Dear Savvy Senior,My husband and I, who are both 66 years old, have fallen behind on our mortgage payments and...
Four Front Range hospitals offer radiation therapy that doesn’t require permanent skin marks SUBMITTED BY CENT...
John Lucero, founder and principal of Lucero Development Services, is the 2019 recipient of the Oliver Frascon...
BY DOROTHY ROSBY I’ll be 40 next year. Did I say 40? I meant 60. Same difference. They both fall under the ben...
Recently, the Search Institute, an organization that has as its vision to ensure that all young people have wh...
Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about the flu shots designed for older adults? I got sick last winter...
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER Denver South Economic Development Partnership brought Richard Wobbekind,...
We all want to be part of a group and belong. It is one of the hallmarks of being human. When we think of peer...
Dear Savvy Senior, How much does cremation cost and how can I find a good deal in my area? I would like to get...
On October 10, Economic Literacy Colorado, an educational nonprofit promoting economic and financial literacy...
Dear Savvy Senior,My husband and I, who are both 66 years old, have fallen behind on our mortgage payments and have accumulated quite a bit of credit card debt over the past few years. Where can we get help?Drowning in Debt
Unfortunately, credit card and mortgage debt have become a growing problem for many older Americans who often face medical-related expenses on top of their mortgage and other growing costs. Here are some tips and services that can help.
Credit Card Counseling
To help you get a handle on your credit card debt, a good place to turn is an accredited credit counseling agency. These are nonprofit agencies that offer free financial information and advice on how to handle financial problems.
Depending on the significance of your credit card debt, they can help you sort out your finances and set you up in a debt management plan (DMP), which allows a counselor to negotiate with your creditors to lower your interest rates and eliminate any late fees and other penalties.
The agency will then act as a consolidator, grouping your debts together into one payment that you would make, and distributes those funds to your creditors. Typically, the first counseling session is free, but a DMP comes with monthly fees of roughly $20 to $75 a month, depending on the state.
To locate a credible agency in your area, use the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website at NFCC.org (800-388-2227), or the or the Financial Counseling Association of America FCAA.org (800-450-1794).
But make sure that you don’t use a debt settlement company that claims to settle all your debt or cut it in half for a fee without counseling. Most of these companies use deceptive practices and will only leave you more in debt then you already are.
If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, or if you have already received a letter or phone call about missed payments, you should contact your lender immediately to explain your situation and see if you can work out a payment plan. Be prepared to provide your financial information, such as your monthly income and expenses.
You can also get help from a foreclosure prevention counselor. These are HUD-approved, trained counselors that will work with you, examine your financial situation, and offer guidance on how best to avoid default or foreclosure. They can also represent you in negotiations with your lender if you need them to.
To find a government-approved housing counseling agency in your area, use the National Foundation for Credit Counseling or Financial Counseling Association of America websites or phone numbers previously listed. Or, for a larger selection of housing counseling options see the Department of Housing and Urban Development website at HUD.gov – click on “Resources” at the top of the page, then on “Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling,” or call 800-569-4287.
You also need to make sure you’re not missing out on any financial assistance programs. The National Council on Aging’s website (BenefitsCheckUp.org) contains a database of more than 2,500 federal, state and local programs that can help seniors with prescription drug costs, health care, food, utilities, and other basic needs. The site will help you locate programs that you may be eligible for and will show you how to apply.
SUBMITTED BY CENTURA HEALTH
Unless you or someone close has received radiation therapy, you may be surprised to learn that tattoos are part of many cancer treatments. Traditionally, permanent skin marks are tattooed on a patient to align radiation treatment – until now. Porter, Parker and Littleton Adventist Hospitals and Longmont United Hospital are the first in Colorado to incorporate the new cutting-edge technology that uses 3D imaging to map the skin surface and guide radiation treatment without visible skin marks.
The technology is called AlignRT, part of the VisionRT system, and in addition not requiring tattoos, it saves time, improves efficiency and has greater accuracy than traditional radiation therapy devices.
