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Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

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55 PLUS Issue 49 January / February 2018

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Alone & Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

Rochester-area Adventurers Take on Route 66


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January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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CONTENTS

Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

55

free

Jan/Feb 2018

PLUS Issue 49 January / February 2018

55 PLUS

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Alone & Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

Rochester-area Adventurers Take on Route 66

55 PLUS

24

14

Savvy Senior 6 12 RETIREMENT Financial Health 8 • Ten numbers you should know

Dining Out 10 My Turn 22 Visits 44 Addyman’s Corner 46 Long-term Care 48 Last Page Q&A Robert Boeckman, a lifelong cat owner and a president of Pet Pride, talks about how important it is for people to maintain a pet at home 4

55 PLUS - January / February 2018

14 ADVENTURE

• Rochester-area adventurers take on Route 66

18 PASTIME

• Ten fun things to do indoors with grandchildren

20 GRANDPARENTS

• Should they be paid to babysit?

24 ROCKIN’

• New radio show for 55-plussers

26 JOBS • Is consulting for you?

roc55.com

34 30

COVER

40

• Founder of Live Alone and Thrive workshops talks about her new book

34

LIFESTYLE

• SAGE of Rochester advocates for elderly GLBTQI community

38

DRIVING

• Pastor tries his hand at Uber, Lyft

40 PASSION • A restaurateur with a knack for renovating old buildings

42 BOOKS • Diane Rivoli, a Greece resident, talks about her new book


Est .

18

38

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January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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savvy senior By Jim Miller

A

Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses

s a divorced spouse, you can collect Social Security retirement benefits on the earnings record of your ex-husband or ex-wife, if your ex is at least age 62, was married to you at least 10 years, and you are not now married and not eligible for a higher benefit based on your own earnings record. In order for you to collect, your ex must also be at least 62 and eligible for Social Security benefits. But your ex does not have to be receiving them for you to collect divorced spouse’s benefits, as long as you have been divorced at least two years. Even if your ex is remarried, it won’t affect your right to divorcee benefits, nor will it affect your ex’s retirement benefits or his current spouse’s benefits.

Benefit Amount

A divorced spouse can receive up to 50 percent of their ex’s full Social Security benefit, or less if they take benefits before their full retirement age — which is 66 if you were born between 1943 and 1954. To find out your full retirement age and see how much your benefits will be reduced by taking them early see SSA.gov/ planners/retire/retirechart.html. Keep in mind though, that if you qualify for benefits based on your own work history, you’ll receive the larger of the two benefits. You cannot receive benefits on both your record, and your ex’s work record too. To find out how much your retirement benefits will be, see your Social Security statement at SSA.gov/ myaccount. And to get an estimate of your ex’s benefits, call Social Security at 800-772-1213. You’ll need his Social Security number to get it.

Divorced Survivor

You also need to know that if your ex-spouse dies, and you were married for 10 or more years, you be6

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come eligible for divorced survivor benefits, which is worth up to 100 percent of what your ex-spouse was due. Survivor’s benefits are available to divorced spouses as early as age 60 (50 if you’re disabled). But if you remarry before 60 you become ineligible unless the marriage ends. Remarrying after age 60 will not affect your eligibility. Also note that if you are receiving divorced spouses’ benefits when your ex-spouse dies, you will automatically be switched over to the higher paying survivor benefit.

55PLUS roc55.com Editor and Publisher Wagner Dotto

Associate Editor Lou Sorendo

Writers & Contributing Writers Deborah J. Sergeant Ernst Lamothe Jr., Jacob Pucci Christine Green, John Addyman, Anne Palumbo, Katie DeTar James Morabito

Columnists

Jim Terwilliger, Susan Suben Jim Miller, Bruce Frassinelli Sandra Scott

Advertising

Anne Westcott, Denise Ruf H. Mat Adams

Switching Strategies

Office Assistant

Being divorced also offers a switching strategy that can help boost your benefits if you were born on or before Jan. 1, 1954. Here’s how it works. If you worked and are eligible for benefits on your own earnings record, you could file a “restricted application” with Social Security at age 66 to collect a divorced spousal benefit, which is half of what your ex gets. Then, once you reach 70, you stop receiving the ex-spousal benefit and switch to your own benefit, which will be 32 percent higher than it would have been at your full retirement age. Unfortunately, as a result of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, this option is not available if your birthday is Jan. 2, 1954 or later. Divorced widows (and widowers) also have switching options regardless of your birthday. If, for example, you are currently collecting Social Security retirement benefits on your own record, and your ex-spouse dies, you can switch to survivor’s benefits if the payment is larger. Or, if you’re collecting survivor’s benefits, you can switch to your own retirement benefits – between 62 and 70 – if it offers a larger payment. For more information visit SSA. gov/planners/retire/divspouse. html, or call 800-772-1213

Layout and Design

Kimberley Tyler

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.

Health in good

Rochester–Genesee Valley’s Healthcare Newspaper

Mailing Address PO Box 525 Victor, NY 14564 © 2018 by 55 PLUS – A Magazine for Active Adults in the Rochester Area. No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. Third class postage paid at Syracuse, NY. Permit Number: 3071

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


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financial health By Jim Terwilliger

I

Required Minimum Distributions for Folks Still Working

n a column last year, we focused on required minimum distributions (RMDs) and reviewed the consequences resulting from failure to follow the RMD rules. Generally, for pre-tax retirement accounts (traditional IRAs, 401(k) s, and other employer retirement plans), the first RMD must be taken by April 1 in the year following the year the account owner reaches age 70-1/2. The next RMD is due by Dec. 31 of that same year. Since most folks do not want a double “hit” in the first year, it is customary to take the first RMD by Dec. 31 in the year age 70-1/2 is reached. One exception is for folks who are still working beyond age 70-1/2 and have a 401(k) or similar employer retirement plan. As long as the plan allows (not all do) and the worker is not more than a 5 percent owner of the firm at the end of the year the worker reaches age 70-1/2, RMDs are not required from that year forward until retirement. (Note that this exception does not apply to IRAs, SEPIRAs, or SIMPLE IRAs, even if the person is still working.) Frequently, folks who continue to work and receive earned income do not also want to receive the 401(k) plan RMDs, particularly if RMDs push them into a higher m a r g i n a l

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tax bracket or create undesired tax consequences as a result of a higher adjusted gross income. Strangely enough, if the worker becomes a greater-than-5-percent owner in a subsequent year at that firm or a new firm, the 401(k) RMD exception still applies at both firms. But, if the worker is greater than a 5 percent owner in the year he/she reaches age 70-1/2, RMDs cannot be deferred at that firm even if ownership later drops to or below the 5 percent level. If that worker later leaves for another firm, the exception applies at the new firm even if ownership exceeds 5 percent. Confusing, isn’t it? Also curious is the fact that the IRS has not yet defined what it means to be still working. A 40-hour week schedule is not required. Apparently, any schedule is OK as long as some level of earned income (W-2 income from the employer) is involved. Although IRAs are not eligible for the still-working exception, there is a work-around some people use. As long as the employer plan allows for accepting IRA rollovers into the plan (not all do), you can roll your pre-tax IRA into the employer plan and avoid taking RMDs on that money as long as you are still working. If the rollover is done after reaching age 70-1/2, an IRA RMD must be taken prior to the rollover. However, that impacts less than 4 percent of the account value, so the remaining 96-percent-plus can be “protected.” If you are younger but anticipate working into your 70s, simply roll over that money prior to reaching RMD age, thus protecting the entire amount from RMDs. There is one huge watch-out that trips up folks when they finally retire after enjoying the still-working exception. This has to do with the

start-up of RMDs. When retiring, the first RMD is due to be paid by April 1 of the year following retirement. Then, as mentioned above, the next RMD is due by the end of that following year. So far, so good. But folks retiring, say, late in the year, must take their first RMD either that year or early in the next year, followed by another RMD in that next year. The extreme case is someone retiring Dec. 31. This will drive two RMDs in the following year – a situation that most will not find appealing. Some believe that merely rolling the 401(k) plan over to an IRA represents a work-around. Not true. The IRS requires that RMDs be distributed from an employer plan prior to any rollover out of the plan. A simple way to work around this unfortunate timing is to retire early in the year, as early as, say, Jan. 2 or 3, instead of Dec. 31 of the previous year — if the employer is agreeable. Taking advantage of the still-working exception is not for everyone. For example, doing so will increase the ultimate RMDs. That may produce an undesired tax impact later in life. Also, earned income during the still-working timeframe may be low such that taking RMDs or some IRA distributions while working may be desired or even necessary. There is no cookie-cutter strategy here. It depends, as always, on individual circumstances. Working with a trusted financial planner to help you chart your retirement pathway is still the best approach. James Terwilliger, CFP, is senior vice President, financial planning officer at Wealth Strategies Group, Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company. He can be reached at 585-419-0670 ext. 50630 or by email at jterwilliger@cnbank.com.


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January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

9


DiningOut By Jacob Pucci

Restaurant

Guide

Lento

Cozy, Refined, with Great Farm-to Table Food

D

inner at Lento is proof that even as flurries fall from the sky on a cold November evening, locally-sourced food can be found in Upstate New York — and it’s delicious. The restaurant in Rochester’s Village Gate Square, opened in 2007, has been farm-to-table before farmto-table was a thing in Rochester, or much of Upstate New York, for that matter. The ingredients are sourced from farms in the greater Rochester area and all the breads, desserts, charcuterie, pickles and just about everything else is made in-house. Those efforts were rewarded in 2015, when chef and owner Art Rogers was named a James Beard Award semifinalist as best chef in the Northeast. The James Beard Awards are considered one of the most prestigious in the culinary industry. Lento means “slow” in Portuguese, Spanish and Italian, likely a nod to the slow food movement that promotes locally-sourced and environmentally-conscious food.

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The name did not carry over to the service, as we were quickly seated, and our waitress was attentive and helpful as we mulled over the seafood bar and starter menus. Lento offers $1 oysters on Tuesdays, which rightfully draws big crowds — so much so that Lento encourages diners to make reservations for oyster night. Our platter of six oysters ($2.50 to $3 each), sourced from Massachusetts and British Columbia, was accompanied by lemon and mignonette, a shallot and vinegar sauce that’s a classic pairing with raw oysters. We also sampled one of the restaurant’s newest creations, housemade ices. Think of it as a savory granita for seafood. We opted for the beet, dill and horseradish, though bloody mary, cucumber, ginger and jalapeno, and spicy melon and mint varieties were also available. The ice burst with vivid red colors that swirled into the oyster’s natural liquor and gave the oyster a distinct earthiness that complemented the salty, briny shellfish. The best of

land and sea, if you will. The Jonah crab claws ($4 each) were filled with sweet meat, but the meat was very flaky and hard to get to, even with the provided nutcracker. Our waitress, likely having seen me tearing apart the claw with my hands to get the last delicious morsels, quickly slipped each of us a moist towelette. We paired the seafood with duck liver mousse ($9), served with pickled red onions and sliced baguette. Duck liver is one of my favorites because it’s rich and fatty but has a more delicate flavor than other types of liver. When paired together, the potent pickled onions cut right through the fattiness of the liver. A sprinkle of coarse Maldon sea salt was a great complement for the smooth mousse. Lento offers both full-sized entrees and medium-sized plates — a genius move that more restaurants should adopt. Yearning for a last taste of fall before winter is upon us, we chose the house-made butternut squash ravioli ($21) from the medi-


um plates menu. The portion of five or so large ravioli was served with sage brown butter, shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, sautéed spinach and shitake mushrooms from Rochester’s Smugtown Mushrooms and for a bit of crunch, pumpkin seeds and crumbled amaretti cookies. The pasta was toothsome and sturdy with just a little bite, a sign of good pasta cooked well. Toasty, nutty brown butter is one of my all-time favorite foods and the addition of sage and a touch of cinnamon only takes it to the next level. The crumbled cookies were a surprise star, adding not only texture, but just a bit of sweetness. This dish was autumn food at its finest. It’s my own personal rule that I must order monkfish whenever it’s on a restaurant’s menu. When they’re alive, monkfish are ugly as sin, but when presented as a perfectly-cooked filet with gulf baby shrimp, a sweet-and-sour agrodolce sauce and smooth, rich polenta made from local corn ($30), it’s a thing of beauty. The toasted pine nuts drew out the subtle nuttiness of the purple cauliflower, while the capers added the bite of acidity that just about all seafood needs. As for the monkfish itself, there’s a reason it’s known as “poor man’s lobster.” The fish is firm and slices, rather than flakes, like a mild whitefish would, and is sturdy enough to stand up to the bold vinegary agrodolce sauce. For dessert, we split a slice of pumpkin cheesecake ($9), with a scoop of house-made (what else is new?) espresso ice cream on the side ($2). The cheesecake was good, but a heavy hand of spice, particularly ginger, unfortunately covered up the pumpkin flavor and the flavor from the chocolate ganache layer that topped the cake. Along with the food menus that

Lento Address: 274 N. Goodman St., Rochester. Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Website: lentorestaurant.com Phone: 585-271-3470

Seafood platter: Each type of oyster is marked with a little white flag.

