Vermont Maturity January-February 2021 Issue

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January/February 2021 Issue

VERMONT MATURITY

Burlington Marble & Granite

How to Read Medical Bills Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating is Possible Developing a Winning Exit Strategy with Your Home VermontMaturity.com

VERMONT MATURITY Product of RTN Publishing 6170 Forest Hills Drive Dubuque, IA 52002 Change Service Requested

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the art of stone crafting



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

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ben Durant Aaron Glosser Eric Hopper Clover Whitham Joshua Nichols

Burlington Marble & Granite by Eric Hopper

6

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. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Vermont Maturity, 6170 Forest Hills Drive, Asbury, IA 52002-9349.

How to Read Medical Bills by Clover Whitham

10

Developing a Winning Exit Strategy with Your Home by Ben Durant

13

Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating is Possible

by Brigitte Harton, RD, LC, NBC-HWC

16

Investment Fraud is a Special Concern Among Seniors and Baby Boomers by Kirk Shamberger

How to Save Money on Prescription Eyeglasses by Jim Miller

Pat Priest’s Munster Memories by Nick Thomas

23

Grow Houseplants with Style & Convenience in Mind by Melinda Myers

T MAT VERMON

19

21

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4  |  January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com

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Vermont Maturity Cover Story

Burlington Marble & Granite

F

by Eric Hopper

or the last 18 years, Burlington Marble & Granite has manufactured and installed the finest handcrafted stone countertops for many of Vermont’s premier builders, architects,

fine kitchen and bath designers, and discriminating homeowners. Burlington Marble & Granite doesn’t sell

cabinets or tile or appliances; they are strictly countertop experts. With over 100 years of combined experience, its staff of salespeople, installers, and shop personnel will thoroughly explain all of the different types of stone and quartz products and how each would work in a customer’s specific application. Do you want marble countertops in your kitchen but everyone else keeps telling you that you can’t? You can rely on BM&G’s experience to carefully walk you through the difference between marble and other materials and what to expect for years to come. Burlington Marble & Granite applies the “Art of Stonecrafting” to natural and man-made countertop surfaces, including granite, marble, engineered stone (quartz), quartzite, limestone, soapstone, and slate. Red House Building & Photo Provided by Lindsay Selin. 6 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com

It also offers an extensive range


of natural materials though its alliances with the

templating system, and a state of the art high definition

Northeast’s largest stone slab suppliers, including Marble

slab layout station. The Slabsmith, as it’s known, allows

and Granite Inc. Additionally, it offers engineered

customers to better visualize the project and, with

quartz-stone material, manufactured by Vadara,

the assistance of Burlington Marble & Granite’s staff,

CaesarStone USA and many more. Burlington Marble

carefully lay out every inch of the countertops. All

& Granite has the widest variety of materials available

in all, the digitalization helps streamline the “Art of

from slab importers throughout the entire Northeast. Its

Stonecrafting” into a more efficient and interactive

warehouse in Shelburne typically stocks 50 or more

process. The typical stonecrafting process at Burlington

colors of full slabs in varying materials.

Marble & Granite involves four steps: estimating,

“When we developed the slogan, the “Art of

templating, fabrication, and installation.

Stonecrafting”, we were really old-school craftsmen

Estimating

using very traditional tools and methods to fabricate stone. We still are old-school craftsmen, of course, but now we’ve gone completely digital, which is an entirely different art in and of itself.” - Mike Richburg, Owner In 2016, Burlington Marble & Granite moved to its current location in Shelburne. It was there that it transformed into a fully-digital shop, complete with two computer numerical control machines (CNCs), a laser

In the first step of the process, Burlington Marble & Granite quotes the project based on the customer’s initial selection of stone material and the drawings. In some cases, a representative will visit the home or job site and provide a quote based on the site and project requirements. Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 7


Marble tub deck with waterfall panel, Birdseye Building Photo by Steve Renaud-Renaud Tile & Stone Design by Susan Ray

For most estimates, a customer will need to provide a layout drawing of the countertop surface or have a representative visit his or her home or job site. The

Architect: Birdseye Interiors & Photography by Susan Martin.

profiles, backsplashes, and/or other job requirements are recorded. During the template phase of the process,

customer will also need to specify an edge profile,

Burlington Marble & Granite may ask the designer,

provide sink and fixture specifications, and relay any

homeowner, or builder to make the sink and fixtures

custom requirements.

available. This is to ensure a perfect fit with the template

Templating Once a customer has selected a material and the estimate is accepted, a representative from Burlington

before the fabrication process.

