How This Cardiologist Keeps Her Patients Patients H EA EAR R T-HEALTHY Reimagine Rei magine Your
Save Your Skin From the Sun
INSIDE: What To Know When Buying A Computer
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features and stories
32 columns and departments
22 this cardiologist practices what she preaches
10 worth noting
28 expert advice on buying your next computer
14 out and about
32 reimagine and thrive in your outdoor space
16 the essayist: westchesterites share with us 18 health & wellness: summer skin care
20 wellness advocate: addressing brain fog
34 fresh ideas for your home
31 legal talk: for parents of children with disabilities
37 legal matters: declining a bequest
36 medicaid advisor: changes delayed, act now
38 relationships: healing for fractured families
Mark your calendars for our October 24, 2021
Booming BETTER Expo
Please join me at our in-person (yes!) day of engaging activities, presentations, workshops and more - all aimed at empowering you to live your strongest and best life! At Manhattanville College in Purchase. Pre-register at www.BoomingBetter.com to be eligible for the $500 raffle. See you there! (All safety protocols will be followed.) For vendor and/or sponsor info, email me at: email@example.com westchesterseniorvoice.com
Introducing New Caregiver Services at Phelps The responsibility of being a caregiver is often stressful and has become even more so during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Phelps Hospital’s newly created Care Connections program has partnered with the Westchester Public/Private Partnership for Aging Services to assist caregivers by offering unique services during this difficult time.
We need to care for caregivers like we care for our patients.
Phelps’ Care Connections Program is designed to do just that. We’re here to help ease the burden associated with caring for a loved one. We provide: — Guidance and Counseling from a Caregiver Navigator — Care Baskets Containing Resource Materials and Relaxing Amenities — Free Educational Workshops and Symposiums It’s our way of ensuring that you are best able to assist your loved ones. True wellness is achieved when the mind, body and spirit are all nourished. Order your free care baskets containing resource materials and relaxing amenities while supplies last.
For more information, contact the Care Connections Program at 914-366-1199 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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VOLUME 6.3 SUMMER 2021 Copyright © Voice Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Westchester Senior Voice Print ISSN 2469-5203 Online ISSN 2469-5211 Publishing Quarterly plus an Annual Guide and the Booming BETTER Expo
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from the publisher I TALK (AND WRITE) A LOT
ways from learning and adopting technology. I’ve
about this magazine's mis-
seen how much it’s helped my dad and even saved
sion to empower baby boom-
his life in many ways. It helped him feel less iso-
ers and seniors to live their
lated; he could talk with and see his adult grandchil-
strongest and best lives. What
dren. He could connect with his physicians on vir-
I haven't spoken of previously
tual platforms. He could order books, gadgets and
is the inspiration I get from my
other assorted items online. And it certainly came
own dad, who turned 95 this
in handy when sign-up for the vaccine became an
past March. He lives on his
own and leads a remarkably ordinary life. We’ve all witnessed this increasing shift to techI say "ordinary" because he does many of the things
nology and being older is no longer a singular rea-
that others might perceive as being "extra" ordinary
son to be left behind, especially when our health
for a nonagenarian. He and his girlfriend attend
and well-being depend on this connectedness. I
happy hours on Fridays – yes, that went on hold this
extend a sincere thank you here to all the individu-
past year but now, fully vaccinated and adhering to
als and organizations who worked so hard to get
social distancing guidelines, they are back at their
our seniors connected, online and onboard!
favorite [outdoor] haunts. He’s a regular at Costco - continually stocking up on paper towels, canned
On another note, I recently fielded a call from one of
sardines, avocadoes and chocolate covered al-
our readers asking me how we’re able to produce and
monds. He reads the newspaper every day and,
distribute this magazine for free. The answer: through
weather permitting, paints on his outdoor patio. And
the support of our amazing advertisers. So when/if
he is still cooking up his favorite dishes.
you call one of the businesses, organizations or professionals you find within our pages, please let them
Perhaps a large part of my dad’s success in aging
know you found them through Westchester Senior
(in addition to that daily avocado) has been his will-
Voice. They enable us to bring you this magazine.
ingness – even eagerness - to embrace technology. When the pandemic hit, he and I quickly realized
Wishing love, peace and kindness upon our world,
the only way to see each other would be digitally. So he traded in his android phone for an iPhone and we replaced our voice calls with facetime calls
Susan E. Ross
- and never looked back. The pandemic showed us
Publisher and Certified Senior Advisor®
that even our oldest seniors could benefit in new
We're baaaack... Don't miss our
October 24, 2021
Booming BETTER Expo
Please join me at our in-person day of engaging activities, presentations, workshops and more - all aimed at empowering you to live your strongest and best life! At Manhattanville College in Purchase. Pre-register at www.BoomingBetter.com to be eligible for the $500 prize. See you there! (All safety protocols will be followed.) * For vendor and/or sponsor info, email: firstname.lastname@example.org westchesterseniorvoice.com
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Have You Planned Your Vaxication? According to Frank Bastone, chief vacation therapist and travel specialist for baby boomers and seniors at Pinnacle Trips in North Salem, NY, a new word has been added to our lexicon: vaxications refer to the first vacations people plan to take once fully vaccinated. With so many of us overly fatigued of being handcuffed to our homes for 16 or more months, vaxicationers are planning longer trips than usual. Says Frank, the more popular destinations include Hawaii, Greece, Croatia and, of course, the east and west coast beaches of the U.S. Multigenerational travel is also on the upswing as grandparents – who were mostly kept apart from their grandchildren throughout the pandemic - are eager to connect in person once again. Concerned about a safe vacation experience, Frank
tells us there’s an increased interest in villa and private home rentals – both domestically and abroad, which typically provide plenty of outdoor private space. And what about cruises? Judge for yourself: Silversea’s 139-day world cruise in 2023, with 66 destinations in 34 days, sold out on the first day. Royal Caribbean’s request for volunteer passengers for
their test sailings drew 200,000 eager respondents. That said, the cruise lines are promising reduced capacity, especially for their larger ships, as well as smaller sized group excursions. To learn more about what’s going on with post-Covid travel options, reach out to Frank at 914-589-7149 or email him at email@example.com
Shakespeare in the Park Returns
An uplifting and celebratory indication of re-openings and a return to live performances, New York City's Public Theater has announced free Shakespeare in the Park, at the infamous Delacorte Theater.
Running from July 6 through August 29, Merry Wives – a fresh adaptation by Jocelyn Bioh of Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor – will beckon theatergoers to the outdoor venue in Central Park.
Merry Wives, featuring an eclectic community of West African immigrants living in South Harlem and being performed in the heart of the city, will rejoice with laughter and vitality – all the more so as
life resumes post-pandemic. The performance schedule, safety protocols and free ticket distribution will be forthcoming.
Visit www.publictheater.org for more information.
ASK THE DOC What are the signs of a heart attack?
Dr. Roger Cappucci, Cardiologist at Scarsdale Medical Group and Chief of Cardiology at White Plains Hospital, answers your question and explains how heart attack symptoms may differ in women and in men. If you believe you are having a heart attack – be safe – call 911. In a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 92% of respondents recognized chest pain as a major symptom of a heart attack. However, only 27% of respondents were able to identify all the symptoms and most didn’t know when they should call for help. “A heart attack can present very differently for a woman than it does for a man, so it’s important to know the signs”, says Dr. Cappucci. Men commonly get that ‘Hollywood heart attack’, whereby he clutches his chest and has trouble breathing. But the signs are not always that obvious. Women often get obscure symptoms that wouldn’t necessarily make you think, “heart attack”. In fact, chest pain is absent in 43% of women having a heart attack. More often, women will feel a little chest tightness or some weakness, shortness of breath, or pain anywhere in the upper body, like the back of the neck or jaw. They may also experience nausea, toothaches or pain in one or both of their arms. “If something seems off to you, or you suspect you’re having a heart attack, play it safe and head to the ER immediately.”
KNOW THE SIGNS If you’re not sure - call 911
1. CHEST PAIN OR DISCOMFORT
2. UPPER BODY PAIN
3. SHORTNESS OF BREATH
Most heart attacks involve pain or discomfort in the center or left-center of your chest. A person may feel tightness, heavy pressure, or a crushing feeling, with pain ranging from mild to severe.
When there is a problem with the heart, pain can be felt elsewhere as surrounding nerves are triggered. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath can sometimes be an accompanying symptom to unusual fatigue in women. During a heart attack or heart failure, fluid may leak into the lungs, causing a feeling of breathlessness.
4. NAUSEA OR DIZZINESS Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, or dizziness can occur during a heart attack. Night sweats are also a common symptom as pumping blood through clogged arteries takes more effort from the heart.
