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					                             Bethel, quaint                                           Making room                                           Get the
                             sophistication                                            for mom                                            cost upfront
                                   page 10                                               page 13                                              page 14


                                                     Find Index of Caregiving Services on page 3




              Published Monthly / FREE / October 2011 / Vol. 37 / No. 10 / 20 pp.                                                             BOSTON METRO EDITION




                                                                                       Do You Need Services Now?

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                                                           Do You Have a Loved One
                                                             In a Nursing Home?
                                        Follow                   Did you know that there
                                                          are legal ways to reduce or even
                                     breaking             eliminate your nursing home
                                                          costs without lowering the
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       www.fiftyplusadvocate.com                           nursing home.
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                                                          methods, we can often greatly reduce or even eliminate those
       Don’t wait for the next issue                      large monthly nursing home bills.
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2   Fifty Plus Advocate   (Zone 5)   October 1, 2011
                    Fifty Plus Advocate ■ Boston Metro Edition ■ October 1, 2011 ■ Vol. 37 / No. 10 ■ 20 pp. ■ Published monthly
Inside This Month
                       FEATURED STORIES
                     ‘Supercommittee’ tackles entitlements                           6
                     Fed’s long-term plan at risk                                    6
                     Social Security direct deposit a hit                            6
                     The future of 401k disclosures                                  7
                     Fewer Medicare enrollees hit coverage gap                      13
                                                                                                                             Super

                       DEPARTMENTS                                                                                           decisions                           6
                          Feeling Healthy                                 17
                          Hearing Health                                  18
                          Home Improvement                                16
                          Just My Opinion                                    5
                          Legal Briefs                                    15
                          Money Matters                                   14
                          Resource for Caregivers                         13                       Legacy                                           Quaint

                          Travel                                          10                       at risk                              6           Maine                           10
                          Viewpoint                                          8                           ABOUT THE COVER
                                                                                                      John and Debbie Valentino found love online. page 4



                               ■        INDEX                     OF       SERVICES                              IN THIS                   ISSUE                    ■
    ADVOCACY                                                           HOSPICE                                                           Golden LivingCenter – Lexington
                                                                         Asera Care Hospice ......................... p. 11              Golden LivingCenter – Dexter House
         AARP ................................................. p. 5
                                                                                                                                         Golden LivingCenter – Melrose
    ASSISTED LIVING                                                    HOME CARE SERVICES                                                Golden LivingCenter – The Elmhurst
         Cefalo Memorial Complex .............. p. 16                    AAAAA Private Home Care .............. p. 9                     Golden LivingCenter – Chetwynde
                                                                                                                                         Golden LivingCenter – West Newton
         Oosterman Rest Home ..................... p. 2                  ABC Home Healthcare .................... p. 12
                                                                         Able Home Care .............................. p. 11          Life Care Center of Northshore ....... p. 11
    ATTORNEYS, ELDER LAW
         Elder Law Solutions .......................... p. 2           HOME IMPROVEMENTS                                              Newton Health Care Center ............. p. 11
         Estate Preservation Law Offices....... p. 15                    SecurityBath .................................... p. 19      Oosterman Rest Home ..................... p. 2
    CREMATION SERVICES                                                   Shelf Genie ....................................... p. 12
                                                                                                                                      Sherrill House ................................... p. 9
         Casper Cremations........................... p. 14            MEDICAL RESEARCH STUDIES .............. p. 7
                                                                         Muscle Pain                                                  Stone Institute ~ McLellan Rehabilitation
    DIABETICS / FOOT CARE                                                                                                             Nursing Center ................................ p. 10
                                                                           ~ Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Ctr.
         Canney Medical Supply ................. p. 9
                                                                         Research on Aging                                           NURSING    AND    REHAB CENTERS
    HEALTH PLANS             FOR   SENIORS                                  ~ Brandeis University                                     Brookline Health Care Center ......... p. 12
         Elder Service Plan                                            NURSING HOMES
         for the North Shore .......................... p. 17                                                                        SUBSIDIZED HOUSING
                                                                         Golden LivingCenters .................... p. 20
    HEARING SERVICES                                                      Golden LivingCenter – Heathwood                             Congregrational
         Mario Hearing & Tinnitus Clinics ..... p. 12                     Golden LivingCenter – Gloucester                            Retirement Home ........................... p. 16

                        If you use any services listed above, please mention you saw their ad in the Fifty Plus Advocate.
Online dating for 50+ singles has rewards and hazards
By Brian Goslow                                                                                                           they say they are.                             was under a different name.”
                                                                                                                              Andy Scott, principal partner of Scott-       Debbie Valentino had been divorced 11

 J    o Ann Eichelberger did not join
      SeniorPeopleMeet.com looking to find
      a new partner or even a date. Divorced
for 18 years, she had been busy raising her
                                                                                                                          Roberts and Associates, LLC, formed years before joining the online dating field.
                                                                                                                          MyMatchChecker.com with fellow retired “I’d have a couple of dates and then stop,”
                                                                                                                          law officer Robert Buchholz to fill the hole she said. “I was raising my daughter. When
                                                                                                                          of what they saw as the inability of daters I saw SeniorPeopleMeet, I said, I guess that’s
son, helping her mother enjoy her final                                                                                   to do background checks on people they me. I liked that it was my own age group.”
years of life and, apart from a few dates                                                                                 met online prior to meeting them in person.       She had tried other online dating sites,
at the encouragement of friends or with                                                                                       “I’ve heard from many women, ‘He sent which weren’t age specific, and found most of
friendly acquaintances, she was “done with                                                                                a picture and when we met, he was 10 the men weren’t as advertised. “Guys would
the male species,” she said.                                                                                              years older and 50 pounds heavier,’ ” Scott ask if I was athletic and then I’d meet them
    “I did it as a joke to show my friend                                                                                 said. “The Internet makes you think you’re (expecting them to be muscular and fit) and
who couldn’t find a date — even though                                                                                    having a person-to-person conversation I’d end up saying to them, ‘What do you do,
she was on every dating site (that she                                                                                    but you’re dialoguing. People are creating play darts?’ Eventually you’re going to meet
must have been doing something wrong),”                                                                                   their image. You might think he’s humor- the person so why play games?”
Eichelberger said. “I saw SeniorPeopleMeet John and Debbie Valentino                                                      ous but the guy could be in an apartment          Her own profile stated she had been in
and said, ‘This would work.’ Then she            spend his life with Jo Ann, 56. She plans to                             you wouldn’t think of going to, wearing a the U.S. Marine Corps. “A lot of guys were
said she wouldn’t go on a site with the word continue working as an airline flight attendant                           t-shirt and in his underpants, drinking a beer.” intimidated by that,” Debbie Valentino said. “I
senior on it. So I went on as a joke and the until she reaches 60; her love of traveling has                               Scott said 99 percent of people of ques- was shocked.” Not John Valentino, who had
joke was on me.”                                 introduced a whole new world to her husband,                          tionable character online are men: Some are been divorced three times and tried various
    A year later, Eichelberger was happily who hadn’t taken a vacation in eight years. He                              sexual predators; others are looking to take online dating sites until a 48-year-old woman
married.                                         was into motor sports and classic cars.                               advantage of women. “You’re creating a mental on PlentyOfFish.com told him he was too
    Soon after Eichelberger joined,                  They honeymooned in Hawaii and have                               image — he’s funny, he’s witty and seems intel- old for her at 55. “I wanted to tell her I was
SeniorPeopleMeet realized many potential subsequently vacationed in Boston, New York,                                  ligent,” he said. “Online, people don’t let their in better shape than guys 30 years younger
customers might not want to be associated the Caribbean and most recently, Alaska,                                     intelligence do what it normally does — use than me,” he said.
with the word senior and became OurTime. where they both ziplined. “We got as high as                                  their vision, hearing and intuition the way          Realizing he’d best stick to his own
com. Members must be 50 or older.                90 feet and as fast as 45 miles an hour,” Brian                       they do when meeting someone face to face. age group, soon after signing up for
    In the past two years, OurTime.com has said. “It was a blast.”                                                     Ninety-eight percent of that is shut down SeniorPeopleMeet.com, John Valentino was
seen its membership increase 400 percent.            OurTime.com’s Orbuch said most single                             because the meeting is on the Internet. “You attracted to the smile of a woman in a notifica-
Its relationship expert, Dr. Terri Orbuch, said people over 50 have experienced a divorce,                             become enamored with this fictitious person tion the company sent to him stating she was
the website provides a targeted experience in the loss of a loved one or the end of a long-                            you’ve never met,” said Scott. “You develop someone in his area he might be interested
finding a companion, someone to spend life term relationship. They place a higher value                                a crush on them and find yourself willing to in. “I sent her an e-mail right away that said,
with or share experiences with.                  on relationships and companionship than they                          throw your whole world at them.”                  ‘You look so kissable,’ ” John recalled. “She
    “A lot of the concern for those 50 and older did when they were younger. “You’re more                                  He said twice he’s had to talk a client out wrote right back and asked, ‘In what way
about online dating is everyone is younger and confident and a better judge of character,”                             of sending $60,000 to a bank account, sup- am I kissable?’ ”
everyone is going to want someone younger she said.                                                                    posedly of a foreign country                                           Simple things had attract-
than them,” Orbuch said. “On OurTime,                The online process encourages people to                           holding a man who said he                                          ed them to each other. “His
they’re in a safe, successful area where every- really think about what they’re looking for in                         was from the United States                                         profile said he had six cats
one’s the same age with the same attitudes, a partner — and about what attributes they’re                              and had been arrested in a                                         and I love cats,” Debbie said.
religious beliefs and interests.”                bringing to a prospective relationship. “Unlike                       bad business deal and needed                                       “He liked a lot of the same
    That’s why Brian Eichelberger joined. At traditional dating, with online dating, you                               to settle the case so he could                                     music I did; we both like
the time, he had been divorced for four years might talk and work out things you want to                               be free to come marry her.                                         blues, blues rock.” He lived
after an 18-year marriage and nearing retire- say beforehand with a friend or a relative,”                                 “The biggest question we                                       in the southern part of New
ment as a prison correctional officer. “I was Orbuch said. “You can have them look at what                             get is how do I know that                                          Jersey, she in the central part.
on another dating site for a short time and you write before you send it. They might say,                              the person I’m talking to is                                       They met after two weeks of
not getting any results,” he said. “There were ‘Sell yourself more.’ It’s a confidence booster                         giving me their real name,”                                        talking online.
too many younger people and people play- to have them involved.”                                                       said Scott, noting that online,                                        “As soon as we saw each
ing games. I came across this site and said it       Stonehill College sociology professor and                         people tend to reveal much                                         other, we gave each other a
                                                                                                                                                        Jo Ann and Brian Eichelberger
might work for me.”                              relationship expert Patricia Leavy, author of                         more about themselves than                                         hug and we haven’t stopped
    Brian and Jo Ann found each other through Low-Fat Love (Sense Publishers), said folks                              they would if that person was sitting with hugging since,” John Valentino said. “Five
an OurTime.com notification that their profile in their 50s and older may have insecurities                            them. “The first couple of times you chat, you minutes after we met, as soon as we touched
suggested they had common interests. “I was about dating either because they haven’t been                              talk about family, where you work, where you each other, I knew.” Debbie Valentino, now
only on it for a few days when I heard from Jo terribly successful at it — and therefore are                           went to college and high school — those are 54, said it took her a few days to realize she
Ann with a nice compliment on my writing single — or they are divorced and “starting                                   all investigable clues.”                          had strong feelings for John, now 57. “Then I
style,” Brian said. Since she wasn’t planning again.” She sees the initial process of online                               MyMatchChecker.com offers its clients was in love,” she said. Nine months later, they
on dating, she wrote Brian and told him he’d dating as a way of “dipping a toe into a cold                             a comprehensive background check of any were engaged. They got married the following
find someone.                                    pool instead of diving in head first.”                                questionable elements in a person’s past, year. “We didn’t tell anyone,” John Valentino
    That might have disappointed weaker              “Online dating is appealing because you                           researching criminal histories, checking sex said. “We had a family wedding on the beach
hearts, but not Brian’s. “It was nice,” he said. can do as much or little of it as you choose,”                        offender registries or the FBI Terror Watch List the following year.”
“She was the only one who wrote and com- Leavy said. “It can be ‘fit in’ to your life as                               and whether there are any pending criminal           Fed up with New Jersey winters, the two
plimented me on my profile. I told her, ’You you see fit and it allows a lot of screening out                          cases. If nothing comes up, MyMatchChecker. have since moved to Pensacola, Fla. “On our
sound like a nice gal and I’d like to meet you of inappropriate matches based on politics,                             com will check online sites such as Google third date, she said she’d like to live by the
anyways.’ ”                                      religious values, interests and other factors                         and Yahoo! to help confirm that a person is shore,” John Valentino explained. “She asked
    One date led to another and less than five that may become increasingly important as                               who they say they are.                            me my travel plans and I said, ‘Baby, I’ll go
months later, they were engaged. Their wed- we mature.”                                                                    “Not every search is going to be perfect,” anywhere you want to go even if it’s South
ding invitations read, “We clicked!” in tribute      Just as love can be blind in face-to-face                         Scott said. “Just because you don’t find any- Dakota with four feet of snow.’”
to their online-inspired romance. Now retired, relationships, it can be even more so online                            thing doesn’t mean they don’t have a record;
Brian, 58, moved to Agoura Hills, Calif. to when the person on the other end is not who                                it could be it hasn’t been recorded yet or it                                ONLINE page 8

