Drugs, booze Guide to Ecuador is more
addictions spike retirement security than the Galapagos
page 9 page 18 page 12
Find Index of Caregiving Services on page 3
Published Monthly / FREE / July 2011 / Vol. 37 / No. 7 / 24 pp. BOSTON METRO EDITION
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2 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 5) July 1, 2011
Fifty Plus Advocate ■ Boston Metro Edition ■ July 1, 2011 ■ Vol. 37 / No. 7 ■ 24 pp. ■ Published monthly
Inside This Month
Nonpartisan groups says overhaul Medicare 6
Men narrowing gender gap 6
Tips for dating online 9
Medicare blocks costly meds 16
A cheaper eye drug gets approval 16
Grandson seeks credit for great-grandfather 17
19 Medicare A moving
Kids moving home hurt parents
overhaul? 6 memoir 16
Feeling Healthy 9
Hearing Health 17
Home Improvement 22
Just My Opinion 5
Legal Briefs 19
Money Matters 18
Resource for Caregivers 16 your space 22 points 9
ABOUT THE COVER
Viewpoint 8 Survey: What’s important to Massachusetts 50 plus population? — page 4
■ INDEX OF SERVICES IN THIS ISSUE ■
ADVOCACY HEARING SERVICES NURSING HOMES
AARP ................................................. p. 5 Mario Hearing & Tinnitus Clinics ..... p. 14 Golden LivingCenters .................... p. 24
ASSISTED LIVING Golden LivingCenter – Heathwood
HOSPICE Golden LivingCenter – Gloucester
Renaissance Gardens @ Asera Care Hospice ......................... p. 23 Golden LivingCenter – Lexington
Brooksby Village .............................. p. 11 Golden LivingCenter – Dexter House
HOME CARE SERVICES
ATTORNEYS, ELDER LAW Golden LivingCenter – Melrose
AAAAA Private Home Care ............. p. 11 Golden LivingCenter – The Elmhurst
Elder Law Solutions ......................... p. 20
ABC Home Healthcare .................... p. 14 Golden LivingCenter – Chetwynde
Estate Preservation Law Offices....... p. 19 Golden LivingCenter – West Newton
CREMATION SERVICES Able Home Care ............................. p. 23
Life Care Center of Northshore ....... p. 13
Casper Cremations........................... p. 18 HOME IMPROVEMENTS Newton Health Care Center ............. p. 13
DENTURE / IMPLANTS SecurityBath .............................. p. 10, 23 Sherrill House .................................. p. 11
Dr. Steven Rinaldi .......................... p. 21 Shelf Genie ...................................... p. 21 Stone Institute ~ McLellan Rehabilitation
DIABETICS / FOOT CARE MEDICAL RESEARCH STUDIES .............. p. 7 Nursing Center ................................ p. 12
Canney Medical Supply ................. p. 22 NURSING AND REHAB CENTERS
Brain Blood Flow ~
Brookline Health Care Center p. 14
ELDER EXPO Brigham & Women’s Hospital
SENIOR VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY
Central Boston Elder Services ........ p. 15 Insulin Study ~ YMCA ............................................... p. 13
HEALTH PLANS FOR SENIORS Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Evercare ............................................. p. 2 Tai Chi Study ~ Congregrational
Senior Whole Health ...................... p. 17 Tufts New England Medical Center Retirement Home ........................... p. 20
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Bay State retirees share hopes, fears for future
By Brian Goslow “The majority of the people we spoke to kind of stuff,” Goldberg said. “It’s based supports for the aging population, that’s
said that Medicare is very important to them on the responsibility of the person, not the also going to be a benefit for their kids
BOSTON — but they’re apprehensive about the program insurance company or the doctor.” and their grandchildren because there’ll
K arolyne White, 71, of Framingham,
hasn’t been able to fully enjoy her
retirement years, despite having
worked her entire life, first as an educator,
then in the Massachusetts Department of
going forward,” said Deborah Banda, state
director of AARP Massachusetts. “It (the
passing of the health care plan) should
be giving seniors peace of mind but now
If we’re barely able to get what we need
when we’re healthy, it should come as no
surprise to learn we’re not prepared to deal
with any major illnesses that come our way.
be improvements to their neighborhoods,
there’ll be improvements to transportation.
If you’re making the streets safer for the
aging population, you’re making them safer
we’re seeing Medicare is being attacked on The AARP study found only 14 percent of for the younger folks, too. If we improve
Education’s Office of Health and Safe and another front with this proposal to turn respondents were “very confident” in their infrastructure, that helps everybody.”
Drug-free Schools. it into a voucher system ability to pay for three years of long-term No better example of how true this is,
The past 16 years have which, in our opinion, will care, if necessary; another 20 percent were Goldberg said, is the state’s readiness when
been physically challeng- pretty much make health “somewhat confident.” More striking is 32 western Massachusetts was devastated
ing: She’s been hit twice by care unaffordable for older percent were “not at all confident” and 20 by tornadoes in early June. “We have an
drunk drivers, forcing her persons.” percent “not very confident” that they were infrastructure of emergency response for
to endure long periods of White calls the proposal prepared to financially deal with extended both alerting people and being there to
rehabilitation — including by Congressman Paul Ryan, health emergencies. help them,” he said. “That made a major
the rebuilding of one leg just R-Wis., to replace Medicare The economic downturn of recent years difference in a loss of life, considering our
after she retired in 2004; her with a voucher system should serve as an example to people of tornadoes were 39 miles long and up to
rehabilitation continues to “ridiculous.” She hopes the all ages of the need to plan long-term for half a mile wide.
this day. health care law stays in place their retirement years, whether they’re baby “There were state and municipal police
White’s battle isn’t made — with tighter monitoring boomers nearing their 60s or younger folk in Springfield neighborhoods, telling peo-
any easier by having to White enacted to keep costs down just starting their careers. AARP’s Banda ple to seek shelter in advance and while the
balance a budget that recently left her by exposing fraudulent billing practices and said we, as a nation, have to learn to look tornadoes were coming down, there were
unable to afford a much-needed heart pill. multiple checkups for the same thing. at the big picture, not ambulances and fire-
She worries that the future measures of She said discussion on television and only saving for that men from all over the
the 2010 Affordable Care Act will not be radio talk shows on the possible repeal of new car, house or state who were pour-
implemented (especially the full closing the health care law and misinformation on our a children’s col- ing into the area.”
of the prescription donut hole) or that the what it does and what it will provide in the lege education, but Goldberg plans to
law will be overturned. years ahead has caused great confusion. our retirement years, continue working to
“I don’t want them to screw it up,” she Rick Goldberg, 64, a public relations from the moment we discourage the slash-
said. “They keep wanting to tinker with consultant who lives in Winchester, sits on enter the work force. ing of budgets on
this.” the AARP state advocacy committee, serv- “That’s something all levels that would
White was among 400 state residents ing as its district coordinator in working we can educate people lead to the closing
who participated in an AARP phone sur- with Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass., on about, showing them of fire stations, lay-
vey earlier this year to determine which issues of importance to AARP’s member- how to do it and how ing off of police and
issues were of primary importance to the ship. “I have been working to keep Social much they’re going pulling of ambulances
organization’s over 800,000 state resident Security and Medicare in place because to need,” said Banda, staffed by emergency
membership. they are separately funded and not related who pointed out the response medical pro-
Though most (71 percent) said they to the deficit,” Goldberg said. importance of getting fessionals off the road.
were very satisfied with their communities, Sixty-seven percent of respondents to new workers to start “Those who want the
there is worry about the future and the the AARP study said they had major prob- saving toward their cuts, when there’s an
ability to stay put for as long as possible lems paying for their prescription drugs. retirement needs from emergency, they’ll be
(40 percent) or at their current residence And while 98 percent said staying healthy day one. “If we can yelling, ‘Rescue me,
(42 percent). There is concern about hav- was one of their most important goals, 60 start that now, with rescue me,’ ” he said.
ing accessible sidewalks with good street percent said they didn’t have the resources people going forward, “They can’t have it
lighting (39 percent) and the ability to be they needed to stay healthy. I think it will ease both ways.”
able to drive around their community (25 Last year, White had $4,000 in prescrip- some of the challeng- Hitting the road
percent). There is also worry regarding the tion costs; she’s counting on $11,000 for es and concerns (about Social Security and traveling has long been equated with
availability of alternative housing options 2011. “I’ve had to cut back. And when I and Medicare) that we’re hearing from retirement, so it was no surprise to find the
(40 percent). had medicine I needed to have every day, I people.” ability to vacation at the top of the dream
Finances weigh heavily on the minds had to take some every other day because Banda noted that while many boomers list of 41 percent of survey respondents.
of those who participated in the “Voices I just didn’t have the money for the refill now reaching retirement age are pointing A quarter plan to use their time on hob-
of 50+ Massachusetts” survey, with a large and that’s scary,” White said. toward the downturn and loss in invest- bies and personal interests followed by
majority (92 percent) saying having enough “This is about health care,” Goldberg ments as the main reasons for their unpre- spending time with family and friends (8
money to meet daily expenses was their top said. “I believe, and studies will show it, paredness, the reality is that even when percent); continuing to work (6 percent);
concern, followed by a desire to make sure that once everyone in the commonwealth the economy was booming, as a nation, being in good health (5 percent); and
their retirement finances were adequate (89 gets in the habit of seeing a primary doctor we were very bad at saving. being strong in faith and spirituality (4
percent) and would allow for a comfortable each year, and takes more responsibility On a state level, when it comes to percent).
post-workplace lifestyle (88 percent). for themselves, that the population will budget concerns, protecting kindergarten Meanwhile, White would be happy to
Finances also come into play in terms be healthier and it will cost less because through grade 12 education scored with 80 just walk normally again. Her foot is cur-
of having quality long-term care options they won’t be going to emergency rooms percent of the AARP respondents, followed rently bandaged, keeping her from working
when needed (85 percent) and being for critical care which can be avoided with by transportation, construction and road towards her goal of being able to walk a
able to afford the cost of health care and prevention.” maintenance and care services that allow mile-and-a-half.
having their prescription drugs filled (83 All the programs in the world won’t help people to stay in their home (78 percent); Once she’s back walking without ban-
percent). if individuals don’t take responsibility for and local government aid to fire, police, dages, White plans to move from her
The preservation of Medicare (88 per- their own health, he said. “Good health parks and recreation (77 percent). house to an apartment where she won’t
cent) and Social Security (85 percent) in is a combination of primary doctor visits, “Our members are very concerned about have to worry about cleaning the yard,
their current form were the top issues of nutrition, exercise, being connected with their children and their grandchildren,” shoveling the snow and covering “those
concern. other people, spiritual peace — all that Banda said. “If we increase services and awful oil bills.”
