Vermont Maturity July-August 2021 Issue

Page 1

July/August 2021 Issue


Phoenix Physical Therapy

Niche Practice for Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction Dive Into History With The Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain The (Great) Lake Champlain 5 Simple Ways To Brighten Any Day

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Table of Contents Vermont Maturity

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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS James Conner Carolee Duckworth Scott Funk Brigitte Harton

Jim Miller Phyl Newbeck Kirk Shamberger Nick Thomas

Phoenix Physical Therapy Offers a Niche Practice for Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction



IT & WEB DESIGN Mark Chaney

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Dive Into History With The Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain By Clover Whitham


Foods That Reduce Harmful Inflammation

by Brigitte Harton, RD, CD, NBC-HWC

20 14

How the Pandemic Made Vermont Even Better by Ben Durant

24 16

A New Way to Plan Your Retirement by Kirk Shamberger

“This Stove Is Filthy” Teaching the Value of a Job Done Right

5 Simple Ways To Brighten Any Day by James Conner



The (Great) Lake Champlain by Joshua Nichols


How to Help an Elderly Parent with Their Finances by Jim Miller


4  |  July/August 2021 |

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Vermont Maturity Cover Story


Therapy Offers a Niche Practice

for Incontinence and Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction


n 2001, physical therapist Jane Kaufman started Phoenix Physical Therapy, PLC. The practice is devoted to types of impairments that are rarely discussed; specifically pelvic floor muscle

dysfunction and incontinence. Kaufman is board

infections, prostatitis, and other challenges related to

certified by the Biofeedback International Certification

pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Phoenix uses a non-

Alliance in Pelvic Muscle Dysfunction (BCB-PMD) and

surgical technique designed to help patients live happier,

today, Phoenix Physical Therapy specializes in treating

more productive lives. “Our goal is to empower each

patients of all ages who experience these embarrassing

individual who comes to our office with the skills and

and debilitating issues.

training to eliminate this embarrassing and life altering

Kaufman cited statistics indicating that over 50

problem,” Kaufman said. “You know patients are pleased

percent of people aged 65 and older living at home

with the results when they refer their spouses, children,

reported bladder and/or bowel incontinence and she

grandchildren and friends.”

noted that this can lead to depression, risk of falling on

As Kaufman’s reputation for care grew, her

the way to the toilet, social isolation, skin irritation, and

practice grew, as well, and now includes four pelvic

numerous psychosocial problems. These issues are not

floor therapists and an office manager. In addition to

restricted to seniors. According to HealthDay News, over

treating patients, Kaufman teaches courses to healthcare

25 million Americans admit to regularly having issues

providers throughout the country in person and via

controlling their bladders.

telehealth, and mentors others worldwide as they work

Typical challenges for Kaufman’s patients include urinary urgency and frequency, incontinence, difficulty

toward their certification in this treatment. Located in South Burlington, Phoenix attracts

voiding or moving bowels, constipation, pelvic pain,

patients from across Vermont, western New Hampshire

painful bladder syndrome, frequent urinary tract

and northern New York. Physicians from major

6 | July/August 2021 |

metropolitan medical centers have referred patients to the practice. Kaufman said the comfort they offer patients makes the business seem more like a medical spa than a typical clinic. While other physical therapists treat a variety of conditions, Phoenix’s only focus is the treatment of pelvic floor muscle dysfunction, working with clients across the age spectrum from small children to patients in their 90’s. Clinicians work with patients in a oneon-one partnership through a series of steps that Kaufman said results in a substantial and often complete improvement of their condition. Kaufman notes that pelvic floor problems are intimate issues, shared reluctantly, if at all, with others, including patients’ own physicians and families. “These issues generally cause embarrassment, confinement, and discouragement, and can become quite debilitating,” she said. “They create a self-imposed burden on one’s life. Through appropriate physical therapy intervention Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 7

with a highly skilled and caring therapist, the results are quite successful without surgery.” Kaufman said the issues faced by her patients tend to be underreported, underdiagnosed and undertreated. “Many people, especially the more mature population, are just too embarrassed to mention this to a physician,” she said. Kaufman believes many older adults think incontinence is a normal part of aging but she assures them that this is not the case and that treatment options other than surgery and/or medication exist. Common problems for mature adults include, but are not limited to, urge incontinence which is a strong urge to void and not being able to get to the toilet in time, nocturia which is using the bathroom more than twice a night, and stress incontinence associated with leakage from sneezing, coughing, laughing, or lifting. The leakage can be in the form of solid or liquid matter or both and Kaufman said that having more than one of these issues is common. Other problems for the mature population which she said are rarely discussed include withholding