                                                                                                                                                                                          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
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                                                                     Assistant Publisher: Sondra Shapiro: ext. 136                  Reva Capellari: ext. 5                                Fifty Plus Advocate accepts no responsibility for
                                                                                                                                                                                     unsolicited manuscripts or materials and does not
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              Eastern Massachusetts Edition                                                                                         Steven M. Persichetti
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                                                                                                                                                                                     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.


                                        Read more at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com
We can learn from our elders
how to find happiness in life
By Sondra L. Shapiro                              disease and obesity and suffer from depres-
                                                  sion.


A       new Gallup-Healthways index con-
        firms there is such a thing as a mid-
        life crisis, but don’t worry because
once we turn 65, it’s all laughter and con-
tentment.
                                                      Perhaps we middle-agers have the deck
                                                  stacked against us — financial woes from
                                                  the weak economy have families struggling
                                                  to save for retirement, pay college tuitions
                                                  and make mortgage payments. For many,
    The Index is an average of six sub-           there’s the added responsibility of caring
indices: Life Evaluation, Physical Health,        for a sick parent. Time management at this
Emotional Health, Healthy Behavior, Work          stage of life is very challenging.
Environment and Basic Access.                         These constraints leave little inclination
    The information, gathered from more           to fulfill the wellness quotient — to eat
than 1 million surveys since 2008, shows          better, exercise or find moments to relax or
that even while falling a bit behind when it      engage in leisure activities.
comes to health issues, older people are less         Complicating the facing of and dealing
likely to be sad or depressed than any other      with these many issues is the inevitable
age group. In fact, although the difference       realization of personal mortality: At least
is small, they’re actually somewhat happier.      half our life is spent. Am I where I want
    The conclusions show that Americans           to be? Am I doing what I want to do? Is
over 65 scored 69 (out of 100), beating           my life what I dreamed it would be in my
                       out every age group.       youth?
                                                      Even with good intensions, just the
                                                  quest to eat better or find time to exercise
                       Just My                    may add to the stress. And when we look
                       Opinion                    for happiness through material things, we
                                                  only end up frustrated that we still feel
                                                  unfulfilled.
                      Those ages 45-64 scored         No wonder the word commonly associ-
                      65, putting them at the     ated with midlife is “crisis,” not “wellbeing.”
bottom end of the wellbeing spectrum.                  “Sometimes in the West we make hap-
“Today’s older Americans show remarkable          piness much more complicated than it is,”
resilience as they age and navigate longev-       Natasha Mitchell, of ABC Radio National’s
ity’s challenges,” said Joseph Coughlin,          All in the Mind, told a reporter from theage.
PhD, director of the Massachusetts Institute      com.au. “Shouldn’t it be straightforward
of Technology’s AgeLab in a statement. “For       that if we reach out to other people, which
tomorrow’s older adults to do as well, if not     is part of our biological imperative, that
better, we need to take a lifespan approach       we’ll feel good?”
to address multiple dimensions of wellbe-             Mitchell was a presenter at the
ing, from managing physical problems such         Happiness and its Causes conference in
as obesity, to instilling lifelong behaviors      Brisbane, Australia, where many of the
that will support a future generation of          speakers agreed that scientifically proven
Americans that could begin approaching a          ways to boost wellbeing comes down to
new normal of 100 years of life.”                 common sense: being kind, working on
    Surprisingly, there is a steady increase in   relationships, exercising and eating health-
healthy behaviors as we age. Work environ-        ier food, according to an article in theage.
ment satisfaction and basic access to neces-      com.au.
sities peak with those over 65.                       So, the question is, how do we acquire
    The Gallup-Healthways Wellbeing               a sense of wellbeing? An article in the
Index, which provides an in-depth, real-          Cleveland Banner may hold some answers:
time view of Americans’ wellbeing, is                 •Achieve self-acceptance: Be realistic
actually designed to provide governments,         about yourself, accepting that you aren’t
communities, employers and health plans           perfect. Don’t look for approval from oth-
insight into the health of their populations.     ers.
    As an example, a daily index as of May            •Maintain positive relations with others:
reports the average amount of happiness           Surround yourself with good friends who
and enjoyment all respondents experienced         allow you to be yourself, and with whom
without a lot of stress or worry was typical-     you can share your thoughts and concerns.
ly in the 40 percent range on weekdays and            •Demand personal freedom: As I have
the high-50 percent range on weekends.            learned, time is becoming more precious so
    Massachusetts ranks 11 (with a 51.4           I don’t want to waste so much time doing
percent: the national overall score was           things I don’t enjoy.
66.5) on the wellness scale among 50                  •Be confident: Life’s experiences should
states.                                           give a sense of confidence that you can suc-
    A state of wellbeing is equated with          cessfully solve most of the problems that
better health, which translates into lower        come up.
health care costs. “Improve wellbeing, and            •Adjust your purpose: In middle age,
productivity goes up and health care costs        we should free ourselves of those goals that
come down,” said Ben Leedle, president            once defined us: What we did for a living,
and CEO of Healthways upon the release of         how much money we made or where we
the research.                                     went to college. It’s more important to find
    The question is how do we achieve a           purpose through meaningful relationships.
state of wellness? If you ask the folks at            •And, lastly, my favorite: Keep grow-
Healthways, it’s such things as smiling,          ing: As my dear friend Norma used to say,
laughter, access to learning, eating well and     we should learn something new every day.
getting plenty of exercise. And, naturally,       She lived that motto until the end of her
not smoking. While the over 65 set is prac-       life. Well into her 80s, she took courses in
ticing these behaviors, middle age folks
are smoking, have higher levels of chronic                                   LEARN page 10
                                                                                                    (Zone 3)   www.fiftyplusadvocate.com   5
Long-term care insurance plan at risk
By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar                                            CLASS was intended as voluntary long-term care               U.S. workforce — to be financially feasible.
                                                                  insurance plan, supported by premiums, not taxpayer                  But work on CLASS continued, bolstered by a report