“At Centura Health, providing tattooless radiation therapy is one way we can reduce anxiety and help patients focus on other aspects of their cancer care or survivorship,” said Dr. Rebekah Maymani, a radiation oncologist with Porter Adventist. “AlignRT’s imaging capability also helps track movement, which allows for a safer and more accurate treatment.”
Several hospitals in California have incorporated this technology and studies have shown that skin marks pose a significant psychosocial challenge for some women living with breast cancer (See attached study). Additionally, there are numerous companies and tattoo artists that specialize in either removing the skin marks or transforming them into more meaningful tattoos for cancer survivors.
Depending on the type and location of the cancer, traditional radiation therapy devices can require numerous tattooed marks on different parts of a patient’s body.
“For many patients, skin marks are visible reminders of a difficult time in their lives. It’s a wonderful feeling to tell new patients that tattoos are no longer a part of their treatment plan,” added Maymani.
“When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had friends tell me I may have to be tattooed for the treatment,“ said Ann Marie Scott, a current patient at Porter Adventist Hospital. “At the time, you’re willing to do whatever is needed to overcome cancer, but it was a tremendous relief when my oncologist at Porter told me they no longer need to tattoo patients.”
VisionRT also produces a facial recognition device that matches prescription oncology care with a specific patient. Parker Adventist Hospital is the first and only hospital in the nation to currently offer the facial recognition device.
John Lucero, founder and principal of Lucero Development Services, is the 2019 recipient of the Oliver Frascona Lifetime Achievement Award from the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS (DMAR). Frascona, a well-known legal advocate with a passion for real estate, dedicated his life’s work to real estate law, representing and advising developers, builders, lenders, buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants.
Raised in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, Lucero has served in countless leadership roles and has been an active and engaged advocate for homeownership and a champion of entry and move-up homeownership opportunities, fair housing and community impact since the first day of his 26-year real estate career.
Soon after earning his real estate license, Lucero helped move a family out of public housing using a disability homeownership program offered by a local bank. That family not only sustained homeownership, they moved up over the years. The family’s children and grandchildren all attended college and all sought Lucero out when they purchased their homes. It was with that initial closing that he discovered the power of positive change that REALTORS® embody and how homeownership improves lives, neighborhoods and schools.
He has maintained that set of beliefs throughout his career and encourages every member of his team to be actively engaged in their community. His Five Points headquartered Lucero Development Services works with developers and government agencies to create and preserve affordable and market rate housing and for projects that provide economic growth, workforce development and education. In addition, Lucero has participated in the creation and preservation of more than 4,000 affordable housing units throughout his career. Together with his employee team members, the company focuses on inclusiveness and has been instrumental in formalizing the work of numerous local and national REALTOR® boards including cross-membership with the Colorado Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (CAHREP) and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP).
Originally appointed by then Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, Lucero served across three Mayors as the deputy director for Denver’s Office of Economic Development where he oversaw the housing development and small business loan portfolios and formed long-term partnerships with local REALTOR® associations that remain in place today. Lucero currently serves on the Denver Board of Water Commissioners and on several policy related REALTOR committees at each level of government.
“John has been a true asset to the REALTOR® community at the local, state, and national level for many years,” said DMAR CEO Ann Turner. “He is a true expert in the government affairs arena, and we are incredibly grateful for the time and energy John has devoted throughout his career to protecting homeownership and private property rights.”
“It is an absolute honor to be recognized with the Oliver Frascona Award,” said Lucero. “Oliver was not only a good friend and colleague over the decades, he taught and shared with me his insatiable appetite for helping others achieve their home ownership and real estate dreams. While I’ve been fortunate to be recognized by my peers and the industry for my work over the years, this is an incredibly meaningful honor that I will hold very dear to my heart.”
Founded in 2009, Lucero Development Services crafts solutions-based strategies for its clients by integrating the unique expertise of its team members in positive community development with its client’s goals. The company’s understanding of the balance between the private and public sector in real estate development shapes its mission and positions Lucero Development Services to best navigate modern development complexities.
BY DOROTHY ROSBY
I’ll be 40 next year. Did I say 40? I meant 60. Same difference. They both fall under the benign-sounding umbrella of “middle age,” though it seems to me calling 60 “middle” might be a tad optimistic.
