FOR THE ACTIVE, EXPERIENCED CENTRAL OREGONIAN • HEALTH, LIFESTYLE, ENTERTAINMENT & ADVICE
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Ageless Features Unforgettable Adventures ...........................................5 Grandmother sets aside time to take her grandchildren on one-onone adventure trips.
Restoring History ..................................................... 11 Glass artist uses his expertise to restore stained glass windows in the historic Trinity Episcopal church.
“Feeling landscapes” ................................................23 Local artist Judy Hoiness shares her personal statements about the area’s natural landcapes.
Building Banjos ........................................................33 Mark Platin turned his passion for woodworking into a 40-year career.
Information & Advice Contributors ................................................................................. 4 Senior Games come to Bend ....................................................... 8 Medicare: The How To ................................................................14
A magazine featuring health, entertainment, lifestyles and advice for the active, 50-plus Central Oregonian. Ageless
is a product of The Bulletin’s Special Projects Division, 1777 SW Chandler Ave., Bend, OR 97702, and printed by Northwest Web Press, www.northwestwebpress.com. Ageless is produced in partnership with the Central Oregon Council on Aging.
To Your Health: Ways to Exercise your Brain ...........................16
All content is the property of The Bulletin/Western Communications, Inc. and may not be reproduced without written permission.
Ageless Staff Members
Acupuncture for Seniors ............................................................ 27
Martha Rogers, Special Projects Manager Althea Borck, Special Projects Editor Stacie Oberson, Special Projects Coordinator Kevin Prieto, Special Projects Image Coordinator Kari Mauser, Special Projects Editorial Assistant Clint Nye, Graphic Designer Jay Brandt, Advertising Director Steve Hawes, Advertising Sales Manager
Generations in the Workplace ................................................... 30 Legal Advice: Estate Planning ................................................... 36
COCOA News Foster Grandparent Program ..................................................... 38
Story ideas may be submitted for consideration to Martha Rogers, special projects manager. Contact her via e-mail at email@example.com. For advertising, call 541-382-1811. Published Saturday, May 17, 2014
To subscribe or learn more about all our publications, please call 541-385-5800 or visit us at www.bendbulletin.com. Cover photo of Paula MacNeil by Kevin Prieto
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Ageless CONTRIBUTORS ANNISSA ANDERSON, a freelance writer and public relations consultant, also studied culinary arts and worked as a pastry chef in another life. Though she’s lived in the Northwest for the past 20 years, she spent her childhood living abroad.
An avid crocheter and origamist, JOHN CAL worked as a baker, head chef, ukuleleist and Sno-Cat driver before settling into writing. He enjoys filling his time with yoga, postcard writing and collecting bowties. John also collects candy from around the world — he has a 100-plus specimen collection (and counting) — and lives in Bend with his dog, Hank.
Former Bulletin business reporter turned international teacher, JEFF MCDONALD, has returned to Oregon following a three-year sojourn in the Middle East. When he’s not traversing the globe, he enjoys the seasons, the laidback culture, and the people of Central Oregon.
Enthusiastic and outgoing, BRIDGET MCGINN enjoys meeting new people and sharing their stories. She spends her days working as a marketing and advertising professional, making photos or documentary films and spending time with her family. She may also be seen being dragged along the end of the leash of her newly adopted beagle puppy. A former public affairs TV producer, for the ABC and NBC affiliates in Portland, KATHY OXBORROW is a writer and consultant who helps nonprofits tell compelling stories about their work. Kathy assists organizations with marketing, facilitation, planning and grant writing. She grew up on a Nevada cattle ranch and moved to Bend after stints in San Francisco and Portland. LINDA ORCELLETTO is a published writer, event planner and chronic list maker. Orcelletto loves exploring all the best coast has to offer with her husband, Joe, and fur child Colby, an 80-pound, not-so-bright, lump of love golden retriever. Linda considers herself a native Oregonian even though she lived nearly 30 years in Wisconsin.
SONDRA HOLTZMAN is a record keeper of an evolving life. A professional artist and founder of The Traveling Studio, her journals and sketchbooks reflect explorations afar and close to home. Sondra is a published author, storyteller and travel writer and loves kayaking with her miniature longhaired dachshund, Scout.
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ADVENTURES 76-year-old grandmother sets aside time to take her grandchildren on one-on-one adventure trips. by Bridget McGinn, for The Bulletin Special Projects Photos by Kevin Prieto At age 76, Paula MacNeill does not fit the stereotypical idea of a grandmother. Instead of sitting in a rocking chair she’s more likely to be out rock climbing or maybe even at a rock concert with one of her three grandchildren. “I would say that I am adventurous with caution,” said MacNeill with a laugh. “I am pretty active but not death-defying.” A love of the outdoors is something she shares with her grandchildren, and exploring the natural world together has provided a way for MacNeill to foster closer connections with them. For the past several summers MacNeill — known in her family as “Nanny” — has set aside special time for one-on-one adventure trips with each of her grandchildren. In 2012, she and her granddaughter Quinn, now 14, spent time in Park City, Utah, where they enjoyed rafting, hiking a cave system, traversing a ropes course, time at a water park, a guided tour of local haunted houses, alpine sliding and even zip-lining. “Yes, I did zip-lining,” said MacNeill. “It was exciting going down the mountain and great fun.”
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“... She shows me stuff like flowers and teaches me things.”
Last summer she and her 9-year-old grandson Everett explored Yellowstone National Park together. The trip began with a guided fishing excursion and included mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking through the thermal areas, casting animal prints, plus visits to the grizzly bear and wolf preserves as well as the smoke jumpers training school. Everett’s favorite memory from the trip was viewing Old Faithful. His least favorite part of the trip? The day they got caught in a “bison jam” on the road into the park, which caused a delay in their planned activities. Traveling together is a great way to get to know one another better, through the good and the lessthan-great experiences. Such as the time MacNeill was unsuccessful in prying the cell phone away from teenager Quinn. “I tried my darndest to have her leave it in the van,” said MacNeill. “That cell phone just had to go on the rafting trip with us.” Lesson learned: rice actually does dry out a drenched cell phone. Even if you have to walk miles to find a store that sells rice. “I love traveling with my grandma,” said Quinn. Page 6 | Ageless
“She’s really intelligent and there are lots of things that we both enjoy doing.” Prior to each trip MacNeill and her grandchildren’s parents choose several possible trip options from a large variety offered by the Road Scholar program. The program was created by Elderhostel, a not-forprofit education travel organization that MacNeill learned about from a friend. Ultimately, the children get to make the final trip selection. Eleven-year-old Schuyler Berry has chosen to visit Grand Teton National Park this summer with her grandmother. “There were a couple of trips to choose from,” said Schuyler. “I’m an active kid and I like to do things that are hands on like rafting, hiking and active stuff like that.” The upcoming trip’s agenda includes whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon on the Snake River, camping overnight in teepees, mountain horseback riding, learning about native wildflowers and the subalpine forests and climbing a mountain peak. “I think it is going to be fun,” said Schuyler. “It is just going to be me and my grandma, and she likes to hike
and I like hiking too. She shows me stuff like flowers and teaches me things.” The intergenerational trips that MacNeill and her grandchildren take part in include lodging, meals and all the planned activities.