E      ven as leading Democrats offered assurances to the
       contrary, government experts repeatedly warned
       that a new long-term care insurance plan could go
belly up, saddling taxpayers with another underfunded
benefit program, according to emails disclosed by con-
                                                                  dollars. Workers would pay an affordable sum of around
                                                                  $100 a month or less. In exchange, they would receive
                                                                  a modest daily cash benefit averaging no less than $50
                                                                  if they become disabled later in life. Beneficiaries could
                                                                                                                                   for AARP that laid out scenarios for implementing the
                                                                                                                                   plan. The AARP study also raised financial concerns,
                                                                                                                                   although it supports CLASS.
                                                                                                                                       In July, Foster tried again. After reviewing the latest
                                                                  use the money for services to help them stay at home, or         information from Kennedy’s office, he wrote HHS officials,
gressional investigators.                                                       to help with nursing home bills. The Health        “Thirty-six years of (professional) experience lead me to
   Part of President Barack Obama’s health                                      and Human Services Department (HHS)                believe that this program would collapse in short order
care law, the program is in limbo as a congres-                                 is supposed to set the final premiums and          and require significant federal subsidies to continue.”
sional debt panel searches for budget savings                                   benefit levels in the coming months.                   Too late. The Obama administration had decided to
and behind the scenes, administration officials                                    But the program is on a collision course        support CLASS. Documents and emails indicate that
scramble to find a viable financing formula.                                    with powerful demographic and economic             Foster was edged out of deliberations. Officials relied on
   A longstanding priority of the late Sen.                                     forces. How to pay the exorbitant cost of          a more favorable analysis from the Congressional Budget
Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the Community                                       long-term care remains a major unmet need          Office. In November, Foster went public with his con-
Living Assistance Services and Supports pro-                                    for an aging society. On the other hand, many      cerns. Congress was well aware, the administration says.
gram, or CLASS, was spliced into the health Kennedy                             economic experts believe the government                By that time, Marton, the HHS aging policy official,
care law despite nagging budget worries.                                        has already promised seniors more than it          was also raising questions internally. Emails he sent
Administration emails and documents reveal that alarms            can deliver, and now is not the time to launch another           other administration officials relayed studies that raised
were sounded earlier and more widely than previously              program likely to need a taxpayer bailout or new man-            concerns about such issues as premiums and the role of
thought. Congressional Republicans seeking repeal of the          dates. Obama’s own bipartisan debt commission last year          employers, while also recommending fixes.
program provided the materials to The Associated Press.           recommended major reforms or repeal of CLASS, as did                 Publicly, the administration maintained it would all
   “Seems like a recipe for disaster to me,” William              another independent advisory group. Nursing homes                work out. A December 2009 presentation for senior
Marton, a senior aging policy official in the administra-         and long-term care providers support the program, while          officials stressed the end result would be a financially
tion, wrote in an October 2009 email. Marton explained            private long-term care insurance companies oppose it.            robust program.
his concern that large numbers of healthy people would                CLASS poses a dilemma for the new congressional                  In private, administration insiders were still spelling
not willingly sign up for CLASS, creating a predicament           supercommittee, since it initially reduces the federal deficit   out concerns. In January 2010, amid the final drive to pass
in which soaring premiums for a smaller group of frail            until payouts overwhelm premiums collected.                      the health care law through a divided Congress, officials
beneficiaries would destabilize the program.                          The emails show that the first warning about CLASS           circulated a 10-page list of “technical corrections.” One
   That central design flaw has dogged CLASS from the             came in May 2009, from Richard Foster, head of long              item questioned whether the law gave HHS sufficient
drawing board, and it may turn out to be insurmount-              range economic forecasts for Medicare. “At first glance          authority to redesign the program to keep it afloat, and
able without making the program mandatory for most                this proposal doesn’t look workable,” Foster wrote in an         recommended a “fail-safe” clause spelling that out.
workers. CLASS remains vulnerable to repeal.                      email to other HHS officials, some of whom were work-                HHS spokesman Sorian said Secretary Kathleen
   “There has been no decision made,” Health and Human            ing with Congress to get CLASS into the health care law.         Sebelius will not go forward with the program unless it
Services spokesman Richard Sorian said. “We are continu-              Foster said a rough outline of the program would have        is financially sustainable, and the law explicitly gives her
ing our analysis.                                                 to enroll more than 230 million people — more than the           that power. — AP

‘Supercommittee’ tackles sensitive issue of entitlements
D        igging in for a bruising struggle,
         Republicans on Congress’ powerful
         deficit-fighting “supercommittee”
targeted Social Security and government
health care spending in mid-September
                                                  reduce it later in the decade.”
                                                     The committee has until Nov. 23 to
                                                  recommend legislation, but Elmendorf said
                                                  the essential decisions must be made as
                                                  much as three weeks earlier than that to
                                                                                                   ing to consider spending cuts this time
                                                                                                   around, and John A. Boehner, R-Ohio,
                                                                                                   has said he put additional revenues on the
                                                                                                   table in negotiations with the president
                                                                                                                                                   Elmendorf replied.
                                                                                                                                                      Hensarling also quoted Obama as
                                                                                                                                                   saying, “The major driver of our long-
                                                                                                                                                   term liabilities, everybody here knows,
                                                                                                   last summer that ultimately collapsed.          is Medicare and Medicaid and our health
while Democrats pressed for higher tax            make sure they are drafted into a bill and           At the time, the two men were con-          care spending. Nothing comes close.”
revenue as part of any deal to                              their impact on the federal budget     sidering tax reform that would generate            Asked if he agreed, Elmendorf said he
reduce red ink by at least $1.2 tril-                       calculated carefully.                  growth — and about $800 billion in addi-        did.
lion over the next decade.                                     The panel was created as part       tional tax revenue over a decade — while           Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, asked Elmen-
    There were no ultimatums from                           of a compromise that avoided a         lowering rates and closing loopholes.           dorf if he agreed that inappropriate pay-
either side, and there was even a                           threatened government default              Much of the first hearing consisted         ments in federal programs account for a
fleeting suggestion that tax reform                         and cut nearly $1 trillion from        of committee members posing questions           significant amount of spending.
might eventually clear the way for                          some federal programs.                 to Elmendorf designed to elicit answers            “I do agree,” the CBO director said,
the bipartisan agreement that both                              In addition to the original        that might enhance their own bargaining         although he quickly added that there was
                                         Hensarling
sides say they want.                                         goal of cutting long-term deficits,   positions for negotiations with lawmakers       a difference between fraud and improper
    Yet with the Census Bureau report-            Democrats want much or all of Obama’s            of the other party.                             payments, some of which might be the
ing national poverty at a 28-year high            $447 billion jobs proposal put on the                Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a             result of individuals who were mistaken
and partisan struggles flaring elsewhere          agenda, significantly increasing the amount      co-chairman of the panel, pointed to            in how they filled out forms.
in Congress, the events underscored the           of savings that must be found.                   statistics showing that Social Security,           Among Democrats, Sen. John Kerry
challenge the 12-member panel faces as it            “My question to Congress is: What on          Medicare and Medicaid are growing fast-         got Elmendorf’s agreement when he said
gropes for a deal that can clear Congress         earth are we waiting for?” the president         er in relation to the overall economy than      federal revenues have been relatively high
and win President Barack Obama’s signa-           asked rhetorically as he visited Columbus,       they have in the past. “Not quite double,       as a proportion of the overall economy
ture by year’s end.                               Ohio, to campaign for the enactment of           but certainly that can be described as          in years since World War II in which the
    With the nation’s debt high and surging his program of Social Security payroll tax             explosive growth, could it not?” he             budget was balanced — an attempt to
and the population aging, “Citizens will          cuts and spending increases for highway          asked.                                          counter Republican arguments that taxes
either have to pay more for their govern-         projects and other domestic programs.                “Very rapid, Congressman, yes,”             are already too high. — AP
ment, accept less in government services             Republicans are likely to accept some
and benefits, or both,” Doug Elmendorf,
the head of the nonpartisan Congressional
                                                  or all of the tax cuts Obama wants, but
                                                  the spending increases shape up as a
                                                                                                   More Social Security recipients get direct deposit
Budget Office (CBO), told the supercom-           tougher sell. GOP leaders point out that         OMAHA, Neb. —                                   now being made electronically. That’s up
mittee.
    Though the choices are difficult, he
said, the problem “need not be viewed as
unsolvable.”
    Yet the challenge is complicated, he
                                                  the administration’s call for higher taxes
                                                  on the wealthy has faced opposition from
                                                  some Democrats as well as Republicans in
                                                  the past.
                                                     Past efforts to reach compromise on
                                                                                                   M        ore recipients of government pay-
                                                                                                            ments in the Midwest are signing
                                                                                                            up for direct deposit, but officials
                                                                                                   say 1.8 million people are still counting on
                                                                                                   paper checks.
                                                                                                                                                   from 85 percent seven months ago.
                                                                                                                                                      Officials hope the number of people
                                                                                                                                                   using direct deposit will continue to grow.
                                                                                                                                                   So reminders will be sent to benefit recipi-
                                                                                                                                                   ents in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,
said, if the lawmakers’ are hoping to revive major debt-reducing proposals have run                    That could be a problem because the         Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri,
the economy in the short term and to              aground over mutually exclusive demands          federal government plans to end paper           Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio,
cut federal deficits in later years. In that      — Republicans opposed to raising taxes           checks for Social Security and other benefits   South Dakota and Wisconsin.
case, “a combination of policies would            and Democrats against cutting benefit pro-       in March 2013.                                     Anyone needing help with the change
be required: changes in taxes and spend-          grams.                                               The Treasury Department says 88 percent     can call 1-800-333-1795 or visit www.
ing that would widen the deficit now but             But Obama has made clear he is will-          of the benefit payments in the Midwest are      GoDirect.org. —AP
6        Fifty Plus Advocate           (Zone 3)           October 1, 2011
Government: 401k fee disclosures may be electronic
W           orkers with 401(k) retirement
            accounts will receive improved
            disclosures about the fees they’re
paying. The Department of Labor mandated
such disclosure beginning next year and said
                                                                  to some 72 million workers enrolled in work-
                                                                  place retirement accounts prompted active
                                                                  lobbying by the industry.
                                                                      Mailing out newly required annual book-
                                                                  lets and quarterly fee statements on paper
                                                                                                                           will stand until Labor Department officials
                                                                                                                           have time to review the issue more thoroughly.
                                                                                                                               By the end of May, workers will get a
                                                                                                                           booklet that will detail the funds they have in
                                                                                                                           their 401(k) accounts, the investment returns,
                                                                                                                                                                                 ments will accompany regular account bal-
                                                                                                                                                                                 ance statements and explain all the fees paid
                                                                                                                                                                                 including administrative and record keeping
                                                                                                                                                                                 costs and the fees charged by various funds
                                                                                                                                                                                 in the account. These new fee disclosures
the information may be delivered electroni-                       would have been expensive, a cost that                   expense ratios and other details. These book-         must be distributed no later than mid-August.
cally by email, through a secure website or                       would likely have been passed on to workers              lets must include charts that compare the                Companies offering 401(k) plans are also
on paper.                                                         through higher fees, said Marcia Wagner, a               performance of the workers’ chosen funds              due to receive greater details about the fees
    Electronic delivery has been a big issue for                  Boston-based attorney specializing in retire-            with benchmarks. The information must be              they’re being charged by plan providers.
many of the companies that provide 401(k)                         ment issues.                                             sent out once a year.                                    Although workers pay most of these fees,
plans. The cost of sending paper documents                            The rules allowing electronic disclosure                 In addition, quarterly disclosure state-          many don’t know it. — AP




