May/June 2021 Issue
Pet Food Warehouse: The Source for Everything a Pet Lover Needs Vermont Hiking Opportunities Will I Ever be Able to Retire? The Importance of a Plan Have a Good Think About Learning after Retirement
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Table of Contents Vermont Maturity
For Vermonters Age 50 and Older
RTN PUBLISHING, INC. Phone – 802.332.3254 Robin@VermontMaturity.com www.VermontMaturity.com
PUBLISHER & PRESIDENT Robin Nichols
VICE PRESIDENT & OFFICE MANAGER Terri Nichols
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Joshua Nichols
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS James Conner Carolee Duckworth Scott Funk Brigitte Harton
Jim Miller Phyl Newbeck Kirk Shamberger Nick Thomas
Pet Food Warehouse: The Source for Everything a Pet Lover Needs
GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Char Grass
IT & WEB DESIGN Mark Chaney
ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL INQUIRIES Phone – 802.332.3254 Fax – 563.557.7641 Robin@VermontMaturity.com Vermont Maturity is published times per year by RTN Publishing, Inc. and is distributed without charge to qualified subscribers in Vermont. Nonqualified reader subscription costs are $39 per year for United States residents. No international subscriptions are available. Subscription requests must include name, address, phone number and email address. The publisher makes no representation concerning any product or service advertised in this publication. Vermont Maturity and VermontMaturity. com serve only as a medium for sellers to reach potential buyers and does not warrant the accuracy of any advertisement. Vermont Maturity makes every effort to eliminate typographical errors and assumes no responsibility for misspelling names of people from handwritten copy. All editorial items submitted are subject to editing and alteration at the sole discretion of publisher. Design and format of this magazine is protected by the copyright laws of the United States of America. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is prohibited without express written consent of the publisher.
Vermont Hiking Opportunities
by Clover Whitham
Have a Good Think About Learning after Retirement
Will I Ever be Able to Retire? The Importance of a Plan by Kirk Shamberger
by Dr. Carolee Duckworth
Helping Someone Give up the Car Keys by Tracey Shamberger
3 Tips to a Happy Downsizing of Your Home by Ben Durant
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Vermont Maturity Cover Story
Pet Food Warehouse: The Source for Everything a Pet Lover Needs n September of 1983, Jonathan and Kim Lash
business, eventually becoming the company’s general
opened Pet Food Warehouse in a small retail
manager. A self-deprecating sort, Kevin describes
space in Winooski. Almost four decades later,
himself as the quintessential “jack of all trades and
the company has grown to two significantly
master of none.” When Kim decided it was time to
larger spaces in South Burlington and Shelburne
retire in 2019, it was only natural that she would sell the
while remaining true to their mission statement: to
business to Kevin and his wife Stephanie.
improve, enhance, and enrich the lives of all pets in our community. Although the majority of their customers
Kevin is happy to be at the helm of the business. “We aim to educate pet parents on the benefits and
are cat and dog owners, PFW also caters to those with
proper use of quality products,” he said. “We strive to
birds, fish, reptiles and other small mammals.
source excellent, high-quality merchandise. Our staff
Kim Lash lead the company as the sole owner and
provides care, passion and family values to every pet and
president for 24 years after the sudden passing of her
pet parent. It’s just like our tag line says: we care about
husband Jonathan in 1995. Kim leaned on Kevin Eddy
who had been hired as a warehouse hand in 1989 and
Today, Pet Food Warehouse has almost 50 employees
had quickly established himself as a key employee and
and Kevin is proud that many have been with the
member of the PFW family. Kevin took over as food
company for two decades or more. The South Burlington
buyer and began overseeing the distribution side of the
location on Williston Road includes Pet Wash Express;
6 | May/June 2021 | VermontMaturity.com
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nutritional needs of pets. In addition, PFW now sells supplements with homeopathic herbs and CBD products. “Treats and chews are always a great seller,” said Phil Trussell, PFW Accessory Buyer and Advertising Coordinator “because people like to have a snack on hand for training purposes or just to reward their animals.” PFW suggests healthier chews like Bully Sticks, Water Buffalo Horns, or raw frozen marrow bones rather than rawhide or synthetic nylon chews. a self-service pet wash with two elevated tubs and all
In addition to taking care of the nutritional needs
the fixings for a spruced-up pup. The store on Shelburne
of pets, PFW caters to their psychological needs. Old
Road in Shelburne was recently expanded and renovated
favorites like Nylabones, Kong rubber toys, and tennis
for an improved shopping experience.
