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The I N






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VOL.24, NO.11

Serving pancakes & community


I N S I D E …


By Barbara Ruben Each Christmas morning, as many families are opening presents around their tree, more than 900 guests pour into the Original Pancake House locations in Falls Church, Va., and Bethesda, Md. The restaurants aren’t open to the public that day, but the patrons tucking into platters of pancakes, eggs and bacon aren’t traditional customers, either. Owners Jeff and Jane Bulman open their doors to homeless and disadvantaged guests each Christmas for a free breakfast, complete with table service. They even use the restaurant’s regular plates and utensils rather than the throwaways many shelters use. Dozens of volunteers bring out the food and bus tables during the decade-old event. Santa sometimes makes an appearance, and choral groups sing holiday music. “It’s tremendous, not only from the aspect of providing a place [on Christmas Day] for people who don’t have a place to be, but also for the volunteers and kids of the volunteers,” said Jane Bulman, 66. “It’s really important for [young people] to develop an interest in helping others and recognize they’re fortunate in what they have,” Bulman continued. “I think everybody enjoys it. Everybody gets something positive out of it. That’s in essence why we do it.” The Bulmans also collect donations of winter clothing for their Christmas guests in their three restaurants (they have another location in Rockville, Md., that doesn’t host a Christmas breakfast). Volunteers knit hats and scarves for the guests as well. During the rest of the year, the Bulmans’ Original Pancake House restaurants devote one Thursday a month to raising money for local nonprofits, such as Manna Food Center and the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington. On those days, 15 percent of sales goes to the designated organization. They are now looking at expanding the program to give money to local schools. When they redecorated the restaurants, the Bulmans gave the used chairs to A Wider Circle, a nonprofit in Silver Spring, Md., that provides furniture to those transitioning from shelters to their own homes and to others who cannot afford to buy their own furniture. “It’s a cliché to say you want to give back

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Costa Rica’s myriad natural wonders; plus, avoiding holiday travel price gouging, and your rights when there’s no room at the inn page 49


Jane and Jeff Bulman show off a plate of pancakes outside their Original Pancake House location in Bethesda, Md. The Bulmans provide a free Christmas breakfast for homeless and disadvantaged area residents at two of their restaurants each year.

to the community, but actually, you need to do this,” Jeff Bulman, 70, said of the charitable work he does through his restaurants.

Becoming restaurateurs More than 20 years ago, Jeff told Jane that he wanted to buy into the Original Pancake franchise, which now has about 110 restaurants throughout the country. The economy in the late 1980s was bad, and Jeff wanted a change from his career working in wholesale office furniture. Jane, a social worker, wasn’t so sure. “I initially was resistant,” she recalled. “I knew it was a 24-hour job and our kids were young, and there’s no guarantee with restaurants. Many don’t succeed; you’re

lucky if they do. I thought it was a tremendous investment emotionally and physically,” she said. But after taking their two children on a tour of the meager breakfast offerings available at the time near their Bethesda home, they decided the area was ripe for a restaurant that served a variety of breakfast foods, along with sandwiches and other lunch items. Jeff went to the company’s corporate headquarters in Oregon for an intensive crash course in running an Original Pancake House. When he came back and opened his restaurants, he first worked See PANCAKES, page 41

A transformative Pygmalion at Washington Stage Guild; plus, Tom Wolfe talks about his new novel, and Bob Levey get passionate about WWII page 55

FITNESS & HEALTH 3 k Is your online pharmacy legit? k A bull market for testosterone SPOTLIGHT ON AGING k Newsletter for D.C. seniors


LIVING & THRIVING 27 k Montgomery County pull-out section VOLUNTEERS & CAREERS


LAW & MONEY k Test your financial literacy




N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Appreciation time It’s definitely feeling like fall around here. comes as the Vic Jose Award is prominently And with Thanksgiving not far away, autumn placed in the office of our managing editor, Barbara Ruben, whose efalways feels like a good time to forts have so much to do with think about appreciation. our winning that award. I have a number of things We have long submitted arto be thankful for this fall, not ticles in the National Mature the least of which is our staff Media Awards writing comhere at the Beacon. And appetition, perhaps the most parently I’m not the only one prestigious of the competiwho thinks they are doing a tions for publications in our wonderful job. niche. This is the competition In the last month, three nathat is often swept by AARP’s tional newspaper and publishBulletin and Magazine. ing organizations have held FROM THE Nearly every year we receive their annual meetings and in- PUBLISHER dustry competitions, show- By Stuart P. Rosenthal one or more Mature Media Awards, and this year we were casing the best-written, besthappy to win three: A Silver Award for our edited and best-designed publications. Because we did very well in those com- Washington February 2011 cover story, “Sex, petitions, I now have a chance both to drugs and HIV after 50” by Barbara Ruben; a show my appreciation for our talented staff Silver Award for Barbara’s August 2011 Washof writers and editors, and to crow a bit for ington cover story, “Buying into a 2nd (or 3rd) career,” and a Merit Award for Carol the honors that the Beacon won. This is the first year we have submitted Sorgen’s cover story, “When grown kids entries in the competition sponsored by move back in,” which ran in both our Baltithe Independent Free Papers of America more and Howard County editions. And most recently, we learned the re(IFPA), a group comprising all types of sults of the North American Mature Pubfree newspapers around the country. We were so pleased to have won two lishers Association (NAMPA) awards, awards in our size category: first place for which are judged by the University of MisFeature Writing, and second place in the souri School of Journalism. There, all four of our Beacon editions Vic Jose Award for General Excellence. The lovely engraved gold desk clock that had award-winning articles in their respec-

Beacon The






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The Beacon is a monthly newspaper dedicated to inform, serve, and entertain the citizens of the Greater Washington area, and is privately owned. Other editions serve Greater Baltimore, Howard County and Palm Springs, CA. Readership exceeds 400,000. Subscriptions are available via first-class mail ($36) or third-class mail ($12), prepaid with order. D.C. and Maryland residents: add 6 percent for sales tax. Send subscription order to the office listed below. Publication of advertising contained herein does not necessarily constitute endorsement. Signed columns represent the opinions of the writers, and not necessarily the opinion of the publisher. • Publisher/Editor ....................Stuart P. Rosenthal • Associate Publisher..............Judith K. Rosenthal • Vice President of Operations ....Gordon Hasenei • Director of Sales ................................Alan Spiegel • Managing Editor............................Barbara Ruben • Graphic Designer ..............................Kyle Gregory • Assistant Operations Manager ..........Roger King • Advertising Representatives ........Doug Hallock,

tive circulation categories. Our Howard County edition won first place for feature writing with its August 2011 cover story, “He bought a town to preserve it.” Our Baltimore edition, which Sorgen helps write every month, won first place in its circulation category for General Excellence, with the judges saying it “covers all the bases” and that “each page is full of fresh, valuable information for the audience.” Our Greater Washington edition won in a number of categories. Our travel writer Victor Block won first place for travel writing, with the judges saying, “You’ve got to believe Victor Block would be a great traveling companion…It’s a pleasure to accompany him, even in print.” Our columnist Bob Levey won second place in the Senior Issues category because his “personal reflections seem like they’re coming from a trusted friend.” My column “No patience for politics,” which some of you may remember, won first place for Topical Issues, and my columns about my parents’ experiences moving from their home to assisted living won a second place award for Personal Essay. Barbara Ruben’s career story (already noted above) won in this competition as well, with a first place for “How-To Feature,” and another cover story of hers, “If if’s so much fun, is it work?” won third place in the Feature category. Like our Baltimore edition, our Washington edition also won first place in the General Excellence category for its circulation size, with the judges calling it, “an outstanding example of a publication that finds subjects with powerful connections to readers…the overall package is striking.” I was particularly thrilled that our newest edition, the Coachella Valley Beacon, which serves the Palm Springs area of California, also won two awards though it’s less than a year old. And won second place for websites, with the judges saying, “The variety and richness of the topics on this site make it inviting…It’s a strong resource for the community.” Of course, whatever awards we do or do not win, what always matters most to us is what our readers think. We value your opinion, always welcome your input, and ask that you share your comments and

suggestions with us via mail, e-mail, phone or fax. We love to hear from you. I want to conclude by expressing my thanks to, and admiration for, the entire Beacon staff, which works so diligently to produce our four editions every month. I’d like to thank them by name for their efforts and devoted contributions to the Beacon: Managing Editor Barbara Ruben, Contributing Editor Carol Sorgen, Director of Operations Gordon Hasenei, Director of Sales Alan Spiegel, Graphic Designer Kyle Gregory, Asst. Operations Manager (and webmaster) Roger King, Advertising Representatives Doug Hallock, Steve Levin, Cheryl Watts, Dan Kelly and Jill Joseph, and last but certainly not least, my wife and Associate Publisher Judy Rosenthal. We also are grateful for the many contributions of our talented freelancers, including Robert Friedman and Anne Ball in Howard County, Connie George in Coachella Valley, travel writers Victor Block and Glenda Booth, theater reviewer Michael Toscano, and freelance photographer Frank Klein. The Beacon would not exist without all of their efforts, or without your reading our publications. My appreciation goes out to all of you.

Corrections We apologize that the article on vaccines in our October issue failed to mention that a doctor’s prescription may be required for a pneumonia vaccine. We also apologize for a wrong digit in the phone number we printed for our Expo information line, and offer our greatest thanks to the kind gentleman whose number it turned out to be, as he researched our correct number and gave it out to all callers.

Attn: Advertisers The 2013 edition of the Montgomery County Seniors’ Resource Guide will be printed in December, with 50,000 copies distributed free of charge throughout the county starting in January. If you would like advertising information about this popular publication, please call (301) 949-9766 or email

Letters to the editor Readers are encouraged to share their opinion on any matter addressed in the Beacon as well as on political and social issues of the day. Mail your Letter to the Editor to The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915, or email to Please include your name, address and telephone number for verification.

................................................Dan Kelly, Cheryl Watts

The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915 (301) 949-9766 • Email: Website: Submissions: The Beacon welcomes reader contributions. Deadline for editorial is the 10th of the month preceding the month of publication. Deadline for ads is the 15th of the month preceding the month of publication. See page 62 for classified advertising details. Please mail or email all submissions.

© Copyright 2012 The Beacon Newspapers, Inc.

Dear Editor: While I agree with Bob Levey that individuals over 70 years of age have much to offer in the way of wisdom and judgment when serving on juries (“Don’t exempt older jurors, use them more,” October), there is a downside to being forced to do so.

The location of many courts prove to be, if not a bar, a difficult journey, particularly when the hour required is early as is true in most cases. As an octogenarian, I would be hardSee LETTERS TO EDITOR, page 61

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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LOWERING INFLAMMATION Chronic inflammation isn’t good, but there are many ways to reduce it IS LOW-T HIGH HYPE? Testosterone is being mass marketed to older men, but is it necessary? MORE MAGNESIUM PLEASE Magnesium protects against stroke and may help prevent diabetes STUDY UP ON TRIALS Participating in clinical studies can offer you cutting-edge treatments

FDA warns of risks of online pharmacies By Linda A. Johnson The Food and Drug Administration is warning U.S. consumers that the vast majority of Internet pharmacies are fraudulent and likely are selling counterfeit drugs that could harm them. The agency has launched a national campaign, called BeSafeRx, to alert the public to the danger, amid evidence that more people are shopping for their medicine online, looking for savings and convenience. Instead, they’re likely to get fake drugs that are contaminated, are past their expiration date, or contain no active ingredient, the wrong amount of active ingredient, or even toxic substances such as arsenic and rat poison. Such drugs could sicken or kill people, cause them to develop a resistance to their real medicine, cause new side effects, or trigger harmful interactions with other medications being taken. “Our goal is to increase awareness,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said, “not to scare people away from online pharmacies. We want them to use appropriate pharmacies.”

Which ones are legitimate? That means pharmacies that are located in the U.S., are licensed by the pharmacy board in the patient’s state, and have a licensed pharmacist available to answer questions. In addition, the pharmacy must require a valid doctor’s prescription for the medicine. Online drugstores that claim none is needed, or that the site’s doctor can write a prescription after the customer answers some questions, are breaking the law. Research by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which represents state pharmacy boards, found that of thousands of online pharmacies it reviewed, only about 3 percent follow state and federal laws. In fact, the group’s website lists only a few dozen Internet pharmacies that it has verified are legitimate and following the rules. Most consumers don’t know that. An Internet survey, conducted by the FDA in May, questioned 6,090 adults. It found that nearly one in four Internet shoppers has bought prescription drugs online, and nearly three in 10 said they weren’t confident they could do so safely. The campaign comes after some high-

profile cases of counterfeit drugs reaching American patients earlier this year from their own doctors. In February and again in April, the FDA warned doctors and cancer clinics around the country that it had determined they had bought fake Avastin — a pricey injectable cancer medicine, from a “gray market” wholesaler. The fake Avastin vials originated in Asia or Eastern Europe and were transferred through a network of shady wholesalers before being sold to clinics by a wholesaler claiming to be in Montana. In another case, the FDA issued a warning in May after learning consumers shopping on the Internet had bought fake versions of generic Adderall, a popular medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. No deaths or serious injuries have been linked to those fakes, but Hamburg notes that when drugs don’t help patients get better, doctors usually blame the disease or assume a different medicine is needed. That means most fakes aren’t detected.

How to spot the fakes So the FDA, which has put increasing

focus on the counterfeiting problem, launched a website,, that shows consumers how to determine if an online pharmacy is safe. It includes tips on how to spot illegal pharmacies, links to state databases of licensed pharmacies, and explanations of all the dangers of rogue pharmacies. Besides likely getting fake drugs, dangers include the risk that they will infect your computer with viruses, sell your personal and financial information to other rogue websites and Internet scammers, or charge you for products you never ordered or received. Many rogue pharmacies claim to be in Canada — because Americans know medicines are cheaper there and assume that’s why they’re getting a deal. Many fraudulent sites even put the word Canada in their name, or display the Canadian flag prominently on the site. Their web storefronts are slick and look professional. And they all offer prices that are unbelievably low. “If the low prices seem too good to be true, they probably are,” Hamburg said. — AP

Families can make hospitals safer places By Lauran Neergaard Head of the hospital bed raised? Check. Patient’s teeth brushed? Check. Those simple but often overlooked steps can help protect some of the most critically ill patients — those on ventilators — from developing deadly pneumonia. And if they knew about them, family members could ensure the steps weren’t forgotten. Hospitals are rife with infections and opportunities for medical mistakes. Now, a nearly $9 million project at Johns Hopkins University aims to combine engineering with the power of patients and their families to prevent some of the most common threats. The idea: Design patient safety to be more like a car’s dashboard, which automatically signals drivers when the oil needs changing or if a passenger forgot to buckle up, or like the countdown systems that make sure no step is missed when a satellite is launched.

Today, safe, quality care largely depends on individual health workers remembering hundreds of steps without good ways to tell if they forget one, said Hopkins’ patient safety expert Dr. Peter Pronovost. And too often, the people best able to spot early warning signs — patients and their families — are treated as passive bystanders rather than encouraged to participate in their care, he said.

Simple steps to safer care Tens of thousands of preventable deaths occur in U.S. hospitals every year. Numerous programs are under way to improve patient safety. Among them is the government’s Partnership for Patients, funded by $1 billion from the new health care law, that is helping hospitals adopt proven safety strategies. Hopkins’ Pronovost led the creation of one of the most well-known — a simple checklist that ensures hospital workers fol-

low steps that lower the risk of deadly bloodstream infections from common IV catheters. That checklist now is being used in ICUs nationwide, and the government reported last year that those infections have plummeted by 60 percent as a result. But catheter infections are just one of a dozen serious hospital-caused harms that threaten ICU patients, Pronovost said. Rather than fighting them one at a time, his new project will target multiple ICU threats simultaneously — from ventilatorassociated pneumonia to deadly blood clots — without relying on old-fashioned paper checklists and with more family involvement. It will require linking medical devices that today don’t talk to each other, he said. For instance, pumps that deliver narcotic painkillers aren’t linked to other devices that monitor breathing. If connected, the painkillers could be stopped automatically at the first sign of respiratory problems, a

known side effect. Other protections are far less complex. Keeping the head of the bed elevated at least 30 degrees and good oral hygiene are among the steps that help fend off the pneumonia that kills 36,000 people a year while they’re on ventilators.

Involving family members That’s something family members can watch for — or they even can be trained to brush a loved one’s teeth around the breathing tube. Already, Hopkins has introduced a “family involvement menu” of care items. “We believe that you know the person that we are caring for far better than we do,” the menu reads. Ultimately, Pronovost envisions an iPadlike device that allows both health workers and family members to see at a glance which of dozens of required daily care See HOSPITALS, page 4


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Ten ways to reduce chronic inflammation By Holly Pevzner Chronic inflammation plays a significant role (as either a cause or effect) in many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, and the three top killers in the United States: heart disease, cancer and stroke. And emerging research is focusing on the link between inflammation and brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The good news is that diet, exercise and lifestyle changes can be powerful tools against inflammation. Here are 10 ways you can help stave off — or tamp down — inflammation: 1. Balance your omega fats. Americans are gorging on too many inflamma-

tion-promoting omega-6 fats (found in vegetable oils, such as sunflower and corn, and processed and fast food made with them) and not consuming nearly enough inflammation-soothing omega-3 fats (found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, canola and olive oils). In short: a diet high in omega-6s and low in omega-3s increases inflammation in the body, said Chilton. To better balance your omega fats, opt for as much fresh, unprocessed food as possible, swap your omega-6-rich corn or sunflower oil for omega-3-packed canola, and load your plate with omega-3-rich foods. If it proves difficult to get the recommended 1 to 4 grams of omega-3s daily through food (3 ounces of salmon delivers


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about 2 grams, 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed has 3 grams), ask your doctor about taking a supplement. A 2011 Ohio State University study found that taking fish-oil pills daily (at a dosage of 2.5 grams/day of omega-3s) reduced stress-related production of interleukin-6, a prominent inflammatory marker, by 14 percent. 2. Get your om on. A 2010 study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that women who had regularly practiced 75 to 90 minutes of Hatha yoga twice-weekly for at least two years had markedly lower levels of interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), two key inflammatory markers, compared to those who were new to yoga or practiced less frequently. “A central tenet of yoga is that practicing can reduce stress responses,” explained Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, Ph.D., study co-author and professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University College of Medicine. Researchers think that yoga’s benefit is that it minimizes stress-related physiological changes. 3. Up your soy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has indicated that eating 25 grams of soy protein daily helps reduce your risk of inflammation-driven cardiovascular disease. But according to two 2009 studies, even as little as half that may be helpful. “We saw a reduction in inflammation after drinking just two [12-ounce] glasses of soymilk a day for three months,” said study co-author Elvira de Mejia, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana. Apparently, lunasin, a peptide found in soymilk and tofu, in combination with other soy proteins, can quell inflammation. (If you have a hormone-sensitive condi-

tion, such as breast cancer or endometriosis, check with your doctor before increasing the amount of soy in your diet.) 4. Enjoy a massage. A massage isn’t just a treat — it can be part of staying healthy. Receiving a 45-minute Swedish massage can greatly lower levels of two key inflammation-promoting hormones, according to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. “Massage may decrease inflammatory substances by [appropriately] increasing the amount of disease-fighting white blood cells in the body,” said Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, M.D., co-author of the study. “It may also lower stress hormones. Either way, these inflammation-lowering results can be seen after just one massage.” 5. Limit bad fats. The famed Nurses’ Health Study out of Harvard University (well known as one of the largest and longest-running investigations into women’s health) found that trans-fatty acids are linked to a significant bump in total body inflammation, especially in overweight women. Trans fats can be found in items including fried foods, packaged cookies, crackers, margarines and more. And buyer beware. “Even if a food label reads 0 grams trans fats, it can still contain less than 0.5 gram per serving, so if you eat multiple servings, you could be eating a few grams,” warned Erin Palinski, R.D., C.D.E. Instead, check the ingredient list for partially hydrogenated oil. If you see this, the product contains trans fats. While you’re trimming the fat, cut back on the saturated variety, as well, replacing butter with olive oil and being choosy about your protein sources. 6. Eat your greens. Here’s yet anoth-


called the project intriguing. Engaging the patient and family in some ways is tougher. Hospitals have had a hard time encouraging people to ask doctors and nurses if they’ve washed their hands, said Gina Pugliese of the Premier Safety Institute, a hospital improvement alliance. “So many patients and families are hesitant to ever question the doctor,” she said. “It’s so important they get involved.” — AP

From page 3 steps have been performed and which still need to be. “The beauty of checklists is it gives you that constant visual reminder,” and an electronic, automated version is the next logical evolution, said Ann Marie Pettis, director of infection prevention at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who


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er reason not to skimp on green leafy vegetables, whole grains and nuts: they are all rich in magnesium, a mineral that about 60 percent of us don’t consume enough of. “I encourage anyone who’s susceptible to inflammation to assess their magnesium intake,” said Forrest H. Nielsen, Ph.D., a research nutritionist at the USDA’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota. (Ask your doctor to check your magnesium levels with a blood test.) “There’s a lot of evidence that people with high inflammatory markers often have low magnesium levels. Plus, people who have conditions associated with inflammation, like heart disease and diabetes, also tend to have low magnesium levels,” Nielsen said. [See “Most of us don’t get enough magnesium,” on page 15.] 7. Keep stress at bay. Frequently frazzled? You may be opening the door to inflammation. A recent study in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity found that people who have a strong emotional reaction to stressful tasks (you bite your nails when you have to make a presentation at work or get tense when someone presses your buttons) experience a greater increase in circulating interleukin-6 during times of stress than those who take stressful tasks in stride. While stress harms your body in many ways, Cannon puts it like this: “Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate, making your blood vessels work harder. Essentially, you’re pounding on them


From page 4

more often and creating damage. If that damage happens over and over, inflammation persists.” 8. Sleep more. If you’re not clocking at least 6 hours of restful sleep a night, you’re more susceptible to inflammation than those who have a solid night of slumber, according to research presented at the American Heart Association 2010 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep was linked to significantly increased levels of three key inflammatory markers — interleukin-6, CRP and fibrinogen. 9. Exercise often. Losing excess weight via exercise (or eating better) is a great way to lower inflammation. Working out, however, can lower inflammation even if you don’t drop one single pound. The reason? Exercising at about 60 percent to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate — think brisk walking where you can still talk but it would be difficult to carry on a conversation — lowers levels of the key inflammation marker CRP, Chilton said. 10. Drink green tea. Even if coffee is your beverage of choice, you might not want to bag tea altogether — especially the green variety. Green tea is full of potent antioxidants that help quell inflammation. In fact, researchers from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock recently found that green tea can inhibit oxidative stress and the potential inflammation that may result from it. EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at © 2012 EatingWell, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.




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Testosterone mass marketed to older men By Matthew Perrone “Are you falling asleep after dinner?” “Do you have a decrease in libido?” “Have you noticed a recent deterioration in your ability to play sports?” “It could be Low-T.” Welcome to the latest big marketing push by the nation’s drug companies. In this case, it’s a web page for Abbott Laboratories’ Androgel — a billion-dollar selling testosterone gel used by millions of American men struggling with the symptoms of growing older that are associated with low testosterone, such as poor sex drive, weight gain and fatigue. Androgel is one of a growing number of prescription gels, patches and injections aimed at boosting the male hormone that

begins to decline after about age 40. Drugmakers and some doctors claim testosterone therapy can reverse some of the signs of aging — even though the safety and effectiveness of such treatments is unclear. “The problem is that we don’t have any evidence that prescribing testosterone to older men with relatively low testosterone levels does any good,” said Dr. Sergei Romashkan, who oversees clinical trials for the National Institute on Aging, a part of the National Institutes of Health conglomerate of research centers.

Normal? Or a condition to treat? Low testosterone is the latest example of a once-natural part of getting old that has become a target for medical treatment.

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Bladder problems, brittle bones and hot flashes have followed a similar path — from inconvenient facts of life, to ailments that can be treated with drugs. The rise of such therapies is being fueled by both demographics and industry marketing. Baby boomers are living longer and looking for ways to deal with the infirmities of old age: Life expectancy in the U.S. today is 78 years, up from 69 years a half-century ago. And so companies have stepped up their marketing to the older crowd: Spending on print and television ads promoting testosterone by firms like Abbott and Eli Lilly has risen more than 170 percent in the last three years to more than $14 million in 2011, according to advertising tracker Kantar Media. Doctors say that’s led to an increase in men seeking treatment for low testosterone. Prescriptions for the hormone have increased nearly 90 percent over the last five years, according to IMS Health. Last year, global sales reached $1.9 billion. Former marathon runner Damon Lease, 50, had been complaining of low energy and depression, for which his doctor prescribed a combination of four psychiatric drugs. But since he started taking twice-aweek testosterone injections in May, he said he’s been able to stop taking two of those medications and hopes to eliminate

them completely. He said he has more energy, improved mood and concentration. “I spent 27 years running long distances, I like biking, I like hiking, and I guess every guy wants to have an active sex life ... I want to keep doing those things as long as I can,” said Lease, who works as a software company executive. “I feel 20 years younger.” Despite its rising popularity, testosterone therapy is not completely new. Testosterone injections were long used for men with hypogonadism, a disorder defined by low testosterone caused by injury or infection to the reproductive or hormonal organs. But the latest marketing push by drugmakers is for easy-to-use gels and patches that are aimed at a much broader population of otherwise healthy older men with low testosterone, or androgen deficiency. The condition is associated with a broad range of unpleasant symptoms ranging from insomnia to depression to erectile dysfunction. Drug companies peg this group at about 15 million American men, though federal scientists do not use such estimates. Watson Pharmaceuticals now markets its Androderm patch, which slowly releases testosterone into the bloodstream. Abbott has its gel that can be applied to the shoulSee TESTOSTERONE, page 8

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Health Shorts

sure it’s safe for you to exercise. — Harvard Women’s Health Watch

Exercise is good for your memory

Knee replacements soar among older adults

If there weren’t enough good reasons to exercise, here’s another one: A new study finds that exercise improves memory and reduces the risk for cognitive decline as we get older. The study included 86 women ages 70 to 80, some of whom had mild cognitive impairment — a loss of memory and mental function that often precedes Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The women were randomly assigned to do resistance training, aerobics, or balance and toning exercises twice a week. After six months, 77 women remained in the study. Women in the resistance-training group performed much better on tests of attention, conflict resolution and memory than those in the balance and toning group, according to results published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The aerobic training group didn’t see as much of an improvement in mental function, although their physical function did improve. This study suggests that firming your muscles can also tone up your mind. Before starting any resistance training program, check with your doctor to make

Just like age-defying baby boomers, older adults have seen a surge in knee replacement surgeries, driven partly by a desire to stay active and by joint-damaging obesity. The findings are in a study of more than 3 million Medicare patients, 65 and older, who got artificial knees from 1991 through 2010. Almost 10 percent of the operations were redos — replacing worn-out artificial joints. The number of initial knee-replacement surgeries each year on these older patients more than doubled during that time, rising to nearly 244,000 in 2010. Patients were in their mid-70s on average when they had surgery. The aging population and rising numbers of Medicare enrollees contributed to the increase. But the per capita rate also increased, from about 3 surgeries per 10,000 enrollees in 1991 to 5 per 10,000 in 2010. “There’s a huge percentage of older adults who are living longer and want to be active,” and knee replacement surgery is very effective, said lead author Dr. Peter Cram, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa.