Still, it’s a lovely time in life. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the best time in life. For many of us, middle age offers more freedom than we’ve had since we were 21. And somehow we gain some credibility as we mature. Everyone believes me when I say I’m 59. No one believed me all those years I said I was 29.
But middle age has a downside. My siblings call it geezeritus, and I can sum it up in two words: Now what?
One day we notice we’ve got less hair on our heads and more in our noses. We go to buy shoes and find out our feet are still growing. As it turns out, so are our noses and ears. I’m not making that up. Cartilage continues to grow until the day we die. Not only that, gravity makes our lobes hang down like the ears on a basset hound. This is all very disconcerting to someone whose feet, ears and nose were already ample.
To be fair, we also shrink in a few places. The subcutaneous fat that fills out youthful faces decreases as we age, as does the fat that cushions the soles of young feet. I don’t know about you, but this is not where I was hoping to lose inches. I can only conjecture that during middle age, fat leaves our feet and faces and migrates to our abs.
Middle age comes with an assortment of aches and pains too. Not long ago, I had a case of trigger finger though I don’t own a gun and I’ve had tennis elbow in both elbows. I haven’t played tennis in years, though apparently I have the elbows for it.
These sorts of issues make middle-aged people acutely aware of body parts we barely knew we had when we were younger. I know what you’re saying. “You didn’t realize you had elbows before?” Sure I did—but just on my right side. Being right handed, I was only vaguely aware of my left elbow in the same way I’m only vaguely aware I have a spleen. I know it’s there; I’m just not sure what it’s good for.
More serious issues tend to show up in middle age too. I was 53 when I learned I’d inherited both glaucoma and thyroid disease. Some people inherit money. I think that would be more fun.
It’s no wonder middle age people start getting anxious about all sorts of things we never gave a thought to before. Every stomachache could be cancer, every headache could be a brain tumor and we start fearing early-onset Alzheimer’s every time we forget something. Obviously one of the things we’re forgetting is that we’ve been forgetting things our whole life.
On the bright side, geezeritus doesn’t happen all at once which is lucky. If we went to sleep 22 years old and woke up 62, we’d probably call the police and report an intruder.
And we can all take comfort in the fact that as long as we’re middle aged, we’re not old. Of course, we are, without a doubt, the oldest we’ve ever been. But most of us thought it would take a lot longer to get here. In fact, many of us were sure we never would. Somehow all young people think they’re going to live a long time but never get old. Once we hit middle age, we see the foolishness in that and a lot of other things we used to think. I guess we can have fat in our faces or we can have brains. We can’t have both.
Recently, the Search Institute, an organization that has as its vision to ensure that all young people have what they need to thrive, released a new initiative entitled “Relationships First, Creating Connections That Help Young People Flourish”. In 1990, the Search Institute introduced the Developmental Assets framework which integrates insights from the fields of prevention, resilience and positive youth development to identify critical relationships, opportunities, and personal strengthens what young people need to succeed. Since that time, studies of Developmental Assets have been conducted with 6 million young people across the United States and around the world. Studies have shown that adolescents who possess developmental assets are resilient, and possess grit and perseverance when dealing with obstacles and hardship.
The new “Relationships First” initiative adds to the body of literature that a connected child is a protected child. After decades of forming hypotheses, conducting surveys, analyzing data and publishing journal articles, Search Institutes’ researchers and practitioners arrived at a surprisingly simple conclusion; nothing has more impact in the life of a child than positive relationships.
Developmental relationships between parents and youth are associated with multiple areas of well-being and human thriving. The first category outlined in the research is social and emotional competencies, which includes self-awareness (based on self-discovery and a positive view of themselves), knowing their gifts, talents, passions and purpose. Emotional intelligence is defined by being aware of feelings, the ability to manage feelings and awareness and compassion toward the feelings of others. Children who are connected to their parents are also open to challenges and explore new things. They are responsible, own their behaviors, and fulfill their commitments.
School administrators should be aware that children who are connected have higher academic strength, are motivated to learn, master new skills and graduate. They possess an inner drive to succeed.