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waste to avoid use of toilets and

changing the function of

dyspareunia which is discomfort

this muscle and teaching the

during sexual intercourse. “These

patient a variety of strategies

issues are especially challenging

for self-management, the

for mature adults to discuss

symptoms can often be

with a healthcare provider,”

resolved. Treatment for

she said “but the Phoenix

dyspareunia involves specific

physical therapists are acutely

gentle stretches as well as

aware of them and provide the

muscle visualization to release

compassionate, discrete care

the tone in the muscle for

necessary to help overcome these

improved relaxation and

life altering issues.”

function. “Phoenix sends patients

Treatment by Phoenix staff includes the use of small sensors

back into the world they are

to teach patients how to visualize

accustomed to, empowered

the muscle associated with incontinence, dysfunction,

with newfound confidence and a package of life-long

pain, or discomfort. Computer soft ware captures the

skills to manage their incontinence, pelvic pain, and/

body’s signal and provides information to the therapist

or pelvic floor muscle dysfunction,” Kaufman said.

and the patient. The root of these problems is the pelvic

“While the treatment is based on highly refined scientific

floor muscle which releases in an untimely manner to

methodology, it is the environment of a trusting

eliminate body waste, thus creating incontinence. By

partnership that enables the patient to take charge and believe, ‘yes I can do this!’ Overcoming pelvic floor problems is a personal issue. By working together as a patient/clinician team, the majority of patients are pleased with the outcomes.” “The work we do gives us real pleasure,” Kaufman said. “I love what I do from multiple perspectives. I can help change someone’s life in a really positive manner in a way that most health care providers can’t or don’t.” Kaufman said the name Phoenix was chosen because it connotes rising from the ashes. “People say they are too embarrassed to leave their houses,” she said “but after coming to us, they’re able to go out and go dancing again. We improve their quality of life. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t make a big difference in someone’s life and that feels really good.” Patients interested in treatment must be referred by a physician but can call the office at 802-863-6662 or use the “contact us” portal at to schedule an appointment. They accept virtually all medical insurances. VM

10 | July/August 2021 |

Photo provided by Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Dive Into History With The Shipwrecks of Lake Champlain


By Clover Whitham

ake Champlain is known for its picturesque and peaceful waters - but a dive beneath the surface shows just how deep its history goes. The lake’s namesake Samuel de Champlain

Those artifacts tell fascinating, enlightening and at times wild tales. About 300 shipwrecks, plus 10,000 objects and archives have been conserved by the Lake Champlain

was certainly not the first to ply its waters. As the Lake

Maritime Museum. The museum, located on the shore

Champlain Maritime Museum points out, people

in Vergennes, is dedicated to protecting and sharing the

have been interacting with the lake for centuries for

cultural and natural heritage of Lake Champlain.

transportation, food, trade, war, and fun - leaving

Several of those shipwrecks are what one would

behind many artifacts as clues about how life was lived

imagine: the result of late-night crashes after some sort

in the region.

of accident. Some, such as the Steamboat Phoenix, are

Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 11

shrouded in mystery. All tell a story about life on the

time is often underrepresented in the written history,”

lake at the time of the ship’s demise.

said Sabick.

Overall, the scuttled ships are a diverse group, from

He points to the canal boats that were essential to

war ships to a horse-powered ferry. What they have in

commerce in the region. As the historical equivalent

common is their remarkable condition.

of today’s tractor trailer trucks, canal boats were

“The cold dark fresh water of Lake Champlain is

background scenery left out of written documentation.

just a wonderful preservative environment,” said Chris

Their wrecks offer a glimpse at the economy, life, and

Sabick, director of research and archeology at the Lake

work of that period.