Rich duck liver pate, served with pickled red onions and sliced baguette.

With a texture and taste similar to lobster, monkfish at Lento is a treat. change daily, Lento also boasts a lengthy wine list with many Finger Lakes offerings, as well as a New York-centric beer list and creative cocktails, nearly all of which incorporate at least one New York-made component. Make no mistake: Lento is fine dining. But one of its greatest successes is in shedding the unfairly-applied stigma that fine dining is too expensive and too unapproachable. The

restaurant itself is industrial, but chic, with brick walls, an open ceiling with exposed wood beams and air ducts and chalkboard diagrams of a cow and pig broken down by cuts. It’s cozy, but refined. A couple could be celebrating an anniversary at one table, while someone else could sit at the long, tiled bar and enjoy dollar oysters and a few $3 cans of Genny Cream, and everyone would feel right at home. January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+

retirement

10 Unbelievable Numbers By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

A

h, retirement! When you can shed the burdens of work and at last take some well-deserve “me time.” Unfortunately, many Americans will experience the shock of a lifetime when they discover they’re financially ill-prepared for retirement. In “10 Retirement Stats That Will Blow You Away” (The Motley Fool, April 28, 2017), writer Maurie Backman shared 10 surprising statistics.

1.

One-quarter of people 65 today will surpass age 90 and one-tenth will survive age 95. That’s good news, right? Not if you lack the funds to support yourself in older age. Many on the cusp of retirement now began planning for a 20- to 25-year retirement decades ago. Their posh retirement end up skimpy to stretch their funds.

2.

One-third of Americans have $0 retirement savings.

That’s according to a GoBankingRates survey. In addition, over half — 56 percent — possess less than $10,000 in savings. While making a nice emergency fund, it’s peanuts when looking at retirement, when Social Security checks alone won’t cover 12

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‘In the early 1990s, a mere 2.1 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 and older. The figure crept up to 7 percent in 2007. According to www. debt.org, people 55 and older now account for 20 percent of people filing for bankruptcy.’

4.

Slightly over half of Americans feel they’re saving sufficiently.

Transamerica recently reported that 51 percent of the working people surveyed think they’re saving what they need to retire comfortably.

5.

One out of every three Americans plans to not retire.

They may work less or at a different job, but most of those who will keep working will have to in order to support themselves, not just for beating boredom.

6.

Sixty percent of Americans fear they’ll outlive their income.

Considering how few save for retirement — 30 percent of those 55 Four out of 10 single people 65 and older have no savings — it makes and older receive 90 percent or sense that baby boomers voiced their more of their income from Social Security. fears in an Allianz study. much.

3.

7.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans Unfortunately, Social Security don’t plan for fun. was meant to supplement retirement. It supplies only about 40 percent of Forget a leisurely retirement. A the pre-retirement income. Because of inflation, many people need 70 per- Merrill Lynch survey showed that cent or more of their previous income most people don’t budget for recreation during retirement. to take care of their bills.


8.

On average, a healthy couple will spend $377,000 on healthcare during retirement. Unfortunately, few have planned for this expense. HealthView Services designs healthcare cost projection software. The company reported that when figuring in out-of-pocket costs, someone who’s healthy and 65 today will likely fork over $377,000 on health care expenses once retired. The figure doesn’t include long-term health expenses. It’s easy to see why many people continue working to keep their health care benefits.

9.

Nearly half of retirees spend more during retirement.

Costs won’t go down during retirement. The Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that 46 percent of retirees spend more annually in their first two years of retirement and 33 percent keep spending more for the next four years of retirement. That kind of budget blowing will require a change in spending habits or a return to work.

10.

The fastest-growing age group of those filing for bankruptcy is those 65 and older. In the early 1990s, a mere 2.1 percent of those filing for bankruptcy were 65 and older. The figure crept up to 7 percent in 2007. According to www.debt.org, people 55 and older account for 20 percent of people filing for bankruptcy. Mounting medical expenses may explain part of the reason, as well as eviscerated retirement savings after the 2008 Recession. The repercussions for an older adult can be severe. Bankruptcy ruins credit ratings. Purchasing a home or vehicle after bankruptcy is hard enough; however, trying to do so without employment as a retiree is nearly impossible. While these statistics may seem discouraging, those who have not saved enough still may have options. By continuing to work and put money into a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k), they can grow their nest egg considerably. Budgeting to control spending, paying off debt, developing passive income and discussing options with a financial planner can also help.

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January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+

adventure

Paul Bardotz of Palmyra (left) and Brent Walton of Chili (right) during their September trip on Route 66 between Chicago to California. They met “G” (in the middle) who was walking on Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago. They met “G” in rural Missouri.

Get Your Kicks on Route 66 Rochester-area adventurers take on an iconic route By John Addyman

T

od and Buz were on the road again — In spirit. The stars of the early 1960s TV series “Route 66,” with its memorable musical theme, left an impression on a generation. Two local guys decided to relive that impression last September. Brent Walton, 61, and Paul Bardotz, 68, are professionals who have moved on to new careers as photographers. Both are married, and both are still learning. Part of their learning is to stretch themselves into something new. Bardotz, from Chili, and Walton, living in Palmyra, bumped into each other in a summer workshop on lighting techniques in 2016. Walton asked his new friend if he’d like to take a road trip following Route 66 from Chicago to California. It would take a month, and they’d take pictures along the way — thousands of pictures. Walton had already

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asked his wife, Elizabethe, who said, “No. Too boring.” “It sounded fascinating to me,” said Bardotz, a former bridge maintenance coordinator for Monroe County and University of Buffalo grad with a master’s degree in public administration from SUNY Brockport. “It was an adventure. I’d never been out that way. Brent and I got along well.” He also checked with his wife, Barb. She said, “Go!” Then the reality of the trip hit. “We discovered we’re both very ADHD,” admitted Brent. “Yes,” agreed Paul. “We understood each other and our little quirks. He didn’t think mine were so weird and I didn’t think his were weird.” Walton, with a degree from California State University-Sacramento, was a network engineer for AT&T for 15 years, leaving California and the job to become a professional photographer in Wayne County. He and Elizabethe visited the Palmyra area and

Elizabethe fell in love with the landscape and its religious history. Before the trip started, Walton did a year’s worth of research. Right after Labor Day, the guys rented a car in Chicago, and started at the eastern end of Route 66 armed with maps, a Route 66 smart phone app, books, cameras, equipment, clothes, and Pandora channels for The Eagles and period music. It was as if Tod and Buz were on the road to adventure again, without the Corvette, driving a Subaru. Then came some adversity. A week into the trip, Walton was already tearing up part of his research. Some of the night’s lodgings he had so carefully booked were, well, not exactly as advertised. Back home, Elizabethe took over as support staff. The guys would tell her where they wanted to be the next day and the day after, and she found them suitable accommodations. And they had sponsors. Bay Pho-


to Labs would provide photo prints to businesses they photographed, and in exchange, they sometimes got a night’s lodging or meals, negotiated by Elizabethe. Republic Wireless supported with free wireless and data services, which Walton used to set up hotspots where the guys stayed the night. MoLight provided lighting equipment; the Walworth Veterinary Hospital sponsored several meals for the team; several software providers also chipped in; a daughter working for Nataliacha Doodley Do designed a logo for the enterprise, and Warner 5 Color provided souvenirs in the form of small mirrors for the guys to hand out. They were nothing if not ready.

Photo frenzy Walton and Bardotz said they wanted to do something to “leave our mark” on the trip. So they took photos of everything, and often got other folks involved. “We’d go into a diner, get a group photo of the staff, and upload it to Bay Photo with our trip logo and our blog logo, and they’d drop-ship the print back to the diner,” Walton explained. “At Jerry’s Diner in Gallup, N.M., they brought out the whole staff — even the guys from the back of the kitchen — to get their picture taken,” Walton said. In the beginning, Walton figured they’d cover 70 miles a day with their stops and side trips. The guys found out quickly that Route 66 had many changes over the years, and some of the spurs led off into the sunset and nothing else. Some portions of the old road were all but impassable. And that Route 66 phone app turned out

At one of the stops along the way, Brent Walton and Paul Bardotz met with the new owners of The Launch Pad, a well-known Route 66 eatery, Hollay and Yully. They hope to reopen it in 2018.

A shot of the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, when the duo arrived at dawn. January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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This is what the inside of the Gay Part Sinclair Gas Station looks like about 25 miles west of Springfield, Mo., an example of the eclectic Americana that awaits on Route 66.

to be a lifesaver. At the end of the day, Walton would upload photos and text to the still active trip blog at route66Photographers.com. And there were lots of photos — Walton shot 25,000 images; Bardotz took 18,000. They got gorgeous shots at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, when they arrived at dawn, and catalogued interesting landmarks all along the way. Bardotz felt the most memorable stop was in Oklahoma City and the Murrah Building Memorial, commemorating the 168 people killed in the 1995 bombing. “It was so silent,” said Bardotz. “Very moving.” “One of the nicest parts of the trip was that we’d see people doing cellphone selfies and they’d see our cameras and say to us, ‘You guys ought to know what you’re doing. Would you take our picture?’” “For me, my memories of the trip are more associated with the people we met,” said Walton. “We met a family from Israel. We ran into M.J. ‘Sonny’ Eberhart, 79, on the outskirts of Elk City, Okla. He was walking the length of Route 66. He should have finished Nov. 27.”

Why Route 66 Is So Famous Route 66 played a significant role in the U.S. history, and has also been featured prominently in the media over the years. Prior to the construction of the Interstate Highway System, U.S. Route 66, which links Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., was the major east to west route as population migrated to California, especially during the Great Depression. Route 66 was featured in John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath” and also the film adaptation starring Henry Fonda. Later there was a popular song called “Get your kicks on Route 66” and also a television show bearing the highway’s name. It also passes through and nearby some of the most beautiful scenery in the American West. The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, along the Route 66 trail. 16

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Source: www.quora.com


Making memories On another day, they encountered a younger man who gave a name that was too difficult to pronounce. He, too, was walking the length of Route 66, with a flag signed by many people he’d met. “At an ice cream place, we met young guys and girls from the Florida State swimming team. They were glad to be out of Florida as Hurricane Irma was coming onshore,” Bardotz said. The guys remembered two couples from Spain who met them during the day and sent them Facebook “friend” requests that night. Walton, a former Corvair owner, met someone who had 30 of them. He was only too happy to share the afternoon showing him every one of them. They left photos everywhere. And for some of the portraits they took, those little souvenir mirrors found the hands of maidens old and young. “How many tourists hand out souvenirs?” Walton asked. The cameras and the easy grace of two guys of a certain age gained them access into places where no other tourists went – the insides of homes, churches, courthouses and county buildings. “We passed a church in the late afternoon and saw how the light was coming in through the windows,” said Bardotz. ”We went inside — there was no one there — and took pictures of how the light played across the pews.” They met two Scottish women who got off a plane and rented Harley-Davidsons for a trip across America on Route 66. “We ran into them three times,” Walton said. “We’re service people,” Walton said, gesturing to Bardotz. “A good part of what we did was helping people get good pictures with their cameras.” Bardotz himself was shooting a Nikon; Walton had a new Fuji mirror-less digital. “This whole trip was just what the doctor ordered. Meeting everyone was so uplifting,” Bardotz said. “We were standing on a corner in Winslow, Ariz., with a couple from Sweden, thinking about the lyrics of the Eagles’ song.” What’s next for the intrepid twosome?

Walton wants to do Route 31 across New York. “It’s not as long — the Route 66 trip covers 2,450 miles — but it will be so much fun. There’s eclectic, beautiful stuff on Route 31. I’ve been thinking about it for some time. I’m going to do that in 2018,” he said. Bardotz, on the other hand, is working to get his house on the market so he and Barb can move to Florida. If time and circumstance provide the opportunity, Paul and Brent could still hit the road together again. If two ADHD dudes can weather Route 66 for a month together, anything’s possible.

