Tips, Articles, Information, and News

This section is dedicated to providing seniors, family members, and caregivers with news, tips, articles, and information pertaining to everyday living, housing, and other relevant issues that affect today's Seniors.  With all the options currently out there and the changing markets, choosing the best option can be difficult.  With valuable information provided here, we can help take the confusion out of the housing equation!

Past Articles

Is CBD Right For Seniors?
How to Help a Hoarder
Cold Weather Safety Tips for Older Adults
Emotional Care: The underserved dimension of assisted living
Medicare Cost Plans Are Ending:  What It May Mean For You
Older Adults Build Momentum for National Senior Center Month
AAA Movers and Rose’s Daughters Partner
To Estate Sale or Not Estate Sale is that really the question?
Minnesota Cost Plans Phased Out in 2019
How Technology Benefits Seniors
Technology for Seniors:  The Benefits of Video Games
Remodeling? Here’s What Junk360 Does With The Waste!
Tips to Help Prevent and Treat Hearing Loss
Medicare's "Extra Help" Program
Three Helpful Tips for Seniors Looking to De-clutter
Meet Charlie
Isolation in Older Adults: What is it and how you can help
Winter Real Estate:  Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter
Stroke Information & Resource Guide

A Practical Guide to Downsizing for Seniors

Seniors and Gambling Addiction
Preparing for MNsure Open Enrollment
Healthcare Directives
Asset Protection Made Easy!
Financial Planners Continue to Dispute CFPB Report on Reverse Mortgages

Equifax Security Breach and Myths of Identity Theft

The Alzheimer's Medical Advisor Book
Using Music For Memory Care
Telemedicine - A Great Way to Offset Rising Medical Costs
Universal Design - New buzz word the last 2 years in design- what does it mean?
Activate Your Wellness From The Inside Out
Osteoarthritis—Relief of Pain and Increase in Function
Why Plan Your Funeral Arrangements in Advance?
The Problem With Seniors
ABOUT NERIUM EHT® SUPPLEMENT - Mind Enhancement Formula
Budget Hearing Centers Voted Best Hearing Center by Sun Newspaper Subscribers
Easy Meals For Seniors to Make On Their Own
What is FIT Functional Fitness®?
Take Control of Your Junk with the KonMari Method
Age is Just a Number...With a Little Help
Don't Wait To Get Sick To Get Healthy
Summer Cleaning: 4 Areas to Remember
From 1 – 10 How Important Is Your Independence...10?
Affordable Hearing Services Found at Budget Hearing Centers
How Are You Doing In This Emotional Time?
Local Businessman Awarded Special Reverse Mortgage Designation
Care Contributors Sacrifice Personal Care to Support People with Alzheimer’s Disease
Government Offers Tax Breaks For Long-Term Care Planners
Mary T. Making a Difference
Senior Living Transitions & Phone Freedom
I Should Have Been More Prepared
Counseling Tips For Untreated Hearing Loss
Knowing When To Get Help
Transitional Care From Hospital to Home
I'll Move When I Sell My House
Good News for Free and Clean Home Owners
Protecting Seniors from Schemes and Scams
Clear Vision, Living Independently Are Top Priorities for Older Americans
A Senior Friendly Work Place Make Sense
What an Eye Opener-I Dare You!
Worn Out:  Seniors Caring for Seniors
Why Don’t My Adult Children Listen To Me?
Beat the Heat: Summer Safety Tips
Soothing Senior Grief
Benedictine Health System's Bold, New Partnership Brings Innovation to Address National Healthcare Goals
Interlude Restorative Suites - Better Care, Lower Costs, Happy Guests
2015 Minnesota Business Ethics Awards Honors Mary T., Inc.
May is Older Americans Month
5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors
Water Damage & Spring Checklist
Downsizing for Seniors
Healthy Feet by Mary T.
Guide For Overcoming Holiday Depression For Seniors and Caregivers
Who Would Speak For You If You Couldn't Speak For Yourself?

Extra Help For Medicare Part D Costs

Medicare Considers New Ruling to Eliminate Coverage of Bone Anchored Hearing Solutions
Quiz Your Doctor Before Taking Meds
Living Independently At Home
Hearing Loss Often Overlooks, Easy To Detect
A note from Jack Benke: 10 paces to your own spaces
Why Use a Certified Buyer Representative, CBR®?
Top Scams Targeting Seniors
To Sell or Not To Sell - A Question For Baby Boomers
Guidelines for Giving Wisely to Charities
Legal Alert of the Month - Reverse Mortgages - Considering a Reverse Mortgage?, Read This First
Multigenrational Living
Roadwise Rx: Your Prescription for Medication Information
Ebenezer Ridges Campus receives a $10,000 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council
President's Award Winner Dr. Jack Churchill of Churchill Dental
What is Respite Care and Where Can I Find It?
What Should You Do If Your Property Is Damaged In A Storm?
What is a Senior Housing Cooperative?
Rehabilitation - Ask Dr. Marion
Ways That Grandparents Can Help With College Costs
No one wants to believe they need Long Term Care
Medicare Open Enrollment
Beat The Heat
Senior Helper's Alzheimer's Quiz
Advisers Reverse Thinking on Reverse Mortgages
What is a Reverse Mortgage?
Woman and Estate Planning
Moving to housing with services? 
New State Law Requires Calling Senior LinkAge
A Guide to Home Care Services
Independent Living for Seniors - Understanding your Choices
Private Pay Services - How They Can Help Seniors
Tips For Living Safe
6 Costs You Should Always Negotiate
8 People You Trust With Your Credit Card, But Shouldn't
Credit Card Had a 79.9% APR from First Premier Bank
How To Make Multigenerational Living Work
Online Dating Is Not Just for Kids, Seniors Say
Telephone Equipment Distribution Program (TED)

New FHA Reverse Mortgage Program Gives More Flexibility To Senior Homestead

Extension & Expansion of Home Buyer Tax Credit
High Medical Bills? Don’t Fret, They ARE Negotiable!
Medicare Chief Says Health Law Working
Age Is Just A Number - A Humorous Look At Ways To Stay Young
Diet Tips for Healthy Senior Living -- What You Eat Controls It All!
Health Care Overhaul - Important Medicare Changes Are Here
Health Care Reform: Considerations For Seniors
Ideas To Cut Health Care Costs In This Economy
New Laws to Protect Consumers
Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill Reintroduced In Congress
Don't Get Taken To The Cleaners - Protect Yourself
BBB Lists Top 10 Scams and Rip-offs For 2010
Blood Clots and Stroke - Quick Info That Can Save A Life
Look-and-See Signs A Senior Needs Help
10 Tips To Help Seniors Stretch Their Dollars
Grieving & Healing: 5 Steps To Help You Through The Grieving Process How To Work Through Grieving and Begin To Enjoy Life Again
Has The  Economic Downturn Affected Your Loved Ones?


Is CBD Right for Seniors?

Article by Canviva

Who wants to slow down as they get older? “Not me!” you might be saying to yourself.

As you grow older, your body starts to change. You’re likely to notice a few more grey hairs or wrinkles. If you’re fortunate, you will live a long healthy life. Even better, you will remain healthy and active. But aging affects your cardiovascular system, digestive system, joints and muscles, and even your cognitive skills, amongst others.

So what can you do to take better care of yourself or someone you love? A lot, and CBD might be part of the answer!

The Aches And Pains Of Growing Old

CANVIVA co-founder, Dave Rye, was a skeptic before being convinced that CBD products could improve the quality of his life. “Since taking CANVIVA products, I have stopped taking ibuprofen before and after golfing.” Like Dave, many other individuals are turning to CBD (cannabidiol).

Did you know that there are over 46 million people 65 years or older. And, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 49.6% suffer from arthritis. In addition, Mental Health America reports that 27% of seniors suffer from severe anxiety, which impacts their ability to function. It’s no wonder CBD (cannabid oil) use is on the rise, especially with Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).

According to a survey by Consumer Reports (CR), more than a quarter of people in the U.S. say they’ve tried CBD. One out of seven (7) of those people said they use it every day. And, 15% of people 60 and older have tried CBD.

You can learn more about your endocannabinoid system and how CBD may help keep your body in balance here.

What Can You Do To Stay Healthy?

Here are 10 tips for seniors!

  1. Stay active. Walk, bike, do something you like—just make sure to get regular exercise!

  2. Eat healthy. Eat nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods. Avoid overly sweet, salty, and processed foods. And don’t forget to follow your doctor’s advice regarding any dietary restrictions.

  3. Sustain your brain. Take a class, learn a new skill. Never stop learning! Studies suggest that stimulating your brain slows cognitive decline.

  4. Stay connected. Call or visit someone you love. Get together with a friend. Even better, go for a walk with them.

  5. Get a good night’s sleep. Older adults need 7-10 hours of sleep per night. Make sure you turn off the TV and your phone. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine late in the day. And, keep your bedroom cool, dark, and noise-free. (Psst, we also recommend CANVIVA REST CBD Oil.)

  6. Reduce stress. (Read our blog to learn more about how stress effects your body and what you can do to help manage it. 

  7. Practice prevention. Stop smoking. Lose weight. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date—this includes a yearly flu shot. Get your vision and hearing checked in addition to regular wellness check-ups.

  8. Be your own health advocate. When you do see your doctor, bring a list of your current prescription and non-prescription medications, including herbal supplements, bring a list of your health concerns; and, ask questions if you have them.

  9. Look on the bright side. Staying positive is good for your health.

  10. Try a CBD product like CANVIVA. Many older adults start with topicals, like roll-ons or balms. Another popular form of CBD is tinctures. Both methods are easy to use and easy to incorporate into your wellness regimen.




How to Help a Hoarder
by Rachael Protas of Junk360


Hoarding is a psychological disorder. Up to five percent of Americans are classified as hoarders. Hoarders suffer from a compulsion. Rather than being “messy”, they simply cannot bring themselves to get rid of the possessions consuming their homes.

So how do you recognize the signs of hoarding? And what can you do to find help?

Hoarding Warning Signs

Some people’s homes become so cluttered to the point where they are overwhelming to themselves or others. This can affect their family relationships, friendships, and daily stress levels.

Hoarding typically has three components:

  • Acquiring possessions compulsively
  • Constantly buying or collecting free things
  • Saving all these possessions and never discarding anything
  • Struggling to organize and maintain all the saved possessions

People who hoard keep things for the same reason as anyone else:

  • Sentimental: The hoarder has an emotional attachment to the items or saves them to remember an important life event.
  • Utility: The item is, or could be, useful.
  • Aesthetic: The item is considered to be attractive or beautiful.

However, hoarders also struggling with additional issues such as:

  • Compulsion: They often feel as though they need to accumulate these objects.
  • Anxiety: The thought of recycling or getting rid of these items brings about feelings of dread.
  • Disorganization: Even to a hoarder, the sheer number of belongings can be overwhelming. This often results in clutter and eventually causes stress and isolation.

Finding Help for Hoarders

Hoarding tendencies can vary in severity, but if you recognize more than one of the above symptoms in your loved one, seeking professional assistance is vital to moving forward.

Here are a few tips for helping someone who hoards:

  • Be there: People with hoarding disorder are often socially isolated and have minimal support in their lives. Let your loved one know that you are thinking about them, and remind them often what you love about them.
  • Encourage Therapy: Encouraging someone to reach out is not always easy, especially if they’re not ready. There are several foundations that can help you find a local therapist who specializes in hoarding disorder.
  • Set Goals: Once your loved one is ready to start decluttering, make sure to set achievable goals. For example, identify just one small area in the home to clear. This could be a box, a drawer, or just one particular room.
  • Give Them Control: Avoid the temptation to take over the decluttering process. Ask your loved one how you can be most helpful, and set some guidelines together about boundaries

Once you’ve brought in professional help and addressed the underlying issues of their hoarding tendencies, you can start helping your loved one clean their home.

Junk360’s Compassionate and Professional Junk Removal Service

Hoarding is complex and with it comes challenges. When it comes to removal services, Junk360 provides professional junk removal that is sensitive to this type of disorder. With our reputable, dependable and knowledgeable services, you can ensure that not only will the job get done, but the customer feels comfortable throughout the process.

Contact our team today at (651) 395-8659 or request your estimate online. We’ll help your loved one make the transition to a clutter-free, healthy lifestyle!

Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults
Article by
National Institute on Aging


If you are like most people, you feel cold every now and then during the winter. What you may not know is that just being really cold can make you very sick.

Older adults can lose body heat fast—faster than when they were young.

Changes in your body that come with aging can make it harder for you to be aware of getting cold. A big chill can turn into a dangerous problem before an older person even knows what's happening.  Doctors call this serious problem hypothermia.

What Is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia is what happens when your body temperature gets very low. For an older person, a body temperature of 95°F or lower can cause many health problems, such as a heart attackkidney problemsliver damage, or worse.

Being outside in the cold, or even being in a very cold house, can lead to hypothermia. Try to stay away from cold places, and pay attention to how cold it is where you are. You can take steps to lower your chance of getting hypothermia.

Bob's Story

Vermont winters can be very cold. Last December, I wanted to save some money so I turned my heat down to 62°F. I didn't know that would put my health in danger.

 Luckily, my son Tyler came by to check on me. He saw that I was only wearing a light shirt and that my house was cold. Ty said I was speaking slowly, shivering, and having trouble walking. He wrapped me in a blanket and called 9-1-1.

Turns out I had hypothermia. My son's quick thinking saved my life. Now on cold days, I keep my heat at least at 68°F and wear a sweater in the house.

Keep Warm Inside

Living in a cold house, apartment, or other building can cause hypothermia. In fact, hypothermia can happen to someone in a nursing home or group facility if the rooms are not kept warm enough. If someone you know is in a group facility, pay attention to the inside temperature and to whether that person is dressed warmly enough.

People who are sick may have special problems keeping warm. Do not let it get too cold inside and dress warmly. Even if you keep your temperature between 60°F and 65°F, your home or apartment may not be warm enough to keep you safe. This is a special problem if you live alone because there is no one else to feel the chilliness of the house or notice if you are having symptoms of hypothermia.

Here are some tips for keeping warm while you're inside:

  • Set your heat to at least 68–70°F. To save on heating bills, close off rooms you are not using. Close the vents and shut the doors in these rooms, and keep the basement door closed. Place a rolled towel in front of all doors to keep out drafts.
  • Make sure your house isn't losing heat through windows. Keep your blinds and curtains closed. If you have gaps around the windows, try using weather stripping or caulk to keep the cold air out.
  • Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers.
  • When you go to sleep, wear long underwear under your pajamas, and use extra covers. Wear a cap or hat.
  • Make sure you eat enough food to keep up your weight. If you don't eat well, you might have less fat under your skin. Body fat helps you to stay warm.
  • Drink alcohol moderately, if at all. Alcoholic drinks can make you lose body heat.
  • Ask family or friends to check on you during cold weather. If a power outage leaves you without heat, try to stay with a relative or friend.

You may be tempted to warm your room with a space heater. But, some space heaters are fire hazards, and others can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has information on the use of space heaters. Read the following for more information: Reducing Fire Hazards for Portable Electric Heaters and Seven Highly Effective Portable Heater Safety Habits.

Bundle Up on Windy, Cold Days

A heavy wind can quickly lower your body temperature. Check the weather forecast for windy and cold days. On those days, try to stay inside or in a warm place. If you have to go out, wear warm clothes, and don't stay out in the cold and wind for a long time.

Here are some other tips:

  • Dress for the weather if you have to go out on chilly, cold, or damp days.
  • Wear loose layers of clothing. The air between the layers helps to keep you warm.
  • Put on a hat and scarf. You lose a lot of body heat when your head and neck are uncovered.
  • Wear a waterproof coat or jacket if it's snowy.
  • Change your clothes right away if they get damp or wet.

Illness, Medicines, and Cold Weather

Some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm.

Talk with your doctor about your health problems and how to prevent hypothermia.

Taking some medicines and not being active also can affect body heat. These include medicines you get from your doctor and those you buy over-the-counter, such as some cold medicines. Ask your doctor if the medicines you take may affect body heat. Always talk with your doctor before you stop taking any medication.

Here are some topics to talk about with your doctor to stay safe in cold weather:

  • Ask your doctor about signs of hypothermia.
  • Talk to your doctor about any health problems and medicines that can make hypothermia a special problem for you. Your doctor can help you find ways to prevent hypothermia.
  • Ask about safe ways to stay active even when it's cold outside.

What Are the Warning Signs of Hypothermia?

Sometimes it is hard to tell if a person has hypothermia. Look for clues. Is the house very cold? Is the person not dressed for cold weather? Is the person speaking slower than normal and having trouble keeping his or her balance?

Watch for the signs of hypothermia in yourself, too. You might become confused if your body temperature gets very low. Talk to your family and friends about the warning signs so they can look out for you.

Early signs of hypothermia:

  • Cold feet and hands
  • Puffy or swollen face
  • Pale skin
  • Shivering (in some cases the person with hypothermia does not shiver)
  • Slower than normal speech or slurring words
  • Acting sleepy
  • Being angry or confused

Later signs of hypothermia:

  • Moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
  • Stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Blacking out or losing consciousness

Call 9-1-1 right away if you think someone has warning signs of hypothermia.

What to do after you call 9-1-1:

  • Try to move the person to a warmer place.
  • Wrap the person in a warm blanket, towels, or coats—whatever is handy. Even your own body warmth will help. Lie close, but be gentle.
  • Give the person something warm to drink, but avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine, such as regular coffee.
  • Do not rub the person's legs or arms.
  • Do not try to warm the person in a bath.
  • Do not use a heating pad.

Hypothermia and the Emergency Room

The only way to tell for sure that someone has hypothermia is to use a special thermometer that can read very low body temperatures. Most hospitals have these thermometers. In the emergency room, doctors will warm the person's body from inside out. For example, they may give the person warm fluids directly by using an IV. Recovery depends on how long the person was exposed to the cold and his or her general health.

Is There Help for My Heating Bills?

If you are having a hard time paying your heating bills, there are some resources that might help. Contact the National Energy Assistance Referral service at 1-866-674-6327 (toll-free; TTY, 1-866-367-6228) or email the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project to get information about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

If your home doesn't have enough insulation, contact your state or local energy agency or the local power or gas company. They may be able to give you information about weatherizing your home. This can help keep heating bills down. These agencies and companies may also have special programs for people who have a limited income and qualify for help paying the heating bill. Your local Area Agency on Aging, senior center, or social service agency may have information on these programs.

For More Information About Cold Weather Safety

Eldercare Locator
1-800-677-1116 (toll-free)

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program 
National Energy Assistance Referral Hotline (NEAR) 
1-866-674-6327 (toll-free)

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging

Consumer Product Safety Commission
1-800-638-2772 (toll-free)              
1-301-595-7054 (TTY)

This article can be found on the National Institute on Aging


Emotional Care
The underserved dimension of assisted living

Article by
Scott Hemenway
CEO, The Geneva Suites


As a society we’ve become accustomed to warehousing our seniors. The economics of typical assisted living facilities work out well when there are more seniors in one place. This model may work for seniors who are relatively independent, enjoy large social circles and don’t require too much care. But it’s a disaster for seniors with higher physical and emotional care needs.

If you’ve been into an assisted living facility lately chances are you saw someone sitting by themselves for a very long time. They may be sad, soiled, in need of a hug or just need someone to talk to. The sad news is the system isn’t designed for that. When one caregiver has 12 or more seniors to get up, dressed, bathed and off to breakfast there just isn’t time to sit with a resident to talk. It’s not that caregivers don’t want to spend emotional time with seniors. It’s that they often can’t. They’re just too busy. As a result, emotional care gets left out. Depression, anxiety and loneliness are as rampant in America’s assisted living facilities as any other disease. Yet the bulk of resources are spent caring for the body.

Fortunately, the tide is turning. “Small care” is a growing thing. With small care, we are able to attend to the high physical and emotional needs of residents. The Geneva Suites (My company) and others like it are popping up around the United States. Why? Not because it makes the most economic sense for shareholders. We’re not the most efficient or profitable business model. However, we are the most caring model. When a senior cannot return home due to health, “Small care” is the softest landing there is. It is gut wrenching to face the reality that mom or dad is never going home again. Everyone cries. And we should. It’s a huge life change that no one wanted or predicted. Yet there it is. Dropped in everybody’s lap. Suddenly daughters are no longer daughters. If mom or dad move in they’re now caregivers, therapists, psychiatrists, bed changers, personal chefs and medication administers. (Sons too) When the decision to choose an assisted living option comes it happens lightning fast. It’s a confusing, scary and emotional process all at once. And there’s no stopping it. The entire family goes from being drivers of their own life to passengers. Whatever the momentum of the industry is, that’s where mom or dad go. As a result, seniors continue to be funneled into large assisted living facilities, where they just may not fit.

Pause for a moment and consider the data:

Typical Small Care residence

Typical Big Box Facility

  • 1 caregiver for every 3 resident
  • 6 residents per home
  • Residential neighborhood
  • Heavy personal attention
  • Quick response time
  • Personal Choice Respected
  • 1 caregiver for every 15 residents
  • 109 residents per facility
  • Non-residential neighborhood
  • Light personal attention
  • Slow response time
  • Cookie cutter approach expected

We have much work to do in order to perfect the dignity of care for our seniors. It’s not an easy task. But the next time you are discharging a patient, or considering where mom or dad should go, ask yourself, “Will mom be happy here?”

By now you have probably guessed that I’m driven by dignifying the care of our seniors. I have chosen to create a company that is dedicated to Small Care. We may not be the most efficient or profitable, but I believe we are the most caring kind of senior residential experience a person can have.

Scott Hemenway is founder of The Geneva Suites and an advocate for seniors. Scott can be reached at

At Geneva Suites, we believe in superior care for each resident.  We have created a home experience that our residents are proud of, where each member feels safe, supported, and cared for. Residents benefit from round-the-clock care supported by a staffing ratio of 1:3, 24 hours-a-day, every day, even at night.  You won’t find that level of care and attention at any assisted living facility.

With 6 residential locations, serving the greater Minneapolis, Minnesota area, each senior residential home within The Geneva Suites provides aesthetically beautiful surroundings in which to reside.  Contact us today for more information at 612-208-8888 Click Here to download our brochure. 


Medicare Cost Plans Are Ending:
What It May Mean For You

Article by Tom Prideaux
The Prideaux Group


Medicare Cost plans won’t be available in most Minnesota counties in 2019 due to a change in federal law. The change affects more than 400,000 Minnesotans. Not every Minnesotan will be affected by the change. Medicare beneficiaries that have a Cost Plan are concerned about what to do. Many Medicare beneficiaries that do not have cost plans are concerned about their plans too. Below is a list of scenarios in Minnesota and whether you may need to act to have continued coverage.

No Action required- If you live in one of 21 Minnesota counties where Cost plans will continue, you can keep your current Cost plan in 2019. You will receive your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) documents before October 1. These documents will explain any changes to your plan benefits and show your monthly premium amount for 2019.

No Action required- Individuals that have a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plan already don’t need to do anything.

No Action required – Individuals with a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) with Original Medicare or a Medicare Supplement (MediGap). 

No Action required but investigation recommended – Individuals that have a Cost Plan with an embedded Prescription Drug Plan or with the same insurance carrier will be automatically converted to an Advantage Plan. Even though it is likely, please confirm that your physician is in the new plan’s network and that the plan is reasonably priced and has the benefits, copays and deductibles you are comfortable with compared to other plans that are available. Confirm that the new plan’s prescription drug formulary has the prescription drugs that you are taking in the new formulary and that they are reasonably priced compared to other PDP Formularies. There are many new plans available this year due to the changes in Minnesota

Action required – Individuals that have a Cost Plan and a PDP (Part D) with different insurance carriers must take action or they will revert to Original Medicare only (parts A and B) and will not have any type of Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or Advantage Plan.

Recommended - Even if you are converting to an Advantage Plan or currently in an Advantage Plan, it may be in your best interest to explore alternative Advantage Plans. There are more major health insurance companies entering the Minnesota market this year due to the Cost Plan disruption. They may have Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plan Formularies that are more economical or better suited to your needs.

Remember – If you are losing your Cost Plan this year you will have the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy with Guarantee Issue Rights. That means you won’t have to medically qualify for the supplement and they must cover all your pre-existing conditions. If you are spending a lot of money on hospital stays or Doctor/Clinic visits and care, a Supplement may be your best option.

Many Minnesota seniors will likely see new options from companies they already know. They may also see Medicare plans from health insurance companies that are new to the Minnesota market. It all means you could have more Medicare plans to choose from than ever before. Whatever you choose to do, we can help with the enrollment or conversion process. We can research the plans and formularies to help you find the plan that is best suited to you. There is never any cost for our services. We are independent, Licensed and Certified Medicare Agents.

Tom Prideaux    Phone: 612-868-5329   TTY:711

Click Here for Website



Article by
Deb Taylor
CEO of Senior Community Services


Today’s older adults are a far cry from the era of your great-grandparents.  There is a new generation of older adults looking to redefine retirement and reimagine how we age. Now more than ever, older adults are opting to “age in place”, a term used to describe a person living in their own home independently and safely without losing their quality of life. Senior centers are undoubtedly an invaluable part of that process. They serve as a community hub for older adults, connecting them to indispensable services to maintain and elevate wellbeing through a combination of life engagement and both cognitive and physical stimulation.

But it’s more than just keeping our older adults physically healthy and independent; it’s about creating a physical space to forge meaningful relationships within the community that help foster purpose, prevent isolation, and promote mental health. “Depression unfortunately is very real for too many older adults in our community,” says Pam Loidolt, Director of the Monticello Senior Center, ”Being part of a senior center can help combat depression and without a doubt improve a person’s wellbeing.” Research shows older adults who feel lonely and isolated are more likely to report also having poor physical and/or mental health and is even linked to quicker cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and higher rates of elder abuse. 

When these centers are at their best, it’s because intergenerational members of the community are coming together to promote a positive image of aging as we all grow older.  So this year, take some time to celebrate the many ways your own community’s senior center builds momentum for the future of people’s health, economic security, and independence.  “Include older people in all community and local decision making,” says Steve Pieh, the Manager of Senior Services at the Minnetonka Senior Center, “advocate for meaningful senior programs and resources, for older adults in their communities.  Highlight active roles and accomplishments of folks during their retirement years.  Evaluate how we use older workers, in their various part or full time jobs.”

That’s exactly what aging in our society should look like; collaboration between generations to create a richer and more meaningful future for the members of our community.  It’s been 75 years since the first senior center opened in the U.S., and with that comes 75 years of experiences, lessons and wisdom. Looking forward, we’re only going to continue to build on that momentum with the help of lasting community engagement from all ages to truly reimagine the way we age.

To find the Senior Center in your community and a list of all the centers in MN, visit:

Deb Taylor is the CEO of Senior Community Services and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that helps older adults and caregivers navigate aging to maintain independence and quality of life. We provide a wide array of programs --


AAA Movers and Rose’s Daughters Partner
to Produce the Ultimate Senior Move Experience.
Packing/Unpacking, Downsizing, Organizing, Sorting,
Clearing, Shipping, Storage, Waste Removal & Moving


Minneapolis, MN: AAA Movers, a leader in the moving industry and Rose’s Daughters, a leader in the senior move management industry, announce their partnership. In joining forces, these leaders will maintain their consistency and commitment to produce the ultimate senior move for their customers and communities. Both companies are members of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).  Click Here for Press Release.

AAA Movers is a full service storage and moving company in Minneapolis that’s been delivering excellent service to Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond for over 50 years. They’re an award-winning leader in residential and corporate moves, and they’re proudly committed to ensuring your move is the best you’ll ever make. They handle each of your possessions as if it were their own.

Rose’s Daughters is a senior move management company in Minneapolis servicing the twin cities and surrounding area with a personal touch approach for over 16 years. They continue to help people and seniors who are adapting to a new living situation or just needing their services to improve their quality of living.

Owner of AAA Movers, Joe Schwartz said, “… AAA Movers has been providing professional moving services in the Twin Cities since 1964, Our Team completes around 8,000 moves per year with our current demographic between 35-50 years of age. I knew for AAA to provide exemplary service to the Senior Community we would need to partner with Rose’s Daughters who has been the leading name in this industry for decades. When I first met Eddie and Tommy I knew right then this is who AAA would match very well with, their passion in this industry is paramount, I also love their hands-on approach with every move! This partnership will let AAA focus on what we’re great at…moving!”

Owner of Rose’s Daughters, Eddie McGill said, “We have stayed true to our core beliefs with our customers. They appreciate our personal touch approach. I couldn’t be happier to partner with a leader like AAA Movers to continue servicing our communities. This partnership will maintain our consistent, superb level of service for our customers. This is exciting for the communities we serve.”

As partners, AAA Movers and Rose’s Daughters will maintain this experience:

  • Professional move-related services with respect and understanding to their customers and their families.

  • Handle every move as if it were their own.

  • Use their superior industry knowledge and a real understanding of the issues to make their customers’ moves as stress free as possible. 

  • Offer strategic counsel, creative solutions and timely, responsive move services.