Champlain Maritime Museum. “Some of these vessels

“In many cases they’re the only permanent physical

look like they were literally just sailed down to the

record we have of people’s lives and livelihoods and the

bottom of the lake. They still have paint on them, the

watercraft that they lived and worked on,” said Sabick.

masts are still standing in some cases. The artifacts of

The Steamboat Phoenix that now sits on the bottom

the people that lived and worked on the boat are often

of the lake is the oldest steamboat shipwreck in the

still there and well preserved.”

world, according to Sabick. It first launched in 1815 as

That’s a good thing, because as Sabick says, the

the second commercial steamboat on Lake Champlain.

underwater artifacts and vessels are sometimes the

Four years later, on September 4, 1819, the boat was

only record left of everyday life and commerce from an

traveling to Plattsburgh, N.Y., from Burlington with 46


people aboard. A fire was discovered at about 11 p.m., too late to save the boat, according to the Maritime

“They are really time capsules that preserve a specific moment in time really well and that moment in

Museum’s account.

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“The passengers were roused from their cabins and

Waiving the entrance fee has been a goal for the

loaded into two small boats. Unfortunately, in the

museum, said Megan Salocks, director of marketing

confusion, a dozen people (including the captain) were

and engagement, and the hope is to make that

left to fend for themselves on the burning ship,” reads


the museum’s history. The captain and several others were rescued in the

After the campus was closed for nearly all the 2020 season, the staff was excited to welcome the public back

morning, but six people died. For many shipwreck

to the grounds. Speaking a week before opening day,

tales, the story could end there - but for the Steamboat

Salocks said she was particularly fond of this season’s

Phoenix, mystery remains.

exhibit on Prohibition in Vermont.

“The cause of the fire was said to have been a

“There are some common themes that connect

candle carelessly left burning in the pantry; however,

to our world today. It’s really exciting to bring those

circumstantial evidence suggests that the fire may

stories out and let people see the connections,” Salocks

have been intentionally set by competing lake sailing


interests,” according to the museum. More of the Phoenix’s story continues to be

Shipwreck fans can fi nd a wealth of information about more than 70 wrecks on the museum’s

uncovered. Just last year a local shipwreck explorer,

website, including virtual tours of three wrecks with

Gary Lefebvre, found the steamboat’s two long lost

underwater video and narration of their dramatic tales.

paddle wheels - more than 200 years after they drifted

In years without Covid restrictions, the museum offers

to the bottom, and 40 years after the discovery of the

shipwreck cruises on which visitors can view live video

ship’s hull.

taken by remote controlled underwater vehicles.

The Steamboat Phoenix is part of the Vermont

Salocks said the museum regularly hosts talks about

Underwater Historic Preserve, which is managed by

shipwrecks, follow the museum’s social media channels

the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in partnership

to learn more about virtual and in-person events.

with the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation. The Underwater Historic Preserve provides public


access for divers to some of the shipwrecks, while

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum:

protecting the sites from damage.

More information about the Vermont Underwater

Th is summer season, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum will write a new chapter for itself. For the first time there will be no entrance fee for

Historic Preserve: underwater-preserves Book recommended by Chris Sabick: Sails and

visitors. The indoor exhibits remain temporarily closed,

Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military

but outdoor exhibits will be available daily from 10 a.m.

History of Lake George and Lake Champlain, by

to 4 p.m.

Russell Bellico.

As in other years, visitors will be able to explore

“It’s my go-to reference for everything. The first

the schooner Lois McClure, a full-scale replica of an

time I look up something, that’s where I start,” Sabick

1862-class sailing canal boat based on two shipwrecks

said. VM

in Burlington Harbor. The plan for this season was to keep the ship docked, but visitors can climb on board to learn about its history and what life on the canal schooner was like.

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.

Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 13

Foods That Reduce Harmful Inflammation


by Brigitte Harton, RD, CD, NBC-HWC

nflammation in the body is a double-edged sword.

diet can affect the levels of C-reactive protein in your

Without the normal process of inflammation,

blood (a marker for inflammation).

the body would not be able to fight infections or respond to injuries. Problems result when low

What’s more, you don’t need to adopt a complicated eating plan. Anti-inflammatory foods tend to be the

to moderate levels of inflammation occur chronically

same foods that promote good health overall. You’ve

throughout the body. There are several possibilities for

guessed it, veggies and fruits have a central role!

why chronic inflammation happens. These include an unresolved infection or injury, an autoimmune disorder,

Tips for Anti-Inflammatory Eating

long-term exposure to irritants, smoking, alcohol use, obesity, and chronic stress. This chronic inflammation can be damaging. It has been linked to plaque buildup in your arteries,

GO FOR PLANTS Plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients

increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. There is

that your body needs. Make half your plate veggies and

also an association with a higher risk of cancer, diabetes,

fruits, include more veggies and fruits during snack time,

and other chronic health conditions.

switch to whole grains, and boost legumes (beans and

Did you know the food choices you make can help you fight harmful inflammation? Research shows that 14 | July/August 2021 |

peas) are great places to start.

THINK ANTIOXIDANTS They are substances (vitamins, minerals, and other plant chemicals) that help prevent, delay, or repair some cell and tissue damage. Go for a rainbow of fruits and veggies like berries, leafy greens, and beets, as well as legumes, whole grains, ginger, turmeric, nuts, and green tea.

along with deep-fried foods and other junk foods are all pro-inflammation. Added sugars help release inflammatory messengers that can increase the risk of chronic inflammation. Unhealthy fats are also linked to inflammation. Replace these foods as much as possible with veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, and beans.


OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS Learn all about them! Research indicates that omega-3 fats are involved in regulating your body’s inflammatory process and possibly help regulate pain related to inflammation. Good sources include fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as smaller amounts in walnuts, pecans, ground flaxseed, and soy.

REPLACE THE HEAVILY PROCESSED STUFF Foods with lots of added sugars like certain

Think twice before reaching for red meat and other high-fat processed meats such as hot dogs. These meats are pro-inflammatory, mainly because they contain large quantities of saturated fat, which can cause inflammation if you get more than a small amount each day. VM Brigitte Harton is a consultant Registered Dietitian at Age Well and a Board-Certified Wellness Coach. Have more nutrition or wellness questions? Contact Age Well’s Helpline at 800642-5119 or visit

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How the Pandemic Made Vermont Even Better


by Ben Durant

t was no secret that Vermont had the lowest number of COVID-19 cases of any state in the nation. Some said it was because no one lives here, but the reality is that our population

density on a people per square mile basis is about average. The fact is Vermont, as a community, handled

the problem beautifully because we are a community. At around 650,000 residents, we are small enough to have cohesion. We care for one another; we respect and help our neighbor. In some states, mask wearing became a political football. Here, it was something we did to help our neighbors as much as to help ourselves, because it was rational and respectful. The pandemic caused the

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media to shine a spotlight on sleepy Vermont and people started to come almost immediately. In the beginning, people who had second homes or strong connections here, relocated away. Now it seems that I get calls daily from all points across the globe. During this time of crisis, people sought rational communities that were beautiful, safe, and

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respectful, where focus is still on quality of life. And they still are still coming.

condition will sell for more. The right agent will earn their commission by creating a bidding war that will ensure a home will reach its highest selling price. They can also help you find a needle in a haystack in this very tight market. In my many conversations with the people that are vying to move to the Green Mountain State, I’ve come to realize that our COVID numbers aren’t the real reason why people are seeking out Vermont. They are coming for the beauty, the quality of life, and above all the strength of our communities. Our handling of COVID, is just a symptom of our community and our interconnectedness. VM 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.