Paula and granddaughter Quinn / Submitted Photo
“It really frees you from searching for restaurants and activities while you travel,” said MacNeill. “We spend time with other grandparents and grandchildren and are free to just have fun and enjoy each other’s company. There are no distractions or chores.” The impetus for the trips with her grandchildren came after her husband, Lynne (or “Mac” as he was known to friends and family) passed away five years ago. “When my husband was alive we would have the
children individually and sometimes together here in Bend for a few days,” said MacNeill. “Getting them away from their parents gives you a chance to really know them, and for them to know you and the way you do things.” Mac was an active volunteer with Bend Park and Recreation, and led a senior hiking group for many years. In fact, there is a bench dedicated in his name in Shevlin Park near the covered bridge. When he passed away, MacNeill felt the loss deeply, both for herself and her grandchildren. “I felt that they got short-changed when he passed away and I wanted to make up for it by doing these special events with them,” said MacNeill. “He too loved the outdoors and enjoyed sharing it with them.” The time spent with her grandchildren — away from sibling rivalry, parental influence and other outside influences — is precious to MacNeill. And she hopes that their trips will instill a lifelong love and sense of respect for nature in her grandchildren. “I’d like them to develop a kind of feeling of responsibility for preserving what we have in nature to pass on to others,” she said. “There are lots of opportunity for sharing of ideas and values as you walk on a trail and identify animals and flowers. It also gives them an opportunity to see you and other grandparents in a different light … we’re active and not so old after all!”
Paula with granddaughter Schuyler (top) and grandson Everett (bottom) / Submitted Photos
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COMPETITION The Oregon Senior Games will makes its debut this summer in the high desert.
by Linda Orcelletto, for The Bulletin Special Projects Photo by Kevin Prieto
Some competitors will earn bragging rights, others will add to their medal collection, while some will simply compete because they enjoy the comradare of being surrounded by other likeminded, active seniors. Whatever inspires participants to play in the first ever Oregon Senior Games, the event promises to draw all levels of athletes from across the state and beyond to compete in a wide range of sporting events. Although the National Senior Games began in 1987, Oregon is one of only two states that have never had their own division of the games. This year, Visit Bend stepped up and offered to host the games for Oregon. “We want to grow the Games into an event the Bend community looks forward to the third week of June every year,” said Kevney Dugan, director of sales and sports development at Visit Bend. “Visit Bend also wants Bend to be known as the destination where seniors can be a part of the community.” Sanctioned by the National Senior Games Association (NSGA) and presented by Humana, the Page 8 | Ageless
Olympic-style games include 14 different events and are open to anyone 50 years of age or older. The cycling portion of the games happens early, with the Don’t Brake road race scheduled for May 24. The remainder of the events run June 18 - 22, including everything imaginable from archery to swimming to table tennis, a lineup that has something for everyone and is already drawing competitors from as far away as Texas. Oregon is considered an ‘open state,’ which means participants from other states are invited to compete. Popular competitions include events in track and field, swimming and golf, with pickleball drawing more athletes than any other sport. The top four finishers in most events earn a spot to compete in the National Senior Games in St. Paul, Minnesota in July 2015. While more than 150 people have registered so far, Dugan hopes to draw at least 750 athletes this year with the goal of bringing more than 2,000 senior athletes into the Bend Senior Games by the event’s fifth year. This goal, according to Dugan, in part is aimed at bringing more tourism to Bend, with the ancillary
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impact this has in money spent on things such as lodging and restaurants. But more than that, it’s about offering something with a lot of energy and excitement for the senior community. “The key to the Oregon Senior Games is having fun and enjoying the experience,” he said. Dr. Ron Snipe, a 70-year-old athlete from Port Angeles, Washington, plans to add to his collection of more than 1,000 medals in swimming and badminton during the Oregon Senior Games. Snipe has participated in 43 games since turning 50 and is excited to add Oregon to his competition lineup. “The Senior Games encourage people to be healthy,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in the shape I am today if it weren’t for the games.” Beyond the regular sanctioned Senior Games events, two exhibition events promise to stir some interest among participants and spectators alike. Cowboy Action Shooting challenges competitors to hone their accuracy and consistency shooting with firearms reminiscent of the Old West. And Over the Line softball will pit three-person teams against one another in hitting and fielding, without any throwing or base running. Local senior athlete Phil McGage is introducing, directing, and playing this demo sport, with the hope that it will prove as popular as it is on the beaches in Old Mission Bay, in San Diego, California. Its appeal,
he explained, is its focus on team playing rather than power hitting. McGage, who will turn 71 shortly after the games, also plans to participate in several other events, including the two-day, 36 hole golf competition and tennis doubles. “I’m excited about Bend hosting the Senior
Games and I am looking forward to participating,” he said. Registration packets are available at Visit Bend, 750 NW Lava, Suite 160, and online at www. oregonseniorgames.com. For more information contact Kevney Dugan at 541-382-8048 or Kevney@ visitbend.com
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RESTORING HISTORY Richard DeWilde taps into his expertise as a glass artist to restore the damaged windows at the Trinity Episcopal Church
by Linda Orcelletto, for The Bulletin Special Projects Photos by Kevin Prieto
We all know that the threat of fire goes hand in hand with living in the high desert of Central Oregon. Yet when fire is intentionally set to cause harm, the emotional shattering can be as devastating as the physical destruction. Many members of the Trinity Episcopal Church congregation felt this way when they learned that a possible serial arsonist had destroyed their spiritual home in March of last year. The early morning fire damaged much of the chapel as well as the adjacent St. Helenâ€™s Hall. Yet, like a phoenix rising, the church is being restored. St. Helenâ€™s Hall, a space where the hungry and homeless come for hot meals, reopened its doors in January. But, the rebuilding and restoration of the main church continues, including the chapelâ€™s stained glass windows. Built in 1918, the Gothic Revival architectural style church is on the National Register of Historic Places. Additions and other buildings were added to the site in 1929 and 1958. Unfortunately, not much is known
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about the stained glass windows. Nothing seems to exist to document who the designer was, who the artist was, or even when they were actually placed in the chapel. But miraculously, the original colored pencil drawings of the three windows were found by a volunteer during the cleanup process after the fire. Officials from the church took the drawings to Richard DeWilde of DeWilde Art Glass in Bend. DeWilde has been in the stained glass business for more than
because the damage to their church was malicious, DeWilde immediately agreed to the challenge. “I feel privileged to repair the windows that are so important to the people who worship there,” said DeWilde. “You can’t put a value on the emotions that come from art.” Despite the missing and/or soot blackened pieces of glass, the two-by-eight foot windows are nonetheless impressive. The commanding windows rest on a heavy table near the rolled up yellowing plans in DeWilde’s
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40 years, and is passionate about both preserving history and the art of stained glass. Though he normally creates stained glass for residential buildings (most notably the Bend emblem), DeWilde’s also no stranger to working on stained glass windows in places of worship, including Pioneer Presbyterian Church in Burns and St. Thomas Church in Redmond. So when Reverend Green, the interim rector at Trinity, asked him to restore and replace the fire and smoke damaged windows, and described how the parishioners who attend the church felt violated
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office. Having the actual designs with the colors of each section of the glass will speed up his process and ensure that less guess work is involved. The first window, which was most likely smashed by a fire fighter’s axe rather than from the heat of the fire, must be nearly 90 percent reconstructed. The other two windows require fewer repairs, but various missing panes need to be completely replaced. In addition, the smoke and fired damaged glass that remains intact will have to be painstakingly cleaned with harsh chemicals that can take
weeks to dry thoroughly. DeWilde, a perfectionist, wants to ensure the reconstructed stained glass windows are as true to the original windows as possible. After extensive research, DeWilde discovered that the original glass in the windows was hand-blown in England by Pilkington Glass, which is no longer in business. DeWilde found that only two companies in the U.S. still make hand-blown glass. Fortunately, one such business is in Seattle. This type of glass making, essentially a dying Renaissance craft, is a slow and deliberate process, but the results are distinct. When held up in the sunlight, hand-blown glass re-
veals a durable and visually appealing characteristic that’s not found in factory-manufactured glass. A European apprentice will produce the hand-blown glass for DeWilde to use in restoring the Trinity windows, a process that will somewhat mirror the original construction - following original design and the use of lead to hold the glass pieces in place. For DeWilde, being able to match the new, mostly primary colored glass as closely as possible with the existing pieces is the key to an authentic restoration. A restoration not just of shattered glass, but also of shattered emotions.
