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Gazette SENIORS | April 2014




April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS



SENIORS Editor, Graphic Designer

Copy Editor Contributing Writers

Corporate Advertising Director Creative Director Prepress Manager Special Sections Coordinator

Anna Joyce

Kate Marsanico Karen Finucan Clarkson Ellen R. Cohen Scott Harris Arlene Karidis Jim Mahaffie Dennis Wilston Anna Joyce John Schmitz Ashby Rice


Gazette Seniors is produced by The Gazette’s Special Sections and Advertising departments. It does not involve The Gazette’s newsrooms. Contact us at ON THE COVER: ISTOCKPHOTO/KERTLIS INSET PHOTO: HARVEY AND ELLEN COHEN, COURTESY OF HARVEY COHEN






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Gazette SENIORS | April 2014






u Why Seniors Relish this Game



rganized sports were never Susie Weber’s thing— — until she discovered pickleball. “Anyone can do it; you don’t have to be great to enjoy it. The bottom line is to have fun,” said the 91-year-old Vienna, ienna, Va., resident.Twice a week for the past 16 years,Weber Weber unity cenhas joined more than a dozen other seniors at the local community ter for several games of this increasingly popular paddle sport, savoring the es you’re tired associated social, emotional and physical benefits. “Sometimes me you quit.” or down before you start, but you always feel better by the time

Pickleball is a “combination of tennis, badminton and table tennis,” said Helen White, the USA Pickleball Association’s ambassador for Northern Virginia and the National Senior Games’ reigning silver medalist in women’s 60-plus singles. “We use a wiffle ball, which doesn’t bounce as high, fast or hard. The paddle—like a table tennis paddle, only elongated—makes hand-eye coordination easier.”


While the pickleball net is low to the ground similar to tennis, the court is smaller than a regulation tennis court. Locally, games are played in gyms or on modified tennis courts. At Leisure World in Silver Spring, residents play outdoors year round, provided the temperature is above 40 degrees. “We wanted to play on the indoor tennis courts,” said Donna Leonard, “but the surface wasn’t right and the ball


wouldn’t bounce on it.” Leonard is hoping that when the fitness center at Leisure World is expanded, there will be space somewhere for dedicated indoor courts. The smaller court size is one reason pickleball is ideal for older adults. “My knees are shot and I had to give up tennis five or six years ago, but I can move two steps to See PICKLE, 28









BELOW, LEFT TO RIGHT: At the Vienna Community Center, David Sandidge (left) of Vienna, Va., prepares to return a shot as his doubles partner Ron Rothberg of Annandale, Va., stands ready to help. Hal Corby (left) of Vienna and Helen White, USA Pickleball Association ambassador for Northern Virginia, are ready for the shot from their double opponents. Left to right: Rothberg and Corby acknowledge a game well played against White and Sandidge.

April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS



COMING OF AGE u Local Program Brings Seniors Together BY ARLENE KARIDIS


program called Coming of Age (COA) is getting local seniors out of their homes early in the day and keeping them socially, physically and emotionally engaged. The goal is to see that they continue living fully and independently in the community, while making friends. “We have about 1,200 seniors on our mailing list and half of them are very active, coming regularly to our various [social, recreational and educational] programs,” said Beth K. Shapiro, a licensed clinical social worker and community liaison for the Jewish Social Service Agency, who is involved with COA. Among the most popular programs, said Shapiro, is Food ’n Fun, where seniors have lunch at a different local restaurant each month. After they have eaten, they remain at the table for some friendly competition. “We play games like ‘WhoWants to be a Millionaire?’ Or we have a seated scavenger hunt or trivia geography game.The idea is that when we form teams, people have a reason to talk to each other and make new friends,” said Shapiro. “Our participants are active, vibrant people who are living life, and you forget they are older.They are huddling around the table chattering and laughing. They really get into team play, and they pick each other up,” she said. Another monthly COA program called Day at the Ring is held at Ring House, an independent living residence in Rockville. There is a full agenda, including lunch; entertainment, such as a magic act or live music; seated exercises, including stretching with rubber bands and raising balls above the head; and discussions. Shapiro leads those discussions at Ring House. “I try to pull participants


Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

into conversations beyond, ‘How’s the weather?’ I might ask, ‘Where are you from originally?’ From there, the conversation takes off. We might talk about specific issues, like transportation concerns or whether the minimum wage should be raised.We talk about making friends,” she said.

At 62, Iris Hepburn, a Silver Spring

resident, is one of the youngest regular attendees of COA.While participants range in age from their 60s to 90s, most are in their 80s and 90s. Hepburn had been taking her father’s girlfriend to COA events. When the girlfriend passed away, Hepburn decided that she enjoyed the people so much that she would keep going—as a participant herself. “The people who come out are inspiring, and I like listening to their stories and hearing about their backgrounds. And it’s nice getting to see the same people and share experiences,” she said. The program at Ring House is among her favorites. “You get a taste of retirement living while getting a full, homemade meal around a beautiful table for $5. “After the meal, you go downstairs to an elegant show room with great programs like ballroom dancers. And they’re good. They remind me of ‘Dancing with the Stars,’” she said. Evelyn Sturza, who is in her 80s, lives at Leisure World in Silver Spring. She called COA a potpourri of everything seniors love. “We get great movies and top theater shows. We go to museums and historical places.We’ve done swing dancing,” said Sturza, who no longer drives but rides with her friends. Beyond these friendships, she has become close to the staff, too. “They make you feel at home, like you are part of a family. They get up and dance and sing with us,” she said. One of her favorite events was a show featuring an entertainer who sang like


Ted Kram and wife Roz Kram at “An Affair to Remember,” held at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington

Frank Sinatra. “He was kissing the ladies on the forehead, and the women ate it up. They were putting their hands on their hearts and moving them around to show how their hearts were going pitter-patter. His wife was part of the act and kissing the men and playing up to them. They loved it,” Sturza said.

Ted Kram, a 78-year-old Rockville resident, was collecting mail for his mother-in-law and saw that she had received a flyer about COA. A few of the offerings looked like activities he himself might like, so he called to find out more. He has been a “regular” for a year now, he said. “I spend a lot of time home alone Gazette.Net

OUR PARTICIPANTS ARE ACTIVE, VIBRANT PEOPLE WHO ARE LIVING LIFE, AND YOU FORGET THEY ARE OLDER ... THEY REALLY GET INTO TEAM PLAY, AND THEY PICK EACH OTHER UP.” because my wife goes to work. So this is nice because it gets me out of the house among other people,” he said, adding he has run into other program participants he already knew and enjoys meeting up with them through COA. “It’s a great chance to get out, learn and be stimulated,” said Kram, whose wife has since become involved with COA—mainly the excursions to museums and theaters. “The excursions are day trips by bus and always have a cultural aspect,” said Shapiro, adding that if seniors need a ride to get to the destination where the bus picks them up, COA is sometimes able to arrange for transportation, as is also the case with helping them get to events where no bus ride is provided. The buses are wheelchair accessible. COA staff makes sure participants are accommodated in other ways they might also need, said Shapiro. “If we

pick a new restaurant, [the staff] makes a visit first to make sure there are elevators and that, overall, the location is senior friendly, with bathrooms near where we will be gathering and places for walkers.” There are no membership fees. Individual program fees accommodate personal budgets, enabling participants to choose based on their finances. Fees range from $5 for lunch and entertainment programs, like Day at the Ring, to $45 for tickets and transportation to a theatrical performance.