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55+ pastime At Your e c i v r e S 10 Fun Things to We BUY TEST STRIPS Do Indoors with Grandchildren Highest Prices Paid We will pick up and pay on the spot

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t’s winter. You know the drill: hunker down and try to not go stir-crazy when the mercury dips ridiculously low. But when you’re watching young grandchildren, you need a game plan so you don’t all bounce off the walls with cabin fever. Try these ideas for inside fun when it’s frigid out. Dress retro. Dig out old clothes and accessories you have from years back and put on a fashion show, including the children. Your grandchildren will get a kick out of seeing what was popular decades ago. Try some retro hairstyles on them, too, and crank up your favorite tunes. Picture this. Pour over the photo albums and play home movies from when their mom or dad was small. Tell stories about funny things their parents said and did at their ages. Get crafty. Offer them an array of craft tools and supplies — age appropriate, of course — and items from the recycling bin. In an age of craft kits and directions, freewheeling with supplies can be refreshingly fun for children. Keep them safe and try to curtail the mess, but let them make whatever they want. Or teach them a “forgotten” art that you’ve mastered. Cook up fun. From baking cookies to making alphabet soup, children love mixing it up in the kitchen, especially if you let them select the recipe. Keep in mind that long and complicated recipes may frustrate younger children, so guide them towards tried-and-true favorites. For the very small, a box cake mix may suffice, but let them do as much as

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they’re able, such as stirring, pouring in the pre-measured oil, and decorating the cooled cake. Read them stories. Even older children enjoy hearing stories, but let them pick out the book. Plan a vacation. Clip photos out of magazines and brochures and print ones from the internet to plan an imaginary trip to an exotic locale (somewhere warm, perhaps?). Younger children may want to pretend the trip; older ones may want to make a poster about it, with a list of things they’d like to do at their dream destination. Play along. Even if you don’t understand or enjoy their video games, play it with them. Children will relish the chance to teach you their games and insider tips for winning. Maybe you’ll find you like it, too. Get board. Board games, that is. Since you likely own different games than they have at home, the games may prove novel enough to hold their interest a while. Play outside games inside. Play hopscotch with a beanbag and masking tape on the floor. Inflate a small wading pool and fill it with plastic ball pit-style balls so they can “swim” inside. Blow bubbles in the kitchen while wearing rubber boots for traction. With just a few tweaks, outside “summer” activities can provide diversion indoors. Put on a show. Write and perform a play, puppet show, musical or whatever. Or copy one of your favorite stories. When their parents come to pick them up, it’s show time!

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55+

grandparents

Should You Get Paid to Babysit? Grandparents may be the best sitters for their grandkids. But should they be paid for the help? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

M

any parents would agree that their children’s grandpa and grandma represent the best childcare they could imagine. After all, who loves (and spoils!) their children more than the children’s own grandparents? For some families, the grandparents provide more than occasional babysitting and take over the duties regularly, even full-time. Should grandparents in this role receive money for their time? That depends. Nancy Miltsch, a registered nurse and a certified childbirth educator, leads new parent and new grandparent classes for Rochester Regional Health. She said that her classes include this issue. She believes that factors include the amount of time the grandparents spend watching the children. “There’s a difference between being a grandparent and a provider of care while parents are employed,” Miltsch said. “There’s a fine line between what you do as a grandparent and as a daycare provider.” She said that some grandparents shape their retirement plans around their grandchildren’s care needs, even retiring earlier or moving so that they can provide daily care. “For years, this is what some grandparents have been waiting for,” Miltsch said. Some grandparents on fixed incomes could really benefit from income earned while watching their grandchildren. For some young families, relief from the cost of childcare 20

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enables them to build a better future for the children. Ultimately, “it is a family decision to make whether or not to pay,” Miltsch said. “You need to discuss this.” A frank, honest discussion can help both parties realize where they stand and their needs. If pay will be involved, they need to agree upon a rate that’s fair for both parents and grandparents.

The conversation should also include how often and for how long the grandparents will provide care, who pays for any expenses incurred during care, where they will watch the children and who will provide transportation. Grandparents may want to split care among themselves and other relatives so that they have more free time. Families should also talk about how care is provided. “I am a grandmother,” Miltsch said. “Being a grandparent and a provider are two different things. Taking your grandchildren out, you indulge. But you can’t do that on a daily basis as a provider or you’ll end up with a spoiled brat. It has to be consistent with what the parents are doing.” Grandparents may also benefit from a class to brush up on their childcare skills. Obviously, their own child survived to start their own family; however, standards of childcare change as more research shows what helps children stay safer, grow better


and learn more. For example, the Safe to Sleep program, formerly known as Back to Sleep, has helped reduce incidences of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) by 50 percent since its introduction in 1994 and 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Grandparents who always laid babies on their stomachs for sleep may not understand why sleeping on the back is important. “The biggest goal of the grandparenting class is not to teach them how to take care of a baby,” Miltsch said. “They have done that, doing what was taught to them but evidence-based research now shows that some things we did weren’t right. Times change. We change as time has passed.” She said most grandparents feel very accepting of learning the newer ways once they learn the rationale behind it. Miltsch said that young parents have to demonstrate respect for their parents, just as the grandparents need to follow their adult children’s rules while watching the children. “A lot of the young couples are so honored that their parents would even want to do this,” Miltsch said. “That’s the biggest compliment they can give each other, ‘I’m entrusting my new baby to you’ and ‘I want to change my lifestyle to spend time with your children.’ It’s a very emotional thing when you see what’s going on between these people.” She advises grandparents providing regular care to remember to leave once the parents arrive home. “They need to relax after work and spend time together as a family,” Miltsch said. “The last thing I want when I get home from work is someone there visiting, asking how my day went.” In addition to some savings and additional peace of mind, grandparent daycare also ensures children receive care if they’re sick. Most daycare centers won’t accept ill children, forcing parents to use their sick time for their children. As a result, Miltsch said many single parents, especially, will go to work sick so that they can hoard their sick time. Whether pro bono or paid, grandparent care offers a level of care parents can’t replicate otherwise.

Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren By Jim Miller

M

oney is often an issue for the millions of U.S. grandparents who are raising their grandchildren today. To help with the day-today expenses, there are a variety of government programs and tax benefits that can make a big difference in stretching your budget. Here’s where to look for help. Financial Assistance Programs — For starters, find out whether your family qualifies for the state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, which may include cash assistance, food stamps and free or low-cost daycare. Or, if your household income is too high to qualify as a family, ask about the “child-only grant” for just the grandchild’s support alone. Also, find out if the state offers any additional programs like guardianship subsidies, non-parent grants or kinship care. Contact the TANF program (see ACF.HHS.gov/ofa for contact information), or call your county social services office for more information on these programs. You also need to find out if your grandkids are eligible for Social Security, including benefits for children, survivor benefits or SSI. You can find this out at the local Social Security office or call 800-772-1213 or visit SSA.gov. And finally, use BenefitsCheckUp.org, a comprehensive website that lets you search for additional financial assistance programs that you may be eligible for, such as lower energy bills, discounts on prescription medications and more. Tax Benefits — ­­In addition to the financial assistance programs, there are also a number of tax benefits that may help you too like the Dependency Exemption, which allows you to deduct $4,050 in 2107 on each qual-

ifying grandchild. There’s also the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC which is available to those with moderate to low incomes, or the Child Tax Credit if you make too much money to qualify for the EITC. If you’re working, and are incurring childcare expenses in order to work, there’s a Child and Dependent Care Credit that can help. And, if you choose to legally adopt your grandkids, there’s an Adoption Credit that provides a federal tax credit of up to $13,570. There are even education-related tax credits that can help your grandkids go to college, like the American Opportunity Tax Credit or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. To learn more about these tax benefits call the IRS at 800-829-1040, or visit IRS.gov. You can also call the IRS publication line at 800-8293676 and ask them to mail you the publications that further explain the aforementioned benefits. Ask for publications 501, 503, 596, 970, 972. Health Insurance — If your grandkids need health insurance, depending on your income level, you may be able to get free or low-cost health insurance through the state’s Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. See InsureKidsNow. gov or call 877-543-7669 for more information. Legal Aid — ­­You also need to talk to a family law attorney to discuss the pros and cons of obtaining legal guardianship, custody or adoption. Without some sort of legal custody, you may not be eligible for many of the previously listed financial assistance programs, and there can be problems with basic things like enrolling your grandkids in school, or giving a doctor permission to treat them. For help locating affordable or free legal assistance, visit www. FindLegalHelp.org, or call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 for referrals. For more information and resources see the Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center at GrandFamilies.org. (By Jim Miller) January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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my turn By Bruce Frassinelli Email: bruce@cny55.com

That’s How It All Got Started Decisions that may look insignificant at first can determine lifelong professional career

O

ne of the perks we seniors have earned is to put our experiences into perspective. Our longevity allows us to dial back into the past to determine how those experiences formed us. For about 18 months when I was a kid, I thought I would like to become a priest. I remember throwing a long towel around me and pinning it around my neck and saying mass — in Latin, no less. I would pound out little hosts from a slice of bread and sneak some “dago red” wine from my dad’s stash in the kitchen cabinet. I would serve communion to three of my younger friends who were gullible enough to sit through this ritual. I would even prepare and deliver a homily to them using actual gospels. I thundered and bellowed at times, imitating our parish priest and pastor, Father McCook. If my friends snickered or laughed, I would point at them and told them in my sternest voice that they would surely experience eternal hellfire and damnation for their blasphemous disrespect.

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In my mid-teen years, I moved on and scrapped the priesthood idea. Celibacy seemed like a drag, and I decided I wanted no part of it. I became enamored of a wellknown disc jockey of the day, Joe Niagara, who had a nightly radio broadcast on WIBG in Philadelphia. I thought it would be so cool to spin platters accompanied by my patter: “And now, here she is, Her Nibs, Miss Georgia Gibbs, with her 1951 blockbuster, `Ballin’ the Jack.’” My parents had a grocery store, and I persuaded my dad to allow me to record a two-hour disc jockey, Top-40 program each day on my reelto-reel Wollensak tape recorder, then play the recordings as background for customers who came into the store. I

called the program “The Bruce Niagara Show.” This led to a part-time job at the local drive-in theater where I would be the disc jockey for the half-hour before the first show and at intermission. In 1960, during my junior year of college, I became a part-time weekend DJ at WVPO (Voice of the Poconos) in Stroudsburg, Pa., a 250-watt AM daytime-only station. After I earned my bachelor ’s degree in education the following year, I got a teaching job but continued to work part-time for the radio station. In 1963, when my friend, the program director, left to take a job on WABC radio in New York City, I was named program, news and sports director. It was one of those career


‘Of the hats I wore, the one that really knocked my socks off was being news director. I wanted to learn how to gather and write news effectively and professionally.’ forks in the road that many encounter, and, of course, I always wondered whether I went in the right direction. Of the hats I wore, the one that really knocked my socks off was being news director. I wanted to learn how to gather and write news effectively and professionally. To do that, I needed to go to a newspaper, which I did in 1966. Another fork in the road. Although I didn’t know it at the time, if I had stayed at the radio station, I might have become general manager, then owner when the Ottaway group of Campbell Hall, N.Y., had to divest itself of its four radio stations in Stroudsburg, Middletown and Oneonta, N.Y., and Cape Cod, Mass. It kept all of its newspapers after the Federal Communications Commission ruled that a company could not own both the only newspaper and radio station in a community. But it all worked out eventually, although it took some 26 years. I worked my way through the chairs of my newspaper — reporter to bureau chief to regional editor, then managing editor, editor, and general manager. In 1992, I was appointed as publisher of The Palladium-Times in Oswego, a position I held until I retired at the end of 1998. Throughout most of the time I was in newspaper work, I also taught high school, then college on a part-time basis. I frequently recall that brief conversation I had with an aunt when I was in fifth grade, and she asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up, Bruce?” I told her I either wanted to be a teacher or involved in the communication business. Who could have figured that I would be doing one or the other or both for the last 57 years — and counting. And it all started by pretending to be a disc jockey making taped “broadcasts” in my parents’ grocery store.

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55+

rockin’

Joanna Palvino

Rockin’ Rochester Seniors Rock Events, Entertainment and Radio Show tailored for 55-plussers By Christine Green

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n 2006, Joanna Palvino experienced a sadly all-too-familiar family crisis. “Grammie,” her husband’s 92-year-old grandmother, fell. She was no longer a young woman and needed lots of help. But Palvino and her family felt very much alone. How can they help her heal and live on her own? Who in the community could help them navigate the complicated world of elder care? “No one knows what to do,” said Palvino. “I didn’t know what to do but I was going to find out.” Palvino started researching ways she could help Grammie, including traveling to California to meet with

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a friend in the elder care industry. Learning about the ins and outs of elder care and life as a senior in America peaked Palvino’s interest in helping not just Grammie but the wider senior community in Rochester. Palvino said she was excited to begin working with the senior community. “My natural curiosity, along with a keen realization that this age wave thing was huge, sparked a passion in me which has never left. I’ve heard people refer to it as being bitten by the ‘senior bug,’” she said. Palvino, 64, was born in Scotland and came first to Toronto, Ontario, Canada as a child, then moved on to Rochester where she grew up, at-

tended East High, and worked for 25 years in advertising and media before retiring in March of 2016. Before Grammie’s fall, Palvino’s only experience with the senior community was a senior talent show she helped coordinate with a local television station. The talent show and her experience helping Grammie provided the background she needed to start an events and entertainment program for area seniors.