To find a cardiologist, call 914-849-MyMD or visit wphospital.org
A MEMBER OF THE MONTEFIORE HEALTH SYSTEM
Appanage Innovative Living Expands
Now in Scarsdale for Baby Boomers and Seniors Appanage, a new wellnessoriented living/housing model for baby boomers and seniors has opened its first Westchester location, at Popham Hall in Scarsdale. And they're ready for residents!
to transportation; scheduling curriculum such as yoga, theater trips, book clubs, movement classes, along with other services. Appanage now has buildings in Manhattan and Flushing, Queens, in addition to the Scarsdale location. The company plans to expand further in New York and to unveil residences in several major markets across the U.S. by the end of this year. Their members have access to flexible living options which allow them to live in one location or between Appanage destinations across the country as the portfolio expands.
This innovative living experience includes access to private, fully furnished turnkey residences in luxury [intergenerational] buildings, dedicated wellness experts, along with wellness programming for its member residents. Appanage co-founder Daniel Stern noted, “Appanage is a vibrant community filled with dynamic and like-minded people of different ages that encourages the cultivation of new friendships and hobbies.” Programming is designed to engage, motivate and support an active and healthy lifestyle for ages 55 and older.
Appanage wellness professionals guide members toward improving their daily lives through cultivating friendships and relationships; managing and connecting with resources and services; assisting with shopping, appointment scheduling and the like; coordinating nutrition in conjunction with a registered dietitian; help in finding healthcare providers; facilitating access
Kusama's Cosmic Nature
Kusama’s lifelong fascination with the natural world began in childhood, when she was surrounded by the greenhouses and fields of her family’s seed nursery. She is now one of the most critically acclaimed artists in the world.
NYBG welcomes contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, along with her monumental and immersive sculptures in KUSAMA: COSMIC NATURE. Her Dancing Pumpkin and I Want to Fly to the Universe sculptures transform NYBG’s 250-acre landscape through October 31 of this year.
Current monthly pricing for Popham Hall in Scarsdale, which includes the furnished apartment and amenities, wellness programming and services, starts at $5,620 for a one-bedroom and goes up from there for larger apartments. For more information, visit www.appanage.live or schedule a tour by calling 833-233-1242.
Virtual Vitality with Phelps
Following New York Sate and City guidelines for social distancing and visitor safety, there is also an interior Kusama installation: Infinity Mirrored Room—Illusion Inside the Heart.
This summer, you can continue to count on virtual programming from Phelps Hospital/Northwell Health Vitality. Zoom in for a variety of classes, lectures and support groups: Laughter Yoga; Memory Fitness; the Breakfast Club (featuring some keynote guests including Westchester’s Assistant District Attorney Gary Brown who will talk about protecting yourself from scams on June 10); Osteoporosis Support Group; Alzheimer’s Caregivers Support Group; Holistic Pain Management (with a tai chi class in June); Parkinson’s Support Group; and a Bereavement Support Group.
There will be pop-up performances on Saturdays and Sundays between 11a.m and 4p.m. For more information and tickets, go to www.nybg.org/event/ kusama/plan-your-visit/
For more information on exact dates and times for each program, to sign up for the zoom links or other questions, contact Ellen Woods at 914.366.3937 or email her at Vitality@northwell.edu
THE KEY TO YOUR HEART IS CARDIAC REHABILITATION AT BURKE If you have heart disease, participating in cardiac rehab is one of the best things you can do for
CARDIAC CONDITIONS WE REHABILITATE INCLUDE: • Angina • Cardiac valve repair or replacement • Coronary angioplasty and/or stenting • Coronary artery bypass surgery
yourself. Cardiac rehab helps you regain control
• Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
of your health and get back to leading a full,
• Heart failure
productive life. Call us for an appointment.
785 MAMARONECK AVENUE | WHITE PLAINS, NY 10605 | 888-99-BURKE | BURKE.ORG summer 2021
OUT AND ABOUT
A Caramoor Summer In-Person and Outdoors
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is set to present a full summer season of live, in-person outdoor performances at their idyllic Katonah campus. A seven-week festival, running June 19 to August 8 will be followed by two post-season concert series: from August 13 to September 12. Artistic Director Kathy Schuman comments, “We’re so fortunate that our outdoor venues enable us to have a full concert season this summer. Despite some operational differences, this year’s program remains as robust and varied as ever. We can’t wait to welcome audiences back to Caramoor for programs that run the gamut from celebratory to reflective. I think we’ve all deeply missed the kind of magical experience that comes from sharing live music in the company of others.” Two major experiential, site-specific, open-air contemporary works highlight this year’s summer lineup. The first of these,
The Forest (July 3) – created in response to the pandemic and the particular problems it presents for choral performance – is the creation of Donald Nally, conductor and twotime Grammy-winner. Drawing on new amplification technology to create an immersive soundscape, Nally’s work places the singers 30 feet apart from one another in Caramoor’s wooded grounds, where audience members will follow a special route at socially distanced intervals, experiencing the music as they walk. The second work, Ten Thousand Birds (July 11), composed expressly for the chamber orchestra and customized for Caramoor by Alarm Will Sound’s Artistic Director Alan Pierson draws inspiration from the different species’ birdsongs heard at each performance location, captured in minute detail to evoke the cycle of a single day. Audience members will be encouraged to
Just Gogh! Following sold out shows in Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the Immersive Van Gogh exhibition will be opening on Thursday, June 10 in New York City. Basic timed tickets are $49.99. Created by Italy’s Massimiliano Siccardi, a world-renowned master of digital art who has been pioneering immersive exhibitions in Europe for 30 years, the show merges stateof-the-art technology, theatrical storytelling and world-class animation, and is set to a score of orchestral arrangements with electronic compositions.
Impressionist works of Van Gogh at Pier 36, a 75,000 square foot waterfront space in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to “step inside” and experience the incredible post-
Critics have been raving about the show. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “Entire rooms
walk around and experience the music from multiple perspectives. And to celebrate Independence Day, Curt Ebersole and the Westchester Symphonic Winds return for their annual Pops & Patriots concert (this time without fireworks). Two guest vocalists – soprano Candice Hoyes and baritone Jorell Williams – will perform a medley of Gershwin songs; the program also includes patriotic tunes, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, a special tribute to Duke Ellington, and more (July 4). This is just a small taste of all that is going on this summer at Caramoor. For more complete coverage, visit caramoor.org
pulse with imagery and emotional resonance.” The Toronto Sun declared, “The mind-blowing imagery brings van Gogh’s best work to life — including Sunflower, Irises and The Starry Night — for a cathartic and liberating experience.” “Immersive Van Gogh ups the emotional ante.” Debra Yeo of the Toronto Star stated, “I wondered: could projections of paintings on walls and floors be thrilling? The answer is ‘yes.'” Go to www.vangoghnyc.com for tickets.
Welcome Back Bicycle Sundays
A beloved Westchester tradition since 1974, and funded by Westchester Parks Foundation and its partners since 2012, 6.5 miles of the Bronx River Parkway will be exclusively devoted to bicyclists, skaters, joggers and walkers from 10a.m. to 2p.m on the following dates: June 6, 13, 20, 27; July 11, 18, 25; August 8, 15, 22, 29; September 12, 19, 26; and October 3, 17, 24, 31 Seth Mandelbaum, Chairperson of Westchester Parks Foundation stated, “Bicycle Sundays is one of the most iconic events in Westchester, and we are thrilled to be able to offer this event for free to all residents from May through October. It not only promotes healthy lifestyles but also a muchneeded mental health break to all during the pandemic. We are grateful to Con Edison and NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital for their generous support and commitment to parks and open space.”