balls are still available for your canine companion,
Pet Food Warehouse has a wide variety of food for
but Phil notes that there are wider offerings now. “We
dogs, cats, and other animal companions. When they
have learned more over the years about the needs and
opened, customers generally had to choose between dry
stimulations of the minds of our pets,” he said. “We
kibble and canned food but these days, the options have
carry self-engaging and interactive puzzle toys and every
increased to include grain-free recipes, some of which
type of crinkle, squeak, honk, or rattle that will bend the
can include legumes, as well as freeze-dried, dehydrated,
ear or wag the tail of an inspired pet.”
and frozen raw food for a variety of diets. Pouches, toppers, and gravies are also available to enhance the
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Pet Food Warehouse actively supports humane societies, shelters, and rescue organizations in their
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of Chittenden County, Addison County, Central Vermont, and the North Country Animal League. The staff also takes part in the annual Wag It Forward: A Festival for Pets hosted at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex. That event raises awareness and funds for local welfare and rescue groups by hosting dozens of animal welfare organizations from Vermont along with industry manufacturers, local vendors, games, and demonstrations. Proceeds are divided equally among several non-profit animal welfare groups. In four years, they have raised over $58,000 and hope to add to that total at the Expo on September 26, 2021. mission to better the lives of animals and place them
Pet Food Warehouse has programs to
in forever homes. One example of this outreach is the
help their long-time customers save money. All sales,
Pronature Pal program which pays adoption fees, food
including the Pet Wash Express are part of the Paw Point
for a year and a PFW gift card for an adopted pet every
Loyalty program. Expenditures are totaled up for each
month. The animals chosen by the humane societies
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customer’s account and accumulate to be used for future purchases with no expiration date. The staff at Pet Food Warehouse attend monthly training sessions and are always on the lookout for new opportunities to learn how to better serve their community. They are open to suggestions of new products from customers, as long as the products are in line with their mission to improve, enhance and enrich the lives of pets. The pandemic has obviously forced the company to make some changes, including the addition of contactless pick-up. In February, they launched an on-line service where customers can set up an account and
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order food, treats and accessories to be delivered to their homes or picked up at the Williston Road location. Vermont Pet Food and Supply is owned and operated by PFW, and is a distribution center, running operations out of a warehouse in South Burlington. As Pet Food Warehouse has been embracing and servicing the pets in Chittenden County, Vermont Pet Food and Supply has applied the same philosophy throughout
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Vermont. VPFS delivers to hundreds of pet specialty, farm and feed businesses and Vermont’s favorite mom and pop style stores, who supply their own communities, for thirty years as well. Kevin raves about his employees. “The awesome group of talented, dedicated, caring people that I get to work with is the most rewarding part of owning Pet Food Warehouse,” he said. “I believe you are only as good as the people on your team and we have an awesome group of people. Things are constantly changing with new challenges arising, and it is satisfying to meet and overcome these trials with these great people.” The feeling the staff has about their boss is mutual. “We all miss Kim [Lash] being here daily,” said Phil, “but we are very excited and proud to have Kevin Eddy at the helm. He is a true leader to the staff and PFW family.”VM Pet Food Warehouse is located at 2455 Shelburne Road in Shelburne and 2500 Williston Road in South Burlington. You can also visit their website at Pfwvt.com.
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Vermont Hiking Opportunities
by Clover Whitham
ake a plan, take a hike. Hikers of all abilities have several excellent resources
to plan their next adventure. The Green Mountain State, of course,
has an abundant selection of hiking options. The hardest
part may not be navigating the terrain but deciding which trail to try next. Luckily, Vermonters have several helpful tools to map out their adventures. Available resources include local websites and trail guides, downloadable apps, books and outdoor clubs.
snowshoeing and even paddling trails. Users will find
Below is a sample of resources that cover trail systems
detailed descriptions of the trails as well as see photos and
statewide. In addition to these, many Vermont towns and
comments posted by other hikers.
counties maintain trails as well. Check with your local town office or conservation group to find hidden gems in your own hometown.
Hike the Parks The Vermont State Parks website has an easy-to-read guide of the hiking trails at state parks. Users can find parks in their region and then see trail details including mileage, difficulty, estimated hiking time, terrain description and whether the hike is kid friendly. Hikes at Vermont State Parks range from easy lakeshore trails to steep climbs up Vermont’s tallest peak, Mount Mansfield. See the guide at Vtstateparks.com/ hiking.html.
Locally Made and Verified Interactive Maps Trail Finder is a homegrown and free interactive mapping site of more than 700 trails in Vermont and New Hampshire. The website can be used to find hiking and walking trails, as well as biking, cross-country skiing,
The website also offers information about attractions and businesses near hiking destinations. Trail Finder is now overseen by the Upper Valley Trails Alliance in collaboration with other partner organizations. Trail managers help create and manage trail information on the website so users can be confident descriptions are accurate. Trail Finder users can create an account to track their hikes, earn virtual badges and make lists of future hiking plans. See more at Trailfinder.info.