Seniors Rock Rochester A friend from the Monroe County Office for the Aging suggested Palvino start out by putting together a fun social event exclusively for area se-


niors. With sponsorship assistance from groups like MVP Health, she organized her first event in 2010 — Seniors Rock Seabreeze. Local seniors could attend a trip to Seabreeze by purchasing a discounted ticket that included gift bags, rides, water slides, and lunch. Over 500 people attended the popular event, and Palvino was thrilled with the outcome. She was extremely excited by the enthusiasm of the senior attendees and said, “Some came on walkers and ended up in the bumper cars by the afternoon.” Thus, Seniors Rock Events, Entertainment & Radio Show was born.

Palvino organized Seabreeze trips a total of three times over the last few years, but she also spearheaded a variety of other events that helped give Rochester seniors and elders the opportunity to be more social. She coordinated senior matinee showings at Geva Theater as well as at The Little Theater in the city. These events also included tables in the lobbies where vendors in the health care and elder care industry could meet with attendees and answer any questions they might have. She also hosted a well-attended casino night at the Port of Rochester in 2011 and set up a “Seniors Rock the Market” booth at the Rochester Public Market.

Joanna Palvino is the founder Seniors Rock Events, Entertainment & Radio Show.

Seniors Rock hits airwaves Palvino has taken her Seniors Rock program to radio with her new show on WYSL 1040. Listeners can now hear Palvino and guests discuss important issues in the senior community at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays or at 5 p.m. on Sundays and by way of a recorded podcast available on the WYSL website — http://www.wysl1040.com/. Each show has various segments including an educational one sponsored by The Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly. Guests have included representatives from local elder care advocacy groups, caregivers, and experts in aging. The discussion is not always serious, though. Palvino adds a light touch and an air of fun by adding interesting music interludes and an entertainment section as well, including representatives from local theater groups, the Susan B. Anthony House, and the Seneca Park Zoo, to name a few. Robert D’Angelo, WYSL’s business manager, said, “The show offers important information on services and resources available to seniors, caregivers and family members. Joanna and her guests often discuss the topic of how seniors can age in place at their home longer. Seniors Rock also highlights events that seniors and their families can enjoy to keep life fun.” Palvino said she is enjoying her time as a radio show host and embraces the “opportunity to cast a wider net and bring important information, as well as area entertainment, to this vastly underserved population through the station.” Palvino and her family aren’t new to the radio scene. Her father-in-law is well-known radio personality Jack Palvino from the heydays of Rochester’s WBBF. Jack was the voice of “America’s Radio Station” from 1958 to 1978. Her husband, John Palvino, is an advertising account manager with iHeart Radio. Palvino said she is excited to be working on plans for future short senior-only trips by bus to local entertainment venues and theaters that offer shows during daytime matinee hours. She will be able to promote the trips through the Seniors Rock Radio show in order to get the word out to as many people as possible. January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+

jobs

Is Consulting for You? Two women ditched their jobs to become successful consultants — and they love it By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

D

o you have what it takes to ditch your day job and become a consultant? Or launch your own consulting business after you’ve retired? That depends. It certainly makes sense to parlay the skills you’ve used for years on your job into a career where you’re at the helm. Dorothy Madden, a 55-plusser, operates Organize It!, a professional organizing service in Rochester. Founding her sole proprietorship grew from her penchant for — you guessed it — organizing. She had been working for Northeastern Retail Lumber Association as an office manager when the organization decided to move to Albany in 1997. She wanted to stay put, so Madden threw herself into preparing for her replacement. Another employee wondered why she wasn’t organizing for other people for a living because Madden was so good at it. “Her comment made me think I should do this,” Madden said. “Organizing is a natural thing for me, to make things more user friendly and efficient.” That’s exactly what she’s been doing ever since, but her success didn’t just fall in her lap. Madden has a master ’s degree in education and had worked as a teacher — all skills she now uses when educating clients. She also joined the National Association of Professional Organizers to learn more about organizing. She researched the Rochester market and learned only one professional organizer served the region at that time. A mentor in the business who was moving out of the area helped Madden write a business 26

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Dorothy Madden, left, and Linda C. Heeler now work as consultants after long careers in different types of industries. They share their experiences in becoming consultants. plan and learn the Rochester market. Madden advises others seeking entrepreneurship to do due diligence to the market (is the service needed in the area?), their passion (do you really, truly want to do this for a living?) and their ability to manage a business. The last item can make all the difference, since not everyone who possesses talent and passion and lives in the right market also possesses the ability to organize, launch and operate a business effectively. Madden felt she lacked sufficient business management acumen and connections, so she joined business organizations to help her build her network and learn. In fact, her first two years, she focused intensely upon networking.

She also needed to educate potential clients on her services, which were fairly new in the late 1990s. Madden thinks that early — and continued — publicity in local media has particularly helped her business, as has maintaining an online presence. In addition to business management skills, sole proprietors need soft skills. “Communication is so important,” Madden said. “You need excellent listening skills. So much is revealed by just your listening.” Though she’s now quite experienced in professional organizing, she still networks with the local chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals twice a year.


She believes the experience helps her stay charged up and refreshed with new ideas. It’s that kind of openness that often draws people like Madden to consulting type of business opportunities. Sometimes opening up the mind to new possibilities comes slowly, as it did years ago for Linda C. Heeler, now 56 and a professional certified coach. Heeler operates Live Inspired Life Coaching in Rochester. She also serves as the incoming president of Rochester Women’s Network. Heeler had been working as a dental hygienist for 25 years and felt “stuck” in her career and life, especially since her children had left the nest. She needed a change. After hiring a career coach in 2008, Heeler realized that coaching was her “purpose and passion,” she said. “I didn’t think about how to set it up as a business.” Like Madden, Heeler began networking and completed training in her new profession. Heeler trained with the International Coach Federation, which provides an accredited coach training program. Heeler had to complete and graduate from the

program, sit for an exam and complete 750 client hours with only 20 percent as pro bono to achieve the credential of professional certified coach. It takes more than skill and passion to launch a business. As with Madden, Heeler needed outside help to learn how to structure and operate her budding company. Greater Rochester SCORE helped her set up the business. “I don’t know what I would have done without SCORE,” Heeler said. Heeler said that many life coaches stay in touch to support each other emotionally and socially, since working as a sole proprietor can become isolating. She encourages others working solo to “find people who can support you to get back up on your feet and get moving again” when they feel defeated. “That support can also mean support in getting out into the community,” Heeler added. “Unless you have a totally online business, you need to create relationships and get out there, especially with coaching, where people want to get to know you before they spend money on your services.”

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12/9/16 10:40 AM


Carolyn Stiffler

Social Security

Q&A

Q: I’m retiring early, at age 62, and I receive investment income from a rental property I own. Does investment income count as earnings? A: No. We count only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains, and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by government pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. You can retire online at www.socialsecurity.gov. For more information, call 1-800772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Q: I have never worked but my spouse has. What will my benefits be? A: You can be entitled to as much as one-half of your spouse’s benefit amount when you reach full retirement age. If you want to get Social Security retirement benefits before you reach full retirement age, the amount of your benefit is reduced. The amount of reduction depends on when you will reach full retirement age. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you can get 35 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction); if your full retirement age is 67, you can get 32.5 percent of your spouse’s unreduced benefit at age 62 (a permanent reduction). The amount of your benefit increases if your entitlement begins at a later age, up to the maximum of 50 percent at full retirement age. However, if you are taking care of a child who is under age 16 or who gets Social Security disability benefits on your spouse’s record, you get the full spouse’s benefits, regardless of your age. Learn more about retirement benefits at www. socialsecurity.gov/retirement.

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55+

cover

Alone and Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

S

By Anne Palumbo

ome things just go together. Bread and butter. Song and dance. Hugs and kisses. But alone and content? Can someone really be single and happy? Yes, says Gwenn Voelckers, founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive empowerment workshops for women and author of the new book “Alone and Content,” a collection of inspiring essays to help divorced and widowed women feel whole and complete on their own. Voelckers, whose own marriage ended in divorce, struggled to find her bearings in the years following the breakup. Feeling lonely and at loose ends, she languished in a funk until her mother took her aside one day and advised her to stop waiting for Prince Charming to give her the meaningful life she desired. “Go create a wonderful life on your own,” her mother encouraged. Since that watershed moment, Voelckers set out to build a life of fulfillment and joy on her own, from purchasing a 19th-century home in need of renovation to getting a puppy to traveling solo abroad. Here, she opens up about her personal journey, shares what led her to develop a workshop series designed to help women learn to live happily on their own, and talks about her new book.

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Q: Let’s start at the beginning: What were those first few years like after your divorce? A: I was pretty miserable. Like every young bride, I had dreams of a beautiful life and happy home with my husband. When the marriage crumbled, those dreams crumbled with it. My loss ran deep. I felt I had failed and my self-esteem took a real nosedive. Truth be told, I went into hiding. I hid in my apartment, I hid in my work, and I hid from myself — not wanting to address the pain and disappointment I felt. Needless to say, my world became very, very small. Q: Sensing your unhappiness, your mother encouraged you to start living again. What were some of the first things you did to get back on track? A: I knew I had to come out of hiding as a first step. I slowly crawled back into life by making one simple change: I started saying “yes.” Yes to a ringing phone, yes to getting together with friends after work, yes to a walk-a-thon, well, you get the idea. And it worked. I gradually rebuilt my social life and network of friends. Now, many years later, I have a life I cherish, full of dear friends, meaningful activities, and peaceful time alone when I want it. Q: You hold empowerment workshops for women. What sparked the desire to hold these kinds of workshops? A: The idea for the workshop came to me while on a solo trip to Paris to celebrate my 50th birthday. At this happy halfway point in my life, I knew I wanted to change things up and give back in some way. So, I began to think about how I could help others. But how? Then it hit me: Perhaps I could help other women find strength and joy again after the end of a relationship. After all, I thought, what I know how to do and do well is live alone. Maybe my experience and insights could benefit others. Goodness knows I could have used help after my divorce. And so I spent time in Paris cafes drafting the workshop curriculum, and the rest is history. I’ve been leading the “Live Alone and Thrive” workshops for over a decade now. 32

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Gwenn Voelcker on the porch of her Mendon home. Q: Who attends these workshops and what can they expect? A: Most of the women who attend the workshop are between 45 and 70, divorced or widowed, and coming out of long-term marriages. Many are on their own for the first time in their lives. My goal is to help them think differently about living alone and the opportunities that come with it. I offer strategies to help women overcome loneliness, socialize in a couples’ world and, most importantly, rediscover who they are. We end with a “letting go” ceremony — a cathartic ritual where each woman symbolically releases a negative thought or behavior that is keeping her from embracing her new life and independence. Q: You encourage women to take control of their finances. What is the single biggest money mistake that women make? A: Doing nothing. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to money matters, and things can spiral out of control pretty quickly if women don’t get a handle on their finances. I was guilty of procrastination myself, but finally mustered the courage to pick up the phone and ask for help. In my workshop, I share trusted resources and personal anecdotes to light a fire under participants. It’s something I feel strongly about. Q: Socializing in a couples’ world can be challenging. How can single

people best navigate it? A: It’s not easy. Couples are everywhere. They’re holding hands, standing in movie lines together, dining out, gazing into each other’s eyes — it’s enough to send a single woman straight back to her TV! Part of what kept me from going out to eat or attending an event alone was my concern about what other people would think. Didn’t I have any friends? Was I undesirable company? Was I on the prowl? Overcoming self-conscious thinking was essential to my moving forward and out of my house. I had to remind myself that most people were thinking about themselves and not judging my singlehood. I share this experience in my book, along with many other tips for venturing out alone. Q: Once women are divorced or widowed, some no longer feel “complete.” What are some ways women can feel complete again? A: I think the key to feeling complete is knowing yourself and then designing a life around who you are and what you love. When that happens, contentment can follow. Many women talk about losing themselves in their care-taking roles as wives and mothers. After years of focusing on the needs and desires of their families, they discover that, somewhere along the way, they have disappeared around the edges.