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Ageless MEDICARE ADVICE
The ‘HOW TO’ of Medicare EEEK! I’M ALMOST 65. WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MEDICARE?! by Megan Clements
What options do I have, and what do they cover?
You have lots of company as 10,000 people are turning 65 each day in the U.S. In Oregon there are currently 690,000 Medicare beneficiaries. Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties are fast becoming a retirement haven, there are more than 35,000 Medicare beneficiaries biking, hiking and skiing here. Medicare eligibility starts at 65, and for people under 65, after 24 months of receiving Social Security Disability Insurance income, and people who have been diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease or ALS.
How do I enroll, when, and where? If you’re receiving Social Security income, then your Medicare card should arrive in the mail three months before your 65th birthday. If you’re not receiving Social Security, but are still eligible for Medicare, then you need to take some action to enroll for Medicare through the Social Security system. You can either enroll online at SSA.gov, in person at the local office, or through the phone, 800-772-1213. As you get closer to your 65th birthday, you have an enrollment period that covers the three months before your birthday, your birthday month, and three months afterward. This seven-month period is called the “Initial Enrollment Period,” and is the easiest time to enroll. If you miss this, there is another time to enroll, “General Enrollment Period” Page 14 | Ageless
each year between January 1st and March 31st. Be aware, though— late enrollment can lead to higher premiums and penalties.
When will my Medicare coverage start? If you sign up for Medicare during the first three months of your Initial Enrollment Period (the three months before your 65th birth month), then your coverage should start on the first day of your birthday month. If
your birthday’s on the first day of the month, then your coverage could start on the first day of the month before. If you signed up during your birthday month, or in the three months following it, it will push back your Medicare starting date. If you didn’t sign up during the Initial Enrollment period, and signed up during the general enrollment period between January 1st and March 31st, then your coverage will start the following July 1st.
At first glance, Medicare options can look like an alphabet soup of choices. It’s not as intimidating as it appears, and there’s help from SHIBA counselors available. Part A is the basic Medicare that almost everyone can get without paying a premium. It covers hospital in-patient care, short-term medically necessary skilled nursing, and hospice care. Most people are eligible for premium free Part A if either you or your spouse worked and paid into Medicare through taxes for 10 years or 40 quarters. Part B is an optional addition to Part A. It covers more common medical needs, like preventative care such as screenings and flu shots, and out-patient services, such as doctor visits and equipment such as oxygen tanks and wheelchairs. An alternate option to the coverage provided by Part A and Part B is Part C, also called Medicare Advantage. A Medicare Advantage plan bundles Parts A, B and D benefits, giving you hospital, medical and drug insurance under one insurance policy. Medicare Advantages plans are available from private insurance companies. With this type of plan, you still need to have Parts A and B, and you’re still part of Medicare, but you have access to many different heath care plans, which may include extras that aren’t
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available through Original Medicare (A and B), such as dental or vision insurance. If you don’t want Medicare Advantage, drug coverage is still available through stand alone drug only insurance plans. Like Medicare Advantage, Part D is available through private insurance companies. To get Part D, you have to be enrolled in either Part A or B. Finally, if you choose Original Medicare, there is the option of getting a supplement policy, or Medigap, which fills in some of the coverage gaps left by Parts A and B.
Do I need to enroll in How much does Medicare Medicare immediately, and cost? Part B has a premium, which for most if I don’t, what will happen? One of the common misconceptions about Medicare is that it’s fine to apply even several years after you turn 65. While you can enroll then, it’s best to apply as early as you can within the enrollment period
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in the seven months surrounding your birthday, as several aspects of Medicare can become more expensive if you enroll late. Part B has a penalty calculated at 10% for every 12-month period you’re not enrolled. Part D has a penalty of 1% of the base premium for every month you could have been enrolled but weren’t. If you’re still working, you can delay enrollment in Part B and D if you have credible coverage, but most people still sign up for Part A when they turn 65, even if they are still employed, because there’s no premium.
people is $104.90 a month. This can increase as income levels rise, or if there is a penalty for late enrollment. Part C and D costs vary, as they’re sold by private insurance companies and not Medicare.
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What if I can’t afford that? If you can’t afford to pay the primiums, there is the possibility for Extra Help, which would pay for premiums for perscription drug coverage. Check with SHIBA to find out if you are eligible. You can also call Oregon Medicare Savings Connect, at toll free statewide number to get help applying for Extra Help by phone, 1-855-447-0155. For more information, visit medicare.gov, medicarestartsat65.gov, and oregonshiba. org, or call your local SHIBA volunteer for free Medicare counseling at 800-722-4134
Megan Clements is currently attending Western Oregon University, where she is majoring in psychology. She hopes to pursue a graduate degree in social work.
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Studies show that maintaing an active mind through brain exercises can dramatically improve mental fitness. by Linda Orcelletto, for The Bulletin Special Projects Illustrations by Kevin Prieto
“Just like your physical health, brain fitness is equally as important to maintaining a higher quality of life.”