Fifty Plus Advocate is published monthly, 12
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Hello retailers, we would
appreciate a welcome mat
By Sondra Shapiro merchants, office and pet supply stores
and home improvement establishments.
M y friend and I meet for dinner
at our favorite sushi restaurant.
As we exchange pleasantries, the
waitress hands us two menus, one listing
sushi, the other the restaurant’s regular
These shopping habits help stimulate the
Because of our vast numbers, the
Associated Press reported that National
Retail Federation members are becoming
items. The colors and design are lovely to more accommodating to us.
look at. I only wish we didn’t need to inter- Retail anthropologist Georganne Bender
rupt our discussion to seek out better light concurs, singling out a drugstore chain that
to read the miniscule type describing the is re-setting its counters, not putting its
dishes. merchandise up too high or down too low.
Half the over 65 population has some
kind of arthritis, which makes it difficult
Just My for older shoppers to reach high shelves
or stoop to bottom ones, Bender told the
Opinion Associated Press.
I had first-hand experience this week-
It’s a lazy, rainy end at the supermarket when I crouched
Sunday, and I’m trying down to the bottom shelf to retrieve some
to catch up with back issues of my decorat- chunk white tuna and suffered sharp pain
ing magazines. Too bad I need a magnify- in my knees. I was so embarrassed because
ing glass and every light turned on in the I had to slowly and calculatingly maneuver
room to make out the tiny, fancy white type myself back up, while juggling six cans.
describing where to purchase the items And, I work out regularly.
listed in the articles. CVS is one of those companies doing
During a supermarket run, I am forced its best to court the aging market. A very
to walk from one end of the store to the welcome addition is the magnifiers that
other for a loaf of bread and oranges. In are starting to turn up on shelves for us to
between the excruciatingly long, narrow better read the tiny print on vitamin bottles
aisles, are grills, pots and pans, outdoor and other products.
furniture and other items that have nothing If this trend is just the beginning, I
to do with groceries. would greatly appreciate:
Such practices are tough for consumers •My favorite health food market widen-
of any age, but most especially for us aging ing its rows and amping up the lighting.
folks. Weakening eyesight, joint problems And, please, please get rid of the funky sig-
and hearing weaken with each birthday. nage that is difficult to read.
Not only is it unnecessarily challeng- •Coupons with simple colors and larger
ing to traverse the business world, the trek font type so I can easily read the expira-
makes me feel older than my 57 years. tion date and other coupon stipulations
When I have to give up reading a magazine like whether it’s 50 cents off on one or two
article or forgo a menu item because I can’t items.
read the description, I feel frustrated and •Magazines not running stories with
helpless and — old. white type on dark backgrounds.
Far too often I go into a clothing or •Restaurants using simpler, larger type
accessory store only to have music blasting for menu items (or at least provide magnifi-
so loud, I can barely concentrate on the ers at each table). They could also improve
merchandise. Not to mention, it makes me lighting. True, low lights are mood enhanc-
feel unwelcome. ing. But, the gesture is counterproductive
At my weakest moment, I wallow in when patrons have to squint or jump from
absurd thoughts that this is a deliberate their seats in search of sufficient light to
attempt by businesses to snub their noses read the menu. Let alone rummage around
at us aging consumers. Realistically, until in pockets or pocketbooks for magnifying
now, older customers haven’t been on the glasses.
radar, period. Within the next 10 years, •Grocery stores reverting to the term.
though, those 65 plus will swell to almost I’m not going to buy my gas grill from you.
30 percent of the population. According to But, I will purchase my hotdogs, hamburg-
a 2009 Gallup poll, baby boomers consti- ers and condiments at your establishment.
tute the largest bloc of American consum- Just don’t make me walk the million steps
ers. Though the lean economy has made us necessary to bypass all the non-grocery
more frugal, quality-minded shoppers, we items to get my food and staple shopping
are still spending money — and businesses done.
are beginning to notice us. •Better lit parking lots at malls and
We aren’t fickle spenders like the other shopping venues.
younger generation, and we have more With retailers’ willingness to make con-
bucks to spread around. Who cares that cessions to aging consumers comes the
we eschew youth-oriented, splashy and hip added benefit of helping people of all ages.
Abercrombie & Fitch for the more sensible, Loud music, small, fussy type on signs,
streamlined Chicos. All money is green, long, narrow aisles are not welcoming in
after all. general.
“Consumers have gotten better at being Since boomers have always been trend-
recessionary shoppers and now it’s up to setters, let our aging needs lead the way to
the retailers to make sure they are deliver- universal consumer friendliness — A wel-
ing to the customer on multiple fronts,” come mat truly meant for everyone.
Corinne Asturias, a consumer strategist for
baby boomers said in a 2009 issue of Retail Sondra Shapiro is the executive editor of
Traffic Magazine. That same article said the Fifty Plus Advocate. Email her at sshapiro.
that we budget-minded boomers are apt to firstname.lastname@example.org or read more at
frequent supermarkets, drugstores, mass www.fiftyplusadvocate.com
(Zone 3) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 5
Nonpartisan panel suggests major changes for Medicare
WASHINGTON — to Congress made clear that both issues are which could destabilize the already wob- and copayments.
A s Vice President Joe Biden and
congressional negotiators hunt for
budget cuts, major Medicare changes
that could squeeze billions in savings got a
boost recently from a nonpartisan panel of
overdue for a fix.
“The status quo ... has led to care that is
often not coordinated, sometimes inappro-
priate, and occasionally risky to patients,”
said the report, referring to Medicare’s
Prospects for the talks are uncertain,
since both political parties are locked into
their positions. House Republicans are on
record that they will not vote to approve a
For example, Medicare’s hospital deduct-
ible is $1,132 for the first 60 days, while the
annual deductible for doctor visits is $162.
There is no copayment for the first 20 days
in a nursing home, but beneficiaries must
experts that advises lawmakers. traditional fee-for-service benefit. “It has debt increase without deep spending cuts. pay full cost after 100 days.
Those changes are already under consid- also left beneficiaries with Democrats, meanwhile, are Obama’s deficit panel recommended a
eration in the budget talks, officials say. rising ... premiums and out- taking a hard line against single annual deductible of $550 for hospital
One idea would revamp Medicare’s out- of-pocket costs and has left any reduction in Medicare care and medical services, with a 20-percent
dated copayments and deductibles to pro- taxpayers with the unsus- benefits, including increased copayment on health spending above the
vide better protection against catastrophic tainable burden of financing copayments for visits to doc- deductible. The copayment would drop to 5
expenses, but it could lead to seniors paying the program.” tors and hospitals. percent for costs over $5,500. Beneficiaries
a bigger share of the cost for some everyday The aim should be “to give A sweeping overhaul would pay no more than $7,500 a year total
services. The goal is to save taxpayers money beneficiaries better protection of Medicare and Medicaid out-of-pocket, a consumer safeguard now
by discouraging overtreatment. against high (out-of-pocket) backed by House Republicans missing from Medicare.
The impact on individual seniors is less spending and to promote seems to have no chance. But there would be a trade-off.
clear. Few details are available, but such incentives for them to weigh Instead, the budget nego- Under the panel’s proposal, Medigap
changes could create winners and losers. their use of discretionary tiators are looking at a list insurance plans would be prohibited from
Seniors with high medical costs would care, without discouraging of proposals outlined last covering the first $500 in cost sharing, and
gain from having a limit on their financial needed care,” said the report year by President Barack could only cover half of the next $5,000.
exposure, protection that Medicare doesn’t from MedPAC, as the com- Obama’s deficit reduction Except for low-income seniors and some
now provide. Those who see the doctor mission is known. Biden panel. Most involve cuts in with employer-provided retiree coverage,
often for more manageable problems could Officials familiar with the negotiations payments to medical service providers and beneficiaries would be responsible for at
end up paying more. Overall, premiums between Biden and leading lawmakers of drug companies, but some would affect least $500 of their medical expenses, and
for private insurance that many seniors both parties said the two Medicare options seniors directly. as much as $7,500.
