging with President Kennedy. “At that conference, Kennedy gave a great speech about how we are a young country, but we are growing older. We needed to prepare for an aging society,” she said. “The beginning of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act came, in part, from that conference. “The president also said, ‘adding years to peoples’ lives through the magic of science and medicine, however impressive, was an insufficient ambition for American society.’ He said ‘our objective must be to add new life to those years.’” Eventually, she became the chief operating officer and worked closely with Fran Weisberg, then president and CEO. “Fran has been the biggest influence in my career. In addition to being very passionate about aging services, she is very giving of herself. She has helped me immensely and I still seek her counsel. She is a dynamo. Fran is focused, strategic, a great communicator and I am very lucky to have worked for her.


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Ann Marie and her husband, Tim Cook. Photo provided. “I worked very closely with Fran and went in ‘with eyes wide open.’ I don’t know if I knew I was ready, but I was certainly interested and was going to give it my all,” Cook said. Howard Berman, former CEO of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, was another person who influenced her and provided mentorship. “Howard once said to me, ‘you will make a million mistakes as CEO. It is your reaction to those mistakes that matter,’” she said. She says that she thinks about that advice often and is grateful it is still

available to her. Carl Carballada of M&T Bank and former mayor of Rochester, has been a great sounding board for Cook. “We still have breakfast at the Frog Pond on a regular basis,” she said. “He once told me that our inability to make things perfect does not absolve us of our responsibility to make them better.’”

Confidence the key Sister Marie Michelle Peartree, former CEO of St. Ann’s Community,

told Cook to project confidence. “No leader can be successful if you aren’t confident,” Peartree said. “She said it is better to make a wrong decision than no decision. She also talked about the importance of women being confident and direct. I learned a lot from her,” Cook said. Each year, Lifespan puts on a spectacular fundraising luncheon with an accomplished mature adult as the keynote speaker. One of the people that stands out for Cook is Diana Nyad, the American distance swimmer and journalist who, in 2013, became the first person to complete a swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage. “Nyad is a determined person. I admired her dream and persistence. She taught me that persistence matters,” Cook said. Another major influence was Helen Thomas, The Associated Press reporter who broke the glass ceiling in journalism as a female. She covered the White House for decades beginning with President Kennedy. “Thomas had fascinating stories. It sounds strange but I was struck by how inquisitive she was. She was interested in learning about everything

in Rochester,” Cook said. “She also made me think about how much the world has changed. She told a story about Mrs. Eisenhower. She was on a deadline for a story about Mrs. Eisenhower and knew the after-dinner walk route of the president and his wife. She tracked them down and got her story. I was struck that the president and his wife could take a walk around Washington, D.C. just a few decades ago. The world has changed. As an avid sports fan, Cook was delighted to meet former National Basketball Association great Bill Walton. He incorporated several of Lifespan’s messages into his speeches. “Bill Walton overcame incredible obstacles. He stuttered as a child. He could barely communicate with anyone. It wasn’t until he was in college that he really learned how to talk without stuttering. After the lunch that year, he met a small boy who also stuttered. Bill Walton gave him his personal contact information and was going to send the boy information about how he overcame it. That’s the power of kindness,” Cook said. Other people have influenced Cook and her views on life and career.

Anne Marie Cook with her mother Sarah Philbin. Photo provided.

“First, I love working with older adults. Every person has a unique and fascinating story. Carter Williams, former Rochesterian, is one of the most influential older adults in my personal life. Carter was a social worker and she led the effort for restraint-free care in the country. With her Southern lady-like style, she was not afraid of speaking the truth and became one of the founders of the Pioneer Network — an organization dedicated to creating home-like settings in nursing homes. When asked, “As you have aged yourself, what do you know about older adults that you didn’t know or appreciate when you were 30?” Cook explains, “Aging is not to be feared. Older adulthood is just another stage of life. Aging truly brings opportunities and challenges. I guess I have learned that people spend way too much time trying to avoid the inevitable. Attitude it everything! If I were to describe the perfect old age for myself it would be, like everyone, I want to live until I die. “I want to be active, read books, travel, and go to movies and the theater. I guess I want to keep doing everything I am doing now.”

Add value to golden years All of Lifespan’s 30+ services are available in Monroe County. Elder abuse prevention/education and assistance for caregivers of people with dementia are available in multiple Finger Lakes counties. Lifespan also manages the NYS Coalition on Elder Abuse and the NYS Caregiving and Respite Coalition. In 2018, Lifespan interacted with 39,000 older adults and caregivers. “I believe that our challenge at Lifespan is living up to the call of President Kennedy when he said how can we ‘add life to years, instead of years to life.’ In that spirit, Lifespan has done a lot in the last decade to focus on health and wellness,” she said. “We have developed falls prevention programs, chronic disease self-care management, tai chi for arthritis, and more. We created multi-purpose aging resource centers at three different YMCAs. “I think we need to continue to assist older adults in multiple ways. I also think it is incredibly exciting to be working in the field of aging now. The entire world is aging. We have never July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


seen this kind of demographic shift,” she said. “For the most part, people are ignoring it — more than ignoring; avoiding the topic. It is part of my job to talk about opportunities of aging. Figure out how to support people in their aging and raise the issue so that we can make decisions on how to best support a changing and aging society.” There are several things that Cook would like to see change. “Well, it drives me crazy that ‘ageism’ is still acceptable in so many forms. As I watch TV or the movies, people make fun of older adults,” she said. “The stereotypes prevent older people from getting jobs. It hurts all people when that happens. I am hoping that there will be a greater acceptance and appreciation for all people regardless of age.” “I am really, really fortunate that my job allows me to look at direct services, government policies, funding, attitudes, trends and innovative ideas and try to make something of the information to help older adults. I believe I have one of the best jobs there is,” she added.

