Archive | August, 2011

Free Information Night!

30 Aug

Top 5 Secrets for Planning Retirement Success
Learn from these industry professionals; their diverse knowledge and experience will guide you toward your retirement solutions!

Free Information Night Thursday
October 13, 5:00pm-6:30pmSeniors Association (6 Francis Street) – Refreshments Provided
RSVP via email – nicky@gordonsestateservices.com, phone – 613-542-0963


Susan Creasy – Owner/President – Susan Creasy Financial Inc.

Susan and her staff provide personalized solutions to help individual and business clients with their financial and estate planning needs.  Through the utilization of life insurance products, critical illness and disability insurance, as well as various investment vehicles the advisors at Susan Creasy Financial Inc. provide sound direction to their clients.  Quality service and personal advice is the cornerstone of her business.

Susan Elliott – Managing Partner – Good Elliott Hawkins LLP

Susan has served as Treasurer (President) for the Law Society of Upper Canada, only the second woman to do so, as well as been the recipient of numerous awards.  Widely recognized within her field and her community, Susan offers comprehensive advice for business, real estate and family law including estates, wills and power of attorney.  Susan and her firm are more than qualified to assist you with your legal matters.


Alicia Gordon – Partner – Gordon’s Estate Services

Alicia has been a licensed realtor for over 15 years, as well as a certified Personal Property Appraiser. Combining her many talents, Alicia has become a forerunner in the Senior services industry and works as a real estate and transition specialist.  Alicia specialized in serving the unique needs of people who are going through transitions in their lives, such as downsizing or estate settlement.  She is in business to help people move on.

Kim Nicholls – Premier Relationship Manager – HSBC Bank Canada

Kim brings 23 years of local experience to the financial services industry.  Through Kim’s team of international colleagues she can facilitate account openings around the world to ensure a seamless transition when moving or travelling to other countries.  Her ‘Premier’ offering encompasses a full suite of products tailored to your individual day-to-day banking and borrowing needs.

Karen Sands – Partner – Collins Barrow SEO LLP

Karen is a Chartered Accountant who specialized in providing income tax planning advice to individuals and corporations.  Her areas of expertise include retirement and estate planning, corporate and personal income tax planning, business succession planning, business  acquisitions and divestitures and assisting clients with income tax compliance in Canada and the US.


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Helping Brighton seniors plan real estate moves

29 Aug

BRIGHTON — A new book just came out from a longtime Brighton resident and what she hopes to do is help seniors with real estate and plan ahead.

Julie Wilson has been in real estate since 1985. The market has seen a lot of changes, she said, and those changes inspired her to write her first book. Beyond the Sold Sign — a Canadian Real Estate Planning Guide for Seniors.

“It’s all about helping the older generation with the overwhelming stress and emotion that can go with selling their homes,” she said, adding that for many a home is filled with wonderful memories and it can be hard to let go.

Ms. Wilson said the gist of the book is to help family members with older parents or someone they know who is struggling with staying in their home realize it’s going to be okay.

“It’s more of a planning guide to start them thinking about things they should or may consider,” she said.

When she was coming through the ranks, she said, there wasn’t much in the way of options for seniors. It was either stay in your home or move to a nursing home. Now there are a lot more options out there for seniors and it’s important to see what’s out there.

There can be a certain amount of fear when someone is considering moving out of their home of many years, she said, but there are ways to embrace change.

Ms. Wilson said recently she helped a family where their mother had moved out and there was some distress on everybody’s part in how to proceed with the sale and what to do with the contents inside. It can be overwhelming, she said, but by presenting options and getting a plan in place it doesn’t have to be hard on the family.

“I tried to make it a nice and smooth stress-free transition,” she said.

Ms. Wilson experienced that stress first hand when her mother passed away suddenly and it was a challenge for her and her family not only on a emotional level with losing their mother, but with finding all those important documents in the home so they could move forward.

Ms. Wilson has been working on her book for over a year and now that it’s finally done she is excited. It’s fun to see her book in the Lighthouse book store, she said, and there will also be a book launch at the library in Trenton In September that she is looking forward to as well.

“I just want to help and I know there are lots of things to think about, but the best thing is to be compassionate and listen.”

 

Dave Fraser / The Independent

How to Retire Early

22 Aug

You may dream about retiring early, but how do you know if it’s right for you? And how do you accomplish it financially? Here are some tips on how to achieve a successful early retirement.