There are some interesting bits of data supporting this from places like United Van Lines, and the US Postal Service that show big increases in people moving to Vermont. As a real estate agent with boots on the ground, I can say firsthand that the number of out of state buyers now represents about half of the home buyers that I meet. Home prices have risen; accordingly, up about 25% over last year. When I price homes these days, I start high, and let the bidding begin like an auctioneer setting a reserve. I typically see dozens of offers that settle significantly over the asking price. It is certainly a good time to sell, especially if you have someplace else to go. It is still important to have a good agent to help you sell your home and make it look it’s very best. Even in a strong seller’s market, a home in tip top showing

Something To Think About James A Meunier, director

ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE BEREAVED What can you do to help a grief-stricken and bereaved friend return to a fairly normal and happy life? First of all, you must respect your friend’s need to grieve. That’s right, the process of grief can be very important for healing, for coming to terms with one’s loss. Also, there is no set time-period for such feelings, though social customs may designate arbitrary periods of mourning. Eventually, tactfully, you might encourage your friend to get involved in

new activities and meet new people. He or she may be very reluctant at first, but developing new interests is crucial to recovery. Don’t be forceful, but do be persistent and make a real effort to find something your friend could truly enjoy. Be available but don’t be overbearing in your desire to help. Ultimately, it is up to your friend. He or she will accept as much help as possible without surrendering dignity or integrity.


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A New Way to Plan Your Retirement


by Kirk Shamberger

here once was a time where you would pick

financial investments, but that can change. Let’s begin by

up the handset of your telephone, wait for the

understanding how you got to where you are today.

operator, and then tell her the number you

wanted to be connected to. What do we do

Have you ever been to Wall Street and on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange? Standing on the floor

today? Some of us just have to say, “Alexa, call mom.”

of the New York Stock Exchange and looking up at

What has changed is the control you have when making

the platform where IPO’s (initial public offerings) are

a call and the ease in which you do it. What has not

announced, you will see a person (usually surrounded

changed is the need to connect to others remotely.

by a gaggle) hitting the gavel. What you will not

Retirement plans, particularly financial investments,

see are hundreds of people yelling, screaming, and

should, like a voice-assisted device, be in your control

waiving tickets. The “floor” is virtually empty, with the

and be easy to use. Most people do not control their

exception of a few financial shows, like Wall Street Week, Bloomberg and CNBC. The building itself is rather small, with many isles crowded together, and booths filled

Get involved in your community!

with computers. It is still a historic site with a very tall ceiling, long windows, and a narrow walkway above it for viewing. It appears so large on TV; it is because it is our financial universe. So, what is behind the “curtain” and all those computers and algorithms? Speculation!!! Roger Ibbotson, Professor in the Practice Emeritus of Finance at the Yale School of Management, and Robert Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, both

Find an opportunity that’s right for you.

agree that most financial advice given today and the way it is given is antiquated, like the phone operator. In their many whitepapers, articles, books, and awards (Nobel’s in Economics) they suggest that for today’s retiree or near-retiree that speculating is unnecessary. The

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algorithms they have developed have been adopted by Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Bloomberg and many large insurance companies to protect investors from losses. Like your home, your automobile, your life, you can also insure your money from losses.

18 | July/August 2021 |

This technique allows you to retire and “turn on a spicket” to receive a steady amount of your retirement investment for as long as you live. This method allows you to sleep a lot better at night because you do not speculate about how your retirement money is performing. This method is called insured algorithmic automated trading programs. That is a “mouthful”, but it is simple. Insured Automated Trading Programs are available to virtually anyone. VM You’ve worked and you’ve invested in your IRA, 401k or your individual retirement plan. You may have been lucky enough to be happy with what you have saved during your accumulation period. The distribution period begins when you retire or partially retire and no longer work to accumulate assets.

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For nearly 50 years you save and invest to create assets to be used in retirement. When you retire you “paydown” or liquate those assets. Your hope is that it is enough to sustain you, your spouse, and leave to your heirs. So, on average, you work and save for 50 years and stop working and spend down over 15 years, actuarily speaking. At least, that’s the plan. What if you could stop all risk and guarantee growth? There are ways for investors to no longer worry about the stock market losing value. You no longer need to think about how your retirement portfolio is “performing.” You can relax with the knowledge that your investments will increase when the stock market gains value but are also insured so you do not lose value when the stock market loses value. Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 19

The (Great) Lake Champlain


by Joshua Nichols

ake Champlain, nestled in its eponymous

In Senate Bill 927 a small line in Section 4 read

valley to the west of the Green Mountains,

as follows: “The term `Great Lakes’ includes Lake

has been a constant presence throughout

Champlain.” This small line was written to ensure that

Vermont’s history. Burlington was settled

colleges studying Lake Champlain were eligible for

on its eastern shore in 1783. It’s become a sustainable

Federal research money. Democratic Senator Patrick

habitat for bald eagle re-population. Cargo ships and

Leahy, who still serves Vermont today as President

navy vessels have traded and fought across its waters,

pro tempore, snuck the line into the bill, which went

leaving behind over 300 shipwrecks as testament.

unnoticed until it was passed by President Bill Clinton.