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The term dementia is in the news more often, especially because our population is aging and life spans are longer. According to the Alzheimer website www.alz.org, dementia is the umbrella term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. Previously thought of as a mental illness, dementia is caused by physical changes in the brain. The brain region called the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory and is often the first to be damaged, causing memory loss. This in turn leads to the loss of the ‘starter’ connection in the cognitive thought process. Though there are multiple forms of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for nearly 60- to 80-percent of cases. The second most common cause of dementia is vascular dementia, which is caused by physical conditions that block or reduce blood flow to the brain, depriving brain cells of essential oxygen and nutrients, which causes a decline in thinking skills.
The number of documented dementia cases continues to increase as the disease becomes easier to detect, a result of a better understanding of the factors that contribute to the disease, including physical changes in the brain. Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but as you age, the probability of developing some type of dementia increases due to physical changes as the body ages. Genetics also play a factor. Unfortunately, there is no cure. “Life doesn’t stop with a diagnosis,” says Angela Stewart, Memory Care Administrator and Life Enrichment Coordinator at Touchmark, a resort retirement community which offers services from home care to independent living, to residential care and memory care. “Right now, brain fitness is the best treatment [for dementia]. Just like your physical health, brain fitness is equally as important to maintaining a higher quality of life.” Studies show lifestyle choices that are critical to brain health include daily physical exercise, sleeping well, reducing stress and eating a well-balanced diet which includes Omega 3, which is found in fish and supplements. Lifelong learning and maintaining strong social networks are also key to preserving an active mind. “What’s good for the heart is good for the brain,” says Wendy Schrag, a nurse and Memory Care Support Manger for Touchmark. Just like flossing your teeth and exercising your body, brain exercises should be included in your daily routine, no matter your age, to keep your mind active [see sidebar of suggested
exercises]. Certain levels of activity impact different lobes of the brain, so it’s best to rotate brain games to work all parts of the brain. Listening to music stimulates all lobes of the brain, making it an especially helpful activity. All types of music are beneficial, particularly when in a setting without distractions or external noises. Headphones can enhance the listening experience and increase the music’s benefits. Music has even proven to ‘wake up’ hidden memories in patients with dementia. No matter the activity, the key is to start a daily brain exercise routine before the disease steals cognitive abilities later in life. “The three plagues of the elderly are boredom, loneliness and the feeling of helplessness,” says Stewart, who holds a Masters in Gerontology. “If we counter these three things, we can help enrich people’s lives tremendously.” Stewart encourages people, especially those in the beginning stages of the disease, to stretch their minds beyond what they think they can do, yet make the outcomes achievable so there is a feeling of accomplishment and success. “The more you know, the less you fear,” says Steward. “We don’t think of cancer as being embarrassing. We shouldn’t think of having dementia as shameful.” Touchmark holds its Brain Booster courses in a social environment because of the energy of people who know each other, as well being in a non-threatening atmosphere. Beginning the month of June, Brain Builders classes will be held each Wednesday from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Cost is $20 for a non-resident. RSVP by calling 541-383-1414. Classes will repeat in August.
WAYS TO EXERCISE YOUR BRAIN Keep your life social: meet with friends often Exercise with weights Take a walk Play board games, cards, chess, checkers, etc. Read and/or write Read to others Learn a new language Count in multiples of three up to 100, then do so counting backward Practice tongue twisters Nonsensical ways to finish a sentence. For example, ‘the kids rode the iguana to school’ Cut shapes into puzzle pieces then put back together Matching exercises List as many presidents as you can in a certain time frame Word search In large amounts of text, circle the number 0, but not the letter O Sudoku Crossword puzzles Lumosity – www.lumosity.com basic membership is free. App is free via iTunes MindDabble App is free Subscribe to www.activityconnection.com for $14.95 per month for access to hundreds of other exercises Page 17 | Ageless Ageless | Page 17
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TASTE BUDS As our senses of smell and taste begin to fade, it helps to be an adventurous eater. by Annissa Anderson, for The Bulletin Special Projects Photos by Kevin Prieto
We started out with around 9,000 taste buds, so where did they go? Research has shown that our taste buds diminish as we age. It starts in our 40s and 50s for women, and for men it begins in their 50s or 60s. Combine that with a less perceptive sense of smell, and it explains why older adults will sometimes point out that “food just doesn’t taste like it used to.” Our taste buds are responsible for the four qualities of taste – salty, sweet, sour and bitter. All four of these can diminish, but salty and sweet tastes typically go first, and sour and bitter decline later. A gradual or minor decrease in the nuances of flavor can go unnoticed, but more severe degeneration can be detrimental to our health and even contribute to a lack of food safety, if odors that signal spoiled food go unnoticed. “The loss of smell is the biggest contributor to the loss of flavor sensation,” said Dr. Robert Skarperud, a naturopathic physician at Blue Star Naturopathic Clinic in Bend. “Everybody loses their sense of olfaction in aging, even healthy people.”
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The loss of smell, combined with atrophied taste buds, can put a real damper on flavor. “It’s like having a major cold and eating something. The flavor’s just not there,” said Dr. Skarperud. And while some of this loss is inevitable as we age, other factors – which can be controlled – can come into play. “Medication can be a major factor in loss of taste or smell,” said Eris Craven, a registered dietitian with HomeCare IV. Craven recommends that anyone who notices an alteration in their sense of taste while on medication talks to their doctor about the possibility of changing their medication. There are still other contributors to the loss of taste and smell. A natural reduction in the saliva you produce as you age can affect your sense of taste, as can chronic health issues, smoking and exposure to harmful particles in the air. Whatever the cause, the loss of taste can have a profound effect on your interest in, and enjoyment of, food. Luckily, there are several ways to make food
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in salt, he recommends the DASH model of eating, which emphasizes eating whole foods, instead of processed ones. And, he said, when following a recipe you don’t have to follow the instructions on the amount of salt to use. One of the best things you can do to make food more enjoyable again is to elevate the presentation of food. “Presentation is everything,” said Craven. A colorful and appealing plate of food can improve the whole eating atmosphere, as can setting a beautiful
t more enjoyable after a decrease in the sense of taste. But first, consider an important error to avoid. What may be a knee-jerk reaction – adding more salt to food – is not recommended, especially for anyone with health issues that require reduced sodium intake, like hypertension, diabetes or heart disease. “ I f you g r adua l ly cha nge over to u s i ng le s s s a lt, you r s en s e of t a s t e w i l l adju s t,” s a id D r. Skarperud. For a diet low
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Even small amounts of flavor-laden foods, like crumbled turkey bacon or grated cheese, can be used to boost flavor if appropriate to an individual’s diet, said Craven. “We still need to be careful about what we put into our bodies because it can still have an impact on our health,” she said. Tr ying new foods is another tactic Craven suggests. Some people with a reduced sense of taste may now be able to enjoy foods that
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were previously too strong. “I would really encourage people to step outside the box and be open to tr ying new flavors and tastes,” said Craven. The result could be a new found enjoyment in the pleasure of eating.
table and making eating into a more social event. To bump up the flavor of foods without added salt (or sugar), Craven recommends using more aromatics – such as garlic, onions, herbs and spices – in cooking. These flavor enhancers, along with the addition of some healthy fats like olive oil and toasted nuts, can make an immediate and noticeable difference in the taste of foods without any adverse health repercussions.