Don’t just focus on the financial aspects of early retirement – “People tend to focus on how much money they will need, but they should spend more time thinking about things like family adjustments, lifestyle and how they will fill their time,” says retired Chartered Accountant Don Hunter of Toronto. “Habits, social connections, spousal relationships and your health and wellbeing will change. New retirees assume the adjustment on the home front will be fine, but that is always the one that surprises them.”

Factor in how major life changes may affect you – “If you have a spouse, consider what would happen if your relationship breaks up after your early retirement,” says Chartered Accountant Gary Marcus, a partner with Meyers Norris Penny LLP in Markham. “Or, how would you manage if you became ill or disabled? The costs of drugs and health care can be prohibitive, and after retirement, you may have to cover these costs yourself.”

Figure out how much you will need to live on – “A general rule of thumb is 50 to 70 per cent of your pre-retirement income, but a better approach is to determine what you expect your retirement expenses to be,” advises Hunter. “For example, your mortgage and education costs may go down, but your travel expenses may go up. Once you know what your expenses will be, you can factor in inflation.” Don’t forget to think about the implications of retiring at age 55 if you live to be 100. “That is 45 years of post-retirement living you may need to pay for,” says Marcus.

Eliminate your major expenses as early as possible – “Your two biggest expenses are likely your mortgage and the cost of your children’s education,” says Hunter. “People who want to retire early need to eliminate these expenses by paying down their mortgage and by saving for the costs of their children’s education through a Registered Education Savings Plan.”

Talk to a professional – “Your CA can help with financial planning and be the quarterback of the team that is advising you on things like investments and insurance,” says Marcus. They can also assist with tax planning, cash flow projections and determining your post-retirement expenses. “That makes it easier for you to focus on the non-financial aspects of early retirement,” adds Hunter.

Decide how to make the transition – “You need something to get you from full speed to retirement, whether it is a community project, a personal project or a part-time arrangement with your employer,” says Hunter. “You may find that you prefer to work part-time or volunteer instead of retiring completely.”

Start planning early – “If you want to retire early, you should start planning for it the moment you make the decision,” says Marcus. “You need to plan throughout your whole life, and most people probably don’t start early enough.”

comfortlife.ca

Free Information Night!

22 Aug

Top 5 Secrets for Planning Retirement Success
Learn from these industry professionals; their diverse knowledge and experience will guide you toward your retirement solutions!

Free Information Night Thursday
October 13, 5:00pm-6:30pmSeniors Association (6 Francis Street) – Refreshments Provided
RSVP via email – nicky@gordonsestateservices.com, phone – 613-542-0963


Susan Creasy – Owner/President – Susan Creasy Financial Inc.

Susan and her staff provide personalized solutions to help individual and business clients with their financial and estate planning needs.  Through the utilization of life insurance products, critical illness and disability insurance, as well as various investment vehicles the advisors at Susan Creasy Financial Inc. provide sound direction to their clients.  Quality service and personal advice is the cornerstone of her business.

Susan Elliott – Managing Partner – Good Elliott Hawkins LLP

Susan has served as Treasurer (President) for the Law Society of Upper Canada, only the second woman to do so, as well as been the recipient of numerous awards.  Widely recognized within her field and her community, Susan offers comprehensive advice for business, real estate and family law including estates, wills and power of attorney.  Susan and her firm are more than qualified to assist you with your legal matters.


Alicia Gordon – Partner – Gordon’s Estate Services

Alicia has been a licensed realtor for over 15 years, as well as a certified Personal Property Appraiser. Combining her many talents, Alicia has become a forerunner in the Senior services industry and works as a real estate and transition specialist.  Alicia specialized in serving the unique needs of people who are going through transitions in their lives, such as downsizing or estate settlement.  She is in business to help people move on.

Kim Nicholls – Premier Relationship Manager – HSBC Bank Canada

Kim brings 23 years of local experience to the financial services industry.  Through Kim’s team of international colleagues she can facilitate account openings around the world to ensure a seamless transition when moving or travelling to other countries.  Her ‘Premier’ offering encompasses a full suite of products tailored to your individual day-to-day banking and borrowing needs.