The route runs from the Westchester County Center in White Plains, south to Scarsdale Road in Yonkers: a round-trip of 13.1 miles. There are many points of entry, exit, and parking along the way. The event is free to the public. Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, “Getting outdoors and active has always been good for physical and mental health – and over the past year we have experienced this more than ever. In 2020, Bicycle
Sundays offered residents a rare outlet as activities were limited and I am thrilled to continue this annual event in an extended capacity.” Each year, more than 60,000 thousand cyclists, joggers, and others come out to enjoy the curves and wooded scenery that make the nation’s first parkway a national historic landmark. The path winds alongside the wooded Bronx River Reservation. For more information visit: https://www.thewpf.org/ programs/bicycle-sundays/
Good days are brighter and tough times are easier with the RIGHT COMPANION! Stay in the home you love with help from our skilled, senior-aged companions who can provide a little assistance or full-time help. Call us today! SeniorS Helping SeniorS weStcHeSter/putnam nY 914-263-7716 www.seniorcarenorthwestchester.com
Since You Asked ... BY KIM KOVACH
Summer days in Westchester may include nature walks, tending to your vegetable garden, swimming laps, playing golf with friends or simply relaxing with a good book and a cool beverage outside on the deck. Five Westchester residents share their thoughts on staying positive, favorite summer activities and life lessons. HOW DID YOU KEEP YOUR SPIRITS UP THIS YEAR? In addition to reading science fiction and setting up her basement as an art studio for drawing and painting, Somers resident Patricia Humphreys makes time to walk outside and photograph swans on the reservoir. Retired after careers as a para-legal and reference librarian, Patricia adds, “I also discovered new kinds of entertainment like watching Chinese dramas on You Tube!” Everett Fields, a lifelong Greenburgh resident, says, “I have a lot of stuff around the house to keep me amused.” A songwriter in his spare time, the retired Verizon technician enjoys writing songs using computer software programs. “Fortunately, I am a creative individual,” says Jerry Becker, a retired New York City high school science teacher and Yonkers resident. “My interests allowed me to be distracted positively from all that’s going on.” Jerry listens to classical and new age music and plays piano, drums and harmonica. He maintains a schedule of one hour of tai chi, yoga, weights and aerobics every day. “I also have a very cre-
ative wife, a dancer,” Jerry notes. “I have survived and thrived.” Janice Boland of Bedford kept her spirits up over the winter by reading travel, gardening and nonfiction books, going out for nature walks, and practicing tai chi. A retired editorial and art director for an educational publisher, as well as a children’s book author, Janice says, “I play the piano for my own enjoyment and I also take a weekly creative writing class over Zoom which challenges me to write stories for adults.” Heidi Candell, MSW, LCSW, traded commuting from Scarsdale for working virtually from home three days a week as a psychotherapist. “I made a list of things that I had not been able to do before,” explains Heidi. “I enjoyed reading novels, cooking more, exercising, and being home with my dog. I was able to spend time with my three adult sons who are the funniest people in the world.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SUMMER ACTIVITY? Jerry Becker enjoys walking in the park. A world traveler, Jerry and his wife hope to resume traveling in the not-too-distant future. Patricia Humphreys and her husband have fun discovering new hiking trails in Westchester. She also plants flower varieties in her garden to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Everett Fields looks forward to hosting family cook-outs in the backyard this summer with “steak, chicken and ribs.”
Summer plans for Heidi Candell include biking with her husband around Larchmont Manor and attending outdoor music concerts with the family. Janice Boland’s favorite summer activity is going out on the lake in her rowboat. “It’s very peaceful and calming,” she says, “and good exercise!” WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? Heidi says, “To not feel in a hurry to hit all of my goals and to trust your gut that things will work out the way they are supposed to.” “Follow your interests and dreams and don’t take the practical route,” advises Janice Boland. Everett would encourage his younger self, “Be more adventurous and try new things.” “Be more adventuresome and outgoing,” agrees Patricia Humphreys. Jerry Becker reflects, “Knowing what I know now, I would say to be more accepting of myself as a human being and not to be so demanding, driven or competitive.” Sage advice. Be kind to yourself and applaud your resilience and strength. You’ve earned that extra scoop of ice cream, my friends! n n n
Kim Kovach enjoys daily walks followed by chocolate ice cream. Kim teaches fiction writing and nonfiction writing classes for adults via Zoom. www.kimkovachwrites.com
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HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Save Your Skin From the Sun BY DR. ATHENA KAPORIS
IS HYALURONIC ACID AS EFFECTIVE AS RETINOL A? People with dry skin benefit from hyaluronic acid, which is more of a moisturizing than healing ingredient. Hyaluronic acid pulls water from the environment into your skin and is effective at hydrating. It’s like a big drink of water for your pores. It can soften fine lines in your face, make your skin look firmer, and smooth out even the roughest dry patches of skin. Do not use hyaluronic acid without following up with a moisturizer, especially in a dry climate; otherwise it can drain the water from your skin leaving it dryer.
Each year in the United States, more than five million people are treated for skin cancer. At age 40, the average person has received 47 percent of their cumulative sun damage. By age 60, it jumps to nearly 100 percent. Unprotected sun exposure is also the number one cause for skin aging, and less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun when they are outside for an hour or more in the summer. No one wants to deny themselves time with their family or friends when the weather is wonderful and the sun is shining. On the other hand, some of us feel we have to dress up like a mummy in order to avoid skin damage. So how can we protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun? Let’s answer some of your questions… DOES A HIGHER SPF PROVIDE MORE PROTECTION FROM THE SUN? The sun protection factor (SPF) number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30 will provide proper protection. Higher SPF numbers mean better protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference in protection. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out approximately 93% of harmful ultraviolet rays, while SPF 30 filters out about 97%, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. SPF 100 is the most effective sunscreen at approximately 99%. But beware. Very high SPFs can give sun worshippers a false sense of security, thinking it’s a stamp of approval to stay in the sun all day. Doing so can end up damaging your skin.
When using sunscreen, apply enough to cover the areas of your skin not covered by your clothing. Remember to reapply when engaging in swimming or other outdoor physical activities. You will need about one ounce to fully cover your body. And don't forget to apply to the tops of your feet, neck, ears and the top of your head. CAN RETINOL A REPAIR SUN DAMAGE? Retinol is essentially a by-product of vitamin A, which is one of the body's key nutrients for repairing sun damage, and is one of the best over-the-counter ingredients to counteract the effects of aging on skin. By accelerating skin renewal, it can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots and even out skin tone. It dissolves oil and makes pores tighter and smoother, helping to keep them unclogged. However, if you use too high a strength or apply retinol more frequently than you should, it may cause irritation, redness or dryness if you have sensitive skin. Apply Retinol with a moisturizer to prevent dryness and irritation.
HOW HARMFUL ARE ULTRAVIOLET RAYS? Ultraviolet light (UV) is invisible to humans because it has shorter wavelengths than the light we can see. There are two types of UV rays that can damage your skin cells. UVB rays cause sunburn and play a key role in developing skin cancer, while UVA rays age the skin and cause wrinkles. No single method of sun defense is 100% effective. Sunscreen is just one vital part of a strategy that should also include simple but effective methods such as staying in the shade, and wearing a hat and sunglasses. A hat can protect your head against melanoma (skin cancer), while sunglasses with UV protection can keep your eyes from developing cataracts. n n n
Dr. Athena Kaporis is a dermatologist with White Plains Hospital Physician Associates - Westchester Dermatology and Mohs Surgery in Mount Kisco. For information or to make an appointment, call Dr. Kaporis’ office at 914-242-2020.
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Brain Fog is Real ! Many of us have listened to friends and family complain about feeling confused, not being on top of their mental game, and seeming "a bit out of it" these days. Perhaps, at times, you have even felt challenged to form a cohesive sentence. None of this is at all surprising.
With Covid, our typical stimulations have been taken away, days are flowing together, and social isolation has led to lethargy and depression. Those who have lost loved ones have felt it even more keenly. This feeling of brain fog is what those suffering from memory loss experience every day. The vital person they were has been gradually replaced by someone who cannot remember simple things at best, and family members or themselves at worst. While the world is beginning to see some light at the end of this horrible tunnel, it will be some time before things are back to normal. In the interim, there are many positive activities used in helping those with early-stage memory loss. These same activities can help you lift the fog and get your brain back to its pre-COVID self: GET OUTDOORS Take a walk and listen to the birds or plant some flowers. Leave the phone at home – just focus on yourself and being part of nature.
GO TO BED AT THE SAME TIME and sleep for eight to nine hours every night. Most of us do not get enough sleep. Now, more than ever, it’s critical to give your brain a chance to clean out toxins and build new connections.
ily, from work, and just ‘be’ for a few minutes every day.
EXERCISE BUILDS HEALTHY BRAINS Walk, run, do yoga, do something! Regular exercise, even low-impact, benefits the mind just as much as it does the body. We know it’s hard – but get moving.
TAKE A BREAK FROM ZOOM “I’m Zoomed out” has become the new buzz phrase. Sitting in front of the computer talking all day is exhausting! Try to schedule breaks between Zoom calls; if possible, stay off the computer at least one day a week.
FIND WAYS TO TAKE A BREAK FROM STRESS Do whatever works for you to take a stress break – disconnect from the news, from fam-
EAT WELL Just like exercise, eating well benefits the mind as well as the body. Be sure to make healthy choices and avoid processed foods.
DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF We all deserve a little TLC
right now. Whether it’s reading a favorite book, taking a long bath, meditating, playing with the dog, or simply closing the bedroom door for a little ‘me’ time away from the family, take 20 to 30 minutes every single day to focus on yourself and your own well-being. We must all take an active role in caring for our brain health, especially now. Take some positive steps today to lessen that fog. Your brain and your mental health will thank you for it! n n n
Article provided by Sharp Again Naturally. To find the resources you need to help prevent and address memory loss, visit Sharpagain.org. Also inquire about their ten-week Sharp Again Small Group program.
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how this cardiologist keeps herself and her patients heart-healthy BY DONNA MORIARTY
BY DONNA MORIARTY
Pictured here: Dr. Dina R. Katz westchesterseniorvoice.com
If you want to know how to achieve and maintain a healthy heart, ask a cardiologist—preferably a healthy one. Dina R. Katz MD, FACC, FASNC, is a senior attending cardiologist at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health and an inaugural member of Northwell’s Katz Institute for Women's Health. And boy, is she healthy. A former college athlete, Katz is a selfconfessed gym rat and runner who works out at least an hour a day, seven days a week. Why? “Because it makes me feel great, and it might help me live longer,” she says. After years of following a hearthealthy diet of mostly fish, nuts, seeds and pressed oils, Katz recently switched to a plant-based diet that she swears by. “The health benefits are massive, primary among them a lower risk of heart disease and certain cancers,” she says.
fainting? These major indicators of heart disease almost always frighten people into thinking about their heart health, some for the first time in their lives. Katz reviews their personal and family health history, ferreting out the four major risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. Some risk factors can be lowered through changes to diet and lifestyle, while others—say, a family history of diabetes—cannot. (Note: Several studies have shown that, while you can’t change the cards you are dealt by your genes, improved habits may help alter your health outcomes. See sidebar below.)
intervention. But Katz never waits long before having The Talk. Every patient she sees, no matter their age, health condition or risk factors, must confront their lifestyle choices. “It’s easy to place a stent in a clogged artery to get blood flowing again,” she says. “The hard part is sitting down together to figure out what got them into this mess and begin to treat it.”
ANOTHER BIG FOUR: LIFESTYLE Katz asks four more questions to determine her strategy. First up: Do you smoke? “If the answer is yes, I ask when they want to quit.” Katz educates her patients on the benefits of quitting, using “an arsenal of tools” to help them do so. These range from medications For some very sick patients, treatment that help ease psychological depenBut what about us mere mortals? What might require medication or a surgical dence to nicotine replacements that does it take for a person to willingly allow them to taper off tobacco. adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle that CHANGING THE OUTCOME FOR Some prefer to quit cold turkey, includes regular exercise and elimior want to try acupuncture or anINHERITED RISK FACTORS nates guilty pleasures from our diet? other method, but she never proceeds without a firm commitment. If you have a family history of heart disease, it’s Unfortunately, it usually takes a “If I don’t get a definite 'yes,' I tell case closed, right? health scare. them to call me when they have a quit date,” she says. Not necessarily, says cardiologist Dina R. Katz, M.D. Typically, Dr. Katz sees a patient for the first time after they or someone Next she’ll ask: What do you do At a 2017 conference at the Nestlé Research Cenin their life has had a heart attack or for exercise? The most common ter in Switzerland, an esteemed body of health exreceived a dire warning from their prianswer is, not enough. While auperts convened to explore the epigenetic impact of mary care physician. While a fair numthorities like the American College diet and lifestyle on individual health. Epigenetics ber of her patients are over 60, with of Cardiology and the American is the study of the ways in which different biological symptoms or conditions that put them Heart Association recommend all and environmental signals affect gene expression. at higher risk for heart disease, that adults exercise a total of 150 minThe group posited the idea that various components population has been shifting slightly. utes per week, that’s a lot to ask of diet send these signals throughout the body and Patients of all ages come to her for of someone who’s been sedentary. may influence gene expression. Scientists are now prevention, bringing in articles they’ve After taking a detailed exercise hisinvestigating how eating habits might impact the inread or questions about their risk factory, Katz follows up at subsequent herited genetic structure we are born with. tors. They, too, may be motivated by visits to review how it’s going, “to a health scare—if not their own, then keep them accountable,” she says. Dr. Katz puts it more plainly, “Even though you can’t that of a relative or co-worker. “They The key is to start small and build change the genes you’ve inherited, you can influstart to realize they are vulnerable,” a habit gradually until they become ence your gene expression through better nutrition says Katz. “They want to do better.” hooked on the benefits. (See sideand exercise.” To illustrate, an individual with an THE HEART HEALTH BIG FOUR Katz asks new patients four questions: Have you had any chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or
inherited gene that produces LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, is not necessarily doomed to a heart attack. By cutting out red meat and saturated fats, she can lower her cholesterol and thus her risk for heart disease. “So don’t give up the ship just because of your family history,” concludes Katz. summer 2021
bar on the next page.)
Katz’s next question can be a game-changer for many: What do you eat? Regardless of the answer, she encourages every
patient to see a nutritionist after keeping a food log for a few days. If their eating habits are unhealthy, now they can see it in black and white, and the nutritionist can craft an individualized nutrition plan they can stick with. Finally, she asks about stress, reviewing mitigating factors such as adequate sleep, strong relationships, and activities that bring joy, connection and meaning to their lives. “I cite studies that show yoga and meditation can lower blood pressure and improve heart rate variability. I recommend free apps they can use any time of day—before bedtime, in their car before going into work. Even just a few minutes a day can help,” she says. Though she spends a good half hour with every patient, Katz says these conversations about smoking, diet and exercise are “just the tip of the iceberg.” If poor habits Dr. Katz preparing a vegan meal at home. are deeply ingrained or include several risk factors, she encourDR. KATZ’S PRESCRIPTION FOR OPTIMUM HEALTH ages them to start with small steps. “A big part of my job is and hate to miss it. They your desk and walk or run EXERCISE. As a cardiolobeing a cheerleader. I tell them, love how they feel. “That’s on your lunch hour.” gist, Dr. Katz sees a lot of how you develop a healthier it took you X number of years to people who hate to exerlifestyle,” asserts Katz. get to this point, so don’t expect People who have retired cise. But regardless of a paface a different problem, all that to change overnight. Be tient’s health status or risk If they need more motivasays Katz. “Ironically, withfactors, she always starts a patient with yourself.” tion, this cardiologist reout a structured daily rouconversation about diet and minds her patients: “Regular tine, it’s almost impossible exercise early, “before takComing from a board-certified exercise helps you move to find the time to exercise.” ing out the prescription pad.” cardiologist, Katz’s next piece better, it strengthens your She coaches her scheduleof advice may be unexpected. muscles and eases your fluid patients in setting up a While the generally acceptAn avid consumer of research joints, reduces stress so you routine that includes moded guideline for most ablestudies, she mentions sevcan sleep better, and helps erate activity, getting them bodied Americans is 150 eral that show a link between your heart pump more efoutdoors whenever possible. minutes a week of moderate prayer and a lower risk of heart ficiently.” And she’s not just “I tell my patients to put it in exercise (75 minutes if the disease. People who believe in talking the talk. their schedule and make it an activity is vigorous), Katz something—whether it’s a deenjoyable part of every day.” knows better than to rigidly ity or marriage or friendship or Katz exercises every single insist on such a lofty goal community connections—fare day, rain or shine. She likes How much exercise is too from someone who’s been better. "I tell my patients, surto mix up her workouts, inmuch? Katz’s definitive resedentary for decades. round yourself with people who corporating stints on her ply: “In the general populamake you feel good. Do things Peloton bike (or her road tion, over-exercise should Ever the cheerleader, she you enjoy. Think about what bike, depending on the not be an issue.” She maintells her patients to pick gives meaning and makes you weather), along with yoga, tains the benefits of exersomething they enjoy and happy. It’s good for your heart.” Pilates, strength training, cise far outweigh the risks. commit to it for six weeks. tennis and the occasional Rare incidents of a workShe recommends a minin n n swim “if I’m injured.” out bringing on a cardiac mum of 20 minutes a day, Donna Moriarty is a lifeevent are more commonly which they can break into long writer, editor and Many readers might wonder attributed to high perfor10-minute increments. author who writes about who’s got that kind of time. “I mance athletes. “Exercise education, wellness, and hear that a lot,” she says. “So should be challenging but Her theory: Give me six personal development. She and her husband I tell my patients to sneak it never painful,” says Katz. weeks and I guarantee you’ll are Ossining residents, with three in. If you’re not the type to hit “If something doesn't feel be hooked. She says her pagrown children and two elderly dachsthe gym before or after work, right, stop and discuss with tients who try actually start to hunds. Learn (and read) more at stash a pair of sneakers in look forward to the exercise your physician.” www.silversmithwriting.com westchesterseniorvoice.com
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buying your next computer BY ANASTASIA SLESAREVA
You’ve likely spent a good portion of the last 15 to 16 months using your computer as your primary connection to family, friends, and the world at large. During the pandemic, we developed new habits and skills, using computer software apps and programs we hadn’t even heard of before. We ordered groceries online, traveled virtually, streamed live performances, sent hundreds and thousands of emails, submitted our tax returns, and paid bills, along with a host of other tasks. Your computer or laptop may not have always behaved as expected or needed but you put aside notions of purchasing a new one, at least until now. In fact, most computers need to be replaced about every four years. Computer hardware ages and technology is advancing faster than ever. And, as we experienced this past year, our needs change, too. If your trusty desktop is no longer keeping up with new demands or if your older laptop is too bulky and slow, how do you go about selecting a new machine? Admittedly, it can seem like an overwhelming task so we reached out to local tech specialist Paul Lakis, the owner of EB Computing, Inc. in Ossining, NY to learn how to select the best computer for a variety of needs.