Out of the office, Cook is a big sports fan. “We watch baseball all summer (New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates). In the fall, we love watching the Buffalo Bills. We have a group of people who get together every Sunday and eat and watch the game. I like most sports and find that I can forget about the stress of work when I am watching a game,” she said. As a mom, Cook can easily relate to parents whose kids have grown. “I miss my kids every day. I miss the noise and the hustle and bustle of everyday life with kids in the house. When they were little, we were always doing things — like hiking and bike riding. We loved being outside. I was the cheer mom when my daughter was a cheerleader. I also loved that. It was so much fun watching the girls. I also love them as adults. It is fun watching them develop their own career paths. We have lively conversations about politics. Someday, maybe there will be another generation to teach about Ireland. I hope so,” she noted.

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Lifelines Name: Ann Marie P. Cook (born Philbin) Age: 57 Birth place: Rochester Current Residence: Chili Education: Master’s in public administration, SUNY Brockport; Bachelor of Arts degree, SUNY Fredonia Family: Married to husband Tim for 27 years; a daughter Bridget, 24, and Andrew, 21 Hobbies: Cook’s favorite hobby is reading all types of books and, on a daily basis, an article on aging. She recently read “Say Nothing,” about the Troubles in Northern Ireland.” Cook also enjoys cooking and alternates with her sister for holiday meals. Her exercise regiment consists of working out every day, preferably outdoors for biking and walking. She also likes many types of food and a variety of restaurants, particularly Panzari’s in Corn Hill.

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Do you need nothing-to-sell advice about your Medicare plan?

Lifespan’s certified Medicare counselors are available in multiple locations for nothing-to-sell one-on-one consultations.

Call Lifespan to make your appointment. Or, attend one of our Medicare workshops. See for the schedule. CONTEMPORARY SENIOR APARTMENT COMMUNITY

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585-244-8400 A service of Lifespan’s Health Insurance Information Counseling & Assistance Program (HIICAP).

No person shall be denied benefits or subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal Assistance on grounds of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, or marital status. This program is funded by participants’ contributions, U.S. Administration on Aging, N.Y. State Office for the Aging, N.Y. State Department of Health, Monroe County Dept. of Human Services / Office for the Aging.

55+ driving Why You Should Take a Defensive Driving Course By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


aybe you’ve been driving more than 30, 40 years. Of course you know how to drive by now. Why take a driving course? For one, you could save a few hundred dollars. “If you take an approved driving course, it’s state law that you can save 10% off your auto insurance collision and liability premiums,” said Kerry Donnelly, assistant manager of driver training at AAA Western & Central New York. “That is a huge savings since you receive it for three years.” She also thinks that it’s practical to brush up on driving laws. It’s so easy for sloppy driving practices to become habits over many years of driving. While you may not have received a ticket for your driving habits, that doesn’t mean you’re OK. “Regardless of your age, you can get complacent,” Donnelly said. “Hearing others’ experiences make us more aware when we are out there driving.” She also believes it’s good to improve driving for the sake of the grandchildren. Many grandparents teach their grandchildren to drive since the youngsters’ parents are too busy. Do you want your grandchildren to think it’s OK to roll through a stop? Or not realize that they must by law vacate the lane when an emergency responder is helping someone on the shoulder of the road? “Things in the law change, like the ‘move over’ law,” Donnelly said. “Ignorance of the law doesn’t prevent you from getting ticketed.” Formally known as VTL 1144a (a), New York’s Move Over Law applies to police, medical

responders, tow truck operators and other emergency personnel working on the shoulder of the road. The law bears a fine of up to $150 for firsttime offenders. Those who violate it second time within 18 months could pay up to $300 and a third offense in that time frame could receive a fine of up to $450. It’s also a two-point offense. Donnelly said that the AAA course also goes over new features on vehicles, modifications that can extend how long a person can drive safely and how medication can affect driving. Another newer rule that some experienced drivers may not know about involves the yellow flashing arrow. Larry Scott, vice president of Morgan School of Driving in Rochester, said, “If you’re in a left turning lane that if has a flashing yellow arrow, you can turn left if it is clear to go.” Although needlessly waiting for a green light may not result in a ticket, it could lead to confusion and frustration among other drivers. Like Donnelly, Scott said that bad driving habits picked up over the miles represent the biggest reason to take a refresher course. “You may turn right on red without making a full stop or even close to a full stop,” he said. “You wouldn’t see a bicycle in the bike lane.” For drivers who have any points on their record, completion of a course can take off up to four points, although they can’t “bank” points toward future infractions. Driving courses taken online, such as AARP’s six-hour Smart Driver ( program, which offers the same benefits for $29.95, a cost comparable to in-person classes. AARP members save $4. Taking the course online can help those with a busy schedule. AAA offers a website that provides tips on medication or supplements and driving, www. Free of charge, users can see how what they take can influence their ability to drive.

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July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ divorce

Financial Security After Divorce People 50 years old or older — who are divorcing in greater numbers — have a slew of financial issues to resolve as they split By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


arting ways at age 50 or older is on the rise. In an October 2014 paper “Gray Divorce: A Growing Risk Regardless of Class or Education,” Bowling Green State University researchers Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin revealed that since 1990, the divorce rate for couples aged 50 and older has doubled. Among those 65 and older, the rate increased even more. A 2017 study by Pew Research indicates similar findings. Divorce hurts — emotionally, socially and financially. Of course, a prenuptial agreement would help make the divorce a little smoother; however, only 5% of couples have this protection in place, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Jason Livingston, attorney and partner at the Law Offices of Pullano & Farrow, PLLC in Rochester, said that mature adults facing divorce have some similar and some different issues than younger adults. Rather than issues involving child custody, older adults look more at documents surrounding life insurance, asset distribution or endof-life planning. “If they have their spouse as beneficiaries, power of attorney or health care proxy, they need to change that as soon as they know they’re divorcing,” Livingston said. Fortunately, New York law states that divorce will modify or sever appointments in these documents, even if the person who had them drafted doesn’t formally change them. But if the person dies before the divorce is finalized, “their assets and those powers may go where they no longer want them to,” Livingston said.