Alone & Content: Inspiring, Empowerin

“This book is a gift for tho se who live alone !”

Teresa Jackson Live Alone and Thrive Workshop Part icipant

Sally Ward

Certified Prof essional Coach, PCC , CPCC

Their Own

under and facil itator of Live t workshops for women, a ht-after speaker. After her ss and loss to create a life wn. Today, she is dedicated ir independence wenn lives with and feel age in upstate her dog, New York, ent Bed & Brea kfast.

g Essay to Help Divo rced Women Feel Whol e and Complete on

“For anyone who has wondered, ‘W ill I ever be happy aga in?’, Alone and Content’s gentle wisdom and practical insights will light a new and hop eful way forward.”

AND

Inspiring, em powering ess ays to help divorc ed and widowe d women feel wh ole and complete on their own

Gwenn Voelckers

Gwenn Voelcker s

New book by Gwenn Voelckers — “Alone and Content” — discusses topics ranging from overcoming loneliness to surviving the holidays, from dining alone to traveling solo.” They’ve lost their true north. To feel whole and complete, it can be helpful for women to look back on their lives and reacquaint themselves with those things that brought them joy and meaning. Once women get to know themselves all over again, it’s easier for them to feel more in touch with who they are and, importantly, who they want to become. Q: You’ve been single for most of your adult life. Do people ever assume you’re unhappy because you’re still single? A: Oh sure, it happens, but not too often. Most of my friends — even my married friends — envy my freedom and want to know the secret to my happiness. We joke about it. I’m always quick to add, however, that just as being married doesn’t guarantee “happily ever after,” living alone doesn’t guarantee shelter from life’s ups and downs. Q: So, what brings you happiness throughout your days? A: For me, it’s all about feeling connected. I say it all the time: living alone doesn’t mean being alone. We are social animals, meant to be with one another. A perfect day for me includes lots of connections: walking my dog with my sister, chatting with friends by phone or email, band rehearsal or leading my fitness class at the YMCA.

It also includes time connecting with just myself — reading, writing, practicing my percussion pieces or planning my next solo adventure. On my own, I’ve learned that perfect days are not handed to us. We need to create them through connections, which is the art of living alone! Q: You’ve just published a book called “Alone and Content.” What is the book about and who is your audience? A: My book opens with a “How Content Are You?” quiz, followed by a selection of handpicked essays I wrote for “In Good Health,” a popular regional health newspaper. Each essay addresses a challenge I faced after my divorce, when I was struggling to regain my confidence and zest for living. It’s my hope that women who did not intend to be on their own in mid-life will benefit from my experience, advice and messages of hope. Life can and does get better Essay topics range from overcoming loneliness to surviving the holidays, from dining alone to traveling solo. Ideally, readers will be inspired, enjoy a few laughs, and come away with a new attitude and enthusiasm for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Q: Your book is clearly intended for women. Could men also benefit from reading it? A: Absolutely. So much of what I talk about applies to both men and women. Q: How can readers get a copy of Alone and Content? A: My book has been available for purchase since Jan. 1 on Amazon. com in both paperback and Kindle editions. In January and February, I will also be holding book signings and sales in various locations in the area. Several of the book signings are listing in the sidebar; others can be found on my website: www.aloneandcontent.com People can also purchase a book directly from me by emailing gvoelckers@rochester.rr.com or calling 585624-7887. Q: At the end of the day, what have you learned about yourself that you didn’t know until you were alone? A: Oh, so many things! But, primarily, I’ve learned that I’m more re-

silient and resourceful than I thought, and that I could handle whatever life offered up — whether it be a leaky roof, a major purchase, or health emergency. It’s been empowering, actually, and I take great pride in my ability to manage and enjoy this wonderful life on my own. Q: We just had to ask: What are you having for dinner tonight and where will you eat it? A: Pan-seared salmon with a side of broccoli. Then, I’ll treat myself to a scoop of my favorite pistachio ice cream. I’ll be eating at my kitchen table with a section of the New York Times on my left and my dog Scout at my feet. It will be lovely!

Meet the Author: Gwenn Voelckers Schedules Book Signing First-time author Gwenn Voelckers, 63, lives with her dog Scout in Mendon, where she runs her workshops and operates House Content Bed & Breakfast. “Alone and Content” has been available for purchase since Jan. 1 on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions. “Meet the Author” book signings and sales are scheduled for the following locations: • Lift Bridge Book Shop, 45 Main St., Brockport. From 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20. • Mendon Public Library, 22 N. Main St., Honeoye Falls. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25. • Pittsford Farms Dairy, 44 N. Main St., Pittsford. From 3 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27. • Books, ETC., 78 W. Main St., Macedon. From 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3. • Victor Farmington Library, 15 W. Main St., Victor. From 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10. Additional book signings and talks can be found on: www. aloneandcontent.com. Books can also be purchased directly from Voelckers by emailing gvoelckers@rochester.rr.com or calling 585-624-7887. January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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lifestyle Wisdom of SAGE 55+

SAGE of Rochester Advocates for Elderly GLBTQI Community

By Christine Green

T

he atmosphere recently at Rochester’s Out Alliance building was joyful and light as people gathered for SAGE’s Tuesday “Lunch & Learn.” Friends hugged and laughed as they exchanged greetings and caught up on what was happening in each other’s lives. There was a sense of fun, camaraderie, and companionship among the more than 40 people coming together for their weekly lunch and speaker program. Several of the attendees told 55 Plus that SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBTQI — Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Queer, Intersex—Elders) was not only a group that brought people together for social events, but is also a group that helps them be their true and best selves in a world where depression, disease, and discrimination loom large for LGBTQ seniors. The National Center on Aging reports that older LGBTQ adults are at a higher risk for several chronic conditions including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Seniors in the LGBTQ community also have an elevated risk of stress that “often leads to higher rates of smoking, alcohol use, drug use, depression, loneliness, and suicide.” These chronic conditions are a result of the stress and trauma associated with decades of discrimination and societal stigma against the LGBTQ community. As the LGBTQ community ages, these conditions as well as discrimination in medical and elder care settings force many elders back in the closet, making their social isolation and health concerns even more acute.

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SAGE is a national program that started in 1978 in New York City by a group of people who recognized the unique needs of the aging LGBTQ population. Today, there are SAGE affiliates around the country all dedicated to addressing the needs of older LGBTQ adults and their caregivers. SAGE of Rochester (originally Rainbow SAGE) was founded in 2003 and today has over 400 Out Alliance members in its database. According to Jeffrey Myers, managing director at Out Alliance, its SAGE program is growing rapidly as the LGBTQ senior population increases. SAGE offers a multitude of services and activities for its members, including everything from the weekly “Lunch & Learn” program to happy hour meet-ups and bingo nights. Last September, there were over 44 SAGE activities and events in and around Rochester. “Where there is a need, there is always a program,” noted Myers about the variety of programs it offers. SAGE also extends

its services into rural areas and hosts programs in Orleans, Genesee, and Livingston counties. Rochester SAGE members have formed such a bond with each other that when a recent member passed and they received no word from family about funeral services, they held a memorial service themselves to honor their deceased friend. “People find that they need each other here,” said Anne Tischer, fulltime volunteer coordinator of SAGE activities. Member Scott Benz of Honeoye Falls agrees with the sentiment and said, “I feel so comfortable here.” But SAGE doesn’t just offer social programs to its members. They advocate for military veterans to improve their access to Veterans Administration benefits, they check in with members of the community who are homebound or cannot make it to meet-ups and social gatherings, and offer support to LGBTQ caregivers.


They also advocate for LGBTQ cultural competency in nursing facilities and hospitals where LGBTQ seniors are at risk for discrimination and misunderstandings that can lead to poor care or mistreatment.

Safe spaces An important aspect of every educational or social program that SAGE offers is safety. Many LGBTQ seniors were either in the closet in their youth or, if open about their sexuality, their friends and family may have rejected them. In addition, many grew up in a time when being gay in America did not just carry the risk of familial and societal rejection, but it also carried a real threat of danger from a homophobic public. SAGE seeks to create a circle of safety and comfort for everyone who attends its programs. This sense of safety fosters an environment where members feel at home and among a family of chosen friends and advocates. Regina Phillips of Williamson has been coming to SAGE programs for at least two years and loves the safety she feels at the meetings and programs. “I come for the support and because I don’t have to constantly look over my shoulder,” she said. This sense of safety is of the utmost importance. Scott Benz’s husband, John Fudalik, remembers being in a gay bar outside of Buffalo many years ago when someone shot out the windows. He’s glad that at Out Alliance, he can feel safe. Knowing that they are among friends at SAGE events helps Benz, Fudalik, Phillips and others breathe a sigh of relief.

The four goals of SAGE Rochester: • Improve the overall quality of life for LGBTQ seniors • To support and advocate for the rights of LGBTQ seniors • Foster a greater understanding of aging in all communities •  Promote positive images of LGBTQ life in later years

Intergenerational connections Myers and Tischer told 55 Plus that SAGE also seeks to create ties between the different generations of the LGBTQ community not only to educate LGBTQ youth about what is to come in their older years but to foster a sense of pride in LGBTQ history. “Shoulders to Stand On” is a documentary the Out Alliance produced in 2013 about the history of the Rochester LGBTQ community. The film sparked the “Shoulders to Stand On” program that actively seeks to document, archive, and preserve Rochester’s LGBTQ history. The University of Rochester, Cornell University, and the Smithsonian Institute all house SAGE of Rochester’s digital archives. Jeffrey Myers and Anne Tischer of Safe of Andy Hirsch was Rochester. one of the early members of Out Alliance back in the 1970s and was one of the original in Aging” also seeks to educate sereditors of its publication, “The Empty vice providers so they can adequately Closet.” He said there was always a provide elder services to a population strong sense of intergenerational im- they may know little about in terms portance to the work they were doing. of medical care and sensitivity. This “Everything we did was for the includes teaching them about LGBTQ next generation in order to make it history and terminology. Both Myers and Tischer have seen easier for them,” he said. In addition, the SAGE “Pride in seniors in the community blossom Aging” program provides monthly and thrive when they join the SAGE presentations to help the communi- community. For members, SAGE is ty know what’s ahead as they age so more than just an advocacy group they can approach their older years or a social organization. People have with the tools to create a senior life created bonds that extend beyond educational meetings and bingo nights. that is healthy and safe. “Lives are changed by our proPresentations include instructional advice on navigating health grams; we’ve formed a family at care resources, finding health care SAGE,” Myers said. For more information, visit www. providers who are knowledgeable about the unique needs of the LGBTQ gayalliance.org/programs/sagerochelder population, and creating a safe ester/ or call 585-244-8640. home environment to age in. “Pride January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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55+

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egardless how gracefully women try to handle aging, it’s something most of us dread from early adulthood. The proof is in that women as young as their 20s are getting Botox injections with many  more who spend hundreds of dollars a year on anti-aging lotions and potions. But the good news is women can maintain a youthful appearance without undergoing risky and costly injections and surgery or resorting to concoctions that seldom work. 36

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It’s All In The Application Several makeup techniques go a long way toward fine-tuning your features to create a more youthful appearance. So give these a try. • The eyes have it To make your eyes look larger, line the inside of your lower lid with a white or flesh colored eyeliner. Now, brighten up your eye area by dabbing a pale pink, flesh or oyster color shadow to the inside corners of your eyes. Then add a couple more dabs just under your

There are countless products on the market from supplements to lotions and creams that claim to make you look younger. Unfortunately, few hold up to muster. Occasionally, however, there’s one that does the trick. These are a few that do as they claim. • Dermastrips Are you tired of looking at the lines around your mouth? If so, you don’t need to resort to lip injections. Instead, try Angelift Dermastrips. Insert these specially designed rubber strips under your lips along your gum line, and wear them for up to 30 minutes a day. In about four weeks, you’ll see a remarkable improvement. After that, wear them just once a week for maintenance. • Invisible eyelid strips Are your upper eyelids no longer visible because of sagging skin that rests on your eyelashes? Now there’s an easy correction for this. Eyelid strips are made by a several manufacturers. Look for Bynanda Double Eyelid Tape, Eye Magic Instant Eye Lift, or Magic Strips, among others. Just stick these tiny clear strips along the crease of your eyelid, and voila. Your eyelids are now visible and look years younger. • Boots No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum When it comes to anti-aging


lotions, few on the market stand up to their claims. But this clinically proven serum has shown significant improvement in reducing deep lines. It takes about four weeks to see the full results.