Despite its colorful history, Lake Champlain never was

Though Vermont residents were ecstatic that

recognized as an equal to its Western cousins: Ontario,

their beloved lake was receiving national recognition,

Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior. Well, almost

Leahy’s colleagues on Capitol Hill took an aggressive

never. Lake Champlain had one miniscule span of

stance against Lake Champlain’s status as a “Great.”

Greatness, and it all began on March 6, 1998.

Representative Steve LaTourette was quoted in the

20 | July/August 2021 |

LA Times. “If Lake Champlain ends up as a Great

long iron carriers out here in dock. Maybe if we

Lake, I propose we rename it ‘Lake Plain Sham,’ …

donated one of them to those nice people in Vermont,

Next thing you know, Iowa’s gonna want a sea-grant

they could take it and make a bridge across the little

program because it’s got a big old reservoir.” John

lake they have there.”

Glenn, LaTourette’s Ohio counterpart in the Senate,

But Lake Champlain’s dance with Greatness soon

said, “I know the Great Lakes. I’ve traveled the Great

reached its tragic fi nal act. On March 24th, 1998, the

Lakes. And Lake Champlain is not one of the Great

Senate unanimously voted to strip Lake Champlain

Lakes.” Representative Fred Upton of Michigan called

of its Great Lake status after only 18 days. However,

Champlain a “pencil line on the map” in a personality-

it still retained Federal funding earmarked for lake

fi lled article published by the Baltimore Sun that

study. Today, Federal dollars go to the Lake Champlain

begins with the people of Vermont “vigorously, but

Sea Grant, which develops and shares science-based

politely” defending the newly minted Great Lake from

knowledge to benefit the Lake Champlain basin.

critics. Naysayers often criticized Lake Champlain’s size, noting that it only covers 490 square miles. When

RIP Great Lake Champlain. March 6, 1998 – March 24, 1998. You’ll always be a Great Lake in our hearts. VM

compared to the smallest of the original five, Lake Ontario, Champlain would have to grow to sixteen times its original size to surpass it. Davis Hellberg,

Joshua Nichols is the Vermont Maturity associate editor.

a Lake Superior port director, summed up the Midwestern disdain with, “We have some 1,000-foot-

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TABLE GAMES PO K E R BINGO KENO Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 21

How to Help an Elderly Parent with Their Finances


by Jim Miller

any adult children serve as financial helpers to their elderly or ill parents.

They provide services like paying bills, handling deposits and investments,

filing insurance claims, preparing taxes and more. Here are some tips and resources that can help you.

Start with a Conversation Taking on the task of helping an elderly parent with their finances can be a sensitive and difficult topic. The first step in helping your parent is to have a respectful talk with them expressing your concerns and offering to help them with their financial chores. If you have siblings, it can be a good idea to get them involved too. This can help you head off any possible hard feelings, plus, with others involved, your parent will know everyone is concerned.

Get Organized If your parent is willing to let you help manage, monitor or take over their financial affairs your first order of business is to get organized by making a list of their financial accounts and other important information. Your list should include: ✔ Contact list: Names and numbers of key contacts

like insurance agents, financial advisor, tax preparer, family attorney, etc. ✔ Monthly bills: Phone, cable, water and trash, gas,

electric, credit card accounts, etc. ✔ Financial accounts: Including bank accounts,

brokerage and mutual fund accounts, safe-deposit boxes and any other financial assets he has. Also get 22 | July/August 2021 |

usernames and passwords for financial accounts that are set up online. ✔ Company benefits: Any retirement plans,

pensions or health benefits from their current or former employer. ✔ Insurance policies: Life, home, auto, long-term

care, Medicare, etc. ✔ Taxes: Copies of your parent’s income tax returns

over the past few years.