get to fill in Medicare’s gaps could become are under consideration. The officials spoke The deficit panel estimated that revamp- The second proposal, shifting high-cost
more affordable. on condition of anonymity because the ing Medicare’s cost-sharing rules would save beneficiaries into Medicaid managed care
The other idea under consideration budget talks are confidential. $110 billion from 2012 to 2020. Additional plans, would save $12 billion from 2012
would shift nearly 9 million high-cost ben- Biden’s goal is to find savings that will savings would come from limiting the to 2020. This group includes many low-
eficiaries with both Medicare and Medicaid help the administration reach a deal with ability of private insurers to fully shield income people, patients in nursing homes,
into managed-care insurance plans, to better congressional Republicans to increase the seniors from Medicare’s out-of-pocket costs. and individuals with multiple complicated
coordinate services and cut duplication. nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. That’s Many seniors purchase private “Medigap” health problems. They receive coverage both
The Medicare Payment Advisory needed to prevent the government from coverage that caps their total annual costs through Medicare and Medicaid at a cost
Commission did not endorse any specific lurching into an unprecedented default and allows them to escape a bewilder- well above that for typical beneficiaries in
approach, but its traditional midyear report on its interest payments to creditors, ing assortment of Medicare deductibles either program. — AP
Census: US men narrowing the gender gap of old age
WASHINGTON — women’s longer life expectancy, women The male-female ratio in the U.S. also lation historically has been the majority as
W omen still outlive men, but the
gender gap among U.S. seniors
New 2010 census figures, released
recently, show men are narrowing the
put more emphasis on health care issues
because they lived to an older age and
often had to rely on the pensions of their
husbands,” said Jen’nan G. Read, an asso-
ciate professor of sociology and global
increased to 96.7 from 96.3 in 2000,
reflecting the narrowing of the female
advantage in overall population. (A score
of 100 signifies equal numbers of men
and women; a male-female ratio of 95, for
men were more likely to die prematurely
from accidents, homicide or risks caused
by workplace stress, alcohol, smoking or
other factors. By age 85, the number of
women typically is more than twice that
female population advantage, primarily health at Duke University. example, would mean there are 95 men of men. Life expectancy at birth is 80.8
in the 65-plus age group. It’s a change in “I would expect men to become more for every 100 women in the population.) years on average for women, compared
the social dynamics of a country in which aware and involved in health care now There hasn’t been such a sustained resur- with 75.6 for men.
longevity, widowhood and health care that they may be affected in the same way gence in the U.S. male population since But over the past decade, the gen-
for seniors often have been seen as issues as women,” she said. 1910, when medical advances started der gap has narrowed. Since 2000, men
more important to women. Over the past decade, the number of to increase women’s life expectancies by who were 65 and older increased by 21
In all, the numbers highlight a nation men in the U.S. increased by 9.9 percent, reducing deaths during pregnancy. percent, nearly double the 11.2 percent
that is rapidly aging even as Congress faster than the 9.5 percent growth rate for Broken down by subgroups, men were growth rate for women in that age group.
debates cuts in Medicare, an issue with women. As a result, women outnumbered more numerous than women among Among those 65-74, the male-female ratio
ramifications for the growing ranks of men by just 5.18 million, compared with those 34 and younger as more boys than also has narrowed sharply. The number of
older men. 2000, when there were 5.3 million more girls tend to be born.
“We know in the past because of women than men. At age 35 and higher, the female popu- CENSUS page 7
6 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 3) July 1, 2011
➤ Census women. They noted a shift first seen in
1990, as women increasingly worked
Wyoming, North Dakota and Nevada
had higher male proportions, due partly
The share of older people living alone
who are female also declined, to 71 per-
Cont. from page 6 outside the home and after their smoking to mining or construction industries that cent from 75 percent in 2000.
rates hit a peak in the late 1960s. Recent drew new workers. “If current trends continue, men’s life
women in that age group exceeds men by immigration also played a role as male Mark Mather, an associate vice presi- expectancy will approach that of women
roughly 1.5 million, down from 1.8 mil- laborers from Mexico entered the U.S. in dent of the Population Reference Bureau, in the next few decades, creating more
lion in 2000. search of jobs. noted that the changing gender ratios of a gender balance in the oldest age
As to the increase in the male popula- The District of Columbia, Rhode already are having a social impact. For groups,” he said. “This has wide implica-
tion, demographers cited greater inci- Island, Maryland, Massachusetts and New instance, the share of women ages 65 to tions for family relationships in old age
dences of lung cancer and job-related York had the largest shares of women. 74, who are widowed, dropped last year and caretaking, with more potential part-
stress factors such as alcoholism among On the other end of the scale, Alaska, to 24 percent from 44 percent in 1960. ners for older women.” — AP
Tai Chi and Physical Therapy Make a difference
for Knee Osteoarthritis Study for many lifetimes
If you are age 40 or older with Knee Osteoarthritis, you may be eligible to
participate in a study at Tufts Medical Center in 2011 and 2012! Volunteers in research studies contribute to medical
The study, funded by the National Institute of Health, will investigate the science, thus charting new pathways of treatment and
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Compensation of up to $200 is available
You can make a difference.
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Fifty Plus newspapers for volunteers now!
Research Study on Type 2 Diabetes
Volunteers wanted for a research study that evaluates the effects of insulin
SAVE FREE INFORMATION,
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Looking for 60 participants (age >50 years):
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Study visits include: Overnight stay for 3 days, blood tests, medical and memory
examinations, blood ﬂow measurements using ultrasound and MRI.
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Stipend: up to $220 for completing the study. ~ Brigham and Women’s Hospital
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If interested, please call:
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“Volunteers Needed for Tai Chi Study
Brain Blood Flow Study.” ~ Tufts New England Medical Center
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stroke Division, seeks
healthy, non-smoking volunteers who are 55-80 years old
for an ultrasound study of brain blood ﬂow. CUT OUT THIS COUPON AND MAIL TO:
Participation in this study will require three visits to the
Fifty Plus Advocate, 131 Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA 01605
BWH. On one of those visits you will be given a drug called
Desferrioxamine to increase blood ﬂow to your brain. For Name:
participation in this study you will receive a total of $275.00. Address:
The ﬁrst visit is a screening ($25.00) and the second two
visits are overnights at BWH ($125.00 each). City: State: Zip:
Telephone #: *REQUIRED ( )
For more information, please call Sarah LaRose
at 617-525-6849 or email email@example.com *We cannot process without your phone #. It will be used only in regard to the studies you have marked.
(Zone 3) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 7
Are you in? Join the fight to protect Medicare and Social Security
By Deborah E. Banda spreadsheet. They are dealing with the lives of real people As for Social Security, it did not cause our nation’s
— our families and loved ones, our friends and neigh- budget problems, and should not be weakened to fix
A s the temperature heats up this summer, so does
the fight to protect Medicare and Social Security.
By the beginning of August, we must stop the
U.S. Congress from making harmful cuts to Medicare
and Social Security as part of a deal to pay the nation’s
Absolutely, Congress needs to make some tough
choices to address the country’s large and growing debt.
But, AARP believes instead of hurting today’s seniors and
them. Social Security faces no immediate crisis — except
from Congress right now. Social Security can pay 100
percent of benefits for the next 25 years. After that, with
modest, gradual changes, the program can stay strong for
future retirees, there are better ways to reduce the deficit. decades.
bills. Let’s not mince words: Right now, Medicare and And, it’s all about priorities. The vast majority of Massachusetts residents age 50
Social Security are under attack. Congress is considering For starters, Congress should cut wasteful govern- and older say Medicare and Social Security are very
proposals that would make cuts to both programs, the ment spending. And, it should close tax loopholes as well important to them, according to a recent AARP survey.
impact of which could be disastrous for as special interest tax breaks for companies that make They also have concerns about the programs meeting
real people — including both future billions of dollars in profits, but pay little or no taxes their needs.
retirees and today’s seniors. — before considering harmful cuts to programs that are a The promise of Social Security has endured since
lifeline to millions of older Americans. 1935; the promise of Medicare, since 1965. They embody
AARP and You For example, oil companies are earning record profits,
yet they get special tax deductions, preferences and cred-
our deepest values as Americans. Our obligations to one
another, between generations — parents and children,
its, totaling billions of dollars over the coming decade. grandparents and grandchildren, those in retirement and
Yes, contrary to some claims, these Tobacco companies continue to get more than $200 mil- those at work, the able-bodied and the disabled.
cuts could dramatically increase health lion in subsidies. In total, all tax breaks and loopholes For more than 50 years, AARP has been fighting to
care costs for those who are now age 55 and older — cost the federal government an estimated $1 trillion each ensure older Americans have affordable health care and
threatening their access to doctors, hospitals and nursing year. financial security in retirement. We will continue to fight
homes — and reduce the benefit checks they rely on to In addition, the nation must tackle ever-rising health to stop Congress from making a deal to pay the nation’s
pay their bills. care costs. And Medicare should not be singled out. We bills that includes harmful cuts to Medicare and Social
Older Americans have worked their entire lives to earn should improve the way health care is delivered through- Security. We will work with both political parties to help
their Medicare and Social Security benefits. Most believe out the entire system — focusing on prevention, better ensure that both programs remain strong for today’s
that changing the rules in the middle of the game is not care coordination for people with chronic illnesses, and seniors and future retirees.
fair, and that when Congress changes the rules, they will incentives that reward doctors and hospitals for providing Are you in? Call your Member of Congress today at
pay more and get less. high quality care as opposed to seeing more patients or 888-722-8514; urge him or her to protect Medicare and
About a million Massachusetts residents rely on running the most tests. Social Security. Or, visit aarp.org/protectseniors to send an
Medicare. They pay an average of $5,500 annually, out of Further steps can be taken specifically to reduce email.
their own pockets, for medical expenses. And, that num- Medicare costs, such as preventing expensive hospital
ber is rising every year. Meanwhile, their Social Security readmissions and cracking down on overbilling by pro- Deborah Banda is the state director of AARP Massachusetts,
benefits remain modest by any standard, at approximately viders. Congress should also stand up to the drug com- which represents more than 800,000 members age 50 and older
$14,000 a year. panies; Medicare spends billions of dollars on high priced in the Bay State. Connect with AARP Massachusetts online at
AARP asks all members of Congress to remember drugs because less expensive generic drugs are prevented www.aarp.org/ma, www.facebook.com/AARPMA and www.
that they are not just negotiating budget numbers on a from coming to market in a timely manner. twitter.com/AARPMA.
