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					                            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

                                                                                       50+ Bay
                                                                                      speak out

                                                                                      Enjoy a relaxing bath, again
                                                                                                 without fear of slipping or falling
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PRE-SORT STANDARD    Fifty Plus Advocate • 131 Lincoln Street • Worcester, MA 01605                              SEE PAGES … 10-23

              You’re independent, but not alone.
                                                     We help seniors 65+ who have MassHealth Standard to combine
                                                      Medicare and Medicaid into one health plan with more benefits.

    We know that getting the care you need isn’t always easy. That’s why with Evercare® Senior Care Options (HMO SNP) you get all
    the benefits of Original Medicare and MassHealth Standard, plus more, in one simple plan. You also get access to a care manager
    to answer questions and help you get the care you need. You don’t have to figure it out alone. We’re only a phone call away.

           $0 copay for dental                  Routine eye exams,
           checkups, cleanings,                 glasses and                         $0 copay for                        Rides to doctor
           extractions, fillings,                corrective lenses                   prescription drugs                  appointments
           dentures and crowns                  once a year

                                                             Call us toll-free at 1-877-808-1843, TTY 711
                                         Or visit our website at
    Evercare Senior Care Options (Evercare SCO) is available to people who are 65 and older. You must be entitled to Medicare Part A and
    enrolled in Medicare Part B and MassHealth Standard to enroll in our Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan. You also need to live in the
    service area. If you currently pay for a Part B premium, you must keep paying it. Evercare SCO is a Coordinated Care plan with a Medicare
    Advantage contract and a contract with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To access benefits, you must have services provided or
    arranged by your primary care team. These services must be received from providers in the Evercare SCO network. Evercare SCO is offered
    by UnitedHealth Insurance Company (UHIC). If you have MassHealth Standard, but you do not qualify for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare
    Part B, you may still be eligible to enroll in a MassHealth Senior Care Options (SCO) plan offered by UnitedHealthcare® and receive all of your
    MassHealth benefits through our SCO program. Call our Customer Care/Member Service/Customer Service department at 1-888-867-5511
    TTY can call 711, 7 days a week, between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm local time for additional information about the MassHealth SCO program.
    The benefit information provided herein is a brief summary, not a comprehensive description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.

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

                      FEATURED STORIES
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
                                                                                                Personalize                                       Dating
                       Resource for Caregivers                          16                      your space                       22               points                                9
                       Travel                                           12
                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                 SUBSIDIZED HOUSING
    Evercare ............................................. p. 2       Tai Chi Study ~                                             Congregrational
    Senior Whole Health ...................... p. 17                      Tufts New England Medical Center                        Retirement Home ........................... p. 20
                                                                  Thank you for supporting our advertisers
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
                                                                     Publisher: Philip Davis                                     Research Study Advertising: Donna Davis: ext. 130    times annually by Mar-Len Publications, Inc. 131
                                                                     Executive Editor /                                          Boston Metro / Boston South Sales Manager:           Lincoln St., Worcester, MA 01605.
                                                                     Assistant Publisher: Sondra Shapiro: ext. 136                  Reva Capellari: ext. 5                                 Fifty Plus Advocate accepts no responsibility for
                                                                                                                                                                                      unsolicited manuscripts or materials and does not
                                                                     Staff Reporter: Brian Goslow: ext. 135                      Sales:                                               return them to sender. Retractions for any inaccuracies
                                                                     Travel Writer: Victor Block                                    Cara Kassab: ext. 125                             will be printed when necessary. Unsolicited letters to
              Eastern Massachusetts Edition                                                                                         Steven M. Persichetti
             131 Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA 01605                 Art Director: Susan J. Clapham: ext. 142                                                                         the editor become the property of this newspaper and
                                                                                                                                                                                      can be reprinted in part or in whole unless otherwise
           Serving the Fifty Plus Community since 1975               Bookkeeper: Stacy Lemay: ext. 6                                                                                  stated. Fifty Plus Advocate columnists writing under a
              (508) 752-2512 • FAX: (508) 752-9057                                                                                                                                    byline are expressing their personal opinions and not
   Bookkeeping: ext. 6, Circulation: ext. 7, Sales Manager: ext. 5                                              Members of the Associated Press.                                      necessarily those of the newspaper.