Locate Important Documents This is also the ideal time to find out if your parent has the following essential legal documents: A will; an advance directive that includes a living will and healthcare proxy, which allows you or another family member or friend to make medical decisions on their behalf if they become incapacitated; and a durable power of attorney, which gives you or a designated person similar legal authority for financial decisions, if needed. If they do not have these important documents prepared, now is the time to do it. And if they are

prepared, make sure they are updated, and you know

for older adults with cognitive issues this card would

where they are located.

provide your parent access to their money but with

Simplify Financial Tasks The quickest way to help your parent simplify their monthly financial chores is to set up automatic payments for their utilities and other routine bills and arrange for direct deposit of their income sources. If your parent has savings and investments scattered in many different accounts, you should consider

restrictions that you set on how funds can be spent. Or check out, a web-based service that will automatically monitor your parent’s accounts, track suspicious activity, and alert you when a problem is detected.

Seek Help If you need help or live far away, consider hiring

consolidating them. You can also set up your parent’s

a daily money manager (see who can

bank system and investment accounts online, so you can

come in once or twice a month to pay bills, make

pay bills and monitor their accounts anytime.

deposits, decipher health insurance statements, and

Set Up Protections To guard against scams and risky financial behaviors, consider getting your parent a True Link Visa Prepaid Card ( Designed


balance his checkbook. Fees for this should range between $60 and $150 per hour. VM Jim Miller publishes the Savvy Senior, a nationally syndicated column that offers advice for Boomers and Seniors.

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802-897-4477 Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 23

Estate Planning & Elder Law THAT’S ALL WE DO.

“This Stove Is Filthy” Teaching the Value of a Job Done Right The title of this article is an exhortation I distinctly remember coming from my mother. It addresses the subject of finishing what you start.

Dishes, Dishes, Dishes We didn’t have a dishwasher at our house when I was a kid; we all took turns. When it was my turn, it Glenn Jarrett and Jennifer Luitjens Certified as Elder Law Attorneys by the National Elder Law Foundation

There were three parts of this task, as outlined by my mother’s expert job description: Wash the dishes, dry them and put them away. Wash and dry the old cast-iron

always seemed to me that the dirty

skillet as best you can, then put it

dishes were in piles and piles and

on low flame on the stove to remove

piles on the sink.

all moisture so it wouldn’t rust. (It

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was also important to remember to turn the fire OFF.) Clean the top of the stove.

A Shortcut I was a reasonably bright kid; I knew the drill. I just didn’t like the job. I felt enslaved to the sink as all the best TV programs were pelting the airways on our new (black and white) Stewart Warner television. (There was no cable or satellite TV in

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those days, but Dad had put up an antenna that could pull in stations from six states. But that’s another story.)

One day I took a shortcut. The stove looked clean enough to me; I let

our children had a dishwasher for

their lives.

it go.

most of their growing up years. But

Not Automatic

I got caught. “This stove is filthy. I thought

one day one of those old tapes ran

It’s not an automatic thing. If our children are to gain the satisfaction of

I told you to wash the dishes.” (It

doing a job well, they have to learn it

had occurred to me that the dishes

somewhere. young person with the people skills

unfair to combine them. Fortunately,

of smiling, showing respect toward

however, I managed to keep those

and delivering their best efforts to

thoughts to myself.)

the customer can’t stay at the counter at McDonald’s. They’re prompted to supervisor before you can blink.) Willingly doing a job right is not

short again. Now, I’m not suggesting

It sounded a lot like Mom; a bit different, but still the same: “Son, this mower needs oil. I VM

and from a kid’s viewpoint it was

remember cutting the dishes job

through my head and out my mouth.

thought I told you to cut the grass.”

(And isn’t it interesting how a

and the stove were separate items,

I cleaned the stove, and I don’t

In a way, it was unfortunate that

who lived their integrity every day of

I did everything perfectly after that,

only right, it eventually translates

but I do believe I managed to capture

into all kinds of success, financial and

a pretty decent work ethic. For that, I


A semi-retired child and adolescent psychologist and speaker, Dr. James Sutton is the author of The Changing Behavior Book: A Fresh Approach to the Difficult Child, as well as other books and articles. He also founded The Changing Behavior Network, an early internet podcast and blog supporting young people and their families. You can visit his blog at Itsaboutthem.