Fabrication Once the templating is complete, the file is edited

Marble & Granite will visit the home or job site to create

to insure accuracy of the final fit and then sent off to a

a project template.

programmer. The digital templates can then be overlaid

The template is made using a highly accurate laser

onto a high resolution photo of the customer’s slab and

templator. This process creates a “duplicate” of the

then manipulated to insure that the most beautiful parts

surface configuration, which reproduces angles and

of the stone are being highlighted. Once this layout

radii and shows the sink and other fixture locations.

is approved by the customer the job transitions into

During the template process, notations about edge

production where a combination of the 2 CNC machines

8 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com


fabricates the countertops to the precise measurements of the templates. Occasionally, a stoneworker needs to complete the final stage of the fabrication process doing some of the more intricate details that the CNCs cannot with handheld grinding and polishing tools

Installation A typical slab weighs between 200 and 600 pounds,

When looking for the absolute best custom countertops Vermont has to offer, look no further

which makes bringing a piece of granite countertop

than Burlington Marble & Granite. From its extensive

into a house no easy feat. However, Burlington Marble

combined experience, to the state of the art, fully

& Granite has experience dealing with slabs as large

digitalized shop, the folks at Burlington Marble &

as 1,200 pounds. Once the slabs are in place, a team

Granite will provide not only the highest level of

of skilled craftsmen will complete the final trimming

customer service, but also the highest quality natural

and fitting. The sink is mounted underneath the new

and man-made countertop surfaces. When shopping for

countertop and is permanently attached. Amazingly,

a countertop, a customer can rest assured Burlington

what began as a massive slab of stone in the yard is

Marble & Granite will provide the very best materials

transformed by Burlington Marble & Granite’s “Art

and the best craftsmanship for the job. VM

of Stonecrafting” into an expertly installed, stunning countertop.

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Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 9


How to Read Medical Bills

W

by Clover Whitham

hen it comes to medical bills, being a savvy consumer means a whole lot more than remembering to clip coupons. But the extra effort to

understand these bills can save consumers far more

than 50 cents off a can of vegetables. “It’s critically important that consumers look over their bill very closely and understand what they are being charged for, and what their insurance or Medicare is going to pay for,” David Reville, communications director for AARP Vermont said. He reminds consumers that insurance is an agreement that the insurer pays a percentage and

patients, Healthcare Common Procedure Coding

the consumer pays a percentage. “You want to make

System (HCPCS).

sure you’re paying your share, and not a penny more,”

The list of these codes and acronyms found on an itemized statement can quickly become overwhelming,

Reville adds. Sometimes digging into the details is the only way to make sure you’re saving those pennies.

Types of Bills Often, the bills medical providers send to the patient are “summary” bills. While easier to read and comprehend, they do not show all the charges associated with each procedure or visit. Itemized bills can be requested and are a good tool to use to make sure there are no mistakes. Errors to check for include double billing, incorrect number of pills provided, charges for a single room when a double room was used, and bills for canceled procedures. Itemized bills commonly include the billing code. These five-digit codes are called the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), or for Medicare 10 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com

but if a patient suspects an error or is surprised by a bill, these details can help. The meaning of CPT codes can be found online, but Reville recommends that anytime a consumer doesn’t understand a charge, or suspects an error, he or she should call the medical provider’s financial office. CPT codes can also be used to get an estimate of the charges before a procedure. The University of Vermont Medical Center, for example, outlines a process to get an estimate that includes getting the CPT code from your doctor, calling the hospital for its rate and calling your insurer to find out the patient’s payment responsibility. The caveat is that estimates may not include other charges and fees for the services received based on individual needs at the time. Since 2018, all hospitals in the United States are required to make their current standard charges


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more than 3,000 codes and corresponding fees on it. Summary bills are certainly easier to understand, but itemized bills provide a lot more information and could uncover costly errors. Knowing exactly what

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Check Insurance Payment The AARP advises consumers to make sure medical bills match the explanation of benefits from their insurers. Patients should receive an explanation of benefits statements, or EOP, from their insurer. “Make sure the dates and codes on that statement match the bills you receive from medical providers,” says the AARP in an article about understanding medical bills.