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The pace of growth slowed in more recent years — possibly because increasing numbers of younger adults have also been getting artificial knees, which typically last 15 to 20 years. The troubled economy may also have slowed demand for an operation that

costs about $15,000, the study authors said. About 600,000 knee replacement surgeries are done each year nationwide on adults of all ages, costing a total of $9 billion, the See HEALTH SHORTS, page 9


Dec. 2


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market on Sunday, Dec. 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market features a visit from Santa, a farm animal parade, and potato latkes and other holiday treats, as well as handmade crafts, jewelry and other items for holiday gifts. The market is located at the intersection of Route 108 & Prince Philip Drive in Olney, Md. For more information, see


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Testosterone From page 6 ders and arms. And Eli Lilly’s Axiron is an underarm gel that rolls on like deodorant. Androderm, launched last year, had $87 million in sales, and Axiron, which was launched in 2010, had sales of $48 million last year. “All of a sudden you’ve got these big players with a lot of money using consumer-directed marketing to change the landscape,” said Dr. Natan Bar-Chama, a male reproductive specialist at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. “They see the potential, they see the market growth annually and it’s very impressive.”

What level is too low? But government researchers worry that medical treatments have gotten ahead of the science.

Male testosterone is mainly produced in the testes and affects muscle mass, sperm production and various sexual characteristics. The hormone can easily be checked with a blood test, but doctors can’t agree on what constitutes a low reading in older men. Typical testosterone levels for younger men range between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter, but once levels begin dropping there is little consensus on what makes a “normal number.” Some doctors believe testosterone levels below 300 lead to sexual dysfunction in older men, but the rule does not cover all cases. A 2010 study by researchers at the University of Manchester and other European institutions found that 25 percent of men with testosterone levels above that threshold had the same sexual problems used to diagnose low testosterone. Adding to the ambiguity is that testos-

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

terone levels change by the hour, so a man who takes a blood test for testosterone in the morning may get a completely different reading when tested in the afternoon. Adding to the confusion over what defines “low testosterone,” there’s not much understanding of whether testosterone replacement therapy actually improves men’s symptoms. Evidence of the benefits of testosterone is mixed, and the potential health risks are serious. The largest study conducted to date, a 2008 trial involving 230 patients in the Netherlands, found no improvement in muscle strength, cognitive thinking, bone density or overall quality of life among men taking testosterone. Muscle mass increased 1.2 percent, but not enough to improve physical mobility. The National Institute on Aging is currently conducting an 800-man trial to definitively answer whether testosterone therapy improves walking ability, sexual function, energy, memory and blood cell count in men 65 years and older. But those results aren’t expected until 2014.

Side effects and serious risks In addition to concerns about testosterone’s effectiveness, the long-term side effects of the hormone are not entirely understood because most trials to date have only followed patients for a few months. But the most serious risks include heart problems and prostate cancer.

In 2010, researchers at Boston University’s school of medicine halted a large study of testosterone in senior men because patients taking the hormone were five times more likely to suffer a serious heart event, including congestive heart failure, than those taking placebo. And a review of 19 testosterone trials in 2006 found that prostate cancer was significantly higher among men taking testosterone. All testosterone drugs carry a warning that the hormone should not be given to men who have a personal or family history of prostate cancer. Also in 2006, the Endocrine Society published the first physician guidelines for prescribing testosterone for men with androgen deficiency. All six of the co-authors had received consulting fees or research funding from drugmakers that market testosterone. Despite those ties, the authors took a cautious tone, stressing the difficulty of accurately diagnosing low testosterone and acknowledging that they were unable to reach an agreement about when doctors should begin therapy. They also recommend doctors have an “explicit discussion of the uncertainty about the risks and benefits of testosterone therapy.” History has shown that hormone replacement therapy can be dangerous. That hit home for women in 2002 when a landmark study shook up the conventional wisdom about the benefits of estrogen replacement therapy for menopause. — AP

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Health shorts From page 7 authors said. A journal editorial said measures are needed to control costs of these operations, noting that demand has been projected to rise to as many as almost 4 million knee operations annually by 2030. — AP

Consumer group sues over safety of Alzheimer’s drug A consumer group pressing the Food and Drug Administration to remove the highest dose of an Alzheimer’s disease drug from the market is suing the agency for what it calls “foot-dragging.” Public Citizen said that the FDA’s own medical and statistical reviewers found that high-dose Aricept doesn’t work better at

controlling symptoms of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s than two lower dose levels. However, the group said the high dose has more dangerous, potentially deadly, side effects including vomiting, which in Alzheimer’s patients “can lead to pneumonia, massive gastrointestinal bleeding, esophageal rupture or death.” Other side effects more common at the high dose are nausea, diarrhea, anorexia and confusion. Public Citizen filed a petition in May 2011 with the FDA. The group urged the agency to halt sales of the 23-milligram dose of Aricept and put safety warnings about the high-dose risks on two lower doses, 5 and 10 milligrams. The low doses are available under both the Aricept brand, made by Japan’s Eisai Co. Ltd., and as inexpensive generic pills. The FDA has yet to act. The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Washington, asks the court to declare the FDA’s failure to act unlawful and to order the agency to decide within 30 days of the

court’s ruling whether to approve Public Citizen’s request. The suit also seeks attorneys’ fees. Marcia Diljak, a spokeswoman at drug company Eisai Inc. of Woodcliff Lake, N.J., said the company was aware of the complaint filed against the FDA but won’t comment on the litigation. “We stand by the FDA’s decision” to ap-

prove high-dose Aricept as a safe, effective Alzheimer’s treatment, she wrote in an email. According to Public Citizen, Eisai sought approval of the higher Aricept dose ahead of the November 2010 expiration of the patents for the two low doses. The ensuing generic competition would have slashed their sales. — AP

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Nov. 13


Learn more about Medicare Part D drug coverage and Part C Medicare Advantage Plans at Homecrest House on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Jack Davidson, from Home Physicians Community Liaison, will explain what to look for in plans before the Dec. 7 deadline for changing coverage. The event is free and open to the public at Homecrest House’s Moskowitz Social Hall, 14510 Homecrest Rd., Silver Spring, Md. RSVP by Nov. 9 by calling (301) 598-4000, x 67.




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Treating severe dry eyes, loss of hearing By Dr. Robert Shmerling Q: I’ve been diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion. My eyes are dry all the time. One eye doctor suggests putting small plugs in the ducts that drain tears from my eyes, which should make the tears stay in my eye longer and make my eyes moister. I use artificial tears all day long and an ointment at night. Will the plugs help prevent further eye damage? Also, I have a dry mouth and wonder if I have Sjogren’s syndrome. If I have it, would the plugs still help? A: Placing “punctal plugs” has become a common procedure for patients with severe dryness of the eyes. These plugs

block your tears from draining, so the tears you make last longer in the eye. Your condition sounds severe enough that this approach seems appropriate to consider. The dryness could be an isolated problem or part of Sjogren’s syndrome (see below). Whatever it’s from, punctal plugs can help relieve symptoms and protect the cornea. Other ways to help avoid dry eye include: • Using artificial tears frequently • Steering clear of low-humidity environments • If possible, avoiding medicine that makes dryness worse (such as diuretics, antihistamines and certain antidepressants). There are a variety of eye drops that may

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reduce irritation and help prevent corneal damage from not making enough tears. Doctors commonly recommend artificial tears and cyclosporine (Restasis). Your ophthalmologist can determine the best care for your eyes after a full evaluation.

Sjogren’s syndrome Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease. That’s a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks its host. People with Sjogren’s syndrome have dry eyes and mouth, and inflammation in multiple organs, including the eyes, joints and skin. Antibody tests can help diagnose this condition. Diagnosis is important because you may need more than just eye drops. For example, drugs that stimulate saliva production or drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful. Dry mouth increases the risk of cavities. So your dentist may recommend frequent dental cleaning and an oral rinse with fluoride. Based on the symptoms you describe, I would suggest you see an ophthalmologist, dentist and rheumatologist for evaluation. Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is a practicing physician in rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., and an associate professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Hearing loss is common

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“There’s a stigma attached to wearing hearing aids, suggesting one is aging,” said Dr. Robert Schreiber, a geriatrician and instructor at Harvard Medical School. “Accepting this fact is often difficult for some people.” But hearing loss is a fact for 10 percent of people ages 65 to 75, and 25 percent of people age 75 and older, according to Schreiber. We are able to hear conversation, music or an airplane overhead because sound waves cause tiny bones in the ear to move and stimulate nerve endings. Hearing loss is often caused by conductive hearing problems (affecting the tiny bones) or by sensorineural hearing loss that is the result of nerve damage. A common type of sensorineural hearing loss is a progressive inability in both ears to hear high frequencies. It often affects the ability to hear speech in a noisy environment, or high-pitched sounds and voices. All hearing loss can have serious consequences. When driving or walking across busy streets, for example, it can be dangerous. More subtle but important problems also can result from uncorrected hearing loss. “You may not be able to hear conversations, or important directions or reminders. That can lead to family discord, social isolation, and loss of self esteem,” said Dr. Schreiber.

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Blood pressure pills may keep you awake By Dr. Michael Hogan Dear Mayo Clinic: I was recently put on medication for high blood pressure. Does it matter what time I take it? I thought I was supposed to take it before I go to bed. But when I do, I’m up all night using the bathroom. Also, is this medication something I will have to take for life? Answer: It usually is not necessary to take your blood pressure medication at night, unless your doctor has told you to do so. Whether or not you have to take the medication for the rest of your life depends on a variety of factors. In some cases, lifestyle changes can lower or eliminate the need for blood pressure medication. What you eat and how much you exercise can help control blood pressure. Lowering the amount of salt in your diet

and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains and low-fat dairy foods, also can have a positive effect. Regular physical activity can also help lower blood pressure and keep your weight at a healthy level. Weight is a big factor in high blood pressure. Research has shown that, in people who are overweight, lowering one’s weight by just 10 percent can lower blood pressure. Regarding the timing of when you take your medication, in the past many doctors did recommend taking blood pressure medication at night. That was based on the fact that heart attacks happen most often in the early morning. In theory, bringing blood pressure down during the night lowers the risk for a heart attack in the morning. The reality does not match up with that theory for several reasons. First, blood


Dec. 1


Local area hearing clinics are participating in a free Hearing Health Seminar for people to learn about advanced treatments for severe to profound hearing loss that could help them experience better hearing. Attendees will have the opportunity to talk with medical professionals, as well as people who are experiencing the benefits of improved hearing. The seminar is on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Hilton Arlington, 950 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, Va. For more information and to register, or call 1-877-432-7844.

Nov. 12

pressure naturally tends to drop during the night in people who do not have high blood pressure, as well as in most people who do. That means there’s typically not a critical need for medication to lower blood pressure during the overnight hours. Second, today’s blood pressure medications last quite a while. In many cases, they only need to be taken once every 24 hours. When you take the medications during those 24 hours should not matter, as long

as you take them at the same time every day. Experiencing disturbed sleep when taking blood pressure medications before bedtime is a common issue. Diuretics are the most frequently prescribed blood pressure medications. They work by helping your kidneys get rid of extra salt and water. They are often quite effective in lowerSee BLOOD PRESSURE, page 12

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The 26th Annual Caregiver Conference: Caregiving — It’s a Family Affair will be held on at the Arlington-Fairfax Elks Lodge, 8421 Arlington Blvd., Fairfax on Monday, Nov. 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn how to have a meaningful visit with someone with dementia, share stories with other caregivers and enjoy great food. Family caregivers, volunteers and professionals who work in the field are welcome to attend. The $25 conference fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, materials and certificate of attendance. Register online at or call (703) 359-4440.

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Loss of hearing

Nov. 14

From page 10


Dr. Robert Heaton will talk about his work as a pathologist who examines tissue samples for cancer, and will answer questions you may have regarding your own tests in this seminar for cancer patients. The talk takes place on Wednesday, November 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Hope Connections for Cancer Support, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100, Bethesda, Md. To register, call (301) 493-5002.

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Blood pressure From page 11 ing blood pressure. But they can make you go to the bathroom more often, especially in the hours right after you take them. To avoid this problem, you may want to start taking your blood pressure medication in the morning.

More self-help steps How long you will need to take blood pressure medication is hard to predict. Once they start taking medication to lower blood pressure, some people do continue to take it for the rest of their lives. However, there are steps you can take that may reduce your need for blood pressure medication. In addition to the diet and exercise changes mentioned above, if you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount you drink. Women and anyone older than 65 should not have more than one alcoholic drink a day. Men younger than 65 should

have no more than two drinks per day. Also, try to manage stress in healthy ways. Although stress by itself does not cause high blood pressure, having a lot of daily stress does make it more difficult to treat the condition. These self-care steps may help bring your blood pressure down. If that happens, you may be able to take less of your medications or eventually stop taking blood pressure medication completely. Talk to your doctor about making lifestyle changes that can help. Do not make any changes in your blood pressure medication until you talk to your doctor. Medical Edge from Mayo Clinic is an educational resource and doesn’t replace regular medical care. To submit a question, write to: For health information, visit © 2012 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc


Nov. 17+

SAVE YOUR SIGHT Seven doctors from the National Eye Institute at the National

Institutes of Health will discuss advances in understanding the eye-brain connection on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 at the Friendship Hts. Village Center, 4433 S. Park Ave., Chevy Chase, Md. For more information, call the Prevention of Blindness Society at (202) 234-1010. The group is also sponsoring an event on diabetic eye disease on Monday, Dec. 3 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, National Eye Center, True


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Analog devices are less expensive than digital hearing aids and provide acceptable quality for many people. Newer digital devices have better sound, are smaller, and are more easily customized. Hearing aid costs range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Some insurance plans pay for the devices. Medicare generally does not. The audiologist who exam-

ines your hearing can help you find an option for your budget. While hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal, they usually improve hearing by half of the loss, Schreiber said. Restoring even that can profoundly impact your quality of life. For additional consumer health information, please visit © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2


Home Medicare coverage to be expanded By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar Thousands of patients with severe chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s would get continuing access to Medicare-funded rehab and other services under a change agreed to by the Obama administration. The proposed agreement in a national class action suit would allow Medicare patients to keep receiving physical and occupational therapy and other skilled services at home or in a nursing home so they can remain stable, said Gill Deford, a lawyer with the Center for Medicare Advocacy. That’s been a problem for some because of a longstanding Medicare policy that says patients must show “improvement” to keep getting rehab. Deford’s group and other organizations representing patients challenged it. “If you have a chronic condition, by definition you are not improving,” said Deford, the lead attorney on the case. “Our view is that Medicare regulations were intended to allow people to maintain their health status. They don’t have to show they are getting any better. The point is to allow them not to get any worse, if possible.”

thousands — of patients nationally. Those who stand to benefit include not only people with intractable conditions like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and chronic lung disease. It could also help those who are growing weaker because of advancing age, placing them at greater risk of falls and other problems. The impact on Medicare’s budget is unclear, partly because program rules are not always rigidly enforced. Even with a requirement that patients must continue to show improvement, billing contractors sometimes defer to the clinical judgment of doctors and therapists. A patient’s underlying disease may be advancing, but therapy might help them keep up strength up and do more to take care of themselves. Still, that’s no guarantee that Medicare will pay. “That’s what the point of this case is,” said Deford, adding that his center has represented many people repeatedly denied coverage for rehabilitation services. “This will allow them to have access.” Advocates say Medicare could break even financially, if patients don’t have to go to the hospital.

ceiving rehab services. Indeed, there is no such requirement in law. Medicare said other factors come into play, such as the patient’s medical condition and whether treatment is reasonable and necessary. Government lawyers called the policy change a clarification. “This settlement clarifies existing Medicare policy,” said Erin Shields Britt, a spokeswoman for the federal Health and Human Services department. “We expect no changes in access to services or costs.”

See HOME MEDICARE, page 15

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Thousands could benefit The agreement was filed with Chief Judge Christina Reiss of the U.S. District Court in Vermont. It is expected to affect tens of thousands — maybe hundreds of

Nonetheless, the Medicare policy manual will be changed to spell out that coverage of rehabilitation services “does not turn on the presence or absence of a beneficiary’s potential for improvement from the therapy, but rather on the beneficiary’s need for skilled care,” according to the proposed settlement. Deford said it could be several months before the settlement is finalized in court,

Semantics spell change In court papers, Medicare denied that it imposes an inflexible standard that patients must continue to improve to keep re-

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The best breakfast foods for weight loss By Brierley Wright I’ve always been a breakfast eater. It gives me a much-needed energy boost — along with a cup of coffee, of course — and it helps me from being so famished at lunch that I end up overeating. But eating a morning meal is also a healthy habit if you’re watching your weight. Here’s why: Research shows that regular breakfast eaters tend to be leaner, and dieters are more successful at losing weight — and keeping it off — when they eat breakfast. What’s more, people who typically eat breakfast also get more fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, riboflavin, zinc and iron — and less fat and dietary cholesterol. Perhaps it’s because they often eat cereal,

which is fortified with vitamins and minerals, and fruit, which is naturally nutrientrich. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat cereal to stay — or get — trim. Instead, mix-up your morning meal and try one or more of these five breakfast foods that help you lose weight. 1. Raspberries A cup of raspberries delivers a whopping 8 grams of fiber. That’s more than double what’s in a cup of strawberries and about the same amount in a cup of some types of beans. What’s so great about all that fiber? Recent research in the Journal of Nutrition suggests eating more fiber is a way to prevent weight gain or even encourage weight

loss. Over the course of the two-year study, the researchers found that boosting fiber by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories resulted in about 4 1/2 pounds of weight lost. 2. Oatmeal Oatmeal can help you lose weight in two ways. First, it’s packed with fiber and it keeps you feeling fuller longer. Second, a recent study in the Journal of Nutrition reported that eating a breakfast made with “slowrelease” carbohydrates — such as oatmeal or bran cereal — three hours before you exercise may help you burn more fat. How? Eating “slow-release” carbohydrates doesn’t spike blood sugar as high as eating refined carbohydrates (think: white toast). In turn, insulin levels don’t spike as high. Because insulin plays a role in signaling your body to store fat, having lower blood sugar levels may help you burn fat. 3. Yogurt A recent report out of Harvard University, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed which foods are correlated with weight change, including the top five foods that promote weight loss. Yogurt was one of them. Another reason to eat yogurt: The protein in it may give you an extra edge if you’re looking to get leaner. When researchers fed two groups of mice a high-fat diet for 11 weeks, the mice

that got water spiked with whey protein (a type of protein found naturally in yogurt and other dairy) packed on 42 percent less weight and nearly a third less body fat than the mice who just drank plain water, despite the fact that they ate roughly the same number of calories. The whey eaters also gained 7 percent more lean body mass (e.g., muscle mass). Save calories — and unnecessary sugar — by choosing plain yogurt. If you need a little extra sweetness, try fresh fruit (maybe raspberries?). 4. Peanut butter Nuts were also among the top five foods that Harvard researchers said promote weight loss. I love to slather a tablespoon or two of peanut butter onto whole-wheat toast (ahem, a “slow-release” carbohydrate), but you could also add nuts to your oatmeal (another “slow-release” carb). 5. Eggs Eggs deliver protein, which is great for dieters. Compared to carbohydrates and fat, protein keeps you satisfied longer. Plus, in one study, dieters who ate eggs for breakfast felt fuller longer and lost more than twice as much weight as those who got the same amount of calories from a bagel for breakfast. © 2012 EatingWell, Inc. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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Most of us don’t get enough magnesium By Hara Estroff Marano The mineral magnesium is an essential nutrient that sustains every cell of the body. It helps power all cell functions and is critical to over 300 biologically active enzymes. The more it is studied, the more important the mineral proves to be for general health. New research stresses the value of magnesium in averting heart disease and stroke, and calls outright for clinical trials of the mineral in preventing cardiovascular disease and curbing the increase in metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Despite magnesium being one of the most abundant minerals in our bodies, deficiency is on the rise. At most, 40 percent of us get enough from the foods we eat. Deficiency manifests in symptoms as diverse as insomnia, muscle spasms, arrhythmias, insulin resistance and anxiety. Magnesium levels in foods are declining, so your best bet for getting enough is to make a deliberate effort to consume a magnesium-rich diet.

Protects against stroke The less magnesium in your diet, the greater your risk of stroke, say Swedish researchers who conducted a meta-analysis

of several studies that enrolled nearly 250,000 participants and followed them for up to 13 years. Magnesium protects the brain against reduced blood flow in several ways, the investigators report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. It lowers blood pressure, diminishes the risk of diabetes, a known contributor to stroke, and slows the oxidation of fats in the bloodstream. A study of more than 14,000 middle-aged men and women in different parts of the U.S. showed that increased levels of magnesium in the blood — a more precise measure than dietary intake — are inversely associated with the incidence of ischemic stroke. Those with the lowest blood levels of the mineral had the highest rates of hypertension and diabetes, an association that held through the 15-year follow-up. Those who had higher levels of magnesium had a 36 percent lower risk of ischemic stroke.

May help prevent diabetes What public health officials call an “alarming rise” in Type 2 diabetes may begin in childhood with low intake of magnesium. Researchers find that magnesium deficiency directly creates insulin resistance in obese children.

Magnesium is a co-factor for multiple enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism, and mineral lack impairs insulin uptake by cells. One study showed just how prevalent magnesium deficiency has become; it affects 27 percent of healthy children and 55 percent of obese ones. Give healthy people a four-week trial of magnesium supplements and what happens? There are widespread shifts in many metabolic and inflammatory markers, and changes in the expression of 58 genes, report researchers from UCLA and Harvard University. The pilot trial of magnesium in 14 healthy overweight volunteers suggests that the mineral increases the body’s insulin sensitivity and directly affects pancreatic cells to re-

duce insulin secretion. The pattern of gene effects parallels improved insulin sensitivity. In general, the best food sources of magnesium are whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Specific foods with high magnesium content include pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, cashew nuts and almonds, among others. Yet a number of studies suggest that the magnesium content of foods, especially vegetables, is falling and has been doing so for decades. Experts point to mineral depletion of soil by pesticide use; fertilizer magnifies the effect. © 2012 Sussex Publishers. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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301-441-8632 Home Medicare From page 13 and perhaps another year before Medicare formally completes the policy change. But patients may start seeing a change sooner. “I’m hoping the new coverage rules will de facto take effect before they are formally revised,” said Deford.

Most of the immediate beneficiaries will be the parents of the baby boom generation and younger disabled people, who are also entitled to Medicare coverage. But the change could have its greatest significance for the boomers, many of whom are expected to try to live independently into their 80s and 90s. — AP

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Does sleep apnea lead to memory loss? By Barbara Ruben People with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have some memory difficulties, but not the debilitating changes that come with Alzheimer’s disease. However, some of those with MCI may worsen and later be diagnosed with dementia. A researcher at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., is now examining whether changing something as simple as the way MCI patients sleep may not only keep their memories from declining further, but might actually improve their cognitive skills.

While only about 20 percent of the general population over age 55 has sleep apnea, the rate of sleep apnea in people with MCI or Alzheimer’s disease is 50 to 60 percent, according to Kathy Richards, Ph.D., R.N., a professor at George Mason.

Looking for a connection What’s the link? People who have sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly while they sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer. That deprives the brain of oxygen over

and over, which might accelerate memory loss and dementia, Richards believes. There may also be a genetic link in those with both conditions, she said. Small, short-term studies have shown a connection between memory loss and sleep apnea, especially in women, who are less likely to get sleep apnea in men. Richards is now recruiting patients who have both obstructive sleep apnea and MCI for a study in which she’s exploring if using a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) while sleeping, the most common method of treating sleep apnea, can stem cognitive decline. CPAP treatment includes a mask that fits over the nose and mouth. A tube blows air in, which helps airways from becoming blocked or collapsing.

Who may volunteer?