Brown backs radical change to Medicare, for 10 days
By Al Norman and Social Security into personal savings site Politico. “While I applaud Ryan for get- tally alter how Medicare operates.
accounts. ting the conversation started,” Brown wrote, The bottom line for Brown: “I do not
What a difference 10 days can make. The newspaper in Newburyport quoted “I cannot support his specific plan — and think it requires us to change Medicare as we
On May 13, U.S. Sen. Brown as saying: “The leaders will bring therefore will vote ‘no’ on his budget.” know it. We can work inside of Medicare to
Scott Brown, R-Mass., forward (Budget Committee Chairman Paul Seniors across Massachusetts were happy make it more solvent.” This is what elderly
was speaking before the Ryan’s) budget, to see Brown flip-flop on this issue. groups in Massachusetts wanted him to say
of Commerce about the Push and I will vote for
it, and it will fail.
Brown explained why he was throwing
Ryan’s plan under the bus: “First, I fear
in the first place.
A few days after his Politico column
federal budget. He raised
eyebrows when he began
Back Then the president
will bring forward
that as health inflation rises, the cost of
private plans will outgrow the government
ran, Health & Human Services Secretary
Katherine Sebelius used the same website to
talking about a controver- his budget, and it will fail. It will be great premium support — and the elderly will brag about Medicare reform under President
sial budget resolution submit- fodder for the commercials.” be forced to pay ever higher deductibles Barack Obama. She noted, for example,
ted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which would Ten days later, the junior senator from and co-pays. Protecting those who have that the new health care reform law will
convert Medicare into a voucher program, Massachusetts corrected his course. On May been counting on the current system their close the Medicare Part D “donut hole” for
Medicaid into a capped block grant to states 23, Brown published an op-ed on the web- entire adult lives should be the key principle drugs. “First, we sent $250 checks last year
of reform. to nearly 4 million beneficiaries, who had
“Second, Medicare has already taken sig- reached the donut hole, to help defray their
You can enjoy the convenience nificant cuts to help pay for Obama’s health costs,” Sebelius wrote. “Second, this year
of having your Fifty Plus care plan. The president and Congress cut we’re giving a 50 percent discount on brand
Advocate delivered to you a half trillion dollars to the private side of name drugs for seniors in the ‘donut hole.’
Medicare — meaning seniors are at risk of And we’ll keep providing additional relief
at home, insuring you that losing their Medicare Advantage coverage. until 2020 — when the Part D coverage gap
you will never miss an issue. “Another key principle is that seniors will be closed.”
Just fill out this coupon and should not have to bear a disproportion- The secretary warned, “Shifting huge
enclose payment. ate burden. But that doesn’t mean we do costs to seniors and disabled Americans and
nothing. If Medicare is to survive for cur- taking away key benefits is the wrong way
❍ 1 year - $18 ❍ 2 years - $34 ❍ 3 years - $48 rent beneficiaries and future generations, to move forward.” It is safe to say Sebelius
we must act.” was directing her remarks to lawmakers like
Name:_________________________________________________________ As for solutions, Brown suggests Brown, who needed 10 days to figure out he
Address:_______________________________________________________ we should be “making improvements” was on the wrong side politically of Medicare
City:___________________________ State:_________ Zip: _____________ to Medicare, like eliminating waste, fraud and Medicaid reform. But “Medicare as we
or abuse. He also wants to increase “con- know it” is still under attack.
If change of address or renewal, MAIL TO: gressional oversight” of how Medicare
place mailing label here
reimburses providers; and to “institute tort Al Norman is the executive director of
and your new address. reform to limit frivolous lawsuits.” These are Mass Home Care. He can be reached at 413-
131 Lincoln St., Worcester, MA 01605 minor reform issues that will not fundamen- 773-5555 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 3) July 1, 2011
Big spike recorded in older drug, alcohol addicts
By Matt Sedensky All told, 231,200 people aged turned away from chemotherapy
50 and over sought treatment for or radiation treatments simply
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — substance abuse in 2008, up from because they’re 65.
T hey go around this room at the Hanley
Center telling of their struggles with
alcohol and drugs. They tell of low
points and lapses, brushes with death
and pain caused to families. And silently,
102,700 in 1992, according to the
federal Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration
(SAMHSA). Older adults accounted
Besides, older participants at
Odyssey House have the highest
completion rate — 85 percent
during the last fiscal year.
for about one of every eight seeking “It’s almost as if they say, ‘this
through the simple fact that each is in their help for substance abuse in 2008, now is my last shot. Let me see if I
60s or beyond, they share one more secret: meaning their share of treatment can get my life right finally,’ ” he
Addiction knows no age. admissions has doubled over the said.
“I retired, I started drinking more,” one 16-year period as other age groups’ Among those taking that
man said. “I lost my father, my mother, my proportions shrunk slightly. At the Hanley Center (from l to r) Judy Vitrano, Don Walsh, approach is Henry Dennis, who
dog, and it gave me a good excuse,” said The growth outpaces overall Gifford Dean and David Beuttenmuller (ap photo/wilfredo lee) at 70 has used heroin for the past
another. population gains among older 50 years. He came to Odyssey
A remarkable shift in the number of older demographics. Between 2000 and the amount seeking help. before, relapsed and was arrested
adults reporting substance abuse problems is 2008, substance abuse treatment admissions While the number of older people with for drug possession. Dennis said he’s seen at
making this scene more common. Between among those 50 and older increased by 70 substance abuse problems is booming, rela- least a dozen friends die of drug use, but it
1992 and 2008, treatment admissions for percent while the overall 50-plus popula- tively few facilities offer treatment programs wasn’t enough to make him stop.
those 50 and older more than doubled tion grew by 21 percent. Experts say that’s specifically for their age group. Most pool Now in his eighth month of treatment, he
in the U.S. That number will continue to because boomers have historically high rates people of all ages together; many divide said he finally has the resolve to quit.
grow, experts say, as the massive baby boom of substance abuse, often developed three by gender. Those that do offer age-specific “I’m going to get it right this time,’’ said
generation ages. or four decades ago, that comes to a head programs say it helps participants relate to Dennis, who has worked a variety of odd
“There is a level of societal denial around later in life. one another and keeps them focused on jobs. “I don’t want to die, not just yet.’’
the issue,” said Peter Provet, the head of “The baby boom population has some themselves, rather than mentoring younger Dennis’ treatment is paid for by the
Odyssey House in New York, another experience with substance misuse and is addicts. state of New York. Many pay out of pocket.
center offering specialized substance abuse more comfortable with these substances,” Provet said some have questioned wheth- Medicare offers some coverage for outpa-
treatment programs for seniors. “No one said Dr. Westley Clark, director of SAMHSA’s er it’s worthwhile to target efforts at seniors, tient treatment but generally doesn’t cover
wants to look at their grandparent, no one center on substance abuse treatment. who generally have fewer years left to ben- inpatient programs.
wants to think about their grandparent or Treatment professionals believe the actual efit from treatment than younger people. Experts have observed a rise in illicit
their elderly parent, and see that person as number of older people with substance He dismisses that reasoning, comparing it
an addict.” abuse problems is many times larger than to arguing that a cancer patient should be SPIKE page 10
Tips for dating online the second time around
By Leanne Italie weren’t guards.” nation’s 78 million boomers, let alone For example, a snowbird with a second
That’s when Valentino ventured onto people who are 65 and older. But neither is home may be looking for a mate willing to
NEW YORK — a site that caters to older people — at the it all that scary. winter in Arizona. Others may unnecessar-
B aby boomers are swelling the ranks of
online dating sites and John Valentino
is a happy veteran.
At 57, after a decade of pushing profiles
and awkward meet-ups with strangers, he’s
time called SeniorPeopleMeet.com. He
quickly let go of his prejudice against the
word “senior” and found Debbie, who has
war stories of her own about trying to find
Boomers often have unrealistic notions
of how to hunt for love and companion-
ship, said Pepper Schwartz, a sociology
professor at the University of Washington
ily limit possibilities by ruling out partners
with health issues.
In addition, Schwartz said, “Men are
very interested in women being self-suffi-
a mate her age online. in Seattle, sex and relationship expert for cient. Women are deathly afraid of becom-
married to 54-year-old year Debbie, a for- “On other sites, most of the men who AARP and developer of an algorithm to ing nursemaids, but long lists can really
mer Marine he met online two years ago. would contact me were a lot younger,” she make matches more meaningful on the dat- hurt. I hate the word settle, but you need
“I had plenty of lemons before lemon- said. “I would say why are you writing me, ing site PerfectMatch.com. to be practical.”
ade, believe me,” said Valentino, a furniture I’m looking for somebody my own age. “People 65 or older, they’re picky in Schwartz said most are looking for a
salesman in Long Branch, N.J. I made it very clear in my profile. They a different way,” she said. “Young people long-term relationship within a five-year
One prospect said he was too old. would say I want the experience of dating tend to go for looks, period. Older people span of their own age.