Clothing That Compliments The clothing you choose can either add years to your age or it can make you look younger. You just need to know the tricks to make clothing work in your favor. • Out with the black It’s time to banish the black. As you age, black tends to draw attention to the fine lines on your face. Instead, wear colors that compliment you. Everyone looks great in certain colors, so play those colors up. Hold on to your black pants, but keep the black away from your face. This also includes black-framed eyeglasses. Opt for metallics, bright colors, or lighter colored frames. • Keep it stylish, but don’t overdo it. As you age, dressing trendy from

head to toe doesn’t work so well. In fact, it can make you look your age because the style contrasts with your physical maturity. Instead, mix a pair of classic pants and shirt, with a trendy sweater. Or add style to a pair of jeans and a classic top with a pair of trendy boots (so long as they aren’t bulky). Another option is to choose pieces that are mostly classic but have a stylish flair. • Shapers aren’t what they used to be And that’s excellent news. There was a time when most women wouldn’t be caught dead wearing the hideous shapewear that was available to them. But lingerie companies have finally gotten the message and come out with shapewear that’s both sexy and more comfortable to wear. Shapewear can shave years off your image by creating a sleeker look.

Health and Attitude Is Everything Finally, being healthy both mentally and physically goes a long way

The Magazine For Active Adults in the Rochester Area Social Security Options for Divorced Spouses Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

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Where to Downsize in Rochester? We Spoke with Experts

Savvy Senior: ‘Can I Inherit My Parent’s Debt?’

Savvy Senior: Social Security Advice for Soon-To-Be Retirees

The Best New Restaurant in the Country? It’s Right Here in Geneva

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PLUS Issue 49 January / February 2018

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Issue 48 November / December 2017

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Issue 46 July / August 2017

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Simpler Life

Bike Ride

Alone & Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

Rochester-area Adventurers Take on Route 66

Dr. Bill Valenti Rochester physician, a pioneer in the battle against HIV/AIDS, shares in a new book his fight to treat AIDS patients in the early days

Friends bike around Lake Huron: 960 miles in 23 days

Couple leaves everything behind to live a in a tiny home in rural Yates County

Second Act

Helping Refugees

Brockport mayor enjoying politics — after teaching more than 30 years

Traveling Solo Solo Senior Travelers makes journeys a group effort

Homegrown Humanitarian

How Gary Mervis, an underpriviledged kid who grew up in Rochester, turned personal tragedy into a nonprofit that has benefited more 50,000 people from 22 states and 35 countries

Pittsford resident making a difference in the lives of refugees

Retirement Joe Flaherty, founder of Rochester’s Writers & Books group, adjusting to a new life as retiree

You Just Inherited $1 Million. Now What? Financial planner Jim Terwilliger offers 10 steps on what to do if you are the beneficiary of a financial windfall

Susan Suben: 20 Questions to Ask Your Parents

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toward looking and feeling young. If you have a positive outlook on life, it benefits your health. In contrast, anger, stress, and depression are known to increase your risk for diseases. Not to mention, it reflects in your posture and your face. So make exercise a part of your daily routine. A regimen of aerobic exercise for your heart and lungs and weight lifting to keep your bones and muscles strong will help you maintain your youth. Exercise also helps with your mood by releasing endorphins. Remember, whatever methods you choose to create a more youthful appearance, good health and a positive attitude will show and make you glow.

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55+

driving

Driving for Uber Helps Pastor Raise Money for African Country Rev. Jeffery Melvin has been driving for Uber and Lyft. He says the income from his work with ride sharing has enabled him to help various charities By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

M

aking some extra money up to a full living may be as easy as driving your car around town. As of late last June, ride hail companies have been operating in Rochester and elsewhere in Upstate New York. Would-be drivers download the app onto their smart phones and complete the application process, which includes background, driving and criminal record checks. Once they’re approved to drive, they can turn on the app whenever they’re available to drive for anyone who hails them through the app. The app records the mileage and accepts the fares directly from riders. Drivers may accept cash tips. Driving through ride hail apps has enabled the Rev. Jeffery Melvin, senior pastor at Power House Kingdom Cathedral Church of God in Christ in Rochester, to raise enough money to fund construction of a well in Rwanda. Melvin said that the well is especially important since the African country is experiencing a severe drought, even during what should be its rainy season. The large well provides water to 4,000 people daily. Finding time for additional, parttime employment to fund missions would otherwise be difficult for Melvin, who has been a ride hail driver since June. He’s also a senior pastor of Encouragement Centre Church of God in Christ in Buffalo. He also travels a great deal on be38

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half of his congregations. Those experiences introduced Melvin to ride hail services elsewhere. “It’s very safe,” he said. “I think it’s safer than other modes of transportation because of all the background checks.” When talking with drivers, he realized that ride hail driving could provide a means for him to raise funds without neglecting his congregations so he signed up. Melvin said that he drives around 20 hours a week, although not on Sundays and not late on Saturday nights. “I’ve heard of people going fulltime and making $1,000 a week,” Melvin said. He said that drivers who are a “people person” do better than the quiet types. “I am a pastor so I talk for a living,” Melvin said. “The majority of the people ask why you drive and they appreciate getting a safe ride home.” Beyond the stringent checks on drivers, their cars must also meet company standards, such as up-to-date inspection and insurance. Drivers of old cars need not apply; acceptable cars must be within a certain number of years old. Cars must have four doors that open from the inside and outside, have a minimum number of seats and meet safety standards. No beaters are allowed; cars must be in good condition, clean, free of dents and rust and fully functional.

Rev. Jeffery Melvin. Melvin said that when riders check his profile, they can see his 4.96 out of 5 rating and know that they have a good driver available. Melvin’s friendly, chatty ways have netted him more than 250 5-star ratings, which he said “is the biggest compliment.” In addition to maintaining a pleasant conversation, “driving strategically helps. In Rochester, everyone wants to go downtown.” The app uses GPS to aid drivers in finding riders for pick-up and to arrive at their destination efficiently. The app also tracks drivers’ rate of speed, braking, and acceleration to ensure safety. Lyft and Uber both provide insurance for drivers that takes effect whenever the app is on. It’s also important for drivers to feel completely comfortable using apps and GPS. Knowing the town well can also help as occasionally GPS isn’t 100 percent accurate. “The later it gets in the week, the more — jolly, shall we say — the rider may be,” Melvin said. “Just the paternal, protective part of me says it may be better for a male driver as it gets late.” He added that overall, he highly recommends ride sharing; however, would-be drivers should plan to turn on their apps only when they’re ready to drive.


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55+

passion

With a passion for renovating, last year Jerry Serafine spent nearly two months renovating his Rochester restaurant, 2 Vine.

A Restaurateur with a Knack for Renovating Old Buildings Jerry Serafine was hands-on when it was time to renovate his 2 Vine restaurant in 2016. And when he is not busy at his eatery, he is involved in restoring old buildings in Rochester By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

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erry Serafine found success in numerous careers in life. However, his ability to marry his love of renovation and restaurant entrepreneurship continues to create happiness almost two decades later. Serafine owns 2 Vine, 24 Winthrop St. in Rochester, a staple in the community since 1999. He worked on literally building up the business, which was a new construction when it arrived in the area. Even while he was charting different paths earlier in his life, there was always something about the restaurant industry. “I have always loved hosting big dinners and providing people with food and good atmosphere even before I owned a restaurant,” said Ser40

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afine, 62, of Brighton. “It’s something I have been doing since I was young. But it still surprises me when I look back and see how everything has worked out so well.” Serafine started his career in the advertising business and the production business in New York City, where he produced commercials and created concepts for music videos. Sometimes creating one music video would take 24 to 36 hours of straight work. It was exciting and exhausting. However, the workload, the hustle, the industry eventually began to take its toll on him. While he was attempting to avoid burning out in one area of his life, in the back of his mind, being a restaurant owner remained. He

had remained connected to his roots in Rochester and kept driving around the building where 2 Vine exists. And he just couldn’t get it off of his mind. “It just seemed like a good location to start something new. And it matched with my mentality because at that time in my life, I needed something new,” said Serafine. Then in 1999, he joined forces with Jerry Vorrasi, who owned Brasserie at Eastman Place. Together they built up the reputation of 2 Vine. Serafine eventually took sole ownership over the restaurant in 2003. “Jerry [Serafine] has a wonderful talent, as he thoughtfully takes historic structures and restores their charm while bringing them up to date,” said


Mark Siwiec, of Rochester, a loyal customer. “He appreciates the importance of renovating our city’s beautiful buildings while ensuring the integrity is always kept.”

Continuous changes Every industry must shift. Keeping an eye on dining trends, he noticed guests were looking for restaurants that had the quality of a fine dining restaurant yet didn’t always want to spend an incredible amount of money. He looked at how he could combine great ambiance with good prices, continuing a goal to keep the restaurant fresh and evolved. “We could see that people really enjoy going out more than ever before, especially the younger generation. I see them out in our restaurants far more than I saw a decade ago,” said Serafine. “But they want a more casual feel and they definitely want it to be more affordable. They don’t want to feel like you have to get all fancy and dress up just to have a meal.” While Rochester fares comparable with much larger cities as a foodie haven, Serafine noticed a distinctive difference. He said people are willing to spend more money in bigger population areas, and because there are more people, there can be an expansive array of restaurants from lower priced fare to expensive. “A restaurant in our region, people don’t want to just drop $300 to $400 on dinner. They don’t want to just spend $100 on a bottle of wine. That might work in New York City because of the size of their population. We wanted to make things more affordable and just make our restaurant more approachable.” Some of the ways he does that is looking for high quality, different cuts of meats that are not at the highest price as well as searching for excellent wine selections that are priced closer to the norm. His restaurant also has been doing farm-to-table for years, a social movement which promotes local food at restaurants and school cafeterias being purchased directly from the producer. That may include a winery, brewery, ranch, fishery or farm. The term farm-to-table celebrates the idea of knowing where your food comes from. The restaurant

When he’s not at the restaurant, Serafine likes to spend his time renovating old homes and commercial buildings. He is currently in the process of renovating an old home, restoring it to its original state. Photos courtesy of Mary Camblin-Dandino. also focused on making more items that are gluten-free, vegan, nut-free and other dietary exceptions. “We have gotten positive responses for our selections,” added Serafine. “We didn’t have to sacrifice quality to make ourselves more assessable.” In his spare time Serafine renovates old homes and commercial buildings, restoring them to their original state. He took that love of creating something new to revamp the restaurant. Then in 2016, he wanted a more modern look for the restaurant and oversaw a complete renovation of the restaurant in less than two months. “We really did a genuine remodel that we were very proud of,” said Serafine. ”The restaurant was refurnished, wood floors replaced tile, walls were knocked down so it could create a larger open concept. “The renovations at 2 Vine are stunning,” said Siwiec. “In just five weeks and with his own two hands, Jerry took a well-known space and revamped the restaurant to a clean and beautiful design with an open and airy feel with lots of natural light. The new 2 Vine is a classic restaurant that reminds me of a hot spot you would find in Tribeca.” Another change he has seen is the growth of the food industry being elevated to social awareness. Celebrity chef shows such as Hell’s Kitch-

en, Top Chef, Iron Chef, Master Chef and Food Network Stars has done for cooking what Dancing With the Stars did for ballroom dancing. “We found that a lot more people are going into the restaurant business as a chef as a real career path,” said Serafine. “ He continued to improve the restaurants in various ways. It ranged from starting demonstrations from winemakers, growers, guest chefs, menu advancements, roasting its own coffee to increased presence on social media. “The restaurant business changes every day and you have to change with it,” said Serafine.”It changes every day.” Well, his customers have agreed with many of his changes throughout the years. “I have been a regular at 2 Vine since it opened, and even after all these years, it still remains my favorite place to dine in Rochester,” said Lauren Dixon, CEO of Dixon Schwabl, an advertising agency in Rochester. “The restaurant is located in such a beautifully restored, historic building that equally complements its high-quality, delicious food and impeccable service. For 18 years, 2 Vine has been one of Rochester’s most loved and wellknown restaurants, and it has earned that coveted spot for a reason.” January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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books

Diane Rivoli writes in her living room in Greece, on a desk piled with plot notes and reminders. She has printed one novel, “License,” and a book of poetry.