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Couples should also look at their long-term care planning to revisit how their assets are held since their resource levels may change. New York’s laws for dividing assets (property owned) and liabilities (debt) are pretty straightforward, according to Ethan Wade, senior vice president at Brighton Securities in Rochester. But it’s important to understand the differences between marital and non-marital assets. “Non-marital are any assets you had before the marriage or that you brought to the marriage,” Wade said. “Non-marital assets do not get split. Another situation we’re seeing more and more are inheritances. They’re not considered marital assets. In most divorces, typically inheritances aren’t split.” If the money has been spent, the other party will not be expected to “pay back” the funds. At this age, most couples have purchased a home. If one partner wants to keep it, he or she will likely have to refinance it if it still has a mortgage attached to it and cannot simply take off the other spouse. “Going for a mortgage as a single person may have more challenges because they are on one income,” Wade said. “They could be forced to use some of the assets they get in a divorce to pay down some of the debt on the home so it’s more affordable for them.” People married more than 10 years who have not remarried are eligible for spousal benefits from their ex-spouse, who will not receive any less income nor will even be aware of the payments. Wade a lso sa id t h a t p eop le who have divorced should consider becoming more growth-oriented with

their retirement plans since they will have less time before retirement to overcome any financial losses they experience from the divorce. People facing divorce need to also look at their budgets, as their income and expenditures will change through the divorce process. “Develop an income and expense plan so you know how much to save and how much to manage day to day finances,” said Pina Formicola, accredited wealth manager and accredited investment fiduciary with Sage Rutty & Company in Rochester. “Cash flow needs will change, as there were two incomes and now there will be one. “Make sure you have some liquid assets set aside to pay for the attorney and other costs associated with the divorce and three to six months of non-discretionary living expenses,” she added. They should also consider what debt they may take on because of the divorce. New York law states that each person is liable for the debt accrued during marriage, even if the debt was caused by the other spouse. “When you go to court and in the process of divorce is where you can state your case and say, ‘I’m not responsible for half that debt and this is why,’” Formicola said. She added that it’s important to change passwords and key creditaccessing information as well as monitor the credit report to prevent loss due to fraud. “It’s easier to address if you catch it early,” she said. A spouse may be responsible for debt such as a credit card in the other

person’s name or student loan debt acquired by the other spouse. Legally separating before the divorce is final can help protect against the other spouse racking up more debt and then trying to split it 50/50 during the divorce. Shared expenses that are easy to forget about include a video streaming account, bundled phone plan and insurance policies. These should also be separated. “If someone owns a business, you need to consider having an appraisal done for a business buy-out,” Formicola said. For a non-working spouse, it may make more sense to leave the business alone as that could be the other spouse’s means of paying maintenance. If both were involved in the business and can move forward amicably, becoming only business partners may be a good option. Or selling one’s share in the business to someone else could provide a way to break away. An unemployed spouse may want to consider electing for COBRA, which allows a former spouse to stay on the ex-spouse’s plan for 36 months if the employer has a minimum of 20 employees. Working spouses may enroll in their own employer’s insurance plan during a 60-day, special enrollment plan enabled by the divorce. James Englert, certified financial planner, enrolled agent with the IRS and president and CEO of High Falls Advisors, Inc. in Rochester, said that taxes can change after a divorce. “Filing single can increase your exposure to taxes so you have to have a solid understanding there,” Englert said. Since many people by the time they’re 55-plus have accumulated retirement funds, they need to keep in mind that these funds “are divided pretty much in half,” Englert said. While it may seem unfair to a working spouse that the one at home with the children should have half of the funds, the spouse at home has provided the services that enabled the other spouse to go to work. Going it alone through a divorce is not a good idea. “It’s extremely important that both spouses are adequately represented by knowledgeable people,” Englert said. “I have witnessed some supposedly friendly divorces that didn’t look like it, even to me. It’s important to have a credentialed third party in all cases.”

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Medication Drop Box Locations: Bristol: Town Hall

Farmington: State Troopers

Canandaigua: FLCC (Keuka Wing) The Medicine Shoppe Ontario County DMV Office Canandaigua Police Dept. Thompson Hospital (lobby) Mental Health Clinic

Clifton Springs: Hospital (Lobby)

Geneva: Police Station North Street Pharmacy Richmond: Town Hall CVS Pharmacy

East Bloomfield: Town Hall Manchester/Shortsville: Red Jacket Pharmacy Naples: Village Hall Phelps: Community Center Rushville: Village Hall

Victor: Meade Square Pharmacy Questions, please call us at 585-396-4554.

July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ volunteering The Surprising Benefits for All Volunteers say they get back as much or more than what they give By Jana Eisenberg Volunteering is not just about helping others. For people of every age, there’s always an element of those happy-vibes that come from doing something selfless. Both research studies and anecdotal evidence show that, for older adults, retirees and even people who are sick themselves, volunteering can be an amazing activity to keep feeling well, feeling good and feeling like they are making a difference. “Through their research, the Corporation for National and Community Service [the federal agency that leads service, volunteering, and grant-making efforts in the United States], has proved that older adults who volunteer tend to be happier, healthier and feel that they are contributing to the good of the community,” said Deb Palumbos. Palumbos is the director of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at Lifespan in Rochester, an agency that helps older adults and caregivers address the challenges and opportunities as people are living longer lives. A lifelong volunteer herself, Palumbos, 63, said that volunteering not