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If insurance has yet to be charged, or has been

types of bills: green for facility bills, blue for physician

charged incorrectly, the patient’s share of the bill could

bills. The payment due date is also color coded: The

be incorrect.

total amount for new charges is green, once bills are

The AARP also suggests looking for these five common billing errors: ✔ Incorrect quantities of medicine or supplies, or

duplicate charges. ✔ A treatment, medication or procedure you didn’t

receive. ✔ Inflated surgery and recovery room times. ✔ Charges for basic supplies. “Patients sometimes

discover fees for gloves, gowns or other routine items listed separately on their bill.” ✔ Room fees: make sure you are charged for the

correct type of room and right number of days for overnight stays.

Easier to Read Bills Bills that are easier to understand have long been a priority for patient advocates. Vermont’s largest hospital recently redesigned its

past due the total on the statement is orange. When the amount is red that means the account is in danger of being sent to collections. The hospital also says the new bills make more clear how patients can get information about fi nancial assistance or other questions.

Where to Get Help Consumers who need help understanding charges or who suspect an error may be able to get third party assistance. Some employers offer patient advocacy services as part of employee benefits packages. All Vermonters can turn to the Office of the Health Care Advocate, a program run by Vermont Legal Aid. Consumers can get help with billing issues from the Office of the Health Care Advocate as well as other health care and health insurance related issues. Another program in Vermont, the State Health Insurance Program, known as SHIP, also helps

summary bills, with the help of patients. The University

consumers navigate Medicare and private insurance

of Vermont Medical Center bills color code different

benefits. The program is run through local Area Agencies on Aging, such as Age Well in Chittenden County. VM For more information visit: The Office of the Health Care Advocate: call 1-800-917-7787 to speak with a health care advocate or visit Vtlawhelp.org/health. The State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) “provides information, assistance and support to Medicare beneficiaries who need help selecting or managing public and/or private health insurance benefits.” Contact your local Area Agency on Aging for assistance at 800642-5119. Additional information can be found at Aarp.org and UVMHealth.org. 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.

12 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com


Developing a Winning Exit Strategy with Your Home

I

by Ben Durant

n my two previous articles, we discussed how having a positive mindset is key to a successful move and how to get organized for a smooth transition to a new home. This article is the third article in my series of how to make a successful senior transition. This installment is how to create a winning exit strategy. The exit strategy is how to get out of your current home and into the next. The first step in developing your exit strategy is to determine what your ideal next “right-size” home looks like. What are your priorities? Are you looking for independent living, singlelevel living, do you want to be on the lake, the mountains, or near grandkids? Writing down what’s important to you is always the best place to start. As a senior real estate specialist in Vermont, I am very familiar with Vermont’s housing best options based on your goals. I’m happy to consult with you to explore your options. Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 13


Buy before you sell, you say? Here’s why:

Once you’ve decided on a plan for your “rightsize” home, it’s time to go get it. Of course, this is often way more difficult than it sounds. Normally the best Vermont homes for seniors are not well kept secrets. You may have to be patient and act quickly when the perfect match comes along. This is why it’s essential that you have a strong exit strategy. In your past, you may have traded up homes where you sold one house in the morning and bought your next home in the afternoon. It was a great strategy, but conditions in our market have made this increasingly more difficult to achieve. As Baby Boomers come of age, a tsunami of the people are “right-sizing” into Vermont’s senior friendly communities. Ideal homes tend to rarely come up for sale and often sell in hours. If your next move involves continuing to own real estate, it is very likely that you may be better to buy the next home

Moving before selling your current home is the graceful way to leave. You’ve paid your dues in life; it’s okay to make it easy on yourself. Finding the right home can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Flexibility to move quickly on the ideal home is very important to scoring the deal. When you are buying your next home, given the choice it’s likely that the sellers will choose to sell to buyers that aren’t required to sell a home to make the deal work out. Safety - if you move before selling, you won’t be subjected to would-be buyers traipsing through your home. Convenience - if you move before selling, your

before selling your current home.

schedule won’t be disrupted by buyers asking to see your house just when you want to relax.