1. LAPTOP OR DESKTOP Consider your lifestyle and needs when deciding between a laptop or a desktop computer. They each have their pros and cons. A laptop is easy to carry and can be put away in a drawer, whereas new life can be brought to a desktop as aging internal components can be replaced. If you work or browse from multiple locations, or simply prefer a lightweight computer, look at laptops. If you have a permanent work area, a desktop can make sense. Neither option is more powerful than other, as that depends on the internal components, which are customizable. (Important tip: If you experience power outages in your area, a laptop could prove more reliable because of its built-in battery.) 2. MAC, PC OR CHROMEBOOK Finding the best computer for your needs and wants means deciding between an Apple Mac or a Windows PC (Personal Computer). Popular brands like Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo and oth-
ers offer different laptop and desktop models, each running the Windows OS (Operating System). Apple Mac computers all come with a version of the macOS (Macintosh Operating System), the latest one being Catalina. Consider carefully whether you’re willing to adapt to a Mac if you’ve never used one before. Same goes for Mac users who are thinking of switching to a PC. Re-training can be frustrating for users of any age because many computer habits are dependent on muscle memory, especially when using a new mouse. When it comes to security, Apple MacBooks are known to be reliable right out of the box. However, PCs can be just as malware-proof if set up properly. Don’t hesitate to look for help in this area because today’s malware, also known as computer viruses, are increasingly sophisticated and dangerous to your data. A significantly less expensive option is a Chromebook. Chromebooks look like smaller laptops but don’t have their own internal storage, meaning you wouldn’t be able to save files to the machine itself. Instead, everything on a Chromebook is saved to either Google drive or a cloud storage location such as Dropbox or Microsoft OneDrive. You would not be able to install programs on a Chromebook either. Instead, you would use apps available through Google Play Store. Chromebooks are the least powerful machines, but if you are look-
Other Terms to Know: COMPUTER PORTS are the openings on the sides of a laptop, or in the back or front of a desktop that allow other devices, such as screens, printers and flash drives to be connected. The older type of the frequently used USB port is USB 3.0; the newer version is a USB C port. It is the standard for today’s machines. A USB 3.0 is good to have for backing up the computer, and having an HDMI port would likely prove very useful because it allows connection to a TV. Don’t stress if the machine of your choice doesn’t have a certain port, because adapters are often inexpensive and available on Amazon. BANDWIDTH refers to the amount of data that your internet connection can handle at a given time and is key to, among other things, good streaming performance. Your internet connection should have at least 100 MB (megabit) download speed – something that can be confirmed by your internet provider. Your internet performance also depends on the number of users. If you notice a drop in internet speed and quality when other household members or guests are online – perhaps gaming or watching videos, you may want to look into upgrading to a faster service, such as FiOS, which may be a bit pricier but often improves the browsing experience. ANTIVIRUS PROTECTION Most computers today come with built-in antivirus protection. However, many of these programs are installed as free trials, requiring a subscription for maximum protection. An antivirus program is absolutely worth its cost. Popular programs such as Malwarebytes, Norton and McAfee offer similar features and choosing one over the others is often a matter of cost and personal preference.
ing to browse the web, stream media, join Zoom meetings, or use Microsoft Word and Excel, then a Chromebook might be worth considering. 3. PROCESSORS A computer processor (also called CPU for Central Processing Unit) is sometimes referred to as the “brain” of the machine, and determines how fast the computer will operate. The more “cores” a processor has, the more powerful the computer. Intel Core i5 CPU models have four cores, which is generally suitable for mainstream users, including streaming and video chats. Intel Core i7 CPUs are more expensive but better serve heavy multi-tasking and gaming, video editing, and data crunching. 4. RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY (RAM) is the physical hardware inside the computer that serves as the computer’s “working” memory. Additional RAM enables a computer to work with more information at the same time and improves overall system performance. The hard drives or solid state drives (SSD) are also memory devices, but they are used for storing files long term. Look for machines with no less than 8 GB (gigabytes) of RAM. 5. STORAGE In most cases, having between 250 to 500 GB (gigabytes) of internal SSD storage is sufficient. More storage can be added to PC laptops and desktops, but MacBook internal storage cannot be upgraded. 6. SCREEN SIZE A high-definition 720 pixel, 15-inch screen or larger is recommended to work comfortably on a laptop. For desktops, a good-sized screen is 21 to 24 inches. To determine for yourself, visit a computer store and evaluate the different screen sizes. Keep in mind that a separate monitor can be purchased and plugged into a laptop to deliver a larger screen experience. 7. COST A reliable Windows laptop will generally cost between $500 and $800, without taking into account insurance, Microsoft Office products, and accessories. Desktops span a wider range: from $400 for a basic machine to about $1,500 for higher end models. A high-definition screen adds $120 to summer 2021
$300 to that cost. Apple MacBooks are known to be expensive investments that last a long time. A mid-range MacBook Pro with a 13-inch screen is priced at about $1,300, before insurance. New MacBooks now all come with the pricier high-resolution Retina screens. If you’re looking for savings, ask about “open box” computers (used for display or demonstration purposes). These computers are often new and unused, and may come with a warranty which can mean sizeable savings compared to a new machine. Another great option to check out are certified refurbished computers. (Apple sells refurbished computers direct to consumer off their Apple.com website.) An extended warranty may be worth purchasing separately, and is frequently offered by the store or manufacturer. More aptly referred to as protection plans, they can cover cracked screens, damage from beverage spills, and hardware failure. 8. WHERE AND WHEN TO SHOP It’s a great idea to check out some computers in person before making a decision to buy. Visit a larger Best Buy and don’t hesitate to talk to the techs. It is their job to explain the differences between the various models - without any pressure to buy. You will have a chance to compare computers side by side and ask questions, as well as find out about possible “open box” savings. Once you’ve made your choice, you will want to price out the model of your choice online. You may be wondering if it’s worth waiting for the next Black Friday or Cyber Monday to buy a new computer. Although great deals do pop up on these hot shopping days, manufacturers often run great sales throughout the year. Know your needs and a great deal will inevitably come up, no matter the season.
This article was developed in consultation with Paul Lakis, owner of EB Computing Inc. in Ossining; Paul can be reached at 914-5238142 or via email at PLakis@eb-computing.com
Westchester's Bee-Line Bus System and pay your fare with exact change. 2. Add money to your Reduced Fare MetroCard and use it as a debit card. 3. Please have your Reduced Fare MetroCard out and ready before you board the bus.
USING COINS TO PAY YOUR FARE: Dollar bills and pennies cannot be used in the fare box. If using coins, please have exact change ready when boarding the bus, as bus drivers are unable to make change.
it much easier to step on board. If you cannot use stairs, the Bee-Line bus driver around Westchester, and is a fully accessible bus service with senior reduced fares and free transfers? If you said the Westchester Bee-Line System, you’re correct! With over 3,300 bus stops and close to 60 routes, the Bee-Line bus Yet, many older adults are not familiar with how to ride the Bee-Line and overlook the
So, here are some helpful facts you should know about the Bee-Line System:
on board. You must ask the driver to use wheelchair or in a scooter, the driver will
happy to kneel the bus for you and make
only be used for bus to bus transfers. If you are using a MetroCard, your transfer will register electronically when you dip your card into the fare box.
needs. For your safety, always remember to hold the handrails.