Why do some people reach age 80, 90, and older living free of physical and cognitive disease? National Institute on Aging (NIA) researchers on the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) are exploring this question through the IDEAL (Insight into Determinants of Exceptional Aging and Longevity) Study. Although research exists on the relationship between long life and functional decline, we still know relatively little about why certain individuals have excellent health well into their 80’s while others experience disease and physical decline earlier in life. IDEAL Study participants can help NIH researchers uncover secrets of healthy aging. Participants are 80 years or older and: Can walk a quarter mile unassisted Have no severe memory problems Have no major medical conditions Does this describe you or someone you know? Call Toll-Free 1-855-80 IDEAL (1-855-804-3325) or email

To participate in the study, volunteers must have both MCI and obstructive sleep apnea and be 55 to 89 years old. But they cannot be currently getting treatment for sleep apnea. They must have a partner who can accompany them to study visits and help at home. Participants cannot have any significant neurologic disease other than MCI, such as Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, normal pressure hydrocephalus or brain tumor. They also cannot have had any psychiatric disorders, including major depression or bipolar disorder, in the last three months, nor can they have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or certain cardiovascular conditions.

Volunteers selected for the study will first have a home sleep test using a device that measures their breathing and blood oxygen level. The device fits over the head and will be worn for two nights. They will then visit a sleep specialist for an overnight stay to get a prescription for the precise treatment they need for their sleep apnea. Participants will also have an MRI scan of the brain. Lesions that show up as white spots may indicate effects from a low blood oxygen level, Richards said. They will also have neuro-psychological testing to determine the extent of their mild cognitive impairment. They will give a blood sample to look for genetic defects that may be present for both conditions. Participants in the study will return to George Mason after six months for more testing and again after a year for a final round of neuro-psychological testing. Those who complete the full study will get $340 in compensation; prorated amounts will be given to those who do not finish the study. Medicare and many health insurance plans pay for CPAP, but if a participant does not have coverage, the device will be provided to them through the study. “I think that the study has tremendous potential to advance our understanding of obstructive sleep apnea and mild cognitive impairment — the connections between the two, but also the individual disorders as well,” Richards said. For more information about the study, call Richards at (703) 993-1961 or email




The Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC) is seeking volunteers to help school children with their homework in Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, Md. Tutoring is done Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Stephanie Semones at (301) 355-7399.

HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES AND TAKING METFORMIN? Do you have Type 2 Diabetes? Are you currently taking metformin to control your diabetes and it’s not working? If so, and you are between 18 and 75 years old, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical research study. Qualified volunteers may receive, at no cost, study related: medical care, investigational study drug or placebo, blood work, glucose monitoring supplies, and diabetes and nutrition counseling.

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Reasons to participate in clinical studies In January 2007, Debbera Drake got the news every woman dreads. She had stagefour breast cancer. One doctor she’d sought for a second opinion told her she had just two years to live. “I was traumatized,” Drake recalled feeling after hearing the diagnosis. “I thought, ‘I love my husband, my family, and my friends. I can’t be limited to two years.’” After Drake underwent chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, her oncologist, Dr. Beverly Moy at Massachusetts General Hospital, suggested she take part in a clinical trial for a new breast cancer inhibitor drug. In December 2008, she enrolled in the study. Four years after Drake started taking the experimental therapy, her cancer is stable. At age 67, she’s survived three

years longer than her original prognosis. “Dr. Moy said that no one has lived this long with this type of cancer, so I’m now kind of setting the standard,” she said. Of the clinical trial that may have extended her life, she said, “It has given me hope.”

Why take part in clinical trials? For anyone faced with a serious diagnosis, as Drake was, clinical trials can offer an alternative to the current treatments available. Being part of a study gives you access to breakthrough therapies and a highly trained team of doctors, nurses, and technicians to guide you through those therapies. Many trials cover the cost of medical treatment, and some may even compensate you for your participation.


Nov. 14


The National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) Arlington Chapter 7 meets on the second Wednesday of the month at Culpepper Garden Senior Center, 4435 N. Pershing Dr., Arlington, Va. Social time begins at 12:30 p.m., with refreshments, followed by presentations by guest speakers. The Nov. 14 program is “Medicare and the Federal Retiree: Should I Take Part B?” On-street parking is available on Henderson Rd.; parking is also permitted in the Culpepper Garden parking lot with a pass obtained at the front desk. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call Max Scruggs at (703) 536-9148.

“There are many benefits of participating in clinical trials,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Mass., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and principal investigator of VITAL (VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL). For researchers like Manson, clinical studies provide a controlled setting in which to compare the effectiveness of new therapies or prevention strategies against those currently in use. What they learn

from these studies can be used to develop new and potentially more effective ways to treat or prevent illnesses, helping large numbers of people. “When people participate in randomized clinical trials, they are advancing science and helping to get important answers,” Manson said. You don’t need to have a life-threatening disease to take part in a clinical study. In See CLINICAL STUDIES, page 18


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Clinical studies From page 17 fact, you don’t need to be sick at all. Researchers are always looking for healthy subjects to test strategies for keeping people well and preventing disease. Women in particular can benefit from taking part in research studies, because they tend to be underrepresented in clinical trials. “It’s very important that women get involved in randomized clinical trials so that researchers can find treatment and prevention strategies that work for women and are tailored to their needs,” Manson said.

Types of studies and risks If you enroll in a clinical trial, you may hear your doctor refer to it as “randomized” or “observational.” Just what do

these terms mean? During a randomized trial, one group of participants is randomly assigned to receive the treatment being studied, while another group (or groups) receives either a different treatment or an inactive pill called a placebo. If the study is double-blind, neither the participants nor the doctors and nurses involved know which treatment each person is receiving. This prevents anyone involved from biasing the results. In an observational study, participants aren’t given any specific treatment, but researchers observe them to see how their lifestyle habits relate to their health. Researchers who design and implement clinical studies must follow strict rules that ensure every participant is as safe as possible.

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Yet despite all the precautions, there’s always a risk with new — or even established — treatments that you might have an adverse effect. Those risks can include the side effects of the treatment, as well as the chance that it won’t work for you, or that you’ll receive a placebo instead of the active therapy. If you enroll in a study, you’ll be asked to sign an informed consent statement, which outlines all of the potential risks involved in participating, as well as the potential benefits.

“You want to be sure that you read the informed consent,” Manson advised. “Be sure you understand what the trial involves and what your participation requires.” To find a clinical trial in your area, visit Type your condition and location into the search box (for example, “breast cancer AND Atlanta”), and the site will bring up a list of clinical trials that are recruiting in your area. © 2012 President and fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Questions to ask researchers Before enrolling in any clinical trial, here are a few key questions to ask the research team: 1. What is the purpose of this study? 2. How will the study benefit me? 3. What are other treatment options? 4. How long is the study? 5. Has this treatment been tested before? What were the results? 6. What kinds of tests and treatments will I receive? 7. How will I know whether the treatment is working? 8. What kinds of follow-up tests and treatments will be done? 9. What are the risks? 10. What is my risk if I get usual care instead of the treatment? — Harvard Women’s Health Watch


Nov. 17


At the November 17 meeting of the Montgomery County Chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America, member Paul Silverman, Ph.D., a retired clinical psychologist, and his wife will moderate a discussion of the challenges faced by families with one or more members with hearing loss. The meeting will begin at 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7910 Woodmont Ave., Suite 1200, Bethesda, Md. This event is free; no registration required. For more information, call 301-657-2248 or email Refer to this notice when contacting.

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Processed meats increase diabetes risk Q: I know sausage and other processed based preservatives form nitrosamine commeats are linked with colon cancer risk. pounds within our gut that increase cancer Is it true that they’re linked risk. These nitrosamines may with risk of diabetes, too? also damage the cells of the A: Yes, several large populapancreas responsible for protion studies now link greater ducing insulin. consumption of processed meats Another potential explanawith increased risk of type 2 diation for the diabetes link inbetes. Processed meats are volves formation during meat those that are salted, cured or processing of compounds smoked, or contain preservacalled advanced glycation endtives such as nitrite- or nitrateproducts (AGEs) that seem to based products. increase low-grade inflammaC o m m o n e x a m p l e s o f NUTRITION tion and oxidative stress. Both processed meat are bacon, WISE of these conditions promote a sausage, hot dogs, processed By Karen Collins, metabolic environment that canned meats, ham and pack- MS, RD, CDM can lead to type 2 diabetes. aged lunchmeats. Q: I love to go out for Scientists have identified several poten- Greek food, and I know the Meditertial mechanisms that could explain the ranean diet is very healthy. How reaconvincing link between processed meats sonable are the calories in the restauand greater risk of colorectal cancer. rant options? Risk of type 2 diabetes increases with A: Traditional Greek and other Mediterbeing overweight, so processed meats’ high ranean eating patterns are extremely content of fat (and therefore calories) could healthy because they focus on plant foods explain part of the link to diabetes risk. like vegetables, beans and grains (which However, even after adjusting for weight traditionally were nutrient-rich whole and some other aspects of eating habits, grains). The primary source of fat is olive people who consume the most processed oil, a healthy choice. meat show at least 45 to 60 percent greater Unfortunately, the amount of fat that risk of developing type 2 diabetes. restaurants use in some dishes is extremely Researchers hypothesize that nitrite- high. Steer clear of options like moussaka,

with rich ground meat and oil-drenched eggplant baked in a creamy sauce. Focus on lean, vegetable-laden choices like chicken souvlaki or fish served with grilled vegetables, or the many lentil- and bean-based soups. For a delicious Greek salad without excessive calories, order it light on the feta cheese (especially if you are ordering another dish that will supply your protein). Just because you’re offered a large portion of rice and unending pita bread does not make it a good idea to eat it all. Although tzatziki sounds healthy (Greek yogurt with cucumber and garlic), it’s often made with full-fat yogurt that’s concentrated in calories, so watch your portion. Greek restaurants offer delicious meals

that may inspire you with new ideas for preparing beans and vegetables at home. Just don’t let the “halo” effect of how healthy it seems lead you to forget the impact of portion size if you are trying to keep calories moderate. The American Institute for Cancer Research offers a Nutrition Hotline, 1-800843-8114, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. This free service allows you to ask questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. A registered dietitian will return your call, usually within three business days. Courtesy of the American Institute for Cancer Research. Questions for this column may be sent to “Nutrition Wise,” 1759 R St., NW, Washington, DC 20009. Collins cannot respond to questions personally.

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Biotin deficiency is frequently overlooked Dear Pharmacist: Please write about biotin deficiency. This is what killed my husband. No one detected it, and I want to alert everyone. Love your work, hope to meet you one day. — J.P. Dear J.P.: I’m sorry about your loss. Today, I will write about it. Together we will be preventing more deaths. The problem is that physicians and consumers think of biotin — also known as vitamin H, or B7 — only as a “beauty” vitamin to improve nail strength and hair growth. The sad part is, thousands of medications are “drug muggers” of biotin, meaning they prevent absorption or dimin-

ish our ability to make it in the body. Here are signs that suggest biotin deficiency: Nerve pain. Numbness, tingling, prickly sensations, pain or any other “paresthesia.” It can occur by itself, or as part of kidney disease, insulin resistance or diabetes. Skin conditions. Eczema, psoriasis, seborrheoeic dermatitis, flaking, itching, flaking, scaly, dry or inflamed skin, sores in or around the mouth, burning mouth/tongue. All of these problems suggest biotin (or another B vitamin) deficiency. Poor immunity. Biotin deficiency results in more frequent bacterial or viral infections, anywhere, even in your eye (conjunctivitis).

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Biotin is made by yeast and bacteria, the Cognitive problems. The brain needs biotin to make neurotransmitters that keep you same friendly microorganisms found in our intestinal flora. Keep in feeling mentally alert, happy mind, all medications strip and attentive. Low biotin can away our probiotics, reducing cause fatigue and depression. our biotin stash. High cholesterol. Animal Antibiotics are huge drug studies have shown that bimuggers, as are estrogen-conotin (along with chromium) taining hormones, acid blockcan reduce cholesterol and ers, antacids, anti-convultriglycerides. Low biotin insants, steroids, anti-virals, creases risk for fatty liver. breast cancer drugs, anti-inAnorexia. You’re not hunflammatories and certain analgry if you have biotin defiDEAR gesics. Also people who ciency. Sounds like a dream, PHARMACIST smoke, drink alcohol or cofright? But it can actually conBy Suzy Cohen fee, or take alpha lipoic acid tribute to depression, letharrun out of biotin quickly. gy and weakness. Biotin supplements are sold over-theAnemia. The hemoglobin cells lose their ability to tote oxygen, leaving you feel- counter, but of course ask your doctor if ing winded, short of breath, inattentive and it’s right for you. About 1,000 to 5,000 mcg. fatigued with little exertion. Prolonged ane- per day should help. Your body washes away excess biotin. mia raises risk for heart failure. Good food sources include organ meats, Cardiac arrhythmia. Biotin deficiency can cause you to suffer palpitations, nuts, cashews, dairy, liver, eggs, cauliskipped beats and other electrical distur- flower, leafy greens, legumes and seafood. This information is opinion only. It is not bances that can cause a fatal heart attack. You must get as irritated as I do to read intended to treat, cure or diagnose your conInternet posts from so-called experts say- dition. Consult with your doctor before using ing that biotin deficiency is “rare” or that any new drug or supplement. Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist we get enough from foods. I believe biotin deficiency is extremely common and cov- and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist ered this nutrient in Chapter 6 of my book, and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit Drug Muggers.


Nov. 9

Research shows that not only does physical activity help in weight management and keeping the heart healthy, but it also keeps the brain sharp. Lauren Griden from AARP will give a free presentation about the benefits of walking with a special focus on brain health on Fri., Nov. 9 at 11:15 a.m. at Aurora Hills Senior Center, 735 S. 18th St., Arlington, Va. Call (703) 228-5722 to register.

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Parsley salad packs an antioxidant punch By Lori Zanteson Parsley is much more than a garnish. Mentions of parsley can be found back to the first century C.E. It is mentioned by such notables as the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, who praised it as a staple in soups and salad, and the father of medicine, Hippocrates, who noted its medicinal qualities. Despite such praise, parsley has long been associated with death, probably because it looks a lot like â&#x20AC;&#x153;foolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parsley,â&#x20AC;? a poisonous relative of hemlock. The ancient Greeks, in fact, never served parsley at the table, but only wore wreaths of it, to honor the dead. Romans also wore parsley wreaths, to stave off the effects of wine. For centuries, parsley has enjoyed a variety of uses as a cleansing herb, including as a breath freshener, baldness remedy, and purported treatment for kidney and bladder ailments. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a member of the Apiaceae family, along with celery, carrots and parsnips. Parsley is a small plant with either dark, flat green leaves that resemble coriander, or bright green, curly leaves. The pungent flat leaf or Italian parsley is preferred for cooking, while the curly leaf variety often is used as a garnish, but both are widely used in Mediterranean, Eastern European and American cooking.

Nutrient powerhouse Just two tablespoons of parsley, high in vitamin K and the antioxidant vitamins A and C, pack 144 percent of the daily value of vitamin K for bone and heart health. Along with its antioxidant vitamins, parsley contains several other unique compounds that also pack antioxidant punch. Myristicin, one of parsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s essential oils, was shown in animal studies to have antiinflammatory properties to inhibit tumor formation and growth, according to a 2011 study reported in Molecules. Apigenin, one of many flavonoids in parsley, has been prevalent in recent breast cancer research, and has been shown to stop breast cancer cells from multiplying and growing, according to a study published in 2011 in Cancer Prevention Research. A sprig or even an entire bunch of parsley adds fresh color and flavor. Used as an herb, spice and vegetable, parsley is available fresh or dried year-round. Choose firm stems and vibrant green leaves with no discoloration. Refrigerate upright in a container of water, covered by a plastic bag. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley for a beautiful finish on most any dish, or be bold and try it in a Mediterranean green salsa served over vegetables or poultry, a classic tabouleh, or pesto tossed with whole wheat pasta. Two tablespoons of raw parsley have 2

calories, 12 percent of daily value (DV) for vitamin A, 18 percent DV for vitamin D, 144 percent DV for vitamin K, and 418 mg. of lutein plus zeaxanthin. Get parsleyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s benefits with this recipe.

Tomato-Cucumber Salad with Parsley and Mint Ingredients: 4 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded

and chopped 1/3 cup diced red onion 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 2 tsp. olive oil 1 tsp. Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground black pepper Preparation: 1. In large bowl, combine tomatoes, cuSee PARSLEY SALAD, page 22

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Am I a saint or sucker if I take him back? Dear Solutions: Forget the labels and the images. I’ve been separated from my husband What’s important here is not what’s wrong for six months because he with him or what’s wrong with cheated on me and lied you but what was wrong with about it. (He says if he was your marriage. going to cheat, he had to lie.) Don’t take him back until Now he wants to come the two of you sit down — back, and he says he’ll with counseling help if necesnever act that way again. sary — and figure out what I really believe what he went wrong and how it can did is very wrong. Would I change in the future. be a good person if I take Without that understanding, him back, or would I just be neither saint nor sucker can SOLUTIONS foolish? make a difference. Good luck. By Helen Oxenberg, — K. Dear Solutions: MSW, ACSW Dear K: I took a tough fall recently In other words, would you be while doing a morning walk in a saint or a sucker to take back the sinner? my community. Several people who were


Nov. 15


Yvonee D’Arcy from Suburban Hospital will help distinguish between musculoskeletal pain and neuropathic pain. Specific neuropathic pain syndromes will be discussed, such as diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic neuralgia and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Medications and techniques to reduce neuropathic pain will also be discussed at this talk on Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m. at the Village at Rockville, 9701 Veirs Rd., Rockville, Md. For more information, call (301) 354-8447.

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nearby came quickly and helped me up after carefully seeing that I was basically OK. One man even stopped his car, got out and offered to drive me to an emergency room if needed. Although I was pretty shaken up I felt that nothing major was wrong, so I thanked everyone, and they went on their way and I went home. These people are all from my community, but I have no idea who they are since there are several thousand people living here. They went out of their way with kindness, and I would like to thank them somehow. What do you suggest? I think there aren’t enough thank-yous sent these days. — Emma Dear Emma: This is a thank-you note to you! We constantly hear of the awful, hurtful things being done by people to people, but there isn’t enough recognition of the kind things people do. How to thank these people? I am guessing that you have a community newspaper. Put an announcement in describing the incident and offering much thanks and appreciation to those mysterious helpers. And watch how you walk — those people are not always around. Dear Readers: Recently, I answered a question from a

grandmother whose granddaughter asked for financial help so she and her “serious” boyfriend could move into an apartment together and save money until they could afford a place on their own. Grandma was conflicted and wanted to make sure her relationship with granddaughter wouldn’t suffer if she said no. I advised her to make it a formal loan with definite arrangements for repayment. One of my readers disagreed and sent me this note expressing her opinion: “I think this young couple ought to learn to wait and to pay for what they want. Sex and living together are adult activities. Work and saving come before pleasure, even if saving money is part of their motivation. If they are as emotionally mature as they ought to be, the relationship with Grandma will survive. If not, that’s useful information. —S.K.” Thank you for your input, S.K. This raises another question to think about. Are parents, and especially grandparents, afraid to say no to their children because they are afraid of losing them? (To be continued.) © Helen Oxenberg, 2012. Questions to be considered for this column may be sent to: The Beacon, P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915. You may also email the author at To inquire about reprint rights, call (609) 655-3684.

Parsley salad

Makes 4 servings. Nutrition information per serving: 59 calories, 3 g. fat, 8 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. protein, 2 g. dietary fiber, 45 mg. sodium. Recipe adapted from American Institute for Cancer Research, and reprinted with permission from Environmental Nutrition. © 2012 Belvoir Media Group. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

From page 21 cumber, red onion, parsley and mint. 2. In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil and mustard. Add to tomato mixture and toss to coat. 3. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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Spotlight On Aging VOLUME XXVIII, ISSUE 11

A newsletter for D.C. Seniors

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE By Dr. John M. Thompson, Ph.D., FAAMA My column this month is about food insecurity. The United States Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as the state of being “unable to afford balanced meals, cutting the size of meals because of insufficient money for food, or being hungry because of insufficient money for food.” As you are aware, seniors are on a fixed income and are constantly deciding between prescription medication purchases, transportation to doctors’ offices and other places, and food. Unfortunately, seniors often are left in a tough situation of having to do without sufficient nutritious food. I recently gained a new perspective about food insecurity when I joined D.C. Hunger Solutions in its Food Stamp Challenge. On this challenge, I was restricted to eating only $30 worth of groceries that would sustain me for seven days. As I reflect on my experience, I realized that I purchased an abundance of carbohydrate-loaded items, rice and noodles; insufficient vegetables and fruits; very little meats; and no snacks. Consequently, I was extremely sluggish in the afternoon because of no additional foods to eat until dinner time. Moreover, I was eating the same food for lunch and dinner. Although this was only a sevenday challenge, where I lacked variety in food choices, many District seniors and other residents frequently experience a lack of sufficient food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the D.C. Hunger Solutions’ website, hunger and a lack of access to healthy foods are contributing factors to obesity and poor health outcomes. Such re-

sults lead to more visits to emergency departments, admissions to hospitals, and for some, admissions to nursing homes. Trips to a medical facility can be a traumatic experience for our seniors, and we must make every effort in assisting those experiencing food insecurity to overcome this barrier. To combat this plight, we are partnering with D.C. Hunger Solutions to increase the public’s awareness about the unfortunate impact that food insecurity has on the District’s seniors and other people. Moreover, we have partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank to administer the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Seniors Farmers’ Market Program, which provide seniors with a monthly bag of groceries and an annual issuance of coupons to purchase fresh produce at local farmers’ markets. Through these two programs — our congregate meal/homebound meal programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) — we have an opportunity to tackle food insecurity. This is our best approach in assisting every impacted senior. We challenge our partners in the community, local churches, civic associations, and other communitybased organizations, to host food drives and grocery coupon clubs that could give seniors a helping hand in their communities. If you or someone you know is experiencing food insecurity or if you would like to help us tackle food insecurity, please contact us at 202724-5622. Through a collective effort, we can ensure that all District residents have access to adequate nutritional meals.

November 2012

Mayor Gray Releases Report and Strategic Plan to Ensure the District Becomes an ‘Age-Friendly’ City Office on Aging Plan Outlines Four Goals to Ensure Livability for Aging Residents Mayor Vincent C. Gray, other District officials and representatives of the D.C. Office on Aging (DCOA) released the D.C. Senior Needs Assessment and a Strategic Plan for Community Living in an Age-Friendly City. The multi-year plan highlights four main goals and strategies for serving seniors that DCOA and other District agencies will implement through 2017. “Ensuring that the District’s residents have the supports necessary to age in our community while living independently is a critical goal in my One City Action Plan, and making sure the District is an Age-Friendly City will benefit all of our residents,” Mayor Gray said. “The needs assessment gives us a roadmap for beginning to meet the current needs of our older residents, identifying service gaps and allowing DCOA to refine its service model.” The District will convene a task force of District agencies and community partners, including AARP, to oversee the execution of the three-year strategic plan. The following four goals from the plan will be addressed: • The District will be an Age-Friendly City — an urban community that is inclusive and accessible, and encourages active and healthy aging. • Every senior will be linked to appropriate quality resources ensuring independent, productive living in the community. • All seniors will have access to nutritious meals and physical and social activities, and will be financially prepared for re-

tirement and their long-term-care needs. • The District will create and strengthen partnerships to implement innovative practices and improve senior services. The District will join seven states as a pilot for the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities through the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Network of AgeFriendly Cities and Communities. The goal of this program is to provide a system to educate, encourage, promote and recognize improvements that make cities, towns and counties more user-friendly not only for their older residents, but for residents of all ages. This represents Goal No. 1 of the District’s strategic plan. The strategic plan came in response to the Senior Needs Assessment, which Mayor Gray commissioned DCOA to conduct. It was the first such assessment the District has conducted since 1978. The study was designed to analyze the current needs of D.C.’s older adults, how services are delivered and what needs may be unmet for senior citizens. Data provided through the report will allow DCOA and its Senior Service Network to address the future needs of the District’s growing population of baby boomers as well as current consumers. For more information or to get a copy of the Senior Needs Assessment or Strategic Plan for Community Living in an AgeFriendly City, visit DCOA’s website or call the agency’s main number at 202-724-5622.

Give us a grade on service! The Office on Aging is pleased to join nine other agencies participating in GradeDC. Let us know about the service you receive as you visit or call the Office on Aging or visit one of the six Office on Aging-funded wellness centers across the city. Log onto to rate us. We would love to hear how we can serve you better! If you are on Facebook or Twitter, send us a post or a tweet to let us know what you think. We are among the second group of agencies to be rated. Current agencies involved in the rating process are: • DC Public Library • Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs

• District Department of Transportation • Department of Motor Vehicles • Department of Parks and Recreation • Department of Public Works • Fire and Emergency Medical Services • Metropolitan Police Department • 311/911 Visit and provide your feedback today! Tell Us What You Think! We Want To Know! Four easy ways to give us your feedback:

text (202) 499-2529 tweet @dcagingnews facebook DistrictofColumbiaOfficeonAging


N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N




Ms. Senior D.C. Makes Finals in National Event After the announcement of the Top 10 candidates for the Ms. Senior America Pageant, Ms. Senior D.C. Mary L. McCoy was joined by representatives from California, Colorado, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah during the annual event held in Atlantic City, N.J. at Harrah's Hotel. "I was shocked but so honored and proud to represent the District of Columbia," said McCoy after making the finals. McCoy, a resident of Ward 8, is only the second contestant from the District of Columbia to make the finals. The first contestant was Sandra Bears, Ms. Senior D.C. 2005. The finalists then performed their talents one final time before the winner was announced. McCoy performed her dance with enthusiasm to “Let Your Mind Go Back,” by Sheba Potts Wright. Complete strangers from the audience came up to members of the group to say how much they enjoyed her dance and that they were amazed by her high kick, even suggesting that she angle herself so that the audience could see the full extent of her kick.