AAA Movers is one of the top moving companies in Minnesota because we take care of all your moving needs from start to finish so you can rest easy. Our highly trained, professional movers are committed to making sure you are 100% satisfied by showing up on time, moving your belongings with care using the proper equipment, and by providing top-notch customer service. Smart moving. Safe packing. Secure storing. Your AAA Movers team is with you every step of the way. We promise. Contact us today for a free quote.

Address: 8201 Brooklyn Blvd , Minneapolis, MN 55445
Tel: 612-588-6683 (MOVE)



To Estate Sale or Not Estate Sale is that really the question?
By: Geraldine Holseth, CEO of Old Is Knew, LLC


There are pros and cons to every venture and when we look at them we always need to look at them in the light of our specific needs. My Mother always said, what is good for the Goose is not necessarily always good for the Gander… my Mom was not always conventional. As a child, I would picture a Mom and Pop goose fighting over the piece of bread at my Grandmothers farm. Realizing that each one of us is coming at the process with a different perspective is important. We can’t always rely on our partner, friend, or family member to understand our underlying challenges. My Father use to say, “It is easy to assume but it is better to not.” I think that was spurred by years of dealing with my dear sweet unconventional Mother. When we approach the idea of downsizing or estate sales, we need to remember and consider all the voices that are in the process. It is best, if we can sit down and find a strategy that works with all parties. Consider respecting the other persons feeling of loss – whether that is your spouse, parent, sibling, friend or another family member. If we can emotionally move on, it will make the next phase of selling those items less challenging.

We are moving so I am going through and downsizing much of my 93-year-old Mother’s items. As I packed up things and got them ready to be sent to storage, I notice how irritated she was getting, and I knew this was not just her dementia. For the most part, she was not losing her things they were just going to storage. She went from “I don’t care about that any more” to screaming at the top of her lungs, “get rid of it all.” Taken back, I needed to find out what was going on. During one of her rages, I sat with her and let her vent and eventually the truth came out. In her mind her treasures were no longer present, so they were being taken away from her and therefore those items were lost. She had already left her home and now I was moving her to an even smaller space.

My Mother is a depression kid and they moved a lot…her Father moved where he could find work. He worked on many of the New Deal projects but that would take him and his family all over the Midwest. My mother lost a lot during those days. She would get settled and then she would need to move. From the time she was a baby they were moving from one end of Minnesota to the other side of the Dakotas. My Grandmother eventually settled down but not until she was in her 60s and that was after my Grandfather had passed away. So now that you understand the back-story of my Mother - you understand the reasoning for her irritation. She grew up leaving things behind; she never could covet special treasures, spend a decade in the same room, or grow her roots anywhere. When she became an adult and settled in her own place, she could grow those roots that she never had as a child. When I packed up her treasurers, I was cutting her roots. Now that I understood, it became abundantly clear that I needed to find different strategies for approaching this situation. My Mother knew that things needed to go but seeing them go in front of her eyes made it hard for her to let them go…thus the irritation. I no longer packed things when she was in the house. I would have her friends take her out to dinner while my husband and I would scramble to pack up and move the knickknacks, dishes, curios to the garage before she got home. She knew things were gone and she even would ask about them. However, having this done in front of her eyes was killing her emotionally but having it done behind her back helped her feel less threatened. We are down to her bed, dresser, night stand, lazy boy chair and we have moved her upstairs with us for her safety. She still has issues of loss, but we try to give her positives assurance that things are going to get better and she will be safe again…. giving lots of hugs helps. The reality is, she will not have everything she once had. Some things needed to be toss – broken knickknacks, worn out furniture, etc. Some things needed to find a new home – a dining room table and chair set she loved was given to her Great Granddaughter. Together, she and I, celebrated the passing of the torch so to speak as WE dropped off the table. Some things have been packed away for storage for when we arrive at our new home and she can be surrounded by her lovely things again. Understanding where she was coming from helped us move forward in the process.

The question I rose by the title of this article, “…is that the question?” Are you ready to sell your lovely treasures? Have you and your family identified what is for family and what is for sale? Is that a hard line or is that some wishy washing gray area that spans for 10 miles? Have you reconciled with the loss of these items and you are ready to let go? Like my Mother struggled with seeing those things being packed up - some clients cannot handle watching even their Parents items being sold without some emotional reaction. I have worked with some Estate sales where the client is, “get rid of, get rid of all of it… I don’t care how – just get rid of it” and others where they just can’t let go of even the little things and they question even the way we price a pair of nail clippers. The first step in an Estate Sale process is letting it go. Whether you are a family member selling your Mother and Fathers treasures; an Executor of an Estate burdened with all the responsibilities of wrangling the masses and distributing the proceeds; or downsizing yourself - are you ready to let go? Even the best Estate Sale Company in the country cannot function properly unless you release those items to our care and let us do our job. We need to prepare your treasures - merchandize, advertise, market, and sell those items. We need to have the freedom to identify what can be sold and price them accordingly, so they will be attractive to buyers. We need you to allow us to function within the confines of our contract so that we can do the best job for you. Yes, there are shysters in the business. Yes, you should do your homework when you choose a company – check the BBB and other reliable sources. However, I believe I can speak for my reputable colleges, I would say we are there to take this burden from you, but we ask you to be ready to let go.

With, Estate Sales don't have to be a burden. Let us do the work for you and we'll turn your treasures into profits! We are Moving and Estate Sales professionals who have 25+ years of experience. Our associates have experience managing sales, understanding market demand, and pricing. We provide you with great looking setups, top advertising, and peace of mind all sales are done with respect. Family owned and operated business. We also offer after sale cleanouts, professional appraisals and real estate options. Give us a call today for more information!

Tel: 763-464-5005
Tel: 763-464-5035


Minnesota Cost Plans Phased Out In 2019

Article by Tom Prideaux
The Prideaux Group


Due to a change in federal law, many Minnesota seniors with a specific type of Medicare plan, known as a “Cost Plan”, may need to enroll in new Medicare coverage for 2019.

Beginning January 1, 2019, Medicare Cost Plans will no longer be available in Minnesota counties where at least two Medicare Advantage plans are available. The passing of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2015 requires insurance companies to convert Costs Plan offerings to a Medicare Supplement or Advantage Plan by the end of 2018.

Cost Plans, a hybrid version of Medicare Coverage provided by private insurers, were introduced in 2009 and have proven to be very popular in Minnesota. Over 90 percent of the nation's Cost Plan membership resides in Minnesota. The change will impact many of the nearly 400,000 Minnesota seniors with Cost Plans. They may need to enroll in a Medicare Supplement or a Medicare Advantage plan this Fall or choose to revert to Original Medicare.

Cost Plan FAQ's

What happens if your plan is a Cost Plan?

If you have a Medicare Cost Plan, you will have coverage through 12/31/2018 if you are in an affected area. Your existing insurance company may have Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage plan options for you and they will contact you about your options.

What if I don't have a Cost Plan?

If you are currently enrolled in Medicare but are not on a Cost Plan, you may be enrolled into a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or a Medicare Advantage plan. You will not be affected by this change.

Will I need a medical exam or have to answer health questions to get new coverage?

With Cost Plans going away, there will be a Guaranteed Issue period where you may enroll in a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan. Guaranteed Issue means there are no medical exams or required health questionnaires. You will be guaranteed to receive the Medicare plan you select (if available in your area).

Will I lose coverage if I am currently on a Cost Plan and don't do anything?

If you do nothing, you will still have Original Medicare.

I have more questions that are not answered here, who can help me?

You may reach out to Tom Prideaux. He can help ensure you understand all of the Medicare options.

Phone - 612-868-5329 800-328-3993

Email -

Click Here for More Information 


How Technology Benefits Seniors
Article by The Internet Experts


Usage of smart, internet-connected devices is becoming the norm amongst people of all ages—even seniors.1

For the elderly, advanced technology and high-tech devices make daily tasks easier and can enhance quality of life. With technology, seniors have the tools and assistance to be more independent.

 Click Here for the Full Article


Technology for Seniors:
The Benefits of Video Games
Article by The Goodman Group


When you think of a "gamer," you probably don't think of a 65-year-old woman spending her afternoon on the Wii. But think again — an estimated 26% of people who play video games are over the age of 50. What’s more, it turns out that some of those older "gamers" are reaping some very significant benefits as a result.

Here are some of the social, cognitive, and physical benefits video game technology has to offer seniors.


Doing anything you enjoy improves emotional health whether it be going for a walk, meeting friends for lunch, or going to see a movie. So, it's no surprise many seniors who enjoy playing video games find themselves in better moods.

recent study of 140 seniors over 63 years old concluded that regular — and even occasional — video gamers reported greater well-being, social functioning, and health than non-gamers. Not only were those indicators positive, but the gamers showed significantly less depression than non-gamers.


Video games can provide physical benefits, too. Certain games that require physical interaction, like Wii Sports and similar titles, can help seniors improve balance, coordination, and reflexes due to the quick decision-making and action required to play. Some seniors have even reported faster walking speeds as a result of playing video games.

It may not be obvious at first, but improving cognitive skills can translate into improved balance and gait.


Not only do video games help emotionally and physically, but cognitively as well. In fact, a University of California San Francisco study showed significant improvement in cognitive ability, effectively reversing signs of aging, in seniors who played 3D video games.

Playing video games exercises a gamer’s memory, especially short-term memory. Playing even occasionally can help seniors remember things like names, addresses, phone numbers, date, and times. In addition, video games force players to switch quickly between different tasks. That can lead to increased mental flexibility and multi-tasking ability for seniors.


Amazingly, recent research has even demonstrated a link between playing video games and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. With an estimated 5.5 million seniors suffering from Alzheimer's in the U.S. alone, that's a big deal.

The study looked at connections between 3D gaming and tissue growth in different areas of the brain — especially the hippocampus, an area associated with memory and Alzheimer’s progression. The study linked gaming with increased hippocampus gray matter in a group of 33 people between the ages of 55 and 75. 


"They love it," says Katie, life enrichment director at Village Senior Residence in Missoula, Montana, an assisted living community that's residents play Wii bowling. "They think it's fun." It's not competitive, just great fun for players. "We encourage everyone to cheer for each other. That helps everyone have even more fun because they're cheering for everyone."

Of all the Wii Sports games, our residents tend to prefer bowling. "It's a fairly easy activity that many of them enjoyed before moving to our communities," she says.

Not only are residents at Village Senior Residence playing, but residents at Katella Senior Living in Los Alamitos, California, and The Inn on Westport in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, enjoy it, too.

It's one of many activities that residents both enjoy and benefit from. 

At The Goodman Group, we pride ourselves in helping you make the most of every moment. Click Here to find out more about The Goodman Group senior communities and experience just how rich your life can be. 

Commons on Maurice
Address: 1380 Marice Dr.
, MN 55121
Tel: 651-688-9999

Chandler Place
Address: 3701 Chandler Dr.
St. Anthony, MN 55421

Tel: 612-788-7321

St. Anthony Health & Rehabilitation
Address: 3700 Foss Rd.
St. Anthony, MN 55421
Tel: 612-788-9673

Old Main Village
Address: 301 South 5th St.
, MN 56001
Tel: 507-388-4200


Remodeling? Here’s What Junk360 Does With The Waste!


Are you planning a home renovation project? Whether your remodeling the bathroom or the kitchen, one of the main issues to consider is what you’ll do with all the waste. Hauling away the debris yourself means you have to sort, load, and properly dispose of everything yourself.

The risk of damaging your car aside, the waste created from renovation projects are often too big and heavy to handle on your own. Junk360 will help you haul all that renovation junk away. Here’s what we do with it!


Tons of materials from renovation projects are reusable! This includes:

        Old appliances

        Construction materials




        Doors and windows


        Door handles and cabinet knobs

Junk360 will sort through all your remodeling waste and set aside anything that can be donated. This keeps big, bulky items out of landfills while helping others! We’ll even take it to the donation center for you. It’s a win-win.


Did you know that Junk360 is an eco-friendly organization? We refuse to take junk to a landfill unless it absolutely belongs there! After setting aside every possible item for donation, Junk360’s five-star customer service team will sort through the remaining items for recyclables.

Here are a few of the things we’re looking for:









        And more!

Don’t know what else to look for? We do! Let Junk360 help you cut down on your renovation waste! We make taking things to the landfill a last resort.

360 That Junk!

If the remainder of your remodeling waste isn’t salvageable or recyclable, Junk360 will load it into our trucks and transport it to the proper facilities.

Aside from sorting through your waste for reusable and recyclable items, here are some of the many benefits of using Junk360 to haul away your junk.

   No Pressure: Our estimates are free with no obligations attached.

   Peace of Mind: Junk360’s renovation waste removal services are efficient, eco-friendly, and safe.

    Community Improvement: By using Junk360, you’ll reduce your waste and give back to the community.

   Five-Star Service: Our friendly, professional, and courteous staff are consistently earning us five-star reviews.

A remodel or renovation is stressful enough. Why add clean-up and waste removal to your list. With Junk360, you ensure that all your junk is hauled away properly - leaving you to relax and enjoy your new space!

How Much Does Junk Removal Cost?

 Junk360 offers the most transparent and competitive junk removal prices in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. Since we charge by truck space, our pricing includes sorting, loading, cleaning, and most fees.

Use our online chart to get an idea of our prices or contact us for a free, no-obligation estimate. Contact us today at (651) 395-8659 or via our online form.


Tips to Help Prevent and Treat Hearing Loss During May’s Better Hearing & Speech Month
By Sam Ho, M.D. chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare


Hearing loss is a significant health issue in Minnesota and across the country, affecting more than 48 million people nationwide. It could become even more widespread in the coming years: more than 1.1 billion young adults worldwide at risk of developing hearing loss, according to a study by the World Health Organization.

Spurring the increased risk is more frequent exposure to loud sounds that can cause noise-induced hearing loss, including the growing popularity of earbud headphones. Hearing loss is especially common among older Americans, but younger people can also be affected. About 20 percent of people over age 12 experience some level of hearing loss. 

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month, a reminder for people to check their hearing health – and that of their loved ones – to help prevent the condition or, if necessary, obtain treatment. Research shows hearing loss is associated with social isolation, dementia, depression and increased risk of falls, reinforcing the fact that hearing health is crucial to overall health.

To help encourage better hearing health, consider these tips: 

·       Limit exposure to loud noises: People should limit their exposure to loud sounds, such as music, lawn mowers or motorcycles, to no more than 20 minutes at a time. Most Americans (82 percent) know that exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing loss, but just 41 percent correctly recognized that both one-time exposure to a loud sound and cumulative exposure to moderately loud sounds can harm hearing health, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey.

·         Opt for noise-cancelling headphones: Over-the-ear headphones, especially models with noise-cancelling properties, are generally considered a better option than earbuds. When using earbuds, follow the “60/60 rule,” which means listening for no more than 60 minutes at a time and at no more than 60 percent of the player’s maximum volume. If someone else can hear your music while you’re using earbuds, it’s an indication of excessive volume.

·       Talk to a health professional and schedule a hearing test: Common signs of hearing loss include turning up the volume on the TV or radio to levels that others find too loud, having trouble hearing people on the phone, and difficulty following conversations in noisy environments. Some primary care physicians are starting to offer hearing testing, making it more convenient to follow recommended guidelines, which includes being screened at least every decade through age 50 and then at three-year intervals thereafter.
Click Here for a list of Hearing Centers/Clinics throughout Minnesota. 

·        Explore ways to save on hearing aids: Hearing aids can be expensive, but more affordable options are available. Direct-to-consumer hearing aids can enable people to save 60 percent or more compared to devices sold through traditional channels. And a growing number of health plans are offering coverage for hearing aids, including through some Medicare Advantage and employer-sponsored benefit plans.

·        Use effective communication strategies – Hearing aids are more helpful when people use effective communication strategies, such as watching lip movements and facial expressions, and selecting settings that are “hearing friendly.” For example, people with hearing loss should opt for restaurants that are relatively quiet and go at times that are less busy. Another strategy is to select a table along a wall or in a corner, which will reduce background noise.

With hearing loss on the rise, now is the time for prevention and treatment.  By following the above tips, people can help maintain their hearing health and help those with hearing loss live fuller, healthier lives. 

Click Here for a list of Hearing Centers/Clinics throughout Minnesota. 


Medicare's "Extra Help" Program
Article by Becky Cole of Cole Insurance
Connecting Resources Together


Medicare’s “Extra Help” program helps people with limited income pay for their prescription medications

Making ends meet should not mean going without your medications. If you have limited income and resources, you may qualify for Extra Help to pay for some health care and prescription drug costs. Drug costs in 2018 for most people who qualify for Extra Help will be no more than $3.35 for each generic drug and $8.35 for each other drug. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services estimates that more than 2 million people with Medicare may be eligible for Extra Help but aren’t currently enrolled to take advantage of this program. The law establishes how your income and assets are counted: 

•  Life insurance policies don’t count as resources.

•  Any help you get from relatives, friends, and others to pay for household expenses—like food, mortgage, rent, heating fuel or gas, electricity, water, and property taxes—doesn’t count as income.

Many People Qualify and Don’t Know It

Even if you were previously turned down for Extra Help due to income or resource levels, you can reapply. If you qualify, you’ll get help paying for Medicare prescription drug coverage premiums, copayments, and deductibles. To qualify, you must make less than $18,090 a year (or $24,360 for married couples). Even if your annual income is higher, you may still qualify for some extra help. Your resources must also be limited to $13,820 (or $27,600 for married couples). Resources include bank accounts, stocks, and bonds, but not your house or car. 

Dual eligibility

Some people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid are called “dual eligibles.” If you have Medicare and full Medicaid coverage, most of your health care costs are likely covered.

You can get your Medicare coverage through Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). If you have Medicare and full Medicaid, you'll get your Part D prescription drugs through Medicare. And, you'll automatically qualify for Extra Help paying for your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D). Medicaid may still cover some drugs and other care that Medicare doesn’t cover.

There’s No Cost or Obligation to Apply

It’s easy and free to apply for “Extra Help.” You, a family member, trusted counselor, or caregiver can apply online at or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778.  (Note: this will only help you to enroll in the “Extra Help” program, you will still need t contact your county office for enrolling in Medicaid).

You can also get help from the Minnesota Board on Aging and many tribal organizations.  Contact MBA at 651-431-2500, or 800-333-2433.

Have Other Questions?  Let’s talk.
Call Becky Cole - 612-930-3630


After a lifetime of experiences and memories, your collections of sentimental items will accumulate. Soon, your living space, shelves, and boxes are stuffed with newspaper clippings, photographs, gifts from family members, tax returns, letters, and greeting cards. When that happens, it’s time to declutter.

Why Should Seniors Regularly Declutter?

While it’s always difficult to purge, decluttering is especially important for seniors. Some reasons for seniors to declutter include:

  1. Efficiency: With time it can become more and more difficult to find items you need. Decluttering cuts down on searching and saves you time.
  1. Safety: Clutter is a tripping hazard. Decluttering enables you to move about your home with peace of mind.
  1. Focus: Because messy environments affect cognitive thinking, it’s important to have a clean space where you can process information.

Tips for Seniors Decluttering

  • Go Slow: Don’t try to tackle everything at once. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Instead, carve out two to three hours per day. See what gets done, and then take a break. Doing so will keep you from getting stuck, and allow you to begin the next day with a positive outlook.
  • Bring in an Objective Party: Going through all your old belongings is a challenge. Going through all your old belongings objectively is practically impossible. In that case, we recommend bringing in an objective third party to make the decisions easier. This could be a professional organizer, downsizing service, or housekeeper. These people will help you navigate the emotional terrain effectively.
  • Ask Your Family to Help: Tell your loved ones you’re decluttering! This will give them the opportunity to rescue items of remembrance or personal value from your donation or junk pile. Also, you might need help moving some of the heavier objects…

What’s the Next Step?

When you’re decluttering, set up a space, bag, or box for the items you’re getting rid of. At the end of each day, go through those items and organize them into three sections:

  • Sell: If there are items you want to sell, contact your local consignment store. Craigslist and ebay are also great ways to sell your stuff online.
  • Donate: Less valuable objects make great donations. Call your local charities to find out what items they need. Some of them will even come pick those items up themselves, saving you a trip.
  • Junk: At the end of the day, throw out everything in your junk pile. Don’t give yourself a chance to rethink it. It’s worthwhile to hire a professional junk removal service for larger items, such as furniture and old appliance.

Don’t add any more options! Make sure you’re taking care of things immediately. Otherwise they’ll continue to clutter up your home.

Junk360 Can Help Seniors Declutter!

It’s important to for seniors to regularly declutter their homes off all junk and unused objects. Not only does a clutter free environment keep you happy, it saves you (and your loved ones) time and effort in the long run.

Junk360 is here to help all seniors in decluttering their space! Our professional, five-star staff can help seniors organize their belongings and take care of all the heavy lifting. We’ll even clean up afterwards!

Since we charge by the truck space, our prices are guaranteed to be the best. Call (651) 395-8659 to discuss and schedule your junk removal or get a free estimate online!

Don’t get bogged down in the clutter. Leave it to us!


Meet Charlie
Article my Mary T. Inc.



Isolation in Older Adults: What is it and how you can help
Article by Deb Taylor of Reimagine Aging Institute


Recently, AARP completed a report on the Framework for Isolation in Adults Over 50. The report defines isolation as the experience of diminished social connectedness stemming from a process whereby the impact of risk factors outweighs the impact of existing protective factors. A person’s lack of social connectedness is measured by the quality, type, frequency, and emotional satisfaction of social ties. Social isolation can impact health and quality of life, measured by an individual’s physical, social, and psychological health; ability and motivation to access adequate support for themselves; and the quality of the environment and community in which they live.

The report also states that isolation in adults aged 50+ occurs due to a complex set of circumstances and factors that exist at the individual, social network, community and societal levels. The primary risk factors associated with isolation include: living alone, mobility or sensory impairment, major life transitions, socioeconomic status (low income, limited resources), being a caregiver for someone with severe impairment, psychological or cognitive vulnerabilities, location (rural, unsafe or inaccessible neighborhood/community), small social network and/or inadequate social support, language (non-English speaking), and membership in a vulnerable group. Isolation can also be triggered by the change/loss of social network, social role, physical health, mental health, and resources.

The National Council on Aging estimated, in a recent study, that 17% of all Americans over the age of 65 are isolated because they live alone and face one or more barriers related to geographic location, language, or disability.

According to the findings in the report, the most prominent individual-level risk factors for older adults are living alone, having a physical impairment, losing a partner and/or close friend, and losing an important role such as employment.

This information is important to share because, if we’re lucky, we will all one day have the privilege of growing old. That’s why it’s crucial that we care for those of us who are already there, right now. But what do we do with this information? How can we change this?

This time of year has everyone thinking about how we can be better neighbors, friends, etc. to those around us and ensure they have somewhere to go or someone to be with during the holidays, but knowing how to help prevent isolation is something we should be concerned about all year long. Isolation is an ongoing issue, not just a seasonal one.

Here are a few things you can do all year long to be a friend to an isolated older adult:

Get to know your neighbors - This is the first step. Maybe you have an older adult living in your neighborhood that isn’t very active in the community. Introduce yourself, invite them to dinner, have coffee with them. The simplest acts can make a big difference in the life of a person who’s isolated.

Offer to drive - Not having access to transportation can be a big factor causing isolation for an older adult. If you can’t personally drive them, offer to help them find an organization that can. The holidays are just around the corner. Maybe you want to gift an older adult a bus pass to help them get around town.

Ask questions - As evidenced in the AARP report, there are many reasons an older adult may be isolated and it may have nothing to do with lack of transportation. They may have just lost a loved one and are finding it hard to find the motivation to leave the house or maybe they had to move recently and don’t know anyone in town. They may even have been feeling under the weather and haven’t been able to talk to anyone about it. You will never know if you don’t ask.

Encourage social activities - Senior centers are great places for older adults to engage with others as well as provide meaning for them with a variety of activities offered from woodworking to cards to yoga and more! With so many options, you’d be hard pressed not to find an activity you enjoy.

Offer to help - There may be a home project that is limiting an older adult’s mobility. For example, they may have trouble bathing themselves because they find it difficult to stand in the shower for so long. Or, this time of year, they may be limited by the snow on their driveway that they’re unable to shovel on their own. Be a neighbor and offer to shovel and salt a path for them. Or better yet, give our HOME program a call at 952-746-4046 to set up regular snow removal or a free in-home safety assessment to ensure the older adult is as safe and mobile as they are able to be.

There are numerous simple ways in which you can help prevent isolation in older adults, many of which require only a few minutes of your time. These are just a few suggestions. We hope that by reading this article you will become more aware of the older adults in your life and community and begin to engage with them more often. Older adults add so much value to our communities, it is time to show them the appreciation and support they deserve. In closing, I have just one question for you, what will you do to help prevent isolation in the lives of the older adults in your community today?

Deb Taylor is the CEO of Senior Community Services and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that helps older adults and caregivers navigate aging to maintain independence and quality of life. We provide a wide array of programs --


Winter Real Estate
Tips for Selling Your Home in the Winter
Article by Junk-360, Rachael Protas


Any real estate agent worth their salt will tell you that spring and summer are the peak home-buying season. But don’t despair just yet! According to a study by the real estate company Refin, December through May is the best time to list your home. Winter buyers tend to be the more serious shoppers, and data shows that homes sold in winter often go for more money that those in summer.  Therefore, we at Junk360 thought we’d provide a couple of tips for selling your home during the winter season.

Create a Sense of Warmth

With the sun setting earlier every day, it’s important to keep that darkness from creeping into your home. Potential buyers prefer well-lit houses and a sense of welcoming warmth. While that’s easy enough in the summer, creating that atmosphere in the cold darkness of winter requires a little creativity.

Junk360 suggests the following for adding more brightness to your home:

Open your blinds. Minimal window coverage means that the windows look bigger and encourages whatever daylight is left to shine into your home.

Experiment with different light bulbs. Find the most flattering tone for each space. Go for cozy and bright. LEDs in general play well with interior color palettes. However, bedrooms and living space tend to look best with a soft white bulbs while daylight bulbs brighten up bathrooms.

Add extra light. Any dark “walk through” spaces are going to stand out in the dreariness of winter. Installing recessed lighting or even adding some lamps on a timer into these space will go a long way during a showing.

Include some summer photos. In the Twin Cities, chances are the lawn’s going to be buried under a couple inches (or a couple feet) of snow. Buyers might hesitate to buy a house if they can’t even see the land that it’s on. While you can’t control the weather, a great way around this is to include a photo album or even a slideshow of the exterior in the fall, spring, and summer. Make sure to highlight your lawn’s best features, such as vegetable gardens, flower beds, and decks with all the outdoor furniture in place. This will help the buyer envision themselves in your home year round.

Taking these simple steps ensures that your property sparkles against the seasonal backdrop, especially in comparison to other houses on the market.

Turn up the Heat

Hey, Minnesota! Just in case you didn’t notice, winter is cold. And the one thing buyers in the Twin Cities definitely aren’t looking for is a cold house. Double check your doors and windows for drafts. If you do find any, spend a little extra time and money to insulate and weather seal them.

Make sure your boiler and furnace are in top shape. If possible, get them inspected by a maintenance team before the house goes on the market. Ask them to leave an inspection sticker in plain sight since buyers will want to make sure those systems are up and running.

If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove, now’s the time to show them off. The smell of burning wood triggers positive sense memories.

But, whatever you do, don’t turn the heat off, even if you’re selling a vacant property. If you must, put your heating system on a timer to make sure that the house is at least 65 degrees during the showing. Buyers don’t want to spend more than a few minutes in a freezing property. Don’t lose an opportunity to showcase your house’s features because of the temperature!

De-Junk and Deep Clean

Always declutter and depersonalize. That’s sound advice for selling a home year round. This is the time to get rid of all the junk you don’t want to move with you to the next house anyway. Give Junk360 a call at 651-395-8659, and we’ll help you junk that stained spare mattress or the armchair your cat’s shredded away over the past five years.

You can also start packing up all the seasonal items you won’t need for the next couple months. Summer clothes, outdoor sports gear, and patio furniture can all get boxed up or even placed in storage. This helps declutter the house space, allowing potential buyers to envision how their belongings will look nestled against the walls.

Additionally, a decluttered home is easier to clean.Try to dry mop and remove all dust and dirt that’s settled into the cracks and corners. Vacuum area rugs and carpets. Sweep hardwood floors and keep toys tucked away. Decluttering and de-junking your house will help you maintain cleanliness between showings.

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that buyers can’t appreciate what your house has to offer. Follow these steps to prep your house for the best offer of the season! Contact our friendly, five-star movers at Junk360, and breath a sigh of relief. We promise to do all the heavy lifting!

Need a Real Estate professional to help you sell your home? 

Click Here for our Approved List of Real Estate Professionals



Stroke Information & Resource Guide
Article by ACLS Training Center.  Click Here for the Full Article.


A stroke is a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. It is a leading cause of disability and the fourth leading cause of death among Americans. Until recently, if you were to experience a stroke, supportive care was all that was available. But now, stroke management has progressed to a point where a stroke can be stopped in its path.