This Club Knows Hiking For more than 100 years, the Green Mountain Club has been encouraging people to enjoy Vermont’s mountains. The club founded and maintains the Long Trail, which runs the length of the state and is the oldest long distance hiking trail in America. Today the club also maintains the section of the Appalachian Trail in Vermont and trails in the Northeast Kingdom. In addition to all that, it is a great resource when planning a hike. The Green Mountain Club publishes several maps and guidebooks including the Day Hiker’s Guide to Vermont. Vermont Maturity | May/June 2021 | 13
On the club’s website there are trip planning resources and suggested hikes. The club also maintains two visitor centers where
While online tools are excellent for planning hikes and for education, physical maps and guidebooks are still encouraged for on-the-trail consultation. Protect yourself
hikers can find more information, plus rental cabins for
from spotty cell service, technical malfunction, and
overnight hikes. Though curbed by Covid-19 in the last
inaccurate information by seeking out physical guides.
year, the Green Mountain Club also hosts group hikes.
Most Vermont bookstores and outdoor gear retailers sell
Green Mountain Club members support the
guidebooks and maps, and the state parks and visitor
efforts and enjoy additional benefits. See more at
centers often have paper maps. The Green Mountain
Club’s guidebooks and waterproof maps can be found in
There’s an App For That Of course, there are trail map apps available for smartphones. Vermont trails can be found in the database
stores and on the club’s website.
Accessible Vistas and Trails Not all of Vermont’s peaks and scenic vistas require
in the San Francisco-based AllTrails app, which claims
a rugged hike to enjoy. Some are accessible by car or
to be the world’s largest collection of trail guides. An
wheelchair. Paved toll roads, converted rail trails, and
account is required to use the searchable database, which
wheelchair friendly boardwalks are among the options.
lists 635 trails in Vermont. Maps can be accessed free of
Find a list of accessible trails compiled by the Green
charge, but paid subscriptions allow maps to be printed
Mountain Club at Greenmountainclub.org.
and other benefits. Find more info at Alltrails.com.
Suggested Hikes BARNES CAMP LOOP, STOWE, 1.5 MILE LOOP From the Green Mountain Club: “The loop starts at the historic Barnes Camp on the new ADA accessible boardwalk then continues on the white-blazed Long Trail. In 0.3 miles, turn right to follow blue blazes towards the picnic area. At the next intersection, hikers can head towards the picnic area for lunch, or continue to the right following the blue blazes towards a river crossing that can be difficult in high water conditions. After the river, follow the trail to the intersection with the Long Trail, where you will turn right to follow the white blazes back to Barnes Camp.”
MT. PHILO, CHARLOTTE, .75 MILES TO TOP, 3.8 MILES OF TRAILS TOTAL Mt. Philo State Park offers drivable and hikable access to the top of 968-foot-tall Mt. Philo. The hike to the top of Vermont’s first state park is relatively short and moderate, about 1 to 1.5 hours according to Trail Finder. The reward 14 | May/June 2021 | VermontMaturity.com
at the summit is a stunning view of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. More info: Vtstateparks. com/philo.html
CANTILEVER ROCK, UNDERHILL STATE PARK, ABOUT 1.5 MILES ONE WAY From Underhill State Park take
STOWE PINNACLE, STOWE, 3.5 MILES According to Trail Finder: “The Stowe Pinnacle Trail warms up on a false-flat grade for about 0.5 miles before ascending a steep staircase-like climb through a mixed hardwood forest. Halfway up the trail, there is
THAT’S ALL WE DO.
an overlook spur with views to the west of Mount Mansfield. The trail
the CCC Road, an easy winding
then continues on a short distance to
gravel road incline for about 1 mile
the Hogback Trail junction. The trail
(or take a bisecting shortcut called
then levels out a bit and treks through
Eagle’s Cut Trail to CCC trail) to the
a thinner forest up to a bald rock
Sunset Ridge Trail. About a half mile
summit. Mount Mansfield looms to
up the moderately difficult Sunset
the northwest and Mount Hunger to
Ridge trail you will find the Cantilever
the south; on clear days other Green
Rock side trail, a short but rocky hike
Mountain peaks are visible as well.”
from the intersection to see a massive
Hikers may also run into a
Glenn Jarrett and Jennifer Luitjens Certified as Elder Law Attorneys by the National Elder Law Foundation
rock jutting almost incomprehensibly
golden retriever named Sampson who
out of the side of the mountain.
frequently makes the hike himself
More scenic vistas can be had from
without his owners. VM
a scramble up a massive boulder below Cantilever Rock. More info: Vtstateparks.com/underhill.html.