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only takes into account the needs of those receiving assistance, but also the interests and abilities of those providing their time. Palumbos says that while there are people who have been volunteering with the program for decades, there are always “newbies” — those who are recently retired, and suddenly not sure what do with themselves. “We want to make sure that each volunteer’s placement is enriching and meaningful to them,” she said. “We work with them to find their passion, and find the right fit. Also, after we’ve recruited and placed volunteers with programs and organizations, we keep in touch to make sure they’re having a good experience. They decide how much time to give, and when. That way, they can pursue their other interests and responsibilities. Volunteering is very personal; we want to make sure that people are happy with it. If they’re not, we work with them to find a better fit.” Out of around 700 active volunteers at any one time, said Palumbos 10% of them have health issues themselves, some serious. “We have sever-

al with end-stage cancer and Parkinson’s — our volunteers with health issues of their own say that it helps them, makes them feel better, less scared, and gets their mind off their own health,” she said. Before she retired, Donna Peasley, 71, was a librarian. She was also a lifelong volunteer, inspired by her parents, and finding joy in helping others through a wide variety of volunteer activities. Now that she’s been out of the workforce for a while and has experienced health issues herself, she’s still committed to giving her time. “I always wanted to help others — now that I have more time, I’m doing more,” she said. What are the benefits? Peasley ticks them off methodically: “1. If little things are going wrong for me, it helps me keep perspective while helping others who may be worse off. 2. I’m doing something useful. 3. It gets me out of the house. 4. I meet a lot of interesting people; older people with interesting life stories.” Even while she was still working, she was a financial management volunteer, helping mostly older women with things like balancing checkbooks, budgeting and handling bills. She also did respite care — giving relief to caregivers with a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s. “With one client — it was a 92-year-old mother and a 70-year-old daughter — I would take the patient out for lunch; she loved to go out for rides, get ice cream,” said Peasley. She’s done SilverLine, where people sign up to receive a weekly friendly phone call, and though she knew the calls were appreciated, she wasn’t as satisfied with only connecting by phone versus in person. Tom Null, 66, also likes the personal connection. He started volunteering soon after retiring; his

daughter, an employee at Lifespan, suggested that he participate in SilverLine, and from there he graduated to weekly home visits. He’s says that volunteering is just part of his life. “I try to stay busy. In addition to volunteering, I help friends and neighbors with landscaping and yard work, I am an Uber driver, I belong to a social group that meets a couple of times a week for dinner and maybe dancing,” he said. “Plus, I spend time watching my 8-year-old grandson play with his sports team.” His current volunteer activities find him visiting a 98-year-old World War II veteran, connecting over their interest in history and reading, and sharing stories and memories. Null’s uncle served in the same conflict, and his mother would have been the same age as his “friend” is now. “Volunteering gets me outside of myself; I try to give back, and I enjoy doing things for others, especially getting outside and doing that — I’m in in very good health,” Null said. “Talking with the man I visit also brings back memories of my mom. I Palumbos feel like I’m carrying on the friendship I had with her through him.” “New York has a pretty low volunteer rate; very few people I know do it,” said Peasley. “I like to be involved with people. And there are so many ways to be of service: you can do paperwork, mend books at the library…” Lifespan’s Palumbos, whose volunteer activities also include deep involvement in support of area disaster preparedness efforts and veteran and military families, agreed, “Servant leadership is very important. The world is better when we all do something to support one another. At a young age, hearing Dr. Martin Luther King say that anyone can serve struck a chord with me. I did not grow up in a rich family, I believed that I could contribute. It doesn’t matter if you have money or a college education — everybody can give back.”

You don’t have to face hearing loss alone. The Rochester Chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) unites people with all degrees of hearing loss.

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55+ second act

Rochester Retiree Working Hard at Lazy Acre Alpacas By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant


hat do you do when you have a few acres sitting idle? If you’re Mark Gilbride, you start an

alpaca farm. Gilbride, 64, and his wife Sharon, 63, own 160 acres of land in West Bloomfield, a few miles from their home. He felt bad that they didn’t do anything with the land but brush hogging it occasionally. “In a casual conversation, we said, ‘It’d be nice to have something to eat the grass down without me doing it,’” Gilbride recalled. He began researching livestock and stumbled across alpacas. “I came to the dinner table with all kinds of information about alpacas,” Gilbride said. “We had our five kids convinced from the first conversation.” Sharon, a dairy farmer’s daughter, realized how difficult it can be to get


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away from home, as the herd requires milking twice daily. To learn more about alpaca care, the couple visited a few alpaca farms. “When she saw a farm with 12 to 15 crias running around, she fell in love with them,” Gilbride said. “I convinced her we would be able to get away.” Crias are baby alpacas. Unlike the dairy herd of Sharon’s youth, the alpacas require much less care, just two hours of chores in the morning to get the animals fed and the barn cleaned up. Part-time help assists the Gilbrides in caring for their animals. Alpacas also weigh only 140 pounds full-grown, much smaller than dairy cows. The 1980s represented the heyday of the alpaca industry; however, by the late 1990s, the trend was on the decline and by the early 2000s, when

Mark Gilbride and his wife Sharon own Lazy Acre Alpacas in West Bloomfield. He was previously vice president of Splat Ball, Inc. in East Rochester. the Gilbrides bought animals relatively few people owned alpaca farms. That helped the Gilbrides purchase their animals at lower prices. They bought seven pregnant females from a farm in Weedsport, and launched Lazy Acre Alpacas. The Gilbrides sold fiber — and still do — but knew that fiber would not support the farm. Then they hit on the idea of agritourism. By entertaining people at the farm, they could better support the farm. Their farm tour includes their barn-turned-gift shop that they’ve stocked with alpaca fiber souvenirs, such as the felted animals Sharon makes.