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         Fifty Plus Advocate, 131 Lincoln Street, Worcester, MA 01605                                                                      StatinStudy@bidmc.harvard.org
     Name:                                                                                                                                          (617) 735-2460
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     Telephone #: *REQUIRED (                             )
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                                                                                  Viewpoint

Why Medicaid matters for people with Medicare
By Ron Pollack                                                    tain services. With nursing homes averaging over $70,000             ity, especially in light of the ongoing deficit debate. The
                                                                  a year and home health aides costing $19 an hour, you                U.S. House of Representatives already passed a proposal to


Y     ou’ve worked hard, saved what you can, and you
      think you’re pretty well set for retirement. However,
      as recent stock market fluctuations make clear, a lot
can happen to derail your good planning.
   For example, you might end up needing more long-
                                                                  may soon find that you’ve used up most of your life sav-
                                                                  ings.
                                                                      Luckily, the Medicaid safety net can help you get the
                                                                  care you need. Over 60 percent of nursing home residents
                                                                                                                                       make drastic cuts to the Medicaid safety net. Although this
                                                                                                                                       legislation did not pass the Senate, the threats continue.
                                                                                                                                       The latest debt compromise includes the formation of a
                                                                                                                                       12 member “supercommittee,” and in order to meet their
                                                                  rely on Medicaid, but Medicaid isn’t just about nursing              Thanksgiving Day deadline for a plan to reduce the deficit
term care than you expected. If that happens, the good            home care. Medicaid also pays for services that help people          by $1.5 trillion, Medicaid will likely face the chopping
news is that there’s already a safety net out there for you       stay in their homes longer, such as home health aides or             block.
and your family. It’s called Medicaid and it’s the state and      transportation to doctors’ appointments. Medicaid pays for               Medicaid cuts would inevitably mean less help for seni-
federally funded health insurance program that serves mil-        some home care in every state, but the coverage of specific          ors who need long-term care. There’s a better way to tackle
                lions of seniors, children and people with        services varies.                                                     our deficit than placing the burden on aging Americans
                   disabilities. In fact, more than one in six        Medicaid doesn’t just help you; it also helps your family.       and their families. That’s by getting rid of tax cuts for the
                     Americans over 65 rely on it.                If you’re married, Medicaid includes financial protections           wealthy and closing tax loopholes for corporations — in
                                                                  for your spouse. That means that if you’re in a nursing              short, taking a balanced approach to deficit reduction that
                         Families USA                             home, your spouse can keep some money without affect-
                                                                  ing your Medicaid eligibility. Thanks to health care reform,
                                                                                                                                       makes everyone pay a fair share. Dismantling Medicaid
                                                                                                                                       and leaving seniors on their own to pay for long-term care
                                                                  after 2014, that same financial protection will apply if you         would be the wrong way to go. We need to make sure that
                      Unfortunately, there is a big misper-       need home care, so the cost of your care won’t impoverish            the Medicaid safety net is there to help you and your fam-
                ception among many people that Medicare           your spouse. Furthermore, because Medicaid covers the                ily with the high costs of long-term care.
pays for nursing homes or home care, but that’s simply not        cost of your long-term care, your family won’t have to. By
the case for most people. Medicare only pays for long-term        providing care at home, Medicaid gives your family mem-                  Ron Pollack is the executive director of Families USA, a
care in very limited circumstances. In most cases, you’ll         bers more time for their jobs and families, lessening the            national organization for health care consumers. It is nonprofit
have to pay yourself unless you have a long-term care             stress for everyone.                                                 and nonpartisan, and its mission is to secure high-quality,
insurance policy. Even if you have that kind of insurance,            Millions of seniors and their families rely on Medicaid.         affordable health coverage and care for all Americans. Online:
many policies only cover costs for a limited time or for cer-     Unfortunately, severe program cutbacks are a real possibil-          www.familiesusa.org.


Super John: Kerry has big items on agenda
By Al Norman                                      Obama will be recommending that the Social        Medicare. Most beneficiaries on Medicare live        of the burden of meeting our obligations to
                                                  Security retirement age be raised to 67. As       on modest incomes. More than half have a             the vulnerable in our communities. Closing
    John Kerry has some big decisions to          baby boomers already know, the retirement         household income of less than $20,000 per            tax loopholes and exemptions, or means
make.                                             age for them is already on the rise. Social       year. Any plan to raise the eligibility age for      testing deductions and exemptions, is also
    The senior senator from                       Security has not contributed to the federal       Medicare to 67 or increase copayments would          an approach worth considering.
Massachusetts, as a member                        deficit — it has alleviated it. Its trust funds   hurt many of Kerry’s constituents who get                Reducing the federal budget deficit is
of the so-called supercom-                                                    have been used        their health care from an employer.                  important, but spending cuts should not be
mittee in Congress, has to
come up with $1.5 tril-
                                                         Push                 for borrowing in
                                                                              the past to lower
                                                                                                        Finally, 1.2 million people in the
                                                                                                    Commonwealth depend on Medicaid as
                                                                                                                                                         made at the expense of economically disad-
                                                                                                                                                         vantaged seniors and younger Americans.
lion in cuts to the federal                              Back                 the perceived def-    their health plan. If they need long term care       Due to the recent economic downturn, more
budget. There are those                                                       icit. The system is   or nursing home care — it is the Medicaid            seniors than ever need assistance and support
in Congress who see this                          solvent in the near-term, and can be fixed        program that must address that need — not            to make ends meet. Any plan that relies only
is a super opportunity to cut                     without breaking the intergenerational bond       Medicare. Already the Medicaid program is            on budget cuts, with no expanded revenues,
programs like Social Security, Medicare and       between today’s workers and the retirees who      full of holes, like vision, hearing and dental       is unfairly targeted at the poor and middle
Medicaid. I am hoping that John Kerry is not      paid into the system for decades.                 care. It’s a safety net program, because if          class, who have contributed the least to our
one of them.                                         More worrisome is the fear the Congress        people fall through the net here, they fall into     current economic crises.
    The supercommittee has only until Nov.        will cut the Cost of Living Adjustment            the no care zone.                                        So, make a call to Kerry’s Boston office
23 to make its recommendations, which will        (COLA) for Social Security. The COLA already          The supercommittee needs to find ways to         at 617-565-8519. Tell him to stand firmly
be fast-tracked for an up-or-down vote in         doesn’t reflect the real cost of living facing    protect income support and social insurance          against cuts to Social Security, Medicare and
Congress a couple of day before Christmas.        older people due to higher than average use       programs for low-income Americans. A bal-            Medicaid. After all, he is now our “senior”
Lawmakers will not be able to make changes        of medical services and medications.              anced strategy must include revenue raisers          senator.
to the supercommittee’s recommendations.             Then there is Medicare. More that 1            and, where necessary, spending cuts.
    It has already been leaked that President     million people in Massachusetts depend on             Raising the tax rate on upper income                Al Norman is the executive director of Mass
                                                                                                    earners (including unearned income), and             Home Care. He can be reached at 413-773-
                                                                                                    on corporate revenues, is a reasonable sharing       5555, or at info@masshomecare.org

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8        Fifty Plus Advocate          (Zone 3)            October 1, 2011
   THE ROAD FROM OUR HOUSE                                                          THE QUALITY OF CARE, DETERMINES
   LEADS STRAIGHT TO YOURS                                                                THE QUALITY OF LIFE.
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  Speech Therapists
                                          • Complex Wound Management
• Fully equipped, 2,200 sq. ft.                                                                  All services are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week:
  state-of-the-art sunlit gym             • Fully appointed patient rooms with
                                            complimentary cable, phone, and                        Live-in 24 hour care
  overlooking Olmstead Park                                                                          • Supervised by a registered nurse
                                            wireless Internet access
• 24-hour Skilled Nursing Care and a                                                               Transportation to doctor’s appointment
  Primary Care Nursing Model              • Convenient location, minutes from all
                                                                                                     • When career obligations are unavoidable
                                            major Boston hospitals and accessible
• Nutritional Counseling by our             by public transportation                               Walking companion
  full-time Dietician                                                                                • Insure your parent’s safety
                                                                                                   Assist with bathing and dressing
                                                                                                     • Having your loved one feel fresh, comfortable, and relaxed
                                                                                                   Dispense and manage medications
                                                                                                     • Help to make sure the correct medicine is taken at the right time
                  Call 617-735-1775 to schedule a personal tour
                  or visit www.sherrillhouse.org to learn more.                                    House cleaning, meal preparation, and laundry
                                                                                                     • Alleviating stress of these daily tasks
   135 South Huntington Avenue • Boston, MA 02130 • 617-735-1775
                      www.sherrillhouse.org                                                            (877) 774-PHHC - www.eldersathome.com



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                                                         Travel and Entertainment


By Victor Block                                  The Bethel Inn course, which                                                                                        later to Montreal, timber
                                                 includes seven holes that remain                                                                                    cutting, manufacturing and