Clover Whitham has been a journalist at Vermont newspapers for more than a dozen years and is now a freelance writer and editor near Burlington.
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Will I Ever be Able to Retire? The Importance of a Plan
by Kirk Shamberger
nstead of asking yourself, what might provide me
with the best rate of return, you should be asking
yourself, what will guarantee me the most income? Running out of money in retirement is the
biggest concern for most people I work with. Your
longevity requires more income and more consideration of other elements of retirement. There may be things
you had not considered in your plan; hidden housing costs, uncovered health care expenses, long-term care, children who need help, losing a spouse, etc. Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the longer you will live and the more money you will need in retirement. I wanted to see my own longevity and went to a website called Livingto100.com (Livingto100.
erode your income over time, with a risk of outliving
com/calculator/age). I used the calculator to estimate
how long I would live and what impact that may have
If you expect to live longer than most, you will have
on my retirement savings, both in terms of not outliving
to stretch your retirement savings further. Diversifying
my money, but also in terms of living a meaningful life,
your portfolio is a good way to create a personal pension
which in my case could last three decades. The results - I
or guaranteed lifetime income.
have a life expectancy to age 98, living 19 years longer
Retirement is better when individuals can define
than most and spending hundreds and thousands
not only what their retirement might look like but also
of dollars more. Longevity is something that can be
use this vison to plan and set expectations relative to
planned for and often yields pleasant surprises.
their resources. There are investment strategies that can
The goal as you near retirement is to preserve and
be used to help a retiree (or soon-to-be retiree) build
accumulate, not speculate. In simpler terms, you have
financial bridges to retirement, even if they fallen behind
money that is known and money that is not known.
in their savings.
Money that is known would be cash, annuities (income),
According to the Federal Reserve (December 2020),
social security, insurance, pension, etc. Generally,
nearly 70% of Americans are concerned that they do not
these would be considered guaranteed monies. Money
have enough money for retirement.
that is not known would be stocks, bonds, real estate,
A new client recently told me, “When I realized I
commodities like gold & silver, etc. These are not
had to retire on what I have accumulated, that’s when
guaranteed and may fluctuate in value and affect or
it became real.” That epiphany might literally mean monetizing everything you own and living on a budget;
16 | May/June 2021 | VermontMaturity.com
Many people have bought into their own narrative
the difference between wanting to versus needing to. I have found that most people have time to catch up, but
or belief system and are frightened and feel (or know)
they need a good roadmap that they understand and can
they are not prepared. As a result, they do nothing or
use to implement positive alternatives. Unfortunately,
just put it off for another day. I hope that is not you.
most of us will not make changes until the pain of
When I ask people what they want, the answer is
staying the same is greater than the pain of change.
always the same; a reliable and predictable income for as
And this is especially true when it comes to financial
long as I or we live. Would you like to feel more secure about your future,
decisions. But it is incumbent on you to find out where you are before it is too late. What does “retirement” mean? One idea of
your retirement, your longevity planning? Change is the difficult part, even if you know it is better for you. Having
retirement might be to stop working altogether, travel
enough or more money is simpler than you know if you
and have fun. For another it might mean working a
have the right plan and are willing to follow it. VM
part-time job or volunteering. But for many others, the idea of “retirement” is far off. I think the real questions Kirk Shamberger is a partner with C.K. Financial Resources and has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry specializing in retirement strategies. He may be contacted at Kirk Shamberger 802-238-8187 or email@example.com.
are: Can I afford to retire? Have I socked away enough? How much do I need and how long will it last? How do I figure all of this out? And what, specifically, do I need to do in the meantime to preserve what I have and what do I need to do to catch up and be prepared?
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3 Tips to a Happy Downsizing of Your Home
by Ben Durant
t has been a long, tough year for us all. During this past year of isolation at home, many of us are coming to realize that there is an elephant in the room; that our home that we have spent
Buy Some Stickers You can buy color coded stickers at most any pharmacy or office supply store. The Avery Color Coded
decades in, no longer truly fits our needs. But despite
stickers cost a few bucks and will help you organize the
the realization that perhaps there’s better living out
contents of your home.
there, it’s really, really, really hard to move. So, to carry
Green = Keep and move with me.
on with our elephant metaphor, our elephant friend
Blue = Give to family or friends.
can lend us another good analogy… How do you eat an
Yellow = Sell or donate
elephant? One bite at a time. Start small, start with what
Red = Items that are no longer
is manageable, but whatever you do, just start.