There are treatments available that can prevent or limit disability caused by a stroke as well as saving many lives. The success of such treatments is dependent upon how much time has passed since the stroke symptoms appeared. Therefore, the early recognition of a stroke by the patient or their family is of the utmost importance. This article will attempt to give you the information you need to recognize a stroke and respond accordingly.

Recognizing a Stroke by Signs and Symptoms

Because the medical management of stroke varies depending on the length of time since symptoms first appeared, and due to the fact that this will affect prognosis, a prompt recognition of a stroke is extremely important.

Keep in mind that stroke symptoms usually start quite suddenly and get worse over time. You may be sitting at a table and suddenly be unable to hold your coffee cup or get your words out correctly. Signs and symptoms of stroke include sudden onset of weakness on one side of the body and slurred speech or dysarthria, meaning, the inability to make your words come out right. A sudden change in the way you walk or feeling that one leg is not “acting right” can be a sign of stroke. Some patients also notice changes in their ability to see. Loss of balance is another common sign of stroke. Patients who have bleeding around their brain may complain that “they have the worst headache of their life”.

A useful acronym to recognize and respond to stroke is FAST:

  • Face - Drooping of one side of the face. Ask the person to smile and note if it is uneven.
  • Arms - Weakness or numbness in one arm. Ask the person to lift both arms. Does one extremity drift downward or is the person unable to lift it?
  • Speech - Difficulty in speech, is it slurred? Ask the person to repeat a phrase and note any changes in speech.
  • Time - If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to call 911 immediately. Also, take note of the time since symptoms onset, which will be required by doctors to decide on appropriate treatment.

In the case of an hemorrhagic stroke the symptoms appear in a more abrupt way and varies from the ischemic one, the headache is the first thing to appear, it consists on a very severe pain which makes the patient feel like “his head is gonna explode”, then the rest of the symptoms start to appear.

Nausea and vomiting are common along with dizziness and a very stiff neck and are accompanied by confusion and even seizures, this set of symptoms are called “meningeal syndrome” due to the inflammation of the meninges (a set of membranes that cover the brain and spinal chord), thanks to a severe and sudden hemorrhage in the brain.

It is important to remember though, that the only and best way to ascertain the type of stroke along with the adequate treatment for it, is through imaging studies, for example, a CT scan or an MRI, this last one uses magnets and radio waves in order to create pictures of the organs and structures of the body. This test can detect changes or damage to the brain tissue. All of this is done in the confines of a medical center, so it’s important to take note that we have to act fast in order for the adequate treatment to happen.

For more information Click Here for the Full Article

  • What is a Stroke?
  • Why Me? Causes of Stroke
  • I’m Having a Stroke! What Should I Do?
  • What to Expect When the Ambulance Arrives
  • What Treatments are Available for Stroke?


For seniors transitioning to smaller homes, the prospect of downsizing can seem overwhelming. While Junk360 is able and prepared to assist with junk removal and hauling, there are a few actions seniors and their families can undertake to start the process.

First, start early. Seniors have a lifetime of things to sort through. Planning a day or a weekend to downsize just isn’t practical and will leave you feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Instead, give yourself a month or two. This will allow you to go through one room at a time, taking breaks as needed.

Know Your Goals. Hopefully, you have an estimated size of your next space. If you currently own a four bedroom three bathroom house, and you plan on downsizing to a two bedroom two bathroom then eliminate two bedrooms and one bathroom worth of stuff. Does your new place have a smaller kitchen? If so, weed through a third of your cooking supplies. For seniors downsizing, knowing how much space you’ll have and what you need to get rid of helps elevate some of the doubt and anxiety of decluttering.

Don’t start with photos. Margareta Magnusson, the master of senior downsizing and decluttering herself, offers this important piece of advice. Starting with photos risks losing yourself in memories and never accomplishing anything. Instead, start in areas with little emotional attachment. The laundry room or linen closet for example. As you sort, make only ‘yes’ and ‘no’ piles – no ‘maybes’ or ‘ifs.’

Get rid of what you can. Especially the duplicates. Seniors downsizing to a one bedroom apartment won’t need five sets of bed sheet. If you’re moving to a place with no garage or office area then everything in those rooms will need to get eliminated. If you collect football jerseys or glass figurines, pick the two or three that mean the most to you and give the rest away. Yard sales are a great way for seniors to downsizing – passing on materials to others looking to make their own memories.

Involve the family. Enlisting trusted loved ones to help seniors downsize and declutter can turn a painful task into a helpful heart-to-heart. Maybe your daughter doesn’t want that china set; maybe she wants the rolling pin you taught her to take pies with. You’ll remove items from your home while being able to enjoy passing them onto the next generation, making you happy while lightening the load.

Finally, ask for help. Garages, attics, and basements are the most difficult areas to tackle. Not only are those the spaces where we tend to shove our junk, but they’re uncomfortable spaces that run swelteringly hot to bone chillingly cold depending on the season. This is the point of the process where Junk360 can help.

Junk360 is prepared to assist you organize your clutter, haul away the leaf blower that hasn’t worked in years, clean out the garage, and remove the junk from your basement. With a careful eye, Junk360 can aid seniors downsizing figure out what to donate and what to haul away. As a community orientated, veteran-owned business, Junk360 is ready to help you save memories and remove the clutter. 

Junk360 - 651-395-8659 -



Seniors and Gambling Addiction
By Northstar Problem Gambling Alliance


You may have heard terms like “problem gambling” or “gambling addiction” but what do they really mean? Are seniors more at risk for developing these afflictions? And what can you do to make sure you gamble safely?

Most people gamble within their means and enjoy it as a regular form of recreation. But unfortunately, some take it to excess and it becomes an obsession that they can’t stop.

Problem gambling, also known as gambling addiction or compulsive gambling, is defined as the urge to gamble despite harmful negative consequences or a desire to stop. It’s estimated that approximately 160,000 to 214,000 Minnesotans struggle with this addictive disorder, which can destroy lives, threaten family relationships and empty retirement savings.

Today’s seniors are gambling more than any previous generation of older adults, whether it’s spending an afternoon at the casino, playing weekly bingo or placing wagers on sporting events. Accompanying this increase in gambling participation has been a rise in the number of people developing gambling addiction.

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to gambling addiction because they: 

·        are often coping with big changes or facing life transitions and losses, such as the death of loved ones, end of a career or isolation from family and friends

·        may not understand addiction, making them less likely to identify a gambling problem

·        may be less willing to seek assistance for a gambling problem than younger adults

·        may hide their gambling because of the perceived stigma associated with it

·        are rarely asked by health professionals about their gambling activities

·        may have easy access to gambling and be drawn to gambling to fill time or to be with other people

·        may suffer from a cognitive impairment that interferes with their ability to make sound decisions

Compared to younger generations, seniors with gambling problems are up against the challenge of time. In the event of financial problems caused by the addiction,

they have fewer remaining years to earn additional wages to recoup their losses and rebuild retirement savings.

What are the Signs of Gambling Addiction in Seniors?

Because seniors tend to live away from their younger family members, their addiction can remain hidden for long stretches of time. However, there are some detectable signs that an older adult may have a gambling problem. Seniors may:

·        appear withdrawn or be frequently unavailable

·        be vague when describing their days and activities

·        have sold off their valuable possessions for unexplained reasons

·        talk a lot about exciting wins, but never discuss their losses

Safe Gambling Tips

To minimize your chances of developing problems with your gambling, there are things you can do. The following tips can help you stay in control and keep it fun.

·        Play for fun, not just for money

·        Bet only what you can afford to lose

·        Don’t play to escape or cope with problems

·        Never gamble when stressed, depressed or in recovery from other addictions

·        Know when to quit; don’t chase your losses

·        Understand that everyone loses over time

·        Gamble only with money set aside for entertainment

·        Avoid mixing gambling with alcohol or other substances

·        Never borrow money to play

·        Balance recreational gambling with other healthy activities

·        Know where to get help

Help Is Available

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Minnesota Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-333-4673. The Helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides free, confidential help from specially trained counselors. Treatment is available at no cost to Minnesotans with gambling problems. Additional resources available in Minnesota can be found here. More information about senior gambling can be found here.




Preparing for MNsure Open Enrollment
Article by Connecting Resources Together
Beck Cole Insurance


Open Enrollment will start on November 1, 2017 and go through January 14, 2018.

Minnesota’s enrollment period will be longer than the federal period, but the window of opportunity is still short. Not only is the window of opportunity changing, but many of the plans are changing, too. There will be caps on several of the plans again this year, so it is a good idea to prepare for it to ensure you can get the right coverage for the providers who are important to you.

Here’s a few tips to help you get through it: 

1.  If you need help with Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care enrollments, it’s best to contact a navigator if you have questions. They often have access to additional social services and community resources that brokers typically don’t have. Brokers are great for helping with traditional health policies both on and off the exchange, as well as other types of insurance policies.

2.  Be sure you can use your online account. All plans and renewals must be done online. It’s a good thing to check out your account before open enrollment starts. 

Write everything down and keep it in a safe place

Since this is a yearly process, it is easy to forget what you did before, or what are the answers to your security questions.


Confirm your username and password

A good strategy for avoiding a call to the MNsure Contact Center is to reset passwords online. Forgotten user names or passwords can be recovered with the appropriate links on the Sign In page.


Update your account information

It’s important for enrollees to update their MNsure account if any of their household information changes. This could include a new address, changes to income or changes to family size. Updating records will ensure that notices and forms are mailed to the correct address, the amount of financial help enrollees qualify for is adjusted, and accurate information about available plans is provided.


Account updates should be reported to the MNsure Contact Center before open enrollment begins: 1-855-366-7873 or 651-539-2099.

3.  Don’t start a new account. It’s tempting to do this if you have forgotten your login information from last year, or you are having trouble logging into the system, but having multiple accounts on the exchange can wreak havoc in a lot of ways. Call the Contact Center for help in accessing your current account.

4.  Be aware that many of the insurance plans will be changing networks and providers who are in their networks for next year. It’s a good idea to do some preliminary “window shopping” before you enroll. It’s also a good idea to enroll early because many of the plans will have caps again this year, too.

5.  Schedule an appointment with a broker or an assister. Help can happen either in person or online, but with the shortened window this year, many calendars are already filling up.

If you are in the 694/35W area of the metro area (or are willing to travel to that area) and need help with a traditional plan, I’d be happy to help you sort things out. In addition, I am also credentialed to help with Medicare enrollments. 

If you are anywhere in the state and need help with Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care plans, call the Contact Center and tell them you need and assister to help with those programs.

MNsure Contact Center: 1-855-366-7873 or 651-539-2099

Becky Cole: 612-930-3630 or email:


Healthcare Directives
Article by Ahmed Bachelani
Bachelani Law Offices


Healthcare Directives go by various names such as advanced directives or a living will. If you are confused about the difference, do not worry because many are confused. There is no difference except for what each particular state calls these directives. 

A basic healthcare directive is allowing another person, usually a relative, to make healthcare decisions for you. These are used when the grantor, the one who gives the power to make the decisions, can no longer make the decisions necessary due to incapacity. However, the directive has to be in place prior to incapacity. A key requirement is that the grantor have capacity to give the power.

These go beyond just granting the power to make decisions but may also specify specific instructions to follow. Famous cases involve "Permanent Vegetative States" where the grantor is without brain function but may still have body function. This where the Grantor may specify that they do not want to live on machines or how long they want to be in that state before making a decision. 

A healthcare directive can do much good for the family of the grantor by specifying wishes or allowing one person to make the decisions necessary. This prevents a family from guessing and fighting about what they think that the Grantor would want in any serious scenario. This can also save a lot of money if the Grantor loses capacity and needs someone to make decision. Without the document necessary the family of the person would have to spend quite a bit of money to get guardianship of the person.

A little planning in advance can save time, money, and headaches in the long run. If you have any questions please contact Ahmed at


Bachelani Law Office




Final Expenses Insurance - RJF Brokerage Services Robert Frello

Final expense insurance is designed to cover the bills that your loved ones will face after you pass. Even a very basic funeral can costs thousands of dollars. Find out today why it makes sense to have final expense insurance to help your loved ones avoid the burden of those costly bills. We can help protect your assets from the nursing home! Call Bob Frello today for complete information on what would work best for you.

Tel: 651-407-6039



Major upcoming changes to the reverse mortgage program may have dominated industry headlines over the past week, but financial planners have continued to respond to another Home Equity Conversion Mortgage story: a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report that warns against using the products to delay Social Security payments.

Last week, American College of Financial Services professor Jamie Hopkins took to two online news sources — Forbes and The Hill — to rebut the CFPB, which posited that the costs associated with a reverse mortgage outweigh the benefits of using a HECM line of credit to delay Social Security payments.

The strategy, popularized in recent years as a novel financial-planning use of the HECM, remains valid, according to Hopkins and others who have weighed in on the issue.

“If anything, the strategy is probably vastly underused, not over,” Hopkins wrote in Forbes, questioning why the CFPB would spend a significant amount of time criticizing a strategy that remains relatively rare in the retirement world.

The main benefit of putting off Social Security as long as possible, Hopkins claims, comes from protecting against a longer-than-expected retirement — something that the CFPB didn’t consider by basing its analysis on the average lifespan of American retirees. He also objected to the way the bureau calculated the costs of a reverse mortgage, arguing that its estimate was inflated.

Hopkins expressed similar opinions in a piece this week from Investment News, which also dove into the tax implications of using a HECM to delay Social Security. Curtis Cloke, a retirement planner in Iowa, told the publication that the CFPB didn’t think about the tax implications of taking or deferring Social Security benefits.

“Depending on the total household income, the reverse mortgage creates cash flow without tax, while the Social Security benefit could create tax,” Cloke told Investment News. “Taxes were completely ignored in this paper.”

Cloke emphasized that the strategy is more complicated than simply using the proceeds instead of Social Security payments, and recommended that borrowers establish a line of credit as soon as possible to cover a variety of potential eventualities — adding that other investment products, such as bonds or CDs, may not mature when retirees need them most. He also advised borrowers to pay back the reverse mortgage proceeds to take advantage of potential tax benefits.

“The ability to have access to a reverse mortgage line of credit while waiting for the maturity date to pay off the loan balance may actually enhance the total net worth, taxes, and optimization of the use of a reverse mortgage,” Cloke told the publication.

Read the full rebuttal to the CFPB’s analysis. 

Article written by Alex Spanko and Shared by Earl Rose of Guaranteed Rate

Earl Rose
Vice President of Mortgage Lending
Reverse Mortgage Specialist

First licensed in Real Estate in 1979, Earl’s many, many years of experience in both the Real Estate and mortgage industries, affords him the ability to share with the public and his clients, the wisdom of real life experiences. It is that experience that drives his passion for Reverse mortgages. Earl has been a VP of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate since 2009 and has been originating Reverse mortgages since 2003 and currently Reverse mortgages are his exclusive product offering. Earl’s originating and education endeavors are supported by a very experienced Reverse mortgage processing staff and his entire group is highly regarded in the Reverse industry as one of the best for not only how they handle the client, but how well they assemble and close client files. Contact Earl today. His experience is your key to understanding what some find at times to be a ‘different’ but very intriguing and useful consumer product. Reverse mortgages.

Address: 855 West Broadway, Ste B, Forest Lake, MN 55025
Tel: 612-293-0209
License: #NMLS ID: 212480 GR: 2611


Equifax Security Breach and Myths of Identity Theft
Article by Connecting Resources Together
Beck Cole Insurance


By now you have heard the news about the security breach at Equifax. This is the fifth database from which my information has been stolen, so I can appreciate the headaches this type of thing can cause.

Identity theft can happen to everyone. Not just adults, but children, too, are at risk for having their information stolen and used illegally. It affects us all.

Here are some quick statistics about the impact of it:

Hundreds of Millions of Americans’ Identities have been reported lost or stolen since Jan 2005. –

Over 400,000 Dead People opened Bank accounts last year.

The revenue from trafficking financial data has surpassed that of drug trafficking. – US Secret Service

As a victim of identity theft, you are guilty until proven innocent!

There is more than one way your information can be used: 

  • Criminal ID Theft occurs when a bad guy uses your ID when committing a crime.

  • Employment ID Theft begins when fraudster uses your social security number and other information to obtain employment.

  • Medical ID Theft happens when someone uses your medical information.

  • Financial ID Theft is used to gain access to your financial records and accounts:
       Most noted and feared
       Can ruin someone for years
       But accounts for only 17% of overall ID Theft events

Myth 1:  Given the time frame of when the breach at Equifax happened, if they haven’t used my information by now, thieves won’t ever use it.

Truth:  Thieves have no particular time frame in which they work. Sometimes they will hold onto the information to use later when they think you are confident the threat is over and are no longer paying attention.

Myth 2:  I don’t have credit so I don’t have anything to worry about.

Truth:  Credit is only one part, and often the smaller part. It’s your social security number that is more useful to them, because they can use it in multiple ways to establish credit. In fact, those without credit or recent credit are more likely to not monitor their report, which gives thieves more opportunity to do some damage to you.

Myth 3:  All of the “Identity Theft” products are the same.

Truth:  Read and listen to what they are saying before you buy anything. Those that say they will only monitor your credit report are not worth considering. For example, when someone uses your information to get a driver’s license, that’s not something that will show up on your credit report. Besides, monitoring just your credit report is something you can do on your own.

So, What Can You Do?

Check the Equifax site to see if you were impacted. If you were, sign up for the service they are offering.

Even if they say you weren’t impacted, check your credit report and lock your report and ask for it to be locked. Also, remember that everything is not always reported to all three agencies, so it is a good idea to check Transunion and Experian, as well.

A good resource to check out is It has a checklist of steps to take if you think your information has been utilized.

Another useful resource I found is with LexisNexis ®

They collect information from a wide variety of public sources and will be able to show you items such as real estate transaction and ownership data, lien, judgment, and bankruptcy records, professional license information, and historical addresses.

They also can give you a FACT report. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) was enacted in 2003 and amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), a federal law that regulates, in part, who is permitted to access your consumer report information and how it can be used. The FACT Act entitles a consumer to obtain one free copy of his/her consumer file from certain consumer reporting agencies during each 12-month period.

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions has a company that maintains consumer files that are subject to the free disclosure requirement: C.L.U.E. Inc. maintains information on insurance claims histories. This company designed an easy process for consumers to request their free file disclosure.

The C.L.U.E. Personal Property report provides a seven-year history of losses associated with an individual and his/her personal property. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.

The C.L.U.E. Auto report provides a seven-year history of automobile insurance losses associated with an individual. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type, and amount paid along with general information such as policy number, claim number and insurance company name.

Remember, it’s not about what you have or have not done with regards to your personal information. It’s about who else is using it, and making sure you are keeping your information safe.

If you have any questions, or need help with finding other resources, feel free to contact me.

Becky Cole


The Alzheimer's Medical Advisor
A Caregiver's Guide to Common Medical and Behavioral
Signs and Symptoms in Persons with Dementia
Edited by Philip Sloane, MD, MPH - Article by Sunrise River Press


As we move through life many of us find ourselves needing to help a family member or friend with a medical condition.  Chronic conditions such as Alzheimer's and other dementias require longer-term, possibly every-increasing assistance. Problems with thinking and memory conditions lead to new, different and often challenging behaviors.  In addition, caring for someone with Alzheimer's often means helping them deal with other medical problems that are often difficult to recognize.

This book is a resource for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's or dementia who are also beginning to experience non-memory-related medical conditions.  It addresses 54 medical conditions that caregivers often must deal with when providing care.  Each medical condition is addressed in an easy-to-follow, two-page guide that provides basic facts about the medical condition, signs that indicate a possible emergency, tips on providing relief in the home, other related issues to watch out for, and safety tips for the caregiver.

Written by experts at the University of North Carolina  at Chapel Hill and Duke University, this book is based on the latest clinical knowledge and scientific research on Alzheimer's and the care of Alzheimer's and dementia patients.  It includes basic facts about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias and practical guidance when conferring with doctors and nurses, when visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and assisted-living residences, and during the dying process.  Also, an entire chapter is devoted to what caregivers need to do to take care of themselves while helping someone with Alzheimer's and related dementia. 

This amazing informational book is available at all major bookstores, Amazon and Sunrise River Press ( or 1-800-895-4585). 

About the Editor:
Philip Sloan, MD, MPH, the Elizabeth and Oscar Goodwin Distinguished Professor of Family Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), is a geriatrician with over 35 years of experience managing and researching issues related to older persons, with a focus on Alzheimer's disease and related cognitive disorders and those who assist them with care and services.  Among his many awards are the Academic Award from the National Institute on Aging and the Pioneer Award from the national office of the Alzheimer's Association.  He has authored over 300 publications, including 18 books. 

Sunrise River Press
838 Lake Street. S
Forest Lake, MN  55025


Using Music for Memory Care
Karen Blomgren, MT-BC, NMT
Mary T. Hospice


In the field of Neurologic Music Therapy, exciting new evidence is emerging as studies of music’s effects on the brain become more credible.  While music in itself cannot cure Alzheimer’s Disease and the many forms of Dementia, it is certain that the use of music can greatly enhance the lives of our loved ones and increase their quality of life for an extended period of time.  One does not have to be a Music Therapist, or even a trained musician, in order to implement some of the basic strategies that have been found to be effective while caring for someone with a cognitive impairment.  

Whereas speech, physical movement, etc., utilize just one small area of the brain, music activates all of the neuropathways throughout both the brain’s right and left hemispheres.  Music is the only medium that provides a direct link to all of our senses and to our executive functions:  cognition, speech and communication, emotions, motor control, eyesight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.   Music is “full brain,” and music is “sensory.”  These are key factors in helping our loved ones to communicate as fully as possible for as long as possible.   The more sensory input they receive, the greater their opportunity to respond verbally in order to tell us what they need, thereby increasing their quality of life.

Here are some specific ideas on how and when to utilize music with a loved one in daily living:

·       For Speech and Communication:  Singing.
It is important that the songs be familiar and of the preferred musical genre of the person with memory loss.  Whether she/he likes country music, classical, patriotic, or hymns, etc., use songs of his/her favorite artist.  Popular music from the decade of their twenties will most often elicit a response.  Depending on their level
of cognition, singing a song (audio input) while holding their hand (tactile input) and making close eye contact (visual input)  may produce a response.  (Repetition might be necessary because of delayed cognitive processing).  However, if your loved one is able to sing, then the perfect time to ask if anything is needed is immediately after the song, ie: “Are you hungry/thirsty?  Are you cold/warm?  Does anything hurt?” -  All helpful questions to obtain information that if communicated, can add to their level of comfort.  You may in turn find that your loved one’s verbal ability increases for an extended period of time after singing.

·       For Reality Orientation:  Use recordings of their favorite music to orientate your loved one to time of day, transporting, and activities of daily living.  Structure is very helpful as cognition declines.  Recordings of morning and breakfast songs to start each day; songs about food when eating; songs about water when bathing; songs about walking/marching/dancing to exercise or to move from one place to another; and finally, songs about evening and bedtime for relaxation and comfort. 

·       For Memory Recall:   Utilize old pictures with associated songs to begin conversations (Visual/audio input).  Reminiscence contributes to life satisfaction and intimacy.   

·       For Improved Mood / Emotional Expression:  Music can be used to redirect difficult behaviors and to allow for feelings to be addressed.

·       For Relaxation/Pain Management:  Instrumental recordings of soft and slow, rhythmic songs to focus on can be helpful to decrease agitation, anxiety, stress and insomnia.

·      In addition to providing mental stimulation, all of the above serve as a means to combat social isolation and withdrawal as well as provide opportunities for spiritual support, if desired. 

It is our hope that the information provided here about the use of music in memory care can be of some assistance to those in both private and professional caregiving roles. Please feel free to contact Karen Blomgren, MT-BC, NMT at Mary T. Hospice for more information, as well as for specific questions concerning your loved one.   Call Karen at 763-760-3519.

Mary T. Inc.
Karen Blombgren, MT-BC, NMT



A Great Way to Offset Rising Medical Costs
Article by Becky Cole
Connecting Resources Together


A few months ago, I woke up with what later turned out to be a sinus infection. It was annoying, but I have a busy schedule and really didn’t relish the thought of having to go sit in a waiting room for hours, and then there were the co-pays and deductibles to deal with, too.  Besides that, I was sure it would go away on its own, if I ignored it long enough. Finally, I got tired of tissues and clearing my throat every time I wanted to talk, and decided to do something about it. Then it occurred to me, I didn’t have to take time off from work. I have access to telemedicine providers, and to solve the financial side of things, if I use telemedicine, I have no co-pays or deductibles.

What is telemedicine? It is the ability to use technology – either the phone or through video – to have a live consultation with a medical provider.  All providers have to be licensed and credentialed in order to provide the services. Some plans use nurse practitioners, some use MD’s, others use a combination of the two.

Its purpose is to augment or supplement the services of your primary care provider (if you have one), and provide an alternate option to receiving care.

What services can be provided by telemedicine?

Telemedicine can be used for a wide variety of health services. Here’s a short list of common conditions a primary care doctor may treat via telemedicine:


Arthritic Pain Asthma
Bladder Infections Bronchitis Cellulitis
Colds and Flu Conjunctivitis Diarrhea
Infections Insect Bites Joint Aches and Pains
Pharyngitis Rashes Respiratory Infections
Sinusitis Skin Inflammations Sore Throats
Sprains and Strains UTIs Vomiting

Mental health and wellness programs are also a good fit for this modality.  However, telemedicine should never be used for things like broken bones, severe symptoms, or medical emergencies.

When should I use this kind of service?

·        When you’re considering the ER or urgent care for a non-emergency medical issue.

·        Your primary care physician is not available

·        At home, travelling or at work

·        24/7/365 even Holidays!

·        When you have a high deductible insurance plan and aren’t sure whether or not your condition requires a full medical work-up

·        When you have mobility or transportation challenges

Interested in learning more?  Contact me:

Becky Cole - 612-930-3630
Connecting Resources Together
MN Producer License #40405236


New buzz word the last 2 years in design- what does it mean?
Article by Minnesota Rusco


Universal Design is a new way to look at your space when designing. In a remodel it may help you make your home ready for you to age in place or more marketable as it fits all stages of someone’s life- anyone can live there and be comfortable.


Factor’s to think of when remodeling your bath with this concept in mind are:


Ample clearance. For a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn in a bathroom, there must be at least 5 feet of open space.


Universal design Showers - critical in a bathroom design is safety, including slip-resistant surfaces, proper lighting and features like attractive grab bars that can work as a hanger for towels or a support in case you lose your balance. “The same logic with universal design bubbles up into overall space planning,” says Diana Schrage, senior designer at Kohler. “We are providing more creative solutions for the long-term that are beautiful and are not a trade-off


Curbless shower - The Roman shower without a rim to step over is the best design for people of all ages, and especially those who use walkers or wheelchairs. The shower has no lip at the floor, which slopes down toward the drain (in some designs, an infinity drain.


Grab bars - Forget the tubular, obvious bars that scream “senior.” Who couldn’t use the security of a grab bar in the shower, after all? This feature is suitable for all ages, and sleek grab bars can double as towel holders until the homeowner needs the extra support, Perrin says.


Slip-resistant floor - You can maintain the cohesive look of using a single tile design in your shower for the wall and floor while improving traction by increasing grout lines on the floor for slip resistance, suggests Diana Schrage, senior designer for Kohler.


Hand-held shower - A hand-held shower is a necessity for those who have physical limitations, and the fixture is convenient because it can be used for a quick spray-off (even replacing a bidet). But where the fixture is positioned makes all the difference. “Most of the time, the water supply is positioned too high,” Perrin says. “The hand-held reaches down to your knees and that’s it. It’s too short.” Be sure the hand-held sprayer reaches your feet when you sit on the shower bench.


Shower seat - A bench in the shower gives you a place to sit and bathe. You can use it for storage or to prop your leg up while shaving if you don’t need the seat. A triangular bench or seat that runs along the length of a shower is an example of two configurations.


Walk in bathtub - easier to get I and out of, soothing to aching joints. New designs are more aesthetically pleasing and Kohler now has the lowest step-in thresh hold ever.


No barriers - Rather than soap dishes and shower shelves that protrude, Schrader designs niches so people aren’t tempted to grab on to these features for support if they accidentally slip. Even consider water tile shower heads that are flat. “I try to design as few items projecting into a showering space as possible,” she says.


In the rest of the bath important factors are:


Tall toilets - Opt for a commode that is 16 to 18 inches high compared to standard 14- or 15-inch high seats. Once referred to as handicap toilets, these “comfort height” or chair height seats, as they’re not marketed, are ideal for most everyone in a household.


Wall-mounted sinks - Wheelchairs and walkers can easily slide under sinks that are mounted to the wall. There are no cabinets or pedestal which translates to more leg room.


These design ideas don’t mean your bathroom has to look like a sterile hospital room. The options out there are endless and most lend to a “spa-like” feel that anyone of any age will enjoy!


Contact Minnesota Rusco today to learn more about our shower and bath remodeling options, or for more information about our other products.  We have over 60 years experience serving Minnesota.  We stand by all of our work with Lifetime Warranties.

