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Safe, Sound and Savvy

Estate Planning: Starting the Process

When it comes to planning your estate, it’s best to start the process with an estate planning attorney, preferably a state-certified specialist. But other advisors may play a vital role: your accountant, banker, insurance agent, financial advisor or broker. You

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Caregivers’ Corner: Nutrition, Hygiene, and Safety

Caregivers’ Corner: Nutrition, Hygiene, and Safety

Does your aging mom complain that her raspberries don’t taste right anymore? Is your husband pouring so much salt in his soup that you’re seriously worried about his hypertension? Do you notice yourself adding extra sugar to your chai latte?

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The Greener Senior: Composting

Composting is about as green as it gets. Using food scraps and yard waste to help the soil in your garden or flower bed not only creates a beneficial fertilizer, but also keeps unnecessary materials out of landfills. Compost is

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Estate Planning: Communicate Clearly

Estate Planning: Communicate Clearly

By Tirzah Woodward Hopefully you’ve followed the advice in our past Friends and Neighbors articles … but you’re not done yet! Here are a few more tips vital to proper estate planning, and to ensuring that your survivors can easily

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Top Tips for Online Dating Safety

Technology and online dating sites have opened up a great means for mature singles in the Mother Lode to connect with someone special, and more men and women are turning to the Internet to meet new people. However, Tuolumne County

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Caregivers’ Corner: Sensory Changes

Caregivers’ Corner: Sensory Changes

I have a precious friend, now in her late 80s, who is tough, bright and energetic (she still takes tap-dance lessons). She has survived a massive stroke and the loss of her husband and many of her friends, and through

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Estate Planning: Medi-Cal Benefits for Long-Term Care

Estate Planning: Medi-Cal Benefits for Long-Term Care

The Spring 2009 estate planning column in Friends and Neighbors outlined Medi-Cal benefits for long-term skilled nursing care. To receive these benefits, an applicant must have limited resources. What if you have too much money to qualify, but not enough

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Home Share Program Links Seniors with Savings, Companionship

Think of it as a matchmaking service – minus the romance. Instead of love and marriage, the goals are cost cutting and companionship. Popular elsewhere in the nation, home sharing has arrived in the foothills. A new grant-funded program of

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Many Volunteers Needed for Senior Outreach Effort

Many Volunteers Needed for Senior Outreach Effort

Kathi Toepel has a vision: Legions of volunteers helping to ease loneliness and isolation for the growing senior populations in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. That vision is edging toward reality, thanks to a federal grant – totaling $837,000 over three

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Prepare for a Safe Winter’s Drive

Prepare for a Safe Winter’s Drive

Getting Ready: Vehicle and Tires If you must drive in inclement weather, preparing for the worst will go a long way to relieve stress and keep you safe. The CHP’s Mike Remmel offers a few tips. Have fluids, lights and

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Food Resources for Seniors and Those in Need

COMMUNITY AND SENIOR-CENTER PROGRAMS ATCAA Food Bank (10059 Victoria Way, Jamestown, 984-3960), distributes food from 10am-noon the third Tuesday of each month at a dozen sites countywide, including the Tuolumne County Senior Center, 540 Greenley Rd., Sonora. Free produce is

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Homeless No More: ‘I’ve Come a Long Way’

Homeless No More: ‘I’ve Come a Long Way’

She was living in her car when a pastor’s act of kindness helped her change her life for the better.

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Filling the Gap: Seniors Help Seniors at ATCAA Food Bank

Filling the Gap: Seniors Help Seniors at ATCAA Food Bank

A long line forms outside the Tuolumne County Senior Center. Inside, boxes of pasta, cans of fruit and bags of vegetables are being distributed to grateful seniors. “I have almost no grocery money at all, so this helps me tremendously,”

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New Hospice Supervisor Knows Life’s Twists and Turns

Life’s unexpected turns. They sometimes lead families to Hospice of the Sierra, which provides medical care and family support for the terminally ill. Connie Walther of Sonora knows firsthand how the best-laid plans can fall apart in an instant. In

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Winter Warning: Cautionary Tale for Older Drivers

Winter Warning: Cautionary Tale for Older Drivers

CHP Officer Mike Remmel advises older drivers to carefully evaluate their skills and limitations before getting behind the wheel. His credentials: 20 years on the force, and a remarkable return to duty after an elderly driver’s mistake cost Remmel his legs.