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Beyond the inherent risk, most people don’t have

If you move before selling, you can proceed without the pressure to sell quickly, which means you can

enough cash under the mattress or in a checking

negotiate better deals on the sale and purchase your

account to buy a home. Even if you did have the ability

home when the time comes. I have seen firsthand where

to liquidate investments, there’s probably a better way.

my clients kept tens of thousands of dollars in their

Most of my clients do have enough equity in their

pockets by choosing to negotiate without pressure.

current home to buy another home. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be your solution to tap the

Last but not least, staging your home can raise the value of your home significantly. According to the

equity in your current home. HELOCs typically have

latest market statistics, 25% of buyers are making offers

low up-front fees, allow you to borrow 80% or higher of

without even seeing a home; staging your home has

your home’s value, and allow low interest-only payments.

never been as important. However, living in a home

The HELOC may be a part of your winning exit strategy,

while it’s being staged is not ideal for you. Staging homes

one where you can have your cake, and eat it too. In my next installment, I’ll examine the long-

is disruptive and messy business; best done when you’re

term trends caused by Covid-19 and how it will affect

enjoying life somewhere else.

Vermont real estate. VM

There is of course inherent risk to owning two homes at the same time and I strongly urge you to consult a trustworthy advisor about the saleability of your home before going this route. Try to discern if that person giving advice is telling you what you want to hear or giving you prudent advice. And please, always grant yourself permission to get a second opinion.

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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Budget-Friendly Healthy Eating is Possible

I

by Brigitte Harton, RD, LC, NBC-HWC

f your wallet is feeling stretched these days, you are not alone. When money becomes scarcer, many Americans turn to cheap fast food and junk food to fill their rumbling stomachs. The

adage that healthy eating is more expensive has

been around a while, but it is deceptive. Not only

is nutritious eating on a budget possible, but it is also necessary to maintain or achieve good health. Thankfully, with some know-how, planning, and a willingness to try new things, you can eat a healthy diet without breaking the bank. Before digging into tips for budget shopping, let us review the foundation of nutritious eating. Consider MyPlate (www.choosemyplate.gov) as a guide for healthy eating. It encourages half your plate of veggies and fruit, a quarter plate of lean protein, a quarter plate of grain (particularly whole-grains), and a portion of dairy product. Here is a quick guide to saving money by food group:

Veggies and Fruits We all know that eating at least five servings of vegetables and fruits can help cut the risk of developing many chronic diseases. But did you know that research

sugar. As for frozen versions, choose those that are without sauces and marinades. Watch store flyers for the best deals on fresh produce, and buy them when they’re in season for the best quality and value.

Grain Foods

shows it can also boost your mood? We could all use

Whenever possible, select whole-grains such as

this right now! Contrary to popular belief, the fruits

whole-wheat bread, pasta, and cereal as well as brown

and veggies you select don’t always have to be fresh to

rice, quinoa, and oats. These grains contain all their

count in your daily total. Canned, frozen, and dried

nutritious parts and have more fiber than their white

versions are just as nutritious and are usually cheaper.

counterparts. Watch for sales and consider buying in

Make sure to pick veggies canned with no salt added

bulk to save on non-perishables. You can freeze extra

and fruits canned in their juice to avoid excess salt and

bread and use it as needed.

16 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com


Dairy Products Dairy products are our most important source of calcium. Research indicates they help lower high blood

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Protein Foods Many folks think half their plate should be filled with a portion of meat, poultry, or seafood (when

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only a quarter is enough to meet our protein needs). Imagine how much money could be saved by following the recommendations. Meat, poultry, and seafood are some of the most expensive items on the grocery list, so by buying less, you can help your wallet as well as your health. This is especially true by replacing some high saturated fat meats such as beef with more plant foods. Stretch meat in casseroles and stir-fries by using less of it and adding more veggies and whole-grains. Another alternative for meat is legumes (dry or canned beans,

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fiber, and other nutrients with the bonus of being much cheaper.

Once you have your meal plan, use it to write your

Other Tips for Thrifty Shopping Determine how much money you have in your food budget. Divide this amount into a weekly or biweekly amount, depending on how often you shop. Pay attention to the price of the items you buy to help you stay within your budget. Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. Do an inventory of the items you have on hand to help you develop your meal plan. There is no need to buy more food if you can first use what’s in your pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Use the store flyer when making meal selections to maximize money savings.

grocery list. Make sure to save both meal plan and listyou can develop a rotation of three to four weeks and make minor adjustments to your shopping list as needed. Th is strategy can save you time, money, and health.