In addition to installing high-performance windows and doors, the professionals at Minnesota Rusco can help you with many other home improvement projects. We offer customizable bathroom remodeling solutions, featuring a wide array of shower, bathtub, flooring, lighting, and vanity products, along with countless accessories. Whether you want a tub to shower conversion, a walk in tub by Kohler, or a luxurious jetted soaking tub, we can create the calming oasis you’ve always wanted. If making your home more spacious and bright is a priority, we can build a sunroom that will fit perfectly with your home’s architecture. Similarly, we can add attractive insulated siding to your residence that will not only look great on your home, but will also help lower your utility bills. Contact Minnesota Rusco to learn more about our replacement windows, exterior doors, or any of our other products and services.

Tel: 952-935-9669



Article from


After five years of unprecedented growth, Nerium International is ready to broaden our horizons yet again. This time around, we’re adding two innovative solutions to our revolutionary line of age-defying products: Youth Factor™ Complete Vitality Complex tablet and Youth Factor Superfood & Antioxidant Boost powder.

Recently, Nerium undertook a mission to develop a comprehensive, anti-aging wellness solution that targets universal aging needs in a way that we have never done before. Mission accomplished. Powered by our patent-pending Youth Factor enzyme blend and Complex NAA™ blend, both Youth Factor products work together to help improve wellness inside and out. Powerful alone, unstoppable together, Nerium’s new innovative products are sure to keep your body healthy and vibrant!


Great news! It’s no longer necessary to scan pharmacy shelves and grocery aisles for multiple products to address many universal anti-aging concerns. With one little pill, Nerium’s new daily supplement targets several issues simultaneously and is specifically designed to support health where it starts – the cellular level. Our Youth Factor tablet includes a host of antioxidant and other ingredients to help fight free radicals and support the immune system.

The Youth Factor tablet also includes Nerium’s exclusive, patent-pending Youth Factor enzyme blend that enhances the optimal absorption and bioavailability of polyphenol antioxidants Nutrients such as PrimaVie® Shilajit, PQQ, and Coenzyme Q-10 help mitochondrial function at their optimal level.

Nerium’s exclusive, patent-pending Complex NAA blend, which helps brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, rounds out this complete anti-aging product.

Ingredients in Youth Factor Complete Vitality Complex help:

  • Support cellular energy*
  • Defend against radical damage*
  • Support your immune system*
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles*
  • Reveal brighter-looking skin*


The second product and counterpart of Nerium’s latest dynamic duo are Nerium’s Youth Factor Superfood & Antioxidant Boost Powder – a drink powder packed with daily essentials, antioxidants, pH adjusters and superfoods, as well as Nerium’s two proprietary, patent-pending ingredients, Complex NAA and Youth Factor enzyme blend.

In addition to providing smooth and non-jittery energy for the body, this unique product also supports the body’s alkaline balance. The Youth Factor powder has a unique mix of benefits to help fight signs of aging all around.

Ingredients in the Youth Factor powder help:

  • Balance pH levels to keep your body optimally alkalized*
  • Defend against free radical damage*
  • Help your body absorb beneficial nutrients*
  • Include up to 4 servings of fruits and vegetables*
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles*
  • Reveal brighter-looking skin*

Already a global leader in skincare, Nerium International now raises the bar by offering its first-of-its-kind, streamlined approach, consisting of advanced ingredients targeting the most common signs of aging. If life gets too busy to eat right, having a refreshing Youth Factor drink and tablet can provide peace of mind knowing your body is soaking up the nourishment it needs.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Testimonials given by Nerium Independent Brand Partners.

To order these amazing products go to or contact
Angela Bohnsack, Nerium Independent Brand Partner
763-614-0546 or email


Osteoarthritis—Relief of Pain and Increase in Function
Article by Handi Medical Supply


Pain Relief Grows with Regular Therapy and Joint Function Improves

Sam Sport is an FDA-cleared medical device that reduces the pain associated with tendon, ligament or muscle injuries and also accelerates the natural healing cascade. Sam Sport provides ultrasonic waves that penetrate 5cm into the tissue; this increases circulation along with oxygen and nutrient delivery.


Ultrasound therapy is clinically effective for Osteoarthritis pain management. In multiple clinical trials, sam® Sport daily wearable multi-hour ultrasound therapy has been proven clinically effective on reducing pain and improving function of patients suffering from moderate to severe Osteoarthritis. When applied  during normal daily activity, patients experience 39% to 51% pain reduction in the treated joint.

In one randomized placebo controlled clinical trial on knee Osteoarthritis, treatment of patients with moderate- to severe pain with sam® Sport (four hours per day, daily for six weeks) resulted in a 39% reduction in pain levels, compared to only a 17% decrease in pain in the control group (p<0.05).  

Sam Sport: reduces pain, enhances tissue recovery, increases deep circulation, delivers mechanical compression, provides deep heating, increases oxygen and nutrient delivery, provides daily, multi-hour therapy and it is wearable and portable.

Sam Sport is available exclusively at Handi Medical Supply in the Twin Cities, Mankato and Coon Rapids.

Currently sam Sport is a private-pay item; or in the case of an injury, it is covered under most workman’s comp or personal injury plans. For more information please contact one of our offices.

Sam Sport can be purchased at
Handi Medical Supply:

Twin Cities 651-644-9770
Mankato 507-779-7560  
Coon Rapids 651-789-5858


Though it’s not a topic many of us want to think about, most people can agree that planning for what happens after your death can reduce the stress of grieving loved ones. It’s easy to understand how making decisions now about your funeral arrangements can help assure those left behind that your wishes are being honored.

Advance Funeral Planning Makes Financial Sense

You may not realize, though, that preplanning your final arrangements also makes good financial sense. There a few key ways in which funeral preplanning can impact your financial bottom line.

Guaranteed Price

Funeral home services and merchandise are forever priced-guaranteed, stopping inevitable inflation of funeral costs.

Preneed funds are deposited in a federally regulated insurance or trust vehicle.

You can make preneed funeral arrangements at one of our funeral homes or in the comfort and privacy of your own home.  Flexible financing is available. 

No Health or Age Restrictions

You may receive the benefits of Prearrangement regardless of your age or health status.

If you move, your preneed funeral contract is transferable to any funeral home, including anyone of our worldwide affiliates.

Eliminate Doubts

Spare your family the emotional stress of making decisions during a challenging time.  A preneed funeral arrangement records your exact wishes ~ consider it the final gift for those you love.

Peace of Mind

Responsible estate planning requires many considerations.  In conjunction with your life insurance and will, your prearranged funeral contract protects your family from inflation AND they will be secure in knowing that you have spared them added stress, worry, and expense by thoughtfully providing advance funding and guidance. 

Call today to meet with a Pre-Planning Advisor and receive your complimentary Personal Planning Guide. 


The Problem With Seniors
Article by Deb Taylor, CEO of Senior Community Services


By now, you’ve probably heard the statistics: 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day, in less than three years, by the year 2020, there will be more people over the age of 65 than school age children. This is the first time in Minnesota history that seniors will outnumber children.

The senior population is increasing faster than it ever has and seniors are living longer than ever before. Here in Minnesota, we are the land of 10,000 lakes. Now, imagine if we added 10,000 more lakes every single day. We’d have a big issue pretty quickly, wouldn’t we?

The problem we’re facing with the rapidly growing senior population is a lack of preparation. There aren’t enough caregivers. Housing is a major issue, as is healthcare and the importance of supporting organizations that provide affordable resources that support senior independence is being overlooked.

The solution to this issue is simple: provide more resources for seniors to age in place. The reality is that it’s cheaper to provide resources to seniors to help them remain independent than it is to put them in a nursing home. A 2012 study of 39 nursing home residents and 39 independently living seniors found that the total cost to Medicare and Medicaid were $1,591.61 lower per month for the independently living seniors over a 12-month period.

Part of the lack of readiness to support the growing senior population is society’s persistent Ageist perspective. Often time’s seniors are pushed aside and treated as second rate citizens, having their value to society consistently undermined simply because of their age despite their years of experience and knowledge. In fact, studies have proven that quite the opposite is true. Nonprofit, Generations United shares that the regular presence of seniors helps improve the reading scores of children, provide a positive attitude toward aging, improve communication and problem-solving skills, and more. The Ageist perception that society holds has blinded us to the many beneficial and productive ways seniors give back to our communities. It has created a lack of empathy towards the needs of seniors, which has all but stripped away the true urgency of the matter.

Ageism is one of the largest obstacles in creating a solution to this fast approaching issue. Solutions cannot be created for a problem no one believes exists. The first step we need to take as a society is to make a shift in our thinking and how we view those older than ourselves. We need to see the value in our older citizens and appreciate the wisdom they have to offer.

Changing the conversation surrounding seniors may be the first step, but it is no doubt one of the most difficult. While it’s easy to be disheartened by the attitude our society holds towards seniors, there are steps you can take right now to see real, actionable, and immediate change.

One very actionable step you can take is to contact your local congressman and inform them about this important matter. Another, similar step, is to participate in days of action. LeadingAge Minnesota will be holding a Day at the Capital on March 30th. This event is an opportunity for individuals to let their voice be heard in support of Minnesota seniors and those who care for them.

Another step, to take matters into your own hands, is to donate to an organization that provides these much needed resources to seniors. They say “money talks”. By making a financial contribution to an organization, you have the opportunity to make yours speak for the change you want to see happen. There are numerous worthy organizations: Senior Community Services, Meals on Wheels, and local Senior Centers, just to name a few. Financially supporting these organizations will help them to grow and expand their services, so that all Minnesota seniors can have access to the resources they need. 

It’s time we stop talking about what needs to happen and start taking real steps to make it happen for the sake of our seniors and our community. 

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost service.  (


Click Here for Other Resources, Phone Numbers and Helpful Links



Mind Enhancement Formula


Throughout our lives, we work hard to fight off the effects of aging, both physically and mentally. But one of the most important elements that make us who we are is one that we cannot see: our brain.

Just as we try to protect our bodies from the inevitable signs of aging, our minds need just as much TLC.

EHT® Supplement is a groundbreaking product that includes our exclusive and patented EHT molecule. The formula is further fortified with other key ingredients such as vitamins B6, B12, D3, magnesium citrate, selenium, Huperzine A and alpha lipoic acid.

This breakthrough supplement features the patented EHT molecule, which helps keep neuronal connections strong, resulting in improved brain wellness, memory and a focused mind (1). Nerium has exclusive rights to the use of the EHT module.  Source: Signum’s R&D Experimental Biology Conference (1)

This supplement:

  • Promotes better cognitive function and overall brain health

  • Combats oxidative stress and chronic inflammation

  • Fortifies and strengthens natural brain functions

  • Protects and supports neuronal networking

  • Enhances the body’s natural energy stores

  • Boosts the body’s immune system

  • Increases focus

We recommend taking one tablet per day with foods that contain healthy fats such as nuts, avocados and yogurt. These foods will aid in the absorption of the powerful vitamins and minerals found in EHT.

With daily use of Nerium EHT, you may begin to notice results within the first 30 days.

For best results, be sure EHT is part of your daily regimen for at least 90 days and beyond so that you can discover all its amazing benefits.  And remember, a healthy body deserves a healthy mind!

Click Here for more information on EHT® and how to order. 

30 day money back guarantee. 

Angela Bohnsack
Nerium International Brand Partner


Budget Hearing Centers
Voted Best Hearing Center
by Sun Newspaper Subscribers in Bloomington



Easy Meals For Seniors to Make On Their Own
Article by The Goodman Group


Nutrition plays a major role in keeping seniors healthy and maintaining or improving overall well being. A healthy diet can guard against numerous health challenges such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. By following a few simple guidelines, there’s an endless variety of easy and nutritious meals that seniors can make on their own.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), seniors will do best by choosing foods, which are high in nutrients (lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals) and low in calories.  Your options include: 

  • Lean poultry and meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs, beans, and nuts (preferably unsalted)
  • Whole grains
  • Low- or non-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir)
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits

Other tips include:

  • Prepare meatless entrees (use plant-based options)
  • Use whole wheat pasta
  • Try ancient grains, quinoa, faro, barley, etc.
  • Use lower sodium broth for soups
  • Use fresh herbs whenever possible

What you don’t eat is just as important as what you do. It’s a good idea to limit or avoid foods that don’t provide much nutrition but add a lot of calories. Often that’s snack or dessert foods such as chips, soda, cookies, cakes, and pies. Try to avoid saturated and trans fats, use salt sparingly, and limit alcohol.

Here are some ideas for putting together easy, nutritious meals. Mix and match, and add your own twists for variety!


  • Scrambled eggs (or egg whites if you’re watching your cholesterol) with diced onions, mushrooms, or chives.
  • Fruit, such as sliced apple or pineapple, orange or grapefruit sections, grapes, or melon balls. A dollop of yogurt (don't forget greek yogurt!) adds freshness and zest.
  • Whole grain toast. Try apple butter, naturally sweetened jam, or a drizzle of honey instead of butter!


  • Homemade tuna salad. Try using canola mayo and adding pine nuts or chopped cashews for added texture. Add curry seasoning for extra flavor. Serve as an open-faced sandwich or as a salad.
  • Green leafy salad with your favorite vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, olives, and avocado.
  • Homemade soup. Start with vegetarian or chicken stock, then add your favorite vegetables and seasonings. Potatoes add a nice thickening texture, and squash or fresh corn add a sweetening factor. Best if made the day before, but a large batch can be frozen into individual portions for anytime use.


  • Baked or broiled chicken breast (skin removed) or fish fillet (tilapia, salmon, and tuna are delicious choices). Season with a squeeze of lemon and herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
  • Potato, yam, or squash — baked or broiled with the poultry or fish. Baking them together in tinfoil will preserve the flavors and speed the cooking time.
  • Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, beets, spinach, or kale. Choose different combinations for variety and rounded nutrition.

Helpful Resources

The USDA recently replaced the old “food pyramid” with “MyPlate,” which illustrates how important it is to have balanced nutrition. The website provides excellent information and tips on maintaining optimal nutrition for the whole family. The government website MedlinePlus has many resources for seniors, as well.

Bon appétit!

Link to article



What is FIT Functional Fitness®?
Article by The Goodman Group


Developed in partnership with a board certified exercise physiologist, FIT Functional Fitness® is designed to go beyond typical senior fitness programs to help improve residents’ core strength, balance, cardiovascular health, and promote relaxation. The targeted exercises are created to deliver the maximum benefit for each participant. The goal is to increase overall health and wellbeing, reduce potential for falls and encourage residents to remain active. Where possible, the program can reduce the need for assistive mobility devices.

FIT Functional Fitness® incorporates four fitness programs, taking current health levels into consideration and allowing all residents to participate, no matter their current functional fitness level. As their strength and endurance increases, residents may choose to progress to the other programs offered.

FIT to be Strong® – The core of the FIT Functional Fitness® program, FIT to be Strong® incorporates strength building exercises both seated and lying down, and balance exercises while standing.

FIT to Stretch® – Stretching exercises aimed at decreasing pain and improving range of motion, while promoting relaxation.

FIT to Pedal® – Endurance based exercise where participants use a stationary pedaler.

FIT to Balance® – A progressive program designed to enhance the time individuals spend on their feet, improving endurance and balance skills. Participants can work their way up to having more balance confidence, which equates to fewer falls and increased independence.

Katie Westberg, National Director of Life Enrichment for The Goodman Group, walks you through the elements within the FIT Functional Fitness® program.   Click Here to watch a short video. 



Take Control of Your Junk with the KonMari Method
Article by Junk360


If you’re like most of us, the combination of overwhelming amounts of junk and a lack of time. The KonMari Method, made famous by Marie Kondo, highlights the importance of eliminating the things that don’t “spark joy” in our lives. Inspired by this method, we created these steps for you to regain control over your belongings and to increase your free time:

Figure out how you spend your day. Take a notebook and, for 24 hours, list out what you do. Write down the time you wake up, the time you have breakfast, when you’re at work, etc. Then, add up related items to determine how much time you spend on each activity. If you really want to get a good grasp of your time, do this twice: once on a work day, and again on your day off.

Determine how you use your items. Another valuable tool is writing down a list of the things that you use on a daily basis. This could include your frying pan, car keys, your dog’s water bowl, etc. The list you created from the above bullet point will help guide you through your day and, therefore, help you understand which of your items are the most frequently used.

     Cut out the things that don’t “spark joy”. A problem that a lot of people have is doing things and keeping items without good reason. Marie Kondo is a huge advocate of taking a step back and determining if something actually makes you happy – or “sparks joy” – or if you ignore or use out of habit. Life is too short for wasting your time on things that don’t improve your mood.

Get help removing these items from your life. After all this talk about how time is precious, doesn’t it make sense to hire professionals to haul away the junk? That’s where we come in. We’re experts at clearing out your space in a fraction of the time and we also know how to dispose of junk in an environmentally friendly way.

If you’re ready to tackle your junk and make some serious changes, give us a call! We’ve cleaned up hoarder homes, helped people downsized, and are committed to showing you how to reclaim your space and “spark joy” in your life. 


Age is Just a Number...With a Little Help

Article by Deb Taylor
 CEO of Senior Community Services


The so-called Golden Years can be a rich time of life to enjoy. Here's the opportunity to truly enjoy the benefits of free time and your lifetime of accumulated experiences and skills: to pursue a new hobby, take a class, visit loved ones or volunteer to help others.

Studies show that older adults are happier, more content, and more forgiving. The later years represent a special time that we can't afford to waste.  With it, of course, comes the inevitable aches and pains, some reduced mobility, and other physical and mental diminutions of body that vary widely from person to person.

But with a little support, older adults can enjoy life more fully and safely in ways not available to previous generations - thanks to assistive technology.

Getting 'Smart' About Senior Care

Today, 'smart' home sensors, necklace pendants and cameras help caregivers and seniors better enjoy life. High-tech medication dispensers can report to a family member if a loved one forgets to take their medications. Shoes can be GPS-equipped to help locate a wandering senior with dementia. Motion sensors can detect changes in the normal household routine that may indicate a problem. These tools help older adults live and move about more safely, summoning help when there's an urgent need for support.

Senior Community Services, which helps Minnesotans Reimagine Aging, will hold a statewide Independent Living Technology Conference on October 14 from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the Minnetonka Community Center in Minnetonka. Caregivers, seniors, city officials, health professionals and others will gather to discover the latest advancements in assistive technology to enhance life for the state's growing population of older adults.

U.S. Senator Al Franken will welcome attendees with video comments. The keynote address, about innovations in senior housing, will be presented by John Louiselle, CEO of NextDoor Housing. NextDoor has developed a new, portable senior housing option - Drop Housing™. 

The Drop Housing™ - often called the 'Granny Pod' - is a small, handicapped-accessible unit (30' by 8', 210-240 square feet) that may be located on a family member's residential property. The units offer security, convenience and enhanced well-being for both seniors and family caregivers. A 'Granny Pod' will be available for touring at the conference. An engaging panel discussion and Q & A will focus on the benefit of these units which are being carefully studied and evaluated by communities throughout Minnesota.

Other conference events include:

The demonstration of many innovative assistive products by representatives of the Minnesota STAR Program, a federally-funded initiative to support seniors and families.

The popular CareNextion website will be explained and demonstrated. The free, easy-to-use web tool was developed by Senior Community Services to help families - especially those with members widely dispersed - better manage care and communications about their older loved ones. A caregiving family member will share the many benefits of using CareNextion for managing the care of an older adult.

Information and registration for the Independent Living Technology Conference is available at, click on Events.

Assistive technology offers ways to help seniors age in place and delay the need for long-term care in a more structured - and often more costly - institutional setting.

As Minnesotans come together to Reimagine Aging, let's ensure our goal is to make technology fit the older adult lifestyle, and not the other way around.

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.


Don't Wait To Get Sick To Get Healthy
Article submitted by Angela Bohnsack
Nerium International Brand Partner


A healthy lifestyle is an important part of the aging process.  Eating well and staying active is vital.  So is taking care of the ONE organ that controls EVERYTHING!  When your brain is unhealthy—for whatever reason— you are more likely to be sadder, sicker, poorer, and less successful. There are many causes and behaviors that can lead to an unhealthy brain. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Brain injuries such as concussion

  • Excessive alcohol use

  • Illicit drug use – including marijuana even if it is legal in some places!

  • Obesity

  • Medical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and untreated sleep apnea

  • Mold toxicity

  • Infections such as Lyme disease

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • A chronically poor diet filled with processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats.

If your brain is troubled, don’t despair!  EHT® Mind Enhancement Supplement can help!  It is never too late to have a better brain.   EHT® comes after 20 years research from Dr. Jeffry Stock's labs at Princeton University and Signam BiosciencesEHT® protects & stabilizes tau protein & PP2A ensuring the PP2A is in a balanced state providing neuroprotection. EHT® works by helping neurons, the "wiring" of our brain, maintain an optimal, functional state.

EHT® Age-Defying Supplement helps protect against mental decline with a groundbreaking formula that includes our exclusive, patented EHT® extract, a natural mixture of bioactive molecules isolated from coffee.  Fortified with other rejuvenating ingredients, including vitamins B6, B12, D3, folic acid, magnesium citrate, selenium, Huperzine A (which increases focus) and the antioxidant lipoic acid. 

This supplement:

  • Promotes better cognitive function and overall brain health

  • Combats oxidative stress and chronic inflammation

  • Fortifies and strengthens natural brain functions

  • Protects and supports neuronal networking

  • Enhances the body’s natural energy stores

  • Boosts the body’s immune system

  • Increases focus

Click Here for more information on EHT® and how to order. 

30 day money back guarantee. 

Angela Bohnsack
Nerium International Brand Partner

Healthy Sources:

Eating Well

Exercise and Fitness As you Age

Dr. Amen’s Brain Fit Life - Try a Free Brain Health Assessment‎


Summer Cleaning: 4 Areas to Remember
Article submitted by Shaun Riffe, Owner of


It’s officially summer so, of course, we at Junk360 have summer cleaning recommendations for you. This time, we’re tackling outdoor household cleaning projects that you probably can’t do during any other season. All you have to do is focus on these 4 areas:

Trashcans. Let’s get the hardest part out of the way first. Trashcans quickly become dirty and can lead to flies finding them a suitable home for their squirmy larvae. Not only will scrubbing out your trashcan help to prevent this, but you won’t have to hold your breath every time that you open it. In this case, a liquid toilet bowl cleaner and toilet bowl brush are your best friends.

Window Exteriors. You might clean the inside of your windows on a regular basis, but how often do you get around to the outside? If you have a hose connected to your house, the process is actually quite easy. A simple mixture of dish detergent and white vinegar will have the glass sparkling.

Driveway Stains. Your driveway deals with a lot of traffic (terrible pun intended). There are plenty of opportunities for cars, lawnmowers, and snow blowers to leak various fluids onto it. Oil, transmission fluid, and gasoline all require different cleaning methods, so identifying the stain is the first step. Once you do that, take a look at these recommendations.

Patio Furniture. Maybe you forgot to cover it over the winter. Maybe the family dog decided to claim a lawn chair as its own. Or maybe you have no idea what happened. Either way, it’s easier to enjoy your time outside if you get rid of whatever mold, mildew, or general grime is on your furniture. Bleach is your best option, but remember to move your furniture off of the grass before you get started.

Summer is in full swing, so make sure you’re ready for it! Our team at Junk360 wants you to enjoy the warm weather, so remember to take safety precautions when working outside. Staying hydrated and dressing properly are our two biggest tips (you can tell from our stylish Junk360 hats)!

Junk360 will pick up, remove, haul away, and recycle almost anything you can fit in our trucks. Just point to the items you need removed and watch us carry it out, load it in our trucks to haul away, and sweep up for you so that everything is as fresh and clean as a new space. We can help with just one item or an office/home full of unwanted junk. Junk360 also specializes in estate and home clearance. And at the end of the day, we ensure that everything that can be repurposed is donated, recycled or reused to ensure we reduce our impact on local landfills. Call 651-395-8659 or visit our website for a free estimate. 

Shaun Riffe
Owner, Junk360, LLC. 


From 1 – 10 How Important Is Your Independence...10?
Article submitted by Beth Woodward of


Augustana Regent has ongoing customer service training for our staff, called S.H.A.R.E.  Serve, Honor, Anticipate, Relate and Empower.  We’re now having our class on HONOR.  The question to our staff is, “How would you be feeling if you were a brand new resident in this building?  What would be most important to you?  The answer I have heard the most: “Honoring and upholding my right to stay independent.”  So how is such a thing accomplished?…by asking PERMISSION

On a trip home to visit my mom years ago, I saw she needed some extra help.  Of course I jumped right in.  I put a new shelf on her counter so she could reach things better, I moved things in her living room to make it easier for her to get around and I set up her waste basket to have multiple bags underneath so she didn’t have to search for a bag.  What I DIDN’T do is ask permission first.  I quickly realized I stepped over the line. I stole her independence by not giving her the option to have a say in any changes.  This was HER home and she had already experienced losing some independence due to her health.  What gave her some Independence was my asking, “Mom, would you like me to put a shelf on the counter so it’s easier for you to reach?”  “Would you like me to move this table in the living room so it’s easier to walk?”  Then I waited and listened.  If she said yes, I helped and made the changes she was OK with.  If it was a no, I stopped and honored what she wanted.  By doing that one tiny thing, asking permission, she was left feeling that she still had choices, she was still independent and in control of her life.


Address: 14500 Regent Lane
Burnsville, MN 55306
Tel: 952-898-1910


Affordable hearing services found
at Budget Hearing Centers


Budget Hearing Centers in Bloomington and Waconia offer a wide variety of services for customers. The practice offers hearing aid consultation, advanced hearing tests with speech recognition measurement, specialized fitting, factory authorized hearing aid programming, and responsive patient aftercare. In addition the Company provides expert repair of most brands and models of hearing aids, hearing healthcare supplies and patient com­plimentary earwax removal.

The Mission at Budget Hearing Centers is to treat customer hearing deficiencies by providing ethical, com­petent and technologically advanced hearing healthcare while showing each customer patience, respect, and empathy.

Paul Thulin started Budget Hearing Centers after having been trained in Audiology and honed his skills working for corporate hearing aid giants. In Addition to his mission to treat hearing deficiencies, Thulin has another goal: “To provide major hearing aid brands at realistic prices. “I really try hard to provide my patients with solutions that save them a significant amount of money --- sometimes into the thousands --- for the same identical hearing aids offered by other dealers and clinics,” Thulin said. The company’s pricing reflects this goal by offering up to 50 percent off manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing.

Budget Hearing is a factory authorized dealer for eight of the major brands of hearing aids: Oticon, Phon-ak, Rexton, Siemens, Starkey, Sonic, Unitron and Widex. Thulin notes that his company is unique since Budget Hearing is one of the only companies in the Twin Cities that is experienced enough to offer all of these brands having been factory trained by each manufacturer to expertly program, maintain and repair a patients’ hearing aids over time.

“We always prescribe the best product for our patients based upon their hearing test data, speech recognition results and personal information such as activities or environmental influences where hearing problems are encountered,” said Thulin. “We have no favorites, we are in essence product neutral which enable us to focus on patient needs and product capabilities.”

“As a senior citizen practitioner and owner, I have worn hearing aids for years. Before I suggest certain hearing aids to patients I have always demoed the products myself. Sometimes it takes me a month or more to determine just what the hearing aids are really capable of.” Thulin reflecting, added, “Just thinking out loud, over the years I have really enjoyed this business and most of all my patients’ stories.” “I think I have learned more about life from my patients than I could ever have hoped for.”

At the recent Our Life Expo, Budget Hearing Centers displayed over 72 examples of current hearing aids also providing product literature and hearing health literature.  Click Here for Printable Version of the Article


How Are You Doing In This Emotional Time?


When families come to see us at the Regent, they are looking for a safe and social community for themselves or their loved ones.  They are in the place of:

  • preparing for the distant future

  • preparing for the near future

  • a quick and dramatic life change or

  • in a panic not knowing where to turn

No matter where they are, there are a lot of emotions.  This past weekend I had a good cry over the loss of my mother four years ago. We all understand and acknowledge the emotions around losing someone, but what about the feelings of moving from your home and seeing your health and safety decline?  There are many losses in this part of life. 

Whenever I am sitting with a family and they are telling me why they have come to tour the Regent, I always stop and ask, “How are you doing?”  EVERYONE is affected emotionally from a son/daughter seeing their parents changing or a mom/dad who has lived in their home for 20 – 50 years.  No matter what it is, there are always a lot of feelings involved.

Last week a mom came in with her son.  As they were leaving I looked at the mom and acknowledged how difficult it was to be approaching this big change and leaving her home.  There was a look of gratitude and relief on her face that her emotions were understood.  

This is a very difficult time for all sons, daughters, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and friends.  Know that here at the Regent, we understand and know that you’re not alone.          

With Gratitude,

Beth Woodward
Director of Marketing
Augustana Regent at Burnsville


Local Businessman Awarded Special Reverse Mortgage Designation

Jeff Flanery
Cambria Mortgage
(952) 486-6114


Eden Prairie, MN—Jeff Flanery, a reverse mortgage specialist with Cambria Mortgage, has joined an elite cadre of mortgage professionals who have achieved the status of being a Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional (CRMP). National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA), headquartered in Washington, D.C., bestowed the certification on Flanery after he passed a rigorous exam and background check, thereby demonstrating a competency in the area of reverse mortgages and a dedication to uphold the highest ethical and professional standards.