Visitors seem to enjoy meeting the 65 adult alpacas and 12 crias. Each year, thousands of visitors come to the farm. Participation in the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce and Finger Lakes Visitor’s Bureau has helped, as well as partnering with tour companies to bring more visitors to the farm. “We entertain people from age 4 to 94,” Gilbride said. Visitors can tour the 185-year-old barn, see its hand-hewn beams, pet the curious, fluffy alpacas and shop at the farm store. Mark retired in 2006 from serving as vice president of Splat Ball, Inc. in East Rochester. Sharon still works as systems clinical nurse educator at Thompson Hospital. In addition to the farm tour income, the Gilbrides also sell alpaca manure in the spring to local communitysupported agriculture programs and to private individuals growing vegetable and flower gardens. “They take it out by the truckload,” Gilbride said. They also find creative ways to use scraps, such as making dryer balls from loose fibers that accumulate during annual shearing. In nine months, they sold $1,500 worth of dryer balls that replace chemical-laden fabric softener sheets. “We can’t make them as fast as we can sell them,” Gilbride said. They also operate seasonal “pop-up” stores in Pittsford and

Each year, thousands of visitors come to Lazy Acre Alpacas to meet some of the 65 adult alpacas and 12 crias. Canandaigua to sell alpaca items during the holidays and sell at area events. The couple also lists rooms in their home on Airbnb, now that their children are grown and they have extra room. They hope to expand the gift shop in the barn by finishing the third story, as they’ve run out of display space on the lower floor. He encourages anyone interested in agritourism to “come out and talk with me, spend a few hours. I’m very forthcoming with information.” He added that anyone interested in the business should “really enjoy people.”

Alpacas peek through a fence at Lazy Acre in Bloomfield. July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ dentistry

He Knows the Drill

At 67, dentist William Calnon still busy seeing patients, serving as president of the Eastman Dental Center Foundation By Lynette M. Loomis


ome people might think that at 67, William R. Calnon might have already retired. On the contrary, Calnon works 32 hours a week at his private dental office in Chili Center. Many of his patients have been with him for 20 to 35 years, some of whom drive long distances. “It’s more than going to the dentist; it’s seeing friends. We’ve come to know about our patients’ kids, and their Dentist Bill Calnon supervises Dr. Maricelle Abayon, who grandkids,” Calnon says. “At our office, we have longer cleaning appointments. It’s never been about how quickly at the time was a resident in one of Eastman Dental’s patients can be seen. We like to spend the extra time to specialty training programs. educate our patients as well as get to know them.” to care for underserved people and enhancing education. Sue Groh has been his patient for 35 years. “There are so many things you can do and there’s “He is an awesome dentist and a fantastic human being. a myriad of ways to staying involved,” he says. “It’s all He sets the tone for the entire office. When my husband was ill and had severe problems with his teeth, Dr. Calnon important and very fulfilling.” met him on Christmas Eve to provide urgent treatment so my husband could enjoy the holiday meal. That’s the kind ‘Never been a job’ of person he is and there aren’t many like him around,” Groh said. Making a difference locally is dear to his heart. He’s The rest of the time, this busy dentist is the president served on the Eastman Dental Center Foundation Board for of the Eastman Dental Center Foundation and active with 12 years, the last nine as president. “I want to be a part of local, regional and national groups, including president continuing the wonderful legacy that George Eastman left of the American Dental Association from 2011-12. He just to Eastman Dental, and to ultimately support the mission finished his term as the president and interim executive of Eastman Institute for Oral Health which is to provide director of the ADA Foundation. He is past president of the education, research and community outreach. New York State Dental Association, Seventh District Dental “It comes down to the fact that dentistry to me has Society and Monroe County Dental Society. never been a job. It’s a profession and a profession becomes Last year, Calnon received the ADA’s highest honor a lifestyle. And you don’t forsake that lifestyle. You can — the Distinguished Service Award — for his countless modify and slow down, but it becomes a way of life and a contributions to dentistry. culture you just find yourself in. Bottom line is that I love Calnon said the best thing about a profession like it. Why would you walk away from something you love dentistry is that you can stay involved. He says you can doing?” be in a position where you can make an impact in many Throughout his career, his impact has also reached the ways, like advocating for change through policy changes younger generation. or legislation or trying to figure out ways to improve access “I love to mentor new dentists. It’s very fulfilling when


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someone approaches me at a national meeting and tells me how something I said 10 years ago impacted them so much that they chose this field. It’s those intangibles and the lasting impact on others’ lives that fulfills me the most,” he noted. One might say he mentored his two sons, both of whom have become dentists. Calnon originally set his sights on landscape architecture and graduated from college focusing on environmental science and forestry before becoming intrigued with dentistry. He loves tending to his lawn and he is in the process of redesigning parts of his Spencerport property to make it more maintenance-free. He also bought a new bicycle this year and is biking frequently on the canal. He is also trying to get back into golf, which is something his young grandchildren enjoy as well. He loves to cook and experiment with new dishes, and he and his wife Mary Kay love to entertain.

Dental Tips for Older Adults By William R. Calnon


ur adult population is living longer and faces challenges to maintain their teeth. One of the biggest issues I see is dry mouth. This is often a side effect of many common medications. Decreased saliva can lead to an increase in cavities in older adults. This can easily compromise excellent dental work such as crowns and bridges. I often offer patients suggestions such as: — Increase the number of times you brush your teeth each day. — Minimize acidic foods. — Use over-the-counter oral lubricants — Suck on citrus-flavored sugarfree lozenges to stimulate salivary flow. — Use prescription fluoride toothpastes. — Consult with your physician regarding alternative medications. There are several websites that offer more oral health tips for seniors. My favorite is www.

4 Best Vitamins for Boomers By Angela Underwood


itamin D, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 are the critical nutrients needed for baby boomers to live a healthier life over the age 55. The AARP Vitamins from A to Z, an informative wellbeing guide for baby boomers, reports “for people over age 50, even the best diet may not provide enough of some important nutrients,” which is why it is essential to assure the proper daily dose of these four.