Once at the store, stick to your list.

Think about the food you throw away. For less waste, buy or cook only what you need. Food tossed is money in the trash.

Resist temptations at the check-out. Those snack foods and candy are put there for impulse buying. Leave them behind. Compare unit prices to see which brand is the best value. Consider buying in bulk, but only if you can use the food before it goes bad. Th ink about the food you throw away. For less waste, buy or cook only what you need. Food tossed is money in the trash. Ask about discounts. Most grocery stores have a

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Brigitte Harton is a consultant Registered Dietitian at Age Well and a Board Certified Wellness Coach. If you find yourself still struggling to put food on the table, contact Age Well’s Helpline at 800-6425119. Age Well can help you find out if you qualify for 3SquaresVT, Meals on Wheels, or other programs to help you eat healthy and make ends meet.


Investment Fraud is a Special Concern Among Seniors and Baby Boomers

T

by Kirk Shamberger

his is not a new topic, but one that certainly

as isolated, frail, and gullible. Do you know anyone who

deserves repeating. According to the SEC

meets the following description?

(Securities and Exchange Commission -

✔✔Self-reliant when it comes to making decisions

Sec.gov ) and FINRA (Financial Industry

✔✔Optimistic

Regulatory Authority - Finra.org) “investment fraud is

✔✔Above average financial knowledge

substantially on the rise”, especially among older investors and the Baby

Boom generation (the 78.2 million born between 1946 to 1964.) This population is especially

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vulnerable as Fraudsters go “where the money is”. Millions of Boomers have been accumulating sizeable retirement nest eggs through company 401(k)s and personal accounts.

The Face of Investment Fraud Recent research has shattered the stereotype of investment fraud victims

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produced by FINRA can be found on their Facebook page. It discusses the 5 persuasion tactics fraudsters’ use and the 3 ways you can combat them.

How to Avoid Investment Fraud You are not immune to the sales pitch. Never give personal or financial information to a stranger, over the phone or in person. Be suspicious of “too-goodto-be–true” statements or promises. And if you have ✔ Above average income ✔ College educated

concerns contact The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation (Dfr.Vermont.gov) As always, get the facts and do the math! VM

✔ Experienced a recent health or financial setback ✔ Open to listening to new ideas or sales pitches

Kirk Shamberger is a partner with C. K. Financial Resources and has over 35 years of experience in the financial services industry. He may be contacted at 802-2388187 or kirk@ckfinancialresources. com Subscribe to his blog at Consumerfinancialadvocate.com.

If so, you know someone who fits the profile of an investment fraudster’s prime target. (Excerpted from “Fighting Fraud 101: Smart Tips for Older Investors”, FINRA) One terrific video that I was recently introduced to is “How to Avoid Financial Scams.” This free video,

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How to Save Money on Prescription Eyeglasses

U

by Jim Miller

nfortunately, it’s still true that original

and hospital services that original Medicare does, but

Medicare does not cover vision services,

many of them also provide vision as well as dental,

which includes routine eye exams and

hearing and prescription drugs too.

prescription eyeglasses – unless you’ve just

To locate Advantage plans in your area that provide

had cataract surgery. While there’s no one solution to

vision coverage, go to Medicare.gov/plan-compare or

this common need, here are a few tips that can help you

call 800-633-4227. But before enrolling in a plan, check

save.

the benefit details to ensure the plan’s vision coverage

Medicare Advantage While original Medicare doesn’t cover vision services, there are Medicare Advantage plans that do. Medicare Advantage plans, which are sold through private insurance companies, cover all the same medical

includes routine eye exams, eyeglass frames and lenses. If you are currently enrolled in original Medicare you can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan each year during the open enrollment period, which is between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. Or, if you already have an Advantage plan that doesn’t provide adequate vision coverage, you can swap to another plan between Jan. 1 and March 31. Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 21


If, however, you don’t want to change your Medicare

members, for example, can get 30 percent off a pair of

plan, you can still get coverage by purchasing a vision

glasses (frames and lenses) at LensCrafters and Glasses.

insurance policy – see eHealthInsurance.com. Vision

com, and you save an additional $10 on a complete pair

policies typically start at around $11 to $13 per month

at Target Optical. AARP also offers $55 comprehensive

for an individual, but before signing up make sure

eye exams (dilation included) at participating eye

your savings potential is worth the cost of the monthly

doctors. See AARPVisionDiscounts.com for more

premiums and required copays.

information.