Another went out with him to win a an older woman.” often have a little bit more leeway on what Based on the Census Bureau’s 2009
bet with a co-worker. A third told him Dating online the second time around somebody looks like, but then they have all American Community Survey, which sam-
all about her two grown sons and “their — after divorce or the death of a spouse these other kinds of requirements that may
careers in the penal system, only they — isn’t always second nature among the or may not be realistic.” DATING page 20
(Zone 5) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 9
Drugs before surgery help women avoid mastectomies
T aking hormone-blocking pills tific journal and are under review. by half or more. Half of the women who ist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in
for a few months before breast Of the more than 200,000 breast were originally told they needed mastec- Boston who heads the oncology society’s
cancer surgery can shrink tumors cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S., tomies were able to have lump-only sur- expert panel on hormone treatments.
and allow many women to have just about 70 percent have their growth gery, as were about 82 percent of those For most women, delaying surgery to
the lump removed instead of the whole fueled by the hormone estrogen. who were thought to be marginal candi- try tumor-shrinking treatment is a rea-
breast, a new study suggests. The study involved 374 women at dates for the less severe operation. sonable option, he said.
This approach is sometimes tried more than 100 sites around the country Only 23 women saw their tumors The side effects of hormone treatment
now in Europe, and the study was the whose tumors were especially sensi- grow 25 percent or more in the four are milder, mostly hot flashes and joint
first large test of it in the tive to estrogen. Doctors months that surgery was delayed. pain, Olson said.
United States. It won’t already know that che- That risk is fairly small and compares A National Cancer Institute grant
change practice right motherapy is less effective to what studies testing chemotherapy paid for most of the study; Pfizer and
away; a second study is in such women, and they before surgery have found, said Dr. Novartis contributed some support.
starting to try to repeat wanted to see whether Harold Burstein, a breast cancer special- — AP
the results and identify hormone-blocking drugs
which drugs work best.
would work well enough
to allow more of these
➤ Spike and alcohol far later, fueled by drastic life
changes, loneliness or legitimate physical
this new approach could women to be treated Cont. from page 9 pain.
affect the care of tens of without removing their Don Walsh, a participant at Hanley’s sup-
thousands of women each breasts. drug use, while treatment for alcohol has port group, falls into the latter category. He
year with large tumors Tamoxifen used to be dropped even though it remains the chief is among 19 men and women who gather on
whose growth is fueled the gold standard hor- addiction among older adults. The 2008 this day in the room with pale blue walls and
by estrogen. It might give mone blocker, but newer statistics show 59.9 percent of those 50 the calming whir of a fish tank. One comes
them not just a gentler drugs called aromatase and older seeking treatment cited alcohol in a wheelchair, another with a walker; one
surgery option, but also inhibitors do the job with as their primary substance, down from 84.6 dozes off during the session.
may let many of them fewer side effects. percent in 1992. Heroin came in second, Walsh, a 77-year-old lawyer, said he
skip chemotherapy. The women in the accounting for 16 percent of admissions in didn’t develop a problem with alcohol until
Before being treated with the hor- study were randomly assigned to get that age group, more than double its share he retired a year ago. His relentless schedule
mone blockers, most of the women in one of three such medicines: Pfizer in the earlier survey. Cocaine was third, of 12- to 14-hour days disappeared into a
the study were facing likely mastecto- Inc.’s Aromasin, Novartis’ Femara or at 11.4 percent, more than four times its series of leisurely lunches and dinners where
mies because their tumors were too large AstraZeneca PLC’s Arimidex. They cost 1992 rate. the wine flowed freely. One day, he blacked
for less drastic surgery. from $340 to $420 a month, although Surveys show the vast majority of older out in his garage. Had it happened while
“Half of them wound up having suc- Arimidex is available in generic form and drug addicts and alcoholics reported first he was driving home, he thought, he might
cessful breast-conserving therapy,” said patents on the others expire within a few using their substance of choice many years have killed himself and others.
Dr. John Olson, breast cancer surgery years. earlier, like Dennis. That lifelong use can After six weeks of treatment, Walsh said
chief at Duke University, who led the After four months, 71 percent on lead to liver damage, memory loss, hepa- he no longer craves alcohol.
study. Femara, 67 percent on Arimidex and 61 titis and a host of other medical issues. A “I have a new lease on life,” he said.
Results also have been sent to a scien- percent on Aromasin had tumors shrink minority of people find comfort in drugs — AP
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Travel and Entertainment
By Alicia Chang Guayaquil traits of past Ecuadorean presidents.
For a bird-eye’s view of the city, we hopped on
ECUADOR — the Teleferiqo, a gondola ride that takes passengers
o offense against the Galapagos Islands. Home to
N giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, marine igua-
nas and other exotic creatures, the archipelago
off Ecuador’s coast ranks for me and many other travelers
up the flanks of Pichincha volcano. Once at the top
some 13,400 feet (4,084 meters) high, we climbed
the trail to the volcano, but did not go to the sum-
mit because of clouds and mist that obscured the
among the top places to visit before I die. view.
Yet with only two weeks to spend in Ecuador, we drew We soon traded the Andes altitude for the
up an itinerary that bypassed the famous islands in favor Amazon jungle, flying into the oil town of Coca.
of a whirlwind mainland trek that would take my husband From there, we boarded a motorized canoe for a
and me from the mountains to the rain forest to the south- 2 1/2-hour trip up the Napo River to the Yachana
ern highlands and finally, the Pacific coast. Lodge, one of several eco-lodges overlooking the
Ecuador may be one of the smallest South American Amazon River tributary.
countries, but its outsized natural and cultural wonders are During a night hike and day trek into the rain
unparalleled. forest, we encountered monkeys, toucans, bats, liz-
We ended up with an ards and countless insects. We got our wildlife fix,
itinerary that took us to even if it was not the Galapagos kind. After hiking,
five very different places: we visited a medicine man and tested our blowgun Cuenca is known for its cobblestone streets and artsy feel.
Quito, the capital; a jungle skills using a stuffed parrot as a target. the neo-Gothic Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion, the
lodge; the colonial city of The lodge, with its comfortable rooms and private newer of two cathedrals in the main plaza.
Cuenca; the surf town of balcony hammocks, is operated by the nonprofit Yachana Time to leave quaintness behind. We barreled west by
Montanita; and the coun- Foundation, which also runs a technical high school for bus to the sprawling seaport of Guayaquil, a jumping off
try’s largest city, Guayaquil. indigenous and mestizo students living in the Amazon. point to the Galapagos. Instead, we took a three-hour bus
We planned and booked From the rain forest, we flew south to the quaint colo- ride up the Pacific coast past sleepy fishing villages to the
our trip using guidebooks, nial city of Cuenca known for its cobblestone streets and surf town of Montanita.
Internet reviews and word- artsy feel. Our timing was not perfect since our only full High season here is December to May, so it was rela-
of-mouth from friends who day fell on a Sunday, when most museums and stores are tively quiet. But the warm water and rideable waves drew
once lived there. closed. swimmers and surfers despite the drizzly weather. We
The climb to the lighthouse Sometimes we winged We hit what we could, including the El Sagrario, the circled back to Guayaquil after a brief beach stay. Ecuador’s
in Las Penas Guayaquil is it, showing up at a hotel old cathedral turned religious museum, and the Museo de largest city has undergone a facelift in the past decade,
worth the trek. without a reservation, Arte Moderno (Modern Art Museum). We spent part of shedding much of its rough-and-tumble image. Its refur-
and we used a variety the afternoon ambling the banks of the Tomebamba River bished waterfront boardwalk, known as the Malecon, is
of transportation — planes, boats and buses — to travel and admiring the colonial houses that seemed to hang pedestrian-friendly and attracts locals and tourists alike.
from region to region. Our only requirement was that we precariously over it, and passed some time on the steps of North of the Malecon is the bohemian Las Penas,
experience the different Ecuadorean climes to sample the Guayaquil’s oldest neighborhood housing art galleries and
country’s diversity. restored homes. We climbed the winding staircase of more
Our journey began in Quito, ringed by dramatic volca- than 400 steps to the lighthouse, where we were rewarded
nic peaks and boasting a revitalized Old Town, a historic with stunning city views.
center of lively plazas, soaring churches and colonial archi- Guayaquil was the last stop in a packed two-week
tecture where we spent most of our time. sojourn through Ecuador. Even after visiting five distinct
Several mornings, we sat on a bench in the Plaza places, there was still a lot left to experience: A spine-tin-
Grande, the main square, and watched couples strolling gling bus ride down the Avenue of the Volcanoes; driving
hand-in-hand, men in business suits breezing by, indig- the length of the Ruta del Sol, Ecuador’s version of the
enous women selling their wares and shoeshine boys look- Pacific Coast Highway; and camping in the national parks.
ing to make a few quarters. — AP
We stood in line for an hour to tour the Palacio del
Gobierno, the Presidential Palace, flanked by two toy sol- If You Go:
dier-style guards in ornate gold and blue. We got a peek Quito: www.quito.com.ec, Yachana Lodge: www.yacha-
at the grandiose dining hall, the room where the president na.com, Cuenca: www.cuenca.com.ec, Montanita: www.
sits with his cabinet ministers and a space filled with por- The Teleferiqo gondola ride over Quito montanita.com, Guayaquil: www.inguayquil.com.
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(Zone 5) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 15
Resource for Caregivers
Memoir highlights caregiver’s long-term health care challenges
By Jerry Harkavy from Florida to New York, a “reverse migration” that is The book is written from the perspective of the caregiver
becoming more common for parents who need chronic — more often a daughter than a son — whose relationship
D ecades after screen star Bette Davis famously declared
that “growing old is not for sissies,” Estelle Gross
expanded on the woes of the ailing aged with her
lament that people live too long and die too slowly.