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What part of your retirement income should be left to chance? Kirk Shamberger Kirk@ckfinancialresources.com • (802)238--8187 We are a financial services firm helping Vermonters prepare for retirement through the use of insurance and fixed annuities. We do not offer investment products or advice. Insurance and annuity guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of the issuing company.
18 | May/June 2021 | VermontMaturity.com
wanted and not donate-able.
Now that you have a system, start making some
children. Sometimes it is our own kids that are the least
decisions and tag your stuff. It isn’t a big deal; you’re just
willing to accept change. Perhaps they cannot imagine
placing some stickers.
any other place to have Thanksgiving or the idea of
Go to Open Houses There is no commitment needed here. Just give yourself permission to look around. It is no different than buying a pair of shoes. Sometimes it takes trying on a few new pairs until you realize that your old pair are not giving you the support you need. If you give yourself the permission to educate yourself, you might find that it can open your eyes up to some possibilities.
Build a Support Network
leaving their childhood neighbors is heartbreaking. These emotions can take over and they may not be able to recognize that you are living in a place that no longer serves your needs. Find people who will be supportive and just start talking about the process. We have all been so distant from our friends and acquaintances with COVID, perhaps this is just the reason to reconnect with people. So there, you have three easy ways to start the process of relocating or downsizing. It is not hard to eat an elephant if you start with one bite at a time. VM
We Vermonters are a self-reliant bunch, and we stay true to doing things the way we have always done it, but it can help to vocalize ideas of change. Talk to others about what it would take to make a move. Keep in mind, for many of us, these people will not be our own
Looking to find that perfect assisted living community?
Ben Durant is a Senior Real Estate Specialist® and Owner of Transitions Real Estate. He is dedicated to helping Vermont Seniors and Boomers find their best housing solutions. Ben lives with his wife and three children in Williston. He can be contacted by visiting Transitionsvt. com or by calling 802-355-6688.
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Vermont Maturity | May/June 2021 | 19
Have a Good Think About Learning after Retirement by Dr. Carolee Duckworth
“Say what?” Did you just mumble
Rose Boop arrived at Trident Technical College
this question to yourself when you read the title of this
(in Charleston, SC) at age 62. The night before her first
day of class, she couldn’t sleep. She was terrified! What
You have your own reasons to respond this way. Your reasons may go something like this... “Learning is just for kids.” “I already went to school and learned
if “they” found out she had never finished High School? What if “they” wouldn’t let her in the door? School had been a horrible experience for Rose. “I
everything I need to know.” “I can’t learn anymore; my
can’t remember one single happy day when I was
mind isn’t up to it.” “Why would I even think about
in school,” she shared. She had been shy and easily
going back to school now when I couldn’t wait to get out
intimidated as a girl. She recalled with horror one day
of school when I was a kid?”
when she was required to recite from the front of the
There was a time when Rose Boop would have agreed with you...
room. She said she had been shaking so hard, she kept her coat on to “hold her down.” So, what was Rose doing at college now, facing
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her, along with 130 of her peers from the Levi plant in
herself into a learning machine, out to fill herself full
Charleston, was her sudden loss of employment after 30+
after a lifetime of fasting.
years. The plant in Charleston was closing. All work was
Five weeks later, Rose completed all the preparatory
to be shipped abroad, where labor was cheaper. One day
work to gain entrance to her choice of certificate or
she had a job, the next day her job was gone... eliminated.
degree programs at the college. Her children and
Rose needed to work; she needed the income. And if
grandchildren proudly attended her graduation from
she ever wanted to work again, she recognized that she
College Prep. From there she advanced forward into the
would have to learn a skill beyond what she knew how
Horticulture Degree program, a field that had always
to do: attach the collars to shirts. To be employable, she
been her first love. Eyes aglow, she would wax poetic
needed a skill that was relevant in the current workplace.
about the joys of mastering the names of all the bugs,
That first day of “class” was an eye-opener for Rose.
learning how and why things grow, and developing skills
Surrounded by her friends, all of them “back in school”
that would transform her into the master gardener she
after 20 or 30 years, her quick mind grabbed hold. She
had always dreamed of becoming, with all the expert
discovered that, in fact, learning came easily to her.
knowledge she needed to back her up.
And she learned everything twice, because whatever
What had Rose discovered that changed her from
she mastered, she then passed on to the others in her
fearful to fierce? From stumbling to searching? From
group. Now that she saw what she could do, she set about
muddled to masterful? From cautious to curious? Who
learning with vigor. And she discovered that there were
knew who this new Rose was!? And what does that say
so many things she wanted to learn. She transformed
to the rest of us, now, at this moment in our lives?