PAYING YOUR FARE: If you are at least 65 years old, you pay a reduced fare of $1.35 per ride. For easier travel, apply for a Reduced Fare MetroCard that is personalized with your name and photograph. To apply for a Reduced Fare MetroCard visit the MetroCard van when it's in Westchester, the third week of every
date of birth. Call the Westchester SMART commute program at 914-995-4444 for
For individuals who enjoy using a computer, you can visit the Bee-Line online at www.westchestergov.com/beelinebus to accesses bus schedules, maps and general
FULLY ACCESSIBLE SERVICE: Why take a bigger step than you need to? sible bus service, making it easier for you to board and exit the bus. Every Bee-Line bus can “kneel,” which means that the entrance can be lowered to shorten the distance you have to step to board the bus. Each bus is also equipped with a
Your bus fare includes one free transfer to other Bee-Line buses and to MTA subways and local buses in the Bronx. If paying with coins, ask the driver for your transfer
and the MetroCard van schedule.
USING YOUR REDUCED FARE METROCARD: There are three ways you can use your Reduced Fare MetroCard: 1. Show it to your bus driver as your ID
If a phone call is more your style, a dedicall away, at 914-813-7777, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. An automated phone system is also available 24 hours per day.
High Anxiety for Parents of Children with Disabilities
As if the parents of children with disabilities didn’t have enough stress and worries to confront on a daily basis, the COVID 19 pandemic has pushed to the forefront the possibility of their own mortality and the issue of whom will undertake the role of being the legal guardian and primary caretaker of their disabled child (minor and/or adult). If the child is a minor and has two parents, the surviving parent would continue to be the legal guardian during the child’s minority (in New York, until age eighteen (18)). However, once the disabled child has attained the age of 18, depending on their incapacities, diagnosis and needs, the parent should strongly consider being appointed the legal guardian for the disabled child through an Article 17-A Guardianship or an Article 81-Guardianship, if appropriate. A proceeding under Article 17-A of the Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act (“17-A”) is commonly utilized for soon-to-be adult children that have “developmental and/or intellectual disabilities” that manifested before the age of twenty-two (22), such as autism, autism spectrum, traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, dyslexia and other neurological and intellectual disabilities. A Guardianship proceeding commenced under 17-A requires the sworn report of two (2) treating physicians and/or one psychologist and a physician, as to the developmental and/or intellectual disabilities of the
child, which must be submitted to the Surrogate’s Court in support of the proceeding. The petitioning party must also establish that a guardianship is needed and that the individual is permanently or indefinitely incapable of handling his/her own personal and financial affairs due to a developmental and/or intellectual disability which manifested itself before the age of 22. If the petitioner is appointed 17-A guardian of the person and property by the Surrogate’s Court, the guardian will be given extensive authority relevant to the child’s health care, personal and financial affairs. 17-A Guardianships have typically been criticized as being too rigid and restrictive, as they have not been tailored to the child’s specific needs. In recent years, the Surrogate’s Court has been more careful to assure that the appointment of a Guardian(s) is the least restrictive means available to handle the affairs of the child. They have also begun tailoring the powers given to the Guardian based on the facts at hand and the individual’s specific needs and abilities. Unlike 17-A Guardianships, an Article 81 Guardianship Proceeding under Mental Hygiene Law of New York (“Article 81”) is a proceeding commenced in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, not the Surrogate’s Court. In an Article 81 Guardianship proceeding, the Court need only find that the individual is an incapacitated person that requires assistance with his or her
BY LAUREN C. ENEA, ESQ personal and financial affairs and that they are unable to appreciate the consequences of their functional limitations. While Article 81 Guardianships do not have any age limitation or restriction, they are generally used where an adult, not a minor, requires a Guardian. Alternatively, for a high-functioning disabled child, the parents should consider alternatives to Guardianship such as the execution of a Health Care Proxy and Power of Attorney by the disabled child once he or she reaches the age of eighteen (18). There are many steps that a parent and/ or caretaker of a disabled child can take in order to plan for the disabled individual’s future needs and care. An experienced attorney who handles Guardianship Proceedings, Special Needs Planning and Estate Planning should be contacted to discuss all options available. n n n
Lauren C. Enea, Esq. is an Associate at Enea, Scanlan & Sirignano, LLP. She concentrates her practice in Wills, Trusts and Estates, Medicaid Planning, Guardianships and Special Needs Planning and Probate/Estate Administration. Ms. Enea believes it is never to early or too late to start planning for your future. She is admitted to practice law in New York and Florida and is an active member of the Executive Committee of the New York State Bar Association (NSYBA) Elder & Special Needs Section. She can be reached at (914) 948-1500 or at L.Enea@esslawfirm.com. Please visit www. esslawfirm.com for more information.
What steps have you taken to protect your life savings from the cost of long term care? . Elder Law . Asset Protection . Medicaid Applications (Nursing Home/Home Care) . Guardianships (Contested/Non-Contested) . Wills, Trusts & Estates WHITE PLAINS
Contact LAUREN C. ENEA, ESQ. summer 2021
TURN YOUR YARD, PATIO OR DECK INTO A REJUVENATING HANGOUT FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY
YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE BY ROSEMARY BLACK
If summer 2020 taught us anything, it’s that maximizing our time outside is the best way to truly savor the season. This year, with a little planning, why not up your game and transform your yard or patio into a haven that offers day and night opportunities for fun, relaxation, and easy summertime living? Not only can you make your space more enjoyable, but you can ensure it’s a reflection of your individual lifestyle.
suck a lot of our resources. We need to water and fertilize them. Reducing the size of your lawn also means reducing the use of leaf blowers.” He recommends moving towards more plants and trees, as well as incorporating a water feature such as a small pond, bird bath, or waterfall. “Your landscape should be like music,” he says. “The more natural the landscape, the more it evokes serenity and good feelings.” Flower garden or vegetable garden? It’s really a matter of personal choice. A flower garden will naturally bring you outdoors, observes Frank Giuliano, landscape architect and principal of Frank Giuliano and Associates in Katonah. “You’ll be drawn outside to pinch and prune and pick off dead flowers.”
A native plant pollinator habitat in Hastings, NY, designed by Green Jay Landscaping.
Vaccinated or not, chances are most of us will opt to be outside as much as possible again this summer. Here’s how to rethink and retool your outdoor space to enjoy every minute of the warm weather.
CREATE A HEALTHY OUTDOOR SPACE
“The pandemic forced us into a little selfexamination,” reflects Jay Archer, landscape ecologist and director of landscape design and development services at Green Jay Landscaping. “It gave people the
chance to experience their own landscape environment and also to think about how to create a healthy space. And it helped us to get closer to and interact with nature." He recommends planting more native plants. Not only are these beautiful, but they can help attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. “You can attract a great variety of birds, like songbirds and woodpeckers.” Archer also suggests lessening the size of your lawn. “We want to do everything we can to nurture the environment. Lawns
A vegetable garden is more “human resource needy,” notes Archer. “If you are going to weed it and take care of it, a vegetable garden is for you, but know that possums and raccoons will come to visit.” You might consider a wire mesh roof so
Create some shade. “We find that the most important thing to make a yard enjoyable is some shade,” advises Giuliano. “Get yourself a beautiful umbrella for your yard that has some life to it, some stripes maybe, that makes you want to sit under it,” he says. “Shade gives you a little enclosure in your yard, and human beings like enclosures.” Don’t stop at the umbrella. Invest in a small bistro-style table for two, as well. “A small table is more intimate and you will use it every day to eat breakfast outdoors,” Giuliano says. “You don’t feel lonely the way you would at a big dining room table.”
Photo: Frank Giuliano and Associates
critters can’t get in and abscond with or eat the efforts of your labor. What you opt for in your yard will depend, to varying degrees, on the nature of your yard and what you have in mind. “If you have a flat backyard, you could have a patio and a little gazebo with a fire pit next to it,” suggests Steven Geiger, a real estate specialist who, along with his partner Rosemary Stern, works closely with area boomers and seniors out of the William Raveis Real Estate office in Scarsdale. “If you want a very Zen environment, you might think of a waterfall and a sitting area in one corner where you could meditate.”
IDEAS FOR WHAT TO BUY
He also suggests an investment in some night lighting. “Compared to other parts of the country, for some reason in the Northeast, people don’t tend to use their yards at night. But you can extend your time outside in the summer if you buy an umbrella with built-in lights, or get some strings of lights.”
es enough,” he laments. “We need to have spaces where we can just sit, relax, and listen to nature. A bench encourages this.”