On the day after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, after help-
care. It ends in 2003, when she died at 88 in a nursing
home after a decline that left her paralyzed, incontinent,
unable to speak and unable to eat on
with the parent can be fraught with decades of resentment
and other family baggage. In the author’s case, however,
the ordeal brought her closer to her
An incisive reporter with a fine The path isn’t smooth, but rather
ing cover that story for The New York Times, an eye for detail, Gross laces an all-consuming and emotional roller
exhausted Jane Gross was finally able to drop by her account of her mother’s coaster ride that Gross describes as “liv-
the nursing home a few miles north of ground decline and its impact on ing in a soup of fear, guilt, heartbreak,
zero where her mother had just moved to what her own life with sugges- resentment, loneliness and exhaustion
would be her final residence. In a furious mater- tions and warnings for other from bearing the weight of so much
nal vent, she greeted her daughter by saying, “I caregivers who find them- responsibility.”
wish those planes had hit this building.” selves in similar situations: While Gross’ memoir outlines the
Gross was a feisty octogenarian with a grab Avoid the chaos of hospital end-of-life decisions that often con-
bag of chronic conditions that for nearly three emergency rooms, assume front health care providers, clergy and
years forced her to rely on others to carry out the that costs associated with ethicists, her mother’s ability to think
simplest of daily activities. On the other hand, long-term care are not reim- rationally until the end gave her the
her cognitive abilities remained sharp until the bursable by Medicare, find control that others must often sur-
end, a contrast to many others in her nursing a family doctor, internist or render. Instead, she exits on her own
home who endured the ravages of Alzheimer’s Gross — best of all — a geriatri- terms, without sentiment or self-pity.
disease and other types of dementia. cian to manage the inevitable cascade A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our
Gross’ ordeal, and that of her daughter as principal of medical problems. Aging Parents — and Ourselves is sure
caregiver, is one that is becoming more widespread as Gross recounts a succession of mid- to become required reading for anyone
baby boomers are compelled to reverse the roles of their dle-of-the-night phone calls, emergency with an elderly parent who depends on
childhood and take on the challenging task of becoming summonses from the workplace, finan- long-term care. It’s also a worthwhile
their parents’ parents. cial costs that swiftly escalate and the need to play social read for anyone who is interested in America’s health care
In her book, A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging engineer to ensure that nursing home staff aren’t slacking system as it braces for the demands posed by demographic
Parents — and Ourselves (Knopf), Gross, who went on to off when the need arises to change diapers or prevent bed changes that include a sharp rise in the group now termed
launch a blog called The New Old Age, recounts her own sores. the “old old.”
experiences in shepherding her mother through the intrica- “Once a parent has passed 85, easy and affordable pass- Of course, the time to read the book is before the crises
cies and indignities of long-term care. ings are few and far between. Believing you’re going to get begin to mount, to be better prepared to make wise deci-
The narrative begins in 2000 with Estelle Gross’ move one is magical thinking,” she wrote. sions and deal with whatever arises. — AP
Seniors face Medicare cost barrier for cancer medications
WASHINGTON — Traditionally, chemotherapy has been she said. up on specialty tiers, along with the new
C hemotherapy is now available in a pill, administered intravenously at a clinic or Private insurance companies that deliver anti-cancer pills. Medicare supplemental
but if you have Medicare, you may not doctor’s office. Pills are a relatively new the Medicare prescription benefit say the insurance — Medigap — doesn’t cover
be able to afford it. option that may represent the future of problem is that drug makers charge too those copayments.
That’s what happened to Rita Moore cancer care. much for the medications, some of which A recent study in the Journal of Oncology
when she took her prescription for a medi- Moore, 65, has an advanced form of were developed from taxpayer-funded Practice found that nearly 16 percent of
cation to treat kidney cancer to her local kidney cancer. As she faced a life-and-death research. The pharmaceutical industry Medicare beneficiaries did not fill an initial
drugstore. She was stunned when the phar- struggle, both her cancer and kidney spe- faults insurers, saying copayments on drugs prescription for pills to treat cancer, a sig-
macist told her a month’s supply of the pills cialists agreed a drug called Sutent offered are higher than cost sharing for other medi- nificantly higher proportion than the 9 per-
would cost $2,400, more than she makes. the best chance. It’s a capsule you can take cal services, such as hospital care. cent of people with private insurance who
Medicare prescription plans that cover at home. Some experts blame the design of the did not follow through.
seniors like Moore are allowed to charge But Moore was unprepared for what Medicare prescription benefit itself, because Forty-six percent of Medicare benefi-
steep copayments for the latest cancer happened when she went to fill her pre- it allows insurers to put expensive drugs on ciaries faced copayments of more than
drugs, which can cost tens of thousands scription. a so-called “specialty tier” with copayments $500, as compared to only 11 percent of
of dollars a year. About 1 in 6 benefi- “What can you do when the only thing equivalent to 25 percent or more of the patients with private insurance. Among
ciaries are not filling their prescriptions, out there that can maybe give you some cost of the medication. people of all ages, 1 in 4 who faced a
according to recent research that suggests quality of life is unaffordable? I was devas- Drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheuma- copayment over $500 did not fill their
a worrisome trend. tated. I didn’t know what to do,” toid arthritis and hepatitis C also wind prescriptions. Cancer is more prevalent
among older people.
FDA panel unanimously backs Regeneron eye drug Medicare officials say there are currently
no plans to rework the design of the pre-
WASHINGTON — Analysts have high expectations for Regeneron’s drug because scription benefit.
A panel of federal health experts voted unanimously in favor of it requires fewer injections than Lucentis: once every two months, The prescription plan is designed so
a new eye drug from Regeneron, bringing the company one versus once a month. Company executives say the extended dosing beneficiaries who are poor or near poverty
step closer to competing against a blockbuster Roche drug regimen should appeal to both doctors and patients. face only token copays. The new health
that currently dominates the market. Wet, age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause care law gradually closes the coverage gap
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel voted 10-0 of blindness among older Americans. The condition causes new blood known as the “doughnut hole.” This year,
last month that Regeneron’s drug is a safe and effective treatment for a vessels to grow in the eye and leak blood and fluid, damaging the the new law provides a 50 percent discount
condition that can lead to blindness in seniors, according to an agency retina and distorting vision. on brand name drugs for those in the gap.
spokeswoman. More than 200,000 new cases of the condition, called The “dry” form of the condition is the most common type of “The underlying problem is with the
wet macular degeneration, are diagnosed each year. macular degeneration, with the “wet” form considered the more basic structure,” said Joe Baker, president
The FDA is not required to follow the group’s advice, though it advanced version of the disease. of the Medicare Rights Center, a New-York
often does. Regeneron may face its toughest competition from another Roche based advocacy group.
If approved, Regeneron’s injectable drug will be the first product to drug called Avastin, which is chemically similar to Lucentis. Avastin is One solution would involve requiring
compete with Roche’s Lucentis, which posts sales of $1.5 billion annu- a cancer drug that doctors have used for many years to treat the eye drug plans to lower copayments for cancer
ally. The FDA is scheduled to make its final decision on approval by disease even though it is not approved for that purpose. Specially- pills. But the trade-off is likely to be an
Aug. 20. If approved, Regeneron and its partner Bayer Pharmaceuticals formulated injections of Avastin cost just $50, compared with $2,000 increase in premiums for all beneficiaries.
will co-market the drug under the brand name Eylea. for Lucentis. — AP — AP
16 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 5) July 1, 2011
Southbridge man seeks credit for great-grandfather
By Brian Lee The family hadn’t heard from him in four months. supplier for medals and pins.
After he was set free from Camp Rastatt, with help from The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded in
SOUTHBRIDGE — the American Red Cross, Charles Thompson wrote the the name of the president to those who have been wounded
W hile most people his age seem to be thinking
about what’s next for them, 20-year-old Tyler
Thompson is fascinated by the past — particu-
larly his great-grandfather’s.
Charles R. Thompson, who died in 1975, was a World
family from a hotel in Vichy, France.
All other soldiers on his flank, at least 20 of them, were
killed before he was captured, he wrote.
He lay hidden in hollow, dug-up ground under deadly
or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917. The first
real American decoration meant for the common soldier,
1.7 million Purple Hearts have been awarded, including
4,400 since Sept. 11, 2001, according to John Bircher,
machine-gun fire from the Germans for 25 hours. spokesman for the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
War I Army veteran and prisoner of war in Germany “I took the little pictures out that you sent me and Originally the Badge of Merit, Purple Hearts were
in 1918. looked at them. I thought it was my last chance of seeing awarded retroactively to a number of World War I and II
Charles Thompson’s ordeals weren’t well known to you all,” he wrote. soldiers, Bircher said.
the family because Charles, who went on to be a head Contemplating running away during the night when it Tyler Thompson said he has reached out to U.S. Sen.
foreman at the former American Optical Co. after he rained, he found that the Germans had set up flares. He Scott Brown, R-Mass., for Charles Thompson’s prisoner-
served the country for two years, never talked about it, planted his face and body into the ground. of-war medal, the only accolade that’s pending.
the family said. Captured Oct. 1, 1918, he was beaten until he couldn’t He said part of the challenge of garnering the keepsakes
Tyler Thompson set out to gain military recognition for walk. In a separate beating he lost two fingertips. is that he is not the next of kin.
his great-grandfather, recently taking steps to get a Purple In the prison camp in Montmedy, about 100 prisoners “I’m really proud of Tyler,” his mother said. “He’s like
Heart on behalf of the family. were packed to a cell, with fleas and lice so thick they our family historian. As much research as he did on his
Tyler Thompson learned about his ancestor’s war couldn’t sleep. dad’s side — he also did a lot on my side.”
experiences when he was going through medals, dog tags “The fellows walked the floor all night long,” he wrote. Last year, Tyler Thompson went through the National
and other belongings of his late grandfather, Willard R. “Some were poisoned from head to foot.” Archives with his grandmother and obtained various
Thompson, a Navy SC3 and longtime town police sergeant, They were fed “a piece of black bread” and soup twice accolades for his other grandfather, Roland Gregoire: a
who died in 2007. daily. He cried out in hunger, he wrote. World War II Victory Medal, European Campaign Medal,
That’s when Tyler Thompson came across his great- “I don’t know how he survived,” Tyler Thompson two Bronze Stars, Marksman Medal, American Campaign
grandfather’s close-to-the-vest tale. It was in a dusty box said. Medal and the Honorable Discharge lapel pin.
that looked as though it hadn’t been opened in decades, Tyler Thompson said even his father, Robert C. Mrs. Thompson said Tyler Thompson, who works for
he said. Thompson, who was close to Charles Thompson, going his father doing landscaping, has always enjoyed history.