Discount Stores Purchasing eyeglasses from discount retailers

Buy Online Buying eyeglasses online can also offer huge savings.

is another way to save. Costco Optical is one of the

Stores like and EyeBuyDirect.com sell prescription

best discount stores for good eyewear and low prices.

eyeglasses for as little as $6 and $7. These sites let you

Eyeglasses cost an average of around $184, but to shop

upload a photo of your face, so you can see what you’d

there you have to pay a $60 annual membership fee.

look like in different frames.

Some other good retail options for low prices include Sam’s Club Optical and Walmart Vision Centers. You also need to find out if you are eligible for any discounts. Some retailers provide discounts to membership groups like AARP and AAA. AARP

Or, for a snappier choice of frames see WarbyParker. com, which offers single-vision glasses starting at $95. They even offer a free program where you can request up to five pairs to try on at home for five days. To purchase glasses online, you’ll need a valid prescription from an eye doctor (typically no more than

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a year old), plus your pupillary distance number, which is the distance, measured in millimeters, between the centers of your pupils in each eye.

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22 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com

or discounted eye exams and eyeglasses. Put in a call to

You may also be able to get free eyeglasses through New Eyes (New-Eyes.org, 973-376-4903), a nonprofit organization that provides free eyeglasses through a voucher program to people in financial need. VM

Jim Miller publishes the Savvy Senior, a nationally syndicated column that offers advice for Boomers and Seniors.


Pat Priest’s Munster Memories

W

by Nick Thomas

hen Universal Pictures assembled the cast of the popular

TV series “The Munsters” for the big screen adaption in the 1966 film “Munster, Go Home!” another actress

replaced Pat Priest as Marilyn Munster.

“I was devastated not to be in the film,” said Priest,

Priest says fellow cast members Fred Gwynne

from her home near Boise, Idaho. “We were on the set

(Herman Munster) and Al Lewis (Grandpa) “went to bat

filming the end of the season and the producers sent one

for me,” but “that’s just the way it goes in this business.”

of their guys down to tell me. I was 29 and my contract

While her role throughout “The Munsters” series

was up for renewal, so I think they wanted a younger

was often small, Priest has always been upbeat about the

actress and didn’t want to pay me more.”

experience.

Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 23


“Occasionally, there was a show built around me, but

said. “But interestingly, while the rest of us would later

I usually didn’t have a lot of lines and I just accepted that,”

meet at TV conventions and autograph shows, Fred

she said. “On a positive note, I could learn my three or

didn’t want anything to do with ‘The Munsters.’ He

four lines on the freeway on my way to the studio!”

preferred to be known as a fine actor, not just identified

Nevertheless, Priest still has fond memories of

with the Munster character and would never sign

working on the show, although there was a brief early

autographs or be interviewed about the show. He

encounter with Yvonne De Carlo (Lily Munster).

wouldn’t even stand beside Al to have his picture taken

“She was a major movie star from the 40s and 50s,” explained Priest. “My first day on the set the two of

even though they remained good friends.” After “The Munsters,” Priest continued in

us were in a scene together and the director asked me

commercials and took on mostly small acting roles,

to move forward into the light. Yvonne turned to me

but she looks back on her acting career as a wonderful

and said, ‘Let’s get something straight right now young

experience.

lady, don’t you ever upstage me.’ Man, I jumped back

“I’ve done everything I wanted to do and gone

and didn’t care if I spent the rest of the series in the

everywhere I wanted to go,” she said. “I’m 83 now and

dark! However, we eventually got along well and often

whatever happens in the future is all just pluses.” VM

had lunch together. But Fred and Al would always tease her about being a diva!” Gwynne and Lewis had previously starred in “Car 54, Where Are You?’ and Priest says it was clear that the pair had on-screen chemistry.

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 750 newspapers and magazines.