Vermont Maturity | May/June 2021 | 21
problems. You have had a lifetime of organizing your
Rose’s transformation was all about discovering the very real joy and power of learning when you take
time. And you are far less likely to get completely and
charge of it yourself and make it a part of your life
utterly distracted by that little redheaded girl sitting in
front of you in math class. Beyond these obvious but important changes, are
What’s So Great About Later-in-Life Learning?
these five key benefits of later-in-life learning:
To open your mind to the possibilities of later-in-life learning, a major point to grasp is that school was school. That was then and this is now. You were a different
Later-in-Life Learning Stimulates, Feeds and Fuels the Mind Clearly, learning is good for your mind. It is
person then. So, it all will be different this time.
stimulating and can be exciting. In contrast to early
For one thing, you now know yourself better.
school learning, where one of the main issues was
You are less likely to be intimidated or cowed. You
keeping you and your classmates in your seats and quiet,
know what you’d like to learn and why, so you’ll have
while pouring knowledge into your heads, later-in-life
motivation at a level you never experienced before.
learning can be varied and self-directed. You can take
Your brain has developed now. You are logical. You
charge of it and customize it to yourself. Later-in-life
will bring to the table your own way of tackling
learning can be exploratory, starting off in one direction, or three, then changing direction later, or adding
Are you ready for the road ahead?
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directions, or combining several directions into an intriguing whole.
Later-in-Life Learning Improves Memory Function & Promotes Brain Health Research studies are clear that learning leads to improved memory function and brain health. Memory is improved as connections are strengthened between different parts of the brain. The more cognitively demanding the learning task, the higher the brain benefit. Learning a language is a particularly good form of “built-in exercise” since it involves juggling back and forth between two or more languages. Playing music also improves brain health and increases emotional engagement. To flip the coin to the other side, there is the ominous prospect of “use it or lose it.” Why let your brain get flabby when it can be so much fun to keep it sharp with learning?
The Notion that Older Brains are Less Capable of Learning is a Myth If you are worried that your more mature brain lacks the capacity to learn, think again. Important research out of Duke back in the 70s reversed that myth, although these essential findings are not as generally well-known as they should be. The myth that our brains only diminish with age grew out of chronological research, where seniors were compared to young people at a single point in time. The Duke studies used the longitudinal method by comparing individuals to themselves across time. The Duke studies reversed the myth of declining cognitive function in maturity. In fact, the Duke researchers found that “the branching of dendrites increases with age, and the connections between distant brain areas strengthen. These changes enable the
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aging brain to become better at detecting relationships
stimulate those “feel good” endorphins. When learning
between diverse sources of information, capturing the
revolves around you as “the doer,” and not as the
big picture, and understanding the global implications
receptacle into which content is poured, the entire
of specific issues. Perhaps this is the foundation of
wisdom. It is as if, with age, your brain becomes better at seeing the entire forest and worse at seeing the leaves” (Harvard Health Publishing, August 2017). The results of these studies completely refuted the findings of the chronological studies. Looking across
Later-in-Life Learning Keeps You Relevant and Interesting Learning engages you in problem solving, invention
time, when we are compared to our own selves, our
and focused pursuit. When you become the explorer,
cognitive functioning actually increases.
the instigator, the director, and otherwise the person
Later-in-Life Learning Feels Good Learning something new, or even learning
in charge of your learning adventures, you will have stories to tell and fascinating developments to pass on. Your conversation with family and friends, including across generations, will be enriched, along with your social interactions. You will feel interesting because you
something old in a new or better way, is “hard fun.”
are interested. And so you will be interesting in your
And hard fun is, well, hard. But it is also fun. As
our knowledge and skill levels increase, we relish the rewards of advancing accomplishment. And we
So, What Have You Got to Learn?
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✔ What are your options of what and how to learn?
Start by asking yourself these ten questions and jot down the results. Prepare to surprise yourself. ✔ What is something you’ve always struggled with?
Learn it now and celebrate victory. ✔ What is something you struggle with now? Learn
fully how to do it and end the struggle. ✔ What is something that would make your world
larger? Take your learning abroad. ✔ What is something that piques your curiosity? Dig
in, then keep on digging. ✔ What is something active you would love to do
well? Exercise your brain and your body at the same time. ✔ What is something of beauty? Learn to create it, or
to appreciate it more fully. ✔ What is something of spirit? Deepen your spiritual
practice through study and contemplation.
✔ What is something creative? Learn to give voice to
your story and color to your visions. ✔ What is something to learn together? Pick a
learning partner, or several, and pursue an area of learning together. What is something to pursue for purposeful work? Learn to do well what you would most love to do as work, either to earn income or just for the pleasure of it. This article was part one of a two article series. Part two Learning Opportunities You May Not Know About will be published in the Vermont Maturity July/August issue. VM Dr. Carolee Duckworth helps workers transition from on-site work opportunities to online employment. She co-authors the QuickSwitch series, Shifting Gears to Your Life & Work After Retirement and the co-authors the Your Great Trip series guidebooks for taking immersive, fully independent trips with confidence. All books are available on Amazon. To contact Carolee Duckworth, email her at email@example.com.