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The Greener Senior: Recycle Junk Mail and More

Snow is not the only thing that can create an avalanche this winter. For most of us, junk mail has been stuffing our mailboxes as full as the stockings above the fireplace. Online, there are a variety of websites devoted

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Caregivers’ Corner: Loss of Inhibitions

Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can rob your dignified, bright and gracious wife, husband, mother or father of a lifetime of social manners and skills. As the disease progresses, your loved one’s loss of cultural norms can create some of

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Fill a Shoebox to Brighten Holidays

If you want to brighten a local senior’s Christmas, start with a shoebox. Fill it with fun and useful items such as gift certificates, pens, stamps, cards, toiletries, toothbrush, ornaments, socks and more. Use your imagination, but don’t include candy,

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Estate Planning: Death of a Spouse

Your spouse has died, and whether or not the death was sudden and unexpected or gradual and expected, you are in shock. Your mind is just not working quite right. The realization of what has happened – and the grief

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Report Scams to New Fraud Hotline: (209) 588-1221

A team of law enforcement and financial experts has launched a long-planned scam hotline and database to help protect seniors from fraud. Dave Clevenger, who leads the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Community Service Unit (CSU), cites a sharp rise in

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Dawn’s Light: Offers Grief Support

In the real world, most people don’t talk much about death until they have to. In Nansea Arquette’s ideal world, we’d learn ahead of time about death and dying, and also about what comes next – for survivors. And those

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Finding a Path Through Grief and Loss

Grieving has its own pace, as unique as the individual, says therapist Lynn Crook. She advises people to trust their intuition during the difficult times that follow the death of a loved one.

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Dawn’s Light Offers Grief Support

In the real world, most people don’t talk much about death until they have to. In Nansea Arquette’s ideal world, we’d learn ahead of time about death and dying, and also about what comes next – for survivors. And those

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Caregivers’ Corner: Self-Care is Essential

Caregivers’ Corner: Self-Care is Essential

“What happened to me?” While some of the losses and demands of caregiving are large and immediate, many of the changes are more subtle, chipping away at your life one small piece at a time. Hobbies are set aside for

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Caregivers’ Corner: Home Safety for Alzheimer’s

When our two-year-old grandson comes to visit, we always do a room-by-room sweep – removing breakables, fastening cabinets, checking baby plugs and securing the stairs – trying to use eyes of a detective to make sure our home is safe

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FANtastic Free Resources

Here’s a list of senior-focused programs and services that we consider fantastic. These are all free and yet so valuable: medical care, food, entertainment, even cheerful phone calls to isolated seniors. In many cases, these services are the work of

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Protecting Our Elders

How can seniors know if they are potential victims of elder abuse? Here are some questions aimed at determining your vulnerability to fraud and abuse. Answer the yes-or-no questions below, keeping in mind that your answers must be very candid.

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Demystifying Medicare

Counselors are available in Tuolumne County to assist you with Medicare questions and issues free of charge. ‘We’re here to educate people, with unbiased and comprehensive information, so that they can make an educated and informed choice.’

— Patty Clevenger, HICAP counselor

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Caregivers’ Corner: Tips to Reduce Stress

In an airplane, if cabin pressure plummets and the little yellow breathing cups drop down from overhead, the rule is that you always put your oxygen mask on first and help your loved ones next. Most of us know this

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Estate Planning: Long-Term Care Cost

Did you know you can lose your home to the state as a result of the state paying your long-term care costs? Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. Let’s discuss the problem and ways to avoid it. Consider this real

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Your Money

By Richard Carty The first step in surviving these tough economic times: Don’t panic. Don’t let emotions take over. Making spur-of-the-moment financial decisions is likely to make a bad situation worse. The second step is to realize what you can

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Job-Search Starting Points

Health – In the senior-rich Mother Lode region, there’s a growing need for home health aides and physical therapy aides, according to the EDD. Becoming a companion aide, dietary aide, or the like, for the elderly is another possibility. Sonora

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Working Late: Help Available for Growing Ranks of 50-Plus Job Seekers

If you’re an older worker looking for a new job, it may be a challenge to find one here. Counselors at The Job Connection are ready to help.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Conscious Breathing

Caregiving is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining. The loved one you care for can be agitated and angry one moment, confused and helpless the next, and loving and appreciative a few moments later. Your work is often 24 hours

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Estate Planning: It Pays to Plan Ahead

Let me tell you a sad but true story that carries an important message: It pays to plan ahead. Two brothers sought my advice when their parents were severely injured in an out-of-state automobile accident. The father was in extremely

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Protecting Our Elders

The downturn in the economy has everyone worried, and as an elder abuse prosecutor I believe financial elder abuse will only increase as crooks become more desperate. In my last column I discussed an elder abuse case I prosecuted, and

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The Saving Grace of a Friendly Face

The Saving Grace of a Friendly Face

‘Sometimes just being a good friend can help them find the strength to push through.’

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Your Money

By Richard Carty What is the difference between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA? Contributions made to a traditional IRA (up to $5,000 of earned income or $6,000 if you are age 50 or older) are reported as a

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Caregivers’ Corner: Take Time to Breathe

Caregivers’ Corner: Take Time to Breathe

Caregiving is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining. The loved one you care for can be agitated and angry one moment, confused and helpless the next, and loving and appreciative a few moments later. Your work is often 24 hours

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Estate Planning: Why Planning Matters

Estate Planning: Why Planning Matters

Let me tell you a sad but true story that carries an important message: It pays to plan ahead. Two brothers sought my advice when their parents were severely injured in an out-of-state automobile accident. The father was in extremely

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Protecting Our Elders: A Case of Misplaced Trust

Protecting Our Elders: A Case of Misplaced Trust

The downturn in the economy has everyone worried, and as an elder abuse prosecutor I believe financial elder abuse will only increase as crooks become more desperate. In my last column I discussed an elder abuse case I prosecuted, and

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Caregivers’ Corner: Dealing with Dementia

You’re a family caregiver and your loved one is yelling at you. At the end of a long day, it’s tough not to feel hurt or yell back. Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses that interfere with normal brain function

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Estate Planning: Revocable Living Trust

This article describes one of the most important and popular estate planning tools in California, a revocable living trust. This is an estate planning document that is, in many respects, a substitute for a Last Will and Testament. “Revocable” means

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Your Money: Q&A

By Richard Carty, CPA Here are answers to some of the tax, money and retirement questions I’m most commonly asked. Q: Should I file “Long Form” or “Short Form”? A. When someone says “Long Form”, they are referring to Form

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Protecting Our Elders: Preventing Abuse

Having prosecuted financial elder abuse for nearly seven years now, I can tell you that each case has a unique set of facts, problems, and ramifications. And naturally, each case involves a unique person with his or her own story.

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DRAIL helps the disabled get back on track

From a small office on a quiet side street in downtown Sonora, a nonprofit agency helps local residents maintain independence in the wake of physical, mental or emotional disability.

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Tips for Seniors Escaping Wildfire

Wildfire is a frightening prospect for Tuolumne County seniors who live in heavily wooded areas, particular in oh-so-dry 2008. Here are a few tips on escaping wildfire, gleaned from material provided by the California Department of Aging and the American

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Your Money: Q&A

By Richard Carty, CPA Did you know that 10,000 “Baby Boomers” in this country are becoming eligible for Social Security every single day?  We could all use more information on money and tax issues, but perhaps no one more than

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Protecting Our Elders: Defining Abuse

When Suzy Hopkins approached me with her plan to start a magazine dedicated to seniors in Tuolumne County I was very excited. Our county has a significant senior population with diverse experience and needs, and the magazine sounded like a

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