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5 Simple Ways To Brighten Any Day


by James Conner

he pleasures of retirement never cease to

solitude of being alone can bring unexpected pleasures

amaze me but even I need to step back and

and much needed restoration of your inner being.

take time to appreciate the simple joys of living. We can easily become over committed

and over scheduled with all the activities that we love to

do. We soon find ourselves feeling slightly overwhelmed and, perhaps, taking the simpler joys of life for granted.

It’s easy to change and, with a little bit of effort, you can find that you develop a greater appreciation for the things we somehow don’t notice as much as we should. This is my list of activities that have always been able to rekindle the simple joy of living. Although each of them can be enjoyed with others, sometimes embracing the

Enjoy The Sunrise Set the alarm if you need to, but if you’re like many of my friends, you’re up anyway and wishing you could go back to sleep. Why not make the most of it? Sit outside with a cup of coffee and start enjoying the sights and the sounds of a new day. Take note of the colors of the morning sky and how they change. The birds welcome each day with an incredible amount of chatter and the squirrels are busy, gathering food, sometimes robbing the seed that was left for their chirping friends. South Burlington’s New Flooring Showroom and Warehouse



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Feel the sun warm the air and realize how magical this

will make you realize how inadequate words or even a

time of day can be and how rarely we take the time to

picture can be at times.

appreciate it.

Take A Walk Hopefully, you’re physically able to do this but, if

Have A Picnic Is there anything more fun than an outside lunch with a soft breeze and a comfortable place to sit and

not, seek assistance from a friend or family member and

enjoy a special treat? This is an activity where the

take a few minutes to experience some of the wonders

company of someone else can add to the experience, but

of nature. This is an exercise to appreciate the small

it doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed on your own. There

treasures in life and take note of all the things your little

is something extremely satisfying about a little hike

corner of the world offers. It’s time to slow down and

that makes you hungry and thirsty and then sitting

notice the flowers – their colors and fragrance surpass

down and realizing how much you needed a rest. That

any artist’s palette or the finest bottle of perfume. I am

sandwich or piece of fruit will taste better than it ever

amazed at how rarely I do this and always make a vow

did and that water that has been chilling in an ice pack

to do it more often. It’s a great way to experience the

will remind you how good clear, cold water can be. If

seasons and realize that even the dead of winter can

you’re so inclined, a little wine and cheese with some

dazzle you with a scene that will stay with you for a long

crusty bread can also make that little lunch just a bit

time. Trying to explain what you’ve seen to someone else

more special.

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Vermont Maturity | July/August 2021 | 27

Find Some Water Consider yourself lucky if you live near a lake, river

of a day, you haven’t paid attention or been able to enjoy a really nice sunset. While the rising sun is the starting point for all the work that must be done, I think of the

or stream and have easy access to it. Whether you view

sunset as a time for total relaxation. A time to savor the

an ocean or a babbling brook streaming over the rocks,

pleasures of the day and to be thankful that we can have

there’s something calming and peaceful about the water.

more in store for tomorrow. Instead of a cup of coffee,

From listening to the waves crashing on a beach to

my beverage of choice in the evening is a glass of wine.

watching a lake turn into a sheet of glass with no hint

It tells me the day is officially done and it’s time to step

of a breeze in the air, I have found the water to have

back and be thankful for the simple pleasures of life. I hear too many people say how bored they are or

restorative powers for me. No matter how much stress I might have, the water seems to have a way of calming

that they have nothing to do. Whenever I get even a

me down. I don’t even have to get wet! I just love to look

hint of those thoughts crossing my mind, I work my

out onto a lake or a river, a waterfall, or an ocean. Even

way down this list of things to do. Life is too short to

a two-foot waterfall can stop me in my tracks and give

lose sight of how the simplest of things can bring us the

me an endless amount of satisfaction.

greatest pleasure. VM

Enjoy The Sunset

James Conner retired from Corporate America in 2017. He lives in upstate New York and is the owner of the website He can be reached

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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.

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