Inside were letters written by his great-grandfather out together on early morning fishing trips, didn’t know The personal family connection brought that interest to
to his family, and articles and military records about his what to say when Tyler Thompson showed him the mate- another level.
POW experience. rials about him. “After his grandfather passed away he started research-
Charles Thompson enlisted in the U.S. Army on April Tyler Thompson’s mother, Susan L. Thompson, said ing — and it all started from him finding that little
27, 1918, training at Camp Devens and serving in France Charles Thompson’s wife, Bertha, who lived to be 100, metal box.”
later that year. once told her that Charles Thompson had gotten gassed Tyler Thompson said he is most impressed that his
A private in Company D, 58th Infantry, 4th Infantry in the camp and came back a very different man — quiet great-grandfather survived and managed to live a normal
Division, he wrote a letter to his parents, who were living and keeping to himself. But little else was known. life despite what he went through.
in Oxford that was published in a local paper on Dec. Tyler Thompson said the Purple Heart, which was mailed “He raised a family and never drank, never swore,” Tyler
12, 1918. to him in recent weeks, is from Graco Awards, the Army’s Thompson said. “He always kept on going.” — AP
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(Zone 5) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 17
Boomers retire, shift to income-producing products
By David Pitt •A new fear of losing money caused by Annuities are insurance products that Inc., which provides online quotes and
the recession and market downturn has provide a stream of income from a lump comparisons of various annuity products.
W hen it comes to the stock market,
investors are no longer in a code
red state of anxiety. But it’s still
The market bottom was just two years
investors wanting guarantees that they won’t
lose their principal or at be least assured of
a certain level of income.
•Bank failures and high profile
sum of cash. Retirees may use all or part of
their savings to buy an annuity. It’s becoming
more common for advisers to recommend
annuitizing at least enough savings
Educational tools help retirees find the mix
of products that meet their income goals.
The Profit Sharing/401k Council of
America (PSCA) recently said it will make
fraud cases have investors less to pay food, housing and other available to its member companies the same
ago, so investors are still fearful of steep willing to turn money over to an basic expenses. That leaves the IRA rollover and annuity purchasing option
loses. They’re looking for more ways to adviser. They also don’t want remaining portion of savings to as Vanguard. The nonprofit PSCA has 1,200
guarantee that they can turn their savings to lock it all up in products be spent as needed. member companies with about 6 million
into a steady income stream without totally that limit the ability to react Sorting through all the employees.
handing over control of their money. to changing costs like health choices, however, is complex MetLife Inc. in March teamed with bond
“We refer to it as the retirement paradox,” care or gas. and many workers entering giant PIMCO to create a retirement product
said Lynne Ford, CEO of individual retire- •Workers change jobs fre- retirement need help. in offering PIMCO mutual funds. These
ment services for ING Financial Services. quently and as a result have “They don’t have a road funds are designed to provide monthly
The contradiction is that today’s retirees savings in multiple locations, map on how to bring all payments to help protect against inflation
want control over their retirement money which may include a mix of this stuff together and that’s risk. In addition, the retiree has an option
yet they want advice and help on how to 401(k)s, IRAs and brokerage where a sense of being over- to separately purchase a MetLife annuity
make it last, she said. accounts. They want help to whelmed comes from,” said to provide monthly lifetime income after
Much of the new expectations come pull it all together. Ford, the ING retirement spe- mutual fund distributions end.
from the baby boomer generation reach- •Fewer pensions mean work- cialist. “They don’t see how it all Other companies with new programs
ing retirement age. It’s been estimated that ers must save enough of their own comes together.” include:
10,000 people will turn 65 every day this money to supplement Social Security, That’s where employers and the •Putnam Investments: Began offering a
year. That pace then continues for the next which typically replaces 40 percent of pre- companies that provide retirement plans suite of income-oriented funds that aim to
19 years. retirement income. Saving enough is a big can step in and help by providing more help retirees develop strategies for monthly
Those reaching the traditional retire- challenge since today’s 65-year-old retiree holistic advice, Ford said. income. They will account for varying levels
ment age are just coming off a dreadful will likely need 20 years or more of income Some of the major retirement savings of risk to address changing financial needs
recession that pulled down home values after leaving work. account players have rolled out new pro- throughout retirement.
and retirement balances, experiences that Today retirees are increasingly focused grams in recent months. •Fidelity Investments: Offers an online
have changed the way they think about on maximizing the income they generate Vanguard Group launched an IRA with tool to help investors assess income needs,
saving, investing and spending. The expecta- from their retirement savings. an annuity option. Money from a 401(k) is structure a portfolio and develop a with-
tions of this group are different for several In many cases, a portion of the funds rolled over to an IRA as the worker retires.
reasons: may be used to buy an annuity. Vanguard partnered with Hueler Companies SHIFT page 19
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18 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 5) July 1, 2011
Who should you leave that diamond ring to?
By Linda T. Cammuso •Make specific provisions for certain
valued items — for example: “my diamond
A new client recently told me that he
has been delaying the task of updat-
ing his will since his wife passed away
15 years ago. I expected him to cite the usual
factors — discomfort with thinking about
ring to my daughter, Jennifer; my watch to
my son, Joseph” — and divide the remain-
ing items substantially equally.
•Make a separate list of items and refer-
ence it in the will, so that the list can be
death, lingering grief over his wife’s pass- adjusted over time.
ing or even cost-sensitivity. I was surprised There is no right or wrong way to handle
when he shared the actual reason for his personal property in your will. Keep the
procrastination. He could not decide how following in mind:
to split up his wife’s jewelry among their •Family disputes often begin over petty
children, and was afraid of matters — disagreements about personal
“getting it wrong.” property can create the spark for grieving
family members. Whatever you decide,
Legal Briefs remain mindful of your specific family
dynamics, and try to avoid problems before
they arise. For example, pick someone as
Estate planning in- your executor who will be neutral and
volves many complicated won’t use his/her authority to exacerbate
legal issues, but dealing with problems.
tangible personal property often involves •This is your property, so don’t feel pres-
the most emotional and difficult decisions. sured by someone who hints that he/she
Tangible personal property is a broad
category and includes household goods,
would like a particular item if that’s not
what you want. At the same time, it helps
The tragedy of not planning
personal belongings and automobiles. While
these items usually have less monetary value
to be respectful of people’s wishes and
match items with people who would truly
is losing everything
than other assets in the estate (such as real appreciate and treasure them.
estate, bank accounts and life insurance), •Don’t be afraid to ask relatives/friends you’ve worked so hard for.
what makes them truly valuable is their sen- if there is something that would mean a lot
timental meaning to you and your family. to them to have — you’ll be surprised to
The variety of personal property further find that it is something you would never When it comes to protecting assets, securing financial
complicates the process. The average estate have thought of.
may include: cars; furniture; collections •There is no such thing as perfectly
security and funding long-term care, Estate Preservation
(stamps, coins, etc.); jewelry (from costume equal, so give your executor final say over Law Offices has the right legal solution for you. We
jewelry to wedding rings); pictures and disputed items.
other historical and religious memorabilia specialize in Elder Law, Long-Term Care and Medicaid
Remember that estate planning is an
(including items that are significant to the ongoing process — review your will/trust to Planning Services. Let us guide your course.
family’s history); and the usual assortment of make sure your personal property disposi-
junk — kitchen items, clothes, old holiday tions make sense for you and your family.
decorations — and the list goes on. How Our services include:
do you decide who gets what? Linda T. Cammuso, a founding partner
The following are common examples of at Estate Preservation Law Offices and an • Creating estate plans that integrate long-term
what people do: estate planning professional, has extensive care components
•Provide a blanket provision in the will experience in estate planning, elder law and
that the tangible personal property is to
• Using specialized planning techniques to protect
long-term care planning. She may be reached
be divided “substantially equally” among at www.estatepreservationlaw.com or by call- your assets, including trusts and gifting strategies
certain beneficiaries (it is advisable to say ing 508-751-5010. Archives of articles from • Helping you navigate the ever-changing federal and
“substantially” because there is no true way previous issues may be read at www.fifty
to make personal property exactly equal). state Medicaid laws, and guiding you through the
challenging Medicaid application process
Adult kids moving home hurt
Our consultations are complimentary and
parents’ retirement finances if you cannot come to us – we’ll go to you.
A recent survey suggests that baby
boomers’ adult children may be
interfering with their parents’ retire-
About 54 percent of the boomers
have their adult children return home.