W
        hen visitors to Bethel, Maine,           from the 1915 layout, offers                                                                                        tourism developed.
        describe what makes the town             what Northeast Golf Magazine                                                                                             The town center
        special, many responses have             has called “mountain golf at its                                                                                    would be at home in a
a common theme expressed in different            best.” Sunday River is included                                                                                     Norman Rockwell draw-
words.                                           on Golf Magazine’s list of the                                                                                      ing of a quintessentially
                                                 leading public courses in the                                                                                       New England town. Old
                                                 country.                                                                                                            trees that shade well-
                                                     Come winter, Sunday                                                                                             preserved historic homes
                                                 River offers skiers 132 trails                                                                                      that were built over a span
                                                 and glades spread across eight                                                                                      of 125 years line the broad
                                                 interconnected peaks. Nearby                                                                                        Common and adjoining
                                                 Mt. Abram Resort is known as                                                                                        streets.
                                                 family-friendly.                                                                                                        The Dr. Moses Mason
                                                    Bethel is a good starting                                                                                        House (1813) and the
                                                 point for drives through some                                                                                       adjacent O’Neil Robinson
                                                 of New England’s most spec-                                                                                         House (1821), are home
                                                 tacular fall foliage. Roads follow                                                                                  to the Bethel Historical
                                                 rushing rivers and deep valleys,                                                                                    Society. They contain
                                                 climb hills and skirt mountains                                                                                     exhibit galleries and nine
                                                 — with a kaleidoscope of bril- Albert Stiles House                                                                  fully furnished period
                                                 liant color around every twist                 historically were used to mark property                              rooms that, among other
Bethel Historical Society period room            and turn.                                      lines, and saw lines of holes that a bear           things, demonstrate how hard people
                                                     While we visited Bethel before the         left when it climbed a large birch tree.            worked during the first half of the 19th
   Stanley Howe, a native who serves as          onset of Mother Nature’s autumn display,           A hike along Wright Brook leads to              century on chores that today are done by
associate director of the Bethel Historical      my wife Fyllis and I experienced the           Step Falls, a series of lovely descending           labor-saving utensils.
Society, refers to “outside influences” that     beauty of the area by hiking on several        cascades that drop a total of more than                 A personal favorite was the Albert
have added to the fabric of the commu-           of dozens of trails that offer something-      250 feet, making it one of the highest falls        Stiles House (1852), a cozy cottage
nity.                                            for-everyone variety. They range                     in Maine. Near the top of the rock-           adorned by gingerbread trim. In contrast
    Those influences lend a veneer of            from an easy amble along a                                    strewn stream are deep pools         is the rambling Bethel Inn, which has
sophistication — unusual in towns of             path in town beside the                                           where those hardy enough         been providing room and board to guests
comparable size, with about 2,400 perma-         Androscoggin River to                                                 to brave the cold water      since 1913. In addition to its golf course,
nent residents.                                  a challenging climb                                                      can take a dip.           this four-season resort boasts an excellent
    That doesn’t become evident immedi-          to the summit of                                                               Along with          dining room, spa and a menu of available
ately. The first impression is of the mag-       4,180-foot Old                                                              introductions          activities ranging from fly fishing schools
nificent scenery and setting. The town lies      Speck Mountain,                                                              to the natural        and moose tours to snowmobiling and
in a fertile valley nestled among rolling,       the third highest                                                             beauty that sur-     dog sledding.
tree-clad hills and some of the highest          peak in Maine.                                                                rounds Bethel,           Those less inclined to such outdoor
mountains in Maine. Small lakes, ponds               On the Gray                                                               Fyllis and I         activities have inviting alternatives to
and meandering rivers dot the landscape.         Memorial Trail                                                                immersed our-        check out at an eclectic choice of shops
The stretch of the Androscoggin that runs        we soon left                                                                  selves in the his-   and studios. At a number of them, local
past Bethel offers good angling for brown        behind the noise                                                             tory and charms       artists and craft people produce and sell
and rainbow trout.                               of what some                                                                of the town itself.    their wares, which adds an air of unex-
   Fishing is one of a long list of activities   call civilization                                                          Farming was the         pected chic to the small town setting.
that attracts lovers of the outdoors. Spring     and passed through                                                       principal occupation          Whether you’re a shopper, history buff
to fall means hiking, road and mountain          forest where the only                                                 of the first European        or lover of the outdoors, Bethel offers
biking, canoeing, kayaking, river raft and       sounds were birds chirp-                                           settlers who arrived in         much to attract and keep you there for
float trips and mountain climbing, among         ing and our footsteps. We                                      1774. When the village was          a while. For more information, call the
other pursuits.                                  spotted old cut and paint- Hiking trails offer something for connected by railroad to              Bethel Chamber of Commerce at 207-
   Golfers have a choice of two courses.         ed blazes on trees that       everyone. (photo by fyllis hockman) Portland in the 1851, and        824-2282 or log onto bethelmaine.com.




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10        Fifty Plus Advocate         (Zone 5)           October 1, 2011
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12        Fifty Plus Advocate          (Zone 5)                 October 1, 2011
                                                             Resource for Caregivers

Builders cite rise in ‘mother-in-law suites’
By Monica Rhor                                                       “The transition will go over a lot better if you bring the    Garage Apartments to do their garage conversion, the cost
                                                                  parent into the conversation,” said Jackson. “Ask them:          was much lower.


B      etsy McCann and her husband, Jim Forbes, often wor-
       ried that his mother was growing isolated in her Los
       Angeles-area home. At 90, Lois Brokus had stopped
driving and was sometimes afraid to be alone in her house.
    Jane and William Merrill also decided that they
                                                                  ‘What do you need?’ ‘What color do you want?’ ”
                                                                     That’s what McCann and her husband did when they
                                                                  decided to build an addition in 2008. Brokus, now 93, was
                                                                  part of the planning.
                                                                                                                                       The Indianapolis-based company remodels two-car
                                                                                                                                   garages into complete apartments within 10 days for
                                                                                                                                   $35,000. (The Merrills, who converted their garage 11
                                                                                                                                   years ago, paid $25,000).
                                                                                                                                                The company’s owner, Susan Jennings, came
didn’t want his mother living on her own any more.                                                                                          up with the idea when she was managing a trust
Then 81, Jane Merrill, who shares her daughter-in-law’s                                                                                     department at a bank and often worked with
name, was still active but in need of companionship.                                                                                        widows yearning to live with their adult children.
    Both families considered nursing homes, assisted                                                                                            Jennings worked with a designer to come up with
living and retirement communities. In the end, they                                                                                         a dwelling attractive to both the adult children and
came to the same conclusion: Their homes were the best                                                                                      the older parent. For privacy and independence,
place for their mothers. But they needed more home.                                                                                         the apartment has a separate entrance, full kitchen
    So McCann and Forbes added a 400-square-foot                                                                                            and wheelchair-accessible features.
bedroom and bathroom to their Escondido, Calif.,                                                                                                “The biggest advantage is that my husband can
home; the Merrills converted a two-car garage at their                                                                                      sit down with her every evening. Because of that
8-acre spread in Carmel, a suburb of Indianapolis.                                                                                          constant contact, he has learned much more about
    Now, both older women live with their adult chil-                                                                                       his parents and their lives,” said the younger Jane
dren, with a large degree of independence and privacy.                                                                                      Merrill. “He would not have had that if she was in
    Although it isn’t for everyone, it is a choice many                                                                                     assisted living.”
families are making. Homebuilders across the country                                                                                            However, both Betsy McCann and Jane Merrill
say they are getting an increasing number of requests                                                                                       caution that this may not work for every family. For
for such additions, known as mother-in-law suites,                                                                                          one thing, their mothers-in-law are self-sufficient
granny flats or accessory dwellings.                     Jane Merrill (l) as she spends time with her son, William Merrill, in her          and do not need daily medical care. In both fami-
    According to the National Association of Home apartment in William’s home in Carmel, Ind.                   (ap photo/darron cummings) lies, they got along well before moving in together.
Builders, 62 percent of builders surveyed were working                                                                                          “If you can’t stand one week or one weekend
on a home modification related to aging in 2010. About            “We didn’t want her to feel like a guest intruding on our together, this won’t work,” said McCann. “You need to
one in five builders added an entry-level bedroom.             house,” said McCann. “She kept telling all her friends about have realistic expectations about the impact on your life.”
    About 3.5 million American households last year includ- how she was involved in the design process, and that the                   Nancy Thompson, of AARP, offered other tips for
ed adult children and their parents — a number expected paint colors were her choice.”                                             families considering building a mother-in-law suite for an
to rise as the country ages and baby boomers move into            Brokus now proudly calls the addition, which includes a aging parent:
retirement, said Nancy Thompson, an AARP spokesperson. bedroom, wet bar and wheelchair-accessible doorways and                         •Decide what your expectations are well in advance
    To accommodate the growing demand, AARP teamed up bathroom, “her apartment,” said McCann. Every month, and make sure everyone agrees. Involve the elderly parent
with the homebuilders’ association to create a designation she writes a rent check covering the cost of utilities — an in the process.
for Certified Aging in Place Specialists, who are trained in act that adds to her sense of independence.                               •Make sure the addition is built following universal
designing and modifying buildings for the elderly. About          The arrangement has given the family more time together design guidelines. Are counters, bathrooms and doorways
3,000 builders, contractors, remodelers and architects have and greater peace of mind, and may have averted a tragedy wheelchair accessible? Is there a walk-in shower with grab
been certified.                                                in July when Brokus suffered a heart attack. Had she been bars? Opt for entry-level additions to eliminate stairs. Look
    One is Todd Jackson, CEO of San Diego’s Jackson Design alone, McCann said, she might not have called 911. As it for a contractor or builder with experience in universal
and Remodeling, which handled the room addition at was, she just had to walk a few feet for help.                                  design or aging in place.
McCann’s home.                                                    The addition, which was part of a major renovation                   •Check municipal building codes to make sure that
    “There’s both a physical component and a sensitivity to other parts of the house, cost the McCanns $250,000. accessory dwellings are allowed. — AP
side to these projects. The family needs to take that into The average price for a bedroom addition can run from
account,” said Jackson, who noted that aging parents may $100,000 to $400,000, depending on size and amenities,                        Online: The National Association of Home Builders,
be reluctant to move into their children’s homes, and may according to builders.                                                   tips and guidelines at www.nahb.org/reference_list.aspx?
worry about losing their independence.                            For the Merrills, who used a company called Next Door sectionID=717