Get the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine.
AARP has the latest information. AARP is working to protect Americans 50+ by making sure you have the latest information you need about the COVID-19 vaccines and the distribution plans in Vermont. Find out who’s eligible for the vaccine, when and where vaccines will be available and what you need to discuss with your doctor before you decide. Just visit our website to get the most up-to-date information available about your vaccine options. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine availability and distribution in Vermont at aarp.org/VTvaccine facebook.com/aarpVermont | @AARPVT | aarp.org/VT
Paid for by AARP
Vermont Maturity | May/June 2021 | 25
Helping Someone Give up the Car Keys by Tracey Shamberger
Driving in old age can be controversial. Those who show proficiency can stay mobile and independent. Old age, by itself, is not a reason to stop driving, but there are certainly challenges to driving, as we get older. Recognizing signs that an aging loved one might no longer be able to drive safely is important. Answering these questions may help you decide if you need to initiate a conversation with an older driver about driving safely: ✔ Have you noticed dents or scratches on their vehicle? ✔ Has the driver received a ticket or driving violation? ✔ Have they been involved in a near-miss or crash? ✔ Are they getting lost or confused about where they
✔ Do familiar routes seem unfamiliar? ✔ Have they been advised to stop driving due to a
health reason? ✔ Are road signs overwhelming or confusing? ✔ Are they taking a medication that could affect
driving safely? ✔ Are they driving well below the speed limit?
Can they see at night? If these signs are apparent, how do you start a conversation about giving up the car keys? Considering the potential consequences of a serious accident may help you overcome your hesitation to act. It can be difficult
Something To Think About
Get involved in your community!
James A Meunier, director
MOURNING BEHAVIOR Is mourning natural? Consider the fact that it isn’t only people who mourn. Scientists have watched what they call “mourning behavior” in animals as well. The famous biologist Konrad Lorenz studied geese and learned that when one partner of an adult pair of geese dies, the other one mourns. First, the remaining partner tries to find where the other one has gone, searching everywhere. Even though the goose may be a strong, fullgrown adult, all of a sudden it
starts running away from even the youngest and weakest geese. Usually very pushy and aggressive, it becomes very shy and won’t approach human beings or go to its feeding place. Although it has been away from its parents and siblings for a long time, it goes back to them again, acting much younger than it really is. Other biologist who study monkeys and apes say they’ve seen similar kinds of mourning behaviors among those animals
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and awkward to broach the subject to be sure, but it is imperative if the outcome means someone life could be at stake.
Have Realistic Expectations Make sure your expectations are realistic. If you
Be Prepared Think about the conversation before you have it. Prepare ahead of time to how you will respond to their questions, anger, and emotions. Be specific with your concerns and have examples if necessary. Involve outsiders like their doctor, friend, family members, counselors, the DMV, etc. In many ways, it is important to be ahead of the game, to be prepared.
Consider Their Point of View Consider how the situation looks from their point of view. Some people may have been driving for over 50 years and that feel that not driving is more than a loss of freedom. It may be part of their identity, affecting where
assume that one discussion will resolve the matter, you could be sorely disappointed. Given how emotionally charged the driving issue can be, you may need to think of this as a process that might take adjustment and time. Consider this a first step a way to get the issue on the table so it can be brought up another time.
Understand Your Role It is not up to you to convince the person that they need to give up driving, even if you think it is true. It is important to respect their right to weigh in and make their own decision. They need your support.
Be Diplomatic Be mindful of when to have a conversation and do
they live, who they see, and what interests and activities
not come on too strong. You may feel a sense of urgency
they enjoy. To you, this decision might be a matter of good
but be patient. If you jump right in with, “You have to
sense and safety. However, for them it might represent a
stop driving now!” you might create stress and cause the
loss of independence.
Vermont Maturity | May/June 2021 | 27
person to tune out. Starting the conversation again might be difficult if you get off on the wrong foot. Try not to assume they are not aware. Chances are if
There are five area agencies on aging located
you have noticed that they are not driving safely they are
throughout Vermont to respond to the needs of older
probably aware of it too. You will be more successful if
Vermonters and their caregivers. They work together
you ask questions like “How do you think you’re driving
to provide a consistent package of services statewide
is going?” Listen and try to work through their concerns.
including options for caregiver support, health insurance
They may respond by pointing out practical reasons
counseling, transportation options, volunteer services,
they cannot stop driving with responses like “How will
senior nutrition programs, options counseling, adult day
I get to the market? What about getting to my exercise
programs, home health services, housing alternatives,
class? Try to handle objections by listening. They may
exercise, wellness programs and more. For information
know that they are having trouble driving safely but
call 800-642-5119 or visit Vermont4a.org.
cannot imagine how to manage life without driving a car.