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the Landscapes of the Northwest by Sondra Holtzman for The Bulletin Special Projects, Photos by Kevin Prieto
Local artist and instructor Judy Hoiness shares her ‘personal statements’ about the area’s landscapes. “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” —Albert Einstein Judy Hoiness’ journey as an artist, teacher and fourth-generation citizen of the Oregon high desert is as multifaceted as her work. After 30 years as an adjunct arts faculty member at Central Oregon Community College and six years teaching at public middle and high schools, Hoiness is well known for her unique and abstract style of art, which she calls a “personal statement about the landforms of the Northwest.”
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Her use of watercolor, watercolor crayons, and acrylic combined with imaginative design elements contribute to Hoiness’ unique style of expression. Her work is frequently described as ‘abstract landscapes that often incorporate calligraphic marks, collage and mixed media.’ Hoiness’ time spent in the outdoors throughout her life, and particularly the countless hours she has spent exploring the high desert since moving to Bend in 1970, inspires her as an artist. Hoiness said she focuses her art on two types of landscapes, both based on her feelings about a place, but one with a more environmental theme.
She has created a collection of 40 paintings titled, “Save Oregon’s Wildlife and Wilderness Areas.” In the Fall, her work will be featured in an art show at the Douglas County Museum of Natural History in Roseburg as part of an art show entitled “Legacy of a Promise: 50 Years of the Wilderness Act.” As an artist, Hoiness said it’s her hope that she will make an impact on people and increase awareness of the importance of preserving and protecting wildlife and wilderness areas. Proud of her heritage as a fourth generation Oregonian, Hoiness said she believes the torch has been passed to her from former generations of her family. She continues to honor the responsibility of making people aware of their surroundings through artistic expression. Despite her desire to inspire other people through her art, Hoiness doesn’t focus on capturing the true
details of the landscapes, but rather tries to show her feelings for a place in a pictorial way and always paints for herself first. “Since I rely more on my feeling at the time, it might not be true to the colors or shapes that actually exist,” she said. “Only I can really tell you exactly where this place was. I paint more abstractly than I did 25 years ago and I do what I feel, not what I think people want. This is my passion. It’s what keeps me painting every single day.” As a teacher Hoiness gleaned inspiration from her students, through making sure they were confident in handling the artistic tools of each class. In addition to demonstrating techniques, Hoiness emphasized composition and design as students progressed through each session. “Once you get past the medium it becomes all about the composition,” said Hoiness. “I wanted to teach about getting the most potential
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“I rely only on what I remember or feel about a subject because that’s more true to the art I want to create.”
hind her, now Hoiness is able to paint and draw in her studio with unlimited time, expressing that which she loves in her work. “I got that from teaching,” she said. “My focus then was to keep up with things in the art world so I could expose my students, but now I do art for myself. I’m taking advantage of my free time to really push myself and explore.” Part of that exploration is influenced by quilters and textile artists. After participating in an art show two years ago with Jeanne Wells Keenan
out of the tools and the medium and then concentrate on composition and design. “At the onset of my teaching career, one goal was to make everyone an artist. I was so inspired by the things the students did and miss that part now - watching them grow and enjoying the interaction with each person. I only had these kids for 47 minutes, so that doesn’t make much of a dent in what they choose for life. But it could have an influence that I wasn’t even aware of.” As she puts her teaching career be-
— contemporary quilter and owner of The Stitching Post in Sisters — Hoiness was inspired to begin incorporating textiles into her art, sewing directly onto the paper and illustrating with watercolor crayons. “This body of work involves pushing the combination of textiles and painting,” said Hoiness. “I’ve been doing it with some of the prints I’ve created at Atelier 6000 [Central Oregon’s professional printmaking and book arts studio] using fusing techniques with regard to fabric on paper and paper to paper, while figuring
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out a way to draw and paint on sheer Asian paper using fusion materials.” Even as she explores new styles, and experiments with merging paint, paper, fabric and stitch, Hoiness always stays true to her own inspiration, her connection with the landscape. “I rely only on what I remember or feel about a subject because that’s more true to the art I want to create,” she said. “When I paint, I think about being the keeper of the landscape and environment. If it only has an effect on one person, that is also significant.”
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Owner and acupuncturist Rob Mills administers a treatment at Bend Community Acupuncture.
Seniors finding relief through an ancient remedy
one needle at a time.
Seniors finding relief through an ancient remedy by Jeff McDonald, for The Bulletin Special Projects, Photos by Kevin Prieto
Managing the pains of aging used to be the province of prescription drugs and surgery, but more seniors are seeking a more ancient remedy. Acupuncture is gaining traction as a more holistic and healing way to get at the root of the aging process, local acupuncturists say. “Seniors are probably the biggest referral base that I have – they refer their friends because they’re pleasantly surprised,” said Angela Freeman, an acupuncturist at Mountain View Acupuncture in Bend, who says roughly 40 percent of her clients are aged 50 and older. Bend’s active senior community has many reasons for trying the ancient Chinese medicine, which involves placing needles on the skin to clear out blockages in key channels of the body. The effect comes from acupuncture’s ability to regulate the energy and all the systems of the body. Needles placed on key meridians can help move energy,
or Qi, throughout the body, Freeman explained. “We’re balancing out the channels,” she said. “As we age, we tend to be more deficient in certain areas. It helps everything move that has been stagnant for a while.” The practice can be used to treat a variety of common symptoms of aging, ranging from insomnia and gastrointestinal ailments to a declining libido, Freeman said. After a series of treatments, patients can experience improved moods, increased vitality and relief from chronic pain, she added. “People are wanting to slow the aging process down and acupuncture can definitely help with that,” she said. Cancer patients have used the treatment for relief from symptoms of chemotherapy and women going through menopause have gained greater hormonal support, said Mara Kevan, an acupuncturist and herbalist at Healing Response Acupuncture in Bend.