Community leaders should know that young people who are connected to their families, school and the community are more civically engaged, more motivated to serve and, more equipped to help others, and see serving others as a personal responsibility and value.
Finally, these students are much less likely to get involved in high risk behaviors such as substance use, violence, crime, gangs, early sexual debut, bullying, cheating or vandalism.
To operationalize the characteristics of positive relationships, the Search Institute researchers outlined the concepts of: caring, kindness, shared interests, investment of time, dependability, structure, affirmation, encouragement, fostering hope, expecting the best, accountability, monitoring, learning from mistakes, setting boundaries, sharing power, inspiring, teaching, respect and advocating for their child by providing support.
The Center for Relationship Education trains and certifies individuals to teach these skills to individuals of all ages so they can experience positive relationships that are thriving. It is imperative to collaborate with schools, community leaders, youth serving agency personnel, government programs, Health and Human Service directors, legislators, foundations, community and faith-based organizations to reduce poverty, crime, non-marital childbearing, teen suicide (and other mental health issues), substance abuse, violence, and promote primary prevention and optimal health for all. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.myrelationship
Dear Savvy Senior,
What can you tell me about the flu shots designed for older adults? I got sick last winter after getting a standard flu shot and would like to find out if the senior-specific flu vaccine is worth getting.
There are actually two different types of flu shots available to people age 65 and older. These FDA-approved vaccines are designed to offer extra protection beyond what a standard flu shot provides, which is important for older adults who have weaker immune defenses and have a great risk of developing dangerous flu complications.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that during the 2018-2019 flu season, up to 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died because of the flu – most of whom were seniors.
You also need to be aware that these senior-specific flu shots cannot guarantee that you won’t get the flu this season, but they will lower your risk. And if you do happen to get sick, you probably won’t get as sick as you would without it. Here’s more information on the two vaccines:
Approved for U.S. use in 2009, the Fluzone High-Dose is a high-potency vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot does, which creates a stronger immune response for better protection. This vaccine, according to a 2013 clinical trial, was 24 percent more effective than the regular-dose shot at preventing flu in seniors.
FLUAD: Available in the U.S. since 2016, the FLUAD vaccine contains an added ingredient called adjuvant MF59 that also helps create a stronger immune response. In a 2012 Canadian observational study, FLUAD was 63 percent more effective than a regular flu shot. The CDC does not recommend one vaccination over the other, and to date, there have been no studies comparing the two vaccines.
You should also know that both the Fluzone High-Dose and FLUAD can cause more of the mild side effects that can occur with a standard-dose flu shot, like pain or tenderness where you got the shot, muscle aches, headache or fatigue. And neither vaccine is recommended for seniors who are allergic to chicken eggs, or those who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past.
If you are allergic to eggs you can ask for a Flucelvax or FluBlok shot. Neither of these vaccines uses chicken eggs in their manufacturing process.
All of these vaccines are covered 100 percent by Medicare Part B as long as your doctor, health clinic or pharmacy agrees not to charge you more than Medicare pays.
Two other important vaccinations the CDC recommends to seniors, especially this time of year, are the pneumococcal vaccines for pneumonia. Around 1 million Americans are hospitalized with pneumonia each year, and about 50,000 people die from it.
The CDC recommends that all seniors, 65 or older, get two vaccinations –Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23. Both vaccines, which are administered just once at different times, protect against different strains of the bacteria to provide maximum protection.
If you haven’t yet received any pneumococcal vaccine you should get the Prevnar 13 first, followed by Pneumovax 23 at least one year later. But if you’ve already been vaccinated with Pneumovax 23, wait at least one year before getting the Prevnar 13.
Medicare Part B covers both shots, if they are taken at least one year apart.
To locate a vaccination site that offers any of these shots, visit VaccineFinder.org and type in your location.
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Denver South Economic Development Partnership brought Richard Wobbekind, Associate Dean for Business and Government Relations and Senior Economist to the Lone Tree Arts Center on October 3 to explain the economic indicators that are behind the CU Business Research Division’s conclusion that the confidence index is now negative. He described the economy as “growing but slowing.”