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 or read more at
frequent supermarkets, drugstores, mass
                                                                                                  (Zone 3)   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
                                                                                                   bly economy.
                                                                                                      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
            is narrowing.
   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
 effects of Tai Chi and Physical Therapy on people with Knee Osteoarthritis.                       care for others. Participants can also benefit by obtain-
                                                                                                    ing breakthrough research treatments available only
       Up to twenty-four FREE Tai Chi or Physical Therapy sessions.
                                                                                                     thru trials, most at no cost.
                    Compensation of up to $200 is available
                                                                                                                          You can make a difference.
                    For more information, call 617-636-2612
                    or email                                                           Call one of the clinical trials advertising in the
                                                                                                                     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,
  administered in the nose on blood flow in the brain and memory.
  Looking for 60 participants (age >50 years):
  • Group 1: type 2 diabetes mellitus (for > 5 years)                                           TI M E                 (Check off the study and a research study coordinator will call you.)
  • Group 2: healthy controls (without major health problems)

  Study visits include: Overnight stay for 3 days, blood tests, medical and memory
  examinations, blood flow measurements using ultrasound and MRI.
                                                                                                       Brain Blood Flow
  Stipend: up to $220 for completing the study.                                                         ~ Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston
  If interested, please call:
                SAFE Laboratory
                                                                                                       Insulin Study
                                                                    ~ Beth Israel Deaconess
                                                                                                           Medical Center
    “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                                           *We cannot process without your phone #. It will be used only in regard to the studies you have marked.

                                                                                                      (Zone 3)                                                                    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 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, and www.
that they are not just negotiating budget numbers on a        from coming to market in a timely manner.               

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
Newburyport Chamber
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

    Enjoy Home
                                                                                                    “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

     Delivery of
                                           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
8        Fifty Plus Advocate        (Zone 3)           July 1, 2011
                                                                        Feeling Healthy

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 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                         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)                                           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.
    Ultimately, though,
                                                                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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10        Fifty Plus Advocate       (Zone 3)           July 1, 2011
                                                                                                   Read previous issues of the
The Return to Home Program,™
located on our second floor, is designed
to prepare patients to return to their homes
as quickly as possible following a
                                                                                                   On-line at
At Sherrill House, our patients enjoy
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                      • “I can’t do it alone anymore.”
                      • “I can’t stay with her again tonight.”
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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:, Yachana Lodge: www.yacha-
at the grandiose dining hall, the room where the president                                                              , Cuenca:, Montanita: www.
sits with his cabinet ministers and a space filled with por-        The Teleferiqo gondola ride over Quito              , Guayaquil:

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14         Fifty Plus Advocate                (Zone 5)              July 1, 2011
(Zone 5)   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
                                                                    her own.
                                                                                                                                      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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Boomers retire, shift to income-producing products
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W          hen it comes to the stock market,
           investors are no longer in a code
           red state of anxiety. But it’s still
code orange.
   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
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                                                                                                     more common for advisers to recommend
                                                                                                           annuitizing at least enough savings
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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
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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 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-
ment planning.
   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
cation funds to reach the goals. Managed          they’ve been issuing dozens of new products
accounts and annuities may also be used           over the last several years with all sorts of
                                                                                                                     For your convenience we also have offices at:
in the mix.                                       different twists to try to capture their fair                      100 Grandview Rd | Braintree, MA 02184
    •Financial Engines: Its managed account       share of the market,” said Leslie Prescott, a
program provides steady monthly payments          consultant and author of a new report on                           110 Cambridge St | Cambridge, MA 02141
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)                      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
                                                                                                                                                                             life online.
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, 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,, 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)                                                          21
                                                                   Home Improvement
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     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, 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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22        Fifty Plus Advocate          (Zone 5)            July 1, 2011
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24   Fifty Plus Advocate   (Zone 5)    July 1, 2011

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