COA is a partnership of four

organizations: Jewish Social Service Agency (JSSA); Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington; Premier Homecare; and Jewish Council for the Aging. Through this partnership, COA offers more than social and recreational programs; the organization addresses other needs of a maturing population.

“We can ease participants’ access to partner agency’s services, such as social work support, in-home help, transportation needs and socialization,” said Tal Widdes, chief operating officer, JSSA. “In the general community, it can be difficult to identify these types of supports, and services are often fragmented. However, with COA, since older adults have regular interactions with the social worker and program staff, they get to know them and often develop supportive relationships. Some call this a ‘professional friendship,’ said Widdes. COA has older adults who not only come regularly, but who also meet on their own between events. “They have become good friends. They take care of each other and look out for each other,” Shapiro said. Contact: Beth K. Shapiro 301-8162665;;


Iris Hepburn at Day at the Ring, a monthly event held at Ring House in Rockville

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April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




Join the debate on hot topics at the Longwood Community Recreation Center



t’s Wednesday morning, and an eclectic group of local seniors is gathering at the Longwood Community Recreation Center in Brookeville. They’re each prepared with an issue or topic that interests them, a little background on the subject and a discussion question for the rest of the group.They wait, mostly patiently, as volunteer moderator David Wayne Rowland, 80, of Silver Spring, calls on each to raise their topic.

The gathering is called Just MyTwo Cents, and it has become a popular event at Longwood.The group meets every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon. With Rowland as moderator, they’ve discussed China, minimum wage hikes, the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and many more issues and controversies. “It’s mainly headlines from the media, but it’s really anything anyone wants to talk about,” said Rowland. “It seems to be catching on.We usually have anywhere from 12 to 20 people and pretty lively discussions.” Evelyn Schwartz of Olney is 76, and is one of the pioneer ladies in the group. She had been going to Longwood for several years for the recreation programs. “When the program started as a men’s group, I objected,” she said. “Women should have a chance to attend.There’s just not that many programs where we can participate and exercise our minds like this.” She recently enjoyed a February discussion on the future of Ukraine. “It’s interesting to see people’s views on anything and everything.” Rowland said anyone is welcome, that the mix of people is nice and there’s a good balance of women and men, conservatives and liberals, and people with professional backgrounds. “We have a few Ph.D. scientists retired from NIH. Another member was very successful in the garment industry.We have retired schoolteachers.” “It’s all pretty civil and cordial. Sometimes I have to remind them they’re supposed to raise their hand,” he said. As he is often called upon to speak on various topics at senior centers in the county, Rowland said becoming the group’s moderator was natural for him. 8

Gazette SENIORS | April 2014


The program began at Holiday Park Multi-Service Senior Center in Wheaton, where it is an ongoing event called Behind the Headlines on Mondays from 10 to 11:30 a.m. The Longwood version began a year ago as an all-men’s group and was then called Real Stand-Up Guys. Soon, women joined and it became known as Today in the News. Looking for a catchier name, the center ultimately dubbed it Just My Two Cents. Ray Greene, 64, is from the Olney area, too, and is retired from the National Institutes of Health. He belongs to both the Monday group at Holiday Park and the Wednesday

David Wayne Rowland moderates the discussion group Just My Two Cents, a role he said comes naturally to him as he is a regular public speaker at senior centers throughout the area.

group at Longwood. One recent topic raised for discussion was the legalization of marijuana. “It’s an exchange of ideas, and you can understand where other people are coming from with their own experience.You get both sides of the story.” “We advertise ‘light refreshments,’ but that basically means I bring the donuts!” said Rowland. The program is free for Montgomery County residents. Longwood Community Recreation Center 19300 Georgia Ave., Brookeville 240-777-6920 Gazette.Net



April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




VALUABLE BOOKS retain a newer appearance and fare well on the resale market. Right now, you’re There may be gold probably looking at your on your bookshelves. If bookshelves and wonderyou’ve inherited books ing what you have and from relatives, there may how much money you be within your colleccan make. If you’re at all tion a number of books allergic to dust, slip on a that could fetch a pretty protective mask so that penny at auction. For this hunting expedition instance, an 1831 copy doesn’t leave you sneezof Mary Shelley’s “Franing and stuffy all day. Pull kenstein” with illustraout your books to look tions and in decent confor first editions, special dition is estimated to be collector’s editions and worth between $10,000 any books you suspect and $15,000 at auction. have potential value. Antiquarian booksellers Next, it’s time to are always on the lookbegin the fun project of out for those rare gems, researching estimated first editions and notable values. Esther Lomtitles, and they may pay bardi, guide several hundred to sevto classic literature, sugeral thousand dollars gested trying the webfor that one book that’s sites been on your bookshelf and for years. And don’t Type in your book titles, forget more recent titles and those sites will show from the 1950s through ABOVE: PHOTODISC/THINKSTOCK; RIGHT: HEMERA TECHNOLOGIES/PHOTOOBJECTS.NET/THINKSTOCK you the valuations of the 1970s. Those could those titles if they have them in their system. Write down the bring in $100 or so if the books are in great condition. values you find for your books, but don’t get too excited yet. “Great condition” is the key phrase when it comes to book Book buyers at independent stores and antiquarian booksellers value.To garner top dollar, a book must be like new, not yellowed will likely pay a bit less so that they can make a profit. from age or cigarette smoke, not mildewed, not water-damaged, If you find rare books in your collection, go to a book appraiser not written in. A prize book in poor condition might be worthwho can evaluate the condition of your books, look up values and less, and book dealers usually turn down aged, damaged books tell you about trends in the market. Find an appraiser through they know they can’t resell. Granted, few people vacuum sealed the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America ( their books long ago to keep them crisp and new-looking, but or, and ask your local librarians for suggesbooks that lived in moisture- and smoke-free homes tended to BY SHARON NAYLOR


Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

RARE-BOOK BUYERS • Second Story Books 2000 P St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 202-659-8884 12160 Parklawn Drive Rockville 20852 301-770-0477 • brian cassidy, bookseller 8115 Fenton St., Suite 207 Silver Spring 20910 301-589-0789 • Reston’s Used Book Shop 1623 Washington Plaza Reston, Va. 20190 703-435-9772 • Hole in the Wall Books 905 West Broad St. Falls Church, Va. 22046 703-536-2511 (Rare books evaluated on a case-by-case basis; call ahead about books to be sold.) • Capitol Hill Books 657 C St., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003 202-544-1621 • Riverby Books 417 E. Capitol St., S.E. Washington, D.C. 20003 202-543-4342 805 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, Va. 22401 540-373-6148 • The Antiquarian Book Shop Georgetown P.O. Box 3831 Washington, D.C. 20027 202-338-8272