Vitamin D The vitamin most famous for promoting bone health and preventing osteoporosis also helps in the fight against diabetes and breast cancer. Soaking in vitamin D is the best way to absorb the nutrient. “It is thought that five to 30 minutes of mid-day sun twice a week without sunscreen is enough to get the right amount of vitamin D,” according to U.S. News & Health Report. If the sun isn’t available, the vitamin can be absorbed in fortified milk and fatty fish or through a doctorrecommended supplement. Adequate amounts of vitamin D have shown to help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. AARP suggests a 600 IU daily dose for baby boomers ages 51-70 and 800 IU for adults older than 71.

Calcium Vitamin D is an essential precursor for calcium because vitamin D is needed to properly absorb calcium, which promotes stronger bones and teeth and prevents blood clotting. When not digested through dairy products and green leafy vegetables, calcium absorption is possible through calcium salts. It is crucial for baby boomers to maintain the proper amount of calcium in their diet, not only to strengthen

their bones but to assure adequate muscle contraction and hormone release. When not appropriately supplemented, the lack of calcium can weaken the bones as it attempts to provide normal cell function in other areas of the body. Calcium supplements come in four forms including carbonate, citrate, gluconate, and lactate. The daily dose of calcium for men and women over 50 differs. Men up to the age 70 should take 1000 mg and 1200 mg after the age of 71, while the suggested daily dose for women over the age of 51 remains at 1200.

Iron N e c e s s a r y f o r h e a l t h y re d blood cells to transport oxygen and supplements, iron is essential as the body ages, especially for those who are unable to consume enough of it in their diets or because their bodies absorb less. Highly available in meat and eggs, “men and women over 50 generally should not take a multivitamin containing iron unless they have been diagnosed with iron deficiency,” according to the AARP.

Vitamin B12 Aging takes a toll on the brain, making vitamin B12 an essential nutrient. “If you become deficient, you may experience confusion, agitation or hallucinations,” according to U.S. News & World Report. By supplementing a diet with shellfish, meat and dairy products high in B12, boomers reduce their chance of experiencing neurological disorders. The recommended daily dose for both men and women is 2.4 mcg. July / August 2019 - 55 PLUS November/December


55+ travel Top Winter Destinations Local travel agents say American South, Hawaii and Caribbean cruises are options for Rochesterians who want to get away from the cold By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

A popular destination among Rochesterians this time of the year is the Riverwalk at Christmas in San Antonio, Texas (top photo). Forsyth Fountain in Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia, (lower photo) is also a favorite destination. Photos courtesy of Carpe Diem Travel, Rochester. 44

55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019


ave you booked your winter vacation yet? Area travel agents are already booking trips for their clients’ getaways. Here’s what’s hot for locals who have the means and who want to get away from the cold. — From Christine Van Zile, travel agent, Van Zile Travel Service, Rochester. • Galapagos Islands. “I think that people 55 and up aren’t assuming they can’t go places adventuresome anymore. It’s off the coast of Peru. You can go birding and see the sea turtles and whales.” • Hawaii. “It’s always popular, as the weather is great, though it’s the busy season in the winter.” • Caribbean cruises. “Whether it’s seven days to two weeks, many love Caribbean cruises. My older clients, who are more experienced travelers, want smaller ships for a more intimate experience rather than being overwhelmed. If they go with their children and grandchildren, then that might be going with a larger cruise ship with more things to do for children. They want cruises to islands that are more intimate, places like St. Lucia. St. Thomas hasn’t recovered fully. St. Maarten’s is making a comeback. Barbados is a little difficult to get to from Rochester than Buffalo. Cancun is popular.” • Europe. “It’s is not as big during this time, but its off-season so you don’t have massive crowds in Barcelona, London and Paris. You can do some sightseeing without being overwhelmed. Europe in the summer is quite hot.” • Florida. “This is always a big destination. People always go to Disney. It’s a great place for grandparents to take grandkids. During school break is always busy. The Florida Keys are popular as well, for the weather. • South America. “This seems to be an up-and-coming destination. There are places like Machu Picchu, Patagonia — and Argentina is lovely. People really want to see those places. The flights aren’t as long as some other destinations.” — From Teresa Shelly, manager, Carpe Diem Travel, Rochester. • American South. “We just booked a Southern Charm Holiday Tour of Charleston, Savannah and

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Jekyll Island. It’s a little warmer, but not completely a tropical kind of thing.” • Domestic Group Tours. “We’re getting a lot of group tours. They’re not necessarily people who know each other, but group-guided tours. If they’re not wanting to drive around in an unknown area, tours are good. You’re on a deluxe motor coach and someone does the driving for you. There’s a guide on the bus to give you the information. You sit back and relax. You don’t have to plan or drive. It’s a great way to go if you don’t want to drive in unknown cities. It works great if maybe you’re a couple or single women traveling together in a strange city. You can get group tours in the United states. There are some to Texas, and some that focus on national parks, DC, NYC, the Southern Charm Holiday tour, and places like Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to see ‘The Miracle of Christmas’ at Sight & Sound Theatres.” • European River Tours. “It’s a nice way to see a lot of countries from a different perspective versus along the streets. You seen the internal part of the country. An ocean cruise only goes to the coastline.