“Women can get amazing relief through acupuncture,” Kevan said. “It has a natural pain relieving effect.” Women also experience relief from hot flashes, night sweats and anxiety, she added. Acupuncture can help with common aches and pains, lower back and knee issues and irritability, Kevan continued. People see improvement in digestion, a common problem with aging as metabolism slows down in the body, she said. Kevan often sees patients who come into the clinic with a grocery bag of prescription drugs. She performs a thorough intake, customizing a treatment that is unique to them. “They don’t even know why they’re on them,” she said of the prescription drugs. “They just feel like crap.” One patient, a man in his sixties, had posttraumatic stress disorder from Vietnam and a bad
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smoking habit. He came in with his wife and saw the results, then opted for treatment, she said. “He said, ‘Can you treat me too?’ He comes three times a week and is so excited and happy about it.” About half the patients at Bend Community Acupuncture are 50 and older, said Rob Mills, owner and acupuncturist. That number is up from about 25 percent 15 years ago as more baby boomers have entered the senior ranks, Mills said. “Baby boomers are part of the 60s culture, which believed that Western medicine wasn’t always the right solution,” he said. “A lot of times, surgeries and drugs do not offer the solution they are looking for.” Acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of muscular-skeletal ailments, including pain in the spine, hips, knees, neck, shoulders and lower back, Mills said. As people get older, the pain progresses and people start looking for viable alternatives, he said, going on to describe a 93-year-old woman who had chronic knee pain and could not pursue knee replacement surgery. She opted for acupuncture, he said, and it was a choice that improved the quality of her life.
Acupuncture can help with common aches and pains, said Mara Kevan of Healing Response. Page 28 | Ageless
Patients typically should see substantial results within four to six treatments, according to Mills. “The most exciting thing is it’s being widely accepted in the greater medical community,” Mills said. Major medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School are now offering acupuncture treatment, he added. As acupuncture continues to gain acceptance as complementary to Western medicine, more patients will be able to benefit, Mills said. He often works with his patients’ doctors to help reduce the amount of medications they need for pain. One of Mills’ patients, a 61-year-old retail clerk, said the rigors of stock ing
shelves had become too much. In less than eight acupuncture sessions she no longer needed her pain medications and has since regained her ability to earn a living and recreate. “It’s working as a perfect complement,” Mills said.
“Seniors are probably the biggest referral base that I have – they refer their friends because they’re pleasantly surprised.”
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IN THE WORKPLACE
How boomers, gen-xers and millenials make a more dynamic work enviornment. by Kathy Oxborrow, for The Bulletin Special Projects
If a business wants to succeed in today’s world, understanding what different generations value and how those values impact their work styles is mandatory. Learning the characteristics of each age group and then adapting your management style to accommodate those differences is absolutely imperative to obtain the greatest productivity from your workforce. “Leaders today are facing the most complicated workforce in the history of corporate America,” said Connie Worrell-Druliner, CEO and owner of Express Employment Professionals. Page 30 | Ageless
Employers can’t manage based on their value systems, she said. They need to manage according to the employee’s value system. Businesses need to learn how each generation differs and then recognize the limits of the company — the things you can change and the things can’t. For example, Gen X’ers and Millennials value flexible working hours, but some businesses may not be able to offer that. Worrell-Druliner said her business is an 8-5 workplace so she had to find other ways to be flexible. What may seem like a minor
accommodation, but made a difference in Worrell-Druliner’s workplace, revolved around how the lunchroom is used. The Millennials wanted it darker so they could use their computers. Others used it for social interaction. The lunchroom now has a space where the Millennials are happy campers scrolling through their computers or texting. Millennials and Baby Boomers both have strong work ethics, they just look different said Ann Golden Eglé, an executive coach and president of Golden Visions and Associates. “Millennials may come into work
at 9:00 a.m. and leave at 4:00 p.m. and then may work from midnight to 3:00 a.m. on their computer at home, while Baby Boomers may come in at 8:00 a.m. and leave at 6:00 p.m.,” Golden Eglé said. Rod Ray, CEO of Bend Research, said his company has become more transparent to meet the expectations of the younger generations, but he also lets them know the limitations of the business because some feel entitled and have unrealistic expectations about pay and other perks. “What we’ve found is that if we teach them about how the company
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Baby Boomers – Born 1946-1964. Significant events: civil rights movement, women’s movement, Vietnam War. • Baby Boomers are confident in their abilities and value teamwork, cooperation and seek collaborative decision-making. They want training and workplace development and are motivated by position, perks and prestige. They define themselves by their professional accomplishments and live to work. They don’t like to be micro-managed.
Gen X’ers – Born 1964-1980. Significant events: Watergate scandal, Iranian hostage crisis, Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, desktop PCs. • Gen X’ers work to live and balancing the two is important. Flexibility in work hours and job sharing is attractive to them. They are comfortable with authority but not impressed with titles. They value freedom and responsibility, are technically competent and adapt well to change. They are less committed to one employer and are willing to change jobs.
“If your model is one where you hire kids right out of college and work them really hard for low pay with the expectation that they’re going to make partnership — that doesn’t fly. These guys are not interested in that.” Worrell-Druliner said in years past she wouldn’t have considered talking to someone if they hadn’t been in their job for a minimum of five years.
Millennials – Born 1980-1994. Significant events: Cable TV, computers, cell phones, Internet, text messaging, Columbine High School shootings. • Millennials are technology wizards and crave change and challenge. They are very creative, take risks and are loyal when dedicated to an idea, cause or project. They want to know how what they are doing fits into big picture because affecting change and making an impact is critical to them. They are exceptional at multi-tasking and are less likely to seek managerial or leadership positions that would compromise life outside of work.
“In today’s world there is no way you could not talk to that person,” she said. Millennials are staying in jobs for one or two years. A large number of Boomers go to one place and stay until they retire. Expectations from both the employee and employer need to be made clear from the get go. Employers, while trying to accommodate the values and work styles of each
generation, face certain constraints on how far they can go in trying to meet each group’s needs. Employees on the other hand must understand employer limitations and decide if they can work within them. The Millennials are going to be the majority of the workforce by 2025, so successful businesses will be those that find ways to embrace the differences without altering their company’s core values.
runs and maybe share the financials … then it becomes less of an expectation and something they have to engage in and earn.” Ray said he tries to hire from land grant colleges in rural areas because he believes the values of those students align more with Bend Research’s. Ray thinks these students have some of the same characteristics as Baby Boomers, a belief that you have to work hard to get ahead. Ruth Williamson, a personal coach who works in the domains of life, work and community, said business-recruiting strategies also need to reflect generational differences. Ageless | Page 31
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P his path ICKiN’
TURNING A PASSION INTO A 40-YEAR CAREER, THE MARK PLATIN WAY. by John Cal, for The Bulletin Special Projects, Photos by Kevin Prieto
Chance. Isn’t that how it works? Without any control over the situation, our father was a lawyer or our mother was a nurse. We follow in their footsteps out of providence (or maybe even by accident), and ‘POOF!’, like magic, our lives are decided for us.
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“I’m pretty productive, and I get to do what I love. I like playing in a wood shop. It’s fun.”