AARP offers safe driving courses and educational
Acknowledge concerns but try not to jump in with
resources for seniors. AARP Vermont can be contacted by
solutions. Try rephrasing what the person has said. For example, you sound concerned that giving up driving
calling 866-227-7451 or visiting States.aarp.org/vermont. The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
would mean you have to give up some of your usual
provides many resources including transportation options
activities. Have you thought about how you could still
for older adults at N4a.org. VM
get to your activities another way? Jot down pros and cons, which might encourage exploring alternatives, an important process in working through the issue.
Tracy Shamberger is the Director of Public Relations and Business Development for Age Well. You can visit their website at Agewellvt.org
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Wise to immunize? Here are the facts
By Gary Richter
s it your time to immunize? Against the biggest health threat in modern American history. Unclear how to proceed? Not sure if you should? The disease is the number one cause of death among both genders and most races. It causes one death every 36 seconds. The annual cost to combat, treat and attempt to prevent its spread in the U.S. is an estimated $219 billion per year. Of course, you all know what we’re talking about. It starts with C. Yes, that’s right: Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Fortunately, preventing CHD involves virtually no controversy or debate. And there’s more good news: When it comes to CHD, for the most part, you can have an enormous effect on your likelihood to suffer from CHD. Yes, there is a hereditary factor, but everyone, regardless of parentage, can contribute to a degree how much they are affected by CHD. Before you get too proud of yourself for getting your two needle sticks, don’t stop there. You’re on a roll! Take further action to elevate your responsibility and ability to contribute more to your family, you community, your employer — and even yourself. So what’s this easy step to help combat CHD, ultimately a greater big-picture threat than COVID-19? What’s the step that you can control and take charge of? It’s just that: a step. That first step out the door for a walk or a run. Or for a ski session, swim, or bike ride. All are good, but ultimately, a simple walk is easiest to comply with and execute. It requires less gear and is more easily accommodated as far as timing, nearby routes and convenience. Yes, a walk. Twenty steps can burn one calorie, while an hour of walking burns 210 to 360 calories depending on your body size. But the cardiovascular benefits of taking a walk are even greater than simply burning calories and managing your weight. Sage advice, even from the perspective of myself, a 64-year-old former marathoner and manager of the locally-owned New Balance in Williston, is to approach it like a woman. A man will strive for the manly 10 miles on day one, but a woman will be smarter than that. If your current minutes walking per week are zero, don’t try to kill it. Three times per week for half an hour? Outstanding. Look at it this way: If you did as much as yesterday, or even a pinch more, you are crushing it. Keep going. Work your way up.
If you don’t yet qualify for the COVID-19 vaccine, taking this similarly (and arguably greater) impactful action can help enrich the quality of your life and decrease your burden on your health insurance deductible and overall cost to your plan. Go for a walk and do so regularly. What’s needed to launch your walking program? Like most good things in life, it’s best to keep it simple. All you need is motivation, time and good footwear. 1. Motivation: I could go on and on, but one easy motivation to get moving is a pair of new shoes. Nearly universally, the expenditure of your hard-earned dollars on new kicks is a great motivator. 2. Time: How much time are you saving by not commuting? Don’t whittle it away. Walk! 3. Good Footwear: Invest in shoes, boots, and footbeds (upgrade inserts, insoles and orthotics). We are very fortunate in northwest Vermont to have a number of Vermont family-owned footwear retailers with experienced, conscientious, educated and enthusiastic professional staff. Buying from them keeps at least .67 cents of each dollar in Vermont right in your neighbor’s pockets. Compare this with buying footwear online — a process fraught with pitfalls and rarely a good idea, in my opinion — which contributes just .06 cents of each dollar spent to the Vermont economy. Long before COVID-19, our store did porch drop-offs and even house calls. We’re happy to double check the fit right there in your mudroom (now with masks and gloves). So immunize yourself — against COVID-19, if you’re eligible and choose to, but just as importantly against Coronary Heart Disease. Visit your footwear professional get started on your “exercise vaccine routine.” With this one, you are in control. Take your first step to better health by visiting New Balance Williston in Maple Tree Place. Gary Richter is a manager of the locally owned New Balance store in Maple Tree Place, Williston. Gary has a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. His colleague Sara LaBarre is a board certified pedorthist, practicing locally for 12 years. Between the two, they have 55 years of experience at all levels of the industry.
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