A License to Express Greece resident uses novel way to generate book idea By John Addyman

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t was a snowstorm like no other. Everyone who has lived in this area for a certain amount of time has a reference to one of those grin-and-bear-it whiteouts — the memorable lake-effect monsters that Mother Natures uses to teach us all humility. Diane Rivoli has a little different view of one such a snowstorm, one that changed her life. Four years ago, she was battling to get to her job as office manager at North Creek Woodworks downtown. “It was a Rochester snowstorm, and we’re going five miles an hour. I’m sitting behind the same car for a long time. It took me 20 minutes to get to work normally. It probably took me an hour and a half to get to work 42

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that day. “So, I’m sitting behind this car and it has ‘ARZ’ on the license plate. So, the word Arizona pops into my head. Being me, I’m singing all the time. When I’m driving, I’m singing. I start singing a song, using the word ‘Arizona’ to the theme from the old Gilligan’s Island TV show. I’m going on and on and on. “Then I’m thinking, I can grab letters off other license plates, and the words, they popped into my head. And I thought, ‘I can make more sentences, and hey, I could write a short story.’ “It became an obsession. Every time I went anywhere and I saw a license plate in a parking lot or a driveway, anywhere, I’m thinking of the

words that the license plate made. And I made a big list — 106 words.” Rivoli next categorized the words into separate lists – foods, places, names, nouns, and verbs. “Then I wrote a short story,” she said. “I liked it so much that I couldn’t stop.” After 18 months, Rivoli, 62, of Greece, became two things — retired and a published author. She had turned her living room into a writing office, complete with a nearby karaoke machine for added inspiration. The short stories and poems triggered by her license plate adventures became a book, “License.” She had it published, and along the way learned a lot of lessons about what it’s like to become an author. “I had so much fun,” she said. “I followed those license plate words wherever they led me. I didn’t know where I was going, what the story was going to end up being about, I didn’t know when I was going to end. Finally, I knew I was done. My


son Joshua illustrated the cover, and there we were.” But after six months of trying to sell the book to an agent who would present it to a publisher, Rivoli was nowhere. “I probably sent out 100 query letters,” she said, the exasperation still vivid. “What you have to do first is get an agent. I was hoping for an agent. Then you have to hope for the agent to get to a publisher. I didn’t get anywhere with that. Nobody snatched me up.” An unpublished book sitting in a box is like a baby waiting to be born. Sometimes you have to induce labor. “I decided to self-publish,” Rivoli said. She didn’t go to a “vanity” publishing house, but found an Amazon affiliate, CreateSpace. “I liked the way their website was laid out. When I sent a question, I got an answer right away. The pricing was good. I just liked everything about them,” Rivoli said. She could get her book printed, with Joshua’s cover, for about $5 (including shipping) and she could order as many — or few — as she wanted. Her first order was for just 20 books. Since then, she’s had about 200 printed.

Birth of a novel Now the baby was born. Time to send out the announcements. Rivoli discovered that marketing a book was difficult and time-consuming. She had been a shy person for most of her life — except when singing karaoke — and now she had to sell her book and herself. “Marketing was hard, and I tried so hard,” she said. Rivoli did radio shows (including Brother Wease). “I did book signings and readings at multiple places. I was a featured reader at the Genesee Reading Series sponsored by Writers and Books on University Avenue downtown. I made a presentation for the town of Greece at “Time Out for Women.” I’m going to do another one in January. GreeceNewsNY.com printed my book, chapter by chapter.” She also sent about 40 copies of her book to reviewers. “It was so disappointing — 95

Diana Rivoli of Greece has published two books — “License,” a novel, and “Every Moment is a Poem, Every Poem is a Song,” a book of poetry. Both are available through Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Lift Bridge Books in Brockport and Simply NY Gift Shop on Culver Road near Seabreeze Amusement Park. percent don’t contact you, don’t even acknowledge they received your copy.” Now that she has one book under her belt, will she try to go the route using a traditional publisher for her next novel, which is about a third finished. “I was at a book fair at Barnes & Noble and some other authors were there. Some had used trade publishers, some were self-published,” Rivoli said, “One woman had written a book about her deaf dog. She had a traditional publisher and I asked her about it. “She said, ‘I wish hadn’t done it through a trade publisher. I wish I had self-published.’ She didn’t like what they did, and she still was promoting the book herself. ‘My book is doing very well,’ she told me, ‘but if I had self-published, I would have made more money, and I’m still the one doing most of the marketing.’” That made me say to myself, ‘Well look at that! Why do I want to use a traditional publisher?’” Rivoli’s second novel is going slowly, although she printed her book of poetry right after “License.” “I write every day,” she says, and

her muse is restless. “I have the computer in the living room. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night and stand at the kitchen counter and write ideas on a piece of paper,” she said. “I have a little notepad in the caddyin my car, and I pull over and write notes. Some days I’ll get up first thing in the morning and start to write. Other days, I’ll do the laundry or garden and then start writing.” She thinks the writing is bringing something out of her, something she wants to share. “’License’ is a very emotional book,” she says. “It’s going to make you laugh, make you cry, make you think. I’ve gotten lots of good reviews. I’m very proud of it. I have become a different person. Perhaps it was simply that I have become bold enough to let the person I had always been out, ready finally to seize the glory of my day.” Now she wants people to notice; to see what she sees through the words that started life on license plates. “You have to have hope,” she said. “You can’t lose those high hopes or you won’t try at all. Any break can be the break for me. You never know.” January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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visits

55+

Winter Explorations in Niagara Wine Country Wineries, Medina village offer seasonal fun and festivities By Katie DeTar

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hile winter may seem like an unlikely season to explore Western New York, this time of year presents an opportunity to experience the Niagara Wine Trail in a new and unique way. Snow-covered landscapes set the scene to learn about local wines, browse boutique shops and enjoy seasonal special events along routes 18 and 104 in Niagara and Orleans counties. Charming towns and surprising lodging options throughout the region complement a beautiful and delicious getaway to Niagara wine country.

Local Wines The Niagara Escarpment — a limestone ridge that runs through Western New York and beyond — creates an ideal growing region for apples and grapes. The fruits benefit from the rich soil, and from a microclimate influenced by Lake Ontario, creating more moderate temperatures compared to the surrounding areas. Winemakers at the 22 Niagara Wine Trail member wineries are taking advantage of these growing conditions, similar to those experienced in the famed Burgundy region of France, and creating local wines that are gaining national and international attention. Ice wine is a regional favorite made famous by Canadian wineries in nearby Ontario. The grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine, and then are quickly harvested in cold winter temperatures, usually in late Decem44

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ber or early January. The grapes are then pressed and fermented into a sweet, syrup-thick wine that’s delicious as a dessert. New York state is one of a few select wine regions in the world where the conditions are right for ice wine. At Leonard Oakes Estate Winery in Medina, the vidal blanc ice wine is golden in color, with aromas of peach and honey. Ice wine can be found at a number of wineries along the Niagara Wine Trail and is a great addition to a holiday table or dessert party. While the region is traditionally known for its Concord and Niagara grapes, local winemakers grow vinifera grapes and produce European-style wine, gaining national accolades. Freedom Run Winery in Lockport is known for its pinot noir, a variety not typically associated with the Niagara region. Recent summers have been hot and dry enough to produce a vibrant grape harvest perfect for bold red wines. Other famed varieties including riesling, pinot gris, chardonnay, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc are all produced along the Niagara Wine Trail.

A Charming Village along the Wine Trail Founded in 1832 along the banks of the Erie Canal, the village of Medina is home to well-preserved 19th-century homes, buildings and churches. The once industrial center is undergoing a renaissance, attracting entrepreneurs who are investing in historic preservation and creative

Scott Donovan of Black Bird Cider Works in Barker along the Niagara Wine Trail. The business claims to be Niagara County’s first sole craft hard cider producer. Nestled on a beautiful farm overlooking Lake Ontario, it produces hard ciders made from apples grown in its own estate orchard. business pursuits. Bryan and Larissa DeGraw opened 810 Meadworks in 2014 after moving to Medina from New Jersey. The couple was attracted to the village’s renewed vibrancy and have since built a successful business around mead, a wine-like beverage fermented from honey. The tasting room, located just off Main Street and open year-round, is cozy and inviting, ideal for enjoying one of their creative mead-based cocktails. A short walk from the meadery, new village boutiques sell women’s clothing, chocolates, housewares


and antiques, while long-standing shops anchor a thriving Main Street. Blissett’s Specialty Shop, in business for more than 70 years, sells formal and bridal wear as well as baby and children’s clothing and accessories. The shop hearkens back to the era of downtown department stores and high-end customer service. Strolling through Rosenkrans Pharmacy and The Book Shoppe, both on Main Street, continues the nostalgic feeling with gifts and books displayed in inviting settings. Medina is famous for its Medina Sandstone, first quarried during the construction of the Erie Canal in the 1820s. This strong and durable building material was shipped all over the world for use in famous sites including Buckingham Palace and the Brooklyn Bridge. Historic markers note the use of the sandstone locally in churches and buildings throughout the downtown historic district.

Seasonal Events For a romantic outing in February, visit the wineries along the trail for the Be Mine with Wine event, Saturdays and Sundays, Feb. 10-11 and 17-18. One presale ticket covers tastings and chocolate pairings at 10 wineries. Details for all events are available at niagarawinetrail.org.

Dining & Lodging Restaurants along the wine trail focus on seasonal and local produce, taking advantage of the bounty of farm products found throughout the Niagara region. Becker Farms in Gasport is home to a bakery, brewery and winery. Sunday brunch features the farm’s products and pairs well with their house-made wines. The Shamus restaurant in Lockport, blends the comfort or an Irish pub with the cuisine of an upscale bistro. On Main Street in Medina, Zambistro restaurant focuses on crafting house specialties while putting their own spin on classic fine dining. The Hart House Hotel in Medina offers seven beautifully decorated rooms on the third floor of a historic former shirt factory in the village. Each room reflects one of the many famed customers; the Churchill room appears as an English manor house, while the Bob Hope room has a hint of 1970’s Los Angeles. For a unique overnight on the shores of Lake Ontario, plan ahead to stay at the 30 Mile Point Lighthouse at Golden Hill State Park in Barker. Reserved through the parks department, the second floor of the lighthouse is a fully furnished, three-bedroom former light keeper’s home, rentable nightly through the winter months.

Samples of wines produced by Black Bird Cider Works.

Freedom Run Winery in Lockport is known for its pinot noir, a variety not typically associated with the Niagara region. Here a couple samples some of the wines produced by the business. January / February 2018 - 55 PLUS

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addyman’s corner By John Addyman

Buried Alive

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Break out the shovels: Countering winter’s wily ways is challenge in and of itself

hey’re waiting in the garage. Hung up since last April, they have been patient. There’s a blue one, a couple of red ones, a black one and an orange one. When I go into the garage, they rustle, like dry leaves on a tree, anticipating. They sense my coming and going. They watch. They know. Now, at this time of year, they delight. They anticipate that I am going to embrace them, spend time with them and need them. Yes, we’re talking about snow shovels here.

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I haven’t named any of them yet, but we are close, the snow shovels and I. My snow shovels and I have two favorite times to enjoy together — early morning and late at night. I kind of hate the morning sessions because they mean: A. That I am out of bed and outside at an earlier hour than I’d prefer; and B. It means when I get to the end of my driveway I can see all the other people who have to go to work driving by, all of them smugly thinking, “My driveway is clear, HA HA!”

In my life, I didn’t do a lot of snow shoveling until I got married and we were in our first house. When I was young, my asthma was so bad that I couldn’t do much shoveling without bringing on a full-fledged attack. It was something by father gritted his teeth and bore while he did all the shoveling. I didn’t do any shoveling in college, and none when we lived in apartments. In our first house, in southeastern Pennsylvania, we didn’t have to do much shoveling until we got a 40-inch snowfall that blocked


our street completely for days. I have photos of my wife and our first-born standing in the shadow of a six-foot wall of snow along our driveway. We moved all of that with shovels a lot of years ago. We then moved to Upstate New York — near Albany — our first week there we had 30-some inches of snow and it took us a day to clear a very short driveway. We lived in an apartment for a little bit of time, then we took possession of our new home, where, when I went outside to shovel in the dead of winter, in 10-degree temperatures, I did it with just a light sweater on. I was told we had “dry cold” in the shadow of the Helderberg Mountains, so I didn’t have to get bundled up. I had the same response to everyone who told me that: “You’re nuts.” Now that we’re in Finger LakesLake Ontario area, living in the village of Newark, I have found two things to really dislike: lake effect and snow plows. When we moved here, I was told to get a snow blower. I pictured that thing not starting on the very morning I needed it most, so I bought an electric snow thrower, which is light and quite efficient. Problem is, it will only handle about seven inches of snow. But the snow it does gobble up, it really throws — more than 20 feet if it’s the light stuff. But when we have lake-effect snow, with a lot of wind, I have to use that snow thrower pretty often because the snow piles up quickly, and

Targeting active adults all over the

Rochester region!

the wind moves it around. So, I might be out a couple of times at night in the height of a storm.