-Scott Harris




tions, as well. They often know the best local appraisers and can direct you. You are likely to get the most cash from a local independent bookstore that sells used books and has been in business for some time, according to Local sellers survive by stocking fresh supplies of valuable books in their stores, so they’ll be motivated to buy from you. And working with a local dealer will also save you postage fees. But remember that old books aren’t necessarily rare books, so keep your expectations in check. One gem out of 50 books is a good day. Look for dust jackets (the paper cover on a hardcover book), which are essential for a 20th-century book to be considered acceptable. And the jacket must be in perfect condition, as must the book itself. That jacket can comprise as much as 95 percent of a 20th-century book’s value, according to Look for well-known names. In 2011, a first edition with dust jacket copy of “Tender Is the Night” by F. Scott Fitzgerald had an estimated value of $6,000 to $8,000. Without the dust jacket, the value would drop to around $300. And an insider secret about book value: If the book was published in LonGazette.Net

don and in NewYork, the location where it was first released is considered the true first edition and will be more valuable. Mistakes in a book’s printing also make it more valuable. “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain has had more than seven errors that were eventually corrected during the printing processes. If your copy contains all or most of the original errors, it could be worth more than $10,000, according to Other copies with a few mistakes are usually worth between $500 and $1,000. “These ‘issue points’ can be found in online references to bibliographical information gathered on each book,” according An author’s signature on the book can raise the value as well. Even without a dust jacket, a signed copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender Is the Night” could be worth about $8,000, according to While it may seem easier to just list your books on eBay to get quick cash, you wouldn’t want to see your book on the morning news as purchased for $20 and sold at auction for $2,000. So stick with the professionals to give yourself the best chances for a windfall.

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April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS






ABOVE: Nurse Leni Barry takes Maureen Mink’s blood pres-

sure. From Suburban Hospital, the nurse works here every Wednesday, addressing particular concerns of visitors.

TOP: Ceramics class is one of the more popular programs.

It’s led by Sandra Patterson, far right.


Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

pen Monday through Thursday, and on Saturdays, too, the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center is a busy destination for seniors in Silver Spring, and beyond. “We have between 5,000 and 7,000 people a month come through here,” said Kaye Dennison, 71. From Mount Rainier, she’s a program coordinator at the center, and also leads volunteers. Karen Maxin of Rockville, another program coordinator, handles rentals and financial chores for the center, “but we all jump in and do what’s needed to make the Margaret Schweinhaut Center run smoothly,” she said. Both agree that center is a special place. “It’s the people,” said Dennison.“They’re so appreciative of the least little thing. It’s a pleasure to come to work.They lift your spirits, and I enjoy coming to work every day.” The center was named after a former Maryland state senator and champion of senior citizen causes who died in 1997.The center includes an

auditorium, full stage, arts and crafts room, a library, card and game room, and a large and very popular billiards room.“Many of the guys stay in the poolroom all day.We have six tables,Tuesday and Thursday leagues, and the guys have lunch together. There are lots of good friendships,” said Maxin. Larry Myers, 67, of Silver Spring, is a regular in the poolroom. He thinks the center is a good place to visit because “it promotes good feelings and friendship for us older folks who would not otherwise have a good place to go to each day.” Another poolroom regular isWally Brockway, 80, of College Park. He also appreciates nurse Leni Barry, who is at the center on Wednesdays. He said he shares a special bond with her since she diagnosed a serious health problem for him. Pool is just one of many popular activities. Dennison said that the Senior Fit exercise class, which meets every day in the auditorium, usually has more than 100 seniors who attend. Ceramics is another popular activity. There are regular bridge games, bingo, art classes, ballroom dancing, movies, health and finance classes, support Gazette.Net

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Poolroom regular Vince Marinucci lines up a shot. Billiards is very popular at the center, with six tables available and regular Tuesday and Thursday leagues.

groups … the list goes on.To get the monthly newsletter, the Schweinhaut Senior Center at Forest Glen Happenings, call 240-777-8085. Pat Timmerman is 76 and from Silver Spring. She loves to volunteer at the front desk and greet people. She likes the tai chi program and exercising in the weight room each week. “It’s a busy home away from home, with interaction with others, activities to keep you fit and skills to stimulate your brain, lectures to keep you informed and lots of good music to keep me moving.” Peggy O’Brien, 80, also from Silver Spring, said that every time she enters the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center she knows she will enjoy herself, and especially appreciates the staff and the public parking at the front door. The center is a rental facility as well, and is the local meeting place for Encore Gazette.Net

Chorale, which is a choral program for older adults, Spanish classes sponsored by Montgomery College, an antiques and collectibles club that meets two Mondays a month, a book discussion group, a Shakespeare group, a coin and stamp collector group, a trout club and also weekend events like wedding showers and birthdays. Maxin said the center can accommodate groups of up to about 200. Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center Open Monday–Thursday 8:15 a.m.–4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Closed Friday and Sunday 1000 Forest Glen Road Silver Spring 20901 240-777-8085


April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




This one-bedroom apartment has a sunroom off of its living room. The community offers 132 rental apartments—85 independent living and 47 assisted living—featuring one or two bedrooms with some options: one bedroom, one bedroom with den, one bedroom with sunroom or two bedrooms and two baths.



independent and assisted living for seniors of all ages BY ELLEN R. COHEN


hile many seniors become tired of home maintenance issues, they still want to remain socially active, even if they require assistance with day-to-day living tasks. At Aspenwood Senior Living Community in Silver Spring, an Independent Living Plus program is staffed by its own team of certified health care professionals and a registered nurse. “Independent Living Plus helps residents bridge the gap between independent and assisted living,” said Jonathan 14

Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

Ellis, executive director. “Residents remain in their independent living apartment and choose from a menu of personalized support options, such as assistance with medication administration and management (including diabetes management), assistance with showering, regularly scheduled safety visits, laundry and more.” “At Aspenwood since the beginning of October 2013, my mom, Irene, is in Independent Plus Living,” said Dennis Chupella, “so she gets help with medications and goes to dinner in the dining room.” He said he and his brother chose Aspenwood for her, and they are both impressed

with its ambience. “The building is bright and nicely furnished, and there are fresh flowers.” Irene is busy every day. She enjoys bingo, participates in a singing group, likes the movies and other entertainment and joins weekend excursions out of the building. “The activity schedule is so chock full that if residents want to take advantage of it, they can constantly be out socializing,” Dennis Chupella said.

Since 1989, Aspenwood Senior Living

Community has provided independent and assisted living services to seniors; for the last 11 years it has been run by Five Star

Senior Living. The community is housed in one newly renovated building. Its 132 rental apartments—85 independent living and 47 assisted living—offer one- and two-bedroom units with some options: one bedroom, one bedroom with den, one bedroom with sunroom or two bedrooms and two baths. “There is no buy-in, but there is a one-time community fee,” said Ellis. “Our physical therapy department, also part of Five Star, has a resistant-current therapy pool with a 1-mile-per-hour current that can be generated,” he added. While most residents moved here from only 2 to 4 miles away, others came from Gazette.Net

longer distances to be closer to family.“There is no age requirement,”said Ellis.“The youngest resident currently is 65. The oldest was 102 until recently, when a resident of 104 moved in.While there are some couples, most residents are single females.” The community is pet friendly.A few residents have cats; small dogs require special permission. Rent for independent living residents includes one meal per day—any meal, not necessarily dinner. Other meals may be purchased, as may an all-day dining program. Independent living apartments all have kitchens, housekeeping service every two weeks, and free washers and dryers in the building. Every resident receives a safety pendant, and wall-mounted alerts in each bathroom provide an emergency call response system. Residents may join any activities and enjoy complimentary scheduled transportation to doctors’ appointments, shopping, etc. Assistedlivingresidentsreceivethreemeals daily plus snacks,as well as weekly housekeeping services.While these residents do not need skilled nursing care, they may require some See ASPENWOOD, 30

Both residents and their guests have access to Aspenwood's computer center.



April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS



How to Avoid Being

PICKPOCKETED ABROAD u Lessons Learned Too Late in Barcelona BY ELLEN R. COHEN


he night before we flew to Spain in June 2007, I went through my wallet, eliminating unnecessary items. That was not easy, because I always carry whatever I could possibly need—ever—in my too-heavy purse. I filled a zippered section with the most important items: passports (mine and my husband’s), money ($400), leftover traveler’s checks ($300) and paperwork from their purchase, four blank checks, and my driver’s license, military dependent ID card, Medicare card, medical insurance card, and a MasterCard, Visa and two debit cards—mine and my husband’s— for the ATMs. My husband Harvey had his ID cards, his MasterCard (same number as mine), and a few dollars. Why was I carrying all the important stuff? During 46 years of marriage, we have learned that the one known to lose things should not carry valuables.Therefore, the one who doesn’t lose things gets to carry everything. I learned later that this was a big mistake. Enjoying a sunny morning in Barcelona, Spain, with our good friends Mo and Cindy, we decided that this first vacation day should begin with a city bus tour. After a good overview and a glass of cava (Spanish sparkling wine) at a small taverna, we sat on a bench, enjoying the street scene.When Harvey got up to look at something on the path ahead of him, I picked up the camera he had left behind, slung it over my left shoulder, and moved quickly to catch up with him.That shoulder was now carrying my purse as well as his heavy camera. Walking two-by-two, the four of us continued along a pleasant path through a park. Harvey’s camera had now moved to the front of my body while my purse


Gazette SENIORS | April 2014



ven though the Cohens (left) were robbed on the first day of their trip to Barcelona, Spain, they managed to enjoy the rest of the vacation. They were fortunate enough to have had travel companions who were able to temporarily place the Cohens' expenses on their credit card, the Cohens' daughter wired them some cash, and their son met them at the airport with bus fare so they could return home.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família was designed by Antoni Gaudi in the 1800s. The Cohens enjoy a view of the city from a cable car. The travelers take in a lively street scene.

had shifted to the rear. I walked along, happily enjoying the pleasant weather and Spanish environment. When we arrived at our next destination and the men began to purchase cable car tickets, I was ready to relieve my shoulder of the heavy camera and purse.

Suddenly, I realized I had a big problem. “Why is my purse open?” I wondered. Then, noticing the now-unzipped pocket where I had stashed my valuables, I asked, “Why is this pocket open?” And then, “Where are all my things?” Gone was everything except our passports. Money,

traveler’s checks, blank checks, my ID cards, credit cards and debit cards—all gone. I felt numb. “How could a thief unzip the main zipper and then the second zipper on the security pocket while I was totally unaware of anything?” I wondered. Gazette.Net

CONSIDER USING A DUMMY WALLET WITH A $1 BILL PLACED IN A VERY ACCESSIBLE AREA OF YOUR PURSE. THEN KEEP OTHER FUNDS ELSEWHERE.” It seems like every guidebook to Spain warns about pickpockets, but I have always been proud of my ability to take basic precautions to deter thieves. I always hold onto my purse. Especially designed for travel, its shoulder strap has steel cables embedded in the material, many zippered pockets and even swivel clips that attach to outside zippers to make opening them more difficult. Unfortunately, I had not utilized that last security measure that morning.

Becoming travel wise takes a while,

and the experts, who routinely deal with these challenges, have many suggestions about how to do it. “Do not keep your money and cards in a back pocket or handbag,” said Adrian Cox of Call For Help, a business Cox and Anthony Brown began in 2010 to assist Englishspeaking residents and visitors with problems encountered in Spain. “Try to split up valuables; leave some in the hotel safe or spread your cash among friends. If you are robbed, it will not be a total loss.” Cox, who left the British Consulate Consular Section after 23 years assisting tourists who were victims of crime, said, “Handbags and back pockets are really easy targets for pickpockets who will press up against you or harrow you in the street until you slip up and drop your guard.They will use distractions such as fights, arguments, ask you where a tourist spot is on a map, or even trip you or fall down in front of you.” James Feess and his wife Susan created their company, The Savvy Backpacker, to be “an independent planning resource for travelers wanting to backpack through Europe on a budget.” According to Feess, the most popular foreign cities for pickpockets are Barcelona and Madrid in Spain; Rome and Florence in Italy; Paris, France; Athens, Greece; Prague, Czech Republic; Lisbon, PortuGazette.Net

gal; London, England and Amsterdam, Netherlands—in other words, those that attract the most tourists. Billy Norris, owner of DayMakers of Santa Barbara, a company that designs shoulder bags, fanny packs, wallets and other travel accessories, builds in antitheft features for travel security. “Because purse straps can be cut, we build a steel cable into the strap for theft prevention,” said Norris. “If you walk near the curb, someone on a motorcycle can grab your bag, so wear the bag away from the street. If you have valuables in a pocket of the bag, wear that pocket adjacent to your body,” Norris said. He also stressed the need for being organized. “When you open your bag, know where your stuff is and find what you need quickly. Then close your bag immediately and secure it on your person. If you’re a senior, wear your bag across your body and don’t travel alone.” Pacsafe products, such as slash-proof wallets, fanny packs or under-clothing bags for passports and money, some using RFID (radio frequency identification) technology, help eliminate fraud by thieves using card readers, said Denise Gibson, a senior AAA travel agent in the Tysons Corner,Vienna,Va., office. “RFID products stop people from using a special card reader that gets numbers from your credit cards/passports while they are still in your purse or pocket. AAA and travel stores carry these products,” she said. “In addition, travelers should exchange their credit cards for safer ones with the new chip feature that utilizes a code entered into a machine reader when a credit card is used.” Currently more prevalent overseas, these cards are slowly being introduced here. “AAA has aVisa card with the chip feature and they will send a lost card replacement within 24 hours,” said Gibson. Cox also counseled, “Don’t take out a guidebook or street map on a main street in a place that might attract pickpockets. If you’re driving, keep valuables away from the visible areas of the car. Lock your doors and keep windows up, if possible. If you do become the victim of petty crime, don’t confront the thieves, as they may become violent. Report the crime to the nearest police station or police officer and get a report for your insurance company.” See PICKPOCKET, 26


April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS



EPIC ADVENTURES The Gazette asked local seniors what their most memorable trip was. Here’s what they had to say:





Ingeborg Westfall

John Honig enjoys his 90th birthday at the Old Europe restaurant in Georgetown in Washington, D.C.

Chuck Kauffman and his wife Sandy visit Greece.

INGEBORG WESTFALL, 69 Poolesville I take trips to learn or experience what I haven’t before or to uplift my spirit. When all those things are part of a trip, it becomes a good one, and it’s the best trip ever when years later it is still in my brain and makes me smile.The trip that most gave me all these things was to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. It celebrates art produced by people who usually aren’t part of a folk tradition passed down from various cultures.These visionaries are people doing things like making reproductions of ships in toothpicks. And it’s incredible.This person used hundreds of thousands of toothpicks.That’s dedication. There was a wood carving by a man who had never carved anything before, and it was sort of a self-portrait of a person who suffered from tuberculosis. It was a very moving piece that filled the whole room with enormous sorrow, and it gave me an incredible feeling. There was a painting by an American slave from the South who recreated scenes of her life growing up, and we can see some of the common days of a slave through her work. She never had any training and did this art after whole days of work. Even though some of these pieces were depressing, overall it was a transformative experience that I have never had in a more conventional museum. [Artists] expressed themselves in a way that reached me. I could identify with these people through their need to express themselves. Everyone has that need.

JOHN HONIG, 90 Bethesda My favorite trips are safaris in Africa with the wild animals.The last one was among the best. It was to South Africa, five years ago.You fly to this country and pick up vehicles with a small group of people.You go out into the field, usually early in the morning, and you look for wild animals to observe. One of the most interesting experiences I remember was when we found a pride of lions, which is a group of them.We watched from a long lens.The head lion took a look at us. He walked to our car, and we stopped breathing because he could have taken any of us. He lifted his leg and went on our tires and then went back.And we could breathe again. It is thrilling to be that close to the king of beasts. We also saw little lions, and they chased a leopard up a tree, which was exciting, especially knowing they could have chased us instead.You get close to animals that live in the wild.You start out not knowing what to expect, and you learn.You can’t observe their true life like this in the zoo. You have to see them in the wild and in the context of all the other animals.And this was what is most exciting to me.

There was my wife, myself, my son-in-law’s mother, my daughter and son-in-law, and my grandkids. Our kids and their children went to Murano, islands near Venice, where they spent the day doing things like watching glass blowing. During some of their times together, my wife and myself hung around Venice shopping, going to galleries and operas.We ended up in Verona where we saw “Aida,” an opera, and we saw “Madame Butterfly” in Venice.The operas are outdoors in a beautiful Roman arena. We went to the Biennale inVenice, which is an art show with exhibits in exotic venues. We went on gondolas with the grandkids. We took them to a big square of shops inVenice, and the kids loved chasing the pigeons, eating the gelato and running along the water. The overall trip was a wonderful grandparental experience, and cultural and gourmet experience. It was a blend of many wonderful things.


Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

CHUCK KAUFFMAN, 80 Bethesda Last April, my son-in-law celebrated his 50th birthday, and eight of us from the family took a one-week cruise down to several stops in Greece and Turkey.Then we came back toVenice and spent another week there. It was nice and long and great.

LOUISE LEE, 83 Covenant Village, Germantown I went on a tour out West that included the Grand Canyon.And the Grand Canyon was the icing on the cake. It was the hand of God.You think you have seen so many things. But when you go to the canyon, you stand there and are awestruck. People can describe the beauty and largeness, the grandeur and the color. But only once you stand there and you look over the canyon and down in the canyon can you begin to appreciate more fully the blessing Gazette.Net

of this earth—the colors and the different ways the rocks were formed.You see the river flowing and the sun shining on the rocks giving it a beautiful hue. I came back having seen the beauties in the United States of America.This includedYellowstone [National Park inWyoming] too, and we saw the geyser and the wildlife, a buffalo and black bear.We saw bubbling up of the hot lava, and the rivers and waterfalls at Yellowstone. The people I met along the way were part of the beauty, too.We shared information: how we got there, why we came, what life was like, where we were all from.There was one lady from South Africa and two from the Netherlands and another was from Argentina.There was a family from Finland.You learn people are alike everywhere, and when you meet on a one-to-one basis, you learn how nice people are—that color or nationality makes no difference.We came together as strangers but left as friends. I still correspond with some of them at Christmas, and that trip was in 1991.

PAT HILMOE, 90 Asbury Methodist Village, Gaithersburg I went to Hawaii with my four daughters about five years ago. It was organized by the travel committee of Asbury Methodist Village. It was a long way from home, and seeing an entirely new world of islands in the middle of the Pacific was fun, especially to see the islands from the air.To see them appear all of a sudden in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and to think people lived way out there and it was a part of the U.S. was amazing.You don’t think of this remote

The girls all worked, and one had small children. But we just took off, and it felt free.That I could go with my girls made it more special.


Roz Kram (standing in back) visits Israel.

place as being part of the United States.We landed and got on a cruise ship and went from island to island. One of my daughters rented a car, and we took off on our own.We could do whatever we wanted, and we created our own little sightseeing trip, which was informative and fun.We stopped at a little place and had lunch.We saw interesting buildings and places like a pineapple plantation. We were treated to a very fine dinner outdoors at a hotel where they did hula dancing and had a Hawaiian band. It was festive, and the weather was beautiful.We went down into a cove, and we walked along the beach there.We did it barefoot and wiggled our toes in the water.

ROZ KRAM, 69 Rockville My best trip was to Israel in 1984. I went to theWestern Wall in Jerusalem. I had a cousin who was ill, and I was putting a note in the wall asking for his recovery. I was standing there and wanted to say a blessing I knew, but I was so overwhelmed with the awe of the place and experience that I couldn’t remember the words. I am Jewish and I had a profound sense of coming home. It was a spiritual sense, not a physical sense, of coming home. We also visited Masada, [an ancient fortification on top of an isolated rock cliff] outside of Jerusalem. There was a group of Jews living in Masada, and the Romans tried to capture them.The Jewish people had an enclave and a whole world up there they lived in. But they were running out of water and food and chose to die in a suicide mission rather than be enslaved. I thought I’d walk to the top of Masada.Wrong. I got halfway and came back down and took the tram because I didn’t think I could walk the rest of the way.When I got off the tram, I realized I had another 100 steps to walk to the top of the mountain. I was hot and dehydrated, but it was a loving feeling to have other people who were there taking care of me as I reached the summit.

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April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




What you need to know about when and how to tap into them

IRS Publication 590 includes three tables



hat goes in must come out. So says the Internal Revenue Service. In the case of individual retirement accounts or employer-sponsored retirement plans—401(k), 403(b) or 457(b)—it literally pays to understand when and to what extent you must tap those accounts. Otherwise, penalties may accrue. When it comes to utilizing retirement funds, many factors come into play—tax and employment status, pension and Social Security income, family, health and lifestyle. “As you near retirement, it’s important to calculate how much you’ll need to withdraw and with what frequency so that your money will last throughout your lifetime,” saidTed Davis, a private wealth advisor and certified financial planner with Davis and Devine, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Fairfax,Va. Retirement plans, either individual or employer-sponsored,are taxed in one of two ways“and it’s helpful to understand the difference,” said Davis. Traditional IRAs and most 401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) accounts are tax deferred.The idea is that you make contributions when you are in a higher tax bracket and need the deduction and you take withdrawals when you are in a lower tax bracket and need funds for retirement. “The money grows tax-deferred but distributions are taxed at whatever your tax rate is when you withdraw.” There are tax-free retirement accounts. Roth IRAs and some employer-sponsored plans are comprised of after-tax dollars. As a result, when distributions are taken, neither the principal nor earnings are taxed, noted Clark Kendall, president and founder of and a certified financial planner with Kendall Capital Management in Rockville. IRS rules governing withdrawals from the two types of retirement plans differ. Generally, to tap a Roth IRA without penalty, you must be at least 59½ years of age and the account must have been in existence for at least five years. You are not required to take a distribution from a Roth, no matter what your age, and if you do withdraw, there is no minimum or maximum. If you have a traditional IRA, you may begin taking distributions as early as age 59½ but you must start drawing 20