Wobbekind said that U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP) growth has been slowing since 2018 and is expected to continue to do so through 2020 because personal consumption, business investment, and even government spending are all slowing down. GDP growth is still expected to remain positive.
Employment is still growing at a slower rate. Real disposable income and personal consumption have also been declining since 2018 and are projected to do so through 2020. Home price growth in Colorado is still positive but much slowed, when comparing the second quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2018.
“The view of the future tends to be much more negative than consumers’ view of the current situation,” said Wobbekind. He continued, “Business pre-tax profits will finish 2019 in negative territory.” Adding to the bad news, he said, “The manufacturing part of the U.S. economy, which is 15 percent of the total economy, is in recession.”
Next, Wobbekind showed a slide of the federal budget deficit from 2000 up through the present. It showed the federal deficit declining from 2011 through 2015, then increasing steadily starting in 2016 and projected to break the $1 trillion mark in 2020. He pointed out that the country had “managed to get deeper in the hole despite a growing economy.” He added that “tariffs and trade tensions have really hurt the export picture.”
Turning his focus to our state, Wobbekind said that Colorado is now the 7th-fastest state for population growth, though the population increase for 2019 of 74,000 is slightly below that of 2018, which was 77,500. Projected job growth of 49,000 new jobs in 2019 is strongest in the northern Colorado Greeley-Fort Collins area and weakest in the Grand Junction-Pueblo area.
Statewide, sales tax collections are up 5.3 percent in 2019, continuing the trend of the 5.5 percent increase in 2018.
The overall value of construction was $11 billion in August 2019, down from $15 billion in August 2018.
Focusing on our area, Wobbekind said that job growth in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties had been strong for five years and continued to be, across multiple different industries lead by education and health services, followed by construction. He also noted that the number of venture capital deals increased 54 percent in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties from 2018 to 2019, led by a $100 million investment into Boom Supersonic.
For additional information, go to www.colorado.edu/business/business-research-division.
We all want to be part of a group and belong. It is one of the hallmarks of being human. When we think of peer pressure, we associate it with adolescents and risk-taking. Peer pressure effects adults as well. It is the social influence a group exerts on its members and each member tries to conform to the expectations of the group. It may not be as direct or intentional as the kind of peer pressure teenagers experience, but peer pressure in adulthood can be every bit as harmful. If you have adopted beliefs, goals and interests based on what others do or believe, peer pressure will be present whether it is positive or negative. It could be about expectations that are placed on us, either overtly or covertly. Suppose your siblings have a new car. To prove yourself worthy and successful, there is pressure to get a new car. Suppose when your peer group gets together, they drink too much. Even though you are not a “big drinker”, you find yourself being frequently overserved.
Peer pressure can also be positive. Perhaps people in your tribe have gone back to school to get advanced degrees, it gives encouragement and motivation to investigate continuing your education. Peer pressure could also be considered accountability in its positive form. An example is a running buddy or going on a food journey together.
Research indicates that social acceptance triggers strong positive emotions and it is an incredible motivator for behavior. Generally, adolescents are more influenced by peer pressure than adults because of their lack of social skills, self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Mental health requires the ability to make decisions through thinking independently often with influence and support from family, friends and even role models. When we make decisions based on what other people think or say, we lose our autonomy and power. This could affect self-worth and stifle growth and maturity. To reach our full potential and develop a strong character we must be aware of our core beliefs and standards of conduct. This is imperative for resisting social norms that have been created in our culture such as speeding, accumulating debt, or cheating on taxes.
The best way to think autonomously and resist peer or social pressure is to outline core values and stick to them. Be assertive, and use “I” messages to convey your values and beliefs to your tribe. This will allow you to speak for yourself and not shame others if they are engaged in a behavior that does not align with your values. Increase your circle of friends. Be mindful and intentional to what you know is right, true, healthy and unhealthy. Become an advocate for yourself not giving power to those who might criticize or judge you. Seek out others who share and affirm your values and choices. If you have outgrown certain relationships, let them go and surround yourself with independent people who stay away from group think. Become a thought leader rather than a thought follower. It is good for your health! email@example.com
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |