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Safe, Sound and Savvy

Aging Forward: Finding Beauty in the Changing Seasons

Aging Forward: Finding Beauty in the Changing Seasons

With this issue (Autumn 2013) we welcome our newest columnist, Patrick Arbore, Ph.D., of the Institute on Aging (IOA), a San Francisco-based nonprofit providing services to the elderly, caregivers and adults with disabilities. Each quarter he will explore a different

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2013 Fire Safety Information for Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador Counties

2013 Fire Safety Information for Tuolumne, Calaveras and Amador Counties

To stay informed when fire threatens, use the information below: To report a fire anywhere in the FAN coverage area or statewide, call 911. For up-to-the-minute information, DO NOT CALL 911 or dispatch numbers for county sheriff’s offices or fire

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Estate Planning: The Family Vacation Home

How do you successfully pass the family vacation home on to your children? As a foothills estate planning attorney, I have clients with beautiful vacation homes in Twain Harte, Pinecrest, Strawberry, Bear Valley and other mountain communities. Most of them

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Caregivers’ Corner: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Trying to function on too little sleep is the pits. It plays havoc with memory and focus, exacerbates pain, makes us cranky and negative, and diminishes our ability to react lovingly. Sleepless nights set us up for depression, anxiety, weight

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Great Neighbors: Rotarian Enlists Sunshine in the War Against Hunger

Great Neighbors: Rotarian Enlists Sunshine in the War Against Hunger

When Irene Perbal moved to Calaveras County in 1998, she learned about solar cooking from her daughter, Magali McGreevy, who had a cooker. “I started trying to do it,” Perbal says. “I do lot of cooking myself.” Rice and beans

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Estate Planning: Dealing With Your Problem Child

Estate Planning: Dealing With Your Problem Child

Ah, the age-old issue: How to deal with your problem child. This often produces uncomfortable pauses, silence and embarrassment in the parents’ first interview with a lawyer. Many parents don’t want to admit that their grown sons or daughters are

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Hiring a Caregiver: Tips on Finding In-home Help with Safety in Mind

Hiring a Caregiver: Tips on Finding In-home Help with Safety in Mind

  As illness and frailty take their toll on an elderly family member, bringing a caregiver into the home a few hours a day may be the ticket to keeping your loved one living independently and safely. “Everyone wants to

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Caregivers’ Corner: Managing Medications

Is mom’s illness simply getting worse, or could her medications be making her sicker? One of the challenges of being a caregiver is to help your mom, dad, husband or wife manage medications effectively. As bodies get older they often

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Estate Planning: Naming an IRA Beneficiary

Estate Planning: Naming an IRA Beneficiary

What happens to your Individual Retirement Account when you die, and how will that impact your heirs? Distributions from an IRA are taxable to the recipient just as they would have been to the original owner. However, it’s important that

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A Warm Meal and a New Best Friend

A Warm Meal and a New Best Friend

Improving the quality of life for both people and pets is the aim of a new program matching Tuolumne County Meals on Wheels clients with dogs and cats needing homes. Under the program, willing seniors will provide foster homes for

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Calaveras Teens Eager to Share Tech Savvy

It began when two Calaveras moms brainstormed community service ideas for a college-bound son. What do teens know inside and out, they pondered? High-tech gear like cell phones, tablets, laptops, e-readers and GPS navigators. Who finds these devices baffling at

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“If There’s Anything I Can Do”: How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving

“If There’s Anything I Can Do”: How to Help Someone Who’s Grieving

By Suzanne Praisler The loss of a loved one is something that happens to all of us. As friends, it’s often hard to know just what to say or do. We may be unsure about how to extend our condolences.

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Caregivers’ Corner: How to Handle That Sneaky Stress

Stress is sneaky. It tightens your shoulders and tries to hitch them to your ear lobes. It sends blood racing to the center of your body, upsetting your tummy and leaving your hands and feet cold. Your muscles clench, temples

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Yosemite Transportation: YARTS Proves Popular

Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) in the spring and summer of 2012 expanded its reach to provide bus service from Sonora, Jamestown and Groveland to the park’s Big Oak Flat entrance station, Crane Flat and Yosemite Valley. Service is

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Estate Planning: Planning for Long-Term Care

Estate Planning: Planning for Long-Term Care

“I am in great health,” my client said. “Why should I worry about long-term care?” “I don’t want you to worry about it,” I answered. “I want you to plan for it so that you don’t end up in a

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Crunching the Numbers: How Much is Enough? Charting a Path to and Through Retirement

Crunching the Numbers: How Much is Enough? Charting a Path to and Through Retirement

By Bob Hoyt Retirement. For those of us nearing the end of our working careers, just the thought of it can keep us awake at night. How do I get there?  Am I saving enough to maintain my lifestyle? Can

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Caregivers’ Corner: Reaching for Compassion

Caregivers’ Corner: Reaching for Compassion

“I have the right to take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will enable me to take better care of my loved one.” The man reading these first lines of the “Caregiver’s Bill of Rights”

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Wildfire Safety: Key Phone Numbers & Information Sources, Summer 2012

Wildfire Safety: Key Phone Numbers & Information Sources, Summer 2012

To report a fire anywhere in the FAN coverage area or statewide, call 911. For up-to-the-minute information, DO NOT CALL 911 or dispatch numbers for county sheriff’s offices or fire departments. Instead, public safety officials say, use the phone numbers

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Wildfire Safety: Lend a Helping Hand via Fire Safe Councils, Classes and More

Want to get more involved in protecting your community from fire? Or helping your neighbors during an emergency? Consider joining a local fire safe council, or taking American Red Cross classes or Community Emergency Response Team training. Formed in the

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Estate Planning: Helping Veterans Pay for Long-Term Medical Care

Estate Planning: Helping Veterans Pay for Long-Term Medical Care

“How are we going to pay for long-term medical care?” We hear that question frequently these days. For veterans who served during wartime and their surviving spouses, an underused Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit may help. Its formal name is Improved

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The Vet is In: Caring for Your Pet’s Nails

The Vet is In: Caring for Your Pet’s Nails

Animal claws (nails) are made of a tough protein called keratin. Claws help animals and birds catch prey, dig holes, andclimb or perch in trees, and are also used for defense. But injury or neglect of pets’ nails can lead

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Estate Planning: When Dementia Is Involved, Plan Ahead

Estate Planning: When Dementia Is Involved, Plan Ahead

As more seniors struggle with dementia, their loved ones are left scrambling to organize and handle health care and financial matters. The stress of dealing with the disease and related personality changes is compounded by the pressures of assuming control

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Protecting Our Elders: New Law May Lighten Sentences for Elder Abuse

Protecting Our Elders: New Law May Lighten Sentences for Elder Abuse

Changes in California law will likely mean lighter sentences for those convicted of felony elder abuse and less stringent supervision after time has been served. Before last October, many such swindlers and con artists found guilty of preying on the

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Finding Your Roots: Tuolumne County Veterans Military Museum

Finding Your Roots: Tuolumne County Veterans Military Museum

The Tuolumne County Veterans Military Museum in Sonora is a great place to visit if your parents or grandparents served in the military. You won’t find genealogical records, but the museum’s treasures will help you understand their service experiences a bit better.

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Snapshot of a Graying Region

New survey reveals hopes, fears, and needs of the foothills’ growing population of boomers and seniors.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Tricks to Tame Anxious Thoughts

Caregivers’ Corner: Tricks to Tame Anxious Thoughts

When your brain careens around the block for the 39th time, worrying the same worry or making the same list, it’s time to make it stop. Stress and anxiety can send our brains into hyper-drive, causing thoughts to loop over

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Stop Signs

Stop Signs

A graying population coupled with an already high percentage of older drivers means ever more seniors behind the wheel here. For each, a difficult decision looms: When to give up the keys.

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Estate Planning: Choosing a Trustee

One of the most important, and sometimes difficult, decisions you will make in estate planning is choosing a trustee. Your trustee handles your estate if you become disabled or after you die. Here is what to look for in selecting

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Protecting Our Elders: Scam Alert

Protecting Our Elders: Scam Alert

Our state’s senior population will grow by 40 percent to about 8.9 million by 2020, according to the California Department of Finance’s Demographic Research Unit. This simple statistic tells me that the number of potential victims of elder abuse will

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What Matters Most? Just Ask a Centenarian

What Matters Most? Just Ask a Centenarian

Longevity was cause for celebration at a special luncheon this fall for centenarians and those approaching the 100-year mark. More than 40 county residents – all of whom have witnessed a remarkable century of change – were honored at the

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Great Neighbors: Volunteers Keep Salvation Army Bells Ringing

Great Neighbors: Volunteers Keep Salvation Army Bells Ringing

By ringing bells and offering good cheer, Mother Lode volunteers each Christmas season inspire holiday shoppers to contribute thousands of dollars, a few coins or bills at a time, to The Salvation Army through its annual kettle drive. The Salvation

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Senior Driving: Transportation Options

Transportation options in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties include: Public transit in Tuolumne (532-0404) and Calaveras (754-4450) counties; bus lines cover many but not all in-county destinations (one-way fares for those over 60, $1 on each). Link via Amador County Transit

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Time to Quit Driving? Top 10 Signs

Here are 10 tips to help seniors and families decide when to give up the keys.

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Senior Driving: Having That Crucial Conversation

Telling a reluctant parent, spouse or friend that he or she should stop driving can be stressful. Traffic safety and insurance groups offer these suggestions: Make sure the person leading the conversation is someone the older driver trusts, and who

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An Expert’s Advice on Coping with Grief

An Expert’s Advice on Coping with Grief

Don’t put a time limit on the grieving process, advises Dr. Patrick Arbore: “It takes as long as it takes.”

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Estate Planning: Planning for Your Pets

Estate Planning: Planning for Your Pets

You may have put the rest of your affairs in order, but have you made plans for your pets? Hopefully, by now you have created a basic estate plan by doing the following: Signing Durable Powers of Attorney to make

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Protecting Our Elders: Bullying

As the country “matures,” an age-old issue takes on new meaning: Bullying. The word conjures up images of the big playground kid taking lunch money from his smaller victims. But bullies and bullying among seniors is part of a nationally

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Caregiver’s Corner: Stages of Grief

 I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ~ Mother Teresa We all face the five stages of grief when a loved one dies, but it can be shocking

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A Grandmother’s Legacy

A Grandmother’s Legacy

Writer Darlene Hutchins is the granddaughter of the late Wilma and Mirl Andersen. For more, read Managing Life’s Losses.   By Darlene Hutchins Reading sympathy cards sent after my grandmother’s death, I was not surprised how many people loved her.

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Managing Life’s Losses: Journeys Through Grief

Managing Life’s Losses: Journeys Through Grief

Two women reveal their difficult and very different journeys through grief and loss.

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Estate Planning: The Ins and Outs of Probate

Estate Planning: The Ins and Outs of Probate

By Jim Gianelli Probate is a court process set up to assure that upon one’s death, assets get distributed to the people in one’s will (or in absence of a will, to one’s legal heirs), creditors get paid, and disputes

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Caregivers’ Corner: Dealing with Dementia

Caregivers’ Corner: Dealing with Dementia

By Joan Jackson When a loved one slides into dementia, the progression is not straight line. What they were able to do last month, last week, or even yesterday may suddenly no longer be possible. We often hear caregivers describe

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Protecting Our Elders: Help Prevent Scams and Abuse

Protecting Our Elders: Help Prevent Scams and Abuse

By Eric Hovatter Mickey Rooney, 90, recently testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging about abuse he suffered at the hands of his own stepson. To watch the 90-year-old actor speak was both sad, humbling, and a lesson that

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Tuolumne County Search and Rescue

Tuolumne County Search and Rescue

By Patty Fuller One made his living performing root canals. Another is a past Mother Lode Roundup queen who’s now a grandmother and small business owner. There’s also a probation officer, hair stylist, retired banker and Vietnam veteran. It’s an

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In Search of Compassionate Listeners

Something’s missing in the lives of many older adults, says Dr. Patrick Arbore: meaningful communication. “Communication is about connectedness, and connections are what bind us to life,” says Arbore, 63, a gerontology expert with the San Francisco Institute on Aging.

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Estate Planning: Living Trust and Power of Attorney

Estate Planning: Living Trust and Power of Attorney

Estate planning is more than just transferring assets to your loved ones upon your death. Perhaps more importantly, good estate planning includes choosing the right people to manage your financial affairs in the event you cannot do so. Most estate

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Friendship Line Invites Callers: 1 (800) 971-0016

A 24-hour, toll-free telephone help line is now open to foothills residents. The Friendship Line provides reassuring support and help in getting to needed care for older adults who may be lonely, depressed, bereaved, or possibly suicidal. The line is

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Estate Planning: Property Taxes

Estate Planning: Property Taxes

It’s that time of year again, when homeowners pay their annual property taxes … Happy holidays! This year we are faced with two things we don’t want to think about in these tough economic times: taxes and reduced property values.

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Costa, P.I.: Oh, The Secrets He Could Tell

Costa, P.I.: Oh, The Secrets He Could Tell

At 79, Al Costa may be the state’s longest-tenured active private investigator. Armed with computer databases and “a built-in BS detector,” he delights in exposing fakes and frauds and reuniting families with lost loved ones. His motto: “When in doubt, check it out.”

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Caregivers’ Corner: The Beauty of Lower Standards

Caregivers’ Corner: The Beauty of Lower Standards

Always live up to your standards – by lowering them, if necessary. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook When “Bad Girls” fold towels, the corners don’t line up and they’ve learned not to worry about it. In fact, their

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