Karen Sands – Partner – Collins Barrow SEO LLP

Karen is a Chartered Accountant who specialized in providing income tax planning advice to individuals and corporations.  Her areas of expertise include retirement and estate planning, corporate and personal income tax planning, business succession planning, business  acquisitions and divestitures and assisting clients with income tax compliance in Canada and the US.


Clinical Trials Neglect the Elderly

19 Aug

The randomized clinical trial, long the gold standard of medical research, supposedly provides the most reliable data regarding which drugs, devices and procedures prove effective on real patients and which don’t. But when the people enrolled in the trial are quite different from those who will actually use the drug or device or undergo the procedure, the data are far less reliable.

Yet it happens, startlingly often, with old people. They’re not well presented in clinical trials, a fact that undermines their doctors’ best efforts at providing treatment.

“In taking care of older patients, we’re often guessing the best therapy on insufficient data,” said a frustrated Dr. Ken Covinsky, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. For any given treatment, “the risks and benefits may be very different for older patients, but we have no evidence to use.”

Why not? In last month’s Journal of General Internal Medicine, a University of Michigan team pointed to some systemic problems. Analyzing more than 100 studies published during 2007 in prestigious medical journals, the researchers found that more than 20 percent excluded participants above a particular age. That actually represented considerable progress; a previous study of trials published from 1994 to 2006 found that 39 percent had excluded people over age 65.

More disturbingly, even when older people aren’t barred by age, they get left out for other reasons. More than 45 percent of the trials that didn’t have age limits excluded people for having other illnesses or being cognitively impaired, for having a reduced life expectancy or physical disabilities or functional limitations, even for living in a nursing home or senior residence – all restrictions that tend to remove the elderly from the mix. Simply requiring study participants to show up at an office or clinic for regular monitoring may prevent frail elders or those who lack transportation from participating.

 

Dr. Donna Zulman, an internist and the study’s lead author (she’s now teaching at Stanford University), empathizes with her fellow researchers. “It’s really hard to do clinical trials, and when patients are complicated, with multiple health problems, it can be even more difficult,” she told me in an interview. “It makes for a cleaner trial if certain patients are excluded.”

Nevertheless, “the study population should reflect the population that will be treated in the real world,” she said, “particularly if it’s studying a drug that will be used by older and frailer adults.”

Locating a group of perfectly healthy 85- year-old’s for a drug trial — people who have no “co-morbidities” (doctorspeak for other illnesses) that might confound the experiment — is tough, agrees Dr. John Sloan, the Vancouver, B.C., family physician whose book “A Bitter Pill” criticizes the prevailing treatment of older patients. But even if investigators manage to find enough of those sturdy subjects, the trial’s results won’t be very useful in his practice. Most of Dr. Sloan’s elderly patients aren’t perfectly healthy; they have multiple chronic diseases, often including dementia; they take lots of drugs and are physically fragile.

So the study’s authors call on regulators and investigators to include older adults in clinical trials and to analyze whether treatments affect them differently from younger participants. “Huge amounts of money flow into these trials,” Dr. Zulman said. “If we’re not getting results that help us take care of these most complex and expensive patients, we’re not getting much value from them.”

Paula Span
New York Times

Top 10 myths about Alzheimer’s disease

16 Aug

Many of us learn about Alzheimer’s disease the hard way: when it affects someone we love. It may be one of the most feared diseases as we age, but that shouldn’t stop us from seeking to understand it. The more we know, the better able we will be to spot the warning signs and offer care and support to people who need it most.

Unfortunately, some of what we do know comes from dubious sources like conflicting news and portrayals in movies and TV. Beware of these common myths:

1. It’s just a normal part of aging

People used to believe “going senile” was just part of growing old — but symptoms are caused by a disease process, not the normal age-related changes we all experience. Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease involving physical changes to the brain — the like the development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles and nerve cells losing contact with each other or dying.

The disease is progressive and irreversible — but it isn’t inevitable as we age. In fact, experts say most people don’t develop it.

2. Memory loss means Alzheimer’s

We all forget or misplace things from time to time, but occasional forgetfulness doesn’t mean disease. Alzheimer’s involves more frequent forgetting — and not being able to recall those forgotten details later on. Difficulty performing familiar tasks, problems with communication, disorientation, poor judgment and problems with abstract thinking are also hallmarks of the disease.

If you’ve noticed some of these symptoms, don’t panic! Sometimes they stem from a treatable cause like an infection, drug interaction, depression, head injury or another health condition like multiple sclerosis.