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Something To Think About James A Meunier, director

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Grow Houseplants with Style and Convenience in Mind by Melinda Myers

It starts with one plant on a sunny windowsill then

Grow cacti and succulents in a cool, sunny location

morphs into an impenetrable jungle. You may feel you

for winter. Give each plant enough room to capture the

need a machete to reach each individual plant to water and

sunlight it needs and to show off its unique form and color.

tend. Clear the way to improved growing conditions and convenient care while showcasing every plant with style. Group plants with similar light and watering needs to

Expand your indoor growing space and enjoy greenery throughout your home by adding artificial lights. New furniture grade LED light fixtures fit into small spaces and

make maintenance easier for you and increase humidity

look great on countertops, work desks and shelves. You’ll

levels – something tropical plants need to thrive. Set

save energy with LED lights and add a bit of style to your

plants on attractive trays filled with pebbles to capture

home décor with these attractive light gardens.

excess water. The pebbles elevate the containers above the

Increase your success with the popular fiddle leaf

water to avoid root rot. As the water in the tray evaporates,

fig and other floor plants. These beauties are often used

it increases the humidity around the plants.

to decorate a bare wall, corner or other space in need of a focal point. Oftentimes these areas do not receive

YOUR PATH ONWARD AND UPWARD

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Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 25


sufficient light for the plants to grow and thrive. Soon

results in less time. Indoor garden tool sets have perfectly

leaves begin to yellow and drop. Keep them healthy and

sized tools for pruning, transplanting and tending

beautiful with supplemental light. Hang a pendant light

houseplants. Many come with an attractive built-in case

above or set a plant light stand beside these large plants.

for easy storage and a tray for corralling the mess of

Many are trendy decorative fixtures similar to those used

potting and transplanting. You’ll waste less potting mix

to light your home.

and spend less time sweeping up debris.

Save time and increase success by growing

Increase your growing space and show off your plant

houseplants in self-watering containers. These pots have

collection with one or more plant stands. Many provide

built-in water reservoirs that extend the time between

multiple tiers, allowing you to display plants of different

watering. They also help reduce the mess of water spilling

sizes while positioning them in the light they prefer.

over the saucer and onto wood or carpeted floors.

Set large plants on wheeled caddies or a collection of

Take the hassle out of watering with an indoor coil

pots on a wheeled tray to move them out of the way when

watering hose and sprayer. These coiled hoses hook up

cleaning or hosting a gathering. Then wheel them back in

to the faucet, allowing you to water houseplants and

place once your company has left.

seedlings up to 50 feet away. You’ll eliminate the need to

Adding some convenience for easy care will allow you

fill and lug watering cans from plant to plant, leaving a

to spend less time keeping your plants looking their best

trail of water along the way.

and more time enjoying the individual beauty each plant

Maximize the time spent tending your plants by using the proper tools. Many indoor gardeners use old silverware or try adapting outdoor tools for indoor garden use. Having the right tool for the job provides better

provides as you grow them in style. VM Melinda Myers has written numerous books and hosts How to Grow Anything DVD series and the nationallysyndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio program. Her web site is MelindaMyers.com.

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Transitions Real Estate is offering a limited number of free Senior Transition Survival Starter Packs to help seniors that are in transition get organized for a smooth move. The Senior Transition Starter Pack includes a planner, a color coded sheet of stickers, a list of contacts that can make moving easier, a coupon for a free real estate evaluation and a Rubbermaid tote. This starter pack is the perfect way to get you well on your way to getting organized for a smooth move. For more information contact Ben Durant at 802.355.6688 or Ben@ Transitionsvt.com.

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Age Well Partners with CARS to Offer Vehicle Donations

Age Well, the leading experts on aging in Northwestern Vermont is introducing their partnership with the Charitable Adult Rides & Services (CARS) donation program. Individuals who are looking to get rid of their vehicles can donate them to the program and directly support Age Well and the services the organization provides. ABOUT THE PROGRAM: All vehicles are considered for donation – even non-running. This may include cars, trucks, SUV’s, motorcycles, boats, farm equipment, airplanes etc. CARS is a turnkey partner that handles everything from vehicle pick-up to the sale. There is no cost to the donor. All expenses are deducted from the gross sales price, and if the costs ever exceed the price, those costs are covered by CARS (Charitable Adult Rides & Services).

Vermont Maturity | January/February 2021 | 27


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Donating skips the costs and hassles associated with selling a car, like paying for advertising and insurance, or for car repairs to keep your car in running condition while you wait for a buyer. Donating avoids the costs associated with keeping a car, such as registration, insurance, car repairs, and more. Vehicle Donations are a unique and impactful giving option that helps Age Well support older Vermonters. Your unwanted car, truck, boat, motorcycle, SUV or even RV can be accepted as a donation. Your generosity qualifies for a tax-deduction and the program does all the heavy lifting for you. The pick-up is free and you can schedule it when it is most convenient. For more information, visit AgeWellVT.org.