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addyman’s corner By John Addyman

My September Visit to the Allergy Doctor


sat in the allergy doctor’s office in early September, thinking of my old friend Dr. Davies. When I was just a wee little lad, Dr. Davies and I had a very special relationship. My mom would drive me to his office in Scranton to get shots to help with my asthma. While we were waiting and watching, he would fill his hypodermic needle (I think he only had one, because he kept re-using it and the needle got more and more blunt, as I recall). The stuff that went into that needle was bright red, like Kool-Aid. Then he turned and started looking for me. Every time I look at that old Norman Rockwell painting of the kid waiting to get a shot from his doctor, I think of Dr. Davies. He was a nice man. Very gentle and patient. Anyway, he was looking for me, as he always did when I visited him with my mom to get a shot, because as soon as he took that hypodermic needle out of the little stainless steel tray, I was off. I ran around his office. I climbed his bookcase, which went all the way to the ceiling. He chased me around his desk. I jumped over chairs. I weaved around my mom and the nurse. This only lasted for a few minutes because, well, I had asthma and I ran out of air. I stopped to catch my breath… Then he’d nail me with that needle. I had that image in mind in September for my first visit to the allergy doctor. This spring, which we all agree was strange and cold, I got a cough I couldn’t shake and my wife ended up with one, too. My family doctor got everything stopped, finally, but then suggested I see an allergist. And that’s where I was in early September, with a nice nurse named Mary. She explained the initial testing


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

to me, and told me I was going to get 30 sticks. “WHAT?” I asked, looking for a bookshelf to climb. She further explained that these little sticks were child’s play, and it would happen all at once. “You were a nurse, weren’t you?” she asked. Indeed I was… am. I still have my license. “Then this is really nothing.” Nurse-to-nurse, I figured I could trust her. She put the little needle blocks on me, the size of a hotel soap bar, and pressed down. Piece of cake, I thought. “Now what?” “Now we wait,” she said. “For what?” “To see what blows up.” “Blows up!!?” I looked at my arms. I had little bumps. Little bumps. Mary and I talked for a few minutes while she filled out papers and tapped on her computer. “Let’s see what you have,” she finally said, looking at my arms. “Oh, my goodness.” “Your goodness!!??” “You’re really allergic to Timothy grass,” she said, pointing to a bump the size of a quarter. “And animals. And a lot of other things.” She was pointing to all the little dots that had now become bumps. “So now what? Do we schedule me to come in for allergy shots?” “No, we do some more testing,” the nurse said, and she brought out 26 — count’ em, 26 — bigger needles on a tray. “What are you going to do with those?” I asked. Not a bookshelf in sight. She explained that this was a bigger dose. She was making sure she knew what I was really allergic to. So far she’d checked off four items,

including Timothy grass (which we have all over our yard — good call) and cats and dogs and some kind of mold. Now she was making sure she didn’t miss anything with a bigger dose. She drew lines on my upper arms, which looked a lot like the marks on a submarine periscope, and for each line, she gave me a subcutaneous shot of stuff. Twenty-six shots later, I was missing Dr. Davies and his singularly blunt needle. “Now we wait?” I asked. She was shaking her head. “Not for long,” she said, pointing at new bumps that were already popping on my arms. It looked like she needed a second sheet to list all the things I was allergic to. After 10 more minutes, she felt she’d gotten a complete list. She handed me a bunch of information, including numbers to call if my head exploded or my tongue turned fuschia or birds flew out of my butt. At least I think that’s what she said, my arms were beginning to itch like crazy. We stopped for a few pleasantries before I left the office. Mary told me I couldn’t get allergy shots right away because they had to make the serum up especially for me, and they didn’t have any 55-gallon drums in the office at the moment. I looked her in the eye. “Nurse to nurse,” I asked her, “what do I tell my wife when I get home?” She didn’t skip a beat. “Tell her you’re allergic to everything,” she said. • Editor’s Note: Because of a production problem, the ending of John Addyman’s column last issue was left out. To read the complete column, go to www.roc55. com and look for Addyman’s column in the search menu.

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long-term care By Susan Suben

My Husband Has Alzheimer’s. Should We Get a Divorce?


Caregiving: questions & answers

eing a caregiver is the most difficult job you will ever have. With it come countless questions that require answers to ensure that you do not compromise your needs or those of the person you are caring for. Questions can revolve around finances, emotions, family dynamics, etc. The very nature of caregiving requires adaption and compromise. It is ever-evolving. Resources and support are needed at every stage. I would like to share with you some of the questions that have been asked of me over the years as I have helped families deal with a long-term care illness. My answers may help you. I live out of town. I’m noticing that mom is acting differently when I visit her. What should I do? As individuals age it becomes more difficult for them to ask for help. They want to remain independent for as long as possible even to the detriment of their health and safety. It is our responsibility as adult children to notice changes that are interfering with our parents’ ability to perform their activities of daily living. Are they: Forgetful? Confused? Becoming introverted? Mismanaging their finances? Forgetting to take their medication? Well-groomed? Is the house in disarray? Is there spoiled food in the refrigerator? These are red flags that should not be overlooked. Now, it is your job to take care of your parents like they took care of you. Talk to them about what you are noticing without hurting them. Ensure them that you are not trying to take away their independence but offering to make things easier for them by perhaps getting a housekeeper, medication dispenser or emergency response system. This conversation should allow them to participate in


55 PLUS - November/December July / August 2019 2019

a very transitional time in their lives. My husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Should we get a divorce? You married the person who you wanted to spend the rest of your life with through sickness and health. Hopefully, your vows are as important to you now as they were when you walked down the aisle and divorce would be inconceivable when your loved one needs you the most. However, a long-term care illness can jeopardize retirement savings as well as the well spouse’s standard of living. Many times couples have to spend down their assets and come to rely on Medicaid. Divorce may be a viable solution to avoid the loss of assets. Only an attorney can advise you properly about the legal and financial ramifications of doing this. To avoid this question, incorporate long-term care planning early on as part of your retirement plan. Not planning can lead to detrimental consequences for your family. I help both of my parents on a daily basis. My siblings do not offer me much help. I am angry, tired and frustrated. What can I do? Individuals deal with illness in different ways. Some people rise to the occasion and no task is insurmountable. Others will withdraw because they just can’t bear to see a loved one incapacitated or suffer losing them. Siblings have different personalities and emotions especially when confronted with a situation that exposes their parents’ frailties. You cannot expect your siblings to react the same way you do. In order to make caregiving a family responsibility, focus on each of your siblings’ strengths. Hold a family meeting. Let your siblings know what tasks you are struggling with.