WHAT TO INVEST IN
Landscape design can be a worthy investment, says Steven Geiger. “Proper landscaping with the proper type of plantings can pay off in the long term,” he advises. “It also enhances your yard and can prevent deer from eating your flowers, and other animals from encroaching on your property.” Consider in advance what your landscaping will look like year-round, says Geiger. He recalls a client who had a beautiful flower garden in front of her house. It bloomed for eight months but looked barren all winter. The question of whether or not to get a pool is tricky. “Before Covid, there were homes with pools sitting on the market,” notes Geiger. “But since Covid, you can’t get a house with a pool. Everyone wants one because you would rather entertain in your home than have your kids, your family go to another home. As the market changes, tastes change.”
WHAT TO AVOID
Real estate senior specialist Steven Geiger is not a fan of patio bluestone and slate, remarking, “These can be very slippery. Consider brick pavers, instead.” Another Geiger "do not buy": metal outdoor furniture, which heats up in extreme heat. If you buy treated cedar furniture instead, you can leave it outside in the summer and it’s always comfortable to use. Giuliano has his pet peeves as well, suggesting that we avoid outdoor rugs, particularly those made of polyester. These can be a tripping hazard, especially when the corners roll up. He also includes gravel paths on his "do not buy" list. “They’re easy for people to slip on and not ideal for small spaces.”
Plant herbs. “These are easy to grow,” insists Archer. “I grow citronella on my deck, for instance, and it repels mosquitoes.”
An outdoor heater that runs on a propane tank is also a good purchase for those slightly chilly summer nights.
Add some drama and excitement to your outdoor space by adding a few less common plants that are not necessarily native. Think about planting a banana tree. According to Giuliano, “It gives you a tropical look for not much money.” Other trees to consider are Meyer lemon trees and lime trees. “For the cold weather, you can take your Meyer lemon tree into the house,” Giuliano notes. “I just roll mine inside if there is going to be a frost.”
Giuliano’s backyard vision includes vertical planters: 30 to 36 inches high. With these, your flowers will be at eye level and easier to maintain. He explains, “These look like planters on stilts and may be sold as elevated bed planters - not to be confused with raised beds.”
A nicely landscaped outdoor space pays off in more ways than the resale value of your home. “It’s not always about money,” says Geiger. “You are living in your home and there is the intangible value of enjoying the yard. It is nice to be able to just look around and mentally escape without traveling. A good outdoor space can have a positive emotional impact on your life.”
Don’t forget to add a small bench to your yard or deck. “People just don’t use bench-
n n n
Rosemary Black, a mom of seven and a resident of Pleasantville, NY, writes frequently on health, nutrition, parenting, and food. She is author of six cookbooks, including The Marley Coffee Cookbook.
FRESH IDEAS FOR YOUR HOME Did you complete your spring cleaning and decluttering but still feel as if you haven’t quite hit the mark in sprucing up your home and garden? If you’re unsure as to what to do next, consider some of these tips: Make function a priority. While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider
upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space. Of course, keep budget in mind. Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete now.
Do your research. If you’ll be making a significant purchase such as a new vacuum or grill, be sure to explore your options, read reviews and shop around for the best prices for greater confidence in what you choose. Set yourself up for a more enjoyable summer with more home and garden tips at eLivingtoday.com.
Perfect Your Pantry
Ready to Grill? A grill’s lifespan depends on many factors, including where and how it is stored and weather conditions. When it’s time to upgrade, you’ll have some decisions to make. The biggest is which heating style you prefer: gas, electric or charcoal. Other considerations include the overall size, number of burners and grate quality. Also be sure to compare available features, such as side burners and igniters, which are fairly common, and upgrades like lighting and fuel gauges. westchesterseniorvoice.com
Cleaning out your pantry is an important step during any home organization project; it allows you to discard expired items and rethink the space. Start by reorganizing and simplifying the area with ventilated shelving. The pictured ClosetMaid ShelfTrack system is fully adjustable space with mesh to help prevent items from tipping over. Find more information at closetmaid.com.
When to Update The Year to Go BOLD!Home and Garden Goods
BY STEVEN GEIGER AND ROSEMARY STERN
Investing in quality products, and properly maintaining and storing them will impact how long they’ll stay in good working condition. As you tackle ongoing cleaning projects, take stock of your home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.
Many - if not all of us - have been tucked away in our homes for a year or more. We’ve kept busy during lockdowns and isolation by clearing out our closets, straightening up our files, collecting bags (and more bags) of clothing and other items to donate. It’s been a long and dis-
hoses or a filter than needs cleaning or replacing. A belt may also be worn or need adjusting. Signs it may be time to replace the vacuum include damaged or frayed cords, or motor issues like overheating or making strange noises.
A grill can last anywhere from five to 15 years, depending on the quality of the materials and how it is maintained. However, it’s common to have to replace parts along the way. Signs you may need a new grill include a firebox (the main enclosure) with cracks, rust or holes and burners that no longer distribute heat evenly. Damaged grates can affect even Senior Real Estate Spegrilling if they’re warped; if they’re cialists (SRES) Rosemary flaky or rusted, they can contaminate Stern and Steven Geiger Many homeowners discard their food. If you’re not able to replace the bring an extensive and vacuum when it stops picking up grates or any other essential part, intrusted network of redirt and debris as efficiently as it cluding hoses and connectors for a sources and professionals to their clients to asonce did. Before you move on, be sist gas grill, you’ll be better off replacing in all phases of the selling and buying prosure to check that performance is- cesses. the They unit. can (Tip: your grill coveredor beKeep reached at 914-263-5275 sues aren’t the result of clogged Steven.Geiger@raveis.com when not in use.)
Enhance the Space Under Your Deck
If your lawn mower needs a repair that exceeds its value, it’s time for a replacement. However, there may be other signs that an upgrade is warranted. Rough operation, frequent breakdowns or other indications of faulty performance deserve a second look. Before you buy new, remember to check your warranty to determine whether repairs might be covered.
quieting 12 months.
But spring is here. A time of rejuvenation. And as our world moves to reopening, albeit with baby steps, good weather is on Optimize the space beneath an elevated th deck by adding a drainage system such as Trex RainEscape.n Designed to capture and n n divert water, this system protects a deck’s substructure from moisture damage while creating dry space for storage or an additional living area, as picture above. Homeowners can safely add gas lines and wiring to accommodate grills, appliances, ceiling fans, lights and entertainment components to create an outdoor oasis. For more information, visit TrexRainEscape.com.
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Medicaid Changes Coming
BY COLIN SANDLER
nity Medicaid and you can still transfer it is not too late but you must act quickly! your assets and qualify for Medicaid the following month. I know I will have care needs soon, but I am not quite ready. What should I do? All new Medicaid applications filed after The sooner you discuss your situation with December 31, 2021 will have a lookback. an expert, the sooner you can begin approFor those of you who have already trans- priate planning strategies. There might be ferred assets or can do so prior to Novem- some value in applying now or your ability What does “lookback” mean? It is a re- ber 30, 2021, you still have a chance to to protect your assets may be reduced. Eiview of your financial statements for any qualify under the old rules! ther way, there are options to help you. money gifted or transferred from the applicant to a family member or trust. These I am married. Can we still use Spousal I am about to retire; is it too soon to talk transfers will result in a penalty period and Refusal? Spouse to spouse transfers are about long term planning? Now is the time you will not be eligible for coverage during not penalized and therefore this can still to review your finances, determine what that time. That penalty period is based on be viable in appropriate circumstances. strategies are needed, and implement those the amount of money gifted. However, careful planning is required. strategies to protect yourself down the line. I have heard that the Medicaid rules have changed, what does this mean? In 2020, New York State decided to make a major change to Community Medicaid (Medicaid for in-home care). The change will create a 30-month (2.5 year) lookback for all Community Medicaid applications.
When will this change go into effect? This change was supposed to go into effect October of 2020. However, as a result of the pandemic, the change has already been delayed several times, meaning there is still no “lookback” to qualify for Commu-
I didn't do any planning and need care now; is it too late? If you transferred assets prior to October of 2020, those transfers would not get captured in the new lookback even if you file after the changes are implemented. If you are currently in need of care,
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Refusing a Bequest Your favorite aunt has decided to leave her vacation condo to you in her will. While you are saddened by the thought of someday losing her, daydreams of winter in the sun seem appealing. But have you considered all of the maintenance costs, HOA fees, property taxes and other expenses that can add up to many thousands of dollars every year. What if a loved one’s gift made in their will comes with hidden expenses or tax burdens that are simply too much for you to take on? In such a situation, the law does allow for a beneficiary to disclaim or renounce the gift.