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u t l e n 5 Or maybe we were good at math so a teacher encouraged us to take that extra accounting class, and that’s how it happened. Maybe instead it was on that trip to Mexico, that one time when, the one guy who ... But our lives change. Our paths are decided without us even knowing, when we’re least paying attention. “I wasn’t groomed for this, that’s for sure,” said Mark Platin, a 40-year seasoned banjo maker and owner of Wildwood Banjos in Sunriver. “I’m a Jewish doctor’s kid from L.A. ... my father was a doctor, both his parents, my uncles. Everyone around me was a physician. I wasn’t groomed to go down this path. I was groomed for something else.” Then in the early 70’s, while Platin was going to college in Cal State North Ridge, pursuing a degree in Veterinary Science, his providential accident happened. “I had to take some elective courses to fill out my units and so I signed up for ‘American Entho-Musicology’ with Bess Hawes.” Page 34 | Ageless
What he didn’t know was that his professor, Bess Hawes, a musician in her own right, was also the sister of the famous folk musician Alan Lomax, a contemporary of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. “She introduced this early American style to a bunch of L.A. kids, brought in all these guys playing this music and it just grabbed me, and I decided to play the banjo.” But playing is quite a far task from building banjos, especially for Platin, who admitted while laughing, “I don’t even play, but I play.” But whether by chance or choice, he bought his first banjo from a maker named Ren Ferguson, who later became Head of Acoustic Development for Gibson Guitars. “I kept going to his shop everyday, hanging out while he made my banjo, and one day he handed me an apron and told me to help out instead of just standing there ... He taught me the basics
of the trade. He really got me into that old timey music. ”While in the midst of discovering his passion, Platin was going to school pursuing veterinary science. “I was at grad school for awhile at Humboldt State University starting in Wildlife Management, and then at Cal Poly for a year doing Animal Husbandry, but I needed an income while I was in school, and since I had this work experience, this trade, I built banjos on the side while going to school.” Eventually opening his own music store, Platin’s notoriety really started gaining steam when a few months apart, musicians Art Rosenbaum and John Burke purchased banjos from him and used them on their records. “Everyone thought this was temporary,
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but the phone started ringing. [My parents] were putting up with it. They probably thought it was cute, and was just a little diversion.” Little did anyone know that the little diversion would turn into a 7,000 square foot wood shop in Arcata, California. Grad school pursuits gave way. Life changed. Platin’s path, by chance and by choice, lead him into a successful lifetime career in the music industry with the founding of Wildwood Banjo Co. in 1973. The popularity of the banjo had its ups and downs, but always kept Platin busy. Busier than he wanted really. Although he had less than a dozen employees, Wildwood pumped out not only banjos, but also upwards of 500 guitar bodies a month. “We were always so busy, which was great when you’re thinking about supporting a family and starting your life,” said Platin. “And we made really great guitars, but I just kept waiting to spend time on ban-
jos. Guitars were never it for me.” And so in 2008, Platin and his wife, Cathy, walked away from the high production guitar making business, choosing a quieter pace and a chance to really focus on his true passion - banjos. “I guess I moved up here for the reasons that everyone else does. Arcata was on the coast. Fog. Rain. Gloominess. The reasons that all the people from the valley come up here. It’s beautiful,” Platin said. When he’s not outside enjoying Central Oregon’s sunshine, Platin’s still doing what he always has - churning out high quality, hand made banjos. “I’m still doing what I love, but there’s a different pace of life … After six months of being up here, we never looked back.” Even so, for Platin, now 65, a slower pace definitely doesn’t mean slow. From a team of employees down to a one man operation, he does most of the work in house, creating various banjos by the dozen or so. “I send things out to be finished and for some of the metal work, but otherwise, it’s just me in here.” And working solo, Platin is forging ahead, doing what he loves. “It’s 16 or 17 this month,” he said. “I’m pretty productive, and I get to do what I love. I like playing in a wood shop. It’s fun. I’ve been doing this a long time. I don’t have to re-create the wheel with each banjo.” But don’t let that fool you into thinking that Platin is not staying relevant and innovative in his
craft. Even after more than four decades of being a banjo maker, he continues to use his artistic curiosity to better his craft. “I use a lot of maple and walnut of course, but I’ve also started playing with other woods — bubinga, wedge, ebony. When you work with your hands, it’s important to keep it fresh, vital.” From doctor’s kid, to veterinary medicine, to banjo maker, the choices, whether happenstance or intentional, may still seem odd, but not to Platin, who day by day keeps at what he loves. “I just like it! Isn’t that enough?” he said, laughing. “Everybody likes banjos. It’s a happy sound. It’s happy music. There’s joy in it.” And while each new piece, each new instrument brings challenge, Platin continues to share the joy of his work with others. “When someone wants a custom piece, it’s something he’s always been dreaming of, and I get to be a part of changing his world ... Being a part of that is pretty amazing.”
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Ageless FINANCIAL ADVICE
Estate Planning for Today’s Modern Family MAKING SENSE OF COMPLICATED FINANCIAL SITUATIONS by Melissa P. Lande, Attorney
The definition of the traditional family has changed significantly over the last 50 years. Today’s family can be blended, divorced parents, same sex and unmarried couples. Also today’s families must consider many types of assets that did not exist even a decade ago. With careful planning, assets can be distributed according to your intentions. Without proper planning, unexpected and devastating results can occur.
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1. Blended Family. If you and your spouse have children from another marriage, each of you may want to leave assets to your separate children at death. It is also important to designate who should make decisions for you if you become unable to do so yourself. For various reasons, you may prefer to have your step-child rather than your own child make such decisions but if you have not completed a Durable Power of Attorney and Oregon Advance Directive directing that your step-child make decisions for you, your own children will generally be chosen to make those decisions. Additionally, you do not want your beneficiaries to be disinherited simply because they are not blood relatives. If you leave everything to your “children” in your Will, your step-children who may be the intended beneficiaries of your estate will not receive any assets. Another concern is the timing of Page 36 | Ageless
your spouse’s death. If your spouse dies after you and his will or trust provides that everything goes to his children, all of your assets if they were left to him at your death as well as his assets will pass to his children and no assets will be left for your children. Additionally, if you die without a Will or Trust in place and you have children from a previous relationship, those children are entitled to receive one-half of your assets at death and your current spouse would receive onehalf of your assets. Careful planning, which includes assets that are distributed by Will or Trust as well
as assets that pass by beneficiary designation, is important to ensure that your intent is carried out.
2. Divorced Person. The challenges of a divorce can be overwhelming. Estate planning issues often are not considered but they should be. This can include everything from dissolving a joint trust and creating a new separate trust to removing your ex-spouse as beneficiary of your retirement account. Oregon law provides that when there is a divorce, the provisions of your Will are revoked as to your ex-spouse. However, this
does not affect any assets for which your ex- spouse is named as your beneficiary such as life insurance and retirement accounts. Some life insurance policies designate the exspouse as the primary beneficiary. If the designation is not changed, that asset will transfer directly to the ex-spouse at death rather than to the current spouse or the deceased person’s children. If you do not complete a new Oregon Advance Directive and Durable Power of Attorney, your ex-spouse will continue to act as your health care representative and your agent under your power of attorney. It
is important to update all of your documents if you do not want your ex-spouse to make important financial and medical decisions for you should you become unable to do so for yourself. Many people who do not have close family relationships choose to nominate a trusted friend or a distant relative. Finally, even though your ex-spouse may be the appropriate person to have custody of your children after your death, you should name a guardian so that your intent is clear if your ex-spouse is unable to care for the children.