Man versus nature There’s a line from an old Jim Croce song, “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” where you’re warned about spitting into the wind. Croce could have written another verse about not snow-throwing into a lake-effect wind. The first time I got out on my driveway and tried to battle the storm, I lost. I also lost the feeling in my hands, feet and face, and I couldn’t see. The snow was blowing out of the snow thrower, yes, then blowing right back into my face. Because of the swirls and eddies of the wind coming around the corner of our house, I couldn’t escape it. When I took a break and went back into the house, my wife jumped in her seat when she saw me. What she remembered going out the door to deal with the snow isn’t what walked back in 45 minutes later. I was white from head to toe, my beard was frozen and I had ice on my eyes and in my ears. “Oh, my goodness!” she said. I started to say something, but my face cracked the ice shield I’d acquired. “I think I’ll take a break,” I said. “Good idea,” she told me. “Don’t come into the kitchen until you get some of that snow off you.” As I got more experience, I learned to pick my spots with the snow thrower and lake-effect snowSocial Security Options for Divorced Spouses Financial Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

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55 PLUS Issue 49 January / February 2018

For Active Adults in the Rochester Area

Alone & Content Gwenn Voelckers, founder of ‘Live Alone and Thrive’ workshops, talks about her new book and reveals her secrets to happiness

Rochester-area Adventurers Take on Route 66

storms. I can now normally do the whole driveway and not come back into the house looking like a yeti. Then there are the snowplows. We have great guys in Newark and they do a wonderful job of clearing the roads. But one guy seems to have it in for me. He goes down our street on the far side, then turns around and comes back. And when he does this, he picks up speed along the whole way so that by the time he gets to my driveway, he’s really cooking. He then hits the brakes right after my driveway. Because he’s built up some momentum, the plow doesn’t deposit the street snow on the first couple of feet in my driveway; I’ve got pieces thrown 10 feet back, covering the sidewalk, too. That plowed snow is heavy and has all kinds of little surprises in it that my snow thrower can’t handle. So the shovels come out, and I can spend a lot of time clearing a path through the last four feet of my driveway. I mumble to this snowplow driver at moments like that, out in the darkness, when I’m wondering if this is the shovelful that puts me in the hospital. I wish him and his family well. I wish that when he comes down my street in the next snowstorm, his wife will call just at that moment and tell him to bring home some eggs and milk from Wegmans, so he’ll have to slow down to write that down as he passes my house. And I’ll mumble one more thing to him in my thoughts: “Don’t forget the bread.”

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long-term care By Susan Suben

The Truthful Facts Pose a Challenge Cost of long-term care is rising. Will you be able to afford it?

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think many of us 55 and over youngsters remember the show “Dragnet.” The show’s trademark opening narration was — “Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true.” Joe Friday, the show’s quintessential police detective, had a famous line as well — “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.” Well, I’m here to tell you the truth about long-term care and challenge you to plan for it. For as long as I have been writing this column, I have tried to impress upon you that the rising costs of longterm care make it a very real risk in retirement. We know that every year, everything increases in cost — groceries, movie tickets, a cup of coffee. But I don’t think I have ever really given you hard facts about the cost of home care, assisted living and nursing home care based upon empirical evidence. Each year, Genworth, a long-term care insurance carrier that has been in the LTC insurance business for over 30 years, conducts its cost of care survey. The company recently released its 2017 findings. I would like to share these findings with you in an effort to stress your need to plan for the future. First, the methodology. Care Scout, a Genworth company, contacted more than 47,000 providers to complete more 15,000 surveys of home care, adult day care, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Every state is represented and the survey feedback determined the median cost of care in each geographical location. In addition to the current costs, the survey shows how the cost of care changed since 2016 and the five-year annual growth. Under the umbrella of home care,

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Genworth looked at homemaker services and home health aides provided through non-Medicare certified, licensed agencies. Homemaker services include cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands and general upkeep of the home. Home health aides offer personal care with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing. The national median hourly rate is $21 for homemaker services. This is a 4.75 percent increase over 2016 and the five year annual growth is 3.08 percent. The national median hourly rate for a home health aide is $22 which is 6.17 percent higher since 2016 and the annual five year growth is 2.5 percent.

For adult day care, the national median daily rate is $70 which is a 2.94 percent increase since 2016 and a 2.79 percent increase over five years. The national median rate for assisted living averages $3,750 per month, which is a 3.36 percent increase over 2016 and a 2.59 percent increase over five years. The national median rates for a semi-private and private room are substantially lower than the costs in the Rochester area, which I will outline below. They average $235 and $267 with a 4.44 percent and 5.50 percent increase since 2016 and a five year annual growth of 3.28 percent and 3.76 percent. How does this compare with the


cost of care in Rochester? The average hourly rate for homemaker services is $25 and $26/hour for home health aides. The daily rate for adult day care is approximately $90. The monthly rate for assisted living is $3,975 ($132 per day). The monthly rate for a semi-private nursing home room is $10,737 ($294 per day) and $12,799 ($426 perday) for a private room. Now that your mind is swimming with all of these facts, why should this be important to you? All of this information is invaluable for several reasons. Most importantly, if you know your assets and what the cost of LTC is and expected to be, can you afford to ignore this risk and pay out-of-pocket? The survey makes second guessing unnecessary. When considering long-term care coverage through a stand-alone LTC insurance policy or a life insurance policy with LTC component, one of the features you have to be cognizant of is inflation protection. Today, the gold standard for inflation protection is 3 percent compound which is well below the 5 percent compound that was the most chosen inflation factor up to about five years ago. Is 3 percent compound inflation protection adequate? According to the figures above, it is as long as you are prepared to do some cost sharing which most people are in order to keep insurance premiums manageable. If you plan on moving to another state, long-term care could cost substantially more or less than your current location and this can have a dramatic effect on the purchase of a LTC planning product in terms of affordability and cost-sharing. The Genworth study provides a map of all 50 states with the median cost of care. So take this information to heart and be proactive. Long-term care is expensive and certainly requires planning. Accept the challenge to be prepared for your future.

Susan Suben is a senior certified adviser and 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 susansuben@31greenbush.com.

Not Feeling Half My Age Anymore… By James Morabito

U

ntil about 10 months ago, I had been telling my doctors that I felt great. For a guy in his 60s, I had been saying that I felt like I was half my age. I was walking about an hour a day, I had lost about 40 pounds, I had lots of energy, and I had nothing to complain about. One day, in my brother’s office, I opened my mouth to talk, and everything that came out was nonsensical garbage, not even real words. At first, as he looked at me, my brother thought something was wrong with his hearing. “Wait. Are you trying to talk? Sit down. I think you are having a stroke,” he said. He called my doctor, who told him to rush me to the hospital immediately, and not even wait for an ambulance. It was a stroke. Intellectually, I knew that such things happened to people, obviously, but there is something very sobering about having it happen to you. You can’t help but feel older when you have a medical event most people associate with older people. My recovery was quick and easy, and the holiday season went well. In January, something very unusual happened that was unrelated to the stroke. My pulse was about three times its normal rate. In order to solve the problem, I had what is called a cardioversion, during which your heart is shocked in order to stop it, and then shocked again in order to reset its rhythm. The procedure was successful. The problem was that during the procedure itself, I kept waking up, and the doctors had to keep giving me more anesthetic in order to do what they had to do. As a result, I have been suffering from about several days of amnesia. I don’t remember the lead up to the cardioversion, the cardioversion itself, or the aftermath.

Surmounting obstacles To make matters worse, my wife had to rush me to the hospital for another suspected stroke, and I don’t remember any of that either. Now on new medicines, I have been light-headed for the last week or so, and yesterday I had a kidney stone, which is a very painful experience. What is the point of all of this? Clearly, I am not feeling half my age anymore. The last couple of months have given me insight into the kinds of suffering and problems that people go through, and it has all been beneficial. I have more empathy for others even more than I thought I had before. The kinds of inconveniences and suffering that older people and the handicapped have on a daily basis means a lot more to me now. A great many people need a lot of courage just to get through the challenges of their day. As my 91-year-old Dad says, “It takes guts to get old.” I think I was always a nice, friendly person, but now I make a point of saying sincere, nice things to people in public. I tell people that they look nice, or that they are doing a good job, or that their children are cute. I pay more attention to handicapped people, smile at them, and try to see if they are OK as they maneuver through public places. There is some truth to the saying, “If you have your health, you have everything.” On the other hand, my recent health problems have made me a better person. James Morabito is a Western New York businessman, who stays optimistic in the face of challenges.  He writes for www. robertsons.website.

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By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

Robert Boeckman, 73 A lifelong cat owner and a president of Pet Pride talks about how important it is for people to maintain a pet at home Q: What is Pet Pride of New York, Inc.? A: It is a nonprofit organization that focuses on no-kill cat shelter. We provide shelter and care for as many homeless or unwanted cats as possible without overcrowding, in a facility suited to the cats’ age and condition. We provide immediate and preventive health care for all cats in our care, including testing for feline leukemia and vaccination against diseases. Our adoption contracts include the provision for returning the animal in an extenuating circumstance so that the cat never again finds himself without a home. Q: How did you get involved in the organization? A: My wife and I have had cats for a long time. We have been married for 42 years and it has always been part of our lives. We knew we always wanted to have cats in our home. Then when we moved to the Victor area, we heard about this organization and wanted to be part of it. We first joined in the mid-1990s. Q: What do you like about cats? A: There is a myth that cats are aloof, off-putting and not friendly, but that is not even close to being true. They are some of the most loyal and affectionate animals you can imagine. They sometimes bind themselves to you so much that they grip to you with their claws because they want to be close to your presence. You become their mothers and they attach their affection and socialness to you. They really are social animals. We have six cats ourselves in our 24-acre land so our cats spend time indoors and outdoors. Q: What tips do you have for new owners? 50

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A: We tell owners that the first three to six months, it is important to really have a connection to your new cat because they really want to be bonded with you. Cats strive on affection and they require you to pay attention to them. A lot of their misbehavior comes from not paying attention or if they are just bored. Or it comes from them being stir crazy. They really want to spend a lot of time with you. They are great companion animals. Q: Why do you think pets in general are important for seniors? A: It’s an incredible experience for seniors to have animals. They become your children and part of your family. Many times seniors have lost their spouse or their children and g r a n d c h i l d re n live far away. Even when they live close they don’t get

to see them every day. An animal becomes a great companion. They have personalities just like you and they can tell when you are happy and, more importantly, they can tell when you are unhappy. They provide a comfort level for you and they can fulfill an inner need of closeness that everyone wants. It is almost therapeutical to have an animal. They can even sense when you are not feeling well. Cats especially have an incredible sense of smell. And as a chemistry professor at the University of Rochester, it is known that people emit a certain scent when they are not feeling well. Animals can comfort you during that time. We have a cat in the shelter called Kipper who we take to nursing homes and our seniors absolutely love it when they see Kipper. Q: What are some of the future goals for Pet Pride? A: We of courses want to grow and help even more cats. Our long term goal is to build a facility that can handle an incredible amount of cats because there are a lot of them that still need homes. In too many other situations outside of our organization, you have cats that are being euthanized. We currently have room for 41 cats; 26 adults and 15 kittens. We a l w a y s make sure that we can care for all the animals in our care.

In addition to being the president of Pet Pride of New York, Inc. and chairman of its board of directors, Bob Boeckman of Mendon is the Marshall D. Gates professor of chemistry at University of Rochester.


I’m ready to live. That’s why I’m making the move—while I’m still young enough to enjoy the pool, the fitness center, the excursions, dining, entertainment and all the friendly people. Lots of people my age want to slow down. Not me, I’m just getting started.

Caring for the Most Important People on Earth To schedule a tour of St. Ann’s Community at Chapel Oaks and enjoy a complimentary lunch for two, call Al Brumagin at (585) 697-6606.


To get where you want to go financially, you have to know where you are now. It’s more important than ever to plan for your future now. Are you saving enough money for retirement? Are you prepared in case of a life-changing event? If you’re not sure, talk to one of our trusted, non-commissioned advisors—including 11 CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals—today. They can assess your financial situation to ensure that your current plan is on track to meet your goals.

Contact Wealth Advisor Jim Terwilliger, CFP ®, at (585) 419-0670, ext. 50630, to schedule an appointment today.

CNBank.com/Wealth | (585) 419-0670 Investments are not bank deposits, are not obligations of or guaranteed by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust, and are not FDIC-insured. Investments are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Rochester 55 #49 jan feb 2018  
Rochester 55 #49 jan feb 2018  
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