Gazette SENIORS | April 2014


that stipulate how much you must withdraw based on age and life expectancy. Most retirees, according to Davis, use the Uniform Lifetime Table, which covers unmarried owners, married owners whose spouses are not more than 10 years younger, and married owners whose spouses are not the sole beneficiaries of the IRA. For example, a 71-year-old with $100,000 in an IRA is required to withdraw a minimum of $3,774 this year, as his life expectancy is 26.5 years. A 72-year-old with the same amount in an IRA must withdraw at least $3,906, as he is expected to live 25.6 years. “The required minimum distribution is recalculated at the end of every year,” said Kendall. “At 98, when you have a life expectancy of seven years, you’re required to take out one-seventh, or about 14 percent, of what remains in your IRA.” Just because you have to withdraw the funds doesn’t mean you have to spend them. Depending on your situation, you may choose to invest them, said Kendall. Ascertaining whether the minimum is sufficient to support your retirement needs requires planning. “I call it calculating your magic number,” said Kendall, “and there are many variables that go into that.” “Longevity is a huge concern,” said Kendall. Unless you are in poor health, “plan for a long retirement. A 65-year-old couple has a joint life expectancy of more than 26 years and there’s a 50 percent chance that one of the two will see a 91st birthday.” Funds may need to cover not several years but several decades of retirement.

Determining how much cash you’ll need


down funds from the account by April 1 of the year following the year in which you turn 70½. Failure to do so could result in a 50 percent tax on the amount that should have been withdrawn.That is more than you would pay if you had taken the required distribution. For example, if your mandated withdrawal was $1,000 and you failed to make it, you could incur a penalty of $500.That is $104 higher than the tax you would pay if you were in the top—39.6 percent—tax bracket and followed the rules.

and when to withdraw it begins with an analysis of anticipated expenses. Start with essential expenses, suggested Davis, such as mortgage, taxes, utilities, home maintenance, insurance, medical, clothing and groceries. “There may be some expenses—a golf club membership or maintaining a horse—that one person views as essential and another considers discretionary,” he said. “Then think about what you want to do in retirement—go on a cruise or live abroad ….These are things that, if life gets tough, can be delayed.” Lifestyle expenses are likely to be greater in the first decade of retirement, noted Kendall. “It’s not unusual when Gazette.Net


people first retire to want to travel—to Italy or China—so they spend more money during that time. Between 75 and 85, they often become less focused on seeing the world and more on seeing their grandchildren,” he said. By their late 80s or early 90s, the focus shifts to more sedentary activities. But, as lifestyle expenses decrease, medical expenses often increase.There is, according to Kendall, a 30 percent chance that you will end up in a nursing home at a cost of roughly $100,000 a year.Some of that expense may be offset by government programs and savings in essential expenses, such as housing, taxes and food. Because the life expectancy of those in a nursing home drops precipitously,“I can, when doing financial plans, say with 97 percent confidence that a stay in a nursing home won’t go beyond five years,” he said. Consider how much of your retirement savings you can afford to set aside for long-term care and for what length of time. Then, review “all sources of known income that you can count on,” said Davis.That includes nonqualified accounts, such as those with banks and brokerages, pensions and Social Security. “Once you add up the guaranteed sources of income and subtract expenses, you’ll have

a shortfall.That gap is what we want to address with retirement assets.” Ideally, said Kendall, to stretch retirement funds over a lifetime, couples between the ages of 65 and 75 should be looking at no more than a 4 percent distribution rate. As your life expectancy and amount of retirement savings decrease, the distribution rate rises. For those between 70 and 80, “a distribution rate of 5 percent is probably okay,” said Kendall, “and from 75 to 85 they can do 7 to 8 percent.” Positioning retirement assets to provide an income stream that addresses your monthly shortfall is important. “Typically, we look at retirement assets as being in one of three buckets,” said Davis. “The first is one year’s worth of shortfall—say $50,000. It should be liquid, sitting in a safe reliable cash account.” The second bucket “is short-term—investments you plan to hold two to five years.The objective is to earn a better rate of return and use the interest to help replenish funds you’re drawing down from the first bucket,” said Davis. “Risk attitudes will come into play.” “The third is positioned for growth. That money can

be positioned in the market consistent with a client’s risk tolerance: conservative, moderate or aggressive. Profits are moved to the second bucket, which then replenishes funds in the first,” said Davis. “It’s a sort of cascading effect.”

For those with traditional IRAs or employer-sponsored

plans, “we want to minimize the tax hit,” said Davis. “So what’s the right order to withdraw money? First from nonqualified accounts and then from IRAs.” Funds remaining in a retirement account may be bequeathed to a person or institution.To avoid complications, be certain you have completed a beneficiary designation form and filed it with the institution holding the account rather than naming the beneficiary in your will, said Kendall. While it is possible for individuals to navigate the financial aspects of retirement on their own, assistance from a tax advisor and financial planner can go a long way toward insuring that retirement funds are maximized. “At the end of the day, retirement should be hassle- and stress-free,” said Davis.“You should enter it saying,‘Yes! It truly is everything it’s cracked up to be.’”



April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




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What is the Social Security



ecently, several readers sent me yet another in the long line of damnable lies that are being spread in cyberspace about Social Security. The salacious email reads, in part: “Once again the government has shown it can’t do anything right. The Social Security Administration reports that it has hundreds of billions of dollars in unspent funds sitting around in something called the ‘suspense file.’ This is further proof that we can’t let the b------- in Washington raise our taxes by one nickel until they get rid of all the waste, fraud and mismanagement of the tax money they already collect from us!” The email goes on to accuse President Barack Obama of “instituting the corrupt policies that led to all this waste.”



Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

I will use this column to give you the facts about the so-called suspense file that the Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains. The suspense file, which has been around since the 1930s (before President Obama was even born), doesn’t contain even one nickel in funds. It simply contains paper and electronic records of unreportable income. Let me explain. When people work at a job, their employer withholds Social Security taxes (and matches that tax payment with an equal amount of money). Those withheld funds are sent directly to the U.S. Department of the Treasury—about $2.5 billion deposited to the Treasury every day in Social Security tax collections. The government instantly spends that money for whatever the federal government spends money on—everything from veterans’ hospitals to National Park Service employee salaries to NASA Gazette.Net

THERE IS NO MONEY IN THAT FILE. THE TAX COLLECTIONS WERE LONG AGO DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY. IT’S JUST THE EARNINGS REPORT THAT IS IN SUSPENSE. rockets to air traffic control computers. At the same time, the Treasury Department deposits a Treasury note into the Social Security trust funds for the money received. (Social Security had more than $1 trillion in Treasury notes in its funds as of December.) Social Security checks are paid three times a month. So three times each month, SSA redeems enough Treasury bonds to cover the billions of dollars worth of Social Security checks it is sending out that day. The Treasury Department credits the Social Security funds for those bonds—with interest. Social Security has been working this way for about 80 years now. But none of this has anything to do with the suspense file. So why did I bring it up? Well, you have to go back to that employer sending the tax collections to the Treasury. At the same time it sends the money to the Treasury Department, it sends a paper or electronic report to SSA listing the names of all its employees, their Social Security numbers (SSN) and the total earnings reported to that person. So it is simply a report that goes to SSA. The agency takes these reports and posts earnings to the Social Security record for everyone listed on the employer’s report. That is a big part of its job—to maintain earnings records for all Americans while they are working and to pay benefits based on those records when they retire. More than 95 percent of the time, there is no problem. These earnings are posted to the proper record, and all is right with the world. But occasionally, there is a glitch. The name and/or SSN reported by the employer does not match the name and/ or SSN in Social Security records. SSA makes some attempts to resolve the problem. It first applies tolerances to fix the issue. For example, if it sees wages reported for “Tom Margenau” and Social Security records show “Thomas Margenau”—assuming all other information matches—it will make the logical assumpGazette.Net

tion that “Tom Margenau” and “Thomas Margenau” are the same person. Or if it sees wages reported for Thomas Margenau with SSN 123-456789 but Social Security records show his SSN as being 123-45-6798, it will simply presume—again, assuming all other information matches—that the last digits were transposed in processing, and it will post the income to Margenau’s Social Security record. If these tolerances don’t work, it will contact the employer to attempt to resolve the discrepancy. Or it will attempt to contact individual employees. If these and other procedures don’t work, then SSA doesn’t know whose record should be posted with the proper earnings, so then these reports go into the suspense file. (Think of it as the reports being “suspended” until the discrepancy can be resolved.) Again, there is no money in that file. The tax collections were long ago deposited into the Treasury. It’s just the earnings report that is in suspense. Many of these discrepant reports are eventually straightened out, properly posted to the correct SSN record and removed from the suspense file. However, because we are talking about millions of paper reports coming in every day—over the nearly 80-year history of the Social Security system— unresolved reports have built up to the tune of tens of millions of records representing hundreds of billions of dollars in unreportable wages. (I can’t emphasize enough: not billions of dollars in money but billions of dollars in reports of unreportable wages.) Obviously, there are certain classes of workers who contribute most to the suspense file. The biggest one is kids— teenagers getting their first jobs at a fast-food chain, for example—for whom Social Security means almost nothing. They frequently give their employer faulty data. Other big contributors to the suspense file are new brides who change their names and report those new names to their employers but forget to tell the government; Social Security still has the old name. If you wonder whether some of your earnings were properly reported to your Social Security record, it is a simple matter to go to and check your earnings files. Tom Margenau’s weekly column, “Social Security andYou,” can be found at

Valid Thru April 30th, 2014

Valid Thru April 30th, 2014


April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS





here are many shots, or vaccinations, that may keep you from getting sick, and may also protect you from getting a serious form of an illness. Talk to your doctor about which you need.


FLU Flu is the short name for influenza. It can cause fever, chills, a sore throat and stuffy nose, as well as headache and muscle aches. It’s easy to transmit from person to person. Flu is very serious when it gets in your lungs. That’s why it’s good to get the shot each year. You need a flu shot every year for two reasons. First, flu viruses change. Each year’s virus may be just a little different. If the virus changes, the vaccine used in the flu shot is changed. Second, the protection you get from a flu shot lessens with time, especially in older people. It takes a while for the flu shot to begin protecting you,

so you should get your flu shot between September and November in order to gain some protection by the time the winter flu season begins.

PNEUMOCOCCAL DISEASE Pneumococcal disease is a serious infection that is spread from person to person by droplets in the air. It can cause pneumonia in your lungs, or it can affect other parts of the body. People 65 or older should get a pneumococcal shot. It can be given at the same time as the flu shot, and most people only need it once. However, if you were younger than 65 when you had the shot, you may need a second to remain protected. TETANUS AND DIPHTHERIA Getting a shot is the best way to keep from getting tetanus and diphtheria. Tetanus—sometimes called lockjaw—is caused

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by bacteria found in soil, dust and manure. It enters the body through cuts in the skin. Diphtheria is also caused by bacteria. It can affect the tonsils, throat, nose or skin. A very serious illness, diphtheria can spread from person to person. Most people get their first shots for tetanus and diphtheria as children. It’s important for adults to get a booster shot every 10 years.

SHINGLES If you had chickenpox when you were young, the virus is still in your body.When you are older, the virus may become active again, and you can develop shingles. Shingles causes a rash or blisters on the body or face, and can be a very painful disease. Even when the rash disappears, the pain may remain. Now there is a shot for people 50 or older that may prevent shingles. Ask your doctor if you should get this vaccine. MEASLES, MUMPS AND RUBELLA The vaccine given to children to prevent measles, mumps and rubella

has made these diseases rare. Measles, mumps and rubella are often more serious in adults than in children. Even if you don’t know if you’ve had the diseases or the shot, you can still get the vaccine.

SIDE EFFECTS OF SHOTS Common side effects for all of these shots are mild and include pain, swelling and/or redness on the arm where the shot was administered. It’s a good idea to keep your own shot record listing the types and dates of your shots, as well as any side effects or problems. TRAVEL Check with your doctor or local health department about the shots that you need if you’re going to travel to other countries. Sometimes a series of shots is needed. It’s best to get them early, at least two weeks before you leave. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at, or call the information line for international travelers at 800-232-4636. -National Institute on Aging



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PICKPOCKET, continued from 17 “Consider using a dummy wallet with a $1 bill placed in a very accessible area of your purse,” AAA’s Gibson suggested. “Then keep other funds elsewhere.” It’s most important to be mindful of your surroundings. “Stand tall and look as if you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Don’t dress like a tourist (shorts, Tshirts and several cameras around your neck). Turn your rings around so the stones don’t show and don’t wear expensive jewelry,” she said.

Once home from Spain, it took me three

weeks to regain my identity. Presenting my passport, I got a new driver’s license. I applied for and received new ID cards. I notified the three national credit-reporting agencies about possible fraud, and a 90-day fraud alert was added to our account. We would be notified if anyone asked for our credit information. Additional lessons that I learned from this experience: • Each person on the trip should carry differ-

ent credit cards. Call your bank immediately and cancel stolen cards. • Credit cards with PINs may be used in an ATM machine, so there is usually no need to bring debit cards. If debit cards are carried, each person should carry his or her own.

• Don’t take blank checks out of the country.

If lost, checking ing account numbers would have to be changed, d, creating major problems with debits that may automatically come out of a checking account. • Always utilize lize the special security features in a purse. • Photocopy fronts and backs of credit/ debit cards so card numbers and customer service vice telephone numbers mbers are readily available. I had that information at home, which ch did us no good in Spain. Also, photocopy opy ID pages of passports, insurance cards rds and prescriptions. • Paperwork from traveler’s checks should not be carried with ith the checks themselves. If we had carried them separately, we might have been able to claim the missing checks even though they were several years old.