3. Unmarried Partners. In the event you are unmarried but have a significant partner of the same or opposite sex, you should make sure that you have executed a Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Directive and Medical Authorization.
The Durable Power of Attorney will allow you as the agent to handle your partnerâ€™s financial affairs if they are living but no longer able to handle their own finances. The Oregon Advance Directive allows you as health care representative to make medical and end of life decisions for the dying person when they are no longer able to make them for themselves. The Medical Authorization allows you as the appointed representative to speak with his or her doctors and review their medical records. These documents allow you to select the person that you feel will make the best decisions for you if you become unable to do so. In addition, if you are unmarried, your partner cannot direct how your remains should be handled unless you have signed an Appointment of Person to Make
Decisions Concerning Disposition of Remains. For all of the above situations, the person should execute a Will or a Trust to designate to whom their assets should be distributed as well as a Durable Power of Attorney, Oregon Advance Directive and Medical Authorization to designate who should make financial and medical decision for them in the event they become unable to do so. In addition, they should review any accounts co-owned with other persons to determine if they want those persons to receive those assets at death. Beneficiary designations should also be checked to make sure they have the intended persons named. With comprehensive estate planning, unintended consequences which add to the pain and stress of losing a loved one can be avoided.
Melissa P. Lande is a partner at Bryant, Lovlien and Jarvis in Bend. She focuses her practice on assisting her clients with estate planning, elder law, wills, trusts, probate, asset protection, guardianships and conservatorships. Melissa is a graduate of New York University and Washington and Lee University School of Law in Virginia. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar Estate Planning and Elder Law Sections. She and her husband, Mark, have a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Lila. Contact Melissa at 541 382-4331 or lande@ bljlawyers.com.
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CENTRAL OREGON COUNCIL ON AGING:
Foster Grandparent Program “Share Today: Shape Tomorrow”
Over the past four years Central Oregon Council on Aging (COCOA) has had the privilege to administer the Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) in Central Oregon. This program has two purposes: first to provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to school age children identified as being at-risk for failing in academics or citizenship; the second is to provide volunteer employment for low income persons 55 years of age and older who have the desire and aptitude to help young students succeed in school studies and life skills. FGP participation in the Lunch & Learn, as well as the Migrant Education programs, is an outstanding opportunity for our volunteers to sharpen and maintain their tutoring skills during the schools’ summer vacation period. Thus, the program functions year round. Central Oregon Council on Aging sees the Foster Grandparent Program as an integral part of its intergenerational strategy that assists children in learning from and truly appreciating what elders provide to their growth and development. The program enhances the education to the children served while providing the senior volunteer a real purpose to make a difference in his/her community. The intergenerational benefits positively impact our community. The FGP’s mission and goals integrate neatly into COCOA’s overall service goals and objectives, expanding opportunities for seniors who desire to interact with at-risk youth and to be productive community volunteers, and provides added income to volunteer seniors. The Need for Foster Grandparents According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 60 percent of 4th graders read at the basic level or higher. Research shows that students who fail to read well by the 4th grade are at greater risk of educational failure and that good reading skills provide an
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important foundation for subsequent learning and success. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that students who read for pleasure and who read more frequently score higher than students who do not read frequently or read for pleasure. Foster Grandparent volunteers are needed in early elementary grades to improve reading scores. Foster Grandparent volunteers work with teacher-identified students through oneon-one and small group assistance and support, focusing on reading and literacy skills using games, teacher-supplied worksheets, student reading and writing assignments. Teachers work directly with the volunteers to gauge students’ progress. In a four county area the volunteers serve a minimum of 15 hours per week, reaching approximately 120 students. Foster Grandparents receive in-service trainings throughout the year, as well as guidance from classroom teachers, on literacy skill building, child development, verbal and non-verbal communication, and age appropriate social skills. The Foster Grandparent Program Begun as a national pilot program in 1965, Foster Grandparents quickly demonstrated that Americans of all ages who were willing to share their time and had the desire to help others could make a lasting, positive impact on their community. The program continues today; matching volunteers with changing opportunities that best fit their interests and strengths. Foster Grandparents are specifically trained by the organization they will be working with after completing a comprehensive, pre-service training with Senior Corps, a division of The Corporation for National and Community Service. This program has two purposes: first to provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to school age children identified as being at-risk for failing in
academics or citizenship; the second is to provide volunteer employment for low income persons 55 years of age and older who have the desire and aptitude to help young students succeed in school studies and life skills. Our participation in the Lunch & Learn, as well as the Migrant Education programs, is an outstanding opportunity for our volunteers to sharpen and maintain their tutoring skills during the schools’ summer vacation period. COCOA sees the program as an integral part of its intergenerational strategy that assists children in learning from and truly appreciating what elders provide to their growth and development. The program enhances the education to the children served while providing the senior volunteer a real purpose to make a difference in his/her community. Becoming a Foster Grandparent • • • • •
Be 55 years of age or older Pass a background check Have a genuine love for children Complete an application, interview, and orientation training Be available to serve a minimum of 15 hours to a maximum of 40 hours weekly
Benefits to Being a Foster Grandparent • • • •
• • • •
Tax-free stipend (does not count as income for any purpose) Monthly limited transportation reimbursement Insurance coverage while serving, training, or in-service meetings Meet other seniors, learn new skills, become part of a supportive team Remain physically and mentally active Receive recognition for volunteerism with youth Use life experiences and wisdom Help the community and change a child’s future
Goals and Accomplishments COCOA’s Foster Grandparent Program plans to grow the program by community outreach and volunteer sites at local schools and residential facilities and through partnerships with other nonprofit child focused agencies. The FGP has intensified its effort to improve the volunteers’ professionalism and expertise by emphasizing tutoring periodicals and books by creditable educators. In-service meetings enable volunteers to not only collaborate on best practices, but to also receive information on matters such as disaster preparedness, child and elder abuse, and personal safety/ security, as well as senior services in our area. Student performance and achievement gains are evidenced in direct correlation to the attention by our volunteers. More students are being helped and greater academic improvement achieved by students due to involvement with the volunteers. COCOA Looks forward to continuing this portion of the Senior Corps triad of programs for and about seniors in Central Oregon in future years and is currently recruiting volunteers 55 years of age or older, living in any community in Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, or Wasco counties, and who have a sincere desire to make a difference with children’s school success. The next training is tentatively scheduled for June. To find out more, call the Central Oregon Council on Aging at 541-6785483 and ask for the Foster Grandparent Program Director.
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