Bathtub designs remain the same, but there are differences
By Jim Doherty                                    years. The earliest known bathtub dates           and trying to clean ourselves while holding     your muscles and improve your circulation.
                                                  back to the Minoan dynasty in 1700 BC,            onto a hot water faucet and leaning against        These tubs come in many sizes and
    1. What is the most dangerous room            and its form is almost identical to those in      a slippery wall or a glass door. Even with a    shapes to suit most any space available and
in the house?                                     use today. Bathtubs are still similar to the      plastic seat in the tub, many people stand      options are customized to an individual’s
    The bathroom — especially for the             Minoan tub: The only difference is they           up to soap their underside knowing full         needs.
elderly, who are restricted with limited          are made of manmade materials and have            well that they have a balance problem.
reach and poor grip strength. The bathroom        flowing hot and cold water.                           Now you can walk in a doorway and              Jim Doherty worked for three of the major
is the primary location for falls, resulting in       4. Why risk it?                               sit in a normal height moulded seat. Then       tub companies before starting his own busi-
fractures and death. The greatest danger in           We need to bath regularly. Physiologically,   take a shower, hand shower or fill the tub      ness distributing tubs through SecurityBath.
the bathroom is slipping and falling when         bathing cleanses the skin and removes for-        and soak in total comfort and security. Push    Call him at 781-438-5216 or email at Jim@
entering and exiting the bathtub or shower.       eign matters such as deodorants, powders,         a button for airjet hydrotherapy to relax       SecurityBath.com. Visit www.SecurityBath.com.
The confined spaces, wet slippery flooring,       pollutants and dead skin. This prevents
unforgiving hard surfaces and protruding          irritations and rashes that would otherwise       Fewer Medicare Part D enrollees hit coverage gap
fixtures all add to the resulting injuries.
    2. How dangerous is it?
    Thirty percent of hospital admissions of
people over 65 are from falls in the home
— mostly in the bathroom — resulting in
                                                  promote infections. We need to keep our
                                                  skin clean and healthy. Not to mention
                                                  there are social standards pertaining to
                                                  cleanliness, psychological benefits of feel-
                                                                                                    F      ewer Medicare prescription drug
                                                                                                           plan enrollees are falling into a cov-
                                                                                                           erage gap known as the doughnut
                                                                                                    hole in which they bear the full cost of
                                                                                                    their prescriptions, according to a study
                                                                                                                                                    That compares to 26 percent in 2007.
                                                                                                                                                    People who receive low-income subsidies
                                                                                                                                                    do not have to make payments in the
                                                                                                                                                    doughnut hole.
                                                                                                                                                       Kaiser said the increased availability of
                                                  ing clean and improved self esteem in our
250,000 hip fractures or worse. Such falls        appearance.                                       from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family              cheaper generic drugs for some chronic
are the leading cause of drowning at home             5. Is there something better?                 Foundation.                                     conditions may be behind the drop in
among seniors.                                        Yes. Finally, walk-in bathtubs are avail-         A total of 19 percent of Medicare Part      people hitting that coverage gap.
    3. How long for improvement to devel-         able for the residential market.                  D beneficiaries who did not receive low-           About 29 million people are enrolled
op?                                                   No more fear of attempting to climb           income subsidies hit that gap in 2009, the
    In the case of bathtubs — about 3,700         into a traditional tub. No more standing          latest year for which figures are available.                                 GAP page 15

                                                                                                              (Zone 5)                                 www.fiftyplusadvocate.com              13
                                                                                                                                          Sponsored by:
                                           Money Matters

Don’t expect 401(k) fee reports until later in ’12
By David Pitt                                         A survey by AARP last December revealed     fee documents to be sent each quarter to          plan or assessed as a percentage of the total
                                                   that 71 percent of 401(k) accountholders       401(k) accountholders. These will help you        assets held in the account.


F      ew things come without a price tag.
       But sometimes it’s hard to tell what
       they truly cost. And that’s definitely an
issue when it comes to understanding the
fees associated with a 401(k) plan.
                                                   did not believe they paid any fees. About 23
                                                   percent knew they paid fees and the remain-
                                                   ing 6 percent didn’t know
                                                   whether they did or not.
                                                                                                  get a handle on precisely how much you’re
                                                                                                  paying and are to become available starting
                                                                                                                     June 1.
                                                                                                                        The reports will
                                                                                                                                                        The impact of even slightly higher
                                                                                                                                                    expenses can be dramatic.
                                                                                                                                                        AARP calculated that an employee con-
                                                                                                                                                    tributing $5,000 per year to a 401(k) plan,
                                                      Yet even if you’re aware                                       include tables that will       earning an annual return of 7 percent and
    The implementation of new regulations          of the fees and want to                                           disclose:                      paying no fees, could save $469,000 over
calling for improved disclosure of the             gather the information, it                                           •Performance of the         a 35-year working career. Annual fees of
expenses you’re paying has been delayed            can be tough to find. It                                          investments in given           1.5 percent of the account balance cuts the
until sometime later next year.                    typically requires sifting                                        401(k) account. Average        savings 26 percent to $345,000.
    The Department of Labor has decided            through various documents                                         annual returns and com-            Although companies usually pay some
to give 401(k) plan administrators, fund           from different sources.                                           parisons to an index or        of the costs of providing a 401(k) plan, it’s
companies and plan providers more time                As a first step, the                                           other benchmark will be        the workers themselves who pay most of
to prepare for the changes.                        Department of Labor last                                          included.                      the cost.
    That means you likely won’t begin seeing       year came up with a set of                                           •Fees for the mutual            In smaller plans of under $10 million in
these new fee reports until sometime after         rules requiring providers                                         funds in the account,          assets, workers pay around 66 percent of the
June 1. That’s about three months later            of 401(k) plans such as                                           expressed as a percent-        costs while their employer pays the remain-
than previously planned, said Assistant            Fidelity, Charles Schwab                                          age of assets and the dol-     ing third, according to The Investment
Secretary of Labor Phyllis Borzi, who over-        and The Vanguard Group                                            lar amount per $1,000          Company Institute (ICI), a trade group for
sees employee benefits, in an interview with       to reveal details of the fees                                     invested. A detailed listing   U.S. investment companies. In large plans
The Associated Press.                              they charge employers in a                                        of shareholder fees for        with more than $100 million in assets, work-
    “We wanted to give the industry plenty         clear and easily understood                                       functions like manage-         ers pay as much as 90 percent of the costs.
of time to retool their systems, and we really     format.                                                           ment and recordkeeping             What’s more, there are some signs that
did want it to be meaningful information for          These reports must be offered beginning     will be included.                                 shedding light on the fees may be driving
401(k) plan participants, so we thought this       April 1, 2012, which is delayed from the          •Details on annuity options in the plan        them lower.
made the most sense,” she said.                    initial Jan. 1 implementation date.            including the goals of the annuities, pricing         The ICI says costs paid by 401(k) inves-
    About 72 million workers are enrolled in          This disclosure is designed to make it      factors and fees. An annuity is an insurance      tors on their stock funds dropped to 0.71
employer provided 401(k) plans. All told,          easier for companies to shop around for a      contract which takes a lump sum of cash and       percent last year from 0.74 percent in 2009.
they have roughly $3.2 trillion invested in        401(k) plan. Clearer apples-to-apples fee      turns it into a guaranteed revenue stream.        Bond fund fees were at 0.56 percent in 2010
the accounts.                                      comparisons will enable them to get a full        Fees are charged in many different ways.       and 2009. They were 0.53 percent in 2008.
    Yet despite what’s at stake, most accoun-      picture of total fees charged.                 They can be charged directly to the plan as
tholders know little about the fees they pay.         The second step requires new detailed       a whole, charged to each participant in the                                 401(k) page 15




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14         Fifty Plus Advocate          (Zone 3)           October 1, 2011
Long-term care or nursing home?
By Linda T. Cammuso                               Planning without considering Medicaid rules
                                                  can result in inadvertent Medicaid disquali-


P     eople generally recognize the impor-
      tance of long-term care and nursing
      home planning — just not always
when it comes to themselves or their loved
                                                  fication if nursing home care is ever needed.
                                                      •Making annual gifts to children and not
                                                  realizing the implications of the Medicaid five
                                                  year look back period. The idea of making
                                                                                                    “What happens if
ones. Many people live in denial that they
would ever face that situation. As an estate
                                                  annual gifts — $10,000.00, $12,000.00,
                                                  etc. — is a gift tax rule, not a Medicaid rule.
                                                                                                     I don’t have a will
planner, I often meet people from the “it-        These gifts will incur Medicaid penalties.
can-never-happen-to-me group,” who have
fallen into crisis mode and wonder why it
took a crisis for them to finally face reality.
                                                      •Doing the MassHealth (Medicaid) appli-
                                                  cation yourself. The process is more compli-
                                                  cated — and filled with landmines — than
                                                                                                     or an estate plan?”
                    The first step to avoid-      the application would lead you to believe.
                   ing crisis mode is simple      Working with a professional can greatly
                                                  increase your chances of approval.
                                                      •Being so focused on nursing home and
                    Legal Briefs                  long-term care planning issues that you
                                                  ignore other important aspects of estate
                     awareness of the follow-     planning such as taxes, asset protection, etc.       A lot and it’s not good.
                    ing common long-term          Much like the old Rubik’s Cube game, you             If you don’t have a will or an estate plan:
                  care planning and nursing       don’t win unless the colors (or in this case,
              home planning mistakes:             the legal issues) match on all sides.
   •Assuming that you (or your loved one)
                                                                                                       • A court could appoint a third party to make medical
                                                      •Making direct gifts to children or other
will never need nursing home care: The num-       family members instead of using a trust.               and financial decisions for you…instead of someone
ber of people needing nursing home care           Putting your home or money into someone                you love and trust
continues to increase as the older population     else’s name, while you’re still living and
increases. However, younger generations are       relying on those assets, poses a great risk to       • You could lose your home and life savings to pay for
also not exempt — people aged 31 to 64            your financial security. A trust can protect           long-term or nursing home care
now make up the fastest growing proportion        assets from long-term care expenses without          • The government could take a huge chunk of the
of individuals needing nursing home care.         exposing them to other people’s creditors
And it is estimated that within 15 years, 3.9     and liabilities during your life.                      inheritance that you planned to leave behind for loved
million nursing home beds will be needed.             Now that you’ve glimpsed the bigger                ones – is that what you really want to happen?
   •Assuming that your estate is either too       picture, there is no excuse for waiting until
large or too small — to worry about plan-         you, or a loved one, are in a crisis mode.
ning. Anyone with concerns about long-term        Contact an attorney who specializes in long-         No matter what your net worth is…
care affordability should consider proactive      term care planning today.
planning.                                                                                              you need a will and an estate plan!
   •Assuming that Medicare will cover long-          Linda T. Cammuso, a founding partner
term nursing home care. It does not.              at Estate Preservation Law Offices and an            Don’t wait! Let Estate Preservation Law Offices help protect
   •Not understanding the MassHealth /            estate planning professional, has extensive
Medicaid financial eligibility rules, or ignor-   experience in estate planning, elder law and         you and your loved ones. Our consultations are free; and,
ing them. You’ve probably heard the expres-       long-term care planning. She may be reached          if you cannot come to us – we’ll come to you.
sion on a legal TV show, “ignorance of the        at www.estatepreservationlaw.com or by call-
law is no defense” — the same is true for         ing 508-751-5010. Archives of articles from
Medicaid. You will be subject to their rules      previous issues may be read at www.fiftyplus         Contact Attorney Linda T. Cammuso or Attorney Brendan
whether you know about them or not.               advocate.com.                                        J. King at Estate Preservation Law Offices today.

➤ 401(k)                                          account providers to try new ideas.
                                                     Schwab is launching a 401(k) that doesn’t
Cont. from page 14                                include traditional mutual funds, but only
                                                  offers only index funds or exchange-traded                       Estate Preservation Law Offices
   The regulations might not be the direct        funds.
reason for lowering fees, but there’s little         Index funds and ETFs are lower-cost                           Protecting assets during your lifetime.
doubt the companies charging higher fees          options, typically with fees of around 0.20                      Preserving them for the next generation.
will have to do some explaining, and likely       percent. They’re less expensive because they
change their practices, once consumers can        do not rely on the expertise of highly-paid                      www.estatepreservationlaw.com
see how much they’re paying.                      fund managers to actively pick stocks.
   “The higher fee companies will have to            Some providers, The Vanguard Group for                        508.751.5010
adapt,” said James McCool, who heads the          example, have provided index funds as an
institutional services practice for Schwab.       option in their 401(k) plans for years, but                      With offices in Worcester, Braintree,
   There’s an unintended benefit. A focus         with more focus on fees, such lower cost                         Cambridge and Hyannis, MA
on fees also may be pushing some 401(k)           funds have been gaining popularity. — AP

➤ Gap                                                Congress created this gap essentially to
                                                  keep prescription drug spending within
Cont. from page 13                                a budget and offer both upfront coverage
                                                  and protection against big expenses.
in Medicare prescription drug plans.                 The health care overhaul aims to                     For our FREE brochures, Long-Term
Enrollees and their drug plans share costs        gradually fill the gap. This year, those who            Care Planning, The Medicaid/MassHealth
up to a certain amount each year. Then            reach it will receive 50 percent discounts
enrollees pay the full cost for prescriptions     on brand-name drugs. Plans that offer                   Application Process, and Estate Plan:
before becoming eligible for catastrophic         Part D coverage also will pick up 7 per-
coverage, where the plan resumes paying           cent of the cost for generics.                          Without one you are living on the edge,
and covers 95 percent of the bill.                   Beneficiaries who hit the doughnut
   This year, for example, customers              hole usually take medication for chronic
                                                                                                          please call 508.751.5010.
and their drug plans must spend $2,840            conditions like cancer, diabetes or
before they reach the coverage gap. Then          Alzheimer’s disease, and they frequently
beneficiaries pick up the next $3,608             cut back on their prescriptions due to the
before they become eligible for cata-             financial crunch the gap causes, according
strophic coverage.                                to Kaiser. — AP
                                                                                                    (Zone 5)                         www.fiftyplusadvocate.com        15
                                                             Home Improvement
Not too early to start preparing home for winter
By Carole Feldman                                                Air leaks                                    Emergency kits                                                             Heating
                                                  “Checking for any kind of air leaks is         It’s good to have an emergency kit                                      Regardless of what type of heating


T      he early fall is a perfect time to
       start preparing for winter. Many
       must-do projects, such as caulk-
ing, cleaning gutters, adding insulation
or preparing emergency kits, will make
                                              a prime project for this time of year,” said
                                              Kit Selzer, senior remodeling and projects
                                              editor at Better Homes and Gardens.
                                                  Caulk can be used to seal leaks around
                                                                                             throughout the year, but it can be espe-
                                                                                             cially important in the middle of a snow-
                                                                                             storm when the power goes out.
                                                                                                 “When preparing for emergency situ-
                                                                                                                                                                     system you use, it’s a good idea to have it
                                                                                                                                                                     checked before the start of each winter to
                                                                                                                                                                     make sure it is working correctly.
                                                                                                                                                                         If you have oil heat, make sure your
                                              doors or windows, or around pipes or              ations, it’s best to think first about the                           tank is full before the cold weather arrives.
your home more energy-efficient, help         ductwork.                                               basics of survival: fresh water,                                                  Insulation
prevent weather damage and make                   “Install foam gaskets behind                          food, clean air and warmth,” the                                 The Energy Department estimates that
things easier should the power go out.        outlet and switch plates on                                 Federal Emergency Management                               you can save up to 20 percent on heating
   “It is never too early to save energy      walls,” the Energy Department                                Agency says.                                              and air conditioning bills by adding insu-
and save money at home,” said Joelle          advises.                                                         The agency also recom-                                lation to attics, under floors and in other
Terry, spokesperson for the Energy                Weather-stripping can be                                  mends that emergency kits                                areas where air can leak. A department
Department. “Whether it’s choosing            placed at the bottom of a door                                contain a battery-powered                                website, Energysavers.gov, has a map that
energy efficient products, sealing air        or in a window sash to help                                   radio and flashlight, extra bat-                         shows how much insulation is needed in
and duct leaks or adding insulation,          produce a seal. There are many                                teries, first aid items, moist                           different areas of the country. An energy
American households could save over           different types, from felt to vinyl                          towelettes and a whistle,                                 audit will be able to tell you if you have
20 percent on their household energy          and metal. A professional can                              among other items.                                          enough.
bills by making energy upgrades to their      advise what is best in each case.                             You also might want to have                                  Selzer said that adding insulation is
homes.”                                                      Chimneys                                some ice melt on hand to treat icy                              generally considered a do-it-yourself job.
   To start, the department advises peo-          Chimneys should be inspected and             sidewalks and driveways.                                              Sandor also recommended putting an
ple to get an energy audit of their home,     cleaned on a regular basis. “You want to                             Gutters                                           insulation jacket on your water heater.
or do one themselves “to find out where       make sure there’s nothing built up in the          “It’s a common thing for clogged gut-                                              Outside faucets
you are losing energy — and money.”           chimney or any debris that’s worked its        ters to freeze if they don’t drain properly,”                               Don’t forget to turn off water to the out-
   Check with your utility company;           way in,” Selzer said.                          said Pat Sandor, a “How To” expert at                                   side faucet and allow the faucet to drip dry
some offer free or low-cost energy audits.        Dirty chimneys can be a fire hazard.       Home Depot. “Those can back up and                                      before the below-freezing temperatures hit.
   An energy audit can help determine if,         Creosote, a residue from wood burning,     cause damage to the home.”                                                                 Windows
for example, you have enough insulation,      builds up over time and is combustible.            So before winter, clean all debris from                                 Winter is the time to pull down those
or whether there are leaks around win-            Make sure the damper is closed, except     gutters and downspouts.                                                 storm windows. If you don’t have any, put
dows or elsewhere that should be sealed.      when using the fireplace.                          Selzer also advises looking for gaps in                             plastic sheeting over the window to try to
   Here’s a look, alphabetically, at some         Also, check to make sure a chimney         the gutter where water can drip through,                                block drafts. Another easy way to make
things experts recommend doing to pre-        cap is in place so birds or other wildlife     freeze and cause icy patches.                                           windows feel less drafty is insulated cur-
pare for winter:                              don’t make the chimney their home.                                                                                     tains. — AP




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16         Fifty Plus Advocate     (Zone 5)           October 1, 2011
                        Feeling Healthy
Obesity hits more boomers
than others in U.S.
By Lauran Neergaard

WASHINGTON —
                                                  and weight, roughly a third of the baby
                                                  boomers polled are obese, compared with
                                                  about a quarter of both older and younger
                                                                                                                                           Meet
C       ancer and memory loss are baby
        boomers’ biggest health fears. Given
                                                  responders. Only half of the obese boomers
                                                  say they are regularly exercising.
        their weight, maybe heart disease
and diabetes should be too.
   Boomers are more obese than other
generations, a new poll
finds, setting them up
for unhealthy senior
                                                     An additional 36 percent of boomers
                                                  are overweight, though not obese.
                                                     The nation has been bracing for a surge
                                                                       in Medicare costs as
                                                                       the 77 million baby
                                                                       boomers, the post-war
                                                                                                                                           Ginny
years.                                                                 generation born from        Ginny lives in her own apartment and enjoys
   And for all the talk                                                1946 to 1964, begin
of “60 is the new 50”                                                  turning 65. Obesity —       going out to dinner often with friends. A true
and active aging, even                                                 with its extra risk of
those who aren’t obese                                                 heart disease, diabe-       social butterfly, her wheelchair doesn’t hold her
need to do more to
stay fit, according to
                                                                       tes, high blood pressure
                                                                       and arthritis — will        back, she is an active member of the Red Hat
the Associated Press-
LifeGoesStrong.com
                                                                       further fuel those bills.
                                                                          “They’re going to be
                                                                                                   Society, Handicapped Commission and the
poll.
   Most baby boomers
                                                                       expensive if they don’t
                                                                       get their act together,”
                                                                                                   Multiple Sclerosis Society.
say they get some aero-                                                said Jeff Levi of the
bic exercise, the kind                                                 nonprofit Trust for
that revs up your heart                                                America’s Health. He        Ginny has been attending a PACE day center
rate, at least once a
week. But most adults
                                                                       points to a study that
                                                                       found Medicare pays         for five years. Knowing the PACE team is there
are supposed to get 2
1/2 hours a week of
                                                                       34 percent more on an
                                                                       obese senior than one
                                                                                                   to support her as her needs change, she says
moderate-intensity aer-
obic activity — things like a brisk walk, a
                                                                       who’s a healthy weight.
                                                     About 60 percent of boomers polled say
                                                                                                   “I am able to focus on enjoying and living my
dance class, pushing a lawn mower. Only
about a quarter of boomers polled report
                                                  they’re dieting to lose weight, and slightly     life.”
                                                  more are eating more fruits and vegetables
working up a sweat four or five times a           or cutting cholesterol and salt.
week, what the average person needs to               But it takes physical activity, not just
reach that goal.                                  dieting, to shed pounds. That’s especially
   Worse, 37 percent never do any of the          important as people start to age and dieting
strength training so crucial to fighting the
muscle loss that comes with aging.
   Walking is their most frequent form of
                                                  alone could cost them precious muscle in
                                                  addition to fat, said Jack Rejeski of Wake       Call Information & Referral
                                                  Forest University, a specialist in exercise
exercise. The good news: Walk enough
and the benefits add up.
   “I have more energy, and my knees don’t
                                                  and aging.
                                                     Whether you’re overweight or just the           at Elder Service Plan
                                                  right size, physical activity can help stave
hurt anymore,” said Maggie Sanders, 61,
of Abbeville, S.C. She has lost 15 pounds
over the past few months by walking four
                                                  off the mobility problems that too often
                                                  sneak up on the sedentary as they age.              of the North Shore
                                                  Muscles gradually become flabbier until

                                                                                                                   877-803-5564
miles, three times a week, and eating better.     people can find themselves on the verge
   More boomers need to heed that feel-           of disability and loss of independence, like
good benefit. Based on calculation of
body mass index from self-reported height                                 OBESITY page 18


Tips for getting enough physical activity
                                                                                                                                      Servin g
I   t may sound daunting: The government
    says most adults should get 2 1/2 hours
    a week of physical activity that revs their
heart rates.
    But if you can’t do that much, don’t give
                                                      •Just doing 10 minutes at a time counts.
                                                  A few 10-minute activities each day add
                                                  up.
                                                      •If you’ve been sedentary, build up
                                                  gradually.
                                                                                                     Beverly                     Lynnfield                        Salem
up — every little bit helps, especially as            •If you prefer more vigorous activity —       Danvers                     Manchester                        Saugus
people age.                                       like jogging or singles tennis or a fast bike
    “The message should always be to take         ride — the Centers for Disease Control              Essex                     Marblehead                      Swampscott
it slow by setting realistic but challeng-
ing goals,” said Jack Rejeski, Wake Forest
                                                  and Prevention (CDC) says 75 minutes a
                                                  week is sufficient. One minute of vigorous
                                                                                                   Gloucester                    Middleton                       Topsfield
University professor of health and exercise       activity counts for two minutes of moderate       Hamilton                      Nahant                         Wakefield
science. He recommends a walk with                activity.
friends “and before you know it, you’re               •The CDC says moderate-intensity               Ipswich                     Peabody                         Wenham
through.”                                         means you’re not breathing too hard to talk
    Some tips:                                    but you couldn’t sing.                               Lynn                      Rockport
    •The recommendation is for moderate-              •In addition to the aerobic activity, the
intensity physical activity, things like a        CDC urges muscle-strengthening activities             Upon enrollment participants must receive all health care, primary care and
brisk walk, water aerobics, cutting grass         at least two days a week. That can range         specialist physician services--other than emergency services--as authorized by PACE,
with a push mower, taking a dance class,          from digging in the garden and yoga to            or be fully and personally liable for costs of unauthorized services. H-2222_2011_24
doubles tennis.                                   push-ups or lifting weights. — AP
                                                                                                    (Zone 5)                                  www.fiftyplusadvocate.com               17
Helping deaf people to enjoy music again
R    esearchers from the University of Southampton are
     investigating how to help deaf people who have
     received a cochlear implant to get more enjoyment
from music.
                                                                the complexities of music.
                                                                    “Hearing people speak again changes lives but many
                                                                of our patients tell us they still can’t enjoy music,” said
                                                                Dr van Besouw. “They say they can hear rhythm but have
                                                                problems distinguishing notes. We want to investigate ways
                                                                                                                                          cochlear implant users. The two-year project will conclude
                                                                                                                                          with a public seminar and performance at the University
                                                                                                                                          of Southampton.
                                                                                                                                              “We want to build a computer tool kit of listening
                                                                                                                                          exercises that people can listen to at home, which will help
                                                                we can help them.” Professor Nicholls said, “I have always                them to distinguish, recognize and appreciate different
               Hearing Tips                                     been interested in how music can be used in a research                    musical sounds,” said Nicholls. A research assistant, Dr
                                                                environment to support people. It can encourage develop-                  Ben Oliver, has been recruited to develop the program and
    Music professor David Nicholls and Dr Rachel van            ment and self-belief and boost self-confidence. I am sure                 work with colleagues across the university. “I am delighted
Besouw from the university’s Institute of Sound and             our interdisciplinary approach to the challenge will make                 to be working as the composer and workshop leader for
Vibration Research (ISVR) have secured a grant from the         a real difference to our patients.”                                       this unique collaborative project,” said Oliver.
Arts and Humanities Research Council to work with patients          Through a series of innovative music workshops, in
from the South of England Cochlear Implant Centre, based        conjunction with Southampton Community Music Project,                        Courtesy of Dr. Robert Mario, PhD, BC-HIS, the direc-
at the university.                                              this project will explore aspects of music that can be                    tor of Mario Hearing and Tinnitus Clinics, with locations in
    Cochlear implants allow people with severe- to- profound    appreciated by cochlear implant users through a variety of                West Roxbury, Cambridge, Mansfield and Melrose. He can be
hearing loss, who do not substantially benefit from con-        listening, computer-based and practical activities. This                  reached at 781-979-0800 or visit their website, www.mario-
ventional hearing aids, to perceive and understand speech.      knowledge will be used to guide the development of music                  hearingclinics.com. Archives of articles from previous issues
However, the current technology often cannot cope with          rehabilitation materials and compositions specifically for                can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com

➤ Obesity                                       in favor of walking, and gets in 30 miles
                                                a week. “If you allow your mobility to
                                                                                                  Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
                                                                                                     In fact, more than half of boomers
                                                                                                                                                               I like it or not,” she said. “And I refuse to
                                                                                                                                                               admit I am my age, and keep going as if
Cont. from page 17                              decline, you pay for it in terms of the           polled say they regularly do mental exer-                    I weren’t.”
                                                quality of your own life.”                        cises such as crossword puzzles.                                 The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was
a canoe that floats peacefully until it gets        When it comes to diseases, nearly                After Harding retires, he plans to take                   conducted from June 3-12 by Knowledge
too near a waterfall to pull back, Rejeski      half of boomers polled worry most about           classes to keep mentally active. For now,                    Networks of Menlo Park, Calif., and
said.                                           cancer. The second-leading killer, cancer         he’s doing the physical exercise that’s                      involved online interviews with 1,416
   He led a study that found a modest           does become more common with aging.               important for brain health, too. He also                     adults, including 1,078 baby boomers
weight loss plus walking 2 1/2 hours a              “It’s the unknown nature, that it can         takes fish oil, a type of fatty acid that                    born between 1946 and 1964. The margin
week helped people 60 and older signifi-        come up without warning,” said Harry              some studies suggest might help prevent                      of sampling error for results from the full
cantly improve their mobility. Even those       Forsha, 64, of Clearwater, Fla., and Mill         mental decline.                                              sample is plus or minus 4.4 percentage
who didn’t walk that much got some              Spring, N.C.                                         In Warren, Pa., Colleen Witmer said she                   points; for the boomers, it is plus or minus
benefit. Try walking 10 minutes at a time           Heart disease is the nation’s No. 1 killer,   works hard to maintain her weight and her                    3.3 percentage points.
two or three times a day, he suggests, and      but it’s third in line on the boomers’ worry      health: The 52-year-old walks or rides her                       Knowledge Networks used traditional
don’t wait to start.                            list. Memory loss is a bigger concern.            bike daily, plus does a more formal exercise                 telephone and mail sampling methods
   “I don’t think there’s any question the          “On a scale of one to 10, seven or eight,”    program three or four times a week.                          to randomly recruit respondents. People
earlier you get started, the better,” said      is how Barry Harding, 61, of Glen Burnie,            “I maintain my annual visits to the doc-                  selected who had no Internet access were
Rejeski, who at 63 has given up running         Md., puts it. “It’s more talked about now,        tor’s office and follow his advice whether                   given it free. — AP




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18        Fifty Plus Advocate        (Zone 3)            October 1, 2011
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20   Fifty Plus Advocate   (Zone 5)    October 1, 2011

				
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