Age Well Highlights 2 Board Members

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Age Well, the leading experts on aging in Northwestern Vermont, is highlighting local board members, Liz Gamache and Lynda Ulrich. Liz Gamache is a resident of St. Albans and operates her own consulting firm, Liz Gamache, LLC. On why she made the decision to join the board in 2019, Gamache had this to say:

28 | January/February 2021 | VermontMaturity.com

“It is complicated and difficult to understand the issues older Vermonters face. When my parents’ needs began to change, Age Well helped our family to navigate very unfamiliar territory. It’s not an easy road to travel on -- we’re grateful for Age Well’s compassionate support and advocacy that helped to make the road less bumpy.”

Dr. Linda Ulrich resides in Fairfield and is co-director of Fiddlehead Dental, which she owns and operates with her husband Dr. Chuck Verderber. Dr. Ulrich explains why she joined the Board in 2019 to serve older adults: “I’m interested in how our notions of “Aging Well” can be expanded by technology and the coming “gratitude economy” that I have seen is emerging in our culture, this through my other work with EverWideningCircles. com.” Age Well is grateful to have the experience and dedication that Liz Gamache and Lynda Ulrich bring to the Age Well Board. Age Well is a nonprofit organization that has served Addison, Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties since 1974. For more information call 800-642-5119 or visit AgeWellVT.org.


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Free Subscription to Vermont Maturity Vermont Maturity is mailed free of charge to qualified recipients age 50 and older in the Chittenden County area. Vermont Maturity offers a wide range of local and regional coverage on topics important to boomers and seniors, including local stories and news plus articles on finance, travel, fashion & beauty, business, caring for aging parents, grandparenting, careers, health & fitness, food, and things to do.

To Qualify for a Free Subscription, Complete and Return this Form To*: RTN Publishing Attn. Circulation 6170 Forest Hills Drive Asbury IA 52002-9349 Fax: 563.557.7641 Email: VermontMaturityMagazine@gmail.com

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Worthy Winter Wisdom By Gary Richter

S

eomeone much smarter than I said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” I strongly agree, but also add: “...and bad habits.” New Englanders especially get this. Having lived and travelled in many states and countries, I feel that our bucolic countryside and climate with its localized and wide-ranging swings in humidity, temperature and wind is a much greater challenge than consistent dry cold. So, can we keep our feet and bodies happy walking and running all winter? Sure. Naturally, googling the issue will render too much good and bad advice. In less than 200 words, the following are what 48,000+ miles of running and walking in 30+ countries… but mostly between Vermont and the 59th latitude in northern Saskatchewan… has convinced me are the most undervalued and least often attended to tips.

Warm Head = Warm Tootsies

Warm headgear keeps toes and fingers warmer.

Yarn Trumps Bulk

The insulating properties of sophisticated yarns (synthetic and natural) makes a greater difference than thickness. If your sock retailer does not know which are best, find a new sock retailer.

Spacious Toebox & Circulation Trumps Insulation ANY pressure, tight points = cold feet. Roomy toebox fit = warm blood to your tootsies.

Generation Trumps Insulation

It is easy for us to generate 25X more heat walking briskly or running vs. sitting. Keep moving!

Head out Into the Wind

Return home with the wind at your back.

Dip Your Head

With a brimmed hat under that warm hat. Your basic ‘base-

ie gg ved! u A pro Ap

ball’ hat – not only keeps snow out of your glasses, but it also enables you to shield your eyes from inconsiderate oncoming drivers’ whose hi-beams blind you via pupil dilation.

Above All – Get Outside You CAN do it!

Gary Richter is a manager of the locally owned New Balance store in Maple Tree Place, Williston. Gary has a B.Sc. in Kinesiology and specializes in foot morphology and sexual dimorphism of feet and footwear. His colleague Sara LaBarre is a board certified pedorthist, practicing locally for 12 years. Sara works with local health professionals, transforming their footwear and orthotics to maximize their mobility. Between the two, they have 55 years of experience at all levels of the industry.

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