Cohen’s handbag that a pickpocket robbed is specially designed for travel, including swivel clips that attach to outside zippers to make opening them more difficult. However, she had forgotten to use that feature that day.

Despite everything, it was a great trip. We’re g, but we’re traveling a lot smarter still traveling, these days!




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Pam Robinson of Oakton, Va., and Mary Flynn of Vienna, Va., (right) prepare for a serve during a game of pickleball at the Vienna Community Center.


PICKLE, continued from 5 hit a pickleball,” said George Huson, a resident of Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg. “You don’t have to cover so much territory,” said LeisureWorld resident Marlys Moholt,who took up the game after shoulder surgeries forced her to give up tennis. “Pickleball is all underhanded, so even people with shoulder problems can play. Really, anybody can play, provided they can move around a bit.” Gus DeLeon began playing pickleball in 2005 after his second hip replacement. “It’s good therapy—at least it has been for me,” said the Vienna resident. “Even as your reactions begin to slow down, this is a game you can play and enjoy.”

Those who play pickleball do so

primarily for the exercise and companionship, to judge from responses of seniors at the Vienna Community Center and Leisure World. Pickleball provides a good workout, according to Leonard, but “I never feel exhausted or drained when I’m done.” “It uses all parts of the body and requires some agility—you’ve got to move left, right, up, down,” said Vienna resident Frank Boyko, who rides his bike to the community center three times a week



Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

to play.The sport “isn’t just physical.You have to do some thinking, too. It challenges you mentally.” Pickleball “makes you move,” said Pam Robinson, an Oakton, Va., resident who began playing about a year ago. “Once you can hit the ball, you can think about strategy. There’s something new every step along the way.” “I like the camaraderie,” said John Tremaine, the resident who was instrumental in getting pickleball off the ground at Leisure World. “We don’t take it so seriously, but we are competitive. And, we certainly get in a lot of laughs. Pickleball draws people back because they can exercise and have fun doing it.” “We have a very congenial group here” in Vienna, said Asako Coleman of McLean,Va., who is in her second year as a pickleball player. “We have such fun.” “The group is diverse,” saidVienna resident Thomas Warring, noting the “wide variety of ages and ethnic backgrounds. And, while there are some real differences in skill levels, we all play together.”

Doubles, rather than singles, is the

way the game is played in these Vienna and Silver Spring locations. Not only does that give people more court time, but it also heightens the social interaction, according to Leonard. Gazette.Net

Although pickleball was invented in 1965, according to The USA Pickleball Association, the sport is unfamiliar to many. Several local players, Tremaine and Huson among them, first learned of the game while traveling. “It’s popular in older adult communities in Arizona, Florida, California and Utah,” said White. “People see it being played and then bring it back home.” New players are welcome and most programs have paddles to loan. Some programs charge a membership or admission fee, but many are free, saidWhite. All you need to get started is “a pair of court shoes. As a trainer, I feel it’s important to wear the right shoes for the right sport,” she said.With pickleball, “you can get by with running shoes.” The sport is easy to learn and most pickleball players willingly spend time with novices, teaching them the basics. “I saw something about pickleball in the newspaper about two years ago and, shortly after, saw it as ‘Jeopardy’ question,” said Ron Rothberg of Annandale, Va., who took the two occurrences as a sign. “I just walked in one day—didn’t know anyone—and they handed me a paddle. One of the players took me aside and got me started playing …. It is the only competitive sport I play.” Jean Reavy traded her ping-pong paddle for a pickleball paddle in 1995. “I would walk by the gym and see them playing this strange game,” said theVienna resident. “Week after week I’d peek in. One day, a pickleball player opened the door and invited me in. I said I was just watching and she told me, ‘Come watch from inside.’ When I stepped in, she gave me a paddle and got me started.”

I SAW SOMETHING ABOUT PICKLEBALL IN THE NEWSPAPER ABOUT TWO YEARS AGO AND, SHORTLY AFTER, SAW IT AS ‘JEOPARDY’ QUESTION,” SAID RON ROTHBERG OF ANNANDALE, VA., WHO TOOK THE TWO OCCURRENCES AS A SIGN. the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics and Virginia Senior Games. Maryland may add pickleball to its lineup, said Huson, who serves as the Montgomery County representative to the Maryland Senior Olympics commission. “What’s needed is someone to promote the event …. On this year’s schedule, pickleball is listed as a sport but without a sponsor or location.” Men’s and women’s pickleball are included in the Eastern Shore Senior Games at Salisbury University in Maryland, to be held May 1 through 3. While medals are nice, those who hold the awards claim they are not the reason people play pickleball. “Take a look around,” saidVienna resident David Sandidge with a sweeping gesture. “Everyone is smiling. People smile when they play pickleball….What more can you ask for?”


While pickleball is primarily a

recreational game, it is among the sports included in senior games in various regions and states and at the national level. Several players at the Vienna Community Center have won medals at



Asako Coleman of McLean, Va., a second-year pickleball player, watches as her opponent is unable to return her shot.

April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS


ABOVE: This kitchen in

one of Aspenwood’s more than 200 apartments features upgraded options.

LEFT: The independent

living section of the community offers a library.

ASPENWOOD, continued from 15 assistance with some areas of daily living. They have support and necessary services while continuing to be as independent and active as possible. Short-term stays and rehabilitation services are also available.

Ann Arevalo’s mother, Marty Morgan,



Gazette SENIORS | April 2014

has lived at Aspenwood for about 3½ years. Originally from Michigan, and a longtime California resident, Morgan is now in independent living at Aspenwood to be closer to her family. Arevalo lives nearby, visits often and said the community is “just the right size, with enough residents so social activities are fun.There are many activities going on, but it’s small enough to be personal.” She praised the care and attention of the staff. “I have nothing but good things to say.” Arevalo described Aspenwood’s meals as “good quality, healthy food, nicely presented … My mom has quite a sweet tooth. She loves desserts and enjoys activities that involve music or food. If they have both, that’s perfect.” Dennis Chupella also touted the cuisine. “I have had many lunches and dinners at Aspenwood. It’s like going to a restaurant. My mom is eating better now than she has in a while,” he said.

Residents all enjoy the musical entertainment and the outings in and around the community. There are also Saturday bus rides to many places, including periodic visits to Charlestown,W.Va., said Ellis. Exercise is popular as well.The stretch and tone class meets three times a week, someone comes in to teach yoga,and the physical therapy team has group exercise classes. Faith J. Nielsen, Ph.D., lauded the variety of daily activities offered at Aspenwood, but particularly enjoys “the peace and quiet that I need in order to be creative.” An Aspenwood resident since January 2013, she has had a diversified career in microbiology, biochemical research, positions in state and federal government and research in alternative energy and radioactive material. An artist and author as well as a scientist, Nielsen has published two books and is working on a third. Born and raised in the New York suburbs, she has lived in Connecticut, California andWashington, D.C. Now, “Aspenwood seems to be the right place for me to be doing what I’m doing,” she said. Aspenwood Senior Living Community 14400 Homecrest Road Silver Spring 20906 301-598-6424 Gazette.Net



April 2014 | Gazette SENIORS




Gazette SENIORS | April 2014


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Gazseniors mc041614  

Gazette, Seniors, Montgomery County