TD Ameritrade’s Lule Demmissie said
parents should be careful not to set a bad
precedent by financially supporting their
Call Attorney Brendan King or Linda Cammuso
at Estate Preservation Law Offices today.
aged 50 to 64 who responded to a TD Maritz conducted the phone sur- Estate Preservation Law Offices
Ameritrade survey said they have had adult vey of 1,007 adults between March 23
children move back in with them for at and April 11. The margin of error is Protecting assets during your lifetime.
least three months. And 42 percent of the plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. Preserving them for the next generation.
baby boomers said it hurt their finances to — AP
➤ Shift Those are just a few examples of how
companies that have specialized in help-
Cont. from page 18 ing workers save are jockeying to hang on Main Office: 71 Elm St | Ste 100
to the assets as employees move into the
drawal strategy. The tool combines a variety retirement drawdown phase. Worcester, MA 01609 | 508.751.5010
of bond funds, target-date and asset allo- “They’ve seen this tidal wave coming and
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accounts and annuities may also be used over the last several years with all sorts of
For your convenience we also have offices at:
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from a 401(k) account. It uses various retirement trends for Financial Research 776 Main Street | Hyannis, MA 02601
investment strategies to produce income Corp. “I’m guessing in the next few years
then offers an option to buy an annuity in it is a major trend that’s going to shift the
retirement. market.” — AP
(Zone 5) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 19
➤ Dating “I didn’t find true love but I found
something better — friends,” she said. “I
since 2009. About 65 percent of the mem-
bers have been divorced and 25 percent
privacy and are trying to adjust to tell-all
Cont. from page 9 joined to find a man but it took me about widowed. “Posting a profile with pictures for other
six months to settle down and realize, wow, According to the research firm com- members on the site to see is not nego-
ples 3 million U.S. households, as well as this is really fun and I just prefer to relax. Score, the number of online dating site tiable,” he said. “And you’ve also got to be
2010 census data released so far this year, No pressure.” users overall who are 50 and older has willing to proactively contact people with-
people 65 and older comprise roughly 13 On eHarmony.com, an industry leader, grown twice as rapidly as all other age out letting it bruise your ego when they
percent of the population born between people 50 and older are one of the fastest groups. Usage by the 50-plus set is up 8 don’t respond.”
1946 and 1964. The 65-plus age group growing segments among its more than 33 percent across sites. His other tips:
will amount to nearly 1 in 5 Americans by million users worldwide. The same goes A 2009 Pew Research survey showed •See what’s inside a site before you open
2030. for competitor Match. that the typical boomer your wallet. “Matchmaking sites like eHar-
Boomers ages 55 to 64 are the fastest- com, which said about believes old age doesn’t mony and Chemistry aside, virtually all
growing age group since 2000, jumping 43 25 percent of its mem- begin until 72 — not online dating sites make it extremely easy
percent to about 35 million. bers are between 50 and 65. That goes a long to take a peek inside and peruse the pro-
The number of people ages 45 to 54 65. Boomers on Match way in explaining files that are already there before you pay.”
also rose sharply, up 18 percent to 45 mil- have grown 89 percent why IAC, the parent •Avoid an avalanche of adjectives.
lion as young boomers moved into the in the last five years, site of OurTime, did away “When you write your profile, avoid using
ranks. officials said, including with “senior” in the site’s a long laundry list of adjectives to describe
Rob Briscoe, a 50-year-old software 71 percent after a divorce name. yourself. Instead, figure out a way to
developer in Chicago, divorced four years and 11 percent who were “It’s a vibrant group illustrate that you possess those qualities
ago after 21 years. He missed the rise of widowed. and that term doesn’t without making direct statements like ‘I am
online dating about 16 years ago. The site where John have broad appeal,” said adventurous and spontaneous.’ ”
When he joined HighLifeAdventures. and Debbie Valentino John Valentino, (l) and wife Debbie Greg Blatt, IAC’s CEO. •Don’t be a penpal. “Online dating is
com, “I was just trying to get out.” The site, met has since become Martinez sitting at a table during Gail Saltz, a psychol- about weeding through the masses to find
which recently morphed into SocialOne. OurTime, with 1 mil- a family member’s wedding in ogy professor in New a few good bets, so focus on your local
com, arranges group activities in select cit- lion members and in the Highlands, N.J. York and OurTime’s matches first and don’t take too long to
ies, from dinner out to hang gliding, for same corporate family as (ap photo/margaret garcia) relationship expert, said move things to in-person so you can test
people of all ages. His two kids, ages 18 Match. OurTime boasts: people over 50 — espe- the chemistry. As long as you’re getting
and 19, were guardedly supportive. “At last! A dating site that not only under- cially women — can feel more comfortable together at a public place, meeting a poten-
“I joined because the events were so stands what it is to be over 50, but also cel- on sites where they’re not competing with tial love interest online is no more danger-
interesting. There’s sky diving, hot air bal- ebrates this exciting chapter of our lives.” younger faces. ous than meeting him or her at the grocery
looning, kayaking, camping. They were all Thirty percent of its users surveyed said “In addition, you’re going to not only be store.”
bucket list items. My kids said, “Are you they’re looking exclusively for a serious a good competitor but you’re going to find •Keep the first date simple. “Online,
sure Dad?’ ” relationship. About 20 percent are looking other like-minded people who are looking all you’ve got is text and a few photos that
In about seven years of dating online, exclusively for something more casual and for that, so you don’t have to put yourself could have easily been taken in the previ-
58-year-old Becky Olson in suburban the rest are open to either. out there,” she said. ous decade. So don’t get stuck in a four-
Chicago gave up on the profile-driven OurTime users ages 50 to 64 said their Scott Valdez, who owns VirtualDating course meal with someone you’ve never
approach with no success and turned to top priority is a long-term relationship, Assistants.com, a dating concierge service met. Keep it short and sweet. A single cup
the same group meet-up site as Briscoe. while those 65 and older said companion- for all ages, said stretching the comfort of coffee. There will be plenty of time for
The site prearranges group events and ship was their main goal. The site’s mem- zone is the first hurdle for older newbies a real first date if the chemistry is there.
activities for its members. bership has grown more than 400 percent who grew up with different notions about — AP
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(Zone 5) www.fiftyplusadvocate.com 21
Decorating with personal photographs
By Melissa Rayworth they love, rather than posing at a studio. 30 percent shows people; the rest is back- and mixing up, say, 20 different framed
And Flynn’s not a fan of everyone dress- ground and sky,” said Flynn, so faces can’t photos from throughout the years, some
W hen we decorate our homes,
we express ourselves through
the furniture we buy and the
colors we select. But perhaps no element
of decorating says more about us than the
ing alike: “In real life, you don’t all wear the
same button-down shirt
and jeans. So don’t do it
in a photo.”
be seen unless you’re viewing them up
Technology also allows
you to create new items
in really thick, traditional baroque gold
frames, some ultra modern stainless steel,
others lacquered bamboo,” Flynn said.
“Those varying textures and shapes and
“The main thing about out of your favorite pho- finishes will tell a story that accentuates
personal photographs we display. personal photos is to tos, including customized those beautiful images.”
But which belong on display? And how remember that they’re per- coffee-table books from Keep things close enough together on the
can we use them to make a room more sonal,” said Los Angeles- sites like Shutterfly.com. wall that it’s clearly a set, he said. “People
beautiful and more personal? based interior designer Flynn sometimes makes sometimes stagger them with huge gaps in
Here, three interior designers share tips Betsy Burnham. “They’re photo murals for clients between and you don’t know if it’s a col-
and tricks — and also vent their pet peeves not art. They don’t take the — a single image blown lection or not.”
— for using personal photos in home place of art.” up to nearly wall-size “and Collections of framed photos also can
decorating. Consider which photos printed on the sort of vinyl look great on a side table or piano. On a
Candid shots, rather than posed portraits, are best in more private used to make billboards,” flat surface, be sure to vary heights, maybe
will help visitors to your home understand spaces of the house, such he said. mixing in a vase or other tall objects. If
who you are, said Genevieve Gorder, an as bedrooms or an upstairs hallway, and Look through your collection of photos you prefer only minimal contrast in frames,
HGTV television personality. which belong in rooms where you greet “and find that one image — it could even you can combine ones in similar colors
Brian Patrick Flynn, editor of guests, she said. be a still life of your grandmother’s purse or textures, said Burnham. Silver frames
DecorDemon.com, agrees: “When I fall in Burnham said to choose photos that are sitting on a counter in a childhood home in different sizes, some simple and others
love with a photograph, it’s 100 percent of interesting. “Let friends look at something — that tells a story,” Flynn said. ornate, can work well together, she said.
the time because there’s a personal link to that’s going to pique their curiosity or make “Once you find the photo, contact your Or try a mix of wood, horn and tortoise
it.” His favorite is “a family photo that looks them comment,” she said. local digital printer and get an estimate on shell frames.
like a moment in time was captured.” “Oftentimes we’re not the best of pho- how much it would cost to have a gigantic Frames can also be used to comment on
Think like a photo editor, Flynn said, tographers,” Gorder said. vinyl print done, and get estimates of what photos: A bold modern frame offsets the
paring down your library of images to “But with all the tools we have, it’s really it would cost to install,” he said. “It can drama of a serious portrait, for instance. Just
tell your story. Photos don’t have to be easy to make (poor photos) into something completely kick-start the design of a house don’t make all the frames identical.
flawless, but they have to say something great,” she said. “Scan them, tweak them, and its mood.” All three designers urge choosing photos
about you. crop them in a way that’s non-symmetri- A collection of photos can be the perfect that celebrate what matters to you, and dis-
If you’re having professional photos cal.” way to decorate hallways and staircases. playing them where you’ll enjoy them most:
taken, consider hiring a photographer who You can also crop to emphasize key “Make a statement by choosing one “It’s what moves you,” Burnham said. “If you
will capture family members doing activities elements. In many personal photos, “only big wall for an enormous gallery grouping love something, it’s gonna work.” — AP
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24 Fifty Plus Advocate (Zone 5) July 1, 2011