Ms. Senior D.C. Mary L. McCoy pictured in her stunning gown during the Evening Gown Presentation.

Ms. Senior D.C. and the contestants wore red gowns during the opening number of the pageant. Representatives from 34 other states competed in the Ms. Senior America Pageant 2012. Locally, Ms. Senior Virginia Kat Fanelli and Ms. Maryland Mahal May also were contestants.

Ms. Senior D.C. Mary L. McCoy performs during the talent competition at the Ms. Senior America Pageant.

McCoy, age 61, modified her dance slightly from her performance at the local pageant in June and changed her costume, which she made. She wore black shimmering leggings with a gold, shimmering asymmetrical tunic top with fringe, topped off with a gold shimmering stingy brim hat with a black band. Elisabeth Howard captured the title of Ms. Senior America. The opera singer and actress from California sang “Violetta's Aria” from Verdi's La Traviata, Sempre Libera, in Italian. The rest of her court included Ms. South Carolina Laura McFayden (1st Runner Up), Ms. Texas Lillie Madison (2nd Runner Up), Ms. Utah Boni Losee (3rd Runner Up), Ms. New Jersey Carol Dugan (4th Runner Up). This year 35 contestants competed for the title of Ms. Senior America dur-

Become a DCOA Ambassador A participant was bubbling with excitement after attending a recent training of the DCOA Ambassadors. She thought of many ways that she could engage her neighbors and assist the Office on Aging in getting the word out about the programs and services provided by the office.

To find out more information and ways you can help senior citizens, the disabled age 18 and older, and their caregivers, call 202-724-5622 to register. Upcoming dates: • Nov. 14, 9 a.m. to noon • Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to noon

Ms. Senior America Elisabeth Howard (center) poses with Gwen Moseley Coleman, District of Columbia State Director, and Ms. Senior D.C. Mary L. McCoy after the crowning.

ing the national pageant. Each contestant, who must be 60 years or older, was judged on a private interview with the judges, her philosophy of life, and her talent and evening gown presentations. Senior America Inc, produces the

pageant, and its philosophy is based upon the belief that seniors are the foundation of America and our most valuable treasure. It is upon their knowledge, experience and resources that the younger generation has the opportunity to build a better society.

Office on Aging Oversees Food Programs The D.C. Office on Aging has begun the operations of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) after they were transferred from the Department of Health last month. The CSFP provides nutritious food to low-income pregnant, postpartum and lactating women, preschool-age children and residents 60 years of age or older. In addition to providing nutritious food, the CSFP also provides nutrition education to help participants

improve their health through better nutrition. The purpose of the SFMNP is to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to senior citizens of the District of Columbia who are eligible for CSFP. The program expands the awareness and use of farmers' markets, and also supports and promotes the daily consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. There are several distribution sites across the city. For more information, call 202-5351417.


WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2




Community Calendar November events

14th • 1 p.m.

5th • 10 a.m. to noon Take part in Seniors Going Green! Presentations will be provided by Dept. of Public Works Recycling, DC Sustainable, Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Office of the Peoples Counsel and the D.C. Office on Aging and Aging and Disability Resource Center at Behrend Adas Senior Fellowship, 2850 Quebec St. NW.

6th • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Seniors Going Green will be repeated at St. Albans Episcopal Church, 3001 Wisconsin Ave. NW.

8th • 5 to 8:30 p.m. D.C. Caregivers’ Institute National Family Caregivers’ Month will sponsor a celebration reception at the Charles Sumner School Museum & Archives, 1201 17th St. NW. The theme is “Good Time Jazz.” R.S.V.P is required and seating is limited. Contact the D.C. Caregivers’ Institute, 202-464-1513.

14th • 10 a.m. to 2 pm

The Model Cities Senior Wellness Center, located at 1900 Evarts St. NE, will present a Gospel Explosion show featuring local talent and a special guest appearance. For more information, contact Monica Carroll at 202-635-1900, x24.

19th+ • 6 to 7:30 p.m. Iona Senior Services and the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter are providing two new educational series, one for people caring for someone diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease and the other for people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The meetings run concurrently on Mondays, Nov. 19 and 26 and Dec. 3 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Iona, 4125 Albemarle St. NW. To register, call 202-895-9448 and select option 4.

25th • 3:30 p.m. The Choraleers of the Washington Seniors Wellness Center will present its annual concert at Saint John Christian Methodist Church, 2801 Stanton Rd. SE. For more information, call 202-581-9355.

28th • 12:45 p.m.

The Office on Aging will exhibit during the Community Health and Wellness Fair at River Park Mutual Homes, 1311 Delaware Ave. SW. Walgreens will also be onsite administering free flu vaccines.

The Model Cities Senior Wellness Center will host a storytelling program. The center is located at 1900 Evarts St. NE. For more Information, call Monica Carroll at 202-635-1900, x24.

Hayes Senior Wellness Center Open for Business Seniors — Come One, Come All” to the Hayes Senior Wellness Center. Enjoy fitness activities, exciting games, hand dancing and walking clubs that are offered at all senior wellness centers in the District of Columbia. Unique to this center is a

medical model to address the preventive health needs of older adults. Come out and join the fun. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 202-727-0357.

SPOTLIGHT ON AGING Spotlight On Aging is published by the Information Office of the D.C. Office on Aging for D.C. senior residents. Advertising contained in the Beacon is not endorsed by the D.C. Office on Aging or by the publisher. 500 K St., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002 202-724-5622 • Dr. John M. Thompson, Ph.D., FAAMA Executive Director Darlene Nowlin, Editor Selma Dillard, Photographer The D.C. Office on Aging does not discriminate against anyone based on actual or perceived: race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, mari-

28th • 1:30 to 3 p.m.

tal status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, disability, source of income, and place of residence or business. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination which is prohibited by the Act. In addition, harassment based on any of the above protected categories is prohibited by the Act. Discrimination in violation of the Act will not be tolerated. Violators will be subjected to disciplinary action.

The Office on Aging is in partnership with the District of Columbia Recycling Program.

Iona Senior Services will sponsor a program called “How to be an Effective Caregiver.” The workshop covers the basics of legal and financial planning necessary for aging in place and gives an overview of the services available in the community. It will take place at Live and Learn Bethesda, at Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Second Floor, Bethesda, MD. The cost is $10. Register at or call 301-740-6150.

December 1st • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Office on Aging will exhibit at the Family Caregivers Forum at Providence Hospital, St. Catharine’s Hall, 10th and Varnum Streets NE.

5th • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Mayor’s Annual Senior Holiday Celebration will be held at the D.C. Armory, 2001 East Capitol St., SE. The annual event will feature health, wellness and safety demonstrations, health exhibits, live entertainment, music and dancing to the greatest hits. Free flu shots will be administered on site. A festive holiday lunch will also be served. To reserve your free ticket, call 202-724-5626

Providing Care for a Loved One When Ward 1 resident Buddy Moore and his wife Carolyn received her diagnosis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), "it was the worst day of my life because it was a death sentence," said Mr. Moore. The disease started appearing in her feet first. Mrs. Moore tripped four or five times on her way home one day, which was not normal for her. She went to her medical doctor, who began running tests to rule out various diseases that have similar symptoms. The doctor eventually referred the Moores to a doctor at George Washington University Hospital, who delivered the diagnosis of ALS. Commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a fatal neuromuscular disease in which muscle control is lost, resulting in complete paralysis. Through all this, the mind remains sharp and alert. About 30,000 people are currently living with ALS in the United States. This year, 5,000 people will be diagnosed with ALS. The life expectancy of an ALS patient is two to five years from the date of diagnosis. Later, the disease began affecting Mrs. Moore’s left leg and her knees. Through the ALS Association, the Moores were able to get a wheel chair loan. The DC/MD/VA chapter of the organization is there to help, and loans out expensive equipment that many persons would never be able to afford on their own or with their insurance coverage. When Mrs. Moore later became bedridden and could only move her eyes, the optical reader on loan from the association helped the Moores communicate. While they made home modifications, like building a ramp into the house, the disease began to wear on Mrs. Moore, and it took hours just to prepare to leave the house. She

eventually said to her husband, “Buddy, what good am I to anybody?” The family formed the Carolyn J. Moore Corporation, and she was named as CEO. Other family members were also appointed officers in the corporation. This helped her tremendously and made her feel important. The caregiving experience hit another obstacle, however. Buddy, who cared for his wife almost entirely on his own, was able to lift his petite wife, and she was able to give him some assistance. But one time he was not. She fell on top of him on the floor, and they were both unable to move. He was able to reach for the phone and call a neighbor and a friend, David. Thinking back, Mr. Moore remembered with a smile, “He was there in no time at all.” David was able to lift both of the Moores and to help get them situated. The Moore’s experience only lasted about a year, but their struggles with caregiving were a lot easier because of the resources that were available that allowed Mr. Moore to take care of his wife in their own home. Mr. Moore, who still remains very active, works with the ALS Association on various projects and is working to make more persons aware of the disease. He also is working with the Office on Aging to help caregivers. He recently was a guest host on the D.C. Caregivers Online Chat at Noon, sharing his caregiving experience and tips that he is sharing with others. In case you missed the online chat, you may log onto to replay it. For more information, call Linda Irizzary at 202-535-1442. The bi-weekly online chat provides caregivers with helpful tips, information and resources available to assist persons providing care informally.


N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N


WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Memory Support at The Meadows Bringing independence, purpose, happiness to the lives of those with memory loss


elcome to Memory Support at The Meadows at Brooke Grove, a specialized assisted living alternative for those in all stages of memory loss. We’ve partnered with national leaders in the field to ensure that every last detail promotes optimal living. Memory Support at The Meadows is more than simply care for those with memory loss. We provide every opportunity for residents to grow and learn, to participate in lifelong hobbies or develop new ones, to love and care for one another, and to feel a sense of purpose with each new day. We welcome you to explore how Memory Support at The Meadows can enhance the life of someone you love. Call to schedule a tour today.

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A GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS 60 AND OVER Planning Ahead 2 __________________________________

Dear Friends:

Older adults in Montgomery County are a large and immensely diverse group. Seniors range from 60 to over 100 years of age. We may be active or frail; high or low income; still working or long-retired. Some seniors are native to the County and others come from far away. What County seniors want reflects this diversity—their needs and desires are as unique as each individual. Meeting the social, recreational, housing and health needs of such a large and diverse group is a challenge. Fortunately, there are many resources available in our community. In some cases, private industry and non-profit organizations help address these needs. In others, Montgomery County government can play a role. Many County agencies provide services and programs for seniors, including our Departments of Health and Human Services, Public Libraries, Recreation, Transportation and more. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction, depending on your circumstances or those of your loved ones. It will tell you about services and resources available for seniors and caregivers in the County and provide tips on where to learn more. We believe that helping people discover what is available is one of the most important and cost-effective services we can provide. If this guide doesn’t answer your questions, Aging and Disability Services staff members are happy to help. Just call 240-777-3000. Sincerely,

Isiah Leggett, County Executive

Living in the Setting of Your Choice 3 __________________________________ Staying Healthy 4 __________________________________ Staying Safe 5 __________________________________ Keeping Fit 6 __________________________________ Having Fun 7 __________________________________ Employment and Lifelong Learning 8 __________________________________ Volunteering 9 __________________________________ Getting Around 10 __________________________________ Caregiving 11 __________________________________ Finding Information 12 __________________________________

Aging and Disability Services 240-777-3000



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Control Your Future Making important decisions during a crisis situation is not ideal. Yet people often find themselves in situations for which they are not prepared. Planning for the future—whether for retirement or sudden illness—can give you a sense of control. Some of the topics you could think about and discuss in advance with your family include: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Finances Decisions about the future are often influenced by one's financial situation. In addition to pensions and savings, it is important to be aware of other available resources and tools. You should be aware of the full range of government benefits for which you may be eligible. Go to Housing Consider how to make your current home safer, as well as where else you might choose to live if you become too disabled or frail to remain comfortably in your current home. See page 3 for more information on housing.

to have legal documents, called advance directives, which state your wishes. Advance directives do two things. First, they name the person you want to make decisions on your behalf if you cannot do so yourself. Second, they allow you to document health care instructions that will guide the people making decisions for you. Make sure your loved ones know your wishes, and where to find key documents and information if needed. The Montgomery County Coalition on Care at End-of-Life helps educate residents about advance directives. For information, go to or call 240-777-1350.

Did You Know...that people who engage Research indicates in detailed planning about care needs in the event of a severe disability are much less likely to have to rely on a nursing home than those who do not plan ahead.

These resources can provide helpful information:

Everyday Activities If you suddenly couldn't do certain things for yourself—like bathing, dressing, paying bills, shopping or driving—who would assist you? Adult children are often willing to assist with chores and managing household activities, but are less comfortable with bathing, dressing or more intimate types of assistance. Talking to your family members about what they can do, and under what conditions, can help you create a realistic safety net for the future.

Benefits Checkup Many people are unaware that they are eligible for government benefits. Developed by the National Council on Aging, is the nation's most comprehensive Web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes more than 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. If you do not have internet access, call Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services at 240-777-3000.

Healthcare Decisions As medical science advances, individuals must often answer the questions: “If I become unable to make decisions for myself, who would decide for me? And, what life-prolonging medical interventions would I want and not want?” It is important

Medicare Long-Term Care Planning Visit for a customized tool to help you understand what longterm care services you can expect to need, how much you can expect to pay for them, and what financing options are available. ■

Develop and nurture friendships People who stay connected to people in their community often find that when problems develop, they have friends available to help.

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LIVING IN THE SETTING OF YOUR CHOICE Staying In Your Home or When & Where to Move Home is more than where you live. Home is part of who you are. Some seniors are able to remain safe, happy and secure in their home of many years. Others choose to move to a setting that better meets their changing needs. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you decide that it is time to consider moving from your current home, what options exist? Some of the more common options include: Downsizing Moving into a smaller house or apartment, and/or one with no stairs. Active Adult Community Housing communities with an age requirement (typically 55) that provide amenities for seniors who are retired or still working. Often adjacent to golf courses and other recreational facilities. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC): retirement communities that provide a guaranteed range of services, from detached homes to full service nursing care. CCRCs provide security by ensuring that regardless of the type of assistance residents need, they will never have to move away from the community. Independent Living Apartment type communities that provide a minimum of support for people who are largely independent. Usually, sites offer socialization, outings to stores and cultural events, and communal meals for those who want to participate. Assisted Living/Group Home Assisted living and group homes provide single or shared rooms or small apartments set up to encourage independent living. They offer services such as meals, medication management and assistance with daily living tasks. They vary in size and provide care based on the need of each resident. Nursing Home Facilities that provide skilled nursing care, under direction of a physician. ■

If You Decide to Move

If you prefer to remain in your current home, here are some steps you can take to make it easier to stay: Become as physically strong and fit as possible—and stay that way! You’ll want to maintain the strength to climb stairs, and get around your home independently.

Making it Easier to Stay

Improve your home environment. Many homes can be modified to fit an individual's specific needs. This can include adding a bathroom on the ground level, installing grab bars in the bathroom, or adding a wheelchair ramp. If finances are tight, try calling the Maryland Technology Assistance Program at 1-800-832-4827, or Rebuilding Together at 301-933-2700. Get help. Over 80% of all assistance received by seniors comes from unpaid family or friends. Also, for-profit companies and non-profit organizations provide assistance with chores, personal care, meals, and transportation. Some assistance is available for free from public or private programs. Be creative with financing your preferred lifestyle. If your home needs modifications or you need to pay for assistance, where will you get the money? Increasingly seniors are using reverse mortgages to supplement their income. A reverse mortgage is a loan taken against the equity in your home. You do not have to pay the loan back as long as you live in your home. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website can help you determine if a reverse mortgage is appropriate for you. Go to Or call HUD at 1-800-569-4287 to learn about local housing counseling services.

ow... Did You Knthat the number and

Studies show closeness of a person's friendships are the most influential factors in determining a ore, person's perceived quality of life.Theref seniors should consider their proximity to their friends and family when deciding where to live.

More Information and Help Aging and Disability Services 240-777- 3000 Information about local housing resources and help completing applications. Guide to Retirement Living 1-800-394-9990 Information about senior housing choices of all kinds. Available on-line and in print. Housing Opportunities Commission 240-773-9000 Montgomery County housing authority. Provides subsidized rental housing for low income people. Long-term Care Ombudsman Program 240-777-3369 Can offer advice about assisted living and nursing home options in the County. Beacon Newspaper & Senior Resource Guide 301-949-9766 On-line and print guide to senior services including housing information.

What to Consider When Deciding to Stay or Move At least five factors should be considered when deciding whether to stay or move: proximity, expense, accessibility, comfort, and ease (PEACE). P roximity refers to how close the home is to stores, doctors, family and friends, and whether you have transportation available. Living close to your support network makes it easier to get what you need and want. E xpense refers to the costs involved in staying or leaving. Property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and the cost of heating, cooling and maintaining a single family home can be weighed against the costs of moving to a new home. A ccessibility refers to how well you can get in and out of your home, and move around inside.Will climbing stairs be a problem? If you need a wheelchair, can it get through all the hallways and doorways? C omfort is the extent to which a place gives you a sense of security, peace of mind and identity. E ase: How easy is it for you to accomplish daily activities in your home?

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STAYING HEALTHY Good Nutrition: Local Resources Help Make it a Way of Life More and more evidence points to the role of good nutrition in helping people live longer and stay fit mentally and physically. And yet we often struggle to make healthy food a part of every day. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ● Germantown: 240-777-3420 ● Rockville: 240-777-4600 or ● Silver Spring: 240- 777-3100

Eating healthy can add energy and years to your life. Get the support you need and start doing it today! Struggling to separate myths from facts when reading about good nutrition? Are you confused in the dietary supplement aisle? Montgomery County has the only program of its kind in the U.S. to help seniors obtain reliable information on diet, food, and nutrition. The Senior Nutrition Hotline is a free service that lets you speak directly with a registered dietitian on Wednesdays between 9 and 11 a.m. Learn to eat for a healthy weight, decrease the risk of many chronic diseases, and better navigate the supermarket, health food store or farmers market. Call 240-777-1100.

Senior Nutrition Hotline

Most health professionals suggest eating at least ● Food and Friends (202-269-2277) five fruits and vegetables per day. They remind ● Top Banana (301-372-3663) people to include lots of fiber and healthy sources For people with diabetes, the County’s African of calcium. And they caution against foods that are American Health Program runs a Diabetes Dining high in calories and/or salt and offer little nutri- Club. Each monthly session includes education, tional value. physical activity and a healthy meal. The cost for Knowing what to eat points us in the right direc- dinner is only $5.00. To register, call 301-421- Bus Service for Senior Recreation & Nutrition Programs tion. Social support can keep us on track. Here in 5767. Montgomery County, help is available in many The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program The Montgomery County Recreation Department forms. (SNAP) may be an option for people having diffi- operates senior centers and neighborhood senior The County has more than 30 locations where culty paying for healthy foods. If you think you programs. Many of these programs have nutritious older adults can enjoy healthy lunches for a vol- may be eligible, check with the SNAP office clos- meals available through the Department of Health and Human Service's Senior Nutrition Program. untary donation. These sites are at community cen- est to you: Limited bus transportation is availters, senior centers, churches, and able to and from many of these sites. other locations. The meals offer nuCare Managed For information,call the Recreation tritious food and a chance to see old are Long Te Medic rm Ca Department at 240-777-4992. Insura re friends and make new ones. Seniors nce H M O s s eal can call 240-777-3810 to find the App s& m i Cla senior group meal site nearest to MED IGAP them. For individuals over 60 who have In addition to increasing the difficulty shopping or preparing num ber of healthy calories that meals County-supported Meals on participants consume, the Wheels programs may be able to senior group meal program help. Volunteers deliver balanced also increases the amount of meals to individuals who are unable tim e participants spend with to shop and prepare meals and have others. This is important no one at home to help. If you are inConfused about Medicare? Medical bills? Prescription drug coverage? because increases in social terested in receiving meals, call 240We can help. Call us. It’s free. contact often improves how 777-3810. peo ple feel about their quality In addition, non-profit groups supof life. As a result, the senior ported by the County provide esgroup meal program produces corted shopping trips, grocery SENIOR HEALTH INSURANCE COUNSELING PROGRAM benefits for both physical and delivery, or home delivered meals. A service of Montgomery County government emo tional health. They include: ● Senior Connection (301-962AGING AND DISABILITY SERVICES 0820)






Did You Know...



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STAYING SAFE Don’t Take Safety for Granted. We all need to think actively about eliminating or reducing safety risks. And we need to plan for events we hope will never take place.

Did You Know...

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ The average 75-yearold has three chronic conditions and uses five prescription drug s. Researchers found th at when adults ages 65 to 91 were asked to bring in a brown pape r bag containing their medicines, the list of medications in the ba g differed from their official pharmacy re cords.

Compared with other age groups, older adults face the greatest risk of dying in a fire. Decreased mobility, sight and hearing may limit a person’s ability to detect and escape a fire emergency. To learn more or to request a free fire safety evaluation of your home, please contact Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Senior Safety Hotline, 240-7772430.

Protect Yourself from Fire

Montgomery County Police Department offers free home security assessments. An officer will come to your home and make recommendations on how to secure it. To schedule a home security appointment, call 311 to connect with the Community Services Office of your local station. Or go to

Maintain Home Security

Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return Program

People with dementia can become disoriented and lost. MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or a related condition who wander or have a medical emergency. For more information and to register, please visit or call 1-800-2723900. Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates reports of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or exploitation involving frail seniors and adults with disabilities. If you suspect such a situation, call Aging and Disability Services at 240-777-3000. The goal of this program is to ensure that people are able to live safely in the community.

Adult Protective Services

A brown paper bag may hold the key to medication safety, according to health experts. "A 'brown bag checkup' is the best thing patients can do to avoid medication mistakes and cut down on unnecessary medications," says Douglas Paauw, M.D., Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington. The checkup involves putting all of your medications in a brown paper bag and bringing them to your doctor or pharmacist. The bag should include over-the-counter and prescription drugs, herbs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and topical treatments such as ointments and creams. "This kind of checkup is good for anyone who takes medication, but particularly for older people, who are more likely to be taking several medications," Paauw says. Edie Hurley, nurse manager with Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services, supports the idea of the brown bag checkup. "At least make a list and bring that to your doctor," she says. Your doctor or pharmacist should check for appropriate dosing, problems caused by interations between drugs and whether each drug is being given for the right reason. They should also check for duplication. It is common for more than one drug to contain the same ingredient. For instance, taking two products that contain acetaminophen

Use Medications Safely

raises the risk of liver damage. Other common problems include expired medications and medications that are no longer needed. After you and your doctor settle on what you should be taking, the next thing is to know the names of all of your medications and what they are for. Your list of medications should be updated and reviewed with your doctor each time you change a medication or add a new one. Keep a list of medications in your wallet and let a family member know that you have it, experts suggest. Patients should be ready to take that list out at the dentist's office, at appointments with specialists, or in an emergency. Modern medicine has made our lives better in many ways. But people taking many different drugs need to be aware of potential dangers and take steps to avoid them. This article contains excerpts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s article "Medication Use and Older Adults" and the National Institute on Aging’s Age Page "Medicines: Use Them Safely."

Another good place to record your medications is on a File of Life. The File of Life consolidates basic health information such as medical history, allergies, medications, etc. in one place. It is designed to hang by a red magnet on your refrigerator door in case emergency personnel need to treat you. You can get a free File of Life by calling Aging and Disability Services at 240-777-3000.

Get a Free File of Life


Montgomery can deliver important emergency alerts, notifications and updates to you on all of your electronic devices. To sign up, go to: and click on “Alert” at the very top of the page. ● Alert

● Whether it’s a severe winter storm or the threat of bioterrorism,

residents need to prepare for emergencies. The Plan 9 checklist helps you prepare a disaster kit and develop a plan to cope with emergency situations. To download go to: Search for Plan 9 to access the checklist and other resources.

● Make sure that in case of emergency, you can continue taking the

medicines you need. To download a brochure called Emergencies and Your Medicines, go to Click on “Health” and then “Emergencies and Your Medicines.” Or call the Senior Resource Line to request a copy, 240-777-3000, ( ● In the event of an emergency, turn on your radio and listen for

information from the Emergency Broadcast System on WTOP (FM-103.5), WMAL (AM-630 and FM-105.9), WNEW (FM-99.1)

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KEEPING FIT Staying Physically Active: Make it Fun! Most experts agree that staying physically active is the key to successful aging. Physical activity helps seniors maintain heart health and cognitive function, prevent falls, and improve mood. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

George Burns said, "You can't help getting older, but you don't have to get old." While we don't have complete control over our health or genetic background, we can do things to help ourselves age better. Even as bodies and abilities change, there are plenty of ways to get and keep moving in Montgomery County. For many people, the surest way to stay physically active is to find something fun to do. Older adults in Montgomery County play golf, tennis, basketball and volleyball; they swim or exercise in water. (Water exercise is especially helpful for people with balance problems and joint pain). Others stay on the cutting edge of fitness by taking classes in Pilates, weight training or even belly-dancing. Getting and staying fit doesn’t have to be expensive. Some people join friends to walk their neighborhoods and play yard games like horseshoes and croquet. Or they take advantage of the Recreation Department's Senior Sneaker program, which allows residents over 55 to use Community center exercise and weight rooms for a small annual fee from 9am-2pm Monday-Friday.

Staying Upright and Avoiding Falls

A simple fall can change your life. Just ask any of the thousands of older men and women who fall each year and break a bone. Getting older may bring changes in sight, hearing, muscle strength, coordination and reflexes. Diabetes, heart disease, and other medical problems can affect balance. Some medicines can cause dizziness. Any of these things can make a fall more likely. In fact, nearly 40% of people age 65 and older will experience a fall each year. About 2% of these seniors will require hospitalization. One of the reasons falls become dangerous is that many seniors have low bone density or "osteoporosis." When your bones are fragile, even a minor fall can cause them to break. A broken bone may not sound so terrible, but it can lead to more serious problems. Ask your doctor for a bone mineral density test that will tell you how strong your bones are. Medicare will pay for this test once every two years.