It’s also important to remember that Alzheimer’s is just one of 70 causes of dementia (an umbrella term for memory loss due to changes in the brain). Not everyone who has dementia has Alzheimer’s — it can also be part of Parkinson’s disease or the result of a stroke, for example.

3. Your relatives have it, so you’ll develop it too

Genes do play a role in our chances of developing the disease, but not as big a role as you might think. Only a small number of cases — about 5-7 per cent — are an inherited form of the disease known as Familial Alzheimer’s disease (often referred to as “early onset”). While the disease itself is the same as the more common Sporadic Alzheimer’s Disease or “late onset” form, the difference lies in a set of mutated genes that can be passed from one generation to the next. If one of your parents carries the mutation, you have a 50 per cent chance of inheriting it. If you inherit the genes, experts say you’re likely to develop the disease.

What about the sporadic form? If you have a parent or sibling who has Alzheimer’s disease, you have a three times greater risk than someone who doesn’t have a family history. New research suggests that certain genes (such as the apolipoprotein E gene) can influence the development of the disease — but there’s more to the story than what you inherit. Experts note genes themselves don’t cause the disease, and people who don’t have the genes can still develop Alzheimer’s while people who have the genes will stay disease-free.

4. Alzheimer’s disease only affects “old people”

True, our risk for Alzheimer’s disease increases as we age: the majority of cases show up after age 60, and the risk for developing the disease doubles every five years after 65. Some sources claim that by age 85 about half of all people have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

However, that doesn’t mean people under age 60 can’t be affected too. Alzheimer’s disease can appear in the 40s and 50s as well, and some rare cases have shown in patients who are even younger. Worse yet, experts aren’t really sure when the disease starts to develop. Research suggests Alzheimer’s disease is already in the advanced stages by the time symptoms become evident — and that presents a formidable challenge for early diagnosis and treatment.

5. It isn’t fatal

What happens in our brains affects the rest of the body too. In the later stages of the disease, the body’s systems start to shut down which can affect breathing, blood pressure, the skin and the senses. Sufferers may experience increased sleepiness, pain and discomfort — and an infection or pneumonia can set in.

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are one of the top 10 causes of death in developed countries. In 2007 (the latest year for which data is available), it was the 7th leading cause of death in Canada and ranked 6th in the United States. Alzheimer’s kills more people than kidney disease and infections like influenza or pneumonia.

6. Alzheimer’s disease is preventable

We hear a lot of advice about keeping our brains healthy, but so far there isn’t a treatment or strategy guaranteed to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Research into the effectiveness of therapies like vitamins E, B, C and D, gingko biloba, folate and selenium is ongoing — and often conflicting.

However, experts report more evidence shows lifestyle strategies can help reduce the risk or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, such as:

– Eating a healthy diet including fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and nuts.
– Challenging your brain with puzzles, hobbies and learning.
– Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check.
– Avoiding brain injuries.
– Staying active socially.
– Exercising regularly.
– Avoiding vices like smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse.

Sound familiar? These strategies are beneficial for overall health — especially cardiovascular health, which may play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

7. Aluminum causes Alzheimer’s

Should you throw out your old pots and pans and avoid other products containing aluminum? Not so fast, say experts. While there has been a lot of research into the link between aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease, the only thing researchers can agree on is there isn’t enough evidence to prove aluminum is a cause. Some studies do show a connection — but many studies show there is no link. Furthermore, researchers haven’t seen a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s among people who’ve been exposed to aluminum at their jobs or in cultures that regularly drink tea. (Aluminum can accumulate in the leaves.)

What about aspartame, flu shots and silver dental fillings? They’ve been suspects as well, but there is no solid evidence to put the blame on them either.

8. All people who have Alzheimer’s disease become violent and aggressive

It can be hard to know what to expect dealing with Alzheimer’s disease because it affects everyone a little differently. While it can cause personality changes, experts note that not everyone becomes aggressive or violent. Other common behaviours can include wandering, restlessness, suspicion and repeated actions.

Still, coping with memory loss and confusion can be frightening and frustrating for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Loved ones can help by learning some key strategies. For example, adapting a person’s surroundings, maintaining a consistent routine and learning how to communicate more effectively can help prevent emotional responses.