Maybe they can’t help with the daily hands-on care but perhaps one of them can manage your parents’ finances, make doctor appointments or clean the house. If you find the task that is most manageable and compatible with each sibling’s personality and emotional threshold, it can reduce the overwhelming frustrations you are dealing with as a caregiver. My mom is on oxygen 24/7. She has trouble dressing and bathing but insists she is managing. She has a long-term care insurance policy but does not want to go on claim. How do I convince her to access her benefits? As I mentioned above, no one wants to lose their independence. It is very hard for someone to come to the realization that their energy, physical capacity or mindset is diminishing. When I cared for my mother, it reached a point where she was no longer safe at home. Instead of focusing on her functional inabilities, I told her that because I loved her, I was concerned about her safety. This approach convinced her that she needed help because she didn’t want me to worry. When it’s time for your parents to relinquish some of their independence, always be respectful and inclusive when developing their plan of care. As caregivers, I’m certain you have new questions every day. Caregiving is never a straight road. Make the journey easier by trying to be prepared and plotting a map that provides guidance and support along the way. Susan Suben, MS, CSA, is president of Long Term Care Associates, Inc. and Elder Care Planning. She is a consultant for Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. She can be reached at 800-422-2655 or by email at

55+ q&a William J. Hall, 80 By Lynette M. Loomis

Geriatrician reflects on his career, discusses myths of getting older and why Medicare should cover tango lessons Q. What drew you to the field of geriatrics? A. “Midway through my career as a doctor of internal medicine, I discovered that my patients were aging and that I was not well prepared to take care of them. I was fortunate enough to be on the faculty at the University of Rochester, which already had experts on aging. I engaged them and decided, after learning more about medical care for older adults, to switch my specialty to geriatrics. At that time, there were no specialty training programs. As I got more versed in my new pursuit, I helped develop geriatric programs at the medical center, and established training programs for medical students, residents, and postgraduate scholars. Our academic and clinical programs have grown, and the U of R is now nationally ranked among the best programs in the country.” Q. What have you learned from your patients? A. “Just about everything I know. Every day when I see patients, all of whom are in their 70s, 80s and beyond, I find fountains of wisdom and smarts that are humbling to me. I have learned what a privilege it is to care for them and to hear of their lives and accomplishments. Older people want to tell their stories and, often because of social isolation, are unable to do so. The degree of gratitude I reap from my contact with older adults provides me with a level of satisfaction few physicians experience.” Q. How can older adults be more active in their medical care? A. “First and foremost, I tell my patients that, while they have the respect for me and most medical personnel, the reality is that we

work for them. They are in charge. I encourage them to bring in a list of concerns they have, number them and make sure that they get answers. I have learned is that it is best to have them start with the last thing on their list. That’s usually the one they have the most concern over. I also want them to bring all their medicines in a bag. It is rare that I do not find some meds that are useless or even dangerous. We agree to get rid of those. I worry about social isolation of my patients. As they say, aging is not for sissies. Rochester is an age-friendly community with resources such as Lifespan, fitness centers and library programs.” Q. What are some of the myths about getting older that you try to dispel? A. “Perhaps the most pervasive is that everybody gets Alzheimer ’s disease. To be sure, memory problems are common as we age, but there is a big difference b e t w e e n occasionally misplacing your car keys and putting those keys in the microwave and turning it on. Older adults are faced with too many “can’t” dictums. You can’t be active, you can’t develop

relationships, etc. Take advantage of all the resources Rochester has to offer.” Q. How has being a geriatrician impacted how you handle your own aging? A. “I turned 80 a few months ago. We have an old saying in medicine: “Do as I say, not as I do.” I must remind myself that key aspects of healthy aging require a concerted effort. So, I exercise daily, I watch my weight, I read and I socialize. Sometimes I do nothing and then my monkey brain reminds me that I better stick to it. I try to find meaningful activities and, when I do stop seeing patients, I will fill the void with volunteering.” Q. What are some of your hobbies and interests? A. “I have grandchildren in town to visit. I like to fish and Rochester has many venues year round for that. You find many older adults enjoy fishing and talking about it and making up preposterous claims of prowess. I’m one of those. I’m working on a novel which keeps me mentally alert. I am active in Writers and Books, an extraordinary resource. My wife and I recently took tango lessons. My theory is that if I were czar of the universe, I would make sure that Medicare paid for tango lessons. It may be the best all-round age-friendly activity there is. It combines balance exercise, awareness of musical b e a t , m e m o r y, close tactile opportunities, and romance!”

Geriatrician William Hall is a professor of medicine at University of Rochester Medical Center, Center for Healthy Aging.

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Let CNB Wealth Management create a custom strategy, so you’re ready when retirement comes. A good retirement plan starts long before you’re ready to retire. Our approach to retirement planning starts with you, listening to your needs and working to understand your goals. Using our breadth of wealth solutions, we create a customized strategy and review it with you regularly to ensure that you remain on track to meet your objectives. You’ll enjoy concierge-level service from our experienced, non-commissioned, and credentialed professionals. And no matter the size of your relationship, it’s all backed by a Pledge of Accountability*: our promise that we’ll provide you with the highest level of service. | (585) 419-0670

ROCHESTER 600 East Avenue CANANDAIGUA 72 South Main Street BASIN PARK 1150 Pittsford-Victor Road


*To see a full version of our CNB Pledge of Accountability, visit Investments are not FDIC-insured, are not bank deposits, are not obligations of or guaranteed by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust or any of its affiliates. Investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Other services may be offered through affiliate companies.

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ROCH 55 #60 - November/December 19  

ROCH 55 #60 - November/December 19  

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