Montgomery County Parks' Heart Smart Trails are designed to encourage people to take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. Walking can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, improve blood pressure, decrease the risk for type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer and help control weight. Heart Smart Trails are generally 1-mile in length or less and follow a hard, level path. Bronze medallions are embedded in the path every 1/10 of a mile so walkers can keep track of the distance they have traveled. Call 301-495-2595 or go to

"Heart Smart" Hiking

For fitness classes (land and water), dance classes and sports offered throughout the County, pick up a Guide to Recreation at your local library or go to: ● Discounts for seniors are available for acquatics programs. Call each Montgomery County Recreation Department acquatic center for details. ● Holy Cross Senior Source in Silver Spring

Here Are Some Helpful Resources:

The number one recommendation to reduce the likelihood of falling is to have a risk assessment for falls done once a year. In particular, people with any of the following risk factors should request an assessment by their physician or physical therapist: • Muscle weakness (particularly in the legs) • Poor vision • Balance problems • Depression • Taking four or more medications

Are You at Risk?

The more you take care of your overall health and well-being, the more you can lower your chances of falling. Here are a few hints: Regular exercise helps keep you strong. It also helps keep your joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible. Mild weight-bearing exercise such as walking and climbing stairs may slow bone loss from osteoporosis. Weight training actually helps build bone mass. Find out about the possible side effects of medicines you take. If your medicines affect your balance, ask your doctor or pharmacist if adjustments can be made. Have your vision and hearing tested often. If your doctor orders new eyeglasses, take time to get used to them. If you need a hearing aid,

Take the Right Steps to Prevent Falls

Living&Thriving IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY ~ A publication of Montgomery County Government

provides an array of health and wellness classes and Holy Cross Community Health offers Senior Fit classes at various locations. Call 301-754-8510. ● Senior centers offer a wide variety of fitness activities five days a week. In addition, active adult programs housed in community centers and senior apartment buildings provide weekly exercise classes and guest lectures, among other activities. Call the Recreation Department at 240-777-4980. (In the City of Rockville, call 240314-8800 and in the City of Gaithersburg, call 301-258-6380.) ● Suburban Hospital, 301-896-3939, sponsors exercise classes, mall walking programs and OASIS, a program that offers health education and exercise classes, among many others. See page 8 for OASIS contact information.

Did You Know...

Tai chi, a form of Chinese marital arts emphasizing slow moveme nt has been shown in studies to not only decrease the risk of falling, but also to bo ost the immune system of older ad ults. A study found that individuals taking tai chi three times a week boosted their immune systems to a level compara ble to having a standard vaccination again st shingles.

be sure it fits and works well. Limit the amount of alcohol you drink since even a small amount can affect your balance and reflexes. Prevent falls by making changes to unsafe areas in your home. Holy Cross Hospital Senior Source offers a free falls prevention, screening and education series. The series addresses many of the issues presented here and includes an exercise class focusing on improving balance. Call 301-754-8510 for information. For more complete information on simple, inexpensive repairs and changes that would make your home safer, contact the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ask for a free copy of the booklet, Older Consumers Safety Checklist. Call 1-800-638-2772 (toll-free) or go to

Resources That Can Help

This article includes some content from Falls and Falling, produced by the National lnstitute on Aging.


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HAVING FUN Discover Recreation Senior and community centers offer a wide selection of daily events including fitness classes, computer education, art activities, lectures and more. Stop by for an hour or two, or stay the whole day. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Montgomery County offers a wide variety of energizing and enjoyable activities for adults 55 years or over. As diverse as the people they serve, these activities challenge each individual to grow physically, intellectually, socially and creatively. Every day, you'll find senior programs teeming with activity and spirit. Get involved, and discover community at its best.

Why not get involved?

How can I take advantage of these programs?

Call the numbers provided to learn more about the opportunities waiting for you. Call 240-7774992 for information about the neighborhood programs offered by the Montgomery County Recreation Department. Find out which of the programs is closest to you, and which offer transportation and lunch. â&#x2013;

Senior Centers and Programs ________________________________________________________________ Damascus Senior Center ....................................................240-777-6995 ________________________________________________________________ Holiday Park Senior Center, Wheaton ..............................240-777-4999 ________________________________________________________________ Long Branch Senior Center, Silver Spring .........................240-777-6965 ________________________________________________________________ Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, Silver Spring .......240-777-8085 ________________________________________________________________ Gaithersburg Upcounty Senior Center .............................301-258-6380 ________________________________________________________________ Rockville Senior Center ......................................................240-314-8800 ________________________________________________________________ Senior Source of Holy Cross Hospital ................................301-754-8510 ________________________________________________________________ Sibley Senior Association (in N.W. Wash., close to many Montgomery Co. residents) ..202-364-7602 ________________________________________________________________ Friendship Heights Village Center .....................................301-656-2797 ________________________________________________________________ JSSA Coming of Age ...........................................................301-348-3832 ________________________________________________________________ Takoma Park Community Center Silver Foxes ..................301-891-7290 ________________________________________________________________ White Oak Senior Center ...................................................240-777-6944 ________________________________________________________________ Arts Organizations ________________________________________________________________ Black Rock Center for the Arts ...........................................240-912-1053 ________________________________________________________________ Glen Echo Park ....................................................................301-634-2222 ________________________________________________________________ Levine School of Music ...................................................... 301-897-5100 ________________________________________________________________ Round House Theatre, Education Center ......................... 301-585-1225 ________________________________________________________________ Strathmore Education ........................................................301-581-5144 ________________________________________________________________ Multicultural Organizations ________________________________________________________________ Chinese American Senior Services Association ................301-530-4880 ________________________________________________________________ Chinese Culture and Community Service Center .............240-631-1200 ________________________________________________________________ Jewish Community Center .................................................301-881-0100 ________________________________________________________________ Korean American Senior Citizen Association ...................301-438-7304 ________________________________________________________________ Tuesday Senior Program (for Russian speaking adults) ................................................301-348-3875 ________________________________________________________________ Vietnamese Senior Association of Maryland ...................240-487-6729

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EMPLOYMENT AND LIFELONG LEARNING Expanding Your Knowledge and Skills is Good for the Spirit…and Sometimes the Wallet! Making lifelong learning a part of your later years fosters personal empowerment and self esteem. It ensures continued growth and intellectual stimulation, leading to a more enriched life. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Employment Montgomery Works One-Stop Workforce Centers help County residents get ready to enter or re-enter the workforce. The two centers provide free job search tools and resources; access to computers; computer training; career counseling; help with writing a resume; and more. Gaithersburg One-Stop, 301-519-8343 (TTY: 301-946-1806)Wheaton One-Stop, 301-929-6880 (Individuals with hearing impairment can use Maryland Relay.) You can also to search for jobs, get helpful tips, and link to other resources, check out: The Career Gateway! This County-funded program of the Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA) offers intensive job search training for people 50+. It includes interactive workshops, all with 15 students or less, long-term mentorships, and practical take-home materials. Students will learn how to turbo-charge their resumes, hone their interviewing skills, network effectively and develop a job-search plan that works for them. Call (301) 255-4215. Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) SCSEP is a national program, managed locally by Jewish Council for the Aging. It provides low-income residents age 55+ minimum wage while they receive on-the-job training and skill building. Also includes resume preparation.

Local Universities Offer Free or Discounted Programs Montgomery College Select non-credit (workforce development) programs offer a tuition waiver for residents ages 60+. Seniors pay only fees. Look for “tuition waiver applies” in the course description. Tuition waivers are also available for credit earning classes on a space available basis. Call 240-567-5000.

University of Maryland Golden Card Maryland residents 60+ not gainfully employed more than 20 hours per week can take up to three courses on a space-available basis tuition free. Call 301-314-8385.

ENT EXPO 50+ EMPLOYM this r eyes open for

Keep you e event, annual springtim ounty and funded by the C A. Go to sponsored by JC .org for details. www.AccessJCA

Lifelong Learning Ed2Go (online, non-credit courses offered by Montgomery College) ............240-567-6938 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity ...............................................................240-777-4940 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Jewish Community Center’s Adult Center for Education (ACE).......................301-348-3864 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Johns Hopkins University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Rockville Campus) ...........................................................................................301-294-7058 _________________________________________________________________________________________

Live and Learn Bethesda .....................................................................................301-740-6150 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Montgomery College Lifelong Learning Institute ..............................................240-567-1828 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Montgomery College Workforce Development and Continuing Education ........................................................................................240-567-5188 _________________________________________________________________________________________ OASIS (Lifelong Learning for Mature Adults) ...................................................301-469-6800 (Located in Macy’s home store) press 1, then ext. 211 _________________________________________________________________________________________ JCA’s SeniorTech Computer Training .................................................................240-395-0916 _________________________________________________________________________________________ University of Maryland's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute ..........................301-405-2469 _________________________________________________________________________________________

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VOLUNTEERING Do Good for Others. It's Good for You, Too! Did you know that good health and living a meaningful life go hand in hand? Research suggests that retirees who remain engaged by volunteering maintain better emotional, cognitive, and physical health. An active schedule and frequent interaction with others actually increase longevity. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Sample Volunteer-Supported Programs Primarily Serving Older Adults Bone Builders Exercise Program ........................................................240-777-1350 Volunteer trainers lead older adults in muscle/bone strengthening and balance exercises. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Friendly Visiting Program of Mental Health Association ........................................................301-424-0656 x507 Volunteers offer friendship and support to home-bound seniors who are isolated and lonely. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Research also shows that people over age 60 are more likely to maintain their intellectual abilities and avoid depression when they feel they are having an impact on someone else's life. Also, in a survey of a large group of older adults, 90 percent reported that they suffered fewer colds and stomach aches when they volunteered at least once a week. Volunteering enables former workers to continue using their talents and to nurture new ones. It's not just about stuffing envelopes! Older volunteers can support local non-profit organizations as tutors, special event planners, grant writers, gardeners, hospital caregivers ... or even envelope stuffers! Volunteers can make long term or very short term commitments. The opportunities are endless. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center can help residents learn about local volunteer opportunities, either online or in person. See to access an extensive database by area of interest or by zip code. ■ Commission on Aging As advocates for the interests of the County’s elderly, the Commission on Aging advises the County Executive, the County Council and County agencies on the needs of seniors. The County Executive appoints volunteer commissioners. Meetings are open to the public. For information call 240-777-1120.

Hospice Hospice volunteers support dying individuals and their families. Holy Cross Hospice ...................................................................301-754-7744 Hospice Caring, Inc. ..................................................................301-869-4673 JSSA Hospice .............................................................................301-816-2676 Montgomery Hospice ...............................................................301-921-4400 _________________________________________________________________________________________ Long Term Care Ombudsman Program .............................................240-777-3369 Trained advocates help resolve problems for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Meals on Wheels ................................................................................240-777-3810 Volunteers deliver meals to people unable to shop and prepare meals. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Representative Payee Program of the Mental Health Association ........................................................301-424-0656 x511 Volunteers provide financial supervision for low income adults receiving a government benefit they are unable to manage because of a physical or mental disability. _________________________________________________________________________________________ RSVP/AARP Tax Aide Programs .........................................................240-777-2612 Volunteers prepare income tax returns for low and moderate income residents, especially seniors. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Senior Connection ..............................................................................301-962-0820 Volunteers drive and escort seniors to medical appointments, grocery stores, banks and pharmacies. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) ........................301-590-2819 Volunteers help people with Medicare learn about the program’s many benefits through educational programs and individual counseling. _________________________________________________________________________________________

Tutoring Opportunities JCA Heyman Interages Center ...........................................................301-949-3551 Volunteers serve as mentors and tutors to young children. _________________________________________________________________________________________ Volunteers help individuals and small groups master English. _________________________________________________________________________________________

Montgomery County Literacy Council ..............................................301-610-0030

Volunteers tutor school-aged children. Press 1, then x211 _________________________________________________________________________________________

OASIS ...................................................................................................301-469-6800

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GETTING AROUND Living Fully Without a Car... It is Possible! Aging well depends largely on one's ability to remain connected to other people and activities. You can stay active and do the things you like to do, even if you decide to give up driving. Here are some of the major providers of transportation, and transportation referrals, for older adults. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ cation and have it signed by a physician. For an application and more program details, call MetroAccess headquarters at: 301-562-5360 or 301-588-7535 (TTY). ■

Private Transportation Services

Private companies offer door-to-door service and some will assist a person to exit or enter a home or destination. Costs are higher than for public transportation. With advance notice, transportation can be provided for trips throughout Maryland. See "lnformation About Transportation Options".

Taxis: Don't rule out taking taxis. Owning and running a car is expensive. Money that you would use for car payments, registration, maintenance, insurance and gas could be used for taxis, buses, or to buy gas for friends and relatives who can drive you. Transit Between Ride On, Metrobus, Metrorail, MARC, MTA, Call 'N' Ride and MetroAccess, the system carries 2 million seniors and passengers with disabilities annually. Ride On and Metrobuses in Montgomery County are FREE Monday through Friday, 9:30am-3:00pm for seniors and people with disabilities. Seniors must be 65 years or older and have a valid Metro Senior ID card, Senior SmarTrip Card or Medicare card and photo ID. Persons with disabilities must have a Metro Disabled ID card. If an attendant is required for travel, a Metro Disabled Attendant ID Card is required. An attendant carrying the Metro Disabled Attendant ID card rides for free when accompanying a passenger. All Ride-On buses are wheelchair accessible. For trip planning and other information, call 240777-RIDE (7433).

Call 'N' Ride provides discounted taxi trips for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities in Montgomery County. To be eligible for the Call 'N' Ride Program, you must have low income, and be at least 67 years of age or disabled. Clients may purchase monthly coupon books at discounts according to income. Discounts are based on income. Some people pay as little as $5.25/book. Coupons may be used only with the following cab companies: Action, Barwood, Regency and Sun Cab. Coupons are used to pay for the full cost of the fare and for the tip. They may be combined with cash to pay for your trip. For information and eligibility requirements for the Call 'N' Ride program, call 301-948-5409.

MetroAccess is a shared transit service for people with disabilities who are unable to use the regular, fixed route transit systems. Shared transit means that multiple passengers may ride together in the same vehicle. MetroAccess can sometimes provide door-to-door service. Drivers may be able to escort customers to and from their doors, but only when conditions allow. (Please contact MetroAccess to learn about these specific conditions.) Otherwise drivers provide curbside service. Rides are provided to and from locations no more than 3/4 of a mile from a fixed route bus stop. MetroAccess customers will be informed of the exact fare that they are expected to pay when they call to reserve their trip. No one-way trip will cost more than $7. If you think you are eligible, complete an appli-

Living&Thriving IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY ~ A publication of Montgomery County Government

Information About Transportation Options Guide to Transportation Options for Seniors and People With Disabilities Transportation Options for Seniors and People with Disabilities is available at (look at the bottom of the page under Other Resources) or by calling the Commission on People with Disabilities at 240-777-1246. This comprehensive guide contains most of the information in this article and more, including lists of private transit service providers.

Connect-A-Ride refers callers to all private and public transportation options for seniors and people with disabilities. Funded by the County and operated by the Jewish Council for the Aging, it also provides assistance completing applications and travel training to help riders use public transportation. Call Monday-Friday between 7:00am- 6:00pm. 301-738-3252 or 301-881-5263 (TTY) Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services has information about transportation services in your area. Call 240-777-3000 or email If you need a companion to drive you to necessary appointments, ask about "escorted transportation." Usually, arrangements for escorted transportation must be made 10 days in advance. If accessing food is your interest, ask about "grocery shopping transportation" or "assisted shopping for groceries.”


WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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Living & Thriving Pull-Out Section

CAREGIVING Caring for a Loved One Doesn't Have to be a Lonely Job "There are four kinds of people in this world: Those who have been caregivers, Those who currently are caregivers, Those who will be caregivers, and Those who will need caregivers." —Rosalynn Carter ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Did You Know...

For people with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, research studies indicat e that 2 or more days per week of adult day service leads to reductions in symptoms and the use of medication. It also lessens caregiver stress and burden.

Did you know that one out of four adults provides assistance to a family member who is physically or cognitively disabled, or frail due to old age? Organizations providing supportive services to these people refer to them as "caregivers." The willingness of caregivers to commit their time and energy enables their loved ones to live at home, in a familiar and comfortable environment. Being there for someone you love is important to most of us, but it can cause stress that can impact a caregiver's health and shorten life expetancy.

Learning More

To find out more about any of these services, call Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services at 240-777-3000. Staff are available to take your call Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00 and until 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Help Comes in Many Forms Personal Care/Respite Care

Professionals are available to provide short-term relief to families caring for frail or disabled family members. A qualified person takes care of your loved one, in your home or outside, so that you can get a break. Sharing information, feelings, and advice with others can help ease the stresses of caregiving. Support groups can meet in-person, by telephone, or over the internet.

Holy Cross Hospital's Caregiver Resource Center provides general information and support including in-person and telephone support groups. Call 301-754-7152.

Support Groups

Adult day centers provide social, recreational and health services in a safe environment for people who cannot be left alone during the day.

Adult Day Centers

Some local organizations connect volunteers with people who need help getting places. Others provide an escorted ride for a fee.

Escorted Transportation

Learn about financial planning, advance directives, power of attorney and financial benefits your family may qualify for. See page 2 for more ideas on planning.

Legal/Financial Assistance

Home improvements can increase safety, security and independence. They can make every day activities easier to accomplish.

Common Signs of Caregiver Stress Include: ✔ Feeling overwhelmed or confused about

how to help _______________________________________ ✔ Feeling sad, angry or crying more often than you used to _______________________________________ ✔ Feeling like you don't have any time to yourself _______________________________________ ✔ Having low energy _______________________________________ ✔ Sleeping too much, or not enough _______________________________________ ✔ Having trouble eating, or eating too much _______________________________________ If any of this describes how you feel, you are not alone. The best way to help is to recognize it is not all up to you. Ask for help!

Home Modifications

Hospice provides care for people with terminal illness and their families that emphasizes symptom management and emotional support.


Medicare Information for Caregivers Now Available

Alzheimer's Association specializes in Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Call their 24 hour HelpLine, 1-800-272-3900.

Two Helpful Websites That Caregivers Have Found Useful U.S. Govt’s Caregiver Resource Page regivers.shtml Find a nursing home, assisted living, or hospice; check eligibility for benefits; get resources for long-distance caregiving; review legal issues; and find support for caregivers. Here is a free website for coordinating a group of family and friends to help with various tasks. Caregivers set up a members-only community and then post jobs on the website’s calendar, such as providing a ride to the doctor or doing laundry. Email is sent to all the community members to alert them of new tasks. Go to

Lotsa Helping Hands

"Medicare Basics for Caregivers," is now available at, the web site for older adults from the National Institutes of Health. This brief, yet comprehensive, introduction to Medicare gives caregivers the basics and helps them find answers to their questions. "Knowing how Medicare works can help a person make better financial decisions about care," says Dr. Marie Bernard, deputy director of the National Institute on Aging."

Living&Thriving IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY ~ A publication of Montgomery County Government



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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Living & Thriving Pull-Out Section

FINDING INFORMATION Senior Friendly Libraries Exciting things are happening for seniors at Montgomery County Public Libraries. Local libraries have expanded their resources to provide better services for senior residents, and the system-wide website brings countless resources to you via your home computer. Library staff can help you find what you need—on the shelves or on-line. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

On-site and On the Shelves County libraries offer a wide range of resources for seniors. There are many new books and media on the shelves of interest to seniors on such topics as caregiving; the cultural and social aspects of aging; senior health; retirement; senior travel and seniors and technology. For patrons with unique needs and interests, a Health Information Center is located in the Wheaton Library and a Disability Resource Center in the new Rockville Library. Events meaningful for seniors are held in County libraries including book discussions, basic computer classes, film fests, Spanish and English conversation clubs and more.

Online Be sure to lcheck out MCPL’s web page ( It includes a calendar of events held in County libraries and information on volunteering in County libraries. The Seniors page has links to recommended web sites for seniors. Users can also research many topics of interest by following the links on the Research a Topic page. Remember that you can access much of the collection on your computer at home just by visiting the Library website. This includes music, movies, TV shows and theatrical performances. With computers and media, libraries may have changed a lot in recent years. But two things haven't changed at all. There are always friendly staff eager to help and lots of materials to enjoy. Other Resources ● Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services ● Jewish Council for the Aging Senior Helpline Information, referrals and advice. More indepth service available for a fee. 301-255-4200 ● Montgomery County Caregiver Resources

Senior News Follow these quick steps to sign up for periodic e-mails with information for seniors and caregivers:


The Commission on Aging produces SENIORS TODAY, a monthly cable television show featuring topics of interest to County seniors. Tune in to County Cable Montgomery, Channel 6 (Verizon channel 30).

Caring for your aging parent or loved one? It’s not all up to you. Call us.

1. Go to the County’s home page,


2. Click on Online Services. 3. Select e-Subscription Newsletters and navigate to Senior News, (under the heading Health and Human Services)

Montgomery County Libraries (Click on "Seniors" on the left-hand column) ● Senior Resource Guide and Beacon Newspaper ● Guide to Retirement Living ●


Aging & Disability Services Mon and Fri: Tue, Wed, & Thur:

8:30am – 5:00pm 8:30am – 7:30pm

A free service of your County Government Living&Thriving IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY ~ A publication of Montgomery County Government



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Careers Volunteers &

Did you (or someone you know) change careers, start a business or go back to school after retirement? Please share your story. Email or call Barbara at (301) 949-9766.

Capturing personal histories on camera

A career transition Trained as a social worker, Sternberg

spent several decades in the mental health field. Along the way, she took classes in video production at Fairfax Cable Access because she wanted to create educational programs on mental health, parenting, stress management and other topics. Over time, she transitioned from social work to creating DVDs. She now owns Media Masters, a digital media services company. Sternberg was inspired to begin recording people’s lives about 20 years ago when she discovered a new self-help group for people who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Sternberg’s father died of ALS in 1978 at age 65. “No one had video recorders then. I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people with ALS, while they could still communicate, could record their lives?’” So Sternberg began volunteering with the ALS group, shooting videos of events on the weekends, while working as a social worker in private practice during the week. But the more videos she shot, the more Sternberg realized that this could become her primary career.


Emerson House 301-779-6196 5999 Emerson Street Bladensburg, MD 20710 Emerson House Apartments is conveniently located on Emerson Street, just off of Rt. 450 and 57th Ave in Bladensburg, Md. A quaint residential setting, just minutes from neighborhood shopping, the community is convenient to Prince George's Hospital, a local library, public transportation and parks. Activities within Emerson House include: exercise classes, a Wii bowling league, arts and crafts classes, bingo, movie night, parties, bus trips and much more. Emerson House is a nine-story community designed for today’s seniors (62 and older). Our 220 one-bedroom units offer Section 8 rent subsidy for low- to moderate-income households. Please call today to request an application or make an appointment to tour our community. 301-779-6196. Monday – Friday 8:30 to 5:00.


By Barbara Ruben Local porcelain artist Joyce Taylor shows off her intricately painted vases and plates, demonstrates her technique and shares recollections of teaching students for more than 40 years on a recently produced DVD. “Anything you do to create keeps you young because you have to think of what you’re going to do next,” she says to the camera recording her. “I’m never expecting to get old because I’m always thinking of what I’m going to do next.” The 40-minute DVD is one of hundreds Annandale, Va., videographer Abby Sternberg has made of personal histories, weddings, wakes and other life events. Like the DVD she made of Taylor, many of Sternberg’s clients — and their adult children — ask her to record their life stories. “I help people communicate their backgrounds, their lives, their passions. Some people when you start to talk to them don’t think they’re important enough or interesting enough. But I think everyone has something to share,” she said.

In preparing a personal history DVD for Joyce Taylor (left), videographer Abby Sternberg films Taylor as she describes important mementos and artwork around her home. Sternberg’s digital media services company, Media Masters, captures life stories, milestone birthdays, retirement parties and other events on DVD.

“I really wanted to help record people’s lives and celebrate happy events. I was already doing that with weddings and anniversaries and 90th birthdays. I was basically helping celebrate life throughout the life cycle,” Sternberg said. “I wanted to combine my people skills with my video production skills.”

Preserving memories In her personal documentaries, Sternberg can combine footage of interviews with still photographs from the subject’s life and snippets of their favorite music. While some clients focus on telling their life stories, others, like Taylor, focus on a passion, such as gardening or embroidery. Others share family recipes while being filmed cooking in the kitchen. Sternberg taped one family in which the father was in the beginning stages of

Alzheimer’s disease so that he could share some of his recollections. His daughter brought him a photo of himself as a little boy to help spur his memory. Sternberg meets with her clients and gets to know them before she starts taping. “It’s almost like a life review or an ethical will,” Sternberg said. She gets them to open up by asking questions that get them to think. “What is important to you in life? What does it mean to be a good person? If your kids could think of you as a bumper sticker, or a poster or a T-shirt, what would it say? What do you want them to remember about you?” She also uses her services to help clients downsize before moving, recording them talking about objects they’ve collected or touring their house describing memories from each room. See PERSONAL HISTORIES, page 41

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Pancakes From page 1 seven days a week, cooking and doing other hands-on tasks. Today, he spends much of his time on marketing and public relations for the restaurants, while Jane works on the administrative side. But Jeff said working in the kitchen was invaluable. “My philosophy is, if I want to correct someone, I should be able to show them how to do it right,” he said.

Helping others Once the restaurants got off the ground, the Bulmans weren’t content to sit back. Jeff saw that while there were area events that fed the homeless on Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much for them at Christmas. So they started what is now a tradition. Today, the Original Pancake House partners with numerous nonprofits, including Homestretch, a Northern Virginia nonprofit that helps homeless families become self-sufficient, and Shelter House, which provides shelters for homeless families and victims of domestic violence in Fairfax County. These groups get the word out about the breakfast to those they serve and help bring the guests to the restaurants. Falls Church resident Annie Turner helps coordinate the Northern Virginia

Personal histories From page 40 “You don’t need the thing, but it’s good to keep the memory,” she said. “They can talk about the item: ‘We got this when we were on a trip to Italy in 1965’ or ‘this tree was planted 30 years ago,’” she said. While Sternberg is still a member of National Association of Social Workers and does some video work for them, she has

nonprofits. She began as a volunteer, but when she saw a posting for a part-time bookkeeping position with the Original Pancake House, she applied and got the job. “They’re very, very great people to work with,” she said of the Bulmans. “They’re so kind and thoughtful and just very hard working, just very generous people. They’re like that with all their employees and the people that come in,” Turner said. The restaurants used to put up notices seeking volunteers to help out on Christmas morning, but now so many return year after year they no longer need to. At least 60 volunteers clamor to sign up in the early fall at each restaurant. The Bulmans’ children, who both live in the area, also help. The couple also has four grandchildren, but because the oldest is only 7, they are too young to volunteer — for now. Volunteers treat breakfast guests like regular restaurant patrons. They seat them at tables as they arrive, serve them breakfast, and help clear the tables. “From the get go, we said there’s not going to be Styrofoam anything, no plastic. It’s all our silverware, our glassware,” Jeff said. “I want them served. I don’t want it to be like a food pantry. It’s Christmas morning, and I just want them to feel special.” Although new volunteers aren’t needed, customers are still welcome to donate genno regrets about the turn her career took. “I feel like I’m doing my brand of social work with a video camera,” she said. “I’m helping people communicate and solve problems with video.” Fees for Sternberg’s life history videos start at $750. A DVD photo montage (30 to 35 photos) set to music is $125. For more information, call Media Masters at (703) 503-5924 or see

A unique gift you and your family will always treasure Let videographer Abby Sternberg combine custom family interviews, photos, home movies and footage of your home and treasured possessions into a living family history on DVD. She is also available to film anniversary, birthday, retirement and other events, and creates memorable memorials and tributes.

For a free consultation, call

Abby at (703) 503-5924 or email

tly used coats and to make contributions to help pay for the breakfasts. “I’m Jewish and I thought it would be my Jewish friends and Jewish customers [who would come out on Christmas Day to help], and I was so wrong there,” Jeff said. “It’s all religious groups. “I especially find that my Christian customers and volunteers want to bring their


kids to teach them that Christmas is not about getting, it’s about giving. And I think that’s about the most beautiful thing.” Original Pancake Houses are located at 7395 Lee Highway, Falls Church, Va., (703) 698-6292; 12224 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md. (301) 468-0886; and 7703 Woodmont Ave, Bethesda, Md., (301) 9860285.




Franconia United Methodist Church is part of a group of churches that serves a nutritious bagged meal to homeless people along the Route One corridor between North Kings Highway and the Fairfax County Parkway in Alexandria. All ages can help prepare and assemble the bag lunches and assist in delivery. The church delivers the meals the fourth Friday of the month at 5:30 p.m., and prepares the meals the day before at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 6037 Franconia Rd, Alexandria, Va. For more information, call (703) 9715151 or email



Fairfax County’s Adult Day Health Care Center in Herndon needs a volunteer licensed hair dresser one to two times per month to provide hairdressing to participants. It also needs volunteer lunch assistants and a volunteer piano player. The center is located at 875 Grace St. in Herndon, Va. Contact Fairfax County’s Volunteer Solutions at (703) 324-5406 or for more information.

Known for our Breakfasts Famous for our Lunches! BETHESDA • 7700 Wisconsin Ave. • 301-986-0285 ROCKVILLE • 12224 Rockville Pike • 301-468-0886 FALLS CHURCH • 7395 Lee Highway • 703-698-6292 FREE PARKING ALL LOCATIONS! Find us on Facebook


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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Money Law &

BEAT HIGH FOOD PRICES Last summer’s drought has driven up grocery prices; what to stockpile now and what stocks to invest in FINANCIAL LITERACY QUIZ Test your financial know-how, from reverse mortgages to convertible bonds to small claims court A BRIGHT IDEA New LED light bulbs may seem pricey, but they last for more than 20 years and cast a warm glow

Protecting your portfolio from inflation The Federal Reserve announced in Sep- economy with money could eventually untember that it would engage in its third round leash inflation in the future — an event against which every retirement of “quantitative easing” by purinvestor must guard. The key chasing $40 billion per month is to attempt to grow your portof mortgage-backed securities folio at a quicker pace than the to spur economic growth and rate of inflation, while staying help reduce unemployment. focused on the total risk level Whether or not the plan you are willing to assume. Not will work is subject to debate. What is not debatable is that an easy puzzle to solve! the Fed’s action is stirring And here’s one more soberfears of inflation. ing thought: There has not Inflation occurs when the RETIRE SMART been any single asset that acts prices of goods and services as a perfect inflation hedge. By Jill Schlesinger rise, meaning every dollar you spend in the economy purchases less. Options to use sparingly The annual rate of inflation over the past The following are the assets most fre60 years or so has averaged about 3.8 per- quently used to protect portfolios against cent annually. That may not sound like inflation: much, but consider this: Today you need Commodities: When inflation rises, the $8,693.55 in cash to buy what $1,000 could price of commodities like gold, energy, food buy in 1952. and raw materials also increases. ThereCurrently, inflation is running well fore, many investors turn to investments in below the long-term average pace. As of these assets for protection. However, as a August, the government’s measure of in- former commodities trader I must warn flation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), that this is a volatile asset class that can also has increased only 1.7 percent over the stagnate or, worse, lose money over long last 12 months (1.9 percent without food or stretches of time. So investors would be energy costs included). wise to limit commodity exposure to 3-6 However, the Fed’s strategy to flood the percent of their total portfolio value.

Real estate investment tr usts (REITs): The ultimate “real asset,” REITs, which typically own shopping centers, office buildings and other commercial real estate, tend to perform well during inflationary periods due to rising property values and rents. But the nation’s housing bubble has cured most of us of the notion that one “can’t lose with real estate.” Real estate prices could stay depressed for a long period of time. Stocks: Many investors don’t think about stocks as an asset class to combat inflation, but the long-term data show that stocks, especially dividend-producing stocks, tend to perform well in inflationary periods. That said, during short-term inflationary spikes stocks can plunge quickly before reverting to the longer-term trend. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS): Bonds are susceptible to inflation because rising prices can diminish a bond’s fixed-income return. But the U.S. government directly offers investors inflation-indexed bonds, or TIPS, which provide a fixed interest rate above the rate of inflation, as measured by the CPI. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, because the expectation of future inflation is currently running high, investors are pay-

ing up for TIPS, which has driven the interest rate on these bonds below zero. That’s not a typo: Investors are so worried about inflation, they are willing to pay the government now to protect them later. The current pricing of TIPS makes them hard to recommend, even as an “insurance policy” vs. inflation. International bonds: One of the dangers of inflation is that it destroys the value of the U.S. dollar. As a result, there is an argument to allocate a portion of a bond portfolio to a small percentage of international bonds, which are denominated in a foreign currency. This is another one of those asset classes that tends to be volatile. While inflation may be looming, it’s important to underscore that a diversified portfolio, which takes into account your time horizon and risk tolerance, will go a long way toward providing protection. If you are worried about inflation, these other asset classes should be used sparingly to round out your overall allocation. Jill Schlesinger, CFP, is the Editor-atLarge for She welcomes comments and questions at © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

The best investments when rates are low By Mark Jewell Risk-averse investors, prepare to be disappointed a good while longer. Expect interest rates to remain low at least three more years, with investments earning very little unless you’re willing to accept plenty of risk. Money-market mutual funds are likely to continue paying barely above zero, with 10-year U.S. Treasurys yielding less than 2 percent. That’s the outlook after the Federal Reserve’s latest move to stimulate the economy by prodding Americans to spend and borrow more, and invest in stocks again. The program announced in September has been dubbed QE3 — a third round of what economists call quantitative easing, aimed at helping a slow recovery gain momentum. This program goes further than previ-

ous ones. The Fed made an open-ended commitment to buy $40 billion of mortgage securities per month until the job market improves “substantially.” The central bank also extended its pledge to keep short-term interest rates super-low at least into mid-2015. That’s six months longer than the Fed had previously planned.

Many shun stocks Chairman Ben Bernanke made it clear after the announcement that the Fed’s bond-buying is intended in part to lift stock prices. Stock gains increase Americans’ wealth, he noted, which makes people and businesses more likely to spend and invest more. Yet reluctance to invest in stocks, a likely source of frustration for Bernanke, has been a hallmark of a market recovery

that’s been under way three and a half years. Stock prices have doubled from the market’s low in March 2009, but Americans are still withdrawing cash from stock mutual funds in favor of less risky options. The latest evidence: Stocks rose 7 percent from June through August. Yet investors pulled cash from stock mutual funds each month — $24 billion in net withdrawals, according to industry consultant Strategic Insight. Some of that cash went into bond funds, which offer less potential for sharp gains or losses. Indeed, bond funds have attracted cash for 12 consecutive months. The movement of cash illustrates how nervous investors are about market volatility and the economy four years after the financial crisis. “Stock investors remain in a holding pattern, with many watching the rising stock

prices with regret or disbelief,” said Avi Nachmany, research director with Strategic Insight. That cautious mindset is one reason Wasif Latif doesn’t expect the Fed’s latest move will be enough to get average investors to return to stocks. “You need to have sustainable stability, both in the economy and in the markets, for the traditional long-term investor to get back in,” said Latif, a co-manager of asset allocation funds at USAA Investments that invest in stocks and bonds. “And that is not necessarily going to happen overnight.” He notes that the stable returns that most bonds generate are likely to continue to appeal to the growing ranks of riskaverse investors. Many are retired, and rely on investment income to help cover living expenses. They worry about the See INVESTMENTS, page 43

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Investments From page 42 possibility of another sharp decline in stock prices.

Lower-risk investments If that describes your current attitude about investment risk, but you’re also looking to generate income, here are three relatively low-risk investment options to consider in this low-rate environment: 1. Dividend stocks Invest in dividend-paying stocks or funds that specialize in them and you can expect steady income, along with potential gains from rising stock prices. Dividend-payers tend to rise more slowly during market rallies, but suffer smaller losses when stocks decline. So if a market downturn is around the corner, dividends will offer some protection. Just remember that companies often cut dividends when the economy skids, as they did in large numbers to conserve cash after the 2008 market meltdown. Still, many investors are finding the potential returns and income worth the risks. Investors deposited a net $22.5 billion into dividend-stock funds — usually labeled

‘equity income’ funds — over the 12-month period through August, according to Strategic Insight. During that period, a net total of $114 billion was withdrawn from all other stock fund categories. 2. High-yield bonds These bonds are issued by companies with credit problems. High-yield investors expect higher returns because there’s a greater risk of default than with companies possessing investment-grade ratings. And they’ve gotten them recently. Mutual funds specializing in high-yield bonds have produced an average return of 15 percent over the latest 12-month period, according to Morningstar. That’s the best performance among all bond fund categories, and only slightly lower than the average returns for most categories of diversified stock funds. High-yield bonds are typically less volatile than stocks, but they’re a high-risk option relative to other bonds. Current risks include the possibility that Europe’s debt problems will spin out of control. That could put the domestic economic recovery at risk, potentially leading to a spike in corporate defaults and losses for high-yield investors. 3. Municipal bonds

Investments in the bonds issued by state and local governments typically won’t make you rich, because returns are generally low. But muni bond interest payments are exempt from federal taxes. That protection may extend to state taxes if the munis are issued by the state in which the investor lives. Those tax breaks can be especially important for those in higher income brackets. Munis have been strong performers recently. Returns have averaged of 6.4 percent over the last 12 months for funds investing in intermediate-term munis, according to Morningstar. That’s roughly double the return that funds investing in

intermediate-term U.S. government debt have posted. Muni bond prices have rebounded from a market scare in late 2010, when the poor financial condition of many states and cities left investors nervous about a surge of defaults. Although many governments remain troubled, there has been no default surge, and municipal bankruptcies declined last year. Risks include a setback for the economic recovery, which could put more pressure on government budgets, possibly leading to a jump in defaults. Any rise in interest rates also could crimp bond returns. — AP



202-220-3000 • E-mail:

601 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 900, South Building, Washington, DC 20004


Nov. 15

Do what is right and fair, EVERYTIME


Senior Real Estate Specialist

George Mason University is offering a non-credit, 8-hour class called “Charting the Course to Your Retirement” at Hollin Hall Senior Center in

Lisa L. Langlais ABR, SFR, SRES,

Alexandria on November 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Participants will discuss

VA licensed Realtor

NVAR 2011 Multi-Million Dollar Sales Club, Top Producer

changing roles and relationships, work, the value of community involvement, and changing family commitments. Presenters will share tools to create a customized

Cell: 703-967-2675

retirement plan. Because this is part of a pilot project for potential research, the

university is offering this class at a reduced rate of $40. For more information, see

Selling your home or rental this fall? or contact Professor Lois Tetrick at

Call Lisa for help in preparing your house for the upcoming market.

10300 Eaton Place, Suite 120 • Fairfax, VA 22030


Life Income You Can Count On!

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

How to shop in era of high food prices By Lisa Gerstner Anyone who witnessed the browned and stunted farm fields in drought-stricken states over the summer could tell you that this year’s harvest won’t be up to par. Though the worldwide outlook for food

and grains seems healthy, smaller yields in the U.S. will likely lead to a bump in prices on supermarket shelves in the coming year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently predicted that higher crop prices

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would push prices for fats and oils up by as much as 5 percent this year, and prices for cereals and bakery products up by as much as 4 percent in 2013. Prices for dairy products, poultry, pork and beef are also expected to spike. Cows produce less milk in extreme heat, and higher prices for corn and soybeans make it more costly to feed livestock.

What to stockpile now But shoppers who make space in their freezers and pantries now will find a silver lining. As cattle become too expensive for farmers to feed, more cows are going to slaughter early. That means beef supplies will increase for the short term, causing prices to dip temporarily before shooting up as supplies eventually decrease. More modest price hikes for processed

foods won’t hit fully until well into 2013. But stockpiling now could help you avoid paying more later. Stephanie Nelson, founder of, suggests being flexible about what you buy as price tags tick up. Prices on frozen foods may run lower than fresh. Purchasing a large cut of meat — such as an entire pork loin rather than just chops, and having the store’s butcher cut it up for you — could save you 50 percent per pound.

Invest in an ETF Want to offset the cash you leak at the grocery store? Consider investing in an exchange-traded fund linked broadly to agriculture production, such as Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (symbol MOO). The fund’s holdings, such as Monsanto and Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, could benefit as farmers purchase drought-resistant seeds or more fertilizer to coax yield out of surviving plants, said Dave Nadig, director of research for IndexUniverse. Lisa Gerstner is a staff writer at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance


Nov. 7+


A three-part series on legal and financial issues will take place at the Schweinhaut Senior Center on Thursdays, Nov. 7, 14 and 28 from 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 7 focuses on Social Security; Nov. 14 looks at powers of attorney, advanced directives and guardianship; and Nov. 28 is estate planning myths and mistakes. The center is located at 1000 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring, Md. The series is free, but you must call (240) 777-8085 to register.

Nov. 14


The ability to establish and maintain good credit has a major impact on many aspects of your life. Doug Myrick, homeownership program coordinator for Arlington County’s Housing Division, will discuss the differences between traditional and non-traditional credit, who collects your credit and why, what is considered good credit, credit score basics and credit repair strategies. The free seminar takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 1 p.m. at the Walter Reed Senior Center, 2909 S. 16th St., Arlington. Call (703) 2280955 to register.

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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Financial literacy means financial security A theme I have discussed in past C. Are not affected. columns is the need for improved financial 2. Which of the following is the best literacy. Those who lack a definition of a “junk” sound understanding of perbond? sonal finance principles will A. A bond that is rated as likely fail to make the right de“below investment grade” by cisions about saving, investrating agencies ing, minimizing expenses, seB. A bond that has declined curing good insurance, and substantially in value estate planning, which are esC. A bond that has defaultsential to their financial welled being and that of their famiD. A bond that is not regulies. lated I thought it might be enlight- THE SAVINGS 3. Which of the following ening to present a quiz so read- GAME organizations insures you ers can test their knowledge. By Elliot Raphaelson against losses in the stock The first three questions come market? from a similar exercise compiled by FINRA, A. FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance a securities regulatory body. (You can find Corporation) that quiz at FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatovestorquiz.aspx.) The other questions, and ry Authority) the commentary in the answer key, are my C. SEC (Securities and Exchange Comown. mission) 1. In general, if interest rates go D. SIPC (Securities Investor Protection down, then bond prices... Corporation) A. Go down. E. None of the above B. Go up. 4. Which of the following statements




are true regarding small claims court? A. You are not required to bring a lawyer if you are a plaintiff. B. If you do not bring a lawyer (as plaintiff), the defendant is not allowed to bring one. C. If you win your case (as plaintiff), the judge will make sure you are paid. D. If you win your case (as plaintiff), the judge may (depending on state law) award you court costs and legal fees you paid. 5. Which of the following statements are true regarding reverse mortgages? A. As long as you continue to reside in your home, maintain it, and pay real estate taxes and homeowner insurance on time, you can stay in the home even if the value of the property decreases substantially. B. There are substantial fees associated with obtaining a reverse mortgage. C. Many financial institutions have stopped offering reverse mortgages. D. If only one spouse obtains a reverse

mortgage, even if he/she dies, the surviving spouse can continue to reside in the home under all circumstances. 6. Which of the following statements are true regarding convertible bonds? A. If the common stock of the issuing corporation increases significantly in value, the bondholder can convert the bond into common stock and accordingly make a profit. B. The interest rate on the bonds is higher than the rate for comparable (i.e., same credit rating) corporate bonds that are not convertible. C. Convertible bonds are generally issued by corporations with high credit ratings. D. Once convertible bonds are issued, the interest rate paid to owners of the bond is fixed. 7. If you purchased a home for See FINANCIAL LITERACY, page 46

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Financial literacy From page 45 $150,000, with the expectation that homes in that area will increase in value 8 percent per year, what would

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

you expect the value of the home to be in 27 years? A. $300,000 B. $600,000 C. $900,000 D. $1,200,000

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Tpnf!cvtft!svo!po!hbtpmjof-!tpnf! po!ejftfm-!tpnf!po!obuvsbm!hbt/ Uif!KDB!FmefsCvtft!! svo!po!dpnqbttjpo/!ZPVST/ Please support our vulnerable seniors by remembering JCA® in your gift to the United Way, Combined Federal Campaign, or JCA itself.

Answers to financial literary quiz 1. B. When interest rates decrease, new bond prices have a lower rate, and accordingly older bonds with a higher fixed rate appreciate. Conversely, when interest rates go up, the value of existing bonds depreciate. Long-term bonds depreciate by a much higher percentage than short-term and intermediate-term bonds, regardless of quality. Even if you purchase long-term Treasury bonds, if interest rates increase, the value of longterm Treasuries will decrease in value. 2. A. Junk bonds, also known as highyield bonds, generally pay much higher interest rates than U.S. Treasury bonds. However, they are riskier because the company may default on the interest or go bankrupt. I recommend that you invest in conservative high-yield funds such as Vanguard if you invest at all in this type of bond. 3. E. FINRA and the SEC ensure that security rules and regulations are followed, and punish violators. SIPC returns funds and securities to investors if brokerage firms become insolvent. No agency insures you against stock market losses. 4. A and D. Re: B, either party may bring an attorney if they wish. Re: C, the judge cannot force the defendant to pay even if you win. He can enter a judgment against the defendant, but you will have to take steps to collect.

5. A, B and C are true. Regarding D, if only one spouse enters into a reverse mortgage agreement, the surviving spouse is not protected. Both spouses should enter into the agreement if the intention is for both parties to reside in the home after the death of the other spouse. 6. A and D. Re: B, convertible bonds generally pay a lower rate of interest than corporate bonds issued with comparable ratings. That is one reason why corporations issue convertible bonds, because they can issue them with a lower interest rate, thus reducing their interest costs. Re: C, convertible bonds generally are issued by corporations that do not have the highest credit ratings, although there are exceptions. 7. D. The Rule of 72 can be used to compute future expected value. If you divide 72 by the expected interest rate, it will result in the number of years it takes to double in value (using the assumption of compound interest). In this example, the value of the home will double three times. You can use this formula also for predicting the future value of a fixed investment in common stocks or other investments. Elliot Raphaelson welcomes your questions and comments at © 20212 Elliot Raphaelson. Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Some facts about the new LED light bulbs By Patricia Mertz Esswein They’re pricey, but they promise to shed a lot of light and cost you less over time. 1. Incandescents are dead. As manufacturers phase out traditional light bulbs that don’t meet new federal standards for efficiency, the first to go are 100-watt bulbs in 2012. The phase-out continues with 75watt bulbs in 2013 and 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs in 2014. You could substitute halogens or compact fluorescents (CFLs), but LEDs (short for light-emitting diodes) will take you straight into the future of lighting. 2. Long live LEDs. Well-designed and well-manufactured LED bulbs are rated to last 25,000 hours — or at least 22 years

based on three hours’ use a day — and use about 80 percent less energy than incandescents to produce the same amount of light, as measured in lumens. (CFLs use about 75 percent less energy; halogens, 30 percent less.) 3. They’re not cheap. The cost of an LED bulb — $15 to $40, depending on the equivalency — may give you pause. But the cost per bulb has fallen from just two years ago, and it will continue to fall with improved technology and ramped-up production. The Department of Energy (DOE) found that CFLs (which cost about $5 per bulb) beat LEDs by only $10 in net savings over their lifetime. BGE and Pepco offer $10 in instant sav-

ings on LED bulbs at selected stores to help offset the steep price. See and http:// for more information. Dominion Power’s program that subsidizes light bulb purchases is no longer accepting new customers. 4. What you’ll like. LED bulbs can be designed to cast a warm glow or a bright, white light. They emit no ultraviolet radiation and produce very little heat. Flip a switch, and the bulb comes on instantly and fully. When dimmed (the bulb must be compatible with the dimmer in your fixture), it won’t hum, flicker or change color. LEDs are resistant to vibration and breakage, and they come in a variety of specialty styles and shapes. Replacement bulbs for lamps are available in 40-, 60- and 75-watt equivalents; 100-watt equivalents

are likely by early 2013. 5. Research your investment. Look for manufacturers that have Energy Star endorsements, and manufacturers and retailers that participate in the DOE’s LED Lighting Facts program (see the fact sheet at The bulbs should carry a warranty of three to five years. 6. Start slowly. Try using LED bulbs in hard-to-reach spots or heavily used areas, such as the kitchen, family room and porch. LEDs may seem brighter than the incandescents they’re designed to replace, so instead of a 60-watt-equivalent bulb, try a less-costly 40-watt-equivalent. You may ultimately need to buy and try a few LEDs to find a model that works for you. Patricia Mertz Esswein is an associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. © 2012 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance



SENIOR DISCOUNTS GALORE More than 250,000 listings from across the U.S. can be found at Features on the site allow searches to be customized by state, city or zip code, mileage range, category, age requirement and whether discounts are available locally or nationally. The site is a handy reference for both stay-at-homes and travelers.


MORTGAGE MEDIATION Mortgage lenders are now legally prohibited from foreclosing on residential properties in Washington D.C. without first offering

property owners the option of mediation. To find out more about mediation and your rights during the foreclosure process, call Housing Counseling Services, Inc., a HUD-approved nonprofit counseling organization, at (202) 667-7006.

Nov. 17

SENIOR CENTER OPEN HOUSE On Saturday, Nov. 17, the Little River Glen Senior Center in Fairfax will hold its annual Community Awareness Day from 10 a.m. to 2

p.m. Several county agency service resources will be highlighted. There will also be blood pressure checks and activity demonstrations. A cake walk and drawings for prizes will be held during the day. Activities are free. The center is located at 4001 Barker Court, Fairfax, Va. For more information, call (703) 503-8703.

Building a Healthier Community The Beacon 50+ Expo CareFirst Commitment works in partnership with organizations throughout the entire Baltimore and Washington metro region to improve the quality of, and access to, health care in our communities.

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Your rights when there’s no room at the inn. See story on page 51.

Costa Rica preserves its natural wonders


close at hand. Because so much of the miniscule country is preserved in its natural state, human development is never far from Mother Nature. More than 1,000 species of butterflies dot the landscape with myriad colors. About 850 types of birds have been spotted, more than 600 of them permanent residents. Fortunately, we escaped encounters with the nearly 100 different kinds of mosquitoes that find Costa Rica’s damp environment to their liking. Even wildlife that prefers to live in isolation has few places of refuge unreachable by people determined to admire animals on their home turf. Wishing to experience as much as possible of what Costa Rica has to offer in the limited time we had available, my wife Fyllis and I chose to go there with a tour operator we had traveled with before. We went with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT), the self-styled “Leader in small groups on the road less traveled.” The trip itinerary allowed us to pack as many experiences as possible into every hour of every day. And packed with action every waking hour was. For example, one typical day included a visit to an OAT-sponsored school where the children greeted the group with a charming folkloric presentation, a traditional lunch with a local family, and a guided horseback ride through a dense forest. Another began with a hands-on tortilla-making lesson followed by two opportunities to view giant crocodiles at close range, and ended with a visit to one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches.

A preservation pioneer Costa Rica’s remote Monteverde Cloud Forest covers 26,000 acres and is home to 3,000 kinds of plants, including 500 types of orchids, the most anywhere on Earth.

Much time was spent being introduced to the country’s major claims to tourism fame — animal watching and exploring vast


By Victor Block I knew before traveling to Costa Rica that it has a well-deserved reputation for preserving its magnificent environment. I was aware of the diversity of landscapes and multiplicity of animal and bird life. But only after spending time in what I found to be a virtual Garden of Eden did I fully appreciate the fact that so much variety is compressed into an area slightly smaller than West Virginia. The setting changes quickly and frequently in the compact Central American country. An uphill climb can transport you from an Amazon-like jungle environment to an alpine woodland reminiscent of Switzerland. Both dry stretches of forest and pockets of verdant wetlands lie in the shadow of volcanoes, several of which occasionally remind those within sight and earshot that they’re still active. No matter where you are, an astounding array of animal, bird and plant life is always

Two spider monkeys show off their human-like expressions in Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. They are among the thousands of species of wildlife that live in the country, which prizes its preservation efforts.

stretches of the unspoiled environment. Those two activities are inexorably intertwined, for the major emphasis the country puts on preservation provides the diverse landscapes that sustain the tremendous variety of wildlife. While Costa Rica today is renowned for being at the forefront of efforts to protect and preserve nature, that was not always the case. Several decades ago, it was one of the most deforested countries in the Western Hemisphere, with major problems of pollution. Forests were being cleared by loggers, highlands were threatened by coffee growers, and the Pacific lowlands were being devastated by cattle ranchers and cotton farmers. Reacting to those challenges in a way that could, and should, be a model for other nations, the government responded efficiently and effectively. It clamped down on the export of more than 60 species of trees and began to require permits for timbering. It established a commission to prescribe remedies for the country’s growing environmental problems. The results have been dramatic and successful. About 28 percent of Costa Rica’s land is set aside in national parks, wildlife refuges and reserves. Nearly one-third of

funds derived from the tax on gasoline goes toward conservation. Among many laws passed to protect the environment is one that requires people who cut down trees for certain uses to plant several more in their place. Some credit for these accomplishments must be given to Costa Rica’s army — or, more accurately, the fact that it does not have one. In 1948, the government disbanded its military and redirected funds it had been spending on defense to environmental and social programs. One result of this widespread effort is that in 2009, Costa Rica was named the “greenest” and “happiest” country in the world. This designation was bestowed by the New Economics Foundation, an independent organization in London that promotes innovative solutions to environmental, social and economic issues. In that same listing, the United States was ranked 114th. This emphasis upon preservation is used to market Costa Rica as the ecofriendly destination it is. For example, nearly 250 hotels, tour companies and other travel vendors have received Certification for Sustainable Tourism, a muchsought-after honor that recognizes and reSee COSTA RICA, page 50


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Costa Rica From page 49 wards their commitment to that goal. The results of these efforts are evident everywhere, and we got to observe a variety of them first-hand. We saw small plots of wooded land owned by low-income people who in the past would have sold the trees to raise money. Now they receive a subsidy from the government to retain them in their natural state. We hiked in Manuel Antonio National Park, which is both one of the smallest preserves in Costa Rica and one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world. Its varied terrain includes a luxuriant rain forest, bird sanctuaries and four inviting beaches.

A forest in the clouds Most awesome to Fyllis and me was time spent in the Monteverde Cloud Forest, a 26,000-acre preserve that spills down both the Caribbean and Pacific slopes of

the Tilaran mountain range. We reached the entrance to this jungle-like setting after an 18-mile, 90-minute drive over a road that is more ruts and potholes than gravel. Andres Herrera, our jovial and very knowledgeable OAT guide, explained that the road is maintained in that condition as one way of discouraging too many visitors from descending upon the forest and threatening its fragile ecosystem. The environment into which we entered lives up to its name. Warm air rising from the tropical coast condenses into a persistent fog and mist, more like a constant drizzle than rain. Because sunlight has a difficult time breaking through the thick veil of clouds and dense tree canopy, plant life reaches upward, covering every tree trunk and branch with a proliferation of velvet-like green accented by colorful flowers. More than 3,000 kinds of plants call Monteverde their home, including over 500 types of orchids, the largest diversity of that flowering plant in the world.

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

We explored this dream-like setting by means of six suspension bridges, one almost 1,000 feet long, that wind their way through the high tree canopy about 425 feet above ground level. This provides both a bird’s-eye outlook over the forest below, and close-up views of the plant, bird and animal life that thrives in the mysterious treetop world. Andres explained that the plants that blanket tree trunks are called epiphytes. They grow above the ground, using every trunk and limb as a ladder in their quest for sunlight. Vines that would prompt Tarzan to howl with delight festoon the setting. Adding to the wonder is the opportunity to spot wildlife that thrives in this otherworldy environment. A sign at the entrance to the Cloud Forest notes that 126 species of mammals and 448 types of birds live there. Mammals include jaguars, pumas, ocelots, sloths and tapir. We heard the

roar-like sounds of accurately named howler monkeys reverberating from treetops, but had trouble spotting those noisy but elusive critters. When Christopher Columbus reached this land in 1502, he chose the name Costa Rica, or “rich coast,” because he believed the land would yield a vast treasure of gold. However, Spanish conquistadors soon realized they would not discover the mineral wealth they had hoped to find. Visitors today discover wealth of a very different kind. No matter what their expectations, they — like Fyllis and me — are likely to leave Costa Rica with memories of a magnificent natural setting, extraordinary assortment of wildlife, and people who value and protect the riches that Mother Nature has bestowed upon them.

If you go While Fyllis and I often travel on our own, we agree that some destinations are best visited with a tour company. Group travel combines the convenience of having all logistics and transportation taken care of with the vast knowledge of seasoned guides. Overseas Adventure Travel boasts a 35year history, offers trips to nearly six dozen countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, and limits land excursions to a maximum of 16 people. It will offer a choice of three 13-day itineraries to Costa Rica during 2013, with prices beginning at $2,395 for trips that include airfare. Trips are priced about $500 less if you arrange your own air transportation to Costa Rica. From the Washington area, the lowest airfare is $463 roundtrip on United from Reagan National Airport in early December. Tour prices include most meals. For more information, log onto or call 1-800-955-1925. Victor Block is the Beacon’s travel writer.

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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Few good options when hotels overbook By Ed Perkins My friend Don reserved and prepaid a room at a Portland airport hotel through Priceline, but his cross-country flight was delayed, and when he finally arrived after midnight, the desk clerk told him the hotel had no rooms available. Even after Don showed paperwork proving he had prepaid in full, the clerk repeated, “no rooms.” Instead, the clerk offered the unofficial remedy of “walking” an oversold guest to another hotel and paying for the night at that hotel. The clerk also claimed his hotel would authorize Priceline to refund the room cost (which hasn’t happened yet but probably will). And when Don continued to complain, the clerk offered him a pre-printed form letter offering a “free” future room. The hotel that Don was offered in exchange was, in his words, a “dump,” rated one star by Priceline, compared with three

and a half stars for the hotel he had booked. After arriving at this dump, Don phoned the Sheraton to complain again. The clerk told him that if he could find a room at a better hotel, the Sheraton would pay for it. But by that time Don was so tired he decided not to prolong the problem and to stay where he was. That’s where the incident ended. And it brings up some important points about hotel reservations.

When overbooking occurs Hotels overbook for the same reason airlines do: to compensate for the inevitable number of travelers who fail to show up for “confirmed” reservations for one reason or another, or those who check out early. So long as the hotel can accurately predict those numbers, nobody gets hurt. In fact, by making more rooms available for advance sale, overbooking can actually

benefit consumers. But hotels occasionally miss their prediction. Moreover, hotels may decide to double sell a supposedly “guaranteed,” prepaid reservation if the guest hasn’t arrived by a very late hour and someone walks in looking for a room. When that happens to you, the hotel cannot and will not honor the reservation. Just as an airline can’t put an extra seat in an airplane, a hotel can’t quickly add a room or two. No matter what the situation, you won’t get the room you expected. Oversold hotel guests have no specific rights, such as those DOT mandates for overbooked airline passengers. Instead, your right is strictly a matter of contract

law: Your reservation is a contract that the hotel is unable to fill. In those cases, more-or-less standard industry practice is to do what happened to Don: The hotel “walks” you to another hotel of “equal or better” quality and picks up the cost of your first night there. You don’t literally have to walk. Unless you have a car or the replacement hotel is next door or across the street, the first hotel is supposed to pick up cab fare, too.

No real enforcement Although I’ve seen reports stating or implying that “walking” is an enforceable See OVERBOOKED, page 52


Dec, 1


Take a trip to Richmond, Va. for Bizarre Bazaar’s 37th Christmas Collection, with 475 exhibitors. The bazaar features boutiques, crafters, artists and more. The trip is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 1 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with the Montgomery County Recreation Dept. It departs from the Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton, Md. For more information, call (240) 777-4933.

Jan. 23


Ski at the Whitetail Mountain Resort in Mercersburg, Pa. with SOAR, Senior Outdoor Adventures in Recreation. The trip’s cost, $25, covers transportation only. Travelers are responsible for lift tickets and equipment rental on arrival. The trip leaves at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 23 and returns at 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (240) 777-6870.

Dec. 16

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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Overbooked From page 51 legal requirement, I haven’t been able to locate any such specific laws or regulations. Nor have I been able to find any hotel contracts posted online — for either individual units or chains — that detail hotel obligations, as is required for airlines. Although walking seems to be an industry practice, at best it’s “typical” or “common” and certainly not universal. Walking might seem reasonable, but it does not, in the words of tort law, “make you whole.” Even when a hotel does walk you, the substitute hotel may not be an adequate alternative. Every time I’ve been walked, my experi-

ence paralleled Don’s: The substitute hotel was of a significantly lower quality. I’ve heard from readers of cases where a downtown hotel offered a substitute room in a remote suburban location. Being “right” doesn’t matter. If you’re overbooked, you have limited options: • Accept the hotel’s fix if it’s at all reasonable. • If the offer falls significantly short of your expectation, ask for some extra compensation or try to find an alternative yourself and ask the hotel to arrange it. • In the worst case, pay for your own alternative and submit a formal complaint — and possible small claims court suit — after you return home. © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


Nov. 12

FUN AND FITNESS TRAVEL CLUB The Fun and Fitness Travel Club will meet for lunch on Monday, Nov.

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Coping with travel gouges at holiday time With Christmas and New Year’s Days falling on Tuesdays, many of you will also be taking the two Mondays off from work, meaning two successive four-day weekends and an 11-day period with only three working days. A vacation clearly beckons. But travel suppliers can also look at the calendar, and many hike their rates for what they expect to be top-demand times.

percent in Honolulu, with increases of 70 percent to 135 percent in Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Philadelphia and San Diego.

What gouges can you avoid?

The big question, of course, is how to avoid price gouges and full occupancies. Beyond the frivolous answer of “stay home,” here are some ways TRAVEL TIPS Best days to fly you can sometimes avoid the By Ed Perkins Every year, Priceline posts a worst gouges: report on the “best” and “good” days to fly • If you can, try to find an airfare to fly during the holiday season, based on its on one of Priceline’s “good” days. Bending own airfare database. (Visit http://trav- the vacation schedule a day or two can have a big payoff on airfare. olidays/deals.html.) This year, the only • Avoid the most popular warm-weather “best” day to fall within the holiday period destinations. The year-end holiday period is Jan. 1; going into the holidays, the clos- is the busiest time of the year in many desest “best dates” are Dec. 16 and 18, too tinations — among them Hawaii — and is early for many of you. a very busy season at many others. Air“Good” days give you a somewhat better lines and hotels command top dollar. choice, including Dec. 17, 19, 20, 24, 25, 27, But business travel generally comes to a 31 and Jan. 2. Not surprisingly, weekend days complete halt during the holidays, so many before, during and immediately after the hol- big-city hotels that normally cater to busiidays are neither “best” nor even “good.” ness travelers are hungry to fill rooms. Some Priceline’s conclusions are generally sup- just cut rates; some offer packages that inported by Hotwire’s TripStarter data (see clude shopping deals with entertainment. It A quick Google search came up with shows fares actually paid, but the charts do Nutcracker-hotel packages in more than a not provide the daily detail that Priceline dozen cities this year, and that’s just a start. does. Still, its clear fares to many popular • For hotel accommodations, take a winter destinations increase dramatically. look at vacation rentals as well as ordinary Last year, fares to a handful of warm- hotels. Although most price seasonally, weather destinations went up strongly during you may find a bit less gouging. • Include air-hotel, air-car, or air-hotelthe last half of December, with some more than doubling. And, over the years, these car packages in your searches. Most big airlines and the big online travel agencies year-to-year patterns track very closely. Hotwire’s data show that hotel rates fol- put together packages that can often come to a lower total than arranging the individlow the same patterns. Rental car companies can really gouge vis- ual parts on your own. On a quick test, for example, I found itors at some popular destinations. Last year, that an air-rental car package on Allegiant CheapCarRental from Eugene, Ore., to Honolulu for the ( reported that agencies hiked holiday week added $372 more than airrates for the cheapest available car during the fare for a one-week car rental, compared Dec. 23-28 period, compared with January with the best car-only deal available on Exrates, by outrageous increases of 268 percent pedia at more than $600. In times past, I’ve been able to find airin Miami, 216 percent in Orlando, and 194

hotel packages to Hawaii or the Caribbean during the top holiday season when the hotels all showed they were out of available rooms. • Also, consider Europe or Asia. Although airfares to such blockbuster destinations as London, Paris and Rome show a minor spike for mid-December, they’re well under sum-

mer levels, and hotel rates are generally low. Clearly, you can’t totally avoid gouges and still travel to an attractive destination. But you can at least minimize those gouges — and still have a great vacation. Send e-mail to Ed Perkins at © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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Tom Wolfe publishes his first novel in eight years. See story on page 58.

Delightful Pygmalion much more than fair Leslie Howard film (and won an Oscar for the screenplay), would be pleased with the Stage Guild’s work.

Play and movie part ways We think we know the story of Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl who becomes the subject of an experiment by prominent London linguist Henry Higgins. He boasts he can turn the plucky, street-wise lass with the horrid accent into a polished woman who can pass as a society lady by teaching her to speak properly. But there are important differences between the ending of Shaw’s original version and how most of us view the story. That’s a legacy of the enduring Broadway musical, which was based on the film rather than the play. The musical was not produced until after Shaw’s death, because as long as he was around, no producers were allowed to do so. Shaw was irritated even before My Fair Lady that his public might have had an impression of the story’s outcome that was different from his own, mostly because of the movie. Of course, he might have been more explicit in his second act to avoid that. Ambiguity abhors a vacuum, and audiences tend to focus on the ending they would prefer if one is not plainly laid out. Or, he might have chosen a different title. After all, Pygmalion was the name of a king in Greek mythology who fell in love with a statue of Aphrodite, which came to life so they could marry.


By Michael Toscano Well, you certainly have your choice here, as Eliza Doolittle has come to town in two strikingly different vehicles. Arena Stage has the Lerner and Loewe musical classic My Fair Lady, based on the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. Meanwhile, Washington Stage Guild is presenting the source material itself, Shaw’s original 1913 play. Many theater lovers will see both, of course, as My Fair Lady has one of the greatest musical scores of all time, and Pygmalion is the finest work from one of the preeminent playwrights of the last one hundred years. The fact that one has music and the other does not is not the only striking difference between the two. They may share literary DNA, but each has grown into maturity as quite different stories. Washington Stage Guild knows their Shaw, as this is the 25th production of his work they have mounted since 1988. Surprisingly, it’s their first attempt with this one, Shaw’s most popular play. The love shows with this carefully calibrated version of a brilliantly structured story that revels in Shaw’s blending of sharp comment and subtle sentiment. Director Bill Largess and his cast deserve kudos for giving it to us straight, without trying to layer on sensibilities that are not required, but which must be tempting. It happens all the time with this play. Shaw, who winced and then conceded to studio-mandated changes for the 1938

Rana Kay plays the expressive Eliza Doolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, now playing at the Washington Stage Guild through Nov. 18. The original play, on which the movie My Fair Lady is based, has a different ending from the movie.

That’s the more famous of two versions of the tale. In another version, the man is a sculptor who finds the female sex so full of faults that he carves one out of stone for himself. That does not sound like the makings of a happy ending. But that’s closer in

spirit to what Higgins is up to, isn’t it? This confusion prompted Shaw to write and publish an “epilogue,” that extends the stor y so Shaw could tell readers See PYGMALION, page 56


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N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N


Fine cast and crew

From page 55

Kirk Kristoblas’ scenic design is simple and understated, relying mostly on several rotating, three-sided painted flats to signal the location. There’s the rain-soaked portico at Covent Garden where Eliza (Rana Kay), Higgins (Steven Carpenter) and Colonel Pickering (Vincent Clark) meet. There’s Higgins’ “laboratory” at his upper

where he saw the characters going. Washington Stage Guild made the epilogue available to reviewers, and it provides fascinating insight that I will not share here as it may color your view of the play before you see it.

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class townhouse. And a couple of scenes occur in the drawing room of his mother, Mrs. Higgins (Lynn Steinmetz). With little flash to distract us, the focus is on Shaw’s piquant dialogue, and the actors revel in both the words and the way they get to say them. It’s difficult to imagine much of the dialogue being nearly as effective if spoken in something other than the variety of English accents they use. No one savors the sound of his own voice more than Higgins, of course, and a delicious cascade of syllables pours forth from Carpenter. As Eliza, Kay is more successful after Eliza’s transformation from the streets to society gets underway. She’s not entirely convincing, and often incoherent, wallowing in the Cockney dialect during early scenes. But when Eliza makes her debut, of sorts, by visiting with some ladies at Mrs. Higgins’ home, her depiction of a woman struggling to impose a façade over her

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true nature is wildly funny. And Kay succeeds by underplaying the effort, allowing her voice and smile to steadily, slowly tighten with the strain. It is completely delightful. In fact, her entire performance is a study in careful attention to character development. She seamlessly moves from early ambition through a dutiful student phase, and blossoms into defiant independence. In early scenes, she wins us over by combining Eliza’s guileless streettoughness into alluring vulnerability. Carpenter is a delight as he perfectly enunciates every word. Every sentence is layered with the weight of whatever heightened emotion the fervent Higgins is experiencing at the moment. Clark is a solid center presence as Pickering, whom he plays with good-natured establishment solidity. Rounding out the Higgins household is Mrs. Pearce the housekeeper, performed as a woman of steady, common sense by Laura Giannarelli. Also notable is Lynn Steinmetz’s turn as Mrs. Higgins, who we see here as the best of her societal strata. She’s comfortable with her station, but displays underlying humanity. And Conrad Feininger adds grit as Alfred, Eliza’s hard-partying but self-aware father. These cast members form a potent onstage partnership, each one mining Shaw’s dialogue for all its worth and sparking extra energy from each other. Shaw’s pointed observations about class and its contrivances are strikingly relevant 100 years after they were crafted. Alfred’s comments to Professor Higgins about his life sound as if they could be taken from a speech this year about a certain 47 percent of Americans. And that’s Shaw’s genius: sharp, incisive commentary and enduring characters, entertaining a century of grateful audiences.

If you go Pygmalion continues through November 18, performed by Washington Stage Guild at the Undercroft Theatre of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Ave. NW, in Washington. Performances take place Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Matinees are Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 Friday and Saturday evenings; $40 for all other performances. Patrons 65 and over receive a $10 discount at all performances. the Undercroft Theatre is fully accessible, and located on street level. For tickets, information, or to discuss special needs, call the box office at (240) 582-0050 daily between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Tickets and information are also available online at

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

The cat who taught me about chutzpah By Saralee Perel I can still picture the morning I was sitting with a dozen mewing kittens at the local animal shelter. There was a slight movement between two pillows on the far side of the cage. That’s where I found Eddie. He was on his back trying to get some sleep “in this lousy joint” as I imagined an independent cat like him would say. He was a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly. “He’s the one,” I said to my husband, Bob. Eddie swaggered to the food bowl, pushing four kittens out of the way. “He’s so ratty,” Bob said, picking him up. “And he only has one whisker.” Eddie tenderly pressed his face against mine. Then he put his sharp baby teeth around my gold earring and yanked with the strength of a sumo wrestler. Eddie had chutzpah and he knew how to use it. That first night home, he was restless. I calmed him with a song from the musical, Oliver. I sang it softly, as a slow ballad, “Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard.” He closed his eyes and purred. From then on, that song always soothed him. Eddie got up before we did. I knew that from the sound of breaking glass. We found him on the mantel where my favorite glass plate used to be. The floor was covered with glass shards. He quickly put his paw behind a blue china vase and chucked that off the mantel, too. At first I felt bad. But that didn’t last. Things are just things. Our pets are family. While we were sleeping, Eddie bit our earlobes, toes and fingers. He preferred protruding parts. Imagine what poor Bob endured. When we’d watch TV in bed, he’d scratch us for attention. Eventually, I learned that there are times when family, friends or pets are more important than TV. And when are those times? Always. Eddie opened cabinets by putting his paws around the knobs. Vitamin bottles made great rattling noises upon crash landings. We bought child-proof magnets at the hardware store. Eddie simply tugged a little harder. Back to the hardware store for hook and eye locks. Eddie flipped the hooks open


Nov. 15


The program for this free concert includes Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, a medley of Jerome Kern music, and Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, Jeremiah. The concert will take place at Brucker Hall, 400 McNair Rd., Ft. Myer, Va. at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15. For more information, call the Concert information line: (703) 696-3399.

with one paw. Back to the hardware store for deadbolt locks. He easily slid those bolts to the side. The guy at the hardware store already had combination locks on the counter. Eddie came into my life when, because of an illness, I needed to learn a lot from him. And I did. To Eddie, obstacles were challenges. When barriers thwarted him, he never quit trying. Words like “can’t” and “hopeless” were only beliefs. Beliefs can be changed. For the past two years, Eddie has been sick. I spent lots of time massaging him on either side of his face. He always loved that. One afternoon, I used my fingers to comb through the lovely full set of whiskers he had eventually grown. That was the day when I saw the one side effect from the medicine he was taking. As I gently rubbed along his face, all of his

whiskers came off in my hands, except for one. I placed them in a tiny needlepoint purse my mother had made for me. He came into our lives with one whisker. And that is how he would leave. Three months ago, on a quiet Sunday af-

ternoon, I kissed his forehead and whispered, “I love you.” He looked up at me. His face showed the love he was never successful at hiding. See EDDIE THE CAT, page 59

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Tom Wolfe, 81, talks about his new novel Wolfe”: The Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff, the “Me” decade and “radical chic,” the punched-up prose and the blaze of white. At age 81, his hair is thinned and his posture stooped, but the face remains impish and his manner wide-eyed and boyish at all the amazing things that happen — the kinds of stories, he likes to say, that you can’t make up. His latest scoops appear in Back to Blood, his first novel in eight years. It’s another big city tale in the tradition of Bonfire, his gleeful panorama of 1980s New York. Back to Blood features Wolfe’s usual cocktail of sex, class and color, from a Cuban-American policeman to a WASP newspaper editor to a Russian oligarch.

First-hand research You don’t have to ask what Wolfe’s been up to the past few years. For the most part, it’s in the book. Not just a strip club, but City Hall and Little Havana, the Miami Art Museum and Fisher Island. A favorite memory was when police let him ride on a “Safe Boat” around Biscayne Bay. “These things across the water at 45 miles an hour, which is fast when you’re on the water, and these boats are unsinkable. Nobody has ever been able to turn one over. The bottom of the boat was like an enormous mattress. It was built for safety, and that gave me the idea for the whole first chapter of the book,” he said, adding that another highlight was witnessing the Columbus Day Regatta. “Unfortunately, when I went, the police had begun to crack down. It was no longer an orgy on the water. They used to line up boats, as many as 10 to 12 boats lashed together, so you had one enormous uneven deck. “And they’d have really wild parties, ending with boys and girls down on the deck having at it, and pornographic movies on the big sails of the schooners.” Wolfe is a National Book Award winner, a best-seller and a mixed bag. He is a giant among nonfiction writers, but the rap on him as a novelist is that he thinks wide and not deep.

A P P H OTO / L I T T L E , B R O W N A N D C O M PA N Y, M A R K S E L I G E R

By Hillel Italie Like a prize-winning reporter, fame follows Tom Wolfe, even when he swaps the white suit for a blue blazer, even when he visits some strip club in Miami as research — yes, research — for his new novel. “I was the only man with a necktie,” he said with a chuckle, back in his trademark white during a recent interview at his Manhattan apartment. “They seat you in these little couches, and it was like a furniture show room — all these pieces of furniture would stretch long for maybe 40 feet. So I’m sitting there and this guy, must have been a bouncer, came over and said, ‘Hey, you’re Tom Wolfe aren’t you?’” Millions know the meaning of “Tom

Author Tom Wolfe immersed himself in Miami’s culture, from strip clubs to Little Havana, for his new book Back to Blood, his first novel in eight years.

The New Yorker’s James Wood disparaged the new novel’s “yards of flapping exaggeration.” The New York Times’ Michiko Kakutani thought the story “filled with heaps of contrivance and cartoonish antics,” while praising Wolfe’s “new and improved ability to conjure fully realized people.” Wolfe doesn’t like to admit it, but reviews get to him. He remembers John Updike panning A Man in Full as “entertainment, not literature,” and John Irving calling the same book “journalistic hyperbole described as fiction.” See WOLFE, page 59

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WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

Wolfe From page 58 Wolfe’s response: He does aim to please (and provoke), and he does think like a newspaperman. His prescription for the American novel remains what he has suggested for decades: Don’t just sit there. Get out and report your story, capture the public and the private, the way Emile Zola did back in the 19th century. He continues to look down on contemporary fiction, although he doesn’t follow it as closely as he did back in the 1980s when he condemned the “anesthetic solitude” of minimalists and other authors of the time. He has little to say about such 21st-century novelists as Michael Chabon, David Foster Wallace and Jeffrey Eugenides. Wolfe does have a few nice words for Jonathan Franzen, whose Freedom is a broad take on American life during the George W. Bush administration. “Franzen does get into the social scene to some extent,” Wolfe said. “I give him credit for that.” Wolfe sees his job as more than just filling notepads; he has figured out how it adds up. After hanging around with hippies and astronauts, bankers and cops, he has concluded the same questions nag them all: What will my peers think? How am I doing? It’s all about status, something “on everybody’s mind all the time.”

after the author’s signature Panama hat. Wolfe was interviewed in what might be called a sitting room, or a TV-less living room, or the yellow room — yellow walls, yellow radiators, yellow window shutters, yellow book cases, and Wolfe’s couch of choice, with its yellow corduroy design. He’s been a novelist for 30 years, but he is also defined as a founder of the “new journalism,” the now standard art of applying the techniques of fiction — dialogue, scene setting, rich, descriptive language — to nonfiction. His peers have included Jimmy Breslin, Gay Talese and the late Nora Ephron. His current favorites include Mark Bowden, best known for Black Hawk Down, and Moneyball author Michael Lewis. “He is one of my heroes,” said Lewis, who has been reading Wolfe since he was a boy. “He led the way in showing how much could be crammed into a work of nonfiction.” Wolfe is the least sedentary of writers, and seeing him walk gamely around his

apartment makes you wonder if he wasn’t ready for one of those quiet, introspective novels he so despises. But the ideas keep coming. Wolfe said he has at least six projects to keep him busy, including a nonfiction book on Charles Darwin and other evolutionary theorists and a fictional return to New York.

“There are still so many things I don’t know about the city and I’d just like to see what’s out there,” he said. “The Latin American population has increased enormously since Bonfire, and Wall Street has changed enormously. I’ll follow my usual technique of just taking in a scene and seeing what I find.” — AP

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Moving on up A believer that one should never exclude himself from his own theory, Wolfe is an old-fashioned striver, a native of Richmond, Va., who was class president in high school and ran the student newspaper. He wanted to be a Great American Writer, in the Greatest American City: New York. He hustled and wrote and dressed his way to the top. His apartment is a shining wonder, 12 rooms on the 14th floor of a doorman building on the Upper East Side. Depending on which way you turn your head, you could catch a view of Central Park or a lampshade in his office designed

Eddie the cat From page 57 As Bob softly sang, “Food, glorious food, hot sausage and mustard,” Eddie took his last breath. While his body was still warm, I cradled him in my arms and rocked him. I held his head so he was nestled against my neck. “Eddie, you will always be a part of me.” I didn’t want to let him go from my arms. But Bob, so lovingly and slowly, gently took him away. And so, I honor the life of my wonderful cat who, from the beginning, stood apart from all the others. My beautiful cat, my Eddie, just a plain gray tabby, as common as a housefly. Award-winning columnist, Saralee Perel, welcomes e-mail at: Visit her website at


Is it hard to imagine someone else caring for the person who took care of you? It will occupy your thoughts during the day and keep you up at night. You’ll take a look at every possibility. You’ll consider her needs and yours, and it will lead to the same conclusion. You can no longer provide the care she needs, but who will?

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As American as World War II and apple pie “Can we talk?,” I asked the elderly man But I have always seen clearly that The behind the table. Big War shaped everything that followed — “That’s what I’m here for,” and every person that followed. replied Tommy Godchaux. To think that American hisBut after half an hour, tory began with rock-and-roll Tommy had done more than or Watergate is to miss the bend my ear — or allow me to boat. Yet so many 20- and 30bend his. He had supplied me somethings think of World with some excellent ammuniWar II as Grandpa’s War. tion for an old fight: How to They’ve seen the old photos persuade younger Americans and probably some of the old that World War II was the movies. Maybe they’ve read a most important event in their HOW I SEE IT history or two. But they don’t lives, even though they By Bob Levey buy into the cause-and-effect weren’t alive during it. that I will never stop noticing. This issue has cost me lots of sleep They don’t understand that World War II across lots of years. brought us together as never before or since. I was born during the week when World They don’t understand that our econoWar II ended, so I have no more direct ex- my changed gears and shape forever durperience with that horrible conflict than ing the war. anyone younger. And they don’t understand that our pop-

ulation itself was forged by the war — especially by the great clump of Boomers who were born right after it. Tommy Godchaux understands all of this. He is closing in on 90. He served for more than two years in the Pacific theater. He dodged death many times. His current volunteer job is to sit at a table in the lobby of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans and chat with whoever drops by. He is the personalization of World War II — a vanishing but deservedly proud breed. I think he was a bit taken aback by my volley of heavy questions. He’s more used to families who ask to see his yellowing combat photos or who want to shake his hand and thank him for his service. But Tommy was right there when I asked him this one: “How do I persuade my own kids, both born in the 1980s, that World War

II has shaped who they both are?” Tommy cleared his throat and looked right at me. “Keep talking to them,” he counseled. “But I have, ever since they’ve been knee-high to grasshoppers,” I replied. “And they don’t get it. I haven’t made them get it. “Both of their grandfathers served during World War II, and all of my uncles did,” I said. “So it ought to be personal for them for at least that reason. “But it’s not. Their eyes glaze over. They would rather discuss football or fashion.” Tommy smiled. “I’ve been talking about World War II ever since I got back home from it,” he told me. “In my experience, the older people get, the more they appreciate what the war meant. So keep telling ‘em what you’re telling ‘em.” I wasn’t satisfied. “Doesn’t it bother you to hear stories like mine?” I asked him. “Doesn’t it bother you that you risked your life for all three generations that have followed, and they don’t seem to understand the value of that?” Tommy smiled again — very broadly this time. “I didn’t go to the Pacific so people could thank me,” he said. “I fought because our way of life was not going to survive unless I did. I didn’t imagine three generations when I was in the Pacific. I imagined freedom — and yes, a little apple pie on the Fourth of July.” Tommy said he still eats apple pie on the Fourth of July. “And I always will,” he said. “I’ll never stop because someone younger is a little self-absorbed.” I still wasn’t satisfied. “You dodged real bullets. You were hungry and thirsty and filthy and sick for weeks on end. You had to leave your home, your job, your friends, your family. You earned close to no money in the process. I’m just in awe of that.” “No awe, please,” said Tommy Godchaux. “We did what we had to do.” And I will go on doing what I have to do. I will bring World War II histories to family beach vacations — and make sure to discuss them at dinner. I will continue to display my father’s dog tags on my desk — and wait for the day when a grandchild asks about them. I will reminisce about Tommy Dorsey records and Spam in the presence of my children — even if they roll their eyes and drift away. And I will correspond with Tommy Godchaux, via that modern method known as e-mail. He said I could. He urged me to keep him posted on my crusade. He said he’d be glad to talk about his experiences to anyone younger if it would help them “get it.” No need, Tommy. I’ve already made a note in my calendar for next July 3. It reads: “BUY APPLE PIE.” I’ll serve it the next day, to my hard-to-persuade family. And as I slap pieces onto plates, I’ll tell them about Tommy Godchaux. Bob Levey is a national award-winning columnist.

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ONE BIG HAPPY By Rick Detorie



















From page 63.

Letters to editor From page 2 pressed to do my civic duty by either driving one hour and not finding parking near the courthouse or taking public transportation requiring nearly two hours. Then the ultimate blow would be the failure to seat me on the jury, with defense lawyers prone to use less judgmental jurors. For those who are willing, as was Levey’s wife, to serve, (incidentally, not accepted when she made the effort), I congratulate them. As for me, I believe in taking an option that’s necessary for my health and well-being. Nelson Marans Silver Spring, Md. Dear Editor: What a great 50+ Expo at Ballston last month. I really felt it was most productive. You and your entire staff do a terrific job of organization. The music was good and not overwhelming. The flow of traffic was good and at our table we were able to talk to two or three

people at the same time. Seems to me there were more “younger” seniors this year. The tone of the Expo was friendly and helpful, which I attribute to you. Congratulations on a very successful event. Judy Massabny Arlington County Office of Senior Adult Programs

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CLASSIFIEDS The Beacon prints classified advertising under the following headings: Business & Employment Opportunities; Caregivers; Computer Services; Entertainment; For Sale; For Sale/Rent: Real Estate; Free; Health; Home/ Handyman Services; Miscellaneous; Personals; Personal Services; Vacation Opportunities; and Wanted. For submission guidelines and deadlines, see the box at the right. CAVEAT EMPTOR! The Beacon does not knowingly accept obscene, offensive, harmful, or fraudulent advertising. However, we do not investigate any advertisers or their products and cannot accept responsibility for the integrity of either. Respondents to classified advertising should always use caution and their best judgment. EMPLOYMENT & REAL ESTATE ADS: We will not knowingly or intentionally accept advertising in violation of federal, state, and local laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, familial status or handicap in connection with employment or the sale or rental of real estate.

Caregivers COMPANION GHA/HH AIDE AVAILABLE NOW Live-in or out day or night. With excellent references. Very reliable and punctual. Own transportation. Please call 240-543-5024. ELDERCARE – Reliable female. 26 years experience. Certified with car. Available Monday-Friday. Full or part-time. 202-636-3598. Please leave a message. LICENSED, BONDED CNA with a decade of geriatric care experience seeks long-term, fulltime overnight position. Currently a grad student pursuing nursing degree, I come with an extensive resume, sterling references & solid pet-care skills. If interested, kindly call Jacqueline at 301-787-3555. CHEVY CHASE HOME CARE – reliable certified caregivers at time of illness, infirmity, loneliness. Personal assistance, ALL AGES, 4- to 24-hour shifts, homes, hospitals, nursing homes. MD, DC, No. VA. Tel.: 202-374-1240. HERE AND NOW HOME CARE – Very reliable and certified caregivers who provide care with quality, dignity and respect. Personal care, companionship and light housekeeping at competitive prices. 24 hours around the clock. Homes, hospitals, nursing homes. 240-507-7120.

Computer Services PROBLEM WITH YOUR PC/MAC OR NETWORK? Computer Systems Engineer will come to you with help. Call: D. Guisset at 301-6424526. TECH/COMPUTER TUTOR/TROUBLESHOOTER, Consumer Electronics consultant with 17 years experience making house calls. PC, Mac, iOS, Android, networks. Call Claude 202-630-5016 or visit COMPUTER LESSONS – Personal Computer training at your home. Email, Internet, general computer use, and more. Learn at your own pace with gentle and patient tutor. We also fix computers, set up your new computer and troubleshoot. Working with Seniors since 1996. Ask about your Senior Discount. Call David, 301762-2570, COMPUTERTUTOR.

Entertainment PUT THE MUSIC YOU LOVE BACK IN YOUR LIFE! Enjoy live jazz and swing on the first Friday of the month at Hollywood East Café, Westfield Wheaton Shopping Mall, 7 to 10 p.m. Listen to the Night & Day Combo perform the classic standard songs of the 30s, 40s and 50s, from Cole Porter, Gershwin, et al. Great music, great food, no cover charge!

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2 — WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N

Entertainment BARN AUCTION IN LEESBURG! November 10th. 30+ Dealer’s items! Coins, Jewelry, Gold, Diamonds, Antiques, Box Lots & more. $1,000 Give Aways! Preview 8am... Auction 10am-7pm. Senior items on our website. OUTDOOR MUSIC FESTIVAL on FRONT LAWN! November 4th. Band “90 Proof”. Raffles during the day. DEALER SPACES AVAILABLE TO SELL YOUR ITEMS! Rent a space to sell your times in our 10,000 sq. ft. mall. Great traffic throughout!, Email, Phone 703-777-3363. LEESBURG COURT OF SHOPPES, 19487 James Monroe Hwy (RT 15S), Leesburg.

For Sale/Rent: Real Estate LOOKING TO TAKE THE LEAP? I’ll take you on a tour of the community, show you floor plans, discuss campus amenities, & offer how to best coordinate your move. I will preview units & contact you with a match. I also offer exceptional service selling your home. I’m a Seniors Specialist, Buyer Broker, Top 1% of Agents Nationwide, and a Leisure World resident! You can see my current listings on page 52. Contact me: 301-580-5556,,, Weichert, Realtors. LEISURE WORLD® - $359,000. 2BR 2FB “G” in Creekside. Table space kitchen, separate laundry room, enclosed balcony, garage space. 1325 sq ft.. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $279,000. 2BR 2FB “EE” with Garage in Vantage East. Open table space kitchen, large enclosed balcony, separate laundry room, 1260 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $314,500. 3BR 2-1/2BA “M” model in Fairways. Spectacular view from enclosed balcony, table space kitchen, Garage + golf cart space. 1480 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $129,000. 2BR 2FB “Bristol” model patio home, new paint, close to parking. 1059 sq ft., Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $229,000. 2/3BR 2FB “Sherwood” model patio home. End of group, custom reconfiguration with Great Room, enclosed patio, recent paint and carpet. 1400. sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $119,000. 1BR 1-1/2BA “A” in “Villa Cortese”. Fresh paint and new carpet, enclosed balcony, close to elevator. 940 sq ft, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $268,500. 2BR 2FB “Marlboro” patio home. Updated kitchen, new paint and carpet, 1 car garage, Florida room. 1155 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - $519,000. 3BR 1-1/2BA “L” in “The Overlook”. End of the hall with 3 exposures, separate dining room, 2 enclosed balconies, 2 separate storage areas, garage parking.1775 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - RENTAL - $1500. 2BR 2BA “E” in “The Greens”. New paint, new carpet. Move in condition. 940 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD® - RENTAL - $1500. 2BR 2FB “F” in “The Greens”, close to the elevator, move in condition. 1115 sq ft. Stan Moffson, Weichert, Realtors, 301-928-3463. LEISURE WORLD RENTAL Luxury Condo, 2BR, 2FB, fully furnished, sunny, enclosed porch with great view in Turnberry. $1600. Call Jean @ 917-690-5119

For Sale SAVE UP TO $2000 ON YOUR MOBILE A revolution in Mobile Phone Service. Get Unlimited Text, Talk & Data Nationwide 4G Service for only $49.00. Ask how to get it FREE! No Contract! Call 804-714-5787,, 1) NEW ROLL WHEELCHAIR with Owner’s Manual: 2) Used Electric Power Wheelchair (need to replace a battery) $200.00 – Info. Attached: 3) Dark Brown/White SOFA/LOVE seat (pair), good Condition plus Coffee Table $350.00. Prices are Negotiable 301-942-7000.

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING RATES Deadlines and Payments: Ad text and payment is due by the 20th of each month. Note: Only ads received and prepaid by the deadline will be included in the next month’s issue. Please type or print your ad carefully. Include a number where you can be reached in the event of a question. Payment is due with ad. We do not accept ads by phone or fax, nor do we accept credit cards. Private Party Text Ads: For individuals seeking to buy or sell particular items, or place a personal ad. Each ad is $15 for 25 words, 25 cents for each additional word. Business Text Ads: For parties engaged in an ongoing business enterprise. Each ad is $35 for 25 words, 50 cents for each additional word. Note: Each real estate listing counts as one business text ad. Send your classified ad with check or money order, payable to the Beacon, to:

The Beacon, D.C. Classified Dept. P.O. Box 2227, Silver Spring, MD 20915-2227 For information about display advertising, or to request a media kit, call (301) 949-9766. For Sale

Personal Services

FAIRFAX MEMORIAL PARK, Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA. Memory Garden Family Estate for 6 burials. Granite Bench, lovely setting and landscaping. Call Betty Olson, 703-978-4613.

DAY-TO-DAY ERRAND SERVICES to get your groceries, stamps, library books, dry cleaning, return purchases. Honest and reliable. References. Maryland & DC. Gillian 240-687-3483.

ANTIQUE DRESSER with mirror, handmade wood cradle; 31” x 46” antique brass framed mirror; 2 piece Secretary desk; two 7’ x 30” Scan bookshelves; more. 703-978-4613. 2 SALVADOR DALI woodblock prints from Dante’s Divine Comedy. Signed and framed. Asking $900 for the pair. Can email pictures if desired. Call Steve 410-913-1653.

Health BREAKING NEWS FOR DIABETICS, prediabetics and weight challenged people! Revolutionary plant-based product can change your life by reducing medication and insulin requirements. Recommended by physicians and pharmacists. Request a free sample! 240-461-0519.

Home/Handyman Services MICHAELS HAULING Clean-outs, scrap & debris removal yard waste, etc. Mulch, dirt & stone delivery, lite dump truck, 20’ trailer & bobcat. Fully insured. 240-388-1898. HOUSE CLEANING 703-802-3439. A Better Cleaning Services, Inc. Serving the community for 20 years. Licensed, bonded and insured. Weekly, biweekly, monthly. Move-in / move-out. Washington Check Book Rated and BBB Member. Free Estimate, 703-802-3439. MGL CLEANING SERVICE Experienced. Same team every time. Licensed bonded, insured. Good references, free estimates. Our customers recommend us. Mario & Estela: 202-4916767 & 703-798-4143. NEED HOUSE CLEANING? Professional service at an affordable price! Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or one time. Call for a free estimate @ 240-644-4289.

Miscellaneous CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS BOOKSTORE Books – Bibles – Gifts – Music – Church Supplies – Murphy Robes – Gift Certificates – Flowers – Gift Baskets – Spanish Resources. Call 571-765-3558 or order online /

Personal Services VAN MAN – For your driving needs. Shopping, appointments, pick-up and deliver – airport van. Call Mike 301-565-4051. VETS AT WORK TELECOM technicians provide high quality Telephone, Data, and video wiring services. Flat Screen TV Installation, Cellular and Wi-Fi reception enhancements. All available at reasonable prices. Licensed, bonded and Insured. Email or call for free estimates. 703-232-5233. MOTHER WILL DRIVE you to your appointments, church, shopping and assist you. Honest, reliable, References. DC & Maryland. Bee 301949-4873. WILL TYPE YOUR MEMOIRS, manuscripts, etc. For info and rates, call 703-671-1854.

Personals EUROPEAN SENIOR CITIZEN, former educator seeks “female senior citizen” for friendship, plus whatever else, mutually to be decided. Call Mr. Epam, 301-559-5961.

Volunteer Opportunities COLUMBIA LIGHTHOUSE FOR THE BLIND, a nonprofit organization serving people of all ages in the Washington metropolitan area who are blind and visually impaired, is recruiting adult volunteers to serve as Readers and Friendly Visitors. Participants in the Readers & Friendly Visitors program are adult volunteers who are matched one-on-one with blind or visually impaired adults. Volunteers arrange weekly meetings with clients at their homes to assist with activities, such as reading mail, grocery shopping or running errands. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please contact Jocelyn Hunter at 202-454-6422 or to attend an upcoming orientation.

Wanted FINE ANTIQUES, PAINTINGS AND QUALITY VINTAGE FURNISHINGS wanted by a serious, capable buyer. I am very well educated [law degree], knowledgeable [over 40 years in the antique business] and have the finances and wherewithal to handle virtually any situation. If you have a special item, collection or important estate, I would like to hear from you. I pay great prices for great things in all categories from Oriental rugs to Tiffany objects, from rare clocks to firearms, from silver and gold to classic cars. If it is wonderful, I am interested. No phony promises or messy consignments. References gladly furnished. Please call Jake Lenihan 301-2798834. Thank you. STAMP COLLECTIONS, AUTOGRAPHS purchased/appraised – U.S., worldwide, covers, paper memorabilia. Stamps are my specialty – highest price paid! Appraisals. Phone Alex, 301309-6637. HIGHEST CASH PAID FOR ANTIQUES, ESTATES. FREE evaluations and house calls. We pay the most for your valuable treasures because we get the most money on eBay – the worldwide Internet. Serving entire metro area – Maryland, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia. Buying the following items – furniture, art, paintings, silver, gold, old coins, jewelry, vintage wristwatches, military items, including guns, rifles, swords, daggers, knives, musical instruments, guitars, violins, banjos, old toys, dolls, trains, old golf clubs, baseball, football, tennis equipment and memorabilia, old fishing, tools, books, photographs, comic books. I am a resident of Silver Spring and work in Bethesda. I have 25 years experience. Please call Tom Hanley at 240-476-3441 – Thank you.

Classifieds cont. on page 63.

WA S H I N G T O N B E A C O N — N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 2

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Crossword Puzzle Daily crosswords can be found on our website: Click on Puzzles Plus Fiber Count by Stephen Sherr 1














27 33 38





WANTED: OLDER VIOLINS, GUITARS, BANJOS, MANDOLINS, ETC. Musician/collector will pay cash for older string instruments. Jack (301) 279-2158. CASH FOR JEWELRY: Buying jewelry, diamonds, gold, platinum, silver, watches, coins, flatware, etc. We make house calls. Ask for Tom. Call anytime 301-654-8678 or 301-654-0838. HIGHEST PRICE PAID FOR ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES! Compare my estimate before you sell... Antique and quality modern furniture, paintings, pottery, rugs, clocks, gold, silver, costume jewelry, silver flatware, watches, military items, guns, swords, daggers, helmets, fishing, toys, sports memorabilia, American tools. One piece or an entire collection. I AM an established dealer with 25 years experience, with 2 locations, Silver Spring [Hillandale] & Bowie. Please call Chris KELLER for prompt professional service. 301-262-1299. Thank You. WANTED: ELECTRONICS, radio tubes, ham radios, huge old loud speakers, tube HiFi, stereo amps, earliest computers ever made, vinyl records, professional musical instruments, scientific curiosities, early electronic books, magazines, engineers, physicists, scientist, accumulations. 202-527-9501, DIABETIC TEST STRIPS WANTED will pay cash for unused, sealed boxes. Call for details, All brands considered. 301-977-9480.

CASH FOR ESTATES, Gold, Silver, Coins, Costume Jewelry, Antiques/Collectibles, Etc. Will travel 301-520-0755. WE PAY CASH for antique furniture, quality used furniture, early American art, pottery, silver, glassware, paintings, etc. Single items to entire estates. Call Reggie or Phyllis at DC 202-726-4427, MD 301-332-4697. MILITARY ITEMS WANTED: Collector seeks to purchase military uniforms; flight jackets, patches, insignia, medals, etc. from the Civil War through Vietnam. Especially seeking U.S. Army Air Corps, USMC, Airborne, and German/Japanese/Italian items from WWII. ALSO BUYING old Boy Scout, Airline Items, Toys, Lighters. Call Dan (202) 841-3062. CASH FOR RECORDS & CDs. BEST PRICE GUARANTEED. Free appraisals. All types of music, 33, 45, 78 & CDs. Call Steve 301-646-5403. Will make house calls. WE PAY YOU GLORIOUS CASH for all unwanted, broken 10k to 24k yellow, white gold; silver .925, platinum and coins 1964 or older. MD or DC – 301-538-6175, VA – 571-2913455. We do not buy gold plated or costume jewelry. COINS WANTED – PRIVATE COLLECTOR. Also paper money. Both U.S. and Foreign. Old postcards and automobile related items also of interest. Kenny 703-369-0520. Best after 7PM.



46 50


BUYING MILITARY MEMORABILIA WW2, WW1, Civil War uniforms, weapons, photos and items associated with US, German, Japanese or items of other Military History. DAVE 240-464-0958.






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STERLING SILVER will pay top dollar for your silver marked “Sterling”, “925” “800.” Please no silver plate. Want flatware, bowls, plates, candlesticks, etc. Call Richard 301-646-0101.

9 15










Scrabble answers on p. 61.

















1. Milkshake or beer request 6. Cattle call 9. Big party 13. Energy option 14. ___ pass 15. Pro’s foe 16. War zone 17. Not at all humid 18. They meet the zebras at the watering hole 19. 1970’s carpool carrier 22. Otolaryngologists, more commonly 23. Snow plank 24. ___ 9:00; out by 5:00 25. Fall contest held annually since 1930 30. Water preservers 33. Rocks, to a mixologist 34. And a bunch of other guys (abbrev.) 35. In the style of 36. Resistance unit 39. Purchaser of X-ray equipment 41. They come three per milliliter 42. Indian dress 44. Org. that breaks into cars 46. Gumbo server 48. They too shall pass 52. Lord’s servant 53. Capote-themed play 54. Mexican munchie 58. High fiber selection 61. Theatre offering 62. Place for the sheriff ’s star 63. Instrument in a jazz trio 64. Start to scope 65. Kitchen extension 66. Strong suit 67. Songwriter Paul, who composed Johnny Carson’s theme 68. Dorm V.I.P.’s 69. Light beer signs

1. “Have ___ trip” 2. Dumbbell 3. Well-rested 4. Reaches Park Place 5. Golf hazard 6. Spy glass content 7. Mishmash 8. Story tellers 9. Emotional encumbrances 10. Added commentary 11. Shock 12. Quick greetings 14. Tearjerker take-along 20. Belief system 21. At least one 26. Carnival city 27. Be in a cast 28. It may have multiple anchors 29. Ultimatum ending 30. It can really hold its liquor 31. Jai ___ 32. Poker hustler 37. Medical condition which is not caused by cut grass, and does not impact body temperature 38. Bell and Barker 40. Pub brew 43. Lethargy 45. Certifies as true 47. Star of Let’s Dance in 1950 49. Before, briefly 50. Deliver the keynote 51. She’s chaste all through the abbey 55. Rental car option 56. Body of rules 57. They are down in the dumps 58. College applicant, probably 59. Early home video recording format 60. Bridge 61. Hot springs

Answers on page 61.


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November 2012 DC Beacon Edition  
November 2012 DC Beacon Edition  

November 2012 DC Beacon Edition