9. People with Alzheimer’s disease cannot understand what is going on around them

Symptoms can be deceiving — even though people can’t communicate well and get confused, that doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of what’s going on around them. Emotions and feelings are still very much present even though memory and abilities are changing, warn experts. Everyone needs social connection and belonging, a sense of independence and joy. Even in the late stages of the disease, people respond to touch and find comfort in soothing voices and music.

Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity regardless of their health. That can be reflected in the little things — like how you help a person change their clothes or use the bathroom, or by not talking about them as if they weren’t in the room.

10. There’s no hope

A diagnosis can be devastating — especially when there currently isn’t a cure or an effective treatment. However, there is hope on the horizon as researchers find better ways to detect the disease, test new treatments and even develop a vaccine. Experts continue to learn more about Alzheimer’s, even if progress seems slow.

In the meantime, there are treatments to help manage symptoms and strategies that can improve quality of life. A diagnosis doesn’t mean a sudden loss of independence and health — experts note it’s important to focus on what people can do. If you or someone you know is affected, talk to your doctor and reach out to resources in your community for help.

 

Article printed from 50Plus.com

Ageism is real and wrong

15 Aug

The term ageism makes politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers uncomfortable.

Some think it’s a fabricated word designed to give legitimacy to the complaints of an aggrieved minority. Others admit discrimination against the elderly exists, but they don’t know how to define it, measure it or codify it in law.

They didn’t like sexism or racism either, but driven by public pressure they developed laws and guidelines that could be applied.

Now the Law Commission of Ontario is attempting to do the same for ageism: turn it into an injustice that can be recognized, documented and remedied.

Last week it published a draft report designed to help lawmakers identify and take action against policies and practices that discriminate on the basis of age. Until November, it will hold public consultations for the next three months to make sure nothing is missing or misconceived. A final draft will be released in early 2012.

“With the aging of Canada’s population, it is increasingly important that we have sound legal and policy approaches to issues affecting older Canadians,” said Patricia Hughes, executive director of the provincial advisory agency. “While pioneering work has been done in this area, there has not yet been a comprehensive, coherent and principled approach developed for this area of the law.”

The carefully researched policy paper won’t win over skeptics. But it will address the concern that ageism is too amorphous to be judged or prevented.

It begins by pointing out both Canada’s Charter of Rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code explicitly prohibit age-based discrimination. It then shows the gap between the legislation and the reality: Caregivers routinely assume seniors can’t make their own decisions. Policymakers don’t bother to consult them on issues affecting them. Health-care and social service providers withhold supports to which are entitled. People patronize them, ignore them or exclude them the life of the community.

To move toward equality for older Canadians, the commission says, all laws should reflect these principles:

• Respect for the dignity of the individual.

• The presumption of ability, not disability.

• The right to be included in community affairs.

• Freedom from abuse or exploitation.

For laws already on the books, it offers policymakers a series of tests to apply: Are they rooted in stereotypes or shaped by unfair assumptions? Are they based on outdated medical knowledge or societal perceptions? Do they contain age-based eligibility criteria that ignore an individual’s actual ability? Do they authorize public officials to take away the autonomy of older adults without their input or consent? Do they sideswipe older people while attempting to accomplish other purposes?

If so they need to be amended or replaced.

Where new laws are required, it proposes a rigorous research, drafting and implementation process. First use the best medical and sociological information available. Given the dearth of data in this field, seek out the views of seniors themselves. They know what works and what doesn’t.

Second, recognize the differing needs and experiences of Canadians. Women, for instance, live longer than men and left financial matters to their husbands; aboriginal people are scarred by residential schools and historic prejudices; rural residents lack access to supports and services; aging gays and lesbians re-encounter barriers they thought they had toppled; and most members of racialized communities have never known equality.

Third, ask why there is a need to treat older adults differently from the rest of the population. If not, don’t proceed. If there is, isolate the problem and develop a targeted solution.

Fourth, ensure that those implementing the law are properly trained and capable of explaining how the rules will change. Telling older people to go to a website for details, for instance, is not helpful. Neither is giving them hand-outs they can’t read (for reasons of language or literacy).

The commission recognizes that the province is financially constrained. It suggests that the legal reforms be put in place progressively, but the guiding principles be followed now.

Ageism is real, it says. It can’t be ignored or wished away. It must become intolerable and illegal.

CarolGoar
TheStar.com

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