Only 119 individuals nationwide currently have the CRMP credential, and Flanery is only the third person in Minnesota to earn CRMP status.

“Being one of 116 people nationwide to have achieved this milestone is a testament to my commitment to reverse mortgages,” says Flanery. “The process involved to receive this professional designation was long and arduous and adds to the level of expertise maintained by myself and the firm.”

To qualify for the designation, applicants must have originated reverse mortgages for a minimum of three years or personally closed at least 50 loans; earned 12 continuing education credits; completed NRMLA’s Ethics Course; passed a comprehensive exam; and a background check. The certification is valid for three years, during which time designees must earn 8 CE credits annually to be re-certified. Applicants who are not loan originators, but nonetheless work in areas vital to the business, such as training, counseling, processing, underwriting and servicing, must have three or more years of experience.

“Jeff is one of 116 individuals with the Certified Reverse Mortgage Professional designation. As a CRMP, he has demonstrated knowledge and competency in the area of reverse mortgage lending, and is dedicated to upholding high standards of ethical and professional practice in the industry." said Peter Bell, President and CEO of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners 62 years old and older with significant home equity. They are designed to enable older Americans to borrow against the equity in their homes to help fund retirement needs, without having to make monthly payments as is required with a traditional "forward" mortgage or home equity loan.  Under a reverse mortgage, funds are advanced to the borrower and interest accrues, but the outstanding balance is not due until the last borrower leaves the home, sells, or passes away. Borrowers may draw down funds as a lump sum at loan origination, establish a line of credit or request fixed monthly payments for as long as they continue to live in the home.  To date, more than 963,000 senior households have utilized an FHA-insured reverse mortgage. 

About Jeff Flanery, CRMP       #400261
I feel fortunate to have become involved in the reverse mortgage industry.  It has given me great satisfaction to have helped educate hundreds of people about a wonderful, safe and often misunderstood HECM Program.  I started doing reverse mortgages in 2002, became a Reverse Mortgage Branch Manager for Wells Fargo and now am a Reverse Sales Manager for Cambria Mortgage.  Obtaining the CRMP designation is a treasured achievement.

To say that ‘life has been good’ is an understatement.  I am very fortunate to have married my best friend (going on 41 years), proud to see my two grown children become great parents, and now enjoy being Grandpa to Max, Tommy, Ivy and Bettejane.

This year, I hope to squeeze in a couple of rounds of golf and maybe make it to a few more Twins games.  I think I will be advocating reverse mortgages forever.

Jeff Flanery, Reserve Mortgage Specialist NMLS #400261

Cambria Mortgage
11000 W. 78th Street Ste 300,
Eden Prairie
, MN  55344
Toll Free:  (877) 942-0110
Office:  (952) 486-6114
Cell:  (612) 240-9517
Fax:  (952) 942-0330


About the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association:

The National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) is a membership organization comprised of over 300 companies and more than 2,000 people participating in the reverse mortgage industry. NRMLA serves as an educational resource, policy advocate and public affairs center for lenders and related professionals. NRMLA was established in 1997 to enhance the professionalism of the reverse mortgage business.

For information contact:
Darryl Hicks, Vice President, Communications


NEW Report Shows Care Contributors Sacrifice Personal Care to
Support People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Minneapolis (March 30, 2016) – The personal financial support required by a person with Alzheimer’s disease may ultimately deprive care contributors of basic necessities, such as food, transportation and medical care, according to the 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report released today. This annual report from the Alzheimer's Association contains updates on prevalence, mortality, caregiving and costs, as well as a special focus this year on the personal family costs of Alzheimer's.

Today an estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and nearly 16 million family members and friends are caregivers providing financial, physical and emotional support.

  • Care contributors were 28 percent more likely to eat less or go hungry while contributing care to someone with Alzheimer’s.
  • One-fifth of them sacrificed personal medical care by cutting back on doctor visits.
  • More than one-third reported having to reduce their hours at work or quit their job entirely while caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, leading to an average loss of income of around $15,000 compared to the previous year.
  • On average, care contributors, many of whom don’t live with the person they’re caring for, spent more than $5,000 a year of their own money to care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease; however, amounts varied with many spending tens of thousands of dollars per year.

Preparing for the Financial Impact of Alzheimer’s

Unfortunately, a significant number of care contributors don’t have a complete understanding of the financial implications of supporting someone with Alzheimer’s. According to data from the Alzheimer's Association Facts and Figures report, about two out of three people incorrectly believe Medicare will help them cover nursing home costs, or they’re not sure whether costs will be covered. Currently only three percent of adults in the U.S. carry long-term care insurance that might help them cover costs.

To help financially plan for the future, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests the following:

  • Look at retirement planning as a time to think about how to prepare for the need of long-term medical care. After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, your options may be more limited.
  • Conduct an inventory of your financial resources (i.e. savings, insurance, retirement benefits, government assistance, VA benefits, etc.). A financial planner or elder care attorney can help.
  • Investigate long-term care services (home care, assisted living residences and nursing homes) in your area. Ask what types of insurance they accept and if they accept Medicaid.
  • Once you understand what you have for financial resources and what you can afford, make a plan with your family or a close friend for how to access care.

Alzheimer’s Disease By The Numbers

Prevalence, Incidence and Mortality

  • An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. This includes 5.2 million people age 65 and older, and 200,000 under age 65 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s. Barring the development of medical breakthroughs, the number will rise to 13.8 million by 2050.
  • 91,000 people age 65 and older in Minnesota are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • 476,000 people age 65 or older will develop Alzheimer’s in the U.S. in 2016.
  • Two-thirds (3.3 million) of Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s are women.
  • Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. From 2000-2013, the number of Alzheimer’s deaths increased 71 percent, while deaths from other major diseases, such as heart disease, breast cancer and HIV, decreased.

Cost of Paid and Unpaid Care

  • Alzheimer’s is the costliest disease to society. Total national cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated at $236 billion (excludes unpaid caregiving), of which $160 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid alone.
  • In 2015, nearly 16 million family/other unpaid caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias provided 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at $221.3 billion.
  • 249,000 Alzheimer’s caregivers in Minnesota provide 284 million hours of unpaid care, valued at $3.5 billion.
  • Total payments for health care, long-term care and hospice for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias are projected to increase to more than $1 trillion in 2050 (in current dollars) from $236 billion in 2016.
  • The financial toll of Alzheimer's on individuals exceeds the toll on Medicaid. Total Medicaid spending for people with Alzheimer's disease is $43 billion, while out-of-pocket spending is estimated at $46 billion, or 19 percent, of total care payments for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias.

Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures

The 2016 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report is a comprehensive compilation of national statistics and information on Alzheimer’s and related dementias. The report conveys the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals, families, government and the nation’s health care system. Since its 2007 inaugural release, the report has become the preeminent source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues.

About the Alzheimer’s Association Minnesota-Dakota Chapter

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Visit or call the 24/7 Helpline 800.272.3900 for support.

PDF REPORT - Alzheimer's Statistics Minnesota Statesheet


Government Offers Tax Breaks For Long-Term Care Planners

Article by Deb Newman, CLU, ChFC, LTCP
Newman Long Term Care

In 1997, the federal government began offering tax perks to commend people for buying long-term care insurance, including tax-qualified policies. Congress created these policies to encourage both insurance companies and consumers to embrace long-term care insurance.

Under a tax-qualified policy, long-term care insurance premiums may be listed as itemized deductions on federal tax returns. Additionally, benefits from a qualified policy are received tax-free. Many providers exclusively offer these policies, as more than 80 percent of long-term care policies sold in the U.S. are tax-qualified.

Those who buy long-term care insurance now can claim it on next year’s tax returns and continue to do so every year premiums are paid. Deductions for the 2016 tax year range from $390 to $4,870. These deductions typically increase each year.

Similar to premium expenses, any long-term care costs paid out of pocket may also be tax deductible. This means that you can claim any professional home care, nursing home or other long-term care bills as a medical deduction on your income tax return. However, these expenses may not be deducted for home care provided by a family member unless that person is a licensed professional.

Many states also offer tax credits or deductions for long-term care coverage. In some states, tax breaks are applied to both tax-qualified and non-tax-qualified policies. Some states also give other benefits such as allowing Medicaid applicants with exhausted benefits to keep their home as a reward for having long-term care coverage.

Long-term care insurance offers protection that no other insurance can provide and with the tax incentives currently in place, it makes economic sense as well. A new 8 page free guide is now available that discusses the tax incentives, Health Savings Accounts, and state Partnership Programs.

Click here to request the guide or call Newman Long Term Care at 612-454-4400 and ask for the "Tax Breaks & Incentives for Long Term Care Insurance" guide.



Mary T. Making A Difference!



Senior Living Transitions & Phone Freedom

Article by Jeff Swenson

Like so many seniors, you may have faced the challenge of transitioning aging parents into assisted living housing. In addition, you may be looking into the future to determine the optimum living situation for yourself as well.

As you know, the anxiety that comes with moving can be very overwhelming. Leaving familiar surroundings, downsizing possessions and moving to a new community can be challenging. You have worked hard to maintain those important connections with your community and you deserve to keep valuable relationships.

Part of that connection to your past has included your home phone number, which may have been with you for decades. The thought of canceling home landline service has made people feel like they are being cut off from your past. However, technology has finally simplified how seniors can stay better connected and have the freedom that they deserve.

New Technology Available

Up until recently, canceling your local telephone service has meant that you would be giving up your home phone number. Fortunately, there are now options such as forwarding your home telephone number to another number, like a cell phone. Most telephone service providers offer this option at an additional cost above the usual monthly service charge. However, a new service from now allows you to cancel your landline (saving money) while keeping your personal home phone number and having those calls forwarded to cell phones. There are no devices required and callers to your home phone number would hear a personalized greeting such as:

“Hi you’ve reached Mary and John”
“For Mary, press 1”
“For John, press 2”
“To leave us a message, press 0”

Never miss a home phone call from any groups, doctors, churches, businesses, neighbors or friends who you know have your old number. No matter where you may be living or traveling, wanted calls will find you. Even if you plan to stay in your own home for some time, this plan simply makes sense.

Additional Benefits to

● Save Money! (cancel your landline cost and roll calls to cell phones for as little as $9.99/mo)

● Service can be set to forward calls only during certain hours (i.e. you may not want to be disturbed at night and can route calls directly to voicemail)

● Most telemarketing calls won’t get through since they must make a selection

Whether you are transitioning to a new environment, looking to save money, or wanting the flexibility of receiving home calls wherever you are, you can learn more this unique service at


I Should Have Been More Prepared
Article by Beth Woodward
Augustana Regent at Burnsville


Counseling Tips For Untreated Hearing Loss
Article Submitted by:
Cindy Reimann
Beltone Hearing Care Center

Hearing is a sense that many of us take for granted. Throughout our lives, we subject our ears to loud sounds–music, power tools, lawn mowers, air travel–without using ear protection. Regrettably, this can cause hearing loss. Also, the natural aging process generally results in hearing loss. Even certain illnesses and medications can adversely affect our hearing. Unfortunately, hearing loss that occurs from such causes is permanent.

The good news is, even if you already have a little hearing loss, it's never too late to preserve your hearing for the years ahead. The first thing you can do is protect your ears in noisy environments. Also, avoid using cotton swabs to clean your ears. And, make it a priority to get a baseline hearing screening to see if hearing loss has already occurred.

If hearing loss is found during your hearing evaluation, it could be due to excess ear wax or infection. This type of hearing loss is reversible. If hearing loss stems from chronic exposure to loud noise, aging, or certain illnesses and medications, hearing aids are the best way to preserve your good hearing.

The great news about today's hearing aids is how small and easy to wear they are. Modern digital hearing aids use super-tiny microprocessor technology–making them virtually invisible when worn. Hearing aids can help almost all degrees of hearing loss–from a little to a lot. And, by stimulating your brain with sound that might not otherwise reach it, hearing aids help keep your brain active, which lowers your risk for cognitive diseases, such as dementia.

If you suspect you may have hearing loss, don't ignore it. Neglecting a hearing loss can have a snowball effect–making it grow bigger, faster than necessary.

Here are 10 ways you can limit hearing damage and preserve good hearing:

  1. Understand the sound levels of the noises in your environment.

  2. Learn about proper ear protection. There are many kinds on the market today, ranging from custom ear molds to foam plugs and more.

  3. Put physical distance between you and loud noise when it is present. If possible, stand at an angle from the noise, not directly in front of it.

  4. Take breaks when you are exposed to noise.

  5. When listening to music through headphones or earbuds, keep the volume low-to-medium.

  6. Know the signs of hearing loss, and measure yourself against them.

  7. Schedule a baseline hearing evaluation. Hearing loss is on the rise among Baby Boomers and young people. It's never too early to get your hearing checked, but don't wait past age 50.

  8. Have your hearing evaluated by a professional licensed by your state.

  9. If you have hearing loss caused by a reversible condition, take steps to correct it.

  10. If any permanent hearing loss is diagnosed, choose hearing aids to slow it down, and preserve good hearing.

If you or someone you love would like a FREE hearing evaluation contact Beltone Hearing Care Center at 1-844-664-3277.  


Article by Cindy Reimann
Beltone Hearing Care Center

A hearing loss doesn’t have to slow you down or keep you from enjoying the things you like to do. Beltone’s advanced hearing instruments have helped people just like you get back into a healthy, active and fulfilling lifestyle. Don’t wait, call today for a FREE hearing test! Toll free: 1-844-664-3277. Home visits are available upon request.


Knowing When to Get Help
By Keith Dahlen


For most of us independence and privacy is an important condition for a comfortable life. We each have our habits and methods of doing things, and life has a rhythm that just “fits” our personalities. But as people age and physical changes occur, we may find ourselves or loved ones dealing with those changes ineffectively. Sooner or later the question starts ringing in our heads, “When should I look for help?”

 But then we think, “Oh, I don’t need help. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone.” or “I can’t tell Mom what to do – she’d never listen to me, anyway.”  Or “Dad would never accept help, he’s too proud.” or “It’s not time yet, let’s wait”.  And so we wait and do what we can ourselves, all the while still wondering, “When should I look for help?”

 The good news is we don’t have to guess. There are some common indicators that help us tell when it’s time to get some help. We don’t have to wait for a crisis situation to throw everyone into a panic. If fact, the goal should be to avoid the crisis, for everyone’s benefit.

 Here are some indicators to consider…

  • Physical Condition:  Have you or your loved one been diagnosed with a medical condition that affects their daily living?  For example, dressing, grooming, shaving, toileting, eating. 

  • Personal Care: Are baths/showers being taken regularly? Is there any body odor? Are teeth and hair brushed and washed regularly? Are incontinence products worn if necessary and changed regularly and correctly?

  • Driving: Has driving become difficult, uncertain or scary? Have reflexes and decision making slowed? Have new dings, dents or scratches appeared on vehicles?

  • Nutrition:  Is your or your loved one’s weight stable? Are you/they eating regularly and nutritiously? Is the refrigerator properly stocked with a variety of foods? Does all the food have current expiration dates? Is there spoiled food in the refrigerator or on the counters?

  • Household Tasks: Are household chores being done regularly? For example, dusting, laundry, vacuuming.  Are bed linens changed regularly? Have household chores become frustrating, physically demanding, or time consuming? 

  • Socialization: Do you or your loved one have moods of loneliness, despair, depression, frustration, irritability, or anxiety? Is there fear or insecurity about going out of the house?

  • Mental Health:  Are there memory lapses?  Is there difficulty finding the right words? Is there inconsistency between words and action? Is anxiety or moodiness evident?

  • Medication: Are medications being taken regularly and on time? Are medications being refilled on schedule? Does the senior understand what the medications are being taken for?

  • Finances, Mail, Paperwork:  Is the senior having difficulty managing their checkbook, finances, bills and personal affairs? Are there past due notices arriving? Is mail piling up? Is there a reasonable amount of cash on hand? Are important documents or similar items like purses, wallets and keys being misplaced frequently or for long periods of time? Are they appearing in unusual places?

  • Safety, Security and Sanitation:  Are appliances being left on such as the stove or coffee pot? Does the senior fall asleep with cigarettes burning? Is the house allowed to get too hot or too cold? Is the house always unlocked? Has the senior fallen in the past 6 months? Have there been multiple falls? Is there clutter on the floor? Is trash piling up in or around the house? Are toilets functioning properly? Is pet debris evident?

Family members often see the changes in the way a senior moves, acts, thinks, and responds to situations around them but dismiss them until one of two things happen. Either the family begins to spend so much time helping the senior themselves that they have little time for their own responsibilities or the senior experiences a physical or medical crisis. Both of these result in undue stress for the family and the senior. If you have a concern with even one set of indicators, it’s time to acknowledge it, learn more about what is causing it and what options are available to overcome it. Speak openly, calmly, and honestly about the issue and the type of assistance needed to overcome it. Frequently, simple changes can make a big improvement. We encourage you to be proactive and avoid a crisis situation that throws everyone into an emotional reaction. Calm, rational transitions are easier on everyone than stressful ones.

Finally, keep your efforts as informal as possible. Rather than going through the house like an inspector with a checklist, make your observations through normal, casual interaction. Make a mental note when you see things that are of concern. Keep conversation non-threatening and cooperative. Make every effort to respect the senior’s wishes while assisting with their needs.  


Article by Keith Dahlen of Great Oak Senior Care
651-212-4101 -

Great Oak Senior Care is the perfect solution for seniors and others in need who aren’t ready to leave their home for an institutional setting, but because of illness or chronic conditions need support to remain at home. We improve your life by providing compassionate, one-on-one care in the comfort of your own home. Our personalized and affordable services are available 7 days a week and can range from a few hours a day to 24/7 live-in care.


Transitional Care - From Hospital to Home
By Sharon A. Johnson, MA, LNHA

Before Sylvia had knee replacement surgery, she selected Interlude Restorative Suites in Fridley for transitional care. "The whole environment felt good. The staff was friendly and supportive, which helped me focus on my important rehabilitation goals. It felt more home-like rather than something institutional."

A Transitional Care Unit is a skilled care facility where patients come for recovery and rehabilitation after surgery or an illness. The patient is admitted to the TCU (stays vary from days to weeks) to recuperate, heal, and gain strength so they're ready to resume their normal lifestyle once home. Patients who go directly home from the hospital may suffer a setback, which can result in costly rehospitalization.

 The state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility helps guests enhance:

  • Strength and stamina

  • Flexibility and coordination

  • Balance and movement

  • Thinking, speaking and swallowing

  • Personal care and hygiene

At Interlude Restorative Suites, the skilled staff helped Sylvia heal and grow stronger. The focus is on efficient, effective rehabilitation so the guest can return home as quickly as possible. But quality food and restorative rest aid in healing so these are priorities as well. Interlude is a quiet place and offers a more relaxed environment for recovery. Staff communicate via radio and earpieces so there are no noisy overhead pages. And there are fewer intrusions while the guests are resting.

The TCU Evolution

Typically, transitional care facilities are located in skilled care nursing homes. Now, TCUs are being built adjacent to hospitals and as free-standing facilities, with the majority of guests able to return home.

The Therapy Gym is a featured part of the TCU for strengthening and conditioning. Therapy is offered  seven days a week, helping to reduce the overall length of the TCU stay. Here's a sampling of what you'll find in the Therapy Gym:·     

  • The AlterG, a gravity-defying treadmill that removes up to 80 percent of the guest's body weight burden to ease stress on joints, enhance strengthening, and reduce recovery time;

  • Game Ready. Ice is a powerful tool for managing pain. The Game Ready system combines cold with compression to reduce swelling, minimize pain and speed and enhance the body’s natural healing abilities;

  • 92 degree Aquatic Therapy Pool includes an underwater treadmill with a camera system for gait analysis and training. Exercising in the water allows movement of joints without the complications of gravity;

  • NeuroCom Balance Master – assessment and retraining of the sensory and voluntary motor control of balance;

  • Bariatric Therapy equipment includes treatment tables, NuSteps, and parallel bars, sized for guests up to 600 pounds. A ceiling lift system helps ensure the safe movement of patients and the protection of staff;

TCU's address the three major goals of national healthcare policy: to reduce costs while enhancing medical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Significantly, the TCU helps reduce the number of rehospitalizations, which account for one in six Medicare hospitalization dollars spent. Healthcare payers, including Medicare, often cover a transitional care stay, and costs may vary significantly based upon patient condition and the treatment needed. Check with your insurance company about coverage for your particular needs.

The need for transitional care is growing. As the large baby boom generation ages, perhaps 40 percent of these consumers will require joint replacement surgery. Innovative, transitional care will allow these patients to enjoy a faster, and more certain, return to an active lifestyle.

Sharon A. Johnson is CEO of Interlude Restorative Suites in Fridley, Minnesota. Interlude is a bold collaboration of Allina Health, Benedictine Health System and Presbyterian Homes & Services.



I'll Move When I Sell My House
Article by Beth Woodward
Augustana Regent



In about 40% of my tours I hear, I’ll move when I sell my house” or ”I have 50 years of stuff to go through before I can move.”  For most of you, leaving your house will never happen until something happens to you or your loved one first. 

So many times I’ve heard:

  • Dad had a heart attack and can no longer live by himself; we didn’t know there were waiting lists. 

  • Mom is getting so depressed living alone; I wish she would go to a nice community and make some friends.

  • Dad said he would move to a safe place. That was 2 years ago, he lives alone and his health has really gone down.

  •  I can’t take care of my wife anymore, my health has gotten worse but she won’t move.  Who will take care of her when I’m gone?

The house becomes the excuse because it means so much to you.  It’s a big part of your life and moving to a new place is uncomfortable and just plain scary.  I cannot take those feelings away, nor would I try, but I can suggest things to keep in YOUR control!

  • Moving in a crisis situation lessens your choices because of waiting lists.   

  • Make the decision before an incident makes it for you. 

  • Moving when you feel better allows for a much easier transition.

  • If you can afford it, moving to a senior community before you sell the house

  • eliminates tremendous STRESS, keeping you healthier and stronger!  

Still not sure?  You are welcome to try us out.  It’s a 30-day notice with no long lease.  Stay with us for a month or for the winter and give yourself time to see how you like it.  Take the worry away from your loved ones if only for a short time.  



 Good News For
Free & Clean Home Owners

Article by Homestead Road                                          Minneapolis, MN July 1, 2015

Homestead Road has good news for free and clear home owners.

You can get a low risk/high rate of return on the value of your home – from 5-10%. You don’t have to let your home equity sit idle at a zero rate of return. Or if you are planning to sell your house and invest the proceeds, here is a way you can get a 5-10% return – more than a savings account or CD, with less risk than other investments.

Many people are surprised to learn that one in three homes in the U.S. is free and clear. Such a house offers a number of opportunities to earn a rate of return on the proceeds from the sale. Risks and rates of return for various investments go hand in hand from a low risk/low return bank account to high risk/high return speculative stocks, and everything in between.

This article discusses the option of selling the home on a contract for deed (CD), and thereby creating an income stream while earning anywhere from 5% to 10% on the money. If done carefully, it can yield higher rates of return at a lower risk than many other investments.

How it Works
The owner starts by engaging an attorney to draw up the contract for deed. To the person who buys the house, it feels like a mortgage in that there is a down payment and regular monthly payments for a specified period of time, usually 2-3 years. At the end there is a balloon payment that the occupant typically covers through more conventional financing. The 2-3 year period allows the buyer to establish or rebuild their credit to qualify for bank financing. The major difference between a mortgage and a CD is that with a CD, the owner retains the deed until the contract is fulfilled.

Homestead Road, a leading house buying company headquartered in Minnesota has helped hundreds of owners sell their free and clear houses on contracts for deed. In many cases the company will make it even easier by actually buying the house from the Owner.

Plus Factors
A big advantage is that the owner will have no trouble finding a buyer and getting the asking price for the property. Prospective CD buyers are people who cannot get conventional bank financing and are grateful for this pathway to home ownership. They do not want to derail the deal with aggressive negotiations, so they are more agreeable to the asking price and the terms than conventional home buyers.

That doesn’t mean they are bad credit risks. In fact a large percentage of them are actually good credit risks. For example, there are 25 million self-employed people, many of whom have more than enough income to maintain a monthly payment schedule, but they have a hard time proving it through the maze of today’s banking regulations. Millions of others are strong on their feet after a negative event, but not long enough to satisfy the underwriters. Again, the CD gives people time to establish or rebuild their credit through a record of on time monthly payments. A surplus can be built into the monthly payments that accumulate toward the mortgage down payment.

In addition to having the pick of numerous credit worthy prospects, the owner has the further protection in retaining the deed. If the occupant is unable to maintain the payments, the deed holder can evict the occupant much easier than a landlord or mortgage holder. The contract should be written to specify that when the occupant is in breach of contract, they must vacate the premises.

Another important advantage is the occupant’s mind set. Seeing themselves on a pathway to eventually own the home, they are more likely to take good care of the property than, for example, renters who often trash the premises.

Selling a house that is free and clear offers a number of opportunities to earn a higher rate of return at lower risk than many other investment options. A contract for deed makes it easier to get the asking price and to structure the contract in terms most favorable to the owner/seller. Millions of people seeking this pathway to home ownership have the income to maintain the monthly payments and are good credit risks. The owner is further protected by holding onto the deed, and having a hard asset - the property - backing the paper.

Contact us for more information and opportunities.

Homestead Road
Tel: 612-808-6767


 Protecting Seniors from Schemes and Scams

Article from Deb Taylor of Senior Community Services
A public awareness initiative of Senior Community Services

Dwight, 74, is more cautious now after being stung by a classified advertisement he saw in an online magazine. The ad promised $100 in legal currency for $50. Dwight (naively) felt it was a good deal so he dashed off a check for $50 and mailed it to a post office box in Colorado. Soon, an official looking envelope arrived and Dwight tore it open to find several bills. He was ecstatic, until he took a closer look. He'd received Portuguese escudo notes. Unsure what to do with this foreign currency, Dwight took the cash to the foreign currency section at a downtown bank. A teller told Dwight that, yes, this is $100 in legal Portuguese currency, but based upon the exchange rate his $50 had purchased 62 cents worth of foreign currency. Dwight's dream deal had turned into a nightmare.

Many too-good-to-be true schemes arrive via the internet and telephone, and trusting seniors are often easy targets. They grew up in an era when people were more trusting and could take someone at their word.

But criminals are creative and know how to manipulate older adults.  They may call pretending to be a government representative, accusing the senior of failing to show up for jury duty, or reporting there's a warrant out for their arrest. Out of fear, the senior may relinquish their social security number and other private information. Then, the scammer has information to create a false identity for profit.

Consumers in all fifty states have received phone calls from criminals purporting to be IRS agents. They charge the senior has unpaid back taxes which, if not paid, will result in arrest, a lawsuit, or suspension of their driver's license.

That's why it’s important for seniors to file a tax return annually, even if their earnings are under the income limit for filing. In 2013, the IRS sent out almost three million fraudulent refunds to con artists who had filed returns in the names of unwitting consumers. If you file a return, it's easier for the IRS to discover fraudulent returns filed under the same name.  It's important to protect confidential information.

Trusting seniors may have private information readily available and ripe for the picking by unsavory service workers.  The theft of sensitive information can be the start of a troubling and frustrating case of identity theft.

With so much shopping being done online, it's vital for family and caregivers to help track purchases and payments made by seniors. If some credit card payments are suspect, call the credit card company to report the fraudulent charge and have it removed from the bill. Be sure to ask for a replacement credit card with a new number.

The obituary scam is especially shameful. Con artists scour newspapers online and call family members demanding money for a supposed debt that the deceased left behind. Another version targets widows who answer the doorbell to find a fake delivery person holding a box supposedly ordered by the deceased. The widow pays and receives the package, and upon opening discovers a brick or equally useless old magazines and newspapers.

Be watchful and ready to help if seniors you know are targeted. Talk with them about how they may become easy prey. It's a good way to Reimagine Aging and save the billions of dollars lost annually to fraud.

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.


Seventy-five percent of aging Americans affected by vision problems; The Minnesota Optometric Association offers tips to protect eyesight throughout life

Fluctuations in vision are often one of the first health changes adults notice as they get older. Although these changes can be bothersome, even more troubling problems could be lurking beneath the surface and cause vision loss. According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q® survey, the inability to live independently would concern older consumers the most if they developed serious vision problems.

Here are several tips to help older adults safeguard their vision.

Schedule a yearly eye exam

A comprehensive eye exams is one of the most important, preventive ways to preserve vision, and a thorough eye exam is only way to accurately assess eye health, diagnose an eye disorder or disease, and determine the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Common eye conditions in older adults that can be detected through a comprehensive eye examination include age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and dry eye.

“Many eye conditions develop without any warning signs or symptoms, so it’s important to visit a doctor of optometry every year to ensure your eyes are healthy,” said Dr. Nicholas Colatrella, President of the Minnesota Optometric Association.  “Early diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent loss of vision.”

Focus on healthy lifestyle choices

Following basic healthy habits can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight. One of the essential building blocks of a person’s overall health is diet. Enjoying a diet rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin can improve eye health—these can be found in spinach and other green, leafy vegetables, as well as eggs. Other “power foods” for the eyes include fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C and fish containing Omega 3 essential fatty acids, such as salmon. Also, your eye doctor can discuss vitamin therapy options for patients experiencing vision problems and for preventive treatment.

Not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health.

Adapt your surroundings and seek help from a doctor of optometry

According to the 2015 American Eye-Q® survey, 75 percent of Americans age 55 and older have experienced vision problems.

Older adults can ease the stress on their eyes by making some simple changes:

·     Stay safe while driving: Wear quality sunglasses for daytime driving and use anti-reflective lenses to reduce headlight glare. Limit driving at dusk, dawn or at night if seeing under low light is difficult. Use extra caution at intersections and reduce speed.

·     Use contrasting colors: Define essential objects in your home, such as light switches and telephones, with different colors so they can be spotted quickly and easily.

·     Give the eyes a boost: Install clocks, thermometers and timers with large block letters. Magnifying glasses can also be used for reading when larger print is not available. Text size on the screen of smartphones and tablets can also be increased.

People dealing with eye disease and vision loss can also seek rehabilitative services from a doctor of optometry. Patients are taught variety of techniques to perform daily activities with their remaining vision and help them regain their independence.

About eye disorders associated with aging:

Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the leading cause of blindness in America. It results from changes in the macula, a portion of the retina that is responsible for clear, sharp vision and is located at the back of the eye. The two forms are the less common wet form, and dry ARMD. Symptoms include a gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark, empty area appearing in the eye’s center.

Diabetic retinopathy: The incidence of Type 2 Diabetes increases with age. Both Type 1 and 2 Diabetes can result in vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy, and eventually blindness, if it is not treated.

Cataract:  A cataract is a clouding if all or part of the normally clear lens within your eye, which results in blurred or distorted vision. While there is no proven prevention method, when cataracts affect daily activities, surgery may be recommended, with follow up care by your optometrist.

Dry Eye: The majority of people over the age of 65 experience some symptoms of dry eyes. Dry eyes can result from an improper balance of tear production and drainage. Women are more likely to develop dry eyes. Certain medical and environmental conditions and medications can also reduce the amount of tears produced. Symptoms may include irritated, gritty or scratch eyes, and can advance to cause damage to the eye’s front surface.  Treatments aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye.

Glaucoma: The most common form of Glaucoma has no symptoms, develops gradually, and is more common in people over age 40. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.  Although glaucoma can’t be prevented, it can be controlled if treated early, so an annual comprehensive eye exam is essential. 


A Senior Friendly Work-Place Makes Sense

Article from Deb Taylor of Senior Community Services
A public awareness initiative of Senior Community Services

At a Labor Day gathering, I was talking to a business professional who related his experience in hiring older adults. He was very direct: "They show up on time, they have a solid work ethic, and they bring customer service skills with them so they need minimal training."  That's a strong testimonial, and one worthy of a generation of older adults who understand the importance of hard work. Many seniors grew up during the Depression or World War II and experienced deprivation and struggle. They quickly learned that the secret to keeping a job is showing up and giving your best.

Seniors bring a lifetime of skills and experience to the workplace, and they're self-motivated with little need for constant supervision. As our society increasingly grows older, due to the massive baby boom generation, organizations will increasingly see more seniors seeking employment

As employers, we can certainly benefit from their maturity and experience, even if a little accommodation is necessary. We need to be flexible and respect their desire to limit hours of employment. We should accommodate their medical visits and requests for time off to attend a grandchild's school event or recital. Doing so can boost employee loyalty and retention among older adults.

 We recognize some seniors may have physical limitations and less stamina, so a reexamination of working conditions may be helpful. If an older adult must stand for long periods of time, a rubber floor mat or placement of a chair or stool at their work location can help them to stay energized for their shift. For computer staff, consider adaptive technology if needed. Screen magnifiers or larger mouse cursors can be very helpful for seniors with aging eyes.

 Seniors can become great examples and mentors for younger workers. And be sure to include older adult workers in employee-recognition programs; everyone loves to be showcased and applauded for their job performance.

 Sadly, many seniors think they are unwanted by employers, and feel marginalized by the workplace. We employers need to include language in advertising messages indicating a willingness and desire to hire workers of all ages. Facilitate an atmosphere of respect by enforcing and communicating a policy requiring all employees to treat their fellow workers with courtesy and respect. This can have a strong impact on increasing productivity and job satisfaction, while reducing turnover.

 We should make work assignments based on skills, abilities and the needs of the organization, without regard to the age of employees. Carefully measure job performance of workers so you can identify areas where more training could boost productivity.

Finally, it makes sense to listen to older adult employees. They may have a larger 'big picture' on life that could bring insight and fresh ideas to your business goals. Many studies show that creativity increases as we age.

 Imagine the value of tapping into this brain-trust of older adults to benefit our entire community. It's a great way to fight ageism and Reimagine Aging, so we can proudly proclaim our organizations to be senior-friendly workplaces. 


Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.



What an Eye Opener - I Dare You!
Article by Beth Woodward
Augustana Regent


Last month I had a son of a senior mom come in for a tour.  When he returned for a 2nd tour,  I told him how sorry I was that his mom’s health had turned so quickly.  He said, “I wouldn’t have known how much help she really needed if she hadn’t stayed with us for a week.  What an eye opener! ”   This happened to me too. 

I took mom on a road trip to see family…What an eye opener!  Do you know what else happened?  I had my head in the sand about mom’s age and health.  I kept her at 60 when she was actually 80.  Not on purpose, it’s just something that happens.  Fortunately she had a friend that helped wake me up. 

Some adult children of aging parents may be very in-tune with your mom and/or dad’s needs.  You might see:

·        the yard work is getting to be too much,

·         the one who is doing most of the care giving is getting tired, (loved one)

·        the mail is piling up,

·        cooking, gardening or socializing is less or

·        the bills haven’t been paid or have been double paid. 

But, for some of us, we need to be with them for a longer period of time to really GET IT. 

When I began looking for a nice place for mom to be, a safe, welcoming place inclusive of all levels of living, I was told that I was doing the right thing by looking now – BEFORE something happened.  You see, when something does happen to cause a more urgent need, your choices of a community and/or location go down, because they may be filled and have waiting lists. 

Have mom/dad come stay with you for a week, or you stay with them – start preparing! 

Check out our Senior Housing Directory
offering all different types of Senior Housing


Worn Out: Seniors Caring for Seniors

Article from Deb Taylor of Senior Community Services
A public awareness initiative of Senior Community Services

Retirement is supposed to be a time of leisure, after decades spent in the working world and raising children. But millions of seniors, because of our increasingly aging population, are finding themselves as caregivers - pursuing a new labor of love, the care of a spouse or another loved one.

Gail, 78, works seven days a week, mornings through evenings, caring for her 85-year-old husband David who suffers from dementia. Because he awakens frequently, Gail finally had to hire an aide for overnights. "I'm no spring chicken myself, I need my rest," she said.

As many older caregivers struggle to keep their loved one out of a nursing home, the constant attention and care can take a toll on their own health. Numerous studies show that many caregivers die before the loved one for whom they care.

Older adults tough it out, feeling a loving sense of obligation. Alvin, 75, cares for his wife Ronda who's battling diabetes and debilitating arthritis. He helps her with bathing, dressing and moving about the house. Constant vigilance is required because if she falls, it could quickly become a very serious complication. "When this started, I told her that she'd cared for me for 50 years, I guess it's my turn."

The National Alliance for Caregiving found that caregivers older than 75 spend on average 34 hours a week on caregiving tasks. This time together, while aging in place, doesn't have to be a stressful season of life, especially at an age where endurance and physical strength begin to wane.

At Senior Community Services, we know that most Minnesota seniors prefer to live in their own home. And, across the state, family and friends provide more than 90 percent of care for seniors still living at home. However, most of these caregivers have no formal training in geriatric care.

Our goal is to support their independence as long as possible with services that provide a respite and make life more manageable. Our staff and volunteers assist them with household duties they can no longer manage alone. We help ease their isolation and loneliness at our many senior centers, help them navigate the seemingly endless depths of complex healthcare options ( and saving them money) and provide care coordination for caregivers who dutifully and lovingly do all they can day in and day out.

Thankfully, Senior Community Services is able to help them Reimagine Aging in a healthier way that better meets their needs. And tools, like our innovative website, enable them to better manage the care and responsibilities.

The challenges are here to stay. The needs are growing. Soon, there will be more seniors than school children in Minnesota.  And in the next decade, one in four Minnesotans will be 65 or older.

Thankfully, there are a lot of people willing to help, and that's good, because we're all part of the solution. Help is a phone call or mouse click away.

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.


Check out our Aging In Place Directory
For Reputable companies to help you stay independent!


Why Don’t My Adult Children Listen To Me?
Article by Beth Woodward
Augustana Regent

“I’m not used to fancy.  My husband and I were used to a very simple, good life.  I’ve never felt quite comfortable in something that is too big, too nice and too pretty.  I’m just a plain everyday person that loves life. When it came time for me to move to a senior living community, I found that my children wanted more for me than what I wanted. I understood. What child wouldn’t want their parent to have the very best, but sometimes the very best is not comfortable for all people.  So I stood my ground and as disappointed as my kids were that I chose a smaller apartment, they see how happy I am and they are now happy.

The view is the BEST, I love my view, my ducks, my sunset, lightening strikes out the window, and the most basic things. I feel God put me here to make people smile.   I might like to have more room but what would I do with it?  I’m at the time in my life where I want to get rid of things.  I want a simple life where having a kitchen for my baking and bringing a smile to others fills me up.  I’ve become known as the woman with the big red glasses. I love it here, this is my family now.”   

The above story is from our new resident Jeannine. I toured Jeannine and her 2 daughters.  THEY found the ‘perfect’ apartment. It was beautiful, facing the lake, a large open kitchen, fireplace, side-by-side washer/dryer and a huge bedroom with 2 closets.  After seeing several apartments, the choice was made. How exciting it was for the daughters to have found such a nice apartment for their mom.

The next day there was a call, a visit and a stand was taken.  Mom and daughters looked at 2 apartments again.   Mom was not comfortable with the chosen apartment that her daughters wanted for her. It was too large and too nice.  She wanted to live in a simpler, smaller space that she felt she could maintain.  You see, even though housekeeping is provided, there is a perception from a person who doesn’t get around like they used to.  The perception is ‘it’s too much to keep up.’ This perception brings discomfort and anxiety.  The smaller space provides a HUG and the feeling of achievement to keep up their new living area.  It also aligns with their values of how THEY were brought up in a simpler time.  

Our parents don’t always want what we, the adult children, want for them.  It comes down to one small, but not always, simple thing – Listening!  We think that mom or dad deserves more, deserves the bigger and the best because they’ve earned it.  To all of us adult children, I’m including myself, let’s stop thinking and start LISTENING!  Not every parent wants the biggest and the nicest, they want what is comfortable to them.

A comment from one of the daughters of Jeannine. 
"I can’t believe how happy mom is.  She loves her apartment, she loves the Regent and she loves her new friends.  That makes me happy."     

Augustana Regent at Burnsville
14500 Regent Lane
Burnsville, MN 

Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care


Beat the Heat: Summer Safety Tips

AlertID Provides Tips to Protect Your Family and Pets from Heat Exhaustion

Heat and humidity can be silent killers for those who don’t take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones. Serious health concerns caused by extreme temperatures are heat exhaustion, heat stroke or even death.

“Children, the elderly, and pets are at the highest risk of overexposure to the heat,” said AlertID Founder, Keli Wilson. “Taking steps to prevent overheating and recognizing the symptoms of heat exhaustion are easy steps everyone can take this summer to beat the heat.”

As record high temperatures spread across the country this summer, AlertID reminds us that heat related injuries are preventable, especially when following their “Beat the Heat Tips”.

Tips to Beat the Heat

1.   Stay Hydrated: The rate at which the human body can absorb fluids is less than the rate it loses during extreme temperatures. Drinking beverages that contain sugar, caffeine or alcohol will only further dehydrate the human body.  Drink water regularly, even before you are thirsty, as thirst indicates dehydration.

2.   Keep cool: If you don’t have AC at home, keep rooms as ventilated as possible. Consider going to a public pool, shopping mall or other air conditioned building. Even a few hours in air conditioning can help you stay cool before you go back in the heat. Wear cool, loose, light- weight clothing to stay as cool as possible.

3.   Limit Outdoor Activities: Try to limit outdoor activity to early morning or evening hours and avoid strenuous activity during the hottest hours of the day.

4.   Avoid Harmful UV’s: If it’s not possible to stay out of the sun, avoid harmful rays by wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.

5.   Never Leave Someone or a Pet in a Closed Vehicle: The temperature inside a closed vehicle can exceed 140 degrees within 30 minutes. Despite this clear and present danger, injuries and deaths among children, seniors, and pets occur every year.

6.   Check on elderly loved ones and those with special needs: Extreme heat without AC can be especially dangerous for elderly and those with health issues, who are more affected by the heat.

7.   Pets: If pets need to stay outside, give them plenty of shade and water. Consider a small pool for the animal to stay cool.

About AlertID

AlertID, the neighborhood safety network, is free to use and helps protect families and neighborhoods. AlertID's mission is to help people live safely by providing a secure way to receive trusted public safety alerts and share information with family members and neighbors. AlertID uses technology to help citizens and federal, state and local authorities share information about crime, sex offenders, natural disasters, missing children and severe weather that can threaten public safety. AlertID is accessible to members online as well as by email and mobile app. For more information visit


Soothing Senior Grief

Article from Deb Taylor of Senior Community Services

A public awareness initiative of Senior Community Services

Life brings different rhythms - different timetables - for each of us. We lose dear loved ones, we grieve, we face changes - diminished mobility, an end to driving the car, maybe a different place to live after decades in the long-time family home.

Often, stressors push down on us as we give up the familiar, the comfortable, the sense of control. We may start feeling diminished and depressed. Isolation sets in and home may suddenly feel like a prison rather than a sanctuary. The morning glance in the mirror may reveal new lines or drooping in places that didn't droop before. Self-pity is a very human  first reaction, but consider turning the issue on its head instead. 

Why not celebrate your years and experience. An acquaintance once talked about putting on her 'reverse glasses' to look at life from a new perspective, through new lens so to speak. Suddenly, you're running into time. Things are going right. It's not your fault. You can't lose. You've got plenty of energy. Everything is so easy. What new opportunities will today bring?

In other words, embrace aging. Learn to appreciate yourself and what you have to offer. We can all befriend another and be a blessing. Acknowledge your imperfections because no one is perfect. Accept your limitations; if you can't run the mile in under six minutes, then embrace the beauty of a slow stroll on a beautiful morning. Enjoy the quiet times. Celebrate impermanence; if everything was permanent, nothing would change. It's never too late so create a list of things you'd like to still accomplish and set out to do them. Finally, rather than dwelling on regret and the things you can no longer do, focus on what you can do. Live vitally, and be sure to laugh often and maintain a sense of humor. It helps you maintain perspective. And soon the doom and gloom will bloom into something healthier.

If you are a caregiver, your selfless service to help another may sometimes feel like a sacrifice. One caregiver said it helps her to think of caregiving as adjusting rather than sacrificing. Adjusting seems more like a sideways shift rather than a loss of something, she explained.

You're Never Alone

No matter the challenge or struggle, support is always available. Every day, Senior Community Services helps seniors and caregivers find the right supportive services to improve daily living. We help them connect with local senior centers where joy, fun, and fellowship are everyday experiences rather than loneliness and isolation. We help with household chores that may be impossible for them to manage, find affordable healthcare insurance, help them manage care, and reduce burdensome medical debt that taxes limited and fixed incomes.

The challenges are here to stay awhile. Roughly 11,000 people - on average - are expected to turn 65 every day for the next 15 years, according to the federal government. So needs will only grow.

A little focused expertise - applied properly - can make a world of difference. It's quite a prescription for living in the later years. And when we take steps to enhance daily living, we Reimagine Aging, not only for a growing number of older relatives, friends, and neighbors, but for all of us. 

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.


Benedictine Health System's Bold, New Partnership
Brings Innovation to Address National Healthcare Goals
By Sharon A. Johnson, MA, LNHA

Fridley, Minn. -  Three Minnesota healthcare providers have partnered to create a bold, new transitional care medical model that directly addresses the Triple Aim of national healthcare policy - reduce healthcare costs, enhance medical outcomes. and boost patient satisfaction.

Located at 520 Osborne Road NE in Fridley, behind Unity Hospital, Interlude Restorative Suites offers 46 private and semi-private suites with high hospitality and comfortable, state-of-the-art amenities. The facility, one of two in the metro area, is operated by the Benedictine Health System partnership with Allina and Presbyterian Homes & Services.

Challenges and Solutions

Healthcare costs are staggering. Nationally, Medicare pays more than $140 million (2013 figure) a year for beneficiary hospitalizations.

But 20 percent of hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries are rehospitalized in the month following discharge. Why so many rehospitalizations?  Falls, medical complications such as infections, medication errors or patient failure to follow doctor's orders. The cost to Medicare, according to one study, is $26 billion annually, nearly 17 percent of total Medicare hospital expenditures.

A transitional care stay - an effective bridge from hospital to home after surgery or an illness - may last as long as six weeks. And while less costly than a hospital stay, remains a substantial cost. 

Wellness Approach

The Interlude model is focused on highly individualized care, provided as efficiently and as effectively as possible. A patient (or guest) comes to Interlude sooner. And the typical stay is no longer than 21 days. And with seven-day-a-week physical and occupational therapy available, some stays have been reduced to fewer than 10 days, at a tremendous cost savings of thousands of dollars per guest.

"Under the Interlude model, we are positioned to work with payers for outcomes rather than the number of days spent in the facility. It's a big win-win for payers and patients," says Sharon Johnson, CEO of Interlude's Fridley campus. "The guest returns home sooner, is stronger, more confident and better able to self-manage again. Some payers are making the transition now; we expect outcome-based payments will be commonplace in the future."

Built into the Interlude model is a wellness component that pampers the patient while they heal.

"People heal better when they enjoy quality care, good restorative sleep, and are well nourished," explained Director of Hospitality and Wellness Becky Willett. "Guests are in a sanctuary, being refreshed and renewed as they heal. They enjoy a calming environment, a gentle touch, a quiet room. We bring a unique level of care and comfort so Interlude is the place for a faster recovery."

  • Guests quickly discover this is a quiet place, no beeping equipment and no overhead pages. Staff communication is via earpieces. 

  • Innovative design keeps guest intrusions to a minimum to ensure quality rest; the staff restock towels and other supplies from hidden hallways outside the guest's room.

  • Guests enjoy customized, quality meals prepared by our talented culinary chefs and served on real china. Meals may be eaten in the guest's room or in one of the lovely dining rooms. The guest determines their meal times, and the chefs will accommodate personal dietary preferences

  • Guests have access to rehabilitation equipment once only found in the training rooms of professional sports teams. The AlterG treadmill utilizes groundbreaking NASA anti-gravity technology to reduce recovery time after an injury or surgery. AlterG removes up to 80 percent of the guest's body weight burden so a 200 pound person may feel like they weight 40 pounds during therapy.

  • The pampering continues with aromatherapy, massage, heated wellness pool, fluffy robes and blanket warmers, smart TVs, iPads and WIFI, meditation rooms and therapy garden. The Laurel Bay Salon is onsite for guests and the public to enjoy a salon experience at excellent prices.

Growing TCU Demand

The demand for transitional care is growing as the baby boom generation ages.  With life expectancy increasing, it is estimated that four out of 10 U.S. baby boomers will eventually require an orthopedic implant such as a knee or hip. Transitional care is a key component of recovery back to a satisfying lifestyle.

Interlude Restorative Suites is a bold, new idea in transitional care, built on the foundation of three of the most trusted healthcare organizations in the region: Allina Health, Benedictine Health System and Presbyterian Homes & Services.

520 Osborne Road NE        Fridley, MN 55432        763-230-3136



Contact: Joan Cronson, National Director of Public Relations
The Goodman Group
952-361-8037 or


CHASKA, Minn. (June 3, 2015) – The Goodman Group, a national leader in developing and managing senior living and health care communities, today announced the appointment of Brad Marburger as National Director for Platinum Career Solutions, a national recruitment and placement company developed by the company, effective immediately. The appointment announcement was made by Craig Edinger, vice president of senior living & health care, and Annette Rivard, director of human resources, The Goodman Group.

Marburger is responsible to help develop, market and manage the recruitment and placement company, and will focus on sourcing and placing health care and hospitality employees in the company’s managed senior living and health care communities. He is based at the company’s headquarters.

“Brad brings more than 17 years of experience in the recruitment and staffing industry that includes leadership roles and business development for healthcare related staffing companies,” said Edinger. “He has extensive expertise in building a staffing operation, developing strategic relationships, recruiting and placing employees and generating revenue.”

Most recently, Marburger was vice president of Staffing Solutions for Interim HealthCare Staffing Solutions in Bloomington, Minn.; the nation’s first and foremost home care and medical staffing company.  Prior to this, he was a staffing consultant for The Hartford, one of the oldest and largest insurance companies based in the United States. Before that, he was a branch manager for Medical Staffing Network in Bloomington, Minn., the largest per diem medical staffing brand in the United States. Marburger transitioned his career into recruitment in 1997 as a Recruitment Specialist for Clinical One Healthcare in Wakefield, Mass., now operating as a Randstad company.

He has a Bachelor of Science in English Education from Mankato State University. For three years, he served as a board member on the College of Allied Health and Nursing at Minnesota State University-Mankato and was a teacher at Mankato East High School.

For more information, contact The Goodman Group at 952-361-8000 or visit


About The Goodman Group: The Goodman Group is an international company headquartered in Chaska, Minn. and was established in 1965 with its beginnings in residential and commercial property ownership and management. In 1967, the company developed its first health care center and has become a multi-state operator recognized as a national leader in developing and providing management support for senior living communities, health care centers, residential communities and commercial properties. The Goodman Group is a privately held company with responsibility for overseeing communities with tens of thousands of residents and over 4,000 community employees. The Goodman Group manages properties in ten states in the United States – Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington – and in the United Kingdom.



Interlude Restorative Suites
Better Care, Lower Costs, Happy Guests
Sharon A. Johnson, Administrator/CEO, Interlude Restorative Suites

Interlude Restorative Suites, a new hospitality-focused transitional care facility, opened on the Unity Hospital campus in March 2015. Interlude, with its high-tech, high-touch care, provides rehabilitation and restorative nursing to guests who have recently been discharged from the hospital or outpatient surgery.  Interlude looks more like a five-star hotel than a traditional skilled nursing facility, but it is how Interlude is poised to meet the goals of health care reform that is equally cutting edge.

The 'Triple Aim' of healthcare reform is to provide better care, at a lower cost, to more satisfied patients. Many people understand that a major part of health care reform is to provide affordable medical insurance to those who need it, but driving down healthcare costs by how we provide healthcare is an important part of reform, too.

At Interlude Restorative Suites, guests have chef-prepared meals to meet their nutritional needs. Most suites are private rooms with an attached shower and bathroom, and come with a mini-fridge, microwave and Smart TV.  While hospitals can be noisy places with overhead paging and beeping equipment, Interlude’s direct care staff carry walkie-talkies with earpieces, and can respond quickly to a nurse call button or communicate with each other privately.  The halls are quiet, so that guests can get restorative rest.

Rehabilitation is scheduled seven-days-a-week, unlike many skilled nursing facilities, which helps guests recovery more quickly. The rehabilitation department includes state-of-the-art equipment, and a warm pool for aquatic therapy.

Interlude has set a high bar for performance; we expect that guests will spend fewer days here, because we are meeting their needs for nutrition, sleep, recovery and restoration. The result is that the total cost of care is less (fewer days are billed); the focus is on clinical outcomes;  and guests feel refreshed - not depleted - by the time they are ready to go home.

We like to see our happy guests return, to simply enjoy a meal at the Sage Bistro, which is open to the public, to receive outpatient therapy, or to greet their favorite staff members. Interlude is the next generation in transitional care, available now for metro area residents.

Interlude Restorative Suites
520 Osborne Rd., Fridley, MN  55432


2015 Minnesota Business Ethics Awards
Honors Mary T. Inc.

Minneapolis, MN – Business leaders gathered at the Nicollet Island Pavilion on May 13, 2015, Business Ethics Awareness Day in Minnesota, to honor three companies with the 16th annual Minnesota Business Ethics Award (MBEA).  Coon Rapids based Mary T. Inc. was selected as the recipient for the large company category (500+ employees). Other finalists in the large company category were Health Partners and Medtronic. 

Mary T. Inc. is family owned and founded on a tradition of care. They have been providing service to senior communities and persons with disabilities since 1976, and continue to offer this personal care through Home Health & Hospice Care, Rental and Senior Housing, Supported and Independent Living Services, Supported Apartments and Personal & Home Services.

Dr. Mary Tjosvold, CEO and Founder of Mary T. Inc., accepted the award on behalf of Mary T. Inc., “Ethics is really about how you treat people. When you look at the Mary T. Inc. organization, it is how we treat people every single day. It’s about the values, about the mission, about the culture that we have. I believe it is important that all of us set a culture of collaboration and cooperation enabling our employees to act in an ethical way. For me personally, it’s what my 96 year old mother might say about it.”

MBEA winners in the small and mid-size categories were Victory Auto Service & Glass and North Star Resources group. Each MBEA recipient received a crystal award along with a congratulatory letter from Gov. Mark Dayton. Dayton declared Wednesday, May 13, 2015 Business Ethics Awareness Day in the state of Minnesota.  

“Earning the Minnesota Business Ethics Award can be aspirational for many organizations, but those who receive the award find it an affirmation of their true business culture,” said David Rodbourne, MBEA co-chair. “Ethics is an obligation of business that begins with the true structure of the organization.”

The award luncheon keynote was America’s Crisis Guru® James (Jim) Lukaszewski, president, The Lukaszewski Group Division of Risdall Marketing, New Brighton, MN.

The MBEA was founded by the Society of Financial Service Professionals – Twin Cities Chapter and the Center for Ethical Business Cultures (CEBC) at the University of St. Thomas, Opus College of Business. Joining these two organizations as a sponsor is the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) – Minnesota. The MBEA recognizes Minnesota businesses that exemplify and promote ethical conduct in the workplace, the marketplace and the community. More information about the MBEA can be found at




Mary T. Inc. Media Contact:

Jessica Andrist




May is Older Americans Month!
Article from Deb Taylor of Senior Community Services

A public awareness initiative of Senior Community Services

May is Older Americans Month, Reimagine Aging

In the closing months of his Presidency, John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month, later to be renamed Older Americans Month. In 1963, only 17 million Americans were 65 or older. 

Today, more than 45 million seniors live and work among us, and that number will only grow as the 78-million members of the baby boom generation continue to age. The boomers started turning 65 in 2011 and ever since the demand for senior services has increased. 

Ahead, there are challenges as we enable older adults and caregivers to take charge of their lives, to take steps to ensure independence, and to enjoy a full life of meaning for as long as possible. It's what we all want, right?

At Senior Community Services, we place a priority on remaining engaged.  Loneliness and isolation are caustic to the spirit and in time can lead to depression and physical health problems. That's why the seniors centers we operate, thanks to the help of many volunteers, are so important. They provide socialization opportunities for seniors to come together for fellowship, enjoy a meal, take in a ball game, play cards, visit a museum or take a drive through the countryside. As one senior told me, "Looking back, I was so lonely and sad. Coming to my local senior center changed my life, and extended the quality years I still have." Comments like this motivate us to do even more for the older adults among us. 

That's one way we help Minnesotan's Reimagine Aging, bringing the proper mix of resources around the senior (and their caregiver) to help them enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Our Household and Outdoor Maintenance for Elderly (HOME) program is another example. HOME provides low cost services to help seniors live independently in their own homes. The program mobilizes big-hearted people - volunteers and trusted professionals - to provide affordable home maintenance and chore services.

This network of reliable workers and volunteers provide indoor and outdoor chore services to residents ages 60 and older in many of the suburban communities of Hennepin County. Similar programs exist across the state.

And by visiting, you can order chore services for a loved one. As spring unfolds, the need for help with yard cleanup, window-washing, lawn mowing, and painting is growing.

Eleanor, 80, loves her cozy suburban home, but she once worried her days of independence might be ending. Eleanor struggled to keep up with household tasks like window-washing, minor repairs, raking leaves and snow shoveling. Daughter LeeAnn did some research and discovered the HOME program. 

Soon, a group of enthusiastic young volunteers from a local church arrived to help with spring cleaning and yard work. And an affordable handyman fixed a loose downspout on her roof.

Eleanor is content again, free of worry. "Thanks to Senior Community Services, I can continue to live in my own home. I'm so grateful for all they do."

And daughter LeeAnn is grateful for the respite. Working full-time, she struggled to manage caregiving duties and household chores at her mother's home.  "After awhile, you can run out of steam," she says. "Senior Community Services' volunteers and staff are partners with us and the result is so much better than what I could do on my own."

That's what feels good when we Reimagine Aging - life's made better.

Deb Taylor is CEO of Senior Community Services ( and its Reimagine Aging Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for older adults and helps seniors and caregivers maintain their independence through free or low-cost services.



5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors
Let’s Help Them Get Online!
by Article from Senior Care Corner

Too old for social media? Don’t let anyone tell you – or your senior loved one – that, because it’s not possible!

More and more older adults are proving that every day.

Survey after survey reflects that more and more senior Americans, including those in the most elderly groups, are participating in social media — though their numbers still lag behind other age groups.  They are jumping on board Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more (can Google+ be far behind?) as they realize it is fun and provides real benefits.

Are your senior loved ones participating?  We can think of several reasons for them to do so, especially for those living on their own (or aging-in-place), but there are benefits for those in senior care or living facilities as well. 

  • Social Media Can Keep Families Close

  • Social Photo and Video Sharing

  • Coupons & Other Discounts!

  • Peace of Mind

  • Community Belonging


Water Damage & Spring Checklist
by Plumb Right

Did you know that 5 out of 10 insurance claims are water disasters? Billions of dollars of extensive water damage occurs from internal flooding each year. A sump pump is your first line of defense against water seepage. How old is your unit? Are you willing to trust that it will work properly when it needs to? If it fails, do you have a battery backup system in place?

Prevent water issues, use our Spring Checklist

  • Check to be sure your sump pump motor is still working. To prevent backups, make sure any discharge lines are clear and open.

  • Clear leaves out of gutters and downspouts.

  • Check around your home’s foundation for low spots that would allow water to collect and run into your basement. Add soil to those areas so water can slope away.

  • Temporarily turn on the water to your outside faucets and check for any leaks.

  • Make sure that your basement shut off valves are not leaking.

  • Check the condition of your washing machine hoses. Flex and bend the hose, if it feels extremely stiff or you see any cracks then it’s time to replace them. We recommend the more reliable stainless steel hoses.

What is a Sump Pump?

A sump pump is a pump used to remove water that has accumulated in a water collecting sump basin, commonly found in the basement of homes. The water may enter via the perimeter drains of a basement waterproofing system, funneling into the basin or because of rain or natural ground water, if the basement is below the water table level.

Commonly found in the basement of homes, a sump pump is used to remove water that has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin.

Water in basements is a common problem

5 out of 10 insurance claims are water disasters. Billions of dollars of extensive water damage occurs from internal flooding each year. A sump pump is your first line of defense against water seepage so you want to make sure to be proactive with replacing an old one or fixing one that has failed.

Why would I need a sump pump?

Homes that need sump pumps have basements that flood regularly. They are installed to correct the flooding issue and to solve dampness where the water table is above the foundation of a home. They are designed to send water away from a house to an area where it is no longer problematic such as a dry well or municipal storm drain.

Many pumps that were installed years ago still discharge to the sanitary sewer system (for instance through the drain in the laundry sink). Whereas this was once acceptable, this practice now violates plumbing code or municipal bylaws because this discharge can overwhelm municipal sewage treatment systems.

Battery backup is a good idea

Since a sump basin may overflow if not constantly pumped, a backup system is important because during a severe storm where flooding is an issue, many times the home’s electrical power can be out for a prolonged period of time.

The submersible style is mounted completely inside the sump and is specially sealed to prevent electrical short circuits. These pumps are generally more expensive to purchase, have a shorter lifespan (5-15 years) and are much less visible to the homeowner.

What other variables go into the decision to purchase the right sump pump for my home?

When it comes to sump pumps, Plumb Right wrote the book!

Over and above the two basic types of sump pumps, there are many variables to consider when purchasing/having a sump pump installed which is why you should call the professionals at Plumb Right.

  • Automatic vs. manual operation

  • Level of horsepower needed

  • Head pressure/maximum height that the pump will move water

  • Power cord length

  • Water level sensing switch type

  • Backup system and alarm

Don’t wait until your current system fails or the spring rains flood your basement. Call Plumb Right for the best advice, installation and service of new or existing sump pumps.

Plumb Right provides dependable, hardworking sump pumps and battery backup systems that you can count on. Call us today at 763-561-3306 or 952-474-0302 for a consultation.

And if you ever get to the point where your system has failed, call our emergency sump pump line at 763-561-3306 for immediate help.

763-561-3306 or 952-474-0302


by Marilyn Bohn

Downsizing can be a tough process for anyone, but especially for seniors who find themselves with large homes and no longer have children at home to fill up the rooms. More and more are tackling the huge job of downsizing their living spaces. In fact, about six percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 move each year, according to the Over-50 Council of the National Association of Home Builders.

There are several reasons seniors want or need to downsize. They could be planning a move to assisted living, moving into a smaller, more manageable home or living out of a motor home so they can travel more.

I offer the following tips for seniors taking the plunge into a more simplified lifestyle.

� Get Rid of the guilt factor---Many feel they are the "keepers" of their family heirlooms and have a hard time getting rid of items which they no longer have room. This is the number one reason seniors have a hard time downsizing. Look for other family members who would like to have some of these items now. Especially if they are just being stored and not used. This way the person they really want to have them will for sure be the one to inherit the item. And the joy that brings to the recipient can be enjoyed by the giver.

� Paring down items before the move makes the process easier at moving time. It not only saves space but it saves time and money.  If family members do not want the items because of their own space limitations or for other reasons consider donating the items to a charity. Or there are consignment shops in most large cities where items can be sold with a percentage of the cost going to the shop. Or items can be sold through eBay, Craig's list and other places on the internet.

� Find movers specializing in senior needs---Moving is stressful for everyone, but some moving companies specialize in making the transition easier for seniors so it is worth the time to fine a 'mover match'. There are moving companies with senior-friendly services, such as hanging items on the walls for clients unable to do so themselves, handling the change of address and utilities, setting up electronics at a new home, and much more.

� Reassess every five to ten years---As seniors get older, modern appliances or high shelving can become more difficult to use or simply unnecessary considering their lifestyle. By evaluating and reassessing needs every five to ten years helps in two ways. It helps to avoid collecting clutter and keeping things no longer needed. It also assures that the home or space is still working for their lifestyle.

� Everyday activities and household chores can be made easier---This can be a simple process by adjusting the setup in their homes. Keep two to three sets of dinnerware where it is easy to reach instead of keeping everything in out-of-reach cabinetry. Everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes.

Taken from:

Click the links here for Organizing/Downsizing and Moving Transitions companies to help you with all your needs. 

Face The Clutter    Personal & Home Services by Mary T.     Junk Happens

Berger Transfer & Storage    Pak Mail Metro    Quality Moving & Storage  



Healthy Feet by Mary T.
and Why You Should Pamper Your Feet for Good Health

There are a number of reasons to practice good foot care – especially for seniors. Feet are often ignored and have taken years of abuse. They need tender loving care! In addition to providing improved circulation and relaxation, good foot care can provide valuable information about your general health.

1.  What are the best reasons for good foot care?

  • Helps Maintain Good Circulation: Whether you lead a sedentary life or are on your feet all day, a foot massage can stimulate muscles and improve circulation to the lower extremities. This can be especially helpful for diabetics.
  • Lowers Blood Pressure: In the highly stressful environment of today, a relaxing foot massage can be an effective tool to lower blood pressure, lessen muscle tension, reduce anxiety and help improve your mood.
  • Provides a Visual Checkup: It’s an opportunity to check for injury, color, circulation, nail bed problems or poorly fitting shoes that may be damaging your feet. If problems are noted, a recommendation to see your doctor might be made.
  • Helps With Balance: By reducing pain, swelling and reducing muscle stress, feet and ankles are better able to provide needed balance and support of the entire body.
  • Helps With Healthy Maintenance: Regular foot care provides a time to get rid of calluses and dead skin, trim your nails, stretch, moisturize, cleanse, relieve pain and rejuvenate your feet. Diabetics especially benefit from a periodic foot massage for improved circulation and reduced risk of neuropathy.

 2.  Things you can do to maintain good foot health 

  • Wash your feet regularly with warm water and soap, especially between your toes
  • Clean and trim your toe nails regularly
  • Moisturize your feet every day
  • Avoid shoes that don’t fit
  • Keep your feet dry in your shoes, using foot powder if necessary
  • Get a good foot care session if you have trouble accessing your feet

3.  What a good Healthy Feet by Mary T. foot care session includes

  • A 5-minute foot soak in warm soapy water
  • A regular foot check-up including examination of the shins, ankles and feet
  • Trimming of nails & cuticles
  • A relaxing massage
  • Moisturizing with lotion on your legs and feet
  • Great conversation

Click Here for a list of Foot Care Clinics by Mary T., Inc.


General Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care



Guide For Overcoming Holiday Depression
For The Elderly And Their Caretakers

For most of us, the holidays are a time to gather with friends and family, celebrate, reflect on the past and plan for the future. However, for some, especially older individuals, the holidays can be a difficult time. During the holidays, older adults may feel more acutely the passing of time, the absence of parents, siblings and friends who have died, and the distance of loved ones who have moved away. Traditional reunions and rituals that were observed in the past may not be possible and in their absence, the holidays may seem devoid of meaning.

Approximately 6 million people over 65 are depressed. But unfortunately, few seek treatment. Chronic health issues, feelings of loneliness, and loss of loved ones can exacerbate feelings of depression and make the holidays a very difficult time for some seniors.

Look for signs of depression. The holidays can be a difficult time for older adults who may be dealing with the loss of loved ones and past traditions. While feeling blue can be normal, depression isn’t. It is important for caretakers to be on the look out for signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, frequent tearfulness, weight changes, changes in sleep patterns, etc.

Click Here for a resource guide for the elderly, their caregivers and their family members with tips and advice on how to beat holiday depression.

Other Resources:

 - WebMD:  Depression In The Elderly
 -  How To Spot The Warning Signs of Depression
 - National Institute on Aging:  Depression
 - National Institute on Mental Health:  Older Adults and Depression
 - - Depression in the Eldery - 7 Ways to Help


Who Would Speak For You
If You Couldn't Speak For Yourself?

As you gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving, take the opportunity to have the conversation.

To help you get started, go to for video stories by real people, documentaries and resources. The documentary “Honoring Choices: Giving Thanks” and six other documentaries will run continuously on tpt MN for most of Thanksgiving Day.

Click here for resources for obtaining assistance with completing your health care directive.

Contact Honoring Choices Minnesota at 612-623-2899 for presentations on Advance Care Planning and health care directives at your senior housing, congregation, club or other group.

Cindy Dubansky, MSW, LICSW
Care Management Solutions, LLC
Expert. Advocate. Helping Hand.
PH: 612-308-0166


Extra Help For Medicare Part D Costs

Did you know that "Extra Help" (Low-income subsidy) is available from the Social Security Administration to help low-income individuals pay for their Medicare Part D benefit?

If you qualify:

  • Low-Income Subsidy includes help for Medicare Part D premiums, co-pays and deductibles.

  • This "help" has more generous guidelines than most Federal/State programs

  • This "help" is not subject to lien recovery unlike most Federal/State programs.

Forms and application assistance is available through your local Senior LinkAge Line® in all 87 Counties of Minnesota. 

Call 1-800-333-2433 for assistance near you!


Medicare Considers New Ruling to
Eliminate Coverage of Bone Anchored Hearing Solutions


If the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has its way, people with certain types of hearing loss will no longer be able to benefit from proven bone anchored hearing solutions such as the Cochlear™ Baha® Implant System.

The problem stems from a proposed rule being considered by CMS that would classify bone anchored hearing solutions, otherwise known as osseointegrated hearing implants, as hearing aids, not prosthetics.

The adoption of the rule could affect the quality of hearing for thousands of people in the United States who have found traditional hearing aids to be ineffective in treating hearing problems, such as microtia and atresia or other conditions.

In contrast to traditional hearing aids, which aren’t covered under Medicare, these systems are surgically implanted and use bone conduction to replace the function of the middle ear or the cochlea, whereas hearing aids require no medical procedures and are not permanent.

“In 2006, CMS correctly classified the Baha Implant System as a prosthetic device that replaces the function of the middle ear and cochlea,” said Anthony Manna, President, Cochlear Bone Anchored Solutions. “If the new proposal is accepted, the United States would be one of the very few industrialized nations not to cover this life changing technology.”

To date, the Baha Implant System has helped more than 100,000 people worldwide hear and enjoy a better quality of life. In the United States alone, thousands have enjoyed the profound change in hearing such prosthetics make possible.

Even so, CMS is still considering this change in policy, which could affect thousands of Americans, not only those who may be good candidates for this type of prosthetic, but current recipients who would be unable to upgrade their technology or even maintain their current system due to the loss of these important benefits.

The good news is that CMS is still considering the new rule. The hearing community is hoping that current and prospective users and their loved ones, in addition to advocates of prosthetic technologies, will voice their dissatisfaction with the proposed rule so these life-changing technologies can continue to be covered by Medicare.

Action Is Needed by August 29, 2014 to Prevent Passing of Legislation. There are a number of ways people can offer their support and voice their concern for the rule change. For more information, visit:

Click Here For More Information from The Hearing Review


Quiz Your Doctor Before Taking Meds
Ask The Pharmacist
Article by Suzy Cohen - Minnesota Good Age

What does it mean when a medication label says, “take on an empty stomach” or “take with food” because I never adhere to those warnings and I’m still alive. Does it really matter?

It matters in most cases, but not all.

With antibiotics, it may be that your medicine reaches a higher blood level when you take it on an empty stomach, but over the course of therapy, it doesn’t change the outcome, meaning the pathogens are killed regardless of when you take the medicine.

With other medications, such as sleeping pills, a warning to avoid alcohol is important and should be adhered to because the combination could be fatal.

It’s the same thing with certain antidepressants (MAO or monoamine oxidase inhibitors inhibitors) that can’t be combined with cheese, or death could result.

For your safety, let me give you the proper questions to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist:

1. What’s the name of the condition you’re treating me for?

2. What’s the brand name and generic name of the medication you’re prescribing?

3. Is there a less expensive, generic alternative?

4. Do I take it in the morning or at night, or divide the dose throughout the day?

5. It is better to take it with food or on an empty stomach?

6.  ....... Read Full Article Here

Suzy Cohen has been a licensed pharmacist for almost 25 years. 
Send questions to


Living Independently At Home
Article by Jack Benke, MMP, GRI, CEA
Senior Real Estate Consultant
Reverse Mortgage Specialist


In the past, if someone had difficulty living alone, it was a signal that now was time to move in with family or go to a nursing home. But, for most people, that no longer is the case. Today, you can live on your own for many years, even as you grow older and start needing help with everyday tasks. However, if you wish to “age in place” it requires some careful planning on your part.

When you develop a chronic health condition, like diabetes, arthritis, or Alzheimer’s disease, aging in place means more than just staying put. You need a place to live that is safe and fits with your abilities. As driving becomes more difficult, it is important to access reliable and affordable transportation. A wide range of paid services may be available in your community. You may also want extra funds for family caregivers or for home modifications (such as a ramp or lift) that can extend the time you can live at home.

Americans of all ages value their ability to live independently. But without a plan for aging in place, it can be hard to stay in control of your life. Knowing your health risks and financial options can make a big difference in your ability to stay in a familiar place.

To help you plan properly, I invite you to call me.  You can contact me at 651-405-9105 and we can discuss a plan for you.  I can introduce you to other NAIPC members that can help you complete your “aging-in-place” strategy to live safe and independently for as long as you can.

Jack Benke, MMP, GRI, CEA
Senior Real Estate Consultant
Reverse Mortgage Specialist
1031 Exchange Specialist

Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.

999 Marie Avenue West

Mendota Heights, MN 55118


Direct: 651-405-9105

Cell: 651-398-3183


Member National Aging In Plac Council NAIPC

     “A Multi-Generation Realtor for Life”


Hearing Loss Often Overlooks, Easy To Detect
Article submitted by Beltone Hearing

Hearing loss affects 31 million Americans.  Still only 20% of those who need a hearing aid own one.  Hearing loss is a condition that, in most cases, develops gradually – many people do not realize they are affected.  Fortunately, modern hearing care has become more aware of the symptoms of hearing loss.  This increased awareness has helped millions hear better and enjoy life more. 

Hearing loss itself can be misunderstood.  Wax buildup in the ear canal is a common occurrence that adversely affects hearing.  Often people assume they have permanent loss, when in fact, they don’t.  A hearing screening and video otoscope inspection (a simple procedure in which a picture of a person’s ear canal is taken) provide an accurate evaluation of what you’re hearing and what you’re not. 

Click here to read the full article and the warning signs

If you’re interested in a hearing screening, or if you would like to request a free copy of The Gift of Hearing, call Beltone toll free at 1-800-485-1596.


For a Hearing Center near you,
Click Here for our full list of Approved Hearing Centers


A note from Jack Benke: 10 paces to your own spaces
Article by Jack Benke, Broker Owner of
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.


These tips come from REALTOR® experience with all manner of home buyers: first-timers, move-ups, empty-nesters, and so on. Keep this list in mind to help you get into the home of your dreams with the assurance that your feelings have been felt countless times before.

1. There's no "right" time to buy anymore than there's a right time to sell: Conditions are currently stellar for the home buyer. Affordability is up, inventory is plentiful, interest rates are at historical lows and you have an $8,000 head start courtesy of the federal government's tax credit for first-time home buyers. But second-guessing where interest rates and home prices are going is a dubious strategy. Changes don't usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won't stay long on the market.

2. Don't ask for too many opinions from friends, coworkers and family: It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.

3. Accept that no house is ever perfect: Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.

4. Find a REALTOR® who is agreeable and likable: Buying a home is not only a big financial commitment but also an emotional one. It's critical that the practitioner you choose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.

5. Don't lose by being a killer negotiator: Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to "win" by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you desire.

6. Remember that your home doesn't exist in a vacuum: Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself—room size, kitchen, square footage—that you forget such issues as amenities, noise level, and proximity to work and school. Many factors should play into what it will be like to live in your new home.

7. Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-purchase budget: Even if you buy a brand new home, there will be some costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.

8. Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will probably pass quickly: Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields huge long-term benefits.

9. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about price appreciation. A home's most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.

10. Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability and consider a moving schedule: Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers. With lending practices returning to standards that existed prior to the boom years, it will ultimately benefit you to have your financials ready to go and your calendar open.

Jack Benke, GRI®, CBR®, MMP®, CEA®
Broker Owner
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.
999 Marie Avenue West
Mendota Heights, MN 55118
Direct: 651-405-9105
Cell: 651-398-3183
Jack is a licensed Broker in MN and FL


Why Use a Certified Buyer Representative, CBR®?
Article by Jack Benke, Broker Owner of
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.


Buyer Representation is rapidly changing the face of real estate.  Propelled by knowledgeable home purchasers, legislative action, and consumer watch dog groups, home buyer representation has gained momentum in the residential market in recent years and is now available nationwide.  To find out even more visit

Buyer Representative is a cooperating agent who legally exclusively represents the real estate buyer.  They generally do so under an exclusive buyer representation agreement, much like a traditional real estate broker represents the seller under a listing agreement.  The buyer agent’s role is to be the advocate for the purchaser in the real estate transaction. Each agent completes three days of extensive training (22.5 class room hours) to earn the CBR® Designation.

For Exclusive Buyer Representation, call Jack Benke, CBR® at Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.                                                                   

Phone: 651-405-9104, Email:,

Jack Benke, GRI®, CBR®, MMP®, CEA®
Broker Owner
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.
999 Marie Avenue West
Mendota Heights, MN 55118
Direct: 651-405-9105
Cell: 651-398-3183
Jack is a licensed Broker in MN and FL


Top Scams Targeting Seniors
From The Office Of The Better Business Bureau
Gary Johnson, Senior Programs Manager - 612-695-2424


You receive a check and letter announcing you have won a large sum of money, or if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Publishers Clearing House Lottery.  The letter/caller tells you to deposit the check and wire funds in the same amount to cover fees, insurance and taxes.  Ultimately, the check is counterfeit and the money send is lost.   

  •  Avoid wiring money to someone who awards you with something too good to be true, and never pay money to accept a prize. 


Senior citizens are being targeted by callers claiming to be their grandchild.  The caller often claims to have gotten into a predicament in a different state, and asks you to wire money to them to post bail or pay for damages.  The money ultimately goes to a scam artist, and you are out possibly thousands of dollars.

  • Verify that you are truly speaking with your grandchild by asking questions only they could answer, and contact your grandchild’s parents to find out their whereabouts before trusting the caller.


A person comes to your door and claims to be a repair expert.  He tells you that he noticed your home, usually your roof or driveway, needs a repair and he can offer you a great deal.  In the end, you could end up a victim for a job you didn’t need at all. 

  • Trust your instincts.  If the “expert” uses high pressure sales tactics or you feel intimidated, turn them away.

  •  Never pay the cost of a job upfront.

  •  If you are unsure if your home truly needs a repair, contact an Approved Business on the Minnesota Seniors program, or a BBB Accredited contractor, for an estimate. 


Check with the BBB first.


To request materials or to have someone from the BBB speak to your group about marketplace issues, contact Gary Johnson, Senior Programs Manager, at 651-695-2424 or


To Sell or Not To Sell...
A Question For Baby Boomers

Article by Jack Benke
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.


This is the question the baby boomers (62+) are contemplating and rumor has it there is a growing trend that we want to stay in our homes aka “aging in place” as long as possible. This is not to say that new homes, designed specifically for this age group, are not in demand also.

Whether you are leaning towards purchasing a new home or modifying an existing property, “universal design” is a term you will become familiar with. This house plan accommodates the “aging in place” senior’s needs. An essential feature ideally includes single floor living; one size does not fit all though, so careful planning is needed to customize a successful plan.

The one constant in the process is the need to access funds to finance your decision. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program is a federally insured program offering 62+ home owners the ability to access the equity in their primary residence. Funds are accessed through refinancing their existing mortgage to make the proposed modifications. A HECM loan for purchase is available for those seniors interested in selling their existing residence and using some or all of the proceeds to purchase a more suitable new home. Requirements are stay current on property taxes, hazard insurance and maintenance of the home….no monthly mortgage payments. Upon sale of the property, the loan is repaid. Any loan deficiency is federally insured. Any equity is returned to the borrower’s estate. 

If you would like to learn more contact Jack Benke of Real Estate Opportunities at 651-405-9105. 

For more resources click the links below:

Aging In Place Directory Home Modifications
Senior Housing Directory Moving Transition Services
Real Estate Organizing/Downsizing
Home Health Care Handicap Accessible



Guidelines for Giving Wisely to Charities
From The Office Of The Better Business Bureau
Gary Johnson, Senior Programs Manager - 612-695-2424


Charities are seeking contributions more than ever now due to ever-rising costs and demand for services.  With the majority of the money raised by charities in this country coming from individuals, BBB offers the following advice to help donors make wise giving decisions:

Warning Signs

  • Sound-Alike Names:  Don't be fooled by names that sound impressive or that closely resemble the name of a well-known organization.

  • High-Pressure Tactics:  Be wary if an on-the-spot donation is requested.  A legitimate charity will welcome your donation as much tomorrow as they will today.

  • Emotional Appeals:  Be cautions of vague appeals that offer gifts or base their appeal on a heart-breaking story, but are short on facts describing the charity's services. 

  • Cash Payment Requested:  Always pay by check and never by cash, and be sure to make the check payable to the organization and not to the individual.

  • Unable to Provide Information:  If the organization cannot provide you with information regarding their services, walk away.  A legitimate organization will offer you a brochure detailing their services, or may direct you to their website. 

Tips for Giving Wisely

  • Confirm that the charity is an IRS 501(c)(3) entity by contacting the IRS.

  • If contacted by phone, ask for the organization's address, phone number and a contact person so that you know where your money is going.  Before sending any money, do your research to find out if they organization is legitimate.

  • Verify that the charity asking for donations is registered with Minnesota and North Dakota.  Organizations are required to register here before asking for donations.

  • Keep records of your donations so you can document your charitable giving at tax time. 

  • Check out the organization with BBB's Wise Giving Alliance at  

Check with the BBB first.


To request materials or to have someone from the BBB speak to your group about marketplace issues, contact Gary Johnson, Senior Programs Manager, at 651-695-2424 or


Legal Alert Of The Month - Reverse Mortgages
From The Office Of The
Attorney General
Lori Swanson
Reverse Mortgage Tips
If you are considering a Reverse Mortgage, read this first!

With the cost of everything going up—from living expenses to health care to utilities—many senior citizens find themselves financially squeezed like never before.  And with the baby boomers growing older, there are a lot more senior citizens than ever before.

Seeing these trends, some companies are marketing the “reverse mortgage” as a way for seniors to convert some of the equity in their home to cash to pay other bills. Reverse mortgages are now a $20 billion industry.

For some seniors, a reverse mortgage may be a suitable loan, but for others it is not.  If you are considering a reverse mortgage, be sure to find out the “pros” and the “cons.”  Carefully evaluate whether a reverse mortgage is suitable given your needs and circumstances and consider whether there are other alternatives that may be more suitable for you.  Steer clear of predatory lenders and scam artists who may want to steer you into a high-cost loan or sell you a reverse mortgage in order to get at your money.

Read Full Article Here with Tips For Reverse Mortgages and what to look out for!



Multigenerational Living

Article by Jack Benke
Real Estate Opportunities, Inc.

The “Empty Nest” Not So Empty Anymore

What may have been in the recent past a life style made primarily out of necessity, mutigenerational living has now become a trend partially made out of choice.

What has remained constant, and is essential to the success of the expanded living arrangement, is communication. It would be great if each generation were treated as equal partners; that is ideal, but may not be an easy concept to grasp for the “oldest” of the generations. Respect for an individual’s space and time, financial contributions to everyday living expenses and participation in daily maintenance of the property are just a few of the many considerations that should be made prior to the new living arrangements. Being sensitive to each family member’s way of life is important for success; that is, accommodating a grandparent’s health issues, and the “Boomerang Generation” (young adults ages 25-35 who find themselves moving back home) parenting styles.

*A 2012 survey by a national home builder revealed 32% of adult children expect to eventually share their house with a parent. The Universal Design is a home building/remodeling concept that accommodates the needs of aging or special needs homeowners that may come into play when multigenerational living arrangements are put into place. It is important to understand the impact of these modifications before you get started.

To the home owner opening their home to a family member, I say “open not just your home but also your heart”.

*AARP Bulletin April 2013



Roadwise Rx:
Your Prescription for Medication Information

By 2020, one in six Americans will be aged 65 or older, and most will still have a driver’s license. Safer roads, safer vehicles, and a healthier, more active older population mean that seniors are driving more miles and later in life than was previously the case. And, despite what we often hear in the news, AAA Foundation analysis has shown that older drivers are, in general, a safe and responsible subset of motorists.

Aging does present its challenges, however, and among these tends to be an increased use of various medications. Whether over-the-counter or prescription drugs, these medicines may have side effects that can impact the ability to drive safely, or they may interact in ways that cause impairment. However, a recent AAA survey of older drivers found that while 82 percent take regular prescription or over-the-counter medications, only half of these drivers have talked with their doctor about possible safety issues related to driving.

We are very pleased, therefore, to announce the launch of a new product developed by the AAA Foundation. Roadwise Rx is a free online tool that provides information about medication side effects and drug interactions that may be relevant to safe vehicle operation. Visitors to enter the names of any medications they are taking, and instantly receive confidential, personalized results.  Click Here to Read More

Helping Senior Drivers

It is only natural for adult children to worry about the safety of their aging parents who drive.  Seniors face real challenges behind the wheel, brought on by declining vision and other effects of aging. 

Know the signs 
Adult children can drive with their parents and watch for these deteriorating skills:
     * Confusing the gas and brake pedals
     * Weaving or straddling lanes
     * Getting lost easily, even in familiar places
     * Driving too fast or slow

Families should know their state's licensing requirements.  Some states require seniors to renew their licenses for frequently than younger drivers, and some require vision tests. 

Minnesota :

For advice on talking to your senior parents about their driving, visit



Ebenezer Ridges receives $10,000 grant
from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council

BURNSVILLE, Minn. (July 2013) -- Ebenezer Ridges Campus has received a $10,000 grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to introduce intergenerational dance to the residents of Arbors at Ridges, an assisted living community in Burnsville, Minn.  The grant will engage elders in creative movement and storytelling.  The dance program will be operated by Kairos Alive (, the first intergenerational modern dance company in the Twin Cities.

In May 2013, Arbors at Ridges ( opened a new building on the Ebenezer Campus and welcomed dozens of new senior residents.  The assisted living community provides a full range of services to help seniors age in place. 

Kairos Alive’s Creating Home Program operates on the belief that “we are lifelong learners and can continue to grow, learn, and change as long as we are provided with opportunities.”  The dance program provides in-depth opportunities for artistic development, creativity, higher-level physical activity, and community connection for elders in our community. 

Kairos artists and Ebenezer staff and volunteers will teach the weekly dance program for 16 weeks.  Each 90-minute class will have up to 20 participants.  Weekly post-session evaluation and coaching sessions will be conducted with site staff.  They will assess artistic growth and the participants’ willingness and ability to initiate movement or story ideas, recreate stories and choreography, and move in new ways. The program leads to improvement in health, cognitive, social, emotional, and quality of life measures. 

“Ebenezer is honored to receive this grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council,” said Erin Hilligan, campus administrator at Ebenezer Ridges.  “We are excited to work with Kairos Alive to provide the many benefits this program with have on our residents and the entire community.”


Congratulations to Dr. Jack Churchill of Churchill Dental! 
President's Award Winner

Each year the President of the Minnesota Dental Association selects a President’s Award winner- one who has served the MDA in some outstanding capacity.  This year Dr. Jack Churchill was selected for serving for 12 years as Chairman of the Constitution, By-Laws, and Ethics Committee and for writing a column for the MDA’s Northwest Dentistry magazine.  The article was called “What’s A Dentist To Do” – a regular column on ethics in dentistry.   

For his articles and more information about Dr. Jack Churchill and his staff, Visit their website at or call 612-333-8988.


What Is Respite Care And Where Can I Find It?
Article written by:
Adagio Manor Assisted Living
Life at Your Tempo!

Respite care is giving the care giver some time off. How much time off? That depends on the need. Respite care can be during the day, over night or for 2 weeks. Care givers that are providing daily care for a loved one sometimes need time off. Maybe they need a day to go shopping and run errands, or maybe they need to go to work, or maybe they want a weekend at the lake. Or maybe the caregiver has some medical issues themselves that may require a hospitalization or some time off to take care of themselves. Most care givers including wives, husbands, sons and daughter’s need some time away.

Adagio Manor Assisted Living can help by providing the respite care. We can bill in increments as few as 12 hours or by the week.  To prepare for respite care we go through our regular admission process to ensure that we are providing high quality respite care for your loved one. Then, just let us know when that break is needed and we will gladly schedule respite care for your loved one!

Minnesota Seniors Respite Care Directory

Respite has been shown to help sustain family caregiver health and wellbeing, avoid or delay out-of-home placements, and reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect.  An outcome based evaluation pilot study showed that respite may also reduce the likelihood of divorce and help sustain marriages.[2]


What Should You Do If Your Property
Is Damaged in a Storm?

Article written by Daryl C Johnson
MN Public Insurance Adjuster
License # 40279355

I enjoy Minnesota and its four seasons. I am looking forward to the warmer temperatures of spring and its first gentle rain.

As we know, with the change of temperature and air movements, the rains and winds may not be so gentle.

In the insurance industry, storm damage is considered to be an “act of God”. The property owner did not directly cause this damage. Therefore, Insurance companies can not single out one particular homeowner and raise insurance rates for this insurance claim.

Prior to the storm season you should review your insurance policy to verify insurance coverage.

  1. Do you have a copy of your full policy with all the supplements and addendums? The full policy is not sent out each year, upon renewal.  If you do not have the full policy, call your agent and request that it be sent to you.
  2. Is the correct property owner(s) listed on the Declarations page? This is who owns the policy and will receive any proceeds from the policy.
  3. Do you have “Replacement Cost” coverage or “Actual Cash Value” coverage? Actual Cash Value is replacement cost minus depreciation.
  4. Do you have enough coverage?
  5. An excellent article by the Dept of Commerce on Homeowners Insurance is at this link: What you need to know

In the event of storm damage, what can you expect and what should you do if your property is damaged? 

  1. The first thing is the safety of you and your loved ones.
  2. Insurance policies require you to take reasonable steps protect your property from further damage. Your safety comes first.
  3. File your claim. Call your insurance agent. At this time you do not need determine exact cause or calculate the cost to repair.
  4. Most property owners will have difficulty with the following critical steps in an insurance claim. 


  • Proving your loss is your responsibility.  May things are overlooked or not considered in most insurance claims.  Adjusters working for the insurance company are busy and are not contractually obligated to determine the full extent of your loss.  This may leave a homeowner with not enough money to fully restore their property. 


  • Painting a room is a good example of "Scope of Work".  The Actual paining is the easy part.  Most of the time is spent on preparing for painting. 
  • Defining what work is going to be done and getting a fixed estimate for the work is important.
  • For example:  You may received a bid from a roofing contract with a general statement like:  "Removed old shingles and install new shingles".  Does this mean he will also install the proper ice and water membranes?  Will he replace the metal valleys?
  • Poorly defined specifications or scope of work may lead to note enough money to properly repair your home. 


  • Insurance companies are not contractually obligated to prove your loss or determine the correct amount of money to restore your home.
  • Company Adjusters are busy and mistakes will be make
  • You do not have to accept the first offer given by the Insurance Company.
  • It takes a good understanding of construction, building standards and codes to correctly determine the amount of your claim. 
  1. Do not authorize the start of construction (except for emergency protection) until a settlement has been reached with your insurance company.

a.      Expect different contractors or salesman at your door after a storm. Sometimes they will arrive within 24 hours. Most Contractors are reputable and honest but the elderly are particularly vulnerable to Contractor scams. If at all possible, have a friend or relative sit in on all meetings with Contractors.

b.      Important: Money received for an insurance claim is your money for your expenses to repair, replace or restore your damaged property. Do not sign your claim and your money over to a Contractor.

c.      Sales pressure to sign a contract. Besides temporary protection services there is no need to rush into signing a contractor. Take your time to get proper estimates with firm prices. Have the contract reviewed by a relative or trusted friend.

d.      Get actual estimates with firm prices. Contractors will try to “take over your claim”  with unspecified estimate amounts. You may see wording such as:  “The amount the insurance company will pay” or “authorization to talk with your insurance company”.

e.      MN Dept of Labor and Industry warns against these types of contracts at this web site:  “do some homework before hiring a building contractor after a storm”.

f.        Be cautious of large down payments to a contractor. Never pay more than 20% down.

g.      Use established local contractors, if possible.

h.      Check to see if the Contractor is a licensed contractor and has proper liability and workman’s compensation insurance.

Wrapping up the insurance claim and restoration. Unless the claim is small, your insurance company will not issue the final check until the restoration is complete. Notify your insurance company that the project is complete and request the final payment.

Collect a Lien waiver (a waiver from the Contractor stating that they have been paid and   waive their rights to file a lien on your property) from your contractor. You should collect a waiver for every payment made to a Contractor.

If your project required a building permit, make sure the building project has passed the final inspection prior to making the final payment to the Contractor.

Article written by Daryl C Johnson
MN Public Insurance Adjuster License # 40279355


by Realife Cooperative of Brooklyn Park
3100 85th Ave. N
Brooklyn Park, MN  55443

Senior housing cooperatives provide affordable living with a neighborly perspective for active adults 55+.  Cooperatives are not-for-profit organizations that are owned and controlled by the membership. 

A cooperative is an owner-operated development. Through the purchase of a share in the cooperative, residents have an exclusive right to occupy a particular building unit and have equal voting status in electing members to the Board of Directors which oversees the operation of the cooperative.  Members take pleasure in enjoying shared spaces and amenities like libraries, workshops, craft rooms, exercise rooms and community gardens. No more worries about upkeep such as mowing the grass or shoveling the driveway.

Members pay a monthly fee that includes their pro-rata share of the operating expenses, insurance, real estate taxes, reserves, replacement, principal, and interest on the master mortgage.

The cooperative maintains all of the appliances, flooring, window blinds, cabinets and fixtures in the units and common areas. 

Click Here for our list of Senior Housing Cooperatives on Minnesota Seniors


Ask Dr. Marion
by Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, PhD)

“My father suffered a terrible fall six months ago and has been home from the rehabilitation center for the last few weeks. It seems like he’s losing his will to stick with his exercise program. What can I do?” Cheryl in Nebraska, 66

When someone has undergone a medical or physical challenge, it can be extremely difficult for them to continue with rehab once they return home from the hospital or care facility. It’s an especially difficult transition since they no longer have the stimulation and encouragement of the nurses and professionals around them. Your father can easily lose his momentum, and this will stop him from reaching a higher level of rehabilitation and functionality. You should do all you can to keep him motivated and improving.

But to do that, you must get involved. You can’t just give him the pictures or the video and the exercises he needs to do. If at all possible, stop by and do the activities with him. If you can’t be there, suggest that he put on his favorite music while he’s exercising. Time things to a favorite television show. It can also be effective with big sports fans to have them work out while the game is on. You might want to set a specific time for the workout, and then call your dad to check on him. Most people like it when others show their interest and concern this way.

Even the most disciplined and motivated person can get discouraged, so don’t put a specific time frame for complete healing. It’s important that you start this process as soon as possible so that he doesn’t get used to a certain level of pain or discomfort or lack of function. As soon as that mindset starts to set in, you’ve lost the battle. Find the fun in it and reemphasize the image of your father as a complete, healed, and fully functioning individual. Help him visualize a goal. If there’s a family wedding coming up, dancing with the grandkids should be a real target for him. Good luck!

Dr. Marion (Marion Somers, PhD) is the author of "Elder Care Made Easier" and has over 40 years of experience as a geriatric care manager, caregiver, speaker, and expert in all things elder care. She offers practical tools, solutions, and advice to help caregivers everywhere through her book, web site, iPhone apps (Elder 411/911), cross-country speaking tours, and more. Visit for more information.


TLC Financial, Inc.
William Lehnertz, ChFC

College is expensive. For some fortunate students, grandparents are stepping in to help. This trend is expected to accelerate as baby boomer grandparents start gifting what could be trillions of dollars over the next few decades. Helping to finance a grandchild's college education can bring great personal satisfaction and can be a way for grandparents to minimize potential gift and estate taxes. Here are some common strategies.

  • Outright cash gifts
  • Pay tuition directly to the college
  • 529 college savings plan

Under federal law, tuition payments made directly to a college aren't considered taxable gifts, no matter how large the payment. This rule is helpful considering that annual tuition at some private colleges is now surpassing the $40,000 mark.

Click Here to Read the Entire Article



No one wants to believe they’ll need Long-Term Care
Own Your Future campaign appeals to one million
Minnesotans to come up with a plan.

Debra C. Newman, CLU, ChFC, LTCP, Founder

There are three uncomfortable conversations parents should have with their children: the birds and the bees, avoiding drugs, and your plans should you ever need long-term care. It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. Once you reach 65, you’ll have a 70 percent chance of needing this type of assistance.  Unfortunately the high costs aren’t covered by Medicare.

“We prefer to say that your real risk is either zero or 100 percent,” says Deb Newman, founder of Newman Long Term Care, one of the largest and most successful long-term care marketing organizations in the country. The real question — and the bigger risk — relates to the length of time for which you may need to receive care services. Your plan must prepare for the risk of needing care that could last many years.”

If you’d rather be able to relax and spend your retirement savings on fun activities rather than worrying about the “what ifs”, there is a solution. This fall, Governor Mark Dayton will send a letter to one million Minnesotans between ages 40 and 65, appealing to them to take part in the Own Your Future campaign by developing a long-term care plan.

Minnesota is aging. Between 2010 and 2030, the number of people over age 65 will grow by 107 percent while the rest of the population grows by six percent. Many boomers have not prepared and saved enough to pay for their long-term care. A 2005 University of Minnesota study estimated that 30 percent of Minnesota boomers at retirement will not have sufficient resources to pay for health and long-term care. That number is probably higher today. Individuals who make plans for their own long-term care have control over their future, the choices they want, and peace of mind.

“You need to have a heart-to-heart discussion with your family about your plan,” urges Newman. “If you leave that part of your life unplanned, your family becomes the plan and the financial, physical and emotional stress on your family is immeasurable. It’s not fair to them.”

Dispelling the top myths about long-term care:

What pops into your mind when you think about long-term care? Nursing homes? “The reality is very different,” says Newman. “More than 85 percent of long-term care is delivered outside of a nursing home setting today. Having a long-term care plan in place will allow you to dictate how you want to be cared for.” She adds that other typical misconceptions include:

  • I’ve got enough in the bank to cover long-term care. “On average, long-term care costs $7,000 a month. In 30 years, it might be four times that amount. Having a plan could make the difference between saving or losing a family business, or even whether your daughter or son will be able to afford to retire after taking time away from their careers to care for your needs.”

  • Medicare must pay for my long-term care. “There is no government plan to pay for this. Many people mistakenly believe Medicare will pay for long-term care costs. It does not. Medicare only pays for long-term care under very limited circumstances. In the old days, you used to be able to give away your money and assets, and let the state care for you. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

  • Long-term care insurance is expensive. “There are affordable choices. You might be able to get a good solution for under $100 a month.”

How to start your plan:

“It’s estimated that 10,000 people will turn 65 every day for the next 19 years. What will the state do if all these people need care and don’t have a plan?” asks Newman. “We’re hoping Minnesotans will embrace the Own Your Future Campaign so that they have personal and financial options to meet their future long-term care needs. The state even offers a tax credit to people who buy long-term care insurance.” Newman’s tips for preparing a plan include:  

  • Start planning at age 50. “The average age for new individual long-term care insurance applicants is 57; an age when many are able to qualify for good health discounts. This discount reduces costs and remains even if your health changes. You can still do it when you’re older, but it will cost you more.”

  • Make the four basic decisions. “Designing a policy is not complicated. There are just four questions to answer:

  1. What monthly benefit do you want? If care costs $7000 a month, how much of that do you want covered by insurance?

  2. What maximum benefit do you want? How big is your bucket of money going to be?

  3. Choose an inflation feature. There are myriad of inflation figures. These are what drives the premiums.

  4. What size deductible do you want? How many days of care are you willing to pay for before the policy kicks in?

  5. · If you can’t afford long-term care information, talk with your family about a plan. Who will be your caregiver(s)? Should you move closer to them now? How do you want your assets used to pay for your care?

Yes, it’s an uncomfortable conversation:

But there are great resources out there. “Insurance doesn’t just pay for care,” Newman explains. “It also provides resources and support to lean on, permission to use some of what you’ve saved up for your retirement for what you’ve always wanted to do such as hobbies and trips. You have the peace of mind to spend your money on things that make you happy.”

To create a blueprint for your long-term care plan, which you can print and bring to your insurance agent to start the conversation, visit

Media Note: For additional information, or to schedule an interview with Debra Newman, contact Media Relations, Inc. at 612-798-7220.

Biography: Debra C. Newman, CLU, ChFC, LTCP, Founder

Deb Newman is a pioneer of the long-term care insurance industry and founder of Newman Long Term Care: One of the largest and most successful long-term care marketing organizations in the country. Deb's focus is on helping people understand that planning ahead will allow them to finish life well.

Nationally recognized on long-term care issues, Deb frequently speaks to insurance, financial services and government groups as well as consumers. She can be heard regularly on Minnesota's WCCO Radio and has been recently quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Star Tribune and Money Magazine.

In 2009, Deb was acknowledged by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as one of the top 25 Women in Business. She was also named a 2009 Five Star Wealth Manager by Twin Cities Business and Minneapolis-St. Paul magazines. This award reflects client satisfaction information gathered from consumers and financial services professionals. In 2007, Deb was recognized nationally as one of the top ten on the Power List of Who's Who in Long-term Care Insurance.

Deb holds leadership positions in many insurance industry groups, including:

  • Chair for the Board of Directors, Life & Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE)

  • President Minnesota Chapter of National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors (NAIFA)

  • Past National President, Association of Health Insurance Advisors (AHIA)

  • Past President, (NAIFA) Minneapolis



Medicare Open Enrollment
Change your plan or stick with the old one?
By Teresa Ambord ~ Minnesota Good Age
The Journal of Active Life - September 2012


Coming soon - October 15 through December 7 - seniors and disabled persons on Medicare will have the opportunity to decide whether or not their current Medicare plans are meeting their needs.

If you are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C), or a Part D prescription drug plan, this is your chance to look around and see if you can do better.  Take some time to reconsider the plan you've chosen and you may be able to improve your benefits, or lower your premiums, or both.  Or perhaps you just need to tweak your plan to suit your current medical needs. 

Also during this period, individuals who are already Medicare eligible but not yet enrolled in Medicare Advantage, can sign up in a new plan.  And those who are participating in a Medicare Advantage or a Medicare Part D plan can cancel during this period.

What if you miss your annual window of opportunity to make changes?  You will need to wait till next year.  So let this be a strong reminder:  don't miss this opportunity.  Assuming you are happy with your current plan, why should you change or consider changing?  Because other things change, including your health care needs, your prescriptions, the benefit options, your geographic location, and possibly the premiums charged by insurers.  It's natural to be leery of change, especially if you have not been unhappy with your plan as it is.  But this is an opportunity to gain control over high health costs, possibly improve what you are getting, and tweak your plan to meet your personal medical needs. 

Click Here for the full article and a list from of actions you can take during Open Enrollment. 


Beat The Heat
Summer can mean high temperatures and problems for seniors who are at higher risk for heat related illness.

Extreme hot and humid weather can cause a range of serious health conditions and even death.  while everyone feels some effects of extreme heat, some people are more vulnerable than others including children less than 5 years of age, people paged 65 and older, those with pre-existing health conditions, people who are obese and people who are poor and homeless. 

When temperatures soar and humidity levels rise to uncomfortable levels, take appropriate measures to prevent ill effects caused by extreme heat:

  • Use air conditioning, or spend time in air conditioned locations such as movie theatres or shopping malls.

  • Take frequent cool baths or showers.

  • Limit direct exposure to sunlight.

  • Limit time spent outdoors and take frequent breaks in the shad and drink water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don't feel thirsty. If you have clear, pale urine, you are probably drinking enough fluids

  • Water is the beverage of choice in the summer. Drink water before outdoor activities an drink water at regular intervals during the day. Avoid beverages with caffeine or alcoholic beverages that can aid dehydration.

  • Try to schedule outdoor activities for cooler times of the day--before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

  • Wear loose fitting light-colored clothing for air circulation.

  • Check on your neighbors, family and friends, especially those who are older, have health issues, or have a limited support system.

  • Do not leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle even for a few minutes or with the windows rolled down. 

  • Wear a hat or use an umbrella when outside, even if you are not in the direct sun. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater anytime you go outside.

  •  If you have a chronic medical problem, talk with your doctor about additional precautions you should take to prevent heat related illness. Some conditions and medications may place you at higher risk.

Heat Related Conditions

Heat stress occurs when a strain is placed on the body as a result of hot weather.

Heat fatigue is a feeling of weakness brought on by high outdoor temperature. Symptoms include cool, moist skin and a weakened pulse. The person may feel faint.

Heat syncope is sudden dizziness experienced after exercising in the heat. The skin appears pale and sweaty but is generally moist and cool. The pulse may be weakened, and the heart rate is usually rapid. Body temperature is normal.

Heat cramps are painful muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs following strenuous activity. The skin is usually moist and cool and the pulse is normal or slightly raised. Body temperature is mostly normal. Heat cramps often are caused by a lack of salt in the body, but salt replacement should not be considered without advice from a physician.

Heat exhaustion is a warning that the body is getting too hot. The person may be thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, and sweating profusely. The body temperature is usually normal and the pulse is normal or raised. The skin is cold and clammy. Although heat exhaustion often is caused by the body’s loss of water and salt, salt supplements should only be taken with advice from a doctor.

Heat stroke can be LIFE-THREATENING! Victims of heat stroke almost always die so immediate medical attention is essential when problems first begin. A person with heat stroke has a body temperature above 104° F. Other symptoms may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, faintness, staggering, strong rapid pulse, dry flushed skin, lack of sweating, possible delirium or coma.

If you show any signs of heat related illness try to get to a cooler place as soon as possible, sip some cool fluids and sponge yourself off with look with lukewarm tap water.


Senior Helper's Alzheimer's Quiz

Half of all Americans know (or knew) someone with Alzheimer’s, the deadly disease that affects about five million Americans — more women than men. Yet in a recent Senior Helpers National Alzheimer’s Quiz taken by more than 1,000 people over the age of 40, 67% failed, getting fewer than 60% of the questions correct! Take the quiz to see how you stack up.

Click Here to Take The Quiz


Advisers Reverse Thinking on Reverse Mortgages
Publication: Star Tribune; Date: Jun 17, 2012; Section: Business; Page: D9

Using your nest to help with your nest egg is becoming a more common way to round out a financial plan during retirement.

Even after the bursting of the housing bubble, the biggest financial asset many retirees have is their home. But because that money is tied up in the equity of the house, it’s an investment that has been difficult to count on as a source of income.

Reverse mortgages have long been an option. However, until recently, they were the Wild West of retirement planning. High upfront costs, poor disclosure and dodgy sales pitches made them an option that many advisers avoided.

Now, with the introduction of reverse mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration in late 2010, more financial planners are adding them to their tool kit.

Read Full Article Here


What is a Reverse Mortage?
by Jeff Flanery of Cambria Mortgage
952-486-6114  *

A reverse mortgage (aka HECM, Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) is a special type of loan, insured by the federal government, which allows homeowners, age 62 and older to borrower against the equity in your home.  Instead of making monthly payments you can choose to receive them.  Currently there is no income, employment or credit qualifying restrictions on a typical refinance, however, a new financial assessment regarding a seniors’ ability to pay their taxes and insurance could be around the corner very soon.  The borrowers continue to own the home and are required to make the property tax and insurance payments on the home.  

  • All homeowners must be age 62 or older and occupy the property as their primary residence.

  • The home must be owned free and clear, or have an existing mortgage balance that can be paid off by the reverse mortgage.

  • The property must be a single family dwelling or a one to four unit owner occupied dwelling.

  • Townhomes, condominiums (HRAP/DELRAP approved), PUD’s and new construction properties are eligible.

  • The property must meet FHA minimum property standards.

Reasons for Getting a Reverse Mortgage

A reverse mortgage can be used for many purposes, some of which are:

  • Eliminating an existing mortgage or home equity loan.

  • Meeting monthly expenses.

  • Help with healthcare costs or in- home care.

  • Reduce credit card debt.

  • Home repairs or remodeling that new kitchen with Cambria Countertops.

  • Help a grandchild with college or a home down payment.

How is the loan amount determined?

The loan amount is the lesser of the maximum lending limit (currently $625,500 nationwide lending limit) or the appraised value of the home.  The amount borrowed by the homeowner is determined by a HUD formula using the following factors.

  • The age of the youngest borrower.

  • The lesser of the appraised value of the home or the HUD maximum lending limit.

  • The current expected interest rate

The HUD formula is actuarial based; meaning the older a person is the more money they may be able to borrow.  The amount of funds available is known as the Principle Limit.

There will be costs involved in getting a reverse mortgage; they are usually broken down into three different categories:

  1. Origination Fee,

  2. Mortgage Insurance Premium (SAVER program drastically reduces this cost),

  3. Other closing costs such as an appraisal, title insurance and government recording fees.

The good thing though about reverse mortgages is that the closing costs (as a group) can be made part of your loan proceeds. With a reverse mortgage the loan is not repaid until the house is sold, refinanced or the last remaining borrower has moved out of the house.  The only out- of- pocket expense would be paying for the FHA appraisal which is $425 and up, depending on location.  

Payout Options

With a fixed- rate loan, the borrower is required to take all of the funds up front in a lump sum.  With the variable rate loan (LIBOR), the borrower has the flexibility of various options or a combination of options; the following options are available:

  • Lump sum – a specific amount of money taken immediately.  This is the only option available on the fixed rate loan;

  • Term – a fixed monthly amount is for a set period of time;

  • Tenure – funds are paid to the borrower in equal monthly payments as long as at least one borrower continues to occupy the residence as their primary place of residence, even if balance of the loan exceeds the value of the property;

  • Line of Credit – the most popular option whereby the borrower can draw amounts as needed;

  • Combination – Borrower can use a combination of the aforementioned options.

Regardless of which payment option the borrower chooses, they can make changes in their distribution option for a nominal fee, usually $20 per change.  Changing the payout option is not available for the fixed rate product, as all of the funds are taken in the initial draw.

Loan Repayment

There is no need to repay the reverse mortgage as long as one or more borrowers continue to live in the home as the primary place of residence.  Just keep current on taxes and insurance on the property and maintain the property in accordance with FHA standards.

When it is time to repay the reverse mortgage, the outstanding balance can come from the proceeds of the sale of the home, a new mortgage or any other resource to satisfy the balance.  There is no requirement that the home be sold, only that the loan be repaid.

Process in Getting a Reverse Mortgage

Education – Perhaps the most important step in getting a reverse mortgage is the process of learning how they work, getting to know the facts to see if this is a good type of financing for the borrower.  Generally the process of educating the client is done with a Reverse Mortgage Consultant (RMC) coming out to the house and finding out the needs of the client and determining the right product for them.  The RMC will present them with a proposal based on the value of the home, explain the benefits of the reverse mortgage as well as the costs associated with getting the loan, and provide them with a checklist of items they will need to provide at the application.  It is best to include members of the family or a trusted advisor to answer other questions that may arise.

Counseling – HUD mandates that an applicant for a reverse mortgage must first obtain a HECM Counseling Certificate by participating in a reverse mortgage counseling education session with an approved HUD counselor.  In addition, the state of MN requires that the counseling session be completed by a HUD approved counselor residing in MN.

Application – A RMC will help the client understand, complete and sign the application documents.  Shortly after the application is submitted (or at the time of the signing of the documents), as required by the federal Truth-In Lending Act, the borrower will receive a Good Faith disclosure that outlines the estimated closing costs.

Processing – Once the loan application is completed an appraisal will be ordered from a FHA approved appraiser to determine the HECM loan amount.  Once the appraisal is completed and reviewed to ensure the home meets FHA guidelines, the appraisal will be approved, suspended or approved subject to repairs.  A copy of the appraisal will be given to the borrower.  A processor will assist the loan officer in gathering information needed to submit to the underwriting process and help resolve the conditions the underwriter sets forth.  A copy of the home owners insurance will be requested to make sure there is adequate insurance on the property.  Title Insurance will also be requested in the processing area to protect the lender from claims against ownership of the property.

Underwriting – Once the appraisal is approved and title has been cleared, an underwriter will review the application and make sure the conditions have been met to close the loan.  If conditions need to be met to satisfy the underwriting conditions, the loan will be returned to the loan processor to gather information and satisfy the conditions.  Once the conditions are met, the underwriter will issue a clearance and move the loan to closing.

Closing – Generally there is a 4-5 week period from the application process to when the loan is ready to close.  The closing will take place in a title office or with a notary public at the borrower’s home.  All HECM loans are considered a refinance loan with the exception of a HECM Reverse for Purchase and require a 3 day right of refusal for the borrower.  There is no rescission period for a HECM for Purchase.

Paying back the loan - Once the home is no longer the borrowers’ primary residence, the loan must then be repaid.  If you default on the loan by not paying your property taxes or homeowner's insurance, or if the property conditions deteriorate and the necessary repairs are not made, the loan also becomes due and payable.

The amount owed at that time will be equal to the total amount of the cash advances you’ve received, as well as the accrued interest on those advances.  If the borrower passes away the heirs can also choose to sell the home and repay the loan. Any remaining equity in the home after the sale of the home belongs to the borrower or the heirs or the estate.

Reverse mortgages are non-recourse loans, which means if you or your heirs decide to sell the house, and the house value has dropped below the loan balance, you will never have to pay more than the home’s value.  However, if you or your heirs decide to keep the home and eliminate the HECM loan, then the full value of the mortgage needs to be paid off.

HECM for Purchase - There is a relatively new program called the HECM for purchase.  This reverse mortgage enables senior homebuyers, age 62 and older, to buy a new primary residence and obtain a Reverse Mortgage in a simultaneous transaction.  Generally the borrower uses the proceeds from the sale of their current home or they could use other assets to buy the home, thus allowing them to have no monthly mortgage payments.

HECM SAVER - One of the concerns for financial planners used to be the upfront costs associated with the standard HECM reverse mortgage.  In October of 2010, FHA designed another option to allow homeowners to borrow a smaller amount of funds than was available through the standard HECM reverse mortgage.

The HECM SAVER provides seniors with a reverse mortgage option that significantly lowers costs by almost eliminating the upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) that is required under the standard HECM option.

The HECM SAVER has an upfront premium of only .01 percent of the property's value. Under the standard HECM option, the upfront premium remains at 2 percent.

Since the amount of money available to a borrower under the HECM SAVER program is reduced by approximately 10 to 18 percent, the risk to the FHA insurance fund is substantially lowered, resulting in a significant reduction in the cost of this reverse mortgage option.  This is why financial planning experts are now considering the reverse mortgage a viable option in the planning process.

About the Author - Jeff Flanery of Cambria Mortgage:
Jeff Flanery of Cambria Mortgage is here to serve you. Jeff is a Mortgage loan officer specializing in Reverse Mortgages and is committed to quality customer service. At Cambria Mortgage you will find our experienced, professional staff to be attentive, informative, and helpful. We will ease your concerns, answer your questions, and make the loan process straight-forward and easy to understand. Give us a call today for a free, personalized consultation.
Contact him at:  952-486-6114
Or Click Here to visit his website

Advisers Reverse Thinking on Reverse Mortgages
Publication: Star Tribune; Date: Jun 17, 2012; Section: Business; Page: D9

Using your nest to help with your nest egg is becoming a more common way to round out a