To properly renounce a disposition, the law requires you do so in writing. The renunciation must be filed with the court of proper jurisdiction and be accompanied by an affidavit stating that you have not received any compensation from the party that would benefit from your renunciation. Finally, the filing must be made within nine months (in NY) of the effective date of the disposition.
BY MICHAEL GIANNASCA, ESQ. AND NATHAN SHOOK, ESQ.
Generally speaking, the rule in New York is that any dispositions of property can be renounced. That means gifts of cash, real property, jewelry, etc. can be renounced if done so properly. The law also permits a beneficiary to partially renounce their disposition. When done properly, a renunciation has the same effect as if the renouncing person had predeceased the decedent. It is important to note, that as the renouncing beneficiary, you don’t have any say over who the property ultimately ends up with. That will be controlled by the will if it names alternative heirs or by the rules of intestate succession. That means the renouncing party essentially stands aside and lets the disposition flow down to the next beneficiary whether that be by operation of the will or through intestate succession. Additionally, the decision to renounce is, with very minor exceptions, irrevocable. You don’t get a redo if you later decide you did in fact want that condo!
In addition to being a way to avoid unwanted costs or stress, a renunciation of a gift can also be a strategy to avoid creditors. With some exceptions, including federal tax liens, creditors of a beneficiary that renounces their disposition cannot reach the renounced property. However, it has been held that renounced property can be considered as an available resource for determining Medicaid eligibility. n n n
Michael Giannasca and Nathan Shook are attorneys with the law firm of Giannasca & Shook, PLLC. The firm handles all aspects of Elder Law including wills & probate, trusts & estates, Medicaid planning, guardianships, estate administration and litigation, and asset protection. Mr. Giannasca is a member of Elder Counsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Elder Law and Special Needs Section and Trusts & Estates Law Section of the NY State Bar Association and the Trusts & Estates Section and the Elder Law Committees of the Westchester County Bar Assoc.; Offices are in White Plains and in Poughkeepsie, NY; 914-872-6000; www.mgns-elderlaw.com
Elder Law and Estate Planning Group Planning For Our Clients and Their Families
Elder Law Wills & Probate Trusts & Estates Medicaid Planning Long Term care Guardianships Powers of Attorneys Health Care Proxies
Giannasca & Shook, PLLC One Barker Avenue | White Plains, New York 10601 | 914-872-6000 | www.mgns-elderlaw.com summer 2021
Fractured Families Finding a Path Forward BY GAIL H. GOODMAN People who provide therapy for estranged family members talk of the need to set boundaries. These boundaries require parents acknowledging the demands from work and/or family on their adult children.
In his book Fractured Families, released in late 2020, Dr. Karl Pillemer discusses family estrangement in the United States. He is referring to people who have not been in communication with a family member for years at a time. He goes on to discuss the physical and emotional toll that such a breach places on those involved.
How can a family move towards more harmony? Initiate a phone conversation, and follow that up with a regularly scheduled call. End each call with, “How about we talk the first of next month?” or some such suggestion.
The natural bonding that occurs during childhood between children and parents makes severed ties between those nowadult children and their older parents a constant source of pain for these families. Moreover, depriving grandchildren of their grandparents and other extended family negatively affects all concerned.
temporary Families, explained, “For most of history, family relationships were based on mutual obligations rather than on muHolidays are especially painful for those tual understanding.” Children worked in who have lost touch with their families. family businesses and lived nearby with Growing up, we experience the [sometimes grandparents providing childcare in return. fictionalized] portrayal of life’s occasions as celebratory Hallmark events where tables Parenting has evolved from that historical are filled with laughing family members, perspective. Some parents set expectadecorations are perfect, and families are in- tions for their children that may not agree tact. Facebook postings and photo collag- with the course the adult children choose es provide the illusion that everyone else to follow, leaving parents disappointed and has a great or near-perfect family life. That children resentful. According to a survey is not reality for many people. For some, of over 800 people, estrangements were years of conflict and abuse have made often initiated by adult children who cited reconciliation impossible. For others, abuse as children, or disrespect and lack of however, there may be another chance. support for them as mature individuals. On the flip side, parents often blame estrangeHistorian Steven Mintz noted, “… In recent ment on their divorce, the child’s spouse or decades the majority of American families their child’s sense of entitlement. have experienced weakening [extended] kin ties and high rates of mobility and dis- Grown children may also resent the depersion… These factors have made the mands placed on them by aging parents: opportunities for familial alienation greater an older parent making unreasonable dethan in the past.” mands or relying only on their children for help that is available from others. This reDivorce is another factor often resulting in quires understanding on both sides. family estrangement: specifically, children becoming estranged from one parent. While we cannot go back and undo our hisStephanie Coontz, the director of educa- tory or necessarily agree on our perceived tion and research for the Council on Con- truths, we can work on moving forward. westchesterseniorvoice.com
Get rid of – or at least minimize - that feeling of walking on eggshells by determining what subjects are off-limits. Stick to those boundaries as you try and ease into regular contact. While some topics may need to be avoided altogether, give some thought to other areas of conversation. Ask about children, work, activities. Listen for the emotion behind the words. Is that anger or fear? Is it disappointment or annoyance? Try to recognize these emotions and act accordingly. Try not to overreact or react too quickly; acknowledge emotions (“I’m sorry if that disappointed you.”) and move to a safer subject. Reflect on how your own behavior may contribute to the problem. When you receive a phone call, do you respond by saying, “You never call!” Or do you say, “It’s so good to hear from you?” Our responses and attitudes matter. Words matter. Relationships require effort, understanding and boundaries, regardless of how close we are to one another. The work is worth it if it helps repair estranged families, your estranged relationships. n n n
Gail H. Goodman is founder of Talking Alternatives, a professional mediation firm providing elder and family mediation at local offices in the New York TriState area and through online platforms throughout the U.S. She can be reached via phone 914-5882229 or by email, Gail@talkingalternatives.net; www.talkingalternatives.net
Consider the Bee-Line when planning for driving retirement!
The Bee-Line System offers safe, reliable and economical bus service to travel destinations in and around Westchester.
With almost 60 bus routes, find your ride to recreation, shopping, parks, entertainment and more. Enjoy fully accessible buses for easier boarding and exiting. Use the Senior Reduced Fare MetroCard for half fare and free transfers for savings.
Riding is easier than you think! To learn more call (914) 995-4444 or visit www.westchestergov.com/beelinebus
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Find your neighborhood T-Mobile store at T-Mobile.com/store-locator Limited time offer; subject to change. Magenta Unlimited 55 General Terms: Postpaid only. Max 2 voice lines. Participating retail locations (and for existing customers, Care) only. Does not include Netflix On Us; not eligible for discounts. Not combinable with other accounts or rate plans. Credit approval, deposit, $10 SIM card, and, in stores & on customer service calls, $20 assisted or upgrade support charge may be required. Sales tax & regulatory fees included in monthly service price; see in-store materials for specifics. U.S. roaming and on-network data allotments differ: includes 200MB roaming. Unlimited talk & text features for direct communications between 2 people; others (e.g., conference & chat lines, etc.) may cost extra. Unlimited high-speed data US only. In Canada/Mexico, up to 5GB high-speed data then unlimited at up to 128kbps. Video streams at up to 1.5Mbps. Optimization may affect speed of video downloads; does not apply to video uploads. Tethering: 3GB high-speed data then unlimited on our network at max 3G speeds. For the small fraction of customers using >50GB/mo., primary data usage must be on smartphone or tablet. Smartphone usage is prioritized over Mobile Hotspot (tethering) usage, which may result in higher speeds for data used on smartphone. AutoPay Pricing: Without AutoPay, $5 more/line. May not be reflected on 1st bill. Int’l Roaming: Usage may be taxed in some countries. Calls from Simple Global countries, including over Wi-Fi, are $.25/min. (no charge for Wi-Fi calls to US, Mexico and Canada). Standard speeds approx. 128Kbps without PlusUp; with PlusUp approx. 256 Kbps. Not for extended international use; you must reside in the U.S. and primary usage must occur on our network. Device must register on our network before international use. Service may be terminated or restricted for excessive roaming. Coverage not available in some areas; we are not responsible for our partners’ networks. Coverage not available in some areas. We cover 99% of Americans with LTE. Visit T-Mobile.com for coverage details. Network Management: Service may be slowed, suspended, terminated, or restricted for misuse, abnormal use, interference with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users, or significant roaming. See T-Mobile.com/OpenInternet for details. See Terms and Conditions (including arbitration provision) at www.T-Mobile.com for additional information. T-Mobile and the magenta color are registered trademarks of Deutsche Telekom AG. © 2020 T-Mobile USA, Inc.